IT Blog - We Are Technology

IT Blog

Home/IT Blog/

User Friendly to be at San Jose Comic Con

We just received our press credentials for the San Jose Comic Con in April to cover it for the show!  It's going to be a lot of fun but this con is a little different.  Started by "The Woz" of Apple Computer it blends technology with cosplay.  I look forward to posting pictures and the details of the panels and a little bit about how it's different from some of the other conventions we have seen.

By |March 21st, 2017|Categories: Comic con, Cosplay|Comments Off on User Friendly to be at San Jose Comic Con

Thank you…. Veterans

The We Are Technology Team is made up of all kinds of people with various backgrounds and experiences.  The Team brings all of this to the table, and some of us are veterans and some of us are not.  Often our military veteran companions can not or do not wish to speak of experiences during their time of service, so we often politely do not ask too many questions.  And when they do honor us with sharing  their experiences, we are lucky.  Say thank you to the veteran in your life and if they want to share their experiences, listen with an open heart and mind.  Do not judge the actions they had to take to survive.  It is the lack of understanding that causes so much distress for those returning home from military service.  Our civilian world often seems foreign and unreal as if it were some kind hazy dream.  Those of us who are not veterans do not understand what it is like to be in combat.   Honor and respect those who have given away their innocence to protect us. Gretchen Winkler ©2014 Technology Artist Cumulus Technology, Inc. – the “We Are Technology” people www.wearetechnology.com

By |November 11th, 2014|Categories: Culture, Freedom|Comments Off on Thank you…. Veterans

Windows 10 and the stress of Windows 8

Those of you who know me or follow our company's social media may know that I had to recently purchase a new laptop and was forced into using Windows 8.    And if you look at the amount of social media and company blogs that have been written, you can tell this happened in early August since there are very few blogs and other posts.    My laptop is a vital tool for what I do.     It's like the handyman who carries a tool box - we need these tools to get the job done. Yes, we have thought of going backwards to Windows 7 since that actually worked, but the new operating system and having to reload has caused software problems.    Some stuff is missing and we can't find the disk or some crazy software company has said we could only have one install despite the fact that we purchased the program and own the darn disk.     It's nothing but nightmares.    I hate reloading the laptop, which also causes nothing but nightmares.    Yes, I can hear someone out there saying to store stuff on the cloud and use software on the cloud.     That's okay for people who don't write novels and want to protect their property and people who don't use software like Photoshop and ACAD software.    These programs need to be on the hard drive and not relying on some Internet connectivity to make it work correctly.    Work can be too easily lost.     And being an artist - we don't react well to losing hours of work and then losing the zen moment of creativity that is lost by malfunctioning tools.    Having to be connected to the Internet to do anything removes one's

Windows 8 – A danger to losing productivity

I am pretty good on a computer. I may not be an expert but I can do all the normal expected tasks on a computer that any employer would require such as using office type software, design software, browsers, adding software and hardware to a setup, and can change settings to customize the desktop for pictures, fonts, and screen sizes.   I don’t have any problems attaching files to emails and so forth and know how to update or add software like Adobe Acrobat to be able to look at pdfs files.   My first computer was an Atari with an ultra clear black and white screen with no actual hard drive.   We used the 3.5 floppy disks with software on them and relied on the ram D drive, which was like virtual or cache memory.   This all sounds very primitive now, but it was amazing to have for writing college papers and my own personal manuscripts.   I played a few games, but the computer was a vital tool for me for my education and my creative outlet, which was writing. Now I am faced with an unpleasant situation.   I have this beautiful Lenovo Ultrabook that is an i7, but I can barely make it work for the things I need to do.   I just got through having a Toshibi i7 that came with a faulty keyboard and a used hard drive, and no, it was not refurbished but brand new.   This last Toshiba was also the cause for the NetObjects software to not run correctly nor the Wacom tablet, and countless other odd problems that I have had to endure over the past years.   So I decided to never buy a Toshiba laptop ever again after

Jelastic – The Most interesting Developer

Being the person in charge of the social media is often time consuming especially when one starts surfing through the web getting caught up in other people's social media.  It was a couple of months ago that I found myself caught up in a Tweet from Jelastic.  It was basically an invitation to help them find the world's most interesting software developer.  And my mind started buzzing with the fact that our Bill Sikkens was a pretty interesting and unusual software programmer with a very wide background of experiences and interests.  So I courageously dived in with the notion that my friend should be the most interesting developer in the world! Okay, maybe I am getting carried away here, but he does have a pretty interesting background and knowledge base.  So I wrote up a quick submission to Jelastic and warned Bill of my submission for him to be considered.  And guess what? He has been named one of the Most Interesting Developers for the month of August.  To read their article about him just follow the link below. http://blog.jelastic.com/2014/09/09/meet-william-sikkens-one-of-augusts-most-interesting-developers/ Who knows where this will lead, but it has been good fun while getting caught up in the wave of social media.

Not Born in the Last Century – Change in Technology

We went to see Guardians of the Galaxy with friends and family this past weekend, and it was good fun.  And after the matinee was over, we all went out to get something to eat.  Now the range of ages in this dinner party was from age 11 to 67 and the topic of technology came up since one of our dinner companions was pleased to find out that We Are Technology does do Mobile App Development.  But the discussion did not end there with the normal, “Oh good, I will let my friend know that you can help her with that project and so forth.”  The topic eventually morphed into what technology we had when we were kids - or more accurately – what technology we did NOT have as kids. It was at this point that our eleven year old companion that was enjoying his plate full of shrimp became more interested in the topic at hand.  We proceeded to explain to him that there were no cell phones when we were kids and that we had to go to a phone booth and pay for calls away from home.  We also explained that computers as they are now did not exist and one had to type letters and papers on a typewriter, and that it was sometimes frustrating when one made a typing error because it forced the typist to start all over again at least until liquid paper was invented.  Teachers did not have copy machines or printers available, they had to use ditto machines or mimeographs to make handouts or tests for their students. This change in technology has probably broader implications than what is fully realized at the

By |August 18th, 2014|Categories: Culture, Technology|Tags: , , , , , , , , , |Comments Off on Not Born in the Last Century – Change in Technology

Take Me Along Shoes – Lechal Smartshoes

Wearable technology has another innovation to share. This time it is a pair of smart shoes that are designed to work with Google Maps to aid walkers and joggers to stay on route. Apparently one can simply link their shoes through a smart phone and select a path on Google Maps and the shoes will buzz vibrations to the left or right foot depending upon what direction the person planned to go. The space slipper, aka Lechal smartshoes, developed by Ducere Technologies. The product was originally designed to aid visually impaired people. And the name Lechal means “take me along” in Hindi, but the designers realized during development that this product would be great for the fitness industry. The shoe design looks more like a space slipper than a running shoe, and it appears that the company is offering an insole to work the same way and can be put in a person’s currently owned shoes. So don’t throw away your fancy walking or running shoes yet. Personally, this is not a product for me, but it could be an interesting aid for those that are in assisted living locations and can easily get lost. I would suggest geo mapping a complex were assisted care units are. People with health conditions are often encouraged to take walks or get fresh air, but due to medication or health problems sometimes people can become disorientated. Perhaps the space slippers might have a more useful application in a place like that. Too bad they are still tied to a cell phone, which residents of such a facility may not carry along with them. To read more about the latest in “take me along shoes” just click

By |July 28th, 2014|Categories: Technology, Wearable Technology|Tags: , , , , , , , |Comments Off on Take Me Along Shoes – Lechal Smartshoes

Questions about Digital Storage

While the User Friendly Team decides on if they want to do any more episodes for this season of the radio show, we have some questions from our website and social media that Bill Sikkens, our Technology Expert, had planned on answering. The first one was from Gary Lanson of Nashville, TN: – Should USB drives be used for storing files? There is a wide variety of USB drives available, and as time goes on larger drives are becoming more affordable. And Bill Answers: - USB Memory sticks are designed for temporary storage and transfer of files. These devices can be easily lost or damaged and as such are not recommended for long term storage or archival purposes. Bill makes a very good point, but I have to admit that I keep a good many files on USB drives for quick and easy access just because I don’t have my backup drives sitting around at arms reach. These drives tend to house the same files for many years. I am pretty good about not losing items, but some of these drives can be incredibly small. So if you are a person likely to lose stuff, perhaps it would be wise to select a drive that is more colorful and bulky. Our next question is from Betty in Atlanta, GA: - I have a number of CD’s with personal information. How do I destroy them so they can’t be stolen out of the trash? Can they be erased? Bill’s response: - CD’s, DVD’s, and Blu-ray media created is in most cases permanent to the disc once written (there are some exceptions to this, but for this purpose rewriteable media works the same way). For

Drones, Drone, and Drones

So when is a drone a drone? And an RC helicopter an RC helicopter? We have been hearing a lot about drones lately and I keep wondering if people are mixing up drones with RC flying helicopters and planes. So I searched on the Internet to see if there was any established definition of what a drone was. You see, I had always thought of a drone as being a large military or commercial industry oriented flying device that did not house a pilot and was controlled on the ground by a sophisticated computer and could fly outside of the operator’s line of sight like a large airplane or helicopter. But the article I found on arstechnica.com referred to a small flying device that did have a limited distance as being a drone. Check out this fun article and watch the video they put together, it is actually quite interesting if you love technology and cool toys of tech. http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2014/06/flying-and-crashing-a-1300-quadcopter-drone/ So is a drone a design style or something defined by technological abilities? So I checked Wikipedia to get an idea of what the basic parameters are and here is what I discovered. There were three categories for this type of usage of the word. The first one that I thought was the definition was basically described as thus… “An unmanned combat air vehicle (UCAV), also known as a combat drone or drone, is an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) that is usually armed. Aircraft of this type have no onboard human pilot. Drones are usually under real-time human control, with "the human's role in UCAV system [varying] according to levels of autonomy of UCAV and data communication requirement[s]" The modern military drone as known today

Printable Coverings using Camouflage Algorithms

Lots of interesting technology and science coming out of MIT these days and I just could not resist sharing it. It appears, or perhaps that is not the correct word for this article, that a team of students are working on creating an algorithms that will make it possible to print out a covering that will assist in the camouflage of stationary objects. I can just see the military getting excited about this one and wanting to put it on top of their buildings that need to remain hidden. Now my first reaction to this article is what exactly is an algorithm? I know it is something our Technology Expert, Bill Sikkens, always refers to, but what exactly is it? According to wikipedia “an algorithm is a step-by-step procedure for calculations. Algorithms are used for calculation, data processing, and automated reasoning.” So this team of MIT students are creating a procedure for a software to select the best choices of color and gradient to make a stationary item seem to disappear from view. What a really cool idea! Now of course the art of camouflage has been around for a long time and is used mostly in military situations and are evident in the painting of tanks, airplanes, uniforms, and netting used to hide bases and so forth. But it is also used in civilian applications as well. First World War German Fokker DVII biplane using camouflage pattern. How many people have seen the strange cell towers that look like trees? I have seen a number of these and I actually kinda like them. I appreciate the effort to make them look less like a blight on the landscape – especially in areas

By |June 12th, 2014|Categories: Software Development, Technology|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |Comments Off on Printable Coverings using Camouflage Algorithms