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.
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
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
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
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
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
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