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
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
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
A special treat today – User Friendly is going to an hour long format! Yes indeed, we have been asked to make it an hour long show so that other stations will be able to fit it into their programming schedule. This is exciting news for us, and we are very proud of our team members that have worked so hard to make this all happen. Tune in live at 10AM Pacific Time at FM 101.3 or online at http://renegaderadio.org/listen/ If you don’t have time this morning then you can listen online by going to the We Are Technology website under the News Desk to find User Friendly or just click on this link http://wearetechnology.com/news-desk/user-friendly/ The show also airs on America Matters radio 99.1FM, check their website for times. And don’t forget if you have questions or would like to suggest a topic or interview, you may do so by going to the following: https://twitter.com/1UserFriendly https://www.facebook.com/cumulustechnology https://www.facebook.com/pages/User-Friendly Or simply click onto the Ask Your Question tab on the right hand side of the We Are Technology website and send your question or comment that way. G. Winkler – Technology Artist © 2014 Cumulus Technology – the “We Are Technology” people
The water tank in which the procedure was preformed. G. Spalding/Illinois Wesleyan University So the We Are Technology Team is always reading up about the latest technology and this can be quite an intense task since technology is in our lives in so many ways. Our User Friendly Radio Show crew research for interesting topics to present for the news portion of the radio show, and sometimes we don’t have enough time to share all the cool and exciting things that are going on in the world of technology. So this is one of those articles that I just could not ignore. I just happen to love science fiction and Star Trek is one of my favorites, so I guess if one wants to be on the trail blazing towards technology found in a series such as Star Trek, then I guess the University of Dundee, University of Southampton, and Illinois Wesleyan University are the places to go for creating things such as tractor beams. Apparently an acoustic “tractor beam” that can pull an object by firing sound waves at it has been created by physicists in the UK and US. This is the first time that something larger than a microscopic target has been moved. They were able to demonstrate that enough force on an object around 1 centimeter in size could be held or moved by directing twin beams of energy from an ultrasound array towards the back of an object. This was done inside of a special tank of water. There are three different articles concerning this topic. Please go check them out and see how the world that was dreamed of by writers might actually someday become a reality.
So why should anyone consider a custom software solution when the market place has so many of the “in the box” software applications that might solve their business software needs? This question has been pondered, no doubt, countless times in boardroom meetings and planning sessions amongst professional teams. Old and long trusted responses have been that custom software is too expensive, not necessary, or that a box software solution will work for awhile and then one can always upgrade. And then the final nail in the coffin on this discussion would be that if custom software was decided upon – who would write it? Great reason for a custom software solution. So custom software is too expensive – is that really true? In some cases custom software may indeed be very expensive, after all the software has to be designed, coded, and then debugged. And the initial cost and effort may seem daunting to some boardroom committees that may baulk at the prospect of bringing such a request to the finance department. But is the custom software solution really more expensive in the long run? How will custom software affect the company in the years to come? Will productivity go up because employees are no longer wasting time fighting with in box solutions that may require extra steps and time? Giving company professionals time to be creative or allowing them to focus on what they are really good at instead of fighting software systems that don’t compliment the company’s focus can prove to be very beneficial. Survival of a business requires the leadership to look at the so called “big picture” and see if one aspect of a company’s infrastructure can change productivity.
Climate change and concern for the environment has been a topic ever since the Industrial Age began with massive coal fueled factories used to create large quantities of goods for a growing global population. It was obvious as technology progressed that a balance needed to be found. This has been expressed in literature and film starting with early thinkers like Jules Verne and more recently with writers like Dr. Seuss and Star Trek episode writers to name just a few. Regardless of what side of the fence one sits upon in regards to whether global warming is a reality or not – it still makes sense to not pollute or destroy the environment. Interesting map showing how the average temperatures in the U.S. have changed over the years. A couple of days ago various news sources addressed the topic of US climate change and they gave examples of situations throughout the US where changes in the weather has had a profound affect upon the population. I found one of these articles and have included the link from the New York Times here. So what efforts have been made to curb the damage that is being done? Reclamation laws for the mining industry, scrubbers for factory emissions, and recycle programs for residential waste to name a few, but obviously these efforts have not been enough. I think reducing pollution is like losing weight – one has to change their habits and make wiser choices and cut down on excesses. So what super awesome technology has come out that is assisting Humanity to change their habits and realize their goals of saving the environment and still being able to feed, clothe, house, and move the