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
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 https://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
This is a really important topic for everyone that loves technology, everyone who wants to work with technology, and everyone who wants to invent/develop things that work with technology. I don't know how to emphasize this any greater. It's really important. And I hate politics, but this is something that everyone should be looking at closely. Allowing company's - ISPs - the ability to censor what is affordable and what is not - is a big step in losing another major freedom in our lives and it will only hurt the poor and startup/small business owners. It could also open doors for businesses with political or religious agendas to censor what they think is fit for their customers to see. This is no joke. I have had personal experience with emails being censored by an ISP company because they did like an email with a swear word in it. (I have a friend who swears a lot in his emails - and his messages were being held back because of an outsider's opinion of what is right and wrong.) It should be up to me to decide if my friend should not swear in emails to me and not some company that is supposed to be providing Internet and cable service. I came across this article on the BBC that I wanted to share. They write so well and explain the situation much better than I can. Please read this and be aware of how your technological rights may be decided by strangers who may not like you or think the same way you do. http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-27141121 G. Winkler (c) 2014 Technology Artist We Are Technology by Cumulus Technology
If you ever want a truly humbling experience, try reading the CERN COURIER, which is the International Journal of High-Energy Physic produced for CERN by IOP Publishing Ltd. I have browsed through it before only understanding glimpses of what they are discussing. Some articles leave me feeling like a giant blank canvas, but when I do understand a few tidbits, there is a certain strange feeling of accomplishment like I had just survived climbing some high steep cliff. One certainly develops a new appreciation for the people who do truly understand what is written within its pages. So some of you may ask, where or how did I gain access to such a journal of intense technology? Well, you know that technology expert that we are always bragging about…. Bill Sikkens, well, he receives it, and that is because he is a quantum physicist. So all that hubbub about him being an expert isn’t a marketing ploy or drama, it’s real. So he had me read an article from the latest issue of the CERN Courier because it is about technology and the kind of technology that the rest of us regular folks can get excited about. The only problem was after I read it, I wasn’t sure I understood enough to have anything to say. So here’s my take on the article…. Participants at the WAG 2013 meeting basically discussed a massive group effort from labs all over the western hemisphere to study gravity and antimatter. It appears that different facilities can observe different levels or aspects of the study and the scientists have to go through many intricate procedures to create the right environment to be truly sure they are measuring what they
I get asked many times if I like my job. The answer to this question is a very much “YES” – and a big part of what I like is the fact that I get to see, work with and contribute to leading cutting edge technology on almost a daily basis. It has been said by my team that a lot of today’s tech may relate to the television show “Star Trek” as life imitating art. While life may feel like it we still don’t have our Warp Drive ships. We are, however, seeing devices that were presented as science fiction in the early 1990’s when the second franchise of the show aired as “Star Trek: The Next Generation”. Out of that today we have fully networked computers, the Internet’s World Wide Web (the Internet itself existed during the start of the show, however, the Word Wild Web was developed about halfway through its run.) Things like mobile phones and tablet computers have also appeared on the general landscape since then. One bit of technology from the show relates to the amount of storage and retrieval that type of a computer system would require. Today on average a computer has around a terabyte of storage, and you can readily buy capacity in the 3-4 terabyte range. Current storage in that range consists of mechanical storage devices that use platters that spin to store information. The estimate maximum life of this type of storage is estimated to a few decades maximum, and in many cases due to mechanical failure and accidents is much shorter. It looks like this fact may be changing, and like the television show in a way that wouldn’t of been perceived of
Today at 4pm Pacific Standard time William Sikkens, our Technology Expert, will be chatting with Dan Mason on his KOH Newstalk radio show. You can access the radio show via the web by just going to KKOH.COM There is a red link button in the upper right hand corner of the website that says "Listen Live". Click that button and it will start the stream. The topic today should be the latest trends and advancements in technology.