If Facebook hopes to remain a relevant player in the digital world, it better figure out how to improve its online experience for smart phones and tablets. It takes so damn long to open and update that it is often useless if one wants to do a quick check of their messages.
Posts Tagged ‘Technology’
Posted in civics, civility, Economics, Education, general, health, Health care, humanity, product design, schools, Science, Technology, Television, tagged crime, hacking, health, news, PBS NewsHour, Technology, wireless on April 27, 2012 | 3 Comments »
After I arrived home last night from moving my son out of his dorm room, I was listening to a later broadcast of PBS NewsHour before going to bed. There was a disquieting feature story last night about boutique bioterror that I just had to write a post about.
In the story, it was indicated that as more and more items become wireless, the chance of them being hacked or affected by a virus at some point increases. The scary example cited was pacemakers. Apparently, newer versions receive wireless input and updates on nearly a daily basis. If a hacker was to break into one of these links and begin adjusting the signals, one can only imagine the potential for a tragedy, whether it was intended or not.
Think this is a silly notion? Well, think again my friends. Recently, someone actually had the audacity to hack into the Epilepsy Foundation’s website and create a strobing effect on the webpage. The result could have been catastrophic for those suffering from epilepsy as strobing lights can cause seizures. Even sadder was the reason suspected for doing such a dastardly thing -for the jollies. That’s right, simply for laughs. I don’t know about you, but I find that to be immature, sick, and rather twisted.
Torture people from afar by impacting their health??? Is that what this world is coming to? Why is it that some people with such obvious and marketable talent, choose to use it in such unproductive ways? I wish I knew the answer to that question. To think what great things might be accomplished – cure cancer, solve the energy crisis, bring vision to the blind, save an endangered species. The whole thing only makes me want to shake my head in dismay at the sheer waste of it all.
I was deeply saddened last night upon learning of Steve Jobs passing. At the time, I was writing a new post for this blog, but had to stop working at the news.
Steve Jobs was the Galileo, the Da Vinci, and the Thomas Edison all rolled into one for my generation and was certainly the single most important individual of both the computer and digital ages. Steve Jobs changed the way the world operates, as well as how it is entertained. Don’t forget, he was not just the co-founder and creative inspiration for Apple with its iPod, iPhone, and iPad, but also Pixar Studios.
As we all know, Pixar reinvented and revived motion picture animation and brought back damn good story telling. Anyone would be hard pressed to find an American home that does not have at least one Apple electronic product in it and/or at least one Pixar movie on a shelf. None of us will ever forget Buzz Lightyear, Woody, Nemo, Wall-E, Mr. Incredible, or any of the other wonderful characters Pixar Studios has brought to life on the silver screen.
Your inspired and far-reaching innovation will be missed, Steve. Thank you for all the great inventions and creations. As the best quote I have seen about your passing puts so eloquently, “iSad.” Rest in peace, Steve.
Kudos and major high-fives to the Zeeland Public Schools. Starting with the 2011-2012 school year, students in the Zeeland school system between 3rd grade and 12th grade (approximately 1,800 of them in all) are being provided with a free iPad to use in the classroom and for all of their school work. Sayonara to carrying 50 pounds of text books in a backpack – thank goodness.
This is an amazing program and innovative idea that clearly takes Zeeland’s education system to the cutting edge nationally.
Below is the list of the geekiest places in America, as compiled by the National Science Foundation (NSF) using 2007 data and published on Forbes.com. Some of these may surprise you. I know several did me, especially numbers 17 and 20. The full chart from the NSF with more data is available through this weblink. Who knows, Sheldon Cooper might living right next door.
- San Jose, CA
- Boulder, CO
- Framingham, MA
- Huntsville, AL
- Durham, NC
- Lowell, MA
- Washington, DC
- Ithaca, NY
- Bethesda, MD
- Seattle-Bellevue, WA
- Kennewick-Richland-Pasco, WA
- Austin-Round Rock, TX
- Ames, IA
- Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, FL
- Boston, MA
- Ann Arbor, MI
- Bloomington-Normal, IL
- Olympia, WA
- San Francisco, CA
- Fort Walton Beach-Destin, FL
Okay…one of my pet peeves here. I have had it with places that advertise they have free w-fi only to find out it is not working or so wimpy you could walk from here to Timbuktu and back before anything happens on your screen each time you try to upload or download.
For example, twice recently I have gone to a laundromat that advertised they had free wi-fi only to find out it was not working at the time I was there. Of course it is free, when it does not work!
Since the wi-fi is being offered for free, perhaps I should not be complaining. But, like any other customer service, there should be some degree of reliability. None of us would accept a hotel room with a television that does not work or a toilet that is clogged, so why should we just accept lousy wi-fi service.
My suggestion would be to create a set of minimum standards for wi-fi services based on the system’s capacity or capability. That way, if a business has low-rated wi-fi capability, we do not have to waste our time going there.
In the ever-changing dynamics of business and industry, many organizations added free wi-fi services to remain competitive in the marketplace. Unfortunately, it seems that some of them never really thought through the long-term implications of such a move. Hopefully, adding minimum standards will improve wi-fi consistency and reliability across the landscape and I can cross one of my pet peeves off the list.
Below is a list of the American universities with the most new patents in 2010, as reported by the Intellectual Property Owners Association. The listing for each school includes all branches of that school unless otherwise noted. The complete list of the top 300 recipients of new patents in 2010 is available through this weblink.
- University of California – 349
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology – 174
- Stanford University – 163
- University of Wisconsin – 136
- California Institute of Technology – 134
- University of Texas – 122
- University of Illinois – 85
- University of South Florida – 83
- Columbia University - 82
- University of Michigan – 78
- University of Pennsylvania – 77
- Cornell University – 74
- University of Washington – 74
Below is a chart containing data prepared by Small Times which ranks the best nanotechnology and microtechnology schools in the United States. The chart includes the ranking, the university’s name, its score, and the school’s areas of greatest strength in nano and micro technology.
Some real surprises in the 2010 data from the National Broadband Map website. I can certainly understand smaller states having some geographical advantage over larger states in achieving 100 percent broadband (high-speed internet) coverage at an earlier stage. But that does not explain why Indiana, which is relatively small in geography, is ranked 50th with just over 70 percent of the population having broadband coverage – behind both Dakotas, Mississippi and Alaska. Holy spinning beach ball of doom, Batman! That is downright pitiful.
Also somewhat surprised how some states with significant technology centers do not reach 100 percent of the population like California, Minnesota, and Virginia. Vermont’s poor ranking is also a surprise to me considering how small the state is in area. Kudos go to those larger states that ranked well, like Florida, New York, and Nevada.
It will be interesting to see how these numbers change when the 2011 report comes out in a few months’ time. Hopefully, Indiana, Alaska, West Virginia, and Wyoming have decided they might want to enter the 21st century.
By the way the interactive maps on the site are amazing.
The week of April 9-17 is the second annual National Robotics Week in the United States. In 2010, the event’s inaugural year, more than 46,000 people participated in 21 states, of which 22,000 were students in grades K-12. The purpose of National Robotics Week is to:
- Celebrate the U.S. as a leader in robotics technology development
- Educate the public about how robotics technology affects society, both now and in the future
- Advocate for increased funding for robotics technology research and development
- Inspire students of all ages to pursue careers in robotics and other science, technology, engineering, and math-related fields
- As of the end of 2008, the world robot population was estimated to be 8.6 million.
- The total number of industrial robots in operation worldwide by the conclusion of 2008 was estimated to be 1.3 million, half of which are in Asia.
- The population of service robots reached 7.3 million in 2008.
- The number of military/rescue/security robots in 2008 was approximately 30,000.
- Approximately 4.4 million vacuuming robots (Roomba and its competitors) had been sold worldwide as of 2008, with 940,000 alone in 2008.
I also thought it would be fun to list some famous robots (did not include androids or cyborgs):
- R2D2 from Star Wars
- C3PO from Star Wars
- Rosie from the Jetsons cartoon series
- B9 from the Lost in Space television series
- Wall-E and Eva from the Pixar movie Wall-E.
- Gort from the 1951 classic movie The Day the Earth Stood Still
- “Mr. Roboto” from the song of the same name by Styx
- Sonny from the movie I,Robot starring Will Smith.
- Robby the robot.
- Cylons from Battlestar Galactica
- Johnny 5 from Short Circuit
- Maria from the 1927 film Metropolis