Author: chris

Author: chris

Technology Company Builds Crowd Pleasing Interactive Street Sign
Image September 9, 2019 Technology chris

New Technology Street Sign Draws a Lot of Attention

A technology company called simply Breakfast, has created one of the most innovative and crowd pleasing billboards ever, and has installed it in a storefront window in Manhattan, drawing crowds, who have responded like never before. EndGadget says the sign was created for television network TNT to advertise a new television show called “Perceptions” staring Eric McCormack, best known as Will in the popular sitcom Will and Grace. TechInvestorNews, says the new billboard ups the ante for all other organizations who advertise via signs. It can be seen in action in a video posted on YouTube.

The genius of the sign, says EndGadget is that it takes advantage of a natural narcissistic bent inherent in most everyone. To take advantage of that the sign makers hooked up sensors (Microsoft Kinect devices) that are able to record movement. That movement is then translated to mimicking movement on the sign, erasing words in the process that are constantly being redrawn. The result is similar to looking in a mirror except that the image that is shown back to the person in front of the sign is drawn using digital black and white dots.

TechInvestorNews says that the engineers at Breakfast took advantage of existing technology and applied some of their own to allow the dots to switch between black and white quickly enough so that there wouldn’t be any delay, or ghosting. The result is a board that mimics movement in real time, in a splashy fun, and exciting way.

In the video, the people behind the creation of the sign explain that it took a lot of work to figure out how to get the sign to respond just right and that moving it from their facility to the Manhattan site was a challenge all by itself, requiring custom-made boxes and a lot of finger crossing. Thus far, the work appears to have paid off as the sign is a hit both on the streets of New York and on the Internet where both official videos and those taken by people passing by have gone viral. Also of note in the video are some clues behind how the sign works. An entire bank of circuit boards sits behind the screen, each for a designated part of the screen. A single processor then works like an orchestra conductor handing off different parts to the different processors as they become necessary. The end result is a seamless display that will likely become a fixture of modern electronic advertising.…

Technology and My Family – It’s More Than Just Games
Image August 18, 2019 Technology chris

I am generally a pretty “connected” person. I didn’t grow up that way – had there been more than the six channels on TV at the time, or even the prevalence of kids programming that exists today, I might have spent even more of my time in front of the boob tube than I did. Had anything like Playstation or Wii existed when I was a kid, it is very likely I would never have left my own house. Phones were attached to walls – and were really only good for talking on anyway. Arcades existed to play games, but they were always smoky dives populated with big, loud, scary teenagers, so it was rare that I could eschew “real” activity for the virtual as a child.

Sure, digital activities did take up increasingly more and more of my life – even with six TV channels there were enough cartoons and sitcoms that I was able to glue myself to the screen for hours on end. Pong, Atari and the Commodore 64 changed my life as I entered my tweens, bringing simplistic yet distracting games right into my home. As I moved on to true teenager status I found myself in those same smoky, dingy arcades (and Laundromats and the backs of bodegas) pouring quarters into the machines that could offer real graphic excitement and social game play (even if that social aspect was merely trying to guess whose initials those were next to the Top Score).

With my kids now, everything is different. And while my wife and I tried to control how our kids would be exposed to certain entertainment technologies, even those have changed since we brought our first son into the world a little over seven years ago. Smartphones, iPads and Nintendo DS systems all allow our kids access to things that we had thought would only be accessed through our computer, or Playstation, just a few years back.

Of course the kids want to play games – the world is a game to kids, and even the most serious activities can become some game in their own minds. This drive on their part certainly makes certain parenting things easier, or harder. Discipline, for example, is quite simple – “no iPad for a week” is a standard enough punishment, and after the kids have to forgo all of the iterations of Angry Birds for a few days they do seem a bit more contrite. Reward, too, is easy enough – a new game for the DS or even renting a movie at Blockbuster can be a real motivator for these two little video-addicts.

I can be pretty confident taking my kids places, knowing that if they start to get bored I can sit them down with my phone and let them amuse themselves for a while – if not playing games then watching YouTube videos, making their own little movies (almost always comprised of them as superheroes, fighting imaginary bad guys) or even doing a video …

How Modern Consumer Technology is Evolving
Image August 16, 2019 Technology chris

In the middle of the 1990s, the newest trend in consumer electronics was the personal computer; though this was just barely 20 years ago, the computers of that age are now considered bulky, unsightly and beyond useless. Slowly, as time moves on, the latest fad in consumer electronics moves with it. In the late 90s, it was the graphical version of the Windows operating system, then the laptop personal computer. Then it was the first cellular phones, which in the early years of the new millennium became small enough to fit into your pocket, although they still lacked color screens. Then of course came the camera and smartphone and the mobile device revolution; suddenly the most popular luxury was to have access to the internet ‘anywhere’ via cellular data, be it on a mobile device or personal computer. And finally, as we roll up into the present, suddenly it seems like everybody is interested in making and owning tablet computers.

Of course, it makes sense that the technology world isn’t static. Moore’s law means that, for the time being, even the most advanced technology we have right now will be just as out dated in two years as current two-year-old technology is now. So it may make sense that different fads pass in and out of the consumer electronics market as new technologies are developed. When cell phones first were developed, they became popular because we were first able to make them, right? And isn’t the same true about tablets now; they are just beginning to become popular because the technology to make them is just being developed? Contrary to popular belief, neither of these statements is true.

What is considered the latest technology in terms of popularity is rarely the cutting edge or the most advanced technology available. On the contrary, the most recent example, tablet computers, are actually a step backwards technologically, although in the public eye they are usually considered new and trendy. This is important to keep in mind trying to keep track of what the real advancements in the computing world have been, and when trying to objectively assess how good a price is for a specific piece of hardware, despite what may be popular or unpopular at the time.…

How Technology Can Benefit Business
Image June 17, 2019 Technology chris

Technology is the backbone of businesses throughout the United States and the world. Computers, software, wireless devices and Internet-based tools such as cloud-based storage and virtual meeting applications are helping businesses move at lightning speed. Technology helps small businesses compete with large businesses by making them able to respond to changes in the marketplace at a much quicker rate. In addition, technology can increase employee productivity and efficiency, which can greatly benefit the bottom line of any business.

What can technology do for your business?
As mentioned above, technology offers several key operational benefits. But that’s just the start. Technology can help your small business remain up-to-date and be perceived as forward thinking. Your customers and vendors will appreciate the technological advances you add to your company because it will ultimately benefit them. Things such as order fulfillment and tracking, shipping, turnaround time and communication can be greatly enhanced and improved with the right technology equipment. This helps provide a positive brand experience for today’s most demanding customers and vendor partners.

Technology eliminates barriers
Remember the days when you had to catch a plane in order to make client presentations or meet with companies who might want to sell your product or service? Well, thanks to today’s advances in web-based technology, it is now possible to conduct important meetings without ever leaving your office. Real-time webinar meetings pack the same power as in-person meetings, and they allow you to save time and money in the process. If you’re a small business owner, this is great news, especially if you can’t afford to be out of the office for a few days.

Technology helps reduce business expenses
Technology equipment that is available in every business sector is designed to reduce errors and increase speed and efficiency, and it all adds up to a reduction in business expenses. Here are some of the many other technologies that can help improve your efficiency while preserving your working capital:

• Email Communications
• Computer Hardware
• On-Site Data Storage Equipment
• Web-Based Storage (Cloud-Based Storage)
• Accounting Software
• Sales Management Software
• Inventory Software
• Business Software
• Office Imaging Equipment

Technology will continue to evolve and present even greater opportunities for businesses to achieve short and long-term success. Business owners that embrace these advances are better poised for growth and increased market share.…

Technology Can Improve Vehicle and Highway Safety
Image June 9, 2019 Technology chris

For consumers concerned with vehicle safety, 2012 is a great year.

One topic that is becoming increasingly important in the United States, is reducing the danger associated with distracted driving by integrating new and improved technology.

Several key features are being introduced in 2012, many of which are becoming industry standards, that were aimed directly at keeping the driver focused on operating the vehicle instead of performing other tasks that contribute to distraction on the road.

Technology is at the forefront of helping to solve this issue both in the United States and throughout the world.

Among the specific points of interest are voice-recognition systems, lane-drifting prevention measures, and warning systems that give fatigued or distracted drivers an alert when there is a potential collision.

Effectively, the goal is to make drivers better behind the wheel.

Manufacturers such as Kia don’t believe that safety should be compromised because of price and is offering its primary safety features standard on all models in 2012. There also seems to be an awareness that the more drivers take their eyes off the road, the greater the danger of an accident.

One of the remedies is the use of features that put critical information directly in front of the driver without sacrificing visibility. BMW is using a head-up display, or HUD, in order to ensure that drivers are not diverting their attention away from the driving task. The HUD displays information such as vehicle speed, weather conditions, and navigation information. This is the same technology seen in military aircraft.

Dodge has integrated some of the features of its navigation system, namely turn-by-turn directions, into the primary control panel of the vehicle to avoid the need to look to the side and downward, away from the road.

With the consensus that change is needed in the industry, it is clear that companies are proactive with respect to sharing the important message of driving safety. There are clearly preventable accidents that technology may be able to stop from happening if these features are utilized and become more widespread.

The 2012 Washington Auto Show was a great forum for progress, and the future looks promising for even more advances in automobile safety moving forward.…

Maintaining Data in This Technology Era
Image May 8, 2019 Technology chris

Managing information in today’s Information Technology environment is critical. A database allows an individual or group of users to maintain and access a multitude of information easily. Order is maintained through the use of these sometimes sophisticated tools. In this article we will identify and describe the use of databases in my organization.

Microsoft Access is generally the most commonly seen database application used in my organization. We frequently use this system to analyze data and to generate reports. Microsoft Access is possibly the most popular database program because basic users can efficiently solve a wide range of problems with it. From an Information Technology developer’s perspective, they can create very high end sophisticated multi-user solutions. Costs are another advantage considering that some other systems can run for thousands of dollars providing the same results. One very important benefit for end users is that Access is part of MS Office. This enables us to view, import and export data across the various software platforms. This proves to be an extremely powerful tool for my organization by effectively reducing lag in time management.

Web site creation using Microsoft Access seems to be one limitation. Its limited graphical user interface and security issues have been identified to also be a drawback. My unit generally hosts Microsoft SharePoint and then extends the Access database across it enabling us to share and edit information. Although not considered a database it is used extensively throughout the organization to bridge this gap. It is worth mentioning that this particular application platform developed by Microsoft has its own databases. Databases are created and configured automatically whenever a user establishes new content. An excellent web application to streamline and manage data.

Due to varying factors in different databases it is sometimes difficult to offer a one size fix all recommendation. One of the very first recommendations for improvement of any system is to run a performance analyzer. The entire database is scanned and usually automated recommendations are often suggested. As the organizations grows so does the data and users that are accessing the system. Performance can be significantly enhanced and network traffic reduced when a split database is utilized.

There are many database solutions used to support personal, workgroup, and enterprise computing within an organization. The design and management of these systems directly impact how well they perform or communicate.…

Image May 6, 2019 Technology chris

Oh technology.
Oh how from your stress I wish to be free.

Another complication within your program,
One more system error, another application jammed.

I threaten this laptop with water,
As its disc drive becomes hotter.

Technology stinks.
But it helps us communicate. *winks*…

Researchers Developing Touch Technology for Everyday Objects
April 6, 2019 Technology chris

Objects Such as Door Knobs and Wall Panels Could Be Made Smart

Imagine if when you reached to open a door, the knob would recognize you and unlock the door without you having to provide a key. Or what if your Smartphone could figure out from the way you’re holding it to adjust the volume automatically. These are the kinds of things researchers at Carnegie Mellon University are working on. In a recent press release, they announced Touché, a new kind of sensing technology that is being developed at the university in conjunction with Disney research. Their combined goal is nothing short of developing a new paradigm for touch sensitive objects.

In the press release the research team at Carnegie Mellon describe how research by a variety of groups in recent years has led to advances in capacitive signals across a broad range of frequencies in a wide range of materials. In essence, they write, the technology is very similar to that used in other touch devices such as phones and tablet computers. But it’s different too, the researchers at Disney say, because the goal is different. In one environment, users are manipulating a device to receive information, text files, video, etc. In the new paradigm, the user is sending the information to the device which then responds in “smart” ways.

With Touché, the researchers say, information is obtained by embedding electronic signals in everyday materials, such as metal in a doorknob or the glass in a mirror. Those signals are then sent to small embedded independent processors that take actions that a user would like to have happen; changing to soft lighting when applying makeup, versus harsher lighting for examining teeth during flossing, for example. All things that make life a little easier for people, or that offer a more pleasurable experience, such as recognizing the touch of an individual on a stereo console to access preset parameters that uniquely suit the taste of the person who wishes to listen to some music.

It’s not science fiction, Disney researchers say, Touché exists and works in the lab right now. Thus far, the only hurdles to mass production are costs. How many people would be willing to spend an extra ten, fifteen or even twenty dollars on a doorknob just to make it smart to the touch?

Those at Carnegie Mellon say the trick is to spread the costs over a complete system. Instead of making each object individually smart, why not just embed sensors that talk wirelessly to a central processor, the way the human body works.

That might yet happen, at least for upscale homes. Disney plans to advertise the concept at its theme parks and for those that are interested, to install the new technology as soon as possible.…