Saturday, July 20, 2013

The Buzz About GlassUp

This TechNewWorld article, raises the question of whether the newly talked about GlassUp will find itself a successful market in the wearable tech department. As previously stated in one of my previous posts about FIDO, the wearable tech market is volatile in its unpredictability of whether consumers will really want to buy the product. Quote from the E-Commerce Times, Jeff Orr, a senior practice director of ABI Research said, "Is it necessary or an entertainment factor?" I believe that question will ultimately decide the fate and longevity of GlassUp. The article had a video that explained some of the practical uses of GlassUp, which I believe people would find just as "necessary," as Orr puts it, as GPS or smartphones. GlassUp displays a small green text screen in front of viewers eyes. GlassUp users can see new messages, recipes online while cooking, directions while driving, and subtext to a foreign language. However, GlassUp is also facing legal action from Google saying the product's name should be changed since it may be confused with the product, Google Glass.

Video Game Redefines Notion of Athlete

According to this TechNewsWorld article, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service reportedly recognized the video game League of Legends as a professional sport. Thus allowing the most elite players to qualify for Internationally Recognized Athlete visas, also known as "P-1A" visas, which permit athletes holding them to stay in the United States for up to five years. However, this recognition has not come without its skeptics. In the article, sources say they understand the premise of recognizing the game as a sport but don't believe its players are worthy of the term "professional athletes." This raises the question: how do we define an athlete and how will the arena of sports competition change as technology advances? I personally feel that those who play the video game are considered "players" rather than "athletes". In my mind the difference is comparing the training necessary for someone who "plays" Fantasy football vs. actually being an NFL athlete.
FIDO Helping Dogs and Humans Communicate

In this TechNewsWorld article, Facilitating Interactions for Dogs with Occupations (FIDO) believes it has found a middle grown between wearable technology and communicating with training assistance dogs. The technology would be worn by dogs that are trained for purposes such as being guides, search and rescue dogs, or military dogs; and the technology would allow humans and dogs in certain situations to communicate more precisely. For example, a trained personnel would be able to ask the dog for more details about what kind of bomb the dog might be sniffing and receive that information in return. This new technology shows how computers really are  used as tools to better facilitate open communication. The fact that two different species can begin to communicate via technology is ground breaking and I hope this technology finds its market so that FIDO becomes a success.

Although, according to this article it is not very clear how exactly this technology reads and translates what is being said between the dog and human. But a picture of the device is displayed with the article showing a dog with a wearable computer device on its back that is connected to a microphone like bulb that is in the dog's mouth. I would be interested to learn more specific details about how FIDO works logistically.
First Pen with Built in Spell Check

In this article by CNN,  the Lernstift Smartpen is the first of its kind to be both a pen and computer. The pin's AAA battery-powered LINUX computer includes a non-optial motion sensor that recognizes character shapes and a vibration module to notify when a spelling error has occurred. The smart pen is able to follow strokes through the motion sensor regarding what words are being written and if a misspelling is made then the pen vibrates. I think this product will be very well received and popular, but I also believe it shows how reliant people have become on computer systems for efficiency. It makes me wonder though if people are using this tool as a crutch to manually fixing spelling problems. Our culture has become so computer reliant that when we go to write by hand we become vulnerable to not having the luxury of spellcheck from the computer and wish we did. But regardless of the minor skepticism, I am very excited about this new product. I think the practicality of this product is remarkable and the fact that computers are now being made in pin size form is fascinating.

No More Ads for Apple TV?

In this article by Bloomberg, it was reported that Apple is considering adopting a new strategy of allowing viewers to skip through ads on their TVs. This idea is forward thinking, since ads have been a primary source of revenue for TV networks. According to a survey, three-quarters of consumers use DVRs in order to fast forward through commercials. The idea of being able to skip through ads is one that has been recently voiced, however, many different networks and companies are reluctant to change this since ads are their main source of revenue. I am interested to see what deal could be reached between Apple Inc. and its sponsors, who pay for the ads that could be skipped through. 
Why Is Microsoft Surface RT Struggling to Sell?

In this New York Times article, author Nick Bilton expresses his theory on why Microsoft is struggling with its Surface sales and lagging behind Apple's ipad. His theory is the issue of simplicity. That the Microsoft Surface RT is too much work for consumers, especially those who are not very tech savvy. I think this is an interesting point that the author makes. In my opinion Apple products are very user friendly (particularly in troubleshooting).

This reminds me of another article I posted about the creator of the mouse who had died. It was Steve Jobs who said he wanted the mouse to be  much simpler than its original design. At the time, those who understood the architecture of the mouse wanted many buttons on it, while Jobs said less was better for the everyday consumer. Perhaps it was that attitude that Jobs portrayed that it still evident today and helps propel Apple forward with its simplistic tech-design approach, as compared to Microsoft.
Amazon Domain-name Struggle

In this New York Times article, a committee in the ICANN stated that the online company would not be able to use the word Amazon "as a so-called global top-level domain — the letters that follow the dot in Internet addresses." This is due to the opposition of several Latin countries which state that the word amazon is in reference to a geological area and should not be reserved the right to solely represent the online company's top level domain name. I find this story interesting since we recently learned about domain names and can now see how the ICANN oversees these type of problems.

Friday, July 19, 2013

F.C.C. Plans to Update School Technology

In this article by The New York Times, it is reported that the Federal Communications Commision (F.C.C.) recently voted to expand its E-Rate program to 2.3 billion dollars in an effort to give more schools up-to-date technology, such as high-speed Internet. The article goes on to say that President Obama recently remarked that he would like to see 99 percent of school students, "connect to the Internet through high-speed broadband and high-speed wireless within five years."

I find this article interesting because we have recently been talking about how the networking of computers and the Internet works. When the Internet was first created, one of its primary uses was to connect universities. I grew up going to a high school and college that offered high-speed Internet and feel as if I have taken this amenity for granted. I am glad to see that access to the internet and the ability to network for educational purposes is being placed at a higher priority for high schools across the country.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Technology Workers Younger than National Average

According to an article by The New York Times, PayScale found amongst 31 of the most successful technology companies that the average age of an employee was around 30 years old . For seven of the 31 companies, the average age was under 30. The New York Times article stated that the median age of American workers is 42.3 years, according the Bureau of Labor Statistics. For newer and more innovative companies the average age and time worked at the company is lesser than those tech companies that pride themselves on employees with greater experience. According to the article, older companies have employees working with them for an average of six years, while newer companies, such as Facebook, on average have had an employee working for the company only 1.1 years. I found it interesting that the median age for Facebook was 28 years old and for Google 29 years old. Unfortunately though one piece of information from this article that saddened me was the fact that the number of female employees working in these newer tech companies was less than 30 percent.

Overall, this data supports the widely accepted hunch that the more innovative and forward thinking a tech company is the young its employees will be. After just starting my Intro to Computer Science course I have seen how quickly the technology regarding the internet has progressed in the past 25 years. It makes sense as to why some of these tech companies, that are competing for innovative ideas, want employees who are young and grew up with the latest technological knowledge.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Inventor of Computer Mouse Dies

According to this The New York Times article, Douglas C. Engelbart died this past Tuesday due to kidney failures at the age of 88. He is survived by four children and nine grandchildren. But even moreso, what lives on after Engelbart's death is a techological contribution that most people know simply as, the mouse.

In 1964, Engelbart attended a computer graphic conference during which he first thought of the idea of the mouse. His vision was to design a way to move a cursor across a computer display, and thus designed a small case carrier that could hold the mechanical contents to do so. His early mouse had three buttons; however, he wished for there to be more. Today most people use a more simplistic version of the mouse to navigate their computers.

 I find the fact that Engelbart was a part of the first wave of inventors and scientists that dealt with the evolution of computers to be fascinating. For him to see a vision back then in the 60's and for it to be widely implemented by the 80's is inspiring. The mouse is something I have always used, but never stopped to think about who invented it.