Tag: Tech

Attached To Technology And Paying A Price

When one of the most important e-mail messages of his life landed in his in-box a few years ago, Kord Campbell overlooked it.

Not just for a day or two, but 12 days. He finally saw it while sifting through old messages: a big company wanted to buy his Internet start-up.

I stood up from my desk and said, ‘Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God,’ ” Mr. Campbell said. “It’s kind of hard to miss an e-mail like that, but I did.

The message had slipped by him amid an electronic flood: two computer screens alive with e-mail, instant messages, online chats, a Web browser and the computer code he was writing.

While he managed to salvage the $1.3 million deal after apologizing to his suitor, Mr. Campbell continues to struggle with the effects of the deluge of data.

Even after he unplugs, he craves the stimulation he gets from his electronic gadgets. He forgets things like dinner plans, and he has trouble focusing on his family.




His wife, Brenda, complains, “It seems like he can no longer be fully in the moment.”

This is your brain on computers.

Scientists say juggling e-mail, phone calls and other incoming information can change how people think and behave. They say our ability to focus is being undermined by bursts of information.

These play to a primitive impulse to respond to immediate opportunities and threats. The stimulation provokes excitement — a dopamine squirt — that researchers say can be addictive. In its absence, people feel bored.

The resulting distractions can have deadly consequences, as when cellphone-wielding drivers and train engineers cause wrecks.

And for millions of people like Mr. Campbell, these urges can inflict nicks and cuts on creativity and deep thought, interrupting work and family life.

While many people say multitasking makes them more productive, research shows otherwise.

Heavy multitaskers actually have more trouble focusing and shutting out irrelevant information, scientists say, and they experience more stress.

And scientists are discovering that even after the multitasking ends, fractured thinking and lack of focus persist. In other words, this is also your brain off computers.

The technology is rewiring our brains,” said Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute of Drug Abuse and one of the world’s leading brain scientists.

She and other researchers compare the lure of digital stimulation less to that of drugs and alcohol than to food and sex, which are essential but counterproductive in excess.

Technology use can benefit the brain in some ways, researchers say. Imaging studies show the brains of Internet users become more efficient at finding information. And players of some video games develop better visual acuity.

More broadly, cellphones and computers have transformed life. They let people escape their cubicles and work anywhere. They shrink distances and handle countless mundane tasks, freeing up time for more exciting pursuits.

For better or worse, the consumption of media, as varied as e-mail and TV, has exploded. In 2008, people consumed three times as much information each day as they did in 1960.

And they are constantly shifting their attention. Computer users at work change windows or check e-mail or other programs nearly 37 times an hour, new research shows.

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Simple Tricks For Better Gas Mileage

No matter what kind of car you drive, you can be getting better fuel economy than what you’re getting now. Did you know you can get better mileage by never filling up your tank?

It’s true, and most of these tips and tricks will extend the range for any car ever made, even if it’s electric. Some of them are effortless, and some require dedication, but they’ll all work.

Ditch the MPG ratings

Numbers can be manipulated any which way you want, but the simple truth is that MPG doesn’t really tell you how much money you’re spending on fuel.

G/100miles, on the other hand, will. How do you figure it out? Just type in your MPG in Google as “XX MPG per 100 miles,” and multiply your answer by whatever you pay for fuel in your area. Bam.

Now you know how much or little the following tips will help you, so you can see if it’s worth it.




Lay off the damn loud pedal

You’ve heard this one before about a million times, and you know what? It’s still true.

Every time I see some moron in a Prius out accelerate me off a light I wish I had the legal right to pull him or her over, pry their eyes open Clockwork Orange-style and force them to watch Jeremy Clarkson getting better fuel economy in a BMW M3 than the Stig in a Prius.

Even the worst fuel-sipping cars made will become gas guzzlers when you floor it. More acceleration requires more energy. Guess where your car gets its energy from.

And the brake

Obviously you’ll have to stop at some point, but if you know you’re turning soon or there’s a sharp bend in the road, coast for a bit.

There are two reasons for this. 1) all your brakes do is convert your forward momentum into heat energy, and even the best energy recovery systems don’t capture 90% of that energy.

2) if you don’t slow down for a turn you have to take it faster, which is not only fun, it means you don’t have to accelerate as much.

Last year, I compared hypermiling in a hybrid to some seriously fun driving. After 100 miles, the difference was one freaking dollar’s worth of fuel.

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Smartphone Overuse May ‘Damage’ Eyes, Say Opticians

They are warning overuse from phones and other devices like computers, tablets, and flat screen TVs can lead to long-term damage.

It comes as a survey of 2,000 people suggests under 25s check their phones thirty-two times a day.

Optician Andy Hepworth said: “Blue violet light is potentially hazardous and toxic to the back of your eyes. So over a long period of time it can potentially damage your eyes.

“When you’re looking at a smart phone, the light peaking out of that is blue violet.”




He says tests have found that over exposure to blue-violet light has the potential to put us at greater risk of macular degeneration, a leading cause of blindness.

Opticians say that, although “good” blue light (blue-turquoise) is needed to help regulate biological clocks, it is also thought that extensive exposure to blue violet light can disrupting sleep patterns and affect moods.

Although we don’t know if there’s a direct link with it creating eye problems, there is strong lab evidence it can potentially do that,” Andy added.

It’s the combination of not blinking enough and bringing the device closer than you normally look at objects – it strains your eyes.”

More headaches

The survey, commissioned by a group of independent opticians, found that on average, an adult spends nearly seven hours a day staring at a screen with nearly half feeling anxious when away from their phone.

Statistics also suggest 43% of under 25s experience genuine irritation or anxiety when they can’t check their phone when they want.

It also found 55% felt the amount of screen time they’re exposed to affects them with eye discomfort the main problem.

She said: “I’ve definitely noticed that my eyes are getting worse from staring at my computer and phone.

“I am getting more headaches.”

Amanda Saint, who is also an optician, says the advice is simple.

Get your eyes tested regularly and take regular breaks from your computer and hand held device.”

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What Does Our Planet Look Like Once You’ve Seen It From Space?

For the bulk of human history, it’s been impossible to put Earth in cosmic perspective.

Bound by gravity and biology, we can’t easily step outside it, above it, or away from it. For most of us, Earth is inescapably larger than life.

Even now, after nearly six decades of human spaceflight, precious few people have rocketed into orbit and seen the sun peeking out from behind that curved horizon. Since 1961, a mere 556 people have had this rarefied experience.

Fewer, just 24, have watched Earth shrink in the distance, growing smaller and smaller until it was no larger than the face of a wristwatch.

And only six have been completely alone behind the far side of the moon, cut off from a view of our planet as they sailed in an endlessly deep, star-studded sea.




What Does Our Planet Look Like Once You’ve Seen It From Space?  -Here’s What Some Astronauts Have to Say:

Mike Massimino

It’s an inherently unnatural thing, spaceflight. After all, our physiology evolved specifically to succeed on this planet, not above it.

Perhaps that’s why it can be difficult for astronauts to describe the experience of seeing Earth from space.

Italian space traveler Luca Parmitano says that we haven’t yet developed the words to truly convey the realities of spaceflight.

The building blocks of modern human communication, words are necessarily constrained by meaning and connotation, no matter which language you choose (Parmitano speaks five).

And until the mid-20th century, there was no need to express what it means to see our planet in the fiercely primeval essence of space. “We just don’t think in terms of spaceflight,” he says.

Karen Nyberg

Seeing Earth from space can change a person’s worldview. U.S. astronaut Nicole Stott flew twice on the space shuttle Discovery and returned with a new drive for creating artwork depicting the view.

Canadian spacefarer Chris Hadfield says that while orbiting Earth, he felt more connected to the people on the planet than ever before.

Kathy Sullivan, who in 1984 became the first American woman to perform a space walk, returned with an abiding awe for the intricate systems that come together to make Earth an improbable oasis.

The thing that grew in me over these flights was a real motivation and desire … to not just enjoy these sights and take these pictures,” she says, “but to make it matter.

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Here’s Why Steve Jobs Never Let His Kids Use An iPad

New York University professor Adam Alter, author of ” Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked ,” explains why Steve Jobs never let his kids use an iPad.

“teve Jobs in 2010 was on the stage at the Apple event releasing the iPad and he described it as a wonderful device that brought you educational tools.

It allowed you to surf the web, it allowed you to watch videos, it allowed you to interact with other people. And he basically said it’s the best way to do all those things.




Two years later when he was asked “Your kids must love the iPad?” He said “Actually we don’t allow the iPad in the home. We think it’s too dangerous for them in effect.”

The reason why he said that was because he recognized just how addictive the iPad was as a vehicle for delivering things to people.

That once you had the iPad in front of you, or when you took it away from the home with you, you’d always have access to these platforms that were very addictive. That were hard to resist.

So where his kids were very well adapted, well adjusted, may not have been prime targets for say substance abuse, they like everyone else, are susceptible to the charms of something like an iPad and what it delivers.

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This Isn’t The End Of Printed Photos, It’s The Golden Age

As a society, we now produce more photographs than ever before, and the total number is becoming difficult to fathom. This year, it is estimated that billions of humans armed with smartphones will take some 1.2 trillion pictures.

Many of them will be shared on social media, but many more will simply be forgotten. A few good selfies will flash before your eyes as you swipe left or right on them, late some Friday night.

But hardly any will make the transition into the physical world, bits becoming blots of ink that coalesce into an image on a piece of paper, canvas, wood, or metal — a print.

The reasons for this are rational, and there’s no point fighting progress, but nor should we ignore the value of a print. We may no longer print every photo by default, but this can actually be a good thing for printing.

It is now about quality rather than quantity, and the pictures we choose to print deserve the best treatment.

Honestly, there has never been a better time to print than now, thanks to technological advances in both digital cameras and inkjet printers.

If you haven’t yet tried your hand at photo printing, you owe it to yourself to do so, even if you’re just a casual photographer.




Print isn’t dead — it’s better than ever

It’s a common refrain in the digital age, and not just in reference to photography. Print is dead, or at least dying, right? In truth, a certain type of print has certainly declined, but this isn’t a tragedy.

Prints used to be the only way we had to view our photos. We’d drop our film off at the drugstore and pick it up 24 hours later not because it was a better system, but because it was all we had.

We tend to romanticize the print, but when printing was the norm, many photos were still lost and forgotten (and some were found again).

Most were destined for photo albums or shoeboxes that would sit around and collect dust until moving day. If fewer were forgotten, it was because fewer were made.

Far fewer, in fact — in 2000, Kodak announced 80 billion pictures had been taken that year.

Sure, that sounds like a lot (it was a new milestone at the time), but for those who think of such large numbers as vague clouds of zeros, consider that 80 billion is still 1.12 trillion shy of 2017’s 1.2 trillion photos.

For the mathematically disinclined, let’s put it another way: Subtracting the total number of photos made in the year 2000 from those made in 2017 would have no effect on the number of shirtless mirror selfies posted by lonely men on Tinder.

With so many photos being taken, it’s no wonder so relatively few are being printed. Every print costs money, after all, so of course people aren’t going to print 1.3 trillion photos.

What’s more, the point of printing (often the point of taking a photo in the first place) was to share your memory with someone else.

Now that we don’t need prints to do that, it makes sense that people are choosing not to spend money on them, especially when electronically sharing images also happens to be much more convenient.

But people still love prints. Even the “low end” of printing is alive and well as instant photography has seen a huge resurgence in recent years.

Polaroid Originals has built an entire brand around it, and Fujifilm Instax cameras and film packs made up six of the top ten best selling photography products on Amazon last holiday season.

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How To Detect Monitoring Software On Your Computer

No you’re not paranoid’ your computer activities may be monitored. There’s a wealth of third party spying software now commercially available that can be stealthily downloaded onto your computer.

Perhaps you have business secrets someone would like, maybe you have a jealous spouse or partner who is snooping on you?

If you do have suspicions that your computer is being monitored you can soon find out by following the simple steps below.

If you work in an office, and especially a corporate environment, it’s very likely that your computer and emails will be monitored.

It might feel creepy but from the IT perspective it’s important for security reasons. By monitoring email for instance, attachments that could contain a virus or spyware can be blocked.




In fact, if you do work in a corporate environment you should assume that everything you do on your work computer can be seen.

And in a bid to keep up with technology some police departments are also taking to remote spying software though how widespread this is, we don’t know.

Of course as Wikileaks revealed, intelligence agencies around the world have been doing this for years, but their snooping has been done on a vast and indiscriminate scale, though of course they do zero in on individuals.

Third-party software

This is usually known as remote control software or virtual network computing (VNC) software and it allows someone to see why you are doing on your computer. However, it needs to be installed on your computer in the first place.

By checking in the start menu you can see which programs are running. Go to All Programs and look to see if something like VNC, RealVNC, TightVNC, UltraVNC, LogMeIn, GoToMyPC and so on are installed.

If any of these programs are installed, then someone can connect to your computer without you knowing it as long as the program is running in the background as a Windows service.

Checking the ports

The above tasks are easy to carry out even for people without technical knowledge.

If you’ve checked the installed programs and you’re still reasonably suspicious that someone is monitoring you (and it’s not the TV telling you so) then as a next step you can check the computer’s ports.

There’s no need to recoil in horror, running the rule over ports is reasonably straightforward.

Ports are a virtual data connection in which computers share information directly, so if you’ve got spy software on your system, a port could be open to enable the data transfer.

Further help

These are the basic techniques to establish whether you are being spied on via monitoring software that has been stealthily installed on your computer.

And unless you’re being snooped upon by an intelligence agency or someone with deep technical expertise, you should be able to ‘out’ the snoop software.

If after carrying these steps you do still have suspicions then perhaps you ought to seek help from your local computer shop.

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How Does Chlorine Work To Clean Swimming Pools?

Chlorine is the chemical most often used to keep swimming pools and Jacuzzis free of bacteria that can be hazardous to humans.

Chlorine kills bacteria though a fairly simple chemical reaction. The chlorine solution you pour into the water breaks down into many different chemicals, including hypochlorous acid (HOCl) and hypochlorite ion (OCl).

Both kill microorganisms and bacteria by attacking the lipids in the cell walls and destroying the enzymes and structures inside the cell, rendering them oxidized and harmless.

The difference between HOCl and OCl is the speed at which they oxidize. Hypochlorous acid is able to oxidize the organisms in several seconds, while the hypochlorite ion may take up to 30 minutes.

The levels of HOCl and OCl vary with the pool’s pH level. If the pH is too high, not enough HOCl is present and pool cleaning can take much longer than normal.




Ideally, the level of pH in the pool should be between 7 and 8; 7.4 is ideal — this is the pH of human tears.

Once the HOCl and OCl are done cleaning the pool, they either combine with another chemical, such as ammonia, or are broken down into single atoms. Both of these processes render the chlorine harmless.

Sunlight speeds these processes up. You have to keep adding chlorine to the pool as it breaks down.

While the bacteria-killing properties of chlorine are very useful, chlorine also has some side effects that can be annoying to humans, and possibly even hazardous.

Chlorine has a very distinctive smell that most find unpleasant, and some find overwhelming. There is also the “itch factor” — chlorine can cause certain skin types to become itchy and irritated.

The hypochlorite ion causes many fabrics to fade quickly when not rinsed off immediately after exiting the pool. This is why your swimsuit looks faded and worn so early in the summer.

Extremely high amounts of chlorine gas hovering above your pool can be hazardous to your breathing. Some companies have developed alternatives to chlorine, including other chemicals and ion generators.

Some of these are good alternatives, but they don’t achieve the cleanliness, oxidation levels or low price that chlorine provides.

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Why Do Websites Break? 4 Common Culprits

Picture this…

You’ve just launched a shiny new responsive website: it’s slick, it’s sexy (hyperbole, I know, but sometimes it’s apropos) and then something breaks.

Why? Why?!” you ask while frustrated that you just invested a substantial amount of money into a now defunct website. It just doesn’t make sense…right?

When reasoning about issues with your website, consider the analogy of a new car. Even with that “new car” price tag, your new vehicle will soon require regular maintenance and care to continue running in top fashion.

And when something unexpected eventually occurs (like a stall or odd noise), the cause could be anything from a needed oil change or loose connection.

In order to get your car up and running again, you’ll need to take steps to correct the issue, which usually requires reinvestment and patience. The same can be said with your website.




4 Common Culprits of Broken Websites

Browser Updates & Compatibility: From Chrome to Internet Explorer and beyond, internet browsers frequently push new updates to provide users with improved experiences.

These updates reduce vulnerabilities to viruses, hackers, etc. and help reduce the likihood of site crashes. With that in mind, most new websites are developed to support the most current browsers.

If you don’t update your browser regularly, you’re probably not viewing websites as they were intended to be seen (not to mention, you probably experience more crashes that most users).

Software Updates: Websites are hosted by computers, which run on… you guessed it… software! Just as your personal computer requires updates to its operating system and programs, the same is true for the software hosting your website.

These updates may need to be performed directly to your website’s content management system or to its software environment, which includes its operating system, database, etc. In order to maintain your site’s security and performance, updates are essential.

Keep in mind, however, that updates always have the potential to cause compatibility issues so it’s important to work closely with your “mechanic” when installing them.

User Error: Websites that utilize a content management system (CMS) are a convenient way for admins without programming knowledge to easily update a website.

With that benefit, there is also potential for untrained or hurried users to break items within a site. To limit user errors from occurring, I recommend limiting website admins to one or two people.

Admins should receive proper CMS training from your website creator before stepping into this important role.

Lastly, it’s important to request documentation from your website creator to reference when you have questions about updating your site; then remember to use it!

Third Party Updates: Similar to browser updates, third party applications like plugins typically push regular updates, which improve security features and provide fixes to aging programming code.

As mentioned above, it’s possible when you update your WordPress website, that a plugin used by your site may be built for an older version of WordPress and will no longer be compatible.

In this case, you would need to either update the plugin or replace it if an update is not available.

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Adobe Has Confirmed That It Will Release A Full-Fat Version Of Photoshop For iPad Next Year

Photoshop is one of the most well known and widely used pieces of software on the planet. And in 2019 it will be coming to iPad.

This will be the first time Adobe has released anything outside the confines of traditional computing platforms. It is also a testament to just how significant Apple’s iOS platform has now become.

Photoshop for iPad will be announced at Adobe’s MAX creativity conference in October, before a release sometime in 2019.




It is NOT A Mobile Version of Software

Mobile versions of Photoshop, Illustrator, and Premiere have been available, in a limited capacity, inside the App Store for a while.

But this Photoshop release will NOT be like these apps; rather, it will be a fully-fledged, complete program that has all the same features as the desktop software.

Adobe embraced the cloud back in 2012 and now, six years later, it is once again looking towards new areas for expansion.

The iPad – most notably the iPad Pro – is a clear path into the hands of millions of new customers.

The iPad Pro is insanely powerful and perfectly suited to Photoshop, so it’s no wonder that Adobe is targeting it with Photoshop.

Why So Long?

Most likely because applications like Photoshop require A LOT of processing power, and iPads have only just started catching up with desktop computing in the last couple of years.

Photoshop For iPad Release Date?

The launch of the software is still 5-6 months away, according to reports.

This means an actual release for Photoshop for iPad could still be 12 months away.

Still, work is now underway, so that’s something.

There’s no word on pricing just yet either, but it’s likely to be in the same ballpark as Photoshop for PC and Mac (meaning it’ll be pricey).

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