With advances in the physics behind science fiction’s tractor beam, Star Trek technology is much closer than we realize.
Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category
Google+ users: How do you like the new design of the social network?
Google this morning is announcing a new look for its social network, Google+, which introduces a revamped navigation, with drag-and-drop elements and actions that appear when you hover over each item, as well as the introduction of new features aimed at making it easier to discover conversations to join, new profile pages, a dedicated page for Google+ Hangouts (Google+’s multi-person video chat offering), and more.
It’s interesting that Google+ has now changed its design, after its first efforts received such praise. But, after using the service for some time, it became clear that Google+’s navigational elements became a little cluttered. That “share a YouTube video” feature, for example, which popped out a box on the right side of the screen, felt tacked on.
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If you own a magicJack (NASDAQ: CALL) for your home or office, you may have received a phone call from the “phone number”, 26669-6687. I have a feeling that some telemarketers may have targeted phone number prefixes specific to magicJack owners since three of the magicJacks connected at work have received calls from this number, including mine:
When anybody or myself answered calls from this number at work, we received a wide range of callers, both male and female, and they solicited a wide array of products and services. It turns out that the “phone number” of 26669-6687 is not owned by anybody at all, nor is it actually a phone number. The number forms a phoneword, which are letters corresponding to a particular telephone number that form a word, a partial word, an acronym, abbreviation, or an alphanumeric combination. The number of 26669-6687 forms a phoneword, which spells out the word, “anonymous”. Obviously, some telemarketers do not want their phone numbers to show up in our caller ID so that we can call them back in anger or report their actual phone number, and who can blame them? Unfortunately, magicJack owners, calls received from 26669-6687 amount to receiving a call from a blocked number. How do you deal with unsolicited telemarketing calls from blocked numbers? Post your comments and suggestions below.
The majority of people, like me, just cannot wait to use their new computer once it is removed from its box, especially if that computer is replacing an older, slower computer. However, as a person trained in network administration, I would make a list of the applications and plug-ins I have been using on my old computer so that I can download the same items on the new computer, making the switch feel transparent. From our standpoint, while the switch to faster-performing hardware is welcomed, the case is not the same for software applications, where retraining may be required, an added cost that businesses and organizations are, more likely than not, do not welcome with open arms. Whether we are upgrading our own computer or the PCs in a computer room at a university, we feel much more comfortable using the same software we had always been using.
What applications should you install on your computer to maximize its usage? Whether you received a new computer for Christmas or own a four-year-old computer that is showing its age, you should download the following items.
Even though the latest versions of Internet Explorer (IE9 and IE10) are much more secure, earlier versions (IE7 and earlier) have been plagued by many security vulnerabilities and concerns: much of the spyware, adware, and computer viruses across the Internet were made possible by exploitable bugs and flaws in the web browser’s security architecture. Firefox and Chrome, meanwhile, deployed different security models seemingly in response to the vulnerabilities found in the older versions of IE, giving the perception of greater security, at least until IE was updated with a much improved security model. Unfortunately, the number of security vulnerabilities found in all versions of Firefox and Chrome combined pales in comparison to the large number of vulnerabilities found in IE, which is why I strongly recommend Firefox or Chrome as your default web browser.
Add-ons and extensions
Web of Trust (for Firefox, Chrome et al.)
I cannot begin to stress the importance of using an Internet website reputation rating tool such as Web of Trust (WOT), which shows you which websites you can trust for safe surfing, shopping and searching on the web. With the WOT add-on, you can see the website’s reputation based on other users’ experiences and carefully chosen trusted sources, such as phishing and spam blacklists. You can also rate websites yourself based on your own experiences. Whether you are looking at search engine results, links in your news feed on Facebook, or links in your timeline on Twitter, WOT indicates to you right away if the link posted is safe or not. WOT is indispensable if you have young web browsers in your house.
If you want to improve your web surfing experience, install Adblock Plus (ABP), a content-filtering extension that allows users to prevent page elements, such as advertisements, from being downloaded and displayed. Once installed, you will notice right away how much faster websites load without the burden of extra images or flash files for animated ads. If you are still using a 56K modem, or if you live with a bunch of bandwidth hogs, you will be able to view your content more quickly with this extension installed on your web browser.
Anti-malware and virus protection
Highly effective at finding malware such as rogue security software, adware, and spyware, Malwarebytes is the software that people turn to as soon as their computer begins to show possible signs of malware infection. I find it unfortunate that people turn to anti-malware software only when an infection is discovered instead of installing it early on as a preventative measure. I am telling you right now: install Malwarebytes as soon as possible, and run it once a week. You may catch malware that was downloaded but, thankfully, wasn’t installed onto your computer yet. Best of all, the free version is fully functional and will delete any and all malware, should any be found.
Microsoft Security Essentials (from Microsoft)
Why do I recommend Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE)? Like Malwarebytes, MSE is also highly effective at finding malware. However, features such as real-time malware prevention and automatic updates are not included with the free version of Malwarebytes, where they and other features are bundled with MSE. Indeed, MSC is freeware. From the school of thought that no single anti-malware product can find and remove all malware, MSE is a highly recommended complement to existing anti-malware and anti-virus software you have already installed.
I recommend CCleaner very highly for its simple task of cleaning potentially unwanted files and invalid Windows Registry entries from a computer. The applications we use daily generate lots of temporary files, especially web browsers, and CCleaner, when used weekly, will help your computer run smoothly without getting clogged and overburdened with files the computer no longer needs. When using the program with client computers, I was shocked at the amount of junk files that remained on the hard drive. It’s one thing when your computer is running slowing because you’re running out of free disk space, but quite another when the daily usage of that computer is the reason for that clutter. Use CCleaner regularly so that gigabytes (yes, GB) of junk files do not accumulate over time.
The best you can do after running CCleaner is to run Piriform’s other product, Defraggler, which defragments individual files on a computer system. Why? Removing gigabytes of junk files creates a lot of gaps between legitimate files on your hard drive. Some files, especially large files, may be fragmented, or spread out all over the drive partition. Opening that one file may take longer than it should because your hard drive has to go to different parts of your hard drive just to read it. Running Defraggler effectively reunites all those parts of a file as best it can so that reading the same file after defragmentation will be much faster, since the majority of that large file is physically in the same location on the hard drive.
Adobe Reader (from Adobe)
If you work in an office, you probably work with an office suite, compiling documents in, say, MS Word or Excel and later converting them to a format that is generally read-only to most people, such as Portable Document Format, or PDF. Adobe Reader is part of the Adobe Acrobat family of application software developed to view, create, manipulate, print and manage files in PDF, although Adobe Reader itself only allows you to view and print PDF files. For most people, that capability is all they need when coming across a PDF file on the Internet. When you install Adobe Reader, an Adobe Reader plug-in for your web browser is also installed so that the application itself does not need to be opened if, for example, a PDF file link is clicked in Firefox or Chrome.
Adobe Flash Player (from Adobe)
If you watch streaming video and audio, play online games with animation, or go to graphics-intensive websites with GUIs embedded into the site, you will need to install Adobe Flash Player, which executes and displays content from a provided SWF file. Flash Player supports vector and raster graphics, 3D graphics, an embedded scripting language called ActionScript and streaming of video and audio. Like Reader, the installation of Adobe Flash Player also includes plug-in support for your web browsers. Despite HTML5 as a possible replacement, Adobe Flash Player, emerging as the de facto standard for online video publishing on the desktop, will be around for years to come.
On July 8th, 2011, the Space Shuttle Atlantis took off on its last mission, STS-135. NASA prepared extensively for the final 13-day flight that will close out the Space Shuttle Program. Atlantis was moved to its launch pad at Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Cape Canaveral, Florida, on May 31, and lifted off on July 8 at 11:29 A.M. EDT (1529 GMT). The shuttle rolled out to the launch pad just hours before its sister ship, Space Shuttle Endeavour, landed early morning on June 1, wrapping up STS-134, its own final mission: a 16-day delivery flight to the International Space Station. The four-person astronaut crew has worked extremely hard to prepare for Atlantis’, and the Space Shuttle Program’s, last mission.
Many of you may be wondering what will happen to all the space shuttles after this last launch. Well, the space shuttles are getting ready for their second lives as museum pieces. The shuttles themselves will go through a lengthy clean-up process before they’re ready for their public debuts. When a shuttle lands, it’s covered in hazards: liquid hydrogen and oxygen for fuel, ammonia for coolant, and live pyrotechnics for blowing out emergency escape windows. “We have to remove those chemical hazards so that when it’s in a museum, the public can walk up to it without risk of things outgassing or dripping,” said NASA flow director Stephanie Stilson, who oversaw all the post-flight checkups and pre-flight preparations for Discovery’s last 11 trips to space and is now getting the remaining space shuttles ready for retirement. Because of these space shuttles, we have been able to make many advances in science and technology.
Once the space shuttles are prepared and deemed safe for public viewing, we can view these magnificent space vehicles at museums around the country. Space Shuttle Discovery will be located at the National Air and Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center just outside Washington, D.C. Space Shuttle Endeavour will be located at the California Science Center in Los Angeles. Space Shuttle Atlantis will be located at the Kennedy Space Center just outside Orlando, Florida.
Watch the final launch of Space Shuttle Atlantis, which took place on July 8, 2011.
Internet Protocol version 4 (IPv4) is the fourth revision in the development of the Internet Protocol (IP) and the first version of the protocol to be widely deployed. Together with IPv6, it is at the core of standards-based internetworking methods of the Internet. IPv4 is still, by far, the most widely deployed Internet Layer protocol. Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) is a version of the Internet Protocol (IP) that is designed to succeed Internet Protocol version 4 (IPv4). The Internet operates by transferring data in small packets that are independently routed across networks as specified by an international communications protocol known as the Internet Protocol. Although IPv4 is still the most commonly used protocol, I want to list the differences between both so you can better understand why your company and ISP must begin making plans to migrate to IPv6.
- Addresses are 32 bits (4 bytes) in length.
- Address (A) resource records in DNS to map host names to IPv4 addresses.
- Pointer (PTR) resource records in the IN-ADDR.ARPA DNS domain to map IPv4 addresses to host names.
- IPSec is optional and should be supported externally
- Header does not identify packet flow for QoS handling by routers
- Both routers and the sending host fragment packets.
- Header includes a checksum.
- Header includes options.
- ARP uses broadcast ARP request to resolve IP to MAC/Hardware address.
- Internet Group Management Protocol (IGMP) manages membership in local subnet groups.
- Broadcast addresses are used to send traffic to all nodes on a subnet.
- Configured either manually or through DHCP.
- Must support a 576-byte packet size (possibly fragmented).
- Addresses are 128 bits (16 bytes) in length
- Address (AAAA) resource records in DNS to map host names to IPv6 addresses.
- Pointer (PTR) resource records in the IP6.ARPA DNS domain to map IPv6 addresses to host names.
- IPSec support is not optional
- Header contains Flow Label field, which Identifies packet flow for QoS handling by router.
- Routers do not support packet fragmentation. Sending host fragments packets
- Header does not include a checksum.
- Optional data is supported as extension headers.
- Multicast Neighbor Solicitation messages resolve IP addresses to MAC addresses.
- Multicast Listener Discovery (MLD) messages manage membership in local subnet groups.
- IPv6 uses a link-local scope all-nodes multicast address.
- Does not require manual configuration or DHCP.
- Must support a 1280-byte packet size (without fragmentation).
Depending on what you are using, the IP address for either version is still valid. There are some advantages to upgrading from IPv4 to IPv6 such as 79 octillion (that’s 27 zeros) times the IPv4 address space, better bandwidth efficiency, better efficiency and scalability, and works with the latest 3G mobile technologies and beyond. With so many devices requiring IP addresses for Internet access, the development of a more versatile Internet Protocol was inevitable. I hope this article helps you better understand the differences between IPv4 and IPv6 so that you can make your decision accordingly.
On June 16, 2011, the International Business Machines, better known as IBM, turned 100 years old. IBM is the best-known American computer manufacturer, founded by Thomas J. Watson, and has stayed vital and important for most of its history. This company has created and designed many prominent inventions that are widely used today. Here is a list of five of their most important inventions, so far:
The Magnetic Stripe Technology: This is the thin, black stripe you can see on the back of credit cards, drivers’ licenses and many other cards. With this invention, buying things became much simpler and faster. What they don’t realize is what a major shift this seemingly simple technology represented for retail, transportation and daily life.
How Magnetic Stripe Technology works on YouTube:
Computing Scale: Used to weigh and price things that any vendor can use. This invention saved retailers a lot of money.
The Universal Product Code: Even though barcodes were dreamed up and patented in the late 1940s and early 1950s, it wasn’t in use until lasers emerged years later that they could be digitally read. This technology sped up checkouts and improved inventory-keeping.
The Time Clock: The invention had an “IN” and an “OUT” slot, used to keep track of each employee’s attendance.
The Automated Test Scoring: In 1937, IBM introduced the 805 Test Scoring Machine. This machine graded test answers that have been marked on a certain paper with a No. 2 pencil, making grading much easier for teachers.
When most people think of IBM, they think of computers. Well, they did invent the PC in the 1980s, but they have many more inventions that are still in use today. Their inventions have helped ease the daily life of many people, such as managers, teachers, students, store owners, and many employees. IBM has many other inventions that have made our lives easier and should be greatly appreciated. Congratulations to this successful company.