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Alexander Graham Bell and His Voice

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This unplayable wax recording from 1885 is now playable due to modern technology. The voice: telephone inventor Alexander Graham Bell at the Smithsonian Institution.

Researchers have identified the voice of Alexander Graham Bell for the first time in some of the earliest audio recordings held at the Smithsonian Institution.

The National Museum of American History announced Wednesday that Bell’s voice was identified with help from technicians at the Library of Congress and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California. The museum contains some of the earliest audio recordings ever made. Researchers located a transcript of one recording signed by Bell. It was matched to a wax disc recording from April 15, 1885.“Hear my voice,” the inventor Alexander Graham Bell, said. The experimental recording also contains a series of numbers. The transcript notes the record was made at Bell’s Volta Laboratory in Washington. Additional recordings  include lines from Shakespeare.

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There’s a new way to charge your smart phone with the charge card

ChargeCard utilizes standard USB 2.0 allowing for simultaneous data transfer and charging of your phone. This allows you to tether internet, transfer photos and charge your phone all at the same time. Or you can just use it to charge your phone and your data will stay safe and protected on your phone.

 ChargeCard allows for high-output charging which means that you can super-charge your phone when charging from a high amp output USB charger.

ChargeCard works just like your standard USB smartphone cable which you currently use to charge or sync your phone. As such, it will work on all the same USB ports, from your computer to flat screen TVs, game consoles, cars and beyond.

ChargeCard  fits in your wallet! ChargeCard is the world’s slimmest USB charging and sync cable

Travel USB Cable

 

Bitcoins

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Bitcoin collecting has caused a wave of supercomputers techies hoping to make them a small fortune – even if it costs load of cash to power.

Specially developed Bitcoin ‘mining’ computers are either homemade or can be purchased from one of the growing number of online stores dedicated to cashing in on the supply side of the cult currency trend.

The 21 million Bitcoins hidden across an internet-based network,  are expected to all be found by 2040. To unearth them computers have to solve the complex processor-intensive equations which hold them.

What is a Bitcoin?

It’s a piece of data locked in an internet-based network by a complex equation computers can break.

Once released it can be traded and used like money online and can be purchased with real cash.

Many websites are now taking Bitcoins as a form of currency. As well as digital currency, Bitcoin miners enjoy the competitive nature of unlocking the coins.

Famous fans include the Winklevoss twins who own around 1 percent of Bitcoins – currently worth around $11million

It has been dismissed by some as a Ponzi Scheme and touted by others as the future of money. It is not centrally controlled and it’s unique and complex set up means the market cannot be altered or hacked, according to the developers

There are 21 million coins predicted to last until 2140 and their finite nature means they perform more like a commodity, such as gold. The coins first emerged in 2008 and launched as a network in 2009.

They were introduced by an obscure hacker whose identity is a mystery but is known as Satoshi Nakamoto, which is thought to be a pseudonym. Users choose a virtual wallet from one of the various providers which enables them to receive, give and trade coins from other users.  Bitcoins can be bought from specialist currency exchanges and online marketplaces such as eBay. Bitcoins mining machines can unlock many of the potentially lucrative coins – essentially computer codes – which are then used as currency online making their collectors potentially very rich.

The Bitcoin network, set up by a mysterious programmer under the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto in 2009, is also designed to get more complex the more miners there are looking for Bitcoins – opening the potential for ever-developing mining machines.

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Is Wifi Signal Harmful?

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Gadgets that we use to connect or to stream WiFi signals work under safety standards in order to protect us from harmful effects. These devices have its own emission of microwave radiation, especially when you have your WiFi card on and you are connected to a router. The signal transmitted by a WiFi router is 100,000 times less than a microwave oven. WiFi routers work with low voltages and broadcast the signals in all directions.  Every time you double the distance between you and the router, you will reduce the intensity of the transmitted energy by 3/4. This means that the highest radiation can be found closest to the router, and as you move away, you will encounter lower radiation. (this is the  same principle of the inverse square law).

People  have reported symptoms like headache, fatigue, stress, sleep disturbances, skin symptoms and muscles stress, all associated with the presence of a WiFi router in their home or at the working space. This happens more often amongst people who suffer from electromagnetic hypersensitivity.

World Health Organisation conducted a study on this subject and concluded that there is no current evidence to confirm the harmful effects of WiFi signal (low-level radiation) on the human body. However, there are few gaps in the current documentation and more research is needed in order to be 100% accurate.

Suggestion:  Try keeping your router at least 3 meters away from your body. Try to switch off your laptop’s WiFi card if you’re not using it and, if you can, use a LAN connection. The best case scenario is to place it away from the room you sleep in.

Walmart Takes On Big Data

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Much of the big data tools have been developed at the Walmart Labs, which was created after Walmart took over Kosmix in 2011. The products that were developed at Walmart Labs are ‘Social Genome’, ‘ShoppyCat and Get on the Shelf.

The Social Genome product allows Walmart to reach customers, or friends of customers, who have mentioned something online to inform them about that exact product and include a discount.
 Public data is combined from the web along with social data and proprietary data such as customer purchasing data and contact information. The result is , constantly changing, up-to-date knowledge base with hundreds of millions of entities and relationships. this provides  Walmart with a  better understanding of  the  what their customers are saying online. An example mentioned by Walmart Labs shows a woman tweeting regularly about movies. When she tweets “I love Salt”, Walmart is able to understand that she is talking about the movie Salt and not the condiment.

The Shoppycat product  developed by Walmart is able to recommend suitable products to Facebook users based on the hobbies and interests of their friends. 

Get on the Shelf  a crowd-sourcing solution that gave anyone the chance to promote his or her product in front of a large online audience. The best products would be sold at Walmart with the potential to suddenly reach millions of customers.

World Wide Web For Robots

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Techfest 2013 and Microsoft’s Predictive Whiteboard

 

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Digital Public Library To Launch April 2012

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Petition To Unlock Cell Phones Update

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The  petition asking President Obama to oppose a new rule restricting cell phone owners from unlocking their devices has passed the 100,000 signatures needed, meaning the White House now must respond.

The petition,  that now has more than 102,000 signatures, protests a regulation from the Library of Congress that prohibits unlocking phones without the carrier’s permission — even when a customer’s contract with the carrier has expired.

CTIA general counsel Michael Altschul wrote in a blog post  It “makes our streets just a little bit safer by making it harder for large-scale phone trafficking operations to operate in the open and purchase large quantities of phones, unlock them, and resell them in foreign markets”.

The petition is partly symbolic: The Library of Congress and the U.S. Copyright Office are part of the legislative branch, not the executive branch, meaning that Obama cannot overturn the decision even if he disagreed with it.

Congress has the power to rewrite the law, the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which hands the Library of Congress the effective power to regulate certain gadgets in the name of copyright law. And a nudge from the administration would speed up any DMCA legislative fixes. Under the DMCA, Americans are broadly prohibited from “circumventing” copyright-related technologies, with criminal penalties targeting people who profit from doing it. But the DMCA gives the Library of Congress the authority to grant exemptions, which it did for cell phone unlocking utilities in 2006 and 2010.

The Library of Congress reversed their position last fall, after lobbying from CTIA, which represents carriers including AT&T, Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile, and Sprint Nextel. It ruled (PDF) the exemption was no longer necessary because there are no “adverse effects” relating to locked phones, and unlocked phones are now readily available.

The Library of Congress’ regulatory turn around doesn’t affect jail breaking or rooting mobile phones, which is currently permitted through at least 2015.

 

Petition To Unlock Mobile Phones

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There’s a Petition to reverse a decision by the Library of Congress making the unlocking of mobile phones illegal that needs 15,000 more signatures by Saturday.

Over 85,000 people have signed a Whitehouse.gov petition asking President Barack Obama to reverse a decision by the Library of Congress making the unlocking of mobile phones illegal under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).

As of Wednesday morning, the petition, started by phone unlocking entrepreneur Sina Khanifar, still needed nearly 15,000 signatures by Saturday to trigger a response by the Obama administration.

Unlocking a phone is typically used to switch carriers. Jailbreaking a phone for the purposes of adding software unauthorized by the carrier or phone maker remains legal under the DMCA. It’s unlikely mobile carriers will seek prosecution for individual phone users, but operators of businesses that help consumers unlock their phones could face penalties of up to a $500,000 fine under the DMCA.

Khanifar said this week he’s optimistic 100,000 people will sign it by Saturday. The petition has recently won endorsements from Representative Peter DeFazio, an Oregon Democrat,

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DH Awards Voting 2012

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The Cloud

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A Data Visualization: The Internet Map

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Can Big Data Survive Without Data Scientist?

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A 2011 McKinsey & Co. survey pointed out that many organizations don’t have  the skilled personnel needed to mine big data for insights and the structures and incentives required to use big data to make informed decisions and act on them.

Big data is a mixture of distributed data architectures and tools like Hadoop, NoSQL, Hive and R.  Data scientists serve as the gatekeepers and mediators between these systems and the people who run the business – the domain experts.

Three main roles served by the data scientist: data architecture, machine learning, and analytics. While these roles are important, but not every company actually needs a highly specialized data team of the sort you’d find at Google or Facebook.

Most of the standard challenges that require big data, like recommendation engines and personalization systems, can be abstracted out. On a per domain basis, however, feature creation could be templatized. What if domain experts could directly encode their ideas and representations of their domains into the system, bypassing the data scientists as middleman and translator?

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Data Becoming Bigger and Better 2013

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Microsoft Windows Azure HDInsight

There are  companies trying to make Hadoop more useful by turning it into a platform for something other than running MapReduce jobs. The companies – ContinuuityPlatforaDrawn to Scale

 

Differential Privacy and Big Data

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Microsoft research is developing Differential Privacy technology that would serve as a privacy guard and go-between when researchers search databases. It would ensure that no individual could be re-identified, protect privacy by keeping people anonymous in databases, but still help researchers sort big data.

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Big Data

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After having been accustomed to terms like MegaByte, GigaByte, and TerraByte, we must now prepare ourselves for a whole new vocabulary, such as PetaByte, ExaByte, and ZettaByte which will be as common as the aforementioned.

Dr Riza Berkan CEO and Board Member of Hakia provides a list of  Mechanisms generating Big Data

  • Data from scientific measurements and experiments (astronomy, physics, genetics, etc.)
  • Peer to peer communication (text messaging, chat lines, digital phone calls)
  • Broadcasting (News, blogs)
  • Social Networking (Facebook, Twitter)
  • Authorship (digital books, magazines, Web pages, images, videos)
  • Administrative (enterprise or government documents, legal and financial records)
  • Business (e-commerce, stock markets, business intelligence, marketing, advertising)
  • Other

Dr Riza Berkan says Big Data can be a blessing and a curse.

He says that although there should be clear boundaries between data segments that belong to specific objectives, this very concept is misleading and can undermine potential opportunities. For example, scientists working on human genome data may improve their analysis if they could take the entire content (publications) on Medline (or Pubmed) and analyze it in conjunction with the human genome data. However, this requires natural language processing (semantic) technology combined with bioinformatics algorithms, which is an unusual coupling at best.  Two different data segments in different formats, when combined, actually define a new “big data”. Now, add to that a 3rd data segment, such as the FBI’s DNA bank, or geneology.com and you’ll see the complications/opportunities can go on and on. This is where the mystery and the excitement resides with the concept of big data.

Super Big Data Software

Dr Riza Berkan asks are we prepared for generating data at colossal volumes? and we should look at this question in two stages: (1) Platform and (2) Analytics “super” Software

Apache Hadoop’s open source software enables the distributed processing of large data sets across clusters of commodity servers, aka cloud computing. IBM’s Platform Symphony is another example of grid management suitable for a variety of distributed computing and big data analytics applications. Oracle, HP, SAP, and Software AG are very much in the game for this $10 billion industry. While these giants are offering variety of solutions for distributed computing platforms, there is still a huge void at the level of Analytics Super Software . Super Software’s main function would be to discover new knowledge which would otherwise be impossible to acquire via manual means says Dr Berkan.

Discovery requires the following functions:

  • Finding associations across information in any format
  • Visualization of associations
  • Search
  • Categorization, compacting, summarization
  • Characterization of new data (where it fits)
  • Alerting
  • Cleaning (deleting unnecessary clogging information

Moreover, Dr Berkan says that” Super Software would be able to identify genetic patterns of a disease from human genome data, supported by clinical results reported in Medline, and further analyzed to unveil mutation possibilities using FBI’s DNA bank of millions of DNA information. One can extend the scope and meaning of top level objectives which is only limited by our imagination.”

Then too, Dr Berkan says big data can also be a curse  if the cleaning (deleting) technologies are not considered as part of the Super Software operation. In his  previous post, “information pollution”, he emphasized the danger of uncontrollable growth of information which is the invisible devil in information age.

credits: Search Engine Journal/SEG

 

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