Archive for November, 2009

11/30/09 – Industrial Computer Systems

Welcome back from a stuffing week of food and relaxation, unless you had a busy week like Sandeep and I did.  The next two blog posts will be situated around some of the useful courses open to students interested in technology and further building off of basic computing skills that we all have acquired throughout high school and into college.

As an Industrial Computer Systems major, I’ve taken a few introductory courses with other students from a variety of different majors.  One of my personal favorites is TEC 151 or Introduction to Industrial Computer Systems.  Industrial Computer Systems, known throughout campus as ICS, focuses more on the physical aspect of computers, meaning more hardware and functionality of computers than subjects of computer science, something that I find more interesting and relating a lot more to the average user than an expert programmer.

TEC 151 is the study and use of basic methods, materials, software and equipment used in industrial computer applications for imaging, graphics, and communications.  It is a 3 credit hour course taught through the Technology department with a prerequisite of being either a Tech major or minor or even consent from a department advisor.  Now, I’m not here to tell you to go to your advisor and switch your focus of study, but understand the benefits of having even a minor with a technical background.  I actually used to be an International Business major and had an in depth interest in studying and working abroad.  Through courses I took in the college of business, it was obvious to me the benefits of getting a strong understanding with technology.

TEC 151 teaches you the fundamentals of computing from hardware concepts to general programming, an all around sample of what possibilities are presented to you in the field of technology.  With the regular advancement of technology, computers are going to be more and more incorporated with many jobs from communications to even marketing.  TEC 151 shows you methods to create simple programs that can be used from a small business to maintain inventory or even a simple point-of-sale application for selling goods.

I used to think that business was all I needed to focus on while in school, but by taking this course, I realized that the more knowledge you have in different fields of study the more marketable you will be to a corporation and the potential is high for advancement.

Thank you for reading and good luck with the rest of the semester.

Mike

November 30, 2009 at 7:22 pm Leave a comment

11/16/09 – China and US Poised to Break New Ground in Green Technology Partnership

As a follow up to my previous article on the “green technology” market, I felt it important to keep you all updated on an interesting turn of events that is sure to be a ground breaking turn of events in the development in green technologies.  If you can remember, or just feel like scrolling down a little bit, it was predicted that China would be the greatest rival for the US in the capture of the global green tech market.

While this statement still remains very true, Barack Obama will announce at a summit in Beijing tomorrow that the US and China will break new ground in a partnership on developing clean energy technologies.  Obama and Hu Jintao, leader of the People’s Republic of China, will focus on ways to reduce their carbon footprints.

During the summit, the two nations will announce a new energy cooperation program, unveil closer collaboration on “cleaner coal” technology and smart grids, and establish a joint research centre.  It is said that a memorandum of understanding will be signed in the Great Hall of the People where the US Trade Development Agency will fund an office in Beijing to assist US firms in securing government financing for new energy projects.

Peabody, one of the US’s biggest coal companies, will receive money from the US government to establish a demonstration facility in partnership with China to show off its new clean technologies.  The firm may also show more involvement in China’s GreenGen project, the purpose of which is to pioneer cleaner and more efficient coal burning technologies.

The US government made it clear that no “public money” will be channeled into the Chinese firms or projects as that is the Chinese governments job, and they are of course still seen as a rival, but in this timer period, I think joining together with the Chinese government in the fight against global warming and carbon emissions is the next big step in creating a cleaner and happier future for all of the world.

Coming from the two nations with the greatest carbon emissions, it should be their responsibility to work together in order to slow down, if not halt carbon emissions to its best ability.

Thanks for reading!  The article can be found right here. And as always, don’t forget the quiz on blackboard.

Mike

November 16, 2009 at 8:30 pm Leave a comment

Happy Birthday, Firefox!

It’s time to bust out the party hats and candles, everyone! The Open Source browser, Firefox, celebrated its fifth birthday this week. If you haven’t heard of Firefox, you’re really missing out on a pretty awesome browsing experience.

The first version of Firefox was released on November 9, 2004. It was developed by Dave Hyatt and Blake Ross of the Mozilla foundation, which formerly had a browser that was simply called “Mozilla”. Mozilla was a solid browser for its time but it had a few problems that were commonly associated with Open Source projects. Poor user-interface design, bloated features, and bad graphic design were all big problems for Mozilla.

With the launch of the Firefox project, the developers got the help of a graphic design firm and they solved the user-interface and identity issues that plagued Mozilla. Compared to the original Mozilla, which had a tiny market share, Firefox is up to over 330 million users! That number of users in such a short amount of time is almost unheard of in the software industry.

One of the things that has made Firefox so popular is the fact that it is Open Source. By allowing people to create add-ons for the browser, Firefox can have a huge number of personalized utilities. For example, if you’re a graphic designer and you want to see the color-code for a certain color on a website, there’s an add-on that can do that. If you absolutely hate advertisements, there are add-ons like AdBlock Plus that will remove ads from the websites you visit. Additionally, Firefox offers themes, so you can change the way it looks. All these features are great but one of the biggest benefits of using Firefox is the fact that it is generally regarded as more secure than Internet Explorer.  If you’re still not using Firefox, I suggest you head to their download page and give it a try! It’s completely free and by supporting the Open Source community, you help encourage programmers everywhere!

Don’t forget your quiz and if you have any comments, feel free to post!

Nick

November 11, 2009 at 7:02 pm Leave a comment

11/09/09: Windows 7 – What is this?

Windows 7 is out in the market but many people are still unaware about what exactly it is. This section focuses on giving the basic information about Windows 7, the official name for the successor to the Microsoft Windows Vista operating system. Windows 7 is an operating system made by Microsoft for personal computers, including home and business desktops, laptops, tablet PCs and media center PCs. Talking about operating system, it is just an interface between hardware and application. This is an essential  component needed to run programs in every general purpose computer. Operating system performs basic tasks such as recognizing inputs from the keyboard, sending output to the display screen, keeping track of files and others. Windows 7, previously known by the code names Blackcomb and Vienna, was released to manufacturing on July 22, 2009 and general retail availability on October 22, 2009.

Microsoft claims that Windows 7 is better than Windows Vista in terms of user friendliness, stability and functionality. The Microsoft professionals have identified various benefits and interesting facts about Windows 7. Here are some of the information about new features of Windows 7. After installing Windows 7,  user does not need to install any hardware drivers, because everything has been entered into the operating system. If the user requires a driver update, users can get it quickly and without going through Windows Update. Windows 7 contains new application called ‘Problem Steps Recorder’ which allows users to record a particular problem  and it can be sent via email to the expert in the form of attachment. Microsoft offers XP to Windows 7 Mode, which can be downloaded from the Microsoft web site (microsoft.com / windows / virtual-pc / download.aspx), and works in conjunction with the Windows Virtual PC, which is also free download.

Let’s take a look at this video to have some ideas regarding Windows 7.

Continuing with the new features, Windows 7 offers touch navigation which is easy to navigate with a user finger. In addition, Windows 7 also supports multi-touch gesture, like the MacBook, which automatically detects the hardware-featured touchscreen and increases the size of the Start Menu and icon simultaneously. Windows 7 introduces some smart volume-adjusting technology.  So, if you have Windows 7 in your computer it will automatically reduce the volume of your PC’s sound when you receive a call to your computer over a service such as Skype or Windows Live Call. The Windows 7 search tool is more than just a way to find a file you’ve misplaced. It can be easily extended to search online resources as well as your own computer. It does this by using search connectors that you can easily download online.

Besides, there are other interesting features of Windows 7 such as powerful new calculator, shake your mouse for clarity, eliminating annoying folder crashes, and much more. Recently, Microsoft has offered an amazing offer for UK and US students. Those students having a valid email address (an email address given by the college or University) will be able to purchase Windows 7 Home premium or Windows 7 Professional (upgrade versions) for £30 and $30 respectively. The offer will run until 3 January 2010 when the prices will revert to normal.

Can Windows 7 help Microsoft to generate billions of revenues and to improve its market share? It is still undecided and the answer will be known in near future.

Thanks for reading ~

Don’t forget to take the quiz on Blackboard.

Sandeep

November 9, 2009 at 5:20 am 2 comments

11/5/09 – Google’s Got Issues

Last week my roommate came to me in a panic. He had a paper due the next morning but he hadn’t bought the required books. His problem, like many of today’s, was solved with a simple answer. Google it! Of the three books needed for his paper, my roommate was able to find two on Google books. It wasn’t the prettiest solution but it was enough for him to earn an A minus.

Google books is an example of how advances in technology impact other aspects of society, and I don’t just mean student’s grades.  Google’s effort to digitize library books, beginning in 2004, is making impacts across the world.  Primarily these impacts are being felt in the fields of publishing and copyright law.   Google is now involved in what time magazine calls “a ferocious legal free-for-all spanning the globe.”  A year ago, Google made a legal settlement with groups representing authors and publishers.  But recently, this settlement has come under fire as cases like Authors Guild et al. vs. Google Inc. have dragged the dispute across seas.  Some publishers weren’t consulted during Google’s first settlement while other parties fear the lack of competition Google would face as a book seller. (The traffic from Google books is already a major boost in traffic.)

The dispute has attracted major attention.  Some, like Angela Merkel the chancellor of Germany, have criticized Google’s actions and apparent neglect.  Others, like Amy Tan, have supported Google’s attempts.  Regardless of the outcome there will be a major impact on traditional forms of book distribution.  Which means authors and the publishing industry might do well to adapt.

Don’t Forget to take the Black Board Quiz

Time Magazine Article
David

November 4, 2009 at 11:12 pm Leave a comment

11/2/09 – The Race Is On to Dominate the Global Clean Energy Market

green_company_1

On the subject of going green, reducing carbon emissions, and working towards a better future, one aspect that tends to slip the minds of many are the benefits to our economy that come with researching new technologies on a large scale;  especially one that will offer jobs growing 2.5 times faster than traditional jobs.

Innovative business leaders and engineers are starting to realize that solving global warming, the biggest environmental, humanitarian, and security threats of our time, is presenting  a monumental opportunity.  This December, after international climate negotiations conclude in Copenhagen, and nations begin to set limits on carbon emissions and research new technologies in full force, the clean energy market will explode.

As stated in the opening, there are promising signs for new jobs in America.  “Green jobs” are growing at 2.5 times faster than traditional jobs as well as an enormous sense of possibility that comes with fresh new faces from our generation ready to work for the future benefit of our society, and to better mankind.  Researcher at MIT are already commencing work on the next generation of hybrid car batteries.  Green business leaders and entrepreneurs in Ohio are starting the conversion of windshield factories to make solar panels.  And steel workers in Indiana are going to turn the slowing steel industry into manufacturers of wind turbines.

Of course America is not the only nation working in this endeavor.  China is our biggest competition and has already set an ambitious target of meeting 10% of its energy demand through renewable sources by 2012, and 15% by 2020.  Though we are ahead in the “race,” the Chinese business community is rushing to catch up.  They are set to become the world’s leading manufacturer of wind turbines this year, and is already the top producer of photovoltaic cells for solar energy.

America needs to focus on taking swift action in order to unleash energy innovation here on the home front.  With nations like China, Germany, and Spain drawing their attention to the market potential that comes with green technology, it is vital for the success of our economy that we focus on developing a stable job market for the development of green technology.

In June of this year, the House of Representatives passed the American Clean Energy and Security Act that will set limits on global warming pollution and drive investment towards low-carbon solutions to reduce green house gases.  In order for these incentives to be placed into action, however, the Senate must pass its own version of the bill.  Senators John Kerry and Barbara Boxer have introduced the Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act that will invest funds into reducing acid rain.  The bill has gained heavy support already from corporate giants like Alcoa and DuPont, as well as labor unions with the potential to generate millions of jobs in our future.

Thanks for reading and don’t forget to take the quiz on blackboard.

The whole article can be found here.

Mike

November 2, 2009 at 1:05 am Leave a comment


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