Archive for the ‘Current Events’ Category

Skype

Sunday, September 9th, 2012

Skype.comHave you ever heard of Kazaa or the entrepreneurs who built it, Niklas Zennström and Janus Friis?  It was the most popular internet software download in 2003.  Kazaa was a peer-to-peer file sharing service that was primarily used to share pirated music files online and it peaked in popularity sometime after Napster was shut down and when Walmart and then iTunes became the top music retailers in the USA.   Well if you ever heard of  Skype then you’re familiar with the next big project the Zennström & Friis took on.

Skype is a free download that enables you to make free voice and video calls through the internet.  It uses a combination of VoIP technology and peer-to-peer file sharing technology to deliver a virtually free video conferencing service to the world.  You just need a webcam and/or microphone and a computer with internet access.

First released in 2003, Skype was bought by eBay in 2005 for $2.6 billion then in 2011 it was bought by Microsoft for $8.5 billion.  The future of any communication technology is always uncertain, but no matter what, the ability to see and speak with people around the globe for free is turning out to be very popular.  With 30+ million users every day accumulating over 300 billion minutes of online conversations in 2011 alone.  It is an amazing growth story that’s starting to make a profound change to the way we communicate.

So check out skype.com today, you might even want to consider downloading it yourself.

Skype Explained Visually

On Guard Online

Wednesday, April 6th, 2011

OnGuardOnline.gov provides practical tips from the federal government and the technology industry to help you be on guard against Internet fraud, secure your computer, and protect your personal information.”

The homepage features links to expert tips (Topics), online activities to test your “cyber smarts” (Games) and online videos about keeping safe online (Videos).  Amazingly the site does incorporate materials that are relevant to all age groups and all levels of technology sophistication.  Though it is a lot of information to review, anyone interested in protecting themselves online will be rewarded with valuable knowledge if they spend enough time on this site.

Schedule a refresher course on protecting yourself online, set aside 30 minutes or an hour to explore OnGuardOnline.gov today!

Kahn Academy

Monday, March 28th, 2011

Why not teach the world?  That’s what Salman Khan is doing.

“What started out as Sal making a few algebra videos for his cousins has grown to over 2,100 videos . . . covering everything from arithmatic to personal finance to history and physics”  KahnAcademy.org delivers millions of simple 10 minute long lessons via the internet every day.  Every video was created by Salman Kahn using Smoothdraw, Camstudio and Youtube.   The lessons are simple and short and but very effective, based on the number of people viewing them online.

Below is a video about KahnAcademy.org from PBS News Hour in 2010.

A Day Made of Glass

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2011

To survive, corporations have to be future oriented.  This is especially true of technology companies but companies that supply the resources for developing technologies have to be on top of new developments too. 

Corning is a 160+ year old glass company and it might surprise you to find out that they have a YouTube Channel.  And what do they display on their YouTube Channel?  Their vision of the future of course which just happens to highlight how vitally important their forte with glass is going to be in the future. 

Enjoy the video below and consider how much of these futuristic ideas might come true.

A Day Made of Glass . . . Made Possible by Corning

Gapminder.org

Sunday, January 16th, 2011

GapMinderHans Rosling is currently a proferssor of global health at Sweden’s Karolinska Institute and he has been a speaker at TED multiple times.  He is probably best know worldwide for Gapminder.org, a website where you can view and explore statistical data from all around the world in an easy to use graphic format.  “Unveiling the beauty of statistics for a fact based world view” is the Mission of Gapminder.

Why do you want to take a moment to explore Gapminder.org?  Because regardless of what previous experience you might have had with statistics, this website is bound to change your opinions of the science of statistics as well as some of your own misconceptions about the world we live in.  Take a look at this 4 minute video about the last 200 years of history to give you a taste of what statistics can tell us about our world.

Hans Rosling’s 200 Countries, 200 Years, 4 Minutes -The Joy of Stats – BBC 4


Let’s Say Thanks

Thursday, December 16th, 2010

Once again the Xerox Corporation is giving you an opportunity to send a free thank you postcard to a service member who is overseas for the holiday.  LetsSayThanks.com is actually a partnership between Xerox and several other organizations.  All you have to do is click on your favorite design and either select the message that best expresses your sentiment or draft a personal note. The postcards are then printed on the Xerox iGen3 Digital Production Press and mailed in care packages by the military support organization Give2Troops.org.

Why not take some time today to remember those who won’t be home this holiday season.  Visit LetsSayThanks.com and send them a note.

Christmas Price Index

Wednesday, December 1st, 2010

Every year, since 1984, PNC Financial Services has assembled the cost of purchasing the items listed in the 12 Days of Christmas carol.  Though certainly not recognized as a legitimate economic indicator, the PNC Christmas Price Index can help teach concepts such as inflation, deflation and what the Consumer Price Index (CPI) is all about.

This year’s presentation includes a well done interactive pop-up book as well as chartsactivities & other games for students.  So has the cost of Christmas gone up or down for 2010?  You’ll have to check the website to find out:  www.pncchristmaspriceindex.com

IvanKristianto.com

Tuesday, September 7th, 2010

There are lots of websites and blogs out there that offer computer and technology advice.  He’s one to check out:  ivankristianto.com

Ivan Kristianto is a young computer programmer in Indonesia who started blogging in 2008.  Though some his posts might be a very technical and the English a little difficult to read, many of his posts can be very useful.

For example, here are some posts to check out:  Keyboard Shortcut in Windows XP, Facebook…Ads and Span Social Network, How Google Works Graphic, A whole list of additional posts about Microsoft Windows and even an article about How to Make Money Using Blogs.

It’s a great example of what a blog can be.  So check it out when you can:  Ivan Kristianto – Source for programming, linux/unix, and technology, tutorials, news update, tips and tricks, hobbies and entertainment

Jam Studio

Tuesday, August 17th, 2010

Since 2007 you’ve been able to go online at JamStudio.com and create your own authentic sounding music for free.  With an easy to follow tutorial and simple controls on the screen, this internet based Adobe flash website could definitely capture the imagination of even the most amateur musician.  Think of it as a music sandbox.

JamStudio.com was created by Dave Edwards and here is a 10 minute interview with him.  The online music mixer includes over 40,000 musical phrases played and recorded by real musicians that you can mix to create your own songs.  JamStudio.com is free, but you can create an account so you can save and further develop your creations later.  For a monthly fee of about $10 you can become an All Access Pass Member and you’ll be able to download all your musical creations royalty free.

For educators there is a special grant program that gives students an All Access Pass to JamStudio.com at no cost.  Here’s some more information about the grant program at Philly-Teacher.blogspot.com.

So find your musical talent and experiment with JamStudio.com today.

JamStudio.com on Fox 4 in Dallas-Fort Worth, TX:


Texas Border Watch

Thursday, June 10th, 2010

Bored?  Looking for something to do?  How about taking some time to patrol the Texas border?  The Texas Border Sherif’s Coalition would love to have your help as a “Virtual Texas Deputy”.  Using a $2 million dollar grant from the Governor of Texas they contracted a private company called Blue Servo to create a website where ordinary people can log on and watch the border using strategically placed webcams.  Once you set-up an account and log in you can choose the camera(s) you’d like to watch and begin your “patrol”.  Each camera comes with instructions on what to look for and how to report anything suspicious  annonymously.  Here are some examples of what they’ve seen.

Give it a try!  Live the dream of being a Virtual Texas Deputy:
TexasBorderWatch.com


The Virtual Choir

Tuesday, April 6th, 2010

Composed and Conducted by
ERIC WHITACRE
“Lux Aurumque”

 

This original composition went live on YouTube on March 21st, 2010.   You can read about previous projects and the development of this virtual choir at Eric Whitacre’s Offical Blog.

TED – Ideas Worth Spreading

Wednesday, March 17th, 2010

TED stands for “Technology Entertainment Design” and was started in 1984 as a conference that brought people from those three fields together.  Originally held annually in Long Beach, California, “TED Talks” are also held in Oxford, England (TEDGlobal) and in Mysore, India (TEDIndia) for the first time in 2009. 

At their website: TED.comthe best talks and performances from TED and partners available to the world, for free.” (AboutTED).   It’ well worth a few minutes of your day to check out he talks at TED.com sometime today.

A Random Sampling of TED Talks to consider:  Gary Lauder’s New Traffic Sign, Pattie Maes Demonstrates the Sixth Sense, Hans Rosling’s New Insights on Poverty, Jill Bolte Taylor’s Stroke of Insight, and Blaise Aguera y Arcas demos Augmented-Reality Maps.