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Posts Tagged ‘Technology’

2010-11-16 We Are The Network: Is Offshoring a Race to the Bottom or Race to the Top?

November 14th, 2010 No comments

Is Offshoring a Race to the Bottom or Race to the Top?

Please join our global discussion group
every Tuesday at 12pm noon U.S. Pacific / 3pm Eastern time

This Tuesday, Nov 16 at the Epoch Institute in Second Life

Click here to teleport to the Epoch Institute in Second Life
http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Wells/97/56/27

This Week’s Topic

Is Offshoring a Race to the Bottom or Race to the Top?

The debate about offshoring, the practice of moving jobs to other countries—usually with the objective of lowering costs—raises consistent and harsh debate. There are arguments about whether offshoring is “good” or “bad” and whether it creates problems or enhances the local job market. A presumption of many is that by offshoring lower-end jobs, this will be a race to the top for the country sending work overseas, as more people can focus on the higher value “race to the top” jobs. Others claim that this is merely a short term gain which will generate a “race to the bottom” globally, leaving a wider gap between rich and poor, and further centralizing power.

Is offshoring a race to the bottom, or a race to the top? What will the short, mid and long-term results of continued globalization and offshoring look like?

Join us Tuesday at 12PM noon U.S. Pacific / 3pm U.S. Eastern time for an interactive discussion, and thanks for being part of “We Are The Network”!

If you do not have a Second Life account and would like a quick start to attend the session, please contact me for more information.

Best regards,

Joel

Reading links below – have fun and see you soon! Read more…

2010-06-08 We Are The Network: What is the Impact of Computers Making Discoveries?

June 7th, 2010 No comments

What is the Impact of Computers Making Discoveries?

Please join our global discussion group
every Tuesday at 12pm noon U.S. Pacific / 3pm Eastern time

This Tuesday, June 8 at the Epoch Institute in Second Life

Click here to teleport to the Epoch Institute in Second Life
http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Wells/97/56/27

This Week’s Topic

What is the Impact of Computers Making Discoveries?

Science fiction abounds with stories of machines that are more intelligent, faster and understand things that humans do not yet understand. What if computing technology gets to the point where computers can figure things out, in essence making new discoveries, that we do not yet understand? How will this change society, our place in the world, and our understanding of sentience?

Recent results created by a system nicknamed the “Eureka Machine,” and a few others seem to have potentially put us on the path to this future. This system, with no programming to understand physics per-se, was fed movement data from two connected pendulums, and in a day returned the classic Netwonian formula for the laws of motion as “the one thing in common from all the movements it observed.” The system is now being used to explore other areas of science, and has already generated results that, while mathematically correct, are not yet understood by the scientists involved.

Another system nicknamed Adam is credited with completing the entire discovery process, including creating hypotheses and exploring them, on it’s own, for the first time.

While these are only early successes, those involved believe that they represent only the beginning of what these sorts of systems will ultimately be able to do. Where does this path lead?

Join us Tuesday at 12PM noon U.S. Pacific / 3pm U.S. Eastern time for an interactive discussion, and thanks for being part of “We Are The Network”!

If you do not have a Second Life account and would like a quick start to attend the session, please contact me for more information.

Best regards,

Joel

Reading links below – have fun and see you soon!

Read more…

Do Gesture-Based Mobile Apps Represent a New “Attention Risk”?

May 31st, 2010 No comments

This quick post is about a question from a project design meeting for a new mobile application. The application will have a gesture-based graphical interface, initially targeted for iPhone and later on for Android and other platforms. At issue is the question of whether use of screen gestures while driving represent a new driver attention risk.

My first thought was “Anything that takes concentration off of the road is an attention risk, similar to texting or holding a phone instead of using a hands-free system.”

A compelling counter-argument in the discussion was that the device would be mounted within easy reach of the operator, in a fixed location, and these are “large gestures” that do not require any screen attention or reading. Doing a gesture on a touch screen device like this is no different in terms of attention for the driver than reaching to turn on windshield wipers or to adjust a radio on the dashboard.

In thinking about this while driving this afternoon, I’ve shifted to agree with the counter-argument, and think that gesture interfaces, as long as they don’t take careful examination or reading of a screen shouldn’t be a new risk.

What do you think about this question? Under what circumstances would using gesture-based commands with a mobile app represent a new driver concentration risk, and under what circumstances are this sort of interaction benign?

2010-05-04 We Are The Network: How Should We Deal with Cyber-Bullying?

May 1st, 2010 No comments

How Should We Deal with Cyber-Bullying?

Please join our global discussion group
every Tuesday at 12PM noon U.S. Pacific / 3pm Eastern time

This Tuesday, May 4, at the Epoch Institute in Second Life

Click here to teleport to the Epoch Institute in Second Life
http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Wells/97/56/27

This Week’s Topic

How Should We Deal with Cyber-Bullying?

Bullying has become a consistent concern of school administrators, teachers and parents. What is the best preventive approach and response to cyber-bullying? This week, we’ll discuss how we should handle and respond to cyber-bullying.

On one end of the spectrum, a middle school principal recently sent a strongly worded email to parents directing them (not asking – directing) to remove their childrens’ social media accounts, to install monitoring tools, and to monitor their txt messages.

At the other extreme, some take the position that the genie is out of the bottle, and we should educate kids while not using direct control to manage their use of communications tools.

I wrote a post about a related topic in January “The Mobile Invisibility Cloak of Today’s Internet-Enabled Kids,” and when I heard about the principal’s email mentioned above I thought it might be  time for us to talk about this issue head-on.

Does technology create cyber-bullying? Will controlling technology stop it? What approach should we use to prevent cyber-bullying, and what should we do when it is discovered? Which strategies will instill the most useful skills and beliefs in our children for their future?

Join us Tuesday at 12PM noon U.S. Pacific / 3pm U.S. Eastern time for an interactive discussion, and thanks for being part of “We Are The Network”!

If you do not have a Second Life account and would like a quick start to attend the session, please contact me for more information.

Best regards,

Joel

Reading links below – have fun and Read more…

What is the Side Effect of Pulling Energy from the Air using Wind Power?

April 30th, 2010 3 comments

The Massachusetts Cape Wind Project has been in the news this week, and listening to the debate has got me thinking that there is a part of the picture that seems to have been left out of the discussion.

Wind power sounds like a great deal. It is renewable. It doesn’t rely on exploiting oil, coal or other physical reserves. The on-going costs are mostly hardware maintenance.

At the same time, the engineering part of my head keeps whispering “Hey! Energy doesn’t appear from nowhere!”

Wind holds energy. The atmosphere circulates this energy in weather systems. Wind farms generate electricity by pulling energy out of the air, which removes energy from the atmosphere.

This leaves me with a question that I have not heard discussed. What will large withdrawals from the atmosphere’s energy reserves will do to the atmosphere, our weather and our climate? Maybe the effects are invisible while we still have very few wind farms. What will happen if the numbers of wind farms grow dramatically?

I am not suggesting that wind power is a bad idea. The tradeoffs may be far better than those involved with oil, coal and other non-renewable sources. At the same time, I think we should try to have an understanding of what the side effects are pulling our energy “out of the air” will be, since it doesn’t actually come from nowhere!

What do you think? Do you know anyone who has solid background in this area, or have you seen any research on the topic?

Categories: Misc Tags: , ,

2010-04-06 We Are The Network: Trends and Ethics in Image Enhancement and Alteration

April 4th, 2010 4 comments

Trends and Ethics in Image Enhancement and Alteration

Please join our global discussion group
every Tuesday at 12PM noon U.S. Pacific / SL time

This Tuesday, Apr 6, at the Epoch Institute in Second Life

Click here to teleport to the Epoch Institute in Second Life
http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Wells/97/56/27

This Week’s Topic

Trends and Ethics in Image Enhancement and Alteration

Advances in image manipulation and enhancement software have made it ever easier to enhance, or modify, images in ways that look natural and would not be noticed readily as altered. This trend is not new, however the technologies for manipulating images are getting radically easier. “Normal people” can now seamlessly alter images in ways that used to require significant expertise in advanced tools. One example of the new tools generation is the “Content Aware Fill” feature that is bound to ship shortly with Photoshop CS5 (linked below in the reading links section). This tool has now made it possible for almost anyone to make major structural alterations to images no more effort than selection a region of the image and clicking a few checkboxes.

How will ever-advancing image manipulation capabilities, and the drive to provide these as consumer-easy features, change our views of the world? Legal challenges and discussions of ethics continue to multiply as these capabilities appear. Will image modification become “the status quo” for every use, or will news, reporting and education resist these temptations? Major publications  have answered ethics challenges with the comment that they just exercised industry standards of image manipluation. Does this mean that extensive image manipulation is now the norm across industries? Are attempts to contain image manipulation based on ethics arguments too little, too late? Where is image enhancement and alteration headed, and how will ethics of image integrity and enhancement change to keep up with these changes?

Join us Tuesday at 12PM noon SL for an interactive discussion, and thanks for being part of “We Are The Network”!

Best regards,

Joel

Reading links below – have fun and Read more…

Understanding the Maximum Bandwidth Option in the Second Life™ Viewer

March 25th, 2010 3 comments

This post provides a bit more detail to explain one point from my earlier post 12 Ways To Make Second Life™ Run Faster On Your Low Performance Computer. Some debate arose over the “real meaning” of the maximum bandwidth option on the Network Settings dialog, so I figured I’d go research this and try to find the facts.

A quick caveat: Even though this post is fairly long, I have purposefully left out a bit of detail in order to avoid overwhelming folks who are not fluent with network engineering and programming. If you are fluent in these areas, I’m sure you’ll see things that will make you say “but you left out…” Don’t panic. This doesn’t mean that I don’t understand the mechanics, it’s just that I’m trying be sure this is accessible to people who need to understand it. Thanks for your understanding!

Why All This Detail? It’s Just One Slider!

I know… this seems like a lot, but it is broken down in to easy chunks. The reason I’ve included this background is that the Maximum Bandwidth Option only controls some of the traffic that goes back and forth between the viewer and the server(s) at the data centers. If you understand a little bit about what’s going on “under the hood” and which types of traffic it does and does not control, you’ll be in a much better position to decide on the best setting for Maximum Bandwidth as you use Second Life. Read more…

Categories: Misc Tags: , ,

2010-02-09 We Are The Network: Are We Engineering the Species that will Replace Us?

February 8th, 2010 2 comments

We Are The Network logo 300Are We Engineering the Species that will Replace Us?

Please join us for a discussion every Tuesday at 12PM noon SL (US Pacific Time)

This Tuesday, Feb 9nd, at the Epoch Institute in Second Life

Click here to teleport to the Epoch Institute in Second Life

This Week’s Topic

NOTE: Since we’ll be watching some of the videos linked below at the start of the session, We Are The Network is scheduled for 90 minutes rather than an hour this week, to allow enough discussion time for a topic that will no doubt be … large.

Are We Engineering the Species that will Replace Us?

“It’s just science fiction!” We tell ourselves this little white lie about the movies we flock to. We think “wow, that’s cool, and pretty scary, but that could never happen.” The science fiction of the future is starting to happen closer and closer to home, and there are now some surprising signs that we may already have reached milestones on the road to engineering a cyborg (part human, part computer) species that will ultimately replace us.

You may think this is random paranoia, and feel free to say so on the way in, but I challenge you to say absolutely that we’re not on the path by the end… I’ve found it pretty hard to avoid the uncomfortable conclusion that “we will be Borg” sooner than any of us had expected.

In this session we’ll review some real working examples of technologies that would have seemed unbelievable five or ten years ago, and a compelling TED talk that maps out a potential roadmap for our future.

What does this mean for us? How will we get ready for these changes? Where will this head as it unfolds, and what will it mean for our society and humanity in general?

Join us Tuesday at 12PM noon SL, and thanks for being part of “We Are The Network”!

Best regards,

Joel

Reading links below – have fun and see you soon!

Three things to consider:

1) A science fiction movie trailer, one that we all probably presume is “way” in the future, and a quick explanation of a plot element of another related science fiction movie.

2) Real working engineering results, with proof videos that demonstrate significant pieces of functionality from the movie trailer

3) A compelling TED talk that ties the threads together in a way that will likely make you stop and think.

It’s a fun ride… ready? Here are the links: Read more…

The Mobile Invisibility Cloak Of Today’s Internet-Enabled Kids

January 12th, 2010 3 comments

It is getting harder and harder, as a parent, to even pretend that I have visibility into the Internet use of my children. Back in “the good old days of the Internet”, computers were computers. Only things that were obviously computers could browse the Internet. Parents got comfortable with guidance such as “make sure that the only way to get on the Internet is in a common space in the house.” This popular strategy was designed to discourage children from visiting places on the ‘net that were inappropriate, since at any point someone (a parent type in particular) could wander in and see what is happening. Today’s personal communications tools obliterate the utility of that advice, making the computer protection approach ineffective. Pervasive txt messaging and smartphones like the iPhone, Blackberry and now Android OS based mobile communicators radically change the landscape for kids and parents. Read more…

Categories: Misc Tags: ,

12 Ways To Make Second Life™ Run Faster On Your Low Performance Computer

December 25th, 2009 23 comments

Joel Foner 2009-12-06
* Added the “How To Make Your Viewer Run Even Faster (when you really need the most you can get!)” section

Joel Foner 2009-12-08
* Added “Stay Plugged In” (thanks t
o Ignatius Onomatopoea for this tip)

Joel Foner 2010-03-25
* Added “Remember to re-check all
of these settings after any viewer updates, uninstall and reinstall or installation of an alternative viewer version!”

Joel Foner 2010-03-26
* Added Understanding the Maximum Bandwidth Option in the Second Life Viewer
* Added “If you’re Not Using Voice, Turn it Off!”

Stock Car RacingIntroduction

Second Life™ provides a 3D visualization of virtual environments, dynamically rendered so that you can make changes and any other avatar within sight sees those changes in almost real time. The technologies underpinning these capabilities are complex and place serious demands on the CPU and 3D graphics accelerator on your local computer.

The good news is that all of this is possible. The bad news is that there are a lot of moving parts and it uses a lot of computing and graphics horsepower to get the job done. The performance you see depends on many things. There are many factors that determine the performance you see, including the speed of your computer’s 3D graphics processor, the main processor (CPU), your hard disk speed, how much RAM (memory) your computer has, network stability, network speed, how many avatars are in view, how many avatars are on the region that your avatar is standing on, other load factors on the region, as well as specific characteristics of how the scene is built.

This article shows how to improve the operating speed of the viewer on low performance computer hardware. These steps will only cover optimization of your computer, and will not include addressing other potential sources of performance problems.

Please note that this article assumes you have some Second Life™ experience, and that you are comfortable with opening menus and making settings changes in the Preferences pages in the viewer.

But I Just Bought A Machine. How Could It Be Low Performance?

You may have bought a computer pretty recently, and assumed “this machine is pretty new, so of course its 3D graphics performance must be good”. You could be in for a surprise. In this age of Read more…

Categories: Misc Tags: ,