Print Your Future

The future of technology as we know it is incredibly bright. Every day, new developments help spur further innovation and bring us the products of tomorrow. In this blog post, I wish to explore just a tiny microcosm of that future and discuss it.

Currently, there are many promising things coming out from R&D and Scientific Research teams all over the world. Probably one of the most remarkable and recent materials known to date that man is able to produce is called Graphene. Graphene is a single two dimensional layer of carbon atoms that has a plethora of uses. Like diamond, it is incredibly hard, however it is extremely flexible, virtually invisible to the naked eye, conducts electricity extremely well, among many other uses.

The potential of this material to change the world as we know it is astounding. Researchers have already thought of uses for it in future gadgets, such as a flexible wrist band that can transform into your phone or tablet, and then be converted back into your wrist strap once you’re done using it. Recently in the news, researchers have begun to use graphene as a lens to get a better view of liquids at the molecular scale. As production methods get better and better, it won’t be soon before the material can be fully commercialized and its uses are even further exploited by competing research teams and companies.

In 2022, I imagine that the most common use of graphene will be by, what are now cellphone companies, futuristic telecommunication companies as the demand for thinner, sleeker, more durable, flexible phones and tablets from the consumer market grows. I envision that the future generation will not know what it is like to have to “carry” a “phone” with them all the time. As the phones themselves become so flexible that they would be used as accessories to clothes, not just as a communication device. This will help other technologies, such as devices that can display “virtual layers” on the world, as a material such as graphene would be incredibly light and strong, and it’s near transparency would make that virtual layer experience ever more livid.

Expanding on the virtual layer development, I believe that the future, 2022, will make use of this technology in everyday life. No longer will we need to look at a calender, because we will have the ability to see one wherever we look. It will become impossible to get lost in this sort of reality, as direction arrows magically appear before our feet, guiding us to our destination. Indeed, this is the type of technology that can shape the future for good, but a fully immersed layered society can become harrowing if malicious advertising is used, literally, to cloud our vision from what we really want to see. In general, however, I see many incredible useful software being developed for such a platform, whatever it is, enhancing our lives for the better.

Another technology that I see developing currently and preparing to hit the consumer market are 3-D printers. These printers allow one to literally print out anything that they have the plans for (and of course, the various liquid compound it would take to make it).

Keeping 3D printing in mind, do you know what DS106 is? DS106 is a project that lets many different users all over the world collaborate and share their works with many others in an attempt to learn and develop. Now imagine having a world where you can openly share your 3-D design, share it, and then print it out at your house once you are done. In the year 2022, this is what I imagine for the next generation. With 3-D printing being common in every household, it will no longer be necessary to go to the store for something like clothes hangers or toys. One can simple “print out” these objects in a matter of minutes and use them as they wish. Moreover, children will be able to design their own toys and then have the pleasure of seeing what their finished creation is actually like. It is the same as being able to draw a picture, and have it come to life right before your eyes. It is this future that I believe 3D printing can eventually bring us.

There are numerous other uses that 3-D printing is used for or can be used for (such as replacement joints and bones).

My view may be optimistic, however, I believe that one day this will come to pass. A future of flexibility and independence brought on by the innovation today.

Leave your comments below! Thank you!

PC Parts and Supercomputers

In this blog post, I’m going to try to describe to my computer not-so-literate readers some of the stuff that’s actually inside the thing they are using to read this!

To make it simple, I’ll list the name of the part and then talk about it below it. Keep in mind, I’m trying to give a very general overview of everything so the big picture of each part is understood.

So, without further adieu, let’s begin!

Motherboard

The board to connect them all!

Or at least connect everything in your computer together. =P

The typical motherboard will have slots for everything that is needed to run a PC. Such as:
– Ram Slots
– Processor Bay
– A place to connect SATA cables for your hard drive
– Cables to plug in to the power supply
– Graphics Card Slot
– Sound Card Slot
– Other slots for input devices on case (Ex. USB ports)

The mother board is arguably the most critical part to consider when constructing a new computer, as the limitations for upgrades placed on your PC will be decided by your motherboard’s specifications.

Moreover, upgrading in general is a hassle if you have an outdated motherboard. For instance, if you have an older model, and you wish to upgrade your old DDR2 RAM to the new DDR3 RAM, which I will talk a little about later, would be impossible without physically changing the board. Also, it is critical to note that your motherboard is compatible with the installed BIOS, as the wrong one will make the entire system fail to boot on load.

Processor

The processor, probably the most well-known of all computer parts secondary only to the motherboard, is indeed a critical component to consider when assessing the capabilities of any computer. Old processors used to be only single core, with low clock speed for instance 1.2 GHz, which I will speak more of later, but today’s processors consist of various core amounts, currently 1-6 cores, and much higher speeds such as 3.2 GHz. The processor is used mainly for mathematical computations that drive every program, so without the processor, you’re not going anywhere.

Ram

When people complain about how slow their computer is, usually RAM, Random Access Memory, is the biggest factor affecting speed. All programs need to use it “as it is used by the system to store data for processing by a computer’s central processing unit” (DDR Memory Upgrades). This is even more so if you tend on using power hungry applications such as games, CAD software, or other high level design programs. I should probably make the point now that all types of RAM are used for transferring data and the amount of data that can be transferred at once is limited to the RAM’s bandwidth.

When ram came out around 1950, it was first called DDR (Double Data rate) ram. Today, the ram that can be found in most computers is DDR2 (Double Data Rate synchronous dynamic) ram. A newer version, DDR3 SDRAM, is also available today; however, this RAM is typically more expensive as it does provide higher performance levels for your PC. Now you’re really probably wondering, if you don’t know already, what determines the speed of RAM. This is relatively simple as you would mainly have to identify clock speed. For lack of better words, I have quoted the following paragraph from a RAM article on Techwallz.com:

“Another important thing that you must know about random access memory is Clock Speed. Clock speed is how fast a computer completes basic operations and Clock Speed is measured in hertz. A higher clock speed is naturally better and it increase your PC speed. A megahertz refers to one-million cycles per seconds where a gigahertz is one-billion cycles per second. So a computer running at 900Mhz is running 900,000,000 cycles per second. While a 2.99Ghz computer is running 2,900,000,000.”

Now if you’re wondering how to upgrade you’re RAM for faster performance speed, Say from DDR2 to DDR3. HOLD ON! Before you buy it, you’re going to have to check your motherboard specifications (found within its instruction manual) to see if the type of RAM you want to buy is compatible with it. Failure to do so will only waste your time and money.

Hard Drive

Next, let’s look at something that should be familiar to most people: the Hard Drive. Since the development of the first hard drive, storage capacity and speed has been increased by leaps and bounds. I’m sure many of us born in the 1990’s or later remember at one point in their lives where computers only had an extremely small memory of a gigabyte or less (which at the time, was AWESOME). Recently, it would not be hard to find a terabyte or two of data capacity on a desktop (or any computer for that matter) giving people the ability to store all their (presumably legal) downloads and other files.

So, how does a hard drive store information? Well, to put it simply, a Hard Drive magnetically stores information on the hard disk (typically made of aluminum) allowing it to store an immense amount of information in a comparably limited space. This is similar to how data is stored on tape except that the speed of accessing that data is increased immensely in Hard Drives, as the disk in the hard drive itself spins at rates around 170mph!

Graphics Card/Video Card

Graphics cards, some integrated some not, are what allow you to see things on the screen that you are using right now!

Well…that’s great, right? But how does it work?

Since you asked nicely, “the CPU, working in conjunction with software applications, sends information about the image to the graphics card. The graphics card decides how to use the pixels on the screen to create the image. It then sends that information to the monitor through a cable. (How Stuff Works)“

Some people may not care about this part of their computer too much, as not everybody is a hard-core gamer or designer constantly stressing their PC’s to the limit. There are, however, a multitude of graphics cards that cater to all various sorts of needs. It shouldn’t be surprising to think that a researcher creating a vast statistics-heavy model, of a molecule perhaps, would want a chip that focused more on computational power of the GPU, in contrast to a gamer who only cares about the best quality and the best frame rate for their games.

Power Supply

The power supply is arguably the most important part of the computer, because without it, or a sufficient power supply, your computer will not be able to run. Power supplies come in many different wattage and it is critical that you get a large enough power supply to run all of the hardware inside your computer. Too large a power supply, however, can lead to wasted energy and not to mention a higher electric bill.

Supercomputer

I hope I have informed you well enough concerning the parts that are residing in your computer. What I want you to do now is just imagine a really really really big computer. REALLY BIG. Imagine the size of an entire football field filled with computer servers big. That, my reader, is what you should imagine when you think of a SUPERCOMPUTER.

The term supercomputer is widely known and used; however, it seems that little else about them is common knowledge. So, what is a supercomputer? Basically, it a high performance computing machine designed for one thing: To achieve unbelievable computing speeds. How do they do it? With lots and lots and lots of processors of course! They might not have some of things inside them like a normal desktop computer, like sound cards, but that’s because they don’t exactly need them.  Supercomputers have various uses, like performing complex scientific calculations, simulations like predicting the weather (apparently they still haven’t figured out a really accurate algorithm yet), rendering images, figuring out protein configurations, and other things that your laptop wouldn’t want to handle. They are also built sometimes not for research but for the pure purpose of competition among countries! Crazy isn’t it? Especially when you consider that the costs for building and maintain one are astronomical!

Thanks to the development of these computers, though, we are now able to enjoy a much higher level of technology, and improved standard of living. We may get some really weird weather forecasts sometimes, but at least we have them!

Thanks for reading! Leave a comment below if you wish!

Tweetz

Feeling a little twittery, I’ve decided to go ahead and do the Phun with Phake Tweets DS106 assignment. It involves a couple simple steps. Coming straight from the DS106 assignment page, all you have to do is “Use the Twister tool from ClassTools to generate a series of images representing the voices of past figures if they could express themselves in twitter. Notch it up, and recast a historical event with a new plot line, and notch it up again, but making it a back and forth between two figures (use @person!) – my example is not developed as a fanfic, but should give you an idea of what to do (okay, okay, I will do a real assignment, sigh).”

So for my spin on things, I chose to do a conversation with some well known historical figures, Socrates and Plato. The fake conversation I made between them concerns the trial that Socrates went through that eventually condemned him to death. Plato, a disciple of Socrates, is the person who we have to thank for putting most of that account in written record. If you guys aren’t that familiar with the either Socrates or Plato, I do advise reading up on them to at least familiarize yourself with some of our most beloved ancient philosophers. So just click the links below to see what I wrote!

What I wrote is definitely historically accurate.

*cough*

Definitely.

Socrates

 

Plato

I hope you enjoyed that tweet on history! Did you notice how Socrates and Plato look shockingly similar? Must of been that ol’ Greek Physique! Ahaha…

Feel free to leave any comments below! Thanks!

Whatever humans can do…

…computers can do it better!

Right?

産業界では2年後に第1弾を迎える消費税増税に戦々恐々としている。 =That we fear in the industry and we welcome war to the consumption tax hike in two years after the first bullet.

Eh…maybe not.

For this DS106 assignment, “Google Translate Fail”, one must “find something in a foreign language and use Google Translate and laugh about how awful it is.” Oh, and while you’re at it, “if its a language you know, give an explanation of what it should be and list possible reasons it got messed up.” For this assignment, I chose to translate something from Japanese to English. The results, as you have seen, are quite..um, remarkable (kind of, at least).

For my line, I took it from a news page after typing in 戦 々恐々in Google search.

First, in regards to why the explanation is “messed up”, is because Google translate does not have the ability to understand the complex nuances of the language. Taken from a video (produced by Google presumably) found on the blog entitled Google Operating System, “these computers use a process called ‘statistical machine translation’ — which is just a fancy way to say that our computers generate translations based on patterns found in large amounts of text.” That means that there is really is no true “understanding” of a language to a computer. Translating comes down to, in simple terms, numbers or statistical correlations. So, in terms of quality, the translations are usually more wrong than correct. In terms of speed, however, it is certainly much faster.

So while Google translate isn’t the greatest in terms of quality, the speed it is able to translate at is incredible and will no doubt have us coming back to it again and again regardless of the lack of quality.

Thinking: Personal Cyberinfrastructure

Throughout this blog post, I will explain my thoughts and feelings about being a university student in the digital age, what I hope to gain from my University experience, and give my view on Gardner Campbell’s ideas about a personal cyber infrastructure.

Being a university student in the Digital age, I feel that most of the classes that I have taken so far could have benefited from the use of technology in the classroom, such as posting assignments online or having a question and answer board for the class to use. The amount of classes that I had so far that actually utilize those resources, however, was very small. Moreover, the further I reflect upon my college experience the more I realize that the amount of teachers willing to take such a technological step, though drastic by no means, were few at best. On the contrary, I can remember more than one occasion in which the teacher had openly admitted not being good with the internet or “technology” in general, and proceeded to teach like they had for the last 30 years. While understandable, I think it would be much more efficient to learn a technology as it comes along. This is easier said than done; as this would require them to spend their precious time and money on learning something that has newly arrived to market.

In general, I hope to acquire a better understanding of the world around me and further reasoning capabilities in order to more efficiently accomplish my goals for the future. Thinking back to when I first began my college career, I thought that upon completion of my University degree, I would be completely prepared for my future job having completed all the necessary courses that were deemed necessary in order to be successful at said future job. To my surprise, and mixed emotion, I have learned that this was definitely not the case. Indeed, I did learn about the general principles of marketing, economics, finance, etc., but I slowly came to the realization that this was not what college was all about (for me at least). I found out that college was more like an amalgam of learning about subjects that you really wanted to learn, really didn’t want to learn, and perhaps the most important thing: subjects that you weren’t interested in originally but eventually found them to be quite interesting or learned to appreciate the meaning of its importance.

So my current wish as to what I want to get out of my university experience would be to learn as much as I can about the world and what composes it, in order to better myself. This means that I want to learn about subjects that I like, don’t like, or maybe even find pointless, as there is meaning in everything we learn, whether we realize it or not. Technology is no exception, and I wish to gain as much information about the growing cyber-world that is constantly evolving alongside the “real one” from classes such as this one.

In regard to Campbell’s ideas regarding personal cyber infrastructure, I think that if they were, in fact, implemented it would bring about a plethora of change for the better, as it would encourage the use of technology throughout other facets of life as people graduate from school and would also encourage innovation. I think, ultimately, his idea is good but the implementation would be extremely hard, if not impossible, to implement. There are plenty of people who have a hard time, or I should say lack of will power, to even maintain a simple blog such as this one, even if it is required to get a good grade in college. Making everyone in charge of their own web server is simple. Making everyone use that web server to the best of their own ability is a different thing entirely. Again, I think his idea is a good one, but in order to implement such a plan, it would have to be thought of carefully. It would not only raise tuition but also lessen time available to study or attend other classes.

DFPQ1

Cutting to the chase, let me get right to the selected quote from Gardner’s essay for today’s quiz:

“Sometimes, however, progress means looping back to earlier ideas whose vitality and importance were unrecognized or underexplored at the time, and bringing those ideas back into play in a new context.”

This line of text was probably the one that resonated with me the most compared to others within the text. It has been shown throughout history that sometimes the most profound changes or thoughts come from people who have long passed away. For example, works from now considered great thinkers,like Socrates, were not thought of much during the period they lived in. Today, however, the Platonic Socrates is examined greatly, with new meaning drawn from his writ actions daily.

Again, it is the profoundness of this line that makes me appreciate it so much. If we, as humans, do not consider our history carefully while progressing technologically, it can lead us to overlook a critical component for the solution in regards to our contemporary problems pertaining to innovation.

The Art of: Music

Taken from Wikipedia, music is defined as:  “an art form whose medium is sound and silence. Its common elements are pitch (which governs melody and harmony), rhythm (and its associated concepts tempo, meter, and articulation), dynamics, and the sonic qualities of timbre and texture. The word derives from Greek μουσική (mousike; “art of the Muses“).

Music, to me, is a fascinating characteristic of humanity. There is no culture that exists, or has ever existed, that does not have some sort of musical concept within it. From the tribes of the Amazon to the United States of America, music has become an integral part of everyday life within all of society. It is inescapable, having permeated all of our life’s boundaries. How many times can you recall in a day where you hear music that you weren’t even listening to voluntarily? Probably, one will be able to think of a couple times in which that has happened. Probably there are very few of us left in this modernized world who can say otherwise.

It fascinates me even more to think of how there is seemingly a music for everything that we do in this world. What I mean by this extends beyond genre and crosses over into the realm of songs or tunes that were specifically designed for a certain setting. For example, can you think of the last time you were in a some type of doctor’s office, perhaps a dentist’s office, and recall the music that was being played in the waiting room? Most likely, the music that you could hear in such a situation was quite calming, tranquil music. The reasons for that are simple. Music, inherently, is typically able to affect our mood beyond reach words. As the rhythms of songs caress our ears we can be either relaxed or energized depending on the tunes ferocity. So, for this reason, the music in the doctor’s office would be calming in order to soothe your nerves before heading in for your consultation or treatment. I’m sure if they played a song from the death metal genre or a more sombre and melancholic song, one’s feelings would necessarily be changed. I am sure you can think of many more similar situations that you’ve experienced in which music was used to influence our emotions, as in the doctor’s office.

Music, of course, is an immensely deep subject, one that you can spend an entire lifetime on analyzing. For this post, however, I will end it here asking you to relate your personal experience with music (if you played any instruments, your favorite type of music, singer, etc.). If there is anything else you wish to add, feel free to do so.

Thanks for reading!