Dec 19

Exploring Technology

TechnologyWhat a wonderful world we live in! The technological advances we’ve made in the past few years have been amazing. Our parents and grandparents are seeing digital gadgets and technical gizmos that they never would have imagined possible in earlier years. Each year we make new leaps and bounds in scientific discovery. Who knows what cool new devices will be available to our children and grand children.

Further Tech-Xploration is made possible by contests and programs sponsored on both national and local levels. Summer space camps and other extracurricular activities help to ignite within our children and future generations a sense of excitement about the future fields of technology. Such programs help kids understand the importance of their normal curricular classes such as math, science, and computer-related subjects.

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Sep 11

Inventions that Stood the Test of Time

digital penWith so many new gadgets coming out each year, it’s safe to say that technology is an ever changing world all its own. From televisions to computers, from tablets to cell phones and even phablets, our modern society enjoys the luxuries of advanced engineering on a daily basis. But where did it all really start? The truth is that if it weren’t for inventions from days old, we wouldn’t have any of the great technology that we have become so reliant upon today.

There have been a plethora of inventions over the years that are still widely used today, even though some of them may presently be in an altered form. The wheel, for instance, started out centuries ago as a primitive chiseled stone, and now has become so advanced that it provides safety for the passengers it helps to carry along. Another great example is the light bulb, which for the most part hasn’t changed much in the years since it was patented in 1879. That’s the mark of quality engineering – inventions that stand the test of time.

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Jan 27

New Superfast Speeds Tested Across The World

Rate of Technology IncreasesNew superfast broadband speeds are currently being tested across the world. With news that Korea is investing heavily in the next wave of mobile internet communications and that over one terabyte download speeds have been achieve in the UK, the world is moving towards a world in which super-fast internet is the standard for many people. This is great news especially when you take into account that one of the biggest limitations found in modern technology is the speed at which information is transmitted. With both download and upload speeds reaching untold heights, the possibilities which this offers for businesses are plentiful, but exactly how can this new wave of high speed access change the way in which business is conducted throughout the world?

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May 23

Technologies for Outdoor Use


With mobile devices becoming more embedded in our daily living, they also play a role in enhancing the outdoor experience (which often gets overlooked). Latest studies indicate that while today’s generation are concerned with the environment, they’re also feeling more detached from it. Technology can remedy this by helping people “connect” to nature by allowing them to observe and gather data regarding their environment.

These devices help engage today’s generation in learning more about the outdoors, with new technologies that foster research, awareness, and technology skills. These include:

Smartphones and Tablets

These mobile devices are handy tools to be used for outdoor study. Gaining access to the internet, video-camera, and GPS makes it easy to collect, manage, and transmit information from outdoor observations. Apps can be downloaded to engage individuals for outdoor-related activities, like wildlife identification, for instance. Today there are hundreds of mobile apps that cater to the outdoors.

GPS Units

GPS or Global Positioning System is a form of technology that communicates directly with satellites to detect and track locations on Earth. GPS units are ideal tools for getting people involved to explore nature, conduct environment-related research, and carry out service-learning projects. They can also be used to help explorers get from one place to another in a dense environment where there are no roads or civilization available. There are a lot of things like GPS Units that get used outdoors, and many are really starting to gain traction and become more mainstream, like rangefinders. If you need one, there are plenty of great places to read reviews and find the best one for you.

Digital Cameras

These devices can be utilized to document the natural environment, keep track of environment-related projects, collect evidence, or gather breath-taking outdoor scenery. If you really enjoy taking photos of landscapes & creatures that you find while exploring the outdoors, maybe you should consider getting a spotting scope. They are expensive, so I suggest reading some reviews and determining your needs before you get one.

Digital Weather Stations

These small monitoring devices are purposely made to gather weather data in real-time. They can be installed anywhere outdoors such as in parks or schools. This encourages people to keep track of their local weather conditions while being aware of the environment.

Water Quality Monitoring Devices

Monitoring the quality of water involves live application of STEM skills to help people be stewards of water resources in their local community. These tools have probes, thermometers, and other features that take accurate measurements of the current water available. The process of collecting data is also exciting since the results will also identify the chemical levels of water collected.

These are just some examples of technologies that can be used in the outdoors. Not only are they proven useful but they also foster awareness and appreciation a community’s local environment.

May 18

What Matters Most in a SIP Trunk Provider?

A few months ago, we shared with you an informative post titled What Matters Most in a SIP Trunk Provider? Now, Software Advice, a free online tool for researching VoIP software, just released the second half of their 2015 SIP Trunking report. The data was so extensive that they had to create two reports! Working with their research partner, Lightspeed GMI, Software Advice gathered 208 responses from random IT decision-makers over a five-day survey consisting of 30 questions.

We’ve worked closely with Software Advice over the past couple of months to present to you the most up-to-date research conducted in the VoIP industry. Remember such articles as What is the Ideal Phone Setup for Your VoIP System?, Free Communications Apps, Switching to VoIP, and Telecommunications Search Trends? Well, we’re doing it again with this post. Settle in as we present to you Part II: What Matters Most in a SIP Trunk Provider? For the complete article, please click here.

A Quick Overview

As we mentioned in Part I, SIP, or Session Initiation Protocol, is an Internet-based service that connects local and long-distance calls to and from traditional phone networks. If the person you’re trying to call is still using a traditional phone system, you’re going to need a SIP trunk provider to connect the calls. This review will touch upon the major factors IT decision-makers think about when selecting a provider. Matters such as security options and service level agreements (SLAs) and how they relate to SIP trunking installation and maintenance will be covered.

Take the Broadconnect SIP truinking quiz

On-Premise PBXs Are More Dependable Than Cloud-Based For SIP Trunking

The survey demonstrated that there are several benefits of using an on-premise solution along with SIP trunking. More specifically, if businesses choose to go with an on-premise PBX phone system, they can improve its reliability. Out of all the respondents, only 53% of those with on-premise systems report that service outages happen “often” or “very often.” That number rose to 60% when the respondents had cloud-based systems.

There are many reasons, technologically speaking, why there are variations with the outage frequency. One such reason is if an organization has on-premise servers, those servers will have more of a direct connection to PBX applications. Those PBX systems offer backup connectivity options. If their Internet service goes down, calls can be routed over the traditional phone network.

Please take a look at this chart below to see the outage frequencies by type of PBX system.

Chart_1_-_Outage_Frequency_by_Type_of_PBX_System

Simple Configuration, In-Depth Support for Cloud PBXs Offered with SIP Trunks

We’ve learned from our respondents that when used with cloud-based systems instead of on-premise, SIP trunks support a greater range of PBX features and functionality. There are also compatibility issues that cloud users are able to avoid unlike the users of the on-premise systems. 4 percent of the group who use on-premise systems say their existing PBX systems and SIP provider are completely incompatible. If you’re going to build a system from scratch, it may behoove you to look into a cloud-based PBX system to avoid any compatibility and configuration headaches.

Take a look at the chart below to see cloud vs. on-premise PBX features supported by SIP trunking.

Chart_2_-_Orbit_1-1_-_PBX_Features_Supported_by_SIP_Trunking_-_Cloud_vs._On-Premise

Great Majority of Respondents Find Satisfaction with Their SLAs

One way you can help yourself out and lessen maintenance and configuration issues is to choose a SIP provider that has the SLAs you need for your business. As a reminder, SLAs are contracts that state the levels of service organizations will expect from their SIP providers.

Four important types of SIP trunking these SLAs relate to are:

♦ Installation – Ensures that the installation will be complete within a certain time frame.
♦ Mean time to recovery (MTTR) – Ensures the provider will take an fixed (average) amount of time to have the service up and running after and outage.
♦ Mean opinion score (MOS) – This is a rating scale for the subject experience of audio quality.
♦ R-Factor score – A sophisticated, alternative scale for measuring call quality.

See the chart below which shows the prevalence of SLAs.

Chart_4_-_Prevalence_of_SLAs

Installation SLAs slightly beat the MTTR and call-quality SLAs, but otherwise, there was nearly an equal level of occurrence for all SLAs mentioned.

As you’ll see in the picture below, on average, it was found that most providers stick to the ongoing MOS/R-Factor and MTTR SLAs they offer.

Chart_5_-_Frequency_of_Providers_Adherence_to_SLAs

Managed Routers, Session Border Controllers Adopted by Great Majority of Respondents

Selecting a managed hardware plan from your SIP provider is another way to facilitate the SIP trunking deployment process. The IT-decision makers who responded to the survey adopted the managed-router and session border controller (SBC) plans at a high adoption rate, with managed-routers edging out the SBC plans by 8%.

See the chart below for an illustration of the adoption plans.

Chart_6_-_Adoption_of_Managed_Hardware_Plans

Looking at the survey results, most businesses would seem to benefit from at least one of the plans. Overall, it’s best to determine which kind of plan will meet your organization’s needs best.

For Security of SIP Trunks TLS is the Top Solution

Lastly the survey participants were questioned about the security measures their businesses use. Yes, session border controllers are in favor with the respondents, but not as much as other methods where securing SIP trunks are concerned. Below are a couple SIP trunking security measures we’re going to discuss:

♦ TLS – A protocol for encrypting IP communications, used for purposes such as securing transmission of payment card information and also VoIP security.

♦ VPNs – A private network that can be created by hard-wired or direct wireless connections between devices.

There are also several types of VPNs, but today, we’re looking at these:

♦ Internet Protocol Security (IPsec) VPNs: This is a type of VPN often used in connection with VoIP to enable video conferencing and secure voice calling.

♦ Multi-protocol Label Switching (MPLS) VPNs: This is a type of VPN supported by an MPLS network. In these networks, data packets are assigned labels that control how they are routed between network nodes (such as switches and routes).

Please see the following chart to view the SIP trunking security measures.

Chart_7_-_Adoption_of_SIP_Trunking_Security_Measures

As you can see from the chart, the VoIP security measures that are currently available are quite a distance away from being universally adopted. Organizations should be sure that any potential providers they choose will support the security options that are in their best interests.

Conclusion

As a recap, we come away with five main key points concerning IT decision-makers and what they consider when selecting a SIP Trunk provider:

♦ Cloud based systems have more SIP provider outages than on-premise systems.
♦ On-premise systems are less compatible with SIP providers than cloud systems.
♦ Uptime, call-quality, and installation guarantees concerning SLAs deliveries were met.
♦ It’s wise to invest in managed hardware plans.
♦ The most widely adopted VoIP security mechanism is TLS.

As you can see, there is a lot of information presented in this post, but there is even more in the original study. Take a few moments to head over to their site to read it in full. In the meantime, to be sure you don’t miss any of our VoIP Innovations’ posts — please subscribe to our blog and get them delivered right to your inbox!

May 13

In Today’s Time, Aging is No Longer a Problem

It is normal to worry about aging, but you now have a modern solution to that problem.

A lot of people are afraid of getting old. They feel like they are a ticking time bomb and it is just a matter of time before they turn into the person they don’t want to be. Well, aging is indeed a part of life. As we grow older, our skin becomes more fragile. Hence, fine lines become more visible and even skin starts to sag. These are signs of aging and this is what many people want to avoid. The good news is that in today’s age and time, these problems can easily be avoided.

Staying healthy

The first key to looking young is to eat healthy. As the cliché goes, we are what we eat. If you eat fatty foods or foods that are filled with preservatives, you can expect to really look old in no time. However, if you eat foods that are rich in antioxidants and other minerals, then your body will let go of toxins that contribute in aging. Your dead skin cells will also continue to be replenished by new ones. Thus, as soon as the old skin cells die, a new one is born and this makes you look a lot younger and fresher all the time.

Sleeping well

This is also an important factor in keeping you look young. Just look at yourself in the mirror when you have enough sleep and when you haven’t. There is a huge difference. Sleep can really change everything. If you always have enough sleep, you feel revitalized. Your skin becomes brighter and glowing. If you haven’t, other than feeling restless and stressed out, your skin also looks dry and damaged.

Using antiaging cream

If the signs of again start to show up, you might begin to panic. However, there is actually no reason to do so. With the help of antiaging cream, you can look young again. There are a lot of creams that have gone through clinical trials over the years. As a result, they have perfected the formula in keeping people look young. Lifecell skin cream is one of them. If you don’t believe it, read the reviews of licefell skin cream from this site and see how other people think about the product.

Once you use this cream, you can expect visible changes in no time. It has perfect combination of all ingredients that help make you look young without necessarily damaging your sensitive skin. You just need to check with your doctor if you have possible issues with this cream.

Well, if anything goes wrong, there is always surgery. The good news is that you can only resort to that solution if this cream won’t work. However, if it works for many other people, it will work for you as well. Thus, it is always worth the try.

Aside from this cream, you might also want to check more modern ways to help your child speak faster. For a review of chris thompson's talking to toddlers, go to http://www.happierandhealthier.org/talking-toddlers-audio-course-review/.

May 09

3 Interesting News Pieces about Technology Today

3 Interesting News Pieces about Technology Today

Technology is ever growing and just watching the progressive evolution of even the simplest hardware is fun. Because of the hundreds of different developments, life is made easier for so many people. However, changes have come so quickly over the years that it’s no longer shocking to watch something amazing being created. There are hundreds of stories out there that tell us the kind of direction we are taking when it comes to making our daily lives much easier. So, if you want to know a few interesting things about the world of technology, then here are some of the most interesting news pieces from around the Internet.

  1. Musk and Improved Batteries

Alternative energies are quickly changing the way we view energy consumption and usage, however, they still have one major problem. Battery life has always been the problem when it comes to solar and wind energy. The technology we currently employ in energy storage is simply not cutting it and that’s because they’re bulky and not user friendly. Elon Musk is once again leading the charge towards improved energy storage units by making them easier to use and able to store even more energy during the night time. Beyond just home usage, mister Musk has even considered and designed a battery that will be able to handle gigawatts of energy in order to power small cities.

  1. Pest Control is Getting Safer

Whether you’re doing termite inspection yourself and then learning about how to get rid of the termites on your own or just learning about how to trap rats, pest control has always been inherently risky. However, thanks to vigilant scientists, the process of killing pesky insects or rodents has become easier. For example, Florida locals have recently taken to using fish to get rid of mosquitos. On the flipside, the Nisus Corporation has found a way to trick ants into following their liquid bait. It won’t come as a surprise that sometime in the future, we may lessen our reliance on dangerous chemicals in order to clear our home of pests so the process of DIY cleaning will become easier.

  1. Cybercrime is Making a Comeback in a Very Disturbing Way

Cybercrime has always been trick to pin down because of the nature of the Internet. While different governments have found different ways to deal with these real threats, a disturbing trend has begun rear its ugly head. Real world criminals who have priors that have nothing to do with the web have started taking to the keyboard. They are learning about the scams and are even becoming more technically savvy. These criminals often have violent histories, which mean threats are made even more real. Luckily, cyber security has been catching up and police departments are equipped with these digital threats.

For every good story about technology, there are often bad ones that follow along with them. It’s inevitable that danger arises from the evolution of tech, but if you learn about new threats early on, you can prevent any danger from happening to you before it’s too late.

May 08

Thoughts on the New Power Wall

It looks like Elon Musk is doing it again. This time the announcement of the Power Wall potentially ushers in a less complicated, more aesthetically pleasing solar (or other) power battery option. It is easy to imagine one of the Power Wall units powering a tiny home in a sunny state without much problem. The unit kind of reminds me of a very large boogie board in shape. In fact if you have a spot on your home or in your garage where you hang up a surf board or paddle board or some such item this could fit well in its place — it looks that good. For back-to-the-landers or off-grid folks who have been hesitant to install solar because of all the complications this might be just the thing to convince them to go ahead once it has evolved a little – yes, that’s right, the freedom to use all your kitchen appliances and even buy new ones like fancy new electric cookers that require a plugin has come. The Power Wall unit is designed for easy installation and for the average consumer and is easily scalable so that up to 9 units can be hooked together for 90 kWh per day.

Elon Musk and Tesla Motors think big: in the announcement Mr. Musk states that there is really no reason why the whole world can’t be powered by a couple of billion of these units and compares the industrial infrastructure necessary to that of the automotive industry. But that is far in the future. Right now, the first version of the Power Wall is likely a little too pricey for the average homeowner at US$3500 a piece. But just as other technology comes down in price as it develops and as production is scaled and manufacturing is fine-tuned so can the Power Wall — and others like it that will no doubt be developed to compete.

Right now one of the main values of the battery is its ability to act as backup power if there is a blackout. It can keep refrigeration and important lights and electrical appliances going when the grid goes down.

While the idea of powering the whole world through solar energy via these batteries (plus solar panels and everything else you need to get running) seems like a perfect solution there are potential drawbacks. Is it ever good to put “All your eggs in one basket” as my mother would say? Probably not, especially when it comes to something as vital as the energy we need to run our homes and cars and to live the life we’ve become accustomed to. It seems wise to diversify the ways we power out lives. A mix of solar, wind, tidal and hydro, and so on is intelligent, as well as diversification in the ways we store that power. All have their upside and downside and some are more appropriate for certain locales than are others; for example, you won’t get much solar gain in Siberia in the winter, but wind power will be plentiful.

All in all though this is a great leap forward and away from fossil fuel dependence. Bravo, Mr. Musk!

May 04

Some Cool Technological Breakthroughs in Medicine

It’s super funny how the world has developed these days. There’s a whole bunch of crazy, technological breakthroughs that would make you swear you’re in a sci-fi movie. Like for one, there’s already a robot which doctors are using in a medical facility in Saskatchewan (video below).

But anyways, I’m going to talk about a few pretty profound medical breakthroughs that you probably didn’t even know about.

Bionic Eye

This is a pretty cool invention. It’s called the “Argus II” which takes a video signal from a camera which which is built into sunglasses. The signal is then wirelessly transmitted to implants placed inside a person’s retina. Although this system isn’t perfect, it still allows a blind person to regain the ability to read large letters and differentiate white from black.

Seizure Stopper

Seizure Stopping DeviceThink about this as being a defibrillator for you brain. This is a device which is primarily used for people who frequenty experience seizures. The device uses sensors which are implanted in the brain and can sense an oncoming seizure. The implant then sends electrical signals to counteract the brains signals which are going haywire. This product has been known to reduce seizures by over 50%.

Heart Saving-Hormone

Did you know that about a quarter of everyone who is hospitalized due to heart failure generally do not live much longer than a year after the incidence? However, there’s been a new drug which has been known to increase survival rates by about 37%. This drug is called Serelaxin and it was developed by researchers at the University of San Francisco in California. The drug is a synthetically produced version of a chemical found in pregnant women. This chemical is produced in women during pregnancy to help their heart deal with the added stress of dealing with another body living inside of them.  This is definitely a piece of technology that I can see being administered by the increasing amount of urgent care clinics across the country.

Robot Doctor

Medical robots are becoming much more popular these days. But one practical implication for them is for administering mild sedation before surgery. For example, if you’re going in for a colonoscopy, it doesn’t require much sedation. However, if you were to use an anesthesiologist for every colonoscopy, that would cost the government over $1 billion per year. So using a robot is a much more cost effective solution. The robot has the ability to calculate the right amount of sedation required and has the ability to monitor and track vitals throughout the surgery. The system also comes equipped with an earpiece which allows the robot to wake up the patient if necessary. All this, without the use of an anesthesiologist.

Hepatitis Cure

This cure has been able to increase the cure rate of hepatitis C from 70% to 95%. The interesting thing is that the previous cure came with many side effects, and the treatment spanned over a period of 48 weeks.  So now hepatitis isn’t that “not so great disease you have to always live with” and the treatment period is now 12 weeks.

Apr 29

The Science Of High Intensity Interval Training

This article is written by Dallas Mitchell, an American College of Sports Medicine certified trainer, who also runs a fitness website called The Muscle Review. You can find out more about Dallas and see some great articles he has by clicking here.

There has been a big movement in the fitness community in the last couple of years, from what many affectionately refer to as “bro-science” to actual peer reviewed scientific research about how our bodies react to different workout stimulus and nutrition protocols. This is largely due to many fitness professionals who didn’t just want to recite what some guy at the gym told them and assume it’s the truth. They wanted to find out if what they were told is correct and/or if there is an even better way to do things. One area where this has generated great buzz is on the heavily debated topic of cardiovascular exercise. More specifically, we will focus on the question of what type of cardio is best for losing weight effectively.

Most people are told that if they want to lose bodyweight, they should lift weights and walk on a treadmill for 30-40 minutes a few times a week. The theory was that this would create an atmosphere where the body would use fat for energy because it was a low intensity exercise, and wouldn’t require the body to use glycogen for fuel. This has been something that has been passed along as “gospel” in the fitness community for decades now. Since it’s been talked about for so long, most people just took it as truth. Luckily, researchers began to compare this type of “low intensity” exercise to “high intensity” exercise and see if, in fact, “low intensity” is better at fat burning. What they figured out was nothing short of pretty extraordinary and jaw dropping in the fitness community.

What the researchers did was test the low intensity method against common high intensity methods that were used by track athletes. The low intensity exercise was walking on a treadmill or riding a stationary bike at a speed of 2.5-3.5 mph for 40 minutes a time and doing this 3 times per week. The high intensity exercise was sprinting or riding a stationary bike as hard as someone can go for a max effort of 15-30 seconds. They would do this exercise in intervals of 10 at a time and do this 3 times a week as well. What they found was pretty eye opening.

They did find that low intensity exercise done for 30-40 minutes did in fact burn more calories than doing the high intensity exercises for 10 intervals of 15-30 seconds. But at the end of the 8 week study, the group that did high intensity intervals lost 15% more bodyfat than the group that did the low intensity exercise. They found the reason for this is that after the completion of a high intensity exercise (in this case, 10 sets of 15-30 second intervals), the metabolism in these subjects skyrocketed and it stayed high for up to 12 hours after the workout. This means that while a high intensity workout session may not burn as many calories as a low intensity exercise session, the high intensity workout creates an “after burn” effect and your body continues to burn fat for hours after the workout.

They are still trying to find the answer as to why this is the case, but many have hypothesized that since the body is pushed closer to a maximum effort in high intensity training, the body responds by replenishing nutrients at a higher rate and causing the body to burn more calories to do this. No matter the mechanisms behind these findings, they are a great leap forward in understanding how our bodies work and the best way to stay in shape.

Apr 12

Are Tesla’s Self Driving Cars For Real?

Elon Musk has just claimed that he will be rolling out driverless cars in the near future. This has stirred a wealth of commotion in the legal realm as nobody knows if this is allowed or not. The CEO of Tesla feels that the cars are completely safe for highway driving and can easily stay in their own lane and adjust speeds.

If you are wondering how this might be possible it is actually pretty easily done as Google has been testing them for quite some time now. A simple integration of radar, sonar and some other sensing hardware already exists and functions quite well. They feel comfortable with the software that has been developed to combine this information along with GPS and mapping pieces to be completely autonomous. We are not quite sure exactly what the limitations are for release, but are quite excited to find out autopilot features will come included with the next generation of Model S.

What does this mean for the rest of the drivers though that can’t afford something like this with automation? It might be quite interesting seeing a driver reading a newspaper as you pass them on the interstate. Computer simulations and models have proven that the majority of automobile accidents are caused by careless drivers and not any other external input. Computer controlled cars can alleviate this by removing the human element from the mix which will result in much less death and tragedy on the roadways. It will also reduce the amount of automotive repairs required which costs can add up quickly as you can see at autoservicecosts.com. So maybe the initial cost of investing in this technology will yield great returns including that of reduced injuries.

Some of the regulation that has been put in place simply talks about how these automobiles are required to be tested, with very little in place for actual production units on the road. States are scrambling to address the issue at hand with mixed sentiments for a self driving car. It is hard to deny the fact that humans are what is most dangerous on the road, and removing this element will be safer for all.
This would be awesome because you could actually just sit there and work or play video games on a trip across the country. This will allow for many entrepreneurs to focus on their businesses growing our economy, rather than wasting time in the car. Imagine if you were able to work on the latest blog post and get WordPress support for your business rather than sitting in a traffic jam? I could definitely go for this.

The biggest factor that sticks out in my mind though is what happens if there is a bug in the software, or a hacker can gain access to a system. This could result in massive malfunction and damage, possible on a large scale. We are usually apprehensive about new things though, and this could be a completely unnecessary concern as airplanes are and have been able to fly themselves for many years now and nobody complains about that.

Apr 08

The Most Advanced Hi-Tech Automatic Transmissions

All you techies out there: I bet you like cars too. (even if only electric self driving cars). Well even the self driving cars still need transmissions. But you would be surprised at how advanced today’s transmissions are. From internet enabled transmissions to infinitely variable transmissions, today’s car makers are coming up with a wide range of super advanced transmissions. Lets take a look at some of the advances in modern transmission technology.

In 1921 the first automatic transmission was credited to a Canadian, Aflred Munro, but was never used in cars. It wasn’t until hydraulic fluid was used in 1932 by two Brazilians (Jose Araripe & Fernando Lemos), that the automatic transmission found use in cars. GM bought the invention from the Brazilians, put it in an Oldsmobile, and called it the “Hydra-Matic” (a name which did not stick thank god). They were put to good use in WWII by being built into tanks.

The advances in transmissions are currently centered around what is known as the Electronically Controlled Transmission (ECT). Of course these have been around for quite a while, but the more advanced among them are now using Computerized Electronic Control Units to control even the most minute changes in engagement needs. Some cars are even using a totally separate computer called the Transmission Control Unit(TCU) to share data with another computer called the Engine Management Computer. These two computers allow such a high degree of management that almost all of the mechanical risk has been taken out of shifting gears.

In fact these transmissions have become so advanced that they have enabled what are called Continuously Variable Transmissions (CVT). These transmissions are so advanced that the concept of “gears” or “steps” can be dispensed with entirely. Instead these transmissions work with the computers to smoothly provide the exact gear ratio using varying sizing wheels and cones, (or hydraulic pumps).

The most advanced ones, like the “Toroidal” CVT are infinitely variable and introduce the concepts of zero gear ratios.

Most current hybrid vehicles use an electronically controlled variable transmission (E-CVT) which allows the gears to be continually changing as the car drives.

Which are most energy efficient? Well the manual transmission is still more efficient than the run of the mill automatic transmissions. But the new E-CVT transmissions are more efficient than the manual.

So which cars have the most advanced transmissions? Many experts point to BMW to see examples of the most advanced transmissions. They introduced the first 6 speed transmission. But Mercedes soon caught up with them by introducing the first 7 speed transmissions in the 2003 7G-Tronic. Toyota came out with an 8 speed transmission in the Lexus LS 460 in 2007. In 2014 Jeep Cherokee came out with the worlds first 9 speed transmission!

A company called Zero Shift claims to make the most advanced transmissions on the planet, but more well known is ZF Friedrichshafen AG which as of 2014 is the second largest auto parts manufacturer in the world. Supposedly you’ll never need a transmission flush with one of these, but if you do it will be expensive.

Mar 18

Why hire a freelancer to keep up with technology?

It’s hard to keep up with technological developments sometimes. I’m a professional coder and web developer, and while I’m well-known and respected in this particular field, even I struggle to keep up with every little change, development and technological advancement. I think it takes a real professional to admit that they don’t know everything. In this post, I’ll give you some advice on where to find the experts that can fill the gaps in your knowledge.

Why hire someone to help you?

Many developers don’t like hiring someone else to help them. This is either because of pride (or sometimes ignorance that they need help, which is worse) or because they do not want to spend the money. Look, I get it. When you’re a freelancer, you are the one getting hired, why would you want to split your income with someone else? Well, there’s plenty of reasons. The most important of which is delivering the best value to your clients. My work is excellent and state of the art, because I’m not afraid to admit I need to hire someone to help once in a while. Sometimes it’s a professional coder, well versed in a coding language I’m not very familiar with, and sometimes it might be a graphic designer. Every single time I bring someone into my team, the quality of the work skyrockets.

Where to hire the right people?

So you’re convinced you can’t do it all alone, and you’ve seen the benefits of hiring outside expertise? Let’s take a look at where you can easily and quickly find the expertise necessary. I frequently use websites such as elance.com or odesk.com to hire someone talented. The benefit on these websites is that each freelancer has his details, portfolio, and previous customer feedback on one easy to view page. It’s like a shop, but for freelancers. This allows you to select the appropriate person, based on his experience, skills and previous work very quickly.

These websites are great for small projects, and some users are verified, which gives more security to the user. But when I’m looking for someone to work with on a larger project, or on a longer term basis, then I need more verification that this user can be trusted. I generally use a background check service such as Instant Checkmate. In my experience, Instant Checkmate is the best background check service online. They allow you to make sure the freelancer, or anyone else you want to search for, does not have a criminal background, and that the person is who they say they are. This is important when dealing with people on the Internet in different countries. You never know who you’re speaking to. It’s a must for me when I’m paying someone upfront for their services, as it really does reduce my risk. If you’re wondering whether a service such as Instant Checkmate is safe to use; we’ve looked into the safety and found that this website has been verified by Norton security as fraud free and virus free.

So now that you know why to hire a freelancer, and how to hire the best one for the job, I’m sure you’ll find it easier to keep up with the latest technological advancements.

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