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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Jun 23

Is Apple Planning To Topple Google?

This article was written by Jared Lee, who is a Springfield, MO SEO Expert as well as a Kansas City SEO Consultant to many businesses as well, not to mention he also owns Vibranium Internet Marketing. He knows a thing or two when it comes to what’s going on in the search engine world.

When it comes to juggernauts in the technology and internet field, the first two companies that will come to mind are usually Apple and Google. These two companies also come to mind when the topic of companies that can’t stand each other come up as well. It wasn’t that long ago, before Steve Job’s death, that Jobs said he was basically going to do everything in his power to destroy Google. I believe there was mention of thermonuclear war as well, which is not the type of talk that one would typically use to describe a friendly relationship.

Since Job’s death in 2011, though, it seems that the tensions between the two companies have died down. Job’s handpicked CEO Tim Cook has taken the company in the direction of innovating new products and not focusing on Google, which has made the company worth more than ever during that time as well. Sure, there have been things like Apple their own Apple Maps in lieu of Google Maps (and other small things), but that could be chalked up to a company just wanting to use their own products.

Recently, however, there has been a lot of chatter about Apple and them having plans to get into the search engine market. People have been speculating what they will do and what it would be like compared to Google. What if I told you they already have a search engine and you have probably been using it for years now? It’s really not crazy talk. What I’m referencing is, of course, Siri, the built-in virtual assistant that will find information for you and do things on your command. You could basically call her a fancy search engine in a lot of ways.

You may think that Siri is not competing with Google, but it really is because of the sheer fact that more and more search traffic is coming from smartphones, in which Apple owns a huge share of that market. The more people that use Siri to find things, the less they use Google to find those same things. Recently, they just updated the iOS to include Spotlight Search on iOS devices. With a simple swipe down on your screen, you can search for things within your iPhone like in apps, contacts, and other things. But with the latest update, you can also search for things that you would search in Google for as well.

Again, this is a small but significant change. What Apple is doing is slowly rolling out a competitor to Google and they are doing it by utilizing their own devices and customer base. Now, it’s not clear that Apple has its sights set on taking Google head on, but one would assume that isn’t their plan as that would not be wise. What they may be doing is taking small shots here and there that can eventually add up to a knockout blow. If Apple can take a large share of local search traffic away from Google, that is a big hit to them and for the future because that’s where the trend is moving toward..

We will have to wait and see over the next few years if Apple is actually taking on or trying to topple Google. We can assume that perhaps Tim Cook didn’t put an end to the fight Steve Jobs was so passionate about. He instead just decided to take a more stealth and strategic plan to take on Google instead.

Jun 22

The Future Technology Developments in Power Equipment

It always seems that certain industries are slow to adopt new technology. For example, the power equipment industry. It was only a couple of years ago now that electric generators were revolutionized with inverter technology. Inverters are just computer controlled converters to go from DC to AC. Power equipment can be classified as any machine that does work. From lawn mowers to log splitters. Here I’d like to talk about where the future technology developments will come in certain types of popular power equipment. Namely: power washers, electric generators and mowers.

Power Washers

A power washer moves water through a nozzle to blast dirt from surfaces. They have either an electric motor or gas engine to power the pump that moves the water. There is also an unloader valve that circulates water when the trigger is not engaged. The brand Generac has recently released a revolutionary power washer that adjusts the pressure by throttling the engine. This technology is only the beginning of where this type of power equipment is going. Let me tell you about the future of pressure cleaners.

Once battery technology evolves to adequate power and charge life all pressure cleaners will be electric. And not just that but also they will be battery powered. It makes no sense to have that cord dangling behind you when you’re dealing with water. I’ve used both electric pressure cleaners and gas ones and there is no doubt electric powered is the future given it is quieter, no emissions and much cheaper in the future.

Electric Generators

Electric generators have been around since the 1830s. Since then we have them to do all sorts of fun stuff. At the most basic level a generator just turns mechanical energy into electric energy. Present day electric generators use an internal combustion engine to create electric energy in an alternator. Recently companies like Honda and Yamaha have released inverter generators which use a computer controlled inverter to smooth the electrical wave to allow you to power sensitive electronics like laptops and variable speed power tools.

In the future this technology will become more affordable and more powerful. At the moment inverter technology is 3x the price of conventional generators. Also that price rises steeply as you require more power. Within 10 years inverters will be the same price as conventional gensets. They are more fuel efficient, quieter and their only disadvantage is they are more expensive so that is the future. More affordable inverter generators.

Battery Powered Lawn Mowers

Just like pressure washers lawn mowers will slowly move to battery powered only. At the moment most own a petrol lawn mower because they are more powerful and more affordable than a battery powered mower. Expect this to change quite quickly as electric motors become more powerful, lighter and batteries become much better. Tesla is leading the charge in battery technology and they are showing no signs of slowing down. Their pioneering work will change many many industries.

Here’s why all mowers will be battery powered in 10 years. For one, the only advantage to petrol powered mowers is they are more powerful and can cut through the tough grass. So what if battery power offered you the same power for the same price? You would be forced to choose battery power because it is quieter, has no emissions, and you don’t need to do any maintenance on it. All you need to do is charge it when required.

There’s 3 pieces of power equipment and what the future holds for each. The advancement of battery technology will be the single greatest innovation and will cause a ripple effect felt far and wide.

Jun 19

An Interesting Look at Technological Evolution of Aromatherapy

When you think of essential oils and aromatherapy it’s unlikely that any of the technical merits of the field will come to mind.

But with the recent boom in interest around essential oils there’s been a substantial increase in the sub market of aromatherapy diffusers. And it’s more than just different models and competitors hitting the market – there’s been advancements in how these diffusers work, too.

The Evolution of Aromatherapy

Long ago we humans learned how to concentrate the aromatic compounds of plants.

In the beginning the only way we could absorb the therapeutic plant aromas into our bloodstream (apart from applying it directly into the skin to be absorbed) was to inhale the materials directly. While this is a pretty inefficient approach to aromatherapy, it’s what we had.

A bit later we got more savvy with fire. The idea was likely very simple at first – make a big fire, toss in a pile of your favorite plants, burn it up and enjoy. (The more savvy fire user might create a slow burning incense, but it does sound fun to toss 10 lbs of sage in your bonfire and dance around, I must admit.)

Eventually we developed the ability to distill the volatile essential oils of plants into liquid form. This opened things up.

With more concentrated oils we could better utilize direct inhalation of the raw material. We also now had the ability to make use of steam inhalation in earnest, which is a effective and efficient form of inhalation that’s widely utilized today.

Modern Diffusion Techniques

Inhalation has always been the hallmark way to use aromatherapy. And now with the help of technology we’ve been able to satiate our inhalation needs.. We’ve pretty much mastered ability to efficiently and conveniently inhale essential oils allows us to better treat ailments like sinus infections and sore throats with essential oils and aromatherapy. With the modern technology advent of electricity we’re able to do things with scent that our ancestors could only dream of.

Below are a few of the emerging technologies put to use in modern essential oil diffusers

Ultrasonic Diffusers

These diffusers utilize ultrasonic atomization and can diffuse even the densest of essential oils. The high frequencies that they produce are around 100 times beyond the human hearing capacity. These waves generate patterns of movement in the water that create sonic vibration and dispersion in the diffuser bowl. The bubbles then release nano-droplets of water out through the spout. The technology utilizes cold diffusion – meaning that it won’t unnecessarily heat essential oils thus protecting their therapeutic properties while diffusing.


Nebulizers are extremely effective diffusers for essential oils. They work by creating micro droplets of oils in the air and are sprayed without any chemical alterations. The droplets they produce tend to last longer than those created by other diffuser technologies. Nebulizers are effective and long lasting.

Heat Diffusers

Heat diffusers are more simple in their function. They rely on heat – either from combustion or electrical in orgin – to warm up the essential oils to a point that they diffuse into vapors. They are effective but not as effecient as other forms of diffusion, as the heat can affect the chemical composition – and efficacy – of the oil. Though the heat won’t alter the composition enough to marginalize the majority of health benefits.

What Will Come Next?

Who knows what will come next with the technological evolution of these diffuser technologies. As with many other technologies in today’s world, the sky is the limit. We just can’t know what the future holds.

May 26

Three Things You Should Think of When You Hear ‘SIP Trunking’

By now, SMB owners should be sufficiently educated on the benefits of add-on SIP trunking features. It’s a simple configuration that connects users’ PBX and IP-PBX systems directly to the PSTN so that calls can be made be at a lower price with greater functionality and security. The technology has matured over the years to become a solution that SMBs—especially those operating with legacy equipment—simply can’t afford to ignore.

Companies leveraging antiquated solutions stand to benefit significantly from SIP trunking. Just remember this little acronym the next time you hear the term so you’ll never forget the exceptionally best advantages of the technology:
S—Sustainability: With SIP, you’ll never have to worry about interrupting service when migrating from your existing telephony equipment.

BroadConnect, for example, delivers secure connectivity wherever customers need it. Whether you are local, domestic or anywhere worldwide, our toll-free, long distance, and local SIP services cover all of the bases, giving users flexibility in choosing what works best for their business.
I—Instant Savings: Cost is a concern for enterprises of any size but especially for those on the smaller end. BroadConnect SIP Trunking enables SMBs to reduce costs without sacrificing quality. For example, SIP Trunking saves big on long distance service, as standard fees are eliminated, and also cuts costly corners by eliminating dedicated PRI service lines and gateways at each office location.

P—Performance: Replacing or supplementing your traditional PRI and analog circuits allows for greater features such as call bursting, mobile integration, toll fraud detection and business continuity, yielding stronger performance. You’ll never have to worry that your IP connection for SIP trunking will lower the quality of your calls. The network supports all the leading protocols for voice and video. Whether you’re looking for industry-leading reliability, the ability to slash costs or 24×7 peak performance, our SIP trunking service has you covered. Contact us for a free consultation to learn more.

These acronyms are indeed easy to understand the definition of SIP. It can take you the next level in having the best communications service that you will ever have. According to some experts, the creation of SIP trunking provided the people the chance to maximize their utilization of the communication tools. It was at first hard to let the people understand how SIP works. However, with the help of the experts, the people were able to adjust, and they were satisfied with the services provided to them.

With the rise of the technology today, it helped so many people, and you might say that there are disadvantages, at least there are good things that happened in the lives of millions of people. Today, the development reached an optimum level in providing excellent services that the technology has given to the public all over the world. Without a doubt, the people will live a life that is easy to manage with the use of technology. There have been arguments on how to control the power of technology. However, it is best to use technology with moderation. It is because of the negative feedback that the society gets about technology.

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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

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.

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