Friday, April 30, 2010

Cloud Computing


What is it?

Cloud computing is a relatively new phenomenon within the IT technology sector and is changing the world. In a nutshell, the ‘cloud’ is the term used to represent the information on the internet available for user download. For example, when you tweet a message on Twitter the message is put into the cloud for all to see, search, and download to their screen. Twitter is a public cloud, but there are private clouds such as Facebook where the content is limited to your ‘friends’. The image below shows how all of these interconnected devices and business servers all put content into the internet cloud which is immediately available for anyone with a browser to view. Cloud computing is a revolutionary concept which affects the general public and businesses worldwide.


Problems

Obviously, this easily accessible world of cloud computing can raise some concerns within the general public. Just recently, a company designed around social online shopping named Blippy allowed some users credit card information to become part of the source code in its website. Google’s search engine then indexed the content, making it available in the cloud for the public to search and access. Privacy is naturally the biggest concern that people have with this new technology because people halfway around the world can learn things about you in very remarkable ways. Another power behind cloud computing is the traceability of your movement on the web. Your computer gives off a unique signature to the internet when you are browsing which can be used to trace and gain information about you, the user. I have code running on this blog that tracks site hits from what location, browser, IP address, website, etc etc. Most web users I can guarantee do not know this. Being ignorant of the implications of putting data into the cloud is becoming increasingly dangerous. Soon the people using online functions will have to decide to give up their privacy or demand for an alternate system. My advice to you is: do not put anything online without realizing the potential of others using that data for other means!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Have you Heard of the Floppy?

The Problem

I had to think back to remember what a floppy disk was too! Sony recently announced that they would be ceasing their production of floppy drives in their Japanese factory. Believe it or not, floppy's were invented in the mid 1970's which is only 35 years ago! They have already become completely obsolete and now bordering on extinct! Other things like the CD player, CD's, and Walkmans (just to name a few) are quickly following in the floppy's footsteps

This raises concern about our lives and the ever increasing need to be sustainable. Western society has been completely transformed by this technology rage and with that comes the speed at which it changes. A cell phone that arrives today, being cutting edge and amazing, will be relatively obsolete almost guaranteed within a year. The original iPhone for example cannot do half the things that the newest 3Gs version can do.


The Reason

Behind these electronics such as high tech storage devices, gaming machines, and cell phones comes the power that is driving them, their manufacturers. So many of the things we buy rely on services provided by their providers, again coming back to the iPhone. All Apple has to do to get people flocking towards their newest product is to restrict the older versions from enjoying what the newer ones can accomplish.

On a different tack, I remember when a 512 megabyte flash drive was over $100! You may only have to think back about two years to remember that, but now 2 gigabyte drives are sold in bins for $15 or less. The demand for space to store unneeded junk on your computer has grown exponentially. All of this begs the question: do we need to throw all this 'old' technology away? The majority of obsolete tech is now sitting in your local landfill, not given to someone who would cherish it! Because manufacturers want to make an extra buck, they move new tech at an extremely fast rate leading more and more to an unsustainable future.


The Solution

How can you be more sustainable in your life? There are many local recycling depots that will take used computers, printers, and an assortment of electronics for free (there is one in Vancouver called Free Geek). They can disassemble them, sell the metal and recycle the plastic. Why are you throwing out your perfectly working MP3 player or Walkman when there are people that could use it? Basically, take all the old electronics that you will never use again sitting on your shelf (I know that there are some) and donate them to an organization. It makes a big difference for those who receive these electronics, for relatively little work on your end!

(Image courtesy of FreeFoto.com)

Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Daily Gumboot


I have stumbled upon a very intelligent, sophisticated, and well founded Vancouver based blog named the Daily Gumboot. The mission of the blog is to strengthen community bonds by bringing together interesting issues locally, nationally and abroad. For example, their latest blog post about the newest 'like' function of Facebook raises interesting implications involving our ease to express common interests between one another. Facebook has just made it that much easier to let people know what you like and where to find it. The rule of the blog though is to always remain positive about their posts. So when Theo (the author of the post) brings up the possibility of advertisers using this function to target an advertising market with you in it, she suggests that you "be smart" and "know what you’re opting into." I love the way the Daily Gumboot presents issues in an easy to read manner that raises questions which brings together the online and Vancouver community; one that is becoming increasingly cluttered. They also like pirates I am told, so watch yourself!


Check it out!
http://www.dailygumboot.ca/

Bootup Labs...Oops

Funding Is a Necessity



Bootup labs (bootuplabs.com) is a Vancouver based company "designed to help entrepreneurs build tech startups...from a concept to company." There is huge risk associated with startup companies and having someone get you on the right track is much better than trying to do it alone....right?

Bootup went through a recent funding crisis and had to make the decision between spreading the funds to all 7 companies in their portfolio or reducing their portfolio to 3 and fully fund those. They decided to cut their portfolio which is a tough decision, compounded by their eagerness to help too many people without money at hand. Bootup didnt listen to their clients, see the signs of funding trouble, and attempted to cover up their portfolio decision.

I made mistakes. I was wrong. Lessons Learned.

This goes to show that even established companies can be over ambitious leading to catastrophe which takes a hit on your reputation. It is disappointing that this led to other people suffering due to Bootup labs mistakes.

Art on Photoshop

There is an awesome post on webdesignledger.com about how simple images in skilled hands can create mind blowing and awesome art! I have the top five that I found interesting shown below. See more at:
http://webdesignledger.com/inspiration/40-jaw-dropping-photo-manipulations

Snantlers (my name)
I love this picture because of the subtle change of the feelers of the snail. Many Photoshop images I find are a bit too obvious. This work might not the most difficult to do but it brings together the aspect of snail and deer living within the same habitat; both depending on the plants and living species in it. It is hard to remember that species like these two rely so heavily on one another in order to keep balance in the ecosystem.

Extravaganza
This image brings forth the idea of the link between nature and the human species and shows a level of fragility between human and our environment. The human hand along with the brain is capable of great things but things that can also be very destructive. This work shows that our hands are capable of helping our environment prosper as much as we do as a species.

Home for Dinner
Very cool aspect shown through uprooting a house with a spoon. This work pertains to the declining amount of traditional home style family dinners or the change in family dynamics. There is an increasing amount of people that 'eat on the road' due to time constraints of given industries and society. At home family dinners are becoming a thing of the past whether it be due to kids moving out or social norms changing. When are we really home for dinner or is this generation taking the past necessity for eating at home out of the equation completely?

Addicting Keyboard (my name)
This is a comical representation of a serious problem coming up within a new generation of adolescents. We all know that chocolate is addicting and it releases endorphins to make us happy. We also know (and some experienced) that there is such thing as too much chocolate which results in an unpleasant sickening feeling. More and more young people are becoming addicted to online stimulation causing many social and physical problems. There is only so much time before this generation feels the backlash of a community too plugged in.

Rooted (my name)
This image brings back memories of when I was a kid and scared to death of the dark. I would rely on that night light to keep away all of the unseen scary things. As I grew older, I realized that I am still very rooted to what I have experienced and learned in the past which was shown to me by this light. All of us need this light in times of uncertainty within our life whether it be the courage to push on or your better half helping you along the way.

Again feel free to see more at:
http://webdesignledger.com/inspiration/40-jaw-dropping-photo-manipulations

Make your own photoshop images using these tutorials:
http://iniwoo.net/tutorials/photo-manipulation-tutorials/

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Movement of TV Demand

I recently read an article on techvibes website here about looking into the future of the television. We know that television killed the 'radio star' as mentioned in the posting but are applications on smartphones/computer accessibility killing the 'TV star'?

Computers
Computers are becoming a necessity within the developed and even the developing world. People are catching on to the advantage of being connected to the world with a click of a button. Movies, TV shows, music, games, news, weather, and social networking all easily within reach of the common user. I am more than the average computer user, having 8GB of ram and dual screens running on my home desktop; however, I easily started and designed this blog in less than a week with little experience needed about building websites. I just want to emphasize that the demand for cable and satellite into the TV is beginning to diminish because of increased computer screen time and content availability on the net. Interestingly, I foresee a sustained demand for the television itself due to the ability to connect your computer to it!

Smartphones
Now not only can you be on your computer playing the new release of Assassins Creed 2, you can open your blackberry or iPhone and check your Facebook, Twitter and favorite blog posts. Applications in the smartphone network are shrinking the need for watching TV because you can get everything to your portable mini-computer anywhere you go! The increasingly connected society that we live in is becoming more and more impatient, needing instant feedback which smartphones and computers are designed for. This is not only causing the need and demand for television to decrease, it raises social questions such as a lack of face to face social time leading to social stunting in the population. Since the development of the internet and increased power to home computers, technology demand and supply have skyrocketed. We however have not seen the social backlash to its fullest extent due to these new radical changes. Times are coming where changes in technology will affect the way we operate as a community on an individual and social level.

(Image courtesy of rapidweb.biz)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

April Fools Joke

I decided to put this video on my blog. I wanted to make a comment that if this was broadcasted on TV nowadays, imagine the controversy. Have we become politically correct over the years or just lost a sense of humor?

Building a Super Computer

I have gone through a lot of grief trying to find resources for building your own gaming PC and troubleshooting when (not if) things do not work. I will give you a list of excellent links to help you work things out without having to go talk to the pros and spend more money!

Hardware to build your PC
  • This link about building your PC is a great PDF document about the hardware associated with your new PC. Excellent for a basis of knowledge around the internal computer systems.

Troubleshooting
  • If you are running an x64 bit system I would recommend this windows 7 forum (applies to most windows operating systems as well) for troubleshooting because 20 other people have probably run into the same problem.
  • For general info about super computers and/or regular computer problems I would recommend tech-forums and techsupportforum
  • If your computer is running slow:
    • read this blog post at tips and tricks
    • defragment your hard drive (tutorial)
    • make sure you are not running at 95% of used disk space (2 terabyte hard drives are now found for under $200)
    • look to update RAM if your computer is using more than 50% idling (excellent tutorial for how to find your RAM type and how to upgrade) (see below to download hardware monitoring software to determine possible needed upgrades)
Monitoring
  • It is crucial to monitor your super computers components to maintain health and detect problems early. It also helps to know how your computer is running in terms of CPU clock speed, RAM usage/type, type of graphics card, and CPU/GPU temperatures.
    • I would recommend CPU-Z for monitoring hardware such as CPU and memory
    • I would recommend GPU-Z for monitoring your graphics card clock and temperatures
**NOTE if your computer lags after a graphics card or CPU upgrade, this may be due TO HIGH OF TEMPERATURES! Look into getting an internal fan or upgraded cooling system!

Overclocking
  • This is a hot topic for those with super computers and not for the beginner computer user. There are tutorials like this one about what it means to overclock and how to go about doing it. Make sure you do your research about how to do this safely.
    • Make sure that you have adequate cooling and hardware monitoring tools otherwise you may destroy sections of your computer!
Feel free to contact me with any questions!

Combining IT and Business

Information Technology and Business

I believe that the market for IT learned individuals has grown exponentially in the past 20 years, leading to a gap between those with knowledge about running computers and those running a business. The foundation and smooth operation of many businesses rely on secure, complex and integrated systems, whether it be the company website or internal e-mail accounts and calendar synchronization. I believe there is now an increasing market for persons with both the business and computer mindset, bringing them together to create profitable and efficient systems. The complexities involved with given system architecture are next to impossible to explain and troubleshoot with one that has little or no IT experience. And at the same time, employees involved solely with the hard code, network and analysis do not have the business concepts needed to maximize efficiency. Schooling in both areas of knowledge is becoming increasingly valuable within any business.

Sauder School of Business and Computer Science Faculty

At the University of British Columbia, the faculty of commerce (Sauder) and the faculty of Computer Science have formed a dual major program This combines the business side of IT through the specialization of Management of Information Systems (MIS) with Computer Science courses such as database management and complex software construction. I personally am taking a minor in computer science in order to bypass unnecessary pre-requisites while still learning about important factors within computer science. This experience in my first year has been rewarding and I can already see the benefits of dipping within both areas of knowledge and I can personally vouch for the benefits of having an understanding of both disciplines.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Congress Twitter Archive

I read a blog posting (there are many) here about the announcement of the complete archiving of all twitter 'tweets' from 2006 to now. From my view, there are many problems along with the benifits of creating this extremely large archive.

Twitter is an excellent source and record of social interactions between people. However, haven't you been told that most interactions between people are either dull, boring, or pointless to an outside reader due to lack of context. I know a few people that forget the vastness and accessability of Twitter on the internet, posting certain content that may be sensitive. Granted, those people should know that Twitter is a public social networking site with no privacy but do we really need to compound the situation by saving that information? I believe that old content on Twitter should be more protected either by automatic deletion or prompting the user every month or so about archiving their tweets. Not only that, but how is knowing what kind of spagetti that Jon Smith ate for dinner at all helpful for study of human interaction? If you would like to research how many times idiot was said in the last 4 years, this archiving is a good idea.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Consumerism

I recently took a visit to Las Vegas also known as sin city. This was my first experience of a massive market for consumerism. As I arrived, all I could do was watch in awe at the unnecessary size and spectacular of the city. I now know why there is no other place like it. You literally cannot walk more than a block without passing a liquor store, a stripper advertisement and casino. Now I am not going to be like many before me and criticize the city due to its crudeness and lack of class because I would be a hypocrite if I did. I had my own slice of the gamble and drink pairing while I was there and this leads me to a critical point. This western thinking of consumerism and status is...well addicting. I can easily see how people will throw their lives away for the obsession of thrill. Vegas is an example of American consumerism blown out of proportion, however, this is the mindset that we need to break out of. When there are people that design buildings to entice you to stay, gamble, get lost and drunk you know there is a problem. One can relate the USA to Las Vegas in many ways, for example:


1. There is no such thing as a limit on consumption

2. There is little conception of waste

3. There are unnecessary amounts of exploitation without the people who benefit knowing

4. There is a feeling of superiority

5. When you are in the city, you lose track of the real world and anything/anyone else in it

The world we live in blinds us from alternate ways of life which is to be expected, however few seem to attempt to open their eyes to certain truths of the world. What we may believe as normal is extremely crude, hypocritical and unsophisticated to another given culture. Our cultural norms such as exploitation of blue collar workers, adultery and lack of concern for others over ourselves have only individualistic motivations. These incentives lack in spiritual meaning which is what many cultures are built upon and are affected when we attempt to influence them because we believe our way would better their lives.