Category Archives: Uncategorized

FitBit Leads Wearables Market but Improvement Still Needed

While the FitBit brand leads the market in wearable tech, leaving Apple in a close second, much improvement is still needed before wearable gadgets become a real habit for most consumers. Even with current advancements – wearables being available in glasses, bracelets, even footwear – such devices are still seen as bulky, due to battery or screen size, cumbersome, or just not useful. The excitement of purchasing a new piece of technology of this caliber – from Google Glass to FitBits – typically wears off after about a two to six months of use.

 

To counteract this fast lifespan, wearables developers need to focus on those things that the consumer needs in such a device. As a consumer of these products, it is vital that the device gives you something you actually need on a daily basis. Apps and functions that will keep you coming back to it, rather than fating it to life in a sock drawer. Sure, it’s great to know your pulse rate if you’re exercising but do you really need that information if you’re working at a desk all day? Likewise, is a footwear-based step counter really going to be effective if you kick off your shoes the minute you get home?

 

Consumers want information relevant to their life. News, weather, scheduling, and messaging come in at the top of these desires but they must be delivered in an unobtrusive manner. Another major issue is the bulk of such gadgets. You want more information at your fingertips but such luxuries come at the cost of a bigger screen.

 

One solution to this is found with the Cicret (pronounced “Secret”) bracelet. Currently, this item is in the “working prototype” stage and there is already a waiting list for folks who cannot wait to have this Android based gadget. The bracelet itself is wire thin and contains a projector that sends an image of a smart screen right to your arm. The image is fully interactive and acts just like your familiar smart phone. There are not many details out on this yet so keep an eye on it.

 

Other wearables, including virtual and augmented reality headsets are beginning to find their place in the market and by 2020, CCS Insight, a marketing analyst, predicts sales of these product to quadruple. This can only happen however if tech developers are willing and able to hear and meet the consumers’ demands and essentially allow the market to shape future designs.

Source: FitBit Leads Wearables Market but Improvement Still Needed

Western Australian Telescope Captures 12 Billion Year Old Explosion

You may have never heard of the Zadko Telescope at the University of Western Australia before now but chances are, you won’t soon forget it. This month, the Zadko captured the unimaginable, an event that occurred before our earth and sun were even in existence. 12 billion light years away (and to put that into perspective, just one light year is equal to 5,865,696,000,000 – that’s 5.8 trillion – miles!), a massive black hole was born from the remnants of a dying star.

 

The resulting explosion, one so distant that it took 12 billion years for its light to reach our telescopes, was one so unfathomably powerful that the light was equivalent to roughly a billion of our suns huddled together for just a blink in time. Over the course of several minutes, UWA Professor David Coward says he and his team observed a quickly brightening star where nothing but blackness was seen prior to that moment. Then, as soon as it appeared, it was gone.

 

The moment the anomaly occurred, the Zadko Telescope was alerted by a NASA orbital satellite and researchers were lucky enough to see the event as it occurred so long ago. The telescope provided a highly detailed recording of the event, now named GRB170205, and proceeded to monitor the area for 24 hours. The images captured are a vital new piece of evidence in helping researchers to understand more about the physics that occur with the explosion of a massive star.

 

Source: Phys.org

Source: Western Australian Telescope Captures 12 Billion Year Old Explosion

To the Moon and Back! SpaceX Plans Passenger Moonshot for 2019

It has been nearly half a century since humankind set foot on the moon but as of Monday, February 27, 2017, that wait will soon come to an end. Space tech superhero Elon Musk teased the world in a tweet that read: “Fly me to the moon… OK.” This came immediately following a news conference where he released information about two as yet unnamed people who approached him with a considerable sum of money to send them on a one-week journey to the moon (or rather just a loop around it) and back.

 

Musk will not, for privacy reasons, divulge the identity of the pair or any financial specifics on the cost of the trip but did state they [the clients and SpaceX] are “very serious” about making this happen. Based on the timing of the planned moon shot, the pair of adventurers (whom Musk insists is no one we know) will most likely be taking their flight on or near the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 8 mission at the end of 2018. The flight would use a Dragon crew capsule and be launched with a Falcon heavy rocket from Florida’s Kennedy Space Center.

 

Space flight is not yet for everyone however. Musk advised Reuters that the traveling pair of people were made aware of all the risks involved and that they are entering into this mission with open eyes and open minds. Although the risk is small, they know there is a chance they may not return to earth or that something else will go catastrophically wrong with any part of the flight. Musk is deeply serious about their safety and promises they have had long discussions and will receive extensive training prior to the flight.

 

This is a massive step toward the future of commercial travel and, though it is not without risks, companies like SpaceX consistently gain experience in minimizing those risks with each successful launch and landing. Musk’s ultimate goal: To fly a yet-in-progress Red Dragon ship to Mars by the year 2020 and eventually establish a thriving human colony on the revered red planet.Source: Phys.orgFile photo of SpaceX Dragon capsule (c) 2015 SpaceX.

Source: To the Moon and Back! SpaceX Plans Passenger Moonshot for 2019

Election 2016 Afterthoughts

election-2016

 

Just a quick disclaimer: I am the most non-political person I know. I do not claim to have a scholarly understanding of politics, government, or how it all works. Even so, I still cannot believe what I woke up to Wednesday morning.
Maybe it didn’t seem real because for the past two days I’ve been sick as a dog and in a cold-medicine-induced head-fog but Donald Trump as president? Seriously? He’s not a politician, he’s an actor at best. Granted, one with a boatload of money, but that doesn’t qualify him to be president. Honestly, I voted for someone other than both Trump and Clinton because neither of them are really fit to hold office. But still.
Then I start reading the news. Both parties may as well have been tied in the popular vote but Hillary still had the lead. Even so, Trump got the electoral votes needed to claim the title. And now, our nation has lost its collective mind.
Social media (no, I don’t trust everything I read) is exploding even now with shouts of “A Nation Divided” and reports of riots (sorry, “peaceful protests”) from one side of the country to the other. And then it gets ridiculous. California wants to secede the Union, or at least its tech founders do. Immigration lawyers’ phones are ringing off the hook. Women are flocking to get IUDs implanted before their abortion rights get taken away. Immigrants are in a stir because they think they will immediately be deported away from loved ones.
Let’s just put the brakes on all this for a moment, shall we? I’m an open-minded person.
If you voted for Trump, congrats, your candidate won. Don’t be a dick about it.
If you didn’t vote for Trump, I’m sorry your candidate lost. Don’t be a dick about it.
Regardless of how our opinions are split, we are all still “One Nation.” We are all in this together. Remember, the President is a talking head who, as the face of the nation, does NOT carry all the power of the nation. That office still has to go through other channels to have things approved. All these radical claims of “building a wall” and flushing out the “illegals” will probably NOT happen. At best, we may see some changes in the economy for the better. Remember, any changes that happen will be slow.
Whether you love or hate the outcome of this election, please be human first. I call for unity over division. I call for love to suppress all the hatred. I call for us to remain ONE NATION, no matter who is in the White House. We are all still brothers and sisters under one American flag and we need to look out for each other.

Audacity

2016 07 30 Reading Room

On the top floor of the library downtown, there is a wonderfully sun-lit corner set aside for a casual reading room. It offers a stunning view of the water and the entire marina and barrier islands. Facing one large picture window is a love seat where anyone who likes can relax as long as they want, enjoying the view and the quiet atmosphere.

Recently, I visited and took a seat away from the windows but where I was able to still enjoy a good view. I settled in with my Kindle and was knee-deep into a gripping story when a woman across from me (who had only sat down a few minutes prior) started clucking her tongue and sighing exasperatedly over the sound of a happy toddler just chatting to himself. He and his father were quietly enjoying the prime seating at the picture window and the toddler was, in my opinion, being exceptionally well-behaved. I glanced up and saw her glaring at the pair, scowling, then looking over to me as if she expected me to say something. After a few more minutes of her huffing, what she did next just blew my mind.

This woman – and because this story does have to do with racism and classism, I may mention she was Caucasian and very much a New Yorker and somewhat well-off – picked herself up and marched right over to the man – a local black southerner – and leaned right down in his face, asking him how much longer he planned on sitting there. I couldn’t hear his response but she said to him, “I’m not telling you what to do, but as you can see, this is a beautiful spot to sit and it is here for all the patrons of the library to enjoy, so you and your boy need to go downstairs or find somewhere else to sit because other people will want to sit here and you’ve been here long enough.”

Whoa.

Mind you, there were several seats available in the area, all with a view, and no one was waiting for a seat. The woman had only been there for five minutes when she decided the black family wasn’t good enough to use the seat. After hearing what she said to him, all I could do was utter a shocked sound and watch in horror as the man actually politely got up, packed his son back into his stroller, and left. I felt horrible for them, but I didn’t know what to say!

The woman then went to sit back down in her seat – not the window seat! – and about 30 seconds later got back up and came over to me. I was shocked when she placed her magazine and her hand on my lap and leaned in only inches from my face and asked me, “Were you laughing at me or with me?” I just shook my head and said, “You have balls.”

“What does that mean,” she asked. I calmly looked up at her, leaning back so as to feel a little less claustrophobic, and told her, “I was laughing at the audacity you have to think you have some God-given right to tell perfect strangers what to do. Those people had every right to be in that seat, they weren’t disturbing anyone, and you had NO right to walk up to him and tell them to leave! You don’t own this place and you have no authority over anyone here!”

She. Was. Shocked.

I was just disgusted. She scoffed at me and stormed off. Good. I’d wanted to slap her however my words appeared to have stung just as well. As soon as she left, the man and his son came back and he and I shared a smile and a look of understanding and sympathy as he took the window seat back and went about his business spending time with his son in these beautiful surroundings. People like that woman are a poison in our sea of tranquility and I hope for even a brief moment she realized that her intolerance will not be tolerated.

Perblog 9-8-2015

7:45 a.m.

Labor Day Weekend brought a forced 3-day “rest” as job #1 scheduled me off and job #2 notified us Thursday they were taking the weekend off and not processing any new orders tip Tuesday. It was nice to spend a stress-free Saturday and Sunday with my daughter though I do wish I’d been able to afford to take her somewhere fun. When Monday rolled around though, I was beside myself for something to do with my time.

I sort of forced myself to sleep in then tried in vain to see if any of our writers had abandoned a writing task. There were no open job tickets though so I tried to be creative. The furthest I got on that was thinking I should do some more work on the second young adult novel I’m working on but could not find the research file for it. Scratch that then. In the end, I ended up assaulting social media with weather updates as a storm blew up on the eastern seabreeze border and produced not only a beautiful light show but also 4″ of rain in some spots.

This morning, I’m taking a few moments before work starts to marvel at the cloud formations offshore. The sun has just broken past the cloudtops to reveal a haze of pollen in the air, which explains my mograine. That’s alright though. I am determined that today is going to be a good and calm day because my heart cannot afford the stress some of these customers give me. That in itself is a whole other blot post though!

Evaluate My Work, Not My Body Art

As a business professional with 34 tattoos (no piercings), I find a lot of the tolerance/intolerance issue seems to be largely location based. For example, finding work that paid well and didn’t judge was easy enough in cities like Fort Lauderdale, Miami, and Daytona, but I was heavily liked down upon in places like West Palm Beach and Port St. Lucie. It depends a lot on the employer too. Some companies (Chase Merchant Services, for example) were managed by an open-minded team who did judge based solely on with ethic and performance, whereas other companies in the same area will not even give you a second glance. There still meds to be a lot less discrimination based on looks, so long as the body art is not outwardly evil or discriminatory itself.

Ambika Kamath

When I was an undergrad, one of my reasons for wanting to continue in academia was my aversion to Western formal clothing. If I became a Ph.D. student and then a professor, I thought, I would hardly ever need to wear suits or dress shirts, and such a life appealed to me. I had seen academics of all stripes dress in all sorts of ways, and I naively believed that this signalled something very progressive about academia’s stance towards appearance: wear what you want, because you’ll be evaluated based upon your ideas and work, not how you choose to present yourself.

But a recent article in a column called Ask Alice (published on the website of Science, one of the most high profile scientific journals out there) confirms my naivete. In this piece, an anonymous academic who finds themselves in a “conservative place” for their postdoc, asks Dr. Alice Huang, “Am I crazy…

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Skyfall

Fall is supposed to bring cooler temperatures and a drying out of the summer soakings. Instead in Daytona Beach, it has been raining for days with no end in sight. The roof over my bedroom continues to leak faster with every downpour. There hasn’t been long enough of a dry spell to get up there and try to seal it (again) so I just keep changing out buckets and hoping the patch of ceiling doesn’t give way and completely fall.

Between midnight and 9am alone, we received 6.18″ of rain. The standing water was so deep that I could not get my car out of my neighborhood. I had to abandon my car and flag down a ride to work in a vehicle with a higher clearance. Hopefully it’s still there when I get a ride back after work and hopefully the water will have gone down enough by then for me to move it. Hopefully too, the rain will not be so intense tonight as to cause another flood. It’s only a mile and a half to work, easily walkable – if I didn’t have COPD. I’m good for about a half mile before I collapse.

If God will smile on me, this weather will start showing some mercy.

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Tony Stewart Hits and Kills Driver in Sprint Car Race

TIME

NASCAR star Tony Stewart struck and killed 20-year-old race car driver Kevin Ward Jr. during a sprint car race Saturday night.

Stewart spun Ward out during the Canandaigua Motorsports Park sprint car race in upstate New York on Saturday and Ward angrily got out of his car and stepped into the track. Stewart’s vehicle struck Ward and sent him sliding down the cement, witnesses to the race told USA Today.

Ward was rushed to the hospital and pronounced dead on arrival.

Local police said that the 43-year-old Stewart was “fully cooperative,” and that the incident was not being investigated as a criminal matter. Police are gathering interviews and video evidence of the incident, and are awaiting the results of an autopsy.

A video uploaded on YouTube purports to show the incident. (Warning: it’s disturbing.)

Early eyewitness accounts corroborate the video. When Stewart’s car struck him, Ward had exited his car…

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Daily Prompt – Money for Nothing?

In response to: Daily Prompt – Money for Nothing

Dream jobs… we all want one. For some, that dream job just means sitting back and collecting on a winning Powerball ticket.  The most joy, I think, comes from the satisfaction of doing work that you love that also pays the bills.  My dream job is not going to be found in any newspaper or on Monster.  It will have to be crafted with hard work and a hefty sum of funds to start – where they would come from is unknown but… prayer does bring miracles, especially when it’s for a good cause.

This is something I’ve been half-heartedly plotting for years – half-heartedly due to not knowing where or how to acquire the funds to start and run it all.  I started by listing three of my main interests that I would love to make my life’s work: animal rescue, social work and a bed and breakfast.  In combining these things, I came up with an idea: An unwanted horse rescue which would be run on a ranch. As part of a ranch, there would be housing. That housing could be used as a battered women’s shelter.  The name: Renewal Ranch.  The organization’s “icon” would be a simple sunrise, signifying each day bringing new light. Something like…

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…Without the green screen of course 🙂

Horses are taken in to be cared for. Women are taken in to be cared for. In return for their shelter, the women would get to connect with nature and the horses by helping to care for them.  Both the women and the horses would be safe, sheltered, fed and helped to recover from abuse, neglect and un-want. The joy to me would be in helping everyone involved, give the women a purpose and the horses a second chance. The positive energy would come full circle as the women rehabilitate the horses and the horses help rehabilitate the women. I’m giving myself 9 years to find a way to acquire the funds for this project because I would like to “retire” from the corporate world at 50 and spend the last half of my life (yes, I plan on being around until at least 100!) doing good for some of those most in need.  My dream job – a labour of love.