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Showing posts from March, 2011

March 2011 Top 5: Richest People in the World

Every year Forbes magazine releases a list of the richest people in the world. For many years Microsoft founder, Bill Gates was #1 on the list, hence, I have always associated the list with technology.

For this month, we will breakdown the top five riches people and whether they or their companies contribute to technology . Here are the top five:


Carlos Slim Helu, $73 billion.  Mr. Slim is a Mexican of Lebanese descent. He is the chairman of Telmex (THE phone company in Mexico). He also has holdings in other Mexican industries and the telephone industry in other Latin American countries. How can this man, in a country like Mexico, be the richest in the world? It speaks volumes about the gap between the rich and the poor Mexico, Latin American and the rest of the world. TelMex has been an impediment to the implementation of technology, even though TelMex is part of one of the industries (phones) which is going through the most innovation in the world. If you ever find yourself in Mexic…

Passwords

Passwords are the ultimate headache. But passwords are a necessity, they protect our privacy and money. So hopefully after you read this article, you can take time out of your busy life and rewrite some of your passwords.

Before the days of the internet, passwords were uncommon in our daily lives. However, as we age, our lives become more intertwined with the internet and thus we accumulate usernames/ passwords. How many online accounts do you have? E-mail, computer log in, social networking, finance, work, phone, retailers, etc... I lost count at forty for me.

The passwords we use everyday, we remember well. But what about the passwords we use once a year (i.e.,  Turbotax).  Most people fall into two categories when they must recollect their passwords for rarely used accounts:
Oh $^#t! I forgot my password.   Time to pray to the gods that you can easily recover your password by sending correspondence to a linked e-mail or phone.No problem-O! I know my password.  It is the same for eve…

Review: Apple TV

I have had about a month to play around around with Apple TV which gives me more than enough time to write a proper review.

So let us get down to the nitty gritty.

Hardware
The Apple TV design is beautiful and small. The specs sheet looks good:  A4 processor, HDMI output and b/g/n wireless support. The remote is also beautiful and small. If you have an iPhone or iPad, you can use those devices to navigate Apple TV. What did it need? A Blu-ray version or some method to reduce the amount of HDMI cords you need. If you are like me, you have one HDMI cord for the cable box, one for the Blu-ray player and one for the Apple TV. The Sony Google TV would have combined all three (TV, Blu-ray, Google TV) into one HDMI cord going into your TV, although it would have cost an extra $300 bones.

Software
The user interface is gorgeous and easy to use as you would expect from Apple. You have the ability to buy and rent movies/ TV shows from the vast iTunes library. You can sync up your iTunes account w…

Firefox 4, Released Today

We must count our blessings, first we get a brand new Microsoft Internet Explorer, IE9, and now Mozilla is releasing Firefox 4.0.

What's new in Firefox 4.0? Well much like Internet Explorer 9, the tabs have been placed at the top. Also like Internet Explorer 9, the "File", "Edit", "View", etc... buttons have been replace by a single button. In Firefox 4 it is the "Firefox" button. And according to Mozilla, Firefox 4.0 is 3 to 6 times faster than its predecessor, Firefox 3.6.

Please note that Google's Chrome already had the tabs at the top and minimal buttons. We now have a serious war among web browsers, this reminds me of the Nestcape vs. Internet Explorer days. We have not even talked about Apple's Safari or Opera.

I would highly recommend Firefox 4, click here for the update.

Update:  Lifehacker.com has released speed tests on Chrome, IE9, Firefox, and Opera, check it out here.

March Tech of the Month

I realize there's been a lot of free advertising for radiation detector companies out there and rightfully so. Unfortunately, it seems that a lot of people (even people outside of Japan) are purchasing these elaborate detection instrumentation that is frankly, overkill. As a health physicist, I've been doing my best to try and calm the American & Canadian population and inform as much as I can. I just want to state for the record: Purchasing sodium iodide pills here in the US is absolutely pointless. There is no possible way significant amounts of radioactive iodine will ever reach the west coast.

Now, for those interested in Japan's situation, according to the NewScientist, radioactive iodine-131 was discovered in Spinach grown at the Fukushima prefecture. As much as 15,020 becquerels of radiation per kilogram. Let me just say, that's not an insignificant amount. Here in the US, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission allows radiation workers to orally ingest 30 uCi of …

AT&T Buys Out T-Mobile

News broke yesterday that AT&T will be buying out T-Mobile for $39 billion. This is particularly hard news for me since I am a happy T-mobile customer and I have never been fond of AT&T. I am not alone in disliking AT&T, just look at the comments of any tech blog about this merger (i.e., Gizmodo, Engadget, Phandroid). Look at the JD Power & Associates reports for customer care scores.  Look at what the Apple co-founder, the Woz, said about AT&T.

This merger is saddening news for everyone that likes innovation and lower monthly wireless bills. T-Mobile along with Sprint did not have a "large" customer base like Verizon and AT&T, they had to make up for it in other ways, which were innovative and resulted in cheaper monthly bills for us . This meant "MyFaves" from T-Mobile and "night calling starting at 7pm and affordable unlimited plans" from Sprint. This meant that T-Mobile took a chance on Android. Verizon and AT&T play a mor…

Prophecy I: Science becomes Magic

Have you ever thought about the pace that science is evolving? Well if you are like me, you have. And you have most likely concluded that technology, which is defined as the practical application of science to commerce and industry, is accelerating at an ever increasing rate.

For example, look at the history of making of making a phone call:
Let's start at the rotary dial, remember those things, we were stuck there for decades.Then we got push buttons, Hallelujah!Now we have voice dial, speed dial.What can be faster than than pushing a button for speed dial or speaking "dial so-and -so"? How about just thinking the action of dialing someone and then your phone beings to dial? That sequence of events, my friends, is the beginning of "magic". There will be a future where we just think of something and an action outside of our body occurs. Maybe we will be able to create fire or electricity with a single thought. I wrongly estimated that we were at least a century…

Internet Explorer 9 Released Today. Rejoice!

There has been a recent trend in this blog to criticize Microsoft (see recent articles on innovation and the CEO profile). However, we do not hate Microsoft. Bryan wrote glowing articles about the Xbox customer service and the Xbox Kinect. We just call them like we see them and hopefully that does not mean we are shooting from the hip. 

Microsoft's Internet Explorer (IE) has ruled web browser sector for far too long considering it has sucked. We can blame the Information Technology (IT) community for forcing us to Internet Explorer at work. Internet Explorer 6, 7 and 8 were far slower than the offerings from Firefox, Chrome, Safari and Opera. In addition, the previous Internet Explorer offerings have been plagued by security flaws.

After two years of not getting "it", Microsoft finally gets it with Internet Explorer 9.  IE9 is fast and clean. Now if only our beloved IT departments can install IE9 on our work computers, but they will probably lag.

Try it out now, I got…

D-Box at the Movies

Movie watching is a timeless activity. Especially as an activity to do with a significant other. While it is comforting to hit up the same theater, checking out new theaters can be exciting. Going to new theaters is a fun way to explore an area.

Aside from the location, certain movie theaters offer certain luxuries that might entice someone to go (i.e., IMAX, 3D, reserved seating, alcohol, couch seating). There is a completely new experience called D-Box.  D-Box looks like a normal theater seat, but it is equipped with technology to make it move. The movements of the chair synchronize with the events of the movie, therefore the movies suited for this technology are action movies.

Yesterday, my girlfriend and I saw Battle: Los Angeles on D-Box seating at the Ultra Star theaters at the Anaheim Garden Walk. The movie was definitely enhanced by the D-Box chair. The best parts were the helicopter scenes, we felt like we were on them. The seats did not move when there was no action, but th…

Technology Review- Top 50 Most Innovative Companies 2011

For the March/April 2011 issue, Technology Review did a piece on the top 50 most innovative companies of 2011. Innovation can be tricky to define. But let us not battle like nerds over the minutia. To prevent trolls* from blasting a Time of the Tech produced list, we give you the top fifty innovative companies of 2011 list from Technology Review, MIT's world famous magazine:

A123 SystemsAkamaiAmazon.comAmyrisAppleApplied MaterialsARM HoldingsComplete GenomicsFirst SolarGeronGoldwind Science and TechnologyGoogleHTCIBMiRobotLife TechnologiesNetflixNissanNovartisPacific BiosciencesRocheSiemensSuntechToyotaPrivate CompaniesAmerican SuperconductorBIND BiosciencesBrightSource EnergyCalxedaCellular Dynamics InternationalClaros DiagnosticsCotendoCrowdcasteSolarFacebookGrouponJoule UnlimitedLattice PowerLayarLyric SemiconductorNovomerPrimeSenseSerious MaterialsSilver Spring NetworksSpaceXSquareSynthetic Genomics1366 TechnologiesTwitterUshahidiZynga Sorry for the format of the long list. As e…

CEO Profile: Microsoft Inc.

Microsoft Inc., CEO:

Name:  Steven "Steve" Anthony Ballmer

DOB: March 24, 1956 (54 years old), Aries

Education: Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Mathematics from Harvard. Stanford Business School drop out.*

Memorable Quote, referring to Apple in 2009:
"The [bad] economy is helpful. Paying an extra $500 for a computer in this environment — same piece of hardware — paying $500 more to get a[n Apple] logo on it? I think that's a more challenging proposition for the average person than it used to be."
Other Endeavors: Worked for two years at Proctor and Gamble. You know, the company that makes all of your household products. Check out a list of all that they own, "clicky" here . Scary.

Interesting Fact:  Mr. Ballmer's mother is Jewish. **

Why we love him:  ~Thinking hard~ Because Jesus told us to love everyone.  That is honestly, the best I could come up with.

Why we might not love him: Mr. Ballmer is at worst a "tool". At best he's …

Google Voice by Google

Google Voice had its premier appearance sometime in 2009. Since then the web-based platform for managing various types of communications have skyrocket with millions of subscribers and users and the best part - Google Voice is free.
Google Voice is the first of it's kind, introducing one number that can ring all your phones, offering voicemail transcription, calls, free text messaging, cheap international calls, and even the ability to screen and block those unwanted callers among many other features.
Here's a quick video overview of Google Voice.

In theory making calls on your mobile using a Google Voice number should be free, but it's not. 
In actuality you are first calling your Google Voice number (a landline number), and then dialing out from there. So, ultimately, using a Google Voice number to make calls will inevitably eat your regular mobile minutes, but have no fear! Where there's a will, there's a way - to getting free calls that is!
In order to get free call…

Tablet War: iPad 2 vs Xoom

VS.
The mobile phone war between Apple's iOS and Google's Android OS has been going on since days of the iPhone 3G and the HTC G1, way back..... in October of 2008. After much wailing, grinding and mashing of teeth, Android has overtaken iOS as the most used operating system on smartphones in the US. But with the iPhone debuting on Verizon, who knows what the outcome will be....

And yet, in spite of this uncertainty, a new war commences between iOS and Android, this time in the tablet sector. Like before, Apple drew first blood with the iPad.  A worthy Android challenger has finally risen in the Mortorola Xoom, but can the Xoom stand up to the iPad 2? You will decide. Check both of them out at your local stores.  The Xoom is out as of now, at Verizon stores, and the iPad 2 goes on sale March 11.
Here's a breakdown of the basics:

APPLE iPAD 2MOTOROLA XOOM9.7", 1024 x 768 resolution10.1", 1280 x 800 resolution1.34 pounds, .34" thickness1.6 pounds, .5" thickn…