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All posts tagged "technology"


Monday, May 14, 2012

Buying Electronics is All About Timing

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Talk" @ 09:00 AM

http://thewirecutter.com/2012/04/do...tuff-right-now/

This article talks about the timing of purchasing electronics - there's always a cycle, and timing the cycle will get you the best products for your dollar. Sometimes that means buying at the end of a cycle, to save money, and other times it means holding off purchasing until the start of a new cycle so you can get the newest technology. Myself, I'm waiting for the release of the Panasonic VT50, a TV that was announced at CES to rave reviews. I've set aside money to make the purchase, and am patiently waiting for it to be released (should be any time now).

On the other hand, I per-ordered an HP Envy Spectre 14 the first week it was announced, knowing full well that Ivy Bridge would be coming out soon - I just wasn't expecting it to happen within 60 days of me getting my new laptop (HP just announced two new Envy laptops). Ultimately the new Envy laptops don't have the same screen resolution or features as mine, so my laptop wasn't replaced, but at the back of my mind I do wonder if I mis-timed the purchase...


Thursday, May 19, 2011

Microsoft's PhotoDNA Technology Used to Combat Child Pornography at Facebook

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home News" @ 01:00 PM

http://gadgetwise.blogs.nytimes.com...fts-technology/

"As online photo sharing has exploded so has, tragically, the distribution of child pornography. But while the rise of the Internet and digital cameras have revived a scourge that had nearly been eliminated in the late 1980s, new technology may also help to beat it back again. Microsoft says it has refined a technology it created called PhotoDNA to identify the worst of these disturbing images - even if they are cropped or otherwise altered - and cull through large amounts of data quickly and accurately enough to police the world's largest online services. And on Thursday, it will announce that Facebook will be the first service to join it in using the free technology, which Microsoft donated to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children in December 2009."

It's great that Microsoft donated this technology and Facebook is implementing it - anything photo hosting companies can do to prevent child pornographers from amassing and sharing their collections of filth is a good thing. The key weakness here is that this technology isn't based on age/face recognition, it's based on pattern matching from a known database of images. It's a start, but it doesn't stop newly generated images from being shared everywhere until it's captured and put into the database. I feel a lot of admiration, but also sympathy, for the people that are on the front lines in this fight - they must have some awful images burned into their brains.


Thursday, March 24, 2011

Gadgets You Should/Should Not Get Rid Of?

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Articles & Resources" @ 03:31 PM

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/24/t...asics.html?_r=1

"The common rap against technology is that it leads to an accumulation of devices. But the nature of technology is changing. Fewer products are doing more tasks - all accomplished by countless lines of massless software code. And so we no longer need to accumulate products. If anything, we can cut down. The question is, Which can be replaced and which are fine, or even preferable, to keep?"

Image Credit: Harry Campbell

As I read through this article, I repeatedly said "What? No way - that's stupid!", but I admit I'm not the typical New York Times reader. Some people may very well feel that the phone on the camera is good enough and don't want to buy a digital camera - I'm not one of those people. I'd sooner swallow a bag of nails than be stuck capturing memories of my life with a camera phone. I can't help but think that the author of this article has never used HD video capture on a DSLR - if he had, he'd understand the severe limitations and the fact that it's just damn hard to use.

At least he thinks we should keep our alarm clocks. Check out the article and weigh in with your comments!


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Technologies Headed to the Museum

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 02:30 PM

http://gizmodo.com/5731594/12-techn...e-of-extinction

"And we're not taking the easy route here either. We're not calling for the death of obvious targets such as fax machines. No, we like to think we're dealing with rather more controversial subjects, both on the thumbs-up and on the thumbs-down side of things. And if you opt to disbelieve us by buying into one of our doomed concepts, well, don't say we didn't warn you."

The technology industry loves making predictions. What will be successful? What will be a failure? What will stick around, and of course, what is on the way out? It is an interesting list though it does read like coming from someone who is in the thick of a technologically advanced city. Coming from Canada, I have learned to live with being behind the times. WiFi hotspots used to be few and far between, and still is in some areas. High-speed wireless Internet access has only recently been made a reality, and for much of that time, it was very cost prohibitive. Many sites and services, like Pandora are not available north of the 49th parallel, and some services, like NetFlix and Mint.com have only recently welcomed those that created the phrase "Large, double, double."

So with that in mind, some of these predictions, like physical media and eBook readers still make sense to me. What is most surprising to me is the mention of keys. I am all for advanced technology, but for critical functions, like getting into my apartment, I would prefer something low tech, or at least having the option to use it alongside advanced stuff like RFID. What do you think? Is their list a hit or miss?


Sunday, December 26, 2010

So How Was Everyone's Christmas?

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Thoughts Media Status Updates" @ 10:00 AM

...and we're back! It's a tradition here at Thoughts Media that we kick off the post-Christmas break by asking our community what they got for Christmas - specifically, any gizmos or gadgets. Or did you gift a loved one with some new piece of technology? Got any great tech support stories to share? I don't know about you, but whenever I'm over at a family member's house for Christmas, I inevitably end up sitting in front of their computer fixing/tweaking something. I don't mind though - I find it fun, and I like to help.

Speaking for myself, my tech stuff was pretty light this holiday - as it is every year - because if there's something tech that I need, I tend to buy it for myself when I need it, not when a holiday/birthday rolls around. I got a Kindle this Christmas from my wife, but, you guessed it, I bought it (with the help of a friend in the US) and gave it to her to give to me. Such is the life of a professional geek! ;-)

What about you? What did you do over Christmas, and did it involve technology in some way?


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Have We Reached A Tech Plateau?

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 07:00 AM

http://www.techradar.com/news/world...rc=rss&attr=all

"Perhaps Blu-ray is the canary in the coalmine. To its makers, it's a fantastic new format, the pinnacle of home entertainment technology. To the public, it's DVD with a slightly better picture and double the price tag – and most people have decided to stick with what they already have. "

We've seen this sort of thing happen with a wide range of technologies. From cordless phones to computers, many aspects of technology have relatively stagnated. A single core of a CPU hasn't really improved much in speed. Monitor resolution is generally matched to a specific size. DVDs still dominate video sales. While I see the point of what the writer is saying, it only applies to certain technologies which could be said are reaching maturity. While netbooks probably represent the epitomy of this, with parts that could be found in a computer several years back, there are plenty of other facets of technology which have not come close to peaking. Computer interfaces are undergoing constant revisions. Wireless access, while widespread is not completely ubiquitous nor is it as fast as some would like it to be. I'm still waiting for an easy to implement and use home automation system. This says nothing about software and websites, for which completely new ideas could come up and catch our attention. Yes, I'd say that while some technology has reached as far as we generally need it to be, but there are still a whole world of unexplored or barely touched technology that we haven't even touched yet. I think we are still in for a long and wonderful ride.


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