A Bold Look at the History of the Computer

It’s hard to envision life without the computer. Today we carry miniature computers – that’s what smartphones are, after all – in our pockets. Nevertheless, there was a time when the majority of consumers didn’t have a single computer within their homes.

It’s hard to envision life without the computer. Today we carry miniature computers – that’s what smartphones are, after all – in our pockets. Nevertheless, there was a time when the majority of consumers didn’t have a single computer within their homes.

George Dyson, a science historian, asks how we went from having no computers to having so many in such a small amount of time period in his book, Turing’s Cathedral.

Dyson has a distinctive vantage point which makes him the perfect author for this book. He’s the son of a top scientist, Freeman Dyson and, due to this, has spent much of his years at the Princeton Institute for Advanced Studies. The Institute was home to the globe’s most talented scientific minds – included Einstein’s – as they were in the midst of building and operating the first digital computers under the guidance of scientist Josh von Neumann.

Turing’s Cathedral explores the invention of the computer, emphasizing the contrasting personalities which were thrown together to work on the project. It also explores what was involved in the invention of the computer, much of which was chance.

When great minds work on a project there are sure to be rivalries and heated disagreements, the development of the computer was no different. This book demonstrates that the individuals that worked on this project were geniuses, certainly not saints. Moreover there were some moral problems that the creators of the computer faced while working on this project, since the work they were doing had a close association with the U.S. nuclear weapons project.

You might think that history books are dry reads and a history of computers has to be crammed with technical lingo. Turing’s Cathedral doesn’t fit that image at all. Anyone who uses a computer will find this book intriguing. Which is an awful lot of people today.

The Connected Car: A Look at The Debate

New vehicles like the Ford Edge, Lincoln MKX, and the Audi A6 let travellers to connect to the Internet right from the front seat. These Online connections over Wi-Fi or 3G networks allow motorists to enjoy streaming video, audio, spoken text messaging, and current traffic information

New vehicles like the Ford Edge, Lincoln MKX, and the Audi A6 let travellers to connect to the Internet right from the front seat. These Online connections over Wi-Fi or 3G networks allow motorists to enjoy streaming video, audio, spoken text messaging, and current traffic information. We usually view tech advancements as a positive. But connectivity in the vehicle begs an important question: Is this a good thing?

Challenges of the Connected Car

People get distracted when they text or chat on their phones while driving. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration states that 80 % of traffic accidents include driver inattention within 3 seconds of the crash. So, if basic cell phone use is a disruption consider what it would be like if an individual is video Skyping with their closest friend while driving or watching that funny Super Bowl commercial.

Does Tech Distract Drivers?

Anything which takes a driver’s attention from the road may be a hazard. Whether it’s texting, making calls, or simply having a companion in the car. Many states have made it illegal to text while driving due to this. This is the main reason why the news that vehicles are coming out with 3G connections doesn’t make everyone jump for joy.

Browsing the Web Inside Your Car

Regardless of how we feel about this, unless laws are put into place preventing it, people will soon have the capacity to stream YouTube videos, Google an answer to a question, and correspond via social media sites within their cars. Maybe the next step should be to increase the self-driving aspects to cars; but perhapsthat would disconnect us even more to the world around us.

As we said before, advancements in technology normally have us excited. But the biggest concern with the connected car is that, will raising the quantity of distractions increase the level of accidents? Car connectivity brings a lot of pleasure to travelers, especially on long commutes, but it’s essential that drivers realize the need to remain focused on the road no matter how cute that video of a baby monkey is.

Nanotechnology: Not the Stuff of Science Fiction

When you hear the term “nanotechnology,” does science fiction come to mind?

When you hear the term “nanotechnology,” does science fiction come to mind? In reality, nanotechnology is an element of our daily lives; it makes our lives easier. Nanotechnology is basically the science of dealing with matter on an atomic and molecular scale. Scientists can use nanotechnology to develop new materials that can be applied and used in several different ways.

The practical side of nanotechnology

As an illustration, Science Daily ran a feature story about scientists developing a way to use nanotechnology to reduce the amount of friction in car engines and machines. If this technology becomes widespread, it may help increase the lives of machines and engines and enable them to operate more effectively. According to the Science Daily story, a team of scientists created tiny polymer particles that were dispersed in automobile engine base oils. When tested under conditions that simulated those found in car engines, these tiny particles were found to have an extraordinary capability to reduce friction.

More efficient motors

There are friction-reducing additives used by lots of industries currently, however when these tiny polymer particles were released at a low concentration they were able to lower friction by 55 percent more than common additives currently can. As the field of nanotechnology keeps growing we can expect more discoveries like this.

The emerging world of nanotechnology

Next time you consider nanotechnology think about your car’s engine. Someday nanotechnology could be responsible for saving you lots of money due to your engine consuming less gas.

Serious World Problems: Don’t worry, Google is on it

Global warming?

Global warming? Poverty? Illiteracy? Debt crises? These are all significant global problems. And they have drawn the attention of the technology pros at Google. Google recently presented its new “Solve for X” initiative, a venture in which Google’s greatest minds take on the world’s most vexing difficulties. The idea is for “Solve for X” minds to propose revolutionary ideas for eradicating some of the biggest problems facing the Earth.

Tackling the biggest global issues

Of course, it’s not that simple. The “Solve for X” brain trust will be tackling problems that have long befuddled world leaders. However, the people behind this project are nothing if not eager. They are saying the work happening here is akin to the progressive thinking that was necessary to send humans to the moon. On the “Solve for X” website, Google talks about it this way: “This combination of things—a huge problem to solve, a radical solution for solving it and the breakthrough technology to make it happen—is the essence of a moonshot.”

Tackling water scarcity

Last month Mashable.com ran a story on the “Solve for X” project. Mashable cited the account of an individual who participated in a “Solve for X” retreat. He said that they were focused on the issue of water scarcity. What resolutions did they come up with on this retreat? One involved forward osmosis with recycled ammonium salts. It’s fine if you do not understand what that means, fortunately the people at “Solve for X” do.

The need for technology brain trusts

“Solve for X” may not produce any real, practical, solutions for the world’s problems nonetheless the brain trust idea definitely has possibilities. Technology has, and can, change the world for the better; we merely need outside the box thinking to come up with ideas. So we shall see if “Solve for X” comes up with progressive ways to use technologies we currently have.

Training Day – March 23rd

In order to continue improving our services, Servcom USA will be conducting a training day for our technicians and employees on Friday, March 23rd. Please be aware that our technicians will be limited in their availability to respond to non-emergency service calls during regular business hours. As always, please call our office to report service disruptions, or go online to our Client Access Portal and submit a ticket.

Don’t Squelch Creativity in Your Workplace

Do you run a workplace in which employees feel free to express new ideas?

Do you run a workplace in which employees feel free to express new ideas? Do your workers come to you with new plans or ideas about ways to run company meetings more effectively? Have your employees ever introduced ideas for a new marketing plan or suggested topics for the company’s blog?

If not, then you might be operating a workplace in which employee creativity is being squelched. Nowadays an absence of creativity in your company can condemn your firm to second-tier status. It might even steer your company out of business.

Two heads are better then one right? Well what about a whole business? Promoting creativity means you have many individuals thinking of new ways to promote your products and services, boost workflow efficiency, and enhance overall productivity. This can ultimately mean saving the company money.

One of the best ways to inspire fresh thinking is to simply listen to your employees when they present new ideas. Most employees are anxious when approaching their superiors with new concepts, especially when it’s a notion that falls “outside of the box.” So make sure you give them an open forum to discuss their ideas and give them the respect to listen to them. One more way is to ask your employees, if you are struggling to think of a way to improve the company’s blog, or products, send out an email asking for ideas. Not all of your employee’s ideas will wow you, but, so as not to single anyone out, pay attention to them all.

Dismissing an idea before you have heard it or not giving it your full attention will discourage your employees and defeat your purpose. Instead of having a bunch of imaginative thinkers working for you, you may find yourself with a group of people just going through the motions for their paychecks.

To truly stimulate creativity, reward those employees who do come up with strong ideas. This could mean paying a small bonus to those employees whose ideas you use. It could mean praising employees in company newsletters or memos. It could even mean an in-person “thank you.”

Most employees want to be innovative. Most have ideas on how to improve their places of employment. Nevertheless, in too many work environments, creativity just isn’t emphasized. Break this trend, and encourage your staff to really think about their company. The rewards you receive could be immense.

What is this Pinterest Thing, and What Does it Mean to Me

Are you burned out on social media? Then you really will not be pleased to hear that a new social media website is gaining traction. However, you might be interested to learn that this new site, Pinterest, doesn’t focus on the minutiae of day-to-day living as sites such as Twitter and Facebook seem to.

Are you burned out on social media? Then you really will not be pleased to hear that a new social media website is gaining traction. However, you might be interested to learn that this new site, Pinterest, doesn’t focus on the minutiae of day-to-day living as sites such as Twitter and Facebook seem to. Instead, Pinterest encourages users to express their interests with others. And in this way, at least, Pinterest does more to encourage creativity among its users than sites such as LinkedIn and Facebook.

The site’s name gives a clue as to what it’s all about: Pinterest is a combination of “pin,” as in pinboards, and “interest,” as in what you are all about. When you join Pinterest, you make your own “pinboards” or categories. You then attach photos and pictures that fit within those categories, as if you were pinning these images onto a bulletin board.

Creating Pinterest Categories

With Pinterest you can create different categories, like business and fashion, then pin images to each category and make notes with regards to the images along with links to the website you found them on. You can then choose to share all of your pinboards or only a couple with other Pinterest users.

The Social Part of Pinterest

Of course, social interaction forms the core of Pinterest. You can decide to follow people much like you would on Facebook or Twitter. But you can also choose to follow specific collections. Say an associate has a number of old movie poster images that you simply find fascinating. But she also has a collection of images of her 3-year-old son that doesn’t quite appeal to you as much. You could decide to follow her movie posters while ignoring her toddler.

Joining Pinterest

The main challenge with Pinterest is getting an account: you have to be invited to sign up. You can request an invitation directly from Pinterest when you go to the site, but it’s uncertain how long you’ll have to wait to receive an invitation using this method. It is much more reliable to seek out friends or acquaintances that are already using Pinterest. You can then ask them to invite you to the site through e-mail, Facebook, or Twitter.

Dressing for Success in the Workplace

It’s not an easy task to get a job nowadays. So when you do get called for an interview you’ll want to make the best impression.

It’s not an easy task to get a job nowadays. So when you do get called for an interview you’ll want to make the best impression. There’s one simple way to do this: dress for it.

I know what you’re thinking: “The business world has gotten so casual—people wear flip-flops for goodness sake! Workplace attire doesn’t matter anymore.” Incorrect! How you dress says a great deal about you and how you feel about your career, and potential employers certainly notice.

Here is an easy rule for a job interview: Overdressed is far better than under-dressed. Even if you’re interviewing for a company that has a relaxed working environment, you still should wear proper business attire to your interview. The better dressed you are, the more you show yourself off as somebody who is serious about their career and this particular job. When you show up to an interview dressed down, you’re starting from a weaker position.

In the workplace you should still think about the clothing you wear. Even in a casual place you can certainly still look sharp. When you just grab yesterday’s jeans off the floor and run out the door you won’t be noticed. Those who put more thought into their style stand out from their peers, which is never a bad thing in the event the boss is looking to promote someone!

Of course, you still have to be a good worker. You may be the best-dressed person in the world, but it will not help you if you don’t do your job well. All things being equal, the better-dressed employee will certainly make the better impression.

Make Your Twitter Feed More Interesting: 7 People

So now that you are on Twitter you have probably followed coworkers, clients, and friends. But you may be curious about more then what your coworker did over the past weekend. Almost everybody has a Twitter account these days including legislators, celebrities, sports stars, scientists, and entrepreneurs as well as your next-door neighbor.

So now that you are on Twitter you have probably followed coworkers, clients, and friends. But you may be curious about more then what your coworker did over the past weekend.

Almost everybody has a Twitter account these days including legislators, celebrities, sports stars, scientists, and entrepreneurs as well as your next-door neighbor. To get funny, interesting, and insightful tweets you can follow any of these people.

Here are 7 interesting individuals who will get you started if you’re not sure whom to follow:

  1. Conan O’Brien: This talk-show host’s tweets are always entertaining, follow him @ConanOBrien. An example of the kind of wit you’ll find on his Twitter is: “I wonder if my car’s blind spot compensates with a heightened sense of touch and smell.”
  2. Marissa Mayer: Mayer is the first female engineer at Google, you can get a glimpse into the life of a tech expert as well as learn some interesting things about Google by following her @Marissamayer.
  3. Mike Massimino: Follow @Astro_Mike, if you’d like to receive the inside scoop about NASA. Mike Massimino is an astronaut who recent made an appearance on The Big Bang Theory, which he then tweeted about.
  4. Rainn Wilson: Fans of NBC’s The Office know Rainn Wilson as beet farm owner and top salesman Dwight Schrute. He also runs one of the more entertaining Twitter feeds in existence at @Rainnwilson. An example of a recent Tweet: “If I had a bird, I would call it James VanDerBeak.”
  5. Ryan Penagos: If you are interested in Comics, Ryan Penagos Twitter feed will help keep you up to date. He is the editorial director of Marvel Comics and he recently tweeted regarding a new Spider-Man video game.
  6. Barack Obama: You can get a peek at the everyday life of the Commander in Chief @BarackObama.
  7. Bill Gates: The impact that this man has had around the world of technology is undeniable. If you’re interested in his daily thoughts and want to get updates about the charitable causes he and his wife devote their time to, follow him @BillGates.

Will Windows Phone make Microsoft Cool

Microsoft is a household name. And Bill Gates is arguably one of the most important names in the technology field.

Microsoft is a household name. And Bill Gates is arguably one of the most important names in the technology field. But has Microsoft ever been “cool”? Not really, in the eyes of consumers it’s always fell a bit short of hip, but Microsoft’s new software for smartphones may alter the way the organization is viewed.

Microsoft has long fought an industry reputation as a sort of stodgy dullard. There’s a decent list of unsuccessful Microsoft products. Remember the Zune music player? Perhaps not. How about the Kin phone? That flop has long vanished from the minds of most consumers.

Windows Phone software may change this, as it is a success among the technology press and consumers alike. People are saying that overall Windows Phone is probably the best performing operating systems available on the market.

The praise that Windows Phone gets is mainly dues to its bold look and the animated home screen tiles, as opposed to the more static home screen of the iPhone. This OS has people fired up as well as it gives users quick access to their social networks. The social media icons on the home screen come to life when a friend posts an update or image, which means you don’t need to click the Facebook icon to get a glimpse of your activity.

Even with all of these features and praise Windows Phone hasn’t been the biggest seller. This is perhaps due to the phones that come loaded with the OS. Many individuals believe these phones are dull and wireless services providers are still pushing the iPhone and Android in a big way.

The Windows Phone may, however, represent a turn around for Microsoft. Perhaps this is just the start of a line of chic, hip products from them.