The Connected Car: A Look at The Debate

On March 28, 2012, in General, Uncategorized, by MENDEZ21Dianne

New vehicles such as the Ford Edge, Lincoln MKX, and the Audi A6 allow passengers to connect to the Internet 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 generally view tech advancements as a positive. But connectivity in the vehicle begs a major question: Is this a good thing?

Challenges of the Connected Car

Drivers get distracted and this can cause accidents. In fact, The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports 80 percent of all accidents involve driver inattention within 3 seconds of the accident. So, this being true, imagine how distracted the driver would be if there is a funny YouTube video playing on an in-car screen.

Does Tech Distract Drivers?

Drivers need to focus on the road. Whatever takes their focus away from it—regardless of whether it’s chomping down on a fast-food burger or searching for traffic information—can result in potentially fatal accidents. That’s why the news that cars are on pace to become much more connected is greeted with just as much uncertainty as anticipation.

Browsing the Web Inside Your Car

Regardless of how we feel about this, unless laws are put into place stopping it, individuals will soon have the ability to stream YouTube videos, Google an answer to a question, and correspond via social media sites in their cars. Maybe the next phase 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, we usually consider advancements in technology as a positive thing, nevertheless, the possible negative impacts that connected cars could have make us stop and think. While having all of these tech features in our cars improves enjoyment on the road it’s important that they don’t become a disruption to the driver.

 

Nanotechnology: Not the Stuff of Science Fiction

On March 23, 2012, in Uncategorized, by ZelmaHudson20

You hear the word “nanotechnology,” and what do you think of? Science fiction, maybe robots, something along those lines? In reality, nanotechnology is making life simpler for everyone. At its core, nanotechnology is the science of dealing with matter on an atomic and molecular scale. The hope is that scientists can use nanotechnology to make new materials and products that boast a wide range of purposes.

The practical side of nanotechnology

As an example, Science Daily ran a feature story about scientists developing a way to use nanotechnology to lessen the amount of friction in car engines and machines. If this technology becomes common, it can help prolong 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 capacity to reduce friction.

More efficient motors

The story noted that even when these particles were dispersed at a low concentration, they boasted more potent friction-reducing abilities than the friction reducing additives used by lots of industries today. The scientists learned that these particles, measuring just nanometers in size, made it possible to reduce friction by 55 percent more than additives currently can. We can expect more discoveries like this in the future. The field of nanotechnology is growing. It’s growing so quickly, in fact, that the United States recently launched a national strategy for ensuring that environmental, health, and safety research needs are recognized and addressed in the field.

The emerging world of nanotechnology

If you feel, then, that nanotechnology is only good for Hollywood special effects blockbusters; simply take a close look at your car’s engine. Eventually, nanotechnology may leave you with an engine that uses less gas. That, obviously, can leave you with a fatter wallet, and you’ll be able to thank nanotechnology for this.

 

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

On March 21, 2012, in Uncategorized, by Mooney28Geraldine

We are all aware there are big problems in the world today; debt crises, illiteracy, global warming, are just a few. Google has assembled a team to come up with radical ideas to find answers to the world’s biggest problems, and they call the project “Solve for X“.

Tackling the biggest global issues

You may wonder, how can a group of people at “Solve for X” find solutions to problems that have bewildered world leaders for years? The brain trust at “Solve for X” consists of forty-six scientists, entrepreneurs, and innovators from all over the world. And these people are enthusiastic. Google explains it as: “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 took part in a “Solve for X” retreat. He said that they were focused on the problem of water scarcity. What solutions 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, luckily the people at “Solve for X” do.

The need for technology brain trusts

Whether “Solve for X” does develop any real solutions for the globe’s biggest problems, the brain trust idea is obviously one with merit. Technology has the facility to change the world for good. Yes, new tech entertains us. It makes it easier for us to enjoy our music, watch movies, and read our favorite magazines. But technology is capable of doing so much more. Perhaps brain trusts like “Solve for X” will help us truly tap the potential of technology.

 

Don’t Squelch Creativity in Your Workplace

On March 16, 2012, in General, Uncategorized, by Mooney28Geraldine

Do your employees voice their ideas and thoughts? Do they come to you with ways to increase effectiveness or new innovative marketing ideas?

If this does not sound familiar, your company may be inadvertently stifling employee creativity. A lack of creativity among your employees, in today’s business environment, can spell the doom for your company and may keep you one step behind the competitors.

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

The best way to foster creativity is to actually entice your employees to come up with new ideas and then to listen to these ideas when employees bring them to you. Send out an email blast asking employees for ideas to better your company’s products or services. Post a notice on the bulletin board asking for suggestions on how to enhance the company blog or increase its customer-approval ratings. And then, when employees answer these calls, meet with them—even if it’s during a quick phone call—to explore their recommendations. You don’t have to put into practice all employee ideas, obviously, but to show respect, you should pay attention to them all.

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

Another great way to inspire creativity is to reward strong ideas. This could be monetary or simply pointing out their creativity to the rest of the company.

Most employees want to be creative. Most have thoughts on how to enhance their places of employment. However, in too many work environments, creativity just isn’t encouraged. Break this trend, and encourage your workers to really think about their company. The rewards you receive could be tremendous.

 

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

On March 14, 2012, in Uncategorized, by Staff Contributor

Are you just becoming familiar with the concept of social media? Well here comes another that is growing in popularity: Pinterest. One thing that is different about Pinterest is that it focuses less on updates concerning the day-to-day and more on the interests of the users. This encourages creativity among its user base.

The site’s name offers 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. Once you join Pinterest, you create your own “pinboards” or categories. You then attach photos and images that fit within those categories, as if you were pinning these images to a bulletin board.

Creating Pinterest Categories

Creating categories will allow you to organize your account and allow people to decide what in your account they want to concentrate on. You can decide to share all of your pinboards with other users or only a couple. You can not only make notes about the images you pin to your pinboard, but you can also add links to sites where you found the images.

The Social Part of Pinterest

Of course, social interaction forms the heart of Pinterest. You can choose to follow people just like you would on Facebook or Twitter. But you can also decide to follow specific collections. Say someone has a collection 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 does not quite interest you as much. You can choose to follow her movie posters while ignoring her toddler.

Joining Pinterest

The one challenge with Pinterest is that you have to get invited to get an account. You can head over to pinterest.com and request an invitation but it might be a while until you receive one. The more surefire way to get an invitation is to have a friend invite you that already posseses an account.

 

Dressing for Success in the Workplace

On March 9, 2012, in Uncategorized, by cdeal

Finding work these days is not an easy task. This means you have to put your best foot forward when interviewing. A great way to accomplish this is dress the part.

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

This simple rule can help where job interviews are concerned: Safer to be overdressed then under-dressed. Even if the company you happen to be interviewing for says, “No need to dress up, we’re very casual here,” you should still wear proper business attire to your interview. Your clothing can show how serious you are about your employment, and employers want somebody that really wants to grow with a company and takes their position seriously. If you dress for an interview in t-shirt and jeans, you have made a poor first impression, even though you may blow the competition out of the water with your qualifications.

This pertains to the workplace too. Even a casual environment wants their employees looking sharp. So avoid grabbing a random t-shirt along with the jeans you have been wearing all week off the floor. Give thought to what you are wearing and try to look professional. Showing that you put effort into your appearance will set you apart in your workplace, and that can be helpful in the event the boss is looking to promote someone in your department!

This may be unnecessary to say, but regardless of how sharp you dress, you will always need to be a good worker. Anyone can see through your “look” if your work doesn’t back it up. But the point is, if you are a great worker, looking like you respect your position and job can’t hurt!

 

So now you are on Twitter, and you follow your friends and family, but you are tired of learning about the brand new restaurant your sister went to. You want to hear more interesting and worldly information.

Well, lucky for you, almost everyone has a Twitter now.  This includes celebrities, scientists, entrepreneurs, and legislators and you could follow them and hear what they have to say.

Below is a set of 7 interesting people who you may decide to follow to make your Twitter experience more entertaining:

  1. Conan O’Brien: This talk-show host is really a master of the absurd. His posts are always witty and clever. So if you are trying to follow somebody who will give you a mid-day chuckle, follow @ConanOBrien. Also, he doesn’t promote his show through his tweets.
  2. Marissa Mayer: You may not be familiar with Marissa Mayer, but she is the very first female engineer at Google. So if you would like to get a glimpse inside the life and thoughts of a technology expert, follow @Marissamayer.
  3. Mike Massimino: Follow @Astro_Mike, if you’d like to get 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: You may know Rainn better from the character of Dwight Schrute for the popular Tv program The Office. What you probably don’t know is that his Twitter feed is just as entertaining as the show. Follow him @Rainnwilson.
  5. Ryan Penagos: If you like comics, you have to know Ryan Penagos. He’s the editorial director of Marvel Comics. He’s also a busy Tweeter at @Agent_M. Penagos and recently Tweeted regarding a new Spider-Man video game and gave his thoughts on his favorite comics. He likes the work of writer Brian Michael Bendis.
  6. Barack Obama: Perhaps you didn’t vote for him, but Barack Obama is the president of the United States. How could you not follow his Twitter feed? Check out exactly what the Commander in Chief has to say at @BarackObama.
  7. Bill Gates: The impact that this man has had in the world of technology is undeniable. Should you be curious about his daily thoughts and want to get updates about the charitable causes he and his wife devote their time to, follow him @BillGates.