New Computer Technology Spreads Media Throughout The Home

For quite a while now, the computer industry has been trying to bring computer technology into more and more different parts of the home. While the benefits to having access to a home computer in every room of the house can be pretty obvious, consumers have largely rejected technology that would do such a thing. This can be best seen in the repeated pushes (and failures) by the computer industry to make the home computer part of the home entertainment system. In the past, these computers were basically designed to use the living room TV set, instead of a conventional computer monitor- to display their desktops and graphics. The home stereo system would also act as the computer’s speakers, and the keyboard and mouse would connect to the computer wirelessly. The general idea was that the user of such a system would be able to surf the Internet, write email, and get work done all from the comfort of his or her favorite couch or easy chair. Unfortunately, the idea of making the PC part of the home entertainment center hasn’t really caught on among mainstream consumers despite the repeated efforts of the computer industry.

Two technologies that are reaching their maturity are likely to change this situation though. One is the increasing capacity of computer systems to handle video and the other is the increasing capacity of networks to transmit the large amounts of data that make up video. Wireless home networks are already popular in many homes and new technology is making it increasingly feasible to transmit video over wireless networks.

There are a number of devices that are springing up to take advantage of this new found ability to transmit video wirelessly in order to make it- along with other types of media- accessible throughout the house. One of these devices is the Touchsmart PC from Hewlett Packard. The dominating feature of this device is a 19 inch touch screen with a 16:9 aspect ratio that will detect touch and allow users to point directly to the icons and menus that they want to access. In a sense the entire screen is like a huge version of the pointer pad on a laptop computer. The Touchsmart PC also comes with a separate mouse and a keyboard that are stored beneath the screen when not in use, but are both wireless to that they can be taken across the room to be used.

The main idea of the the Touchsmart PC is that it will be used in higher traffic areas of the house like the kitchen. That way when members of the family are in the kitchen to cook or eat a meal they’ll be able to quickly and easily access video, music, digital photos, or the Internet. Some of this media could be stored on the Touchsmart PC’s hard drive, accessed from another computer’s hard drive (like possibly HP’s media vault), or of course the Internet. With a price tag of almost $1800 the Touchsmart PC may be a tough sell as a device for most families to buy just as a convenience.

This type of machine, along with others like it that will surely be coming soon, will push the limits of how and where people will enjoy different types of media in their homes in the near future.

Inexpensive Energy Conserving Products and Technologies – 3 Ways to Cut Your Costs

What do you do after you have changed out the light bulbs that will not cost you an arm and a leg? Actually there are a number of products that I will cover in this article that don’t cost much but can save you a lot of money. Whether you believe in global warming or not, conserving energy makes sense on many levels. I have been in the conservation business since 1992 and have always understood that as much as we want to do what is right for the planet, unless I could prove the economic value of a product not many people would buy it. Here are some options you might not have considered yet.

Some ideas have not been traditionally thought of as energy conservation strategies but at closer look they are. Other ideas have been around for awhile but recent advancements might mean it’s time for an upgrade. For the purposes of this article I am going to focus on products that reduce hot water consumption. Studies show that 30% to 40% of water consumed in a residential environment is heated. I am going to assume that you have already installed low-flow showerheads and aerators, low-flush toilets and replaced your energy wasting light bulbs. If you have not, bookmark this page and go do it.

Idea #1 Check your building pressure: Higher pressure means that more water is being forced through the low-flow faucets and aerators you installed. Since they are already restricting flow, reduce the pressure in 5 psi increments until the service level is no longer satisfactory. It is difficult to say what pressure is the right pressure – it changes from building to building. If you have a pressure regulator already installed there is no cost to implementing this strategy – experiment with it.

Idea #2 Drip Stop Faucet Washers: 90% of leaks occur in hot water pipes – some are easy to spot, others are hard to find. If you follow these steps you can pinpoint any problems and then take action to stop the bleeding. First, check all of your faucets. If they are leaking – fix them! The best replacement washers are made by Drip Stop. Google them, go to their website (turn off the annoying dripping sound) and buy them. Their patented design uses your faucets’ own internal pressure to create a tight seal which actually makes it easier to turn off as well. Next turn off all of the fixtures and go look at the meter. Most utilities are now using meters with a spinner on the face that indicates even the smallest amount passing through the meter. Again if you have a leak – fix it!

Idea #3 Lower-Flow Showerheads: That is right, lower flow. When they first came out they were just watered down (pardon the pun) versions of the old guzzlers with flow restrictors. Nobody liked the way they felt but over the years advances were made and there are a number of low-flow showerheads that conserve while providing a quality showering experience. But they have evolved and now there are an even better ones available and here are 4 reasons why:

1. One is rated at 1.59 gpm versus the old 2.5 gpm wasters. This can save an average family of 3 about $155 per year – at around $40 your payback is under 4 months!

2. When we are pre-warming the water before we get in the shower most of us on the faucet and let it run while we do other things. 1 or 2 minutes later we return to a shower filled with steam, adjust the temperature and step in. One manufacturer has patented a technology that actually turns off the water once it reaches 95°F. You can go about your business until you are ready, pull on a chain and take your shower. This increases the savings by another $75 per year, for a total of $230 saved per year. That is a 2 month payback at $40 per shower head!

3. The demise of most showerheads is clogging from lime (or other minerals) deposits. Many new models have anti-clog spray nozzles that are cleaned by dragging you finger across the nozzle tips while the water is running.

4. Pressure can drastically change the amount of water flowing through your fixtures (see Idea #1 above). Some new models use pressure compensating technology that helps maintain a consistent flow rate across the spectrum of building pressure from high to low. And they feel great, even with lower pressure. The best of the new fixtures that I have found are called the Evolve Showerhead and are available at The Energy Conservation Store online. And one of their polished chrome or brushed nickel showerhead (hand held also available) would look great with any decor.

Technology Bank

In a recent Newsweek article President-elect Obama suggested setting up an infrastructure bank managed by a bi-partisan committee of Governors to allocate government development funds in a logical and fair fashion.

An Infrastructure Bank is a worthy objective and one well worth pursuing given the neglected state of US bridges, roads, levies and other needed development. However, an Infrastructure Bank even if wildly successful only reclaims America. What about the future.

A Technology Bank goes beyond managing government allocated research funds. Structured correctly the Technology Bank is self perpetuating generating many times its cost back to the tax payer and even becoming self sustaining. Let me explain how it works.

The US government already funds research through college and research centers. Our ability to speak instantly to almost anyone in the world comes from the Space Program. The Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory and its work in quantum mechanics put computers in our laps. Drugs that now cure 98% of the diseases. Many of these drugs come from federally funded research at the National Institute of Health and other research labs around the world.

The Technology Bank would be administrated by the brightest minds in the world – Nobel Prize winning and other distinguished scientists. Who better to direct funds for the best possible outcomes? Scientists understand the value of serendipitous research and can operate outside of dogma and partisan politics. By rotating the scientific board on a quarterly basis through a lottery fresh input remains a constant.

If the Technology Bank only managed Federal research funds it would be an improvement over the current system, but the Technology Bank goes further.

In the 1960s companies like Xerox funded Parc Place and AT&T funded Bell Labs. Xerox’s Parc Place is credited with the computer mouse, graphical interface and many, many other inventions. In today’s competitive industrial environment new research comes mostly from colleges. The most productive areas in the US are located near the top technical colleges. Stanford spawned Silicon Valley and MIT and other Boston universities created the tech center of Rte 128.

Paul Allen the co-founder of Microsoft pioneered the idea of periodically bringing professionals from various fields together for think tank sessions. Each session opens with a question and the panel spends time discussing possible solutions from their different perspectives. From these sessions have come hundreds of patents and profits for Allen’s companies.

The Technology Bank by bringing together the best minds in the world for discussion would leverage ideas into new technologies. The world today is a world of ideas and information. The rapid growth of Google and other high tech firms today are driven by information technology. The Technology Bank would serve as a clearing house for government research keeping the US at the forefront of technology while creating millions of new jobs.

Christmas Gift Ideas For Her

It’s hard to believe that the holidays are already creeping up. For many, the mental shopping list has just begun. With that said, so many guys out there stop dead in their tracks when it’s time to buy a gift for that special woman in their life.

Remember, sifting through these gift ideas for her is easy.

For the most part, women love tearing open new skin care items. Since ladies already know the brands they like and tend to stick with them, try to steer away from topical creams and makeup. Instead, check out skin care devices when finding Christmas gifts for her.

There are hot Christmas gift ideas in this shopping isle. So sit back, review the list, and pick out something that she’ll really use at home in the New Year.

Microdermabrasion Treatments:

Women love microdermabrasions because it reveals younger looking skin almost instantly. Look for a unit that offers the type of aluminum oxide crystals which; these crystals are found at top health care offices. A good unit will cost slightly under $200. Quality at-home microdermabrasions improve the following:

  • Fine lines and wrinkles
  • Skin texture
  • Pore size
  • Pigmentation correction
  • Acne

Sonic Skin Cleansing System:

Women enjoy the afterglow following a body spa treatment. But if she has limited time on the calendar for a spa day, a sonic skin cleansing system is an ideal alternative that she’ll embrace. It’s also great to use in between those professional treatments. Excellent sonic skin cleansing systems also may come with body polisher attachments, too. Look for something that truly promotes youthful skin and is a wonderful anti-aging device that’s also perfect for those with sensitive skin. The average cost is about $75.

Here are some highlights on what quality systems can do:

  • Lessens wrinkles and fine lines
  • Reduces pores
  • Improves skin tone
  • Leaves skin supple and soft
  • Exfoliates and cleanses the body and face

Anti-Aging Technology:

It seems that incorporating anti-aging technology into a skin care routine is fighting back the clock. With a flurry of devices to choose from, here are two types of technology that run about $300 each. Either one would be a fantastic Christmas gift for her.

Microcurrent technology is growing in popularity because it regenerates the muscles underneath the skin. Look for a beauty tool that’s FDA cleared and promotes facial toning and stimulation. It’s a painless way to lift slack skin, tone and regenerate.

Another great product is using a hand-held LED light therapy. Again, look for something which is FDA cleared. This treatment fights back premature wrinkles. It’s gentle and can be used daily. If LED light therapy is on the holiday shopping list, it’s best to find these combination of lights which promote collagen and elastin for younger looking skin: red, amber and infrared LED.

These skin care device gift ideas will add a special spark during this holiday season.

Leadership Skills Are Necessary for Technology Managers in the Current Business Economy

Technology oriented careers have been making a comeback. Accordingly, talented technology managers are necessary in every area of the field – from Web design and development, to database-driven e-commerce, to software engineering, to technical service and support. Technology positions, from programmer to CIO, are also critically important in organizations from all industries, including manufacturing, healthcare, education, government and service firms. Technology professionals often seek career advancement but need the leadership skills necessary to advance their careers. In response to these industry demands, adult-learning and distance learning schools now offer technology degrees at the bachelor’s and master’s degree levels, often in accelerated formats.

However, other necessary characteristics of successful technology managers cannot be found on a silicon microchip or in a line of CSS markup code. Some of these characteristics include a talent for leadership; the ability to communicate ideas and directions, and the ability to motivate and mentor staff. These skills are not taught in all technology curricula of the 21st century. However, some information technology and computer science academic curriculum designers are beginning to recognize the importance of teaching soft skills in the classroom. Accordingly, some programs of study now emphasize specialized leadership training for would-be technology managers.

The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) states that computer and information systems professionals typically require advanced-level training (namely, a master’s degree) in order to be considered for leadership positions in technology. The BLS also points to the need for technology job applicants to have diverse experience in technology systems and applications. This experience will allow them to lead staff who work in different departments and who have different types of technology skills. An additional benefit to pursuing training for technology management careers is the bright future outlook of this field. These careers are expected to grow 16 percent through the year 2016.

Technology leadership training programs at the master’s degree level will typically have two or three core academic components. The first core component, obviously, is technology. Students who pursue this type of master’s degree typically begin the program with knowledge of at least one higher-level programming language; and are comfortable with database management or development, as well as computer networking systems administration. The master’s in leadership and information technology course of study will build on students’ foundations in information science and systems, enabling students to approach these disciplines from a leadership and management perspective.

Students will learn to lead employees as well as communicate with all levels of the organization and customers.

In CIO Magazine’s 2007 State of the CIO survey of more than 500 IT professionals, the three skills “most pivotal for success in your role” were: the ability to communicate effectively, strategic thinking and planning, and ability to lead/motivate staff. In other words, leadership skills. The primary characteristics that all technology managers must have are leadership skills. These attributes enable technology leaders to motivate staff; to direct projects or business activities in a way that maximizes profits, and to ensure that staff on hand are competent and contribute to strong worker retention. According to career advice site Monster.com, the best managers and leaders in technology are those men and women who are directly involved in project management and task delegation, rather than those who give orders from afar.

In the tech industry, there exists a decades-old stereotype about the social inclinations of technology workers. Unfairly or not, they have been historically pegged as lacking in leadership skills and strong communication abilities. Industry efforts to disassemble this stereotype is one primary reason why students interested in technology management are able to enroll in master’s-level programs of study that combine technology skills with interpersonal and leadership skills.

The other reason more and more master’s-level technology programs of study focus on business and leadership skills is because technology manager careers have become more specialized and decisions-driven. Managers in tech fields must be able to assess the technology systems in place at their companies, and make system implementation and upgrade decisions that will be positive for their employees and clients. Technology must support and align with organizational goals. Making the right technology decisions requires developed leadership skills, strong soft skills, and polished business acumen.

As technology continues to change and develop rapidly, technology leadership master’s degree programs will continue to develop targeted curricula, integrating technology with the business world to produce strong leaders.