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Category Archives: Technology

Learn Computer Programming

The standard way of learning to program is to get admission into a college and get a degree in computer science. However, there are many who can never make it to college, despite having the skills and the talent for analytical thinking. I have written this article for those of you who never went to college but have discovered the beauty of programming and would like to master it on your own. This is possible today as Internet and the open source movement has created a programming culture online, which can guide you in the process. With self discipline and persistence, you can teach yourself programming and enjoy writing your own software.

How to Learn Computer Programming Without a College Degree?

Computer science is a tough field to master, but it can give you the most enjoyable and creative experiences ever. Here are a few guidelines on how to become a computer programmer.

Learn Programming Languages

Firstly, get hold of a desktop or laptop computer, which enables you to read and execute your programs. Programing is all about learning to communicate with your computer hardware to accomplish various computing tasks. Computer only understands machine language, written in 1s and 0s. For us humans, to communicate with computers, programing languages were created, whose code can be converted into machine readable form by compilers. There are a range of programing languages which vary in their applications and power. You will have to learn at least a dozen essential programming languages, which includes C, C++, Java, Perl, Lisp and Python.

Start Writing Code
The best way to learn is to practice what you have learned. Write your own code, make mistakes, learn how to debug code. Participate in coding competitions and test your programming skills. Get hold of open source software, read the code and understand how good programs are written. Learn how master programmers achieve economy of code and the logical clarity that makes great programs. Get to know your computer and the hardware basics. Learn how the computer works at the basic levels with memory and processors.

Learn to Run Linux or Unix
You cannot call yourself a programmer until you have mastered using Linux and Unix operating systems. Install a Linux distribution like Ubuntu on your computer and tinker around with it. It will provide you with all the programing tools you need, along with compilers.

Apprentice Expert Programmers
Let expert programmers take you under their wing. Find a good mentor who is ahead on the path of becoming a master computer programmer. Take advice and learn from them.

Read Code, Write Code and Keep Improving
Keep writing your own piece of computer code and keep thinking on how you could improve it. Join the open source movement and analyze the anatomy of good programs. Pick up your domain of expertise and go deep. Remember that there is always room for improvement!

Technology Changed Education

The omnipresence of technology is both outstanding and overwhelming. It has become our second nature that we use instinctively without even realizing how profound an influence it wields on the various aspects of our life. In this Buzzle article, we discuss how technology has changed one such important facet, i.e., education.
This millennium stands testimony to the fact that the human mind is one of the new frontiers that we are trying to conquer. Breathtaking technologies are being introduced almost every year, and it seems we’re on the way to make our life easier and more comfortable. Education – that is a reflection of the development of a society and is the foundation stone of the bright future of a nation that has undergone drastic changes in the last fifty years.

Positive Effects of Technology on Education

Talking in a positive sense, the impact of technology on education has been phenomenal. Using Internet and computers as en effective medium to establish communication between schools, teachers, students and parents; educational institutes have been able to handle many issues that were previously not handled with ease due to geographical limitations or lack of adequate training technologies.

Enhanced Teaching and Learning

Technological developments like digital cameras, projectors, mind training software, computers, PowerPoint presentations, 3D visualization tools; all these have become great sources for teachers to help students grasp a concept easily. It has to be understood that visual explanation of concepts makes learning fun and enjoyable for students.

Negative Effects of Technology on Education

Teachers and scholars across the globe have unanimously stood for integrating technology in education. This is owing to the fact that just like students, even teachers find it easier to circulate study materials by using Internet as a communication tool. Technological developments have made life easier for teachers and students. However, there are other aspects of this that most of us are not familiar with.

Poor Teacher-Student Relationship

Many teachers have a common complaint that negative habits of students are more exacerbated due to the use of technology. In countries like the US, where assignments and homework are required to be submitted online, students tend to forget common email etiquette like salutation and sometimes, even adding texts in the attachments! Moreover, the trend of last day submissions has now transformed into last hour, last minute submissions. Students submit their assignments even hours after the time for submission is over and their emails don’t contain any explanation or a note of apology.

A Brief Explanation of How Do Fire Alarms Work

Fire alarms are small devices that are triggered off when they sense smoke that enters a special chamber inside them. Read this article to know more about this topic.
True, these home security systems (home alarm systems) keep us safe from external intrusion. But what about the threats that lurk inside our houses all the time as we go about doing our daily chores? One such threat is fire.

What is a Fire Alarm?

A fire may break out in one room and then spread stealthily to other rooms without any noise or warning. By the time we realize, the raging flames may have engulfed the whole house. However, the device that amazingly gives us a warning signal against the break out of a fire is the small alarm that lies inconspicuously attached to the ceiling of a room.

Working

There are mainly two types of smoke alarms (fire alarms) depending upon the type of detector that is used in them. The smoke detectors used are the ionization and the photoelectric detectors. Most fire alarms use either one or both the types.

Ionization Detectors

They have a small quantity of Americanum-241 that serves as the source of ionizing radiation. The alpha particles that are constantly released by Americanum-241 strike with the oxygen and nitrogen atoms in the air. This knocks off electrons from the oxygen and nitrogen atoms resulting in the formation of positively charged ions. Ionization detectors also have an ionization chamber, which houses two plates about a centimeter apart.

Photoelectric Detectors
In these devices, the alarm is set off once the straight path of light beam inside the photoelectric chamber gets disrupted by smoke particles. Photoelectric detectors have a T-shaped chamber that contains an incandescent bulb or an infrared LED, which acts as a light source. There is a lens in these systems that collimates the light being emitted from the light source into a beam. There is a photodiode or some other photoelectric sensor at the base of the vertical arm of the T-shaped photoelectric chamber, which acts as a light sensor. In the absence of smoke, the beam of light travels in a straight path without coming in contact with the light sensor.

Informative Points

Over 85% of the houses in the United States have fire alarm systems installed in them. Given this fact, the number of fire related casualties should have been way below the recorded statistics. Does this mean that most of the accidents caused due to fire take place in the remaining 15% of the houses that do not have fire alarms? This interpretation doesn’t sound feasible. The fact is that just installing a fire alarm does not guarantee safety from fire breaking out in the house. Once installed, these devices need to be regularly checked if they are in working condition to ensure fire safety.

Benefits and Action Plans for Green Computing

Green computing is the practice of using computers and related technology in an environmentally responsible manner. It aims at radically changing the way we go about computing, using the electronic devices and following strict energy conservation guidelines, so as to minimize the damage caused to the environment by computers. This activity is not just limited to saving electricity, but also takes a holistic approach towards environment-friendly use of computers. Devising innovative and environment-conscious techniques for energy generation is also one of its aspects.

Advantages of Green Computing
There are many innovative technologies and tools which make green computing a viable option for judicious energy usage and environmental conservation. The advantages offered by such technologies are discussed in these points.

Cloud Computing

Touted as a technology that could save substantial amount of energy, cloud computing involves replacing regular servers with the virtual ones. The different areas where cloud computing finds application include data storagenetworkingoperating systemssoftware applications. As per studies conducted by the WSP Environment & Energy, it is possible to save as much as 90% of the energy spent in a company of 100 employees. The AT&T-supported Carbon Disclosure Project reported that big US corporations can save as much as $12.3 billion (by the year 2020) if they resort to the use of cloud computing; server utilization too can be increased up to 80%.

Recycling

Through this practice, we can save precious energy, time and money spent in manufacturing these electronic items. Resources used and money spent in manufacturing an electronic item from scratch are far greater than those needed for recycling it. Even in developed countries like USA, only a small percentage of discarded or used electronic items are recycled. France, which is said to be an ecology-responsible country collects only 14% of the e-waste generated in the country. Thus, there is a great scope for recycling electronic items and thereby, preventing environmental damage. Conservation of environmental resources, electricity and money can be achieved through this simple-to-implement step.

Turning Your Computers Off

The practice of switching off computers at night helps in saving a considerable amount of energy. The estimated amount of energy spent in a single year due to round-the-clock use of computer is $115-$160 (Schneider, 2008). Running your computer just 8 hours a day can help save 810 kWh energy on an annual basis. It is a myth that turning the computer off can damage it. Computers are designed for sustaining around 40,000 on/off cycles. Therefore, you need not worry about the computer even if you have to turn it off on a regular basis. The power supplied to scanners and printers should be cut off whenever these devices are not in use. This practice can also save a considerable amount of energy.

Efficient Types of Capacitors

Capacitor is an essential part of every electronic circuit system. It can be classified based on the type of material used in the electrical insulator.
They are used extensively in electronic circuits with the purpose of blocking direct current (DC), thereby allowing alternate current (AC) in filter networks and outputs of power supplies.

Types

Electrolytic
These are the most popularly used capacitors, which have a wide tolerance capacity ((-)50% – (+)100%). This type consists of two plates (made of aluminum or tantalum), which are wound around each other. The dielectric filled between these plates is mostly a thin layer of oxide (less than 10 microns). The two popular kinds available in the market are aluminum and tantalum. These are polarized and hence proper care must be taken when fixing them in electronic circuits. If connected incorrectly, they may get damaged.
Usage: They have a large capacitance value. Hence, they are widely used as coupling capacitors in audio applications and in smoothing applications for power supplies to reduce ripple voltages.

Dielectric
These are the simplest form of capacitors, which contain a set of moving plates. These plates mesh with another set of fixed plates. The position of the moving plates with respect to that of the fixed plates determines the capacitance generated.
Usage: They are widely used in tuning transmitters and receivers. They are also used in transistor radios.

Film
Film capacitors have a capacitance value of 5 pF – 100 pF (pico farad). The basic difference between these and the other types is in their dielectric property. There are two kinds available – radial lead type and axial lead type. The former one has metal film electrodes containing a dielectric layer between them, whereas the latter one has metal sheets wrapped around the electrode with dielectric material sandwiched within the sheets. The most common kind available in market are Mylar, polystyrene, polypropylene, and Teflon capacitors.
Usage: They are mainly used in devising circuits for harmonic filtering and reactive energy compensation.

Ceramic
These are also known as disc capacitors. They are made by coating the sides of a ceramic disk with silver. One can make both low capacitance and high capacitance in this type, by changing the thickness of the ceramic disc used. For low capacitance values, a ceramic disc (3 – 6 mm ) can be used. They usually have a high dielectric constant and show non-linear changes in capacitance value when exposed to high temperatures, as they are non-polarized devices. Their voltage ratings are usually low and capacitance value ranges between a few picofarads to 1 micro farad.
Usage: They are used as bypass capacitors in decoupling circuits.

All the above listed types are used in almost all industrial applications based on electromagnetism, be it coupling and decoupling circuits or smoothing the power supplies. Capacitors are like storage wells of energy, where the stored energy is called voltage. Even the door bell of your home has this component. This is how this tiny component serves a big purpose in this electronically run world today.

Become a Computer Programmer

You are reading this web page right now because of millions of lines of programming code, written to make the working of the world wide web, the web browser, and your operating system possible. The virtual world of the Internet and the graphic user interface of your operating system, is a product of programming code.

Becoming a programmer is all about learning to solve problems creatively and analytically. Every advanced electronic device has embedded software inside, which makes its working possible. Right from your digital watch, to your smartphone and your computer, embedded programming code, along with the embedded computer chips, make all the functioning of these devices possible. The unsung but well-paid heroes, who put in their logic, in creation of these software programs, are the programmers.
Becoming a Programmer
Know what you are getting into before deciding to become a programmer. What does it mean to become one? It is about creating an algorithm or a sequence of instructions, for the electronic brain of the computer (computer chip) to follow, in order to get a specific task done. To be a programmer is to think for the computer and make automation possible.
Develop Your Analytical Skills
One of the necessary skills is the ability to think on your own and solve problems. You need to train your mind to arrive at a solution to a problem, in the shortest possible way. An attitude to analyze a problem, formulate a strategy, and execute it with precision, to find a solution, is what is needed.
Learn Programming Languages
To solve a problem in computing, you need to develop an algorithm first and then translate it into a machine language for the computer to understand. The algorithm needs to be written in a programming language and then needs to be further converted into a machine level language, which your computer understands through an interpreter program. You need to know more than one computer programming languages, that are used for different purposes. If your logic is sound, expressing it in any programming language, shouldn’t be a problem. Start with ‘C’ or Python, and then move over to object oriented languages like C++ and Java. You may need to learn newer languages for certain application like Perl or Lisp. You need to practice writing programs in various languages, to get a hang of it. All computer programs, including antivirus software and computer operating systems, began from scratch, as programming code.

Use the Print Screen Key

The print screen key is a seemingly dormant one, and it is rarely used. Different computer manufacturers have different methods of naming this key, but its location is pretty much constant in every keyboard. Its position is right after the function keys, and there are many people who think that pressing it directly commands the computer to take a printout of the current screen. This is not true, as its function is to take a screen snapshot, and to store it on your clipboard for further use. The clipboard is an invisible medium that comes into play, whenever we are transferring files or folders. Whenever we cut or copy something, the item is temporarily stored on the clipboard, before we actually paste it elsewhere.

Explanation
Open the screen that you wish to copy.
Now, press the print screen key (‘PrtScn’), and the mirror image of that screen will be stored on your desktop.
Open an image editing application like Microsoft Paint.
Paste the screenshot in this application either by pressing Control + V, or by going to the Edit menu and selecting Paste.
You can either enlarge this image, or you can even crop it, according to your requirement.
Save the file at a suitable location, and it is now ready for use. You can either view it and use it for some other purpose, or you can even send it to another person.
You can even use this method on laptops for a similar purpose. Various laptop brands have differing nomenclatures and positions for this key.

The image will be saved in the Bitmap (.bmp) format. You can also change the format to GIF. Do not use the JPEG format, as it makes the text appear as unclear and blurry. You can press ALT + PrtScn to copy a screenshot of a selected window on your monitor, instead of the entire screen itself. This means that you don’t have to crop the picture in your image editing program.

Using Print Screen in Mac OS
An Apple Mac is very different from a machine using Windows XP or Windows Vista Operating System, and it doesn’t consist of a print screen button. But, the method of taking a screenshot is slightly different from that of a Windows-based computer.

Method # 1
Open the screen that you wish to capture.
Press the ‘Apple’ key + Shift + 3.
Click on the window.
The image of your screenshot will be automatically saved on your desktop.

Method # 2
This is for capturing just a portion of your screen.
Open the screen and press the Apple key + Shift + 4.
The mouse cursor will change to a “+” sign. You can use it to drag and highlight the area that you want to capture.
After this, the screenshot image will be saved on your desktop.

Method # 3
This method is used to capture a screenshot of a particular application window.
Open the screen and press the Apple key + Shift + 4.
The mouse cursor will change to “+”. Press Space bar once, and the cursor will further change to the shape of a camera.
Use it to click on the application window, which you wish to capture.
The corresponding image will be saved on your desktop.

Once you have figured it out, and mastered how to use the above mentioned methods in Windows and Mac, you can utilize this key for a number of purposes. It is indeed a very handy tool, and one that has been around ever since computers were invented.

Check Computer History

If a computer is being used by multiple users, the administrator will want to keep a watch on the activities that are carried out from that machine. Monitoring keeps a check on whether a malicious or potentially dangerous or unwanted file has been downloaded from the Internet into the system. At the same time, it also helps parents to monitor children’s activities. This article will provide you the ways of how to check computer history.

Methods

Checking browsing data is not a very lengthy process. Here is how to go about it in Windows Vista. In Internet Explorer, follow the simple steps given below.
In Internet Explorer 7, click on the Tools tab.
In the drop-down box that appears, you will come across Explorer Bar tab. Move your mouse pointer over the tab.
Now you will see History tab there. Click on it.
A sidebar will appear, in which there will be browsing data according to the date.
If you click on the particular date, you will be able to see the list of websites that were visited.
Scroll down to see the URL or name of every website that was visited.

On Mozilla FirefoxMethod # 1
Double click on Mozilla Firefox to launch the browser on your machine.
Now click on ‘History’ tab on the text menu bar at the top of the browser.
Scroll down to see the list of websites visited in the library box.

Method # 2
Click on View tab. You will see the ‘Sidebar’ tab.
Click on the Sidebar tab, you will see the option for History. Click on it. You will be able to see the sidebar.
You can also make use of the shortcut ‘Ctrl + H’ to view this sidebar.
Here, you can check the browsing data by date.

Internet History Tracking

You can keep a track of Internet data in a number of ways. In Internet Explorer, there are temporary Internet files, which help in speeding up web browsing. These files can be used for tracking. If you have a trained eye, you will be able to understand the browsing habits very easily. Internet Explorer also has an auto-complete feature, which can be used to keep track. If you are worried about your privacy, you may opt to clean up the temporary Internet files by going to the Tools menu and from there to Internet Options, and clear the cache under the General and Content tabs.
If your child has cleared the browsing data, you will still be able to check it. Internet Explorer uses index.dat file. This file has both, the Temporary Internet Files as well as the Browsing History. It does not get deleted when the data is cleared using other methods.

Advantages of Information Technology

These include storage and protection of content, processing and transmitting of dedicated information and the secured retrieval of information, when and as required. IT promotes computing technology, covering everything from installing applications to developing databases.

Why is Information Technology Important

All our work related applications are now completely automated, thanks to the IT sector. IT professionals are people involved in essential management of sensitive data, exclusive computer networking and systems-engineering. The advancement of the IT sector has resulted in automated:
Administration of entire systems.
Production and manipulation of sensitive information.
Cultural development and communication.
Streamlining of business processes and timely upgrades.
Advantages of IT

• Globalization
True globalization has come about only via this automated system. The creation of one interdependent system helps us to share information and end linguistic barriers across the continents. The collapse of geographic boundaries has made the world a ‘global village’. The technology has not only made communication cheaper, but also possible much quicker and round the clock. The wonders of text messages, email and auto-response, backed by computer security applications, have opened up scope for direct communication.

• Cost-effective
Computerized, internet business processes have made many businesses turn to the Internet for increased productivity, greater profitability, clutter free working conditions and global clientèle. It is mainly due to the IT industry that business have been able to make their processes more streamlined, thereby becoming more cost-effective and consequently more profitable. People are able to operate their businesses 24×7, even from remote locations only due to the advent of information technology.

• Communication
Quick and effective communication is vital to any business anywhere in the world. Information technology gives an entrepreneur or business the tools, like email, video conferencing, SMS, etc., essential to communicate efficiently and effectively. to the business world, and information technology gives your company the resources it needs to communicate quickly and effectively. Not only do people connect faster with the help of information technology, but they are also able to identify like-minded individuals and extend help, while strengthening ties.

• Storing and Protecting Information
IT provides a low-cost business options to store and maintain information that may be important from a business or service point of view. Virtual vaults and other such security systems not only store vital data but also allow control over the access to such information. IT security systems will also protect virtual data from being hacked or wiped out in case of any technical failure.

• Creation of New Jobs
One of the biggest advantage of IT has been the creation of a whole new field of opportunity for skilled personnel leading to new and interesting jobs. Hardware and software developers, computer programmers, web designers, system analyst, the list of new jobs created could go on. IT has also been attributed to be the major cause of surge in the economies of certain Third World nations too.

Easy Tutorial and Guide Use a Digital Voice Recorder

Digital voice recorders are useful compact devices, which are used for recording voice data. They have an improved sound quality due to the advanced sound technology. Scroll down to learn more about this device along with information on how to use it.

Well, this device functions almost in the same way as a tape recorder, except that, it doesn’t have a tape. As the recording and listening process is easy and quick, it is widely used by students, interviewers, academicians, journalists, etc., to record their voices and re-record them if they choose to. Digital voice files are incorporated to record the voice data. The voice data is stored in the form of discrete numbers, and the value depends on the air pressure involved during the voice modulations. But the input is a continuous stream of analog data. The analog signal is converted into digital signal by Analog-to Digital Converter (ADC). The output of the ADC is in the form of stream data consisting of 0s and 1s, which is stored in the memory and later converted to analog data. It is important to convert the digital data into analog data, because, we can hear only analog signals.

How to Use This Device

This device looks like a USB device, it’s just that it records voice data. Its three main components are:
1. Microphone , to capture the sound waves
2. Amplifier, to amplify the incoming data
3. Recording Device, to record the voice data

Components
1. Some of the commonly used buttons are play, stop, record, forward and rewind, menu. Some versions can also have some buttons combined, such as play/pause or record/stop.
2. Identify some other components such as microphone, USB, headphone jack, speaker, in your device.
3. The screen will display the recording time left, indicator to show the recording process, location of the data file, battery life, etc.

Process of Recording the Voice
1. Choose, the location of the file, where you want to save it from the folders in the menu.
2. After choosing the file location, press the record button and start recording your voice through the microphone.
3. Ensure that the indicator in the display screen of your recorder, indicates the recording process.
4. Now you can go back to the file location and listen to the voice recorded, by pressing the play button.
5. By pressing the forward and rewind keys, you can control the action. You can also increase and decrease the volume by pressing the ‘+’ and ‘-‘ buttons, respectively.