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Category Archives: Technology

Use Usenet

It was and is still used for file sharing, discussion on various topics, and is still popular among geeks as a forum. Many people don’t know that it is still around and its power can be harnessed to gain specialized data and information.

Using it

Usenet predates Internet technology and has been around since the 1970s. As a resource, it is still quite alive and kicking today, due to its huge amount of content in the form of binary files which can be downloaded quite fast and specialized newsgroups.
It is controlled by a decentralized set of connected servers that host newsgroups and data files. Be it any topic of your interest, it has newsgroups numbering in thousands, catering to it. It is not a peer-to-peer service, but a paid one. Here are some tips on using it for those of you, who want to connect to this enriching source of information.

Select a Service Provider
First and foremost, to use Usenet, you must connect to a service provider, who can grant you access to its resources. For that, you must have a registered account with one of them. Many Internet service providers offer accounts or you may gain access through third-party sources. Most of the service providers charge a monthly or yearly fee for access. The amount depends on the size of bandwidth you demand. The fees are quite nominal and affordable. ‘Giganews’ is one of the most popular service providers.

Get a Software Client
To access Usenet resources through your account, you need to get a special software, often known as a reader. This software connects with the various servers available on the Internet, to grant you access to its resources. These software programs are generally freely downloadable or available as shareware at a minimal cost. This software is analogous to a web browser that is used on the world wide web. Download a software that is compatible with your operating system. There are dedicated clients for each operating system which includes Linux, Windows Vista, and Macintosh.

Install The Reader
The next step is installing this software after downloading it. Make sure that the ‘download location’ that you select has enough storage space as Usenet files can be large.

Configuring the Reader
Once you have subscribed to a service provider, you must configure the reader, according to the user name, password, and server address provided to you by the service. This is an essential step as you cannot access Usenet, without a valid user name and registration.

Search and Subscribe to Various Groups
How can you use the newsgroups? Once you are logged in through the readers, portals of the Usenet world are open to you. You can download a list of group archives now and access a variety of such newsgroups according to your area of interest. The reader allows you to subscribe to any one of these newsgroups. Once you subscribe to any one of them, all the latest posts and developments on it are downloaded automatically to your computer.

Information Infrastructure Design

Information technology (IT) involves the management of information on computer-based information systems. IT deals with the use of computers to store, process, and retrieve information. The construction and design of a safe, reliable, and an always-available information infrastructure is an important constituent of information systems.

Information Infrastructure
It is the collection of communication networks and the software associated with it. It refers to networks and software, which support interaction among people and organizations or the currently available networks and the prospective facilities that they will make available. It includes the Internet, the telecommunication networks, and the embedded systems as also computers. Internet that is regarded as the network of networks is the information infrastructure of today. It is a collection of interconnected computer networks that transmit data in the form of packets using the Internet Protocol. Each of the networks carries information and services like mail and file transfer. World wide web, a collection of documents and other resources, is a service offered by the Internet.Information infrastructure design is concerned with issues like privacy, security, translation, right to information, and most importantly, software and hardware compatibilities. Let us look at each of them.

Privacy: Privacy of information is related to the collection of personal information. Many a time, we are asked to furnish our personal details on the web. It might be in case of an online transaction or in the process of a registration. Such information collected over the web has to be kept private and confidential. People should feel safe while letting out such information. For this purpose, it is important to include information privacy in the design of information infrastructure.

Information Security: Securing information is about protecting it from unauthorized access, disclosure, or modification. An unauthorized access to information should not result in the destruction of that information. Information security deals with confidentiality, availability, and integrity.

Free Information Infrastructure
It is a term used in Europe and it resembles the National Information Infrastructure. The use of the word ‘free’ is intended to focus on freedom and on the internet which is freely accessible. It comprises no software patents. It sometimes refers to open source software. It is about free access, open standards, network neutrality, and less control by state.

Global Information Infrastructure
It is an upcoming communication framework that is meant to connect the computer and telecommunication networks all over the world. Currently, the Internet is considered as the Global Information Infrastructure.
Information infrastructure in IT is actually a vast subject. It deals with the creation, design, and organization of information. It focuses on an infrastructure that caters to the security and access needs of information. In the words of William Pollard, “Information is a source of learning. But unless it is organized, processed, and available to the right people in a format for decision-making, it is a burden, not a benefit.” This briefly describes the goal of an information infrastructure design.

Virtual Reality Technology

Remember watching “The Matrix” for the first time? Remember the mixed emotions of awe and excitement you felt at that time? Virtual reality technology is no more a thing of fiction these days! Let’s find out more about this coming-of-age technology and find out some fascinating facts about it.So, what is all this hype and hoopla over the likes of virtual and augmented reality technology all about? Is it really possible to experience a Matrix-like phenomenon in the real world? To continue with the Matrix theme, is the world, as we know it, the REAL world? Well, that was a rhetoric question meant to tease the technologically curious nerve inside you! Or was it? Okay, enough playing! It’s time to get down to the brass tacks now! So what is this technology all about? Let’s get us some answers!

A Layman’s Take on Virtual Reality

A computer simulated environment that either resembles or substitutes the physical reality so well that the viewer is left wondering whether what he sees or feels is the real thing or if it’s all in his mind is known as virtual reality. The concept of virtual reality technology includes all such computer and IT based technologies that can perfectly simulate and project any place or situation of either the real or imaginary plane to the eyes or any other sensory organ. However, presently, the major chunk of virtual reality experiences fall under the category of visual virtual reality with auditory effects coming from additional appendages like speakers, headphones, etc. Research and product development is being carried out for new varieties of virtual reality techniques and technology which would be capable of extending stimuli to other sensory organs like touch, taste, smell, etc. The most common and commercial examples of virtual reality technology can be seen in the forms of virtual reality games (such as Dactyl NightmareHeroLegend QuestGrid BustersMage, etc.) and virtual reality glasses, gloves and other gear used for playing such games. You can check out the movie How to Make a Monster by Stan Winston to get an idea about how physical reality and virtual reality can, at times, get confusingly inter-tangled!

How Virtual Reality Works

In order to grasp the mechanics of virtual reality, we first need to understand what virtual reality space is. A virtual reality space is created using sensory output generated by a computer that is 3D enabled. Such a virtual space enables the users to carry on interactions with the virtual environment while still being in the physical environment. To create an experience of virtual reality, the effect of telepresence must be present. The term telepresence refers to the feeling of the user that he/she is present at a location different from his true, physical location. This different location, other than the actual physical location, is what we call the virtual reality environment. The essence of complete telepresence is very important as without telepresence, the virtual reality experience would be flawed and incomplete.

Virtual Reality Tools

The tools and technology used to create virtual reality environments include (but may not be limited to) virtual graphics library, programming languages that are commonly used for games, scripting and web applications (such as Java, C++, Perl, Python, etc.), multi threading technology (for better cluster computing and enhanced multi-user interactions), etc. Telepresence can be induced by using standard computer interaction devices such as the mouse, keyboard, etc. or by employing multi modal interaction devices including wired gloves, motion trackers, digitizers, 3D scanners, eye-trackers, ODT, etc.

Speech Rate Conversion Technology

The world is moving at a faster pace. Transportation is faster, communication is faster, and so on. Some even feel that people are speaking faster. This makes it hard for some of us to keep pace. The Science and Technical Research Laboratories of Japan’s public broadcaster, NHK, has developed a device that they feel will help (at least with how fast people seem to be talking). They’ve created a speech rate conversion technology that is designed to be used in a couple of different ways.

Have you ever listened to a recording played at a fast speed? This is commonly done in video or audio editing to search through a large volume of material in a short time. Normally, when speech is sped up, the pitch is also changed, causing the recorded voices to sound like the chipmunk characters that some of us listened to, or watched, as children. Even when the pitch is shifted to restore it to its original level, it is often difficult to understand the individual words. The system designed by Japan’s STRL has changed that.

Their new technology maintains the original timber and pitch of the speech, while playing it back at a faster rate. The playback rate is varied adaptively, which allows listeners to comprehend what is being said even at speeds that are five times the normal rate.

This system also benefits elderly listeners by slowing down radio broadcasts or the audio in television programs. It is common for older people to have some degree of hearing impairment, for various reasons. This disability might include a difficulty in perceiving specific frequencies, a weaker cognitive capacity, or a problem understanding speech with a large amount of background noise. It has also been found that with age comes a decreased ability to comprehend rapid speech. At the same time, the population statistics of many countries have forecast that twenty years from now, twenty five percent of the radio and television audience will be sixty five years of age or older. In order to reach this audience, STRL felt that something had to be done. Since it seemed unlikely that television announcers would slow down, they applied the speech rate conversion technology to solve this problem. Again, the pitch and timber are maintained, while the rate of speech is adjusted. By shortening the pauses between sentences, the slowed speech can be presented in real time. In addition to the Japanese language, it can be used for English, German, Chinese, French, and other languages.

Android Game Development

If you want to successful build  games, you need to explore the field of game engines that will provide you the best framework. The crucial part of developing a game is choosing the right tool, and it follows few factors. Factors like: game’s featured set, capabilities of your target platform, cost and time constraints and also familiarity with the tool. Keeping all that in mind, we have discussed here the top gaming engines for Android game development.

1.    Unity3D

Unity3D is very popular and common choice among game developers. Unity3D game engine helps to create 3D or 2D games with multi-platform support. This game engine also provides a free indie version along with the commercial license version. Unity3D helps you to design beautiful 3D content and also provides cross-platform publishing. It supports a single integrated development environment (IDE) for a variety of platforms. Besides, developers also enjoy the great graphics quality of Unity3D as it supports audio and visual effects.

2.    Cocos2d-x

An open source framework Cocos2d-x is written in C++. This game engine is basically a 2D game engine for mobile game development. It allows developers to use their existing C++ or JavaScript knowledge for cross-platform development on Android and other platforms. This game engine is fast and easy to develop games as developers need to run single code across all platforms. Developers can write the code once for a specific game and can publish it on all the global mobile platforms.

3.    HTML5

HTML5 is one of the most promising technologies as a game development engine. It allows developing games that easily adapt to different resolutions, screen sizes, aspect ratios, and guidelines. Comparing the other complex technologies like Objective-C, C#, and Visual Studio, HTML5 is much easier and efficient for game development.Games developed in HTML5 are not restricted by the frames of windows. As developers don’t have to wait for compilation, updates and debugging in real-time, it makes very fast to develop games in HTML5.

4.    AngularJS

AngularJS framework is designed to create the games by writing fewer codes. In MVC (Model View Controller) model, the view is defined with the concise format of HTML and can be written without getters. The data on the view level can be manipulated using filters without changing the controllers. On the other hand, the MVC architecture of AngularJS enables developers to break interface into three components that make it easier to customize the modules. In AngularJS, the data models are designed like plain objects that work as a temporary repository to store the retrieving data.

5.    Unreal Engine 4

Unreal Engine 4 is an integrated tool for game developers. The best part about this game engine is it provides realistic graphic rendering. The technology also includes Persona animation system and Blueprint visual scripting system. Importantly, the company, Epic Games frequently releases the newer versions that include improved features, updates and also bugs fixes. It’s a complete mobile game development tool. Besides games, this game engine also supports real-time 3D films, visualizations, and training simulation.

Security of the Future

Pass-thoughts: The Concept

A recent research by the The Berkeley School of Information, University of California, has revealed that it might be possible for us to access our accounts by simply thinking of our passwords instead of typing them. Electroencephalograms (EEGs) or brainwave computer authentication shall help you access the accounts by collecting the data we imagine in our minds! The scope of converting passwords into pass-thoughts, by using relatively affordable biosensor technology, could well become our next virtual reality.

This extraordinary project was led by professor John Chuang, and his students Hamilton Nguyen, Charles Wang, and Benjamin Johnson. The findings of the research were presented at the Seventeenth International Conference on Financial Cryptography and Data Security, during the 2013 Workshop on Usable Security.

Research Using the NeuroSky MindSet Brainwave Sensor

The NeuroSky MindSet device consists of a single sensor that rests against the forehead, and was used for carrying out this research. This wireless headset looks similar to any normal Bluetooth, except that it has the added feature of EEG sensors which read the brainwave signals of the person wearing the headset. The team carried out experiments to assess whether the computer was able to distinguish between the brainwave patterns of different people, and whether the signal provided by the EEG channel was strong enough for producing a positive authentication. The team selected 15 volunteers to perform seven mental tasks, both individually and together, so that their brainwaves could be measured. These were the seven tasks:

  1. The participants were asked to visualize moving a finger up and down, while focusing on their breathing.
  2. Some were asked to respond to an audio tone, by focusing on a dot placed on a sheet of paper.
  3. They were told to make up a secret and focus on it for some time.
  4. They had to imagine replaying a specific motion from a sport of their choice.
  5. Some were asked to watch images on a screen, and count the objects of their chosen color.
  6. They were asked to imagine themselves singing a song they liked a lot.
  7. They had to focus on a specific thought for ten seconds.

The data collected from all the brainwaves sampled, provided sufficient information to authenticate each user from one another. The devices were able to read customized ‘pass-thoughts’, by reducing the error rate to less than 1%. They also found that the results gathered from individual tasks were more or less the same, as compared to the data gained from combined tasks.

The team also found that, more user-friendly tasks should be incorporated in order to make brainwave-based computer authentication successfully replace conventional passwords by pass-thoughts. The majority of the volunteers found the task of imagining to move a finger very boring. Many participants chose complicated thoughts that were hard to focus on, while others thought that imagining to perform a sports motion felt unnatural. On the other hand, picking their chosen colored objects from a series of slides, or imaging singing a song was comparatively more interesting.

The Concern

Even though this research may be a mere step towards brainwave authentication, the possibility of computers being able to recognize an individual by their specific task-oriented brainwaves seems more likely than ever before. However, unless a distinct brainwave is accepted by the computer, the current research raises some security concerns. Some have raised concerns that it would be easy to hack into someone’s mind or Internet account, if the perpetrators knew the song imagined or object/color picked, or other tasks imagined by the owner of account.

Pass-thoughts: Security of the Future

Even though we have come across many real and fictional biometric possibilities as a means of making our security systems fail-safe, many of the existing techniques have failed to impress. The reason being, fingerprint scans, voice recognition, and retina scans, are cumbersome, slow, and a luxury that not everyone can afford.

Now how about pass-thoughts? What is this concept in the first place? And how does it exactly work? Let’s see…

Pass-thoughts: The Concept

A recent research by the The Berkeley School of Information, University of California, has revealed that it might be possible for us to access our accounts by simply thinking of our passwords instead of typing them. Electroencephalograms (EEGs) or brainwave computer authentication shall help you access the accounts by collecting the data we imagine in our minds! The scope of converting passwords into pass-thoughts, by using relatively affordable biosensor technology, could well become our next virtual reality.

This extraordinary project was led by professor John Chuang, and his students Hamilton Nguyen, Charles Wang, and Benjamin Johnson. The findings of the research were presented at the Seventeenth International Conference on Financial Cryptography and Data Security, during the 2013 Workshop on Usable Security.

Research Using the NeuroSky MindSet Brainwave Sensor

The NeuroSky MindSet device consists of a single sensor that rests against the forehead, and was used for carrying out this research. This wireless headset looks similar to any normal Bluetooth, except that it has the added feature of EEG sensors which read the brainwave signals of the person wearing the headset. The team carried out experiments to assess whether the computer was able to distinguish between the brainwave patterns of different people, and whether the signal provided by the EEG channel was strong enough for producing a positive authentication. The team selected 15 volunteers to perform seven mental tasks, both individually and together, so that their brainwaves could be measured. These were the seven tasks:

  1. The participants were asked to visualize moving a finger up and down, while focusing on their breathing.
  2. Some were asked to respond to an audio tone, by focusing on a dot placed on a sheet of paper.
  3. They were told to make up a secret and focus on it for some time.
  4. They had to imagine replaying a specific motion from a sport of their choice.
  5. Some were asked to watch images on a screen, and count the objects of their chosen color.
  6. They were asked to imagine themselves singing a song they liked a lot.
  7. They had to focus on a specific thought for ten seconds.

The data collected from all the brainwaves sampled, provided sufficient information to authenticate each user from one another. The devices were able to read customized ‘pass-thoughts’, by reducing the error rate to less than 1%. They also found that the results gathered from individual tasks were more or less the same, as compared to the data gained from combined tasks.

The Concern

Even though this research may be a mere step towards brainwave authentication, the possibility of computers being able to recognize an individual by their specific task-oriented brainwaves seems more likely than ever before. However, unless a distinct brainwave is accepted by the computer, the current research raises some security concerns. Some have raised concerns that it would be easy to hack into someone’s mind or Internet account, if the perpetrators knew the song imagined or object/color picked, or other tasks imagined by the owner of account.

Touchscreen Technology

How Touchscreens Work
A touchscreen has 3 main components: a touch sensor, a controller, and a software driver. To make a complete touch input system, a touchscreen is combined with a display and a PC or other device.
1. Touchscreen Sensor
This is a glass plate having a touch responsive surface. The sensor is positioned over a display screen, so that the responsive area of the plate covers the maximum viewable area of the video screen. There are a number of touch sensor technologies available in the market today, each using a different approach to detect touch input. The sensor has an electric current or signal passing through it and touching the screen causes a change in the voltage or signal. This voltage or signal change is used to find out the location of the touch to the screen.
2. Controller
The controller used in a touchscreen is a small PC card that interconnects between the touch sensor and the PC. The controller takes data from the touch sensor and converts it into information that PC can understand. For integrated monitors, the controller is usually installed inside the monitor, or is placed in a plastic case for external touch add-ons/overlays. The controller is useful to determine what type of interface/connection you will need on the PC. Integrated touch monitors are provided with an extra cable connection on the back for the touchscreen. Controllers are available by connecting to a Serial/COM port (PC) or to a USB port (PC or Macintosh).
3. Software Driver
The driver is software for the PC system that permits the touchscreen and computer to work together. It tells the operating system of the computer how to interpret the touch event information that is sent from the controller. Today’s touchscreen drivers are a mouse-emulation type driver. This makes touching the screen the same as clicking your mouse at the same location on the screen. This permits the touchscreen to work with existing software and provide new applications to be developed without the need for touchscreen-specific programming. Some devices such as thin client terminals, DVD players, and specialized computer systems either do not use software drivers, or they have their own in-built drivers.
Uses of Touchscreens
Touchscreens are one of the simplest PC interfaces to use, making it the interface of choice for a large number of applications. The following are some of the uses of a touchscreen.
1. Public Information Displays
2. Retail and Restaurant Systems
3. Control and Automation Systems
4. Computer-based Training
5. Assistive Technology

What is Swype Texting?

A user no longer has to press or tap the letter on the keyboard to enter a text in the text-box, but all one has to do is, in one continuous motion slide the finger over the letters on the keyboard and the input of the words fall out instantly. In short, it’s the technology of dragging your finger from letter to letter on the keyboard to create words.

Swype Texting

The technology of Swype has been invented for about 7-8 years now, but has been implemented recently in hand-held cell phone devices and similar applications. Swype is a brand new technology introduced by Swype Inc., that runs on the idea of swiping characters (text) on the keyboard instead of specifically pressing individual letters on the keyboard. You can refer Swype to the technology of predictive texting in your cell phones, which catches the word pre-hand before you finish typing the entire word. Likewise, the key advantage of using Swype is, it expends an error-correcting algorithm plus an enhanced language model in order to predict the user’s intended word. In this case, a user has to be absolutely random and rapid while tracing a path on the keyboard and within a fraction of a second the text entry would be done! Swype is designed to give a data input of 50 word per minute (wpm), with such an easy technology, this method so far happens to be the fastest way of enabling the user to enter the text in his/her application device. These days this technology is preloaded on many cell phones like Droid XiPhoneiPadHTC and so on. It is also comfortably compatible with devices like tablets, cell phones, kiosks, game consoles, virtual screens and televisions and perhaps much much more.

So by any chance if your application device is a touchscreen having a traditional QWERTY keyboard in it, operating the technology of Swype in one continuous motion across the touchscreen will definitely be an exciting experience. Let’s take an example and see how this system functions.

Tracing a Path with Swype

Now all you have to do is slide your finger from letter ‘Q’, then lift your finger for a slightest gap to reach the letters ‘U’ and ‘I’, then again smoothly lift your finger to reach the bottom line to reach the letter ‘C’ and continuing in the same manner reach the letter ‘K’ to complete the word QUICK. The best part about tracing the path on the keyboard is a user doesn’t need to be accurate or precise while typing.

Amazing Facts About Palm Sander

This is the age of smartness and smoothness. Nowadays only good quality and long life duration are not enough because of attractiveness is another requirement. Whether you make any wooden furniture, frames or any plastic furniture or something with both components, it is one of the vital need to make them smooth and attractive. Unless bringing smoothness and attractiveness your work will be just waste of your money even that would be a reason of customer dissatisfaction.

A palm sander is the most commonly using a sander with has a variety of uses especially while you are thinking to make your wooden components more smoother and shiny. Among other benefits of the sander includes following.

ExtraPower

Power is the main fact for a palm sander. When you operate a sander over wood, it should have the ability to compress the wood and bring a sliced part of components from the top of the wood. However different wood has different type and thickness, and your sender should have the ability to work over any kind of wood. Unless having enough capacity and power, you would fail to complete the work with perfection.

Flexibility

Nothing is permanent in the world, but we would try to make everything longer as we can but is difficult and almost impossible to pay for a new palm sander every time but you can avoid this cost if you can get which has flexibility. However, sander disk is the main part of sander which the only role in making your woodsmooth and attractive. The disk is the only part that you have to replace after a sudden interval or while it would be unable to deliver desired performance. It is great you don’t need to buy new palm sander every time, but you can replace the sander disk.

Advanced Features Nowadays all the latest Palm sanders are a combination of update features. With the change and technological development palm sanders faster, reliable and easy to use. However, if you compare their latest most remarkable would be the working process and dust disclosure procedures. It is amazing that you don’t have to clean the sanded dust by hands because all the recently released palm sander have an an additional hose that works to remove dust from inside and throw them to your prefix destination. However another remarkable fact of palm sander that they have multiple Speed Settings that you can choose as you need as per wood quality.