Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The article that I read was about a new technology that will help us all save energy. The product is called the Ecodrain. The Ecodrain is an invention that helps to save the energy that we use from our hot water heater every time we shower. The idea behind this was born from the fact that after we use the warm water from our shower it is then just thrown down the drain. It takes a lot of energy to warm the water that we use to shower. Once it touches us and goes down the drain the remainder of the energy in the hot water (which is still more or less the same temperature) is just washed down the drain. This product uses the remaining energy in the hot water to heat up water that is about to come through the showerhead. This means that we will be able to turn down the hot water knob and still get the same temperature out of the showerhead. This is beneficial because it could save us up to 40% of the energy we use from our hot water heater.

            I think this is a great product for two reasons. First it saves energy, which is obviously great for the environment. Frequently the problem with great products like this is, they are not usually affordable as an alternative to what people use now. While I am not sure of the price of this product, the best part about this is that it will help people reduce their electric bill by a large amount. Saving 40% of the energy we use every time we shower is fiscally responsible for peoples budgets as well as good for the environment. This win-win situation is something we rarely see with new green products.


Thursday, March 19, 2009

Devin DiCristofaro

On Sunday March 16, the Boston Celtics and the Milwaukee Bucks were playing in Milwaukee in an NBA matchup.  During halftime, with the game tied, Bucks star Charlie Villanueva used his blackberry to post on popular networking site 'Twitter.'  Villanueva's post read 'In da locker room, snuck to post my twitt. We're playing the Celtics, tie ball game at da half.  Coach wants more toughness.  I gotta step up.'  Villanueva responded by scoring 19 points and lead the the Bucks to an eventual 86-77 win against the Celtics.  Since the incident there has beemn much publicity regarding the role networking websites such as twitter, facebook, and myspace play in society today. While this athlete, who is being payed millions of dollars to perform at the highest level of basketball, is resting during halftime he took the time to post on this website, which illustrates how networking websites such as these can become extremely important in people's lives.  These sites are extremely popular on college campus' across the country and the world, it is interesting; however, to walk through a Loyola computer lab during finals week and you see people procrastinating on these networking sites.  This loss of focus and general distracting can negatively affect peoples grades, and while these sites can be powerful tools to keep in touch with friends, people need to remain focused and not succumb to the negative effects of technology.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

A Rapid-Recharge Lithium Battery

Normal Lithium batteries take minutes to both charge and discharge the energy inside them. An MIT professor and his Graduate student have figured out a way to make these batteries charge and discharge in seconds so the user can have a quick recharge or serge of energy from the battery at any given time. To better understand this, the article used an example of a car to demonstrate the durability not density of energy from a car battery. One can drive 55 miles an hour for a long period of time; but at this rate to accelerate would take a long time due to the "lower-power density" it stores. However, devices called "ultracapacitors" do the exact opposite: do not run for a long period of time but release high densities of energy so that a car could accelerate quickly while already traveling at high speeds. The only downside is that you could not keep your high speed for the same distance as a normal car battery would be able to last. The MIT professor and his student built the Lithium-ion battery more chemically engineered as a ultracapacitor so that more energy density would result. The expected use of faster charge and discharge batteries include hybrid cars, electric cars, and new consumer products that may be been previously restricted by the "slow" charge and discharge of batteries. My hope is that the consumer products include more advanced cell-a-phone and lab-top batteries that will have the power to recharge in seconds while still maintaining a high battery life before it needs a recharge. The professor and his graduate student have gone about this by analyzing what was holding back the lithium ions from moving through the phosphate tunnels within the battery. A battery regains power or looses power bases on what direction the ions move through the phosphate tunnel; and the speed at which they do so is the result of how long it takes to loose or gain battery power. The research concluded when the Professor developed a new material that acts like a "beltway" inside the battery to ship the lithium ions right into the tunnels so that they can bring the battery new energy density and power never thought possible prior to the research. There is no telling where this discovery will take off to, or its practical use in our near future. However, a company called Phoenix Motorcars already experimented with the new batteries and charged a 160-kilometer range electric cart in ten minutes that was roughly thirty times faster than previous battery charges.
By Ryan krystopowicz
From :
A Rapid-Recharge Lithium Battery
By Samuel K. Moore
First Published March 2009

Four Ways To Smarten Up Your Car

This article features four new up and coming technologies for use in automobiles. The areas of technology consist of mobile computing, 21st century radio, solar phone, and GPS. The first new up and coming feature is a Dashboard Device called ENV-XC. This built-in computer system “lets you give your ordinary car a dose of smarts.” The computer contains a 1.66-gigahertz Intel Core Duo processor, 1 gigabyte of memory, 160 gigabyte hard drive, and a touch screen for operation. Additional features include a DVD-read/write drive, a USB port, a GPS navigation system, and WiFi. The cost of this Dashboard Device is $2,750. The second new up and coming feature is a radio called the MiRoamer. This radio allows access to all of the Internet stations around the world through the use of Bluetooth technology. The estimated prices at release range from $300 to $400. The next up and coming feature is the solar phone. This speakerphone uses Bluetooth to connect to one’s cell phone, allowing the press of just one button to answer phone calls and dial using voice commands. An hour of daylight exposure allows two hours of battery life. One option, the LG solar-powered speakerphone, costs $100. Finally, there is the up and coming portable GPS navigation system, the GY 135. This touch screen controlled system will verbally direct and reroute automatically. “It is loaded with maps of the United States right out of the box.” Other United States and Canadian maps can be stored with the use of a memory card. The price of this GPS navigation system is $189.

This up and coming technology is exciting to hear about. Though this may be expensive for some people, the ENV-XC is a piece of technology that can save a lot of time, effort, and nerves. One of the things I personally hate to see while driving is someone talking on a cell phone after they’ve cut me off because they are not paying attention to the road. The solar phone and Bluetooth technology can minimize, if not eliminate this problem. A simple, hands-free device can save a lot of headaches and lives. Likewise, the GPS navigation system can do the same. Lost drivers tend to make sudden decisions, possibly putting themselves and other drives in danger. The GPS can greatly assist with this problem. My only issue with this up and coming technology is the inevitable dependency that we will develop. Eventually this technology will be a normal part of the automobile industry, thus causing us to become used to a computer doing all of our thinking for us. We will rely so heavily upon a computer system that we will begin lacking in our own personal navigation and common sense skills. What happens if the computer system fails? As long as we do not rely too heavily upon this new technology, it will greatly assist us in saving time.


Boxee iPhone App: A Little Late, but Worth the Wait

Although the wait was long, the Boxee iPhone application was approved just yesterday by the iTunes Application Store. Boxee is a media center software that allows its users to view and share content with others through social networking. In the past, Boxee users would navigate the software via a small Apple remote control that comes included with many Mac desktops and AppleTV; however this remote proved to be inadequate due to its inability to manage interactions requiring input from a keyboard. Luckily for "geeks all
over," as the article says, the newly introduced application added a Boxee remote with two different modes. One mode is the "Buttons" mode, which serves as more of a navigational tool. A screen appears with arrows for up, down, left and right, volume control, as well as an OK button. The second mode, the "Gesture mode," is a touch screen mode with a fully functional keypad. A Boxee symbol appears in the middle of the screen and serves as the touch pad. The user places a finger on the symbol and uses it as a mouse. The keypad is the most notable upgrade because it allows users to navigate parts Boxee that it could not previously access.
This convenient remote has become so popular in the recent past that people have begun to use them for their family room television sets. If the newly approved iPhone application is successful, we could start to see Apple iPhones on coffee tables across the globe.

Cut and paste, MMS highlight iPhone 3.0 improvements

To say that I love my iPod Touch is an understatement. For anyone that is not familiar with this part of the iPod family, the iPod Touch is a complete touchscreen, just like the iPhone. And with my computer currently in the shop, I’ve been using it more than ever. I can send and receive email, browse the internet, play games, all while listening to my favorite songs. And as of less than an hour ago, the iPod Touch and iPhone will soon get a lot better. Apple just announced software update 3.0. This offers more than 100 new features to make the iPhone much more useful. One exciting new feature is the ability to copy & paste. I will soon be able to copy one of my few thousand pictures and send it to a friend in an email with just a click of the screen. Apple also enabled Multimedia Messaging Support (MMS). This enables you to send and receive information a lot easier. The new software that would probably help me the most is Wi-Fi automatic login. Whenever I use my iPod Touch to surf the internet, I need to log in to Loyola’s wireless network. This only takes a minute, but those minutes can really add up and will make my life a lot easier.
As I said, there are over 100 new features with this software update, so I could go on and on about the shake & shuffle, audio recording, search options, Bluetooth support, among others. Individually, these updates would not be that groundbreaking. But as a collective group, this software update just strengthens the lead that the iPhone has over its smartphone competitors. I know millions and millions of people are obsessed with their Blackberry devices, but the iPhone has so many features and capabilities it is almost untouchable in some aspects. No other smartphone can have so much on it at the same time. You can play browse the REAL internet (compared to other smartphones that offer basic and dumbed down versions), check your email, go on instant messenger, see all your pictures, listen to music, watch movies, and even play Pac-Man. If an unbiased person entered the market for smartphones, I don’t see any reason why a Blackberry would be better. Of course, this opinion is coming from an owner (and huge fan) of an iPod and Mac computer. But this new software takes an already remarkable product and makes it better.


Cloud Computing: Counting Nebulae Or A New Business Idea?

As students, none of us really have to worry about serious number crunching, data retrieval, or data analysis, but as we grow older and start applying for serious jobs with serious companies these will be just a few of many tasks put on our shoulders. The only problem is everytime things like this will occur we will have to run back to the office,maybe late at night, just to make sure we get the job done, or do we.
One of the new ideas that has come from the minds of us screenagers is "Cloud Computing", a growing service compromised of various networks and resources, provided over the internet. In layman's terms this service provides the resources, networks, service providers (Google, Yahoo, Amazon), softwares, platforms, and infrastructures you need as a business person to get work done anywhere necessary. The idea is that all the information need is provided for over the internet and never needs to be saved or transfered because it will always be accesible.
I for one think this is a fantastic idea; instead of worrying about running around trying to find data or a system that supports the work you are trying to accomplish all that is needed is an internet connection. Security and safety are the biggest concerns of large corporations, however, the idea of the "Cloud" is that no information or data is saved at the workstation or on the computer you were using, it is only available in the cloud.
Having this technology will help all sorts of business grow due to faster production and more efficient work. It may cause a little anxiety at first because a boss may call early in the morning asking to see the numbers for a new deal, but as "Cloud Counting" advances the speed, performance, and reliability of it will increase and the ease of using it will too. Instead of being on vacation and trying to find a computer for work it will be done in twenty minutes using your cell phone so you don't have to worry about leaving the beach. "Cloud Counting" is the next great idea for the way business will be done and will be exciting to see how it is incorporated into the work place.


Peter Dobrowski