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Ambient Backscatter And Battery-Free Communication

There is energy in the air all around us at all times. This isn't a pseudo-mystical statement either; the sheer amount of power from radio and television waves in the air is a massive, untapped resource. At least it was, until Washington University hit on a way to use it that's referred to as ambient backscatter.

What is Ambient Backscatter, and How Does it Work?

The idea of ambient backscatter is that it should be possible to use existing transmission waves to power battery-less devices in such a way that they can still perform simple tasks. The theory was that these devices could communicate with one another, act as sensors, and even send simple text messages. There would be no requirement of additional power, and it would make use of an environmental factor that's already filling the area. In fact these devices would work anywhere there's a number of wavelengths filling the air, whether they're for cell phones, Internet, television, or some other application entirely.

The devices are designed so that, rather than using an on-board source of power, they can draw power from the electromagnetic waves in the area. Scientists tested the range from as far as a few feet, to six and a half miles using these devices that rode the radio waves to get their messages sent. Further testing is still in the works, but the initial tests show some serious potential.

What are the Potential Benefits of Ambient Backscatter?

This unusual development has caught hold of the scientific imagination, and the potential for these devices is nearly limitless. For instance, they could be put on a bridge to monitor the integrity of the concrete. When a hairline fracture occurs, the sensor beams a message back on the already existing wavelengths. This requires no changing out, no battery upkeep, no power source; it's just a constant, never-sleeping guardian that keeps watch. The same sensors could be used to watch for fires, for security networks, and a dozen other applications. Simply install, and leave it unless something breaks the sensor so completely that it isn't physically intact anymore.

These devices could, in theory, also be worked into existing electronics that do use batteries so that even when the charge is completely drained some basic forms of communication are still possible. This would also allow for things like text messages to be composed and sent without actually putting a drain on the battery, making phones last longer on a single charge simply by virtue of using less power than they might otherwise do.

A Green Future 

There's no use in letting anything go to waste; not even ambient cell phone energy. So if it's possible to send a text, or to monitor a secure location, without spending one iota of power, then who wouldn't take advantage of that? In fact, given the potential these devices offer, it's possible that miniaturized devices will become even more popular. Miniature computers that work free of battery packs, or only on tiny watch batteries, might become the next generation of technology when existing wavelengths can provide the brunt of the heavy lifting needed.

This guest post was provided by Eduardo Dieguez, professional blogger for www.i-Adapters.com. An avid computer enthusiast, Eduardo spends countless hours tinkering with electronics both new and old.

How To Delete Cookies From Your Mac

The most commonly used web browsers on a Mac running OS X are: Safari and Firefox.   If you wish to delete the cookies stored on your mac follow these directions:

A.  Safari version 6.0.3:

1.  Open ‘Safari’ from the main menu;
2.  Click on ‘Preferences’ or press the key;
3.  Click the ‘Privacy’ tab with the silhoutte icon;

Safari Privacy Tab image
4.  Click on ‘Remove All Website Data' or select `details' to remove individual cookies

Remember that removing cookies in Safari may change or remove them in other applications such as Dashboard.To

B.  To Delete Cookies in Firefox version 19.0.2 on a Mac:

To Delete Cookies in Firefox 19.0.2 on Mac

1.  Start ‘Firefox’ from the main menu
2.  Select ‘Preferences’ and click or press the key;
3.  Select ‘Privacy’ by clicking on the mask image;


4.  Choose ‘Show Cookies’ and choose ‘Remove Cookies’ or 'Remove All Cookies';

Some people view 'cookies' as an evil corporate snooping invention but used correctly they can be a great automation tool.  Firefox, for example, can remember the 'userid' and 'login password' used on various websites.  These days it is not uncommon to use dozens of different userid+password combinations.  This can be a real benefit for those who use a large number of accounts.

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Top trends used in web development services

The year 2013 brings with it a number of web development and website design trends. Discussed below are just a few recent website development trends that will probably remain popular and useful for the rest of the year.

Large photo backgrounds

An increasingly large number of websites are using large photographic backgrounds recently. These photos, which are often oversized, can quickly grab the attention of the visitor and add to the overall look of a website when done right. They can blend in with the content and layout of the web page to make them more engaging.

Responsive layouts

Responsive web page layouts are trending since last year, but the focus has shifted a lot over the course of 2012. When the trend began, responsive web pages were made to cater to visitors accessing websites through mobile browsers, but that is not the sole purpose anymore. Responsive web page layouts are now being designed to meet the requirements of various forms of digital media and allow the page to be displayed properly on all devices like desktops, laptops, tablets, smartphones, and other devices that may come up in the near future. The idea is to make the website accessible through various platforms with just a single set of codes.

Illustrations and infographics

Websites are constantly competing for their visitors’ attention, and in recent times, illustrations and infographics have helped in achieving this effectively. Of course, this brings up the challenge of finding designers who have the skills and creativity to create unique and eye-catching info graphics and illustrations for your website. These website development trend illustrations can be used in a lot of ways within your website, but the key to a successful one is to blend it into your website’s branding correctly.

Infinite page scrolling

Infinite page scrolling has been used by some websites in the last few years, but it has only really kicked off among several thousands of websites during the second half of 2012 and, if things go well, all the way through 2013 as well. For instance, Facebook has had it for more than a year now, and Pinterest also adopted this technique this year. In both cases, the change was done really well and makes website navigation a much easier affair than before.

Similarly, Tumblr has also had an infinite scrolling element added to its website, allowing you to blog or repost content from others you follow. Like Facebook, all the posts you see on your account keep going on as you scroll down further.

Tom is a guest blogger who blogs on behalf of Nariel, the leading web development and web design company in New Jersey. For more information please visit their website.

The Influence Of Photoshop

The Evolution of Photo-Editing

Images cut through all our critical defenses, or so we've been told. Whereas text has to be slowly digested by our brain, images head straight for the nerve centers. This is why images are an essential tool for advertising, and why society is becoming increasingly visual as technology advances.

 As the toolsqa photo of Lenin addressing soviet troops was famously altered to remove Trotsky per Wikipedia, complex techniques such as darkroom manipulation and airbrushing have been replaced by more accessible digital editing tools like Photoshop. A consequence of the prevalence of doctored images is that people no longer readily accept what their eyes tell them.

Sometimes the evidence of photo tampering is easy to detect, but, in the hands of a skilled Photoshop artist, manipulated photos can look very convincing indeed.

According to Business Insider, advertising regulators in the USA have taken steps towards banning the use of Photoshop in images promoting cosmetics due to the potential for false advertising. This will also, hopefully, avoid the barrage of Photoshop accusations that routinely greet any controversial image posted on the net.

A Tool for Photographers, Advertisers and Artists

Photoshop can make an old picture look like a new picture, or make a photo look like a painting. Its ability to combine text and graphics in creative ways is a powerful tool for advertising, and its photo-editing capabilities have created awe-inspiring works of art, as well as the mass production of countless hilarious memes.

According to Rafin O’Hara, the tools provided by Photoshop allow photographers to challenge certain limitations, such as:

  • Time: Old photos can be scanned and loaded into Photoshop, where healing brushes and patch correction can be used to remove the effects of deterioration.

  • Human error: Mistakes such as bad lighting, red eye, over-exposure, and blotches can be rectified.

  • Reality: Paintbrush techniques can be used to create fantastical imagery, effectively combining the arts of photography and painting.

So, while some worry about the effects of false advertising, others take the opportunity to unleash their creativity in ways that were never before accessible. Whether your goal is to produce high-quality photographs, create cybernetic snails or simply insert cats into ancient Greek paintings the opportunities presented by Photoshop are numerous.

 About The Author

Matthew Flax writes for Now Learning, which offers a range of Photoshop short courses in Australia.

Advantages And Disadvantages Of New Technology

techWe have all seen new advances in technology that have amazed and astounded us. In the workplace technology is revolutionizing the way we do business. At home it is changing the way we view the world, the way we get information, and the way we entertain ourselves. And while new technology has many advantages there are also disadvantages; I will discuss both here.

In the workplace mobile and consumer technologies allow employees to work when and where they want. Many forward thinking companies are developing new strategies with these new technologies in mind. Those companies are reporting encouraging results. With over 70 percent reporting improved sales, and over half reporting improved returns.

As you can see, technology can be an important part of today’s workplace

However there are also recognizable disadvantages. One of the main problems with tech in the workplace is the risk of constant distractions. Emailing, web training, Skype, and cell phones can all be a recipe for confusion and distractions at work. Loss in communication skills is also a potential problem posed by technology.

As we tweet, Facebook, Skype, and email. We are not required to learn and use the listening, and social skills required in building professional relationships.

At home social media sites like Facebook and twitter help us keep up with family and friends, especially the ones we do not see very often. It allows us to express ourselves, and even make new friends.

Facebook is always there. On sleepless nights, or busy days, you can always log in to check up on loved ones, send a quick message or just entertain yourself. Facebook also allows us to connect with old friends, or people we thought we might never see again. While social media has many great benefits there are also negatives. Cyber bullying has been a frequent topic lately, with several severe cases reported with dire consequences.  Social networks can sometimes cause us to lose some privacy, and can cause us to waste time that could be used on more productive endeavors such as academics.

Video games have become a favorite pastime for many of today’s youth, and adults alike

Gaming can be a lot of fun and has several hidden advantages as well. Studies have shown that video games can improve young children’s motor skills. Video games can also be a great way to relieve stress.

Gaming has been shown to improve vision in people with cataracts. Researchers also believe video games can help improve decision making skills. Drawbacks include violent games that may be inappropriate for children. Too much time spent gaming can have negative effects on other areas of life, such a school. There have been reported instances of gaming addiction. One South Korean man recently died after spending 50 hours straight gaming without a break.

Reports show that 98 percent of the U.S. households that are online use social media sites

That 75 percent of the world’s population now has cell phones, and 68 percent of the U.S. households play computer or video games. These recent technologies are changing the way we live, work, and play. The way we communicate, keep in touch, reconnect and express ourselves. We are finding new ways to unwind, learn, and process information.

However, we may create new problems as we rely on new technology. A decrease in interpersonal communication skills, due to electronic communication, is a potential problem. We give up privacy, become over involved and perhaps less productive as we spend more time socializing, gaming, emailing, texting, and tweeting. It remains to be seen if new technology will move us forward or ultimately set us back.

About the Author

Donna Lee is the technology lead at Edictive.com she holds an engineering degree from Berkeley California. Her other passion lies in the film industry and its technology. 

OS X Keyboard Shortcuts

Startup  
Key Effect
C Start from CD
D Start from 1st Partition
N Start from Net Server
R Resets laptop screen
S Single-user boot
V Verbose Mode
OptPR Zap PRAM
V Unix console msgs
   
Power Keys Effect
Ctrleject icon Shutdown, sleep, restart
Opteject icon Sleep
CtrlOpteject icon Shutdown
Ctrlpower Restart

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FTC 16 CFR Part 255 Disclosure

Since 2006, iTechGuide.com has provided independent reviews. Our reviews, ratings and awards are not based on any incentives or commissions. Notwithstanding, to keep our service online we accept compensation from some of the companies whose products we review within and outside of the IT industry, including, but not limited to, paid advertising placements, referral fees, and in-content advertising links.

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