About Me

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A multimedia producer, keenly interested in the evolution of the Internet.

Visual Production is my favourite pastime and a serious hobby, too. And I like to travel now and then, preferably with a camera.

I write at Pushmind Publishing featuring interesting items from around the world; and also manage a collection of quality advertisements at ColorCodes.

Monday, May 20, 2013

understand the technology that surrounds you everyday - III

We are surrounded by so much technology everywhere that sometimes we wish we knew better. Without further ado, look at this nifty compilation created for the rest of us. This is the third among three lists that explains the real meaning behind everyday words from the world of technology. First, see the first list of technological terms and the second list of technological terms

Newbie: Slang term for a user who is new on the network.
Postmaster: The administrator responsible for resolving any email problems.
QuickTime: Apple’s method of storing sound, graphics and movie files which is designed for playback via the Internet.
RNA (Ring No Answer): This is the symptom used to describe a modem at a local that rings, but does not pick up the incoming call.
SMS (Short Messaging Service): Allows cell phone users to exchange text basedmessages. Short means less than 128 characters when it started out, but as of today it can accommodate 160 characters. Traditional SMS is now nearly displaced by instant messengers and apps running from handheld devices.
Spam: A colloquial term referring to the act of posting the same message to several inappropriate newsgroups, or mass mailing unsolicited email messages to several users.
SSD (Solid State Drive): A next-generation, microchip-based (flash) storage device with no moving parts. It is significantly faster than a traditional hard drive with read/write mechanical head.
Urban Legend: A story, which may have started with a grain of truth that has been embroidered and retold until it has passed into the realm of myth. Spreads faster on the Internet.
Veronica: Is only a service that maintains an index of titles of items on gopher servers. Closely linked to Archie.
Virus: A program, which infects computer systems by incorporating itself into other programs or computer systems.
W3: An acronym for the World Wide Web
Winsock: A TCP/IP stack that allows you to send data to/from the Internet. Quite different
from a “windsock”.
White Pages: ICQ’s version of a directory. It allowed you to search for people to chat with. A/S/L anyone?
Xbox: Microsoft’s much-popular gaming console.
YMMV (Your Mileage May Vary): Taken from the standard disclaimer attached to EPA mileage ratings. This warning can be found in some UNIX freeware distributions.
ZIP: An open standard that allows you to compress and decompress data. The file extension given to ZIP files is .zip.

Friday, April 12, 2013

understand the technology that surrounds you everyday - II

We are surrounded by so much technology everywhere that sometimes we wish we knew better. Without further ado, look at this nifty compilation created for the rest of us. This is the second among three lists that explains the real meaning behind everyday words from the world of technology. First, see the first list of technological terms.

E-mail: Universally accepted abbreviated version of electronic mail.
Emoticon: They are used to convey emotion in an ASCII world. For example, ☺ represents a ‘smiley’.
Encryption: The translation of data into a secret code. To read an encrypted file, you need a secret key or password.
Easter Egg: Hidden features placed by programmers in software applications and operating systems. Could display a secret message, play a sound or a small animation.
Firewall: One way of protecting a network against intrusion. Consists of mechanisms to block and to permit network traffic.
Flame: A downright inflammatory statement, usually in an electronic mail message.
FWIW: Chat lingo for For What It’s Worth.
FireWire: Apple’s name for a new, very fast external data standard that it had developed. It has been now vastly replaced by USB-C.
GIF (Graphic Interchange Format): An image compression algorithm that facilitates the transfer of high quality images over a network.
Gigabytes: A billion bytes; this would be large enough to hold 1,250 copies of Moby Dick. 
GPS (Global Positioning System): A satellite navigation system that allows anyone using a simple handheld receiver to determine his place in time and space.
Hacker: Someone who delights in having an intimate understanding of the internal workings of a system, computers and computer networks. Gets most of the heat for the misdemeanors of malicious crackers.
Host: A computer that allows users to communicate with other host computers on a network. May or may not be hospitable.
Handshake: You want some data? I’ll transmit it to your machine. If it’s coming in too fast, tell me to wait so you can catch up. Modems need a handshake to get data transfer right.
Nanotechnology: The science of building electronic circuits and devices from single atoms and molecules. Will clearly define the next step in computing.
Netiquette: Proper behavior on a network, universally applicable on the Internet.

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

understand the technology that surrounds you everyday - I

We are surrounded by so much technology everywhere that sometimes we wish we knew better. Without further ado, look at this nifty compilation created for the rest of us. This is the first among three lists that explains the real meaning behind everyday words from the world of technology.

AC-3 (Dolby Digital): This digital surround-sound format for home audio is called Dolby Digital in theatres. It is the official sound format for digital TV, and is used in many DVDs and laser discs.
ActiveX: This is a set of technologies from Microsoft that provides developers with tools to link desktop applications to the Internet. It allows you to view Word and Excel documents directly in a browser.
AGP (Accelerated Graphics Port): This is an Intel specification designed to handle the high throughput demands of 3D graphics. The AGP channel is 32 bits wide and provides almost twice the total bandwidth of the older PCI channel. Think of it as Accelerated Gaming Performance.
Animation: Animation involves using a series of independent pictures or frames and putting them together to create the illusion of continuous motion. Advertisements, websites, cartoons and movies – it’s used everywhere!
Archie: Not exactly the comic book character from Riverdale. This Archie was a system used to automatically gather, index and serve information on the Internet. It’s not in use anymore.
Baud Pronounced ‘Bod’: One of the indicators of the speed of a modem.

Barfmail: Repeated bounce messages, usually received because of gateway or mail 
server errors, which cause significant annoyance.

Broadband: Simply put – it’s about BROADer BANDwidth on the Internet.
Barracuda: The highest performance drive at 7200 RPM and once (c.2000) the highest capacity in the world.
Cheetah: Once, the world’s fastest disk drive, it delivered unparalleled transaction performance for e-commerce and enterprise applications.
Cracker: A malicious individual who attempts to access computer systems without authorization.
Cyberspace: A term coined to describe the interconnected ‘world’ of computers and the society gathered around them.
Cookies: Small files stored on your computer, which hold information that can be retrieved by web pages on a site. 
Cyberpunk: A sub-genre of science fiction inspired by William Gibson’s 1982 novel Neuromancer
DVD (Digital Versatile Discs): These are high-capacity optical discs used for storing everything from massive computer applications to full length movies but as of 2017 their use is in decline.
DivX: It’s an MP4 based video compression codec that does for video and movies what MP3s did for music online. 
E3: The mother of all gaming trade shows, held in Los Angeles every year. Entrance for industry professionals only.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

you are definitely getting older

  • Windows XP was released 15 years ago, in 2016.
  • The new millennium is more than a decade old.
  • Pierce Brosnan last acted as James Bond 14 years ago.
  • It's been 15 years since 9/11.
  • The Matrix came out 17 years ago, Keanu Reeves is 51 today.
  • Mother Theresa and Lady Diana have been dead for 19 years.
  • Macaulay Culkin is 35 today. Home Alone came out over 25 years ago.
  • Terminator 2 is 25 years old. Edward Furlong who portrayed kid John Connor is 38 now.
  • Sean Connery is 84 years old and retired.
  • The youngest Spice Girl is 39, the oldest Backstreet Boy 43, Gwen Stefani is 45, Madonna 52.
  • The first Harry Potter book came out 19 years ago!
  • The first season of F.R.I.E.N.D.S was aired 21 years ago!
  • Arnold Schwarzenegger is older than Independent India. He was born in June 1947.
  • Kids born in 1998 can legally drive, drink and vote this year.
  • Facebook has been around for 12 years.
  • Jurassic Park is older than Justin Bieber.
  • Bryan Adams' cult song Summer of 69 was released 31 years ago.
  • Kids whom you remember in their diapers are posting their pics on Facebook.
A quick search indicated that the original post was probably in Posterous but since the site is no longer available, I want to thank the original writer of this post who subtly reminds us that we are getting old fast.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

create real clouds inside your room

Dutch artist Berndnaut Smilde creates real clouds inside indoor spaces. The pioneer of this technique has been on the headlines with quite an impressive amount of audience worldwide. BBC correspondent Anna Holligan went to meet him to see how he creates his own clouds. Using a smoke machine and a spray to generate fine mist or droplets, he says, the trick lies entirely in timing. It turns out that these delicate clouds exist for a short time, maybe ten seconds or less - just enough to photograph them!

Brilliant! Absolutely brilliant!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

the three laws of intellectual motion

Over three hundred years ago, Sir Isaac Newton clarified our understanding of dynamical processes by formulating has famous three laws, which read as follows:
  1. Every object in a state of uniform motion tends to remain in that state of motion unless an external force is applied to it.
  2. The relationship between the mass of an object m, the acceleration of the object a, and the applied force f is f = ma.
  3. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.
We have all engaged in discussions where one person tires to change another person’s opinion. On rare occasions, these attempts may be successful, but in general they are not. According to Peter Sturrock, an astrophysicist at Stanford University and Emeritus Professor of Applied Physics, his experience leads him to offer for consideration and discussion the follows reformulation of Newton’s laws:
  1. Opinions tend to remain in a state of stagnation unless acted upon by an external argument.
  2. The rate of change of opinion is proportional to the strength of the applied argument, and inversely proportional to the intellectual inertia of the person holding that opinion.
  3. For every attempt to change another person’s opinion, that person will make an equal and opposite attempt to change the first person’s opinion.
With regard to the second law, he reminds us to note that intellectual inertia is weakly correlated with age but strongly correlated with status.

This proposition was done at edge.org, a society of intellectuals.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

plans to create a real starship in 20 years

This article originally appeared on io9 on this page.

In Star Trek lore, the first Starship Enterprise will be built by the year 2245. But today, an engineer has proposed - and outlined in meticulous detail – building a full-sized, ion-powered version of the Enterprise complete with 1G of gravity on board, and says it could be done with current technology, within 20 years. "We have the technological reach to build the first generation of the spaceship known as the USS Enterprise -– so let's do it," writes the curator of the Build The Enterprise website, who goes by the name of BTE Dan.

This "Gen1" Enterprise could get to Mars in ninety days, to the Moon in three, and "could hop from planet to planet dropping off robotic probes of all sorts en masse –- rovers, special-built planes, and satellites."

Complete with conceptual designs, ship specs, a funding schedule, and almost every other imaginable detail, the BTE website was launched just this week and covers almost every aspect of how the project could be done. This Enterprise would be built entirely in space, have a rotating gravity section inside of the saucer, and be similar in size with the same look as the USS Enterprise that we know from Star Trek.

"It ends up that this ship configuration is quite functional," writes BTE Dan, even though his design moves a few parts around for better performance with today's technology. This version of the Enterprise would be three things in one: a spaceship, a space station, and a spaceport. A thousand people can be on board at once – either as crew members or as adventurous visitors.

While the ship will not travel at warp speed, with an ion propulsion engine powered by a 1.5GW nuclear reactor, it can travel at a constant acceleration so that the ship can easily get to key points of interest in our solar system. Three additional nuclear reactors would create all of the electricity needed for operation of the ship.

The saucer section would be a .3 mile (536 meter) diameter rotating, magnetically-suspended gravity wheel that would create 1G of gravity.

The first assignments for the Enterprise would have the ship serving as a space station and space port, but then go on to missions to the Moon, Mars, Venus, various asteroids and even Europa, where the ships' laser would be used not for combat but for cutting through the moon's icy crust to enable a probe to descend to the ocean below.

Of course, like all space ships today, the big "if" for such an ambitious effort would be getting Congress to provide NASA the funding to do a huge 20-year project. But BTE Dan has that all worked out, and between tax increases and spreading out budget cuts to areas like defense, health and human services, housing and urban development, education and energy, the cuts to areas of discretionary spending are not large, and the tax increases could be small. "These changes to spending and taxes will not sink the republic," says the website. "In fact, these will barely be noticed. It's amazing that a program as fantastic as the building a fleet of USS Enterprise spaceships can be done with so little impact."

"The only obstacles to us doing it are the limitations we place on our collective imagination," BTE Dan adds, and his proposal says that NASA will still receive funding for the science, astronomy and robotic missions it currently undertakes.

But he proposes not just one Enterprise-class ship, but multiple ships, one of which can be built every 33 years –- once per generation –- giving three new ships per century. "Each will be more advanced than the prior one. Older ships can be continually upgraded over several generations until they are eventually decommissioned."

BTE Dan, who did not respond to emails, lists himself as a systems engineer and electrical engineer who has worked at a Fortune 500 company for the past 30 years. The website includes a blog, a forum and a Q&A section, where BTE Dan answers the question, "What if someone can prove that building the Gen1 Enterprise is beyond our technological reach?"

Answer: "If someone can convince me that it is not technically possible (ignoring political and funding issues), then I will state on the BuildTheEnterprise site that I have been found to be wrong. In that case, building the first Enterprise will have to wait for, say, another half century. But I don't think that anyone will be able to convince me it can't be done. My position is that we can -– and should –- immediately start working on it."

For the complete space nerd experience, check out Build The Enterprise.