Archive for category Technology

Living in a technological world, and I am a technological boy…

Is there a place for teaching our children how to code?

Is there a place for teaching our children how to code?

I fell into IT. Seriously, I was studying Mechanical Design until my course was abbreviated, removing any accreditation for any additional higher learning that I wanted to pursue. However, I topped both of my CAD (Computer Aided Drafting) classes and so I thought that maybe I should switch to Computer Sciences… and the rest is history.

However, these days, information technology pervades all aspects of our lives! As a father of two young children, I find myself wondering how much should I guide my children towards technology studies without having them glued to a computer screen 24/7? (which would get me killed by their mother!)

I have recently come across the following article which is about why you should be introducing your children to coding from an early age. Just having them learn the concepts of logic and problem solving can help a child understand how to tackle even non-IT problems with a structured approach, hopefully saving them a lot of frustration and angst.

Why your 8-year-old should be coding

One other point made in the article is this: There is very little innovation in the education sector with regards to schools today and what they are teaching our kids. They are teaching the same things that they have taught over the last 50 years, but only in different ways. As a parent, you need to look outside of the education square and find other ways to supplement your children’s learning… not only improve the quality of their education but to also feed the natural curiosity that we all start life with, but what a lot of us seem to lose somewhere along the way.

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How to stop sending iMessage texts to a Contact

iMessage

So, I had this issue: my Father-in-Law had replaced his iPhone with a Samsung Galaxy III. However, my iPhone insisted on sending iMessages to him even though his mobile number had been ported across to the new phone. This led to messages never getting to him or failing.

So, for those of you who don’t know, if you send an iMessage from your iPhone and it is struggling to get through (classic example of this occurring was during the Boxing Day Sales at our local shopping centre… too many people have iPhones these days :P), you can hold your finger down on the iMessage bubble and you will get the option to “Send as Text Message”.

This is great!  However, you don’t want to have to do this EVERY time you want to text someone who has broken their shackles and fled the Apple Eco-system.  After a bit of searching, I discovered on a forum that after you force a number of iMessage txts to “Send as Text Message”, your iPhone gets the point, and stops sending iMessage texts to that person (though no one could agree how many texts that needed to be forced).

My solution to this is simple:

  1. On your iPhone, go to the Message app.
  2. Tap the “New Message” icon.
  3. In the To field, select the Contact that you wish to stop sending texts via iMessage to.
  4. In the message field, type “?” and tap the Send button.
  5. Hold your finger on the new text “bubble” and select “Send as Text Message”.
  6. Repeat Step 4 & Step 5 until your iPhone stops trying to automatically send your texts to that Contact via iMessage.

Enjoy!

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Rebuilding Your Online Presence

This is a great article over at Lifehacker Australia about how to clean up your online representation and then expand your online presence in a more professional manner.

How To Clean Up Your Online Presence And Make A Great First Impression | Lifehacker Australia.

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Famo.us

Famo.us is a US tech startup who is using gamification to bring high-speed 2D and 3D applications to web browsers, utilising the GPU for graphical efficiency… all using the next generation of javascript.

The actual live demo of the Famo.us Periodic Table can be accessed here.

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A great guide to Facebook Privacy

I know that a lot of my friends are concerned about their privacy when it comes to Facebook… and so they should be.  Facebook has been consistently guilty of making it complicated to lock down your privacy settings, even to the point where some of us more “IT savy” individuals even struggle with it at times.

The writers over at Lifehacker have put together a great updated guide on dealing with your privacy settings on Facebook.  Have a read and lock your Facebook profile down!

The Total Facebook Privacy Guide

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Photocopiers – A not so obvious security risk!

We all have used photocopiers at some stage to copy personal documents when applying for loans, rental accommodation, passports, etc.  What a lot of people don’t realise is that most photocopiers use a hard drive to build the image of the document that they are replicating for you, and then don’t necessarily delete that image once you have completed your photocopying.  This also applies for to the multi-function photocopiers that people use in offices to send faxes.

The following CBS investigation (from back in June 2012) details just how easy it is for ANYONE to purchase a second hand machine and gain access to this stored sensitive data.

Whilst there is no a lot that you can do to force the various institutions that we deal with to improve their security policies on these things, you can try and reduce your own risk.

My recommendation would be that if you are planning on copying private documents (eg photocopying your driver’s license or credit cards for any sort of application) either use a scanner (yours or one that belongs to a trusted friend) to scan the documents in, and then print them.  Take note that if you do this you may also have to check that the scanned image is deleted from the computer that you have used to perform the scanning (unless you use one of the simpler home multi-function printers).

I know that all of this may sound a little paranoid to some of you but at the end of the day, you are responsible for how secure your personal details are, so try to do what you can to protect yourself.

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Sony X Preview of the new Sony 84″ KD84X9000 4K LCD TV

Sony Bravia 84" LCD TV

Being a member of the Sony X Team definitely has its perks. One of which was an invitation to tonight’s preview of the new KD84X9000, which is Sony’s new 84″4K LCD TV.

So, my first response to hearing that there was such a thing as an 84″ TV was, “Why?”  I am a proud owner of a KDL-46NX810 Sony Bravia LED TV which was an out of this world Christmas gift from my amazing wife, a couple of years ago.  At the time, this TV was top of the range, and did everything short of cooking you dinner and giving you a foot rub.  It was (still is) a pretty big TV, with a great picture, whilst not becoming the most dominant thing in the living room.

However, after watching tonight’s demo of the KD84X9000, I have to say that I am pretty darn impressed.

I spent most of the demo crouched (there were no seats and crouching provided a better viewing angle) less than 2 metres away.  We were actually encouraged to move closer to the screen… and for good reason too.  The picture was incredibly sharp, even that close to the screen, with the colours being very vibrant.  All of the demo footage was at 4K resolution, which utilised the 3,840 x 2,160 resolution beautifully. Complex imagery was displayed in such detail that you felt like you were missing things towards the the edge of the screen for being so close to it.  This TV gives you the impression of closest thing to having an HD iMax screen in your living room.

To give you an idea of the scale of this TV, I was able to capture one of the images from the demo itself:

Representation of TV scale

The TV will upscale Blu-ray HD video, which should display nicely but nowhere utilises the screens full potential.  Even though we didn’t see it, I shudder to think what a Standard Definition channel would look like on this behemoth…

Sound was delivered via two stereo side speakers (which come included with the TV) that provide pretty impressive sound quality.  It is a leap forward from the the rear-of-unit speakers that most Bravia TVs sport (which provide a very weak stereo experience).

The TV is 3D capable, but no demonstration was available tonight due to a lack of appropriate demoware.  However, the TV will support the upcoming Sony Playstation 4, with it’s ability to display the next generation of console games running at 4K resolution.

So, at the current price of $24,999.00, this beautiful piece of technology may be a little outside of most people’s price limit (or in my case, it is in a completely different galaxy to my price limit!), however it is state of the art hardware which will only be retailed by Sony themselves.

My wife now knows what I want for next Christmas… 😛

I would like to extend my thanks to the Sony X Australia team for my invitation, and to the staff at Sony Centre Brisbane for looking after us.

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