Monthly Archives: September 2011

Lite Reading – Dead Sea Scrolls

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Click on the link below to see five of the Dead Sea Scrolls.  These scrolls were discovered in a cave and were only examined by scholar and archaeologists.  Now with infrared and computer enhanced photography anyone with a computer can view these 2,000 year old relics. 

Google and the Israel Museum used infrared technology and computer-enhanced photography to post five of the 950 manuscripts online.   The high-resolution digital images are accessible through the museum’s site using a Google viewing tool. The post includes an English translation and a search feature to one of the texts, the Great Isaiah Scroll.

These images show the age of the documents and allows everyone the opportunity to view the scrolls.  Without technology, this opportunity would not be available and only a few would see these scrolls.  I believe that anyone, religious or not, should view the scrolls.  When I looked at them there was an overwhelming sense of awe!  These documents are over 2,00 years old and I viewed them.  

Infrared technology and computer-enhanced photography created a lifetime memory for me.  I can share these with my family and friends.  I wonder what marvelous technology will be available next and how it will affect my life.  As technology advances, what other experiences will we be able to gain? 

View the Dead Sea Scrolls

http://www.usatoday.com/news/religion/story/2011-09-26/dead-sea-scroll/50554550/1

http://newsfeed.time.com/2011/09/27/google-side-project-update-dead-sea-scrolls-are-now-viewable-online/?xid=rss-politics-huffpo

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5rYj_0foJYA

Virtual Iraq – Wounded Warriors

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Simulation and virtual worlds are being used for therapy in helping US armed forces personnel suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).  Virtual Iraq is a PC-based program developed at the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies.  The soldier is exposed to the same environment in the Virtual Iraq as the previous experiences to include smells, sounds, and even vibrations.   Soldiers prefer the virtual setting to the normal therapy setting.  The soldiers are repeatedly exposed to the traumatic experiences while their physiological status is monitor.  The solider re-lives the traumatic experience in a safe environment until they no longer feel threatened. 

Most avid gamers are familiar with the virtual world.  However, as I am not a gamer, the concept of virtual reality is just becoming real to me.  The creation of avatars in a virtual worlds to soldiers using virtual technology to assist in their rehabilitation seems to be a huge leap especially as it deal s cognitive-behavior treatment.   As technology advances, these leaps seems to become more routine and smaller somehow.   We have more opportunities with our technical advancements to care for those that have fought to defend our county.  However, with the same technology, we are developing weapons that inflict harm as well.  This technology is able to help the troops that suffer from PTSD and enable them to resume a happy productive life. 

http://halldale.com/insidesnt/wounded-warriors-rehabilitation-and-technology

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=90858431

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ltl9zbDRZWY

Health My Way

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Everyone is on the fitness train when spring comes around..sun bathing, beaches, bikinis, shorts, skimpy tops, swimming pools, skiing, boating….  Now there is a new piece of technology available called the Body Media’s FIT Armband BW device.  The device looks like a watch and is worn around the upper arm.  It monitors everything from the users’ sleep pattern to body temperature.   Bluetooth has now been added to the armband so users can access the data from mobile applications on smartphones.  Body Media also foresees demand for services related to nutrition counseling such as providing an outsider access to the data online.

This new technology opens a whole new world for fitness nuts and those that want to monitor their own fitness.  Historically, only a doctor would be able to perform checks to determine heart rate or body temperature.  This is even more true with sleep patterns.  My husband had to go to a doctor to be referred to a Sleep Center in order to determine his sleep patterns and the possibility of sleep apnea. 

With the technology advances, the FIT Armband BW device can provide this data to users and a provider of their choice online.  I believe that this device would be valuable to those that want to get dietary advise as well as weight loss assistance.  The extended services for this device would also be valuable as consumers are time-limited.  The normal doctor visit can be hours long waiting to be seen which is very costly as the age continues to climb for the average worker.  People cannot take off from work to sit in a doctor’s waiting room.  What better way to ensure your provider has pertinent data to evaluate your heath than to have it accessible online?

If a dietician could monitor my husband’s intake of food, it might kill them.  But it would also provide the dietician with valuable information to help him to eat right and how to alleviate the junk food urges.  The FIT device could also be used to track blood pressure and heart rate.  All of these are valuable to a user and a provider to assist with health issues.  Instead of a visit to the doctor, the data could be monitored and the service provider would contact the user.  New concepts for a new technology!!

Usually when I think of technology, I think of computers.  I sometimes forget that there are medical technology advances until I need them.  I am definitely interested in this device and would purchase it.  I am a contractor and must use my vacation days to visit the doctor.  The ability to have my physical data viewed online could be a time and money saver.  I am not sure that it would replace the visit to the doctor but at least make the visit shorter with less time away from work. 

http://www.forbes.com/2010/12/10/nike-adidas-health-technology-fitness.html

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5RFZuxPKes0

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SPcav730Nsc

Facebook Continues to Evolve

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I am relative newcomer to Facebook.  Like a lot of the older generation, I was hesitant to participate in Facebook due to privacy issues.  Of course, I am also the person in favor of full-body scanners for airports and grew up in a small community with a 6-party phone line (For those that don’t know, that means 6 different homes shared the same phone line and anyone could listen in anytime). 

Facebook is a giant social medium (750 million users) which  allows a connection to family and friends far and near.  My family used Facebook to notify my husband’s nephew in Afghanistan that his grandmother has passed away.  The military process was a little slow…..  The ability for us to actually be online with him in an overseas location during our family’s grief was so helpful.  We could not hear each others voices but could ask questions and respond immediately.

Now Facebook may be revealing a new means to allow people to easily share their favorite music, television shows and movies.  How many time have you clicked on a music link posted, only to not be able to access it as you are not a subscriber?  It is very frustrating.   Remember when music downloads were free?  I once downloaded music for my MP3 for my gym workout without having to pay.  Now that is a thing of the past and is illegal.

Is new technology threatening?  Yes, sometimes it is overwhelming, especially if you are older and accustom to different ways.  Change is always difficult, even when you want to be part of the change.  The social media that seems to be here to stay,even evolving, is not something to fear but to embrace. It is just like any other advancement of technology, it takes time and the desire to learn.  

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/19/business/media/facebook-is-expected-to-unveil-media-sharing-service.html?_r=1&ref=technology

Facial Recognition

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The Artec Group has developed a 3D facial recognition technology.  It allows recognition as fast as an individual can recognize another as within a split second.  There is no special posturing required and the individual can be walking or even running while the identification is being made.  The technology remembers the facial features which is very similar to a humans recognition. 

http://www.artecid.com/?gclid=CO60ua7dm6sCFcJrKgodj0ppfQ

Homeland Security official are exploring the possibly of using facial recognition technology to identify terrorists and criminals.  The big issue is that they are going to use digital surveillance photos to do it.  Is this a violation of privacy?  If my photo is taken while running a red light, can it be compared to a database?  Everyone can understand the reasoning for facial recognition technology at airports, bus, and train terminals but has it gone to far?  The new technology turn “dumb” cameras  into smart observers. With the new technology, I think I feel safer flying but will be more hesitant to show my face around a surveillance camera in a hotel, restaurant, elevator, retail store, etc.  How do you know what the surveillance picture is being used for? 

http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2007-05-10-facial-recognition-terrorism_N.htm

 

Social Networking: Good or Bad in Military Settings

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Recently, the government agency that I work for has decided to allow their users to access social networking such as Facebook, twitter, and YouTube while on government computers.  Accessing these sites previously was outlawed and normally blocked.  Now suddenly we (government workers) are encouraged to use social networking to collaborate, share, and stay-in-touch/up-to-date.  Quite a big change…and it has it merits for offices that need to reach out to those in deployed or remote locations.  But the real question is, are we putting information out for the wrong sources to access? Is data being shared that could put us in jeopardy? Look at all the data that you can collect on one person just from their Facebook and twitter accounts.  Some people list everything down to their blood type.  Are government users revealing data about troops numbers, locations, plans, etc? Click to view Chinese Soldiers Prohibited from On-line Social Networking

Most computer experts will tell you that the biggest consider for government users accessing social networking is the security risks for the system being hacked.  Social networking is not big on security.  How are the government security systems holding up under the pressure of social networking?  Not well according to Danger Room, What’s  Next In National Security, “Military May Ban Twitter, Facebook as Security ‘Headaches’“.

I am glad to be able to access social networking sites while on a government computer.  However, I am NOT putting information out but just viewing it.  I believe this is an important factor to keep in mind.  I do believe that there are those that are watching and collecting data to use against our government.  Each user of a social network has to remain diligent in keeping vital data off these sites.  As to the answer if social networking is good or bad in military setting: I believe it all depends on the USER.

Change: Am I Standing Still?

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I wonder sometimes if I am standing still as technology changes.  I still have a desktop computer and I read from hardback books.  I don’t have a Facebook page or use IM to communicate.  However, I do work on a computer everyday and once considered myself technology savvy. 

Today’s kids are far more advanced in technology than I am.  I finally have a wireless printer but just now discovered the iPad.  I went on a trip to Best Buy with my daughter to get information on an e-reader.  While we waited for assistance, she researched all those on display with her phone.  By the time, we were assisted, she was able to talk intelligently to the sales clerk. 

While she was researching, I was playing with the iPad.  A young child about 9 or 10 years old, had to show me how to move the tablet to play a game.  I was just touching the screen which shows how limited I was in my thinking on technology.  Once I got the hang of the game, the iPad was awesome and I must have one. 

With my newfound information on technology, I wanted to see if it could be incorporated into my work arena.  I work for an agency within the government and travel with a computer.  The computer is a laptop but is still bulky and heavy for me.  The iPad was be so much easier to carry and would be more portable to work with on a plane.  However, computer support does not see the current iPad as an option. Am I standing still at work as well as in my home environment? 

At the pace that technology is changing, even if  I will purchase the iPad, will it be outdated?  How will I ever be able to keep up with technology?  I have heard it said that as soon as you purchase a computer, it is outdated.  This statement seems to be true!

Click on the link to see how fast technology is changing Technology Changes

Click to access articles on the Benefits of IPads and Using the IPad to Connect

Click on the IPad to see the latest Apple IPads available.