Search the Archive
Articles with Tag…
KONK REACTOR column
[Published in the KONK Life newspaper on June 21, 2012.]
Return of the Geek
A couple of years ago I wrote a column called Geek Speak in a local paper. It focused on various techie topics, where I’d introduce or update new and changing technologies we deal with. Topics that can be confusing when you don’t keep up with them. The river of Science and Engineering flows swiftly, so I’m again going to put on my Geek hat, and attempt to pilot you through one of those eddies. This time: Portable Music.
Just a few years ago “state of the art” was (more…)
Geek Speak column
[Published in the Key West Citizen Locals Guide on September 24, 2010.]
In Key West, October involves a lot of travel. Multitudes of Fantasy Festers are coming and going, some of the seasonal population is on the move, and there are locals who try to get out of town to make room for the revelry. Whether travelling by plane, boat or car, new technology can smooth the ride and help make for an enjoyable and safe trip. Here are a few travel techno-tips and gadgets…
Personal Entertainment. Let’s start with an update on what’s available these days to keep you entertained while on a long ride or flight. On-board DVD players are now a fairly common option in cars, and the average laptop nowadays can be your own personal entertainment center on the road. However there are a few new developments you may not be aware of. For example, did you know that the long-promised “TV glasses” have finally become a practical reality? (more…)
Geek Speak column
[Published in the Key West Citizen Locals Guide on August 27, 2010.]
Where In The World?
Back in the ‘70s I was nominated for an Army Commendation medal for helping solve a synchronization problem the LORAN (“LOng RAnge Navigation”) system had pinpointing the location of a large communication device. LORAN was an expensive ground-based predecessor to the satellite-based Global Positioning System (GPS) that now permeates our lives. This equivalent of those old clunky LORAN boxes is now embedded in cars, cell phones, even wrist watches.
GPS uses a constellation of lower orbit satellites to triangulate your location. The tiny receiver you carry is smart enough to find several satellites currently radio-visible in your sky as they streak around the earth. With careful calculation, the signals from the satellites can tell almost exactly where you are on Earth, and even your altitude above sea-level. We peons actually get a slightly less precise reading, because high-precision is reserved for military & intelligence operations. But it’s close enough to be extremely practical. (more…)
Geek Speak column
[Published in the Key West Citizen Locals Guide on May 28, 2010.]
Years ago I worked on the first IBM ThinkPad, a “tablet” computer with no keyboard. The concept was ahead of its time and the technology was lacking, so tablet computers remained a niche product. Twenty years down the road Apple finally gets it right with the iPad.
Apple has shed much of the baggage associated with previous tablets and concentrated on upsizing their highly successful iPod and iPhone products. Indeed, Apple detractors have called the iPad “a big iPhone that can’t make calls”. That characterization has some truth to it – the iPad’s easy-to-use interface is very similar, and multitudes of users of those other Apple products will instantly find it familiar. But the iPad also shares many of advanced talents of previous tablet computers; it’s much more than a glorified cell phone. (more…)