I still remember the days when I totally ignored Foursquare. After all, I didn’t (and don’t) want people to know where I am all the time. But there’s something about this platform that one just can’t ignore. With me, it was basically wanting to be the mayor of certain locations, lording it over my grand total of 3 friends. There is still that feeling of not wanting people to always know where I am, but I have to admit that I have fallen for Foursquare hook, line, and sinker.
Archives for July 2011
If you’re anything like Lisbeth Salander in “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”, you are rather particular about how and where you store your data. Now you do not have to have her social and personality issues to justify your
paranoia healthy concern about your data. In fact, it is important that even the average person take care of information that is uploaded on the Internet.
With the continuing rise of social networking and other similar activities online, information security is really something that everyone should pay attention to. You don’t have to an expert in this matter – a good dose of common sense and accurate information should be enough for everyday purposes. And if you have those two elements, you ought to be safe. You also will probably be interested in this infographic about the whereabouts of the world’s data that Mozy has come up with. ((Source)) Yes, it’s the same Mozy that offers online backup services. And no, this is not a sponsored post by them. Suffice it to say that I found myself poring over the infographic and thought that some of you might be interested in the data as well.
Here are the salient points in the infographic.
There are almost 600 Exabytes of data stored all over the world today. Exa-what? My thoughts exactly. My knowledge of math doesn’t go that far, so Wikipedia had to rescue me. Exa = 1018 or 1,000,000,000,000,000,000. Ack. Now this really calls for something more visual. Imagine putting all that data in books. Now imagine 13 layers of books covering the entire United States. Or China. That’s how much information there is. Mind-blowing to say the least.
Hard drives contain most of the world’s data. Fifty-two percent of the world’s data is stored in hard disks. Optical storage devices come second at 28%. Not surprising at all, is it?
The rise of the data centers – 8 of the 10 biggest data centers in the world are in the United States. The other 2 are in Europe.
As for me, I belong to the majority – hard disks FTW! And I guess being a regular Facebook et. al. user (like everyone and their mom), I have a fair amount of data in one data center or another as well.
When was the last time you got stuck in traffic as thick as molasses? If you live in a city like Manila (Philippines), and you are on the road everyday, then you have probably experienced some of the most irritating, road rage-inducing traffic jams. Truth be told, many major cities in the world are known for their awful traffic flow. That’s just part of urban living. You either bear it or move to the boondocks.
But what if something good can be harnessed from heavy traffic? Something like electricity, which is always a welcome thing. Scientists from the Technion Institute of Technology in Haifa, Israel might be on to something. ((Source)) The basic idea is so simple that it is brilliant: create a road that will generate electrical power when vehicles pass over it.
The underlying science is not new, and you’ve probably encountered it before – piezo electricity. It is the same principle on which products such as self-charging touchscreen gadgets are based. This time, though, the project is on a much larger scale and arguably a more practical application.
The electricity-producing road has no name yet, but what the scientists have done is to place the piezo electric pads under a layer of tarmac – the surface which comes into contact with the tires of the vehicles. With the pressure of the vehicles and their movement as well, the pads are triggered and collect the energy that is produced. This energy is converted to electricity, which can be used to power practically anything.
The issue now is how many pads are need to supply power needs. So far, the tests show that many pads have to be placed over a span of hundreds of meters. More so, more power is generated when vehicles pass over the pads at fast speeds. That blows the idea of traffic jams being useful, doesn’t it?
While the tests show that street lamps can be powered by this set up, it is not inconceivable to generate more power in the future. Israeli scientists are continuing to study and test the setup to develop it for more applications. If this succeeds, then our dependence on fossil fuels might come to an end. A pretty, pretty thought!
Robots have been the subject of many a science fiction novel or movie. The idea of having robots help humans enjoy more convenient lives is nothing new. For many of us, though, the dream of having robot house help is far from being a reality.
For Henry Evans, a mute quadriplegic, science fiction is becoming reality. He got hold of a PR2, a two-armed wheel robot developed by Willow Garage, a robotics research lab and technology incubator. Together with robotics development platforms, this company also works on robot operating systems.
For the past 10 years, Evans has been unable to do many things that you and I take for granted. Thanks to the collaboration of Willow Garage and Georgia Tech’s Healthcare Robotics Lab, the PR2 is helping Evans live a more independent life in spite of his physical condition.
Men – you probably dislike the chore of having to shave every so often. For people like Evans, being able to shave one’s self is a dream. And imagine this – prior to having the PR2, Evans was not even able to scratch when he felt an itch! I don’t know about you, but that would be pure torture! Thanks to PR2, for the first time in 10 years, Evans was able to scratch an itch himself.
Here is an inspiring video about PR2 and what it can do.
This development is made possible by a project called Robots for Humanity. ((Willow Garage Blog)) The collaborators are mainly using PR2 and researching ways by which this particular robot can help disabled people live more independently. The ultimate goal of the project is to be able to make robots accessible to people who need them most. As they say, Evans is only the beginning.
I applaud Willow Garage and Georgia Tech’s Healthcare Robotics Lab for their efforts and for focusing on a group which really has the need for robotic assistance in the home. While it is cool for those who have no handicap to have a robot assistant (I wouldn’t mind having one!), the idea of helping those in need first is admirable.
It’s one of those moments when you really really wish that a concept were fully part of reality and not a thing of science fiction.
Do you have memories of parents or grandparents sitting on the porch or the kitchen table (or wherever their favorite spot was) on a lazy Sunday afternoon, meticulously weeding through the coupon section and cutting out the useful ones? Those days are long gone, although the concept of couponing is definitely still here, thanks to the Internet.
Groupon. Living Social. Coupon Mom. Coupons.com. Those are only a handful of the sites that have attracted millions of consumers with the offer of coupons and daily deals. The United States is not alone in experiencing this phenomenon. In fact, in other parts of the world, countless daily deals sites crop up almost everyday. Confession coming up…
Yup, I am a sucker for those daily deals sites. There was a time when I had purchased so many deals that I was unable to use some of the coupons I had. I even had to give away some of them! The argument of every sucker like me: “But I can save a lot of money!”
A debatable point, of course, but that does not change the fact that people are still on the lookout for ways to make some savings on their purchases, and patronizing coupons sites and daily deals sites is one such way. Don’t believe me? Maybe you’ll believe this infographic by Credit Score ((Source)) – it’s full of official statistics so it must be true!
Truth be told, I was more interested in the figures from the past – I am already convinced that daily deals sites and coupon sites are way too popular for our (consumers) own good. For example, did you know that it was Coca-Cola who introduced the first ever coupon? They did so to promote the soda in 1888 when it was first launched. The coupon gave the bearer a free glass of Coke!
A quick summary of stats for the year 2010:
- Digital coupons outsell printed coupons 10 to 1
- More then 332 billion coupons were distributed in 2010
- There were 63,000 daily deals in the US in 2010
- There are about 200 daily deals sites
- 68% make impulse purchases on daily deals sites, compared to only 38% on coupons sites
Interested in more? Here’s the infographic. Click on the image to see the full size.
So tell me, are you merely part of the statistics, like I am?