Archive

Author Archive

What side are you on?

It is crazy to think how far technology grows in the world of cell phones. I can’t seem to finish out my 2-year contracts before another revolutionary smartphone hits markets and I regret my decision to upgrade so soon. Although we have already discussed the demanding market for the next best thing. It came to my attention that we have hit a sudden slump in the world of smartphones. This year when my contract went up in February I decided to hold out and snatch the newest smartphone as soon as it hit the market, the problem? There hasn’t been a new one.

I currently am a blackberry user and was looking forward to their newest creation but after such a long lag in new product releases, I decided I would switch over to the new iPhone 5 because it had been so long since the iPhone 4 was released.  Here I am in April and still stuck with my old blackberry.  There have been a lot of speculations why there is a sudden stalemate in the smartphone war. Some blame it on the issues iPhone had with the iPhone 4 release and the antennae problem while others claim it is the new competitor in the Android causing Apple to step up there game. Instead of the usual Blackberry vs. iPhone war a new player as been added to the shuffle. Google Inc. has entered the world of smartphones with the Android.  Google’s phone has had so much attention some claim it is even better than the iPhone and will knock blackberry off the market for good.  Now, with the added player to the smartphone fight my decision to get a switch just became twice as hard. With Android being compared to Windows PC and the iPhone obviously representing Apple systems, where does the blackberry stand.  Not many people remember the Palm Treo in early 2000 that has faded from the smartphone market because blackberry stole their thunder with a better operating system that provided more user friendly capabilities and more reliable technology. Now that there is a new phone to compete with the iPhone, is the blackberry a thing of the past?

I feel a consumer obligation to the blackberry after two years of satisfied use, but what can I do if the Android and iPhone provide a new generation of smartphones and Blackberry fails to rise to the challenge.  For now I am team Blackberry with a strong inclination to switch to iPhone if they are able to release the new iPhone 5 any time soon. But the increasingly positive reviews of the Android with its very consumer friendly advertising campaign makes a strong argument to forever abandon the Blackberry. With smartphones that already start cars, turn on security alarms, scan credit cards and display HD movies, it is hard to imagine what our phones will be doing in 10 years.

Advertisements

The blur between Man and Machine

With technology moving forward at an alarmingly fast rate, it would only be in human nature to want to use technology to advance our hardware. The outcome: body enhancements. Molly in Neuromancer had many enhancements with her body, as did Palmer Eldritch in The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch.  Along with Palmer’s modifications, Leo Bulero in the same novel received cosmetic surgery to implement a tongue weapon.  Although I have not heard of any surgical procedures to implant weapons to the body, there have been major advancements with prosthetics and optical surgery.   Dustin in his post “One Step Closer to Palmer ” goes into detail about the positive side to the body enhancements that help those in need of prosthetics.  The prosthetic limb shown in the video exemplifies the glories of technological advancements and the ability to help the lives of others while combining medicine and technology. On the other side of this is Alexie’s post,”Body Enhancements…Possible?“, about pointless enhancements such as the “Netherlands Institute for Innovative Ocular Surgery [that] inserts shapes such as ‘hearts, stars, euro signs, four-leaf clovers, and music notes’ into a patient’s eye (Scott, 8)”.

The optical surgery to insert shapes has no medical significance and provides a way for doctors to use their skills to enlarge their bank accounts.  The E-therapy seen in The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch has a somewhat similar cosmetic appeal, as there is no real medical significance to the procedure and simply is seen as a status symbol.  We had talked about the importance of always having the newest and coolest piece of technology when is comes to cell phones and laptops, but who would have thought the same could be said for cosmetic surgery that blurs the line between technology and the body.  Cyborgs have been in books for years, but the concept of a cyborg made of mainly machine has yet to make an appearance.  In Christopher’s post, “The Opposite of a Cyborg?” he reveals the concept of a machine that has human cells growing in it.  The concept is still in prototype stages but as Christopher said, “It seems that as time and research move forward, the hybrid fusion of man and machine will only evolve to even greater levels.”  It is hard to admit how much we are dependent on technology and the continual blur between our technology and us continues to grow with each new product release.  It is very daunting to think that the new iPhone 5 rumored to release later this year may turn out to simply be an implant where the screen is a projection through out eyeball and we control it with our body as we saw in the episode of Futurama.

I guess it is safe to say that no matter where society takes us there will always be a demand for engineers to create new technology, and doctors to implant it into our bodies.  As we discussed one class period, it is impossible to think of a day where we would be forced to live without any technology. From the contacts in my eyes to the computer I am currently typing this post on, I would be nothing without technology.

Can you see the future?

I am sure everyone has been bored on an airplane and opened up the latest version of SkyMall to check out the latest in gadgets and home accessories.  One object in particular always catches my eye: iWear VR920.  For the cheap price of $399.00 you too can have the world’s best-selling pair of virtual reality glasses.  Not only is the customer able to look like a character from The Matrix, but they also get to experience the wonders of a virtual reality. There has even been experiments if this virtual technology could be used with medicine to help patients psychologically heal from injuries.  Although the iWear glasses are sold on a commercial basis for personal use, advances in technology could discover a way to help patients recover from psychological events or help train combat fighters to decrease deaths.

With all new inventions, there are many faults in the product including the stability, and the graphics of the virtual reality. But like all new age technology, once the original is created it can only be improved from there. So who knows, maybe one day we will only communicate through a virtual world, or maybe the reality of Chew-Z and Can-D is not far in the future.  The Vuzix iWear glasses are able to track your head movement so the character reacts to your movements and provides to equivalent of a 62-inch screen from a safe distance of 9 feet.  These revolutionary glasses give the viewers a full immersion into the virtual world of the game of their choice. Not only do viewers get to experience their favorite games in a 3D experience, but they will feel like they are a part of the game.  The concept of virtual reality glasses brings a whole new meaning to the concept of gamer addiction as they feel they are physically in the game.

The technology of the virtual glasses can easily be improved with lighter designs, better graphics, and faster movement tracking technology.  After such advances in technology it is not far fetched to think that maybe one day we will be able to slip on a pair of glasses and join the Avatars of tomorrow in a foreign land where we cannot die and virtual cyberspace becomes our reality.

 

Happy 30th Birthday!

This weekend marks the 30-year anniversary of the portable computer unveiling. Adam Osborne released the Osborne 1 April 3, 1981. The revolutionary portable computer was announced at the West Coast Computer Faire at San Francisco’s Brooks Hall. Although today he is not as famous as the legendary CEO of apple Steve Jobs, or Microsoft founder Bill Gates, his portable computer changed the world of technology, as we know it.

Before his Osborne 1 no one could even fathom a computer that could move from desk to desk, now portable computer laptops are so standard most students could not imagine life without them. Even now as I type this blog I cannot think of college without the convenience of my laptop to take notes, stalk on Facebook, or and write the endless research papers.Unfortunately for Osborne, his company went bankrupt after trying to introduce his computers before they were consumer ready. Now if any product has any manufacturing issue at all, take the iPhone 2, corporations immediately work to fix the apparent problem. After the iPhone 2 showed issues with the antennae, Apple sent customers free cases to help with the reception and prevent dropped calls. Osborne’s early exposure of his products led to the demise of Osborne Computer Company. Now, the premature release of products causing consumers to reject them is known as the “Osborne effect”. Companies spend millions to keep their products a secret until they are ready to announce the finalized product. Despite his lack of failure now, back in the day Adam Osborne was seen as a god in tech communities. David Bunnell, a managing editor of Osborne’s publishing company who later founded PC Magazine, PC World, Macworld, and other publications. “I tell people that in those days there were three major people in the industry: Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Adam Osborne, and not necessarily in that order. He had a huge following.”

Thanks to Adam Osborne’s creation of the Osborne 1, Steve Jobs and Bill Gates followed in his footsteps to create, and continue to perfect the portable computer. After 30 years and millions and millions of models, it is only fitting we put our hands together for the father of the portable computer. Happy Birthday PC!