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Sony Brings Back It's Robot Dog, Aibo

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Does anyone else remember this little guy? Back in elementary school, I remember a classmate bringing one of these in for show and tell, and it blew my mind. A robot dog?! The future! He was packed full of sensors with allowed him to respond to touch and voice commands. He could walk around, bark, fetch his bone; you could even train him! The more he was played with, the more he would develop a personality. 
The picture on the left is of the first model of Aibo, released in 1999. He was given updates till 2005, but in 2004, it was announced that Aibo would no longer be supported, and the line would be discontinued in 2006. 
Last year, it was announced that Aibo was making a comeback, in January 2018. This is what he looks like now: 

photo taken from The Verge

Back, and cuter than ever. Smarter than ever too, being integrated with sony's "deep learning technology". Aibo's head, paws, chin, and back are touch sensitive, his nose is a camera, his eyes are 2 OLED displays, and he's connected to the Internet 24/7 thanks to his WiFi chip or LTE sim card. When he's getting low on batteries, a camera on his back helps him navigate the house till he finds his charing pad and takes a nap, which happens about every three hours of playing with him. With his nose being a camera, he does more than just roam; he'll search with you for his bone, and he knows it's you he's searching with, as he has facial recognition through that camera. Aibo's movements seem almost natural, if not a little slow, and he's expressive when you interact with him. 
The only thing not cute about Aibo is the price tag, $1,800, plus a $27 subscription to the software that controls him. If you do the math, maybe it's cheaper than owning a real dog in the long run, but that's still a hefty price. I'll probably just wait for show and tell.

Do You Know How Much DCB You Have Left?

Posted Posted by Nathan Burner in Comments 0 comments

Are you one of those people who run out of DCB within the first couple weeks of the semester? Would you do better if your balance was easier to access and budget? Believe it or not, you can receive weekly email reports on your DCB usage and even get a notification whenever your balance dips below a specified amount. It's easy to set up, all you need is an account with Harding's dining services.

The first step is to create an account with CampusDish. Head on over to Harding's CampusDish website and click the Login link in the top left, then click the "Create Account" button located on the bottom right.



After you have created your account and have logged in, click the "MyOneCard" link in the navigation bar at the top of the website. Once you've clicked the link, notice the gray box labled "My Student ID" on the right hand side. Click the link at the very bottom that says "Low Balance Notifications."


Now you are ready to set up your notifications! Simply click the checkbox to subscribe to the notifications, the choose whether you want to receive weekly reports, low balance reports, or both.  You can also decide how low your balance gets before the notification is sent. The default is set to $50.



The notifications will be sent to the email that you used to set up an account with CampusDish. Now go forth and be more frugal with your DCB!

Meltdown and Spectre

Posted Posted by Jerred Shepherd in Comments 0 comments

In the past couple of weeks researchers have revealed two vulnerabilities that affects just about everyone who owns a device made in the last 10-20 years. These exploits known as Meltdown and Spectre allows an attacker to read data on your system that they shouldn't be able to access.

Meltdown effects only Intel CPUS and some ARM chips, and is relatively easy to protect against. The fix for this exploit will unfortunately also slow down these CPUs by a decent amount. Spectre however applies to many different types of chips, including AMD CPUs.

So what can you do to protect your system? A fix will be released by operating system vendors to patch the vulnerability. Apple has already released fixes for iOS and macOS. Microsoft has released an update to Windows, however you will also need to update your antivirus.

In addition to updating your operating system, it's important that you also update your web browser. Both Firefox and Chrome have released updates to protect against Meltdown and Spectre.

You can read more about these exploits at https://meltdownattack.com/

Heads Up Displays

Posted Posted by Ellie Waters in Comments 0 comments


When traveling, it is common to use one's phone as a GPS. However, what happens when the phone slides of the drivers lap? The simplest solution is to get a phone mount, but the driver still has to take their eyes off the road every time they check the map. The same is true when a standard GPS is used.

A heads up display enables the driver to check their GPS (and more depending on the type they use) while still looking at the road. The directions and other information are projected directly on the windshield. The projection is transparent, and looks like an overlay that allows the driver to fully see the road.

For cars there are a few options for a heads up display or HUD. The first type is like a phone mount with a reflector. This product is inexpensive, starting at $16. However this often requires an app that correctly projects the maps so that the driver can properly view the information. The height of the driver is also a factor that influences readability. This is because the information is being projected on an additional surface (not the car windshield). The reflector can be adjusted to a degree, but the mount could potentially limit the optimal angles at which the driver can see the information. However, a HUD film eliminates this problem because it can be applied directly to the car windshield. 

   

Another HUD for cars projects directly on to the windshield. This device plugs into the car and projects the cars current speed in both Kilometers per hour and/ or Miles per hour. The lowest price these have sold for is about $50. 

  

This next product has it's own applications and uses a wireless connection to your phone. I think Adam from Navdy does a great job describing the benefits and features of their product. This device has a GPS, uses hand gesture controls, and can connect to your car, even notifying the driver when the car is low on gas. The HUD Navdy display costs about $500. 



There is also a HUD for motorcycles. Nuvez sells the most expensive, and best reviewed, on amazon, HUD add-on for a motorcycle helmet. This device costs about $700. The device is attached to the helmet with a circular controller for the handle of a motorcycle. This device connects to your phone to project the directions onto a corner of the helmet's visor. The attachment also has a built in camera and can record audio. If the driver turns their head the bulkiness of the attachment can cause the helmet to strain your neck a little. The wind does interfere some with the audio quality. Over all it is a good product for an innovator. 


The next and last product I want to talk about is the CrossHelmet project. They have raised #344,336 and have 346 backers. Their goal was to create a comfortable, aerodynamic smart helmet. This product includes a HUD with GPS, weather, and time; a rear-view camera, Bluetooth; cross sound control; touch gestures, and  safe led for night driving. 


This is in it's proto-type phase and is only available to per-order for $1,600 on the CrossHelmet website http://www.crosshelmet.com/You can find them on kick starter at 

New Year's Resolutions - A Touch of Clarity

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This week is often marked by the start of many New Year's Resolutions - as well as the end of a number of them. This is not meant to discourage you in these goals, but to make you aware that you may need more support as the year goes on. According to statistics, 37% of Americans resolve to "stay fit and healthy", 32% to "lose weight", and about 16% never make resolutions to start with.

To aide you in your quest of sticking to your word this year, and knowing where you might need some help, here are some of the most common broken resolutions.

Lose weight/exercise: In many cases, this one is broken before January is over. Those left standing often give out before March.

Quit smoking: Sadly, six months later, only 15%  are still breathing smokeless air

Learn something new: Yes, we are students. This doesn't mean that just because you can do complex calculations in your head or paint the Last Supper from memory that you can naturally become a gourmet chef. Keep at it though - your friends will love to drop by!

Eat healthier: Healthier food costs more - that's no secret. But it can be done on a [college] budget, and there are many resources to help you out.

Watch less TV/spend less time on social media: It isn't uncommon to hear students say "There's nothing to do in Searcy." There's plenty to do if you have the desire to find it. Besides, a car ride is a solid way to make memories regardless of the destination. And while you're out adventuring, actually experience it instead of cataloging it - you'll be glad you were there.

Be less stressed: The epitome of college life, especially around midterms and finals, can be alleviated. Don't have the time? Make time. You can be more productive when you aren't stressed, even if you think "I got this."

Get more sleep: It may sound redundant to the advice above, but they are two different things. With flu on the horizon and the lack of light in the day, your immune system needs all the help it can get. Besides, sleeping through a test is never fun.

I wish you all the best this year in achieving your goals, and don't be afraid to ask for help. We are surrounded by peers, and no one goes without a struggle.

Will the Bitcoin Bubble Burst? If So When? There May be a Tool to Help

Posted Posted by Andrew Roach in Comments 0 comments



Many people that own Bitcoins ask themselves "How much more can it grow?" With Bitcoins projected to be worth over $11,000 at present this seems like a reasonable question and was worth 30 cents in 2010.

Bitcoins are a form of crypto-currency that are given value much like paper money, people say it has value. If any of this worries you and you own bitcoins or are looking into purchasing a bitcoin, which is doubtful due to there extreme price for one, there is now an A.I. that was presented at the Disrupt Berlin Hackathon that is made to predict the burst of the bitcoin bubble. It is called Bitcoin Bubble Burst. It takes the form of a regular subscription newsletter that collates the information it’s found. If a certain threshold of warning signs is reached, its creators claim it will also allow you to know first — so you can cash in your savings before there’s a run on the virtual bank.





This software could save some people from losing large investments if it works and could be a very useful tool in projecting the value of the seemingly unstoppable crypto-currency.