A Tip for Printing

Posted Posted by Abby Miller in Comments 0 comments

The end of the semester is almost upon us and along with it come the various papers and projects that have been pushed off until the last minute. Along with that comes a great deal of printing. A quick tip for printing: print your black and white pages in greyscale. In order to print the dark black quality that can be seen when printing in color, different colors are mixed together. That means that you run out of magenta at random times when you couldn’t even remember the last time that you used magenta. In the long run this will save you money and time, having to go purchase more color ink that you really don't need. Another option on campus is to remember all of the library and different labs located conveniently around campus. That way, you won't have to use your black ink either. Happy paper writing!

Facebook's acquisition of Oculus Rift

Posted Posted by David D in Comments 0 comments

You've seen the hollywood portraits of the future, all the gadgets and tools which today look like the stuff of overactive imaginations. However, if computers today have taught us anything it's that these sci-fi fantasies can lay in wait just around the proverbial corner. That's the dream that many people have had for the device called the Oculus Rift, and now it's in the hands of Facebook.
What the Oculus Rift was supposed to be was a virtual reality headset, and by many accounts from developers, it was going to be very good at this. Back in 2012 a kickstarter for the, at the time, independent company raised nearly $90 million. This year, Facebook has now acquired the technology for $2 billion.
This has put a very bitter taste in the mouths of initial backers of the project. Some have expressed worry that Facebook will not have in mind the full scope of what this device is capable of. Others do not see why the social media company Facebook has an interest in the Rift VR technology in the first place. 

Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, has expressed that Facebook has no interest in hindering the work that Oculus Rift has already done and that it will oversee the product to completion. This is good news at least for the consumers who have been waiting for years to see a hint at a finished product, however one wonders whether the device we expect and the one we end up with will be the same, not to mention as well the way in which Facebook intends to use the new product. Will it be a Facebook exclusive device or will other companies be able to use the equipment as well? 
In any case, management at Oculus Rift have been rumored to release the product sometime later in 2014 or next year in 2015. The time draws nearer for the Rift to make it's debut so this may assuage some worries about the direction this product will go, and hopefully how it will transform our future in interacting with the digital world. 

Heartlbeed Virus and Other Nasty Things

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                The tech world has recently been rocked by one of the worst viruses in recent memory. The Heartbleed virus is a malicious software designed to steal personal information from servers. The virus is fairly simple it is designed to ask the servers for simple information to verify that it was still active and slowly increase its request to include more information(letters) until  they got the info they wanted. XKCD  has a graphic demonstration of how the virus works.
                Heartbleed Explanation
This last frame shows the server responding with 500 letters of supposedly secure information.

      The hard part about this virus is that it is extremely difficult to know which servers were affected and which were not. Because of this virus many facilities across the country will be implementing different strategies to combat the effects of this virus.

      Another problem that Harding has been dealing with recently is spam email. Many of you may have received an email recently that included information asking you to click on a link to verify or secure your account. These were not from the University and were being used gain access to user accounts to proliferate this spam. Sense the beginning of the semester this has been a problem for some users.

                Because of these security threats Harding will be implementing a MANDATORY password reset. Starting tomorrow everyone will have 14 days to reset their password. If you do not do it yourself you will have to come up to the Helpdesk to get it reset. Thank you for your time and please call us if you have any questions.

Reflection on Routers, Android, and AirDroid Blogs

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Over the past three years at DormNet, I have been blogging about some of the major technological advancements of our day.  As this being my last blog before graduation in a month, I wanted to reflect upon my top three blogs over the past three years based upon popularity and hits:

1.  The top blog with over 750 hits since Oct ’12, was my blog “Wireless N (5.0 GHz) vs Wireless G (2.4 GHz) Routers.” I wrote this one right after my internship at a hospital within their IT department.  For anyone that deals with wireless signal issues, this blog provides several tips in order to help diagnose the issues that might be plaguing your wireless network.  This is not only helpful for wireless administrators but also for those that have a wireless network in their homes.

If you haven’t read this blog yet, please click on the link below and enjoy!

2.  This was my next top blog for hits and it is a good read for where the current Android OS has evolved from over the years.  I started out with Android 2.2, then 2.3, and then 4.2, and now finally 4.3.  The evolution of Android over the past few years has been drastic.  It has set the iPhone as its number 1 competitor and it has pushed the boundaries as to what we expect in a smartphone now.  This blog is a reminder to those who remember the good ole days without spellchecker, or without the ability to edit images with filters.

If you haven’t read this blog yet, please click on the link below and enjoy!

3.  For my last reflection upon past blogs, I wanted to reflect upon an app that is paving the way for the future of phone-computer interaction. The app is called AirDroid.  This app allows you to connect to your phone through an internet browser as long as it is on the same network.  This app has come in handy many times through the transfer of files from my computer to the phone and vice versa.  Other features include sending messages, making calls, or managing other apps.  It brings the management of smartphones to the next level.

If you haven’t read this blog yet, please click on the link below and enjoy!

As I reflect on these blogs, it’s a constant reminder that the world around us is changing rapidly.  Sometimes it’s a good thing to take a step back and remember what the times were like prior to the latest and greatest technologies of our day!

Amazon Dash

Posted Posted by Mack Foster in Comments 0 comments

amazon dash 2
Amazon has a new twist in its plan to enter the grocery market with a new hardware product introduced Friday: Amazon Dash, a combination barcode scanner and voice recorder that syncs up to the shopping cart on Amazon Fresh.
After connecting to Wi-Fi and linking to a valid Amazon Fresh account, the Amazon Dash can scan the barcodes of items and automatically add that item to a shopping cart. Users can also say a general name of an item, like “carrots” or “eggs,” and the Dash will send the corresponding product to the cart as well. Users must approve the items within the cart for delivery, and then the shipment will show up to the door within 24 hours.

Amazon Fresh has had an iPhone and Android app, available for iPhone and Android, that has this exact functionality, but it seems that Dash is designed to be kid-friendly and straightforward. It also shows that Amazon is taking this grocery business seriously.
Right now, unfortunately, Amazon Fresh only serves the San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Seattle areas. Although Amazon is looking to extend its reach into other states. Amazon Dash is available for free via invitation.

Check out the video below:

Photos courtesy of Amazon.com.

Modular Smartphones: The Future?

Posted Posted by Justin in Comments 0 comments

In September 2013, Phonebloks posted their campaign to Kickstarter:

      The idea for a modular smartphone was well received. With this modular design, you could easily replace broken parts of your phone, only upgrade parts of the phone instead of buying an entirely new one, and customize your phone to have only the features you want. Phonebloks' campaign was so well received, they got many offers from companies to work with them and/or acquire them. They are now working with Motorola, who happened to have a similar project in the works. The two forces are now joined together as Project Ara. 

     In this recent update, Project Ara shared a new technological breakthrough that they call electro-permanent magnetics. This technology allows the user to lock the phone's module to the housing using the software. The modules will be permanently attached until the user disconnects them through the user interface, allowing replacement or upgrade of parts. Such a great solution to an early concern is a good sign for the project and its team.

      An idea as powerful as a modular smartphone paired with a powerful company like Motorola/Google is poised to make some waves.

Project Loon

Posted Posted by Kelsi Thomas in Comments 0 comments

As Americans, we tend to just assume that the entire world has internet access.  However, two-thirds of the world's population doesn't have it yet.  Google has developed a project entitled "Project Loon", named for its outlandish mission goals.

So what exactly is Project Loon? Google says that "Project Loon is a network of balloons traveling on the edge of space, designed to connect people in rural and remote areas, help fill coverage gaps, and bring people online after disasters".

This project uses high-altitude balloons (as seen above) that are placed in the stratosphere in order to create a wireless, aerial network with up to 3G-like speed. By using wind data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the balloons' altitude is adjusted after identifying with the desired wind layer with the desired speed and direction from the data received.

In June of 2013, the pilot experiment was begun in New Zealand.  This pilot experiment sent 30 balloons up into the stratosphere. About 50 locals were able to test the connections.  The next step is to send 300 balloons around the 40th parallel south in order to provide coverage to New Zealand, Australia, Chile, and Argentina.  After that, Google hopes to have thousands of balloons flying in the stratosphere.

So, you're probably asking yourself, what's the point of this?  Well, the technology that is being used in this project could potentially allow countries not to have to use the expensive underground fiber cable.  Google believes it will increase internet usage in developing nations that cannot afford to lay fiber cable.

Google is up to some really innovative things.  To know more about Project Loon and other Google Projects:
  • http://www.google.com/loon/
  • https://plus.google.com/+ProjectLoon/posts
  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_X
  • https://www.google.com/ideas/projects/