Nearby Friends

Posted Posted by Jenna Hayes in Comments 0 comments

Now a days, wherever you are, your phone is likely to be there with you. Many of us share a small amount of anxiety whenever our phones get left behind, whether by choice or by accident. Basically, your phone always knows where you are, and if you want, your Facebook friends can know, too.

Facebook is adding a new feature called Nearby Friends that keeps track of your current location and lets your friends know where you are at all times.

Creepy? Well, maybe not.

My first reaction was creepy. I mean, I don't want everyone on my Facebook to know where I am at all times, especially since I've been meaning to clean out my Facebook friends for a long time now. (I assure you I do not actually have 2,456 friends...) But after reading about it further, I decided it may not be so bad after all. Maybe Facebook has learned from their past mistakes and privacy problems.

The idea behind this new feature is... kinda refreshing. The goal is to make it easier for people to meet up in real life and have an actual conversation, as apposed to comment threads and 'Likes'. And also to replace LOL's with actual laughter.

There are also some settings in place to keep you safe from any "stalker-like" people. And unfortunately, with Facebook, that can often times be a real concern. This feature will not be turned on be default. It can only be activated by you in your Facebook settings if you feel like it is something you want in your life. You can also limit it to only your close friends or a customized list of people you feel comfortable with. Even further, your location will only be shared with the people are 1.) also using the new feature, and 2.) have included you on their list of people as well.

There have been apps like this in the past, but Nearby Friends is definitely an evolved, more private version. Happy App-ing!  

Phones on Planes

Posted Posted by Emily Strandvold in Comments 0 comments

Many of you will by flying at some point during your summer vacation. It may be your first time since airlines have loosened their rules on electronics use, or maybe you have already encountered this change. Either way, if you're like me you may wonder why they have rules at all about using electronics on planes. According to a survey done by the Consumer Electronics Association, almost 1/3 of passengers have left their phone on during a flight. If this is true why don't we hear about planes having problems due to electronics on a regular basis?

Studies done at Boeing's Electromagnetic Interference Lab have shown that laptop frequencies can jump into airplane frequency range which could cause interference with VFR radios. This interference won't cause a plane to crash, but it will cause pilots to have to work harder during crucial flight times. Interference can affect many aircraft systems including communication and navigation systems, flight controls, and warning systems. These problems caused could distract a pilot and cause them to make a mistake during a crucial time like take off or landing. On the other hand, electronics can be dangerous in other ways. An intense game of Angry Birds may distract a person from listening to the safety demonstration at the beginning of the flight. Laptops and other heavy electronics could become airborne during turbulence and hit you or someone else.

Also, even though no planes have crashed due to electronics there have been reports of interference. Between 2003 and 2009 there were 75 suspected reports of electronic interference. This means it is rare, but it definitely can happen. Our society's rapid increase in technology both helps and hurts this problem. As technology increases more of the plane's systems can be effected by interference and more things can go wrong. But the increase also leads to more safety measures being enacted that can stop some of this interference.

None of this shows that electronics are a definite safety hazard on planes, but now you may understand a bit more why planes handle them the way they do.

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

Posted Posted by Chris Meyer in Comments 0 comments

                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

Posted Posted by Andrew E in Comments 0 comments

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