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3 “Comforts” Techies Need

When you’re hunkered over a computer all day coding, building websites or otherwise being geeky, it’s easy to get in the zone and “just deal” with an aching back or subpar diet. Unfortunately, this kind of lifestyle can only be sustained for so long. The digital era is impacting everyone, but techies are especially at risk of putting their health on the line in the name of their work. Luckily, there are a few easy accoutrements from pillows to wrist rests that can keep geeks geeking out happily for even longer.

Whether you’re a geek yourself or you want to surprise one in your life with a little comfort, check out these options for those who are sedate for long hauls. It’s a lot easier to improve posture, alignment, and health than you think:

1. Lumbar support pillow

The best ergonomic chairs can be incredibly expensive, but a great lumbar support pillow isn’t and is a fantastic back support for those who are in chairs all day. You can see a breakdown of the types of lumbar support at Spine Health and get a refresher course on why it matters. Remember: You only have one back, and when it’s not healthy it can impact pain in every other part of the body. Lack of lumbar support is one of the most common complaints chiropractors hear.

2. Sun lamps

Geeks are known for the pasty complexion, and it can be tough to get outside when there’s a big project looming. However, all that unnatural light is stressful on the eyes and can lead to a Vitamin D deficiency. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has guidelines on sunlamps, and reiterates the importance of wearing SPF when they’re in use (UV rays are still the leading cause of skin cancer). However, when coupled with SPF, sun lamps can be a great way to energize geeks and give them that all-important D.

3. Wrist rests or an ergo-keyboard

Today, new carpal tunnel diagnoses are often due to poor typing conditions. A number of people spend hours clicking away each day and even more hovered over their tiny smartphone screens. Without proper wrist alignment, this can lead to pain in the arms that extends throughout the body. Ultimately, carpal tunnel can even set in.

Being comfortable and taking regular breaks when working on a computer is critical. There’s no reason luxury and geekdom can’t go hand in hand.

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Minding Your Tech Manners At a Special Event

One of the greatest things about modern technology is that people are always connected to the rest of the world. They can discreetly send text messages to anyone at any time, access the Internet with a device that fits in their pocket and share photos and videos on social media at a moment’s notice. Unfortunately, this is also one of the worst things about modern technology.

It’s so easy to connect with smartphones and tablets in public that people tend to forget that there are certain situations when they should just put their devices down. There are rules of etiquette that people should be expected to follow, especially when they’re at upscale event venues for weddings or special presentations. Special events deserve a higher level of formality and respect than the average get together, suggests the GrandView, and tech etiquette should be made to fit the occasion. Here are just some things that everyone should keep in mind before they take their smartphones and tablets out at a special event.

Ask for Permission Before Taking Photographs

Phones on cameras and tablets make it very easy to snap a picture and post it on Facebook or Instagram, so much so that many people think nothing of posting pictures of a wedding for all the world to see before the actual wedding party is ready for the professional photographer. Capturing a special moment and preserving it on a Facebook wall is fine, but not when it’s done without permission. Many would say that it’s in poor taste, so it’s always important to ask for permission before taking out any device with a camera, says Diane Gottsman, an etiquette expert.

Don’t Text at the Dinner Table

Sending a text message usually isn’t a social faux pas when one isn’t engaged in a social activity, but many people these days will take out their phones to text or tweet during formal dinners and presentations. Not only is the texter distracted from what is going on around them, but it’s incredibly rude to whoever may be speaking. Proper etiquette when responding to a text message, says Kevin Daum writing for INC., should be to respond at a later time or to excuse oneself if the message cannot wait.

Be Careful When Using a Tablet to Take Pictures

Tablets are capable of taking photos and videos as well as smart phones, but people tend to forget how large some of these devices can be. It’s no fun to be seated behind someone who is trying to record a video by holding up something the size of a picture frame. At best, it’s distracting and can block people’s view. Anybody who wants to use a tablet for this purpose should make sure they aren’t inconveniencing anybody near them. Otherwise, a smartphone or small camera is much better in these situations.

Turn Down the Volume

Although people are going to be less likely to carry on a loud phone conversation or use noisy apps at upscale special events, it still happens. Anybody who must take or make a phone call should go someplace away from the crowd and speak at a reasonable volume. Meanwhile, any apps or functions that make a lot of distracting noises should be muted. Nobody likes to hear loud conversations or irritating noises, especially at weddings, formal dinners and important business meetings.

 

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last update: January 27, 2015

Science:

5 Methods of Beating Infertility

Having a child in today’s world isn’t as easy as it may seem for a lot of people. Infertility can be caused by a variety of environmental and genetic complications. If you’re trying to have a child with your spouse, there may be some things you can do that can vastly increase your chances of successfully conceiving. Although some may be more drastic than others, it’s a small price to pay for enlightening your future.

Chemical Interactions

Toxic chemicals can do a variety of damage within the body. A large portion of this damage is silent and may not manifest itself immediately. In many situations, pesticides and petroleum-based products can cause infertility for both men and women. If you’re trying to conceive a child, it may be best to stay away from harsh chemicals and eat more organic foods.

Foods and Beverages

It has been found that food can greatly impact the ability to reproduce and has been discovered in both men and women alike. Some food products are more potent at improving fertilization than others and can affect the results of conception for up to 90 days. According to Hethir Rodriguez C.H. at Natural Fertility Info, women who ate more proteins from plants than animals were more likely to reproduce. A major factor in this Harvard study was the reduction of consuming trans fats.

Avoiding Allergens

Reducing your interaction with things that produce allergic reactions can improve your chances of having a baby. It’s believed that your immune system may be capable of doing its job all too well leading to a miscarry upon fertilization. Allergies to food have also been linked to anti-sperm capabilities reducing the male’s capacity to fertilize an egg.

Sexual Transmitted Diseases

Some STDs have the capacity to render a person’s reproductive system inert. For instance, Chlamydia infections can cause abnormalities and sperm antibodies in men while scarring and blocking fallopian tubes within women. Even though you may not be showing signs of various diseases, these could be wreaking havoc on you internally. Getting regular checkups is very beneficial especially since many of these complications could lay dormant for several years before manifesting themselves.

Sperm Donors

There are a lot of men that are affected by low motility and decreased sperm counts. If all else fails, donor programs are available to help conceive a child. According to this page, you can purchase vials of sperm and have them quickly shipped to you. This provides social anonymity and helps keep the process private, which is helpful if you feel embarrassed by having complications such as these. In short time, you can begin the process of having your own child while using a donor’s sperm.

There are many complications that can prevent someone from conceiving a child. While some can be circumvented easily, others may require a more in-depth analysis into reproductivity. These methods are substantiated by scientific evidence, but there is no guarantee that they will work for you. Each person is different and what works for one may not work for another.

 

The 3 Latest Fitness Technologies

Staying in good physical condition is integral to overall health and longevity, and countless individuals are interested in learning new fitness strategies. One of the best ways to get fit and stay that way is to utilize technology. The world of fitness seems to become more sophisticated every week, and the latest trend in staying in shape is the use of cutting edge technology. From innovative gadgets to new equipment to wearable fitness accessories, the options are as diverse as they are exciting.

The Fitbit

Although Fitbit Inc. was founded in 2007, the company is no less dedicated to the continual evolution of the Fitbit device today than the day they sold their first unit. As one of the first fitness gadgets to hit the market, Fitbit has become something of a household name. According to former Forbes staff contributor Elizabeth Woyke, the Fitbit is the first device that consumers call to mind when they hear the term “fitness gadget.” The Fitbit seems offers something for everyone, from weekend warriors to everyday fitness enthusiasts. By clipping or strapping on this small device, people can track their daily steps and distance travelled, as well as the number of calories they consume and burn each day. They can also track such details as their heart rate at different levels of activity and the number of minutes they are active during the course of a day.

Fitbit’s technology also provides even more advanced features for consumers who seek them. Those who want maximum tracking can choose Fitbit products designed for high performance monitoring. One Fitbit device records a variety of workouts, and it even offers workout summaries. Consumers can use the Fitbit to monitor their sleep, make playlist changes to accommodate their music preferences, and sync the device to a smartphone or computer.

The PowerMill Climber  

The PowerMill Climber is part of the Elevation series offered by Life Fitness. This unique stair-climber, like other equipment in the series, enables users to monitor their workouts after saving them to a USB flash drive. They are able to monitor such details as the intensity and length of their workouts, and they can download music to the equipment and listen to it via a removable headphone. People can also download videos to the Elevation series equipment. The PowerMill provides users with a choice of several workouts, and it features digital technology that provides heart rate monitoring.

The Pilates Shirt

Wearable technology continues to become more useful and more incredible. People who appreciate Pilates will likely be highly impressed by the Pilates shirt. Created by Jennifer Darmour of Artefact, this innovative piece of wearable computing is simply referred to as Move. The shirt was designed to look like an ordinary Pilates shirt instead of a sophisticated piece of technology, which is highly appealing to fitness enthusiasts, according to Jay Greene of CNet. It contains sensors that monitor the position of the body of the individual who is wearing it. If the body is not in accordance with correct Pilates positioning, the wearer is alerted to that fact by a vibrating sensation.

New technologies are continually being designed to help people work out more efficiently. Staying in great shape is important, but modern life is becoming increasingly hectic. By using advanced fitness technologies, consumers can keep their bodies fit and maximize the efficiency and effectiveness of their workouts.

Technology Predictions for 2015 and the Importance of Corporate Project Management Tools

Technology Trends of 2015

Business and technology march hand in hand and with the coming of the New Year; the predictions of where technology will have the greatest impact on a global scale and in the corporate world arrive and seem to offer limitless possibilities. Here is a look at some of the technology trends that 2015 may have in store.

Data Capital

The Internet and the use of social networks has produced an inordinate amount of data on its users, and as such data has become its own type of capital. Data collected can and is being used to create targeted new products, services, and a whole new manner of working as financial capital. Corporate executives treat this data like money, and in 2015 they will continue and intensify their pursuit of securing access to data capital by digitizing key activities of company functions before their rivals can. In association, businesses will also look for data liquidity, which is the power to get the data needed with minimal time, cost, and risk.

Proliferation of “Wearables”

There are already devices that can be worn, such as smartwatches and Google Glass, but 2015 will bring even more, especially with the technology trendsetter Apple slated to release the new and eagerly anticipated Apple Watch. It is not only Apple that is releasing such products, either: dozens of other companies are launching similar products and the shipments are predicted to grow to 112 million units in the next four years, according to Nick Statt and Richard Nieva of CNet.

3D Printing

It’s been in the works for some time, but 3D printing is finally moving into large-scale use across a number of industries. From artificial body parts in the health care sector to replacement parts at offshore oil rigs, the uses for 3D printing are constantly being challenged, tested, and cast aside. Use will become even more widespread as prices of 3D printers are expected to drop significantly in the coming year and sales to grow by 98 percent worldwide, according to leaders in the industry.

Hybrid Clouds

Another trend that will continue onward in 2015 is the use of cloud computing and the evolution of hybrid clouds. Vast amounts of data now hover up in the vast clouds of remotely stored data, and the benefits of public and private use are still being debated among users. One thing is for sure: as the cloud becomes even more widespread, customers and companies will come up with solutions to meet their own needs. An important part of this discussion will, by necessity, also include the integration of applications and application suites into the cloud.

Importance of Corporate Management Tools

Keeping up with the trends in technology is essential for businesses, and it is especially relevant in the area of corporate management. In the interest of increasing productivity and minimizing the use of resources, corporations look to experts in management tools to help them in every aspect. These management tools have an inestimable value to corporations, as they move from a technical culture to a service culture and from a heavily administrative corporate culture to an increasingly performance- and management-driven one.

Especially with data capital on the rise, corporations need project management tools that allow them to access all kinds of portfolios from project and IT services to product and application portfolios. Without the tools for managing and using the data, it is, after all, irrelevant. Management tools are developed with the corporations in mind, allowing them to reach into all sectors of the company and track the resources needed for projects and track the effectiveness of workers, according to Daptiv. With corporations becoming larger and more complex, with their own unique business functions and process, corporate management tools are also built to by dynamic, allowing companies to adjust to their own specific needs.

Most importantly, all these tools work towards the increased connectivity between sectors, allowing companies full access to all parts of their functions and increasing the availability of information for further advances.

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How Fast Should Your Internet Be?

The internet has become one of the most basic components of people’s lives in the twenty-first century. People rely on it to complete nearly any and all tasks, from the most mundane work and errand applications like online banking to a wide variety of entertainment consumption options, including video streaming and music streaming, social networking and international communication. The internet is what brings the world together, and with the nearly forgotten days of dial up connections far behind, people have a hard time thinking of anything worse than a slow internet connection. When deciding what kind of internet speed a home needs there are some important factors to consider, including how many devices will be connecting and what their users will be using them to do.

Internet Speed Basics & MBPS

One of the most basic elements in defining internet speeds is MBPS (or Mbit/s), or how many megabits of data are transferred per second, and according to this chart from a University of Florida professor, it is how the data transfer speed measurements of connections are classified. A bit is the smallest unit of digital data; it takes 8 bits to make a byte, 1,000 bytes to make a kilobyte, and so forth. The old dial-up connections with which many people grew up could typically provide no more than 56 kilobits of data per second.  These days broadband speeds are measured in megabits, now often sold by internet companies in packages of 15, 50, and even 75 Mbit/s for download speeds.

Bandwidth vs. Speed

The speed of the connection and the amount of information that can be transferred at once through that connection is determined by the bandwidth. In simple terms, bandwidth is essentially the size of the conduit through which the data is traveling, while the speed is the rate at which the data is traveling. A larger bandwidth allows a user to complete more tasks at the same speed at the same time, sort of like an information highway with multiple lanes. With only one lane, or a smaller bandwidth, the transfers will slow each other down.

Download vs. Upload Speeds

Another facet of internet speeds is the download and upload speeds, though there is no real difference between the two aside from the direction of data transfer. Downloading is retrieving data, like opening a page or streaming a video, whereas uploading involves transmitting data, such as uploading a photo. Download speeds tend to be faster and are, consequently, more frequently advertised by internet providers. With a faster connection both download and upload speeds will increase; the number of tasks that can be completely simultaneously is heavily reliant on the bandwidth.

Speed Requirements for Various Computing Tasks

Cable and internet companies offer a variety of speed packages, though consumers are often charged a premium price for faster packages. To avoid paying more than necessary, it is therefore important to know what tasks a user intends to complete. For basic internet browsing, like checking email, social networks like Facebook or Twitter, and search engine usage, the speed requirements are relatively low and according to the FCC can be as slow as 0.5-1 Mbit/s. Streaming video, participating in HD video calls or 2-way online gaming, on the other hand, require much higher internet speeds with greater bandwidths because of the amount of data being used. To stream an HD video without lag or the video appearing grainy requires a minimum of 15 Mbit/s, though 25 Mbit/s would be preferable.

Network Load

Finally, the number of processes being completed and users who are using a network, known as the network load, can have a great deal of impact on the internet speed. The more computers and other devices connected to the network, the slower the speed unless it is compensated for by adding additional bandwidth. If a network is supporting multiple users all streaming HD video, uploading photos, or downloading tasks simultaneously, each one will suffer from a slower connection.

There is no simple way to calculate how fast a household’s internet connection should be. Depending on how many people will be accessing the internet, how many devices they’ll be using and what the residents will be doing on the internet, the right speeds could vary from relatively sluggish to lightning fast.

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5 Devices That Depend on an Awesome Home Wireless Network

There was a time when home Internet connections didn’t need to be very fast. There were people who needed to be on a fast network, but for the most part people could do everything they wanted on their computers with a simple dial-up connection. Of course, that time is long gone. Today, people are connected to the Internet at all times via wireless networks that work far better and faster than dial-up connections ever did.

Some could argue that a good Wi-Fi connection is all about convenience, but the truth is that most modern households need a fast Internet connection; there are simply too many gadgets that rely on one. People aren’t just downloading programs and streaming video from their computers anymore. They’re connecting on tablets, smartphones, video game systems and even their televisions. Many households even have several devices connected to a network at once. Running just a few of these devices at once will require a decent high-speed Internet connection, says Astound, and some households will require a faster connection than others. Here are just five devices that people might have in their homes that will require a fast home wireless network.

Computers

Although computers don’t get as much attention as other devices anymore, they are still arguably the best way to access websites and online services. According to the U.S. Census, 83.8 percent of United States households have at least one computer, with many having more than one now that computers are relatively inexpensive. Some of these computers are used for simple web browsing and email, but others are used for online gaming, streaming video and even for full-time employment. A home with more than one computer will need much higher data transfer rates to prevent the users from experiencing significant lag.

Smartphones

Smartphones can run on their providers’ networks, but many users choose to connect them to a home wireless network so they don’t use all the data transferring available in their data plans. These phones are often as sophisticated as most computers, and many people almost exclusively access the Internet from them.

Tablets

Tablets are becoming as common as smartphones and computers in the home and elsewhere, so naturally they need a reliable wireless network. Tablets are great for streaming video, but an unreliable network can slow such services to a crawl.

Video Game Systems

Video game consoles have evolved into full-fledged entertainment systems that are capable of streaming video and communicating over long distances. This kind of activity is fun and useful as long as there is a strong enough connection to support it, but a slow connection can destroy an online gaming session faster than anything.Even those who still just use game systems for video games are almost always connected to a network for online play; many big-name gaming companies design their products to require a connection to the internet to thwart would-be pirates. A fast internet connection will keep any gamer in hog heaven while still allowing other residents in the household to watch HD videos or comfortably surf the web.

Smart TV

Smart TVs are relatively new, but they will very likely become the norm in the next year or two. Most high-quality televisions that were sold in 2014 were smart, according to Cedric Demers writing for Rtings.com, and it is very likely that any TVs that are sold in the next year will allow for even greater connectivity. Naturally, these new TVs will require a strong wireless connection to be worth the purchase. Smart TVs will go a long way in blurring the lines between computers and television, especially for those who don’t regularly access the Internet from any other devices.

 

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Purchasing a Heat Pump: What You Should Know About New Heating Technology

The rise of fuel prices over the last decade and the movement toward more sustainable energy sources has consumers on the lookout for the most cost effective appliances and devices. Temperature regulation in houses and apartments is no different—homeowners everywhere are hoping to lower their energy costs and keep their homes at a comfortable temperature. Two of the products on the market, the heat pump and the traditional air conditioning unit, are products that consumers might be interested in comparing. Choosing one depends on the specific needs of each individual and the climate they call home.

Heat Pumps

Heat pumps, despite what their name might suggest, are devices that can be used not just for heating, but also for cooling a house. There are a variety of different types of heat pumps systems available, including geothermal, ductless, absorption, and, perhaps the most common, air-source heat pumps. Just like a refrigerator, the heat pump runs on electricity, moving heat from cooler areas to warmer ones and thereby further cooling the cool space and warming the warmer space. In a heating season, for example, heat pumps will move heat from cooler outdoor units into the warm house, thus generating heat. The opposite process occurs during a cooling season, when heat from the house is pumped to the outdoors, leaving the house cooler.

Since heat pumps move heat rather than generating the heat itself, they are far more effective operationally than conventional heating or cooling appliances. In fact, frequently heat pumps are able to regulate the temperature of a space for as little as a quarter of the cost of other types of heating and cooling units.

Heat pumps, especially geothermal ones, can be rather expensive to install, but in moderate climates where the heating and cooling needs are relatively low, they eventually pay for themselves through the reduced heating and cooling costs. According to Tim Smigelski, one happy homeowner who installed a geothermal system, he gets four dollars back for every dollar he put into the system. One of the biggest advantages of such a system is that it can be used anywhere in the world, since the geothermal power source—the Earth—will never vary, unlike solar energy and energy generated by the wind.

Air Conditioning Units

Air conditioning units have been a standard of American homes for several years. In 2011, nearly 87% of homes were equipped with AC units, though efficiency and type of individual units depended greatly on household income. AC units function similarly to heat pumps, pulling hot air from the house, squeezing it through the refrigerant until it’s cold, and finally pushing the chilled air back into the house for the cooling effect. Well-maintained AC units can last for fifteen to twenty years, but since newer models are significantly more energy efficient, most owners would save money replacing units that are approaching the decade mark.

Heat Pump vs. Air Conditioner Breakdown

This infographic from Washington Energy offers a quick and easy breakdown of the differences between the overall cost and efficiency of heat pumps versus the air conditioner. Overall, air conditioning units tend to outlive heat pumps by an average of five years because the they only run part of the year, whereas a heat pump regulates the temperature year round. Installation for heat pumps is more expensive than air conditioning units, but for those living in climates where both heating and cooling are necessary, a heat pump can save the consumer a significant amount of money by replacing alternative heating systems, including gas, propane or oil furnaces, while also meeting the cooling needs an AC unit covers.

 

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