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Using Technology to Beat the Heat

You’ve complained about being cold all winter, but now, summer is coming. Soon, you’ll be stuck on a porch, sweating, complaining about the heat. Don’t just suffer, think like a techie. Scientists, engineers, and gadget lovers are always coming up with ways to stay cool. Here are some some of our favorite innovations that will definitely help the temperature drop.

1. Wristify

In 2013, the winners of the Making And Designing Materials Engineering Competition (MADMEC) used a theory about the way humans perceive our thermal comfort levels in order to design a thermoelectric bracelet. The device has been described as “… a wearable, wrist-based technology that leverages human sensitivity, can detect and perfect rates of change, and can maintain overall thermal comfort…”.

Designed with energy conservation in mind, the prototype of this bracelet encouraged the wearer to focus on adjusting personal comfort rather than altering the temperature of his or her external space (a process that is taxing on resources and finances). That’s a clever way to keep your cool.

2. iReflect

While we’re talking about MADMEC winners, we may as well mention the invention that took home first place in 2011. iReflect, is a smart window and shade duo which uses thermostat technology to determine if it’s time to provide a room some protection from the sun.

Such smart designs keep internal temperatures cooler, reducing our reliance on air conditioning.

3. Sun Screens

If you’re looking for a practical solution, not just a brilliant innovation still stuck in the stages of pre-production, look no further. Sun screens are high-tech, but easy to use and perfect for cooling the home.

Using an advanced fabric known as Textiline, which can protect the indoors from up to 90 percent of the sun, sunscreens are a one time investment that offers long term reductions in energy consumption.

4. Omni-Freeze

Speaking of high tech textiles, a company called Omni-Freeze has invented a line of clothing that keeps the body cool and looks pretty good, too. It works thanks to thousands of itty bitty blue rings (so small you won’t notice them) which absorb and hold moisture. The trick, says the company, is keeping the clothing wet, either with water or sweat. Water activates the polymer, causing rapid expansion and cooling, which translates to an happy wearer.

The difference between Omni-Freeze and other companies producing similar products lies in the cooling agent. Some use a sugar-substitute known as Xylitol, which creates a cooling “sensation” when it encounters moisture.

5. Photonic Radiative Cooling

Developed by researchers at Stanford University, Photonic Radiative Cooling is the process performed by an uber-thin, multilayered material that can be used to coat the roof of a building.

The coating can actually pull infrared radiation away from a building and reflect sunlight, keeping things cool inside, without using a single watt of electricity.

3 Steps to Creating an Engaging Website

It is really easy for anyone to create a website these days on the internet. There are numerous outlet for hosting and many of them are free or low cost, depending on what kind of uses you want your site to have and how much space you need to have available. Whatever your desired plan for your own website whether it is to sell something or to share something, there are certain things you want to do to make it a user friendly experience that keeps readers coming back for more.

Before anything else, however, you need to decide what website builder you want to go through. Just a few of the most popular options include Weebly and Wix. It helps to do a little research to determine which offers the things you need. Once you’ve determined what builder you want and start setting your site up, you’ll want to use the following three tips to keep your customers engaged.

Allow Comments

If you have a blog on your website it’s important to have comments turned on. This allows you readers to ask questions or post their own thoughts on the topics you’ve discussed. If you find that you get too many spam comments you can always upload a spam filter. If that doesn’t work for you, then direct your readers to a contact page or a social media page where they can give their input or ask questions. Allowing them to comment may also help give you ideas for future posts.

Polls and Surveys

Polls and surveys are excellent ways to engage customers. People love to take surveys and share their opinions. Polls and surveys can also help you determine your viewers interested so you can find out what they want to see and hear about on your website. Customers and fans are much more likely to return to a site that gives them personal attention and nothing shows your readers and viewers you are listening to them more than integrating their suggestions into your site.

Use Social Media

Utilize social media to your advantage. Social media was created to allow people to be more social online. It isn’t just reserved for individuals and it can be a great asset for businesses. There are many social media outlets, each of them offering something a little different. You can get really close and personal with your website viewers with Facebook. You can share short posts, links and opinions with them on Twitter. Pinterest is even great for sharing blog posts, photos and ideas that have photos with them.

All of these ideas are sure to help engage your readers and help you come up with great ideas to keep them coming back to your website for more.

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last update: March 27, 2015

Lifestyle:

How To Use a Reminder System To Avoid the Credit Trap

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How many times have you heard the story from friend and family about how bad credit has affected their ability to do things? They say, ‘I can’t go on vacation,’ ‘I can’t buy that,’ or ‘I can’t do that with you because I don’t have the money.’ And the thing is, it isn’t necessarily that they don’t have the money, but that they owe money to previous debts, so that even though they’re making enough money now to cover things now, they’re still paying old bills because they didn’t know better back in the day. To avoid putting yourself in this unfortunate but extremely common predicament, consider a few factors before it’s too late.

What You Need Credit For  

First, think about what you need credit for. You need credit for housing loans, you need credit for apartment applications, and you need credit for major purchases like cars. Yes, there are plenty of companies that can help you get auto loans after having bad credit, but it’s much better for you to keep good credit from the get go. In your late teens and early 20’s, credit seems like the answer to buying all the things that you want, and worrying about it later. But that ‘later’ can really bite you if you aren’t careful.

How To Set Up Your Reminders

As far as reminders go, mobile technology and smart phone apps can be your best friends. It is easy to simply forget about when payments are due and what they are going to cost you in the long run if you don’t pay for things immediately, but if you install certain reminder apps, they can warn you if you’re moving too far outside your predictable budget considerations.

Budgeting Techniques To Help You Out    

Consider following budgeting techniques that will pair up with the apps and reminders that you have installed as well. One of the best theories that you can follow to stay out of the bad credit situation is to only buy things that you can already afford. In other words, if you don’t have access to $25,000, don’t buy a $25,000 car! If you don’t have access to enough money, don’t buy the latest and greatest model computers. You may want them, and you may even feel like you need them, but the way to keep yourself out of trouble is to make sure that you earn the money before you spend it, instead of relying on you ability to make payments in the future. No one has a crystal ball, so even though you intend on having your great paying job for the next five years in order to pay for your expensive car, you never know what’s going to happen.

4 New Technologies For Faster Shipping

The world has become a lot smaller than it once was and nearly all stores, from the supermarkets to the local outlet mall, carry products that originated thousands of miles away. Globalization has not only brought international products to domestic stores, but individuals can even get exotic goods delivered right to their steps. Shipping products around the world has become absolutely integral to businesses and economies depend on it for staying healthy. Naturally, companies are investing in technologies to make shipping faster and more cost effective. Here’s just a few of new technologies that are shaping the industry.

Robot Warehouses

The rise of the machines may already be upon us: Amazon recently unveiled warehouses run by robots. Essentially the entire warehouse is connected to a central piece of software, a vast database that holds the information on every product in the place and where they are located. This software also has remote control of hundreds of robots, each one sixteen inches high and weighing in at three hundred and twenty pounds, that zoom around the facility. These robots fill orders and even organize the warehouse, picking up shelves and moving them when necessary. It’s easy to see why a business would invest in the machines. They are cheaper, mechanical (meaning no need for breaks to combat fatigue), can charge themselves, and need no humans to help in operation. With the robots, no floor space needs to be left for human navigation and products can be found much faster, bringing the turn-around time between receiving an order and having a parcel ready to ship down to mere minutes.

Online Trackers

Keeping track of orders is an essential part of the shipping industry and online trackers provide the peace of mind people and businesses need when it comes to making secure shipments. Online tracking services give carriers and providers a way to manage orders, compare rates of Less-Than-Truckload (LTL) carriers, send invoices, and view transactions all from the same location. The technology provides a faster and simpler way for managing freight through an easy-to-use interface and reduction of costs.

Autonomous Vehicles

They aren’t quite so popular yet, but autonomous vehicles aren’t just going to be for moving people around—they are going to mean big improvements in the shipping industry as well. Autonomous cars, which drive and steer themselves, particularly of the electric kind, are far cheaper and much more environmentally friendly than the traditional mail services, whether it be long-distance trucking or short-range couriers. Either way, it won’t be long before companies like Amazon start making partnerships with owners of autonomous vehicle fleets, like Google. Soon these vehicles could even be equipped with mechanical luggage racks that can unload themselves at a chosen destination!

Delivery by Drones

Drones are being used across a number of industries, and there’s a new experimental drone program going on at Amazon as well. The idea is simple and carries the same basic premise as autonomous vehicle. These small aerial vehicles would be used to deliver packages on demand directly from the warehouse to people’s homes. Air delivery has fewer navigational problems than autonomous vehicles do, though they aren’t capable of moving large items and, given the smaller battery size, their range is limited. While there are still issues to smooth out, especially in regards to regulation with the FAA, drones are sure to become part of the technology incorporated into shipping and high-speed delivery in the near future.

Gadgets:

The Top 6 Gadgets for Gap Year Travel

ipad-musica

If you’re planning to travel abroad for your gap year, you’re probably already getting excited and putting a packing list together. Don’t forget to pack these gadgets to make sure you enjoy your trip to the fullest!

1. A USB thumb drive. If you’re not planning on bringing a computer (which, depending on where you travel, is probably a wise decision), a small USB stick with plenty of memory will keep all your documents, photos, and more safe and sound but still easily portable.

2. A good flashlight. Power grids in many non-Western countries are highly sensitive and can cut out in the blink of an eye, especially during inclement weather. In some remote areas, a little rain is enough to cause a brownout or full-on blackout – so you’ll definitely want to be prepared. You may even find yourself going on a nighttime rainforest tours to check out the nocturnal flora and fauna; a flashlight is invaluable during these trips.

3. A camera. You’ll want to make your trip truly memorable by recording the most important moments. If you’re not a professional photographer, don’t bring an SLR; a small point-and-shoot camera will suffice. Make sure your camera case doesn’t display any expensive brand names.

4. A phone. You may or may not want to bring your smartphone. If you do, make sure you turn off data roaming and take extra precautions against theft. However, it can also make sense to purchase a classic “brick” cellphone or use an old flip phone with a new SIM card.

5. A cheap laptop. While this may sound counterintuitive, a small, inexpensive netbook (even secondhand) can be a godsend. Traveling with a netbook is especially useful if all you’re going to need to do is browse the internet and use a word processor. The smaller your investment, the smaller the likelihood of it being stolen. Regardless, make sure you back up all your data every day. As with your camera, make sure the laptop case doesn’t display a brand name or any bright colors that might draw attention to it.

6. Universal adapters. Any device you bring with you will inevitably need to be charged, and different countries have different requirements for chargers. It’s a good idea to invest in an adapter that has a built in surge protector in case of fluctuating electricity – or you’ll run the risk of completely frying your camera, laptop, or phone.

When you begin packing for your gap year abroad, the most important piece of advice to follow is to bring only the essentials. You’ll likely want to purchase souvenirs, so packing light will allow more room for any new purchases. You’ll thank yourself later when you’re not lugging a heavy backpack through the rainforest.

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The Technology of Appearance: What You See and What You Get

Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy? Archived pop culture references aside, the technology of appearance these days is absolutely fascinating, and depending on what perspective you’d like to take on the matter, you can absolutely enjoy every part of the advances we’ve gone through, or you can rally against them. Either way, it’s occasionally fun to consider our perceptions, whether it’s for personal or perhaps even business reasons. From three angles there is what you see in person, what you see onscreen, and what you can see in virtual reality.

What You See In Person    

The unaltered appearance may be a bit of a rarity today, unless you catch folks sleeping. In the daytime and out in public, folks are the combination of skin care products, make-up, and hair products. For example, a light tan and great facial can do wonders for nearly anyone. And yes, of course, technology has improved the production, distribution, promotion, and advertisement of these products. The next time you wander around where there are lots of people, see how fast you can process all of these things that people do to themselves to improve your perception of how they look – it really will take your mind in interesting directions.

What You See Onscreen      

This is where you get to start thinking about pixels and resolution. How much of beauty is gained or lost in HD? On a projector screen? On your phone display? Do bigger or smaller pixels make things look better or worse? How much detail do you have to be able to perceive in order to determine accurately just how beautiful something is? Does a photo do an image justice? What about if it were printed on a page? Screen quality is beginning to make a huge difference in how people find beauty in objects and in people, which is, once again, where technology comes into play in everyday life.

What You See in Virtual Reality

And then you think about virtual reality. By this, take a moment to consider animation, and specifically computer animation. How real can animators and programmers make beauty these days? It’s absolutely amazing. Any ideal in any person’s brain can become an accurate, expressive, movable object within the virtual reality framework, and that has made for some really intriguing perception alterations in people who get sucked into that world. The feelings produced in people when they see virtual beauty are identical to those produced when they see things in the ‘real’ world, so now there’s a brand new range of emotional manipulation available for those willing to experiment with it. This can be for good or for evil, loosely, but as technology continues to advance, the virtual will make it closer and closer to the actual.

 

Using Technology To Capture and Share Adventures

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In the past it has been difficult to find the perfect balance between experiencing an adventure as you are having it, and recording it in the form of photos and videos in order to share it with friends and family. However, with new advances in technology and gadgetry, and a better understanding of how sharing networks operate, you can now have the ultimate adventure, the ultimate real-time experience, and the ultimate sharing presentation, all wrapped up in a pretty package. It just takes a little bit of preparation and knowledge in the basics of certain cell phone apps, certain cameras, and certain online automated procedures.

Use Cell Phones To Max Capabilities

First of all, your smartphone is going to be a cornerstone of you adventure. It is your assistant. It is your note taker. It is your silent best friend. While you are busy enjoying your trip wandering through New York City or  as Thomas Hollowell of Journey Beyond Travel advises to his clients when they are out taking a Moroccan trek with his team, “Bringing your smartphone along on your adventure is a great way to save on both space and weight. Bring along a solar charger for any treks you do since many places do not have electricity.” On your phone, you can have an app installed that tracks your movements to get this going! There are a ton available, and some of them are super easy to set up and have beautiful interfaces. You can take photos or record audio notes, and these apps will place them on a time-stamped map, automatically.

Take Advantage of Super High Quality Cameras    

For certain situations, you are going to want a little more muscle that your cellphone can provide for still shots and for video. If you really want great shots, you can look into digital SLR’s with HD video capability. Even with quick shots and short snippets of video, you can get absolutely amazing results that are far beyond the capability of your standard smartphone. Just be sure to practice a bit before you begin your vacation or journey – you’re going to need quick draw skills to capture some of these moments perfectly; out in the desert sands of the Sahara is not the time to be reading user manuals!

Prepare Your Sharing Sites In Advance    

Dropbox, Google Drive, iCloud, and many other services offer automated sharing of different types. Have all of your shared folders set up in advance, and have at least your cell phone setup with automatic uploads. Your friends and family will be amazed to see your journey as you are experiencing it, and you don’t even have to think about it as long as you have everything set up before you actually begin the journey. Once you get back, you can edit and organize, but it will be much easier if everything is at least already in the right basic categories. Plus, by setting up this automated uploading process, you don’t have to worry that you’ll lose any data from your pictures, as it will already by back up to a separate server. Everyone wins!

4 Technologies Making House Hunting Easier

Technology has and continues to be the biggest mover and shaker when it comes to advances across nearly all industries and it’s no different for real estate. Over the years, the way that people buy, sell, and rent property has become increasingly a digital platform and the trend continues with more and more real estate moving into the digital sphere. The shift to online and digital resources has given greater access to people and house hunters can now conduct searches of downtown Bangalore, India with the same ease as they would locally. Here’s where technology is making its mark in real estate.

Online Listings & Real Estate Searches

The move to online listings and searches has been the realm of both buyers and sellers, quickly becoming an indispensable tool for research, with 56 percent of buyers using it as their first step. There’s hundreds of sites on the web listing real estate and several startups working to become the go-to resource for house hunters and brokers looking to connect. These types of sites are allowing users to make customized searches, checking everything from subway lines to estate condition, and connecting brokers and buyers in less than ten minutes. While they are a valuable tool locally, these online search databases are absolutely vital to international real estate buyers and sellers.

Real Estate Apps

Smartphones and tablets have now broken into the real estate industry with a plethora of new property apps already on the market and more being launched every year. Many of the apps work in conjunction with online desktop counterparts while others are completely independent. Apps make house hunting even faster and easier, some even incorporating the phone’s GPS system to provide data for where the user is standing. There’s apps that give people the current market value of houses, whether they are for sale or not, useful statistics about areas, and trackers to help sellers know how many hits their property is getting.

Social Media

Social media is also playing a part in real estate in the areas of brand promotion, agent interaction, and market distribution trends. For agents the social media websites provide an easy way to keep connected to clients and build online relationships to generate leads. Networks such as LinkedIn and Facebook help professionals get together and share information for properties, often with content marketing videos and photographs. House hunters can use social media to connect to Realtors and share housing information with friends and family in various regions at home and abroad.

Cloud Services

According to Heather R. Huhman’s article on Business Insider, cloud technology is also starting to shape the real estate market in many ways. The cloud works predominantly through its intricate links with mobile tools and the apps used on them. It is the cloud that is paving the way for the lightning fast updates and real-time information to be available on houses, whether they’re in NYC or Bangalore. Cloud based services like Evernote and Dropbox are huge helpers for agents and consumers when it comes to sharing files, tracking notes, and dispensing contracts or disclosures. Signing a contract for a property half way around the planet can now be carried out from the couch using E-signature technology. The cloud is making real estate, world-round, and much tighter playing field.

 

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