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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

tech adventure

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!

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last update: May 30, 2015

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.

 

Lifestyle:

Technically a Global Community

global community

Recently, more than 73,000 visitors from over 80 countries met at the 50th Anniversary of Electronica. In order, Germany had the most visitors, then Italy, Austria, Great Britain, Northern Ireland, Switzerland, France, the Czech Republic and the USA. Italy, China, Austria, India, and Slovenia showed a significant increase in the number of visitors that attended.

There were 2.737 exhibitors from 50 countries represented, as well. This year, just as in years past, the percentage of international visitors increased from 47 to 50 percent. Again Germany led the exhibitors and was followed by China and Taiwan. Then the USA, Great Britain, Hong Kong, Italy and France were ranked in that order. Switzerland and the Republic of Korea followed France. The technological world is truly a global community.

Smartphones Take Over

Throughout this ever-growing community, mobile phones are emerging as the lead device to be had. Of course, smartphones are leading this takeover. Smartphones are creating an interesting partnership between two completely separate industries, those being the wireless networks and personal computing. In fact, mobile operators served about 3.2 billion people. Only about 1.7 people used PCs to get online.

PC’s still outrank smartphones as the choice for personal computing devices around the world. However, smartphones will soon outstrip these. As older phones are replaced by smartphones, PC’s are used less. Two-thirds of the mobile phone market had yet to get smartphones prior to 2013. Speculation is that PC sales will gradually decline as nearly one billion smartphones will be sold that same year.

Reportedly, 1.3 million Android devices are set up every day. About 300,000 human babies are born in one day. So in a twenty-four hour period, more than four times as many Android smartphones and tablets are purchased and activated than babies are born, and that’s just Android devices. Imagine if the ever-popular iPhone devices were combined in the count. Activation would far outstrip births.

Smartphones Require Parts

As with all technology, smartphones need parts. Aftermarket parts and their lower prices are appreciated by most consumers. Batteries are exposed to less than ideal conditions, such as extreme cold or heat. Poor air quality, with high particle counts, will wreak havoc on smartphone parts. People are human wherever they live in the world, and accidents always happen with phones. Consumers throughout the world will definitely need to order parts.

The most common item broken on smartphones is the screen. Some smartphones have the digitizer attached to the screen. The digitizer is what translates your touch into information your phone will understand. Replacement parts can be purchased relatively easily, and usually for less money than you would spend having someone replace the screen for you. However, should a person choose to replace the screen, the proper tools are necessary.

The next most common issue that needs repair is the headphone jacks. Once the phone’s case is open, this is a pretty easy repair, but again, you need the proper tools. Buttons also wear out and are as easily fixed as the headphones jack, once you have access inside the case itself.

The global community is becoming more and more technically savvy as a whole. Countries once thought of as less than technically enlightened have become as addicted to technology as first world countries; citizens of the world love technology.

Gadgets:

Tips for Choosing the Right Speakers

speaker

Audio technology has completely transformed in the past ten years. Furthermore, the rapid advancements in the field  show no signs of stopping. From tangle-free green earphones to sound-blocking technology, this is only the beginning. While everyone’s happy to have more and better quality speaker options, it can be confusing when you’re trying to design your personal entertainment center. What are some important considerations when you’re looking to buy some speakers?

Portable and Static Setups

There are many different ways to listen to music. For some people, having a light, portable setup that offers more quality than laptop or phone speakers is enough. Being able to easily transport your speakers has become more technologically possible in recent years with the rise of bluetooth speakers. These speakers are less expensive than a big entertainment setup, and can easily follow you from room to room wirelessly. They also work well to take to a friend’s house or party.

However, these speakers are by nature small. Some people find portability a much less important consideration than sound quality. Larger, heavier speakers tend to offer a clearer sound and a more powerful baseline. If you’re looking to create a home entertainment center and have enough room, these kinds of speakers may be more appealing.

Room Considerations

If your speakers are going to stay in one room more of the time, it’s important to consider the room’s acoustics. Some rooms are more conducive to listening to music than others. The shape of the room, the materials the walls and floor are made of, and the furniture in the room are just a few of the factors which contribute to a room’s acoustics.

You can improve a room’s acoustics in most cases if you find yours aren’t up to snuff. However, also consider the size of the room. Your speakers have to comfortably fit in the room you’re putting them in. There also must be room for the wires the speakers need to function. Wires shouldn’t be all over the floor; this is a safety hazard.

Budget

One of the main considerations for purchasing speakers is the price. A speaker can run you anywhere from $30 to well over $1,000 depending on the brand, condition, and quality. Obviously, you want to get the highest quality sound for your money. One way to get a very high quality speaker affordably is to look for second hand speakers. Craigslist or your local pawn shop will likely have a lot of options. Used speakers can be in excellent condition, and are typically significantly cheaper than new speakers.

When you’re shopping around, work out a budget while you consider the speaker’s physical specifications.

Conclusion

Buying a new set of speakers is fun and rewarding. You may be shocked at the high quality audio your new speakers bring after you’ve gotten used to just using your computer or phone’s speakers. Do the proper research and you’ll find the perfect speaker set for your needs.

 

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Clean:

Handy Ways to Save Groundwater

water

Groundwater. It’s vital to our lives, and its very existence is threatened. Contaminants flood into it. Droughts eradicate it. People waste it. As our population increases, we need to learn to use it more wisely. Here are some tech devices that will help that happen.

Five Minute Shower Timer

The average amount of water used per minute when showering is about 8 gallons of water. When you take a five-minute shower, you generally use between 35-50 gallons of water. Reducing that time by even a few seconds makes sense in terms of retention of groundwater. Racing to beat the time helps you shorten your shower and use less water.

Rain Barrel Downspout Diverter

Kits are available at home improvement stores, or these devices can be installed by gutter companies. These allow rainwater to be collected for watering gardens and pets, while still allowing for proper drainage. This device is incredibly important as more and more land is built upon. Rainwater isn’t allowed to drain naturally, but rather run off quickly and rush down roads and into drains.

Irrigation Controllers

When you have a sprinkler system, you need a controller that can tell it to turn off when it has rained. Your sprinkler system is able to be tailored for the actual conditions in the area. It just doesn’t turn on because the clock says it should. It actually monitors the weather and then lets your system know what to do for your landscaping.

Sensors help the various controllers shut off based on their information collected from actual outside conditions like rain, high wind speeds, freezing temperatures and over-flow conditions. They make your sprinklers turn off during times that would cause you to overwater or potentially ruin your sprinkler system. That way you aren’t wasting water.

Measure Your Own Groundwater

If you have your own well, you know the fear of having it run dry. With less and less groundwater available, this horrid fact is becoming reality for more and more private well owners. Some of the symptoms of a waning well is an abundance of air in the water and water running out after you use a lot of water, like when you water the lawn. You water pressure may seem like its reduced and the pump itself will run for some time before it finally shuts off. Additionally, it will take extra time to build up water pressure. And one sure sign:  your neighbors may be having issues with their wells, too. Technology is available and ready for homeowners with those concerns. Other monitors are available to check for contaminants.

We all need the groundwater. Unfortunately it is getting harder and harder to come by. The water that is available may have contaminants. People need to work with technology to find ways to keep the groundwater we have clean and available to all.

 

3 Technological Advancements that Help Artists

Being a professional artist has changed a lot since the days of Kandinsky. Though being an artist still involves a lot of physical work and ingenuity, today there are new technologies available to help artists succeed. With new ways available for promoting, displaying, selling, and printing your artwork, a lot of the work you used to have to pay somebody else a lot of money to do is now possible to do yourself for cheap.

To succeed as an artist, it’s important to keep on top of these technologies. By staying updated on new technologies, you can raise your voice above the din of all the other artists in the world. You can devote your energy to creating your work rather than having to slog through the difficulties involved in displaying and selling it when you take advantage of the right technology.

What are some important technologies artists must use to be successful? What is the best way to use them?

Technology for Artists

  1. Social media. The internet itself is one of the best technologies an artist has at her fingertips. By using the web smartly, you can reach thousands of new potential fans every day. With everybody and their mother being on Facebook these days, it can seem like a no-brainer to create a social media presence for your artwork. However, there are wrong ways to put your work on the internet.

Before uploading your art to social media, be sure you understand privacy and copyright issues and how they’ll affect you — today and in the future. Do research to determine what social media platforms you should have a presence on. Some sites offer more opportunities for growing your fan base, while other make it easier for you to sell your work. Having multiple profiles is smart. Creating an active artist persona on the internet makes people interested in your work and what you have to say.

  1. Easy printing. One great way to sell your art is to sell prints of it rather than the originals. Originals are more expensive, meaning they’re harder to sell — and it’s also easy to get emotionally attached to the original piece of work you created.

Today, there are so many options for easily creating high-quality prints of your work that for very little money and effort, you can make it simple for customers to buy affordable prints. You can create prints yourself inexpensively at your local Kinko’s, or use one of many only services which create prints for you and take only a small cut of your sale.

  1. Smartphone cameras. Almost everybody has a smartphone today. With every new generation of smartphone technology, the cameras included in the device become higher and higher quality. While you still probably want to use a better quality camera to photograph your work for, say, a portfolio, the camera on your phone makes posting pictures of your work online or sending them to friends quick and simple. As technology continues to improve, these images will only become higher quality.

Conclusion

There are so many new technologies which can benefit artists. Keep your eyes peeled for new developments to become a technologically savvy professional artist.

 

Gadgets:

5 Gadgets To Take on An African Safari

The natural beauty and vast wildlife of the African continent calls to many people hoping for new experiences and an exhilarating adventure. Many visitors head to Africa for the once-in-a-lifetime experience of the safari, and many come back to experience it again and again. It’s easy to see the attractions of visiting: the opportunity to see large game, walking safaris, private and remote locations, qualified guides, diverse activities and more, all set in a beautiful and diverse scenery. Regardless of whether one is a first time visitor or an old pro at the game, everyone loves to travel in style and capture the best moments of the trip. Here’s some of the gadgets no one should forget on their safari.

Binoculars

If binoculars were made for any single activity, then the safari is definitely the one. While there is opportunity for vehicles to get up close to some animals sometimes, a good pair of binoculars can bring a person closer to the action all the time. Investing in a pair of binoculars will definitely be worth it, whether it’s a classic pair or a premium model that lets one see every bit of the action. Finding quality binoculars is the key; the best pair is one that offers great optics and continues to function even into the twilight hours. Pro tip: if one wear glasses and has different prescriptions in each eye, he or she should make sure to find a pair where the right and left lenses can be adjusted separately.

GoPro

One might argue that there’s really no trip that should be completed without a GoPro. Though one of these rugged cameras certainly isn’t necessary, it’s definitely one of the coolest ways to record the experiences of a safari in the Angama Masai Mara or the Serengeti. The camera is lightweight, durable, extremely versatile, and shoots amazing HD footage and stills, making it perfect for the rugged adventure of the safari. Use it to capture small personal moments or wildlife scenes or mount it to the front of the 4×4 to catch the highlights of the drive.

Headlamp or Body Torch

Safaris often begin before the crack of dawn and last into the twilight hours, so having a hands-free light is definitely something any safari-goer will want to put in their pack. A good headlamp is a great investment for other adventures as well. The LED Lenser H14 Headlamp, for instance, has multiple light setting and a beam that goes 220 meters. Great for those late-night trips to the loo!

Magnetic Tripod

If one undertakes a safari to snap pictures of wildlife, then packing a magnetic tripod is essential for capturing footage from the vehicle. Magnetic tripods can be attached to the side of vehicles, allowing the user to capture things like leopards running alongside the car at any moment. They also come in varieties that offer rubberized rings and foot grips that give the tripod additional stability on rough ground as well as leg joints that allow for 360-degree rotation.

Smartphone + Apps

The smartphone is an essential travel companion, and when heading out on a safari it offers the use of the quick and easy camera as well as a storehouse for electronic guidebooks and even wildlife and safari apps. While a guide is probably going to be present on the trip, an app like Tracking the Wild allows users to document experiences and share all of the amazing wildlife spotting adventures. Furthermore, these apps are designed to help preserve African wildlife and work with various conservation and research organizations.

 

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