Friday, July 14, 2006

John W. Scherer Video Professor Blog July 14, 2006

Welcome to our world of tech!!

The power of the mind
These are the kinds of stories that give us all hope. Despite all the negative stories out there about how technology only leads to longer work days, or more theft online, etc., it’s great to see how technology can truly help. By implanting a small computer chip into the part of the brain that controls movement, scientists were able to help a man who suffered paralysis in all four limbs move a computer cursor on the screen and even move a robotic arm. Imagine the possibilities. This is amazing technology.
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Microsoft releases fixes
What kind of computer educator would I be if I didn’t help spread the word about things that can help you? On Tuesday Microsoft released four security fixes for Windows that you all should be on the lookout for. According to Microsoft, the fixes all patch holes that could allow hackers to take control of your computer. You’ve been warned!
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Microsoft and Yahoo! play nice
Whether you’re a Microsoft or a Yahoo! instant messenger, you can now communicate across both platforms. The two giants announced Thursday that they have made good on a promise made last year. Software has been released that allows the two IM platforms to play nice. It now appears the biggest IM community in the world has been built, with more than 350 million accounts spanning both platforms.
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Firefox’s bigger piece of pie
With Microsoft’s Internet Explorer being questioned for recently found vulnerabilities, it appears that another web browser is reaping the benefits. Firefox, according to reports, now has a 15 percent market share in the United States. Internet Explorer 7 is due to be released when Vista finally hits the shelves. Microsoft better get this one right if they expect to keep its customers, all 83 percent of Internet users.
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Changing the way we shop
Wouldn’t it stand to reason that because the Internet has made it so easy for us to shop at home, that traffic in malls would decline. That’s what I would have thought, but in actuality, the Internet is not hurting sales at all. If anything, the Internet is making us more savvy shoppers. Consumers are using the Internet to do research on the goods, find the best deal and even map out their trips. According to a spokesperson from the National Retail Federation, 22 percent of all in-store sales come from people who first saw the item on the Internet.
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Off topic:
Getting your money’s worth
If you are thinking of using what is left of the summer to tackle a home-improvement project, make sure you do some research and find out what projects are going to pay dividends. According to this story, remodeling kitchens and bathrooms will pay off in the long run when it comes time to sell the home.
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The ins and outs of a 911 call
If you’ve ever wondered exactly how 911 works, make sure you read this article. It gives a breakdown of the process, but what I really thought was interesting was how it works with wireless phones and VoIP. According to public safety officials, up to 50 percent of all 911 calls come from cell phones, and only recently has the operator at the other end been given the information that helps them process the call properly.
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It takes more than willpower
Don’t feel bad if you’ve ever fallen off the diet wagon. Sometimes it’s not your fault. The emotional state you are in and the lasting effects of different moods you experience have a lot to do with you sticking to a diet. It’s pretty interesting, if you think about it. These guys have some valid points.
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You k“nose” what is wrong with this picture?
When I travel, I have my portable DVD player (sight) and iPod (hearing), my laptop (touch) and I can stop for coffee (taste). I’ll stop there, thanks. Do we really need this? Seriously? We can take music, movies—practically anything we want—around with us anytime. I’ll stick to pleasing my other four senses and leave my nose out of it.
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Site o’ the week
“Casual Games” have grown in popularity of late. It seems like every time we go surfing on the Internet we find a way to kill five to 10 minutes playing a mindless game. Well, if you’re the type of person who likes to be distracted, or just needs a break in your day, check out this site full of these games. Do me a favor. If your boss catches you, don’t blame me!
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John W. Scherer
CEO and Founder