Tag Archive for Technology

Could you do this?

No Cell Phone, No Facebook, No Computer Access, No Wifi For 3 Months & You Get $3 Million, Could you do this?

Challenge Accepted!

Recently I saw a very interesting post on Facebook, a text image as that seems to be the norm these days.

At face value I don’t see anything difficult in this.

In the stream of comments someone included using the computer for work. Yup, I still could do this and it’s not because I don’t use a computer at my job, I do… A lot. As in every minute other than in a meeting in another room.

All the while I’m using my phone to listen to music or podcasts. Use of my phone starts and continues on my commutes to and from work while I ride the bus. Then, when at home I generally hop onto my desktop, laptop, tablet, or Nintendo to play games or code some personal stuff while the TV is on. I’d say I’m connected, but I could do this.

I believe the true idea includes no laptops, desktops, tablets, phones, game consoles, or even TVs – smart or not. Yeah, I could still do this.

If the intent of this meant all computers this proves difficult as to live without computers includes: most cars, paying with debit/credit cards, grabbing cash from the ATM (but you still could get cash from the banker I suppose as they are using the computer), etc.

So where would I have to draw the line? In my mind I was getting down to the nitty gritty, stuff people may not realize have computers like alarm clocks, microwaves, refrigerator… Oh crap, food! I gotta keep my food safe to eat. But after thinking about it I could still do it by eating lots of vegetables (I prefer most of them raw anyway), some breads, and meats I pick up (after riding my bike to the store) and cook immediately on my pretty basic grill.

The only catch I came up with, I would need up to a month to transition my duties at work to another person as I would not leave them high and dry.

Take away: As the great Barney Stinson would say ‘Challenge Accepted!’

MS Windows (7) Enhancement

We can move the Task Bar, why not allow us to move where the Start Button is on it – top or bottom, left or right, not necessarily somewhere in the middle. And while we’re at it, allow us to move the System Icon and Date/Time section – also top or bottom, left or right. And don’t say anything about “upgrading” to Windows 8.

Amazon: Prime vs. Basic Account

Is Amazon Prime worth the $85 / year premium? Some of the pros include free 2-day shipping, access to their version of Netflix, and even the ability to “borrow” a book from their Kindle library. Some nice perks.

My wife and I decided to try it this year and have it on her amazon account as it has her kindle associated to it whereas I just buy stuff every so often. And in the last few months I’ve noticed something. Sometimes things cost more on her Prime account vs. my non-Prime account – even when shipping (digital downloads or free anyway or super-saver shipping) and taxes (we live at the same address) are not factors.

You did not read that wrong, sometimes things cost more on her Prime account than my basic account. My most recent discovery is for MS Office 2010. No image editing was done. I found the product, CTRL+clicked it (new tab), logged in to each each account and refreshed the page. You will see a different number of tabs, but that’s because I originally was going to do a side-by-side screenshot. However, I decided a full screen image was better so you can see the URLs are identical, only the accounts (and resulting cart) were different. All of this was done in the same browser (yes, there is browser-based pricing out there) and first I hit my account, then hers, then mine all within 1 minutes so it wasn’t a timing issue either.

If you’re curious, the price shown when you aren’t even logged in is the cheaper price. Sure, it’s just $4.53 for this product and it’s not necessarily every product they have different prices for, but with the number of products they have and the number of Prime users they have (10,000,000 as of 3/11/2013) it adds up for them and you.

Amazon non-Prime Account

Amazon non-Prime Account Pricing

Amazon Prime Account

Amazon Prime Account Pricing

Take away: if you plan to have an Amazon Prime account, make a second basic Amazon account for when shipping doesn’t matter.

New Elevator Systems

Elevator Input Pad in the Elevator Bank

Elevator Input Pad in the Elevator Bank

We’re all used to how elevators work, right? In the elevator bank you push the up or down button, an elevator car shows up with an indicator for which direction it is going, you step in, you select your floor, eventually you get out. Obviously small variances if the desired buttons are already pushed, that is, you get in, you get out.

But have you used the system where you select the desired floor before you get in the elevator? There are two main goals of elevator systems that work this way, 1) coordinate where the cars are better and the movement between floors, and 2) learn traffic patterns for the building and get a few cars to certain floors / areas during peak times.

Here’s the process to use the new system: select your floor from the console in the elevator bank, watch for assigned elevator car (each are labeled in this new system), elevator car shows up with an indicator of which floors it’s going to, get in, eventually get out.

It’s simple in theory. However, in practice there are some glaring glitches. And as I’ve seen the installation in two separate buildings I feel I have some insight:

  1. After selecting your floor from the console you have to wait a couple of seconds to know which elevator you are assigned. Unfortunately, most people do not move out of the way after they’ve been assigned or didn’t look to see which car they’ve been assigned.
    1. People not moving out of the way so others can then select their floor. Do I really need to explain the problem here?
    2. If someone doesn’t look or forgets (they could have a lot on their mind), they then have to go look at every car which shows up to know if it’s their elevator. This causes a little bit of congestion similar to people not looking at which train showed up and starting to get on then looking and realizing it’s not for them.
  2. When you first go to the elevator bank and there are others there, you still have to push your floor as you don’t know if they pushed a button, if they are going the same direction as you, or if they are going to the same floor as you (in some cases you don’t, but it’s best you do). Not a big problem, but we’re back at pushing the button and people not moving from the console.
  3. When an elevator car does show up, you only know it’s there, you are not aware of the direction or exact floors it is going to. So everyone rushes towards it. Then, when the doors open the destination floors are displayed and people either stop or try to move out of each others’ way without actually looking to see where they should go (the old someone turns right in front of you while walking because they didn’t look).

There is a simple two-fold solution for these annoyances:

  1. Have a board similar to bus stations / airports which has the elevator car label and the floors it will be stopping on
  2. Have smaller boards on the side or above each elevator indicating where it’s going.

On both boards you only indicate which floors an elevator is going to if it is stopping on the current floor. It does not help anyone on floor 4 to know elevator A is going to the Lobby if it’s not also stopping on floor 4 to pick them up. Exactly what does this solve?

  1. People know if an elevator car is coming to their current floor.
  2. People know if an elevator car is going to their destination floor.
  3. People can congragate in appropriate areas and lessen the chance of hindering each other.

Take away: displays are useful, use them.

iPhone Case

iPhone 5 GameBoy Case

iPhone 5 GameBoy Case

I have a case for my iPhone which looks like an old-school GAME BOYTM. Not only do I love it, but I get lots of compliments. Wouldn’t it be fun to have a case that looked like an iPhone when you first take it out of the package, that is, the default background and icons?

Ring, ring… Ring, ring… Tap… Tap… Why isn’t it answering.. Ohhh, riiight.

Maybe one exists, but in my five minute search I couldn’t find one via google, therefore nothing.

Take away: you really wouldn’t be confused by your own cover unless you’re an idiot, but it would still be neat.