Tag Archives: Technology

Updates from Adobe

Framing the Story: Animator Jocie Juritz
By Scott Kirkwood – London-based animator Jocie Juritz spends her days explaining complicated subjects—for instance, the impact of false memories, the history of the color white, and the science behind nanomolecular genetic switches—all in three minutes or less.

She started out with a few cat GIFs posted on Tumblr, and those led to a call from the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA)—sort of a British version of TED.

Juritz wasn’t always sure she would become an animator. When her coursework at Kingston University required that she choose between the illustration track and the animation track, she was stuck: She’d always struggled to pack enough information into a single image, but she didn’t know if she was cut out for the laborious, time-intensive work of animation. Her professors encouraged her to give animation a trial run, and she soon realized that the art form contained many of the things she’d loved even as a child: drama, performance, characters, and storytelling—all with words, music, and sound effects.

Given the complex and often dense subject matter they deal with, Juritz’s short videos have garnered a surprising number of views on Vimeo and other outlets. It started with those cat GIFs (inspired by her own cats, Etta and Ziggy), which got the attention of editors at Tumblr. more>

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It’s Time to Protect Identity Like We Protect Critical Infrastructure

By Andre Durand – With the past year’s record-breaking wave of breaches, it is now safe to believe that most Americans have had their personal identity information exposed—and analysis of the Hudson Bay breach has confirmed this knowledge is now being traded in dark markets.

The long-term ramifications are going to have an impact on every public and private sector organization that utilizes our identity to conduct business and to provide access to critical systems, which will create disruption in our day-to-day activities and even to our way of life.

Because business and government institutions that handle personal information are vital to our society, it’s time to designate “identity” as a new segment in the nation’s critical infrastructure, a set of 16 sectors the Homeland Security Department deems essential to the nation’s well-being.

The entire identity chain must be strengthened to prevent these criminal activities. Birth certificates, which can be used to open bank accounts, are still administered by hospitals that are ill-equipped to manage security. Our government devotes huge resources to ensuring that currency can’t be counterfeited, yet it pays scant attention to documents that can be used to obtain multiple forms of ID. Every physical document we use to prove our identity should be made far harder to duplicate.

We can then move onto our digital systems. more>

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Updates from Georgia Tech

Human Factors Research Helps Accelerate Mission Planning
By John Toon – The key to a successful flight mission is planning – sometimes several hours of it. Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) specialists in human factors and human computer interfaces are working with NAVAIR PMA-281, Strike Planning and Execution Systems in Patuxent River, Maryland, to streamline the current mission planning process and identify user interface requirements supporting multi-domain mission management in next-generation naval planning capabilities.

With guidance from the GTRI researchers, the project will improve usability of the mission planning software tools, creating a more consistent and intuitive screen design that’s easier to learn and more logical to follow. This effort could benefit all Department of Defense (DoD) agencies for collaborative mission planning.

“We are working with Navy and Marine Corps aviators to identify areas in mission planning where work-flow can be streamlined, reducing the time required to mission plan,” said Marcia Crosland, project director for GTRI’s Joint Mission Planning System (JMPS) User Interface Design and Usability efforts. “Our task has been to define the user interface concepts and decision-making tools to help reduce the time required for mission planning. We’ve created detailed designs and specifications to direct current and future development of mission planning systems.” more>

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So Much More than a Tiger

By Bolaji Ojo – The foundation for what Taiwan is today and what will be years from now were laid decades ago by successive leaders in government and private sectors who elevated the island above natural and geopolitical obstacles to ensure its survival.

Taiwan – also known as the Republic of China – is not at risk of extinction. Rapid economic growth catapulted Taiwan into the group of countries economists like to describe as Asian Tigers, but the island plays an even more central role in the high-tech ecosystem.

It is today headquarters to some of the better-known players in the electronics industry, amongst them Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd., the world’s biggest chip foundry. Foxconn, the No. 1 global contract manufacturer and a Top 5 high-tech company by sales, calls Taiwan home, as does WPG Holdings, a leading distributor of electronic components. Taiwan is a major supplier of PCBs to OEMs and EMS providers and is host to AU Optronics Corp., one of the biggest suppliers of displays for smartphones, PCs and laptops.

Taiwan’s challenge this time is finding a way to respond to China’s ascendance and staving off rivals elsewhere. Taiwan was one of the forces behind the emergence of China as a heavyweight in the electronics supply chain. The huge investments of money and expertise poured into China by Taiwan, Japan and other Western countries helped to turn the Communist country into a manufacturing hub for the electronics industry. For Taiwan, though, China presents a conundrum; It has become both a beneficiary of and a victim of China’s explosive growth. more>

Updates from Siemens

Automotive manufacturing and autonomous vehicles
By Dave Lauzun – Automotive manufacturing has been happening for a long time, but when most people think of automotive manufacturing, they imagine a moving assembly line. The moving assembly line revolutionized how vehicle manufacturers produce cars, but it wasn’t always the go-to process.

As vehicles were first beginning to be built at the turn of twentieth century, vehicle manufacturers typically built the whole car at once. It was a time-consuming, costly process that kept cars out of most consumers’ hands.

In 1913, over at Ford Motor Company, Henry Ford wanted to cut down on the time and cost associated with building the Model T. He needed to find an efficient way to build this car, and he came up with idea of being able to “productionize” the Model T through a moving assembly line. In this assembly line, the Model T production was broken down into 84 steps, and employees were trained to do just one step.

The results of this change were enormous for Ford Motor Company. The automaker drastically reduced the time it took to build the Model T from 12 hours to 90 minutes. The cost savings in manpower and time to produce the vehicle on the assembly line also meant the company could drop the price of the Model T from $850 to $300.

How will automakers turn their focus away from research and development and toward the mass production of autonomous vehicles? And, how can that mass production be economically viable for their business and for their customers? more>

Robots at the gate: Humans and technology at work


Barclays – Humans have often had a cautious relationship with new technology, particularly when it causes widespread disruption in the workforce. Yet historically, technological advances have not resulted in fewer jobs available to humans, but rather have led to the creation of new opportunities. Farriers and saddlemakers were hit hard when cars replaced horse carriages, but the petrol stations, mechanics, motels and related industries that sprung up created new, yet different, types of jobs.

More recently, the smartphone is a great example of technological advances creating new forms of work. Twenty years ago, mobile app developer was not a job; today, millions of such developers are at work around the world.

One of the most influential economists of all time, David Ricardo, flip-flopped on the issue. In 1821, he stated that while was a general good, he was now more worried about the substitution effect on labor. And the discussion was not always academic – the Luddite movement was an early example of workers resorting to violence to protest the use of technology in textile factories.

As the decades passed, the Industrial Revolution led to a visible, massive improvement in living standards. But the debate – on how technology affects work and whether it is an unequivocal positive – continued to wax and wane.

Machine learning represents a fundamental change. It is a subset of the much-abused term ‘Artificial Intelligence’ and is grounded in statistics and mathematical optimization. The computer is fed vast data sets and a few general parameters to point it in the right direction. Then, the machine executes simulations of how biological neurons behave, uses that to recognize recurring sequences in the data, and writes its own rules.

Suddenly, it is no longer limited to applying algorithms that
a human wrote; the machine is designing its own. more (pdf)>

Updates from Ciena

From Land to Sea to Cloud
By Brian Lavallée – Submarine networks carry over 99% of all telecommunications traffic between continental landmasses making them easily classified as critical infrastructure. There’s also no “Plan B” for these submerged assets, so they’ll continue to act as the jugular veins of intercontinental connectivity for years to come and will thus require constant technology innovation to reliably and securely maintain this pivotal role.

But exactly what traffic is transported back and forth on seabeds around the world? According to respected industry analyst firm TeleGeography, it’s increasingly Data Center Interconnection (DCI) traffic, and LOTS of it.

It’s projected that Internet Content Providers (ICPs) will soon account for the majority of submarine traffic in all regions of the world. Impressive for a group of companies that just over a decade ago, were essentially non-players in the submarine networking market.

Given the astonishing amount of DCI traffic added to traditional wholesale traffic, several new technologies were introduced to address this extraordinary growth, which sits at around 40% CAGR worldwide, according to TeleGeography. more>

Updates from Siemens

Build your design on the strongest platform Modeling Technology Platform
Siemens – Convergent modeling technology in NX gives anyone the ability to perform faceted-based modeling without the need for data conversion. By combining facet, surface and solid modeling in a single integrated environment, NX eliminates the need for reverse engineering. You can simply model with the topology optimization results directly. Convergent Modeling, compared with traditional modeling techniques, is 10 times faster.

Modeling is amazingly fast and intuitive with NX – you have the freedom to modify 3D geometry without understanding how models were constructed, using simple push-and-pull methods. For greater versatility, you can use synchronous modeling interchangeably with all other CAD modeling tools – on NX models or geometry from any other source. more>

Huge power outage in Amsterdam – We are prepared!


datacenter.com – Sunday, April 29th, Dutch electricity network administrator Tennet reported Amsterdam South East was hit by a power outage, with the effect that 18,000 connections no longer had power.

The outage occurred 00:42 at a Tennet substation when a high-voltage connection in Amsterdam Bijmer-South failed. Trains, trams, and planes ground to a temporary halt in and around Amsterdam. Amsterdam Schiphol Airport was closed due to the power outage.

Our main task as Datacenter.com is to keep our data centers and your critical IT infrastructure on-line at all times.. Huge power outages like these confirms that we are able to keep that promise. more>

Enlightenment rationality is not enough: we need a new Romanticism | Aeon Ideas

BOOK REVIEW

Enlightenment Now, Author: Steven Pinker.
Modern Prometheus: Editing the Human Genome with Crispr-Cas9, Author: Jim Kozubek.
The Will to Knowledge, Author: Michel Foucault.

By Jim Kozubek – Progress creates the illusion that we are moving toward deeper knowledge when, in fact, imperfect theories constantly lead us astray.

The conflict is relevant in this age of anti-science, with far-Right activists questioning climate change, evolution and other current finds. But is that really bad? Nineteenth-century Romanticism was the first movement to take on the Enlightenment – and we still see its effects in such areas as environmentalism, asceticism and the ethical exercise of conscience.

In our new era of Enlightenment, we need Romanticism again.

With science becoming a brutal game of market forces and patent controls, the skeptics and Romantics among us must weigh in, and we already are. In one study that provides free genome sequencing for newborns, only 7 per cent of parents wanted to take part, suggesting that the public is cautious about how data might be abused by insurers, business and government.

Pinker’s solution to the distortion is investing science with secular humanism, an elastic concept of goodness that plies against financial pressures. But can we depend on technologists for such a benevolent spirit?

Right now, in biotech, only the market rules.

Modern-day Romantics have a right to be concerned about the motives of scientists, if not of science itself. more>