smartphone-586903_640
Comments Off on Facebook Introduces Instant Articles
facebook-76536_640
Comments Off on Pros And Cons Of Online Sociability
smartphone-365072_640
Comments Off on BlackBerry Leap – Leaps Into Store Shelves
watch-756487_640
Comments Off on Google Now Supports Apple Watch
sleeping-time-650684_640
Comments Off on New Gadgets To Help People Sleep

Moving On: The Then and Now of Nuclear Decommissioning

by Admin - on Aug 18th 2015 - Comments Off on Moving On: The Then and Now of Nuclear Decommissioning

Nuclear DecommissioningWhen a nuclear power company decides to close their power plant immediately, decommissioning follows. This is done by removing the plant from service and reducing harmful radioactivity that permits property release. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) implements strict rules regarding power plant decommissioning, which involves clean-up of radioactive fuel or contaminated plant systems.

According to the International Energy Agency, over 200 reactors will face decommissioning during the next 25 years. With the help of new technology and the industry’s best practices, the process faces smoother operations.

Background on operating reactors

The average lifespan of operating reactors in the U.S. reaches more than 35 years. Since 1996, the country did not sell any new nuclear reactor online but permanently removed 5 from service during the past 3 years. Despite power plants possessing 40-year-old operating licenses with additional 20 years, some still face shut downs due to financial problems and other reasons.

The average age of international power plants does not significantly fall behind in the US. Majority of the world’s 438 reactors are over 30 years old. Countries such as Switzerland and Germany plan to remove nuclear power out of their energy options.

 How plants develop a plan

Plants planning nuclear material decommissioning consider their facility’s physical condition, current configuration, and level of radioactive contamination. Decommissioning specialists get the details from the company’s historical records and refine using a standard measurement program.

Power plants also develop a material inventory for the site. They also consider two of the most important decommissioning cost improvements: contamination levels and quantity of contaminated material.

Using technological improvements

Currently, important progress occurs in the field of power plant decommissioning. Technology plays a vital role by offering resources such as 3D computer-aided design, wireless communications, data sharing, and pattern recognition. Artificial intelligence can also allow machines to recognize the plant’s changing layout through 3D models.

Decommissioning is up for numerous changes. With proper cost-effective management and the help of technology, power plant decommissioning faces a smoother process in the future.

New Air Conditioners: Key Player in Your Energy Savings

by Admin - on Aug 12th 2015 - Comments Off on New Air Conditioners: Key Player in Your Energy Savings

New Air ConditionersForty percent of the energy consumed in many Australian homes go to heating and cooling, according to the Department of Industry and Science. This does not include water heating yet.

With such high power rates and consumption, it becomes necessary for you to keep the electricity bill as low as you can. As it eats up almost half of your energy consumption, it’s best to start with your HVAC system. A good first step is to determine whether a new air conditioner is the most cost-effective solution, as the age of your AC unit has a big impact on how much energy it needs to run.

New is Always Better

Sydney-based Apex Air Conditioning says older, outdated air conditioners consume more energy than newer models. This is particularly true for improperly maintained or problematic units.

New models have more innovative technologies to make the most of the energy consumed, which means they use less for more. If you decide to replace your old AC, take note of the following factors to ensure you get the most savings:

  • Local climate
  • Cooling needs (just specific rooms or the entire house)
  • Size of the area that needs cooling
  • Existing energy-efficient products, such as window treatments and insulation

Making Sure New is Better

When shopping for a new AC, do not be tempted to go for a unit that is bigger than what you need. Apart from being more expensive upfront, this will cost you more along the way, as larger systems eat up more energy. In fact, when installed in an area that is too small, the unit can make the air warmer.

Hire professionals to install your new unit. Errors in installation can have a huge, negative bearing on the efficiency (both in energy and performance) of your cooling systems.

A new AC system may cost you some money for now, but the long-term savings you get will definitely make up for it. What’s more, you’ll be doing your part in saving the environment.

 

Facebook Introduces Instant Articles

by Admin - on May 14th 2015 - Comments Off on Facebook Introduces Instant Articles

smartphone-586903_640As if anyone need more reason to like Facebook? It was announced recently that the social media giant will deliver news to users faster and more comprehensive than ever before.

Dubbed as Instant Articles, the Facebook news reader will provide news organizations with opportunities to create interactive content designed to be much easier to read using their smartphone or tablet.

Instant Articles is geared to revolutionize news delivery, helping news firms convey their content to younger readers. Their current partners include National Geographic, Buzzfeed, the New York Times, the Guardian, the Atlantic, Spiegel, and the BBC.

“We think the most important thing here is speed,” Facebook’s chief product officer Chris Cox says, “the obvious lesson we keep on learning is that on a mobile phone, the most important thing is immediacy.”

Facebook says users will have to wait as long as eight seconds for a news piece to load on a phone using the current system, and they’re planning to hasten that.

With Instant Articles, the news piece will fill the screen immediately with a few extras, such as photos, embedded videos and pop-out charts and maps. Facebook says this will help news firms make their articles more visually and mentally engaging.

One of the best things about Instant Articles is its commitment to providing tailored design for individual publishers to correspond with the features in their own websites.

But in the end, it all comes down to business and revenue sharing. Even with the promise of Instant Articles, news organizations will want to make sure their visitor traffic will increase. Facebook assures them that it will, and unlike in their old advertising network where they get a 70/3 revenue sharing deal, with Instant Articles, they will receive all profits generated from advertisements.

However, despite Facebook’s supremacy in social media sharing, news firms are wary of how their articles will behave, given the complicated and unpredictable mechanics behind Facebook’s newsfeed. With every tweak in the rules, much like in Google’s algorithm changes, traffic can abruptly plummet.

With this in mind, creators are being as careful as they can be. One news organization shared that being involved in Facebook’s new project is not only exciting but will certainly increase their content’s exposure in the most accessible gadget imaginable – the smartphone. Having said that, firms are treading lightly when it comes to handing over content distribution and having a third party decide how to use it.

“We will continue developing Instant Articles with our partners over the coming months and will listen to feedback from readers to help us improve the experience.” Facebook promises on their media website.

Pros And Cons Of Online Sociability

by Admin - on May 14th 2015 - Comments Off on Pros And Cons Of Online Sociability

A recent article in the Wall Street Journal claims that mobile technology has made people less sociable. With the increasing accessibility of smartphones and tablets, it’s also becoming increasingly easier for people to stay online and in their social media profiles. Apparently, that leaves a huge impact on how they socialize in the real world.

Online Connection is Different from Real-Life Bonding

facebook-76536_640According to a Pew Research survey, 71% of American adults have Facebook, and of these Facebook users, 45% check their profiles at least several times daily.

Being on Facebook entails looking at other people’s profiles, leaving comments on their posts and leaving posts on their wall. One would think that the Internet is actually a good platform for people to socialize. But for social psychologists, this can’t be farther from the truth.

What these online friendships do, say experts, is keep people from cultivating actual, more meaningful relationships.

Technology Feeds Anxiety and Vice Versa

In a study conducted by social psychologist Larry Rosen, it was found out that among 1,100 teens and adults, the majority of those aged under 35 couldn’t stand a few hours without checking their smartphones and tablets. Heavy users showed high levels of anxiety and unease when they were told they couldn’t use their mobile gadgets.

Anxiety feeds this behavior, says Rosen. The constant need to check phones comes from the anxiety of not knowing what’s going in the virtual world.

Additionally, it was found out that rabid smartphones users are people with either clinical or non-clinical social anxiety disorder. Those who can’t engage in real-life interactions turn to online faux bonding as a more comfortable alternative.

The problem with this, experts claim, is that socially anxious people tend to rely on social media, which doesn’t really offer the value of face-to-face communication. In fact, experts say they may be detrimental to the emotional health as they interrupt real human bonds.

“If we are constantly checking in with our virtual worlds, this leaves little time for our real-world relationships,” says Rosen.

In the Defense of Social Media

Other experts, on the other hand, claim that contrary to the notion that online social networks replace face-to-face sociability, they only supplement it. Their argument lies in the logic of meaningful online presence.

They say people can still expand their social horizons on the Internet, deepening and extending their connections to the world around them. With technology, people can take advantage of constant connectivity to make their close relationships even closer.

It all still depends on how people use or misuse the power of social media and technology altogether.

BlackBerry Leap – Leaps Into Store Shelves

by Admin - on May 14th 2015 - Comments Off on BlackBerry Leap – Leaps Into Store Shelves

smartphone-365072_640After Z10’s flop a few years back, it seemed that BlackBerry disappeared off the face of the tech market. Fans were scared they were not going to hear from the super brand anytime soon.

The company admitted to a $965 million loss due to Z10’s failure to meet expectations, both in sales and specs performance. Within the first quarter upon its release, it only managed to sell 5.9 million units. On the other hand, Apple smartphones sold 9 million units within the first weekend.

With fans and vendors alike disappointed by the sales turnout, BlackBerry went under the radar –staying quiet even through the release of the iPhone 5s until the recent launch of iPhone 6 and 6+.

What people didn’t know was that it was just biding its time for the release of something bigger and better, the BlackBerry Leap. Is this the chance at redemption BlackBerry has waited for? It’s for the experts to review and for the fans to decide.

Display

The Leap has a 5-inch, 1,280 x 720 (720p) LCD display, an average size for most smartphones out today. It boasts a good quality panel, with sufficiently vibrant colors and effective white balance setting. The viewing angles are satisfactory; however the sunlight readability can certainly be improved.

Camera

Following its ancestors, the Z10 and Z30, the Leap has an 8-megapixel camera, with 2-megapixel front-facing shooter designed for selfies and video-calling. For a device meant for business applications and productivity, the back camera’s versatility would surprise the unsuspecting user.

For users who are into light stock camera interfaces, the Leap is a decent choice. From the settings menu, users can set the flash, timer and aspect ratio. Additionally, they can set HDR, choose among normal, panorama, burst-capture and time-shifting modes.

White balance settings, ISO values and exposure compensation are automatic. Like the iPhone, however, the loud shutter sound can’t be turned off.

Software

The Leap runs on BlackBerry OS 10.3.1, with a Dual-Core 1.5 GHz Krait. Except for the Amazon appstore, which startled most critics, it offers all features expected of the new BlackBerry. There isn’t much improvement from the Z series when it comes to response speed.

In fairness to the Leap, counter other critics, there’s a feeling of seamlessness in the navigations that was missing from the Z-series.

Perhaps the Leap’s most notable upgrade comes from the keyboard, which is the common problem among Android smartphones. The typing experience is fantastic, flawless even, other experts claim. Almost as smooth as – dare we say – the iPhone?

Being an Enterprise gadget with surprisingly high-performing camera features and long battery life, the Leap might just be the comeback Blackberry needs. Some critics forgive it for its shortcomings and encourage all BlackBerry fans to experience the upgrade.

Google Now Supports Apple Watch

by Admin - on May 14th 2015 - Comments Off on Google Now Supports Apple Watch

watch-756487_640Apple Watch users have waited for this moment. The question people have been asking has now been answered. After many months of silence, Google finally shows its support of Apple’s smartwatch, starting with its News and Weather app.

Despite the uproar of Apple Watches released last month, people felt the silence. It was hard to miss when something as big as Google was absent in one of Apple’s latest biggest marvels. “Can’t Google afford being part of the Apple Watch conversation?” was the common speculation.

But alas, by launching its News and Weather app, Google proves, again, that it can afford anything.

Although users were hoping for more substantial apps, like Gmail, Search, Maps, Google+ and Calendar, others choose to look at the silver lining – that Google is finally opening its doors to Apple smartwatches.

Well at least it’s a start.

Breaking the Google-Apple Feud

It’s a little known fact that Apple Watch’s success in sales last month did not bode so well for the Google app ecosystem, which stretches across super brands like Samsung, LG and Motorola. In 2014, Google-powered smartwatches sold 720,000 units.

Apple Watches, on the other hand, sold 957,000 units – on the first day. Perhaps the feud between these two giants is imaginary, but it’s highly possible, given the numbers and given Google’s fondness of Android, Apple’s ultimate competition, that it actually rings truer than people think.

In contrast, says a tech analyst, the bulk of Google’s revenue comes from software sales, not hardware sales. As much as people want to believe Apple is Google’s number one rival, the success of one doesn’t totally damage the other.

And with Google’s News and Weather app finally appearing in Apple Watches, people are more and more convinced that a business friendship is in the horizon.

Google brings news to your wrist

Apple Watch users were dying to have Google on their wrists. And now that they have it, are they satisfied? A good word to describe user reaction would be “underwhelmed.”

Basically, the app interface shows the latest headlines, along with time stamps and source tags, which are drawn from roughly 65,000 news sources. Nothing actually happens when someone clicks on the headlines, no enlarged news articles of rich and valuable content.

What it does is simply give users real-time updates in two sentences or less. Substance sacrificed for simplicity? Google can definitely do better.

A little consolation again for Google and Apple fans is that the app launch marks the start of a promising friendship. If this continues, everyone can look forward to more integrated projects in the future.

New Gadgets To Help People Sleep

by Admin - on May 14th 2015 - Comments Off on New Gadgets To Help People Sleep

sleeping-time-650684_640One of the most common problems among adults today is insufficient sleep. In fact, statistics indicates that sleep deprivation in the United States has now become a public health epidemic.

“It’s no secret that we live in a 24/7 society,” says Carl Hunt, MD, director of the National Center on Sleep Disorders Research at the National Institutes of Health. “There are many more opportunities to do things other than sleep – 24-hour cable TV, the Internet, email, plus long work shifts.”

To remedy this, health experts from various specializations have come up with solutions, including sleeping medications, herbal pills, relaxation therapies and meditative exercises.

Technology is not one to back down from this challenge. This year, many tech inventions will emerge to prevent sleep loss.

Chrona Sleep Elite

The Chrona Sleep Elite is a sleep optimization system that transforms any pillow into a smart pillow. Instead of concentrating on the hours of sleep, it prioritizes the quality of sleep. With high-tech sensors packed into a thin memory foam that slides easily into any pillow case, the Chrona plays low-frequency sounds that drive users into a deep, soothing nighttime rest.

To ease users out of slumber, it emits high-frequency sounds before waking them with light and gentle vibrations. Interested buyers can get their Chrona shipped in December this year.

Kokoon EEG Headphones

The Kokoon EEG headphones are the first headphones comfortable enough to be slept in. Recognized as smart headphones, they can determine how and when to adjust the volume of the music as the users sleep and wake up.

Powered by ONKYO, the Kokoon EEG headphones have sensors and app that can track people’s sleep and provide clinical insights on how to improve its quality. For that extra comfort, engineers developed these headphones using their patented FlexMould Comfort System to fit the gadget to the natural contours of the head. With a soft gel cushioning, the Kokoon EEG headphones serve as extra pillows for the ears.

DreamScience

Tagged as the brainwave-oriented sleep companion, DreamScience by Oregon Scientific is a speaker system that helps users achieve more restful levels of sleep. With its patented Sleep Enhancement Technology, DreamScience creates a therapeutic state of calm by giving the user relaxing ambient sounds that adjust in volume and rhythm. This process is scientifically proven to relax the body and mind.

Their brainwave-embedded sequences can stimulate the brain’s beta, alpha and delta waves, which contribute to a peaceful, healing and meditative sleep.

The track list for Sleep Sounds includes Hawaiian, Tranquility and Unwind. Meanwhile, the track list for Wakeup Sounds includes Energize, Dawn Rain, Revitalize and Aurora. The retail release of DreamScience is expected June this year.

Technology News and Information | Liberated Tech