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EVERY MONDAY • January 30, 2012
t was a late Sunday afternoon when my friend decided to tag me along to Ortigas Home Depot. He wanted to check out some materials for the construction of his condominium. Eager I was to go out and see what new things I can discover, I hurriedly gave in to the invitation. As I was strolling, my eyes caught on the products of a door hardware distributor called Doortech System. Their stall carries different types of automated garage doors, sliding and swing gate operators, roll-up shutters and grilles, as well as gate barriers among others. Apparently, the automated gates we see in movies are made possible through gate operators. Basically, existing bi-folding, swing or sliding gatescan be installed with electromechanical motors in order to open them automatically through remote control. Having an automated gate actually has some advantages: - It allows family members to quickly access the gate through a
remote control, each member having separate remote controls at hand; - It eliminates the hassle of waking up the caretaker or household helper at the wee hours of the night in order to open the gate; - Lastly, it helps a driver to stay dry and worry-free during the rainy season, since he no long has to alight from the vehicle to open the gate manually. Talk about what’s new with gate operators, the personnel mentioned that selected gate operator models, such as their Italian brand RIB, also have a Wi-Fi version. Oh great! Just like Internet Wi-Fi? In principle, yes. Usually, gate operator installation typically requires masonry work on the support columns of gates. The marble or stone columns have to be drilled in order to provide the necessary electrical wiring provision. With the Wi-Fi gate operators, it eliminates the wiring needed to connect the different gate operator components, thereby also eliminating the need for drilling.All parts of
the gate controller are controlled by radio signals emitted by the central master unit. In terms of security, there’s no need to worry about hitting something or someone. Gate operators are packaged with safety sensors. The gate automatically stops the operation, either opening or closing, in case an object suddenly passes through. This security feature is very important when another car or a person suddenly blocks the way of the opening. Now that’s wise! Although it is easy to install gate operators to existing gates, I was advised that the best time to invest in a gate operator unit is during the structural phase of the construction.By doing so, the engineers can advise the necessary provisions in advance before the gate is even mounted. Whether you have a small or big gate, a light or heavy one, gate operators are able to support vari-
ous weights. It can handle gate leaf weights ranging from 200 to 2,200 kilograms. Be ready to spend about Php35,000 and above depending on the engineer’s assessment. Now I wonder how come not so
many houses in Manila have gate operators. Is it because they don’t know about it or they think it’s too expensive? I surely want one! How about you? (Glenn Richmond Ong)
The Babbling Introvert
Fiio’s E17 Alpen Headphone Amplifier
Fiio’s E17/Alpen USB DAC headphone amplifier is a musthave. It has a single 3.5 output, SPDIF and AUX inputs, with mini USB and a proprietary dock for hardware/computer connectivity. The dot matrix OLED screen and brushed metal finish are for looking good, while the 96K / 24bit (USB) and 192K / 24bit (SPDIF) sample rates are for the good music. There are also basic bass, treble, mid and gain controls.
By Angelo Fernandez
The AA Battery Cell Phone
e are always looking out for the next new thing in gadgets, especially if it has cool new features like Siri for the iPhone 4s. Whether it’s a PC, laptop, tablet, phone, or any other gadget for that matter, we’re probably always checking how many things it can do packed into one device. Our Smartphones alone are so many things all in one because of their internal features and the many applications you can get. We now even have TV’s that can surf the web. An online article caught my eye about two weeks ago because it was so against what our gadgets are today. I was drawn to the article because of how handy it could potentially be and upon reading it; I was even more intrigued by its simplicity. How does a cell phone that runs on a single AA battery sound to you? That’s what drew me in to read the article, especially since the phones nowadays use up so much battery
Does Technology Affect Your Happiness?
As young people spend more time on computers, smartphones and other devices, researchers are asking how all that screen time and multitasking affects children’s and teenagers’ ability to focus and learn - even drive cars. A study from Stanford University, published Wednesday, wrestles with a new question: How is technology affecting their happiness and emotional development? The answer, in the peer-reviewed study of the online habits of girls ages 8 to 12, is that those who say they spend considerable amounts of time using multimedia describe themselves in ways that suggest they are less happy and less socially comfortable than peers who say they spend less time on screens. The research raises as many questions as it seeks to answer, as the scientists readily acknowledge. That is because the research was based on an online survey taken by more than 3,400 girls, a sample that may well not be representative of the larger population and, because the responses are self-reported, are not subject to follow-up or verification by the researchers. Among the crucial questions that the researchers were not able to answer is whether the heavy use of media was the cause for the relative unhappiness or whether girls who are less happy to begin with are drawn to heavy use of media, in effect retreating to a virtual world. But the researchers hypothesize that heavy use of media is a contributing factor to the social challenges of girls. The reason, say the researchers, is that on a basic, even primitive level, girls need to experience the full pantheon of communication that comes from face-to-face contact, such as learning to read body language, and subtle facial and verbal cues. "Humans are built to notice these cues - the quavering in your voice, perspiration, body posture, raise of an eyebrow, a faint smile or frown," said Clifford Nass, a Stanford professor of communication who led the study. Social media, he added, leaves the conversation two-dimensional. "If I’m not with you face to face, I don’t get these things. Or, if I’m face to face with you and I’m also texting, I’m not going to notice them." The peer-reviewed study appeared Wednesday in Developmental Psychology, a journal published by the American Psychological Association, as part of a series of articles on interactive technology and human development. There is no analogous study about how screen time affects boys. The fact that the study was based on an online survey gave pause to some academics. While they said the paper raised good questions, they also expressed concern about giving it too much weight, given that the researchers were not able to follow up with the survey subjects to get important context, including their family circumstances, income or ethnicity. Moreover, the limitations of the online survey did not even allow the researchers to verify the ages of the girls. Lyn Mikel Brown, an education professor at Colby College who studies girls’ behavior, cautioned against reading too much into the research because so little is known about the survey subjects. It may well be, she said, that girls who seek out online relationships are girls who otherwise might not feel social at all. "Finding like-minded people online and issues they can relate to and work on with others can be incredibly important," she said. But she also said the research should provoke further study about the connection between time spent online and social development, and should provoke conversations in families. (NYT)
life quickly. Alas it’s not what I originally thought but the article managed to intrigue me anyway. I’m talking about the SpareOne cell phone made by the battery technology company XPAL Power. It’s supposed to come out during the first quarter of 2012 and will cost $49.99. It’s a GSM cell phone that is designed to be a spare phone used only for emergencies, as its name suggests. The idea is that you can transfer your SIM from your normal phone when it runs out of juice. The reason it runs on a single AA battery is because it’s really stripped down. It’s even simpler than the typical cell phone from way back because it doesn’t even have a screen. All it has is a keypad and LED lights to indicate if you have power and signal. The LED light also doubles as a flashlight, which is handy for emergency purposes. Since it doesn’t have a screen, you also can’t use it for SMS so this device is only just for phone calls. I also read it has an always on 911 feature, so you can call 911 even without a SIM inside. I
wonder if that works for other emergency numbers worldwide too. This bare bones cell phone can be really handy in all kinds of emergency situations like floods, earthquakes, typhoons. Just hope that the cell towers hold up, especially if the disaster is really destructive like an earthquake. It was pointed out in the article that this could even be a way to keep in touch with your kids when they are away from you for an extended period of time like summer camp without having to invest in a real and more expensive phone. I’m not sure that will work well in our SMS driven culture though, given the limitations of the phone. This device sounds like something that every Boy Scout would always have near him. It’s always better to be prepared for emergencies and I can already see a lot of instances where this thing can save lives. Sure it’s not your latest gadget full of cool features but this boring little gadget still sounds interesting for the difference it can make.
By Allan D. Francisco
Mobile Gadgets Continue Leading Techworld
he little guys continue with their role as the high-tech sector's marching band. Smartphones and tablet computers remain at the forefront of the market's unrelenting surge forward. These mobile gadgets are leading the market's efforts to develop and adopt new technologies, and take consumers' money from their wallets, with consumers none the less merry for it, of course. There will come a time, when new technologies mean today's smartphones and tablets will go the way of the floppy disk drive and typewriter. For today, however, the iPhone, Android phones, BlackBerry, with Windows Phone smartphones trying hard to catch up, are what make the tech world quite an exciting place.
Windows Phone Apps at 60K Mark Non-Windows fans, for the longest time, have been using the "there are no enough apps for Windows phones" line to put down every argument for the Windows Phone. Although most everybody knows that it is not the quantity but the quality of applications that counts, nobody seems immune to using this troll, I
mean tool, to bash Microsoft's latest attempt to matter in the smartphone segment. Recently, however, the Windows Phone Marketplace trumpeted its achievement of reaching the 60,000application milepost. The software company added more than 10,000 new apps to the online market in just 25 days. Reports reveal that around 400 applications are being added everyday into the market. Finally, Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 is becoming relevant. Most industry observers believe that Nokia's Lumia 800 smartphones, which have been selling quite well since its UK launch before Christmas, play a significant role in this Microsoft mobile renaissance. Windows Marketplace might be several hundreds of thousands behind Apple's App Store and Google's Android Market, but Microsoft's online apps store is growing fast. In fact, it's growing faster than its rival markets did in their early days. Sony's Thinner CMOS Sensor Expect future cameras to come in bodies much thinner than today's cameras are. Japan's consumer electronics giant Sony has developed a thinner and more efficient back-
illuminated complementary metaloxide semiconductor or CMOS that can pave the way for higher-quality cameras for standalone cameras, and for smartphones and other portable gadgets. Sony's new CMOS technology will allow it to manufacture digital cameras' circuit section as an "independent chip," which makes the manufacture of more compact gadgets with less noise. The new image sensor comes with Sony's RGBW Coding technology, which reduces noise and allows low-light image capture. Hmm. This means thinner iPhones, Androids, and Windows Phones. Jailbreakers That didn't take long. The Chronic Dev Team and pod2g have released their first untethered jailbreak for the iPhone 4S and iPad 2. Apple's less-than-faithful consumers will now be able to access third-party app libraries to install apps not authorized by the late Steve Jobs' chief acolytes. That's all for the meantime, folks. Join me again next time as we keep on watching IT.
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