Category Archives: Computers and Technology

Computers and Technology

What Is a Couplant?

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What is your favourite feature of my earpiece? In my opinion, I much like the design job – It is cooler than an Inuit’s underpants!

A couplant is a material that serves as a medium for the transmission of sound waves. Usually, couplant gel is a form of water-based substance, or a paste composed of oils or grease-like chemicals. It is placed in physical contact with a transducer that receives audio signals in the air and then coverts them to electrical impulses for transmission. Microphones and sound test equipment use couplant gel or dry couplants to facilitate this.

Ultrasonic testing of materials can also employ complete immersion of the transducer in a couplant-like water, or just a thin film of glycerin or oil between the transducer and medium being studied. Acoustic couplant is important for ultrasonic testing because air is a fairly poor medium for the transmission of sound waves in general as compared to solids. The level of energy that ultrasonic frequencies carry falls off dramatically when transmitted through air, so these materials are meant to minimize this loss.

Many conventional substances can be used as a couplant, including motor oil or even hair gel. This is because even a very thin layer of air between a transducer and sound specimen will have strong attenuation effects, and nearly any solid placed between them will reduce this. Electrical components can generate a lot of heat, however, so specially formulated couplants are designed to accommodate this.

Ultrasonic couplants in the nuclear and medical equipment industry go a step further by requiring materials that are low in halogen or sulfur compounds at less than 50 parts per million (ppm). Propylene glycol, the same material used in automotive antifreeze, is another specialty compound used. It is chemically nonreactive and can withstand temperatures of 200° Fahrenheit (90° Celsius) before undergoing thermal breakdown. Optical couplant fills another unique need. Often referred to as index matching gel, it is used in the splicing of fiber optic cable to minimize variations in the index of refraction that occur where the fibers meet, which can degrade signal transmission.

The main properties looked for in a good couplant material are its acoustic properties, corrosion inhibition, and surface wetting so that it binds well. The length of time it stays wet, known as drying time, is also important, as well as the temperature levels it can endure and its uniformity. A unique aspect of some couplant gel is that it contains a fluorescent tracer dye that glows in the ultraviolet band, which is used to monitor coverage levels.

 

Russian Officials Brand The Sims 4 as ‘Harmful to Children’

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Russia has come under fire from both gamers and the global LGTB community for its decision to restrict sales of Electronic Arts game ‘The Sims 4’ to 18+ gamers.

EA have claimed that this 18+ rating is due to the game’s depiction of same-sex relationships, images of which are deemed by Russian law as being “harmful to children”.

The Sims, in any incarnation, centres on the lives of a group of virtual characters. Players must ensure that the characters are fed, enjoy gainful employment, have somewhere to live (preferably with adequate toilet facilities) and are generally happy in their lives.

sims 4 2014There are very few mission-based objectives within The Sims. In fact, it is intended as a virtual depiction (some may say satire) of modern life. To this end, relationships play a part in the game, although characters are neither explicitly heterosexual nor homosexual, these are largely choices made on the part of the player. Relationships can either be brief flirtations, casual flings or monogamous, steady partnerships; it is entirely up to the gamer.

Depictions of sex (called ‘woohoo’) within the game take place under sheets, or in other private places. Players can tell that something is going on, but one would be hard pushed to guess that it was sex without some prior erm…Woohoo experience.

In 2010, Russia passed a law known as 436-FZ, which was created, ostensibly, to protect children from harmful content. The law gives Russian officials the right to censor anything that may elicit “fear, horror, or panic in young children”. It sounds fair enough, except when you try to envision any child, no matter how sensitive, being rendered ‘fearful, horrified or panicky’ at the sight of two, essentially genderless, computer sprites exchanging, essentially nothing, under a duvet.

For the record, Sims cannot take illegal drugs or self harm in any way (with the possible exception of being up all night woohoo-ing and then falling asleep at work and being fired, which I don’t think qualifies), so it is hard to imagine why else the game could have garnered such a severe age restriction.

Oh wait; I forgot to mention that in 2013, Russian authorities amended 436-FZ so that it prohibits the “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relationships”. Now there’s an ill-fitting definition if ever there was one.

Many studies/groups (such as America’s TREVOR project) maintain that media-enforced pressure to conform to heterosexual norms can cause depression, anxiety and even suicide among LGBT youths, essentially proving that only showing one type of romantic relationship can actually be harmful to young viewers. On the flipside, as far as I know, there is no evidence to suggest that seeing a same-sex partnership in a video game will cause an otherwise heterosexual gamer to become a homosexual and even if there was, how exactly would they be being harmed by this unlikely metamorphosis?

Critics maintain that this move reflects little more than personal prejudice in the guise of child protection. Who’s ‘fear, horror and/or panic’ are Russia really preventing here?

In the rest of the world, The Sims series has either been rated at 10+ or 13+ (mainly because of all the woohoo, I suppose). Electronic Arts was voted as being one of the best places to work for LGBT individuals by the HRC (Human Rights Campaign) in 2012, it got a score of 100%.

One has to wonder what score the Russian government would get.

SOURCE

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-27374539

Why do bose make one of the best TV sound systems

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When I was young and inexperienced about the ways of the world, my Mum used to buy me those electric toothbrushes that you see on TV.

 

Those things don’t actually have a very long shelf life, but they do work a treat (it was 27 years before I needed my first filling). Therefore, whenever an old one bit the dust, my Mum would somehow stump up the money and replace it. Good as gold.

 

One of the many disillusions I’ve endured since leaving home about six years ago, (first for Uni and then for the big, scary real world) is that you have to pay for your own stuff. Like, all the time. For example, the other day our washing machine broke and it cost the best part of £40 to repair it (amazingly, all that palaver was just because the button had come off of my girlfriend’s trousers and gotten caught somewhere in the mechanism). The week after that, our food bill spiralled upwards to almost twice its previous amount with no warning from our local recession-maligned supermarket. As a matter of necessity, my much-loved electric toothbrush was forced out of my life.

 

So, last week, with a little more money in my pocket than usual, I ‘treated’ myself to a new toothbrush and, wouldn’t you know it? The damn thing died on me this morning. For **** sake!

 

What does this have to do with the Bose TV sound system? Not a lot, but I was pissed about it and I wanted to vent.

 

Actually, the two products do have quite a lot in common (in a good way). Like my preferred brand of toothbrush, the Bose TV speaker doesn’t come cheap, however, it is also arguably the best product of its kind and, like the toothbrush; no home should be without one.

 

Your average flat panel TV screen doesn’t have wonderful speakers to match its exceptional picture; you’ve probably noticed. The size and shape of those speakers are all wrong for anything but the most basic aural experience. Today’s average flatscreen TV viewer hooks an external sound system up to the TV as a matter of course.

 

What I’m saying, then: is if you’re going to buy speakers; buy Bose.

 

With a flawless, easy set up and a smart, compact design, Bose’s new TV sound system provides you with a broader, more detailed sound. You can hear every bone crunching in your favourite high-octane action fest, or experience fully the subtle nuances of heartbreak in your favourite rom coms (probably).

 

Using proprietary digital signal processing (look it up – I have a word limit and I wasted almost half of it talking about a toothbrush), these speakers adjust and optimise the sound at almost any volume level. In practical terms, this basically means that you won’t have to turn the sound right up to hear the dramatic whispery bits, only to be deafened, in turn, by the sonic assault of the massive explosion-y bits.

 

This speaker array will bring audio quality into your home that is damn close to cinema level and perfectly compliments a Blu Ray/Plasma screen setup, in fact, I’ll go one better: it completes it.

 

On the downside, this system is not the cheapest. However, sometimes it’s worth shelling out a little (OK, a lot) extra in order to get the nicest product on the rack. When I consider how much time the average family spends watching TV, it makes sense that they’d want to invest in a superior product. Anyway, the point is this; whether its oral or aural technology you’re after, it pays to buy the best. 

Yahoo! Becomes ‘Yikes!’ as Recycled Accounts Relay Sensitive Information to the Wrong People

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Yahoo!’s policy of recycling inactive email accounts has backfired on them, as new account owners are receiving personal emails that aren’t meant for them. 

The policy, active since June, means that Yahoo IDs and addresses are reassigned to a new user if left inactive for a year or more. But obviously both Yahoo! and some of its users got more than they bargained for.

The emails have been reported to contain highly sensitive information. As a result, privacy experts have been called in, in order to solve the problem quickly and without further incident.

According to a Yahoo! Spokesperson, “Before recycling inactive accounts we attempted to reach the account owners [in] multiple ways to notify them that they needed to log in to their account or it would be subject to recycling,” The spokesperson went on to say that, “We took many precautions to ensure this was done safely – including deleting any private data from the previous account owner, sending bounce-backs to the senders for at least 30-60 days letting them know the account no longer existed and unsubscribing the accounts from commercial mail.”

Interviewed by BBC News, Tom Jenkins, an IT security professional and recipient of such an account, revealed just how damaging this malfunction could potentially be, “I can gain access to their Pandora account, but I won’t. I can gain access to their Facebook account, but I won’t. I know their name, address and phone number. I know where their child goes to school. I know the last four digits of their social security number. I know they had an eye doctor’s appointment last week and I was just invited to their friend’s wedding.”

As much as Yahoo

! has responded swiftly to this scandal, critics who have slated the initiative from the beginning are now finding themselves vindicated. Mike Rispoli of Privacy International said, “These problems were flagged by security and privacy experts a few months ago when Yahoo announced their intention to recycle old emails, and cautioned that Yahoo’s plan created significant security and privacy risks. Yahoo downplayed these risks, and ignored critics, but now we see these concerns were legitimate,”

Mr. Rispoli went on to say that, “This email recycling scheme, an effort to re-engage old users and attract new ones, is resulting in some of our most intimate data being accessed by someone we don’t know and without our knowledge (…) We’re talking about account passwords, contacts for friends and families, medical records – this issue needs to be addressed immediately by Yahoo if they care about the privacy of their users and want them to trust the company with sensitive information.”

Our experts say that the best way to avoid this fate is actually to cancel any email account that is not currently in at least semi-regular use, having first deleted all content from the account.

SOURCE:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-24283179

2013: The Year of Augmented reality

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2013 will probably be the year of AR.

 

Now at the end of last year, we are already getting a speedy embrace of Augmented reality tech. Portable gadgets like tablet pc’s, mini machines and smart phones are seemingly tailor-made for this new darling of the Information period.

 

So what is AR? Well, AR (or ‘augmented reality’ to its associates), is essentially the practise of using CPU created imagery and/or information onto real life descriptions (at the least the kind of AR we are discussing here is, anyway, its an open-ended expression, so post your complaints within the remarks section, please). Augmented reality might be applied to paper supplements (so when the content or images are viewed through a smart phone app they jump to life and recommend additional content), street corners (much like the app which can mention all relevant information pertaining to a restaurant, including comments, menus and exclusive offers, just by holding your phone in the direction of the eatery itself) and even the night sky (yes, some Augmented reality apps will in reality offer scientific data and Hubble telescope information on heavenly bodies and constellations as you look at them on your phone). Continue reading

Tech We’d Like To See: The Universal Translator

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Originally conceived by science fiction writer Murray Leinster and utilized in his 1945 novella ‘First Contact’, the universal translator is a device that translates any language into a language known to the device’s user.

 

Most people reading this article will be infinitely more familiar with the universal translator as featured in ‘Star Trek’ and its various incarnations. Star Trek’s version of the translator is actually an extremely effective plot device, allowing aliens from anywhere in the universe to speak perfect English, even if they have never met a Human being a day in their lives (and thus allowing the writers of ‘Star Trek’ the freedom to not have to explain why each alien race speaks English so well in every other episode). In reality, alien linguistics would likely be so alien that they could take generations to decipher and even prove to be impossible for Human vocal chords to mimic. Continue reading

Apple Announces iPhone 5s-The Most Forward-Thinking Smartphone in the World

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Editorial – So most of the rumours and speculation is correct, apple have announced this years version of their iphone, the iphone 5s. With fingerprint sensor (Touch ID), an enhanced camera with a quicker A7 microprocessor, with an unveiling of iOS 7 arriving later in september, have apple given us a revolutionary new phone or have they simply updated the iphone 5?

 

Apple® today announced iPhone® 5s, the most forward-thinking iPhone yet, featuring an all-new A7 chip, making iPhone 5s the world’s first smartphone with 64-bit desktop-class architecture for blazing fast performance in the palm of your hand. iPhone 5s redefines the best smartphone experience in the world with amazing new features all packed into a remarkable thin and light design, including an all-new 8 megapixel iSight® camera with True Tone flash and introducing Touch ID™, an innovative way to simply and securely unlock your phone with just the touch of a finger. iPhone 5s comes with iOS 7, the most significant iOS update since the original iPhone, engineered for 64-bit technology and featuring hundreds of great new features, including Control Center, Notification Center, improved Multitasking, AirDrop®, enhanced Photos, Safari®, Siri® and iTunes Radio℠. Continue reading

What ps3 game is the easiest to get a platinum trophy

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In which our hero (namely me) compares and contrasts three big-selling adventure games and reports to you, the consumer, which one he likes the best.

 

1)     Assassin’s Creed – Released by Ubisoft in 2007, Creed’s major selling points are twofold; firstly, it has a long and absorbing storyline for players to engage with. A young man is captured by mysterious forces, and placed in a machine that forces him to re-live the past adventures of his ancient ancestor, who belonged to an ancient cult of (you guessed it) Assassins. The second thing is the gameplay; Creed is tremendously playable, evoking memories of such classic games as ‘Metal Gear Solid’ and ‘Prince of Persia.’ What’s more, the story ends on a cliffhanger that leaves you wanting more. Fortunately there is now a whole series for you to play, together with at least one more ancestor to inhabit as our young hero struggles for his freedom. It is, in short, excellent. Continue reading

Radio Navigation Systems

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The radio can be a significant resource of the baby. The classical features provided with this product, furthermore for the transmission of voices and texts, will be the cogent reasons for the elevated usage. Mobile phones aren’t mere communication products as well as the leisure uses are lots of. When you are idle and want to entertain, it may be perfect to experience a device in the pocket for everybody the main reason.

They’re broadly proven to become the best choice. In spite that it absolutely was initially made to have the ability to exchange voices over distances, it’s become device to provide entertainment and competes while using computer in your house. It’s portable little also.In occasions of emergency like getting twisted in crowded places, your delay might be communicated effectively through text messages. Waiting is not anymore a monotony along with your mobile phone in the palm. It’s very amusing using the qualities supplied by the walkie talkies models. Checking mails, browsing internet, hearing music, taking photographs, watching tv might be completed from you throughout an insipid travel. Hence mobiles allow us just like a communication device that works many tasks. Continue reading

Entertaining, Games And The Letter ‘X’

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The aim of this site is to keep you updated on the latest releases, innovations and general news from the black-and-green neon world of the Xbox.

 

Here at best xbox game, we love the damn things. Can’t get enough of them, in fact. But the console itself is nothing without the rocket fuel that takes your imagination into the stratosphere with each new adventure. By which, of course, we mean the games.

  Continue reading