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Posts Tagged ‘technology’

Y2K Bug in Retrospect


picture of y2k explosion

Do you remember all the hype about the y2k bug in the late 1990's? For those who only vaguely remember that situation, here's the problem in a nutshell. Computer programmers had the practice of abbreviating the year to only the last two digits. As the year 2000 approached it was feared that everything would stop working at the time of the rollover from 99 to 00. The predictions were that long-working computer systems would break down when the ascending numbering of years "...97, 98, 99..." suddenly became invalid when we hit the year "00."

Ten years ago this week people all over the globe were anticipating worldwide calamity. Some people were extremely concerned about y2k, but many others were totally nonchalant. My own take on it was "y2k? — y not 2k?!" But actually it's more than a little ironic that they called the problem "y2k" when it's abbreviations that got us in the problem in the first place!

Here's a cartoon that shows what many thought would happen:

picture of y2k cartoon

People were seriously stocking up on provisions — bottled water, canned meat, vegetables and fruit, TP, etc., in case stores could not open for months. There were all sorts of items available like the Survival Kit below:

picture of y2k survival kit

If you want to read more about the "y2k problem," there's a good article on Wikipedia.

Crisis mentality and hype are nothing new. But the y2k problem apparently wasn't either — those living in 999 A.D. and the year 1 B.C. faced similar situations. I have unearthed several documents that describe those situations, and I share them below. Also in 1999 there were some, in spite of all the reporting about it, who still did not understand the concept of y2k. I'll end the post with one blonde's (mis)understanding of the problem.
Click here to continue reading this post ⇒


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Recent Inventions


picture of handy tissue dispenser

Do you ever find yourself amazed at some new invention you read about or see? Do you ever comment, "I think I could have come up with that one myself!"? Creative ideas turn into gadgets we feel as if we just have to have to make our lives easier or more enjoyable. Nearly everyone with e-mail has probably seen pictures of some zany, yet at least semi-practical inventions that come out of Japan, like the handy roll of facial tissue in the picture on the right. As zany as it looks, though, there have often been times when I would have loved to have something like that to help manage a bad cold or allergies!

Today's i.v. is some cool inventions I've run across as I surf the web. At a time that the economy is so tight, it seems to me as if some of these items would be luxuries that many people would have a hard time justifying. I'm not supplying links, but you could Google any of these inventions that grab you.

Here are several food items that are interesting.

How about bacon dipped in melted chocolate?

picture of chocolate bacon

Some like dark toast ... how about a little Darth toast, from a Star Wars toaster?

picture of Darth toast

If you're a fan of Swiss Army knives, you might go for Swiss Army chocolate.

picture of Swiss Army chocolate

If you like Nutella, you might want to try finger cookies.

picture of finger cookies

If you have trouble with people stealing things from your lunch, anti-theft lunch bags might be the solution for you.

picture of anti-theft lunch bags

Disturbing, isn't it?! 😀 Now several inventions for the feet.

People who like bumper stickers might go for these shoes bumper stickers.

picture of shoe bumper stickers

Here's a close-up.

picture of shoe bumper stickers

Here are some shoes that allow you to make your mark on the world, as you walk — shoes made with colored pencils.

picture of colored pencil shoes

Now for some general inventions.

For those who don't have Internet access, someone has published a book that was outdated before it was printed — Offline Wikipedia.

picture of offline Wikipedia

A keyring key?

picture of keyring key

Do you hate leaving your pet fish at home? Take it along!

picture of carry your fish bowl

Do you have trouble keeping track of your flash drive? Try this USB clothespin.

picture of USB clothespin

Do you get tired of extension cords or a lack of outlets? How about a wall like this?

picture of outlet wall

Here's a close-up shot of the outlet wall.

picture of outlet wall close-up

Tired of buying expensive greeting cards that people look at, and eventually toss? Try this all-in-one stamp.

picture of all-in-one stamp

Those who collect salt and pepper shakers might not have this set yet. Salt and battery anyone?

picture of salt and pepper batteries

Wish you had room for a ping pong table? Well, now you do with this ping pong door.

picture of ping pong door

Now you can listen to your iPod almost anywhere!

picture of iPod TP dispenser

Have you seen any neat inventions lately? Is there anything in this post that you now feel you just have to have?

quotation...

"Everything that can be invented has been invented." - Charles H. Duell, Commissioner, U.S. Office of Patents, 1899

=^..^= =^..^=
Rob

Atomic Bomb — an invention to end all inventions


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Has Technology Improved Our Lives?


It's undeniable that technology brings with it many wonderful conveniences and opportunities. But has technology really improved our lives? This is a question we discuss in some of my French classes when we read francophone literature that bemoans the changes to traditionally simple lifestyles where Western civilization enters and becomes dominant.

When I think about how different my life is now from when I was a child and recognize how dependent I've become on technology, it's almost startling. And if you had ever told me that I would one day work summers as a PC tech, I would have thought they were crazy!

Below are some cartoons in my files about the impact of technology on us.

picture of technology

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Is your life better because of technology? How has technology improved or diminished your quality of life? Do you have more stress or less stress because of all the gadgets and appliances in your life?

quotation...

"Scripture leaves no room for spiritual neutrality." - Jeremy McMorris

=^..^= =^..^=
Rob

A computer's attention span is as long as its power cord or its battery life.


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Can We Believe What We See?


How do you know whether to believe what you see? With today's technology it's possible to alter images so that the changes are almost imperceptible. In addition to that, some people have great fun posing to create certain illusions. And sometimes people and objects are aligned quite accidentally to produce amusing effects. I wish I could find and scan in a hilarious picture taken in our living room where one the people standing in front of our fireplace ended up with what looked like antlers when the pictures were developed.

Here are some pictures that have been accumulating in my files. Some are undoubtedly contrived, but I think that some are purely serendipitous.

coincidental picture

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coincidental picture

In this final week before the elections, be careful. Reality is often distorted, and not everything may be as it appears. It's truly hard to know what and whom to believe. I'm glad to know One who is always to be trusted and believed!

If you have a funny picture similar to those above, please send it my way. I'll do another post in the future with the best ones I receive.

quotation...

"Many brave men have died for countries that don't exist any more." - Dr. Drew Conley

=^..^= =^..^=
Rob

"I believe in my cosmetics line. There are plenty of charities for the homeless. Isn't it time somebody helped the homely?" - singer Dolly Parton


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Networking


picture of social networking

I received a cartoon from a reader that got me thinking about the current sensation known as social networking. Although it's primarily a rage among the younger generation, many older folks are into it as well. Some readers might remember my telling earlier this year about a long-time family friend (and ivman reader, I might add), a widower in his eighties who met a widow in her eighties using eHarmony. They are now happily married.

Anyway, below is the cartoon I received:

cartoon about Facebook

Facebook is a intriguing concept and being "friends" on Facebook is an interesting phenomenon. People are able to get back in touch with people that they have known but with whom they've lost contact. It's been great fun to find an old acquaintance on Facebook or to hear from someone out of the clear blue and get caught up on their lives. Once in a while, though, when someone asks me to become friends on Facebook, I really have to think hard to come up with how we know each other. If I can't think of it, I just confirm, rather than hurt someone's feelings. As of this writing, my "friend" count is 632! One colleague (and ivman reader) is 41 friends shy of 2,000! It was fun last week to have over 80 friends "write on my wall" to wish me happy birthday in at least 4 languages, some even offering condolences! Most of those people, however, would never have known or remembered it was my birthday, had it not been for Facebook. There are all kinds of other forms of social networking out there, some better than others, and some far worse than others.

One form of social networking that I have not explored and am not sure I would even want to is Twitter. This fall I attended a workshop during Faculty In-Service called "To Twitter or Not to Twitter." The presenter of the workshop has a business where he requires all his employees to Twitter. I cannot imagine that there would be that many people who would be interested in wanting to get frequent updates on my every movement and thought. Do any of you Twitter? If so, what do you like about it?

I saw a cartoon a while back that kind of sums up what I've seen happen on several blogs I used to visit....

cartoon about Twitter

I don't want that to happen to my blog!

Living in an age of technology and almost instantaneous communication, we might be surprised to learn how advanced some older societies actually were....

Ancient Social Networks

After having dug to a depth of 10 meters last year, Scottish scientists found traces of copper wire dating back 100 years and came to the conclusion that their ancestors already had a telephone network more than 100 years ago.

Not to be outdone by the Scots, in the weeks that followed, English scientists dug to a depth of 20 meters, and shortly after, headlines in the English newspapers read, "English archaeologists have found traces of 200-year-old copper wire and have concluded that their ancestors already had an advanced high-tech communications network a hundred years earlier than the Scots."

One week later, "The Kerrymen," a southwest Irish newsletter, reported the following: "After digging as deep as 30 meters in peat bog near Tralee, Paddy O'Droll, a self-taught archaeologist, reported that he found absolutely nothing. Paddy has therefore concluded that 300 years ago, Ireland had already gone wireless."

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One of the fun things about Facebook is viewing and accessing pictures posted by your friends. Our daughter Megan recently posted some pictures of our grandson Drew who enjoys pointing to his facial features to show he knows the words. I've put them together in a collage....

collage of pictures of Drew

We're looking forward to some wonderfully real social networking later this month when we rendez-vous for a weekend in Cincinnati with our daughter, son-in-law, and grandson. I'll tell you all about it in a future blog post. 🙂

I cannot begin to list all various social media, but here are a few - online social networks (like Facebook), blogging, e-mail, text messaging, instant messaging, Twitter, etc. In many ways social networking strikes me as paradoxical - it focuses on relationships and community, but it also seems to encourage our human bent towards narcissism. The whole concept brings many questions to my mind. What are your thoughts about some of the various forms of social networking? Do you participate in it? Does it strengthen or weaken relationships? Does it deepen or cheapen friendship? How many close friendships is it possible to maintain at once? Are there dangers in today's social networking? I look forward to some good discussions in the comments to this post.

quotation...

"Our hearts are idol factories." - John Calvin

=^..^= =^..^=
Rob

Your secrets are safe with me and all my friends.


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