Ocean-Going Enterprise Sets Sail Next Year

At the time of writing, we know more about the surface of Mars than we do about the delicate complexities of our terrestrial oceans.

However, next year, a daring and innovative new project is seeking to change all that.

Sea Orbiter, referred to be some as the “starship Enterprise for the water” will be a new type of ocean-going research vessel, a moving laboratory that will hopefully allow Human scientists better access to the world’s oceans than ever before.

Designed by French architect Jaques Rougerie, Sea Orbiter will allow scientists to study everything from underwater archaeological sites to the migration patterns of marine life. It is also expected to extensively map the ocean floors beneath it and to allow divers to work continually on deeper dives than ever before.

Diving to a depth greater than 50 meters or so can cause decompression illness (DCI) and the only way to traverse this obstacle is via saturation diving, which involves prolonged immersion in hyperbaric pressure chambers. Aboard the Sea Orbiter, however, the entire bottom deck will feature hyperbaric pressure levels so that divers can regularly dive to greater depths, but still enjoy a comfortable standard of living when out of the water.

Theoretically, this means that divers will be able to reach depths of up to 100 metres, day after day, simply by remaining in Sea Orbiter’s bottom deck. Also, because the researchers will be diving via a special bay on the underside of the craft, they will be unencumbered by obstacles like bad weather and lack of daylight. In fact, due to this advancement, Sea Orbiter is expected to give researchers unprecedented access to as-yet unknown deep-sea creatures that are only observable at night.

Technology wise, the design appears to have been influenced by the International Space Station (ISS), another innovative project that allowed researchers to reside in their chosen location for long periods of time, something that is always a great boon to scientific research.

Sea Orbiter will also boast mini, remote-operated submarines, as well as a manned submersible capable of reaching depths up to 1,000 metres and an unmanned drone that will be capable of venturing an astonishing 6,000 metres below sea level.

The design of the craft itself is also equally innovative; in fact, the word genius could be applied with little/no hyperbole present. Basically, the craft’s tall, conical shape will render it almost impossible to tip, allowing Sea Orbiter to brave even the most violent ocean storm and emerge unscathed.

In fact, Sea Orbiter is far more stable than most other seafaring vessels. The saucer section in the middle of the craft, and the keel directly below it, are both far denser than seawater itself, which would normally be enough for it to sink like a stone, however, the upper portion of the vessel is designed to be exceptionally buoyant and will only be fashioned from the lightest possible materials, meaning that although two thirds of Sea Orbiter will be perpetually submerged, the vessel itself should never actually capsize or sink.

If Sea Orbiter is successful, this design is expected to become the model for a great many future ships.

Solar and wind power will keep Sea Orbiter’s engines running, with biofuel on standby for use as needed. This means that Sea Orbiter will be one of the greenest post-industrial vessels ever to sail the oceans of the world and, once again, could become a valuable prototype for the oceangoing vessels of the future.

Heavily influenced by the works of Jules Verne and the pioneering naturalist work of filmmaker and explorer Jaques Cousteau, Jaques Rougerie has designed underwater environments for much of his career, even participating in a World Record setting 71-day stint under water. His work to date has included sub aquatic museums and laboratories and glass bottom research vessels.

He has also created workable designs for underwater habitats such as houses and even entire villages.

Construction of the Sea Orbiter is expected to be completed by 2016, but the project’s success still hinges on funding. To date, the French government has provided most of the development money, but the project has also been backed by numerous corporate sponsors and even a public crowd-funding campaign.

If Sea Orbiter’s initial mission is successful, Rougerie and his team are planning to build an entire fleet of Sea Orbiters, which could potentially make their collective task the most comprehensive study of the Earth’s oceans that has ever been undertaken.

Police investigate after driver caught with mobile, headphones AND LAPTOP on busy Aberdeen road

This is the moment a motorist was captured on camera driving in a busy street – looking at his mobile, with his laptop plugged in and wearing earphones.

A screenshot from the video on Queen's Road, Aberdeen

The shocking footage was recorded in rush hour traffic and shows a blue 4×4 heading towards the centre of Aberdeen.

The male driver of the Land Rover Discovery now faces being quizzed by police about his antics – and has already been condemned by road safety campaigners.

The video was shot in the city’s Queen’s Road and uploaded to YouTube by a mystery cyclist known only as Cycle Cam.

Initially, the driver can be seen apparently looking down at his mobile phone as he cruises past the self-styled vigilante.

But when the biker catches up with him as he gets stuck in a queue of traffic, the full scale of his onboard gadget collection is revealed.

His ears are plugged by headphones connected to a mobile device, he is looking down at his phone and even has a laptop switched on and open next to the transmission tunnel of his vehicle.

The cyclist flashes his lights and points out the separate gadgets to him, but the 4×4 pulls off.

In a description to accompany the video, Cycle Cam writes: “This bloke is driving a Land Rover in town, looking at a mobile phone, laptop and wearing headphones on both ears.

“Not only is he not paying any attention to the road, I suspect he’s not even on this planet.

“I was truly surprised when I saw the laptop with the screen on and the headphones on both ears.

“I was ‘just’ expecting him to be on his mobile phone, as I see dozens of times everyday.”

The latest driver is just one of many motorists named and shamed on YouTube by the cyclist, who first caught the public’s attention last year with a video of a man pretending to be a police officer during a road rage encounter.

Describing his or her self as a “daily cycle commuter”, Cycle Cam’s online profile says: “General cycling education and naming and shaming bad driving in the roads of Aberdeen city and shire.

“Don’t want to be a star in my videos? Don’t endanger others. Drive properly, don’t be impatient and don’t be rude. Simple!”

After being contacted by the Press and Journal about the video, police said they were “following a positive line of inquiry”.

Last night, the driver was criticised by local councillors and road safety groups.

Hazlehead, Ashley and Queens Cross councillor Ross Thomson said he had been “extremely stupid”.

He said: “Dangerous driving like this has been a concern of the local community for some time and is regularly mentioned at community council meetings.

“It is especially a concern on the Queen’s Road because of the close proximity of all the schools in the area.

“The fact he was wearing headphones and had on a laptop is extremely dangerous.

“If you’re wearing headphones you are completely cutting off one of your senses, meaning you can’t hear emergency vehicles or other drivers’ horns.

“I know that driving through town can be frustrating but there is no e-mail that is more important than the life of a pedestrian.”

Neil Greig, research and policy director at the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM), said the driver should be “ashamed”.

He said: “It’s a clear example of breaking the law on mobile phone use and the driver should be ashamed to be taking such risks for the sake of keeping in touch. No call is more important than someone’s life.

“The IAM have no problem with camera users sharing their footage with Police Scotland so that they can consider if formal action is required.

“Ideally, we would like to see more police out there enforcing the law rather than relying on amateurs.

“No one taking such footage should be pursuing a car just to get a good shot. Concentrating on catching someone out is also a distraction from the real task of driving or riding safely.”

You can watch the video by Aberdeen Cycle Cam here, on Scotland’s Worst Drivers’ Facebook page.

Source - https://www.pressandjournal.co.uk/fp/news/aberdeen/482954/hold-police-investiagte-after-camera-catches-driver-using-laptop-mobile-and-headphones-on-busy-aberdeen-road/

What are the benefits of the Motorola DP2400?

If you work on a construction site or in a factory, you know how imperative it is to keep your employee safe at all times. MOTOTRBO digital radio solutions can help you achieve exactly that, providing you with the chance to communicate with other members of staff quickly, safely, and effectively.

The Motorola DP2400 is one of the world’s most advanced digital radio solutions, and can be used in a number of different environments, from production lines to construction sites. Just give your team the communication device in order to improve safety in the workplace. The product comes with intelligent voice announcement and audio features which facilitate easy communication in work environments that require instant contact with other staff. The product is available in both VHF and UHF frequency bands, giving you greater flexibility than ever before. You’ll also be able to upgrade to digital at your own pace, and take advantage of a wealth of different features.

Product specification

Motorola DP2400″>The DP2400 features 16 channel capacity, IP55 specifications for water protection, and three programmable buttons. The VHF frequency operates on 136-174 MHz, while the UHF frequency operates on 403-527 MHz. With a three-color LED screen for visual feedback when operating the digital device, the product has large push-to-talk buttons which ensure instant communication wherever your staff are. The product is easy to use, and comes with a full instructional guide – with all the information you need to get started. You will also be able to contact Motorola if you have a technical query, or just need some more advice on how to use the Motorola DP2400 to its full capability.

Other features

Other product features include two programmable buttons which can increase operator efficiency, analogue mode, and a remote monitor which can allow you to quickly assess remote user status and make sure your employees are safe. Group, All-call and individual capability is also available. The product has an attractive design, with VOX capability, five tone signalling (via software purchase), and privacy features (with even more privacy options via software purchase). You’ll be able to quickly attach and remove accessories without using a tool with a new accessory connector, and take advantage of intelligent audio which adjusts background noise and makes communication clearer (ideal in noisy workplaces like construction sites and factories). The product also provides conventional multiple site coverage, as well as capacity plus and linked capacity plus via software purchase.

Veteran Stage, Screen and Star Trek Actor Leonard Nimoy Passes Away, Aged 83

Veteran actor and director Leonard Nimoy has passed away aged 83.

The actor, who was best known for his portrayal of the half-Vulcan science officer Mr. Spock from the Star Trek franchise, was also notable for directing two of the Star Trek movies (the third and fourth instalments, respectively), as well as the popular 1987 comedy Three Men And A Baby.

Tributes to this iconic TV and film personality have flooded in from all angles, from Canadians defacing their $5 banknotes by ‘Spocking’ them, to a unique and exceptionally touching tribute from astronaut Terry W. Virts, who took a photo of a Vulcan salute given whilst aboard the International Space Station, just as the vessel passed over the actor’s home town of Boston, Massachusetts.

Further tributes from Nimoy’s colleagues in the arts and entertainment industries, and elsewhere, have been touching and, at times, surprising.

Long time co-star William Shatner (who portrayed Captain James T. Kirk in the original Star Trek series, as well as 7 of the related feature films), said of Nimoy “I loved him like a brother. We will all miss his humor, his talent, and his capacity to love.” George Takei, also a Star Trek co-star, called him not only an “extraordinarily talented man” but also noted that he was “a very decent Human being”.

US President Barack “I loved Spock” Obama said of Nimoy that he was, “a lifelong lover of the arts and humanities, a supporter of the sciences, generous with his talent and his time.” Such an admirer of Nimoy’s was the US President, that when they met in 2007, Obama actually greeted him with a Vulcan salute.

Astronaut Buzz Aldrin, the second man to walk on the moon, praised Nimoy for making “the journey into the final frontier accessible to us all”.

Fellow sci-fi Actor Christopher Judge, whose film credits include The Dark Knight Rises, but who is most famous for his portrayal of Teal’C in TV’s ‘Stargate SG-1′ Tweeted, “RIP Mr Nimoy. I hope my eyebrow made you proud. It was a ten year homage to you sir. You are my hero. Indeed”

The flood of tributes directed at Nimoy’s passing not only reflect his status as an icon of television and film, but also his generosity of spirit.

In 2014, actor Walter Koenig, who played Pavel Chekhov in Star Trek, revealed that Nimoy had personally appealed to the show’s producers to have African American actress Nichelle Nichols’ pay raised to equal that of co-stars Koenig and George Takei, which they then did. Nimoy also refused to voice the character of Mr. Spock in Star Trek: The Animated Series unless the producers first hired Nichols and Takei, who had not been cast at that time. For this, and many other acts of kindness on set, ‘Star Trek’ creator Gene Roddenberry was known to refer to Nimoy as “the conscience of Star Trek”.

Speaking following her long-time colleague’s death, Nichols, 82, said, “His vision and heart are bigger than the universe. I will miss him very much and send heartfelt wishes to his family.”

Away from Star Trek, Nimoy was also notable for his occasional TV appearances in The Simpsons and Futurama, as well as his hosting of paranormal series In Search Of… and his recurring role in Mission: Impossible.

Nimoy also appeared in small parts, or Guest Star slots in iconic US shows such as Dragnet, Wagon Train (which is ironic, as Trek creator Gene Roddenberry originally pitched his show as Wagon Train to the stars!), Bonanza, Columbo Rawhide, The Man From U.N.C.L.E and, more recently, Big Bang Theory.

Other fan-favourite credits include his voicing of the character Galvatron in the cult 1986 animated feature Transformers: The Movie and his performance in 1978’s critically-acclaimed Invasion of the Body Snatchers re-make.

Early in his career, Nimoy also enjoyed a small role in the 1954 science fiction movie Them! which has since come to be viewed as a classic creature feature.

Leonard Nimoy was also a noted stage actor, appearing in plays such as The Fiddler On The Roof, an adaptation of Ken Keseys novel One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest (in which he played McMurphy), Sherlock Holmes, The King And I, My Fair Lady, Equus and Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night.

He also wrote, directed and starred in Vincent, a play based on the life of Vincent Van Gogh, which he later published in book form.

Away from acting completely, Nimoy was a qualified pilot, a published photographer and sometime musician. He could also read and speak fluent Yiddish. He was also active in several charitable organisations, including the American Cancer Society, the American Foundation For Equal Rights and most famously, the Nimoy Foundation, which was created to “encourage, recognise and support the work of artists” by granting money to aspiring creators.

Nimoy, also a successful author who published a two-volume autobiography beginning with I Am Not Spock and ending with I Am Spock, was also known as a poet, publishing several volumes throughout his later life, some of which also included his photography.

It is fitting, then, that Leonard Nimoy’s final words to his many fans were warm and poetic. Just a few days before he died, Leonard left this message on his Twitter page, “A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP.”

Leonard Nimoy was more than just a legendary TV and film actor; he was a sweet and noble soul. An artist, an inspiration and an ever-popular presence in any role he performed, be it as an alien explorer, a husband and father, or even a grandfather. LLAP.

Martian Homes Could Be Built In Just 24 Hours

By the end of this century, it seems highly likely that people will be living on Mars. It sounds utterly mad, until you consider that there were only 66 years between the first powered and sustained Human flight and Neil Armstrong setting foot on the moon…

However, a major problem with this idea (aside from the fact that no Human being has ever actually set foot on the red planet) is the difficulty posed by building habitation in such a hostile and extremely remote environment.

At the moment, even landing an unmanned rover on Mars represents a major scientific achievement, which makes Elon Musk’s plans to build a city there seem especially far fetched and ambitious.

Besides, at current costs, taking one kilogram of material to the moon costs between £61,000 and £122,000. That’s a lot of money, even for bare essentials like building materials and water reserves.

Now, however, one man thinks he may have the answer…

Dr. Behrokh Khoshnevis of the University of Southern California’s Viterbi School of Engineering is working on a groundbreaking new method of building that, if applied to lunar or Martian colonisation, could bring us all that much closer to seeing cities on Mars or the moon in our lifetimes.

Essentially, Dr. Khoshnevis has come up with a way to ‘print’ buildings.

The construction technology, called Contour Crafting, fashions an entire building, layer by layer, according to a predetermined outline. Khoshnevis initially created the technology in order to provide cheap, quick and safe housing for emerging nations, or victims of natural disasters.

It is hoped that such building methods will also lower the demand for wood, thus having a beneficial effect on the rainforests and other areas that are being aggressively deforested for timber.

In addition, the concrete walls built by the Countour Crafter are three times stronger than a brick wall.

Writing for Nasa, Dr. Khoshnevis said, “Automated building technologies will revolutionize the way structures are built on Earth, in dense urban environments, in difficult-to-build and difficult-to-service sites, or in remote and hostile regions of the globe. The technologies under development by our group have the potential to simplify construction logistics, reduce the need for hard physical labor by assigning humans to a strictly supervisory role, eliminate issues relating to human safety and produce intricate, aesthetically refined designs and structures at significantly reduced construction cost”.

Theoretically, these buildings could be described via a computer model and built remotely, using the Martian landscape in lieu of bricks and mortar. The buildings could be ‘printed’ in around 24 hours and would be every bit as strong, (or stronger) than the building you are currently living in.

What is PMR Radio and Who Uses Them?

A 2 way radio is basically a radio that is structured to transmit and receive. In general, most voice-wireless communications technology, counting cellular systems, are categorized by 2 way radio definition. Usually, a 2-way radio refers to a radio system primarily utilized for group call communications. This two way system is also called PAMR Public Access-Mobile Radio, PMR Private-Mobile Radio, LMR Land-Mobile Raido, and PMR Professional-Mobile Radio.

Portable 2-way radios are frequently called “walkie-talkies” or “handie-talkies.” Not much different from “handie,” the term sometimes used to describe mobile phones. While we’re on the subject, it’s probably best to get something out in the open right now. People often interchange the terms two way radio and walkie-talkie.

However, walkie-talkie is chiefly a generic or slang-term for hand portable 2-way radios. Moreover, the term usually implies non-professional, license free, consumer type, or “toy” equipment. When referring to 2 way radios, people are basically talking about professional licensed equipment. A walkie-talkie is generally a hand-held PMR radio. A 2-way radio is of superior quality and utilizes much higher frequencies. 2 way radios can also be found in mobile and base-configurations in addition to using radio network-infrastructure.

In addition, two way radios are usually decked out with a PTT or “Push-to-Talk” key to trigger the transmitter. Users simply press the PTT key and quickly begin a conversation. The user lets go of the PTT key in order to hear others.

A 2 way radio user can talk immediately with other radio users or utilize radio network-infrastructure. A direct-talk amongst radios, normally referred to as direct more operation/talk-around mode, has restricted reach because of limited radio power. To defeat this restriction, a radio network-infrastructure can be used to expand the communication range.

WHY USE A 2-WAY RADIO?

With numerous choices in wireless technology today andwith 2-way radios being one of the first wireless devices, some wonder if this type of radio is still a useful gadget in the current world of technological communication. Well actually yes. There are two main features that differentiates two way radios from other wireless gadgets:

-Instantaneous Communication

two way radios offer instant communication. Users can simply press the PTT or “Push-To-Talk” key and inside a fraction of a second, the user can instantly speak and convey their message. This is because of the quick-call setup time entrenched in the technology. This quick communication possibility is one of the main reasons why businesses and organizations prefer two way radios for their operational or tactical communications.

-Group Communication

An additional unique feature of 2-way radios is its ability to facilitate “group-calls” or “one-to-many” communications very effectively. This means that one user can easily communicate with one, five, twenty, hundreds, or even thousands of other 2-way radio users simultaneously.

In other words, there’s no need for users to repeat themselves time and again if they need to communicate with more than one user. Moreover, 2-way radios performs perfectly for group communication using a minimal amount of RF channel-resources. If every user were in the same vicinity the majority of the time, they would only need one-channel resources to speak to hundreds of other users.

WHY NOT SIMPLY USE ANY WIRELESS-SYSTEM?

There is an abundance of wireless-technology today, and they all have their advantages and disadvantages. The choice of which technology is idea for one’s group or association will depend upon if the technology can satisfy the user’s requirements. For users who need to function in a group, communicate instantly, and remain mobile, a two way radio is the best choice compared to the other wireless technology available on the market today.

You may still wonder how this can be possible with smartphones, iPods, iPhones, tablets, mobile phones available. Here are the main reasons why these technological gadgets may NOT meet the above requirements:

-Instant Communication

Consider this scenario. You are out hiking, run into an emergency situation, and must communicate quickly to confirm your dilemma. If you were using a mobile phone, for instance, you must dial a number, wait while the call is being setup and connected; that’s if you get a signal. The phone must then ring to the other person, and they finally answer, if their voicemail isn’t on! The whole procedure could take several seconds and within that valuable time, your situation could easily worsen.

With a 2-way radio, you simply press the PTT key and yell “emergency” while the other users “immediately” pick-up your signal. This is assuming that RF-channel is accessible. However, there is a way that two way radios features can surmount RF-channel blockage and give highest-priority to emergency calls, a feature not available to other wireless devices.

-Group Communication

Take this example. You need to let your staff know that there has been some changes for a planned meeting. If you have to contact them one at a time, it could become tedious. With a two way radio, you can simply select your talk-group, press the PTT key, and begin your message to five, 10, 15, or however many staff members you need to communicate with simultaneously. Now, raise that number to 1000 workers and imagine the work involved if you had to go through cellular phone channels.

Though some wireless systems permit group calls, it usually restricts the amount of group members that you can communicate with at one time. With a 2-way radio, you simply need to speak once and be heard by many.

WHO USES 2-WAY RADIOS?

two way radios have been utilized for many years by numerous industries and associations. Because of the nature of their operational requirements, they use 2-way radios to broadcast their operational and communicational needs. Organizations and industries that may depend on 2 way radio usage are:

-Public Safety associations such as EMS emergency medical services, police, ambulance service, fire brigade, disaster-recovery agency

-Security like intelligence agencies and military

-Transportation industries like subway, railways, seaports, airports, subways

-Oil and gas companies

-Utility companies like cable TV, telephone, water, gas, electricity

-Construction companies for road and bridges, residential, commercial

-Transport service companies like trucks, limos, taxis

-Hospitality industries like tourism, restaurant, resort, and hotel

-Service industry such as towing and delivery companies

-Government agencies like public works, embassies, municipal, district governments, and ministries

-Manufacturing

-Contractors for roofing, plumbing, excavating, electrical

-And many more…

Overall, those who utilize 2 way radios are frequently businesses or agencies with many staff members or workers who work in groups and are mobile.

TWO WAY RADIOS TODAY

Today, 2 way radios come with additional or improved features from years before. For example, display screens show important information at a quick glance, keypads lock to maintain channel settings, there are various ring-tones and silencers to choose from along with out of range alerts, and much more!

Windows 10 to get ‘holographic’ headset and Cortana

Microsoft has revealed that Windows 10 will bring its voice-controlled assistant Cortana to PCs.

It also unveiled a headset that it said would one day project the operating system over views of the real world.

In addition, the firm announced that the OS upgrade would be offered free of charge for devices running Windows 8, Windows 7 and Windows Phone.

The offer, which is limited to the Windows 10’s first year of release, may aid its adoption.

It marks a change in strategy from Microsoft’s previous policy of charging for major updates, and could help avoid a repeat of the relatively slow uptake of Windows 8.

One analyst suggested the firm had needed to renew interest in its ecosystem.

“Overall, we know that about only about 10% of computers are running Windows 8 and the adoption rate among companies is similar or lower,” said Frank Gillett, an analyst at the Forrester consultancy.

“Developers are not paying much attention to Windows for mass market consumer apps, and you could even argue that for enterprise software most of the energy is going into mobile apps for iPad and Android tablets.

“Windows 10 is in effect a huge invitation to software developers to write exciting, powerful applications that will draw consumers.

“My hunch is that they can succeed in getting a new generation of PC and tablet applications. The challenge is getting people interested in its phones.”

Holographic helmet

Microsoft’s chief executive Satya Nadella said the HoloLens headset represented a “magical moment” of “category creation” that developers lived for.

The wearable tech’s augmented reality see-through lenses represent a major leap forward over Google Glass and other existing eyewear – assuming the machine lives up to its on-stage demo, in which computer-generated elements appeared in the world surrounding the wearer.

The company said that the final version of the machine would not need to be linked to other devices to work, and should be released within Windows 10’s “timeframe”.

It revealed Nasa was already working with the kit, and said the US space agency hoped to start controlling its Mars rovers with a prototype version as soon as July.

Other demos involving the machine included the wearer:

  • playing Minecraft with the video game’s graphics appearing over living room furniture
  • seeing a Skype video appear as if it was taking place on a building wall
  • creating a model of a drone, which she saw in front of her face while shaping it by moving her hands and giving voice commands

“The true innovation HoloLens delivers will be determined by developer commitment in the months and years to come,” commented Geoff Blaber from the CCS Insight consultancy.

“Windows 10 is a defining moment for Satya Nadella early in his tenure as CEO.

“The collaboration required to deliver HoloLens to market is an encouraging sign that he’s breaking down the silos that slowed innovation and stalled execution in recent years.”

Cortana on PCs

Windows 10 brings the same operating system to devices of all sizes, rather than having different ones for PCs/tablets, mobile phones and the firm’s Xbox games console.

One of the key features that consumers will be able to use on PCs from “day one” is Cortana – the voice-controlled tool previously limited to Windows Phone handsets.

  • bring up Powerpoint presentation documents
  • locate photos taken during a specific month
  • dictate and send emails
  • tell the user whether or not the weather forecast indicates they should wear a coat later
  • show where their car is parked

In addition, Mr Belfiore showed how the software could be used to respond to requests that had been typed, rather than spoken into a PC.

Windows 8 had been criticised by some for placing so much focus on touch-centric commands rather than the mouse and keyboard.

But Mr Gillett said he thought the addition of Cortana’s voice controls could prove more popular.

“Voice is a going to complement other ways of interacting with the computer not be a substitute,” he said.

“If you had to say every command instead of touching or clicking, then that would be annoying.

“But if you can quickly say to Cortana, for example, schedule lunch with my mum next Tuesday, then that is powerful.”

Browsing with Spartan

Mr Belfiore also highlighted one of the core benefits of Windows 10: a single app will run on multiple types of device, with the user interface reformatting itself to suit the machine it is running on, rather than having a different program for phones, tablets and PCs.

He showed how this meant more advanced versions of the firm’s popular Office programs Excel, Powerpoint and Word could be brought to handsets running Windows 10 than were possible under Windows Phone 8. He also demonstrated a new “universal” Photos app that collates and sorts pictures taken with different devices.

Mr Belfiore also confirmed reports that the firm’s Internet Explorer web browser was being replaced by a new program codenamed Project Spartan.

This will have Cortana built-in to allow voice commands and provide extra personalised information – such as directions to a restaurant whose website is being looked at.

The software also includes a new “noting mode”, which will let users scribble or type over a page and then share it with others.

“Project Spartan shows a new Microsoft that is not afraid to depart from legacy in order to deliver a better experience,” remarked Carolina Milanesi from Kantar Worldpanel Comtech.

The new system also introduces the ability to stream Xbox One video games from the console to any other Windows 10 PC or tablet on the same wi-fi network.

This means that users will be able to play any game in their Xbox library on another device in another room of their home if the property’s main TV is being watched by someone else.

The facility is similar to the service Sony offers for its PlayStation 4 games machine that allows it to stream titles to Xperia phones and tablets and the PlayStation TV mini-console.

Some – like voice dictation on mobile, a cloud-based music service and auto-enhance for photos – are strikingly similar to those already available on rival operating systems.

But others are genuinely innovative – quite aside from its awe-inspiring holographic ecosystem.

Gamers will appreciate making the traditional gaming experiences more social and cross-platform.

Heavy web users may be tempted by the collaboration and offline features of the Spartan web browser, as well as the deep integration of Cortana.

And the addition of this powerful natural voice assistant on the desktop is groundbreaking too.

But the case for voice interaction on PCs is not as well-proven as it is on mobile – and Cortana needs to be well executed, otherwise the tried and tested keyboard and mouse could still prove too tempting for users.

The key question: will the combination of the familiarity of past versions of Windows and an enhanced feature set be enough to tempt users to upgrade?

Offering Windows 10 free for the first year is a huge incentive to kickstart adoption.

Windows 10 is well positioned to capitalise on the resurgence of PCs.

But Microsoft is hoping for more than this: it needs the OS to provide a much-needed boost for its mobile ecosystem – and in this regard Microsoft is betting that its universal approach to coding apps will be enough to tempt users away from rivals.

Source - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-30924022

Natural History Museum Replaces Dippy Dinosaur With Blue Whale Skeleton

Directors of the Natural History Museum in London have announced that ‘Dippy’ – the famous diplodocus skeleton that greets visitors in the museum’s iconic Hintze Hall – will be replaced by the skeleton of a blue whale by 2017.

The idea is to better convey a more modern feel to the museum, one that reflects the cutting-edge science being conducted by the institution.

“Everyone loves ‘Dippy’, but it’s just a copy,” NHM director Sir Michael Dixon told BBC News, “what makes this museum special is that we have real objects from the natural world – over 80 million of them – and they enable our scientists and thousands like them from around the world to do real research.”

At present, the 25m-long blue whale is hanging –in a flat position- in the ‘mammals’ gallery and is accompanied by a life size reconstruction of the animal.

The skeleton was acquired by the museum in 1891 and it originally cost curators £250. The massive animal was beached at Wexford in Southeast Ireland and its remains were immaculately processed and preserved. To date, it is one of the biggest – and best-preserved – whale skeletons in the world.

Over the coming two years, the entire skeleton will be taken down and each individual bone will be thoroughly cleaned and carefully catalogued before it is re-structured and placed in a dramatic new pose, ready to better symbolize the new science of the 21st century.

The massive remains will be placed in a graceful diving posture designed to impress visitors to the hall.

By virtue of being the largest animal to ever exist on our planet, the blue whale skeleton will likely present an even more impressive sight to behold than Dippy presently does. Its presence could also help to raise awareness for whale conservation and preservation of our natural heritage in general.

The conservation aspect of this move is an especially relevant point, as it was NHM scientists that first demonstrated that hunting of the blue whales needed to be stopped in the first place.

This move, whilst surprising, is not without precedent. In the past, the Hintze Hall has also featured a complete sperm whale skeleton as its main attraction, as well as carefully preserved African elephants – and other displays as well.

So where will Dippy be going once his replacement arrives? At present, there is talk about taking the iconic dinosaur on tour in order to bring the Natural History Museum to the people, by housing him in regional museums throughout the UK.

Before that happens though, he will likely still have pride of place in a dinosaur-themed exhibit elsewhere in the museum, so we’ll still be able to stop by and say “hi”..

FIVE REASONS TO MIGRATE TO DIGITAL TWO-WAY RADIOS

In the beginning, there was analog technology, which uses frequency modulation (FM) to produce a continuous wave with the voice signal. An analog two-way radio works as both transmitter and receiver, with that continuous wave in between. Analog has been the primary technology platform since the initial development of wireless communications.

Analog radios have been used for business applications as far back as 1933.

  • Analog Advantages: The integration of such a simple system into a single computer

chip has dramatically reduced the cost of analog radios.

  • Analog Disadvantages: The analog radio system has many functional limitations, and

the technology has been around so long that the scope of possible innovations is virtually exhausted.

ALONG COMES DIGITAL

Digital two-way radios operate by encoding, transmitting, and decoding sound waves. The signal is represented by binary numbers—1s and 0s—that correspond with voltage values. Inside the radio, the vocoder—an analysis/synthesis system used to reproduce human speech—encodes the transmission. The radio sends the signal, and the vocoder on the receiving end decodes it.

In addition, the software in digital radios contains an algorithm that recognizes the difference between voice and background noise and cancels undesirable audio for clearer, cleaner sound quality. Digital two-way radios can also include software applications that integrate into existing computer networks and phone systems. As a result, digital radios can enable a multitude of additional functions, including GPS, text messaging, and other information sharing, communications, and operations programs and capabilities.

By proactively transitioning to digital radios now, your organization will enjoy greater benefits immediately, and your fleet is ready for the high-efficiency, app-driven innovations coming in the future.

FIVE REASONS TO GO DIGITAL

  • Improved Audio Quality • Enhanced Clarity throughout the Coverage Range
  • Greater Efficiency • Extended Battery Life • Applications that Add Functionality
  1. Improved Audio Quality: Digital technology reduces external background noises during

transmission, thereby making the digital technology platform ideal for situations such as

noisy manufacturing and processing plants, or outside in windy conditions.

  1. Enhanced Clarity throughout the Coverage

Range: While an analog radio is capable of producing a clear signal within its peak performance range, once the signal moves too far from the transmit point, the analog audio will slowly fade out until it is unrecognizable. By contrast, a digital signal stays much stronger and clearer to the limits of the coverage range.

  1. Greater Efficiency: Digital radios operate in

Dual-Capacity Direct Mode (DCDM), which means that radios can share the same channel by alternating time slots. These time slots move incredibly fast, and since they alternate, more simultaneous talking paths are possible on each channel with no degradation. Plus, key information such as unit ID, status buttons, and enhanced text messages can be embedded into a single digital radio channel. In many cases, migrating from analog to digital allows users to increase talk paths without a repeater.

  1. Extended Battery Life: Since digital radio transmitters are not constantly “on,” digital

radios generally have a significantly longer battery life than analog models. When events run all day, that can mean the difference between efficient communications for the full cycle or the headache of a number of dead batteries that need swapping out and recharging.

  1. Applications that Add Functionality: Software applications are available to optimize digital

platforms using integrated Internet Protocol (IP) networks. For example, some of the leading app providers for Motorola MOTOTRBO digital radios include:

TABLETmedia

NeoTerra Systems

Twisted Pair

TurboVUi

Teldio

MOVING TO DIGITAL

For those switching from analog to digital, there is good news: Digital platforms provide a migration path that allows for simultaneous use of digital and analog radios. Backward compatibility allows organizations to gradually replace analog devices with newer digital models without the added stress of shifting to a new system. Also, many analog radio accessories are compatible with digital devices.

THE MOTOROLA CP200 AND CP200d

The existing CP200 is one of the most popular two-way radios ever produced! So the question is: How can you improve on the Motorola CP200? The answer: By creating a version that leverages all the benefits digital delivers.

Introducing… the CP200d digital two-way radio, a new model that retains the same simplicity and durability that have made Motorola’s CP200 the industry standard for years. The new CP200d uses a nearly identical form factor with similar operation. Plus, this highly flexible digital model is backward compatible, so it uses the same chargers, batteries, and speaker-microphones.

Motorola is adding sensible options to your two-way radio fleet by offering the existing CP200 device in the CP200d digital-capable version that can be fully converted from analog to digital operation at a later date. That means you can use a phased migration approach by using your new CP200d as an analog device now, and then with a simple programming change, switch to digital at any time in the future. Or, you have the option to take out-of-the-box delivery of the CP200d as a digital device from the get-go.

THE TALE OF THE TRBO

MOTOTRBO is Motorola’s next-generation system of digital portable and mobile radios, repeaters, and accessories. Thanks to the advantages of digital technology, this professional line delivers advanced performance to increase capacity and productivity while integrating voice and data communications.

Versatile and powerful, MOTOTRBO combines the best of two-way radio functionality with the latest digital features that deliver ease of use and added performance to meet your communication needs from the field to the factory floor. With exceptional voice quality and long battery life, MOTOTRBO keeps your work teams connected when communication is a must.

http://www.bearcom.com/resource-library/BearComAnalogToDigitalMigrationGuide.pdf

Earplugs crank on the noise while still allowing a person to hear

So i found this post on the web and i was told that just posting it like a whole article is not an excellent thing, I got permission from the original author and read up how to curate posts, so this is it…….i thought this was fascinating because it highlights some of the highs and lows that I encountered when i was working within the industry.

Awhile back, I reviewed the Bean Quiet Sound Amplifier from Etymotic. The Beans are basically hearing aids that amplify sounds so you can hear better.

The difference with the Beans is that you don’t need to consult a doctor.

Etymotic is all about helping people hear better and keep their hearing, so when it offered its Music Pro Earplugs ($299 at etymotic.com), I wanted to try them out.

The Music Pros are the opposite of the Beans. They help your hearing by reducing loud sounds while letting you hear normal volumes.

How does that work? Good question.

The Music Pros look exactly like the Beans. They’re self-contained, use tiny hearing-aid batteries and fit inside your ear.

If you fit them correctly, they don’t show unless you turn your head. The Music Pros have tiny microphones that listen to what you are hearing and process the sound before it gets to your ears.

Each earpiece runs on a tiny No. 10 battery that will last a few weeks if you turn the earplugs off when not in use.

There is no power switch — you turn the earplugs off by unsnapping the battery doors and removing the batteries. It’s easier than it sounds.

There are two modes, and you change modes with a tiny switch on each earpiece.

In 9dB mode, quiet sounds are amplified by 6dB, while 9dB protection is used when the outside noise gets louder.

In 15dB mode, natural sounds come though at their normal levels, but the Music Pros provide 15dB of protection when noise exceeds safe levels.

The Music Pros come with seven different types of tips to accommodate different ear canal shapes.

I was easily able to find one that worked well (I like the spongy ones), and they’re easy to change out.

I didn’t see any live music during my testing week, but I did simulate the concert experience with over-the-ear headphones cranked up really loud.

The Music Pros did what they said they’d do — they let me hear sounds at a normal volume and definitely kept really loud sounds from getting to my ears.

They’re magical, but for $299 for the pair, I’d expected them to impress.

I’m not entirely sure what the target market is for these — people who work regularly at concert venues, maybe, or people in construction jobs.

I suppose if you wear earplugs as part of your daily life, you’d want to take a look at these.

Pros: Easy to use, nice choice of ear tips, good hearing protection

Cons: Expensive

Bottom line: If I had a job in which my hearing were stressed regularly, I’d probably invest in these.

Etymotic MC3 headset + earphones

I’ve been listening to Etymotic earphones for at least a decade. Its MC3 headset + earphones is a worthy member of a great line of audio products.

The MC3 ($79 at etymotic.com) has a lot going for it, but most important it’s comfortable and sounds really good.

Etymotic includes four types of tips, so chances are good that you’ll find one that fits your ears.

Whenever I get a new pair of earphones to try out, I like to see which tips will fit best without any music playing. I just sit and think about how they feel inside my ears for a few minutes.

The MC3s offer great noise isolation if you get the right fit. And they’re not heavy on the bass, which I like.

The three-button remote also worked well with my iPhone, both for clear calls and controlling music playback and volume.

Etymotic has a custom-fit earmold option that lets users get molds made of their ears at an audiologist’s for a custom set of earpieces. Prices vary depending on the audiologist, but Etymotic has a list of audiologists it works with, and according to some online who’ve reviewed the process, the cost is around $100, which is a bargain and worth checking out.

Overall I like MC3s. They’re inexpensive, have a good sound for my ear, fit comfortably and have a microphone so I can use them with my phone.

Pros: Inexpensive, options for a custom fit, nice highs and midtones. Very clear and comfortable.

Cons: Not heavy on bass notes.

Bottom line: A solid choice if you’re not all about the bass.

http://www.dallasnews.com/business/technology/headlines/20141004-earplugs-crank-down-the-noise-while-still-letting-you-hear.ece