Instant News

April 10, 2009

This video is from the “tip/tools” section of . The video talks about a new way in which people can get the news as it occurs. The video advertises using twitter as the ultimate way to get your news while it happens. Techzilla suggests two different ways to get your news from twitter:

1. It says to first download greasemonkey web browser add-on ( –for Firefox) which allows you to customize the way the webpage displays using small bits of JavaScript. Then you must install the Twitter script to your browser found at ( This script will add the top results from twitter on your google search. This means that when you search “Info 101” on google, your first results will show recent tweets saying things like “In Info 101 right now with Nina teaching. I love this class. Nina is the coolest!”

Note: This option is only for Firefox.
Note 2: You can write your own greasemonkey scipts to enhance your web browsing. It you are interested, check out:

2. Techzilla suggests that for people who don’t use Firefox, you can get the same feature by using the web-based “Tweet News.” This is just a website that you can visit to get the latest news from media based Twitter accounts ( i.e. Chicago Tribune, New York Times, CNN). The web address to this Twitter News website it :

As I’m sure many of you have noticed, since we first watched the TED conference talk about Twitter (, it seems that Twitter has grown significantly in popularity. Now maybe this is just because after learning about something, we become more aware of it. Personally, I think it’s a mix of both. Either way, Twitter is clearly a powerful tool that shows how we’ve come a long way since carrier pigeons that were used to spread information.

This video relates to I 101 in that informatics is defined as “problem solving using IT.” The whole point of “NEWs” is that it is new information. The ideal way to spread this new information is to do it in a fashion where people get the information as it occurs. Clearly, Twitter is Informatics at its best because it has become the ultimate source for instant information.

After watching that TED video on Twitter, I finally understood the actual value of twitter. Twitter is a breakthrough for ubiquitous information.
I don’t know if this idea is occurring yet, or if there is a plan to do so, but I feel that it would be cool if there was a way to sync your facebook/myspace with your twitter account. This way your facebook status would be tweet or your tweet can be your facebook status.


Flexible Future

April 9, 2009

New innovation in technology will allow for a flexible revolution. In the near future, we will be seeing digital wallpaper, bulbless lamps, and away with rigid technology strutcures. With the development of flexible technology, we can use printed LEDs to illuminate rooms and change the way we use technological devices. This material allows light sensors to emit light while conforming to the shape it covers. I think he lights shown in the video will be the most revolutionizing. I think that it will create a much cheaper and more efficient alternative to light bulbs and will also, in turn, be helpful to the enviroment and its waste. These new lamps also will serve as a new platform for design and how we use them in our homes, businesses, etc.

This relates to informatics because it’s a development of technology as well as a possible solution to an enviromental problem with energy. The lighbulbs will help serve as a solution to lightbulb and energy issues and will open up a new market that we haven’t seen before in wallpapers, clothing, and other entertainment uses.

I found a couple great articles on InfoWorld about dirty jobs in information technology, and I have to admit that I enjoyed them quite a bit.  Most people think of IT jobs as sitting behind a desk, and these articles somewhat humorously disprove that notion.  Far from the code monkey getting a computer monitor tan in his basement, these articles showed that technology brings with it its own share of occupational hazards and dirty work.

The primary reason that I’m posting these articles if for their connection to informatics.  Students with a bachelors degree in informatics don’t typically end up grief counseling data loss problems.  They have real demand in the workplace, and their skills tend to make them valuable to employers.  A friend of mine is finishing up a bachelors degree in a new major program at Purdue, and he’s realized that the industry hasn’t caught up to appreciate his the new field.  On the contrary, informatics students are in such high demand that their average starting salaries are well above the average range for students coming straight out of college.  Informatics trains students to think outside of the computer science box, and this is a valuable thing when the economy is uncertain.

The Seven Dirtiest Jobs in IT
Even Dirtier IT Jobs: The Muck Stops Here

Technology Jobs Outperforming the Rest of the College Graduate Starting Salaries

Time Warner Cable has recently introduced a plan to charge broadband connection costs similarly to how cell phone companies charge for monthly service, users who use more pay more.  This seems pretty harmless for now, but it could have some bad implications in the long run.

              :: Time Warner’s New Pricing Structure::
               5 GB: $29.99/month
               10 GB: $39.99/month
               20 GB: $49.99/month
               40 GB: $54.90/ month
               100 GB: No information yet 
               Overage: $1/GB
                    Source: Democrat & Chronicle

Time Warner is primarily a media and television company, and they are dealing with an increase in internet viewing of content that is negatively impacting their viewership on the television.  By creating a system by which using more bandwidth can get very expensive, the unlimited viewing on the television will seem cheap by comparison.  This is a profit driven motive that could have long term negative effects on online distribution of media.

It seems fair at first that light users should not be required to spend as much money on their monthly internet subscription as those who are downloading illegal content continuously, but in the near future even casual users will see their bandwidth usage increase exponentially.  Television has been publishing full length content online for some time, and Netflix has recently introduced a high definition on-demand system for movies.  At 8 GB per movie and $1 per GB (overage rate) plus the subscription cost, the online service suddenly becomes very expensive.

While it might seem relatively harmless that a small group of heavy users have to pay more for their monthly internet usage, it’s concerning that Time Warner is making the drastic move in an attempt to undermine the plan to roll out online media.  This represents a serious problem for the future of online content delivery if it catches on.  This is pertinent to informatics as many of the potential online applications that informatics focuses on have a potential to consume more and more bandwidth in the foreseeable future.

Apple recently announced that its paid music service, iTunes, will switch to a tiered pricing structure.  This will include 69¢, 99¢, and $1.29 songs depending on their popularity.  This sort of model has had success in other venues, but iTunes is the first to apply this model to a full library of popular music and Top 40 hits.  iTunes has previously led the way in introducing new features and signing new bands, but this time it appears that they have taken a decisive step backwards.
iTunes' vs. Amazon's Marketing   Photo Credit:engadget

iTunes' vs. Amazon's Marketing Photo Credit:engadget

While iTunes has shifted to this new market structure, the competitors are relishing in iTunes’ new “advancement.”  Apple is banking on users so committed to the iPod and iTunes product lines that they will not do competitive bidding for purchasing music and is hoping for user ignorance.  While this strategy banking on naivety might have worked in the past, it is impracticle at best in today’s internet marketplace.  This is a topic relevant to informatics because it is a blend of marketing, music, and new media.  I am sure that Apple has put a lot money into researching the potential outcomes of this pricing structure move, but I am surprised that they went so far as to actually roll it out.

Google already possesses a terrifying amount of information on my personal life.  They own three of my email accounts, my calendar, and potentially years of web searches.  Why do I intrust a big corporation with all this information even when they tell me that they plan to use it for profit?  I suppose it’s for the same reason that everyone else does… Google does “no evil.”  The company continues to release beautifully designed software that’s easy to use and stores all of my data… wait, isn’t this a circular argument?

Google has just released a nice new program that I find utterly terrifying below the surface, Google Health.  This program mines data on your personal health records from all the major pharmacies and medical labs and makes it available for their corporate use.  They are justifying it by allowing you to view your records online and “share” it with others.  Ironically, they access your information through the other company’s websites, the ones they claim to be replacing.  This program compliment’s Google Health’s new plan to connect lab tests and personal monitors to their system.  Google is now electronically absorbing your body.  Are you ready for targeted prescription drug ads?

I find this new implementation of informatics a little scary in terms of using technology to venture where average Joe has never allowed a major corporation to go before.  Google is now asking to have access to individual’s medical records with promises of allowing the user to use lots of features, a technique that not even the boldest of advertising companies has tried before.  Google is a world leader in monetizing personal information, and this foray into health will prove to be interesting.

Plane that turns into car

Plane that turns into car

Terrafugia has created a plane that transforms into a car, believe it or not! CEO, Carl Dietrich ensures that by no means is it a flying car. Yet, this unique aircraft has the ability to transform from a plane with measurements of: 19feet 2inches long, 6 feet 3 inches tall, with a wingspan of 27.5 feet, to a car that is about 80 inches wide and 6feet 9inches tall. Additionally, the plane runs on the same unleaded gas you pump in your car, instead of the typical leaded gasoline used for planes. Also, you can get about 30mpg in the air, and 27mpg when it is driven. But  what will an invention of this sort cost you? Just around $194,000 dollars. It cost a little more than other planes in its category, but the benefits are well worth it. To Illustrate, after a long day of flying, one can simply drive their plane home and park it in a garage. Thus, they would not have to the space they pay to rent for their plane.

Furthermore, the plane is due to release some time in 2011, and already has 49 orders lined up. The targeted market is pilots, which answers many safety concerns. Also, the company ensures that the plane will meet all FAA and Federal crash and safety standards before being put out on the market.

Although it is a little early to anticipate with the planes flaws will be, overall I think its a good investment. Moreover, I think this is a fascinating progression of technology. It really goes to show that technology will always continue to evolve with time in many different aspects. This applies to informatics simply because it is a new and innovative part of technology. Hence, with every piece of technology there are problems and room for improvement and many of those problems will be solved by IT.

GM and Segway just come out with the project called PUMA. PUMA stands for Personal Urban Mobility and Accesibility. It  can reach maximum speed 35 miles per hour and going for 35 miles in one charge and cost only 35 cents per charge. This vehicle enables design creativity, fashion, fun, and social networking. According to GM and Segway this vehicle has many features,

“It combines several technologies demonstrated by GM and Segway, including electric drive and batteries; dynamic stabilization (two-wheel balancing); all-electronic acceleration, steering and braking; vehicle-to-vehicle communications; and autonomous driving and parking. Those technologies integrate in Project P.U.M.A. to increase mobility freedom, while also enabling energy efficiency, zero emissions, enhanced safety, seamless connectivity and reduced congestion in cities.”

PUMA is designed for two passengers and we can still drive this during winter. It is not a bad idea for people that living in cramped cities. More details will be on New York auto show next week.

April 7, 2009

In this video clip, Johnny Lee, introduces two of new applications that he recently designed. With the help of Wii remote control, people can create a white board or smart board in 50 bugs. Another invention is a reaction system, it can follow people’s movements, which will greatly enhance the fidelity of games.
HCI is a branch of informatics, what HCI do is focus on the design of human computer interaction, for example some of the applications. The invention to use remote control combine with an ordinary pen with LCD light on it, and the application he created, anybody can create a white board immediately in 50 bugs instead of 2000$ (the price of a white board system). The process is easy and cheap, which is much easier for people to use. The aim for technology is not about use as much money as they can, but about to use the easiest way to create the best result. Lee successfully creates the applications that break down the barrier of the high technology device and the high price.
Though it is only a five minutes clip, it is really influential. These two applications can become the best-designed applications ever. Education is an important part to maintain the vivid of creation. The application for the homemade white board will bring better quality classroom teaching quality. The benefits are received worldwide. His second invention is also really cool, I can image his second creation will greatly change the way people look at games. For example, people used to play games only by using computer key board, but the new application may allow people play game with our whole body, which is really good to people’s health! I cannot wait to see game became a tool for people to work out, and keep the body shape!

Military Machines

April 6, 2009

In this video clip P.W Single talks about the military robot and its affects, not only in the war but also some of the concerns to the tourism and possible ethnic issues. His prediction for the future war is that less people but more machines will participate in the future wars. There are pros and cons for using robot in the war, on one hand less people die. On the other hand, if territories use the military robots to fight against a country or a government, the bad effect will be unpredictable. Besides, lots terrible possibilities may happen along with the use of military robots.
Tons people fight against wars, since wars always bring death. To solve this wicked problem, scientists try to create better military robots to set free soldiers. Whereas, one thing information technology do is trying to invent new device or applications according to people’s need, including their wish to fight. Hash debates never end on military weapon’s topic. A powerful newly invented device can be misused by territories and causes huge problems. Not all the technology products benefit people in certain ways. Though the design of military robots do achieve the goal to minimize the death number in a war for the countries who posses the power. Nevertheless, because of the advanced power those military robots have, the war become crueler than ever. More soldiers will die at once with the help of this killing machine.
I personally believe that the increasing use of military machine is a irresistible trend, the only way each countries can do is do the evaluation for the new technology devices and always update laws according to the new technology inventions. The control of using these military robots is really important to the country who have this kind of technology.