Month: December 2014

Dolphins!

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Hola from sunny Riviera Maya, Mexico! Just getting a bit of R&R away from my chilly hometown of Toronto, Canada.
I saw some dolphins today. It’s awesome to see how these intelligent creatures interact with humans. Here’s a picture of the dolphins:

image

Here’s also an interesting organization that does work on dolphin communications: http://www.dolphincommunicationproject.org/index.php/2014-10-21-00-13-26/dolphin-language

I wish everyone a happy, blessed, prosperous new year ahead!

Find Out How Your Smartphone’s Idle Time Can Help in the Search for the Ebola Cure

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BOINC appThe Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) in partnership with IBM’s SoftLayer cloud-enabled World Community Grid makes use of a virtual supercomputer to help screen millions of chemical compounds to identify new drug leads for treating Ebola. This virtual supercomputer is collectively powered by volunteers’ computers, tablets, and smartphones where the CPU (central processing unit) is being utilized when the devices are idle through the use of a safe and free app installed on these devices.

Currently, anyone with a computer, Android tablet/smartphone, or an Amazon Kindle Fire tablet, can volunteer their device to help in the cause to find a cure for Ebola. On a computer, first, you would need to go to www.worldcommunitygrid.org and register there. When you register, it will provide you the links to download and install the software to your computer.

If you will be using your Android device or Kindle Fire tablet to help this cause (sorry, no iPhones at this time), you can also register on the same site then download the app from the Google Play Store or Amazon App Store, or alternatively, you can download the app first and register from there.

On the app store, search for BOINC then download and install it. When BOINC starts, it will ask you to select the research projects that you want to support. Select World Community Grid, sign in (or register) and make sure you select the Outsmart Ebola Together project.

There are also two Android apps that are re-packaged versions of BOINC:

  • HTC Power to Give
  • Samsung Power Sleep (lets you participate in only one project, SIMAP; provides a simple alarm-clock interface).

Take note that BOINC will not significantly reduce your battery life or your charging time as it only computes when your device is plugged into a power source (AC or USB) and your battery is charged 90% or more by default. Click here for more BOINC FAQ.

Without your help, the research could take hundreds of years, instead of weeks or months. So, what are you waiting for? Let’s all help find a cure for Ebola now and help spread the word!

Video: Help find a cure for Ebola with your computer or smartphone

Read the IBM Press Release here.

New BPG Image Format Provides Better Compression Results Over JPEG

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Left portion: JPEG, Right portion: BPG
Left portion: JPEG, Right portion: BPG

Better Portable Graphics (BPG), which is based on video encoding standard HEVC (High Efficiency Video Coding) or H.265, provides a modern lossy image format that is better than JPEG. It has a better visual quality at the same file size as JPEG, and has comparable results to JPEG at half the file size.

Following a study by Mozilla determining the results of various lossy compression algorithms, BPG was developed when it was found that HEVC was shown to be far superior to other algorithms.

For lossless compression, the PNG format has replaced the GIF format for most uses. For lossy compression, will BPG replace the JPEG as well?

Check out this LINK here for image comparisons.

Texting Turns 22

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Texting has now been around for 22 years; I’m just a few years older than the technology. Who would have thought that texting would be such an important part of our lives today?

TechCrunch

[tc_dropcap]Half a lifetime ago, 22-year-old Neil Papworth sent the first ever short message service (SMS). His fifteen-character missive – ‘merry christmas’ – was sent to colleague Richard Jarvis on December 3, 1992.[/tc_dropcap]

This act was considered important enough to mark the occasion with a party but not important enough to invite its author. The truth is, nobody really saw the significance of what they were working on.

Twenty-two years and quadrillions of text messages later, SMS is the king of electronic communications. It makes tens of billions of dollars for network providers and connects billions of people around the world. Annual text traffic is expected to reach 9.4 trillion by 2016.

And why wouldn’t SMS statistics be so impressive? Cheap, effective and widely available, the rude health in which texting finds itself in 2014 was patently obvious in 1992. Or at least that’s what hindsight bias tells us. The truth…

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What Do You Think Goes On In The Minds Of The 4.3 Billion “Offline” People?

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brainThere’s an article published on TechCrunch that provides us insights on what goes on in the minds of the 4.3 billion “offline” people through different usability tests they performed with the unconnected/newly connected. It is understandable that they would have difficulty and have quite a learning curve in adapting to new technology. It is also interesting that for a lot of the people in the modern world, most, if not all of the things that they are asked to do, would just come naturally for us.

Here’s the link to that article: Peering Into The Minds Of The 4.3 Billion Unconnected

Image Credit: TechCrunch