Un-Connecting the Connected and How Technology Has Changed Our Lives

The high-tech world of personal technology is causing a bit of my problem for many humans. Some of the new technology is so feature-rich that it is causing feature fatigue. Too many choices in your personal technology toys seems to be counterintuitive to how the human mind works, even though the human mind itself can work in many different ways.

The human mind defaults to what it is use to through its experience in thinking and people who have cell phones with many features learn a few of them and use them to their best advantage and often never use the other features. Very few people use all the features; about 1%. Feature fatigue is real and it seems to cause a little bit of stress in a human operator who realizes they cannot use all the features.

Does this make humans feel stupid? Some technology experts say; humans are stupid. This may or may not be so although we do know that the time is rapidly approaching when artificial intelligent computers will easily surpassed human intelligence. Will humans be able to cope with this and work with the machines to better themselves or will it cause even more feature fatigue; making people think just to keep up?

Will this spur on a new evolutionary cycle in the brain? Will humans rise to this occasion or will they be trapped in a continuous feature fatigue frenzy. When did all this start? It started when someone did a study that said that only 10% of the people knew how to program all the features on their VCR and it has been getting worse ever sense.

Still, many personal tech toy gadget lovers like all the features and demand more. Your other option is to turn it all off of course. I certainly hope this article is of interest and that is has propelled thought. The goal is simple; to help you in your quest to be the best in 2007. I thank you for reading my many articles on diverse subjects, which interest you.

New Car Technology Advancements

Car technology is advancing at amazing speed so it’s no surprise that at least a couple cool things turn up each model year. Here are some of the latest innovations that will be coming out sometime in the near future that new car buyers can look forward to seeing.

Economy Mode

While we consider that most of us drivers are set in their ways and odds are we will never make the necessary changes to conserve on fuel. One example of such would be, we know that by simply not using our AC increases our fuel economy when we drive, but rather than just rolling down our window when we could to save fuel we opt to use the air conditioner to keep us cool. We are simply set in our ways when it comes to running our AC even when we could be just as comfortable at this time with a window down. With the new idea and innovation of the Economy Mode the car it will be able to determine what systems in your car are non-essential at the time and turn them off to save on fuel for the driver; examples could be the AC, Cruise Controls and others. The car would begin making these adjustments for the driver automatically. It’s not just an idea in fact; some Hybrids feature an economy mode that limits A/C use on several models right now.

Black Box Technology

Planes have them and cars will too, and why not the Black box on planes have be literally invaluable for many years with its ability to get detail records of trips and logs of what happens to a plane in flight or when accidents occur. It’s still being debated like most things that come to personal privacy and many people will no doubt object to the idea of the black box being implemented into their personal vehicles. The fact is that both Ford and General Motors already are using black Box technology in around two-thirds of the models built, but they are referred to as “recorders”. Drivers can expect the advancement of these “recorders” to be able to tell police officers and insurance companies about car accidents, how fast you were driving, where you had driven that day and much more.

Cars That Park for You

Yes, a car that actually will do the parking is already in production today. There is already one type of system where the driver keeps his foot on the brake while the car amazingly enough parallel parks it’s self. Its future looks bright, as this type of application could be very useful in the future not just in parking but also use in other tight places like garages.

Let the Car do the Driving

It’s no longer just a dream or something we have seen in the movies, with the advancement of GPS and robotic technology setting your car on Auto Pilot where the navigation system guides the car to its destination while the driver sits back and relaxes will become a reality sooner than many people could imagine. Experimentation and planning is underway with the use of magnets and GPS to make this dream become a reality.

Quills, Typewriters, and Computers – The Difference Technology Makes

Centuries ago writing was an art that strengthened the hands, the mind, and the soul. Then came the typewriter and penmanship declined. For years, writers became accustomed to seeing their work in print and not their own handwriting. The hands became idle. Later technology introduced the computer and word processing software quickly replaced the mind with tools like spell-checkers, grammar-checkers, and thesauruses. Today people can literally buy their writing with such products as private-label-rights. It’s no longer necessary to even come up with the words at all. Where will our souls be tomorrow?

Students are able to connect to the Internet, access millions of documents, and plagiarize there school work with the click of a mouse. Cheating is now easier than ever. The sad part is that this technology only makes it harder to get caught. How many new and aspiring authors have you heard of lately that recently published their novels only to be accused of plagiarism shortly there after? I’m not here to point fingers or name names, but the truth is there for all of us to see.

A lot of you are writers, I’m sure, and some of you, may very well be, good writers. However, it is important that we ask ourselves in these technology-driven times why it is we write. Are you writing for fame or fortune? Perhaps you’re writing just for the sake of writing. Whatever reasons you may have you’ll be sure to learn that what you write reflects on who you are.

Your experiences in life, your memories, your thoughts, ideas, and personality are all that make up the words around you. How you put them together and share them with others is a matter all on its own. That part may be left up to talent, but talent is never enough. It can only take you so far. The rest requires wisdom, intellect, bravery, and perseverance.

Writing is truly an art I have come to love. With words you can change the world or capture the attention of just one precious soul. Some times three simple words, like “I love you”, can be more meaningful than an entire library of books. Whereas other times millions of words all intending to express the same thought will fall on deaf ears and shrouded eyes. Still writing is an art that has been around far longer than all of this technology – and that will never change.

Xbox 360 Represents a Giant Step in Video Game Technology

One aspect of television technology that’s frequently overlooked is gaming. Some may look down on video games as being activities for adolescents, but a lot of former adolescents who were completely into video games have grown up and brought those games with them.

A quick look at some video game systems shows that the games have grown up too. Microsoft’s Xbox is a perfect example of this phenomenon. If the last video game system you played was an Atari or and Intellivision, you won’t even recognize the new Xbox 360. This system is meant to deliver the best possible video game experience given today’s technology and it uses that technology in full. It’s central processing unit is made up of three separate processors each with a clock speed of 3.2 Gigahertz. It also has an ATI graphics processor that runs at 500 Megahertz that can process four times as many pixels a second than the original Xbox. (There isn’t even a comparison between this and the Intellivision!) The Xbox 360 has 512 Megabytes of RAM which is shared among all of the processors.

The Xbox 360 is also designed to work with High Definition. As part of the standard for the Xbox 360 all video games have to support either 720p or 1080i resolutions and the wide screen 16:9 aspect ratio. Supposedly a High Definition Television set isn’t completely necessary to play the Xbox 360. If that’s true, one has to wonder what happens to the extra screen width when the Xbox is used with a 4:3 aspect ratio television. It’s easy to imagine losing the right and left edges of the screen getting in the way of playing some games. Like with First person shooters, you might find yourself shot by someone just out of your view but who you would have seen with a 16:9 screen.

The Xbox 360 also come with a 20 gigabyte hard drive. The hard drive is removable and can hold music to be played as a soundtrack to be played along with games. (In the old days we were forced to turn on the CD player if we wanted a sound track.) Presumably the hard drive could also hold digital photos and other data. In fact, though the literature is quick to emphasize that the Xbox 360 is primarily meant to be used as a gaming platform, it can be used for a lot of other types of media too. For example it will function as an MP3, CD, and DVD player and display digital photographs off of DVD’s and CD’s. The fact that the unit includes three USB ports means that a huge number of devices including digital cameras, MP3 players, and computers with Microsoft Windows XP can be used with the Xbox 360. Other extras include wireless controllers with rechargeable batteries that can charge on the unit itself, and the ability to establish a wireless connection with your computer.

Don’t Get Caught in a Fraudulent Home Improvement Scheme

Home improvement scams are something for which every homeowner should look out. Not only can these rip-offs cost the homeowner money for the scam itself, but they may also have lasting impacts that may require hiring an honest contractor to fix whatever was done by the dishonest contractor.

Some contractors may scam clients by asking them for cash up front. Don’t pay for work until it has been completed and never trust a contractor that claims to be professional yet demands only cash payments. In some extreme cases, dishonest contractors may even offer to drive their client to the bank to withdraw money. Some dishonest individuals may take the money and run so to speak, leaving the homeowner not only a little lighter in the wallet, but still in need of whatever home improvement work they were hoping to have completed such as roof painting and other projects.

Then there is the old bait and switch tactic used by dishonest contractors. They’ll use an advertisement in a local paper or elsewhere to advertise a service at an extremely low price only to up-sell the homeowner upon arriving on the property. Remember the old adage, if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. This can be so bad that some homeowners are unaware that they were charged more than the advertised price until they receive a final bill or invoice. Read any paperwork or contracts given to you before signing them and don’t allow work to begin until the details have been hammered out in writing. Even go as far as to research a company using the Better Business Bureau or other online review sites before hiring them.

One way to check whether a company is legitimate is by making sure that they have a real physical address. Sure some handymen may not have an office and many of these individuals are honest, upstanding individuals, but take a few minutes to check that the street address of an office is legitimate. Use your judgment; if you’re hiring an individual handyman, they may not have an office, but if you’re hiring a contractor claiming to have an office, check it out. Drive by the property or use a mapping service with a street view to make sure it isn’t an empty lot or another company’s office.

By definition, a scam is “a fraudulent or deceptive act or operation,” according to Meriam-Webster. They may not always seem obvious and scammers are looking to cheat trusting people, so be sure to keep your head up when hiring a roof painting contractor or other individual.

Home Improvement? Add A Spy Camera To Your Project List

Home improvements, for the most part, are a series of well thought out steps to enrich your lifestyle, add value to your home or property, or simply to rebuild and strengthen the structure as a whole. So, why then, do so many homeowners totally overlook the aspect and area of security when making improvements? Someone, right now as you read this, is getting their house broken into while they’re at work or on vacation. You can bet that it is probably someone that thought, “Well that will never happen to me – it only happens to other people.” With the economy down so low you can bet that crime is on the rise; that’s the way it has always been.

Laws, statutes, and regulations on the owning, selling, and the use of hidden spy cameras vary by state. If you are currently using or considering installing a hidden spy camera or surveillance system in your home, it would certainly be wise to investigate the specific laws of your local area. This will insure that you do not run into any legal issues should someone discover and take offense to the fact you are operating a hidden spy camera or surveillance system. Even your best neighbors can become offended when you put up a standard security camera on the eves of your house. Therefore, sometimes, its better to get a hidden spy camera and totally conceal it so no one knows it is there but you and your family.

So let’s talk about some of the general areas of concern to consider when purchasing or installing a hidden spy camera or a full blown security surveillance system. Then we can take a closer look at how you can go about investigating the specific laws that govern your state. You may be surprised to find out that in most states it is perfectly legal to install and operate a hidden camera and security surveillance systems even in private places. There are only thirteen states with laws prohibiting the installation of hidden cameras and surveillance systems in the places you would normally call “private.”

The laws that govern these thirteen states prohibit the installation of spy cameras and surveillance systems in places where individuals have the right to a reasonable expectation of privacy, such areas as bathrooms, locker rooms, dressing rooms, public rest rooms, etc. Another legal fact that may surprise you is that in many states if a crime is captured on tape by a hidden camera, the tape is often admissible as evidence in court. Surprisingly, in many states, you do not even have to obtain the consent of either of the parties involved. In some other states, receiving the consent of only one party is required. This is what is known as the one or two party consent law; it applies to voice recording or the interception of oral communications as well. Despite the lack of strict laws governing the installation and use of hidden cameras, you should most definitely consult with your local law enforcement agency or lawyer to be certain of the specific regulations governing your area. This will ensure that you have a clear understanding of the law so that you are not guilty of violating any existing regulations by installing and using your new spy camera system.

Insulation – A Great Green Home Improvement

Insulation is one of the most popular forms of green home improvement – and with good reason.

It has been estimated that the average property that does not have the benefit of home insulation could see owners forking out hundreds of pounds every year to pay for higher heating bills. This is because without wall, floor and loft insulation, adequate draught-proofing and double glazing, a building literally leaks away much of the warm air that is pumped into it by radiators, gas heaters or wood burning stoves.

As a result, people compensate by turning up their heaters higher or leaving them running for longer, resulting in larger bills.

And it is not just the wallet that an un-insulated property is bad for, but also the planet. Households who have to leave their heating running for longer in order to keep warm are consuming more fuel as a result. This, in turn, leads to more emissions being released into the atmosphere – something which can contribute to climate change.

So, to save money and protect the environment, there really has never been a better time to consider insulation.

But what choices are available? Well, there are so many areas of a property that can be insulated you have plenty to choose from! From cavity or solid wall insulation to floor and loft insulation, in addition to insulation for water pipes and tanks, double glazing and draught-proofing, there are many different ways in which you can ensure your property is running more efficiently.

Cavity wall insulation is one way to help keep heat inside where it belongs and net a reduction on energy bills at the same time. Many properties built after the early part of the 20th century typically have an outer shell made up of two walls with a small space between them and it is this cavity which can be filled to help keep warm air inside.

In addition to staying warm, this type of insulation can also help to reduce a build-up of condensation, which, if left untreated, can cause more serious damage to buildings in the future. Furthermore, it can help to reduce the sound that emits from your property.

If your property is older – such as if it was built before the 1920s – it may be that it has solid walls, rather than a cavity, but it may surprise you to learn that this too can be insulated. In cavity walls, the space itself can help to trap heat inside rather than letting it slip out, but the lack of a gap in solid walls means that they are actually less efficient at retaining hot air than their newer counterparts. By choosing either internal or external insulation on the outside or inside of walls, you could soon be enjoying some financial savings and a warmer home.

Simple Ways Green Home Improvement Can Improve Your Home and Save You Money

In these economic times, we’re all looking for ways to save money. Those who are searching for a way to add value, and save money are starting to see how green home improvements can be an asset. They not only save money over time, but they can also help the environment. There are quite a few things people can do to turn their home into a green home.

Replace Your Old Appliances

The act of exchanging the old ones for new energy star models can easily save you a substantial amount of money. There are even cases where the savings have been over a thousand dollars for year.
Don’t be afraid to spend a little money now. The overall price will be more than recovered in energy savings over time. It can be viewed another way. Your home will become even more attractive to buyers with the new appliances. The key is to choose the appliances that have the highest energy efficient rating, fit within a reasonable budget, and add aesthetic value to the house.

Solar Energy Will Allow You to Reduce Costs

In the warmer climes of the U.S. a solar panel is a fantastic idea for energy cost reduction. You’ll certainly make up the cost of the panel in no time at all. Places like Florida, often have solar panels operating all the time. People living there are liable to gain more benefit from places like Chicago where sunny weather isn’t a constant. Let’s not forget the government incentives available to you. The money you spend now, although it is a lot, on the solar panels will be more than recovered by the lowering energy bill. Each solar panel will require your attention, but that is a small price to pay for the increased energy efficiency and overall value of the home. Investing in these alternative energy sources can save you a good volume of money over time. Even if these ideas a little much to do right now, something as simple as trading your incandescent bulb for a CFL is a great place to start. The Earth will be cared for as well.

Penis Health Products – A Buyer’s Guide

Shopping for a product like orange juice is relatively easy. After making one or two key decisions involving ingredients and taste, a shopper can waltz out of the store with a tasty drink that meshes perfectly with his or her favorite vodka. Shopping for intimate products, on the other hand, can be quite difficult for some men. There are far too many options to consider when it comes to products that can boost penis health, and some men might not know how to differentiate one option from another. This buyer’s guide may help, as it details the attributes of penis health products that are ideal for any man.

Sensitivity Concerns

Penile skin is relatively sheltered, as it’s sequestered within a fabric sheath for the majority of each and every day. As a result, this skin can be a little fragile and apt to burst into itchy rashes when exposed to harsh chemicals or intense perfumes. There’s no need to look for products marked “hypoallergenic,” but harsh fragrances should be avoided. Also, obviously, the products shouldn’t contain gritty bits that could scour sensitive skin.

Good choices will do more than eliminate the risk of damage, as they’ll contain ingredients that can actually improve the health of skin. Typically, emollients like Shea butter and Vitamin E will appear in the ingredient list, along with other vitamins that can nourish skin cells back to good health.

Absorption Rate

Products designed for intimate health are typically applied topically, meaning that a man is expected to slather on these products before he puts on any form of clothing. While most men are accustomed to handling the package on a regular basis, and they might even be acquainted with certain tugging and pulling hand motions, these aren’t the sorts of movements that tend to result in robust penis health. In fact, a man who hops out of the shower and is expected to work a thick lotion into uncooperative skin might develop:

Chafing sores
Spots of tenderness
Lingering pain
When the product just won’t absorb, a slick, oil-based spot might also begin to spread in the front of a man’s pants as the day progresses. That stain might be hard to explain.

Online shoppers might find it hard to measure the absorption rate of the products they’re preparing to buy, but reading online reviews could be helpful. Those who do have a sample on hand can spread a few drops between the fingers and measure how quickly the liquid seems to disappear. Those products that seem to fade away with speed might be better choices, as they’re less likely to cause problems during the application process.

Erectile Problems and Stress – How Lifestyle Choices Affect Sexual Health

Erectile problems are not just a consequence of aging; there are many factors that affect a man’s sexual function. The good news is that many of these factors concern men’s personal choices about their health and lifestyle, and therefore, men can choose to make changes that can help to overcome erectile dysfunction. Taking on this frustrating problem starts with understanding the underlying issues, as well as what men can do to improve their own sexual health.

Stress – Physical and emotional stress can have a tremendous effect on a man’s general health, not to mention his ability to function in the bedroom. Stress, whether it is caused by work, relationship problems, financial issues, or health-related concerns, affects the body in a multitude of ways. Heart function, mental health and the ability to perform with a partner are all at risk when a man is under too much pressure.

Anxiety – Anxiety is closely related to stress, and the physiological effects are similar. However, it is worth mentioning separately to illustrate the potential causes. Performance anxiety, low self-esteem, and even feeling of guilt related to sex can affect a man’s ability to be ready for a sexual encounter. Dealing with anxiety can mean addressing the source, including past trauma or other unhealthy events that may be contributing to the anxious mental state.

Obesity – Men who are severely overweight are especially at risk for erectile problems, because too much body fat affects so many physiological functions. For instance, the heart has to work much harder just to maintain normal circulation, so little is left over when it comes to flooding the erectile chambers of the penis with blood. Stamina is also affected, and men with excess body fat may have difficulty in getting up the energy to perform.

In addition, obese men are more likely to suffer from type 2 diabetes. This autoimmune disorder creates the risk of diabetic neuropathy, a breakdown in the nerve tissue that is needed for communication between the brain and body. Men with this condition may experience mild to severe loss of sensation in the penis, leaving them immune to pleasurable sensation.

Substance use

Aside from any illicit substances, cigarette smoking and alcohol use can spell trouble when it comes to sexual health. Tobacco and nicotine have a highly negative effect on nerve and circulatory function and can stop an erection in its tracks; and alcohol is known as a “downer” not only for its effects on brain function.