A science fiction writer has proposed that everyone be given a barcode at birth. The technology for this has existed for a decade. Other variations, such as barcode tattoos, have also been seen more recently.
The main benefit to this would be identification – although many other purposes could exist – such as payment for services. Do you see human barcodes as a benefit or unnecessary? Would you be interested in obtaining one for yourself?
Carnegie Mellon recently tried using software to supplement traditional education in hybrid classes and found that in addition to reducing cost, students preformed just as well, if not better. Although drawbacks included the lack of interaction and perceptions of reduced performance by the students.
The increase in distance education and online learning has indicated that college teaching is changing. Have you taken online course before? How would you feel about being tutored by a robot? Would your feelings change if you occasionally saw an instructor? never saw an instructor?
Rising use of data on mobile devices caused cellular phone companies to end “unlimited” plans; although previous subscribers were often “grandfathered” and therefore allowed to continue the service. This also happened with the iPad. However, Verizon has recently decided to end the grandfathered plan this summer.
How will this affect consumers? A recent study has shown that while data usage has considerably risen, few users are exceeding their plan amounts. It is also likely that new Apps – which often significantly decrease data usage compared to completing the same tasks with a Web browser – will continue to be developed. Although users are getting more out of their tiered plans, both Verizon and At&T made over 6 billion dollars (each) last year on data plans alone.
Verizon offers a calculator for the purpose of estimating data usage. It’s an interesting tool; my usage estimate came in under 2 GB. Do you use data on a mobile device? How has your usage changed overtime? Do you anticipate that rate changes will affect your future usage?
Note: See my previous post on declining cell phone revenue from changes in text message habits.
Windows 8 has been rumored to be launched in October 2012. A preview reveals that a significant portion of the user interface (AERO glass: Authentic, Energetic, Reflective, and Open) has been removed. AERO glass is graphic intensive and one of the most notable differences with Windows Vista (and also Windows 7). This change is intended to remove clutter and distraction.
Microsoft’s blog post presents a visual history of the user interface. I encourage you to check it out! What operating systems are you familiar with? Do you see the Windows 8 preview as an improvement?
Launched in 2008, Google Chrome has now become the most used Web browser, worldwide. Since 1995, Web browsers have competed for market dominance. Chrome surpassed Mozilla Firefox, which has previously surpassed Internet Explorer.
What Web Browser do you use to surf the Internet? Do you remember when Netscape Navigator Navigator was the post popular browser? you were to create a new web browser, what changes would you make?
UPDATE: Microsoft disputes these findings.
A Freshman studying electrical engineering and computer science at Berkeley has created an automated dorm room complete with voice-automated light control and an automatic party mode. He was inspired by an MIT student who created a similar room in 2006.
What features would you want to include in an automated room or house?