Increasing Understanding of Technology and Communication

NASA’s New Space Shuttle an Inspirational Work of Art

New-Space-Shuttle

A recent, NASA-awarded cargo pact worth billions means smoother sailing for the development of Dream Chaser, a new space shuttle built by Sierra Nevada Corp (SNC), based in Louisville, CO.

The unique spacecraft has had a long and arduous journey from its Soviet-era beginnings to its thrust into today’s escalating private industry space race.

The Phase 2 commercial Resupply Services (CRS2) is contracted for at least six Dream Chaser missions to the International Space Station. The announcement comes roughly two years after SNC lost a bid to taxi astronauts to the station against competitors, Boeing and SpaceX.

But SNCs resolve did not wane and the company survived by transforming their vehicle to successfully compete for cargo missions to the ISS. This innovative spirit puts the future of SNC on an exciting trajectory.

Mark Sirangelo, Vice President of SNC, says the company has addressed the concerns NASA had voiced when it decided against awarding the previous contract to SNC. He also remarked that the government “gets a terrific vehicle to add to its fleet.”

The capabilities of the newly designed Dream Chaser Cargo System met the upper end of the technical requirements for a cargo mission. Including the ability to carry up to 5,550 kilograms, roughly the size of one well fed African bush elephant. This allows for more space inside pressurized chambers for critical science experiments and external space to carry large components to be installed on the body of the ISS.

The lifting body vehicle will be launched on a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket and will have the ability to return – along with cargo – by landing at any available airport.  SNCs Dream Chaser is made of non-toxic materials meaning it can touch down on commercial runways and be accessed immediately.

The chance to showcase a reusable spacecraft on government funded missions bodes well for a potential pivot to commercial use. SNC is at the leading edge of private space companies that one day might cater to a more diverse base of consumers like universities, medical companies and individuals.

To learn more about Dream Chaser’s history and development, we spoke to John Roth, Vice President of Business Development for SNC’s Space Systems.

Can you give us a little history on how the Dream Chaser was inspired by a space shuttle built by the Soviet Union?

The history stems from the BOR-4, a subscale test version of a manned spaceplane that the Soviets experimented with (some orbital launches and sub-orbital launches) back in the 1980s. The way that it has a heritage to the Dream Chaser—it’s not a direct heritage, but the BOR-4 had been captured by some intelligence originally from an Australian surveillance aircraft that caught a Russian frigate pulling a BOR-4 out of the water after one of its flights.

They didn’t know what the BOR-4 was. It looked like some sort of space vehicle. They sent the information to the United States to see if the US had any intel on this vehicle and that made its way to NASA.

NASA didn’t have any intel on the vehicle but they thought it was a very interesting design and that prompted some of the early design work they did in lifting bodies that eventually led to the development of NASA’s own spaceplane concept, the HL-20. So the NASA HL-20, if you look at it, looks very looks very similar to the BOR-4. There’s sort of a direct link in that they have some intelligence on the BOR-4 and that led to the development of the HL-20 at NASA.

We took over the technical details, information and drawings etc. of the HL-20 from NASA and migrated that into the Dream Chaser.

Will SNC compete for the next round of commercial crew contracts that NASA is expected to award in 2020?

That is certainly on our radar scope, yes. That is something we are very interested in doing. We do need to try and find the best route in working on the crew version. First, it’s going to take some investment funding and that could be either internal, external, or a combination. The second thing is that we absolutely want to make sure we are successful on the cargo missions. So we’ve got to make sure the resources are directed towards making that cargo design and getting that vehicle built.

Whether we can actually go after that contract or not when it gets to that point, is going to be matter of whether we can get the right resources to get there.

When will the public see Dream Chaser fly for the first time?

Well that’s really up to NASA. NASA has not yet signed any of the task orders for specific missions. We have our first meetings in the next few weeks but they announced as part of the contract that the first cargo missions will begin in 2019. It doesn’t mean all three providers will be contracted to do cargo mission in 2019 so we still have to wait on NASA to see what our schedule will be for the first flight.

Read Article (Seemangal & Bosier | observer.com | 02/01/2016)

If you think what you see now is basically the extent of the Digital Era, you haven’t been paying attention. Just as some people actually think a phone can replace a computer, you’re not seeing the whole picture of computer evolution.

The Digital Era has only just begun and the mobile device we have today will evolve into a new generation of communications device, totally unlike its predecessor. It’s up to each individual to get a little Tech-savvy for their own wellbeing and that of their loved ones; Our instructional webinars are the long-term solution for addressing device usage, and we need your support.

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Choosing a Hard Drive for Desktop or Laptop

Choosing-Hard-Drive

Basically, all Hard Drives are the same, right? Not exactly. What it really comes down to, does an SSD or HDD or a Hybrid of the two fit your needs? When determining your needs, you should be aware of the category you fit into:

Hard Drive Users

  • Enthusiastic multimedia users and heavy downloaders: Video collectors need storage space, and you can only get to 4TB on cheaper hard drives.
  • Budget buyers: Ditto. You can get plenty of space for cheap. SSD’s are too expensive for $500 computer buyers.
  • Graphic Arts: Video and photo editors wear out storage through overuse. Replacing a 1TB hard drive will be cheaper than replacing a 500GB SSD.
  • General users: Unless you can justify a need-for-speed or ruggedness, most users won’t need expensive SSD’s in their system.

SSD Users

  • Road Warriors: People who shove their laptops into their bags indiscriminately will want the extra security of an SSD. That laptop may not be fully asleep when you violently shut it to catch your next flight. This also includes folks who work in the field, like utility workers and university researchers.
  • Speed Demons: If you need things done now, spend the extra bucks for quick boot-ups and app launches. You can supplement with a storage SSD or HDD if you need extra space. (see below)
  • Graphic Arts and Engineering: Yes, above I said they need hard drives, but the speed of an SSD may make the difference between completing two proposals and completing five for your client. (see below)
  • Audio guys: If you’re recording music, you don’t want the scratchy sound from a hard drive intruding in the background. Go for the quieter choice of SSDs.

Hybrid Drives

Last but not least, an SSD and HDD, where the SSD invisibly helps the system boot faster and launch apps faster. The SSD in s hybrid drive is not directly accessible by the user; rather, it acts as a cache for files the system needs often. Since the operating system isn’t being installed to the SSD directly, you avoid drive space problems.

It’s unclear whether SSDs or Hybrids will totally replace traditional hard drives, especially with shared cloud storage waiting in the wings. Cloud storage isn’t free either: you’ll continue to pay as long as you want personal storage on the internet.

Read Article (Joel Santo Domingo | pcmag.com | 02/17/2015)

One concern to be aware of, when an SSD dies it does so without warning and the cause is usually its read-write limitation of anywhere between 10-50 years. An SSD especially, should always have a backup.

Our service not only assists in the process of learning to use products of technology, it also keeps you informed of innovations and trends that impact the industry. Please support our startup campaign on Indiegogo.

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Job Searching Tips Via Mobile Device

Smartphone-Job-Search

Its 10pm, you’re comfortable stretched across the bed and Twitter has your full attention.  Why not search for jobs on your mobile device instead?  According to the Jobvite 2015 Job Seeker Nation report, that’s what almost half of the Millennials (47%) are using their devices for, from bed.

Your phone can be a very useful tool for job hunting, Snagajob saw its users increase their mobile job searching by 95% over the past year.  Almost one-third of CareerBuilder site traffic each month, now comes from mobile devices.  However, this traffic doesn’t all translate into job applications.  According to Snagajob, the number of job seekers applying for jobs via mobile device, dropped by about 4% over the last year.

CareerBuilder reports that when a mobile candidate encounters a non-mobile friendly application process, 40% end the apply process.  That’s because an application process can be lengthy with multiple pages and isn’t designed for mobile.  So you can find the job while mobile and do the application from your home computer.

Here are 10 tips for Using Your Phone to Job Search:

  1. Install apps. –There’s a lot of job-search-apps available for smartphones, you can download apps that search for jobs by keyword and location, email job listings, keep track of contacts, and even create a resume. You need one that will save jobs and can email the job listings, so you can access them from your home computer.
  2. Use a job site. –Sites like CareerBuilder or Monster, there you can apply with your existing application materials that you have uploaded for your home computer.
  3. Check for new job vacancies. –It only takes a few minutes to use your apps to check, so you can get the latest listings as soon as they are posted.
  4. Send yourself job listings. –it’s easy to email listings to yourself, either by using an app or by features built into your phone and open the email on your computer, once home.
  5. Get notifications and alerts. –This depends on the job site you’re using, but most have this option available to account users.
  6. Submit email applications. –If you email yourself a copy of your resume and save it in the In-box on your phone, you’ll be able to forward it to employers who request applications via email. Write your cover letter in the body of the email message.
  7. Set up a signature on your phone. –If you set up a professional signature on your phone you will be able to communicate readily with employers and networking contacts.
  8. Be careful when applying from mobile. –In most cases it can be easier to apply for jobs from a computer because of the information you’ll need to enter. Don’t waste time when it’s easier to wait until you get to your home computer.
  9. Use your phone for networking. –With LinkedIn’s mobile app, you can stay up to date with your network, update your profile, view and save recommended jobs.
  10. Send a thank you note. –It’s always a good idea to send a thank you note after a job interview, and you won’t have to wait until you get back to your computer to do so.

Read Article (Alison Doyle | about.com | 2015)

The “Dream Team” for communications is a mobile device and laptop or desktop.  And contrary to certain marketing pitches, they are not interchangeable.

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Mobile Device Wireless Charging Range 30 Feet!

Device-Charging-Range

Imagine, no more charging pads or remembering to plugin, just have your mobile device in the same room as the transmitter and it re-charges.  This is truly mobile innovation we can use right now. No matter how good future mobile device batteries will be, we still have the hassle of remembering to charge them –either placing them on a pad or plugging them in.

Cota Technology by “Ossia”, is a CES 2016 Innovation Award winner and it is coming to our rescue with its remote wireless charging technology. Better late than never, this tech popped on the scene in 2013 after raising $3.2 million and has been almost invisible until now. Back then it was only able to deliver wireless power over a distance of about 10 feet, using electromagnetic radiation.

Today, Cota Technology is poised to revolutionize the mobile industry by charging devices automatically, anywhere within a 30 foot range; Cota safely delivers energy around corners and over obstacles without requiring a direct line-of-sight.

Hatem Zeine, creator of Cota technology and CEO of Ossia said, “We’re convinced that untethering people from mobile device chargers is the next logical step in the mobile revolution – as significant as the ability to transmit data wirelessly.  We are very excited that at CES 2016 the amazing Cota platform will be the world’s first demonstrated example of true wireless power.”

Read Article (Lucian Armasu | tomshardware.com | 11/17/2015)

Thinking about all the applications and possibilities of this innovation could give you a headache, this is a huge accomplishment and exemplifies the term – “Game Changer”.

The digital divide is all-pervasive, and any individual without access to the internet might as well be living on another planet.  Anyone not tech-savvy or comfortable online, is on the wrong side it and exposes themselves to consequences which sometimes are serious.

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One in 10 Americans are Smartphone-Dependent

Smartphone-No-Home-Internet

“10% of Americans own a smartphone but do not have broadband at home, and 15% own a smartphone but say that they have a limited number of options for going online other than their cell phone,” wrote Senior Researcher Aaron Smith of Pew Research Center.  “Those with relatively low income and educational attainment levels, younger adults, and non-whites are especially likely to be dependent on their smartphone.”

Pew found that 7% of Americans are in both categories –a smartphone is their only internet connection at home, and they have few easily available connection options outside of home.  These individuals, Pew refers to as “smartphone-dependent.”

“Some 13% of Americans with an annual household income of less than $30,000 per year are smartphone-dependent,” Pew also wrote.  “Just 1% of Americans from households earning more than $75,000 per year rely on their smartphones to a similar degree for online access.”  Racial breakdowns found a similar contrast, “12% of African Americans and 13% of Latinos are smartphone-dependent, compared to 4% of whites.”

This smartphone ownership data is based on telephone surveys of 2,002 adults and has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.5 percentage points.  US Census data from 2013 has previously shown that 24.9 million households out of 116.3 million nationwide have no Internet access, not even mobile broadband or smartphone.  In Detroit and some other cities, nearly 40% went without internet service.

While many households lack Internet subscriptions, Pew found that smartphone users are increasingly relying on mobile devices to access essential services such as online banking, medical information, government information, real estate listings, job listings, and online classes.  But the high cost of mobile data and data caps leave some without the access they need.

Pew found that overall, 64% of Americans own a smartphone, up from 58% a year ago.

Read Article (Jon Brodkin | arstechnica.com | 04/01/2015)

To quote a comment, “Why would someone forgo $40/month home internet in favor of a $100/month cell phone bill?”

Also, some folks hotspot their smartphone and tether it to a laptop.

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