Monthly Archives: December 2017

Disposing of Your Computers and Hardware

The time will eventually come when you or your business has to get rid of the computer to make room for the new one. The big question that is often asked though, is how and where. This can range from recycling to donating the computer towards an organization or charity. However before you make your decision, you should also consider what you are getting rid of.

Consider the Data on Your Hard Drive
Whenever you delete something off of the hard drive by throwing it away in the recycle bin it is not technically deleted. What happens is that the file is dumped into a section of the hard drive known as “unallocated space.” The file will remain there until it is overwritten by a process, or another file being written over it. You can think of it as your hard drive being a giant phone book with the pages as the files. If someone tears out a page of the phone book it does not mean that the numbers that were on that page will stop working. Whenever you dispose of your computer you should either have the drive physically destroyed, or use a program to wipe the entire hard drive. These programs go through and overwrite the data on the hard drive multiple times, thus destroying any information contained on it.

Donating Your Computer to an Organization or Charity
This is probably the best use of your old computer. Not only is the donation tax refundable, but you are providing help to some of these organizations who are often struggling for funds. Just be sure that before you donate it that you have deleted all of the data from the hard drive of the machine.

Recycling Your Old Computer
This is one of the more attractive options for those computers that are too old to be of any use, even when donated, or ones that do not work anymore. Computers and their components are full of heavy and precious metals like gold or lead. They are contain other components that are very harmful and can be dangerous should the their base chemicals make their way down into the local groundwater system. Most computer manufacturers will recycle old equipment when you buy a new computer from them. Check with the manufacturer of your new machine to see if they will take yours. Otherwise the Environmental Protection Agency is always willing to provide you with information on where to dispose of your computer.

Computer and IT Support

Computers and IT (Information Technology) in general are a very big part of a lot of business in today’s world, they are used all of the country and worldwide for a number of different purposes. As with all technology they carry the risk of going wrong and not only that but some people simply find them hard to use and do not understand their operation.

To some people a computer can be a daunting prospect and to others the operation of them can come second nature. However if you fall in to the category of maybe needing a little help then there are a lot of companies out there that can offer you help. Often they are support lines, you call the company up and an operator will pick up, from here you explain your problem to them or what you need help with. Some companies will try and help you from this point, but larger support companies will often work out which department you need (from what you told them) and transfer you through.

More than often they will be able to help you there on the spot, they will explain what you have to do and run through it with you on the phone whilst you do what they tell you. In the odd case the problem cannot be solved some companies will be able to send out a technician to help you.

Be warned, these businesses operate a premium rate phone line, make sure you check how much the call will cost you per minute before calling.

Will Computer Hardware and Technological Innovation

If you will recall back in Ronald Reagan’s day as President, there was a showdown between his administration and the air traffic control workers. He warned them not to strike or they’d be fired – they did, and they were. End of story, or is it. That is to say will history repeat in the future if we bring forth Artificial Intelligent Computers, New Computer Hardware, and the third phase of NextGen ATC equipment and technologies? I believe so, and thus, we were having a conversation about these potential future eventualities at our Think Tank recently.

Consider if you will some of our comments here – think about what Troy Laclaire is saying and some of the points of contention I bring up, and I’d like to start this dialogue out with reminding folks that anytime human beings develop better tools to do their jobs, there will be fewer jobs to do, thus, some folks will be let go. The jobs that remain will be lower skill levels and much higher skill levels but those in the middle will disappear.

Now then, when it comes to the latest and greatest air traffic control systems being introduced one must ask why will we need humans in the process. After all, most of the near misses or runway incursions are due to human error, either air traffic controllers or the pilots themselves. So, let’s remove them from the situation. Yes, both the pilots and the controllers. But today, let’s talk about air traffic controllers, as future UAVs will surely tell all the pilots; “You’re Fired!” but that’s for another article.

If we use the recording and data from the best air traffic controllers to program the AI system, then the controllers will inevitably be worked out of a job right? So, I said jokingly; Train the computers, and let the Air Traffic Control B.A.S.E. jump off the tower to grow some balls? But seriously, what will we use all those old control towers for, as the computers will most likely be underground in air-conditioned rooms with full electronic security, no one goes in or out unless they have clearance as the official IT personnel for the system?

Now then, we may as well some of those control towers for something, but they are many stories tall, so should we dismantle them instead? Troy notes; “If this type of system was put in place, you wouldn’t have a need really for a control tower, and could put everyone below ground.” Right, which was another point, namely; what to use them for – restaurants, observation decks, tours, lounges, bars? BASE Jumping locations? Sniper towers to get the bad guys – what?

Troy wonders; “well, there are many different uses you can use the current towers for. Heck, why not setup homeless shelters or lease the building out to companies to use as remote data centers since they already have communications capabilities?” And really he’s onto something there, it’s a great place for antennas, and all those control towers are fully wired.

Well, out with the old computer hardware, in with the new, but indeed, this does change everything, fewer jobs, less human error, and more systems. Please consider all this.

Relationships and Technology

Choice is not always a blessing. As it has often been said, “with choice comes responsibility.”

I recently went on a weekend road trip to a hot springs retreat center in a very remote location. As my husband and I started to drive on the dusty and winding road, cell phone reception worsened and, within moments, the words “No Service” flashed on my phone screen. Every time I glanced over at my smart phone and saw the two words, I felt a strange mix of nervousness and joyful relief.

I had no service and no choice. “To tech” or “not to tech” was not the question.

My lack of choice made me acutely aware of the choice we do have in our daily lives. It reminded me of the daily myriad of decisions many of us, technology users, face every day at home or while with love ones. We mostly have the choice, conscious or not, to decide if or when to fire up our computers, to switch our phones on or off, to turn to our gadgets… or to our partners.

The Impact of Technology on Relationships

Decades ago, this type of choice was not as imperative, or as relevant. However, technology use has become so pervasive that if we fail to consciously exercise our power of choice today, the automatic impact of technology on relationships will choose for us. The mesmerizing power of the gadget will prevail.

A new Telenav study revealed that a third of Americans would prefer to give up sex for a week, rather than their cell phones. A recent British study by Ikea showed that couples are spending more time in bed looking at laptops than looking at each other. According to a report by Spring Technology, an IT recruitment company, “70 per cent agree that checking work emails while on holiday damages relationships.” You get the idea.

We are becoming so dependent on our gadgets that relationships are increasingly taking the backseat.

Choose Consciously

Whatever the origin of that impulse to turn to tech rather than to each other, it comes with a cost. Relationships need to be fed to stay healthy and thrive. Time and attention are fertilizers.

Needless to say, we may need or want to use technology while with our loved ones. Sometimes, technology can bring us closer together. The key, however, is to choose consciously.

So every time you are about to turn to a digital device rather than to your partner, stop and ask yourself these 3 questions:

1) What motivates me to turn to technology in this moment? Need, enjoyment, compulsion, avoidance?

2) Will tech use bring us closer together or further apart right now?

3) Looking back at my life from my death bed, will I have any regrets about my gadget use?

Choose consciously. With lack of choice come consequences.

Plug into your relationship. Fire up your quality time. Switch on the love.

PS – My husband just walked over to my home office computer, and asked me, “Do you want to take a walk when you’re done with that article?” I consciously answered, “Yes!” and smiled to myself. Let’s see what kind of choice I actually make…

A Look at Artificial Intelligence and Technology

It is fairly obvious that computers and artificial intelligence will run our world tomorrow, as we program these machines today. Interestingly enough, not long from now these AI machines will be programming themselves. How did we come so far so fast you ask? Well, maybe you need to do a little research for yourself.

If this topic interests you, then boy do I have a great book for you to read. It is a book that I own personally, and one I read a long time ago, but it still holds validity today, and many of the predictions of that past period, which is only two decades ago, although it seems like eons; the book is:

“The Connection Machine,” by W. Danny Hillis, MIT Press, MA, 1989, (208 pp), ISBN: 978-026258-0977.

This book is an extension of a highly controversial and ahead of its time MIT thesis by the same author. This book is not for the non-intellectual, and he gets pretty thick into the details and philosophy of parallel computing. This book was written well before massive Internet use, just as the computer technology in Silicon Valley was really taking off. Indeed, this is one of those books which was the prime mover of the time.

This is why I have it in my library, and why I recommend it to anyone who is into artificial intelligence, computer hardware, future software, or where we are go from here; why you ask – because if the past is any indication of the future, things are getting get pretty interesting in the next decade. In fact, I hope you will please consider this, and educate yourself a little in the past, so you can understand how far we’ve come, how fast we’ve come, and where we go from here. Think on it.