There are just 15 days to go before Christmas now, and I am a little behind on the old Christmas shopping – this one seems to have crept up rather quickly!
To get in the festive spirit, Technology Bloggers is now experiencing snow showers! Its winter (in the northern hemisphere at least) and in winter, it snows, therefore I thought it appropriate to let it snow on Technology Bloggers.
To create the snow, I am using a very clever little plugin called: Let it snow!
Let is snow! is a really easy to use and customise plugin. Just install the plugin via WordPress (or download it and then upload it to your site) and then click ‘Activate’. You then get snow on your blog, and it is that easy!
The plugin also creates a useful and really easy to use settings tab. Just look down the left hand side of your WordPress menu and find Let It Snow! There you can customise things like whether the snow follows the mouse, sticks to the bottom of the screen, how much snow their is, etc.
Why not give it a go on your own blog, its easy to do, and doesn’t actually appear to affect the performance of your site very much at all!
If anyone is experiencing lag (I am not) please don’t hesitate to contact me 🙂
Merry Christmas everyone, stick with us for a fantastic future 🙂
A few months ago, I wrote about LHC@home 2.0, which is a project that you can get involved in that allows you to use your spare computing capacity to help ‘crunch’ scientific data from the Large Hadron Collider project.
Rather shamefully, at the time of writing the article, I hadn’t actually taken part in the project, however after buying a new PC, I thought that it was my duty to donate my spare processing power to help science!
I started off by going to the SETI@home website, where I worked out that in order to take part in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI) project, I would need to download the ‘BOINC software’ – so I did. When I installed the software I was amazed with the amount of different projects that I was able to partake in.
The BOINC software is effectively a management tool which lets you choose which projects you want to help crunch data for. Then it sets about downloading, analysing and then uploading the data in the background.
There are so many great projects that people can get involved in, from looking for extraterrestrial life and the Higgs particle, to projects providing power to those who are doing vital research into malaria, cancers and other important global diseases, and even trying to work out how and why gravity works!
From finding new medicines to helping university students, there really is something for everyone to get involved in.
If you are worried that it may slow down your computer, then don’t be, you can set how much of your processor BIONIC can use, as well as the amount of hard disk space it can take up, and also how it uses your internet.
The BOINC software comes with an easy to follow interface, and gives you announces of important events and discoveries relating to @home projects.
The BOINC Manager Interface
Think where we would be in terms of scientific advancements, if everyone were to give just 10% of their PC to some of BOINC’s @home projects.
You can make a difference, and you can help science! Please go to the BOINC website to download the software today, and get stated with some of the brilliant projects they have on offer! I personally believe that the following projects are really worth a look at:
Poem@Home – investigating protein structures, how they determine protein function, how they interact with one another, etc.
LHC@home 1.0 – the Large Hadron Collider project – with some extra software, you can also take part in LHC@home 2.0
climateprediction.net – attempting to improve climate modelling, and predict the possible effects of climate change
Einstein@Home – searching through data from the LIGO detectors for evidence of continuous gravitational-wave sources, as well as searching radio telescope data from the Arecibo Observatory for radio pulsars
Cosmology@Home – comparing theoretical models of the universe in order to try to improve future technologies
malariacontrol.net – helping in the fight against malaria, via creating simulations and models of the history of Malaria
SETI@home – analysing data from outer space, to try and find extraterrestrial life
Unfortunately, I now have to give you a warning. Whilst I am sure that the software and projects are all 100% safe to participate in, some organisations would not want you to install them on their computers. You would be perfectly okay to install such projects on your home PC, however I wouldn’t advise that you do it at work or school, as there have been incidences in the past of firms pressing charges against people for increasing their internet usage and filling up there serves by unauthorised software like BOINC.
That aside, I really do urge you to download the BOINC manager today, any start helping science! If this makes the offer any more attractive, most projects have their own screensavers, many of which look pretty cool!
Install it and leave a comment below to let us know how you are getting on 🙂
With the availability of streaming music services like Pandora, Spotify, and Rdio all available for free and unlimited access, there are fewer people than ever actually paying for their music. According to a recent article on TechCrunch, Tom Conrad, the CTO of Pandora, said that about 50 percent of Americans don’t pay anything for music while another 40 percent only pay $15 a year for it.
If you were to walk into a big retail shop ten years ago, one of the biggest sections in the electronic media department would have been a massive collection of compact discs. Today with the likes of iPhone, and Android, CD’s have made technologies like compact discs seem old and obsolete technologies of the past.
The biggest culprit to the recording industry has been the proliferation of bit torrents and peer-to-peer piracy software. According to Torrent Freak, the Canadian Broadband Management Company says that forty percent of all internet traffic in North America comes from either Netflix or Bit Torrent. While the original intention of this sharing software was to make it easier for business to transfer important files, most of the traffic from it today comes from the illegal trade of music, television shows, and movies.
While services like Pandora, Spotify, and Rhapsody have a paid-premium option available, their free services are so convenient that there is no real reason to purchase them. Unless you want a completely advertising-free experience or simply want an unlimited data cap on what you can access per a week, the free versions of these programs work just as well and include almost all of the features. Ironically, the only companies that actually have to purchase these plans are the small retail stores that are selling you the music.
The RIAA is having an abysmal time selling digital copies of singles and albums to consumers. Not only are the versions that are available online cheaper and make less money, they are also much easier to steal, copy, and distribute illegally over the internet. Google is partially to blame for this widespread availability of illegally traded music.
According to an article in the Daily Mail, if you type in your favourite artist into a Google search, several unauthorized and pirated versions of the song will show up available for stream or download. While Google is not implicitly to blame for this, they are turning a blind eye to the practice by ranking them higher in search results.
The person who is most responsible for the digitisation of music is the late Steve Jobs. When the iPod first appeared on the market, Steve spearheaded the movement to make iTunes the ultimate way to purchase music online. In an article in the Inquirer, David Hughes (head of technology at the RIAA) claimed that Steve was a hypocrite for claiming to be a spiritual leader but not putting enough piracy protection on digital downloads.
There is no turning back from the digital way of selling and listening to music. We have come too far in our technological advances and reverting to older methods such as CD’s and cassettes would seriously hamper our tech advances.
The music industry will need to find new ways to make income such as advertising, product placement, and incorporation in order to continue to make a profit… or it could just go away and make music an art form.