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Tag: Lives

Technology; Vital To Our Lives

Today technology is integral to the lives we lead. We take for granted so many pieces of technology; none more so than the microchip that has completely revolutionised the world and the way we carry out our lives. For people of past generations it would be considerably difficult to understand and comprehend the society we live in today. This is why staying abreast of technological developments and new stories relating to technology is an advisable course of action, even for those who do not have a great interest in technological developments; a passing interest in technology news is helpful.

Technology in the modern world leaves no part of our lives untouched. News stories on the subject can help us to prepare for changes and developments that we would not foresee. One such instance of the importance of technology news is the current drive towards awareness of the digital television revolution. If viewers were not suitably informed of the developments in this process it would be difficult for them to prepare for it. In the same vein, news stories that inform of us of ways technology is making our lives more environmentally friendly can help us do our bit for the planet.

The most memorable technology news programme in the UK was the BBC’s ‘Tomorrow’s World’. Running for over thirty years it brought us many stories that were technology related. For many it was an event just to sit down and watch the programme as a family; sadly today it is not running in its old format due to dwindling viewing figures at the turn of the last century. The news stories it brought us about various pieces of technology however were truly groundbreaking; devices such as the personal stereo, the digital watch and the camcorder were all first aired on ‘Tomorrow’s World’, items that are all commonly used today.

The internet seems to have taken the mantle as the UK’s favourite way to access technology news stories. It has given thousands of people the chance to voice their opinions about certain pieces of technology and put in writing theories of how they expect the technological world to develop. While in the beginning this may have been just geeks and techno-junkies producing the articles, it has turned into an industry full of news corporations that specialise in technology news stories.

Today it is quite clear that we live in a computer age. Computers are so intertwined with society that is hard to imagine how the world would function without them. The reliance upon technology makes news on technological issues even more pronounced; knowing how secure the equipment is that keeps our society running means we can predict future problems.

Technology does not just cover gadgets and gismos however, with the diverse applications for pieces of technology there isn’t a sphere in life that is not in someway influenced by technological development. Medicine and even traffic control is heavily influenced by technology with development improving efficiency and in the case of medicine survival rates. All of these subjects are covered in tech news stories, not just the games consoles and mobile phones we all seem to have nowadays.

The importance of technology news is only set to continue. As society finds more and more ways to reduce labour and increase the use of equipment it is wholly understandable. Subsequently being abreast of technological developments can be considered vital in the world we live in today.

Cultural expert Thomas Pretty looks into the importance of technology news in staying abreast of technological developments.

Related Technology Articles

How and why technology is important in our lives

Technology is all over, entwined virtually in each and every part of our lives. It affects however we tend to look, socialize, connect, play, and most significantly learn. With their nice and increasing presence in our lives it solely is sensible to own mobile technology news within the room. Nonetheless there are some colleges that are delaying this close at hand way forward for using technology within the schoolroom as the valuable learning tool it is. If used properly, can help prepare people for his or her future careers, which is able to inevitably embrace the utilization of wireless technology. Integrating technology into the schoolroom is certainly an excellent way to reach diversity in learning designs. It provides people the prospect to move with their classmates more by encouraging collaboration. Nowadays people can’t live without technology. From a needle to a telescope, everything is the gift of modern science and technology. People are so involved it that they can’t imagine a day without it.

Technology and its uses-

Technology products helps the lecturers prepare people for the important world surroundings. As our world is becoming more and more technology-dependent, it becomes even more necessary that people should learn to be tech-savvy. Integrating technology in education everyday helps people keep engaged. Today’s people love technology so that they are bound to have an interest in learning if they will use the tools they love. With technology news, the schoolroom could be a happier place. People are excited regarding having the ability to use technology and so are more apt to be told. When mobile technology is instantly out there within the schoolroom, people are able to access the foremost up-to-date data faster and easier than ever before. The traditional passive learning mold is broken. With technology within the schoolroom the teacher becomes the encourager, adviser, and coach. People become more experienced. Technology helps people take additional management over their own learning. They learn the way to create their own choices and really think for themselves.

How technology helps us in various ways-

Student will have access to digital textbooks that are perpetually updated and sometimes additional vivid, helpful, creative and a lot cheaper than those previous significant books. If you’re still debating using the newest technology, I hate to interrupt it to you; however it’s the inevitable way forward for education anyways. It is vital that college wireless networks sustain with the ever-changing technology so as to stay up with the people. From the convenience of human activity with their lecturers via e-mail, to quickly accessing an overabundance of knowledge on-line about a particular topic they need learned concerning at school, technology products are required in today’s schoolroom.

If you would like to know or just have some questions on integrating the newest technology just. There are agencies which have helped faculties everywhere the country bring mobile technology within the schoolroom with success. Their goal is to help you out .they can be trusted blindly.

Havard John has afforded his articles and write-ups autonomously and through various online forums. Get more information on: Technology News and Technology Products

More Technology Articles

How A Simple Apple Feature Called Switch Control Is Changing Lives

YouTube

On April 3, 2012, Christopher Hills posted a clip to his YouTube account. In the three-minute video, Hills squarely addresses his webcam from what looks like his childhood bedroom. On the white walls behind him are a smattering of posters of high-end sports cars, jets, and rocket ships — it’s the kind of teen bedroom that’s been home to countless YouTube rants, confessions, and reviews. But Hills’s demeanor is serious as he begins talking about the rise of smartphones, tablets, and touchscreen technology. “I am going to show you how touchscreens help me,” he says to the camera. Moments later, we see Hills in his wheelchair, facing a desk with an iPad perched atop. We watch Christopher, a resident of Queensland, Australia, move forward slightly, struggle for a moment, and then pause, unable to reach the iPad screen.

“I keep reading things about the touchscreen overtaking the mouse and keyboard and this really scares me,” he confesses into the camera. Hills’ Athetoid cerebral palsy has left him unable to walk or use his hands, and, at that moment in 2012, his fears were understandable. “I think touchscreens are an amazing technology, but my disability means I can't use my hands — so let's face it,” he says. The video — shot, edited, and posted by Hills — is an arresting reminder of an alarming truth: Technologies aimed at, hyped by, and marketed toward an able-bodied majority often overlook the eager constituency of the disabled.

youtube.com

For Hills, that fear and frustration began to subside after 2013. That’s when Apple introduced Switch Control, an accessibility feature that helps those with limited mobility to navigate, select, and manipulate iOS touchscreen devices with the click of a button, movement of the body, or any number of alternative inputs (blowing into a tube, etc.). Launched as a feature in iOS 7, Switch Control gave Christopher and thousands of others the opportunity to finally take command of touch displays inside Apple’s applications as well as third-party programs, like games and browsers, without the use of expensive third-party devices. For Hills, though, nothing was as satisfying or memorable as being able to perform the most elemental functions.

“The thing that comes to mind is the day I made my first phone call. I was 15. I was able to call mum at work. As you can imagine, this was a very big thing,” Hills told BuzzFeed News of using Switch Control for the first time.

For decades, accessibility technology has seemed an afterthought for the world’s most powerful technology companies, leaving those who require additional assistive features with largely outdated technology or, in the case of touchscreens, no access at all.” The biggest problem used to be a general lag in software,” Elizabeth Ellcessor, a professor at Indiana University who specializes in digital media and accessibility studies told BuzzFeed News. “Software would come out and companies wouldn’t build in accessibility features for years and by that time the piece of software would be out of date,” she said.

For Hills, a gadget fan, the lag was excruciating. “When the iPhone came out, I was using these devices that were designed in the time of the Apple Newton and had not improved since then,” he told Buzzfeed News.

But the problems with assistive tech innovations were more than just inconvenient. The Dynamo, an assistive switching tool and universal remote for desktop computers that Hills used before Switch Control, cost thousands of dollars and could only serve the most basic communications functions. “Typing on the PC was possible, but it was extremely slow and, as a result, I always needed to have a [caregiver], mostly Dad, to help me whenever I needed to type more than just a few words,” Hills said.

Around the time Hills made his video about touchscreens, he was beginning to worry that he might never get to play games or even make phone calls like millions of his peers; the touchscreen revolution, he feared would leave him behind. “I knew how hard it was finding assistive technology solutions to control my desktop and here was a completely new thing and it just didn’t seem like anybody would be able to come up with a solution very quickly,” he wrote in an email to BuzzFeed News.

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But in the mid-2000s, Apple began a full overhaul of its assistive program with an emphasis on building accessibility features into products from the ground up, rather than adding them into previously developed software. In 2005, the company created a built-in voice reader called VoiceOver for its desktop computers, which it incorporated into the iPhone in 2009, allowing visually impaired iPhone users to navigate the touch device using voice controls. The company also began courting users of all abilities, focusing on previously underserved constituencies to ask them what features needed improvement and what to build next. As part of this initiative, Apple engineers also underwent mandatory accessibility training.

Apple is not alone in this space. In 2005, Google began funding research projects geared toward accessibility issues in areas such as speech, mobile, and human-computer interaction; others, like Microsoft, have also begun work to include more accessibility features in initial shipped versions of software and hardware, in order to bake assistive tech in from the beginning with features like text narration, magnification, password speaking, and high contrast text.

But for all that progress, and for all the mostly happy stories from people like Hills, companies such as Apple still have plenty to do if they are to be truly accessible. The costs of accessible tech, while much lower than they were five or ten years ago, are still expensive for disabled customers with limited financial resources, and while Apple’s Voice Control and Switch Control features are free, third-party assistive tech can often be prohibitively costly (a Freedom Scientific braille display monitor for those with vision impairments runs $ 7,795 for an 80 cell display.) The disparate nature of the applications inside the App Store and lack of standardized accessibility requirements for developers has left advocates in some disabled communities frustrated by the quality of numerous popular apps.

In January, a blog post from a concerned blind user noted that “Apple does have a fantastic accessibility story” but that “they’re on the verge of badly trumping that trust many people with disabilities put in them by delivering such poor quality updates that make it virtually impossible to take advantage of [accessibility] features in full force.” And last July, the National Federation of the Blind, as a part of an ongoing campaign, publicly pushed Apple to bring accessibility requirements to the App Store, noting that “'it’s time for Apple to step up or we will take the next step” (Apple has since begun to address such complaints). That said, Mark A. Riccobono, president of the National Federation of the Blind, has repeatedly spoken out in support of Apple’s accessibility efforts, noting that, “Apple has done more for accessibility than any other company to date.” These dual feelings hint at an insidious tension for those advocating for assistive tech: They want to hold tech’s leaders accountable, but fear alienating or overstepping their bounds with their biggest allies.

And for his part, Hills said he “hope[s] software developers continue to do more. There are apps I still can’t access, such as some games,” he said, adding that “it would change my life if there was a technology that could help me directly overcome my speech difficulties.”

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Less than three years after Hills posted the the touchscreen video, his life is dramatically different. He no longer needs to spend thousands of dollars on new, quickly obsolete devices to use an iPhone or iPad and is no longer forced to rely on a caregiver for tasks like typing an email. He is now an Apple-certified Final Cut Pro editor and has his own video production and editing business that he runs out of his house. And his YouTube page is home to dozens of videos geared toward educating others about accessibility tech, including Switch Control. In his spare time, Hills speaks to training and support groups and writes guest blog posts about his experiences and how to best take advantage of assistive technology.

Features like Switch Control work in practical and measurable ways to lower costs for the disabled and work to bring more and more people not only online, but further into a culture that overlooked their technological needs. Giving more people the necessary tools means not only offering up the vast and rich world of internet and all that modern software and hardware have to offer to a wider audience, it also means widening the spectrum and potential of innovation through inclusion. “I like to think about this kind of technology less like a light switch and more as a set of possibilities,” Ellcessor said. “Accessibility is about creating the possibility for those with particular bodily impairments to participate and engage in culture and in whatever ways they want to.” That possibility, and the participation that it fosters, ultimately mean adding more diverse voices into the culture.

Maybe most important though — at least for Hills — it’s about a feeling of liberation that’s hard for any company to measure in an earnings report or tech specs sheet. “These tools have allowed me to come out of my shell and make my own way in the world,” he wrote in an email to BuzzFeed News. “From communication and environmental control, to work and learning, and recreation and entertainment. Combined with the internet, Switch Control has allowed me to engage with the world more than ever before and to participate and contribute in ways that I never really thought would be possible.” Ultimately for Hills, it’s about a personal sense of dignity that comes from being able to share his voice and passion with the world.

Now, more than two years after posting about touchscreens, his videos have taken on a different, bolder tone. In one clip from last September, Hills has swapped the bedroom and posters for HD footage, complex, staged shot compositions, lens tinting, and a powerful score. The clip opens with a woman standing on a balcony, casually taking pictures of the setting sun through the trees on her iPhone. Moments later, Hills comes onto the balcony and angles his mounted iPhone toward the sunset. Using the toggling button located on his wheelchair’s headrest, Hills begins to take photos of his own along with the woman as the music swells. At its crescendo, the screen cuts to black and the screen flashes a final message: #iAmMorePowerfulThanYouThink. The tagline is Hills’s own reference to Apple’s 2014 “Powerful” advertisement as well as a crucial reminder to those building, using, and writing technology products today; and, as anyone who’s ever watched one of Hills’s videos knows, it’s also the truth.

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BuzzFeed – Tech

This “Minecraft” Community Is Saving The Lives Of Children With Autism

How a $ 2.50 experiment turned into one of the best places on the internet.

Via youtube.com

Angela was on call when a young boy with autism — who I'll call Tim — came up to her for help. Tim's friend had recently committed suicide, and it was clear he was shaken and upset. Within minutes of talking, Angela understood that Tim didn't have a family he felt comfortable talking to. Running through her own mental checklist, Angela suggested that, if comfortable, he should seek out and talk to a guidance counselor or school therapist. But Angela knew Tim needed help right away. “You need to find some help but how can I help you right now? How can we help release all this that you're feeling?” she asked.

Tim asked Angela if she'd help him build a memorial for his friend and the two began constructing: Tim built a cross out of some stone blocks; Angela planted flowers. Later, Tim fashioned a sign, which he hung on the stone cross. “You will never see the stars if your head is always down,” it read. Angela invited some of the nearby children to see what Tim had built. One by one they offered up their support, taking turns embracing him. The next day, Tim confessed that Angela's support had helped him feel better about his friend. Tears in her eyes, Angela watched as Tim disappeared from view, heading off to build or join a quest.

Or maybe he simply logged off.

Tim's memorial

Stories like this one pop up all the time in Autcraft, a server for the popular multiplayer video game, Minecraft, where Angela routinely puts in 40-plus hour volunteer work weeks as an administrator. Autcraft is one of hundreds of thousands of active Minecraft servers, but one of only a few that caters exclusively to children, young adults, and parents of children with autism and Asperger's. Painstakingly moderated by a team of dutiful (and intensely vetted) volunteers, Autcraft is a safe haven to 5,000 players from all over the world and arguably one of the best communities on the internet.

Autcraft's founder and cult hero (according to one parent, “He's like Elvis in there!”) is Stuart Duncan, a web developer from Timmons, Canada, who goes by the handle AutismFather. In 2013, Duncan, who has Asperger's syndrome and is the father of children with autism, had been keeping a blog about raising children with autism when he noticed that a number of parents of autistic children in his various networks were struggling to find a safe place for their kids to play Minecraft. Parents were complaining that most Minecraft servers subjected their children to bullies, trolls, foul language, and other emotionally disturbing behavior. Duncan, who had already been playing the game with his kids, bought a $ 2.50 starter server that he named Autcraft and invited 400 people from his blog's Facebook page, expecting few responses.

But it exploded: “I got 750 emails in the first two days,” Duncan told BuzzFeed News. “These parents, they really really felt they had no place to go and here was a place where they thought, My kid won't be bullied. I didn't have to do any ads; they were desperate.”

By its very nature, a game like Minecraft is an intuitive and addictive teaching tool; as a result it's been embraced by many video game-wary parents. In Minecraft, players can explore their creativity by pairing together textures and colors and building the world around them, learn number skills, and even hone their social skills. But for children and young adults who have trouble with social cues, Minecraft — and specifically Autcraft — gives autistic players the chance to meet and talk with likeminded children, hone crucial social skills, and learn to feel comfortable with themselves and in their new environment. And it all takes place behind the a protective shield of screens, keyboards, and avatars.

“When you have a lot of insecurities, face-to-face communication can be very limiting,” Duncan said. “Whereas in Minecraft, you don't feel like you're talking to a human being, but you have fun and you let your guard down.”


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BuzzFeed – Tech

Normcore Lives On: Gap CEO Stands By “Dress Normal” Campaign

Gap’s soon-to-be CEO acknowledged the campaign is a “work in process,” but the company is “really excited about elements of it.”

Gap Inc.

Gap's “Dress Normal” campaign, a play on the normcore trend, has been criticized by fashionistas and analysts for missing the mark with its core customers this fall — but the company is standing by it.

Dress Normal is “a work in process,” digital chief and soon-to-be CEO Art Peck said in an interview with BuzzFeed News this week. “It's working on some dimensions, and then we have work to do on others, which is very typical for the first time out on an advertising campaign. It's got a lot of conversation and a lot of dialogue about it…I've been with the agency and our marketing team, and we're really excited about elements of it, and there are other places where we still need to get it dialed in.”

Gap unveiled Dress Normal in August. It's been viewed as a nod to normcore, which is the ironic embrace of nondescript, “ardently ordinary clothes,” as New York magazine put it. However, critics say the irony may be lost on Gap's core customer, who doesn't want to be told that what she's getting is average or basic — rather, she'd like to be on-trend. The company has been discounting its fall collection heavily and same-store sales, a measure that excludes the effect of new stores, slid in August, September and October. (Gap reports earnings later today.) Wall Street analysts complained the clothes in stores this fall were “too 'normal,'” and that the apparel and ad campaign failed to entice shoppers.

But Peck said the call to Dress Normal still has time to prove itself.

“You never know, I think, until you have a couple seasons into a marketing platform whether it's going to be something customers respond to and relate to and want to engage with on an ongoing basis,” he said. “When we came out with the Be Bright campaign back in 2012, it took a few seasons for us to figure out whether we were really getting traction there and whether customers saw beyond the bright of color to the broader meaning of bright. So stay tuned.”

Gap Inc.

BuzzFeed – Business