Technology Without Borders: How New Innovations Unite Us

Try imagining a world without technology. Picture a world where we don’t get minute by minute updates of events that are happening in every corner of the world, where we can’t video call people on the other side of the planet, where we can’t play video games with people in a different state, and where we can’t even take a picture with our phone and immediately upload it. These simple, almost mundane tasks have become commonplace. It’s easy to overlook how technology has united the world

Innovations that have been around for a few years have spurred this unification. Social media plays a big role in uniting people both every day and when tragedy strikes. Many newsworthy events and tragedies immediately develop their own hashtag. For example, during the Boston Marathon Bombing of 2013, the hashtag #PrayforBoston cropped up on social media. Photos and videos from the bombing filled news feeds causing the FBI to send out a call for people to send in their pictures and videos. With that evidence, they were able to identify the suspects based on the pictures, according to NBC News.

The latest innovations will unite us further. Skype has created a translator that allows people of different languages to speak to each other in real time without learning one another’s language. The translator is currently available in English and Spanish but more languages are on the way. Imagine how this will unite the world. As seen in the video below, even children in classrooms across the globe will be able to talk with each other and learn about the other’s culture.

New currencies will make it easy for us to make transactions with people in other nations. According to Peter Diamonds of SingularityHub.com, these “cryptocurrencies” will “provide some level of stability and independence from your country’s political turmoil, or whether your country’s GDP is based on oil exports.”

In the past, technology has only connected us by what we read, see, and hear but even that is about to change. Apple’s iWatch, coming out in early 2015, has haptic feedback. Someone will be able to send you a touch and you will feel a tap or a caress on your wrist.

Technology allows us to share our experiences like never before. Whether we are sharing recipes with a friend in Spain, chatting with grandma in Guatemala, or discussing world affairs with foreign nations, new innovations, if used wisely, can have the ability to connect us like never before.

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Don’t Let The NSA Spy On You

2013 brought us the revelation that the government is all over our personal information, snooping through phone records and internet activity. To combat this, 2014 brought us new tools and methods to stop this (unfortunately legal) invasion of privacy.Though it is impossible to completely block out the National Security Agency from your life, there are a few steps you can take to make it slightly more difficult to be spied on.

On the internet:

If you are going to store data online, use Google services. Google has spent a lot of money this year working to make themselves the safest place on the internet, according to IT World.

Google chairman Eric Schmidt said. “We massively encrypted our internal systems,” he said. “It’s generally viewed that this level of encryption is unbreakable in our lifetime by any sets of human beings in any way. We’ll see if that’s really true.”

When surfing the internet, you may have noticed your recent searches spawning advertisements on unrelated sites. If it bothers you that your searches are being tracked, you can browse in private mode in most browsers. For the extreme individual, there is also the Tor Project, which allows you to browse privately over encrypted channels, according to the The Blaze.

On your phone:

Make sure you buy an encrypted phone. Apple and Google phones have the highest level of security and their newest phones will lock down messages, contacts, and photos stored on the phone, keeping them away from anyone (including the NSA) who might want your data. However, many phones automatically store data in the cloud, which is not safe from government spying. Turning off automatic cloud storage is simple to do but you risk losing all data if your phone is lost or broken, according to The Hill.

Android users should use encrypted apps such as TextSecure or WhatsApp to send and receive messages and iPhone users should use Apple’s iMessage serve. To protect yourself when making phone calls, use Whisper System’s apps RedPhone for Android users and Signal for iPhone users.

Completely shutting yourself off from the government is impossible while using devices. Your phone is, at its core, a tracking device that allows anyone with the technical skills to locate your exact location.

“Spying on the content of cell phone communications is trivially easy,” said Eva Galperin, who works for digital rights advocate Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), according to The Hill.

However, these tips can allow for a small amount of privacy in an age where nothing is private.

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Coffee Matters

What do a boutique coffee roastery and a computer company have in common?

Meticulousness. Excellence. Commitment. Ethics.

cat-man-du is proud to carry Evocation Coffee, a local company who agrees with the cat-man-du philosophy that “everything matters.”

Evocation Coffee Roasters is a micro roastery & espresso bar located in Amarillo, TX. It is the work of husband and wife duo Roman and Amy Leal, who have dedicated their lives to the science of perfectly crafted coffee. The roastery began in 2009 and has since developed a loyal following of both everyday coffee lovers and small to large businesses and organizations.

Walking into Evocation is an experience in itself. At first glance, you’ll notice something different in the no-frills, modern interior and in the sleek machines used by the coffee roasters. This place is unlike other coffee shops. The culture shock you may experience is quickly put to rest by Roman, who greets you like a long time customer. Then, Roman will proceed to tell you about the coffee he is serving that day with passion and wisdom. He will spout off facts about the “tasting notes” (sometimes as strange as bubblegum, popcorn, or butterscotch) or where in the world the coffee was grown, or about the people who grew the coffee.

Then, your coffee will be brewed and no, it won’t come out of a huge, metal machine. Remember, Evocation is about the science of coffee. The creation of your individual cup of coffee looks like an experiment complete with Erlenmeyer flasks and strange glassware.

Once the water (at the precise temperature) melds with the painstakingly-roasted beans, your coffee is served to you in the flask atop a piece of gray slate. The entire process, from growing to roasting to serving to drinking has been well thought-out and designed.

When Evocation caught the eye of cat-man-du CEO and President, Ray Wilson, he decided it would be the only coffee he could serve to his customers in the three cat-man-du locations.

cat-man-du works in the same way as Evocation. We have a commitment to quality in every interaction that customers have with us. We strive to live ethically by giving back to the community through charity organizations and by protecting the environment through our Green initiative. We choose to do business with companies like Evocation Coffee Roasters because they are different and we hope that people choose to do business with us because we are different.

If we put this much attention and care into choosing the coffee we serve, imagine how much attention and care will go into how well we serve you.

“Everything matters.” Including coffee.

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Intel Helps Millions Suffering from Disabilities Find Their Voice

Intel researchers with Stephen Hawking. Photo from Gizmodo.com.

 

For the three million people around the globe who suffer from quadriplegia and motor neuron disease, relief is on its way. Intel has created a free, open source speech software for renowned professor and physicist Stephen Hawking, who suffers from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS. This software can be developed and suited to assist anyone living with these conditions, according to Wired.com.

The system, called ACAT (Assistive Context Aware Toolkit) allows Hawking to speak effectively through eyebrow movements, eye blinks, and touch. Without it, he would not be able to speak. His previous system was so out of date that he was only able to speak one word per minute, according to Gizmodo.com. ACAT is enabling Hawking to once again give lectures and write twice as fast as before.

The remaining research of ACAT will be made open source in January 2015. It is the hope of Hawking and Intel that universities and researchers will further develop the system so the millions of people who are unable to communicate effectively can finally have a voice.

“We are pushing the boundaries of what is possible with technology, without it I would not be able to speak to you today,” said Hawking.

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