Category Archives: Interconnectivity

Clinical Decisions – Smartphones, Healthcare Providers, And You

imageBy some estimates, 70 percent of the population in India and 64 percent of the population in China had cell phones in 2011. The numbers are growing steadily around the globe, proving that even in times of economic uncertainty, the tech industry is expanding.

What’s amazing is the speed of development. The curve of technology is now pointed exponentially upward to the extent that new advancements will come at an alarming rate in every field, from entertainment to industry to healthcare. Technology companies are addressing challenges related to global health and wellness, private communication and financial fitness—among other things.

Communications giant Qualcomm developed 2net—a platform that depends on the cloud for storing and sharing medical information. The secure connectivity solution is designed to work across multiple devices and applications providing consumers with reliable storage and retrieval.

With the August 2012 release of their new 2net App SDK, the doors are now open for innovative developers to engage in the advancement of mobile medical technology. Via 2net Connect APIs, developers can access a consolidated data stream on data-enabled platforms like Android, iOS and Microsoft.

What does this mean on a practical level for different smartphone users, though?

Physicians and the Medical Community

New advancements already provide faster, sharper imaging features for physicians. Sharing radiographic images with commentary allows doctors on opposite sides of the globe to consult each other concerning difficult medical cases. Secure connections open the door for pharmaceutical discussions regarding prescriptions and inventory replacement.

In the future, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) may be able to issue global alerts instantly. Developing nations may be able to request assistance from skilled surgeons and researchers, via live links with more secure settings and clearer video support. A virtual interactive comprehensive medical library may one day be available with instant language translation. The possibilities are limited only by vision and imagination.

Individuals

For citizens at large, the number of applications to manage personal health and wellness is growing daily. Vital stats tracking is available that will help people monitor and record important information to share with their doctor. Technology is already being used by thousands of consumers that want to take charge of their own health. Cell phone apps can help manage readings for the items below and many more:

  • Temperature
  • Heart Rate
  • Blood Oxygen Saturation Levels
  • Blood Sugar Levels
  • Breathing Patterns
  • Weight

In addition to health trackers and monitoring applications, cell phone users stay connected to support groups and medical providers. Applications to manage personal health records can be life-saving. Accessing a complete and thorough electronic record during a crisis or after a dramatic injury eliminates unnecessary time spent trying to remember all medications and past illnesses, speeding up access medical care in the emergency room.

Personal technology for entertainment and communication’s sake has been the cornerstone of the market for some time; however that’s not to say we can’t use our mobile computers for other practical benefits as well.

Innovators pushing the boundaries of what mobile applications and smartphones are capable of have the opportunity to enhance the daily lives of people everywhere. Healthcare is only one facet of life working to be improved, others are sure to follow.

This guest post is contributed by Grady Winston. Grady is an avid writer and Internet entrepreneur from Indianapolis. He has worked in the fields of technology, business, marketing, and advertising – implementing multiple creative projects and solutions for a range of clients.

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Filed under Cell Phone Apps, Connected Devices, Guest Writers, Interconnectivity

Digital Sheep – Grazing on the Internet

imageWith the Internet and social media providing instant satisfaction and entertainment, it’s very easy to get caught up in consuming an absurd amount of information. Instead of being spoon fed commercials and media from a handful of television channels, now it is coming from everywhere and directly to your person at all times. Though people still have the freedom to comment and believe what they will, the vast majority of internet users have simply evolved into digital sheep devouring content constantly.

In the modern age, digital sheep are information technology users (more specifically, Internet users) who are happy and satisfied to “graze” off the vast information fields available on the web. In other words, they’re just consumers, not bothering to produce anything—but more importantly, are unaware of the potential consequences of their attitude and behavior.

“But, wait, now,” you might say, “haven’t most people always preferred to be consumers rather than creators? Isn’t it true only a handful of people have written books, magazines and newspapers for the general population?”

For sure, media from the beginning has been lopsided—i.e., the many have always consumed what the few have created. The Internet, however, has greatly changed the playing field, and not just in terms of aesthetics or of professional responsibilities.

The Internet is a place where people come to not only be entertained, to socialize and to be educated, it’s also a place where they come to work, to share information and to connect with other people in ways that go beyond “socializing.” In other words, people now have an opportunity to participate more meaningfully in the process called “media” than ever before.

Beyond that, being just a consumer carries with it a few negative connotations and dangerous burdens. For one thing, it means that people are accepting what they read, often without analyzing it for accuracy and acceptability; it also means that they are following rather than making any attempt to lead or to at least participate meaningfully in the process.

The question everyone has to ask is, “Do I want to be ‘digital sheep,’ or do I want to actually participate in the information creation and evaluation diaspora?”

The fact is that few people, given the chance, would formally elect to be “digital sheep.” In fact, one might say that this is one of the mishaps of the information age—i.e., having people who have fallen into the role, without having been given much of a choice. On the other hand, everyone has a choice. The problem is that some people aren’t exercising it.

If you wish to avoid becoming (or presently being, as the case may be), digital sheep, these suggestions may be of use:

1. Become aware of the burdens and responsibilities inherent in Digital Asset Management (DAM) marketplace. By becoming better aware of the technology, you might better avoid becoming a victim of its intricacies and demands.

2. Don’t fall into the “follow the information Pied Piper” syndrome. Always look at what you read closely, deciding if you really want to follow, challenge what you read, or build on what is offered.

3. Listen to peers on your own level or beneath you (in position or training), not just so called “A-list” experts and pundits.

4. Don’t just attend networking events attended only by big shots—you can get important information from other venues as well.

5. Expand the quality and versatility of your reading material. Sticking, for example, to technical blogs or certain news sources may hamper your intellectual growth.

6. Read material beyond what you catch on the Internet. And don’t just focus on the material on the first few pages put there by search engines. Search engines have their agenda—it shouldn’t necessarily coincide with your yours.

7. Strive to write blogs, articles or even responses to materials you read. By doing so, you’re engaging with, not just consuming, material on the Internet.

8. Strive to become more technologically savvy. Find out, for example, what’s going on within the phone app developing industry. This will help to keep you educated within one of the fastest growing industries: the mobile device industry.

9. Become more of a risk taker. Digital sheep are content to just exist and don’t want to take any unnecessary risks. Well, risk is usually involved in any great achievement opportunity.

10. Meaningfully connect with people, establishing relationships that will mutually enhance lives. When you connect with people, you’re less likely to treat them like sheep; by the same token, people are less likely to treat you as sheep if they look up to you and respect you.

This guest post is contributed by Grady Winston. Grady is an avid writer and Internet entrepreneur from Indianapolis. He has worked in the fields of technology, business, marketing, and advertising – implementing multiple creative projects and solutions for a range of clients.

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Filed under Guest Writers, Interconnectivity, Point of View, social networking

If You Can, Steer Clear Of Free Wi-Fi Hotspots

imageWi-Fi hotspots and I don’t get along. It’s not that I’m not appreciative of the free service – I am.  But, I’m far from convinced that free Wi-Fi hotspots are appropriate for most Internet users. Hotspots are a hacker’s dream come true.

Free hotspots, in many instances, are unsecured – a semi-skilled hacker, using a selection of readily available tools (often available as a free download on the Internet), can easily penetrate such a network.

Here’s the first example of what I mean:

Earlier this year, while visiting my local Library, I logged on to it’s hotspot only to have my Browser warn me of a possible fraudulent certificate – symptomatic of a “man-in-the-middle” attack. Typically, a man-in-the-middle attack is designed to eavesdrop on the traffic between a user and a website.

Since most users are unaware of the importance of certificates, it’s fair to assume that a typical user, on seeing this warning, would simply click “ignore”. In this case, that had to be so – when I approached the Library’s chief Tech, shockingly, he had no idea what I was talking about. Certificate? Huh? Which led me to believe, that no other user had brought this issue to the Tech department’s attention.

In other words, possibly thousands of users were unaware of the very real risk to their privacy and confidential data, as they happily surfed the Internet from this location.

Given, that one purpose of a certificate is to confirm that the web site being visited is indeed what the user thinks it is – effectively, whether the site can be trusted or not – I continue to be surprised at the typical user’s scant knowledge in this area.

Here’s a challenge for you – query your self described “tech savvy” friends on the current certificates installed in their Browser. Wait for the surprises – or, maybe not.

Pictured below, as an example, are the Certificate installed in my current version of Firefox.

Authorities – These are the Root Certificates that Firefox trusts.

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Servers – These are the certificates that have been installed manually from a website.

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The second example:

At an Art class I joined earlier this year, I happened to notice a questionable type of person sitting (on the ground) outside the building (freezing his butt off, since it was Winter), surfing on his Laptop. I knew there were no open Wi-Fi networks within range, so it was apparent that this fellow was surfing through the Art Institute’s password protected Wi-Fi.

On speaking with Institute staff, it became clear that this was a common occurrence with this fellow. The long and the short of it is (it would take an entire article to tell this tale), a series of Wi-Fi hacking tools were being used to “play” with the owner’s site. Since few of the students used the Wi-Fi hotspot, no damage had been done. But, it easily could have.

If you do use Wi-Fi Hotspots, here are some recommendations for safer surfing:

Assume your Wi-Fi connection is open to penetration.

Be certain that your security applications are up to date.

Don’t enter sensitive financial data. Online banking while connect to a hotspot is, to put it mildly – crazy.

To be sure that you don’t leave a trail of “breadcrumbs” – history, cookies, passwords – set your Browser to private browsing mode.

Log out of each logged-in site you visit – particularly, web based email sites; Facebook, Twitter, and the like.

Pay particular attention to one of the craziest default setups ever – “Remember my password”. It’s imperative that you uncheck this.

If you’re comfortable with anonymous surfing then, consider installing a VPN application. One such application worth considering is Hotspot Shield – reviewed here, a number of times.

Finally, you should consider avoiding Wi-Fi Hotspots entirely. An alternative is creating a “personal hotspot” if your smartphone is capable. Check your phone manufacturers web site for information on how to do this.

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Filed under Don't Get Hacked, Interconnectivity, Safe Surfing, Smart Phone, Wi-Fi

Do You Need a Tablet?

imageTablets have exploded in the marketplace in the same way that smart phones did a few years ago. Just like with smart phones, Apple led the pack and soon dominated the market. However, other manufacturers have caught up, and there are now dozens of models available.

If you haven’t already purchased a tablet, you may be asking yourself whether you need to buy one. Is it a replacement for your laptop? An upgrade on your smart phone? Here are some of the reasons why you might consider buying a tablet:

Affordability

Compared to a laptop, most tablet models are quite affordable. While prices for the iPad still rival those of laptops — with the high-end iPad models costing more than low-end laptop models — there are many other tablets that are available for $200 or even less. Depending on the features you need in your laptop or tablet, you could end up saving hundreds of dollars and still get the functionality you need by choosing a tablet over a laptop.

Portability

While laptops are also portable, tablets offer more ease in portability. You don’t have to bring bulky adapters to recharge a battery, and you don’t have to find a table or other surface to setup comfortably. You don’t even need a carrying case for a tablet.

You can easily carry a tablet in your hand and work with it anywhere — no setup or surface space required.

Adaptability

A tablet combines the features of a laptop and your smart phone. You can download apps to do just about anything you need to do. Depending on the model of tablet, you can take photos, type documents, surf the web, and much more. For more advanced work, there are programs or add-ons you can purchase to expand the capabilities of your tablet.

Entertainment

Tablets are a great source of entertainment. You can use them to connect to the web, or you can download games and other fun apps. You can also use it as an e-reader, or you can watch movies and television shows on it. You can do all of these things anywhere, at any time, right in the palm of your hand.

The question of whether or not you need a tablet is a personal one that only you can definitively answer. However, a tablet offers many benefits that you can consider when making your decision, including affordability, portability, adaptability, and entertainment.

Do you own a tablet? Which model did you choose? Tell us what influenced your decision in the comments!

This guest post is contributed by Heather Green.  Heather is a Christian mom, freelance writer, pet lover and the resident blogger for OnlineNursingDegrees.org, a free informational website offering tips and advice on different types of nurses and online resources.

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Filed under Connected Devices, Guest Writers, Interconnectivity, Tablet Computing

What Can I Do With an Old Wireless Router? Three Ideas

https://i1.wp.com/www.turbogadgets.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/many-routers.jpgIf you’re like most people, you probably have an old wireless router stored in a closet or the garage. You may have purchased a new computer, or decided to upgrade to Wireless N, the most recent wireless network standard.

Regardless, there are a number of uses for old wireless routers, so dig them out, dust them off, and consider the following ways to reuse them to improve your home network.

1. Set up a new wireless access point in your home:

Perhaps your son or daughter would like to use their laptop in the basement rec room, or your new router is on the first floor and you’d like wireless access upstairs. You can use the old router as an access point to help extend coverage to areas of your home where the signal may not be as strong. To do this, you simply turn off the DCHP server on the old router and plug in an Ethernet cable from the new router to the old one. It is a simple and no-cost way to double the wireless coverage in your home. For more in depth information on how to create an access point using your old router, please check out this guide.

2. Create a wireless bridge with your old router.

If you’d like to extend your network coverage, but you don’t want to have to plug in the new router to the old one, you may want to consider creating a wireless bridge. This is a better option for those who prefer not to fumble around with bulky Ethernet cables, but the process is a bit more complex than simply creating an access point. You need to be somewhat tech-savvy, and you also need to install upgraded DD-WRT firmware to ensure your network remains secure. For comprehensive instructions on how to create a wireless bridge in your home, please check out this guide.

3. Convert your old router to a wireless hotspot.

Maybe you run your own business, or have a friend that may benefit from having Wi-Fi access at their store or café. If so, you may want to consider using your old router to set up a wireless hotspot. While you can just plug your old router into the wall to allow for internet access in your business, you will still want to implement the hotspot feature. Hotspots oftentimes require users to either pay for access, and there are also options out there that allow you to manage user accounts with a login feature. DD-WRT offers a few options for hotspot products, as does CoovaAP.

Old routers no longer have to occupy valuable real estate in your closet or garage. So dust them off, and try your hand at expanding your own wireless network’s capacity or consider sharing them with others who may benefit from having wireless in their business or home. If you are interested in finding out additional creative ways you can use your old routers, please check out these suggestions.

About the Author:

This guest post is contributed by Kerry Butters.  Kerry contributes on behalf of Broadband Genie, the advice website for all things internet and broadband. Click here for the best broadband deals currently available.

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Filed under Guest Writers, Interconnectivity, Networking, Wi-Fi

You’ve Been Archived By The Internet’s “Wayback Machine” – Maybe

imageWe hear it said repeatedly, so it’s generally taken at face value – The Internet is forever; Once it’s out there, it’s out there forever; Everything posted online is there forever, even after it’s been deleted.

Forever, of course, is – until the end of time. I can’t really get my head around “until the end of time” – so, I’ll stick with “the foreseeable future”. That’s a concept I can work with.

Despite the fact that “it’s out there forever” is commonly believed – I’ve yet to see verifiable evidence that it’s true in all instances. In the short term – OK, I’ll buy into this. So should those who like to air opinion, perspectives and their dirty laundry (intentional, or not), on social sites like Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and so on.

But long term – as in “forever” – balderdash! I say this, having had the experience of writing and posting a series of articles to a blog in which I documented my experience in dealing with a “crazy neighbor”.

Having resolved the issue to my satisfaction (shining a light on aberrant behavior was worth the effort), I took the site down. Within 12 months, no references to the site, the neighbor (who was repeatedly named), or the issues brought to light, were indexed anywhere on the Internet. So much for “forever”, or even “the foreseeable future”, for that matter.

It’s fair to say though, that in the example I’ve used here, the situation was within my control. Just as deleting my Facebook page back in 2007 was within my control. Again, no references to this deleted page are available on the Internet. However, that page is still being stored on a Facebook server and is available to me – should I chose to access it.

On the other hand – references that are outside my control (or yours), are another matter. Let’s say, for example, that I choose to shut down this blog. As opposed to deleting the “crazy neighbor” blog, mentioned previously, which disappeared without a trace – Tech Thoughts would not disappear – it would leave traces – substantial traces at that. The Internet Archive’s “Wayback Machine” has made sure of that.

Quoting the site: “The Internet Archive Wayback Machine puts the history of the World Wide Web at your fingertips. Browse through over 150 billion web pages archived from 1996 to a few months ago.

To start surfing the Wayback, type in the web address of a site or page where you would like to start, and press enter. Then select from the archived dates available. The resulting pages point to other archived pages at as close a date as possible.”

Here’s an example –

The Wayback Machine has indexed this site (Tech Thoughts), 163 times …..

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going back to November 10, 2007 – as shown below.

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A capture dated December 3, 2008. A pretty gaudy theme but……..

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not quite as “in your face” as I progressed through my colorful phase……

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before getting down to serious business.

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The Internet Archive – of which the Wayback machine is just one component –  is full of surprises, and is definitely worth a visit. Some of the available resources include:

Moving Images – 635,268 movies.

Live Music Archive – 100,665 concerts.

Audio – 1,210,381 recordings.

Texts – 3,331,892 texts.

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Filed under FaceBook, Interconnectivity, Recommended Web Sites

Working From Home? Are You REALLY Working?

imageIf you work from home, the chances are high that you really are working. Despite the friends, and critical neighbors, who can’t get their head around the idea that one can be productive working from the same location where they hang their hat.

Frankly, I find it less than amusing when I hear – “working from home is not the same as having a real job”.  A common enough comment from those who are stuck in a time warp.

Connected technology and the Internet, have dramatically changed not only how we work but, for many of us, it has changed where we work. Working from a home office has exploded in recent years – and, with good reason. Although, I must admit, I’ve maintained a home office for more than 20 years.

There are more than a few good practical reasons for working from a home office including; working in your PJs, not having to shower before sitting down at your computer, not having to put up with assorted smells on the Subway during “rush hour”…….

On a more serious note, the real advantages of working from a home office, especially for a freelancer, include –

No commuting – the cost savings can be substantial.

Big savings based on not maintaining an outside office.

Less life stress – tied in to “no commuting”.

Flexibility in establishing work hours. Depending on your personality, you might find that you work longer hours than you might otherwise. Knowing when to hit the “off” switch I find, takes some practice.

No ever present boss’s “watchful eye” (if you’re not self-employed).

You can dress comfortably and casually and, maybe save some money on not having to buy into the latest fashion look.

And, many more good reasons, I’m sure you have.

My home office – not big, not fancy, but – it works well for me.

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What you need to travel with the “big guys” while working from a home based office.

Technology:

A dependable high-speed internet connection.

At least one fast workhorse computer and a large LCD monitor. A tablet computer can be a very handy extra.

The appropriate software for the task at hand.

A multi-purpose printer that includes fax, copier and scanning capabilities. I might add, that a Laser printer, given their current low price, can be a good investment.

A dedicated business line with voice mail capabilities.

A smartphone – for those times when you’re on the run.

Nice to have:

A separate space (with a door), dedicated to office use only.

Lots of desk space and storage.

A neighborhood IT guy who likes you.   Smile

Working from home is not all “wine and roses” of course. It’s been my experience that working from home is HARD work. Work discipline, and dedication to results, are more important than  the latest in technology, or an ultra comfortable work space.

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Filed under Connected Devices, Interconnectivity, Point of View