On a recent trip to Iceland, one of the places we visited was the Frioheimar Tomato Farm in Reykjavik. What seemed to be an ordinary greenhouse from the outside ended up being one of the most fascinating experiences I have ever encountered. The greenhouse was a family owned business run by a couple and their children. Once inside, there were rows of tomato plants uniformly aligned from one side to the other. The temperature was regulated at 24 degrees celsius, with the electricity to maintain this being provided by geo-thermal power. The geo-thermal power was also used to generate power for the computer systems needed to regulate the light and watering of the tomato plants (24 hours a day, 365 days a year) which the owners had cultivated themselves. This specialised computer system meant the family could go away on holiday and monitor the light and water levels remotely via a computer from wherever they were in the world. The quantity of electricity needed to maintain the daily running of the greenhouse was equivalent to that used by an entire village.
What I found most remarkable was the high level of efficiency needed to run this greenhouse operation. From the regulation of the water, lighting and temperature levels to the picking of the tomatoes and replanting of new plants, all these processes were conducted so methodically to run like clockwork. As the owners pointed out, it is only through the use of advanced technology, that an operation of this scale is possible. To end our visit, we had the opportunity to try freshly made tomato soup, during which time I truly reflected on what I had just observed.
Responsive web design (RWD) is a web design approach which provides an optimal viewing experience for the end user. Essentially it makes the web design easily viewable across a wide range of devices including smart phones, tablets and computers. The key objectives of a RWD are:
- Responding to the user’s behaviour and environment by taking into account screen size, platform and orientation.
- Using a combination of flexible grids, layouts, images and CSS media queries.
- Automatically accommodating for resolution, image size and scripting abilities as the user switches from one device to another.
- Eliminating the need for a different design of the site as and when a new device is released on the market.
This approach is becoming increasingly popular with clients who don’t want to risk losing clients simply because their website does not display properly on a portable device. When getting a web design for your company, make sure you specify this approach. Not only will it increase your potential customer base but it will also save you time and money in adjusting your design to be responsive at a future date.
For more information on a RWD site for your business, contact firstname.lastname@example.org today!
I am currently on a 3 month work placement here in order to expand my knowledge of web design and gain a better insight into IT. I have chosen this work placement because I feel that I can both improve my own skills and develop the ideas of MD Info Tech even further.
During my time here, I have learnt numerous things which have allowed me to better my understanding in the field of IT. For example, I now know how to upload articles and pictures onto specific websites such as the Lady Fatemah Trust. This has been very beneficial as in the future I will be able to manage websites and upload different items onto it. It may sound boring but really, it’s not!
In this process, I have learnt many different things about myself. I find that I am very quick to criticise other websites but I only do this in order to modify clients’ choices in design so that they are able to have an improved end product!
I would definitely recommend this experience to other students at school, like me, because it has been a very informative process. Even though it is hard to juggle school and ‘work,’ it is useful as I have gained a lot in terms of my IT skills. Hopefully it can be a base for my career in the future!
Only in movies like Toy Story have I ever seen animations being brought to life before. Now there’s an app which does it for childrens’ drawings developed by the HIT Lab NZ and it’s called Colarapp. This is the latest in reality animation apps, which allows children to watch their 2D colouring page turn into 3D with the use of the app. First you download and print a colouring page from Colar’s website which you colour in using colour pencils or crayons etc. There are various pictures to choose from including planes, teddybears, birds and dragons. You then take your phone and point it at the picture and within seconds the app animates the drawing to life. Special features of the app include a zoom facility as well as the ability to view your drawing from different angles. At present the app only works for pictures downloaded from Colar App’s website but who knows what the future holds!
For a free App, this is definitely one of the better ones in my opinion. It’s available on iPhone or Android, and can be downloaded directly from their website:
Think back to the very first time you wore a virtual reality headset. The experience of being teleported into a parallel dimension at the click of a button was rather exhilarating. The Google Glass takes this concept one step further by allowing the individual to tap into resources on the Internet whilst going about their everyday routine with a pair of Android powered spectacles. These seemingly ordinary glasses are packed with a multitude of features ranging from taking pictures and watching movies to obtaining directions, searching for information and translating phrases. The device works by positioning a miniature display of information on a virtual panel in front of your eyes at such an angle that it doesn’t obstruct your ordinary vision.
The glass responds to voice commands, taps and gestures via the integration of a touch-sensitive bar, located along the side of the frame. It is possible to customise the glasses further by downloading specially designed apps or pairing it with your mobile phone using the My Glass App. Initial thoughts on the glasses are that they are lightweight and incredibly powerful. For those who already wear glasses, a custom version of the Google Glass which can be attached to existing frames will be made available. At present the glass is available in five colours; namely black, orange, grey, white and blue. Basic specifications include a 5 megapixel camera, 24 hour battery life, 16GB flash memory, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. Although the Google Glass is not yet commercially available, participants who signed up to the Google Glass Explorer Program in 2013 were able to purchase a developer version for approximately £985.
Set to be launched later this year, there are concerns which still need to be addressed such as the invasion of privacy and the dangers of wearing the glasses whilst driving. However, on the whole the reception has been very positive provided the price tag comes down a notch or two when they are eventually released onto the market!
Last month we highlighted the potential dangers of 3D Printers following an incident where 3D Printer gun parts were found at a raid in Manchester. However, this month we observe a positive use for them as one charity, The Charity Kids Company adopted the technology to print Christmas toys for impoverished children in the UK. Through a new scheme “Print Happiness”, a shop in Soho with six 3D printing machines was opened to the public from 13th December – 18th December. Members of the public had the opportunity to select a toy to print and then watch the toy being printed whilst contributing a £5 donation to the scheme. There were six toys to choose from ranging from Wallace and Gromit Characters to designs by Tado and Triclops as well as Ultimaker. The toys that were generated were then subsequently distributed to over 4,000 children on Christmas day.
This inspiring initiative demonstrates how modern technology can be used in very positive ways when put in the right hands. Thousands of children were given a proper Christmas for the first time ever and experienced the feeling of opening a present on Christmas day, something most of us are accustomed to year in year out.
Over 6 billion people in the world now have mobile phones, yet only a quarter of people in developing countries have access to the Internet. With this in mind, a UK based company Datawind has recently launched an affordable Android based tablet, named the Aakash 2 with a price tag of £30 in the UK. For your money you get a 7 inch tablet with Wi-Fi connectivity, 4GB of storage, 512MB of RAM and a MicroUSB connection. The tablet has a 3 hour battery life allowing buyers to watch videos, play games and surf the Internet.
The founder Suneet Singh Tuli had one goal in mind when developing this tablet – an affordable way for people to browse the Internet who might not otherwise have the means to do so. With the help of the Indian Government, Mr Tuli claims his tablet has become one of India’s best selling tablets. Furthermore he won an award for the UK’s most innovative mobile company in a government run competition in 2012.
The Aakash was originally released in India to help students with their education and learning. It will be mass produced from January 2014 with the aim of offering it to schools throughout India at a quarter of its normal selling price. The cost of the hardware is offset by revenues generated from sales and advertising. Whilst it’s not exactly an iPad or a Samsung tablet, it has achieved its intended aim of making the Internet accessible to a higher percentage of people worldwide and for the price, its actually quite impressive. Whether it will be taken up by the mass market in the UK in quite the same way as it has been in India is doubtful but it may prove useful for children nonetheless as a learning tool or their first computer like experience.
Advertising campaigns for businesses are now more important than ever in order to succeed in the competitive driven market place of today. With multiple businesses all offering similar services, an award winning advert could be the feature which makes you stand out from the rest. But with so many different platforms available from TV, newspapers and magazines to social networking sites, email campaigns and websites, it can be confusing to know where to begin. We propose using the below five questions as a guideline to help you decide which campaign to choose:
- Which type of campaign will best reflect your organisation?
- What is the demographic of the audience you want to attract?
- Are there any budget constraints which must be adhered to?
- What is the proposed duration of the campaign?
- How will the success of the campaign be monitored?
One of the common mistakes many people make is not keeping it simple. Your advert should have a clear purpose and message if you want it to be effective. A good example to illustrate this is the recent video campaign created to promote Google India which has received more than 4 million hits on Youtube. It depicts the story of two childhood friends who were separated during the partition of India and Pakistan. Their grandkids use the Google Search Engine to track down the whereabouts of the other’s location and reunite the two long lost friends. This three minute clip is just one example of how advertising can be a really powerful tool if utilised correctly. You can view this clip below:
It is worth investing the time into finding the advertising methods which work best for your business. Often it is a case of trial and error and what works for one business may not necessarily work for another but with a bit of persistence it is possible to yield the results you’re looking for.
Apple is an American corporation with headquarters in California. Until 1997, its main area of specialisation was computers but that all changed on January 9, 2007 with the introduction of the iPhone by Steve Jobs. It has seen global success with its range of innovative products including iPhones, iPod touches and iPads.
There is no disputing that Apple’s brand loyalty is quite extraordinary. Store openings often draw in crowds of thousands when news travels of the release of a new product. Research by Net Ratings has shown Apple Inc. products were more expensive than other PC products with similar specifications, which forces us to ask the question, “Why are they still selling so well?”
According to Apple’s current CEO, Tim Cook, Apple doesn’t want to sacrifice quality for price. Users can expect a truly unique experience when they enter an Apple store. They can test the products out and browse the Internet with no obligation to buy. This more relaxed environment allows users to try before they buy which supposedly offers another layer of convenience.
However, many will argue that following the sad death of Steve Jobs, there has been very little innovation from one Apple generation product to the next. So are users simply paying for the brand and the chance to carry around an icon? Or is there something more to Apple’s legacy?
A few months back you may have a read a blog post on the novel technology that is 3D Printers. Do you think they should become a mainstream household commodity or is it better they stay in the commercial and industrial sectors for the forseeable future?
Adverts claim they improve quality of life, help relive the past and turn ideas into realities. However in a recent raid in Manchester, 3D printer gun parts were found at the scene. There are relatively few firearms now in circulation because of strict laws in place, and so paying £1000 for a 3D Printer and building a gun is a relatively easy way to obtain one. Added to the fact, if 3D Printers go down in price, and rumour has it they will, it is slightly frightening to think what they might be used for in the wrong hands.
I think the dangers of this super-powered printer do need to be considered before it is rolled out, otherwise we risk the use of them being used for guns, explosives, bombs and who knows what else…