Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Our Trip to Israel - Day Three - Jersusalem

Overlooking the Old City of Jerusalem 
Having lived my life thinking I'd probably never visit the holy city, I found myself there for the third time, having passed through it the day before on the way to Masada and again on the way back.  Before the week was out, we visited four times.  It was only an hour away from Tel Aviv.  Israel is a small country geographically, something you begin to grasp as you move around it.

Before we dive in, a small production note. The photographs you see here were all taken with our respective phones.  We also carried a Ricoh Theta S 360 degree camera. We forgot it on Day Two, but remembered to take it for Day Three.

You will be seeing many photographs from the Theta S beginning with this one below. You can move your mouse pointer over an image to look around 360 degrees and also fully over your head and down at your feet.  You can also zoom in with your mouse wheel.

I cannot guarantee how this type of image will work on your mobile device.

Post from RICOH THETA. - Spherical Image - RICOH THETA

Monday, March 28, 2016

Our Trip to Israel - Days One and Two (of five) - Tel Aviv, Masada and the Dead Sea

The Wailing Wall in Jerusalem and the gold covered Dome of the Rock

This blog is taking a break with this post from the Family Tech columns, and the too infrequent insights into technology, for a travelogue.

My wife is studying/researching in Israel on a Fulbright grant. Our son and I returned today from six days visiting there.  This post will be one of two or maybe three with a narrative of our whirlwind trip to Israel.

We visited Masada, Jerusalem, The Dead Sea, the Israel Museum and the Crusader cities of Acre and Caesarea during our stay.  

Note: Click a photo to see it larger.

Family Tech: Start blogging to show your knowledge and passion - March 25, 2016

Your name is going to be Googled. Maybe it is a prospective employer, your current employer wondering what you are up to, perhaps a customer or prospective customer, or maybe even someone you want to date.

What these people want to find is evidence of a thoughtful, interesting person who is knowledgeable in their field and passionate about something.

The best way to show this knowledge- and passion – is by having a blog or blogs. You might have a blog about your passion and another about your profession.

Then when someone Googles you, they will find positive evidence of your capabilities. This can only help to build your reputation, may lead to new jobs, promotions, new customers and more.

Having positive information on the web, even if you create it yourself, can go a long way to diffuse negative information that might be out there.

For example, a restaurant with negative Yelp reviews can redeem itself somewhat with a blog by the owner talking about the challenges they have had and how they overcame them. The blog could have photographs and positive stories written about groups or special customers who have enjoyed the restaurant.

A project manager might have a blog that talks about the challenges of his job, the solutions he had found, the extra education he has sought and perhaps stories about trade shows he’s visited and lesson learned there.

Read the rest at www.FamilyTechOnline.com

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Family Tech: Serious gaming becomes a career option

If you ask kids these days what they want to be when they grow up, you do not hear astronaut, firefighter or police officer as often as you would expect. They all want to be video game creators. 

Working on a major video game, like they all see themselves doing, is about as long odds as working on a blockbuster film. The competition is fierce, and the talent expectations are astronomical.

What can you do to encourage your child’s dream if game creation is the dream, yet help them to find a way to make a living?

There is another kind of gaming in technology, serious gaming. George Mason University defines serious gaming as being a way to train or educate the player about a topic, that it might enable the player to investigate an area or the game might be advertising a product or cause.

It adds, “Serious games have been developed in a number of arenas, including defense, education, scientific exploration, health care, emergency management, city planning, engineering, politics and religion.”

Recently my son and I went to an open house at the George Mason campus in Manassas and visited the Mason Serious Game Institute.

Read the rest at www.FamilyTechOnline.com

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Family Tech: There are other ways to communicate over the internet aside from email - March 11, 2016

Ray Tomlinson died March 5 at the age of 74. Tomlinson invented email back in 1971 while working for a Boston company that helped develop ARPANET, the precursor to the internet. 

Email has been both a boon and a curse. While we love the ease and speed of communicating, we also have to constantly battle spam. Be careful of emails delivering harmful malware as attachments and greetings from Nigerian princes and other cons. 

The blessing and fault of email is that anyone can contact us through it if they know our email address. 

There has arisen a multitude of communication tools where we first have to approve or like someone, before they can communicate with us. That makes for cleaner communications. 

So now when I want to communicate with someone, I have to figure out their preferred contact app. For example, I know a young professional woman who responds just fine to email, but responds even quicker to a Facebook Messenger message. 

With Facebook Messenger, the message pops up on her phone’s screen instantly and makes a sound. If she’s free and my message is compelling, I get a response quickly. I in turn see it quickly and we can thus have a brief conversation and get the issue resolved in minutes instead of a day. 

With Facebook Messenger and the others, a person has to ask to be your friend before they can send you a message. This makes spam, phishing and emails trying to con you are all but eliminated. 

With Facebook Messenger you can also place phone calls. The calls do not eat into your minutes because the calls are carried entirely over the internet using VOIP or Voice Over Internet Protocol. So if you are on your home Wifi and the person you are calling is also on the internet, no one’s phone minutes are being consumed. 

Read the rest at www.FamilyTechOnline.com

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Saturday, March 5, 2016

Family Tech: Mobile conference showed upgrades, but you might be fine with what you have

The screen resolution was the same as my phone’s and more than I really need. And while a future Android version might need the faster processor, the processor in mine is more than good enough.

Don’t get me wrong. I love the LG G5 and would buy it if I was looking for a new phone. I was just gratified to realize for the first time ever that I’m going to finish out a two-year contract without counting the days to a new phone or loathing my current one.

The G5 is a good phone, with the latest Android version and a fast processor to make it sing. It has two cameras, with 16- and eight-megabit resolutions. And its display is of higher resolution than any TV you are likely to have in your home.

Samsung’s S7 phone has the same Snapdragon 820 processor and Android Marshmallow that the G5 has. It also supports very high screen resolutions.

Either phone will do you well if you are looking for a new high-end phone.

LG also brought out a few interesting accessories. They have a 360-degree camera similar to the popular Ricoh Theta S. One snap and you have a photo or video taken 360 degrees around you, and over your head and feet.

LG also released a remote-control ball. It is a small robot that you control with your phone. It rolls around the room, returning video to the phone. Other than for a little brother to torment a big sister, or to amuse your cat, I can’t think of a use for it.

It also announced a virtual reality headset for its phones. Instead of putting the phone in a holder like Google Cardboard, LG’s headset has its own screen and cable to the phone.

Most manufacturers had some sort of virtual reality product to show this year. This is the year of virtual reality. There will likely be a lot such devices under trees next Christmas.

Read the rest at www.FamilyTechOnline.com