Posts tagged technology
I have a rare treat for my readers today. This is an audio book, It’s a Jetsons World: Private Miracles and Public Crimes, read by Stefan Molyneux. This book is by far one of the best descriptions of how fantastic of a world we live in, yet often are not aware of it, because we become desensitized to it and take it for granted.
We often do not fully realize the potential of what we have available to us, perhaps because we are slaves to our day-to-day perspectives and habit patterns. Sometimes it helps to step back for a moment, so we may realize what is available to us.
Think back just a decade or two and remember what the world was like. Could you have even imagined all of the wonderful tools that are now available to virtually everyone at little if any cost? Imagine what it would be like to go directly from the world of the 1980’s to the world of today? Wouldn’t you be blown away by the fantastic pace of change that has happened in many areas of life?
The marketplace of innovation and ideas has brought us so many magnificent additions; but it’s up to us to figure out how to get the most out of it. Imagine what it will be like in another 10-20 years, if the marketplace of innovation and ideas is allowed to continue along. Furthermore, imagine what it will be like if people are motivated by the inspiration they receive, when they contemplate the vast potential of everything we have and are in the process of creating.
We are surrounded by miracles created in the private sector, particularly in the digital universe, and yet we don’t appreciate them enough. Meanwhile, the public sector is systematically wrecking the physical world in sneaky and petty ways that really do matter.
I’ve had several friends with drives going out recently and it occurred to me that I should really look into getting a decent backup system. At first I thought of just burning DVD’s periodically or getting one of those 1-2 TB drives which attach to your USB port; but it all seemed to be a bit labor intensive. I just know that I would forget to backup at just the wrong time and lose critical files.
If you do anything business related on your computer, I think you will find that a good backup solution, even if it is only used ONCE, will pay for itself many times over. Just think about all of the work that goes into creating and organizing the files on your computer and if your time and effort is worth anything, a few hundred dollars will seem like a pittance; especially when you consider the fact that, with a good backup solution, you can simply replace your drive and be back up and running with a few hours as if nothing happened.
Network Attached Storage
The solution which I feel is finally coming of age, for the home user on a budget, is Network Attached Storage (NAS); particularly NAS systems which support at least RAID 1 mirroring or similar setups which allow for redundancy.
While most of us can get away with having an external drive that we periodically copy our data to; there is still a good possibility that this drive will crash. If you are using this drive to archive files, then you will have lost data. So it is imperative to have a mirrored system to hold your data.
I waded through the various systems out there and the reviews. I found many which are “adequate” but inflexible; because they do not allow for future expansion. For example, I saw many which allow you to swap out drives; but cap the number of Terabytes you can have in the array.
Well, after a night of searching, I ran into a combination which gives you a total of 2TB (redundant, actually 4TB total) on a nicely featured NAS box.
Mirrored Hot Swappable 4TB Network Attached Storage System for Under $600
I recently ordered one of these diskless NAS boxes for under $200 after rebate:
It runs a tiny version of Linux and supports a variety of backup and file system protocols including Apple’s “Time Machine”. One nice aspect of it, is the fact that you can plug in any SATA or SATA II hard drive and have it do RAID 1. So you can always buy a larger drive in the future.
I saw this interesting bit of info in one of the reviews:
“It does Netgear’s own proprietary XRAID mirroring (but not RAID 0). XRAID apparently allows the automatic upgrade to more then two drives, if you would use it in a Netgear box, which supports more then two drives. Unlike with other home office NAS, the firmware is saved in a flash and not on the drives itself. The drives are hot swappable and rebuild themselves automatically unlike with many other personal NAS products. The NAS can share directories via CIFS, NFS, AFP, and HTTP. It also can do FTP and TFTP, which comes in handy in the lab.”
So if a 3TB drive came on the market and you wanted to incorporate it into your box, you would just pull one of the 2TB drives out and pop it in; then it will copy the data over. Then you would pop the other 2TB array out and the data on the newly copied drive would be copied back; so you can expand the array easily.
When you toss in 2 x 2TB Western Digital Hard Drives, the whole system with 2TB of redundant network accessable storage came out to under $600.
I would love to see social networks de-centralized. Something like a blog (with openID authentication or something similar), feed reader and email; this would likely accomplish much of what is done with networking sites like FB.
Unfortunately, most people do not have the desire or the know-how to have such a set-up. So until this propagates to a larger sub-set of the population; most of this kind of communication will be stuck on places like FB & MySpace.
I can sense a growing dis-content among many, with this kind of centralized set-up. I think they really are tired of giving control of their content, feed management and social network to a large company.
If someone can implement a very simple, easy to install, open source, app, which accomplishes much of what these network sites do; then there may be a big change in store for this kind of communication.
It will have to be something that people can equate to their existing social network sites (at first). Most likely, it will also have to integrate with sites like FB, in order to remain connected to the legacy network.
That would be a good project for an enterprising programmer. Something to finally put an end to these large networking sites controlling our experience and profiting from our everyday activities.
During the last couple of decades, biotechnological innovations were sped through the governments of the world. Anyone in these governments who stood in the way was dismissed from their position.
Monsanto is the company which is chiefly responsible for the changes to our agricultural system. Monsanto has been found to have dumped toxic PCB’s in Anniston, Alabama, USA. a move which cost the company 700 Million dollars in lawsuits. (more…)
If the U.S. makes a massive switch from coal, oil, natural gas and nuclear power plants to solar power plants, it is possible that 69 percent of the U.S.’s electricity and 35 percent of its total energy could be solar-powered by 2050.
This would require the creation of a vast region of photovoltaic cells in the Southwest. It could operate at night as well as during the day; excess daytime energy can be used to compress air stored in underground caverns, which would be used as an energy source during nighttime hours.
In order to work, the plan would also need a new direct-current power transmission system to deliver solar electricity across the country, and would require $420 billion in subsidies from 2011 to 2050.
However, despite the fact that many are skeptical about our ability to produce photovoltaic cells and modules that can provide electricity at a low enough cost to be truly competitive, I personally believe we’ll get there. And probably A LOT sooner than projected.
For example, Nanosolar has already been able to reduce the cost of production by 90 percent, slashing the cost from $3 per watt to 30 cents per watt. They won the Popular Science Innovation of 2007 award for their paint-layer-thin solar coating, which is in production as of 2008. (more…)