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Author Archives: Angelo Fernando

About Angelo Fernando

Author, business journalist, elementary school teacher, podcaster. I have been blogging since 2004, and a business and technology columnist for magazines, since 1994. Passionate about education, and media literacy.

Could Fitbit smartwatch take over iPhone territory?

Though I will never wear an activity tracker. I’ve been very curious about the smart wristband / ‘wearables’ business. Especially the territory Fitbit has been moving into.

Sure, most people will be awed by Fitbit’s ‘SpO2’ sensor, for instance. But despite the clinical USP (to keep tabs of ones oxygenated blood), there are some features that blur the lines between an activity tracker and a smart watch; a wearable that can make contact-less payments via NFC, minus a phone.

There’s also the music feature. A smart watch that could store music could be a game changer. With Bluetooth and WiFi (and GPS) who knows what territory it might lead this ‘wearable’ into? Will it motivate some to leave their phone behind? Would that mess with the iPhone eco-system?

The other reason I’m curious about this wearable is, I plan to use Fitbit as an example in an upcoming class. It’s a class about the Internet, and the connectivity it provides. And the hardware and software that run on the infrastructure students take so much for granted. Following up on last week’s look at Virtual Reality, nothing like bringing up the much-hyped Internet of Things.

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Remembering my sister

 

Today, Aug 28th would have been my sister’s 61st birthday. God called Marinez back eight years ago.

It seems like yesterday for those of us who miss her. We sometimes hear her laughter fill the room, and feel her presence in the smallest things.

 
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Posted by on August 28, 2017 in Social Media

 

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Hashtag’s Birthday today – When lowly keyboard symbol became a celeb

Ten years ago, how did you refer to this # symbol? Most people I knew called it the ‘pound sign’ and we barely used it. Except for street addresses (it felt sleeker than the old-school abbreviation “No”) as in #33 Clifford Place.

Ten years ago, we had other things that grabbed our attention. FB had just bragged about 30 million users. Virginia Tech happened, the iPhone had been launched, and the global economy was teetering.

So what were you doing on Aug 23rd, 2007? Where were you working? How did you communicate? I am curious to see how my friends were doing when the hashtag emerged.

 
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Posted by on August 23, 2017 in Social Media, Technology

 

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Another eclipse crowd-sourcing project captures sounds, not pictures

My wife and I were discussing the eclipse –her two-and-a-half year old Montessori students had been excited about it!– and wondered if animal behavior was being tracked.

So it was a pleasant surprise when I saw Ruben Gameros’ post today on FB about his participating in the Purdue University ‘sonic effects’ project. Their “huge, continental scale” project was to study how animals will respond to the solar eclipse. Using acoustic sensors (from Alaska to Puerto Rico) they invited citizen scientists to collect data –acoustic behavior of  birds, crickets, cicadas, and frogs.

Why record sounds? Purdue researchers are looking at if animals that are typically active during the day stop making sounds during an eclipse. Among other questions:

  • Are there patterns for birds, insects, mammals, amphibians, and even fish?
  • Are the changes in the circadian cycles different in coniferous forests, temperate deciduous forests, grasslands, and coastal ecosystems?
  • Is there a difference in behavior in the total eclipse zone compared to areas that are in the 90%, 80%, 70% and 60% or less zones?

Caltech had a different crowd-sourced project calling for eclipse-related animal behavior. It called for young scientists to make 3 observations during the event, and record it via a special App. It was supported by a teacher webinar, and a web-chat.

I wish students across the country would have been motivated to do more than look for the umbra and penumbra. Or dodge the event, entirely. (One school I know cancelled the viewing even after they ordered glasses.)

 
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Posted by on August 21, 2017 in Ed-Tech, Education, Social Media, STEM

 

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Google’s Eclipse megamovie worth watching

For those of us who cannot watch the eclipse today in North America, there’s a fascinating project that would document it. Google has worked with UC Berkeley (Eclipse Megamovie) and  has recruited 1,000 volunteer photographers and amateur astronomers for the event. Volunteers must download the Berkeley-created app for this.

The eclipse will last from 9.05 am Pacific, to 4.09 pm Eastern.

So for instance, in Scottsdale, Arizona (as is evident, we are outside the ‘path of totality’) the moon’s shadow will cover just 63.3% of the sun. It all begins at 9:14 am and will continue for 2 hours 46 minutes. Peak time of the eclipse will be 10:34 am.

I found it interesting to read that damage to the retina would only occur is someone looks directly at the sun before or after totality without the protective glasses. Thankfully, those who cannot watch the event live have the citizen-sourced megamovie.

 
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Posted by on August 21, 2017 in Ed-Tech, Education

 

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Two flavors of ‘Ice Cream’ to the Space Station!

The Dragon capsule delivered several technologies and experiments (6,4000 pounds of it) to the International Space Station. But it also delivered ice cream to the astronauts on board. So what’s a few scoops, for those folks who travel at 17,000 miles an hour for several months!

Also, in a geeky twist, it is also delivering another flavor, so to speak: ‘ISS-CREAM‘ – the acronym for ISS Cosmic Ray Energetics And Mass. It is a balloon-borne instrument that “measures the charges of cosmic rays ranging from hydrogen up through iron nuclei, over a broad energy range.” Clear as mud. (a balloon carrying ISS-CREAM) But very cool, huh?

As for the docking, as I mentioned in a previous post about the robotic arm and the maneuver, it is pretty cool! Humans need robots – and some ice cream now and then.

 
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Posted by on August 17, 2017 in Social Media

 

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Technoference and Emojipedia – Part of our evolving vocabulary

While you were not paying attention, a new vocab has been tying up its shoes and sprinting through the techno-social-media crowd. (Sorry I just made up that super-hyphenated word.)

Emojipedia does exist. It’s a place where you could find such things as a ‘Man teacher: medium skin tone’. (Several variants, actually, as seen on Facebook, Samsung devices and Google.) If you’re looking for a person shrugging (not sure why, but…) there are 18 variants, and you’ll find some for world events and animals and such.

I could give you some even more obscure words, especially if you want to flummox someone. Try fudgel. It means one is pretending to work though basically fudging. Or ‘Grok.‘ If you haven’t run into this, I guess you don’t quite grok this post.

 

 

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