Archive for June, 2012
Have you ever needed your smartphone only to find that the battery has died and you’re nowhere near an outlet? It’s frustrating, but in a couple of years, it may be a thing of the past.
A Better Battery on the Way?
Engineers at Chicago’s Northwestern University have been working on advancements in battery technology and may have discovered a way to make batteries charge in minutes and last considerably longer.
What they are working on is a new lithium-ion battery that has more than 10 times the life of present-day batteries. Additionally, after a year of operation, which the researchers estimate to be about
150 charges, these new lithium-ion batteries would continue to be 5 times more effective then today’s lithium-ion batteries.
A Charged Battery for a Week
Ultimately, this new cell phone battery could stay charged for an entire week, even with all the apps we use daily. And the charging time? Under 15 minutes! This technology will sure make our lives easier, but more than this, this new battery could lead to smaller and more efficient batteries for electric cars which could consequently, have a dramatic impact on our reliance on fossil fuels.
Batteries Powering Technological Change
The new battery technology is not yet available for consumers, but the Northwestern researchers claim it could hit the market in three to five years. This is a big step. When we look at developments in technology, we often ignore the batteries that power our latest gadgets. Battery limitations are one of the factors holding back an even greater technology revolution. The hope is that the research done at Northwestern University can change this.
Brad Swan joined the NetEffect team as an Engineer in December 2007 and was named Director of Support in 2011 overseeing client relationships and the processes, procedures and execution of service delivery.
While Brad has been working in the IT industry for over 15 years, his interest in computers and technology started early. In junior high school Brad volunteered to upgrade memory in his schools TSR-80 computers, one of the first desktop computers initially released in 1977.
Brad received formal training in physics at Southwest Oklahoma State University and earned a degree in Electronics and Engineering Technology from Oklahoma State University. He has worked for NASA as a Process and Planning Engineer for the Orbiter fleet and as an Electronics Warfare Systems Specialist for the U.S. military. In 1994 Brad opened Citadel, a full-service IT and computer retail, repair and service company in Oklahoma.
Looking for a change of pace and scenery, Brad and his family relocated to Las Vegas in 2007. While in Vegas, his wife earned a degree in culinary arts from Le Cordon Blue College of Culinary Arts and has worked with various chefs and restaurants throughout Las Vegas.
In their spare time Brad and his family enjoy the natural and historical sites around Las Vegas, attend local “foodie” events, and play computer games.
Apple iPad3 has Arrived
Thanks in large part to their near-perfect iPad 2, Apple’s domination of the tablet market is safe for now. Though Android has responded with tons of fantastic devices, the platform as a whole has yet to surpass the iPad in terms of market share. Regardless, Apple can’t afford to rest on its laurels. Their latest tablet, called the “new iPad”, brings with it a number of notable upgrades and enhancements over its predecessor. What many are wondering at this juncture is whether or not the latest iPad is worth buying. Let’s look at the facts and try to come up with an answer to that question.
Features and Hardware
The one major enhancement of the new iPad that will capture the attention of most users is the much talked about Retina Display, which boasts the highest resolution of any tablet currently available. It’s a 9.7-inch, 2048 x 1536 pixel display that outputs crystal-clear, 1080p picture on a full-sized tablet screen. Under the hood, the new iPad is equipped with an A5X CPU, 1 GB of RAM and anywhere from 16 to 64 GB of internal storage. It also sports a powerful, 5 MP iSight camera that’s nearly as good as the lens found on the iPhone 4S.
Software & Default Apps
On the software front, the new iPad comes equipped with iOS 5.1 by default. The latest version of Apple’s mobile operating system brings quite a few improvements to the new iPad. For one, it features support for the latest tablet-optimized iOS apps, as well as Siri-like speech to text dictation and iCloud. It also boasts revamped, tablet-specific versions of iWork and iPhoto that are designed to take advantage of the display’s 2 million pixels. Compared to the slew of Android tablets on the market, the new iPad offers the best tablet-specific mobile app experience that can be had at the moment.
Networking and Performance
One of the most important upgrades found in the new iPad is the ability to support 4G LTE mobile broadband from multiple carriers. While 3G is typically fine for most users, the difference between it and 4G LTE is noticeable, especially when downloading or uploading large amounts of data. As for performance, the A5X chip of the new iPad is a dual-core model with “quad-core graphics”. It’s basically designed from the ground up to deliver the most stunning visuals and graphics computing performance imaginable.
When you add it all up, the new iPad is an amazing device that offers a lot of value and performance. What confuses the issue is the fact that the iPad 2 is also very, very good. If you don’t own a tablet or are a heavy tablet user, you should look closely at the new iPad over the iPad 2, especially if you’ll use the LTE mobile broadband. But if you already own an iPad 2, it’s a much harder decision.
From the Las Vegas Business Press, June 4, 2012
EXECUTIVE SNAPSHOT: Jeff Grace
President and CEO, Net Effect
By LAURA CARROLL
Clark High School graduate Jeff Grace founded Net Effect 10 years ago in Las Vegas, but the self-taught IT man began his technology journey 16 years ago in Boston.
“I was fascinated by the Internet,” he said.
After reading as many books on the subject that he could get his hands on, Grace landed himself a tech support job in Lynn, Mass. He then journeyed into consulting, but eventually Grace decided it was time to move back West and open up shop for himself.
Net Effect provides IT support and consulting, outsourced IT, cloud computing and voice-over-Internet protocol. With 13 employees, the company services about 100 clients, but Grace has worked hard to gain each one.
“Las Vegas, in my opinion, has always been a bit behind when it comes to technology,” Grace said. “It’s getting better. It’s getting more mature. UNLV is doing things to encourage technology.”
Grace mentioned Cox Business as one provider that’s doing some “really cool things,” and said customers are becoming more knowledgeable about technology and related services, which helps his business. He said the change in customers’ outlook has occurred primarily in the last three years.
“It’s less mysterious to people now,” he said.
Besides serving clients like the American Red Cross, SH Architecture and Las Vegas Harley-Davidson, Net Effect wants to expand into the gaming industry.
Grace’s business already has a contract with Treasure Island for nongaming services, but is on the Nevada Gaming Control Board’s July agenda in an effort to gain approval to become an IT service provider for gaming properties for gaming-related services.
“If we’re approved we’ll be able to work on regulated applications,” Grace said. “It opens up an entirely new market for us.”
In the past year, Net Effect has experienced an uptick in business and Grace is hopeful about the future.
“I definitely see signs of the economic climate getting better,” he said.
How did your company fare through the recession?
We’ve grown a bit through the recession, but it’s not been without its challenges. The recession has made for a volatile climate, but there has been benefits as well. We focused more on strengthening our core, in terms of business process and strategy. We’re a much better company for it.
When you started your company what were some of the challenges you faced?
When I started the business it was just me, so I did all of the tech work as well as the accounting and sales. Now I’m lucky enough to have different people in those different seats who are experts in accounting and service delivery. I would say that was the biggest challenge in opening, figuring out those different realms and getting customers.
Who is your mentor in business?
I’m a member of a group called HTG. It’s comprised of 200 IT companies from around the country. I participate in a small group of 10 companies. We meet quarterly for two full days and we act as each other’s board of directors. We get supported by the other members of the group. I’ve been in the group for almost two years. It has been a phenomenal experience.
How has your business changed since you’ve been a member of HTG?
We’ve put a lot of time and attention into our core values. That’s been really key for us. Those are things that are really in the company’s DNA, but it’s really been good for us to articulate them. We have a framed poster now in the office of our core values. It’s given us a lot more service insight to our delivery.
Remember downtime? That was when you could take your dog on a walk without having to answer your cell phone. It was when you would watch your child’s little league game without also scanning your e-mail messages on your smartphone. And it was when you’d watch a movie at home without also working on your expense report on your tablet computer. In this age of interconnectivity, downtime appears to be a thing of the past. The big question? Is this healthy?
Our gadgets have obviously made our lives simpler. We can get directions at the touch of a button. Find the nearest restaurant in minutes and Google the answer to a question with ease and speed.
But have you ever realized how rarely we are alone with only our thoughts nowadays? Some social commentators have wondered if this increase in communication will negatively impact the philosophical side of our species. With no time and space to sit and ponder will we cease to do so?
That’s a big question, but there is a much more important question for you to consider: Is your continual connectivity healthy? When should you unplug from your tablet, smartphone, and iPod?
We understand that failing to take breaks from working can take its toll, but so can constant entertainment. Whether that is checking social media sites, texting, or watching silly videos on YouTube, the human body needs time to rest. It stresses out our eyes and minds to be constantly bombarded with information, particularly if most of those things are on devices.
It may be time to take a break if you find that you have anxiety when you are away from your device. If you find, too, that your constant connectivity is harming your relationships with friends, family members, or your spouse, it’s time to turn off the computer and put the smartphone on silent.
If you are one that often has their gadget in their hand, consider how your life may be being affected by it. Try leaving it at home one day, or turning it off on the weekends. You may find that you’re much more laid back because your brain is not focusing on more then just being present.