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Google Glass

What is Google Glass? Google announced a little over a year ago that they were working on a wearable computing device. This device is a pair of glasses that has a small light-weight camera, GPS, wireless capabilities, and some type of transparent LCD or AMOLED display to put information right in front of your eyeballs.

What can they do? This pair of specs can record video, take pictures, send messages, connect to your smartphone, communicate with the cloud, translate languages, show your friends exactly what you are currently seeing, give directions, check for heavy traffic, or if a subway is down, give the closest restaurant locations, and look up searches on the web. These glasses have a HUD (Heads up Display), it shows everything from the current time to messages sent or received. You will be able to scroll and click by tilting your head, according to testers, this is quite easy to master. 

How can I get a pair? Google is now accepting applications to pre-order Google Glass. They will choose 8,000 of these applications, the people who are chosen will have to pay $1,500.00 plus tax. They will also have to pick up their pair of glasses in one of the following places: New York, San Francisco, or Los Angeles. These pre-order customers will get regular updates through Google+.
When will they be available to the public? Early 2014, this is the earliest estimated release date. According to Google, developers are able to get ‘explorer edition’ units during 2013.

Will they be stylish? Google has been talking with Warby Parker to make glass more stylish. There are a variety of different colors currently offered for the glasses. They look similar to something out of a favorite science fiction series, but they do seem pretty cool and I would love to have my hands on a pair.

Do we need more technology in our day to day lives? I can already see it, college students going to class with these glasses on, while texting on their smartphones, and playing words with friends on their tablets. I think it is an awesome idea if used correctly. It would be awesome to be snowboarding, or snow skiing, have a friend behind you that you can watch yourself from their perspective. Imagine another scenario: being totally lost in another country that you do not speak the language; someone approaches you and asks a question. Google Glass can translate the question and display it right in front of your face. For more information about Google Glass… Google it!  


Computing : from the abacus to the iPad Computing and connecting in the 21st century Computing and connecting in the 21st century

Microsoft Operating Systems Through the Years (1975-2012)

Microsoft   has been around since 1975. During this time we were dependent on typewriters for producing any type of document. If we wanted to copy that document we used a mimeograph, or carbon paper. In 1975 Bill Gates and Paul Allen formed a partnership called “Microsoft”. They had a vision of a computer on every desktop, and in every person’s home.

In 1980  Microsoft began producing software that would be able to manage, or run the computer hardware. This software also created a bridge between the computer hardware and programs running on the computer such as a word processor (Microsoft Word for example). Microsoft named this software MS-DOS. These computers quickly changed the world as we knew it. Typewriters were becoming less and less as we became more dependent upon computers for daily work.

Between 1982 and 1985 Microsoft built on to MS-DOS by creating “Windows 1.0”. This is the first true operating system that has been created. It included many of the programs that Windows still includes in its operating systems today such as: Paint, Windows Writer, Notepad, Calculator, Calendar, Card File, and a Clock. It even came with a game on it… Reversi.

In 1987 Microsoft released Windows 2.0. This version came with improved graphics that allowed you to control screen layout, overlap windows and use keyboard shortcuts for increased productivity.

In 1990 Microsoft released Windows 3.0: Graphics are starting to come along and the operating system has become more advanced. Windows 3.0 SDK was released along side of Windows 3.0. This gave software developers the upper hand in creating software for Windows 3.0 and allowed them to focus less on driver support and more on actually developing programs.

Computers are now incredibly popular in work and home environments. Solitaire, Hearts, and Minesweeper were all included in this version of Windows. During this release Microsoft also lead the way in networking by allowing all computers running Windows 3.0 with workgroups 3.11 to communicate with each other. This allowed peer-to-peer workgroup and domain networking support. This lead the client/server evolution in the computing world. Colleagues were able to send work documents back and forth without ever leaving their desk.

In 1995 Microsoft released Windows 95: Windows is completely redesigned and for the first time. It included: a start menu, taskbar, minimize, maximize, and close buttons on each window. It has been over a decade and we still rely on this concept from PC‘s to tablets to smartphones. 1995 was also a big year for the internet. Internet Explorer was released by Microsoft to accompany the internet craze.

June 25th 1998 Microsoft releases Windows 98: This is the first version of Windows that is specifically designed for the consumer. PC‘s are common at work and home at this point in time and the people who had internet access at home paid an arm and a leg for it they also were unable to use their landline telephone if on the internet. This Operating system supported CD‘s and computers were starting to navigate away from the infamous floppy disk. This is the last version of Windows that was based on MS-DOS. It also included a quick launch bar for the first time ever seen.

The year is now 2000. Y2K is among us and everyone is worried about how computers will react to the year 2000. This was a big concern because before the year 2000 computers used the last 2 digits of the year for documents, programs, and anything else that would require a date within a computer. Without a corrective action, long-working systems would break down when the "...97, 98, 99, 00..." Ascending numbering assumption suddenly became invalid. The year 2000 came and went and with it Windows 2000 Professional was created. This operating system was improved and allowed users to add their own plug and play hardware such as a wireless card, infrared devices, IEEE 1394 devices and advanced networking. Around this time laptop’s were the most popular and most wanted form of computers… "I can sit outside on my lawn chair and still have internet access!" The Wireless age had arrived.

2001-2005: Windows XP is dominate, it is a revolutionary new operating system that looks like it came out of the future. It is fast, stable, and reliable. Windows update keeps it going strong with constant service packs, and updates that should help the PC to run as it should and also keep away unwanted viruses and malware. We start to see 64 bit editions of operating systems after this point in time which allows the computer to benefit from more random access memory (RAM) and other optimizations.

2006-2008: Windows Vista is the most secure Operating System created as of this point in time which could easily be translated to the biggest headache operating system available. Every time you install a program, Windows displays a message asking “do you really want to do this?” This is a good feature because if one of these messages displays without the user doing anything then the user should see that something funny maybe happening to their computer (spyware, malware and or viruses). The user would be able to click no and this would deny access to whoever/whatever is trying to install software onto their computer. However the non-tech savvy user can view this message as a threat, or doesn't understand what it means. They normally click ok or allow to just continue with what they are doing.

Otherwise Windows Vista was great for security and protection this version of Windows included BitLocker Drive Encryption which made it more difficult to access a drive that had been encrypted. The advent of the internet by this point in time made it much cheaper for everyone to have internet access at home. A lot of places (Libraries, Resturants, and even old pay phones are converted to wifi hotspots) are starting to offer free WIFI for mobile devices. The world is now streaming movies, videos and material is able to go “viral” online. Internet users across the world are now laughing at the same silly youtube videos that we are laughing at here on the east coast! Skype and live streams are more and more popular. Some people even becoming famous for their shows on youtube, or videos they have created. Some even get paid for the video when you watch it!

2009-2012 Windows 7: This is today‘s standards for Operating Systems. Windows 7 is just as secure as Vista was however it did not come with the annoyance of Vista‘s pop up messages. You have the ability to completely disable these messages from ever showing up. Microsoft learned what the consumers did not like about Vista and quickly recovered Vista‘s faults with this operating system. Most companies and businesses are using Windows 7 publicly and behind the scenes for all types of work or play.

All of the Kalamazoo Public Library‘s public computers run Windows 7. Our wonderful patrons really love having it there to use for work, school, social networking, or even just playing games.Some decide to learn how to type faster, create beautiful resume‘s and projects with Microsoft Office. Others learn more about their ancestors by combining what we have here with what is found on the internet. It is an amazing world we live in today and anything you could ever want to know is at your finger tips, you just have to put in the time and effort to figure it out! The Tech Interns at the KPL are a huge help to those who are afraid to take this first step in the digital age. Any type of question you could have regarding a computer problem can easily be answered by the guys in the green shirts at the KPL!
October 26th 2012: Windows 8 has been released. It has been released on a wide variety of devices including: Tablets, Smartphones, laptops, and even desktop PC‘s. Operating Systems over the years have gotten more complex yet easier to use for the first timer. Windows 8 keeps this tradition going by having tiles with pictures to choose from – My 3 year old niece can navigate from Netflix to Games without knowing how to say tablet or even Netflix for that matter. She can look at the pictures and knows what to do. It‘s a universal language – It is fantastic. However for the more advanced user Windows 8 seems like too much of a change. It seems more complex to those of us who have become so accustom to the start menu that it would seem like a hassle to navigate a picture and tile filled desktop. It is too early to tell how many people will make the switch to Windows 8 on their desktops. Windows 8 is meant more for a touch screen device and the mouse and keyboard are starting to become obsolete. I don‘t think they will ever go away in the work world – many prefer to have a tangible item to type on or produce work documents on. However if you just need to send your boss an email quickly – the tablet or smartphone is so quick and easy to grab. Windows 8 looks visually impressive and different from anything else Microsoft has ever released. It does still include the start menu but it is now an option of tiles and pictures or the standard desktop we are used to seeing.
The idea behind Windows 8 is to go from your smartphone to your tablet to your laptop to your desktop and have them all look the same, pictures, email, documents are all synced to every device you use by storing it in the cloud.

For example: You can take a picture of your cat with your phone, the next time you get on your tablet the picture is there! The next time you get on your desktop the picture is already there! No uploading, or connecting your phone to your desktop or any hassle, it just does it automatically. There is no transition between devices – everything looks the same and feels the same. You can send email from your Windows 8 Phone the same way you would from your Windows 8 Tablet, PC, or Laptop. It is a great idea... However it is just weird to use Windows 8 with a mouse instead of your fingers!

It is amazing how far we have come since the year 1975 and I can‘t wait to see where we go in the next 30 years. Windows 16 should be fun! If you would like to learn more about Microsoft and how they have become so successful please come into the library and check out our Microsoft selection of books!


The Story of Microsoft




Data Usage Today

 When was the last time you used a payphone to make a phone call? Today 60% of the earth’s entire population has a cell phone. There are about 13,000 payphones in New York City. AT&T has started to recycle those payphones into free WIFI hotspots for anyone to use. In New York City they have even introduced WIFI hotspots to parks, schools, libraries, and senior centers. AT&T and other providers plan to introduce the WIFI hotspots to all of New York City’s forgotten payphones. As of right now this is an AD free service. However that may be subject to change to pay for the WIFI hotspots.

In today’s world humans create more data in just two days than was created between the dawn of civilization to the year 2003. There were 5 exabytes of information created between the dawn of civilization through 2003. We now create at least 5 exabytes every two days!

What is an Exabyte? An Exabyte (EB) is a billion gigabytes (GB). A gigabyte is 1024 megabytes (MB). A megabyte is 1024 kilobytes (KB). The first floppy disk that was created in 1971 was roughly 79.7 kilobytes.

Why are we humans using and creating so much more data than ever before? We have entered the digital age as human beings. Everything from books to movies, music and games can be digital and easily obtained. Smart phones also play a huge role in data usage. More people are able to get on the internet from anywhere to use up data from their smart phone. More people are social networking such as Facebook - did you know that every time you look at an image on Facebook you download up to 2 megabytes of data? That’s more than the 1971 floppy disk could even hold!

If you would like to learn more about payphones being converted into WIFI hotspots please visit this Link


Absolute beginner's guide to computer basics

Faster Internet Sans Infrastructure Overhaul

To meet consumer demands for increased speed or bandwidth, internet providers have warned that billions of dollars will be needed to rebuilt the internet's infrastructure - and that costs will be passed on to consumers. Luckily, a new development is being tested in Europe that may vastly increase bandwidth within our current optical fiber or cable internet connections.

Often, information streaming down internet cables is comprised of many people's data bits. So data takes turns being transfered, where one person's data waits in line for other people's data to come through before all of one's own data is received. This routine of taking turns down the optical fibers can result in relatively sluggish data transfer rates - even in "high speed" connections.

In addition, standard cable internet connections enable users to download data to their computers much faster than they can upload data from their computers to the web. This limitation affects online tools where two-way communication is necessary, as with HQ video conferencing, where conferencers need to upload video as fast as they can download video.

If successful, the advancements being tested should fix both the internet bandwidth and upload speed issues, and will be added to the internet infrastructure at little-or-no extra cost to consumers. The development is technically difficult for me to summarize (or fully understand), but suffice it to say that two currently available technologies are being converged and redesigned for large scale implementation. An interesting fact is that one of the two convergent technologies, Wave Division Multiplexing, utilizes prisms to send multiple data streams along different wavelengths of laser light within the same optical fiber cable.

Learn more about this development at

Article Title: "A Cheap and Fully Optical Solution for Ultra-Fast Internet" 


How the Internet works

Google Destroys Atlantis

 Google Earth’s recent update has eliminated what some people believe to be the location of Atlantis, an island first mentioned by the Greek philosopher Plato.

The ruins were formerly found at (31 15’15.53N, 24 15’30.53W). Google explained the anomaly as “a processing glitch caused by overlapping data sets”.

A full article about the update and the cause of the glitch can be found here;


Atlantis : the legend of a lost city

Google has decided to allow people to sign up using nicknames

In a big swerve in policy, Google has decided to allow people to sign up using nicknames or other pseudonyms on its growing social network, Google+.

Amazon vows Kindle Fire update amid criticism

Amazon vows Kindle Fire update amid criticism
Amazon says it will issue an update for its Kindle Fire tablet within two weeks, responding to consumer complaints about software and hardware features on the device, which was released to huge demand last month. The company also might introduce a new version of the tablet in the spring. Amazon promised upgrades in the device's performance and multitouch navigation. The New York Times (tiered subscription model) (12/11), (12/12)

Amazon's Price Check App

Retail Group Blasts Amazon's Price-Check App

By Alan Wolf -- TWICE, 12/7/2011

 Arlington, Va. -The Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA), a trade group representing some of the nation's largest brick-and-mortar chains, has criticized for touting its Price Check app to holiday shoppers.

The group claims the app encourages consumers to use brick-and-mortar stores as showrooms before ordering the same merchandise online from Amazon, and further exploits a pre-Internet tax loophole that does not require online-only retailers to collect sales tax in most states.

Amazon's Price Check app, introduced one year ago for iPhone and earlier this month for Android, allows in-store shoppers to scan a barcode, snap a picture, or say or type a product name to read reviews, see prices and make purchases from and its affiliate online merchants.

Price Check is just one of a number of bar-code scanning apps including Google Shopper and eBay's RedLaser that have been available for mobile devices as early as 2009. Amazon's app presumably drew RILA's ire when the e-tailer announced yesterday that it would provide a 5 percent discount to customers who use the app to make a purchase this Saturday.

 "Amazon's aggressive promotion of its Price Check app shows the lengths they are willing to go to exploit this tax loophole," said Katherine Lugar, RILA's public affairs executive VP. "Retailers cannot afford another holiday season where they are forced to compete on an uneven playing field."

The group claims Amazon's sale tax exemptions give it a perceived 6 percent to 10 percent price advantage over brick-and-mortar retailers.


Microsoft will update Xbox for voice control, more content

Microsoft will update Xbox for voice control, more content
According to Microchannel news Microsoft will push out an update for the Xbox game console Tuesday that will add voice control to the Kinect motion sensor. The company is also updating the Xbox Live service this week, adding more movies and television shows to the content offerings. The coming attractions include HBO GO, TMZ, UFC and Vudu. 

WiFi Safety

Greetings Patrons!

 This month I thought it would be useful to give a brief overview on safely using WiFi at home and out in the world. In our day and age, where everything is becoming wireless and on-the-go, it’s easy to assume that steps are being taken for us, by others, to protect our privacy and our information. Sadly, this isn’t always the case. The few tips below will help get you started in becoming more secure in our digital age.

In Your Home
If you are using a wireless router to bring the magic of the internet to every corner of your home, be sure to use your router’s firewall and safety features. All routers have the ability to set a password for your network, and newer routers come with “WPA2”, or WiFi Protected Access v.2, which will encrypt any data being sent wirelessly through your router. Refer to your router’s manual for detailed instructions. When creating a password for your network, bite the bullet and create something more complex than “password” (it’s not as clever as people like to think. Most routers have this set as their default). A combination of upper and lower-case letters, and well as numbers, is the best choice.

In the World
If you are often in need of internet while you are out in the world, wireless hotspots can be just the thing you need. Be wary, however, of unsecured wireless networks. Unless you are certain that the unprotected network you are connecting to is safe (A library, for example!), it’s best to avoid them. You may be getting internet from the network, but the owner of the network is also potentially accessing everything you have stored on your device. It is important to always, always have your computer’s firewall activated, and your anti-virus programming running and up to date. Sometimes these programs can get in the way of what you’re trying to do, but identity theft (as a possible consequence) tends to do that as well.

 Happy (and safe) Browsing!


Wireless Internet access for dummies