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Computing, Human Knowledge, and the Future

On 30, Apr 2013 | No Comments | In Technology | By Daniel Kao

I spend about 25 percent of my day looking at a computer screen. I also spend about 37.4 percent of my day fighting luchadors. One of those statements is false, but illustrates the unique power of the Internet. In the past decade, all different types of media have been finding a digital counterpart to be distributed online, causing changes in the fabric of human interaction that have never been faced before. The Internet gives platform, although a very different kind, to anyone who wishes to speak, regardless of what they have to say.

Take knowledge for instance. Never before have so many people had access to so much free information through a little device in their pocket. Hyperlinking has become the new way of hyperwarping through different thoughts and ideas.

But as a computer science major in the year 2013, I can’t help but wonder what effect technology will have on people’s knowledge and understanding. Some claim that relying on technology to instantly and effortlessly answer questions makes people dumber. In a recent talk by Ken Jennings, the reigning jeopardy champion, he shares about how he feels when IBM’s supercomputer named Watson rendered him obsolete.

However, despite the images of robot apocalypse and other futuristic ideas portrayed by movies and novels, the future doesn’t have look like that. Technology is not something that should be feared, but understood.

Technology is fluid in the sense that it is always changing, and the person who understands how to use it has an advantage over the person who doesn’t. Being tech savvy means knowing how to creatively use technology to build new platforms and present new perspectives. Being tech savvy then, by definition, is a tendency to bend the rules, and even break them under some occasions. It means adding a whole other dimension of thinking and communication to life, one that is virtually limitless.

Of course, that means that people must remain knowledgeable enough about technology so that they can use the technology instead of the technology using them. Google shouldn’t be seen as a life force, but merely a supplement. The moment that people assume that technology is smarter than them is the moment that we resign ourselves to a place of servitude.

The only way that technology will make people dumber is if people use it as a substitute to learning instead of a supplement.

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Mythbusting: Battery Care

On 11, Jun 2012 | No Comments | In Technology | By Daniel Kao

I often hear people saying that waiting for the laptop battery to reach 0% before recharging will prolong the lifespan of the battery. The sad reality is, regularly discharging lithium-ion batteries to 0% will not necessarily make your battery last longer.

This used to be true when batteries were made of Ni-Cd, due to the memory effect of such chemistry, but Li-Ion maintenance is different.

Generally, keeping lithium-ion batteries charged between 40%-80% is the best for the battery.

The real killers of battery life include keeping it charged at 100% for extended periods of time (weeks or longer) and / or exposing the battery to hot temperatures: Batteries should be kept in a cool, dry place for maximum lifespan.

But no matter what you do to your lithium ion batteries, they will die in a few years no matter how you treat them, so there’s no need to be too uptight about your charging habits.

Check out this link for more information.

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