December 1, 2011

The computer screen is not very good at displaying a big historical timeline; the low typographic resolution of the screen forces viewers to scroll endlessly through century after century (and, even worse, horizontal scrolling). Perhaps, on the computer screen, time should flow vertically, with events described by lines of horizontal type at each date. On the other hand, it is nice to maintain the time-flowing-left-to-right convention used in excellent timelines (printed, lots of overlapping events, hundreds of events).
Edward Tufte, Ask ET, 2002

Kick Ass Home Office Setups

September 16, 2011

Kick Ass Home Office Setups

One-Way Switch for Light Paves Way for Practical Photonic Computer Chips
‘Optical diode’ could help make commercial photonic chips a reality.

By Zeeya Merali of Nature magazine

A one-way system for light rays could allow optical computer chips to overtake their standard electronic counterparts. The new device should eventually help to improve the speed of data processing and ease Internet traffic.

Optical, or photonic, chips use light rather than an electrical current to carry information. State-of-the-art optical chips already transfer data at rates of around 10 gigabits per second–more than 100 times faster than the best electronic chips, says Liang Feng, an electrical engineer at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.

“That's the noticeable difference between a Google search you carry out today taking a few seconds to load, and a search being done in the future in less than a blink,” he says.

For more than a decade, engineers have been working to make commercially viable optical chips, but to do so they need to come up with the optical equivalent of the electronic diode. This allows current to pass in only one direction, preventing back-scattered current from interfering with other components and the forward signal.

Such 'optical diodes' have been created in the past, but they either use materials that are incompatible with silicon or rely on magnetic fields to block backward light1. “Unfortunately, you can't stick something magnetic near your computer or it will disrupt it,” says Feng.

Guiding the ray

Feng and his colleagues have now created a silicon waveguide–a slab with a rectangular cross-section measuring 200 nanometers thick and 800 nanometers wide–that channels light in only one direction. Standard waveguides allow waves to pass through in both directions, but Feng's team realized that adding extra layers of materials with different reflective and refractive properties, at specific points along the tunnel, could break this symmetry.

“It has been known for a long time that adding layers to the sides of waveguides can affect forward and backward motion, but it was tricky to calculate the particular structure that would manipulate the light just as we needed,” says Feng.

Using calculations and computer simulations, the team hit on the right materials and pattern for a waveguide that would allow a forward-moving light wave to progress symmetrically–so that its peaks and troughs remain parallel–while disrupting the backward wave in such a way that its successive peaks and troughs deviate from the parallel. The solution involved adding a number of sinusoidal-shaped bumps of silicon, 40 nanometers thick, along one side of the waveguide, and similar bumps, made of a layer of germanium sandwiched with chrome, on the other side.

The team monitored the passage of light through the waveguide using a near-field scanning optical microscope and confirmed that a narrow beam of light successfully passes through the waveguide forwards, but that the wave's symmetry breaks down when traveling backwards2. The next step is to incorporate the waveguide into a device that filters out the asymmetric light. “We hope to have this completed soon,” says Feng.

Nasser Peyghambarian, an optical scientist at the University of Arizona in Tuscon, says that the work is an “important step for building optical chips”. But he adds that it may be another 15 years before a full range of optical components, including laser sources and optical amplifiers, are ready to be integrated together: “Only then can we talk about using photonic chips in real commercial products.”

This article is reproduced with permission from the magazine Nature. The article was first published on August 4, 2011.

PAIN IN THE NECK could be from your computer

by Hege Crowton – Date: 2005-12-08 – Word Count: 688

Did you know that spending long hours at your computer can put your health at serious risk? Most people does not even consider that possibility, but t does, Working at a desk is extremely hard on your body, and I would like to share this with you so maybe you can avoid some of the most common health risks. One of the most common one is: NECK PAIN

Tips for NECK PAIN relief

Neck pain can really get irritating if it persists for long periods of time. The pain can get unbearable that’s why some people succumb to taking medications or pain relievers only to find out that they don’t do them any good. Let’s check out these simple and basic tips on how to treat and relieve you from neck pain.

1. Get spinal checkups regularly. It is very important to always keep your spine aligned. This can ensure the proper functioning of your neck and back, specifically the upper region. Your chiropractor will do spinal adjustments on you. This can decrease the stress on your thoracic and cervical spines. It also improves the communication between your brain and all parts of the body. As a result, a happier and healthier you.

2. Always be conscious of your posture. There are a lot of people who exhibit poor posture. When asked to stand up straight, they are unable to exude the proper posture anymore. This is because they have been used to that kind of posture and they are unaware of it already. Proper posture does not only involve the back, as lot may think. It also includes the neck. Poor posture, if not dealt with can give rise to neck pain as well.

3. Exercise regularly. Exercising does not only do good to the body’s muscular and cardiovascular system but to the skeletal system, too. For an efficient and effective program, you have to do at least three sessions a week for about forty minutes. In order to be more inspired to do these exercises, involve the whole family and your friends. It will benefit, not only yourself, but your loved ones as well.

4. Eat well and eat right. Naturally, you keep your body healthy by eating the right food at the right amount. When you observe proper diet and nutrition, your body will the given the appropriate energy or fuel that can increase your endurance and performance. It can also increase your body’s immune system to fight injuries and sickness. It can speep your recovery from injury and it also makes you feel good. If you are having a hard time eating right, you might as well consider taking up dietary supplements to cover up for vitamin and mineral deficiencies in your body.

5. Manage stress. There are a lot of techniques devised to relieve stress, if not to eliminate it totally. Usually, stress is carried on the upper back, the shoulders, and the neck. If you prefer, go to your nearest chiropractor to ask about these techniques and how to do them the right way.

6. Do not put pressure on your neck. For example, while using the telephone, do not use your neck and shoulders to hold it while you talk. In the office, always sit properly and keep your neck straight by working at eye level. You can unconsciously get neck pain during sleep because you are unaware of your movements. You can use a cervical pillow for this. You can also roll a towel and put it around the curve of your neck while you sleep. Never sleep on your stomach.

7. Stretch. It is always best to do stretching if possible. In the office or at home, you can take short breaks just to reduce the tension. Some massage won’t hurt either. It can decrease the tension not only on your shoulders but also on your neck.

Do not let yourself get weighed down by neck pain. If you are one of those people suffering from neck pain, do not fret. There are a lot of simple techniques and remedies you can get and use wherever you may be.

There are other risks as you sit in front of that computer but it would be to much to write about in this article, so if you would like to learn more about other risks such as:

Eye strain RSI (Repetitive Stress Syndrome) Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Constant Head Aches Dizziness Breathing Problems Difficulty Concentrating

You can learn all about this in the book: “The Painless PC”, which can be found at:


Various studies have found that people with chronic pain actually smoke tobacco at a higher rate. Yet it is known that smoking negatively impacts pain management. Many that experience chronic back pain or neck pain are much more likely to be longtime tobacco smokers. All electronic cigarette brands deliver nicotine without tobacco. The user effectively quit tobacco with e cigarettes.

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My secret EYEs

March 16, 2011























W: WiFi

X: Xp



Thank God …. A is still Apple

Is Your Office a Pain in the Neck?
from OfficePRO magazine, August/September 2004

Doing a little homework and using ergonomic products can keep you healthy and productive

Office work can be a pain in the neck, literally, if you let it. Ergonomics (fitting the product, task, or environment to the person) can be the cure. It’s also the preventive measure that will waylay such pain from the start. That’s why you don’t want to miss out on some often inexpensive solutions to rid yourself of the aches and pains, eye strain, fatigue, and more that can accompany long-term office work.

Check out these products that support ergonomics in the office and are available from most office supply retailers:

1. Adjustable chair. “A chair is the foundation of the workstation,” says Anne Kramer, president and CEO of Ergo Works Inc. (www.askergoworks.com) in Belmont, California, which provides on-site workstation evaluations, ergonomic training, and ergonomic products. An adjustable chair that can be customized to fit you is an investment in your long-term health, especially if you spend most of your working days seated for extended periods of time.

Sitting for long periods of time, poor seated posture, and a poor quality chair can mean backaches, circulation problems, and more. Your chair should adjust to allow you to vary your posture throughout the day and to appropriately meet your work surface height and accommodate different tasks being per-formed, says Kramer. She says to look for four basic features in a chair that either already fits you or adjusts to do so. They are pneumatic cylinder height, seat pan, back angle, and back height.

2. Monitor riser. When office manager Peggy Catron CPS of London, Kentucky, bought a monitor riser five years ago, she intended to use it to create a storage space for stowing her telephone message book in the nook it created between her monitor and desktop. The ergonomic benefits were an unexpected bonus, she says. “Having the monitor on a higher level helped me reduce eye strain and maintain better posture while I’m seated,” Catron says. “I also don’t require a monitor screen anymore because the new height reduced the glare from the lights.” Monitor risers, also called monitor stands or monitor lifts, allow you to elevate a low-sitting monitor so that the monitor top is correctly placed at your eye level.

3. Footrest. “When you’re sitting, you want your feet firmly supported either on the ground or a footrest,” Kramer says. “If you have to elevate your chair to get to the right working height and then your feet don’t touch the floor, you need a footrest. Otherwise, your feet dangle, putting pressure on your thighs and [negatively] impacting blood circulation,” she explains. “Plus, a footrest is a comfort. It kind of helps you push yourself back into the chair and encourages better seating posture.”

While Kramer prefers a rocking footrest because it allows her to move her feet versus a constant static foot posture, she says others prefer firm footrests. When shopping for footrests, you’ll see ones that offer vertical height adjustment and angle adjustment on fixed or gliding platforms.

4. Keyboard tray. Also called keyboard platforms, keyboard trays often attach to the keyboard arm. Keyboard platforms or arms usually can be attached by bolts to the underside of your desk. An ideal setup has features that allow you to raise and lower the arm and platform as well as rotate them sideways. Also, trays often can be pushed under the desk when not in use and pulled close when you’re typing. Using a keyboard platform and arm in conjunction with your chair height helps you to have the proper keyboard and mouse height and keying posture. That means your upper arms hang straight (or perpendicular to the floor) and close to your sides. Your bent elbows and straight forearms will be at, or slightly beyond, a 90-degree (right) angle when keying. Your wrists are in a neutral (straight) position.

5. Mouse accessories. “You want a keyboard tray that has a wide enough platform for both the mouse and the keyboard,” advises Kramer. “You don’t want your keyboard down low and then have to reach up on the desk to use your mouse.” Both keyboard and mouse should be on the same level and both should allow your wrist to be in a neutral position (not pointing up, down, or sideways) when typing or using the mouse.

“Yet, a lot of trays have mouse surfaces lower than the keying surfaces,” adds Kramer. “And it’s kind of annoying because you end up extending that right or left arm down to get the mouse.” Such equipment is not ergonomically correct. While Kramer says you can solve the problem by using a book(s) with your mouse pad on top, her company also manufactures a product labeled a mouse booster for the same purpose. “It’s a 3/4-inch thick foam mouse mat that you place under the mouse to elevate it until it’s level,” she says.

Also, try to position your mouse as close to your keyboard as possible to minimize outward reach. A mouse bridge, which covers the numeric portion of your keyboard (assuming you don’t use the number pad), minimizes arm extension further.

6. Document holder. An administrative professional for 15 years, administrative coordinator Pat Potter CPS of Savannah, Georgia, says most of her jobs have involved extensive typing from paper documents. At her current position with Georgia Institute of Technology Savannah, she often types technical papers for professors. She appreciates the invention of the “document holder.”

“As paperless as we may think we are becoming, with the amount of written text I have to transcribe into electronic format, I could not function effectively without the document holder,” Potter says. Using one with a magnetic line guide helps her to stay on track, even after interruptions.

“The document holder also keeps my eyes from traveling all over, and it enables me not to experience a stiff neck or constant bobbing of my head if the paper were lying flat on the desk,” she says. Head and neck rotation and eye refocusing is exactly what you’re trying to eliminate by using a document holder, says Kramer. Though you can put your document holder close or even attached to the left or right of your monitor, Kramer believes the best document holder offers “in-line viewing.” Positioning the document between the back of your keyboard and the bottom of your monitor (usually at a slight angle) is “in-line viewing.” Likewise, she says to use a slant board, which has an inclined surface, for reading and writing at your desk.

7. Task lighting. When cubicle walls were built up and around her existing desk and workspace area, Sharon Pearson of Oberlin, Ohio, says they blocked much of the previous natural lighting. Pearson, who works as assistant to the administration of the City of Oberlin, attributed losing those rays of sun to new feelings of stress and fatigue. By scrutinizing her workspace, she noted that the area behind her desk was darkest and purchased a desk lamp for that spot. “While it doesn’t shine directly at me, the additional light to my area makes me feel better and helps to brighten my mood,” Pear-son says. “I noticed the difference in my work area immediately.”

Task lighting can be a flexible ergonomic solution in the office because you can adjust and control the amount of lighting and its location. Better lighting can even help relieve body aches—for example, pain in your shoulders and neck from constantly leaning forward in awkward positions to read documents you couldn’t see clearly from a normal sitting position. Good lighting can help eliminate eye fatigue and headaches and make you more alert and productive.

8. Telephone headset. Cradling the phone between your head and shoulder is out. Headsets are in and the price is cheap. Many cost well under $100. But the benefits are abundant. “A telephone headset allows you to work comfortably and multitask,” says Kramer. “Multitasking means you can talk on the phone and use the computer [simultaneously] with your head in a neutral position upright. So you’re increasing productivity as well as improving your posture,” she explains.

And in some cases, you’re putting an end to health problems such as a sore neck, shoulder, and upper back that result from the improper stationary shrug position you previously used to balance the phone on your neck. You’ll find telephone headsets in both corded and wireless versions in such styles as over the-head, behind-the-head, and over-the-ear with earpieces for one or both ears. Visit sites such as http://www.headsets.com and http://www.hellodirect.com to get an idea of what’s available in telephone headsets.

9. Laptop solutions. Using “laptops” and “ergonomics” in the same sentence is still an evolving concept. For example, if your main computer and monitor is a laptop, one nuisance in practicing proper ergonomics is getting both the keyboard and monitor at the recommended eye and arm levels.

One solution is to use a separate keyboard with your laptop when you’re in the office, along with a laptop platform. For instance, http://www.askergoworks.com sells a portable laptop holder that allows you to insert the keyboard portion of your laptop vertically and at a slight outward angle between a sandwich-shaped shell of cushioned aluminum. The outside of the top layer of the “sandwich” is a built-in inline viewing document holder that works in conjunction with your separate keyboard. Your laptop monitor is now raised closer to eye level (price $139).

Oh, and if you’ve got a great ergonomic workstation setup, don’t blow the concept by walking out the door lugging 10 pounds of laptops and briefcases each day in a slumped, awkward posture. That carelessness is bound to give you aches and perhaps even a muscle strain injury. Use wheeled cases or a portable luggage carrier that will take the weight off of you and enable you to walk in a more natural posture. Or leave your laptop and work where it belongs—at the office.

Mousing Around

Attention technophobics. Don’t scurry off and leave the mouse-buying decisions to someone else. Here are some details you should know when purchasing your next mouse:


Scroll Wheel—A mouse with a scroll wheel lets you scroll up and down the monitor screen without moving your hand or the mouse. Your finger works the scroll wheel.

Tilt Wheel—With tilt wheel technology, the entire scroll wheel tilts, enabling you to scroll from side to side.

Optical Sensor—An LED-based optical mouse uses parts such as a tracking sensor that sends images (a tiny camera takes 1,500 pictures every second) to a processor that analyzes the images. The processor then essentially tells your computer the coordinates of your mouse movement so it can move your cursor. The advantages? No dirty interiors to clean (no ball), no mouse pad needed, and smoother responses.

Track Ball—In short, the typical track ball mouse contain a ball visible on the underside that touches your mouse pad and rolls when you move the mouse. Working in conjunction with other mechanical parts of the mouse, it communicates to the cursor to move similarly. Track balls need cleaning when dirt, accumulating inside near and on the ball, interferes with smooth usage.

Wireless—A wireless mouse is cordless and uses radio frequency technology to relay coordinates of mouse movement to a receiver or transceiver connected to your computer. Some cordless optical mouse devices can be used in the air during presentations. They may need battery replacement or setting in a rechargeable battery base station. Some optical mouse devices have a “sleep” feature to prolong battery life. Bluetooth and WLAN (wireless local area network) are wireless technology terms associated with unrelated wireless formats. Watch for packaging terms like Bluetooth-enabled device and WLAN-enabled device.

Short Cut Buttons—This mouse feature allows you to program frequently used commands such as “page up” or “page down” that you then utilize with a click of a mouse button.

Connectivity—When you connect a wired mouse to the computer, you’ll use connectors (connectivity requirements should be listed on the product box). Connectors are one of two types: 1) The standard PS/2 connector socket on your computer appears round with six tiny alignment pins forming a circle; or 2) The USB (Universal Serial Bus) connector is a tiny rectangular socket. (Digital cameras and printers often connect to USB ports.) Adapters are sold that can change your connectivity options from PS/2 to USB.

13 Do’s and Taboos for the Feng Shui Office
posted by Annie B. Bond Apr 15, 2008

Being stuck in an office can be the pits, but learn about the 13 do’s and taboos of feng shui office design and you can feel like you’re working in nature.

DO sit in the corner farthest from the entrance to the room to have a “command” position.
DON’T sit in line with the door, as you will be in the path of negative energy.
DO keep your back toward a corner or a wall for support. If a post protrudes from the corner or wall, correct it by covering it with a hanging plant’s draping foliage.
DO sit with a tall building behind you to provide the support of a “mountain” if your back is to a window.
DON’T face away from the door if you are conducting business from home. Business will symbolically come to you through the door, so don’t turn your back on it.
DON’T arrange your workspace so that you look straight out into a corridor or see the stairs, storage rooms, closets, elevators, escalators, or toilets.
DO put your computer in the North or West area of your office to enhance your creativity. Place the computer in the Southeast if you use it to generate income.
DO place an aquarium or tabletop fountain in the East, North, or Southeast. A small aquarium with black or blue fish in the North area of your desk or office will activate your business and career success. Guppies or a single arrowana are ideal for an aquarium made of glass and metal.
DO place a safe, which is usually constructed of metal, in either West or Northwest, which both represent the metal element. The safe symbolizes the prosperity and financial security of a business.
DO have a good balance of yin and yang when decorating your workspace. Balance light and dark colors, soft and hard surfaces, and smooth and rough textures in your choice of window treatments, furniture, and flooring.
DON’T have any mirrors in your office, as they can reflect negative energy from clients to other people in the room. You should always maintain control over the energy in your office.
DO treat the files in your office with respect. They represent your past, present, and future business.
DO keep the cords to your office equipment well hidden. This elimates clutter and allows for the free flow of chi.

Computers Quotes

August 6, 2010

Computers are useless. They can only give you answers.
Pablo Picasso

Computers make it easier to do a lot of things, but most of the things they make it easier to do don’t need to be done.
Andy Rooney

Computing is not about computers any more. It is about living.
Nicholas Negroponte

Data is not information, information is not knowledge, knowledge is not understanding, understanding is not wisdom.
Clifford Stoll
Home computers are being called upon to perform many new functions, including the consumption of homework formerly eaten by the dog.
Doug Larson

I am not the only person who uses his computer mainly for the purpose of diddling with his computer.
Dave Barry

I do not fear computers. I fear the lack of them.
Isaac Asimov

I think computer viruses should count as life. I think it says something about human nature that the only form of life we have created so far is purely destructive. We’ve created life in our own image.
Stephen Hawking

I think it’s fair to say that personal computers have become the most empowering tool we’ve ever created. They’re tools of communication, they’re tools of creativity, and they can be shaped by their user.
Bill Gates

Never trust a computer you can’t throw out a window.
Steve Wozniak

Part of the inhumanity of the computer is that, once it is competently programmed and working smoothly, it is completely honest.
Isaac Asimov

People think computers will keep them from making mistakes. They’re wrong. With computers you make mistakes faster.
Adam Osborne

Supercomputers will achieve one human brain capacity by 2010, and personal computers will do so by about 2020.
Ray Kurzweil

The computer is a moron.
Peter Drucker

The digital revolution is far more significant than the invention of writing or even of printing.
Douglas Engelbart

The good news about computers is that they do what you tell them to do. The bad news is that they do what you tell them to do.
Ted Nelson
The Internet is not just one thing, it’s a collection of things – of numerous communications networks that all speak the same digital language.
Jim Clark

The real danger is not that computers will begin to think like men, but that men will begin to think like computers.
Sydney J. Harris

Think? Why think! We have computers to do that for us.
Jean Rostand

To err is human – and to blame it on a computer is even more so.
Robert Orben

Treat your password like your toothbrush. Don’t let anybody else use it, and get a new one every six months.
Clifford Stoll

What do we want our kids to do? Sweep up around Japanese computers?
Walter F. Mondale

Why is it drug addicts and computer afficionados are both called users?
Clifford Stoll