Month: August 2019

Blue Laser Pointers

Finally, in 1993 Shuji Nakamura released the blue LED to an empty market, and then went on to develop and release his creations shortly there after. Now modern science has produced many different varieties of 473nm pointers, for personal and professional applications.

The blue beam is more difficult to produce that that of green or red, so this is why the price tag attached to high quality lasers can be a bit more steep than your standard pen unit. But when quality and brilliance are coordinated correctly into a hand held product, you and everyone witnessing its elusive beam will be genuinely impressed.

But do not despair! Persistent advances in technology and constant market competition is slowly but surely improving the quality of products while at the same time decreasing the price. There is a constant battle for high power blue superiority and improvements are fast and persistent. In just a few short years, diodes have evolved from large and bulky lasers with ugly box casings, to current times where we see hundreds of variations available.

Almost every hobbyist out there has, or wishes they had, a 473nm blue pointer. The diode is far more rare than your average cheap pointers, and you can’t put a price on exclusiveness. Furthermore, there is no better time to get your hands on these lasers than right now. The beam is typically less powerful because of the complicated structure of the blue laser light propulsion, but this does not make blue lasers any less dangerous than other colored lasers. They may be producing lower output powers, but proper laser caution must be adhered to whenever using a blue laser or any other for that matter.

Photography, holography, and many other scientific fields have benefited from improvements in blue laser light technology. If you are a professional you may already be taking advantage of this recent boom in blue laser production, but if you are simply a gadget lover like a lot of us out there, there has never been a simpler time than now to obtain your own pointer. Anything is possible with the internet, take advantage of this golden age!

Reformatting USB Flash

Remember that USB flash memory in a system is handled like another disk drive. Therefore you must contact the manufacturer determine if the flash memory can be ‘reformatted’ to meet the new requirements. The flash memory I have can be done like this so it allows a different format.

The 4GB SanDisk Compact Flash card features an advanced design from SanDisk that allows it to operate in cameras that use either the FAT16 or FAT32 file formats. It is the only Compact Flash card of its capacity and compatibility level that is available in the popular Type I format and fits into any Compact Flash slot.

The new 4GB SanDisk Compact Flash card features a three-position switch located in the left-hand area of the card so consumers can switch between either a single 4GB (FAT32) volume or two separate 2GB (FAT16) volumes. The switchable 4GB card ensures that users of cameras with either file format will be able to use the new card. For maximum customer satisfaction, SanDisk will initially ship the card in a FAT16 configuration-two FAT 16 partitions-eliminating the need for most users to reposition the switch and reformat.

As you mentioned, the briefcase can be trickier and to be perfectly honest I would not use it myself. I prefer to simply copy the data I want backed up directly on to the device. Have you tried doing this and then “testing” to see if it’s still there after coming out of hibernation? Copy and paste a few files onto the device. Close the lid of your laptop and wait for a bit. Open the lid and after the pc comes out of hibernation, see if your files are there.

Hopefully that will work and if so I’d stick with that option. Other than that you could try contacting the manufacturer or having a look on their website, it could be a known issue which hopefully has a fix?

Flash drives usually work with Windows XP right out of the box. For Windows 98, you usually need to install drivers for the particular drive that you have. If you go to the flash drive manufacturer’s web site, they will more than likely have drivers for Win.98. Well, if your flash drive is still functioning fine then it would be the motherboard or even the port coming from the motherboard or card, depending on the location of the USB port.

The USB drive could cause an issue but it is a minor device. To be honest, I don’t know if I could determine that without being there to check the devices even if you gave me more details. My first gut is the system board or PCI card that is hosting the USB port is bad. Sometimes the actual port will just die but the others on the PC will work. The main issue is that these USB ports have a small amount of power going through them to power certain USB devices and a cheap USB drive might get fried.

CompactFlash Card

Equipped with flash technology, CompactFlash cards are non-volatile storage device. A non-volatile storage device is that allows you to store data continuously without requiring a constant power source. In comparison to common magnetic disk drives, CompactFlash cards give you much more data protection. These cards are small, light-weight and low-power product capable of providing you a better data storage device.

Memory storage in these cards normally range from 128MB to 64 GB. Cards of memory between 256 MB and 2GB are more used than the others. SanDisk and Kingston are some of the most popular flash memory cards easily available and sold most in UK and other countries around the world. Some flash cards of Kingston which have become widely popular and most sold are Kingston Elite Pro Hi-speed CompactFlash card, which are available in 2GB, 4GB and 8GB. These digital cards are compatible with operating system like Window 98 to Window XP, Mac OS, OS Platforms, etc.

Attaching CompactFlash card in your digital devices like digital camera, Personal Digital Assistant (PDA), Palmtop, digital voice recorder, photo printer, etc. gives you freedom to not fall short of space enabling you to save more data. Moreover, these cards can be bought with lifetime guarantee. Since it is electronic stuff, it requires serious concerns, as going for a bad brand may give you poor quality of products. Several of electronic companies have gone online, and make you avail these cards easily. Even they deliver your desired items in next 24 hour at your doorstep.

Creating an Invisibility Shield Borrows

After a dramatic Star Wars-style text crawl announcing that “the Age of Invisibility has begun,” Cramer’s video opens on what appears to be a transparent sheet of plastic in front of an empty wall. But then there’s a subtle shift in the shadows and, a moment later, Cramer emerges from behind the screen. Walking back and forth, he’s almost completely invisible whenever he’s on the other side of that plastic.

In a phone interview, Cramer said the people are either impressed—or assume he’s faking it. He takes the skepticism as a compliment. “If it’s good enough that you think I’m faking it, then I’ve done my job,” he says.

To be clear, there isn’t really anything “quantum” about Cramer’s Quantum Stealth cloak. The term usually pertains to atomic structures, on the level of a single photon or quantum dot. The real power behind this new cloak isn’t quantum—it’s classical physics.

“It’s classical to the point of Galileo,” observes Duncan Steel, a physicist at the University of Michigan, in an email to Popular Science.

The key to this invisibility cloak? Lenses. Specifically, lenticular lenses.

If you went to middle school in the late 90s or early 2000s, you’re probably familiar with lenticular lenses. Remember those hologram stickers, posters, and trippy 3D trapper keepers? They were covered in ridges, and those ridges were an array of long, convex lenses, all running parallel to one another. The dimensional images in those stickers and posters are actually multiple images divided into thin slices, which are interlaced together. These magnifying lenticular lenses allow you to view those slices from different angles. From the left and the right, you can see the complete picture of each image, but as you turn the sticker the two (or more) images blur together, creating illusions—that’s how those stickers can make it look like a child is morphing into a monster, or a horse is running through a river.

What Cramer realized is that a clear sheet of these lenticular lenses can bend the full spectrum of visible light (it can also bend near infrared, near ultraviolet, and thermal spectrums). According to Cramer, physicists were skeptical that something like this was possible. “Physicists were saying, ‘well we know we can bend light at one specific frequency. But you definitely can’t do two frequencies at the same time, if one is red and one is blue. And definitely not the entire visible spectrum,’” he says.

This gif (which recently made the rounds on Twitter) shows a stacked grid of colored pencils through a lenticular lens. When the lens is oriented vertically, all of the vertical pencils become blurred to the point of invisibility. Turn it horizontally and the other pencils disappear, while the vertical pencils jump back into sharp focus. It looks like a magic trick, but it’s just science. The plastic lenses refract the light as it passes through. Instead of continuing in a straight line, the light is slowed and redispersed at different angles, creating spots where the light no longer passes through (Cramer calls these “dead spots”). If a person or vertical object stands in a dead spot of a vertical lens, then the light doesn’t hit them—they become essentially invisible.

Notice that Cramer very strategically demonstrates his Quantum Stealth cloaking in front of strong horizontal lines, like molding panels on the wall or a black windowsill. That’s because those horizontal lines do not get as obscured or warped by the refraction from the vertical lenses.

Really, the panels and windowsills that appear behind the screen are images from the left and right parts of the shield being pressed together in the center, explains Joseph Choi, an optical engineer at Raytheon. Cramer demonstrates this in his video by shining a laser through the lenticular material. The light goes in and is dispersed by the lens, then splits when it hits the object behind the screen. From the front of the screen, the lenticular lenses distort and magnify this split in the light, stretching the images to either side of the object and pinching them together.

The first version of the Quantum Stealth cloak was extremely simple: just one huge sheet of lenses running vertically. Although Cramer largely disappears behind the screen, the cloaking was blurry and a little distorted.

Version 2 improves upon the first—Cramer added a second piece of lenticular material to the back of the first. This creates a much clearer image, especially when the person or object is about 12 feet away. Since that version, Cramer has cycled through at least a dozen other iterations of his Quantum Cloak. For a more recent version, Version 13, Cramer puts together two sheets back-to-back that are offset slightly from each other, creating an interference pattern in the light that obscures a target almost completely. So if a person or a soldier were to stand behind a Quantum Stealth screen or hold it in front of them as a riot shield, from a certain distance away the soldier would seemingly disappear.

What’s actually happening in Version 1, and being built upon in later versions, is that the background images on each side of the screen, to the left and right of the person behind it, are pinching and blurring together in the middle, obscuring the human.

There have also been plenty of legitimate, non-hoax attempts at invisibility cloaks and related tech. The military tech space is understandably intrigued by camouflage that actively adapts to the background. And in 2006, a team of scientists including Sir John Pendry developed a sort of proto-invisibility cloak that was able to manipulate the electromagnetic spectrum using artificial materials, designed to exhibit light-bending properties not found in nature. This inspired other research programs to try to create their own “metamaterials” in an effort to bend other wavelengths of light.

And we’ve been burned in the past, too. In 2010, the British tabloids reported an inflated claim that their government had made a tank invisible (it was just a new type of “light diffusing camo”). A blurry soldier running toward a tank during the Iraq war was captured in a video so low quality it was mistaken for cloaking technology. In 2017, China’s “quantum of invisibility” cloak went viral only to be outed as a greenscreen hoax.

As a graduate student, Choi, of Raytheon, worked on the team that developed the “Rochester Cloak,” a device that bends light around an object using four small lenses and a light source—it successfully shifted all wavelengths of visible light, but it only worked on a very small area and wasn’t scalable for practical use.

Choi argues that the Quantum Cloak is not really a “cloak” in a purely scientific sense. “When we define cloaking, typically in the scientific community, it means that you send light through that medium and it comes out exactly as it would be if that thing wasn’t there,” he argues. “That’s actually very hard to do.”

An “ideal cloak,” he says, would generate an image that can be viewed from all angles, with no shifts or distortions or changes compared to the actual object.

In Choi’s opinion, Quantum Stealth is more like a clever, real-time photoshop filter—one that goes all-out on the blur and liquify tools. “Basically, this is blurring you. You’re not completely disappearing—you’re being blurred,” he says.

“There will not be a perfect cloak in the sense that it works for all times, all places, all wavelengths,” adds Choi. “But if you can make it hide from a lot of wavelengths, then it becomes practical.”

Cramer’s primary objective for his tech lies in its military applications. Out in the field, he believes that his invention could effectively mask a target, and, to an extent, its movement. And, Cramer says, if the cloak can’t hide something, it can at the very least distort the image so that it’s no longer a clearly identifiable target. The key to its potential success lies in the simplicity of the design. A Quantum Stealth cloak doesn’t require any power source, it’s lightweight and thin, and easy to use. “You just hand it a soldier and go ‘hold it in this direction’ and that’s all they need to know,” says Cramer.

Clean a Printer

Two type of printers

Whether the printer is an Epson printer, HP printer, or a Canon printer the general procedure for cleaning is the same. If the printer happens to be a bigger printer, for items such as advertising on larger format materials, the process is a bit more exaggerated but essentially the same.

Every day printers

Cleaning an every day office type printer usually just entails a good solid wipe down. The real trick is to not damage the printer by using cleaning items that are meant for other cleaning activities. Cleaning chemicals to avoid include alcohol or more harsh cleaning agents. These chemicals can damage electrical areas and do more harm than good. Try and stay with light cleaning supplies like baby wipes or a damp non shedding towel. In either case, do not let water get into contact with the inside of the printer whether it is an Epson printer, canon printer or any other.

Cleaning the printer

The very first thing to do is unplug the printer. Make sure that all lights are out and that the plug is away from the unit.

Open the front of the printer, with a damp non-shedding cloth give a light wipe down looking for dust build up or paper shards. If the paper has been appearing with black marks on the back, look inside the printer and wipe excess ink away. Make sure to wipe this area again so that there is no remaining moisture.

A clean printer cartridge is also a must clean area. Remove each cartridge and gently wipe excess ink away. Be sure not to leave any fibrous material around exit ports. The paper receiver basket may need to be removed and check underneath for dust and paper shards around the legs. A proper printer cleaning also means wiping down the basket with a mild detergent. You can also use a cleaning cartridge, which helps to clean inaccessible points of printer by hand.

If the printer has not been used for some time a head cleaning will be needed. For a complete printer cleaning in this instance go to the control panel and printers. Here the unit will be able to run diagnostic programs and get the printer heads up.

Larger specialized printers

With larger printers designed for more specialized uses, including large format blue prints or advertising mock-ups printer cleaning requires a differing approach. An approved vacuum system is the most important tool to have on-site. This vacuum should be static free, so as not to damage interior components through static shock, and have a separate motor unit to be kept away from the printer unit.

Cleaning the printer is particularly needed in the winter and spring. In the winter the air is dry and dust is attracted. Be careful so as not to set off a static charge. In spring pollen can get anywhere no matter how you try. A printer cleaning makes all involved happier and healthier with less dust and pollen involved.

Hurricane Blues

It’s called a UPS — not to be confused with the shipping company of the same name — which stands for “Uninterruptible Power Supply”, and it’s an important thing to have to protect your computer even if you’re not being threatened by a hurricane.

Let me explain what a UPS is, and what it does.

First off, let me back up a step and make sure you know what a surge suppressor is, since the two things are related.

A surge suppressor is a power strip with a bunch of power sockets in it that is designed to “take the bullet” for your computer if there is a “power surge”.

In other words, the electricity that comes into your house is supposed to be at a certain level. Sometimes, like if there is a lightning strike, or the power goes out (like a blackout) and comes back on again, there is a “surge” of power.

Imagine a huge wave coming in on a beach — normally the waves are within a certain level, and so are safe. But if a huge wave comes in (like a tsunami or tidal wave maybe, but not necessarily that big even) it can be dangerous.

So if a big surge of power comes up the line for whatever reason, if you don’t have a surge suppressor to “suppress” the extra power, it can fry your computer’s circuits — or a TV or any electronic device for that matter.

So it’s absolutely essential to at least have one of those to protect your computer and other electronics. And when you buy one, remember that power surges can come up phone lines and even cable lines (like if you have Roadrunner or other cable internet) and fry your machine that way. So when shopping for a suppressor, get one that covers everything.

So a UPS is like a surge suppressor, but it does even more to protect your computer.

A UPS basically is a big surge suppressor that has a battery inside it.

Because of this, if the power goes out, an alarm goes off (in case you didn’t notice the lights go out, or it’s daytime) and you have several minutes to save what you’re doing and shut down the computer safely.

Every UPS is labeled with a number measured in VA — the higher the number, the longer the power lasts. I suggest getting one that is at least 650VA.

The other benefit a lot of people don’t know about that you get from having a UPS is that if you live in an area (like here on the Big Island) where the power grid is, shall we say, less than reliable, you get protection from brownouts.

Brownouts are when the power level falls but doesn’t go away, so it’s one step below a blackout. This can often happen without the lights dimming or anything visible happening. But it can still hurt your computer if this keeps happening.

Getting a UPS will protect you from the gradual damage done by brownouts, which you can think of as hurting your computer (or TV, etc.) the way that erosion gradually wears away at a beach.

So if you have a UPS you’re protected both ways. For $100 or less, that’s a good buy.

Oh, and one last thought — another nice benefit of having one or more UPSes in your house is if the power goes out, you can plug a light into it and not have to sit in the dark!

This works best with fluorescent bulbs, of course. Since they use so much less electricity than an old fashioned “incandescent” bulb, the battery in the UPS lasts a lot longer.

A lot of times, if your TV and cable box (or cable modem for that matter, if you use cable internet) is hooked into a UPS too, the cable still works in a power outage — so you get TV to entertain you, portable phones will probably work, and maybe even the Internet!

Worth Godwin is a computer coach with over 15 years’ experience helping computer users of all levels, and has also worked for many years “in the trenches” as a hardware and software tech, solving real-world computer problems.

Basics Of Calibration

Calibration is the process of checking machines and making sure that values used in measurements remain at standard points. It is the process of verifying a machine’s work and performance within a set of specifications.

When done the right way, calibration can make your life easier and better. It allows for faster processes and of course with lesser errors and mistakes. During calibration, it is also important to make sure that the measurements taken during the period is also valid. Remember that whatever values that you have gotten during the calibration process are the values that are accepted to be the most accurate and precise.

Problems however arise when the calibration service is not done correctly. This is frequently what happens when a low cost service is purchased. It is important that you get a good service especially if your company is operating under a standardized quality system like that of the ISO 9000.

The implementation in fact of the ISO 9000 became one of the primary reasons why calibration software is so popular. In order to operate within the set standards, one need to regularly check the machines and networks that are being used.

Calibration is based on the data that has been collated and gathered by experts in the fields. Often, these data came from experiments, studies and projects which required calibration. The many data supporting the process is the reason why calibrating standards have long been established.

When calibrated, a machine or a system is compared against another machine whose values have already been standardized and established. The larger the base that was used in the calibration, the better and wider will be the chances of the “inaccurate” values to be replaced and readjusted. The introduction of newer and more sophisticated models only serve to refine the standard.

Calibration can also refer to the adjustments of colors in the computer screen. Although the term color calibration may seem pretty complicated, the process actually involve actions as simple as adjusting the brightness and darkness, tinkering with the color contrast, looking into the tint of the picture and changing the color saturation when required. You just want to make sure that the grays will not be affecting the colors of your computer screen.

Reusing Old Electronics

If you haven’t thrown out or recycled your old analog TV yet Please don’t send it to the landfills. The CRT in television contains several ponds of lead and we don’t want that leaching into the soil and ground water. You can re-purpose your TV by making it your DVD station, or put in your garage where you can watch it as you do some work there. If you just want to get rid of it then donate it to a school or charitable organization that can use it.

Don’t throw that old cell phone, iPod, etc… that are seating in your desk drawer in the trash. They shouldn’t end up in landfills either because they also contain toxic material. An interesting idea I read on the internet is using your old cell phone as a 911 phone for your car. Make sure you charge it and turn it off and keep it in your glove compartment. If you or someone else is an emergency situation turn on your cell phone and dial 911. All cell phones are mandated to allow 911 calls by law so not to worry it will work.

If you are the type who likes to open up things and tinker with it then you can use your old electronics for that purpose. There is a book out called “62 Projects to Make with a Dead Computer” that you can use to make all kinds of useful interesting things out of your old electronics. You can also use computer parts to fix other computers or to build a new computer if you have the inclination to do so.

If you are not the type to tinker with electronics then you can donate it to charitable organizations for reuse or sell it on eBay or Craigslist. Then there are many online recycling companies such as Gazzelle.com that will take in your cell phones, iPods, mp3 players etc… Many of them will even pay you for it if it is not too old fashioned and is in good working conditions. Many of them will recycle it for you for free if it is not reusable. They all have mail in programs and most of them have free shipping.

If none of the above options of reusing your old electronics work for you, then there are easy ways to recycle your unwanted electronics. If you have a Best Buys store near you for instance you can simply take in almost any kind of electronics and drop it off at the recycling kiosk just inside the door. They take in TVs, DVD players, computer monitors, audio and video cables, cell phones, and more. Most of these things are recycled for free, with a few restrictions. Other electronics retailers and manufacturers such as Dell and HP also have their recycling programs. All of these companies will recycle used electronic gadget properly.

Google Claims Quantum Supremacy

According to the study published in the journal Nature, Google’s quantum computer, named Sycamore, was able to solve a theoretical problem that no classical computer would be able to solve in a reasonable amount of time. This achievement is called quantum supremacy.

Google has possibly created the first quantum computer that can perform fast theoretical problem solving, but competitor IBM is disputing the claim.

Sycamore solved in just about 3 minutes and 30 seconds a random circuit sampling problem that would take the world’s fastest traditional computer 10,000 years to figure out.

“To our knowledge, this experiment marks the first computation that can be performed only on a quantum processor,” the study said

However, the other main figure in the race to quantum supremacy, IBM, disputed the achievement on Monday in a blog post that argued a classical computer could actually solve the same problem in just two and a half days or less if data storage was optimized.

Dario Gil, the director of research at IBM, previously told U.S. News that the term quantum supremacy can be misleading, as quantum computers will never be supreme over classical computers, and both will be needed to work together to solve problems.

Still, analysts say that quantum supremacy is an important step, though its significance is more important for research purposes than for everyday life at this point.

The next step for quantum computers would be for them to become commercially useful. Once quantum computers can achieve practical problem solving, the world could make leaps in several industries, including pharmaceuticals, weather forecasting and artificial intelligence.

Electronic Stock Trading

Electronic stock trading was introduced in the mid 1990s. At the time they were called ECNs or electronic communications networks. The two major networks were Instinet and Archipelago. Electronic stock trading as we know today was introduced by Gordon Macklin who oversaw the development of the national Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotation System or the NASDAQ which purchased Instinet and became the first and remains the largest electronic stock market in the world.

Electronic trading is performed using large computer networks. These networks match buyers and sellers of stock. At first large institutional traders like Pension Funds and Mutual Funds used electronic trading. Today online brokers facilitate trading for individual traders through online platforms. Individual buyers require brokers to bring buyers of stock and sellers of stock together even when they trade stock online.

The first step in electronic stock trading is for the trader to open a brokerage account with a reputed online stock broker. The trader sends a check to the broker and the check amount will be used to buy stock when the trader instructs the broker to do so. Traders instruct electronic brokers through an online interface. When traders want to purchase stock money is transferred to sellers of the stock and when traders sell stock the profits are placed in the trading account till further instructions to purchase stock are received by the broker from the trader. When a trader purchases stock, the stock in hand is called the portfolio.

The benefits of electronic stock trading are speed and low costs involved. Trading is instant and the confirmation of the trade is available to the trader in a matter of minutes. There is no need to be physically present at the exchange. Traders can buy and sell stock wherever they are located. The electronic system of trading is quicker and more efficient than stock trade at the open cry pit. The trading platform of the broker provides real time stock quotes, real time stock news and news of order placements and trade proceedings. Traders can access a range of markets online.

The disadvantage of electronic trading is the possibility of huge losses. The trader sitting at a computer is not likely to predict market downturns as easily as a trader can in an open cry pit. This is why all trading platforms and brokers carry the disclaimer that traders can lose a lot of money and should only trade with money that they can lose. Trading should be done  only in accordance with the financial circumstances and economic resources of the trader. Electronic stock trading can be addictive like economic gambling. A trader must have a strict budget and trade within the budget for profitable online trading.