Tekkru Media Blog

First Nations Youth Perspective

ICT For Our Futures

TEKKRU Media’s Debut Video

The implementation of Information Communication Technology (ICT) into First Nations communities in BC is a topic that several aboriginal and government organizations have been keen to talk about.  Urban communities currently have different opportunities and services in comparison to rural communities, which has a significant impact on the lives and futures of the majority of the aboriginal population.  Increased levels of health care, education and economic development are a few areas that the TEKKRU Media Team wanted to talk about in the short advocacy video called “ICT For Our Futures”.  This video is important because it voices the desires of the aboriginal YOUTH community in regard to ICT implementation.  It is important for everyone to remember that in the world of ICT, YOUTH are a strong, able and experienced army that can and will lead the future of the digital world.

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April 9, 2009 Posted by | TEKKRU Team Talk | 2 Comments

Technology 101

System Memory

The system memory is the place where the computer stores all the programs and data that are currently in use. There are a few different levels of system memory, but today I will be dividing them into two categories, Random Access Memory (RAM), Read Only Memory (ROM), each with a specific function in system operation, and system performance.

RAM is a kind of electric pool of memory that is used by the computer to temporarily hold the current software being used (e.g. Operating System, Application Programs), and the current data being created by the user. Ram is located in the DIMM slots on a motherboard, the amount of DIMM slots available limits how much RAM chips can be installed. RAM is volatile, it only works when the computer is powered on, and any information stored here will be erased once the computer has been shut down. Thus Software programs must be permanently stored on a Hard Disk or some sort of media storage, so the computer can load and remove programs from the memory as instructed by the user. With software programs and operating systems becoming much more powerful, there has been a large increase in demand for lager quantities of RAM. For example in the year 2000 it was typical to see a computer ship with around 128 MB of RAM, but now computers are typically shipped with 2 GB of memory, which is a considerable increase and will only continue to do so with newer motherboards supporting 12+ GB of RAM. RAM can also be found on graphics cards and in the Cache memory of the CPU.

Read Only Memory Basic Input/Output System (ROM BIOS) is a group of integrated circuits that is in charge of starting the computer checking RAM, and loading the operating system. This memory is primarily used when starting or rebooting the computer. ROM can also be found in calculators and printers, as its primary function is to read information and process it during the time it resides in the memory. When it’s finished it clears itself and waits for the next entry. It does not do anything other than read information and process it based on the device, or in this case based on the type of computer.

That is all the info I have for this week Check again next Monday for more tech info.

April 6, 2009 Posted by | Earl Tatoosh - New Technology | Leave a comment

Technology 101

Intel Core i7 Processor

Microprocessors

A microprocessor, or central processing unit (CPU), is located on the motherboard of a computer, where it receives and executes instructions from computer programs which have been activated by the user. The design and use of the CPU has changed dramatically since earlier models, but the fundamental operation has remained the same; to process all information and instructions going in and coming out of the computer.

Older model CPU’s were larger in size than modern processors, and were typically custom designed as part of a larger, sometimes one of a kind system. But this method of custom designed CPU’s became very expensive very fast, this lead to the development of mass-produced processors which were designed for variety purposes, rather than just one. This became a very popular trend as mini, and micro computers became increasingly popular, which allowed the processors to become much smaller in size. As technology has advanced the CPU has also become much faster with newer processor speeds being measured in Gigahertz, as apposed to earlier models whose speed was measured in Megahertz.

With CPU’s becoming smaller and faster, their presence has expanded to many other digital devices that we use in our every day lives, and has come a long way from the days where the only application for a CPU was in a dedicated computing system. Now we see microprocessors in thing like cars, cell phones, and even in some children’s toys. As technology continues to advance these little chips will be found in almost anything and will be faster than ever. That is all I have for this week, check again next week for more computer hardware profiles.

March 30, 2009 Posted by | Earl Tatoosh - New Technology | Leave a comment

Gathering Our Voices 2009

Speak Up! Workshop

Speak Up!

Speaking to large group of people is one of the most feared activities for adults in today’s society; now imagine how much harder it is for the youth in our communities who voices are often barely heard in the first place? Youth are not always given the chance to share there opinions or thoughts, but this was not the case in the Speak Up workshop at Gathering Our Voices, youth were given the opportunity to share what was on their mind, and learn new skills to help them better articulate themselves when addressing a large group of people. The facilitators Megan Clarkson, Soren Poulsen, and Kerry Chelsea shared there experiences with public speaking, and discussed some of the barriers that come with it, then explored different approaches to help overcome those barriers.

One of the most common barriers that people face when addressing groups is being aware of their own insecurities, many people when speaking will get caught up magnifying the insecurities they have, in their mind they will be thinking things like “how does my hair look?” or “Can they see my good side?” or “Does my voice sound funny?” This will often lead to an elevated level of anxiety well giving your presentation, making it very difficult to get you point across. Another common barrier is to set up expectations for the presentation before it even starts, this leads to built up pressure to meet the expectations the presenter thinks the audience has, often ending up with scattered thoughts because of the fear of not meeting these expectations, thus the presenter will look unconfident and give what they think is a poor presentation.

Now how does one overcome barriers such as these? Well it varies person to person but there are a few basics, the first being confidence. Presenters need to feel confident in their knowledge of the topic they speaking on, they need to be confident that they can articulate themselves enough to get their point across, and they need to be confident that they will not let their little insecurities create pressure and anxiety. One thing that can help speakers become more confident is practising their presentation, as many times as necessary, because as they say “practice makes perfect.” Another way to overcome some of those barriers faced by presenters is to be passionate about the subject being addressed, presenters should put their whole hear into it. That is how they ran the workshop, at the end the groups that were created, and in some cases individuals, presented on a topic of their choosing not and assigned topic, this lead to some very powerful and meaningful presentations.

Overall I believe that through workshops such as this, youth can become even more powerful then they already are by making sure their voices are heard and respected, which will only make the future of our communities brighter.

March 26, 2009 Posted by | 2009 Gathering Our Voices, Media Events | Leave a comment

Gathering Our Voices 2009

Drum_Beat

Keeping Culture Alive

Being a young aboriginal person who has lost touch with his culture, it was very empowering for me to witness the pride that other youth who attended the 2009 Gathering Our Voices Aboriginal Youth Conference had in sharing their culture. There were many opportunities through out the conference for youth to share their culture in a variety of forms; there were songs at meal time, there was a pow-wow held, and many of the performances for the talent show displayed cultural songs and dances, some of them mixing the old culture with the new. The youth were not only provided a chance to share their culture though, they were also given the opportunity to learn how to preserve there culture through many of the workshops presented as well, with topics such as working with elders, using new technology, and using funded programs.

The first aspect of preserving a culture is learning it from someone who has much knowledge about it, and who knows the most about culture? Elders, well at least that’s how it is in my community and I’m sure in most other communities as well. The elders of our communities actually lived our culture that was their way of life thus making them the best mentors for someone is trying to learn their culture, and an integral part of keeping the culture alive. In the workshop Elders Don’t Bite, they brought youth and elders together so that the youth that were looking to connect with elders could learn how to do so, and the elders that were in attendance could share their wisdom, patience, kindness, and guidance with the youth so both groups could create an atmosphere where mutual respect and understanding can grow, and work in unity to preserve aboriginal culture.

So after elders and youth get on the same page as far as teaching and learning the culture go, how do they make sure it lasts forever? Record it, and in these modern times there is so much technology available that it wouldn’t be hard to do at all, just need the right equipment and a little training. Dr. Strang Burton, in his workshop Technology & Teaching: Methods for Building a Multimedia Language Lesson, taught youth how to use a computer, a microphone, and the recording software Audacity to record language taught by elders to youth, and possibly use it in future language lessons. The workshop focused mostly on the demonstration of how simple a process it can be to work with a fluent speaker of a language and modern technology to make the language last forever.

Another workshop presented by First Voices also showed how technology that most of us already have, and I-pod and a computer, can be used to record aboriginal languages. The workshop also described the First Voices program, which provides equipment, training, and funding to first nation’s communities to help preserve their culture. First Voices has an online data base of languages from 60 different communities with public access to 35 of those languages. This makes it really easy for a community to come together and work to keep their culture alive and show everybody that they are willing to do the work.

The overall experience of attending gathering our voices 2009 was very inspiring, to see the old and the new coming together to “future proof” our culture and ensure that the generation of today, and generations in the future will be able to learn the culture, and know where they came from.

Chuu (Which means good bye in the Nuu-chah-nulth Language)

March 25, 2009 Posted by | 2009 Gathering Our Voices, Media Events | Leave a comment

Technology 101

DX58-SO Mobo

Motherboards

Over the next few weeks I will be profiling different computer components to give you a basic understating of what the component is, what it is used for and in the end what new technology is being used in newer models of each component.

This week I will be profiling Motherboards. Wikipedia describes the motherboard as the central printed circuit board in some complex electronic systems, such as personal computers. There are many different names for a motherboard, the most common being the main board, system board, logic board (on Apple computers) or in the case of geeks like myself the mobo. The function of a motherboard in a personal computer today is to house or connect to all the components that make up the computer (e.g. processor, storage devices, system memory, and peripheral devices such as the mouse and keyboard.) But it wasn’t until the late 80’s that this became popular, up until then it was common to see these components housed on individual circuit boards which in many cases didn’t make much economical sense, thus having a central circuit board for all components was necessary. This was done by creating a circuit board that provided the electrical connections which allowed components of the system to communicate with each other.

Now as far as the make up of a motherboard goes, it has a minimum number of components built in, but like everything else you can purchase one that has a few more features. But lets start with the basics first. The most important part of the motherboard is the chipset; this provides the supporting interfaces between the processor and the various components and buses, this varies by motherboard as to which processors it supports. This brings us to our next component which is the sockets in which the processor is installed; again this varies by motherboard, most commonly differentiated by the socket size required by the processor (e.g. socket 775, or 1366) There is also slots for the system memory on the mother board, also known as DIMMS, different motherboards support different type of memory (e.g. SDRAM, DDR, DDR2, DDR3 and many others.) Another thing found on all computer motherboards is the non-volatile memory, which contains system BIOS. There is also a clock generator on aboard as well which produces the system clock signal to synchronize different components. Expansion slots are also included on all mother boards, types of expansion slots vary between older boards and newer boards, the most common being the PCI and PCI express, and there are others available as well, these slots can be used to add expansion cards for audio, video and many other types of cards to enhance the computers performance. There are also many connectors on board to connect to peripheral devices such as storage devices, optical drives, and other I/O devices. Now as far as extra features go, most new motherboards come with headers for things like front panel connectors (e.g. USB ports, Firewire ports, audio ports.) You can also purchase motherboards with on board audio and/or video controllers as apposed to purchasing a card for an expansion slot, although aftermarket cards in some cases have higher quality performance. Other features you find on mother boards include things such as cooling hardware, and power control hardware, again this varies per board.

In the end the type of motherboard you decide to purchase depends on the system requirements of the user. I think that covers most if not all of the basics of a motherboard, check back next week as I will have another hardware profile for you.


March 23, 2009 Posted by | Earl Tatoosh - New Technology | Leave a comment

New Technology

3D Baseball Card

3D Live Baseball Cards

Remember when it was really cool to open a new pack of cards and have one of them be shiny or holographic? That was some pretty sophisticated stuff back in the day. But once again with the help of technology they have managed to take the trading card game one step further. Topps, with some help from Disney Executive Michael Eisner, have developed 3-D Baseball cards. Sounds complicated right? It really isn’t, all you have to do is purchase a pack of these trading cards, go to toppstown.com and hold the playing card in front of a webcam, and on the screen will pop up a three-dimensional avatar, which as the card is rotated, rotates in full perspective. The technology provided by Total Immersion also allows collectors to drop the player into simple pitching, batting and catching games using the computer keyboard. Eventually they hope to add video to the 3-D live series as well. This is just one of many examples of how far technology has come since the days of shiny Pokémon cards. That is all for this week, check again next week for the latest in technology.

March 9, 2009 Posted by | Earl Tatoosh - New Technology | Leave a comment

New Technology

Love and Basketball

My first love has always been technology, but in a close second has also always been basketball, and this week I have the opportunity to talk about both. For many years sports fans have had the pleasure seeing performance measured in sports such as baseball where the speed of a pitch is measured, or in hockey where the speed of a slap shot is measured, but basketball has been neglected. But thanks to Civil engineering professor Scott Schiff and his students at Clemson University this is no longer the case. Schiff and his students have developed a system that can measure the intensity of a dunk, and display the results to fans almost instantly. The slam dunk rating system uses a pair of accelerometers, which measure acceleration, and the basic principles of physics to allow students to calculate in within fifteen seconds how much force was generated by the dunk. For an article on Clemson’s website Schiff stated that “If this project is successful it could be the first of many systems installed in gyms across the country.” Now I know many of you are probably wondering now how much energy is used in a dunk? Well one of the highest forces recorded so far was 30 G’s, accomplished by Ray Sykes a Clemson forward in a game against East Carolina University. This is quite fascinating considering that an earth quakes ground motion accelerates the ground at about point 5 to one g. This is a great development not only for sports fans, but for students as well, in the same article for Clemson’s website Mike Money of the Athletic Department stated “Anything that adds to fan enjoyment of the game, we support, and we’re always happy to support student research.” This is great for fans that not only love seeing a dunk, but would also like to know how much energy is being put into, and it is also a fun way for students to learn about different concepts related to their studies. That’s all I have for this week check again next Monday for more tech news.

Slam Dunk-O-Meter

March 2, 2009 Posted by | Earl Tatoosh - New Technology | Leave a comment

2009 ICT Summit

Main Room at the Conference

Building Networks in First Nations Communities

Jess Gordon, a thirty year veteran in the IT industry and IT Manager for the Namgis First Nation, described how the Namgis went form having a six computer non-networked system, to being one of the most technologically advanced first nations in B.C. The Namgis network now consists of 140 computers on 12 different servers, with systems in 18 different buildings, and is only managed by three technology staff. This is an amazing feat for a first nations community, but it didn’t happen over night it took ten years and very extensive planning.

The purpose of Mr. Gordon’s presentation though was not to boast about how great the Namgis network was, but to share an experience that he hoped would help other first nations communities advance in the technological world and help first nations across Canada build strong sustainable communities using technology. The process may not be quick but it is rather simple and focuses on four main things; meeting the present and future needs of the community, planning how the network will be set up, training staff to best utilize the system, and maintaining the system so it is always running efficiently.

Similar to many processes a community will go through, the first priority is meeting the needs of the community, both the present and the future. The first thing to look at is what does the community already have? Do they need to start from scratch? Or do they have components that can be integrated into the new system? Then they need to decide what performance will be required of the network, by looking at the individual needs of the departments in the office, or in different buildings in some cases. (E.g. finance, natural resources, treaty, administration, youth center etc.) Then how will it need to be connected? Should it be wireless, wired, or a combination of both? The most important part is that it will be as efficient as possible and meet all the needs, present and future, of the community.

After what is required of the network has been decided, then implementation of a plan on to build a system that will best fit the community’s needs must happen. The first step is figuring out what components are needed to build the network, for example how many computers? How many servers? How much wiring? What type of software? All of which depends the needs of the community. After what components/software is required has been decided, then the budget needs to be planned, how much will this cost? Be sure to allow room for all expenses, it is never good to come up short and have to ask for more money. Then a time table needs to be set, when is this project going to happen? And how long will it take? Again be sure you allow enough time to be sure everything is in perfect working order so the transition goes as smoothly as possible. Another step that should be taken into consideration is the safety and security of the network. How will it prevent failure, viruses, and compromised data? What kind of back up system will be used? What policies are needed to prevent misuse? All this will aid in the protection of important data stored on the network.

During the configuration of the network is when the training should begin, all staff should to know how to best utilize the resources available. Staff should also know the policies which should have been laid out in the planning process to ensure the network remains safe and secure. There should also be some sort of standardization of systems and software to ensure communication remains clear through out the network.

The final step of the process is to maintain the system; there should be a well trained technology staff that can keep the network running smooth and efficient. The staff should be trained in disaster recovery (e.g. server failure, hardware failure) and be able to get the system back in top condition as soon as possible.

This process shows that whether a system is large or small, if it is designed correctly, following this simple format, any community can develop a network to help them selves become strong and sustainable.

March 1, 2009 Posted by | 2009 ICT Summit, Media Events | Leave a comment

2009 ICT Summit

Open Source Software

Wikipedia defines open source as an approach to design, development, and distribution offering practical accessibility to a product’s source. In terms of software this means having permission to view the source code for the software, and in turn alter it to meet the user’s specific needs. Open source software in many cases is the more cost effective solution, as opposed to proprietary software, making open source much more popular in these tough economic times. There are a variety of open source products available, with things like office suites, mapping programs, and even operating systems (e.g. Ubuntu which is a Linux based OS) The diverse array of applications available makes open source very popular among non-profit and low budget organizations such as bands or tribal councils because it helps keep the cost down for such businesses. Now some open source products are quite capable to meet most users need right out of the box for example office suites such as openoffice which is downloadable free of charge and is fully functional right away. But do not be mistaken open source software is not always cost free, nor is it always able to meet specific needs upon installation, as some applications (e.g. mapping applications) require someone with technical knowledge to customize the code to fit the organizations specifications, in some cases this can be very costly, but it can also be a great opportunity to have someone in the community trained to do such things so that skill set can be readily available when required.

In the end it is all about the specifications required of the software, which is what makes open source software great it is fully customizable to the users specific needs, and with the types of applications becoming more and more diverse it makes the possibilities of what you can do with open source software endless.

March 1, 2009 Posted by | 2009 ICT Summit, Media Events | Leave a comment