Tekkru Media Blog

First Nations Youth Perspective

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

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

New Technology

Netbooks

The latest craze in the portable computing industry is the Netbook. Netbooks are a smaller class of laptops that are designed to handle basic computer applications such as web browsing, word processing, Skypeing, and some simple multi-media tasks (e.g. listening to music, viewing photos, watching videos.)

Netbooks come in a small package with sizes starting around 8.9 inches going up to 12 inches and usually weigh between 2 and 3 pounds. Netbooks use the Intel Atom processors which come in 1.6 GHz (N270) and recently a 1.66 GHz (N280) speeds, these processors are small in size which allow the netbooks to come in such small cases. As for storage netbooks typically use Solid state drives which are usually smaller in capacity, but quicker in read and write speeds than standard Hard Disk Drives, which can be used in netbooks if you want more storage. The other option for expanding a netbooks storage is by using a USB Drive or an SD card. One thing you will notice missing from the netbooks design is an optical disc drive, this is mainly to keep the size of the device as small as possible. Typically netbooks RAM Memory is 1GB but, depending on the manufacturer, they can come with more or in some cases less. Now as far as an operating system for netbooks, most use a Linux based operating system to keep the price minimal, but some netbooks use Windows XP. Netbooks also come with a variety of expansion options, such as card readers and multiple USB ports. Other features that are common on netbooks are things like built in Eee PC Courtesy Asuswebcams, and built in WI-FI. A cool feature on Asus netbooks is the option of using the Express Gate or Splashtop Operating system which allows you to boot up your netbook in as little as 5 seconds and have access to all your media files and web based utilities. As well netbooks have outstanding battery life which can be anywhere between 3-6 hours depending on the number of cells in the battery.

Now why are these mini notebooks so popular? Well there are many factors that contribute to this. First being the ultra low price point, with some netbooks staring as low as $249, this makes them affordable for just about anyone. The second reason they are flying off the shelves is their portability, these computers won’t really be much of a hassle to take with you anywhere you go because of their miniature size. Another advantage is the “green” factor, with really long battery lives, and processors that doesn’t require much power it is very easy to conserve energy.

The computing industry has caught on to this trend and a multitude of manufacturers are now developing smaller, more powerful technology that can be used in netbooks and I’m positive that these little machines will only get better, and also a lot more popular as more features become available. That’s all I have for this week, check again next week for more in Technology news.


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

New Technology

Photo Sharing

One of the most popular trends in technology today is photo sharing. Proof of this is the millions of users that have signed up for accounts at such websites as Facebook or Flickr. Websites such as these allow your friends, family, and if you want, people from all over the world to view your photos. This is a great way for you to keep in touch with your friends and family, or even just have you artwork appreciated by those who want to view it.

Now photo sharing is not new in any way shape or form, it has been around for years, but similar to many other thing in the world, the digital side of it is growing, and rapidly. With Digital Cameras (Point and Shoot and DSLR) coming down in price, most everybody has one. Also most mobile phones come with some sort of digital camera incorporated into there design. This makes the process relatively easy to share your pictures online, or put them in your digital photo frame. But how do you get those film prints of old pictures taken with a standard film camera onto Facebook or Flickr, or even into you digital photo frame? This is where the technology industry has caught on.

Photo Scanners have been around for a few years now, but as the demand for being able to share old prints has gone up it has caused them not only to come down in price but also to become better in quality and produce better digital copies of your pictures. But along with these sometimes bulky scanners, come drivers and other software that have to be installed in order to use it, and on top of that you have to figure out how to run the software as well. For someone new to technology this can be a very tedious and sometimes impossible task. Therefore manufacturers such as Wolverine and Pandigital have been developing products such as the F2D by Wolverine, and the Photolink Scanner by Pandigital to help make the process much simpler and in a sense some what faster. With products such as these, all you really need is your photos or film negatives, the device itself, and an SD card and you’re good to go. No need for drivers or software, or even a computer if all you want to do is put them in a digital photo frame.

These advancements in photo technology make it a trend for all ages. Now old and young, tech savvy and those not so digitally inclined can enjoy the pleasure of sharing their photos with who ever they please, any where in the world in a matter of minutes. Thank you for reading, check back next week for more technology news.

Video Courtesy TigerDirectBlog on YouTube

February 18, 2009 Posted by | Earl Tatoosh - New Technology | Leave a comment

New Technology

kindle2

Amazons Kindle 2 Image courtesy Gizmodo.com

E-Books

E-Books, or electronic books, are defined by Wikipedia as the digital media equivalent of a conventional printed book. E-Books are revolutionizing the way people read today, not only the books them selves, but the equipment used to read them.

When E-Books first came out they were written for limited audiences, had a small scope of topics (ie. technical manuals, or manufacturing techniques) and were traditionally read on personal computers. But today many of the mainstream publishers are making their popular titles available as E-Books. These titles are available at such websites as ebooks.com, and amazon.ca. Many public libraries have caught on to the trend now as well and are offering E-Books to their patrons. Even with E-books becoming more mainstream there was still one problem, a person no longer had the freedom to just carry a book around and read it when they wanted, they were stuck sitting in front of a computer. That’s where the new technology comes in.

In 2008 new dedicated reading hardware had been developed and released to the public. At first there were only a couple models available for purchase, the Kindle, which was produced by Amazon, and the PRS-500, produced by Sony. But today there are a variety of E-Book readers to choose from as Sony has released new models; Amazon has a new model of the Kindle coming out soon, and new manufacturers are getting into the mix as well, for example Foxit Software just rolled out their new E-Book, the E-Slick Reader. These devices can be pretty basic and be intended only for reading your E-Books, or they can have many other features and be sort of an all in one media device. Most of these readers use a basic SD/SDHC or Memory Stick Duo(for Sony models) cards and can store hundreds of E-Books, depending on the amount of storage that comes with the device and how much you add to it through the SD/SDHC or Memory Stick Duo card. These devices are perfect for those who are on the go and like to have their entire library with them, or even for those who love books, but don’t have the room to store as many books as they would like. But for those who would like to save a little money and use something they probably already have, companies such as Google and Amazon are teaming up to make E-Books available on cellular phones which will make E-Books even more portable and cost effective.

So with the trend of E-Books continuing to rise I see many positive effects it will have on those who choose to use them, the first being portability, then there is also the longevity of the E-Books, they should last as long as you like if you take care of the media you store them on, and on top of all of that it helps out the environment by saving the paper that would have been used in the printed version of the book. I’m positive that as the E-Book industry continues to grow that it will lead to much advancement in technology and the overall experience of reading an E-book will only get better. That’s all I have for this week, check back again next week for the latest in technology.

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