Category Archives: Did You Know

Play Video Games and Lose Weight

 Happy Halloween. It is the time of the year that signals the start of a sugar fiesta that lasts till New Year. This year, I decided to go slow on the candy corn; I am going to  attack  the jelly beans and dark  chocolate instead. This came about because I came across the inspirational story of  Taylor LeBarron, who used his love for video games to lose 150 pounds.

With the world’s population set to reach seven billion on October 31, 2011 aka today (check our post about it), it is a good time to take a look at one of the greatest  threats that the tech-savvy population of the world is susceptible to, called obesity, and ask ourselves if there is a way where we can have our cake and eat it too.

For example, apparently you can loose weight using your love for video games. I don’t mean the Wii Fit type. Taylor LeBarron, author of  Cutting Myself in Half:  150 Pounds Lost,  One Byte at a Time  tells the fascinating story of how he lost half his body weight by turning his love for video games into a motivational tool. He created his own game called UFG (Ultimate Fitness Game) with which he kept track of all his activities and food habits.

Taylor  LeBaron has been quoted describing UFG as follows.

“Since I love video games, I approached my weight issue the same way I learn a new game. When I get a new video game, one of the first things I do is check out the opponents to see what I’m up against. When I know the enemies, I can create a plan of attack.”

It has the same aspects of a video game. You have enemies, you have allies, and you have money. You have to play smart; otherwise, you run out of your money. Your score needs to be high at the end of the day.

Here are some of his tips

Tip #1 Keep your weight off by improving your self confidence.

Tip #2 Start your fitness program with the right attitude and follow up by making a serious fitness  plan that lasts for the rest of your life.

Tip #3 Remember that getting fit is what  counts.

Tip #4 Start eating right and  exercising  more often.

Tip #5 Remember that long term is the key. Fitness needs to be part of your routine.

Taylor LeBarron  has his own Website at  http://www.cuttingmyselfinhalf.com/

2011 – How Did We Get Here? Where Are We Going?

Did you know that 74,000 years ago, Mankind was nearly wiped out due to the eruption of a super volcano? In fact, Life on the entire planet has been threatened with 5 major extinctions by climactic changes, asteroid falls, volcanic eruptions and gamma ray bursts, yet here we are.

Here’s a cool video showing what happened.

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As I mentioned a few days ago, Mankind’s biggest challenges are directly ahead of us. It may all be over in the next few decades if we don’t   get it right.

However, what lies ahead if we do? What is the future going to look like? One set of futurists believe that we are in the 4th epoch of evolution. They believe that the next epoch, the 5th, is a merging of man and machine called the Singularity.

This set of videos from the BBC, outlines the coming of Human 2.0.

Human 2.0

As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t trust every prediction I see, but it’s becoming obvious that we have a tricky road ahead. I hope we don’t end up on the Information Highway to Hell.

What is the Meaning of the 21st Century?

earth-globeAs we start a new year, some of us try to find time to look back over the old year, and try to anticipate the changes coming in the new year.

Some people take the long view. James Martin and a few people at Oxford University, have chosen to think about what’s coming in the next few decades. They’ve put together an hour long video to illustrate the problems and solutions that will be needed for the 21st century. Here’s an 11 minute trailer for the movie.

Follow the link below to see this hour long video.

> The Meaning of the 21st Century

Here’s a quote from the sponsors of it:

We are at an extraordinary crossroads of human history. Our actions, or failure to act, during the next 20 years will determine the fate of the Earth and human civilization for centuries to come. This is a make-or-break century.

There are massive problems in the decades ahead … The good news is that there are solutions.

As we learn to understand this century and play its complex game, we can chart extraordinary futures. We can create civilizations more magnificent than anything yet conceived.

I’ve only watched the trailer at this point, but I’ll take time soon to watch the full movie. I recommend that you make time to watch it as well.


Coming in 2011 – World Population Hits 7 Billion

earth-globeAmong the predictions for the new year, I found a video showing the direction of the world’s population growth. I was surprised to learn that in 2011, the 7 billionth person will be born.

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Even more surprising, I found out that the world’s population may actually stabilize at around 9 or 10 billion people by 2050. It was surprising, only because I remember Malthusian predictions that this planet was headed for a big train wreck because of the birth rates. It turns out that it was mostly hype, and birth rates are slowing as we move into the future. In addition, improving technology allows us to support more people on fewer resources.

However, don’t consider this prediction to be very accurate. I’m not certain that they’ve completely considered the ideas of technology’s accelerating returns. Several people believe that medical science could allow us to live forever by 2030. If a group of our population actually stops dying, what happens to the future population growth?

I don’t trust long term predictions made by scientists. They prove to be wrong more often than they are right.

Oldest Facebook User and Other Strange Facebook Facts [DYK]

1. Oldest Facebook User:

Contrary to what you may think, your grandma isn’t the oldest person on Facebook. It is 103 years old Lillian Lowe. A former hotelier and businesswoman from Pembrokshire (UK) who joined Facebook after her husband passed away this July. Lillian uses Facebook, twice a week to get updates from her family and friends. She has received thousands of  friend  requests from around the world which she thinks is pretty kind of people but says she does not have time to reply to them all.

Following picture, courtesy of BBC, shows Lillian using Facebook from her grandson’s iPad:

2. Facebook Related Disorders:

As of yet, following terms have been coined regarding various Facebook related issues. They have not  necessarily  been endorsed by a medical  institution  or organization but come up too often on various publications:

CFD (Compulsive Facebook Disorder)

OCFD (Obsessive Compulsive Facebook Disorder)

FAD (Facebook Addiction Disorder)

FAD (Facebook Anxiety Disorder)

FD (Facebook Depression)

FTAD (Facebook Twitter Addiction Disorder)

FBS (Facebook Syndrome)

FSS (Facebook Status Syndromes)

FSS (Facebook Stress Syndrome)

FWS (Facebook Withdrawal Syndrome)

3. The original Facebook design included an image of Al Pacino.

4. A Facebook hoodie was sold on eBay for over $4,000.

5. Facebook currently has around 5 Million inactive accounts because the users have passed away.

Do share with us via comments what other weird facts you know about Facebook.

World’s Longest Email Address [DYK]

Here is a fun fact for the nerd in you. World’s longest email address is 345 characters long and belongs to Peter Craig. The address has actually been put together by appending a ridiculously long sub-domain and using that as par tof the email address. Here is the complete address:

contact-admin-hello-webmaster-info-services-peter-crazy-but-oh-so[email protected][email protected][email protected][email protected]-forever.pacraig.com

The address has practically no use, unless we count the effort to get attention for having the longest email address.

On the other hand, when it comes to world’s shortest email address, there are probably many candidates. Any email address associated with domains like in.com or 1.fm can claim to have a 6 character email address.

[Via Gizmodo]

DYK Thursday – A Day in the Internet [Infographic]

Have you ever wondered how long it would take to read all the information available on the web? It would take one’s whole life or probably more than one life.

In this DYK post, I have a infographic that summarizes all that happens in a day, in the internet. Click the infographic to view larger.

a_day_in_the_internet

If you are still wondering how much time it would take to read the whole internet, here are some other nice inforgraphics for you! Enjoy, and don’t forget to share your comments here!

[Via]

DYK Thursday – HTC EVO 4G v/s iPhone 4 Videos

Hello, DYK Thursdays are themed posts where we post amazing facts and funny things happening in and around the technology world.

Today, I have a collection of some funny videos. In the recent past, there has been a lot of comparision going on between the Apple iPhone 4 and the HTC EVO 4G.

The videos below are funny and stress relieving ones which compare the two phones. Check out!

Warning: These videos are NOT SAFE FOR WORK. It has some profane words. So, you better put on your headphones if you are at work.

What do you think about the two phones? Which one is better? Do let us know through comments! Thanks.

DYK Thursday – 101 Free Tech Books Giveaway Every Month!

Hello and welcome to the DYK Thursday, a themed post at Techie Buzz, in which we share anything and everything that is interesting in the IT field.

First of all, I sincerely apologize, as I could not write the last two week’s DYK posts due to my busy school schedule. Today, I am going to review a site that’s really useful for all people who work with computer.

101 Free Tech Books is a website that gives out free books every month. All you need to do is, sign up to their website and add your favorite books in your wish list. You will be automatically participating in the giveaway. If you were selected as a winner of giveaway, you can choose the book you want, from your wish list and the book will be shipped to your doorstep for free! I repeat, there is no cost for shipping either! Doesn’t it sound great?

free_tech_books_giveaway

You can increase the odds of winning by referring the site to your friends, (through the referral link they provide once you sign up) through different media like Twitter, Facebook, Blogs and so on. You get something called “Raffle ticket” for every person who signs up to the site through your link. Raffle tickets are just like points. The more Raffle tickets you get, more is the chances of winning!

Also regarding books, you can get books on various topics (all related to computers). It is mainly categorized as follows:

  • Databases and Data
  • Designs and UIs
  • Development Tools
  • Enterprise
  • Gaming
  • Internet
  • Languages
  • Microsoft Tools
  • Mobile
  • Networking
  • Operating Systems

So, that’s it in this post. Do share your comments on how you feel about these type of sites!

DYK Thursday – First “Human” to be Infected by a Computer Virus

BBC News website reported on Wednesday that a   British scientist, claims he is the first man in the world to be infected by a computer virus.

Dr. Mark Gasson, a scientist from the University of Reading, claims he has been infected by a computer virus after he deliberately inserted a contaminated chip into his hand to carry out experiment.

The integrated chip was programmed in such a way that it would contaminate the other devices which are associated with this chip. This chip, which helped Gasson to open the security doors and also activate mobile phones, is a sophisticated version of the chips which are used to track pets.

The device, which is of the size of a rice grain, is a RFID chip, allowed him to have secure access over University buildings. Once you insert this microchip into a device, it contaminates the complete surroundings.

Dr. Gasson, with a belief that “Trial is a proof of principle” deliberately inserted a computer virus into the microchip which was later inserted into his left hand last year, to study its effects.

With the results, after a year, this is what Dr. Gasson said,

“With the benefits of this type of technology come risks. We may improve ourselves in some way but much like the improvements with other technologies, mobile phones for example, they become vulnerable to risks, such as security problems and computer viruses.”

However, this technology can be widely used to improve and devise new medical devices. Dr. Gasson says,

“This type of technology has been commercialised in the United States as a type of medical alert bracelet, so that if you’re found unconscious you can be scanned and your medical history brought up.”

However, Professor Rafael Capurro of the Steinbeis-Transfer-Institute of Information Ethics in Germany, says that these kind of “digital device implants” can have both positive and negative consequences. He says,

“If someone can get online access to your implant, it could be serious,” he said.

“From an ethical point of view, the surveillance of implants can be both positive and negative,” he said.

“Surveillance can be part of medical care, but if someone wants to do harm to you, it could be a problem.”

However, if these devices could somehow make your IQ and memory level increase, then there would be a great demand, says Dr. Gasson

Check this video clip

So, what do you think about this? Do you want a microchip instead of your natural brain in your body? Do you want your body to be “hacked” by hackers? I certainly don’t! Discuss your views in the comment section.

DYK Thursday – The First Ever Laptop Weighed 12 Kg!

Hey there, welcome to the DYK Thursday. Here we share interesting and fascinating facts every week.

Have you ever wondered how the world’s first laptop looked? or how much did it weigh? If you did, the answer is in this post. Read on.

The first portable computer was invented in the year 1981. It could be called as a portable computer rather than a laptop, for the reason which I will state in this post later. This portable computer was released by the Osborne Computer Corporation, under the name “Osborne – 1″. The Osborne – 1 was priced at around USD 1795 which was just about half the cost more than the normal computers in those times (1981).

Here are some specifications of the Osborne Computer.

Introduced: April 1981
Price: US $1,795
Weight: 24.5 pounds
CPU: Zilog Z80 @ 4.0 MHz
RAM: 64K RAM
Display: built-in 5″ monitor
53 X 24 text
Ports: parallel / IEEE-488
modem / serial port
Storage: dual 5-1/4 inch, 91K drives
OS: CP/M

An interesting fact worth noticing here is that the Osborne Computer weighed about 24.5 pounds/ 12 Kg approximately! So tell me now, can you call this a “laptop”? Certainly not!

The founder of Osborne Computer Corporation, Adam Osborne was the mastermind behind this innovative idea. Osborne 1 was a huge hit amongst the people and it gave a great profit to the company.

Later, after the success of Osborne 1, the company announced about two new computers (portable) named as Executive and Vixen. This announcement lead to a serious downfall of the company. The customers stopped buying the Osborne 1, instead waited for the new computers.

The downfall of the company resulted in the bankruptcy of the company. Thus, even the production of other to computers could not take place. This became a phenomenon and is often called as the Osborne effect.

The above situation is somewhat similar to the “Apple – Gizmodo” story. After seeing the iPhone 4G specs,   people would mostly wait for it, rather than buying the iPhone 3G. However, in this case the product was leaked, but in the above case it was announced by the company itself!

That’s it in this DYK post! Hope you liked it!

Source: Wikipedia and Old Computers

DYK Thursday – Bliss, Now and Then!

Recently, while I was stumbling I found a nice article on Wikipedia and thought I would share that in today’s DYK.

Every MS Windows user will be knowing the default Windows wallpaper, Bliss (The blue sky, the green hill and small white clouds, remember?). The wallpaper which was introduced for Windows XP, as default,   is pretty popular among Windows users.

Going to the history of this wallpaper, this photograph was shot by Charles O’ Rear, who works for a company named HighTurn. This photograph was taken in 1996 – which is around five years before XP was released. O’ Rear wanted to photograph the winemaking on that hill but, unfortunately at that time there was no grapevines on that hill.

The photograph Bliss, inspired a Windows XP’s advertising campaign called “Yes You Can” and thus the photograph entered into the XP home screen.

Later, in November 2006, artist collaboration Goldin & Senneby re-photographed the same site, from the same location. This time, it was full of Grapevines. Check the two pics below.

bliss_thenbliss_now

Oh, and did I tell you where the Bliss image was taken? The Bliss image was taken 3050 Fremont Dr. (Sonoma Hwy.), Sonoma, CA.

Well, nothing much useful here. Just some information. Hope you liked this post! Thank you!

Source: Wikipedia

DYK Thursday – Round Up Of April Fool Pranks Made By Google This Year

Google has a tradition of fooling its vast amount of users by it’s creative pranks every year on April 1st. This year, it has played many pranks. So, I thought I would list them all in a single post.

Renaming Google as Topeka: Google in response to the April fool prank played by CNN (renaming Topeka, Kansas as “Google”, Kansas), wrote a post on its company blog that it is changing its name to “Topeka”. Check this post out!

LifeSize from Picasa: This feature from Picasa lets you enlarge any image into a life size image.

Japanese Keyboard: Google Japan has created a keyboard with plenty of keys! Check out how it looks!

Store anything with Google Docs: This feature from Google Docs, helps you to store anything you want! I repeat, anything. The blogpost linked above stated that,

As with documents, spreadsheets, and files, you also share objects you’ve uploaded to Google Docs with anyone in the world. For example, do you ever wish you could CTRL+F your house keys or your TV remote? Store your keys, remotes, rail passes, and other objects you commonly lose with Google Docs, and you’ll never have to worry about finding them again. Having trouble moving your piano from New York to California? Upload it from your home in New York, then download it once you’re in California. Change your mind and want to share it with your friend in England instead? No problem. With one click you can have your piano delivered to anyone you choose, anywhere in the world.

Chrome Sounds: Google released a new extension for Google Chrome on April 1st called as “Chrome Sounds”. This is what the Chrome blog says about the extension.

Taking an earful of inspiration from the  HTML5 audio tag, we’ve spent the past few months deep in psychoacoustic models, the Whittaker-Nyquist-Kotelnikov-Shannon sampling theorem, Franssen effects, Shepard-Risset Tones, and 11.1 surround sound research to build a cutting-edge audio-driven user interface for our users, available through a  new Chrome extension. With this extension, Chrome will provide audio feedback as you browse to web pages and interact with the browser.

A little complicated, nevertheless great extension! :P

YouTube TextP option: This is a new filter for videos which helps you to see videos in ASCII format. This helps to reduce the bandwidth consumption, it seems!

TEXTp is the result of months of intense transcoding efforts by our engineers, who toiled for weeks to ensure that a large chunk of videos on the platform could be reduced to their most basic elements. By replacing the images in the video with a series of letters and numbers, the videos are far less taxing on our system — and have the added benefit of promoting literacy!

Google Translation for Animals: Okay, now there is an Android app that helps you to translate animal voices. You need to record the voices of the animal’s sound you want to translate and this app will translate it into human language!

Google Books in 3D: You can now read books in 3D. You need to put on the 3D glasses and click the option “View in 3D” and you are ready to go!

Wow, that’s a great list of pranks! Well done, Google!. Wait, did I miss any other prank in this list? Then, just tell me through comments. I will update the post with that soon!

DYK Thursday – Barack Obama is The First US President Whose Portrait Was Taken From a Digital Camera

In United States, they follow a tradition of keeping portraits of all the presidents who lived in White House. The tradition  started with Gilbert Stuart’s portrait of George Washington, which was made of oil paints is followed till now.

Bill Clinton, an early president of the US, was the first person to get his portrait painted by an African American, Simmie Knox!

But, as “Change is always a constant” there has been a change in this tradition too. The latest president of US, Barack Obama’s portrait is not painted with oil paints, but is taken from a digital camera!

barack_obama_portrait
Compare with the other two, you will see the difference

The camera that was used to take the photo of Barack Obama was a Canon EOS 5D Mark II.  But, even the painted version of Barack Obama’s portrait would be available at the end of his tenure as a president. You can also find the pictures of all the portraits here.

Wow, that’s really amazing! Did you know that?

And BTW, DYK that Elephants are afraid of Mice? Watch this video if you don’t believe me!

Thanks Amit and Clif!