Articles

How is the Library Redesigned?

posted Aug 28, 2013, 8:57 PM by Unknown user   [ updated Aug 29, 2013, 3:15 AM ]

By: Pok Him Siu, Steve Qian, Edwin Chiu & Ricky Chung
Aim: To improve student and teacher experience in the library, and to design a solution such that all constraints are met.
We aim to do this by...
1. Increasing the amount of computers, which complement a full class.
2. Rearranging the existing computers into a formation such that groupwork and teacher supervision can be both be faciliated.
3. Fulfilling the goals above while still sticking to constraints.

Hypothesis: Having a redesigned layout of the library (especially the computers and their desks) will allow for more more efficient groupwork.  The new bookshelves will be on the walls, maximising the potential that room holds.

 

Equipment: Computers, tables, library, paper, pen, tape measure, shelves, books


Project Management Techniques

The Project Management Life Cycle is used extensively in order to plan, design and implement this project. In “understanding the problem”, the library decided that they wanted a better layout for the library computers in order to improve student efficiency and experience, by allowing for groupwork. In “Designing a solution”, the library started to try and design the physical layout of the library to fit space and money constraints. The school hired interior design specialists to design the new physical layout of the library. In this stage, many problems were faced as they realised that the library had many constraints imposed. We went through about 7 design plans, rejecting each one with problems. Some problems included the poles, space constraints and the best entry. After running through each plan and finding faults, we finally came up with a proper solution.


Method:

1. Understand the problem

Group discussion, surveys/questions

This project came about due to the ubiquity of technology. The library wasn't making the most of the space available, and it was inconvenient as students were all spread out over the library, making groupwork difficult.

2. Designing a solution

Feasibility study, requirement report, project plan, spiral approach

In this stage, we satisficed through a number of possible "solutions" until we found one that best fit the objectives, whilst sticking to constraints.

Possible constraints included...

1. The amount of space available to accommodate both the students and computers.

2. Wants and needs of parties involved (students, teachers, library staff). As an example, one design was scrapped because 6 computers were isolated. This was an act of consideration to the students.

3. Safety requirements - poles and safety exits for fire hazards.

3. Implementing a solution

Direct implementation.

The spiral approach was used to develop and to make the new design. After finishing the design, we used direct implementation to implement the project.

4. Maintaining, testing, evaluating

Regular and repair maintenance, user satisfaction survey

This will come at a later stage, when the solution is completed.


Social and Ethical Issues!

The re-designing of the library raises a number of social and ethical issues, these include:


Convenience - Students are now able to communicate much more easily, and allows teachers to supervise and monitor student work with minimum effort



Changing Nature of Work - As the world 

becomes more focused and reliant on computerised technology, there is a greater focus on the quality and quantity of these services. This can be seen from the current work in the library. Because of this changing nature of work, there was a need for the redesigning of the layout in order to both increase convenience and efficiency of placement and to facilitate the increase in the number of computers.


Digitisation of data - Even libraries, which are primarily places for books, is being changed to revolve around computers. This clearly reflects the social and ethical issue of “digitisation of data”, where the Information Age has caused our lives to become more and more centred around technology.


Results:


To be announced.


Conclusion:

In a physical point of view, the furniture was rearranged and added to help improve the library.  An extra computer was added to allow a full class of students to use the computers at once.  The tables were also rearranged into pod-shapes to allow for enhanced group work.

Neptune Pine - Its a watch, not an Air Freshener

posted Feb 20, 2013, 2:46 PM by Kevin Zhao   [ updated Feb 20, 2013, 2:48 PM ]


Neptune Pine is not a new air freshener. Neptune Pine, for those who haven’t head the latest hype surround the Canadian invention, is the world’s first fully independent “smartwatch”. It has all the capabilities of a smartphone and all can be done independently, without the presence of a smartphone. However, the Neptune Pine is a literal handful of impracticality, being inefficiently designed and offering, really, no innovative functions.


At 2.4 inches, the Neptune Pine is incredibly tiny in comparison to current smartphones on the market; the majority boasting screens of at least 4 inch displays (6.1cm and 10.2cm respectively for those unfamiliar with imperial measurements). Of course, this modest size fits with their concept however there is a lingering question of ergonomics. With the younger generations becoming more technologically involved, the effect on eyesight and posture caused by a product with such a small screen is incredibly worrying. There’s a general deterioration in eyesight levels already and a product such as this isn’t the way to go to try and reverse it.

The Neptune Pine does not score well in terms of practicality. The on screen keyboard which fills three quarters of the display means that the user must take off the watch before accessing a number of functions. Typing can only be achieved by using one finger, and this may not seem like much but taking into account that a smartphone is now an item used quite often, the Neptune Pine may prove to be more hassle than it’s worth.

Having a phone constantly on your hand sounds good, but there is the problem of keeping the watch clean and functional. Does this mean every time you wash your hands, you have to take off the watch?

And then comes the dilemma that has plagued smartphones and touchscreen gadgets alike. Battery life. The Pine, with all of its fancy features such Quad-band GSM and Bluetooth 4.0 probably wouldn’t even last a day of regular use. It would have been a much better idea to just have the watch be a Bluetooth headset with a screen that you can look at to check basic notifications instead of being a complete substitute.

One advantage of having a smartphone like an iPhone or Android device is the ability to install applications off their respective stores. The Neptune Pine with its small size most likely cannot run apps similar to the iTunes App Store such as Temple Run. It will probably be preloaded with programs with the inability to install additional ones. And since this is still a concept, the actual specifications of the watch may change in the future. Do you think this watch is a worthwhile investment?

Samsung Galaxy Camera- Positives

posted Feb 20, 2013, 2:34 PM by Unknown user

Samsung has recently come up with yet another innovative and brand new device... the Samsung Galaxy Camera. It is the much-loved Android phone merged with a camera, which far surpasses those of any smartphone. This touch screen camera is Wi-Fi only, meaning you can only share images or videos when connected with a wireless network. Although this camera lacks a 3G/4G connection, it is equipped with dual-band wireless connectivity. It is surprisingly affordable (seeing as it has so many awesome, new features), which allows customers to meet the expense of the camera with the extra benefits of a two-in-one merged device.

This touch screen camera features a 16.3 megapixel CMOS sensor, a 23mm wide-angle lens, and a 21x optical zoom. In addition, the camera also allows images to be saved as a JPEG. Users also have the ability to back-up their photos on a cloud service. The device has a 4.8 inch HD Super Clear display and a 1.4GHz quad core processor. If all this isn’t enough, the Galaxy camera even comes prepared with 8GB of storage and an additional microSD slot for further extra space. The camera runs Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, and comes loaded with a host of Google services, including YouTube, Maps, Talk, Places, Chrome, and the Play Store.
The Galaxy camera- a creative, fresh intake of the ordinary smartphone.


It can be thought of as the ultimate device for today's people, young and old; a music player, phone, camera and pocket computer merged all into one in the shape of a thin camera. Not only does this invention from Samsung drift away from the mainstream smartphones seen basically in every pocket, it can also be thought of as a device capable of fulfilling all the needs of people taking photos for recreation, professionally, or the need to capture every moment of their daily lives. Think of the impossible, like using Photoshop on such a compact piece of technology; the Samsung Galaxy Camera makes it possible.

 

This fashionable and creative, Android on camera, instead of camera on Android, has full functionality of popular applications, sending and receiving text messages and emails, successfully capturing Full HD 1080p videos, as well as calls made via an internet connection, such as applications like Skype allow. It is also a useful piece of technology; now users can take high quality pictures or videos, edit them using a professional software (Photoshop), and upload it straight to Facebook or Twitter, using the one device. This means avoiding tedious routine of transferring pictures from a normal camera to the computer, and then editing and uploading.

 

This innovative Samsung device, the only phone/camera to have optical zoom, has created a new line of technology (phone embedded into digital camera). Will this new line of technology thrive, or wither and die out?

 

Snapchat: the chat of the future

posted Feb 20, 2013, 1:25 PM by Unknown user   [ updated Feb 20, 2013, 3:28 PM ]





Over the past decade, we have seen the steady expansion of social networking sites. Many seem to reach the highest heights of revolutionary standards, while others grow at lightning break speeds before dying out in a similarly remarkable style. The arrival of the new and innovative app, Snapchat, may seem like the usual trend, but we might just be welcoming the birth of another social networking phenomenon.
 
Snapchat allows its users to snap photos, record videos, add text and drawings, and then send it to their friends. These photos are then erased from the recipient’s device, within a matter of seconds. The ground-breaking app has been rapidly rising in popularity, especially amongst teens and pre-teens, and already hosts more than 60 million shared photos every day. With its unique feature that permits images to self-destruct in seconds after they are opened, Snapchat is being highly praised as a solution to a society where literally every feeling and moment in life is taken to be shared, liked and commented on. Being ideally designed for those who don’t want to be concerned about every single unappealing photo or humiliating status updates, this app seems to hit the mark at the right place.
 
The app can be experienced by both apple and android holders, which creates a much larger array of users for the social networking site, and it seems to be constantly expanding. Unlike numerous other social networking apps, Snapchat isn’t solely specialised for one multimedia type but allows the use of three. Users are now able to experience the easy and convenient transfer of image, text and video, all under the same roof. With their newest update that permits the sharing of video, Snapchat can now capture the significant moments of life with the quick and simple press of a button. Recently Co-founder of Snapchat, Evan Spiegel commented on the new upgrade saying, “Video is really important to our service because it allows Snapchatters to share a broad range of experiences and emotions. The Snapchat community is all about living in the moment, and the video brings those moments to life.”
 
Snapchat has also incorporated a previously unseen feature, known as the ‘screen capture alert’, after many concerns over users’ privacy. Even though the recipients are unable to save the snapchats, there is an added safeguard which notifies the sender with an alert if a screenshot was taken. With the app addressing the many needs of the users, we can see why it has such an incredible success rate. Do you believe Snapchat has the ability to revolutionise social networking and rise to the popularity of already existing apps like facebook?

 
 


Where to go now for Apple?

posted Feb 20, 2013, 4:22 AM by Unknown user   [ updated Feb 20, 2013, 3:26 PM by Unknown user ]

By: Team PJS :S (Pok, Jack, Steve, Samuel)
Apple, Inc., based in California, has been the darling of consumers and investors for the past 5 years, and it has undergone a meteoric rise to become the largest and most admired company in the world. The company’s smartphones and tablets have supplied most of the company’s revenue due to their ease of use and adaptability compared to other products. The company’s ability to develop personalised applications and features that can track and store information wherever you are, while alarming, has been very popular with consumers, who like the efficiency that it brings (e.g. iTunes), and this popularity has allowed the company to improve and introduce in-house technologies.   

The company delivered with crowd-pleasing products, such as the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. These products eventually dominated the tech scene and consumers were rapt. Each time Apple released new products or updates of products, there were massive lines in front of stores from Beijing to Boston. Investors were pleased too, as Apple’s stock was constantly increasing in value.

But then Apple started to run out of steam.

The latest iPhone, while popular, did not meet the excitement of previous editions. The iPad Mini was not creative enough (it was a smaller version of the iPad)  and consumers were disappointed. Updates of Apple’s PC range were not ground-breaking either. Fans and tech geeks were (and still are now) hungry for new and innovative technological advances from Apple and the company did not deliver.

The company’s products are now looked on with cautious concern and with the demise of Steve Jobs and increased competition from Samsung, HTC, Google and others, there is more pressure on the company to present new and different products. Google’s Android operating system has eaten into the market share of Apple’s iOS and consumers have praised the Android operating system due to its open source nature and its flexibility.  Apple has not been able to meet changing consumer needs, putting themselves in a huge amount of trouble, setting Apple back in the continual tech race..

Their fanbase is now shrinking, along with their value. Consumers are now heading towards Apple’s competitors for products with equal or better quality. Even though Apple’s products have fancy features like retina displays, thin screens, new apps, sharper cameras and FaceTime, consumers are finding the competition too attractive.  Apple now needs to present innovative products to stay on top.  With rumours of an iWatch and an iCar floating around, maybe they can.

But what do you think? Does Apple have the strength to stay on top of its rivals or will it be crushed by the might of its competitors?

Point and shoot? Or point and fall.

posted Feb 20, 2013, 4:19 AM by Unknown user   [ updated Feb 20, 2013, 2:22 PM ]


The Samsung Camera Shoots.. and misses in the hearts of those it intends.

With the domination of phones coming in all shapes, sizes and purposes, single reflex cameras are beginning to travel down the slippery slope of redundancy and land in the pits of forgotten technology. The latest release from the Samsung company, the Samsung Galaxy Camera, can be said to be an attempt to reproduce an already released product. Equipped with an Android touch screen and a lens capable of 21x zoom. The Samsung camera essentially is a better than average camera phone lens attached to a touch screen.


The Samsung Camera has a variety of flaws- ranging from the price, photo quality to short living battery. With the cost of the Galaxy Camera approximating at $499, the price of this glorified mobile phone may be too high for some. Although the camera would be of impressive quality and price for a regular mobile phone, the main attraction for this piece of technology is the camera, and the quality does not match the price. Another fault of the Samsung Camera is the difficulty it has when attempting to operate in areas with low light. In situations with little light, the result is most likely to be a blurry picture, once again not up to standard with the high cost involved. The battery of the camera is yet another flaw of the Samsung invention, with its lifespan not matching up to that of other cameras. There is a hibernation method which attempts to compensate for this weakness, but results in the need for starting up the camera, which takes quite a while.


Alongside the added fact that there is a deducted function of the 3G/4G Network, it further reduced the capabilities of the Samsung camera. Though it can be argued that with the variety of Google products and the added ease of wireless sharing photos on the cloud network can be made instant and far more convenient, this is far from the truth. Cases where this would have a chance of occurring would only be at your dwelling where there is free unlocked internet, and if you are home, why not just plug it in the computer to share online? Why would you waste $500 just for an item that could link up for instantaneous internet connection when there is another way, only at the added expense of a few extra minutes of a computer link?

This so called new product by Samsung is at the gentlest, an unneeded product that only serves as a disappointment to customers. There are minimal optical developments occurring with the maximum aperture f/2.6 which is no improvement from its previous predecessors and there have been reviews where freezing of viewing the photos occurs too. This camera certainly doesn’t have the sharpest screen on the market and the body is neither something to ‘wow’ over.
For a Samsung product, the concept can be readily accepted however once utilised in physical form with the current standard of specs, the real question boils down to this, just how important connectivity worth to you?

Innovation and Apple

posted Feb 20, 2013, 3:08 AM by Unknown user

By: Team PJS :S (Pok, Jack, Steve, Samuel)
The fruits of innovation are evident all around us in today’s society. The most famous of innovators, however, would have to be Apple. Apple has revolutionised technology as we knew it.  From pioneering the development of micro-computers, to full touch screen gaming phones, Apple has done it all.  Many of today’s standards are a direct result of what the company has achieved.


Apple started out in the humble garage of Steve Jobs. Through struggle and the company’s creativity, Apple now stands as the most influential company in today’s technologically dominated society. This couldn’t have happened if not for innovation. Innovation is the development and introduction of new and creative ideas that meet today’s standards.  It is this creativity, the ability for us to dream, which enables humans to achieve such high-quality technology.  Through the use of innovation, humans have shaped the present and tomorrow’s technology is slowly being unveiled.

Innovation is perhaps the most important part of technology. In the age we live in, technology continues to influence our lives in many ways, becoming more advanced to suit the constantly changing needs of consumers. For technology to keep developing, innovation is essential. To be able to come up with ideas that hasn’t been used by anyone else is groundbreaking.  Innovations are incredibly important for the continued development of our world.   Apple has created magnificent computers and smart phones in the past.  As clearly apparent today, they have been a part of our everyday lives. Innovations, much like technology, is constantly changing the way we live. As such, innovation can be considered the driving force of technology, using ideas to constantly spur development of new and improved information technology that continue to impact the world and meet the need for increased ergonomics.

Even today, innovation is constantly allowing technology to advance, improving ergonomics and the standard of life for individuals in the modern society.    However, as a direct result of this new-found technology, criminals are able to exploit the technology, abusing it to suit their needs.  Also, to meet the demands of developed countries, Apple and other large companies have turned to “sweatshops” as a means to mass produce and earn more profits.  These are only a few examples of where innovative technology has lead to a new range of ethical issues.

Although Apple has begun dominating many lives, it still is a clear example of what innovation can bring to society. Innovation allows for ideas that will completely change the world. Recent trends in technology has been apparent, with the current age being dominated by smartphones and social networking sites, which were both innovations at one point in time. With innovation, it greatly impacts on an individual and its environment.

Innovation is a truly magnificent thing, it is what allowed Apple to grow and become successful, don’t you agree?

Watches + Smart = SmartWatch

posted Feb 20, 2013, 2:37 AM by Unknown user


Sony has been knuckling down furiously and endeavoured to please consumers with an innovative idea of a smartwatch.  From first glance it seems am
azing, but is this really the case?  Disappointing reviews have unfortunately been dispatched throughout the internet. Complaints about the screen display whilst in the sun. Settings restrictions and lacking key features are many of the major drawbacks of this product.


During testing of the Sony SmartWatch, it has been extremely difficult to read the screen display of the watch with sunlight shining upon it.  A CNET review, written by Brian Bennett, had stated, “One big drawback I have is that the display washes out in even modest sunlight, making the SmartWatch hard to read outdoors.”  This innovative technology is incredibly lacking in ergonomics. This washed display  becomes an extreme hassle when simply checking the time.  Continuously, you must strain your eyes, if not, tilt the device so the the sunlight does not reflect off it.

Furthermore, it has been evident to users that there are no settings on this SmartWatch.  There is no possible way of increasing or decreasing the brightness nor switching off the vibrations command.  Many users like the ability to adjust and change to their satisfaction.  Without settings, this completely restricts the user to the standard settings, wiping them of any versatility. SmartWatch has a very minimalist design that doesn’t provide much room for flexibility. With no options and preference is this watch designed for human?

The SmartWatch is also lacking of audio features, essential for any device on the current modern market. There is no speaker or microphone inbuilt and consequently, you are unable to pick any calls from the watch unless you have a Bluetooth headset connected.  This is quite clumsy, carrying around two items at once and if a user has forgotten to bring one of the components for an online meeting, they are unable to do anything.

When making watches interactive, a major issue is battery life. Currently watches don’t require “recharging” and making something “smart” involves consuming a lot of power. Thus as a result SmartWatch isn't very good in battery life. If used intensively it has to be charged every day which is a real obstacle. The “watch” becomes useless without charge and it doesn't even tell the time.

With all these disadvantages we pose the question: Will watches start turning smart?


Sites used:
http://www.techenclave.com/news/sony-smartwatch-review/639/
http://www.yugatech.com/toys-gadgets/sony-smartwatch-lands-next-month-at-php5999-99/
http://news.cnet.com/8301-1035_3-57413193-94/sony-smartwatch-hands-on-not-perfect-but-shows-promise/

Snapchat, revolutionary or not?

posted Feb 20, 2013, 2:30 AM by Tharsini Urutherakumar

By Sunny Lu, Tharsini Urutherakumar, Christina Johnpillai, Elaine Yan


Snapchat is the new app for the iOS and Android that allows users to send instant picture messages to friends which “self-destruct” according the sender’s settings. Snapchat's innovative feature supposedly allows their users to become much more open with their sharing hence creating an enhanced social atmosphere in technological communications.

For example, users may send pictures of a silly expression or goofy video, which Snapchat claimed would not  be permanently stored hence retaining privacy. However Snapchat has failed to realise that there have been many loopholes through this flimsy security system they’ve built their promotions around. First of all, you can just take a screenshot of the picture which really isn’t difficult for the receiver to do. Snapchat attempted to defend this by saying the sender would automatically be alerted that the receiver has saved their photo or that you can use settings to restrict recipients from screenshotting their photos. However a user would most probably forget or not bother to change these settings and ultimately, an individual could just use another camera from a separate device to capture the photo.Furthermore, individuals have found various methods to hack into Snapchat itself and find a way to obtain the image or video clip that is being sent. This app is filled with flaws and is a socially and ethically alarming issue which could ruin the live of many users.  

The biggest issue that has caused much controversy with this application is that it is evoking sexting amongst teenagers and young adults. Nearly most or all of the users are ignorant of the fact that these photos are not actually deleted. They are oblivious to the fact that the images can be recovered and are blinded by the false sense of security the “self destructing feature” provides. Teenagers are failing to realise that once an image is uploaded, it is not actually deleted but stored in a cache which can be accessed by the receiver by connecting their iPhone to their computer and retrieving the files. Almost everyone has access that information, and users are blindly capturing and sending inappropriate content after one moment of pure insanity believing it was safe. Surely in this ever growing the social network one cannot simply believe their shared content is secure.

This revolutionary application allows its users to just snap and send, but doesn’t warn them of its repercussions. This application is not a necessity, and rather provokes sexting amongst young children. Snapchat has certainly provided a unique social networking experience for users but with all the security loopholes and what it has been controversially associated with, what remains for the future for this company and their product?

Riding Firefox's popularity into the OS market

posted Feb 20, 2013, 1:08 AM by Raymond Han   [ updated Feb 20, 2013, 2:01 PM by Unknown user ]


Mozilla has finally stepped its game up and decided to expand on the mobile frontier! The developer of the popular web browser, Mozilla Firefox, recently released its own mobile operating system, Firefox OS. This next generation system is built entirely on open web standards, and is basically powered by JavaScript, which allows the use of HTML and other APIs (application programming interface). This is achieved by using a custom version of Gecko, which is the rendering engine of Firefox. Phones that adopt this operating system will boot into a lightweight Linux kernel, which in turn boots into Gecko. But what is actually special about it? What will allow it to compete with the current market leaders (Android and iOS)?

Firstly, Firefox OS, with its JavaScript powered system, unlocks a huge mind-boggling multitude of possibilities that aren’t readily available to developers with standard platforms. The biggest one is that it allows you to create your own mobile applications with existing software used to build websites; mainly JavaScript, HTML and CSS. While not completely unique to Firefox OS, it is the most efficient and effective way of doing it, as you do not need to learn native languages and such. JavaScript is also very well-documented and is completely free! Hypothetically, with the correct skill, you would not need to buy anymore apps, as you could develop all of it yourself with Firefox OS.

More fascinatingly, it can apparently allow physical devices to communicate using the same APIs that we use for websites. Essentially, the whole operating system can access the internet, instead of just the browser, creating a seamless integration with the web. This means that unlike other phones that lock you into one proprietary platform, Firefox OS achieves a truly ‘open’ platform, meaning you can move between gadgets easily with much more freedom and application portability; Firefox’s apps will be available on all devices.

But that’s not all! Mozilla Corporation has just announced that along with their operating system, they will be producing 2 phones to complement it! The 2 models, Keon and Peak, are planned to arrive in the first half of this year. The Peak model is more advanced than the Keon, with a 8 megapixel camera and higher computer processing capabilities. Unfortunately, these devices pale in comparison with the more established Apple and Samsung phones in the physical specs field. Mozilla’s HTML apps are still being developed, and so is therefore still not as fast as their enhanced apps too.

However, because the technology actually used is not as advanced as the others, Firefox can boast a cheaper price than most other smartphones on the market and is lighter and more smooth-running. But this is all beside the point; the main selling point is the operating system itself, and thus not that many phones have to be sold for Mozilla to continue to climb the mobile ladder. In any case, Firefox’s (the web browser) 450 million users is no small matter if even a percentage of them decide to utilise Firefox OS.

Right now, Firefox OS does not have the capabilities to become a major competitor with Apple and Samsung; it is still being developed, with promises of updates, improvements and new versions. But perhaps, soon it will reach a breakthrough and become the next dominator, because this is just the tip of the iceberg. There are unlimited possibilities, options out there. What else can JavaScript improve? Would networks of JavaScript devices be the start of ubiquitous computing, the notorious era of ambient intelligence where information processing has been integrated into everyday objects and activities? There is so much space to expand. Will Firefox OS reach the revolutionary breakthrough and lead the world to the next stage of mobile technology or will it join the ranks of failures that got dominated by Apple?

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