Posts Tagged ‘computer screen’

Creator of Mouse and most of Modern Computer Interface legendary hacker Douglas Engelbart passed away at 88

Thursday, July 4th, 2013

Douglas Engelbard holding early prototype of computer mouse

One of most influential persons on Computing Douglas Engelbart passed away silently at age of 88 on 03 of July 2013. He worked at times where computing was in its dawn in late '60s . He become the Inventor of Computer Mouse Interface and played key role in developing much of the modern PC interface and his work on human – computer interaction.

First Prototype of Computer Mouse-SRI - Duuglas Engelbart creator of first computer mouse

Many of his research led indirectly to developing later a number of nowadays standard technologies such as Networking as we know it, The Hypertext Transmission (HTTP) and many of Modern graphical computer interface

I believe every IT should understand the significance of his works and should keep his name in short names along with Denis Ritchie who passed away last year, Ken Thompson and Johh McCarthy – also died last year . All of this people, indirectly changed our modern world by their genius inventions. Of course it is doubtful whether their scientific contribution doesn't make our life more miserable as half of people on earth today spend about 5 to 8 hours in front of some kind of computer or mobile computer screen (be it notebook, pad or smartphone mobile) …

One of first Douglas Engelbart famous works is "Augmenting Human Intellect: A Concept Framework" (1962). His had so much interesting idea and new information that it led to development of Augmentation Research Center (ARC).
Engelbart worked on things like bitmapped screens, collaborative tools and precursor of graphical user interface.
In 1967 he filed a patent for a primitive version of the Computer Mouse, the mouse was patented and later licensed to Apple for only 40000$ !

Douglas Engelbart with his archaic computer mouse at hand

Augmentation Research Center later become involved working closely with ARPANET (Internet's predecessor). In ARC Engelbart along with other researchers invented things like hypertext, object addressing, dynamic file linking, shared screen collaboration.

After WWII Douglas studied electrical enginering at University of Califormania (Berkley) gruduated with Master in 1953 and later in 1955 earned a PhD. During studying in Berkley he get involved in construction of California Digital Computer Project. After his graduation he served as a professor in Berkley

He enrolled in graduate school in electrical engineering at University of California, Berkeley, graduating with an Master of Science degree in 1953, and a Ph.D. in 1955.[9] As a graduate student at Berkeley he assisted in the construction of the California Digital Computer project

  1. he would focus his career on making the world a better place;
  2. any serious effort to make the world better requires some kind of organized effort;
  3. harnessing the collective human intellect of all the people contributing to effective solutions was the key;
  4. if you could dramatically improve how we do that, you'd be boosting every effort on the planet to solve important problems — the sooner the better; and
  5. computers could be the vehicle for dramatically improving this capability

An important paper that severely influenced Engelbart's ideas is As We May Think – by VANNEVAR BUSH In 2005 Engelbart received a National Science Foundation grant to fund the open source HyperScope project.
Douglas Engelbart has been honored with multiple awards including National Medal of Technology by Bill Clinton in y. 2000. He is fellow of Computer History Museum, he has been active as IT innovator until the very late time in his life, one of his last written works is Boosting our Collective IQs from 1995. In personal plan he was married for Ballard (who died in 1997), from her he had 4 kids – Gerda, Diana, Christina and Norman. One of most unusual things for him is his second marriage in 2008 in age of 83! He left behind himself 9 grandchildren 🙂

Douglas Engelbart the mother of all demos year 1968

Douglas is mostly famous in hacker culture for his demonstration of experimental computer technologies that are now commonplace in December 9, 1968 widely known as "The Mother of All Demos". Below is a Video capture of whole presentation, I believe every IT geek, hacker or just a computer involved person should watch it. One can see that this presentation later led to development of many of modern concepts in Computer Science used this very day including so popular nowadays FrameWork Programming


 

The Mother of All Demos, visual presentation of Experimental Computer Technology presented by Douglas Engelbart (1968)

Workrave – Preverve health from RSI (Computer caused Repetitive Strain Injury) on Linux and Windows

Tuesday, June 25th, 2013

Prevent and heal repetitive strain injury RSI with workrave on Windows and Linux

Huge part of people professions nowadays includes being in front of PC Screen for almost a day. Staying on computer is addictive and even after job is done many people came back in front of the PC screen to play some games or just read something. Many might not know that this computer hanging is a costly thing as it slowly reflects negative our health and living balance. For geeky people who work in IT profession the threat is even bigger as we ITs tend to spend even more time in front of computers. The risk therefore for catching RSI (Repetitive Strain Injury), whether you have to deal with computers daily is very real.

For those who hear for RSI for first time, here is what it is as described in Wikipedia:
 

Repetitive strain injuries (RSIs) are "injuries to the musculoskeletal and nervous systems that may be caused by repetitive tasks, forceful exertions, vibrations, mechanical compression, or sustained or awkward positions"

For more on RSI check out Wikipedia Article here.

Thanksfully RSI is possible to reverse as well as prevent by giving regular breaks from computer screen on timely base and even can be configured to limit time you will spend on the PC. 

Just recently I found out about existence of  Workrave – program which helps you in reminding, when you have to give breaks from computer and makes you limit yourself on how long you use the PC.

Workrave is available for both Windows and Linux OS.

debian:~# apt-cache show workrave | grep -i description -A 3

Description-en: Repetitive Strain Injury prevention tool
 Workrave is a program that assists in the recovery and prevention of
 Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI). The program frequently alerts you to
 take micro-pauses, rest breaks and restricts you to your daily limit.

To give it a try on Debian / Ubuntu Linux, install with usual:

debian:~# apt-get install --yes workrave
...

Launch it by running:

hipo@debian:~$ workrave

or via GNOME menus:

Applications -> Universal Access -> Workrave

Once launched Workrave applet appears right on in GNOME main panel. Below is screenshot of it.
Workrave applet in Gnome debian Linux screenshot

Clicking on the sheep image, there are plenty of configuration menus from which to choose how Workrave will further behave. Its default behavior is quite agressive and suggests breaks too often so if you choose to follow default configuration you will quickly be bored and probably remove it from computer. Hence re-configuring Workrave to remind for breaks every one hour is a good timing in my opinion:

Configuring workrave to remind for breaks from computer every one hour screenshot

Workrave time for micro break screenshot

Workrave includes reminder with neck movement exercises, which if followed can severely de-stress and keep your neck healthy.

workrave prevent repetitive strain injury neck exercises screenshot gnu / linux

workrave prevent repetitive strain injury neck exercises screenshot gnu / linux and windows

The program has even statistics on how much breaks you take, how long it was used and various other interesting info, below is screenshot from statistics window:

Workrave usage statistics GNU Linux screenshot

Human Modern Progression a move forward to Degression

Saturday, June 16th, 2012

I've been thinking about our modern day progression and what our "progressed" society looks like in reality.
We think we have progressed, we have built machines that serves us well (computers). We plan for a bright painless easy future day by day. This bright "perfect" society future is nothing more than the dream of communism in its complete form.

But in what sense we have actually progressed ?? Everyone who really sees what happens around us notice the big changes we experience. On the surface it looks like our life has become much easier with all this technology surrounding us. The number of computers which is said to help us to leap towards this bright future increases day by day. With this however increases the need to support technology. Suddenly it happens that the old believe that computers are just a tool to make our life earier becomes a modern day slavery. Most of the developed or under development countries people are nowdays almost full time spending in front of the computer screen on the internet. We put our lifes in the mercy of man-created computers and it has become impossible that we live or exist independetly without them.

Computers are everywhere around us starting from the work Desk, at hand with a notebook, ipad, mobile phones, cars, airplanes. There is rarely to see any technology we use which works with not some kind of primitive or advanced computer embedded ,,,
In the rise of computers as we know it computer was just a tool to help us along with the other overall thought and inventions development. Now from just being a tool to help us progress Computers become the common ground on which almost everything in life works.

I'm sure many people who started learning computer technology 15-20 years ago (like me) never imagined computers will integrate so heavily in our daily activities as they eventually did.

We use computers for the sake of planning which in "spiritual language" is predicting the future or prophecise what is about to come in the short future. In reality what we do mostly even not realizingly is to try to predict and modify the future through technology.
This concept is also existing in most sci-fi movies, made in last 60 years. Mobile phones revolution give the humanity a tool through which telepathy we've seen in so many SCI-FI is reality. The mobile phone is just a platform through which (phone calls) or better said voice telepathy has become possible. In that manner of thoughts it is obvious that Video phone calls is a voice + visual telepathy. The Skype revolution and Video and voice conferences is brought was just until recently seen on the sci-fi movies where spaceship crews communicated with other spaceship crews by using a Visual conferences like skype.

It is really hard to believe that for just few years now everyone can speak with ease with everyone else on the planet in the same way just like we've seen in the movies as some foreign abstract concept!

Now suddenly most people on earth are equipped with technology with gives them the power to do everything but it is my firm believe people are not ready to wisely use this power. Therefore instead of using this higher technology wisely technology is used mostly senseless and the more technological advancement grows and becomes more accessible to the masses the more the tendency to use the technology for shit grows.

I'm sure people who have a good knowledge on programming and how computer works are already seriously aware of this enormous problem.
Another severe problem with the raise of technology is the language slang it introduces. This tech-slang is adopted quickly all around the society and suddenly as a result the human language as we know it is seriously substituted by a vague tech words mambo-jambo words. Actually the adoption of tech buzz words in modern day society language makes a great harm for the reason communication between people becomes less descriptive and therefore harder.
In short the result of this tech slang language inside our national languages is inability for people to communicate properly. This tendency is well seen if you for example try to make a comparison between old and newer movies. The newer the movie the less meaningful it is. It is true newer ones has much more as a visual adds than the predecessor but when talking about consistency the newer films are missing this point seriously.

As newer generations are born and raised up with this newer movies and "advanced" TV and computers this people doesn't even have most of the time the opportunity to see older human taped knowledge.
Even for youngesters who have somehow a wise parents enough to teach them in a religious way or just have the "luck" to have parents with old world mindset it will be extremely hard if not impossible for this kids to understand the old knowledge, as most of their same age school / university fellows will only talk about the newer things.

Besides all this, computers as they grow needs more and more support "nurturing" so day by day more and more people has to be busy with managing and supporting tech stuff. Suddenly it is no longer clear if computers serve us or we serve them, this tendency is already somehow evident but not so clearly as it will be in the short 5 to 10 years.
Therefore we slowly but surely are moving to a society which might become "enslaved by technology". Why I say here enslaved, because if we spend our time on fixing computers and technology and working with one virtual reality (which is non-reality) in essence this means we no longer have a physical freedom in the sense it was God given.

There is no doubt computers at present appears to do us a big good, but if you think a bit strategically it is obvious this good has it's price. By adopting all this technology without questioning ourselves on how this will impact our human freedom, we build a computerized jail around us. At first this jail appears to be so wide that it seems it does not interfere with our freedom, but with the introduction of newer and newer computer technology this jail becomes narrower as to the point where it could threat our physical existence freedom.

For those who could argue my thoughs I will ask two simple questions to show you how dependent we've become on technology;;;

What was the last time you switched off your mobile for a week ?

What was the last time you didn't used computers and the internet for a week time ?

Obviously rarely we can find someone that will answer positively to this question or even the thought of switching off from this so globalized society by dropping off tech stuff for a week seems scary.

This constant connectiodness that we're day-by-day heavily exposed to is scary, because it steals little-by-little our natural freedom for seclusion / pravicy / solitude.

This freedoms, were essential and especially for Christian saints and many of the people in the Holy Bible if we read closely we will find out they have used this freedom in parts of their lives especially the seclusion to hear and understand God's will for their life.
Since technology is stealing us the freedom to seclude ourselves this means it steals our basic natural freedom to communicate with God and our natural self ,,,

The consequence of this separation from God and unification with "the world" surely will lead to spiritual blindness and lack of good foundation or higher life purpose, in other words lost path in life.

This is happening all along right in front our eyes now.
Maybe the worst thing of globalization is it doesn't unite people on a soul level but rather separates them. The unification that tech boom gives to people is in the "virtual reality" but this is not a real unification as it is unification in a media which is not real.

Yes Virtual Reality is not real, that's why it is called Virtual isn't it?
I've been thinking over all this problems more and more and I'm starting to come to conclusion that people who wish to keep their essential physical freedom need to GET OUT from this tech lie, we have lived in.
For this however more people need to first realize that;;;

1. TECHNOLOGY LEADS US NOWHERE!

2. People who want to live without technology need to organize in groups (and get used to a natural living growing food, being near to a natural springing water, taking care for each other, living in a Christian commune like – like in the old days)

Actually if we read the old testament's story of Moses escaping the upcoming flood, I believe what is about to come to us as a consequence of this out of boundaries technologization is pretty much like the old testamental flood (this should happen sooner or later).

Moses was wise enough to make himself an Ark and prepare himself for the storm. Today most people are so busy that they don't see the storm coming. I'll be glad to hear from people who has the same thinking as me and want to organize in a groups and live an old humble way of life without technology.
I'm convinced people who have realized all this tech short future bad consequences on humanity, need to have a common communication media and share their knowledge on how we can find a way to live tech free in this age. I'm curious am I the only one with such thoughts or other get into this insight too. If you have come to conclusions I did please contact me in comments. Thank you.

Facebook use in organizations harmful for company businesses – How to block facebook access to company or organization network on Linux routers

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012

Facebook harms company and organization employee efficiency picture, Falling company efficiency diagram due to facebook employee use

I don't know if someone has thought about this topic but in my view Facebook use in organizations has a negative influence on companies overall efficiency!
Think for a while, facebook's website is one of the largest Internet based "people stealing time machine" so to say. I mean most people use facebook for pretty much useless stuff on daily basis (doesn't they ??). The whole original idea of facebook was to be a lay off site for college people with a lot of time to spend on nothing.
Yes it is true some companies use facebook succesfully for their advertising purposes and sperading the awareness of a company brand or product name but it is also true that many companies administration jobs like secretaries, accountants even probably CEOs loose a great time in facebook useless games and picture viewing etcetera.

Even government administration job positioned people who have access to the internet access facebook often from their work place. Not to mention, the mobility of people nowdays doesn't even require facebook to be accessed from a desktop PC. Many people employeed within companies, who does not have to work in front of a computer screen has already modern mobile "smart phones" as the business people incorrectly call this mini computer devices which allows them to browse the NET including facebook.

Sadly Microsoft (.NET) programmers and many of the programmers on various system platforms developers, software beta testers and sys admins are starting to adopt this "facebook loose your time for nothing culture". Many of my friends actively use the Facebook, (probably) because they're feeling lonely in front of the computer screen and they want to have interaction with someone.

Anyways, the effect of this constant fb use and aline social networks is clear. If in the company the employeed personal has to do work on the computer or behind any Internet plugged device, a big time of the use of the device is being 'invested' in facebook to kill some time instead of investing the same time for innovation within the company or doing the assigned tasks in the best possible way

Even those who use facebook occasionally from their work place (by occasionally I mean when they don't have any work to do on the work place), they are constantly distracted (focus on work stealed) by the hanging opened browser window and respectively, when it comes to do some kind of work their work efficiency drops severely.
You might wonder how do I know that facebook opened browser tab would have bad interaction with the rest of the employee work. Well let me explain. Its a well known scientifically proven fact that the human mind is not designed to do simultaneously multiple tasks (we're not computers, though even computers doesn't work perfect when simultaneous tasks are at hand.).
Therefore using facebook in parallel with their daily job most people nowdays try to "multi task" their job and hence this reflects in poor work productivity per employee. The chain result cause of the worsened productivity per employee is therefore seen in the end of the fiscal quarter or fiscal year in bad productivity levels, bad or worsened quality of product and hence to poor financial fiscal results.

I've worked before some time for company whose CEO has realized that the use of certain Internet resources like facebook, gmail and yahoo mail – hurts the employee work productivity and therefore the executive directors asked me to filter out facebook, GMAIL and mail.yahoo as well as few other website which consumed a big portion of the employees time …
Well apparantly this CEO was smart and realized the harm this internet based resources done to his business. Nowdays however many company head executives did not realize the bad effect of the heavy use of public internet services on their work force and never ask the system administrator to filter out this "employees efficiency thefts".

I hope this article, will be eventually red by some middle or small sized company with deteriorating efficiency and this will motivate some companies to introduce an anti-facebook and gmail use policy to boost up the company performance.

As one can imagine, if you sum up all the harm all around the world to companies facebook imposed by simply exposing the employees to do facebooking and not their work, this definitely worsenes the even severe economic crisis raging around …
The topic of how facebook use destroyes many businesses is quite huge and actually probably I'm missing a lot of hardmful aspects to business that can be imposed by just a simple "innocent facebook use", so I will be glad to hear from people in comments, if someone at all benefits of facebook use in an company office (I seriously doubt there is even one).

Suppose you are a company that does big portion of their job behind a computer screen over the internet via a Software as a Service internet based service, suppose you have a project deadline you have to match. The project deadline is way more likely to be matched if you filter out facebook.
Disabling access to facebook of employees and adding company policy to prohibit social network use and rules & regulations prohibiting time consuming internet spaces should produce good productivity results for company lightly.
Though still the employees can find a way to access their out of the job favourite internet services it will be way harder.
If the employee work progress is monitored by installed cameras, there won't be much people to want to cheat and use Facebook, Gmail or any other service prohibited by the company internal codex

Though this are a draconian measures, my personal view is that its better for a company to have such a policy, instead of pay to their emloyees to browser facebook….

I'm not aware what is the situation within many of the companies nowdays and how many of them prohibit the fb, hyves, google plus and the other kind of "anti-social" networks.
But I truly hope more and more organizations chairman / company management will comprehend the damages facebook makes to their business and will issue a new policy to prohibit the use of facebook and the other alike shitty services.

In the mean time for those running an organization routing its traffic through a GNU / Linux powered router and who'd like to prohibit the facebook use to increase the company employees efficiency use this few lines of bash code + iptables:

#!/bin/sh
# Simple iptables firewall rules to filter out www.facebook.com
# Leaving www.facebook.com open from your office will have impact on employees output ;)
# Written by hip0
# 05.03.2012
get_fb_network=$(whois 69.63.190.18|grep CIDR|awk '{ print $2 }');
/sbin/iptables -A OUTPUT -p tcp -d ${get_fb_network} -j DROP

Here is also the same filter out facebook, tiny shell script / blocks access to facebook script

If the script logic is followed I guess facebook can be disabled on other company networks easily if the router is using CISCO, BSD etc.
I will be happy to hear if someone did a research on how much a company efficiency is increased whether in the company office facebook gets filtered out. My guess is that efficiency will increase at least with 30% as a result of prohibition of just facebook.

Please drop me a comment if you have an argument against or for my thesis.

Facebook and Youtube Culture has a negative impact on people in young years development and teenagers

Tuesday, December 13th, 2011

Facebook and Youtube helps young people get stupid

Facebook and Youtube has become for just a few years a defacto standard service for 80% of computer users in our age.
This is true and it seems there is growing tendency for people to adopt new easy to use services and a boom in the social networks.
We’ve seen that with the fast adoption of the anti-human freedom program Skype , the own privacy breaching FaceBook as well as the people interests tracking service YouTube.

We’ve seen similar high adoption rates in earlier times as well with the already dying (if not dead MySpace), with the early yahoo mail boom etc and in even earlier times with the AltaVista search engine use.
However this time it appears Youtube and FaceBook are here to stay with us and become standard online services for longer times …
Many people who work in office all day staring in a computer screen as well as growing teenagers and practically anyone in the developed and the development world is using those services heavily for (in between 5 to 10 hours a day or more). The Software as a Service users spends approximately half of their time spend on the internet in Youtube or and Facebook.

Its true Youtube can be massively educative with this global database of videos on all kind of topics and in some cases facebook can be considered helpful in keeping in touch people or keeping a catalog of pictures easily accessible from everywhere, however when few services becomes more used and influential than other provided services on the internet this makes these services harmful to the communities and destroyes cultures. The concentration of most of the human popuplation who uses high technologies around few online services creates a big electronic monopoly. In other words the tendency, we see of amalgamation of businesses in real world (building of big malls and destroyment of small and middle sized shops is being observed in the Internet space.

Besides that Facebook and Youtube and Twitter are highly contrary to the true hacker spirit and creates a big harm for intellectuals and other kind of tight and technical community culture by creating one imaginative casual disco culture without any deepness of thought or spirit.

Its observable that most of the people that are heavily using those services are turning into (if not exaggerate) a brainless consumer zombies, a crowd of pathless people who watch videos and pictures and write meaningless commentaries all day long.

You have as a result a “unified dumbness” (dumbness which unifies people).

Even if we can accept the grown and fully formed character people are aware of the threats of using Youtube or Facebook, this is definitely not the case with the growing people which are still in a process of building personality and personal likings.
The harmful resuls that the so called Social networks create can be seen almost everywhere, most of the cafeterias I visit the bar tender uses facebook or youtube all da long, most of random people I see outside in a coffee or university or any public institution where internet access is available they are again in Youtube and Facebook. The result is people almost did not use the Net but just hang around in those few services wasting network bandwidth and loading networks and computer equipment and spending energy for nothing. The wasteful computer and Internet deepens the ecologic problems as energy is spend on nonsense and not goal oriented tasks but on “empty” false entertainment.
Hence the whole original idea of internet for many is changed and comes to few words ( Skype, Youtube, Facebook etc.

Besides that youngsters instead of reading some classical valuable books, are staring in the computer screen most of their cognitive time at only this few “services” and are learned to become more a consumers than self opinion thinkers and inventors.
I have not lately met any growing real thinking man. I’ve seen already by own experience the IQ level of younger generations than mine (I’m 28) is getting downer and downer. Where I see as a main cause the constant interaction with technology built in a way to restrict, a consumers technology so to say.
Facebook and Youtube puts in young and growing man’s mind, the wrong idea that they should be limited choice people always praising what is newest and brightest (without taking in consideration any sight effects). These services lead people to the idea that one should always be with the crowds and never have a solid own opinion or solid state on lifely matters. As said own opionion is highly mitigated especially in facebook where all young people try to look not what they really are but copy / paste some trendy buzz words, modern style or just copying the today’s hearoes of the day. This as one can imagine prevents a person of getting a strong unique self identity and preference on things.

Many of the older people or computer illiterates can hardly recognize the severe problems, as they’re not aware on the technical side of things and does not realize how much security compromising as well as binding the constant exposure to those online hives are.
The purpose of this small post is hence just a small attempt to try to raise up some awareness of the potential problems, we as society might face very soon if we continue to follow the latest buzz trends instead of stop for a moment have a profound think on what is the moral consequences of giving so much power on Internet medias like Facebook and Youtube? …

What is Xorg’s server DPMS module for? And how to use it to reduce your computer power consumption

Thursday, April 21st, 2011

As I’m manually configuring a Xserver via xorg.conf I have noticed a block of code in:

Section "Monitor"
Identified "Generic Monitor"
Option "DPMS"
EndSection
That triggered my curiousity to research further what is DPMS . A very quick google search revealed that DPMS’s purpose is to communicate to communicate between the monitor and the computer, to make the computer turn off the (CRT or LED) based monitor if the computer is not used

Thus in short to rephrase DPMS is a power saving handy Xorg feature. I many custom configured xorg.conf like the mine I’m building right now does not include DPMS as many people doesn’t have idea what DPMS is and how to enable it.

DPMS is also an interface to the Energy start power-saving capability if not all, most of the modern day monitor screens.

DPMS enables the Xserver to control automatically the computer screen and thus reduces the overall computer power consumption.

To enable the use of DPMS on my Linux, all I had to do is place a couple of configuration directives in my xorg.conf .:
Here is how I enabled DPMS in my Xorg server:

1. Edit with a text editor /etc/X11/xorg.conf

2. Find the Monitor Section , e.g.:

Section "Monitor"
....
EndSection

3. Add inside the Monitor Section Options "DPMS" "true"

4. Lookup for the ServeryLayout section , e.g.:

Section "ServerLayout"
...
EndSection

5. Place inside the ServerLayout section For instance the following options:

Option "StandbyTime" "20"
Option "SuspendTime" "10"
Option "OffTime "25"

You might like to change the options StandbyTime, SuspendTIme or OffTime to match your likings.
6. As a last step restart the Xorg server.

Press Ctrl+Alt+BackSpace or by issuing:

host:~# pkill -HUP X

Test that DPMS is loaded properly by reviewing /var/log/Xorg.0.log for example:

host:~# grep -i /var/log/Xorg.0.log
(II) Loading extensions DPMS