Old Age May Mean Home Monitoring, Telemedicine

As more baby boomers enter retirement, many may see their homes get a high-tech makeover.

Their medicine bottles will alert their doctors when they miss a dose. Pressure-sensing floor mats can sense when they have fallen or let caregivers know when a patient has not showered for a while. Sensors that customers wear on their bodies can detect whether they are moving in a manner that would indicate they have taken a spill.

The aim of these upgrades is to allow an aging population to stay in their homes — and independent — longer.

The effort also pushes “telemedicine,” including video­conferencing with one’s doctor, into a more intimate space.

Receiving such data from a patient can make it easier for doctors to monitor their health, said David Lindeman, a gerontologist and director of the Center for Technology and Aging. Also, he said, monitoring people while they are in their natural environment rather than a clinical setting can also lead to more accurate diagnoses.


A Robot In The Living Room

The idea of robots in the home is still largely a novelty; some folks have the Roomba automated floor sweeper, and we keep seeing Honda's cute little Asimo robot climbing stairs, hopping on one leg and kicking footballs. We do see some robotic carts in hospitals, too - but can we expect humanoid robots is our homes anytime soon? Maybe not in the next few years, but the push is on to make us a more robot-friendly society, like Japan already is. So-called "social robots" like "Jibo" may be the key, by providing a product a bit like an extension of a Siri, Cortana or Google Now type of personal assistant, but in a physical form. It's interactive, but not wandering around your house potentially running over the cat's tail, or knocking over an inattentive toddler.

Chrome Browser Is A Vampire!

Or, less dramatically, the Chrome browser apparently has a long-lived programming bug that makes it use more power than expected, at least on Windows computers. This obviously affects laptop users most, who often rely on battery power. Google now has Top Men working on it, following an article on Forbes...TOP Men.
Instead of waking up the processor every 15.625ms, Chrome tells Windows to have it wake up every 1.000ms. So while your PC normally wakes up the processor 64 times per second when it's idle, as long as you have Chrome running, the processor wakes up 1,000 times per second.
Chrome doesn't have to be running in the foreground to have this effect, either. There's only one platform timer, so when one application changes its resolution, the new value becomes a system-wide setting.
Naturally, if your system's processor is never allowed any rest, the effects of any power-management techniques will be virtually negated, and your battery will run down at a much faster rate than it should.


Harvest iOS App For Foodie Fulfillment

Harvest is one of those apps that should delight a small subset of the general population; in this case, the "Foodie". 
From Wikipedia: "A foodie is a gourmet, or a person who has an ardent or refined interest in food and alcoholic beverages. A foodie seeks new food experiences as a hobby rather than simply eating out of convenience or hunger."
Harvest is available for Apple devices and among other things allows you to quickly see which types of produce are in season for your geographical area, allowing you to avail yourself of the freshest local ingredients for your culinary adventures. It's available for $1.99 at the iTunes Store, and is compatible with iOS 7.
Having a hard time remembering all those clever fruit and vegetable selection tips when standing in the produce aisle? That's what Harvest, an application for the iPhone and iPod Touch, is all about.

Whether it's knocking on watermelons, smelling pineapples, squeezing avocados, or examining the color of peaches, you'll know the best approach.

A Big Day, A Happy Day

About a month ago, our only daughter June married her best buddy Jacob and we all got to enjoy a truly glorious day, both in terms of the weather and of the ceremony and reception. A lot of happy people celebrating a happy day. As part of the wedding party, we had some of my relatives from Scotland who managed to come over for the big day and who also stayed with us through the July 4th holiday. I mention this for two reasons - one, to explain the sporadic posts recently; I am still recovering (in a good way). Second, it was a little strange how little I used any computer devices during the whole day. However, I will say that one of the most emotional post-wedding moments for me was when I changed my daughter's contact information in my cell phone. Isn't that odd?

The Bride and Groom


Remember This? The Honeywell Kitchen Computer

Of course you don't, this contraption was more of a marketing curiosity than a viable product; and yet, it was the first computer ever offered (if not actually sold) as a consumer product.
The Honeywell Kitchen Computer or H316 pedestal model of 1969 was a short-lived product offered by Neiman Marcus as one of a continuing series of extravagant gift ideas. It sold for $10,000 ($63,730 in 2013 dollars), weighed over 100 pounds (over 45kg), and was advertised as useful for storing recipes. Reading or entering these recipes would have been nearly impossible for the average housewife or cook, since the user interface required the user to complete a two-week course just to learn how to program the device, using only toggle-switch input and binary light output. It had a built in cutting board and had a few recipes built in. No evidence has been found that any Honeywell Kitchen Computers were ever sold.

Hmm, looks like biscuits and gravy again...

Weekly Round-Up

Here we are once again, and I bring you another collection of links for your entertainment and edification:

Brush up on your tech acronyms - less gobbledegook