Show of 1-1-2011

  • Best of Tech  Talk Edition
    • Replaying popular segments from previous shows.
  • Email and Forum
    • Email from John: Dear Tech Talk: It is the New Year and I am still in my old job. I want to get into technology, but don’t know where to begin. I need experience to get a job. I can’t get a job without experience. What should I do? Thanks, John
    • Tech Talk Answers: I covered this earlier in the year. Here is a quick summary. Act like a profession now. And you will be treated like a professional.
    • Read Industry Rags
      • PC Magazine, Information Security, CIO, eWeek, Network Computing, Information Week, Dr Dobb’s Journal
    • Know Your Standards Organizations
      • Internet Engineering Task Force, World Wide Web Consortium, XML Industry Portal, NIST IT Lab, IEEE 802 Lan/Man Committee, IPv6, Internatioan Telecommunications Union, SANS Institute
    • Join User Groups
      • Virginia Oracle Users Group, Capitol PC User’s Group, Washington Apple Pi, Washington Area Perl Mongers, Washington Area SGML/XML Users Group, Maryland Cold Fusion Users Group, Washington DC Linux Users Group, Northern Virginia Linux Users Group
    • Join Trade and Professional Associations
      • Open Software Foundation, IEEE Computer Society, Association for Computing Machinery, Information Technology Association of America, Free Software Foundation, Association for IT Professionals, DC Chapter of Internet Society, Network and Systems Professionals Association
    • Check the Women in Information Technology Sites
      • Institute for Women and Technology, Women in Technology, Girl Geeks, DC Web Women
    • Understand where the Field is Going
      • Network Infrastructure (including Telecommunications)
      • Security and Security Policy
      • Information Systems (getting the right information to the right people)
      • Distributed and Interactive Databases with Web Interface
      • Rapid Application Development
      • Wide spread use of open source software
    • Select Project To Complete At Home
      • Build a Computer
      • Install Multiple Operating Systems
      • Build an Application or a Website
      • Project1: Use Backtrack2 and Learn Tool Suite (prior show)
      • Project 2: Set up a Linux Cluster (prior show)
      • Project 3: Setup an MySQL Database
  • Profiles in IT: James T. Russell
    • The digital compact disc was invented in the late 1960s by James T. Russell.
    • Russell was born in Bremerton, Washington in 1931.
    • At age six, he invented a remote-control battleship, with a storage chamber for his lunch.
    • Russell went on to earn a BA in Physics from Reed College in Portland in 1953.
    • He went to work as a Physicist in General Electric’s in Richland, Washington.
    • He was among the first to use a color TV screen and keyboard as the sole interface between computer and operator. He designed and built the first electron beam welder.
    • In 1965, he joined Battelle Memorial Institute’s Pacific Northwest Laboratory in Richland, Washington. He title was Senior Scientist.
    • Russell was an avid music listener. He was continually frustrated by the wear and tear suffered by his vinyl phonograph records.
    • Alone at home one Saturday, Russell began to sketch out a music recording system, which could record and replay without physical contact using only light.
    • He saw that if he could represent the binary 0 and 1 with dark and light, a device could read sounds or indeed any information at all without ever wearing out. Battelle let Russell pursue the project.
    • After years of work, Russell succeeded in inventing the first digital-to-optical recording and playback system (patented in 1970).
    • He had found a way to record onto a photosensitive platter in tiny "bits" of light and dark, each one micron in diameter; a laser read the binary patterns, and a computer converted the data into an electronic signal — which it was then comparatively simple to convert into an audible or visible transmission.
    • This was the first compact disc.
    • Although Russell had once envisioned 3×5-inch stereo records that would fit in a shirt pocket and a video record that would be about the size of a punch card, the final product imitated the phonographic disc which had been its inspiration.
    • Through the 1970s, Russell continued to refine the CD-ROM, adapting it to any form of data.
    • Like many ideas far ahead of their time, the CD-ROM found few interested investors at first; but eventually, Sony and other audio companies realized the implications and purchased licenses.
    • By 1985, Russell had earned 26 patents for CD-ROM technology.
    • He then founded his own consulting firm, where he has continued to create and patent improvements in optical storage systems, along with bar code scanners, liquid crystal shutters, and other industrial optical instruments.
    • His most revolutionary recent invention is a high-speed optical data recorder / player that has no moving parts. Russell earned another 11 patents for this "Optical Random Access Memory" device, which is currently being refined for the market.
  • MIT Technology Review’s Year in Hardware
    • Touch Screens — Apple’s iPhone, Microsoft’s Multitouch Computer Table, and Perceptive Pixel’s Touch Screen Wall.
    • Tactile Feedback — Researchers are exploring ways to add a tactile cue that lets a person know when a button on a smooth screen has been tapped. This field, called haptics, is also used to make virtual-reality experiences more real ? simulating feel of water or vests worn while playing video games.
    • Context-Aware Gadgets — This year, a number of products and research projects tried to make phones, laptops, and other gadgets better by using context. Nokia introduced a powerful tablet PC with a Global Positioning System (GPS) chip. Google recently announced a technology helps a person place himself on a map, within about 1,000 meters, using information from a cell-phone tower. Researchers at have developed an application for a phone that suggests things that the user might want to do, places to eat and shop, and things to see.
    • Brain-Computer Interfaces — Startup Emotiv is betting on a wireless electroencephalograph (EEG) cap for gamers that lets them control the game by concentrating on certain tasks. Another company, Emsense, believes that EEG can help it collect better market-research data about how people respond to advertisements, video games, and political speeches. Microsoft researcher Desney Tan is leveraging EEG in a different way: he’s using it to collect people’s subconscious responses to pictures in order to try to teach computers to recognize certain types of images.
    • Multicore Computers — This year, consumers became accustomed to dual-core chips, processors with two number-crunching engines–and ever more powerful computers with many more cores are on their way. But as each generation of processor comes out with a larger number of cores, engineers will run into problems. No one quite knows how best to design a consumer processor with tens or hundreds of cores, and no one knows how to make it easy to program. New methods to network and program the cores are currently in research labs in order to optimize the use of multiple cores.
    • Autonomous Vehicles — This year, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) held a robotic-car competition that attracted the world’s best minds in robotics and artificial intelligence. Two years ago, DARPA put on the Grand Challenge, in which cars drove for miles on an empty desert road. This year’s Urban Challenge required them to obey traffic laws and interact with other cars on the road (including other robotic cars). In the end, the vehicle from Carnegie Mellon completed the race the fastest, and with the most sensible driving of any of the six that crossed the finish line. Stanford came in second, and Virginia Tech’s entry was awarded third place.
  • Food Science — Mother Sauces
    • Culinary Moves from Italy to France
      • Culinary tradition moved from Italy to France in the 16th century.
      • Catherine de Medici, niece of the Magnificent, took a multitude of cooks and their helpers to Paris when she married, at age 14, Henry of Orleans, the future Henry II in 1533.
    • The Mother Sauces –The five mother sauces as designated by Escoffier were bechamel, veloute, hollandaise, espagnole, and tomato.
      • Béchamel, the classic white sauce, was named after its inventor, Louis XIV’s steward Louis de Béchamel. The king of all sauces, it is often referred to as a cream sauce because of its appearance and is probably used most frequently in all types of dishes. Made by stirring milk into a butter-flour roux, the thickness of the sauce depends on the proportion of flour and butter to milk.
      • Velouté is a stock-based white sauce. It can be made from chicken, veal or fish stock. Enrichments such as egg yolks or cream are sometimes also added.
      • Espagnole, or brown sauce, is traditionally made of a rich meat stock, a mirepoix of browned vegetables (most often a mixture of diced onion, carrots and celery), a nicely browned roux, herbs and sometimes tomato paste.
      • Hollandaise is made with an emulsion of egg yolks and fat. Hollandaise is made with butter, egg yolks and lemon juice, usually in a double boiler to prevent overheating, and served warm. It’s also used as the base for such mixtures as Tartar Sauce, Thousand Island Dressing, Aïoli, and Remoulade.
      • Tomato. This is self-explanatory.
    • Some chefs add a sixth sauce to the list.
      • Vinagrette. Sometimes this sixth one is added to the list. Vinagrette is a sauce made of a simple blend of oil, vinegar, salt and pepper (usually 3 parts oil to 1 part vinegar).
  • Food Science: Champagne Bubbles
    • The bubble patterns evolve as the amount of dissolved carbon dioxide changes in the glass. They start out as strings of bubbles that rise in pairs, then gradually transition to bubbles in groups of threes, and finally settle down in a clockwork pattern of regularly spaced individual bubbles.
    • The researchers observed the carbon dioxide bubbles in a champagne glass as they rise from nucleation points on the glass wall. The nucleation points are small defects in the glass that trap tiny vibrating pockets of carbon dioxide. Dissolved gas in the champagne gradually collects in a vibrating bubble inside the defect, causing it to grow and soon expel gas from the defect, forming another bubble that sticks to the outside of the defect. That bubble, in turn, grows as more dissolved carbon dioxide collects inside it and it eventually breaks free of the defect to rise through the champagne. Then the process begins again with a new bubble expelled from the defect, forming rising strings of tiny bubbles.