Email from Arnie: Dear Dr. Shurtz, You have discussed various telecom subjects, equipment and toys on Tech Talk before. Do you know anything about OOMA phones at www.ooma.com. I wonder if one has to keep their computer on 24/7 in order for this phone system to work? Do you see any problems with this voip telecom system? Any comments regarding the price of the system? Like you, I use Skype, but OOMA appears to be different. Thanks, Arnie McKechnie, Davidsonville, MD
Tech Talk Answers: OOMA is a great option. The voice quality has gotten good reviews. I am considering this service and dropping my Verizon landline. Your number can be ported. Cost is $250 a year and all US calls are free. International calls are normal VoIP rates. Premier Service is available for $99/year.
Email from Emily: Dear Richard, I listen to your program everyday in the OH Zone station in Taiwan. Because I want to improve my English in listening and speaking skill. You really give me a great help in English learning. Thank you very much! Best Regards, Emily Liang from Taiwan
Tech Talk Answers: Thanks for listening Emily.OH Zone is an Internet radio website with all English shows.
Email form James: Dear Tech Talk, Frankly, i didn’t understand the difference between geeks and nerds. But I was thinking about "The big bang theory", and I was pretty sure that, Sheldon would be the geek type and Leonard would be a nerd type. And who knows, Penny, may be you’re wife? So, I hope I understood well. James
Tech Talk Answers: Thanks James. I think you understand the difference quite well. Over time nerds have morphed into geeks.
Email from Lauren: Dear Dr. Shurtz, In the past 7 months I have rec’d 2 speeding violation citations in Montgomery county, issued by a camera. Prior to these, I had never received a speeding ticket in my entire driving history. I have been driving for over 3 1/2 decades. After spending hours researching the circumstances surrounding the first ticket, which was issued in May, I determined that another vehicle that was very close to my car and in front of me actually triggered the camera but I got the ticket! I challenged this one and it was voided.
In the 2nd one I just got in the mail, there are no other vehicles near my car in the pictures I’ve been sent. I am wondering how I can learn more about these cameras and your thoughts on how I can discredit their authenticity/reliability when I go to court to disprove this ticket. Thanks, Lauren
Tech Talk Responds: You first defense was very good. The only other defense that I found was if the time delay after the yellow was too short. One person won that case. These tickets are hard to beat. There is a plastic film you can place over your license plate. It allows the license number to be seen from ground level, but blocks it when viewed from above.
Currently it is in preview and limited distribution
Wave is what Google thinks email would look like if it were invented today instead of 40 years ago.
Google Wave is an online communication and collaboration tool that makes real-time interactions more seamless — in one place, you can communicate and collaborate using richly formatted text, photos, videos, maps, and more.
A wave is a conversation with multiple participants — participants are people added to a wave to discuss and collaborate on its content.
Participants can reply any time and anywhere within a wave, and they can edit content and add more participants as a wave develops.
It’s also possible to rewind waves with the playback functionality, to see what happened, and when.
A wave is equal parts conversation and document. People can communicate and work together with richly formatted text, photos, videos, maps, and more.
A wave is live. With live transmission as you type, participants on a wave can have faster conversations, see edits and interact with extensions in real-time.
Article of the Week: Innovator’s DNA
Harvard Business Review, December 2009
According to a six year study of innovators, the most creative executive possess five discovery skills: associating, questioning, observing, experimenting, and networking.
These skills form the basis of what may be called creative intelligence.
Dyer, et al, contend that these skills can be cultivated, if the individual is not born with them.
Associating — They have found that associating is the unifying activity in innovation. Associating is the ability to connect seemingly unrelated pieces of information from different sources to trigger new associations and new ideas. The process to trigger these ideas requires disciplined thinking using the next four elements.
Questioning — Innovators must ask the right question and be clear about the purpose of his thinking. The question should challenge the status quo. The innovators must ask “why?” or “why not?”, or “what if?” As Ratan Tata, Tata Group chairman, puts it, “question the unquestionable.”
Observing — Innovators must gather data through observation. They might observe customers, competitors, neighbors, or even pets.
Experimenting — Innovators must try the ideas through experimentation. This might be intellectual exploration, physical tinkering, or engagement in new surroundings. They must work within the constraints of the problem and understand the consequences or implications of the innovative idea.
Networking — Innovators must network and talk with people with radically different perspectives. They should be their own devil’s advocate and adopt a point of view diametrically opposed to his first inclination. Innovators must look at the question or problem from multiple points of view, an essential element of critical and creative thinking.
This process of innovation is remarkably similar to the process of critical thinking defined by Paul and Elder. They agree with Dyer, et al, that creativity can be cultivated.