This week in history – April 12 – 18

Week 3 of our “This Week in tech History” covers new animals and allows us to see better.  See what happened in tech history between April 12 – 18

April 12, 1988 First patent for a new animal life form is issued for a genetically altered mouse. (like we need more species of mice)

April 13, 1743  Thomas Jefferson the third president of the United States and the inventor of  the pedometer, polygraph and the spherical sundial, is born.

April 14, 1956 Mark IV, the first videotape, is demonstrated.  The Mark IV replayed William Lodge’s speech moments after he finished astonishing the crowd.

April 15, 1924 Rand McNally publishes its first road atlas, a precursor to the modern-day GPS.

April 16, 1867 Wilbur Wright of the Wright brother’s fame is born near Millville, Indiana.

April 17, 1790 Benjamin Franklin, the inventor of bifocals and the lightning rod, passes away in his home in Philadelphia.

April 18, 1986 IBM becomes the first computer manufacturer to use a megabit chip, leveling the playing field between American computer makers and the Japanese electronics industry.

Want to see more?  Check out our tech history infographic

References:

http://www.historyorb.com/day/april/15

http://www.computerhistory.org/tdih/April/18/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benjamin_Franklin#Death_and_legacy

http://www.biography.com/people/wilbur-wright-20672839#synopsis

My name is “Woody” and I work for Mozy

Steve, aka “Woody,” is a friend to all here at Mozy. Woody is a sales engineer and is based out of our London office. Because of his charisma, Mozy is proud to send him to all the corners of the earth to work with our partners in their journey to the cloud and cloud services. Here is a Q&A with Woody.

I define my workspace as…

Wherever I lay my laptop bag. Planes, trains and automobiles; otherwise, never more than 2 meters (6.5 feet) from a power socket.

A device I can’t live without….

A TV set with a sleep timer.

When I arrive at work, I typically start my day off by…

Downing a glass of cold milk and having a conversation about the weather (it’s usually more interesting than politics, less controversial than religion, and less fractious than sports).

How long have you worked for Mozy?

A little over six years.

I do/do not listen to music at work and it helps me work better because …

When I can and only if I’m not speaking with a customer. Anything with a fast tempo as it keeps me focused on the task at hand and prevents me from eavesdropping on interesting conversations.

If you could be in one TV sitcom or movie, what would it be and why?

I’d be a guest at “Fawlty Towers” (think Major Gowen), or I’d be Lord Flashheart in “Blackadder”!

Outside of work, I am passionate about …

Rugby, snow sports, and the beach.

My eating habits are …

Completely random. I like to make letters out of pretzels and spell funny words like “Wankel Rotary Engine.”

If I could be someone for a day, I would be …

Richard “Dickie” Branson

The “secret sauce” that makes me who I am …

If you can’t be passionate about what you do, then do something else.

One thing that makes me unique is….

Each of us is unique; no one thing defines us.

Guilty pleasure…

Using the hotel laundry service and not having to make the bed in the morning.

This week in tech history (April 5 – April 11)

See what happened in tech history on our second week of “This Week in Tech History”

April 5, 1964 - First driverless trains run on London Underground.

April 6, 1980 Post-it Notes are introduced.

April 7,  1896 Tolbert Lanston is issued a patent for the Monotype printing press.

April 9,1919 - John Presper Eckert, co-inventor of the first electronic computer-(ENIAC), is born.

April 10, 1930 - Synthetic rubber is first produced.

April 11, 1893 Frederic Ives patents the process for half-tone printing press.

Want to see more?  Check out our tech history infographic

References:

http://www.historyorb.com/day/april/5

http://inventors.about.com/od/todayinhistory/a/april.htm

http://www.historyorb.com/day/april/9

http://senselist.com/2006/10/27/12-things-thomas-jefferson-invented/

http://www.historyorb.com/day/april/10

http://inventors.about.com/od/todayinhistory/a/april.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quadruplex_videotape

The Most Influential Tech Inventions and Discoveries from Each Month of the Year

 

Take a stroll down memory lane and discover when each of these ground-breaking, tech-related innovations and discoveries became a reality.

Months of the Year

  • The first iPhone is unveiled by Steve Jobs on January 9, 2007. “Project Purple” as it was code named throughout production was the first smart phone to fully utilize the touch screen as well as run on a computer operating system.
  • The phonograph is patented  on February 19, 1878. This invention was the first of its kind to be able to record and reproduce sound.
  • The first HDD is patented on March 11, 1970. Because of the hard disk drive, future storage services such as the cloud could become a reality
  • The first lap top is released on April 3, 1981. While it may have only included a single sided, single density 64 KB floppy drive the Osborne 1 revolutionized the possibilities for micro-computers.
  • The first fiber optic is tested by AT&T on May 11, 1977. Without the invention of the low-loss optical fiber our “information superhighway” would not be possible.
  • The first public color TV is demonstrated on June 27, 1929. From that point on and regardless of how large or small the device, the masses expected to view it in color.
  • The Sony Walkman is released in Japan on July 1, 1979. The Walkman TPS-L2 forever changed the way people would listen to music on the go.
  • The World Wide Web debuts on August 6, 1991. After months of strictly professional use Tim Berners-Lee opened up his invention to the public and transformed communication as we know it.
  • Genetic fingerprinting is discovered by Dr. Alec Jeffreys in September 1984.This remains our only unique identifier that cannot be altered or appear exactly as someone else’s.
  • Sputnik, the first human-made satellite to orbit the earth, is launched by Russia on October 4, 1957. This milestone sparked the space race.
  • The first CGI is used in movie “Westworld” on November 21, 1973. The first use of this was done to pixelate photography in order to capture a robot’s point of view.
  • The first home security system is patented on December 2, 1969 by Marie Brown. This gave homes a new level of security never before available to the populous.

This week in Tech history (April 1-April 4)

For the month of April we will be taking a look at a significant events that happened on each day. See what happened this week below.

April 1, 1927 – First automatic record changer introduced by His Master’s Voice.

April 2, 1889 – Charles Martin Hall patents an inexpensive method for the production of aluminum, which brought the metal into wide commercial use.

April 3, 1973 – Martin Cooper, an employee at Motorola, makes the first call using a cell phone.  “Can you hear me now?”

April 4, 1975 – Microsoft is founded by Bill Gates and Paul Allen and would soon revolutionize the computer industry.

 

http://inventors.about.com/od/todayinhistory/a/april.htm

https://www.google.com/search?q=first+call+on+a+cell+phone&oq=first+call+on+a+cell+phone&aqs=chrome..69i57.4326j0j7&sourceid=chrome&es_sm=119&ie=UTF-8

http://hereisthecity.com/en-gb/2012/04/04/11-things-that-happened-this-day-in-history-4th-april/

http://www.historyorb.com/day/april/1

Want more tech history?  Check out our infographic “The Most Influential Tech Inventions and Discoveries from Each Month of the Year.

 

2GB Free MozyHome Online Backup

Our cloud is being raised on fruits, veggies, and whole grains

There are a lot of very old people living in the United States. We’re not talking about men and women who live beyond the average life expectancy of 79.8 years (for males, 77.4 years; for females, 82.2 years), according to the World Health Organization. We’re talking about seemingly super humans who are well beyond a century old.

Just a few weeks ago the U.S. Social Security Administration’s inspector general identified 6.5 million Social Security numbers that are older than 112 years. According to Social Security records, the individuals who were issued these numbers were born before June 16, 1901.

One individual, according to her Social Security Number, opened her first bank account in 1869. (We’ll assume it’s a her because women in general live longer.)

The problem stems from no death date ever being entered for those Social Security numbers, and those same numbers still being used for a variety of purposes, all of them fraudulent (unless, of course, you really are 112 years old or older). So, at least on paper, the individuals associated with those Social Security numbers have exceeded the maximum reasonable life expectancy.

The truth is, people aren’t really living that long. According to the Gerontology Research Group, only 35 people made it to the ripe-old of age of 112 as of October 2013. And that’s worldwide.

Living an extra-long time got us thinking about data and how it’s stored and backed up. How long does data “live”? The better question is: How long does the device on which the data is stored or backed up to live?

  • Data stored on tape: Data stored on tape starts to disappear when the tape starts losing its magnetic charge. Not only is tape susceptible to wear and tear, high humidity and temperatures are problematic. Maybe 10 to 30 years, but we’re not talking centenary storage.
  • Data stored on CDs and DVDs: According to the Optical Storage Technology Association, the unrecorded shelf life of CDs and DVDs is between 5 to 10 years. For recorded CDs and DVDs, perhaps 25 years.
  • Data stored on drives: Hard to say. According to one study, three years is the point where hard drives start wearing out.
  • Data in the cloud: Forever (even centenarians with fake Social Security numbers can’t compete).

Although cloud computing is relatively new, Mozy by EMC has been around since 2005, which makes us one of the oldest cloud backup services. If the Social Security Administration were to issue the Mozy cloud a Social Security number, our number would be in perpetuum.

BTW, if you’ve got your sights set on living to be a century old—or coming as close as possible—here is some information that should prove useful:

  • Maintain some level of activity (like the doctor from Paris who even at the age of 99 walked up three sets of stairs every day on the way up to his study).
  • Move to a geographical area where people live longer than average (if you don’t speak Japanese, it’s time to learn! Okinawans live longer than anyone else in the world).
  • Eat, but not too much (and eating the right kinds of foods will help; foods such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains).

Efficient cloud-based backup

Although it’s true that most large organizations rely on on-premises backup solutions, many of those organizations realize that backing up to the cloud is making more and more financial sense. For those organizations that are just now looking into the cloud, the idea of building and managing another data center might seem formidable and expensive. But that’s not how it is; just the opposite is true.

Building and managing a remote and reliable data center for backup and disaster recovery is easier than you might think; it even makes good financial sense. That last part—good financial sense—is particularly important in this day of ongoing cost-cutting measures. It isn’t likely that the need to further decrease costs and increase efficiencies is ever going to fall by the wayside. (Try telling your finance department and shareholders that decreasing costs and increasing efficiencies no longer matter!)

Why does a cloud-based backup solution make sense? Two words: capital expenditure. Actually, it makes more sense to mention four key words: capital expenditure and operating expenses. Recent research demonstrates that organizations that implement cloud solutions are enjoying significant benefits, among them (1) no capital expenditure for hardware, (2) very little up-front cost, and (3) minimal administrative overhead.

Those benefits become particularly important when you consider that more than 40 percent of respondents to a recent survey indicated that reducing IT infrastructure costs was the top benefit of backing up and protecting their data in the cloud. Here are the top-five most common benefits:

  1. Reducing IT infrastructure costs
  2. Reducing complexity within the IT environment
  3. Reduced IT personnel costs
  4. Improved user productivity
  5. Reduced power and cooling costs

An interesting aspect of benefit #3 is that reducing IT personnel costs doesn’t necessarily mean more workers in the unemployment line. Not by a long shot. Because cloud backup is a cost-effective way to protect your servers and computers, IT personnel who once worked on on-premises backup solutions can now focus on other important tasks; they can be repurposed to work on more strategic onsite systems and/or applications.

It’s no surprise that organizations large and small—and everything in between—are becoming more and more reliant on digital capabilities. With those capabilities come opportunities for growth and success; however, the exposure to threats to data is increasing dramatically.

In the beginning, sending data to the cloud might have seemed like a challenging prospect, perhaps more bother than benefit. But that’s certainly not the case today. Security and trust are essential elements of the cloud. The uncompromising physical security of offsite data centers, the backing of third-party certifications and validations, the experience and reputation of the cloud provider monitoring and management, the ability to restrict data access and, should it ever become necessary, the capability of restoring data all contribute to keeping data safe, secure, and accessible.

Once you understand and embrace the benefits of the cloud, you can focus additional energy on supporting your business goals and doing more with existing resources. That kind of efficiency makes all kinds of good sense.

This award represents our commitment to you

We here at Mozy are always looking for ways to improve how we meet the needs of those who rely on our data backup and protection services. That’s why our customers have come to expect nothing but the best from us. So we are pleased to learn that Mozy Support is the recipient of a 2015 Stevie Award, considered to be the world’s premier business award.

Mozy’s Mark Goetz (left) and Damien O’Halloran accept a Silver Stevie Award in Las Vegas on behalf of Mozy Support.

The Mozy Support team was awarded a Silver Stevie Award for “Best Use of Technology in Customer Service for Computer Software and Services.” In other words, Mozy is being recognized for use of technology that has directly improved customer service delivery, provided real business benefits, and shown system adoption across our entire customer service function.

“Knowing you offer a world-class support experience is one thing, but to receive an award confirms just that,” said Damien O’Halloran, director, Mozy Technical Support. “Continued investments in innovative technology around self-help have allowed us to use that as a differentiator in our Support offerings.”

In awarding “Best Use of Technology” honors, judges recognized Mozy for “making support for millions of users in the software as a service industry efficient, fast, and personal.”

Earlier this year we launched our new Support portal, which is the result of feedback from our customers, industry trends, and other research. The portal is just another way for us to improve our services. You’ve probably noticed how easy it is to access support from Mozy. For example, we recognize that you’re looking for very specific information when you visit the portal, so we’ve made that information easier for you to find with a new structure based around the activities for which you want information, such as restores, account setup, etc.

In addition, if you are looking for help on a particular product, you don’t want to have that information obscured with information about another product. So, once you’re logged in to the portal, the only information you will see will relate to your product. If you want to see other product information, simply change the product filter at the top of the page to the product you are interested in.

Be sure that you’re taking advantage of all that Mozy Support has to offer by signing in when you visit the portal.

Learn more about Mozy’s world-class support team.

P.S. This isn’t Mozy’s first rodeo. About this time last year Mozy took home a Stevie Award. To be sure, Mozy by EMC takes support seriously. Backing up your files may be automatic, but we never take for granted your trust in what we do to back up and protect your valuable data.

 

Technology does more than meets the eye

There is a lot of fun “toys” out there when it comes to the world of technology. Most things are designed, built, and used for a specific purpose. In many situations though, people use something for a purpose much different than it was originally intended. Here are just a few standout examples:

Xbox Kinect

Original use: “With Kinect for Xbox One, command your Xbox and TV with your voice and gestures, play games where you are the controller, and make Skype calls in HD.” (from manufacturer’s website)

Another use: Kinect Fusion offers the ability to utilize the sensors in the Kinect camera to create a 3-D model of a real-life thing. For example, you can stand still, let the camera check you out, and VOILA! A digital, 3-D image of you appears on the screen.

One more use: The Kinect, mixed with a projector, can turn any surface into a touch-screen computer. Check it out.

Graphing Calculator

Original use: These behemoth of calculators are used for solving complicated mathematical problems. Probably the best-known maker of these these devices is Texas Instruments. Many of us have used their calculators during those long hours of math class. Little did we know that these puppies easily could have supplied us with hours of fun.

Another use: Play games. Yes, you heard correctly. Someone out there cleverly designed some games we all know and love to run on the processor of these machines. Games such as Tetris, Doom, Super Mario Brothers 3, Pokemon Stadium, and even counter strike. Obviously, the controls will be a little clunkier than our trusty console, PC or handheld device, but it passes the time in Calc. 2020.

Post-it Notes

Original use: Post-it Notes came to be by accident. In 1968, a scientist at 3M in the United States, Dr. Spencer Silver, was attempting to develop a super-strong adhesive. Instead, he accidentally created a “low-tack,” reusable, pressure-sensitive adhesive. For five years, Silver promoted his “solution without a problem” within 3M both informally and through seminars, but it failed to gain acceptance. In 1974, Art Fry, a colleague who had attended one of Silver’s seminars, came up with the idea of using the adhesive to anchor his bookmark in his hymnbook. Fry then utilized 3M’s officially sanctioned “permitted bootlegging” policy to develop the idea. The original Notes’ yellow color was chosen by accident, as the lab next-door to the Post-it team had only yellow scrap paper to use, and thus was born the Post-it.

Another use: Self-stick notes are not just used for taking notes or marking a book. There is a type of self-stick note art that is very impressive. Check out this exhibit and just simply google “sticky note art” and you will get a myriad of awesome things.

Technology, whether it’s used for its original purpose or not, is never boring! Think about how you might be able to expand the use of one of your favorite technologies. You never know what kind of new technology you might come up with!

 

image source https://www.flickr.com/photos/artimageslibrary/4865440372/

What do Furbies and cloud computing have in common?

The dawn of AI is here and it’s all possible because of cloud computing.

Let’s go back to the ’90s when Furbies became popular. The little toy fur ball had a small bit of Artificial Intelligence. It may be hard to believe, but that little guy had more computing power than the Apollo 11. Yes, the spacecraft that landed man on the moon. Fresh out of the box these AI fur balls would talk Furbish, the language of the Furby. After children had interacted with them for a while, their Furbies would learn certain English words. Furbies could even interact with each other if you had multiple units. Furbish was translated into 24 languages.

Furbies were not only cute (if a cross between a hamster and an owl is your idea of cute), the fact that they were able to “learn” a few words made them endearing. However, they obviously didn’t show the intelligence or the discernment of a human. But that would change a few years later when in 1997 a team of programmers and chess experts programed a machine called Deep Blue. The supercomputer had enough reason and logic to beat World Chess Champion Garry Kasparov at chess. The Russian had the upper hand the first few games, but Deep Blue progressed and eventually beat the chess Grandmaster, considered by many to be the greatest chess player of all time.

Watson is our next step in the progression of AI. Watson, an artificially intelligent computer system, was programed to be able to listen to a question (think Siri on your smartphone) and then answer that question. To prove how brilliant this AI was, in 2011 TV quiz game Jeopardy had Watson on a show and matched it up against two of Jeopardy’s greatest champions, Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter. At the conclusion of the competition, Ken and Brad lost to Watson.

Enter cloud computing. For those who are familiar with the cloud, you know that it’s not just a buzz word. The platform is essentially thousands of remote servers working together in a centralized location. Users can then access the data either created or stored on those servers via a device such as a handheld device or laptop.

You probably see where I am going with this. The next logical step for AI is to let the cloud do the computing at lightning speeds, like Watson did on Jeopardy, and then send that information back to the device or AI being, such as the character Lieutenant Commander Data from Star Trek. We can see an early concept with CogniToy’s green dino. The green dino is a child’s toy about the size of a teddy bear that can carry on a conversation on different topics, tell a story, and even answer age-related questions. The intelligence grows or matures with the child. In fact, the green dino even has the ability to discern whether or not the answer is a little too mature for the age of the child, at which point the toy will tell the child to go ask his mom the question. All of this “smart” dino’s responses are computed in the cloud.

Currently, the only limitation of AI is being able to reach a Wi-Fi connection. However, as municipal wireless networks (where the entire city has access to a Wi-Fi signal) become more and more popular, this AI obstacle may not be around for much longer, allowing AI to continue to grow intellectually.

With giant tech companies such as Google buying up AI startups and cloud computing advancing so rapidly, it’s reasonable to expect ongoing funding for AI—and artificial intelligent beings in our lifetime. All thanks to cloud computing.