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Is Wi-Fi Bad For Your Health?

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The simple answer is: no, it’s most likely not. To date, several studies have been conducted each finding something different. The studies have produced a jumble of contradictory evidence that leads to no definitive conclusion.

Wi-Fi is a type of radio wave for internet connectivity that some people believe may be detrimental to our health. Electromagnetic sensitivity has been associated with a wide range of symptoms including insomnia, headaches, fatigue, poor concentration, an irregular heartbeat, and dizziness. Research has not yet been able to establish that electromagnetic fields (EMFs) cause these symptoms.

It wasn’t until several cases of cancer developed amongst people working around radioactive materials like Uranium that a connection between the two was formed. Jump ahead to the 20th and 21st century and our concerns are now a bit broader. People express concern over anything that emits any form of radiation. Such concerns include: the sun, the microwave, cell phones, and even Wi-Fi access points.

It is important to understand that there are two types of radiation.

-Ionizing Radiation
-Non-ionizing Radiation

Ionizing radiation is the type of radiation that can poison and kill you. It ionizes the atoms inside of you and breaks their bonds. This is what happens with unstable isotopes like Uranium 235. However, not all exposure to ionizing radiation is necessarily dangerous as long as exposure is kept to a minimum. That’s how X-rays are made possible!

The other type of radiation is non-ionizing radiation. This type of radiation emits electromagnetic (EM) waves at varying wavelengths but does not quite reach the danger level of gamma/ultraviolet rays. This is the type of radiation produced by computers, cell phones, and Wi-Fi routers. In fact, more things emit this type of radiation than you may realize. Light bulbs, satellites, and every radio station within range are a part of this radiation network.

Why is non-ionizing radiation believed to be safe? The larger wavelengths are too large to rupture our atoms and the low amount of power they possess makes them too weak to emit significant amounts of heat.

If you’re comfortable enough to be around electrical lighting, being surrounded by Wi-Fi isn’t all that different. They all emit the same stuff, just with different properties.

Hopefully this helped clear up some of the confusion you may have had. If you’re still curious, I encourage you to read some of the scientific studies available online. Interpret the data and draw your own conclusion.

EDG Gets Tech Upgrades

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Electronics Design Group (EDG) recently upgraded critical hardware/software infrastructure for its Administration, Production & Service workforce. This 3-phase process, internally pegged “EDG’s Technology Initiative”, is currently being rolled out and will extend through the remainder of 2014.

Phase I included upgrading our mobile phones and entailed extensive testing of iOS and Android handsets. Because EDG, as an organization, is heavily based in Google Apps, the decision was made to utilize Nexus 5 phones on the competitively-priced AT&T network. This option will make communications more consistent and keep the EDG team connected.

Phase II of the “Technology Initiative” is  an upgrade to our computers. After six months of testing we chose  Apple’s MacBookPro Laptop.  Running Windows7,  in bootcamp mode over a 6 month period, we tested everything from Autocad to the various windows software tools our vendors provide.  Our  decision to upgrade was based on the overall age of current hardware and software (most computers were reaching, or at, their end-of-life and EDG was using Windows XP so changing to Windows 7 was necessary). Standard issue for Production & Service are the Apple MacBook Pro with retina display, 16GB of RAM and a solid state hard drive with Windows 7 OS Boot Camped on them. This upgrade enables EDG Technicians, Programmers and Project Managers the ability to run multiple apps and Windows-based program utilities (i.e. Control4, Crestron, Lutron, etc.) remotely and/or onsite for quicker, more efficient and effective service, system design and installation. For office personnel a combination of MacbookPro’s, iMacs and Mac Minis are being rolled out. This provides increased performance when using browser/cloud-based services and faster access to programs and files. Overall, the upgrade facilitates our need for stability, consistency, quality and  longevity of hardware, as well as an easier roll out and minimized user learning curve.

Phase III involves upgrading EDG’s Windows server farm infrastructure to a Mac OS X Server with local file storage for autocad files. Our primary applications for email, documents, accounting, CRM, etc. are all cloud hosted.  This change will reduce maintenance, require less space, generate 1/10 of the heat, and requires ⅓ less power consumption.   With the new gear, our team has some of the fastest and most reliable technology to count on everyday.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pimp Our Vans! EDG decided to update its fleet of Service vans this year! Here at EDG, we like to make a statement on the road so we “wrapped” our vans with some cool graphics, our areas of expertise and contact information so we can be seen (and contacted) wherever we are.

No, rap superstar Xzibit will NOT be making a cameo appearance but look out for our newly decorated vehicles on the roads.

Exploring Motorola’s Moto 360

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Wearable tech has been in the news a lot lately. Motorola is expected to have a public unveiling of their new Moto 360 smartwatch sometime in early September.

While not much is supposed to be known as of now, a product page from Best Buy was accidentally launched a little too early providing us with a glimpse of what’s to come.

We now know that the Moto 360 will be priced at $250.00, making it slightly more expensive than the other Android Wear smartwatches on the market: the Samsung Gear Live ($200.00) and the LG G Watch ($230).

The Moto 360 has a more elegant design than its competition, sporting a round display with two unique sleek styles, so perhaps the higher price is justified.

Features of Android Wear, its operating system, include:

-Time
-Weather
-Navigation
-Calendar
-Messaging
-Memos
-Reminders

According to the leaked page, the watch will include a heart-rate monitor, pedometer, Bluetooth 4.0 technology, and a Texas Instruments processor. It will have a 1.5 inch 320×290 screen made of Gorilla Glass 3. Motorola has made the watch waterproof up to 3 feet deep for up to 30 minutes.

The listing has sized the watch at 1.8 x 1.8 x 0.4 inches and should weigh in at 2.1 ounces. It’ll be compatible with Android 4.3 and later. Battery life is expected to be a little over 2 days before needing a charge.

The World’s Fastest Camera Can Take More Than 4 Trillion Photos Per Second

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Typical high-speed cameras can record tens of thousands of frames per second. This makes it possible to capture greater detail even during an instance of rapid movement. Researchers in Japan have invented what now holds the title of the fastest camera in the world.

The new Japanese camera is capable of shooting at speeds exceeding not just thousands but trillions of frames per second.

To make this possible, researchers in Japan had to invent an entirely new way of capturing light for images. When taking a standard photograph, a camera sends out light to an object (flash) and then probes for light to create the final image (sensor). We know this process as “repetitive measurement.” Sequentially Timed All-Optical Mapping Photography (called STAMP) skips the probing step and records bursts of images at a time, allowing the camera to record even faster images that depict more intricate events.

In 2011, MIT Media Lab showcased a camera capable of recording 1 trillion frames per second. At such a fast shutter speed, viewers could begin to see the movement of light as it refracts and scatters.

STAMP in its current form is rather large (3 square feet) is aimed at scientists conducting research who can use the fast shutter speeds for observing chemical reactions and biological processes. The current model is massive and it will be some time before a consumer version is released.

This model will most likely be very expensive and far from a consumer product. With any luck, this camera could unlock new ways to learn, discover, and develop technology in ways that were previously impossible.

 

 

New Features Headed to YouTube

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On average, YouTube videos play back at a rate of 30 frames per second (fps). According to YouTube’s most recent announcement, the video-giant is adding support for playback at speeds of 48 and 60 frames per second. Why is that important, you ask? Such rapid frame rates will be perfect for people who want to upload and watch smooth video game footage captured from devices including the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. High resolution video game trailers that playback at 60 frames per second are becoming the norm nowadays.

24fps-vs-30fps-vs-60fps

In addition to the boosted frame rates, fans will now be able to do more to help. Viewers will have the ability to submit their own translations for videos based on the captions and subtitles created by a video’s owner. Fans will also be able to make donations to channels so that YouTubers don’t have to rely on ad revenue alone.

Screen shot 2014-06-27 at 2.11.47 PMWith a new YouTube Creator Studio mobile app available on Android, YouTube users have access to analytic data including real-time views on the go. A similar app is in the works for Apple’s iPhone. It won’t be long before Apple fans can download the mobile app from their iTunes app store.

They’re even making it easier to add soundtracks and effects to videos by providing users with 7,500 royalty-free sound effects and background music. These files are already up and running for anyone who wants to use them. This will make it a lot easier for new users to create videos that sound professionally produced. Of course, there’s only so much sound can do. A quality video will still require good judgement.

It seems like YouTube has really outdone themselves in trying to make their services convenient and accessible to as many people as possible. With updated frame rates, thousands of free audio files, a convenient smartphone application, a way to raise revenue, and new methods of getting viewers involved, YouTube has done an outstanding job of staying ahead of the curve.

Myo Armbands Could Be the Next Big Thing

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Myo Armbands are raising eyebrows around the world and for good reason.

Three years ago, Google announced “Gmail Motion“: a hilarious April Fools Day prank that led people to believe Google had finally developed spacial tracking technology that could detect movement and translate actions into words, phrases, and meaningful messages. The Gmail gestures were meant to be simple and intuitive.

Check it out for yourself:

Of course, as wonderful as it sounded, the whole thing was one big joke.

Fortunately for us, such technology may not be too far off! Myo has developed an armband that can do a whole lot of stuff with similar gestures and a few swings of the arm. And this time, it’s no joke!

The Myo Armband is already up for pre-order at just $150.00. At such a low price point, I foresee this product doing really well. It probably won’t be long until we’re integrating these armbands into our smart-homes. I can see it already: flick up to turn the lights on… flick down to shut them off.

Myo Armbands

The Myo Armband

If you’re interested, you can pre-order yours here!

Architects, Consider 3D Printing Possibilities

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3D Printers aren’t just for consumers looking to print little toys and trinkets anymore. We see these printers becoming increasingly more popular in commercial settings where businesses can print materials that will improve their work.

Peter Pennoyer Architects, a Manhattan-based architectural firm that EDG has collaborated with on projects, recently hosted a Summer Party and introduced their 3D printer. At the event, the staff described the printer as their prized possession because instead of handing clients a set of complex architectural drawings and blueprints with dimensions, this particular architect is now able to print out a scaled-down version of rooms and architectural elements. By creating real-life models of specific plans, like a custom designed staircase, a client can actually see and touch what their space will look like once it’s constructed.

This technology is extremely useful in both a practical and creative sense. While there are concrete ways an architect could use such a printer, as you can see in the video posted below, there are also many instances where the power of the printer opens the door to innovation. The possibilities are endless!

Models are exactly what clients like to see. They want to know what they’re getting and what it’s going to look like. Two dimensional illustrations are great but can be difficult to visualize when work is complex and abstract. 3D printing fixes those problems by allowing clients to pick up projects with their own hands and see the end result and what their space will encompass. In effect, these scaled-down models will eliminate most client dissatisfaction as they’ll be able to see what they are getting before they get it.

Has your business explored the possibilities of 3D printing yet?

Amazon Prime Air Drones – Rejected

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Around December, Amazon announced plans of developing a new service called Amazon Prime Air.

Amazon’s goal was to create a new delivery system that would allow Amazon Prime members to select options like “30 minute delivery”. Upon placing the order, a drone would pick up the package and fly it right to your doorstep.

Sounds like a cool idea, doesn’t it?

faa_drone-525x480Unfortunately, Amazon’s plans to start delivering via drone have been shot down by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The FAA’s rejection prevents Amazon from utilizing a drone service for direct deliveries. The FAA went on to explain that it will not hesitate to take legal action against the company if they attempt to make deliveries by drone.

An infographic was produced by the FAA to lay out the DO’s and DON’T’s of flying a model aircraft.

As you can probably tell, Amazon Prime Air drones meet a lot of the “DON’T” criteria. As it stands, it seems the FAA is going to prevent Prime Air from ever becoming a legitimate business. Props to Amazon, though, for laying out the foundation for what could one day become the standard delivery option for online purchases.

(Source: www.TechnoBuffalo.com)

Introducing Google Play Music All Access

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Screen-Shot-2013-05-15-at-12.53.26-PMGoogle has recently introduced a competitive service to the music market. With Google Play Music All Access, at just 10 dollars a month, users have access to a wide variety of songs to stream from the cloud. Through a feature called scan and match, Google Play Music can scan through music libraries and put together a playlist of the songs on their server which is made ready for streaming to all compatible devices right away.Unfortunately, Google’s services will not be compatible with Apples products and services. However, these leaps in the way music is made available to consumers online may finally force Apple to rethink the way they handle sales through iTunes.
google_play_music_all_access-music-streaming-service
Unlike similar music streaming services like Spotify or Pandora, Google Play Music All Access excels in playlist and album creation. It has a lot of music discovery features that will increase your chances of finding songs you’ll like based on music you listen to. It even has a button featuring the famous “I’m feeling lucky” phrase which will play a random song.
If Google Play Music wants to stay competitive, it is going to have to release a desktop version for Windows and iOS. The website is fully functional but requires internet access in order to stream music. With offline services like iTunes out there, it would be wise to also create a Google service that works offline. Aside from that, Google Play Music All Access is a great choice for users looking to make their music library accessible on multiple internet-connected devices are users who are looking to discover new songs to add to their music library.

Apps Uncovered: Voxer

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With an app called Voxer, you can make your iPhone, Android or Windows Phone function very much like a Walkie-Talkie. Voxer utilizes push-to-talk (PTT) technology but intuitively merges it with other modes of communication all in one easy-to-use interface.

Friends can listen to you while you talk or choose to save all of the audio messages for later. Voxer allows you to instantly share audio, text, photos, and your location with ease.

VoxerSome key features include:

  • Cross-platform messaging (Android, Windows and iOS)
  • Voice, text, photos and location messages
  • Play back messages later
  • One-on-one messaging
  • Group messaging
  • Offline mode
  • No advertisements
  • Voice messages can be played back faster at 2x and 3x speeds
  • Connect through Facebook

If you’re looking for a way to communicate with a team of people at an event, Voxer will prove to be very useful at getting important messages out to everyone quickly. Even if you’re not looking for such a tool, Voxer is a fun way to communicate with friends that puts a unique twist on how you talk over the phone.

Now’s the Time to Get Wireless Streaming!

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Have you been waiting to get your hands on a media streaming device for your TV?
Not sure which device to get or whether you’re better off waiting for something better?

Well, it looks like now might be a great time to jump into the world of wireless video streaming!

(Photo Source: www.TechnoBuffalo.com)

(Photo Source: www.TechnoBuffalo.com)

Netflix CEO, Reed Hastings, has officially announced that Netflix has no plans of releasing its own streaming box anytime soon. Hastings explained that there is no reason for his company to dedicate the time and resources necessary to develop a Netflix box when there are so many fully-functioning streaming boxes that are already Netflix compatible. A Netflix app can be found on almost every set-top box available on the market today (Over 1,000 and counting!).

Hastings explains that if a new box comes onto the market, they have to partner with Netflix anyway or they won’t stand a chance against the competition.

Considering there won’t be any surprises in the near future, now could be a great time to finally purchase that wireless streaming device you’ve had your eyes on. EDG can install one for you along with a high-end set up that works specifically with you and your home. Apple TV and the new Amazon Fire are two boxes that can stream high resolution content at 1080p and will look and sound amazing on a new TV and surround sound system set up.

Source: www.TechnoBuffalo.com

Solution Idea: In-Wall and Ceiling Speakers

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Front and Back of an Invisible Speaker

There’s a lot of talk these days about invisible speakers that are hidden behind walls yet somehow still fully functional. You might be wondering how they work and whether or not they’re worth purchasing.

At Electronics Design Group, we work with many brands of invisible speakers but for this discussion we’ll focus on two brands: the Stealth Acoustics LR6G and the Amina AIW350E.

If your home has messy surround-sound speakers and cords laying around and you’re looking to make them go away, then invisible speakers are a great solution to your problem. EDG works with architects and interior designers to place invisible speakers in your wall – not on them. After your walls/ceilings are finished, you will be amazed by how impressive your new top-notch hidden sound system can perform completely out of sight.

If you’re concerned that placing speakers behind a wall will interfere with crisp sound production, do not fret. First of all, the speakers aren’t exactly “behind” the wall – they just look that way! They’re actually on the surface covered up behind a thin layer of spackle and some paint (or wallpaper). The loss of sound quality from being painted over is so minimal that it’s almost nonexistent. It is important to remember that these speakers were built to be covered so engineers made adjustments that take that into account when projecting frequencies. They won’t sound muffled.

In-wall and ceiling speakers are a go-to solution for anyone looking to de-clutter their audio equipment. In the following home, EDG installed a series of invisible speakers in the ceiling. Can you spot them?

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