F.lux Promises To Help You Sleep

According to research done by the American Medical Association, exposure to excessive light at night, including extended use of electronic media, can disrupt sleeping and intensify sleep disorders. F.lux makes the colour of your computer’s display adapt to the time of day, specifically dawn and dusk. The warm colours at night can help your eyes adapt and diminish strain. When it’s time to sleep, it will become a much more comfortable transition into a darker environment.

Night-time exposure to blue light keeps people up late. F.lux adjusts colours in a way that reduces the stimulating effect of blue light and the developers have documented the science to prove it!

The science that explains why blue light keeps you up was begun many years ago in the study of bird migration, and it continued in humans with the discovery of a new photoreceptor in the eye, called Melanopsin. Many are familiar with the “rods and cones” that provide our visual capabilities, but it was only about 15 years ago that retinal ganglion cells containing melanopsin, which are sensitive to a narrow band of blue light in the 460-480nm range, were discovered, and their unique effect on sleep was investigated.

https://justgetflux.com/research.html

Version 30.1 of F.lux preferences - latest version

Version 30.1 of F.lux preferences – latest version

When the sun sets, F.lux makes your computer look like your indoor lights and in the morning, it switches back to sunlight again. The options are fully customizable, and you get to choose a strength that works for you. Depending on the amount of windows in your room and type of lightbulbs, your settings could be different than mine.

I’ve been using F.lux for the past six months and now I can’t live without it. I don’t generally have trouble sleeping, but I still feel much more comfortable staying up late, in front of a computer screen. It’s an easy transition from sitting in front of 3+ displays, to laying in bed. Continue reading

The Day We Fight Back Against Mass Surveillance

headerOn February 11th 2014, many activist groups, companies, and online platforms will hold a worldwide day of activism in opposition to the NSA’s mass spying regime. Thousands of websites are protesting online but they’re also going to be on the streets. Events are planned in cities worldwide, including San Francisco, Los Angeles, Toronto, Chicago, Copenhagen, Stockholm and more.

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Swartz protesting against SOPA
(2012 – Photo by D. Sieradski)

“The Day We Fight Back” was announced on the anniversary of the tragic passing of well-known Internet activist Aaron Swartz. He was a computer programmer, writer, and political organizer involved in the development of RSS, the organization of Creative Commons, web.py, Reddit, and his own company, Infogami. In 2011, he was arrest by MIT police after systemically downloading academic journals stolen from JSTOR. After JSTOR and MIT decided NOT to take the case to court, or hold him responsible, US Federal prosecutors took action, charging him with two counts of wire fraud and 11 violations of the US Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA). This resulted in $1 million in fines plus 35 years in prison. After being denied a plea bargain two years later, Swartz was found in his New York apartment, where he took his own life. Continue reading

How to Find the Best Internet Service Provider

[Guest Post by Carmen]

Taking the time to choose a good internet provider can often save you a lot of time and frustration in your internet travels. Many providers take steps to appear as the best option to potential customers, such as aggressive marketing, “one time” offers that are often too good to be true, and social engineering. Knowing the common terminology and spending time going over potential options can help you make a much more informed decision before signing up with an ISP (internet service provider).

Before I can go into the details of negotiating tips and telltale signs of questionable practices, going over the types of Internet connections (the technology that your internet provider uses to deliver service to your house) is vital. In most countries, three prominent technologies are usually used by providers to deliver an internet connection to your home or office.

A digital subscriber line (DSL) is one of the most common types of connection worldwide.  DSL is usually offered by the same company which offers landline telephone service in your area; however, other secondary companies may offer DSL service as well. Under the right conditions, DSL can reach fairly high speeds (50 Mbps+); however, speeds may vary depending on distance from the provider’s node (where the internet is converted to a signal that is capable of reaching your home).  DSL providers often advertise speeds higher than what you are capable of actually receiving. The best way to know if you are truly able to get the maximum speeds would be to ask neighbours.

Cable internet comes in at a close second to DSL, in terms of availability. Cable internet is usually offered by your local cable television company and ran over the same infrastructure as cable TV. This type of connection can reach very high speeds (100+ Mbps); however, the speeds offered by cable internet providers can vary based on the standard used (DOCSIS 3 is the latest cable internet standard, offering theoretical speeds of 300+ Mbps) or back end network capacity. With cable internet, reaching the maximum speeds is usually possible at least at some points in the day. Unlike DSL, network congestion can be a problem with cable. As providers upgrade their networks to meet the demand, this is less of a problem.

Fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) is another viable option and alternative to the two other major options. FTTH uses light over a glass wire to transmit internet. Once reaching the home, there is equipment to convert that fiber signal in something that your devices can understand. With current technology, fiber can reach the highest speeds of all the major methods listed above (1000+ Mbps). Fiber internet can often be expensive however, this is not always the case.

These are the three major technologies currently used for internet service worldwide however there are many other technologies available such as Satellite and Antenna (3G) internet that are in use as well.
Continue reading

What is Google Plus?

Google announced their new service, Google Plus at the beginning of June 2011. Basically, Google+ is a combination of a lot of services and social networks we are already used to. Google+ includes many features which may be familiar to you but according to Google, are much better.

Circles
Google+ Circles is a way to group your “friends” into different categories. Friends, Family, Acquaintances, and Following. You can also create your own group if you have a specific category you would like to categorize you “friends” into. This allows for better organization and more sharing options. From the circles page you can drag and drop your contacts into each of these groups.

Hangouts
Hangouts are virtual hangout places where you can video chat with up to 10 people. You are able to select who you want in one of your hangouts by inviting the circles of your choice. Hangout has some neat features such as switching the person you see in your main window automatically.

Sparks
If you are a Google Reader user, Sparks might seem familiar to you.

Sparks brings content you are subscribed to directly to you through Google+.Each topic you subscribe to gets its own Spark Page which provides descriptions and direct links to the articles, videos, photos, and related content.

Google+ is currently an invite-only beta. So, to get in, you have to know someone currently using Google+ willing to send you an invite.

As Google+ grows, so do other social networks. Google+ could be the next largest social network.

Leave your thoughts below. Tell us what you like about Google+ and if you believe it will grow larger then Facebook when opened up to the public.


What is WordPress?

WordPress (WP) is an excellent way for people who do not have the knowledge to setup their own websites or don’t really want to learn. Now a days you don’t even need to pay for a domain name or even web hosting. Combine all three and you have an awesome free website of your very own.

The main feature of WP is actually blogging. You have a lot of control and some of the features actually include adding authors and writers to your site so others may write blogs for you to either be pre-approved by you personally or post them immediately.

Once you have a domain name and a hosting site in place, you may want to install WP using the following steps.

The steps in creating a WP site are very simple, WordPress has setup a simple 5 minute installation guide found here.

  1. Download and unzip the WordPress package, if you haven’t already downdload here
  2. Create a database for WordPress on your web server, as well as MysSQL user who has all privileges for accessing and modifying it.
  3. Rename the wp-config-sample.php file to wp-config.php.
  4. Open wp-config.php in a text editor and fill in your database details as explained in editing wp-config.php to generate and use your secret key password.
  5. Place the WordPress files in the desired location on your web server:
  6. If you want to integrate WordPress into the root of your domain (e.g. http://example.com/), move or upload all contents of the unzipped WordPress directory (but excluding the directory itself) into the root directory of your web server.

If you want to have your WordPress installation in its own subdirectory on your web site (e.g.http://example.com/blog/), rename the directory wordpress to the name you’d like the subdirectory to have and move or upload it to your web server. For example if you want the WordPress installation in a subdirectory called “blog”, you should rename the directory called “wordpress” to “blog” and upload it to the root directory of your web server.

At this point you should now have a working WP site of your own and may log into wordpress to edit it’s contents. Another cool feature is the amount of WP themes that are available and many are free. Just search WP or WordPress themes in your favorite search engines and download which ever theme fits your blog the most.

To learn more about WordPress, visit WordPress.com and WordPress.org

Introducing Techie_Bot

You may have seen bots in your channel as they are becoming quite popular these days. Bots are helpful and fun in many ways. These bots are programmed to do many tasks like play games, moderate channels, and some have fun action scripts.
I have been working on a new bot (techie-bot) that actually does all three and more. This bot is a silent command bot and will not respond unless a specific command is given. Some commands have one result while others are random so you may not know what the out come may be, making the bot a bit more fun.
It’s also a help bot and will give you information to where you can find help when you need it. Other helpful tools include a Calculator, Universal Currency Converter, and pull up your local weather information no matter where in the world you are from.
Another popular feature is moderating, my bot will warn when a rule is broken then will Time Out or Kick the offender, only Ops can ban a viewer from a channel. Some things the bot may Time Out or Kick include flooding chat, posting certain links, language, etc. It also greets users upon entering the chat and automatically voice viewers. Keep in mind that these features are customizable per broadcasters’ needs.
If you visit techie-bot you will see a complete list of commands in easy to read pages which includes: Moderate, Bev/Food, Action, Weather, Tools, Games. The page title speaks about what each will contain.
The weather script allows anyone from around the world to display their local weather information. (this said, it’s safer to use a near by city when looking up your personal weather stats) Another cool script is a UCC aka Universal Currency Converter, converts one currency to another.
Feel free to browse techie-bot’s website for details and have fun with the bot.
If you want techie-bot to join your #channel, send me an to techiegeekmail@gmail.com