Moblogs and Photoblogs

A Moblog is the combination of the words "Mobile" and "Blog". Thus - a moblog is any blog that has been posted to by a mobile device, such as a cell phone or PDA.

Digital Cameras

Digital cameras are electronic devices which capture photographic images and instantly convert them into a digital form. Unlike traditional film cameras, which rely on mechanical and chemical processes to produce images, digital cameras utilize electronic light sensors to transform the captured image into computer-readable data (bits - 1's and 0's). While most experts still agree that high-quality traditional film cameras still produce the most realistic photographs, lowering costs and increasing technology have allowed digital camera manufacturers to create devices which can rival the images of the highest-end film camera. Unlike traditional cameras, in which users had to remove film, take it to a processing facility, typically wait a few days, and then pay for photographic prints, digital camera users can simply download their images to a personal computer. With the advent of the Internet and high-speed connnections, even the most novice digital camera user could download captured photos, organize them, and send those photos around the world -- at very little cost.

One of the "killer" features that caused digital cameras to skyrocket in popularity throughout the 1990s was the LCD screen. With this screen on the back of the camera, users could preview an image before shooting it, examine the photo after capturing it (to decide whether to shoot another one), and scroll through photos as a sort of "mini" photo album. While this LCD feature typically consumes large portions of battery life, many users ignore the power issues and leave the LCD on for convenience.

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A typical point-and-shoot digital camera. Courtesy of http://www.usa.canon.com

Scanners


Swarming (also called meetups)

This is a concepts of the collective of the group creating or achieving more than a single agent. The concept is usually associated with insects and the phenomena of the insects has led to theories about "swarm intelligence." A social/learning application has come about from students with common interest coming together quickly to experience or participate in an activitiy usually political, social and even learning based. Mobile devices play a role in the establishment of human swarms.

Peer-to-peer Networking and Technologies


Internet Protocol Version 6 (IPv6)

According to Wikipedia, Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) is a network layer protocol for packet-switched internetworks. It is designated as the successor of IPv4, the current version of the Internet Protocol, for general use on the Internet.

The main benefit of IPv6 will come in the form of increased capacity. IPv6 will have enough capacity such that each person on the Earth could have roughly eleven octillion times all the addresses currently available for the whole world.

Chipification, RFID, Smart Cards

Chipification, RFID, and Smart Cards are a group of related technologies that allow the storage and retrieval of data and information that would travel with a person. How the technology travels with the person and transmission methods is what differentiates these technologies.
  • Chipification - microchip communication between people and computers, used primarily in identification of animals the chip is placed under the skin. The United States has only approved of this device to be used in humans only for medical purposes.
  • RFID - An RFID(Radio Frequency Identification Device) transponder or tag is a combination of chip and antenna. The antenna allows the chip to transmit identification information to nearby receivers and subsequent computers that store information about the item tagged. Used mainly in commercial settings to manage supply and delivery chains.
  • Smart Cards - Credit Card sized cards with chips and transponder technology that can connect to databases to control access and give instant information updates to systems programmed to accept the card's interactions.


Solar-Powered Computer Networks and Schools

With the push for renewable energy, solar-powered schools and computer networks are becoming more prevalent -- both in the United States and abroad. Due to its exorbitant costs, solar energy still has not become mainstream throughout the fifty states; however, some communities in the West (where there are more sunny days per year on average) utilize solar panels to capture the sun's energy. A few schools in locales like Salt Lake City, Utah, are capturing solar energy to help students learn first-hand about renewable energy and conservation. However, solar power is simply not cost-effective enough to replace power sources such as conventionally-generated electricity.

In South Africa, schools are utilizing solar energy out of pure necessity. In some of the nation's most desolate, impoverished town, a functional electric grid is a far-fetched dream. For some of these communities, solar power is the only way to give students light to read by and provide power for computer systems. Helping to light the way (so to speak) for South Africa and other developing nations is the Solar Electric Light Fund, a Washington, DC-based organization that gathers donations from the public to purchase solar energy-collecting panels, fluorescent lights, and even computers.
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Schoolchildren outside a solar-powered school in South Africa. Courtesy of http://www.self.org/