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Ford – On Technology Road

Ford has set its sights to be on the Technology Road as the number of vehicles on the roads is forecast to grow from today’s 1 billion to up to 4 billion by mid-century.Earlier this year, Ford Motor Company Executive Chairman Bill Ford told an audience of the Mobile World Congress that Ford is outlining the company’s “Blueprint for Mobility” to address future vehicle gridlock by creating a global transportation network that utilizes communication between vehicles, transport infrastructure and individual mobile devices.Ford explained that no one company or industry would be able to solve the mobility issue alone. And, the effectiveness of any plan would be contingent on customer acceptance of new technologies.Ford predicted, “If we do nothing, we face the prospect of ‘global gridlock’, a never-ending traffic jam that wastes time, energy and resources and even compromises the flow of commerce and healthcare.” He continued, “The cooperation needed between the automotive and telecommunications industries will be greater than ever as we prepare for and manage the future. We will need to develop new technologies, as well as new ways of looking at the world.”With the fast-paced increase in in-vehicle technologies, we can see that the telecommunications industry is critical in the creation of an inter-connected transportation system where cars are intelligent and can talk to one another as well as the infrastructure around them. Ford’s suggestion is that now is the time for us to be looking at vehicles on the road the same way we look at smartphones, laptops and tablets; as pieces of a much bigger, richer network.The company’s “Blueprint for Mobility” will seek solutions for a problem that is already becoming a reality in expanding vehicle markets around the world. In Sao Paulo, traffic jams regularly exceed 100 miles long and the average commute lasts between 2 and 3 hours a day. Despite this, car buying is growing at a rate of 7.5 percent annually. In China, the world’s longest period of gridlock was registered at 11 days during 2010.The problem is not restricted to emerging markets, either. For example, it is estimated that the cost of congestion to the economy in England through lost time will rise to around $35 billion annually by 2025. In Germany, sustaining a town of 300,000 people is estimated to require 1,000 truck deliveries daily.Solving the issue of urban mobility is a huge challenge that will only be successful if government collaboration, infrastructure development and industry come together globally.Ford said with the company’s blueprint will set near, mid- and long-term goals for significant reductions in the company’s global environmental footprint.In the next 5 to 7 years, Ford plans to be at the forefront of developing increasingly intuitive in-car mobile communications options and driver interfaces that proactively alert drivers to traffic jams and accidents. They have already successfully experimented with this technology in England and in Germany.Another near term plan is to deliver a better-connected, safer and more efficient driving experience with limited autonomous functions for parking and driving in slow-moving traffic – building on existing Ford features including Active Park Assist, Adaptive Cruise Control and Active City Stop. Many Ford vehicle’s already have the foundation of this technology and some can even be “upgraded” to offer ways to let a driver move through traffic jams in a more efficient and safe manner with the car essentially driving on auto pilot.Within the next five to ten years, Ford will introduce semi-autonomous driving technology including driver-initiated “auto pilot” capabilities and vehicle platooning in limited situations – technologies that will provide improved safety and driver assistance features, but allow the driver to take control, if needed.They also plan to increase interaction between individual cars on the road through utilization of ever-increasing computing power and numbers of sensors in vehicles, helping reduce the number of accidents at intersections and enabling limited semi-autonomous and autonomous highway lane changing and exiting.And, the arrival of vehicle-to-cloud and vehicle-to infrastructure communication that contributes to greater time and energy efficiency by enabling vehicles to recommend alternative transport options when congestion is unavoidable and to pre-reserve parking at destinations.Ford told the mobility conference, “Cars are becoming mobile communications platforms and as such, they are a great untapped opportunity for the telecommunications industry. Right now, there are a billion computing devices in the form of individual vehicles out on our roads. They’re largely unconnected from one another and the network.”He continued, “We’ll increasingly take advantage of the car as a rolling collection of sensors to reduce congestion and help prevent accidents. I’m confident that we will see many of these advances on the road in this mid-term period because the early versions are already being designed, and in most cases, tested.”Long term plans call for radically different transportation landscape where pedestrian, bicycle, private car, commercial and public transportation traffic will be woven into a single connected network to save time, conserve resources, lower emissions and improve safety.This would include smart vehicles capable of fully autonomous navigation, with increased “auto pilot” operating duration, plus the arrival of autonomous valet functions, delivering effortless vehicle parking and storage. Obviously there may be many changes on the technology horizon. It’s good to see that one of America’s innovative automobile companies is at the forefront helping to set new world standards that can make driving safer, more efficient and more enjoyable for everyone.

Cradle to Cradle – Composting Your T-Shirt

Nature provides us with the best examples of chemistry and physics. Consider the strength of a spider’s silk thread and the beauty and functionality of its web, or the perfect hexagonal structure of the beehive and the desirable properties of its honey and beeswax. Nature persists because of its closed-loop biological cycles involving growth, the food chain, and decomposition. Earth has been operating this way for millions of years without depleting its own resources.We can (and should) design our goods following nature’s examples. The Cradle to Cradle approach challenges us to design products to fit in either a technical or biological closed-loop cycle. Technical nutrients are reclaimed and reused or recycled. Biological nutrients are consumed or composted. In both circumstances, waste from one application provides food for another within their respective cycles. Mixing of technical and biological nutrients in such a way that they cannot be easily separated from one another creates the “monstrous hybrid”, as described by William McDonough and Michael Braungart in their book Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things. Bound to each other, the nutrients are no longer eligible for recycling or composting and the monster is bound for its grave (landfill).A trip to the mall or any conventional store will yield mostly monstrous hybrids. Let’s take, for example, your average cotton T-shirt. It sounds quite simple, but a closer look reveals why it is usually ultimately bound for the landfill. The cotton used to make the shirt is a biologic nutrient, capable of being composted with the resulting compost supporting plant growth. If the cotton is not organic, it is likely that large amounts of pesticides were used, so much so that one can hardly consider conventional cotton a true biologic material. Fortunately, people are requesting and farmers are growing organic cotton.There are numerous advantages to the organic cotton shirt over your average cotton T, most notably the absence of pesticide in the environment and reduced human exposure to pesticide and residues. It is a huge step forward. But consider what else might be part of this T-shirt that prevents it from existing as a pure biologic nutrient even if it is organic. Here’s where the details of the organic standards and textile labeling laws come in.Even the certified organic cotton T-shirt can be partially synthetic. It can, for example, be sewn with thread containing polyester. Stronger than cotton, polyester is preferred for sewing but it doesn’t work for composters. (By the way, you can tell if thread is cotton or polyester by taking a match to it; if it burns it is cotton while polyester shrivels like a plastic.) Organic textile standards also allow for small amounts (5-10%) of synthetic fibers in the fabric. Similarly, the textile labeling laws indicate that small amounts of synthetics need not be disclosed on labels. So your 100% organic cotton shirt might be a little bit polyester or spandex. Sadly, product disposal is not being fully considered and the composter is left not knowing.Most tags are made from nylon or some other durable synthetic fabric to withstand washing, so they aren’t candidates for the compost either. Tags can be removed, but typically tags are sewn in so you’ll need to tear open the seams to fully remove it. Even if you are willing to cut open seams and tear out thread in order to compost your shirt, consider the dyes, decals, and finishes that can also preclude an item from the compost pile. Those used for non-organic textiles may contain heavy metals, azo compounds, or formaldehyde. The myriad of non-biologic nutrients mixed in with our biological nutrient (cotton) make the compostable T-shirt hard to come by.During the mid-20th century there was an explosion in the development of synthetic materials. While the added convenience is undeniable, so is the added trash and health burden. The resulting polymers (e.g., plastics) are here for the long haul since microbes have yet to evolve to break them down. For the long term it just makes sense to use more of the biological cycles that have been at work for millions of years; and when they don’t meet our modern needs, let’s create synthetic cycles that function in the same way. If we reject the monstrous hybrid, we’ll need fewer graves leaving more space to observe nature’s fine examples.Copyright 2009 Compostable Goods.

How to Stream Your Music Into Second Life – Six Software Source Clients Compared

Were you aware that your music can be streamed into Second Life using the same technology as internet radio? Bringing your music to this new audience requires a Shoutcast source client, which sends your music to a streaming server, which subsequently rebroadcasts your music to all the listeners in Second Life.This article lists the leading choices in Shoutcast/Icecast source clients. This source client is the piece of software that runs on your computer, connecting the music you play with the streaming server.What it doesThe Shoutcast/Icecast streaming source client takes audio input from a program or hardware device, encodes it into a media stream, and sends the media stream on to a streaming server. Each step of this process requires configuration, and each program differs in the specifics of where you may find these settings. However, the settings themselves are fairly universal.Music sourceThe input to the source client may come from a media player such as iTunes, Winamp, or Windows Media Player, or it may also come from a hardware device connected to your computer — such as a mixer connected to a sound card or even an integrated laptop microphone. Your chosen source client will present a list of possible inputs from which you can choose to broadcast.EncodingSome source clients may be able to encode into multiple media formats. However, for compatibility with Second Life, you will need to use mp3. The Second Life viewer on your listeners’ end does not support WMA, AAC, Ogg, or other formats. Further, you will find that if you try to use the most pristine mp3 encoding settings, your listeners will experience skips in the stream. It is best not to use anything higher than 44.1 kHz, 64 kbps, stereo. You should be able to find these settings grouped together.Specifying the stream serverLastly, you will need to specify the Shoutcast/Icecast streaming server to which the source client will connect. This will be in the form of a URL or an IP Address, a Port number, and a Password. Some streaming clients allow you to build a ‘library’ of servers, each with their own URL, port, and password. This is handy if you regularly perform at a number of venues. Each venue will have its own server. This allows you to, once configured, merely select a given venue’s server from a list, and have all the values set at once. If your source client does not have this feature, you will need to manually enter this data every time for each venue.CriteriaFor each listed software streaming client, I list the price, where you can obtain it, what platform it runs upon, and other attributes. After reading this article, you should be ready to choose a streaming source client that meets your needs.Before I list the choices, I will first define what the various attributes mean.Operating System (OS) – This tells you what operating system the streaming source client is compatible with. There are choices for Windows, Mac OS, Linux, and other UNIX-like OSs.Plugin vs. Standalone – Some Shoutcast/Icecast source clients are ‘plugins’, which operate inside of other programs. An example is the Shoutcast DSP Plugin, which installs ‘into’ Winamp as a host. Other source clients run in their own window, providing all needed functionality themselves.Record functionality – Some source clients will also record (or ‘archive’) your stream. The stream is not only sent on to the streaming server, but it also is written to your computer’s disk as an mp3 file. This allows you to play back your stream at a later date.Presenting the candidatesbutt (broadcast using this tool)
Linux, MacOS and Windows.
Open source project hosted on Sourceforge
Streaming and recording simultaneously with different bitratesThis relative newcomer provides all the functionality that you would need or want. The fact that it is free, and runs on almost any computer, makes it a great choice.Winamp with Shoutcast DSP Plugin
Windows, Mac OS, Linux, other UNIX
Winamp makes Winamp Standard
Shoutcast makes the Shoutcast DSP Plugin
Host media player and Plugin
No built in recording functionalityThis solution has been the mainstay in the Windows arena, mostly due to its price.Nicecast
$40 (free demo)
Mac OS
Rogueamoeba is the company behind Nicecast
Archive functionFor years, this has been the standard in the Mac arena. Full featured.Simplecast
Spacialaudio produces simplecast
No built in recording functionalityThis selection comes from a company with a full line of professional internet radio tools.Reaper with Shoutcast plugin
$60 (free demo)
Cockos makes Reaper
Landoleet is where you can get the reaper_shoutcast.dll plugin (this is NOT the same as the Shoutcast DSP Plugin for Winamp)
Host DAW and Plugin
Full multitrack recording capabilityReaper is a full-functioned DAW, from a company founded by the guy who first invented Shoutcast technology. Extremely powerful, with complexity to match.EdCast
Oddsock makes edcast
Available either standalone, or as a plugin for Winamp or Foobar2000.
Recorder not built in.Both EdCast and its precursor Oddcast are from the same developer, along with a number of other useful music tools (including a stream recorder).The envelope, pleaseIf you are just getting started in streaming your music into Second Life, I recommend that you start with butt. Silly name, I know. However, it is free, does everything you want it to do, and runs the same way on any computer you’re likely to have. Plus, it is an open source program, meaning that its future is pretty much assured.Any of the other choices would be fine as well. They all work pretty much hiccup-free. If your needs are unique, there may be some reason to prefer another over butt.Myself, I use Reaper with the Shoutcast plugin. Reaper is a full-featured music production DAW like Pro Tools, Logic, Sonar, etc. In fact, it was my DAW before I started streaming into Second Life. The fact that Reaper is from the guy the guy that invented internet radio (as well as Winamp, Gnutella, and other modern necessities) holds strong sway with me.Get going!You really can’t go wrong with any of the above. Just grab one, grab the free Second Life viewer, create a free Second Life account, log on, and start performing for the eager Second Life audiences!I hope you join us in this journey to a strange and wonderful new world. In the meantime, you may wish to do some early exploring on your own – it is free to get started! Just click the link below:

How Google AdWords Is Beneficial to Bring Quality Traffic on Your Website

Over 150000 webmasters are opting for Google AdWords as a major tool to make the most of their online marketing and advertising efforts. Bringing quality traffic to your website is considered to be the key goal for any business which is online centric. Nowadays businesses are becoming web-promotional centric to engage as many as customers or clients in a fraction of time. Google AdWords can simply make the things in favor of your business.AdWords- Cost effective with increased ROIUsing Google AdWords as a tool of promoting your business online can lower your excessive advertising costing as you only need to pay when one clicks on your advertisement. It delivers most in lesser pricing; you can also set your daily budget in Google AdWords. The remarkable features of AdWords make it highly popular in the online marketing business. It creatively targets the customer market with intelligence, you can choose the country and language of your advertisement which flashes at the top and to the right of the search engine when one puts the keyword on Google. There are many consultancies or Google qualified teams of experts that assist or promote your business through Google AdWords on your behalf, the process simply called Google AdWords management.so, managing your AdWords with the right or perfect use of keywords is adequate to create a success story of your leading company.Keep your website always up on search engines!Research shows that AdWords have been a best PPC tool to promote your business online; it helps the most to grab the attention of the customers or directs your potential customer to your website instantly without any extra effort. It only attracts the group of interested customers as when a customer is searching only then your customized advertisement would appear in the search engines. It needs to be done cautiously as keywords play a significant role in gaining the attention and increasing quality traffic on your website. Keywords are the core area of promoting your business through Google AdWords. In order to get the most out of the AdWords Select program, you simply must have a great keyword list.Time wisely hits reports!Through implementing AdWords, you can get the time wise reports on how many clicks you get on your ad. A detailed report would help you to take an informed decision relating to online web promotion and making simpler of tracking the target customer market. It makes possible to gain enough knowledge that how many clicks convert into sales for future promotional planning.