[Infographic]: The Evolution of the Tablet PC

The development of the tablet PC has caused a revolution in the worlds of commerce and enterprise, a huge shift in how we communicate and connect with one another. If you were to say that the release of the iPad – and the flood of devices that hit the market immediately afterward – has changed the world, you wouldn’t be that far off. If you were to posit that they’ll continue to do so for the foreseeable future, well…

I doubt you’ll find many who would disagree with you.

Believe it or not, the iPad – the device that started it all – didn’t actually incorporate a great deal of new hardware, nor was it an entirely new concept. It wasn’t the technology so much as it was Apple’s approach along with Steve Jobs’ brilliant marketing that made the iPad the latest “must-have” device. It was a perfect storm of old ideas cobbled together in a new and innovative fashion. Today’s infographic takes a look at where the Tablet came from.

Titled “The Evolution of the Tablet PC,” it takes the form of a timeline stretching all the way back to 1987 – the year of the first tablet, called Z88, and ends in 2011; the year when the iPad 2 was released. There’s not much else to say here – it’s an interesting look into the past, and by reading the graphic, one can actually piece together a fairly decent idea of where Apple came from with the iPad.

The infographic can be found below, and you can click for a larger version of it.

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How To Avoid Speeding Tickets Using Your Smartphone

Speeding tickets suck. Not only are they ridiculously expensive, they can drive your insurance up to a premium. Whether they’re sent to you by mail or handed down by an imperious traffic cop… no one likes to receive one – particularly when it feels like one’s been wrongly accused or singled out.

See, traffic laws are meant to keep one’s driving standards within a reasonable limit. When tickets are handed out for people driving a mere five or six over the speed limit, it can get a little asinine.

Fortunately, there’s an app for that. :)

While it might not allow you to avoid speeding tickets altogether, it could definitely serve as a considerable boon for anyone trying to avoid getting dinged for not following the posted speed limit (though you should still follow it – safety, and all that).

It’s called Trapster. Once you’ve created an account and installed the app (sorry, it’s iOS only at the moment), you’ll be connected to over 17 million other Trapster users in what’s been billed as the world’s largest online driving community. Your phone will, as you drive, alert you to both speed traps as well as red light and speed cameras.

That’s not all the app does, either. It also keeps track of traffic accidents, traffic jams, and any other relevant roadway hazards which you might encounter during your drive.

The app is completely community-driven, and thrives on user reports. If you see anything you feel could negatively impact another user’s driving experience, you can report it with the app – other users can do the same for you. Reports can be voted on to ensure that nothing too bogus or outdated gets by the radar.

Like I said, it’s not guaranteed to help you avoid speed traps, traffic accidents, or other roadside hazards…but it’ll definitely help. And with it, you’ll be able to spot the most common hiding spots that the cops like to use.

via MakeUseOf

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Where The Hell Does Your Day Go? [Timer Software]

Have you ever begun your day with a fairly aggressive to-do list?

Then gotten to the end of it thinking, “What the hell happened?! The day is almost over and I hardly got anything done!”

We’re human. It happens.

Well, one of the lovely things about the Internet is that there are a TON of tools to help you hack your life. And, one of them I recently came across is called Toggl.

At the core, Toggl is simply a web-based timer. You enter what it is you’re working on, then hit “Start”. And Toggl will keep track of how long you’ve been working on that task. When you’re done, hit “Stop”.

But, here’s where Toggl gets interesting…

You can group tasks by project, whether the time is billable or not… and you can run a ton of reports to see where your time has done. If you’re running a team, you can use Toggl to track the activities of everybody on your team.

Toggl can follow you around, too. There’s the web-based interface and that works very well. But, there is also a desktop application as well as a mobile smartphone app. And these three solutions stay VERY well in-sync. It is almost amazing how I can start the timer, say, on my iPhone and almost immediately see the timer update in real-time in the web-based interface.

So, what’s the use of this?

Well, for me it is twofold:

I now have a running record of where my time went. I can later refer to the reports to see what I was up to, how that impacted statistics for the week, and how I can improve efficiency.Having a timer going holds you accountable. It just helps keep you on task and not let your mind wander when you’re supposed to be working on something. And, this alone, while a bit of a mind hack, increases productivity like crazy. It helps keep you AWARE of the time ticking away and you start treating it like the resource it is.

Toggl is free to use, with a few limitations that will be unimportant for single users. And, for the full list of features, it is only $5/month. For the added benefits to productivity alone, it is a no-brainer in my book.

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[Infographic]: Objects on Demand – The Rise of the 3D Printing Revolution

There’s been a shift in the manufacturing core with the birth of 3D printers. People suddenly have the supplies – and the capacity- to manufacture their own goods, to some degree. Granted, we’re still not seeing the average user have access to industrial-level manufacturing capacity – it’s not going to change the world that much – but it’s still a revolution, of a kind.

We’re still seeing users with access to a manufacturing procedure – and capabilities – that even ten years ago we could only dream of. As the technology advances in complexity and market penetration, I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised to see people cobbling together their own high-quality action figures, among other things.

The degree to which 3D printers have changed the world – and the potential they have to change it further – isn’t something that should be ignored. The birth, development, and impact of 3D printing is the topic of today’s infographic. Fittingly, it’s titled “Objects on Demand: The Rise of the 3D Printing Revolution.”

“Every so often,” the infographic reads, “a technology comes along which disrupts the entire world in a profound way. Think of the internal combustion engine, the personal computer, the smartphone, and now 3D printing. This innovation allows users to cheaply, quickly, and efficiently produce three-dimensional objects straight from their computer. The possibilities of this technology are endless, and early adopters are already putting it to creative use.”

The graphic purports to explore the way 3D printing works, how the market is expected to grow, and the industries upon which it’s slated to have the most marked impact. The infographic can be found below, and as always, clicking on it will take you to a larger, more readable version. I’ll see you fine folks next time.

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Craft Your Own Interactive Infographics with Infogr.am

Human beings have become increasingly visual as we’ve grown more accustomed to new media. Often, the best way to get one’s attention is with an eye-catching graphic, and the best way to convey information is via an organized, visual format.

That’s one of the reasons I’ve been posting so many infographics lately. I’m a wordy fellow, and I enjoy writing, but most of you would probably rather see a crisp, clear looking graphic that you can browse at your leisure as opposed to a wall of text, right?

It’s not really all that difficult to see why Infographics have gathered so much popularity. They’re fun, they’re interesting, and they’re easy on the eyes. Unfortunately, they’re not exactly simple to put together. It’s a bit tougher to make an infographic than it is to write an article. You’re going to need a bit of design knowledge, some fairly expensive software, and more than a little bit of time on your hands. As a result, not everyone’s really able to put together an infographic.

Thankfully, plenty of free (or cheap) platforms exist as an alternative to the rather intensive design process.

Infogr.am is one of these tools. It’s quite simple to use. All you do is sign up for an account (it’s free) and you’ll have a whole host of reasonably powerful infographic creation tools at your fingertips. Creating an infographic involves selecting from one of several different available templates, all of which have the ability to add videos, text, photos, and even maps. Not bad for a free service, right?

Via Make Use Of

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Is Saving Your Passwords In Your Browser A Bad Idea?

A strong password is one of the most vital tools you’ll ever have in your portfolio where web browsing is concerned. Without one, you might as well just open up all your personal and financial information to the first criminal who happens to saunter along – they’ll gladly take it.

We’ve been over the importance of a strong password (and the process which goes into creating one), so we aren’t going to pay that topic much mind here. Instead, we’re going to shift our focus just a touch: we’re going to talk about password saving.

The problem with the Internet is that it’s rather fragmented. Every single website you visit wants you to create a new account, every single game you play needs you to input user information, every single device you purchase requires login information. Unless you have the same password for every single device – which is not the least bit recommended – keeping track of all those passwords (well, without using a password manager) can be mentally exhausting.

Depending on how many accounts you have, it could end up being downright impossible.

As a result, a lot of people – myself included – resort to using the built-in ability of browsers like Chrome to save our passwords. That way, whenever we visit a website, all we need to do is type the first letter or so of our account name, and boom; we’re logged in. As an added bonus, if there happens to be a keylogger kicking around our hard drive, it can’t nab our password. After all, we didn’t actually type anything in, right?

The question, of course, is whether or not it’s actually safe to do this.

To my knowledge, there doesn’t yet exist a piece of malware which is able to extract saved passwords from one’s browser – so in that regard, at least, you’re alright. The problem doesn’t lie in digital security in this case: it lies in physical security.With all your passwords saved to your hard drive; theft could be absolutely devastating. If someone should happen to come across your PC and lift it, they’ve got all your accounts at their fingertips, to be accessed and modified as they see fit.

Seems a bit disheartening, no? Unfortunately, aside from being extremely cautious, there’s no real way to deal with this, save using a remote wipe application of some sort. After all, to access your accounts, the thieves first have to connect to the Internet…at which point you can wipe your hard drive.

So…in closing, saving your passwords isn’t as unsafe as everyone thinks it is, but it still puts you at considerable risk of having your accounts compromised, should someone make off with your PC.

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Tool Breaks Down How Much You Play [Steam Gaming]

Here’s another one for all you gamers out there – a nifty little homebrew utility which will help you figure out how much time you’ve spent playing each of the games in your steam library, which games you’ve actually played, which games you’ve never touched, and which games you spent the most time on.

For those of you who’ve got a bit of an impulse control problem, it could potentially help you keep your habits in check. It’s a little sobering discovering that you’ve only played about 5% of your 1000 game library, after all. Might inspire you to buy fewer games…or at the very least, get on top of playing the titles you do have.

The platform includes a number of different features to help players visualize their gaming habits- including pie charts! For those of you who like competing with your friends, you can also compare game time and libraries with everybody else on your steam friends list.

Those of you who are interested in checking it out can swing by the website here. Don’t worry – no login needed. All you need to do is visit the website, enter in your Steam ID, and you’re good to go.

via PC Gamer

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How Much Energy Does It Take To Power The Cloud? [Infographic]

As most of you have probably heard by now, the New York Time’s piece on data centers wasn’t exactly accurate. And more than a little intellectually dishonest, to boot. In spite of that, it did raise one very, very good point..

There is no such thing as the cloud. There is no such thing as data that exists solely in virtual space. There’s always a physical backbone somewhere, there’s always some sort of infrastructure supporting ‘cloud’ operations.

Given how big cloud computing’s gotten and how vital the Internet has become to everyone, well…

That’s a lot of hardware.

Of  course, that hardware needs power, as well – and it draws a considerable amount in order to keep itself running. Data centers in the United States alone are responsible for about 2% of global carbon emissions annually, and they draw enough electricity to power 25,000 houses, to boot. A staggering volume of energy and pollution – perhaps not so dire as the New York Times made it out to be, but still a cause for some concern. Particularly since the mammoth facilities have the potential to scarf down even more power and produce as much as 350 megatons of CO2 by 2020, if left unchecked.

Thankfully, data center operators across the world are aware of this, and have for quite some time been taking steps to address the issue of energy efficiency and environmental friendliness. It’s why green computing has become such a big thing lately.

Our infographic today examines the green computing craze side-by-side with the global impact of the cloud on our environment, energy infrastructure, and society. Power’s the main concern here – it is called “powering the cloud” after all – but it’s still got some decent information on efficient computing, coupled with a few rather nifty stats. You can view the infographic below. As always, click to enlarge.

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Consolidating Your Information with Nexos

Today, I’d like to talk to you about data fragmentation. It’s something I’m sure all of you have dealt with to some degree.

These days, we’re all drowning in a sea of content. I’ve got a two different emails, a Paypal; Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Google + accounts; and I browse Flickr, Tumblr, and Reddit. My Google Chrome bookmarks are an absolute nightmare. I’m not even going to bother trying to organize them at this point. There’s also a whole host of extensions and games I’ve installed in Chrome, though I trimmed a significant number of those down in an effort to reduce the amount of bloat in my browser. And all that…it’s just the tip of the iceberg.  I could go on all day about the various sites I follow, pages I read, accounts I utilize….

I won’t bother, as I’m certain most of you can relate.

Getting all this chaos organized is a rather daunting task. Thankfully, there’s a whole host of applications and extensions designed for the express purpose of extending a helping hand to those poor souls desperately trying to organize their data on a host of disparate websites. Nexos is one such app – and is mercifully available in offline mode, as well.

It incorporates content from whatever sources you choose into an easy-to-navigate landing page. Even better, all this content can be organized while you’re offline – though it won’t sync with Chrome until you log in, obviously.

So, let’s do the math here: you can consolidate all your bookmarks, favorites, and other content into a single app, and choose to organize all this stuff as you see fit. Not bad, right? Currently, Nexon supports most major content sharing sites and social networks, with more being added on a regular basis.

The app can be found here.

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