Nikola Tesla was an electrical engineer who changed the world with the invention of the AC (alternating current) induction motor, making the universal transmission and distribution of electricity possible. So why is he virtually unknown to the general public? This rare film stars Orson Welles and features a dramatic recreation of a meeting between Nikola Tesla, Industrialist J.P. Morgan and Thomas Edison, that would decide the fate and future of today’s Electric Power Industry in America and the world. But what happened to Tesla?
Enter our young rocket scientists
Tom Williams is the kind of boss you want to have. He’s smart, of course—that’s a prerequisite for his job as the director of the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center’s (MSFC) Propulsion Systems Department. But he doesn’t mind stepping back and giving his team interesting challenges and then turning them loose to work out the details. Case in point: NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS), intended to be an enormous heavy-lift system that will rival the Saturn V in size and capabilities. In thinking about propulsion for the SLS, NASA for the first time in thirty years is considering something other than solid rocket boosters.
The decision to use a pair of solid rocket boosters for the Space Shuttle instead of liquid-fueled engines like the F-1 had been partly technical and partly political. Solid fuels are hugely energy dense and provide an excellent kick to get a spacecraft moving off of the ground; also, selecting solid fuel boosters allowed the government to send some available contracting dollars to companies involved with building intercontinental ballistic missiles, leveraging that expertise and providing those companies with additional work…
- Get an external hard drive with a USB 2.0 connection. You need this connection to connect the drive to the console. Most recently manufactured hard drives should have this type of USB adapter included.
- Format the hard drive to read FAT32 files. Using a Windows PC, create an FAT32 partition on the drive and format the volume. You’ll need a program like Partition Magic to do this.
- Load all the content you want from your PC onto the external drive. This should consist of photo files, MP3s and any other files that can be read on the Xbox hard drive.
- Remove the external hard drive from your PC. Plug it into your Xbox 360 console through the USB port.
- Go to the Media menu on your Xbox screen. Select “Portable Device” from the menu. All the readable files saved on the external drive should be available to read on your Xbox 360.
Testing the usability of your site is one of the smartest things you can do. Usability involves making a website’s interface easier to use and simpler to understand, so that the user’s experience is as enjoyable as possible.
The more usable a site is, the more satisfying it will be to interact with it — and happy visitors translate into happy customers.
Ideas about what makes for the best website design don’t always translate perfectly when put into practice. Elements that one person might consider easy to use may actually turn out to be confusing for someone else.
In this article, we’ll review 10 tools that you can use to improve your website’s usability even if you’re on a low budget.
As designers and developers, we have a natural bias towards the way our own products function: we built them, so we know exactly how they work.
Our visitors, however, don’t have this advantage. This means that testing for usability is the only reliable way to find out how well a website works.
Usability testing allows you to discover many ways in which your site can be improved.
How much testing should I do?
Usability testing may sound daunting, but in reality, a small investment can yield large gains. Jacob Nielsen, one of the best-known usability gurus, says:
“The best results come from testing no more than 5 users and running as many small tests as you can afford.”
- Jacob Nielsen (Why You Only Need to Test With 5 Users)
That’s right. Just 5 users will provide enough results to help you make effective updates to your website. While you could test with 15 users to find most or all problem areas on your site, testing with just 5 will uncover 85% of issues, which gives you the most value for your money.
Other trouble spots can be identified by testing a subsequent round of users, and with each additional test, the number of issues uncovered will decrease.
It’s important to note that the very first usability test offers the greatest insight. Even a small amount of testing can yield significant results and reveal big issues and problem areas early on.
This means that you don’t need to spend a lot of time or money to benefit from usability testing.
On a tight budget?
Usability testing sounds like a good idea, but you’re probably wondering if any affordable options exist.
The answer is yes. Plenty of free or cheap tools and services are available to help you test and optimize your site.
Here’s our selection of some of the best and most affordable options to get started with.
7 Simple productivity tips you can apply today, backed by science
Posted on Thursday, April 11th, 2013
Written by Leo Widrich
In case you haven’t noticed, we’ve started to cover a lot of heavily scientific articles recently here on the Buffer blog. And judging by the spread of them, they have been really well received.
One thing struck me though. What about simple things we can do? A friend recently told me she has added a 20 minute window in her day where she tries to go for the “quick wins”.
I thought that’s a brilliant idea! So I went ahead and looked up 7 simple things all of us can do today to get more productive, happier and successful. Of course, all backed up by science! So here 7 simple productivity tips you can put in place today:
1.) Help someone today – it will make you happier and more productive
Eric Barker, one of my favorite productivity writers recently interviewed Wharton Business School professor Adam Grant about his new book called “Give and Take”. What struck me the most was that the people who help others out consistently not only feel happier, but are actually more successful:
“Then I looked at the other end of the spectrum and said if Givers are at the bottom, who’s at the top? Actually, I was really surprised to discover, it’s the Givers again. The people who consistently are looking for ways to help others are over-represented not only at the bottom, but also at the top of most success metrics.”
There is only a slight problem. Helping others often seems like a huge task. How can we approach it in a way so it doesn’t eat up all of our team and leaves us overloaded or stressed. Adam has 2 great tips for exactly that too:
The “Five-Minute Favor”: The best tip Adam asks you to do something for a friend or even stranger, if it takes less than 5 minutes every day. “What if I just took a couple minutes every day to try to help someone in a way that it’s sort of a small commitment to me, but could be of large benefit to them?” That is a great way of thinking. Retweeting someone, helping them vote on something or similar takes virtually no time, but helps them a great deal.
The 100 hour rule: In one year, Eric writes, we should be able to get to 100 hours that we’ve helped people. That’s roughly 2 hours per week. This “magical number of giving” helps you to both not be stressed and overloaded with helping, and yet giving a lot of your time to others.
I’ve found that splitting my time between helping someone with a small thing and working on Buffer are a great trade-off. The one gives me a huge boost to get my teeth stuck in for the next article, email or call. More on the unique power of helping from Eric, some incredible discoveries in there for me.
2.) Develop a daily routine
The last and definitely not least important one on this list is to start with making a daily routine. Create an outline for how your day should look like for tomorrow and stick with it, just that one day. Nearly all of the most famous writers, thinkers, politicians and entrepreneurs out there stick to a daily routine. Researchers Shenk and Dweck put it this way:
“Relentless persistence is what makes us more intelligent, rewires our brains, and helps us succeed.” … http://blog.bufferapp.com/simple-productivity-tips-science
Three generations from now, when our great-grandchildren are sitting barefoot in their shanties and wondering how in the hell America turned from the high-point of civilization to a third-world banana republic, they will shake their fists and mutter one name: George Effin’ Bush.
Ironically, it won’t be for any of the things that liberals have been harping on the Bush Administration, either during or after his term in office. Sure, misguided tax cuts that destroyed the surplus, and lax regulations that doomed the economy, and two amazingly awful wars in deserts half a world away are all terrible, empire-sapping events. But they pale in comparison to what it appears the Republican Party did to get President Bush re-elected in 2004.
“A new filing in the King Lincoln Bronzeville v. Blackwell case includes a copy of the Ohio Secretary of State election production system configuration that was in use in Ohio’s 2004 presidential election when there was a sudden and unexpected shift in votes for George W. Bush,” according to Bob Fitrakis, columnist at http://www.freepress.org and co-counsel in the litigation and investigation.
If you recall, Ohio was the battleground state that provided George Bush with the electoral votes needed to win re-election. Had Senator John Kerry won Ohio’s electoral votes, he would have been elected instead.
Evidence from the filing suggests that Republican operatives — including the private computer firms hired to manage the electronic voting data — were compromised.
Fitrakis isn’t the only attorney involved in pursuing the truth in this matter. Cliff Arnebeck, the lead attorney in the King Lincoln case, exchanged emails with IT security expert Stephen Spoonamore. He asked Spoonamore whether or not SmarTech had the capability to “input data” and thus alter the results of Ohio’s 2004 election. His response sent a chill up my spine.
“Yes. They would have had data input capacities. The system might have been set up to log which source generated the data but probably did not,” Spoonamore said. In case that seems a bit too technical and “big deal” for you, consider what he was saying. SmarTech, a private company, had the ability in the 2004 election to add or subtract votes without anyone knowing they did so.
The filing today shows how, detailing the computer network system’s design structure, including a map of how the data moved from one unit to the next. Right smack in the middle of that structure? Inexplicably, it was SmarTech.
Spoonamore (keep in mind, he is the IT expert here) concluded from the architectural maps of the Ohio 2004 election reporting system that, “SmarTech was a man in the middle. In my opinion they were not designed as a mirror, they were designed specifically to be a man in the middle.”
A “man in the middle” is not just an accidental happenstance of computing. It is a deliberate computer hacking setup, one where the hacker sits, literally, in the middle of the communication stream, intercepting and (when desired, as in this case) altering the data. It’s how hackers swipe your credit card number or other banking information. This is bad.
A mirror site, which SmarTech was allegedly supposed to be, is simply a backup site on the chance that the main configuration crashes. Mirrors are a good thing.
Until now, the architectural maps and contracts from the Ohio 2004 election were never made public, which may indicate that the entire system was designed for fraud. In a previous sworn affidavit to the court, Spoonamore declared: “The SmarTech system was set up precisely as a King Pin computer used in criminal acts against banking or credit card processes and had the needed level of access to both county tabulators and Secretary of State computers to allow whoever was running SmarTech computers to decide the output of the county tabulators under its control.”
Spoonamore also swore that “…the architecture further confirms how this election was stolen. The computer system and SmarTech had the correct placement, connectivity, and computer experts necessary to change the election in any manner desired by the controllers of the SmarTech computers.”
SmarTech was part of three computer companies brought in to manage the elections process for Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell, a Republican. The other two were Triad and GovTech Solutions. All three companies have extensive ties to the Republican party and Republican causes.
In fact, GovTech was run by Mike Connell, who was a fiercely religious conservative who got involved in politics to push a right-wing social agenda. He was Karl Rove’s IT go-to guy, and was alleged to be the IT brains behind the series of stolen elections between 2000 and 2004.
Connell was outed as the one who stole the 2004 election by Spoonamore, who, despite being a conservative Republican himself, came forward to blow the whistle on the stolen election scandal. Connell gave a deposition on the matter, but stonewalled. After the deposition, and fearing perjury/obstruction charges for withholding information, Connell expressed an interest in testifying further as to the extent of the scandal.
“He made it known to the lawyers, he made it known to reporter Larisa Alexandrovna of Raw Story, that he wanted to talk. He was scared. He wanted to talk. And I say that he had pretty good reason to be scared,” said Mark Crispin Miller, who wrote a book on the scandal.
Connell was so scared for his security that he asked for protection from the attorney general, then Attorney General Michael Mukasey. Connell told close friends that he was expecting to get thrown under the bus by the Rove team, because Connell had evidence linking the GOP operative to the scandal and the stolen election, including knowledge of where Rove’s missing emails disappeared to.
Before he could testify, Connell died in a plane crash.
What if every light bulb in the world could also transmit data? At TEDGlobal, Harald Haas demonstrates, for the first time, a device that could do exactly that. By flickering the light from a single LED, a change too quick for the human eye to detect, he can transmit far more data than a cellular tower — and do it in a way that’s more efficient, secure and widespread.
Made from cotton-seed hulls and mycelium, or mushroom roots, new protective packaging for Steelcase’s Currency line of ready-to-assemble office furniture has earned packaging supplier Ecovative the Innovator of the Year award in the Non FDA-Regulated Products category of the 2011 Greener Package Awards.
In June, Ecovative was also named as a DuPont Award winner. Says awards judge Frank Perkowski, of Business Development Advisory, “This is truly an innovative packaging solution that has obvious environmental benefits relative to existing technologies.” As Sam Harrington, environmental director and packaging engineer for Ecovative, recalls, Steelcase approached Ecovative in 2009 with the desire to replace the expanded polypropylene foam used as protective packaging for its products shipped globally.
“They researched and sought out other packaging solutions,” he recalls, “but couldnt find anything that would come close to the cushioning properties of the EPP and EPS [expanded polystyrene] parts they currently used-until they found Ecovative. They ultimately wanted the same or better protection, and far less environmental impact for about the same cost.”
Ecovatives EcoCradle is a low embodied-energy, compostable, protective packaging material that is literally grown into any custom shape. The company uses mycelium to bind together locally sourced agricultural byproducts, in a mold of any desired shape. Says the companys Greener Package Awards entry form, “The materials weve developed over the last three years at Ecovative represent the first time humans have capitalized on the amazing structural properties of another kingdom of biology: fungi.”
EcoCradle packaging can be grown within five to seven days, in a dark indoor environment, using one-tenth the energy used to manufacture traditional synthetic material. Currently Ecovatives upstate New York pilot plant has the capacity to produce 10,000 packaging parts per month. The company is also in the process of building a much larger facility with 10-times the capacity, relates Harrington.
For Steelcases 300-lb ready-to-assemble furniture line, Ecovative “grew” corner blocks and flat slabs measuring 5 x 5 x 5 in. and 4 x 12 x 1 in., respectively. The parts were the culmination of a year-long development process in which Ecovative experimented with part molds, byproduct mixes, and other processes to ensure the packaging would meet Steelcases performance standards. Oat hulls were selected as a byproduct because they are local to Ecovatives Green Island, NY, plant, thus minimizing transportation costs. Being 100% biologic-based, EcoCradle also offers a nontoxic and convenient end-of-life option. The material is certified for home and industrial composting via ASTM D5210, 5338, and 6400 for both aerobic and anaerobic compostability, and can be “used as mulch or put in with yard waste,” explains Harrington.
Launch of the protective packaging was well received: “The Steelcase dealer network has been enthralled by EcoCradle,” says Harrington. “They often cite it as a shining example of Steelcases environmentally progressive designs and policies.”Interestingly, the furniture maker is now taking a look at how else they might be able to leverage this unique, natural material, Harrington says. “Their designers have asked, How can this be more than just furniture packaging? How can this be furniture?” As a result, Ecovative is currently in discussions with Steelcase about applications in the furniture industry.