Archive for January, 2016

Find the Right Laptop for You

happy woman using laptopWith so many products on the market, it’s definitely an intimidating process for any non-tech-guru to figure out exactly what kind of device is going to fit their processing needs. Here’s a guide for how to better understand what you’ll want in a device that best suits your lifestyle.

There’s a few different factors to consider when you search for the right laptop: You’re going to want think about your preferred screen size and weight, the CPU that best suits your needs, and how much RAM you’re going to want.

As far as screen size goes, know that laptop screens tend to range in size from 9- to 17-inch displays. If you’re thinking you’re going to be playing a lot of COD on your device, you’ll probably want a bigger screen so you can see the action that much clearer. The same goes for video editing and graphic designing. Basically if you plan on using your computer a fair amount for business, you’re just going to feel better with a larger screen so you can see what you’re actually doing. If you’re looking for a laptop to take on the road with you between destinations that have desktop computers or provided laptops, you might want to opt into a smaller screen so it’s more portable and less expensive.

CPU is another important factor. Definitely opt into more CPU for anything that involves video editing, music producing, video game playing, etc. However, if mostly you’ll be using the computer for writing or browsing the web, you don’t really need the top model. The less CPU, the cheaper, so keep that in mind.

laptop2And let’s not forget RAM. RAM or Random Access Memory is important for any laptop user who wants a quick boot for the computer and high processing capabilities. This is another computer feature that will be enjoyed in large amounts by graphic designers, video editors and video game players while people who need to do writing work, browse the web and send emails can opt into more cost effective options. RAM helps people to feel good about their computers if they actually care about that kind of thing, but is useless past a couple GB for most non-tech-field workers who simply need the basics of a computer.

So now if you’ve figured out exactly what kind of computer user you are, you might be able to browse with a little more efficiency and more effectively. There are a lot of online resources that are also available to the laptop shopper, including shopping sites with tools and search engines that can help you to choose the right laptop. Microsoft actually created a very innovative and useful program called PC scout that can help users to walk through the process of choosing a computer and present viable choices (that are obviously going to run off Windows) at the end. This might be a good exercise for PC shoppers or really any potential laptop buyers, but just make sure to take the results with a grain of salt; it’s not just a test, it’s also an advertising method.

Humans and Computers Team Up Against World Issues

Thuman computationhe journal Science just released an article written by researchers who envision a world in which combined human and computer intelligence could yield unprecedented solutions to historic problems.

The researchers hailed from Cornell University and the Human Computation Institute. They called for increased efforts in the acceleration of computational research being done to help investigate and counter issues related to cancer, HIV, climate change and drought.

It’s not uncommon to crowdsource the analysis of research materials. In fact, crowdsourcing research has even taken the form of creating games for people to play which are both entertaining and complete important analysis-related tasks for researchers.

These games, for which the purpose its actually to forward the advancement of science, fall under the category of “citizen science,” explained the director of the Human Computation Institute Pietro Michelucci. According to Michelucci, the surfacing of new forms of infrastructure and new development tools have allowed scientists to combine “carious methods of crowdsourcing and create more complex and sophisticated systems… So this means, instead of creating just one-off human computation systems from scratch each time, we now have the ability to connect different methods of engagement and have real-time access to crowds.”

Websites like Kickstarter and groups like Anonymous have demonstrated the huge amounts of power that internet communities can possess if accessed and mobilized in the right way. Citizen Science is no exception; once HIV-related research was released in the form of a protein golding game called Foldit, citizen scientists reached a finding that had previously eluded researchers for decades.

“If you could create an expert by combining people in the crowd, then you have access to a lot more crowd experts,” explained Michelucci. “So we use the ‘wisdom of the crowd’ method to combine contributions from the general public.”

minions“Combined experts” were used to diagnose malaria in a smartphone app called “Malaria Spot.” Researchers found that every 23 diagnoses made from citizen scientists were as accurate as one diagnosis from a certified pathologist. The same method is set to be used for Alzheimers, though the numbers themselves may be different.

“We have too figure out how many members of the public it takes to analyze a certain mount of data before that analysis is as accurate as the one from the trained scientist working in the lab,” asserted Michelucci. “When we can make that work, we have this force multiplier. If we have 30,000 people in the general public and it takes 30 people, then we have 1,000 crowd experts.”

Crowd experts could impact more than the field of science. Rob Enderle of the Enderle Group pointed out that human computation would also come in handy with “litigation, both case law and discovery, primary research on trends and causes… Politics would be timely, for instance.”

Timely political responses could lead to huge changes for human society; imagine how quickly gun control laws would change if people could simply put laws into action after 2015’s tragic onslaught of deadly shootings. It could also help to solve lobbyist issues, though they would perhaps just take a different form.