Categories
Fun Media Technology

Telling History Digitally

Photo by Detroiturbex.cm
Photo by Detroiturbex.com

Recently I have taken an interest in using digital means to recount history. The thing that has taken me most is the use of old photos that are either cut into or superimposed over new photos. The results really give an insight into the history of our modern urban landscape.

The Mail Online has a fantastic example of how photos from World War 2 can be superimposed upon photos of modern France, the effect really makes you think. This article has one of the original photos, the new photo and then one upon the other. So we see soldiers battling through the rubble of the town of Cherbourg in 1944, followed by the same shot taken today and then the two merged.

The obviously new addition of the cycle paths and modern signs  in some way makes the photos even more dramatic, as it brings to life the reality of how we live today with the ghost of war ever present.

Photo taken from the Mail Online
Photo taken from the Mail Online

There are 11 fully merged photos to follow, and they all tell their own story.

Another site that offers a wealth of photos and an incredible history lesson is called Detroiturbex. The opening photo above is taken from their website.  As we might imagine the project involves documenting the history of Detroit, and features photos of the city throughout its history, with a large section of connected, re-made and superimposed photos that recount the rise and fall of one of Americas largest industrial cities.

To give you an idea of what has happened to this great city in recent history, in 1950 it had almost 2 million inhabitants, but today only a third of that population remains. This means that more than 80,000 buildings lay derelict. The city has been declared bankrupt so there is no money to maintain any of the structures, and the results are there for all to see.

Basketball taken from the website
Basketball taken from the website

This is a big site, but a look at the index will guide you through a fantastic collection of photos, with the Now and Then section offering the matched and superimposed images. It is well worth a half hour to browse them all though, another reality of the American dream.

Flickr has a group called Looking into the Past that contains hundreds of images similar to those described above, which leads me to believe that it must be quite an easy thing to do. They certainly present an interesting historical perspective upon everyday modern life.

A quick search will find you plenty of others, including old postcards held over the original locations, very effective and absolutely DIY for those of us who like the analogue approach to life.

Categories
News Search Engines

Google prunes some of its branches

It is that time again at Google when it has to prune some of its various branches. Since Google co-founder Larry Page took over the reins as CEO in April last year, Google has been reducing and trimming its projects to renew and regain focus.

Google has come under investor scrutiny as it is facing increasing competition from both Apple and Facebook.

This spring cleaning is part of the various cost cutting and refocusing efforts. In the latest cleaning exercise announced a few weeks ago, Google will be pulling the plug on seven of its projects.

1. Google Knol

Google launched Knol in 2007 to help improve web content and as a challenge to Wikipedia that enabled experts to collaborate on in-depth articles. Knol will be available till April 30, 2012, to enable users to download their Knols to a file and/or migrate them to the WordPress platform. After that till October 1, 2012, Knols cannot be viewed but users will be able to download and export content. After October 2012, the Knol content will no longer be available.

2. Google Gears

Google has closed the Gears browser extension for creating offline web applications and stopped supporting new browsers in March this year. From December 1, 2011, Gears-based Gmail and Calendar offline will not work across all browsers, and Gears will not be available for download from late December this year. Google announced that this is part of their effort to help incorporate offline capabilities into HTML5. Users can access Gmail, Calendar and Docs offline in Chrome.

3. Renewable Energy

Google has abandoned its ambitious plans to make renewable energy cheaper than coal. Google had started this project in 2007 as a means on driving down the price of renewable energy with a strong focus on solar power. Google announced that the head of the project, Bill Weihl (William E. Weihl) has left the company and it believes that other organizations were in a better position to take its efforts to the next level.

4. Google Wave

Google has earlier stopped further development on Google Wave. Now it has announced that as of January 31, 2012, Wave will be available as only a read-only version and users won’t be able to create new ones. This will be completed closed on April 30, 2012. Users can transfer individual waves using the existing PDF export feature.

5. Google Search Timeline

Google will be removing this feature that displays a historical graph of results for a search query. Users will now be able to restrict any search to particular time periods using the refinement tools on the left-hand side of the search page. Uses who wish to view graphs with historical trends for a web search can use Google Trends or Google Insights for data since 2004. If you need more historical data, the “Ngram Viewer” in Google Books offers the same information.

The Google Trends Product Logo

6. Google Friend Connect

Google Friend Connect, which is a social feature, will be discontinued from March, this is because Google wants people to start using the Google Plus social network instead.

7. Google Bookmarks

The feature will become unavailable from December 19, 2011. This enabled users to share bookmarks and collaborate with friends. The existing bookmark Lists will be retained and labelled to make it easier to identify. The other features of the Google Bookmarks will keep on functioning. The change won’t affect the non-English users as it was an English only feature.

This spring cleaning is only a sign that Google knows that it currently faces big competition, so it needs to make sure that it discontinues disused/inefficient services it provides.

Categories
News Science Space Technology

The world’s most powerful radio telescope is now functioning!

One of the best places to put a telescope is in the Atacama Desert, which is on the boarder of Chile and Peru – currently there are around 20 telescopes (both radio and optical) functioning in the area.

The Alma telescope

In the last few days, the world’s largest radio telescope, the Alma telescope, has began to function. Currently the telescope is made up of around 20 massive antenna dishes, which work in harmony to produce amazingly detailed pictures of outer space.

The project has input from all around the world, with Europe, North America, East Asia and the Republic of Chile forming a partnership, all doing their bit to add more antenna dishes and improve the telescope.

The ALMA Telescope
The antenna dishes that currently make up the telescope ALMA Telescope

When the project is completed, (hopefully within the next 20 years if all goes to plan) the telescope will have a whopping 66 dishes at its disposal, all of which it can use to gaze at the stars in fantastic detail!

Why the Atacama Desert?

You are probably wondering why the Atacama Desert is such a hotspot for telescope activity. Well there are a number of reasons, but the main ones are that it has clear skies almost all the time, in addition to very dry air – meaning that its hard for humans to breath there due to low oxygen levels, but for the telescopes, that means very little interference from anything in the space above.

Furthermore, the desert has many high flat areas, meaning that telescopes can be closer to the atmosphere, meaning even less interference. In addition to this, because the Atacama is a desert, it has virtually no light pollution. Basically it is an astronomer’s dream location!

Is it working?

The project has only been live for less than a week now, but already some stunning high detailed pictures of space area already beginning to emerge. Below is one of these great pictures:

ALMA Telescope deep space picture
A picture of deep space made possible by the ALMA Telescope

Because the light we can see here on earth is often millions, if not billions of years old, we are able to see into the past when looking up at the sky, using super powerful telescopes like the Alma one.

Scientists believe that we will be able to see events that happened just 400 million years after the big bang, due to the light delay, hence enabling us to understand better than ever before the formation of the early universe.

The Alma telescope is just one small cog in our planets fascinating scientific road of discovery, however one thing’s for sure: this ‘small cog’ should be able to help us understand a lot more about the universe than ever before!

Categories
Blogging Series

How your reputation as a blogger helps lead you to success

This is the first in a series of articles in which I hope to share with you my knowledge of how and why Technology Bloggers has been so successful, so fast. Learn more about this series by reading our Technology Bloggers success article.

When starting a blog, website or forum there are two ways you can do it. In the dark, or with a reputation. 99% of the time, it is better to start a site with a reputation, as I have found that your online history can significantly affect the success of your next blog.

History provides you with many things; especially experience, reputation and knowledge. When I founded Technology Bloggers I had already run a technology blog for almost two years. This had given me a lot of experience in the area, specifically things like where to get ideas from, keywords to use to help my articles get found in the SERP’s, how to write interesting tech posts (I hope!) and many other things.

Christopher Roberts Technology Blog had also given me a reputation. This reputation has been carried with me to Technology Bloggers, so people who liked my writing before are likely to have follow me – give me a shout out if you did 🙂

The reason that I said 99% of the time it’s better to start with a reputation, is because very few people manage to get themselves a bad reputation, sometimes unintentionally.

Tracks in the Snow
We will forever be known by the tracks we leave - our reputation

Apart from blogging, another way to build up a good reputation is as a commenter. I comment on loads of blogs, as I think comments are very important. If you have had me comment on your blog or have seen me comment on a blog, then you will probably know that I have a reputation for challenging the author, and sometimes writing almost article length comments.

Challenging the author gets you to know people better in the blogosphere as those sort of comments jump out at people much more than ones like “Great article, cheers!” do. Don’g get me wrong though, I only disagree if I don’t agree with the author. If I like your content I will congratulate you too!


Commenting also has another element. By placing your link on other peoples blogs you are getting some effectively free publicity. People read you comment, like your style, check out your blog. It’s that simple! Sometimes 😉

If you are new to blogging, don’t worry if you have no reputation, look for blogs that you enjoy reading, and ones which also write in your niche and comment on them, that should, in some way help to build up a good reputation for yourself – providing they are good comments.

I have been into blogging for just over two years now, but I have also built (and currently maintain) many websites; these have further advanced my reputation as a writer. Some people may not know me from my blog, but as the ‘maintenance man’ for the Royal Marines Association, City of Wolverhampton Branch’s website, for example.

My social blog and philosophy blog along with my website have also advanced my ‘audience base’ and they have hopefully also strengthened my reputation as a blogger.

By the time I started Technology Bloggers I had (and still have) a lot of powerful contacts within the tech blog industry. These people can be fantastic resources in times of crisis and trouble, one of the other reasons that I highly recommend interacting with other online.

Basically what I am trying to say is that it is actually years of building and preparation that is part of the reason why Technology Bloggers has been successful. If you are new to blogging you may find that it can be hard to start with, but by guest blogging, commenting and interacting with other bloggers, can get you there!

Categories
Blogging Series

How your reputation as a blogger helps lead you to success

This is the first in a series of articles in which I hope to share with you my knowledge of how and why Technology Bloggers has been so successful, so fast. Learn more about this series by reading our Technology Bloggers success article.

When starting a blog, website or forum there are two ways you can do it. In the dark, or with a reputation. 99% of the time, it is better to start a site with a reputation, as I have found that your online history can significantly affect the success of your next blog.

History provides you with many things; especially experience, reputation and knowledge. When I founded Technology Bloggers I had already run a technology blog for almost two years. This had given me a lot of experience in the area, specifically things like where to get ideas from, keywords to use to help my articles get found in the SERP’s, how to write interesting tech posts (I hope!) and many other things.

Christopher Roberts Technology Blog had also given me a reputation. This reputation has been carried with me to Technology Bloggers, so people who liked my writing before are likely to have follow me – give me a shout out if you did 🙂

The reason that I said 99% of the time it’s better to start with a reputation, is because very few people manage to get themselves a bad reputation, sometimes unintentionally.

Tracks in the Snow
We will forever be known by the tracks we leave - our reputation

Apart from blogging, another way to build up a good reputation is as a commenter. I comment on loads of blogs, as I think comments are very important. If you have had me comment on your blog or have seen me comment on a blog, then you will probably know that I have a reputation for challenging the author, and sometimes writing almost article length comments.

Challenging the author gets you to know people better in the blogosphere as those sort of comments jump out at people much more than ones like “Great article, cheers!” do. Don’g get me wrong though, I only disagree if I don’t agree with the author. If I like your content I will congratulate you too!


Commenting also has another element. By placing your link on other peoples blogs you are getting some effectively free publicity. People read you comment, like your style, check out your blog. It’s that simple! Sometimes 😉

If you are new to blogging, don’t worry if you have no reputation, look for blogs that you enjoy reading, and ones which also write in your niche and comment on them, that should, in some way help to build up a good reputation for yourself – providing they are good comments.

I have been into blogging for just over two years now, but I have also built (and currently maintain) many websites; these have further advanced my reputation as a writer. Some people may not know me from my blog, but as the ‘maintenance man’ for the Royal Marines Association, City of Wolverhampton Branch’s website, for example.

My social blog and philosophy blog along with my website have also advanced my ‘audience base’ and they have hopefully also strengthened my reputation as a blogger.

By the time I started Technology Bloggers I had (and still have) a lot of powerful contacts within the tech blog industry. These people can be fantastic resources in times of crisis and trouble, one of the other reasons that I highly recommend interacting with other online.

Basically what I am trying to say is that it is actually years of building and preparation that is part of the reason why Technology Bloggers has been successful. If you are new to blogging you may find that it can be hard to start with, but by guest blogging, commenting and interacting with other bloggers, can get you there!