Living with Information and Communications Technology (ICT)


ICT or Information and communications technology has become an integral part of our daily lives. Whether it is for work or personal use we can not do without it. Especially in the last 2 years or so, during the Covid 19 pandemic, ICT has become the cornerstone to keep the economy and education going.
However, it has also become something which can be exploited for negative use. Cybercriminals have exploited weak spots in ICT infrastructure of many public and private companies.
For example, on May 14, 2021, the Health Service executive, Ireland, fell victim to ransomware cyber-attack. Ransomware is a malicious software designed to deny access to an ICT system until money is paid. The HSE had to shut down all their computers and fix them one by one.
Additionally with the development of mobile ICT devices like smart phones and tablets, and the creation of social media platforms it has become extremely easy to spread misinformation and conspiracy theories. On the other hand, it has also become much easier for people to work remotely.
For people like me who have family abroad, good reliable broadband connection, is especially important to stay connected to family and friends across the world. This has become evident to me when my youngest son moved to the Netherlands for the Erasmus project of his studies at the University of Limerick. He moved to Tilburg at the end of August, where before it would be too expensive to stay connected daily, nowadays we can chat and see each other every day via the app What’s App, at no extra cost.
Another advantage of Information and communication technology is in relation to the entertainment industry. Musicians no longer need to buy expensive studio time or equipment. With software like Audacity, Audiotool or Adobe audience they can record, edit, and stream it directly to platforms such as Spotify or Deezer. It has also become a lot easier to enjoy a TV show. Applications like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney + and Apple TV allow viewers to watch shows and other contents on every device that has a screen be it a laptop or desktop computer, tablet, smartphone, or smart TV, shows can be streamed directly to any of these devices, at any time the user wants it.
But the flipside of this is that there is a risk that down the line a price will have to be paid for all this convenience. Just as is the case with convenience food, just because it is easy and often immediately consumable does not equate with being healthy. People nowadays do not have to move out of their houses anymore. They can order food, watch a favourite show, and listen to music by using the same tool. Often a device that fits in a back pocket.
We most also take in consideration the environmental impact of ICT devices, and particularly the mobile, handheld devices and electric cars. They all run on rechargeable batteries called ‘Lithium-ion batteries. Most of these batteries contain minerals and chemicals as components. To name but a few-Lithium cobalt oxide, Graphite, Lithium iron phosphate and Lithium nickel manganese cobalt oxides- aside from the environmental impact of these components, they also sometimes with a human cost, mining these components often happens in third world countries at elevated risk and little pay.
They also have a high energy density; therefore, they need to be charged quite often, sometimes more than once a day, which is a drain on the electricity grid and can result into higher energy prices. Unfortunately, this is seldom heard in debates regarding so called ‘green’ energy.
A major innovation though is 3d printing. It enables things to be printed in a very quick way where it used to take a long time. Especially in the medical industry it has become a major driver to design and create all sorts of artificial limbs and other things.
I mentioned Social Media platforms earlier. In general, most of these are accessed via apps on mobile information and communications technology devices. Although most social media platforms were initially designed as tools to make it easier and more convenient to connect people. These platforms now have become facilitators of hate speech, history distortion, misinformation and are often politicised.

With the inbuilt programs where you can alter images to make you look better than you do, these platforms are in danger of becoming the purveyors of lies rather then connectors of people. Many especially younger people suffer from mental issues cause be unreal expectation and cyber bullying facilitated by some of the social media outlets.
In summary there are advantages and disadvantages to the use of ICT systems. But if they are used in a controlled in a sensible way, by using common sense, and perhaps by waiting a minute or two before giving a kneejerk reaction to what somebody may have sent you, I believe that overall, the advantages outweigh the disadvantages. However there need to be better regulations and enforcement of those regulations of the more damaging aspect of the information and communication technology

Happy 131st birthday Nintendo

Today I will finally show off my gaming knowledge and leave you all in awe and amazement!

Ah no, in fact I am clueless when it comes to gaming. I never got into the whole video/computer games universe, Yet the title is Nintendo, the name of one of the biggest gaming publishers.

A lot of people, including gamers, don’t know that Nintendo did not start of as gaming console company. On this day 131 years ago in 1889, Nintendo was founded Fusajiro Yamauchi in Kyoto, Japan.

The company has now 5,944 employees and has an estimated value of 50 Billion USD. Despite growing competition it is still a company to be reckoned with.

For some reason I would doubt it though if kids ask for Nintendo on their Birthdays or Christmas , they’d appreciate the cards rather then one of the consoles.

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When the world turned color.

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I remember one of my sons , when he was a toddler, asking when the world turned color. I had to laugh at the innocent question, for he thought that prior to color movies and TV, the world had been black and white.

To answer his question, well at least from a TV perspective, it was in September 1941, 2 years into WWII.

The Scottish engineer, innovator,and one of the inventors of the mechanical television,John Logie Baird, had been working to produce a two-color image.

He did this by by placing filters in front of  two tubes and  then project them onto a smaller screen to enhance the effective intensity.The subject he used to demonstrate his invention had had a very colorful life herself.

Paddy Naismith had been a race driver,chauffeur to Prime Minister Mr Ramsay Macdonald, air hostess and actress. In September 1941 John Logie Baird used a live image of Paddy Naismith used to demonstrate the first all-electronic color television system, The  picture had 600 lines of resolution, and used a monochromatic cathode-ray tube with a rotating transparent color wheel in front of it.

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It wasn’t until 1951 when the first color TV were sold, and initially they were taken of the market again a month after the sales. It was only until the 60s when first tv shows were broadcast in color.

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I am passionate about my site and I know you all like reading my blogs. I have been doing this at no cost and will continue to do so. All I ask is for a voluntary donation of $2 ,however if you are not in a position to do so I can fully understand, maybe next time then. Thanks To donate click on the credit/debit card icon of the card you will use. If you want to donate more then $2 just add a higher number in the box left from the paypal link. Many thanks

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Osborne 1-First Portable Computer

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Computers nowadays come in all shapes and sizes from a smartphone to the super computer Mira.

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An essential requirement nowadays is that computers are portable. It may be hard to believe but the history of portable computers goes back 38 years, even when I write it ’38 years’ I can’t  believe it . i was barely a teenager then.

The Osborne 1 was the first commercially successful portable microcomputer, released on April 3, 1981, by Osborne Computer Corporation. It weighed 10.7 kg (24.5 lb), cost US$1,795, and ran the CP/M 2.2 operating system. Powered directly from a mains socket as it had no on-board battery, it was still classed as a portable device since it could be hand-carried when packed.

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While the Osborne 1 was a good deal at $1,795, it also came bundled with about $1,500 of free software:

  • CP/M Utility
  • CP/M Operating System
  • SuperCalc spreadsheet application
  • WordStar word processing application with MailMerge
  • Microsoft MBASIC programming language (interpreted)
  • Digital Research CBASIC programming language (compiled)

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Lets just have a look at the dazzling specification of this marvel of high tech equipment.

  • Dual 5¼-inch, single-sided 40 track floppy disk drives (“dual density” upgrade available)
  • 4 MHz Z80 CPU
  • 64 KB main memory
  • Fold-down 69 key detachable keyboard doubling as the computer case’s lid
  • 5-inch, 52 character × 24 line monochrome CRT display, mapped as a window on 128 × 32 character display memory
  • Parallel printer port configurable as an IEEE-488 port
  • RS-232 compatible 1200 or 300 baud Serial port for use with external modems or serial printers.

And yes this complicated piece of machinery needed a 500+ pages instruction manual.

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The Osborne 1 was powered by a wall plug with a switched-mode power supply, and had no internal battery. An aftermarket battery pack offering 1-hour run-time was available, and connected to the system through a front panel socket. Early models (tan case) were wired for 120 V or 240 V only. Later models (blue case, shipping after May 1982) could be switched by the user to run on either 120 V or 230 V, 50 or 60 Hz. There was no internal fan; a hatch at the top of the (blue) case could be opened for ventilation.

Ah those were the days.

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Donation

I am passionate about my site and I know you all like reading my blogs. I have been doing this at no cost and will continue to do so. All I ask is for a voluntary donation of $2 ,however if you are not in a position to do so I can fully understand, maybe next time then. Thanks To donate click on the credit/debit card icon of the card you will use. If you want to donate more then $2 just add a higher number in the box left from the paypal link. Many thanks

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