All posts by Randall Gross

IEEE Picks Up 25Gbit/s Ethernet Cause

This is a needed step – for cloud services to work well the “heavy iron” server infrastructure in the cloud’s core has to function superbly – that means many hefty application, content, and data servers connected via speedy high capacity broadband pipes. If the heavy lifting and crunching takes place in the core it makes the extended network and the minimum devices needed to support the applications lighter.

from DAN O’SHEA, Managing Editor, Light Reading — 7/23/2014

Just days after a consortium was formed to pursue a 25Gbit/s specification for data centers, the IEEE has anointed its 802.3 25 Gbit/s Ethernet Study Group, the first step to establishing for formal standard.

Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc. (IEEE) members voted last week to pursue the effort to explore uses and market interest in 25Gbit/s Ethernet for single-lane interconnections between servers and top-of-rack networking gear inside data centers. Mark Nowell, chairman of the study group and senior director at Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), tells Light Reading an initial straw poll of voting engineers found 121 in favor and just one against the idea. The move to establish the study group was unanimously approved in a follow-up vote. (See IEEE Studies 25G Ethernet Standard.)

More: IEEE Picks Up 25Gbit/s Ethernet Cause

Oregon Coast

This photo in the mountains above the Oregon coast is cropped down from a very wide angle (8mm) shot. I like how the land, clouds, sea, and sky all blend together and disappear like it’s the edge of the world in the middle right side of the photo & I also like how the lines of waves along the beach draw your eye there slowly but surely.

Oregon Coastline
Oregon Coastline

Redbud Leaves

Redbud leaves have some weird property about them that causes water to bead up a bit more than it does on other leaves. This makes for some good photos.

redbud leaves
water drops on redbud leaves.

Far Right Common Core Opponents Know Little About it, But that Doesn’t Stop Them

As usual the Far right backlash against common core is fed by populist reactionary fear mired in fundamentalist ignorance. This means the usual anti-science theocrats who not only want to rewrite science classes according to the bible, but also rewrite history based on their narrow theocratic view of how things ought to be in this country are all very much against the standards. Lying about everything is the norm with them, and twisting everything is the point and purpose of the exercise, if one lie gets debunked another takes its place.

So the usual suspects from Phylis Schafly to Wall builders are trying to paint this as a Federal move, and have already branded Common Core as “Obamacore” and anti-states rights even though it was created by state bodies, not Federal, and Common Core does not come from President Obama. Truth doesn’t matter to them however because lying for Jesus is the game, and any change in the U.S. is what they blame.

The video at the link is typical – watch as the “concerned mom” ignorantly paints common core as everything it is not. Common core recognizes that children attack problems individually and through different mental tools and the program works with those abilities to teach children different methods of solving problems and the concepts behind the solutions. CC allows children to pick their own tools and the methods that work best for them. Behind her animus is someone who wants kids memorizing tables and events instead of being able to critically think their way to an answer for future problems, someone who fears that the schools will teach her kids to actually think for themselves.

A recent Gallup poll showed that 61 percent of parents know little or nothing about the Common Core. But the 19 percent who view the standards “very negatively,” particularly in red states, are the parents driving the debate and making Common Core a wedge issue in the upcoming election. Prominent Tea Party members have denounced “Obamacore” as the epitome of a federal takeover. Several Republican governors in the past few months–Nikki Haley in South Carolina, Mike Pence in Indiana, Mary Fallin in Oklahoma, and Bobby Jindal in Louisiana, who once supported the standards–have repealed Common Core in their states as a result, many say, of pressure from small groups of local activists.

Austin’s #CanISee conference –as in, “Can I see what my children are learning?”– is a who’s-who of the far-right movement that some peg as fringe, but nevertheless gets results. They’re the voters who vow to use Common Core as a litmus test come November. They’re also the activists who Core supporters say are fueling myths and misconceptions about the standards.

For the mostly female, mostly older, all-white crowd, Common Core is more than an attack on states’ rights; it’s an affront to Christian, conservative values. These mothers and grandmothers see a campaign against Common Core as an extension of protecting the nuclear family. Eagle Forum, anti-feminist activist Phyllis Schlafly’s national organization, is a sponsor of the conference. In the foyer outside, booths proffer fliers about What You Need to Know About Marriage and How to Speak Up for Life.

More: Meet America’s Most Hardcore Anti-Common Core Moms – NBC News.com

Future of Braille Report- Library of Congress

In the early 1990′s right after the Americans with Disablities Act was signed into law I helped incorporate a Braillex screen reader / keyboard into a PC with custom mainframe applications to enable the company I worked for to hire their first blind customer service representative. It took a great deal of concerted effort with the PC vendor, Papenmeier, & third tier support at the terminal emulator software vendor because midstream in the emulator’s translation characters typed by the agent echoed back and switched from EBCDIC to ASCII, which meant our blind agent couldn’t see some special characters and others that they typed would move the cursor wildly across the screen. We hired some assembly language gurus to code a keyboard scanner that captured and faked the echo back from the terminal emulator which worked great. After that we used the knowledge gained to enable other blind agents to work at Telecommunications Relay for Deaf call centers as well. Technology has moved forward a lot since those days, with sites like BARD, bluetooth connections, and new devices.

Now it’s time to look into the future – as we move to the Internet of Things, and as we encounter new devices, what is the future of Braille? Here’s an article on the new report from the Library of Congress

The Future of Braille” Report Presents Recommendations for Improving Literacy Opportunities

Deputy Librarian of Congress Robert J. Dizard Jr. today released a report exploring issues related to braille, the literacy tool that makes independence possible for people who cannot see to read regular print, at the National Federation of the Blind national convention in Orlando, Florida.

"The Future of Braille: NLS Braille Summit Presentations and Outcomes" details the proceedings of a conference held by the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS) in partnership with the Perkins School for the Blind in Watertown, Massachusetts, June 19–22, 2013. It was attended by more than 100 librarians, instructors, producers, and other experts in the field of braille.

NLS director Karen Keninger said, "This was the first gathering of its type since the early 20th century. People were eager to share their experiences and to contribute their ideas to help shape the course of this important literacy tool."

"The Library of Congress has been providing braille books since it was authorized by law to provide free library service for people who are blind or have low vision," Dizard explained. "This program, the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, has recently expanded to include electronic braille, which is downloaded over the Internet from the Braille and Audio Reading Download site (known as BARD) and read using braille embossers or note-takers with a Bluetooth connection.

"The Braille Summit is a product of our effort to keep this medium at the forefront of library service," Dizard said.

Speakers included Peter Osborne, chief braille officer of the United Kingdom’s Royal National Institute of Blind People, Michael Yudin, acting assistant secretary for the U.S. Department of Education Special Education and Rehabilitative Services in Washington, D.C., and other notables in the field. Panels discussed improvements in the braille code, methods of producing braille, lowering costs, leveraging technology, and addressing misperceptions about the literacy tool.

Participants recognized that collaboration is the way forward for strengthening braille literacy. As NLS has been a leader in ensuring access to reading materials, the gathering recommended that NLS support efforts to update braille technology and specifications. They also recommended that the service provide a low-cost braille display in the same way that it provides audio-playback equipment.

Other stakeholders were encouraged to address the shortage of teachers and cost prohibitions, promote braille as a communications tool, make better use of technology to reduce the cost of braille production and to produce a low-cost braille display unit.

The report is available online at www.loc.gov/nls/.

NLS administers the braille and talking-book program, a free library service available to U.S. residents and American citizens living abroad whose low vision, blindness, or disability makes reading regular materials difficult. Through its national network of libraries, NLS mails books and magazines in audio and braille formats and digital audio equipment directly to enrollees at no cost. Music instructional materials are also provided. Selected materials may be downloaded. For more information, visit www.loc.gov/nls/ or call 1-888-NLS-READ (1-888-657-7323).

The Library of Congress, the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution and the largest library in the world, holds more than 158 million items in various languages, disciplines and formats. The Library serves the U.S. Congress and the nation both on-site in its reading rooms on Capitol Hill and through its award-winning website at www.loc.gov.

via Future of Braille Report | News Releases – Library of Congress.

Vimeo’s video recording app Cameo gets indie music boost

This is good news from Vimeo, other video services might want to pay attention to this move.

Cameo, the iPhone video recording app that Vimeo acquired in March, relaunched with a bigger focus on music Wednesday, allowing users to combine their clips with select songs from a variety of indie bands. The update also includes an option to upload Cameo clips straight to Vimeo.

The new Cameo app features a new music interface that makes it easier to pick songs as soundtracks. “ Music and video go hand in hand, and by connecting enthusiasts of both, Cameo is inspiring user creativity and facilitating personal connections between fans, artists, and creators,” said Cameo VP Mark Rosenberg.

Cameo actually faced some criticism when it first made the move towards a curated music catalog, with some of its users arguing that they’d rather use songs from their own library for their videos — something that was possible in earlier versions of the app, but has since been disabled. Asked about this, Rosenberg said: “Many emerging artists have been victim to pirating on other mobile video platforms, and our goal is to develop relationships with these artists and get them the exposure they need to be successful.”

Vimeo’s video recording app Cameo gets indie music boost — Tech News and Analysis.

July 4th 2014

The weather in Kansas is great, and I think I’ve found a good spot for the fireworks tonight. Now I have to remember how to set up the DSLR for fireworks.

fireworks
Fireworks over Niagara Falls