Microsoft Lumia 950: It Could Be Better

The Lumia 950 is Microsoft's attempt to turn your phone into something like a full-on Windows PC. It is built to move you to the next level of worker productivity. Unfortunately it comes up a little short.

The first Windows 10 device is designed to extend the benefits of the Windows experience to the smart phone. The goal is to use the phone to power a desk type experience to a monitor. This includes syncing office documents and photos across all your devices and connecting with the Windows store so your favorite apps, game, music and video are all in one place.

On the plus side, the phone does have a nice quad HD display, 5.2 inches, 564 pixels per square inch. USB-C for fast charging and a large capacity battery. The attractive display is easy to read outdoors. It is scratch resistant with a strong display glass.

Photo quality is on-par with the best smartphones. "Rich Capture" provides a triple LED natural flash. You can adjust the color saturation levels of bright or dark areas. A 20 MP sensor attempts to effectively eliminate motion blur. The quality camera image holds up even in low light.

The phone is constructed of plastic, a negative for some. The battery can be removed and it does has a microSD card slot which many phones do not. The Cortana voice assistant is also included.

Microsoft's secret sauce to all this is the Windows Continuum. The goal is to connect your Lumia 950 to a Microsoft Display Dock and use it with an external monitor, keyboard and a mouse. Office apps and Outlook can be scaled up to create a big screen optimized work environment. The idea is maintain productivity even without a laptop.

The Continuum feature is not really available in Android or iPhone devices. It will take some finesse to get it set up and some experimentation with the right type of cables etc. to make it work.

Once you have it together and working, whether it be in a hotel room or conference area, you can share a PowerPoint presentation or a video on large screen. When done you can undock your phone. Then you can resume working on the same project in a matter of minutes.

Many report problems with typing on the device. Automated spell check is not available. It will take longer to correct errors.

Windows 10 brings a few other additions to the Lumia 950. One is Windows Hello, now in beta mode. Hello is iris-scanning recognition software. It works by just starting into the phone.

App selection for a Windows phone still remains challenging. The platform is not supported by Google. Those who rely on Gmail, Google Maps, Google Drive, and Google Docs will have to find third party applications or go directly to the web for usage.

Pricing starts at $ 550 in the US and will be determined by carrier. A larger 5.7 "inch XL version is scheduled to be introduced later and will cost more.

The 950 is a good start for Microsoft to bring more productivity to the smart phone, but not the end result many were expecting. Unfortunately the design is not really anything new, Continuum set-up can be challenging, and a lack of apps is troublesome.

Windows fans may seize the opportunity to jump on the Lumia bandwagon and work through some of the phone's shortcomings.

Others will wait until Microsoft fixes some of the inherit problems with not only the phone but the Continuum system itself before giving it a more serious look.

Online Driver’s Education

What Is the Purpose of Online Driver's Education?

Online driver's education imparts learning skills and fundamental concepts relating to driving test so as to prepare distance learners for a driver's license exam, irrespective of age-group. The driver's education imparted from the online mechanism is certainly a boon to all those who, without moving to the desired location can reap the benefits for learning the basics and concepts related to driving in order to obtain a valid driving license.

How is Online Driver's Education Beneficial to a Person?

Online driver's education programs are beneficial to online student in numerous ways. Some of them are:

1. Online driver's education programs are far more affordable and it typically takes a person to shell around $ 40 to get enrolled in an online driver's education program, which is definitely a bargain!

2. The learning methodology and virtual classroom environment is easy to understand and all assistance is provided to let students get familiarized with the concepts of online education and online learning tools.

3. The students can access their course contents from any of the preferred locations all over the world and can complete the online education program for driving skills without disturbing their other personal and / or professional commitments.

4. The students can fix their own time schedules and learning hours, which makes online driver's education convenient and flexible.

5. The virtual classroom lends an impersonal impression and a student is an independent learner in the long run, since it has little interface to offer between a student and trainers. It also offers less inter-linking and inter-personal interaction and interface between virtual class-fellows, which rewards off any chances of distractions.

6. A student can attend virtual classroom sessions, discussions groups, newsgroups, forums and numerous other interactive activities at his / her own discretion and it's up to a student to complete the pending online workbook assignment and get it checked and assessed by teacher via online learning management systems.

7. All that is needed in this online program is an internet connection and a flair for understanding and learning new and innovative concepts with the help of online learning tools and materials like audio / video / web conferencing, webinars, whiteboards, chats, forums, discussion groups, e-mails etc.

What Is the Selection Criteria for Online Driver's Education Program?

The online driver's education program is a student-centric and effective learning based program, which helps a student understand the fundamental concepts of driving so as to appear for the driving test and obtain a legal driving license. Distance learners must verify the accreditation of the online education program as well as the online driving school that they have applied at their own online driver's education. Since online training and distance learning education may have some important formalities on part of students before getting started, a student must verify all information and formalities relating to a selected course.

What is "Green Driver's Ed"?

Green Driver's Ed is an acronym for Green Driver's Education with a special emphasis on environment. This is a new notification being introduced within the driving school community which includes environmental consciousness as a fundamental part of conventional driver's education curriculum. It adds sense to a person in terms of community welfare and environmental awareness when compared with a traditional learning course for driving.

Privacy Issues Surrounding Biometric Technology

The terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center have provoked in-depth discussion and study of existing security measures, their deficiencies, and how to enhance security to prevent similar terrorist attacks from occurring in the future. Biometric technology has risen to the top of the list as a possible solution. The government is not the only entity exploring biometric security systems. The financial services industry see biometrics as a way to curb identity theft. Biometrics are intrinsic physical characteristics used to identify individuals. The most commonly used biometric is fingerprints but others include, handprints, facial features, iris & retinal scans, and voice recognition.

Soon after 9/11 there were calls for the issuance of national ID cards containing biometric information on an RFID chip implanted on the card. The argument is that national ID cards will increase security by identifying individuals with their unique fingerprints which are much more difficult to counterfeit than standard photo ID cards. There is also a movement toward biometric passports. It looks like biometric passports are coming soon. National ID cards may follow.

Biometric identification is nothing new. Humans have been identifying other humans biometrically since the beginning of time. You recognize people you know by their facial features, their voice, and other biometric features. What’s new is introducing technology into the mix that compares a given biometric with a stored database of biometrics to verify the identity of an individual. An individual place their finger on a fingerprint scanner and the image is compared with the database to verify the person’s identity. Promising as it is, biometric technology has not been without hiccups but biometrics are advancing quickly and becoming more and more prevalent in security systems.

Fingerprints are the most commonly used biometric identifiers. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) conducted a study that showed single fingerprint biometric systems had a 98.6 percent accuracy rate. The accuracy rate rose to 99.6 percent when 2 fingerprints were used and an almost perfect 99.9 percent when 4 or more fingerprints were used. The study results show that biometric identification is nearly perfect which is not surprising given the uniqueness of human fingerprints.

The US-VISIT program, which is an acronym for United States Visitor & Immigrant Status Indicator Technology, currently requires foreign visitors to the US to present a biometric passport containing 2 fingerprints and a digital photo for identification purposes before being granted admission to the U.S. Of course the biometrics are compared against a vast network of government databases full of known and suspected terrorists and other criminals.

On the surface biometric technology may sound like a panacea but it’s use has raised significant privacy concerns that need to be addressed. Here are six major privacy concerns: storage, vulnerability, confidence, authenticity, linking, and ubiquity.

Critics wonder how the data will be stored and how vulnerable it will be to theft or abuse. Confidence issues center around the implications of false positives and false negatives. Can the biometric data be used to link to other information about the individual such as marital status, religion, employment status, etc.? And finally ubiquity. What are the implications of leaving electronic “bread crumbs” to mark a trail detailing every movement an individual makes?

Until these issues are addressed, privacy advocates will lead a charge to resist biometric technology claiming it as a way for the government to assume a “Big Brother” type of rule as described in George Orwell’s novel 1984. But protest as they may, it’s likely national security concerns and the ability of biometric systems to enhance the security of US border and possibly prevent another major terrorist attack will win out over privacy concerns.

How Loud Does a Working Environment Have to Be to Require Ear Defenders?

Those who work in a noisy environment can often find that they are subject to more that the simple rigours of working life. People who find themselves subjected to loud working conditions can often fall victim to hearing conditions, in both the short and the long term. To combat this, many regulations exist designed to encourage the use of hearing protection in such conditions. But attempting to figure out the volume limits is tough, and it can be hard to tell when a workplace moves beyond simply loud into the realm of too loud.

Whilst we often subject ourselves to loud noises for pleasure, during sporting events and rock concerts, finding yourself in a loud working environment can be a little different. As you will likely be spending a large portion of your working life in the same conditions, the measures taken to prevent hearing damage should be strenuous. The most common solution for those who find themselves subject to such conditions is to wear ear defenders. Worn over the outer ear, these devices are available in a number of colours and designs. Should they be required in the work place, your employer should be able to equip you with the right protection.

While many companies are aware of the high volume of the environment and will require you to wear protection, it might simply be a recommended practice in others. To determine whether the protection is necessary, ask yourself several questions:

Does the noise seem intrusive?

Do you need to raise your voice to talk to another person?

Are you part of an industry which is known for loud working conditions, such as construction or manufacturing?

If the answer to the above questions is yes, then it is likely that further steps may need to be taken. From a quantifiable standpoint, the volume levels are often measured and provisions are taken according to decibel measurements. At 80dB, employers are required to provide training and instruction on how to reduce risk, and need to make protective measures available. Those workplaces which are frequently subject to 85dB are expected to take measures to reduce exposure to loud noises and if the measures are unable to have an effect, then hearing protection is required. Any environment above 87dB is considered something to which an employee should not be exposed, taking into account protective measures.

If you find yourself at risk of hearing damage or are beginning to experience difficulty, it is recommended that you talk to your employer in order to reduce the exposure to loud working conditions.