Tech Tidbits

There are a couple of stories coming from the world of technology that I would like to share with you today.

The first: NDP MP introduces bill to force universal mobile phone chargers

How fantastic would this be!? I could finally get rid of that drawer of tangled chargers, cables, and adapters! And in addition to the saved space at home, think of how much environmental waste would be reduced. Approximately 24 million Canadians use cell phones (roughly 70% of our population). While that may seem like a drop in the bucket compared to the USA, where about 104% of the population uses cell phones (that’s 327,577,529 contracts for a population of 310,866,000), it is still a significant number. The average company allows customers to upgrade every 2 years. Some people elect to upgrade more often, in order to have the latest and greatest (seems especially common with iPhone users). Often perfectly fine chargers and accessories are discarded when the new phone comes home. Phones get lost, stolen or destroyed and have to be replaced…and the new phone also has a charger. What if you’re in a home where there are multiple phones users with a variety of phones which all require their own charger? And wouldn’t it be cool if your phone died while you were out and you could borrow any friend or co-worker’s charger!?

I could go on and on, but you see my point; it all adds up in a hurry. I hope Glenn Thibeault’s bill is passed. There are a number of great benefits. The 27 countries that comprise the EU already got the ball rolling; they adopted a bill along similar lines in 2009. The were looking for a way to combat the 51,000 tonnes of electronic waste/year that was being generated by chargers for its 500 million mobile phone users. The deal was agreed to by Nokia, Apple, RIM, Motorola, and 10 other manufacturers, whose brands represent more than 90% of the mobile phones sold in Europe today. The first of these standardized chargers hit the market in early 2011.

The second item I’d like to pass along to you is the following website: Photoshop – Before & After

It is no secret that when it comes to billboards, magazines, ads, etc. today, what you see is usually not reality. Thanks to the wonders of Photoshop, images can be modified and tweaked to the point that the model looks like an entirely different person. The has, of course, been a lot of criticism around this as it is felt to be a large contributing factor to the poor self-image many people have in modern society. Impossibly thin, tall, and flawless-skinned celebrities and models are everywhere. These idealized images have been linked to eating disorders and body image dissatisfaction in men, women, and children. The negative impact on society has been so great that several countries have considered legislating the labeling of retouched photos!

Enter a program being developed at Dartmouth  College. It allows an image to be analyzed, revealing what changes were made via Photoshop, and allowing them to be removed to show the original image. The results are demonstrated in the link above. It’s definitely worth a look; not only will it help illustrate just how much manipulating Photoshop is used for prior to publishing an image, but if you’re like me, it will make you feel a whole lot better about yourself once you see with your own eyes just how like us celebrities really are!

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