Modern Technologies For Adult Dyslexia

Can modern technology be used to help dyslexic people? The answer is Yes! Modern technology for use by dyslexic has been developed through the years of intensive research and testing. The efforts of these researches have not come to waste since now the products are used to help people cope up with their disabilities and difficulties, whether acquired or natural.Nowadays, you use a number of accessible devices that could practically help you with your difficulties. However, which specific device to use would highly depend on your condition’s nature and severity.

Devices For Spelling And Grammar
If spelling and grammar are your major problem areas, modern technology has something to offer you. There are now devices that have spell-checkers to correct your spelling, and grammar checkers for your grammar correction.

Additionally, most of the modern computers now also have these kinds of features, which can be invaluable to you. Such features work by showing you your spelling and grammar mistakes and by providing you with the correct form while giving you the option to change what you have already written.

Electronic Dictionaries
Electronic dictionaries are similar to conventional ones, only that they are somewhat easier to use and faster. This kind of device gives you word definitions, synonyms antonyms, and pronunciation.

This can also be helpful if you are learning a new language, since some can provide you translations too. Using one is pretty easy since all you have to do is type in the word and you can instantly see the vital information about the word.

Audio Machines
You can also use dictating machines to aid you with understanding what you are reading. Tape recorders are also useful, especially if you are studying and you’re finding it hard to follow what your teacher is saying. In this way you can listen to what you have recorded, even after class hours.

Audio-typing programs are also available. All you have to do is dictate the data that you want to be encoded, and your computer would automatically do the encoding.

Text to speech programs are somewhat similar, only that they work the other way around. Here you can hear the encoded data on your computer by clicking on a button that would let the computer speak out the data.

Calculators
Even normal people benefit from this machine; for dyslexia that has numbers as the waterloo, a calculator is obviously of great help.

Memory Telephones
Since short-term memory is a big problem for dyslexics, remembering phone numbers can already be a tedious task for you. So to save you from this endeavor, you can make us of memory telephones that have the feature of storing phone numbers and automatically dialing them.

Electronic Organizers
Time management, scheduling and organizing are some of the other problem areas that dyslexics face. That is why you can try using electronic organizers to help you with your schedule. These can be useful by reminding you about your appointments, deadlines and meetings. You can also use it to list down some tasks that you have to complete for the day.

Voice-Activated Computers
Another great tool would be voice activated computers. Here there’s no need for typing of any sort of data. You can control the whole computer just by dictating your commands. You can also dictate any information that you want to be encoded in your computer’s word processing program. However, this kind of gadget can cost you a lot.

Source: Paul Hata
technology


The Present and Future of GPS Devices

How good have the last few years been for the GPS business? In the second quarter of 2005, over 1,200,000 GPS devices were sold to consumers around the country. In the same quarter of 2006 that number had jumped to an astonishing 2,400,000 – a leap of 100%! But what is fueling this growth? And what does the future hold for advancement in consumer Global Positioning System devices?

Read out to discover the places GPS is making the most impact today – and the areas that may hold the key to the future of GPS devices for consumers and businesses.

GPS Devices in Cell Phones

Once, the concept of a handheld GPS device would have been a tough sell. But over the next few years, we can expect to see more and more personal GPS devices – small, inexpensive and ultra-lightweight – reaching the market. Also, look for all the latest models of cell phones and advanced smart phones to start coming equipped with real time GPS capability.

And don’t think that cell phone makers are pushing GPS technology on an unwilling public. Surveys held by three major cell phone makers found that GPS was the feature “most want to see” in their next cell phone (24% said GPS, 19% said Internet capability)

GPS Devices in Cars

Once the property of only long-distance truckers and military vehicles, GPS tracking and navigation devices have made their way into millions of American and imported automobiles over the past several years. In fact, the devices now come standard in several manufacturers’ luxury cars.

Among the benefits these in-auto GPS devices offer drivers:

· Live traffic reports delivered to the device

· Voice activated turn-by-turn navigation

· Touch screen controls on colorful, interactive maps

· Safety features including automated police contact when the car has been stolen

GPS: Making the cars of the future safer

GPS engineers are beginning to take their technology to the next level in terms of driver safety. 3-D modeling technology used in many advanced GPS devices are now being utilized to help cars anticipate turns and obstacles in the road before the driver can even turn the wheel. In these situations, a small red light comes on inside the car, alerting the driver of impending danger.

This same “Jetsons-like” technology would also automate defensive driving by sizing up potential conflict on the road, and directing the car in the best way to avoid it.

Although both seem futuristic, consider the current line of Lexus automobiles that can parallel park themselves – truly a marvel of modern engineering! All these systems use GPS based technology that continues to push the envelope.

GPS helps businesses save money

With GPS technology become less expensive and more accurate, business are beginning to reap the benefits. Many companies report significant savings in fuel costs thanks to GPS systems that let them plan and execute the most efficient travel routes for their drivers. GPS also helps companies keep their drivers safer (and where they are supposed to be) by offering advanced tracking capabilities.

If you love technology (or just have a poor sense of direction) then stick around! The future of Global Positioning Systems looks to be an exciting ride.

Source: Mark Etinger
technology

The Relationship Between Science, Technology, and Society

<p>Science and technology is the most effective issue society might ever ask for. Since the industrial revolution within the 18th century science has been in progress. Some sectors that are boosted by science and technology are energy, physical sciences, information and communication. The society has greatly gained with the invention of technology.</p>
<p>Infrastructure within the society has grown with the help of science and technology. Modes of transport like electronic railway lines were realized and these truly benefited the society by providing them a better suggests that of transport. Within the past, almost everything was analog however due to the science and technology we are currently being digitalized by the day. The invention of the phonephone and radio services has broadened human communication.</p>
<p>While not society then there would be no science and technology and that is why the invention of sure tools and equipment have helped achieve massive things. Society can not do without the industries we tend to have today. The society desires science and technology. The creation of computers is figure of art by people was a milestone that would return a long approach in serving to the society. A pc helps us to leverage ourselves by gaining valuable information that we have a tendency to can use to enrich our lives. The impact of science and technology can seriously be recognized. Several individuals around the planet take for instance students in faculties and universities have taken the lead examining the link between science and technology.</p>
<p>The analysis of this relationship has emerged as an necessary area of research. Public interest teams and academic organizations throughout the globe are recognizing the importance of STS. The reason is that folks would like to recognize that there is a crowd of who are full of the science and technology. Controversies like modified foods, stem cell research are the problems that have brought policy manufacturers and scientists along to own a approach forward on this.</p>
<p>Science and technology has actually largely contributed to the vision of man regarding himself. Science has been changed the opinion about the origin of man and native land too. Through the results of scientific discoveries the perception of man regarding his behavior and his native land has been changed diversly. Experiments in science nowadays are in one way or another affecting the society.Take for example the experiment on cloning an individual’s being. The experiment brought a heap of controversy since the society was skeptical about it.</p>
<p>How is science and technology connected to society: The developing world has a long tradition of participatory action research, fashionable education and community organization joining up to unravel some science and technology problems that affect the society. How is science and technology related to the society is one thing that’s calling even for the govt intervention. Science and technology connected issues are literally been mentioned worldwide today. Progress during this has resulted to the flexibility to provide numerous types of fabric items. Answering the query how science and technology is connected to society.</p>

Source: Sharon Burns
technology

Review of the History and Advancements in Cellular Phones

Amazingly, cell phones are actually around for a lot longer that people can think. There are a number of reviews of the history and advancements in cellular phones from different people giving you a brief knowledge about cellular phones. Right from the early 1970s there were wireless cell phones used and widely available in the markets but not many people used they expect the government and big businessmen who used them. These cell phones were not practical devices that would just work when the wireless network would actually be in proper range and this was not the same during the past. This reason made the cell phones inefficient and impractical. The cell phone of early times also looked like large pieces of devices that would also not fit into the purses and pockets and so there was not point in carrying any one of them. Apart from this there was also not any cellular phone accessory at all for the user that personalized their phone. However this picture has practically changed in to a much larger development and advancement in cellular phones.

Cell phones during 1990s

With the emerging of nineties the cell phones started playing a major role in the communication field. Slowly people had started using cell phones in the main stream population and there were also wireless companies like the AT&T who started pushing their service to make wireless phones the best source of communication. The cell phones of the nineties had started using the digital signals rather than the analog signals which were once having control over the communication markets. The digital technology made the wireless conversation even more like the wired phones calls which were used at homes. The digital technology would also perfectly cut up the waves of sound and deliver them in bursts of data which made sound even more clearer.

Advancement in cellular phones

The cell phones started becoming even more affordable for any average person. The plans offered by cellular phones started becoming more and more family friendly as the packages mainly aimed at the regular customers apart from the businessmen. With the advertisements and improvements in technology and cell phone reliability the industry had started changing dramatically. The cellular phone industry had started out as just three million dollar market and it has exponentially grown to nearly a thirty billion dollar cellular phone market.

Today there are a number of cell phone companies and you have a several choices in selecting cell phones and the plans for cell phones which would rather confuse any average person. The advancement in cellular phones was gradually recognized by the development of cell phones that offered different features like storage feature and later cell phones allowed data cables to be attached for further accessibility. Mobile broadband, Bluetooth, multimedia players and features were some other features in the cell phones. In addition to this you will also find cell phones today that include GPS navigation system and the latest touch screen technology cell phones.

Source: Albert Connors
technology

5 Significant Advances in Medical Technology

Since the advent of computer technology, medical equipment technology has been making leaps every day. Technology that we once thought would come many years into the future is being developed and implemented now. Here are 5 recent and important developments in medical technology.

Ultrasound Imaging on Your Phone
Ultrasound machines are still relatively clunky and heavy. But with the help of a $100,000 grant from Microsoft, researchers at Washington University have created the first ever portable ultrasound machine that fits in the palm of your hand by combining the Microsoft smartphone with USB-based ultrasound probe technology. With the device patient data from remote locations can be sent to specialists via phone instantly, and they can in turn study the data and send back a diagnosis.

New Prostate Treatment: Cavitation
Treatment of prostate growths is traditionally invasive, painful and not always effective. At the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, however, urologists have developed a new method of treating prostate growths by using highly focused microwave pulses. When these pulses reach the growth, they create bubbles of dissolved gas from prostate tissue. When these microscopic bubbles explode, they create a shockwave, which dissolves the growth. This shockwave effect is called cavitation, and not many thought that it could ever be controlled with such precision.

Microwaving Tumors
Liver cancer treatment involves either surgery or transplant. But a third option is now available at the UC San Diego Medical Center. It’s called microwave ablation and it involves inserting a thin needle into the cancerous tumor and then emitting hot microwaves into it, causing it to die after about 10 minutes. The potential to use microwave ablation to treat other types of cancer is being studied.

Gamma Cameras
High-res gamma cameras have become one of the most useful tools for the diagnosis of breast cancer. Other imaging techniques did not provide sufficient detail to fully detect cancer in some instances. Brest-specific gamma imaging (BSGI) is helping doctors detect cancer cases that would have otherwise remained overlooked.

Doctor-free Surgeries
Engineers at Duke University are working to bring about the advent of robot surgeries, unassisted by human hands. By using a rudimentary tabletop robot and 3D ultrasound imaging along with an artificial intelligence program, they built a robot that can perform basic surgical tasks on its own. Though far from practical yet, their robot marks one of the first steps towards this space age dream of someday having robots that perform all kinds of medical procedures, especially in places not immediately accessible to humans.

As new medical equipment emerges, why not find a great deal and buy used ekg machines?  Check out http://www.akwmedical.com/catalog/ekg-machines to find out more.

Source: Ryan Frank
technology

BUILDING A TECHNOLOGY SUPPORT TEAM

Introduction

A solid team of technology support individuals is important to a companies success and reputation for several reasons. The technology support staff is often the consumers first and last impression of a company. That is a huge responsibility to the technology support team memebers. In dealing with technology support a consumer builds an immediate opinion about the products and brands sold by a company. Consumers also develop an idea of how imprtant they are as customers to a company. The most significant reason that a consumer calls the technology support department of a company in the first place is because they spent their hard earned money on a product that is no longer operating as it should. In general, this let down of sorts creates dissatisfaction in the consumer and so the technology support individual begins at a disadvantage.

The first thing one needs to do in beginning to build an effective technology support staff is to get stakeholder buy in. By that I mean high level management and or executives within the company. Based on my ownexperience, most companies, American based companies that is, do not view technology support as significant because there is no direct impact on sales. However, from my vantage point, I am firm in the idea that poor technology support over time will have an immense affect to sales and under mine brand marketing initiatives. With this in mind, we need to facilitate a bottom up understanding that there is in fact a correlation between technology support  and sales to get upper level buy in.

Documentation

Documentation of technology support issues, responses and fixes is key in developing a well funtioning technology support team. It is preferable to have a computerized trouble ticket system in place with a database backend to aid in resolving consumer issues. This way the resolutions for the most frequent consumer problems are easily accessible. In addition, an effective computer response system should provide a trouble tree like work flow. This allows the technology support team member to walk through a series of steps with the customer in deducing the cause and nature of the problem.

The absence of some form of computerized technology support system creates a scenario where technology support team members could potentially wind up solving the same or similar consumer complaints over and over again. This is not condusive to any company regardless of its size because any duplication of effort costs money. Another method of documentation is just as is indicated, physical documents or refence cards that are maintained by the technology support staff.

Communications

When searching for candidates to fill a role on a technology support team, one of the most important capabililites is to select a candidate who has excellent communication skills. As I stated earlier in this document, your technology support staff are often the only representation that customers have of a company. It is important that the hiring manager selects a candidate who listens and understands the customers complaint or issue. Also that technology support person needs to be knowledeable of his role and responsibilities in order to resolve the issue quickly.

The technology support employee must also be curteous, patient and professional at all times. Remember, more often than not, the technology support call coming from a customer is because your companys product has failed and let them down so they are frustrated and perhaps angry. The technology support team member must be able to work through this respectfully in order to diffuse the situation.

Personalites

Another element in building an effective technology support team is the consideration of the individual personalities of the team members. A team leader or management putting the team together needs to able to read people and decide what impact those team members may have on a team. Do the individual work well in a team environment? Do they handle peer critisism well? Are their work efforts and goals in line with the good of the team as a whole or are they self seeking? These are critical questions that a manager needs to consider if he or she is to build a team that will work well together for an extended period. If there is a significantly high rate of turnover on a team then training becomes an issue.

Conclusion

In my own experience in dealing with a technology support team as a consumer, it is important to me that the technology support person be sensitive to my particular problem. As recent as this passed week I had to call tech support for a network access issue with a company that I deal with regularly. I simply wanted to know why it was that I could send and receive emails from my personal email account using Microsoft Outlook without error at home, work and public access points; but I could not do so when connected to this one particular network. This was a network, which I spend a good deal of time on and it is a problem that I have to wait until I get home before I can send emails.

I suspected that it was a network security issue and that port 25, the outgoing mail server SMTP port; was closed to students. Instead of giving me an answer, the technology support staff member first tried to push the responsibility off onto my ISP. When I explained to her that I am the ISP and that I have a business which supplies web and email hosting services she seemed frustrated. After a brief discussion she indicated that I needed to contact Microsoft technology support and have them fix the issue. I explained to her that it is not a Microsoft issue because the software operates as expected on every network except theirs. Further I told her I had been setting up email clients since 1995 and this was not the problem.

Finally the technology support person placed me on hold for more that 20 minutes and I began to feel like I had been hung out to dry and so I eventually just hung up the phone because time was being wasted. This is a potentially volitile situation because had this been a consumer who was frustrated, they may have hung up the phone even more frustrated. These non-resolutions can severely impact brand popularity and sales over that duration of time.

“References”

Arellano, Nestor E. (2008). Eight strategies to build a strong tech support team. itbusiness.ca. Retrieved September 6, 2009, from http://www.itbusiness.ca/it/client/en/home/News.asp?id=47948

TechSoup for Libraries. (2009). Building a Technology Team. Retrieved September 7, 2009, from http://www.techsoupforlibraries.org/?q=cookbook-3/planning-and-decision-making/building-a-technology-team

Source: William Kearns
technology

Will Technology Destroy Mankind?

When the world was created, there was no technolgogy but yet MAN survived. MAN walked on barefoot and travelled miles: then MAN starts to realise that it will be much better if someone else do the trekking so he can sit and enjoy the ride. So MAN starts to mount donkeys, from donkeys to horses to camels.

When MAN got to the river. He wondered how on earth is he going to cross it, so he build himself a boat, from boats to ships and he was able to travel through the atlantic.

MAN realised again that the horses and camels are like them, they breathe and they can die. MAN was fed up, he needs something that cannot breath but can move; and so he build a four wheeled machine and named it a CAR. All he has to do was put his legs on the pedal and keep his hands straight on the wheels. It worked, so MAN drived around town in comfort and in style.

As if that wasn’t enough, MAN sat on the mountain and watch the birds flying high in the sky. He envied them, he wished he could be free to fly and soar anywhere he desire. His thinking got the best of him, so he build a flying machine and named it AN AEROPLANE.

MAN got his wish. Yet it wasn’t enough. “It’s time to look beyond your levels”, He thoughts. He wondered and pondered what’s at the other side above the sky. His greed got the best of him and he builds a giant machine and named it SPACESHIP. MAN got crazy and starts to build nuts, from nuts to phones to bombs.

Finally, MAN realised he has tried creating so he decides to rest and enjoy the beauty of his creation. BUT ALAS! It strucks. All his creation began to go crazy at one time.
-His cars began to crash.
-His planes began to drop.
-His ships began to sink.
-His spaceships are disappearing.
-His bombs are exploding against him.

Everything is going bizzare. MAN realised what he has done but it’s too late, so MAN made a quote instead “the worst thing about creating a monster, is that one day it will come against you”
And so MAN lived to enjoy and suffer in the works of his own hands till this day.

Technology is good. It helps man to achieve certain heights but one way or the other technology is destroying man. Man has taken advantage of technology and are now using it against each other. People that invented technology did it for the good of mankind but little did they know it’s going to be the greatest challenge man ever has to face. And if extra measures are not taken, technology might destroy man.

Technology has made man lazy. Man depends on technology to do everything.

-WHEN MAN CREATED TELEPHONES: PEOPLE STOPPED VISITING RELATIVES AND FRIENDS AT HOME, THEY PREFER TO CALL INSTEAD.
-WHEN MAN CREATED TELEVISION: PEOPLE REFUSE TO GO OUT AND VIEW THE NATURE AND IT’S BEAUTY, THEY PREFER TO WATCH IT ON THE BIG SCREEN.
-WHEN MAN CREATED COMPUTER: PEOPLE ALLOWED COMPUTER DO EVERYTHING.
-WHEN MAN CREATED INTERNET: PEOPLE STARTS TO BRING OUT THE WORST IN THEM.

Technology has been been implanted into people’s blood. Man cannot do without technology. If technology is taken away, man will die. Imagine this world now without electricity. Do you think man will survive it? Imagine if the planes, the cars and ships are destroyed? Do you think the world will survive it? The big answer is NO! So technology has come to stay and will stay. That’s our biggest fear.

Too much of technology and scientific blah blah blah is killing the nature.
-Our climates are changing.
-The whether is going bizzare with the likes of hurricane katrina.
-The seas are under attack.
-The earh is undersiege.
No wonder we have countless of Earthquakes, Hurricanes, Volcanoes, you name them.
Different diseases are pouring into the world and into man’s system.

-Death rate has increased by the second.
-People are experiencing usual body pains.
-Cancers are killing more people than death itself…
WHY? Because
-people now breath in gas instead of air.
-People now drink in substances instead of pure water.
-Animals and Plants are dying too.
-The earth is losing it’s grips. WHY?

Because Technology and Science are getting heavier and heavier.

-Do you have any idea how much a single human being weighs? Then multiply it by the total population of the world.. How much?
-How much does a single animal weighs? Muitiply it by the total number of the animal world.. How much? Not to mention the mountains, trees, seas, oceans and each stones and rocks.
-Then how much does a single nuclear weapon weighs? Muitply it by the total nuclear weapon ever built..How much?

Then tell me, how can one single planet EARTH carry all that heaviness? When God created the world to accomodate you and i, the animals and other creation. He didn’t make plans over our excessive technology burdenment.
So don’t be surprised that when the earth finally loses it’s grips. MAN is going to fall so hard on their buttocks and no one might survive to tell the story.

Source: peace chinwe opara
technology

Technology as a Social Problem

But can one accept the forgoing? It is surely unpersuasive given the apparently enormous number of cases in which technology appears to be a manifest cause of social problems. A litany of cases comes to mind. For instance, arguably the major issue facing the world today is environmental damage, notably global warming and the associated climatic shifts and potentially catastrophic floods that will accompany this. Profligate use of gasoline, inappropriate use of solid fuels, and CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons) are some of the causes of this predicament. As sobering is the issue of nuclear power, the disposal of the waste from which is extraordinarily complex, time dependent, and risky.

Following the disaster at Chernobyl in Ukraine in 1986, no one will need much reminding of the social problems emanating from nuclear power production. Again, consider the issue of nvCJD (new variant Creutzfeldt-Jacob disease, a neurological condition for which there is no cure), which has killed scores of humans in recent years and has been linked to their eating cattle contaminated by BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy) during the 1980s and 1990s in Europe. The cause of BSE has been traced to the technology of feeding cattle with the remains of other animals, surely another instance where technology creates social problems.

Moreover, technologies can appear advantageous to some but may cause social problems for others. For example, if a new technology is introduced into the workplace and this requires fewer employees than before, then social problems—unemployment, anxiety, and dislocation—are clearly imposed on some even if the majority is beneficiaries. Indeed, one could go further to suggest that many workplace technologies have resulted in a decline in the autonomy of those who must work with them—machine pacing and intrusive monitoring of performance are some of the maladies frequently complained about by those who work in factories and indeed many offices. Such practices lead to stress, industrial injuries, alienation, and anomie, and the deleterious effects of increased technology in workplaces may outweigh the positive increases in efficiency and production, particularly if a long-term view is taken.

It helps understanding the role of technologies in creating social problems by distinguishing between anticipated and unanticipated consequences of their development. An anticipated social problem might involve the introduction of a technology that leads to there being less work available. For example, the spread of computerization in the newspaper industry led to the demise of the established printer. The technology here contributed to a social problem that might have been addressed in various ways (retraining, early retirements, freeze on new recruitment, etc.), but it is evident that the problem was foreseen by many commentators.

An unanticipated consequence is one where the introduction of the technology produces an effect far away from the intended sphere of influence. For example, the development of modern birth control technologies had an intended consequence in allowing women to control reproduction and was effective in allowing people to choose when and how many children to have. However, few would have expected that a problem would later emerge in Western Europe of a decline in the younger elements of the population, which exacerbates a serious problem of long-term care of the older generation and, in the longer term, to problems of maintaining population levels.

Relatedly, medical technologies help lengthen the life span, and this is usually regarded as a very positive development. But an unanticipated consequence of greater longevity is major pressure on pension funds that were designed on a different actuarial basis. In addition, with more and more people living into and beyond their 80s and supported by improved medical technologies that keep them going, there comes the problem of providing the care they tend to require as they grow frail. With fewer people available in the younger generations and increased geographical spread, we face serious, but unexpected, difficulties posed by the prolongation of life.

Source: Keeny Ali
technology

Technology and Community Development

TECHNOLOGY AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT

KUMAH ERIC JUNIOR

MARCH 2009

ABSTRACT:

In today’s world, technology has invaded many aspects of human life. From its gigantic influence on our education and professional development, to the more subtle presence of little gadgets littering our homes, technology is almost everywhere.

The reasons for such pervasiveness would boil down to some characteristics that technology by itself possesses. One such characteristic, which is of major interest to many scholars, is the seeming lack of barriers to the spread of technology. It easily penetrates societies and even to remote communities, and once it reaches its destination and catches on, it becomes seemingly difficult to stop its spread. As a result of this, consumer technology like cellular phones, computers, PDAs, radios and televisions have become commonplace in places like Africa, even with all the barriers one would have envisaged.

Sadly, it does not need much analysis to realize that even though technology usage is growing rapidly in Africa, we still have numerous developmental problems in our continent. This is a situation where advanced technology is coexisting with underdevelopment in Africa. With all the power that technology wields, it will be a useful exercise to study the ways in which it can be used to solve some of those very problems it has come to meet. In essence, using our little gadgets to solve our big problems.

This is the background against which this study is undertaken. Asking whether our problems can be solved at all, then enumerating instances where development projects that utilize technology have been put to work, and concluding by examining the cases and drawing lessons from them.

CHAPTER. 1.

INTRODUCTION

The limits to what the human mind can conceive and achieve are increasing. More discoveries have been made, more things have been created, more theories have been proved and disproved, more machines have been made and more problems have been created. Scientific technology has been the driving force behind all these. Science has indeed proved to be a powerful tool which has touched many people and has shaped many communities.

According to the Concise Oxford dictionary 10th edition, technology is the application of scientific knowledge for practical purposes. Clearly from this definition we can see that scientific knowledge may exist theoretically but it only becomes technology when it is used in practical settings. For example we may say the knowledge of the rules of up-thrust and buoyancy is theoretical, however practical utilization of these rules to manufacture airplanes could be termed aircraft technology.

Again according to the Concise Oxford dictionary 10th edition, a community is the people of an area considered collectively, while development is explained to mean to grow or cause to grow and become larger or more advanced. By deduction, community development could be explained to be the growth or advancement of a group of people.

Today, the world has become highly technological, and things which in the seventies would have passed for science fiction are now so commonplace that they have almost become necessities. From every corner of the world, technology has global acceptance, it is ubiquitous and has the ability to dramatically change situations.

Any attempt to ascribe reasons for this pervasiveness of technology will have many suggestions, some of which are that machines have been proven more efficient than humans at some tasks, machines are less error prone, impartial and never get tired like humans. Another could be the increased sophistication of humans and the attendant need for equally complicated messengers to help us perform many tasks, which is linked to the interesting nature of technology that once a more advanced way of doing something is found, it becomes almost unthinkable to try to do it by "old fashioned" means.

With such large scale interplay of these and many more factors, there is little reason to be surprised by the sudden emergence of automatic machines to handle the little tasks of old; cleaning floors, washing clothes, cutting bread, mixing cake etc. the list goes on and on.

And that is far from all and the list of innovative possibilities is endless. In truth, some of these innovations have shaped the world and there are many examples to cite. The discovery of electricity and the radio wave both changed the world. Today, computers are changing the world even faster. Now with cellular phones, new opportunities have come and our imagination has become the only limiting factor. We can only wait for the next big thing to be created and who knows what it will be?

The picture of technological advancement is not a completely rosy one. Indeed, there are some minuses to science as well, such as the introduction of new forms of danger which come as a consequence of innovative forms of technology, for example the nuclear bomb came from nuclear technology, unforeseen genetic mutations are as the result of genetic engineering, and the numerous and little talked about chemicals which can destroy the ozone or warm the planet.

The seriousness of the disadvantages of technology have prompted some people to argue that technological advancement, which is an example of scientific development, is making us more of advanced entities but less of humans. In other words, we have become better scientists, bankers and professionals and worse human beings. Martin Luther King puts this argument succinctly when he said "Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power, we have guided missiles and misguided men."

The disadvantages that technology brings are issues which require serious examination to ascertain what can be done to eliminate them or at least minimize their effects since technology has definitely come to stay, and it would be to our advantage to learn how to work with it in ways that will be the most beneficial to us.

But despite the disadvantages listed here and the many more unnamed, we have seen that we can still derive many benefits from science and given that we live in, or at least come from, a part of the world where development is still a big headache, we should be the first to start a serious study of this phenomenon and see how best we can use it to our advantage. We may be surprised to see that there is a great viability in using our little gadgets to solve our big problems.

Let us make it clear that the aim of this paper is not to present technology as the magic cure that will clear our multitude of problems in a whiff, technology alone will not solve Africa’s problems because our problems are too complex, too deep and too overwhelming for any simplistic scheme to be successful. We can only achieve success when if have a more comprehensive approach to the problem, to include solid commitment to serious research, establishment of the appropriate structures, and the taking of required initiatives. It will be incorrect to assume that technology in itself is inherently good, and just implementing it alone will be enough to achieve any good result3. Though technology may be able to do anything, people must have the vision to drive it in the right direction.

Only with this knowledge can we make any meaningful gains in the development agenda.

In our particular context, Africa has proved that advanced technology could coexist with underdevelopment. People have satellite televisions whilst there are no teachers in the classrooms, we have mobile devices and pocket PCs and devices but our streets are still not named properly, there is still a large number of illiterates among the people who own and use cell phones, spreading of healthcare information is still a challenge even though a lot of people have access to radio and TV. This sorry list is endless.

CHAPTER 2:

CAN TECHNOLOGY REALLY ADDRESS OUR PROBLEMS?

From healthcare, access to water and life expectancy, to governance, industrialization and even the quality of human life, there are numerous problems confronting African communities.

Today we are said to be living in the information age, an era where access to information is the new driving force of the world. The proliferation of the Internet and World Wide Web has reduced the whole world to a massive audience with unprecedented access to vast quantities of information. This communication is unencumbered and the formation of alliances is unhindered by physical distance, national or political borders4. With all the dynamics that this modernity brings, technology stands tall as a favourite to achieve any meaningful sustainable development for many reasons.

Principal among such reasons is the fact that there is improved awareness of underdevelopment among Africans themselves, which could be due to the information age, and an improved belief that our situations can be turned around. This is markedly different from decades ago when there was a lot of resignation and despair among black professionals. Evidence to support this would be the observation that much more thought is being directed at the Africa integration agenda and greater attention being paid to the Economic partnership agreements (EU- ECOWAS).

Another positive indicator is the growing number of trained and competent technological professionals on the face of the continent. Granted, the improved numbers by themselves will not be a good indicator, but with the holistic approach talked about earlier, one can see a sign of hope which shows that there is very high potential for success in a well though out scheme to utilize technology to solve our developmental problems.

Another good point is the individual work that is being carried out by different groups using different approaches (studies of the indigenous chieftaincy system for e.g.) at trying to solve the same problems. This is clear evidence to state that beyond the level of commitment, there have been actual attempts at problem solving. Even if some of such attempts have not been successful due to the numerous challenges in the way, the experiences have been gained and lessons have been drawn from them which would be utilized for future use.

Finally there are areas where major strides have already been made in Africa. Statistics show for example that there have been remarkable improvements in girl student enrollments in places like Nigeria, Kenya and Zambia5. This is definitely a feather in our cap and such areas may serve as boosters to face the remaining dark spots.

All these imply that we might be closer than ever to solving our problems, and all that may be left will be a few giant pushes forward.

This is where technology comes into the picture. It is the one thing that seems to know no barriers, catches on easily and has the power to transform even the most remotely inaccessible locations on earth to budding business towns. It is ubiquitous. Its innovations accelerate by the month. As a result, it is the most probable tool to achieve anything meaningful.

In the early 90’s, scholars described Africa as being left in a technological apartheid 6. Today however, with increased globalization perhaps a slightly better picture can be painted. Even though Africa is not in the league of the innovators of the most novel initiatives and we may not be making as good use of technologies as we ought to, or as some others are, we would still have something positive to report. For example, in some cases, Africa actually has comparable human and hardware resources. Therefore, "apartheid" would no longer be a precise definition of the situation as it stands.

As stated earlier in this paper, technology alone will not solve our problems. But with very serious considerations using active participation, a comprehensive and well though out scheme that incorporates technology will be a very viable solution.

However taking a look at all the attempts made so far and their attendant challenges and effects if any, one may say confidently that will all the proper accompanying compliments, technology will made very significant gains in spurring the development agenda on.

CHAPTER 3:

HOW IS TECHNOLOGY BEING USED TO SOLVE PROBLEMS?

Across many countries around the world, people have made serious strides at utilizing technological knowledge to solve all manner of problems. Many issues have arisen out of such attempts, and below are very brief summaries of some of those places where practical scientific knowledge has been utilized for the growth of the community.

3.1 ELECTIONS

In Africa’s recent governance history, elections have always been a challenge. It is hard to find a totally free and fair voting exercise, whilst contested elections, unfair processes, non transparent irregularities and simple ineffectiveness are commonplace. With a background of poverty, it is not too difficult to understand why the stakes are so high in African politics and why power is very lucrative in this part of the world.  This not withstanding however, there is a good number of unrests that could have been avoided if any election is proven to be fair, free and transparent to an appreciable degree.

Attaining this ideal degree has proved difficult for reasons of the complex interplay of some factors including, a government founded electoral commission, a winner takes all setting, and no motivation to commit to the right virtues. Knowing that power is so lucrative when you come from this winner takes all setting, it is really hard to let go of control of the electoral process. This is one motivation for the dishonourable acts that unfortunately we see quite often.

Because elections are highly involving and they require elaborate programs that span a series of locations (from a voter’s home to the polling station, the collation center, the electoral commission headquarters, the public domain and back to the voter’s home), It follows that unless you are trying to make public exhibition of your nefarious activity, you would need to be tactical to be successful at such dishonorable acts. The tactics employed may vary but they invariably entail series of acts that are designed to prevent information from getting into the public domain. So that for example, figures could be changed anytime so long as the original and authentic ones do not get into the hands of the public.

If democratic leadership were genuinely understood, there will be no attempt at election rigging. But since we are currently not in that ideal stage, election monitoring is one tool we can exploit to at least cut the ability for cheating.

Mobile phone technology is being used in election monitoring in some African countries under a new system of election monitoring called "parallel reporting". Parallel reporting is simply an approach to election monitoring whereby independent observers spread news of the votes counted at the basic level, which is the polling station. The figures are then relayed to an independent center where they are collated and cross checked with official figures announced by the electoral commission.

One advantage of this scheme is seen that it will make it increasingly difficult for an electoral commission to attempt to fraudulently sway the results in the favour of any of the contesting parties. The spreading or relaying of the results figures are done largely with mobile phones. Senegal is an example of a country where this project has been successful.

3.2       HEALTHCARE

The statistics obtained from healthcare research are interesting. Figures show that a large number of the world’s HIVAIDS afflicted people live in Africa. At the same time, one of the growing markets for consumer electronics such as mobile devices, handheld PC etc may be found here in Africa. This represents a population overlap, and it is only prudent that some amount of research has been directed towards attempting to find ways to incorporating technology in the treatment of the numerous diseases on the face of the continent7.

Tuberculosis (TB) has long been known to be one of the deadliest diseases known to man. Apart from the threat that this highly infectious bacterial disease presents to human life, it also enjoys some additional notoriety for lowering the sufferer’s immune system to make it easy for other diseases, which may have various degrees of harmfulness, to attack the sufferer.

As if that were not enough, TB has a deadly habit of mutating at the least case of drug non adherence. Therefore any TB caregiver knows that a patient who demonstrates non compliance with drug rules is clearly not interested in getting healed. As a result of this, over the years, ways to enforce religious adherence of medication have been tried but success has largely eluded caregivers.

In South Africa, there is a very laudable project, the SimPill’s award-winning Adherence System project, which uses a real-time management system to increase adherence to medications prescribed to treat chronic illnesses – particularly tuberculosis, which is a significant cause of death of people living with HIV.

3.3       SOCIAL ISSUES

Serious projects that utilize technology to address social issues have been implemented in South Africa. One such idea named Fahamu’s Umn Yango (meaning ‘doorway’ in isiZulu) has been implemented to curb domestic violence by equipping people with cell phones as tools to monitor and report abuse. Under this scheme, victims use cell phones to call a predefined and popular number and give details of the abuse.

The fear of being victimized has always made it difficult for victims, witnesses or relatives to step up and lodge complaints to the relevant authorities. There are examples of places where people had reported abuses and had been picked upon by the abuser. We have had friends of a victim reporting an abuse of their friend only to go home to be abused themselves by their spouses as punishment for "poking their noses in other people’s business". These good citizens were made to pay the price for exposing a wrong thing.  

This fear has been totally eliminated under this project because of the provision of anonymity, the telephone call could be made in secret, and even the details of the reporter are not always required. This is a sharp contrast to the situation in the past where victims, neighbours, or witnesses were required to walk into a police station to make a formal report.

Apart from successes chalked in the number of reports that are received, there has also been a reduction in the numbers of abuse cases. This may be partly due to the deterring feeling among would-be abusers that, any passerby holding a mobile phone might just make sure they get a visit from a police detective for spouse battering.

3.4       ANIMAL FARMING

Technology has also been put to good use in farming.

Farmers who rear cattle in small herds, over time, develop a personal relationship with the animals, the farmer knows all of them and can notice a missing animal or a sick one with just a glance. However, because it takes months of careful observation of the behaviour of every cow to know every animal well enough to take note when there is an infection or when an animal does not ruminate properly, this task would be ineffective if it were performed by a human shepherd with a large herd.

To remedy this situation, the technology of vocal tags has been developed in Europe. This project employs a tag, which is a belt fitted with sensors and worn around each animal’s neck. These sensors monitor several indicators such as the animal’s rate of rumination, voice clarity, digestion and breathing and send the data collected to a central computer.

Over time the computer knows what is normal for every cow and will notify the shepherd when something goes wrong with a cow.

The advantage of this project is that a farmer can take quick and specific action like giving treatment to the particular animal involved. This removes the need to give general treatments to the whole herd, which is both time and money wasting.

These are some of the ways that technology is being used towards increased development.

CHAPTER  4

WHAT LESSONS HAVE BEEN LEARNT?

No matter how promising an idea or project sounds, there are bound to be problems encountered in the deployment of the project. In achieving the above projects, following are some of the problems one is likely to be faced with:

In the election monitoring program, misinformation has been identified to be one of the problems starring the program in the face. It is true that when all the information is not localized in the hands of government, then a lot more transparency will be achieved, but it is also true that mass misinformation remains an unpleasant possibility.

Another problem could arise when there is a situation where people do not necessarily trust the degree of independence of the so called independent observers. It may lead to a problem where parties could cast a slur on the reputation of the observers so as to use the resulting mistrust to set the stage for a possible rejection of the results.

Overall this is a laudable idea and if a means of verification were added, the figures would mean much more to a lot of people.

Whilst celebrating the successes chalked, it is important to note that a number of other factors needed to progress before a state could move towards a more democratic model of governance. According to African political expert, Sheldon Gellar, these changes include: strengthening independent media, growing and ensuring freedom of civil society, decentralizing power, ceding more control to local governments, empowering women and improving judicial systems to ensure independence and power to punish.

Governance is one area that is set to reap some benefits of this phenomenon when used judiciously, unilateral rule and arbitrary action may be reduced towards a more participatory approach to leadership in Ghana

Technology could help achieve those goals to some extent, as communication was the key to overcoming oppression.

In some of the cases, such as the election monitoring or domestic violence reporting, the internet could be used to provide communities with means to communicate, to organize and obtain good information which is not controlled by the government. However, this is not practical in Africa since only a tiny percentage of Africans have affordable access to internet.

In the healthcare project, basic mismanagement has been identified as one of the reasons why many projects seem to skid to halt after being piloted. Needed funds are not always available to those who need them.

Another problem observed was that the people who will be using the project are not always consulted in the designing and planning of the ideas, so there is a lack of communication between beneficiaries, health professionals, technologists, and managers.

Another problem was the theft of cell phones. Although cell phones are a relatively low-cost technology, they still hold considerable value in poverty-stricken areas, and are commonly stolen. And, such theft is likely to rise as these devices become more and more complex. However this is quite debatable since some analysts argue that losing a cell phone to a thief is less of a financial loss than losing a more costly machine.

In the domestic violence project one stumbling block was the communication gap between the various parties involved in the system. Feedback was largely missing and people could not tell whether their input was useful – or received, and in some cases, police officers who receive messages reporting violence against women may not be prepared to respond.

Another problem was the unfortunate situation where some unscrupulous people made the work more difficult for the authorities by raising false alarms. This could be addressed by education and the incorporation of punitive measures.

However to use effective punitive measures, even more advanced technology will be required, for example to pinpoint a particular cell phone subscriber, and take action against them like blocking their Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) Cards etc.

And the usual problem of financing in many projects is ever present as well, and it is the more predominant one in the animal rearing project.

CHAPTER  5

CONCLUSION

Granted, there are challenges that exist in using technology to achieve development goals, but such efforts still hold great potential and the costs of any obstacle will not stand in comparison to the threat of underdevelopment and poverty. So we can only strive to work harder at such solutions.

Our development attempts and efforts should think more seriously about sustainability and scalability. One important consideration in this direction is the affordability of the programmes we plan and develop. The more affordable options have a higher chance of success, so the fact that most of the development projects do not require any extraordinarily complex or new gadgets is indeed pleasant to note.

Also throughout the creation and deploying of any project, enough consultation should be carried out to ensure that there is a general buy-in into the idea from the creators to the beneficiaries. This will make an idea command a common sense of ownership.

The quality of the management should also be improved and measures should be put in place to ensure the right things are done.

Identifying the problem is half the solution. We already now have greater awareness and we have made some attempts at solving them. Putting our acts together to draw the lessons and re-strategizing with a new approach -technology, is definitely the way to go. I am confident of the viability of this new approach.

CITED REFERENCES

1         Steere M. Cell phones promise fairer elections in Africa. Cable News Network [Online]2009. Available from http://edition.cnn.com/europe. Accessed 2009 Feb 6.

2         Wikipedia. Technology.Wikipedia.org[online]2009.
Available from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Technology. Assesed 2009 March 27

3         Macha N. Will Technology solve Africa’s problems?. Global Voices Online[Online]2009. Available from http://globalvoicesonline.com/ Accessed 2009 Feb 6.

4         Finnis A.J. Learning in the Information Age.Twinisles[Online]2009.
Available from http://dev.twinisles.com/research/learninfoage.htm. Accessed 2009 March 27

5 Kitetu, C. Gender in Education: An overview of developing trends in Africa.
Available from www.ling.lancs.ac.uk/groups/crile/docs/crile54kitetu.pdf. Accessed 2009 March 27

6 Castells M. Information Technology Globalization and Social Development.[Abstract]. In UNRISD Discussion Paper No. 114.September 1999.p11.

7 Walvaren K. Did you say cell phones for development? Association for Progressive Communications.[Online]2007.Available from http://www.acp.org/en/home. Accessed 2009 Feb 6.

Source: Eric Kumah
technology

How Technology Is Affecting Our Lives

Today’s world is full of pieces of technology that we take for granted, the microchip has truly revolutionised the way in which we live and do business. The world we see would not be recognisable to people of a few generations ago and nowhere is this truism greater than in the world of computing. Hence it is important to stay up to date with technology news; while many may think that this type of news is purely for geeks it is clear that all of us should have at least a passing interest in news of technological developments.

Technology pretty much touches all of our lives in some way and hence technology news is a vital resource that can keep us up to date with developments and ways in which the world will be changing. For instance, the onset of digital television is something that will affect most people; news stories that inform us of the dates for the switch over are vital so the average member of public can understand when their analogue signal will be turned off. In the same way, news of technologies that may make our cars safer and more efficient is important to all those who drive on our roads.

Anyone of a reasonable age will remember the BBC’s ‘Tomorrow’s World; a technological news show that brought us stories of the latest developments and the ways life would be changed in the future. It was as sad day when this news show was cancelled; maybe it meant that people were no longer interested in new technology. If people are less interested they should not be; being up to date with what is coming around the corner is just as important as being informed on the politics of the nation and world affairs.

Any lack of interest has been sidestepped by the internet, which has seen the creation of a platform for thousands of writers who feel it necessary to publish regular news stories on technological developments. It is not just the bedroom ‘bloggers’ however that is publishing detailed news stories. Major reporting institutions are now likely to have a technology dedicated page in order to cope with the huge demand for this kind of news.

The fact of the matter is that technology now covers such a diverse range of subjects that it would be foolish for any reporting company not to write stories on the genre. Technology can apply to elements of the medical industry as well as the automotive industry. It is this diversity that makes technology news articles so interesting to read and why subscribers from all over the world regularly catch up theses stories.

It can be argued that will now live in the ‘computer age’, whether this is true or not is a matter of conjecture but what can be assured is that we live a period where computers are becoming increasingly important to our way of life. Ultimately we are becoming evermore reliant on our computers and without them we would be lost; there are even news stories of some now being addicted to their computers and handhelds. This is the extent that technology has encroached upon our lives that people now do not feel the need to ‘unplug’.

The phenomena is only set to continue, as computers become more powerful and have greater and greater applications it will not be long that we will plan our lives around the computer. This is not an attempt to act as a harbinger of doom, it is just theorising on ways in which technology will impact upon the human race. This is why keeping up to date with news stories about technology is so important, technology is about forward momentum and understanding what is at the crest of the wave is only half of the battle.

Source: Thomas Pretty
technology