Why Technical English

About writing essays, professional reports, etc.

December 16, 2009
1 Comment
By Galina Vitkova

 

I have recently read an interesting article by Charles Howell titled Writing Your Report – 5 Mistakes You Don’t Want to Make. I have been very surprised by how some situations described in the article are similar to my experience. Really many students make mistakes, which easily avoidable.

 

First of all, a citation from the article

“For some reason, students writing papers love to use extremely long sentences. Some do this to fill up the page requirements, while others do it to appear as if they know more about the subject and sound ‘scholarly’. Narrative is good, but don’t let it become fluff.”

My students also love writing too long sentences. Some of them are able to write a 100 word long essay comprising only one sentence. These are really extremely long sentences, but I quite usually recommend dividing of a long sentence in an essay into two or even three shorter sentences. However, I am of opinion that students cannot stop in explaining or narrating their thoughts rather than they try to make the teacher think how clever and erudite they are.

Whatever the case may be I admire and endorse a slogan K.I.S.S. introduced by the author of the article, which means “Keep It Short and Simple”. It seems to be great and pertinent in this case.

 

Another citation:

“If you are doing technical writing, or scientific writing avoid using passive sentences. these documents should be as straightforward as possible, especially if you ever want to see them published. Try to keep in mind that in scientific papers, people will be trying to reproduce your experiments. These people will not always be native English speakers, and will be more impressed with an easily understandable report than one from somebody who tried to use too much jargon in order to seem like an expert.”

I am afraid in this case I cannot agree with the author. In my opinion passive sentences are very frequently used in technical writing for one serious reason. In technical writing as a rule we very often need to explain or describe how a procedure, equipment, software program, etc. work or function. Their executor is usually not so important. Let us consider for instance pairs of sentences:

 

 

Active Voice

Passive Voice

 

1

Microsoft released Windows 7 on 22 October 2009.

Windows 7 was released (by Microsoft – usually it is not necessary to add that) on 22 October 2009.

2

Americans built the first solar power plant, which supplies electricity to the local electricity network, in the desert Mojave in California.

The first solar power plant, which supplies electricity to the local electricity network, was built (by Americans –it is not commonly said, it is clear) in the desert Mojave in California.

3

The computer controls a robot´s physical body,

A robot´s physical body (“body” is important, so it should be on the first place) is controlled by the computer.

4

Joints connect together the individual segments of a robot´s physical body.

 The individual segments of a robot´s physical body are connected together with joints (joints could connect together many things, but for us it is important that robots´body segments are connected with joints ).

 

 

 

 

All examples in column B – the passive voice, and they are much more effective than in column A and get to the point.

So, use the passive voice when you want to emphasize actions, results of actions etc. not the person responsible for the action or the source of the action etc.

 

Let us consider another citation:

“I can’t believe that it’s necessary to write about this, but every time I get a batch of reports, there are numerous spelling errors in as many as half of them. Being able to spell correctly is one of the key effective writing skills that teachers notice immediately. It doesn’t matter how well written your report is if, when the teacher looks over it again there are red marks on every page. Deciding the final score on an academic report is a VERY subjective process, and those red marks really DO make a difference. Every word processing program on the market had a decent spell checker – USE IT!”

I have quite the same experience. Although every editor has a check speller at present, many students do not use it. And not anywhere near they use the thesaurus (see Thesaurus – what’s up with it) to make their writing more beautiful and attractive for readers.

 

And finally about the proper format of writing

In English technical or professional writing it needs to keep some style. When issuing a technical report, an essay, or offering and article to a journal, newspaper or somewhere like that everything should be written in a style which a publisher demands. So take it seriously. Remember that technical writing is a tool of non-verbal communication for science and technical projects and you should respect appropriate rules when communicating.

If you aren’t sure about the writing format, which, for example, the journal where you would like to publish your writing demands, ask them. You might even ask them for a few writing samples you can look at to make sure you get the formatting correct. Some publishers are very picky about this. Find out what format this or that journal or other publisher demands and use it.

There are four styles recommended for usage in professional writing. It means if you write something for English or American journals use formats APA style or MLA style or Chicago/Turabian style or StyleEase.

For those who have never about these styles of writing, there is short information on a proper format of style from Wikipedia:

 

MLA (Modern Language Association of America)style

The newest MLA is characterized in the third edition MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing (2008) The manual was first published by the Modern Language Association of America in 1985. It is an academicstyle guide widely used in the United States, Canada, and other countries. It provides guidelines for writing and documenting research in the humanities, especially in English studies. The MLA’s “guidelines are also used by over 1,100 scholarly and literary journals, newsletters, and magazines and by many university and commercial presses”. Moreover, they are “followed throughout North America and in Brazil, China, India, Japan, Taiwan, and other countries around the world”.

 

APA (American Psychological Association) style

APA Style was first developed 80 years ago by a group of social scientists who wanted to establish sound standards of communication. Since then, it has been adopted by leaders in many fields and has been used by writers around the world.

The best scientific writing is scanty and straightforward. It draws attention to the ideas being presented.  So, the manuscript structure, word choice, punctuation, graphics, and references are all chosen to move the idea forward with a minimum of distraction and a maximum of precision. The APA rules of style concern punctuation and abbreviations, construction of tables, selection of headings, citation of references, and presentation of statistics.

APA style rules and guidelines are set out in a reference book titled The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association.

Chicago/Turabian style

This is a Chicago style of writing and formatting research reports, theses, and dissertations, for students and researchers developed in the University of Chicago and commonly known as Turabian style. The newest version of A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations comprising appropriate rules is published by the University of Chicago Press in November 2009. The style includes International Standard Bibliographic Description , too.

Style  Ease

StyleEase has been producing great software for academic writers since 1991. If you’re really uncertain about formatting and you do not know publisher´s requirements, get a formatting tool like StyleEase to make it easier. There are four software tools for that, i.e. StyleEase for APA Style,  StyleEase for MLA Style, StyleEase for Chicago/Turabian Style, and StyleEase for Seminary Style.

Just remember what is recommended above and check everything you have written before handing your piece of work in.

References:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wikiWikipedia – free encyclopedia

http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Charles_Howell

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Story of cloning

November 7, 2009
1 Comment

Composed by P. B                    

We study English discussing actual professional problems

Scientists and researchers have been working on cloning for above 100 years only. Below the short history of cloning is depicted.

1894     The first interesting research – Hans Dreisch isolated blastomeres from 2- and 4-celled sea urchin embryos and observed their development into small larvae.

At the beginning of the 20th century the German embryologist Hans Spemann was the leader in the field of the investigation:

  • 1901 Spemann split a 2-celled newt embryo into two parts, resulting in the development of two complete larvae;
  • 1902 Spemann split a 2-celled salamander embryo and each cell grew up on an adult, providing proof that early embryo cells carry necessary genetic information;
  • 1914 and 1928 Spemann conducted an early nuclear transfer experiment (the second one was successful);
  • 1938 Spemann published the results of his 1928 primitive nuclear transfer experiments involving salamander embryos in the book “Embryonic Development and Induction”.

1950     First successful freezing of a bull semen at -79°C for later insemination of cows was accomplished.

1952     First animal cloning: Robert Briggs and Thomas J. King cloned northern leopard frogs in the Institute for Cancer Research in Philadelphia.

1970     Howard Temin and David Baltimore from the National Cancer Institute (NCI), USA independently of each other isolated the first restriction enzyme. This capability led to the future manipulation of DNA.

1973     Stanley Cohen and Herbert Boyer of the University of California at San Francisco created the first recombinant DNA organism using recombinant DNA techniques.

1977     Karl Illmensee and Peter Hoppe at Jackson Laboratory in Maine, USA created mice having had only a single parent.

1978     A well respected science fiction writer David Rorvik published the novel “In His Image: The Cloning of a Man”. It was about a millionaire who had let him clone.

1979     Karl Illmensee at Jackson Laboratory in Maine, USA claimed to have cloned three mice.

1983     The first human mother-to-mother embryo transfer was completed. This procedure was performed at the Harbor Medical Center of University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA).

1984     Steen Willadsen in the Royal Veterinary College of Copenhagen cloned a sheep from embryo cells, the first verified example of mammal cloning based on nuclear transfer.

1986     Steen Willadsen in the Royal Veterinary College of Copenhagen cloned a cow.

1993     Human embryos were first cloned by a team at Newcastle University.

1996     Dolly, the sheep, the first organism cloned from adult cells was born. Ian Wilmut and Keith Campbell at the Roslin Institute in Scotland created the world first ever cloned mammal. They announced the birth in the following year, on February 23, 1997, and the worlds press beat a path to their door since then.

1997     President Clinton in the USA proposed legislation to ban the cloning of humans for 5 years.

1997     Thousands of biologists and physicians signed the voluntary five-year moratorium on human cloning in the United States.

1997     Richard Seed intended to clone a human before federal laws could effectively prohibit the process.

1998     19 European countries signed a ban on human cloning.

1998     Ryuzo Yanagimachi, Toni Perry, and Teruhiko Wakayama from the University Hawai announced that they had cloned 50 mice from adult cells since October, 1997.

During the last decade many animals (mammals) were cloned:

2000     Researchers working together in Japan and New York reported that they had cloned a pig named Xena;

2001     The first cloned cat in the United States (name Little Nicky);

2003     The Utah State University research team is the first worldwide to clone a member of the horse family, a mule;

2004     Researchers in Japan announced that a bull was cloned from a previously cloned bull – serial cloning;

2009     Camels joined the list of cloned mammals – in Dubai.

Despite a success rate in most experiments makes less than 5 percent, I think the progress is very fast and every year the result will be better and better.

References: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki

 


Windows 7

October 28, 2009
5 Comments
                                                        Composed by G. Vitkova using Wikipedia, the free enciclopedia

Windows 7 launched

Windows 7 is the latest version of Microsoft Windows produced for use on home and business desktops, laptops, netbooks, tablet personal computers and media center of personal computers. Windows 7  was released to manufacturing on July 22, 2009. General retail availability was announced on October 22, 2009, less than three years after the release of its predecessor, Windows Vista. 

Unlike Windows Vista, which introduced a large number of new features, Windows 7 is intended to be a more user focused, helpful upgrade to the Windows line. As a result Windows 7 is fully compatible with applications and hardware with which Windows Vista is already compatible. Some applications that have been included with prior releases of Microsoft Windows, including Windows Calendar, Windows Mail, Windows Movie Maker, and Windows Photo, are not involved in Windows 7. Several of them are instead offered separately as a part of the free Windows Live Essential Suite.

Goals

Earlier in 2007 Bill Gates in an interview with Newsweek, insinuated that this version of Windows would “be more user-centric”. Later he added that Windows 7 would also focus on performance improvements. Steven Sinofsky, the new president of the Windows division at Microsoft, responsible for the Windows, Windows Live, and Internet Explorer, afterward expanded on this point in the Engineering Windows 7 blog. He explicated that the company was using a variety of new tracing tools to measure the performance of many areas of the operating systém. The tools help locate inefficient code paths and prevent decrease of performance effectiveness.

The Senior Vice President Bill Veghte stated that Windows Vista users migrating to Windows 7 would not find the kind of device compatibility issues they met migrating from Windows XP. As early as in October 2008, the Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer confirmed compatibility between Vista and Windows 7, pointing out that Windows 7 would be a refined version of Windows Vista.

New and changed features

Windows 7 includes a number of new features, such as advances in touch and handwriting recognition, support for virtual hard disks, improved performance on multi-core processors, improved boot  performance, Direct Access, and kernel improvements. Windows 7 adds support for systems using multiple heterogeneous graphics cards from different vendors, a new version of Windows Media Center, the XML Paper Specification (XPS) Essentials Pack. Windows Power Shell, and a redesigned Calculator with multiline capabilities. Many new items have been added to the Control Panel, such as the Clear Type Text Tuner, Biometric Devices, System Icons, Display, etc. Windows 7 also supports Mac-like Raw image viewing plus full-size viewing and slideshows in the Windows Photo Viewer and Window Media Center.

Windows 7 includes 13 additional sound schemes, titled Afternoon, Calligraphy, Characters, Cityscape, Delta, Festival, Garden, Heritage, Landscape, Quirky, Raga, Savanna, and Sonata. A new version of a Windows Virtual PC Beta is available for Windows 7 Professional, Enterprise, and Ultimate editions. It allows multiple Windows environments, including Windows XP Mode, to run on the same machine, requiring the use of Intel Virtualisation Technology for x86 (Intel VT-x) or AMD Virtualisation (AMD-V). Windows XP Mode runs Windows XP in a virtual machine and redirects displayed applications running in Windows XP to the Windows 7 desktop. Furthermore, Windows 7 supports the mounting of a virtual hard disk (VHD) as a normal data storage, and the bootloader delivered with Windows 7 can boot the Windows system from a VHD. The Remote Desktop Protokol (RDP) of Windows 7 is also enhanced to support real-time multimedia applications including video playback and 3D games.

The taskbar has seen the biggest visual changes, where the Quick Launch toolbar has been replaced with pinning applications to the taskbar. Buttons for pinned applications are integrated with the task buttons. The revamped taskbar also allows the reordering of taskbar buttons. To the far right of the system clock there is a small rectangular button that serves as the Show desktop icon. This button is a part of the new feature in Windows 7 called Aero Peek. Hovering over this button makes all visible windows transparent for a quick look at the desktop. In touch-enabled displays such as touch screens, tablet PCs, etc., this button is slightly wider to accommodate being pressed with a finger. Clicking this button minimizes all windows, and clicking it a second time restores them. Additionally, there is a feature named Aero Snap, which automatically maximizes a window when it is dragged to either the top or left/right edges of the screen. This also allows users to snap documents or files on either side of the screen to compare them.

Windows 7 taskbar includes a new networking API – Application Programming Interface for developers. It supports building Simple Object Access Protocol based (SOAP-based) web services in machine code, adds new features to shorten application installing time, reduced User Account Control (UAC) prompts, simplified development of installation packages, and improved worldwide support through a new Extended Linguistic Services API. As early as in 2008 Microsoft announced that colour depths of 30-bit and 48-bit would be supported in Windows 7. The video modes supported in Windows 7 are 16-bit  class=”hiddenSpellError” pre=”16-bit “>sRGB (standard Red Green Blue colour space), 24-bit sRGB, 30-bit sRGB, 30-bit with extended colour gamut sRGB, and 48-bit scRGB. Microsoft is also implementing better support for solid-state drives, so Windows 7 will be able to identify a solid-state drive uniquely. Microsoft is also planning to support USB 3.0 in a subsequent patch, although support would not be included in the initial release because of delays in the finalization of the standard.

Users will also be qualified to disable more Windows components than it was possible in Windows Vista. New additions to this list of components include Internet Explorer, Windows Media Player, Windows Media Center, Windows Search , and the Windows Gadget Platform.

“The launch of Windows 7 has superseded everyone’s expectations, storming ahead of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows as the biggest-grossing pre-order product of all-time, and demand is still going strong,” claimed managing director Brian McBride, Amazon UK on October 22, 2009.

References: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_7


Genetics for common people

October 19, 2009
2 Comments
Composed by G. Vitkova using Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 

Dear coleagues,

About two – three weeks ago ethical problems around cloning aroused my student’s interest in the topic. We began to study it within our lesson of technical or professional English. However, we very quickly found out that basic knowledge of genetics is quite necessary to be able to understand the essence of the problem. So, the text below has appeared. I hope the text will launch the the discussion the issue that concerns everybody. Thank you in advance for your contribution.   G.Vitkova

 

We learn English studying and discussing real issues

 

Basics

Genetics studies genes, their function, structure and interaction. Genes enanle living organisms to inherit features from their ancestors. Genetics attempts to identify which features are inherited, and explain how these features are passed from generation to generation.

In genetics, a feature of an organism is called a “trait“. There are many trait types, and these range from aspects of behavior to resistance to disease. Traits are often inherited, for example tall and thin people tend to have tall and thin children. But the interaction between inherited features and the environment may influence the final result. For example a child might inherit the tendency to be tall, but if little food is available and the child is poorly nourished, it will still be short.

Genetic information is encoded via a long molecule called DNA which is copied and inherited across generations (see the picture above). Traits are transferred in DNA as instructions for creating and operating an organism.

These instructions are contained in segments of DNA called genes. The order of genes in DNA makes up the genetic code. This is similar to the sequence of letters forming words. The organism “reads” the sequence of these units and decodes the instruction. Different forms of one type of a gene are called alleles of that gene. As an example, one allele of a gene for hair color could comprises the instruction to produce a lot of the pigment in black hair. Another allele could give a garbled version of this instruction, so that no pigment is produced and the hair is white.

 

Genetics glossary

 

 

DNA

A long molecule that looks like a twisted ladder. It is made of four types of simple units and the sequence of these units carries information, just as the sequence of letters carries information on a page (see picture on the left).

Nucleotides

They form the rungs of the DNA ladder and are the repeating units in DNA. There are four types of nucleotides (A, T, G and C) and it is the sequence of these nucleotides that carries information.

Chromosome

A package for carrying DNA in the cells. They contain a single long piece of DNA that is wound up and bunched together into a compact structure. Different species of plants and animals have different numbers and sizes of chromosomes.

Gene

A segment of DNA. Genes are like sentences made of the “letters” of the nucleotide alphabet, between them genes direct the physical development and behavior of an organism. Genes are like a recipe or instruction book, providing information that an organism needs so it can build or do something – like making an eye or a leg, or repairing a wound.

Allele

The different forms of a given gene that an organism may possess. For example, in humans, one allele of the eye-color gene produces green eyes and another allele of the eye-color gene produces brown eyes.

Genome

The complete set of genes in a particular organism.

Genetic engineering

When people change an organism by adding new genes, or deleting genes from its genome.

Mutation

An event that changes the sequence of the genes in DNA

Genes are copied

Genes are copied each time a cell divides into two new cells. The process of copying DNA is called DNA replication.

DNA can be copied very easily and accurately because each piece of DNA can direct the creation of a new copy of its information. This is because DNA is made of two strands that pair together like the two sides of a zipper. The nucleotides are in the center, like the teeth in the zipper, and pair up to hold the two strands together.

When DNA is copied, the two strands of the old DNA are pulled apart by enzymes which move along each of the two single strands pairing up new nucleotide units and then zipping the strands closed. As a result two new pieces of DNA appear. Each of them contains one strand from the old DNA and one newly made strand. This process isn’t perfect and sometimes the wrong nucleotide may be put into the new strand. It causes a change in the sequence of the gene. These changes in DNA sequence are called mutations. Mutations produce new alleles of genes. Sometimes these changes stop the gene from working properly. In other cases the mutations can change what the gene does or even let it do its job a little better than before. These mutations and their effects on the traits of organisms are one of the causes of evolution.

Genetic engineering

Since traits come from the genes in a cell, putting a new piece of DNA into a cell can produce a new trait. This is how genetic engineering works. For example, crop plants can be given a gene from an Arctic fish, so they produce an antifreeze protein in their leaves. This can help prevent frost damage. Other genes that can be put into crops include a natural insecticide from the bacteria Bacillus thuringiensis. The insecticide kills insects that eat the plants, but is harmless to people. In these plants the new genes are put into the plant before it is grown, so the genes will be in every part of the plant, including its seeds. The plant’s offspring will then inherit the new genes, something which has led to concern about the spread of new traits into wild plants.

The kind of technology used in genetic engineering is also being developed to treat people with genetic disorders in an experimental medical technique called gene therapy. However, here the new gene is put in after the person has grown up and become ill, so any new gene will not be inherited by their children. Gene therapy works by trying to replace the allele that causes the disease with an allele that will work properly.

Talking Glossary of Genetic Terms

The National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) created the Talking Glossary of Genetic Terms to help people without scientific backgrounds understand the terms and concepts used in genetic research. Simply click on the term of interest to open a page with a wealth of information, including the term’s pronunciation, audio information, images and additional links to related terms. Students, teachers and parents will find the glossary an easy-to-use, always available learning source on source on genetics. For more information go to the Guide to the Talking Glossary:

http://www.genome.gov/10002096


iPhone

September 4, 2009
2 Comments

We study English discussing practical problems

 By P.B.

I have my mobile iPhone more than 4 years and I need a new one. The problem is – which one. I have the Nokia 95 and I like Nokia devices, but I am afraid there are no good Nokia on the market now. I use my mobile phone (like everybody) every day for calling and sending sms but not only for that. It is very important for me – maybe necessary – to receive and send emails with attachments and to have connection to the Internet. On the other side, I don´t need to have applications such as games etc.

 

Many friends recommend me to buy the iPhone. I think it is a very modern phone but I see some problems concerning it. The first one is that if a user wants to backup files, contacts etc., he must use an iTunes application – and it is not very comfortable. The second problem emerges when a user wants to send a business card – in many mobile phones users don´t have any problems with it, but the iPhone doesn´t support it – only between iPhones through Bluetooth when devices are very close to each other. The third problem is that the iPhone doesn´t know the commands copy/paste. The fourth main problem for me is that even though it´s possible to view excel and word documents, you can´t edit them. The fifth problem might be that a slot for a memory card isn´t included.

 

Finally, few lesser problems – the iPhone doesn´t have a radio, on the Internet you aren´t able to view flash and java, there are some problems with MMS and videos (you have to have a special application). Moreover, when you use the Edge for connection to the Internet and somebody call you, the call falls down into the voice box.

 

In my opinion – the iPhone has surprisingly more problems than I expected and I can´t accept this device. Now the Apple has issued a new one – iPhone 3GS – I´m not sure but maybe some problems are solved bythat model.

 

What do YOU think about it?

 

Does anybody have real experience with iPhone and can advise me?

 

 


My Internet goals for 2009

December 17, 2008
16 Comments
By Galina Vitkova

I´d like to participate in the Group Writing Project 2009 (http://www.dailyblogtips.com/what-are-your-internet-goals-for-2009-group-writing-project/). So, here are my Internet goals:

  • Ensure regular SKYPE conversation conferences on technical topics.
  • Involve in these conferences students from English speaking countries.
  • Involve students from English speaking countries in written discussion carrying out on the blog https://techenglish.wordpress.com/.
  • Complete e-books Computer English and Internet English containing technical texts and exercises for development of communication skills.
  • Come in affiliated programs on the Internet concerning study of technical English.

I invite my students to participate in the project, too.


ROBOTS – Discussion

December 12, 2008
11 Comments

Dear friends of Technical English,

Robots are another technical topic very suitable for discussion. For those, who doesn´t remember the origin of the word „robot“, I remind that the word was firstly introduced by the Czech writer Karel Čapek in his play Rossum´s Universal Robots (R.U.R.) in 1921. Now around two million robots “live” in the world and they are used almost in all spheres of human activities (industry, medicine, education etc.) – see the page Statistics on robots at the site. Many ethical problems arose in connection with it. The problems above all else concern relationships between humans and robots, permissible or acceptable robots´ behaviour and many others. I believe people gradually will cope with these issues and reach some kind of agreement.

However, there is one area where robots can be very dangerous. It deals with military robots, war robots (don´t confuse with a war of robots), battlefield robots. They are true robots operating autonomously, on their own. Nowadays such robots are being developed for Pentagon in the US. Scientists working in this area claim that making lethal autonomous robots is inexpensive and proliferating, that coming such robots on the battlefield is only a matter of time. It isn´t science fiction but grim reality they add. Moreover, they affirm “it is time for people to start talking about whether this technology is something they want to embrace”. And they continue “The important thing is not to be blind to it,”

In this case the ethical problems are very serious and urgently should be resolved or at least discussed before these robots will be a component of a regular army.

The capabilities of modern intelligent robots are practically unlimited. In order to have the inkling of modern robots aptitudes read and enjoy my students´ essays narrating stories about such robots.

Military robots of the same level of intelligence equipped with ability of making decision about humans´ life or death are the great threat for mankind. I think the main topic of our discussion might be military robots. The proposed issues for the discussion are as follows:

  • Do people accept the development of lethal autonomous robots?
  • Do people need robots that will be allowed to make decision about their life or death?
  • How to protect mankind from such robots if they appear?

“It is not my belief that an unmanned system will be able to be perfectly ethical in the battlefield” Dr. Arkin, the main author in developing such systems, wrote in his report (PDF) and I share this opinion. Moreover, I am convinced such robots should be banned.

Galina Vitkova

Robotics

By Hana Absolonova

I would like to describe my beloved kind of robots. They are marked as R2D2. These are robots that serve all over the world in many different roles. We can meet them as waiters and we can also see them helping on farms. But they are mostly used as technicians at spaceships because of their exact way of operating and ability to stay operational in outer space. They are also used as co-pilots in many kinds of air-fighters.

These robots look a bit like a white can with blue dots and stripes. They also have a variety of sensors on them and for movement they use three flexible legs. On top they have an opening artificial arm. See the R2D2 picture on belovedrobot.

They are very useful and very practical, but they have one big disadvantage and that is communication. They are only able to pipe and communicate with other machines. Making them able to communicate with people would be a huge improvement.

Autonomous robots

By Arzumanov Eduard

AIBO (Artificial Intelligence roBOt, homonymous with “pal” in Japanese) was one of several types of robotic pets designed and manufactured by Sony. There have been several different models since their introduction in 1999. Able to walk, “see” its environment with the build-in camera, and recognize spoken commands, AIBOs are considered to be autonomous robots. The robots are able to learn and mature based on external incentive from their owner or environment, or from other AIBOs. The artist Hajime Sorayama created the initial designs for this robot.

AIBO runs on software called AIBOware. The Life AIBOware allows the robot to be raised from a pup to a fully-grown adult while going through various stages of development as its owner interacts with it. The Explorer AIBOware allows the owner to interact with a fully mature robot able to understand (though not necessarily willing to obey) 100 voice commands. Without the AIBOware, the AIBO will run in what is called a “clinic mode” and can only perform basic actions. Many AIBO owners enjoy teaching their pets new behaviours by reprogramming them (in Sony’s special ‘R-CODE’ language).

The AIBO has seen use as an inexpensive platform for artificial intelligence research.The reason is that it integrates a computer, vision system, and articulators in a package vastly cheaper than conventional research robots.

The RoboCup autonomous soccer competition had a “RoboCup Four-Legged Robot Soccer League” in which numerous institutions from around the world would participate. Competitors would program a team of AIBO robots to play games of the autonomous robot soccer against other competing teams.

On January 26, 2006 Sony announced that it would discontinue AIBO and several other products as of March, 2006. AIBO will still be supported until 2013 (ERS7 model), however, and AIBO technology will continue to be developed for use in other consumer products. That is because of the weak consumer’s interest in my opinion.

So, the AIBO robot is certainly a great invention, but I think it is still void of some use, and the consumer’s interest is low. In my opinion, having a real dog is by far interesting and may not be so boring in future because when having a real dog, you’re never sure of what could happen, so it might be more exciting.


Additional information about SKYPE conversation in October

September 12, 2008
2 Comments

By Galina Vitkova

Dear friend of technical English!

Let me add some more information details about SKYPE conversation in October.

The information, which each registered participant will receive, comprises the file containing the basic information about the proper topic immediately after registration and a file with a presentation (or presentations depending on an amount of registered participants) a day before the conference.

The basic information file looks like the content of the Demoversion, which you can link visiting the page DemoCompEn on this blog. It means besides the information given in the offered text you can find much more information using hypertext references or hyperlinks. The file contains a proper vocabulary on the topic and abbreviations (acronyms) used in the area. It helps you to gain knowledge and prepare to discuss the topic. For comprehensive preparing you can do exercises aimed at development of your communication skills, concretely for preparing your contribution or communication for the corresponding discussion topic.

The presentation file on the appropriate topic will be worked out by the main speaker (s). It should help you to better understand the issues and be well informed about them. The examples of such presentations are given on this blog. See pages: “Microprocessors history”, “WWW Functions”, and “Search Engines”.

Participating in our conversation conferences is a great opportunity for development of your communication skills. Simultaneously it will contribute to your general knowledge of the topic.

Do not hesitate and join us.

Just click on victe@volny.cz and sign up!


SKYPE conversation in October

September 4, 2008
2 Comments

By Galina Vitkova

Dear friends of technical English!

We are again preparing a series of SKYPE conversation conferences in English on technical issues in October. The issues concern computers and the Internet. The topics of these events are given below.

Discuss the topical issues via SKYPE

Register on victe@volny.cz

and

receive all necessary discussing materials for each topic

While registering let us know what topics you are interested in and what hours are suitable for you.

Topics of a new SKYPE conversation series

COMPUTER ENGLISH

Internet English

Computer Architecture

· what that is

· benchmarking

· Computer Architecture on the future horizon

Internet Structure

· relationships between Internet networks

· principles of the Internet operation

· main functions of the Internet

· Internet standards

Central Processing Unit

· shortly about history of computing

· how it works

· main CPU components

World Wide Web

· shortly about history of the Web

· basic ideas of the Web

· HTML – HyperText Markup Language

· how the Web work

  • some statistics

Computer Memory

· what that is

· classification of memory

· virtual memory

· capacity and performance

Web servers and browsers

· Web server operation

· main parameters of web servers

· most common serving programs

· browser functions

· dominated browsers

Computer Hardware

· main components

· motherboard

· input and output device

Search Engine and SEO

· How a search engine works

· The most popular search engines

· meta search engines

· search engine optimisation (SEO)

· search engine strategy (SES)

Computer Software

· origin of the term

· relationshops to hardware and data

· software operation

· classification of software

· software quality factors

Website Design

· basic aspects of design (content, usability, appearance, visibility)

· website planning (purpose, audience, content)

· traffic building


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