Why Technical English

Biofuels Reduce Emissions (part 2)

March 12, 2010
3 Comments

Special Interview Reveals How Czech Biofuels Are

Ing. Jiří Souček, CSc. (SoJ), who participated on biofuel research in the Czech Republic, answered questions posed by Galina Vitkova (ViG)

ViG:  What way are biofuels in the Czech Republic mainly used in: as an additive to the conventional fuel or as entire fuel?   ViG:  Jak hlavně se užívá biopalivo v ČR: jako doplněk ke klasickému palivu nebo jako celé palivo? 
SoJ:  In the Czech Republic biofuels are mainly used as an additive to the conventional fuel, i.e. to car gasoline and motor diesel. Amounts are determined by the law – see above.Moreover, mixed diesel, i.e. motor diesel containing 30 % MEŘO, is produced. Besides, production of fuel for ignition motors, which represents a mix of 85 % bioethanol and 15 % gasoline, is launched. These fuels are fiscally favoured in the way that their biocomponent   is not imposed by excise tax.

SoJ:  Biopaliva v ČR se používají hlavně jako přídavek do klasických paliv, tj. do automobilového benzinu a motorové nafty. Množství jsou stanovena zákonem  – viz výše.

Kromě toho se vyrábí směsná bionafta, tj. motorová nafta s obsahem 30 % MEŘO a je zahájena produkce paliva pro zážehové motory E 85, což je směs 85 % bioetanolu a 15 % benzinu. Tato paliva jsou daňově zvýhodněna tím, že na biosložku není uvalena spotřební daň.

ViG:  Where are biofuels mostly used in the Czech Republic?  ViG:  Kde se hlavně využívá biopalivo v ČR? 
 SoJ:  In the Czech Republic biofuels are added  to all propellants for road transport, i.e. to vehicle gasoline and motor diesel. They are  used in personal and freight vehicles, tractors, construction site engines and other machines. SoJ:  V ČR jsou biopaliva obsažena ve všech pohonných hmotách pro silniční dopravu tj. v automobilovém benzinu a motorové naftě. Využívají se v osobních a nákladních automobilech, traktorech, ve stavebních a jiných strojích.
ViG:  Is butanol supposed to be produced in the Czech Republic?   ViG:  Předpokládá se výroba butanolu v ČR?
SoJ:  Butanol production is not prepared in the Czech Republic. SoJ:  Výroba butanolu se v ČR zatím nepřipravuje.
ViG:  What kind of conventional energy  sources are used for biofuel production in the Czech Republic?  ViG:  Jaký druh klasických energetických zdrojů se využívá v ČR pro výrobu biopaliva?
SoJ:  In the Czech Republic, as a rule, steam  of own factory production, made mostly from  coal, is used for these purposes. Necessary electricity is taken from the distribution electricity network. SoJ:  Pro výrobu biopaliv se užívá jako energetický zdroj pára zpravidla z vlastní výroby podniku, která je vyrobena převážně z uhlí a elektrická energie z centrálních rozvodů.
ViG:  What is a state of producing biofuels of  the 2nd and 3rd generations in the Czech Republic?  ViG:  V jakém stavu je v ČR výroba biopaliva 2. a 3. generace?
SoJ:  In 2008 the Technological Center for developing biofuels of the 2nd generation was founded. It comprises a number of research organisations elaborating the technology for fuel production from renewables . Using various kinds of biomass for manufacturing so called  synthetical gas is of special importance as biofuels of the 2nd generation could be made from it. SoJ:  Pro vývoj biopaliv druhé generace bylo v roce 2008 založeno technologické centrum, kde je sdružena řada výzkumných pracovišť k řešení technologií výroby paliv z obnovitelných surovin.  Zvláště se jedná o použití různých druhů biomasy k výrobě tzv. syntézního plynu, ze kterého lze vyrábět biopaliva druhé generace.
ViG:  What is your standpoint concerning  social impacts of biofuel production (food vs. biofuel, sustainability of biofuel production)?  ViG:  Jaký je Váš postoj k sociálním dopadům výroby biopaliv (potrava vs. biopalivo, udržitelnost výroby biopaliva)? 
SoJ:  I think social impacts of biofuel production in the Czech Republic are positive . As I said the Czech Republic is self-sufficient regarding food raw materials, so cultivating plants for biofuels  is not at expense of cultivating plants for food. Farmers may cultivate more soils which ensures them more employment financial proceeds and profits.Biofuel production itself provides another  people work in biofuel production and distribution and create further values.

Sowing non-cultivated soils positively modifies landscape since you can see cultivated fields instead of weedy plains.

The State acquires means to the state budget   in a form of taxes on incomes of farmers and biofuel producers, due to excise tax and advantages of higher employment.

Biofuel production is sustainable, it is a part of solution of the global problem of supplying the society with energy from renewable sources. The final form of biofuels will be more  developed in alternative ways, i.e. biofuels        of the 2nd generation, electricity production from biomass, biohydrogen and methane etc.

SoJ:  Sociální dopad výroby biopaliv v ČR považuji za pozitivní. Jak jsem uvedl výše, ČR je soběstačná v potravinářských surovinách a výroba zemědělských surovin pro biopaliva není na úkor pěstování produktů pro výživu. Zemědělci tak mohou využívat více půdy, což jim zabezpečuje zaměstnanost a příslušné finanční tržby a zisky.

Vlastní výroba biopaliv poskytuje zaměstnání dalším lidem ve výrobě biopaliv a jejich distribuci a vytváří další hodnoty.

Osetí nevyužívané půdy má pozitivní vliv na vzhled krajiny, kdy místo zaplevelených ploch jsou obdělávaná pole.

Stát získává prostředky do státního rozpočtu ve formě daní z příjmů zemědělců a výrobců biopaliv, ze spotřební daně, z daně z přidané hodnoty a výhody z vyšší zaměstnanosti.

Výroba biopaliv je udržitelná, je součástí řešení globálního problému zabezpečení společnosti energií z obnovitelných zdrojů. Konečná forma biopaliv se bude dále rozvíjet alternativními směry tj. paliva druhé generace, využití elektrické energie z biomasy, použitím biovodíku, metanu aj.

ViG:  What is your position about ecological impacts of biofuel production (soil erosion, deforestation, affecting water sources, loss of biodiversity)?  ViG:  Jaký je Váš postoj k ekologickým dopadům výroby biopaliv (eroze půdy, ničení lesů, vliv na vodní zdroje, ztráta biodiverzity)?
SoJ:  Such events don´t happen in the Czech Republic. The whole problem of biofuels is  under rule of state bodies and state laws. So, in the future negative consequences might not occur. Soil erosion does not arise, quite the contrary the soil is cultivated, woods aren´t  cut because of biofuels, and water sources are not affected. Conversely, leakage of biofuels causes significantly less negative effects (biological decomposability of MEŘO makes 90 %, biodiesel 40 %). Plants for biofuel production must not be cultivated on the   plains with high biodiversity. SoJ:  K takovým jevům v ČR nedochází. Celá problematika biopaliv v ČR je pod kontrolou státních orgánů a státních zákonů, takže ani v budoucnosti by nemělo docházet k negativním následkům. Eroze půdy nevzniká, naopak půda je ošetřována, lesy se pro biopaliva nekácejí, vodní zdroje nejsou zasaženy. Naopak při úniku paliv mají biopaliva významně menší negativní vliv (biologická rozložitelnost MEŘO je přes 90%, nafty 40%). Suroviny pro výrobu biopaliv se nesmějí pěstovat na půdách s vysokou biologickou rozmanitostí.
ViG:  What is your position about technical problems (energy effectiveness and energy balance of biofuel production in comparison of biofuel effectivity with effectivity solar energy utilisation, carbon emissions)?  ViG:  Jaký je Váš postoj k technickým problémům (energetická efektivita a energetická bilance výroby bio paliv, porovnání efektivity biopaliv a využití solární energie, emise uhlíku)? 
SoJ:  Energy effectivity regarding the entire cycle of biofuel production, i.e. including plant cultivation, is cited above when discussing biodiesel. Triple amount of depleted energy is returned. Nowadays economical effectivity of biofuel production is higher than effectiveness of energy made by photovoltaic panels. The price of electricity generated by these panels equals 10-12 Kcz/kWh, biodiesel price is 2 Kcz/kWh. However, expenses on photovoltaic electricity will be decreased especially due to reduction of investment costs.Biofuel usage causes decreasing greenhouse gases, especially carbon dioxide. For example, biodiesel production, including rape cultivation and consumption of biodiesel by combustion motor leads to decreasing CO2e by 40–45 % compared with diesel. SoJ:  Energetická efektivita, vycházející z energetické bilance celého cyklu výroby biopaliv tj. včetně pěstování zemědělských surovin je uvedena výše pro bionaftu. Získá se trojnásobek energie oproti energii.V současné době je ekonomická efektivita výroby biopaliv vyšší než využití solární energie fotovoltaickými panely. Cena vyrobené fotovoltaické elektřiny je 10-12 Kč/kWhod., cena bionafty je cca 2 Kč/kWhod. Náklady na fotovoltaickou elektřinu se budou snižovat zvláště poklesem investičních nákladů.Použití biopaliv má za následek snížení emisí skleníkových plynů, zvláště oxidu uhličitého. Tak při výrobě bionafty včetně pěstování řepky a spotřebě ve spalovacích motorech se dosahuje snížení emisí CO2eq  o 40–45 % oproti klasické motorové naftě.
ViG:  What do you think about environment pollution by biofuels (biofuel combustion and deforestation)?  ViG:  Jaký je Váš postoj k znečištění ovzduší (spalováním biopaliva a ničením lesů)?            
SoJ:  One of the advantages of biofuels is their positive impact on environment, i.e. decreasing greenhouse gases, especially carbon dioxide. In exhausting gases there are less carbon dioxide, lower levels of particulates and less sulphuric oxide. Depending on motor construction emissions of nitrogen oxide could be lesser. Woods are certainly undamaged there, on the contrary.  

SoJ:  Jednou z předností použití biopaliv je pozitivní vliv na životní prostředí, tj. snížení emisí skleníkových plynů, zvláště oxidu uhličitého. Ve výfukových plynech se do ovzduší dostává méně oxidu uhelnatého, méně pevných částic a méně oxidů síry. V závislosti od konstrukce motoru mohou být o něco vyšší emise oxidů dusíku. Lesy se rozhodně neničí, naopak.

ViG:  Thank you very much for your thorough answers. All the best to you. ViG:  Děkuji mnohokrát za vyčerpávající odpovědi. Přeji hodně úspěchů.

 

 

Abbreviations used in the Interview 

  • k, th. = thousand
  • TOE = Metric Tons of Oil Equivalent
  • kTOE = thousand of Metric Tons of Oil Equivalent
  • REN21 = Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century (http://www.ren21.net )
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B i o f u e l s – do they interest you?

February 3, 2010
23 Comments

Composed by Galina Vitkova

 Biofuels belong to the most quickly developing branches of renewable energy sources, mainly due to oil price spikes and the need for increasing energy security. There are two main sorts of biofuels: bioethanol and biodiesel.

Bioethanol (also called biogasoline or simply ethanol) is an alcohol made by fermenting the sugar components of plant materials It is made mostly from sugar and starch crops. Technological process for producing ethanol requires as a rool a significant amount of energy (often unsustainable fossil fuel). Making ethanol from the sugar cane is less energy-consuming.

Ethanol can be used as a fuel for vehicles in its pure form, but it is usually added to a gasoline to increase octane and improve vehicle emissions. Most existing car petrol engines can run on blends of up to 15% bioethanol with petroleum/gasoline.Many car manufacturers are now producing flexible-fuel vehicles (FFV’s), which can safely run on any combination of bioethanol and petrol.

Bioethanol is widely used in the USA and in Brazil – see the table below:

Fuel ethanol

(thousand tonnes equivalent oil)

2008

Change 08

over 07

Share of total

USA 17 460 41.3 % 50.2 %
Brasilia 13 549 20.0 % 38.2 %
Europe 1337 50.8 % 3.8 %
Total world 34 800 30.9 % 100 %

 

The expanded table with the similar content could be found in Renewables are becoming more and more popular based on REN21 Interactive Map (beta-version).

Green diesel (biodiesel) is the most common biofuel used in Europe. It is a liquid similar in composition to fossil/mineral diesel. Feedstocks for biodiesel include animal fats, vegetable oils, soy, flax, sunflower, palm oil, hemp and many others. Pure biodiesel (B100) is the lowest emission diesel fuel.

Biodiesel can be used in any diesel engine when mixed with mineral diesel. The majority of vehicle manufacturers recommend to add up to 15% biodiesel blended with mineral diesel. Many current diesel engines are made to be able to run on B100 without altering the engine itself.

Since biodiesel is an effective solvent and cleans residues deposited by mineral diesel, engine filters may need to be replaced more often because the biofuel dissolves old deposits in the fuel tank and pipes. In many European countries, a 5% biodiesel blend is widely used and is available at thousands of gas stations. Biodiesel is safe to handle and transport (e.g. it has a high flashpoint of about 300 F (148 C) whereas petroleum diesel fuel has a flashpoint of 125 F (52 C)).

The structure of the USA buofuels resources is depicted on the chart below:

Second-generation biofuels production processes use non-food crops and do not divert food away from the animal or human food chain. These include waste biomass, the stalks of wheat, corn, wood, and special-energy-or-biomass crops (e.g. Miscanthus). Many second generation biofuels are under development such as biohydrogen, biomethanol, biohydrogen diesel, mixed alcohols, wood diesel etc.. For example, producing ethanol from cellulose is a difficult technical problem to solve. So in cellulosic ethanol laboratories, various experimental processes are being developed to simulate natural enzymatic digestive processes, typical for animals, to make ethanol fuel.

Scientists also work on experimental organisms using recombinant DNA genetic engineering (see also Genetics for common people) to increase biofuel potential. A technology to use industrial waste gases from steel mills as a feedstock for producing ethanol has been developed in New Zealand.

Third generation biofuel is a biofuel from algae. Algae are low-input, high-yield source biofuels. Based on laboratory experiments, it claimed that Algae can produces up to 30 times more energy per acre than land crops such as soybeans, but these yields have yet to be produced commercially. With the higher prices of fossil fuels, there is much interest in farming algae.

References:

Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia –   http://en.wikipedia.org

REN21 Interactive Map (beta-version) – http://www.ren21.net/map/

 P S : You can find a lot of absorbing information about biofuels made of sugar cane on the blog http://sugarcaneblog.com

 


Windows 7 Taskbar

January 31, 2010
1 Comment
By P.B. 

In Windows 7 the Windows Taskbar has underwent the most significant revision since its introduction in Windows 95. In general, now it is rather application-oriented than window-oriented, When application runs, it is denoted by a border frame around its icon. When user runs some program or opens the folder, the preview of this program or folder without description appears on the screen (it is different from Vista or XP). So the user immediately gets information about opened windows and can easily switch among them.

Moreover, applications can easily be pinned to the taskbar. It enables the user to get instant access to the applications which are often used. Pinning applications to the taskbar can be done in two ways. First, you can simply drag and drop the icon onto the taskbar. Or you can do it by right-clicking the application icon and pinning the icon to the taskbar – similar to Windows XP or Vista.

Thumbnail previews

were already introduced in Windows Vista. In Windows 7 they have been expanded to also interact with them, i.e.:

  • The user can close any open a window by clicking the X on the corresponding thumbnail preview,
  • Hovering over the thumbnail preview you get a “peek” of the window.

The previews integrate Thumbnail Toolbars, which greatly enriched the Windows 7 taskbar. Actually these toolbars enable control the application from the thumbnail previews themselves (e.g. if Windows Media Player is opened and the mouse is hovering on its icon, the thumbnail preview will allow the user to Play, Stop, etc. without switching to the Windows Media Player window). 

Jump lists

are one of the best innovations you see in the Windows 7. By simply right-clicking an icon of an application on the taskbar, you are able to see a list of previous applications associated with that program. Furthermore, the list can be created holding the left mouse button and sliding up on an icon. Each list contains the information which corresponds to the features unique to the application (e.g. a Microsoft Word jump list might display all the recently opened documents). Up to 10 menu items may appear on a jump list by default, and Windows 7 provides possibility to adjust it. See below an example of a jump list (Fig. 1).

Fig.1 Jump Lists

Notification area has been redesigned in Windows 7. In addition to deciding whether the application icons are shown, the ability to hide each application’s notification balloons has been added. A triangle to the left of the visible notification icons displays the hidden notification icons to the user.

When an Aero Peek button is clicked, or hovered over with the mouse the desktop and gadgets are displayed by turning all windows transparent. Aero Peek exhibits the same features as the thumbnail previews, but it applies them to the desktop. If the mouse hovers over it, all windows are transparent, as shown in the picture. If the button is clicked, all applications are minimized and the user does not need to close or minimize windows or programs. When the button is clicked again, everything is restored.

Fig.2  The view before Aero Peek

Fig.2 The view before Aero Peek

 

Fig.  3  Aero Peek in action

Fig. 3 Aero Peek in action

 And in conclusion there is a very short note about a Basic desktop. The Sidebar applied in the Windows Vista has appeared not to be user friendly. So, it has been removed and now users can put gadgets (weather, calendar etc.) anywhere on the desktop.

  Key abbreviations for Windows 7

  • Alt + Tab: to switch the open windows with thumbnails
  • Alt + Ctrl + Tab: to switch the open windows with thumbnails which are open till the user presses ESC
  • Win + Tab: to switch the open windows with thumbnails which are open till the user presses ESC with 3D effect (not practical)
  • Win + D: to show the desktop (screen)
  • Win + E: to open the explorer on the Computer view
  • Win + F: to activate searching
  • Win + G: to switch among gadgets which are on the desktop (a new feature)
  • Win + L: to lock the computer
  • Win + R: to open the function Run
  • Win + X: to show the Centre of mobile devices (for notebooks)
  • Win + Pause: to open the window with system information
  • Ctrl + Shift + Esc: to show the Task manager (the window processes)
  • Win + Home: to „clean“ the desktop (all windows except the active window) – a new feature
  • Win + space: to show the desktop through windows – a new feature
  • Win + arrow to the left (right) half maximization to the left or right place on the desktop

 


Renewables are becoming more and more popular

January 23, 2010
3 Comments
Composed by Galina Vitkova

REN21 (Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century) has just issued the newest information about the current renewable policy and its realisation in the form of Renewables Interactive Map (beta-version). The Map can be found on the REN21 website, at http://www.ren21.net/mapThe map contains a great deal of information on renewable energy, including support policies, expansion targets, current shares, installed capacity, current production, future scenarios, policy pledges, etc. It enables you to immediately gain by simple clicking on the country of your interest, depicted on the world geographic map, the current information about:

  • Renewables in General:
  • ♦ Policies (feed-in tariff, investment tax credits, net metering, etc)
  • ♦ Targets (final energy, primary energy, electricity, heating/cooling, etc)
  • ♦ Scenarios (before 2020, after 2020 up to 2050)
  • ♦ Others
  • Statistics (global and for individual participating countries) on geothermal energy, wind energy, solar energy, biofules (mainly ethanol)
  • Information about all kind of renewable which the country concerns (energy of wind, solar, hydro, geothermal, biomass), again for the world and for world regions
  • Technologies in use
  • And others

So the map serves as a central access-point to current renewable energy information, which is very comfortable. Moreover, you will find unknown for you concepts in the glossary accessed from the map.

REN21 has already ensured authentic information for several years, in particular through its Renewables Global Status Report. A new tool, the Renewables Interactive Map is intended to trail more closely the dynamic development of renewable energy production and market development. Furthermore, it provides disaggregated information for particular countries and technologies (see aggregated information on the topic at this blog too, About renewables position just now ).

Studying renewable energy information you improve your technical English, enjoying competent technical texts. Moreover, at the same time you gain very advantageous and comprehensive information about things which we all depend on.

Find below aggregated statistics which denote:

  • Geothermal  energy  (cumulative installed geothermal power capacity in MW)
  • Solar  energy  (cumulative  installed  photovoltaic (PV) power in MW)
  • Wind energy (cumulative  installed capacity  of wind turbines in MW)
  • Fuel ethanol (production in thousand tonnes oil equivalent).

Study the statistics of worldwide renewables adopted from http://www.bp.com/liveassets/bp_internet/globalbp/globalbp_uk_english/reports_and_publications/statistical_energy_review_2008/STAGING/local_assets/2009_downloads/renewables_section_2009.pdf.

Notice the column „Change 08 over 07“.  It demonstrates that in 2008 capacity of renewables installations is increase in comparison with 2007.   For example, production of ethanol in the USA increased by 42.0 % and makes 52.2 % world production of ethanol. In Europe the production increased by 50.8, but makes only 3.8 % world production of this biofuel. Statistics about usage of solar energy usage in Europe are of particular interest. For example, total increase of cumulative  installed  photovoltaic (PV) power counts up to 69.1 %, where Germany increased its solar  installed  PV power by 37.5 %(40,9 % of world total) and Spain had the growth of its solar  installed  PV power by 422.2 % (24.5 % of world total).

Geothermal  energy (MW)

2008

Change 08 over 07
Share of total
Indonesia

1 042.5

6.1 %

10.0 %

Italy

810.5

– 

7.7 %

Japan

537.3

5.1 %

Mexico

964.5

0.5 %

9.2 %

New Zealand

586.6

24.4 %

5.6 %

Philippine

1 780.0

18.9 %

USA

2 998

2.1 %

28.6 %

Total

10 469.0

4.2 %

100 %

  

Solar energy (MW)

  

2008

 

Change 08 over 07
 
Share of total

North America

1 226.7

39.9 %

9.1 %

incl.:  USA

1 172.5

41.2 %

8.7 %

Europe (without Russian Federation)

9 614.9

92.3 %

71.5 %

 incl.: Germany

5 498.0

37.5 %

40.9 %

 incl.:  Spain

3 291.2

422.2 %

24.5 %

Others

2 603.3

25.1 %

19.4 % 

incl.:  Japan

2 148.9

12.0 %

16.0 %

Total

13 444.9

69.1 %

100 %

 

Wind  energy (MW)

2008

Change 08 over 07
Share of total
North America  

27 940

48.6 %

22.9 %

incl.:  USA

25 237

49.5 %

20.7 %

Europe+Euroasia

65 998

68.2 %

54.0 %

incl.:    Germany

23 933

7.4 %

19.6 %

incl.:   Spain

16 543

12.4 %

13.5 %

Asia Pacific

26 446

59.8 %

21.6 %

incl.:  China

12 121

106.3%

9.9 %

incl.:  India

9 655

23.1 %

7.9 %

Total

122 158

29.9 %

100 %

Fuel  ethanol (thousand tonnes)

2008

Change 08 over 07
Share of total

North America

18 154

42.0 %

52.2 %

incl.:  USA

17 460

41.3 %

50.2 %

South America

13 723

19.7 %

39.4 %

incl.:  Brasilia

13 549

20.0 %

38.2 %

Europe

1337

50.8 %

3.8 %

Asia Pacific

1 586

10.4 %

4.6 %

incl.:  China

1 021

– 2.4 %

2.9 %

Total

34 800

30.9 %

100 %

        

Note: About REN21

REN21 (Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century)  is a global policy network that provides a forum for international leadership on renewable energy. Its goal is to encourage the policy of development and the rapid expansion of renewable energies in developing and industrialised economies.

 

 


Short communication on multi-touch

December 27, 2009
1 Comment
By Galina Vitkova

It is just to attract your attention, dear colleagues and friend of Technical English, to an extremely interesting and incentive contemplation in Multi touch computing change the next generation of computer  on the blog http://gyandotcom.wordpress.com/ . The post was written more than a year ago, but its challenges remains tremendous till now. It is rather long and the main points turn on the following ideas:

  • multi-touch computing technology enables to communicate with a computer using all 10 fingers, not only touching the screen by one finger.
  • Moreover, more people can touch the wall size screen simultaneously; or it could be several screens connected to one green
  • Perceptive Pixels beginning and achievements and their role in development of modern multi-touch
  • Perhaps most fundamental was exploiting an optical effect known as frustrated total internal reflection (FTIR), which is also used in fingerprint-recognition equipment.
  • Attempts and efforts made by Microsoft, Mitsubishi Wired In and other large, well-known companies are routed to find out the best solution and results of their work are astounding.

My advice – read the post and enjoy it!

            Reference:   http://gyandotcom.wordpress.com/


Multi-touch functions of Windows 7

December 18, 2009
2 Comments
                                                                                                 Compiled by Galina Vitkova

Already in 2007 Windows 7 were said to have new touch features. An overview of the multi-touch capabilities, including a virtual piano program, a mapping and directions program and a touch-aware version of Paint, was demonstrated at the All Things Digital Conference on May 27, 2008. A video demonstrating the multi-touch capabilities was later made available on the web.

Let us specify some necessary term. A touchscreen is a display that can detect the presence and location of a touch by a finger or hand within the display area. The touchscreen has two main properties. First, it enables one to interact with what is displayed directly on the screen. Second, it lets one do so without requiring any intermediate device, again, like a stylus, for instance. Such displays can be attached to computers or, as terminals, to networks. They also play a prominent role in the design of digital appliances such as the personal digital assistant (PDA), satellite navigation devices, mobile phones, and video games.

Multi-Touch, which is a trademark of Apple, Inc., concerns the same technology that allows the user to interact with the device by placing two or more fingers directly onto the surface of the screen. The movement of the fingers across the screen creates gestures, which send commands to the device.

Gesture recognition is topically used in computer science and language technology for goal interpreting human gestures via mathematical algorithms. Gestures can originate from any bodily motion or state but commonly originate from the face or hand. Current focuses in the field include emotion recognition from the face and hand gesture recognition. The gesture recognition can be seen as a way for computers to begin to understand human body language. Thus it may build a more sophisticated connection between machines and humans than primitive text user interfaces or even GUIs (graphical user interfaces), which still embraces the majority of input to keyboard and mouse.

However, the gesture recognition enables humans to interface with the machine (HMI) and interact naturally without any mechanical devices. Using the concept of gesture recognition, it is possible to point a finger at the computer screen so that the cursor will move accordingly. This could potentially make conventional input devices such as mouse, keyboards and even touch-screens redundant. Finally, gesture recognition can be conducted with techniques from computer vision and image processing.

In general, multi-touch requires a touch screen (screen, overlay, table, wall, etc.) or touchpad, as well as software that recognizes multiple simultaneous touch points, as opposed to the single touch screen, which recognizes only one touch point. This effect is achieved through a variety of means, including heat, finger pressure, high capture rate cameras, infrared light, optic capture, tuned electromagnetic induction, ultrasonic receivers, transducer microphones, laser rangefinders, and shadow capture.

Although the first hints and discussions of multi-touch technology appeared already at the end of 20th century, mainstream exposure to this technology occurred in 2007, when Apple unveiled the iPhone and Microsoft debuted surface computing. The iPhone in particular has spawned a wave of interest in multi-touch computing because it permits greatly increased user interaction on a small scale. Gradually more robust and user-friendly multi-touch and gesture-based solutions have been becoming available.

Windows 7 is the first version of Windows that supports multi-touch without the addition of third party add-ons.(See for more details Multi-Touch Systems that I Have Known and Loved by Bill Buxton). The operating system is known to have a multi-touch mapping application, photo viewing program, and incorporation in Internet Explorer 8. In January 2009, Microsoft joined with other investors who invested twenty-four million dollars in N-Trig Ltd., which plans to make computer hardware that takes advantage of Windows 7’s multi-touch support.

In the end let´s put some notes on a touch-aware version of Paint (formerly Paintbrush for Windows). It is a simple graphics painting program that has been included with all versions of Microsoft Windows. It is often referred to as MS Paint or Microsoft Paint. The program opens and saves files as Windows bitmap with the .bmp extension, JPEG, GIF (without animation), PNG (without alpha channel), and TIFF (without the multiple pages). The program can be in colour mode or two-colour black-and-white, but there is no grayscale mode. For its simplicity, it rapidly became one of the most used applications in the early versions of Windows and still has strong associations with the immediate usability of the old Windows workspace.

The Windows 7 version of paint makes use of the Ribbon UI (User Inteface).   In GUI-based application software, a ribbon is an interface where a set of toolbars are placed on tabs in a tab bar. Recent releases of some Microsoft applications have comprised this form with an tricky modular ribbon as their main interface. The Ribbon can also contain tabs to expose different sets of control elements eliminating the need for a lot of different icon based toolbars.

It similarly provides “artistic” brushes composed of varying shades of gray and some transparency that give a more realistic result. In order to increase feeling of the realism, the oil and water colour brushes can only paint for a small distance before the user must re-click. This gives the illusion that the paint brush has run out of paint. It l has anti-aliased shapes as well, which can be resized freely until they are rasterised when another tool is selected. This version supports viewing (but not saving) transparent PNG and ICO file formats and saves in the PNG file format by default.

References:

Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia –  http://en.wikipedia.org


Windows Media Center

November 30, 2009
2 Comments
Composed by Galina Vitkova

Windows Media Center is an application with a 10-foot user interface designed to serve as a home-entertainment hub for the living-room TV. Windows XP Media Center Edition, premium editions of Windows Vista (Vista Home Premium and Vista Ultimate) and Windows 7 (all editions, except Starter and Home Basic) comprise it. The Media Center is controlled by special remote controls or remotes. At the same time it can be operated with a mouse and/or a keyboard, too. The Media Center plays the computer user’s pictures, videos, and music from local hard drives, optical drives, and network locations. All this is then categorized by name, date, tags, and other file attributes.

Media managed through the Media Center can also be relayed via a home network to standard TV sets via the specially designed Windows Media Center Extender or the Xbox 360. This allows to use the Media Center and its features (such as view photos, videos, listen to music, watch live television, watch recorded TV, etc.) on the television set or other display device.

The advantage with these devices is that the household’s primary computer (hosting the Media Center) can be physically set up in a location more appropriate for its role, instead of being in the living room. Furthermore, the Media Center with an Extender can be accessed at the same time by several users. The Xbox 360 gaming console is a very popular example of a Media Center Extender. By the way, Xbox 360 is the only device that can work as an extender with both Windows XP Media Center as well as Windows Vista Media Center.

Windows 7 Media Center comprises all prosperous characteristics of its forerunners and brings new possibilities. Thus the performance improvement on Extenders is immediately apparent especially with the play functions like fast forward, rewind, and skip. The menus are also more manageable. The other big improvement concerns EPG (Electronic program guide), which makes utilities like Guide Tool possible. The Guide Tool is a Windows Media Center guide management application, which apart from other things enables local and remote guide management and other funny functions (see Guide Tool).

The new guide is visually better, it includes images throughout, as well as provides new ways to navigate. Moreover, all the tuners can be combined per channel to help resolve conflicts and give you control over which tuners are used for which channels. Additionally, new APIs (Application programming interface) are available there which permits to inject logos for each channel and create utilities to edit the line-up. Further, it offers the best of all around DVR (Digital video recorder) solution available today. It is even possible to import custom data, but regrettably you can´t easily backup them. At the same time it is actually extremely stable. (See for more details Windows 7 Media Center review ).

The Windows 7 Media Center undoubtedly exceeds the Vista Media Center. Microsoft has again raised the bar and has manufactured something which moves everybody beyond, even if the competition is still exists. Nevertheless, unluckily this Center isn’t for everyone. The upfront cost with the potential maintenance expenses is the most outstanding barrier to overcome.

For all that, the extant experience with Microsoft products make us believe that prices will come down and common people will afford to have Windows 7 Media Center.  

 

Windows 7 Media Center miniguide

Windows 7 Media Center miniguide

 

References

http://www.engadget.com  (Windows 7 Media Center review )

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


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

 


History of Microsoft Windows

October 29, 2009
1 Comment
                                                        Composed by G. Vitkova using Wikipedia, the free enciclopedia

 1983 – Microsoft announced the development of Windows, a Graphical User Interface (GUI) for its own operating system (MS-DOS), which it had shipped for IBM PC and compatible computers since 1981. Since then, Microsoft has delivered many versions of Windows, and the product line has changed from a GUI to a modern operating system.

1985 – The first independent version of Microsoft Windows, version 1.0, was released, but achieved little popularity.

1987 – Microsoft Windows version 2 came out, and proved slightly more popular than its predecessor. Later, two new versions were released: Windows/286 2.1 and Windows/386 2.1.

1990 – Microsoft Windows scored a significant success with Windows 3.0. Its user interface was finally a serious competitor to the user interface of the Macintosh computer.

1992 – In response to the impending release of OS/2 2.0, Microsoft developed Windows 3.1 , which included several minor improvements to Windows3.0 (such as display of True Type scalable fonts, developed jointly with Apple), but primarily consisted of bugfixes and multimedia support. Later Microsoft also released Windows 3.11, a touch-up to Windows 3.1 which included all of the patches and updates that followed the release of Windows 3.1 in 1992.

Windows600px_Family_Tree_svg

1992 July – Windows NT 3.1 arrived in Beta form to developers. Its features made Windows NT perfect for theLAN server market Windows NT version 3.51 was Microsoft’s entry into this field, and took away market share from Novell (the dominant player) in the following years.

1995 – Windows 95 was launched. After Windows 3.11 Microsoft began to develop a new user oriented version of the operating system. The system was designed to have support for 32-bit multitasking like OS/2 and Windows NT, although a 16-bit kernel would remain for the sake of backward compatibility. The Win32 API first introduced with Windows NT was adopted as the standard 32-bit programming interface, with Win16 compatibility being preserved through a technique known as „thunking“.

Microsoft released Windows NT 4.0, which features the new Windows 95 interface on top of the Windows NT kernel.

1998 – Microsoft released Windows 98. It included new hardware drivers and better support for the FAT32 (File Allocation Table) system, which allows support for disk partitions larger than the 2 GB maximum. The USB support in Windows 98 is far superior to the token, unreliable support provided by the OEM (original equipment manufacturer) editions of Windows 95. It also controversially integrated the Internet Explorer browser into the Windows GUI and Windows Explorer file manager. This act prompted the opening of the United States vs. Microsoft case. It dealt with Microsoft abuse of its hold on the PC operating system market to unfairly compete with companies such as Netscape.

1999 – Microsoft released the Windows 98 Second Edition, an interim release whose most notable feature was the addition of Internet Connection Sharing, which was a form of network address translation, allowing several machines on a LAN (Local Area Network) to share a single Internet Connection. The Second Edition was also much easier to use and much smoother than the first edition of Windows 98. Hardware support through device drivers was increased. Many minor problems present in the original Windows 98 were found and fixed which make it the most stable release of Windows 9x.

2000 February – Microsoft released Windows 2000. It was successfully deployed both on the server and the workstation markets.

2000 September – Microsoft introduced Windows ME (Millennium Edition), which upgraded Windows 98 with enhanced multimedia and Internet features. It also introduced the first version of System Restore, which allowed users to revert their system state to a previous “known-good” point in the case of system failure. System Restore was a notable feature that made its way into Windows XP. The first version of Windows Movie Maker was introduced as well.

2003 – Microsoft launched Windows Server 2003, a notable update to Windows 2000.

2006 – Microsoft released a thin-client of Windows XP Service Pack 2, called Windows Fundamentals for Legacy PCs (WinFLP).

2007 – Windows Home Server was announced by Bill Gates. It is a server product based on Windows Server 2003, designed for consumer use. This Server can be configured and monitored using a console program that can be installed on a client PC. Such features as Media Sharing, local and remote drive backup and file duplication are all listed as features.

2006 – Windows Vista was released on November 30 to business customers, following by user versions on January 30, 2007. Windows Vista intended to have enhanced security by introducing a new restricted user mode called User Account Control, replacing the “administrator-by-default” philosophy of Windows XP.

2008 – Windows Server 2008 was released on February 27. It builds on the technological and security advances first introduced with Windows Vista, and is significantly more modular than its predecessor, Windows Server 2003. This year later Microsoft announced Windows Server 2008 R2 as the server variant of Windows 7. Windows Server 2008 R2 will ship in 64-bit (x64x and Itanium) only.

Windows 7 ships in six editions:

  • Starter (available worldwide with new PCs only)
  • Home Basic (only available to emerging markets)
  • Home Premium
  • Professional
  • Enterprise (available to volume-license business customers only)
  • Ultimate (available to retail market with limited availability to OEMs)

Microsoft focuses on selling Windows 7 Home Premium and Professional. All editions, except the Starter edition, are available in both 32-bit and 64-bit versions.

Windows 8Development of the planned Windows 8 is secret detailed in public, although job listings have mentioned improved functionality for file access.

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

 


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


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