Wednesday, July 30, 2008

OLED Promising New HDTV Display Technology

by Brian Bradshaw

At the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this year, the biggest hit was Sony, with an OLED (organic light emitting diode) display. The new 11" Sony TV is called the "XEL-1". It's very thin (1/10") and sells for $2500. Sony also displayed a 27" prototype OLED model, but no word on availability (or price). Other companies, Samsung, Toshiba, Matsushita (Panasonic), and others are investing hundreds of millions of dollars, trying to develop this promising technology. Toshiba plans to sell a 30" OLED display in 2009. Kodak holds a bunch of patents in OLED technology. Manufacturers will be required to pay a licensing fee to Kodak for every OLED TV sold.

There is a lot of money to be made. According to DisplaySearch, in 2007, the market for LCD TVs was estimated at $27.4 billion, while the market for plasma TVs was estimated at $7.5 billion. An OLED TV that was cost competitive would likely get a significant share of this market. According to iSuppli, the current market for OLED devices is a little more than a half-billion dollars per year. Samsung currently has a 70% market share.

OLED displays have already used for some time in digital cameras, cell phones and other devices with relatively small panels, because they are very energy efficient, which is very important in portable devices. But cost and technology problems have prevented them from being used in larger equipment such as HDTVs or computer monitors.

A significant benefit of OLED displays over traditional liquid crystal displays (LCDs) is that OLEDs do not require a backlight to function. Because of this, they draw much less power. And because there is no backlight, an OLED display is much thinner than an LCD display. In theory, OLED displays can be more efficiently manufactured than LCD or plasma displays, meaning that they should not be as expensive. Remember that the first large LCD and Plasma displays were much more expensive when they were first introduced.

One of the problems that has limited OLED use was that the blue OLED technology had a short lifetime. A new type of blue LED, the "PHOLED", has a 20,000-hour lifetime (20-25 years of normal TV use).

OLED Display Traits:

Power Efficiency
Very Thin and Light-Weight, 1/4" or less
Better Brightness than LCD
Wide Viewing Angle (~ 160 degree viewing angle)
Excellent Contrast (> 1,000,000:1)
Once developed the Manufacturing Process should be Inexpensive (process similar to ink-jet printing)
Very Large Displays are Possible (> 100 inch)
Response is better (good for moving images like Sports)

If the OLED does not live up to its promise, it will not be the first HDTV display to do so. Remember the surface-conduction electron-emitter display (SED TV)? Toshiba and Canon were ready to go into production, but patent disputes with a company called Nano-Proprietary killed the technology. That probably won't happen this time. The main obstacle will be the manufacturing process. If units can be manufactured cost-competitively with LCD and Plasma, it will get very interesting. However, it will be a few years before we get to that point.

About the Author

About the Author: Brian Bradshaw is a Certified Technical Specialist (InfoComm CTS). Areas of expertise include Video, Audio, Computation, HDTV, Satellite Systems, and Communications. He has a communications technology business in Plano, Texas (Dallas). More information can be found at his Website.

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Sunday, July 20, 2008

Plasma vs LCD TV - Which Is Better?

by Howard Smith

HDTVs are the new standard when it comes time to buying a new TV. However, when it comes time to buy you will need to decide between buying a LCD HDTV or a Plasma HDTV. This article will help you understand the difference between the two and which is better suited for your home.

Let's get technical. Plasma screen TVs use a matrix of tiny gas plasma cells which are charged by electrical voltage in order to make the picture. LCD screens are made up of liquid crystals sandwiched together between two glass plates. Now let's put that it terms that the average consumer can understand.

Both LCD and Plasma TVs produce an excellent picture. However, plasma screens are usually suggested for the average viewer because they can produce blacks more accurately due to the nature of how they work. Plasma HDTVs also typically have better viewing angles so you can sit at angles and still view a clear image on the screen. Lastly, plasma TVs are, in most cases, less expensive than LCD TVs.

LCD televisions do have their advantages over Plasma screens also. LCD screens usually have more pixels on the screen which give them a higher native resolution. They also have a longer lifespan as compared to plasma screens and are guaranteed for 60,000 hours. Finally, LCD screens are rarely victims of screen burn which results from leaving an image on too long on the TV. Plasma TVs are more commonly susceptible to this problem.

So which is right for you? If you plan on buyer a small television that is 42' or less, then we would suggest you go with a LCD. However, if you plan to go bigger than that then you best buy will be Plasma HDTV as it will give you a better price and picture quality. Secondly, if you are going to be putting the TV in a dark room with little glare then you should go with a Plasma screen TV, but if the room is bright and subject to glares then a LCD screen TV will perform better.

Hopefully you now have a better understanding of the Plasma TV vs LCD TV debate and you are armed with the knowledge you need to make a wise and educated purchase.

We have more LCD vs Plasma HDTV reviews for you to view including all the top Plasma TV brands. Take a look at our Panasonic TH-42PZ700U review or learn more about about Pioneer plasma tvs like the Pioneer Kuro PDP-5010FD Plasma HDTV Review.

About the Author

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Saturday, July 19, 2008

No Laser Blasters. Yet.

by Shane Ennerson

Despite what you may read in this morning's Telegraph, "Star Wars-style technology" is not, in fact, "about to take to the battlefield for the first time." Nor is "laser beam technology... being rushed into service to combat the threat of insurgent missiles and mortars raining down on British and American military bases in Iraq and Afghanistan."

That said, there are things afoot in the ray gun world -- important developments which could lead to a "laser weapon that can actually work and perform a military mission," as Bill Sweetman at Ares puts it.

In June 2006, in tests at Sandia National Laboratories, ray gun researchers at Raytheon did something extraordinary. It had been accepted wisdom in the laser community that 100 kilowatts was the minimum power required for battlefield-strength blasters -- a level that hasn't been hit (yet). But in these tests, the Raytheon crew managed to zap a couple of mortar rounds, using a bundle of fiber lasers that only had 20 kilowatts of power. Not only that, it's beam quality was terrible: Spread out all over the place, instead of in a nice, tight spot. So how did they pull it off? It turns out that the laser's weakness -- its lousy beam quality -- was also its strength. By spreading out the laser's spot, the weapon has able to heat the mortar up -- and cause it to explode. Think of it like an explosive potato, left too long in a laser oven.

Green laser module

About the Author

Freelance writer working for Dragonlasers at

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Computer Virus Protection : Keeping Your Information Safe

By Tom Simmons

The Internet is tremendous. Its ability to network and allow people from all over the world to communicate through their computers has allowed it to accrue unimaginable amounts of information you can reach just by typing in the right words. But this easy access to information is not always good.

Nowadays, when computers find information on the internet, they are also susceptible to finding unwanted viruses that could corrupt their equipment, leaving you with either lost files or - worse - a lost computer. That's why it's important to keep your computer protected.

The Best Offense...

If you can, don't try and fight a virus after it has already infected your computer. Most times, if an infection has already occurred, you have already lost the battle. By purchasing an anti-virus program you can help successfully prevent a virus from ever corrupting your computer. These programs will generally have periodic scans of your hard drive to seek out any potentially corrupted or infected files. If the program does find any threats, it will notify you and either "quarantine" or delete the file, preventing it from corrupting anything else. And make sure to keep your program updated. As time progresses, new and more complex viruses are being created, which means your computer has to enhance its security, as well.

And though your program will initiate its own weekly scans, you should also feel free to scan manually if you suspect something's wrong with your computer - that is, if it's showing "symptoms" of being corrupted. If for whatever reason your computer is not working as well as it normally does, consider that a symptom, and initiate a scan to make sure that nothing is wrong.

A file attached in an email is an easy way for a corrupt file to breach your computer's system. With that in mind, make sure to scan any attachment before downloading it, and avoid them in general as much as you can.

Back-Up Everything

Although the use of anti-virus software will aid greatly in preventing your computer from being infected with a virus, there is always the slight probability a virus can slip through and still hit you where it hurts. That's why you should also save your different files in different locations. This is known as "backing-up" files. This keeps your files safe elsewhere if they are lost on your hard drive. Don't only save files on your hard drive. Copy them to an external hard drive, as well. Another good source for backing-up files is the internet. Many email services can hold hefty amounts of memory. Use the extra storage space to your advantage by filling it with anything you wouldn't want lost if your computer died.

It is important to safeguard your computer any way you can in order to prevent the loss of any valuable equipment or information. Not only should you have the proper software to help you fight off viruses on a daily basis, but also make sure to keep an eye out for any potentially threatening links or downloads while surfing the web. Though the internet is an incredible resource for nearly everything, you must use it responsibly and carefully.

About the Author

North Star Network Security Services NY North Star Networks Inc. is an Information Technology Consulting company that specializes in providing technology solutions to meet the needs of any sized business. Network support not only includes highly efficient network design, support and integration, but the core of our vision is Proactive Network Support.

Submitted by Tom Simmons at

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Thursday, July 17, 2008

Preparing for the Unknown: Will you be ready when "It" happens?

by Guy Miasnik

Recent events have made the necessity for a reliable emergency notification system abundantly clear. The earthquake in China and the cyclone in Myanmar are just two of several recent natural disasters that struck with little or no warning.

The U.S. is not immune to such events. Hurricane Katrina revealed deficiencies in America's emergency notification and response systems. The resulting devastation from Hurricane Katrina, the cyclone and the earthquake in China are evidence of how important emergency notification can be in every society.

Natural disasters are not the only threat to safety and security. Emergency notification systems can also be critical in cases of war or military threat. Effective emergency alerting can greatly reduce the number of casualties and injuries during a crisis by addressing the confusion and misinformation that often accompanies such events.

Fortunately the last five years have seen vast improvements in emergency alert systems. This has been aided in part by the demands of the Department of Defense (DoD) for new network-centric technologies. The DoD has pioneered the adoption of commercial technologies for network-centric emergency alerting and has created mandatory regulations and instructions to comply with.

The DoD guidelines include having a network-centric emergency notification system that can reach all people through numerous devices in times of emergency, such as computers, mobile phones, land lines, PDA's (BlackBerry devices), Giant Voice systems and more. Also required is the ability to trigger alerts in times of emergency in seconds, reaching tens of thousands across an entire command population or individual wings or bases within minutes.

Best practices include having an emergency plan in place before a crisis occurs. This involves obtaining reliable contact information for all personnel and establishing emergency procedure, including the notification procedures for force protection, personnel recall and accountability.

The DoD's guidelines can be used in large-scale emergencies, such as the aforementioned natural disasters which often impacts entire nations. However emergency notification is also extremely important for organizations to implement in order to protect their personnel in times of crisis.

Emergency alert system provider AtHoc supplies the DoD with much of its network-centric emergency notification technology. AtHoc provides emergency alerting technology to defense and military organizations, government agencies, and commercial and educational organizations. For more information visit

About the Author

Guy Miasnik works for Athoc providing enterprise-class, network-centric emergency notification systems to organizations across a variety of industry sectors for physical security, force protection and personnel accountability.

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Sunday, July 13, 2008

Are We Getting Dumber As Technology Gets Smarter?

by Isla Campbell

Recently, a leading UK business website revealed that they now have to spend over 25% of their online search marketing budget to cater for misspelt words, hinting towards a worrying trend in today's society and suggesting we may have become too reliant upon technology, while our language skills suffer as a result.

With over 50% of English school leavers failing to grasp even the most basic levels of spelling and grammar there is an argument for closer monitoring on the country's education system and how technology is impacting upon the country's young minds.

Perhaps the finest example of how the English language is being "dumbed down" can be seen through the ever popular SMS messaging service where there is a tendency to use abbreviated or phonetically spelt words to increase the speed of communication. This development is also evident in instant messaging conversations, with users of MSN or Yahoo! Messenger shortening their words using "expressions" and emoticons to communicate their message. With over 70% of Europe's online population using instant messaging (IM), this issue is not going to go away; speed, it seems, is more important in today's society, than the quality of the message itself.

As our children use the internet more - as opposed to libraries for their source of knowledge, they are recycling information found through search engines and new authority sites such as Wikipedia, the free online encyclopaedia which is free for anyone to add content to.

If our young are using these portals as the oracles of truth, then any poor grammar or misspelled words found in such sources, such as the word mannequin, will not help the education of the children in the UK and can even have worldwide ramifications.

Also quite concerning is the growth in misspelt or abbreviated words being used in the naming of children. Recent research from Australia revealed an increase in the multiple spellings of names such as Aiden, which were found to be spelt in nine ways, and Amelia and Tahlia in eight ways. Errors such as this can not be easily corrected and parents of this future generation are damming their children to a life with a misspelt name because they wanted an individual looking name, or just couldn't be bothered to get it right.

Generations before us would have had language issues with their predecessors, however the staggering advancement in technology is having such a dramatic and potentially wide scale damaging effect on this generations̢۪ ability to communicate. We are creating a situation where the youth of today can communicate amongst themselves, but not with their grandparents.

We could well be facing a communication divide that we may find hard to bring together in the future.

About the Author

Isla Campbell writes on a number of topics on behalf of a digital marketing agency and a variety of clients. As such, this article is to be considered a professional piece with business interests in mind.

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