Innovative Technology from Quincy Jones Makes Learning Piano Fun

piano keys

The language of music can be spoken by anyone, whether a professional musician or someone just beginning to learn to play the piano. Hans Christian Andersen, the famous author of children’s fairy tales, once said, “Where words fail, music speaks.” Rock star Marilyn Manson put it a little differently: “Music is the strongest form of magic.”

 

The Many Benefits of Playing the Piano

Today’s technology makes it possible to learn to play piano and play almost anywhere, extending the potential benefits of piano playing to anyone with a computer and a keyboard.

 

1) Being able to play the piano increases self-confidence.

2) Depression and loneliness can be lessened while playing a piano.

3) Today’s innovative piano learning software makes it easy for anyone to develop a musical talent. Self-discipline and creativity develop in children and adults, necessary for success in any endeavor.

4) Playing a piano requires focus, reducing stress and lowering blood pressure. Playing for even a few minutes is beneficial.

5) Playing and creating music stimulates the brain, increasing cognitive development.

6) Piano playing develops both fine motor skills and eye-hand coordination.

 

Portable Keyboards Changed the Game for Pianists

Most musical instruments are small enough to be easily carried from place to place, unlike pianos. Previously, many pianists had to limit their playing to churches, bars, auditoriums or wherever else a piano could be found. The introduction of portable keyboards now makes it possible to play a piano just about anywhere. Practice and playing time is at the musician’s discretion, not limited to the availability of a “real” piano.

 

Go Online and Learn to Play the Piano,

Deciding to learn to play piano online is much less expensive and much more convenient than taking private lessons locally. Many students taking online piano lessons progress faster because they control their sessions, repeating a troublesome part until they nail it and playing whenever they choose. This doesn’t change the fact that it takes just as much dedication to become skilled, but the entire process is easier.

 

Playground Sessions – Quincy Jones and David Sides

David SidesQuincy Jones wanted to extend his love of making music to all people, ultimately resulting in Playground Sessions online piano lessons, an innovative way to learn piano by playing your favorite songs. David Sides is a multi-talented YouTube musical sensation with more than 175 million views, successful albums and performances worldwide. He loves to teach, making music theory concepts understandable, demonstrating how to play the chosen song and then inviting the student to play along with him.

 

The piano software from Quincy Jones gamifies learning to play piano and makes learning fun. Students learn to play the songs they love, including rock, pop, traditional and classical pieces. As the student’s playing advances, they move from rookie to intermediate and advanced levels. Playground Sessions’ video tutorials, practice sessions and easy-to-read charts let students know how they’re progressing and where more practice is needed.

 

Anyone who has ever wished that they could play the piano can learn, privately and at their own pace. Enjoy all of the benefits of playing the piano for yourself and enjoy them for a lifetime.

 

Federal IT Facing Major Concerns in 2016

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U.S. Federal Government executives have quite the load of IT problems on their plates in 2016. The most obvious and significant concern is cybersecurity. Since 2006, more than 87 million private and sensitive records have been exposed through breaches of federal networks.

Advanced cyber attack attempts have rapidly increased, according to new reports in 2015. In the State of the Internet report by Akamai, it is claimed that web attacks in the fourth-quarter of 2015 increased by 40 percent from the previous quarter.

With cybersecurity being an impending threat to national security, the U.S. government is expected to spend $65 Billion on cybersecurity contracts between 2015 and 2020. However, hackers aren’t the only problem with cybersecurity. It is actually the “negligent employee” at an agency who fails to take precautions while using government networks that is considered the biggest threat to security, according to 44 percent of federal workers surveyed by the Ponemon Institute.

Federal workers also acknowledged in the survey that government agencies were highly unprepared for cyber attacks from hackers and that more highly skilled programmers were needed to assist in securing government networks. The lack of skilled personnel was ranked by 53 percent of federal IT workers as the biggest obstacle to cybersecurity.

Along with cybersecurity, the government CIO is facing challenges such as finding the right cloud solution for government data, using social media correctly (the Government Accountability Office ruled that EPA violated federal law by using social media for covert propaganda), preventing DDOS attacks, and replacing retiring employees.

With one in four government employees currently eligible for retirement, the CIO is commissioned with having to find suitably skilled workers to fill the void. This creates the potential for chaos and stress as new employees must be interviewed, vetted, and trained above and beyond normal employee turnover.

The infographic below, created by the team at Iron Bow technologies, outlines the IT concerns that are going to give the government CIO and other federal executives the biggest headaches in 2016.

Apple’s new iOS center in Naples raises eyebrows

Source: USA Today

Apple has announced the founding of its first European center for the development of iOS software in the southern city of Naples, a move seen in Italy as a new front in its war against a wave of European tax probes.

Apple CEO Tim Cook personally announced the plan Friday in Rome, saying the company was “thrilled to be helping the next generation of entrepreneurs in Italy get the skills they need for success.”

Cook came to Italy from Brussels, where he lobbied European officials as the prospect of a $19 billion tax bill loomed. European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager is looking into the legality of Apple paying most of its European taxes in Ireland, a low-tax jurisdiction.

Just three weeks before Cook landed in Rome, Apple settled a tax investigation in Italy in terms Italian media described as favorable to the Cupertino, Calif.-based tech giant: The Italian government said Apple underpaid taxes for the 2008-2013 period by $958 million and Apple agreed to pay $346 million.

A few weeks before the announcement of the Italian settlement, Cook dismissed the investigation as “political crap” and promised “Apple pays every tax dollar” it owes. The settlement did not come up during Cook’s brief stop in Rome, but Italian analysts see the announcement of the Naples development center as related.

“What is most interesting about the announcement is that there was no warning, it just suddenly appeared like a gift under the Christmas tree,” Jeev Trika, director of TopSEOs, a leading iOS and SEO information site, said in an interview.

“I would be surprised if this was not part of Apple’s public relations efforts to illustrate that it plays a positive role in Europe, a role that goes beyond what the company pays in taxes,” Trikka said.

Apple’s press release announcing the deal stressed that theme. It noted that while Apple directly employs 22,000 workers in Europe, it indirectly employs more than 1 million more, such as software developers. All told, the release said, 1.4 million European jobs depend on Apple products.

The center in Naples, when it opens, will broaden those numbers even further: Apple said 600 students a year will be trained at the center.

Driverless Cars Are Coming. Here’s What to Expect

Imagine commuting to work while catching up on your favorite TV show, reading the paper, or checking email. Millions of people do this daily while using public transportation to commute to work.

Now, imagine all the multi-tasking — along with luxuriant coffee drinking — inside the peace and quiet of your own car. You program your destination, your car chooses the least congested route, and you skip the stress ulcers from dealing with traffic.

Driverless cars aren’t science fiction anymore. They’re already on the road. In the U.S., Google has long been developing and testing driverless cars. Apple and Tesla, according to Time Magazine, may develop their own driverless cars, too.

How They Work

A car without a driver needs four components to safely navigate traffic: a GPS system, external sensors and cameras, a central computer, and connected vehicle technology.

GPS

Today’s GPS systems, whether they’re part of a car or within our smart devices, enable drivers to input a destination and determine the optimal route. The same technology humans already use creates a plan of action for driverless cars. GPS can also update the planned route in real time based on changing traffic conditions.

External Sensors and Cameras

Driverless cars use video cameras to read road signs, detect stoplights, notice other vehicles, and avoid pedestrians. They also use sensor technology to adjust to dynamic road conditions:

  • Radar sensors. Radar monitors the position of nearby vehicles. If you buy a car today that features adaptive cruise control, it’s using the same radar technology as a driverless vehicle.
  • Lidar sensors. By bouncing pulses of light off the car’s surroundings, lidar sensors detect both lane markings and road edges.
  • Ultrasonic sensors. Ultrasonic sensors come in handy when driverless cars attempt to park. They detect both curbs and other vehicles to avoid parking-related collisions.

Central Computer

The CANbus (controller area network) analyzes all GPS and sensor data. It then interprets data to control steering, braking, and acceleration. Cars have had central computers for decades to analyze vehicle status, so driverless cars simply build on existing computer systems in today’s vehicles.

Connected Vehicle Technology

Car manufacturers are building the framework for connected vehicle technology, which essentially makes cars able to communicate with one another. The U.S. Department of Transportation expects big improvements to safety, emissions controls, and congestion thanks to intelligent tracking systems in cars.

  • Intelligent tracking systems will help both traditional and driverless cars avoid accidents. They’ll warn of merging vehicles, sudden braking, or vehicles hidden in a driver’s blind spot.
  • Eliminating unnecessary stops and starts thanks to communication between cars will improve fuel efficiency.
  • In addition to helping cars find optimal traffic routes, intelligent tracking systems will help drivers identify last-minute ride sharing opportunities and detect open parking spaces. Best of all, transportation officials can use the swarm of data connected vehicles generate to understand traffic patterns, improve roads, and make travel more efficient.

Challenges

Right now, the biggest obstacle to driverless car adoption is what it’s trying to replace: human drivers. Driverless cars follow the letter of the law. They stop for pedestrians and patiently wait their turn at four-way intersections.

Unfortunately, humans aren’t always the best drivers, and they don’t always follow the rules. When driverless cars stop at crosswalks, they get rear-ended. When no one completely stops at four-way intersections, driverless cars don’t know when to go.

Also, driverless cars swerve to avoid collisions in ways that seem unnatural to human drivers. One Google driverless car, for example, approached a red light and detected an oncoming car traveling over the speed limit. The Google car jerked to the right to prevent a crash, but the oncoming car stopped in plenty of time. These unusual and unnecessary swerves can cause chain reactions because human drivers don’t expect them.

When They’re Coming

Even with these glitches, Google predicts driverless cars will be on the road by 2020. Research from Boston Consulting Group suggests 1 in 5 drivers would pay $4,000 extra for driverless car technology, and 44 percent of U.S. consumers would purchase a driverless car within the next 10 years.

Still, consumers often say they’re enthusiastic about new technology, but old habits die hard. Case in point: electric and hybrid vehicles account for only 0.8 percent of new car registrations.

A Nostalgic Look At Technology That is Dead and Gone

[pullquote position=”left”]We live in an age preoccupied with novelty…[/pullquote]

Technology is evolving as such a rapid pace, with everything from disruptive technology to smarter, lighter and more intelligent products that make our lives easier, we take a look back at technology that is still around that you may come to never see again, or maybe you’ve seen this stuff at all! If you’re a millennial that’s probably the case.

Many believe that advances in technology will radically transform society, and we are witness as humans to this shift. We can already see the effects everywhere around us in our day to day lives. Our relationship with technology is an interesting subject. New advances in product innovation and technology push us to adapt to using these new gadgets. New devices and services are replacing things of the past, present and the future (even before products are made) and becoming part of our everyday lives.

With technology evolving at such a high rate, we can’t say for sure what’s around the next corner. When a new high-tech gadget is born, something else will become obsolete. Sometimes, the loss might be a positive thing, but at other times, the product’s extinction or eventual demise may stir some bittersweet or nostalgic emotions.

We live in an age preoccupied with novelty. The adoption of new gadgets is happening faster than ever. For example, we have moved from the launch of tablet computing in the year 2011 to tablets sharing over half of the global market in personal computers in the year 2014.

If you are over 30 years old you will most likely remember all these, yet you may never see them again due to advances of technology that will likely make them extinct either now or in the near future:

VCRs

— they were cutting edge technology just 20 years ago and more than half of all American homes
still have at least one. But they are no longer made and people who still have one never use them anymore.

VCR

Arcade Game Venues

– once a favorite entertainment of geeks, playing video games at an arcade
already began fading away in the mid-1990s. A few arcades survive nowadays, but their days of glory are
long gone. The advent of high-tech gaming systems allows you to enjoy a better gaming experience at home.
Today we can even play on our mobile phones. Arcade games will soon be totally extinct and live only in our memories.

Arcade games

Hard-drives

— running out of space on your hard-drive will become a thing of the past soon. Terabyte
size drives are already selling for affordable prices. But soon the hard drive technology will become totally
extinct and replaced by holographic drives and cloud storage.

hard drive

Floppy disks

– storing data on a floppy disk was once the standard protocol for transferring and storing
data on personal computers. But by today’s file size standards the 1.44 MB of storage seems almost
ridiculous. PCs are not being built with a floppy disk drives anymore these days and the floppy disk is
already nearly extinct.

floppy disks

56k Computer Modems

– once hearing the sound of a modem connecting was the sign of getting Internet
access. Today, in the age of high speed Internet, 56k modems have become nearly extinct.

56k-modem

Polaroid Cameras

— Polaroid will soon stop selling its instant film. All film-based cameras will be soon
completely gone, as well digital cameras are everywhere and provide many more advantages.

polaroid

Typewriters

— The traditional typewriter is already nearly extinct, being replaced by computers, word
processing software and keyboards.

typewriter

Printers

The dot matrix printer, born in the 1970s, delivered low-quality printouts before
laser and inkjet technology took over the market. It will be soon a thing of the past, with its slow and noisy
operation, frequent paper jams, and general faults no one can or be bothered to figure out – and its thin strips of perforated paper.

lexmark_printer-11402107

Answering Machines

Most people are using now dial-in voice mail instead of the answering machines.

answering machine

Calculator Watches

— one a favorite gadget of nerds, the calculator watch is nearly extinct today. It was
replaced by phone watches.

calculator-watch

Public Phone Booths or Pay Phones

— in an age of mobile phones public phone booths are on life support.

relic

Dial Phones

— the ease of the touchtone dial has made rotary phones virtually deceased.

1960s-Northern-Electric-dial-phone

Mobile Phones for Cars

— the early mobile phones were installed in people’s cars. The spread of mobile
phone technology lead to the extinction of mobile phones attached to cars.

car phone

Laser Discs for Movies

— this technology is definitely obsolete now.

laser disc

Car Cigarette Lighters

— most automobile manufacturers are dedicating ports to electronics charging
instead of the classic cigarette lighter.

car lighter

Incandescent Light Bulbs

— more and more people are using instead energy saving, ecologic friendly
bulbs.

incandescent bulb

CRT TV’s and Monitors

The huge and wieldy TV’s and monitors of the past are most likely now to be seen on the side of a road or in a dumpster somewhere.

tv side of road

 

Audio Cassettes

— the life of the cassette is over in the era of mp3 players and smartphones.

cassette

Hardcover Books

— in our age of increased interest for ecologic-friendly technologies the hardcover
printed books might be close to their end. They are being replaced by digital versions that are easy to read on mobile
devices such as Kindle. Thousands of bookstores have closed in the past decade, victims of Kindle, Apple,
and Amazon readers. In ten years’ time it’s possible that all reading will be done via digital means.

hardcover book

Carbon Copy Paper

– with printers now able to scan and copy, you don’t see the old-fashioned carbon
copy paper so often anymore.

carbon copy paper

Fax Machines

— today the fax machines are nearly extinct, since most documents are now created on
computers and easy to attach and send by email.

fax

Clock Radios

— Replaced by smartphones.

clock radio

DVD players, Blu Ray players

– these will be soon become extinct, being replaced by streaming video. In
the near future new technology will allow us to enjoy 3D and holographic movies.

dvd

Stand-alone GPS devices

— since the car’s infotainment system or your smartphone does the same
thing, the stand alone GPS device is a thing of the past.

gps

Desktop Computer

— once considered a revolutionary gadget, desktop computers are becoming extinct,
being replaced by laptops, netbooks, and tablet PCs. Computing is going mobile and in the near future we’re
going to see a wide range of handheld computing devices.

desktop pc

It’s obvious that some of the items enumerated are already nearly extinct, available for sentimental viewing in museums or to buy at thrift stores, or on some huge landfill in China, all we know, or will come to know will be extinct before its new, as technology rates increase.

Why Tesla’s Powerwall Battery Is Amazing

Energy Storage for a Sustainable Home

All of humanity wants a really important victory in our battle to lower the CO2 emissions that are causing climate change.  Not long ago Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk introduced the world to the power wall, a wall-mounted battery for your house which aims to accelerate our transition to clean solar and wind power. Before the power wall there was no way to store the energy generated from the panels that capture sunlight on our roofs. So during the day they could give you the power you needed, but at night you had to rely on the grid which gets most of its electricity from coal, natural gas, and nuclear reactors. There had been some early home batteries out there, but nothing that was nearly this affordable. But Tesla which has built thousands of large lithium ion battery packs for its growing electric car business was able to produce a similar battery for buildings at a scale that dropped the production costs dramatically. The lowest capacity model will cost just $3000 and this is the first generation of the product. Before Tesla has even completed building its massive new giga-factory, or any real competitors have entered the market, events that will surely push the price down even further while increasing the energy storage capacity of the power wall.

Here’s how it works. When the sun is out, solar panels will power your house and charge the power wall at the same time. And when the sun goes down, this charged battery will kick in to meet most or all of your electricity needs until the sun comes back up again the next morning. This is game changing. More and more people will go completely off the grid. Every building whether it’s a home, office, business, warehouse or factory they can all install solar panels and some power walls and instantly see their fossil fuel generated electricity needs drop significantly. Not every building will be able to go completely solar powered, but most will get pretty close. Especially as our appliances and other electronics become more and more energy efficient. And it gets even better; the power will be connected to the Internet and the rest of the energy grid. In Southern California, and most other heavily populated places around the country, the energy company charges a lot more when we use electricity during peak times.

That’s in the afternoon and early evening when the temperatures are warmest and most of us are home and still awake. The Tesla battery is smart and knows when electricity is cheapest. So that’s when it will draw power from the grid to charge itself. And then during peak time when you need electricity, the battery will power the house. This is going to lower everyone’s energy bills and sometimes you’ll even be able to sell back unused power to the utility company during peak time, even making a profit. It’s basically going to make each individual building its own power station. Overnight, Tesla has seemed less like a futuristic car company, and more like the man who inspired the company’s name, a revolutionary electricity engineer named Nicola.