Klark

Male
from Kimball, NE

    • Klark

      GO KLARKY!

      7 years ago

      It's mah birthday. I'm officially 27 years old. Birthday plans include finishing work and going out to eat dinner. My co-workers got me a birthday cake with the Superman shield on it. I am so happy. =)

    • Klark

      Plugged In

      7 years ago

      Plugged In
      A Birthday Wish List

      Sept. 18 is a special day for me â€" it’s my birthday!
      It’s that time of year when I get to turn another year older, but with the sours of aging comes the sweets. Sweets for me come in the form of birthday presents from friends and family. Aside from receiving Superman related merchandise, I have a sweet tooth for technology.
      So without further ado, I present my birthday wish list of technology (pay attention, Mom).
      Item No. 1 on the wish list is the Playstation 3. After all, in the deep-rooted soul of my technological addiction beats the heart of a video gamer.
      At first, the Playstation 3 might seem overpriced, but a closer look will tell anyone the gaming machine is a bargain. Recent price cuts have made the Blu-Ray disc reading machine more affordable and is helping to lead the push in the next generation movie format wars against HD-DVD.
      Nowhere else but the Playstation 3 will you find a Blu-Ray player for under $1,000. Blu-Ray discs are capable of handling more than 10 times the amount of data that a regular DVD can manage due to the use of a blue laser instead of a red laser. Since it takes a different spectrum of laser to read the information on the disc, you must have a Blu-Ray capable player, drive or video game machine to view any content on them.
      There is also the added benefit of wireless technology used in the Playstation 3 controllers and to communicate with the Playstation Portable (PSP) â€" a piece of technology I proudly own. Connecting the PSP with certain video games will produce goodies â€" known as "Easter eggs" to those who game â€" for games on both the PSP and PS3.
      Item No. 2 on my wonderfully dreamy technology wish list is the Sony E-Reader. Regular "Plugged In" readers will remember a few weeks back when I did a bio on the E-Reader. Now that it too has taken a price cut, it inches closer to becoming more affordable for me.
      Already I can smell the sweet satisfaction I will receive when I’m able to carry more than 80 books around with me â€" without the weight of 80 actual books. The E-Reader uses a new technology called E-Ink that utilizes an electric charge to form words with black and white particles on a screen that can be read at any angle or even in direct sunlight as if it were paper.
      Of course, I love the written word so much that I would definitely find a way to afford a memory card for the E-Reader so that I could store even more books on the device. There’s nothing like a selection of reading material â€" from newspapers to novels â€" to accompany you to the doctor’s office or anywhere else for that matter.
      Item No. 3 would have been the iPhone except that I don’t live in an area where AT&T service is available. Even with recent price cutting of $200 to the 8 GB model, purchasing the phone to use for its other features and iPod capabilities is a futile dream.
      My sensible side always takes over when I’m making decisions on what technology I would like to receive or purchase. Without the iPhone being available on cell phone networks in my area, I have to remember to just say no. And it doesn’t matter how beautifully sleek the body is or how cool it would be to have a completely touch screen controlled device, the answer must remain no.
      Item No. 4 would be a Pocket PC or Personal Digital Assistant. I’ve been searching the Internet auction site eBay for both devices trying to determine the best model at the lowest possible cost just so I can remember things.
      When you work in a newspaper environment where information runs through your mind faster than the Six Million Dollar Man could possibly conceive, it’s good to have notes on appointments and future scheduling.
      I believe that once I got used to carrying around another electronic device in my pocket, it would be quite the timesaver. My fiancé and I always remember to create a shopping list. However, we often forget to bring the list with us when we go to the store.
      While I completely understand that these gadgets won’t necessarily make life easier, you must understand that I’m a technology addict. When a new gadget becomes available on the market, I make it my first priority to discover any information about it. Then it becomes a game of cat and mouse as I try to save up some money to purchase it.
      In a way, you can think of technology to me as gold would be to a pirate. If you were floating around in the sea with a ship full of gold, you could place a fair wager that you would bump into a pirate. If I happen to pass you by and you’re playing with a piece of technology with which I am not familiar, you can bet that I’ll stop, say hi and ask you what you’ve got.
      The difference between the pirate and myself is that I won’t steal your treasure.
      For now I’ll sit back, age another year and enjoy the dreams of one day owning these technological toys. I know that many of them are beyond my means to just purchase outright, but I figure that’s why someone invented the savings account.
      And don’t think for a single minute that just because I love technology I don’t appreciate the socks and flannel shirt I’ve come to expect as gifts from my grandmother. After all, the warmth of a glowing computer screen just doesn’t compare with the warmth of my grandmother’s gifts.
      Klark Byrd can be reached at (308) 254-2818 or [email protected]

    • Klark

      Plugged In

      7 years ago

      Plugged In
      Sun-Telegraph Reaches 134 Years Old, But Still In Tune With The Times

      As was pointed out by Sidney businessman Loren Avey last month, The Sun-Telegraph is quickly approaching its 134th birthday. Though the newspaper continues its ascent in age, it has managed to stay in tune with the times.
      Many of our readers have noticed the changes that have taken place on the printed edition of our newspaper. Another service offered by the newspaper has undergone some changes too â€" namely our Web site at www.suntelegraph.com.
      Since my time here at the paper, I’ve inherited the seat of Web site administration. I assume the inheritance stemmed from me being the resident "computer guy."
      What ever the case may be, I have enjoyed getting the Web site whipped into shape so that readers near and far can enjoy the benefits that our site has to offer.
      The Web site is updated every day the newspaper prints, which is Tuesday through Saturday. The most visible change in our site daily is that of the home page picture.
      The home page picture features that day’s front page picture printed in the newspaper. Under that picture on the site, two local news stories and one sports story can be found.
      Our Web site also offers five categories of national news using the Reuters news service. Those categories are Top, U.S., World, Business and Sports. Under each category are five news stories that change throughout the day, so be sure to check back often.
      At the bottom of the national news page are five news stories offered by the National Public Radio that also change throughout the day.
      For readers interested in financial news, try clicking on the financial news link. Our site connects to another page full of interesting financial news and tidbits. The page includes a market overview and a search box to seek a specific market symbol to check its status.
      For anyone interested in learning about health and fitness, our site provides health videos and news offered from healthology.com.
      If you’re interested in reading what the stars have in store for you, try clicking the Horoscopes link. Our site will connect you with horoscopes.com where you can read in-depth horoscopes for the 12 zodiac signs.
      If it’s a local business you seek, click on the Business Directory link. The Here’s My Card page is updated every Wednesday as it appears in the Wednesday edition of our newspaper. Give your computer a moment when you click that link as the page appears as a .pdf, which requires Adobe Acrobat to view.
      New to our Web site is the Weather link. The weather link will connect you to a 15-day forecast for the area through Accuweather.com so you can depend on us to be there to help you plan outings.
      Obituaries, legal notices, letters to the editor, and local and local sports stories are updated Tuesday through Saturday.
      Local and local sports stories appear on the home page of our Web site for the day they are published. They are replaced the next day with new news.
      Obituaries and letters to the editor remain on the site for the day in which they appear in our published newspaper. If there appear to be no obituaries or letters to the editor, it is because none were published that day in the newspaper.
      Legal notices remain on our site for seven days, until the corresponding day is updated for the current week.
      Any of the local content remains in the archives of the Web site. To search for any story, obituary, legal notice or letter to the editor, click on the News link at the top of the site. Scroll down to Search Archives and click on it.
      In Search Archives, you will find any content published to our site. You should change the date of the search to include your timeframe for the original publishing and enter a keyword that appeared in the content for which you search.
      For example, if I wanted to see the obituary for John Doe, who I think passed away in September 2006, I would change the date of the search to Sept.1 and put "John Doe" in the keyword search box and then click search.
      If you’re interested in checking out who’s who here at the office, click on the Contact Us link. That page will give you every e-mail address and phone number necessary to reach the correct person you seek as well as introduce you to who is the newspaper staff.
      If you want the quickest access to the complete newspaper every day, try subscribing to the e-edition online. Benefits of receiving your newspaper online include the ability to zoom in and out on text that might otherwise be hard to see.
      The e-edition of our newspaper is an exact replica of the printed version, only it’s available 24/7. An added benefit to the e-edition is that every newspaper dated back to July 2006 becomes available to you within the e-edition archives.
      After you’ve had a good gander of the Web site, feel free to drop a line in the guest book. Whether you have an idea, complaint or opinion, or if you just want to say hi, go ahead and sign the guest book.
      So yes, the first newspaper in the Nebraska Panhandle will get another year older this month â€" as will I â€" but as the times changed, so too did the newspaper to better suit your needs.
      Klark Byrd can be reached at (308) 254-2818 or [email protected]

    • Klark

      Plugged In

      7 years ago

      I did post earlier this week, but I don't know where it went. It was only when I received no replies that I went looking to see if it was here. Sorry for the wait, and as always, Thanks for reading!!!!!


      Plugged In
      Understand What Your Child Is Playing

      I remember a time when it seemed like motion pictures were the only form of entertainment to receive a rating. Ratings, then and now, for motion pictures include G, PG, PG-13, R and NC-17.
      I also remember when the movie "Showgirls" made its debut because it was so highly touted for getting the NC-17 rating. As NC-17 is the harshest rating a film can receive before being labeled an "adult film," there are not many movies that attain such a rating.
      Now that ratings have infiltrated TV and video games, the rating system is once again making news.
      Rockstar, a video game making company, has been making headlines in the technology world as its video game "Manhunt 2" has become one of the first video games to receive the AO or Adult Only rating from the Electronic Software Rating Board.
      Rockstar called off the release of its violent video game after receiving the rating. However, the release of the video game has been set for Oct. 31 since Rockstar resubmitted the game to the ESRB and walked away with an M for Mature rating.
      The M rating is more widely accepted by video game retailers than the AO, much like the R rating is more accepted by theaters than NC-17.
      News like this is bound to happen as video game makers test the limits of the ESRB. The more blood, violence, language and sexual content on a game, the higher its rating will be when the ESRB has its say.
      While nearly everyone in the United States is familiar with the motion picture and TV ratings, there are still many people in the dark with the video game ratings. This is not an uncommon problem as video game ratings have only been around since the ESRB was established in 1994.
      Even today, it’s only a voluntary move on behalf of a video game maker to submit their work for a rating. Nearly every video game sold today at any retail store bears a rating.
      To help keep parents in tip-top shape regarding what content they allow their children to play, here’s a rundown on the video game rating system:
      eC â€" Early Childhood. Video games with this rating have content that may be suitable or ages 3 and older. The ESRB believes that it contains no material that parents would find inappropriate.
      E â€" Everyone. Titles with this rating have content that may be suitable for ages 6 and older. Warnings for this rating include minimal cartoon, fantasy or mild violence and/or infrequent use of mild language.
      E10+ â€" Everyone 10 and older. Video game warnings for this rating include more cartoon, fantasy or mild violence, mild language and/or minimal suggestive themes.
      T â€" Teen. Titles in this category may be suitable for ages 13 and older. Warnings include violence, suggestive themes, crude humor, minimal blood, simulated gambling, and/or infrequent use of strong language.
      M â€" Mature. It is recommended that only persons age 17 or older play a game with this rating. Warnings for the category include intense violence, blood and gore, sexual content and/or strong language.
      AO â€" Adults Only. Only persons age 18 or older should play titles with this rating. Warnings include prolonged scenes of intense violence and/or graphic sexual content and nudity.
      RP â€" Rating Pending. Video games with this rating have been submitted to the ESRB and are awaiting final rating. This symbol generally appears only in advertising prior to a game’s final release.
      Armed with that knowledge, you should be able to gauge what kind of video games your children are playing. Like movie and television programming, ratings are merely suggestions. In the end, it’s up to the parent to decide what content their children are exposed to.
      Klark Byrd can be reached at (308) 254-2818 or [email protected]

    • Klark

      Plugged In

      7 years ago

      Plugged In
      A World Of Acronyms

      The Internet is a bustling world all unto its own. It’s filled with stores, information and chat rooms. While many people condemn the chat rooms, it must be remembered that the Internet was originally dreamed up to be a chat room. When it was invented, it was used to connect people to one another for purposes of extending a person’s resources.
      However, the chat room of today has changed so much that it is nearly unrecognizable to the original vision of the Internet. Sure, people are connecting to one another, but often times the privilege of using a chat room is abused.
      That point aside, what the truly mind-boggling fact of a chat room is the use of acronyms and an Internet writing style referred to as L337 (Leet) in place of good ol’ English. The youth of today have found that it is not necessary to actually spell words out or even to use letters to do so.
      Here is an example of the L337 writing: "I 4m th3 c00l357!" ("I am the coolest!")
      The one bright side to this L337 writing is that at the very least, the writer must know how to spell a word in order to make numbers represent letters. So while it can cause a headache for those who try to read it, at least we know the author can spell.
      Now what about all those chatters who can’t spell to save their lives? Well, that’s where the acronym comes into play. Phrases that are frequently used and some that are not have been making their rounds in chat rooms and cell phone text messaging as merely one letter representing a word.
      For instance, the most commonly known and used acronym in a chat room or text message is LOL (laughing out loud). However, being friends with a chatter who decides to write you a letter and mail it via post office can be interesting. I’ve discovered that one of my biggest pet peeves is reading a handwritten letter that includes LOL at the end of a sentence.
      Other famous chat room acronyms are OMG (Oh my God), ROTFL (Rolling on the floor laughing), P2P (Peer to peer), PM (Private message), BRB (Be right back) and IMO (In my opinion).
      The list goes on and as a matter of fact, there are several Web sites dedicated to providing a list of the ever-growing regime of acronyms.
      The acronym language has even made an appearance on TV in the commercial where a mother is asking her daughter about a high cell phone bill. When the mother asks the girl who she has been text messaging, the girl responds with, "IDK, my BFF Jill."
      It’s true that acronyms have been around for a much longer time than the Internet, but they were mostly used for radio/TV stations, restaurants, technology and military.
      What I fear the most right now is that one day when my son comes home from school, our conversation will be as follows:
      "How was school?"
      "BBG" (Boring but good)
      "Well, that’s good. Do you want to watch a movie tonight?"
      "SWYGIM?" (Sure, what you got in mind?)
      I provided the parenthesis so you would understand what the letters stood for. At this point, I’m not sure if I’m more afraid he’ll talk that way or that I’ll completely understand what he’s saying.
      I suppose I could always look on the bright side. At least we’ll be communicating.
      Klark Byrd can be reached at (308) 254-2818 or e-mailed at [email protected]

    • Klark

      Plugged In

      7 years ago

      Plugged In
      Save Time, Money By Knowing Your Needs

      When you want to buy a new piece of equipment for your computer, you really have to do some research, ask questions and pay attention to product labels. Not understanding or having no real picture of your needs increases the chance of buying the wrong product.
      For example, let’s assume that you would like to buy a new DVD burner so you can copy data files, video or music onto a disc that holds more information than the CD. Let’s also assume that you’re not the most tech-savvy person on the planet.
      You go to your local electronics store where you are greeted by the salesperson, assuming they are doing their job. The scene may play out as follows:
      "Hi, can I help with something today?"
      "Yes, I’m looking for something called a DVD burner. My friend told me I could get one here."
      "Yes you can. Are you needing an external burner or internal?"
      "Uhhhh..."
      Believe it or not, I’ve seen this scene play out more than once. A customer comes to the store assuming the sales people will know their exact needs. Sales people assume that customers know exactly what piece of equipment they need. In the end, both the sales person and the customer stare blankly at each other.
      It’s not the sales persons fault the customer has no clue what to get, but more often than not, the customer gets quite angry with the sales representative. So, here’s a few pointers to keep in mind the next time you are asked whether you need an external or internal computer accessory.
      1. Know the difference between external and internal. While most of the human race knows the difference between external and internal â€" outside or inside â€" it’s when the words are combined with something technological that their mind goes blank. For example, an external DVD burner sits outside of the computer tower connected via a USB 2.0 or Firewire cord. An internal DVD burner would require taking some of your computer apart to put in the new device. While internal may offer faster burn times than external, external DVD burners and hard drives have been becoming extremely popular due to their plug-and-play nature. As an extra tip, go for the firewire cord if your computer has a firewire connection. Firewire offers a much faster data transfer rate than USB 2.0.
      2. Know what size or speed you require for your accessory. Whether you’re thinking about purchasing a hard drive so you can have more space or a DVD burner so you can create backups, movies or archives, it’s best to know how much space or how fast the data transfer rate is so you buy exactly what you’re looking for. Some DVD burners burn the discs faster and some hard drives have a larger capacity for storing files than others. Without knowing your needs, you could wind up waiting long periods of time for that disc to burn or find yourself short on space for storing files.
      3. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Whether you’re asking your resident computer geek or directly asking the sales person, don’t be afraid to ask them their opinion in regards to your needs. Granted, the sales person might try to sell you something more expensive, but asking their opinion and then researching a little on your needs will produce more results than the blank staring competition that I’ve seen so many times.
      Sure, it might sound like a lot of work just to try to purchase a new piece of equipment, but the choices are near limitless for those who don’t have even an inkling of what they need. The last thing you want to do is short yourself when making an investment in a new piece of technology that was supposed to make life a little easier.
      If you happen to be the stubborn kind who prefers to go without sales assistance, make sure you read everything on the box of the product. While a lot of what is written may seem like mumbo-jumbo to most people, it contains very important facts such as write speeds, data transfer rates, and what system requirements your computer must meet in order for the device to work.
      Nothing is more frustrating â€" even to those who think they know what they need â€" than to get home with a new toy only to find out that your system doesn’t recognize it or you don’t have the proper connections to make it work. Just think of the gas money you’ll save by not having to make a return trip to the store. In today’s world, that’s worth nearly as much as the accessory in the first place.
      Klark Byrd can be reached at (308) 254-2818 or e-mailed at [email protected]

    • Klark

      Plugged In

      7 years ago

      Plugged In
      History Of The Cell Phone

      The cell phone is a movie goers nemesis, the roadside breakdown’s savior and the must-have gadget for teen-agers everywhere. People who walk around talking to what often times seems like thin air are communicating wherever they please to whomever they please.
      Some of the older generations of people sit back and wonder where the idea came from and many of the younger generations just don’t know â€" but they are glad it’s here.
      Well, the idea for the cell phone was thought up exactly 60 years ago in 1947 by AT&T’s research arm called Bell Laboratories.
      In 1946, Motorola had introduced the car radiophone. The car radiophone was a landline phone connected to a two-way transceiver that was located in an automobile. While it was the most portable phone around â€" phones in the home were installed by the phone company and cordless phones hadn’t been invented yet â€" it suffered the problem of only being available in the car.
      Motorola and AT&T set off in a race to see who could make the most portable phone in the world. Using their history of wireless talking devices, Motorola announced in April 1973 that it had finished the task.
      In February 1973, Motorola was testing its portable cellular phone called the Dyna-Tac, which stood for Dynamic Adaptive Total Area Coverage. The Dyna-Tac used an analogue signal to transmit voice through the air, like radio and walkie-talkies, to a base system that converted the signal and put it through on a landline wire.
      On April 3, 1973, Dr. Martin Cooper, an employee with Motorola, stood outside the Manhattan Hilton and made a phone call before attending a press conference in the upstairs of the hotel. That phone call was made to his rival, Joel Engel with Bell Laboratories. After that phone call, Cooper recalled making several others, one of which included a call with a New York radio reporter.
      During that call, Cooper recalled that he crossed the street. He said it was one of the more dangerous things he had done in his life.
      The phone calls that Cooper made with the cell phone were received by a base station atop the then Burlington Consolidated Tower, now known as the Alliance Capital Building in New York.
      Motorola sent out a press release following Cooper’s calls. In that release, then Motorola Vice President John F. Mitchell said, "We expect there’ll be heavy usage by a widely diverse group of people â€" businessmen, journalists, doctors, housewives, virtually anyone who needs or wants telephone communications in areas where conventional telephones are unavailable."
      Also in that press release, Motorola expected to have New York covered with the Dyna-Tac system so the cell phone could be marketed in 1976. However, it took Motorola 10 years to produce a marketable cell phone.
      In 1983, the Federal Communications Commission approved the Dyna-Tac 8000x cell phone for public use. Motorola began selling its remarkable product with a hefty price tag of $3,500 each. The phone came with three wonderful features â€" talk, listen and dial.
      Within seven years, there were a million subscribers. By the end of the 1990s, cell phones were everywhere. Currently there are more wireless subscribers than landline subscribers in the world. I am one of those in the majority â€" as I only have a cell phone for home and other use.
      The original 1973 Dyna-Tac phone weighed in at 30 ounces, nearly 2 pounds, and was 9 by 5 by 1.75 inches. In other words, it was a brick. For the public Dyna-Tac model in 1983, the phone’s weight had been reduced to 16 ounces, but was also quite bulky.
      Today’s cell phones are what Motorola would declare as RAZR-thin. They have many features that include music playing, video playing, e-mail, text messaging, caller ID, voice messaging and the Internet while still maintaining the original three features of talk, listen and dial. Although, manufacturers of cell phones that only require a voice command to dial are looking to move away from the original dial feature.
      So what was imagined 60 years ago became a reality 34 years ago and was made public 24 years ago. The little device has become a part of many people’s lives that they just cannot live without â€" much to many a parent’s dismay.
      Klark Byrd can be reached at (308) 254-2818 or [email protected]

    • Klark

      Plugged In

      8 years ago

      Plugged In
      Sony’s Reader As Good As Paper

      When visiting the doctor’s office or taking a long road trip, what item are you most likely to see in someone’s hands? Aside from a portable video game system or an iPod, that item would be the printed word.
      Whether it’s a magazine, book or newspaper, the printed word has a long history of being a person’s reality escape or connection to the world.
      Books date as far back as the 7th century, and when the printing press was invented it was considered a technological marvel. Nowadays the printed word is available in daily newspapers, books, magazines and computers.
      Electronic books, or e-books for short, were quite a breakthrough for their time. Enabling a person with bad vision to enlarge the text and offering a faster distribution system, e-books have helped many people continue reading.
      One downside to the e-book is that up until recently, it has only been available through a computer. The most portable it really got was with the invention of a laptop and then a PDA.
      Sony planned to change that for the world when it introduced the Sony Reader. Measuring 6.9 by 4.9 by 0.5 inches and weighing in at 9 ounces, the Reader is said to be smaller than many paperback books.
      The question then is, what could a contraption that small do for reading? The answer from Sony is a lot.
      The Reader is capable of holding about 80 average-size books without an additional memory card. Its rechargeable batter is capable of powering through 7,500 page turns and can be recharged in as little as four hours, according to Sony.
      Sony hopes to revolutionize the digital reading experience and in many ways has done so with its new device. Unlike many portable devices, the Reader does not use Cathode Ray Tube or Liquid Crystal Display technology.
      The Reader uses what is called E-Ink Technology. According to Sony, E-Ink Technology uses microcapsules that appear as either black or white depending on a positive or negative charge. That charge is determined by the page content, enabling the microcapsules to form visible letters.
      The microcapsules will then hold that charge until the device is turned off or the page is turned. No extra power is needed to display the screen, hence the seemingly unnatural battery life.
      The result of using the new technology is that the reading experience becomes similar to that of reading paper. Like a book, Sony said the Reader is viewable in direct sunlight â€" an obstacle not yet hurdled by companies who sell hand-held devices with viewable screens.
      Even Sony’s own Playstation Portable (PSP) falls short of being viewable in sunlight. When I play my PSP outdoors, I often have to find a shaded place in order to view the content on my screen.
      As with LCD technology, the E-Ink Technology of the Reader is viewable at a near 180-degree angle. Like the PSP that uses LCD, the Reader is viewable by several people at different angles without any person experiencing a color-negative picture.
      The Reader also has the ability to open .pdf files (Adobe Acrobat or Reader files), .jpegs (picture files), blogs, newsfeeds and personal documents.
      For example, if your newspaper has an online edition where pages can be downloaded in a .pdf file, you can save those pages to your Reader and head off to where you want to go. No longer will the wind snatch your newspaper while you’re reading a story. No more will you have to fold and unfold the paper while reading.
      If you like to listen to music to help set the mood while reading a book, the Reader is capable of playing MP3 files as well. While you read that latest installment of whichever fantasy series, you can listen to a soundtrack â€" chosen by you â€" to enhance your reading experience. Or you could use the music to block out the white noise of life as you immerse yourself in the book.
      The best part of it all: You get all the convenience of an e-book with the Reader without your eyeballs screaming for some sweet soft lighting after staring at a monitor for several hours. There is also the added advantage of having several books at your disposal without carrying an armload or backpack.
      Though the Reader was slapped with a $299.99 price tag, the benefits of the device far outweigh the cons of having to save up a little money.
      I love the written word. I enjoy the freedom of having my imagination create the world that is being described within a book’s pages. What I don’t like is carrying four heavy-duty novels or wondering where I last laid my latest book. Having the ability to carry 80 some books and being able to read them no matter where I happen to be is a luxury I look forward to having.
      Klark Byrd can be reached at (308) 254-2818 or [email protected]

    • Klark

      Plugged In

      8 years ago

      Plugged In
      ‘We Can Rebuild Him’

      Some of you may remember a TV show in the 1970s called "The Six Million Dollar Man" starring Lee Majors as former astronaut Steve Austin. If you do remember that show, then you remember the opening narration that went, "We can rebuild him. We have the technology. We can make him better than he was. Better…Stronger…Faster."
      For those that don’t remember that show, the premise was that Austin was severely injured when he crashed his M2-F2 as seen in the opening credits. In a live-saving operation, the injured parts of Austin’s body â€" his right arm, both legs and his left eye â€" were replaced with mechanical parts called bionics. The operation cost $6 million, hence the show’s title.
      The new parts in Austin’s body enhanced his strength, speed and sight far above human possibility. Austin used his powers, so to speak, to work for the Office of Scientific Intelligence as a secret agent.
      While gaining extraordinary power from cybernetic parts placed in the human body is not a possibility of today, having lifelike artificial limbs has become a reality for those with missing extremities or damaged organs.
      Touch Bionics, a company based in Edinburgh, U.K., has been outfitting veterans of the Iraq War and other amputees with a new kind of artificial arm and hand.
      The bionic arm has five digits, whereas most prosthetics today have only a hook or claw. Using two electrodes to read muscle activity where the arm connects, the fingers move, bend and grab like a normal human hand. This hand has the ability to rotate its thumb for different grasps and can even extend only one finger to use at an ATM, computer keyboard or to just point.
      One of the amazing advances with this arm is the ability to hold a key and turn the wrist, an action that no amputee has been able to do with an artificial arm before. A Pennsylvania man who lost his arm to a congenital disease was able to open a soda can with the bionic arm.
      If someone is missing a finger, Touch Bionics can help. They’ve made the digits available individually to help replace a partial hand.
      If you’re afraid of how it looks, Touch Bionics created an artificial skin to cover it. The only way I was able to tell the real hand from the artificial hand on the Pennsylvania man with the soda can was that his real hand had hair on it.
      Victhom Human Bionics, based in Canada, has been offering its bionic leg for a couple of years now. The bionic leg allows those missing the limb to climb stairs naturally, one leg at a time, instead of taking a step and bringing the other leg up.
      The replicated motion of a real leg is created with a mechanized knee. The leg is not fit for running at 60 mph as Austin did in the show although one man outfitted with the leg remarked that he thought his real leg was having trouble keeping up.
      There are specialized legs made for running that utilize a spring like function to replicate how the foot and leg interact when running. Several athletic amputees who thought they’d never run again have adopted and adapted to their new legs.
      Bionic eyes? Yep, doctors and scientists have been working hard to help restore vision to those who’ve lost their sight due to a virus or disease. The ultimate goal of the project is to give sight to people who are born blind.
      The first bionic eye used a small chip placed inside the eye that wirelessly communicated with a processor in the patient’s pants pocket. That processor transmitted signals it received from a camera on glasses the subject needed to wear.
      While the vision wasn’t very good, people did report being able to see again.
      The newest bionic eye uses a more advanced chip placed in the eye. The processor is small enough that doctors are able to insert it into the patient’s eye socket, making the set up nearly all internal. The only external gadget still required is the camera in the glasses.
      Patients have reported being able to see faces, something they’ve longed to do since they first lost their vision.
      You may remember Jamie Sommers who was the Bionic Woman, a show that spun off from The Six Million Dollar Man. Whereas Austin had a bionic eye, Sommers received a bionic ear.
      The bionic ear of today is called a cochlear implant. The cochlear implant requires a microphone that is attached to the patient’s skull around the ear area. It does stick out like a sore thumb, but the signals it transmits to the microchip inside the ear allow a deaf person to hear.
      I do believe it will take some time, but in the end, cochlear implants will get smaller and smaller, like the bionic eye, until they disappear inside the head.
      So as you can see, we do have the technology. People born without limbs and amputees are just beginning to realize the normalcy of everyday life, something they’ve been without for a long time or just never had.
      Many of these replacement parts have price tags in the thousands, so while they might cost an arm and a leg, it certainly won’t be $6 million dollars.
      Klark Byrd can be reached at (308) 254-2818 or [email protected]

    • Klark

      Plugged In

      8 years ago

      Plugged In
      Is This The End Of Rabbit Ears?

      I can remember when I was a kid going to visit relatives in rural Maryland and the nightmare it was just trying to watch some cartoons on their television. They only got about four or five channels because they used antennas â€" or rabbit ears as they were commonly called â€" to receive TV signals broadcast over the air.
      To bring in certain TV stations, you had to basically do a dance. The rabbit ears were connected to aluminum foil that had been rolled up and stuck just outside the nearest window. So after weaving through the foil web, you had to very gently move each antenna into place so that the best picture quality could be achieved.
      Sure, they could have had coax cable run the signal directly into their TV set, but they didn’t feel like receiving another bill in the mail. Of course, they were used to having only four or five stations because when they got their first TV that’s all there was â€" if they were lucky.
      We may see fewer rabbit ears systems now that the Federal Communications Commissions and the government has been pushing Digital TV to become the standard. TV stations are already airing DTV programming, but most will continue to provide analog programming until Feb. 17, 2009.
      Analog TV service is the traditional TV system and has been the standard broadcast technology since the inception of the TV. The analog system uses magnetic waves to transmit and display pictures and sound. The farther you are away from the station, the worse your picture and sound quality are.
      DTV is a new type of broadcasting technology that is promised to transform TV as we now know it. Instead of using magnetic waves, DTV transmits information as data bits, which are then decoded by a digital tuner and turned into picture and sound. If your tuner can pick up the signal, no matter how far away from the station you are, you have the same picture and sound quality as the station itself does.
      To get a better grasp of the technology, think of it like playing a song on your computer. Your computer reads the data bits of information provided â€" either saved information on the computer or from a CD â€" to create the sound. Your TV will now do the same thing with TV signals from the air, so long as you have a set-top converter box for your analog TV or a TV that came equipped with a digital tuner.
      The government is willing to help out all those people who don’t want to buy a new TV. Between Jan. 1, 2008, and March 31, 2009, all U.S. households are eligible to request up to two coupons that are worth $40 each to be used toward the purchase of up to two digital-to-analog set-top converter boxes. For more information on the availability of the coupon, consumers are encouraged to visit www.ntia.gov/otiahome/dtv/dtvcoupon.html.
      Of course you may not need to go buy a separate converter. As of March 1, the FCC made a rule requiring that all new TVs must include digital tuners. The rule actually prohibits the manufacture, import or interstate shipment of any device containing an analog tuner unless it also contains a digital one.
      Retailers are allowed to continue selling the analog-only TV from their existing inventories. Those sets come with a warning label from the FCC that informs the consumer that additional equipment will be required to view channels.
      Even if you own an analog-only TV, your cable or satellite box may be your saving grace. The FCC asks that cable and satellite customers call their providers and ask them what equipment is needed and when it is needed by. Many cable and satellite boxes already contain the digital tuner inside them, making the purchase of a separate set-top converter box pointless â€" unless satellite subscribers use rabbit ears for local stations.
      No matter what system you decide to go with, analog TV has been handed its pink slip. Without a set-top converter box or digital tuner equipped TV, rabbit ears will become obsolete.
      In the end, it would seem that with the death of the analog broadcast system, the days of the rabbit ears are numbered. I would think that if someone is going to shell out the money to get a separate set-top converter box, then he or she might as well opt for cable or satellite service since those providers’ boxes will convert the digital signal for their analog TV.
      Klark Byrd can be reached at the Sidney Sun-Telegraph at (308) 254-2818 or e-mail to [email protected]

  • About Me

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  • Comments (156)

    • Wisp

      Wisp

      7 years ago

      Klark! ...is never online anymore.

      Wht happened with the wedding man>?

    • Wisp

      Wisp

      7 years ago

      I've been pretty busy myself, and I lack internet which complicates things more. Hopefully soon we'll get back to how it used to be, lol.

    • Wisp

      Wisp

      7 years ago

      Yes, I must say I rang a couple of times... took you long enough =P

    • minouners

      minouners

      7 years ago

      Wow, it's been a while....

      How are you?

      (you might think of updating your journal!)

    • crzyrbbt

      crzyrbbt

      7 years ago

      hey sorry i haven't been on much and we just kept missing eachother

    • Wisp

      Wisp

      7 years ago

      Ah, you're not on much anymore

      tears

    • princesirhc

      princesirhc

      7 years ago

      Merci buckets.... Yeah, I was trying to ponder that out, because I got picked during a time were I was very un-active. (I don't think un-active is a word, but it works)

    • princesirhc

      princesirhc

      7 years ago

      No trouble! I hope you had fun. And evidently I was the f.u. a few days ago... I signed on today and BAM! 40 new alerts. I wonder how that's chosen....

    • Wisp

      Wisp

      7 years ago

      My retarded inbox won't let me read your message. =(
      Resend it? pls thx

    • Green_knight

      Green_knight

      7 years ago

      Yeah, I think I remember those.