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BusINess » Technology

Archives for the ‘Technology’ Category

Region law enforcement relies on high-tech tools of the trade

Several region police departments fight crime with an arsenal of expensive, high-tech tools, incorporating cutting-edge science and electronics into police work.

Some departments enhance their armories of guns and other typical pieces of equipment with machines that compare electronic fingerprint images to larger criminal databases, devices that analyze voice waves in search of clues and high-tech equipment akin to military tools.

Below, The Times features some of the latest equipment that region police officials hail as providing a technological advantage to law enforcement.
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Facebook inches past Google for Web users’ minutes

U.S. Web surfers are spending more time socializing on Facebook than searching with Google, according to new data from researchers at comScore Inc.

In August, people spent a total of 41.1 million minutes on Facebook, comScore said Thursday, about 9.9 percent of their Web-surfing minutes for the month. That just barely surpassed the 39.8 million minutes, or 9.6 percent, people spent on all of Google Inc.’s sites combined, including YouTube, the free Gmail e-mail program, Google news and other content sites.

U.S. Web users spent 37.7 million minutes on Yahoo Inc. sites, or 9.1 percent of their time, putting Yahoo third in terms of time spent browsing. In July, Facebook crept past Yahoo for the first time, according to comScore.
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Crown Point typewriter repair man one of the last of his kind

Crown Point resident Al Stuckey delivers an older electric IBM repaired typewriter to the provost office Wednesday at Valparaiso University in Valparaiso. (Photograph by The Times.)

Crown Point resident Al Stuckey delivers an older electric IBM repaired typewriter to the provost office Wednesday at Valparaiso University in Valparaiso. (Photograph by The Times.)

Al Stuckey is a dying breed.

“I’m absolutely a dinosaur,” the Crown Point man said.

As far as he and any of his customers know, he’s the only typewriter repairman left in Northwest Indiana. The Chicago native runs Crown Point Office Machines from his home, with a tiny shop in his garage. He repairs other office machines, too—fax machines, computer printers—but it’s the typewriters that make him stand out.
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New Tech—A last resort

An English class works at Arsenal New Tech High School in Indianapolis. The school uses a curriculum being implemented at Calumet High School as the Northwest Indiana schools strives to shed its failing status. (Photograph by The Times.)

An English class works at Arsenal New Tech High School in Indianapolis. The school uses a curriculum being implemented at Calumet High School as the Northwest Indiana schools strives to shed its failing status. (Photograph by The Times.)

Calumet High School this fall became one of six high schools in Indiana to become a New Technology High School, bringing the number to 16 in Indiana—more than any other state.

Lake Ridge Schools Superintendent Sharon Johnson-Shirley said it’s taken three years to implement the program at Calumet, one of six Lake County schools and 23 statewide that have been on academic probation for six straight years and could face state takeover next year under Indiana Public Law 221. There are no failing schools in Porter County.

Several Indiana schools adopted the New Tech model four years ago, and The Times this month spent time with teachers and students at two of them—Arsenal Technical High School in Indianapolis and Zebra New Tech at Rochester Community High School in Rochester—to see firsthand how the concept is working and what Calumet High can expect.
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Calumet High School launches New Tech

Biology teacher June Lenher, right, explains an assignment to sophomores, from left, Jacob Burton, Mike Aimutis and Cody McMaster on the first day of school in their New Tech class at Calumet High School in Calumet Township. (Photograph by The Times.)

Biology teacher June Lenher, right, explains an assignment to sophomores, from left, Jacob Burton, Mike Aimutis and Cody McMaster on the first day of school in their New Tech class at Calumet High School in Calumet Township. (Photograph by The Times.)

It was organized chaos for the first few minutes at Calumet High School on Thursday as students flowed into the cafeteria to pick up their schedules on the opening day of classes.

Teachers greeted students and directed them to the correct rooms. Students, dressed in black or khaki pants with a red-, black- or white-collared tops, scrambled down the halls.

There was an air of excitement and a sense of something different. From the dress code to the New Tech curriculum for freshmen and sophomores, teachers visibly were enthusiastic and students appeared ready for work.

New Tech high schools, created by business leaders in Napa, Calif., feature one-to-one computing and project-based learning. Students use the latest software to do everything from access daily bulletins to complete math assignments.
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Samsung Galaxy S phones do Android proud

This photo taken Aug. 13, 2010, shows the Samsung Captivate, left, Samsung Epic 4G, center, and the Samsung Vibrant phones in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

This photo taken Aug. 13, 2010, shows the Samsung Captivate, left, Samsung Epic 4G, center, and the Samsung Vibrant phones in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

The more phones that hit the market using Google’s Android operating software, the harder it is for each offering to stand out from the black-and-silver crowd.

Samsung is the latest company trying to turn heads, hoping consumers will snatch up its new Galaxy S smart phones, which are both attractive on the surface and well-appointed under the hood.

AT&T already sells the Samsung Captivate, and T-Mobile offers the Vibrant. Two more are coming: Sprint will start selling the Epic 4G at the end of August, and Verizon plans to roll out the Fascinate this fall.

I tested the Captivate, Vibrant and Epic 4G, which all have plenty of great features in common: bright, crisp screens; 5-megapixel cameras that can also take high-definition videos; speedy 1 Ghz Hummingbird processors and Google Inc.’s easy-to-use Android operating software.
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Cheaper ways to get ink help keep businesses in the black

LaSalle Flower Group estimates it's saved hundreds of dollars since last year, when it started refilling ink cartridges, rather than buying new ones. (Photograph by Frank Kalman/Medill.)

LaSalle Flower Group estimates it's saved hundreds of dollars since last year, when it started refilling ink cartridges, rather than buying new ones.
(Photograph by Frank Kalman/Medill.)

While economists and business analysts have been busy fretting over the rate of the economic recovery, grossly focused on the latest jobs report, GDP figures and the inflation rate, maybe there is a more obvious indicator they should have been paying attention to all along: the ink cartridge business.

It’s something many businesses cannot live without: the ability to print checks, invoices, records and receipts. And at prices ranging from $25 to $200 apiece, printer, ink and toner purchases can be among the more expensive for a company.

“If business is just down, you’re simply doing less printing,” stressed Scott Testa, professor of business administration at Cabrini College in Philadelphia.

When the economy spiraled downward on the back of a major credit crisis in 2008, business activity froze, resulting in fewer transactions—and less printing of checks, invoices, records and receipts.

Ink cartridge and printing manufacturer Hewlett-Packard Co. saw its imaging and printing segment get hit “especially hard,” with revenues falling 19 percent in the first quarter 2009 from the year-earlier period.

But as the economy has begun to recover, Tulsa, Okla.-based HP has seen imaging and printing revenue bounce back. In its second quarter ended April 30, HP reported 8 percent growth in the segment, including the installation of 2,400 retail kiosks.
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Challenger center gets help in upgrade

Anthony Hunter, a two-year apprentice in an Indiana-Kentucky Regional Council of Carpenters program, works Tuesday in the mission control room at the Challenger Learning Center in Hammond. Apprentice workers are donating hours of work installing items at the center located on the Purdue University Calumet campus. (Photograph by The Times.)

Anthony Hunter, a two-year apprentice in an Indiana-Kentucky Regional Council of Carpenters program, works Tuesday in the mission control room at the Challenger Learning Center in Hammond. Apprentice workers are donating hours of work installing items at the center located on the Purdue University Calumet campus. (Photograph by The Times.)

When the Challenger Learning Center of Northwest Indiana welcomes back students and teachers later this month, it will do so with a major technological upgrade thanks to a federal grant and joint carpenter and electrical apprenticeship programs.

Because the grant does not cover installations, the space science education center’s board enlisted the help of the Indiana-Kentucky Regional Council of Carpenters and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.

Apprentice workers are donating hours of carpentry and electrical work installing, among other things, new and larger flat-screen monitors to replace the original ones in place since the center, located on the Purdue University Calumet campus, opened in 1999.
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Training the auto technicians of the future

(Photograph by Tony V. Martin.)

(Photograph by Tony V. Martin.)

Professor Kizhanipuram Vinodgopal would love to create a generation of go-getting electrochemists, budding battery designers and automotive technicians whose mantra is “Dude! We’re getting 7,000 charge cycles!”

Indiana University Northwest, where Vinodgopal teaches, and Purdue University Calumet will participate in a consortium for electric-vehicle training and education through a $6.1 million work force development grant from the U.S. Department of Energy.

“I tell all my students that electrochemistry is the future,” Vinodgopal says. “That’s where the new jobs are going to be. The field has been around for ages—but has been neglected.”

The Indiana Advanced Electric Vehicle Training and Education Consortium will help create the work force needed to design, manufacture and maintain electric vehicles and the associated infrastructure.

“Electrification is the future of transportation,” says Purdue University-Lafayette professor James Caruthers, the project’s director. Vinodgopal said the step to electric drive-trains will be like the switch from chokes and carburetors to fuel injection. Educators will develop both academic and vocational components, which will include curriculum for K-12 schools, four-year undergraduate courses and two-year vocational programs, Caruthers says.
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Health record revolution

The 2009 American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA) provides up to $36 billion in incentive payments to U.S. hospitals and office-based physicians who successfully adopt specific electronic medical record (EMR) technology between 2011 and 2015. A special provision within the stimulus bill, called the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Heath (HITECH) Act lays the groundwork for what is predicted to be a fundamental shift in the way hospitals, physicians, and patients maintain and use the patient medical record.

Most experts agree that HITECH Act incentive funding will significantly accelerate the rate of adoption of government-defined electronic medical record technology by U.S. hospitals and office-based physicians. So it is likely that the way hospitals and physicians keep and share patient records will change rather dramatically over the next five to ten years. The Sisters of St. Francis Health Services, Inc., (SSFHS) which operates 12 hospital facilities and employs over 350 physicians, strongly believes in the role of the EMR to improve the quality of care we deliver. Today, SSFHS is implementing a state-of-the-art integrated EMR across all of its facilities and office practices. This “OneChart” project is the largest IT initiative undertaken by the Sisters in their 135 years of hospital ministry.
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