RFID stands for radio frequency identification. This technology uses an RFID tag to transfer data wirelessly. The RFID tag is basically a small chip with an antennae and functions like a bar-code. For example, Roberti talked about a building that installed RFID readers into tunnel walls during construction. Each reader could sense if the area around it was getting wet, and could send a out message wirelessly about the status of the structure.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is a way for information to be relayed from a device over the internet to an end user. To connect the IoT concept to RFID technology and describe how these can be used in daily life, Roberti gave an example from a recent experience. After staying a hotel, he accidentally left his jacket in his room when he checked out. Roberti said that it would have been nice to have an RFID tag in his suitcase to tell him what was missing. That way, he wouldn’t have left his jacket behind.
Roberti gave a quick history of the internet and brought two themes to our attention:
These themes will continue through the future of technology and they tie directly into RFID technology. Roberti also said people are error-prone, inefficient and expensive. RFID can be used to do the work people do and be more accurate and inexpensive.
“We need computers to be able to capture information about the world without humans doing the work,” Roberti said.
Parekh asked Roberti what he is most excited about for the future of RFID. Roberti said he is most excited about the human applications of RFID. For example, RFID technology could be used to stop food-borne illness. If a food item was recalled because it was making people sick, this technology could be used to find the source of the illness quickly. It could also prevent food-borne illness from even happening if an RFID chip could identify any potential bacteria on the food before it is sent out to stores.
Roberti also explained the potential for RFID technology in households. Control the light switches in your home with your phone, attach an RFID tag to your keys so you can find them more easily, and more.
“In 30 years, there will be an RFID tag in every room,” Roberti said.]]>
Read more about the Open Science Cafe that Robert hosted: Living with an Internet of Things: RFID and Our Future.
I had little idea of what to expect at the start of planning this event, with little experience in planning events of this scale. I quickly learned a great deal about the value of detailed and organized planning. In addition, this was the largest group I’ve worked in partnership with on a project and through coordinating between all the different stakeholders I began to learn the importance of communication and how to do it effectively. The timeliness of this event happening around the same time I was on the job hunt was repeatedly a valuable talking point during interviews.
As I mentioned, I didn’t much know much about the Cal Poly Science Café or what to expect from this experience, but I became pleasantly surprised with how much freedom the group from Kennedy Library offered the RFID Technology Alliance Club as well as how much support we received in the process. The combination of those two things made it seem possible to explore all the ideas we wanted during the planning.
It was a rewarding, valuable experience and I am thankful to the staff at Kennedy Library for giving me the opportunity to be a part of it. I look forward to seeing what events will be planned by future Open Science Café leaders and I encourage any student to apply.
Robert is pictured above at right with Raj and Logan, two other members of the RFID Technology Alliance Club. Read an interview with Robert in the winter 2015 Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering newsletter, adapted from this blog.
Open Science Cafe will accept student proposals in fall 2015.]]>
“Data tells us that eBook usage is rapidly growing at Cal Poly,” said Tim Strawn, director of information resources. “While usage is strongest in engineering and physical and life sciences, we are seeing a steady uptick in eBook usage in other disciplines, such as psychology, political science, history and business.”
Content was purchased from Springer, John Wiley & Sons, Elsevier, Palgrave, ProjectMUSE, Taylor & Francis and Business Expert Press.
“Just as we provision a rich array of eJournal content, we are dedicated to enhancing access to eBook content,” Strawn said. “Digital rights management (DRM) free content purchases allow us to expand access without restrictive terms for our users.”]]>
I was introduced to Toews’ writing by a Canadian librarian who used to work at Cal Poly, and I loved her earlier novel, A Complicated Kindness. Both books are set in Canada, in a Mennonite community, which is Toews’ background as well. For me, Toews has a lock on skillfully combining tragedy and comedy, one of my favorite mixes in fiction. Puny Sorrows is no exception. I’m almost positive I could never be that patient a sister, but Toews somehow makes it believable. Still, one of the most satisfying and realistic parts of the book is the scene where Yoli, at Elfie’s bedside once again, finally runs out of sympathy:
Okay, okay, she said Don’t do that. You look so defeated.
I said well for god’s sake, Elfie, how do you think I should look?
I need you to be okay, she said. I need you to–
Are you fucking kidding me? I said. You need me to be okay? Oh my god. Oh my god. Look at you.
Okay, said Elf. Shhhh. Please. Let’s not talk. I’m sorry.
Have you ever thought about what I might need? I said. Has it occurred to you ever in your life that I’m the one that’s colossally fucked up and could use some sisterly support every once in a while? Have you ever got on an airplane every two weeks to rush to my side when I’m feeling like shit and wanting to die? Has it ever occurred to you that I’m not okay, that everything in my life is embarrassing, that I got knocked up twice by two different guys and had two divorces and and two affairs that were — are — not only a nightmare but also a cliche… Has it ever occurred to you that I have also lost my father to suicide, that I also am having a hard time getting over it … and that I also often think the whole thing is a ridiculous farce and that the only intelligent response to it is suicide but that I pull back from that conclusion…?
I made myself wait till I finished the book to look up Toews’ actual biography. It added an extra level of sadness to learn that the story very closely parallels her own.
author photo: The Globe and Mail]]>
Peterson spoke about the security implications of data storage systems and issues with encryption. He also adressed the challenges of digital forensics, a branch of forensic science encompassing the recovery and investigation of material found in digital devices, often in relation to computer crime.
“Everything we touch essentially produces data,” Peterson said. In other words, everything we click, whether we’re online shopping or looking at our online bank statements, produces data. Because there is so much of it, it’s challenging to protect.
In addition, financial data, medical records, things we’ve saved and things we’ve purchased are all valued differently, and protecting them is very important.
Peterson talked about cryptography as a way to protect our information. In the past 20 years, it has become one of the most popular ways to protect digital information. Cryptography is basically encrypting your information with a secret key. One of the biggest challenges with this method is making sure that your key is not guessable. Security falls apart if keys are guessable.
“I’m pessimistic in the short term, but optimistic in the long term,” Peterson said about solving data issues with cryptography.
Also, data deletion is an overlooked problem. You may think that simply deleting a file from your computer can be a great way to hide it if someone is looking for it. However, your computer only marks the file for deletion. So, not only is the file still accessible on your computer, the person looking for that file can tell you tried to delete it.
Another method people use to protect data is to try securely overwriting their data. In this method, existing data is overwritten with new data. This method can take a long time.
Peterson joked about personal data security awareness:
“I’m in the 4th stage currently,” Peterson joked.
On a serious note, Peterson said that two things need to happen for better security:
Many people do not know how to protect their information, or that they even have information to protect. Hopefully, once people are aware of it, they will do more to protect their data.
Learn more about Data Studio Presents.]]>
While Lonny did have a plan, he encouraged Karen and I to offer other ideas – which I think really revealed the collaborative aspects of appropriate technologies. Appropriate technologies require not just the collaboration of engineers and scientists, but also the community. In addition, in order for the technologies to be sustainable, scalable, and environmentally sound, solutions may involve:
….and so on!
The OSC taught me how to collaborate effectively, fit a lot of content into a small time slot (only one hour and a half hours!), and to work on a team where each person is specializing in a single aspect of the entire production – a lot like a theatrical performance.
One of the most valuable things I gained from the OSC is Lonny Grafman’s friendship. I appreciate Lonny’s authenticity. He was approachable, amicable, down-to-earth, and willing to engage with students, faculty, staff and community alike. I look forward to joining him in his future endeavors in appropriate technologies!
To those that may be interested in hosting an OSC, I suggest picking a guest speaker who you can see yourself becoming good friends with and collaborating with in the future!
Learn more about Nasim in an interview with Rachel Scott, communications and public programs student assistant.
Open Science Cafe student proposals are accepted in the fall. Learn more at Kennedy Library.]]>
Open Science Café is a competition for students to host a Cal Poly Science Cafe with the expert of their choice. This event was hosted by Nasim Delavari (MCRO ’15), who won one of two Open Science Café 2015 grants.
Appropriate technology is technology designed to be appropriate to its context. It is often developed using open source principles and emphasizes choice, people, scale and sustainability, among other considerations. It can be found in both developed and developing countries, built by local communities for local communities.
For example, Lonny talked about his experience in Las Malvinas in the Dominican Republic. First, the community determined one of their needs, the need for a new classroom. Then, they worked together to find a way to build that classroom using the resources that they had available to them.
“It starts with the chaos of the community building trust and projects,” Lonny said about the beginning stages of the process.
In this small community, plastic bottles were abundant. So, they came up with a way to build the classroom using plastic bottles as the main resource. And in about 6 weeks, Las Malvinas had a new classroom. For the full story, check out the Appropedia page!
To model the process, Lonny asked us what improvements could be made at Cal Poly. The audience had many suggestions:
Then, Lonny asked us to prioritize and narrow our list to five, which we did through nominal voting:
From here, we split into groups and brainstormed solutions for these issues, keeping in mind cost, sustainability and what materials/resources we have available.
I was in group 4, and we wanted to come up with a way for students to easily store heavy textbooks, laptops or whatever they need on campus. Our main solution was to use bike racks as foundations for lockers. We chose bike racks because they are all around campus and are used by a lot of students. Using existing materials, like water bottles, we could come up with a way to construct lockers to attach to the bike racks. Then, students could bring their own locks and store whatever they needed for their day.
At the end of brainstorming, each group had come up with innovative ways to solve their problem.
“I love this. In just 15 minutes we came up with great stuff,” Lonny said.
Something about Lonny’s talk stuck with me after the event: Often times, we either get caught up trying to solve big problems with even bigger solutions that really can’t happen, or decide that the problem is too big to solve. Instead, we can look at simplified solutions and use resources/materials we already have to actually solve the issue.]]>
Here’s what Blanche Brown, pictured above, says: “I think the civil rights movement was a big thing for me. I would be on the picket lines all the time. The first sit-in that was done, was actually started by me and a friend of mine.” – (Photo by Sky Bergman)
Everyone has a story to tell—a lifetime of firsthand tales which enrich, endear, and inspire. Lives Well Lived aims to enhance the power of stories to connect and inspire both the storyteller and the reader. You can be part of the project by sharing your web-based story or read some of the inspirational stories submitted by others. -from Lives Well Lived.
Sky contacted Catherine Trujillo, the library’s curator in Communications and Special Initiatives, to utilize the first floor community gallery to showcase her exhibit. It features photos of the subjects with their inspiring quotes, along with a digital clip from Sky’s upcoming documentary film of the same name, which will be released in the near future.
Viewers are encouraged to answer the question: what does it mean to live a life well lived?
“We are very excited to accommodate such an inspirational project,” Catherine said.
Preview some of the people featured in this project at Lives Well Lived.
Join us to celebrate this exhibit and meet Sky at an artists’ gathering on April 16 from 3-4pm. All are welcome!]]>
Cal Poly is the first CSU to become a member of CRL.
“This membership will provide our faculty and student researchers access to an extraordinary body of literature across disciplines, through both direct download and inter-library borrowing,” said Tim Strawn, Director of Information Resources.
For questions about CRL membership, contact Tim Strawn.]]>
The mouth is a weird place. Not quite inside and not quite out, not skin and not organ, but something in between: dark, wet, admitting access to an interior most people would rather not contemplate — where cancer starts, where the heart is broken, where the soul might just fail to show up.
I encouraged my patients to floss. It was hard to do some days. They should have flossed. Flossing prevents periodontal disease and can extend life up to seven years. It’s also time consuming and a general pain in the ass. That’s not the dentist talking. That’s the guy who comes home, four or five drinks in him, what a great evening, ha-has all around, and, the minute he takes up the floss, says to himself, What’s the point?
But not even Ferris could make a novel entirely about floss interesting (though I imagine he’d have a better shot than most authors). The plot device that keeps you turning pages here is one of stolen identity. Dr. O’Rourke is a ranter against social media, iPhone addiction, and the like, but suddenly one of his office staff notices that his practice has a website — then a Facebook page and a Twitter account. Annoying, but no real harm done — at least until these false identities of his are used in chat rooms to promote an obscure (fictional?) religion, which edges uncomfortably close to antisemitism. Suddenly he’s attached to his iPhone, following the controversies stirred up by the fictional Dr. O’Rourke, emailing “himself,” and defending himself to his staff, his Jewish ex-girlfriend, and her family, all of whom he’s convinced believe that he is secretly writing all the questionable material.
If it sounds like an existential crisis, it is, kind of. But it’s also very funny. I’ll admit that I bogged down a bit in the extended passages about the Amalekites (the religion, which apparently did exist in Old Testament times — though I imagine the belief system took a different form than the one described here). But the characters were engaging and memorable, if (especially in O’Rourke’s case) a little unhinged. As Ron Charles, book reviewer for The Washington Post puts it in his review, “You can rinse now. But you won’t get the taste of this harrowing story out of your mouth.”
author photo: Beowulf Sheehan]]>