Twenty-five years ago, on March 12, 1989, Tim Berners-Lee proposed "a universal linked information system" to help itinerant academics from across the globe run a complicated particle accelerator. Boy, did the World Wide Web ever exceed those initial expectations. Berners-Lee aimed to help the CERN facility in Switzerland, but he called for a system that worked much more broadly. And spread it did, fostered by the then-novel idea of hyperlinking that let people feed vast amounts of information into the Web, giving it a location and a way of finding it later. "The result should be sufficiently attractive to use that the information it contained would grow past a critical threshold, so that the usefulness the scheme would in turn encourage its increased use," Berners-Lee wrote. That positive feedback loop caught on, and Berners-Lee spawned a global technological and social force. He also founded the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) to help oversee the Web's technology. Even with … [Read more...] about Tim Berners-Lee: 25 years on, the Web still needs work (Q&A)
How do voip phone systems work
Audio conferencing using Voice over IP (VoIP) works very similarly to a traditional conference call using analog telephones. In a conference call, callers connect to a conference bridge, a server that allows multiple people to talk to one another. VoIP audio conferences use the same principle -- callers connect to a conference bridge via their telephones or computers. The main difference involves how the data moves from one point to another. Traditional telephones use circuit switching. For circuit-switched conferencing, the telephone system routes calls through a series of interconnected switches until it reaches the conference bridge. The conference bridge then connects multiple calls to one another. If all of the callers are located in the same office building, their calls connect to the bridge through the private branch exchange (PBX), which is a miniature phone network within the office. Either way, all the connections stay open as long as the call continues. Usually, only one … [Read more...] about How do Voice over IP audio conferences work?
A conference call is a telephone call in which three or more people converse simultaneously. Many companies use conference calls as a meeting tool or to distribute information to a large number of listeners at the same time. The two main types are MeetMe conferencing, in which each participant dials one number, and ad hoc conferencing, in which a moderator calls each participant. Conference calls connect people through a conference bridge, which is essentially a server that acts like a telephone and can answer multiple calls simultaneously. Software plays a large role in whether the bridge has capabilities beyond simply connecting multiple callers. A company can have its own bridge or can contract with a service provider for conference call hosting. Providers frequently offer add-on features for conference calls, such as attendee polling, call recording and in-call operators or attendants. Companies using Voice over IP (VoIP) telephones can also host conference calls themselves if the … [Read more...] about How do conference calls work?
Photo courtesy U.S. Department of Transportation In May 2006, two children in Texas helped stop a four-man home invasion in progress in their own home. That same month, a four-year-old boy helped save his mother's life when she started having an epileptic seizure, and a two-year-old beagle called for help when her person succumbed to a diabetic seizure - all by dialing nine, one and one on a telephone keypad (in the Beagle's case, she only pushed speed-dial number "9" and left the phone off the hook). These types of cases are an everyday occurrence at any 9-1-1 Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) in the United States. Okay, the beagle thing was pretty rare, but still not unheard of. As of 2006, 99 percent of the U.S. population has 9-1-1 service. There are 200 million 9-1-1 calls per year in the United States, and 9-1-1 call-takers encounter a mind-boggling array of emergencies in their line of work. They must be prepared for almost anything. One operator in … [Read more...] about How 9-1-1 Works
iRobot's ConnectR. Like a curling stone, except smarter. See more pictures of robots. Photo courtesy iRobot iRobot, a company founded by Massachusetts Institute of Technology roboticists, recently revealed the revolutionary ConnectR. Its newest robot looks a little bit like a curling stone, with a reddish-orange color reminiscent of the set of "2001: A Space Odyssey." The company has had success with its other robots, including the Roomba, a robot vacuum cleaner; the Scooba, a robot mop; and the Verro, which cleans pools. A gutter-cleaning robot, the Looj, was revealed by the company the same day as the ConnectR. Robot Image Gallery But the ConnectR is different from its siblings. Rather than to serve a strictly utilitarian function like cleaning floors, it was created for social purposes. As a virtual presence, the household bot is meant to keep far-off relatives and late-working parents connected to their families. The robot is based on the Roomba design and features two … [Read more...] about How ConnectR Works