Monday, November 26, 2012

Chromebook: Contender or Pretender?

The Google Chromebook is an interesting fusion that reveals a lot about Google, and possibly the future of computers. Firstly, what it reveals about Google. It reveals that Google aims to be relevant of all computing and internet related markets. Browser, search engine, social media, and now computers. Google is certainly making it their priority to be a provider of all the popular computer-related markets and they have at least succeeded in being there. Even though the numbers of people on Google Plus aren't as high as Facebook, they have made G+ known. Chromebook as a selling point is probably not great. With Windows taking huge leaps to try and stay in the computer business and Apple still dominating, the future doesn't look bright for this innovative introduction to the slowly progressing computer industry.

The coolest part about the Chromebook is that it's all online. That means that it doesn't need to be backed up. That won't be good for the hard drive makers, but for general convenience  it's pretty revolutionary. It seems similar to Windows 8 where all your information from online is on the home screen; the Chromebook is a more extreme version of that. Unfortunately, like most extreme ideas, it won't get much attention, so that idea may be dissolved in time, but it was a clever because most of what people do is now online, and it also creates a much more social environment. Being social is an increasingly important part of the internet, and the Chromebook is a peek into a possible future.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Black Friday: What's the Rush?

Today marks the biggest day in shopping of the entire year, Black Friday. This day has been here for almost a decade and people often don't know too much about its origin. So, why not take a look back? Ok, Black Friday became consistently the biggest day in shopping in 2005 (c). Before that from 1993 to 2001 it shifted around from fifth through tenth. The name originated in the city of Philadelphia where it was used to refer to the heavy traffic that would occur right after Thanksgiving. The 'black' was then changed to refer to when retailers were in the 'black', or turning a profit. The opening of Black Friday has gradually become sooner and sooner. Last year, companies like Target opened at midnight, a huge leap, however this year companies have even opened at 8 PM on Thursday. Black Friday has been a hectic day in history, even inducing some unfortunate violence. Finally, the reason for the day being right after Thanksgiving is mainly because it marks the beginning of the Christmas season, so people have an extra reason to shop.

Black Friday, from a retailers point of view is a big strategy game. Often they lose money on the items that are put on 'mega sale' because they expect the people who come in to buy other things too that they will make money back on. Also, to ensure that it happens like that, often the 'mega sale' items are not similar so people in theory will not be particularly interested in just buying those items. Another major front for them is advertising, new motto's, spokespeople and ideas. The first step in getting customers is alerting them of your brand, in terms of Black Friday, that is even more true. The last part of Black Friday for retailers is making sure that employees aren't unhappy, because the hours are getting longer, strikes are not impossible.

Should Black Friday exist? Yes. But only if the hours get more reasonable. If the hours are ok, than Black Friday benefits everyone. The other cool part about Black Friday is that inspired other shopping days like Small Business Saturday, but let's save that for a different article.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

The Wii U-nderdog

Nintendo is faced with a huge decision that could define its sales for a while to come. Stay in the family-oriented market, or change and try and expand to wider markets. Nintendo has a definite monopoly in the family game market, but the huge game buying demographic of teenagers seem to disgrace the Wii as a loser machine. So where does the new Wii U fit in?

The Wii U seems to be somewhere in the middle. It somewhat imitates the console quality anywhere device used first by Playstation. So that side is a lot towards the 'real gamer' side. The touchscreen and motion as well indicate complex controls, and that as well leans it towards the gamer side. However the major setback included with the Wii U for more passionate players is the selection of games. They are not necessarily the best for players who want to look good. The type of games are things like Mario, Lego, and Epic Mickey. Even though games like Black OPS II and Assassin's Creed III are available, the online will probably not have that many players on and again more serious players generally dislike the Wii. So, again, it fits somewhere in between.

The Wii U has a bit of an identity crisis that Nintendo needs to sort out. Personally, I would stick to the family market. It is often true that companies struggle and sometimes even terminate because of they try to do too much. Sticking in that niche will give them sufficient profit and has already been proven to do so. They also have no real competition in that niche, but if they try to expand, they end up in virtually impenetrable Xbox and Playstation territory. To sum up the U in terms of sales in one simile:  it should sell like hot cakes... on a Tuesday.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Voting mini-series-Proportional voting

So, proportional voting. Considered to be the most democratic form of voting. Basically, people vote for the president, and based on those results, that decides the people in the senate (or Parliament or house of Representatives). So, as an example if 5% of the votes go to the Libertarian party, if the congress contains 100 seats, then the Libertarians get 5 seats. How do they decide on who from the party? Well, before the election, each party submits a list of people, and if they get 5 seats the first 5 on the list make it into the congress.

Personally, this form of voting seems almost perfect, as you can tell from my former article on why voting for a third party candidate is a good idea ( In this form, it makes it so that everyone is represented, for a real example, take Gary Johnson, who won almost 2% of the vote, but he obviously didn't win and there are no Libertarians (Gary Johnson's party of association) in congress. Depending on how you define Democracy, this could technically be the most democratic because the people are represented. As far as cons, I'm pretty much speechless, there aren't any ones to mention. Due to this, it's definitely the best form of Democratic voting.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Popular Vote-Yay or Nay?

Recently, some buzz has been created about changing the voting system. Changing the system of government used since the founding of America, the Electoral College. Some background on the Electoral College: It was created by the founding fathers of America as an alternative to popular and proportional vote counting. The reason for not using the popular vote was that they believed that people would just vote for the runner in their state, and then the majority would not properly be represented, so they decided on the Electoral College, where each state has a number of votes, and when they vote for a candidate (based on majority), that candidate gets the vote. Currently, the amount of votes needed to win the presidency is 270.

So, just using the popular vote, why is that useful? Well, it would more effectively represent the majority in voting. Democracies are by nature, supposed to represent the majority of the people's wishes. Well doesn't the Electoral College do that? No, in the election of 2000, Albert Gore won the popular vote, but lost the election, thus using the popular vote system is more democratic. Also, it could influence people, and encourage them to vote. In states now, some people don't vote because they know that the state will support one candidate or another with its electoral votes, but if it contributes to the popular vote and that decides the president, then people will see that their vote has more value. It can also foil state by state voting fraud, because the popular vote is less based on state by state decisions, and more on the country's decision

In terms of cons, there doesn't appear to be any, except that switching might be an odd transition. Because of that, switching to the popular vote is the most sensible decision. The Electoral College was created hundreds of years ago, and times have changed, so it needs to be changed to fit the current agenda. For more on voting, and why it's important at:

Friday, November 16, 2012

3 Reasons Why the World Won't End in 2012

1. Mayans Didn't Include Leap Year Days

Because of that fact, the world according to the Mayans ended sometime in June of last year on the Gregorian Calendar.  It also is a hint that their calendar wasn't fully accurate.

2. It was Created Thousands of Years Ago

Scientists today cannot even predict when the exact end of the world will be, so why would an Ancient Civilization? Sure, the Mayans were ahead of their time, but they weren't prophets. Consider this: there was someone who was assigned the job of making the yearly calendar. He can only continue for so long, their calendars were also very elaborate, and then, 2012 was 2,500 years in the future, and even now we know barely anything of what the Earth will be like in 4512. We also don't think about it. So basically, the Mayans had to stop somewhere, and talking about 2,500 years in the future was already beyond them, so it's possible that they just needed an ending point and randomly chose December 21st 2012.

3. It Is Completely Illogical

The Mayans said that time would rewind in 2012. Scientifically, that makes no sense. Time continues forever, and does not miss a beat. Ok, even if that is discarded and another way like natural disasters is substituted, it still makes no sense. Why would a huge amount of disasters all occur on one day. There is no meteor warning, hurricane warning, or even major earthquake warning that we know of for December 21st.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

AO-From Hero to Zero

The rating Adult Only love it or hate it, it's had a everlasting effect on video game culture, its become under attack whether on not it should exist. So let's take a look back at the many faces of the AO rating.

Early days: AO was feared by parents everywhere. With the new creation of video game ratings, they were much more strict in ratings and the ratings were usually one step down from where they are today (M would have been AO, E 10+ would have been M). AO was used rarely, but mainly untouched by buyers. The first AO rated game without a recall was Manhunt 2 made by Rockstar on the 29th of October, 2007. The slaes were verall very poor, but started to pickup, as AO entered its middle stage.

Middle Stage;After the early days where it would look like blasphemy for a child to play or own an AO game, it began to become cool and "bad" to own AO games. It became like a way to separate boys from men in the school playgrounds. Much like M today. Game developers began to cherish the idea of getting the AO rating, because it would increase sales.

Now: AO has become archaic for gamers and it's almost as unused as EC (early childhood). People have even forgotten about it. Mainly, because if a game gets the rating now, then it is pretty much like getting the plague. It's also not ;or teenagers, the main game buyer demographic. So it has become a no-win situation for everyone, both the makers and the buyers.

So, the verdict: will it stay or will it go? Well in the words of the Clash: "if I go there will be trouble, if I stay there will be double". In other words, if AO ends up in the history books, gamers will protest the loss of a former icon, but if it stays, video game activists will just bring it up again and we could be in the same position not to far in the future. In the end however, it will probably stay, because if it stays it most likely won't be used again, therefore it will stay just to provide

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

To Build or Not to Build

Recently, as hurricane Sandy victims on Long Island and all throughout New Jersey continued their work to rebuild, proposals from area government officials started flooding in about what to do to prevent damage of this caliber in New York City in the future. The main proposal is a 10 Billion dollar dam that would protect the areas in New York City bordering the water. The money is to be asked for from the federal government, but the question is, to build or not to build?

Beginning with the reasons for, in the past two years in the NE area, there have been hurricanes, that hasn't happened for at least a decade before it, so the frequency is seeming to increase, as well as the fact that there have been two major hurricanes hit harbor cities in the US in the last decade that have cost billions in damage. Sandy cost approximately 14 billion in damages, so a 10 billion dollar wall aimed at preventing such damage seems like a bargain. A huge question is whether or not newly re-elected President Obama will agree to the plans. However, the idea that he would refuse makes no sense from a governmental standpoint, because the whole job of a government is to protect its people.

For the against side, most of them do not believe in global warming and/or the effects of it, so they say Sandy is once in a half of a millennium occurrence, which has been put down by the even more damaging great hurricane of 1938, but nevertheless the argument might have some prowess. Also, people (mainly outside NYC) say that it would contribute to more national debt, hence hurting many to save some. Also, the problem of blocking views of the river and if there is a storm during the construction then everything would be destroyed and take more money and resources.

The actual probability of it happening is high because people say Obama wouldn't do it because it would anger people outside of NY and NJ, but now that he's on his last term, he doesn't have to restrain himself by whether or not he thinks swing voters will like his actions or not, so he has the means to do it. He has also collaborated recently with the representatives of NY recently hence he is no stranger to collaboration with them. Also after the storm damage gets cleared the victims will definitely be pushing for storm damage prevention measures.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

NASA- Has it taken its final step?

Recently, the United States cut funding to NASA as a method of belt-tightening. NASA could see many more cuts like the 300 million dollar cut it is set to endure in 2013. So, is exploring the final frontier really necessary? Is NASA a thing of the past?First, it would behoove us to take a look back at NASA's origin.National Aeronautics and Space Administration was founded NASA was established by the National Aeronautics and Space Acton July 29, 1958, to replace the ineffective National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics(NACA) and to respond to Russia's recent space-related breakthroughs. NASA's official inauguration was October 1st, 1958. They were established with the purpose of better understanding Earth and the solar system through space missions. Their other main pillar was that all space missions were to be conducted with the intention of peace, hence the phrase "We come in peace". Their first mission was titled Little Joe 1, which was created to test the escape system on the Mercury rocket. Unfortunately, after a premature launch, NASA's first mission only lasted 20 seconds, but that was just the beginning of many successes to come.

NASA has many pros to it, NASA has helped discover many different things about where we came from and how the universe came to be. Big Bang theory (no, not the show) was NASA's doing, all the pictures of Earth we have ever gotten from America, NASA, first and only people to ever walk on the moon, NASA. So, at least it's safe to say that NASA has turned up some good results over its 54 year life-span. NASA has also helped the country in many ways, it won a non-violent space war with Russia, it made the US the king of the final frontier. So, why is it all of a sudden so unimportant in the public eye? Well, NASA lost what little boys and girls dreamt of in the days of the astronauts, it lost the dream. The dream of being an astronaut, a modern explorer of the unknown, discovering all the universe has to offer. Now that we have covered almost all of what humans could possibly get to for a long while, peoples' interest has wavered. The dream of being an astronaut seems to have become outdated, there was little fuss over cutting funding to NASA in the public. And seeing as all science is driven curiosity that deals a major blow to NASA.  NASA may have lost 'the dream' but NASA's time is not yet over, space exploration in America will not become a thing of the past for a long time to come.        

Friday, November 9, 2012

Alternative Energy-Natural Gas

Natural Gas

Pros: Natural gas is already a familiar face among those in the energy business. Many homes are heated with natural gas already in areas that have it available. The most interesting part of natural gas is possibly that it can actually help everyday people. If you own land over a place where gas companies want to drill, as an owner of that property, you sign a lease that settles an amount per acre for the amount of time that they will be drilling, those amounts usually range around $1,000-$2,000 per acre in the major natural gas area of the North East U.S. Also, they have to pay 12.5% of their profits that they gain from drilling under your property. There was even recently of a case where just on the 12.5% (not including lease money and job income) someone made $960,000 a year. Not only that, but natural gas has the least amount of carbon dioxide emissions of any fossil fuel. Natural gas also has the advantage of being familiar because it is closely related to gasoline.

Cons: There is a major drawback to natural gas as an energy alternative to gas. Hydrofracking. In short, hydrofracking is when gas companies pump down water, chemicals, and sand into the drilling holes to extract the gas. The main issues with this is that one: where the dirty water is disposed of, two: the fresh water near the drilling holes getting polluted and three: it takes a huge amount of fresh water. On top of that, because it's a fossil fuel, the amount of gas is finite and therefore we could end up in the same situation we are in now with running out of gasoline; in 50 years, we could be running out of natural gas.  

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Voting: A Citizen's Greatest Obligation

Voting is something that many people in America have written off as useless, or unnecessary. There are countless numbers of reasons why that is the wrong decision. The first reason people in America decide not to vote is because they think that one vote doesn't make a difference. Well, as the saying goes if you think you're too small to make a difference, try going to bed with a mosquito in the room. Every vote counts. Some elections have come down to only tens of thousands of people, and this one is shaping up to be one of the closest yet. The first city to vote, a small town of 10 in New Hampshire tied for the first time ever 5 to 5, if only one of them hadn't voted, than the results would have been swayed. Okay, most non-voters would then reply that they don't live in a small town so it doesn't matter, well, over 30% of eligible voters did not vote last election, if they all voted for John McCain, he would have become president.

Another set of reasons would be that they live in a 'set state' that always votes Democrat or vice versa. That reason could be because a huge amount of people there don't vote. People might also say that voting is inconvenient  however it's pretty clear that one day every four years of voting can't really be called an inconvenience. Some say voting is rigged, well, that may be true, but if your vote is counted, and you vote for a candidate who supports voting fraud reducing legislation, then that could change.

The last reason is because voting is a privilege and it is disrespectful to abuse it. Many people believe throwing food away is a horrible thing to do, because it is disrespectful to those who don't have to be wasting what those in need could have had. The same applies to voting. The founders of America fought and lost many patriots in the fight for independence and democracy, so it's important we honor those men's great work every time we go to vote. The last reason is that it sets a good example for the rest of the world. People say that America should be a leader in the world. Well shouldn't a country that wants to lead the world at least be able to have its people vote? Voting decides a country's future for four years, it effects everybody. Fellow Americans, please vote.   

Alternative Energy-Algae

Algae Biofuels:

Pros: Algae is one of if not the most productive of all the plant-based biofuels in terms of production. It produces 60% of his weight in fuel, some producers plan to make 1,000 pounds of fuel per acre. Algae fuel is also planned to start becoming a major player in the energy race, two companies are set to make 50,000 gallons in 2013, so it already has a plan to become a viable option soon. It's also land-based rather then the largely ocean-based gasoline extraction, which could help heal the oceans.

Cons: Algae is seriously expensive to turn into fuel, straining, refining, and changing the algae into oil is a huge thing to adopt, and the 2013 50,000 gallons plan has already cost 3 billion, and that wouldn't even last a day for America alone. The amount of land that would be taken up by algae farms is a lot. Also for some, killing and manipulating algae being that it is a life-form could be considered immoral.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Windows 8-Underneath the Surface

Recently, Windows launched what could be their swansong to the world. This new interface has a few revolutionary ideas that could end up on the next Apple operating system. Windows had the ground-breaking idea of putting everything people do on the internet, on the home screen. Email, Facebook notifications, games etc. Since a lot of what mobile phones are used for is checking those things, it makes perfect sense to put it right there on the home screen so everything is in one place. For some, that might be a little uncomfortable, the suspense of taking a little time to see notifications can be reassuring sometimes. Well, then just use the home page provided, and everything is back to what you used to see. The new picture password and convertible computer that changes into a tablet is also something that could be just as popular as slide to unlock in the future.

Microsoft is making a big deal out of this. In NYC, they've opened a pop-up store in Times Square and put signs for free Wi-Fi all over the subway. The new logo they unveiled a little while ago was probably also part of releasing Windows 8. They're also including "Microsoft" at the end of their Xbox commercials to try and reinforce that Microsoft makes the Xbox as to relate the popularity of the Xbox to the Microsoft brand. The new ads that are very close to Apple's. In short, Microsoft is going all out on their marketing sector for the new Windows 8. That is probably a good idea considering Windows 7's advertising was just commercials as usual, and even though the catchy 'Windows 7 was my idea' was a good marketing trick, but Windows 7 still didn't do so well. So in short, increasing the focus on advertising is not a bad move.

Basically, the success of Windows 8 is defined by whether or not people will give it a chance in the highly Apple dominated market. With the new features, it has the potential to be widely popular. Fortunately, Apple is not releasing the iPad 3 for a while, so all those who want just the latest technology will migrate to this over the iPad Mini. This new interface has a lot of new stuff that could change he tablet and computer industry for a long time to come, but the question again is are people tired of Apple and wanting to switch, or is Apple not yet ready to step down. 

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Alternative Energy-Electricity

Pros: Electricity is by far the most recognized of all the alternative energy sources and fully electric cars have already hit the market and had decent sales. There are also charging points that have been set up internationally, so the monetary problem is lessened. Being that it has been highly publicized as the most likely improvement for gasoline in cars, the technology has already been developed and thought out. Like in NYC who will introduce cab with the potential to be produced fully electric. A plus of the charging system is that it is small and can be placed almost anywhere and takes up very little space. It can also be plugged in  anywhere, which makes it more convenient than waiting in line for gas.

Cons: The main issue is if there is a blackout, then there is no place to recharge emergency vehicles like ambulances and firetrucks which may be crucial in crisis situations. There can also be dangerous electrical surges that could seriously injure someone or fry their car which becomes a lawsuit that could create a huge mess. The other major problem is where the electricity comes from, massive amounts of electricity are produced with nuclear power, which is not clean energy, so in the end it might not be so clean after all. 

Saturday, November 3, 2012

New Series! (Alternative energy-Hydrogen)

This new series is going to focus on different types of alternative energy that would replace gasoline for cars, It will point out pros and cons of each one and you can decide for yourself which you think should be the replacement (and feel free to post it in the comment section!) Anyway, without further a due here is iExellence's first series:


Pros: The potential for this is huge considering that hydrogen is the most abundant element in the known Universe so immediately the first pro is that it basically cannot run out. Another pro coming out of that fact is that it makes so the energy is available to all countries and is not specific to the countries that were fortunate enough to have oil on their lands. That is major because it means that all the third world countries would have access to abundant energy and that could be a huge boost for struggling or developing nations. Additionally, because of the process in which the fuel cell that creates the power works, the byproducts are only heat and water. Hydrogen is also the lightest element, which would help cars be faster and have better braking distances. The process by which the car would be refueled could also be dramatically revolutionized as ideas like filling stations in personal garages or even in the car itself, so you could be filling the car with tap water.

Cons: The fist is that it would most likely be hugely expensive, and even though there are a small amount of hydrogen filling stations in the world, those aren't nearly enough to power the world if if we were to make the switch. Hydrogen is also highly explosive, so having it in your car or at home in a generator could be seriously dangerous (although so is gasoline). Also, hydrogen is a pain to store because it's a gas and wants to spread out. 

To learn more about hydrogen power: Click here       

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Apple's Leap of Faith-The iPad Mini

Recently, Apple announced the launch of the iPad Mini. This, in the interest of sales in absolutely genius, it provides an entry-level tablet for those who can’t afford the higher-priced iPad, can still enjoy the social benefits of having an Apple, but still have enough money for dinner. These should fly off the shelves into the hands of parents, singles, and college students. Those demographics are absolutely perfect for the iPad Mini, Parents can use it, save some money, and also not pull their hair out every time they lend it to their children. Singles and college students would buy it more for the ‘Apple for less’ appeal.   

Another plus about the Mini is that it could open a whole new market for Apple, the mid-range in between phone and tablet. Those have the potential to become the new big thing, the new tech that everyone has, and even more people could have it because it’s cheaper. Not only that but it makes so that they have a counter for the increasing popular Kindle Fire and the high potential Microsoft Surface.   

The kickback to the iPad Mini could possibly be just as bad as the sales are good. It could anger their main fan base, the wealthy lawyers. Before the Mini, Apple products were somewhat a way to “separate the boys from the men” meaning it separated the wealthy from the not so fortunate. However, with the Mini, this could lessen the gap even more and risk angering their main Apple users, however it does beg the question, where else could they get high-priced computers and tablets? In that sense Apple has them pretty much cornered.

The other issue is the cheapening of the brand. If Ferrari made a $16,000 car, they would make a huge amount of money, but that is a one-time trick. After that, if they make another cheap model, then the brand gets recognized as cheap, thus they stop wanting one so bad. The same applies to Apple, they’ve spend so much time building up a recognized high-end brand, but if they use this card twice, then all that hard work goes down the drain. If they over-use it, not only does their brand become know as ‘cheap’, but there are companies like Microsoft and Google that would love to get that niche that Apple has, and since the Chromebook isn’t yet established in the general publics’ eyes, they have the potential to easily slip in that niche that Apple currently occupies. The way we can tell how the Mini is affecting Apple is looking at the stocks, and how they are faring should indicate whether the Mini is a failure or a success.