From Science Fiction to Science Fact
Over the last century or so we have watched as some amazing history has written itself into the books. We have witnessed the collapse of nations, the installment of new ideas, and the extremely rapid rise of technology. We have watched as much of this new technology came alive from our favorite Science Fiction books, movies, and television shows.
Here are just a few examples of how we’ve seen science fiction become science fact.
In 1966 a new television show took the nation by storm – Star Trek, created by Gene Roddenberry, showed us a glimpse of what the future could hold. The United Federation of Planets not only strove to create peace on a galactic scale, but it did so using some amazing technology. One of these mind-blowing pieces of tech was a hand held, long range communicator. This tiny little idea and prop inspired Martin Cooper’s genius to bring us the invention of the cell phone almost 20 years after the airing of the first episode.
With a book, and years later a movie, we were chilled and slightly terrified by HAL. Created from the mind of Arthur C. Clarke; HAL, a Heuristically programmed Algorithmic computer, was the artificial intelligence that ran an exploratory nuclear vehicle Discovery XD-1 in 2001: A Space Odyssey. Today we have access to our own HAL-inspired personal assistants: Siri and Alexa; although not as terrifying as HAL, they can at times be just as annoying.
We definitely cannot forget one of the most famous, and prolific Science Fiction writers of the 20th century. Publishing books from 1947 to 1987; and a couple after his death in 1988, Robert A. Heinlein delighted audiences with stories of occasionally utopian and often quirky futures. Many of the things we use today, even some we are still looking forward to, came from his pages. Memory foam, hydraulic beds, water beds, (anyone else picking up on a comfort theme here?) and one that’s just about to roll out – the self-driving car.
From Mary Shelly to H.G. Wells, Isaac Asimov to Spider Robinson, the ideas of the future born from these writer’s minds have become a part of a history that points us further toward the future. So, remember next time you are watching Travelers, reading Michael Crichton or Larry Niven, not only are you reading Science Fiction, but you are possibly reading about an idea that might end up an everyday part of your life in the not-so-distant future.
Browser Extensions, Plugins, and Add-ons
We all love to customize things. We like to make them our own and give them a little touch of our personalities. With our cell phones, we buy colorful cases, download apps, and install custom ringtones. On our computers, we change the wallpaper and screen saver, install or uninstall programs and apps, and even install “extensions” in our web browsers.
Browser extensions, plugins, or add-ons, are small programs that increase or enhance the functionality of your web browser. these little programs can power-up your browser to handle a variety of tasks which most browsers wouldn’t be able to perform. Their ultimate goal, of course, is to make your online life easier and give you a better browsing experience.
How can browser extensions customize my internet experience?
Extensions can modify websites as they appear on your computer through adding, removing, or modifying content. In December 2015 there was a scare about seeing spoilers of the new Star Wars movie. Someone made a web extension that would block these spoilers from being seen until the fan got to see the movie for themselves.
Extensions can also give your online security a boost. Ad blockers like AbBlock Plus or uBlock Origin can blocks malicious pop-up, and keep annoying and potentially fraudulent ads from being displayed. Helping to keep you from falling for some of the more common computer scams.
Extensions can add additional features to your browser. An Extension called Web of Trust adds a safety feature to your web searching This extension shows you if a website is safe on the results page by adding a red, yellow or green dot next to the webpage.
Extensions can even combine with other services or apps. For example, you use Evernote, there is an extension called “Web Clipper” that allows you to highlight and automatically clips notes into your Evernote for use across all your technological devices.
One important thing to keep in mind about using browser extensions is that malicious extensions do exist. The best way to ensure that you don’t accidentally do more harm than good by loading one of these rogue extensions is to make sure that you only download and install extensions from your browser’s own web store.
Another thing to keep in mind is the more extensions you have running at once, the more RAM it takes for your browser to run, so try not to overdo it.
Of course, if you have any questions about browser extensions, or any other computer related question, feel free to reach out to Tech Force. We’re always happy to help!
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