What is Communications Technology?

Broadly speaking, the term ‘communications technology’ can refer to any technology that allows its users to communicate with one another. Using this (admittedly loose) definition, two-way radios and mobile phones fall into the category of ‘communications technology’.

The term also refers to computers and computer-related work. Here in the UK, schoolchildren study a subject called ‘ICT‘ this stands for ‘Information and Technology’ (although when this rapidly ageing writer was at school, it was known simply as ‘IT’ or, ‘Information Technology’).

As the Internet has become a more and more prevalent part of our society, communications over longer distances have become significantly easier. In fact, such communications are easier now than at any other time in Human history. Ergo, it stands to reason that computers should be considered as a prime form of communications technology.

communications technologyBasic, everyday acts such as checking your emails, updating your Facebook or Twitter feed, answering the phone, or taking Skype calls are all a part of ‘communications technology’ as are the two-way radios used by public transport, security firms and the emergency services.

A person who makes a living by working with ‘comms tech’ is likely involved in the designing, creating, implementing or maintaining of communicational systems. Such systems can include radio networks, mobile phone providers, telephone companies, even television. It is a broad and ever-expanding field, which makes it difficult to ascertain exactly what a person actually does if they list it as their job title.

When somebody tells you that they are a plumber, for example, you get a broad idea of what they do for a living all day. If I tell you that I am a professional copywriter, you at least have some notion as to what that entails. A person who works in the field of ‘comm tech’ could be doing almost anything.

In case you’re wondering, the Internet itself can be considered as a communication technology, given that any person who uploads videos or writes blogs is communicating the very second that those blogs are read or those videos are watched.

Telecom’s is a huge field and, as I think you’ll agree, a pretty important one. Without the ability to communicate with others, either via short distances on your mobile or much longer distances (such as the distance between our office in the UK and your home on the African continent), this world would be a vastly different place.

What is the Best Bluetooth Headset for Exercising?

Asked by Hiromi in Osaka

Hi Hiromi, How’s life in Japan? I’d love to visit one day, but until then, here’s your answer…

It all depends on how much you sweat. Yes, I know that’s a little bit indelicate of me, but unfortunately it happens to be true. I’ve read many, many customer reviews of otherwise fine and good headsets that claim to be designed for joggers, but that conk out the first time they get significantly wet…

Headsets designed for jogging are often created so that they won’t fall out of your ears as you run, with almost no concern placed on how much you may sweat during the run. Some people sweat a lot and some sweat very little. In either instance, your sweat level needs to be a factor in your purchasing decision (and there’s no nicer way to say it than that!)

Then, another factor to consider is how much the headset will isolate you from your surroundings as you run. Noise cancellation headsets might do a superlative job if you’re running past a noisy construction site, but they aren’t going to be much help in the wake of oncoming traffic. Again, it comes down to individual choice. Some runners subscribe to the Linford Christie ‘bullet from a gun’ mentality, whilst others simply enjoy a bit of exercise, but also like to stay aware of what’s going on around them.

It is also misleading to assume that a branded headset from a sportswear manufacturer is in any way superior to one designed by a trusted electronics firm. In many/most instances, the opposite is actually true.

Sadly, even so called ‘sweat resistant’ headsets are often anything but and there isn’t a lot you can actually do to get your money back. Your best bet, if you ask me, is to buy a mid-range headset, use it specifically for jogging/going to the gym and don’t expect it to last for very long. If it performs badly, chalk it up to experience and buy a different headset, if it lasts for a decent period of time, then replace it with a similar model, or else the same one again.

I’ll be honest; every so often I get one of these questions that I find hard to answer, as no amount of research will really help. Type in the name of any ‘Bluetooth Headset for Jogging’ into Amazon (or whatever the Japanese equivalent of Amazon may be) and you’ll read just as many complaints in the reviews as praises.

Due to this, I’m reluctant to name specific models, because they may not actually work for you. I’d hate to say, “Oh, this headset works really well”, only to have you write back “Does it b*llocks!”. I have personally reviewed several pairs of headphones online (which you can view by clicking HERE), but not any Bluetooth headsets (to the best of my recollection), so I’m afraid that’s all the advice I can give you on this one!

What Gives Kevlar Its Strength?

You mean besides reinforcing the tyres on the Batmobile? (True Bat-Fact – look it up).

For those not in the know, Kevlar (or Poly-paraphenylene terephthalamide, to give the material its scientific name) is a very tough and durable man-made fibre. It was first developed in 1965 by Polish-American scientist Stephanie Kwolek and has been commercially used around the world since the early 1970’s. Today, Kevlar is available in several grades, which are used for different tasks and exhibit greater, or lesser, tensile strength as well as flexibility and tenacity.

Since its introduction in 1971, Kevlar has been used for body armour (i.e. bullet proof vests), army helmets/protective gear, car and bicycle tyres (I once had a set, actually), protective clothing, paraglider suspension lines, shoe tread, headphones, musical instruments (strings and drumskins), fire resistant clothing, kitchenware (for its non-stick properties), cables and ropes, brake pads in cars, smartphone casing and even wind-turbines.

According to DuPont, Kevlar’s parent company,

“It’s about resilience, strength, saving the day, and helping keep people safe from harm —DuPont™ Kevlar®. DuPont™ Kevlar® aramid fiber is used to make a variety of clothing, accessories, and equipment safe and cut resistant. It’s lightweight and extraordinarily strong, with five times the strength of steel on an equal-weight basis. Best known for its use in ballistic and stab-resistant body armor, Kevlar® brand aramid fiber has shown its own heroism in helping to save the lives of thousands of people around the world. And since its invention over 40 years ago, things have only gotten better. DuPont™ Kevlar® continues to take on new challenges, with our scientists continuously innovating and working on a range of new opportunities through collaborations with communities, industrial manufacturers, and governments. Together we’re bringing the strength and durability of Kevlar® to so much more. The result? Kevlar® aramid fiber is now successfully used in everything from vehicles and industrial clothing to fiber optics and city roads. And we’re only getting started”.

The discovery of this wonderful material is actually quite an interesting story. Back in 1964, Kwolek’s group was searching for a way to make tyres stronger, but also a little bit lighter. Apparently, the by-products of their solutions were usually thrown away, but Kwolek saw potential in one of them, as it had formed a type of liquid crystal, something that had never been seen in their polymers before. She tested the strength of the new material and discovered that it was extremely strong. The rest, as they say, is Wikipedia.

Oh, Happy New Year, by the way! 🙂

How did people communicate with each other 100 years ago?

Asked by Barbara from Basingstoke

 

Hi Barbara from Basingstoke (I like that, it has a nice ring to it), 

I presume you mean to ask me how people communicated over long distances, because otherwise the answer would simply be ‘they talked to each other, just as they do today’. I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt, but please be more specific in future! (Kidding!)

OK, so 100 years ago, in 1914, the telephone was still in its infancy, relatively speaking. 99 years ago, Thomas Watson made the first coast-to-coast phone call in America, so that should give you some idea of where the telephone was, development wise.

However, the invention had been patented since 1876 and 1877 had seen the first long-distance phone call placed. But by and large, telephones were not an overly common part of people’s lives the way they are now.

More common was the telegraph, which had been knocking around for a while by then. People in official positions tended to use that, but it wouldn’t have been a fixture of regular people’s houses.

Far more common than telephone or telegraph was the postal service. In 1914, if you wanted to contact a friend, relative, or loved one, you wrote to them. The working classes were better educated than at any other time in history (up to that point) and literacy was improving (although it certainly wasn’t at the near-ubiquitous level of today). Letters took a long time to arrive by today’s standards, so they tended to be longer and more absorbing than, say, a Facebook chat is today. In fact, intellectuals, authors and politicians would often engage themselves in long-winded and exhaustive intellectual contests via thorough, essay-length correspondences.

Another option would have been to speak via mutual acquaintances. Literature of the period frequently involves friends using a mutual friend in order to carry on a long-distance discussion and it is my understanding that this was quite a common practice. Interestingly, this may very well have shaped the development of certain customs in society (such as ‘good manners’ vs. ‘bad manners’ regarding correspondence etiquette). With our communication methods of today being so vastly different, it remains to be seen how our society will come to reflect this. 

Truly Communication? The Modern Communication : A Normative Critique.

Communication is the activity of conveying information through the exchange of thoughts, messages, or information, as by speech, visuals, signals, writing, or behavior. It is the meaningful exchange of information between two or more living creatures.
One definition of communication is “any act by which one person gives to or receives from another person information about that person’s needs, desires, perceptions, knowledge, or affective states. Communication may be intentional or unintentional, may involve conventional or unconventional signals, may take linguistic or non-linguistic forms, and may occur through spoken or other modes.”
Communication requires a sender, a message, and a recipient, although the receiver doesn’t have to be present or aware of the sender’s intent to communicate at the time of communication; thus communication can occur across vast distances in time and space. Communication requires that the communicating parties share an area of communicative commonality. The communication process is complete once the receiver understands the sender’s message.
Communicating with others involves three primary steps:
Thought: First, information exists in the mind of the sender. This can be a concept, idea, information, or feelings.
Encoding: Next, a message is sent to a receiver in words or other symbols.
Decoding: Lastly, the receiver translates the words or symbols into a concept or information that a person can understand.
There are a variety of verbal and non-verbal forms of communication. These include body language, eye contact, sign language, haptic communication,and chronemics. Other examples are media content such as pictures, graphics, sound, and writing. The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities also defines the communication to include the display of text, Braille, tactile communication, large print, accessible multimedia, as well as written and plain language, human-reader, augmentative and alternative modes, means and formats of communication, including accessible information and communication technology. Feedback is a critical component of effective communication.
Verbal communication
Human spoken and pictorial languages can be described as a system of symbols and the grammars by which the symbols are manipulated. The word “language” also refers to common properties of languages. Language learning normally occurs most intensively during human childhood. Most of the thousands of human languages use patterns of sound or gesture for symbols which enable communication with others around them. Languages seem to share certain properties although many of these include exceptions. There is no defined line between a language and a dialect. Constructed languages such as Esperanto, programming languages, and various mathematical formalisms are not necessarily restricted to the properties shared by human languages. Communication is the flow or exchange of information within people or a group of people.
Nonverbal communication
Nonverbal communication describes the process of conveying meaning in the form of non-word messages. Some forms of non verbal communication include chronemics, haptics, gesture, body language or posture, facial expression and eye contact, object communication such as clothing, hairstyles, architecture, symbols, infographics, and tone of voice, as well as through an aggregate of the above. Speech also contains nonverbal elements known as paralanguage. These include voice lesson quality, emotion and speaking style as well as prosodic features such as rhythm, intonation and stress. Research has shown that up to 55% of human communication may occur through non verbal facial expressions, and a further 38% through paralanguage. Likewise, written texts include nonverbal elements such as handwriting style, spatial arrangement of words and the use of emoticons to convey emotional expressions in pictorial form.
Oral communication
Oral communication, while primarily referring to spoken verbal communication, can also employ visual aids and non-verbal elements to support the conveyance of meaning. Oral communication includes speeches, presentations, discussions, and aspects of interpersonal communication. As a type of face-to-face communication, body language and choice tonality play a significant role, and may have a greater impact upon the listener than informational content. This type of communication also garners immediate feedback.
Business communication
A business can flourish only when all objectives of the organization are achieved effectively. For efficiency in an organization, all the people of the organization must be able to convey their message properly.
Written communication and its historical development
Over time the forms of and ideas about communication have evolved through the continuing progression of technology. Advances include communications psychology and media psychology, an emerging field of study.
The progression of written communication can be divided into three “information communication revolutions”:
# Written communication first emerged through the use of pictographs. The pictograms were made in stone, hence written communication was not yet mobile.
# The next step occurred when writing began to appear on paper, papyrus, clay, wax, etc. with common alphabets. Communication became mobile.
# The final stage is characterized by the transfer of information through controlled waves of electromagnetic radiation and other electronic signals.
Communication is thus a process by which meaning is assigned and conveyed in an attempt to create shared understanding. This process, which requires a vast repertoire of skills in interpersonal processing, listening, observing, speaking, questioning, analyzing, gestures, and evaluating enables collaboration and cooperation.
Misunderstandings can be anticipated and solved through formulations, questions and answers, paraphrasing, examples, and stories of strategic talk. Written communication can be clarified by planning follow-up talks on critical written communication as part of the every-day way of doing business. A few minutes spent talking in the present will save valuable time later by avoiding misunderstandings in advance. A frequent method for this purpose is reiterating what one heard in one’s own words and asking the other person if that really was what was meant.
Effective communication
Effective communication occurs when a desired effect is the result of intentional or unintentional information sharing, which is interpreted between multiple entities and acted on in a desired way. This effect also ensures the messages are not distorted during the communication process. Effective communication should generate the desired effect and maintain the effect, with the potential to increase the effect of the message. Therefore, effective communication serves the purpose for which it was planned or designed. Possible purposes might be to elicit change, generate action, create understanding, inform or communicate a certain idea or point of view. When the desired effect is not achieved, factors such as barriers to communication are explored, with the intention being to discover how the communication has been ineffective.
Barriers to effective human communication
Barriers to effective communication can retard or distort the message and intention of the message being conveyed which may result in failure of the communication process or an effect that is undesirable. These include filtering, selective perception, information overload, emotions, language, silence, communication apprehension, gender differences and political correctness
This also includes a lack of expressing “knowledge-appropriate” communication, which occurs when a person uses ambiguous or complex legal words, medical jargon, or descriptions of a situation or environment that is not understood by the recipient. Continue reading

Say I’m in a high-speed car chase, what’s the best way to escape the police?

(Asked by Nick from Kent)

In my experience, the weapons cheat usually works a treat. I find that a roadblock is considerably less of an issue if you’re armed with a rocket launcher and twin uzis…

As for the real world, one wonders just why you’re asking me, Nick? (I really don’t want this article popping up as evidence at your trial while I go down for aiding an abetting you). Still, I must answer the questions my editor selects for me, so I’ll give this one a go (but don’t come crying to me if you end up serving several consecutive life sentences, OK?) Continue reading

What is all this about the walkie talkie tower

I’m delighted you asked. 20 Fenchurch Street, warmly named as the ‘Walkie Talkie Tower’ and less affectionately called as the ‘Walkie Scorchie’ (yeah, that is a name that is by no means catching on), is a commercial skyscraper in central London. It is presently under construction and isn’t expected to be completed until next year. When all is said and done, it will eventually have cost some £200 Million to construct.

 

The building gets its nickname as it is thought to resemble a walkie talkie (while, being honest, I can not see it myself). It’s also referred to as the pint, something that was way more fitting. Continue reading

Bluetooth headsets, how to define the distinctions between a few of them

2013 can be described as year which will see more individuals than ever using Bluetooth headphones and we’re fully commited to ensuring that those individuals are using the very best existing styles. A Bluetooth headset may be a virtual requirement if you need to carry out business in today’s fast-paced modern world.

First, the basics:

You can use Bluetooth technology for a number of specific jobs, most notably the wireless transfer of information from one device to a different. Still, because Bluetooth only works over relatively short areas, it’s in reality a lot better for connecting headsets to mobile phones. Continue reading

What’s the equipment that makes an headphone work?

To state it exceptionally easily, your earpiece features a piece of plastic that vibrates in accordance to those signals received out of your player it is connected to. The plastic moves directly to a metal curl that is attached to the magnet, that permits the plastic to create the noise waves that play into your ear.

That is it, in truth. It seems easy enough, but I couldn’t have considered it.

Jezen Thomas at eHow.com offers a more thorough justification to us, he states this, Continue reading

Active headphones or Passive Earphones?Which one should you use?

Hi and welcome to a new group of solutions to the earphones inquiries. Ever wanted to learn about something headphone, earpiece or headset related? Now is your opportunity. Due to a great amount of inquiries we’re so regularly asked, we have reached into our mailbag and picked up the nine most significant (and most frequently submitted) questions. Enjoy.

Oh, by the way, in case your query is not below, then simply dispatch us an email and check back in a few… you could find it featured within the later series. Thanks. Continue reading