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5 Ways Technology Will Bring Us Closer to the Outdoors

5 Ways Technology Will Bring Us Closer to the Outdoors

An old Greek myth claims that Prometheus, a Greek Titan with an affinity for the human race, stole fire from the ancient gods on top of Mount Olympus and gave it to mankind, enabling early men and women to accomplish feats previously impossible for them. The use of fire provided humans with a prehistoric means of harnessing large quantities of energy, methods that still stick with us today. Cars, cooking, and manufacturing all still owe much to spurred combustion, making fire one of the first and longest-lasting forms of technology in existence.

For all its humble roots in nature, we tend not to think of most modern technology as “natural”. Here are five ways that technology is bringing us closer to nature, and one way it might drive us away from it forever.

1. Drinking Poop Water with Portable Water Purification Devices

we go to extremes to demonstrate confidence in the donations we distribute (life straws demonstrated here)
    Image via Wikipedia

    It took the mastery of fire to truly tame water, and for a long time in human history, boiling water was the only way to sterilize it and make it potable. For a liquid as imperative to survival as H2O, and considering that a majority of the human body consists of water, it’s surprising that technology has taken so long to create a portable purifier. Utilizing a charcoal and iodine filter with an advanced membrane, products like the LifeStraw have been created as the the aquatic equivalent of flint and steel: a piece of technology that provides instant access to water.

    Portable water filters now allow the avid outdoorsman/woman to go further and longer than they ever have before, freeing them from the weight of water as cargo or the unnecessary expense of energy boiling water. Imagine possessing a straw that would allow you to drink out of virtually any water source, wherever you go (including “poop water”). Brooks and streams all become nature’s cross-country water fountains with technology such as this, and murky wells can effectively support and sustain life in simple, rural villages. That’s powerful.

    Other, more advanced pieces of equipment utilize UV rays to eradicate harmful microbes and bacteria from drinking water (though it’s worth noting that they are nowhere near as heavy duty at sanitization as the LifeStraw yet). Much like most traditional purification devices will need a change of filter, a UV purifier will eventually run out of battery — as will most any other piece of tech you take into the wilderness.

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    2. Charging Anywhere with Portable Power Sources and a Global Power Grid

    “If it weren’t for electricity, we’d all be watching television by candlelight.” – George Gobal

    The problem that most futurists face when they think about technology and the great outdoors is the same question most iPhone users face after a day’s worth of heavy use: the damn devices lose their charge so quickly! Silly jabs aside, the eternal struggle for more battery life may be witnessing its final days. For those that want to pay homage to Prometheus, the VOTO charger is basically a power strip with a tail that converts carbon and hydrogen into energy once engulfed in flame, and the BioLite CampStove is a miniature twig-consuming furnace that internalizes the process (though it’s not very powerful). For those that fancy themselves more of an Icarus than a Prometheus, portable solar power chargers are cheap and effective — but what if you never had to charge any of your devices again?

    Wireless power for mobile phones is set to revolutionize the industry. By the end of 2016, it’s predicted that most major Android phone manufacturers will follow Samsung’s lead and include wireless charging as a standard in all new phones. While current wireless charging utilizes a mat that you rest your device on, companies such as Ossia are already building prototype “charging hubs” that will power your devices from up to 30 feet away.

    If distanced wireless charging ends up working well, there’s no reason that an advanced network of charging hubs couldn’t manufactured and juiced up to create a global wireless power grid. Your cellphone would never need a charge again. But what good is a cell phone in a wilderness with no internet access or service?

    3. Project Loon Keeps Us Crazy Connected

    ~0001
      Image via YouTube

      Connectivity is the future. Urban centers sprawl across the globe, connected by highways and power lines like steel and concrete nerve cells. Clearly, those connections are growing at a rapid pace, even if they aren’t visible. Think about the fact that you are able to pick up a hunk of metal and plastic and use it to talk with somebody on the the other side of the earth in real time. Of course, there are still places in the world where internet can’t be accessed, or where internet isn’t affordable to for the natives — but Google aims to change that.

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      Project Loon is an R&D project that uses high-altitude balloons to deliver internet access to otherwise unreachable areas. The potential applications here are endless, and as the reliance of standard technological devices on the internet grows, so too will the internet. Eventually, wilderness rescue might use it to hone in on missing persons’ cellphone signals, meaning that missed steps and bad falls in the woods won’t be as fatal.

      Innovations with results such as those will leave us hard-pressed to fathom a time when we weren’t connected to the internet — though not everybody thinks this is such a good thing.

      4. Cameras, Drones, and Wearables, Oh My!

      While the most traditional outdoorsmen and -women may decry the use of modern technology in the back country, more people have been drawn to the wilderness because of tech recently — cameras, to be exact. A recent study has shown that a trend in hunting, fishing, and back country activities like skiing and snowboarding has been declining, while photography, especially in groups, has risen. A new form of photography, however, has been attracting an increasing number of practitioners. As materials and models become more inexpensive, drone art, like the kind seen in this YouTube video, is growing in popularity.

      Still, why fly a drone when your drone could fly itself? That’s the question Team Nixie asked when they entered Intel’s “Make It Wearable” contest. Think of the Nixie like a GoPro mixed with a drone, mixed with a wristwatch. Currently, it’s designed to detach, fly out, take a picture, and then return to the wearer. Watch the video below:

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      Wearable tech and automation will continue to grow and mesh — some say to the point that we’ll all be integrating tech into ourselves. Not to worry. That won’t become a trend for a long time.

      5. Augmented Reality Will Change Your World

      On the horizon, however, is augmented reality (AR). This new technology aims to overlay images and pictures on top of the real world, sort of like a real life heads-up-display. If you’ve ever seen Iron Man, where Tony Stark plays with and seems to pick up and play with holograms — that’s augmented reality. While we’re still a ways away from manipulating and tossing around holograms like footballs, the HUD-style systems are just around the corner. In fact, DARPA, the military’s R&D department, are currently funding research into contact lenses that provide augmented reality solutions. Think Google Glass, but without the wearable device.

      Whether it’s through contact lenses or glasses, augmented reality has the potential to positively alter many different activities. Hiking, rock climbing, and paintball/airsoft all have begun experimenting with augmented overlays, usually through phones, or the in-visor HUD and GPS of advanced paintball masks. Some think that AR may even help get more kids outdoors and learning about nature with programs such as this one at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal (RMA) National Wildlife Refuge. But what if instead of getting more people outdoors, technology causes people to alienate themselves from nature?

      -1. Virtual Reality… and the Death of the Outdoors?

      ~01
        Image via Wikipedia

        Perhaps the most mind blowing technology set to hit shelves this year is Virtual Reality (VR). Development kits and headsets have already been sent out to the public, and even Volvo has developed an app that is supposed to work with an Android phone and Google Cardboard to provide an immersive VR experience. The entire VR market, which doesn’t actually technically exist yet, is predicted to be worth over $30 billion by 2020. That’s a lot of cash.

        The question still remains, however: will technology and VR keep us placated and happy to the point where we never enter the outdoors again? Maybe even never leave our living rooms again? Linden Labs, the firm responsible for the virtual worlds in Second Life might like to think so. Project Sansar is Linden Labs’ attempt to create an immersive secondary reality accessible through VR headsets by the end of 2016. If their original property is any indicator, Project Sansar may become the new addiction of the future with certain users seemingly putting more care into their second life than their first. Much like fire, Prometheus’s gift to mankind, technology will burn us if we don’t control it properly.

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        On the other hand, until they can simulate the smell of the earth rising up or the feel of droplets on your face during a warm rain, plenty will still operate in a real life over a virtual one. Nevertheless, technology is, and always has been, a slippery slope.

        What are your experiences with technology and the outdoors?

        Featured photo credit: Pixabay via pixabay.com

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        Andrew Heikkila

        Owner-Operator of Earthlings Entertainmnet

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        Published on November 9, 2018

        How to Improve Your Computer Skills to Get Ahead in Your Career

        How to Improve Your Computer Skills to Get Ahead in Your Career

        Technology has taken the business world by storm. People and businesses are progressively reliant on technology world these days. As a result, the people with impressive knowledge and experience with a computer are in demand.

        Considering this growing market trend, if you too wish to bag a profitable job, this article is apt for you. Here, we will dig deeper into the business and technology world to look into what are the best computer skills one should invest in and what resources to get help from.

        So, are you ready? Here we begin.

        6 Most-In Demand Computer Skills This Year (and Beyond)

        When talking about computer skills, following are the 6 computer skills that can fill your mailbox with endless job opportunities (besides, having an English and Hindi typing speed of 40+ WPM):-

        1. Spreadsheets and Databases

        Considering the treasure trove of data companies are handling these days, Spreadsheet and Database management skill tops the list. It is considered the most wanted job skill in the market, with a salary of around $53,129/yr for an entry-level position. However, the spreadsheet skill does not confine to auditing data from cells.

        To get hired based on this computer skill, you need to become a Spreadsheet ninja. From storing data to organizing them, applying complex mathematics formulas, and creating complex macros, you need to be an expert at all.

        In other words, you need to have an expertise at working with:

        • Microsoft Excel
        • Microsoft Access
        • Statistics
        • Data Analytics
        • Adobe Campaign
        • Quickbooks
        • XML Database management system
        • Filemaker Pro
        • MATLAB
        • Hive
        • FORTRAN
        • RDBMS (Relational Database Management System)
        • SAS

        2. Social Media, Email, and Blogging

        Though people are socially active, not everyone knows how to use the social media tools on the professional front. In such a scenario, having an expertise at writing engaging yet professional emails, writing blogs, and managing social media activities is a ticket to entry in reputed organizations.

        Some of the skills related to social media, email and blogging that will have a leg up in the hiring process are:

        • Content Management System (CMS)
        • Google Analytics
        • Cascading Style Sheets (CSS)
        • Email Marketing
        • Web Page Design
        • WordPress
        • Digital Media
        • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
        • Campaign Management Software

        3. Graphic Design and Word Processing

        A solid grasp of skills to present the gained information in the much readable form is another market need. When considering this computer skill category, you need to enhance your skills at:

        • Adobe Photoshop
        • Adobe InDesign
        • Adobe Illustrator
        • AutoCAD
        • CorelDRAW
        • Microsoft Visual Studio
        • Maya
        • Microsoft Word
        • Microsoft Publisher
        • Operating Digital Cameras

        4. Software and Hardware Design and Development

        The Software and Hardware development, in simpler language, means designing, implementing, and testing the computer software/hardware applications. It is the most profitable computer skill, with a different job opening, including Software Architect, Software Analyst, Software programmer, Hardware configuration, etc.

        To be capable of developing and testing the software and hardware, you need to peruse your users’ needs and build an application that hits their pain points. You need to work with different web and mobile app coding languages for gaining the attention of your audience, some of which are:

        • HTML
        • C/C++
        • Java
        • Python
        • XML
        • UI/UX
        • LINUX
        • CISC and RISC architecture
        • Embedded Processor Hardware Design
        • Memory Management
        • PCB Layout
        • SQL

        5. IT Troubleshooting

        Working on computers is one thing and having a knack of looking into the associated issues and resolving them in real-time is another. There are various employees and graduates who work with computer systems in their daily lives, but get confused when it comes to dealing with frozen programs and performing routine maintenance.

        So, if you are familiar with the basic anatomy of computers and machines and know the tricks to perform such tasks to streamline the working process, enter the IT support arena. The prime IT troubleshooting skills one needs to work upon are:

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        • Backup management
        • Diagnostics
        • End User support
        • Client-Server management
        • Installation and configuration
        • Issue tracking system (ITS)
        • System administration
        • Tech support

        6. Enterprise Systems

        Many Enterprises have their own enterprise solutions like PeopleSoft for managing their data and operations.

        Becoming a master at using the enterprise solutions mentioned in their ‘Requirements’ area can also lessen the barrier to get a job.

        The Roadmap to Excel Your Computer Skills

        Now that you know the 6 most popular computer skills in the market, the first decision, you need to take is which computer skill you want to work upon. All the skills are equally considerable for making a career ahead. So, choose one as per your interest.

        Once done, look forward to the following resources for boosting your computer skills and getting a reputed, handsome job.

        Depending on the computer skill you opt, here are the online courses you can turn to for elevating your career opportunities:

        1. Become a Spreadsheet and Database Ninja

        a. Microsoft Excel Training Online Course – Basic & Advanced

        Whether you are a beginner, intermediate or expert at working with spreadsheets, this online course has something new for everyone to become excel efficient users.

        Divided into 48 interesting lessons, the course empowers you to learn the technique of using mathematical, statistical, logical and text functions, sorting and filtering the data, creating Pivot Tables, building macros, finding a value with VLOOKUp, and much more.

        b. Excel- Online Courses, Classes, Training, Tutorials on Lynda

        This is another impressive course to unlock the power of Excel. Designed for people from all walks of life and familiarity with Excel tools. This course helps you gain in-depth knowledge from the experts about this data-analyzing tool and make the magic in spreadsheet creation and management process.

        c. SQL & Database Design A-Z™: Learn MS SQL Server + PostgreSQL

        Build a successful career in the data analytics world with this online course.

        Revolving around the two top databases, MS SQL and PostgreSQL, this course will give you a comprehensive knowledge of the working of the databases and understanding of all the related elements, including how to create, update, organize, and safeguard the data.

        2. Rule the Social Media World

        a. Free Social Media Course by HubSpot

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        Introduced by the top experienced inbound professors from Hubspot, here you will get a comprehensive knowledge of Social media marketing.

        From understanding how to build relationships on different social media platforms to creating a perfect strategy to engage them, leveraging the benefits of social advertising, and analyzing your social media ROI, this course will bring out the best out of you.

        b. Write Professional Emails in English by Coursera

        This online course will be the right weapon to look into the differences and similarities between different email styles, improve your English writing skills, write effective subject lines, maintain the formality tone in emails, and more to make a powerful impact on the receivers with your email.

        c. Ninja Writing: The Four Levels of Writing Mastery

        Founded by Udemy, this online course will excel your skills to build a masterpiece everytime you write.

        Here, you will get the guidance from the editors of the top newspapers and websites, and understand what kind of words and tone to use for leaving a spellbinding impact on the readers.

        3. Launch Your Own Software or Hardware Equipment

        a. Hardware and Software Courses by Coursera

        From Big Data to IoT, Sensor Circuit Design, Embedded Software and Hardware Architecture, and Motor Control Circuit, this course will give you a glimpse of all the hardware devices, equipment, and programming languages to build wonders.

        b. Free Software and Web Development Certifications Online by Alison

        Become the software developer market demands with Alison’s Java, C#, Python, R, PHP, or MySQL database course. From backend to frontend development and software testing.

        The course helps you to learn how to design, develop and test software and working in a team while contributing to the team success.

        c. Free Online Software Development and MOOCs Course by Class Central

        The Class Central online course will make you a master of software development. Here, you will learn the basic concepts of development like Agile, Design Patterns, and Version Control with Git, along with gaining experience of working with the top programming languages.

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        4. Live and Breathe Creativity

        a. Udemy: Introduction to Graphic Design

        It is a top-rated program for the new learners and designers to explore the Graphic Design world.

        From the history of communication to the design principles, the course will help the students to learn everything specifically and implement in the real world.

        b. Canva Design School

        From a beginner to advanced level, this course will provide you with an elaborated and comprehensive knowledge of graphic design. In the form of 4 modules, this course will help the interested graphic designers to try out their skills at Graphics, ranging from fonts to colors, backgrounds, images, shapes, and layouts.

        c. Microsoft Word – Basic & Advanced

        62 personalized lessons, premium video tutorials, and unlimited tests and quizzes – this certified course has everything that will make your entry to the business world easier.

        d. Microsoft Office: Word, Excel and Access Productivity Bundle

        The course will make you productive in Word, Excel, and Access through video lectures, articles, and various other supplemental resources.

        Besides, it will offer you exclusive tips and tricks to enhance your skills at using Microsoft office.

        5. Raise Your Reflexes to IT Troubleshooting

        a. IT Troubleshooting Skill Training by Udemy

        IT Troubleshooting Skill Training will upgrade your logical concepts over technical components to find and repair faults.

        It will provide you with a methodological approach to learn the basics of troubleshooting, practice them via exercises and drills, and enhance your IT troubleshooting intelligence.

        b. IT Help Desk Online Course on Lynda

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        The Lynda’s IT troubleshooting online course will train you how to respond to the issues related to Windows 10, Office 365, JIRA software, and more, from a local as well as a remote location.

        Mobile Apps and Websites to Enhance Computer Skills

        The aforementioned online courses will undoubtedly train you for a successful career ahead. But, in case you want a long-term support, turn towards the following websites and mobile apps:

        • Duolingo – Duolingo app will improve your spoken and written communication skills in different languages. With the magic of gamification added to the study, the app will make learning a fun and addictive task.
        • Hemingway – Hemingway app defines the length, complexity, and common errors associated with the sentences. In this way, it helps you to write effectively and go ahead in the career.
        • Udemy – The Udemy, with its 2000+ courses, is a great platform to master new skills, advance your career and explore the newer technologies and programming languages. Enrol a course as per your budget and make a brighter future.
        • eDX – eDX is yet another commendable platform you can look forward to. The platform offers you the best of the tutorials prepared by the business professionals and technology experts, ensuring a great boost in your computer skills.
        • Excel Easy – Excel Easy, as the name depicts, will make working with Excel easier for you via their detailed tutorials and 300+ real-life examples.
        • GCF LearnFree.org – It is a one-stop platform for accelerating your future in the computer world. From graphic design to Microsoft Office, resume writing, enhancing adaptability, and much more, the top experts will guide you with everything on this platform.
        • QuarkXPress – The QuarkXPress will aid you to add soul to your design with its unparalleled collection of font style, size, and typography. The best part is that it is avails all the options in different languages, including English, Spanish, German, French, and Italian to name a few.

        Bonus: Tips to Accelerate Your Approach For a Better Career Ahead

        Though these resources will make you stand out from the crowd and get hired at once, you need to focus on various other things, such as:

        1. Practice, Practice, Practice

        It is common to forget what we learn. To ensure that you do not miss any opportunity just because you forgot, keep practising.

        Make it your routine. Polish your computer skills and you will surely end up getting an offer letter from a recognized firm.

        2. Work on Your Efficiency

        Remembering what you learned is not enough; practice to enhance those skills to do better.

        For example, if you take around 50 minutes to create a design, target for 40 minutes.

        3. Look for Shortcuts

        Smart work rules over hard work more often. So, look forward to learning shortcuts to do any task. This will increase your chances to crack an interview and get selected.

        4. Apply for an Internship

        Last but not the least, apply for an internship to see what’s trending in the market and how much you are ready for it. While doing an internship, pay attention to your weak points and work on them. This will ensure a success when you apply for your dream job.

        By the late, it’s never too late to be an intern or grab whatever opportunity to learn something new! Here’s how:

        How to Start Over and Reboot Your Life When It Seems Too Late

        The Bottom Line

        Seeing the current market scenario, it is evident that having computer skills is a boon for a better career ahead.

        So, rather than struggling with thousands of other things and trying to crack interviews, focus on the computer skills mentioned in this article. Utilize the resources and experts’ tips shared and look forward to having a successful and prosperous future.

        Featured photo credit: Glenn Carstens-Peters via unsplash.com

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