Blog
  • Register

Subscribe to our blog

CTN Blog

CTN Solutions has been serving the greater Philadelphia area since 1997, providing IT Support such as technical helpdesk support, computer support, and consulting to small and medium-sized businesses.

Our Top 7 List of IT Myths and Wild Conspiracies

Our Top 7 List of IT Myths and Wild Conspiracies

Being in IT, we’ve seen and heard it all. Between the campfire horror stories of technicians to the outlandish IT conspiracies and ‘home remedies’ that get passed around, we’ve decided to compile a list of some of our favorite IT and technology myths.

0 Comments
0 Comments
Continue reading

Checking in on Net Neutrality

Checking in on Net Neutrality

When we write about Net Neutrality, we typically write about how it is designed to keep the telecommunications conglomerates, who make Internet service available to individuals on the Internet, honest when laying out their Internet service sales strategy. One way to put it is that, without net neutrality in place, the Big Four (which are currently Comcast, Charter, Verizon, and AT&T) have complete control over the amount of Internet their customers can access.

0 Comments
0 Comments
Continue reading

How Technology Could Change the Classroom

How Technology Could Change the Classroom

Children are the future, as the saying goes, so should the future be taught using tools from the past? While some schools are still using technology that better belongs in the 20th century, others are embracing innovation and teaching in ways that better translate to the “real world.” Let’s take a look at how our evolving technology is transforming the classroom and explore some ways to get it to more students.

0 Comments
0 Comments
Continue reading

The Force is Strong with the Internet of Things

The Force is Strong with the Internet of Things

The Internet of Things has been growing rapidly, and with this growth it has become a major part of daily life. There are connected devices you couldn’t even fathom being needed, but some have turned out to be exceeding useful. In 1977, the release of Star Wars saw people’s imaginations expand. The science end of the sci-fi went into overdrive. Soon communications and computing would change forever. Despite being a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, the Star Wars universe introduced several concepts of the Internet of Things, decades before the IoT was even conceptualized. This week, we will take a look at the modern day Internet of Things, and how Star Wars primed us for our own future.


I am Fluent In Over Six Million Forms of Communication...
Connectivity is performing a complete overhaul on the way people interact. One way people are able to connect to each other, and to machines, is through the use of language. In Star Wars, no characters most exemplify the enhanced communications capabilities of our new digital frontier than the droids. C-3PO repeatedly reminds its companions that its “fluent in over six million forms of communication,” while R2-D2 repeatedly uses its ability to communicate with other machines to the benefit of its rebel cohorts.

C-3PO is a protocol droid. When Luke Skywalker gifts the two droids (C-3PO and R2-D2) to Jabba the Hutt in Return of the Jedi, they are fitted with restraining bolts and used for utility: C-3PO as Jabba’s main interpreter, R2-D2 as a rolling drink server. While C-3PO’s role, from a mess of wires in The Phantom Menace, to its cameos in Disney’s subsequent sequels, hasn’t changed much, its ability to communicate both with humans (humanoids) and machines provides the rebels with a useful resource.

Today, manufactures have created technology that speaks to other technology. We call it the Internet of Things, but really it is the next step in the use of technology for human utility. Like C-3PO, today’s connected machines communicate with other machines to get them to perform tasks that humans traditionally have done. This automation is at the center of many of today’s most innovative technologies.

R2-D2, too, is well equipped in its ability to communicate. When it fixed the hyperdrive on the Millennium Falcon, it was a form of utility computing. Today’s smart technology solves problems and pushes notifications to a control hub of some sort (typically a handheld smartphone) to make human lives easier. Since few people understand the beep-beep-boop of R2-D2, they also translate the binary information into easily understandable updates that are pushed to our devices.

(Note: I use the pronoun “it” because these are machines, not men, a mistake that many fans of the movies would argue against, but this leads us to our next point…)

How Artificial Are Droid’s Intelligence?
Clearly, any consideration of this makes this is a trick question. Their sentience (and the fact that they both actually had humans at the controls of their characters) portray them as relatable beings. The droid duo (and later BB-8 and K-2SO) are largely used as high-brow comic relief in a story about civil war and a family that has been relentlessly torn apart, but what is their true function in the context of the universe?

The smaller droids are astromech droids. Having been designed to be utilized on a starfighter, diagnosing (and fixing) mechanical and computer issues in what are very complex machines. There is a reason that R2-D2 is able to fix a problem that both Chewbacca and Han Solo couldn’t fix, in seconds. It’s because it has the ability to learn how to adjust to situations over time. Throughout the course of the movies, it’s evident that these droids learn and are able to solve problems quickly, much to the benefit to the humans (and humanoids) in the story.

With the big data boom and the enhanced A.I. systems now being put into products, they are now able to make adjustments on the fly. While today’s systems may not be as advanced as the astromech droids, their utility is undeniable. From the smart fridge that tells you you are out of milk, to the vacuum cleaner that maps your home so that it doesn’t get stuck, to the security system that provides users real-time monitoring through an app on their phone, the Internet of Things is automating systems for human utility.

The Twenty-First Century Force
If there is one definable characteristic of the Star Wars movies, it is the use of the Force. The Force as described by Wookieepedia is: “...an energy field that connected everything in the galaxy and was created by all living entities.” The Force, while being kind of a mystical, biological concept, demonstrates ubiquity quite nicely. For decades, the Force has been compared to Duct Tape: it has a light side, a dark side, and it holds the whole universe together, but as it is explained in The Phantom Menace, there are things called midichlorians that live in the cells of all living things that connect everything to everything else.

This kind of ubiquity is the goal of some. Nanotechnology engineers are creating smaller and smaller machines, and with the technology to alter the molecular makeup for utility, it is only a matter of time before the technology will be available to make connected machines that work to alter matter at its foundations. This level of ubiquity isn’t imminent, but you could see machines manufactured by the billions, fighting cancer, making materials stronger or more flexible, and customizable through the use of a force of human making.

Star Wars gave people inspiration to imagine a better world, and much of that imagination has been fulfilled. Do you think the Internet of Things is important? Do you see it becoming something that allows for fundamental changes to the world around us? Leave your thoughts in the comments below, and May the fourth be with you.

0 Comments
0 Comments
Continue reading

How Technology Allows Fake News to Spread

How Technology Allows Fake News to Spread

In today’s political, social, and economic environment, information is more valuable than ever. However, this increased importance, paired with the speed that data can be dispersed via the Internet, has enabled many to use false information to manipulate the general public into agreeing with their views and acting upon them.


Fake News and You
Many researchers believe that cyber propaganda campaigns rely on three factors in order to succeed in their mission: the tools and services used, social networking, and the motivation behind the campaign in question. Without any of these elements, spreading fake news becomes almost impossible.

Unfortunately, there are plenty of resources out there that can be used to spread a fake news campaign.

For instance, the Dark Web can provide tools to those attempting to spread their propaganda, behind a safe veil of anonymity. Social media offers platforms that encourage sharing, allowing what could be an exponential spread of a story, with little hands-on effort from those responsible. Finally, while the majority of fake news, as of late, has been politically motivated, it can just as easily be used to manipulate businesses. In addition to its use as a political tool, fake news and information warfare can be used to promote a company and increase or decrease its stock--both financially and where public opinion is concerned.

China’s Fake News Marketplace
One example of the effects that fake news can have on businesses is demonstrated in the Chinese marketplace. One content distribution service, Xiezuobang, charges a user based on where the article is to be published. Services like this are easy to abuse for one’s own gain.

Furthermore, aided by systems that enable public opinions to be measured and modified, information can be automatically posted to 3000 websites at a rate of 100 posts per minute.

In addition to these tactics, many Chinese social networks are filled with posts shared by influential users who have been paid to promote that particular content. Based on that user’s popularity, the price increases for their content sharing services.

A Global Problem
Of course, these practices are present in more areas than just China. Researchers have been able to collect and compare disinformation campaigns from the US, Russia, and Middle Eastern countries, and have resultantly been able to identify trends in what tools are used and how these campaigns are shaped to each region.

No matter where you are located, you need to keep an eye out for misinformation and cyber propaganda online. Whether it's politically motivated, or intended to manipulate business and the market, fake news is divisive and only benefits those that spread it.

What’s your opinion of fake news? Do you feel that it’s a real problem, or is it being overblown? Sound off in the comments!

0 Comments
0 Comments
Continue reading

Tip of the Week: 11 Technology Buzzwords Every SMB Should Know

Tip of the Week: 11 Technology Buzzwords Every SMB Should Know

Is talking to someone in the technology industry like speaking with someone in a different language? You’re not alone. It’s no secret that the IT industry loves jargon - and has dozens of buzzwords at any given time. These are a few words that have the industry buzzing right now!

0 Comments
0 Comments
Continue reading

How Do You Feel About ISPs Selling Your Internet Browsing History?

How Do You Feel About ISPs Selling Your Internet Browsing History?

In October of 2016, the Federal Communications Commission designed a set of rules known as the Broadband Consumer Privacy Proposal. These rules had intended to flip the status quo and require Internet service providers (ISPs) to gain their customers’ permission before they harvested their browsing histories to sell to advertisers. This proposal is now moot with the establishment of a new law that passed through Congress and was signed by President Trump in April 2017.

0 Comments
0 Comments
Continue reading

Tip of the Week: 4 Ways to Maybe Get Work Done on Your Laptop With a Toddler Nearby

Tip of the Week: 4 Ways to Maybe Get Work Done on Your Laptop With a Toddler Nearby

Let’s say you’ve got an email that you really need to crank out from home, and pronto. So, you whip out your laptop to get started, and that’s when you spot the menacing eyes of a toddler from across the room. What do you do? Is it even possible to use a mobile device once a toddler has it in their greedy little sights? For this week’s tip, we’ll explore your options.

0 Comments
0 Comments
Continue reading

Study Shows How Reading Novels Can Help Your Business Succeed

Study Shows How Reading Novels Can Help Your Business Succeed

The busy business owner rarely has time to indulge in extracurricular activities, but there are still ways that you can make progress--even when you’re not actually in the office or working on important plans, there’s still the opportunity for self-improvement. One way that you can do this is by being well-read. In fact, science has practically proven that reading literary fiction is just as beneficial for your professional development as other seemingly more practical works.

0 Comments
0 Comments
Continue reading

Tip of the Week: 4 Odd Productivity Tips from Successful People

Tip of the Week: 4 Odd Productivity Tips from Successful People

Having a workflow that works for you is the key to being successful. Sometimes, finding such a routine requires taking some rather extraordinary measures. If you’re looking for ways to tweak your workflow to be more productive, then consider these outside-the-box productivity tips from some of history’s very successful people.

0 Comments
0 Comments
Continue reading

Demand Is Driving Technology Innovation

b2ap3_thumbnail_Innovative-Technology.jpgWhat a world we live in. Did you ever think that you would have access to a fully functioning PC that fits in the palm of your hand? Did you ever think that you didn’t even need to own a computer to access the applications and information that you need day in, and day out? Did you ever think there would be an interface that you could search for goods and services and have them delivered, quite literally, the next day? Technological innovation moves so fast, you can hardly stay informed about the newest advancements. One thing is for certain, however, it is that the best technology solutions are the result of demand, and the brilliant innovators whose job is to build technology that can be capitalized on.

0 Comments
0 Comments
Continue reading

Investor IT: How Tech is Changing Investors Portfolios

Stock market dataThe recession brought on by the subprime mortgage crisis of 2008 affected millions of people from all edges of the world. The result was the loss of somewhere between $12.8 trillion and $22 trillion in assets, depending on estimates from non-profit group Better Marks and the Global Accountability Office, respectively. In fact, the average investor lost nearly a quarter of their 401 K as a result; making many would-be investors a little gun-shy to continue investing their money.

0 Comments
0 Comments
Continue reading

Tip of the Week: Notifications are What’s Draining Your Battery, Not Open Apps

b2ap3_thumbnail_dont_close_apps_400.jpgWe’ve all run into the trouble of keeping our smartphone’s battery preserved for as long as possible. Many people think that the apps themselves are what bogs down the battery and drains its charge, but we’re here to tell you that this is not the case. Instead, let’s determine what really drains your device’s battery.

0 Comments
0 Comments
Continue reading

21 Million US Students Lack High Speed Internet Access at Their Schools

b2ap3_thumbnail_superhighway_400.jpgThe Internet is an absolutely essential part of today’s workplace. It helps businesses get the upper hand on their competition by offering practically limitless access to tools, resources, and contacts that can be used for the betterment of their organizations. However, classrooms can reap the benefits of Internet too, and it’s surprising that it’s taken so long for all schools to hop on board with this concept.

0 Comments
0 Comments
Continue reading

Philadelphia University Invests in Technology

b2ap3_thumbnail_Science-Lab.jpgThe development of new and useful technologies never ends. It is important for those of us who work with technology to share our knowledge with those who are eager to learn how the latest technology solutions can be leveraged to enhance the efficiency and productivity of almost any endeavor. Students who have a penchant for technology are influenced by other like-minded people around them. For this reason, it is essential for the schools and colleges to take the lead in the development of technology solutions that work for mankind.

0 Comments
0 Comments
Continue reading

Things That Go Bump in the Server Closet

b2ap3_thumbnail_spooky_technology_400.jpgHalloween is a time to conjure up things that give people the creeps. Scary sounds are just one way to send shivers up the spine. Sounds like, howling werewolves, zombie groans, chainsaws, and bloodcurdling screams are enough to make you want to run and hide. Yet, there’s one sound that’s the most terrifying of them all, and it’s coming from your server room!

0 Comments
0 Comments
Continue reading

Uber Used Technology to Break the Mold, Can Your Business?

b2ap3_thumbnail_what_about_uber_400.jpgAt a September tradeshow event, Travis Kalanick, cofounder and CEO of Uber, said five words in an interview that made everyone give pause to the potential for technology to shape our world for the better, “Every car should be Uber.”

0 Comments
0 Comments
Continue reading

4 Things to Consider Before Upgrading to Windows 10

b2ap3_thumbnail_why_not_windows_10_400.jpgWe all know that Windows 10 is the hot new operating system released by Microsoft this past July, with slick new features and (gasp!) the Start menu. We’ve been writing a lot of articles about how great and functional the new operating system is. Keep in mind that Windows 10 is a great operating system, but you should also take note of these four shortcomings when considering whether you should immediately upgrade or not.

0 Comments
0 Comments
Continue reading

Hey Microsoft, What Gives?

Windows 10Microsoft recently made available for download its newest operating system, Windows 10. For many users who are using Windows 7 or Windows 8.1, the upgrade is free of charge. While downloading this free software, it may occur to you that a large company giving away their product for free to tens of millions users, seemingly doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. The business world is curious how potential and current investors are going to take this strategy. So why would they take the mega financial risk to push this software to so many devices?

0 Comments
0 Comments
Continue reading

Everything You Need to Know about URLs

b2ap3_thumbnail_info_domain_names_400.jpgA business’s website is one of its lifelines; it can either make or break your online presence. One of the most important parts of having a website, though, is owning your domain name. There are a lot of different choices for them, but do you know that at one point in history, they had their own individual uses and meanings?

1 Comment
Recent comment in this post
Guest
Whiteboard liveliness videos are excellent for data graphics or basically infographics https://www.videomash.co.uk/. These videos... Read More
Friday, 10 November 2017 07:20
1 Comment
Continue reading

Mobile? Grab this Article!

QR Code

Latest News & Events

Drew was pleased to present a gift of financial assistance to the Joy of Life program in Sarajevo, Bosnia on behalf of his non-profit ABLE (American Balkan Leadership Enterprise) and my company CTN Solutions. Unfortunately in many countries...

Latest Blog

Cybersecurity has become an overly complicated, increasingly important part of our lives. These days, many people are concerned about their privacy; who is collecting their data, what data is being collected, how to prevent information from...

Contact Us

Learn more about what CTN can do for your business.

Call us today
(610) 828-5500

610 Sentry Parkway
Suite 110
Blue Bell, Pennsylvania 19422