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50 Years of Space Travel

FIFTY years have elapsed since Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin lit the blue touchpaper on the era of manned spaceflight. Progress was rapid—only eight years separated Gagarin’s flight from the infinitely more complicated mission that put Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on the surface of the moon in 1969.

The Economist

This week marks 50 years since Yuri became the first human in space, and there were many predictions as to what the we are living in now would look like with the advent of space flight. Some predictions have been more accurate than others. In 1911 Thomas Edison quite accurately predicted that by the year 2011 the traveller of the future will:

fly through the air, swifter than any swallow, at a speed of two hundred miles an hour, in colossal machines, which will enable him to breakfast in London, transact business in Paris and eat his luncheon in Cheapside.

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Musings on Architecture, Installment 1

There comes a time in the evolution of building a technology platform that you have to pause and look back where you’ve come from, before continuing on with the journey. As I think back to the formation of the Cisco Eos platform, it was a time of hard work and rapid growth.

The Cisco Media Solutions Group went from being a business unit with an idea, to truly taking form in 2007 when Cisco made three software acquisitions—Five Across, the assets of Tribe.net and the assets of Click.tv. From that day forward, we were charged with developing an innovative platform that could get media companies online in a simple, manageable way. That long journey started with the single though difficult step of uniting three independent companies and countless independent perspectives into a single team executing against a single vision.

As with any consolidation effort, tough decisions had to be made. One of the most important we faced was what development platform we were going to leverage. Our three teams had experience in just as many languages: Ruby on Rails, PHP, and Java – not to mention Adobe Flex and even a bit of C. After much debate, we chose to use Java for the back end, which includes the core Cisco Eos data and content components like blogs, discussions, and member profiles. And we chose PHP for the front end, the dynamic page-rendering environment that our users can customize for presentation to end consumers. Read More »

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Professional Development Opportunities for 21st Century Educators

Today’s educators are facing seemingly insurmountable challenges:
 
  • Demands for greater accountabiliy based on high stakes assessments
  • Increasing focus on differentiated instruction and student mastery of content knowledge
  • Greater awarness of the importance of 21st century skills (critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity)
  • Requirements to address all of the above in an environment of declining resources
In spite of these daunting challenges, innovative educators are successfully utilizing collaborative solutions in creative ways to improve outcomes for students and provide them with the skills to compete effectively in the 21st century. As a result, it is becoming increasingly clear that professional development that prepares educators to effectively integrate technology into pedagogy and curricula is an essential element of holistic education improvement initiatives.
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Transoceanic Fiber Cable: a Luminary Discovery

By Steven Shepard, Contributing Columnist

This story is a bit more technical that what I’ve previously shared. That said, I’ll link to some definitions for you non-technical readers — I promise, this one is going to be worth the extra effort. However, a bit of technology is required in the telling — so please bear with me.

Let’s step back in time. The first transoceanic cables used copper wire as the conductor that carried signals between continents. Unfortunately, the technology at the time was such that the cables were extremely bandwidth-limited and could therefore support a very small number of simultaneous conversations.

Furthermore, the physics of metallic transmission dictated that the transmitted signals would decay over distance, making it necessary to amplify and/or regenerate the transmitted signal periodically. This was costly, and required additional circuitry to filter electromagnetic interference and increase the signal level every few thousand feet.

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Technology is Enabling more Women to Succeed in the IT Industry

“There are some brilliant female role models in our sector, and IT is increasingly being recognised as a great career option for women. We’ve also got more legislation in place to protect women in the workplace than ever before, and more and more calls for greater diversity and more women in the boardroom.”

Maggie Berry, Women in Technology

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