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Ways to Use Technology to Connect with Nature

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At first glance, it might seem that technology and nature rarely go hand in hand. People tend to be divided firmly into one camp or the other. But just because you are tech savvy, it doesn’t mean you can’t love nature. Nor does being connected to the world around us mean you should renounce all technological progress. In fact, why not use the wonders of modern technology to bring us closer to mother Earth? Here are just some ways to achieve this goal.

Utilize Apps

With the explosion of Android and IPhone, there is probably an app for just about anything you can think of. Nature lovers can find plenty of fun and useful apps to state their interests. Use the North Face Trailhead App for a community-based app used to find and share the best trails for hiking or skiing. Once you are on your way, you can use any one of the dozens of apps made to identify bird species, plant life, animal tracks or anything else you are interested in. Many of these allow you to share your findings with an online community and track your own observations, findings and progress. Another subset are purely educational apps used from the comfort of your home. They range from colorful yet informative kids’ apps to serious ones aimed at adults. The possibilities are endless.

Be Wowed by HD Documentaries

With the National Geographic channel, Animal Planet, BBC World, and the like, we are surrounded by tons of beautiful, quality documentaries exploring every aspect of nature you could possibly think of. Immerse yourself in the opus of the incredibly prolific David Attenborough to explore some parts of our planet you might never get the chance to visit otherwise. Or, for a philosophical look at man’s place in the natural world, check out the masterpieces of Werner Herzog, such as Grizzly Man, Encounters at the End of the World, or Happy People: a Year in the Taiga. With the advance of Brinno cameras, nature has never looked better or been closer.

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Learn Through Games

Educational games have always been a fantastic way to learn, for kids as well as adults. Nat Geo alone has its own multiplayer online virtual world, a variety of smaller, online games, and games for the Xbox and PS. However, National Geographic is just a tiny drop in the virtual sea. Playing is one of the best and easiest ways to learn, so educational games are a great, fun, intuitive way to spark your kids’ interest in the world around them.

Use Gadgets for Outdoor Adventures

With the rise of geek culture, there has been a boom in gadget development for virtually every subset of society and every niche of interest. If you think about it, exploration of the natural world is a field that could definitely use some cool gadgets. From high quality multi tools, high-tech self-inflatable tents, solar chargers, stoves that cook and charge your devices at the same time, all manner of GPS devices, satellite devices such as phones and messengers – whatever useful trinket you can think of, there’s a chance someone has already made it. Everything that is necessary to ensure your safety and comfort can be bought in some corner of the internet.

With a little effort and research, it’s easy to find what technological advances appeal to you. By using technology to bring us closer to nature, we are also helping spread the word and raising awareness about environmental issues. With all of the technology available to us nowadays, there is really no reason or excuse to be uninformed, or to ever get lost, go hungry or fail to document our precious memories of the time spent in the wild.

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Tech News

Google’s piecemeal privacy changes now let users auto-delete their data

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Google said Wednesday it’s making a handful of privacy changes for users.

In a blog post, the search giant said it’ll make it easier for users to go “incognito” and pause data collection as they use Google’s mobile apps. It’s also adding proactive account security recommendations to its Security Checkup tool.

Google also said it’ll allow its users to auto-delete their data after 18 months.

It explains: Starting today, the first time you turn on Location History — which is off by default — your auto-delete option will be set to 18 months by default. Web & App Activity auto-delete will also default to 18 months for new accounts. This means your activity data will be automatically and continuously deleted after 18 months, rather than kept until you choose to delete it. You can always turn these settings off or change your auto-delete option.

The privacy changes come months after European regulators opened an investigation into Google’s processing of location data on the continent.

Meanwhile, stateside, Google is one of many Silicon Valley tech giants also facing renewed questions about how they reconcile protecting users’ privacy while still providing their technology to law enforcement, amid protests against police brutality in the wake of the killing of George Floyd.

Over a thousand of Google’s own employees have asked the company to stop selling its technology to police departments across the United States. Amazon, IBM and Microsoft have already pulled the plug on selling their facial recognition technology to police, but left a wide berth to still sell to federal law enforcement.

Google is also facing a $5 billion class action suit in California for allegedly pervasively tracking the internet use of its users through their browser’s “incognito” mode.

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Internet Security

Pax8 and NewCloud Networks Announce New Partnership

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Pax8, the best place to buy cloud solutions, today announced a new partnership with NewCloud Networks®, global provider of cloud computing services, to offer cloud storage and compute resources for Veeam® Cloud Connect Backup and Disaster Recovery.

“Pax8 is in the business of simplifying the cloud buying journey for MSPs, and this partnership with NewCloud enables our partners to seamlessly go to market with Veeam-powered backup and disaster recovery cloud solutions,” said Ryan Walsh, Chief Channel Officer at Pax8. “Together, our certified cloud experts will help partners with their cloud deployments in a cost-effective and secure way. This partnership will also save our partner community time because it eliminates the need to report monthly Veeam usage.”

NewCloud Networks is a Platinum level Veeam Cloud and Service Provider (VCSP) with data centers in nine locations across the USA. Pax8 partners can now offer their end users a cloud repository without the hassle of deploying and managing their own data centers, while seamlessly integrating NewCloud Networks’ cloud infrastructure as a backup and disaster recovery target.

Veeam Cloud Connect is a fully integrated feature of Veeam Availability Suite v10. The solution enables MSPs to offer any Veeam customer a modern approach to data protection and business continuity. NewCloud removes the complexity and offers the support MSPs need to sell and install Veeam-powered backup and disaster recovery solutions for their clients.

“We are excited to become a Pax8 vendor partner and to offer our best in breed cloud solutions, powered by Veeam Cloud Connect, to Pax8’s partner ecosystem,” said Sam V. Kumar, NewCloud Networks’ Founder & CEO. “NewCloud’s nationwide ultra-low latency network with data centers in nine locations makes it easy for partners to leverage and scale existing cloud infrastructure, rather than deploy their own. With the help of Pax8, we will expand our MSP network and enable more partners take advantage of monthly recurring revenue through cloud solutions.”

Partner benefits of the Pax8 and NewCloud partnership include:

  • Unlimited storage for backup as a service for Workstations and Microsoft 365 backup
  • Simplifies the Veeam licensing and eliminates the need for partners to report monthly Veeam usage or commit
  • Support for both Microsoft Hyper-V and VMware vSphere virtual environments
  • SLA backed Disaster Recovery to help partners meet their end client RPO and RTO needs
  • Fully integrated to the Veeam Availability console for simplified management
  • Offers simplified management of backup environment
  • SOC 2 and HIPAA compliant
  • No ingress or egress bandwidth fees
  • 24/7 support
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3D at Depth Launches Remote Sensing and Remote Data Control Technology

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3D at Depth Inc., the world’s leading expert in subsea laser (SL) LIDAR technology, survey support services, and 3D data solutions recently launched a remote sensing and remoted data control solution to help operators provide a safe, more efficient environment to their operations while increasing their near real-time 3D data intelligence. The remote sensing and remote data control technology is built around expanded capabilities originally embedded in 3D at Depth’s proven subsea LiDAR technology when the company first commercialized in 2014. With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the recent downturn in the industry, and the race to advance autonomy into offshore oil and gas operations, 3D at Depth quickly phased in the technology as part of their current standard services.

In order to support the decision-making process across production and exploration, the technology development required design considerations from pre-project planning to data processing and control. The goal was to provide near real-time 3D data to help operators make a more informed quality decision to help balance the benefits and costs associated with subsea assets. With this approach, 3D at Depth developed software simulators that can be installed on the vessel prior to the start of any project to simulate a remote scan or metrology. An additional feature provides flexibility for those vessels with low bandwidth communications to shore. 3D at Depth’s Compressed Remote Command and Control solution enables full control with bandwidths of just 6kb/second, allowing data to be collected offshore and stored on the sensor or a topside computer. The near real-time data quality control is achieved using an improved and trusted enhancement of the RIAAT format and newly named, Compressed Range Intensity Angle Angle Time (cRIAAT). This improved feature enables moving a scan location with bandwidths of 256kb/second less than the collection time. This flexibility allows an onshore operator to receive data and start processing with little or no delays to the offshore operation. This approach can be utilized on many offshore applications including leak detection, static field scans, and metrologies.

The flexibility of third-party system incorporation, such as offshore connectivity allows for varying vessel specifications of ship-to-shore communications capabilities. The short base system is capable of running over a normal 4G network without delays. This allows a 3D at Depth Subsea LiDAR Specialist to collect from a customer’s worksite/location or from one of 3D at Depth’s global office locations. This is especially important during extreme weather events onshore or with complex secure locations where external or outside companies have restrictions on connecting to the client network.

A key added value of 3D at Depth’s remote sensing and remote data control solution is the ability to collect offshore, then process and release onshore. The fast turnaround and shore-based Quality Control leverage the company’s resources and expertise across global time zones. From Houston, Texas, to Perth, Australia, and with our centrally located United Kingdom office, 3D at Depth delivers true global remote collection 24/7 without the extended working hours in any one office location.

“With 3D at Depth’s successful track record in applications such as asset inspection and integrity, leak detection and metrologies, and subsidence; our partners supported the idea of integrating remote sensing and remote data control into their projects,” stated Neil Manning, Chief Operational Officer at 3D at Depth. “Customers see real value in applications focused around seabed stabilization issues and offshore production expansion such as in brown or greenfield developments where touch-less metrologies are required. With positive early-stage results, we quickly realized this should be incorporated into our standard service package. The innovation started with the resident vehicle solution where in 2019 the company demonstrated this capability.”

3D at Depth’s remote sensing and remote data control solution also helps to reduce the risk of crewing offshore while providing additional benefits for today’s global restrictions on compliance requirements.

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