Use Dell PowerEdge Recovery To Recover Your Damaged Files And Be At Ease!

dper1Admit it; a lot of people are always careless when it comes to their devices. Most people would only unplug their USB (universal bus serial) without removing it safely or closing all its open windows first. This carelessness can cause file corruption and the worst case scenario is the storage can be forever damaged and can’t be used anymore. Other scenario is you plug in a device without checking if it has a virus or not and then you open all its windows. If in case there is a virus, opening the windows without scanning for virus can release all the virus that are possibly in there and spread all throughout your computer. If no one knows yet, Dell PowerEdge recovery has a one of a kind anti-virus system that will protect your files like a vault. Its antivirus is very trusted and hard to find. That is why many people are tempted to hack it and use it for other system.

Dell PowerEdge recovery can be used as a vault, it helps you track what goes in and out. No matter what the contents are, it keeps everything virus-free and clean. What makes it better is it keeps your files retrieved just the way you want it.

Only Careful People Would Not Want To Encounter HP ProLiant Disk Problems

A lot of people nowadays encounter HP ProLiant disk problems. These are such menaces that it causes people to move to a different brand of computer. People of course want a brand of computer that can last long and if ever you encounter anything bad about it, there should always be a fix for it. Just like for an application for your computer or phone, there are early releases as well and as time pass by, the authors release fixes for it and a better version if possible. Just like for hard drive and computers, it is the same. Authors keep in touch with the users and consumers to make sure they are satisfied. Right now, HP ProLiant disk problems are one of the few things that people who use HP need to fix and find a way to resolve. Some HP disk system experts have emerged, of course. Hard Disk Recovery Services is the major one. See their site here.

Even the technicians do not know how to resolve these issues and most of the time; the problems are caused by the user because they have been negligent and careless. Of course, being the paying customer, you will not admit what you have done and you will try to stay on the right reasons. Well, to be able to resolve problems, the user must admit where he went wrong.

Considering Vegetables When Healing Rheumatoid Arthritis

mvwraUsually, when someone finds out that he or she is having rheumatoid arthritis, physicians prescribe not only drugs but they suggest a certain diet for a patient. If you are one of those patients, then you would definitely be interested in making a proper rheumatoid arthritis diet plan which can help your body.

If you want to ease the fatigue and pain you feel, try including fresh and healthy foods. For instance, many patients are considering eating Mediterranean vegetables when healing rheumatoid arthritis. Some experts are not sure whether it can help, but the truth is that it is better to eat healthy fruits and vegetables than highly processed food that does not give your body important nutrients. Mediterranean diet includes a lot of olives and olive oil, tomatoes, beans, cucumbers and garlic. On Mediterranean, people eat a lot of fish, dried fruit as well as fresh fruit such as figs, orange, lemon and grapes. It is important to eat nuts and almonds as well. The more natural and organic, the better. Being on sun is also helping, so if you live somewhere where it is always raining and cloudy, maybe you should considering moving to place with Mediterranean climate as well.

Detoxing As Part Of Healing Methods Used At Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients

If you are being diagnosed rheumatoid arthritis, physicians will probably prescribe you drugs and tell you to go to therapies which will make your joints and bones stronger. These methods may do you good, but the question is will they cure your disease? People who work with natural treatments for rheumatoid arthritis say that this disease may be cured if you are persistent and prepared to go through the whole process thoroughly.

There are natural methods some herbalists use. One of the methods includes fasting and drinking vegetable juices. This method is commonly known as detoxification and it is suggested not only to people who suffer from RA but to other patients as well. This detox usually lasts for few days or few weeks. It is a hard method for some because it can make a person feel tired and exhausted, but if a person manages to go until the end of detox process, the results may be surprising. Detox prepared for rheumatoid arthritis includes drinking lemon juice and apple vinegar. It seems that lemon and vinegar reduce pain in joints because they remove bad liquids from your body through your urinary system. You may feel pain during the detox, but it will be reduced after the detox is finished. Other remedies are here.

Qualities To Look For In A Drug Rehab Counselor

qdrcA good drug rehab counselor must be determined to help his or her patients. They must have the spirit to walk with the patients through the whole program helping them to overcome their addiction problem. Your first visit to the rehab center will help you to know whether the counselor is fit for your patient or not. Secondly, a good drug rehab counselor must portray a great sense of patience. It is not easy to work with addicts. Some of them become rowdy and difficult to handle especially on their first days at the rehabilitation centers. A good counselor will be ready to handle them in this state with a sheer determination of helping the patients to overcome their craving.

A counselor must be academically qualified for you to fully trust him or her. He or she must have the necessary credentials which include a degree in addiction counseling. You cannot fully trust an unqualified individual to offer the best services to you and to your patient. Be careful also to choose a counselor who has excellent communication skills. This can be tested through your first encounter with them. He or she must be keen to listen to you and the patient, and also be able to communicate freely with you.

What Happens At A Drug Rehab?

When someone goes to a drug rehab, they are willing to change their lifestyles. They wish to take their lives from scratch to another better level. First of all, a trained doctor has to be the one to recommend when a patient needs to be rehabilitated or not. The patient has to go through regular personal reviews as individually needed. How they are referred to as, matters to them, that is why some rehabilitation centers treat them as students who have come to learn how to gain control of their lives instead of patients who need therapy. They are taught about disabilities caused by the drugs they use.

The patients or students are taught new life skills without the control of drugs. Here, they are willing to restart their lives on a new footing. Most of the programs at the drug rehab will take between four to eight months. The full rehab program is aimed at producing graduates who can stand on their own feet without the help of drugs to sustain their happiness. A keen student will have got a full orientation so that they can be referred only to as a former addict, and not shaky ones who keep bouncing back to the rehab centers after reverting to old habits. Those who use the tools they learn so well, never go back for more therapy.

What To Do When Your Poweredge Fails

drfuSome computer technicians offer expensive rates while others are quite affordable. If you are on a tight budget and you would want to pay less for the recovery, talk to a lot of people in order to compare their services. It is best to make comparisons with computer services so you will know which one has the best deal.

Finding The Best Services To Recover Poweredge RAID Servers

If you want the best services to recover a Dell Poweredge RAID, you have to do some things that can ensure your investment is going to be worthwhile. First, check to see if you can perform the recovery process all by yourself. This means that if you are capable of assessing the computer systems and repairing the issue, then you do not have to get outside help. Just simply turn off your computer and try to gather the necessary equipment needed for the recover the RAID. Once you are done with this, then you can successfully recover the lost files. Second, you can also purchase the right software for RAID recovery. Since numerous individuals are now using the computer every day, there are also several software available in the internet, which can greatly recover the files by just following the necessary instructions provided.

Third, you can also seek a good company that is an expert with this kind of specialized RAID recovery. You just have to make an effort of finding the best person who can recover the lost files without damaging other computer parts. Ensure that the job is done effectively and successfully so that you will not be wasting cash.

Files that are lost can be retrieved easily sometimes. There are several technicians in Irvine, CA that offers service for data recovery (another one is here). All you have to do is to seek the right company and the right technician for you to get started. When seeking for a technician, you have to consider two options. First, is his expertise and second, is his charge to the service you obtained. Basically, there are a number of technicians for data recovery Irvine that offers the best services. They have undergone several trainings and experiences which made them an expert on their craft. However, you have to consider the way the services are offered. This means that even if the technician is expert, you have to keep in mind that you need to retrieve the files as soon as possible. Therefore, if the technician cannot fix your computer problem at a given period, better seek for another else.

Doing The Poweredge Perc Controller Recovery

Specialized Dell Poweredge Perc Controller recovery can be done even if you are not a computer expert. All you have to do is to be guided properly in order to have the computer system return to its normal function. First, search the internet for possible sources on how to do the Poweredge Perc Controller recovery. Usually, these websites will give you advice or tips on how to fix the Perc controller without the need to seek an expert. All you have to do is to follow the steps, gather the necessary equipments and research if there are things that you do not understand. Second, download a computer software. There are a number of sources for this software so you can always have it at a good price or for free. If you want to have the least affordable software, make sure that it comes from a reliable source.

Lastly, go to an expert forum if you cannot recover the Poweredge Perc controller successfully. Rather than forcing yourself to have the computer system fixed, take time to research the best technician in your locality. Make comparisons on their services so that the Poweredge Perc Controller recovery is ensured and you will not be spending more than what you can afford.

Should I Set Up A Donate Button On My New Blog?

wsapbIt is really important to learn how to properly set up a blog and what tabs you need to put in your sites or maybe links. Setting up a blog is not easy especially if you are not familiar with HTML codes and the blog site you are using requires HTML codes. The more detailed your site is, the better. People would want to explore your website and go through some tabs and see what is in them. The most basic tabs you would want to include when setting up a blog are “About Us”, “Contact Us”, and lastly, “Privacy Policy”.

All three need to be in the site since they are the basic links a site needs. The donate button will lead to many processes and pages so it is not advisable for people who recently learned how to create a site and make it work by using HTML codes. Setting up a blog is sometimes tricky and hard since you have to make the required tabs. Each tab is equivalent to up to three pages. It is actually hard to make a single page unless you have a plain white background and that page will be full of texts.

Using The Skill “Creative Writing” To Create A Blog

There is such skill that a person possesses where he can make up any topic or friction but he can convince the people that what he is saying is a fact and interesting. This skill is called creative writing. On the internet, there are a lot of bloggers that uses creative writing in getting their way to fame. The most common words they use to convince people are “In fact”, “According to statistics”, “According to research”, “Research shows”, “Studies have proven”, and many more. This is one tactic to create a blog and attract viewers. Most of the articles contain false facts or information but the headline or title of the blog is really inviting and intriguing.

Many bloggers use this tactics. Despite the bad feedback, what counts are the views of the site. After they have gained popularity, they go back on track by creating real news and deleting the old archives that contain false news. When you create a blog, you can be a creative writer. Just don’t forget that your main purpose is to keep people informed that are interested in your niche, not to deceive the people. Although, many creative writers’ blogs are shut down by their own host, at least they got the money. Sometimes, they pretend they need to conduct a research and they need donations but then they take off after.

Creating Great Science Fiction – Not Easy.

The first and most important step in constructing good science fiction is to start with a good idea. Science fiction is more idea-based than anything else. The idea for this story came from a comment I heard at a science fiction convention, that by the year 2000 everyone would have an electronic mail address. I wanted to point out that the recent explosion of the Internet into many people’s daily lives did not mean free access to information for everyone. But, the basic concept I was interested in, the Internet, was no longer science fiction; it was real science.

Genuises like William Gibson started from scratch. You can too...

Genuises like William Gibson started from scratch. You can too…

So I extrapolated. Instead of the Internet, I created a system of Virtual Reality schools, which had originally been designed as a solution for violence in schools. Instead, the public money to fund them never materialized, and the technology was adopted by private school systems that could afford them. The analogy was solid, but subtle enough for the reader not to feel beaten over the head with my message.

ONCE I had my idea, I needed to develop the characters and plot that worked best for this idea. I tend to feel that plot and characters must always be developed together, and in science fiction they must be thought of in the context of the scientific or technological advance your story is about. As a general rule, when writing science fiction, you can get the characters out of your idea by asking the question, Whom does this hurt? No one cares to read about someone whose life is made happy by scientific advances; good science fiction comes from stories of everyday people dealing with technological developments being thrust upon them.

To illustrate the power of asking the question posed above, let me tell you about my original idea for character and plot. I briefly considered writing about a scientist who has a friend, a teacher, who is killed because of school violence. The scientist then goes on to develop the technology for telepresence schools, and all ends happily. I abandoned this idea after less than a page of writing, not only because it says the opposite of the message I wanted to get across, but because the story of a scientist solving a problem is a very old tradition in science fiction, bordering on cliche. Instead, I asked myself who would be hurt by the technological development of VR schools and realized that it would be those same students who were supposed to benefit from it. Not only did I have a better story, but I had dramatic irony and the ability to show the reader what these schools would be like–all by asking one simple question about character.

Also, in a good science fiction story, the characters should always be comfortable in their world, accepting situations that seem fantastic to the reader. The classic example is from the opening sentence of a Robert Heinlein novel: “The door dilated.” None of the characters in this world of the future is surprised at the thought of a “dilating” door. Such doors are as commonplace in that world as hinged swinging doors are in ours. When we turn on a television set, we don’t react by saying, “My God! Moving pictures and words are coming out of that little box!” Nor should your science fiction characters react to the everyday technology of their world.

In the same way, Tony in “TeleAbsence” understands exactly what the telepresence school is all about. Yes, he does have the thrill of discovering new things when he sneaks into the school, since he’s never been to one before, but he is familiar with the concept. When the story begins, he is completely cognizant of the existence of the telepresence schools. He has heard about them all his life; they are as ubiquitous in his world as a jet airplane is in ours.

The overriding principle in creating a plot is that it must be based on the science fictional extrapolation of the story. In true science fiction, the story would fall apart if the science were removed.

There is no way that “TeleAbsence” could be about a child who sneaks into a regular school.

Beginning writers often commit this plot error in writing what is sometimes called a “space western.” In such a story, a space patroller (sheriff) rides his spaceship (horse) around the galaxy (town), having shootouts with space pirates (outlaws), firing his laser pistol (six-shooter). If a story does not need to be sciencefiction to work, then it is not science fiction and should not be written as such.

Although the same should not be said about the way one works conflict into a science fiction story, putting elements of science fiction into it can make the conflict much more powerful. In “TeleAbsence,” Tony is scared of being found out, but imagines he is safe because the student whose spex he is using can’t jack in without them. Then Tony is confronted in a manner very suitable to science fiction, as is seen in the following:

Tony was interrupted by a sharp buzz, and he

looked up. At the front of the classroom appeared

an older man with thick grey hair. He headed

straight for Tony, a scowl on his face, and Tony

looked down again, in fear.

He heard Miss Ellis speak. “Mr. Drummond,

what are you doing here?”

The man didn’t answer Miss Ellis. He went right

up to Tony and said, “Give them back! They’re

mine! ”

Tony shivered. It had been too good to last; now

he was going to be found out. This man was obviously

Andrew’s father, come to get the spex back.

“Mr. Drummond!” said Miss Ellis, with an angry

tone that was familiar to Tony. “I would appreciate

it if you would not interrupt my class to talk with

your son! Can’t this wait until later?”

“This is not me–I mean, this is not my son!”

Mr. Drummond shouted.

There was silence for a moment. Tony felt Miss

Ellis move next to him and Mr. Drummond.

“What’s going on?” she asked.

“This kid stole my–I mean, my son’s spex!”

Tony looked up at Miss Ellis and saw her smile.

Facing Mr. Drummond, she said, “That’s you, isn’t

it, Andrew?”

For the first time since he appeared, “Mr.

Drummond” looked uncomfortable. “Ummm,

yeah, Miss Ellis. I had to use Dad’s spex to jack

in. Whoever this is–” he pointed at Tony–”stole

my own spex.”

“Ah-ha. Andrew, go home. I’ll take care of this. ”

“Ummm. You won’t tell my Dad, will you? I

don’t want him to know that I’ve been careless.”

“No, I won’t tell him. Now go. I’ll contact you

later.”

The image of Andrew’s father vanished, and Miss

Ellis turned to Tony. He was on the verge of tears.

We’ve seen how to develop the idea, plot, and characters for a science fiction story, but how do you explain the background of your world so readers will understand and appreciate it? Above all, avoid the infodump, an expository lump that does nothing but provide information. When contemporary characters make phone calls or fire guns in a mainstream story, they don’t stop to contemplate and explain the technology to the reader. When characters avoid taking the subway or walking through certain neighborhoods, they don’t stop to deliver a treatise on the sociological development of their hometown.

The FutureShock: Network Security Through Science Fiction’s Crystal Ball

It doesn’t take a crystal ball to prepare for future threats to corporate network security. All it takes is a library card.From the larcenous potential of remote-control crime to the progressive obsolescence of every known security architecture, science-fiction writers have anticipated both the social factors and the big-picture technical developments that have shaped and directed the network manager’s agenda. For at least two decades, high-tech adventure novelists and avant-garde “cyberpunk” renegades have demonstrated remarkable foresight.

It may be easier to get excited about the coming challenges by reading a believable story than by facing the daunting prose of a comprehensive reference on this subject. Nonetheless, Rita Summers’ 1997 “Secure Computing: Threats and Safeguards” (McGraw-Hill, ISBN 0-07-069419-2) is an excellent source of information.

shatnernewAn IBM veteran, Summers gives the network manager a framework on which to build a site-specific plan, beginning with the fundamentals: accountability, awareness, ethics, proportionality of protection vs. risk and multidisciplinary design with planned reassessments to deal with inevitable change in the system’s environment.

Summers’ 360-degree view is essential. Simple but comprehensive systems, implemented well, will provide more protection than more complex systems if the costs of the latter lead to gaps in coverage of secondary risks, or if a sophisticated design invites small but crucial configuration errors.

It’s all too easy to get wrapped up in the furor over exotic, newsworthy developments in disciplines such as cryptography, while ignoring the mundane reality that many users choose their mothers’ maiden names as their passwords. A network can use a kilobit key and a state-of-the-art algorithm to protect data confidentiality and integrity, but with careless or uneducated users, the result is no more secure than a massive bank vault with the combination written on the door.

Perhaps even this analogy is too kind. The bank vault, at least, cannot itself be stolen, but many networks are both easy to crack and easy to crash. The former deprives the network’s users of intangible benefits such as privacy; the latter deprives them of tangible business opportunities that come and go while a network is down.

Crashing a network is all too easy.

It’s meaningless, for example, to obsess over the crash protections afforded by redundant servers with failover operating systems if both of the servers share a single source of electrical power.

It’s missing the point to have RAID-based, hot-swappable disk arrays in a room that would be flooded by water from the engine company’s hoses in the event of a building fire.

Less obvious, but increasingly likely, is the threat from electromagnetic energy, whether accidental or malicious. A microscopic chip, whose millions of transistors each dissipate only microwatts of power, can be fatally damaged by an all too easily generated beam of microwaves.

The good news is the spreading awareness that security must be designed in, not added on. Important emerging technologies such as Java and IPv6, for example, included provisions for secure computing in their original definitions of the problems that they were created to solve.

The bad news is the degree to which law, employment practices and other social frameworks are not staying abreast of the soaring value of electronic transaction flows and centralized collections of data. The ubiquity of the Internet makes it cheap, fast and easy to integrate many different sources of information in ways that threaten privacy, despite the seeming innocence of each individual request for personal data.

The growing convenience and transparency of wireless connections make it easy to overlook the relative simplicity of plucking data, literally, out of thin air, without committing any physical and easily detectable crime such as trespass.

Technological helpmates

At least technology is finally beginning to help the good guys as much as it does the malefactors. The same fast microprocessors that enable brute-force attacks on encryption schemes also enable automated recognition of voice, face, fingerprint and iris patterns that establish personal identity with high accuracy and minimal inconvenience.

High-speed data links make it practical to incur the overhead of wrapping security headers and other protective bit groups around valuable data. Packet-sniffing tools, already used to diagnose low-level problems in network operation, can be applied at more refined levels to highlight suspicious activity.

With CPU cycles to spare, network clients and servers can do the formidable computations involved in knowledge-free key exchanges and other mathematically intensive cryptographic protocols while barely disrupting normal operations (as long as appropriate methods are used to prevent an attacker from bogging down a server with spurious key requests).

But network managers can never become complacent about any protective mechanism. It’s easy to deceive one’s self into thinking that a security architecture has multiple layers, when it really just has multiple links with the whole as weak as its least secure component.

For example, a manager who thinks that face or voice recognition is inherently safer than passwords is overlooking the fact that both of these mechanisms must reduce, at some point in the process, to the right set of bits crossing the right connection at the proper time.

A determined network cracker who’s willing to take the time, and spend the money, required to sniff the right packets can forge a face–electronically, that is–as readily as he can sniff an unencrypted password. More distributed networks create ever more opportunities for the physical access that enables an electronic attack.

There is growing recognition of the inexorable progress of cracking tools and techniques and of the inevitably statistical nature of all protection.

A lively, constructively paranoid imagination is therefore, perhaps, more important than any other single intellectual asset in defending corporate networks against the threats to come. Few things make less sense than spending money and time installing and administering security technologies and policies before there has even been any systematic effort to identify and estimate both present and foreseeable risks.

Long-term trends

It’s important to think in terms of long-term trends. This may explain why the predictions of cyberfiction have been so remarkably prescient, despite many writers’ non-IT backgrounds.

Vernor Vinge’s 100-page story, “True Names,” envisions the fusion of gaming techniques with worldwide communications: Vinge has suggested that his ignorance of computer technology (at the time he wrote the story) might actually have been an advantage, “saving me from getting lost in the irrelevancies of the moment.”

That comment appeared in Vinge’s foreword to that 1981 story, as republished in a 1987 collection by the same name (Baen Books, ISBN 0-671-65363-6). “After all,” Vinge continued, “I knew where things were ultimately going!”

William Gibson wrote his 1982 short story, “Burning Chrome” (Ace, ISBN 0-441-08934-8), which coined the word “cyberspace,” on a manual typewriter. Ditto his 1984 novel “Neuromancer,” another of this genre’s defining works (Ace, ISBN 0-441-56959-5). Gibson adopted a computer only when his trusty machine broke a critical, out-of-production part, and he was told that a new equivalent model would cost more than an Apple II.

In this respect, Gibson demonstrated a principle that network managers would do well to follow. He did not assume that the latest technology was by definition the best; rather, he waited until the cost of continued maintenance exceeded the cost of upgrade. The function and the cost, not the technology, determined the timing of his moves.

Effective network security policies are no different. Focusing on the functions of the network, rather than its technologies, and on the relative magnitudes of risks and remedies, will minimize waste of time and money while affording the protection that information assets deserve–now, and in the decades to come.

Fiction

“It was a typical banking defense and cash-flow plot–that is, typical for the SIG. Most banks had no such clever ways of visualizing the automated protection of their assets. …

“He poked a finger into the map and a trace gleamed red through the maze. ‘If they’re lucky, they’ll discover this tap next autumn, when they find themselves maybe three billion dollars short, and not a single sign of where it all disappeared to.’ ”

–”True Names,” by Vernor Vinge, Baen Books, New York, 1981

Fact

A visualization tool called HyperSpace (www.cs.bham. ac.uk/~amw/hyperspace/www95) creates analogies between familiar ideas (like size and distance) and abstract concepts (like download time or resource accessibility).

Other, more concrete visualizations of network activity are online at www.nlanr.net, a site maintained by the National Laboratory for Applied Network Research.

Related article: PC Week Recommends

Investigate tools for visualizing network configuration, activity and applications performance that may accelerate identification and analysis of attacks.

Fiction

“The intrusion countermeasures had accepted his entry as a routine transfer from the Los Angeles complex. Behind him, viral sub-programs peeled off, ready to deflect the real Los Angeles data when it arrived.”

–”Neuromancer,” by William Gibson, Ace Books, New York, 1984

“One of the vandals’ favorite sports was to infiltrate office systems and simulate higher level input to make absurd and impossible demands on the local staff.”

–”True Names,” by Vernor Vinge, Baen Books, New York, 1981

Fact

“The IPv6 specifications [describe] an Authentication Header and an Encrypted Security Payload. One provides authentication, guaranteeing that the source address is authentic and that the packet has not been altered during transmission. The other guarantees that only legitimate receivers will be able to read the content of the packet.”

–”IPv6: The New Internet Protocol, 2nd Edition,” by Christian Huitema, Prentice-Hall PTR, New Jersey, 1998

Related article: PC Week Recommends

Establish a plan for retrofitting IPv6 procedures to IPv4 systems and/or make the transition to IPv6 throughout all critical networks.

Fiction

“Look, this stuff is legal. That gadget is scarcely more powerful than an ordinary games interface.”

–”True Names,” by Vernor Vinge, Baen Books, New York, 1981

Fact

“Even amateurs have access to the technological tools needed to penetrate systems and cause trouble.”

–Robert T. Marsh, chairman, President’s Commission on Critical Infrastructure Protection, January 1997

Him, Robot?

The robotics industry is only now climbing out of a legendary bust that wiped out the majority of North America’s robotics firms in just three years. But now the market is hot. In 1994, a survey of the Alliance of Manufacturers and Exporters of Canada showed that only 8% of member companies were using robots in factory processes. Today, the figure is 22%. Thirty-eight percent of the companies expect to be using robots by the year 2004.

Robots became fashion victims after they caught on in Japan in the 1970s. They became popular there for many reasons, one being the high price of labour in an expanding economy, another being that country’s famous expertise in, and passion for, gadgetry. By 1980, with Japan seemingly poised to become the next Great Power, panicky foreigners imported Japanese industrial methods willy-nilly. In the automotive field, robots were a hit and the market matured relatively quickly. Elsewhere, they were a disappointment.

Not exactly R2-D2, of course.

Not exactly R2-D2, of course.

“American manufacturers adopted the Japanese methods without the Japanese management style,” says Robotics Industry Association (RIA) executive vice-president Donald Vincent. “Americans want payback now. They want to see an instant return oh an investment.” In 1985, RIA companies took orders for a record 6,200 robots. Most of these proved hard to integrate with existing processes, and were in need of surprisingly frequent repair. Businesses turned against the robot makers viciously, and the press followed. Meanwhile, personal computers were eating into companies’ “new toy” funding. By 1987 almost all the promising robotics start-ups had flamed out or merged with bigger companies, and just 3,700 robots were ordered in North America.

The way back has been slow for the survivors. Robot makers decided to design for specific applications rather than building a single versatile machine, and so robots climbed back into one new job at a time: spot welding one day, automotive painting the next. “Some non-manufacturing applications started to become viable in areas such as security, healthcare, environmental cleanup, and space and undersea exploration,” notes Mr. Vincent. The police robot, for example, is a familiar sight today in hostage and bomb situations.

Now the computer has become the robot’s friend instead of its rival. Computers can model factory processes, which takes away the need to integrate robots by trial and error. Because of computer chips, robots are continually becoming “smarter,” cognitively and perceptually; they can tell where the floor is, test a weld, even recognize faces. And the personal in-home robot is finally becoming a reality with Sony’s famous mechanical dog, Aibo.

The industry didn’t get back to its 1986 record size until 1992; after that, it started to grow at a steady clip of 20% a year, with a slight turndown for the “Asian flu” of 1997-98. Total robot orders reached 17,591 in 1999. One would expect a heavy auto exporter like Canada to have a large share in the industry, and there are indeed world-class robot makers all over southern Ontario: FANUC Canada of Mississauga (a branch plant of the U.S. industry leader), CRS Robotics of Burlington, Labotix of Peterborough, Ventax of Ayr. These companies are pioneering new applications that range from pallet loading to drug manufacture to gem polishing.

Labour unions and leftists have traditionally regarded automation with fear and loathing, but few now bemoan the “loss” of automotive painting jobs, and the writing is similarly on the wall for meat-processing workers. “The issue isn’t for or against robotics anymore, it’s how you gear for the adjustment–making sure that you don’t throw people on the trash heap when they’re displaced by technology,” says Canadian Labour Congress senior economist Kevin Hayes. “Certainly the growth in low-paying service jobs shows we’re a long way from an Aristotelian heaven of robots instead of slaves. For the moment, people are still doing work there’s no broad societal benefit to having them do.” Question: can a robot flip hamburgers?

Human Knowledge – A Strange Tree

At primary, secondary, and popular teaching levels, where the customer is likely to be unfamiliar with much mathematical symbology, we have to fall back on verbal and pictorial analogies. One of my favorites of these is used often by Stephen Jay Gould in his efforts to point out that evolution is not a simple tree trunk leading from “lower” to “higher” life forms. He pictures a bush, and employs various verbal techniques to convey the complexity and randomness of its branching, the essentially endless variety of directions the growth may take, and lack of preference for any particular one of these – that is, the absence of an upward-thrusting trunk.

starsI like to apply the same evolution analogy to the growth of human knowledge. It applies nicely to my personal interest, science. I may be grazing one of Dr. Gould’s analogy limitations when I do this, because there does seem to be a direction of sorts to the knowledge growth – toward greater probability of correctness – but maybe this is an illusion and, like life varieties, we are merely expanding in all available directions.

I tend to concentrate on the individual twig. It follows a process of growth, starting with a bud of speculation. This grows to the length of a hypothesis, where testing of the increasingly detailed idea becomes possible. If it doesn’t get nibbled off by a dinosaur (in other words, fail is testing) it reaches the status of a theory (“only”‘ a theory, as the creationists put it) and becomes a real branch. The analogy does not extend to the idealistic level of representing a completely established fact, of course. This is all right; real life seldom does this either. It is conceivable, after all, that the earth is a cube embedded in a set of force fields which so alter gravitational, electric, and magnetic lines of force and the paths of electromagnetic waves and momentum vectors that we are deceived into thinking the planet nearly spherical (you could probably find someone who would regard this suggestion as sheer inspiration; please don’t blame me for someone’s misuse of an illustrative example).

In the bush analogy, my self-supporting hobby of science fiction plays a demonstrable part in the development of human ideas. It operates at the base of the branch, at the speculative start and a little way – sometimes quite a respectable way – out into the hypothesis sections.

There are speculations about parallel worlds, personality transposition, and life in the sun that, at least until recently, no one would have wanted to publish in any other form and for which no suggestions for testing have been offered. There are hypotheses, quite testable, on why crater-lets on the floor of Plato (a 100-km-wide crater on the moon) are sometimes visible through a given telescope and sometimes not, under what seem to be identical viewing conditions. I suggested one, involving magnetic focusing of solar particles, some decades ago in The Strolling Astronomer, organ of the Association of Lunar and Planetary Observers. It produced a resounding silence among professional astronomers. However, I based a science fiction story, “Dust Rag,” on the same idea a few years later; it sold readily, has been anthologized more than once since, and I have been told of its use in secondary school science classes. As far as I know, there has been no attempt to check the hypothesis directly, but the moon’s more recently established lack of a significant magnetic field does make it unlikely. I can live with this.

Science fiction about space travel, sometimes with much detail about propulsion systems and orbit mechanics, by people like Willy Ley and Robert Heinlein, are far enough along the branch to let one hold on and climb. I invented for science fiction purposes in 1960 anastronomical body I called a “Superjovian.” It has since become quite respectable under the name of “brown dwarf.” (Discovery of the first brown dwarf, an object known as Gliese 229 B, has recently been confirmed by astronomers.)

I would say not to worry about the limits of this or any other analogy. It’s better to have fun with the intellectual ecology to be found in and around the bush.

Hal Clement (Harry Clement Stubbs) is one the most scientifically oriented science fiction writers. His first story, “Proof,” appeared in the June 1942 Astounding Science Fiction (now Analog) magazine, and his first novel, Needle was serialized there in 1949. His best-known story (unfortunately, he feels), “Mission of Gravity,” appeared in 1953. Other novels are Iceworld, Close to Critical, Star Light, Still River, and Fossil. He was a B-24 pilot in World War II and later a technical instructor, retiring as a full colonel in 1976. He has a B.S. in astronomy and an M.S. in chemistry and taught high school science for forty years.

They Can Build A Spacestation, But…

Science fiction writers have been amazingly good at peering into the future. From computers to space travel to robots, all were predicted decades beforehand.

However, science fiction has had one great failing: cars.

Early sci-fi didn’t have a clue. And by the time Detroit had brought the technology to life, sci-fi writers had become universally bored with ground transportation or angry at all of the traffic and fuss.

Moviemakers were a little more enthusiastic about the car of the future. But for the most part, the great envisioners were absolutely no help in shaping the auto industry.

But to give them their due, we offer here the best of the visions of the future that didn’t come to pass. As it turned out, the Edsel, Lee Iacocca, Daimler-Chrysler and fuzzy dice all were too bizarre for the great writers anyway.

7 Sci-fi flops:

1 GAS WARS

The visionary: Theodore Sturgeon (1941)

The vision: Microcosmic God. It’s not good enough that inexpensive diesel fuel and hydroelectric power dominate the future. An evil banker has masterminded a way to power vehicles by a mysterious low-cost energy beamed from an island transmitter.

Who could guess? Gasoline is still cheaper than bottled water.

Near miss: U.S. physicists almost discovered cold fusion, nuclear power in a water glass.

2 MOON COLONIES

The visionary: Savinien Cyrano de Bergerac (1657)

The vision: Voyage Dans la Lune. Imagining the civilization that might exist on the moon, the book pictured small enclosed moon colonies full of people who rolled around from spot to spot.

Who could guess? Most 20th century Earth cities can’t even get commuters to carpool.

Near miss: Ford Excursion could accommodate a small colony.

3 FLYING CARS

The visionary: Albert Robida (1893)

The vision: La Vie Electrique. Flush with excitement over the new Golden Age of Technology at the threshold of the 20th century, Robida foresaw great cities of elevated highways and even cars that could fly.

Who could guess? The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration hates it when all four wheels leave the ground.

Near miss: Original Mercedes A class seemed to defy gravity.

4 SMART HIGHWAYS

The visionary: Robert Heinlein (1940)

The vision: The Roads Must Roll. Cars of the future have become secondary to the technology of the roads themselves. Autos merely sit on rolling highways that carry them cross-country.

Who could guess? South-west Airlines, Atlanta to L.A., $99.

Near miss: “Smart highways” rat on you when you’re speeding.

5 LUNAR RV

The visionary: Arthur C. Clarke (1949)

The vision: The Sentinel. Moon explorers use big Winnebago-ish kitchen-equipped “caterpillar tractors” to traverse the rugged terrain. Passengers eat and sleep inside the lunar rovers.

Who could guess? It took NASA 10 years and $60 million just to build an aluminum dune buggy for the moon in 1971.

Near miss: Honda CR-V comes with a fold-out picnic table.

6 NO-HASSLE DRIVING

The visionary: Philip K. Dick (1969)

The vision: Ubik. Forget the hassles and dangers of driving. The car will do that for you. In Dick’s novel, you climb into your vehicle and tell it where to take you. Abracadabra, you arrive.

Who could guess? The phone company’s state-of-the-art voice-recognition directory assistance still thinks you’re saying “Christian Church” when you ask for “Kristen Jurtz.”

Near miss: GM’s OnStar at least lets you tell somebody where you want to go.

7 STOP, THIEF

The visionary: George Lucas (1971)

The vision: THX-1138. In Lucas’ first film, an escaped prisoner attempts to steal a car of the future. He doesn’t know the correct ignition code to punch in. The car’s security system of the future foils the theft by blowing both car and thief to smithereens.

Who could guess? A cottage industry just for airbag lawsuits.