April 21, 2014
April 14, 2014
In this video I run a disk speed test on the Promise Pegasus R4 (RAID 5) Thunderbolt backup system using Blackmagic software.
April 7, 2014
I ran a speed test on the Apple 751 Gb Flash Storage iMac 27-Inch Late 2012, 3.4 ghz, Intel i7 processor, 32 Gb RAM, using Blackmagic speed test software.
March 31, 2014
I ran a speed test on the Promise Pegasus R6 (RAID 5) backup system. Watch the YouTube video below to see how the Pegasus stacks up.
March 24, 2014
In this unboxing we will take a look at the new Google Nexus 7 by Asus. This is the second generation Nexus 7 which was released with version 4.3 of Android Operation System. The Nexus 7 is an almost 8 inch tablet and is pretty light weight for it’s size at about 12 oz; it also comes with a 1280×800 pixel resolution screen. The Nexus has been praised for it’s price, processing, and hardware build. The tablet was criticized for a lack of rear-facing camera, and lack of expandable storage. This video goes through the unboxing of the tablet, I will release a review video soon.
February 24, 2014
I first began teaching as an Adjunct in January 2005. I teach graduate school students who often work part- or full-time, have families and other responsibilities, and arrive to a 6 PM evening class tired after a full day of work or other activities. From the beginning, my standard policy was to treat my students to pizza or donuts once or twice a semester. I did this because I knew my students enjoyed it and appreciated it. Also, students seemed more attentive and likely to participate on the days I brought snacks.
Students always thankfully gobbled up every last bite. Most students were excited if there was enough for them to have two or even three slices of pizza, or two or three donuts. Over time, this changed. After a few semesters, I started to have leftovers. Students were taking less (only one slice of pizza or one donut), and some students would not take anything at all. Then, in fall 2013, I brought two dozen Dunkin’ Donuts to class one day. No one ate anything. Not one.
I asked the class why I had a full box of donuts left. Was is that it was too late for donuts? Would they prefer Krispy Kreme? Would they prefer ice cream? To my shock, the unanimous response was quite simple… they wanted healthy treats, like fruit. This was a radical shift from when I first started teaching nearly a decade ago.
Could it really be that over the past decade students were eating healthier and making healthier choices? I was skeptical, so I decided to do an experiment. Later that semester I brought to the same class one box of a dozen Dunkin’ Donuts and one bowl of assorted fruit (bananas, pears, oranges, and an assortment of different types of apples). To my surprise, the students did make the healthier choice. Some students even took more than one piece of fruit. I still remember seeing three apple cores on the desk of one student. In the end, not a single donut was eaten; Every piece of fruit was gone.
The only request the students had for future “fruitings” were some paper towels or napkins. I had two requests myself. First, students must clean up after themselves and not leave behind a mess. Second, I asked for volunteers to pick up the fruit on days my schedule made it difficult to do it myself.
Starting this semester, spring 2014, I implemented a new policy which is made easy by the fact that I only teach one traditional in-class course this semester with about 18 students. Every class I bring two bowls of fruit – a colander with apples and pears (I wash them before class), and a bowl of bananas and oranges. At almost every class session so far, every piece of fruit has been eaten.
I am quite amazed at the response less than $20 worth of fruit has on a graduate class that meets once a week from 6-8 PM. The students enjoy the evening pick-me-up so much that when I am very busy, they even volunteer to pick up the fruit, a position we have nicknamed the “fruit fetcher.” At the beginning of class students proudly declare, “I am the fruit fetcher and this week I have fetched your fruit.” (Okay, maybe that was paraphrased).
Bringing fruit to class may seem like a simple gesture, but really it is one way of letting my students know that I truly care about their preferences, well-being, and success. If for less than $20 a week some fruit will help my students have a more productive class session and thus help them succeed, then I am more than happy to help.
November 15, 2013
Professor Wandt’s Presentation at the Association of Inspectors’ General 2013 Annual Meeting. The topic of the presentation is “Mobile Device Investigations: Thinking Outside the Box.”
October 22, 2013
With Apple’s announcement and release of OS X 10.9 Mavericks, many of you will want to perform a clean install by formatting your existing hard drive and starting from scratch. This brand new installation of the operating system will give you the look and feel of a new computer. Since Apple and the App Store do not natively support this, you will have to create a USB installer to do so. However, the method of creating a USB installer is slightly different than with previous versions of OS X. An additional benefit of creating a USB installer is that you won’t have to download the installer multiple times, if you own multiple Macs.
As with previous versions of OSX, you will need an 8 GB flash drive and the ability to download the installer (OS) from the App Store. I have created a simple step-by-step video on YouTube to help you through the process.
July 11, 2013
I have had some major issues with the Equinox gym at columbus circle regarding billing and cancelation of membership. I feel their boilerplate policies are highly unjust and abusive. I am looking for people who may have suffered financial injury as a result of what I feel are unfair billing or cancelation practices. My goal is to obtain class action status in New York Supreme. Please contact me if you think you qualify. I will post updates here as things progress.
May 10, 2013
It is more than just a little annoying that Apple won’t sell OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion on physical media. Only allowing download via the App store has its limitations for power users or IT shops. The solution is simple… create a MAC OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion Install USB Flash Drive. You can then use the USB drive to install / reinstall OS X as often as you want.
April 26, 2013
Most people living in Manhattan do not own cars. The main methods of transportation are subways, buses, and cabs. If you are a regular taxi rider like me, you know that hailing a cab may be quick and simple, or a long and miserable process, depending on your location and time of day. For example, trying to hail a cab near the Empire State Building at 5 PM on a Friday is nearly impossible. On the other hand, near Columbus Circle on a Saturday evening, you can’t swing a Fendi purse without knocking into a cab.
As a techie and a frequent taxi rider, I was very excited to find out about the Hailo (https://www.hailocab.com) application launching in New York City. Hailo is a free smartphone app that can be used to hail licensed taxis. It was launched in November 2011 and is available in London, Dublin, Toronto, Chicago, and Boston. Beta testing for New York started today, and the app is expected to expand shortly to Tokyo, Washington D.C., Cork, Madrid, and Barcelona.
Being that I carry my iPad Mini with me everywhere and take several cab rides a week, I was excited to try this new app and applied for their Beta testing program. Today (Friday, April 26, 2013) I was notified that I was approved to be a Hail-O Beta Tester. I eagerly downloaded the application and went outside to try it out. Did I make it to the Shake Shack? … You will have to watch the video to find out.
April 17, 2013
Did 4Chan Identify the Boston Bombers?
Americans tend think of hacking groups like Anonymous and 4Chan as mischievous criminals who cause damage and cost corporations and governments millions upon millions of dollars.
But occasionally the views of these groups align with popular opinion.
In response to the explosions at the Boston Marathon, online discussion forums are abuzz with the story that the global hacking group 4Chan took to the Internet to conduct their own cyber investigation. 4Chan reportedly requested assistance from the public and collected scores of photographs, a technique called crowd sourcing.
4Chan painstakingly analyzed the photos and identified several individuals who may have been involved with the bombing.
A website has been created (http://imgur.com/a/sUrnA) with annotated photographs showing the suspects at different points in time. Two photographs are annotated “Suspect #1” and “Suspect #2.” The suspects can be seen with and without two backpacks that may have been used to carry the bombs. A third suspect carries a duffel bag. Several other suspects are also identified. The photographs and evidence are clearly presented to the public.
This type of crowd sourced criminal investigation is a fairly new activity for hacker groups to engage in. What are the pros and cons of these activities?
- Taking initiative to increase public safety.
- Conducting a public and transparent investigation.
- Collecting evidence that may assist law enforcement.
- Looking out for Americans.
- May be considered inappropriate or illegal interference with a federal investigation.
- Alerting and outing possible suspects could cause problems for law enforcement.
- Releasing evidence before the government deems it appropriate may be considered a problem for national security.
- What if these people are innocent? What about violent vigilantly responses?
- What if images are being doctored?
One final thought: Looking at these photographs, I noticed that some of these people look like special ops, not terrorists. Two of the suspects are wearing tactical pants and the backpacks possibly used to carry the bombs look like tactical gear. Did 4Chan simply identify undercover law enforcement or military, not terrorists?
Perhaps these photographs leave more questions unanswered than answered. But one thing is for sure… hacker groups engaging in crowd sourced criminal investigations is an interesting behavior that raises new ethical and legal issues.
Take a look at this archive of 4Chan’s photo investigation work (http://imgur.com/a/sUrnA) and tell me what you think in the comments below.
April 1, 2013
Our latest anti-cheating technology uses saliva to ensure students are not cheating during exams. Please watch our youtube podcast for additional information:
February 21, 2013
I am pleased to announce the launch of sociopolitical.org, what I believe is the Internet’s most complete and easily accessible data set of the social media accounts of elected members of the U.S. Congress.
Sociopolitical.org allows the public to search by representative name or by state, and receive hyperlinks to representatives’ official accounts. The site contains a dynamic map and search features. In addition, we have created a social media index score which rates representatives based on the number of social media websites utilized.
We hope to obtain funding to expand the project to include the ability for users to type in their home address and have a message formatted for Twitter or Facebook automatically tagging the users’ representatives.
Please visit sociopolitical.org and provide comments/feedback on my blog at http://adam.commons.gc.cuny.edu.
December 31, 2012
The iPad Mini Experiment – Week 2: Using Your iPad or iPad Mini: Managing Documents, Files and Data. In this video Professor Wandt examines methods to manage, access and manipulate files on iOS 6 devices such as the iPad or iPad Mini. Professor Wandt examines Dropbox, Evernote, Docs2Go, Bento, Pocket, Paper, iThoughtsHD, iWork for iOS, OmniFocus, Remember the Milk (RTM), Notes and Reminders.
December 16, 2012
The iPad Mini Experiment – Week 1: How to Use Your iPad or iPad Mini as a Cell Phone. In this video Professor Wandt examines ways to get cell phone capabilities from an iPad or iPad Mini. Professor Wandt examines Google Voice, Line 2, Skype and iMessage. He also take a look at “Living Earth.” A unique and awesome weather application .
December 7, 2012
I think the iPad Mini is an incredibly important tool for students and educators to take a close look at. Take a look at my unboxing of the iPad Mini Wi-Fi + Cellular Verizon LTE. I also fit the unit with an Exoskin from XGear. (xgearlive.com).
December 5, 2012
An unboxing and overview of Apple’s Lightning to USB cable and two diffrent 30 Pin to Lightning adaptors.
Here is an unboxing and overview of Apple’s Lightning to USB cable and two diffrent 30 Pin to Lightning adaptors. Maybe it will be of use to someone.
December 4, 2012
One of the greatest things about Bonaire is “Dive Freedom.” You can do what you want, when you want. If you want to take six tanks in your car and drive to the southern-most beach and dive alone from dawn to dusk, or dusk till dawn, you are more then welcome to do so.
There is no “dive master” or “dive police” to make sure you don’t kill yourself.
One night, a group of four of divers decided to night dive at “Alice in Wonderland,” a southern dive site in Bonaire. We arrived at the dive site about 30 minutes before sunset, assembled our gear, and entered the water just as the sun disappeared over the horizon. It was dark – very dark. We descended and started our dive. One of the basic rules of diving is to carry a primary and backup flashlight (torch) with you on a night dive. Some dive lights are not brighter than your average hardware store light; others are $1500 HID lights that are brighter than your car’s headlights. Each member of my group had a primary and backup light – each member but me. I don’t carry a light during night dives because I carry a huge underwater camera that takes two hands to control. The camera has two strobes and each strobe has a “modeling” light built in that when left on gives out a decent amount of light. Basically, the camera is my primary light. I did not carry a backup on this dive.
Since being certified in 2001, I have logged almost 300 dives. This usually makes me the most “experienced” diver in just about any dive group. At the dive resort in Bonaire, I had been certified longer than most of the instructors. While there are thousands of divers with more experience than me, I don’t run into them often. This means I usually lead dives and people look to me for direction and guidance. I am a professor by profession and don’t mind this. I enjoy teaching and leading, although sometimes I just want to be left alone to do my photography.
So, we were off on our night dive… It was amazing! This was my fourth night of diving on the trip and our group was finding one specimen after another for me to photograph. Until then, I had been very disappointed with what I was shooting underwater. I was not getting the pictures I wanted to get, but this dive changed it all. Moray eel, sea snake, huge lobsters, they were all there and almost posing for my pictures.
It was bliss . . . until about 20 minutes into the dive when I checked my “Smart Com” dive computer to check my air, bottom time and depth. A feeling of overwhelming shock quickly halted the bliss: my dive computer was not working. It was giving me strange readings, none of which made sense. The computer had a serious malfunction and there was no way to correct the problem. I had no idea what my depth or dive time was, or even how much air I had left in my tank. I was diving blind.
I turned to locate my dive group. “Oh, that’s right,” I thought. “I swam away from them a while ago to follow a sea snake, or maybe it was an eel.” Luckily I quickly found them. We were only at about 25 feet so I signaled them to surface. I told them what happened and we all agreed to abort the dive.
“Follow me back to shore,” I stated as I took a compass reading. The surface current was strong, so we re-descended and the group followed me towards shore. I was fairly comfortable that the amount of air I had left in my tank would last me to the shore. We were only about 20 minutes or so into the dive and somehow I have been using less air recently. I frequently can get 45-65 minutes from an 80 cubic foot tank of air (depending on depth and workload).
We were making our way back to shore and there it was: a huge Caribbean lobster just staring at us, waiting to be photographed. It is illegal to fish or take anything from the waters from Bonaire, so this lobster had lived a long healthy life and was HUGE. I had to make a choice: (1) continue to shore, or (2) spend 5 minutes or so photographing my new friend. Anyone who knows me already knows what I chose. The lobster was beautiful, stayed fairly still the whole time, and let me get less than a foot away from its face to photograph it. (Click here to see one of the pictures.)
Underwater photography is hard; at night it is even harder. The camera takes longer to autofocus, and there are many other complications with low-light photography. After about 10 minutes or so with Mr. Lobster I continued to lead my group toward shore, or so I thought . . .
“QUACK! QUACK!” I heard behind me a moment later. A diver in my group was activating their underwater dive signal (it sounds like quacking) to get my attention. I turned around and there it was as beautiful as could be – a Caribbean Reef Squid. These creatures are small (only a few inches long) and very difficult to find at night. They hang out between 15 and 25 feet of water, isolated from reefs and other fish.
These squids are beautiful at night. Their bioluminescence makes them glow under the dive light and they make gorgeous photographs. This was the opportunity I was waiting for all week. I had found what could have been a prized shot.
Yes, it was irresponsible, but sometimes you need to take a chance to get the shot you really want. I remember thinking “I am only at 25 feet. If I really run out of air, I can make it to the surface okay.” In retrospect, I was probably right.
The small squid was amazing. The bioluminescence was far more beautiful than most people expect. I had actually found a reef squid two days before during a night dive, but had to abort the dive after only three pictures of it because a membe r of my group ran out of air. She was a new diver and was not paying attention to her air supply. Sometimes I take chances with my own safety – but never with others.
There I was with the squid, my camera, three other divers, no clue how much air I had left or what depth we were at and so, no idea of what our remaining bottom time was. Yet, none of this mattered. I wanted a great photograph of the squid and even though I knew it might take 5-10 minutes to get it, I was committed.
My group watched in awe as the small creature swam while being photographed. I put my thumb up to my nose and wiggled my fingers, a “custom” dive hand signal to my buddy to approach any object I was photographing from the opposite side and shine her light on the subject. Backlighting at night was a new technique I was trying.
We must have spent ten minutes photographing the squid. At one point, one of the divers in the group reached out to see if it would land on his hand. It didn’t; but it did “ink” and dart away a short distance. Because I was looking through my camera, I never saw this. But the members of my dive group said it was beautiful.
Most people don’t understand how hard it is to get a great photograph in these types of circumstances. It is not a “point and shoot” situation. Shots like this require multiple shots with many different manual adjustments to the camera, strobes, angle of shot and several other factors. Plus, focusing at night with a macro lens is not easy at all.
In the ten minutes we were with the squid, I took 20 or 30 photographs. I was pretty sure I would get 1 or 2 that would have been of a high enough quality to meet my standards.
After about 10 minutes, my group insisted we leave because of my failed computer. Even though I really did not want to, I did. We swam away from the squid, leaving it behind. I was very disappointed I did not have more time with the squid. Had I not been having problems – I would have spent as much time with the squid as I had air.
I led the group for a few more minutes at about 15-20 feet. I was getting worried. The depth was not changing. The water should have been becoming shallower, but it was not. The group surfaced.
We looked for the shore and the cars parked on the side of the road. I could not see anything. If you imagine the shore shaped like an elongated “C,” we were somewhere in the middle of the “C,” but I could not tell where.
We discussed our options. All four of us thought the beach was in a different direction. As the dive site was on the southern side of the island, which is nothing more than an enormous salt flat, there were very few visible lights to guide us. If we went in the right direction, we could have been back to shore in only a few minutes. If we choose poorly, it could have taken 30 minutes to an hour to get back to shore. Or worse, we would never get there. It all looked the same to me, which was black.
I had to admit to the group I was lost. I wanted to swim towards some red lights on top of a radio tower, knowing there would be land in that direction, but not knowing how far away it was. I am very lucky we didn’t.
I have no problem diving by myself day or night. I had done so several times on the trip already. But, this is one time I was lucky to have other people with me. Had I been by myself, who knows what my fate would have been?
I carry a large variety of emergency equipment while diving, but the only thing that helps at night is a signal strobe and flair. The issue with the signal strobe was that no one would have been looking for it. What good is activating an emergency strobe on my vest if no one was looking for it? It probably would have made my night vision even worse, so I decided against it.
My only other option was a single hand held aerial flair (the type small boats carry). But again, no one would have been looking for it. I figured its purpose was not for people to see it, but to attempt to light up the night sky so we could get a better glimpse of the shoreline. (I saw the technique used by the military while fighting during a movie I once saw). The downside to this plan was that if we used the flair and still could not figure out where the shore was, we wouldn’t have another one to signal a boat if we saw one.
I felt blind. It is very rare that I am unsure of myself, but this was one of those occasions. People were counting on me t find the shore and our entry site. Out of the complete 360 degrees, I had eliminated maybe a quarter of it as “not back to shore.” The other ¾ of the possible directions were in the category of “maybe this way.”
But then, like it was no big deal at all, two members pointed in the same direction and said, “The shore is that way.” It was actually kind of humiliating. I am not used to being that helpless. I graciously said, “I’ll follow you,” and they lead us back to the shore . . . that was, maybe, 100 feet away.
Broken dive computer and all, we schlepped our equipment onto shore. It was not where we entered but it was good enough. I rested my camera on some dry coral and threw my equipment onto the sand. I was happy to be back on dry land. Two of us went to get the car, while the others waited with the equipment. The vehicles were only about 300 feet north on the dark island road, with skies so overcast that not even the moon was visible. The ride back to the resort was… quiet.
I am currently writing this in New York traveling on the Metro North Railroad. It is sunset and the rail runs parallel to the Hudson River. Looking at the water makes me remember how much fun we had last week. I missed the island almost the minute we left, even though I always am happy to return home.