• Category Archives Educational
  • Any posts that teach about technology go here.

  • Technology: Then and Now

    Posted on by Jess

    In 1965, Gordon Moore predicted the number of transistors the industry would be able to place on a computer microchip would double every year. He was pretty much right on with his prediction for some time. Nowadays, we know there is a theoretical maximum, but humans are clever and have found ways around even that limit. The doubling has slowed to about every 18 months, but we’re still going strong.

    Using these leaps, real world inventors have followed in the footsteps of science fiction writers. Over the past 30 years, consumerism in one form or another has really driven technology development. Here are a few examples:

    Cell Phones

    1984

     

    The Motorola DynaTAC was the first commercially available handheld cell phone. A full charge took about 10 hours and it sported a beefy 30 minutes of talk time. It had a fancy LED display for dialing and recall, and could store 30 phone numbers in it’s “phonebook”.

    It retailed at $3,995 then (a modern day cost of about $10,000). Motorola continued to sell these right through to 1994.It became associated with 1980’s pop culture and has been used extensively in film and media set in that period.

     

    2016

    Smartphones are the “de rigueur” for cell phones now. Flip phones were popular through the start of the millennium, but Apple introduced the first massively adopted smartphone in 2007. It quickly replaced a large number of previously common devices: walkmans, still and video cameras, memo recorders, and pagers. Exactly how good is this phone?  Paul Ledak poses this:

    # of transistors – iPhone has 130,000 times more than Apollo
    clock frequency – iPhone is 32,600 times faster than Apollo
    instructions per second – iPhone is 80,800,000 times faster than Apollo
    overall performance – iPhone is 120,000,000 times faster than Apollo
    or 1 iPhone 6 could theoretically  guide 120 million Apollo rockets at the same time

    Laptop Computers

    1991

    Almost everybody has used, or at least seen a laptop computer. While the Powerbook 100 isn’t the first laptop, it was on one the most popular of the early models. The Powerbook 100 boasted a Motorola 16 MHz processor, two to eight megabytes of memory, a 20 Mb hard drive, and a 9-inch monochrome monitor. It was released in 1991.

    It was considered one of the 10 best PC’s of all time by PC World in 2006, almost 15 years later. And as we are seeing, 15 years in technology time is an eternity.

     

    2015

    So that we are comparing apples to apples (HA!), here is the newest offering by Apple. The MacBook (2016). The MacBook has a 2.4GHz processor, two Gigabytes of memory, 250 Gb hard drive, and a 13.3-inch display capable of high definition video. It is one of the most popular laptops in the world, and is commonly seen in TV and Film.

    Comparisons are difficult as there are many other peripherals that the MacBook has over the Powerbook. Webcam, 5.1 audio, WiFi, Ethernet, and Bluetooth to name a few.

     

    Video Games

    1987

    In 1984, Nintendo released “Duck Hunt”. It was a single player game that had a pistol controller to allow you to shoot ducks as they flew up. It was designed for the Nintendo Entertainment System. While not the first home console to hit the markets, it was one of the most popular and is recognizable to all and helped revitalize the video game industry. Over 60 million units were sold world-wide.

    The system it was played on was an 8-bit console that had 2 kilobytes of ram. Games came hard coded into cartridges that were inserted into the deck. It could show up to 25 simultaneous colors.

     

    2016-2

    In 2016, Ubisoft released Tom Clancy’s The Division. The Division is classed as a online only open world third person shooter game. It has photo realistic graphics, 7.1 surround sound, and an extensive in-depth plot that develops as the player progresses through the game.

    It is available to play on all three major platforms: PC, Xbox, and PlayStation.

     

    EDIT: I found a gallery of video game graphics evolution over the past three decades. Check it out!

     

     

    As we progress into the future, Cell phones, laptops, and video games will continue to push the envelope. A newcomer to the technology race is Virtual and Augmented reality headsets. The technology is relatively young, but has a strong backing by consumers to move forward.


  • How to: Setting up pfSense Router Software to work with SaskTel Infinet (Fiber)

    SaskTel started upgrading its entire infrastructure in early 2013. They are moving to a Fiber to the Home type of delivery. For the majority of users, they simply have the installer come out and change them over to a fiber and have the copper removed. It’s a pretty seamless change over. Previous to the fiber, the best that could be provided to a customer was 25 mbps downstream and 2 mbps upstream. With fibre the maximum bandwidth you can get is 260 mbps downstream and 60 mbps upstream!

    One of the problems being encountered with the high end users is the lack of bells and whistles in the Actiontech gateway that is provided as the main router for the new fiber install. Common complaints are poor wireless signal, and very few advanced routing, NAT and firewall options. Because of the way SaskTel has deployed their optical fiber network, you can’t just buy a ‘small office/home office’ (SOHO) router. Most people have one of these already, like a D-Link or LinkSys or their equivalent.

    Many customers have turned to an open source router software called pfSense. Using a small form factor PC and adding a second network card or NIC you can easily connect directly to the fiber box without having to use the provided Actiontech.

    NOTE: If you have a MAX tv subscription, it is suggested you use the provided Actiontech gateway. While it is possible to set pfSense to work with the MAX services, you may experience degraded or loss of service if it isn’t configured exactly right. Some sources say if you have MAX tv, make sure you have IGMP snooping and make it priority 1. Max and Internet are both coming in on VLAN 1000. This tutorial will only encompass the internet portion.

    To begin, you need the following:

    • Some sort of PC that can run the pfSense software
    • If it doesn’t already have it, a second NIC or Ethernet card. While a 100M card will work, it will have issues with bottle necking and won’t give you your full speed. Gigabit (1000M) cards are recommended.
    • Download the pfSense CD

    We’re not going to re-invent the wheel on this post, but will direct you to a few really good videos on how to install the pfSense software and get it basically working. Check out these YouTube Videos for info:

    Tutorial 1 – For a little more advanced users

    Tutorial 2 – This one seems to be a bit more of a step by step.

    Once you have the software installed and the cables plugged in, you need to set the WAN (this would be the the card that is plugged into the fiber box on Ethernet PORT 1) to a VLAN of 1000.

    pfs1

     

    In your management screen, select the Interfaces table and then go to the assign. This will allow you to change the settings for the interfaces. We need to alter the WAN one to work on VLAN 1000. Sounds scary, but it’s actually really easy.

    pfs2

     

    Click on the tab that says VLANs. This will take us to the correct spot to set one up. There shouldn’t be anything in there yet unless you have already been setting up internal VLANs. Underneath the tabs should be a button that looks like a piece of paper with a plus sign on it. This is the “Add VLAN” button. Press it to get to the next screen.

    pfs3

     

    In the parent interface, you need to select the Ethernet or NIC card that is plugged into the fiber box (Remember: You have to use ETHERNET PORT 1 on the fiber box!). There should only be two interfaces here, unless your computer has other interfaces. This is sort of a trial and error part unless you specifically know which is which.  In the VLAN tag area, type in “1000”. NOTE: If you have a static IP package then you need to use VLAN 3000 and set up the WAN basic interface for IPv4 Static with the info provided by SaskTel. For description, I find it easiest to use the word “Fiber”.

    When you have them set correctly, press “Save”.

    pfs4

     

    It should take you back to the VLAN tab and show you your new VLAN set up. Select “Interface Assignments” from the top tabs. In the WAN interface, click the pull down and you should see the “Fiber” (or whatever you called it) in the list. Select it.

    Open a new window and try to surf. If it fails, then go back to the VLAN and select a different interface. Save it and try to surf again. When you find the right one, it should just start working!

    Warning: Any damages caused to your system, property, data, or person as a result of this tutorial are not the responsibility of DTC Consulting or its partners. This article is provided for educational purposes only!