6 Tech Trends to Keep an Eye on in 2018

That time of year has arrived — both to look back at the developments that have come before and to look ahead to the advancements that will arrive as the calendar year passes.

Recently, Gartner released its predictions for tech trends in 2018 and several years beyond. From an increase in visual and voice search to a rise in bot development over mobile, it looks as though the tech darlings of 2017 will only grow in prominence and power.

But what other leaps forward might we expect in 2018? Let’s take a look at the top picks shared by expert Roger Samara:

1. Geo-targeting

Geo-targeting, or the process of delivering specific content to users based on their locations, may seem like a limiting concept. Why focus in on a single region when you can send a blanket message at lower cost? But drilling down into your customer segment in this way can add a sense of personalization that is more likely to bring in new business.

Roger Samara-Geo-Targeting
Roger Samara-Geo-Targeting

Imagine you’re a chiropractor looking to target people in a specific community who are interested in alternative medicine, meditation, and organic coffee,” says Lathan Fritz, founder of Amerisales and an expert in big data for small businesses. “Geotargeting allows you to focus on your ideal customer, getting to know them and knowing their interests, and then targeting those interests on their platforms of choice.”

The wealth of data on social media and mobile devices has given rise to this highly targeted approach.

Ads or other content delivered to your smartphone can change as you travel around an area or even the world. In today’s era of total customization, geotargeting is a natural fit, and advertisers and content providers will continue to leverage it in 2018 and beyond.

Also Read: The FCC Repealed Net Neutrality

2. Anomaly detection/prediction

In manufacturing, a single error in production could be negligible — or it could create massive problems, not just for the equipment and product, but for public relations as well. Quality control has always been with us, but advances in information technology are bringing a new level of sophistication to this critical area.

Companies such as DataRPM, a Progress Company, and Hortonworks, a big data software company, are collaborating on cognitive systems for detecting anomalies in manufacturing.

Michael Ger, general manager for automotive and manufacturing solutions at Hortonworks, described the benefits of this collaborative approach, saying, “DataRPM’s cognitive anomaly detection and prediction capabilities perfectly complement our offerings, as they help companies make sense of the multi-structured data they collect.”

3. Customer service automation

From big-box retailers to tech startups, virtually every company performs some sort of customer service. But thanks to the rise of artificial neural networks, companies are increasingly turning to AI technologies to answer customers’ most common questions.

By 2020, IBM predicts that 85% of all customer interactions will be conducted without a human agent.

Roger Samara_Customer service automation
Roger Samara_Customer  Automation

Leading the charge toward automated customer service is IV.AI, the world’s first artificial intelligence agency. Led by CEO Vince Lynch, IV.AI made waves at this year’s Facebook F8 Developer Conference by announcing that it had used machine learning to automate 96% of international airline Aeromexico’s customer service interactions.

4. Augmented reality

Expect more apps to take advantage of the iPhone’s latest operating system upgrade, which allows it to overlay additional information on whatever the camera is pointing at. This will be used for far more than the flash-in-the-pan craze of Pokémon GO.

The potential applications are really endless, but one possibility is a phone-based tour guide that provides facts and additional images relevant to nearby sites, stores, restaurants, and even the night sky as viewed through your screen.

5. Deep learning

After the upset win of Google DeepMind’s AlphaGo system, which used a deep learning approach against top-ranked Go master Lee Sedol in spring 2016, the tech community has become increasingly familiar with deep learning. This year, expect further popularization of the term due to successes in Google’s driver less car initiative and facial recognition.

Roger Samara Deep learning
Roger Samara_Deep learning

Deep learning succeeds in areas of computer analysis that were previously tough nuts to crack because it does not rely on a brittle set of pre programmed rules for attacking a problem domain. Instead, it uses an approach inspired by the brain’s neural networks to find new ways to solve the most difficult problems.

6. Conversational Platforms

According to Roger Samara, there was a time when any degree of voice recognition by a computer — even a single word — was a big victory. Now Alexa is recognizing songs and musical acts, and Siri is giving you the local weather. But will we see something more like actual conversation in 2018?

It’s possible, but that will require conversational platforms to couple word recognition with a robust, adaptive internal model of the conversation topic, as well as provide an application programming interface that allows third-party developers to utilize their methods and features.

Such platforms will be able to predict what the user is speaking about, what relevant questions to expect, and what answers to deliver.

Once they become viable, conversational platforms may be able to do much more than respond to simple requests; technologists envision potential applications in law enforcement, education, medicine, and other areas.

There’s no doubt 2018 is going to be an exciting year. While these predictions may not play out exactly as forecast, it’s just as likely that stunning, unexpected advances will arrive to take their place. However the year turns out, we look forward to using some of the new technologies that will be discussed in retrospect at the end of 2018.

Originally published at: https://www.inc.com


The FCC Repealed Net Neutrality — Here’s What That Means for You

In a move that could fundamentally reshape the internet — and spur a new wave of legal wrangling — the Federal Communications Commission voted Thursday to repeal its net-neutrality rules.

Here Roger Samara is sharing his vision on net neutrality, the proposal and what’s likely to happen next:

What’s net neutrality?

Net neutrality is the principle that all traffic on the internet should be treated equally. Under net-neutrality protections, internet service providers are barred from blocking, slowing or providing preferred treatment to particular sites and services. The rules are designed to keep the internet open to all comers and give everyone a fair shot.

Roger Samara - Net Neutrality
Roger Samara – Net Neutrality

Without net-neutrality protections, ISPs could block you from streaming video from Netflix or YouTube or charge you extra just to access those sites. They could also force Netflix or YouTube to pay more to ensure that its videos be streamed at the same speed and quality as at other video sites.

Such moves would most likely force you to pay more to view and access the videos and other information you regularly get through the internet. They also could limit your choices if the ISPs block access to particular companies’ sites or charge those companies tolls that only the biggest and richest among them can afford.

The FCC has had some form of net-neutrality protections in place since 2005. After two different versions of the rules were struck down in court, the FCC in 2015 officially designated broadband providers as telecommunications companies, a move that allowed it to put in place new rules grounded in its authority over such companies under Title II of the Communications Act.

The latest proposal from the FCC reverses the designation of broadband providers as telecommunications companies and do away with the three major net-neutrality prohibitions. Under the new proposal, companies would be able to block, slow or provide fast lanes to particular sites or services.

Their only responsibility under the proposal would be to disclose such practices to customers. The FCC now leaves it up to the Federal Trade Commission to determine whether broadband companies were doing anything they hadn’t disclosed.

Why did the FCC want to repeal net neutrality?

Roger Samara - FCC Chairman
Roger Samara – FCC Chairman

When it comes to his philosophy regarding telecommunications companies, the FCC’s chairman, Ajit Pai, a former lawyer for Verizon, is a free-market libertarian. He is ideologically opposed to even the idea of the FCC regulating such companies. He opposed the FCC’s 2015 rules and announced even before he became chairman that he would seek to overturn them.

Broadband investment can take different forms, but it usually results in faster, more reliable networks that are available to more people. Those are outcomes that partisans on both sides of the net-neutrality debate support.

The problem with Pai’s argument is the data he cites doesn’t support his claim that investment is falling. Instead, that data shows that broadband investment has basically been flat since 2013, with a lot of variation among the different companies. A study from the consumer-advocacy group Free Press indicates broadband investment has actually increased since the 2015 net-neutrality rules took effect.

Regardless, some companies have significantly cut back on their investments in recent years. But even just looking at those companies, none have blamed their reduced investment on the net-neutrality rules.

What happens after the repeal?

The rules won’t take effect for a few months — some 60 days after they are published in the Federal Register. In the meantime, consumer-advocacy groups and other opponents will almost certainly file suit to try to block them. Members of Congress, particularly Democrats, are likely to introduce legislation to try to overturn them.

The only obligation broadband providers would have would be to tell you what they’re doing. But such disclosures are sure to come in the kind of fine print that few of us understand or even read.

Who benefits from the repeal?

The big telecommunications companies including AT&T, Verizon and Comcast are cheering the impending death of the net-neutrality rules, in part because they think the repeal will allow them to make more money and give them more control.

Roger Samara - Telecommunication
Roger Samara – Telecommunication

But even the large internet companies that support the rules — including Google, Amazon, Facebook and Netflix — are likely to benefit from their demise. There’s a good chance, once the rules are gone, that broadband providers will try to make internet companies pay to transmit their websites, stream their videos or send their data to the providers’ customers. And the internet giants, with their deep pockets, are the companies in the best position to afford those tolls.

The end of the rules could end up cementing the dominance of the big tech companies by thwarting their potential competitors and disruptors.

Who loses?

Normal internet users like you and me would lose out with the repeal of the net-neutrality rules. It won’t happen overnight, but you can expect broadband providers to start limiting what you can access on the internet or charging you more to get to the sites and services you regularly use.

Also, entrepreneurs and smaller internet companies — the people and startups pioneering new kinds of services or aiming to be the next Netflix, Google or Facebook — could lose out if they can’t afford the broadband companies’ potential tolls.

What’s next?

The main action on net neutrality is likely to move to the courts after the FCC vote, but a decision is unlikely to come until at least a year after the repeal.

Given the broad public support for net neutrality, there’s a good chance lawmakers or the FCC will try to reinstate the rules if Democrats regain the majority in Congress next year or the White House in 2020.

Source URL: https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/306248

6 Things To Consider When Buying A Wireless Router

Are you going to buy a fresh home network or upgrade the current one? In both cases, you will need to buy a good wireless router. Buying the right device is important if you want a flawless network that will give you no trouble. Here are a few important things shared by computer technician Roger Samara to consider when buying a wireless router:

Routers provided by your ISP

Your ISP may charge you a few dollars per month for the wireless router. In some countries, the price of the router is part of the internet package you sign up for. The device sent by the ISP is serviceable. But if you are in the USA and you want to use the same device for more than a year, buying your own device is a good idea. As a matter of fact, buying your own device will give you better performance and faster speeds.

Changing wireless standards

Over the years, the wireless technology standards have improved a lot. The majority of latest laptops, mobile phones and tablets make use of the regular 802.11ac. These devices can deliver faster speeds through WiFi. So, if your package offers 100Mbps or higher speeds, you will still use a Wireless N router.

The lifespan of a router

Remember: your networking hardware won’t last for good. The standards change over and over again, but the networking hardware goes through plenty of stress on a regular basis. Actually, your WiFi connection is used by your gaming console, PC, tablets, smartphones and the streaming devices. If lots of devices connect to the wireless device, the performance of the router will go down. So, buying a good device is a great idea.

Is Gigabit necessary yet?

roger samara Gbps speed

Although fiber is getting popular, it’s not common yet. Gigabit speeds are rare, but doesn’t mean you should not go for a router that offers Gigabit speeds. As a matter of fact, average priced models feature Gigabit Ethernet options, but even if you go for a good Tplink router, you can get over 1000Mbps speeds easily.


According to Roger Samara, the routers’ prices start from $15 and go up to $400. So, you have to have a budget in mind in order to go for the right device. You should set your budget based on your needs.

If you are a high-end user and you need the best device, we suggest that you go for a device priced between $100 and $200. But if you need a device for home use, we suggest that you look for a device that can handle 20Mbps or 30Mbps.


It’s also important to position your router the right way. Ideally, it should be in the center of your house and should be away from obstructions and other gadgets. Even if you position your device the right way, you may not guarantee the best coverage. The device may still miss some corners of your house and you won’t get signals in that place. So, it’s a good idea to spend a bit more and get a device that will give you the maximum coverage.

So, you should keep these factors in mind when buying a good wireless router to meet your needs.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/9724650

Researchers Store Full Computer Operating System on DNA

Proving that everything old is new again, researchers are now storing data on the oldest information storage solution there is: DNA.

A pair of researchers at Columbia University and the New York Genome Center (NYGC) have come up with a technique to store massive amounts of data on DNA. The result, according to study coauthor Yaniv Erlich, is the “highest-density data-storage device ever created.”


The researchers say DNA is the perfect storage medium: it’s ultra-compact and can last hundreds of thousands of years if kept cool and dry, according to a news release from Columbia.

DNA won’t degrade over time like cassette tapes and CDs, and it won’t become obsolete—if it does, we have bigger problems,” Erlich, a computer science professor at Columbia Engineering, said in a statement.

Erlich and his colleague Dina Zielinski, an associate scientist at NYGC, successfully encoded six files into DNA: a full computer operating system, the 1895 French film Arrival of a train at La Citation, a $50 Amazon gift card, a computer virus, a Pioneer plaque and a 1948 study by information theorist Claude Shannon.

They first compressed the files into a master file and split the data into short strings of binary code, made up of ones and zeros. Next, “using an erasure-correcting algorithm called fountain codes, they randomly packaged the strings into so-called droplets, and mapped the ones and zeros in each droplet to the four nucleotide bases in DNA: A, G, C and T,” according to the release.

They wound up with a digital list of 72,000 DNA strands and send it in a text file to a San Francisco DNA synthesis startup called Twist Bio science, which specializes in turning digital data into biological data.

For More Information: – Angela Moscaritolo

Filter for unique values or remove duplicate values

In Excel, you have several ways to filter for unique values or remove duplicate values:

  • To filter for unique values, use the Advanced command in the Sort & Filter group on the Data tab.
  • To remove duplicate values, use the Remove Duplicates command in the Data Tools group on the Data tab.
  • To highlight unique or duplicate values, use the Conditional Formatting command in the Style group on the Home tab.

What do you want to do?

Learn about filtering for unique values or removing duplicate values

Filter for unique values

Remove duplicate values

Conditionally format unique or duplicate values

Learn about filtering for unique values or removing duplicate values

Filtering for unique values and removing duplicate values are two closely related tasks because the displayed results are the same — a list of unique values. The difference, however, is important: When you filter for unique values, you temporarily hide duplicate values, but when you remove duplicate values, you permanently delete duplicate values.

A duplicate value is one where all values in the row are an exact match of all the values in another row. Duplicate values are determined by the value displayed in the cell and not necessarily the value stored in the cell. For example, if you have the same date value in different cells, one formatted as “3/8/2006” and the other as “Mar 8, 2006”, the values are unique.

It’s a good idea to filter for or conditionally format unique values first to confirm that the results are what you want before removing duplicate values.

Top of Page

Filter for unique values

  1. Select the range of cells, or make sure the active cell is in a table.
  2. On the Data tab, in the Sort & Filter group, click Advanced.

    The Sort & Filter group on the Data tab

  3. In the Advanced Filter dialog box, do one of the following:
    1. To filter the range of cells or table in place, click Filter the list, in-place.
    2. To copy the results of the filter to another location, do the following:
      1. Click Copy to another location.
      2. In the Copy to box, enter a cell reference.

        Alternatively, click Collapse Dialog Button image to temporarily hide the dialog box, select a cell on the worksheet, and then press Expand Dialog Button image .

  4. Select the Unique records only check box, and click OK.

    The unique values from the selected range are copied to the new location.

Top of Page

Remove duplicate values

When you remove duplicate values, only the values in the range of cells or table are affected. Any other values outside the range of cells or table are not altered or moved.

Because you are permanently deleting data, it’s a good idea to copy the original range of cells or table to another worksheet or workbook before removing duplicate values.

  1. Select the range of cells, or make sure that the active cell is in a table.
  2. On the Data tab, in the Data Tools group, click Remove Duplicates.

    Excel Ribbon Image

  3. Do one or more of the following:
    • Under Columns, select one or more columns.
    • To quickly select all columns, click Select All.
    • To quickly clear all columns, click Unselect All.

      If the range of cells or table contains many columns and you want to only select a few columns, you may find it easier to click Unselect All, and then under Columns, select those columns.

  4. Click OK.

    A message is displayed indicating how many duplicate values were removed and how many unique values remain, or if no duplicate values were removed.

  5. Click OK.

Issue: I’m having problems removing duplicate values from data that is outlined or that has subtotals.

You cannot remove duplicate values from data that is outlined or that has subtotals. To remove duplicates, you must remove both the outline and the subtotals. For more information, see Outline a list of data in a worksheet and Remove subtotals.

Top of Page

Conditionally format unique or duplicate values

Note: You cannot conditionally format fields in the Values area of a Pivot Table report by unique or duplicate values.

Quick formatting

  1. Select one or more cells in a range, table, or Pivot Table report.
  2. On the Home tab, in the Style group, click the arrow next to Conditional Formatting, and then click Highlight Cells Rules.

    Excel Ribbon Image

  3. Select Duplicate Values.
  4. Enter the values that you want to use, and then select a format.

Advanced formatting

  1. Select one or more cells in a range, table, or PivotTable report.
  2. On the Home tab, in the Styles group, click the arrow next to Conditional Formatting, and then click Manage Rules.

    The Conditional Formatting Rules Manager dialog box is displayed.

  3. Do one of the following:
    • To add a conditional format, click New Rule.

      The New Formatting Rule dialog box is displayed.

    • To change a conditional format, do the following:
      1. Make sure that the appropriate worksheet or table is selected in the Show formatting rules for list box.
      2. Optionally, change the range of cells by clicking Collapse Dialog Button image in the Applies to box to temporarily hide the dialog box, by selecting the new range of cells on the worksheet, and then by selecting Expand Dialog Button image .
      3. Select the rule, and then click Edit rule.

        The Edit Formatting Rule dialog box is displayed.

  4. Under Select a Rule Type, click Format only unique or duplicate values.
  5. Under Edit the Rule Description, in the Format all list box, select unique or duplicate.
  6. Click Format to display the Format Cells dialog box.
  7. Select the number, font, border, or fill format that you want to apply when the cell value meets the condition, and then click OK.

Immigration agency computer systems suffer glitch

roger samara

Some employees of the US Citizenship and Immigration Service were unable to log on to their computers Tuesday after the agency experienced a network outage.

The outage was caused by an expired certificate, according to an official at the Department of Homeland Security, the CIS’s parent department. Certificates are digital IDs that verify someone is allowed to access a computer network.

The outage was reported at 6:30 a.m. ET, the DHS official said, and all services were restored by 9:30 a.m.

Four buildings in the Washington, DC, area were affected

For More Information:-Andrew Morse

Roger Samara | Revisiting Ursinus’ lost connection to computer history


Inventors of the ENIAC computer John Mauchly (left) and J. Presper Eckert (right) with the UNIVAC, another computer they designed. Mauchly taught physics at Ursinus in the 1930s. Photo courtesy of the Ursinus College Archives.

As a college with a rich history spanning nearly 150 years, it may come as no surprise that Ursinus has a few urban legends floating around.

We’ve all heard stories of J.D. Salinger’s semester here, but a tale many are unfamiliar with is that of the ENIAC computer – or, as it was first told to me, “Did you know the first computer was invented in Mahler?”

This, technically speaking, isn’t completely true, but Ursinus’ tie to the invention of one of the first high-speed computing machines is more than just an urban legend. With help from college archivist Carolyn Wei gel, I did some digging to find out exactly what it is people are talking about when they mention this mysterious “Pfahler computer.”

The story of the ENIAC, it turns out, is less about the machine than it is about the man behind it. In the 1930s, Pfahler Hall was home to beloved physics professor John Mauchly. When Mauchly arrived at Ursinus in 1933, Ursinus didn’t have a physics department yet, and although students couldn’t major in the subject, Mauchly paid special attention to those who showed a strong interest. According to an article in the 1985 Ursinus Bulletin, “John Mauchly was the physics department.”

Mauchly, who the Ursinus website describes as “an eccentric, brilliant professor of Physics,” began working on his idea for a computer during his time at Ursinus. ENIAC, which stands for “electronic numerical integrator and computer,” was not his first invention, though. Mauchly, according to the Ursinus Bulletin, had previously helped invent four computers, and even had three personal computers at his home.

Mauchly’s original intention was to build a computer that would help with his meteorology research, which would provide him a means of statistical analysis to prove his hypothesis that solar activity directly affected changes in weather. He began this work in Pfahler, and according to the 1946 Alumni Journal, “his frequent burning of midnight oil in the physics laboratory of the Science Building was observed by many students.”

Mauchly left Ursinus for the University of Pennsylvania in 1941, and the onset of World War II took his innovations in a different direction. The prospect of the U.S. entering the war led the government to mobilize science and engineering reasons, anticipating the need for a machine that could decode encrypted messages. The possibility of Mauchly’s computer was now in high demand, and he joined forces with engineer J. Presper Eckert at Penn’s Moore School of Engineering to further develop his ideas. The result was the ENIAC: the world’s first electronic, digital computer.

For More Information: – Sarah Hojsak