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Fax machines have been a major part of our lives for the better part of the 20th century, but then the Internet came along to steal its glory. With Google Drive and several other cloud services that allow us to digitize and store documents in a non-paper format, we’ve become spoiled by the ability to present anything we would like to through a screen on any device. In the present, the fax machine seems like a relic from a bygone era.
Despite all of this, the fax machine is still ever-present in many offices around the world, even in the most developed countries. Considering the presence of this newer technology, is the fax machine still worth keeping around? If not, then why is it still an omnipresent part of our lives, particularly in the business world?Sending Papers Through a Phone Line
Faxes were a fascinating invention when they grew in popularity. It was almost inconceivable – you could send a paper document through the same wires that you used to speak on your telephone. Each side had a hard copy which made this technology attractive to companies that needed to sign contracts with people far away from their headquarters. In a world where the Internet has become the dominant medium for communication, many businesses have phased out the fax machine in favor of online applications for customer interaction. However, they still use fax machines for business-to-business collaboration.Living Without The Web
For most of the people able to read this article from their browsers, the Web is an precious irreplaceable gem. To some, it may be impossible to imagine how life would be without it. However, there are still people living in remote places that do not have fiber optic or copper lines capable of delivering a reliable Internet connection. Since digitizing documents is rather impossible for them, the only remaining feasible solution for communicating through text is through fax. Despite the strong presence of the Internet in developed nations (and even some developing economies), there are still many places where a phone line is the only available way to connect to the world. Having the ability to fax documents may be the only way that these people can use services. This is even more true of countries where Internet connections are very rare or financially prohibitive.Government Keeps Faxes Alive
For a government institution to remotely accept a document, it needs a hard copy. That’s just how government works in most parts of the world. If you want to submit a report, fax it. Applying for a job? “Please fax some of your papers to X number.” Influenced by the way the state operates internally, it may also impose this status quo on the private sector by establishing regulations in such a way that faxes are required for hard copies of documents. In a way, the state itself helps maintain faxing as a practice for sending documents “through the wire.”
All in all, without fax machines, there would still be a portion of the population that would be unable to function in 21st century society. For the time being, these dated machines still have their place and will maintain their hold on our communication as long as the Internet continues to be less ubiquitous than the traditional phone line.
What do you think? Should we phase out faxing altogether? If so, how do you plan to deal with the population that cannot access the Internet for various reasons?
Miguel has been a business growth and technology expert for more than a decade and has written software for even longer. From his little castle in Romania, he presents cold and analytical perspectives to things that affect the tech world.
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Since she took the helm as Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency in 2013, Gina McCarthy has been a key figure in the country’s efforts to combat climate change. She has been involved with the formation of the Clean Power Plan—the first of its kind to set a national limit on carbon pollution released from power plants—and with the Paris Climate Accord, a 195-nation agreement that has for, the first time, set in motion truly global efforts on climate change. For Earth Day, she sat down with Popular Science to talk about the importance of the holiday, the current environmental movement, the state of our planet, and what we need to do going forward.
EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy
Gina McCarthy has been the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency under President Obama since 2013 and has been a major figure in the nation’s fight against climate change.
Popular Science: What was the first Earth Day like?
Gina McCarthy: I can’t remember what the weather was like, but I sure as heck remember what the pollution was like. It was so apparent then. You know where I lived in the city of Lawrence, Mass.—where we had the start of the industrial revolution in the United States—it was all textile industry. And depending on what they were dyeing that day, the river was either bright red or bright orange or bright blue or bright green.
In Boston, you could see the smoke, and the Harbor was awful. It was just so different than where life is today. But it was also an amazing time. It was really the first time that I remember people gathering up and really fighting back against environmental pollution. A lot of young people were gathered together and a lot of people, even older people at that point, were so disgusted by the Love Canals of the world that they were demanding action. It was a great time to be getting into these issues.
Was Earth Day more relevant when it began than it is now?
I think it’s even more important today than it was in 1970. I think it’s necessary because we really have lost sight of pollution now. You can’t see it, taste it, or smell it, like the way you used to. But science is telling us that one out of four people in the world die prematurely because of environmental exposures. Science is telling us that the challenges and the public health impacts are still there. So we have to get people to understand that while you can’t see it or smell it or taste it, pollution is still there and it’s impacting our public health and our kids’ future. And when you add on top of that the challenge of climate change, you have to have every day be Earth Day. And that’s what the EPA is, that’s what we do for a living. If every day could be Earth Day, I think our kids’ future would be brighter and I know our kids would be healthier today.
How are the problems we faced in the 1970s different from today?
There are new issues that we now recognize, like climate change, but we also still have legacy issues. Just look at the challenge of lead. We’ve known for a long time that lead is a neurotoxin. We didn’t call it that back in the days of Julius Caesar, but we knew it was really bad for you. Today we see that obviously in Flint, Michigan. We have made really big progress since 1970—we got lead out of gasoline decades ago, for example—but we need to get it out of people’s homes and out of their drinking water. So we still have legacy challenges as well as new things coming up that science is telling us are the challenges of the future.
How would you characterize the current environmental movement?
Well, the movement in the ’70s led to a series of large environmental laws. Like the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, and the Safe Drinking Water Act, and it also led to the creation of the EPA. In those days, as it should be today, environmental issues were not partisan issues. They were just about public health, because EPA is essentially a public health agency. So I think the next environmental movement that people are seeing is just a reengagement of that basic public health message. It’s asking: What are the core values of this country that we want to protect? They are: clean drinking water, clean air, and safe and healthy places for our kids to play and go to school.
I also think part of this new movement is really going to be not so much focused on what big national rules can do for you, but on reengaging the public. Because that’s what led to the first movement. It wasn’t that the government got smart, it was that people demanded action.
Where that demand comes from today will be a little different, however. I think it’s going to come from citizen science. For example, new monitoring technologies that allow you to see what the air quality is on any given day from your phone. From your phone you can see the quality of your local river and stream.
People now will on their own be able to do what they were reliant on government to do before. And that is going to generate a sweeping change in people demanding protections. That’s where I see tremendous opportunity moving forward. Because transparency in data is everything. If you remember from the ‘60s the mantra “information is power”—guess what? It still is.
You have made a point of stressing public health as we address environmental change and one of the particular ways you have done this is through the topic of food waste. How are the two linked?
EPA and USDA made a commitment to work together to reduce food waste in this country 50 percent by 2030. We have millions of people in this country that are food insecure, and 12 million of them are kids. That’s a public health problem. You cannot have a country that is the richest in the world and see those kind of numbers without recognizing that action is necessary. And 30 to 40 percent of the food in this country that’s produced doesn’t get consumed. A lot of it goes to landfills instead, where it produces methane, a highly potent greenhouse gas.
So we have an opportunity here to actually try to address the food insecurity challenges in this country as well as reduce the greenhouse gas emissions which will protect our kids’ future. We should be connecting those dots and working hard to see that happen.
One of the ways EPA is tackling this is through a program called the Food Recovery Challenge. It is about working with supermarkets to get them to agree that they’re going to reduce the amount of food they throw away. We have accounting tools that they can use, that show them how much they’re buying, how they could change their buying habits, how they could stop letting food spoil and be thrown away. We’ll also show how they can take food that is perfectly nutritious and able to be eaten, and share that food with food pantries, religious organizations, and culinary arts schools. There are ways in which you can utilize that food and prevent it from being sent to landfills. So it’s a wonderful way to close the loop.
But we’re also asking consumers to get involved. We have something called the Food Stewardship Pledge. It starts off with something fun, which basically says that the first thing you should do is shop your fridge. In other words, look at the food you already have and make sure you can figure out how to be creative in reusing that before you actually go and buy other foods and end up throwing all that food away. What that can do for an average family of four in the United States is huge. The average family of that size wastes 1,600 dollars [per year] by throwing food away. That’s a lot of money. So even if you’re not inclined to get all active on climate, get all active on your own pocketbook and save some money.
The Paris climate accord is being signed into force this Earth Day. Do you think it will have the far-reaching global impacts we hope?
I’ve been going to these meetings for many years. This was the most exciting outcome I have ever seen. This is the most solid international obligation that any of us really could have hoped for coming out of Paris. I think it’s game-changing. I think it’s an opportunity to have both developed and developing countries work together. I think there’s an opportunity for capacity building among the developing countries, so that they’re able to skip generations of pollution and move towards real sustainable solutions for how they not only address climate, but do it in a way that really builds their economy and addresses the poverty that may be keeping them back. It was a collaborative, groundbreaking, and really positive moment.
President Obama deserves a huge amount of credit. He and Secretary Kerry’s commitment to have the U.S. step up to the plate and take such strong domestic action with the likes of EPA’s Clean Power Plan was absolutely the game changer that made the rest of the world sit up and notice. It was President Obama’s direct calls and visits in China and India and Brazil—all of those efforts changed the dynamic of the meeting. Because instead of going into Paris hoping that commitments would be made, we went into Paris with firm commitments. So in the end, we only needed to rely on Paris to deliver the implementation strategy. It wasn’t just about goals, it was about getting those goals done. I couldn’t be more thrilled with it.
EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy
McCarthy has been very vocal about the EPA’s role as a public health agency. A clean environment goes hand in hand with a healthy populace.
Do you have any Earth Day plans yourself?
I’m going to be heading to DC Central Kitchen to talk about the Food Recovery Challenge and how you can use the Food Recovery Challenge to support other issues like keeping people fed and nourished, training young people how to cook healthy and eat well.
Part of EPA’s challenge is not only to make sure that we deliver national rules that are strong and based on science and the law, but it’s also about recognizing that there are communities that have been left behind..
I’m also meeting with the African-American Mayors’ Association. In the U.S., a lot of the efforts on climate have been taken at the local level. Mayors are big players for us. They are where the rubber meets the road. If anybody questions whether EPA’s goals of environmental protection are consistent with economic development and public health, just ask a mayor. They know what EPA does and why, because without clean drinking water and good safe places to play and live, kids aren’t healthy and you don’t have a growing economy.
And that’s what EPA is. We’re a public health primary prevention agency.
These top 10 smart city projects in 2023 are so innovative that they shock the world
Cities around the world are gradually up in their game of using smart technology to make the residents’ lives easier in every aspect. Politicians and urban planners have been laying the groundwork to leverage technology to meet the demands of residents and provide greater efficiencies in delivering services in the quest to create these smart cities. Much of this work is in its infancy, as cities build a “smart” foundation. After about 10 years, they are entering a new developmental phase as digital solutions are harnessed to deliver real-time information to users and providers through connected applications. Here are the top 10 smart city projects that have shocked the world.London
In London, various initiatives have been implemented, such as the London Development Database (LDD), a collaborative project for the management of construction permits and their different stages in real-time, which can be accessed by any citizen via the web. Other initiatives have reached out to a diverse population, teaching them digital skills related to the handling of technologies such as tablets. In addition, smart electricity meters have been implemented, applying the power of data to generate more sustainable cities. In addition, London also stands out, in terms of transport, thanks to the creation of the Heathrow Pods, driverless vehicles that interconnect the city with the airport.New York
The LinkNYC network was implemented to foster more egalitarian access to technology, which replaces phone booths with fast, free Wi-Fi access points to learn about the city services. Regarding traffic, the city implemented the Midtown in Motion program to manage downtown rush hours. Using speed sensors and a data centre managed by urban traffic engineers, they have managed to improve commuting times by 10%. The water supply has also benefited from smart processes through the generation of systems that centralize home consumption data while allowing users to know their readings in real time, as well as pay their bills online.Paris
Paris is, together with London, one of the financial capitals of Europe, and it is also one of the most-visited cities by tourists from across the globe. Its ambitious research and development project ‘2050 Paris Smart City’ aims to integrate high-rise buildings and energy power, in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 75%. In fact, the architect Vincent Callebaut has presented a project to the Paris City Council, in which he shows what the capital would be like in 30 years if it integrated ecological buildings into the urban core, thus reducing the emission of greenhouse gasesTokyo
The capital of Japan intends to install effective and sustainable systems that coordinate different sources of renewable energies for users. The Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) plans to install 27 million smart meters by 2025, in an effort that includes the entire city. This will also allow for the prevention of supply problems in case of natural disasters.Reykjavik Copenhagen
Between 2023 and 2023, the city developed an environment in the capital city known as EnergyLab to demonstrate, in the neighborhood of Nordhavn, how electricity, heating, and sustainable transportation can be integrated into an optimized system.Berlin
Berlin is the best-placed German city in the ranking, ranked number 7. Its best results are in mobility and transport, human capital, and international projection. On the contrary, the areas with the greatest room for improvement are the economy and the environment. The German city puts the focus of the project on residential homes. Within the intelligent solutions in terms of Smart City, the Smart City project, Future Living® Berlin, stands out. This program seeks a combination of ecological and sustainable life, driven by a digital and connected life.Amsterdam
Amsterdam has its own idiosyncrasy in many aspects. It is included among the top 10 Smart Cities due to its novel way to address problems. Since 2004, Amsterdam has been in contact with a Chief Technology Official who has implemented several initiatives. Among the most expected we can find the generation of an automated bicycle sharing system. In addition, an iterative way of working has been highly valued, testing projects as a prototype to then add improvements, as is the case of garbage collection in the city, or the payment of parking spaces by phone instead of parking meters.Singapore
Singapore is one of the most technological cities in the world and is included among the top 10 Smart Cities due to its great strides in this regard. Singapore has positioned itself at the forefront of a vast number of amazing innovations. It has developed the first Smart Hospital, where part of its staff is composed of robots and it leverages the potential of Big Data in healthcare. Starting in 2023, the first driverless taxis appeared as a pilot project. In addition, they have developed Virtual Singapore as a Digital Twin – a virtual model of the city updated in real-time that enables the detection of trends and testing solutions to various challenges.Dubai
Apple unveiled the iPhone 13 lineup at its annual iPhone launch event in September 2023. While the iPhone 13 and 13 Mini were impressive in their own right, it was the 13 Pro and 13 Pro Max that got the crowd buzzing. The Pro models showcase the best of Apple and the possibilities are endless.
Apple took its time explaining all the little quirks and features of the 13 Pro and 13 Pro Max, but they did not say much about the LiDar scanner. Today, we will tell you what the LiDar scanner is and whether the 13 series carries it.
Related: How to Get Rid of ‘Oil painting effect’ on iPhone 13 and 12 Camera
What is LiDar on iPhone?
LiDar on iPhone stands for Light Detection and Ranging. Apple first introduced the LiDar scanner in the iPhone 12 Pro and 12 Pro Max devices in 2023. Apple claimed that it helped with focusing during low-light photography, and the evidence have supported their claims.
This little sensor, arranged neatly inside the camera array, enables depth scanning for the time being. However, the future can turn out to be a lot more colorful.
Related: How to Turn Off Focus on iPhone on iOS 15 [11 Ways Explained]
Does iPhone 13 have LiDar?
Yes, the iPhone 13 series has LiDar-powered phones, but not all of them feature LiDar. Like last year, only the Pro models — iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max — have the LiDar sensor. The regular iPhone 13 and the iPhone 13 Mini do not have LiDar and are only marginally different from the iPhone 12 Duo.
Except for the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max, only the iPhone 12 Pro, iPhone 12 Pro Max, and the iPad Pro 2023 come with the LiDar sensor.
Related: Share Focus Status on iPhone Meaning
How does LiDar work?
LiDar is short for Light Detection and Ranging and is practically a type of Time-of-Flight (ToF) camera. It emits lasers and waits for them to come back to the source. The time taken by the beams to traverse back tells LiDar how far the object is from the sensor or phone. LiDar practically lets your phone scan your surroundings and measure distances to objects with commendable accuracy.
Unlike some other implementations that depend on a single light pulse, LiDar on an iPhone or iPad emits waves of light pulses to canvas the area and create an accurate 3D map of surroundings. In simpler terms, the front-firing Face ID camera is practically identical to LiDar. The only difference is LiDar’s range, which stands at about five meters.
Not only does LiDar allow your iPhone 12, iPhone 13, or iPad Pro to focus better in low light conditions, but Augmented Reality (AR) apps also work a lot better with a LiDar enabled device. It will be interesting to see how Apple improves the use cases of LiDar over the coming years.
Related: What is Mail Privacy Protection on iPhone?
How to turn on LiDar on iPhone 13?
The LiDar scanner is located on the backside of your iPhone 13 Pro or iPhone 13 Pro Max, under the tri-camera setup. If you were thinking of using LiDar separately, you are sadly out of luck. Apple does not allow you to turn LiDar on or off, but you can see it in action in any supported application. For example, LiDar gets turned on automatically when you are using the default camera app on your iPhone. Other than the camera app, there are plenty of AR applications that can use LiDar to scan your environment.
Google answers how long 301 redirects should be kept in place after a site move, saying year is the minimum recommended length of time.
Why a year?
Because it takes a while for Google to process a major change like a site move.
If redirects are in place for less than a year then Google may not end up crawling the links enough times to recognize the site has been moved permanently.
This topic is highlighted in the latest installment of the Ask Googlebot video series on YouTube.How Long Should I Keep A Redirect For A Site Move?
Google’s Search Advocate John Mueller addresses the above question by first clarifying 301 redirects are the correct ones to use in this case.
There are two main types of redirects people use on websites: 301s and 302s.
A 301 redirect signals to Google that a page has been moved permanently, while a 302 redirect signals a temporary page move.
A site move is a permanent change, so 301 is the appropriate redirect to use in this case.
Given that the web is constantly evolving, you may be wondering if permanent actually means permanent.
“At Google we try to reprocess all pages at least every few months. Most pages are checked more often. However, the amount of crawling is limited and there are many pages that we’d like to crawl, so we have to prioritize.
When a URL changes our systems need to see the change in the form of a redirect for at least a few times in order to record that change.
To be certain that a redirect has been seen a few times, we recommend keeping the redirect in place for at least one year.”
With regard to site moves, it’s not as simple as redirecting the old domain to the new domain.
You have to set up 301 redirects from every individual page on the old site to the equivalent page on the new site.
If there are pages on the old site you don’t intend to keep, then it’s not necessary to redirect those to a new URL.
It’s also important to update all references to the old URLs, such as critical links from outside of the website.
Just to be clear, it’s perfectly fine to keep redirects in place for longer than a year. You can keep them up as long as you want to.
To reduce the potential negative impact a site move can have on your SEO, a year is the bare minimum length of time to keep 301 redirects in place.
For more on 301 redirects, see:
Featured Image: chúng tôi December 2023
All modern ad platforms now factor machine learning into their algorithms. Managing successful campaigns requires an understanding of the machine learning in each ad network.
This Ask the PPC question, from Chhote Lal in New Delhi, is an important one for account managers and those they report to:
“How does Google’s machine learning work in paid marketing?”
In this column, you’ll learn:
What is machine learning?
How does machine learning factor into paid search campaigns?
How to optimize for paid search machine learning.
Since the question was specifically about search, we’ll focus on search-first uses.What is Machine Learning?
Algorithms are taught to process information through machine learning. The more data it has, the faster it will learn what to do with that information.
Different data points can carry different weights in the algorithm. It’s important to understand how data points are valued.
Data points can be completely objective, subjective, or a hybrid of human interaction and pure algorithmic learning.
Knowing what you can control is crucial to your success as you partner with ad network machine learning.
The other critical factor is the learning period (and that the algorithm is given enough time to process the data points).How Does Machine Learning Factor Into Paid Search Campaigns?
Machine learning impacts almost all of paid search. Any major change can influence how the algorithm processes your campaign.
These changes include:
Bidding and Budgets: Drastic changes to budgets or changing bidding strategies.
Audiences: Changing targets or excluding targets.
Creative: Changing or adding creative creates a new version of the ad that won’t have access to the old ad’s stats.
Campaign status: Pausing campaigns resets the learning period.
It’s important to note that manual campaigns aren’t as impacted by these changes, however, it is increasingly hard to run purely manual campaigns.
Running a manual campaign means opting out of the 60+ signals ad networks leverage in their smart bidding.
These signals are used to adjust bids according to the bidding strategy chosen and the given budget.
Machine learning isn’t always an active choice. Keyword matching and audience tagging happens in the background, and are based on historic data.
Native audiences (in-market, affinity, etc.) are based on the algorithm learning that people completing one action are likely to complete another action/have other linked traits.
When you ask the ad platform to find “similar” audiences to an uploaded list/website visitors, you’re using the seed audience to help the ad platform understand which prospects you find valuable and which ones are not.
Keyword matching and close variants are influenced by the likelihood of profitable outcomes, as well as real-time user behavior.How to Optimize for Paid Search Machine Learning
It’s a lot easier to optimize when one has empathy for paid search’s machine learning.
The most important mechanic is honoring learning periods and avoiding accidental resets.
If you need to scale a campaign, for example, be sure you budget in two weeks between each major budget increase.
If you need your campaign to slow down (or stop), lower the budget instead of pausing so you don’t reset the learning period.
Negative keywords and audiences can help ad platform algorithms understand which ideas and behaviors to match budget to (and which to avoid).
This is the most powerful way to influence machine learning and should be a part of all paid search accounts.
Conversions and conversion values are under-utilized machine learning tools. They are the easiest way to communicate with the paid search algorithm and allow you to see user behavior without asking the ad channel to value the action.Takeaways
Machine learning impacts almost all elements of paid search and understanding how to teach the algorithm is crucial to PPC success.
Have a question about PPC? Submit via this form or tweet me @navahf with the #AskPPC hashtag. See you next month!
Featured image: Paulo Bobita/SearchEngineJournal
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