anti procrastination aids
24 May 2016
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Procrastination Solution: All in Your Head?

There are certain things generally accepted as separating humankind from the animals: empathy, our ability to accessorize, and, in my opinion, our tendency to procrastinate! I don’t think there’s a person alive (or dead) who hasn’t battled that demon of “Do-It-Later”.   As we learn more and more about the brain, an answer to why procrastination […]

unplug the gadgets
17 May 2016
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What Price Progress? Digital Gadgets and the Power They Use

Technology has become so integrated into our lives that it’s hard to realize all the gadgets and gee-gaws that surround us and help with every little thing. From your laptop snoozing away on your desk, to the smartphone in your pocket patiently waiting for your inquiry, bionic support is just one wake-up button away.   […]

password via skullconduct
10 May 2016
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Using Your Head — As Your Password?

Keeping track of the eight hundred million passwords that we all seem to need for a normal life nowadays (that include at least one capital letter, one number, and one non-alphanumeric character: gee, this is a totally normal thing to remember with complete accuracy…) can be stressful. Add to this the increasing presence of wearable […]

life at weliving
3 May 2016
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WeLiving Life — 21st Century Style

When it comes to the Great Work-Life Balance Debate, we at DFC fall firmly into the Live-to-Work camp. I mean, with all the neat tech out there that makes connection easier, why not use it to your advantage, to create space for more and higher quality leisure?   But for those who are team Work-to-Live, that […]

strandbeest life form
26 April 2016
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The Strandbeest — A New Form of Life

Dutch artist Theo Jansen has created what he posits is a new group of living creatures through his art: the Strandbeests, walking sculptures of lightweight plastic tubing, that “feed” off windpower and spend their natural lives frolicking in the tidelines of northern beaches!    Strandbeests can be quite complicated in structure, but their operation is […]

app uses sunglasses
20 April 2016
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Seeing AI App Brings Visual World to All Users

Via the always fascinating BoingBoing comes news of a neat new Microsoft Cognitive Services app — one which interprets the visual world and its unique information for users who are visually impaired or are blind.   It’s called Seeing AI, and it integrates into not only your standard smartphone, but into a convenient pair of sunglasses. […]

overpowering boss
12 April 2016
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When Your Boss is a Psychopath

Folk wisdom has established strong links between psychopathic tendencies and success in business — it seems almost intuitive that someone who is charming, good at taking the credit, and who experiences no remorse would make a great CEO!   Joking aside, studies have found a significantly higher rate of psychopathic behaviour in upper management types — […]

social-media and depression
5 April 2016
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Social Media and Depression

We at DFC are huge advocates of the positive powers of social media: it does things like help foster connections between individuals, aggregate audiences for artistic works or political movements, and generate fun memes that bring joy to all (who love Ryan Gosling!).   But social media does have an acknowledged dark side: it can […]

doodle yourself to happiness
29 March 2016
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The Mystery of Writer’s Block: A Problem of Happiness

As anyone who’s written anything (a novel, a report, heck — this blog!) knows, writer’s block can be a mysterious and tenacious foe. Much thought has been given over to why the muse, often so gentle and helpful, sometimes says “See ya!” and strolls off into the distance without any warning, maybe to catch a […]

Neurasthenia today
22 March 2016
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Neurasthenia — The Scourge of Modern Life (Whenever It May Be)

If you’ve been tuning into this blog often over recent months, you may have noticed a bit of a thematic shift. With the debut of our remote office solution The Lifestyle Workplace(TLW), we have become increasingly interested in the concept of happiness — how to spark it, how to cultivate it, and how to carry it […]

MIT Polaris : the star fighting webpage bloat
15 March 2016
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MIT Develops Polaris: A Star to Aim For in the Webpage Load Speed Race?

Frequent readers of this blog will remember when we delved into the hidden menace of webpage bloat,and how, if we don’t work to stop it, ads and design cruft and big corporations will not only make the ‘Net molasses-slow, but also less democratic.   Well, MIT has come up with part of the solution: a mobile […]

movement with mouse
8 March 2016
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Unconscious Movements and a Better Computing Experience — The Future is Now!

If experts like Vernor Vinge and Ray Kurzweil are to be believed, with every passing day humanity is creeping ever closer to the Singularity — the point towards which technology seems to be advancing, at which it will attain intelligence, and after which human life, as we currently define it, cannot continue. On that sunny […]

Nice work
2 March 2016
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Being Nice at Work: Asset or Productivity Killer?

It is a truth universally acknowledged that everyone likes nice people: they’re easy to talk to, to get along with, and to work alongside. But, like everything positive, there is a hidden dark side to niceness: sometimes (*thunderclap*) one can be too nice.   Psychologists define the quality of being nice as “agreeableness.” People who are […]

Introverts on the Job
24 February 2016
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Introverts on the Job: At Risk of Burnout?

It seems like everyone is talking about introversion and extroversion: how to present powerful ideas, how to communicate, and how to help them work together. While each personality type has its strengths, our world — with its focus on interconnection and near-constant communication — is clearly built for the extrovert. According to Michael Godsey, writing […]

charity donation
16 February 2016
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Charity — and Happiness — Begin in the Workplace

It is a hazard of our economic system that the majority of us (that is, adult humans participating in capitalism) must have a job in order to fulfill certain comforts. We need money for food and shelter, an RRSP or other structured savings for the future — and sometimes, heck, just a reason to get […]

Is happiness a motivator while working?
9 February 2016
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Do What You Love: Is Happiness a Motivator while Working?

During the mid-20th century growth explosion, leading economic experts, including John Maynard Keynes, sought to predict what the trend might mean for the West’s working future — the future in which we are now living. Keynes posited, roughly, that if economic productivity continued its upward trend, working hours would also trend downward. In the future, […]

Sleeping moon
2 February 2016
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Go (to Sleep) with your Gut: Connecting Lack of Sleep, Intestinal Health and Obesity

There are a variety of theories out there that seek to explain the link between length and quality of nightly sleep, and weight gain. One of the newest involves our old friends, our microbiomes, and how sleeping less than required can potentially hamper their weight-managing talents. Israel’s Weitzmann Institute has been on the case, and […]

many wear masks at work
27 January 2016
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The Pursuit of Being Yourself at Work

Before we get down to work, about work, I need to vent. I hate the word “lifehack.” It’s too jargon-y, and most applications of it are so far removed from the original definition of “hacker,” it just makes me mad. (Are you gaining unauthorized, back end access to the computer system that is your life […]

bloatfish for bloated webpages
27 January 2016
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Webpage Bloat: The Creeping Menace….

I thought it was my devices getting rickety — crankily refusing to load pages, making online video and audio stutter. But no: websites everywhere are getting unwieldy, stuffed full of megabytes worth of info that enhances form but drags down function. Maciej Cegłowski has distilled an impassioned talk he gave at the Web Directions conference […]

Extra time - What to do?
20 January 2016
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What can you do with extra time? Share your ideas!

The other day I wrote about experiments in productivity where working for a longer time doesn’t necessarily mean accomplishing more in a relative sense. So if you don’t spend all your time working, what else is there to do…? Here’s a thought experiment of our own: Subtract 20 from your regular 40-hour workweek. That’s still 20 […]

12 January 2016
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Experiments in Productivity, Workweek Edition: 20 Hours vs. 90 Hours!

Chris Bailey writes for The National Post about an experiment he undertook early on in his Life of Productivity efforts, when he needed to get a really good sense of the amount of hours of work it took to actually accomplish something. He set up alternating weeks of very short and very long (20 hour […]

Red Star OS
5 January 2016
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Red Star Rising: A Peek into North Korea’s Bespoke OS

Two programmers at the 32nd Chaos Communications Conference have offered the rest of the world a look at the operating system that runs the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea — otherwise known as the mysterious and suspicious North Korea. North Korea has been closed to outside influences since the mid-20th century reign of Kim Il-Sung, […]

Paper powers
29 December 2015
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Paper Powers Fantastic Future? Storing Electricity in a Page

Moore’s Law — the projection that digital performance and capacity can be expected to double every 18 months — is always exciting to think about. But each new technological breakthrough and refinement we’re sure to cook up will also have a more mundane flip side: we will also have to dream up equally innovative ways […]

22 December 2015
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Re-Imagining a Less Addictive Internet

As any of us who’ve been sucked into a YouTube fugue know, it’s hard to escape the self-recrimination cycle of online overuse. We blame ourselves for our lack of self-control – and the many lifehacking tips and even hilarious cartoons on the subject support that sense of personal failure. But, Michael Schulson argues (in his recent […]

17 December 2015
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The Great Hoverboard Turnover

You may call them “hoverboards,” or “smart balance wheels,” or another catchy name – whatever they are, on my last foray into downtown Toronto I witnessed a flock of people wheeling up the sidewalk on these colourful, seemingly physics-defying things as though they had been born wearing them.  I was so astonished at the futuristic […]

Walking Distracted
8 December 2015
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Walking Distracted Thanks to Tech: Or, Th— LOOK OUT!

Those of you who are longtime readers know the saga of my most recent walking injury (saga here). When it happened, I consoled myself with the knowledge that it was an accident, the result of a perfect storm of uneven terrain and the actions of two huge and incredibly exuberant dogs.  Now that I’m recovered, […]

Packing tape
1 December 2015
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A new use for packing tape

With recent advancements in the field, it seems we can 3D-print basically anything: art, arms, even food! This is true as long as said anything is small. But what if you need to visualize a (much) larger object, and a 3D-printed scale model doesn’t fit the bill? Researchers out of the Hasso Plattner Institute in […]

Tractor beam
24 November 2015
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A New Tractor Beam at the Speed of Sound

As I’m sure I’ve mentioned in this space before, I’m quite fond of pointing out all the ways we are now living in the future Star Trek predicted. From our handheld communicators (cellphones), to PADDs (tablets), to heck, warp drive, we’re reaping the real-world results Gene Roddenberry’s imagination sowed. And now, we may actually be […]

Working with effort to the bone
17 November 2015
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Work & effort are not the same, it’s all about balance

A few weeks ago I eluded to a new section on our website introducing a new initiative. And then a couple weeks ago we launched our new website with the new Lifestyle Workplace or TLW for short. It seems that we are (as usual) ahead of the curve and have just defined a product that […]

Woman technologist
11 November 2015
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The Uphill Battle of Women in the Sciences

I recently communicated with one of my connections within LinkedIn, “catching up” and commiserating with her on the direction in which our preferred software platform (Lotus Notes, or whatever they call it, that we both program in) is going in the ever changing marketplace. What’s really interesting is how we originally “met” on LinkedIn – […]

Wheel with spokes
10 November 2015
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Hands-Free Driving May Not Be So Distraction-Free

In an effort to curb accidents due to distracted driving, many jurisdictions — DFC’s home province of Ontario included — have created laws penalizing the use of hand-held devices while on the road. This has led to a plethora of “smart” vehicle interfaces, like Uconnect and MyLink, and smartphone link-ups like Siri and Google Now, […]

iPad robots
4 November 2015
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The Trials of Telepresence

We at DFC chuckled along with most of the audience of Community’s “Laws of Robotics & Party Rights” episode, in which the inherent hilarity of telepresence robots is exploited by h aving a convicted felon attend Greendale Community College via “an iPad on a stick,” and ineffectually try to murder Jeff Winger.(Seriously, convict Willy’s facial […]

1 November 2015
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The Holiday-Health Connection

Even before our home and business’s move to bucolic rural eastern Ontario, we at DFC have long known the value of work-life balance. (In fact, we’re working on a new solution that supports just that: keep your eyes on this space in the coming weeks for more exciting details! So it is with a heavy […]

Winter tires and service
30 October 2015
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Service is not dead…yet!

Every time I have to call into a large company – especially my wireless provider, telephone company, cable company, etc. I have to gird every part of my being to get ready for what is almost always a frustrating and futile experience. Offshore call centers is usually the crux of my despair. So when I […]

24 September 2015
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Ways to focus

Dear readers, I have a confession to make: these weekly missives in which I expound upon the latest tech-related news of the weird that has caught my eye, and that I think you might find just as diverting, sometimes do not come easy. More often than not, I am sometimes less-than-inspired: the right words elude […]

15 September 2015
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On call while offline

Tonight is the beginning of a new year. No you didn’t go to sleep and wake up mid-winter; it’s still late summer in this northern hemisphere, at least for another week. It’s the start of Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year. It’s a celebration, but it’s also the start of the 10 days of awe […]

8 September 2015
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More good news on coffee

My new neighbors are shy and elusive. I don’t see them all the time and when I do see them, it’s usually first thing in the morning. I was so excited to see them when I first saw them, that I ran over to saw Hi, but they ran, no galloped away. Lately I’ve been […]

1 September 2015
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My dirty floors and the five second rule

My house is a filthy mess. It has nothing to do with my housekeeping skills, (which I’ve never put on the list of things that help make me a whole person) I’ve been sweeping up at least twice a day and even the husband has been going around with the broom! The culprits are none […]

25 August 2015
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Tetris: Help for Addictive Behaviour?

We at DFC have already reported on the many talents of the smartphone – from testing your stress, to becoming a high-powered microscope. Now there’s yet another service they can do to add to that list: helping to mitigate cravings for food, drugs, and other activities. It has everything to do with what the subjects […]

18 August 2015
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A batty idea or not?

This August brings with it much memorializing, as it marks the 70th anniversary of the beginning of the end of the Pacific War, the last conflict of World War II. This end began of course with the cataclysmic use of the most extraordinary weapon humanity had seen to date: the atom bomb. The city of […]

DFC logo
12 August 2015
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It’s a wild web world

Moving to a new area after 40 some odd years requires getting to know the members of one’s new community. Of course there is plugging oneself into the local scene to find new hairdressers, butchers, dentists, etc. One member that I’ve taken the time and effort to get to know is someone I’ll call Charlotte…she’s […]

4 August 2015
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The Socialization of Smelling

As I’m sure you are aware, dear readers, I share my life with two hulking yet adorable dogs. I love seeing how smart they are in their dog-specific skills. To change things up, we have a new game: I stand on the porch and throw dog treats for them to find. Jill, in particular, has […]

La saveur des larmes
29 July 2015
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Digging & detecting forged art

Thankfully Samson has found something more interesting than digging up our yard…he likes to chase critters that hop and slither around our yard. In fact he was fixated and barking like mad the other day – this is what he was barking at! The Computer that Detects Forged Art One of the things that continue […]

21 July 2015
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Aqua regia – how science defeated the Nazi’s and made my hands more valuable

Alchemy has been an interest of mine for quite awhile…to me it represented the more glamorous and legacy aspect of chemistry. So it was with interest as I was preparing this week’s article that aqua regia, “royal water” played a part. Back in my chemistry days, I worked in a precious metals refinery which meant […]

16 July 2015
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Nature’s noise: from birds and our brains

It’s just after dark and it’s really noisy here – so much so, it’s hard to concentrate….It’s not traffic outside or the tv program that’s blasting which my husband is trying to convince me that he needs to watch – no it is the birds! There are so many new birdsongs around that it drives […]

14 July 2015
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Brutalist playgrounds and laundry

Here’s a quick quiz for you dear readers: The picture below shows a few things that is in our new backyard – soil covering Samson’s hole digging, clothes on a line, hidden fence flags and a fire bowl for burning things….So the question is, what would have been considered a violation in our old neighborhood? […]

14 July 2015
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The future of passwords

This business that we have been in since the late 1980’s has seen substantial change. I remember when I had to explain what the web was to potential customers, let alone what a web page was…the “Information Highway” was going to be the next big thing! Fast forward a “few” years and the Internet is […]

26 June 2015
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Customer service and queing theory for grocery stores

Last week a less pleasant aspect of rural living was shared with you dear readers, however, this week in concert with the article below, I’ve experienced a pleasant surprise in just ordinary shopping: customer service. Folks, customer service is still alive and well outside of the GTA (Greater Toronto Area). The most notable example was […]

21 June 2015
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Waking up to prickly realities

We are transitioning…from urban to rural living. In leaving behind the grind, hustle & bustle of city life, there are a lot of new things to learn: wells, septic systems, wood stoves, etc. One thing we found out about our new area is that skunks are not very prevalent – but porcupines are! The first […]

12 June 2015
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The Hidden World of Bacteriophages

Like me, you may not be aware that 2015 is the official “Year of the Phage”; indeed (also like me), it’s possible you aren’t entirely sure what phages are. Don’t let that stop you: learning about phages — bacteriophages, that is — is fascinating. And, since not many laypeople know about them, you’ll find yourself […]

2 June 2015
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Tools = Technology?

Last week I attended a workshop, “The Digital Marketing Journey” at IBM and was pleasantly surprised that it wasn’t the usual yawn fest of corporate self adulation! In fact, it was very useful in that it shared information as to the history of Digital Marketing and insights on Marketing Automation. One of the many tools […]

28 May 2015
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This is older news, but timeless (Week 218)

This weekend was my treat of the week — I got to visit my grandsons and help the eldest celebrate his third birthday. His younger brother is only five weeks old, so he’s pretty clueless about what’s going on around him other than the immediate needs that his still developing nervous system tells him about, […]

28 May 2015
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News from DFC – Week 221

Uncovering Bias in Internet Memes Like the “real” world,  there are definitely locales on the Internet where bias is rampant and obvious (hello, 4chan!) — but there are also places where it operates in a far more hidden fashion. Take the sphere of memes, for example: while there may not seem to be any overt […]

27 May 2015
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News from DFC Week 220

I am just giddy. Here in Canada it’s the long weekend that marks the unofficial start of the summer season: gasoline prices jump, garden centers open up (in the midst of frost warnings), the trees now have fresh, verdant green leaves (finally after the long winter), and local produce is starting to appear in our […]

27 May 2015
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Digital Marketing: Okay time for updating!

Yesterday I attended a digital marketing workshop at IBM Canada and it was excellent! The most surprising thing about yesterday’s session was that the IBM speakers were great! Which, unfortunately is not often the case. There were a lot of interesting take aways that touched on the history of digital marketing: Did you know that […]

11 February 2014
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New Coffee News: Caffeine Can Boost Memory!

If your workplace is anything like mine, it runs on coffee like a Hummer runs on dead dinosaurs: relentlessly and without mercy. We at DFC love a good cuppa, and frequently look with amusement upon the study-du-jour on the effects of coffee on human life. It prevents cancer! It might cause heart disease! It attracts hipsters! Seems […]

7 February 2014
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UCbyDFC: Business Anywhere. Anytime.

Cool Feature by UCbyDFC Imagine you’re in a meeting out of the office and someone calls your desktop and leaves you a message. Wouldn’t it be cool if, on a break, you could just open your laptop or smartphone or tablet, get an email with your voicemail in it and call the person back right […]

5 February 2014
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This is a test Blog post for DFC International Computing Inc.

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28 January 2014
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DFC launches UCbyDFC on the IBM PureSystems Test Post

DFC launches UCbyDFC on the IBM PureSystems DFC launches UCbyDFC on the IBM PureSystemsDFC launches UCbyDFC on the IBM PureSystemsDFC launches UCbyDFC on the IBM PureSystemsDFC launches UCbyDFC on the IBM PureSystemsDFC launches UCbyDFC on the IBM PureSystems

28 January 2014
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DFC launches UCbyDFC on the IBM PureSystems

DFC launches UCbyDFC on the IBM PureSystems.