Digital

  • March 5, 2020

    Happy Belated Valentine’s Day!

    A pseudo-PSA from Digital Batman. For most of us in America, we recently celebrated Valentine’s Day on Friday February 14th. In fact, every February 14 is the venerated holiday celebrating love and friendship. Though some may view the celebration as a trite “Hallmark Greeting Card” holiday, lot’s of people take it quite seriously. Here are a few crazy Valentine’s Day stats for you to consider: Over $17 Billion dollars (with a B) is spent on this day Men spend twice as much money on average than women on this day (~$133 to ~$56) More than 145 Million cards are sold on this day (or just before it) Over 1/3 of all the fresh flowers in America are sold on this one day! Well over 257 Million roses are produced for Valentine’s Day Shoppers spent over $707 Million dollars on candy. Also, over 6 million people choose to get engaged to be married on this holiday. And more than 8 Billion conversation hearts are produced each year (with most purchased for this day)! It seems to me that we should have Valentine’s Day off from work because too much romance and chocolates might make us very unproductive! LOL! Anyway, Happy Valentine’s Day to all of you in Digital Gotham! Now if I can only get Digital Catwoman to stop sending me those creepy conversation hearts…
  • February 24, 2020

    Movie Trivia — Engineering Theme

    In honor of the Oscars recently, I’ve decided to offer an engineering cinematic trivia contest. Why an engineering theme? Well, currently my day job is creating content for a great software company whose customers are engineers for manufacturing industries. So why not? See if you can guess the movie titles from the descriptions below (provide the years as well): Astronomer gets world to build a giant cosmic faster-than-light ship based on a message from space. Abandoned astronaut uses science to survive on desolate world while his crew mates figure out how to rescue him. American businessman builds largest airplane in the world and kicks off the airline industry while he descends into mental illness. Paranoid monarch takes a woman in lieu of tribute to fund building his massive robber-proof tomb. Two western men aid the Chinese army in defending their country from an invasion of a horde of supernatural creatures. The last one is not really about building anything as it simply glorifies a great ancient structure. In the meantime, Digital Batman’s got you covered with hints for you below!
  • January 24, 2020

    Long Live the Browser Wars!

    Google recently announced that it was going to strip cookies from its Chrome web-browser. This is a big deal for a lot of people, namely advertisers. In case you weren’t aware of what a cookie is (not the yummy kind you eat), let Digital Batman tell you. A cookie is a bit of third-party data that gets stored on your system when you access a website. This data is used to track your online activities such as product browsing history, location, etc. Advertisers can then use this data to target ads specifically to what they think you’re interested in. And furthermore, advertisers can “retarget” ads after you as you browse around the Internet from site to site. Ever wonder how a random website you visit seems to know that you were looking at plushy chairs on Amazon? Well, that’s retargeting and that’s powered by cookies. Which leads to a lot of privacy issues that have been debated for as long as the Internet has been around. Therefore, Google is trying to assuage users’ concerns about privacy by eliminating cookies. What will advertisers do? Well, they’ll probably have to come up with more transparent ways to gather your information, with your permission. Now I mention this because it reminds me about how things have both changed and remained the same over the last 25+ years of browsing the Internet. Back in the heyday of the World Wide Web (mid-to-late 1990s), we had a whole battlefield of web browsers all vying for dominance in The Browser Wars! It all started with Netscape Navigator (technically Mosaic in its initial form), invented by Marc Andreessen founder of Netscape. [Digital Batman had done a previous Progressive Pioneers profile on Andreessen back in July.] Navigator was initially released in December of 1994. It sported a simple interface with a few oversized navigation buttons (like Back, Home, and...
  • January 21, 2020

    Digital Batman’s Coffee Break

    So I was talking with my good friend, SaaS VP Keith Berling at PTC, about coffee recently. I told him how I prepare the perfect cup of Digital Batman coffee before and after my killer morning Bat-workouts! Brew Dunkin’ Dark Roast coffee (because Digital Batman is a Dark Digital Knight) Add Stevia (a healthier sweetener alternative) Add pure dark chocolate cocoa powder (for the anti-oxidants, and keeping with the dark theme) Add pure Ceylon ground cinnamon (for its anti-inflammatory properties) Add almond milk-based creamer like Califia Farms (for zero cholesterol) And finally add a splash of non-alcoholic Bailey’s Irish Coffee Creamer. A healthy way to start the day!
  • January 7th through January 10th were the dates that the epic annual Consumer Electronics Show (A.K.A. CES) in Las Vegas happened recently. Even though Digital Batman was unable to get to this massive tech conference—due to prior commitments chasing after tech villains such as RISC-Riddler—I have managed to compile a list of some of the most bizarre tech shown off at this year’s CES. Toilet Paper Anyone? Leaving the flashy super-advanced 8K TVs aside, this year’s CES was marked by what has to be the most inventive, if not quirky, technological invention of the year: a toilet paper-delivering robot! Yep! You heard that right. The Charmin RollBot is by far the most unique invention yet. And surprisingly useful! How can you argue the merits of a machine that brings you toilet paper in your most dire of needs?! Olive You! Need a delicious helping of fresh olive oil for your salad or sandwich? Well, you’re in luck. The Fresco Eva Mini olive oil dispenser will serve up this ancient delicacy in a Keurig K-cup-like experience. And there’s an added benefit of the final elixir being so fresh that you’d swear you had pressed the olives yourself! Easy on the Eyes! So you like to experience social media on your phone but have trouble with the small screen? Wouldn’t it be great if you could just view the app on a TV? Oh, but then it would still be relatively small, right? Wrong! The new Samsung Sero remedies all of that! It is a large-screen TV that flips into a vertical position (like you’d see at mall kiosks) to display your entire Instagram feed in mega eye-candy glory! Though, no one really asked for this, I’m sure people will try the Sero anyway because who can’t get enough of large-format social media, right? Getting Around in Style… You...
  • January 3, 2020

    Top Five Must-Haves of 2019!

    Now that we have said, “Goodbye,” to 2019, we should take a moment to look back on the top must-haves for the decade-ending year. Since this list is completely arbitrary, Digital Batman will weigh in on what I found to be the most popular gadget, item, digital something, and whatever. Oh, and this list does not put items in any particular order of importance. Enjoy! 1. Disney+ – Yep! The highly anticipated, hugely successful, and most extensive streaming video service from the “House of the Mouse” easily makes this list. Not only does Disney+ have hundreds of movies and thousands of hours of television series, it is now home to the most popular sci-fi show on the small screen, The Mandalorian. This new live-action genre show set in the Star Wars universe is arguably better than the recently released final chapter of the Star Wars/Skywalker saga, The Rise of Skywalker. And there’s more to come with a limited Obi Wan Kenobi series and potential Darth Maul or Darth Vader series. And let’s not forget the new Marvel superhero shows like Falcon and Winter Soldier and WandaVision. Plus, a whole host of kids programming that is way too extensive to go into here. With over 20M (that’s million) subscribers on its launch day, this is definitely a must- have in 2019 (and now)! 2. The Impossible Burger – Why is this on the list? Well, Digital Batman could cite a bunch of health- related reasons why you should give this burger a try. However, the biggest reason is that this new type of plant-based food that mimicks real animal meat (including it protein content) actually made it to market! Giant restaurant chains like Burger King and Dunkin are now sporting Impossible Burger variants on their menus. You can also purchase this...
  • January 1, 2020

    Tarzan of Mars

    Today’s Progressive Pioneer is none other than the ultra-prolific planetary romance and adventure novelist Edgar Rice Burroughs (EBR). Burroughs’ work—particularly on his John Carter of Barsoom (i.e. Mars) series—are the unsung inspiration for stories such as Flash Gordon, Star Wars, and even Avatar. All eleven Barsoom novels describe a world so rich in detail, culture, wildly eccentric science and technology (for his time), outlandish and terrifying creatures, and extraordinary complex characters story tellers have been tapping into for over a century. However, Burroughs’ work goes beyond just his Barsoom/Mars books. He is even more known for his Tarzan adventure novel series of 26 books. These stories were so famous during Burroughs’ time that he immediately saw the tech trend value in exploiting them in all forms of media (against so-called experts’ advice at the time). Tarzan became an instant hit on radio, in comic books, and in film. In fact, even Burroughs’ daughter Joan married Tarzan film actor, James Pierce, starring with her husband, as the voice of Jane, during 1932-34 for the Tarzan radio series! However, the most interesting fact about Burroughs’ Tarzan is that not one but two towns were named after the character! Tarzana in California, which started out as EBR’s eponymous ranch in the Los Angeles area, and eventually became incorporated as the American town of Tarzana in 1927. Tarzan in Texas was also formally named in 1927. There’s even an impact crater on Mars named after EBR! Burroughs was born in Chicago Illinois on September 1st, 1875 and died on March 19th, 1950 at the age of 74. He was married twice, first to Emma Hulbert (1900–1934) where they had three children together (Joan, Hulbert, and John); and then to actress Florence Gilbert Dearholt (1935–1942). He passed away in Encino California but he is laid...
  • So the other day, I attended the PTC Benefits Fair down on the 3rd floor at the Seaport HQ. I actually found the event quite helpful because I had a lot of questions about my various benefits that were answered. In fact, the WageWorks rep was truly helpful telling me about a commuter parking pass debit card that would make my life a lot easier because I wouldn’t have to file a reimbursement claim for parking expenses, and also have to upload a bunch of receipts. This is the obscure yet imporant kind of information that new employees really need to know about. One of the vendors, Burnalong, was particularly interesting as I am a fitness enthusiast and try to get over to the Fitness Center (also on the 3rd floor) as often as I can—gotta stay in shape to catch all of those digital criminals! The interesting thing about my visit to their table was that, like a plethora of other fitness apps (some of which I pay for), they too had an app, and it is free! So, I signed up for it and downloaded the app.Which got me thinking about a few other apps that we use here at PTC. First, and arguably to most important app, is Benefitfocus. This little app holds a lot of power for PTC employees. Here you can check or modify your company benefits, receive reminders and tasks concerning your benefits, shop for products related to your benefits, and set up a well‐being checklist (e.g. get a flu shot), and more all in one convenient place. When Digital Batman joined PTC, the first thing I did was download this app, which has proven itself quite handy at times—especially on vacation believe it or not Next up is the aforementioned Burnalong app. This...
  • October 17, 2019

    Chariot Runner of Digital Music

    Evángelos Odysséas Papathanassíou, known throughout the world as Vangelis has been dubbed the great composer of Symphonic Electronica. Probably best known for his Academy Award‐winning score for the 1981 movie Chariots of Fire, Vangelis’ music has inspired whole generations of digital artists from musicians to filmmakers and more. In fact, when the score for the sequel to another of Vangelis’ iconic film scores, Blade Runner (1982), came rolling around for Blade Runner 2049 (2017), he was firstly considered for the job. Vangelis declined and the job fell to another great composer of traditional and digital music, Hans Zimmer. Zimmer cited several times that Vangelis’ music would be a huge influence in the sequel’s score. The reason that he is a Progressive Pioneer is that his music not only pioneers symphonic electronica but transcends it to all mediums (film, television, theater, sports, etc.). Born in 1943 in a coastal town in Thessaly Greece, later raised in Athens, Vangelis began composing music since the age of four! However, it is the way that he began composing music which would define his later digital‐electronica aural accomplishments: by experimenting with sounds, such as placing nails and kitchen pans inside their family piano, and with radio interference. He made music from a sea of unique sources ranging from synthesizers, sitars, harps, finger cymbals, orchestral instruments, and choirs to name a few. From there his decades‐long‐spanning career has been an epic adventure of artistic supremacy. Some highlights are: 1963–1974, Vangelis performed in several rock bands, and began scoring music for Greek film and television projects. He was even invited to join the famed progressive rock band YES. During the 1970s–1980s, Vangelis moved to London, England and secured a lucrative record deal with RCA Records. After the release of his seminal work, the album Heaven and Hell,...