Technology in Home Brewing and Beer Supplies

The technology revolution has influenced one way or another every single aspect of our lives, down to the water we drink, the food we eat, the air we breathe, and the cars we drive.

Today I want to talk about how technology is affecting and improving the beer that we drink.

It used to be that people drank beer because it was the only way to ensure that harmful and deadly bacteria were eliminated. The brewing process through fermentation got rid of this problem and allowed large sums of potable water (beer) to be consumed and stored for periods of time.

In much of the 19th and 20th centuries, however, this process as a necessity quickly became obsolete with electricity being widespread and the eventual invention of the refrigerator. As a result, the process of brewing beer was lost by the everyday person.

In the last 10 or 15 years, however, the United States specifically has seen a huge resurgence in brewing beer at home with kits and other supplies. This is due to the fact that technology has made these materials and these kits cheap enough for the average, ordinary person to get involved in the home brewing process.

Not only have we seen a huge increase in the volume of Americans making and creating their own beer, we are now starting to see some of these craft beer enthusiasts start their own breweries or beer clubs. This means that there are being jobs created too. As I said, the technological revolution influences every single spot of our life.

Changes in Brewing Technologies

What exactly has changed to make things so much more affordable now? Now with modern computer systems, everyday people can regulate, experiment and perfect their own beer recipes, which were never possible before.

With better access to trucking and distribution and new extraction technologies, we can process metal more affordably, which gives breweries better access to the materials that they need. This has all changed in just the last decade or two, so it will be very exciting to see where it goes from here.

In fact, many people are actually joining beer clubs instead of making their own beer. This gives them the availability of a million different types of beer without having to make them.  There are many great clubs, but the best beer clubs for gifts are offered online.

The Future of Brewing

As brewing becomes more and more universal, and beer hobbyist join the home brewing revolution, we will continue to see new, innovative companies disrupting the established corporate interests in the beer brewing and distribution industry.

One of the best things that technology bring to every industry that it enters is the democratization of industry and information. Now everyone can get everything they need to brew their own beer with a single purchase on Amazon. If you want to start brewing your own beer in the 1970s, where would you find this kind of information?

You might find an old book describing some of the processes, but that is only half they problem. Where are you going to get the materials?

With the Internet, all of this can be as simple as the click of a single button or the opening up of an app on your phone. How crazy is that?

Technology is by its nature disruptive and new industries are born each and every day. In the case of home beer making supplies we are seeing a new wave of people entering what was once a closed off, expensive industry to enter.

Biometric Technologies Increase Gun Safety

Guns are a hot topic all throughout the United States—and they are especially within the tech community. Being a tech company in Hawaii, I see this each and every day.

I work in one of the least friendly states to guns and gun owners in one of the least friendly industries to guns and gun owners.

The problem I have with much of how the tech industry approaches the problem of gun violence is they forget completely about the industry that they work in—technology! Why can’t we bring in some new, innovative technologies to reduce gun violence without stripping away the freedoms of law-abiding citizens?

Whatever happened to the technological revolution changing the world? Maybe other people in the tech industry have lost the grandeur that once surrounded this revolutionary space, but I have not, and I think that we can successfully use 21st century technologies to make our communities safer and protect the rights of people who use their firearms legally.

BioMetrics and Gun Safes

One of the other fatal problems with the tech industry’s attitudes towards gun ownership is they assume everyone in all areas of society is exactly like them. Everyone has the same experiences, the same upbringing, the same culture, the same everything.

People in urban New York or Chicago do not have the same life experiences and someone in Missouri, Iowa, or Montana. Everything is different about these people and their everyday lives.

Enter biometrics and the firearms industry.

What has long been a problem in urban cities are criminals getting access to illegal firearms. For whatever reason the rural communities don’t have this problem. It’s just the big cities, and the only solution they seem to be able to come up with is banning any and all firearms.

With biometric technology, however, we stand in a much better position to keep these weapons out of the hands of criminals.

For instance, consider a standard wall mounted liberty gun safe, these have a combination lock or a key lock of some kind that can be broken into by criminals if they are good enough, but with the advent of biometrics, we don’t have this problem anymore. We can now make it so only one person can open a safe, or people with certain fingerprints or DNA types.

Things like this have always been possibly (somewhat), but the technology has finally gotten to a point where it is affordable for the common man to get a system like this.

If we can get more protected gun safes in the homes of everyday Americans using this kind of gun safe, think about how many guns we will be able to keep off the streets. This kind of technology can be included in anything from a biometric truck gun safe or a handgun lockbox that fits under your bed.

Most of these safes are stack on fireproof gun safes that can withstand hours of high heat, so the lock and electrical systems would all hold up under extreme pressures.

This is just one avenue that I find promising and interesting, but I’m sure there are more out there. It’s time that we start reevaluating our approach to gun safety measures. We don’t need to ban everyone and anyone from owning a firearm.

We just need to get smarter about how we approach the problem.

Must Have Technologies for Bug out Survival

Were you ever a Boy Scout or Girl Scout as a kid? I was a Boy Scout, and I had a blast going out in the outdoors with nothing but a knapsack. I found it so rewarding to know that I could survive in the wild with just a few different items and I would be safe.

This is something I’m still proud of to this day, but times are changing.

Technology Meets Survivalism

Now, I still appreciate a true survivalist. Someone who can live off the fat of the land, making shelters out of nothing, hunting, fishing, cooking with a fire built by your own two hands. That is awesome.

But there are so many cool different technologies out there, that I had to greatly expand my emergency bug out bag backback to include a whole lot more than my Boy Scout knapsack included in it.

Energy in the Outdoors

The coolest innovation in outdoor survivalism since I was a kid has got to be in the energy/electricity generation department.

Energy is essential to life, and for people who don’t go camping, they don’t really understand just how many of us take things like electricity for granted. In some places it can get dark by 5 p.m. Imagine ending your day at 5 p.m.

Heck, I don’t even get out of work by 5 p.m.

Anyway, there have been some really cool developments in electricity generation using solar panels and other technologies that I have marked as essential survival gear.

The coolest thing, in my opinion is a generator tool that takes the energy from a small wood lit fire and converts that into electricity that you can use to charge your phone, a GPS, or anything via USB. How awesome is that? I can make a fire to warm myself, cook my food, and charge my phone! That is incredible.

Now I know a lot of purists will get mad at me for bringing a phone, but honestly if you’re in an emergency/survival situation and you can get out of it by just charging a phone, you’re stupid not to.

Water Consumption Gets Tech Upgraded

Another major thing they taught me when I was in the Boy Scouts was how to identify clean drinking water.

Well, today, water filtration has come a long way, and there are some amazing filters on the market. The coolest one is a straw of sorts that you can literally just drink out of from any lake or stream. It removes 99.9% of bacteria from normal stream water.

This is the coolest hiking and camping water filter I have seen on the market to date.

More Efficient Nutrition

Lastly, the food that we now bring in emergency situations has so radically changed from when I was a kid.

Today, you can pack several thousand calories into an energy bar—even food tablet! These can keep you sustained for far longer than the old emergency food supplies that they used to give soldiers in WW2.

You can last for weeks on this stuff. Granted, the taste still isn’t there, but you can carry weeks worth of supplies with you, and the shelf life is crazy. Twenty plus years for some of it.

All of the tech upgrades have really made it easy on the kids of today, but for an adult like me who can appreciate it, it’s really cool to see how far we have come.

How Cloud Based Apps Can Help In-Home Water Softeners

Water Softeners and Filters Clean the EarthWe’ve all been there before. We’re at work all day long, come home and we notice that the water softener hadn’t kicked on, so there isn’t any ready for dinner.

Okay, maybe we haven’t all been there, but this actually is a problem in a lot of rural and country communities that don’t have municipal water to use.

You see, for people not living in highly urbanized cities with city water treatment systems, they get their water from a well in the ground. Imagine that!

The only problem is, depending on where you happen to live, this can be hard water that is difficult to drink and doesn’t taste very good.

Enter the modern cloud based app.

How Apps Can Solve Hard Water

With the use of a simply smart phone app, users of compact water softeners can completely control their water system from running an app on their home.

This brings a new level of efficiency and convenience to homeowners using these kinds of water softening filters.

By using a computer algorithm, users can customize and optimize when the best time for their water softener systems to turn on and begin their process.

How does all this help?

Well, the biggest impact this will have on homeowners is cost savings. By optimizing the best times to turn on your water softener system, you can make sure it’s not kicking on at peak energy consumption times, saving you potentially hundreds of dollars each month on electricity.

Not many people think that this kind of customization makes that much of a difference, but when you average it out over 5 to 10 years, it can save you thousands and thousands of dollars. If you figure it this way, you can basically buy yourself a car every 5 to 8 years with the energy savings from your water softener system.

How Does This Save Money on Water Softening?

In case you’re not too familiar with the electricity market (and, let’s be honest, why would you be?), I’ll give a brief explanation of it here.

Electricity is just like any other commodity or product or service that we buy on the market and when there is a higher demand for it the price goes up. When there is a lower demand for it, the price goes down.

The peak electricity consumption is in the early evening, and the demand goes down to almost nothing late at night when people are sleeping. This means prices are much less expensive late in the night. If you can schedule your softening schedule around this time, you can save boatloads of money.

With this new app, you can do just that. You can completely customize your schedule to save the most money possible.

As an added bonus and convenience too, you can run the system virtually from your phone from anywhere. This helps if you just forget to run it one day or if you don’t have it set up to run automatically.

It’s wonderful to see how much easier technology makes out lives each and every day.

Cloud-Based App Services on the Rise

new-technology

There was a time in the not so distant past when people could not have even dreamt of such a thing as cloud-based application development services. Only with recent technologies in the last 5 to 8 years have these kinds of possibilities become a reality.

In order to make cloud-computing work you need fast Internet connections and hardware that is powerful enough to run the software on the server end and display it to the end user in good way. This technology just simply wasn’t around that long ago. For instance, the first computer I have had a 5-gigabit hard drive on it and the sticker that came on the desktop tower read “Never Obsolete.” If that is not an incredible testament to how far the world of computing, I don’t know what is.

Here’s another example. Steve Wozniak, cofounder of Apple Computers, said that when he and Steve Jobs started building their first computers, the idea that these machines could hold a single song let alone tens of thousands of songs never even entered their minds. But how could it? The operating system on some of these early computers was less than 10 kilobytes.

But now we are seeing an entirely different world emerge. As people stocked up on large amounts of hard drives and big towers to house all of their files in the mid 2000s, now people are ditching all of that equipment and opting to store everything on the cloud. It’s easy, it’s cheap, and it’s out of their way.

Now there are certain companies in the marketplace that have really taken a hold of this strategy and tailored many of their services to it and others have not. Microsoft is, again, another example of a company that is desperately trying to find its way into the marketplace of cloud-computer application services. Consider one of their best all-time selling products, Microsoft Office. This program is now available in any number of avenues for free, whether to download on your hard drive or to use over the cloud.

Companies are now producing entire laptop machines with this new trend in mind. If you can house all of your programs and files on an external source, your laptop does not need much power at all to run its internal operating system. The Microsoft Surface has been making steady progress on this front as well as a few other tablet/laptop providers.

The key thing that needs to be thought of, from a market perspective, is how to align your own company with this new trend. It’s always best to be ahead of the curve and beat the mad rush to the finish line.

Ask yourself, how can you take advantage of cloud-based applications to seize an increased market share or gain a leg up on your competition? Should you develop a smart-phone app? This depends largely on your demographic audience, so only you can truly answer this question. But these are where the world of business and design is going. It’s best to get on the train now.

Smart-Phone Apps That Help You Teach English in Nanjing

teaching english jobs abroad in china

There is a huge rise in the smart phone app marketplace. What was thought impossible just a few years ago is now commonplace in the app world.

Apps are changing the way we use our phones and what we use them for, and these changes are happening in everyway from how we travel, where we live, to what job we want to do, all three of which are incorporated into a new app service that is being discussed in the education field.

It’s long been known about educational professionals about the lack of good, quality teaching instructors. Schools all across the country and all across the globe are looking to fill teaching positions, but doing so requires getting in contact with the right applicant. This need for good teachers is compounded even more in foreign markets like China, Japan, and Indonesia.

Imagine all of the troubles that American schools face when trying to find a teacher to fill a classroom opening, but then apply it to a Chinese school looking to find a native English speaker to fill a job opening. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of schools across China that have English teaching jobs in Hangzhou and elsewhere.

So, the question that app developers have been asking themselves, is how do we connect these two groups of people? How can we connect those people in the United States, Canada, Great Britain and elsewhere who want an English teaching job in Nanjing with the schools in China who are looking to employ teachers?

The answer is simple: smart phone app technology.

College students all across the world find their smart phones to be an indispensable part of their person. People feel connected to the phones in a very real way. Schools need to find a way to develop apps that can make a network connection of people trying to enter the teaching profession, because trust me, there are plenty looking for jobs.

What we here are ApptivateHawaii.com do is work with companies that are trying to develop such a technology for these schools. We are working primarily with schools in China and other parts of Asia, but we are willing to work with any educational institutions that are interested. Our number one priority as app developers is to get people using the platform, listen to their feedback, and develop a system that works for people on both ends of the spectrum: the students/teachers looking for English teaching jobs in Baotou and the schools there looking to find the teachers.

And we’re open to new ideas. What are your thoughts of such a platform? What would you, a potential employee, a potential employee, be looking for in usability? What type of interface fits the theme of the app? These are all questions that go on in an app developer’s before a concept can be brought to the forefront.

Those are today’s thoughts from the desk. I’ll keep you up to date as things progress with the teaching app and as more schools join on to start using the platform.

Staying Current in an Ever-Changing Marketplace

innovateThe world of design is constantly changing. Everywhere around you, things look widely different than they did just a few years ago. Take a look at the styling of cars from the 1990s and compare them to the cars of today and you will notice a sharp contrast in the line designs that were preferred then compared to now.

The same goes for the digital world. What was once popular and even considered a necessity in the area of basic website design is all but obsolete now. Add on top of that the vast new considerations that must be added to accompany technologies no one thought possible in the 1990s. Who would have thought that the capabilities to stream, wirelessly movies, TV shows, video clips directly onto your phone from websites and apps. These considerations add on a layer of technological requirements to build mobile friendly and responsive websites that can adjust to a smaller screen that a phone or tablet might display.

So, how do you stay ahead in a marketplace that is constantly changing?

The short and unappealing answer is you don’t.

Even the most innovative companies cannot continuously time and time again be ahead of the curve when it comes to anticipating market moves. Apple is a classic example. From the first release of the iPod is 2001 to 2010 they were on the vanguard of virtually every new and innovate product. They dominated the tech market for nearly an entire decade. However, after the death of founder and CEO Steve Jobs, the company has struggled to prove itself as a true innovator and has released products that are not exactly on the cutting edge of the mobile phone market. Some even say that Apple has fallen beyond its competitors and is desperately trying to play catch up.

Microsoft is another classic example. Microsoft anticipated the personal computing boom and Internet browser market like no other company. In the 1980s and 1990s, they were able to completely seize control of the market, yet throughout the 2000s they lost their competitive advantage and continue to this day to lose their once dominant market share.

So what’s the point of all this? What is the solution?

The solution is creative destructive. In the technology space, there will always be ebb and flows in the market and new technologies emerging and it’s our job to anticipate them. Companies may not always be right, but when they are, they will reap the rewards. Failure is never a bad thing in business—so long as you learn from it. The most important thing in technology is to never place all of your eggs in one basket because before you know it that basket may become obsolete.

Of course there is a risk-reward calculus that needs to be made. If you put out all of your eggs in one basket and you turn out to be right, you will likely see the Microsoft-type results of the 1990s. Shortly thereafter, however, you might experience the Microsoft-type results of the 2000s. In technology, in design, and in web development, we need to embrace creative destruction more so than any other sector. Our future businesses depend on it.