Impacts of Information Technology on Society in the New Century

In the past few decades there has been a revolution in computing and communications, and all indications are that technological progress and use of information technology will continue at a rapid pace. Accompanying and supporting the dramatic increases in the power and use of new information technologies has been the declining cost of communications as a result of both technological improvements and increased competition. According to Moore’s law the processing power of microchips is doubling every 18 months. These advances present many significant opportunities but also pose major challenges. Today, innovations in information technology are having wide-ranging effects across numerous domains of society, and policy makers are acting on issues involving economic productivity, intellectual property rights, privacy protection, and affordability of and access to information. Choices made now will have long lasting consequences, and attention must be paid to their social and economic impacts.

One of the most significant outcomes of the progress of information technology is probably electronic commerce over the Internet, a new way of conducting business. Though only a few years old, it may radically alter economic activities and the social environment. Already, it affects such large sectors as communications, finance and retail trade and might expand to areas such as education and health services. It implies the seamless application of information and communication technology along the entire value chain of a business that is conducted electronically.

The impacts of information technology and electronic commerce on business models, commerce, market structure, workplace, labour market, education, private life and society as a whole.

1. Business Models, Commerce and Market Structure

One important way in which information technology is affecting work is by reducing the importance of distance. In many industries, the geographic distribution of work is changing significantly. For instance, some software firms have found that they can overcome the tight local market for software engineers by sending projects to India or other nations where the wages are much lower. Furthermore, such arrangements can take advantage of the time differences so that critical projects can be worked on nearly around the clock. Firms can outsource their manufacturing to other nations and rely on telecommunications to keep marketing, R&D, and distribution teams in close contact with the manufacturing groups. Thus the technology can enable a finer division of labour among countries, which in turn affects the relative demand for various skills in each nation. The technology enables various types of work and employment to be decoupled from one another. Firms have greater freedom to locate their economic activities, creating greater competition among regions in infrastructure, labour, capital, and other resource markets. It also opens the door for regulatory arbitrage: firms can increasingly choose which tax authority and other regulations apply.

Computers and communication technologies also promote more market-like forms of production and distribution. An infrastructure of computing and communication technology, providing 24-hour access at low cost to almost any kind of price and product information desired by buyers, will reduce the informational barriers to efficient market operation. This infrastructure might also provide the means for effecting real-time transactions and make intermediaries such as sales clerks, stock brokers and travel agents, whose function is to provide an essential information link between buyers and sellers, redundant. Removal of intermediaries would reduce the costs in the production and distribution value chain. The information technologies have facilitated the evolution of enhanced mail order retailing, in which goods can be ordered quickly by using telephones or computer networks and then dispatched by suppliers through integrated transport companies that rely extensively on computers and communication technologies to control their operations. Nonphysical goods, such as software, can be shipped electronically, eliminating the entire transport channel. Payments can be done in new ways. The result is disintermediation throughout the distribution channel, with cost reduction, lower end-consumer prices, and higher profit margins.

The impact of information technology on the firms’ cost structure can be best illustrated on the electronic commerce example. The key areas of cost reduction when carrying out a sale via electronic commerce rather than in a traditional store involve physical establishment, order placement and execution, customer support, strong, inventory carrying, and distribution. Although setting up and maintaining an e-commerce web site might be expensive, it is certainly less expensive to maintain such a storefront than a physical one because it is always open, can be accessed by millions around the globe, and has few variable costs, so that it can scale up to meet the demand. By maintaining one ‘store’ instead of several, duplicate inventory costs are eliminated. In addition, e-commerce is very effective at reducing the costs of attracting new customers, because advertising is typically cheaper than for other media and more targeted. Moreover, the electronic interface allows e-commerce merchants to check that an order is internally consistent and that the order, receipt, and invoice match. Through e-commerce, firms are able to move much of their customer support on line so that customers can access databases or manuals directly. This significantly cuts costs while generally improving the quality of service. E-commerce shops require far fewer, but high-skilled, employees. E-commerce also permits savings in inventory carrying costs. The faster the input can be ordered and delivered, the less the need for a large inventory. The impact on costs associated with decreased inventories is most pronounced in industries where the product has a limited shelf life (e.g. bananas), is subject to fast technological obsolescence or price declines (e.g. computers), or where there is a rapid flow of new products (e.g. books, music). Although shipping costs can increase the cost of many products purchased via electronic commerce and add substantially to the final price, distribution costs are significantly reduced for digital products such as financial services, software, and travel, which are important e-commerce segments.

Although electronic commerce causes the disintermediation of some intermediaries, it creates greater dependency on others and also some entirely new intermediary functions. Among the intermediary services that could add costs to e-commerce transactions are advertising, secure online payment, and delivery. The relative ease of becoming an e-commerce merchant and setting up stores results in such a huge number of offerings that consumers can easily be overwhelmed. This increases the importance of using advertising to establish a brand name and thus generate consumer familiarity and trust. For new e-commerce start-ups, this process can be expensive and represents a significant transaction cost. The openness, global reach, and lack of physical clues that are inherent characteristics of e-commerce also make it vulnerable to fraud and thus increase certain costs for e-commerce merchants as compared to traditional stores. New techniques are being developed to protect the use of credit cards in e-commerce transactions, but the need for greater security and user verification leads to increased costs. A key feature of e-commerce is the convenience of having purchases delivered directly. In the case of tangibles, such as books, this incurs delivery costs, which cause prices to rise in most cases, thereby negating many of the savings associated with e-commerce and substantially adding to transaction costs.

With the Internet, e-commerce is rapidly expanding into a fast-moving, open global market with an ever-increasing number of participants. The open and global nature of e-commerce is likely to increase market size and change market structure, both in terms of the number and size of players and the way in which players compete on international markets. Digitized products can cross the border in real time, consumers can shop 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and firms are increasingly faced with international online competition. The Internet is helping to enlarge existing markets by cutting through many of the distribution and marketing barriers that can prevent firms from gaining access to foreign markets. E-commerce lowers information and transaction costs for operating on overseas markets and provides a cheap and efficient way to strengthen customer-supplier relations. It also encourages companies to develop innovative ways of advertising, delivering and supporting their product and services. While e-commerce on the Internet offers the potential for global markets, certain factors, such as language, transport costs, local reputation, as well as differences in the cost and ease of access to networks, attenuate this potential to a greater or lesser extent.

2. Workplace and Labour Market

Computers and communication technologies allow individuals to communicate with one another in ways complementary to traditional face-to-face, telephonic, and written modes. They enable collaborative work involving distributed communities of actors who seldom, if ever, meet physically. These technologies utilize communication infrastructures that are both global and always up, thus enabling 24-hour activity and asynchronous as well as synchronous interactions among individuals, groups, and organizations. Social interaction in organizations will be affected by use of computers and communication technologies. Peer-to-peer relations across department lines will be enhanced through sharing of information and coordination of activities. Interaction between superiors and subordinates will become more tense because of social control issues raised by the use of computerized monitoring systems, but on the other hand, the use of e-mail will lower the barriers to communications across different status levels, resulting in more uninhibited communications between supervisor and subordinates.

That the importance of distance will be reduced by computers and communication technology also favours telecommuting, and thus, has implications for the residence patterns of the citizens. As workers find that they can do most of their work at home rather than in a centralized workplace, the demand for homes in climatically and physically attractive regions would increase. The consequences of such a shift in employment from the suburbs to more remote areas would be profound. Property values would rise in the favoured destinations and fall in the suburbs. Rural, historical, or charming aspects of life and the environment in the newly attractive areas would be threatened. Since most telecommuters would be among the better educated and higher paid, the demand in these areas for high-income and high-status services like gourmet restaurants and clothing boutiques would increase. Also would there be an expansion of services of all types, creating and expanding job opportunities for the local population.

By reducing the fixed cost of employment, widespread telecommuting should make it easier for individuals to work on flexible schedules, to work part time, to share jobs, or to hold two or more jobs simultaneously. Since changing employers would not necessarily require changing one’s place of residence, telecommuting should increase job mobility and speed career advancement. This increased flexibility might also reduce job stress and increase job satisfaction. Since job stress is a major factor governing health there may be additional benefits in the form of reduced health costs and mortality rates. On the other hand one might also argue that technologies, by expanding the number of different tasks that are expected of workers and the array of skills needed to perform these tasks, might speed up work and increase the level of stress and time pressure on workers.

A question that is more difficult to be answered is about the impacts that computers and communications might have on employment. The ability of computers and communications to perform routine tasks such as bookkeeping more rapidly than humans leads to concern that people will be replaced by computers and communications. The response to this argument is that even if computers and communications lead to the elimination of some workers, other jobs will be created, particularly for computer professionals, and that growth in output will increase overall employment. It is more likely that computers and communications will lead to changes in the types of workers needed for different occupations rather than to changes in total employment.

A number of industries are affected by electronic commerce. The distribution sector is directly affected, as e-commerce is a way of supplying and delivering goods and services. Other industries, indirectly affected, are those related to information and communication technology (the infrastructure that enables e-commerce), content-related industries (entertainment, software), transactions-related industries (financial sector, advertising, travel, transport). eCommerce might also create new markets or extend market reach beyond traditional borders. Enlarging the market will have a positive effect on jobs. Another important issue relates to inter linkages among activities affected by e-commerce. Expenditure for e-commerce-related intermediate goods and services will create jobs indirectly, on the basis of the volume of electronic transactions and their effect on prices, costs and productivity. The convergence of media, telecommunication and computing technologies is creating a new integrated supply chain for the production and delivery of multimedia and information content. Most of the employment related to e-commerce around the content industries and communication infrastructure such as the Internet.

Jobs are both created and destroyed by technology, trade, and organizational change. These processes also underlie changes in the skill composition of employment. Beyond the net employment gains or losses brought about by these factors, it is apparent that workers with different skill levels will be affected differently. E-commerce is certainly driving the demand for IT professionals but it also requires IT expertise to be coupled with strong business application skills, thereby generating demand for a flexible, multi-skilled work force. There is a growing need for increased integration of Internet front-end applications with enterprise operations, applications and back-end databases. Many of the IT skill requirements needed for Internet support can be met by low-paid IT workers who can deal with the organizational services needed for basic web page programming. However, wide area networks, competitive web sites, and complex network applications require much more skill than a platform-specific IT job. Since the skills required for e-commerce are rare and in high demand, e-commerce might accelerate the up skilling trend in many countries by requiring high-skilled computer scientists to replace low-skilled information clerks, cashiers and market salespersons.

3. Education

Advances in information technology will affect the craft of teaching by complementing rather than eliminating traditional classroom instruction. Indeed the effective instructor acts in a mixture of roles. In one role the instructor is a supplier of services to the students, who might be regarded as its customers. But the effective instructor occupies another role as well, as a supervisor of students, and plays a role in motivating, encouraging, evaluating, and developing students. For any topic there will always be a small percentage of students with the necessary background, motivation, and self-discipline to learn from self-paced workbooks or computer assisted instruction. For the majority of students, however, the presence of a live instructor will continue to be far more effective than a computer assisted counterpart in facilitating positive educational outcomes. The greatest potential for new information technology lies in improving the productivity of time spent outside the classroom. Making solutions to problem sets and assigned reading materials available on the Internet offers a lot of convenience. E-mail vastly simplifies communication between students and faculty and among students who may be engaged in group projects. Advances in information technology will affect the craft of teaching by complementing rather than eliminating traditional classroom instruction. Indeed the effective instructor acts in a mixture of roles. In one role the instructor is a supplier of services to the students, who might be regarded as its customers. But the effective instructor occupies another role as well, as a supervisor of students, and plays a role in motivating, encouraging, evaluating, and developing students. For any topic there will always be a small percentage of students with the necessary background, motivation, and self-discipline to learn from self-paced workbooks or computer assisted instruction. For the majority of students, however, the presence of a live instructor will continue to be far more effective than a computer assisted counterpart in facilitating positive educational outcomes. The greatest potential for new information technology lies in improving the productivity of time spent outside the classroom. Making solutions to problem sets and assigned reading materials available on the Internet offers a lot of convenience. E-mail vastly simplifies communication between students and faculty and among students who may be engaged in group projects.

Although distance learning has existed for some time, the Internet makes possible a large expansion in coverage and better delivery of instruction. Text can be combined with audio/ video, and students can interact in real time via e-mail and discussion groups. Such technical improvements coincide with a general demand for retraining by those who, due to work and family demands, cannot attend traditional courses. Distance learning via the Internet is likely to complement existing schools for children and university students, but it could have more of a substitution effect for continuing education programmes. For some degree programmes, high-prestige institutions could use their reputation to attract students who would otherwise attend a local facility. Owing to the Internet’s ease of access and convenience for distance learning, overall demand for such programmes will probably expand, leading to growth in this segment of e-commerce.

As shown in the previous section, high level skills are vital in a technology-based and knowledge intensive economy. Changes associated with rapid technological advances in industry have made continual upgrading of professional skills an economic necessity. The goal of lifelong learning can only be accomplished by reinforcing and adapting existing systems of learning, both in public and private sectors. The demand for education and training concerns the full range of modern technology. Information technologies are uniquely capable of providing ways to meet this demand. Online training via the Internet ranges from accessing self-study courses to complete electronic classrooms. These computer-based training programmes provide flexibility in skills acquisition and are more affordable and relevant than more traditional seminars and courses.

4. Private Life and Society

Increasing representation of a wide variety of content in digital form results in easier and cheaper duplication and distribution of information. This has a mixed effect on the provision of content. On the one hand, content can be distributed at a lower unit cost. On the other hand, distribution of content outside of channels that respect intellectual property rights can reduce the incentives of creators and distributors to produce and make content available in the first place. Information technology raises a host of questions about intellectual property protection and new tools and regulations have to be developed in order to solve this problem.

Many issues also surround free speech and regulation of content on the Internet, and there continue to be calls for mechanisms to control objectionable content. However it is very difficult to find a sensible solution. Dealing with indecent material involves understanding not only the views on such topics but also their evolution over time. Furthermore, the same technology that allows for content altering with respect to decency can be used to filter political speech and to restrict access to political material. Thus, if censorship does not appear to be an option, a possible solution might be labelling. The idea is that consumers will be better informed in their decisions to avoid objectionable content.

The rapid increase in computing and communications power has raised considerable concern about privacy both in the public and private sector. Decreases in the cost of data storage and information processing make it likely that it will become practicable for both government and private data-mining enterprises to collect detailed dossiers on all citizens. Nobody knows who currently collects data about individuals, how this data is used and shared or how this data might be misused. These concerns lower the consumers’ trust in online institutions and communication and, thus, inhibit the development of electronic commerce. A technological approach to protecting privacy might by cryptography although it might be claimed that cryptography presents a serious barrier to criminal investigations.

It is popular wisdom that people today suffer information overload. A lot of the information available on the Internet is incomplete and even incorrect. People spend more and more of their time absorbing irrelevant information just because it is available and they think they should know about it. Therefore, it must be studied how people assign credibility to the information they collect in order to invent and develop new credibility systems to help consumers to manage the information overload.

Technological progress inevitably creates dependence on technology. Indeed the creation of vital infrastructure ensures dependence on that infrastructure. As surely as the world is now dependent on its transport, telephone, and other infrastructures, it will be dependent on the emerging information infrastructure. Dependence on technology can bring risks. Failures in the technological infrastructure can cause the collapse of economic and social functionality. Blackouts of long-distance telephone service, credit data systems, and electronic funds transfer systems, and other such vital communications and information processing services would undoubtedly cause widespread economic disruption. However, it is probably impossible to avoid technological dependence. Therefore, what must be considered is the exposure brought from dependence on technologies with a recognizable probability of failure, no workable substitute at hand, and high costs as a result of failure.

The ongoing computing and communications revolution has numerous economic and social impacts on modern society and requires serious social science investigation in order to manage its risks and dangers. Such work would be valuable for both social policy and technology design. Decisions have to be taken carefully. Many choices being made now will be costly or difficult to modify in the future.

Speech Therapy Worksheets

Speech therapy worksheets can be an extremely useful tool to help facilitate parents of children who are either suffering from a speech impediment or whose expressive language is lagging behind where they ought to be with respect to their peers.

It is not enough to simply send your child to see a licensed speech pathologist once or twice a week. Parents also play an extremely vital role in helping their developmentally challenged children overcome their speech delay. By devoting just a little bit of time each and every single day with your child, you can make a difference in helping to accelerate the process of bringing your child up to speed in terms of his or her language development.

And that is where speech therapy worksheets can come in handy. Parents will need some kind of “syllabus” to follow. They will need some kind of guidebook that will help them formulate lesson plans and coordinate games and activities for their child. Plus they will need a way to track, monitor, and gauge their child’s progress in terms of speech development.

Tracking your progress is one way to measure the success of any speech therapy program be they in an office with a professional or at home between parent and child. This way you can ensure that you are covering all necessary bases to ensure your child is receiving the proper focus and attention he or she requires. Speech therapy worksheets designed for home use by parents are the way to go.

One of the questions that is often raised, when it comes to speech therapy worksheets and other at-home “do it yourself” speech therapy curricula is whether or not the use of these types of worksheets and syllabi can be used as a substitute for the need for having your child undergo toddler speech therapy from a licensed pediatric speech pathologist?

And the answer to that should be the use of speech therapy worksheets and other related materials should only be used as a supplement to receiving professional therapy. In other words, the use of these worksheets should be proctored by a licensed speech pathologist. They should be used as your child’s “homework” assignments to be completed in between your weekly speech therapy sessions.

While it may be possible for you to do a lot of the work on your own, in a “do it yourself” fashion, it is always wise to have your efforts overseen by a professional who can guide you and steer your efforts in the right direction, and who can monitor and evaluate your child’s progress at regular, routine intervals.

While your child’s speech therapist will be able to provide you with all of the worksheets that he or she wants you to utilize, you will also find that there are numerous speech therapy worksheets online that are available to download for free from various websites.

If your child’s speech therapist provides you with his or her own worksheets, it is best to use them. If you wish to use worksheets that you have found online on some third-party website, then it would be best if you clear that with the therapist first, as you do not want to confuse your child, in case the approaches to therapy differ between what you find online versus what your child’s therapist has recommended for you.

Again, it cannot be emphasized enough, that if you have the means to have your child be seen by a licensed speech pathologist on a regular basis, you should consult with him or her in tandem with using any type of speech therapy worksheets to help you conduct your own at-home sessions.

The Key Pros and Cons of Pricing Psychology

In this complicated economy we are currently in, within the fierce competition contains intense pricing battles, battles that often involve the use of strategic planning and of a particular pricing strategy – e.g. psychological pricing.

All pricing strategies come with advantages and disadvantages, likewise nothing is perfect. Described below will be some of the major pros and cons of utilizing psychological pricing.

Let’s begin with the cons first, shall we? Consider the meaning behind psychological pricing, it aims to play “tricks” on the minds of human beings, to trick us into believing something which is not equivalent to its true self. The single word is perception.

By exploiting psychology, marketers are creating a different perception of something to us, therefore what we think it is, is what we believe. The downside of this is… as a typical consumer who may possibly fall for this pricing strategy, may no sooner realize they were tricked, and so, they will not re-purchase that particular deal anymore.

What can be learned from this is that all pricing strategies must be planned carefully to prevent crossing the line that may cause side-effects.

Another downside of using the concept of psychological pricing is that you are not alone, you are simply not the first one to use this tactic in the economy. The fact is when everyone else in your competition is using the same trick you are, it’s basically communism. The trick will be degraded because the majority is doing the exact same thing.

From this, understand that you must stand out from the crowd and crave up some originality in your pricing campaigns, be unique.

Everything in the world has downsides and upsides. Not only is utilizing a pricing strategy obviously going to increase your sales and bring in more profits, it has several other key pros.

Ever frustrated at the unexpected results of a plan? Any plan? In fact, no plans in the world are error-free, and all plan executors are often worried about the possible outcomes and unfavorable side-effects. However, in the psychology of pricing, minimal attention is required, as such pricing tactics are all targeting human beings, and I suppose human beings are the only buyers in the world?

Having said that, there’s certainly no area for failure in terms of using psychology in pricing, but just the effectiveness and the positive results you are getting that need serious efforts and work put into, in other words, the amount of work determines your rewards. Nonetheless, split-testing is the best option.

Playing Paintball Game For Fun

Paintball is an exciting, action-packed, adrenalin driven game where players shoot paintballs at each other. When someone is hit, that person is out of the game. The aim is to remove the opposition team players, capture their flag and return to the home base. This game started around the 1970’s when the Nelson Paint Company developed a gas-operated gun as well as marking pellets, which leave a semi-permanent mark when they hit an object. The paintball used in these games breaks upon impact and leaves a visible paint mark on the players clothes.

Experts say playing paintball can be beneficial for the mind and body. This game also helps in building team spirit as it is basically a team game. It has been said that paintball game can aid in the development of stamina and agility. It can get you off the couch and help in burning up a lot of calories as you need to do a lot of running, jumping, dodging, bending and climbing. Parents should encourage their children to play this game in order to encourage physical activity in them, get them off the internet or mobile phones. Some of the other benefits of paintball game are – improvement in eye hand co-ordination, development of strong focus and determination, development of leadership skills and increased physical and mental agility.

This game can be best enjoyed when there are a lot of people involved and there is a large playing area. You also need the proper safety equipment, like headgear, in order to avoid injuries. Before starting the game, the rules should be made clear to all the players so that there is no confusion later on. Below we shall discuss some things to keep in mind if you want to completely enjoy the game with a group of friends without any unwanted problems arising.

1. Establish clear boundaries: Take a walk around the playing field and let everyone know the boundaries. Make sure that the playing field is neither too big nor too small. If there are just 3 members per team, then a 100X50 yard field might be sufficient. However if there are more people involved then the field should be bigger.

2. Establish time limit: If you don’t have a time limit, people may not take any risks to eliminate the opponent team’s members. Thus the game would proceed at a very slow pace. Another problem with not having time limit is that the people who are eliminated early on would get bored as they have to wait idly for a very long time for the whole thing to finish. Thus, to make it fun for everyone, have a clearly specified time limit. When the time is up, the team which lost most of its members will be the loser.

3. Divide the teams fairly: Try to divide the teams in such a manner that both teams are almost equal to each other. If there are a few experienced players and a few beginners, try to divide them all equally so that each team has its share of experienced players. It would be a lot more fun if both teams are equally matched in strength and expertise.

Origin of Bingo Games

Bingo was originally a form of lottery which was introduced in Italy. It was then known as Lo Giucco del Lotto D’Italia. Le lotto as bingo was then known attracted the people especially the intelligentsia way back in the 16th century. In the earlier versions of the bingo games playing cards were divided into three horizontal and nine vertical rows to form bingo cards. Each vertical row consisted of numbers from 1 to 90 while the horizontal rows had five numbers in random order with four blank spaces. In the vertical rows the numbers 1 to 10 were written in the first row 11 to 20 in the second row and it continued in the same fashion till 90.

As time passed a newer version of the game emerged. The earliest bingo game as we know it now was set up by a toymaker from Georgia named Lowe. The two variations of the bingo sold were the 12 card pack game at $1 and the 24 card pack bingo game at $2.

It is not very difficult to make your own bingo card. All one needs is a cardboard which is divided into five columns and six rows. On the top of each column write the name “BINGO” and write numbers in under the letters and your bingo game card is ready. Generally the winning format of the bingo includes any row which means all the numbers crossed out in either the top centre or bottom row or one or two full houses where the first and second person who crosses out all the numbers in the bingo card wins a bumper prize.

Bingo games can be adapted to any theme. For example a Christmas bingo can be played with the entire family. Instead of writing “BINGO” on the top of the handmade bingo cards, the word “ANGEL” could be written. The rows and columns can be filled up with Christmas theme pictures. Even children would enjoy this variation of the bingo.

Bingo for children could be turned into an educational tool. Once the children have learnt the alphabet, the teacher can make “Bingo” cards with uppercase and lower case alphabets and the child who crosses out all the alphabets correctly first can be given a prize. In the same way children can be taught basic multiplication with a “Math Bingo” game where the teacher would call out 5×3 and the child has to find the answer on the bingo card. Bingo games are a huge hit for children’s parties as well.

The 5 Basic Skills Needed to Play Softball

Playing softball competitively or recreationally requires a set of basic skills which include catching, throwing, fielding, hitting and base running. A dedicated softball player must take time to practice the right techniques in the following skills in order to confidently and safely play the game. Even seasoned softball players must continue practicing and drilling themselves on these skills in order to improve their performance.

Catching

The right catching skills allow a player not only to catch the ball without getting hurt but also to position him to throw the ball precisely. The fact is that catching and throwing are two of the fundamental defensive skills in softball. The ability to catch and throw a ball is very important as this enables a player to throw out a baserunner who is attempting to advance to the next base.

Throwing

As previously mentioned, throwing is one of the two most important defensive skills a player must learn in softball. A quick and accurate throw can make it hard for the opposing team to advance their runners or make a score. Softball players should practice the right throwing technique in order to hit their targets quickly, precisely and consistently.

Fielding

Fielding is another essential defensive skill that a softball team must master. Good team fielding makes it difficult for the opposition to score runs. Players are drilled on the right way of fielding a ball that is hit on the ground as well as in the air. Fielding drills also involve knowing where to throw the ball. Many times fielders must rehearse particular plays so they will know where to throw the ball if it is hit to them.

Hitting

Hitting is probably the most challenging and enjoyable skill to learn in softball. Hitting a small ball with a rounded bat out to a particular area – in the split of a second – is a technique that softball players must continually practice and perfect. A good hit requires hand-eye coordination, quick reaction time, right technique and confidence.

Base Running

Excellent base running is not just about speed, it is also about smart running. Even more important than simply moving around the bases is the wisdom to evaluate the current game situation. A wily base runner takes into consideration the number of outs and the fielding placements of the opposition. Fast and smart base running puts great pressure on the defensive team.

In softball, where running and sliding are often done, a good pair of softball cleats and a trusty pair of supportive, moisture-wicking softball socks are essential items.

How to Talk Dirty to a Girl – Tips

If your relationship is getting boring and stale then its time to spice it up a little bit with some dirty talk. Many people think that dirty talk is bad and may turn off a woman, they are wrong. Every one has a dark side filled with fantasies and self-created stories that they have never shared with anyone. Yes, there is a very high probability that your spouse or partner has fantasised about you in a dirty way, but might not have expressed to you. What dirty talk does is that it breaks all the invisible emotional and sexual barriers that are between a couple and brings them more closer.

If you are one those folks who want to bring some spark and dirtiness into your sex life but are apprehensive about what your partner may think about you, then fret not. In this article I will tell you how to express your fantasies and make your better-half open up with his/her own sexual fantasies. Let me reiterate once again, everyone thinks dirty. If you think your lover is innocent and clean at heart then you are wrong, wrong by a mile. That is, unless you happen to be in love with someone who is extremely religious.

First, let us understand what dirty talk actually means. If you think those cheap cheesy lines in porn movies are dirty talk then its time to cleanse your head. Those are downright derogatory and women may be repulsed on hearing such things, there is a difference between reel and real life. So you better not utter any dialogue from a porn flick.

Be slow and romantic in the beginning. If you are a girl then its easy for you to initiate dirty talk because almost all men are comfortable with it. But if you are a man then I would suggest you start off with sexy talk instead of being dirty, women take some time to open up. Start by texting her “I can’t wait to see those sexy curves tonight”. And while you are having sex that night, take it up a notch higher by saying something like “I love it when you ride me”. Keep talking romantic but not-so-dirty talk for few days and soon you will notice a change in her tone. Once she starts talking dirty, its time for you to engage in some more dirtiness. Here are few comments that you can say to her:

1. I want to bang you in the bathroom tonight.
2. Kiss my shaft and ride it like a cowgirl
3. I want to go down on you and eat you out.

Share some of your fantasies with her and ask her about her personal fantasies, you will be surprised to know what is in her mind. Also buy some sex games and vibrators from a sex shop and indulge in some sex games. Remember, do not say anything that is insulting and repulsive like “I want to f**k you and your sexy sister together”. This will turn her off big time and you might end being dumped. So mind your language when talking dirty.

Fun Activities for Preschool Students

The preschool years are some of the most important times in a child’s life. This is when they are able to learn all of the basic information and foundational skills that will help them to succeed when they become older. They learn their alphabet, numbers, colors and a number of other things. Because of their short attention spans, teachers must find creative ways to keep them involved and interested in their lessons. Often times instructors will use rhymes, songs or games. Although all of these things are great and effective, there are a number of other activities that can help preschool students learn while having fun at the same time.

For example, a teacher can set up a group activity that allows the students to work together. They can be promised and given a reward at the end of their project. This will allow them to stay focused to achieve their goal. So, imagine if a teacher wants to do an activity that involves the alphabet. She can challenge the students to create an artistic image of each letter. Each group of children could be responsible for certain letters. At the end of the project all of the letters could be put, in order, onto the classroom wall. Therefore, instead of the students having to refer to the regular store-bought poster, when they need help with their alphabets, they can reference their very own work.

Preschool students can also have fun learning things like science. Of course, students in this particular age group won’t be learning anything complex. However, there are important things they can be taught like how to identify grass, trees, dirt, the sky and the clouds. So, instead of them being taught these things indoors, the teacher can take them on an outdoor adventure. The good thing is that the students won’t even have to leave the school grounds to identify any of the aforementioned things. It could be done right in the front yard or even on the playground.

Not only will this allow students to get out of the classroom for a while, but it will also allow them to identify some of the things nature has to offer firsthand. This will most likely keep them interested, which means that they will pay more attention. Therefore, they will more than likely retain more information.

To some, teaching preschool students can seem boring and mundane. This is probably due to the fact that the instructor is teaching well below his or her own educational level. However, it doesn’t have to be this way. Teaching younger students is not only be rewarding, but it is also be enjoyable.

History of Video Games – The First Video Game Ever Made?

As an avid retro-gamer, for quite a long time I’ve been particularly interested in the history of video games. To be more specific, a subject that I am very passionate about is “Which was the first video game ever made?”… So, I started an exhaustive investigation on this subject (and making this article the first one in a series of articles that will cover in detail all video gaming history).

The question was: Which was the first video game ever made?

The answer: Well, as a lot of things in life, there is no easy answer to that question. It depends on your own definition of the term “video game”. For example: When you talk about “the first video game”, do you mean the first video game that was commercially-made, or the first console game, or maybe the first digitally programmed game? Because of this, I made a list of 4-5 video games that in one way or another were the beginners of the video gaming industry. You will notice that the first video games were not created with the idea of getting any profit from them (back in those decades there was no Nintendo, Sony, Microsoft, Sega, Atari, or any other video game company around). In fact, the sole idea of a “video game” or an electronic device which was only made for “playing games and having fun” was above the imagination of over 99% of the population back in those days. But thanks to this small group of geniuses who walked the first steps into the video gaming revolution, we are able to enjoy many hours of fun and entertainment today (keeping aside the creation of millions of jobs during the past 4 or 5 decades). Without further ado, here I present the “first video game nominees”:

1940s: Cathode Ray Tube Amusement Device

This is considered (with official documentation) as the first electronic game device ever made. It was created by Thomas T. Goldsmith Jr. and Estle Ray Mann. The game was assembled in the 1940s and submitted for an US Patent in January 1947. The patent was granted December 1948, which also makes it the first electronic game device to ever receive a patent (US Patent 2,455,992). As described in the patent, it was an analog circuit device with an array of knobs used to move a dot that appeared in the cathode ray tube display. This game was inspired by how missiles appeared in WWII radars, and the object of the game was simply controlling a “missile” in order to hit a target. In the 1940s it was extremely difficult (for not saying impossible) to show graphics in a Cathode Ray Tube display. Because of this, only the actual “missile” appeared on the display. The target and any other graphics were showed on screen overlays manually placed on the display screen. It’s been said by many that Atari’s famous video game “Missile Command” was created after this gaming device.

1951: NIMROD

NIMROD was the name of a digital computer device from the 50s decade. The creators of this computer were the engineers of an UK-based company under the name Ferranti, with the idea of displaying the device at the 1951 Festival of Britain (and later it was also showed in Berlin).

NIM is a two-player numerical game of strategy, which is believed to come originally from the ancient China. The rules of NIM are easy: There are a certain number of groups (or “heaps”), and each group contains a certain number of objects (a common starting array of NIM is 3 heaps containing 3, 4, and 5 objects respectively). Each player take turns removing objects from the heaps, but all removed objects must be from a single heap and at least one object is removed. The player to take the last object from the last heap loses, however there is a variation of the game where the player to take the last object of the last heap wins.

NIMROD used a lights panel as a display and was planned and made with the unique purpose of playing the game of NIM, which makes it the first digital computer device to be specifically created for playing a game (however the main idea was showing and illustrating how a digital computer works, rather than to entertain and have fun with it). Because it doesn’t have “raster video equipment” as a display (a TV set, monitor, etc.) it is not considered by many people as a real “video game” (an electronic game, yes… a video game, no…). But once again, it really depends on your point of view when you talk about a “video game”.

1952: OXO (“Noughts and Crosses”)

This was a digital version of “Tic-Tac-Toe”, created for an EDSAC (Electronic Delay Storage Automatic Calculator) computer. It was designed by Alexander S. Douglas from the University of Cambridge, and one more time it was not made for entertainment, it was part of his PhD Thesis on “Interactions between human and computer”.

The rules of the game are those of a regular Tic-Tac-Toe game, player against the computer (no 2-player option was available). The input method was a rotary dial (like the ones in old telephones). The output was showed in a 35×16-pixel cathode-ray tube display. This game was never very popular because the EDSAC computer was only available at the University of Cambridge, so there was no way to install it and play it anywhere else (until many years later when an EDSAC emulator was created available, and by that time many other excellent video games where available as well…).

1958: Tennis for Two

“Tennis for Two” was created by William Higinbotham, a physicist working at the Brookhaven National Laboratory. This game was made as a way of entertainment, so laboratory visitors had something funny to do during their wait on “visitors day” (finally!… a video game that was created “just for fun”…) . The game was pretty well designed for its era: the ball behavior was modified by several factors like gravity, wind velocity, position and angle of contact, etc.; you had to avoid the net as in real tennis, and many other things. The video game hardware included two “joysticks” (two controllers with a rotational knob and a push button each) connected to an analog console, and an oscilloscope as a display.

“Tennis for Two” is considered by many the first video game ever created. But once again, many others differ from that idea stating that “it was a computer game, not a video game” or “the output display was an oscilloscope, not a “raster” video display… so it does not qualify as a video game”. But well… you can’t please everyone…

It is also rumored that “Tennis for Two” was the inspiration for Atari’s mega hit “Pong”, but this rumor has always been strongly denied… for obvious reasons.

1961: Spacewar!

“Spacewar!” video game was created by Stephen Russell, with the help of J. Martin Graetz, Peter Samson, Alan Kotok, Wayne Witanen and Dan Edwards from MIT. By the 1960s, MIT was “the right choice” if you wanted to do computer research and development. So this half a dozen of innovative guys took advantage of a brand-new computer was ordered and expected to arrive campus very soon (a DEC PDP-1) and started thinking about what kind of hardware testing programs would be made. When they found out that a “Precision CRT Display” would be installed to the system, they instantly decided that “some sort of visual/interactive game” would be the demonstration software of choice for the PDP-1. And after some discussion, it was soon decided to be a space battle game or something similar. After this decision, all other ideas came out pretty quick: like rules of the game, designing concepts, programming ideas, and so forth.

So after about 200 man/hours of work, the first version of the game was at last ready to be tested. The game consisted of two spaceships (affectively named by players “pencil” and “wedge”) shooting missiles at each other with a star in the middle of the display (which “pulls” both spaceships because of its gravitational force). A set of control switches was used to control each spaceship (for rotation, speed, missiles, and “hyperspace”). Each spaceship have a limited amount of fuel and weapons, and the hyperspace option was like a “panic button”, in case there is no other way out (it could either “save you or break you”).

The computer game was an instant success between MIT students and programmers, and soon they started making their own changes to the game program (like real star charts for background, star/no star option, background disable option, angular momentum option, among others). The game code was ported to many other computer platforms (since the game required a video display, a hard to find option in 1960s systems, it was mostly ported to newer/cheaper DEC systems like the PDP-10 and PDP-11).

Spacewar! is not only considered by many as the first “real” video game (since this game does have a video display), but it also have been proved to be the true predecessor of the original arcade game, as well as being the inspiration of many other video games, consoles, and even video gaming companies (can you say “Atari”?…). But that’s another story, arcade games as well as console video games were written in a different page of the history of video games (so stay tuned for future articles on these subjects).

So here they are, the “First Video Game” nominees. Which one do you think is the first video game ever made?… If you ask me, I think all these games were revolutionary for its era, and should be credited as a whole as the beginners of the video gaming revolution. Instead of looking for which one was the first video game, what is really important is that they were created, period. As the creator of “Spacewar!”, Stephen Rusell, once said: “If I hadn’t done it, someone would have done something equally exciting or even better in the next six months. I just happened to get there first”.

Why You Shouldn’t Cheat in Games

A game is supposed to be played in the gentleman’s way. There is a very nice term that is taught to almost any aspiring fresher in any type of games. It is – ‘Sportsman spirit.’ The term sounds so small but it has got deep implications. As a player you can boast of your sportsman spirit only when you yourself feel that you are playing the game in proper fashion without hurting its strict principles.

Whenever you take resort to some unjustified and illegal means, it no more remains a clean game. An act of cheating on your part would make it an impure one. Even though the act of yours perpetuates your victorious stand in the game still you would be answerable to your soul. A prick of conscience would trouble your conscience for ever.

As a matter of fact, if you take a hasty journey down the history of the world of games you would be startled to find a mesmerizing series of reprehensible acts of cheating which has ultimately columnized the dirt free image of the game. A lot of instances can be mentioned in this regard. Ben Johnson’s doping act leading to his disgraceful disqualification, Maradona using his hand in a frantic effort to pass through the ball in the England net, Kelvin Sampson being sacked from his post of the coach of Indiana University basket ball, the 2007 record breaking sack of an astounding number of around 12 referees from the NBA by the National Basketball Association.  

Cheating of such gigantic proportion especially in the arena of professional games strictly dilutes the standard of the game. Being involved in such a heinous act like cheating a certain player not only ruins his or her own image but at the same time puts into jeopardy the esteem of the team he or she belongs to. One spot of calumny is enough to wreck the life time hard toil of a player. So it is imperative for all not to instigate the slightest desire of cheating in any circumstances even though the prospects of it look so alluring.