Wrist Size Proves To Be Informational

By Cassey Graeff –

Bracelets, athletic bands, silly bands, and watches.

Each day a person’s eye is drawn to a wrist for different reasons thanks to accessories. But now there is a whole new reason to look at wrists.

According to Los Angeles Times, “Heart disease is the leading killer of adults in the United States, and the path to heart problems begins in childhood. But physicians don’t have an accurate way to assess which children, even the overweight ones, will be most at risk for developing heart disease.”

Scientific data has proven that the size of a child’s wrist can offer clues to their future health.

Children with larger wrist measurement have a higher insulin resistance. Insulin is a polypeptide hormone that regulates the metabolism of glucose and other nutrients. When a child has a high insulin resistance the natural insulin is less effective at lower the blood sugar causing an increase in blood glucose which may raise levels outside the normal range and cause health effects.

There is also a connection between the size of a wrist and a persons BMI (body mass index). According to medical experts, “BMI is the common acronym given to Body Mass Index, a number calculated from your weight and height that roughly correlates to the percentage of your total weight that comes from fat, as opposed to muscle, bone or organ.”

The higher a persons BMI is a higher percentage of fat is contained in the body.

According to Time.Health, “Results do not suggest that every child with thick wrist bones is at risk of insulin resistance and therefore heart disease. But the findings do suggest that among youngsters who are already overweight or obese, the easy-to-take measurement may be more effective than BMI at alerting doctors to those who may be at greater risk of developing heart problems in coming years.”

With this information parents can take a look at their child’s wrist and have a clue to whether heart disease could be a problem in their future.

Amazon’s New Music Solution

Amazon's new music player, available on the Web and Android

By Nick Joniec –

How would unlimited music storage for purchased songs rival Apple iTunes? Amazon introduced their Cloud Player with five gigabytes of music storage for user’s to upload their own private music to the “cloud.”

The new music service is provided by Amazon’s Cloud Drive. The free Cloud Drive plan is a five gigabyte storage repository, that works the same as a flash drive or external hard drive; but it is web-based. Cloud Drive allows Amazon users to store their files and use them anywhere that has internet access.

Because of the web-hosted ability of Cloud Player, you can upload your music to the site and play back your music from most internet connected devices.

Currently, the Amazon MP3 application is native on the Android platform.The Amazon MP3 app has been updated to enable streaming, downloading and purchasing music for your Cloud Player.

For the users of Apple devices such as iPhones and iPods, there is no official support yet for Cloud Player. Workarounds such as logging in directly to the Cloud Drive web interface allow you to stream your content to your iDevice, are available.

As incentive for using Amazon’s MP3 service with Cloud Player, if users download music from the Amazon store, they get an extra 15GB of storage space.

That gives users twenty gigabytes of storage in the “cloud” for files and music. Twenty gigabytes can hold more than enough music for most people. It is roughly an equivalent of over five days of music.

Hard Drives to Possibly Become Extinct

By Ryan Krause –

What’s going to happen to the hard drives when the internet becomes a replacement?

In Maximum PC magazine, it was reported that the hard drive is one of the twelve pieces of technology that will disappear. The hard drive was ranked #4 to fade away soon in their magazine.

Gord Goble of Maximum PC wrote, “Today, hard drives are crazy cheap. So too were floppy drives and HD DVDs as their expiration date neared.”

It’s kind of like HD DVDs: they got really cheap then just fell off the face of the earth.

A regular computer hard drive. Photo owned by Maximumpc.com.

The internet is not the only thing taking out the hard drive.

There is a recently new type of drive called a SSD, or a Solid State Drive.

These drives operate on flash memory, although extremely expensive, these drives perform exuberantly faster than a regular hard drive.

They are also much more reliable and can take a beating compared to their more fragile counterparts.

Online websites such as Google Docs are also taking over for saving files.

“I find Google Docs to be quite convenient,” said senior Jerome Lynch.

Even news are more popularly online rather than on paper now.

Just like Penn Points.

The popular program, Steam, showcases their “Steam Cloud” function which allows gamers to save their save games on the Steam network.

This provides them with the ability to access their saves from multiple computers that have an internet connection.

The term for saving files online is generally referred to as the “cloud.”

It all comes down to whether or not the standard hard drive will be replaced by Solid State Disks and/or the “cloud.”

All that is certain is the hard drive is destined for the grave very shortly.

iPhone Public Appeal on other Carriers

By Nick Joniec & Jordan Sangrey –

Now that Apple has released the iPhone 4 to Verizon, expanding its carriers past its original AT&T solitary carrier, AT&T may have to find new ways to compete with Verizon, the largest cellular carrier in the U.S.

Among AT&T and Verizon, there are many other cellular phone carriers in the US. Sprint, T-Mobile, and Metro PCS are also some major cell service providers in the nation.

Apple's iPhone 4, now available on Verizon & AT&T

When the Apple released the iPhone four years ago, they signed a exclusive deal with AT&T. The contract was for the iPhone to be offered with AT&T for five years. What happened to that exclusivity contract?

Before the release of the iPhone on Verizon, subscribers only stuck with AT&T because of the iPhone. Now, people are hoping that the call quality and signal availability will be better because of Verizon’s large cellular network.

“I am happy with AT&T. I have not had any reception issues with my iPhone,” said English teacher Gregg McGough.

“The AT&T iPhone has the best network already,” Chris Penn, a freshman said.

With the iPhone now available on the two major carriers, will the iPhone also be released on Sprint and other networks? Is there an public appeal for the iPhone on other carriers?

“I have AT&T, so I wouldn’t care,” said freshman Cody Fox.

“I already have my iPhone on T-Mobile,” explained freshman Andrew Lobos.

Apparently, the iPhone would be a winner on other carriers at Penn Manor.

If the rumored “cheaper” iPhone was released on other carriers, it could bring more even users to Apple’s mobile device sales.

As of March 2011, Apple has sold over 100 million iPhones since 2007.

“Yes, I would buy the iPhone if it was T-Mobile because it is awesome,” said Ben Thomas, 15.

YouTube going Professional

By Nick Joniec –

YouTube, one of the most famous video sharing sites is going to soon be turning to the professionals.

Google, the owner of YouTube, recently acquired Next New Networks. Next New Networks is a company that not only helps distribute new video creator’s media, they also create some of their own programming.

YouTube and Next New Networks Merger

According to the NYTimes, Next New Networks already has two million views per month.

Besides being user and subscriber driven, YouTube will also create it’s own original content. This will give YouTube a shot at more competition with big web video services such as Hulu and Netflix.

Already, Next New Networks is part of the online-video community with some shows such as Barely Political, Indy Mogul, and Fast Lane Daily.

Next New Networks videos have also been on YouTube’s Most Watched Videos list of 2010.

The partnership between YouTube and Next New Networks will introduce more communications and meetings between video producers and the streaming companies. Video producers can be part of YouTube Partner Grants and receive revenue for their professionally created content.

The YouTube Partner Grants program also allows for producers to access tools to make their viewers enjoy their channels and videos better.

Netflix a New TV Series

The popular DVD-by-mail service Netflix has acquired a new television show, according to Climbthenet.com.

Netflix is increasingly changing from the DVD-by-mail-only service to providing television shows and different movies streaming straight to your TV. On Friday March 18th, 2011 Netflix obtained their own television show and series, just like HBO or CW15.

The negotiations for the new two-season, 26 episode series were reported Tuesday the 15th, and cost about $100 million according to Deadline.com.

“I don’t really watch TV or Netflix,” stated freshman at Penn Manor, Cody Fox.

Photo courtesy of redorbit.com

The new television series will be produced by Media Rights Capital and called “House of Cards.” It is based on a book about a British politician who wants to overcome Margaret Thatcher as the prime minister. David Fincher, the producer of “The Social Network,” will be the director and executive producer as well as Kevin Spacey as a producer and star.

Penn Manor senior Ally Emmert, “yes I’d probably watch it (the new show) once or twice to see if I like it or not.”

HBO and AMC were upon other services that bid for the airing of the show. With Netflix becoming more and more popular it would be a larger competition for the already established movie networks.

A List of the Top 10 iPhone Games for Teens

By Bobby Rehm –

Have an iPhone or an iTouch? Then chances are that you enjoy apps. Apps are software applications that can let users do a variety of things and have become a huge part of modern society. Games are a very popular apps and are enjoyed by many.

The games can be anything from simple puzzle games, to complex shooting games that rival those used on other popular hand-held systems. Although not all the apps are free, some games must be bought and many are more popular than the free games.

Even though these games come in all shapes and sizes, for senior Nick Hartley it’s Angry Birds. He plays it on his iPhone 4.

“You can play it whenever because its your phone and you always have it,” explained Nick. That is one of the aspects that makes these games so popular.

“It’s just convenient,” said Nick. “I play them during car rides or when you have nothing to do.”

Student Kayla Morgan agrees with Nick.

“It’s different and funny, it both relieves and causes stress,” she said. She also enjoys the convenience of mobile games.

Tiny wings is a popular iPhone app for teenagers. Graphic courtesy of Platformation

Some of the most popular games in the school are Fruit Ninja, Tiny Wings, Doodle Jump and Angry Birds just to name a few. After trying out a host of games, I’ve come up a top ten list of iPhone games.

1. Tiny Wings Tiny Wings puts the player in control of a small bird that “flies” by sliding down hills. By tapping the screen, players must use precise timing in order to gain speed and fly further before descending again. By flying, players travel to different islands and beat the nighttime all while gaining points along the way. Although it has a slight learning curve, the cute and simple game is addictive and fun. It is a great $1 game to add to your phone.

2. Angry Birds The massively popular Angry Birds puts players in control of a variety of birds. In the game birds have had their eggs stolen by green pigs and you attempt to get them back. By dragging a finger across the screen, players launch the birds into structures that fall on the pigs or directly into the hogs to destroy them. A crazy number of levels and constant updates keeps the game from getting old. Some levels may cause a bit frustration but the game never sways from being fun.

3. Doodle Jump In Doodle Jump, the user plays as a small alien like character that leaps off of platforms to ascend higher and higher. Holding the device vertically, players must tilt the screen in order to keep the creature from falling. By bouncing off of trampolines and using rockets, players can effectively increasing their score. It is another game with plentiful updates and spin offs, so it’ll keep you wanting to beat your own high scores.

4. Fruit Ninja In Fruit Ninja, players must slice different fruits as they fly across the screen. Using their finger, players swipe and slice the fruit, while obtaining points and avoiding bombs that end the game. Gaining higher scores can lead to unlocks such as a flaming sword or backgrounds that keep the player interested. Although responsive, the game couldn’t keep my attention for as long as some of the higher games on the list.

5. Plants vs. Zombies Another game that has gathered a ton of popularity is Plants vs. Zombies. To stop a wave of zombies from reaching your house, players must place a variety of plants in their lawn to battle the walking dead. A silly story, ridiculous enemies, and large catalog of plants make for a long, enjoyable game. A few extra modes and new game play mechanics add up to an already addicting game and will keep you fighting in the lawn for quite some time.

6. Words With Friends A fairly new game with a growing fan base is Words With Friends. This game is about as casual as it gets. Words With Friends is essentially Scrabble. Those looking to play the word game without a board have everything they need. The ability to have multiple games going at once and an alert notification of when you opponent has made a move keeps Words With Friends up with the cream of the crop.

7. Drop7 is a puzzle game that takes some time to learn but rewards those who do. The game is an odd combination of Tetris and Sudoku. Players must prevent a pile of continuously rising numbered bubbles from reaching the top of the screen. Bubbles will disappear when a row or column matches the number on the bubble itself. The learning curve will intimidate some players, but once you know what you’re doing, Drop7 is a rich puzzle-playing experience.

8. Infinity Blade Although it’s the most expensive game on the list, it also looks the best. With tap-and-swipe controls, players embark on a quest as a knight to defeat the God-King and free the kingdoms citizens. The game boasts the most impressive graphics on a phone to date and is also fun to play. For $5.99 players will enjoy the console-worthy graphics and exciting game play.

9. SuperMega Worm As the name suggests, players control a huge worm on a mission to destroy everything on the surface of the planet. By launching from the earth to eat and absorb the surface life, players use a slider that controls the path of the massive worm. The game is awfully violent, and some will appreciate the intense violence this game bring to the table, and some not so much. Though certainly entertaining, SuperMega Worm isn’t for everyone.

10. Flight Control Simple, fun, addictive. Those three words sum up the air-traffic controller game. Players must draw lines to safely land planes along the runway. A very basic but fun time waster, so players shouldn’t expect too much. Still, a long car ride or a little boredom and you’ll find yourself playing this game more than a few times.

After playing all of the games and speaking to those who have done the same, I have come up with the top games that are addictive because they are fun and can keep a person’s attention for quite some time. With the iPhone and iTouch gaining more and more popularity, there will be more addicting games out there trying to do the same.

Vegetables Also Useful Outside of the Kitchen

By Brandon McCormick –

Empty the deep fryer, it’s time for a road trip.

Biodiesel is a clean burning alternative fuel. The simpler version of biodeisel is filtered vegetable oil.  With a few simple modifications any diesel engine can be transformed to run on this cheap, environmentally friendly source.

This is exactly what a couple A.P. Biology students are doing.

Erick Dutchess, a biology teacher at Penn Manor High School is taking the lead role in this story of ingenuity and cost-savings.

Dutchess recently bought a 1984 Volkswagen Rabbit for $300. The Rabbit’s diesel engine already gets over 40 miles per gallon.

The 1984 Rabbit that will be converted.

But diesel fuel can be 10-40 cents more expensive than regular gasoline, depending on where you live. Many drivers realize the increasing gas prices will soon take a toll on their wallets.

“Gas prices are ridiculous,” said Ryan Wissler, a Penn Manor senior.

Wissler sold the Rabbit to Dutchess, eager to see the transformations made to the diesel engine.

“Greasecars.com gave us all the information we needed,” said Dutchess.

Greasecars.com sent the bio class a DVD demonstrating how to change the engine.

“Basically we use the core of the engine to heat the filtered vegetable oil to the desired temperature,” said Dutchess.

The gas line is then shut off and the heated oil is delivered directly into the engine taking the place of the diesel.

Dutchess said that there are no health concerns whatsoever with running the engine on vegetable oil.

Having spent $2300 to get the Rabbit running, making a total of $2600 spent on the Rabbit, Dutchess plans to be breaking even within three years.

Dutchess works on the engine of the Rabbit.

“As long as there are no major mechanical issues, driving 8000 miles a year, I’ll be even in about three years,” Dutchess said.

Filtered vegetable oil or biodiesel is a very good choice economicly for large truck companies that have trucks running for multiple hours a day.

For this reason, many public schools as close as New Jersey are running entire bus companies on biodiesel.

“Biodiesel offers the best option to increase our reliance on domestic, renewable fuels while producing significant results in terms of emission reduction,” said Joe Biluck, Director of Operations and Technology for Medford School District in New Jersey. “Biodiesel’s primary attraction is its ease of integration coupled with the fact it is a technology that is not capital intensive and can be applied to older units as well as today’s vehicles.” Interview found on Biodiesel.org.

This may not be coming soon to Penn Manor School District, but Dutchess’ AP biology class can’t wait to get started.

“There’s no downside besides the need to have a constant supply of vegetable oil,” said Maeve Snyder, one of the students working on the Rabbit.

The class plans to get their vegetable oil from the high school cafeteria for free.

This is an option open to any student driving a diesel engine, just see Dutchess for details.

I’ll Never Give in to Buying a Tablet

By Ryan Krause –

Tablets, why does everyone buy into them?

I know that I personally don’t see a point to them.

They’re as expensive as a computer that could outperform it to start off.

Ryan Krause. Image by Spencer Barnett and Laura Revelt.

If you’re willing to carry around something that size, you should just carry around a laptop.

Most, if not all, tablets require one to buy special hardware to implement a physical keyboard.

I don’t know about you, but I’d rather not type on an onscreen keyboard. There’s no feedback and you have to look at your hands to see where your fingers are located in most cases.

A regular laptop’s keyboard has physical keys that depress when touched and usually the “F” and “J” keys have those little bumps on them so you know where to place your index fingers without looking down.

On the other side, there are some positive sides to tablets.

CNN said, “Apps that never made sense on computers with keyboards and mice, like GarageBand and finger paint apps and eReaders, suddenly found life on a 9.7-inch slate of glass and metal.”

But is it really worth the hundreds of dollars just to use a choice few apps?

Tablets really aren’t  physically strong. They’re thin and have the sensitive screen uncovered.

If one wanted to protect their precious sheet of metal and glass, they’d have to spend money on an overpriced case that will cost nearly 50 dollars.

While a laptop has an outer shell that protects its screen and keyboard.

I know that I personally would not like to have to worry about my precious glass screen being broken in my backpack because of how poorly it was designed.

The iPad 2. Doesn't it look easily breakable? Image by news.cnet.com.

Another thing that is a compete turn off for tablets is how Apple completely misled everyone with lies during a Keynote Speech on the iPad 2.

Steve Jobs claimed that Apple owned greater than 90 percent of the market share.

That was a statement which became widely known for being completely incorrect.

According to CNN, “Apple would have needed to sell 3.2 million more to reach 90 percent of 2010’s tablet market share against just Samsung alone (in triple the time).”

“Apple may not have even reached 50% of the market,” the CNN report also said.

Another thing that was incorrect was Jobs claiming that the iPad 2 is the “First dual core tablet to ship in volume.”

The Motorola XOOM has the exact same chip and is definitely shipping in volume. Let alone the fact that Apple hadn’t even launched the iPad 2 at that point. So the iPad 2 was obviously not even shipping, let alone shipping in volume.

Sure a tablet is shiny on the outside, but does it actually have the performance to back up its cover?

I can only picture someone owning a tablet like this for the purpose of having it in their collection.

AT&T Soon to be Largest Cellphone Company

By Eric Gerlach –

AT&T is expanding it’s company by 33.7 million customers.

The  phone company announced Sunday that they will buy T-Mobile USA in a cash-in-stock deal valued at $39 billion, making AT&T the largest cell phone carrier in the United States.

According to Wall Street Journal reports, number three, Sprint Nextel, has been talking  with T-Mobile USA.

Image by gadgetell.com

On charts the deal looks sugary sweet to some T-Mobile customers. Some advantages include, larger choice of phones including the iPhone. Better network coverage, combining the two companies will improve service in some locations. AT&T will be the largest cell phone carrier, because they are the largest they will likely raise prices which may scare away customers.  But for Senior Kate Maisel the change may overwhelm her.

“I Think it’s ridiculous, no way AT&T can keep T-Mobile’s promise of no-contract deals,” Maisel said. “The only thing out of it that benefits me is maybe getting an iPhone.”

With T-Mobile state-of-the-art internet AT&T will gain full advantage and offer all kinds of services to customers. Smart phones between AT&T and T-Mobile will most likely increase in production and decrease in price.

photo by phonedog.com

The employees of the local and national T-Mobile service centers refused to talk about the situation.

“I cannot disclose any of that information” said a local employee.

The new phone-subscriber count for AT&T will be around 135.9 million after they buy T-Mobile.  Their eventual goal will be to cover 95% of the nation with service. The deal with T-Mobile will take about a year to complete. When calling national headquarters USA the same response was given.

“I cannot give you any of that information,” said the T-Mobile representative.