Monthly Archives: December 2011

Where is SANTA – NORAD Knows

 It’s that special time of the year again.



NORAD (North American Aerospace Defense Command) has been helping Santa make his rounds for 53 years. The site went live on December 1st for those who are ready to start searching for St. Nick. While you won’t actually get to track him until Christmas Eve, there are tons of resources, fun and games available on the site now. There’s a new video direct from NORAD this year introducing NORAD Santa located here:


This year, NORAD teamed up with the Colorado Springs School District 11. Here’s a link to the contests winning video and dance from the students at Wasson High School along with some of the students stories.  There’s also many student videos from around the world posted on teh site for you to view and enjoy:


How does NORAD track Santa?
Santa Cams are ultra-cool, high-tech, high-speed digital cameras pre-positioned at many locations around the world only on Christmas Eve. The cameras capture images and videos of Santa and his reindeer as they make their journey around the world.


All the preparations for this year are in place! Be sure visit each day to get important updates from the North Pole and to discover new surprises in the Kids’ Countdown Village. Santa’s elves have been busier than usual this year preparing for Christmas Eve. Visit Santa’s Village to see what’s been going on, and join in the fun!


Santa Snacks
Santa takes breaks during his Christmas Eve trip around the world – especially for snacks left for him by children. Do you put a snack out for Santa? Kids all over the world do. Some even leave carrots for Santa’s reindeer. (carrots are their favorite food.) Be sure to check back on Christmas Eve to see how many cookies Santa eats during his journey. No wonder he’s so jolly and round!


This year you can track Santa in many different ways.  In addition to the website you can use Google Earth/iGoogle Gadget, Twitter and Facebook – get the links and info form the websites home page –


So don’t miss out on the fun this year. Log in on Christmas Eve and watch as Santa makes his way around the world and more importantly – to your house!


Why Does NORAD Track Santa
Here’s the link explaining how this 53 year old tradition got started by Colonel Harry Shoup (Retired USAF) as well as a short audio of his recounting that fateful night and the first phone call into NORAD headquarters.


Want to know how NORAD accomplishes this tremendous task each year


How would you (or your child) like to talk to someone at NORAD to find out where Santa is located?
The NORAD Tracks Santa Operations Center is fully operational beginning at 4:00 a.m. MST on December 24. You can call 1 877 HI-NORAD (1.877.446.6723) to talk directly to a NORAD staff member who will be able to tell you Santa’s exact location!


Perhaps you’d like to send an email to NORAD to find out where Santa is located?
On December 24, you can send an email to A NORAD staff member will give you Santa’s last known location in a return email.


Merry Christmas from all of Santa’s Elves at ACTSmart!

Top 10 Technology Trends For 2012

Well, it’s December, when sugar plums fill children’s heads and analysts look into their crystal balls to see what the new year will bring. 2012 should be a banner year for personal technology, showcasing the beginning and end for a lot of companies and products, as well as major transitions for those that are left.

Overall, expect to find technology more social, more connected, and increasingly more voice-controlled. We’ll also see the blurring of the lines between tablets and laptops.


Voice Command

The success of Siri (Apples iPhone 4S voice assistant) is clearly driving a lot of folks to create similar offerings, so expect this type of technology to make it over to other handset makers and into tablets next year. PCs should get it as well. Look for Siri-like interfaces in websites, as well to help you navigate. Expect to see something like this tied to Google’s ecosystem, given how much Google likes to copy Apple.


Email Decline

This has actually been going on for a while, with reports that kids coming out of school don’t have email accounts anymore and live on social networks and in messaging products. Files are getting too large to send in email anyway, for the most part, and downloading services that allow you to share links are vastly quicker and often more smartphone/tablet friendly.


Cable Box Decline

The traditional cable box will increasingly be replaced by game consoles and smart TVs next year. This has been going on in Europe for some time, with systems like the Xbox, and Verizon just started a similar effort with that product here for FIOS customers. This provides the advantage of both a richer and less-complex experience for the user, as well as a cheaper experience for the cable company, and it appears to be resonating with both groups.


Hosted Services

As we move into 2012, more and more of what we access will be hosted. Google started the ball rolling with apps, and now OnLive is doing the same for gamers. Movies are streamed now rather than downloaded, and it won’t be long before most of our applications exist on the Internet and don’t run locally.


App Stores

This trend continues and accelerates into 2012 with the launch of Microsoft’s app store and the expected swift demise of packaged software products. As for the software you run locally, you’ll increasingly buy it from a trusted app store, though that store may be offered by Amazon or your laptop/tablet supplier.


Windows 8 – Touch

This product is a trend in and of itself, and it represents the biggest bet that Steve Ballmer’s Microsoft has ever made. The company is going to singlehandedly blur the lines between PCs and tablets and hope that users don’t get confused. This will bring touch into the mainstream of the PC market and narrow the gap between notebooks and tablets.


Thin Is In

Driven largely by tablets (mostly iPads) and ultrabooks (including the MacBook Air), next year will be the year when thin moves across the mainstream of notebook computers. This won’t just be for PCs, as thin products will continue in smartphones, tablets, and TVs as well. Vendors are expected to compete to be the thinnest in every category.


TIS (Tablets in Stuff)

Samsung has already delivered a refrigerator with a built in tablet computer and others are likely to follow their example. New cars will be shown with tablet-like features built into their dash, and this iPad effect will likely extend to things like home automation and high-end home alarm systems as well. And yes, you’ll likely be able to install apps on many of them.


Peer-to-Peer Gaming

Qualcomm will be pushing peer-to-peer gaming into smartphones next year, and this could spell the end for most standalone gaming systems. This will allow people to engage others in games without running up data charges, since the phones talk directly to each other, and gaming may be faster as well, because there is no network latency.


Cores Are Us

In tablets, we’ll move from two processing cores to up to five cores of computing power. These multicore product offerings should allow the next generation of tablets to approach the low end of PC performance, and they’ll be ideal candidates for the ARM version of Windows 8.


2012 is looking pretty good as many new products will be thinner, more social, easier to talk to, friendlier and smarter. What technology innovations would you like to see take the forefront in 2012 – drop me a line and let me know.

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