Good Life

Building the blocks of learning

Alexander Building Construction Co., which is part of the Allentown-based Butz Family of Companies, recently began a construction management project for Penn State.

The project entails renovations to eight of the nine university greenhouses located near the Tyson Building.

“Our greenhouses were in need of some major renovations, and we felt the Alexander team had the thorough understanding of the project scope needed to successfully navigate the intricacies of the project,” university project manager Jeff Spackman said in a press release.

The $3.5 million project will include replacement of heating and cooling systems, ventilation systems upgrades, new heating and climate controls, upgraded lighting and electrical systems and construction work to doors, floors and benches.

It is the 18th construction project ABC has worked on for Penn State in five years.

“It is a testament to the proficiency of our staff that our firm is chosen time and time again to work on a variety of Penn State projects,” ABC State College general manager Chris Magent said. “It is an accurate reflection of our commitment to establishing long-term business relationships, as much of our work comes from repeat clients.”

The company also launched a special services group in its State College location, which will focus on providing restoration and renovation services and interiors work.

Getting internationally technical

State College-based Videon Central and sMedio, based out of Tokyo, recently partnered to develop and license software for the next generation Blu-ray Disc standard, Ultra HD Blu-ray.

The companies will provide software on Windows and Linux platforms necessary to support Ultra HD Blu-ray and accelerate time to market for original equipment manufacturers and suppliers worldwide. The companies have worked together before on other projects.

Videon has worked with optical disc products since the introduction of DVDs in the late ‘90s. The company’s optical disc and streaming work lies in embedded systems, which primarily run on Linux operating systems.

sMedio is also known for optical and streaming media products and have developed and provided wireless content for eight years, offering cloud services and streaming and optical disc playback. sMedio’s technologies primarily target Windows and PC platforms.

Specifications for Ultra HD Blu-ray were published in May with products rumored to be released later this year.

Minute by minute

AccuWeatherMinuteCast is now available in 13 countries, with plans to provide the forecast in additional countries.

The patented forecast includes precipitation type and intensity, as well as start and end times for precipitation by the minute for the next two hours, localized to a person's exact street address or GPS location.

AccuWeather MinuteCast is now available for free to people living and traveling in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Ireland, Japan, France, Germany, Belgium, Switzerland, Netherlands, Luxembourg, parts of the Czech Republic and Spain.

“Clouds are continually moving, so when there is precipitation in one neighborhood there may not be in another part of the town,” AccuWeather president of digital media Steven Smith said. “That’s why it’s essential that MinuteCast is localized for each user’s exact location, right down to their exact street address, not just their town or zip code. It is a tech must-have for holidays, weekends and every day in between, to help people’s lives.”

Comcast expands

Xfinity Wi-Fi

Comcast recently announced it has launched about 1,800 Xfinity Wi-Fi hotspots throughout the Keystone Region.

The company also plans to add another 1,500 outdoor locations by the end of the year in the region, which encompasses western, central and northeastern Pennsylvania, as well as eastern Ohio and northern West Virginia. There will be 40 hotspots added to Centre County.

The outdoor hotspots will be located in high-traffic locations like shopping destinations, parks, universities and commuter stations. Access to these hotspots comes at no additional cost to most Xfinity Internet customers.

“With the number of mobile devices increasing, now more than ever before, our customers want to be connected wherever they go,” Comcast senior vice president of the Keystone Region Christine Whitaker said. “Having the largest Wi-Fi network in the region and the nation is a major benefit to our customers, and we are pleased to continue to make these investments.”

Xfinity Internet customers can access Xfinity WiFi hotspots by selecting “xfinitywifi” from the list of available networks on their laptops or mobile devices and entering their Comcast username and password.