First it Was Cell Phones, Now This?

 

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U.S. Postal Service Logging All Mail for Law Enforcement [Link to NY Times article]

Cell phones are tracked, Internet usage is tracked, Cars are tracked, now we find out Snail Mail is tracked…  These must be some unbelievably big databases and data centers to store this kind of information.

Guess it’s time for me to pull the shades, break out the frequency counter, and start looking for the bugs around the house…  I have nothing to hide & this still scares the hell out of me!  Anyone have a cabin in the woods they’re looking to sell?

Happy “Independence” Day everyone!

Working From Home Is Like Saying No to Drugs

workingfromhomeI could not agree more…

Frankly, I don’t really care if I am less productive working from home than in the office. Productivity is only one variable in a complex equation. Another very important variable is personal happiness. I want to be productive, but I also want to be happy, and sometimes those goals conflict and I have to sacrifice one for the other. Working from home is where I am potentially sacrificing productivity for happiness. Now, to be clear, I’m not conceding that working from home makes me less productive, but instead I’m saying that I really don’t care. It’s a moot point in the argument.” [MORE]

Zip-It

Wall_screw_plug_anchor
Old Style Drill and Plug Anchor

Being a homeowner for the past 15+ years I’ve had my share of do-it-yourself projects and a never-ending “Honey-do” list to tackle every weekend. For the most part a house is pretty easy to take care of as long as you stay ahead of problems before they manifest themselves into something bigger.

Recently I discovered a new (to me) kind of wall anchor and wanted to let everyone know about it. It’s called a Zip-It wall anchor. I’ve always hated getting out the drill and trying to make sure made the correct sized hole for the anchor I wanted to use. I usually drilled the wrong size hole and ended up having to hammer the anchor into the wall, often damaging it in the process.

New Style Push and Screw Anchor
New Style Push and Screw Anchor

The Zip-It anchors don’t require a drill and their unique auger design provides a secure grip in the wall. All you need to do is push the sharpened tip into the wall and use a phillips head screw driver to screw the anchor into the wall. Zip-It’s come in nylon as well as metal and a variety of sizes.

I’ve used these for the past 6 months and there’s no way I’ll ever go back to the old drill and plug method. Zip-It fasteners can be found at just about any hardware store.

Catch Up Post, Yeah I’m Still Alive!

It’s been far too long since my last blog post so I thought I’d do a summary post detailing what’s been going on with my life…

Decided to try the iPad out again. Picked up a 32GB Wi-Fi unit and I’ll have to admit it’s far superior to the Gen 1 device I had years ago. Better screen, faster performance, and great battery life. I also purchased a Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover and the combination is great!  I find myself using the pair in meetings and when I’m out and about wanting to get online.

To go along with the iPad I added a Verizon “Jetpack” 4g Mi-Fi device to the tool kit.  After finding out my internal aircard in the trusty Lenovo X200 was not capable of being upgraded to a 4g data unit I took the plunge.  This is the device to have for mobile data.  Initially the battery life was pretty sub-par but the addition of the extended battery gives me all the time I need and the speeds are nothing short of amazing.

My son & I attended Dig IN A Taste of Indiana and I was VERY impressed with the event. GREAT food and a lot of variety. We’re going to make this an annual event and I encourage you to check it out next year (August 25, 2013).

International Geocaching Day was on August 18 and we made sure to log a cache that day to get a special badge on our online account.  The 2 caches we manage also got a lot of activity that day from the event.

Devour Downtown has come and gone. I was only able to make it to one place this year but Smokehouse on Shelby was a real treat.

If you’re looking for a location based app for your reminders the Checkmark app for the iPhone is one to check out (no pun intended). It reminds you of things when you are at a specific location vs date and time.  Very handy when you want to be reminded to do something when you get home or arrive at the office.

I’m working downtown with a new client and spending a few days during the week down ther  . It’s been a while sine I’ve spent this much downtown and I’m really happy to be doing it again.  Speaking of Downtown I’ve been going to King David Hot Dogs on a semi-regular basis. Not only is it a quick eat it’s delicious!  This is not your ordinary wiener.  This thing is a 1/4 pound beef dog that will fill you up.

I’m sure I’m missing a few things but as you can see the summer has been a busy one.  I was talking to Eddie V the other day & we want to start the Man fights Back Podcast up again.  Been far too long since we recorded an episode and I’m sure we have plenty of content to fill a few shows.  I’ve also thought about doing a weekly Podcast that summarizes the events on IndyScan.com. It’s still in the developmental phases but you might see it soon on the Blog.

Hope everyone is having a great summer!

-Andrew-

Worldwide Communications Still Using Cable

While working my way through the several-hundred RSS feeds I subscribe to I came across an article that referenced an Epic Net Outage In Africa.  Curiosity got the best of me and I started looking for more information on the worldwide use of underwater communications lines. Once-upon-a-time these (copper) cables, used to connect the worlds continents, were made up of hundred (thousands) of copper strands.  These, for the most part, have been replaced by fiber optic cabling that can not only carry greater amounts of data but are smaller (and presumably cheaper) than copper conductors.

Communication companies are using these cables, resting on the sea floor in all of the worlds oceans, to move massive amounts of data between land masses.  Typically the majority of the information you access on the internet is stored nearby in servers that cache data that others have already referenced.  Why send the same data over long distances if it can be stored regionally? When you end up requesting a piece of data that’s actually located in another country you are most likely utilizing these underwater cables to transfer the data from its source to your computer.  Here’s a good test for you to try.  In Windows click START, RUN and type CMD [ENTER].  In the command line window that pops up type Ping 61.64.53.64 [ENTER].  You should get something like this: Make a note of the “Time=237ms” piece, you just communicated directly with a server in Taiwan. Now ping 74.125.225.78 Notice how the “time” is a lot less?  This, in geek speak, is called “Latency“.  You just communicated with one of the thousands of servers Google has on the Internet (many of them local to large metropolitan areas).  Now granted, we’re talking milliseconds but that’s an eternity in the computer world.  By pinging the actual IP address of the computer in Taiwan you bypassed any caching by your ISP and communicated with the server directly.

1000 Milliseconds equals one second so when you communicated with the server in Taiwan you sent a piece of data at the speed of light over 7700 miles (and BACK) in 0.25 seconds.  How amazing is that?  When they figure out how to digitize the human body you should be able to travel anywhere in the world in just a few seconds (or less). As someone who’s used satellite communication in the past for voice communication I can assure you that the delay can be in the 1000’s of milliseconds and it’s a real pain to communicate with someone using a satellite that’s just 4-700 miles overhead.

Since we’re becoming a more “global” society it’s important, now more than ever, that these undersea communication links are available (and functional).  Hopefully the telecommunication companies are investing in more capacity to handle the ever increasing need to transmit data around the world.

¡Yo quiero Taco Bell!

Sometimes it’s NOT how you say it, but WHAT you say!

Two days ago East Haven, Connecticut Mayor Joseph Maturo Jr. told residents in his city that they should eat more taco’s to support East Haven Latinos and on Thursday his message was tested when a group of Latino activists sent 500 taco’s to the mayors office… Read More