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2011-04-14

New Nintendo, faster than PS3 and Xbox 360?

http://kotaku.com/#!5792165/new-nintendo-console-debuting-at-e3-launching-in-2012-more-powerful-than-xbox-360-and-ps3  suggests current gaming consoles, which have been threatened with superior performance by PCs with state-of-the-art graphics cards, may be superseded with new consoles.  Kinda reinforces last month's news on the subject.

2011-04-12

Acer, Gateway bad news

Here's a story which warns people about buying Acer and Gateway. Sounds accurate. 


I can't understand how any vendor of merit could fail to replace systems with the known defective bulging electrolytic capacitors shown above.

2011-04-07

Epsilon Identity Theft and You

So, this careless outfit, Epsilon, let a huge amount of identity data get stolen.  It ignored warnings months ago. It's already appearing in identity theft, says the Better Business Bureau. Here's a partial list of corporations who gave your data to such a careless outfit, instead of protecting it by doing the job themselves:


1800-Flowers
Abe Books, Air Miles CA, Ameriprise Financial
Barclays Bank of Delaware, Beachbody, Bebe Stores Inc., Benefit Cosmetics, BestBuy, Brookstone
Capital One, Charter Communications, Chase, Citibank, City Market, The College Board, Crucial.com
Dell Australia, Dillons, Disney Vacations
Eurosport/Soccer.com, Eddie Bauer
Food 4 Less, Fred Meyer, Fry’s
Hilton Honors, The Home Shopping Network
Jay C, JP Morgan Chase
King Soopers, Kroger
LL Bean
Marks & Spencer (UK), Marriott Rewards, McKinsey Quarterly, Moneygram
New York & Co.
QFC
Ralphs, Red Roof Inns Inc., Ritz Carlton, Robert Half
Smith Brands
Target, TD Ameritrade, TIAA-CREF, TiVO
US Bank
Verizon, Viking River Cruises
Walgreens, World Financial Network National Bank


So, have you ever given your data to any of those outfits? You might want to consider sending an e-mail, something like this:
1. I understand you gave my personal information to Epsilon, who lost it.
2. The Federal Trade Commission says: “The law makes clear that even if you hire another company to handle your email marketing, you can’t contract away your legal responsibility to comply with the law. Both the company whose product is promoted in the message and the company that actually sends the message may be held legally responsible.”
3. The CAN-Spam Act of 2003 says such transgressions can cost $16,000 per violation.
4. Therefore, I want to know what privacy protection [INSERT NAME OF COMPANY HERE] will offer to alleviate the risk you exposed me to.
Who knows, might help you get in on the inevitable class action lawsuit, or at least get you identity theft monitoring.

Might also be time to change your e-mail address, which you can get free from mail.google.com (they will provide you free forwarding ((POP and IMAP both)) to your real e-mail address with your ISP, so you can keep your real e-mail address private while providing a consistent e-mail address for everyone else to use).

And, take the advice of State Attorney General John Kroger (no relation) do NOT answer ANY e-mail from any outfit asking for more info which they ought to already have.

HealthMap

HealthMap is a potentially useful website to keep track of disease outbreak, both animal and vegetable. Here's a US view showing most significant outbreaks (mostly measles, BTW) and there's lots of other views.

Flight tracking website

Shug is off on a business trip, and so I went looking for flight tracking websites. Found one which is very useful:

FlightStats shows trouble spots, and if you enter a flight, shows its location, with a radar map option so you can see weather problems.


Lots of other info as well.

However, to find if the airplane you're counting on for your next flight is late, go to flightaware.com, enter the flight number, and then click on Track Inbound Flight (circled in red below).

Blocking spammy websites

Weary of pop-under ads and general junk appearing when you surf the web? Here's a simple approach to tell your computer that requests for that spamware should go nowhere: http://www.mvps.org/winhelp2002/hosts.htm

HOWEVER, a warning: Before you do this, make a backup copy of your Hosts file.

Adding these blocking entries to your Hosts file works with MacOS and Linux, just like it does in Windows; the location of the Hosts file will be different, and you will use a text editor program instead of Notepad.

2011-04-06

More bad radiation blogging from LAST WORD ON NOTHING

I surely do wish bloggers like the one at http://www.lastwordonnothing.com/2011/03/28/contamination-in-goiania would check their cipherin' with someone who knows somethin', or at least do the math.
Background radiation cited in the eleventh paragraph of that blog post as 0.002 Gy/hr (2mGy/hr) is wrong, very wrong; off by three orders of magnitude. Please, everyone, suspect all the rest of the science in this article because if something so elemental is wrong, what else is wrong?
The primary scientific source cited in this post would make anything generating a dose of 2 milliGrays an hour (0.002 Gy/hr) intermediate-level radioactive waste (page 5, the 1988 IAEA report, factoring for w=1 as is the case for beta and gamma at 2 mSv/hr) and require storage in packages ‘with 200 mm reinforced concrete walls’ (page 83, op cit).
This post also does not understand the difference between exposure level (measured in Sv, mSv or uSv) and dose (measured in Gy, mGy or uGy). That’s Health Physics 101, and required for any accurate understanding of the issue. One Sv of field strength results in one Gy of dose as per Radioguided surgery: a comprehensive team approach.
That same document (page 76) specifies background radiation in that area as measured in uSv/hr, not mSv/hr, three orders of magnitude less than the author of this blog post mistakenly suggested.
A somewhat more authoritatve source the FRONTLINE program of WGBH Boston notes the average worldwide background radiation level is 2mSv per YEAR, not per HOUR. 2mSv/yr would result in a dose of 2mGy/yr.
Ionizing Radiation by John D. Boice, Sc.D., from the National Institutes of Health (see the second paragraph) confirms an annual dose is on the order of 1-2 mGy/yr, whereas the University of Colorado Radiation Safety Handbook in the first graf of section 2 noted US background level is higher, on the order of 3.6 mSv/yr.
And, RadiationNetwork.Com shows North American realtime background radiation, measured in uGy/hr; with 8.766*10^3 hours/year, you can see what annualized radiation would be by simple extrapolation. For example, you can see the current dose at Portland is 22 uGy/hr.




And, a final suggestion to the blog post author: Please DO THE MATH.

2011-04-03

USAPhotoMaps freeware

USAPhotoMaps 2.78 downloads USGS aerial photo and topo map data from Microsoft's free msrmaps.com website, saves it on your hard drive, and creates aerial photo/topo maps with GPS accuracy. 

What's New as of Jul 17, 2010 ... Click Here 

Full Install of USAPhotoMaps 2.78 ... Download Here (565 KBytes) 
(make sure the above date is in Help -About because your browser might send an older version/date from its cache)