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Posts Tagged ‘Knowledge’

Important: Don’t Let Your Wireless Provider Spy On You

2012-10-30 2 comments

With the widespread popularity of smartphones, everyone is walking around with a computer in their pocket.  Which is awesome.  What is NOT cool is that due to flaws in the laws regarding what wireless phone provider (WPP) companies are allowed to do, your WPP company is legally allowed to spy on you and collect info on EVERY single thing you do on your phone.  What’s worse is that the companies will automatically opt you in to agree to be tracked and spied on, and it’s your responsibility to first of all realize that you’re being spied on and tracked, and second of all it’s your responsibility to opt out of it.

At this point some you might be saying “Well, I don’t do anything bad or illegal so who cares if they spy on me and track me?”  First of all, you cannot predict everything that will be done with your phone.  Perhaps in the future you’ll use it for something personal, private, or embarrassing.  Or perhaps someone borrows your phone to make a call and also uses it to do something unsavory that you’re not even aware of.  The point is you just can’t predict the future so it’s not a good idea to give them free license to spy on your personal habits.  Second, you may be saying “Even if they have that info, they’re just using it for marketing purposes, it’s not like anything bad will happen with it.”  Wrong.  The companies are allowed to use that info for whatever purpose they want, including selling it to third parties.  Additionally, the law states that if the government asks them for the info for ANY reason, they must turn it over to them.  “But I don’t break the law!” Oh really?  Did you know that the average person breaks the law at least once per day without even realizing it?  Yup, it’s true, check it out: Mr Average breaks the law at least once a day

Now don’t worry, we don’t need to start wearing tin-foil hats and living in the wilderness.  I’m going to show you how to opt out of being tracked in under two minutes, and then you don’t have to worry about it anymore and you can continue to use your smartphone without being tracked.

Each company has a slightly different process, but they all involve logging into the companies website, finding the proper page, and selecting to opt out of being tracked.  I happen to currently have Verizon, so this is what the page looks like for me (I blacked out my phone number for obvious reasons):

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What do The Titanic, an iceberg, and your money have in common?

Short promo video explaining uber-pimp Peter Schiff’s book “Crash Proof 2.0” :

Do It Yourself Vusion Can Save You A Lot Of Money

2012-01-20 13 comments

IMPORTANT NOTE: I am not affiliated with any of the things discussed in my article.  I have no financial stake.  I’m not promoting anything.  I don’t have an ax to grind.  I’m simply sharing what worked for me because I think others may benefit from my experience as I did.

Do you use Vusion? If you do, I’ve got some great news for you: you never have to pay Vusion’s ridiculously high price again, nor get a prescription to buy it.  Don’t worry, I’m not talking about anything illegal, so you can continue to read without that concern.

Vusion is effective, so I’m not bad-mouthing it.  What I have a problem with is how incredibly expensive it is considering it’s made from inexpensive Over-The-Counter ( OTC ) products, and the fact that you need a prescription to buy it.  Even with coupons and insurance coverage, it’s still extremely expensive.  I couldn’t afford it anymore so I had to find an alternative, and I found one.

So get ready to save a lot of money as I show you how to make your own Vusion from inexpensive OTC products.

Before we go further, let’s examine what’s in Vusion.  It has three main ingredients (the rest are just “filler”). Those three ingredients are:

  1. miconazole
  2. zinc oxide
  3. petroleum jelly (also known as petrolatum or white petrolatum or by its brand name Vaseline.  In this article we will refer to this ingredient as petrolatum).

What do those three things do?

  1. MICONAZOLE is an antifungal med that has been used for years in OTC anti-fungal products that treat things like athlete’s foot, ringworm, and jock itch (in case you wanted to know, all three of those things are caused by a fungal infection called tinea [pronounced TIN-eee-uh]).  Miconazole is extremely common, inexpensive, and can be found OTC pretty much anywhere.  It is available in a variety of forms such as a cream or a spray-on.  Just search for products used to treat athlete’s foot and you’ll find one that has miconazole.
  2. ZINC OXIDE is used in calamine lotion (which you’ve probably heard of) and many other products as an antibacterial and deodorizer.  I’ll explain later where to look for it.
  3. PETROLATUM (aka petroleum jelly) is so common and has been around so long that pretty much everyone knows what it is and people usually refer to it by its brand name Vaseline.  When used on chapped lips, it helps by sealing in the moisture to help with cracked, dried lips.  Likewise with skin anywhere else on the body.  Petrolatum can found pretty much anywhere as well.

So knowing what was in Vusion, I was able to find a combination of inexpensive OTC products that when used together achieve the exact same result as Vusion for a fraction of the price and without the need for a prescription.  I’ll tell you how I do it and you can do the same thing as me or change it to whatever works best for you.  You may use whatever products you choose as long as you make sure that you have those three key ingredients.

Here’s what I do:  I bought Lotrimin, which is used for athlete’s foot (it contains miconazole, one of the three key ingredients we’re looking for).  Next, I bought a product called “Triple Paste medicated ointment for diaper rash”, which comes in a little tub with a screw-on lid.  This stuff is basically just petrolatum with zinc oxide in it (the other two key ingredients we’re looking for), and so this product allowed me to kill two birds with one stone because it has both.

So I only needed to buy two products, and both were inexpensive, OTC, and common enough to be found pretty much anywhere.  With those products, whenever I had reason to use Vusion, I instead applied the Lotrimin (miconazole) and then applied the “Triple Paste medicated ointment for diaper rash” (zinc oxide and petrolatum).  Same results! 🙂

That’s how I did it.  I hope that helps.  Please feel free to leave feedback if you have any questions or comments.

Is Google Plus The New Facebook?

2011-09-14 4 comments

Remember Myspace?  It wasn’t too long ago that people thought Myspace would keep growing and continue to be successful.  Facebook has since taken the position as the top social network with over 500 million active users reported in 2010 and all indications seemed to be pointing to Facebook’s continued growth and success with over 750 million active users a year later.  It’s become a household name and even grandma has a Facebook account.  Meanwhile Myspace use continues to decline and many analysts have written the company off as essentially dead.

So to some people it would seem crazy to predict the doom of Facebook.  But if there’s one company that could dethrone Facebook as king of social networking, it’s Google.

Also a household name, Google’s success was originally built on its search engine, which has become so ubiquitous that the dictionary now recognizes the name as a word, as in “I just googled a great new dinner recipe.”

However the world has seen continued innovation from the search engine giant and they’ve been massively successful with other services such as Gmail, Google Maps, and Picasa (their photo software).

But Google has had their share of failures too.  The most recognized examples are Google Buzz and Google Wave.  If you don’t even know what those two things are, you’re not alone.  Google has recognized their failure and abandoned them.  Yet Google has apparently learned a great deal from their mistakes, because they’ve finally stepped into the social-networking arena with a new service that seems poised to go toe-to-toe with Facebook:  Google Plus.

In case you haven’t heard, Google Plus (sometimes abbreviated as G+) is Google’s most recent attempt to create a social networking service, and from the looks of it, it’s no wonder many are calling Google Plus the “Facebook Killer.”

With Google Plus, Google has taken cues from both Facebook and Twitter.  While Twitter is not a direct competitor with Facebook because it fulfills a different function than Facebook, Twitter is certainly a company worth studying if you’re trying to build a successful social networking service.

So what exactly is Google Plus?  To put it bluntly, it’s like Facebook, but different.  But is it better?  Can it possibly compete with Facebook?  Why should we care?  If we already have a Facebook account, do we need a Google Plus account?

The answer is, yes.  Google Plus is almost certainly here to stay.  And while it may be possible for both Facebook and Google Plus to both be successful, anyone who doesn’t use Google Plus is going to get left in the digital dust.  Why is that?  If one already has a Facebook account, why do we need a Google Plus account?  Because Google Plus does a number of things that Facebook doesn’t, and it does them well.

The most exciting feature of Google Plus so far is the group video chat, which in G+ speak are called “Hangouts.”  As of right now, these group video chats support up to ten people, and as with everything in Google Plus, they’re absolutely free.  In other words, say goodbye to Skype.  While in a G+ Hangout, a small video of each person is displayed on the bottom of the screen, and whoever is talking is displayed in a large main video in the center.  After trying out a group video chat with friends and family, it is instantly apparent that these “Hangouts” will be both fun and useful.  In addition to just having a good time talking with friends or family, the group video chats are also amazingly useful for students who need to collaborate on an assignment or study together.  The business world has already embraced these group video chats for the same reasons giving Google Plus an instant significance for a large number of people.

The next way in which G+ triumphs over Facebook is privacy and sharing.  Many people have complained about Facebook’s privacy and sharing policies.  People end up accidentally sharing things with the wrong people or even making them public so anyone can see.  This includes messages, photos, videos, and anything else you might want to share with people.  Google Plus addresses this problem with a concept called “Circles.” Once you have a G+ account, you can add other people to your Circles.  For example, you might have a circle labeled “Friends,” another “Family,” “Coworkers,” “Acquaintances,” etc.  Any time you say or share something, you can easily decide who gets to see it.  That makes it much easier to prevent you from accidentally making things visible to the wrong people, which as many people know can be very bad.

As of this writing, Google Plus is still in its “testing” phase, meaning that in order to sign up for an account, you need to be invited by someone with an account.  Google is doing it this way because they want to work all the kinks out of G+ and have a smooth service before they “officially” release it to the public.   Update: Google Plus is now officially open to the public and anyone can sign up.

So go out there and give Google Plus a try.  Because it’s extremely fun, useful, and it’s here to stay.

P.S. I’m a writer for The Corsair Newspaper and you can read my article on The Corsair website (albeit an edited-down version):  http://www.thecorsaironline.com/opinion/2011/09/14/google-plus-takes-facebook-to-the-ring/

Educational deficiencies

2011-04-02 3 comments

Many people these days are aware of problems with schools.  It’s an extremely complex issue with no easy answer.  So I’m not proposing anything or trying to make any kind of grand sweeping generalization, or claiming I know how to fix the problems.  But I want to share with you a personal example of a deficiency in my education (through no fault of my own).

I always paid attention in history class (or at the very least read all the assigned reading and did all the assigned work).  So while I may not be a history whiz, I should at least know some of the basics, right?

Today I was on wikipedia reading about the Industrial Revolution.  I’ve heard the term before, but we never covered it in school.  Someone may have mentioned it in passing, but I really knew nothing about it until I started reading about it today.  In the opening paragraph, it states “Economic historians are in agreement that the onset of the Industrial Revolution is the most important event in the history of humanity since the domestication of animals and plants.”

As I learned more about the Industrial Revolution, I began to see that this statement about the importance of the Industrial Revolution is not an exaggeration.  Every single one of us lives the way we do because of what happened during the Industrial Revolution.  I learned about economic growth.  Mechanization.  Worker exploitation.  Labor unions.  Collective bargaining.  These things are huge.  They matter, in a very direct and real sense.  I’ve only skimmed the surface but now I at least have a foundation of knowledge about that subject.  So many things in our every day lives are a direct result of global changes that took place during the Industrial Revolution, and having now learned the basics of it, I have a much better understanding of the world.

So what’s my point?  Well, we’ve already talked about how we’re autodidacts. I just want to continue the conversation.  There is so much to learn out there about the universe we live in.  The more you learn, the more pieces of the jigsaw puzzle that comprises our reality fit into place.  Let your curiosity guide you.  And know that there’s always so much more to be learned.  You just have to teach it to yourself.  It’s empowering.

 

EDIT 2011-10-16: The following videos about the future of education and how it can be changed for the better are both inspiring and jarring:

Both videos are TED talks regarding the current state of and the future of the educational system.  In the first video, Salman Kahn (of Kahn Academy fame) talks about how he has begun working with schools to revolutionize teaching.  The second video, which is a bit more bleak, has Bill Gates (of Microsoft fame) talking about the consequences of the budget cuts to education as well as the possibilities for fixing the problems.

 

Science Knowledge Quiz

2009-10-07 4 comments

Here’s the quiz:  http://pewresearch.org/sciencequiz/quiz/

Here’s the article:  http://pewresearch.org/sciencequiz/

Categories: Science Tags: , , ,
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