Should Have Kept My Mouth Shut

I consulted the “self defense ninja,” how I love that name, to find out the difference between Mace and pepper spray. I saw comments on a blog called Self Defense Guide about this topic and was interested in knowing more given the rampant violence that exists in cities these days. Should urbanites use it or not? Is it legal? While people on the Internet will argue about anything, sometimes it has value for others. I got into the fray and maybe should have kept my mouth shut so I wouldn’t provoke more outrage.

I don’t think it is really a matter of which product is better since the brand Mace covers pepper spray and tear gas. These items contain the same ingredients no matter who makes the product. It came down to whether one should use violence against violence. Does any attack or assault merit any form of retaliation, even one that is not fatal but rather causes considerable pain and discomfort. It is a moral issue akin to the old biblical “an eye for an eye.” Some say it is wrong to use force or a weapon in a dire situation even though Mace is legal. You should talk the aggressor down using reason and logic. When did that ever work on a drunk or someone who is high and out of their mind. This holds true for psychotics. They aren’t going to listen. I say carry some Mace and be safe. It works to immobilize an attacker for quite a long time as it causes coughing and sneezing and burning of the eyes and nose. I am not personally in favor of carrying a concealed weapon but I believe that every citizen has this right.

I say: empower yourself to prevail in a crisis. My opponents don’t believe a purse snatching or a robbery of one’s wallet or watch merits using pepper spray, for example, as your life was not threatened. I say that anything can escalate—and quickly. Besides, when was the active ingredient in chili peppers a “weapon.” It is a deterrent at best. You may save your own life or that of your companion. There are crazies out there ready for you to walk by.

We didn’t end the argument definitively as people went on and on adding their two cents. It is an important issue nonetheless that bears additional attention. Hence the topic of today’s blog. I hope to instigate more concern about self defense and suggest possible ways to prepare yourself. As long as it is legal, I am voting for it. I know, I know—violence begets violence. But there are times when you simply have no choice. I have heard too many horror stories to turn the other cheek. I wish I knew martial arts as this would be my first choice—a jab here, a kick there, a final blow to knock the assailant down. I don’t believe we should ever be victims in this life.

Beauty at Your Service

It is an exciting world where creativity and ingenuity counts for a lot. If you are involved in open source programs as I am, you have a plethora of opportunities. If your ideas hit and you make it, you are set for life. You will get a solid reputation and productivity will be rife. I am committed to software that is for the public. That’s right, no fee at all. People freely use it and add their own spin to things. It is all about sharing information, which is what I want to do today. I want to be part of the social machine that makes the digital world go round.

I am pretty ambitious so I spend a lot of time at my craft. I usually have two or three projects going at one time. The most interesting ones are those to which I devote my undivided attention. How do I get ideas? I will tell you that the key is listening well. People always talk about what they want and need and this is where you start. You want software that is practical and utile, otherwise your ideas die. There are apps and programs out there now that do just about everything you can imagine from paying your bills to buying a car at the best price. There are fun things for kids involving games and videos. I started thinking, why not some kind of beauty transformation. After all, aren’t women half the population? I don’t want to be chastised for the next statement, but aren’t ladies all trying to look better? Especially the single ones? Could I invent a new way to help them?

Imagine a program whereby the user sends in a photo at close range. They fill in a form indicating eye and hair color, hue of complexion, and desired effects. A woman might want thicker eyebrows, a way to change the color of her eyes (temporarily of course with lenses), or ideas for attaining a glamorous image. The program would digest all this written and visual information and spew out some beauty product recommendations and links to where they can be purchased at the best prices. It is truly beauty at your service. It wouldn’t just be the obvious things like foundation, blush, lipstick, eye liner and eyeshadow. It would include eyelash extensions, curlers, and adhesive glue. If we are going this route, why not get an eyelash extension applicator as well. It would be an entire subcategory on the Eyelashes to Die For site. I am into this aspect of the program because I hear so many women complain about their skimpy eyelashes. They try mascara but want something more. Celebrities all wear false eyelashes so why can’t the everyday woman. It is instant eye enhancement. You get deep, dark peepers that will

Intrigue the world. Lashes make everyone look better. Those without them know this for a fact. I am here to help them with a solution. Watch for the new program and feel free to critique it and add your own touches.

Dealing With Bugs

Technology has come to the rescue too many times to count in my life. It is the same with pest control. I was thinking about this the other day as a fly landed on my guest’s plate during a dinner party, much to my chagrin. I decided to explore a resolution to my offline bug problem and encountered an interesting history.

You can go far back over 4,000 years to find the first bug fixes, which were chemical pesticides. We have to give the Sumerians credit for using sulfur and the people of India for identifying poisonous plants. However, it was a bit of a wait for several more thousand years for a revolution to take place in the all but nonexistent new industry. The needs of farmers in the 18th and 19th centuries resulted in pyrethrum and derris pest control while a hundred years later we got DDT and herbicides added to the insecticide mix. Now it is all about natural and biological treatment.

What does this tell us? That creepy critters and bugs and such have been around for a long time and have not been wanted. They eat plants and destroy crops, suck blood, cause welts and allergic reactions, and instigate a bout of terrible itching. And then there’s the most feared creepy crawly of them all, the spider. People are always looking for ways to get rid of spiders. No one likes them, even when they are used to eat larvae or otherwise control an enemy population.

Technology has taught us why bugs abound. They have breeding grounds, that need eradication when possible, and they like to feed. Find the source of their nutrition, and banish it for good. Stagnant water and unwrapped trash are also culprits. Waste management is a burgeoning field. Then there are crop dusters that do a lot of effective dirty work, but it is up to the researchers to make sure that cancer is not a consequence.

There is great hope now that biological control agents have come to the fore and will replace past processes. Predators, parasitoids and pathogens are part of the new science. It is also called a “bioeffector” approach that relies on natural mechanisms like herbivory that controls weeds and insect-attracting wetlands. Orange oil is used now as an alternative solution to termites. It is less expensive, less toxic, but not less effective.

Technology has drawn upon history of man at war to discover that pest control can depend on introducing bugs’ natural enemies. It’s tricky to bring in these warriors in a kind of new population importation or what is called augmentation of an existing species. Conservation of these foes is often called upon such as ladybugs aphid colonies. These cute little crawling things are predators of the most voracious kind. Also think about dragonflies that come face to face with mosquitos. Finally, mention must be made of parasitoids that lay their eggs on an insect’s body. They can be food for developing larvae and the host is killed in the process.

This is an entire field of discovery that benefits mankind in multiple ways in agriculture and the reduction of rampant disease. Funding is an important factor in keeping the advancements going. Crowdfunding could be the way of the future for natural pest control.

Windows Open Source Software: What’s in Store For You?

Windows Open Source Software

Open source software is changing the way the public accesses computer programs.  It is easy to spend hundreds of dollars on programs.  For those who have the need or desire to access software programs, the open source concept comes as a pleasant way to do so and all for free.  Windows is a participant in open source software and here are some that they have to offer.

FeedReader and FeedBurner are RSS and Atom aggregators that offer state-of-the-art, user friendly applications to access information on your computer.  It has an auto-faced reader and is actually a pioneer of the desktop feed readers.

Firefox is actually another open source software program that is available.  It is a freeof charge web-browser that has a number of features and more than one thousand add-ons which can be used to customize your computer tastes.

FileZilla is quite popular in the Windows open source software arena.  It is an FTP client and server that is known for being not only reliable, but quick as well.  It efficiently stores files that can be easily accessed and offers security as well.

Miro is a media player that operates on an open source software concept.  It allows you to access television and also is a video player.  It is the leader in HD content video players.

If you like editing photos, you might be interested to learn that paint.net is a free program for editing photos and images as well.  It makes it possible to edit layers, special effects and other advanced and powerful tools.

We all know the frustration of an inbox that is totally out of control.  But who wants to pay for a clean-up service?  Enter the free program, Thunderbird.  Thunderbird not only helps you mange inbox disasters but also offers a sophisticated means to organize it and other features as well.

There’s Firebird too.  What Firebird is a database that offers a number of ANSI SQL features on the standard level.  It runs on Windows as well as on Linux and platforms of Unix as well.

Content managing programs are plentiful in Windows open source programs.  CMS Made Simple is really easy and is used by many families as well as businesses who just want to have a hassle-free site that is easy to set up and run.  Drupal is another one that has a ton of features and supports a wide variety of websites.  If you are looking for a powerful website managing program, Joomia is a good choice and is user friendly too.

WordPress is perhaps the most well-known of the open source software options that Windows has to offer in content management and publishing.  It is not difficult to use and is very effective.

Basically, if you want it, you can find it when it comes to Windows open source software programs.  There are tons and tons to choose from and most offer easy installation and simple operations as well.  And one of the best features is that if you find you don’t like a program, you simply just don’t use it.  Since they are free, you really have nothing to lose.

Replicant: Keeping the Public Private For Security’s Sake

Replicant open source program

You hear about it all the time.  They are tracking us via our cell phones.  Hackers, instigators, even our own government…they can find out just about whatever they would want to know by way of our cell phones if they wanted to.  But can they?  Do they?  How are we to know if they are or if they can and furthermore, what can we do to prevent the possibility?

Replicant is an open source software that can be installed on any Android device to make it safe and secure.  It is totally free and is readily available for those who wish for their information (and that of their contacts) to remain private.

The Replicant open source program can be installed not only on your cell phone but on your tablet too.  What it ultimately does it gives you, the user, complete control over your device, be it your tablet or your phone.  It work on Linux/Android operating systems.

One great thing about this free program is that it is constantly being debugged and improved.  The goal of keeping devices secure seems to be the priority and nothing else total focus on the objective is achieved.  It seems that those who are running the program truly want to do everything possible to offer a means of security.

On the site, there are actual descriptions and specific examples of information being compromised.  It is not an imagined thing or a hyped up possibility.  It is a reality and fortunately, there is a solution and a free one at that.  Replicant closes back doors that were open leaving it vulnerable to mischief.

The site keeps the public updated on improvements as well as incidences.  They allow questions to be asked and do their best to respond clearly and in a timely manner.

The funding for this open source program comes from group funding, a concept in raising money for a cause.  Over $20,000 was raised recently to help cover the cost of developing the freeware and perfecting it.  People are passionate about keeping their devices secure and many would rather pay a company that will provide the service for free rather than a company who sells their wares.

It all began in 2010 and was fully developed in 2011 by Paul Kocialkowski who came on the scene after some of the initial team resigned from the project.  It was made available for the Nexxus S and Galaxy 4 models.

The launching and execution of Replicant is significant in that it is an example of a successful group funding effort, when people rally their time and money together to complete a project that they feel is worth.  Then, the project came into play and was made available for free for the public to use.  That what open source programing is all about and Replicant is one of the pioneers in doing so all the way from the initial efforts to get it rolling all the way to the actuality of making it available and keeping it updated.  The public spoke and Replicant obviously listened.  Replicant allows the public to keep private…mission accomplished.

MediaGoblin: It’s All About Choices

MediaGoblin

Have you ever had your video rejected by YouTube or Flickr?  If so, you understand how frustrating it can be, especially when you feel the rejection was unwarranted.  But what options do you have?

MediaGoblin is the answer to many problems that can be encountered on such platforms as Soundcloud, YouTube and Flickr.  No offense to those sites, when you own the site, you get to set the rules which is exactly what makes the open source software program MediaGoblin such a dream.

MediaGoblin is a publishing platform for media where instead of a centralized authority, the power is distributed among the users.  On it, you can freely share and host your images, music and videos.  It takes the big government feel out of the equation.

The very best thing about MediaGoblin is that it is free.  On the site, users can share, use, contribute and communicate.  They are a community and you will be immediately welcome upon signing up.  The group members are quite friendly and excited about what they are doing.

You can get involved if you want to although it is certainly not a requirement.  There are group projects you can participate in.  You can share your projects on the site and view the projects of others.  You can get or give feedback on projects too.

Another really innovative thing you can do on MediaGoblin is to host or view a gallery that is composed of presentations, books, photos, videos, books and the likes.  Again, you can get and give feedback if you would like to.

You are not going to get a notice that your submission was rejected because it was possibly pirated only because that platform immediately jumps to that conclusion when any MP3 is uploaded.  You will not have to verify this and that or be edited with strict and often ridiculous standards.  You just won’t find all the red tape rules and regulations.

In MediaGoblin you can set your own rules.  You can become as involved or detached as you want.  It is more secure than many programs in that it basically floats in the air like a balloon.  Things that you do on the platform are not traced to your computer and you can also view what is going on with the site since you are an administrator.  If things become fishy, you can investigate and fix problems.

MediaGoblin offers options.  That is what is so great about it in comparison to so many platforms that you are at the mercy of the powers that be.  You can take full control by running it as your own and installing it on your very own server.  Or, you can use it within an existing community on sites that are running it.  There is a list provided so you can check the sites out and make an informed decision on that option.  You can also completely join the MediaGoblin community and jump in feet first.

The thing I love most about MediaGoblin is that you do have options and the choices are yours and your alone to make.  That puts a whole new spin on the world of media sharing and it’s a win-spin if you ask me.

Open Source Software: Sharing the Love

Open Source Software

What is open source software?  Open source software is computer software that can be used and modified by the public at no charge.  It allows users to use, contribute and exchange products, information, creations and projects.

In addition, an open source code is, in computer lingo, software that can be enhanced, modified or changed by anyone at any time.  Simply put, this means that those who contribute can make the program better and can fix things that aren’t working too.  Some open source software offer open source codes and some do not.

Open source software has become very popular.  In fact, not only is the software a big hit, often times the site or sites that offer the software become more of a social gathering for sharing passions, projects and progress.

There are many advantages to using open source software.  The first plus is that they are free of charge.  Millions of dollars are spent on software programs every years so the fact that there are quality programs available for no charge is welcomed by the public.

When software is offered but does not include open source programing and coding, they generally place limitations of some form on the user.  They may request that the product of the program not be used for commercial use or other regulations and the user must sign the agreement before using it.

True open source programs allow the public to copy anything from the program and to share it, commercially or individually and to alter it, share it, etc.  Generally, an open source program will require the user to sign an agreement that they will allow others to use what they share on the site.

When a program is open source and open source in code as well is a popular concept for computer programmers as well as the average computer user.  It allows them to use a program in the way they wish to and to customize it according to their needs and likings.

Many also consider it to be more secure than regular programs are because they can actually examine and change the code to make sure it is not doing anything shady.  Regular software programs and sites can access your information remotely which may be in any location, even on the other side of the globe.  How scary is that?  When you are in control of your own programing and programing code, you are able to access the information and change it if you want.

Open source is used by lots of people.  Those who are specifically into a certain realm such as animators, enjoy the wide span of tools they can access while others, such as students, glean from the knowledge that is shared.  With open source software, there seems to be something for everyone.

With open source software has come the catch phrase “open source way” which refers to the community spirit of sharing, contributing and making the cause and the software sharing a better experience for all.  Open source shares the passion and shares the love…and it’s all done for free.

Software on Water

Software is the backbone of the digital, electronic, and computer worlds. There is no better calling, enterprise, or vocation as far as I am concerned, practitioner that I am. You never run out of ideas and applications. That said, let’s take a look at programs used at sea. There is everything from ship navigation to fish finders. Software is always floating around!

I was interested in this because of my love of water recreation (water skiing, scuba diving, canoeing, you name it), and then my brain just kept on rolling about the inventive marvels that abound. To be trite, there are many fish in the sea. I know there are lots of video games and assorted ways to have fun with sea themes and motifs. Listen to this one from Pathfinders, Lost at Sea Strategies. It’s calling my name.

A mysterious and timeless artifact at the bottom of the Atlantic has been activated. Follow a mysterious signal to the middle of the Atlantic Ocean with Professor John Darby and explore an island that has magically appeared. Use our handy Strategy Guide as you attempt to discover the truth behind this ancient relic in Pathfinders Lost at Sea, a fun and exciting Hidden Object game.

Now this is what I call a great use of software! But let’s get back to serious stuff. As far as navigation at sea, there are small craft and then there are ocean liners. I am thinking about the average person here, so we will stick to recreational vessels. Raytech delivers electronic charting and total onboard integration. This is what I call a PC software tool! This software is powerful but easy to use. The interface is great and the features get updated all the time.

I promised software for finding fish early on, so don’t stray from this blog. And don’t fret. It isn’t cheating to use it. It enhances the outdoor experience and practically guarantees a big catch. I think of it as recreational sonar that is software driven. With one of the best portable fish finders, you can locate and target fish for a fast start anytime you are on the water. Digital devices with screens reveal what is beneath the depths. Savvy fishermen are getting up to speed these days and the pros are right there with the leisure time guys. You get a great hi-res LED backlit color display for your sonar system, a selector menu, networking compatibility, and broadband connectivity. Fish finders are portable must haves and great gift ideas for your favorite outdoorsperson—man, woman, or child. Get one that works at fast boat speeds for the aggressive motor boater in your life.

So this all adds up to my touting the magic of software in any application on land or sea. If it costs, it may be well worth it, but open source is the wave of the future as there is so much out there to share. My source code is your source code. Go for it, my friend!

Laptop Bags 101

Usually I don’t give my laptop bag a second thought if it does its job. It is a weatherproof tote with a few extra pockets for my smart phone and keys. It’s not fancy, but it is what’s inside that counts. However, I got one as a gift and I started to take a closer look. It had everything a computer tote should have and then some. It was the supreme bag, top tier, and sky high on anyone’s list of must haves.

Description

A stunning leather bag puts you on the track to success with a double-gusseted flapover design that opens to reveal a padded computer pocket, an organizer with dedicated space for your iPhone, a padded iPad pocket and much more.

  • Full-grain cowhide leather
  • Imported
  • Double-gusseted flapover design with secure tuck-lock closure
  • Front compartment features padded laptop pocket
  • Laptop pocket fits screens up to 16″
  • Front exterior features a gusseted pocket organizer with iPhone pocket
  • Rear compartment features a full-length zipper pocket and padded iPad pocket
  • Sturdy top handle for easy lifting
  • Adjustable, removable and padded shoulder strap
  • Weight: 3.6 lbs.
  • Dimensions: 16.13″W x 13.5″H x 5.38″D

I was impressed enough to print the entire promo ad for the Kenneth Cole Reaction Leather Columbia Dowel Rod Laptop Brief. Now that’s a mouthful. It sells for just under $300 at a discount, which isn’t bad for what you get. It is super nice and meets my needs about 200 percent. It makes my old vinyl one terribly obsolete (not to mention dowdy). All you nerds out there, take heed. You may be above quality and design, but don’t be. It houses your precious device nicely and is a definite girl magnet. It says you have taste, and some bucks. Here’s one user’s review.

Perfect gift

“The bag is of very high quality and easy to use/carry. It was a gift for my husband and he loves it. ”

Yes, I recommend this product.

Okay, so now you know what to look for in the latest, greatest of laptop bags. You can spend a lot less on a cheap, cool looking backpack or a lot more on luxe designer products, but this is the right look for the right price. It is on sale from the original whopping price of $500, so that tells you something about real leather. When you opt for black or brown it reeks class. Forget the wild colors and female frills. You can bang it around everywhere and it will take a beating and last. The cheaper ones that look like padded envelopes tend to fall apart, especially if your kids get near it!

I love having a handle that fits my grip. I hate having to force my hand through a narrow one. You can get a rolling one, by the way, if you travel a lot. While a laptop is moderately heavy, you probably get tired of lugging it after a while.

So print out this blog and leave it strategically on the desk of a spouse or good friend, maybe a close family member. You could get as lucky as I was.

Let’s Get Blending: Shaking it Up with Open Source Software

Blender

If you are into making animated films, video games or even interactive 3D applications, you know firsthand how expensive it can get.  Furthermore, it’s not uncommon to purchase an animation program only to find you just don’t care for it at all.  As the dollars mount up, you are still in need of a great program.  That’s when you need a Blender!

Blender is one of the best open source software programs available.  It is for the public by the public.  It’s a professional program of 3D computer graphics.  It also supports video game production.  In this program, you can do so much in the way of 3D printed models, special visual effects, sculpting, matching animation movements, video editing and composing and so much more.  Blender does most anything an aspiring animation, video and gaming creator could want and…it’s all for free.

The concept of Blender began as an entrepreneurial endeavor.  Dutch founder, Ton Roosendaal, started the company in 1998 but was bankrupt only a few years later.  He launched Blender as a group-funding effort on the understanding that if the funds were raised, he would provide the program for free to the public.  The group funding was a success.  Thus, Blender remains free for the public to contribute to and to use as well.

While Blender isn’t real easy for beginners, it is for those who know a bit about what they are doing.  The user interface provides for object mode and edit mode editing.  It also operates modes allowing for Vertex Paint, Weight Paint and Sculpt Mode Hotkey.

One of the best features about the open source software program is that the user can customize the screen layout.  That is a lifesaver for those who specialize in one specific area and don’t want to hassle with going through unnecessary motions each time they get on it.

One real downfall of the program overall is that, since is it open source, there have been attempts by other programs to swipe it.  They have attempted to repackage and sell it as their own.  But overall, the program has been left alone and allowed to remain the free program it was designed to be.

The fact that users can not only use the program but contribute to it too has made it a social site in a way.  People are adamant about their artistic creations and the desire to learn and do more and so Blender has become a platform where users can share information and talk about their work, the work of others and the subjects of editing, video, gaming creation and the likes.

Blender keeps the site fresh with continual updates and contest that generate new blood and gives way to a creative flow that keeps on rolling through the community.  Some of the projects in the past have been “Apricot” which was to generate a game creation on the base of the Big Buck Bunny movie which featured a character named Peach.  The requirement for the contests are that the material within be created using the features of Blender.

Blender continues to keep the site fresh and alive and projects excitement as well as a sense of community and common ground.  The program does not set limitations so anything created in blender can be produced for profit or for private use.  The public has made great use of the open source nature of Blender and in turn, the company at Blender has returned the favor and rewards those who use it.  Blender…it’s a win-win in open source software.