Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Storm sign!

Storm sign!: "

This is why I don’t live in Montana:


I don’t want to live in a place where transdimensional spaceworms can appear in the sky and blast superheated steam straight down onto innocent earthlings.

Supercell photo be Sean Heavey for National Geographic; click to convectenate. Tip o’ the kevlar umbrella to Astropixie.


Saturday, November 27, 2010

Modified radar gun identifies suicide bombers up to ten meters away

Modified radar gun identifies suicide bombers up to ten meters away: "

William Fox of the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey and John Vesecky, his colleague at UC Santa Cruz, are working on a modified radar gun that can identify suicide bombs worn under the clothing. To do this, they cataloged the most common arrangements of looped wires used to construct 'suicide vests,' and developed software that can identify the radar cross-section of each. So far, results have been pretty good: according to New Scientist, 'telltale factors in the polarisation of the reflected signals' allowed them to correctly identify volunteers dressed as bombers up to ten meters away, roughly eighty-five percent of the time. Of course, even with a success rate this high, such a system would be prone to kicking up false positives. In order to minimize this, the devices would have to combined with other technologies, such as smart surveillance camera systems and infrared imaging.

Modified radar gun identifies suicide bombers up to ten meters away originally appeared on Engadget on Sat, 27 Nov 2010 07:12:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Friday, November 26, 2010

Operation Record a Story

Operation Record a Story: "

A program called Operation Record-A-Story lets kids hear their deployed military parent read them a bedtime story. Starting today on Veteran's Day, military Moms and Dads separated from their children can share story time as a family through this new program. Publications International's, Ltd. (PIL) Record a Story books are now being recorded by servicemen and servicewomen at USO locations in the United States, Iraq, Afghanistan and Kuwait. PIL donated 5,000 Record a Story books to the United Through Reading Military Program for military service members to record for their children. After the book captures the service member's voice reading the story out loud, it will be sent, together with a video of the parent recording the story, to their kids in time for the holidays.

Operation Record a Story originally appeared on About.com US Military on Friday, November 26th, 2010 at 13:23:14.

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Experts give tips to college grads seeking first job

Experts give tips to college grads seeking first job: "A college degree is no longer the ticket to the American Dream. Graduates must learn how to promote themselves in the competitive job market. ...


Thursday, November 25, 2010

NKorea warns of "brink of war"

NKorea warns of "brink of war": "YEONPYEONG ISLAND, South Korea (AP) -- North Korea warned Friday that planned U.S.-South Korean military drills are pushing the peninsula to the brink of war as a U.S. military commander headed to an island devastated this week by a North Korean artillery barrage...."

After 50 days adrift, 3 teens rescued in S Pacific

After 50 days adrift, 3 teens rescued in S Pacific: "WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) -- Three teens who have been missing in the South Pacific for 50 days - and were already eulogized in a memorial service - have been found alive by a New Zealand fishing boat...."

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Congratulations to my daughter Cindy for getting 2nd Class

My daughter Cindy on the USS Abraham Lincoln ( second from right ) holding the US Navy Flag when they were in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia

Congratulations to my daughter Cindy for getting 2nd Class. We're proud of you FC2 Cindy.  :)

Monday, November 22, 2010

S. Korea considers redeploying U.S. nukes

S. Korea considers redeploying U.S. nukes: "SEOUL — South Korean Defense Minister Kim Tae-young said Monday that his government would seek the redeployment of U.S. tactical nuclear weapons in the country amid the lingering threat posed by North Korea’s nuclear program."

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Nearly One Million Consumers Getting Refunds From LifeLock

Nearly One Million Consumers Getting Refunds From LifeLock: "

LifeLock, an identity theft security firm, has begun mailing checks to customers nationwide, part of a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and 34 states.

The settlement was reached in March of this year, following an investigation into the company's allegedly misleading advertising practices.

LifeLock sells identity theft services that past advertisements allegedly claimed were "guaranteed" to protect consumers' personal information and prevent criminals from using it to open accounts in consumers' names. Some ads even included LifeLock CEO Todd Davis' social security number in an effort to demonstrate Davis' confidence in the services offered.

The FTC and various state attorneys general charged that the fraud alerts that LifeLock placed on customers' credit files protected only against certain forms of identity theft and gave them no protection against the misuse of existing accounts, the most common type of identity theft. It also allegedly provided no protection against medical identity theft or employment identity theft, in which thieves use personal information to get medical care or apply for jobs.



The Food Lab Thanksgiving Special: Why You Should Make Your Own Gravy

The Food Lab Thanksgiving Special: Why You Should Make Your Own Gravy: "


[Photograph: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

Well the short and simple answer to the titular question can be found right here. Store-bought gravies just don't taste right. Sure, some of them have that nostalgic cafeteria appeal, but unless you're seriously trying to relive middle school, you're much better off making your own. With a few store-bought staples, it's surprisingly easy, and worlds better than anything you'd get out of a jar.

The gravy recipe attached to this article is dead simple and will get you results that are a marked improvement over store-bought. If you want to up the ante even more, just follow these tips. They apply to any and all gravy:

You Don't Need to Make Your Own Stock

Sure, in an ideal world, if you had the time and inclination, making your own stock by browning the chopped carcass and neck of your turkey and simmering it with lots of vegetables is really the best way to make your gravy. But a good quality low-sodium store-bought chicken stock makes a flavorful base that's far better than jarred gravy (see our tasting results). Even if you are planning on using your turkey neck and scraps (highly recommended!), use stock to simmer them instead of water for an instant flavor-boost.

Make Your Gravy in Advance!

Gravy can be made at least a few days before thanksgiving. Get your turkey ahead of time, and you'll even have a neck and giblets to work with. Make your gravy on Monday or Tuesday, refrigerate it, then don't even think about it until turkey day. It'll reheat well in a small saucepan, or just in the microwave (stir it every 30 seconds while microwaving to make sure it doesn't explode).

Reach for the Umami-Bombs

Marmite and soy sauce might seem like odd ingredients for gravy, but when used judiciously, they can seriously increase flavor, adding depth and savoriness. A quarter teaspoon of Marmite and a teaspoon of soy sauce for every quart of gravy is about the right amount.

Add Aromatics

If going the store-bought stock route, try simmering it down with a couple of bay leaves, peppercorns, and some fresh herbs like thyme or parsley stems. You'll be amazed at the depth of flavor it picks up with just a quick 30 minute simmer.

Deglaze Your Roasting Pan

Your turkey gives off plenty of flavorful liquids and solids while its roasting. Look at the bottom of the pan when the turkey is done—see the browned bits in there? That's called fond, and is an instant gravy-booster. While your turkey is resting, place your roasting pan over a burner and pour in some stock. Scrape up the browned bits with a wooden spoon, strain, and use this enhanced stock as the base for your gravy. Even if you make your gravy in advance, you can always give it a boost last minute by deglazing the pan with a little stock and whisking it into your gravy just before serving.

Thicken the Right Way

To thicken a quart of gravy, melt 4 tablespoons of butter over medium heat in a medium skillet. Add 4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) of flour and cook it down, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. You're going for a nice golden-blond color, which will add some nuttiness. Slowly add your stock, whisking constantly. The harder you whisk and slower you add the stock, the smoother your gravy will be. Once you've added all the liquid, bring it up to a boil, reduce it to a simmer, and let it cook down until it gets to the right consistency. Season it at the end with salt and pepper (seasoning too early can lead to the salt concentrating and becoming too strong).

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InputDirector: Use the same keyboard and mouse on all your computers [Freeware]

InputDirector: Use the same keyboard and mouse on all your computers [Freeware]: "

features cursortransition InputDirector: Use the same keyboard and mouse on all your computers [Freeware]So the other day I was working on my desktop computer while having my laptop next to it. Whenever I wanted to use something that was on the laptop I found myself use my desktops mouse and keyboard. Naturally this didn’t work very well. I then remembered reading something (in the forums here) about a tool that would allow me to control any computer connected to my LAN using the same keyboard and mouse. Doing some research I discovered two freeware solutions: Synergy and InputDirector.

Input Director vs Synergy

linux mac windows InputDirector: Use the same keyboard and mouse on all your computers [Freeware]At first glance the two systems are equal, giving you much the same. OS support is the most apparent difference between the two. Synergy is a Multi-Platform-System which enables you to control Windows, MAC and Linux using the same Keyboard and mouse. InputDirector only support Windows (in its various versions – all the way back to Windows 2000)

Common Features

  • Control Mouse and keyboard
  • Copy and Paste text between the computers
  • Move the mouse between computers as if they were a multiple monitor setup
  • Automatic detection when available to the system
  • Multi-Monitor Support
  • Synchronise System LockDown and ShutDown
  • Synchronise Screensavers

After trying out both systems I found that though Synergy does support more OS’s (Mac, Linux etc) it is much harder to get it working. Every setting is text-based and moving between the monitors isn’t all that versatile. With Synergy I kept experiencing that the mouse would not return to the monitor from which it came. It was an easy fix, but an annoying one nevertheless. Setting up Synergy the way I wanted took so much time that once it did work – I had given up on it all together. The thought of setting it up on more computers later on – was not appealing. So my program of choice became InputDirector. And this is why:

InputDirector (the windows solution)

Windows Guides’ RatingUser RatingCompatible withSystem
on InputDirector: Use the same keyboard and mouse on all your computers [Freeware]on InputDirector: Use the same keyboard and mouse on all your computers [Freeware]on InputDirector: Use the same keyboard and mouse on all your computers [Freeware]on InputDirector: Use the same keyboard and mouse on all your computers [Freeware]off InputDirector: Use the same keyboard and mouse on all your computers [Freeware]4 out of 5Note: There is a rating embedded within this post, please visit this post to rate it.7 InputDirector: Use the same keyboard and mouse on all your computers [Freeware]vista InputDirector: Use the same keyboard and mouse on all your computers [Freeware]xp InputDirector: Use the same keyboard and mouse on all your computers [Freeware]32bit InputDirector: Use the same keyboard and mouse on all your computers [Freeware]

features monitorsetup InputDirector: Use the same keyboard and mouse on all your computers [Freeware]Moving the mouse between the screens will control which computer receives input from you. Ripples surround the cursor for a few seconds after transitioning to help the eye follow the cursor from one computer to another. The keyboard lights for NumLock, CapsLock etc. will show the settings for each system.To lock or shutdown all systems, right-click the System tray icon and choose from the context menu.

But that is not all

InputDirector has many features I like, and best of all is the total control it gives you. You can choose when and where it should run, when should the mouse move between monitors, assigning hotkeys and create macros. In short it is a feature packed small application that you will grow to love – and really wonder, how you ever managed without it.

frontpage slavecfg InputDirector: Use the same keyboard and mouse on all your computers [Freeware]Features

  • Easy to follow installation and usage guides – setup only takes a few minutes
  • Tell Input Director how your monitors are positioned simply by dragging them to the correct spot on the monitor grid:
  • Multi-monitor support
  • Shared Clipboard – copy and paste between computers (including files!)
  • Compatible with Windows 2000, XP, 2003, Vista, 2008 and Windows 7
  • Transitioning control to another computer is a simple as moving your cursor off the screen on one computer for it to jump to the other
  • Able to control a computer without needing to login to it first
  • Supports Windows fast user switching
  • Compatible with Vista User Account Control pop-ups
  • Manage all your computers at once
  • Simultaneously lock all computers
  • Synchronise the screen savers across your computers
  • Synchronise shutdown of your system (or individually configure whether a computer goes to standby, hibernate or shuts down)
  • Encrypt network data between Input Director controlled computers using AES with a 128, 192 or 256bit key
  • Lock down the Input Director configuration so that only Administrators may make changes
  • Systems can limit which master systems can control them by host name or network subnet
  • Ripples surround the cursor for a few seconds after transitioning to help the eye follow the cursor from one computer to another:
  • Hotkeys can be setup to switch control to a specific computer or move to the next computer to the left or right
  • Choose to use your mouse (speed, button order) preferences when directing another system
  • Supports different keyboard layouts
  • The keyboard LEDs (Caps Lock, Scroll Lock and Num Lock) show the status of the computer being controlled
  • Mirror input – Broadcast mouse gestures and keyboard input to all computers simultaneously
  • On startup slave systems will tell the master system that they are available
  • Slave systems tell the master system when they’re about to be shutdown or rebooted and the master will automatically skip them when navigating between computer

Wish-list for InputDirector

Pretty Please 500x563 InputDirector: Use the same keyboard and mouse on all your computers [Freeware]So far InputDirector can only share the clipboard (Copy/Paste) between the computers – which of course is a great feature. However, since InputDirector is a “Windows Only” solution I would expect it to be able to share more things between the different computers. Allowing me to drag and drop documents (and possibly programs) between the different monitors would really do it for me. Oh well, maybe it will be available in a later version.

According to the documentation you are supposed to be able to copy files between computers, but so far I have not been able to do so.

Download InputDirector

download64 InputDirector: Use the same keyboard and mouse on all your computers [Freeware]

Download InputDirector

Further Reading


Funny interesting and sometimes sad. Definitely worth watching.

Funny interesting and sometimes sad. Definitely worth watching.

After buying an answering machine in 1985, Mark Craig thought it would be a good idea to save every single message during the next two decades. It turned out to be a really great idea. [Warning: Explicit language and sexual innuendo]

Craig—who is a freelance director and documentary producer after working as a graphic designer in BBC News & Current Affairs and Channel 4—edited all the messages recorded during twenty years down to twenty minutes, mixing the clips together with old photographs from the people who was calling him. The result is an excellent short called Talk to Me. You can watch it at


US Risks Not Getting FIFA World Cup... Because It Won't Give FIFA Special Copyright Powers

US Risks Not Getting FIFA World Cup... Because It Won't Give FIFA Special Copyright Powers: "The US is bidding on hosting the 2022 World Cup, and the decision will
be made in a few weeks. Soccer's governing body, FIFA, recently released
its technical reports on all of the various bids, detailing things
like the number of stadia available and what would need to be built
should a country win, the availability of training grounds, hotel
rooms, transportation and so on. The US scores very favorably on all
of these accounts, but the bid has been labeled 'medium risk' because

'the necessary government support has not been documented as neither
the Government Guarantees, the Government Declaration nor the
Government Legal Statement have been provided in compliance with
FIFA's requirements for government documents.'

Guess what that means? The US bid committee hasn't secured a commitment from the US
government that it will give FIFA the right to act as its own
copyright cops
and takeover the legal system
so it can do things like criminalize wearing orange clothes. As the full
FIFA report

(PDF) puts it: 'However, as the required guarantees, undertakings and
confirmations are not given as part of Government Guarantee No. 6
(Protection and Exploitation of Commercial Rights) and mere reference
is made to existing general intellectual property laws in the USA,
FIFA's rights protection programme cannot be ensured.'

It's clear that FIFA expects carte blanche to set up its own special
legal protection in any country that hosts the event; it gives the bid
from Belgium and the Netherlands a black mark because it 'contains no
guarantees, undertakings or confirmations with legal effect beyond
existing laws'. It also slates a number of countries for having
'existing regulations... which adversely affect the free and
unrestricted exploitation of media rights'. The report indicates that
just three bids fully meet FIFA's desire to have the ability to enact
its own copyright and media laws: the human-rights hotbeds of Qatar
and Russia, and the joint bid from Spain and Portugal.

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Friday, November 19, 2010

20 Most Reliable Windows Backup Programs For Free Download

20 Most Reliable Windows Backup Programs For Free Download: "

Computer data is very valuable and losing data as a result of a hard drive crash, viruses or file deletion in accident can be very frustrating. Data loss is always very stressful whether its your favorite photos, priceless music, office documents or anything. Crashing hard drives is compulsory, it’s just a matter of time.

Backing up of your system should be the only effective method to prevent your computer from data loss. Still, few of the computer users are only backing up their systems regularly. Rest of the users are playing with their data. There are some common reasons like virus attack, hard drive crash, can’t CDs, DVDs & pen drives and sometimes human errors too that can lead to the deletion of the data.

That’s where data backup softwares comes into rescue that allows you to run backups automatically on regular time. Just make the settings to run scheduled backups and laid back without any tension of data loss. The data will be restored in case of future crash.

There are many backup softwares for windows that are available on the internet but user/administrator always look for reliable programs. Also, some of free backup windows programs are better in terms of functionality, reliability, interface as compared to costly paid softwares.

Making sure you got a reliable backup software for your PC, I am listing here the best free windows backup softwares to make sure you got plenty of options and choose the best suited.

So, have a closer look at the 20 most reliable windows backup tools for free download and tell us which application you like best in the comments section below.

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1) Comodo Backup : Backup reliably copies your files to a safe place and keeps track of all changes to those files. It has extremely flexible scheduling and notification options, supports FTP destinations, can burn multisession DVDs, and has a synchronization mode for quick realtime backups.

2) Cobian Backup : Cobian Backup is Open Source and backup software for windows. It is multi-threaded program that can be used to schedule and backup your files and directories.

3) GFI Backup : GFI Backup – Home Edition enables you to back up your important documents, photos, music, emails and program settings using a simple but smart wizard-driven interface to most popular storage devices (including local and external disk drives, LAN, CD/DVD, removable devices, remote FTP servers, etc.). Download and use GFI Backup Home Edition today – a FREE easy-to-use backup software solution, designed for secure backups of all your important data.

4) MozBackup : MozBackup is a simple utility for creating backups of Mozilla Firefox, Mozilla Thunderbird, Mozilla Sunbird, Flock, SeaMonkey, Mozilla Suite, Spicebird, Songbird and Netscape profiles. It allows you to backup and restore bookmarks, mail, contacts, history, extensions, passwords, cache etc. It’s an easy way to do Firefox backup, Thunderbird backup etc. This program is freeware (even for commercial use) and works on Windows 98/ME/NT/2000/XP/2003/Vista/7.

5) Backup Maker : BackUp Maker is the professional solution for creating backups. The intuitive operation allows, despite the high range of functions easy and quick creation of new backup jobs to back up files and folders. Once set, you may pesky job of backup creation confidently forget – BackUp Maker saves your data automatically on demand, scheduled or event-dependent, such as the Windows login or logo.

6) EZBack-it-up : EZBack-it-up doesn’t ask you bewildering questions–it just backs up your data where and when you tell it to do it. It can compare thousands of files in mere seconds. Check EZBack-it-up’s logs to see what it’s done. If even this much attention to backup is more than you can stand, just install the program and schedule regular backups.

7) Todo Backup : Are your system, photos, music and financial data protected? EASEUS Todo Backup, supporting Windows 2000/XP/Vista/Windows 7 and Windows Server 2000/2003/2008, is potent FREE backup software providing system backup & restore, hard disk or partition backup & restore, disk clone to protect your system and disk. It can back up whole PC, including the operating system plus your data, applications, settings and everything!

8 ) Delta Copy : DeltaCopy is an open source, fast incremental backup program. Let’s say you have to backup one file that is 500 MB every night. A normal file copy would copy the entire file even if a few bytes have changed. DeltaCopy, on the other hand, would only copy the part of file that has actually been modified. This reduces the data transfer to just a small fraction of 500 MB saving time and network bandwidth.

9) Microsoft SyncToy : SyncToy 2.1 is a free application that synchronizes files and folders between locations. Typical uses include sharing files, such as photos, with other computers and creating backup copies of files and folders.

10) AceBackup : AceBackup is a powerful tool to create completely secure backups of your data. Store your data on any local storage device, on CD, DVD or on your remote FTP server! A special advantage of AceBackup is the possibility to backup single files and groups of files, for example for important or confidential documents. The program can also store different versions of your files. This can be useful if you would like to restore a certain version of your file at a later date.

11) DriveImage XML : DriveImage XML is an easy to use and reliable program for imaging and backing up partitions and logical drives. Image creation uses Microsoft’s Volume Shadow Services (VSS), allowing you to create safe “hot images” even from drives currently in use. Images are stored in XML files, allowing you to process them with 3rd party tools. DriveImage XML runs under Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, Vista and Windows 7 only. The program will backup, image and restore drives formatted with FAT 12, 16, 32 and NTFS.

12) Personal-Backup : Personal-Backup is a program to save personal data to any destination folder. It runs under Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows Server 2003/2008 and Windows 7 (32- and 64-Bit). You can configure and store as many backup tasks as you want. The selecting of the files to backup is made on folder basis. All subfolders are included automatically. But the user can exclude ôr include any subdirectories from backup by selection or by filter. Additional criteria are the selection by file types, file age and/or file name filter.

13) Allway Sync : Allway Sync is free file and folder synchronization software for Windows. Allway Sync uses innovative synchronization algorithms to synchronize your data between desktop PCs, laptops, USB drives and more. Allway Sync combines bulletproof reliability with an extremely easy-to-use interface.

14) DFIncBackup Home : DFIncBackup Home” is a freeware backup program designed for full, differential and incremental backup of files directly to zip archives. With it, you don’t have to backup all your files again and again, instead, you can backup only new ones or ones that have changed since last backup. You never lose or overwrite valuable files – all their versions will be stored into zip archives.

15) SE Backup : SE Backup, a simple and fast backup tool, you’ll be able to keep your data safe with no effort and no expenses.

16) FBackup : FBackup is a free backup software for both personal and commercial use. It protects your important data by backing it up automatically to any USB/Firewire device, local or network location. The backed up data can be either compressed (using standard zip compression) or an exact copy of the original files.

17) SyncBack Freeware : SyncBack is a freeware program that helps you easily backup and synchronize your files to: the same drive; a different drive or medium (CDRW, CompactFlash, etc); an FTP server; a Network; or a Zip archive. It is s free for personal, educational, charity, government, and commercial use.

18) Areca Backup : Areca Backup is an Open Source personal backup solution which is released under the General Public License (GPL) v2. It basically allows you to select a set of files / directories to back-up, choose where and how (as a simple file copy, as a zip archive, …) they will be stored, and configure post-backup actions (like sending backup reports by email or launching custom shell scripts).

19) JaBack : Automate Backups of your important files and folders. The backup set is created in standard ZIP format. This allows flexibility in restoring the data using any zip software to unzip the backup set.

20) Vista Backup Mill : Vista Backup Mill is designed to backup your files and folders as fast as possible with minimal effort and interruption on your part. It makes secure (AES-256 encrypted) backups of your personal data: documents, projects, articles, game saves, program configuration files, and private data. It can store backups on HDD, flash devices, remote FTP servers, or network computers. You can even point to multiple storage locations. Vista Backup Mill is designed to save you time configuring and administrating it.

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