Monday, December 31, 2012

10 End-Of-The-Year Tech Related New Year Resolution Recommendations

by Bakari Chavanu
new year's resolutions
As the year comes to close and a new one begins, it's a good time to make fresh goals or carry out tasks we have put off for quite some time.
The following list is my personal recommendations for tech related tasks--from the vitally important, backing up your computer hard drive, to the most difficult challenge of spending a whole day without getting on your computer. My list includes links to MUO articles that provide ideas for how to carry out specified tasks, but you're also encouraged to of course research other ideas and solutions. I also welcome your recommendations for tech related tasks I didn't include in this list.

1. Backup Your Computer Hard Drive

Technicians who repair computers say that, still less than half of computer users back up their hard drive. While with most newer computers, hard drive failures may occur less, it only takes one for it to happen and loss of all your data.
Justine's article on Redo Backup is a good one for PC users, while the default Time Machine and Super Duper are good programs for Mac users. A full backup of your system requires an external hard drive that is larger than the memory of your computer's internal drive. Create an automatic system so backups can be done and checked on a regular basis.
new year's resolutions

2. Backup Media Files

If you are storing photos, music, and other important media files on your computer, these files should be a part of your backup system, but I suggest you also keep a special off-site backup of photo files that are most important to you. Precious photo files can't be replaced, so copying them to an external drive, such as a thumb drive, can be serious insurance against loss of most your important photos.
If you have enough room on a Google, Dropbox,or any other cloud storage account, backing up precious media files to a dedicated storage is another data recovery solution. It's simply a matter of dragging and copying important files to another location.

3. Change Passwords

Change the password of your financial and administrative accounts, your router, and other sensitive accounts or pieces of hardware. I know it's a mental challenge to memorize new passwords, but for the accounts you access on a regular basis, it's well worth the effort.
new year resolutions

4. Clean Out The Hard Drive

Take an hour and clean out your computer's hard drive of files and applications you no longer use. Especially look for those files that are over a few hundred megabytes and determine if you still need them.

5. Create a Photo Book

After you have backed up all your photos, create a book of the year's most memorable photos. Sure, it's great to have your photos stored on Facebook or, but a printed book is still more tangible and attractive for viewing your precious memories.
new year resolutions

Even if you have lots of low-resolution photos,  on your smart phone for instance, they can still be published in a photo book. In the U.S., stores like Wallgreens and Costco have fairly easy online ways to layout and order printed photo books.

6. Budget Your Money

If you're not doing a good job of keeping track of your finances and budgeting your money, sign up for a free account. Allowing Mint to download your financial accounts is one of the best ways to monitor and budget your spending. It's like the old envelope budgeting system, but it's all digital.
new year resolutions

7. Cook New Meals

If your typical dinner meals are becoming a little stale, subscribe to one or more online recipe sites, and commit to cooking at least 5-10 new dinners next year.
new year
I use the Paprika iPhone app to download recipes and keep track of favorite meals.

8. Cancel Subscriptions

Go through your email client and unsubscribe to newsletters and social website notifications you haven't been responding to. Reducing email clutter can reduce the amount of time you spend reading and managing emails, and thus help you make time for other things.

9. Automate Computer Tasks

If you haven't been using automation workflows and keyboard shortcuts, you're probably not being as productive on your computer as you could be. There are ways to automate tasks on a PCMac , and Ubuntuwithout knowing a single word of code. There are even ways to automate online tasks, using tools like ifttt. Make a goal of creating a few automation hacks. Once you do a few, you'll no doubt want to do more.
new year's resolutions

10. No Computer Day

Choose one day a week in which you avoid getting on the computer. As much as the computer is a part of our daily routine, it can cause us to become detached from other important responsibilities and social interactions. I try to avoid getting my computer either on Saturday or Sunday, unless it's related to work.
Well, these are my ten recommendations. What are yours? Start today and make a list of the tech related tasks you need to get done.


We are all Intellectual Prostitutes!

A very thought provoking piece…Must Read

 "We are intellectual prostitutes."

The Man Who Came to Dinner
John Swinton, the doyen of the New York press corps, upon his retirement , made the following speech:

 "There is no such thing, at this stage of the world's history in America, as an independent press. You know it and I know it. There is not one of you who dare write your honest opinions, and if you did, you know beforehand that it would never appear in print. I am paid weekly for keeping my honest opinions out of the paper I am connected with. Others of you are paid similar salaries for similar things, and any of you who would be foolish as to write honest opinions would be out on the streets looking for another job. If I allowed my honest opinions to appear in one issue of my papers, before twenty four hours, my occupation would be gone. The business of the journalist is to destroy the truth, to lie outright, to pervert, to vilify, fawn at the feet of Mammon, and to sell his country and his race for his daily bread. You know it and I know it, and what folly is this toasting of an independent press? We are the jumping jacks, they pull the strings and we dance. Our talents, our possibilities and our lives are all the property of other men. We are intellectual prostitutes."

I do understand that you have to eat like all of us and therefore must keep your mouth shut. You are Jewish and so am I. (Sephardic).

For the sake of truth, I will give you here another side to the Libyan story. Just imagine a country where there is no electricity bill. Electricity is free to all its citizens. There is no interest on loans, banks were state owned and loans given at zero percent interest by law. Having a home was considered a human right. All newlyweds received US$ 50 000 from the govt to buy their first apartment and to help them start a family. Education and medical treatments were free. Before Qaddafi, 25 % of the population were literate. Today this figure is 83 percent. Should Libyans want to take up farming, they would receive land, a farmhouse, equipments, seeds and livestock to kick start their operation, absolutely free of charge. If citizens could not find the education or medical facilities they needed, the govt would fund them to go abroad, free of charge, and would get some US$2,300 per month for accommodation and car allowance. Cars were government subsidized to the tune of 50%. Fuel prices were $0.14 per litter. The country had no external debt and its reserves amounted to some $170 billion, now frozen globally plus some 27 tons of gold, which the new regime found safely in the National Bank. Any graduate unable to find a job would get the average salary for the profession, as if he/she was employed, until employment found. A portion of oil sales were credited once a year to every citizen bank account. A mother who gave birth, immediately got some $5000. Forty loaves of bread cost $0.15. 25% of citizens have a university degree. An immense project bringing water from aquifers in the south made it available all over the country, free of charge.

 That is what that "tyrant" Qaddafi gave to his people. There are some 150 tribes in Libya and a strong hand was necessary if the country was to remain in one piece. Every citizen was in possession of a military weapon. Qaddafi was not frightened of his own people. The so called rebels who took over, so we are told, would not have lasted a few days without NATO air power, British and French commandos and thousands of mercenaries. Those are the winners.

 Now another Karzai has been installed in Tripoli, and the country can be plundered at the victors' whim and fancy. It takes $1 to extract a barrel of Libyan oil and today's price is over $100. Total the French company has already grabbed some 30% of the Libyan state oil company. BP is starting exploration. And of course massive contracts for the reconstruction of Libya will be handed over to US and European companies. Of the sovereign fund, only some 1.2 billion have been released out of the $170 billion. With the state of the European economy, I doubt very much if Libya will see the rest any time soon. Now Libyans are free as you say, but as Janice Joplin used to say, freedom is just another word for nothing else to lose, as Libyan queueing for funds at their bank's door are finding out. Qaddafi is gone and so are the perks. What will be left is a terrible civil war. The price of democracy!

"It is the joyous jiggling dance Americans do -USA! USA!- when their government slaughters someone illegally. It is primitive, but it is positively Libyan". Wrong. It is positively American! Just saw a movie on the training of the US Army before going to Iraq. Soldiers running and singing:"Kill the women! Kill the children! "Then we are shown the results when civilians are gunned down in the streets by those braves. All on film. When they come back home, realising what they have done, they just commit suicide! These are ordinary Sunday soldiers with families.

We can hide the truth with prison sentences, but the truth will eventually come through, and unfortunately for us we cannot plug the dyke any longer.

No lite cedere!

Happy new Year All My Readers!


A. When Mary, later Queen of Scots, went to France as a young girl (for education & survival), Louis, King of France , learned that she loved the Scot game "golf." So he had the first golf course outside of Scotland built for her enjoyment. To make sure she was properly chaperoned (and guarded) while she played, Louis hired cadets from a military school to accompany her. Mary liked this a lot and when she returned to Scotland (not a very good idea in the long run), she took the practice with her. In French, the word cadet is pronounced 'ca-day' and the Scots changed it into "caddie."

New Year’s Resolutions for Kids

New Year’s Eve is almost here, and with that brings the famed New Year’s resolutions.  Adults everywhere are reflecting on the past year and looking ahead to the next, finding places where they can improve their lives.  Parents often make big plans to change habits and behaviors with this fresh start, and these plans often include their children.  Here are a few New Year’s Resolutions you could work with your child to make.
Keep my belongings organized – The first thing that parents need to recognize about this resolution is that it very likely means something very different to your child.  Children typically have unique ways of keeping things organized.  This frequently stirs friction between child and parent because mom and dad might believe “organized” means that everything is folded, put away neatly and out of sight, while their child might consider things organized if he can find his underwear in the morning.  This is a great opportunity for parents to connect with their child.  Sitting down and discussing the differences between your view of organization and theirs can actually help a child if it is done though positive conversation.  Giving him freedom in this area can go a long way in helping him discover what his organization style is.  If there are rules in common areas, parents should be clear about those, but should also allow their child to control how he organizes his own space. This will help him learn to keep it all together.
Drink water with every meal. Most people do not drink enough water; this is true for adults and children.  Telling a child she cannot have soft drinks or juices anymore will cause aggravation in the child and will only work to make her sneak them elsewhere.  By setting the rule that everyone drinks water with each meal, this healthy liquid is introduced without the ban on other drinks altogether.
Practice the sport, art or activity of their choice for 30 min every day.  Everyone has hobbies or skills they want to improve.  Children often beg parents for lessons to learn to play piano or be in basketball, but after the first few weeks of lessons, the excitement fades when they learn they have to practice.  Parents can help their children set the goal to practice by finding their own new skill to work on. This way parents and children can work in unison to improve themselves in at least one way.
I will talk to one new person every week at school.  This is a great resolution for the child that has a hard time making friends and connections.  It can seem like a leap of faith for a timid child to make new friends, which is why it is so important to start with just one conversation.  Maybe only one in every five conversations end in some kind of friendship, but then in a little over a months’ time your child will have a new friend and be confident enough to make more.
I will try one new food a week.   Children tend to eat the same foods every week.  This is due in part to the fact that these foods are easy to make and because parents are tired of fighting with their children to eat new and more healthy foods.   This approach addresses the problem in steps.  It does not require the child eat entire meals that he hates, just one new food a week.  Make the new food three or four times during the week so that he gets a chance to try just one bite a few times.  Parents should try to make the experience fun and set a good example by eating the food alongside him.
I will help one person every day without being asked.  Generosity is a character trait most people believe is absent in children these days.  Parents can inspire the development of this habit by encouraging their children to find one person to help or to do one helpful activity each day without being asked to do it.  Keep a chart of these activities and praise the big-heartedness that it brings. Try to avoid “rewarding” these activities with material positions because part of generosity is not expecting anything in return.  Instead give rewards with kind words and gratitude.
Change is best done with someone else.  If parents want to encourage their child to make these transformations, the best way to do so is to make the changes along with their child.  Find one or two small changes that you and your child can work together to make, then connect and talk about the successes and the challenges of altering this habit every week.  If you do, then by this time next year both you and your child will be healthier, happier and more connected to each other.

Source: (

Saturday, December 29, 2012

NINE Amazing Facts About The Earth

The Earth Is Not Round 

 Earth Is The Only Planet With Plate Tectonics 

Scientists believe the Earth is made up of 7 major plates of “crust,” 
which move in different directions up to 4 inches per year. 
When they crash into each other, the theory goes, 
mountains are born; where they pull apart we have valleys. 
On the scary side these also cause earthquakes and volcanoes. 
The good news is that all this activity allows for carbon 
 -- essential to our very existence -- 
to be recycled and replenished, allowing life as we know it to continue.
 Earth Had a Twin Planet Called Theia 

Scientists now believe that we were once not alone in our orbit around the Sun – 
we had a “twin” planet we call Theia, 
which was the size of Mars and was 
60 degrees either in front or behind our Big Blue Ball. 
One afternoon, about 4.533 billion years ago, Theia crashed into the Earth; 
most of the planet was absorbed, but a large chunk blew off and 
combined with materials from our planet to create the Moon. 
Why do we think this? 
It's because our Moon is unusually large for a planet of our size and 
has metallic isotopes similar to those on Earth. 
 The Mysterious Moon's (Almost) Perfect Orbit 
Speaking of the Moon (and that is its official name) one thing is for sure: 
It is NOT made of cheese. 
Aside from that, there are some things we don't know. 
For example, the lunar centre is 6,000 feet closer to the Earth, 
which should cause its orbit to be more wobbly/erratic, 
yet it is almost perfectly circular. 
The Moon is covered in a dust that strangely smells like gunpowder, 
even though they are completely different materials. 
Also, while there is no “dark side” of the moon, 
 the Earth's gravitational force has caused the Moon to slow down 
so it rotates just once during a 24-hour period 
(referred to as "synchronous rotation") 
- that's why only one side faces us. 
In addition, it's quite an incredible coincidence that the 
Sun happens to be both 400 times bigger than the Moon and also 
400 times farther away from Earth, making them appear the same size in the sky. 

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Tips on Saving Money at the Grocery Store

As prices continue to climb for milk and meat and other food items it becomes harder and harder to make ends meet at the grocery store.  There are things you can do to reduce the amount of money you are spending at the grocery store without having to limit what you are eating.  These 30 bloggers have put together some helpful tips for saving money when food shopping.
If someone walked up to you and handed you a dollar or if you found one on the floor would you just walk away or would you take it?  That’s what it’s like when you don’t use coupons.  You are leaving money on the table.  Why not save yourself some money.  These five bloggers can get you started.
Buying in Bulk
Grocery stores often give a discount if you buy the family pack of meat.  If you buy your dried food from the bulk food aisle you might also save money because you will only buy what you need.  These five blog posts will explain how buying in bulk can save you money.
Grocery Lists
By creating a grocery list and sticking to it when you do your shopping you are less likely to over spend on impulse buys.  The stores are set up in a way to get you to buy things you may not need.  Check out these five blog entries regarding shopping with a grocery list.
Store Card
By using a store discount card you can save a lot of money.  Some stores even create savings especially for you based on your buying habits.  Others will save you money on your gasoline in addition to your food bill.  Look at these five blog posts to find out more.
Shopping Seasonally
When buying the foods that are in season you will not only save money, but you will get the food when it tastes the best and is the best for you.  If a food is in season it can be purchased locally and the price will reflect it by not including the price of transporting it from South America.  See what these five bloggers are saying about seasonal shopping.
Store Ads
Store ads will vary depending on where you live, but if you have several stores near you it’s a good idea to check all of the ads before heading out for a major shopping trip.  Use the ads to help you plan your menus for the week so that you can take advantage of what is on sale.  See other tips to save money by using ads in these five blog posts.

Source:  (

Best Pasta Recipes

Pasta dishes are comforting no matter what time of year, but during cooler months they are particularly tasty.  Pasta can go into many different types of dishes from an all vegetarian dish to a cold salad.  These 30 blogs have a wide range of recipes that you might like to try.  It’s pasta, what could be wrong with that?
Fixing one vegetarian meal a week is often a good way to reduce the amount of red meat and fats that you consume.  A pasta dish is a simple way to go when trying to slip a vegetarian dish by your family because they won’t miss the meat.  These five blog entries have some delicious options
These meaty recipes are as simple to make as they are to eat, comfort food for the soul.  Try them for yourself and see what reactions you get from your family as they dive into a plate of hearty pasta.
White meat chicken is a healthy option for dinner and works well with all different kinds of pasta.  These five blog posts will share with you recipes for chicken and pasta recipes that will have your mouth watering.
The convenient thing about baked pasta dishes is that they can be made ahead and frozen and then baked off when you need them or they can just be made earlier in the day and they will sit waiting in the refrigerator until you are ready to bake them.  These dishes allow you the freedom to bake dinner when you are ready.
Crock Pot
Pasta cooked in the crock pot?  Yes, it can be done without much fuss.  You can come home after work or play and dive into a hot pasta dinner.  Add a salad and some bread and dinner is on the table in no time flat.
Pasta salads are common fare at picnics in the summer, but you can easily make them for potlucks throughout the year.  These salads can be served pretty much at room temperature during the cool winter months without worry of spoilage.  In the summer make sure that mayonnaise based salads are kept cold.


How to View and Delete Your Location History on Facebook

By  Nancy Messieh, If you have the Facebook mobile app installed on your phone, chances are it’s storing a lot more of your location hi...