Wednesday, February 28, 2007

HPV Infection Is Common in U.S. Women

CDC Study: More Than 1 in 4 U.S. Women Aged 14-59 Has HPV Infection

Human papillomavirus is common among U.S. women, especially those in their early 20s, says the CDC. Human papillomavirus (HPV) is America's most common sexually transmitted infection. HPV infection typically clears within two years, and most infected people don't realize they have the virus. However, some strains of HPV can cause cervical, anal, and other genital cancers, note the CDC's Eileen Dunne, MD, MPH, and colleagues.
Dunne's team calculated the total number of U.S. women aged 14-59 with HPV infection from 2003 to 2004. More than one in four U.S. women in that age range -- nearly 27% -- had HPV infection. That equals nearly 25 million U.S. women, according to the CDC. About 3 million had any of the four HPV strains targeted by Gardasil, a vaccine designed to prevent cervical cancer and genital warts, the CDC estimates.

HPV Infection in Young Women
HPV infection was most common among women aged 20-24. Nearly half of the women in that age group (49%) had HPV infection. A third of women aged 14-24 had HPV infection. That's nearly 7.5 million -- far more than previous estimates that 4.6 million women in that age range had HPV. Older women were less likely to have HPV infection, the study shows. Data came from 1,921 women who submitted self-collected vaginal swabs for a national health study conducted from 2003 to 2004. The findings appear in The Journal of the American Medical Association.

Vaccine's Impact
The data was gathered before Gardasil became available. Gardasil's debut may change HPV prevalence, note journal editorialists Susan Weller, PhD, and Lawrence Stanberry, MD, PhD, of the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. They recommend tracking HPV prevalence over time, in part, to see how Gardasil affects the number of women with HPV strains targeted by the vaccine.

EDITORIAL: Can we extrapolate that many young American girls are SLUTS?!? Maybe, maybe not. Although the CDC didn't mention statistics for married and unmarried women, other studies would support the fact that unmarried women in the 14-20 group are the highest demographic in the STI infected population. Teenagers and twenty-somethings think they can be promiscuous and there are no consequences. TV, magazines and the Internet advertise sex, sex sex -- without any thought of responsibility. STIs are the body's way of telling us that we are NOT meant to have multiple sexual partners in a free-for-all environment. This is yet another example of American society reaping what it has sewn.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Painkiller Risk: High Blood Pressure

Study Shows Pain Drugs in Your Medicine Cabinet Carry Risk of High Blood Pressure /
The most widely used medicines in the world -- over-the-counter pain drugs -- raise a person's risk of high blood pressure. It's true for men as well as for women, suggest new findings from Gary C. Curhan, MD, ScD, and colleagues at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston. The drugs in question include:
* NSAIDs such as ibuprofen (brand names include Advil and Motrin) and naproxen (brand names include Aleve and Naprosyn)
* Acetaminophen (brand names include Tylenol)
* Aspirin
"Even though these medications can be bought without a prescription, you have to think twice before taking them," Curhan tells WebMD. Curhan's team studied more than 16,000 male health professionals who did not already have high blood pressure. Their average age was 65.
Four years after entering the study, nearly 2,000 of the men had developed high blood pressure. High blood pressure -- called "the silent killer" by the American Heart Association -- can lead to stroke, heart attack, heart failure, or kidney failure.

More Blood Pressure Risk With Daily Painkillers
The study found that, compared with men who did not use pain relievers, the risk of high blood pressure:
* Went up 38% in men who took NSAIDs six or seven days a week.
* Went up 34% in men who took acetaminophen six or seven days a week.
* Went up 26% in men who took aspirin six or seven days a week.
That doesn't sound like a lot. But since the drugs are so widely used, the impact is huge. Curhan estimates that a 65-year-old man has a 3% annual risk of high blood pressure. With daily painkiller use, that risk becomes 4% a year. That 1% difference seems small, but it multiplies over time. Over just four years, a man's 12% risk of high blood pressure becomes 16%.
The findings aren't a total surprise, says Steven Nissen, MD, chairman of the Cleveland Clinic's department of cardiovascular medicine and president of the American College of Cardiology. "There has been a suspicion that all of these analgesics -- even a so-called safe analgesic like acetaminophen -- can raise blood pressure," Nissen tells WebMD. He notes that the design of the study does not definitively prove that these drugs raise the risk of high blood pressure. Only a full-scale clinical trial can do that. But Nissen says it's "probably true" that acetaminophen and other common painkillers raise blood pressure.

'Over-the-Counter' Doesn't Mean 'Safe'
Nissen warns that just because you can buy a drug without a prescription doesn't mean it's safe.
"Some of the most risky medications out there you can buy over the counter," he says. For some people, the drugs' risks outweigh their benefits. For others, the benefits still far outweigh the risks. "This doesn't mean you should never take these drugs," Curhan says. "But if you are taking them long term, it is important to talk to your health care provider to see if there are alternative ways of preventing your symptoms."
Curhan and colleagues report their findings in the Feb. 26 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

GMA Dove Awards Nominations Announced

Nominations were announced yesterday for the 38th Annual GMA Dove Awards by the Gospel Music Association (GMA).
While newcomers led the field alongside established artists, several producers and songwriters also earned multiple nominations. The Dove Awards is Christian/Gospel music’s biggest night of the year, where top artists from every style of gospel music come together for a night of music and celebration as the GMA bestows the industry’s highest honour - the Dove Award.
This year’s nominations were announced at the Renaissance Nashville Hotel by Flow RecordsJuanita Bynum, Reunion RecordsBrian Littrell and comedian Thor Ramsey. Dove awards will be handed out on 25 April, 2007 at the Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville.
2006’s Dove Award Artist of the Year Chris Tomlin once again leads the field of artists with nine nominations as Jars of Clay makes a return with six nods. Southern gospel artists The Crabb Family earns five nominations, while newcomers Aaron Shust and Leeland each garnered five nominations. Other multiple nominees include Casting Crowns, Stellar Kart, and Israel Houghton with four nominations each.
It’s always fascinating to see which artists GMA members believe to be the best in Christian/Gospel music,” said John W. Styll, president and CEO of the GMA.
“This year, like in others, established artists like Chris Tomlin, Jars of Clay and The Crabb Family have been recognised for their continued excellence while Aaron Shust, Leeland and Stellar Kart reflect a new wave of vibrant young artists beginning to make their impact in the gospel music community. ‘Vibrant’ and ‘excellent’ are also great descriptions for what promises to be an engaging, entertaining and inspiring Dove Awards show, filled with performances that will reflect all the great diversity that is gospel and Christian music.”

Top nominees Tomlin and Jars of Clay are up for Artist of the Year along with The Crabb Family, Stellar Kart, Casting Crowns, TobyMac and Third Day, with ties in voting yielding seven nominees in this category instead of the usual five. Leeland and Shust are joined by DecembeRadio, Pocket Full Of Rocks and Ayiesha Woods in the New Artist of the Year category. Group of the Year nomination honours go to BarlowGirl, Casting Crowns, David Crowder Band, Jars of Clay and MercyMe.
Dove Awards will be handed out in 43 categories, one more than in previous years as Christmas Album of the Year was added as a new category for 2007. The Songwriter of the Year nominees were not announced yesterday, but will be revealed prior to the GMA Dove Awards. Dove Awards nominations go to recordings released during the eligibility year 1 November, 2005 through 31 October, 2006 and voted on by the members of the GMA.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Report: Sexual Images Psychologically Damaging Young Girls

Sexualized images in the media are psychologically damaging young girls and corrupting childhood, according to a group of psychologists. The report says that virtually all media forms are promoting inappropriate images of products such as toys and clothing that are harmful to girls’ self image and healthy development. It specifically criticizes Bratz dolls (the prostitots of the toy world), which come dressed in miniskirts and fishnet stockings and outsell Barbie dolls in Britain by two to one. Asda (a British megastore) has been condemned for marketing black lacy underwear to nine-year-olds.
The American Psychological Association’s (APA) report says that marketing companies take advantage of youngsters’ desire for affection and the need to conform, leading to eating disorders, low self-esteem and depression. Academics believe that the influence and attitudes of parents, siblings, and friends can also add to the pressures of sexualization.
Eileen Zurbriggen, the APA’s chairman, said: “The consequences of the sexualization of girls in media are likely to be a negative influence on girls’ healthy development. We have ample evidence to conclude that sexualization has negative effects in a variety of domains, including cognitive functioning, physical and mental health, and healthy sexual development.” The report says that parents can play a role in contributing to the sexualization of their daughters or can play a protective and educative role.

Source: FOX
"As a society, we need to replace all of these sexualized images with ones showing girls in positive settings - ones that show the uniqueness and competence of girls," states Dr. Zurbriggen. "The goal should be to deliver messages to all adolescents - boys and girls - that lead to healthy sexual development."

EDITORIAL: I've been saying this for YEARS! Sexualization of our children is harmful to them. It's unfortunate, but it happens almost everywhere. Even Wal-Mart (and other retailers) sell panties for 9-year olds, with sayings like, "Eye Candy" or "Sweet Tart" on them. That's disgusting!
With all of the freely available porn on the net (including child pornography), it's no wonder child sexual abuse is on the rise. The Cooey's of this world get their sick rocks off by abusing little girls who are driven towards being sexually enticing at younger and younger ages. The circle is vicious -- and children are ALWAYS the ones who lose.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Can Earth Dodge Asteroid Heading This Way?

This One is Uncomfortably Close, Scientists Warn, and Some Wonder if It Needs to Be Deflected
Circle your calendar. April 13th, 2036 could be a really, really bad day on planet Earth. A group of astronauts and engineers warns that an asteroid may pass uncomfortably close to Earth that day. The chances it will actually hit are just one in 45,000, but even at those odds, the scientists warn, the United Nations should consider a response.
Potential Threat
The scientists met this past weekend in San Francisco to discuss the potential threats asteroids pose to the Earth and what can be done to prevent a possible collision. Most feared is Apophis, a large asteroid that will pass within 10,000 miles of Earth around 2029 and even closer in 2036.
Dr. Dan Barry, a retired astronaut, told ABC News, "Even if the probability is low of an asteroid hitting earth, if it has the potential to have a significant impact then it has to be looked at. It is the absolutely responsible thing to do. In fact, it would irresponsible not to do so." Barry said more research is needed so that when a potentially dangerous asteroid is found, there is a plan in place. He said it is therefore important to start the search for asteroids now, to allow enough time to effectively deal with them.
Scientists believe that if advance warnings of dangerous asteroids like Apophis can be made decades in advance, there will be enough time to try and knock them off course. Suddenly, Bruce Willis on a mission to stop a devastating asteroid from destroying Earth, as he did in the movie "Armageddon," does not seem as far-fetched.
What Are The Solutions?
Nobody knows for sure what it would take to push a massive asteroid off its course, but the theoretical possibilities include detonating weapons on an asteroid's surface or using a gravitational pull to alter a possible collision course. But it could also break an asteroid into many pieces, all still headed toward Earth. Some scientists say a better option could be to launch a large satellite to rendezvous with an asteroid. The mass of the satellite alone could produce a gravitational pull to change the asteroid's course. Another suggestion is to crash a spacecraft into an asteroid in the hopes of changing its direction. "Done far enough away, only a small deflection would be needed and it is kept in one piece," said Barry.
In 1996, NEAR became the first spacecraft launched by NASA to orbit and land on an asteroid. The purpose of the mission was to determine the asteroid's mass, structure, gravity and magnetic field. Scientists hoped to gather this important information to help them understand asteroids. So while astronauts blowing up an asteroid may be movie fiction for now, scientists are already thinking about how to save Earth from a massive asteroid possibly on its way.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

"Cellular Telephone" Bills Pose Potential Problems

Bills aimed at thwarting "driving while cellular" and "driving while distracted" behavior have been introduced in several states, and most are worded broadly enough to proscribe Amateur Radio mobile operation. ARRL Regulatory Information Specialist Dan Henderson, N1ND, so far has catalogued 10 active pieces of legislation. Bills introduced in Montana and New Mexico have been sidelined for now, but related measures -- more than one in some states -- remain alive in Georgia, Oregon, Texas, Vermont, Washington and Wyoming. Henderson reports that ARRL Field Organization volunteers and members called the League's attention to the various pieces of pending legislation, none of which specifically exempt Amateur Radio mobile operation. "In most cases we try to work to have language exempting Amateur Radio inserted into the bill, rather than narrowing by definition the behavior or activity the bill seeks to address," Henderson explains. "It is a far easier approach and removes ambiguity down the road."
Henderson says that, if requested, the League will advise radio amateurs preparing to testify about a bill before a state legislative committee. "We offer some suggestions regarding what to cover and how to approach their testimony," he said. "We also will speak with legislators or their aides to try and clarify questions or help them craft language that help accomplish our goal of specifically exempting Amateur Radio operation from these measures." Most of the measures include exceptions for emergency communication.
In Georgia, House Bill 5 (HB 5) would assess those anyone found to be "driving while distracted" while using a wireless communication device one driver's license infraction point. The bill defines "device" to cover not only cellular or mobile telephones -- whether or not they're hands-free, but any "wireless communication device, personal digital assistant, radio or citizens band radio." HB 5 thus appears to include such routine activities as changing the station on your car radio.
In Montana, House Bill 233 (HB 233) would restrict drivers from "the use of electronic communication devices, or any other activity that causes the driver to become inattentive." This bill was tabled in committee on January 30th, following a hearing a few days earlier.
In New Mexico, House Bill 241 (HB 241) would prohibit a driver from using "a mobile communication device while operating a motor vehicle." The measure has been tabled.
Three related bills now are in play in Oregon: House Bill 2482 (HB 2482) and Senate Bill 293 (SB 293) contain essentially the same language, making it an offense to operate a motor vehicle "while using a mobile communication device" without a hands-free accessory. Senate Bill 246 (SB 246) establishes such behavior as an offense, punishable by a fine of up to $180 and providing more serious consequences if property damage, injury or death result -- up to and including license suspension and prison terms.
In Texas, Senate Bill 154 (SB 154) would prohibit motor vehicle operators to use a "wireless communication device" while under way unless it was equipped for hands-free operation.
In Vermont, two measures are in play. House Bill 31 (HB 31) would make it a violation to use a "cellular telephone" while in motion on the highway, except in the event of an emergency. Enforcement would be secondary, however, and police would have to have first stopped the driver for a suspected violation of another traffic offense. A more-restrictive bill, HB 126, addresses "distracted driving," and cites "any activity involving the use of one or both of the driver's hands if the activity is not necessary for the operation of the vehicle or any of its installed accessories." The bill would include activities ranging from smoking, eating or drinking to "performing personal grooming," "interacting with pets or unsecured cargo" and "using personal communications technologies." Hands-free cell phone operation would be permissible, however.
In Washington, House Bill 1214 (HB 1214) would outlaw such activities as "reading, manually writing or sending a message on an electronic wireless communications device." The measure does not include an exception for hands-free devices.
In Wyoming, two nearly identical measures are alive. The more general legislation, House Bill 152 (HB 152) addresses using "a cellular or satellite telephone while operating a motor vehicle" without a hands-free device. House Bill 284 (HB 284) contains essentially identical language but specifies drivers operating under an "intermediate permit." Both incorporate an exemption for Citizens Band, but not for Amateur Radio operation.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Technology History - Microsoft Goes Public

Microsoft's IPO opened on the stock market on February 14, 1986 -- 21 years ago, today. The asking price of the IPO was $21.00 per share. At that time, the Microsoft Corporation was making much of its revenue on Macintosh software, BASIC language interpreters, and the PC operating system MS-DOS. Does anyone remember "edlin"?
After the IPO, Microsoft began a tremendous run; earning large increases in revenue over the next two decades. By 2003, a $2,100 investment at the 1986 IPO offering price was worth $1.5 million.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Internet Explorer Multiple Vulnerabilities

TITLE: Internet Explorer Multiple Vulnerabilities
CRITICAL: Highly critical
IMPACT: System access
WHERE: From remote
Microsoft Internet Explorer 6.x
Microsoft Internet Explorer 7.x
Some vulnerabilities have been reported in Internet Explorer, which can be exploited by malicious people to compromise a user's system.
1) An error within the instantiation of COM objects (Imjpcksid.dll and Imjpskdic.dll) not intended to be instantiated in Internet Explorer can be exploited to cause a memory corruption.
2) Another error within the instantiation of COM objects (Msb1fren.dll, Htmlmm.ocx, and Blnmgrps.dll) not intended to be instantiated in Internet Explorer can be exploited to cause a memory corruption.
3) An error within the parsing of FTP server responses can be exploited to cause a memory corruption via a specially crafted response sent to the FTP client in Internet Explorer.
Successful exploitation of the vulnerabilities allows execution of arbitrary code.
SOLUTION: Apply patches.
Internet Explorer 6 for Windows XP SP2
Internet Explorer 7 for Windows XP SP2

1) Reported by the vendor.
2) The vendor credits H D Moore, BreakingPoint Systems.
3) The vendor credits iDefense Labs.


EDITORIAL: The revolution in Internet browsing, Microsoft's secure browser, Internet Explorer 7 is... a flop. Just a few months after the much-heralded release of IE7, we find that it's just as full of holes as IE6. The Trustworthy Computing initiative hasn't worked. Internet Explorer is still a huge problem for network security admins around the world.

Gmail Finally Really Open to Everyone

Nearly three years after Gmail was first released, the free Web-based e-mail from Google is being opened up for anyone in the world. Beginning Wednesday, everyone and their mother can sign up instead of having to get an invite from a Gmail-using friend. Google has been phasing out the invitation restriction geographically, with total general availability offered in Europe last week and in North America, South America and Asia this week. The service is still in beta test mode, however.

Many people thought Google's ad-based searchable e-mail service with an unheard-of gigabyte of free storage was an April Fool's Day joke when it was announced on April 1, 2004. Privacy advocates and others objected to Google serving up ads based on the content of the messages. Making Gmail accounts available only by invitation, and thus a scarce commodity, increased their allure and led to auctions of invites on eBay. Later, rival Web-based e-mail services followed with full search functions, vast amounts of storage and ads.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Archaeological Remains Point To Exact Location Of Second Temple Of Jerusalem

Source: ScienceDaily
While scholars have put forth various assessments for the location of the Second Temple in Jerusalem, a Hebrew University of Jerusalem professor says that archaeological remains that have so far been ignored by scholars point to the exact location, which is in a spot that differs from prevailing opinion.

Drawing (Temple 1) shows Prof. Patrich's description of the
location of the Temple compound (the rectangle defined by a
solid line in the center of the drawing).
(Drawing by Leen Ritmeyer)

The location identified by Prof. Joseph Patrich of the Hebrew University Institute of Archaeology places the Temple and its corresponding courtyards, chambers and gates in a more southeasterly and diagonal frame of reference than have earlier scholars.
In spotting the Temple in this way, Patrich concludes that the rock, over which the Dome of the Rock mosque was built in the 7th century [A.D.] is outside the confines of the Temple. The rock is considered by Moslems to be the spot from which Muhammad ascended to heaven and for Jews the place at which the binding of Isaac took place.
Patrich bases his proposal on a study of a large underground cistern on the Temple Mount that was mapped by British engineer Sir Charles Wilson in 1866 on behalf of the Palestine Exploration Fund. The giant cistern, 4.5 meters wide and 54 meters long, lay near the southeastern corner of the upper platform of theTemple Mount. It had a southeasterly orientation with branches extending north and south.
Examining the location and configuration of the cistern together with descriptions of the daily rite in the Temple and its surroundings found in the Mishna (the Rabbinic Oral Tradition compiled in the 3rd century [A.D]), Patrich has demonstrated that this cistern is the only one found on the Temple Mount that can tie in with the Mishna text describing elements involved in the daily purification and sacrifical duties carried out by the priests on the altar in the Temple courtyard. On this basis, he says, one can "reconstruct" the placement of the laver (a large basin) that was used by the priests for their ritual washing, with the water being drawn by a waterwheel mechanism from the cistern. After this purification, the priests ascended the nearby ramp to the sacrificial altar. By thus locating the laver, the water wheel, the ramp and the altar, one can then finally map, again in coordination with the Mishna, the alignment of the Temple itself and its gates and chambers.
All of these considerations have led Patrich to come up with a diagram of the Temple and its surroundings that place the Temple further to the east and south than earlier thought and at a southeasterly angle relative to the eastern wall of the Temple Mount, and not perpendicular to it as earlier assumed. It is this placement which also leaves the Dome of the Rock outside of the Temple confines (see drawing).
Prof. Patrich stressed that his research concerning the location of the Temple is strictly academic in nature, and that political connotations should not be attributed to it. [See WorldNewsDaily for another article, with more pictures and drawings.]

Note: This story has been adapted from a news release issued by The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Experts Offer Free Back Pain Advice February 15th

Hotline focuses on preventing, easing pain in middle age
(HealthDay News) -- Baby boomers plagued by back pain can get free, expert advice from a national hotline on Thursday, February 15, sponsored by the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA).
During hotline hours, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST, physical therapists will be available to answer callers' questions about injury prevention, exercise and ways to prevent back pain. The toll-free number is 1-877-633-3278. Back pain is a common complaint among middle-aged Americans as they deal with hectic daily schedules, increasingly demanding jobs, and caring for children, grandchildren and aging parents.
Boomers, who account for a quarter of the U.S. population, tend to have more active lifestyles than previous generations. "Baby boomers are as active as they were when they were younger, but now they're living with chronic low back pain or osteoarthritis. These conditions as well as others can benefit greatly from physical therapy intervention," Jennifer Gamboa, a private practice physical therapist in Arlington, Va., said in a prepared statement. "Frequently, patients may unknowingly exacerbate their (back) pain by exercising improperly or by having poor posture," and physical therapists can help identify and correct those behaviors, Gamboa said.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Technology History - Compaq Computer Corporation

Three former Texas Instruments managers founded Compaq Computer Corporation in February, 1982. Rod Canion, Jim Harris and Bill Murto sketched their first product on a paper place mat in a Houston pie shop. That idea lead to a portable personal computer (the Compaq I Portable) able to run all of the software being developed for the IBM PC.
Compaq enjoyed a magnificent run through the 1980s and 1990s. As the price wars heated up during the early 21st century, Compaq fell on hard times. Hewlett-Packard acquired Compaq in May, 2002.

History of the Compaq Computer Corporation
  • 1982: February - Compaq Computer Corporation is founded by Rod Canion, Jim Harris, and Bill Murto, all former senior managers of Texas Instruments who were unhappy with how TI was running its computer business and they thought they could do a better job.
  • 1982: November - Compaq Computer introduces the Compaq Portable PC.
  • 1983: March - Compaq Computer begins shipping the Compaq Portable PC.
  • 1983: October - Compaq Computer introduces the Portable Plus.
  • 1983: December - Compaq Computer makes its first public stock offering, raising US$67 million.
  • 1986: February - Compaq Computer introduces the Compaq Portable II.
  • 1986: April - Compaq Computer joins the Fortune 500 list faster than any company in history.
  • 1986: April - Compaq Computer ships its 500,000th personal computer.
  • 1986: September - Compaq Computer introduces the first 16-MHz Intel 80386-based PC, the Compaq Deskpro 386.
  • 1987: October - Compaq Computer introduces the Compaq Deskpro 386/20.
  • 1987: October - Compaq Computer introduces the 20-MHz Compaq Portable 386.
  • 1987: November - Compaq Computer makes its 1 millionth personal computer.
  • 1988: February - Compaq Computer reports sales for the year reach US$1.2 billion, setting the record as the fastest company to reach that mark.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

10 Things You Shouldn't Buy New

As a follow-up to yesterday's post, I am including Liz Weston's MSN Money article that provides advice on the other end of the consumer sprectrum - 10 Things You Shouldn't Buy New. Again, here is the list of items (in no particular order):

  1. Books
  2. DVDs & CDs
  3. Little kids' toys
  4. Jewelry
  5. Sports equipment
  6. Timeshares
  7. Cars
  8. Software & console games
  9. Office furniture
  10. Hand tools
As with the previous list, Weston includes exceptions and valuable advice on when buying new is actually better. Again, I have a minor objection to some of the advice Liz offers readers.
As someone who has used hand tools for every ounce I could get out of them, I would disagree that buying used hand tools is a smart choice. By the time many of them make it to the flea market or pawn shop, they are completely worn out. As with some other items, it's also nice to have a warranty on hand tools. We all know things break -- that's why we need many of our hand tools in the first place.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

10 Things You Should Never Buy Used

MSN Money's Liz Pulliam Weston has written an informative, concise article detailing ten things you should never buy used. Rather than quote the entire article, here is the short list and a link the Liz's piece:

  1. Laptops
  2. Car seats
  3. Plasma TVs
  4. DVD Players
  5. Vacuum cleaners
  6. Camcorders
  7. Shoes
  8. Mattresses
  9. Wetsuits
  10. Helmets
BTW, the list is no particular order. It's well worth your time to read the list and heed its advice. The only minor objection I have with Liz's advice is in the category of laptops. I purchased a pre-owned laptop and know others who have done the same. You can reload the OS and programs on a laptop and make it "like new" again. Also, there are plenty of excellent diagnostic products on the market that will tell you, in a flash, whether the hardware is working properly (or not).

Monday, February 05, 2007

The World's Most Expensive MP3 Player

Trekstor isn't shy about the price of it's MP3 players. In fact, they even bragged about it at a recent tech show. The Trekstor i.Beat organix Gold is a 2Gb MP3 player -- with the shell made of 18k yellow gold.
TrekStor received an order from Russian-Canadian billionaire and owner of the Midland Formula 1 team, Alex Shnaider, to develop the world's most expensive MP3 player. This unique, custom-made device was created based on TrekStor's i.Beat organix, winner of 14 accolades.
The casing of the organix is cast in 750 gold (18 karat) and adorned with 63 diamonds (one-karat). The player is also embellished with a small chain that includes aquamarine gems. Jewelers Wenthe in Mannheim/Germany put over 100 hours of pains-taking handiwork into the exquisite gadget. The Trekstor website offers this marketing piece:

i.Beat organix FM golden – a shade of luxury for every man
Following the incredible hype associated with the i.Beat organix Gold, the magnificent EUR 20,000
(~$25,895.00US) jewelry item in 750 gold, TrekStor is now offering a gold colored variant for smaller purses. The i.Beat organix FM golden not only captivates through its conspicuous gold colored UV lacquer and small decorative chain, but also through its exceptionally high capacity rechargeable battery (up to 25 hours playing time) and outstanding sound quality. It includes an integrated radio, an organic display, a second headphone jack, a recording function for dictating and an integrated line in jack. Together with its rechargeable lithium polymer battery, the i.Beat organix FM golden weighs just 40 grams. The power pack is charged via the high speed USB 2.0 interface. The player is delivered with two pairs of Sennheiser headphones and available with one or two gigabytes storage capacity.
Now, that is an MP3 player. WOW!

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day

River Thames (C) 2000, Peter Marshall. Used with permission.Source:
There is nothing particularly special about this photograph of the water board intake on the River Thames, except that it was made without a lens. Taken on 35mm film, it makes a decent although slightly soft 6"x4" print. Photographers viewing this might comment on the fact that the painted iron work just inches from the camera and the distant houses are almost equally sharp.
Pinhole cameras were known long before photography, and still have a certain interest, not least because of the sharpness in depth they provide. A pinhole doesn't focus an image, so objects at different distances are more or less equally sharp.
April 29, 2007 is this years Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day, so you have plenty of time to prepare for it. It's a simple event to take part in - all you need to do is to register on the site, take a photograph on that day and upload it to the web site. You can see the pictures taken in previous years from 2001-2006 in the gallery on the site. Why not put one of yours there this year?
If you have a camera - film or digital - which takes interchangeable lenses, taking pinhole images could not be more simple. The feature Simple Pinhole tells you all you need to know to take pinhole pictures with any interchangeable lens camera. If you don't have a suitable camera, it is easy to make your own, and you find links to helpful sites in the Pinhole Photography section.