Friday, May 23, 2008

Technology History: Ethernet LAN

The first Ethernet LAN data packet was transmitted at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center on May 23, 1973. Bob Metcalf and David Boggs were the inventors of the networking technology that would eventually be used on the vast majority of local area networks in the world. For three years they worked to refine and improve their invention. By 1976, their experimental network was connecting 100 devices.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Six Gas-Saving Myths

Article provided by
Sure you want to save gas, but there's a lot of bad advice on how to do it. Some of it makes no difference, and some of it can wind up costing you. With gasoline prices hitting record levels, it seems everyone has a tip on how to save fuel. Much of the advice is well-intentioned, but in the end, much of it won't lower your gas bill. Here's a look at a few misconceptions:

#1. Fill Your Tank in the Morning
You may have heard that it's best to fill your gas tank in the early morning while the fuel is cold. The theory goes that fluids are more dense at lower temperatures, so a gallon of cold gas actually has more gas molecules than a gallon of warmer gas.

But the temperature of the gasoline as it comes out of the nozzle varies little during the course of the day, according to Consumer Reports, so there's little, if any, benefit, to getting up early to pump gas.

#2. Change Your Air Filter
Maintaining your car is important, but a clean air filter isn't going to save you any gas. Modern engines have computer sensors that automatically adjust the fuel-air mixture as an increasingly clogged air filter chokes off the engine's air supply.

While engine power will decrease slightly as the air filter becomes clogged, a lack of performance or an increase in fuel consumption will be negligible, Consumer Reports says.

#3. Use Premium Fuel
With prices already over $4.00 a gallon, premium gasoline is a hard sell these days. But a lot of drivers think because their owners' manual recommends premium, they'll get better fuel economy if they stick with it. Really, they're paying more money for nothing.

Even cars for which premium is recommended won't suffer with regular fuel. Modern engine technology comes to the rescue again. When sensors detect regular instead of premium fuel, the system automatically adjusts spark plug timing. The result is a slight reduction in peak horsepower - really, you'll never notice - but no reduction in fuel economy.

#4. Pump Up Your Tires
Proper tire inflation is important for a number of reasons. Under-inflated tires are bad for handling and can even cause a crash. Improper tire inflation also causes tires to wear out faster and to heat up more, which could trigger a dangerous high-speed blow-out. According to on-the-road driving tests by both Consumer Reports and auto information site, underinflated tires reduce fuel economy, so proper inflation is key.

But you should never over-inflate your tires. They'll get you slightly better fuel economy because there will be less tread touching the road, reducing friction. But that means less grip for braking and turning. The added risk of a crash isn't worth the extra mile a gallon you might gain.

#5. To A/C or Not A/C
There's no question air-conditioning makes extra work for the engine, increasing fuel use. But car air conditioners are much more efficient today than they used to be. In around-town driving, using the A/C will drop fuel economy by about a mile a gallon. Meanwhile, driving at higher speeds with the windows down greatly increases aerodynamic drag. As speed increases, drag becomes more of an issue, making A/C use the more efficient choice at high speeds.

At most speeds and in most vehicles, A/C use drains slightly more fuel than driving with the windows down, contends David Champion, head of auto testing for Consumer Reports. "My final take on is that it's very close," says Phil Reed, consumer advice editor for "It's hard to measure the difference and every vehicle is different."

#6. Bolt-Ons and Pour-Ins
Before you buy a device that's supposed to make your car more fuel-efficient or pour in an allegedly gas-saving additive, ask yourself this: Don't you think oil and car companies aren't doing everything they can to beat their competitors?

If BP could add something to its gasoline that made cars go farther on a gallon, cars would be lining up at the company's pumps. Sure, people would burn their fuel-saving BP gas more slowly, but then they'd drive right past rivals' gas stations to come back to BP for more. BP stations could even charge more for their gas and still sell tons of the stuff.

So if there really was an additive that made gas burn up more slowly, it wouldn't be sold over the Internet one bottle at a time.

"There are a number of these gas-saving devices that are generally useless," says Champion.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

What Does the Average Person Pay For Gas?

As a follow-up to yesterday's post about gas prices and the financial strain it is placing on our family, I wanted to offer some stats on avg driving costs.

The average vehicle gets 23 mpg combined fuel economy. 1
The average miles driven per week is 200. 2
The avg. unleaded regular gas price, over the past year, in the US, has been ~$3.60/gallon. 3

Therefore, the average cost of driving a personal vehicle in America is ~$31.30 per week. The average monthly cost is ~$134.00.

If gas prices were "normal" and we were not being gouged by the oil companies, the price would probably be around $2.30/gallon. Without being screwed, we would likely pay, on average, around $20.00 per week for regular unleaded gasoline. The monthly average would be ~$86.00.

That's $48.00 per month difference in what the average person pays to what he would pay if not for oil company greed. Folks, those numbers add up quick. The annual total difference is $576.00 -- and that's just for cars getting 23mpg and people who drive only 200 miles per week.

If you drive a 15mpg pick-up or SUV an avg. of 300 miles per week, your total added costs is $112.00 per month, or ~$1342.00 per year.

So, what is the answer?

  • Higher mpg?
  • Lower gas prices?
  • Drilling in ANWAR?
  • Tax cuts?
  • Penalties for the oil companies?
  • Human beings conserving?
Leave a comment with your thoughts!


Monday, May 19, 2008

Gas Prices are Hurting the Economy of My Family

Gas prices are hurting the economy of my family. Plain and simple. The greed of the oil companies is causing a financial burden on our family of five. Over the past several months, we have considered several options, as have many others who are in the same situation.

Just so you know how to compare our circumstances to yours, here is a little reposition about us (using good averages from my record keeping). We have two vehicles: a 2004 Pontiac sedan and a 2005 minivan. The '04 gets 25mpg; the '05 van gets 21mpg. Our daily commute to/from work is 55 miles for one of us and 60 for the other. We have two kids who are involved in extra-curricular activities, so there are always added miles at least three days per week. And we attend church on Sunday -- 45 mile round trip at least once; most Sundays, twice. On average, we fill up both vehicles with fuel every five days. Using today's gas price of $3.65/gal in our area, the avg. fill-up costs $60 for the '04 and $65 for the '05. Our total fuel costs per month avg $750-$800 (inclusive of extra driving, etc).

Here are a few of those considerations, what I've done about them and the results of that action or research:

  1. Drive less
  2. Tune-up vehicles
  3. Buy a motorcycle & park my car
  4. Trade in both vehicles for more fuel efficient models
Drive less:
We started doubling up on trips to the grocery store, Wal-Mart and the like two years ago. We never run to any store for anything that costs less than $10.00. It's not a scientific fact, but the closest area with various stores and services is 20 miles round trip from our home in the country. I figured that needing anything less than twice what it costs to drive to the store is not worth going to get.

2. Tune-up vehicles: Both vehicles have new spark plugs, fresh oil, K&N filters and properly inflated tires. The fuel filters are regularly checked, as are the air filters, etc. We figure we're getting 2-3mpg savings by keeping the vehicles tuned -- and using the K&N filters.

3. Buy a motorcycle & park my car: I thought about it. Have you? Just for kicks, I went over to RoadTripAmerica's Fuel Cost Calculator and figured the difference between driving my car and riding a 50mpg motorcycle.
The results were not as satisfying as I had hoped for. On avg, I would save around $4.00 per day in fuel costs. Since I work 5 days each week, that avg's out to $80.00 per month in savings. Does anyone know where you can buy a reliable motorcycle AND insurance for $80/mth? Nope, me neither. That would be the break even point. To actually save money, the cost per month would have to be even less.

4. Trade in both vehicles for more fuel efficient models: We're both a little "upside-down" in car value vs. loan payback -- so we can't effectively trade and purchase more fuel efficient vehicles. BTW, part of the drop in value is likely due to the mpg of both vehicles. People are buying smaller cars now -- so large sedans and minivans are taking a hit in value. In order to recoup the difference, we would have to extend our loans, pay a large down payment or much higher monthly payments. All of those options would effectively negate any savings at the pump.

So what are we doing to stave off the crunch in finances?
We pay the gas prices and cut out other things. XM radio and my subscription to are now gone. I guess the next thing to go will be DirectTV -- then the kids' cell phones. I don't know what else to do. We have to work and therefore, are forced to buy gas -- no matter what it costs.

What are YOU doing? Are gas prices significantly hurting your finances?

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Wikipedia Peddles Porn to Kids

Article from
It would be a tall order, but parents around the world may want to make every effort to keep their kids away from, the enormously popular, user-generated online encyclopedia. While doing homework, research for term papers, or for just plain fun, millions of kids visit Wikipedia every day. That's why parents may be alarmed to learn that, as recently exposed by, Wikipedia features hundreds, if not thousands, of hardcore pornographic images and online sex videos, making them easily accessible to children.

Matt Barber, Policy Director for Cultural Issues with Concerned Women for America (CWA), said, "Perhaps Wikipedia should change its name to Pornopedia. Providing clinical images that may assist people in research is one thing, but many of the images and videos featured by Wikipedia are gratuitous and obscene. They're entirely unnecessary and amount to hardcore pornography, plain and simple. These actions by Wiki founder Jimmy Wales and other executives with Wikipedia are reprehensible. By disseminating this obscene material, their misbehavior is no better than that of the sleazy smut peddler at the XXX bookstore down the street. They should be ashamed of themselves. In fact, the Department of Justice (DOJ) should look into whether Wikipedia may be in violation of federal obscenity laws."

"For this reason, we're calling on Wikipedia to either pull the pornography from its Web page, or, as do many other porn sites, place a prominent warning on the home page indicating that it features pornography, and requiring visitors to affirm that they are at least 18 years of age or older before entering
," said Barber. "People may notice that while searching a term using the Google search engine, a Wikipedia link is often the first to pop up. This makes Wikipedia one of the most visited websites on the Internet. With great power comes great responsibility. To willingly, if not intentionally, make pornography a mouse click away for kids is contemptibly low and represents the height of irresponsibility."

"Unfortunately, the federal government's reticence to prosecute violations of federal obscenity laws has created a climate where disseminating hardcore pornography, even to children, is considered 'no big deal.' Perhaps now, knowing that millions of children are being readily exposed to obscenity on, the DOJ will finally step up its efforts," concluded Barber.

Concerned Women for America is the nation's largest public policy women's organization.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Outsourced Tech Support

These days, when you have a problem with computer hardware or software, you place a call to technical support. Most of the time, your call is outsourced to a call center overseas. Take a look at the pictures below... and then read the "punch line". BTW, this is 100% TRUE!

THIS IS INDIA. This is where your tech support call goes when you need help with electronics, computers or software. Doesn't this make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside?

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Dr. Alveda King: Defund Planned Parenthood

Article from
Dr. Alveda King, Pastoral Associate of Priests for Life and niece of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., today said that a new study released by Students for Life of America reinforces the call of black leaders to eliminate federal subsidies to Planned Parenthood.

"It's time to let freedom ring for the babies," said Dr. King. "The Students for Life report on Planned Parenthood's targeting of African Americans for abortion spells out why taxpayers should not be forced to contribute to that organization. The government should not be subsidizing racism, but that's exactly what it's doing through Planned Parenthood."
The study examines programs and incidents dating from Planned Parenthood's founding through the most recent scandal of seven Planned Parenthood chapters' willingness to accept donations for the exclusive purpose of aborting black babies. "Defending human life is part of the civil rights struggle and I and my fellow pro-life African American leaders are not going away," added Dr. King. "We are uniting civil rights and moral rights to fulfill the dream of what my uncle called 'the beloved community.' America needs to know that black leaders do support life. We start where life begins, with the babies, and we will march on until abortion, racism, and all society's ills bow to the truth that we are all one race."

Priests for Life is the nation's largest Catholic pro- life organization dedicated to ending abortion and euthanasia.
For more information, visit