More on BP Oil Leak Cleanup

Kevin Costner  says he has the solution that will save the Gulf of Mexico from BP’s ruinous oil catastrophe. He’s not kidding. Watch him talk about this machine that, according to him, extracts 97% of oil from the water.

Costner has been funding this project for 15 years (and invested at least 20 million dollars!), which was spearheaded by his brother. They have a model that processes 200 gallons of water per minute. I don’t know how if it will work in open waters, but it won’t hurt to try. And if it works, let’s build a navy of these things now.

 

Here’s the company:

There is a problem though:
This is well intentioned, but would require huge quantities of these devices and/or much larger ones.

Here is why:
MATH
The most heavy duty of these prototypes is said to handle 200 gallons a minute.
200 / 42 = 4.76 barrels per minute.
It is estimated that 50,000 barrels a day, or 2,100,000 gals per day (34.7 barrels per min), is being leaked.

Apparently BP has already ordered 32 of these. They’ll have to get a whole lot more.

Let’s hope they work.

More on Cloud Storage, Backup, Synchronization and Sharing Using Dropbox, Livesync and now Office Live.

I have written previously about cloud storage and backup solutions and how to use those to synchronize data between your many systems at different locations on differing platforms. Most cloud storage and synchronization services can synchronize between differing operating systems too! You can share and access files from Windows, OS X, Linux and even Smartphones. With this post I’d like to just add update some information on how you can use Windows Live services (OfficeLive, and Skydrive) and Dropbox.

1st. OfficeLive.

There have been some exciting recent announcements regarding Microsoft’s cloud storage and synchronization services that have made their offering even more compelling than ever. If you’ve read my previous post (link above) you already know I am a fan of SkyDrive. You can use SkyDrive to upload, store and share photos, documents and data both privately and publicly -  it offers a whopping 25GB of free cloud storage and it integrates nicely with Office 2010. You can use this free service on both a Windows PC and a Mac computer.

Microsoft’s Office Web Application is now live on SkyDrive! It’s called Office Live. You can access Microsoft’s Office web version on your browser.

Office Live now provides for access to Microsoft’s Office suite of applications even if you don’t have MS Office installed on the system you are on! If you just use the Office Live portion you get a default 5GB of storage, but by using your SkyDrive account you get the full 25GB of storage.

While Goolge Docs has allowed for the sharing and publishing of individual documents to the web for a long time, Office Live(and SkyDrive) and Dropbox provide for true sharing of folders with individual, groups or the public. With Office Live you can create a truly amazing collaborative workspaces. Check out this video!

Instead of going through a long and detailed walk through I’ve put together a bunch of links and videos that YOU can go through. Suffice it to say I believe you should use at least one of these services to backup or synchronize your data across the ‘cloud’.

Here is a good how to on SkyDrive

And another.

You can get started with Office Live here.

Here are some very good Office Live and SkyDrive Links. I would highly recommend spending a few hours and going over these. The future of data storage and retrieval is tightly integrated to web services and the ‘cloud’.  Here are some links:

01, 02, 03, 04, 05, If you do a search for Office Live or SkyDrive you should find many more.

2nd. Dropbox.

I have also found this service highly useful for sharing files with other people with whom I am working.
What is Dropbox?
Dropbox  is a “cloud computing” Web2.0 file hosting service offering both free and paid services. The free version offers 2GB of “shared storage”. The difference between SkyDrive/OfficeLive and Dropbox is that Dropbox requires software to be installed onto your system. Something I am not always fond of but this does work well.

Dropbox is file hosting service which enable users to synchronize files and folders between computers across the internet.
This is done by installing a software and then picking a “shared folder” on your computer. From that moment on, that folder will be synced with any computer you choose to install the software on (for example, your home/work computer, your laptop – and so on).

DropBox also enables users to share some of their folders with other DropBox users. This seamless integration of the service with your OS file system (Windows, Mac or Linux) is what’s making this service so comfortable, by allowing me to work with co-workers and have the same “project tree” of folders, all of which are always synced.
You could also share a file “online”, by getting a link to it which you could share with others.

While I will always believe in ‘hard storage’ especially for highly sensitive and personal information you should also look into ‘cloud storage’. You should always have a rocks solid local backup solution but collaboration and the ability to have your information available nearly everywhere is invaluable. If not to store and backup your data, at least for it’s huge collaborative possibilities. That is what I primarily use it for.

I really hope some of you will use this information to make your life, and possibly jobs easier and more productive. As we head into the second decade of the 21st century it’s exciting to see how we can have our information available nearly everywhere and be able to usefully share that information with anyone in the world.

Speed Up Windows 7 with ReadyBoost and Removable Drives

When your PC and especially a netbook goes low on memory (RAM), it is bound to slow down. It does try to get that extra memory from the hard disk, but that hardly enhances the overall performance.
Most netbooks ship with 1Gb of Ram, and many older netbooks shipped with even less.  Even if you want to add more ram, often they can only be upgraded to a max of 2GB.  With ReadyBoost in Windows 7, it’s easy to boost your system’s performance with flash memory.  If your netbook has an SD card slot, you can insert a memory card into it and just leave it there to always boost your netbook’s memory; otherwise, you can use a standard USB flash drive the same way. Also, you can use ReadyBoost on any desktop or laptop with Windows Vista or Windows 7; ones with limited memory will see the most performance increase from using it.

ReadyBoost is a feature in Windows which helps it make use of the flash memory of an external USB flash drive when it needs it. It can speed up PC when RAM goes over limit, and also works with multiple devices in Windows 7.  You may even notice better battery life when multitasking with ReadyBoost, as it lets you use your hard drive less.

So how much should you use? Microsoft recommends, “a 1:1 ratio of Flash to system memory at the low end and as high as 2.5:1 flash to system memory.” So if you have 4GB of RAM, you should pair it with at least a 4GB USB drive, but a 16GB USB stick would be overkill.

Here’s a step by step process to use this feature.

Insert an SD card into your card reader, or connect a USB flash drive to a USB port on your computer.  Windows should automatically ( via AutoPlay) see if your flash memory is ReadyBoost capable, and if so, you can directly choose to speed up your computer with ReadyBoost.

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If you don’t see that as an option, you may still be in luck.
Open Windows Explorer or My Computer and try configuring ReadyBoost by right-clicking the device in Windows Explorer, clicking Properties, and then clicking the ReadyBoost tab. The only configuration option is to configure the space reserved for the cache.

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Click Ok, and Windows will setup ReadyBoost and start using it to speed up your computer.  It will automatically use ReadyBoost whenever the card is connected to the computer.

You should choose at least 256MB. But according to Microsoft, for Windows 7 your flash drive should have at least 1 GB free space. For best results you should use flash drive with double the amount of RAM space available in your computer.

You can also click on the option “Dedicate this device to Readyboost”. This option will use maximum available space on the external media for Readyboost process.

If you need to remove your drive to use elsewhere, simply eject as normal. Windows will inform you that the drive is currently being used.  Make sure you have closed any programs or files you had open from the drive, and then press Continue to stop ReadyBoost and eject your drive.

If you remove the drive without ejecting it, the ReadyBoost file may still remain on the drive.  You can delete this to save space on the drive, and the cache will be recreated when you use ReadyBoost next time.

Worried about someone pulling out your USB stick and walking away with the files you’ve been working on for months? Don’t be. Information on ReadyBoost drives or disks is safe from casual hackers. All files on removable drives are encrypted with Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) 128.  In any case, while ReadyBoost stores data and programs as files, and not as raw data, you can’t access these files as if the USB stick was a normal drive.

Here is a short video from MS

Something to consider;

Unfortunately, not all SD and CF cards, or even USB flash drives, work with ReadyBoost. While some storage media advertise that they’re “enhanced for Windows ReadyBoost,” they may not actually be ReadyBoost worthy.

Here is a good list from NewEgg. One of my favorite technology sources.

If you have a netbook or laptop this can do a lot for your performance. I hope this helps.

Windows Live Writer WordPress 500 Internal Server Error

This problem cropped up and recently and really got me pissed.

I absolutely LOVE Windows Live Writer. If you post often to sites or blogs this is probably the best tool I’ve found for easy posting, short of a full fledged website/content management application or system [Dreamweaver, SharePoint or the like]. I will post much more in the future on all you can do with this application or you can just ‘Google’ your time away and look for tips.

But.
Basically what happed when I used Windows Live Writer to upload my blog post to one of my websites that has a WordPress installation I then got the error message with the xmlrpc.php:

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So I set out to find the solution with the best support tool around – Google

I tried this:
http://affiliate-minder.com/wordpresstutorials/livewriter-500-server-error-xmlrpc/
and this:
http://www.codedifferent.com/2009/01/12/solution-for-500-internal-server-error-after-upgrading-to-wordpress-27-at-1and1-server/
and this:
http://www.mindtweaks.com/wordpress/?p=233
and this:
http://ardentdev.com/fix-for-wordpress-xmlrpc-500-internal-server-error/
and this:
http://wordpress.org/tags/500-internal-server-error/page/2
and this:
http://www.43things.com/things/view/425695/find-out-why-xmlrpcphp-isnt-working-on-my-wordpress-blog
and a whole bunch of others.

I messed with php files, ini’s, mysql tables, and on and on.

NONE WORKED!

Then I found a site that suggested something silly:

“disable/deactivate all your plug-ins, try uploading and see what happens.”

Well dang if that didn’t work!!

I then just re-activated my plug-ins and all was good.

Maybe some of you might use this info one day.

Real Credit Score Answers

Identity theft is all over the TV adds, and internet these days. Making it seem as if everyone will be a victim whereby they lose all their money and have their credit completely ruined.

Truth is this will probably NOT happen to the vast majority of people EVER! Heck, my own brother had his messed up by an illegal alien not 20miles from his home – and the police could do nothing but tell him to ‘start watching’ his credit more and put fraud alerts on his accounts! It does happen, just not that often and the results can usually be resolved fairly easily – not quickly but easily.

Don’t get me wrong you should still be careful.

But remember your bank and credit card company already have some pretty strict identity theft protections in place already–they’re the ones who usually wind up footing the bill, after all. But beyond that there are some pretty simple steps that you can take yourself, such as getting your annual credit report, regularly checking your bank statements for odd charges.

But please don’t get suckered into things like ‘LifeLock’.

This March, LifeLock had to settle with the Federal Trade Commission for $12 million amidst charges that they were lying about what their services could do, mainly because they were. According to the chairman of the FTC, Jon Leibowitz, LifeLock’s protection "left enough holes that you could drive a truck through it,"

The sort of thing LifeLock protects you from is mainly people opening up new credit accounts, which is only 17 percent of existing identity theft. If someone used your identity to get medical care, a new job or even if they just took your credit card for a joyride, you wouldn’t hear a thing until the bank showed up to repossess your new car that you didn’t know you bought.

I admit, your credit score determines some rather important factors in your life, such as how easily you can get a loan, or buy a house. But it is not all that mystical and flowing. And it is very easy to get your current status and learn how to clean up your credit by yourself.

There are hundreds of companies offering to ‘give’ you a ‘free credit report’ if you sign up for their monthly service – usually at an incredibly high right (average of $15/mo).

The amazing thing is, you can get your credit report completely free at AnnualCreditReport.com. You can do this once a year, which may not sound like much, but your credit score really doesn’t change very rapidly. Right Here:

https://www.annualcreditreport.com/cra/index

This central site allows you to request a free credit file disclosure, commonly called a credit report, once every 12 months from each of the nationwide consumer credit reporting companies: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.

Here is what they are about:

https://www.annualcreditreport.com/cra/helpabout

Ok let’s start.

Select your state and start the process. I am going to show most of the process and explain where you should take care to open the reports in a separate window for printing so you won’t ‘lose your place’ on the original web site.

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Then ‘Right Click’ on Print your report and choose ‘open in new window’ and then print out the report!

Close the print window and don’t leave this page yet!

Now go up to the ‘Return to AnnualCreditReport.com’ link at the top of the page to do the same for the other two agencies.

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Right-click on the ‘View and Print Your Online Report’ button and choose ‘Open in New Window’

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Note there are two items to print here.

Click on the Print This Page and another window will pop up you can then print it out.

Then click on Print Report and print out the entire report page that pops up.

Once again:

clip_image024Please Note! Click on Return to: AnnualCreditReport.com to get your remaining Free Report(s)

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You may get this:

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I did.

So I right-clicked on ‘by phone or mail’ and got this:

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Right-click on ‘the link ‘request form’ and choose ‘save file as’ or ‘save target as’ depending on your browser.

Save the form and print it out and fill it out and mail it

· Print and complete the form

· Mail the completed form to:
Annual Credit Report Request Service
P.O. Box 105281
Atlanta, GA 30348-5281

The you should get this window:

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I hope this helps some of you. Keep safe out there.

Peace.

Another Adobe Security Failure

With recent reports showing that Adobe Flash combined with Acrobat are the largest vectors for malicious software in the last year this news is not good. PDF attacks alone actually accounted for 49% of all web based security issues last year!

Adobe’s reporting a flaw in some (read just about all!) versions of Flash and Acrobat that could allow bad people to remotely control your computer.

From Adobe’s site:

“A critical  vulnerability exists in Adobe Flash Player 10.0.45.2 and earlier versions for Windows, Macintosh, Linux and Solaris operating systems, and the authplay.dll component that ships with Adobe Reader and Acrobat 9.x for Windows, Macintosh and UNIX operating systems. This vulnerability (CVE-2010-1297) could cause a crash and potentially allow an attacker to take control of the affected system. There are reports that this vulnerability is being actively exploited in the wild against both Adobe Flash Player, and Adobe Reader and Acrobat. This advisory will be updated once a schedule has been determined for releasing a fix.”

Flash 10.1 release candidate isn’t vulnerable – as far as anyone can tell now.
Get it here:

http://labs.adobe.com/downloads/flashplayer10.html#flashplayer10

Just choose your OS version, download and install.

Remember people keep your systems and applications up to date.