Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Forks over Knives & Sneakers over Recliners

Graduated to a vegetable based diet 5 weeks ago. The benefits are producing much more measurable and visible results now. Energy levels were increased within the first few days, but has taken a few more weeks to experience more profound results. (And yes, I do still cheat a bit; like weekend German pancakes at Ol'South, complete with cream in my coffee.)

The learning curve to changing your diet this dramatically can be a bit steep, but there were a few resources and inspirations which we heavily depended on to make this conversion relatively easy for us.

First I simply watched the "Forks over Knives" documentary via Netflix http://www.forksoverknives.com/ (The health benefits and long-term studies explained in this movie are exceptionally compelling.)

Once I was fully inspired, I turned to the "Engine 2 Diet", (Also discussed in the movie -http://engine2diet.com/) in order to get very specific information as to what I needed to get rid of and throw away, which was currently in the kitchen; and what list of groceries to now take to the store.

Meal plans are now typed out out each week while commuting to work on the train and saved via Google Spreadsheets.  Here is a link to one of the monthly plans:http://goo.gl/oTkwl

Loving it so far! Which is quite the surprise given my status as a BBQ loving, Native Texan! But it truly feels much better to be "plant based" for so many reasons!
Diet and exercise! That's all it takes! :-) But it sure is hard for some folks to change or apply this simple message.

Seems "simple and sedentary" is a determination for a growing number of Americans; rather than conscientious and active. It is so sad when you consider the time that may be lost and the quality of life sacrificed, by not changing habits! :-(

A matter of changing ones lifestyle or literally loosing the life to style. Seems like common sense would take over, but lifestyle addiction and the perceived comforts of "simple and sedentary" seem to be winning instead. :-(

So many need to let go of the "loyalties" they have to both bad ideas and harmful belief sets. I always say, pride is a sneaky sin. It is good to also be reminded that "not being open to change" may be the final, fast approaching legacy for many of those folks finding purpose in making such mantra's the one's they live by.  Not a very impressive thing to be known for...

Such revelations should perhaps also be applied to our economy our leaderships or stewardship our religion and our foreign policies. Smart review of policies have given way perhaps to this culture of consumption rather than production. But I digress, I should have kept it simple.

To much thinking might require new knowledge and action. Yuck!

Not only are daily reminders to stay active and, unlearn how to eat badly, valuable; but much more important, is taking actions towards both goals NOW and each week there after!
So go for it! :-)
Make time to exercise now, or time to be sick later!


Tuesday, March 6, 2012

We Already Survived The End Of The World! :-)

This year sort of served as good, ironic reminder as to just how ridiculous any Mayan centered doomsday prediction are for December 2012, since 2012 is also a leap year!  :-)

The Mayans did not have leap years, since it is a solar calendar, and is 365 days long.  The Mayan calendar we often hear so much about actually would have ended well before the December 21st 2012 date most people associate with "the end". Additionally, the Mayans never believed the world would come to an end at that time. It was simply a very notable point in their calendar system, not a prediction for the end of the world.
The Mayans used a long-count calendar for extremely long periods of time. The concept of leap-years is irrelevant to this calendar system, because it's not based on solar years, simply on math.

You know how we use a base-10 counting system? (10, 100, 1000, 10,000 etc.) The Mayans used a modified base-20 counting system for keeping track of days - the second cycle went up to 18 rather than 20. So they tracked days in cycles of 20, 360, 7200, 144000, 2880000, etc.

We're coming to the end of one of the 144,000 day cycles. Today (March 6, 2012) can be expressed at on the Mayan long-count calendar. This calendar will reach, on December 20, and then turn to on December 21. This happens roughly every 400 years. No big deal.


Monday, March 5, 2012

Controlling Privacy Within Your Googleverse

If news of Google privacy policy changes has made you even more paranoid about the internet and privacy (I would first argue, you probably never should have joined Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace, Twitter, etc., but that's a whole other topic.) ...simply go to the "Google Dashboard" -https://www.google.com/dashboard/ and login to your Google account to review and alter any aspect of Google's roll in your life on the internet.

(If you do not have any form of a personal Google account, a.k.a. YouTube, Picassa, Blogger, Gmail, Docs, Android, Voice, Google+, Latitudes, etc., then the recent News and policy changes, as to how Google is utilizing your info in a different or cumulative manner, is completely moot.)

For those who utilize Google's expansive ecosystems, (even in the cases where you forget a service is a part of Google's always expanding domain,) you will not only see an entire lineage of each and every Google asset you utilize, but you are offered full control over the mannor in which your information is utilized and/or search results and related add content (* the reason everything is FREE!!) are displayed and/or customized for you or NOT.

You will also see sections on:
  • "Set up search alerts for your data"
  • "How to manage your online identity"
  • "How to remove unwanted content"
You can of course reject and/or control access to you data from any 3rd party group Google might have offered access. In sections such as, "Websites authorized to access the account".

Any of these 3rd party sites were only provided initial access to your data, due to some "accept" or "yes" you granted them upon registering to a service or site. But again, you can reject those original permission any time you wish.

The "Search Alerts" section, mentioned above, is particularly cool, since you can ask Google to alert you if your name or private info, (or any custom request) is ever placed on another site to email you immediately. Google is after all scouring every website in the world with an arsenal of more computer systems than any other company in the world possesses.

The "Social Connections and Content" section, does a rather unique job of showing you a few connections on the internet you have through Google you may not have otherwise considered.

I would say the Dashboard is also a great reminder of the exceptional "ecosystem" of tools and service Google offers all of it's users. The tools are in many cases, second to none. And productivity and efficiency is often the name of the game. (Refer to an education focused, blog entry I submitted last year, for more details on just how powerful and useful many of these FREE assets are: "Continued Education Via The Internet" - http://goo.gl/vmAfL )

Keep in mind "paranoia will destroy ya!", so try to worry a bit less about how your potentially being exploited, versus how you are challenging yourself and growing towards more productively exploiting the tools and services available to those willing to explore, learn and take control of technology.

Fear of the unknown is never a good catalyst for feeling the victim. In 99% of the cases involving today's web based services, the control is yours to take. And the opportunities for those who learn to exploit these revolutionary technologies and services is truly endless.

So try to refrain from a mind set of boycotting an exceptional set of tools and services, simply because you can't be trifled with things like knowledge or learning curves. When laziness and/or bad info, equal (=) fear, we all loose.

  Google Accounts
Google Dashboard offers a simple view into the data associated with your Google Account. Designed to offer you transparency and control; Summarizes the data associated with each product you use when s...

The Best In Off-Site / Cloud Based Backup

"CrashPlan" is incredible!
The very best way to backup your memories and data!

Keep in mind, all photos and family videos, as well as letters to friends and family, school work, medical records, important spreadsheet, financials, etc... have all gone digital these days. The years of scrap booking, big file cabinets, family slide show carousels or closet full of 8mm family movies have all evolved and gone digital!

We must therefor find effective, EASY, cost effective methods of backing up these all these irreplaceable memories and resources, or risk loosing them forever. Simply placing a copy in your own home, is not a great "backup" policy. Burned CD's and DVDs do not last the years and years which store bought DVD's provide, so cloud storage is a GREAT choice!

After testing for month the 1/2 a dozen leading, cloud based backup services; "CrashPlan" wins! ...hands down!
For less than $5 a month you can back up an unlimited amount from one system (even a home server, including attached drives or mobile devices.) Mac or PC. Family plans for < $12 a month provide unlimited for 2-10 systems!

In addition you can use the same SIMPLE software for multi-destination backups! Across town, to and from another friends and family, or to addition mirrored local storage. There is no better value or technology offered by any another competitor at the moment!

Students can backup from school to home. Or the whole family can backup to the CrashPlan cloud! (All 448-bit encryption is done on your own machine, BEFORE it leaves your possession; so NO "unlocked" files are EVER stored or even visible on other 3rd party systems, without your password and authorization.)

The performance is also beyond comparison within the Dallas / Ft. Worth area. Maintaining 5+ Mbps uploads to their servers 24/7. (I'm sure this performance varies depending on which data center your are assigned and how close you reside.) This consistant high upload performance, allows my (HUGE) 1.6 Terra Byte, initial, seed backup to complete in just over 4 weeks time. (Most initial "seed" backups will only take days, with all subsequent incremental backups happening seamlessly and instantly.)

In addition, I love taking advantage of their "Backup Sets" prioritization options; in order to fully control which areas of my 1.6 Terra Byte, seed backup, are tackled first. This is particularly useful since I'm relocating my home server in less than 20 days, and wanted to assure certain irreplaceable family video and photo archives are the first to make it to "CrashPlan Central's" off-site data servers. :-)
(Many more impressive specifics on CrashPlan's backup priorities & efficiencies are discussed below in the "Detailed" info.)
More Details on CrashPlan's Unique Backup Methods:
"Like other online backup programs, CrashPlan compresses and encrypts your data before sending it over the Internet. And, like the others, it's constrained by the laws of physics; compression notwithstanding, online backups can in some cases take days or even weeks to complete. But CrashPlan does three unique and interesting things.

First, it gives precedence to files that have changed recently. So, if you're running your first full backup and it takes three days to finish, but in the meantime you make major changes to a document you're writing, CrashPlan almost immediately backs up the new document rather than waiting until the rest of the queue has been processed.

Second, it can store multiple versions of files that have changed, and can optionally do so right after a change takes place, rather than having to scan every file on your disk before each run; you can set the number of minutes that elapse between when the file is saved and when CrashPlan backs it up. This means that, from the moment you begin using CrashPlan, it can archive multiple versions of your most important and actively used files - somewhat like a version-control system - without waiting to run on a fixed schedule.

And third, if a file changes, CrashPlan doesn't make a new copy of the entire file, but copies only the bytes that have actually changed. This means that incremental backups run very quickly and that storage space is minimized - two attributes that are always welcome, but especially so with online backups. As a consequence, if you were to back up, say, the 10 GB disk image you use for Windows XP in Parallels Desktop, you could update it every day without worrying that you'll overwhelm your backup media. In fact, CrashPlan goes a big step further: if more than one computer in your home or office contains a file identical to one you've backed up already, CrashPlan stores just a pointer to the original backup file, not another copy. So you can effectively store much more data in a much smaller space than with other backup solutions."

(The "More Detailed" info above came from a, now out of date, blog article, at Tib Bits: http://tidbits.com/article/8882; However, the info I included above was still correct and relevant as of March, 2012. Crashplan has added several feature since the Feb., 2007 blog article; such as, "restore to folder" options and other features allowing for even more flexibility the original article was suggesting / requesting.)

  Flexible Remote Backup & Online Storage
CrashPlan+ gives you all the protection of CrashPlan, plus the added benefit of secure cloud storage to CrashPlan Central for your personal files.