Friday, March 30, 2012

What happens in an internet minute?

Thursday, March 29, 2012

15 Things You Should Give Up To Be Happy

Here is a list of 15 things which, if you give up on them, will make your life a lot easier and much, much happier. We hold on to so many things that cause us a great deal of pain, stress and suffering – and instead of letting them all go, instead of allowing ourselves to be stress free and happy – we cling on to them. Not anymore. Starting today we will give up on all those things that no longer serve us, and we will embrace change. Ready? Here we go:
1. Give up your need to always be right.There are so many of us who can’t stand the idea of being wrong – wanting to always be right – even at the risk of ending great relationships or causing a great deal of stress and pain, for us and for others. It’s just not worth it. Whenever you feel the ‘urgent’ need to jump into a fight over who is right and who is wrong, ask yourself this question: “Would I rather be right, or would I rather be kind?” Wayne Dyer. What difference will that make? Is your ego really that big?

2. Give up your need for control. 
Be willing to give up your need to always control everything that happens to you and around you – situations, events, people, etc. Whether they are loved ones, coworkers, or just strangers you meet on the street – just allow them to be. Allow everything and everyone to be just as they are and you will see how much better will that make you feel.
“By letting it go it all gets done. The world is won by those who let it go. But when you try and try. The world is beyond winning.” Lao Tzu
3. Give up on blame. Give up on your need to blame others for what you have or don’t have, for what you feel or don’t feel. Stop giving your powers away and start taking responsibility for your life.
4. Give up your self-defeating self-talk. Oh my. How many people are hurting themselves because of their negative, polluted and repetitive self-defeating mindset? Don’t believe everything that your mind is telling you – especially if it’s negative and self-defeating. You are better than that.
“The mind is a superb instrument if used rightly. Used wrongly, however, it becomes very destructive.” Eckhart Tolle
5. Give up your limiting beliefs about what you can or cannot do, about what is possible or impossible. From now on, you are no longer going to allow your limiting beliefs to keep you stuck in the wrong place. Spread your wings and fly!
“A belief is not an idea held by the mind, it is an idea that holds the mind” Elly Roselle
6. Give up complaining. Give up your constant need to complain about those many, many, maaany things – people, situations, events that make you unhappy, sad and depressed. Nobody can make you unhappy, no situation can make you sad or miserable unless you allow it to. It’s not the situation that triggers those feelings in you, but how you choose to look at it. Never underestimate the power of positive thinking.
7. Give up the luxury of criticism. Give up your need to criticize things, events or people that are different than you. We are all different, yet we are all the same. We all want to be happy, we all want to love and be loved and we all want to be understood. We all want something, and something is wished by us all.
8. Give up your need to impress others. Stop trying so hard to be something that you’re not just to make others like you. It doesn’t work this way. The moment you stop trying so hard to be something that you’re not, the moment you take of all your masks, the moment you accept and embrace the real you, you will find people will be drawn to you, effortlessly.
9. Give up your resistance to change. Change is good. Change will help you move from A to B. Change will help you make improvements in your life and also the lives of those around you. Follow your bliss, embrace change – don’t resist it.
“Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors for you where there were only walls” 
Joseph Campbell
10. Give up labels. Stop labeling those things, people or events that you don’t understand as being weird or different and try opening your mind, little by little. Minds only work when open. “The highest form of ignorance is when you reject something you don’t know anything about.” Wayne Dyer
11. Give up on your fears. Fear is just an illusion, it doesn’t exist – you created it. It’s all in your mind. Correct the inside and the outside will fall into place.
“The only fear we have to fear, is fear itself.”
 Franklin D. Roosevelt
12. Give up your excuses. Send them packing and tell them they’re fired. You no longer need them. A lot of times we limit ourselves because of the many excuses we use. Instead of growing and working on improving ourselves and our lives, we get stuck, lying to ourselves, using all kind of excuses – excuses that 99.9% of the time are not even real.
13. Give up the past. I know, I know. It’s hard. Especially when the past looks so much better than the present and the future looks so frightening, but you have to take into consideration the fact that the present moment is all you have and all you will ever have. The past you are now longing for – the past that you are now dreaming about – was ignored by you when it was present. Stop deluding yourself. Be present in everything you do and enjoy life. After all life is a journey not a destination. Have a clear vision for the future, prepare yourself, but always be present in the now.
14. Give up attachment. This is a concept that, for most of us is so hard to grasp and I have to tell you that it was for me too, (it still is) but it’s not something impossible. You get better and better at with time and practice. The moment you detach yourself from all things, (and that doesn’t mean you give up your love for them – because love and attachment have nothing to do with one another,  attachment comes from a place of fear, while love… well, real love is pure, kind, and self less, where there is love there can’t be fear, and because of that, attachment and love cannot coexist) you become so peaceful, so tolerant, so kind, and so serene. You will get to a place where you will be able to understand all things without even trying. A state beyond words.
15. Give up living your life to other people’s expectations. Way too many people are living a life that is not theirs to live. They live their lives according to what others think is best for them, they live their lives according to what their parents think is best for them, to what their friends, their enemies and their teachers, their government and the media think is best for them. They ignore their inner voice, that inner calling. They are so busy with pleasing everybody, with living up to other people’s expectations, that they lose control over their lives. They forget what makes them happy, what they want, what they need….and eventually they forget about themselves.  You have one life – this one right now – you must live it, own it, and especially don’t let other people’s opinions distract you from your path.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Use Your Coffee Cup as a Basic Barometer

Instructables user stickmop shares a trick to tell basic barometric pressure using a hot cup of coffee, tea, or cocoa; when you pour the coffee into the cup watch the bubbles. If they move to the edge of the cup quickly you can expect clear skies for the next 12 hours, if they hang out in the center expect rain in the next 12 hours, and if the bubbles move slowly to the edge you may get a bit of weather, but it will clear soon.

This trick came from a long ago issue of Backpacker Magazine. If you're out camping without an internet connection it may come in handy someday.

5 tips to maintain work-life balance

Here are 5 easy tips that will help you make sure you’ve straighten your priorities in life.
1: Understand your value and your priorities in life
Don’t anchor your sense of personal worth to your workplace success, as many who are just starting out in their careers do. Set realistic goals, priorities and set time estimates to make sure you don’t pursue work at the expense of other areas of life – family, friends, health, and even recreation.
By learning how to manage work before work manages you, you will come out on top. And if you do make mistakes, don’t beat yourself up over it. Everyone makes mistakes; treat each mistake as a worthy learning experience rather than failure. Failing in one thing does not make you a failure in life.
Above all, keep in mind that it’s not how late you stay in the office that matters, but the quality of your work.
2: Manage stress positively
De-stress, not distress. Being too stressed can result in lowered productivity. Rest and good sleep are two important factors that ensure you’re functioning at your most optimum level in the day, whether outside or in the office.
If you find yourself too stressed or anxious in front of the computer, then take a moment away from work to do some exercising, deep-breathing exercises or even watch a short comedy routine. If that doesn’t work, remember that ‘stressed’ is really just ‘desserts’ spelled backwards!
3: Keep moving, stay healthy and avoid substance abuse
A healthy body is the most effective weapon that you can have against the corporate zombie threat. If you haven’t exercised since the olden days of yore, start slow by inserting some form of physical activity into your daily routine like climbing the stairs.
Maintaining a balanced diet is also vital to mental strength. Watch what and when you eat it and choose healthier food options. Remember this mantra when you eat out: less salt, less gravy, more vegetables, and snack on fruits instead of junk food.
Above all, avoid using harmful and addictive substances as a crutch to. These substances may provide temporary relief but plague you for life, robbing you of time, money, and health.
4: Shoot the moon with your friends
Cultivate close, positive relationships with your family and friends with whom you can easily share your happiness or pent-up woes. Not only does sharing ease any burdens or stress you might be facing, you can also get encouragement, words of wisdom or even just feel-good feelings that can give you that much-needed boost to tackle that looming workload at your desk.
5: Plan your finances
The glooming spectre of financial ruin can compel one to work longer and harder. Whether it is to erase credit card debt or maintain that expensive car, money is one of the main factors of undue stress.
Learn how to manage your expenses and understand the distinction between wants and needs. By crafting a long-term financial plan, you can be assured that you do not become a slave to money and therefore, maintain the state of your mental health.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Man Successfully Flies With Custom-Built Bird Wings

  • By  
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  • 6:58 pm |  
  • Categories: Tech
  • Using videogame controllers, an Android phone and custom-built wings, a Dutch engineer named Jarno Smeets has achieved birdlike flight.
    Smeets flew like an albatross, the bird that inspired his winged-man invention, on March 18 at a park in The Hague.
    “I have always dreamed about this. But after 8 months of hard work, research and testing it all payed off,” Smeets said on his YouTube page.
    Smeets got the idea from sketches of a futuristic flying bicycle drawn by his grandfather, who spent much of his life designing the contraption but never actually built it.
    When Smeets began studying engineering at Coventry University in England, he realized the physics of a flying bicycle just didn’t pan out. Instead, he drew inspiration from Leonardo da Vinci’s wing drawings to build his flying machine. Along with neuromechanics expert Bert Otten, Smeets brought his design into reality
    The design is based on mechanics used in robotic prosthetics. The idea is to give his muscles extra strength so they can carry his body weight during the flight.
    Smeets (and his arms) did just that today with the help of a pair of 37-ounce wings made out of fabric, according to a press release.
    Working with the fabric was difficult because it was very fragile, Smeets wrote on his blog. “It’s important to sew the seams carefully, and give the wing shape extra strength without making it too heavy. The top part of the kite will be folded around the ribs to create an aerodynamic shape. For extra lift and control I’ll stretch a piece of kite fabric between the legs, as some sort of tail wing.”
    According to Smeets’ calculations, he needed approximately 2,000 Watts of continuous power to support his roughly 180-pound frame and 40-pound wing pack. His arms could only really provide 5 percent of that, so the rest would have to come from motors. His arms and pecs would basically serve to guide the device and to flap the wings.
    He built his electronic, wireless wing set out of Wii controllers, accelerometers harvested from an HTC Wildfire Android phone and Turnigy motors.
    When he landed after the 60-second flight, he said, “At one moment you see the ground moving away, and then suddenly you’re free, a really intense feeling of freedom. The true feeling of flying. A [bleep] magical moment. The best feeling I have felt in my life.”
    Video: jarnosmeets80/YouTube

    Sunday, March 18, 2012

    Checking Shutter Count of Your PEN

    Extracted the following post for my future reference

    Check out the entire thread:

    Checking shutter count of your PEN
    « on: January 18, 2011, 01:29:29 PM »
    I learn the following method to check the shutter count of my E-P2 from a HK forum:

    It mentioned the info came from a Taiwan forum, mobile01, but I cannot find the source.
    A series of button pressing brings along "engineering mode", first found in E-PL2.
    Users confirmed it worked on E-P2 and E-PL1 as well.
    (No report from E-P1 users so far)

    Translation of the steps:

    1. While holding the "Menu" button, press Power button to switch on

    2. Press "Menu" and go to "Monitor brightness adjustment" screen

    3. Press "Info" and "OK" button at same time, you will see the screen showing "Olympus"

    4. Press the following buttons in the sequence: Up, Down, Left, Right and then press the Shutter, followed by Up (dial button in my E-P2)

    5. Engineering mode page is seen. Press dial button to Page 1, 2, 3, and "D".

    6. Shutter count is on "Page 2" under "R", in my case, shutter counter is 15396

    Enjoy. :)

    Tuesday, March 13, 2012

    7 Simple Ways to Boost Your Mood, Right Now

    Posted by Ali Luke

    We all feel a bit down at times. Perhaps you’ve had a stressful day at work, or you’re juggling a lot of different tasks at home. Maybe your plans haven’t gone as smoothly as you’d hoped, or you’re struggling to find your path in a complex world.
    When you’re feeling low, it’s easy to let your mood get on top of you: by snapping at your partner or kids, or procrastinating on your work, or even turning to drugs or alcohol. There are plenty of simple ways to boost your mood, though – so next time you feel bad, try one of these:

    #1: Walk

    Walking is one of my all-time favorite activities. It combines healthy exercise and fresh air, and it’s almost guaranteed to make me feel better about whatever’s getting me down.
    Even if you just walk around the block, you’ll be getting your blood pumping and your body moving. You’ll put some space between yourself and whatever’s bothering you. Within just a few minutes, you’ll often find that you feel much calmer.

    #2: Laugh

    You might have heard the saying that “Laughter is the best medicine.” You’ve probably experienced this at time when you’ve felt upset or annoyed – a good laugh can instantly make you feel okay again.
    Whether it’s a silly website or a video on YouTube, your kids’ antics or a humorous novel, think of something that’s pretty much guaranteed to make you laugh – and keep it on hand for the next time you need to boost your mood.

    #3: Chat

    Talking to a good friend can make you feel much better, especially if you’re a bit lonely or worried about something. You might not need or want advice on a particular situation – but a sympathetic ear can make things seem much better.
    Don’t be afraid to reach out to people and let them know that you’re struggling.Maybe you feel that you have to put on a strong front for the world – but your friends and family will want to be supportive.

    #4: Write

    One of the best ways to work through worries or other negative feelings is to write about them. The process of writing helps you to clarify and structure your thoughts, and it can be more effective than simply talking about what you’re feeling.
    If you’ve been feeling a bit low over several days or weeks, you might want to keep a journal to help you analyze your mood. This can help you spot patterns (perhaps you feel more positive on some days than on others) and you can also try brainstorming ways to make life happier.

    #5: Shower

    A long, relaxing shower (or a bath) can make a huge difference to your mood. It’s often invigorating, especially if you’re struggling to focus on whatever task’s at hand – and it can be a much-needed chance for some peaceful time alone.
    You might even like to buy some nice shower gel or bath bubbles to save for when you need a pick-me-up. Giving yourself a small treat can help you feel better about things.

    #6: Eat

    If your blood sugar drops too low, you’ll find yourself getting tired and cranky, and struggling to focus. When you’re fighting your way through a long to-do list, you might forget to eat, or end up grabbing something sugary in a hurry – which usually leads to an energy and mood crash.
    A healthy snack or meal can lift your mood instantly. Keep some snacks on hand at work (perhaps oatcakes or fresh fruit) and make sure you’ve got a few simple, healthy, fast recipes on hand for busy evenings.

    #7: Breathe

    This is one of the simplest things you can do, in any circumstances: take a few seconds just to breathe. Concentrate on the breath going in and out of your body. You might want to close your eyes. With each exhale, feel the tension leaving you. As you inhale again, think of the life-giving air that sustains you.
    This is a great technique if you’re stressed out about a difficult task, or if you’re getting angry. It helps you draw your focus away from the rush of the present moment so that you can see things from a broader perspective. Often, you’ll realize what seems vitally important right now won’t even matter in a month’s time.

    Saturday, March 10, 2012

    New iPad vs. iPad 2: Should you upgrade?

    by  on Mar. 10, 2012, under USA Today News

    The cat’s out of the bag about Apple’s newest iPad, but that doesn’t mean that you’ve got all of your questions answered. If you’re a current iPad owner, opting to buy Apple’s newest tablet is an even tougher choice. If you sat out the iPad 2, it’s probably your cue to upgrade to Apple’s third generation tablet, since that original iPad is starting to look downright Jurassic.
    But what if you’ve got an iPad 2 in your lap? In the face of a new set of hot features, does last year’s tablet really cut it? Read on to weigh the options and decide if you should stay the course or if it might be high time to trade in.

    Ultra-crisp Retina display
    The new iPad’s single killer feature is its Retina display. Doubling the pixel count of the iPad 2 up to a very nice 2048 x 1536, the newest iPad offers a sharp, bright screen just like its miniature counterpart, the latest iPhone. The new pixel count is a visually noticeable boost over the last generation iPad, and your eyes will be able to feast on ultra-HD gaming, web browsing, and reading. While the iPad still can’t compete with an E Ink screen when it comes to going easy on the eyes (a backlit display is always going to produce eyestrain), the Retina display’s stunning pixel density should do plenty in the way of making your eyes happier.

    Blazing fast 4G speed
    Beyond the ultra high res screen, the newest iPad is Apple’s first foray into “true” 4G. 4G networks are leagues faster than traditional 3G carrier networks, and the new iPad will be able to hop on Verizon or AT&T’s own flavor of 4G, known as LTE. What does that mean for you? Mobile data speeds will be screaming compared to what you might be used to, making streaming videos and just about anything else when you’re away from Wi-Fi a seamless, speedy experience. On the flipside, more data speed comes with more responsibility — and by that, we really mean massive overage charges. Burning through the pool of data that your carrier portions out to you per month will be easier than ever, so you’ll want to pay close attention, should your hunger for data verge on insatiable.

    Processing power-up with a graphics boost
    Naturally, Apple has upped the power of its newest generation iPad. While the new iPad uses a processor that shares a lot in common with the iPad 2′s dual-core A5 chip, the new A5X should provide some nice oomph where it counts. Since the newest iPad will be stunning all who dare meet its gaze with a pixel-packed Retina display, the A5X’s quad-core graphics chops will translate into a high def gaming experience that should blow the iPad 2 out of the water. Of course, the iPad 2 was no slouch in this department, but the new iPad will venture more toward the cutting edge of tablet tech, putting it on par with high-end quad core gamer’s tablets like the Asus Transformer Prime.

    A camera you’ll actually want to shoot with
    The first iPad didn’t come with any camera at all, and by many accounts, the iPad 2 hardly did either. While its front-facing camera proved adequate for video chatting with FaceTime, the last-gen tablet’s back-facing shooter packed less than one paltry megapixel for still shots. Clearly Apple never intended for people to snap photos with any sort of seriousness on its tablets — until now. Not only does the new iPad up the lens ante to a respectable 5MP with 1080p video recording, but Apple is clearly pushing for a photo-friendly experience, throwing an iOS version of its iPhoto image organization and editing software into the mix. People might not have been wild about tablet photography before, but Apple is clearly positioning the new iPad to create just as much content as it lets you consume.

    The same sleek design, just a sliver larger
    At first glance, the new iPad is almost visually identical to its predecessor. Closer examination shows that the new iPad is a hair thicker (.37-inch vs. .24-inch) and a teensy bit heavier (1.44 lb. vs. 1.33 lb.) — those new features have to fit somewhere, after all. While it may have bulked up a teensy bit, the size difference should be all but negligible in everyday use. If you liked the design of the iPad 2, you’ll be just as pleased with the new iPad’s good looks, but there’s nothing here worth upgrading over.

    A familiar pricing scheme
    With the new iPad, Apple kept the price tag fixed right at a $499 starting point for a Wi-Fi version of the tablet packing 16GB of storage. As expected, the company dropped the last-gen iPad 2′s pricing by $100, making it something of a steal if you’re not under the Retina display’s siren song. That said, with a vastly improved display and a respectable camera at long last, Apple’s packed quite a bit of quality and value into that $499 starting price.

    Verdict: Worth an upgrade?
    Ultimately, if you’re eyeing an upgrade, there are really just a couple of killer features to consider. The newest iPad didn’t go back to the drawing board by any means, but it did toss a trio of important features into the mix. If the Retina display alone moved you enough to upgrade, we certainly couldn’t blame you — especially if e-reading and gaming take up a lot of your tablet time. And if you’re a genuine speed freak when it comes to zipping along on mobile data networks, 4G is going to be too sweet to pass up.
    Beyond that, the new iPad’s considerably less laughable camera coupled with the new iPhoto app will likely entice mobile photogs to take a long, hard, HD look at Apple’s latest offering. But if none of the tablet types strike a chord with you, the iPad 2 might still be up to snuff — and with its recent price drop, it’s a strong contender for the best tablet priced anywhere near $399.
    Copyright © 2010 USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Co. Inc.

    Tuesday, March 6, 2012

    10 tips for avoiding IT burnout

    By Brien Posey

    Takeaway: If your job is driving you to the breaking point, it’s time to look at a few ways to ease the stress. Here are some strategies to help you prevent a bad case of burnout.
    IT pros know all too well that the long hours and deadline-driven stress of the job can take its toll. If left unchecked, excessive stress can lead to burnout. Fortunately, there are some things that you can do to avoid IT burn out. Not all of the following suggestions are going to be practical for everyone, but some may help. Here are the techniques that have worked for me.

    1: Take time off whenever you can

    It’s common for people working in certain IT positions to go for months without a day off. All those long nights and weekends can really run you into the ground after a while. One of the best ways to fight the inevitable fatigue is to take full advantage of your vacation days.
    Over the years, I have had people tell me that taking a vacation is completely irresponsible and that it’s something no true professional should ever do. However, I completely disagree. I have found that for me, there is no better way to recharge my batteries than to take time off.
    I realize that this isn’t an option for everyone. But if possible, try taking a really long vacation. I don’t even start to unwind until about a week into my vacation.

    2: Identify stressful tasks

    Another way to avoid IT burnout is to identify your most stressful tasks. Oftentimes, one or two things make a job far more stressful than it would otherwise be. If you can identify the things that cause you the most stress, you might be able to find a way to reduce that stress. For instance, maybe you can delegate those particular tasks to someone else. Or perhaps you can set aside a certain time each week for dealing with the most stressful tasks so you don’t have to worry about them for the rest of the week.

    3: Unplug at the end of the day

    Unplugging at night helps me relieve IT stress. Although there are some exceptions, I try not to check my email after 11:00 PM. That way, by the time I go to bed at 2:00, my mind has had time to relax and I don’t end up going to bed thinking about work.

    4: Blow off some steam

    I have heard various people say that one good way to relieve stress and avoid burnout is to have a hobby. While I agree with that general concept, I have found that not just any hobby will do. Some hobbies are better at taking your mind off work than others. For instance, I used to play golf, but the people I played with always seemed to talk about work. Today, a couple of my favorite hobbies are racing my Cigarette boat and flying RC helicopters. Both of those activities require total concentration, which makes it impossible to think about work.

    5: Eat well and exercise

    As strange as it sounds, a proper diet and exercise can help you to avoid burnout. Anyone who has ever had a fast food hangover can attest to the fact that people generally feel better when they eat right, and feeling good can go a long way toward helping you to make it through the day.

    6: Socialize

    When was the last time you got together with your friends or family? Regularly taking a little time out and socializing a bit might help you to forget about work for a while.

    7: Develop an escape plan

    If your working conditions seem completely intolerable, take some time to determine what it would take to make your situation more palatable. Maybe avoiding certain people would help. Maybe it’s time for a different job. Once you have figured out what would make your situation better, the next step is to come up with a realistic plan for achieving that objective. It might not always be easy to change your situation, and it probably won’t happen overnight. But where there is a will there is a way.

    8: Get plenty of sleep

    Given all the demands that are placed on us, it can be tough to get enough sleep. Even so,getting plenty of rest is essential to avoiding burnout. When I am well rested, I’m a lot less edgy and I think more clearly, which ultimately translates to doing better work in less time. It isn’t usually possible for me to get enough sleep during the week, so I make it a habit to sleep for most of the day on Sundays. I have found that resting on Sunday makes me better able to cope with Monday morning.

    9: Cross train

    Sometimes, what really leads to burnout is doing the same job day in and day out. If you are bored to tears with your job, why not start a cross-training program with some other IT staff members? That way, everybody gets a break from the normal day-to-day routine, and the organization ultimately benefits from the diversification of skills.

    10: Learn to say no

    This might be the most difficult suggestion of all, but sometimes you just have to say no to projects. This is especially true if you are already working nights and weekends just to complete the tasks that have already been assigned to you. Remember, there are only so many hours in a day.