• Tech

    Technology is No Reason for Murder: A Review on Matthew Pearl’s the Technologist

    Technology  photoTechnology is never a good reason for murder, but Matthew Pearl gives one character a compelling, if not crazy reason, for comitting crimes against humanity in the name of technology in his recent book The Technologists. I recently had the benefit of reading an advanced copy of The Technologists by Matthew Pearl. Though it was the first book I’ve read of Pearl’s, I had been really excited to read it. This was partly because it was an advance copy, and partly because, well it was free, and I get giddy over free stuff, because I’m almost always broke. And let’s face it, who doesn’t get excited about free stuff, because aren’t we all broke?

    The Technologists was one of the free books I got from goodreads.com. It was actually really cool, because it was an advance copy, the cover wasn’t even the actual design, and I received a large notice notifying me I could not actually post a review until after the release date. Not to worry, Random House, I’m such a procrastinator, I didn’t read the book until January, and I am just now writing a review for it. Sorry, that’s just how much I suck. I do promise to do much better in the future.

    But it wasn’t just the cover that I really loved about this book, it was the author as well. I mean, I’m just going to say this as matter of factly as possible: Matthew Pearl knows how to grab a reader. As a writer, and I can hear my Eng 312 professor now, “you are all writers, but once you get paid to do it, you’re an author,” I know that grabbing the reader is one of the most difficult things to do. You can’t just start the reader off with something bland. They want a reason to start reading, and then they need a reason to continue reading. For example, with The Alchemist, my only reason to continue reading that was that it was quick. In The Technologists, Pearl entices the reader so effortlessly, it must be simply second nature to him. Honestly? I couldn’t put the book down.

    I do have to admit, it did start a bit rough for me, simply because there was a bit of science in the beginning, and though I love Mythbusters, science was never one of my favorite subjects. And Pearl does his homework, so there was some science in there for reals. And it’s not just science he studies, because I read The Dante Club soon after The Technologists, and I can tell you, the man knows how to do his research. But really, that’s how you should define a good storyteller. They should do their research, so they know what they are talking about, and they should possess a keen ability to make you want to continue reading their work, even after you finish it.

    And for the record, though I love Sherlock Holmes, I don’t typically like murder mysteries. So that fact alone should tell you that The Technologists is a must read. It makes a non murder mystery fan, like a murder mystery book. I will admit, it’s not your typical murder mystery and that it doesn’t really fit the Dan Patterson profile. And technically, it can’t be classified a murder mystery. There really isn’t a murder in this book. Some people die, but the intention wasn’t murder, it was chaos. And I guess I should actually talk about the plot some, huh?

    The Technologists‘main plot is that there are these ‘accidents’ happening all around Boston. And, unfortunately for them, the kids over at MIT are being blamed for them. Now of course, these ‘kids’ (though I use the term loosely, as some of them had already fought in a war), won’t take this sitting down. They fight these allegations especially hard, since they could lose their school over it. And it’s a shame, really, that they get blamed for these accidents, because on top of all that, they have to suffer the pious and their disdain of the school’s Darwinist principles, and the obnoxious snobbery from the Harvard students.

    One would think that the answer to who the culprit is would be clear cut, but there are definitely a few twists to this book. One, for example, is the budding romance that develops. It was especially surprising because it revolved around nerds. I mean, no offence. Afterall, I am one, but one never expects them to get any in a book. Who wants to read about fingers touching over beakers? Okay, that didn’t actually happen, and I may have actually died if it did.

    Would I recommend this book in general? Yes, definitely. I thought it was a really quick, fun and intelligent read. Like I said I could barely put the book down. And when I did, it was to look up something pertaining to the plot on Wikipedia. I mean, this book not only keeps you enveloped in the mystery but also makes you want to learn! Where else can you find that?

     

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  • Home

    File Organizing: How to Categorize a File System

    File Organizing photoFiling systems typically have too much stuff, and therefore have a lot of paperwork that is not important or necessary to keep in a filing system. Purging this unnecessary paper is discussed in an earlier article (linked below), but here we discuss how to categorize file organizing systems..

    File Organizing is Categorization

    File organization, when brought down to the most basic level, is simply categorizing like items together. However, because there is so much information, and determining where to put the information and deciding which pieces of information to keep can often be confusing, it is one of the most asked about organizing tasks.

    The most important detail about how to file are categories. File systems need to be sectioned by category, and not alphabetically as the standard used to be. The most common categories for home filing systems include: financial, personal, medical, and household. Within each of these categories there should be subcategories.

    For example:

    • Financial could have banking, credit, investments, and taxes
    • Medical could have dental, vital records, prescriptions, and insurance
    • Personal could have school, auto, vacation, and goals
    • Household could have warranties, insurance, and inventory

    The categories and subcategories should be custom to meet individual needs. If necessary, within the subcategories, break it down further by name or date; for example, warranties could be broken down further to have TV, Computer, Laptop, and so on; School could have Jill’s school, Danny’s school, and so on.

     

    Organize Files With a Color Coded System

    File organizing should be color coded to make information easier to find. Limit the colors used to three to five colors. If there are more, it can get too confusing. The goal is to keep it simple.

    Each color needs to correspond to a main category.

    For example:

    • Blue could be medical
    • Orange could be personal
    • Green could be financial
    • Red could be household

    There are no rules to follow, but the colors should work for you personally. Pick a color that is an immediate reminder for the category. Colors are especially important for the medical category, in case there is ever an emergency in which any family member needs to quickly locate information.

    Labels and Tab Positions

    For the labels, use a white background to ensure that the labels are easy to read against the colored background. Keep labels on the same tab position per category to avoid the scattered look.

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  • Tech

    Information Technology Policy – Strong Passwords

    Strong  photoA strong password is vital to protecting the data assets of The Company. All employees, staff, and others who access data assets, the network(s) owned by The Company must adhere to the password policy.

    Network Passwords

    Password Length: A network password must be seven digits or longer.

    Password Digits: A network password must contain at least one letter and one number. It is encouraged to have at least one symbol. It is encouraged to have at least one capital letter.

    Ineligible Passwords: A network password must not be the staff member’s name, first middle or last, their spouse’s name or the name of their children. It should not have their job title or company name.

    Examples of Good Passwords: K1ttyc@T, 0r@nge3, orange12#, $hoesRfun2, fuzz!ki77y

    Password Rotation: The network will force the network password to change at least quarterly (4 times a year, every three years).

    Ease of Memory: The password should be easy to remember for the staff member. Names of pets, important places or dates are all acceptable.

    No The Company staff member will not email their password to anyone.

    No The Company staff member will not give their password to anyone.

    No The Company staff member will not write their password in, on, or around their work area.

    Program Passwords

    Password Length: A network password must be seven digits or longer.

    Password Digits: A network password must contain at least one letter and one number. It is encouraged to have at least one symbol. It is encouraged to have at least one capital letter.

    Ineligible Passwords: A network password must not be the staff member’s name, first middle or last, their spouse’s name or the name of their children. It should not have their job title or company name.

    Examples of Good Passwords: K1ttyc@T, 0r@nge3, orange12#, $hoesRfun2, fuzz!ki77y

    Password Rotation: It is suggested the password for programs be changed quarterly.

    Ease of Memory: The password should be easy to remember for the staff member. Names of pets, important places or dates are all acceptable.

    No The Company staff member will not email their password to anyone.

    No The Company staff member will not give their password to anyone.

    No The Company staff member will not write their password in, on, or around their work area.

    Wireless Network Passwords

    Password Length: A network password must be seven digits or longer.

    Password Digits: A network password must contain at least one letter and one number. It is encouraged to have at least one symbol. It is encouraged to have at least one capital letter.

    Ineligible Passwords: A network password must not be the staff member’s name, first middle or last, their spouse’s name or the name of their children. It should not have their job title or company name.

    Examples of Good Passwords: K1ttyc@T, 0r@nge3, orange12#, $hoesRfun2, fuzz!ki77y

    Password Rotation: It is suggested the password for programs be changed quarterly.

    Ease of Memory: The password should be easy to remember for the staff member. Names of pets, important places or dates are all acceptable.

    No The Company staff member will not email their password to anyone.

    No The Company staff member will not give their password to anyone.

    No The Company staff member will not write their password in, on, or around their work area.

    All password policies should be put in staff handbook and included in computer education trainings.

     

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  • Foods

    Five Top Foods to Help Relieve Stress: These Simple Foods Are the Best for Stress Relief

    Foods photoRecently, a friend of mine was incredibly stressed. She was working too hard at her job and also had boyfriend problems, so extreme stress was the result. As an avid health obsessive, I immediately recommended some foods she could eat that would relieve stress as, believe it or not, changing what you eat can actually relieve your stress. A stress relief diet is easy to follow too and doesn’t require spending any additional money, as many foods that relieve stress are foods you might normally buy. If you too are suffering from stress, why not incorporate some of these foods into your diet. You might be surprised at how good they make you feel.

    Low Fat and Skim Milk – Probably one of the reasons I never seem to experience stress is because I drink so much skim milk. Milk actually helps your nerves stay healthy and, as it can stabilize your blood sugar, it also stops you from feeling those extreme highs and lows when you eat sugar. You can get enough milk in a decaf latte (if you’re stressed, stay away from caffeine, it will just make you feel worse), a milk shake or a cup of cocoa made with milk. You can also get the same result from a low-fat or fat free yoghurt.

    Turkey – One of the top foods to help relieve stress is to eat turkey. Remember, over Thanksgiving when you stuff yourself with turkey and end up with that dopey feeling? Well, that’s the tryptophan in the turkey that makes you feel all warm and fuzzy. You can eat turkey with a side of mashed potatoes and green beans, on whole wheat bread as a sandwich with a side of apple sauce, or even chopped up with mayonnaise and grapes and made into turkey salad (a bit like chicken salad but with a stronger taste).

    Brown Rice and Sticky Rice – I live in Thailand and it’s a pretty well-known fact with Thais that brown rice will help relieve your stress level. Brown rice is also loaded with nutrients, and gives you a healthy boost of serotonin, which immediately makes you feel more relaxed. Sticky Rice is usually a white rice that is cooked until it presses together and is sticky. In Thailand, the favorite way to eat it is with mango and some coconut milk, or with sticks of chicken satay. A meal of chicken satay and sticky rice is guaranteed to make you feel relaxed, as Thais always warn against doing anything too strenuous after eating it. It makes you sleepy, but feeling so much less stressed.

    Chocolate – Even though chocolate usually has caffeine, it’s also one of the best foods to eat in a stress relief diet. Actually, most doctors still can’t figure out why chocolate makes us feel so good, although some think it might be the antioxidants chocolate is loaded with. Either way, chocolate always makes me feel good, and I’m sure you’ve noticed that too. Just don’t eat too much of it or, when you gain 10 lbs, you’ll be even more stressed than before you tried to relieve your stress with chocolate.

    Cheese – I’m a huge cheese fan and probably eat pounds of the stuff every month. Which is another reason why I probably never get stressed. Like low-fat milk, it helps your nervous system stay healthy and stabilizes your blood sugar. It also is high in calcium and protein. Eat low-fat cheese or cottage cheese and you’ll get the health benefits without all the calories. I must admit, I do splurge sometimes, as there’s nothing better than a big slab of melted brie on some whole wheat bread, and the bread is loaded with B-vitamins which help with stress too.

    There are many foods that can be eaten as part of a stress relief diet; these are just some of them. Remember, whatever you eat to help reduce stress, make sure it’s not loaded with fat, sugar or caffeine and you’ll automatically feel better.

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  • Foods

    Foods of Fire: Poetry with Passion

    Foods  photoFood. Such a great source of energy.
    I eat it day and night, and that’s that way its supposed to be.
    I love all and any kinds,
    Bread, fish, even pork rinds.
    Time for me to get some now.
    I think I’ll try some of the cat’s meow.

    Everyone now and then, I get that perfect craving.
    All I want to eat is some creme of shaving.
    What?!? You can’t be serious!
    Oh but I am, and I do like chicken that is furious.
    I know you might not like that dish,
    But thats okay, because I’m sure it doesn’t exist.

    Okay now your turn.
    I mean would you like some burgers to burn.
    Or even a delicious snack, or two.
    Make sure to try some tofu.
    I heard it is very good and packed with flavor.
    So find your favorite foods, and stop being a hater.