Are You Drinking the Wrong Water?

In America, we are taught to drink distilled and reverse osmosis water. However, if you traveled around the world, you would quickly find out that most other countries do not share the same viewpoints. For example, in Europe, most people know that reverse osmosis water, distilled water, and deionized water are sold strictly for steam iron and batteries and that you don’t even feed such waters to pets. Yet, many Americans drink these waters. Here are some hardcore facts:

Did you know that there are four totally different kind of distilled waters? I will cover two of them. The first one is very good for your health and the second one is actually detrimental to your health. The first one, which is a low temperature distillation and has a low surface tension, you know it as rainwater. And this of course is a very good water to drink, especially if you add a carbon filter to pre-filter it. The other is a high temperature, high surface tension water and this type of distilled water is your common commercially available distilled water. This water leaches the minerals out of your body and is actually slightly detrimental.

And finally, we have that infamous reverse osmosis water which anyone can prove with a pH meter that it has a pH of 5.5 to 6.4 range. When you consider that we should be drinking water in the 7 to 7.5 range and compare it to a pH of 5.5, that is approximately 100 times too acidic.

The other false information that is also common about reverse osmosis is that it takes all the minerals out, well essentially, it does take most of the minerals out, but the really bad boy, hydrofluorosilicic acid, from the fluoridation program is very poorly removed by reverse osmosis.

In America, 90% of the bottled waters unfortunately are also Reverse Osmosis water. So, again, you are still drinking unhealthy type water. And since Reverse Osmosis water does have most of its minerals removed, it of course leaches the plastic out of the bottle. And of course, this does not even address the plastic pollution, estrogen mimicking issues, and a host of other health issues that are related to plastic.

What you might not know is according to an article published July 22, 2009, by the UK Council Against Water Fluoridation is that fluoride is considered a drug and is now illegal to be placed in all of EU. In America, we have the state of Hawaii, which has banned fluoridation, but the rest of the United States has over 68% of the cities fluoridating the water.

So, for the rest of us, the best solution is to have a truly efficient fluoride removal filtration system that takes out not just the fluoride, but also the chlorine, the chloramines, which are bad for your kidneys, as well as the 3000-5000 chlorine byproducts, which are all known or suspected carcinogens.

Quick Guide To Saving Money On Airfares, Hotels, Cruises, and More

Since the dawn of the Internet, we’ve praised the transparency and research capabilities it offers travelers.  Remember when we had to call an airline telephone reservations agent to book a flight and had no idea what alternatives we had unless we tripped upon an especially kind agent?  Or we went during business hours to a travel agent who may or may not have worked hard to find us the least expensive options?

Now, with a plethora of web sites, the consumer has an array of tools to compare prices and, in some cases, even name them.  The hotel field, in particular, has suddenly seen a robust new crop of sites delivering hotel rooms, especially high-end ones, at deeply discounted prices.

Here’s my list of sites every traveler should access if savings is a goal.

AIRLINES

FareCompare.comCheck out average fares on specific routes per month to learn the least expensive time to fly.  Maybe you’ll want to take that vacation in June rather than July?  Compare prices on different days to see if time-shifting your travel might be worth it.

Yapta.comAfter you’ve booked a flight, let Yapta know, and the site will track prices on your flight and alert you if they drop before you begin travel and might be eligible for a refund.  (Normally those refunds come in the form of a future flight credit on the same airline.)  Keep in mind, however, many airlines charge change fees–as much as $150 a ticket by some major carriers–so the price drop has to be significant to make it worth your while in those cases.  Two airlines that don’t charge change fees: JetBlue and Alaska.

Kayak.com & Momondo.comTwo fare-comparison web sites in hot competition with each other.  Denmark-based Momondo is especially good at finding fares on discount European airlines.  Remember, however, Southwest Airlines does not permit any third-party site to list its schedule AND fares, so you’ll have to go to the airline’s web site for those.

Flightstats.comThis site gives an historical range of prices on specific flights as well as their on-time and cancellation histories.  That makes this site especially helpful in determining when the least expensive time to travel might be on a certain flight or route.

HOTELS

Jetsetter.comThis is a membership-only site that serves up an astounding menu of high-end hotels and resorts around the world at deeply discounted prices.  But there’s no fee to join, and membership is easy to obtain–just request it.  Or ask a friend who is a member to “nominate” you on the site.  At 6 p.m. one recent weekday, I picked up a hotel in Manhattan for that night–The Carlton, a member of Preferred Hotels at Madison and 27th–for $180 a night before taxes.  The retail price?  A 14-day, advance-purchase reservation runs $305 before taxes.  Sales usually last a few days, but you can often book out two, three, or more months.

VoyagePrive.comThis French company recently arrived in the US determined to claim a share of the market.  It, too, offers classy hotels at discounted rates and also has a loose “membership” requirement that costs nothing.  Its calendar display is clunky compared to Jetsetter’s clear presentation, but it’s worth keeping this site on your radar.

Bloomspot.comRecently unveiled by a couple of former Yahoo.com executives, this site for now focuses on New York City, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.  It offers hotels, too, but also restaurants, spas and sports clubs.  I recently bought a four-course dinner for about 45% off at Le Cirque in Manhattan.  The “discount” which is really simply a code you tell your waiter–is good for a year’s time.  Yesterday I paid $75 to buy $145 worth of facial and massage services at the spa at a fancy hotel in Los Angeles as a birthday gift for my girlfriend.  More cities will come on line with time–I know this because my son works for the company.  No membership required.

Kayak.comThis airfare comparison site has joined the hotel-discount club.  Click on “Private Sale” on the left-hand column of Kayak’s home page and join the hunt.  Its offerings aren’t as deep as the aforementioned companies, but it’s worth a look-see.

Travelocity.comThe latest entrant is the well-known, third-party travel booking site famous for its television commercials starring a globe-wandering travel gnome. This past week it launched “Travelocity’s Top Secret Hotels,” though obviously Travelocity hopes nothing about it remains top secret.  The site is promising up to 45% off hotel room nights.  Use your American Express card to book at least a two-night stay right now and get an additional $20 off. 

All these discount sites take excess inventory from hotels (or restaurants, spas and health clubs), negotiate a deep discount, add a bit on the top for their profit, and pass the savings along from you.  As long as the hotel business is under pressure as it is now, these bargains can be quite impressive.  This is one way to take advantage of the economic downturn. 

VACATION HOMES

PackLate.comThis terrific site was launched two months ago by the owner of two condos in Park City, Utah.  When he and his wife would put them up for rent, they’d lower the price the longer they went unrented.  He eventually decided to bring that tactic to the rest of us.  PackLate has contracted with property managers at major luxury resorts in Utah, Colorado, Nevada, and California to take excess inventory and offer condos for at least 30% off retail.  But here’s the good part: The price drops the longer the condo goes unrented, so you can play chicken and watch a few condos and hope no one rents them ’til their prices drop even further.  At the moment, individual owners of units can’t post their places as they can on, say, VRBO.com (Vacation Rentals By Owner).  I really like this site, and you can save a bundle using it.  From one-bedroom condos to five-bedroom vacation homes, the menu is large and the photos appealing.  For the moment the site focuses on the Western US, but it will expand its reach over time.

CRUISES

CruiseCompete.com & MyBestFareFinder.comBoth of these sites are “reverse auction” sites, which means you enter what kind of cruise YOU want–time of travel, destination, style of cruse line, and so on.  Then travel agents and cruise lines send you offers via e-mail that ought to be significantly below retail.  Just sit back and let them bid for your business.

RESTAURANTS & OTHERS

GroupOn.com: Daily discounts in many cities on all kinds of restaurants and other services.  Register at the site and wait for the offers to tumble into your e-mail box.

BloomSpot.comAs mentioned above, this site offers significant discounts at restaurants, spas, and health clubs as well as hotels.

LastMinuteTravel.comNeed a ticket at the last minute?  Don’t pay full fare.  Check out this site for deals on airfares, hotels, vacation packages and rental cars at, as the name implies, the last minute. 

Had a hectic day at work? Exercise, “not eating”, will help you revive

In the event that you’ve had a hard day at the workplace, new US research recommends that exercise after finishing your days’ worth of effort could control as opposed to increasing your appetite. Past research has demonstrated that ending ordinary every day mentally demanding tasks can affect how much energy the brain needs, and therefore increases food intake.

A study was carried out by a group of researchers from the University of Alabama at Birmingham isolated 38 undergraduates into two groups and requested that all members finish a graduate-level selection test. After the exam, one group was given 15 minutes to rest while the other was solicited to complete 15 minutes from high-power intensity interval training on a treadmill. After 15 minutes of either rest or work out, both groups were offered a “whatever you-can-have” lunch of pizza.

So that the outcomes could be contrasted with control, the week beforehand members had additionally been requested that burn through 35 minutes unwinding just, with no mental errand or activity before eating. The outcomes demonstrated that those in the “rest” bunch ate a normal of 100 calories more than when they had loose the week beforehand, giving additional proof to propose that the cerebrum does undoubtedly utilize more vitality, prompting expanded levels of yearning.

The members who were in the “exercise” group ate 25 less calories not as much as when they just casual before eating. The researchers noticed that a conceivable clarification for the outcomes is that in spite of the fact that blood glucose levels stayed stable in the individuals who had participated in exercise rather than rest, there was a huge increment in lactate levels which may have met the Brain’s vitality needs.

However, the group demonstrated that further research in the region is expected better to comprehend the impact of glucose, lactate and practice on energy needs and calorie intake after mental work.  These findings have actually been published online in the journal Medicine & Science of Sports & Exercise.

The new study discovered that glucose and lactate created through exercise could meet the energy needs of the brain rather than food intake, individuals who participated in physical exercise after finishing a mental assignment literally ate fewer calories than the people who completed the assignment yet didn’t work-out.

Time To Prepare Your Garden For Spring

It’s almost inevitable that over the winter period your garden is left to struggle through. This is simply because not much can actually be done over the winter months, especially if it has snowed. All the annuals will have died off, perennial plants will be dormant and the only sign of life you will likely see is if you have any evergreens.

Any furniture in your garden is likely to have taken a bit of a beating over the months as well. But there is no need to worry as spring is on it’s way. It’s time to give your garden that much needed boost as spring turns.

Start with Weeding

No one finds weeding their garden a fun task. Nonetheless it is something that needs to be done especially as we escape from the long winter months. Although the cold weather will have slowed down weed growth considerably it will not have arrested it completely. Everyone finds it annoying how the plants they like in their garden die off whilst weeds – the things nobody wants, continue to thrive.

In order to best prepare your garden for spring you need to ensure that all the weeds are removed so the plants you do want have the ideal environment to live in. Use some sensible garden tools as the ground may well be either hard, or very muddy.

Prepare the Soil

During winter the soil in your garden becomes saturated and as a result may well have become really compact. It may also have run low on many vital nutrients. The key here is to add some well matured compost to perk up the soil. You’ll need a good quantity and make sure it is will turned through.

If you are a really keen gardener you can get your soil tested in order to see what nutrients it needs. This way you can go out and buy the exact nutrients to ensure your soil will be perfect for spring.

Protect Those Plants

Although the plants in your garden may have seemed pretty lifeless over winter, many of them will simply be dormant waiting for the warmer weather to begin growing again. They sometimes need protection over the winter months however The reason for this is because during winter food is scarce so your plants will be at greater risk of being eaten by pests. The dampness brought about by winter also helps to promote the growth of fungal diseases, which can be a nightmare for your garden. A sensible use of ties, netting, insect repellents and plant food should see them through.

Look After Any Furniture Or Ornaments

When preparing the garden for spring many people tend to neglect their garden furniture and ornaments. But this is a good time of year to check them out, sand them off and perhaps brush them with an outdoor varnish. Even if your ornaments and furniture are in perfect condition it is always a great idea to add a lick of paint to them, especially to things such as wood signs and bird tables. This is because it adds a little bit of color and life into your garden, which it will have been lacking over the last few months.

Plan Your Planting

Now is the perfect time to plan what plants you would like to grow and plant in your garden this year. Always pay attention to the times that seeds need to be planted and when they will begin to flower. This way you can ensure your garden looks amazing for more of the year. There are many websites and guides out there that will allow you to do this perfectly.

Thoughts on Hurricanes

We, as man, on the street or city sewage processing plants, industrial waste, all contribute to BODs, that’s biological oxygen depletors, CODs, Chemical Oxygen Depletors.

Basically, these are substances that absorb or use up the oxygen that is in the water. If you use up the oxygen in the water, the fish that breathe water, your filter feeds, like oysters and clams, will die because of the lack of oxygen.

Hurricanes blow up the water, swirls it violently and introduces oxygen into the water

The powerful wind and rain of a hurricane pummel a building.

This action invigorates the naturally occurring soil-based microorganisms, plankton, and a variety of microorganisms to work harder, faster, to clean up the pollution, whether it’s biological or chemical in nature. This is just a natural process. So the next time you have a hurricane, don’t think it has no purposes and that it is all destruction. No! It’s Mother Nature’s way of cleaning up the environment. Thank goodness that she does do that or we really would have lost this planet a long time ago.

Dealing with Depression in Teen Girls

With rates of child depression and teen suicide soaring, there is a dire need of understanding what is happening with young boys and girls.

Parenting is not limited to providing material comforts and opportunities for learning. It also involves providing emotional support to children when they need it. Many teenagers break down during the college days. But the roots of such an incident are actually laid well before that age.

Teenagers go through a tough phase when they discover their real self and come to terms with their position in society. This is irrespective of caste, financial status or brilliance in a particular field.

Parental intervention at this stage in helping the teenager to come to terms with reality can play an effective role. Support and guidance needs to come when the teenager begins to contemplate of certain issues.

If support is not made available in the initial stages, it is likely that the situation may develop into one of clinical depression or denial. Later, parental teen depression help may not be sufficient and professional help may need to be sought.

There is a subtle difference between teen depression in boys and girls. Depression in boys is mostly dependent on moods.  Girls tend to be more prone to depression due to the typical manner on which females process information and react to stimuli.

Parents need to guide their daughters to enable them to critically analyze the modern rules, some of them unspoken, of adolescence.

Girls are likely to be more emotional than boys. While boys tend to be casual about relationships that they develop with the opposite sex, girls tend to be more emotionally involved. This results in a disturbed state of mind when there is a break-up.

A friendly relationship with your daughter can help you explain to her about the various emotional upheavals you went through during your teenage, only to emerge happy and satisfied with your spouse.

It is difficult to generalize but mothers are better equipped to build up a friendly relationship with girls as they are likely to be open with mothers than with fathers for obvious reasons. However, close relationships between father and daughter is not an uncommon phenomenon.

The best way to develop a good relationship with the daughter is through patient listening. Talking about the various events at school, the pressures, stress and other events without being judgmental can help you identify early signs of depression.

Try to respect the child’s privacy and do not crowd her with too much inquisitiveness. Try to identify with her problem and let her know that you understand how difficult it can be. Also mention that all problems have a solution and they can be managed and solved.

An interesting study reveals that girls who smoke are at a 40% higher risk of developing depression. There is a great likelihood that smoking is an effort to self-medicate, just as drugs and alcohol, to get over depressive feelings.

Teenagers are very frugal in displaying their fears, sadness and resentment. It is only a keenly observant parent who can notice subtle signs of an impending problem.

While it is important for parents to learn about the risks and symptoms of teen depression in girls, they also need to learn about how to deal with it head-on.

References:

http://psychologytoday.com/articles/pto-20030806-000003.html

http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=37577

http://www.webmd.com/depression/news/20040204/depression-hits-1-in-10-teen-girls-each-year

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/23384.php

Make Your Garden a Rustic Oasis

One of the hottest trends in garden design right now is the rustic look and when you see the finished result of a rustic oasis filled with good old fashioned charm, it has not hard to see why the look is proving so popular in garden makeovers.

Making a plan

Before you set about creating a beautiful rustic garden you have to sit down and work out a plan on how you are going to achieve this goal. Think about how room that you have to work with and which items you might like to use and work with in order to create an authentic rustic feel. Depending on your budget and also what will work best with the existing areas that you have in the garden you can choose to introduce small rustic accents or go for an extravagant overhaul to create your own oasis of peace and tranquillity.

Rustic accents

Simple touches to add a rustic accent would be to add a wooden birdhouse or bird feeder which will not only add an element of charm but it will encourage wildlife into your garden.  Another relatively easy item to use in order to add a rustic feel would be to add a wooden porch swing, giving you a great looking piece of furniture and also somewhere to sit and relax. Other ideas to consider would be to obtain some old wooden rain barrels or even old whisky barrels which you can line and plant with flowers in order to create a pleasing focal point.

Rustic landscaping

Larger projects to consider as a way of creating a rustic feel would be to dig out a small pond or maybe even create an area with a small windmill or a wishing well. These items can vary greatly in size and quality so it is a case of not just fitting in with your budget but also considering what size you want your pond or water feature to be and how it works in blending in with the rest of your garden.

Using old railway sleepers

A design trick that works really well is to create different levels in your garden which adds considerable interest to the view and has a way of drawing your eye to certain features especially when you use rustic steps that lead you down to another level or area in your garden. The perfect solution for creating wooden steps is to use reclaimed wooden railway sleepers which make an excellent design feature in their own right and are a perfectly acceptable installation challenge to a reasonably competent and tooled up DIY enthusiast. A good tip to remember when you are installing the sleepers yourself is to make sure that the steps are not too slippery but cutting either shallow tread lines into the wood or tacking a layer of chicken wire down to improve the grip. This isn’t always easiest to do but get hold of a decent mini-circular saw and you’ll be able to handle it just fine.

Rustic painting

If you have a wall or maybe some furniture in the garden you can help them to blend into you new rustic look and add a great finishing touch to your project by using to paint to create a rustic old fashioned weathered look. Giving an item a makeover in order to create an aged look is not as difficult as it may seem and you almost certainly be pleased with the result and the subsequent rustic look you manage to achieve. You can get more detailed instructions on the web if you need them but basically you are gently sanding the existing painted surface with fine grained sandpaper with a view to scuffing the surface rather than actually sanding it. Apply an antiquing glaze to a small area at a time and once it is nearly dried, wipe away the glaze with a lint free cloth leaving you with a surface that has those scratches and imperfections that gives it a perfect rustic look. With a bit of practice on an unwanted piece of furniture, you can quickly gain the right skills to set to work on the items in the garden that you want to transform.

Creating rustic fencing

Whilst a neatly stained fence may be attractive to some, if you are trying to perfect your rustic look then you may want to try and make your treated wood look weathered and really add the finishing touch to your garden design. Using a safety mask and goggles for safety you should sand down the treated panel until most of the stain has been removed. Fill up a mason jar with boiling water and add a tea bag, leaving it until it is a rich brown color which you can then brush over the wood. Finish it off by applying a light coat of vinegar solution and once it has dried, you will end up with a rustic fencing panel that will appear textured and weathered. Most of the projects can be carried out yourself and not only will it be a source of pride when you see your finished work, you will also be able to sit back and really enjoy your new rustic oasis.

The Complete Guide to Cloud Storage

“I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host of golden daffodils.”

– From The Daffodils by William Wordsworth (1770-1850), famous English Romantic poet.

What is Cloud Storage?

There was once a time when an online search for the term “cloud” would inevitably return results of the above kind, speaking about those puffy progenitors of precipitation. However, nowadays, there’s a good chance that such a search query would yield results related to “cloud computing.” And cloud storage is an integral part of cloud computing.

For those who don’t know what cloud storage is about, it has nothing to do with storing data in the skies. Rather, the “cloud” in “cloud storage” refers to the ubiquity of the data and how it is perceived by the end-user. Thus, although the data is stored in multiple servers at multiple locations, the user does not view it as being at a physical location but a virtual “cloud.”

More often than not, these servers are run by third parties, greatly reducing infrastructure costs.  These cloud computing companies then sell or rent out this storage space to interested parties who do not wish to invest in multiple physical servers to store their data.  The storage space may then be used to hold and access data as the customers see fit to, at a mere fraction of the cost of a physical, or several physical servers. The stored data can then be accessed through the internet, either by using a web-based interface or an application programming interface, or API for short.

Cloud storage is usually offered as a utility service, the same way as electricity. In other words, you only pay for what you use. The parallel with an electricity connection doesn’t end there. The same way that a consumer doesn’t have to pay for the infrastructure to generate and transmit electricity but only for the units consumed, a cloud storage customer is not concerned with storage and transmission of data – all that are taken care of by the service provider. While a consumer can connect to the electricity grid to get connected, the cloud storage customer logs on via the Internet for access.

From big enterprises to SMBs (small & mid-size businesses) to individual home users, everyone can benefit from cloud storage. While some advantages favor one user category more than the other, it is obvious that the net effect of shifting to the cloud is always positive, irrespective of the size of the consumer.

Advantages of cloud storage vis-à-vis traditional storage on servers

•    Cost savings

This is one of the primary advantages of going on the cloud. Not only do you save on the capital expenditure of buying storage equipment, your operational expenses also reduce due to the fact that you don’t pay for unused resources.

Now, servers also occupy a lot of space. In other words, a company has to pay rent for their storage media. Also, they require regular maintenance, necessitating the presence of full-time staff that has to be paid salaries and benefits. Finally, servers consume a lot of energy, and not only for normal operations. Servers get heated up pretty quickly and need to be cooled down, again something that requires energy. Consider all these costs, and the net cost savings of moving to the cloud add up to a substantial amount.

•    Mobility

With cloud storage, you have access to your data from anywhere that has an Internet connection. Therefore, wherever you go, your data travels with you – but without the weight of baggage. This ability to access data from remote and multiple locations also allows for easier sharing of information. In an increasingly connected and mobile world, these are great advantages to have.

•    Disaster recovery

Murphy’s Law says, “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong” – and storage systems are not immune. However, cloud storage is much more resilient to outages than traditional storage due to their distributed nature. Thus, even if one server location goes off the grid, the others ensure that your data is not lost. Whether the disaster is natural like an earthquake or man-made like a disgruntled employee pulling off wires, data recovery is a breeze with cloud storage.

•    Scalability

The ability to scale up, and equally importantly, scale down storage infrastructure at short notice is one of the major advantages of cloud storage. For example, if you use traditional storage media and your storage requirements double overnight, you would be faced with the difficult prospect of going out and buying servers in a hurry, most probably paying extra for the rush. But with cloud storage, you can purchase additional storage at the click of a mouse.

Similarly, if your storage requirements decrease, you can either carry unused server inventory or sell them off at a loss. But with cloud storage, you simply reduce the storage you are subscribed to. Therefore, not only are your storage requirements satisfied at short notice, they are satisfied at lower cost.

•    Load balancing

For traditional storage, heavy traffic can cause a bottleneck. For example, if several employees try to access company data from the same server, the speed of access will be considerably slowed down. This is because the data that can be read from the server and the data that can be transmitted over the optic fiber both have maximum limits.

However, with cloud storage, multiple servers at multiple locations ensure bottlenecks are few. Also, traffic can be dynamically rerouted to ensure high speed of access for all users. This is called load balancing and is a prime advantage of cloud storage. Therefore, cloud storage allows for optimum use of resources by consolidating and reallocating them based on utilization and capacity. In contrast, traditional IT paradigms are inflexible and cannot respond to changing demands, thereby creating inefficiencies.

•    Ease of use

Cloud storage services trump traditional storage as far as ease of use is concerned. For one, it can be completely automated. Thus, you don’t have to concern yourself with manually backing up your data, or syncing it to multiple devices. Secondly, data is stored in an organized manner that precludes long searches. Most offer inventoried list of contents, making it easier to find what you want, when you want it.

•    Security

With cloud storage, all security processes are the responsibility of the service provider. While some would find this undesirable, it’s actually a great advantage for smaller customers who cannot afford enterprise-level security that a service provider can provide. For example, most cloud storage providers employ complex encryption codes that make hacking your files nearly impossible.

In addition to information security, physical security is ensured through heavily-guarded server farms. These include state-of-the-art motion sensors and 24/7 secured access, camera surveillance and security breach alarms. To protect against natural disasters, these locations have 24/7 backup systems, elevated floors, HVAC temperature control systems with separate cooling zones and seismically braced racks.

As is obvious, all these cost money and beyond the budgets of many customers. Thus contrary to popular perception, outsourcing data security can be desirable for many. As an analogy, consider the following: Does the President of the US carry a gun or entrust his security to the highly-trained Secret Service personnel?

Concerns with cloud storage

As with any technology, cloud storage is not without its flaws.

•    For one, it is a comparatively new technology. Consequently, there is a marked lack of standards making contracts and key success measures difficult to define. Also, this affects portability. In other words, there are several migration issues that need to be overcome in order to move your data from one provider to another.

•    Secondly, since data is accessed through the Internet, a reliable and secure Internet connection is critical to use cloud storage services.

•    Finally, there is the privacy and security angle. Since data is under the guardianship of the service provider, there can be certain concerns about data privacy. Also, confidential data may be inadvertently shared while in storage or in transit. However, this is true for traditional storage as well.

It is clear that the advantages far outweigh the potential dangers of using cloud storage services. What’s more, these risks can be most easily mitigated by ensuring that there is a stable and reliable Internet connection and by choosing a reputable cloud storage hosting company.

Therefore, the next question you need to ask is “How do I choose a cloud storage provider?” Here are a few suggestions:

How to choose a cloud storage provider

•    Define your requirements

Like many technologies, cloud storage works better if you go by the “horses for courses” adage. In other words, the provider should optimally meet your requirements. And for that to happen, you need to clearly define those requirements. Some things you need to consider are whether the storage is for personal or business use, how much space you require, whether you want a feature-rich interface and extensive customer support (which will obviously cost more), etc.

A feature-rich service may include the following:

  •  Ability to schedule backups
  •  Ability to perform incremental backups
  • Ability to auto sync across different devices
  • Ability to selectively sync files and folders
  • Ability to securely share documents and collaborate
  • Compatibility with both Macs and PCs
  • Compatibility with smartphones and tablets
  • Ability to stream multimedia

A cloud storage provider that allows you to pick and choose the features you want is definitely recommended.

•    Have a transparent selection process

Transparency should be employed both within and outside the company. While intra-company transparency ensures organizational buy-in, transparency with service providers ensures strong relationships all around.

•    Ensure risk sharing contracts

Choose a service provider who is willing to take on some of the risk of implementation. This will ensure that the provider has a stake in the project.

•    Avoid sub-contracting

Select a service provider who has in-house expertise for the entire implementation. This ensures stricter control and integrity of the project.

•    Look at provider work history

This is true for almost any kind of history. While past performance is no guarantee of future results, a record of successes does point to competence.

•    Define measures of progress and success 

It is important that the customer and service provider agree on how to measure progress and success of the implementation. This is especially important considering the lack of industry standards in this field.

•    Consider service provider selection to be a strategic decision

Choosing a cloud storage service provider is a strategic decision that must not be dictated by short-term gains. Therefore, a provider who can provide long-term support and not necessarily short-term cost savings should be chosen.

Cloud storage is the way everyone will store and access data in the future.

Paleo Diet A Logical Lifestyle Change

Just eat real food. 

Before reading through hundreds of pages of diet books, please understand these 4 simple words.

Food is fuel for your body, and not all food is created equal. The paleo diet outlines basic principles to increase longevity, and improve your health.

Robb Wolf, a former research biochemist and current health author, recently spoke at The Ancestral Health Symposium about the paleo lifestyle/diet.

In the video below, he highlights the science behind “going paleo”, and he also talks about how it saved his life.

Here are the key points of his lecture:

  • Over hundreds of thousands of years, Humans evolved and adapted to a certain diet. Our bodies are genetically programed to eat fruits, vegetables, meats, seafood, nuts, seeds, and healthy fats.
  • Paleo is more of a lifestyle than a diet. It involves eating properly, exercising, getting adequate sleep at night, taking vitamins, socializing, etc.
  • He recommends trying out all diets and comparing them. Do whatever makes you feel the best.
  • Educate yourself. Before you dismiss this idea completely, properly research the paleo solution, and give it a try for 30 days.
  • “Foods are appropriate for any given species if they were regularly consumed during most of its prior evolution.”

Pool Safety Tips

Statistics

An estimated three million above-ground pools and one million in-ground pools in U.S are owned by homeowners. It can be convincing that nothing bad will ever happen but there are over 50,000 pool-related trips reported to the emergency room every year. According to CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Commission), children under the age of 5 years are the most affected with 350 children drowning each year and 2,600 children being treated in emergency rooms as a result of submersion incidents. It therefore becomes very important for pool owner to understand the dangers associated with pool water and how to prevent them.

These Are Some Following Tips for Pool Safety

Ensure Constant Supervision

There should be constant supervision around the pool whenever people are using it. Most preferably the owner of the pool should supervise the pool so as to ensure that the rules are placed in order. However the supervisor should be a good swimmer who can be able to help out a child or any other adult in case of an emergency.

Fence the Pool

The best way to prevent the children from accessing your pool when you are not around is to create a physical barrier. To be effective ensure that the gate is locked at all the time and the kids are not able to open or unlatch the gate. In addition you can also use a combination lock and install an alarm on the fence to alert you every time when someone accesses the pool without permission.

Separate Deep Ends from Shallow Ends

There are many people who do not know how to swim. It is therefore advisable that you put some indications of where the pool is too deep for some people. Ensure that the kids and adults fully understand that the deep end is only for proficient swimmers. You can also encourage them to swim width-wise as opposed to length-wise so that they avoid the deep end.

Use Floats and Safety Equipment when Using the Pool

Children who cannot swim should wear safety devices such as life vest or arm floats at all times. This however does not mean that they are 100% safe and you should not rely on them completely to protect your child from drowning. Never ever allow your child to swim alone with these devices. Always ensure that the child is within your reach at all times when at the pool.

Always Have Hand Phone When In the Pool

Accidents only take a second to happen. By the time you rush to the house and make an emergency call it might be too late and something fatal may happen. Having a cordless phone around the pool could be life saver because you will be able to make an emergency call faster and more convenient.

Learn CPR

As a pool supervisor, you need to be equipped with the skills of a lifeguard. CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) is a manual emergency procedure performed to keep an individual alive in case of accident before the ambulance arrives. Therefore if you do not know how to perform CPR, it is advisable to take a class and learn how it is performed.

Remove Ladders from The Above-Ground Pools

Ladders are used as a means getting in and out of the above-ground pools. If you are not using the pool, keep the ladder away from the pool to prevent the kids from accessing the pool.

Many of these pool safety tips are a matter of common sense. However adhering to the rules and regular maintenance of the pool will create a difference between having good times in the pool and an accidental trip to the emergency room.

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