Sunday, November 24, 2013

Consumer Warning: Spiders in Grapes

Hey gang,

Here's a whacky one for ya!

It's being reported that people in several states in the Eastern United States are reporting that they are finding black widow spiders in packaged grapes!

These findings have taken place in Michigan, Missouri, Minnesota and Wisconsin.

More than likely the incidents will stay in the east coast as distributors figure this out.

For more details, (and creepy spider pics and details), see Huffington Post.
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A Website That Helps Make Favicons

a reprint from an earlier (Jan 2010) article:

Have you ever needed to figure out how to make an ico file, or favicon for my site.  Some resources explain how to make an ico file, via PhotoShop, if you have that app.

But if you don't have Photoshop, there is one other resource I discovered that was a handy little tool.

The website is called html-kit, and they have a service called favicon.

All I did from this site was choose my original file, uploaded it, and the webpage did all the work.  It created 2 files for me.  A standard favicon and an animated ico file.

It took all of about 30 seconds to figure out and use.

The site then takes the finished product and puts it all into a zip file for download.

Check it out at

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Friday, November 22, 2013

Product Recall for Food Processor, Baby Monitors

Here are two recalls today... food processors that can break and a poorly designed baby monitor that is associated with 2 strangulation deaths.


I'm sure you saw this on TV, but some baby monitors are being recall due to a strangulation hazard.

"Angelcare Recalls to Repair Movement and Sound Baby Monitors After Two Deaths Due to Strangulation Hazard"

Product: Angelcare Movement and Sound Baby Monitors

The problem is that the cord attached to the baby monitor’s sensor pad is placed under the crib mattress, which poses a strangulation risk if the child pulls the cord into the crib and it becomes wrapped around the neck.

Here's critical details:

Recall Details


Angelcare Monitors Inc.®, of Quebec, Canada, is announcing a voluntary recall to provide cord covers for 600,000 Angelcare Movement and Sound Monitors with Sensor Pads. The cord attached to the baby monitor’s sensor pad is placed under the crib mattress, which poses a strangulation risk if the child pulls the cord into the crib and it becomes wrapped around the neck.
There have been reports of two infant cord strangulation deaths. In November 2011, a 13-month-old female died in San Diego, California, and, in August 2004, an 8-month-old female died in Salem, Oregon. 

In both fatalities, the cord from the sensor pads was pulled into the crib by the infant. In addition, there have been two reports of infants who became entangled in cords of Angelcare baby monitor models, which did not result in fatalities. In these incidents, it could not be determined if the “sensor pad cord” or the “monitor cord” was involved in the incident.

The recall involves the Movement and Sound Monitor manufactured by Angelcare. This design of baby monitor includes a unique sensor pad placed inside the crib, under the mattress, to monitor movement of the baby.  An electrical cord about 11 feet long is permanently connected from the sensor pad to the nursery monitor unit. The hazard is created by a cord within reach of a baby inside the crib. The cord can be pulled into the crib and can wrap around the child’s neck. The recall involves all versions of Angelcare sensor monitors including model numbers:   AC1100, AC201, AC300, AC401 AC601 and 49255 that did not include rigid cord covers, offered in the remedy.  The model number is located on the back of the nursery monitor unit. The monitors were manufactured between 1999 and 2013.

Angelcare is providing consumers with a repair kit that includes rigid protective cord covers through which the sensor pad cords can be threaded, a new, permanent electric cord warning label about the strangulation risk, and revised instructions.

The recalled baby monitors were sold at 
Babies R Us/Toys R Us, 
Burlington Coat Factory, 
Walmart,,, and nearly 70 small baby specialty stores, from October 1999 through September 2013 for about $100 to $300.

Consumers should immediately make sure cords are placed out of reach of the child and contact Angelcare toll-free at (855)355-2643 or visit the firm's website at to order the free repair kit.

CPSC Safety Alert Campaign on Monitor Cords

In February 2011, CPSC issued a safety alert warning consumers that industry-wide there had been seven reports of strangulation in baby monitor cords since 2002.  Since that alert, the number of death reports has risen to eight of which two involved the Angelcare monitors with sensor cords. CPSC has a safety alert Infants Can Strangle in Baby Monitor Cords (link to latest version 022311) and conducted an information and education campaign with JPMA in which Angelcare has taken an active role to raise awareness on the hazards associated with baby monitor cords.  Parents and caregivers should visit CPSC’s Crib Information Center at for additional baby monitor cord safety information and they should make sure all cords are out of arm’s reach of children.

= = =
This seemed significant... a food processor that presents a laceration hazard.  No... really!

Cuisinart Recalls Food Processors Due to Laceration Hazard

Name of Product: Cuisinart 7-cup food processors

The Hazard: The reversible slicing/shredding disc can loosen when in use and the blade can strike and break the food processor’s cover. The cover’s broken plastic pieces can hit consumers, posing a laceration hazard.

The Remedy is to replace it.

You can contact Cuisinart toll-free at (877) 339-2534, or online and click on the Recall link for more info.

This recall involves nine different models of Cuisinart food processors including, 
MFP-107MR or 
The model number is on the underside of the food processor base. 
They have a seven cup plastic work bowl and three push buttons “On,” “Pulse” and “Off.”  Cuisinart is stamped on the front.

Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled food processors and contact Cuisinart to receive a free replacement lid and reversible slicing/shredding disc.

The item in question was sold from October 2012 through June 2013 for about $100, from
Best Buy, 
J.C. Penney, 
Williams-Sonoma and other stores.

They were sold online at and

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Thursday, November 21, 2013

RC Copters Have Very Short Flight Times

If You Want One of Those Helicopter Camera Gadgets, (QuadCopters) Check This Out First!!!

 Helicopter Camera Gadgets, (QuadCopters)

The other day while I was out playing with Vader, a few guys were toying around with one of those multi-bladed hovercraft that had a camera on it.  They were doing semi-low flyovers on Vader, but nothing crazy.

Sadly, this stirred my desire to have one of these toys.  They're looking like a lot of fun.

I found that the general reference on Amazon was QuadCopter.  And some of them, initially, look like they won't break my bank.

But then, I started looking more carefully and noticed in several instances that it takes forty minutes of charging for about 10 minutes of flight, depending on the model you end up buying.

Or in some cases, 30 minutes charge time gives you 5 minutes of flight.

That was a real deterrent.

(Oh, and the quadcopter that was buzzing us was a HeroPro model that runs for around $500.)

Yikes, me, I'm looking at the $30-100 models, if I even decide to do this!  But not sure I want to spend nearly an hour for 10 minutes of fun and I'm not sure I want to buy several back-up batteries so I can keep having fun.

But that's up to you!  Check them out:   QuadCopters on Amazon

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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

GMAIL SPAM ALERT And Some Advice For The Newbie Web Surfer

Email spam alert and advice

Hey gang, the last few days I've started to get some SPAM in my inbox from the "GOOGLE TEAM."

In each case, the message more or less says...

"Due to our recent upgrades,it is mandatory that you update your mailbox details. Follow the link for updates on our server.  Click  -Account Upgrade- and fill-in. Its mandatory all fields are filled.

Thank you.
2013 Gmail"

The words "Account Upgrade" are a link in the mail message.

Before you instincively click on the link, if you hover your mouse over the link, your browser should show you in the lower left corner, exactly where this ACCOUNT UPGRADE will take you to 'strictlythehottestradio' website.

Yes, strictlythehottestradio is SPAM.

At least as far as I can tell, since they're misrespresenting the pitch.


Here's an example of what I was saying about hovering your mouse:

Check this out... if you hover your mouse over ENTERTAINMENT NEWS, look in the corner of your browser and you'll see the link is pointing to my TV/Movie website, Cinema Static.

Remember, if any business or organization "sends" you email asking you for information at a link, CLOSE THAT EMAIL, go to a new web browser window, and log into your account with that service provider there.

If you have any messages from them, you should see some notice under your account that you have a message.

It's crazy, the amount of stupid crap that floats around the net and lands in your inbox.

Remember, if it's an unsolicited offer or opportunity, (even, in some cases, from friends and family) just close and delete.  (Or if you feel just vindictive enough, mark them as spam to help your ISP identify this crap.)

If it's something from a "friend," just send them a separate email asking if they did send you something.


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Saturday, November 16, 2013

How To Send Photos From Your iPhone or Smartphone

I had a question from a reader on how to share pictures with her friends from her iPhone.  She has images and she wanted to know if there was a way to share without taking screen shots.


It's an interesting question.  For some folks who adapt quickly or grow up with the internet technology, we don't think twice when we fire up our email and web browsers, and do our digital dance.

But not everyone has been using the tech as often or as long as other folks.  So when someone asks how to send pics via email, well, it's not too tough of a process, but for those new to the web, it's a valid question.

So the question presented, is how to send/share pics with friends via email.  In this case, how to share photos with friends, using Gmail on an iPhone.

I'm going to touch on first, using Gmail on my PC-based laptop, then touch on how I can send pictures via Gmail (or any other email app) on my smartphone.  (I don't have an iPhone, but the generic premises presented should be helpful.)

First, in my "PC" app, I hit my "compose" button and a "New Message" window pops up.

Like any other email window/application, I'd select or type my recipients names/email address(es) in the TO line, and fill in the "Subject" line.  Then I'd type my message.

TO ADD an image or images to the email, I'm going to attach it (or them) to the message.

At the bottom of the message is a symbol of a paperclip.

When I hover my mouse over that symbol, I have options to either "Attach files" or "Insert Photos."

I believe the best practice is to attach the images as files, versus inserting images into the text of an email.

Clicking "Attach files" will allow you to navigate your computer file system so you can select your image to attach to your email.  In most cases, you might be able to select one or more files to attach.  THEN send to your friend(s).

Just be aware that email ISPs might have size limitations on email attachments, so if you have huge image files, you might not be able to send them.  You'll find out when you hit send.


On my smart phone, my Gmail app has three dots in the upper right corner of my screen.  Tapping that brings up a menu, where one option is to select "Attach picture."

When you touch "Attach picture," (for me) I get an option asking type of attachment.  I chose "Gallery," since that's my smartphone's app for images which then takes me to my app and allows me to select my pic that I want to send.

Another method, one I tend to use more often than not, is when I'm looking at my pic, I can touch it and a menu shows up above my image.

One symbol that looks like this: " < " sort of, is a symbol for sharing.  When pressed, it gives me an option to choose programs.  One of them is my Gmail app.  You click it and it brings up your app, with the image already attached.

I can only assume that an iPhone may have a similar system or processes that would allow you to send images to your friends.

With your image on your screen, tap the screen and a menu comes up.  One option is "Email Photo."

Or probably something like that.

And that's what I have for ya!

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Friday, November 8, 2013

Google's New Barge Fleet?

Originally published 10-29-13.  11-8-13 update and answer, at the bottom of the post.

Google's at it again.  This time, instead of manipulating the world of web site owners and authors, they've got something going on that has captured the curiosity of the public itself.  That being the barges of Google.  Yes, Google barges.

Here's the multiple low-downs on what these boats are or do:

There are multiple cargo container boats that stand about four stories tall.  One is floating around Treasure Island in the SF Bay area, and another one off of Portland, Maine.

They're possibly:

-Apple Store-like marketing center for Google Glass

-Water-based data center,

-Backup data centers (in the event of a natural disaster).


The first option confuses me.  Sources are saying these barges will be towed to land and open for folks to visit.

The second option seems to make it an extra of one of their many data centers.

The third option confuses me because all their data is replicated around the world and the only kind of natural disaster that could threaten Google would have to be world-wide.

Other rumors suggest it's a marketing center for Google Glass. Once completed it will be towed to shore.


The 2nd option seems most plausible.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Veterans Day 2013 Appreciation Specials: Discounts, Deals, Freebies!

to say thank you

Veterans Day specials

Hey veterans!  You know everyone appreciates what you have and are doing, right?  Good!  Well so too, do restaurants, stores and the like!

On Veterans Day, (This Monday, November 11th, 2013), you can feel the love and check out your local businesses to see if they are subscribing to the following specials, deals or freebie offers, just for our vets!

Pass the word by sharing or liking this article, let your friends and family know!

Restaurants Offering Free Meals

(Check your local location to make sure they are participating.  I'd hate for you to go, expecting something, and it not be happening.  I'm also only covering the national chains I know about.  I can't hurt to check with your local mom & pop businesses to see if they're taking care of you too!)

Applebees Free Meal

California Pizza Kitchen

Charlie Brown’s Steakhouse Eat Free

Chili’s Free Meal

Famous Dave’s Free or Discounted Meal

Friendly’s Free Breakfast and Coffee

Golden Corral Free Meal

Hooters Free Meal

Hoss’s Family Steak & Sea House Free Meal

Krispy Kreme Free Doughnut & Coffee

Little Caesars Free Crazy Bread

Longhorn Steakhouse Free App

McCormick and Schmick’s Free Entree

Noah’s Bagels Free Bagel and Shmear

O’Charley’s free meal

Olive Garden Free Meal

On The Border Free Entree

Outback Steakhouse Free Bloomin’ Onion® and a beverage

Paciugo Gelato Caffe

Red Lobster Free App & drink

Red Robin Free Burger and Fries

Shoney’s Offers Free All-American Burger

Sizzler Free Lunch

Spaghetti Warehouse Buy 1 Get 1 Free Meal

Texas Roadhouse Free Lunch

TGI Fridays Free Lunch

Travel Centers of America Free Meal

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Knotts Berry Farm – Knott's Berry Farm is offering free admission

National Parks - On Veterans Day weekend (Nov. 9-11) veterans can enter free.

Red Roof Inn - Red Roof Inn is offering 15% of

Sea World Parks and Entertainment – Veterans and active duty members get 50% off

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ACE Jiffy Lube – Nov. 10 and 11, 50% discount on a Signature Service Oil Change

Bed Bath and Beyond – 20% off on Nov. 9, 10, and 11.

Dollar General – 11% off on Nov. 11. (Wow...  oh the savings!!!)

Great Clips – customers can get a free haircut card to give to their favorite veteran. Redeemable up until Dec. 31.

Home Depot  – 10% discount during Veterans Day, Memorial Day and Independence Day. They also offer a 10% discount year round to for active and retired members.

JCPenney – 20% off in stores Nov. 6-11 with coupon.

Lowe's – 10% discount on Veterans Day, Memorial Day and the Fourth of July.

Sport Clips – free haircuts on Monday, Nov. 11.

Toys“R”Us and Babies”R”Us - 20% off one regular-priced item, Sunday, Nov. 10 through Saturday, Nov. 16.

Under Armor – 15% off plus free shipping on all orders from now until Monday, Nov. 11.

Walgreens – 15% off eligible store items


To be honest, you can plot and plan your entire day, going from one place to the other...

REMEMBER, Home Depot (10%), Lowes (10%) and Footlocker (20%) have ALL YEAR long discounts for vets and active members.   (There are restrictions and limits)

Again, make sure to check your local retailers to make sure they are participating or if there are restrictions or extras you might want to know about!!!

-Thanks guys!!!


PS:  Oh!!! 

If you know of something in your area, local or national, with an offer, chime in!  You never know!  One of my other ten readers might be a neighbor and appreciate the input!  (Be sure it's verified)

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Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Obamacare: The Forced Solution?

This is a piece annotating my observations of how the Obamacare health care system seems to be impacting people, and seemingly, not in a good way, nor as promised.


I seriously do not know what to think about this ObamaCare debacle.  Up in Canada they have a government funded medical system that I have not heard horrible things about.  Yet here, I can't help but wonder if this ObamaCare system will ever attain that level.

Here, I'm seeing a lot of horrible news bits about the org.

The website debacles for one, how very few are signing up.  And then there's pieces that catch my eye that horrify me.

Wall Street Journal addresses how many folks are forced to drop their present doctors.  Including in one example, where a man is forced to drop the medical support system he is comfortable with, that's helping him fight his cancer.

Or be forced to pay 40-50% more on premiums to keep his care team:


Or how many looking at the new plans see how it will cost them much, much more to get insurance under the plan, while funding medical coverage for those who qualify.

sfgate: Health-insurance-shoppers-suffer-sticker-shock


Monday, November 4, 2013

Google Plus Texted My Wife, And She's Never Been On It

Google Plus texting non-users?
Here's a fascinating observation for you about something Google/Google Plus pulled off last night:

At 3 AM my wife's Android phone text alert screeched throughout the house (THANKS FOR THAT GOOGLE) that a text message had come in.  The message was asking my wife if she knows me and wants to connect with me on Google Plus.


Mind you, my wife has NEVER hit up an social media site except Facebook.  She does not do Twitter, Pinterest, and least of all, Google Plus.  I'm pretty sure she never knew it existed until this text message.

And I don't reference her in my Google Plus account.  I don't drag friends and family into their awareness unless they're already signed up for it.

Yet when I first hit up G+, the first name in my "You May Know" section is my wife's name.

When I click on her name, the only info there as that her Gender is male.

The only way she could have possibly found herself with a G+ account was when I signed her up for her new phone a few years ago.  When we did, we had to create a Gmail account for her.  One she has never actively signed into, unless her phone does it for her in some fashion.

Why would Google Plus text my wife?

So the question remains, is why would Google overstep boundaries and create an account for her?  And why text someone at 3AM in the morning.

WTF Google, just w.t.f.?

Thank you for putting up with my rant.

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Friday, November 1, 2013

Airline Electronics Restrictions Lifted (Mostly)

It's been how long, ten or more years where every time you get in an airliner, you're told to turn off all electronics. And where I work, it's been ten long years hearing the scientists slam that practice.

(Being in the middle of an opinion war between scientists and the real world is weird, sometimes confusing, but very insightful.)

So the FAA has finally bowed to the science of it all and airline passengers will no longer be told to shut their electronic stuff down.

The FAA is still holding on to the "no call" rule, but as it stands, as soon as the various companies start implementing the new rules, you can quit lying and hiding your electronics that you haven't been turning off all this time.

Below are two bits of... informative or entertaining news. First the FAA press release, and second, a funny video (With FOUL language) about the magic of airplanes and electronics!


FAA Press Release

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Administrator Michael Huerta today announced that the FAA has determined that airlines can safely expand passenger use of Portable Electronic Devices (PEDs) during all phases of flight, and is immediately providing the airlines with implementation guidance.

Due to differences among fleets and operations, the implementation will vary among airlines, but the agency expects many carriers will prove to the FAA that their planes allow passengers to safely use their devices in airplane mode, gate-to-gate, by the end of the year.

The FAA based its decision on input from a group of experts that included representatives from the airlines, aviation manufacturers, passengers, pilots, flight attendants, and the mobile technology industry.

{Bruce: Experts? In that "group?"}


There's more at the link, but it ends with,

And Here You Are All Worried about The NSA

With America's spy, Edward Snowden, letting out all kinds of info, some of info was that the NSA has figured out how to tap into the "cloud" between Google and Yahoo, allowing them to siphon information off this tap.  Folks are getting into an uproar about what they know.

Of course the NSA is looking for people who look to kill you by blowing up the planes or trains you're in.  So when the NSA hacks are reviewing data, more than likely, you aren't the target.  And when you become a non-target, you're forgotten.

And yet people choose to be in an uproar, now that they know.

But let's take a step back and think about this and the different aspects of this terrible infiltration into our private lives.


For one, once you put some form of information out onto the web/internet, it is PUBLIC.

That means your instant chats, your emails, your social network posts, your blogs... everything is public.  You should understand that like your trash, once it leaves your house, it's in the public domain.

If you want it private, keep it off the public domain.


Another point is that long before you discovered that our government is watching for bad guys, the internet providers themselves can and have been trapping your data for quite some time.  In one angle, it's called cookies on your own hard drive, and it's called server logs for any machine out there that helps you connect to the web.

Remember how shocked you were when you learned about the Tivo stats about Janet Jackson's nip slip?  Server logs helped collated that information. 

How do you think they manage to serve up ads that you don't mind seeing when you surf the web?  Via collated information off the cookies left on your computing device.

Another case in point, when I send an email from point A to B, that electronic transmission goes through (gets forwarded) several machines or servers before it gets where it needs to.  Out there in the wilds of the web.

I remember a few years ago when certain smartphones were discovered to be keeping location logs of everywhere you've been.  Heck I have Google (and other) utilities that break down my website visitor demographics to age, gender, income and education levels. I can see if you've landed on my site via desktop, laptop, or phone.  I can even break it down to phone model.  That's just the basic layer of info from cookies and like files on your PC/electronic device that they let me see.

Yep, it's not just the government.


Let's also think about Google's (and everyone else's) efforts to collect your data.

Just the other day I discovered my Google Dashboard.  In that dashboard I saw that Google said I've sent x thousands of emails, they had all 600 of my email contacts, voice samples of me (from who knows where) and a bundle of other goodies they have access to.

And this is what they let out for you to see.


And as the public gets antsy about what they now know, I wonder when they'll ponder the DARPA project called the IAO (Information Awareness Office), that started out around 2002.  This was a huge intelligence effort to watch for threats to the public.  And it collects massive amounts of data from several sources.  To be accurate, it was only in 2002 they decided to collate all the different databases already in existence, into one, easy to plunder piece of info.

Another great example is from FX's, The Americans.  In it they show the old-fashioned methods that intelligence angencies used to do to gather intel.  And on one knew.


But folks enjoy being able to grumble about what they know.  But I always have to wonder what anyone has to hide?  If you put it out there, it's OUT THERE.  That was your call.  Like when you drive through an intersection with a traffic cam.

I've been impressed how many people complain about those cameras.  Me, I'd rather see the impatient as... folks getting tickets for running red lights.

In fact so many people have become accustomed to running red lights that the law now says that you can go on green, "When it's safe to do so."  Seriously.  Or that pedestrians have the right of way, when it's safe to cross.

And yet, that's what our society has become.  The folk who break the laws are the ones that bitch the most about them getting caught doing it.  And their behavior helps formulate the laws.


In the end, I approve of all the eaves dropping.  It keeps me from getting blown up in an airplane or center punched by some ass who is in a hurry to be somewhere late.  (Who is probably texting at the same time too.)

But hey, this is all my own opinion and I say, get over it.  It's happened, it is happening and it will happen.

And to think, the NSA is the only intelligence agency that has to abide by laws, regulations and public review.  All the other agencies out there don't have to answer to anyone else's concerns as they freely perform their chosen focuses.

Last year over 2000 people died in terrorist deeds in overseas locations.  0 died in the U.S..  That NSA says that's not by accident, that no one died by terror acts on U.S. soil.

It sure is an interesting time we live in.
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