Spammer of the Week

I have my own email server, so I can make up as many email addresses as I want. So I make up a new unique email address for every company I do business with. That way, if I get spam email I know where it came from.

I have been doing this for years, and have about 12 companies that either sold my email address, or had a security breach that allowed my addresses to be stolen.

This weeks spammer of the week award goes to KFC. In the last 5 days, I have received 106 spam emails to the address I used to complete a KFC survey. All of the ip addresses from the spam came from Romania.

Shame on you KFC!

Alien Spacecraft on Moon

What! Well something alien is sure on the moon. With Google Earth, you can look at the surface of the moon with maps and photographs made by NASA.

Select ‘Moon’ from the menu icon that looks like Saturn, and then enter the coordinates 22°42’38.46″N 142°34’44.52″E. (Click on the yellow pin and enter the coordinates for N latitude and E longitude.)

This is what you will see until it is scrubbed from the Google Earth and Nasa servers.

MoonCraft

This is bigger than a city and certainly bigger than any space craft ever built on earth.

What is it, and why is it here?

About Argyria

Argyria is the gray/blue discoloration of the skin caused by the ingestion of certain types of silver preparations. According to studies done with electron microscopes, the blue/gray color is the result of silver compounds within the cells. The silver compounds inside the cell have been determined to be silver sulfide (sulfur) and silver selenide (selenium).

The major types of silver are metallic or ionic.

Ionic silver means the silver exists as a soluble compound with other substances, like oxides, chlorides, nitrates, citrates, acetates, etc. In its ionic state, the silver has a positive electric charge because it has donated an electron to the other part of the compound. Not all silver compounds are soluble, and therefore are not ionic. Insoluble compounds are not ionic. Silver sulfide for example is a silver compound that is not water soluble and therefore not ionic in water.

Metallic silver is a cluster of individual silver atoms about 15 billionths of a meter in diameter, and carries no net electric charge because it has not given any electrons away. However, it has an effective negative charge because its electrons are on the surface of the atoms. Opposite electric charges attract to each other, while like electric charges repel.

This difference in electric charge is very important in understanding how argyria occurs. Human cells require certain ions for life, like sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium etc. Human cells carry a negative electric charge on their surface which attracts positively charged ions like sodium and potassium to their surface where they are ingested through special pores on the cell wall. Metallic silver particles are repelled by cell walls, so it is not possible for metallic silver to enter a cell and be trapped inside. Also, metallic silver particles are at least 50 times larger than an ion, and as such are far too large to enter through the cells’s pores.

Many purveyors of colloidal silver say that ionic silver cannot cause argyria because ions are the smallest size and cannot get ‘stuck’ within cells. The fallacy of this argument is that it assumes that the silver ion remains an ion, but this is untrue. Once inside the cell, the silver ions combine with sulfur inside the cell and become insoluble silver sulfide, or combine with selenium and become insoluble silver selenide. These silver compounds are very stable and there is no way for them to leave the cell.

So, ionic silver is attracted to cell walls, and will enter them the same way that the essential metal ions like sodium and potassium do. Once inside, they chemically react with any sulfur or selenium in the cell and become insoluble. At that point they are stuck with no way out. As more silver becomes trapped, it begins to color the cell the characteristic blue/gray hue that Paul Karason is famous for.

Granted, it takes a long time and a lot of silver to make your skin turn blue. This is because most of the ionic silver is absorbed by the cells of a person’s internal organs long before it gets to the skin. However, it is cumulative, and builds up slowly. The first place it becomes visible is the whites of the eyes and the fingernails. Also, most of the silver which escapes being quickly absorbed by the cells of the digestive tract and liver will soon be converted to metallic silver by the glucose and other antioxidant chemicals in the blood. However, some remains as free ions circulating with the blood, and ends up in skin cells. It is the ionic silver which has been converted in the body to metallic which becomes effective against pathogens. This has been proved by electron microscope studies of metallic silver attacking bacteria.

Bacteria carry a positive electric charge, which is how they are able to enter and infect cells. This positive charge makes them attracted to metallic silver particles. When they come into contact, the difference in electric field between the two burns a hole in the cell wall of the bacteria, effectively killing it. Therefore, it would be wise to avoid ionic silver and use only metallic silver.

To tell whether your silver is metallic or ionic is very simple. Ionic silver is clear like plain water, and has a metallic taste. Metallic silver is yellow colored and is tasteless.

For more information, go to http://forum.cgcsforum.com

Virginia Governors Race

Its interesting how this turned out. McAuliffe emerged the victor because the democrats funded the Libertarian candidate so as to take votes away from Cuccinelli. Well that strategy certainly worked, however unethical it is. But then no one ever accused politicians of being ethical.

Still, more people voted against McAuliffe than voted for him, a fact which he should not forget. He did not win by majority, he won by plurality.

American Lantern Press CS Generator Review

One of my friends loaned me his American Lantern Colloidal Silver Generator to examine because he knew that I ran the colloidal silver forum Here is what it looks like: CS Generator This generator is listed at $179.00 on their website. The kit consists of a generator box, and two silver electrodes. There is no external power source for the generator, so I opened the box, and found: CS Generator Inside the box is 3 nine volt batteries, a resistor, a green led, and the two lead wires. Without the batteries, there is less than $10 worth of parts, with the plastic box and the lead wires being the most expensive parts. In my opinion, this is the most overpriced generator I have ever seen. As a test, I measured the current output of the generator at 1.1 milliamps. With that amount of current, it will require over 5 hours to make 250 ml of 20 ppm silver oxide1,3. This unit does not actually make colloidal silver, it makes silver oxide, which is ionic silver. Ionic silver can easily be converted to true colloidal silver by adding a drop or two of Karo light corn syrup (which is a reducing sugar), a few drops of sodium carbonate solution (washing soda) to raise the pH, and heating it. The solution changes from clear to yellow2 indicating that the ionic silver has been chemically changed to metallic colloidal silver by the reducing sugar.

The best part of this kit is the silver electrodes which I believe are 10 gauge and about 6 inches in length. The electrodes are worth more than the generator.

1) The amount of silver delivered to the water from the positive electrode can be calculated from Faraday's laws of electrolysis. The negative electrode does not contribute any silver to the solution, and in fact does not have to be silver.
2) The color is caused by the plasmon resonance of the silver particles, and is exactly the same phenomenon that creates stained glass.
3) If using pure distilled water, some of the silver which is released from the positive electrode will plate onto the negative, causing the actual ppm of the silver to be less than expected.

Ryobi ONE+ 18V Cordless Drill

This is the Ryobi cordless drill which I purchased about a year ago.  I also bought a Ryobi cordless caulking gun at the same time so that they would use the same type battery.  I bought two identical battery packs.

RyobiDrill

I have had this drill for over a year, and used it quite a few times.  While it has indeed drilled holes, I would not buy another one for two serious reasons.

The first problem with Ryobi ONE+ tools is the battery.  The batteries which came with tool are 18 volt Ni-MH rechargeable units.  The problem with the batteries is that they will not hold a charge.  When the batteries are fully charged, the tools work ok, with plenty of power.  However, a day after a battery pack has been fully charged, it is almost completely dead – even if it was not used or even plugged into the drill.  So every time I plan on using it, I first have to make sure the battery has been on the charger for hours.   There is something definitely wrong with the design or manufacture of these batteries.

The second problem is specific to the drill, and not the battery.  The drill chuck is almost impossible to tighten enough so that drill bits do not slip in the chuck when under load.  Also, when the drill is spinning and the trigger is released, the drill stops instantly, and the momentum of the spinning chuck releases the chuck allowing the bit to fly out.  This has cost me lost bits, and many words which are better not said!

So, I give the Ryobi drill a thumbs down.  I would not buy another, nor will I buy any tool with a Ryobi ONE+ battery.

Marketing gaffes….

I was in Perkins Restaurant a couple days ago for breakfast. As I was paying my check to leave, the manager asked if I wanted something from the bakery case to go. I told her that would be a big mistake, whereupon she looked me strangely and asked what I meant. I told her that there were two very large pencil erasers in the pastry case, with one saying “OOPS”, and the other saying “BIG MISTAKES”. I advised her that she was practicing negative advertising essentially saying that the pastries were a mistake. Apparently she had never thought of that before.PerkinsA

Twenty years ago, I worked in the I.T. department of an insurance company. This particular company liked to buy up smaller companies, and rename them as subsidiaries. I saw on my bosses desk one day, business cards with great big letters NIS. I asked him what that was and he told me it was an new company they were starting called National Information Services. I told him that was a really bad name for a company. He asked why. I said “Turn the business card upside down and read it”. NIS upside down is SIN, and not a good subliminal message to be laying about. Two days later, the name was changed.

More recently, an animal rescue organization that I sometimes help out has a dog which no one wants to adopt. Its a perfectly sweet dog with a nice personality. Unfortunately, they have named the dog “Andreas Goof”. My suggestion was to rename the dog to just “Andy”. No one wants a dog named “Andreas Goof”

I’m certainly no marketing expert, but anyone should be able to see that some things are just not appropriate if the goal is to sell a product.

TV Shows Won’t Record — Copyright Permissions

For years, I have recorded TV shows on my PC using Windows Media Center and a TV tuner card. This allows me to view the shows I want, when I want. However, recently, some of the shows would not record. Instead, a message pops up later saying something to the effect of the recording not being allowed by the copyright owner.

I have two rules about TV:
1) If it contains canned laughter, it is targeted to stupid people, and I want no part of it. I think I can figure out myself if something is funny, and when to laugh.
2) If I cannot watch it when I want, I will not watch it at all.

Disallowing recording for personal use seems like a bad strategy for the broadcasters. Allowing people to record their material costs them nothing. Disallowing recording means that fewer people will see their program. Its all about greed I suppose.

DotBlock Micro VPS Website Hosting

Dotblock is now offering a ‘MicroBlock’ Virtual Private Server for $9.95 a month. This server comes with 5 gigabyte solid state disk drive, 1.5 gigabyte of RAM memory, and a 1.5 gig processor. The only operating system option I saw was Centos 6.4, which is based on Red Hat Linux, and is a very robust system.

As VPS systems go, this is not very large in terms of disk space and memory, but it is enough to run most software for personal use, like a WordPress blog, a SMF forum, Joomla, etc. It has plenty of resources to run ISPConfig as hosting management software, although you the user have to install that yourself.

As one of the first users of the MicroBlock, I did experience some trouble. I was not at first able to change the root login password, and not able to reboot the virtual machine remotely. I had to contact a Dotblock tech to fix that for me. I have always found Dotblock’s support to be very good.

Also, I have had some performance issues with the solid state disk drives. Normal disk throughput seems to be about 2 gigabytes per second for reads, and 1 gigabyte per second for disk writes. This is quite good, except that at times, the disk occasionally becomes unresponsive and the disk write time drop to a few megabytes per second… almost 500 times slower. I currently have a support ticket with DotBlock about this situation. EDITED TO ADD: The disk performance issue seems to be solved.

This Micro VPS would certainly be a good choice for someone with a small to medium website, and a good way to gravitate away from shared hosting. Currently, I have apache, wordpress, email server stack (pop, smtp, spamassassin, and antivirus), database server (mysql) and domain name server running successfully on one. This blog is now hosted on a MicroBlock!

Behr DeckOver Review

When I saw the ad on TV for the Behr DeckOver sold by Home Depot, I thought that would be a good thing to put on my deck. My deck had never been painted or stained before and it was starting to show its age. The grain in the wood was quite raised from pressure washing it several times (something I would never do again).

I chose the darkest red color called Bordeaux. The instructions say that 1 gallon would cover 50 square feet in two coats, so I bought 3 gallons to cover my 150 square foot deck. I later had to buy one more gallon to finish the job because of the steps, rails, and styles.

The product is water based, and has the strong smell of ammonia. The odor made my wife feel sick when she was helping me with the job. It didn’t bother me though.

I started with the deck floor, and rolled it on using a roller with 3/8th inch nap. It is very thick, and indeed did use a lot of paint, far more than regular paint would.

The advertisment said it would fill up to 1/4 inch cracks. As my deck is 5 years old and had never been painted, I thought that would fill up the weather cracks, but it did not. The product is too thick to penetrate any cracks, and it would not enter the gaps between the boards.

DeckOver2

As you can see, it is not very good at filling in even small cracks.

Getting the paint in between the deck boards was not easy either, and was very time consuming, but necessary.

DeckOver4

The DeckOver product does not seem to be very robust, as my dog was able to scratch it off with his toenails after the paint had cured for a full week. I had to go back and touch it up again.

DeckOver3

Another thing I didn’t like was the texture the paint left when applied by a roller. I used a small roller to apply the Deck Over to the styles of my deck. The texture is quite rough from the roller knap.

DeckOver5

To get a better idea of the color, this photo is more true:

DeckOver6

I found that the paint is too thick to brush easily or efficiently, and I didn’t like the texture of the roller on the rails and styles, so I switched from rolling the styles to brushing. To do this, I found that it worked better if I thinned the Deck Over with a little water. The rough texture on the deck flooring is probably a good thing though as it makes it less slippery.

One more bad thing about this product is how toxic it is to plant life. When I cleaned my brushes and rollers, I used just water and rinsed them with a garden hose. Every where the water touched, the grass died, even though the paint was so dilute there was no visible color.

All in all, I am not impressed with this product and would not buy it again.