Saturday, September 29, 2007

Underground "terrorists" with a mission to save city%u2019s neglected heritage - Times Online

Underground %u2018terrorists%u2019 with a mission to save city%u2019s neglected heritage - Times Online : "From time to time, however, she whispered into Mr Kunstmann%u2019s ear and he relayed the message. %u201CWe are the counterpoint to an era where everything is slow and complicated,%u201D he said. %u201CIt%u2019s very difficult to get anything done through official channels. If you want to do it, you have to be clandestine.%u201D"

As an engineer I grew up dreaming of making science fiction, fact. But this is something out of Brazil.

"Why do we always get the DARK version of Science Fiction as OUR future? I want that OTHER worlds' future, the one over THERE with the giant wheel space stations and Luna City! "

Friday, September 28, 2007

Go Bag: Documents Kit

Your Go Bag needs lots of little subkits. One of the least obvious but possibly most important is the Documents Kit.
Lots of list will say to take copies of your "important" documents but never call out what they are.

These are all Important documents and having copies on hand will make rebuilding your life after a major disaster much, much easier. You may need these documents to file insurance claims, pay bills, help injured family members get proper care, or even manage the affairs of a death.

What Documents You Need
• Birth certificate: The big one. If you have to replace a Drivers License or Social Security card you need not a noterized copy of an offical original copy, which they only limit you to 7 of now. This needs special care. You may not want a copy in you Go Bag but rather in a remote location. A locked box in an energency bag at a family members house or in a safety deposit box, but remember the Hurricane Katrina destroyed whole cities so it should be quite a ways away from your home.

• Drivers License: You should have this on your person all the time so should not be a problem to have handy.

• Deeds, Mortgages, or Rental Agreements: To show where you live and what you own.

• Insurance policies (life, health, disability, long-term care, auto, homeowners, renters)

• Medical records, including prescription information: Very important if you need medicines to survive.

• Marriage certificate

• Licenses, recommends and certificates related to things you can do. For example, commercial driver, medical, legal or amateur radio licenses.

• Will

• Power of attorney

• Living will or other medical powers

• Trust documents

• Social Security card/records

• Military records

• Checking and savings account statements

• Retirement account records

• Other investment statements

• Pay stubs

• Tax returns

• Car titles and registrations

• Warranties and receipts for major purchases

• Credit card records

• Other loan records

• Safe deposit box information (location and key)

• Copies of your utility bills: mainly you are looking for the company contact information (address, phone number & website) and your account number so you can make arraignments while things recover.

• Copies of pictures or documents of semtimental or family value, such as journals and diaries.

• A video or pictures of all your stuff for insurance purposes. Just lay a drawer full of stuff on your bed and take a picture of it.

How to Store Your Important Documents

This is the interesting part. On the one hand you want it to be pretty easy to get to during an emergency, but you don't want it to be too easy for a burglar to take if they break in. If you are storing them at home or a family members house make sure that it is also in a media safe fire box so it can survive a fire.

In many cases the most important part of the documents you really want are the contact information to the companies you're doing business with. You want to be able to call the electric company to tell them your homes been destroyed and you need to turn off the power and make that last payment on the account. You'll need the account number and the number you should call.

You can scan these things onto you computer too. If you don't have scanner a digital camera will work fine if instead of using the flash put it on the desk with some lamps on both sides. The flash will overexpose the center of the document making it unreadable.

You can copy all of that onto a piece of paper or a word processing document and keep it in your wallet as well. or on a keychain flash drive or on your iPod, password protecting the electronic documents would be a good idea. You could even make them contacts on you mobile phone, but you might want to make them less obvious so if you lost your phone it is hard to steal that information.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

There Are Only Two Kinds of Disasters

Those you have to run from and those you can sit tight for.

You have to run from wild fires, floods and large hurricanes. You can sit out blizzards, small hurricanes and the like.

Okay, there are plenty like tornados and earthquakes that are come as you are, and you figure out afterwards if you have to leave or can stay, depending on damage to your home.

So what do you do to get ready?
You need a couple of kits: An evacuation kit and a shelter in place kit.

An Evacuation Kit is a 72 hour kit optimized for getting out of Dodge.
A couple of liters of water and some lightweight food, I like GORP myself as that has plenty to energy to keep you going for 3 days.
A simple first aid kit, just bandaids and some elestic wrap. Good for a cut or sprained ankle.
A good map to get you to your evacuation point.
A multitool and flashlight.
And copies of important papers.

A Shelter in Place kit can be much bulkier as it and you aren't going anywhere.
2 weeks of food and water. This can be regualr stuff you eat preferably canned as it doesn't need to be kept cool and about 14 gallons of water per person.
A battery operated radio but you can use the one if the car.
A tool kit to repair the house if it gets damaged.
You can add plastic sheeting and duct tape, but don't forget to cover the furnace intake vents and all the other vents into your home.
An extensive first aid kit.
Flashlights and extra batteries. Candles and matches but be careful and don't burn your house down.

This is just and overview. I'll be fleshing this stuff out over time.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

On Food Preservation

"Food Preservation

Jim wrote:

"..My son has been raised to an urban lifestyle; we planted a few tomato plants a couple of times with variable success, but haven't done significant gardening. I've recently had cause to reflect that he knows nothing about food preservation (and the opportunity that he had to learn something about the subject passed unheeded)."

While farming is a complex skill best learned at the knee of an expert, canning and freezing can be quickly learned by an absolute novice with a copy of Joy of Cooking or, I believe, Fannie Farmer. I know this because the results were delicious and safe, often on the first try. Don't despair.

-Tim Herbst

I would also recommend the Ball Blue Book of Canning. We've used that any number of times and the results are great.

Alton Brown on Good Eats did several shows on canning, jamming and pickling. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has canneries scattered around the world that are wonderful resources too.There are other community canning groups as well so look around food is a great way to make friends.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

We're Hams

My wife and I passed our Amateur Radio exams. She made technician and I made General, I missed the Amateur Extra by one question. I was too tired to try any more but there is another test next week.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Bandwidth Hogs may just have a Worm

"Some customers are unaware they are using so much capacity, sometimes because neighbors are covertly connecting through unsecured wireless routers. ... Others, however, may be running bandwidth-hungry servers intended for small businesses from their homes, which can bog down a network serving a neighborhood." - MSNBC

"We've seen spikes where the owner is experimenting with something and those spikes are usually five to 10 times what we normally see," he said, noting he suspects the botnet could be as large as 50 million computers." - ITNews

I wonder if they might consider that their customers might not be in control of their own computers. We just got Comcast, because there is no other choice.

I've helped a lot of people clean up their computers and it is usually a terrible sight. Sure I know you should update your computer and finally so does Microsoft but there are plenty of computers that are still not patched and that is where these worms thrive.

Someone is running new underground cable past our apartment complex but we don't know who or if it will be for internet but we can always hope.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Computer Consultant Resume

A systems administrator with 7+ years experience in large and small networks. 
Expert with Microsoft Windows, Apple Macintosh and UNIX. 
With 5+ years writing and documentation experience and experience creating and maintaining business systems.

Network Management
Business Systems
Windows, Macintosh, UNIX
User Training Fast Learning
Technical Writing
Electronics Engineering
System Maintenance
Network Equipment
Team Player

Customer Service Director, Mr. Fixit, 2006-Present, Denver, CO
Reduced operating cost by more then 60% by migrating the Customer Relations Management system from to
Documented business processes and procedures for the training of new hires, enabling them to be productive within two days.
Created business processes and data handling procedures to maximize customer satisfaction with only 3 complaints last year out of more then 1000 transactions.
Managed and grew the Customer Service Representative group, the IT department, web master and database administrator enabling them go from handling less then 500 transactions to over 1000 transactions.

Columnist,, 2005-present, Fort Collins, CO
Write the Monday flagship column analyzing the iPod and music markets.
Wrote the ebook: So You Wanna Learn How To Podcast.

Writer/Publisher, Ziggurat Math, 2002-2005, Fort Collins, CO
Wrote the book: How to Teach Your Child Numbers and Counting.
Embedded System Engineer, Decatur Tech. LLC, 2001-2002, Fort Collins, CO
Provided ISO 9000 documentation for engineering design procedures which enabled successful re-certification.
Addressed the shortcomings of the in-car video products documentation by adding pictures.
Redesigned handheld radar unit for European safety certification enabling the company to more then double their market space.
Created an installation video for the in car video product used by the documentation team which significantly improved documentation.

Volunteer Experience:
Instructed a men’s self-improvement group for 40 minutes twice a month.
Youth group assistant leader.
Managed the membership of a non-profit group.

B.S. Electronics Engineering Technology — Brigham Young University

The Interesting Life

"May You Live In Interesting Times." -old Chinese Curse

It certainly got interesting around here. We've moved our family into a new apartment and finally got internet access to it. My work moved from an office space into a house, then was put on retainer (because the computers actually work now and don't need me fulltime) so I need to find a new job and my wife and I are taking a amateur radio class I was called to be the Emergency Preparation Specialist at church.

I've been big on emergency preparation for sometime. I've got loads on information and I link to it from time to time. So really this is a dream calling for me. I am going to be putting together the manual for the church so there is a plan in place for helping our families and other around us during a disaster.

Taking the ham class was more for us. My sister, brother in law and some of her kids have their licenses and this would be a good way to keep in touch.We often hear about ham radio operators helping out in emergencies, it is actually a lot more extensive then that so this will be a lot of fun. You can actually experiment in the ham bands building antennas and radios and interfaces to other services. Hams can connect to the Internet already, but I wonder if they can do Twitter. Lots of Hams also look at those big balloons at car dealerships and wonder if they are any good for floating an antenna to boost the range. It will be fun to build radios again. As I'm digging through out stuff I am finding all kinds of neat old things I can use to rebuild a work bench.The only real problem is I don't have any place to put one.

It won't be boring for a while.