Monday, July 11, 2011

Protecting your computer or smartphone from theft

Protecting your smartphone from theft - here are some good tips.
Andrew Sheldon

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Music or study guide

Study or work can be difficult - though often we make it harder for ourselves than it need be, by not creating a 'no fail' environment. Music is a great motivator or for just relaxing ourselves. There are a great many songs you can download. I stumbled upon this music at YouTube. But there is this website which highlights a tool which allows you to run this music non-stop, so you concentration need not be broken until you achieve your goal. It does not sound like a continuous stream of music though because the file has not been edited to be seamless.
Give it ago! This is a favourite piece for me. I can imagine sitting at some piano bar listening to this!
Andrew Sheldon

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Computer or cell phone tracking software

There is a suite of free computer tracking softwares available online which allow you to track usage of computers. Consider the applications of this software:
1. Tracking the online or offline usage of a shared computer - Say you want to monitor the usage of your kids, the illicit or deceitful behaviour of your partner.
2. Track usage of employees - You might want to make sure that your staff are working during employment hours; and not using your computer for personal use, or at least not unreasonably so. This is particularly a useful tool for home-based contractors, or for projects which are difficult to time.
3. The theft of your computer - If you purchase or use the right software, you might be able to track the use of your computer once stolen by a thief, and thus allow you to recover it. Read this story.
4. The recovery of lost data - I am not aware of a product which does this; but it would be nice to think that there will eventually be a product which allows logging of your keystrokes in real time, so that if you have a computer crash, your data is recoverable in real time from an external server. i.e. Their server accumulates a log which is dumped to an email sent to your computer. PS: I think I just gave someone an idea for a great computer...or is Microsoft finally making a stable OS that I didn't know about???

There are two problems:
1. You might be breaking the law in your country by tracking your computer use; even if you own the computer. You might even be put in the position where your partner files a law suit against you for violation of his privacy even though he/she cheated. The reason is that your state/country might have a (silly) no-fault attitude to extra-marital activity.
2. Making sure that your software emails a report to your online email so that you can monitor the computer use from Gmail, Yahoo, etc. This will make it useful to recover your computer. As soon as the thief goes online he will allow his keystrokes to be recorded online. This will allow you to get his photo, passwords, etc, which will help you identify him.
3. Find a reliable website to download this software from. i.e. is a site I trust. There is a list of popular downloads at this site - at the bottom of the page. Some of them are free.

I suspect all computers will come with such tools in future. There is similar software available for cell phones, with the more obvious benefits of preventing the theft of your phone. The problem is that the thief might perform a reset to manufacturer settings before you can track them down. Hopefully they attempt to do this from home, so you can track them down. I searched Google for possible contenders and found:
1. - see here.
2. BuddyWay GPS - see here or here.
3. Gympse - see here.
Andrew Sheldon

Friday, April 29, 2011

Internet tools to improve your web experience

The following is a list of tools you can use to improve your online experience.
1. Broadband speed test: Check out this test tool to determine your upload and download speed, so you can compare your package with others. see
2. Shorter URLs: There are various websites around which allow you to create short URLs for websites like Twitter which limit you to a 140-character limit. See and search google for others.
3. Online sounds to relax: Sounds of running water, etc. See This is a really cool tool because you can actually set the volume controls and overlay different sounds. It is so easy to play, and you can leave it to play on your browser tab whilst you work elsewhere.
4. I will think of others.
Andrew Sheldon

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

How to respond during an earthquake

Where to Go During an Earthquake

Remember that stuff about hiding under a table or standing in a doorway? Well, forget it! This is a real eye opener. It could save your life someday.


My name is Doug Copp I am the Rescue Chief and Disaster Manager of the American Rescue Team International (ARTI ), the world's most experienced rescue team. The information in this article will save lives in an earthquake.

I have crawled inside 875 collapsed buildings, worked with rescue teams from 60 countries, founded rescue teams in several countries, and I am a member of many rescue teams from many countries. I was the United Nations expert in Disaster Mitigation for two years, and have worked at every major disaster in the world since 1985, except for simultaneous disasters.

The first building I ever crawled inside of was a school in Mexico City during the 1985 earthquake. Every child was under its desk. Every child was crushed to the thickness of their bones. They could have survived by lying down next to their desks in the aisles. It was obscene -- unnecessary.

Simply stated, when buildings collapse, the weight of the ceilings falling upon the objects or furniture inside crushes these objects, leaving a space or void next to them - NOT under them. This space is what I call the 'triangle of life'. The larger the object, the stronger, the less it will compact. The less the object compacts, the larger the void, the greater the probability that the person who is using this void for safety will not be injured. The next time you watch collapsed buildings, on television, count the 'triangles' you see formed. They are everywhere. It is the most common shape, you will see, in a collapsed building.


1) Most everyone who simply 'ducks and covers' when building collapse are crushed to death. People who get under objects, like desks or cars, are crushed.

2) Cats, dogs and babies often naturally curl up in the fetal position. You should too in an earthquake. It is a natural safety/survival instinct. You can survive in a smaller void. Get next to an object, next to a sofa, next to a bed, next to a large bulky object that will compress slightly but leave a void next to it.

3) Wooden buildings are the safest type of construction to be in during an earthquake. Wood is flexible and moves with the force of the earthquake. If the wooden building does collapse, large survival voids are created. Also, the wooden building has less concentrated, crushing weight. Brick buildings will break into individual bricks. Bricks will cause many injuries but less squashed bodies than concrete slabs.

4) If you are in bed during the night and an earthquake occurs, simply roll off the bed. A safe void will exist around the bed. Hotels can achieve a much greater survival rate in earthquakes, simply by posting a sign on the back of the door of every room telling occupants to lie down on the floor, next to the bottom of the bed during an earthquake.

5) If an earthquake happens and you cannot easily escape by getting out the door or window, then lie down and curl up in the fetal position next to a sofa, or large chair.

6) Most everyone who gets under a doorway when buildings collapse is killed. How? If you stand under a doorway and the doorjamb falls forward or backward you will be crushed by the ceiling above. If the door jam falls sideways you will be cut in half by the doorway. In either case, you will be killed!

7) Never go to the stairs. The stairs have a different 'moment of frequency' (they swing separately from the main part of the building). The stairs and remainder of the building continuously bump into each other until structural failure of the stairs takes place. The people who get on stairs before they fail are chopped up by the stair treads - horribly mutilated. Even if the building doesn't collapse, stay away from the stairs. The stairs are a likely part of the building to be damaged. Even if the stairs are not collapsed by the earthquake, they may collapse later when overloaded by fleeing people. They should always be checked for safety, even when the rest of the building is not damaged.

8) Get near the outer walls of buildings or outside of them if possible - It is much better to be near the outside of the building rather than the interior. The farther inside you are from the outside perimeter of the building the greater the probability that your escape route will be blocked.

9) People inside of their vehicles are crushed when the road above falls in an earthquake and crushes their vehicles; which is exactly what happened with the slabs between the decks of the Nimitz Freeway. The victims of the San Francisco earthquake all stayed inside of their vehicles. They were all killed. They could have easily survived by getting out and sitting or lying next to their vehicles. Everyone killed would have survived if they had been able to get out of their cars and sit or lie next to them. All the crushed cars had voids 3 feet high next to them, except for the cars that had columns fall directly across them.

10) I discovered, while crawling inside of collapsed newspaper offices and other offices with a lot of paper, that paper does not compact. Large voids are found surrounding stacks of paper.

Spread the word and save someone's life...

The entire world is experiencing natural calamities, so be prepared!

'We are but angels with one wing, it takes two to fly'

In 1996 we made a film, which proved my survival methodology to be correct. The Turkish Federal Government, City of Istanbul, University of Istanbul Case Productions and ARTI cooperated to film this practical, scientific test. We collapsed a school and a home with 20 mannequins inside. Ten mannequins did 'duck and cover,' and ten mannequins I used in my 'triangle of life' survival method. After the simulated earthquake collapse we crawled through the rubble and entered the building to film and document the results. The film, in which I practiced my survival techniques under directly observable, scientific conditions , relevant to building collapse, showed there would have been zero percent survival for those doing duck and cover.

There would likely have been 100 percent survivability for people using my method of the 'triangle of life.' This film has been seen by millions of viewers on television in Turkey and the rest of Europe, and it was seen in the USA , Canada and Latin America on the TV program Real TV.

Subject: Save your life with "The Triangle of Life"

"Triangle of Life":

Without listening or reading, simply by looking at the following self-explanatory photos, you can learn more than in a thousand words about how to protect yourself during a major earthquake...





If you are inside a vehicle, come out and sit or lie down next to it. If something falls on the vehicle, it will leave an empty space along the sides. See below:








American Rescue Team International
ARTIis said to be the World's most experienced rescue team and disaster management-mitigation organization.

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Still a Nokia phone - its integration guys!

A smartphone is critical to me as a writer. There was a time when I would write notes on little pieces of paper and I would lose them, or they would go through the washing machine, and often I could not even read my own writing, as I tried to write in fine print to maximise my note taking ability. A smartphone is great. It is always with me, and I know when its not there too. The benefits:
1. I don't have to re-type up my notes. I merely upload or email them to myself
2. I can fully develop the idea; if not immediately, then more productively, whilst I am out at some cafe or waiting for my GF to shop.
3. I can edit the notes, I can add to them, even if from days earlier.
4. Its a backup, until I backup my hard disk
5. Its solid-state memory - more reliable than my 'spinning' HDD

This brings us to the question of what phone to buy. I have looked around the market, and I must say that I am not happy with any of them. The front contenders are:
1. Nokia E63 - This is a great phone, its a shame that Nokia has yet to upgrade it. Its old technology and whilst it is similar to the E61i, which has not been continued (i.e. much loved), it offers many of the same features. I see this as a temporary phone until a better one comes out
The appeal of this phone to me is that unlike the N71 and N72, it has decent size QWERTY keys. This phone has an old processor which I found a little slow.
2. Sony Ericsson - This phone has all the specs, so on the face of it, it looks like a great phone. The problem is that it has 1/2 the battery life of the Nokia phone. The problem is that the Sony phone attempts to minimise its footprint and sacrifices battery life. This is a sad gimmick because customers have clearly voted and made battery life an important feature. Two days is not good enough if that is the 'starting life'. Within 1-2 years you will be needing a new battery as it will last a day. The other problem I had was the crappy software pre-loaded. In order to get a sense of the Android range, you would have to void your warranty. I frankly don't consider software a compelling point of different. All operating systems will offer the software you need....the market is that deep. The greater problem for me was the difficulty of the integration of hardware and software. The Sony-Ericsson is not intuitive like the Nokia.

For these reasons, and the fact that the nokia is just $NZ299, I would be looking at the 'old solution' Nokia E63 if I was desperate for a phone, otherwise I would be waiting for a replacement for this phone...unless some other manufacturer comes out with a phone with different battery life. The other types of phones in the same class are of course Blackberry, but I'm inclined to stay with the majors. i.e. Symbian, Android and Microsoft. Blackberry makes sense for another year if you are a terrorist needing encryption.

So in conclusion, I remain a fan of the Nokia E series of phones, and will happily wait for the next version. Their hardware is far superior - battery life - software-hardware integration is superior. The ease of using these is far better. Sadly, Nokia has failed in my view with the N-series. They were bulky, and the keys were too small. I guess they might appeal for small 'feminine' Asian hands. But for a Westerner with big hands (et al) you need a E-series phone to get the QWERTY experience (keyboard), and I recommend it for those writers and business folk who need to be able to type up content in any location.
Andrew Sheldon
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