03/27/11

Yesterday was Earth Hour, Lets Discuss Geothermal Energy

Following a great Earth Hour, I thought it might be a good idea to discuss one of the many forms of low-cost, sustainable energy.  Namely, Geothermal.

This energy has been around for a long time… well about 4 billion years ago (give or take a year).  It was first in use by the Chinese Dynasty in the third century BC, and has even had actively developed energy plants in the 1990′s in China, 1958 in New Zealand and even 1913 in Italy.

It is relatively cheap to obtain (price comparison to oil and gas), takes up very little space and has some of the most basic techniques (think Steam Engine) for converting heat to energy.  So, the question becomes, in a society where we are tearing each other apart for resources – why has this abundant energy source been so actively avoided?  And why are we not building these energy plants in poor countries to help encourage sustainability and growth?

Some argue, it is because of the way our society is designed to depend on oil and gas.  Some argue it is because big oil and gas companies have control over our governments (well – most likely it’s the banks).  And some believe it is actively being squelched by third-parties. But regardless for the reason, I think it is worth noting that sustainable energy choices have long existed.  And this Earth Day, I intend to do what I can to encourage our government to actively seek these resources.

I hope you had a good Earth Hour everyone!  And, as part of Earth Hour, you are supposed to stop for a bit and think and gather your individual thoughts on renewable energy consumption and its impact.

<Edit:  See you all on April 22nd for Earth Day, where we will discuss more options for renewable energy> (283)

03/25/11

Are You Missing Posts from Some Friends on Facebook?

Does it seem like you’re missing posts from some of your friends and favorite pages?

Log in to your Facebook Account.

Then click on the “Most Recent” link at the top of your Wall Posts.

Click the arrow that pops up next to “Most Recent” and scroll down to “Options.”

If you choose the “All of your friends” options, Facebook will post ALL of your friend’s posts on your wall, ensuring that you don’t miss a single one.

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03/24/11

SMART Lays-off 30 [Edit: 47] Employees in Calgary, Shaw Axes 500

In a surprising turn of events, SMART Technologies (long considered a pillar of stability in modern day computer electronics) released 47 employees today (~5% of the Calgary location).  This after news that 45 more are to be laid off in Kanata which brings the total expected lay-off to impact ~5% of employees (92 of ~1500) between both the Calgary and Kanata locations.

The company expressed that these lay-offs are not related to the companies finances and that declining sales (expected in the education market for whiteboards) was not a contributing factor.  Interestingly enough SMART still has not yet released financial records for the end of the year.  This leaves some investors wondering about the impact this will have on stock prices.  Given that recent lay-offs at other companies have had a negative impact on stock prices, this may be the final nail in the coffin for some investors leaving people wondering what SMART was thinking.

In addition Shaw Cable, considered an essential service in many places, also released ~500 employees (4% of staff) and may have more to come.  This has also had a negative impact on stock prices for Shaw and the lay-offs are reaching country wide.

This suggests a grim start to the year for those in the industry.

Posted with WordPress for BlackBerry.

Edited March 27th. (350)

03/23/11

Mapping FTP Drives and do you really need an FTP client? Probably not.

I use FTP software all the time, because I am constantly updating my websites.

Not everyone is aware of this.  But sometimes, you need to access FTP folders at the strangest of times.  And sometimes, you just want to edit something on-the-fly without dealing with a third-party program.

Well – when it comes to Windows, you already have an FTP client built into the OS that you can leverage.

What is FTP?

In very short, its a way of accessing files and folders on a server as needed.  An FTP share can make it very easy to store a large volume of files for access as needed.

To do this, open an Explorer window by right-clicking on your START menu and selecting Explore All Users.

Please note, this must not be an Internet Explorer window.

In the Explorer window, type in your URL with FTP at the front.

ftp://ftpserver.com

You will be asked to authenticate.

And then you are done!  And you can browse the folder just like an explorer window.

FTP address logon with Name

You can also specify your login information at the URL level.  To do this, you can use the following example:

ftp://user:password@ftpserver

Mapping an FTP Drive

Okay great, so what can we do with that?  Well, we can map it to a drive, like E:.  This can be mapped on all of your PC’s (work/home/etc) to make it easier to share a personal ‘virtual’ drive that stays with you and only you.

1.  Open Explorer and select Map Network Drive or Tools > Map Network Drive.

2. Select:  Sign up for online storage … (Windows XP) or Connect to a website (Windows 7)

3. When prompted, enter your FTP information

4. Enter your credentials.

5. Done!

Now you know how to easily access your FTP drives and to set them up as a mapped network drive, all within the Windows OS and with no need for third-party software (free or otherwise).

-l (753)