Friday, May 27, 2011

The month of May...

What do they say about May?
May is the month of mothers and teachers.
Its Mother's Day and it's Teacher's Day.
What would life be without both, I am sure you will agree.
So here's a big salute to both the women who are mothers and teachers.
I am both...and i am thankful for having the chance to do my part in educating the children of today. To my kids, I thank God everyday for you in my life. To all my students wherever you are or may be, I hope you remember that everyday is a learning process and that education does not stop in the classroom, neither does it end with age.
So enjoy yourselves and equip yourselves with 21st century skills and contribute towards making this world a better place to live in. Cheers!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Your Security: Ways to stay Safer.

by Consumer Reports

Friday, May 13, 2011

What cops and crooks say you're doing wrong.

You're an easy target. That's what we heard when we talked to police, experts, and especially people who have spent time on the other side of the law. As vacation season begins, and crime doesn't take a holiday, these security missteps may surprise you -- or at least remind you what police dramas taught: Be careful out there. Here are the mistakes to avoid at home, with your electronics, and for your personal finances:

At Home

Making a break-in too easy

"About half of all break-ins aren't break-ins but walk-ins," says Bob Portenier, consultant, lecturer, and former burglar. "Families get in a hurry in the morning -- kids going to school, running late for work, doctors' appointments, what have you -- and forget to take that one or two minutes to check the doors and locks, usually on the back side. You have a pet, you let it out to do its business -- and then forget the security French door or sliding glass door."

Remember, don't forget to turn on your home alarm. In a security survey of 1,038 U.S. homeowners we conducted in February, 43 percent of people in our survey who had an alarm said they at least occasionally don't turn it on when they're not at home. Some other troubling numbers. Nineteen percent of people in our survey said they at least occasionally leave doors at home unlocked when they're out, and 26 percent of survey respondents said they at least occasionally leave windows unlocked when they're not at home.
Photo illustration: Stephen Webster

Leaving your garage door open

In addition to providing access to everything in the garage, the door most likely leads to an interior door and access to your house. That interior door probably isn't as strong as an exterior door. And once a burglar's in your garage, the neighbors can't see him.

Obscuring your house

Tall hedges and fences hide windows and doors, giving thieves cover to work, says Walter T. Shaw, former burglar and co-author of "A License to Steal."

Leaving valuables in sight

"When we targeted a house, we would approach the door and look in -- the quality of furniture, whatever there was -- to give us an idea of how these people spend their money," says Portenier. "So with mirror-tinted windows, it eliminates that."

Advertising a vacation

People often don't do anything to make the house look occupied, says Maj. Kurt Philipps of the Memphis police department. Lt. John Dzwlewicz of the New York City police department suggests this trick: Put some inexpensive kids' toys on the lawn. On Facebook, share news of your trip only after you return.
Photo illustration: Stephen Webster

Being carefree with keys

Leaving keys under the doormat or elsewhere outside the home is a risk that 12 percent of people in our survey say they often take. Another 7 percent say they do it occasionally. And 66 percent say they have given a key to someone other than a resident of their home.

And avoid hiding your car keys inside or outside the car. That just makes it easier for thieves to engage in a spur-of-the-moment theft, authorities say. Many of today's cars make it difficult to lock your keys inside. If you're concerned about that anyway, keep a spare in your wallet or purse. Eleven percent of people in our survey said they at least occasionally leave car keys in the ignition when parked. And 52 percent of people from non-metro areas in our survey said they at least occasionally leave their car unlocked outside.

Tossing prescription bottles

Prescription labels on pill bottles can contain important information such as phone numbers, doctors, and prescription numbers. Remove the labels and shred them. Also be careful with medical records. And also treat your benefit claims forms, insurance reimbursements, and even medical tests as confidential information and destroy them before discarding.

Thinking a gun is your best defense

Gun ownership is a controversial topic, but research has shown that homeowners with guns increase the risks in their home. Homeowners might make the mistake of not getting proper training and not securing their firearms. Thirty-two percent reported having a gun as a security measure. And 73 percent of gun owners thought it was very good or excellent for protection.

With Your Electronics

Using lazy passwords

It pays to make the passwords you use tougher to guess. Don't make it easy for hackers. That means never using passwords such as "welcome" or "password." Instead mix up letters and numbers to make for tougher encryption.
Photo illustration: Stephen Webster

Falling for phishing

The e-mail that contains what looks like a link to your financial institution might be phony; cyber thieves will record your keystrokes as you enter passwords, giving them access to your accounts. Don't click on such links; type the correct Web address into the browser.

Running outdated software

Always run the latest version of your browser, which will probably include better security features, says Kevin Mitnick, a former infamous computer hacker and now CEO of Mitnick Security Consulting, a computer-security business. And Mitnick says that when a software company such as Adobe tells you there's an update for your software, pay attention and run the update. Programs such as Flash and Adobe Acrobat are among the most exploited by cyber criminals.

Instant-messaging programs and media players are also targets. To make sure software on your computer is up to date, Mitnick advises running a program such as the free Personal Software Inspector.

For Your Personal Finances

Banking from a public computer

Keylogging malware that can capture account numbers, passwords, and other vital data is a risk that has been linked to use of open Wi-Fi connections and public computers such as those in hotel lobbies.

Using unfamiliar ATMs

Thieves have been known to put out-of-order signs on a legitimate ATM and set up nearby freestanding bogus ones that "skim" data from your card. ATMs located inside banks within view of surveillance cameras aren't risk-free, but they pose more challenges for crooks installing skimming equipment.

Two other important pieces of advice related to ATMs: Separate your PIN code from your ATM or debit card. Almost 1 in 10 people carry their code with the card, says ACI Worldwide, a payment systems company. And when typing your PIN into an ATM or card reader, use your free hand to shield the keypad from the view of hidden cameras or anyone nearby.
Photo illustration: Stephen Webster

Dropping your guard at gas pumps

Card-skimming at gas stations is likely to increase during summer months, especially in vacation areas, so use cash or credit cards at the pumps if possible. If you must use a debit card, select the option to have the purchase processed as a credit-card transaction rather than typing in your PIN.

Ignoring your credit or debit cards

Monitor your accounts at least weekly to spot and report unauthorized transactions as soon as possible. Use services offered by your bank or card issuer that can help protect you, such as an e-mail or text alert if a transaction occurs for more than a certain amount.

Abandoning your receipts

Many transactions, such as filling up your tank and making a debit-card withdrawal, leave a paper trail. Don't toss away receipts in the ATM lobby or leave them at the gas pump. Hold on to them until your transactions have cleared your bank account to make sure the totals match. Then shred the receipts if they have any information a thief might use.

Trashing your bills

Thieves harvest sensitive data from account statements and other financial documents placed in the trash and use them for ID theft, says Inspector Michael Romano of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. Shred them first.

6 Ways to Stay Safer

1. Watch out for imposters

The fastest-growing scam in the past year has been imposter fraud, according to the latest annual report on consumer complaints from the Federal Trade Commission. Thieves claiming to be someone they're not (such as a friend or relative stranded overseas in need of cash to get home, a bill collector, or an employee of a government agency) use Facebook messages, e-mail, phone calls, and text messages to persuade people to send money or divulge personal information such as Social Security or account numbers. Last year, 60,000 people reported that they were affected by this form of fraud, up from just five cases reported in 2008.

2. Learn to parallel park

Car thieves are becoming more professional. They're stealing new cars by putting them on a flatbed tow truck, our expert says. Parallel parking hinders access to the front and rear of your car, making it difficult to tow. Also, be careful about whom you bump into at the grocery store, especially if your car has keyless entry and a push-button ignition. A thief with an antenna and a small kit of electronics can transmit your key's code to another thief standing near your car, allowing him to open it, start it, and drive it away.

3. Hide the stuff in your car

Don't leave electronics and other valuables visible inside your car. GPS units are less of a magnet these days; cell phones and laptops more so. Holiday gifts are a big target, so don't stack them up in the backseat. Is there a worse move? Yes. Leaving your stuff in the back of a pickup truck.

4. Change your PIN

Make it a habit to routinely change the secret code for your debit card or ATM card. That gives you better protection against any thieves or skimming schemes.

5. Keep a financial inventory

Once a year take out all of the cards in your wallet, make a list of the account numbers and contact information you'll need to cancel cards if they become lost or stolen, and hide it in a safe place, says Mark Rasch, a former Department of Justice computer-crime prosecutor who is a director at CSC, a business technology firm based in Falls Church, Va.

6. Change your Wi-Fi password

If you have a home wireless network, choose the highest-security option. That way your Web-browsing and financial transactions will be more protected. Go a step further and create your own administrative password rather than rely on a default password supplied by the router.

Consumer Reports has no relationship with any advertisers on Yahoo!

Copyrighted 2009, Consumers Union of U.S., Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Spring Clean Your Body: Top 10 Detox Foods

Spring Clean Your Body: Top 10 Detox Foods

Want to baby your liver? Keep your GI tract fit? Flush out toxins? These 10 foods -- many of them chosen by RealAge experts Drs. Oz and Roizen -- can spring clean your body and keep refreshing your vital parts all year 'round. No need to fast. Just take these three steps:

  • "Eat clean," avoiding processed foods and chemical additives.
  • Stay well hydrated by drinking lots of filtered water.
  • Include some of these 10 foods in several meals throughout the week.

The Detox Top 10

  1. Leafy green vegetables. Eat them raw in a salad, throw them into a broth, steam them and mix with rice or add to an omelet, or puree them into juices. The chlorophyll in greens helps swab out environmental toxins (heavy metals, pesticides). It's also an all-around liver protector, which your liver needs since it's your major domo detoxifier.
  2. Lemons. Fresh lemonade made with filtered water will keep you hydrated, and its vitamin C helps convert toxins into a water-soluble form that's easily flushed away. (Add some pureed greens -- see above -- to further bolster your C level.) Here's another cleanse that really works.
  3. Watercress. Put a handful into salads, soups, and sandwiches. The peppery little green leaves have a diuretic effect that helps the flushing process. Plus cress is a mineral mine, rich in iron, calcium, phosphorus, and potassium.
  4. Garlic. Add it to everything -- salads, sauces, spreads. In addition to the heart-friendly bulb's cardio benefits, it activates liver enzymes. Research also indicates that garlic diminishes a process that creates cancer-causing compounds in your body.
  5. Green tea. This antioxidant-rich brew is one of the healthiest ways to get more water into your system. Bonus: It contains catechins, which speed up liver activity. Learn more about how to love your liver.
  6. Broccoli sprouts. They pack 20 times more cancer-fighting, enzyme-stimulating activity into each bite than the grown-up vegetable. Research suggests that eating the sprouts (they have a radish-like taste) kills off H. Pylori bacteria that causes stomach irritation and ulcers.
  7. Sesame seeds. They're credited with protecting liver cells from the damaging effects of alcohol and other chemicals. For a concentrated form, try tahini, the yummy sesame seed paste that's a staple of Middle Eastern cooking.
  8. Cabbage. There are two main types of detoxifying enzymes in the liver, and this potent veggie helps activate both of them. It's the largest member of the Brassica veggie family, all of which delivers colon-cancer fighting isothicyanates and vitamin C. Coleslaw, anyone?
  9. Psyllium. This plant's bursting with soluble fiber, which mops up toxins (cholesterol, too) and helps clear them out. Stir powdered psyllium into juice to help cleanse your colon, or have psyllium-fortified Bran Buds for breakfast. (Start with a small amount and gradually increase your dose as your GI tract becomes used to it.)
  10. Fruits, fruits, fruits. They're full of almost all the good things listed above -- vitamin C, fiber, nutritious fluids, and assorted antioxidants. Besides, nothing tastes better than a ripe mango, perfect pear, or fresh berries.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

5 Steps to Escape Digital Slavery

Hi ever feel you can’t let go of your phone or ipod or laptop...Yes I do. Can’t seem to stop smsing..can’t stop emailing, can’t stop looking at my phone or listening to I being a slave to digitech...

Here’s what Daniel Sieberg got to say and how you can escape that slavery.

Can't put the smartphone down at dinner? Prefer to email co-workers who sit right next to you? A few tips on breaking bad tech habits.

The hyper-business of keeping up with technology is overwhelming. Many of us can't tell when our personal time ends and the workday begins (or vice versa). We blast off emails like our hair is on fire; we quickly skim the surface of information online just to ingest something, anything; and we even obsess over colleagues on social networks (not to mention battle feelings of professional jealousy). It's no wonder, then, that the tag line for Microsoft's (Nasdaq: MSFT - News) new Windows 7 mobile devices is, "a phone to save us from our phones."

While much of the motivation was driven by problems with technology related to my personal life, I also came to realize it was negatively affecting my work life, too. But I love technology and I want to embrace it for the right reasons and the right occasions. Indeed, I have to -- it's also part of my job as a science and technology reporter.

I hope these tips prove helpful in managing your own situation:

1. Go with face-to-face contact

Limit the number of emails or instant messages you send to the people in your immediate vicinity at the office. Demonstrate your personality, your charm, and your ability to communicate by speaking face-to-face. It doesn't have to take much time, just make it valuable.

The person who sends 100 well-crafted emails will still probably be less likely to get that promotion than the person who takes a little time to chat with the boss, have coffee with them, or shake their hand on a regular basis. That's just the way it is. In nerd parlance, don't be the office warrior who always uses ranged weapons; endure some hand-to-hand combat on occasion.

2. Use tech to break your bad tech habits

Seek out time-management programs. Sometimes, we simply need to outsource our self-control to be productive. The good news is that there are many programs to help. One of the best is called RescueTime, which gives you a visual breakdown of where all your computers minutes go. It'll also limit your online time and even help with time-based billing for certain projects.

3. Put the smartphone down

During social outings with co-workers, don't leave tech turds. By that, I mean don't just dump your smartphone on the table and wait for a flashing light or vibration. That says the co-worker or business contact you're with is potentially less interesting than anything at all that you receive on your device. If you absolutely must have your smartphone handy then tell people why, and explain that unless that particular message or call comes through, they have your complete attention. Or just leave it in your pocket or purse.

4. Create boundaries for your tech/real self

Establish an e-day, which means when you start and stop your immersion in the digital realm (I know it's hard, thanks to the cloud). But aim to start with that cup of coffee sans gadgets and end it by not plugging your devices in next to your bed. And definitely don't reply to emails or texts at 2 a.m. (your co-workers will question your sanity). No one else will establish these barriers, and I truly believe they will actually make you stronger in the workplace. Obviously, there are times when it's necessary to be available, but otherwise, live your life.

5. Take it one task at a time

When possible, seek to knock out one task before moving on to the next. An increasing number of studies question our ability to be effective multi-taskers, and in fact, many times we also make irrational decisions when we're so distracted. For example, I find that having a maximum of five tabs open in your web browser is more than enough to get the job done but not feel bombarded.

The bottom line is that going on a digital diet is about creating awareness and control. It's not a one-size-fits-all and there will be days when it falls apart. But the cumulative effects are meant to be beneficial -- and productive. Oh, excuse me. Just got a text message. Be right back.

Daniel Sieberg is a TV correspondent, host, and author of "The Digital Diet: A Four-Step Plan to Break Your Tech Addiction and Regain Balance in Your Life."

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

25 Manners Every Kid Should Know By Age 9

Worried about how your kid is behaving especially in school, at functions and everywhere? As for me... I believe my kids are well behaved and hope that will carry them through the rest of their lives. If you need help, here are some tips...

Helping your child master these simple rules of etiquette will get him noticed -- for all the right reasons. By David Lowry, Ph.D.

Your child's rude 'tude isn't always intentional. Sometimes kids just don't realize it's impolite to interrupt, pick their nose, or loudly observe that the lady walking in front of them has a large behind. And in the hustle and bustle of daily life, busy moms and dads don't always have the time to focus on etiquette. But if you reinforce these 25 must-do manners, you'll raise a polite, kind, well-liked child.-

Manner #1

When asking for something, say "Please."

Manner #2

When receiving something, say "Thank you."

Manner #3

Do not interrupt grown-ups who are speaking with each other unless there is an emergency. They will notice you and respond when they are finished talking.

Manner #4

If you do need to get somebody's attention right away, the phrase "excuse me" is the most polite way for you to enter the conversation.

Manner #5

When you have any doubt about doing something, ask permission first. It can save you from many hours of grief later.

Manner #6

The world is not interested in what you dislike. Keep negative opinions to yourself, or between you and your friends, and out of earshot of adults.

Manner #7

Do not comment on other people's physical characteristics unless, of course, it's to compliment them, which is always welcome.

Manner #8

When people ask you how you are, tell them and then ask them how they are.

Manner #9

When you have spent time at your friend's house, remember to thank his or her parents for having you over and for the good time you had.

Manner #10

Knock on closed doors -- and wait to see if there's a response -- before entering.

Manner #11

When you make a phone call, introduce yourself first and then ask if you can speak with the person you are calling.

Manner #12

Be appreciative and say "thank you" for any gift you receive. In the age of e-mail, a handwritten thank-you note can have a powerful effect.

Manner #13

Never use foul language in front of adults. Grown-ups already know all those words, and they find them boring and unpleasant.

Manner #14

Don't call people mean names.

Manner #15

Do not make fun of anyone for any reason. Teasing shows others you are weak, and ganging up on someone else is cruel.

Manner #16

Even if a play or an assembly is boring, sit through it quietly and pretend that you are interested. The performers and presenters are doing their best.

Manner #17

If you bump into somebody, immediately say "Excuse me."

Manner #18

Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze, and don't pick your nose in public.

Manner #19

As you walk through a door, look to see if you can hold it open for someone else.

Manner #20

If you come across a parent, a teacher, or a neighbor working on something, ask if you can help. If they say "yes," do so -- you may learn something new.

Manner #21

When an adult asks you for a favor, do it without grumbling and with a smile.

Manner #22

When someone helps you, say "thank you." That person will likely want to help you again. This is especially true with teachers!

Manner #23

Use eating utensils properly. If you are unsure how to do so, ask your parents to teach you or watch what adults do.

Manner #24

Keep a napkin on your lap; use it to wipe your mouth when necessary.

Manner #25

Don't reach for things at the table; ask to have them passed.

Originally published in the March 2011 issue of Parents magazine.

All the best in raising your kids...

Scrabble anyone?

After many years hiatus, I was invited last year to represent my 'house' at the office to play in a competition. At the end of it, I was declared champion, rusty though I was, the 'cards' picked by me were fantastic. That really was how I won the game. It was both stimulating and lots of fun. So here's the latest in the game...

'Q' up: Scrabble expands its vocabulary by: Chris Morris

Scrabble, one of the last bastions of grammatical purism in a world overrun by cell phone text abbreviations, is capitulating to the times.

The board game plans to add 3,000 new words to its official dictionary, including several slang terms like "thang" (9 points) and "grrl" (5 points) as well as pop culture touchstones, like Facebook and MySpace.

Turning the most heads is the inclusion of "innit," a condensation of "isn't it" that will earn you 5 points - and the undying hatred of any English majors who are playing along.

In addition, two new "Q" words have been added that don't require a "u". "Qin" (a Chinese zither, with strings stretched across a flat box) will earn you 12 points, while "Fiqh" (an expansion of Islamic sharia law) will add 19 to your score. Each will also almost certainly have your opponents rushing to challenge the words.

The push to make the game more relevant to a generation that's more familiar with "Words with Friends" is a risky one. While updating the dictionary makes it a more hip game, the move is bound to upset some fans, who have always taken pride in the fact that the game was never "dumbed down".

The game's publishers say the additions make this the "most comprehensive Scrabble wordlist ever produced," but that's doing little to soothe some players' ruffled feathers.

"I don't like slang words at all, but if they are going to put them in we will have to use them," Jean Gallacher, of Scotland's Inverness Scrabble Club, told The Scotsman. "I think there is too much slang in the English language as it is, with the way young people are talking."

Let's face it: it might be fun to earn 12 points by laying down "blingy," but you certainly won't impress the person across that table that has just dropped "Quixotry".

And that's some thang to keep in mind - innit?

Anyone keen on call me.

Sunday, May 8, 2011


May 8 2011

Mother’s Day celebrated worldwide.

Ponder this poem...many. many years ago and yet still ring true.

M - O - T - H - E - R

M" is for the million things she gave me,
O" means only that she's growing old,
T" is for the tears she shed to save me,
H" is for her heart of purest gold;
E" is for her eyes, with love-light shining,
R" means right, and right she'll always be,
Put them all together, they spell
A word that means the world to me.
Howard Johnson (c. 1915)

Mum, here’s wishing you a Happy Mother’s Day. Thanks for all the love and care showered upon me and my family all these years and your continuous attention. Even though you are not as mobile as before, you still remain the matriarch of our family. With dad gone you are our bonding factor. You are still in control of our family get togethers and I hope there will be for many years to come. I know you are going through so much pain and frustration cos of your immobility but just know that we are all trying our best to make life comfortable for you. For this, I must thank all my brothers and sisters for pulling together and doing their part.

Thanks mum for bringing us all into this world and moulding us to what we all are today.

May God Bless you always.

To all mothers, god-mums, aunties reading this, may all your days as mothers be rewarding, be filled with so much love and laughter and happiness spent with family and loved ones.