2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 2,500 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 4 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Procrastination is the thief of time

“Procrastination is the thief of time, collar him.” Charles Dickens – David Copperfield

It may well take your life or the life of a loved one. Just as putting off medical checkups could cost you everything, waiting for tomorrow to get your backup emergency plan and supplies in place may be equally devastating.

I attended a large car show yesterday where they had a large vendor area for motor-heads. Normally it is not somewhere I would setup a display to talk about such boring matters as safety and security – but the vendor fees went to a center for assisting developmentally challenged adults obtain work skills.

On each side of us were vendors selling old automotive parts and accessories – and I mean old, rusty, nasty stuff, mixed in with some cool signs and memorabilia. Now we weren’t setup to sell products but had iEvac fire smoke escape hoods on display, along with emergency evacuation packs, security seals and information brochures. We may as well have been Scotch Mist (meaning something that is hard to find or doesn’t exist). People were handing over hundreds of dollars in cash for an old rusty garage sign or a box of old tools – but would walk by and look at life saving equipment as though it was the local tax collector.

One gentleman from Florida spoke to us about getting emergency food packs sent to him and I was relaying the example – just as another lady was buying a rusty old store sign for $250!  He told me that even where he lives – bang smack in hurricane central, people will wait for a negative weather report to come in – then run around trying to find essentials – along with the other thousands that waited too late.

The beauty of putting a safety net together is – once done, it only takes a yearly check up or rotation to manage. The iEvac has a self life of five years. The bucket food kits have a storage life of twenty five years.

Signs, furniture and clothes are hard to eat and drink. Don’t wait for tomorrow.

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Support Small Business First

I read with dismay about the eventual demise of the likes of Best Buy due to increased competition from Amazon, etc. It’s a self inflicted wound that we are bringing down on ourselves with the loss of jobs, taxes and convenience that having local stores and businesses bring. There was an article today on how retailers have created monsters in shoppers that will not even buy products unless they are heavily discounted – everything from shoes, clothes, home goods and electronics. On top of that they want free shipping. We are all connected and the increase in job losses that this attitude surely brings will impact every industry and our overall quality of life.

The web for each small to medium business in each area is complex. The landlord loses the tenant and rent, the town loses tax revenues – property, sales and employment. The staff no longer have jobs and as a result impact their landlords, mortgage holders, etc. They reduce spending which impacts local stores and services. The businesses that serviced the facility , plumbers, cleaners, utilities, etc., suffer as well and they in turn impact their staff, creditors and suppliers.

Amazon and the likes are run on technology. As demand increases, they add technology to expand – they don’t necessarily add headcount and they don’t add value to areas that they don’t have facilities in.

This isn’t their problem – it’s we the consumer that wasn’t prepared to pay that little extra to support home made products and shipped our jobs abroad. Now we go into local stores and small business websites to check out products and prices – then go to the big online players to buy for a few dollars less.

Small businesses are the backbone of countries. We want to grow our businesses and to do that need to hire people and purchase more from our suppliers. We need printing, furniture, supplies, office cleaning, and contractors. Small businesses need local banks, insurance and utilities. We go out for breakfast, lunch and dinner in our towns. We book hotels, rent cars and buy food in the places we visit on business. Server farms don’t.

Support small business.

Guns, Children and Idiots Don’t Mix

There is a place for children and guns when supervised by a competent adult. I learned to shoot as a kid in a controlled environment – even though it was standing in a field with my uncle throwing up old beer cans in the Highlands of Scotland. There were high powered rifles and shotguns lying in the open – that was just the way it was. I carried loaded rifles when out stalking with the shepherds – but again safety was drilled into me with the constant reminder that laziness on my part would result in a smack around the ears. I also knew that if I touched them without permission I would have had my butt kicked up and down the mountain by the adult that caught me. I grew up with a healthy respect for guns and eventually became a marksman in a tactical firearms unit.

That said – the constant death toll of children in the USA dumbfounds me. This report by The Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) is incredibly sad. Is it just sheer adult stupidity, laziness – both?

The number of deaths by homicide is not as easily addressed. The sheer number of injuries can be reduced by simple changes in firearm education – as well as how people store and utilize firearms. It’s true that owning a firearm for home protection and then locking it in a safe is the same as owning a fire extinguisher and locking it in a cupboard – you may not have time to get to it when needed.

Tasers and stun guns aren’t on the list of weapons that kill children. If you need to have a weapon around the house have a Taser and/or Stun guns strategically placed for easy access. This gives you a first line of defense and a backup in the event that you need to react quickly. If the kids pull the trigger on a stun gun they’ll at least be around to know not to do that again.

Remember that a Taser gives you distance between an attacker and you – up to fifteen (15) feet. If you were to miss, even with the laser sight, then the front of the Taser becomes a contact weapon. Stun guns require you to literally touch the attacker to work and inflict extreme pain – Taser incapacitates. This is an important distinction. Check out Taser videos for more information.

Lock away the firearms and use a Taser for first response.     .

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How about a software that is sophisticated enough to bypass chip, pin and other layers of security at your bank, then once it has access knows not to drain the account to trigger reviews. Slowly over time it bleeds your accounts. Worse part is that even though banks normally compensate for hacked accounts – this software can operate for so long without detection that by the time you catch on the banks will not cover your loss.

Smoke Alarm Tips

Remember fire doesn’t take vacations!

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The U.S. Fire Administration offers smoke alarm tips.

  • One of the best ways to protect yourself and your family is to have a working smoke alarm that can sound fast for both a fire that has flames, and a smoky fire that has fumes without flames. It is called a Dual Sensor Smoke Alarm.
  • Place a smoke alarm on the ceiling of every level of your home and inside and outside all bedrooms. Children and older people can sleep though the loud sound of a smoke alarm. Make sure your escape plan includes someone that can help children and others wake up immediately to escape from the home.
  • If you keep your bedroom doors closed, place a smoke alarm on the ceiling of each bedroom.
  • Check smoke alarms monthly by pressing the test button.
  • Never take smoke alarm batteries out to put into other items like games or remote controls.
  • Teach children what the smoke alarm sounds like and what to do when they hear the alarm sound.
  • If there is a fire, leave the home right away by crawling low under the smoke and never go back inside.
  • If smoke from cooking makes the alarm sound, press the “hush” button, if your alarm has one. You can also turn on the kitchen fan, open a window or wave a towel near the alarm until it stops making the sound. Never take the battery out of the alarm.
  • Most alarms need a new battery at least once a year. Some smoke alarms have batteries that last for up to 10 years. If your smoke alarm is more than 10 years old, replace it with a new alarm and battery.
  • If you rent, talk to your landlord about placing a working smoke alarm in your home. You still need to buy a new battery at least once a year for the alarm.