Archive for the ‘Computers’ Category

06-21-2016 Journal – June Garden Update!   Leave a comment

It appears that summer is finally decided to arrive. We having much warmer weather during the day and at night and it shows. The garden has really taken off in the last week and things are looking up except for the ghost peppers which aren’t doing well at all. They seem to need hot days and hot nights with a lot of sun to flourish and they’re certainly not finding that here in Maine.  I don’t expect much production from the ghost peppers this year and I’ve pretty much decided to try them one more time next year but in a different way. I intend to plant them either in a cold framework or I’ll build a small greenhouse to try and keep the temperature is high as possible for as long as possible. If that doesn’t work then I’ll give up on ghost peppers entirely and just buy them online. Here are a few shots of the garden taken this morning.

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 The better-half’s flower gardens are also in bloom almost everywhere on the property. This could possibly  be the best year we’ve ever had with a diversity of colors that is amazing.

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We also had a special occasion last night. We harvested the first of the lettuces for this year and they were a perfect addition to our evening meal.

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That’s all for today.  I’m having serious computer issues that need fixing and I hope I’m successful. Microsoft is making my life miserable once again and as usual they’re not much help.

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06-19-2016 Journal – Weekly Update!   Leave a comment

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Summer is finally here but it’s been a little disappointing so far.  It’s the middle of June and the nights remain chilly which is doing nothing to help my pepper plants in our garden.  Very disappointing but not totally unexpected, it is Maine after all.

This week I’ve been consumed by these designs that I’ve been creating.  Each day I become more adept at using the computer software to color my sketches.  It’s an interesting process but it’s very detailed and time consuming.  I sat for almost three hours yesterday totally focused on what I was doing and when I finally finished and stood up I was suffering from eye strain and legs that went a bit wobbly. Even with all of that the results were much better than I expected.  The work will continue today and I’m actually looking forward to getting back into it.

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Most people just don’t get it. They see my time spent doing these designs as wasted but they couldn’t be more wrong.  The hours spent in these tasks are the highlights of my day.  The focus needed to complete them is something I’ve grown to need over the years and I’ve looked forward to it since I was a young child.  It’s the best addiction I’ve ever had and I hope I never lose it.

I’m hoping to breakaway for a while this week if the sunny weather continues. I could use some quiet times in the woods taking a few photographs of my favorite subjects . . . dragonflies.  They should be swarming near the swamps in large numbers by now and I plan to make the most of it. Here are two shots taken in 2011 when there were huge numbers of them in the area.

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I’ll be disappointed if I can’t get a few pictures but these cool nights may delay their arrival just a bit. I may be forced to return to the swamp a few more times before I have any success at all. Thankfully I live close enough which makes things so much easier.

ENJOY YOUR DAY

06-13-2016 Journal–High Tech & Low Tech!   Leave a comment

Anyone who’s read this blog over the years realizes how addicted to the Internet I am.  I spend a great deal of my time roaming the Internet looking for odd facts on just about any subject.  With that thought in mind, I thought I’d share some tidbits about the Internet that I happened upon recently.  To me they’re interesting, but to you, maybe not so much.  Needless to say I’m posting them anyway, so here’s goes.

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High Tech

  • Russian Victor Yazykov, sailing alone in the South Atlantic, performed surgery on his own arm by following instructions from Dr. Daniel Carlin of Boston, relayed via e-mail from halfway across the world.
  • Cyberstalking: A man identified only as Roger was the prey in the world’s first live game of human hunting on the web.  It took a week to find him in a Berlin library, counting books.
  • In 1999, a NASA expedition set up the first Internet link to the North Pole and made the very first North Pole to South Pole conversation ever.
  • When a computer glitch occurred in Sydney, Australia, hundreds of programmed soda pop machines began dialing ambulance and fire emergency lines.
  • A company in San Francisco, California, has developed Internet software that is scented with a plug-in device for Web surfers called Smell-O-Vision.
  • The Vatican has considered recognizing St. Isadora of Seville as the patron saint of the Internet.  A clergyman during the sixth century, St. Isadora created a 20 volume encyclopedia, one of the earliest known databases.
  • A ferret named Misty was used by the US Space Command in Colorado to help rewire a new computerized command center.
  • In 1997, 67 million computer e-mail users in North America sent 2.7 billion messages.  Can only imagine how many are being sent these days.

I’m sure you were thrilled reading all of those useless facts but as we all know the Internet is the gift that keeps on giving. Now let’s move on to telephones because many of you anti-technology folks who really hate the Internet love old style telephones.

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Low Tech

  • A company in Japan developed false fingernails that glow when the wearer is talking on a cell phone.
  • Bob Prosser of Turtle Lake, Wisconsin, has a collection of 500,000 telephones, including an explosion proof military phone, a 14 karat gold Swedish phone, and a crank model used by the last Sultan of Turkey.
  • In Shoup, Idaho, there are no power lines, no televisions, and no stereos.
  • An answering machine in San Diego, California , created to take calls from Elvis Spotters has already received over 50,000 calls.
  • The Lazy E Ranch in Guthrie, Oklahoma, has telephones that are 6 1/2 feet above the ground, for use by cowboys on horseback.
  • The first telephone book was published in New Haven, Connecticut, in 1878, and contained only 50 names.
  • Albert Einstein never memorized his own telephone number.
  • The world’s smallest police station in Carabelle, Florida, is actually a phone booth.

I think that’s enough nonsense for today.  More trivia to follow as it becomes available. Fortunately there’s an endless supply if you know where to look.

06-05-2016 Journal – Miscellaneous Trivia!   Leave a comment

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I think it’s time for more trivia. I’m actually getting tired of talking about gardens and gardening. I need a break and I’m sure you do as well. They’ll be a lot more of that information coming your way this summer so there’s no need for more today.

These factoids will cover a number of categories but I’m sure you’ll find as interesting as I did.  Let’s get started.

  • Half of British women own more than thirty pairs of shoes.
  • In the US, half of children ages 4-6 have played video games, and a 25%  say thy do so regularly.
  • The most expensive age of your life is thirty-four.
  • Ten percent of people are left-handed and twenty percent are left-footed.
  • In the US, the lifetime cost to parents for rearing one middle class child is $1.43 million.

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  • In any conversation lasting ten minutes or longer, 20% of adults will lie.
  • There are a half million semiautomatic machine guns in Swiss homes.
  • Women are estimated to buy 80% of everything that is sold.
  • By late 2006, only 35% of Americans had sent a text message, compared to almost 100% of Brits.
  • Women in almost every culture speak in deeper voices than Japanese women. American women’s voices are lower than Japanese, Swedish women’s lower than American, and Dutch women women’s lower than Swedish.

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  • One third of all houses in Ireland were built in the last two decades.
  • The average American two-car garage is 25% bigger than the average Tokyo home.
  • In 2007 YouTube consumed as much bandwidth as the entire Internet did in 2000.
  • Spammers typically need to send one million emails to get just fifteen positive responses.
  • The total computing power of NASA at the time of the Sputnik launch in 1957 was far less than that available in a typical smart phone in use today.

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I guess that will do it for today. I never stop searching for this kind of off-the-wall information and you can be sure more facts will keep coming your way on a regular basis in the future.

GET OUTSIDE AND ENJOY YOUR DAY

03-25-2016 Journal – Organizational Arrogance!   Leave a comment

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Have you ever had your credit card information stolen by someone?  I have.

For the second time in a year my bank sent me a notice that I’m being issued a new credit card because mine may have been compromised.  No explanations as to how or when or why, just shut up and do it. I hate pushy people, pushy governments, pushy companies, and now this pushy bank.  Ordering me to change cards without giving me the specifics seems to be a tad arrogant. If it’s just a preventative measure then tell me that. I don’t appreciate being treated like a moron child, being ordered around by a know-it-all parent. That may have worked when I was five but trust me, I’m no longer five.

I allow these people the privilege of using my money to make money for themselves but this Big Brother attitude pisses me off. It seems to be the way of things these days especially with the government and Big Business. They see us as a pack of slobbering idiots who need their hands held to make any sort of decision.

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Now I get to spend a couple of hours today on the Net changing my credit card numbers on a myriad of websites.  I suppose I shouldn’t complain since they are allegedly protecting my money and accounts but talking down to me is unacceptable.

Over the last five years I’ve had my information stolen twice when unauthorized purchases were made in Canada and Europe. Throw in two changes of debit cards (because of hacked companies) and three new credit cards (for unexplained reasons) and OMFG what the hell is going on. If you’re doing something to benefit me all that’s required is a simple explanation. I guess it’s too much to hope for in these days of big government and big business arrogance. They’re too busy to deal with the feelings of the “great unwashed”.

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I sometimes wonder whether it would be worth it to remove myself from the grid entirely and go back to writing checks and mailing payments. Is simple convenience worth all of this grief and aggravation?  I don’t want to get too crazy but maybe it’s time for some common sense to enter into my approach to the Net, my use of credit and debit cards, and banking in general. I need to think on it for a while longer and try to come up with some good solid solutions to this nightmare.

I’d ask the bank for help but they’d just replace all of my cards once again and send me that condescending form letter as well.

THE BIGGER THE ORGANIZATION, THE LESS THEY CARE.

02-28-2016 Journal – Deadly Statistics!   Leave a comment

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What are two things that most people think about every day.  My best guess would be death and sex. With that thought in mind I decided to supply you all with a list of global statistics  about many things but mainly death. Many of these numbers are current up to and including today. Some of the information is shocking and some is simply unbelievable.

Global Death Rate

Statisticians have calculated the "mortality rate" for the world to be roughly .883 percent.  This means that 1 out of every 113 people in the world died last year.

World Population:

  • has reached 7 billion on October 31, 2011
  • is projected to reach 8 billion by 2024
  • has doubled in 40 years from 1959 (3 billion) to 1999 (6 billion)
  • is currently growing at a rate of around 1.13 % per year
  • growth rate reached its peak in the late 1960s, when it was at 2%
  • growth rate is currently declining and is projected to continue to decline in the coming years
  • average annual population change is currently estimated at over 80 million
  • world population will reach 10 billion persons in the year 2056

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As of Today

"This year" = from January 1 (00:00) up to now

"Today" = from the beginning of the current day up to now

"net population growth" = births minus deaths

145,641 Births today

60,991 Deaths today

22,888,972 Births this year

9,585,278 Deaths this year

84,650 Net population growth today

13,303,694 Net population growth this year

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Technology

37,472,003 Computers produced this year

2,092,893 Cellular phones sold today

$ 74,559,389 Money spent on videogames today

3,316,866,142 Internet users in the world today

82,805,119,987 Emails sent today

229,774,292 Tweets sent today

1,711,619,570 Google searches this year

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Health

1,621,694,128 Overweight people in the world people in the world

1,731,966,562 Water consumed this year (million L)

134,660 Deaths caused by water related diseases this year

661,570,850 People with no access to a safe drinking water source

Natural Resources

Quick Facts: Barrel = 42 Gallons = 159 Liters

31,340,762 Oil pumped today (barrels)

1,158,647,387,197 Oil left (barrels)

13,793 Days to the end of oil (~38 years)

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Miscellaneous Deaths

1,215,470 Deaths of children under 5 this year

54,974 Deaths of mothers during birth this year

268,816 Deaths caused by HIV/AIDS this year

1,313,313 Deaths caused by cancer this year

156,851 Deaths caused by malaria this year

Alcohol/Drugs/Smoking

5,659,200,051 Cigarettes smoked this year

799,386 Deaths caused by smoking this year

399,945 Deaths caused by alcohol this year

171,477 Suicides this year

215,859 Road traffic accident fatalities this year

$ 63,971,038,394 Money spent on illegal drugs this year

How’s that for a quick and dirty summary of the human race.  Chaos, death, destruction, confusion, and life goes just keeps rolling along.

IT’S MUCH MORE FUN TALKING ABOUT SEX

02-24-2016 Journal – Obamascare 2016!   Leave a comment

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There are times in people’s lives when life insists are mucking things up. For me the month of February 2016 is fast becoming a month to remember. Let me explain.

I’m back from my two days without blogging and if I remember correctly it’s the first time I’ve missed posting from my every-other-day schedule. I look forward to blogging each and every time and get more than a little miffed when life starts messing with me.  Healthcare issues are currently harshing my buzz.

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For instance, my two day journey this week was totally consumed by things I absolutely hate . . . doctors, hospitals, examinations, Obamacare, and those always sucky insurance companies. Believe me when I say I hate them all equally.  Someday most of you will be where I am now. Retired from decades of working your ass off and wanting to spend your remaining years enjoying life.  I think I’ll  be the bucket of ice water dumped on your head to wake you up.  Good luck with trying to enjoy yourself.

Over the last few years since my private healthcare plan was scrapped and I was forced onto Medicare the government keeps trying to intrude on my calm.  As we all know once the government gets involved in anything it’s a freaking nightmare.  Getting older is tough enough on the good days but having a bunch of bureaucrats and politicians intruding into your life on a regular basis is madness. The real truth is that the older you get the worse it becomes so start getting your mind right now for what’s to come.

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Look forward to a continuous stream of emails from damn near every government agency you can think of and endless changes made to every part of the Obamacare program and it’s requirements. You’re also required to have expensive tests and scanning’s done even when they aren’t necessary. My doctor told me this week I looked perfectly fine, my BP was good, my cholesterol was perfect, and that I was in excellent physical condition for my age. Hooray for me, right?  No way. The next thing he did was schedule me for sonogram of my torso. Guess who will be footing the bill for that I wonder.  The taxpayers I’ll bet.  This test is mandatory for me to meet the Medicare requirements of my Wellness visit.  What a large crock of crap. How many thousands of other Seniors are also being forced into these tests at what I’m sure is hundreds of dollars per test.

Lets review my last six months of health related activities. My doctor of 14 years sold his practice and moved back to Pakistan because of Obamacare. My hospital was sold to a large healthcare corporation and I’ve had three difference doctors assigned to me since that occurred.  Blood tests, scans of body parts I could care less about, and surveys required by the government to get my opinion of the job they’re doing. It’s nice of them to also keep me aware of just how old I’m getting and all of the healthcare tragedies that might eventually kill me.  Like I don’t know what they are already.

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Today I spent and hour and a half trying to straighten out my prescriptions that I’ve been receiving by mail for eleven years.  I attempted to login to the insurance companies website to confirm my next three months of pills which just happen to be keeping me alive.  I couldn’t log on because all of a sudden they didn’t recognize my name, my email address, or my password.  I was officially a non-person. I then called them for help and became lost in the maze of their computerized menu system that totally befuddled me which I assume is done purposely.  After talking with a young lady from El Paso, Texas for far too long I finally confirmed my prescriptions as required to keep the Medicare idiots happy.  Life was finally good, right? No effing way!

My IPad began screaming that new charges had just hit my credit card from the insurance company and guess what . . . they double billed me. It would have been so much easier for me and the government if I would’ve just died when I turned 65.

Let me look into my crystal ball and try to see what’s coming in all of your futures. Maybe free euthanasia clinics? Possibly cut-backs of critical treatments to save money? We can always rely on the politicians to find the “final solution” to the Obamacare, Medicare, and Social Security cost increases. Thinning the herd may be just the answer they finally come up with.

Hopefully I’ll be long gone before those things become your topics of conversation. 

GOOD LUCK, YOU’LL NEED IT!!

02-16-2016 Journal–New & Annoying Technology!   1 comment

Are you a technology lover?  Some people just put up with all of the new technology but really aren’t all that into it. I’m just the opposite. I love any and all technology and do my best to keep up with things as they progress. I never thought it could happen but I came upon some technology yesterday that annoyed and irritated me more than I thought possible.

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My better-half and I were out and about enjoying the single digit temperatures and decided to do lunch at Applebee’s before returning home. Normally I’m an Applebee’s fan but they’re doing something now that just makes me a little crazier than usual. They’ve decided to put their customers to work by placing a small computer at each table. It just sits there and flashes advertisements and screensavers  the entire time your ordering and trying to eat.  They attempt to entice you to play some stupid trivia games so they can add $1.99 to your bill and keep you occupied while waiting for your food to arrive.

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The place was very busy and there appeared to be a serious shortage of waitresses. We were made to wait much longer than normal for our order resulting in a barrage of apologies from the nearby bartender and a roving manager. We sat patiently for quite a while but then I began to get a bit annoyed. Eventually the food arrived and thank God it was delicious.  Just as we were finishing our meal the bartender stopped at our table to ask the obligatory question they always ask, "How was everything?"  At the same time she nonchalantly dropped the bill on the table and quickly walked away.  Little did I know that they expected us to pay the bill using that little terminal at our table.

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I’m a firm believer that people working in restaurants should earn their TIPS. If you’re rude, annoying, and slow you won’t get a TIP from me. If your on top of your game and do everything just right I’ll fork over a 20% TIP every time.  I’ve been told that TIPS is short for "To Improve Personal Service" and I expect decent service before donating any of my hard earned cash.

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I was then directed to just swipe my credit card through the terminal at my table and follow the menus to pay my bill.  As the final bill was displayed I noticed a 20% TIP had been automatically added on.  I found that magic menu button that allowed me to dial back the TIP to only 10%. While the food was delicious the service was slow and I had to do all the work of checking myself out therefore no 20% TIP.

Then the stupid computer asked if I wanted a receipt printed out or to have one emailed to me. The last thing I need is another company adding me to their email list so they can pelt me with a stream of unwanted food alerts. I indicated I wanted a printed receipt so I could verify the amount I’d paid before leaving the restaurant. I was then required to visit the bar to the only register where receipts were being printed. I was made to feel like some sort of primitive Neanderthal who still needed an actual paper receipt and couldn’t handle the technology.  Since I’ve seen too many errors on bills over the years I don’t assume they’re always correct. This Neanderthal needs to see any possible discrepancies immediately and not a couple of hours later in an email.

I have a proposal for all of these so-called progressive restaurants.  In the future I will enter, seat myself, and order my meal from the computer on my table.  When it’s ready I can be alerted by the kitchen staff on the terminal, walk back, and retrieve my food. When I’m done I can take my dishes to the kitchen, pay the bill on the computer and have my receipt emailed.  Then I would certainly expect a 20% reduction on my bill for all of the fine service I’d rendered.  I’d never have to talk to or see any semi-interested employees or gushy and  insincere managers. I’d just eat my food and get the hell out.  What do you think about that?

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I now have to admit that there is some technology that just plain sucks. There I’ve said it, once and for all. And for all of those Chili’s restaurants out there, I see you’ve also started this same nonsense as Applebee’s with your cutsy table computers.  You’ll probably be seeing  much less of my business as well.

The customer is always right or have you just forgotten that.

01-08-2016 Journal–Maine Woodstock 2016!   Leave a comment

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‘1969 was an interesting year.’

How to kill an entire Sunday.  Let me tell you how I did it.  Yesterday my better-half was scheduled to work and I was looking forward to a day of peace and quiet and time to work on MY projects. How could I even dare to imagine something like that, I should have known better.

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‘Who loves you Janis’

Unfortunately some months ago I made a commitment to her concerning the laptop she’d just purchased.  I promised I’d help her setup the new laptop by transferring all of her photographs from the old to the new. This should teach me a valuable lesson for the future. Never volunteer for something unless you’re absolutely sure you know what your getting into. I thought I knew but apparently I was once again clueless.

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‘The spooky Doors.’

I cleared off the kitchen table, fired up both computers, made a pot of coffee, and settled in for what I thought would be an hour or two of work. Oh how stupid I am.  Little did I know just how many photo’s she had scattered throughout that hard drive of her old computer. She had pictures from multiple cameras going back six years. There were videos from both her IPhone and IPad and I kid you not . . . more than ten thousand pictures taken with an assortment of past and present cell phones. She apparently has never discovered the use of the delete button.  It was a trash dump of photo’s placed on that laptop with absolutely no attempt at organization whatsoever.

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‘Jumpin Joe Cocker’

As always I fall back to the old adage “When someone gives you lemons, make lemonade.”  I found my own IPod and plugged it in, put on the headset and spent the next seven hours having a 60’s Flashback Sunday.  I started out by listening to the entire three days of Woodstock with the original recordings.  That required me to immediately switch from just coffee to coffee laced with Drambuie.  I then cranked up Joe Cocker, The Band, The Yardbirds, The Hollies, Janis Joplin, The Doors, and even the Greatest Hits of War. 

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‘My favorite band, The Band. ‘RIP Levon’

At the end of the day I’d transferred no less than twenty-five thousand pictures to the new laptop and was suffering from a serious coffee buzz overlapped with a Drambuie buzz.  There’s nothing better than Drambuie so after I finished transferring all the files I stopped drinking the coffee. From that point on it was Drambuie, Amy Winehouse  and me.  What a great way to spend the day and complete a tiresome project.

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‘Sweet Amy’

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‘Even sweeter . . . Drambuie on the lips.’

Today I’m back to what I’d call normal but still showing signs of a rather interesting hangover. For some reason my first cup of coffee this morning tasted strangely like Drambuie. How odd! I guess that’s one of the effects of time travel back to the sixties. Along with rocking out, a sore throat from all of the singing along, and being able to return home with no arrests or STD’s to show for it.

That’s what I’d call a good day in any decade.

01-04-2016 – January Trivia Offering!   Leave a comment

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Here’s your first dose of totally useless information (Trivia) for 2016.  I can only assume many of you readers will be spending some time this year in your tavern of choice and many of you will attempt to participate in some sort of Trivia challenge or bar bet. Since it’s obvious to me from some of the emails and comments I receive that many of you drink regularly you will probably need these factoids to help you out a little. This information is my New Year’s gift to you so let’s get started with a few items about the Internet.

  • The time spent deleting spam emails costs U.S. Businesses approximately $10 billion annually.
  • The highest publicly reported amount paid for a domain name is $7.5 million in stock options, to buy business.com.
  • Thirty-five billion emails are sent each day throughout the world.
  • Thirty-two percent of all singles think they will meet their mate online.
  • The first domain name ever registered was Symbolics.com.

Now for a few more interesting facts concerning our new beat friends . . . our cell phones. 

  • More than fifty percent of the people on the earth have never made or received a telephone call.
  • Approximately 1,314 phone calls are misplaced by telecom services every minute.
  • There are 150,000,000 cell phones in use in the United States, more than one for every two human beings in the country.
  • As much as eighty percent of microwaves from cell phones are said to be absorbed by your head.
  • A Belgian couple were married by short message service (SMS) because text messaging played such a big part in their relationship.

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Now for what you’ve all been waiting for. A few tidbits of information on our ever so interesting and at times nasty bodily functions.

  • The average heart beats 2.5 billion times in a lifetime. The heart beats about 100,000 times each day.
  • The body gives off enough heat in thirty minutes to bring a gallon of water to a boil.
  • A woman’s heart beats faster than a man’s.
  • A pair of human feet contains 250,000 sweat glands. There are about one trillion bacteria on each foot.
  • During a kiss, as many as 278 bacteria colonies are exchanged.
  • The body loses  half a liter of water a day through breathing.

This was just the first of many trivia postings you can expect this year. I think it’s time for this blog to start living up to it’s name. You can’t have too much useless information in your life and I’m here to guarantee that you get yours.