No GPS Needed: New Boots Can Track Soldiers, Firefighters, and Miners

No GPS Needed: New Boots Can Track Soldiers, Firefighters, and Miners Remember Tom Sawyer and his sidekick Huckleberry Finn? In one story they enter a cave only to find that Indian Joe is there waiting for them. They get lost and can’t find their way out. Well, for some of us, getting lost is no longer much of an issue since GPS technology is usually accurate. However, when one does get lost without this handy modern convenience, one can still find themselves at odds with a hostile environment.

So, given this and the times that GPS technology fails us due to satellite signal limitations, it makes sense that someone out there discovered a means of tracking lost soldiers, miners, firefighters, children, and the elderly. For these type of individuals, there is a new type of technology that uses a system similar to radar to locate those who are underground or trapped inside of a cave or building.

The new system, dubbed MINT (Micro-Inertial Navigation Technology), is rather simple in concept and actually uses technology that is readily available today. MINT consists of a computer equipped with three unique sensors that are embedded inside the heel and soles of a pair of boots. The first of these sensors is located in the heel of the boot and is an inertial unit that measures the distance of each footstep that the person takes. One can then track the person’s footsteps from their direction of travel.

If the person is known to be within the perimeters of a building or cave with a specific layout, the person’s path can be tracked on a map, making it easier to find them. To accomplish its measurements, MINT technology uses some assumptions such as the fact that the average person will take approximately 3,600 steps in an hour. However, for a person such as a small woman or child who may have a different walking speed or step distance, the system can be re-programmed to take these measurements into account. Another advantage of the MINT technology is that it will also be of assistance to those tracking lost individuals who may find themselves in urban canyons where a GPS signal cannot reach or underwater where other technology cannot be used. It will even work in forests or other areas where tree canopies may completely block out a GPS signal.

Another interesting point is that this technology has already been embraced by fire departments around the US that are looking for ways to find trapped firefighters inside of burning buildings where quick location could mean the difference between life or death. This technology can also be implemented to assist firefighters who may be blinded by smoke by giving them the ability to retrace their footsteps and escape safely. This one application alone could prevent firefighter injury and/or death and makes this one aspect of the technology invaluable since our firefighters need the best and latest technology available.

Second, one must recognize that rarely a year goes by without some type of mining disaster occurring in some part of the world. In the past, we have watched as rescuers attempted to locate trapped miners. Unfortunately, after watching these dedicated individuals pound on rocks with a shovel, the result became the recovery of bodies rather than the rescue of the miners. With the implementation of the MINT boot technology, it is hoped that the lives of trapped miners could be saved since, once they are located, medical treatment could be provided in a more timely manner.

And we can’t deny our heartfelt connection to our soldiers and our concerns for their safety, especially if they are trapped behind enemy lines. In these cases, the possibility of using this technology to find them before they are tortured or killed is of monumental importance since it would give us a way to rescue them.

Last, there are numerous other applications that can be applied such as finding a child snatched by a predator or an elderly person who has wandered off and gotten lost due to Alzheimer’s Disease. No matter how you look at it, this technology is an advancement that can help to keep people safe and we should all be thankful for the insightful people who developed it. Of course, this is just my opinion and I would love to hear what you have to say about this new technology.

Is it too much like Big Brother?

Comments are welcome.

Source: Scientific American

Image: Courtesy Carnegie Mellon National Robotics Engineering Center

Help 140 QuickBooks Tips Help You

There should be an image here!Seth has written another eBook, and I was only too happy to collaborate with him on it. Following is his introduction to the newest creation.

I have written another eBook, and this one is called 140 QuickBooks Tips. Once again, Chris Pirillo has been gracious enough to co-brand this with me so that more people might benefit from the help it offers in terms of the little things that make it easier to use QuickBooks. There is a reason why QuickBooks is the #1 accounting software in this country — and possibly in the world. I have used QuickBooks since the DOS version and it has always been very easy for me to use. Since I live, eat, and pretty much breathe QuickBooks, I have a search column set up on my Tweet Deck Application based on the word “QuickBooks.”

This lets me see any time someone uses the word “QuickBooks” in their tweet. Of course, I see a lot of people like me posting blurbs with links to blog posts with QuickBooks Tutorials. In my case, every QuickBooks Blog post comes with some sort of QuickBooks Video Tutorial. These are screencasts showing you step-by-step where to click and what to type in order to accomplish those things that you need to be able to do with the software. While viewing this Twitter feed on QuickBooks, I see many complaints about the program not being able to do something. I will probably make some people mad when I say this, but the reality from my own experience is that 90% of time it is user error. This is not to say that the QuickBooks user is a bad person. The QuickBooks user more than likely is a very good person frustrated by their own lack of experience and knowledge. Again, QuickBooks is the #1 Accounting software in the country and because of that I think people expect it to be completely easy to do everything that they want to do in QuickBooks.

The fact is that QuickBooks is accounting software and as such it helps to have some knowledge of accounting. It goes beyond writing checks and recording deposits. Usually from what I see, the frustration sets in when the person using QuickBooks does not have the accounting background and therefore not only doesn’t understand how to do what they want to, but doesn’t understand from an accounting perspective why it is not feasible to do it. Nine times out of ten it is not that it can’t be done, it is more a matter of understanding the accounting fundamentals which gives rise to the understanding of how to get QuickBooks, an accounting program to do what you need it to. Since I have the accounting knowledge as well as the practical I am able to go from what we want the transactions to look like (this takes a good solid understanding of how the financial statements work and relate to one another) to how it needs to be accomplished at the nuts and bolts level.

It is based on this experience that I have written 140 QuickBooks Tips. My expectation is that you will find more than a few gems in here that will help you do something you didn’t know before or help you to do it better than before. There are also some Accounting tips that will help you understand what you will want to learn more about in order to be a more effective QuickBooks User such as learning about the relationships between the Profit and Loss and Balance Sheet Accounts. When CPA’s review or audit a set of books, they go through the balance sheet thoroughly knowing that along the way they will hit most of the important areas of the Profit and Loss. Then they review the profit and loss. And did you know that the Statement of Cash flows is really the most important one, yet it is the least often understood by owners of small businesses? Get your copy of 140 QuickBooks Tips today and please visit my blog for a whole lot more of great QuickBooks tips and free video tutorials on how to use QuickBooks more effectively in your own business.

Be sure to check out the many other excellent eBooks we have available.

Oh, and have you joined the community on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube yet?

[Photo above by James Vaughan / CC BY-ND 2.0]

Bit.ly Receives $10 Million In Funding

There should be an image here!In the realm of “wow, never saw that coming” we have news of bit.ly receiving $10 million in funding for their venture. Well spent, if you are looking at the usage of the url shortener and tracking options for some mysterious specialized use. However it will be interesting to see just how easily they can recoup the full investment anytime this decade considering how cheap most people are these days.

Personally, I am fairly certain that unless a major partner comes forward to start using bit.ly for something extremely focused, all will be for not. After all, it’s a tracking url shortener for goodness sake, not something that is so compelling that $10 million makes a lick of sense for any perceived value here? I just don’t get it.

My gripes aside, I have found bit.ly to be a great url shortener, it’s reliable, easy to use and has never let me down yet. But at the end of the day, it needs more services added to warrant the funds invested in my mind. Maybe I am just being too skeptical here, but for the life of me I don’t see how these web 2.0 type companies attract the investment. It’s the 1990’s all over again.

Audit Options In Windows 7

There should be an image here!Auditing lets you track specific events that occur on your computer. For example, you can track when users log on and off. The way auditing works is that it waits for a specific event to occur, such as an unsuccessful logon, and then reports on it within the Event Viewer.

Auditing is configured through the local security policy. To open the local security policy, click Start, type secpol.msc and press Enter. Within the Local Security Policy, expand Local Policies and click Audit Policy. The various events that you can audit are listed in the Details pane. In Windows 7, you can audit the following types of events:

  • Audit Account Logon Events – Tracks user logon and logoff events.
  • Audit Account Management – Reports changes to user accounts
  • Audit Directory Service Access – Reports access and changes to the directory service. If the system is a member server or XP system, directory service is NTLM-based, and consists of user accounts and group policies.
  • Audit Logon Events – Reports success/failure of any local or remote access-based logon.
  • Audit Object Access – Reports file and folder access. Must be implemented here, and then the individual file/folder must be configured for auditing within its properties in order to fully enable this feature.
  • Audit Policy Change – Reports changes to group policies
  • Audit Privilege Use – Related to Audit Object Access: reports when permissions are utilized such as read, or full control.
  • Audit Process Tracking – Reports process and program failures. Not security related.
  • Audit System Events – Reports standard system events. Not security related.

Any of the auditing options listed above can be enabled. Simply double click the appropriate option, such as Audit Policy Change, and click Success and/or Failure. Click OK to apply your changes.

[Photo above by Joshua Rappeneker / CC BY-ND 2.0]

Audit Options In Windows 7

There should be an image here!Auditing lets you track specific events that occur on your computer. For example, you can track when users log on and off. The way auditing works is that it waits for a specific event to occur, such as an unsuccessful logon, and then reports on it within the Event Viewer.

Auditing is configured through the local security policy. To open the local security policy, click Start, type secpol.msc and press Enter. Within the Local Security Policy, expand Local Policies and click Audit Policy. The various events that you can audit are listed in the Details pane. In Windows 7, you can audit the following types of events:

  • Audit Account Logon Events – Tracks user logon and logoff events.
  • Audit Account Management – Reports changes to user accounts
  • Audit Directory Service Access – Reports access and changes to the directory service. If the system is a member server or XP system, directory service is NTLM-based, and consists of user accounts and group policies.
  • Audit Logon Events – Reports success/failure of any local or remote access-based logon.
  • Audit Object Access – Reports file and folder access. Must be implemented here, and then the individual file/folder must be configured for auditing within its properties in order to fully enable this feature.
  • Audit Policy Change – Reports changes to group policies
  • Audit Privilege Use – Related to Audit Object Access: reports when permissions are utilized such as read, or full control.
  • Audit Process Tracking – Reports process and program failures. Not security related.
  • Audit System Events – Reports standard system events. Not security related.

Any of the auditing options listed above can be enabled. Simply double click the appropriate option, such as Audit Policy Change, and click Success and/or Failure. Click OK to apply your changes.

[Photo above by Joshua Rappeneker / CC BY-ND 2.0]

[awsbullet:Steve Coogan Alan Partridge]

ClickMeter

It’s one thing to create a lot of content that you push out to the Internet, but keeping track of how that content is performing is an entirely different challenge. When it comes down to it, businesses want to see the results and metrics, and if you can’t deliver those, then things begin to get shaky. You’re likely linking to content all the time, but do you know who’s clicking those links and how many times they’ve been clicked? If you don’t, then you should. ClickMeter can help you get your tracking back on track.

Turning your regular links into tracking links is very simple, and once they’ve been created, you can just use them and monitor your results. You might think that tracking link clicks wouldn’t give you very much data to work with, but ClickMeter offers you detailed charts, click fraud detection, click distribution on a world map, browser and system information from visitors, and much more. Even though stats and metrics can sometimes be a drag to examine, ClickMeter might make them a little easier to deal with.

Google Analytics Script Still Taken For Granted

It’s like looking a gift horse in the mouth. That is what I think of those who individuals who are choosing not to take full advantages of Google’s Webmaster services. Because in the end, not using them is costing you site visitors and for some websites, that translates into lost revenue you will not be getting back.

And even knowing this, we still see 40% of the webmasters out there NOT using the new Google Analytics script even though it is free and could make a world of difference on the overall performance of any given website. Are we all doing so well that performance is just not an issue? Unless you are running a super-portal, I find this highly doubtful.

Better tracking, stronger understanding of visitor behavior, the list goes on. I mean come on, how hard is is really to swap one older script for the new one? After all, it’s not like you have to write it from scratch!

Duracell Ads Alleged To Scare Parents + Security Toys Ad

The headline reads ‘Trust Durcell to scare the $#% out of you’, because of a new ad Duracell is going to show. The ad will show a mom getting out at a park and while getting an infant out of the car she sees a white sedan pulling away and her older child missing. No fear. The kid is wearing a tracking device and mom locates him near by. The article states:

The ad is clearly meant to substantiate Duracell’s long-running claim that people should trust its batteries in even the most serious situations. It’s a tactic that’s provided a good (and long) ride for Duracell, but also has, at times, felt over the top.

This risks being one of those cases. The combination of tugging at parents’ heart strings and playing up parents’ worst fears feels overdramatic. Instead of making people want to buy the batteries, the company is in danger of turning off parents who don’t want to be scared into shopping.

It kind of makes us pine for that irritating, but light-hearted, Energizer bunny.

But while reading the article they referred to the company that makes the tracking device from Brickman which is a security company.

Holy Brickman Batman! These people have a ton of secret spy stuff that would make James Bond drool. All types of hidden cameras, plus a ton of tasers, pepper sprayers & knock you on your ass 300,000 volt stun gun. But what was really interesting is that they also sell keyloggers to spy on your employees, [or spouse], plus a super secret grouping of kits to check for infidelity and drug use by a spouse, family member, neighbor, who ever you want. :-) Here is a semen kit:

Semen Spy CSI Edition

Do you have suspicions of your spouse or significant other cheating? Do you have a clothing item or stain you need to test for the presence of semen? Sweep a room for semen stains as old as 30 years in seconds.

Plus a ton of drug testing kits like this one:

Drug Identification Kit

With this easy to use Drug Identification Kit, you can detect up to 12 different types of illegal drugs. Virtually no false positives!

Now this one is good:

X-Ray Spray Kit

X-Ray Spray turns opaque paper temporarily translucent, allowing the user to view the contents of an envelope without ever opening it.

I had a few laughs taking a quick tour of the security stuff. Enjoy.

PS I don’t think that having a tracking device for a child is a bad idea at all. As far as scaring anyone, isn’t that what Brinks does with their ads of a guy breaking into a house and the woman saved by the loud alarm?
Comments welcome.

 Duracell article here.

Security stuff from Brickman

Should We Be Tracked On The Internet?

The next phase of privacy on the Internet is about to come to a head. It seems that large companies, i,e. Google and others, are tracking our surfing habits in order to better  target advertising. Though this may be acceptable for the companies, it is now coming under scrutiny. In an article at The Washington Post, it states:

Several Internet and broadband companies have acknowledged using targeted-advertising technology without explicitly informing customers, according to letters released yesterday by the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

And Google, the leading online advertiser, stated that it has begun using Internet tracking technology that enables it to more precisely follow Web-surfing behavior across affiliated sites.

The revelations came in response to a bipartisan inquiry of how more than 30 Internet companies might have gathered data to target customers. Some privacy advocates and lawmakers said the disclosures help build a case for an overarching online-privacy law.

Which begs us to ask. When is our privacy being invaded if a firm tracks our behavior? Is tracking our surfing habits a violation of our privacy?

Google states the following:

Alan Davidson, Google’s director of public policy and government affairs, stated in the letter that users could opt out of a single cookie for both DoubleClick and the Google content network. He also said that Google was not yet focusing on “behavioral” advertising, which depends on Web site tracking.

But on its official blog last week, Google touted how its recent $3.1 billion merger with DoubleClick provides advertisers “insight into the number of people who have seen an ad campaign,” as well as “how many users visited their sites after seeing an ad.”

So what do you think? Do you believe your privacy is being invaded by being tracked by anyone or any company? Or do you even care about it? Should further investigation be made to protect us?

Comments welcome.

Source

Computers Of The World – 'Help Me, I'm Stolen'

Like the movie ET, phoning home is becoming a standard for some computers who now can call home. Systems which are armed with tracking technology are being recovered from all over the world after being stolen. According to this article which states:

Alan McInnes, general manager with the Association of Chief Police Officers crime prevention initiatives, told silicon.com the technology will help stamp out computer theft.

McInnes said: “The more widely this technology is used the more the risk goes up and the more it will devalue the attractiveness of computer theft. This tracking technology has already proven itself useful for recovering large numbers of cars, its success rate is about 95 per cent, and we hope it will do the same for computers. You not only recover the stolen property you are looking for, you often will uncover more stolen property and other related crimes.”

The most effective type of tracking software is buried within the bios of a computer’s motherboard during manufacture, making it resistant to hard disc wiping or removal.

When a stolen machine is connected to the internet it will contact a monitoring centre to report its Internet Protocol address, allowing police to trace its location through the internet service provider.

This is a great service and should be incorporated on all laptops.

Full article is here.

RFID Marks Wine Bottles As Authentic

In a new take on technology a company by the name of eProvenance is now providing a system to mark, identify and trace bottles of fine wines. The wine industry has been fighting fraudulent  wine bottling for years and this new company hopes to put a stop to this illegal activity. On their web site eProvenance states that:

eProvenance, a new company applying advanced technology to assure the total quality of fine wines from château to consumer, today unveiled its innovative Intelligent Bottle™ and wine temperature tracking system along with its web site, www.eprovenance.com. Founded in January 2007 by Eric Vogt to assure the provenance of every bottle of fine wine, the company is currently implementing programs with nine leading Bordeaux Châteaux, including several first growths.

Until now, the most critical component of certifiable value to the consumer, provenance (typically defined as authenticity, traceability and knowledge of storage temperatures), has been anecdotal at best, and unverifiable. The eProvenance solution creates a secure, global system to assure the provenance of fine wine from the château to the consumer and on to the auction house. eProvenance has launched its system in Bordeaux for fine wine and the system is designed to serve any wine region in the world. Currently, the eProvenance system and services are available to wine producers and the professional distribution channel.

The eProvenance system includes three physical components:
  1. A semi-active RFID tag placed inside the case to monitor and record temperatures and improve shipping and receiving operations throughout the distribution chain.
  2. A passive RFID tag with a unique code attached to the base of the bottle to automate tracking and inventory management, and discourage pilferage.
  3. A proprietary, tamper-proof neck seal with a covert code applied at the base of the capsule to authenticate the wine inside the bottle and thwart counterfeiters.

It should be interesting to see how well this new technology works and if it will prevent counterfeiting of expensive wines in the future.

Comments welcome.

eProvenance web site is here.

[tags] wine, labels, tracking, rfid, counterfeiting, expensive, wines, storgae, temperature, [/tags]

Belong To Any Yahoo! Groups? Be Aware Of Web Beacons

Victoria from the osxtiger Yahoo! Group writes:

If you belong to ANY Yahoo! Groups – be aware that Yahoo! is now using “Web Beacons” to track every Yahoo! Group user. They’re similar to cookies, but allow Yahoo! to record every Web site and every group you visit, even when you’re not connected to Yahoo!.

Look at its updated privacy statement here.

About halfway down the page, in the section on cookies, you will see a link that says WEB BEACONS.
Continue reading “Belong To Any Yahoo! Groups? Be Aware Of Web Beacons”