Tips Links and Tidbits Newsletter

Tuesday 17th October 2006


Basic Computer User

Microsoft struggles with patch
Company faces distribution glitches in issuing “critical” fixes for Windows, Office, among other updates. More

US court order could boost spam by 50 billion daily
Thanks so much, US District Court. That’s just what inboxes need, more spam. Here’s how a September decision by a federal court may give the green light to more unwanted email. More

Rice researchers to demo megapixel images created with one pixel
Rice University researchers have developed a camera that creates megapixel quality images using one pixel. More

SMB broadband hits critical mass, a third suffer a virus attack
SMBs are embracing high speed Internet services, with around 90 percent of SMB business (5 to 199 employees) now using a broadband connection, according to Pacific Internet survey. More

Analyst: Deploy Microsoft Vista in 2008
Microsoft’s Vista is expected to ship early next year, but companies shouldn’t even think about deploying the new operating system until well into 2008, Gartner analyst Michael Silver says. More

Network Computer Guru Noorda Dead at 82
Ray Noorda, the former Novell Inc. chief executive hailed as “The Father of Network Computing” and one of the early leaders of the software industry, died on Monday of an Alzheimer’s-related illness at his Utah home.

Companies urged to check IE7 readiness
Users will get Internet Explorer 7 whether they want it or not. More

UN forum focuses on Internet’s future
Organisers say the forum will give representation to everyone with a stake in the Internet. More

PluggedIn: Virtual personal trainers, use with care
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The personal trainer, once the must-have accessory of rich, image-obsessed Californians, is now within the reach of more people thanks to new technology. More

Ever heard of pod slurping?
It’s just another way to steal your data. More

Phishers more successful than first thought
US academics warn that scammers may have success rate of 14 percent. More

New PowerPoint zero-day threat appears
New proof-of-concept code targeting an unpatched vulnerability in Microsoft Office 2003 PowerPoint has become publicly available. More

Microsoft limits Vista transfers
Retail buyers will be able to legally transfer the OS only once. After that, it’s back to the store to buy a new copy. More

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Advanced Computer User

Boffins show off light-speed encryption, engage cloaking device. More

Hacking XP
Settle down now, pardner. If Windows XP finally has you mad enough to buy a MacBook, this is the story for you. We’ve got 11 hacks here in today’s tip that can get your computer running faster, increase your productivity, and make Windows XP just a little less annoying than it was before you read this story. More

Microsoft opening up Vista kernel to security vendors
Microsoft has compromised with security vendors who’ve been demanding access to the kernel of the upcoming Vista operating system so that they can update their security offerings, two analysts have confirmed. More

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Now the cat really is out of the bag!

Dr Wallace Bain, Acting Chair of the Coroners’ Council, has just released this report into deaths caused by natural health medicines in New Zealand.

He highlights the information in light of the push by the New Zealand government for greater control over natural medicines by way of legislation to create the Australia New Zealand Therapeutics Products Authority (ANZTPA).

Natural medicines – the safest way to avoid death

A report just released by the Acting Chair of the Coroner’s Council has shown natural medicines have the lowest fatality rate of all medical treatments in New Zealand.

Despite extensive research, coroner Dr Wallace Bain found no deaths have occurred in New Zealand due to natural medicines such as vitamins, minerals and herbal products.

Dr Bain, who is also a trained pharmacist and lawyer, undertook the study in light of growing opposition to new legislation that will see New Zealand’s natural health industry come under Australian laws.

The safety of natural products is often sited as a reason for the need for such a move.

The Labour government plans that the Australia New Zealand Therapeutic Products Authority (ANZTPA) will soon replace the current Medsafe agency as part of a `trans-Tasman harmonisation’ push. Opponents fear this move will decimate New Zealand’s natural health industry as has already occurred in Australia.

At present lack of support from New Zealand First, the Maori and Green parties is the only thing stopping the legislation coming into effect.

Says Dr Bain: “In my capacity as Acting Chair of the Coroner’s Council, I enquired of all Coroners as to whether or not from a search of their Coronial findings they could find any instances where there had been a problem with any of these natural products.

“They were asked to provide any information from inquests where these products had been involved whether or not a death had resulted. At the same time the Coronial records held by the Ministry of Justice in Wellington were searched at my request by ministry staff.”

Dr Bain’s study returned a finding of zero deaths from natural remedies.

His only findings were:

* A three-year-old child who choked to death on a vitamin tablet in 2003 that was too large for the child to swallow

* A woman who terminated her third pregnancy after a scan showed the foetus had spina bifida. The woman had been taking 300mg of folic acid a day rather than the recommended 800mg per day

* A man who died from non-viral hepatitis of unknown origin who also had a pre-existing prostrate cancer condition. The man had been taking an Indian herbal product K4. The Corner’s report said despite no certainty of a link with the herbal product, the remedy such be banned until more was known about its effects on liver toxicity

* Some ongoing inquests into party pills

In contrast, deaths in 1998 (the last year of detailed official statistics available) caused by adverse reactions to pharmaceutical drugs killed 1524 New Zealanders and deaths associated with medical injury (mistakes by doctors and medical staff) killed 4222 New Zealanders.

Says Dr Bain: “A recent Australian study shows that 1 in 10 patients presenting to a general practitioner had an adverse pharmaceutical drug event in the preceding six months with 50% of those being in the moderate to severe range and 8% requiring hospitalisation.

“A New Zealand study reported in July of 2006 and referred to Parliament’s Health Committee pointed to previous research suggesting problems such as hospital acquired infection, drug error and staff mistakes are costing this country around $870 million a year. This prompted the Health Minister to ensure that District Health Boards gave priority to reducing such adverse events – most clearly identified as being drug induced.”

Also in Dr Bain’s report is mention of a US study that puts complications resulting from medication errors in American hospitals at $US1.5 billion dollars per year. Studies also show that prescription drug errors double a person’s risk of dying in hospital. Another study put the cost of a single adverse drug event to a hospital in the US at $US2,500.

“The estimate of costs incurred by US hospitals as a result of drug-related injury or death was put at $US76.6 billion which was three times the cost of all diabetes care in the United States,” says Dr Bain.

“What is ironic here is that what is being held out as a justification for high regulation and compliance in the area of complementary medicines and natural products in New Zealand is public safety and risk. Despite a diligent search of Coronial records and the literature, no instances have been found to demonstrate that in fact these products have any serious public health issue or risk.

“The problem is clearly with prescription and other drugs,” says Dr Bain. “The Coronial and literature searches in so far as natural products are concerned and linkages to public safety and risk can be described legally as De minimis no curat lex. That is – of minimal risk importance.

“The law does not and should not concern itself with such trifles.”

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NewsTarget Insider Alert
While the medical industry celebrates cancer profits all month long, you can take this opportunity to learn about cancer prevention. Foods have the power to restore your immune system and give it the resources to fight cancer cells rather than waiting for “treatment” via toxic chemotherapy.
In today’s feature article, you’ll read about how cabbage and brussels sprouts can help kill breast cancer cells: More

Potassium supplements boost bone density in women, prevent osteoporosis: More

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The Continuing Chronicles of Shianne Els - by Teal
I asked Shianne if she was ready to go to her grandad’s house.

She said she was and had her handbag ready.

All I needed to do was find a dummy for Jaylen so I checked in a couple of rooms before I asked out loud if anyone had seen it.

Shianne proudly stated, “It’s in my bag, I’ll give it to him.”

I thanked her and asked Rene if he was ready and he said, “Almost, do you have my phone?”

Shianne said, “Here it is daddy, it’s in my bag, i’ll get it for you.”

By now we all thought she was really cute and funny and so Rene sarcastically asked, “I need to do my roll-on deodorant, do you have that in your bag?”

Sure enough, she did!! Talk about organised!

The Continuing Chronicles of Shianne Els - by Grandad
I really need to have a video camera on Shianne as so much of the total effect is lost in the telling of the story as compared with the viewing of it.

Shianne turns three next month so she is well and truly immersed in all things “girl”. She has her own handbag, her mock mobile phone, all things worthwhile are pink etc. etc. etc.

For some time now Shianne has been disappointed at the lack of written comm addressed to her arriving in the mail. Mum and dad get letters all the time, she doesn’t. Seeing how she is female this is a major thing with her. So on hearing of this Louis, a friend from Alaska staying with us at present, sent her a letter.

This was very well received by Shianne. Her face lit up like a Christmas tree when she received it.

A few days later Louis promised to send her a letter when he returned to Alaska. Shianne asked if he could send it on pink paper.

Next day a statement of account arrived here for Shianne. Of course we kept it unopened until she arrived last night and we duly presented it to her with a modest amount of fanfare.

On opening it her bright, beaming countenance of expectation morphed into the absolutely, positively best portrayal of disappointment I have ever seen. The downcast eyes and head, the tiny pout, the change in voice tone, the drooped shoulders - like, this kid could teach Hollywood actoresses method acting like you would not believe! - as she said, are you ready for this? “It’s not pink!”

Well the thunder rolled, the lightning flashed, the fire and brimstone lit the sky with it’s menacing glow, Earth, just open me up and swallow me whole for disappointing the little darling!

So we got her to close her eyes and cover them with her hands and turn the other way (can’t take any chances that she might see where I store the pink paper now, can we?) while I ransacked the stationery drawer for a sheet of pink paper and wrote her a quick note. Of course we enveloped and addressed it so the effect on opening it was magnified.

Talk about a rocket ride up the tone scale, the bright, sparkling, wide eyed look over the beaming smile and dispersal of exhilaration was something else again.

So, the moral of the story. As soon as you learn you have a grand daughter, run to the the news agent and procure yourself, at any cost, some sheets of pink paper. You just never know when they will save the day.

I learned recently that McDonalds have 52 performance standards for their staff and that the length of service for the average staff member is only 6 weeks. Sheesh! What you can do with good systems and good marketing.

Larger than life temporary tattoos for your walls
Colour can go a long way when setting the tone in a room. But if you want more than that, or are not ready to commit to a particular colour, wall stickers from Dvider are an additional option. Applied to a wall in a similar way that you would apply a temporary tattoo to your arm, they can be used to brighten walls, windows, or any other smooth, flat surface and removed without leaving behind any damage. There are several size and color options to match your tastes and requirements, and come in six categories from which to choose: nature, figures, edgy, animals, patterns, and kids. Use them individually or combine them to create patterns and collages of your choice.

Henry Groppe has been tracking the ups and downs of oil through 60 years, 11 U.S. presidents and five full cycles in the commodity. So he knows what he’s talking about when he says that this time, it’s different. “This is the most interesting time I’ve ever experienced,” he said.: More

Earth’s wobbly orbit causes climate change, mass extinctions every 2. 4 million years: More

Global grain supplies plummet to 25-year low due to severe drought More

Florida orange crop drops to lowest level in years due to weather changes: More

Bulletin board libel leads to US$11.3m damages
A court in Florida has awarded US$11.3m in damages and costs to a woman who suffered a campaign of abusive harassment on an online bulletin board. More

UK operators switch on mobile TV trial
3, Orange, Telefonica and Vodafone launch joint test. More

Hewlett-Packard hires new ethics officer
Jon Hoak replaces Kevin Hunsaker, who faces criminal charges for his role in company’s leak probe. More


The World’s Most Published and Most Translated Author

Frankfurt, Germany (October 7) – Tens of thousands of authors, publishers and book industry professionals gathered this October at the annual Frankfurt Book Fair, the largest and most important event for the international publishing industry. Many of the publishers’ stands featured the books of hundreds of authors. Unique among them is New Era Publications, which publishes the work of only one author, L. Ron Hubbard.

Guinness World Records choose to honour Hubbard at the Book Fair by awarding him two new world records. The first confirmed that he is the world’s most published author with 1084 works exceeding the record held by Brazilian author Jose Carlos Ryoki with 1,058. Guinness also officially verified that Hubbard exceeded his own previous record as the world’s most translated author when his works were published in six more languages raising the record from 65 to 71.

Mr. Kalyan Shah, President of India’s Publishers And Booksellers Guild, the organizers of the Kolkata Book Fair, the world’s largest consumer book fair, presented the Guinness World Record certificates to L. Ron Hubbard’s literary agency, Author Services Inc. ( Los Angeles). Shah described Hubbard as “one of the world’s most influential authors whose many works of fiction and non-fiction have both entertained and enlightened readers on all continents and contributed to our emerging global culture. He is not only a publishing phenomena, his works are a treasure to be shared by all who believe that humanity can find solutions to its many problems and build a better world for all.”

The languages in which books by L. Ron Hubbard are available include Afrikaans, Albanian, Amharic, Arabic, Armenian, Azeri, Basque, Belo Russian, Bengali, Brazilian, Bulgarian, Chinese, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dari-Farsi, Dutch, Estonian, Farsi, Finnish, French, Georgian, German, Greek, Guarani, Hausa, Hebrew, Hindi, Hungarian, Icelandic, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Kannada, Kazakh, Khmer, Kirundi, Korean, Kyrgyz, Latvian, Lithuanian, Macedonian, Malayalam, Mexican, Mongolian, Nepalese, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Punjabi, Romanian, Russian, Samoan, Serbian, Sinhalese, Slovak, Slovenian, Spanish, Swahili, Swedish, Tagalog, Taiwanese, Tamil, Thai, Turkish, Ukrainian, Urdu, Uzbek, Vietnamese, Xhosa and Zulu.

New Era Publications also announced the release in 2007 of a new collection of 200 of Hubbard’s early fiction works, titled Stories from a Golden Age, as well as a new line of his non-fiction works.

The total sales of Hubbard’s fiction and non-fiction works have surpassed 230 million copies with 19 New York Times best-sellers.

Photos are available to download: from here

Yahoo to beam user content, capsule into space
Yahoo and Yahoo Telemundo are creating a digitised time capsule that will beam onto an ancient pyramid in Mexico and into space. More

Google “What the hell” and you will be able to see...

This article is about metrics, specifically software metrics, but it has great data in it for your business too..

The Hawthorne Effect
The Hawthorne Effect is variously defined and described on a number of sites. Just use a search engine and you will find many references. The gist of it is that production will increase due to attention being paid to the worker and the level of production.

An article available here quotes H. McIlvaine Parsons who went back to the original experiment scene after 50 years and spoke to survivors, perused research notes and logs.

To quote the web page referred to above:

From his interviews and his analysis of the original research data, Parsons discovered not only serious gaps and flaws in the published reports of the Hawthorne experiments, but also a number of what he calls “confounding variables” that previous researchers had ignored.

Unlike the department shop floor, where rely assemblers had no regular or immediate access to individual production figures, the experimental test room provided plenty of what Parsons calls “performance feedback.” Separate counters recorded the number of relays assembled by each worker. The counters were accessible to any of the women who wanted to check them, and some did. The supervisor took regular readings from them and posted daily totals on the wall. The observer’s logs contain numerous comments by the women that show they were interested in, and kept close track of, their output. For example, on the afternoon of April 19, 1929, Theresa Zajac remarked “I’m about 15 relays behind yesterday.” Another woman said, “I made 421 yesterday, and I’m going to make better today.” As the observer commented, the women were “trying to beat their former output records.”

As evidence for the importance of performance feedback, Parsons cites the results of another relay-assembly experiment designed as a control group for the test-room study. Although the five women in the control group also worked under the small group pay rate, they worked at a separate bench on the department floor, and had no regular access to information about their individual daily output. And while their output also rose (by about 12 percent) after they switched from their regular pay schedule to the small-group rate, it remained at that level until they returned to their old work stations whereupon it dropped to the original level. There were no progressive increases as in the test-room experiment. In an article in Science (March 8, 1974), Parsons compared the two groups and concluded that “the faster the workers assembled relays, the more money they got, but knowledge of results was essential to make this differential reinforcement effective.”

That was in 1929. It is now 2006, 76 years later. And how many people working now have a statistic by which their production is measured?

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