Run For Fun – One Mile!

Run for Fun is an organized, fun filled activity for kids.

The idea is to have kids spend less time indoors in front of screens, and more time outdoors. And to get them involved in real social activity, rather than online social sites. Younger kids can walk the park with their adults, while their older peers can run a mile in the beautiful Blue Jacket Park. Parents, please take the opportunity to have a family picnic at the end, so bring your own picnic blanket and refreshments.

Registration/Confirmation required to participate. We are requesting $10 contribution per family to cover the cost. This is not for profit. We can register maximum 50 kids for the run, which will be based on first come first join basis.

Group A: Run 4 A Mile
Kid Ages: 8- 14 yrs

Group B: Family Walk 4 Fun
Kids of all ages can take part in fun walk with their parents

Typically, everyone runs or walks the same distance and the event is not timed or scored. It’s an event for children of all levels and abilities and a great way to showcase and celebrate fitness goals and achievements.

Participating kids parents are requested to register their kids by November 15th, 2015. Every kid is a winner and registered kids get a certificate of completion for the sense of achievement. The fun Run/Walk will be followed by a picnic.

Date: Dec 5th 2015 – Saturday

Venue: Blue Jacket Park    2501 General Rees Ave, Orlando, FL 32814

Timing:  

Group A: 9:30 am

Group B: 10:00 am

(Participants are requested to be at site by 9 am to collect their registration number bibs)

Registration Process: Register using the form below.

Starts- October 15th, 2015
Ends- November 15th, 2015

You can conveniently pay for your child’s participation in this activity using PayPal link below. Or, bring cash on the day and venue. $10 per family. For PayPal payment, click on the button below. Contribution is not mandatory, as this is a not for profit event. Contribution is to cover the cost of the event only.





Theory of the universe

What is the story of our universe? Where did it come from? What will happen to it in time?

Humanity has pondered these questions from the dawn of intelligence. It is in our nature to question and seek answers, to all unknown. May be some day we will find the answers to all of these questions. For now, I will share some things that our scientists already know and some that are theories for now. And, I will also share what I think of one question in particular – What will happen to our universe?

 The Big Bang –

Big Bang, expansion

Big Bang is the accepted phenomenon by which the universe we know today, came into being. In short, Big Bang is the point in time, when our universe sprung into existence, from one single point of origin. This single event caused all matter, all energy and anti-matter to be released from a single point. All that we know of in the universe was compressed into this point, and then released to give birth to the universe. Ancient Indian philosophers, describe this point as “sunyatha” or zero, or nothing. From this nothing, arose all that we can see and all that we can’t.

After the birth, as the things started to cool down, the particles formed mass and coalesced to form matter, which further came together to form the stars and galaxies. No one knows what happened to the anti-matter, which must have formed in the equal quantity of matter. The matter by the way, is only 5% of the known visible universe. The rest is dark matter 20% and dark energy 75%.

The dark matter – The existence of this dark matter was theorized by a theoretical physicist Peter Higgs and his colleagues in the early 1960s, however, astrophysicists in the 30s, assumed that there must be something missing from the calculation, as the calculated mass of galaxies and their gravity was not enough to hold them together. They calculated the mass of the number of stars and their corresponding gravity, and to their surprise, it was not enough to keep the galaxy in place, it would fall apart. Today’s astrophysicist have used super computers to simulate a galaxy formation and without the addition of the gravitational effect from dark matter, the galaxy would fall apart each time. The Large Hadron Collider of CERN, has finally proven the existence of the dark matter by discovering Higgs Boson – also called the God Particle. This is truly a milestone for the Standard Model. Read more about Dark Matter at CERN.

The dark energy is called so, because we do not know much about it. We know that there is something that is causing the galaxies to go further away from one another, at an accelerating rate. This is also called the expansion theory or inflation, which just states that our observable universe is expanding and the galaxies are moving farther away from each other, at an accelerating pace. Dark Energy is presumed to be the unknown form of energy which is hypothesized to permeate all of space, tending to accelerate the expansion of the universe. Read more about dark energy on Wikipedia. The force that opposes dark energy is gravity. And when we speak of gravity, we have to talk about Black Holes.

Black Holes also also one of the least known cosmic master piece. They are so called because nothing can escape it’s gravitational pull, not even light. Once you cross the point of no return, called the even horizon, there is no coming back, not even for light, which is why we can’t see through them. Their immense gravity pulls all matter into a single point, and possibly converts matter into energy. Some Black Holes are seen spitting gamma rays, after consuming matter from a gas cloud or consuming a star.

 

So what will happen to our Universe?

  • Will it continue to expand into the void forever, doing a delicate dance with gravity?
  • Will it continue to expand into the void, slowing down the rate of expansion, and then collapsing after it reaches a point where Gravity takes over and dark energy begins to fade?
  • Will it continue to expand at an accelerating pace and then rip apart? OR
  • Will it take another course?

I believe that anything that is born (starting point – Big Bang), has to come to an END. And this is how it may happen.

I believe that the Universe will one day go back to being compressed into a single point. But what can compress all that is known – all the galaxies, dark matter, etc into a single point? We have seen super massive black holes in the center of many large galaxies, like our own Milky Way and our bigger neighbor – Andromeda galaxy. These Black Holes are massive enough to consume stars and just burp from the meal. An interesting feature of Black Holes is that two Black Holes can collide and become a bigger Black Hole. So when the expansion reaches its maximum point, it will start to compress. Just like the effect of an explosion – you have an immediate expansion of gasses that blow up in all direction, but when the energy has run out, it contracts. This will cause the Black Holes to get closer to each other, collide and become bigger each time. Until we have a Black Hole so massive, that it consumes the entire universe, which would by now be compressing at an accelerating pace. What will come out at the other end of that Black Hole will be a the birth of a new Universe – another Big Bang.

I am not a Physicist, so this is not an academic article. The above paragraph in Italics, is just my imagination of what might happen to our universe.

 

Technical Preview – Microsoft Windows 10

Once upon a time, long long ago, there was an OS called Win XP. It was very famous and enjoyed a lot of popularity among the masses. It enjoyed 80% market share. But time and tide, stays for no man, I mean no OS. Then came Win Vista, quickly followed by Win 7, as Vista was a disaster. Win 7 was much better than Vista or XP, but its manufacturer wanted more from an OS. They wanted it on the phones, tablets, notebooks and even on their gaming boxes, so they came up with Win 8. It was a total disaster, and people hated it even more than Vista. It had big buttons, it was clunky and it did not even have a start menu. What was MS thinking?? So the manufacturer MS, worked hard and came up with Win 9, which did not see the day light. They worked even harder and finally came up with Win 10.

Win 10 will be released early in 2015 and MS is doing a lot of beta trial with it, to get opinion of the masses and listed to them. It has the start menu back, so that if you are using the OS on a desktop without a touch screen, you actually don’t have to get a third party start menu.

MS is encouraging tech community to download it and provide feedback. It has already seen more than a million download. So if you want to download it yourself and take a look, go right ahead.

http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/preview-iso

Win10

Obama backs net neutrality plan

Why is net neutrality important to average Joe?

In the USA, we already pay more for the internet, for the same amount of bandwidth, as compared to other developed, western countries. Our major service providers like Time Warner company, Verizon, argue against net neutrality, saying it is fair for companies that use more data to pay more. According to them, it will spur innovation and competition in the ISP industry.

But it is not about innovation or competition. It is all about $$. They want more of it. And if you are an average Joe, you will be on a slow lane, regardless of what you do. As there is going to be a new fast lane, for those who can afford it.

Here are some ways how throwing net neutrality out, will affect us.

  • Inferior service – if you can’t afford the premium for fast lane, you will be in the slow lane, and experience degraded service.
  • Higher cost – for those business, that can’t afford to be on a slow lane, as it will effect their business model, will have to pay more. As a result, the cost will trickle down to end users.
  • Technological divide – in demographics with low income, there will be no fast lane, hence they will be a technological divide, with richer communities having an advantage of fast lane.

There is already division in America today, based to political affiliation. Do we really want to have another reason, which deepens this divide?

In early 2014, an Appeals court struck down FCC rules that governs internet and ISP, tossing out net neutrality and ruling in favor of ISPs.

However, president Omaba has broken his silence on this matter and spoken against the ruling on November 10th 2014. Open internet access should be a basic right, that all Americans should enjoy, President Obama has said. So there is hope that FCC will treat ISPs and internet traffic, just like it does the telecom industry.

If you agree with net neutrality, tell your congressman that internet should be open and equal for all.

BBC News – Obama backs net neutrality plan.

Wireless network keeps dropping off on Windows 7

If you have purchased a Win 7 laptop lately or installed an OEM version of Win 7 on an older XP laptop, chances are that your machine keeps dropping off the wireless network randomly. Good news is that you are not alone, a lot of people are having this problem, bad news is that there is no good cookie cutter solution to this problem.

I personally had this problem when I upgraded my Dell Latitude 630 laptop from Win XP Pro to Win 7 Ultimate; and when I purchased a new ASUS K53E-1BSX laptop.

What has been proved that the problem has something to do with Windows 7 and wireless device drivers, as people have reported that they did not have the problem when they were using the same hardware with Windows XP. Even more, people have tested by replacing the Wireless AP/ router as well. I personally have replaced three different Linksys/ CISCO routers, re-installed Windows and changed wireless adapters, in the process of troubleshooting this problem.

Common recommendations that have worked for many people are:

  1. Update wireless device drivers for Windows 7, if available.
  2. Disabling windows firewall.
  3. Set the device properties to NOT go in Power Savings mode.
  4. Set your AP/router to a particular WiFi type – B, G or N, instead of auto, if possible. Under Advanced device configuration, set the IBSS 54G(tm) mode to 54g Auto or 54g-performance.
  5. Un-install any anti-virus or anti-spyware software that you may have and try to see if the problem goes away
  6. Purchase a newer USB Wireless device, preferably the mini, low profile devices.

The above mentioned steps are written in order in which they should be tried. In my case, I had to buy a newer USB wireless adapter for my ASUS laptop and disable the on-board, and step number 4 worked for the Dell laptop. So it is a hit or miss at this point. I will update as I find out more about this embarrassing problem of Windows 7.

I was feeling confident about the performance of Win 7, until I met this problem.

 

Remove advert banner from Google Chrome home page

Recent data suggests that for the first time in History of Browser wars, Google Chrome has overtaken Internet Explorer to become the most widely used browser. The second place is now held by IE and Mozilla Firefox inching behind. Source: StatCounter.

From a personal note, I think Chrome is fast, but not as safe as Firefox. It beats IE for sure and it beats Firefox in speed and usability as well. I used to be a Firefox user but since Firefox has gone in a update frenzy since last year, other developers that provide extensions have not been able to keep up and had rendered Firefox useless for more advanced users.

Getting back to the topicRemove porn/ advert banner from Google Chrome home page.

Recently I came across a machine that had Chrome installed. On its home page, which was just plain Google, was a porn banner advertisement. How did it get there? was that a browser hijack?

I am not sure if that was a browser redirection hijack as the search results seemed fine. Anyhow, I had to get rid of it. So I started digging around the Chrome extensions and the apps that were installed. I did not find anything in there. So I looked into installed programs and did not find anything fishy in there as well. Finally I ran MS Autoruns tool to see running programs, services and registry entries. I did not find anything in there as well.

Solution:

  • So finally I just uninstalled Chrome, deleted the Chrome Application Data folder from the User account, (C:\User\UserName\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\) restarted the machine and then re-installed Chrome. That fixed it. This file structure is on a Windows 7 machine. Win xp will have a different file structure for AppData.
  • If that does not fix the problem, of if the problem reoccurs, then you have yourself a honey pot! There are extensions on Chrome web store, which includes free games like Angry Birds or Mario Bros and utility tools like Screen Capture. One of those free apps that you downloaded and installed has malicious code build in for the banner advert. So delete the free apps and games one by one and see removing which one fixes the problem. Once you find the rogue app. report it to Chrome development team. Although they don’t make that stuff, but they are still launching from their web store.

 

HP Officejet 4500 All-in-One Printer Series – G510 driver installation problems

Recently I was working on installing a HP Officejet 4500 All-in-One Printer Series – G510 for a customer of mine. She had purchased the all in one HP printer on my recommendation, as I had believed that HP makes good printers and all in one devices. However, my this particular experience will make my think twice before recommending another all in one HP device to another customer.

Install Problems:

This was a network (Ethernet) enabled all in one model. So I had connected the printer to the Linksys home router and assigned it a static IP, from the DHCP range that I had configured in the router. Next I ran the setup.ext that came with the printer and selected full install. During the install process, I selected the device as an Ethernet connected and the HP installing detected the printer on the network on its own. So all looked good and the installation finished successfully. I did a reboot to the computer after the installation was complete and then did a test print. And it printed fine. However, when I tried to open the HP all in one console for trying out other features, such as Scan and Copy, the software gave an error saying that the installation is incomplete!! And that I should re-install the software to try and fix the problem.

Attempt to Fix:

I looked around for answers on Google and HP support forums, but all I found was other frustrated people trying to install the same all in one device correctly. So I thought may be the drivers are old and Win 7 may be needing the latest drivers. So with my tech. mind, I downloaded the latest, full driver and software package from HP support site. Uninstalled the software in full and deleted the HP directory from Program Files folder. Did a restart and then tried to install everything fresh again, using the latest drivers and software package that I had downloaded from HP. So I followed the same procedure – installed the full drivers and software package. When the install wizard asked me how I was connected to the printer, I selected network and it went out and successfully detected the printer on the network. The installation completed successfully and rebooted the computer once again. To my surprise and frustration, the same problem happened again. The all in one device would print, but if I tried to launch the software to try out other features such as scan and copy, I would get an error saying that the installation did not complete successfully.

Solution:

After trying out few more things and more failed attempts, I decided to connect the device via a USB cable and attempt to do a fresh install again. So once again, I uninstalled the drivers and software, rebooted the machine, deleted the HP directory from the Program Files folder and tried to install the all in one device again using USB cable.  Behold, it worked! So clearly, there is something wrong with the install package that HP has provided. It does not install properly when the printer is connected via Ethernet cable. And the troubling part is, despite lots of people talking about it on their forum, HP is turning a blind eye to the problem.

Biggest danger to Human civilization

Human civilization is fairly new when considering the time scale of everything around us. Yet, we often think how awfully old and complicated we are. We often think that everything is for us and we are the zenith of God’s creation. All the galaxies, spread billions of light years away, with billions of stars each, half of which with the possibility of hosting planets of their own… all created for us by the good Lord. What an awful waste of space, if that were to be true!

But we have come far. Just a few hundred years ago, humans could swear that Earth was the center of our Solar system. And today we are ready to explore the outer reaches of our solar system and beyond. To concur the space and bend space and time, to save the Earth and so on.

Save the Earth sounds heroic and all good. But from whom? A big nasty rock that hits home and wipes all species out, global warming or the dying Sun that engulfs all its planets? Must be a killer virus, or even better the aliens! But if you look from above, Humans are the biggest danger to themselves. We are slowly killing our source of existence and many other species that have taken different shapes and forms on this little planet. Humans are the best and the worst, the Earth has ever had.

We now have science and technology to see far into space, yet we fail to see the consequences of our action at home, just few hundred years in advance. We keep producing things that the Earth cannot displace -Plastics. And we keep consuming more and faster than the Earth can replace. We have more than halved the fishes from the oceans and cut the forests that are the main producers of food in the food chain. We pollute the water that we and other creatures depend on and spread toxins in air and ground. All for the sake of our current physical comfort. Instant sense gratification.

What about the future? How long can we continue the way we have been doing our business, destroying our home slowly but steadily? Probably till the last of the rain forests stands, till the last of the beasts, birds and fishes roam free. We will see it all till the last of all is used, burnt, cut and destroyed. We are our own enemies – a strange one; as we are conscious and aware. May be we will find the way to get us out of this home, and go and destroy another planet. Or may be the Creator will rethink his masterpiece as “partially defective” and do a recall.

Speaking about finding another planet to pollute and destroy, we have found a planet which would thus far be the closest to having conditions necessary for existence of Earth like life. It has been named Gliese 581g, after the name of its star – Gliese 581 (a red giant). The planet rotates its sun at the right distance and experts believe that it could have liquid water on its surface. Although it is in tidal lock with its star, meaning only one side of the planet faces the light and the other is in perpetual darkness. It is about 20 light years away from us. So even if we had a space ship that could travel at half the speed of light, it will take us 40 yrs just to get there. So how do we go to that planet before we render our own home useless?

Here is how I think it will happen – The only way humanity can infiltrate and contaminate another planet is by having cyborgs as intelligent as humans. Space travel over such long distances for humans with current technology is not possible because of various factors – radiation, effects of inertia at high speed, life support systems increases payload, psychological effects of long term isolation, etc. However, if we had cyborgs as intelligent and as capable as humans, then they could take frozen human embryos in space ship and cover very long distance. Once they arrive at the destination planet, the cyborgs could create conditions and habitable place for the humans and then defrost the embryos to repopulate humans in that planet. Of course, this is not an easy plan and assumes that at some time in near future, we will have desktop computers as powerful and complex as human mind. But it is the most feasible one I think. And may be these smart cyborgs will realize the follies of humans and correct the short sightedness of our species that will make us want another planet in the first place. A classic sci-fi case of machines realizing that humans are the biggest danger to themselves and other species on our home planet and wanting to correct that by eliminating the problem. But for now, we have robots that can sing and dance, run at max speed of 20 km/hr and can only process no more than 2 images per second compared to human eye that processes 20.

Plastic the Plague

Only humans make the thing that mother Earth can’t digest – PLASTIC
I am not saying we should stop using all plastic period, plastic is a very useful material. It has important use in medical industry, space and science and research tools etc. But what I am suggesting is that we should realize that plastic is NOT BIO DEGRADABLE and use it responsibly.

See this video by Captain Charles Moore:

  • The worst and irresponsible use of plastic is done by the bottled water and soda companies. These companies have created a market and brain washed people into a terrible habit of drinking bottled water IN PLASTIC. Every time I go grocery shopping, I see someone or the other carrying a 24 pack of bottled water to their car. This is having a horrific impact on the environment.
  • Plastic DOES NOT bio degrade. It will remain in the form of plastic long after humanity has perished or left the Earth because it had become inhabitable. However, plastic does photo degrade – which means that in presence of sunlight, it breaks down into smaller pieces of plastic. It just breaks into smaller and smaller pieces of plastic to the smallest particle. Which is even more devastating to the bio diversity on Earth coz then we will have a fine mixture of plastic in the soil and our water system. This is already happening. Plastic particles are found in far off places like the waters of Amazon river to the Islands of Hawaii. It enters the food chain from birds and fishes that consume these fine particles of plastic, moving up in the food chain to humans. “What goes around, comes around”.

THE SOLUTION:

Here is what we can do:

  • STOP drinking bottled water. If your tap water is not drinkable and you rely on potable water, get a large bottle delivered to you place instead of buying 24 packs.
  • STOP using plastic shopping bags. Do your grocery in few large reusable bags instead of using a dozen plastic bags each time. Most stores sell you reusable bags for under a $.
  • Recycle the extra bags/ bottles etc. that somehow cling to you form somewhere.
  • STOP getting your coffee/ soda in plastic disposable cups. Keep your coffee mug in your car, work, etc.
  • STOP getting your lunch in disposable boxes, especially at work where you can keep a lunch box/ container and ask the restaurant to pack your food in it.

There are bio degradable plastic utensils available now. So why is the fast food industry not switching to those bio degradable plastic spoons, plates and cups? why is the airline industry not switching to serving water and beverage in those bio degradable cups?

Well, because we the people are not complaining. We have to voice our concern and let our law makers know what we want. In a democracy and capitalist market system, the consumer casts a vote each time they make a purchase. So purchase responsibly and reward those companies and products that are moving in the right direction and making effort to be environment conscious. The Earth does not depend on us, we depend on it. It is the home of not just humans but millions of other species that have lived on it long before we learned to walk upright. We have a responsibility to keep it habitable not just for our future generations of humans, but also all those other species that didn’t ask for any of this.

Please drink responsibly 🙂

This video is produced by “The Story of Stuff  project” and Free Range Studios.

An article about the direct effects of our uncontrolled addiction to plastic and its effects was covered by National Public Radio (NPR). The article shows the photographs and the story as told by photographer Chris Jordan. The article can be seen here and more of Chris Jordan’s work at Midway Atoll, as posted by Prix Pictet can be seen here.
Chris is also making a film called Midway, that deftly covers the horrid effects of plastic infiltration into our waterways and finally the ocean. You can also watch it’s trailer here.

Hollywood shifts change

It seems like Hollywood is coming to understand and depict the imperfections of human kind.
There has been a shift in the revelation of human behavior lately. In movies like 2012 The day Earth stood still – aliens come to save the Earth from humans coz we are destroying it; District 9 – Humans take advantage of another intelligent species that has landed on Earth; Avatar – we go and savage another planet, just like we are doing to this one, with disregard to other species that inhabit it. Am I missing any other?

I think this is good. May be this shift in media and confrontation of human follies will bring about change in young minds and actually do some good in the long run. You never know you are doing wrong, if you are NOT confronted with your mistakes. Not everyone has a live conscious to tell them if they are wrong, for if we all did, then everything would be good and perfect. Humans would be perfect and I wound not be having this discussion with you.

Our conscience is like a tree within us. When we are born, it is within all of us. That is why children are said to be closer to Angels. We nurture it by listening to it and it guides us. The more we listen to it, the stronger it gets and the more it guides us. And this relationship starts early on in life, when we are children. But if we don’t listen to it, it gets weaker and fails to guide us and gets even weaker till it finally dies. That is why we have a variety of people in our world. One that have very strong and live conscience which takes them and puts them at par with higher consciousness – like Gautama Buddha, Mother Teresa, Gandhi, Dr. King etc. Then we have minds with lower consciousness like yours and mine. And then there those who do/did not have a living conscience at all – Stalin, Hitler, Joseph Fritzl, Bernard Madeoff etc.