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sonicare Blog

Whose fault is identity theft?

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With the recent news about Sony's PSN and SOE services being hacked, this reminded me of the all too common problem of identity theft. I'm usually very careful and very guarded about my personal information. I don't like to give it out and try to limit who has access to it. Unfortunately, just about everyone from your department store to your dentist wants your personal info. Name, address, Date of birth, social security number, etc. etc. etc. Basically, everything someone would need to steal your identity. I've often refused to give out some of this information, but I am always assured that it has to be given. Otherwise, I won't be able to partake in whatever service I wanted.

Honestly, I think a lot of it is bogus. The only people that really need to know your info are probably the government and maybe whatever bank or credit card company gives you a loan. The problem with companies having your personal info, is that they are often careless with it. I've personally been notified several times by various companies that some files or documents may have been compromised and that my personal info was among them. Some have offered to give me free credit monitoring for a year. Others suggest you watch your credit, but won't provide you with a complimentary service.

Jumping back to the PSN issue, it's known that credit card info may have been lost. Honestly, that doesn't bother me that much. Fixing a stolen credit card is easy. It's relatively easy to monitor your statements and look for unknown charges. Most credit card companies have fraud protection and will not hold you liable for charges you did not make. Simply cancel your card and the crisis is over. Not so easy with your personal info. If that gets stolen, you may have to fight for months to years to assure the safety of your identity. There is no easy fix and no great service to try. Often times, you may not even know that someone is using your identity to purchase things, take out loans, etc. I've heard horror stories of people struggling with that for months, spending time and money to get back their identity.

It's frustrating. I wish the government would do more to limit what information companies can keep on you. Certainly they like to do their research, but it should not be at so great a risk. If they can't keep that info safe, then they shouldn't take it.

Question on Big Smoke

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I've heard of this legendary level that takes a year or so to go through. Is this the one? I've noticed that I've been hovering at 0% for the last 3-4 days, so I figure this might be the one. Not that it's a bad thing as it reminds me of San Andreas.

Just broke up with my girlfriend

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Hard thing to do, but I think it was for the best. I just feel conflicted right now and maybe the best thing to do is blog it.Get my thoughts out.Nothing bad happened, I just wasn't into her as much as she was into me. I certainly liked her, but I didn't feel like it was something that had a long termfuture.

I figured the best thing to do would be honest and just tell her. Sometimes I tend to just withdraw and act like a jerk - and eventually that drives the person away. However, I felt that just wasn't the right thing to do. I liked her enough to tell her how I really felt. As awkward as that can be. Everyone always says that's what you shold do, but it's difficult. Especially when you still do have feelings for them.

She seemed to take it well and was thankful to know. She deserves to have someone who really wants to be with her. I just wasn't that person. I guess I feel like crap because it's never an easy thing to do. But I do feel as if I did the right thing and in the right way.

Grinding through bad games

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Not sure why I keep playing this game, Kingdom Under Fire - Circle of Doom, but strangely I cant give it up. I really enjoyed Kingdom Under Fire: The Crusades on the original xbox. A nice dynasty warriors type game by an upstart developer. But since then, they just haven't been able to match the success of that title. This latest one is not even the same type of genre. Nevertheless, I've been plugging away at what is basically a subpar game. I blame achievements. For some odd reason, I just won't rest until I unlock certain ones. This game is no exception. Call it the obsessive component element of my personality.

Happy Thanksgiving

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Hope you all have safe trips, good food, and good family time. Looking forward to Thanksgiving myself. Already back in my home state of PA at my parents. A little chilly, but nothing some good turkey and football won't cure. Running a 10k race the moring of thanksgiving so I figure I will earnmy dinner. Hope everyone enjoys their holiday. For all my international friends, hope you enjoy, enjoyed, or will enjoy your respective days of thanks.

Back from Nova Scotia

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Just got back from a one week vacation up to Nova Scotia with my father. I started in Halifax and then hit some of the smaller cities throughout the province. Did a lot of biking and hiking, andalso ate lots of good seafood. Fortunately, I lucked out and got good weather for most of the week.

Fun place to visit if you like the outdoors. Very pleasant people for the most part and I picked up some of the history about the area as well. Learned a lot about its french history and the acadians. Always good to learn something new. Now, back to work this monday. Blah.

Built my first computer

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A little tricky, but I turned it on and it booted up! Almost ruined the whole thing. Was moving my newly built computer, but forgot to secure the HDD bay. Whole thing fell out, still connected to Mobo and PSU with cables. SATA cable ripped out of HDD as it hit the floor - was scared I may have torched the HDD and potentially mobo as well. :o But had extra cable, hooked it back up and it booted up. Windows 7 loaded onto my HDD, so I must be ok. Figure the thing wouldn't boot up if I did something bad.

Other than my bonehead error, wasn't too hard building it. Though some of the connections are tough to make when you have the mobo installed in case. Need reading glasses to see some of those things :P

Figured I saved myself some big time $$ by building my own, but also wanted to see if I could do it. So hooray me!

Happy Easter

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For those of you who celebrate this holiday, Happy Easter. Hope you have good weather and fun on those egg hunts. Always seems like its sunny on this day :).

Weight Loss tips

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Anyone else pack on a few pounds after the holidays? I did. Never been overweight, per se, but I was pushing the envelope this year. I'm 6'2" and usually ran around 180-185 lbs, but was shocked to find I was almost hitting 200 lbs. Still not "overweight" per the medical guidelines for my weight, but not really great either.

Made myself a resolution near the end of December to lose a little weight. Figured I'd eat better and exercise more. Been doing that ever since and it's been working. Being the nerdy scientist I am, I've noted quite a few interesting things and figured I'd blog about them. Maybe they'll help you, maybe they won't.

Perserverance - If you go in expecting to lose weight fast, you're going to be gravely disappointed. I found that despite heavy exercise and a solid diet, I wasn't really losing more than 1 pound per week. Doesn't seemlike a ton, but you have to know the science behind it. One pound of fat is equivalent to 3500 Calories(kcal). So in order to lose a pound, you need to have a net loss of 3500 Calories. Considering the ADA recommends a diet of around 2200 Cal/day, it's going to take some time for you to hit that mark. Most experts recommend a net loss of 500 Calories per day - which means one pound of weight per week. Don't expect to be like those biggest loser participants who drop 60-80 lbs per weigh in. Doesn't happen like that. Expect it to take a few weeks to months before you see significant results, but it works!

Weight Loss made simple - Whether you gain or lose weight depends on your net calorie gain or loss. You gain calories by eating. You expend calories through exercise and your basal metabolic rate (BMR). The BMR is the energy your body uses to maintain itself on a daily basis. There are formulas on how to calculate that online if you are so inclined. But to simplify it: output > input to lose weight.

Consistency - What I mean here is not in terms of sticking with you plan, but using the same scales/measurments to follow your results. I've found that my weight varies significantly based on many factors. So, I've tried to be more consistent as to how I weigh myself. The following are some factors:

1. Clothing - I always weigh myself in my t-shirt and boxers. Clothes can add anywhere from 2-5 lbs of weight if you don't control for it. You can weigh yourself either with a ton or without, just be consistent.

2. Time - Interestingly, I've found my weight can vary as much as 4 lbs over the course of the day. I tend to be the lightest in the morning and the heaviest in the evening. I suspect you lose some water weight overnight, but I don't know the exact reasons for that.

3. Post/Pre exercise - Timing here matters as well. You will lose significant weight right after heavy exercise, but it's almost all water weight. Sweat and lose through respiration can be as high as 5-7 lbs (more for some people). However this is a false reading. You are simply dehydrated and once you rehydrate, that weight goes back up.

4.Equipment - Some scales are more accurate than others, but regardless, use the same scale. Two different scales will give you two different measurements.

None of these factors accounts for more than a few pounds, but when you're only losing 1 pound/week, they can be huge. Motivation plays a huge role and its nice to see the results. Just be aware that your weight may actually read more from time to time, but you may still be heading in the right direction. Sometimes higher values can come from other things than just fat.

After almost 3 months of work, I'm down to 181 lbs. I'm back to my old weight, but I figure I may go even lower. Nothing crazy, but my target is probably going to be about 170-175. For my height and build, that would be ideal.