- Product highlight
- Brainpower tip
- Time tip
- Finance tip
- Security tip
- Health tip/Fitness tip
- Thought for the day
Happy Father's Day to all you dads
1. Product Highlight
with whatever you want to say|
After our last edition rolled out, we received a
flood of questions on the ES800 (and quite a few purchases--thank
If you still have questions on
the 800 series, click on the image at right. This will take you to a
page that provides detailed information the Spanish version. It
truly is a remarkable and useful device.
One of its features is
sentence translation. With this particular device (ES800), you
get more than word for word transliteration. The device applies some
rules to what you type, to render a more accurate translation. For
example, if it sees an adjective followed by a noun, it will
transpose them when translating to Spanish. This renders the correct
The sentence translation
feature draws from the 1,010,000 word dictionary, giving you quite a
bit of leeway for free-form entry of whatever you want to say. But
if you aren't a fast thumb-typer (physical keyboard) or find it
tedious to tap out sentences with a stylus (virtual keyboard), you
will love the 14,000-sentence phrasebook. It has a collapsible
hierarchical structure, making lookups fast and easy.
And, yes, the 800 is pocket-sized. Flip the lid
shut, and the case is only 6.6 x 3.9 x 0.9 in. So, it fits into many
kinds of pockets and bags with no problem.
The color touch screen, adjustable color schemes,
and adjustable font sizes give you a readability edge that is
currently available only on high-end devices. That said, it's
"pretty good" visibility under most conditions--but still not where
we'd all like our devices to be. I have no problem seeing my screen
indoors, but outdoors is a booger unless you're in the shade (where
I tend to be anyhow).
That's about as
good as displays get for now. I read in last Month's Computer
Magazine that a display based on some animal or another (a
butterfly, if I recall correctly) will be available in a few years.
It's still quite experimental, but things look promising. So maybe
we'll have "see clearly in any light" portable devices a few years
hence and at a cost that doesn't make us gasp. (Side note:
Computer Magazine is a property of the IEEE Computer Society
I am the Chair of the Kansas City Chapter, which covers a geographic
area of about 600 square miles).
back to the 800. Another benefit is you can convert this device to
any of several other languages, just by inserting an inexpensive
MultiMedia Card (MMC). You can also use the MMC to store MP3s on, so
you can play music on the translator (we offer a headset to go with
it) while you travel instead of carrying an additional device just
for that function.
People who are
already touchscreen device users say they have nearly zero learning
curve. The problem is not everyone is a touchscreen device user.
This is a fine device to start out with, though. The good news is I
personally provide one-on-one support for our customers who need any
kind of help for any reason. So if you're not a gadget person, don't
let that stand in the way of your communicating with people who
don't speak English.
2. Brainpower tip
The man who doesn't read good books has no advantage over the man who can't
-- Mark Twain
3. Time Tip
4. Finance tip
Due to popular demand, I am resuming and continuing
the energy savings discussion from our 22APR2007 eNL.|
One reason Americans consume so much energy (three
times the energy of the Swiss, per capita) is our wasteful clothing
maintenance practices. Front-loading home clothes washers have only
recently been introduced to the US market in any respectable presence.
A seldom-recognized culprit is the wasteful way we use our dryers.
Now, I'm going to tell you a couple of instances
where my ignorance has cost me plenty of money and hope you can learn
from my mistakes if you didn't know these things.
A friend from New Zealand visited me, and I
was surprised when he pulled his shirts out of the dryer after only 10
minutes. They were still wet. He shook them and hung them up on
the rack mounted to one wall in my laundry room.
I was thinking this was another guy who just isn't
domesticated and his fiancÚ must handle these kinds of things at home.
So, I mentioned that the shirts still looked damp to me and suggested he
put them back in the dryer. He said, "Give these a few minutes, and we
can come back here and continue this conversation."
Well, they were his clothes. What did I care if they weren't properly
dried? As it turned out, the weight of that moisture pulled the shirts
to almost wrinkle-free condition in just five minutes or so. When I
marveled at this, he looked at me funny and asked, "Didn't your mom ever
hang clothes on the line outside?"
Hmm. That, she did. And plenty of cotton items, too. Only dress
shirts ever got ironed. "Where's your iron?" was his next question. I
got it out, and went to get water for it. But, the water--which rusts
irons out--wasn't needed because the shirts had enough moisture.
His method eliminated the energy loss of the extra dryer time. It
also eliminated the reason most irons don't last long while reducing the
amount of time the iron had to be hot. And, it extended the life of the
fabric. His shirts took a few more hours to dry, but so what?
What about his other items? Things that didn't need ironing--basically everything but dress
shirts--simply air dried on hangers or while hung over the sides of laundry
Now, you might think I understood the principles
here and applied them across the board. Sadly, this was not the case.
One day, I was shopping for new sheets when a man stopped to ask if he
could help me. At first, I thought this was a clerk. Like I need help
buying sheets--spare me. Then he introduced himself, and told me he was
the regional buyer.
This immediately sparked the thought that I had a
chance, as a customer, to get more of what I wanted stocked in that
store. So, I told him I wanted the highest thread count sheets I could
find but in a simple pattern. Like, just plain beige (to our female
readers--it's a guy thing).
Being the sophisticated consumer that I was (ha,
ha), I blurted out, "Do you have any 1,000 thread count
He took a deep breath, then told me he had worked in the hotel industry and could tell me a lot
about sheets if I wanted to know and wanted to get the right product.
Well, what the heck. I agreed.
He started off by asking me why I wanted such a
high thread count. I said because the sheets last longer. He furrowed
his brows and asked me if I had a problem with sheets falling apart or
pilling or in some other way meeting their demise. Before I could
answer, he said, "I'll bet you dry your sheets in the clothes dryer,
Of course I did.
Then he asked, "Didn't your mom ever hang
bedding on the line outside?" Deja vu!
He went on to tell me how heating distorts the fibers and causes
breakdown in the material. "Do not put your sheets in the dryer. Hang
them up. They will dry quickly enough, as they are designed to wick
moisture away. We don't mind selling sheets to you, but we don't think
you should be buying them simply because you are wrecking our
in your dryer."
Applying the lessons
Plan your laundry chores such that you allow time and space for air
drying your clothes and fibers. It is not necessary to dry everything
completely. If you are really scared of putting away something that
might be damp, set it on your dresser, chest, or other surface overnight
and put it away in the morning. For example, go ahead and fold sheets
but let them sit overnight before putting them in the closet.
In the winter, when adding humidity is essential, I dry many
items by placing them across my floor registers. With pants, I position
them such that the register air inflates them--they dry very quickly
that way. (This may seem similar to how the Federal Reserve inflates
your money, but that's an entirely different process).
Winter is also a time when certain rugs take on a great deal of dirt
(this includes your floor rugs and William Shatner's toupee).
I wash these dirt-laden rugs at supper time, then run a small fan on
blowing across them until bedtime. They are usually dry by morning, and
I get humidity that a dryer would simply have sent outside (along with
air I had paid to heat up first).
If you take the time to examine how you do things, you can come up
with less energy-intensive ways to do them. In summer, you can save
energy by opening windows to get cool air at night or in the wee hours
if the air is cool enough. Take care if you do this in the AM. The
maximum pollen output time is, if I remember, between 0400 and 0900.
5. Security tip
We just had a break-in on my block. That was rather
brazen, as we have quite a few folks who are out and about during the
day, and the home without an armed occupant is rare around here. The
burglars were also lucky to have missed getting a nasty canine surprise
in a few homes, as well.|
people rely on technology alone for their security or
physical safety. This is a mistake.
The real effect of an alarm system, for
example, is that it merely tells an intruder that s/he has less time than
anticipated to conduct a burglary. Here's the general sequence of
- Silent alarm goes off, maybe local one does
- If phone line has not been cut or if alarm
system operates wirelessly, it will call the alarm company after the
preset waiting period. This is normally 45 seconds, but may be
- The alarm company gets the call, and after a
few seconds a live operator places a call to the phone number listed
on the alarm agreement.
- If the burglar doesn't pick up and tell the
alarm operator the code (which is nearly always 1234 because people
are too lazy to change it or the first four digits of the house
number), the operator will follow some protocol for an unanswered
- Probably 3 to 4 minutes after the alarm is
triggered, the alarm company operator notifies the police.
- Because alarms trigger more false calls than
actual ones, the police generally don't drop everything to respond.
The burglar knows this, especially if the burglar has managed to get
your system to trigger a couple of other false alarms in the past
couple of weeks. The burglar counts on ten minutes before the police
- Because this is an unknown situation, the
police generally will not approach the residence until a backup has
Do you see the pattern, here? People think an
alarm protects their property. That's obviously not true. Nor is it true
that the police are your private armed security force--there simply are
not enough police to go around.
There is nothing wrong with having an alarm
system. But make it part of an overall security plan for your home or
A final note on alarm systems. If you get more
than one false alarm in a month and you can't positively verify who
triggered it, consider that an early warning that you're being cased and
a strike is probably going to happen soon. Your first line of defense is
to upgrade your deadbolt locks and to secure your windows. This is
especially important if one of these false alarms occurred while you
Of course, you know that this situation requires
you to keep at least one firearm within easy reach (along with hearing
protection, eye protection, and a flashlight). Within easy reach doesn't
mean in the nightstand (requiring you to open a drawer), nor does it
mean sitting out in plain sight. Under your pillow may sound ideal, but
it's not--that's uncomfortable and you'll have to smell gun oil all
night. One good solution for a pistol is to slip it into a gun rug and
slip that just under your mattress skirt. (If your bed doesn't have a
mattress skirt, get one. In addition to hiding a firearm from plain
sight, it reduces dust accumulation under the bed).
Most experts will tell you a shotgun is the best
weapon for home defense. But can you really grab one if some oaf has
just jumped on you with a knife while you were sound asleep? A pistol
makes a good addition to your home protection tool collection, for the
same reason that police officers carry pistols on their hips instead of
strapping shotguns to their belts.
are concerned about ruining your bedspread or carpeting by shooting an
intruder who is on top of you with a knife, a long-barrel .44 Magnum
makes for an effective club when brought sharply to the side of the
attacker's head. But then, so does a 5-cell flashlight. Have both handy.
If you are traveling, don't leave firearms behind in
your unoccupied home. You can leave them with your local police dept
(they will be happy to store them for you) or with a neighbor.
Some people store firearms in a safe deposit box
provided by their bank. This is probably not a good idea. Think about
it. You are going to walk into a bank with a firearm? If this is what
you intend, visit the bank and make an appointment to do this. The bank
will probably arrange for a security officer to accept your (unloaded)
weapon(s) outside and bring them in for you. Ditto for removing them.
But your bank may outright refuse. There are other places to safely stow
these personal protection devices during your absence.
Another option is to check the right to carry laws in
the states you intend to visit (unless you are flying, in which case
bringing your personal protection devices with is a huge hassle most
people just won't go through), and bring your protective firearms with
you. Many seniors opt for this practice, for obvious reasons.
6. Health tip/Fitness tips
- A dime has 118 ridges around the edge, but it still isn't worth
much. The US CONgress has 435 members and isn't worth much, either.
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8. Thought for the Day
Anybody can make an excuse for a dumb decision.
Making decisions based on sound reasoning, however, is a talent worth
building by exercising it at every opportunity.|
Wishing you the best,
The views expressed in this e-newsletter are generally not shared by criminals, zombies, or brainwashed individuals.
Except where noted, this e-newsletter is entirely the work of Mark Lamendola. Anything presented as fact can be independently verified. Often, sources are given; but where not given, they are readily available to anyone who makes the effort.
Mark provides information from either research or his own areas of established expertise. Sometimes, what appears to be a personal opinion is the only possibility when applying sound logic--reason it out before judging! (That said, some personal opinions do appear on occasion).
The purpose of this publication is to inform and empower its readers (and save you money!).
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