Tag Archives: new

Nabatea – Innerscape book 3 cover

Still heaps of work to do, but I’m kind of pleased how this last cover turned out. Again, it’s still a mockup but I’d appreciate some feedback. Too bold? Too hard to see? Too something else??

I really need fresh eyes so please tell me if you notice something wrong. I also need to know whether the three covers provide enough visual continuity to make it obvious this is a series?

In particular, should I change no.1 to be more like 2 and 3 in terms of the circuit board wires and size of title?

Thanks 🙂

Meeks

p.s. no.2 will actually be darker in the finished version.

Advertisements

#Solar still – cheap and efficient

Yet another example of solar technology surging ahead for use in under-developed countries. This particular device is super efficient at distilling pure water from contaminated or salt water:

Rather than heating the bulk of a body of water, the new device focuses its energy on just the surface water, which evaporated at 44° C (111° F). That allows the still to reach a reported efficiency of 88 percent, which the team believes is a record for thermal efficiency. As a result, the device could produce between 3 and 10 liters (0.8 and 2.6 US gal) of purified water per day, compared to the 1 to 5 liters (0.3 to 1.3 US gal) per day possible with most commercial stills of comparable size currently available.

The device also does something else, it provides self-sufficiency:

“The solar still we are developing would be ideal for small communities, allowing people to generate their own drinking water much like they generate their own power via solar panels on their house roof,” says Zhejun Liu, co-author of the study.

http://newatlas.com/inexpensive-efficient-solar-still/47652/

I live in a big city with all the amenities required for modern living, but a part of me longs to go off grid. Ah well, maybe one day. 🙂

cheers

Meeks


New #Music from Two Steps From Hell -dance-

What a great way to start the day. This is ‘Enchantress’ :

As I discover more new ‘favourite’ tracks I’ll post them.

Good morning, World 🙂

Meeks


Trailer Music – the sneaky classics [2]

I began these posts by looking at my own journey towards Trailer Music, but I was a devotee already. The true surprise is that a whole generation of young gamers and Youtubers have learned to love classical musical without even knowing it. Hence the title of this post.

Of course, the young don’t call Trailer Music ‘classical’. No, to them this music is ‘epic’, ’emotional’, and ‘stirring’ but not at all highbrow. And let’s be honest, if I didn’t tell you that the following video clip is Trailer Music, would you know it’s not one of the ‘classics’?

Or what about this one?

Just for the record, Two Steps From Hell is a production company created by composers Thomas Bergersen and Nick Phoenix. People loved their music so much, they were eventually forced to publish their own albums. This is what I call music for the common man [and woman]. 😀

And now I’m due for a break. I’ve been editing Innerscape, Episode 2 all day and it’s time to go out and pull some weeds.

cheers

Meeks


The new, improved #BBQShapes – YUCK!

The name on the pack says ‘Arnotts’, but that venerable Australian biscuit maker was bought out by Campbells some years ago. At first, nothing seemed to change, and flavours such as BBQ Shapes remained a family favourite, at least in this family. Then the little flavour sprinkles on the shapes became thinner on the biscuit, making each Shape taste blander.

Cost cutting?

XX number of flavour sprinkles less per biscuit probably did add up to a dollar saving over squillions of biscuits…

-sigh- We grumbled a little but continued to buy BBQ Shapes because less of a much loved flavour was still better than no flavour at all.

And now this…

BBQ shapes throw up

In the interests of my own breakfast, I took a screenshot of this VINE instead of displaying the original* [he really does throw up, not pretty]. Sadly, the point he makes is all too true – the new, improved BBQ Shapes are revolting. I know because I bought and tried them yesterday.

So what’s so very wrong with them? Two things:

  1. savoury biscuits should not taste sweet – the new BBQ Shapes do. I know Americans are used to having everything much sweeter than we do here in Australia – I remember being shocked at the sweet aftertaste of scrambled eggs during a visit many years ago – but why would Campbells buy out a highly successful Australian company only to homogenize the product to something the original customers will hate?
  2. the new flavour plastered over the back and front of the biscuit is like…I don’t know, those horrible Maggi instant noodles? I can’t quite put my finger on the flavour but it overpowers the ‘proper’ flavour with a really unpleasant aftertaste. To me, the flavour tastes like something concocted in a test tube – chemical and…horrible.

And the biscuits now look disgusting too. Okay, I know that makes three things not two, but who’s counting? The new, improved Shapes look as if they’ve been sprinkled with kacky brown ‘dirt’.

I was going to show a before and after shot of the BBQ Shapes, but in searching online for a ‘before’ pic, I discovered that THEY have brought back the original flavour – obviously in response to public outrage. Unfortunately, I don’t know where the new stocks have gone because at the moment, my local Coles only stocks this disgusting rubbish.

Anyway, whilst it’s nice to know that Campbells has bowed to public demand, I’m still outraged at having to go through all this in the first place. One box of Shapes may not cost much, but I buy very little processed food so I may never buy another box – even if the ‘original’ does come back.

-grump-

Meeks

 

*If anyone is desperate to see the entire thing, Google ‘Christian Hull’ or ‘#bbqshapes VINE’.

 


Spear Phishing – a nasty variation of the email scam

I came across an article this evening that talked about a hack attack against Kaspersky Labs, one of the best anti-virus companies around. Coincidentally, I happen use Kaspersky anti-virus software so I had a vested interest in finding out more.

I won’t bore you with the full story but apparently the hackers gained access to the Kaspersky networks via what’s called ‘spear phishing’. Excuse me?

This is an excerpt from the best explanation I found online:

Introduction

The latest twist on phishing is spear phishing. No, it’s not a sport, it’s a scam and you’re the target. Spear phishing is an email that appears to be from an individual or business that you know. But it isn’t. It’s from the same criminal hackers who want your credit card and bank account numbers, passwords, and the financial information on your PC. Learn how to protect yourself.

Email from a “Friend”

The spear phisher thrives on familiarity. He knows your name, your email address, and at least a little about you. The salutation on the email message is likely to be personalized: “Hi Bob” instead of “Dear Sir.” The email may make reference to a “mutual friend.” Or to a recent online purchase you’ve made. Because the email seems to come from someone you know, you may be less vigilant and give them the information they ask for. And when it’s a company you know asking for urgent action, you may be tempted to act before thinking.

Using Your Web Presence Against You

How do you become a target of a spear phisher? From the information you put on the Internet from your PC or smartphone. For example, they might scan social networking sites, find your page, your email address, your friends list, and a recent post by you telling friends about the cool new camera you bought at an online retail site. Using that information, a spear phisher could pose as a friend, send you an email, and ask you for a password to your photo page. If you respond with the password, they’ll try that password and variations to try to access your account on that online retail site you mentioned. If they find the right one, they’ll use it to run up a nice tab for you. Or the spear phisher might use the same information to pose as somebody from the online retailer and ask you to reset your password, or re-verify your credit card number. If you do, he’ll do you financial harm.’

You can read the complete article here:

http://au.norton.com/spear-phishing-scam-not-sport/article

What I find particularly unpleasant about spear phishing is that it uses personalised attacks to take you off guard. We all know not to bite when we get an email address to Dear Customer or some such generic salutation, but when we get something specifically addressed to us? Perhaps from a company that we actually do have contact with? How many of us would think to question that nice, convenient link?

Luckily most of us aren’t important enough to justify such an attack, but that does not mean we are safe. As a matter of principle [and habit!] we should make it a rule to NEVER use links in emails, no matter how convenient they are. It’s just not worth it.

Night, night

Meeks


%d bloggers like this: