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  • Sheryl Canter's Articles
    towards the development of the technology General Motors made a splash with its Chevy Volt concept in January Ford has joined the party with a plug in prototype of its Edge SUV Chevy Volt But as our automotive expert John DeCicco points out there are some daunting technical issues In a briefing PDF before the U S Senate Advanced Automotive Batteries president Menahem Anderman estimated that plug ins won t be generally available for another 10 years Honda manager John German also in Senate testimony PDF said that the problems with plug ins were so difficult that Honda wasn t even going to try So what s going on Are plug ins around the corner 10 years away or not realistic at all The bugaboo is the battery Here s a summary of the problems based on Anderman s analysis The plug in battery will be about 3 to 5 times the size of today s non plug in hybrid batteries essentially filling the cargo space of an average sedan The weight of this battery will add 200 to 300 lbs to that of the car putting a drag on performance and efficiency The lithium batteries needed to provide adequate performance for plug ins raise a serious concern about hazardous failure such as a fire in a home garage because they need much deeper full charging than the smaller batteries of today s hybrids which are always kept at an intermediate state of charge The cost of this plug in battery at pack level to carmakers using present technology will be 3 to 5 times the average cost of today s hybrid batteries i e around 5 000 to 7 000 per pack The life of any battery technology lithium or otherwise when used in a plug in car is

    Original URL path: http://sherylcanter.com/articles/edf_20070730_PlugInCars.php (2016-04-24)
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  • Sheryl Canter's Articles
    science fiction but it s true A car that runs on air compressed air will be sold in India starting in August 2008 It s designed mainly for city driving and produces zero carbon emissions Compressed Air Technology CAT has long been used to run power tools but translating this to a car took 14 years of development effort for MDI a small company based in France The founder of MDI an ex Formula One engineer named Guy Nègre describes his invention in this video The CityCAT one of several models is made of fiberglass with a radio based electrical system that makes it extremely light Retailing for just 12 700 the CityCAT can reach speeds of 68 mph and travel 125 miles without refueling It s not as quiet as an electric car but it s much quieter than a gasoline powered car Another bonus The air expelled from the exhaust pipe is clean and cold about 59 degrees and can be channeled to air condition the car Refueling is fast and cheap With custom air compressor units it takes just 2 to 3 minutes and costs 3 and change Or tanks can be refilled by plugging into the electrical grid That takes 4 hours and uses about 2 in electricity MDI also makes a hybrid version of the car with a gasoline powered compressor Both types will be available in 2 4 and 6 cylinders MDI has signed agreements with manufacturers in many other countries besides India including France Germany Spain Portugal Italy New Zealand Israel and South Africa But not the U S The air cars don t pass U S safety standards yet It makes me wonder How crash resistant does a car need to be for use in urban areas where most of the time

    Original URL path: http://sherylcanter.com/articles/edf_20070620_AirCars.php (2016-04-24)
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  • Sheryl Canter's Articles
    years gardeners have relied on the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map as a guide to what they can grow in their area But the USDA zone map hasn t been updated since 1990 and gardeners have seen detectable shifts since that time In 2003 the American Horticultural Society AHS updated the zone map with a grant from the USDA and published a draft of the new map PDF in The American Gardener Based on temperature information from July 1986 to March 2002 the map showed widespread warming with zones edging northward The USDA rejected the new map without explaining why and said they would update it themselves Four years have passed and still they have not released a new map But the National Arbor Day Foundation has just released one current for 2006 Like the 1990 and 2003 maps the Arbor Day map is based on 15 years of data The changes between 1990 and 2006 are dramatic the U S is clearly getting warmer Global warming is caused by elevated concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere notably carbon dioxide CO 2 Plants use sunlight water and CO 2 to synthesize the glucose they need to grow a process called photosynthesis Thus when CO 2 concentrations in the atmosphere increase it acts as a fertilizer accelerating plant growth This may sound good at first but there s more to the story CO 2 fertilization affects different plants to different degrees As Duke University biologists discovered one plant that loves additional CO 2 is poison ivy PDF With increased CO 2 poison ivy grows 2 5 times faster and produces a more potent version of the rash causing chemical urushiol Other types of woody vines also grow much faster with higher levels of CO 2 fast enough to strangle and

    Original URL path: http://sherylcanter.com/articles/edf_20070523_Gardening.php (2016-04-24)
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  • Sheryl Canter's Articles
    HOSTS files can get so long that they slow the system PAC files can be much shorter because they support regular expressions strings that describe whole sets of strings via wildcards and special characters HOSTS files are bypassed on systems using proxy servers but PAC files are not If your computer is running a Web server there are problems in redirecting ads with a HOSTS file that don t exist with a PAC file PAC files were introduced by Netscape with the release of JavaScript in 1996 They consist of a file saved with the extension pac that defines the JavaScript function FindProxyForURL If your browser is configured to use a PAC file we ll see how below FindProxyForURL is called for every URL accessed even if JavaScript is turned off The idea of using PAC files to block Web ads was conceived by John R LoVerso www schooner com loverso no ads while he was documenting security flaws in the first release of JavaScript Luckily you don t need to know JavaScript to use this trick free ad blocking PAC files can be downloaded from the Internet You ll find a good one at www sherylcanter com articles pac file zip If you d like to learn how an ad blocking PAC file is constructed take a look at the comments within this file Open it in WordPad as NotePad won t show the line breaks The blocked sites in this PAC file are redirected to port 3421 of localhost your own computer so as not to conflict with any Web servers that might be running on port 80 Redirecting to an unused port like 3421 causes no problems for IE or Mozilla but Opera will complain that there is no proxy at that address To appease Opera you can run a small single purpose Web server that responds to ad requests with a transparent bitmap This also serves to eliminate the unsightly error messages that appear when the ads aren t found and prevents delays in browsers that take a while to time out when content isn t found Blackhole Proxy written by Larry Wang does just this Version 1 0 just released features an install utility and a configuration program so you don t have to learn command line options You can download it free with source code at http s91363763 onlinehome us BlackHoleProxy from this Web site the original link no longer works program source code You don t need the source code unless you re a programmer If you just want to block ads everything you need is in the program zip There is no transparent bitmap in the package but one is included in www sherylcanter com articles pac file zip The package uploaded to this site includes the transparent bitmap so you no longer need this file To use Blackhole Proxy with a HOSTS file you must change the port from the default of 3421 to 80 Blackhole Proxy is unique in its

    Original URL path: http://sherylcanter.com/articles/pcmag_20041102_AdBlockingPAC.php (2016-04-24)
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  • Sheryl Canter's Articles
    may allow outgoing FTP requests but not incoming so you can download files from the Internet but others can t pull files from your hard disk The MS Blaster worm provides a good example of how firewalls can protect you where antivirus software can t The worm entered computers through port 135 A Windows remote execution service for starting programs at the request of other computers automatically launched the worm Usually programs launched remotely have limited access to the host system but MS Blaster got around this with a buffer overflow sending more data to an input buffer an area in memory allocated by a program for user input than it can hold This overwrites adjacent areas of memory letting attackers alter settings or add instructions Once MS Blaster appeared antivirus programs updated their signature files to recognize it but only after numerous computers had been infected A firewall could have prevented infection by blocking access to the port If you had to leave port 135 open for a valid service an Intrusion Detection System IDS which provides signature based monitoring would help If a buffer overflow attack was seen to send 4 875 bytes to port 135 this would go into the IDS signature database and similar attacks would be caught even if port 135 were open Sygate Personal Firewall Pro and Norton Personal Firewall are examples of software firewalls with an IDS ZoneAlarm doesn t use one Firewalls are of two basic types proxy servers and packet filters Proxy firewalls used by large business networks use dedicated servers to break the connection between client and server This applies to both incoming and outgoing traffic so the client could be an employee or an external hacker The server could be an external Web server or the company s internal server Packet filters evaluate packets the units in which data travels the Internet to decide whether or not to forward them Personal firewalls as well as many business firewalls use packet filtering The simplest packet filters use rules based only on the source and destination IP addresses source and destination ports and protocol Firewalls that view this data for each packet in isolation are called static packet filters They can control what Internet services a computer can use or provide but as software they are vulnerable to IP spoofing More often these filters are built into routers where a process called Network Address Translation NAT hides the IP addresses of computers on a local network exposing just the router to the Internet Most worms attack Windows or Windows based applications Since routers don t use Windows they re fairly immune to these attacks Even if you have just one computer it helps to use a NAT router along with a software firewall to bolster security see NAT Enough Security Watch September 21 page 92 Dynamic packet filtering or stateful packet inspection looks at IP packets in context This method can tell whether a given IP packet continues an existing connection

    Original URL path: http://sherylcanter.com/articles/pcmag_20041005_Firewalls.php (2016-04-24)
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  • Sheryl Canter's Articles
    released in response to JavaScript s success and is essentially a clone However the two are not completely compatible JavaScript is more widely used than it is understood Thanks to the many cut and paste JavaScript Web sites Web designers can incorporate JavaScript functions without any concept of how they work But if you want to go beyond cut and paste to create your own cool effects you need to understand JavaScript JavaScript is an object oriented scripting language that runs inside a Web browser It manipulates elements on a Web page by means of a Document Object Model or DOM which is an API for interacting with a Web page The elements in HTML documents are hierarchical and are represented in the DOM as a tree structure Each element in the tree is an object with properties and methods that are defined by the DOM For example a Web page is represented by a document object Its properties and methods include the title property document title which gives the title for the page and the write method document write which lets you output text Objects can be addressed in terms of their position within the tree or accessed directly by tag name or ID The DOM also provides an interface for user events such as mouse movement or key clicks The DOM is separate from the language itself different languages can implement the same DOM Unfortunately different versions of JavaScript can and do implement different DOMs which hugely complicates the job of Web developers The differences between the Netscape and Microsoft DOMs are particularly bothersome JavaScript code of any degree of complexity must include two versions of each function Developers end up writing an API where each function they want to call is replaced with a version that tests

    Original URL path: http://sherylcanter.com/articles/pcmag_20040420_JavaScript.php (2016-04-24)
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  • Sheryl Canter's Articles
    are basically resellers Their payment pages clearly state that they are actual sellers while you are only the supplier of goods and services Such disclosure gets around card association rules that forbid a company from accepting credit cards on behalf of another company Costs for payment services can vary from 5 to 20 percent of each sale and may include additional fees Merchant accounts have lower transaction fees than do payment services usually about 3 percent but their service fees tend to be higher 10 to 60 per month This makes merchant accounts most cost effective for high volume businesses For U S businesses Electronic Clearing House and payQuake offer inexpensive merchant accounts If your business is outside the U S WorldPay is a good choice though its fees are higher Most Web hosting accounts now come with a full featured open source shopping cart called osCommerce Some e commerce accounts include a commercial cart called Miva Both of the carts require some Web development skills to set up and you must make other arrangements to accept payments Digital River s Main Street Stores and Yahoo Small Business offer hosting accounts with proprietary shopping carts including editing tools for easy configuration You are still responsible however for arranging to accept payment Yahoo charges a transaction fee for each sale Main Street Stores is less costly but it is also less flexible in configuring your store s appearance There are numerous payment services for digital goods or tangible physical goods and some for both Some services offer order forms but no shopping cart Some require that you use their shopping cart Others offer the shopping cart as an option and can integrate with third party carts Pricing details are complex as well Transaction fees usually include a flat price as well

    Original URL path: http://sherylcanter.com/articles/pcmag_20040217_OnlineStore.php (2016-04-24)
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  • Sheryl Canter's Articles
    error reports depends on the type of error and may include recent actions for example menu choices network information machine configuration relevant files such as documents logs or configuration files a snapshot of memory and software configuration information obtained by scanning file versions and Registry settings A detailed list can be found at http oca microsoft com en dcp20 asp Error reports can inadvertently contain private information For example a snapshot of memory might contain your name fragments of a document you were writing at the time of the crash or data recently submitted to a Web site Private information also may be in Registry keys log files or documents sent with the error report Error reports are transmitted using HTTPS Encryption prevents others from eavesdropping on your transmission but it also prevents security tools such as Zone Lab s myVault from detecting when personal information is being passed Developers using WER must sign an agreement ensuring your privacy but if you think a particular error report may contain personal information you shouldn t send the report Unless identifying information is captured inadvertently the basic report is anonymous But vendors can incorporate other options when WER enabling their software After submitting an error report you may be asked whether you d like to fill out a survey or track the status of your report Such options remove anonymity With the latest update to WER information related to your report if available is displayed automatically when you submit the report This may include a hotfix an update or information on a workaround For details see the Microsoft Knowledge Base article 821253 http support microsoft com default asp scid kb en us 821253 Configuring WER By default Windows XP offers to submit all error reports but if you are logged on with

    Original URL path: http://sherylcanter.com/articles/pcmag_20040203_WER.php (2016-04-24)
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