Sunday, August 5, 2012

Business Ideas

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Electric planes
You might already be aware of his desire to built an electric aircraft, a plan wryly alluded to in the film Iron Man 2, in which Musk cameos--but in the interview he spoke of his thoughts behind the idea, too.
It was inspired by the retirement of supersonic airliner Concorde, which Musk rues he never got to ride. He notes that it's possible to go faster and longer at high altitude, though there's a limit for combustion aircraft due to low levels of oxygen higher in the atmosphere.
No such issues for electric aircraft, which Elon describes as being potentially "super efficient and super fast". And, as Musk notes, "With SpaceX and Tesla I kind of have the ingredients..."
Hyperloop
At the moment, there are essentially four methods of transport--aircraft, boats, cars and trains. Musk wants a fifth, which he dubs "Hyperloop".
He doesn't reveal a great deal, but the concept seems similar to the citywide tube system in the cartoon Futurama, where people can be whisked great distances very quickly and easily. Musk says he'd aim for a journey time of less than thirty minutes between downtown L.A. and downtown San Francisco, with a lower cost than any current journey option--thanks to inexpensive and clean solar power.
Other ideas
He doesn't stop there--among his other hopes for the future are cold fusion and a pre-fabricated, raised lane down the center divider of freeways for mass transit, speeding up journey times.
Elon also touches on other subjects, such as hydrogen fuel cells ("People at Tesla call them fool cells") and his retirement, which he wants to do on Mars.
We'd certainly encourage you to watch the whole video (just over an hour of it), even if it's not really about the subject most familiar to GreenCarReports readers, Tesla Motors. What it is, is a fascinating insight into the mind of a real entrepreneur--and one with even bigger ideas on the horizon.
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Facebook for iPad App Review

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Although Apple has offered the iPad since 2010, it took it until now to release a Facebook app for iPad. This app is worth getting because it is designed specifically with the iPad in mind and allows you to take advantage of all your iPad’s features while using Facebook.
Features
Unlike other apps you might use to access Facebook from your iPad, the Facebook for iPad app allows you to use Facebook the same way you would use it on a desktop or laptop computer. The display is similar to Facebook for computers, with a status bar on the top informing you of your notifications and the news feed on the right side of the screen. You can tap any post to like or comment on it.
If you tap on a particular item on your news feed, such as a status you want to comment on, the iPad brings up a comment feed for that post on the right hand side of the page. You can then read through and like other people’s comments on the post.
You can also easily go to your page, read your notifications, or create a status by touching the appropriate areas of the screen. The iPad allows you to easily share photos or to check in to your current location just like the iPhone or other smartphones do.
Integration of iPad Technology
The best thing about the Facebook app is that it was built with iPad technology in mind. You can use your iPad’s built-in camera to take photos and share them directly from Facebook. The Facebook app also considers the iPad’s screen–the app can be oriented in either portrait or landscape, depending on how you hold the iPad, and the messaging system was designed with the iPad’s wide screen in mind. When you look at your messages, you see the friend’s name in one column and all of his or her messages in another.
Ease of Navigation
The Facebook app is fairly easy to navigate. There’s a bar on the left-hand side of your status bar that you can tap to bring up navigation options; you can easily tap through to see a friend’s profile, go to your own or read your messages. Friends are listed in alphabetical order when you tap on “go to friend’s profile;” however, you can easily navigate to the friend you want by taking advantage of the A-Z directory listing.
Ability to Multitask
One advantage the iPad app for Facebook has over the desktop version is that you can do several things on Facebook at once. For example, you can read and respond to messages without exiting your News Feed so that you can still catch up on what your friends are doing while you respond to a particular friend’s message. You can also chat with friends while browsing your news feed by swiping from right to left while using landscape orientation.
Make Plans Easily
The check-in feature on the iPad Facebook app allows you to see where your friends are checked in so that if they’re nearby, you can easily contact them and make plans.
Disadvantages
There are very few disadvantages to the iPad Facebook app. Since the iPad uses Wi-Fi technology rather than GPS, your check-ins may not be as accurate as you would like; otherwise, the Facebook app for iPad gives users a pleasurable experience that is comprable to surfing Facebook from a desktop or laptop computer.
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India's mid-tier information technology firms

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MUMBAI: India's mid-tier information technology firms have reported better sales and operating profit growth compared to the biggies in the business at the aggregate level in each of the past five quarters, riding on their intrinsic strengths of operating in niche segments and strong demand in select verticals and bucking the trend of smaller companies taking a beating during a downturn.

At a time when industry leaders such as Infosys and Wipro have provided a sluggish future growth guidance, a clutch of mid-tier IT companies sound far more confident about growth in the next few quarters of FY13. Both analysts and industry officials reckon that this trend is likely to be maintained for at least the next couple of years, which could lead to an improved valuation of these companies.

An ETIG analysis of 17 tier-2 IT firms, which announced their financials for the quarter to June 2012, shows a growth of 38.4 per cent in revenue and an impressive rise of 78 per cent in net profit at the aggregate level from a year ago. For the top four IT companies - TCS, Infosys, Wipro and HCL Technologies - sales rose 33.5 per cent, while profit grew 43.4 per cent. Besides, half of the companies among the 14 tier-2 players that reported double-digit topline growth surpassed revenue growth reported by each of the top four firms, the analysis shows. 

Mid-tier companies such as Geometric, KPIT Cummins, Hexaware Technologies, Mastek, NIIT Technologies and Zensar Technologies reported a strong performance for the June 2012 quarter. In contrast, top tier players such as Infosys and Wipro reported deceleration in sales and profit growth. Though their relatively smaller scale of operations has indeed helped, the changing trend in vendor allocation by global clients, a favourable currency movement, and strong demand in select verticals, which are niche areas for medium and small IT vendors helped them record a stellar performance.

Industry officials also say that long-term management stability in these firms has been critical to their success. "The large players that are not doing well have seen management churn. If you look at mid-size companies that are doing well, they have all had consistent management," says Pradeep Udhas, who is partner and head of IT-BPO consulting firm KPMG. According to him, a stable leadership has helped the smaller companies to specialise and compete with large companies. What counts in the final analysis, he says, are leadership and the ability to be agile.

Select tier-two or mid-rung companies were also able to expand their operating margins against the backdrop of tight IT budget spending. "Compared with top-tier companies, small and medium firms have more levers to improve performance - be it tweaking of employee matrix to include more freshers or reduction in selling and administrative costs," says Angel Broking's IT analyst Ankita Somani.

She draws attention to the fact that historically, smaller IT companies had just over 10 per cent freshers in the employee pyramid compared to over 30 per cent for the top IT companies. A higher proportion of employees with less than three years of experience helps in bringing down operating costs.

The robust show of these companies has not gone unnoticed by the big daddies in the industry. Rajeev Gupta, president of Fujitsu Consulting India (FCI), the Indian arm of global IT solutions firm Fujitsu says that the smaller firms are more agile when it comes to projects worth less than $10 million. "The robust show of tier-2 firms is not only because of a depreciating home currency, it is also about the way clients have started allocating a chunk of their projects to smaller companies."

Global clients are now more than willing to open their doors to second-rung Indian IT companies that are more than willing to take up smaller assignments. "The large IT firms don't go after $5-10 million deals, which we are quite happy to accept," says Zensar Technologies' Ganesh Natarajan. Deals worth $50-100 million are fewer as companies are cutting back on spending or postponing investments, he says.

Their upbeat performance has also helped such companies control employee attrition rates. Most mid-tier firms, which announced results for the quarter to June, showed lower attrition rates. Hexaware, headquartered in Mumbai, reported 9.6 per cent rate of attrition, the lowest compared with 12-16 per cent reported by the top four IT firms. "We declared a salary increase of 10.5 per cent this year, but it is not only about money. Employees are excited about the kind of projects we are handling," says Hexaware's chairman Atul Nishar.

What has also helped is the renewed focus on the manufacturing sector, which has boosted the performance of companies such as Cummins and MindTree, thanks to the rebound in the manufacturing vertical. However, companies such as Persistence Systems, which focus more on discretionary solutions, are likely to report weak numbers. Companies such as KPIT Cummins have taken the inorganic route to enhance skill sets. KPIT's acquisition of Systime in May 2011 strengthened its enterprise solutions offerings and also provided it access to the Brazilian market. "Strategically, the acquisition fits very snugly," says KPIT's chairman Ravi Pandit.

Analysts reckon that the momentum will continue at least in the medium term, given the trend of clients slashing large deals into smaller tranches and engaging mid-tier companies during vendor allocations. "We are likely to see sustained performance by some of these companies, considering their strong order pipeline," says Angel Broking's Somani.

FCI's Gupta also says that the trend should continue for at least another two years. According to industry trackers, the smaller firms are often quick to adapt to the changing requirements of clients, helping them bag deals and expand the scope of services over a period. 

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Saturday, July 28, 2012

Oracle pilots solution for java

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Oracle is planning to introduce Java programming and skills training to its academic education programme, as part of its ongoing work to plug the IT employment gap.
The new classes – called Java Fundamentals and Java Programming – will form part of the Oracle Academy curriculum, which is used by secondary schools and higher education institutes to inform their IT curriculum.
The Java courses are currently being piloted by 39 teachers across the UK and Scotland, and are expected to become a fully fledged part of Oracle’s curriculum during the 2012/2013 academic year.
Jane Richardson, EMEA senior manager of the Oracle Education Foundation, said a firm grounding in Java is important for students that want to pursue a career in IT.
“It’s used in billions of mobile devices and across the internet. There are not many applications that don’t require Java,” she told IT Pro.
“When we look at young people who want to have a career in the IT industry, Java is almost the most important language they have to learn, alongside SQL and C++.”
Citing recent labour market figures from IT training council e-Skills, Richardson said the new courses were also designed to meet the growing demand for Java programmers.
“E-skills’ data shows employment in IT is set grow by two times the national average through to 2020.
We are also seeing that there are over 750,000 jobs unfilled across Europe in programming and IT skills, particularly in Java, SQL and C++,” said Richardson.
“There’s a huge interest from students in these languages because they want to develop these applications themselves.”
The teachers that take part in the pilot programme will be certified to teach the Java Curriculum to their students using a mix of online and classroom-based teaching.
Students that complete the Oracle courses typically use them to enter the world of work or to add weight to their university and college applications, added Richardson.
“We’ve also had students study [other Oracle Academy] courses that have gone into law and other disciplines [because] the ability to recognise and analyse data is not industry-specific,” she said.
“The use of technology is not industry-specific and more and more of what we do in our everyday lives relies on our ability to understand how to take and use data in a business context.”
Caroline Cheverton, director of enterprise computing at the Leigh Technology Academy, has been putting students through Oracle’s programmes since 2002.
Speaking to IT Pro, Cheverton said some of her students have also used the skills gained through Oracle courses to set up their own IT businesses.
“It is an entrepreneurial curriculum. Some of my students have got into designing mobile apps, databases and have set up small businesses, which they have used to fund their university education,” she said.
“It is not just about developing more employees for big businesses, but allowing the SMB sector to flourish, too.”
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Twitter's Instagram API Access

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Instagram users can no longer access the app’s “Find Friends on Twitter” feature, a result from a change in Twitter’s API restrictions for the photo-sharing application.
While Instagram users can still tweet their photos out to their Twitter streams, they can no longer use the feature to add those they already follow on Twitter to their Instagram account.
Why? It could be because of an old beef with Facebook.
If you’ll recall, Facebook blocked Twitter’s API access way back in 2010, when Twitter created its own “Find Your Friends” feature to help users follow their existing Facebook friends on Twitter. Though the Face-tagram acquisition has yet to even close, it could be that Twitter is preparing for what may be inevitable — the day when Instagram becomes a part of Facebook.
The restrictions also come in the wake of a controversial recent blog post from product VP Michael Sippey, broadly sketching a future Twitter where its API will look much different than it does today. “In the coming weeks,” Sippey wrote, “we will be introducing stricter guidelines around how the Twitter API is used.”
But while that note foretells of a sweeping API sea change, the Instagram smackdown portends of something much more targeted, a slap back at its major competitor.
Twitter’s official response was effusive, yet blunt: “We understand that there’s great value associated with Twitter’s follow graph data, and we can confirm that it is no longer available within Instagram,” a spokesperson told me in a statement.
Think about it in terms of Twitter’s conspicuous “value” comment: What is Twitter giving away to Instagram, a potential future competitor, in this instance? Something as simple as boosting engagement inside of Instagram by using Twitter’s API to onboard followers may not be quantifiable “value” in terms of dollars, but it is valuable, for certain.
Facebook had no comment, as indeed the deal has not gone through yet. Instagram, too, had no comment.
The pawn in all of this — albeit a massively popular, extremely valuable pawn — is Instagram, which must suffer a reduced feature set while waiting in limbo for the Facebook purchase to go through. That’s probably why, instead of sweeping the loss of the “Find Your Friends” feature under the rug, Instagram made it a point to deliver a prompt to users, letting them know exactly what they lost:
“Twitter no longer allows its users to access this information in Instagram via the Twitter API,” the prompt states. “We apologize for any inconvenience.”
It’s basically Instagram waving a giant middle finger back in Twitter’s face, making Twitter look like the bad guy.
The real loser here? The unassuming new Instagram user, who won’t be able to take advantage of the feature.
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Monday, July 23, 2012

Aapps for smart TVs: Netflix, YouTube

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“Younger  desire a more social TV viewing experience," says Manny Flores, Senior Vice President at Harris Interactive. "With the proliferation of social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Google+, younger are not only more tech savvy, but are accustomed to being able to share their online experiences with their friends and family. So why not add TV viewing to the list of online experiences to share?"
"As the TV becomes a more overall entertainment device, it is only a matter of time before we see the mainstream use of additional content apps, such as Facebook, being used on the TV," added Flores.
The number of apps available for smart TVs pales in comparison to the some 500,000-700,000+ apps and games available through Apple’s App Store or the Google Play store, although the market is quickly growing.
Interestingly, many of the same apps that are popular on the iOS and Android platforms are also popular on smart TVs. Netflix and YouTube were the most popular with smart TV owners, with 47% and 44% saying they are “must have” apps on the smart TV respectively.
Social networking site Facebook (35%), online marketplace Amazon (34%) and streaming radio app Pandora (28%) also ranked within the top five must-have apps according to Harris Interactive.
The hugely popular app Angry Birds wasn’t on the list, but it may soon become a hot favorite with smart TV owners too. On July 19 Samsung announced the global availability of the app -- which is the first to feature motion controls -- on Samsung smart TVs.
Samsung Vice President of Visual Display Business Kyungsik Lee said, “Samsung Smart TV will become the first TV to offer the world’s most popular game and set a new standard in the industry by offering a game for smart TVs controlled by hand gestures.”
The Harris Poll was conducted online between May 7 and May 15, 2012.
Top 15 must-have apps for smart TVs according to Harris Interactive:
1.  Netflix - 47%
2.  YouTube - 44%
3.  Facebook - 35%
4.  Amazon - 34%
5.  Pandora - 28%
6.  ESPN - 21%
7.  Hulu + - 21%
8.  Twitter - 17%
9.  Syfy - 14%
10. HBO Go - 13%
11. Rhapsody - 9%
12. MLB.com - 8%
13. Vudu HD Movies - 7%
14. Conema Now - 7%
15. Vimeo - 5%
16. None of these - 23%
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Sunday, July 22, 2012

Blade unveils updated smart-phone app

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The Blade has launched new applications for smart phones and tablet devices that are more colorful, more interactive, and more inclusive of what readers find online and in print.
Brad Vriezelaar, The Blade's new media manager, said The Blade's old smart-phone app, developed about two years ago, was getting tired. The new one is much updated and has been modeled after other popular applications.
"With the new app, we've tried to incorporate the best of all the other apps out there -- Facebook, Twitter -- and we've tried to take the way they navigate, the way they work, and make them into our news app," Mr. Vriezelaar said.
The new app, which is available today, includes The Blade's obituaries, events calendar, OurTown content (special sites for Perrysburg and Sylvania), and opinion section -- all of which are new additions. The app will still have The Blade's news, sports, business, and arts & entertainment sections.
Another new addition is a built-in weather tab that has current conditions, a 10-day forecast that includes hourly projections, and both radar and infrared maps.
The app is free, and available for both iPhones and android-based smart phones, as well as the iPad. It is also available on all Apple and android tablets. It will soon be available on the Amazon Kindle Fire and Barnes & Noble Nook. The new app will be available through Apple's App Store, Google Play Store, and the app stores for Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
Mr. Vriezelaar said The Blade used feedback from the current apps users while developing the new one.
"A lot of features and ideas came right from end users," he said. "It should be a lot more user-friendly."
The new app has larger photos for featured articles. A drop-down menu gives users the selection of different sections, such as news, business, sports, and weather. Users can flip through photo galleries and articles with the swipe of a finger. Photos can be viewed full screen.
There is also an option to share any article or photo via e-mail, Facebook, or Twitter.
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Saturday, July 21, 2012

Facebook Buys Acrylic

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Vancouver-based Acrylic Software — maker of iOS and Mac apps — can now count itself among the few companies Facebook has decided to give the thumbs up of acquisition to. The Canadian software company is known for their iOS RSS reader app, Pulp.
Some believe this iOS expertise is what sparked Facebook’s interest in the company, rather than the app itself. As such, the social networking giant only bought the company, rather than buying rights to the apps. In the coming weeks, the Acrylic team will transition to San Francisco to become full-time Facebookers, leaving their iOS and Mac apps stagnant in their current form.
“Facebook is an invaluable service that we all use daily, and a company I believe is one of the most innovative and important around today,” writes Dustin MacDonald in the Acrylic blog.
“After visiting late last year, I discovered that we shared many of the same core product design goals and principles, and it soon became obvious that it was a natural fit. Simply put, there’s an opportunity at Facebook to have a big impact in many people’s lives. More importantly, Facebook is full of extremely talented people who will be able to help realize its full potential in the years to come.”
Though Pulp and Wallet (their password storage app) will remain available on their respective App Stores, the Acrylic team doesn’t have any plans to update these apps in the near future. MacDonald did not disclose any financial terms in his blog post.
Facebook has been making some strides in the past few months towards a more complete mobile experience. They famously dropped $1 billion to acquire the popular, all mobile photo sharing app Instagram.
Last month, the New York Times ran a story suggesting the Facebook iOS app could be getting a much needed speed boost.
As it stands, the Facebook app acts much like a web browser housed inside a thin, iOS wrapper. Their new updates to the app would put more of the heavy lifting in the hands of the iPhone’s hardware, rather than depending on the antennas and networks to pull down all the data from Facebook’s servers.
This past May, persistent rumors about a Facebook phone began to surface once more. According to an earlier New York Times piece, several Apple and Google employees had been contacted by Facebook recruiters, saying the social networking company has planned to build their own smartphone. Facebook has already hired several engineers who have history working with the iPad and iPhone.
One former Apple engineer in particular said he had a meeting with Mark Zuckerberg wherein the Facebook creator drilled him with questions about the inner workings of the iPhone. When asked about their plans to enter the smartphone wars against the likes of Apple, Google and Samsung, Facebook only repeated a statement from last year, saying, “We’re working across the entire mobile industry; with operators, hardware manufacturers, OS providers, and application developers.”

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Curing the hiccups

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The H: Generally, what should you do about Java VM hiccups?
GT: First, you should watch for and be aware of any hiccups in your application behaviour, preferably at all times (including in production). Next, you should compare the hiccup behaviour to your expected and required responsiveness behaviour, e.g. a Service Level Expectation (SLE) or Service Level Agreement (SLA). With that information at hand, it is the job of Architect, Developer, and/or operations and deployment specialists to make the application behave as it should, which generally means removing hiccups that violate the expected behaviour by any means necessary (but not dwelling too much on ones that do not violate the expected behaviour).
So it is those hiccups – the ones that violate your application's expected behaviour – for which you need to figure out the cause and how to deal with it. It has been our experience that the nearly-universal dominant causes of application hiccups on most JVMs are Garbage Collection pauses, and that those dwarf other causes in both size and frequency. Eliminating GC pauses will usually leave system-related hiccups that range in the low tens of milliseconds, which can also be addressed if needed (e.g. for a low latency application) through tuning of system settings (e.g. power management modes, swap and filesystem behaviour, and avoiding deep scheduling queues).
In keeping the GC-related JVM hiccups to within expected levels, you are currently faced with two choices:
1. Continuously tune various GC controls and parameters in the hope of reducing the frequency of very large events (e.g. full GCs) to "acceptable" levels, and the frequency and magnitude of " merely large" events (e.g. "minor" GCs, young gen collections, etc.) to acceptable levels as well. These efforts will typically result in a compromise about the acceptable percentile of certain magnitudes of hiccups, because complete elimination of GC pauses of either kind is not practical on most JVMs.
2. Combine continuous tuning with coding in a "GC friendly" or "Heap friendly" way, in an attempt to reduce the pressure on a garbage collector's young or old generation, with the hope of reducing the occurrence or magnitude of "Bad GC" events. This practice (which has been successful to some degree in low latency applications) typically results in what I call "programming in Java syntax, but without the Java ecosystem", since, for it to be successful, the use of many core behaviours, as well as any third party code is typically prohibited.
or:
3. Address the core problem and eliminate GC altogether as a dominant cause of application hiccups. This is where Azul's flagship product – Zing – comes in. Zing's use of the C4 collector (which stands for "Continuously Concurrent Compacting Collector") simply and completely eliminates GC as a dominant cause for application hiccups, and does so without any special tuning or coding efforts or practices, and without the need for continuously re-tuning and/or re-coding.
Obviously, we believe Zing is a cure for the hiccups. It has been our experience that Zing will immediately bring enterprise applications to a worst case hiccup level in the low tens of milliseconds right out of the box. Those remaining hiccup levels, once Zing is deployed, are typically dominated by non-JVM system artifacts (e.g. scheduling pressure with many runnable threads competing for CPUs, or OS and hardware setting around power management and swap/file behaviour, all of which can be tuned and addressed if needed). In the low latency world, where scheduling pressure is already avoided as a matter of normal practice, we've seen applications immediately reach a worst case of below 10 milliseconds, and with relatively little tuning get to 1-2 millisecond worst case levels. Going below the 1 millisecond mark is quite possible, for those brave enough to tune their system (not their JVM) to provide that level of consistency, and to make their code provide it.

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Diagnosing hiccups

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The H: A lot of developers might say "But I can see when GC kicks in so I don't need a measuring tool for it"; what would you say to them?
GT: First, jHiccup reports on any observed hiccups, regardless of cause. Hiccups can occur for a multitude of possible reasons, including GC, power savings artifacts, swapping, scheduling pressure, and other OS-level artifacts such as Transparent Huge Page compaction that is done in recent Linux kernels.
Second, jHiccup reports what an application actually experiences and observes, as opposed to what a log file for a JVM or an OS may "claim" has happened. Often reporting in JVM and OS logs is "honest", in which case the hiccups jHiccup will report should closely match up with pauses seen in GC logs. However, sometimes the times or events the JVM reports may be only part of the picture. For example, if you compare pause times reported by verbose GC logs with those reported by using additional flags like -XX:+PrintGCApplicationStoppedTime, you'll often see significant discrepancies. With jHiccup, you don't have to wonder if you have turned on the appropriate logging, and if the logging is accurate, optimistic, or pessimistic – you have a log of *observed* discontinuities in execution, and any discontinuity larger than 1msec simply cannot hide.
I recommend using jHiccup in addition to (and not in place of) other monitoring mechanisms. Results seen with other measurement tools should almost always be worse than those reported by jHiccup (since jHiccup reports the hiccups seen when trying to do absolutely no work). If jHiccup results conflict with those measured through other means (e.g. if an external response time measure shows much better percentile results than those observed by jHiccup), then either jHiccup or the other measurement mechanism probably has a bug or a "methodology problem".
The H: You've placed jHiccup in the public domain using the CC zero licence. Any particular reason for that uncommon licensing choice?
GT: It's the most permissive way I know of to allow people to use the code in any and all forms. Placing the code in the public domain removes any questions about conflict with other forms of licensing. I followed the example of what Doug Lea has done with much of his work, such as his extremely well adopted dlmalloc, as well as java.util.concurrent (all the sources originated by the JSR166 group were similarly placed in the public domain).
The H: Are there any enhancements you'd like to see?
GT: I'd love to see people do more with jHiccup, both in terms of using it as-is, and by incorporating its simple measurement technique as a common way of self-measurement by applications and application platforms.
I'd be happy to see people build non-Java versions (e.g. for the various .NET languages, as well as for Ruby, Python, etc. Maybe even for C/C++). I think the issue of implicitly assuming "platform continuity" for applications, and of ignoring or under-reporting and "platform discontinuity", is universal, and is especially prevalent in managed runtimes with automatic memory management (aka GC).
The H: How about integrating jHiccup with management platforms so people can spot hiccuppy JVMs?
GT: jHiccup was intentionally kept simple, and intentionally kept separate from any specific JVM, OS, or application platform. It would be trivial to take the data collected and reported by jHiccup and incorporate it for presentation as part of an overall monitoring or management solution. It's been placed in the public domain with exactly this sort of thing in mind.
The H: Does Zing detect its own hiccups if they happen or does C4 prevent that?
GT: In a way, jHiccup is there to keep everyone honest, and that includes Zing. No amount of logging or reporting by a runtime or an OS can be used as a replacement for logging the actual experiences that an application would see on such a platform.
Zing seems to do a fairly good job of reporting on what it thinks it is doing, and GC-related hiccups tend to be be a complete non-issue for Zing users. That's what C4 is meant for, after all. However, the best way for them to actually know that is to observe it with tools like jHiccup, rather than to believe what our JVM logs say.
With Zing, we most often find that observed hiccups are no longer dominated by GC effects, and as a result tend to be dramatically lower than those seen with other JVMs. However, hiccups in the multi-msec range can easily be seen, with causes ranging from scheduling pressure (having even a momentary situation with more runnable threads than available cores generally leads to ~10msec+ hiccups being observed), to power-management tuning artifacts, to background cron jobs being kicked off. In the very-low-latency space, we've seen people successfully tune "vanilla" Linux configurations running Zing such that the worst case observed hiccup levels (as reported by jHiccup) were kept well below 1msec.
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Java hiccups and how to beat them

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Recently, The H was looking into Java Virtual Machine performance and in the process came across a different kind of performance evaluation tool, jHiccup, which promised to measure the hiccups that afflict applications in the real world. To find out more about this open source tool, The H talked to its author, Gil Tene, CTO of Azul Systems, makers of the high performance JVM Zing.

The H: Why do Java programs get the hiccups?
Gil Tene: Well, all programs get the hiccups. It's just that those running on modern-day managed runtimes (such as a JVM, or .NET, or Dalvik, or Ruby, etc.) have bigger causes for those hiccups than "what we were used to" up to the mid-90s.
We tend to think of computers as things that run continuously, without interruption, and we tend to treat interruptions in this model as "noise". I call any situation where (from the application's point of view) a computer is not running for a while a "hiccup". If the platform you run your application on exhibits "hiccups" with a magnitude that "matters" to your application, application response time behaviour will invariably be affected.
The reality is that computers often stop running programs for some short (for an arbitrary definition of "short") periods of time for all sorts of reasons: interrupts and their handling are microseconds-level disruptions. Context-switches can reach tens of microseconds, and scheduling delays (when more things are runnable than there are CPUs and the OS scheduler time-slices a CPU) are usually counted in "OS quantums" that range into the milliseconds (a 10msec quantum being pretty common occurrence). All this has been around for decades. Modern day environments add other interesting things, like power saving modes and hypervisor, that do more time slicing.
However, the biggest "gift" of all to modern-day hiccups usually comes from garbage collection. Most modern languages (most of those created since 1995, and many from before then) use some form of implicit, automatic memory management, with the managed runtime environment they run on performing implicit garbage collection. Java is such an environment – arguably the most successful one in history – and most people who run on or use a Java JVM know what garbage collection is: it's that thing that makes their application pause every once in a while.
In most modern day JVMs (e.g. Oracle HotSpot and jRockit, OpenJDK, IBM J9) garbage collection invariably involves "stop-the-world" events. These stop-the-world events range from frequent "young generation" or "minor" collections that usually come in 10s or 100s of millisecond "hiccup" chunks, to the bigger "major" collection (aka "oldgen", "Full GC") that can take several seconds to complete. The length of the bigger GC "hiccups" usually depends on the amount of live data in the program at the time of collection. The larger the live data set (and the larger the heap, for some/most JVMs), the larger the pause you can expect to see.
When a garbage collector "stop the world" for any reason, applications will experience a "hiccup" in execution. Whenever this "hiccup" reaches a magnitude that matters to the application, this effect will typically dominate the worst-case and high-percentile (e.g. 99.9%) response time behaviour of the application. For example, if an application typically responds in sub-second times to user requests, having regularly occurring 3 second "major" GC pauses would dominate the application's response time behaviour. If an application is expected to respond in milliseconds (as is common in Telco and financial applications), even the frequent "minor" GC events tend to dominate the application's response time characteristics.
The H: Is how those hiccups manifest dependent on the VM?
GT: Yes. More precisely, it depends on the garbage collector used, and the garbage collector is a key part of a JVM.
A lot of work has been done on garbage collectors on current JVMs, but most of that work hasn't focused on eliminating hiccups or reducing their absolute magnitude. Instead it has been focused on making them more "rare" through a combination of intricate tuning efforts and garbage collector tricks. The commonly used JVMs on the market today all exhibit significant stop-the-world pauses on a regular basis – something that is readily observable by looking at "hiccup charts" that can be collected (with jHiccup) for pretty much any Java application. Most Java applications with more than a GB or two of heap will exhibit multi-second hiccups multiple times per day or week, and hiccups in the tens or hundreds of milliseconds several times per minute. When heap sizes grow and allocation rates increase to consume more than a tiny fraction of a modern-day commodity server, these numbers tend to get much worse.
As an example of how the choice of VM can dramatically effect the hiccup levels that an application experiences, you can look at the behaviour of Azul's Zing JVM. Zing is specifically focused on dramatically reducing both the absolute magnitude and frequency of application hiccups experienced due to garbage collection. Zing's C4 garbage collector uses a concurrent algorithm for both minor and major collections, allowing it to perform garbage collection without incurring those long stop-the-world events that are inevitable on other JVMs.
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Jigsaw Shelved Until Java 9

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Oracle is dropping Jigsaw from Java 8 in order to meet the scheduled release date of September 2013.
Jigsaw is a project designed to provide a standard module system for the Java SE Platform, and to apply that system to the Platform itself and to the JDK. It was originally planned to be part of Java 7 but was postponed shortly after Oracle  took control of Java along with two others, Project Lambda and parts of  Project Coin.
Until now the expectation was that it would be included in Java 8, the release date of which  had already slipped from late 2012 to September 2013. However, Mark Reinhold, chief architect of the Java Platform Group, has now posted on his blog that he plans to postpone Jigsaw till Java 9.
Reinhold’s reasoning is that:
"the proposed development schedule for Java 8 expects work on major features to be finished by May 2013, in preparation for a final release around September. Steady progress is being made, but some significant technical challenges remain. There is, more importantly, not enough time left for the broad evaluation, review, and feedback which such a profound change to the Platform demands.”
The JDK is being released every two years to provide stability and give developers a clear idea about what the future holds. Putting Jigsaw off until Java 9 won’t be a problem for most developers, but modularity is a feature that developers of large systems have been asking for.
The reaction to Reinhold’s blog post has been less than enthusiastic. Reinhold titled his blog post “Late for the train”, and commented that
“if a major feature misses its intended release train then that’s unfortunate but it’s not the end of the world: It will be on the next train, which will also leave at a predictable time.”
However, as one comment says, what's the point if the train arrives "on time" without any cargo?
Another commenter says he finds it a bit ridiculous that Jigsaw is stripped from JDK 8 as it was already stripped from JDK 7, asking “What will be next? Moving it to 10 after 9, 11 after 10? Just give up the idea and use Maven. It's here already and serves well.”
Other comments questioned the two-year release cycle, suggesting that a JDK 8.5 after a year would be a suitable compromise. One commenter asks:

“How much time over the JDK8 ship date are we talking about?  If it took another 6-8 months over the current 8 months, would that be enough time to stabilize Jigsaw?  I'd be willing to wait for that if it was 6-8 months.”
So  it looks as if the only big new feature in Java 8 is going to be Lambda, which is currently still in the release train. The other "major" features promised are a new Date/Time API and the parts of project Coin that didn't make it into JDK 7, unsigned literals and collection support.


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AICPA Announces Five Tips to Disaster-Proof a Small Business

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Hurricane season is upon us, offering a reminder that small business owners need a disaster plan, even if it’s the most basic kind. It’s never easy to carve out time to think about the unthinkable, but having a business continuity blueprint in place can mean the difference between a firm’s survival or failure in the wake of a significant fire, flood or other calamity.
To get the ball rolling, we talked to the experts – including three firms that have been to the brink and back during Hurricane Katrina, the devastating 2011 tornado in Joplin, Mo., and Hurricane Irene. Here’s their advice:
  1. Go digital, and get in the cloud. Paper records do not fare well in water, wind or fire. Having a paperless or near-paperless office makes it easier to store and replicate information – and when disaster strikes, having records stored in multiple secure locations is crucial. Firms can be diligent about backing up computer files, but it can be useless if recovery disks are stored in the same location as servers. With cloud-based solutions, firms can get back on their feet quickly using laptops, mobile devices and home computers, according to Erik Asgeirsson, president and CEO of CPA2Biz, the technology subsidiary of the American Institute of CPAs. Make sure your cloud partners are using best practices to protect your data, though, because not every vendor is the same – and a disaster’s aftermath is a terrible time to figure that out, he said.
  2. Laptops are easier to lug than a desktop computer. It’s tough trying to cart a monitor, computer tower, keyboard and mouse out the door when you need to clear out fast. Laptops are portable without a significant trade-off in computing power. “We used to be a 50 percent desktop, 50 percent laptop office,” said Les Nettleton, Director of Information Technology at Bourgeois Bennett, LLC, which weathered Hurricane Katrina. ‘We changed that now – we’re a full laptop shop.”
  3. Have a virtual meet-up spot for your employees. Just as families pick a spot outside their home to make sure everyone is safe and accounted for in an emergency, companies need to have an online gathering spot to share information and begin rebuilding operations. Remember, cell service, company email and other means of communication may be down for the count. “What we’ve done now is have an externally hosted bulletin board with personal email addresses and cell phone numbers,” Nettleton said.
  4. Automated, online backups are the way to go. A year before a deadly tornado leveled CPA Nick Myer’s Joplin, Mo., office, a staffer lost his laptop – and key information stored on the hard drive wasn’t available elsewhere. “That showed the weakness in our backups, because they weren’t happening,” he said. The firm signed up for an online backup solution – and data loss was one thing Myers didn’t have to worry about when the twister shattered the business’ servers, PCs and other files.
  5. Your business is only as sturdy as the people who make it run. In the wake of a disaster, some employees may have lost everything – and the last thing they’re worrying about is work. “The No. 1 thing we needed to do was getting paychecks into people’s hands,” Nettleton said of the post-Katrina chaos. Helping create stability with financial affairs can go a long way in easing workers’ minds, and the AICPA can help with the primer
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Athena Smartcard's IDProtect V6 Java Card(TM)

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Athena Smartcard announced today that its IDProtect V6 Java Card™ cryptographic smart card achieved a trio of worldwide security certifications by receiving the International Common Criteria certification EAL +4, the US Government FIPS 140-2 Level 3 and ICP-Brazil approvals. Accreditation by three of the most respected global security standards bodies verifies that the Athena smart card platform has completed a rigorous independent testing process; which included evaluation of its research and development processes and facilities on multiple sites, implementation, testing and production, and that it conforms to standards sanctioned by the leading US, European and Brazilian security standards organizations.
Products based on the Athena IDProtect V6 Java Card™ include Digital Signature (SSCD) applications based on the IAS-ECC specifications issued by GIXEL and conforming to the European Citizen Card standard, PKI applications based on the Athena LASER and IDProtect Client middleware and Digital Signature and Authentication conforming to the Brazilian government requirements.
Millions of units of Athena's IDProtect Java Card are already deployed in Government and Enterprise projects worldwide and it is being utilized as a Secure Element in several embedded devices which require a high level of security, as evaluated by the various security organizations.
Masaru Kosaka, Chairman and President at Athena, commented: "Being awarded the 3 leading global security certifications, Common Criteria EAL +4, FIPS 140-2 Level and ICP Brazil, on a single smart card platform, is testament to the continuous hard work and commitment that Athena puts into the security aspects related to the design and development of its products and to meeting its customers' security needs, wherever they are based. Having the product certified, by 3 different certification bodies, and evaluated at 3 independent certification laboratories provides our customers with the high level of confidence and trust that is needed in order to deploy modern large scale smart card applications."
About Athena Smartcard
Athena's innovative and secure smart card operating systems, on-card applications, middleware and reader technologies enable our partners to offer 'state of the art' National ID, Digital Signature, eGov, ePassports, Transportation, Secure Elements and advanced contact and contactless payment solutions by removing the development, support and certification barriers associated with in-house R&D.
Using close relationships with industry leading silicon vendors, card and inlay manufacturers, and a permanent staff of industry leading engineers Athena offers highly secure, flexible, and cost effective solutions.
With offices in Asia, Europe and the Americas, and through a network of industry leading firms, including card manufacturers in the world's fastest growing markets such as Brazil, Asia, Russia, and Africa, Athena is ideally positioned to provide timely and professional hand's on support, help facilitate the transition to secure chip technologies, and allow our growing list of partners to stay competitive.
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Thursday, July 19, 2012

Java tops list of top 10 IT skills in demand

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"Software developers" follows in the number 4 position, which presumably must be a catch-all term for developers in general.
Those positions are cited by hiring managers and recruiters about double or triple the frequency of other skill sets in the employment marketplace, says Dice. The recruiting firm reports a total of 85,000 tech job openings, along with 36,000 contract IT positions across the United States.
The shortages companies face with these skills arise from a rapidly expanding market (in the case of mobile), as well as a requirement for experience. Many companies aren't providing enough training to enable professionals to learn and come up through the ranks, however.
Here are the top 10 skills in demand:
1) Java developer
2) Mobile developer
3) .NET developer
4) Software developer
5) Security
6) SAP
7) SharePoint
8) Web developer
9) Active federal security clearance
10) Network engineer
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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Can’t Lose Weight? Syndrome X May Be the Culprit

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“I’ve put on 40 pounds in one year!” “It doesn’t matter how much I workout, I can’t lose weight.” “My doctor must think I’m eating pizzas in the closet.”

With nearly 4 million Americans weighing in at over 300 pounds, is it any wonder the above cries are heard each and every day by countless frustrated people who can’t lose weight? One such cause for the ever increasing need to buy larger pants is a disease known as Syndrome X.

Syndrome X is also referred to as Metabolic Syndrome, Metabolic Syndrome X and Insulin Resistance. It is a very common disease; however it is widely overlooked by many medical professionals. One statistic reveals 1 in 3 people suffer from it.

This syndrome is a precursor to developing Diabetes Type 2. Sufferers have a high level of insulin. Their bodies are unable to process all the insulin that is being made from their diet. As a result, they become insulin resistant.

Think of it like this: You knock on someone’s door because you want to come in. If they don’t answer, what normally happens? You knock again, right? Sometimes you may even knock a third time, trying to gain entry. Insulin works in the same manner. The pancreas produces insulin (knock). Some foods cause the body to produce even higher levels of insulin (knock again). Once you become insulin resistant, develop Syndrome X, the body is unable to properly process the glucose, therefore the pancreas tries to make up for it by producing even more insulin. It thinks “no one is home” and just keeps making more.

The main purpose of glucose is to be used as fuel for the cells in the body to produce energy. Unprocessed glucose translates into fat. If the body keeps making it and it’s not being processed, where does it go? Hips, thighs, stomach, and buttocks, that’s where!

In addition to hypertension and heart disease, elevated insulin may be associated with weight gain and difficulty with weight loss, other blood sugar problems such as hypoglycemia, and some menstrual related imbalances.

Genetics is partially responsible for causing this disease. More likely though is lifestyle. In many cases years of high starch, processed foods, simple sugars, lack of exercise, smoking, and increased stress may be the culprit for Metabolic Syndrome X.

Now what? For starters, start exercising today. Increase water intake and totally omit starches, sugars, processed foods from your diet. Limit or omit caffeine. Try to maintain at least one third of your daily food intake to vegetables. Ask your doctor to test your sugar levels. Change what you’re eating and get walking and you’ll be amazed at the pounds start to fall off. The fatigue and fuzziness will start to disappear and in turn you’ll feel much better.
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If I Suffer from Heart Disease

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I have heart disease – are there any erectile disfunction or male impotence treatments suitable for me?
Heart disease can be associated with various factors that increase the likelihood of erectile disfunction or male impotence, and make treatment more difficult.
Hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis), which is frequently involved in heart disease, can also affect the arteries that supply blood to the penis, thereby reducing the blood supply to it and leading to erectile disfunction. Smoking makes this worse, and quitting smoking should always be a priority.
Many of the medicines used to treat high blood pressure, such as beta-blockers, thiazide diuretics and clonidine, can also contribute to erectile dysfunction. Some, but not all, statins and fibrates, used to treat high cholesterol levels, may also have a minor effect.
Erectile dysfunction, or male impotence, therefore commonly exists in men with heart disease. However, all the treatments for erectile dysfunction and male impotence mentioned previously are stated to be unsuitable for men with conditions in which sexual activity is inadvisable, such as severe heart conditions. So what should these men do?
Luckily, the warnings are not due to any effect of the drugs themselves, rather, that the activity of sex itself may put too much strain on the heart for men with severe heart disease. However, a recent report suggests that sexual activity is no more stressful to the heart when compared with a number of other natural daily activities, eg walking one mile on the level in 20 minutes. The risk of sexual activity in patients with heart disease is therefore minimal in properly assessed and advised patients. Patients with more severe heart disease may be referred to a cardiologist who can further evaluate their condition and determine if it is safe for them to resume sexual activity. These men may require treatment to stabilise their condition before treatment for ED (Erectile dysfunction) can be prescribed.
So which erectile dysfunction or male impotence treatment is best for men with heart disease who have been assessed as safe to resume sex?
Caverject, Viridal Duo and MUSE are effective in impotence due to many causes. However, if you are taking warfarin, (for preventing blood clots, for example if you have an artificial heart valve or an abnormal heart rhythm called atrial fibrillation) you may have an increased risk of bruising or bleeding from administering these medicines.
  Levitra have been shown to be effective in erectile dysfunction due to various causes. However, they should not be taken by men with the heart conditions listed previously, and are not suitable for men with heart disease who are taking nitrates, eg for angina or heart failure.
  Uprima has been shown to be safe and effective in men with heart disease and high blood pressure and has the advantage of being safe to take with nitrates.
When  Viagra was first introduced there were reports of men with heart problems experiencing serious side effects, however safety data has since demonstrated that Viagra does not increase the risk of heart attack or death, and is safe for many men with heart disease. However, it is not suitable for men with heart disease who are taking nitrates, eg for angina or heart failure.
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Get the Background Information on Osteopenia and Osteoporosis

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A diagnosis of osteopenia means that your bones are getting thinner, weaker, and less dense. It’s time to find an osteopenia treatment or your next stop will be osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis means that your bone density is dangerously weak and there is an increasing possibility of fracture. One out of two women and one in eight men over age 50 will have an osteoporosis-related fracture in their lifetime.

It’s the fractures that are dangerous. Hip fractures are the ones that often lead to death because you need lengthy bed rest to recover. Lying down for long stretches of time will encourage more weakness, strokes and pneumonia.

So it’s not actually the fracture that kills you. But it will immobilize you and,if you survive, you have a much greater chance of having another fracture within a year.
Part of this is the fear factor. When our bones have betrayed us we have less confidence in our movement.

Osteoporosis is called the Silent Killer because it usually doesn’t hurt to have weaker bones. It's not until the doctor orders a bone density test of some kind that you find out you are losing bone. The other way to find out is to measure your height. As your spine loses substance you will get shorter.

Up until recently there was no osteoporosis treatment offered. It was considered a natural effect of aging. Then the drug companies introduced the bi-phosphonate drugs.

Since then, fortunately, other natural solutions were found and they are the subject of my other articles in this series.

Bone Density Tests and What They Reveal

Bone Mineral Density (BMD) tests are used to assess bone density. Results are defined as a T-score, with normal being between 2.5 and minus 1.0, osteopenia between minus 1.0 and minus 2.5, and osteoporosis lower than minus 2.5.

The two most common tests of bone density are DXA at your hip or spine and QUS at your ankle.

Dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA). This is the most accurate test available, it can detect even a 1 percent change in bone density. It's most often used to measure your bone density at your hip or spine. This test involves a small amount of radiation.

QUS test - instead of radiation, this test estimates bone density using ultrasound measurements. After placing your bare foot on the machine, high-frequency sound waves are transmitted through your heel. It is an inexpensive test, often found in drug stores, and will give you a beginning score to know if you have a problem or not.

Bone density testing is recommended if:

1. You're a woman, age 65 or older

2. You're 60 and at increased risk of osteoporosis

3. You're a postmenopausal woman who has recently fractured a bone

4. You're a younger postmenopausal woman with other risk factors for osteoporosis

The bad thing about the bone density tests is that they test density and not flexibility. When we have too much calcium in our bones they are dense but brittle and we have more fractures. No-one has yet figured out a way to test the flexibility of bone, so the experts don’t say much about it. But that is why the studies can’t prove that taking more calcium actually lowers fracture rate. Read the calcium/magnesium article for more on this topic.

Risk Factors

Your risk of osteoporosis increases if you're a woman and you're white or Asian. Other factors also increase your risk, including:

A history of falls or bone fractures as an adult
Family history of osteoporosis, especially your mother
Smoking
Early onset of menopause
Alcoholism
Low calcium and vitamin D intake
Low body weight or weight loss
Not enough physical activity
Late onset of first period
Caffeine intake
Muscle weakness
Low estrogen levels

How Living Bone Is Created

The way bone-building works is that our bones are living structures with osteoblasts busy building bone, and osteoclasts just as busy tearing down the old so there is room for the new. Up until the age of thirty five or so there is a balance. As we get older that balance is disrupted. Osteoporosis occurs when bone is broken down faster than it is rebuilt. The reason why greater loss occurs after menopause is that our hormones somehow block the breakdown. That is why hormone therapy used to be recommended to help protect against osteoporosis.

Biphosphonate drugs, like Fosamax, are poisons that selectively kill off osteoclasts. So they stop the bones from tearing down the old but they don’t do anything to help build new bone. Your bones may look denser to the testing machines but they are dense with old bone that should have been cleared away. They are brittle, not flexible.

Natural Solutions

Bone changes don’t happen overnight. When you decide on an osteopenia treatment you should wait for one year and then get tested again. If there is no actual change in the numbers, this is still an improvement. If left untended your bones would get weaker every year, so no change at all is better than that. However most of the osteoporosis treatment in the following articles will produce significant improvement in bone over a five year period, or even more if you incorporate them all gradually into your life.

Since they are natural solutions, co-operating with your internal health mechanisms, they will also bring unexpected improvements in other areas, like balance, confidence, muscle strength and enjoyment of life.
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Positive And Negative Effects To Expect When You Quit Smoking

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Before you read the rest of this article, understand that quitting smoking can be one of the best things you can do for yourself as a smoker. You are guaranteeing a healthier life, and a longer life. Make no mistake; no negative effect you may observe when you quit smoking is so bad that you will decide to keep smoking. There are no positive effects by continuing to smoke, but when you quit, you may notice some changes that you may not have expected. Since the pros outweigh the cons when you quit smoking, I will address the negative aspects of quitting first. The first thing a smoker will notice when they kick the habit is sudden mood changes and mood disorders.

Having probably smoked for years, you have come to the point to where you end up smoking when you feel stressed, or are in a bad mood. Once you stop smoking, you will no longer have this psychological outlet. Quitting smoking can cause depression in a small percentage of people who are strong enough to quit. Your body and mind may also have a hard time dealing with the removal of such a powerful drug as nicotine so suddenly. Expect your body and mind to take about 3 to 6 months to get this need out of its system. One of the most common complaints of former smokers is that they gained weight. This has nothing to do with the fact that you quit, but rather people who do quit replace their addictive smoking behavior by putting something else in their mouth, which would be food. This also seems to be natural, and a safe outlet, when kept in control.

But what about the good things about quitting smoking? Too numerous to list here, but for starters, one will notice a drop in blood pressure and a normal, slower pulse. This can even be noticed after having quit for only an hour. Of course your risk for a heart attack will decrease and you will regain a stronger sense of taste and smell. Your lung capacity will increase, you'll find that exercise and even just walking around become easier (since you can provide your blood and muscles with more oxygen now), and you'll find that any sinus problems you may have had while smoking are now gone. But most importantly, those who quit smoking decrease their chances of getting lung cancer by 50%. In fact, the risk of any cancer decreases after one quits smoking.
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Reasons Why You Should Quit Smoking

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Smoking can hook you because cigarettes contain nicotine which is highly addictive. But being hooked is not an excuse why you cannot quit smoking. Smoking has been proven by several researches to be great threat to one's health, that is why there is no reason why one who is already hooked to it should not quit smoking.

It is tough to quit smoking. People try at least 2 to 3 times before they can finally quit smoking. It takes hard work and lots of effort but if you're really determined then you can quit smoking for good.

Why quit smoking?

There are at least five reasons why you should quit smoking.

* First, if you quit smoking, you will definitely live longer and better.

* Second, each time you smoke, you take about 5 to 20 minutes off your life. Your chance of getting lung cancer, stroke or heart attack increases if you don't quit smoking.

* Third, the people you live with, especially the children, will be healthier only if you stop smoking. In fact, second hand smoke is more dangerous than the actual smoke users get from smoking.

* Fourth, if you quit smoking, you will have extra money to spend on other things than cigarettes.

* And lastly, if you’re pregnant, chances of having a healthier baby is more likely if you quit smoking.

So the next and most crucial question is "how do I quit smoking?"

Here are five ways that can help you quit smoking:

1. Get ready and prepare yourself to undetake your quit somking program? Set a quit smoking date. Change your environment by getting rid of all cigarettes in places you frequent and not allowing people to smoke near you or at your home.

2. Get support and encouragement. Studies have shown that you'll have better chances in quitting smoking if you can get support from families, friends, and co-workers.

3. Learn new skills and behavior. Always remember that your goal is to quit smoking, so distract yourself from urges of smoking. Change your routine in your first try of quit smoking program. Do something to reduce your stress such as taking a hot bath, exercise, or reading. Plan something to do enjoyable every day.

4. Get medication and use it correctly. Medications can help you lessen the urge to smoke. Five approved medications that can help you to quit smoking are: Bupropion SR, nicotine gum, nicotine inhaler, nicotine nasal spray, and nicotine patch.

5. Be prepared for a relapse. If you quit smoking, chances of a relapse is high. Most relapses occur after 3 months of quitting, so watch out for situations that may trigger you get back to smoking such as alcohol, other smokers, weight gain and depression.

Everyone can quit smoking so don’t hesitate to at least try to quit smoking also.

Quit smoking now and I guarantee you a healthier, better and longer life.
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Asbestos: Cause Of Deadly Mesothelioma

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Asbestos is the commercial name given to certain types of fibrous materials. They are silicates of varying compositions; the silica combined with such bases as Magnesium, Iron, Calcium, sodium and Aluminum. Asbestos fibers are usually from 20 to 500  in length and 0.5 to 50 in diameter. Asbestos bodies appear as golden brown or beaded rods with a translucent center. The fibers are insoluble. The exposure of asbestos causes fibers to be inhaled and fine dust deposited in the alveoli inside the lungs consequently causing a type of cancer called Mesothelioma (a deadly tumor) involving Mesothelial tissues or usually cells of lungs or stomach and abdominal organs.

Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer of the Pleura (lung cancer) and Peritoneum (abdomen cancer). Mesothelioma has been shown to have a strong association with the crocidolite variety of asbestos. Pleural mesothelioma, the most common manifestation of asbestos exposure, is well-circumscribed plaques of dense collagen, often containing calcium. Peritoneum Mesothelioma may or may not contain asbestos bodies and rarely do they occur in persons who have no history or evidence of asbestos exposure.

Mesothelioma not only occurs in people who are exposed the asbestos, but also to them who had been living in vicinity to asbestos manufacturing process or those staying in asbestos contaminated buildings. In Great Britain, an association was reported between Mesothelioma and people living within 1 kilometer of an asbestos factory.

The risk of Mesothelioma is reported to be high in those cases where occupational exposure to asbestos is combined with cigarette smoking. Mesothelioma usually does not appear until after 5 to 10 years of exposure. Mesothelioma causes mechanical irritation and in the advanced cases, there may be symptoms of clubbing of fingers, and cardiac distress. The survival time of Mesothelioma patients is generally ranges from 12 months to 2 years of diagnosis and very few survive longer than 2 years.

The following measures can be useful in preventing occurrences of Mesothelioma:

• Use of safer types of asbestos (chrysolite and amosite)
• Substitution of other insulators such as glass fiber, mineral wool, calcium silicate plastic foams
• Rigorous dust control
• Periodic examination of workers such as biological monitoring (clinical, X-ray, lung function)

The government should take adequate steps and make appropriate legislation to stop or minimize the case of asbestos exposure Mesothelioma. If you or any one of your families or friends is suffering from Mesothelioma, you have the legal right to file lawsuits for getting compensation for the medical facilities, loss of income and pain. You can consult a qualified attorney for filing a Mesothelioma lawsuit for comensation.
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Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Hypnosis: Benefits You Can’t Live Without

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Hypnosis In The Real World

When you think of hypnosis, do you get the image of a Freud-like doctor swinging a pocket watch to and fro in front of someone in deep emotional trouble? If so, you are not alone. However, this Hollywood image of hypnosis is far from true!

You don't have to be a nut to use hypnosis. Ordinary people, those you see every day, use hypnosis for typical problems. Ask yourself the following questions:

* Do you have a problem with weight loss?
* Do you find it difficult to quit smoking?
* Do you have other addictions you just can't break?

Then hypnosis is for you!

* Are you lacking in confidence?
* Are you stressed out?
* Are you fearful?

Then hypnosis is for you.

Hypnosis can help you with an unlimited number of personal issues, big or small. If you have a phobia, then hypnosis can help you eliminate it. If you have an addiction, then hypnosis can help you kick the habit. If you have a goal, then hypnosis can help you achieve it.

Mental and Physical Benefits of Hypnosis

But that is just the tip of the iceberg. Even if you don't have a pressing issue, hypnosis has extraordinary benefits - both mental and physical. Simply going into a hypnotic state on a regular basis is good for you and the hypnotist doesn't even have to suggest anything at all.

Let's take a look at some of the benefits that hypnosis offers:

1. Hypnosis Induces Deep Breathing: Stop reading for a moment and check your breathing pattern. If you are like most people, you will be breathing in short quick breaths. When you breath in this manner, you feel stressed out and tense. Not only that, fast breathing can make you feel dizzy, irritable, and foggy. After being hypnotized, you will find that you breathe deeper and thus feel more relaxed and calm.
2. Hypnosis Reduces Illness: There is no doubt that stress causes physical illness. Stress causes sleep disorders, increases our pain sensitivity, and can even increase our cholesterol. Since hypnosis is a state of deep mental and physical relaxation, being in this state on a regular basis is a way to reduce stress and thus illness.
3. Hypnosis Increases "Feel Good" Chemicals: Whenever you are deeply relaxed, your brain naturally releases chemicals that cause you to feel good. These chemicals are often in short supply as we rush about our day. Hypnosis causes deep relaxation, allowing these "feel good" chemicals to flow and create a sense of control and well-being.
4. Hypnosis Promotes Good Sleep: As you get your body used to deep relaxation during hypnosis, you will find that you can get more restful sleep. It is as if your body "learns" how to sleep more peacefully due to the hypnotic state.
5. Hypnosis Strengthens the Immune System: Stress causes the body to produce chemicals of the "fight or flight" variety. This aroused state actually affects the immune system by using up the chemicals needed to keep it functioning! Regular relaxation, the kind you get in hypnosis, can help prevent this from happening.

Whether you have an issue or just need to relax, hypnosis can help you achieve your goal. You will feel stronger, more in control, more relaxed, and better able to handle your life. Hypnosis is, quite frankly, good for your body.

The Hypnosis Network - http://www.hypnosisnetwork.com/ - is THE place to learn how hypnosis can help you in your life. Not only will you find exceptional audio programs by only the most qualified and educated psychologists, but you will also find research, information, resources, and sample sessions. The Hypnosis Network is dedicated to bringing you the best that hypnosis has to offer. Whether you have a pressing concern or simply want to feel better on a daily basis, you will find what you need at The Hypnosis Network. Free samples of the programs are available at the above link
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Exercise And Quitting Smoking

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When you plan to stop smoking, bring about other changes in your life style as well. Take a look at all those things that have become a kind of routine and break that routine. Try to do things differently and will make a lot of difference.

What we are trying to do as part of this exercise is that we are trying to create a new environment for you. It is not possible for you to shift to a new apartment so bring about a few changes in the way things are as part of your exercise to quit smoking. Let every thing have a new feel about it. If there was a favorite chair in which you used to sit when you smoked, change the upholstery of the chair or maybe you could stash away the chair into a corner.

Try to set a new routine. Try working out or going to the gym. If that is not possible, try waking up a little earlier and go for a short morning walk. If you can make that a run or a jog, it is going to be very stimulating and is going to be the best way to start your day.

Exercise does not necessarily mean pumping metal. If you do have the time to go to a gymnasium everyday, then that is well and good. But I suppose most of us do not have the time for a regular work out in a gym. So what is the other alternative? Do it at home of course.

But whether it is at home or at a multi-gym, there is something that I want to tell you. Regularity is the rule of the day. It is not getting started that is the difficult part, it is sticking to a regular exercise routine that is difficult and this is what proves to be the stumbling block for most people.

Most people have a wonderful start. In fact it is truly spectacular. They buy track suits and gym-wear, running shoes and a whole lot of other gear. Their first day at the gym is almost a celebration. Then as the days go on, they find it increasingly difficult to meet the domestic and professional demands and so their routine slows down and finally comes to a complete workout burn out.

One mistake that many people make is that they choose the evenings or a work out. If that can suit your lifestyle, then that’s fine. But for most of us, by the time the evening lifts up its curtains we are completely pooped. We find ourselves physically and mentally drained. And at that time our bodies will be just too tired for a work out. So it is best to set aside some time for exercise in the morning itself.

There are two advantages of setting apart time in the morning. The first advantage is that in the morning our bodies are fresh and full of energy. Now over here I want to make one point clear.

Many people believe that exercise depletes the body of energy but the case is just the opposite. Exercise pumps up more blood through the different parts of the body and warms up the body, so in fact, after exercise we feel more charged and ready to face the challenges of the day.

The second advantage is that in the morning we can plan for the whole day without letting the exercise routine affect the rest of our activities.

What about those of us who have never worked out before? In such cases you might need to start off under the personal supervision of an instructor and that may require that you go to a gym. But what I would suggest is that there are two simple things that any one can do for which you do not need the help of any instructor.

You know what these are? They are walking and swimming. Any body can walk and those of you who know how to swim can swim. For these two activities you do not need much gear and experts say that these two exercises have no side effects and are excellent stress busters.

So in the morning wake up just half an hour earlier, put on your walking shoes and hit the roads. Most roads will be less crowded at this hour and less polluted too. It is a wonderful way to start a day.

Take a break form coffee and try tea instead. If you are moving around the house, try playing music. Redecorate your room by adding a few pictures here and there preferably of scenery. And while you are redecorating, do what I mentioned earlier that is get rid of every thing that even remotely reminds you of smoking.

Plan your day in such a way that you have something enjoyable to do at the end of the day. It does not have t be something that involves money. We do not want you end up bankrupt. It can be something as simple as spending some time with the family playing a board game or something. Or it can be going out for a walk together.

But I would like to add that watching television just does not fit into this list. The reason is because T.V is not something that demands too much of our attention. We can easily do something else while we are watching TV and what can be easier than taking a smoke while our eyes are glued to the T.V. While you are working on breaking the habit of smoking, you need to move about with people. You need the company of people who can take your mind off that craving and TV doesn’t help you do that.

Make a list of those things that build up your stress. Try to steer clear of them. If that is not possible try to find out some stress busters and use them. Do not use stress as an excuse to start smoking. There are a hundred other methods of beating stress. As mentioned earlier, you could try breathing exercises, mediation or even music. There is another excellent way of beating stress and that is using the distressing ball. If you do not have one of those, try wriggling your fingers and toes. That too is a natural method of beating stress.

The point that we are trying to drive home over here is that you need a break from whatever you have been doing for this exercise of quitting to work. Since it is impossible to change your job or your home, you have to bring about as many changes as possible to get that whole new feeling.
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All about smoking and how to quit

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Why do we smoke?
Why do we smoke, when we all know that it is not good for health? There are very many reasons to it but in this article we will ponder over the biggest reason in today’s times and that is to release STRESS. What is stress, can we remove it through smoking, if not then how can we remove it, lets talk a little in the light of these questions.

What is Stress?
What is Stress? Stress is the situation when we feel helpless, incapable to perform, not able to meet the deadlines and pressurized. Stress could be due to any reason, be it work pressure, differences at personal front, may be due to financial crisis, or it could be due to anything.

Can we remove it through smoking?
Can we remove it through smoking? Can we smoke away our blues in the air and relax? Perhaps the answer is in the negative. If I have to submit a report to my boss in an hour, which I know, is just impossible and I am thus nervous, will smoking a complete cigarette down my lungs make me build a ginnee of that smoke that will do some miracle for me. Perhaps that could have happened, but alas it is not so. Then why am I smoking, if it is doing no good to me?

Then what to do?
Then what should I do in a stressful situation? The answer is confront it. Face the problem and find a solution to it. As for in my case above I would have talked to my boss, for some more time to prepare the report or if that could not have been possible to, provide me with some helping hand. Thus in a nutshell it is only positive attitude and logical thinking that helps you come out of a crisis situation. That’s why it is rightly said that it’s your attitude and not your aptitude that decides your altitude.

Dangers of smoking
Smoking not only does no good to us but it is bad for us, it thus does double harm to us. Smoking increases the chances of death due to lungs and breast cancer by a number of times. It wrecks the lungs during sports.

Tobacco the chemical contained in the cigar narrows the blood vessels and strains our heart. The biggest harm of tobacco is that it makes a person addictive to its use. So one should watch out, so as not to become addictive to its use in his plight to get rid of his worries and frustration.
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The Fuel Of Stress, Anxiety and Depression

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In the 21st Century, it is predicted that stress and stress related illnesses such as depression and anxiety will become the biggest killers. Despite significant advances in housing, standards of living, quality of food, and medical science, the pressures all of us have to face in today’s world are as demanding as any pressures experienced by our predecessors.

Why are these illnesses on the rise? And why do some people become so ill through these illnesses, they can find it hard to function?

Well they sure don’t happen overnight! You don’t suddenly wake up one morning and feel stressed or depressed. It’s not like flicking on a light switch! And by the same rule, if you’re suffering, you can’t just wake up one morning, flick off the switch and say “Great, I’m better now.”

Many people who don’t suffer from these illnesses often say to sufferers:

“Come on, snap out of it.”

If only it was so easy! Should anyone say this to you, please forgive them as it’s just a lack of understanding. It’s very hard for people to understand how you’re feeling if they haven’t been there.

The fact that these illnesses don’t suddenly happen means we can draw some parallels with illnesses such as heart diseases, some cancers and strokes.

Because these illnesses don’t just suddenly happen either.

If we look at heart disease, it’s often the result of damaging behaviors practised over many years. Behaviors such as smoking, lack of exercise and a diet high in saturated fat. Strokes are a result of similar behaviors and cancers too, particularly heavy smoking and drinking as you know.

So how do stressful illnesses such as stress, depression and anxiety compare?

Stress is also the product of harmful mental habits and behaviors. These habits and behaviors are developed and practised over years – since childhood in most cases. These are the mental processes that enable us to make sense of our lives and the circumstances we’re faced with. When we reach adulthood, we perform them automatically because we’ve learned these behaviors by repetition.

Think of it like learning to drive a car. Initially, the skills required to control the vehicle needed conscious thought. It seemed really difficult didn’t it? But once we’ve performed them for sufficient periods, we drive on auto-pilot. We’ve mastered the required skills by repetition.

Here’s the key: if we eat healthy food, take regular exercise, cut out harmful behaviors such as smoking and drinking, we improve our health and drastically reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer and strokes. We are repeating good habits, habits that will give our physical well being a huge boost.

It’s exactly the same for stress. What’s important to understand is that not everyone becomes stressed or depressed – even when tragic and traumatic circumstances happen to them. Just like people who lead a healthy lifestyle and avoid harmful habits and behaviors, people don’t become stressed or depressed because they have learned effective habits and behaviors that prevent stress from arising.

This is very good news if you suffer from these illnesses. Because just as we can learn habits and behaviors which cause us to become highly-stressed, depressed or anxious, we can learn the habits and behaviors which stop these terrible illnesses in their tracks. And the more often we make use of them, we’ll soon begin to perform them automatically and our mental health will benefit enormously.

No more feeling stressed out. No more feeling unable to cope. No more anxiety and no more depression. EVER.

I’m living proof of this. For 5 years, a series of traumatic events sent me spiralling into an anxiety-induced depression nightmare. I came out of it by learning the natural skills that starve these illnesses. The more I used them, the less anxious I became. They’re now as natural to me as driving a car, and I’ve completely eradicated anxiety and depression from my life.

You can do it too.
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The Reasons Behind Smoking

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So what are . Both you and me know that it is not good for our health? There are very many reasons to it but in this article we will look over the biggest reason in today’s world and that is to release STRESS. So what is stress, can we get rid of it through smoking, if not then how can we get rid of it, lets look at the reason behind smoking.

Stress – What is it?
Stress is the result of feeling helpless, incapable to perform, not able to meet the deadlines and pressurized. Stress could be due to any reason, be it down to pressure at the office, home or even a bad financial situation, or it could be due to anything your not happy with.

Can smoking get rid of it?
Can we get rid of stress through smoking? Will smoking make us relax and even feel better about life? Well lets look at it like this, will smoking get you out of that bad financial situation or do your work for you at the office or even ease things at home. I don’t think so! Then why carry on smoking, it’s not going to cure the problems but just ease it for a few minutes at the very most.

So what do you do?
Then what should I do in a stressful moment? The answer is to confront it head on. You need to find a long term solution to the problem. If you having financial trouble, go to the bank. Trouble at the office, see your boss. Don’t go to the shop and buy more cigarettes, they won’t sort the problem out long term. By confronting it head on you will ease your stress over time.

Don’t Smoke
Smoking is bad for you. Smoking increases the chances of death due to lungs and breast cancer by a number of times. It wrecks the lungs during sports. One good way of easing stress for the short term is to do sport, it can control it way better than smoking can.

Tobacco the chemical contained in the cigar narrows the blood vessels and strains our heart. This gives you a larger risk of strokes and heart disease. If you haven’t stopped yet them you need go for a stress free way of stopping. That way you’ll not feel worse off than when you smoked.
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Coping With Stress- 3 Simple Steps

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Coping With Stress - 3 Simple Steps

Attack and conquer deadly killer stress.


In the 14 years of teaching relaxation/meditation most people have admitted that stress is an issue they have ignored.


You ignore stress because it does not attack you like a big bang. Stress gradually creeps up on you like a can of worms and only becomes evident when the "worms" of aches and pains in your body become unbearable or exposed.


You can attack killer stress using 3 basic steps.


Step #1 You need to start your day in a stress free natural state. A stress free natural state means that your cells have
recharge and you are experiencing a wonderful flow of energy.


A stress free state does not include coffee, alcohol, smoking or pain killers in order to experience relaxation.


A natural stress free state is having the awesome feeling of relaxation by habitually practicing to relax. This practice also
helps you conquer killer stress.


You can use mantras, guided meditation,affirmations, soothing music or anchoring. The purpose of the natural stress free state is to prepare the mind and body for the onslaught of stress
attacks that you will be faced with during the day.


Relaxation soothes the soul (especially in these busy times) and it helps you brace the fall of nerve-shattering killer stress.


Step #2 Just imagine you wrote a 500 word sentence with one period. The sentence would make no sense at all. Therefore you
need to let go of your stress by punctuating the sentence.


Your life needs to be regularly punctuated in order to attack killer stress. This means that you need to take a quiet break at
lunch time and do another relaxation exercise.

Yes I have heard all kinds of excuse over the years, but when you take the time (to do a relaxation exercise at lunch time) you
will be amazed at the profound results. Killer stress will be neutralized.


Step #3 Let's assume you have difficulty with Step #2, then Step #3 can become your powerful rescuer.


Again at the end of the day you need to quietly punctuate the sentence of your life. Going nonstop all day without punctuation creates all kind of stress. It also exposes your vulneralility to killer stress.


Step #3 simply states that you separate work from home by doing a relaxation exercise before going home.


The purpose of this exercise is to help you knock out killer stress. This allows you to recharge your energies so that you can
spend time with your friends, family and or love ones.


One simple relaxation exercise is listening to whatever music you consider soothing. This has to be done either before you enter
the house or the first thing you do after entering the house.


If you are self employed or work from home then you need to make the necessary adjustments as when to do the relaxation exercises.


In summary you need to relax three time a day in order to knock out deadly killer stress.

Step #1 reminds you do a relaxation exercise in the morning to recharge your energies and prepare for the attacks of deadly killer stress.


Step #2 reminds you that you need to punctuate your life with relaxation exercise at lunch time in order to attack deadly killer stress.


Step #3 helps you separate work from home so that you can attack and conquer deadly killer stress and enjoy a life other than
work.This means that you can stop and smell the roses.
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