Thursday, December 3, 2009

13 Healthy Habits to Improve Your Life

Disregard them, and you may well be taking a big gamble with your mental and emotional well-being.

There are 13 ways to boost your chances of living a happy, healthy life. More can be added to this list, but, for simplicity's sake, we'll stick with this typically unlucky number.

Instead of bringing misfortune, however, the 13 habits promise a life of vigor and vivacity. There are, of course, no guarantees, but many of the practices mentioned here have been published in scientific journals. Disregard them, and you may well be taking a big gamble with your mental and emotional well-being.

Healthy Habit No. 1: Eat Breakfast Every Morning

Breakfast eaters are champions of good health. Research shows people who have a morning meal tend to take in more vitamins and minerals, and less fat and cholesterol. The result is often a leaner body, lower cholesterol count, and less chance of overeating.

"That one act [of eating breakfast] seems to make a difference in people's overall weight," says Melinda Johnson, RD, a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association (ADA). She says breakfast can hold off hunger pangs until lunchtime and make high-calorie vending machine options less enticing.

Not only that, researchers at the 2003 American Heart Association conference reported that breakfast eaters are significantly less likely to be obese and get diabetes compared with nonbreakfast eaters.

Another study in the International Journal of Food Science and Nutrition showed that people who consumed breakfast cereal every day reported feeling better both physically and mentally than those who rarely ate cereal in the morning.

For kids, breakfast appears to enhance alertness, attention, and performance on standardized achievement tests, reports the ADA.

To get the full benefits of breakfast, the Mayo Clinic recommends a meal with carbohydrates, protein, and a small amount of fat. They say that because no single food gives you all of the nutrients you need, eating a variety of foods is essential to good health.

Yet, even with so much scientific support that breakfast does the body good; many people still make excuses not to eat in the morning. They include not having enough time and not feeling hungry. For these people, Johnson suggests tailoring breakfast to the day.

"When I'm getting ready in the morning, I don't really want to take the time to eat breakfast because that would mean sacrificing sleep," says Johnson. "So I bring my breakfast with me, and I know I have an hour when I'm reading emails in the office when I can eat it. By that time, I'm hungry because I've been up for almost a couple of hours."

Healthy Habit No. 2: Add Fish and Omega-3 Fatty Acids to Your Diet

The AHA recommends a serving of fish two times per week.

Besides being a good source of protein and a food relatively low in the bad type of dietary fat called saturated fat, fish has omega-3 fatty acids -- which have been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease.

Fatty fish such as mackerel, lake trout, herring, sardines, albacore tuna, and salmon, are rich in two kinds of omega-3 fatty acids: eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).

Foods such as tofu, soybeans, canola, walnuts, flaxseed, and their oils contain alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which convert to omega-3 in the body. Even though the benefits of ALA are controversial, the AHA still recommends foods containing it as part of a healthy diet.

In addition to their heart-health benefits, there is some evidence that omega-3 fatty acids may also soothe an overactive immune system, says Johnson. Even though this benefit is still being studied, she says there appears to be a link between getting more omega-3s in your diet and reducing allergies, asthma, eczema, and autoimmune disorders.

Healthy Habit No. 3: Get Enough Sleep

"Your body has to have enough time to rest," says Michael Fleming, MD, president of the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP). Otherwise, he says you may find yourself feeling cranky and tired.

This may sound like common sense, but according to the National Sleep Foundation (NSF), more than two-thirds of older adults suffer from sleep problems and many American adults don't get the minimum amount of shuteye needed to stay alert.

Sleep is vital to good health and to mental and emotional well-being. The NSF reports that people who don't get enough slumber are more likely than others to develop psychiatric problems and to use health care services. Plus, sleep deprivation can negatively affect memory, learning, and logical reasoning.

Not enough ZZZs can also be hazardous. More than one-half of adult drivers -- some 100 million people -- say they have driven drowsy in the past year, according to NSF polls. About one out of five of these drivers -- 32 million people -- say they've fallen asleep while driving.

Each year drowsy driving causes more than 100,000 car crashes, 1,500 deaths, and tens of thousands of injuries, reports the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The NSF recommends taking a 15 to 20 minute nap. Because it takes about 30 minutes for the caffeine to work, taking a nap while you wait for the caffeine to kick in can help restore alertness.

To avoid the pitfalls of insufficient sleep, make sure to get at least seven to 10 hours of slumber each night. Kids need more sleep, depending on their age.

Healthy Habit No. 4: Make Social Connections

Volunteer. Go to church. Join a club. Whatever you do, do it with people. Communal activities are good for your physical and mental health, according to a study published in the March/April 2004 issue of the American Journal of Health Behavior.

It makes sense, says C. David Jenkins, PhD, author of Building Better Health: A Handbook of Behavioral Change. He says social ties have many benefits, including:

  • Providing information. You may think for instance your frequent nosebleeds, coughing, and sneezing episodes are trivial, but when a close friend or relative hears of it, he or she may encourage you to go to a doctor. If the symptoms turn out to be a serious condition, the social tie could have saved your life.
  • Instrumental help. Friends and family can provide physical support in time of need. They may help with cooking, cleaning, running errands, doing grocery shopping, and driving to the doctor's office.
  • Emotional support. Sharing a problem with a trusted person can help alleviate an internal burden. "It's a load off your chest," says Jenkins.
  • Offering a sense of belonging. This feeling not only helps reinforce a person's identity, it also assists in preventing and overcoming depression and anxiety.

Community ties also help improve mental functioning, says Fleming. Group activities can help keep the mind active and maintain desirable levels of serotonin -- the brain chemical associated with mood. "Lack of social interaction will [decrease] serotonin levels," says Fleming.

Healthy Habit No. 5: Exercise for Better Health

We already know that physical activity has a bounty of benefits, which makes it so puzzling why so many people just don't do it. According to the CDC, more than 60% of Americans do not get regular exercise.

In case you needed an incentive, here is a review of the advantages of exercise, per the National Cancer Institute:

  • Helps control weight
  • Maintains healthy bones, muscles, and joints
  • Reduces risk of developing high blood pressure and diabetes
  • Promotes psychological well-being
  • Reduces risk of death from heart disease
  • Reduces risk of premature death

Studies have also shown a link between exercise and a reduced risk of certain cancers.

Besides its long-term effects, moving your body has immediate benefits, says Cedric Bryant, chief exercise physiologist for the American Council on Exercise. The short-term results of exercise include helping people to think and move better, manage stress, improve mood, and get an energy boost.

The excuses that people often give to not exercise are the precise reasons to exercise, says Bryant. People who say they are too tired or don't have time to workout don't realize that exercise gives people more energy and allows them to be more productive with the rest of their time.

Healthy Habit No. 6: Practice Good Dental Hygiene

Flossing your teeth every day could add 6.4 years to your life, according to Michael Roizen, MD, author of RealAge. In his book, Roizen lists flossing as one of the most important daily activities -- along with exercise and quitting smoking -- that could extend life span.

Roizen's calculation may raise some eyebrows, but the idea that oral health is connected to overall health isn't far-fetched.

The mouth, after all, is an integral part of the body. "Teeth have a blood supply, and that blood supply comes from the heart," says Richard Price, DMD, consumer advisor for the American Dental Association (ADA).

Researchers suspect that the bacteria that produce dental plaque enter the bloodstream. They say these bacteria are somehow associated with the inflammation that occurs with plaque that blocks blood vessels and causes heart disease.

Other researchers have found links between oral bacteria and stroke, diabetes, and the birth of preterm babies and those that have low birth weight.

In addition to preventing disease, flossing and brushing can help keep your pearly whites intact for more than just cosmetic reasons. Teeth help you chew food, speak properly, and smile -- which, according to Price, can help you keep your dignity.

Healthy Habit No. 7: Take Up a Hobby

Look up the word "hobby" in the Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, and you will find the definition as "a pursuit outside one's regular occupation engaged in especially for relaxation."

Since they are relaxing activities, hobbies are usually enjoyable. Some people find joy in craftwork, bird watching, sports, going to flea markets, walking in the park, or playing cards.

The joy may help people live healthier and recover better from illness. For one thing, taking part in hobbies can burn calories, more so than just sitting in front of the TV.

In a study of people who had undergone surgery, Jenkins found that people who were involved in hobbies before their operation had better recovery six months later, compared with people who did not have hobbies.

The participants with hobbies tended to have more drive and interest in things and other people, says Jenkins. "It was a more active orientation to life."

Healthy Habit No. 8: Protect Your Skin

Our skin starts to age as soon as we are born and, according to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), the best way to protect it and look younger is to stay out of the sun.

The sun has harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays that can cause wrinkles, dryness, and age spots. Overexposure can cause sunburn, skin texture changes, dilated blood vessels, and skin cancers.

Avoiding the sun, however, is not always ideal or practical. To reduce the risk of skin damage, the AAD offers the following tips:

  • Always wear sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher.
  • Don a hat with a brim and wear other protective clothing.
  • Don't deliberately sunbathe.
  • Try to avoid sun exposure between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.

Healthy Habit No. 9: Snack the Healthy Way

The ADA recommends five or more servings of fruits and vegetables a day as part of a healthy diet. These plant foods can do many things to boost good health, including:

  • Reduce the risk of some cancers
  • Beat the signs of aging
  • Improve memory
  • Promote heart health
  • Enhance the immune system

One way to incorporate fruits and veggies into your diet is to have them as snacks. "If you can do one thing [to improve your health], concentrate on getting fruits and veggies," says Johnson. "They are low in calories and high in nutrients."

She says baby carrots and cut-up produce make tasty, convenient munchies. Other healthful snacks include low-fat yogurt and nuts (in moderation).

The best time to snack is when you are hungry between meals, says Johnson. But beware: Cravings could easily be mistaken for hunger cues, especially for people who are dieting.

Healthy Habit No. 10: Drink Water and Eat Dairy

Water and milk are essential fluids for good health, but they can also help with shedding pounds.

The body needs water to keep properly hydrated and individuals vary widely in how much water they need. Joints need it to stay in motion, and vital organs such as the heart, brain, kidney, and liver need it to work properly.

If you don't get enough water, the body goes into emergency mode, and clings to every single water molecule it can find, reports the University of Minnesota Water Resources Center. The stored molecules appear as extra weight. The weight is only released once the body gets enough water.

The calcium in dairy, on the other hand, is known to be important for strong bones and teeth. Studies have also shown it can help prevent high blood pressure, kidney stones, heart disease, and colon cancer.

In the weight loss arena, three 8-ounce glasses of low-fat or fat-free milk appear to encourage body fat loss while maintaining muscle mass, according to the ADA. The dairy consumption must be part of a balanced reduced-calorie meal plan.

Healthy Habit No. 11: Drink Tea

"Decaffeinated tea is better," says Fleming, noting that the caffeinated variety can be dehydrating, and sugary drinks can lead to weight gain.

There is some evidence that tea may help in improving memory, and preventing cavities, cancer, and heart disease. Fleming says, though, that the overall research is still inconclusive.

"There may well be some beneficial effects of tea, particularly the potential antioxidant effect, but we don't have great data on that right now that is that specific."

However, there's no doubt that a cool iced tea can be a refreshing treat during hot days. Try flavoring your tea with juices, fruits, cinnamon sticks, ginger, and other condiments.

Healthy Habit No. 12: Take a Daily Walk

We already mentioned the merits of exercise in habit No. 5. Now, here's a tip on how to incorporate physical activity into your daily life: WALK.

We're not talking about taking the time out of your busy schedule to work out -- that's important, too -- but infusing life- and limb-saving movement into your waking hours.

"Just move. Pace during phone calls, while you're brushing your teeth, while watching your son's soccer game," says Bryant, noting that every 20 steps a person takes is 1 calorie burned.

An eight-year study of 13,000 people also showed that people who walked 30 minutes daily had a significantly reduced chance of premature death compared with those who rarely exercised, reports the American Council on Exercise.

And there are plenty of opportunities to move those legs:

  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
  • Walk to the store.
  • Window shop at the mall.
  • Leave your desk and visit your co-worker instead of sending him an email.
  • Walk and talk with friends instead of meeting for a meal.

Healthy Habit No. 13: Plan

There is, perhaps, no better word in the English language to better illustrate how you can incorporate healthy habits into your everyday life.

"A little planning goes a long way," says Johnson. "Eating healthy never happens by accident."

For the most part, neither do good fitness, skin protection, healthy teeth, weight loss, and social ties. Many of these habits take effort that need to be scheduled into busy lives.

To eat healthy, for example, it would help to set aside time to draft a menu, make a grocery list, go to the store, prepare meals, and pack breakfast and lunch.

Thursday, December 3, 2009 by V.K Vimalaranjan · 0

How to Watch Live Cricket on the Internet for free!

Watching television on the internet is a concept that is sweeping the globe, and it is becoming increasingly easier for people to take advantage of fast internet connections to watch their favorite television, movies and sports online. Now there is a new concept available in sports entertainment online - It is now possible for you to watch live cricket on the internet.

Now it is possible for you to enjoy reliable and high quality cricket television streaming live from absolutely anywhere all around the world. You can watch live cricket on the internet without having to worry yourself with contracts, subscription fees, recurring fees or any additional hardware that you would need to purchase and then install.

Cricket is a sport that is sweeping the globe, and becoming increasingly popular not only to play but also to watch as well. Unfortunately, because cricket is being played all over the globe, being able to watch the matches is sometimes extremely difficult. How will you know when a cricket match is going to be on television? If you are interested in watching live cricket matches, no matter where in the world you are at the time, then the solution that tops all others is to watch live cricket on the internet through

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At netCric, cricket lovers from all over the world are being given the chance to take advantage of an alternative means of enjoying live cricket matches as they are streamed online from the comfort of a laptop or PC computer from absolutely anywhere in the world. All that you need in order to watch live cricket on the internet is an internet connection fast enough to handle live streaming video.

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If you enjoy watching television on the internet, then why not take in your favorite cricket matches streaming live over the internet as well? We can provide you with exactly that, and so much more.

by V.K Vimalaranjan · 0

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Google Street View launched in Singapore

SINGAPORE: GoogleStreetView has arrived in Singapore - making it the first in Southeast Asia to have a virtual street guide based on photographs.

Cars fitted with cameras went around Singapore earlier this year to take the shots. The technology by Google allows users to view and navigate 360-degree street-level imagery, including the country's most iconic sights.

Google said that faces and licence plates are blurred out, and one can see what already is visible on public roads.

The web-based application can also be used on mobile phones. Businesses and organisations can add their own listings onto the application for free.

Google Street View was launched in 2007, and is currently available in 100 cities around the world.

Countries in the Asia-Pacific that already have Street View are Japan, Australia and New Zealand.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009 by V.K Vimalaranjan · 0

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Banana per day keeps the doctor away

After reading this, you’ll never look at a banana in the same way again.

Bananas contain three natural sugars – sucrose, fructose and glucose combined with fiber. A banana gives an instant, sustained and substantial boost of energy.Research has proven that just two bananas provide enough energy for a strenuous 90-minute workout. No wonder the banana is the number one fruit with the world’s leading athletes.

But energy isn’t the only way a banana can help us keep fit. It can also help overcome or prevent a substantial number of illnesses and conditions, making it a must to add to our daily diet.

Depression: According to a recent survey undertaken by MIND amongst people suffering from depression, many felt much better after eating a banana. This is because bananas contain tryptophan, a type of protein that the body converts into serotonin, known to make you relax, improve your mood and generally make you feel happier.

PMS: Forget the pills – eat a banana. The vitamin B6 it contains regulates blood glucose levels, which can affect your mood.

Anemia: High in iron, bananas can stimulate the production of hemoglobin in the blood and so helps in cases of anemia.

Blood Pressure: This unique tropical fruit is extremely high in potassium yet low in salt, making it perfect to beat blood pressure. So much so, the US Food and Drug Administration has just allowed the banana industry to make official claims for the fruit’s ability to reduce the risk of blood pressure and stroke.

Brain Power: 200 students at a Twickenham (Middlesex) school ( England ) were helped through their exams this year by eating bananas at breakfast, break, and lunch in a bid to boost their brain power. Research has shown that the potassium-packed fruit can assist learning by making pupils more alert.

Constipation: High in fiber, including bananas in the diet can help restore normal bowel action, helping to overcome the problem without resorting to laxatives.

Hangovers: One of the quickest ways of curing a hangover is to make a banana milkshake, sweetened with honey. The banana calms the stomach and, with the help of the honey, builds up depleted blood sugar levels, while the milk soothes and re-hydrates your system.

Heartburn: Bananas have a natural antacid effect in the body, so if you suffer from heartburn, try eating a banana for soothing relief.

Morning Sickness: Snacking on bananas between meals helps to keep blood sugar levels up and avoid morning sickness.

Mosquito bites: Before reaching for the insect bite cream, try rubbing the affected area with the inside of a banana skin. Many people find it amazingly successful at reducing swelling and irritation.

Nerves: Bananas are high in B vitamins that help calm the nervous system.Overweight and at work? Studies at the Institute of Psychology in Austria found pressure at work leads to gorging on comfort food like chocolate and chips. Looking at 5,000 hospital patients, researchers found the most obese were more likely to be in high-pressure jobs. The report concluded that, to avoid panic-induced food cravings, we need to control our blood sugar levels by snacking on high carbohydrate foods every two hours to keep levels steady.

Ulcers: The banana is used as the dietary food against intestinal disorders because of its soft texture and smoothness. It is the only raw fruit that can be eaten without distress in over-chronicler cases. It also neutralizes over-acidity and reduces irritation by coating the lining of the stomach.

Temperature control: Many other cultures see bananas as a "cooling" fruit that can lower both the physical and emotional temperature of expectant mothers. In Thailand , for example, pregnant women eat bananas to ensure their baby is born with a cool temperature.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD): Bananas can help SAD sufferers because they contain the natural mood enhancer tryptophan.

Smoking &Tobacco Use: Bananas can also help people trying to give up smoking.. The B6, B12 they contain, as well as the potassium and magnesium found in them, help the body recover from the effects of nicotine withdrawal.

Stress: Potassium is a vital mineral, which helps normalize the heartbeat, sends oxygen to the brain and regulates your body’s water balance. When we are stressed, our metabolic rate rises, thereby reducing our potassium levels.. These can be rebalanced with the help of a high-potassium banana snack.

Strokes: According to research in The New England Journal of Medicine, eating bananas as part of a regular diet can cut the risk of death by strokes by as much as 40%!

Warts: Those keen on natural alternatives swear that if you want to kill off a wart, take a piece of banana skin and place it on the wart, with the yellow side out. Carefully hold the skin in place with a plaster or surgical tape!

So, a banana really is a natural remedy for many ills. When you compare it to an apple, it has four times the protein, twice the carbohydrate, three times the phosphorus, five times the vitamin A and iron, and twice the other vitamins and minerals. It is also rich in potassium and is one of the best value foods around So maybe its time to change that well-known phrase so that we say,

"A banana per day keeps the doctor away!"

Not only Banana …..

Each and every part of Banana Tree will
help for our healthy life

Saturday, October 31, 2009 by V.K Vimalaranjan · 0

Friday, September 18, 2009

If this is Earth, what's Heaven like?

Cherry Blossoms Japan


Autumn in Germany

The beauty of Antarctica

Saltzburg Austria - the most beautiful city we have ever seen

Neuschwannstein, King Ludwig's Castle in Bavaria , Germany

Windmills of Holland

Beauty of Tibet

Disney Castle

Golden Maple Leaf

Edge of Glacier

Lavender Farm and Tree

Lavender Farm

The Night Scene of Eiffel Tower

Blue Sea

Earthbound Rainbow


Lavender at the Foot of the Mountain

Comet (Make a wish)

The Purple Romance

Breithorn Peak ( Switzerland )

Deep Autumn

The Moon and Star on Earth

Friday, September 18, 2009 by V.K Vimalaranjan · 0

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

10 things you should know about Microsoft Expression Web

Microsoft recently released Expression Web, which replaces the venerable FrontPage HTML editor and Web site design tool. Expression Web has come a long way from its FrontPage roots, but it still maintains much of the ease of use that allowed FrontPage to be used by so many new Web content creators. Here’s a look at the highlights.

1: Expression Web replaces FrontPage in Microsoft’s lineup, but it fits into a different slot

Instead of being part of the Office suite, Expression Web is part of the new Expression suite. Expression is focused on Web designers and graphic artists. That being said, Expression Web does still have a few “FrontPage-isms,” such as the way it handles a Web site as a logical unit, while also incorporating some of the widgets and function set of Visual Studio 2005.

#2: Unlike FrontPage, Expression Web purposely generates standard, valid HTML and CSS by default

Although it can behave in an “IE first, all else second” manner, the focus is solidly on standards. This is a welcome change from FrontPage, which was notorious for generating code that did not work well (if at all) in browsers other than Internet Explorer.

#3: Expression Web is capable of working with ASP.NET files, but it can’t work with the code-behind files

All of the ASP.NET controls are configured using whatever attributes they expose. The ASP.NET pages that can be made within Expression Web fall under the category of tasks you would do in a basic, dynamic Web site. This is the most obvious sign that the tool is made with designers, not developers in mind. One piece of ASP.NET that it thankfully supports is the use of Master Pages. It is also capable of performing basic work with Data Sources and the related components that can be bound to them (Repeater, ASP.NET Web form components, etc.).

#4: The rest of the Expression suite covers the ground that Expression Web doesn’t

Expression Web is focused purely on HTML and CSS. It does not provide even a basic image editor, for example. And as previously noted, its support for ASP.NET is limited in scope.

#5: Like FrontPage, Expression Web provides a good number of tools for reporting against the site that you’re working on

For example, it has broken link searching, a site summary, and unlink file summary. While these tools may seem rather basic for a Web developer, they are invaluable for a Web designer, whose purpose is layout, not deeply technical code writing.

#6: One sign of the former Office integration is the use of the spell checker, something which will most likely never appear in Visual Studio

The spell checker shows some unusual behavior, which it does not show in other Office applications: Once a word has been “completed” (indicated by putting a space after it), further edits to that word that create a typo are not marked as such. This is a bizarre thing for it to do. The word to the wise would be don’t use Expression Web as a content editor for too long.

#7: Expression Web contains three important and useful validators

This first one is a CSS validator, which checks the selected documents (or the entire site) to make sure that the CSS within it is used properly, such as tags that have undefined CSS classes. The second is an HTML validator, which can use either a set DTD or each document’s declared DTD to verify that each page is valid and can verify the CSS against a particular version of the CSS standard. The third one is an accessibility validator, to ensure that the site meets standards for accessibility. This is a welcome piece, since Web designers frequently are ignorant of (or ignore) accessibility standards. These three items help make Expression Web an excellent tool for users who are more focused on layout and design and less inclined to think about or be knowledgeable about these topics.

#8: If you want the functionality of the Master Page system without using ASP.NET, Expression Web has a Dynamic Web Template system

This system allows you to create a pure HTML template and then create pages based upon it. When the template gets updated, so do the pages created from it. The pages may override the template as well, where needed, but the behavior in the Design view is to allow editing only in the sections of the page that the template has labeled as an Editable Region.

#9: Expression Web hooks into the Microsoft Script Editor, which provides debugging tools for client-side scripting

This is nice to have, but it would have been nice if the tools for working with the client-side scripting had been built into Expression Web. While the “separation of powers” makes sense at one level (after all, Expression Web is not meant for code writing), it is a ding in terms of convenience and ease of use.

#10: Microsoft is currently offering a 60 day free trial of Expression Web

This is a great way to try out the tool with no commitment, to see if it meets your needs. If you decide to purchase the full version, you don’t need to reinstall it; you can easily update the product key. Also, Expression Web is now part of the tools available to MSDN members, reversing an initial decision not to make it available to them.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009 by V.K Vimalaranjan · 0

Saturday, August 8, 2009

How to Stay Healthy During the Influenza A (H1N1) Pandemic

The recent outbreak of swine-origin influenza Virus A (also termed H1N1), or more commonly known as "swine flu," has many people concerned about their health. These concerns are justified, but need to be placed into perspective to avoid a social panic that will not benefit anyone. Swine flu is a respiratory disease found in pigs caused by Type A flu virus. It is contagious the same way any other known influenza virus is transmitted, which includes person-to-person contact via coughing and sneezing. Swine flu cannot be transmitted by eating or handling pork, and properly cooked pork is safe to be consumed. Also, as with any influenza outbreak, people with underlying medical conditions such as cancer, HIV/AIDS, poorly controlled diabetes and similar clinical conditions are likely more susceptible to acquiring swine flu if they come into contact with the virus. It is essential to remember that for anyone, regardless of their health status, the only way to get swine flu is by coming into contact with a person actively infected with a confirmed case of H1N1. In this article I will help you to understand how to prevent swine flu, review the symptoms of infection and examine prevention/treatment interventions that are effective and available.

The basics of infection are simple and you already know them; however, it may be a good time for you to sit down with your family and review them:
  • Eat a healthy diet that includes plenty of fruits and vegetables.
  • Keep yourself hydrated by drinking enough water.
  • Get adequate rest and exercise to help your immune system function properly.
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water or one of the many over-the-counter hand sanitizers. Hands should always be washed after using the bathroom, eating, sneezing, coughing or touching any object that may be contaminated with significant bacteria or viruses. A simple-to-follow-rule is that if you have any doubt about whether or not you should be washing your hands, then you should indeed be washing them!
  • If you develop cold-like symptoms, even mild ones, it is best to stay home from work, school and social events for the time being. Your cold symptoms will more likely be the “common cold” that will typically respond to your usual self-care interventions. However, if they worsen you should contact your medical provider immediately.
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also suggest that anyone who is strongly suspected of having contracted swine flu be asked to wear a disposable face mask to prevent possible transmission to others.
Know the signs and symptoms of swine flu in order to protect yourself and your family. Remember that swine flu presents itself like virtually any other flu-like syndrome, so while it is prudent to be cautious, the odds of you not coming into contract with someone with cold-like or allergy symptoms this time of year are fairly remote--so please do not overreact. Remember, the only way to get infected with swine flu is to come into contact with someone who has a confirmed case of the virus or by touching a swine flu virus-contaminated object.

The basic symptoms of swine flu include: fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Diarrhea and vomiting have also been reported, but to a lesser extent.

Since it's not yet known how easily swine flu is transmitted between people, it may be wise to avoid close contact with people who are displaying flu-like symptoms; however, it may not be necessary to isolate yourself from an ill individual if you feel well and are taking the precautions listed in Step 1. While not yet the standard of care, the ill person might provide you with a level of protection if they wear a disposable mask covering their nose and mouth while in your presence.

If you have come into contact with a person suspected of having or confirmed with swine flu there are two drugs that can be taken to prevent you from becoming infected with the virus or to lessen the severity of the disease. Currently only two out of the five anti-viral flu drugs are effective against swine flu. The two effective medications are: Oseltamivir (brand name Tamiflu ®) to prevent and treat in people 1 year of age or older and Zanamivir (brand name Relenza ®) is approved to treat people 7 years and older and to prevent Influenza A and B virus infection in people 5 years and older. Currently, there are health authorities testing other medications, but as of now only Tamiflu and Relenza are known to help with swine flu infection. Generally, treatment for swine flu is a 5-day course of therapy and 10 days are required for prevention control. It is also important to note that these drugs are not in short supply or difficult to manufacture. There is no reason to stock pile drugs or panic.

Stay informed. The science and knowledge of swine flu infection and treatment is rapidly evolving on a daily basis, which is normal when there is a flu breakout. Newly developed information should not be considered a concern or reason to panic. It should be viewed as scientific advancement; the health care community is learning more about this emerging infection.

Saturday, August 8, 2009 by V.K Vimalaranjan · 0

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Microsoft Surface, Future of Computers

Future Microsoft Computer Technology Using New Touchscreen Computer That Will Change the Physical and Digital World

Bill Gates will manage one of the highest-profile transitions in American business history and computer technology. Before stepping down as chairman of Microsoft (currently $300 billion company that he co-founded over 30 years ago) and moving on to philanthropy, Gates will head a few more high-tech projects and hopefully achieve his goal of bridging the physical and virtual worlds. A secret covert project code named Milan and is 5 years in the making was top secret until recently being unveiled to the public at the Wall Street Journal conference. The project involved transforming an ordinary tabletop into a brilliant, interactive surface with effortless interaction with digital content through natural gestures, touch, and physical objects. A revolutionary aspect of Microsoft Surface is its natural interaction with everyday objects and technologies with an intuitive touch-sensitive 30-inch tabletop with nothing but your fingers. No more computer mouse, keyboards, or wires. The multi-touch interface allows the user to have hands-on control of photos, music, maps, and more. The coolest feature I liked was the photo resizing and stacking that is similar to Macintosh’s Apple iPhone’s zoom gestures.

This idea is nothing new and is not the only company eyeing the new market, but it has never been more than a prototype until recently being exhibited at the All Things Digital conference.. Microsoft Surface made several appearances in movies like the futuristic movies Minority Report and The Island. This new technology, the brainchild of Stevie Bathiche and Andy Wilson, is breaking down the traditional barriers of people and technology by providing an effortless interaction with digital media. It is apart of Intel’s vision of the near future where devices work seamlessly together. This innovative computer has price tags running $10,000 a unit. Microsoft however expects prices to plummet over the next three to five years to the point that it will be available for every home.

Key Attributes of Microsoft Surface

  • Direct Interaction: Users can actually “grab” digital information with their hands and interact with content by touch and gestures, without the use of a mouse or keyboard.
  • Multi-Touch Contact: Surface computing recognizes many points of contact simultaneously, not just from one finger, as with a typical touch screen computer, but up to dozens and dozens of items at once.
  • Mulit-User Experience: the horizontal form factor makes it easy for several people to gather around surface computers together, providing a collaborative, face-to-face computing experience
  • Object-Recognition: Users can place physical objects on the surface to trigger different types of digital responses, including the transfer of digital content.

Inside Microsoft Surface Computer

We begin exploring this radical new computer by exploring the components that make up this computer. In order to get the table as low as it is, five cameras are used so that each one can have a small field of view. This translates into better resolution and speed (measure in pixels/second) than a single camera with an exceptionally wide-angle view of the table surface. A high-end PC is hidden inside but uses mainly conventional components. Powered by a Core 2 Duo Intel CPU and a “newish video card” running on 2 GB of RAM.

Underneath the impact-resistant acrylic plastic screen hides five semi-infrared scanners/cameras, a projector, and a wireless modem. The surface can read a nearly infinite number of simultaneous touches, and are limited only by processing power. The scanners are able to detect movements and recognize objects and shapes placed on the surface. The computer is able to interact and respond to them accordingly. If the scanners recognize fingers, and the fingers have been placed color circles that appear on the surface, the projector sows colored lines that follow the tracings and movements of your fingers. The five cameras are near-infrared devices, but that’s not because they are trying to read heat signatures from fingertips on the table. Instead, its because the entire surface is bathed in light; by illuminating the top of the table, the cameras can easily see when things are placed on it. Shining colored light across the surface of the table would spoil the effect that Microsoft wants, so near-infrared light is used for invisible illumination.

The internal modem is able to send and receive signals from any electronic device placed on top of the surface. With its wired 10/100Mbit Ethernet and wireless 802.11 b/g and Bluetooth 2.0 supports built it, it is already more than compatible with the various devices on the market already. If you place your Wi-Fi enabled digital camera on the table, Microsoft Surface is able to “see” the camera and pull your digital pictures and videos out onto the table for everyone to look, move, edit or send. Images are literally spill out in a pool of color.

Microsoft has developed a square tag called a “domino” that can be attached to objects so that Surface can interact with them on the fly. Instead of relying on RFID, the domino tag uses dots to encode its information (hence the name). There is a single do in the center of the tag, three dots on one side for orientation, and space for eight more dots that are read as data. Essentially, it’s a one-byte data tag.

All of the hardware is run by a special version of Microsoft’s new operating system, Windows Vista. Surface applications can be written in Windows Presentation Foundation or XNA. The development process is much like normal Vista development, but custom WPF controls had to be created by the Surface team due to the unique interface of Surface. Developers already proficient in WPF have been trained in the idiosyncrasies of writing Surface apps and should be available to customize Surface deployments. This is assisting in the transition from DOS to GUI.

When something like a wine glass is set on the table, Surface illuminates the edges of the object with a soothing glow and can display information, pictures, or decorative graphics next to and around the glass. When the glass moves across the table, these items follow it. The possibilities for such a device are staggering, especially when it drops in price and enters the home market. It’s even possible that consumer electronics could be tagged at production.

To operate the 22 inches high and 42 inches wide Microsoft Surface computer, all you have to do is reach down, touch it, and push it. To make the image you see on the screen bigger, spread your fingers. To make it smaller, squeeze your fingers together. To move something into the trash, push it into the trash with your hand. This new interface allows to paint with a real brush, play cards with your hands, and pay your bills just by putting your credit card on the surface of the display.

Microsoft Surface also allows what is being called Multi-Touch and Multi-User interaction. This means that more than one individual can interface with the computer simultaneously. With the Microsoft Surface, that doesn’t mean a few, it can support dozens and dozens of fingers at once.

Microsoft Partners Get Latest Technology

The first people/companies to get their hands on these are partners T-Mobile USA, Starwood Hotels and Resorts, and Harrah’s Entertainment. Hotels, retail stores, and restaurants will easily adapt to this technology and make use of this new technology.

T-Mobile plans to adapt the technology by allowing customers to place any cell phone(s) onto the surface and then view a detailed display of the product(s) information. This makes it easy and ideal to compare various phones at once and easily keep or remove your choices. Consider all your options for possible mobile telephones with all of the products information at hand. Harrah’s is also exploring the idea of integrating further options for ordering food and beverages, and possibly gaming or game-related activities.

Starwood plans to make the machines available in public areas of select Sheraton properties, including in Seattle, starting later in 2007. Starwood is exploring the possibility of users being able to select music through their personal playlist, share photos, ordering food and adapting a virtual concierge idea.

Harrah’s plans to start using the surface tables as a “virtual concierge” desk in conjunction with its Total Rewards loyalty program at its eight Las Vegas properties, which include Caesars Palace and Bally’s. People will be able to use the tables to access maps of the different properties, get details about events and venues and create itineraries for themselves.

Touchscreen and Multi-User Computer History

The tablet PC was the conceptual forerunner to the new machine. However, the tablet pc failed to capture the consumer market as much as Microsoft Chairman Bill Gate predicted. Project Milian was the first product from the Surface Computing team, a hitherto unknown group that has grown, under the radar, to 120 people. The company says the product’s genesis came in 2001, arising from brainstorming sessions between Andy Wilson of Microsoft Research and Stevie Bathiche of Microsoft Hardware. Wilson has shown certain elements of the surface-computing technology publicly, as has Bill Gates. Most of the products details are now unwrapped. Visionary Bill Gates has been touting alternative forms of computer-human interaction for years, such as tablet computing and voice recognition. Now the result of six years of collaboration between the company’s hardware and Microsoft Research (MSR) will have the opportunity to reap the rewards and bask in success if all goes according to plan.

Microsoft Surface plans on achieving much more and not sharing the same fate as the Tablet PC. Pete Thompson, general manager of Microsoft Surface Computing, plans on this section of the company becoming a multibillion-dollar industry. The goal is have this technology to adapt to everyday life and be pervasive – not just a novelty computer. Price will be a major obstacle for the new machine to overcome if it is to catch on with mainstream computers. Like all of the latest gizmos and gadgets, prices start out high and quickly drop as the computer becomes “out-dated”. Current projections for the unit range from $5,000 to $10,000. With this price range it could be years before it is available to the consumer market, but Microsoft plans on this happening much sooner.

See Microsoft Surface in action

Restaurant menu

Microsoft envisions the Surface technology being used in restaurant settings.

Photo manipulation

Mark Bolger, director of marketing in Microsoft's Surface Computing group, shows a photo application that pulls digital images from a remote server and then lets users move them around the tabletop -- and resize them -- with their hands.


Bolger demonstrates a virtual painting application.

T-Mobile Demo

One of the customers that will be using Microsoft Surface is wireless service provider T-Mobile. In this demo, Microsoft's Mark Bolger shows one of the ways that the technology could be used in a T-Mobile retail store.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009 by V.K Vimalaranjan · 0

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