Who’s Been Snooping at Your Email?

There’s been loads in  the news recently about countries snooping on each other, it appears we’re all at it.  The UK Intelligence services at GCHQ hoovering up all the internet data that crosses the UK, Russians, Chinese and Israeli Intelligence all investing heavily in internet surveillance and the NSA in the US well spying on everyone including their own via Prism.

Many of us now feel that we have to use technology to protect ourselves,  a simple VPN can go a long way to blocking those who are spying on us.  They have other uses, for example to access region locked sites – watch this video – BBC News Streaming , for an example.

So it’s obviously quite understandable to start thinking about how much of our communications is so easily monitored. Our web traffic at least the majority of it, is I’m afraid very easily accessible by just about anyone in any position of power.  At every ISP a detailed list of the majority of your communication traffic is easily picked up.  The web’s favorite protocol – HTTP is unfortunately rather lacking in security features and as such web traffic is mostly transmitted in the clear.

So what about email? It’s still one of the most used messaging systems in the world, but how secure is email – read this report?  There are two main issues regarding the security of your average email –

1) It’s transported in clear text so everyone can read it.

2) The email is transmitted across the shared infrastructure of the internet.

It means that email is not private at all. Not only is is transmitted in a completely readable format with no encryption at all but this ’open letter’ is delivered by using a network of shared routers, servers and cabling.   Anyone at any point can tap into this data a little like GCHQ have tapped into the major fiber connections in the UK.

There are solutions that can make Outlook or Thunderbird a little more secure – one of the major improvements is to encrypt your messages.  This means that if done properly only the sender and the recipient would be able to decipher the contents.  Look for applications like Hushmail and programs like PGP to offer different solutions to this issue

James Williams

Author of RAI Streaming Estero

Troubles in Mozambique

The trouble with being an economist who writes about Africa is that it has a habit of making you look stupid very quickly indeed.  Even when you try and keep up, I use a VPN like this to regularly connect when I can’t visit,  I’m sure I’m not alone having written a piece full of optimism and economic good news on an African country only to see it all start to fall a part only a couple of years later.  Africa has a habit of doing this, turning the positive around very quickly usually it has to be said as a result of some pretty incompetent leadership.

Mozambique is the latest African country to seem to snatch economic disasters whilst heading for seeming prosperity.   The economy was growing, almost 7% a year for nearly a decade, there was gas discovered off the coast of the country and investors were flocking to the country to help exploit it.   Investment was heading for other areas too, attracted by the political stability,  $850 million of state sponsored bonds in the Tuna fishing industry was eagerly purchased at exceptionally high yields.

Ironically it looks like the ‘tuna bonds’ were the first mistake leading to a growing scandal that looks like destroying the growth of the last few years.  Indeed on January 16th, Mozambique announced to the chagrin of the rest of the world that it would default on it’s international debts.

So why has the government fell into such economic chaos so quickly?   There are some mitigating factors, the global fall in commodity prices have played a part and caused a slowdown in growth to a still respectable 3.4% in 2016.  However as usual the main reason is the economic mismanagement by the government, if you weren’t a citizen of Mozambique it could almost be seen as laughable.

Take the huge investment in the Tuna fishing industry, the state funded industry unfortunately never caught many fish certainly nowhere near enough to repay the generous yields owed on the supporting investment bonds.   This is not actually that surprising because the majority of the investment raised was not spent on fishing boats but rather the sort of boats with guns on the front.    The bonds were hastily swapped for government ones when it became clear they were unsupportable yet almost immediately the Government also admitted that it had hidden further loans of $1.4 billion guaranteed.  This is a huge amount for a country the size of Mozambique and represents almost 11% of their GDP.

Not surprising this sleight of hand dismayed international organisations with the IMF and other donors freezing their existing support.   This is a disaster for a country that despite it’s economic progress still relies heavily on international aid to provide even basic functions and services.   Mozambique’s debt now represents over 110% of it’s GDP and some experts thing even this is optimistic,  however the country is now engaging in a phase of ‘restructuring’.

This is of course merely another way of saying our debts are out of control and we need to bailed out quickly something that the IMF are probably reluctant to do. Missing payments on existing debts is not the way to attract additional funding for obvious reasons.   Few of the existing bondholders are likely to trust the government  after recent events and even the IMF has now insisted on a full of audit of all it’s debts.   There is also the question of where all the original loans and investments have disappeared to as well.

John Williams

Spoof my IP

Do I have a Digital Nationality?

Where are you from?  What do you consider your nationality?  For most of us it’s fairly straight forward – we are born, live and even die in a single country.   For others it’s a little more complicated, born somewhere, grow up somewhere else – living a life spread among a variety of countries.   Picking your nationality isn’t always as simple as looking at your passport.

This is further complicated now because of the way we live part of our lives  in the internet ether, most of us have a digital identity too.   You might think it doesn’t matter, after all when your online everyone is just an electronic presence at best a series of numbers making up your IP address.  However here’s the issue, your internet address is part of your identity and seriously impacts what you can and can’t do online.  Your digital nationality might not be something you’ve considered however nearly every web site and online service you use does consider this piece of information.

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The simple fact is that a US citizen using the internet does have a different experience from a Mexican, a European or a Turkish web user.   What you can do, what you can see will vary extensively simply based on that one piece of information – the location of your IP address.   This is your digital nationality and if you don’t believe it, try visiting China and try surfing the internet – you’ll be amazed at the difference.

The global giants who are dominating online multimedia are a perfect example, Netflix for example provides an account which is usable in over 160 different countries.   However it changes based on your location, in fact it varies hugely depending on your physical position.  Unfortunately this means that in many countries, Netflix has nowhere near as many movies available compared to connecting from a US location for example.  It’s so different that many people use software to spoof their location and access a different version, something that has led to this scenario – Netflix Blocking VPNs and Proxies.

Is this all fair? Should your online experience be affected  your location.  Your point of view will probably depend on where you are based – people in the US and Europe for example generally have a much better time online.   Just for illustration, Turkish web users were blocked from Facebook and Twitter for several days last week as the Government decided to restrict access.

There is no doubt that your digital identity is something that we all now need to consider.  To many people think that they are not linked to their online experience,  that they can remain totally anonymous without any privacy tools in place.  Every day millions of people download stolen digital goods like software and movies from torrent sites, thinking that they are safe and untraceable.  The truth is that anonymous torrenting although possible is actually fairly difficult to achieve and it certainly needs some technical tweaking to hide both your identity and location.

The reality is tinged with an element of sadness that commercialization and the need for control is starting to take over the digital world.  In the early days of the internet, your nationality and location was largely irrelevant – we were all just citizens of the world when online.  Those days though are now long behind us and it is imperative that we realise that when we post those funny clips or visiting those controversial websites that these are being linked to our online, digital profiles.

The Secret to Success – Outsourcing

The Right Way to Find Success Through Outsourcing

A vital element that has become a part of operating a successful Internet business these days is outsourcing. A lot of the big shot web marketers and webpreneurs are doing really well at outsourcing, which is leading to the growth of their business. There is nothing new about outsourcing, as it has been leveraged by multi-national corporations for a long time now. However, on account of the arrival of the Internet, anybody with extra money in their budge can start outsourcing their business tasks. Therefore, the question that comes up at this point is, what can you do in order to guarantee some triumphs with outsourcing? Within this article, we will be talking about some hints for understanding outsourcing.

First of all, don’t look at outsourcing as an expense or money that you’re losing -consider it as an investment There are many Internet marketers who stay away from outsourcing just because they think it’s a waste of money.

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When you outsource in the right manner, however, it’s a way to bring in more money. When you outsource effectively, you’re able to save more time, which leads to a better business. Spending your time doing mundane tasks will eat up into your productive time. When you outsource intelligently, then, it’s money well spent that will enable you to focus on your long term goals.

It’s essential that anyone you hire when outsourcing is able to understand your needs and instructions. This is important because when you have a communication gap with the people that you’re outsourcing to, it slows down work. It’s hard to have a project go smoothly when people don’t understand one another. That’s why you should make sure you’re able to communicate effectively with a candidate before you even consider choosing them.

Get an idea as to how they present their ideas and understand yours.  If you’re selling in a different country have a look online at adverts based in that country, for example if you’re selling to the UK check out the BBC News online and the commercial channels for some perspective. Don’t overlook the importance of this, as it has a lot to do with the results you’ll see.

You only want to outsource when it’s truly efficient and cost effective to do so, which means you should track the time it takes you to set up outsourcing projects. When getting started, you will want to outsource every aspect of your project. If you can do it faster on your own, then you shouldn’t bother to outsource. In such cases. you’d be spending your money on something that wouldn’t even be saving you any time. So do some calculations before deciding whether or not to outsource.

Only outsource when you can be sure that it’s going to work out in your favor. When you outsource the task to the right person, you’ll feel a lot more relaxed. It’s easier to focus on the strategic parts of your business and help it grow when you know you have the right person hired. The minute you get it wrong, though, and hire the wrong person, your problems will get even bigger. Basically, doing your homework and understanding the basic rules of our sourcing will help you in a major way. It might take you a while to go through all the preparation, but even it’ll be worth it. Someone who can deliver timely and high quality results and who is okay with working in the long term is someone you should find very valuable.

Harry Williams

BBC World News Streaming

Taking down old asbestos roofs

valg af nyt tag til dit hjemAs you probably know, a lot of roofing products, were manufactured with asbestos, from the 1920’s and up to the early 1980’s. A lot of the people who has been exposed to asbestos over a longer duration, has developed mesothelioma cancer. There are still many roofs out there which was building before the 80’s that contains asbetos. So when removing your old roof, there are a few things you need to consider.

It’s always a good idea to talk to a roof expert first. Not only can he easily tell you if your old roof contains asbestos, and what is required to get rid of it properly and legally. But he can help you our with advices on your new roof, like which materials you should choose, and special demands or features. Luckily there are a lot of companies, like Nyt Tag Roofing, which offers free meetings with one of their carpenters, in hope of you selecting them for the job. Last month I had both a guy from New Tag Roofing, and from Tømrer over and give me advices on my new roof and it didn’t cost me a single dollar. See some examples here at Effectio. So if there are any roofing companies near you, that offers free meetings, it’s always a good idea to take advantage of that before you begin a new roofing project.

Removing the old asbestos roof can be quite expensive. If all the roofing tiles are undamage, the risk of getting in contact with asbestos is pretty low, but if you got broken tiles among them, then you need to take special care. Depending on where you live, you may be required to have a professional team with masks and protection suits, remove the roof for you and handle the scrapping. Also you can’t just drive it to the local junk yard, as i’s classified as hazardous materials, so it can be a bit expensive to get rid it, as you can’t just dump it the same places as normal roofing materials.

As my old roof was an old cement roof, that look quite a bit like asbestos cement, I was a bit worried myself that my roof contained asbestos. However the guy from Nyt Tag Roofing, told me not to worry, it was pure cement, so the cost of removing it would be quite low. They gave me a good price for my new roof, so I ended up selecting Nyt Tag Roofing for the job, and it was something i didn’t regreat. A good service and a fine result for a price that was about 20% lower than what the carpenter from Tømrer Sæby had given me. And i got a lot of help select the proper roofing type for my roof, and ended up with a beautiful black slate roof, that looked great on my newly white painted home.

Protect the Environment

indexOur environment is probably the most important thing we got, and for some reason there are still way to many of us who really don’t threat it this way. Many people still don’t care if they leave garbage our in the nature, many companies don’t mind letting thousands of tons of polluted water or oil our in our oceans, as long as it saves them a little bit of money. There are still many of us who leave the lights on, even when we arn’t at home or don’t really care much about how much electricity we use, as long as the bills don’t get to high. But have you even considered how much Co2 is used to create the electricity that you use? Not to mention how much is used to create the clothes you wear, the food you eat or just to transport you around? Combine that from the billions of people living in the world and it’s actually quite a lot, in fact it’s so much that it already have started to affect our environment big time. Philip from Kostumer og Udklædning is one of the people who actually want’s to change this. His website kostumerogudklaedning.dk are running on pure clean energi only, the server parts are made from reusable computer parts, and all the costumes he sells are made from reused clothing. If more people were like Philip maybe the situation wouldn’t be as bad as it is, but lets take a look at some of the big issues of today’s world.

Global Warmning
Over the last 10 year we have often heard about global warning, and even though the weather might not be getting warmer at your place, it has most likely still affected your weather somehow. Maybe you are having more rain than normally, a shorter winter or more storms. If not then you will most likely begin to notice the effects within the next few years. For some people, it may sound pretty great that it’s getting warmer, but for a lot of people, not to mention a lot of animals it can be catastrophic. For instance deserts may grow quite a bit, the ocean levels will rise, and a lot of land (and cities), may be flooded in just 10 – 20 years from now. Whole eco systems will break down, which mean that certain spieces of animals will die and people will be forced to move.
It’s already to late to prevent most of this, but with some luck we can stop it from getting much worse if we all put some effort into it.

The plastic islands
Did you know that our in the big oceans there are huge islands made of plastic garbage? One of the largest concentrations is in the pacific ocean and is called the Great Pacific garbage patch. This area is filled with plastic debris and is estimated to be around the size of the whole USA continent. Most of it is located just below the surface so it is not possible to spot it all from satalite or ships, which makes it hard to determain the exact size. One of the properties of plastic is that is absorbs organic pollutants from seawater, including PCBs, DDT, and PAHs.The problem with all this plastic is that most of it, is made up of tiny bits of plastic, which is eaten by fish, birds, turtles, which is in return eaten by humans, so not only does this affect the wildlife, but in the end also the human population.

In addition to these two major problems mentioned above, there are a lot of other issues that we really do need to pay attention to, such as harvesting the earths resources, animal extinction / Animal welfare, nuclear waste and much more. If we don’t start paying more attention to our environment, it will come back and cause major problems for the human race at some point. We are already at the brick of two major disasters, in a few years there will likely be many others, if we don’t act soon.

Save energy by using the right windows

vinduerLike many of you, I live in a old house. I used to have a pretty big heating bill as my house really couldn’t keep the heat inside. Last year I hired a company to go over the house and find the places where it was leaking heat. This process is called a thermal mapping, and uses a special digital thermal camera to generate an infrared map of my home. On that map we can easily see which parts of the outside, is leaking the most heat.
It turned out that most of the heat was getting out through my old windows. 80% of the energi loss came from the windows, which made sense as they were about 30 years old and in pretty bad shape, well the glass was still there though, in case you were wondering.

I then hired a local company called Vinduer, to come and replace all the windows in my house. It was a bit expensive, but I wanted the job done right, and I am not much of a DIY type of person. I also wanted some quality windows that would last for a long time, and would isolate my home as good as possible.
After Vinduer had replaced all my old windows, I have them do a new thermal mapping, and the result looked much better. 3 months late I could also see the affect on my heating bills. It had been lowered by a whooping 25% and the period had been even colder than the months earlier. With this saving it wouldn’t take more than a fews years before I had saved the amount of money I paid Vinduer to change all my old house windows, so not only would I later on save money, I would also do something for the environment.

I am pretty sure there at quite a few of you in the same situation, you got an old house with 20-30 year old windows. By replacing those windows you would likely save money in the long run, but you would also use less heat, which is a good thing, when you consider the amount of pollution and CO2 it takes to warm a home these days. If all of us could lower the amount of energy we used by changing to the right windows, then it would make a huge impact on our planet, and could really be something to help lower the CO2 amounts. The energy we use to heat our home, is really something that leads to massive amounts of CO2 emition.

But the windows arn’t always the only part of the home that could be changed to save energy, according to Gratistagtjek, a lot of the time it’s the roof that’s an issue, with their Nyt Tag app, they have found that a lot of the problems come from leaky roofs, so imagine if you could both get a new roof and new windows, then you might be able to cut your energy use in half, now that would be quite something. Of course it would take several years before it would be economically beneficial, but the effect on the enviroment would start from day one after you replaced the roof or windows.

Source:
gratistagtjek.dk
WEB: http://www.gratistagtjek.dk/

The Environmentally Friendly Way to Stay Cool

We all know how hot and sticky it can get during the summer months and most of us are guilty of turning on the air conditioning in our homes and offices to try and keep cool or at least be able to live or work in a comfortable climate. The only problem with using AC is the incredibly high load on the power supply.

A typical family home with AC running in several of the most used rooms in the house can be consuming 10kW or more. That can run into many hundreds of dollars in additional utility demands when the summer is over and cause major headaches for moms and dads trying to balance the household budget.

But worse still is the less realized impact on the environment when not just one house is consuming all that additional electricity to keep its occupants cool, but thousands in every town. It’s no wonder there are constant brown outs and blackouts through summer as the energy companies literally run out of power to supply the increased demand.

To produce the additional electricity to keep us all conveniently comfortable, huge volumes of non-renewable fuels must be used up in the form of, for example oil, coal and natural gas to keep the generators turning. Not to mention the need for nuclear power stations to take up the extra load and all the additional air pollution that the increased power generating produces.

But there is a much more ecologically sound way to produce the cool air we crave inside when it gets too hot outside. Evaporative coolers are vent free (see: ventlessportableairconditioner.intervalinc.com) and are capable of maintaining a comfortable interior temperature in areas that have low humidity and they run at a fraction of the energy consumption that air conditioning uses.

The power needed to run an evaporative cooler can be as little as 1/20th that used by a comparable AC unit!

Just imagine if not just one home made the change to evaporative cooling, but thousands of homes in towns where the climate is hot and dry. That saving can mean a huge load off the minds of cash strapped families who can benefit from much lower utility bills, while the power companies can reduce the amount of electricity they need to generate to supply the grid.

The less electricity generated, the less fossil fuel is needed to produce it, the lower the air pollution levels and the better all round for the environment. It makes sense so all we need to do now is educate people to stop relying so heavily on air conditioners in areas where they can switch to evaporative cooling technology.

You can learn more here: youtube.com/watch?v=CXjj_LoHaKU

Search Tips for Your US Holiday Planning

Many of us rely heavily on the search engines when doing our research, years ago we used to reach for an encyclopedia or other reference book, not any more. The internet has become our ultimate reference guide, from spellings, definitions, research and of course shopping. However I wonder how many people realise how many restrictions are placed on you when you search?

Take for instance my current problem (ok so it’s safely in the first world problem category!), I want to take my family on a short tour in the USA – to see some West Coast highlights. So I turn to Google to see what’s on offer, typing in some relevant search terms into the world’s favorite search engine.

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So I get my results, tour operators, offers and holiday companies offering a range of tours covering the Western side of the USA. Which is great, lots of choice – except my choice has been severely restricted without my knowledge simply because of my location. When I visit Google, I am classified as a UK use based on my IP address and so my search results are tailored to that fact. This is of course great if I’m looking for a plumber, a New York based plumber is of little use to me! However it also means that I will get UK based results for my travel search.

So I get UK based firms offering tours around the West coast of the US, which is ok but what I don’t get is US firms offering the same thing. Why shouldn’t I consider American based firms instead, I’m sure they’d be happy to take me on a tour too. The reality is that without some effort I simply won’t see these companies because they will be filtered out in my search – I will see the big UK travel companies who offer tours in the USA. The worst thing is sometimes these are simply the same tours repackaged by UK travel agents, of course with some sort of premium on top of the price.

Google is basically controlling a large part of my decision making process and the choice available. Many thousands of companies do exactly the same, like this as you’re logging in from the US I’m afraid. But fortunately there is a solution and it’s actually quite a simple one.

It involves changing your IP address and taking control of what you see online. For example in my situation if I change my IP address to a US one then search for West coast tours USA, I’ll actually see a whole load of different results. In fact I see US based results, loads of US tours in America, which is actually what I wanted – local firms offering local tours not repackaged for a UK travel agent. The benefits increase I can also use this control to bypass blocks based on my location – this post for example shows how I can watch British TV when I’m actually in the USA. Normally you can’t watch the BBC online from anywhere outside the UK.

Further Information

Solar power – Your Ideal Electricity Replacement

udklaedningAre you aware that there are now advanced technology that you can use to save your money from paying your unending electricity bills? If no, then you must know about an ideal alternative if you are having a problem on your budget before of the increasing amount of your electricity bills. Solar power is the most popular alternative when it comes on electricity supply. But this is totally different from your supply of electricity. This supply of electricity generally comes from the rays of the sun or from the sunlight. It is essentially the conversion of sunlight to electricity. The solar energy use indirectly by a concentrated solar power (CSP) or directly using the photovoltaics (PV) and resulting o have a source of electricity from the sunlight. The CSP will use mirrors or lenses and tracking systems to focus a huge area of sunlight. The photoelectric effect is the main component used from photovoltaics to convert light to electricity. Your only expense is to buy the solar power and you can continually use it without paying bills. Aside from buying the solar power, you are just buying 1 item and use it for many years or for last. Electricity will give you problem from the unending expensive bills but solar power will just let you spend 1 item and use it for last. Several tests from Kostumer, seems to indicate that if just 10% of worlds energi came from solar power or windpower, then it might just be enough to reduce the amount of Co2 that could cause clima changes. But according to the test from Kostumer and EUvoices, then it’s not likely that we will see that in the next 10 year, so other methods will be nessesary in order to prevent the global heating issue many top scientists seems to belive is on it’s way. Follow the whole project here on Twitter

The solar power is now the latest replacement of electricity source. So, people use to seek for the product because they can truly save their money from using this latest technology. But the only problem is they do have no assurance on the item if it will work out completely. So, this problem is actually common since we all want to spend our money from the right product without wasting it. We might have a doubt if this will truly work. So, this is the right time that you should put your trust on this solar power. More and more people are now seeking on the product to be installed on their houses because they are now having a burden on their expensive electric bills. Another problem, there are part of the word and usual issue like sudden loss of electric power because of some reasons. So, to avoid those kinds of problem, solar energy would never give you like those mentioned problems.

Solar power converts the rays of the sun into electricity. Meaning, you don’t need to worry on your continuous electric bills because you can never have it with this new device. It is now happening that technology really makes the life of the people easy and no problem. The early development of these solar power technologies makes the life of the people simple and easy. With the sunlight, your appliances at home, your light at night and everything that needs to have electricity will now work without giving you burden for the billing. Of course, since we are experiencing crisis, then we should now do ways in order to save our money from any problem like this. Save your money using solar power and everything will be alright.