No Roots

Budgeting for Teens

These are the resources used in my recent presentation.

My Inspiration...
Young & Free Alberta: Shoebox Budget


Try This: Youth Budget Calculator

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I've Kinda Moved

Of late I'm doing more things here: A Restless Mind

Never Buy a Cat

There is no need to buy a cat - ever.

If you want a cat, get one from the SPCA. In Singapore you can also go to the Cat Welfare Society or better still, visit Phyllis' place: Paw Pledge. She is housing over 300 cats rescued from around the island. A number of the cats she houses are listed here.

If you like cats but don't feel you can give a home to one right now, then do this:
1. Visit Paw Pledge and spend an hour playing with the cats who love the affection
2. Give Phyllis a donation towards upkeep

Phyllis' Cattery
Paw Pledge
210D Ponggol 17th Avenue
9734 8329

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Digital Photo Frames Snob Warning

I recently picked up a digital photo frame on an impulse. A guy in my office has one that looks pretty good so I grabbed one at the checkout counter of the computer place where I was buying a new external hard drive.

I like the concept but the one I got really sucks. It constantly displays a clock in one corner (there is no way to turn this off), the picture quality is low, the shortest view setting is 5 seconds per picture... and the setup manual is wrong. I had to figure out how to program the thing myself because the manual must be for an old configuration. CRAPOLA.

Off I went to find a better frame. Looking at the Amazon reviews made me none the wiser so I thought I'd try All Experts again. Unfortunately the expert I asked declined to answer on account of the fact she was not familiar with these frames. She also suggested that this technology was an insult to her work as a professional. Pullease. I mean we're all looking at this stuff on a screen - right? Get off it lady. If I can find technology that makes my pictures more accessible, say at the office, then why the hell not?

I haven't found the definitive answer to my question which is: what is the best digital frame for high resolution images?

But there are a few places worth checking out: Gizmodo, PictureSnob (guess what inspired that search?!) and some good basic advice is given by Consumer Reports.

So far my searches have lead me to this Philips 6.5" model and its 8" cousin. They supposedly have the best picture quality. Unfortunately, the software is reported to be completely idiotic and in order to get it working it will take hours of tinkering.

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Blogger Captcha

Is it me, or has the Blogger captcha for blog posts gone wonky? I have to retry the captcha 2-3 times before it accepts my entry these days. And I know I'm putting the right letters in. I've had friends verify this.

It's borked.

I wonder if Blogger will notice when the number of people asking to have the captcha removed starts to increase.

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Network Safety and Monitoring

The quest continues. How do you make your machine safe on an open network?

Well I actually got an answer from Commander Chris Wagoner over at All Experts:

All you really need to have is a good firewall, a good virus software, and one or two malware programs. I use AVG Anti-virus Pro, Spy Bot Search and Destroy (free), AdAware 2007 (free), and Tiny Personal Firewall. And I run them religiously every week...
I run the same freeware apps so I seem to be on the right track. Plus I run PeerGuardian2 which is for people who are paranoid but still want to use Bittorrent.

He also put me on to software than can watch the activity on my network. There are a few recommended apps out there, top ones seem to be Wireshark and NetworkProbe. Wireshark is probably better but it's very geeky requires more exertise than NetworkProbe which has a nice graphical user interface. Watching Wireshark is a bit like watching The Matrix data stream by.

For more network montiroing apps - check out this link.

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Hiding Your Computer from Ping

As part of my quest to figure out how to run an open home network safely, I've come across this useful tidbit worth passing on:

The Sygate Firewall (amongst others) has a vulnerability.

My IT put me on to this (this is a funny guy who is Chinese but speaks with a Russian accent because he comes from some far off province on the Russian border).

Your computer should be invisible to "pings" (messages from cyberspace which essentially say "knock, knock - are you there?"). Everyone should ensure that their firewall stops responses to these signals. In this way, your computer will remain invisible to sniffers.

For Sygate, this vulnerability is easily corrected as follows:

Click Tools, Advanced Rules and click the Add button. At Rule Description you enter ICMP (Internet Control Message Protocol). The Action has to be Block this traffic. At the tab Ports and Protocols you select ICMP from the combo box, and then the Select All button. Furthermore change the Traffic Direction in Incoming and click OK. - source

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