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Five steps for an unbelievably green and water efficient lawn during California’s drought

Keep your lawn green this summer!

The following five steps will allow you to significantly improve your lawn while saving a tremendous amount of water use throughout the year. The following five steps only take about 30 minutes across the entire year in order to properly improve your specific situation. The simple fact is you do not need to kill off your lawn in order to save significant amounts of water and contribute to the efficiency of water use within California.

By implementing these steps I personally experienced more than 30% reduction in my water use while my neighbors stood in awe of how florescent green my lawn was. When I showed my water bill and the savings to my neighbors they were in complete disbelief because they believed they had to kill off their lawn by reducing their water use to all zero but quite in fact this is not necessary. With proper maintenance, a lawn and your entire yard needs only a fraction of a the water necessary to keep it green and beautiful when you are not properly caring for it.

Step 1. Follow the sun (and the weather).

Often, many of us pay attention to the weather in order to select the right clothing for the day. However many of us ignore the fact that our lawns also need you to adjust your care according to the weather and the amount of sun your lawn will receive. So it is important to note what the weather will be like and the temperature ranges that your lawn will be experiencing along with you during the day.

Step 2. Penetrate your soul (leverage an aerator).

aerator

 

This simple little tool can be used to significantly change the absorption rate of water for your lawn. Imagine that you don’t aerate your lawn, without aeration the water sits on the top layer of soil and if you have a hill or sloped lawn it rolls right off only permeating the very top quarter-inch layer of topsoil. The goal for water efficient lawn is to maintain deep penetration of water into the topsoil and the only way to perform this without overwatering is through aeration. Aeration also has other benefits such as delivering nutrients further into the soil towards the roots of your grass. This is the single most effective way to reduce water usage and it only takes five minutes with this tool found at Home Depot at the following URL: http://www.homedepot.com/p/Hound-Dog-Steel-Spike-Aerator-HDP37/202605484

Step 3. Renew your body (sprinkle some seed).

Re-seeding is an essential step to keeping a quality lawn. Over time and age lawn degrades and the blades of grass simply don’t have the same luster as they once had similar to humans and aging. So it is important to re-seed on a regular basis usually in the springtime. grass-seedThere are many types of seed and you should try and match the type of seed that you already have if at all possible so that you can maintain the look the you desire. For me a simple fescue mix from my local Walmart or Home Depot was sufficient to maintain my own grass in the look that I desired.

Step 4. Take some vitamins (fertilize!).

The next stephandheld-spreader after aeration is to ensure that your grass has quality nutrients delivered directly to its roots, just like our bodies need vitamins so to do grasses and other shrubs we plant our yards. A simple $10-$15 fertilizer sprinkled across your lawn is sufficient to provide nutrients for almost 6 months and significantly improve the health of your lawn and provide for a florescent green and healthy color. This step takes only minutes once every six months. Ideally you can spread fertilizer with the same handheld spreader you use for the seed.

Step 5. Adjust your clocks! (water at the right time of day).

The final step in this process is to adjust your watering habits or your watering system to accommodate our newly renovated lawn. An unhealthy lawn without these maintenance techniques requires 2 to 3 times as much water, leading guidance from common Internet sources to claim watering must be 8 to 10 minutes per day in order for the desired look. However I have found that For my environmental conditions in Northern California,  quite honestly a healthfully maintained lawn only needs one third of the amount of water across to the majority of the year with only exceeding this amount in the highest temperature period of the summer months. The best watering times for grass are during the morning hours between 4 and 5 AM allowing sufficient soak time prior to the sun rising and evaporating the moisture. For my use I also run my water in the afternoon at around 5 PM, ideally you do not want a moist soil all night long to avoid bacteria and moss growth during the evening.

This is a photo of my lawn and my bill usage graph with an over 30% reduction (year over year) in my water use. 

my-grass

water-saved

 

 

 




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[ISN] Credit Card Breach at Mandarin Oriental

http://krebsonsecurity.com/2015/03/credit-card-breach-at-mandarian-oriental/ By Brian Krebs Krebs on Security March 4, 2015 In response to questions from KrebsOnSecurity, upscale hotel chain Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group today confirmed that its hotels have been affected by a credit card breach. Reached for comment about reports from financial industry sources about a pattern of fraudulent charges on customer cards that had all recently been used at Mandarin hotels, the company confirmed it is investigating a breach. “We can confirm that Mandarin Oriental has been alerted to a potential credit card breach and is currently conducting a thorough investigation to identify and resolve the issue,” the company said in an emailed statement. “Unfortunately incidents of this nature are increasingly becoming an industry-wide concern. The Group takes the protection of customer information very seriously and is coordinating with credit card agencies and the necessary forensic specialists to ensure our guests are protected.” Mandarin isn’t saying yet how many of the company’s two-dozen or so locations worldwide may be impacted, but banking industry sources say the breach almost certainly impacted most if not all Mandarin hotels in the United States, including locations in Boston, Florida, Las Vegas, Miami, New York, and Washington, D.C. Sources also say the compromise likely dates back to just before Christmas 2014. […]


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[ISN] FAA computers vulnerable to hackers, GAO report says

http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/trafficandcommuting/faa-computers-vulnerable-to-hackers-gao-report-says/2015/03/02/388219ac-c119-11e4-9271-610273846239_story.html By Ashley Halsey III The Washington Post March 2, 2015 The Federal Aviation Administration has fallen short in its efforts to protect the national air traffic control system from terrorists or others who might try to hack into the computers used to direct planes in flight, according to a government report released Monday. The Government Accountability Office report credited the FAA with taking steps to deter hackers but concluded that “significant security control weaknesses remain, threatening the agency’s ability to ensure the safe and uninterrupted operation of the national airspace.” The FAA said it intends to implement the 14 changes recommended in the GAO report. In a written response to the GAO last month, Keith Washington, acting assistant secretary for administration at the Department of Transportation, said the FAA already had achieved six “major milestones” toward improving cybersecurity and agreed with the GAO recommendations for improvements. […]


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Top 5 Ways Home Users Can Help Protect Themselves from Data Breach

Please note: The following is not an endorsement of the specific referenced products or solutions, these are examples of ways that users can better protect themselves online. The effectiveness of these solutions varies widely. Used in combination with each other can provide significant added protection to your internet usage.

Additional Disclaimer: There is no such thing as 100% secure, so don’t misconstrue or misinterpret this guidance to be some sort of guarantee of safety online. 

Top 5 Home User Protection Measures

1. First and foremost, you must install a NON-FREE Anti-Virus Suite. Prefer anti-virus software that has been tested. The following sites are good for reviewing the test results of Antivirus Detection Rates:

2. Ensure you are using  a Browser Plugin to evaluate the security of websites you go to and if possible use Anti-Spam features of your Anti-Virus software. Some examples of browser plugins are: McAfee Site Advisor, Avira Browser Safety, Norton Browser Protection

3. Load up on some software and system exploit prevention, regularly change your website passwords and select passwords based on website category such as financial, entertainment and miscellaneous. Some examples of Anti-Exploit browser and software protection are: Microsoft EMET, Malwarebytes Anti-Exploit Premium

4. Use a DNS service to help block malicious websites BEFORE your computer has a chance to connect to them. Some examples are

5. The last step is a personal training thing that I advise any user online to do. Treat every single link on a web page as suspicious, never click on emailed links, it is best to browse to the specific website manually without clicking. Never open attachments that you do not first scan with your Anti-Virus software first and never ever open attachments from random people where you are not expecting an attachment. Whenever a web page claims that you must update your software and to “click here” to do so, you should be suspicious of it, unless of course you are purposely browsing to your computer manufacturer’s website, graphics card software website or some official Microsoft or Adobe website for updates to your software.


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[ISN] Healthcare Cybersecurity Still Top Issue, Says CHIME Leader

http://healthitsecurity.com/2015/01/14/healthcare-cybersecurity-still-top-issue-says-chime-leader/ By Elizabeth Snell Health IT Security January 14, 2015 While new technology can give cyber criminals new outlets to gain access to protected health information (PHI), it also gives more opportunities to healthcare organizations to keep that data safe. Moreover, healthcare cybersecurity is an area that the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) hopes to be a leader in, according to 2015 CHIME Board of Trustees Chair Charles Christian, FCHIME, LCHIME, CHCIO. In an interview with EHRIntelligence.com, Christian explained that positive patient identification and cybersecurity are some of the top health IT challenges in 2015. The national patient identifier is one area in particular that has benefited from evolving technologies, Christian said. Now, there are numerous options that can protect data while it is in motion and at-rest. Moreover, one of CHIME’s goals is to ensure that its members are properly educated on the best practices to keep all data secure. The patient identifier is a critical matter for the healthcare industry, according to Christian. “We’re going to find that care for the patient is going to be provided at a much different level than it ever has before because they’re trying to bend the cost curve down,” he said. “In order to do that, they’re going to have to find other alternatives for primary or urgent care.” […]


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[ISN] Why Healthcare Security Will Benefit From Collaboration

http://healthitsecurity.com/2014/12/08/healthcare-security-will-benefit-collaboration/ By Elizabeth Snell Health IT Security December 8, 2014 With cyber threats on the rise, healthcare security systems must keep pace in order to best protect patient data, as well as their own clinical information. One of the best ways to do that is with organizations working together and communicating strategies to one another, according to Lynne Dunbrack, research president of IDC Health Insights. Dunbrack authored the recent IDC “Business Strategy: Thwarting Cyber Threats and Attacks Against Healthcare Organizations” report, and discussed the findings with HealthITSecurity.com. “You’re as strong as your weakest link,” Dunbrack said. “It means you’re sharing data more and there are more opportunities for data breaches if it’s not well-secured. There is a balance that healthcare organizations need to seek.” With more medical records being implemented into EHRs and more facilities using health information exchanges (HIEs) and other innovations, it’s crucial for organizations to balance healthcare security with new technology. As facilities make investments they also need to ensure they have the appropriate business associate agreements (BAAs) in place, Dunbrack said. Moreover, it’s important to monitor risk assessments and that all covered entities and their connected business associates (BAs) are complying with HIPAA privacy and security requirements. […]


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[ISN] Popular messaging apps fail EFF’s security review

http://news.techworld.com/security/3584204/popular-messaging-apps-fail-effs-security-review/ By Lucian Constantin Techworld.com 04 November 2014 Some of the most widely used messaging apps in the world, including Google Hangouts, Facebook chat, Yahoo Messenger and Snapchat, flunked a best-practices security test by advocacy group the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF). The organization evaluated 39 messaging products based on seven criteria it believes such tools should meet in order to ensure the privacy and security of digital communications. The reviewed products included mobile texting apps, instant messaging clients, voice and video calling software and email services. The results were published Tuesday under the form of a Secure Messaging Scorecard. The EFF did not perform vulnerability assessments or in-depth technical analyses of the encryption implementations in the reviewed products. Instead it judged them based on principles and features it felt are necessary to protect communications from widespread Internet surveillance by governments, which includes data collection in transit or from online service providers. […]


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[ISN] ATM hack lets criminals take ‘wads of cash’

http://www.theweek.co.uk/business/60787/atm-hack-lets-criminals-take-wads-of-cash The Week 9 OCT 2014 A flaw in cash machine software is letting criminals withdraw money without using a bank card. Security firm Kaspersky Labs identified the problem, leading Interpol to mount a widespread investigation across the USA, India, France, Israel, Malaysia and China. ATMs infected with malicious software can be instructed to give out 40 notes at once by entering a series of digits on the keypad. Fraudsters do not require a credit or debit card to carry out the scam. The hack, known as Tyupkin, requires criminals to enter a unique code into a machine that has already been compromised by the malware. A second Pin code – a random sequence of numbers generated at another location – is also needed to unlock the machine before it will dispense the cash. Security analysts say that this double-Pin system ensures that the hacker generating the algorithms maintains control over when and where money can be stolen. […]


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