Please accept with no obligation, implied or implicit, my best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low-stress, non-addictive, gender-neutral celebration of the winter or in some locations summer solstice holiday, practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, or secular practices of your choice, with respect for the religious/secular persuasion and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all. I also wish you a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year 2018, but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures whose contributions to society have helped make America great. Not to imply that America is necessarily greater than any other country nor the only America in the Western Hemisphere. Also, this wish is made without regard to the race, creed, color, age, physical ability, religious faith or sexual preference of the wishee.
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).
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. There 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 step 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.
http://www.autonews.com/article/20150309/FINANCE_AND_INSURANCE/303099941/small-time-security-threats-bigger-concern By David Barkholz Automotive News March 9, 2015 The biggest threats to a dealership’s data aren’t Russian hackers breaking through electronic firewalls or robots trying a thousand passwords on security codes until they finally crack into the system. It’s more likely the mundane stuff that will cause a breach that enables personal consumer data to slip out of the store, said Brad Miller, director of legal and regulatory affairs for the National Automobile Dealers Association. Watch out, he said, for laptops that may contain sensitive files being stolen out of cars. A thumb drive that contains code capable of capturing passwords or data can be plugged into the laptop. Also, software vendors long ago dropped by a dealership may retain active pass codes that enable data to be taken from the dealership, unbeknownst to store employees, Miller said. Or pirates may send dealership employees a “phishing” email hoping to fool one into giving out information or a password that opens the system to the thieves. […]
http://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2015/03/the-ambassador-who-worked-from-nairobi-bathroom-to-avoid-state-dept-it/ By Sean Gallagher Ars Technica March 8, 2015 The current scandal roiling over the use of a private e-mail server by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is just the latest in a series of scandals surrounding government e-mails. And it’s not the first public airing of problems with the State Department’s IT operations—and executives’ efforts to bypass or work around them. At least she didn’t set up an office in a restroom just to bypass State Department network restrictions and do everything over Gmail. However, another Obama administration appointee—the former ambassador to Kenya—did do that, essentially refusing to use any of the Nairobi embassy’s internal IT. He worked out of a bathroom because it was the only place in the embassy where he could use an unsecured network and his personal computer, using Gmail to conduct official business. And he did all this during a time when Chinese hackers were penetrating the personal Gmail inboxes of a number of US diplomats. Why would such high-profile members of the administration’s foreign policy team so flagrantly bypass federal and agency regulations to use their own personal e-mail to conduct business? Was it that they had something they wanted to keep out of State’s servers and away from Congressional oversight? Was it that State’s IT was so bad that they needed to take matters into their own hands? Or was it because the department’s IT staff wasn’t responsive enough to what they saw as their personal needs, and they decided to show just how take-charge they were by ignoring all those stuffy policies? The answer is probably a little bit of all of the above. But in the case of former ambassador Scott Gration, the evidence points heavily toward someone who wanted to work outside the system because he just couldn’t stand it. […]
http://arstechnica.com/security/2015/03/ubers-epic-db-blunder-is-hardly-an-exception-github-is-awash-in-passwords/ By Dan Goodin Ars Technica March 4, 2015 Recent revelations that Uber stored a sensitive database key on a publicly accessible GitHub page generated its share of amazement and outrage. Some Ars readers called for the immediate termination of the employees responsible or for the enactment of new legal penalties for similar blunders in the future. Left out of the discussion was a point Ars first tried to drive home more than two years ago. To wit, GitHub and other public code repositories are awash with personal credentials posted by tens of thousands, or possibly even millions, of people, some of whom work for extremely sensitive organizations. A case in point are GitHub entries that appear to include everything needed to log into many Secure File Transfer Protocol accounts. One GitHub search revealed almost 269,000 entries like the one pictured above, showing the domain name or IP address, username, and password needed to log in to each account. Similar searches generated almost two million entries for WordPress accounts. A quick scan of the results shows that many of them represent no security threat at all, since the password fields are blank or the credentials belong to non-existent accounts or accounts that are accessible only to users already connected to the local network. But a mind-numbingly large percentage of the results appear to provide credentials for accounts on production servers. Whether percentage is 33, 25, or even 10, it’s way too high. It wouldn’t be surprising if many of the credentials offered shell accounts that ran with highly privileged administrator rights. To protect the careless, this post won’t reveal the specific search terms used, even though they are extremely easy for readers figure out on their own or to find on Twitter, in blog posts, or in other venues. […]
http://arstechnica.com/security/2015/03/in-major-goof-uber-stored-sensitive-database-key-on-public-github-page/ By Dan Goodin Ars Techica March 2, 2015 Uber is trying to force GitHub to disclose the IP address of every person that accessed a webpage connected to a database intrusion that exposed sensitive personal data for 50,000 drivers. The court action revealed that a security key unlocking the database was stored on a publicly accessible place, the online equivalent of stashing a house key under a doormat. Uber officials have yet to say precisely what information was contained in the two now-unavailable GitHub gists. But in a lawsuit filed Friday against the unknown John Doe intruders, Uber lawyers said the URLs contained a security key that allowed unauthorized access to the names and driver’s license numbers of about 50,000 Uber drivers. The ride-sharing service disclosed the breach on Friday, more than two months after it was discovered. “The contents of these internal database files are closely guarded by Uber,” the complaint stated. “Accessing them from Uber’s protected computers requires a unique security key that is not intended to be available to anyone other than certain Uber employees, and no one outside of Uber is authorized to access the files. On or around May 12, 2014, from an IP address not associated with an Uber employee and otherwise unknown to Uber, John Doe I used the unique security key to download Uber database files containing confidential and proprietary information from Uber’s protected computers.” […]
http://krebsonsecurity.com/2015/02/data-breach-at-health-insurer-anthem-could-impact-millions/ By Brian Krebs Krebs on Security Feb 4, 2015 Anthem Inc., the nation’s second largest health insurer, disclosed Wednesday that hackers had broken into its servers and stolen Social Security numbers and other personal data from all of its business lines. Given the company’s size, this breach could end up impacting tens of millions of Americans. Anthem didn’t specify how many consumer records may have been breached, but it did say all of the company’s business units are affected. The figures from Anthem’s Web site offer a glimpse at just how big this breach could be: “With nearly 69 million people served by its affiliated companies including more than 37 million enrolled in its family of health plans, Anthem is one of the nation’s leading health benefits companies.” The company said it is conducting an extensive IT forensic investigation to determine what members are impacted. “We are working around the clock to determine how many people have been impacted and will notify all Anthem members who are impacted through a written communication,” Anthem said in question and answer page released about the breach. […]