Archive for August 2012

Do Car Alarms Deter Theft?

From an article in Via, the Magazine of the American Automobile Association (AAA).

Short form: No, traditional blaring car alarms do not work. They are just a PITA for you and piss off your neighbors.


Research suggests that an audible alarm is less effective than car recovery devices, such as OnStar, and immobilizers when protecting your vehicle against robbery.

The quick answer: no. After surveying insurance claims for 73 million vehicles in 1997, the nonprofit Highway Loss Data Institute found “no overall reduction in theft losses” for cars with traditional audible alarms. That’s because blaring alarms rarely indicate theft. So frequent are false alarms that people are conditioned to ignore them.
Many cars come with an immobilizer, a device that prevents the engine from starting unless it detects a computer chip in your key fob. It isn’t foolproof and it won’t get you a discount, but it’s harder to crack than a standard alarm—and it won’t wake the neighbors every time a garbage truck rumbles past.

How to open a Kidde AccessPoint KeySafe

Here I quickly show you how to unlock and lock a Kiddee AccessPoint Portable Keysafe Original. This is the same mechanism as the GE Supra C3 Keysafe. This is a lockbox often used by a realtor to lock a key to a door in real-estate.

Lifehacker Notes

LifeHacker continues to be one of my favorite geek sites. Here are two great articles that taught me, the consummate geek, something recently

Top 10 Ways to Speed Up Your Slow Technology

 Protect Your Stuff From Loss and Theft This Weekend


Some tidbits I learned today from Lifehacker today

Did you lose your Android phone? Install Plan B from the Google Store and your phone will email its location to you! It worked on my phone perfectly. I also have Prey on all my devices

SSD hard drives are cheap enough to start buying ($100 for 100 gig) especially since new (as of Nov 2011) Intel motherboards have built in support to use them as a cache (called  Smart Response Technology)

Obligatory Physiology Money Shot

How I know I have O+ blood:

One section of taking Physiology over the summer was on blood. I gotta say that pricking myself with that lancet by hand totally sucked. I’ve got to get better at that.

(Previously: Chemistry Money Shot)

How to Lie with Statistics: Philips AirFloss

The new Philips Sonicar AirFloss looks cool and they claim that it “removes up to 99% more plaque compared to regular brushing“, wow! 99%, that’s amazi…. wait a minute!

Let’s give that sentence another go. “…up to 99% more…”So for instance, if you have 100 “plaques” in your mouth and brushing gets rid of just 20 of them, will AirFloss get rid of 99 of the plaques… leaving just 1 nasty plaque? No it does not. It gets rid of 99% more than brushing. In my example, about 19 more plaques than brushing alone for a total of 39… or in reasonable terms “almost twice as much”. Apparently that fine statistic wasn’t good enough for Phillips America. The fact that they chose to say “99% more” instead of “100% more” or “twice as much” demonstrates that they were trying to deceive. “99% more” is simply an unreasonable claim any way you slice it. I am disappointed in Philips.

Now I’m not calling the Philips marketeers fucking liars, I’m just saying that trying to pull a fast one like that is deceptive, immoral and against the Federal Trade Commission’s guidelines. ( listing)


How To Spend My Odd Denomination Gift Card

I got a gift card a while back. I ended up having $58.02 left on it. It’s a bother to try and spend EXACTLY $57.02 and some retail clerks don’t know how to ring up a multi-credit card purchase. I was able to apply the money to my account without any fees and a minimum of  hassle.

I used my non-reloadable card to buy an Amazon Gift Card. Then I applied that Gift Card to my Amazon account so I can spend it. The beauty is that Amazon will let me purchase a gift card in any amount, in my case I bought a $57.02 gift card and applied it to my account, finishing off my non-reloadable card. You might have to look around on the Amazon site to find the “arbitrary denomination” cards. Here is the current link to it: