From Loren Nelson, NelsonEcom
Internet Solutions | Visual Design
Web Sites, Podcasts, Multimedia, & Usability Engineering

February 15, 2008 – Vol. XII, No. 05


NetBits is the weekly newsletter keeping your informed of various chatter and other tidbits of potential relevance.


In This Issue:

Item One: 15 Places Every Kid Should See
Item Two: What is Blu-ray Disc?
Item Three: Fitness Tip – Beat Heel Pain
Item Four: Word of the Week
Item Five: How can you protect yourself when shopping online?
Do you know…

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1. 15 Places Every Kid Should See

15 Places Every Kid Should See

2. What is Blu-ray Disc?

Blu-ray Disc (also known as Blu-ray or BD) is a high-density optical disc format for the storage of digital information, including high-definition video.

The name Blu-ray Disc is derived from the blue-violet laser used to read and write this type of disc. Because of its shorter wavelength (405 nm), substantially more data can be stored on a Blu-ray Disc than on the DVD format, which uses a red (650 nm) laser. A Blu-ray Disc can store 50 GB, almost six times the capacity of a DVD.

Blu-ray was developed by the Blu-ray Disc Association, a group of companies representing consumer electronics, computer hardware, and motion picture production. The standard is covered by several patents belonging to different companies. As of March 2007, a joint licensing agreement for all the relevant patents had not yet been finalized.

As of February 12, 2008, 493 titles had been released on Blu-ray Disc in the United States (32 of those titles have since been discontinued). As of October 9, 2007, 179 titles had been released in Japan, with 55 additional titles planned for release.

Blu-ray Disc / HD DVD comparison

The primary rival to Blu-ray Disc is HD DVD. Due to the format war, both sides are currently trying to promote their format as the best choice for studios and consumers. Both formats are intended as successors to DVD, capable of higher quality video and audio playback, and of greater capacity when used to store video, audio, and computer data. Currently, Blu-ray discs have a higher storage capacity than HD DVD discs (50 GB vs. 30 GB) and Blu-ray discs also have higher bandwidth (54Mbit/sec vs. 30Mbit/sec). Blu-ray and HD DVD share most of the same methods of encoding media onto disks with each other. On February 15, 2008, Walmart, Inc. announced that it would stock only Blu-ray discs, dealing a significant blow to the prospects of HD DVD.

3. Fitness Tip – Beat Heel Pain

Researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center found that a simple foot stretch largely relieved plantar fascilitis, a common condition in which the thick band of tissue in your arch swells or tears; common causes are standing too long and running. Here’s how to do it: Every morning before you get out of bed, cross one leg over the other and gently stretch the arch of your foot by pulling your toes back toward your shin. Hold it for ten seconds, relax, and repeat nine more times. Do this at least twice more during the day, especially before long periods of standing. This stretch could help prevent plantar fasciitis, too.

4. Word of the Week

whodunit • \hoo-DUN-it\ • noun

: a detective story or mystery story

Example Sentence:
Betty packed several romance novels and whodunits to read at the beach.

Did you know?
In 1930, Donald Gordon, a book reviewer for News of Books, needed to come up with something to say about a rather unremarkable mystery novel called Half-Mast Murder. "A satisfactory whodunit," he wrote. The coinage played fast and loose with spelling and grammar, but "whodunit" caught on anyway. Other writers tried respelling it "who-done-it," and one even insisted on using "whodidit," but those sanitized versions lacked the punch of the original and have fallen by the wayside. "Whodunit" became so popular that by 1939 at least one language pundit had declared it "already heavily overworked" and predicted it would "soon be dumped into the taboo bin." History has proven that prophecy false, and "whodunit" is still going strong.

5. How can you protect yourself when shopping online?

Use and maintain anti-virus software, a firewall, and anti-spyware software – Protect yourself against viruses and Trojan horses that may steal or modify the data on your own computer and leave you vulnerable by using anti-virus software and a firewall (see Understanding Anti-Virus Software and Understanding Firewalls for more information). Make sure to keep your virus definitions up to date. Spyware or adware hidden in software programs may also give attackers access to your data, so use a legitimate anti-spyware program to scan your computer and remove any of these files.

Keep software, particularly your web browser, up to date – Install software patches so that attackers cannot take advantage of known problems or vulnerabilities. Many operating systems offer automatic updates. If this option is available, you should enable it.

Evaluate your software’s settings – The default settings of most software enable all available functionality. However, attackers may be able to take advantage of this functionality to access your computer. It is especially important to check the settings for software that connects to the Internet (browsers, email clients, etc.). Apply the highest level of security available that still gives you the functionality you need.

Do business with reputable vendors – Before providing any personal or financial information, make sure that you are interacting with a reputable, established vendor. Some attackers may try to trick you by creating malicious web sites that appear to be legitimate, so you should verify the legitimacy before supplying any information. Locate and note phone numbers and physical addresses of vendors in
case there is a problem with your transaction or your bill.

Take advantage of security features – Passwords and other security features add layers of protection if used appropriately.

Be wary of emails requesting information – Attackers may attempt to gather information by sending emails requesting that you confirm purchase or account information. Legitimate businesses will not solicit this type of information through email.

Check privacy policies – Before providing personal or financial information, check the web site’s privacy policy. Make sure you understand how your information will be stored and used.

Make sure your information is being encrypted – Many sites use SSL, or secure sockets layer, to encrypt information. Indications that your information will be encrypted include a URL that begins with "https:" instead of "http:" and a lock icon in the bottom right corner of the window.

Use a credit card – Unlike debit cards, credit cards may have a limit on the monetary amount you will be responsible for paying if your information is stolen and used by someone else. You can further minimize damage by using a single credit card with a low credit line for all of your online purchases.

Check your statements – Keep a record of your purchases and copies of confirmation pages, and compare them to your bank statements. If there is a discrepancy, report it immediately.

6. Do You Know…
On this day:

  • Ocean Ranger Drilling Rig Sinks off Coast of Newfoundland (1982)
    The Ocean Ranger was a semi-submersible mobile offshore drilling unit that sank in Canadian waters on February 15, 1982, killing all 84 crew members on board. The crew had been drilling an exploration well in the Grand Banks area, 267 kilometers (166 miles) east of St. John’s, Newfoundland, for Mobil Oil of Canada, Ltd. when a sudden storm struck the rig.
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