paternity court tv

The Rise of Direct-to-Consumer DNA Tests

While new scientific discoveries are made all the time, not many of them manage to find their way into the consumer market as quickly as DNA testing has.

Since scientists finished mapping the human genome and identifying specific genetic markers for heritable traits, a whole industry has exploded onto the scene to sell the technology directly to consumers.

In this article, I explain some of the reasons why this has been possible and some of the consumer applications of DNA testing.

Traditionally, one had to go to a medical professional in a hospital or clinic to get a DNA test done. In direct to consumer (DTC) DNA testing however, a person can completely bypass a medical professional and access DNA testing directly.

The biggest factor behind the rise of this phenomenon has been the rapid advancement of analytics technology in genetics. Today, a DNA test can reveal far more than it did a few years ago.

For example, DNA testing can show the genetic predisposition of an individual towards certain health conditions such as cancer. By taking a genetic test, I can also tell if I am at a higher risk of getting a heart attack because of my genes.

genetic disorders

A map of genetic disorders (CMAP courtesy IHMC.org)

Genetic testing can also reveal someone’s genealogy in surprising accuracy. The results of a genealogy DNA test can uncover ancestry going back several generations and even reveal the geographic location of those ancestors. In the process of sequencing the human genome, scientists discovered that different continental groups differ in genetic markers by as much as 4 to 9 percent. This discovery has made possible genealogy testing.

Technological advancements, however, are not enough to get consumers excited about a scientific field. Another factor, namely a drastic reduction in cost, had to come into play.

Simpler genetic tests only cost about $100 today, sometimes less depending on the company and type of test involved.

For more advanced genetic testing, the cost can go up to $1,000 or more. This is still cheaper than going to a general practitioner and being referred to a specialist for testing.  And it’s an order of magnitude cheaper than any option just 5-10 years ago.

Consumer Applications of DNA Testing

1. Paternity Tests

So far, the most advanced and accurate method of determining paternity is through DNA testing. The accuracy provided by this test and the lower costs associated with it has seen an increase in the number of consumer paternity testing services.

A paternity DNA test checks whether a child has inherited 50% of his DNA from the alleged father. It involves the collection of samples, which are then submitted to testing services. After a few days, the results of the paternity test are sent to the customer.

Paternity testing is important in situations such as custody proceedings, child support and inheritance. One of the most notable applications is by the TV show, Paternity Court.

paternity court tv

The judge on the show uses consumer-grade DNA paternity tests to make decisions regarding the cases brought before her.

Other shows that make use of DNA tests include Divorce Court, Forensic Files, Trisha and Judge Mathis.

2. Genealogy DNA testing

I know who my grandparents are, also my great grandparents. From there, however, things start getting a bit fuzzy and I lose track of my ancestry. You may know your ancestry a bit more than I do.

But what if you could go, not just a few generations back, but centuries into the past? What if you could tell where your original ancestors were from, where they migrated to and the places they passed through?

This is the premise of genealogy DNA testing. It maps the genealogy of individuals and with the support of genealogy records, determines their genetic ethnicity and family history. You can for example, tell whether there is Asian ancestry in you even though you are white.

results of a genealogy dna test

results of a genealogy dna test (image courtesy Wikipedia)

Major consumer genealogy DNA test providers include Ancestry.com, FamilyTreeDNA.com and the Genographic Project by National Geographic. You can see how their offerings compare at MyFamilyDNATest.com.

3. Health Screening

Perhaps one of the most important advancements in DNA testing is the ability to identify genetic markers for certain diseases.

By providing a quick saliva or cheek swab sample, consumers can now get their genes analyzed and checked for genetic markers of diseases like cancer, heart disease, diabetes and Alzheimer’s. The biggest service provider in this category is 23andMe.com.

It is important to note that DNA testing for health screening purposes is not a hundred percent conclusive. This is because these tests do not analyze all the genes. There might also be many other disease causing genes that scientists are yet to identify.

The Future of Consumer DNA Testing

It’s pretty clear now that in time, direct to consumer DNA tests will continue to grow in popularity. More importantly, DNA testing will enter many more aspects of our lives and play an important role in more and more of our major life decisions. The technology behind these tests will also grow resulting in cheaper and more accurate testing.

cinco de mayonnaise

“Sink in De Mayo” (With Margaritas)

I’ve been at this government job for less than 2 years now, and last year I learned that my employer holds a Cinco De Mayo party every year they call, “Sink in De Mayo”.  Mayo – as in, mayonnaise.

The party has a truly gross theme, but it was a lot more fun than it sounds.

Basically, every dish at the party must contain or use mayonnaise in some way. And all the drinks are served in old (clean) mayonnaise jars. Stay with me here…

For some reason, I didn’t get the email until the day of the party, and it was being held in our office right after work! So I wasn’t exactly prepared.

But let me tell you, it was a lot of fun.

I moved to Colorado from rural Alabama, a place not exactly steeped in Mexican and Hispanic culture. So I learned a lot about Mexican food and drinks at this gathering. Cultural immersion by mayonnaise, if you will.

The Food (More Than 5 Types of Mayo)

I was surprised at the culinary prowess of my co-workers. My two favorite picks from the spread were Mexican street corn and Mexican coleslaw. Street corn is basically charred corn with a mayonnaise concoction drizzled over it. The mayo is mixed with enough spices and chili powder to put you on the streets of Mexico City.

mexican coleslaw and margaritas

Coleslaw is one of my favorite sides, so I couldn’t deny myself the opportunity to try this Mexican adaptation. It was everything I imagined it would be. I found myself sitting down with a heap of Mexican coleslaw and some carnitas (mexican pulled pork) on the side. The combination was enough to keep me locked in my seat until my plate was clean.

The Drinks Were Awesome

I was hesitant about drinking from old mayonnaise jars. They were clean, of course, but the first few sips I swear I could catch a whiff of lingering mayo (or maybe it was the mayonnaise inspired foods around me). But once I got the first drink in me, I forgot all about the smell of mayonnaise.

My employer had long ago sprung for a margarita machine to make his ‘Sinkin in De Mayo’ party complete. It was one of those big, silvery beauties that I had dreamed of owning when I lived in my bachelor pad in Alabama.

This thing would have made Jimmy Buffet proud. Heck, I think he may have designed the thing.

Three pitchers all serviced by one, rotating ice dispenser. It was so advanced, it had settings for just about every frozen concoction imaginable to ensure that no matter what beverage you were making, the ice was shaved and mixed to perfection.

My employer noticed how mesmerized I was by his margarita machine that he quickly swooped in and ran down its list of features. He must have read the manual half a dozen times.

Or he just really likes his frozen drinks.

In one pitcher was the classic margarita. The margarita is the extent of my experience with Mexican beverages.

I skipped over that at first, hoping to treat my mouth to a new frozen drink experience – the horchata, also known as a Mexican Milkshake.

I was surprised to learn that the main ingredient in a horchata is white rice. The taste was like a rich, sweet milk. The freshly shaved ice from the margarita machine really gave the horchata the consistency of a milkshake.

The final pitcher was filled with an unfrozen mixture known as Sangrita. I made the mistake of assuming everyone was saying sangria. They are, in fact, different. Sangrita (again, not to be confused with the Spanish wine-and-fruit mixture) is non-alcoholic but is served with a shot of tequila. It’s meant to cleanse the palette of the agave.

I got quite the lesson in the proper way to make a sangrita. Most places will mix it with tomato juice but in order to pour yourself an “authentic” sangrita, the recipe calls for Seville orange, pomegranate juices and powdered chilies for heat.

The sangrita really had a kick to it, but it certainly does the trick of cutting out the agave taste. I was quickly reaching for a margarita to squash the heat from the sangrita.

I left the party shortly after the margarita, fearing that I might have to sleep in my cubicle if I stayed any longer. I had a belly full of mayonnaise, a nice buzz and dreams of one day mixing frozen beverages in my own silvery margarita machine.

On a beach, somewhere…

Adderall pills

Due to what appears to be an alarming loss of concentration in our society, a sharply rising number of people are being diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

ADHD brainThe prescription drug Adderall, also known as “addies” or “smarties”, were designed specifically to help ADHD sufferers regain their focus and stay alert. It does this very well, with few side effects for people who really need the drug.

Due to the primary effects of increasing concentration and energy, Adderall is widely abused by high school and university students as a “study drug” to improve concentration and to stay up all night for cram sessions. Adderall is also popular among athletes as a way to keep them concentrated and energetic during training sessions.

Just like students, programmers and software engineers often have to perform during bursts of concentration and attention. So, unfortunately, many coders are on the Adderall abuse wagon, too.

And who can blame them? Everyone wants to perform well and be productive – especially when it means more pay, more respect and greater career opportunities. And Adderall delivers just that.

It sounds great: you write more code in less time. You maintain an extreme attention to detail. Staying up late for marathon test sessions is a walk in the park. You can focus clearly even in a room full of metal head geeks.

Why Not Use It?

Adderall doesn’t seem like the kind of drug people would get addicted to.

It doesn’t give you a kind of high that party drugs do. It just helps people focus and stay up, and this is exactly what most programmers and software engineers need in their day to day job: to focus and to work long hours.

There seems to be nothing about this pill that could make you feel bad – or so most used to think.

But the truth is, Adderall is an amphetamine. As such, it carries all of the addiction potential and withdrawal issues of this class of drug.

In other words: yes, you can get addicted to Adderall. And it can be damn hard to get off of, once you’re hooked.

Side Effect of Long-Term Adderall Abuse

Programmers who abuse Adderall for a long time may notice that the pill actually makes their bodies twitch and become restless.

While Adderall helps you focus on the task at hand, a developer’s job is not entirely about coding. Coding is actually the easiest part of the job.

The most challenging part of developing software is conceptualizing solutions (usually with others) and developing new ideas for a project. These tasks require social interaction and creative thinking.

Adderall inhibits creative thoughts and relationship building. It’s difficult to think straight and to listen to another person when you are so restless, after all.

Eventually, once you get to the point of being jittery and tense, it will become difficult for you to code, as well.

When the signs of addiction to Adderall begin to show, everything becomes challenging. Though not as life threatening as many other drugs that can literally ruin someone’s life, Adderall can nevertheless take a toll on your professional and personal life on a deeply emotional level.

Why Programmers Won’t Stop Taking Addies

At first, people enjoy the benefits a study pill gives them. Their work performance improves, and their manager recognizes outstanding performance.

But once they become aware that they are addicted and learn about the side effects of withdrawal from Adderall, Adderall addicts often deeply fear their work performance will suffer when they quit. And they’re probably right about that.

Some software engineers may actually believe that their core skill in coding comes from the drug. Consequently, this fear of failure can overcome their common sense, making them believe that without the drug, they are mediocre.

It’s this fear of failure that often locks people into abusing Adderall much longer than they should.

Adderall abuse is fairly easy to achieve. Who wouldn’t get “high” at the thought of doing things better than they used to? Who wouldn’t enjoy being praised by such hard work or being regularly recognized for flawless code?

These things can happen with Adderall, but what you get in return is far more suffering, when you quit.

Adderall Withdrawal Symptoms

adderall withdrawal

When you quit taking Adderall after a long period of use, aside from making you tense, jittery and anxious, your self-esteem will probably bottom out.  According to AdderallAddictionSupport.com, the common side effects experienced by people withdrawing from smarties include:

  • A constant need to sleep
  • Feelings of hunger / overeating
  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Feelings of nervousness
  • Lack of confidence
  • Loss of motivation
  • Loss of libido

These symptoms can be quite severe. And, they may last for several months even though the drug washes out of your system within a couple of weeks.  Many ex-addicts report loss of income, relationships and suicidal tendencies.

This is why you should think twice about ever using Adderall or any other performance enhancing drug to improve your career. You may get a lot more than you bargained for.

apple watch

Is The New Apple Watch A Lemon?

Many probably wonder what Steve Jobs is thinking right now about the future of Apple (RIP).

Late last year, Tim Cook announced what he and Apple investors thought would be an innovative huge hit in today’s market for tech wearables, the Apple Watch.

The fact is, though, the media is not impressed. Lukewarm would best describe the reception from most. Here are a few of the most prominent media takes on the new watch.

PC Mag: Why I Won’t Be Buying an Apple Watch

This article explains that a watch just needs to be a watch. We have phones, tablets and laptops to carry us into the world of the web. We do not need a watch doing the same thing. We need a watch to tell us what time it is.

It also points out that the watch is not waterproof, yet it costs $350 which is more expensive than the iPhone 6. You need the iPhone 6 to use the Apple Watch, so the accessory is more expensive than the more functional, base device.

Marketwatch: 3 Good Reasons Not to Buy the Apple Watch

The author makes a few great points. She notes there will be many kinks which will all need to be worked out, so a person would be wise in waiting. Second, as PC Mag noted, $350 is just too high, when you can buy the iPhone 6 cheaper. Lastly, it is an accessory. You don’t have to have the Apple Watch. There are necessities and accessories, and the Apple Watch is the latter.

Mashable: Why I Won’t Buy an Apple Watch

This author says he has lived without a smart watch until now, why does he really need one? A but Luddite of him, as that’s exactly what everyone said about the iPhone when it was released.

He feels that with all the so called “perks” of the Apple Watch, it is bound to create more stress. Many have already shown that we need less technology, not more. Having a watch that informs you that you ate too many calories so you need to run a mile longer – but you have a meeting in 12 minutes – could be the recipe for a heart attack; not from the calories, but from the stress your watch is causing.

He also tells us the best point of all when he says, “I will probably end up breaking the damn thing.” Consider the watches you have owned; how long before you broke them?

CNBC: Investors Say ‘iMeh’ to Apple Watch

The author at CNBC pointed out that Apple’s stock did not do what was predicted when the Apple Watch was announced. The device may have some great features, but the fact that it has to be used in conjunction with the iPhone 6 hurts the image of the Apple Watch.

The fact that it cannot work alone makes this product look as it could have the possibilities of being an Apple dud.

Awatch

Extreme Tech: Does Anyone Want an Apple Watch?

The author starts this column with a positive approach.

Yes, the watch is beautiful and is arguably a good buy at $350, but will people use it? Will it be one of those items that are used 1 or 2 times, and then put in a drawer?

The author asks the ultimate question: Would you wear a smart watch?

If you wear a top-of-the-line Swiss watch now, would you really exchange, and if you do not wear a watch at all, do you want to start? It really comes down to common sense, will you really wear it? Will you really use it? Oh, and will the battery cause you stress with its short span of holding a charge.

Most of the recent smart watch reviews are rooted in the fact that the Apple Watch needs an iPhone 6 to operate. The consensus is that Apple needs to make the Apple Watch operational without the iPhone 6. If this can be done, people will feel they have to own one.

antivirus

Antivirus programs don’t work like you think they do.

antivirus programs

Do you understand what you’re buying?

The software companies won’t always tell you this, but there are three big gaps in antivirus (AV) protection that you probably don’t want to know about – but you really should. The reality is, antivirus software is just the icing on the cake when it comes to protecting yourself from nefarious types who want to steal your identity, your credit cards and the right to access your hard drive. These include:

  1. human error: the reality is that most security breaches occur because of simple human error, not automated attacks such as malware, trojans, viruses and keyloggers. Fo example, no AV program can prevent you from sharing your password with someone on the phone, accessing sensitive online services over public WiFi or using easy-to-guess passwords.
  2. time lag: all AV programs are running behind the hackers. There’s always a delay between the creation of a new virus and a solution.
  3. algorithm differences: Antivirus software isn’t magic, it’s math. All AV programs use one of two different approaches to detecting threats like malware and trojans. And neither approach is foolproof.
    • list-based: using a central published list of known threats, the AV software scans your computer for them. Almost all AV programs that use list-based algorithms rely upon the same repository which is maintained by thousands of security specialists worldwide, open-source style. Most popular AV programs today started this way and remain mostly focused on this method. The biggest drawback of this approach is that new threats are coming online all the time, and the lists are always behind the curve.
    • pattern-based: a few other programs like Malwarebytes don’t use a list of known threats; instead, they look for tell-tale patterns in your computer’s memory to detect the presence of certain types of threats. This type of AV can pick up new threats not yet documented in the master list, because the new threats happen to function like other, known threats. The downside of this approach is that the patterns aren’t perfect, and some known threats will slip through the cracks.

Fix Yourself First

Before you go buy yourself an expensive antivirus license, use some common sense (and FREE) methods to protect yourself against the most important class of threats, human error.

Here are the best ways to protect yourself from malware, trojans, viruses and other automated attacks on your privacy:

  1. Use strong passwords. Select a unique, hard-to-guess password for every single program and web service that requires one. Use at least 8-10 characters. Mix up numbers, letters and special characters in every password. Capitalize at least two of your letters.
  2. Never use the same password twice. I’m serious. This may sound like a huge hassle, but if you use a free keyword passbook program like KeyPass (which is what I use), it becomes easy to store and find your passwords.
  3. Lock down your home WiFi network. And use a strong password for access.
  4. Never access personal accounts over public WiFi. It’s really easy these days for a nefarious geek to use a cheap $100 sniffer device to capture every character you transmit to your bank, insurance company, credit card payments, etc. This includes your phone and tablets, too. Turn the wifi off, and rely on cellular instead (it’s encrypted).
  5. Never click on an attachment or URL in an email from someone you don’t know. 
  6. Inspect your URLs before you click on them. A lot of people click on a link in an email from their bank without even thinking. WRONG. Phishing attacks prey on this easy mistake. Make sure you know where you’re going, before you click. To do that,  just hover over the link and look at the bottom left of your browser footer to see what the real destination is.

The Best Antivirus Programs You Can Buy

OK, after you’ve taken care of the common sense items above, here are the most effective antivirus programs you can use to further reduce the threat of an automated attack:

I recommend buying two packages: one list-based package plus one pattern-based package, to cover all of your bases.

If you follow all of these guidelines, your computers will remain threat-free for years. It’s been over ten years since I’ve had anything infect my computer.

 

web hosting

Have you ever had a light bulb moment, where an excellent idea for a website pops into your head – and all you needed was a place to host it, cheap?

You probably went to Google as a next step and typed in “free web hosting” or something along those lines. I know I have.

The path from getting your idea on paper to launching your own web site is riddled with potential pitfalls. To save you time and frustration, here’s what I learned in most recent my quest to find the best possible web hosting service for this blog.

The first few results in any online search for a web host are usually some sort of a free web hosting service. Free web hosting services operate on the principle of giving you something until you commit. In exchange, they impose a lot of restrictions. Usually, those restrictions come in the form of limiting your bandwidth, adding advertisements all over your pages and in general, treating you like a low priority customer.

I prefer not to use free hosting, but instead go with cheap hosting, where you get treated as a customer (at least). Here are the 5 best web hosting services I found recently, with recommendations on why you should or shouldn’t choose each.

FatCow

fat cow web hosting front page

FatCow offers a supremely easy WordPress setup, which means you can have your blog up and running in a matter of minutes. The feature package includes phpBB, Joomla, unlimited MySQL databases, domains hosted, bandwidth, disk space, PayPal integration and much, much more. To top it all off, there is a $100 Google AdWords bonus, so you can reach your customers even faster. If you don’t like it, there is a 30-day money back guarantee, for just $3.15 per month. The entire FatCow service is 100% powered by wind turbines, in other words, green energy. All of the above earns FatCow a deserved 5-star rating.

BlueHost

bluehost web hosting front page

This hosting service also comes with a swath of amazing options for fresh bloggers. BlueHost has everything you can possibly imagine: unlimited email addresses, hosting space, unlimited bandwidth plans, while also including site builder templates for effortless creation of your own blog. BlueHost is also the official recommended WordPress web hosting service and they’ve been around since 1996, which says enough about their reliability and stability. If you’re looking for a specialized WordPress web hosting service, then look no further. All of this is available for a mere $3.49 per month. If you join the WPBeginner website, you will receive an additional 50% off of any BlueHost price, which is why it also gets a 5-star rating in this review.

InMotion

inmotion hosting front page

The InMotion web hosting service boasts having Solid State Drive as their primary content holder, which means that you will get unparalleled access and loading times, compared to servers on traditional hard drives. This also reflects in the prices, which are slightly above average. Their tech support is top notch and available 24/7 for any questions you might have. Though, it’s only available for US based clients, so if you’re outside of US, you might simply get directed towards online knowledge database, out of which some are quite outdated. They offer a variety of price plans, the best being Power, starting from $6.29 per month. InMotion gets a 4-star rating.

HostGator

hostgator web hosting front page

HostGator offers free website transfers, if you’re coming from another web service provider. While the cheaper price packages are excellent for starting blogs and businesses, premium accounts do not provide as many benefits as one would expect. Also note that if you stay logged in into WordPress as admin, you will cause excessive CPU usage and a temporary suspension. The price is $3.96 per month. HostGator receives a 4-star rating.

SiteGround

siteground web hosting front page

SiteGround has a unique location-specific service which gives you the option of choosing servers nearest to you in Europe, Singapore and USA. They are primarily oriented towards WordPress bloggers and offer optimized plans, support and software for the purpose of starting your own blog. The price is 3.95 € per month, a bit too much compared to the competitors, while reserving some high-end functions for premium plans. SiteGround receives a 4-star rating.

hosting-word

And the winner is…

FatCow hosting! Although the race was neck-to-neck between FatCow and BlueHost, in the end FatCow prevailed, simply due to the fact that they offer the absolute lowest prices while giving top notch service for a beginner blogger.

hair drug testing

Beat The Unbeatable Hair Drug Test

OK, so this post is a little off-topic, but I find it interesting.

At my job, employee drug testing is a very serious matter. We build apps for the US government, after all.

My primary employer does random drug tests all the time, especially for contractors like me.

Last Wednesday, my team lost a really good programmer over a failed hair drug test.

I was talking to my friend Tom when he told me that several other contractors he knows for a fact are smoking pot outside of work, but they didn’t get caught on the same test. For the next 15 minutes, he introduced me to the “black art” of methods that pot smokers use to cheat the newest infallible drug test, the hair follicle test.

Now, I do not do drugs of any kind (honestly, really), but I did find it fascinating that people have figured out how to cheat what should be a foolproof, onsite test like a hair sample.

Here are the 4 ways my fellow contractors are apparently using to beat the hair drug test (or so they say):

  1. shave your body free of hair (ref: http://hairfollicledrugtest.info)
  2. get around the test  (ref: http://www.wikihow.com/Pass-a-Hair-Follicle-Drug-Test)
  3. using special detox shampoos (ref: http://hairfollicledrugtest.info)
  4. vinegar home rinse

People Are Crafty

Whenever new laws and regulations are passed, it doesn’t take long for people to find clever ways to beat the system.

Many employers, including the government, have grappled with the problem of drug use and how to deal with employees they suspect of using drugs. While some employers are concerned about the effect of drugs on the overall productivity of staff members, others are concerned because of the nature of the tasks their employees have to undertake.

When employees are charged with operating industrial machinery or other equipment that require high concentration levels, they simply cannot consume any substance that impairs their judgment.

The government especially expects everyone involved in sensitive areas such as defense to be totally free of drugs. This rule applies for both direct employees and those under defense contractors.

Recently, the hair drug test has been hailed as the foolproof way of catching drug users in work places where the use of drugs is restricted.

How does the hair drug test work?

If you have ever taken drugs, you may or may not be aware that the toxins from the drugs are circulated by your blood throughout the body. As they are transported round the body, small amount of the toxins are deposited in different parts of the body including the hair follicles. This means that anyone who would like to conduct a drug test on you only needs to test a sample of your hair to tell conclusively whether you have been using drugs or not.

The hair drug test then happens to be about as accurate as testing urine, except it can detect drugs over a longer period of time. A urine test only reveals the use of drugs if they have been consumed between 48 – 72 hours. After the lapse of the period, the traces of the drugs disappear from the urine. However, the drug molecules still remain in hair follicles.

A hair test, then, will reveal the type of drugs taken with a high accuracy and over a long period of time. The hair test also reveals whether the drug user has been using for an extended period of time or whether it was just a one-off occurrence. For example, a hair growth of 3 months with embedded toxins means that the subject has been using the drugs for at least 3 months.

If you are being interviewed about your history of drug use and you happen to have used drugs for a while then stopped, it is a good idea to be truthful. The hair test is likely to give an indication of when you used the drugs and also when you stopped.

hair_follicile_close_up

How to beat the hair drug test…

A lot has been said about the drug test on hair been very precise. Like all other processes, some people have been wondering how to beat the test. Some have claimed that they have been able to pass the test even thought they have bee taking drugs. However, the truth is that if you hope to get a job in the disciplined forces or any other industry which tests for drug use, you have to ensure that you stop taking the drugs at least 3 months prior to the commencement of the interviews. Within the period, you may want to detoxify and remove as much trace of the toxins in your body as possible.

There are a number of ways they claim to do this. The methods include:

Shaving the body free of hair

It is a fact that it takes 5 days for the hair to grow from the root to the scalp. If you shave your hair completely and stop taking the drugs for at least 7 days you will be clean. For this method to be effective you have to shave all the hair on your body and not just on the head. The biggest flaw with this approach is that your employer or potential employer will question why you had to shave with a hair drug test approaching. If they cannot get your hair sample, they will opt for a blood test which will reveal your drug use.

Vinegar rinse home remedy

This method requires you to have distilled white vinegar. It involves applying the vinegar over your hair and saturating it for over 10 minutes. You must ensure that you rub your hair thoroughly so that every strand of hair is soaked. Once you are satisfied that you have applied the vinegar evenly, you need to let it remain on your hair for an extra 15 minutes.

Next, you need to soak your hair with salicylic acid commonly used acne treatment. You should ensure that the product has a 2% salicylic acid concentration. Without rinsing any of the products you have applied, take a cupful of liquid detergent and rub it on your hair. You need to let this detergent remain on your hair for about 30 minutes.

After the time is up, you need to carefully rinse your hair with a lot of water. After you are done rinsing, you can then dye your hair with a standard dye to your desired hair color.

Some people who claim to have used this method successfully say they repeat it at least once.

Detox Shampoos

Some people say that detox shampoos do work, because they detox the hair follicles all the way to the roots. With so many detox shampoos in the market, one needs to be careful about the one they choose. Since detox hair products are not FDA tested, you are on your own. Two of the most commonly mentioned products include the Aloe Rid Shampoo as well as the Toxin Wash Detox Shampoo.

Although many people have claimed success against a hair drugs test, you need to plan ahead to ensure your own success.

smart appliances

Robotic Home Appliances Are Quietly Taking Over (In a Good Way)

A famous Silicon Valley VC once said, “software is eating the world”. Indeed!

It’s amazing to see how many computers and software applications are getting embedded into so many products and industries to automate and simplify tasks like never before. And most of this is being done under our noses, with little to no fanfare or media attention.

Software intelligence is increasingly impacting our economy at every level, from information processing to electronics and production. The use of on-board software capable of scheduling and doing tasks without human involvement has been introduced to a wide range of home appliances in the past 5-10 years, from automatic vacuum cleaners to robotic pool cleaners, automatic coffee makers, intelligent refrigerators and even bread makers.

Software Enters The Home

On-board software refers to applications capable of taking and automating task instructions for a single device or appliance – such as when to initiate a given process or function. Here are some common home appliances that have been incorporating on-board software recently, and the advantages we get from doing that.

Washers and Dryers

bosch wkd28350gb washer dryer combo

Unlike traditional washers and dryers that require people to keep an ear out for, modern washer-dryer combos are self-directed and fully automated. Intelligent washers have systems that can perform loading, washing and drying without being monitored. They also have delay features that can be used to schedule tasks so that the tasks are completed just in time, when you arrive home from work for example.

The advantage of these appliances is that tasks are performed in your absence without your oversight. There are several intelligent dryers produced by different manufacturers. A good example is the Bosch WKD28350GB automatic washer/dryer. It features washer foam detection, safeguard monitoring, aquatronic washing and begin-wash delay among other properties. The dryer claims to be more energy efficient than non-intelligent versions.

Smart Refrigerators

Also known as internet refrigerators, this appliance uses a barcode recognition system (or RFID scanners) that scan and keep records of items being stored in it. Intelligent fridges also keep track of restocking patterns and notifies users whenever there is an item that needs replenishing. Some examples include Samsung’s RH2777AT HomePAD and Zipel e-Diary, LG’s Digital DIOS, GR-D267DTU and ThinQ LFX31995ST.

Outdoor Grills

There are several automated grills and smart concept grills on the market today. These new designs feature software that can access internet databases to identify correct recipes including cooking methods and timing. The grills also have preprogrammed systems that eliminate guesswork and use fine recipes to produce the best meal. For example, the Lynx concept grill allows activation via voice instruction and has many other incredible capabilities.

Robotic Pool Cleaners

aquabot pool rover jr

Swimming pool owners no longer need to pay pool cleaners or leave their vacuum/filtration systems on all day. Robotic pool cleaners like the Dolphin Nautilus and the Aquabot Pool Rover are designed to effectively clean swimming pool floor, walls and cloves. The chief advantage of having onboard software to run these devices is that cleaning is fully automated, the routes are intelligently controlled so less time is required to clean, and cleaning can be scheduled to happen during specified periods of time to ensure your pool is always clean but not interrupting your fun.

Robotic Vacuum Cleaners (robo-vacs)

These are programmed in-home vacuum cleaners that use a combination of cleaning procedures (UV sterilization, mopping, etc.) plus features such as spinning brushes to clean your floors and carpeted surfaces automatically. They can be set to perform cleaning at given time intervals in the absence of anyone. Robovacs may also incorporate systems like security cameras and intercoms, to serve as watchdog.

iRobot Roomba

iRobot Roomba vacuum cleaner is a good example.

The incorporation of smart applications and on-board software into ordinary home appliances has resulted in more convenience, higher energy efficiency and improved productivity/performance for a wide range of tasks – and we’re just getting started!

code javascript

Learning how to code used to be boring. But not any more.

CodeAcademy.org sort of broke the mold with their wildly popular 10 hour course for learning how to code in Javascript.Over 24 million people have taken this course! Today, they offer courses on Python, CSS and lots more.

Following their lead, more fun and educational programs have come online to help budding/aspiring developers to take the plunge.

All of the courses below are clever in the way they motivate you through constant positive feedback. I think they’re fun. I wish I’d had them when I got started. Or maybe not, because there would be a lot more coders to compete with!

Here are the three best FREE self-guided programming courses available today. Enjoy!

Codecademy

codeacademy panel

Of all the self-guided programming learning course, Codecademy is the most popular – because it is so easy to use.Lessons are available for learning HTML, JavaScript, and CSS.

The fundamental training model is do-and-see. In other words, make a change in your code on one side of the screen, and you will immediately see the results on the other. This is a really quick way to iterate and learn.

In this video, Zach Sims discusses how CodeAcademy approached the problem of getting people engaged in learning how to code – by delivering its course in tiny, simple and entertaining challenges that teach one thing well.

 

Khan Academy

khan academy panelKhan is known for their excellent video tutorials, and they offer an extensive array on computer science and programming.

Recently, Khan branched into interactive self-guided training.

In Khan’s programming course, they focus more on learning general coding concepts by sending you through small Javascript modules.

Like CodeAcademy.org, the course uses two panes: one displays the results of your changes and the other educates you on the new technique. Video summaries help cement the concepts after the exercise is done.

Not quite as good as CodeAcademy, but it works great – especially if you’re already using Khan for other courses.

 

Scratch 2.0

scratch 20

If you find Khan Academy or CodeAcademy too challenging, then give Scratch 2.0 a try.

In Scratch, you learn the concepts of programming by assembling a series of visual logical blocks to do your bidding.  The blocks represent code, so you don’t actually learn how to write code but instead learn the fundamental ways of blocking code. This is as close to video gaming as you’ll get in a programming course. I really liked playing with it, and my nephew (who’s 13) thoroughly enjoyed it.

 

I am a training god

I’ve been teaching others how to develop LAMP and web apps for over 5 years.

I like to present - im an extrovert

I like to present – im an extrovert

It’s in my job description.

And with the engineering turnover every company experiences, training is a constant state of being for guys like me.

I used to custom-build my training materials by hand for new recruits. The result was a burning need to take adderall among my students.

So, I always thought that getting access to pre-packaged education courses would a God send. Well, it is!

These days, the quality and availability of FREE online training for professional developers has come so far in such a short amount of time that I regularly incorporate outside training courses on the job.

Here are some of the best FREE online courses for developers:

If you’re interested in paying, here are a few I can recommend:

Thanks to Quora for all the help!

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