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Friday, June 6, 2008

10 ways to increase your miles per gallon (MPG)

Picture of fuel guage at empty.
1. Moving off from stationary, stop start driving, increases fuel consumption. If you can see that the lights are red slow down as much as you can to give them time to go green so that you can avoid stopping.

2. Remove all unnecessary cargo from your vehicle e.g. do you need the entire tool kit. Reducing weight improves fuel economy.

3. Turn off the air conditioning when driving at low speeds in town and, if safe to do so, open the windows to increase ventilation. The compressor driving your air conditioning increases fuel consumption. Opening the windows at low speeds does not increase drag as much as at higher speeds.

4. At cruising speed on the highway close all the windows and if necessary turn on the air conditioning. Opening the windows at cruising speed effects the aerodynamic properties of your car by significantly increasing drag, this results in increased fuel consumption.

5. Regularly check the pressure of the tyres and make sure they are at the pressure recommended by the manufacturer of your vehicle. Tyres that are under inflated greatly increase fuel consumption.

6. Make sure the vehicle is serviced according to the manufacturers schedule. A well maintained vehicle will produce better fuel economy.

7. Try and avoid traffic congestion, perhaps by leaving earlier for work. Being stuck in traffic results in stop start driving which increases fuel consumption.

8. Avoid harsh acceleration and decrease your cruising speed, reducing by as little as 5 mph can result in a 10% improvement in fuel economy.

9. In a car with manual gear shift accelerate briskly through the gears and get into top gear as soon as you can. For both automatic and manual gear shift use cruise control if available.

10. Avoid excessive idling. If you have parked turn the engine off.

I've greatly increased the mpg of my car by coasting (free wheeling) in neutral, clutch out and with the engine on, when negotiating down hill sections of road. I have not included this in the ten tips because there is a safety risk associated with this. Should your engine stall in a modern car while you are free wheeling then you will loose the full effect of the brakes and steering will become very heavy. For this reason never be tempted to turn off the engine while the vehicle is in motion.


Even though I know my car is very unlikely to stall at idle I only free wheel on straight sections of rural roads I know very well and definitely no free wheeling while in traffic.


I would never consider freewheeling in a car that does not have ABS. Cars which do not have ABS are more likely to have the wheels lock if the car is in neutral when the brakes are applied.


Freewheeling is definitely done at your own risk.

Execute Khalid Sheikh Mohammed?

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed organised the 9/11 bombings and it's safe to say he will be convicted of this crime because he admits this and is proud of what he has done.

When found guilty Mohammed will face the death sentence. Mohammed has requested the death penalty as he wishes to be a martyr.

Should the wishes of a mass murderer be granted? Would a more suitable punishment be life imprisonment where he would watch through his prison bars as Islamic Fundamentalism fades away. His death in prison, years from now, would not be as a martyr but as a murderer for a forgotten and disgraced cause.

Execution can never be a deterrent against those who are prepared to lose their lives, it can only be a punishment. In this case is execution a punishment that fits the crime?

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Squeeky clean.

Tesco dish washing detergentI had a nasty experience yesterday evening. I had a shower and what I thought was shampoo turned out to be anti- bacterial dish washing detergent. My wife bought the stuff and I had unpacked it from the shopping.

OK I've been stupid but, in my defence, just look at the bottle for goodness sake. What does it look like? Shampoo/ shower gel or washing up detergent? Then there is the labeling, black type against dark green, what a stroke of genius. The white text is clearly visible but the only text that is in white reads "TESCO" and "mulated". Very informative.

Well thanks Tesco, I'm probably more clean than I have ever been before but at the same time my skin has never been this dry. I'd like to find the person who designed this stupid bottle.

I don't care how many extra units they shift because of the fancy design. Kitchen detergent should be easily identified. If people want it in a fancy bottle so it looks nice on the draining board they can use a bottle of their own.

Here is a crazy idea Tesco. You are all for people using their own bags these days. Why not have a huge vat of your dish washing detergent with a tap on it so we can reuse our own bottles. The bottle I'd reuse would look like my second pic. Now that's what I call a dish washing liquid bottle.

Tesco are a massive UK based supermarket chain like Wal mart.
Picture of old fashioned sqeezy bottle

Web 2.0 is a gigantic pyramid selling scam.

Diagram of web 2.0 cloud by Luca Cremonini and Markus AngermeierRule number one of maximising Internet traffic is to have content, lots and lots of content. Web 2.0 creates user generated content by the bucket load and we are not talking about a small bucket here. The bucket is mind bogglingly massive. Check out the traffic data for the big boys http://www.ebizmba.com/articles/user-generated-content and that does not even include the top dogs Google et al listed here in item1 at http://potpolitics.com/2008/06/04/so-you-want-to-be-a-general-you-can-forget-that/

Now imagine the advertising revenue that sort of traffic is hauling in... Well you don't have to imagine, Bear Sterns estimate that YouTube alone will make $90.2m in 2008 just in the U.S.

Money, money, money. Do the people who actually create the content actually see much of it? I say very few, a tiny minority. That's the way a pyramid scheme works. The people at the bottom work under the illusion that they will gain when in fact it is those at the top that suck up all the cash. You could say Digg, Technorati etc need the cash to develop their services, and that some provide much more user friendly services than others, but I'm not the least bit interested in being fair the moment.

Monetize, publicise, optimise. Blogs about blogging and blogs about nothing more than exchanging links. Social networking that is about getting as many of your friends to join as possible, that's it get them all together, one big juicy advertising sales target.

You may say Polybore is a hypocrite for carrying advertising on his blog. Look if I can get 2 cents a month I know its going to a good cause. I'm not labouring under the delusion that I'm going to be hauling in tens of thousands of dollars in advertising, and I'm not going to try and generate traffic to my site, by coning people into thinking they have a chance to earn masses of cash through following my "sage" advice.

I just want people to visit my blog because I like writing and I've found out it's more fun if you have an audience. Phew. Need a beer after that.

Credits for the image: Author: Luca Cremonini Source: http://www.railsonwave.it/railsonwave/2007/1/2/web-2-0-map URL: http://www.railsonwave.com/assets/2006/12/25/Web_2.0_Map.svg Note: The cloud-map picture above (constructed by Luca Cremonini on December 25, 2006, for railsonwave.com) has been recreated in svg format from the image of Markus Angermeier and was improved with links to Wikipedia sources.
Original Source: Markus Angermeier Source: http://kosmar.de/archives/2005/11/11/the-huge-cloud-lens-bubble-map-web20/ URL: http://kosmar.de/wp-content/web20map.png

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

How to add missing album art to WMP11

Screen shot WMP11 library missing album artOK you have added a single or album to your Windows Media Player 11 library and for whatever reason the album art has not been automatically added. So instead of some nice art you get the generic cd image like in my first pic.

The easiest way I have found to get the art is to do a Google images search. Go to the Google homepage and click images in the top left of the page this will take you to Google images search. Once there searching for the track/ album name and band name is the best way. You will get a bunch of thumbnails like in my second pic.

Screen shot Google Images search
Select the thumbnail that best fits what you are after and you will be taken to the page that has the image on it. At the top of the page there will be a Google frame, click on "see full-size image". You want one that is roughly square and that is at least 200 by 200 to avoid blurring or distortion.

You should now have just the image you want in your browser. Right click on the image and select "save picture as" and save the image to the desktop.

All that remains to be done is to click and drag the image from the desktop and onto the generic CD image in your wmp11 library (you will notice it says paste art here). Alternatively if Screen shot album art added to libraryyou have your browser and wmp11 open at the same time you can just click and drag the image straight from the browser to the library without saving to the desktop. (works with IE7).
That's your library art up to date and looking cool. Third pic. If you used the save the image to the desktop method you can delete the image now as it is no longer needed.

How to get a widescreen TV for free.

Picture of a wide-screen TV I just got a top quality 32" wide-screen TV for free.

Ok it's not High Definition (HD) but then neither is my massive DVD collection. Its not an LCD TV so its a bit big at the back however this does not bother me as our TV sits in the corner of the living room anyway.

So how did I get it for free? Well people are getting rid of the their CRT wide-screen TVs as they "upgrade" to LCD/ Plasma HD TV's. As the price of the LCD TVs has come down the second hand value of the old CRTs has fallen through the floor. In fact people are trashing them or paying to have them taken away. Its a bit mad because the TVs they are throwing out are only a year or two old, are excellent quality and are a lot more robust than their LCD equivalents.

Save cash and do your bit for the environment at the same time and rescue a wide-screen TV from landfill. Best way to do it is to join your local freecycle group and post "wide-screen TV wanted". That's how I did it. You will not be disappointed. I could have had umpteen wide-screen TVs by now. Happy hunting.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

How to make your own folder icons in windows XP.

Screen shot showing customised folder iconAre you fed up of those yellow folders? If so the good news is that it is easy to change them to an image of your own. I have a polybore image for my blog stuff folder. See first pic.

Video of how to do it.





First off we need to convert our image to BMP (bitmap) format. Open your jpeg (or other format) image into Microsoft Paint.

Then file/ save as/ save as type/ 24 color bitmap. That's it we have our bitmap image. See second pic.Screen shot of BMP file type selection

Now right click on the folder that you want to change the icon. Select properties. Click the customise tab. Select change icon. Select browse. Change files of type from icon files to all files. Locate the bmp image we created earlier. Hit OK.
That's it done. Bear in mind that your image is going to be shrunk a lot when it becomes an icon so it is best to chose an image that is well defined.
Alternatively download the excellent IrfanView. This software enables you to save jpeg as ico as well as many other features including making the background of your icon transparent.

How to make perfect prawn cocktail quickly and easily.

Picture of prawn cocktail.Like this recipe? Check out all the polybore recipes here.

I am rather fond of prawn cocktail. Maybe not the most fashionable of dishes but if you care about that sort of thing then you could describe it as being retro chic.

Up until recently I would never make it myself because I imagined that the sauce was very complicated to make. Well it turns out that it is amazingly easy.

All you need is.

Some cooked and shelled prawns, nice big ones are best, unfortunately I could only get tiddlers when I made the one in the photo. It would have looked and tasted better with king prawns.

Then there is just the mayonnaise, tomato ketchup, paprika, lemons and a lettuce (crunchy).

Chuck the mayo in a bowl and add a small squirt of ketchup then mix it up, taste it, if you think it needs more ketchup add a squirt more. Pop in some paprika, careful now this stuff has some kick. I like my prawn cocktail to have a bit of kick but you adjust to your taste. Add salt and pepper to taste as well, you hardly need any salt at all, in fact you could miss out the salt altogether. Squeeze in some fresh lemon. That's your sauce ready.

On the plate make a bed of lettuce leaves, then put the prawns on top of this in a pile. Drizzle the sauce over the prawns then dust with a small amount of paprika. Serve with a wedge of lemon.

One of the best things about prawn cocktail is you can make them in advance and put them in the refrigerator. This means that when it comes to serving your guests at least the first course will be easy and stress free.


Democrat flip flop disaster.

Hilary Clinton Barack Obama Talk about shooting yourself in the foot. The attempt at compromise over numbers of delegates from Michigan and Florida looks to have failed. Allocating votes to Obama from a ballot in which he did not take part is patently very very stupid. What's more it has clearly angered the Clinton camp and reduced the chances of them dropping gracefully out of the race.

A US presidential candidate needs to demonstrate that they can reach out to members of all parties because this is what they will need to do to be effective in office. Unfortunately for the Democratic party it seems that neither of the candidates has the ability to reach out to and unify their own party. If they can't do this with their own party then what chance with the US people as a whole?

It is starting to look like the eventual winner of the Democratic nomination will have scored only a pyrrhic victory. Two strong candidates and a closely fought battle has resulted in a damaging split which will surely decrease the chances of the Democrats defeating the Republicans in the Presidential election. Split parties do not win elections.

An excellent opportunity for a democratic president has been spoiled by a combination allowing the train wreck of Michigan/ Florida to occur and Hilary Clinton's failure to see the big picture.

Events continue to unfold. www.northcoastblog.com/2008/06/03/the-great-divider/