24 August 2009

Field Capture: Female Wolf Spider

I see lots of interesting stuff in my line of work, pest control. Today was one of those days.

I arrived at a client's house and was promptly informed that there was "a really big spider on the front step." Usually when people say "really big" and "spider" in the same sentence, their varying degrees of arachnophobia increase the actual size of the creature by quite a bit in their mind's eye. I put down my spray wand and went to have a look.

Turned out to be a "pregnant" female wolf spider:

That white sack you see attached to her abdomen is specifically how you can know that this is a female wolf spider - other than such obvious clues, identifying the sex of a spider frequently requires such things as microscopes. Inside of the sack are eggs and/or hatched spiderlings. Once they have undergone their first molt, they'll emerge and climb onto their mother's back where they hitch a ride until they're big enough to fend for themselves.

Now, as to her size, to many folks she really is "really big." To people in many parts of the world, they probably wouldn't even take notice of her. In any case, I put a U.S. quarter dollar next to her to establish scale:

She'll now get to live out her days in a nice terrarium, going along with us (the pest control outfit I work for) to home shows and whatnot.

17 August 2009

Quicken One Step Update Problems: IE 8

Recently I've noticed a sharp uptick in the number of hits my blog receives on a post I did a long time ago in regard to a problem I had with Quicken's One Step Update function. That post, Quicken 2008 One Step Update Problem: Privoxy, Vidalia, Internet Explorer Link to OL Error Code Issues, can be found here.

A comment left for me by a reader indicated that the reason I've seen a wave of hits on this post in recent weeks is that the release of Internet Explorer 8 may be to blame. I didn't install IE 8 on my machine so I haven't familiarized myself with whatever its default settings must be, but I know from experience (what I detail in that earlier post) is that IE settings can affect the functioning of other programs, particularly if you play around with LAN settings like I did.

If you're here because of a problem with Quicken and you recently installed IE 8, check your connection settings. Check out the post I wrote about my issues with IE and Tor for pointers.

22 February 2009

Online Privacy Through Virtual Private Networks

It's very easy for others to find out what you've been doing online. I know this makes a lot of people shrug and say, "but I'm not doing anything illegal, so who cares?" That's not a bad point, really. However, to those same folks I say, "How much do you like spam?"

Not the canned variety, of course, but the digital kind that fills up your inbox. Want a no document mortgage? You could flip those houses and grow rich, if you sign up for the super-secret e-course that hundreds of thousands just got an email about. And you'll probably want to get certain bits of yourself enlarged, because all of that money is going to get you a lot more action - never fear, you've got mail on that subject, too.

How many of you catch your "delete" key on fire each day from pressing it so much? Probably a lot.

One way to avoid the prying eyes of annoying marketers is to use a virtual private network, or vpn for short. A vpn is essentially a group of computers which grant exclusive access to each other, transmitting their encrypted data back and forth over a larger, third party network (the Internet). This allows an organization to enjoy the functionality of a private network without having to invest in actual physical connections between parties, allowing effortless scalability and reach.

In terms of internet privacy and general use, a vpn can act as an anonymous intermediary between your computer and the wider web. Your data (search requests, URLs, etc.) travel a secure, encrypted "pipeline" between you and the vpn's servers, which go out and fetch your data, then return it to you over your secure connection to the server. The site on the other end only sees the vpn server arrive, not you. This isn't a total fix for securing your identity from those annoying marketers, but it helps (I like to turn off third party cookies, too - this eliminates a lot of crap that is tucked away in banner ads and whatnot).

Search Paul E. Zimmerman.com

Disclosure Policy - Privacy Policy
jenna jameson chasey lain tera patrick briana banks sunny leone lanny barby stefani morgan savanna samson monique alexander cassidey