30 Ways to Improve Your Health and Your Life

  1. Drink plenty of water. This helps to flush the kidneys and avoid them having to process concentrated streams of coffee and alcohol.
  2. Use an exfoliating cream on your face at least once a week. This helps to avoid an accumulation of dead skin cells. For example the Exfoliating cream from D R Harris is very good.
  3. Try and spend 20 to 30 minutes a week in a sauna and consume plenty of water at the same time. This helps to release toxins from under the skin.
  4. If you have access to one try an infrared sauna, these are said to penetrate the skin further and remove more toxins.
  5. Stay out of the sun. A suntan may make you feel healthy but it’s a really fast way of aging your skin and is a common cause of skin cancer.
  6. If you are out in the sun apply a strong sun block to avoid burning and try and where a hat to protect your head.
  7. In the UK the government health department recommends that people each 5 different pieces of fruit or vegetables a day. This can be hard when you’re on the go all the time but try and grab a banana or a takeaway salad or another piece of fruit. If you’re eating lots of prepared food this could make a significant difference to your health. The real secret is to eat a balanced diet containing a little bit of everything and not too much of any one thing.
  8. Try and avoid consuming too much salt. Salt is a hidden ingredient in lots of junk food and ready meals. For the manufacturer salt is a quick cheap means of adding flavour and also acts as a preservative. Salt is difficult for your body to process and can cause high blood pressure.
  9. You probably don’t need to be told this but don’t smoke and if you have already given up then try and avoid situations where you may breath in other peoples smoke. This is not only really bad for you but also puts you into situations where you could be tempted to smoke again.
  10. Alcohol in large quantities isn’t good for you but in moderation probably won’t do you much harm and some studies suggest that there may be positive health effects in moderation. It’s best to enjoy an occasional glass of wine with your dinner. Red wine is said to contain antioxidants, which can mop up some of the free radicals that can damage your heart. The other benefit of red wine is that the bottle can be resealed and you can consume it through the week rather than at once.
  11. Use a moisturiser on your skin occasionally.
  12. Try and get more sleep. The odd late night won’t hurt but in general you need 8 or more hours sleep a night. There’s an old saying “Two hours sleep before midnight does you more good than the six hours after midnight!”. What this is basically saying is it’s no good getting to bed late and then laying in late the next morning.
  13. Try and sleep in a dark room. Humans evolved for millions of years without electric lights and our brains expect a period of darkness each night. Some research suggests that when the brain senses this darkness it releases chemicals required by the body and lets you enter a deeper sleep. If you do have to get up in the middle of the night try and keep the light levels to a minimum – somewhere around the level of moon light on a clear night.
  14. Many people say that they can’t sleep. There are many causes of this but a few suggestions. Try not to watch television or work on a computer for an hour or so before going to bed. The flickering screen excites the brain. Try and get a warm milky drink about an hour before retiring to bed.
  15. These days many of us spend hours in front of a PC or working in an office. We all need to get more fresh air. If you can get out and have a walk at least once a day if only for a few minutes and get some fresh air.
  16. This will depend on the temperature but try and turn off the air conditioning and open windows to get fresh air through your office. Also try and get some pop plants in the office. If the windows are locked closed in your office it’s worth checking the last time your maintenance people had the filters cleaned or replaced on your air conditioning.
  17. Don’t skip breakfast. People who skip breakfast are more likely to eat high calorie snacks during the morning.
  18. Don’t work through lunch and if you’re really busy definitely don’t work through lunch, what’s more never eat at your desk! Studies have shown that the average desk is covered in bacteria, what’s more a short break for lunch will leave you energised for the afternoon and you will be able to get through more work.
  19. Don’t eat a big meal just before retiring for the evening. Best to each early evening and then take some exercise such as a relaxing walk to help digestion.
  20. Get some exercise. This doesn’t have to mean spending hours in the gym, just try getting off the bus a stop earlier or parking at the far end of the car park. If you haven’t done any regular exercise recently see your doctor first.
  21. If you do decide to get more exercise at the gym then always wipe down the equipment before and after use. Studies have shown that gym equipment can carry high levels of bacteria.
  22. Your mental state can really affect your physical state. If you are feeling stressed, worried or anxious this can result in physical symptoms. The average man lives for just 840 months, so life should be exciting trying to pack in everything you want to do in such a short space of time. Have a plan for what you want to do. Set yourself measurable goals and celebrate your successes often.
  23. Part of the solution to not being stressed is to be organised. Get a diary or year planner and mark on it all your friends and families birthdays and special occasions. Organise gifts and cards well in advance. Even if you’re not giving someone a gift or card a reminder so that you can for example wish them a happy birthday or happy anniversary goes a long way.
  24. I think one of the answers to staying young is to keep learning and to some extent learning for the sake of learning – you never know when something might be useful. For example why not learn a foreign language.
  25. Following on from learning, always try to do better in every aspect of your life. Some religions believe that we will continue to suffer until we reach a higher mental state nearing perfection. If all you ever eat is fast food then you won’t be able to taste more subtle healthier food because your taste will be dulled. Likewise if all you listen to is loud pop music your ear will be damaged any you won’t be able to fully appreciate fine classical music. Learn to take pleasure from the simpler things in life. There is much truth in the saying “The best things in life are free”.
  26. Change your toothbrush on a regular basis – if you’ve been using the same one for more than six months it’s probably worn out. Also consider a good electric toothbrush but even then don’t forget to fit a new head on a regular basis.
  27. Get your teeth checkout out by your dentist at least once a year.
  28. Get a good shave everyday with a good quality razor and shaving cream. For example http://www.iadoreyour.com/gstore/Page/92/Almond-Oil-Shaving-Cream-in-Bowl-D-R-Harris.html it’s incredible what a difference a good cream can make to your face over time.
  29. Hopefully if you’re looking after yourself you won’t get many colds or suffer from many illnesses but when you are ill listen to your body. If you can take a few days off and really recover.
  30. Work at relationships. Humans have evolved to be social creatures and to work in teams, find ways to build bridges and strengthen relationships with your friends and family. If you have children find ways to spend time with them.

What To Consider When Choosing Between a Compact Digital Camera or a Bridge Camera

Over recent years there has been an explosion in the range of digital cameras. Although there has been a move away from ‘traditional’ type of compact cameras and Digital Single Lens Reflex (Digital SLR) with the industry appearing to focusing a lot of development ‘compact system cameras’ (bridge camera). This has made it even harder to decide which digital camera is the best for the average consumer.

The principle behind most compact system cameras is the same as that of a Digital SLR, with the benefits of relatively large sensors and interchangeable lenses, but coupled with the portable nature of the advanced compact cameras. These cameras are designed to deliver a high standard of functionality and image quality in a relatively small and inexpensive camera body.

This opens the market for manufactures, to first-time users demanding a reasonably priced way of attaining high-quality images, through to the enthusiast who may not wish to carry around a heavy Digital SLR body and collection of lenses for a day’s shooting or for whom the price of a pro Digital SLR would be prohibitive.

Although, for myself I would opt for the functionality and image quality of compact system cameras, are these really the best option for everyone?

Compact cameras

Compact cameras are designed for the less demanding and occasional users and are good for family and holiday snaps. Supplied with ‘smart’ and ‘intelligent’ technology, compact cameras are ideal for those happy to leave all the decision-making to the camera rather than themselves, but also allowing some degree of control when needed. Ironically these cameras can often be the most difficult to choose between due to the vast array of models from a huge number of manufacturers.

Pixels

Many of today’s digital cameras contain a larger sensors than in the past, incorporating between 8-16 million pixels (Mp). This comfortably meets and surpasses the requirements of most digital camera users today for taking family photographs and holiday snaps.

While a greater number of pixels can be beneficial in good light, this can also have a negative effect on image quality when you use camera’s light sensitivity or ISO settings to the maximum when photographing in low light conditions.

This doesn’t mean you should avoid digital cameras with the a high number of mega-pixels, but that your decision regarding the digital camera that would most suit your needs should take into account both quality of the image sensor, number of mega-pixels, ease of use and the quality of the lens. Lens quality and sensor quality are two guiding factors that should always be at the forefront of any decision when considering the type of digital camera, model and manufacturer, you wish to purchase.

If you do plan on buying a simple compact camera, and you’re likely to be using it in a range of lighting conditions, lookout for those which use a ‘backlit’ sensor, as these tend to capture images with less noise (noise is the colour distortion caused by low light conditions where your digital camera is trying to compensate, this grainy and spotted appearance may spoil what would otherwise be a nice photograph) and with a greater dynamic range. As the technology improves manufacturers are incorporating this feature in to a greater range of models. Nevertheless it is worth enquiring prior to purchasing your new camera.

What lens?

As previously mentioned the quality of the lens is of real significance of when considering which camera to purchase. It is advisable to find a camera that has a range of the lens, as this will determine how suitable it is for different subjects and situations. I would advise that when purchasing a new camera body you choose a short zoom lens with arrange between approximately 24 mm to 70 mm. Of course it is likely that as an initial purchase, the camera will come as a ‘lens kit’, where the camera body lens come boxed together.

Many manufacturers equip their digital cameras with an image stabilisation system. If possible look for cameras with either lens or sensor based image stabilisation, particularly if you’re looking to buy a camera with a relatively long zoom. This will help maintain a higher standard of image quality in lower light conditions.

Viewfinder

The many compact cameras have an optical viewfinder but not all do. These are linked to the optical zoom of the camera and operate in relation to the lens, and are useful for photographing in bright light when LCD screens become hard to view. Optical viewfinders are found on higher specification compacts such as Canon’s G 12 or Nikon’s P 7000.

Only Spend What You Can Afford

It is easy to be convinced by glossy brochures and slick sales patter to part with more money than you can reasonably afford when purchasing a digital camera. But if you have a little more money to spend; what camera should you be looking for and what are their benefits? A more expensive compact camera may provide a better quality sensor and a better quality lens, which together help improve the quality of the digital photographs you shoot. They may also offer manual control over exposure for when you are more technically proficient, and you may have the facility to shoot in raw, a shooting mode which will give you a more information recorded on to the digital image allowing greater flexibility when processing the image in programs such as Photoshop. Moreover, higher specification models are likely to have a superior LCD screen to those on cheaper cameras, which will not only provide greater clarity but will also be easier to view in bright and sunny conditions.

If you require a larger zoom range, you will defiantly want to consider a bridge camera. These combine expansive optical zooms with manual exposure options, which together provide control similar to a DIGITAL SLR.

Alongside higher quality LCD screens bridge cameras tend to incorporate electronic viewfinders with around 230,000 dots of resolution, although the performance of these varies wildly between models so it’s worth considering this before coming to a decision regarding any particular model. These viewfinders also have the added benefit of displaying much of the information found on the camera’s LCD screen, which allows you to view and change camera’s settings without the need to take the camera away from your eye.

While the results from a bridge camera generally are not as good as that of the quality of a Digital SLR, what you lose in quality you gain in portability and convenience in a small and inexpensive camera body. Various cameras now have articulated LCD screens and HD video recording, and as previously mentioned some even offer a raw shooting mode.

Compact and bridge camera summary

In summary, if you have about 300 – 400 to spend and you want something pocket-sized yet capable, look out for a model with a healthy range of manual control, an LCD screen with at least 460,000 dots and ideally a backlit sensor. But before you do that, consider whether you’d be better off with a compact system camera (bridge camera). This will give you greater flexibility and better general image quality.

Perhaps another consideration is the future of your photography, and what you wish to achieve as a photographer. If you are considering simply taking snapshots then a compact camera is perfect. However if you wish to begin to move towards being a photographer who is more technically proficient then the flexibility of a bridge camera would perhaps be more suitable for your requirements.

Flash – Spanning Tree Protocol Tutorials

STP – SpanningTree Protocol was originally developed as a proprietary protocol by DEC (Digital Equipment Corporation), with most of the early R & D being performed by Radia Perlman. It was seen to be such an important protocol that the IEEE adopted the protocol, revised it and it then became part of the IEEE 802 specification, precisely IEEE 802.1d. Almost all manufacturers of layer 2 switching equipment today support the revised 802.1d standard.

This standard revolutionised layer 2 switching when numbers of switches had to be connected together to create a Local Area Network. Spanning-Tree is designed to automatically detect any routing loops and temporarily block certain ports in order to break the loops.

The Spanning Tree Protocol operates by blocking traffic on any redundant links in the network to break loops, but then reopen those links if a port or device should fail.

The process starts by all inter-connected switches electing what is known as a “Root Bridge”, the term Bridge coming from the devices that switches superseded. Ports on the Root Bridge are referred to as “Designated Ports” and are allowed to forward traffic. Non Route Bridges will have a single port designated as a “Root Port” which is designed to provide a connection to the Root Bridge. When powered on, each switch sends out what are known as BPDUs (Bridge Protocol Data Units) which are small frames containing the Bridge Identity. Switches forward these BPDUs out of every active trunk port, so all switches are aware of other switches in the network.

The Root Bridge is elected by means of the lowest Bridge ID, which is a combination of a Bridge Priority and the base MAC Address. The switch with the lowest Bridge ID becomes the Root and all other switches have a Root Port which connects to the Root Bridge. This is determined by the least cost path to the Root Bridge. Ports on any switch in the network will either be a Root Port, Designated Port or Non-Designated Port. Non-Designated port will often be in blocking state to break rooting loops.

For any pair of network segments, there must be a pair of designated ports designed to allow traffic to flow from one network segment to another. If there is more than a single pair of ports interconnecting two network segments then all but one pair will be placed in blocking mode.

A switch listens for BPDUs from the Root Bridge on the Root Port and from neighbouring switches on Designated Ports. The BPDUs are sent by every switch every 2 seconds and when a switch fails to hear BPDUs for 10 x the interval period (20 seconds), it starts a Spanning-Tree re-calculation. The 20 second period is known as the MAXAGE. If a switch determines it must open up a Blocking Port to maintain communications then it goes through a series of transitions before actually opening up the Blocking Port for traffic.

After Blocking, the switch transitions to Listening State where it is listening for BPDUs to determine which other switches are still available and which switch should be the Root Bridge. This period is 15 seconds and during this period the MAC Address Table is not populated with MAC Addresses from frames received. The switch not transitions to Learning State when it starts to rebuild the MAC Address Table, but still does not forward operational frames. Eventually the relevant ports full transition to forwarding and the network has said to have converged. It is possible to alter the timers for MAXAGE and the transitional Forward Delay periods, but they are normally left to default values.

Essentially if you connect a number of layer 2 switches together to create a network, Spanning-Tree will normally be switched on by default on those switches and will automatically provide the Loop Avoidance mechanism required to ensure data frames are not looped. It is possible to alter certain parameters such as the Bridge ID to force certain switches to be the Root Bridge so that you can have predictable outcomes when ports or entire switches fail in the network.

In later articles we will discuss this further and also discuss a revision to the IEEE 802.1d Spanning-Tree standard known as RSTP (Rapid Spanning Tree Protocol) or IEEE 802.1w.

The information contained in this article is discussed and practiced during some of our Public Scheduled and On-Site training courses.