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Edward E. Hodgson Jr.
1110 North Broad Street | Lansdale, PA 19446
Phone: 215-362-2260 | Office Phone: 215-362-2260 | Fax: 267-354-6844
Cell: 215-850-6973 | email: ed@edhodgsonrealtor.com

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Why You Need To Watch Out For the 'United States Cyber Security' Program

September 12, 2012 3:28 am

According to ComputersMD, an online computer repair company specializing in virus removal, the United State Cyber Security virus targets millions of Internet users all over the world. The virus can easily infect a computer from any unsecure website on the web. Once it infects a computer, it uses the United States Cyber Law as cover for its malicious intentions. It locks a computer and uses the IP address and geolocation to alert that he/she has violated cyber law. It uses impeccable English to quote several clauses in the United States Criminal Code to support the crimes it accuses the Internet user of committing. This is accompanied by a fake punishment statement, which threatens the user of a jail term, unless a fine is paid.

The virus alerts the user that he/she is guilty of the following crimes and should pay a fine to unlock the computer or risk a jail term:

â— Violation of the Copyright and Rights law, which attracts a fine of $200-$500 or a jail term of 2-8 years.
â— Watching, distributing or downloading illegal pornographic content, of which the user may face a jail term of 2-12 years.
â— Neglectful use of the computer, which may have been caused by an illegal access prompted by a malware. This attracts a fine of up to $100,000 or a jail term of 4-9 years.

The virus also issues a fake threat that a criminal case may be initiated against the user unless a fine of $200 is paid via Moneypak within 24 hours. This allegedly unlocks the computer within 48 hours and the case is dropped. However, the Department of Defense functions differently. If anyone is suspected of cyber crime, he or she will be contacted directly without a prior request to pay any fine.

The only way to unlock an infected computer is to permanently remove the virus. There are four main ways to effectively do this. One of them is the use of Antivirus or Antimalware software. The software has to be transcendently strong and up-to-date to be able to effectively remove the virus. If this is not effective, a user could manually kill the virus process and remove all the related directory files and accompanying registry entries. Another malware removal method is troubleshooting the infected computer after booting via "Safe Mode with Networking." Finally, one could also remove the virus by restoring the entire system to a date and time prior to the infection.

Source: ComputersMD

Published with permission from RISMedia.


Fresh Tips on Pet Examination

September 12, 2012 3:28 am

Noticing an abnormality in your pet and reacting sooner rather than later can be a huge money saver. Many pet owners are not noticing or they delay contacting an animal care organization, causing the problem to escalate into a major concern. It is highly suggested that even before the purchasing of a pet, consulting a pet animal care specialist to understand the maintenance schedule for examination can save bundles.

Research the breed and understand the pet's needs. This helps to prevent many health-related problems on the front end. For example, Australian Shepards, Boxers and other breeds require frequent interaction because they are high-energy breeds. These are two examples that are not good condo pets. Depending on breed, size, gender and environment, you should always double check the proper caring instructions with a vet. Average routine checks should be scheduled every nine months.

After purchasing a puppy, the two-to-three month range is extremely important. This is the general schedule for the examination of a dog; as soon as the puppy is procured, the dog needs to be taken to the veterinarian for a thorough examination. The average dog is to be taken to the veterinarian in the fifth or sixth week of age. This is known as the vaccination period and it is extremely important in the fight against diseases throughout the pet’s life. The period of vaccination in the first year will be continued up to the sixteenth week of age and the schedule needs to be maintained accordingly.

Another successful measure to prevent disease is through exercise. Pet exercise is highly important for pet health as it prevents obesity, reduces hyperactivity and keeps a dog's eating and bowel movements on a normal schedule. Lying around eating and sleeping most of the day is not a healthy regime for humans or pets. Pet exercise also keeps pets in good spirits and is the most rewarding treats for dogs.

The final prevention method is to reduce stress. High anxiety or stress, just like in humans, is a precursor to heath issues. If you board your pet frequently, make sure when you return to check on bowel movements, unusual activity in behavior with other pets, and feeding schedules. If there is a constant issue, another option, such as in-home pet care, might be worth your time. A pet might also be stressed due to conditions or environment of a boarding facility. Be sure to ask staff to let you do a walk-through. Also, check on the schedule your pet will receive. These questions will help clear up doubt and make sure pet owners make a good decision when choosing pet care.

Source: Blue Chip Pet Care

Published with permission from RISMedia.


How to Watch Out for Diamond Scams

September 12, 2012 3:28 am

For those shopping around for a beautiful diamond for a special occasion, you may want to be aware of what to look for...and what to avoid! Here are four simple tips on how to spot a "scam" or a fake stone in the diamond business:

1. Transparency Test: Diamonds should not be transparent completely. Diamond Cutters International recommends turning loose diamonds upside down over a newspaper or other piece of paper with typed words printed on it. If you are looking at a real diamond, typically you will not be able to read the text through the diamond. If you can read the text, the stone you are looking at does not have the proper light dispersion properties a real diamond possesses.

2. Reflection Color: Because of the refraction index of diamond, the reflection and sparkles within the stone are typically described as "grey" or "steel" in color. According to GoldSmart.com, stones that have rainbow-like reflections are likely not genuine diamonds.

3. Fog Test: Diamonds are able to disperse heat rapidly and a light huff of breath on the stone should fog it up but that fog will vanish almost instantly. A fake diamonds may stay fogged for 2 seconds or longer.

4. Perfection: Any natural stone will have some minute flaws and inclusions (or "birth marks"), and a gem that is perfectly flawless should be examined with great care to be sure it is real rather than lab-created. While real flawless diamonds are available, if the stone in question is offered at an unforgettably affordable price, it may not be a real gem.

Always remember, if the deal seems too good to be true, it could be a scam or a fake.

Source: Scott Ryan Tischler

Published with permission from RISMedia.


College Students Confident about Financial Shrewdness

September 11, 2012 3:26 am

In a new survey by CreditDonkey.com, 84.7% of college students surveyed said they feel responsible enough to use a credit card, even though three in 10 don't have one. The online survey of 1,041 college students was conducted between August 2 and August 27, 2012.


-30 percent got their first credit card at age 18
-60 percent were approved for the first credit card they applied for, while 28. One percent said they never applied for a credit card
-78 percent were aware that student loans cannot be wiped out in bankruptcy

One in four college students also reported that they would be willing to pay a financial literacy fee to support a college's financial literacy program. College students are also appearing less reliant on credit, with 60 percent of respondents primarily using their debit card for day-to-day expenses, as compared to 16 percent who pay with a credit card.

For full survey findings, visit http://www.creditdonkey.com/students-savvy.html.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


Protecting Outdoor Plumbing from Freezing

September 11, 2012 3:26 am

For those who don’t have a frost-free outside faucet, a frost cap will keep the faucet from freezing. Here are a couple easy DIY tips on installing a frost cap to your faucet.

Tip #1: To install a frost cap, slip the oval end of the string inside the cap over the faucet handle.

Tip #2: Place the box over the faucet and pull the string out the front of the cap. Keeping the cap tight against the wall, slide the plastic lock up against the front of the box.

The use of heat tape had often been controversial because of the potential of fires. Today’s low-wattage heat tape is less susceptible to overheating.

Tip #1: Use care to not wrap it on itself.

Tip #2 Keep its sensor tight against the pipe.

A space-age product called Frostex® used every inch of its cable as a heat sensor, and it could be wrapped over itself without fear of fire. It was available for many years at local hardware stores and was sold by the foot. But price increases have forced it into the large internet wholesaler market, now available only 100-ft. rolls. Though it is arguably the best designed heat tape, few people will buy a roll just to get 10 ft.

To run a single-sensor heat tape, start by taping the sensor on the pipe. Check the manufacturer’s instructions. If allowed, tape the heat tape to the pipe at 12-inch intervals and wrap fiberglass insulation over the entire length.

Source: Mr. Rooter

Published with permission from RISMedia.


8 Tips to Find the Best Web Host

September 11, 2012 3:26 am

Many folks get an idea for a great website, they get excited and they’re ready to go. Now what? They need a good web hosting provider to host their new site. Seems like a simple task, right? Choosing a web host can be a little tricky for new site-owners. Make sure you have all the information you need to make an informed choice for the best web host for you. Here are 8 criteria to make choosing a web host an easy decision.

1. Determine the platform.
Consult a web designer to determine what platform the new site needs to be hosted on. Usually this means choosing between a Linux or Windows server. Generally speaking, Linux servers deliver much faster performance. Either format works just fine for static websites but dynamic sites with special database requirements often find Windows servers are better. This is because a Windows server allows developers to use popular database coding languages like Structured Query Language (SQL). Online stores need e-commerce functionality so it’s important to choose a host offering a shopping cart and secure transactions.

2. Uptime Percentage
The most important aspect of web hosting is Uptime Percentage. It’s also the part that should go unnoticed. In short, uptime means the time that a website is online. It’s absolutely vital to select a web host that is as close to 100% uptime as possible. All web servers have downtime, but you really want to minimize it as much as possible. Downtime is the equivalent to having a sign on your business door that says ‘Closed.’ Hosts that offer 99.9% uptime or better are highly recommended.

3. Technical Support
Another way a business can be shut down is if their website doesn't work properly. Unforeseen problems do occur, threatening any online business. Sometimes the problem is something the website operator accidentally causes. That’s why it is so important to choose a web hosting provider that can respond with helpful solutions quickly and efficiently.

Technical support has come a long way. Just a few years ago, most hosts had limited technical support compared to what is available now. Some hosts were only available by email, or by support tickets, and they were only accessible during business hours. Thankfully, most of the good web hosts currently realize that the Internet is open 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year. Select a web host that provides quick and helpful support 24 hours a day.

4. Storage Space
Storage space is also a consideration, and generally speaking, most hosts offer plenty of space. Most basic sites, even with large databases of products or downloadable documents, are less than a few hundred megabytes in size. It’s a good idea to get a few gigabytes in storage, an easy task in today’s hosting marketplace. The exception would be sites containing a high volume of videos, a streaming live video feed, or thousands of high-resolution images. Obviously, then it’s important to find a host offering more gigabytes in their basic package.

5. Bandwidth / Data Transfer.
Bandwidth is the amount of data that a website is capable of transferring to their visitors. Similarly, data transfer is the actual amount of data that a website really does transfer to the users who access it. Bandwidth and data transfer are usually not a concern to most sites, unless they have a huge database of video or high-resolution images.

6. E-commerce
Online stores require hosts with e-commerce capabilities. The larger hosts offer many tools such as shopping cart software, payment and e-commerce tools, secure servers and database builders to name a few. Stick with the larger hosts who offer more tools that help businesses.

7. Number of Domains / Domain Pointers
Most new site operators realize early on the need for additional domains. It’s a smart business decision to protect the company brand by securing other top-level domains such as the .net and .org version of a domain and point it to the main .com site. Some site owners want to increase or diversify their marketshare with additional websites in their space. In any event, it's nice to have the option for numerous, or even unlimited domains in a hosting package.

8. Email and FTP accounts.
Make sure to get enough email accounts for each staff member and department. Perhaps different people will be working on the website, making it a security concern to have unique FTP accounts. This allows for access to different sections of a site (general, blog, forum, products), while keeping more sensitive information private.

Source: FindTop10Hosting.com

Published with permission from RISMedia.


Tankless Water Heaters - Are They For You?

September 10, 2012 3:20 am

Tankless water heaters, also called on-demand water heaters, do not retain water, but rather heat the water as it flows through the device. Tankless heaters are often installed throughout a household at more than one point-of-use (POU) or larger models may be used to provide all the hot water requirements for an entire house.

The chief advantages of tankless water heaters are a continuous flow of hot water and energy savings as compared to continuously heating hot water from conventional tank water heaters. Point of use tankless heaters save hot water because they are located right where the water is being used. They save more energy than centrally installed heaters because no hot water is left in the pipes after the water is shut off.

Tankless water heaters can be divided into two categories: "full on/full off" and "modulated." Full on/full off units do not have a variable power output level; the unit is either on or off. Modulated tankless water heaters base the heat output on the flow of water running through the unit.

The most cost effective configuration is to use a central tankless water heater for most of the house, and install a point of use heater at any distant faucets

By and large, the advantages of tankless water heaters (an endless supply of hot water, and lower energy profile) outweigh the disadvantages. However, consider these points before choosing between the different styles:

Installing a tankless system comes at increased cost, particularly in retro-fit applications. If a storage water heater is being replaced with a tankless one, the size of the electrical wiring or gas pipeline may have to be increased to handle the load and the existing vent pipe may have to be replaced, possibly adding expense to the retrofit installation.

There is a slightly longer wait to obtain hot water. A tankless heater only heats water upon demand (one of it's primary advantages), so all idle water in the piping starts at room temperature and there is a more apparent "flow delay."

Unlike with a tank heater, the hot water temperature from a tankless heater is inversely proportional to the rate of the water flow -- the faster the flow, the less time the water spends in the heating element being heated. Mixing hot and cold water to the "right" temperature from a single-lever faucet (say, when taking a shower) may take some practice.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


A Guide to the Health Benefits of Home Steam Baths and Saunas

September 10, 2012 3:20 am

For centuries, people all around the world have been using steam baths and saunas to promote physical health and social bonding. Thousands of years of folk wisdom and a whole lot of modern scientific data agree: regularly exposing oneself to the hot, humid conditions of a steam bath or sauna is good for the body in a myriad of ways, and is also a great way to help relieve stress.

Here is a guide to steam bath and sauna to educate the consumers on the advantages and explain why it is worth the cost of installing one at home.

1. Good For the Body
Both saunas and steam baths work by heating a relatively small, enclosed space, raising the ambient temperature of the room and, by extension, anyone inside it. In both, one is meant to sit on a small bench or seat, close the eyes, and unwind. Body temperature rises in a comfortable, warm-blankety sort of way, and a few things happen. First, the heart rate increases slightly, improving circulation throughout the body and increasing blood flow to the surface of the skin, invigorating it. The rise in temperature also causes the body to start producing all kinds of good, disease fighting stuff, the way it would if one had a fever, from elevating white blood cells to helping kill off bad microbes. Muscles relax, joint pain eases up, metabolism speeds up and pores open, helping to rid the body of toxins. Also, sweating is the best way to flush toxins out of the body - especially from the lymphatic system - and it also helps rejuvenate and revitalize the skin.

2. Good For the Mind
In addition to the stress relieving properties of heat offered by steam baths and saunas, both have a variety of additional mood-elevating secondary features. Both saunas and steam baths typically have built in chromatherapy functionality - built in LED lights that emit a range of colors medically proven to affect mood in a variety of ways, from relaxing to energizing. Both saunas and steam baths also frequently come with built in waterproof sound systems, so one can dock an iPod or other mp3 player outside and listen to the favorite music while bathing. Steam baths (though not typically saunas) also often contain an aromatherapy option. Aromatherapy steam baths add a few drops of mood-enhancing essential oils to the steam (like lavender for relaxation, citrus for energy and alertness, and so on) to do double duty.

3. Better Than A Long Soak Or A Hot Shower
When designing a dream bathroom, design shows will nudge one in the direction of a huge soaking tub and a custom shower big enough to fit the whole family. But while both are enjoyable to use, they often don't get fully enjoyed. It takes a long time to fill a big tub, and it uses a lot of water - and so does a shower equipped with half a dozen shower heads and body sprayers. That can mean installing a bigger water heater and more sophisticated drainage system just to have them. But a simple steam bath uses less than a gallon of water every 20 minutes, and a sauna uses none at all. Plus, because both are capable of heating up in a matter of minutes, it's a luxury one can enjoy at any time, for as much or little time as desired - even if it's just for five minutes before the morning shower.

4. A Sauna...
The primary difference between a sauna and a steam bath is the inclusion of moisture. A sauna is typically made with a single sauna heater located inside the sauna space and often covered in rocks which are heated by electric coils or with an infrared heater. This produces a dry heat, and can help elevate the body to a higher temperature more comfortably than a steam bath. In most saunas, water can be poured over the heated rocks to produce brief bursts of steam and raise the humidity level inside the sauna, but overall it will be much less humid than a steam bath. Because of that, saunas are typically built as a separate structure, rather than as part of a shower, and are often made of wood rather than tile or glass. In fact, many of them come as pre-cut sauna rooms that can be simply assembled and placed anywhere in a home that has access to an outlet. While steam baths built inside a shower may contain one or two seats, larger saunas are often built with long benches instead of individual seats, which makes it easier to either seat more people, or to recline.

5. Or a Steam Bath
Steam baths, on the other hand, are all about the moisture. Using about a gallon of water every 20 minutes, an average steam generator can fill a large shower enclosure with thick, enveloping steam in a matter of minutes. The temperature won't get as high in a steam bath like as it will in a sauna because the humidity intensifies the feeling of heat at a lower temperature, but all the same health benefits apply equally to both. For a major bathroom remodel, steam baths can be somewhat more practical, as they can be integrated with a shower, which also makes it easier to wash up once the steam bath is finished. Plus, steam generators are much smaller than sauna heaters, and can be installed up to 25 feet away from the steam enclosure, offering more flexible installation options.

Whichever one is preferable, though, the health benefits are definitely worth considering - not to mention the relaxation and peace of mind that comes from taking just a few relaxing minutes a day to unwind.

Source: HomeThangs.com

Published with permission from RISMedia.


10 Tips to Ensure Your Air Conditioner is Ready and Reliable for Next Year

September 10, 2012 3:20 am

With the nearing end of the summer season and coming winter how do families protect their cooling system and make sure it is ready for next year? With the rising costs of fuel and the uncharacteristically hot summers throughout the U.S. it is more important than ever to extend the life of your home’s air conditioning unit. A high-quality heating ventilation and air conditioning system can last up to 20 years if properly installed and maintained. However, the cheapest models or poorly maintained systems can fail in as little as five. Here are 10 tips to make sure your air conditioner is ready for next year.

1. Make sure all weather stripping around doors and windows is properly sealed. As time goes by, the caulking and weather stripping become compromised with use and temperature changes and the loss of the conditioned air can cause the air conditioner and heater to work longer to achieve the desired temperature.

2. Screening AC installers for professional credentials, experience and proper training is extremely important. If the unit has been installed improperly, the system may have leaky ducts or low air flow. Often, the level of refrigerant does not match the manufacturer’s specifications, which can affect efficiency and performance. Improper installation can lower a system’s efficiency by up to 30 percent.

3. Changing or cleaning the air filter is one of the most important maintenance tasks. Clogged, filthy filters obstruct air flow and can even impair the evaporator coil’s ability to absorb heat. Filters should be attended to every month or two, depending on how much dust or pet fur a home has. A good contractor will show homeowners how to do this simple task themselves.

4. It is important to keep an eye out for warning signs of a failing system, such as: loud or strange noises, a system that turns on and off a lot, longer run times, strange smells emanating from the unit, or higher than normal energy bills.

5. Installing and using a programmable thermostat is a great way to improve the longevity of central air. This enables homeowners to pre-program the unit to turn off while they are away from the home or increase in temperature. Energy Star studies say a programmable thermostat can save homeowners about $180 a year in energy costs.

6. Sealing and insulating ducts can improve a cooling system’s efficiency by 20 percent or more. Often ducts that run through attic crawl spaces, basements and garages become extremely hot during the day, which causes the air conditioner to work harder to cool these surfaces. Also, poorly sealed ducts can leak cool air outside of the home and waste energy.

7. Buying high-performance AC units with Energy Star labels and high SEER numbers will not only ensure greater longevity for the system, but can also decrease cooling costs by nearly $500 a year. Upfront cost should not be the only consideration in choosing a system for the home.

8. Getting adequate airflow through the outdoor condenser coils is important as well. Homeowners should periodically check outside to ensure there are no weeds, shrubs or other obstructions. One can also turn off the circuit breaker to the unit, remove the outdoor cabinet and clean out debris that has accumulated inside. Many people hose down the unit after every lawn mowing to keep grass clippings out.

9. Keep pets away from the condenser. It may sound crazy, but it’s not at all uncommon for a system to fail in five years due to a pet using the bathroom on the unit and corroding the cooling coil fins’ metal.

10. Annual maintenance scheduled regularly is the best way to ensure the whole system is operating properly. A technician will top off fluids, check electrical connections for safety, clean and lubricate all moving parts, change the filter, adjust blower components for comfort, and inspect the system for signs of wear and tear. Many families fail to have routine maintenance and as a result have to replace systems or parts that can cost in the thousands of dollars.

Source: Air Depot

Published with permission from RISMedia.


Home for Sale? Stage it Right for Autumn

September 7, 2012 3:16 am

The transition from summer to fall means more than the beginning of football season and sending the kids back to school. For a homeowner wanting to sell a home, it means staging it right with fall in mind to make it more appealing to buyers.

Here are seven ways to bump up your home’s seasonal appeal:

Start with curb appeal – Keep the lawn free of falling leaves and debris and cut back dead or dying perennials. Replace them with fall blooms, like mums, and/or add a few fall blooms in pots to the front porch.

Add fall décor – Use neutral fall décor outside, such as pumpkins, leafy wreaths or small hay bales that appeal to adult sensibilities. But keep it to a tasteful minimum. The idea is to add a few homey touches but keep the focus on the home itself.

Use seasonal scents – Nothing conjures up warm memories more than the sweet, spicy scents of fall. Bring them to mind with a pot of simmering cider on the stove or the aroma of freshly baked bread or cookies. But try to keep it natural. Scented candles or aerosol sprays can irritate some buyers.

Make the kitchen sparkle – Keep it very clean and remove all cleaning supplies from view. Take the notes and photos off the refrigerator and keep the counters clear – except, perhaps, for an attractive cookbook and a bottle of wine or olive oil, or a handsome arrangement of fall produce in a pretty bowl or basket.

Let the light in – Keep drapes and blinds open during the day, and turn on the lights if your home is dark or the weather outside is gray.

Make the fireplace a focal point – Can you make it seem cozier with an armchair or rocking chair facing it, draped with a shawl or afghan? Will a few small pumpkins or gourds add a homey touch to the mantel? Can you rearrange the furniture to make the fireplace the focus of the room?

Set the dining room table – Using fall foliage and candles as a centerpiece, set the table with your best cloth, glassware and china – or dramatize a polished wood table with a showy bowl or basket full of autumn’s finest fruits and foliage.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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