Tuesday, July 19, 2016

TECHIEGEMS (copyright by Carolyn Rhodes)


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2016 CES


Black Widow Spider in my yard

It's a dark summer night and we open the patio door. I switch on the night light.  It's the night before garbage pick up and my son ties the tie on our last trash bag for the weekly pick up.  Off to the left in the corner of the patio step is a web.  He inspects it.  

"It's a black widow. Holy Cow! I'm going to spray it and then carefully place it in a jar, very carefully." 

 He identifies it by the red hourglass shape on its abdomen. It packs a venom as strong as a rattlesnake bite.  And this one is a mature female about 1"long.  Now I'm listening because if he misses, this "spider woman" will become aggressive.

I don't fear spiders and most are good insect eaters. After this catch, I think I'd better take some of these creatures very seriously.  Easy to say they are nocturnal and not interested in biting humans for no reason -- but neither are rattlesnakes!  

Proceed with caution 


The black widow spider is timid and reclusive, preferring to make its home in dark, protected areas, such as in boxes, among firewood and under ledges. It is nocturnal, which means it only becomes active and does its hunting at night. *

The black widow spider's web is usually located within a foot of the ground. It is slightly erratic in appearance and made with stronger silk than most other spider webs. *

The web is used to catch prey and to hang the female's cocoon of eggs.Black widows are usually found in dark corners of the house or around the edges of your yard or garage where their webs will have a lesser chance of being disturbed.*

 They may also be found under vehicles, even those that are being driven periodically. Check for webs near the tires, or under/around the engine.Black Widows are territorial so you will often find their webs spaced about a foot apart.*

If bitten, go to the emergency room immediately.  You life will depend upon it.  Without urgent care, death may follow.   

Don't kill any spider. They are necessary in our ecosystem and most are quite harmless.  

Bell and Howell makes an ultrasonic pest repeller  for indoors . I have placed one in each room. It is for rats, mice, spiders, ants and roaches.  So far, after 2 weeks, I have had complete success and it really works!  

* For more information on the elusive Black Widow, go to and google your question. 

ENGADGET Guest Post News: Endangered Rhinos and wildlife. Let's help.

Thanks to Engadget for this article and raising awareness that there is hope through technology to catch these poachers. Please follow the link below for full story.  And, the organization we can support to protect our endangered species. Photos from

Please read above Engadget article.  Technology is here to save the day -- cameras and the lives our our dwindling Rhino population? Can we save them from poachers!

And, please support   RAPID (anti poaching device)


Here is my story about 2 years later .. 2016
FITBIT  still rocks a great product.  OK, the band on my  "new" CHARGE, which replaced the one I sent back a year ago stretched out again recently, after a year.

I don't wear it in shower or get it wet or abuse it. So, I guess the bands are bound to stretch out and lose the shape.

However, this Charge is still working well and I'll deal with little stretching around the face of it .. . I rely on it for steps, call alerts, time, alarms, etc .. and it keeps me in shape .. wanting to do at least a mile a day .. I know -- I do more .. but let's say, there are days which if I am honest, I am writing and not doing over 6,000 steps ..
There is a CHARGE which measure HR (heart rate)  and I am sure it has the same band problem.  I haven't heard or read about any complaints .

The ALTA seems to a nice upgrade in that they must have noticed the bands were flimsy and went ahead and made inter changeable bands. So, you won't have to worry about that problem. The mechanism works without a hitch really.  

I got a good look at the BLAZE and it's probably going to be my next purchase when the price goes down .. It's around $189 .. already down from $229 .. It's got a nice sophisticated look in the form of a watch .. and it looks like my next purchase .. even though there are so many others out there competing ..

These days I count on Customer Service and the way corporate treats their customers.

FITBIT has filled that requirement.  And, after 2 years, I am still not tired of tracking my day.


My story below was and is still true. I will stick with Fitbit.

You can find similar version under "community news," on the Fitbit website.

Hello everyone . 
I love my Fitbit.  I have worn it "around the clock," since November, 2014 ....

t have followed most of the rules to keep my Charge in good working order.
--- keep it clean for one  and out of water. .  Learn how to optimize all the features. 

 Nothing wrong with the mechanism, however, my band warped before the warranty was up after about 9 months.

 I was pleased that when I called and asked for instructions on how to "fix" the band, they said they would just send me a new Fitbit Charge.   I thought that perhaps the extreme heat while on vacation in Florida may have done it, but, whatever it was.. I may have gotten it wet at some point at the beach ... no explanations needed as they honored the one year warranty. 

 .. I'm glad the customer service team was helpful and sent me the new one.   I'm not worried about sleeping wth it or exercising with it... it's a baby bear. ..   Honestly, it really keeps its promises .. tracks sleep pattern with good accuracy. Occasionally I have to sync it again, and, or, get notifications back on, but, it's a small price to pay for working on fitness goals.
 By using all the features -- tracking your daily activities, you'll appreciate all you really do (or don't do) every day.  
 Follow how to learn to get the most out of it .. on the site for one  and the instructions, of course. 

Fitbit Charge -- Burgundy has pink OLED  (organic light emitting Diode) .

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