Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Cell Phone Life Savers

I just received this from a friend and wanted to share it with you.

There are a few things that can be done in times of grave emergencies. Your mobile phone can actually be a life saver or tool for survival in an emergency. Check out the things that you can do with it:

FIRST – Emergency calls.
The Emergency Number worldwide for Mobile is 112. If you find yourself out of the coverage area of your mobile network and there is an emergency, dial 112 and the mobile will search any existing network to establish the emergency number for you. This number 112 can be dialed even if the keypad is locked. Try it out.

SECOND - Have you locked your keys in the car? Does your car have remote key-less entry? This may come in handy someday.

If you lock your keys in the car and the spare keys are at home, call someone at home on their cell phone from your cell phone. Hold your cell phone about a foot from your car door and have the person at your home press the unlock button, holding it near the mobile phone on their end. Your car will unlock. Saves someone from having to drive your keys to you. Distance is no object. You could be hundreds of miles away, and if you can reach someone who has the other "remote" for your car, you can unlock the doors (or the trunk).

THIRD - Hidden Battery Power
Imagine your cell battery is very low. To activate, press the keys *3370# Your cell will restart with this reserve and the instrument will show a 50% increase in battery. This reserve will get charged when you charge your cell next time.

FOURTH - Do you know how to disable a STOLEN mobile phone?
To check your mobile phone's serial number, key in the following digits on your phone: * # 0 6 #. A 15 digit code will appear on the screen. This number is unique to your handset. Write it down and keep it somewhere safe. When your phone get stolen, you can phone your service provider and give them this code. They will then be able to block your handset so even if the thief changes the SIM card, your phone will be totally useless. You probably won't get your phone back, but at least you know that whoever stole it can't use/sell it either. If everybody does this, there would be no point in people stealing mobile phones.

And Finally....

FIFTH - Free Directory Service for cells
Cell phone companies are charging us $1.00 to $1.75 or more for 411 information calls when they don't have to. Most of us do not carry a telephone directory in our vehicle, which makes this situation even more of a problem. When you need to use the 411 information option, simply dial: (800) FREE 411, or (800) 373-3411 without incurring any charge at all. Program this into your cell phone now.

This is the kind of information people don't mind receiving, so pass it on to your family and friends.

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Monday, April 16, 2007

Bury Those Boxes!

We've been enjoying an excess of "liquid sunshine" these last couple of days as a massive nor'easter rolls up the Atlantic coast. Good! Just what my yard needs after the cleanup.

A couple of days ago it was beautiful cool, sunny weather, perfect for getting the yard in shape. The lawn was cleaned up, weeded, and the trees and garden beds were mulched to keep the weeds away. I thought about all the people who were doing the same thing, getting the outside of their home ready and raising the curb appeal.

Here's a tip for anyone who is moving soon: Did you know that cardboard boxes – plain, without lots of advertising and printing on them – can be placed around your garden, shrubs, and trees, then covered with mulch? In the two years it takes for the cardboard to breakdown…no weeds. Instead of throwing out those empty moving cartons, put them in the garden for another way to recycle. It's an easy way to "go green."

Even though I'm soaking wet from taking pictures in the rain, I'm glad to be splashing in Baltimore's special spring "sunshine."

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Monday, April 09, 2007

What Has 30,000 Square Feet, 60,000 Plants, and One Scary Ladder?

That would be Ed Dreiband's green roof. Ed is a friend and morning workout-at-the-gym cohort. With his wife Ina, he owns NorthWest Honda in suburban Baltimore. Until 2006, the dealership was in a 1950's-era building across busy Reisterstown Road. When they started to plan for a new building, Ed wanted to incorporate "green" features. "We all share this planet," he says, "and if we don't take care of the planet it is not going to be here."

I got a first-hand look at this amazing roof one day last week. It seemed simple – just go out to the building, talk with Ed, take a few pictures, and post it to Active Rain for the Buildings and Eco-All Stars groups. Ha!

Ed greeted me and said, "Are you sure you want to do this today?" Sure, why not? "Do you want a jacket?" Nope, I love cool weather.

So he led me back to a bare metal ladder that went straight up to a heavy metal hatch. It's the only way to the roof other than a fireman's ladder or a helicopter. Ed went first and secured the hatch open. As I climbed up, I realized why he asked about a jacket; it was a brisk, breezy 40 degrees and completely exposed. Brrrr….

But the view of the roof was amazing, and I got busy with my camera. The roof is covered by almost 60,000 plants that are able to withstand sun, heat, cold, and being watered only when it rains. The design benefits both the building, by moderating the need for extra heating and cooling, and the environment. The plants take in carbon dioxide and give off oxygen, plus they filter rainwater so that what eventually drains into the Chesapeake Bay is cleaner and healthier for marine life. And because of the size of the building, Ed's obligation to meet storm water management regulations was covered by the installation of his living roof.

Ed didn't stop with the roof; he made sure that many of the systems in this new building were eco-friendly. Most of the heat needed for the building is generated by a furnace that burns recycled car oil. Instead of sending car wash water right down the drain, the dealership reprocesses and recycles 2,500 to 3,000 gallons a day. Sensors throughout the building turn lights on and off as people enter and leave rooms, and external "photoeyes" read the amount of available light and turn on lighting as needed.

Now Ed, Ina, and a staff of 200 enjoy a building that is light, bright, and environmentally friendly. At the same time, Ed is gaining national recognition for his innovative approach to incorporating so many green features in a car dealership and service facility. While he expects to recoup the financial investment over time, to Ed the investment in the planet's future is more important. A recent article quoted Ed: "I have grandchildren, and many of the people on my team have children. We want to leave them a healthy environment. We only have one earth. We all share it."

Sunday, April 08, 2007

I Love Naked.....

I Love Naked........Trees!

Just look at the character of these trees. You can see the strength, you can see the skeleton, you can see the trunk, even the age. When they are in full flower or covered with leaves, all this strength is hidden.

Most people think trees are much prettier in the spring and summer. To them, bare trees are cold, dark, and lifeless. They do not see the beauty in the bareness, or the promise that lies within the wrinkled and peeling bark. I see potential and promise, that even in the darkest days of winter, life persists in the strong heartwood at the core.

I love the absolute beauty of naked trees. Spring is bursting forth everywhere around me now, and these beauties will soon be covered with their green summer clothing. I'll be grateful for their shade in a few months, but I'll also look forward to seeing them stand proud and naked next fall.