Spy Gadgets For Fun and Security

As a kid, were you intrigued by the enticing ads in your comic books? You know the ones I mean, gadgets that would enable you to see around corners, or listen to conversations right through walls? We could not resist the appeal, especially since they only cost a dollar or two. Before we knew it, we'd be sealing our hopes, as well as our money in an envelope, eagerly awaiting the day our special spy toys would arrive in our mailbox.

Since those days, we've enjoyed thriller spy movies, and endless crime shows on television, where investigators employ every trick in the book to solve the latest case. We are amazed by the speed and accuracy of intranet lab work, digital enhancements, and computer imaging. As cutting edge as all of this is, there are some techniques that have been around a long, long time.

Did you ever try using invisible ink when you were a child? This was a fun thing to do that rated right up there with magic and card tricks. By mixing up a special ink of milk, lemon juice, or sugar water, your secret message would only be visible when the paper was heated. Invisible ink is still used today, but instead of exposing the message to heat, a prescribed wavelength of ultraviolet light is used.

We all have a yard of spy satellites that circle the globe gathering information from high above the earth. Before satellites, airplanes were used for intelligence missions in World War II, which enabled military leaders the chance to monitor allied and enemy movements. It is astounding to think that even way back in the American Civil War, observation balloons were floated by both sides in the conflict, to observe their own, and enemy troop locations.

Movies are ripe with many measures taken by spies as they alter their appearance in order not to be recognized. We've seen hair being cut and dyed, women dressing as men, and in one instance in 1754, Chevalier d'Eon de Beaumont was sent to St. Louis. Petersburg posing as Mademoiselle Lia de Beaumont. As improbable as it may seem, the ploy worked, and Tsarina Elisabeth was persuaded to forgo a strategy with Britain, and side with Austria and France instead.

In some old films we see bandages being slowly unwrapped on a surgically rearranged face. Or in some flicks, complete latex masks with hair attached, completely change the facial appearance of a character. Today, with the use of facial recognition software, spies may have to forgo a mask or simple change of attire, and revert to plastic surgery once again.

Today, digital technology has resulated in devices that are so small and effective that the modern day spy can literally mostly on gathering information remotely. Without the agent absolutely has to, there is no need for elaborate disguises. Devices can simply be put in place and activated, which means that we can all become spies if need be.

Just about any everyday item can be used as a camera. A light fixture, a calculator, or a smoke detector can have a tiny camera inserted into it, so that photos can be taken without the slightest hint of what's going on. Spy Cams can help protect your business and your home. They can also keep people honest. Just knowing that areas are being monitored makes us all safer.

There are devices that can be installed on your computer to monitor what's being watched and messages that are being sent and received. The SIM card can be removed from a cell phone and inserted into a special device that displays all the deleted text messages. All these items have become completely affordable, easy to obtain, and use.

A really exciting development is the GPS tracker. With a personal tracker you can monitor your children, ensuring that they are safe at all times, and knowing their location if they suddenly need help. Then there is another version that you can use for your vehicles. Car theft is rampant and on the rise. If one of your cars is stolen, this device will greatly aid the police in returning your property to you.

Now that you are all grown up, with property and loved ones to protect, is not it comforting to know that spy gadgets are still available? This time, however, you will not need to consult the back pages of your comic book. Today, with just a few clicks of your mouse, you can access spy shop catalogs online, and order some neat spy gadgets conveniently from your computer.

Why Shop at Online Stores?

As the season changes, everyone wants to get out and buy cool clothes and dresses. Some prefer to go shopping with friends at all the trendy stores. A new season means a new wardrobe and a whole new line up clothes. While nothing beats the fun of hunting for a dress or the perfect pair of shoes with a friend, you can now do this more comfortably. I am, of course, talking about the vast array of online stores that have cropped up to cater to your every need.

Reason 1: Online stores come in all shapes and sizes, specifically speaking. They may cater to a particular type of shopper, or they may sell a wide variety of clothes and accessories. That is not the only purpose of online stores. At these websites you can find a lot of useful information about the latest trends. What is in this season? And what is out? You can find the answers to all these questions and more at these stores.

Reason 2: Online stores are not just places for women shoppers. Most stores have a separate section for men. The kid's section is also worth taking a peek at if you are looking for some new clothes for your toddler. In fact, the wide range of selections available often makes decisions a lot harder, but no less fun. Online stores make the shopping experience much easier and hassle-free. If you are not comfortable with the price tag of an item, you can simply look elsewhere. The World Wide Web is a big place, which means that there are countless places to shop. However, the best stores offer high quality dresses and accessories at affordable prices. Once you find a good online store, you should stick with it.

Reason 3: Do you know what is in style this season? You are sure to find all the trendiest clothes online. You can buy dresses online, and have them shipped right to your home. Many online stores even offer free shipping within the United States. The important thing to remember when shopping online is to keep an open mind and lots of available time on your hands. Most online stores stock more items than any of your local clothing stores. It is easy to get lost in a mire of fashionable clothes, accessories, and shoes. If you want to save time, then stick to the items you absolutely need and leave random browsing for a later time.

Pros and Cons of a Smart Car

When people are thinking about making an expensive buying decision, especially with something as new and unusual as the smart car, they often want to know the pros and cons of the various options they are considering. This article will examine the pros and cons of a smart car.

There is no doubt that the smart fortwo car has its passionate supporters. Before it arrived in the United States in 2007, it had already enjoyed wild success in Europe over several years. But with its small size, there are also a number of concerns.

Pros of a Smart Car

There are many benefits to be considered; don’t let its small size fool you!

  • Environmentally-friendly. Not only is this small car fuel-efficient, averaging around 40 mpg, but it has several other environmentally-friendly features as well. The smart fortwo car uses innovative energy-efficient and recyclable materials in its construction. In fact, 95% of the vehicle is recyclable and the dash material is made from recycled synthetics.
  • Easy to park and drive. The smart car has a very small footprint. At less than 9 feet long, it’s nearly 3 feet shorter than the already diminutive Mini Cooper. Of course, a big reason for that is that it’s only a 2-seater. But the short size means this car is super easy to park, especially in tight spots or short spots where other cars wouldn’t fit. It’s also got a great turning radius that makes it very maneuverable.
  • Appearance. No one can argue that the smart fortwo car is not unique in its design and appearance. See one, and you will never forget it, whether you like it or not! Many people’s first impression is that it is just so darn cute. When Mercedes Benz brought the smart fortwo car to the United States, they updated its image to be more cutting edge, with more chrome, a bit longer hood section and updated headlights and dashboard area. You can also change out the plastic body panels to give it a whole new color, or purchase a car wrap with some kind of unique print or design on it.
  • Safety design. Most people’s first reaction when they see this tiny car is something along the lines of, “How could such a small car be safe on the road” However, what make the smart car so unique is Mercedes Benz attention to safety. From the innovative tridion safety cell, a sort of safety cage, to its 4 airbags and advanced braking system, the smart car is built for safety. Crash tests have consistently proved Mercedes’ safety claims. Anecdotal evidence, as published on the safeandsmart.com website, also supports those claims.
  • Surprisingly roomy inside. Another surprising benefit of the smart car is its interior roominess. There is plenty of leg room for both driver and passenger. Head room is great too, with men as tall as 6’6″ fitting in the driver’s seat comfortably. The cargo area is also quite roomy for a small car. We fit a 50-pound black lab and 2 other dogs in our hatch when we go hiking. And we’ve toted home as many as 8 grocery bags and a case of soda when we go food shopping.
  • Perfect commuter car. The smart fortwo car was originally designed as a “city car” for crowded European city-dwellers, and that is its greatest value in the United States, as well. It makes a great commuter car, with its roominess, solid gas mileage and zippy performance on the roads, not to mention ease of parking.

Cons of a Smart Car

Of course, no car is perfect for everyone, and this one is no exception. It does have a few features that could be improved, as well as some aspects that just make it the wrong choice for certain people.

  • Size vs. other cars on the highway. Despite its considerable safety features, there is no question that the smart car is much smaller than just about every other vehicle on the highway. So, there is a good chance that if you are involved in an accident with a big SUV or truck, you might come out the loser. However, there are accounts of smart cars faring better than other larger vehicles in an accident. One advantage of its small footprint is that it might be able to avoid collisions that a larger vehicle could not.
  • No cruise control. As mentioned above, the smart car was designed as a commuter, in-town type of car. Perhaps that’s why, despite a number of other high-end features, it lacks a cruise control option. If you do plan to travel in it or your commute involves highway driving, chances are you are going to miss having cruise control.
  • Unusual transmission. Smart cars have what is termed an “automated manual transmission.” What that means is that you have an option between going completely automatic or using a modified manual transmission. Most people find that keeping it in automatic means slightly sluggish gear shifting. That is easily remedied, however, by switching to the automated manual mode. This is a clutch-less manual transmission, meaning you are in charge of using the stick shift or paddle shifters on the steering wheel to switch gears, but you don’t have to coordinate with a clutch. The manual mode is super easy to use, even if you’ve never driven a stick shift before, and provides for a much zippier gear-shifting experience.
  • Limited passenger seating and cargo space. Smart cars only have 2 seats – the driver’s seat and one passenger seat. So they’re not meant to be family cars. And while the cargo hatch area is surprisingly roomy, it is still less than 8 cubic feet. So you won’t be hauling any lumber or large pieces of furniture in it.
  • Gas mileage could be higher. For such a small car, you might expect the gas mileage to be much higher. However, the smart car was rated the most fuel-efficient gas-powered car in the United States by the EPA in 2010. And even at 40 MPG, it is considerably more fuel-efficient than most light trucks and SUVs on the road today.
  • Requires premium fuel. The smart car requires premium fuel, which can be pricey, because of its small engine size. Smaller engines tend to perform better with a higher grade of fuel. You might consider its gas mileage to be the trade-off for the pricier gas.

In weighing the pros of a smart car against the cons, I find the pros win. For what it’s designed to be — a commuter vehicle for 1 or 2 people — the smart car is a great value with many added benefits. Could it be better? Sure, as with most products, there is definitely room for improvement. But, if you want a forward-thinking, unique and fuel-efficient small car, then I would definitely encourage you to consider the smart fortwo car.

Training For a Marathon – A Primer

Do you have aspirations for running a marathon? Even an Olympian runner would agree that training is the most crucial part of the game. While training for a marathon, it is important that you prepare properly. If you do not pay attention to proper training, you are doomed to fail. If you have already tried it and found it too challenging then sure you need to get with the program.

As is generally the rule, to get better at something, you need lots of practice and commitment. Brilliant people from all walks of life have just this one secret – practice. Training basically is a mixture of practice, expertise on part of the instructor and commitment on part of the trainee, all brought together to form a winning combination. In addition, trainees in many fields, especially sports, benefit from their natural skill and talent. The good news about running is that it does not require any special skills. One just needs to be able bodied and in good health and the rest can be left to the training regimen.

Training for a marathon requires you to constantly push your body to gain more in terms of stamina and endurance. This requires you to proceed in a consistent manner. Haphazard training will not only fail to give the desired results but will also be a source of discouragement because your body will deteriorate rather than improve. Let us discuss a few guidelines that can be helpful when training for a marathon:

Firstly, you must develop training routines that place minimal stress on your body. Running puts pressure on your joints, ligaments, tendons, muscles and nervous system. Some degree of slow steady running is necessary to develop the stamina required for marathons but it is imperative to not overdo it.

Secondly, you need to develop other areas of your body that will support your long distance runs. These organs are the heart, the lungs and the muscles. Healthy heart and lungs ensure adequate oxygen supply is maintained to your tissues, and developed red muscles (through aerobic exercise) Ensure that you do not tire easily.

Lastly, you need to read the signs of your body during training for a marathon. Do not torture your body. Gradually make your training harder and harder and take a day of rest and / or lighter training every now and then to allow your body to recover fully.