Archive for July, 2012|Monthly archive page

The Importance of Regular Washing of your Vehicle

It’s always important to remember to wash your vehicle regularly and with that in mind we’re offering up a few friendly reminders regarding the proper way to wash your vehicle.

Wash as often as your vehicle needs it – No one would suggest you wash your vehicle every day, or even every week, but it’s important to note that regular washing will indeed keep your vehicle looking pristine. Among other benefits, washing removes dirt, grit, dust, pollutants, and hazardous material (aka bird droppings) that will in time and if left alone adversely affect the finish of your vehicle.

    • Only use products designed for cars & trucks – All soap is not created equal, or, rather, all soap is not created to do the same job. While dish detergent might be just the thing to cut through bacon grease, when used on a vehicle, it can have the unwanted consequence of stripping away wax. In this and in all jobs, be sure to use the right tools. The initial investment for the right kind of soap, wax, etc., will be worth it in the long run, both in terms of how your car looks (great!) and how long the finish stays good (years!).
    • Dry thoroughly – Using a clean cotton towel or shammy to dry your vehicle after washing will help prevent against the formation of water spots. These blemishes occur when water evaporates and leaves behind a mineral residue. More than just looking bad, the excess minerals can, in time, do harm to the paint.
  • Find a spot in the shade – Unless you drive only at night (or in an Alaskan winter), the sun will in time take a toll on your vehicle’s finish. This is true despite all preventative measures, which drastically slow the rate of sun damage but cannot arrest it completely. To slow the rate even more, take steps to keep your vehicle out of direct sunlight as much as possible. Park in the shade, a garage, or carport. Think about covering your vehicle when, for whatever reason, it will be sitting unused in the driveway for extended periods of time.
  • Wax poetic – Waxing your vehicle will keep it looking shiny and new. It will also help maintain a protective barrier between the finish and certain harmful elements of the environment, including dirt, dust, and the sun. In fact, you can think of wax as a kind of sun screen for your vehicle.

To keep your vehicle looking like it did they day you brought it home follow these tips and it will help prolong your “New Vehicle Look” for years to come!

How Tonneau Covers Increase your Fuel Economy

Increased Fuel Economy
One of the biggest advantages to having a tonneau cover is the positive effect it will have on your wallet – tonneau covers save gas! While the effect may not be immediately noticeable, most people agree that having a tonneau cover does lower fuel consumption.

Every Little Bit Helps
According to EPA Emission Facts, the average light truck is driven about 12,400 miles per year. Given that the average domestic pickup truck has a fuel economy of around 16 miles per gallon, you can expect to burn around 775 gallons of gasoline each year. At $3.00 per gallon, you’re spending about $2,325 annually. According to a fuel economy study conducted by the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA), tonneau covers increase gas mileage by around 11.81%, for an average increse of 1.18 miles per gallon. That increase in fuel economy can reduce your annual gas consumption by about 53 gallons per year, for an annual a savings of around $160.

Over the life of your vehicle, the cost savings can be significant. If you were to drive your pickup truck with a tonneau cover for 100,000 miles, you could potentially save 430 gallons of fuel – that’s $1,290 in savings! Some people drive that in a year. Of course there are many factors to take into consideration, such as engine wear, tire pressure, driving habits and more – but the fact remains that tonneau covers help improve fuel economy.

Tonneau Covers vs. Lowered Tailgates
Many people still believe that you’ll get better gas mileage with the tailgate down. However, this is simply not true. In fact, having your tailgate down may actually reduce gas mileage! The Discovery Channel’s MythBusters actually tested the lowered tailgate myth in a series of tests during episode 43 and 64, in which they proved that driving with your tailgate down decreases gas mileage.

Reduced Pain at the Pump
Gas prices are at an all-time high and show no signs of returning to the low prices we once enjoyed. The reality is that gas prices will continue to rise as we drive along in the twenty-first century. Savvy consumers can recognize the benefit that tonneau covers offer. Increased fuel economy means fewer trips to the gas pump, and more money in your pocket to pay for other expenses.

Good for the Environment
Although pickup trucks are not the most fuel efficient vehicles on the road today, there are ways you can help improve your gas mileage, which is always good for the environment. Tonneau covers reduce the amount of drag caused by wind while you drive down the road. Everyone knows that as you reduce drag, you increase performance, which saves gas. A tonneau cover combined with good driving habitis and a well-tuned engine can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and thus help the environment.

The Tonneau Cover Debate
There have long been many controversies surrounding the relationship between tonneau covers and gas mileage. While it is accepted that truck bed covers help improve gas mileage, many people refuse to believe this at face value. Most people cannot detect the improvement in gas mileage because the change is so slight. Online forums are filled with positive and negative results, but most of these comments are far from scientific. While its true that individual results may vary, tonneau covers have been proven to increase fuel economy.

DNS Changer Malware: What to Do If Your Computer’s Hit

The FBI’s temporary Internet servers will go dark Monday, leaving thousands of unsuspecting malware-infected individuals without online access.

What temporary Internet servers, you ask? They might have been connecting you to Facebook, YouTube, and — ahem! — ABCNews.com for the last month, and you didn’t even know it. Really.

Why is this happening? It all has to do with a piece of computer malware called DNS Changer.

It started in 2007, when a group of hackers — six Estonians and one Russian — allegedly started masquerading as Internet advertisers who were paid by the click, according to an 2011 indictment from the U.S. Attorney General’s Office in the Southern District of New York. In other words, if an ad got more clicks, they pocketed more cash.

So they figured out a way to beat the system, according to the indictment. They created a piece of malware, called DNS Changer, that tampered with the DNS — the thing that takes a website address and finds the numerical IP address to connect you to that website — redirecting millions of Internet users to sites they didn’t search for.

For instance, if your computer was infected and you clicked a link to go to Netflix, you would wind up at “BudgetMatch,” according to the FBI. The practice is called “click hijacking.”

Once the FBI got around to fixing the problem in 2011, it realized it couldn’t simply shut down the rogue servers because infected computers would be left without a functioning DNS, leaving them virtually Internet-less. So it set up temporary servers to give malware-infected Internet users time to fix their computers.

(There isn’t a planned attack this Monday that will shut down the Internet; those whose computers are already infected will lose the Band-Aid the FBI put on the problem more than a year ago.)

Who Is Affected?

Initially, there were more than 4 million infected computers in 100 countries, including 500,000 in the United States, according to the indictment.

As of July 4, there were only about 46,000 in the United States, FBI spokeswoman Jenny Shearer told ABCNews.com today. (That’s out of nearly 300,000 worldwide.)

PCs and Apple Macs have been infected. Routers and iPads were hit, too.

As of June, the United States had more infected computers than any other country, according to data from the DNS Changer Working Group, or DCWG, a group working on cleanup resulting from the malware.

How Do I Know if My Computer Is Infected?

You can check to see whether your computer is infected by clicking on this link, http://www.dns-ok.us/ which is run by DCWG.

If the page is green, you’re in the clear. If it’s red, your computer is infected.

On Thursday the site got 2 million hits, but very few of those computers were infected, DCWG volunteer Barry Greene told ABCNews.com.

Google and Facebook say they have also set up notifications for infected users. If you type in a search term and see a message that says, “Your computer appears to be infected” at the top of your screen, guess what. Your computer is infected.

Comcast, AT&T and Verizon are among the other organizations notifying customers if they have infected machines.

Important: According to DCWG, you should not need to scan, make changes or download anything to tell whether your computer is infected.

My Computer Is Infected. Now What?

The good news is DCWG has put together a page of trusted tools and a step-by-step guide for how to fix your computer.
CLICK HERE to view the Page.

The bad news is it can take a day or two actually to fix the problem, Greene told ABCNews.com. That’s because the malware is in a deep section of the hard drive called the “boot sector.”

“The malware problem out there is nasty, and it’s impacted society on multiple levels,” Greene said. “It’s extremely hard to get rid of. In most companies, if they get infected with it, they throw away the hard drive.”

If you can’t do that, follow the instructions. They include backing up your files and reinstalling your operating system.

What Do I Do if I Lose Internet on Monday?

The FBI and DCWG recommend contacting your Internet service provider. They’ll be able to give you instructions on what to do next.

As read on: http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/dns-changer-malware-300000-people-worldwide-lose-internet/story?id=16726397#.T_nokpGDmSo

Signs of Heat Stroke and How to Avoid it While Riding a Motorcycle in 90+ heat

With temperatures in the 90’s so often lately here are some warning signs about Heat Stroke and other good tips on staying cool while riding during the hot summer months!

Riding in temperatures reaching triple digits can be as dangerous as riding in freezing temperatures. The beginnings of a heat stroke, as with hypothermia, can affect your judgment and impair your ability to operate a motorcycle safely.

The Warning Signs:

Symptoms include pale clammy skin, headaches, dizzy, nausea, loss of memory and fainting, muscle tremors, cramping and being tired and weak. Red skin with little or no sweating indicates a dangerous level of heat exhaustion. At this point immediate action must be taken to prevent a heat stroke.

The treatments are mostly common sense, but remember the victim may not be mentally capable of making the right decision. Move them into the shade or preferably air conditioned space. Spray water on the person, and get some air circulating around the victim with a fan and have them drink non-caffeinated fluids, cool but not ice cold.

Rinsing with cool water is fine, but do not apply ice to the victim as it will fool the body into closing skin pores to retain heat, making the situation worse.

Be aware that individuals with high blood pressure, those who are overweight are at a higher risk to suffer heat exhaustion and/or a heat stroke. High temperatures with high humidity combined with these risk factors and alcohol use or certain medications and the ingredients are all present for a tragic end to the ride.

Stay Cool on the Bike:

It’s not always possible to avoid riding when the temperatures reach triple digits, and even with temperatures hovering between 90-98 Fahrenheit the combination of high humidity exposes the rider to dangerous heat stress.

The best course of action may be to wear long sleeves and or a good mesh leather riding suit, especially on rides where the temperatures reach north of 98 degrees.

Our body is wonderfully adapted when it comes to keeping us cool. We can cool off a lot easier than we can warm up.

Motorcyclists however, are at a disadvantage when it comes to cooling because in extreme heat, the wind is not our friend. Temperatures over 100 degrees turn the environment around our motorcycle into a convection oven. Strong winds, even as low as 35 mph, snatches away our perspiration before it has had time to cool our skin, leaving us dehydrated and hot.

Add to that the radiant effect of sunlight on uncovered skin (such as wearing thin t-shirt, tank top or no shirt) and serious sun burn isn’t far behind. Wear long sleeve technical style shirts that runners wear made with a cotton/synthetic blend that keeps sunlight off your skin, but the fabric is breathable so you can feel the sweat cooling your skin as it evaporates.

You could also add a full face hybrid flip style helmet and evaporative vest on long hot rides to help keep you cool.

The vest helps lower your core temperature. But to maximize its benefit it must be worn next to the skin preferably under a lightweight vented or perforated jacket. An extra idea too maximize the vest benefits even more is to soak the vest in water before riding.

You can probably expect stares of disbelief as you cover up with a jacket in 100+ heat but you’ll be the one staying cool on the road!

The bottom line is when the temperature reaches triple digits, try to keep as much of your skin covered as possible and to drink fluids at every gas stop while cooling in the shade or inside the store. Riding through “Hell” is never fun, but at least it gives you something to talk about at your next bike night!