Living on a Boat Year Round

houseboats amsterdam
 
Like many raised in the dry plains of West Texas, I’ve always been fascinated with water, from rivers and lakes to the mother of all, the ocean. My attraction to the sea was nurtured by the TV shows and novels of the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s that featured characters with homes on the water.
 
There was Sonny Crockett of “Miami Vice,” the ultra-cool police detective who lived on an Endeavor 42 sailboat, and Quincy M.E., the Los Angeles medical examiner in a series of the same name who lived on a sailboat in Marina Del Rey, Calif. John McDonald wrote 20 novels about private eye Travis McGee, who won his houseboat “Busted Flush” in a poker game. Across the pond, Scotland yard detective John Maven lived on a covered barge in the Thames in Donald MacKenzie’s Raven book series.
 
As these examples illustrate, we often associate living on the water with wealth, adventure, and freedom. But is it something you could realistically do full-time? Let’s take a closer look at what living on the water entails.

Popular Places for Water Residence

Paul Miles, a narrowboat (i.e., canal boat) owner, claims in Financial Times that more than 10,000 people live on boats in London and more than a quarter of England’s 33,000 inland boats are permanent residences. There are similar resident boating communities around the world, including an ocean community in Hong Kong where foreign airline pilots live until their contracts are finished.
 
While there are no reliable statistics regarding the number of people in the United States who live on boats year-round, also known as “liveaboards,” the blog BetterBoat notes, “there are all sorts of great places to live [in the U.S.] aboard a boat” thanks to 95,471 of miles of coastlines (including Hawaii and Alaska), plenty of rivers, and oh-so-many lakes. Those who prefer saltwater to freshwater might consider the following locations.
 

  • San Diego, CA. The climate is hard to beat — never too hot or too cold — and laws and regulations are favorable to boat living. While it’s illegal to drop anchor offshore for extended periods, there are plenty of clean, orderly, and safe marinas. Expect to pay a premium for a slip large enough to accommodate a boat fit for full-time living. After all, San Diego is among the most beautiful areas in the country.
  • Corpus Christi, TX. Those who prefer to live on the Gulf Coast will enjoy this coastal city and its naval roots. Local laws favor boat residence, and the cost of marina slips is less expensive than in popular areas on either coast.
  • The Chesapeake Bay Area. There are multiple marinas in cities around Maryland and Virginia that are generally protected from harsh weather. Expect to pay $5,000 to $8,000 annually for a marina and other costs here.

 
Read more . . .

Killer Apps Explained – History, Examples, Impacts & Future

killer apps
 
Can you imagine a future where computers monitor humans from birth, predict sickness, and help us heal faster? Or a time when chronically ill or elderly persons can live at home and be monitored by instruments that a home nurse or caregiver can use?
 
Judith Donath, a fellow at Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society, predicts that individual healthy diets based on each person’s unique genetics, locations, and activities are going to be common in the future, while drugstores will have booths that function as remote examining, treatment, and simple surgery rooms. In 1950, few could imagine the impact computers would have on everyday life in the year 2000. Today, everyone has a mobile phone, email has replaced physical letters, and online markets are challenging the economics of brick-and-mortar retailers.

The Emergence of Killer Applications (Apps)

Merriam-Webster defines “killer app” as “a computer application of such great value or popularity that it assures the success of the technology with which it is associated.” PC Magazine calls it “the first of a new breed.” To a layman, a killer app is a computer application that saves money, time, or energy, makes the user safer, or enhances the experiences of the user to the degree that it must be acquired and used.
 
The 1979 appearance of the first killer app, VisiCalc, ignited widespread business and personal use by consumers – use that couldn’t have been conceived of in the early 1940s when computers were first developed. According to the Computer History Museum, computer use in its initial stages was limited to research laboratories, large companies, and the Federal Government.
 
Personal computers (PCs) appeared in the early 1970s with the introduction of the microprocessor, integrated circuit boards, and solid state memory. The first commercially accepted PCs (Apple II, PET 2000, and TRS-80) were introduced in 1977 but remained niche products for the scientific community and hobbyists. According to a 1983 article in InfoWorld, only a half-million microcomputers were in place in 1980, and they were primarily used to play simple electronic games.
 
Read more . . .

10 Ways to Protect Your Privacy Online

hooded hacker computer spyware
Who knows the Evil that lurks in the hearts of men?
In May 2017, more than 230,000 computers around the world were taken hostage by the WannaCry malware worm. Known as ransomware, the unknown developers surreptitiously gained control of computers running the Microsoft Windows operating system, encrypted the users’ data, and demanded a payment of $300 in untraceable bitcoins to unlock the system and access information.
 
Cyber-attacks occur across borders and range from simple email “phishing” efforts to sophisticated software programs that quickly expand the attacks and hide the identity of the perpetrators. Motives of cyber criminals range from vanity (proving one’s technical expertise) to illegal profit. Some attacks are politically motivated while others are rarely publicized, state-sponsored sabotage. The attacks affect individuals, businesses, and governments.
 
According to a report by the Ponemon Institute, a successful hacker earns $14,711 for each attack and has 8.26 successful attacks per year. Sophisticated hacking tools are readily available on the Internet, especially the Dark Web. The criminals and the curious are stepping up their efforts to invade your privacy and steal your money. What actions can you take to harden the target and protect your assets?
 
What actions can you take to harden the target and protect your assets?

Understand the Enemy

Malicious software can wreak havoc on your computer or operate covertly in the background. Malware (The Creeper Worm) was first detected on the ARPANET, the forerunner of the Internet, in the early 1970s. Since that time, spurred by the growth of personal computers and connected communication networks, many different types of malware have appeared, including:
 
Trojans: The most common malware is based on the Greek strategy to invade Troy: the Trojan Horse. In this case, users are tricked into allowing an outsider unlimited access to their computers by clicking on an unsafe Internet link, opening an email attachment, or completing a form. By themselves, Trojans are delivery vehicles, providing a “backdoor” into a computer or network. As a consequence, they open the door for malicious software to steal data, compromise operating systems, or spy on users. Trojans do not replicate themselves and spread to other devices like a virus or a worm.
Viruses: Just as a biological virus is transmitted to unsuspecting hosts, a computer virus replicates itself and infects new computers, then modifies operating programs to malfunction. Some have called viruses “diseases of machinery,” a term first coined in the 1972 futuristic film “Westworld.” One of the early viruses – Love Letter – delivered by an email with the subject line “I Love You” and an attachment “L0VE-LETTER-FOR-YOU.TXT” – attacked 55 million computers worldwide and caused an estimated $10 billion in damage, according to Wired magazine.
 
Read more . . .

Picking and Dickering: America’s New Hobby

antiquesOwning a piece of the past has universal appeal. According to philosopher and antique dealer Leon Rosenstein, it’s the value, uniqueness, and beauty of older items that attracts us, along with their historical and cultural associations. For some, buying and selling tangible pieces of history is a business – for others, it is a calling. Mike Wolfe, one of the stars of the television show “American Pickers,” says that discovering and restoring old relics from the past to their former glory is akin to saving America’s history, one piece at a time.
 
While lots of people are familiar with antique collecting, many are unaware of the growing market for other collectibles, from cars, to toys, to comic books, to folk art. According to the U.S. Economic Census of 2012, the industry accounts for more than $13 billion in revenues for almost 20,000 businesses, from one-man shops to giant online auction firms such as eBay and Heritage Auctions.
 
Everyone, it seems, has a touch of nostalgia from time to time, a sentimental yearning to return to days of past happiness. Antiques and collectibles are tangible evidence of history, monuments of a slower, simpler age when the future was bright and obstacles seemed easy to overcome.
 
Unlike most retail experiences, acquiring pieces of the past requires diligent searching followed by old-time price negotiation – “dickering” – between buyer and seller. Value is in the minds of the two parties, rather than any objective analysis, since many items are one-of-a kind. As a consequence, a successful acquisition requires a discerning eye and disciplined negotiations. For many, the opportunity to joust over price, pitting one’s wits against another’s, is as rewarding as acquiring the items themselves.

The Appeal of Picking

Finding old treasures can be both financially and emotionally rewarding. While the majority of pickers buy older pieces for their artistic or nostalgic appeal, many have found searching flea markets, garage sales, and old barns and houses to be exceptionally profitable. For example:
 
Read more . . .