Sinusoidal Rumble Strips aka “Mumble Strips”

Rumble strips, or “Milled-In Audible Roadside Delineators” (MIARD), are useful tools in the traffic engineer’s toolbox to alert inattentive motorists that they have wandered out of the travel lane, and either off of the road, or into the opposing lane of traffic. Unfortunately, the vibration and grating noise used to prevent collisions also produces unwanted exterior noise which is annoying to nearby land users. Traditional rumble strip designs also attract the ire from various bicycling and motorcycling groups, as they can disrupt rider control of two-wheeled vehicles.

Consequently, traffic engineers need to delicately balance the need for traditional rumble strip installations with adjacent land uses and other road users. Locations too close to populated areas will undoubtedly generate complaints, as will locations with high concentrations of two-wheeled vehicles.

European highway authorities have developed rumble strips with a sinusoidal wave pattern, which accomplish the desired objective, without generating as much road noise. The Danish Road Institute published a pilot study titled Traffic noise at rumble strips on roads: a pilot study on sinusoidal rumble strips in 2008. Conclusions from their study indicated that traditional rumble strips spaced on 1 foot intervals generated exterior road noise 3-7 dB greater than sinusoidal designs.

The Wirtgen Group W 50 DC milling machine can be outfitted with a rumble strip kit which produces both American “rumble” and European “mumble” patterns. Not only can the European sinusoidal mumble pattern be seen at this location on California Route 20, from Keys Boulevard to Orchard Shores Drive near Clearlake Oaks, the Google Maps car actually photographed the work being performed!

CalTrans District 1 also installed mumble strips in July 2012 on a seven-mile segment of US Highway 101 in Humboldt County. Mumble strips were installed at this location due to sensitive sound receptors, including nesting Marbled Murrelets, Spotted Owls, Osprey, and Bald Eagle habitat, as well as nearby homes and campgrounds.

Surface Preparation Technologies, LLC of Mechanicsburg, PA, was kind enough to conduct a demonstration of their SINNUS sinusoidal rumble strip design to our agency on a 1/2 mile segment of Marne Highway in Mount Laurel, NJ. The SINNUS rumble strip differs from the European sinusoidal; it follows a wave pattern which repeats on 2 foot intervals in a cut varying between 1/8″ to 1/2″ below the pavement surface. SINNUS can optionally be cut with tapered edges. These design features are friendlier to two-wheeled vehicles and produce less exterior road noise. Pavement markings are expected to last much longer when installed in a SINNUS rumble strip, as not only are they entirely recessed, they also give an important vertical component for nighttime and wet reflective visibility.

Minnesota DOT’s (MnDOT) Office of Traffic, Safety and Technology is testing various sinusoidal rumble strip patterns, including the SINNUS rumble strip. They have published an excellent YouTube video of their demonstration site near Thief River Falls which clearly demonstrates the exterior noise differences between traditional American and the SINNUS rumble strip designs.

Sinusoidal rumble strips will be the new future in the traffic engineer’s toolbox to reduce head-on and roadway departure collisions.

Inductive Vehicle Loop Detectors – Resources for good design and installation

One of the perks of employment as a civil engineer with a small governmental agency, is the opportunity to handle all sorts of projects from inception to completion. There is also plenty of opportunity to experiment, and explore options to increase efficiency and lower maintenance overhead in mundane, every day designs and tasks. After all, smaller agencies have less resources to begin with; why not use all available resources as efficiently as possible.

Our traffic signal maintenance forces were spending too much time and energy chasing loop detector related maintenance calls. The time had come to not only examine closely our standard detail and specifications for loop detectors, but those of other agencies around the country, and the world.

The following information is the summary many hours of research spent studying the best features of loop detector details from various public agencies, and construction of over 25,000 linear feet of loop detector, including over 500 Type E circular loops. Many thanks to some excellent, engaged discussion on the ITE Traffic Engineering Council listserv, including the expertise of Jim Harris, Rob Klug, and Mike Whiteaker.

These design techniques have shown to be effective in reducing loop detector related traffic signal maintenance calls within our agency:

    1. Design adjacent loop detectors at oblique angles to each other, wherever possible. This practice ensures that magnetic field lines of adjacent detectors do not operate in the same direction, which reduces loop crosstalk and interference. A series of 6 foot (ft.) by 6 ft. diamond, or 6 ft. diameter circular loops in each lane is a method to accomplish this design. Circular loops also hold up better to freeze-thaw and shifting asphalt pavement. Oblique angled loops also detect bicycles better than loops which are sawcut parallel and perpendicular to the direction of travel. The article Anatomy of a Bicycle Friendly Street: Loop Detectors at LADOT Bike Blog has a really good explanation on how to reliably detect bicycles with loop detectors.

    2. Always wire adjacent loops in opposite directions, as shown on page 122, figure 115 of the FHWA Traffic Detector Handbook. For example, the first and third loops in a single lane should be wound in a clockwise direction, and the second and fourth loops in the same lane should be wound in a counter-clockwise direction. Loops in adjacent lanes should also be wound in opposite directions. This will alternate the polarity of adjacent loops, which will further reduce crosstalk and interference. Twisting the home run wires of each loop a minimum of seven turns per ft. also reduces interference.

    3. Label the start of each loop wire in the pull box, and connect it to the black wire of the loop lead going back to the controller cabinet. Land each pair of loop leads to the detector panel in the following sequence: black, white, black, white, etc. This will ensure the alternating polarity of the loop detectors in the road

    4. NEVER wire multiple loop detectors in parallel on the same loop lead; ALWAYS wire multiple detectors in series only. This also applies to landing two loop leads to a single set of terminals at the cabinet, which is essentially the same thing. It is possible for a loop detector wired in parallel to fail and go unnoticed if a good loop detector is wired in the same circuit. For example, say the stop bar loop and an adjacent loop are wired in parallel, and the stop bar loop goes dead. A vehicle pulls up on the approach, but is only over the stop bar loop (which is bad) and not over the good loop in the circuit. The vehicle will not be detected, because the stop bar loop is dead, however, the channel on the loop amp WILL NOT fail open, since there is still a good loop in the circuit. This vehicular approach will only receive a green signal when another vehicle pulls over the good loop in the circuit.

    5. Abandon old loop detectors properly by cutting them in at least two locations around the head of the loop. Loops not properly abandoned can act as an antenna and can cause interference to new loop detectors installed nearby.

    6. Loop detector installation specifications should require IMSA Type 51-5-1984 #14 “loop-in-a-tube” wire, and IMSA Type 50-2-1984 #14 shielded leads. Loop-in-a-tube wire offers added protection to wires installed in the pavement, and shielded, twisted leads offer resistance to crosstalk and interference.

    7. The number of turns of the loop wire does not increase loop sensitivity; it only increases efficiency of the detector. Most modern loop amplifiers from Reno A&E, GTT, EDI, and Naztec will work fine with 100 microhenries per loop, which equates to four turns for a 6 ft. by 6 ft. loop detector. If your lead-in cable is particularly long (greater than 300 ft.), then add an extra turn to improve the efficiency of the loop detector.

    8. Quadrupole loops typically have half the detection height of rectangular loops of the same size. A 6’x25′ quadrupole loop is really two 3’x25′ loops side-by-side; consequently it has half of the detection height as a regular 6’x25′ rectangular loop. A series of 6 ft. by 6 ft. diamond, or 6 ft. diameter loops will detect high-body trucks at a lower sensitivity setting on the loop detector amplifier than a single long quadrupole loop. Another benefit to this design is if one of the loops in the series fails, it can be taken out of service and the phase placed in locking memory detection. Alternatively, a single long loop which has failed typically requires that the phase be placed in maximum recall until the loop can be replaced.

    9. If wiring one loop per detection channel on the loop amplifier, try to design a series of 4 loops, as shown on the details referenced above. Loop amplifiers are typically manufactured in 2 or 4 channel models, and a series of 4 loops, each wired to an individual channel, will consume one 4-channel amp, or two 2-channel amps. Wiring one loop per detection channel will also allow for tuning of separate frequencies of adjacent loop detectors, thus minimizing crosstalk and interference.

    10. Placing more than one pair of loop home runs in a single sawcut slot is okay, as long as the home runs are twisted at least 7 turns per foot. Installation crews should be encouraged to put no more than 2 loop home runs in a single slot, where possible, in order to minimize cutting the pavement, especially when loops are cut in the top. Contractors are typically paid per linear foot of sawcut; loop detector specifications and/or details may need to specify that payment will be made for the entire length of each loop home run in the slot, and not necessarily just the length of slot with multiple home runs.

By following the above items #1 thru #6, all interference and cross talk problems were virtually eliminated with loop detectors installed with this detail. Especially helpful is the Reno U1200 loop amplifier. It has an LCD display where the frequency of each loop amp channel can be visually determined. Adjacent loop channels can be conveniently tuned to be far enough apart in frequency from each other.

Below are resource files and links for loop detector design:

Burlington County traffic loop detector installation detail (Adobe PDF format)

Burlington County traffic loop detector installation detail (Microstation V8 DGN format)

Re-Evaluating Signal Detector Loops (Adobe PDF format)

Marsh Products Inductive Loop Write-up (Adobe PDF format)

CalTrans Electrical Detail ES-05a (Adobe PDF format)

CalTrans Electrical Detail ES-05b (Adobe PDF format)

FHWA Traffic Detector Handbook FHWA-IP-90-002

Inductive Loop Design Guide – EDI

Reno A&E Loop Detector FAQ

Detection of Bicycles by Quadrupole Loops at Demand-Actuated Traffic Signals

SCDOT > Motorcycles & Traffic Signals > Loop Detectors

Traffic Signal Loop Detector Installation – Part 1 – from Trafdata.com

Traffic Signal Loop Detector Installation – Part 2 – from Trafdata.com

Review & FAQ – Set Up a DigitalOcean VPS to host WordPress

A few unplanned and unannounced service outages with my VPS provider made me realize that it was time to jump ship, and take my business elsewhere.

Several friends of mine are using DigitalOcean for their VPS needs, and highly recommended their product. DigitalOcean offers VPS solutions from servers with 512MB of RAM, all the way up to servers with 96GB of RAM. All of their servers use extremely fast SSD drives.

DigitalOcean has a very clean and intuitive interface to get your VPS up and running very quickly. You can choose from various distributions of Linux, including Ubuntu, CentOS, Debian, Arch, and Fedora. Various applications can also be pre-installed on your VPS, including, LAMP, WordPress, Dokku, Docker, Ruby on Rails, Redmine, and GitLab.

I opted to set up a 1GB RAM VPS, running Ubuntu Server 12.04.3 LTS. The VPS “droplet” only took a minute to create, and I was very quickly on my way to get the new server up and running. Thankfully, I saved the web references that I used last time to set up my old VPS.

Webrich Software published this excellent article titled “LAMP Server and PHPMYADMIN installation” which details how to set up LAMP and phpMyAdmin. I followed these directions to the letter. The post makes reference to using gedit as text editor; obviously use whichever text editor you feel most comfortable using.

You will need mod_rewrite enabled on your Apache server if you want fancy SEO and user friendly page names with your WordPress installation. The mod_rewrite function is not usually enabled when Apache server is first installed. Fortunately, the very clueful staff at DigitalOcean has already written this excellent article “How To Set Up Mod_Rewrite” detailing how to enable mod_rewrite.

Next, you will need to install the WordPress files on your system for each site installation. Set up two separate directories for the files; one directory for the system files, and another directory for the log files. For example, WordPress files could be installed in:

/html/www/site.domain.name.com

and log files could be stored in:

/html/logs/site.domain.name.com

or whatever naming convention works for best for your configuration.

The Apache /etc/apache2/sites-available/default file must be configured properly to find your WordPress installation(s). DigitalOcean has this great article How To Set Up Multiple WordPress Sites on a Single Ubuntu VPS explaining how to set up your Apache config file. Linode also has a great article titled “Configure apache to use virtual hosts on ubuntu server” to help you get started on this configuration.

Below is a sample default file with virtual hosts for 3 separate websites; example.com, example.net, and example.org

<VirtualHost *:80>
	ServerAdmin webmaster@localhost

	DocumentRoot /var/www
	<Directory />
		Options FollowSymLinks
		AllowOverride None
	</Directory>
	<Directory /var/www/>
		Options Indexes FollowSymLinks MultiViews
		AllowOverride None
		Order allow,deny
		allow from all
	</Directory>

	ScriptAlias /cgi-bin/ /usr/lib/cgi-bin/
	<Directory "/usr/lib/cgi-bin">
		AllowOverride None
		Options +ExecCGI -MultiViews +SymLinksIfOwnerMatch
		Order allow,deny
		Allow from all
	</Directory>

	ErrorLog /var/log/apache2/error.log

	# Possible values include: debug, info, notice, warn, error, crit,
	# alert, emerg.
	LogLevel warn

	CustomLog /var/log/apache2/access.log combined

    Alias /doc/ "/usr/share/doc/"
    <Directory "/usr/share/doc/">
        Options Indexes MultiViews FollowSymLinks
        AllowOverride None
        Order deny,allow
        Deny from all
        Allow from 127.0.0.0/255.0.0.0 ::1/128
    </Directory>

</VirtualHost>

<VirtualHost *:80>
        ServerName example.com
        ServerAlias www.example.com

        DocumentRoot /html/www/example.com
        ServerAdmin webmaster@localhost
        LogLevel warn
        ErrorLog /html/logs/example.com/error_log
        CustomLog /html/logs/example.com/access_log combined
        ServerSignature Off

        <Directory />
                Options FollowSymLinks
                AllowOverride All
        </Directory>
        <Directory /html/www/example.com>
                Options -Indexes FollowSymLinks MultiViews
                AllowOverride All
                Order allow,deny
                allow from all
        </Directory>
</VirtualHost>

<VirtualHost *:80>
        ServerName example.net
        ServerAlias www.example.net

        DocumentRoot /html/www/example.net
        ServerAdmin webmaster@localhost
        LogLevel warn
        ErrorLog /html/logs/example.net/error_log
        CustomLog /html/logs/example.net/access_log combined
        ServerSignature Off

        <Directory />
                Options FollowSymLinks
                AllowOverride All
        </Directory>
        <Directory /html/www/example.net>
                Options -Indexes FollowSymLinks MultiViews
                AllowOverride All
                Order allow,deny
                allow from all
        </Directory>
</VirtualHost>

<VirtualHost *:80>
        ServerName example.org
        ServerAlias www.example.org

        DocumentRoot /html/www/example.org
        ServerAdmin webmaster@localhost
        LogLevel warn
        ErrorLog /html/logs/example.org/error_log
        CustomLog /html/logs/example.org/access_log combined
        ServerSignature Off

        <Directory />
                Options FollowSymLinks
                AllowOverride All
        </Directory>
        <Directory /html/www/example.org>
                Options -Indexes FollowSymLinks MultiViews
                AllowOverride All
                Order allow,deny
                allow from all
        </Directory>
</VirtualHost>

# notes for maintaining /etc/apache2/sites-available/default
#
# commands to check apache config and to reboot apache
# sudo apache2ctl configtest
# sudo /etc/init.d/apache2 restart
#
# be sure to specify log file location in
# /etc/logrotate.d/apache2 for proper log file rotation

You will also need to set up /etc/logrotate.d/apache2 to properly rotate the log files for each website. The DigitalOcean folks have done it again with this excellent article on “How To Configure Logging And Log Rotation In Apache On An Ubuntu VPS”.

I must admit that I have installed WordPress many times, however only recently have learned how to set proper file permissions and ownership so that WordPress can function properly. My previous installations always had issues with the system being able to create the proper file structure in /wp-content. This excellent article “Setting Proper WordPress Unix Permissions” spells it all out to get the file structure working properly.

Basically, you want your user account to own the WordPress installation directory, and all files in it as yourusername:yourusername with permissions 664, with just a few exceptions. The /wp-content directory and its contents needs to be owned by the web server account, which is either apache or www-data, with group ownership of either ‘yourusername’ or a special group created for admins.

The /wp-content directory and its entire contents will need permissions set to 775 to be able to add and remove files via your FTP login. You can set these permissions from the command line while in the docroot of your site by typing: sudo chmod -R 775 wp-content/

Ownership of .htaccess, .htpasswd (optional), and wp-config.php to should be set to root:root with permissions 664 to prevent anything bad happening to these important files!

Next, take a look at another excellent DigitalOcean article about “How To Install and Secure phpMyAdmin on Ubuntu 12.04″ to keep your phpMyAdmin installation safe from unauthorized access. Your phpMyAdmin login page should be protected with .htaccess and .htpasswd files to prevent brute force attacks on the root login password.

The Authentication and Authorization page for the official Apache documentation has everything that you need to know about how to set up .htaccess and .htpasswd

Take special note about the section on properly configuring the /etc/phpmyadmin/apache.conf file. The line AllowOverride All is very important, and is not always included in the default installation. My previous VPS had AllowOverride All included in the default configuration, but the DigitalOcean install did not. Needless to say, I spent a few days scratching my head trying to figure out why my .htaccess login would not work properly!

Sign up for your VPS cloud server from DigitalOcean today!

I hope that this article was useful. Bookmark this page, as it will be updated periodically with current information. Be sure to read these other excellent tutorials:

Has iREO or REO PRO CORP contacted you to do business?

UPDATE 7 – There are new, negative articles and discussions about REO PRO CORP:

    Has anyone worked with Reopro corp. And if so give me some feedback

    REO PRO CORP: AGENTS BEWARE

UPDATE 6 – BEWARE, REO PRO CORP is now calling themselves iREO, iREO PRO, or iREOPRO! More negative reviews posted on the following threads:

    My first Rant I was (almost) Scammed. A REO Scam

    Ireopro asset manager asking for $700.00

    Ever heard of iREO? comments appreciated

(article title has now been changed. article formerly titled: Have you been contacted to do business with REO PRO CORP?)

UPDATE 5 – Here are TWO discussions on LinkedIn with more negative reviews about REO PRO CORP:

    Has anyone worked with REO PRO CORP? They have called me several times. They want a $400 deposit to work with them.

    Has anyone worked with Reopro corp. And if so give me some feedback

UPDATE 4 – Thanks for all of the great comments and feedback about REO PRO CORP! Please be sure to read through all of the comments at the bottom of this article, as they clearly describe the lengths to which these people lie to cheat you out of your hard earned commissions.

UPDATE 3 – Check out Richard’s comment to this article, he said that REO PRO CORP tried to give him an actual REO assignment… which just happened to be Richard’s own listing that he closed the week prior!

UPDATE 2 – This video blog at Poncie.com titled REO PRO CORP: Legit or Scam? + Fannie Mae Application pretty much outs REO PRO CORP as the SCAM that they are! There is also an updated post on Poncie here at REO PRO CORP REVIEWS: Buyers Beware!

UPDATE 1 – thanks for the comments so far! Feedback received indicates that these may be the same people behind BankerREO and FootprintsRE. Please see the following articles on LinkedIn, Ning, and ActiveRain.

    AGENTS BEWARE! Banker REO now scamming agents as FootprintsRE

    FootprintsRE LLC

    Banker Reo $349 scam ? legal? Read this before you pay them

Fellow Realtors: Have you received emails from REO PRO Corp, looking for experienced listing agents of REO, Short Sale, and Pre-Foreclosure properties?

REO PRO Corp contacted me back after I clicked on their link, and offered me 2 listings in my my area which were supposedly in preforeclosure.

They sent me a promotional PDF “Welcome Packet”, which was heavy on REO buzzwords and light on actual substance.

I was then pushed into a high pressure sales pitch for this program, which costs $400 up front for 6 months, and $300 for each additional 6 months. The sales rep did not call me back with a follow-up when I told him that I would have to think about their proposal.

Their published office “address” of 1000 N West Street, Suite 1200, Wilmington, DE 19801 is actually a Regus Virtual Office. Their published phone number of 302-570-0736 is serviced by Bandwidth.com, and is most likely a VoIP number. Their office numbers beginning in 302-394-9xxx are serviced by Peerless Network, and are most likely also VoIP numbers. In other words, they probably do not have an actual presence in Wilmington.

Their Facebook and Twitter feeds are simply set up on auto pilot to drip out the same articles fed from DSNews.com‘s RSS feed. Not much original content on their social media channels, save for the video testimonials without last names and contact information of the agents speaking the “praises” of REO PRO CORP.

A google search returns this REO PRO Corp review page at ModernComment.com. These reviews appear to be fairly worthless, given the lack of last names and any contact information for the reviewers. Some of the reviews are even left by anonymous commenters! It should be noted that ModernComment is a PAID comment review system!

I have since placed all of REO PRO CORP’s listed phone numbers in my ‘DO NOT ANSWER’ contact, so they go right to voicemail. See my blog post Annoying phone numbers which real estate agents should ignore when they are called by them for more details.

Needless to say, I was not interested. Below are the emails which I have received. Please feel free to comment below if you have any positive or negative feedback about REO PRO CORP. Comments are held for moderation and are not immediately displayed.

Email 1

We are looking for an experienced listing agent for a property located in XXX, XX.

Please follow the link below for this assignment.

http://reopromlinfo.com/pages/xxxx/

Thanks

Eli Greene
302-394-9140

To be removed from this list please visit manage subscription to unsubscribe.

REO Pro
1000 N West Street Ste 1200 Wilmington, DE 19801

http://reoprocorp.com/

Email 2

Please find the attached file to this email.

Thanks,

John Harrison
Asset Manager
REOProCorp.com
302-394-9138
jharrison@reoprocorp.com

Email 3

ajames@reoprocorp.com

We currently have received an assignment in the coverage area of xxxxx. The status of this property is under pre-foreclosure and we expect to receive back as a listing. We have an opportunity to turn this into a short sale, so I am looking for agents who can help in both the Short Sale or the REO. If this sounds like you, please let me know and I will have an asset manager return your call.

Please indicate a good time to call you.

HP Officejet Pro 8600 Premium N911n firmware flash problem

I recently purchased an HP Officejet Pro 8600 Premium for my home office. This printer has some great features, like 2-sided duplex scanning and printing, legal-size scanning, and fax to email capability, but it seems to have mixed reviews online.

I unpacked the printer and connected it wirelessly on my home computer network, no problem at all. The printer was shipped with firmware version CLP1CN1150CR. A quick check on the HP website indicated that there was a newer firmware version, CLP1CN1322CR.

My problems began upon installing the new firmware version… it looked like the firmware flash update had corrupted some of the values being displayed in the embedded web server printer settings. Values for the fax function were changed, and there were a lot of nonsense jibberish in the menu display items. I tried to reflash the firmware to the printer, however HP’s firmware flash utility executable detected that the firmware version was already up-to-date and would not reflash the printer. argh!

Searching on Youtube found some HP printer firmware flash how-to videos which indicate that the flash process should NOT be done over a wireless connection… which is NOT indicated on the flash instructions for this printer on HP’s website. argh!

Totally frustrated, I played around with the embedded web server printer settings some more, and cycled the display from one language to another, out of the 20 some available languages. The corrupted menu display items were resolved upon cycling the settings thru all of the languages, and back to ‘English/USA’

Please comment below if you had similar issues, and if your problem was resolved by doing the same.

Charging paused. Battery temperature too high – Samsung Galaxy S2 Skyrocket

Okay, so my Samsung S2 Skyrocket SGH-I727 started burning through its battery life today, and keeps showing the following message: “Charging paused. Battery temperature too high”.

This problem persists with 2 different batteries, one of which is brand new. Relevant google searches make reference to a bad battery sensor in the phone.

The past few days on the East Coast have been uber hot and humid, and my phone face has been drenched in sweat after long phone calls. Perhaps some moisture has entered the phone? Time to put in into a bag of uncooked rice to see if this solves the problem.

Stay tuned.

UPDATE – I had to send this phone out for repair. The technician said that the Charging IC chip went bad and needed to be replaced. It took a little while to find the part, however the Charging IC was replaced and the phone is back in action. Many thanks to Josh and Kyle at MobileTechVideos.com

The following posts on xdaevelopers and Galaxy Forums seem to be addressing the same problem: [Q] Charging Paused can’t do anything

Galaxy S2 charging problem? :(

JavaScript Framebreaker vs. WP Frame Breaker plugin

I have been using the WP Frame Breaker plugin on my websites for quite some time to prevent being framed into any java script frames, such as Digg.com.

The catch? I was wondering why the theme previewer and customizer was not working for me. It appears that WP Frame Breaker is not compatible with the theme previewer; I turned off WP Frame Breaker and lo and behold, the theme previewer finally started working.

I found a new plugin called JavaScript Framebreaker which accomplishes the same task, and is compatible with the theme previewer. Try it out on your site today!

why Jetpack by WordPress.com is a MUST plugin to install

JetpackI just discovered Jetpack by WordPress.com, and it is simply a MUST HAVE plugin for any self hosted WordPress site!

I use a plethora of plugins to extend the functionality and security of my WordPress sites. WordPress plugins can do some really great things, but I am always mindful of plugin “bloat” and system resource usage.

Jetpack is an extremely well-rounded package of tools to take your website to the next level.

Don’t just take my word about Jetpack; check out the following reviews about Jetpack:

Two plugins which were must-haves on my WordPress sites, Cardoza Facebook Like Box, a utility to display the facebook page likes, and the WPtouch mobile theme for your website, have already been deactivated, and replaced by Jetpack. The functionality of the aforementioned plugins is either met or exceeded by the features of Jetpack. No need to have a whole bunch of plugins slowing down your site if Jetpack can do those features for you!

I am still learning about the features of Jetpack, and will post updates when more Jetpack features are implemented across my websites.

tired of junk mail from Comcast, Verizon FIOS, and Charter?

Does it seem that you get an endless stream of junk mail from the phone and cable companies, asking you to switch or sign up for their triple package product? Do you want the junk mail from Verizon FIOS, Comcast, and Charter to just stop already?

Here is how you opt-out and get on their do-not-mail list: Call your CURRENT television, phone, and/or broadband provider. Tell them that you want your address to be placed on their do-not-mail list. Their do-not-mail list is shared with the competing television, phone, and broadband companies which service your area, and the junk mail will stop automatically.

UPDATE: Comcast put the address on their do-not-mail list, however Verizon was still sending postal mail for their FiOS Interent & Phone package. Mail was being sent from whatever office exists at “PO Box 952 Marlton NJ 08053-0952″.

Verizon Customer Service at 800-837-4966 is able to look up property address, and place on the do-not-mail list.

make Google Voice ring your phone ONLY when people in My Contacts call

Google Voice is the perfect tool to screen your phone calls. You can set Google Voice up so it only rings your phone if people in your “My Contacts” list call you, and all other calls go directly to voice mail.

This is how do you set up a white list for Google Voice:

1. Log onto voice.google.com from your computer
2. Go to “Settings > Phones” and UNCHECK the boxes for “Forwards calls to:”
3. Go to “Settings > Groups & Circles > Callers > All Contacts” and CHECK the appropriate boxes for “When people in this group call you… Ring my:”

and that is it!

You can also set up separate rules for the various groups in your My Contacts. For example, calls from co-workers be directed to only ring your office phone, and calls from friends and family ring your mobile and home phones.

Check out this article at MacLife with 14 Great Tips and Tricks for Utilizing Google Voice for some really good lifehacking ideas to use with your Google Voice number.