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Showing posts from April, 2012

Resurrecting the DMZ

On the footsteps of my previous post, this blog originated seven years ago as a showcase for noteworthy items I came across in my line of work. The running stuff was what I talked about when I didn't talk about malware outbreaks, privacy violations, social media nightmares and other ways technology turns against us. At the time, I was a full-time journalist covering information security. More recently, I started moonlighting in the same field and once again feel compelled to help my friends and family live more securely. With that said, I wanted to point to one of my favorite topics: Apple products. The company believes in security through obscurity - that is, if we don't tell them their machines are at risk for viruses and worms, they will never know. It helped that Apple for years attracted users more into creativity than commerce, that cared little about how the machines works, just as long as they looked cool. (And, obviously I am using sweeping generalizations here.)

Is It a Running Blog If You No Longer Run?

We're now entering Week 4 since my trip to the ER and to a new world of pain, partial paralysis and yet another prescription for physical therapy. And while I stare down an uncertain future, I thought I might throw out something I've learned about how we now manage our own health. A survey published on numerous sites last week shows that a third of consumers are turning to their "friends" on social media for medical advice instead of their health care providers. They're publicly talking in detail about their illnesses and injuries and asking for first, second or third opinions. Aren't you glad we have HIPAA to make sure our medical records stay private? Of course, some of these people may not have health care, especially if they are under 65. And some folks likely use pseudonyms or post anonymously to be as candid as possible. Unless you use some of the more sophisticated tools out there, your real identity is easy to trace. Just so you know. T

Wordless Wednesday

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A Runner Writes a Book...

...and it isn't about running! At least not in the same sense as so many bloggers now do. My friend Dennis today launched his first novel, a murder mystery set on the South Shore in Massachusetts called Motherless Children . I read the synopsis and am really looking forward to devouring the entire book as soon as my order arrives. Writing a novel is hard work--harder than non-fiction, I think, because people can be critical of your imagination and that can smart more than if they differ with your interpretation of actual events. My other writer friend, Lee , is putting the finishing touches on his second novel. I was among the chosen few to read an early version and it kept me enrapt. In fact, I sometimes forgot it was Lee's work, which is a compliment because when you know the author, you tend to read a work much differently than when you don't. Dennis is a great runner, as in he sometimes wins races ... and not just his age group. We were once competitors at our jobs, but

Stumbling Towards Wellness

I wasn't even three minutes into my early morning walk Sunday - my second since injuring my back three weeks ago - when I went to pick up the pace and just collapsed. My left leg refused to support me. I thought it was a fluke, so I pressed on. Within a few more minutes, I tried the same thing and this time I caught myself before I hit the ground. My confidence and body were shaken and I ended up turning around soon as I got to the bottom of the hill and returned home, figuring I wasn't ready to walk two days in a row. That night, I was walking through an eerily abandoned Balboa Park (don't ask) and felt the need to move quickly to my car. Once I made my move, down I went. Tuesday morning was more of the same, so I started scanning Web sites for a diagnosis. This one site was convinced I'd just suffered a stroke and demanded I call 911. Another was more generous, giving me 8 hours to seek medical help. I couldn't get a consult with my HMO doctor because we'

Wordless Wednesday

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Moving Day

If they live long enough, our parents will reach a stage in life where they can no longer take care of themselves. Some will have the resources to age in place with in-home care. Others will have invested in long-term care insurance so as not to be a burden on their children. Most, however, will assume someone else can handle that little detail – usually their adult children. They believe that it’s a child’s duty to care for them as they did their parents, except their elders died much quicker, sparing them years and even decades of emotional, financial and physical hardship. Usually their parents' bodies gave out before their minds. It is much, much harder when it is the reverse – and for every community in every nation, the reverse is becoming the norm. So it is that today our family entered yet another rite of passage that millions go through. We moved my grandmother into a senior living community. She’s currently on the independent living side, but I suspect she will move to

Walk This Way

Just finished reading the latest installment in a Slate series on walking in America and immediately went to WalkScore.com to find out how my suburb and immediate neighborhood rated. Not surprisingly, my suburb had a low score of 38 (out of 100) - it's large and mostly residential, bisected by a freeway and with only one older section served by public transit (bus). My current home, however, has a 74 score because it is in the hub of the town center, so almost everything we need, from stores to restaurants to the public library, police, schools, YMCA, an awesome bike path, etc. are within an easy walk. Check your score here . Here's what I do wonder though: Does a high walking score make for good running conditions? The higher the score, the closer to commerce, which to me signals more and longer traffic stops and street and sidewalk congestion - all obstacles when running. For instance, where I work has a walk score of 91 ("Walkers Paradise") - it is indeed a grea

Wordless Wednesday

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How to Age 20 Years in a Week

A week ago I learned I had bulging disc[s] that may have been caused by something as benign as coughing fits. I also sprained a back muscle. Do those crunches, people, so you don’t live the last week as I did. Monday : Coming off my third night of poor sleep, I slip on a Lidocaine patch, down my Rx ibuprofen and head to work. Normally, in this much pain and wanting to take “the good stuff,” I would have called in sick. But our new boss starts today, and it’s not safe to drive with narcotics, so I do without. The Lidocaine makes my leg feel like it’s half asleep, and as I exit the driver’s side, right in front of the new CEO, I fall like a drunk. Great first impression, huh? Tuesday : I get to switch from ice to heat therapy; what a relief. I now walk bent over at home, holding a heating pad. That night, I hallucinate that someone’s trying to get into my bedroom through a sliding glass door and that I am miraculously cured of all pain. All of the medications are now fully moving throu

A New Pain High (and Low)

I gained some notoriety years ago when I ran a full marathon without realizing that the pain radiating from my hip was a fracture. I had a lot of other issues that day, starting with an OD of Motrin that led to mild kidney failure. So the confusion with pain was perhaps understandable, if not quite comprehendable to people who have a low tolerance for physical discomfort. I mention this because despite saying privately and publicly that I'll never be that foolish as to run while obviously injured, I've gone and done it again. Friday night an on-again, off-again tightening in my lower back turned into full-fledged muscle spasms that stretching and a hot shower helped reduce but not eliminate. I had a fitful night of sleep and by 3 a.m. was pulling up medical web sites and self-diagnosing a muscle strain. I kept up the icing and ibuprofen and realized it hurt less to move than sit or stand still. So I met my running group as planned at 6:30 a.m. Saturday and enjoyed chatting fo