Use a vise grips to make quick work of peach pits.

How to Remove Seeds from Peach Pits

In the words of Nicholas Cage, I could eat a peach for hours.  But unlike that dirty pervert Nick Cage I’m talking about fruit. So it seems logical that Mr. Cheapskate Do It Yourself Caveman might want a couple of peach trees some day.  Last night after cutting up peaches at my girlfriend’s parents house I saved the pits, cleaned them, and brought them home to get them started.  Peach pits don’t crack easily with a nutcracker. A hammer certainly works but you risk breaking the seed too.  I found the easiest way to remove the seed from the peach pit is to use a s grips, and I provided a little video below.

A picture taken while my camera was allowed to know my location.

Removing Location Data from Your Pictures

So this isn’t my usual sort of post here, but a friend of mine asked me to explain this video to her and it seemed like a topic important enough to address.  The video talks about how the pictures you take with your smart phone can be used to track you or your children’s locations:

GeoLocation: Explain it to me Like I’m Five

The iPhone,  other smart phones, and many other electronic devices like tablets and some digital cameras have GPS (Global Positioning System) features built into them. If GPS is turned on your device is always aware of your location on this spinning ball of dirt we’re riding around the sun.  This adds a tremendous amount of value to your phone, but it’s also a huge privacy concern and easy to forget about when you’re taking that spur-of-the-moment picture of your kids at the park.

I can’t tell you how other devices behave, but the iPhone does ask you if you want the Camera app to use your location. But it only asks once, and many people either don’t understand the question or don’t care and just press “yes” without grasping the repercussions.

Every picture you snap has metadata attached to it (it’s called EXIF data when referring specifically to photos).  Metadata is basically just information describing a file. This can include the width and height of the picture, the camera model used to take the photo, the date it was taken, et cetera.  If your camera is aware of your location when the photo was taken, it will also include your latitude and longitude to a frightening degree of accuracy.

This means that if someone can access your picture through email, Facebook, Twitter, Imgur, Snapfish, your blog, Google Image Search, or even a thumb drive you left sitting at the library, they can easily figure out the latitude and longitude where the picture was taken. All they need to do is plug those coordinates into Google or Bing Maps and they’ll know (with accuracy up to a couple of feet) when and where you were located.

An Example

A picture taken while my camera was allowed to know my location.

A picture taken while my camera was allowed to know my location.

Before I took the picture of my eye you see here, I verified that GPS was turned on on my iPhone and verified that the camera was allowed to use my location. To find the GPS locations where a photo was taken you just need some way to look at the metadata attached to it.  On a Mac you can use iPhoto.  On a PC you can right-click the photo, go to properties, and look at the Details tab. An even simpler way is to upload your photo to a service like exifdata.com and it will tell you everything there is to know about a photo. Here’s the information attached to my picture:

GPS Position: 40.880667 degrees N, 76.980333 degrees W

I plugged the GPS location from my photo into Google Maps.  I was at work when I took it.

I plugged the GPS location from my photo into Google Maps. I was at work when I took it.

And now all I need to do is place that location on a map.

In the second photo you can see that i pasted the GPS coordinates into Google Maps.  It shows my location quite accurately (that green dot is in my office).  Fortunately all this picture proves is that I was screwing off at work writing this post and not really doing my job.

Removing the Location From your Photos

Now that you understand the danger here’s how to avoid it.  On an iPhone it’s easy to turn off location services.  Go to Settings, go to Privacy, then turn off Location Services or just turn it off for the Camera app and any other app you don’t want to be aware of your location.

If you have another device, just go an Internet search for “turn off GPS for X” where “X” is the name of your device.

If you have a photo you’ve already taken that you want to remove location information from, that’s easy too on Windows or a Mac.

Product Review: Scoop-Away Super Clump

Noodle gives all other cat litters "the raspberry."

Noodle gives all other cat litters “the raspberry.”

I’ve had cats for about 6 years and I’ve tried a lot of different solutions to the litter problem.  Every time something different went on sale I’d switch brands. I tried the green options like recycled newspaper litter, the basic clay litter that costs $4.00 for a 30 lb bag, and the high-end products that cost $20.00 for half the amount.

I’ve learned two important lessons: If your eco-guilt is so crippling that you’re willing to live with the smell of cat butt then cut your carbon footprint even further by not keeping pets in the first place; and in terms of cost I’ve finally admitted to myself that using low-end cat litter isn’t being frugal, it’s being cheap (also, stupid). Cat litter is definitely one product where it pays to splurge a little.

I’ve finally found my brand: Scoop Away Super Clump. This stuff is amazing.  I’m not sure what sort of demon magic this product contains but the box says “never dump your litter again” and it’s not lying.  Whenever your cat goes #1, #2, or even if she’s drank too much and finds herself compelled to do both at the same time while hanging her head over the trash can to vomit, so long as she does it in Scoop Away Super Clump cleanup will be trivial.  Everything that isn’t a clump going in will clump into a dry, scoop-able mass when it hits the litter.  So long as you scoop the solids out daily you won’t have odor and you’ll never have to dump and replace the entire box.  You’ll have to add a few scoops every few days, but you’ll be surprised with how long it lasts.