Monthly Archives: December 2008

Where's SANTA? Norad Knows!

Norad has been successfully tracking Santa for 52 years now – with 2008 being 53.

First, it may help to know what NORAD stands for. NORAD is an abbreviation for the North American Air Defense Command, which was known as CONAD, or the Continental Air Defense Command, until the late 1950s. In 1958, the United States and Canada joined forces to form NORAD in order to warn and defend the continent more effectively in the case of an attack. The North American Air Defense Command watches the airways for intrusions such as planes or missiles and warns if any unrecognized object should enter protected airways and more recently, waterways as well.

So, why does such an important entity like NORAD track Santa Claus? That also started back in the 1950s and came about because of a simple mistake. In 1955, a Sears store, at the time known as Sears Roebuck and Company, placed Christmas advertising that included a phone number where children could call and reach Santa Claus. The only problem was that the phone number was printed incorrectly.

As excited children began dialing on Christmas Eve, they reached CONAD, instead of Santa. The Colonel in charge recognized what had occurred, and in an act of kindness, had his team check the radar to see where Santa might be. Children were told of his speculated location when they called.

Tracking Santa became a Christmas Eve custom after that. When CONAD became NORAD, the custom was passed along and is still in practice today. Information about Santa is now available in six different languages and children and their families can track Santa by calling or by viewing the NORAD website. The NORAD site also has a countdown that shows exactly how long it will be until Santa leaves the North Pole which includes the days, the hours, the minutes, and even the seconds. Children can learn the very second Santa begins his journey, and track his progress toward their locations.

Track Santa in 3D
With the help of Google Earth (a Free download) this year folks can track Santa in 3D. To do so, you will need two things:

1: The Google Earth application
2: The NORAD Tracks Santa file for Google Earth

To get ready ahead of time, go to the link below and click on the green button to download the Google Earth application.

Then, return to this linked page on Dec. 24th and click on the red button that will appear in the middle of the page to download the special Santa Tracking file. Once you’ve downloaded both the application and the special file, you’ll be able to track Santa in Google Earth!

For those “Grinchly’ folks who might be concerned about this use of taxpayer’s dollars, remember that much of this effort is simply an exercise in creativity and imagination. In addition, NORAD states that people from both the United States and Canada work voluntarily to help track Santa Claus. If you would like to learn more about this Christmas Eve tradition, or if you would like to follow Santa’s progress, please visit the NORAD website for more information.

Last year between Nov. 17 and Dec. 31, 2007 the NORAD Tracks Santa Web site,, received 907,958,865 hits from 210 countries and territories around the world.

NORAD Tracks Santa Operations Center

The NORAD Tracks Santa Operations Center (NTSOC) opens on December 24th at 6:00am EST (5:00am CST, 4:00am MST, and 3:00am PST) until 5:00am EST (4:00am CST, 3:00am MST, and 2:00am PST) on December 25, Christmas Day!

Located at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, Colorado, the NTSOC receives up-to-the-minute status reports from our radar, satellites, and Santa cams on Christmas Eve. They are standing by to update you on Santa’s current location!

Call or Email the NORAD Tracks Santa Operations Center for Santa’s current location!

Call: 1 (877) HI NORAD (1 877 446-6723)
From Colorado Springs or overseas: 1 (719) 556-5211 (Cost may be incurred)
Hearing Impaired should contact their service provider.


Here’s the link to Norad and all the tracking info:

From the entire ACTSmart team, Merry Christmas to all and to Santa, good flight!

Getting A New Computer For Christmas?

SO…… what’s with all the “stuff” already installed?????

There’s nothing quite like unboxing a new computer. The anticipation of a speedy new processor, a fresh and clean Windows installation and a big roomy hard drive!

But, the reality is – the last time I got a new computer, there were more than a dozen shortcuts on the desktop. They were all for trial programs and services that I didn’t want or ever plan to use.

There was so much to do to get the computer ready for use. I had to install all my everyday software and move my data to the new system. Then I had to configure my security options, paswords and so forth. I didn’t have time to remove all the junk installed by the manufacturer. So what did I do? I used PC Decrapifier.

This free program removes many common trial programs and offers. You’ll be amazed at the list of the stuff it removes! It got rid of the junk quickly and easily.

PC Decrapifier won’t take care of everything, but it is a great place to start. The newest version, v2.0.0, was just released a few months and it’s now a faster and more stable application than the previous version.
For the “rest” of the stuff there’s – Easy Uninstaller

Easy uninstaller is a fast, advanced, powerful, and easy to use replacement for the slow, and user unfriendly windows Add/Remove control panel applet.

Apart from providing you with a view advantage over default windows Add/Remove applet, it displays the additional information with clickable URLs (if available). In addition, it allows you to perform multiple uninstalls in a row – just check all the software that you want to remove and the program will automatically launch the next uninstaller after the previous has finished. This really comes in handy if you’re the type that downloads a lot of software from the Internet or install programs from those monthly CD’s that come with PC magazines. These actions leave you with a lot of unneeded software that you tried out and now want to clean up.

Easy Uninstaller also offers an option to backup your uninstall list, and to remove items from the list, if they are corrupt.

The programs main features:

(1). 5-10 times faster than windows Add/Remove Programs applet
(2). Provides function like Uninstall list Backup Manager and Obsolete key deletion.
(3). Displays detailed information of the application.
(4). Has a very pleasant, easy to use user-interface.
(5). Select many applications and uninstall them in one go (One after another), very handy for cleaning your computer from unwanted applications.

Now that all the “crap” is cleaned up – have fun with that brand new PC. Happy Holidays!

Remote Help For You And Aunty Annette

Remote Help For You And Your Computer

With the holidays just around the corner and many family members intending to upgrade their computer system, it’s time once again to talk about remote assistance.

One of the current highly rated options is from a consumer Internet company named CrossLoop. They have a free and easy-to-use software application for desktop sharing that empowers folks to help other computer users anywhere in the world.

CrossLoop connects computer users with trusted, qualified service providers and friends who can provide the support they need quickly and conveniently.

CrossLoop opens up a whole new world of collaborative possibilities. People of any level of technical expertise can now remotely collaborate with others over the Internet. Many of the problems and frustrations associated with using computers can be solved if those who have the answer to a PC problem can quickly link to those who have the problem.

Although most of us embrace technology in our lives, there is a technology paradox – along with tremendous benefit comes a high cost… we all get stuck from time to time and lose productivity. For some, it might be a date with the blue screen of death; for others it’s a need to eliminate the unlimited number of browser pop-ups that show up without an appointment. Have you ever found yourself in need of help with nowhere to turn? Have you ever spent hours on hold with a computer manufacturer only to realize they can’t solve the problem? We have.

CrossLoop believes everybody helps and their vision embraces the philosophy that there is always someone with deep expertise in a particular area of focus – this is true in life as well as with technology.

For example, a person who is excellent with optimizing the speed of a computer might need help with photo editing tools or someone with expertise in software development may need help with online marketing. Everyone should be able to find a trusted source for expertise they need. Those who have the expertise to make a difference should be able to easily share their knowledge and be recognized.

Inherently, there is tremendous potential for knowledge to be transferred – a grandparent who has been taught how to edit and post videos online should be able to take that knowledge to a peer. With CrossLoop, you can teach someone (or even a class) remotely. CrossLoop shrinks distances – between countries and between those who have and do not have expertise.

CrossLoop’s very popular and easy-to-use desktop sharing technology simplifies working securely with others in different physical locations across diverse network environments. Combined with the Help Marketplace, a community of more than 13,000 technology experts in over 130 countries, CrossLoop brings personal relationships back to tech support and helps with virtually any technology issue. Technology experts in the Help Marketplace have a wide range of expertise, including hardware support, software and applications support and training, and have logged more than 65 million help minutes to date (equivalent to 120 years of connectivity amongst users).

There’s also an opportunity for technically savvy individuals to make some extra cash with Crossloops “Help Marketplace”. “Help Marketplace” is the online portal where low-cost, qualified technical help is immediately available.

CrossLoop Launches Transaction System for Tech Support Help Marketplace.
On November 18th, 2008, CrossLoop launched a new payment system. This empowers technology experts in its Help Marketplace to more effectively provide computer support and training to consumers and small businesses. It comes with a 48-hour money back guarantee to ensure customer satisfaction. Additionally, the new transaction system simplifies payment processing for CrossLoop Helpers and customers by accepting any major credit card and PayPal, while tracking each tech support interaction.

CrossLoop is available in 21 languages and is used by individuals and businesses in over 150 countries for technical support, training and collaboration.

So if you need to lend a technical hand to Aunty Annette or Grampy Roy, CrossLoop should be all the software you need. If you’re interested in doing a little moonlighting and have some technical knowledge you would like to share with others, sign up and get involved with the “Help Marketplace”.

Setup a free account and give it a try. You can’t beat the price!

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