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From the Ground to the Gas Pump

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In just one year, the U.S. harvested 4.9 million barrels of oil – per day – and imported 9.8 million barrels per day. [Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration] This rough stuff, known as crude oil, is turned into consumer-grade products: petroleum, kerosene, cooking or heating oil and other consumables. As consumer demand grows, companies strive to keep up by finding new sources and improving the output of existing ones.

 Many celluloid images have immortalized the image of the “gusher” – a substantial fossil fuel that has just been discovered. In real life, oil production is a bit more scientific, and in this blog, we’ll look at the mechanics behind the stuff we generically known as oil.

 Geologists work to locate the proper conditions for an oil tap: source rock, reservoir rock and entrapment. Previously this was done by interpreting surface features, surface rock, and soil types, and/or taking small core samples. Today, oil geologists examine surface rocks and terrain, using satellite images. Sensitive gravity meters, magnetometers (that can detect the smell of hydrocarbons, and seismology, are among the tools in an oil geologist’s toolkit.

 Oil Drilling Basics

 A boundaries survey and environmental impact study, if necessary, is the first step. This is followed by clearing the land, identifying a source of water, and digging a reserve pit. Holes are drilled to make space for the rig and main hole.

 Oil rig systems are comprised of: power systems, mechanical systems, rotating equipment, casing, circulation systems, a derrick, and a blowout preventer. Oil drilling consists of: setting up the rig, drilling down to a pre-set depth, running and cementing the casing. From here, after an extensive testing process, and final depth has been reached, the well is completed, thus allowing oil to flow into the well in the well is now ready for extraction.

 Currently, the U.S. Department of Energy (along with the oil industry) is developing new ways to drill oil, such as horizontal drilling techniques, which could enable oil to be reached in ecologically-sensitive areas.

The equipment used: coiled tubing units, wireline units, work-over rigs, and pumping units can become fouled over time proper maintenance requires routine cleaning to ensure proper operation and prevent maintenance issues. There are drawbacks to using caustic cleaners and solvents. Plant-based solutions that are environmentally sustainable and safe are currently available.

About the author

Blain Johnson has been studying the oil & gas industry for many years and seek to find an environmentally-friendly solution to extracting crude oil. To learn more about the author, feel free to connect with him on Google+. Source used for this article can be found at




Amazon’s Fire TV Is Powerful, but Voice Search Limitations Hamper User Experience

Earlier this week, Amazon launched its Fire TV media streaming box, entering a crowded market with devices from Roku, the Chromecast from Google and the Apple TV. With the Fire TV delivering a number of features rumored for a future Apple TV, reactions to Amazon’s new box have certainly been of interest to Apple fans.

With an immediate launch for Fire TV, the device has already landed in the hands of reviewers and at popular repair shop iFixit, which promptly tore the device down. Early analysis of the Fire TV suggests the device has market-leading hardware that is hindered by less-than-perfect software.

On the hardware front, iFixit confirms the Fire TV is a powerhouse with a quad-core, 1.7 GHz Qualcomm Krait 300 processor, Qualcomm Adreno 320 dedicated GPU, 2 GB LPDDR2 RAM clocked at 533 MHz, 8 GB internal storage, 802.11a/b/g/n MIMO Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0. The Fire TV has the power to play back HD videos, with extra to spare for games.

Though the hardware is impressive, early reviews suggest the device’s blazing performance is overshadowed by a poor search experience that makes finding content on the Fire TV a chore, says Dave Smith in a review for ReadWrite. While Voice Search offers an improvement over typical manual input, its results are limited to Amazon services.

Due to the extreme limitations of Voice Search, browsing through Netflix — where you’ll probably spend most of your time, considering Amazon’s rather limited library of quality movies for free streaming — is, once again, manual labor.

In time, applications like Netflix and Hulu+ could support Voice Search—maybe even through a simple software update. But since searching is so important on this device, Amazon has really hung early-adopters out to dry. Even when Voice Search works, it can’t filter the results by movies or programs you can stream for free.

Because of its high-end hardware, Amazon couldn’t undercut its competition and had to release the Fire TV at a price point that is on the high-end of the market as noted by Leslie Horn of Gizmodo.

“More features and more horsepower are rarely a bad thing, but in this case it’s driven the price of Fire TV much higher than one might have expected from an Amazon product. In a world full of $35 Chromecasts and $50 Roku sticks — which definitely can’t do as much as Fire TV, but can arguably do more than enough — forking over $100 for the ability to play some biggie-sized tablet games is a tough sell.”

Scott Stein of CNET focused on the gaming feature of the Fire TV, saying it isn’t groundbreaking and doesn’t offer a compelling alternative to existing smartphone, tablet, or console games.

Don’t expect anything more than what Android/iOS already offers: the Fire TV’s initial offerings, while better than I’d expected, cover a lot of familiar bases. Terraria, Badland, Asphalt 8, Riptide GP 2, Dead Rising 2, The Walking Dead, even Minecraft Pocket Edition…you can already get all these in many other places.

To help set it apart from its competitors, Amazon included an app store, gaming and wireless controller support to Fire TV. Earlier rumors suggest Apple will bring similar features to its next generation Apple TV, adding support for games and Apple’s iOS 7 controllers to the media box. Other rumors point to a device with the router features of the AirPort Express as well as a possible cable TV tie-in with partners such as Comcast.



Sprint Offers Up To $650 For New Framily Subscribers [iOS Blog]

Sprint on Friday announced a new credit incentive to encourage customers to switch to the carrier, offering new Sprint Framily subscribers up to $650 in trade-in and early termination fee credits.

“At Sprint, we believe in ‘Happy Connecting’ through the value of a Sprint Framily Plan,” said Jeff Hallock, Sprint chief marketing officer. “We are seeing great momentum with the Sprint Framily plan, and we want to make it as easy as possible for customers to join our Framily.”

When customers sign up for a Sprint Framily Plan, which has prices as low as $25 per line with 7 to 10 lines, they can get a $350 Visa prepaid card to cover early termination fees and a device credit of up to $300, for a total of $650.

Customers are required to bring their existing phone numbers to the carrier and choose a new phone when they subscribe, giving up their existing phones for credit. Customers will also need to submit a claim to receive reimbursement for early termination fees, providing Sprint with a bill showing the exact termination fees for each line.

Sprint’s $650 offering emulates T-Mobile’s January UnCarrier 4.0 initiative, which also gives customers up to $650 to switch to T-Mobile. Unlike T-Mobile’s promotion, Sprint’s offering is temporary and will end on May 8.



Watch a 5-year-old spam the spacebar to access his dad’s Xbox Live account

Kids: they’re our future, and apparently are also great at finding backdoors within video game security measures. Take 5-year-old Kristoffer Von Hassel from the San Diego area, for instance. His parents were curious about just how their son was accessing games on Dad’s password-protected Xbox One profile. Well, as KGTV in California reports, it was as easy as spamming the space key on the password verification screen. If you thought Kristoffer’s dad would be mad though, you’d be 100 percent wrong. The elder Von Hassel works in computer security and was pleased as punch when he learned how. The father and son team reported the backdoor to Microsoft, and Redmond rewarded Kristoffer with a year of Xbox Live, four games and $50. Had you been abusing this hack yourself and were wondering why it went away, well, now you have the answer. The most ironic aspect of the whole ordeal? In the video below, Kinect recognizes the younger Von Hassel’s guttural vocalizations and takes him to the Xbox One dashboard — most of the times we ask nicely to launch Titanfall nothing ever happens.

[Image credit: KGTV]

var p = new anv_pl_def(); p.config = ; p.config.width = 630; p.config.height = 384; p.loadVideoExpressV3(‘eyJ1cGxvYWRfaWQiOiJleHByZXNzLTEzOTY2MjQyMzIxOTAiLCJ2aWRlb190eXBlIjoiMSIsInNyY19pbWFnZV91cmwiOiJodHRwOi8vbWVkaWEuMTBuZXdzLmNvbS9waG90by8yMDE0LzA0LzAzLzE2eDkvMTBOZXdzX2F0XzVwbV8xNDc4MjMwMDAwXzM5NjgzNzBfdmVyMS4wXzY0MF80ODAuanBnIiwiZGVmX3RpdGxlIjoiMTBOZXdzIGF0IDVwbSIsInRpdGxlIjoiMTBOZXdzIGF0IDVwbSIsImRlZl9kZWNzcmlwdGlvbiI6IiIsInB1Ymxpc2hlZF91cmxzIjpbeyJmb3JtYXQiOiJtcDQ7IiwiZW1iZWRfdXJsIjoiaHR0cDovL21lZGlhLjEwbmV3cy5jb20vdmlkZW8vdmlkZW9fc3R1ZGlvLzIwMTQvMDQvMDMvMTBOZXdzX2F0XzVwbV8xNDc4MjMubXA0IiwicHJvdG9jb2wiOiJtcDQ7IiwiY2RuX25hbWUiOiJBa2FtYWkiLCJrYnBzIjo1MDB9XSwiY2FwdGlvbnMiOlt7Imxhbmd1YWdlIjoiZW4iLCJmb3JtYXQiOiJERlhQIiwidXJsIjoiaHR0cDovL21lZGlhLjEwbmV3cy5jb20vdmlkZW8vdmlkZW9fc3R1ZGlvLzIwMTQvMDQvMDMvY2FwdGlvbnMvMTBOZXdzX2F0XzVwbV8xNDc4MjMwMDAwLmRmeHAifV0sInRzX3B1Ymxpc2hlZCI6IjIwMTRfMDRfMDMifQ==|1000011|SPS’);

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Via: Reddit

Source: KGTV, TechNet (Microsoft)


This Android add-on lets you multitask with your Chromecast

AutoCast add-on for Android sending to Chromecast

There are already quite a few Chromecast-savvy apps out there, but João Dias’ newly completed AutoCast may be one of the most flexible. The Tasker add-on for Android lets you send a wide range of content to Google’s media stick in your choice of layout, including multiple things at once — you can get notifications while you’re watching video, or play music while browsing video. You can also create custom home screens that show useful info like battery levels or weather, and it’s possible for multiple users to share control over a single Chromecast app, such as an image editor. AutoCast won’t address every possible function you might want, but it covers a surprising amount of ground by itself.

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Source: Google Play,


Span concept is perfect marriage of analog, digital, and smart notifications


As many of you know, the Moto 360 and LG G Watch will usher in the Android Wear era over the next few months. Smartwatches, around a while now, haven’t really taken off yet. At least not like we expect them to.

We’ve seen a few great real-world devices spring up over the last few years; we’ve also seen some conceptual renders and designs that grab our attention. None, however, have managed to do capture us the way Span has.

Designed by Bret Recor and Seth Murray of Box Clever, this concept manages to blend old school watch ideas with the smarter needs of tomorrow. Looking very much like something we’d expect to by the end of the year, it’s a gorgeous watch that sneaks in alerts and notifications.

Click to view slideshow.

I’m not sure what’s possible with Android Wear but I imagine a clever developer could mimic this entire experience with an app face or theme. That’s not to suggest, however, that I would not buy this exact device. The materials look to be of premium build and the interaction is familiar. As WIRED points out, the dial around the edge could be considered a cousin to the iPod scroll wheel.

What say you? Is this something you’d consider wearing? Does it strike the right balance of smartwatch and “regular” watch or do you demand more of next-gen gear?


The post Span concept is perfect marriage of analog, digital, and smart notifications appeared first on SmarterWatching.

Read the rest at the source,

The post Span concept is perfect marriage of analog, digital, and smart notifications appeared first on AndroidGuys.


Sprint offers up to $650 credit per line with Framily Switching Bonus


If you’ve been on the fence about switching to Sprint and trying out their new Framily Plans then this next bit of news might tip you over the edge.

Starting today and running through May 8, Sprint will give you up to $650 to join a Framily Plan. Customers can earn up to $300 for trading in their old device with another $350 credit to be used for early termination fees or equipment installment payoffs.

Sprint recognizes that “family” now includes everyone important to an individual, including friends, neighbors and relatives. It’s no longer just a family, it’s a Framily.

You don’t have to be a brand new customer to take advantage of the deal. Adding a friend, co-worker, or frenemy to your existing Framily Plan works just the same.

If you think the deal sounds familiar, it’s because it’s essentially identical to T-Mobile’s incentive. So similar is it, in fact, that T-Mobile’s CEO John Legere has taken to twitter to call Sprint out.

If you’re interested in signing up and getting in on the discount then head to a Sprint store or shop online before May 8.


The post Sprint offers up to $650 credit per line with Framily Switching Bonus appeared first on AndroidGuys.


Ecigs and e liquids – Smoke without…smoke?!

CE4X2 Kit-248x248Quitting smoking is, as anyone whos been through it knows, an absolutely nightmare! No matter who you are, there is one habit associated with smoking that is extremely difficult to shift. Maybe it’s the nicotine rush, the action of lifting a cigarette to your lips and drawing back the smoke, maybe it’s the actual habit of taking 5 minutes to light up a smoke.

Some find it difficult to actually find something to do with their hands.

Whatever it is, whatever that sticking point is, you can do it! Each and everyday opf not smoking is another day your lungs repairing and your skin getting oxygen. It’s another day of not smelling like stale smoke or having bad breath. Stubbing out that final cigarette to not craving a smoke can be as long, drawn out process. So what can you do in the meantime? Well there is a multitude of aids and pieces of equipment that can help. But today, we’re going to quickly run through electtronic cigarettes, e liquids and refillable cigarettes.

What are they?

Electronic cigarettes are devices that provide a toxin-free vaper filled with nicotine, allowing the user to fulfil the craving of nicotine without inhaling the multitude of toxics, tars and other nastys that are present.

Devices range in size, style and ability. Many will be familiar with the cigarette-looking cartomizers, with each cartridge delivering 30-40 puffs. On the other side of the spectrum, there are mechanical mods and “pro equipment” that provide a stylish and more hobbiest approach to vaping.

The inbetween is where the modern vapers are heading; an electronic cigarette with a tank that is filled with E Liquid. Available in a range of flavours and sizes, e liquid is burnt by a wick and allows the user to inhale and intake the nicotine.

Many online retailers and local shops carry a huge range of e liquids with flavours being anything from menthol to a mixture of sour and tongue-tingling mixes. This customisable approach has seen a meteoric rise in seasoned smokers.

Are they safe?

There is a lot of up-roar lately with a number of councils and countries considering banning vapers from public spaces due to them imitating smokers and undermining the EU smoking bans. Because they’re also extremely new, there is a small fear about the long term affect they’ll have on people.

But consider this; would you rather smoke a cigarette or would you rather inhale vapour? We must stress that electronic cigarettes shouldn’t be used as a replacement, but they should be used as an aid to help quit smoking. The ultimate goal should always be nicotine-free. That freedom and knowledge of not being reliant on a chemical.

But electronic cigarettes aren’t the only quit-smoking aid available! We’ve used patches previously, which worked amazingly well to help us ween off the habit of smoking. There are also gums, lozenges and mouth vaporizers that all deliver that much-needed dose of nicotine in a time of crisis.

About the author

Jason is the marketing manager for Cybercig, the UKs up-and-coming online retailer for electronic cigarettes.


Amazon Fire TV teardown reveals an easily accessible media hub

Amazon Fire TV teardown from iFixit

We’ve already established that Amazon’s Fire TV is a capable (if imperfect) set-top box, but how hard is it to replace components if they conk out? Not very, if you ask iFixit. The repair outfit has torn down the device and discovered that it’s very simply built — there are very few parts, and a regular screwdriver is enough to take apart the internals. The power supply is separate, too. Amazon’s media hub isn’t quite a fix-it-yourself paradise, though. It’s tricky to remove the outer case, and the single circuit board inside will be expensive to replace. Still, it’s good to know that the Fire TV isn’t much more difficult to maintain than its big rival.

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Source: iFixit


Final Fantasy XIV’s PlayStation 4 beta is now open to everyone

Riding Chocobos in Final Fantasy XIV

Fans of online role-playing games haven’t had much to do on the PlayStation 4 so far, but that’s all changing today. Square Enix has just opened up Final Fantasy XIV‘s PS4 beta test to everyone; from now until the morning of April 7th, you can battle monsters and ride Chocobos just by grabbing a free download from the PlayStation Store. This new beta phase runs on the same servers that PC and PS3 players use, so you should get a feel for real-world gameplay involving thousands of other adventurers. FFXIV doesn’t officially arrive on the PS4 until the 14th, but don’t fret about having to wait another week to play again — if the game enthralls you so much that you’ve pre-ordered (or already have an account), you can start playing on the 11th.

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Via: Eurogamer, SlashGear

Source: Square Enix

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