We Need An FDA for Computers

first_imgRelated Posts 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai…center_img Tags:#Government#web jon mitchell It won’t be long before not only our phones but also our TVs, cars, refrigerators, pacemakers, and most other essential equipment are just networked computers in different shapes. When that happens, using those devices responsibly becomes more complicated than just turning on an iPad and letting Apple handle the rest. We need a new regime of consumer protection around general-purpose computing. Cory Doctorow explained from the stage at the Novellus Theater in San Francisco Tuesday night that people need greater safeguards of their rights over computers than currently exist. We’re getting along okay while our computers are just gizmos for typing on. But would you get in a self-driving car without reading the EULA carefully?The terms of service and end-user license agreements we sign today are hopelessly broken. We’re never going to read all that crap, and the companies that create them know it. In fact, businesses make it as easy as legally possible for you to just click “I Agree” and get on with your day without reading a word of legalese.It’s one thing to use Google Play without paying attention to the license you’ve agreed to. It’s another, to repeat one of Doctorow’s examples, to have a next-generation cochlear implant that you can’t upgrade to better, third-party firmware because you incidentally made a legally binding agreement not to when you bought it. Now you’re doomed to worse hearing just because the device maker insisted on controlling the user experience.“We need design norms with fail-safes in them,” Doctorow said. The notion that users must be properly informed of their rights and responsibilities must be baked into the very idea of computing.No doubt, cars that let a computer do the driving will be an improvement. (“Human beings have no business driving cars,” Doctorow joked, since we clearly lack the skills to do so safely.) But we need better information than a comically long license agreement before we entrust life and limb to the software that will guide us down the highway.Doctorow admitted that he doesn’t yet know how to solve the problem, and he didn’t exactly propose government regulation as the solution. But today, it’s hard to imagine a better way to implement this than federal law regulating the agreements between users and their computers. The AppRights.us initiative spearheaded by Congressman Hank Johnson (D-Ga.) is currently focused on figuring out mobile privacy, but Congress needs to start thinking about general-purpose computing at once.If we don’t set ground rules today, while computers are relatively simple, we’ll surely lose control when they get complicated.Lead image via Official Google Bloglast_img read more

Olympics Online: Who Wins The Gold Medal For Best Website?

first_imgThese guides not only explain the various Olympics sports – very helpful for sports like fencing and equestrian, which only enthusiasts follow outside of the Olympics – but they encourage you to give the sports a go yourself.Runners-UpThe Official London 2012 Olympics WebsiteWhile not a media website per se, the London 2012 Olympics website is a good place to get the latest news and photos. It features Facebook integration, including the dreaded frictionless sharing (“Your friends will see the articles you’ve read and the events you’ve celebrated.”). The official site has been active too on its Facebook and Twitter accounts – we’ve noticed athletes re-tweeting the official account a lot. Tags:#design#web We’re well into the second week of the London 2012 Olympics, so which media website is winning with its online coverage? NBC fell at the first hurdle with its TV scheduling, but did the network get back into the race with its website? What about the New York Times, with its muscular web development? Or hometown favorite the BBC, with the crowd behind it – not to mention the wallet of the British taxpayer. In this post we’ll compare the main media outlets and see which ones are medal-worthy.Gold: The New York Times The TelegraphThe British daily has a comprehensive website, including some interesting infographics.USA Today USA Today brings its trademark strengths of storytelling and explanatory graphics to the Olympics, with an informative website. We recommend you check out the interactive section.NBCNBC’s Olympics website was the place to go for American viewers who wanted to watch the Olympics live. Alternatively people could access live coverage online in other, sometimes less legal, ways. Apart from the live video though, NBC’s website is solid but unexciting.ESPNESPN has a nice collection of video commentaries and written opinion pieces, if you can stand the eye-scorchingly bright red background of its Olympics subsite.YahooYahoo’s coverage is fine, but there are better places to get your Olympics news and results. It does though have some useful athlete profiles, along with a sappy “Team Mom” section (featuring interviews of mothers of athletes).ReutersReuters has a standalone website, in addition to partnering with the NYT. Its own website is well designed, but seems devoid of the personality of other media sites.Of course there are many other media websites out there which have good coverage of the Olympics. If we missed your favorite, please add it to the comments!See also: Social Olympics: Does The Gold Medal Go To Facebook, Twitter or Google+? 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting It’s a relatively simple graph showing when Yang won the race (the last quarter). Below that is a geographical view of previous winners of this event. I was able to click on my country, New Zealand, to see Danyon Loader’s name pop up for 1996. Although I was unable to click on Loader’s name – or Yang’s for that matter – to find out more details about the swimmer.Here’s another example, which is more in-depth. It’s a bubble-based view of the medal table. The host nation’s public broadcaster, the BBC, has been widely praised for its television coverage. There are up to 24 live channels devoted to the Olympics at any one time. As for its website, the coverage is solid – if unspectacular. There is plenty of Olympics news and photos, with a bias towards Team Great Britain (as to be expected with any national publication).One of the more interesting features is the BBC’s Event Guides. Related Posts Hover over a country and you see its medal tally. Click on it and the data underneath the graph changes to show all of that country’s medal results.Silver: The Guardian The New York Times Olympics website is as sleek and good looking as an American track athlete. The site is a compelling combination of facts and figures, news analysis, interactive graphs and multimedia (video and photos). It’s also beautifully laid out, with clear navigation. Not only did the NYT build an Olympics site for itself, it partnered with Reuters to syndicate the data and content to other publications.A highlight of the NYT website is its data-based graphics. Here’s an example from the 400m freestyle swimming race, won by China’s Sun Yang: A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Just about anything the Guardian does on the Web is innovative and polished – and its Olympics coverage has been no exception. The NYT seemed slightly more satisfactory to us in terms of breadth and depth of stories, and ability to move around the site, but the Guardian does have some outstanding features. In particular, a “second screen” subsite. The New Zealand team ranked third, by population. That’s something for this author to be proud of.Bronze: BBC It’s a browser website, but it works best on a tablet. The idea is to offer real-time information – news, statistics, photos, tweets and more – on your tablet device while you watch the Olympics on TV. Very handy!Like the NYT, the Guardian makes a good attempt at offering interactive data services. For example, a daily updated Olympic medal table ranked by GDP, population and team size. Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… richard macmanuslast_img read more

Why Are Dead People Liking Stuff On Facebook?

first_imgI started tracking these unlikely likes, taking screenshots and following up with IMs to my friends. I asked Nicolala if she had indeed “liked” Walmart, and her answer was succinct: Brendan sent me this info in response to a request I had made on Facebook to my friends. Not long ago I asked people to send me screenshots of weird or suspicious behavior. I did this after noticing some bizarre things happening on Facebook —such as friends of mine showing up as “liking” things that I know they don’t like, such as liberals “liking” Mitt Romney and a guy with no car who “liked” Subaru.When I contacted these people they swore they had never liked these brands, and they had no idea that this stuff was going out under their names.So what is going on?The Mystery Of The Unintended LikesFull disclosure: I’m an active Facebook user, and I really enjoy it. I use Facebook to stay in touch with my friends and family who are scattered across the country and world. I also use Facebook to promote the arts magazine I publish, Sensitive Skin.The first sign I saw that something was not quite right was that after I’d spent a lot of time getting people to “like” the Sensitive Skin page, fewer and fewer people were seeing my posts.More people had been seeing my posts six months earlier, last winter, when I only had 800 likes, than this past summer, when I had more than 2,000.Then I heard about Facebook’s latest idea, getting users to pay to “promote” our own posts, so that more people would see them.Many people find promoted posts egregious, and the blowback has been well documented. A site called Dangerous Minds called promoted posts “the biggest bait and switch in history.” Mark Cuban complained in an article on The Huffington Post and made the same case here on ReadWrite.Nevertheless, in August I decided to give Sponsored Posts a try to promote Sensitive Skin. That’s when the weirdness began.Strange Results From Sponsored PostsMy number of post views did indeed go up, according the statistics provided to me by Facebook. But these likes didn’t seem like “quality” views or likes. I was getting likes from folks in South America, the Middle East and Eastern Europe. Comments were posted not only in languages I couldn’t understand, but in alphabets I didn’t recognize.This was suboptimal — not to mention extremely weird — for a literary magazine written in English.Then I started noticing something else. “Sponsored Posts” were popping up near the top of my newsfeed, and some of them made no sense. A number of my liberal friends supposedly had “liked” Mitt Romney, for instance. And my friend Nicolala, a high school English teacher from San Francisco, had “liked” WalMart. Then he said that he went to his profile and “unliked” Subaru. I asked, shocked, wait, you mean Subaru actually went and “liked” themselves for you, without your knowledge? Tags:#Facebook#social media Facebook is Becoming Less Personal and More Pro… Last month, while wasting a few moments on Facebook, my pal Brendan O’Malley was surprised to see that his old friend Alex Gomez had “liked” Discover. This was surprising not only because Alex hated mega-corporations but even more so because Alex had passed away six months earlier.The Facebook “like” is dated Nov. 1, which is strange since Alex “passed [away] around March 26 or March 27,” O’Malley told me. Worse, O’Malley says the like was “quite offensive” since his friend “hated corporate bullshit.”Here’s a screenshot: The Plot ThickensOK, that’s pretty messed up, I thought. I put out a notice on my Timeline, asking my friends if they’d seen any unusual behavior regarding “likes” and ads.The response was overwhelming.Patti Walsh, a teacher who lives in Minnesota, was not pleased to see she’d inadvertantly liked a household disinfectant, since she had never “liked” this brand. “It’s counterfeit! I’m vegetarian and it’s actually offensive!” I See Dead People … Liking ThingsBut at least those people were alive when they fake-liked something.Emma Kumakura, a game designer in Palo Alto, Calif., was outraged to see her friend Alice Mizer Stewart, who had passed away in March, shilling for a tea company. Bart was doubtful that his friend, a committed anarchist (hey, it’s Holland) had actually liked a bunch of corporate brands. Related Posts Guide to Performing Bulk Email Verification Emma took a look at Alice’s profile and it appears that she did, in fact, like The Republic of Tea. Nevertheless it’s kind of disturbing to have people liking brands from beyond the grave.Moreover, Emma saw that she herself supposedly had “liked” Budweiser. But Emma doesn’t drink and hates beer.Facebook’s ExplanationA Facebook spokesman says the “likes” from dead people can happen if an account doesn’t get “memorialized” (meaning someone informs Facebook that the account-holder has died). If nobody tells Facebook that the account-holder is dead, Facebook just keeps operating on the assumption the person is alive.In that case, someone’s “likes” from months and months ago can still keep surfacing in the news feeds of their friends, since Facebook recycles “likes” long after they first occur. Who knew?Thing is, according to my pal Brendan O’Malley, there’s no way that his late friend Alex, who “hated corporate bullshit,” would have “liked” Discover.And what about all these other “likes” from living people, the ones where someone is credited with “liking” something and they swear they didn’t do it?The Facebook spokesman says it’s possible those people “liked” something by accident, by inadvertently pressing a button, perhaps on the mobile app. In response to the specific example of Nicolala liking Walmart, Facebook insists it really did happen: “We show that the Like happened on 10/01 at 6:46 p.m.,” the spokesman says.Fair enough. But these accidents seem to be happening a lot. Are there really that many people accidentally claiming to like stuff that they actually don’t like at all?It’s hard to imagine that Facebook would start “liking” stuff on people’s behalf without their knowledge or consent. Even for Mark Zuckerberg, the guy who once said of his members, “They trust me — dumb fucks,” this would be a stretch.But are the brands themselves doing it? Or are third-party services selling fake “likes” to brands? Supposedly Facebook has been trying to crack down on fake likes. Nevertheless they seem to keep popping up.This might be funny except that it’s also kind of disturbing. I mean, isn’t the enormous market valuation of Facebook predicated on its vast store of information about users, and its ability to use that information to precisely target ads?If Facebook can’t get this under control, what does that say about the value of its data? The persistence of these fake likes is an unnerving thing for Facebook users and investors alike.center_img I asked E.V. if he’d pressed the “like” button for Subaru, and he replied: “No, I did not press like. Maddening. I look at Facebook less and less because it lies more and more.” Bart’s anarchist friend even liked Shell Oil! Now that’s a bit unusual. I found it odd that my friend E.V. Grieve, who writes an anti-gentrification blog about New York’s East Village, would “like” Subaru. bernard meisler “I did not `like’ San Pellegrino. This stuff is making me want to get off the FB.”  The Dos and Don’ts of Brand Awareness Videos Ruby Ray, a photographer from San Francisco, and Bart Plantenga, a radio host from Amsterdam, were also perturbed.  In response to my inquiry, Martin Sarna, a graphic designer from New York City, started checking around among his friends. He too came up with a number of aberrant ads involving the movie “Life of Pi,” San Pellegrino water and McDonald’s.He annotated the screen grabs with comments from his friends and sent them to me: A Comprehensive Guide to a Content Auditlast_img

Apple May Not Have A Choice But To Release A Watch

first_imgThe Rise and Rise of Mobile Payment Technology Matt Asay Tags:#Apple#Apple TV#innovation#iPad#iPhone#Watch Role of Mobile App Analytics In-App Engagement Related Posts center_img Apple is reportedly developing a smart watch made from curved glass. Does it really have a choice? With iPhone sales stalling, the Cupertino innovator is in desperate need of another hit product, and not just any product: Apple needs something that consumers will refresh every 12 to 18 months. My editor Dan Lyons has his own thoughts on why these Apple watch rumors are making the rounds. But what if we take them at, pardon the pun, face value?At Apple’s size, the company must be very choosy about its products. While Apple does at times dabble in $100 million “hobbies” like Apple TV, its bread-and-butter depends upon multi-billion dollar breakout successes like the Mac, iPod, iPhone, and iPad. Apple simply isn’t the kind of company that is going to release a horde of SKUs, each designed to reel in a hundred million dollars here and a hundred million dollars there.(See also Who’s Manipulating Apple Stock With This iWatch Story?)The company continues to thrive, but its stock has taken a beating recently as investors fear that Android is knocking the iPhone off its lofty perch, and will almost certainly do the same in the tablet market. (Some investors are more sanguine on its chances.) Over time, it’s simply not possible for Apple’s high-margin, premium product strategy to own the mass market. So as it fades into highly profitable niche-status in smartphones, just as it has in personal computers, Apple needs a new hit to drive it forward.Apple Needs A Particular Kind Of HitBut not just any kind of hit. While The Wall Street Journal and others have reported that Apple has a TV in the works, a TV doesn’t fit Apple’s recipe for success. All of Apple’s big hits have a few things in common:They’re focused on consumers.They’re priced at a premium but within the budgets of the middle class (in Western Europe and North America)They’re cheap enough that consumers “refresh” to the latest version every 12 to 18 monthsA TV, however, and particularly a premium TV like Apple would be inclined to make, is not going to fit in the budget of many consumers, and certainly not in less affluent markets. But even if it were, people don’t buy new TV sets every year. Apple could still build a multi-billion dollar business with a multi-year refresh rate, but this would significantly change Apple’s standard operating procedure.Much more likely would be significant improvements to Apple TV, taking control of video content from the cable and satellite operators. One Apple source tells me that Apple is waiting on DirecTV’s exclusive contract with the NFL to end in 2014. Regardless, an Apple gateway to bounteous video content fits perfectly with Apple’s iTunes business model, as well as the three factors above.An Apple Watch Could Be A Perfect FitBut then, so does an Apple smart watch. In fact, an Apple smart watch arguably better fills Apple’s product portfolio, as it serves as a complement to Apple’s iPhone and iPad products, helping to spur sales both ways. It also could further expand Apple’s App Store business, with a range of fitness, diet, and other apps landing on one’s wrist.It would not, however, find many fans at traditional watchmakers, as Box CEO Aaron Levie humorously points out:The biggest reason for thinking an iWatch could be a big deal for Apple, however, is that it perfectly fits Apple’s business needs and design ethos. Watches have seen little innovation for decades, yet continue to be used for both style and utility. (As for myself, I traded in my watch years ago for my iPhone, which provides the time and more.) At $250 to $500, Apple’s smart watch could be hugely profitable but also inexpensive enough to justify consumers buying the latest and greatest each year.None of this guarantees that Apple will release a smart watch. And it’s possible that Apple will ignore my advice (again) and release a high-end TV. There aren’t many product categories that fit Apple’s need for consumer products with a 12- to 18-month refresh cycle. Wrist watches just happens to be one of the few.Image courtesy of Shutterstock. Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces What it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech …last_img read more

Want To Comment On YouTube? You’ll Need A Google+ Account First

first_imgselena larson The Dos and Don’ts of Brand Awareness Videos YouTube announced a new way of filtering out annoying comments on videos. Starting this week, YouTube comments will be powered by Google+, Google’s social network.The video site is notorious for users who down-vote videos en masse or post vicious replies, so YouTube is taking action to provide higher-quality comments and conversations.YouTube declares that it’s making comments better by integrating Google+. It will prioritize comments from recognizable profiles, like the video creator or friends. Posted comments can be shared privately or in users’ Google+ circles, and additional moderating tools will give video creators the ability to block phrases or auto-approve comments. “The grand idea is to try and turn these one-off comments into conversations that you really care about,” said Matt McLernon, a spokesperson for YouTube.But There’s Another Agenda HereWhile this seems like an effort by YouTube to improve the user experience, it is also a thinly veiled attempt by Google to bring Google+ services to the mainstream. Google has already integrated its social network in most of its products with the hopes of increasing engagement, provoking annoyance among some users. YouTube will be one of Google’s largest platforms to force its users to sign up for a Google+ account.Google+ may be the web’s second-largest social network behind Facebook, but that could be due to the fact that almost everyone with a Gmail account has a Google+ account, too. Whether they’re using them or not is another story.YouTube users who don’t already have a Google+ account will have to sign up for one using a Gmail address in order to participate in page discussions and, eventually, to comment on videos.YouTube said that users can register with either a Google+ profile or page so they can still use anonymous usernames. “On the Google+ side, you enter as much information as you like,” McLernon said. “On the YouTube side you can use a Plus page, so if you want to be awesomeperson5000, you can do that.” YouTube claims that the majority of YouTube commenters are already Google+ users, so many people might not even notice a difference. But with over one billion monthly unique users, there is bound to be a significant amount of people that registered with alternative email addresses. The company is risking a user revolt by mandating all commenters be Google+ users, as many people are already unhappy that the service is being forced on them. YouTube will begin rolling out the changes on channel pages today, with the exclusive Google+ commenting and linking system due globally later this year.Image via BrianDHawkins on Flickr Related Posts Tags:#Google#YouTube center_img Guide to Performing Bulk Email Verification Facebook is Becoming Less Personal and More Pro… A Comprehensive Guide to a Content Auditlast_img read more

Montreal says bonjour to innovative startups

first_imgFour startups are set to join InnoCité MTL’s third cohort.  This Montreal-based accelerator deals with building smart city solutions.Since launching, InnoCité MTL has chosen startups based on their relevance to the issues addressed by the six main programs of the Montreal Smart and Digital City 2016-2017 action plan.  Those programs focus on public Wi-Fi, an ultra high-speed multi-service network, a smart city economic cluster, digital public services, smart mobility and participatory democracy.  Also important, are the startup plan’s growth potential and quality.  Now, the company has begun to look for urban innovation startups from outside the Montreal action plan.See Also:  Canada’s health wearables coming in from cold“The Montreal Smart and Digital City project welcomes the creativity and vibrancy which characterize the Montreal startup community,” says Harout Chitilian, Vice President of the executive committee in charge of smart city initiatives, administrative reform and IT. “The contribution by city employees to InnoCité MTL’s mentorship program, and to the development of its cohorts clearly illustrates our commitment to openness and our hope for the development of innovative projects, which will improve the lives of Montrealers,” he further explains.Third class inducted at Montreal acceleratorThe accelerator’s third cohort will spend 12 weeks delving into a highly structured program that will focus on making the startups’ products market-ready. Startups will have access to practical training classes, be able to learn from mentors, work on prototyping their products, and create a local and international commercial strategy.The four startups that have been selected include MLDB.ai, a company that uses AI to develop a 3-D real-time urban environment index.Also included is Give-A-Seat, a charity platform that sells tickets to many events at cheaper prices, and We Grab It, a company that wants to minimize waste by recycling objects and materials that other people would discard, by gifting them to someone else who needs them.  The fourth startup is City Parking, a SaaS platform that allows spot owners to rent out their private driveways and parking areas. Related Posts What it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech … Follow the Puck Amanda Razanicenter_img Tags:#Montreal#smart city#startups Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces How Myia Health’s Partnership with Mercy Virtua…last_img read more

Is more IoT driving more cyber attacks?

first_imgTags:#cyber attack#cyber security#hacking#malware#ransomware#security#WannaCry#x-code ghost How Data Analytics Can Save Lives Follow the Puck AI: How it’s Impacting Surveillance Data Storage Related Posts center_img Fei Zhao The WannaCry ransomware attack from this May made the whole world think about cyber security issues once again. Another unique point for WannaCry versus previous cyber attacks is IoT also got involved with the crisis as well. We learned from the news reports that this worm virus was different from usual. It had not only tried to encrypt computer data, but it had also attacked connected devices such as medical and teaching equipment in hospitals and schools. This is also why this May’s cyber attack has influenced so many industries.IoT has minimized the barrier between the Internet and devices. Once one of these two is attacked, the other one would also be involved inevitably. As for the IoT security, cameras on our smart devices and smart homes are the most associated aspect of every one of us and may have influence on our everyday life.Thanks to the IoT technology, we can remote control those connected cameras. Even if we are not home, we still can access these devices and check our properties. However, just because we are using those connected cameras and devices, if we do not do a good job in terms of security, such as utilizing weak passwords, or even no pin, criminals could easily access and control our devices by large scale scanning. According to Gao Sheng, senior software engineer from China’s national Internet Emergency Center, passcodes like “user”, ”admin”, and pure numbers have been widely used, and are the easiest ones to decrypt and hack.See Also: How tweaks to IoT’s supply chain can close security gapsWorldwide ThreatsAs the concept of a connected world is becoming more and more popular, different types of smart home appliances have become first choice for millions of families. And because of this, the cyber attacks on IoT are changing to multiple modes. Outlaws can access all connected appliances by only hacking one router. According to Helpnetsecurity, U.S. (28%) and China (7%) are the two countries that experience the most cyber attacks. In 2015, the X-code Ghost incident had deeply influenced China’s iOS development environment.  It still reigns as the most famous cyber security accident regarding the Internet and IoT in China.Lots of Chinese developers used an unofficial iOS development kit that had been modified by malware, later dubbed X-code Ghost. The malware injected third party code into apps compiled with it. Since this attack happen on the developer side at compile time, even jail broken devices were affected. The X-code Ghost incident influenced lots of popular apps that have billions of users, such as WeChat, Didi, and so on. Both of these popular apps affect every facet of Chinese user’s normal life because of IoT.IoT security attacks caused because of the Internet will not only impact normal people’s life, but also produce more serious problems to large-scale enterprises. Based on the report titled Toward New Possibilities in Threat Management from Price Waterhouse Coopers in 2017, the number of cyber attacks in the East Asia region has rapidly increased by 969%, and security incidents of industrial IoT have increased over 22x. Due to most enterprises using semi-automatic production models, and the popularity of smart connected systems, countless IoT devices have been utilized into the production process. But, many parts of these devices are still keeping the factory passwords, which are weak pins like “user” and “admin”.They Get You Coming in and Going OutFor general users like us, right now, there are two kinds of cyber attacks: inbound and outbound. Inbound cyber attacks target our smart devices like phones, tablets, or cameras directly. DNS Amplification Attacks are common outbound attacks, with over 80% of family level cyber attacks resulting from router issues. To this point, Helpnetsecurity suggested three tips to actively avoid attacks. First, we need to periodically change the passcode of our smart devices and family Internet. Second, do not connect to unknown Wi-Fi and Bluetooth devices. Last but not least, upgrade device software in a timely fashion.Nowadays, both iOS and Android will send out an upgraded version regularly, even every app on our phone will release upgrades frequently. Some users think these upgrades are annoying and choose to shut down this function, but most of the upgrades are related to security issues. As normal users, timely upgrading of our devices and apps is our best way to increase our cyber safety. Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaceslast_img read more

The Last Transition…or Not

first_imgReflections on Todd & Peggy Podcast #3By Karen Shirer, Associate Dean The audio recording below is the third part of a conversation with Todd, a lieutenant commander in the United States Navy Nurse Corps, and his wife Peggy, an elementary school teacher. Peggy and Todd generously shared some of their experiences as a military family, to help those of us serving military families have a better understanding of what they go through. Below the recording you’ll find a blog post reflecting on this part of Todd and Peggy’s story. This is part 3 – The Last Transition…or Not Audio Player/files/2016/03/MFLN-FT-Todd-and-Peggy-3-2.mp300:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume. Listen to Todd & Peggy Podcast #2 Listen to Todd & Peggy Podcast #1 The Last Transition … or Not“When one parent in a family serves in the military, the whole family serves. Military life requires great commitment and sacrifice not only for the service member but also the spouse, children and other family members.”The above thought occurred to me as I listened to podcast #3 where Todd and Peggy reflect back on their experiences as a couple and a family with children as he pursued his military career. Military service with its deployments, weekend trainings and other demands impact the whole family and not just the service member.In this podcast, Todd and Peggy discuss their next transition – retirement from the military. Their experience shows how important it is for couples to discuss not only the timing of this transition but also what it means for their relationship and their family.As a couple, Todd and Peggy agreed that he will retire from the military either in 5 years or if he is deployed again. They decided that as a family they did not want to go through the experience of another deployment.  However, both Todd and Peggy recognized that after retirement, the military will remain an important part of their everyday lives.Military service itself is not so difficult – military members train for it – but separation from family can be very difficult. It takes a toll on the children who tend to become more connected with the stay-at-home parent. Peggy talks about being a single parent during deployments and Todd described feeling that his relationship with his children at times was not as “tight” as Peggy’s.Long deployments also can negatively impact a couple’s marriage. Todd notes that many marriages do not survive the separations of military service. Couples not only need to spend time preparing for the financial aspects of deployment but also for the relational and emotional aspects.  Todd believes that the military could do more to prepare service members for these latter challenges.Todd and Peggy were the fortunate ones; the podcast interview shows that they weathered those difficult transitions and developed an even stronger marriage. However, significant numbers of military marriages do not survive.When asked to give one word to describe his military service, Todd said “service” to country and that he dedicated his life to the military. Peggy responded with the word “pride,” saying that she was proud of everything Todd has done. Despite the hardships, both Todd and Peggy were proud of his accomplishments and felt that the sacrifice was more than worth it.In your work with military members and their families, consider how you might help young service members who are just marrying and beginning their families to prepare for the impacts of military service. What steps can they take now to ensure that they are like Todd and Peggy as they approach retirement with pride and meaning?Karen Shirer is a member of the Military Families Learning Network Family Transitions Team and the Associate Dean with the University of Minnesota, Extension Center for Family Development. Karen is also the parent of two adult daughters, a grandmother, a spouse, and a cancer survivor.last_img read more

Bouncing Back with Laughter

first_imgBy Mary Marczak“I decided I am going to be a prostitute!”This declaration never failed to evoke a big belly laugh from my parents because it’s part of my very devout Catholic mom’s favorite joke: A daughter is telling her parents that she wants to be a prostitute. Her parents mishear and almost have a heart attack. After clarifying that she did indeed say “prostitute,” the punch line goes, “Oh, thank goodness — we thought you said ‘Protestant’!”Humor and positive thinking has never been more important to your health than now. No matter who you are, collectively we are bruised from this brutal, negative election year.Barbara Fredrickson, principal investigator of the Positive Emotions and Psychophysiology Lab at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, has developed a “broaden-and-build” theory of positive emotions. Her research has shown that a person’s body reacts to negative emotions by heightening activity in the sympathetic nervous system (that is, the system that activates our fight or flight response), which has the result of narrowing our behavior options to, basically, attack or escape.Positive emotions, on the other hand, quell autonomic arousal and “broaden one’s attention, thinking, and behavioral repertoires.” This theory suggests that positive emotions lead to actions that are novel, expansive, or exploratory, i.e. broadening, and that, over time, these actions build meaningful, long-term resources such as social relationships. In 2005, the National Institute of Health (NIH) re-published an article by Fredrickson and her colleagues on the connections between positive emotions, positive thinking, resilience, and health: Psychological Resilience and Positive Emotional Granularity: Examining the Benefits of Positive Emotions on Coping and Health. In this article, she and her colleagues lay out the accumulating evidence of benefits of staying positive:Laughter and humor increases positive emotion, which in turn positively influence our immune system. Those who cope using humor show increases in levels of a vital immune system protein, body’s first line of defense against illnesses.Interventions that promote positive emotions are beneficial to health. One study had participants assigned to three groups: 1) count your blessings, 2) list daily hassles, or 3) control. After 10 weeks, people who “counted their blessings” reported broad-range of positive health outcomes including fewer physical complains, more time exercising, more hours of sleep, and better sleep quality.Laughter and positive emotions have been shown to benefit individuals who are already sick. For example, a study following people who were admitted to a hospital for cardiovascular-related disease showed that those who report positive emotions 90 days after hospital release had lower readmission rates. Positive emotions predicted readmission rates over above other factors like health status at release.The benefits of positive emotion may last a lifetime. Research that followed people who used positive writing and humorously positioning their earlier life trauma (which the authors call positive emotional disclosure) showed greater longevity.Positive emotions help coping and adjustments to acute and chronic stress and help to buffer against stress and depressed mood.So let’s find humor in our everyday life, share our laughter, and be positive. It’s good for our health!Mary Marczak, works at the University of Minnesota Extension, as the Director of Urban Family Development and Evaluation.last_img read more

Gimbal Reviews: Gudsen’s New Moza & a CAME-7800 Update

first_imgThe gimbal market gets more crowded with the new Gudsen Moza and a CAME-7800 update. Get the scoop with these Johnny Wu gimbal reviews.The gimbal market is crowded with options, and one of them, the CAME-7800, recently received an update. Meanwhile, Gudsen just introduced the Moza. Both are fairly inexpensive options. The CAME-7800 comes in at $1380 for the full bundle, and the Moza is releasing at around $2245. To give you an overview of each gimbal, we’ve rounded up a group of videos by Johnny Wu from MDI.Here’s Wu going over the CAME-7800.Next, Wu goes a bit more in-depth and shows you how to calibrate the CAME-7800.In this video, Wu shows us how easy it is to switch out cameras on the CAME-7800.Let’s take a look at the Moza Gimbal.Finally, Johnny runs both gimbals side by side.Thinking about adding either of these gimbals to your gear? Let’s talk about it in the comments below.last_img read more

The Canon 5D Mark IV: The End of An Era

first_imgThe 5D was always for photographers. The Canon 5D Mark IV makes it official.All images and videos via Canon It’s finally here. The Canon 5D Mark IV has officially been announced and is available for pre-order. Photographers will be pretty happy, and videographers will continue to wonder what camera to get next.With an MSRP of $3499, the camera will still be a great option for photographers. The stills are great, and the upgrades from the Mark III are plentiful. Seeing that this is a community and blog focused on videographers, let’s talk about the video capabilities.We were pretty excited about the long overdue update, as detailed in the several camera rumor posts written this year. Yet with every new rumor, our interest waned. Now that the Canon 5D Mark IV is here, I know I’m personally full of disappointment. This camera’s video capabilities are the epitome of — MEH. Remember back in school when you really wanted that awesome new toy, and you annoyed your parents until they caved? Then when you got it, you played with it for a whopping two minutes before it broke or bored you? That is the Canon 5D Mark IV for me. Videographers clamored for 4K footage for years from a Canon DSLR, the 5D Mark IV delivers by shooting 4K video up to 30fps.This is credited as “the first full-frame Canon DSLR to shoot high-quality slow motion” if you need 120fps in 720p. Let’s be honest, this isn’t a slow-motion video camera. In fact, the Canon 5D Mark IV isn’t a video camera at all. It never was, and now we know it never will be. This DSLR was always built for photographers, and Canon just happened to luck into the video industry. If you want a Canon video camera, that’s why the Cinema EOS series exists.Canon released a whole series of videos for the launch of the 5D Mark IV. The video that got all the attention (and probably budget) promotes the camera’s photography specs and new internal updates. Take a look here.As far as videos promoting the video capabilities, the videos are lackluster at best. In fact, I can’t believe that most of these are officially released videos. Here is a short 3:20 clip (even though it feels much longer) showing off the 5D Mark IV at the beach.We know the photos will look great, so timelapse videos should look stellar. Why they released a demo timelapse video of a person building a wooden ship in a controlled studio environment that is in need of more light, I have no idea.I guess for those wanting to use the 5D Mark IV’s wifi capabilities with their phones to instantly post to social media, Canon released this vertical demo of slow-motion footage. It’s a very odd approach, as the footage doesn’t look much better had it been shot on the phone itself.These have to be the most bizarre product release videos I’ve ever seen from a major manufacturer. The only decent promo for the cameras video specs came from Bruce Dorn, who demonstrates shooting 4K and pulling stills from 4K footage.In the end, this camera will still make a ton of money, but I’m fairly certain that this iteration of the 5D will officially make videographers jump ship to the likes of Sony a Series or Panasonic Lumix G series.If you had any doubt on the camera’s intended audience, this should clear things up. This image is on the Canon Australia homepage. Actual Australian Ad via CanonFor photographers interested in specs, and videographers looking for something to complain about, here are all the camera details.Specs:Canon EF Mount30.4MP Full-Frame CMOS SensorDIGIC 6+ Image Processor3.2″ 1.62m-Dot Touchscreen LCD MonitorDCI 4K Video at 30 fps; 8.8MP Still Grab1080p up to 60fps720p up to 120fps61-Point High Density Reticular AFNative ISO 32000, Expanded to ISO 102400Dual Pixel RAW; AF Area Select ButtonDual Pixel CMOS AF and Movie Servo AF7 fps Shooting; CF & SD Card SlotsBuilt-In GPS and Wi-Fi with NFCWhat are your thoughts on the Canon 5D Mark IV? Share your opinions in the comment section below.last_img read more

The 5 Best Places to Pitch Your Documentary Film Projects

first_imgIn this industry roundup, we’ve collected five of the best places (and resources) to pitch your documentary film projectsIt’s amazing what you can learn from someone who’s been there and done that. When you’re first starting off in film and video, everything about the industry seems so daunting. However, once you get into the industry and start building your career, you quickly learn that most people are just figuring it out as they go along — just like you.Documentaries have always seemed that way to me. Sure you can go shoot them for fun, but the divide between personal documentary projects and what you ultimately see on television and the big screen seems very wide — even if the quality of the content doesn’t.Luckily, I was able to pick the brain of a documentary producer who saw no divide at all. All that matters is what you know and who you know to talk to. The rest just comes down to making the connections then bringing good pitches (or finished projects) to the table.Public Broadcasting ServiceImage via fivepointsix.Perhaps one of the best first places an up-and-coming documentarian can look to pitch their project would be the good people at PBS (Public Broadcasting Service). These Public Broadcasting Services (in the United States, at least) are great champions of the independent documentarian. And while there is a national public broadcasting resource that is, perhaps, the best place to pitch, you can always consider local public broadcasting services and television stations well when you’re first getting started.Cable Television NetworksImage via CatwalkPhotos.According to my source, these can be some of your most lucrative and career-friendly resources for full-time documentary filmmakers. Cable television networks like the History Channel and National Geographic are always looking for new content, features, and series. If you can find a connection (it’s not impossible, they’re always looking for new pitches), these networks are great places to pitch documentary concepts and ideas. It helps to have a demo reel already, but they are more in the business of hearing ideas than greenlighting budgeted projects.Premium Cable NetworksImage via Microgen.Obviously, like all television, premium cable networks are changing quickly from traditional broadcast styles to modern streaming options, but some of the major “premium” cable networks like HBO and Showtime are still big players in documentary content. Similar to regular cable television networks looking for new ideas and series, HBO and Showtime (and HBO in particular) are often the gold standard for a documentary producer. They hear lots of pitches, but they are also often looking for already-finished documentary projects (usually spotted at major film festivals) to add to their broadcast and streaming libraries.Online Streaming ServicesImage via nampix.Now to the biggest players: the major online streaming services like Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu. The industry is quickly shifting direction, and they know it. It’s hard to see how the numbers add up because they don’t release box office-style stats, but we do know that they are all fighting with each other for the best new content — and that can often include documentary features and series. Pitching to them is not quite the same as the traditional media (although Netflix has come a long way in a short amount of time). However, if you have a good idea or an already great project, they are definitely worth pitching to if you can get their attention.Digital Content OutletsImage via guruXOX.If you’re into shooting documentary content that is less feature-length and more online-friendly, there are actually probably more avenues available to you than you’d think. Digital news outlets (like Vice — probably the best example) have been pushing online documentary content for several years now, looking to capture audiences on YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter. If you can create viral-minded content for these social media-based pages, then you may be able to build bit-by-bit from there to pitch to bigger agencies in the future.Cover image by Alzbeta.For more documentary filmmaking advice and insights, check out some of these articles below.7 Reasons Why You Need a Producer for Your DocumentaryInterview: Tips for Crowdfunding Over $100,000 for Your Documentary ProjectsHow To Find the Right Subject for Your DocumentaryInterview: Filmmaker Bradley Olsen and His FCPX Documentary “Off the Tracks”Documentary Editing Tips for Working with Lots of Footagelast_img read more

The lowdown on farm loan waivers

first_imgWhat is it?Farm loan waivers are not new to the Indian economy. In 2008-09, the UPA-I government announced a farm loan waiver of ₹60,000 crore (that was the initial estimate, which went up to over ₹70,000 crore later). It hit the exchequer, and not the banks, but it distorted the credit culture since it discouraged farmers from paying up their dues. In addition, when one State offered a waiver, it raised expectations in other States too. Since the BJP took office in May 2014, starting with Andhra Pradesh, several States have joined the farm loan waiver bandwagon, with Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra being the most recent ones, despite Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s stand that the States would have to foot the bill.Mr. Jaitley had shown resolve to maintain fiscal discipline during his budget speech earlier this year, which was lauded by industry and investors. Hence, he told the States that the Centre would not pay for the waiver. On the other hand, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) warned about the deteriorating fiscal position of the States. “We need to create consensus so that such loan waiver promises are eschewed. Otherwise, sub-sovereign fiscal challenges in this context could eventually affect the national balance sheet,” RBI Governor Urjit Patel said. He pointed out that if on account of loan waivers, the overall government borrowing went up, yields on government bonds would also be impacted. In a cascading effect, this would crowd out private borrowers as higher government borrowing could lead to an increase in the cost of borrowing for others.How did it come about?Two successive years of below normal rainfall, in FY14 and FY15, are being seen as the main reason for the loan waiver demand. But the recent farmers’ unrest in Madhya Pradesh took place despite a good monsoon that resulted in a bumper crop. However, the prices of farm produce came under pressure because of demonetisation as there were ‘fire sales’ of vegetables — a fact which was acknowledged by the RBI. The sharp decline in food prices in the consumer price index-based inflation was evident. Retail inflation dropped to 2.18% in May as the decline in the prices of food and beverages was sharper in May than April (-0.22% in May against 1.21% in April).Why does it matter?The loan waiver will have a significant impact on the States’ finances. According to a report by the State Bank of India, the impact on Punjab will be the maximum, with the State’s fiscal deficit jumping by an additional 4.8% of the GSDP. The report says that the States will make provisions for farm loan waiver in their budgets in multiple years. In its recent report on the States’ finances, the RBI also pointed to the worsening position of their financial health. It noted that the consolidated finance of the States had deteriorated in recent years, with the gross fiscal deficit to GDP ratio averaging 2.5% in the last five years (from 2011-12 to 2015-16), compared with 2.1% during the previous five-year period.The RBI observed that the State governments faced severe resource constraints as their non-debt receipts were often insufficient for fulfilling their development obligations. There is one positive aspect of the current loan waiver schemes, as highlighted by some economists: the schemes announced in several States have emphasised that loans should be waived only up to a specified threshold limit (mostly ₹1 lakh), and any amount over that will have to be paid.What next?More such schemes will possibly follow as the States going to the polls have started upping the ante for a farm loan waiver. There are protests in several parts of Gujarat demanding a waiver. The State will go to the polls later this year.Bankers have been concerned about this. As SBI Chairman Arundhati Bhattacharya put it: “In case of a farm loan waiver, there is always a fall in credit discipline because the people who get the waiver have expectations of future waivers. Future loans given often remain unpaid.”last_img read more

Army back in Darjeeling after 2 deaths

first_imgViolence erupted again in the Darjeeling hills on Saturday after two persons were killed, allegedly in firing by police and security forces. The Army was redeployed to control the situation, which turned volatile as pro-Gorkhaland supporters clashed with the police in Darjeeling town and adjoining areas. Tension gripped the hills after the death of Tashi Bhutia, a Gorkha National Liberation Front supporter, at Sonada. GNLF spokespers- on Neeraj Zimba said Bhutia was shot dead by security forces on Friday night. The police, however, said they did not have any report of firing. “We don’t have any report of police firing as of now. We are looking into the incident. We can give you details later,” a police officer said. Clashes erupted as the procession carrying Bhutia’s body turned violent and protesters attacked a police outpost at Sonada. A pitched battle ensued between the protesters and police. The protesters also set ablaze the Sonada station of the heritage Darjeeling Himalayan Railway. The violence soon spread to Darjeeling town with clashes at Chowk Bazar. Police resorted to tear gas shelling to disperse the mob, which allegedly tried to attack the office of Deputy Superintendent of Police. A second youth later succumbed to bullet injuries sustained during the violence. He is yet to be identified but is thought to be a resident of Singhamari. Clashes were also reported from Kalimpong where protesters set on fire property of the State Forest Department.Two columns of the Army, one at Sonada and the other in Darjeeling town, were deployed to control the situation. “One accident has happened at Sonada. This is because they attacked the police.. We will have to look into who is responsible,” Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said at the State Secretariat. Urging pro-Gorkhaland supporters to shun violence, Ms. Banerjee said she was ready to hold meetings with political parties in the hills in the next 10-15 days. “I am asking the administration and the people to exercise restraint,” she said.She asked protesters to allow the government to send food and other supplies to the hills.last_img read more

Yashwant to visit Gujarat on Congress invitation

first_imgBJP leader Yashwant Sinha, who had recently caused a flutter by criticising the Centre for its handling of the economy, will be on a three-day tour of poll-bound Gujarat starting November 14, on an invitation from an NGO supported by the Congress party.The former Union Finance Minister would interact with the business community and deliver lectures in Ahmedabad, Rajkot and Surat, a Congress leader said on Thursday.The events are slated to be organised by the Loksahi Bachao Andolan (Save Democracy Campaign), an NGO supported by the Congress.Economic featsMr. Sinha, whose son Jayant Sinha is a Minister in the Narendra Modi government, is likely to speak about demonetisation and the GST, the two steps being showcased as major economic achievements by the current dispensation.Former Finance Minister and Congress leader P. Chidambaram had recently interacted with the traders of Rajkot on the GST and on the subject of ‘State of Economy’, though not under the banner of any political party.In a recent newspaper article, Mr. Sinha criticised the Centre and Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in particular for the handling of the economy, which he said was on a “downward spiral and is poised for a hard landing”.Mr. Sinha had also written that many people in the BJP were aware of this reality, but not speaking up out of fear.last_img read more

One killed in West Bengal during panchayat poll nomination filing

first_imgSporadic violence was reported from several districts of West Bengal on Monday during filing of nominations for the Panchayat elections.One person was shot dead in Suri block of Birbhum district. Police is yet to confirm the person’s political affiliation.Apart from incidents of alleged assault on Opposition party workers by Trinamool Congress (TMC) cadres in the districts of Murshidabad and Paschim Medinipur, two photojournalists and a reporter were assaulted in Murshidabad. One photojournalist was assaulted in Birhum.Meanwhile, Bengal’s Congress leadership said that they would approach the Calcutta High Court regarding the outbreak of violence during filing of nominations.The West Bengal State Election Commission on Saturday night announced that filing of nominations will take place from 11 am to 3 pm on Monday.last_img read more

Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Deb gets it wrong again

first_imgThe Opposition parties took a dig at Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Deb after he reportedly said that poet Rabindranath Tagore returned his Nobel Prize in protest against the atrocities committed by the British.Tagore had in fact renounced the knighthood conferred by the British and not the Nobel Prize for Literature, which was awarded in 1913.A video shows the Chief Minister making the remark at a function organised to mark the birth anniversary of Tagore in Udaipur.His earlier statements — that internet and satellites existed in the ‘Mahabharata era’ and that Diana Hayden was not worthy of the Miss World beauty pageant title — had triggered a row.On Friday, the Congress and the CPI(M) slammed Mr. Deb for his repeated blunders. “Who does not know that Tagore renounced knighthood to show his strong protest against the massacre the British committed at the Jallianwala Bagh in Punjab in 1919,” Congress leader Rahul Saha told The Hindu.(With PTI inputs)last_img read more

Three get death for killing 4-year-old boy

first_imgA Himachal Pradesh court on Wednesday sentenced three persons to death for murdering a four-year-old boy whose skeletal remains were found in a municipal water tank two years later.Shimla Sessions Judge Virender Singh convicted Chander Sharma, Tajender Singh and Vikrant Bakshi on August 6 for the child’s murder, but deferred the hearing on the quantum of sentence.Yug’s father Vinod Kumar Gupta, mother Pinki Gupta and grandmother Chandralekha Gupta were present in the packed court as the sentence was pronounced.“My son cannot come back but I am satisfied with the verdict of death penalty for the guilty,” Mr. Gupta said.Yug was abducted from the busy Ram Bazar area in Shimla on June 14, 2014, and killed after seven days, even before a ransom call was made.His remains were recovered from a Shimla Municipal Corporation water tank in Kelston area on August 21, 2016, after the probe was handed over to the CID.‘Tortured, starved’ The prosecution said Yug was tortured, starved and forcibly served liquor before being thrown alive into the water tank. A rock was tied to him to drown him in the tank, it said.The boy’s killing had sent shock waves across the city and residents took out processions and candlelight marches to express their rage.Mr. Gupta had filed a missing person’s complaint at Sadar police station the day his son was abducted. A criminal case was registered on June 16, while a letter seeking a ransom of ₹3.6 crore was received on June 27.Ransom lettersThree more ransom letters were received subsequently.On January 29, 2016, some municipal corporation employees found his skeleton while cleaning the tank after a jaundice outbreak in the city.Public prosecutor Randip Singh Parmar said that statements of 105 witnesses were recorded in the case. The death sentence would have to be confirmed by the high court. The convicts may file appeal against the sentence at the high court within 30 days, he added.last_img read more

Five naxals held in Chhattisgarh

first_imgFive naxals were arrested from two places in Chhattisgarh’s insurgency-hit Bijapur district, the police said on Tuesday.While three cadres were picked up from Potenar village under Jangla police station limits, two others were held from the forest of Basaguda police station area on Monday, a local police official told PTI. Separate teams of District Force and Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) were involved in these operations.Those arrested from Jangla area are identified as Lekam Balram (38), Alma Rama (32) and Aalam Pandu (51) who all are lower-rung cadres, he said, adding that Balram and Rama were carrying reward of ₹10,000 and ₹5,000, respectively, on their heads.Two cadres who were arrested from the forest of Chipurbhati and Putkel villages are identified as Veko Podia (27) and Punem Hunga (27), both active members of Dandakaranya Adivasi Kisan Majdoor Sangthan (DAKMS), a frontal wing of Maoists, he said.They all were allegedly involved in incidents of torching vehicles, putting up Maoist pamphlets and posters and damaging roads, the official said.last_img read more