Comment on Katie Hopkins Gets Fat to Prove She’s a Bitch by JoAnn        
It defies logic that every single fat person is lazy and undisciplined or that every single thin person is. It's amazing that there are still people who feel the need to insult and demean those who are different from themselves rather than trying to understand and provide an answer.
          Comment on “My Big Fat Fabulous Life” Trots Out Cringe-Inducing Stereotypes by Dagny Kight        
She's a novelty because she's a fat girl who can dance AND she's fat because of a medical condition so she's absolved of responsibility. Throw in the wealthy eccentric parents and you've got a reality show perfect storm! Don't forget the gay sidekick!
          Hospice Registered Nurse        
MultiLocation, At Community Health Network, we attract experienced Home Care and Home Hospice RN's who love their work, but want more options in their work life. Community Health Network can fit your career into your life by providing you with the choices of when and where to work and the flexibiity to change that with life's demands. We are a nursing Staffing Agency specializing in Hospice and Home Care for ove
          Part-Time Carpentry/Construction Instructor        
NC-Wilmington, Definition: Carpentry/Construction instructor who will provide classroom instruction to college students through lecture, demonstration, and laboratory exercises, handouts, responding to questions and testing. DISTINGUISHING CHARACTERISTICS: This is the full journey level class within the instructor series. Employees within this class are distinguished from the Program Director by the performance
          CERTIFIED FLIGHT INSTRUCTOR        
Ottumwa, CERTIFIED FLIGHT INSTRUCTOR Indian Hills Community College has an immediate opening for a part time flight instructor in Ottumwa, IA who will provide flight instruction,pre-flight briefings, expanded briefings, and post-flight briefings in aircraft and Redbird Flight Simulator. This person must meet CFII qualifications in all categories through instrument instructor and be able to successfully com
          27 of Lafourche Parish’s 28 Teachers of the Year are Nicholls Alumni        
A special congratulations to our accomplished alumni who are making an incredible impact on our local community. Congratulations!
          Watch and Download FOUR CHRISTMASES - Movie        


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          By: Anon2        
While incentives are nice, pay usually comes down to market forces. For those of you on the clinical side you will see medical doctors make a ton of money, but not really contribute very much of anything, beyond adding their credential to a protocol. They mostly regurgitate what they can from MSLs. Then the present clinical data to basic scientists and basic science data to clinical folks (so to each party this MD is looked up to as someone who is filling a knowledge gap). The best incentives for early development folks would be a priority class of stock options/shares. However the VCs usually prevent that from happening.
          By: Anon        
@ Hap "Chances are better I will keep my job in big pharma" Unfortunately this statement isn't in keeping with my personal experience. I know personally four people who have either discovered drugs or clinical candidates. Three are no longer at their respective companies with 2/3 of those being involuntary. Let's be real, at the end of the day it's all about who can brown nose the best with the decision makers. Generally lab rats who make tons of compounds don't do that well in that regard. As for working at start ups the only reason I see is being a larger part of the process. That's part a monetary thing and part how much control you get over your ideas.
          School board’s sweetheart deal with outside trash company costs taxpayers $4 million        
SAVANNAH, Ga. — Earlier this year, the superintendent of Savannah-Chatham County Public School System along with the elected school board asked for and received a property tax increase adding millions of dollars to the operations of a system that can really use the help.  So, as the tax payer who allows that board to have and to spend, […]
          ISKCON Kharghar Celebrates Sri Krishna Janmashtami from 13th to 16th August, 2017        

​


by Shrutee K/DNS

Navi Mumbai, 09th August 2017:  The devotees from ISKCON Kharghar will be celebrating Sri Krishna Janmashtami Festival which starts from 13th to 16th August, 2017 at Sri Sri Radha Madanmohanji Temple, Kharghar- Navi MumbaiThe Janmashtami celebrations are part of the festivities of the Radha Madanmohanji Mahotsav 2017 which have begun from 03rd August 2017 with the Jhulan Yatra Utsav and end on 16th August 2017 with the celebration of Srila Prabhupada’s 121st Vyasa Puja.

The highlights of this festival are the SRI KRISHNA KALASH ABHISHEK which will be held on 15th August 2017 from 7.30 pm onwards, wherein donors are given an opportunity to bathe Their Lordships with panchamrita in Silver Kalash. The most important event is the MAHA ABHISHEK of The Lord in the temple at 12 midnight. This year it is special as it will be held in the pandal so that thousands of devotees who visit the temple can have Darshan of this divine spectacle.

Bhakti Kala Kshetra, the cultural wing of ISKCON is organizing a cultural program comprising of dance, drama, discourses and bhajans has been organized in the pandal from 13th to 16th August and shall feature performances by congregational devotees, local artists and cultural organizations. The star attraction is going to be the celebrity performances of flute recital by Shri. Ronu Majumdar and bhajans by Shri. Shounak Abhisheki, Smt. Anuradha Paudwal, Shri. Anup Jalota, Shri. Vinod Trivedi and Dr. Vikram Parlikar.

On 16th August to commemorate the 121st birth anniversary of Srila Prabhupada, ISKCON Kharghar has organized a day long program in which prominent people, devotees and congregational devotees will offer homage and heartfelt offerings to Srila Prabhupada from 10am onwards. This celebration shall comprise of Pushpa Abhishek and aarti to Srila Prabhupada at 12:30 noon followed by special 1008 offering. There will be prasadam for all after the celebration. In the evening from 6.00 pm onwards, congregation devotees, life members and donors will bathe Srila Prabhupada with milk, honey and gangajal in special kalash made of meena and brass. Devotees shall sing the glories of Prabhupadaji and remember his teachings that deeply touch the heart of people all over the world.

Preparations for Janmashtami festival at ISKCON Kharghar began almost 2 months prior to the actual festival. A special festival committee is formed to organize, manage and coordinate the festival.

About The International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), Kharghar:
ISKCON’s Sri Sri Radha Madanmohanji Temple at Navi Mumbai, is designated as ‘Glory of Maharashtra- A Vedic Educational and Cultural Center’. Spread over nine acres of land it is more than just a temple. It offers a spiritual and cultural experience that is one of its kind. While the magnificent temple with three alters dedicated to Sri Sri Radha Madanmohanji, Sri Ram Sita Laxman Hanuman and Sri Nitai Gaur Sunderji, is the main attraction, the project has other features that will make it a prominent landmark, like the Bhaktivedanta College of Vedic Education, which will teach the ancient Vedic philosophy as well as a Bhaktivedanta Library. Other facilities include a Guest House, Ayurveda Wellness Center, Vanprastha Ashram (old age home) and a magnificent Auditorium to cater to the cultural events in Navi Mumbai. Though the project is in the making, there is a small temple with the deities installed and  it has  already become a major landmark and place of  tourist attraction in Navi Mumbai.

          Ziox Mobiles announces Sushant Singh Rajput as its Brand Ambassador along with Rs. 300cr investment for FY17 - 18        
Launches its newest Mobile phone ‘Ziox Duopix’
        Forays into LED TV and Consumer Durables Segment
        Plans to open 2 new manufacturing units and R&D facilities with investment of Rs. 200cr.
        Plans a 360-degree marketing campaign with a budget of
Rs. 100 Cr.
by Shrutee K/DNS
In the light of its vigorous expansion, Ziox Mobiles under the aegis of Sun Air voice Pvt Ltd, one of the fastest growing Mobile handsets brand, ropes in the very versatile, Sushant Singh Rajput, as its Brand endorser who truly lives up to the brand name.  While Ziox mobiles is a preferred brand across the country through its outstanding innovation and quality, the other has won the hearts of a million Indians as he slips into any role with nonchalance. Both the brand and its ambassador ride on the precepts of resilience, hard work and steady growth. A rare blend of energy, perseverance, and popularity coupled with his ability to connect to people, Sushant Singh Rajput is a fine addition to the Ziox Mobiles family. This association will further boost the legacy of Ziox Mobiles as the actor resonates to the brand promise: Quality that Speaks.
Answering strong demand and an overwhelming response from the Indian market, Ziox Mobiles also chalked out a detailed expansion plan and the roadmap for FY 2017-2018.The Brand aims to establish a stronger foothold in the Indian Market, with the total investment of over Rs. 200crore which shall span for a year, the Brand announced its plan to set up 2 new manufacturing units (in Sikkim and Noida) and R&D facilities apart from the existing New Delhi unit, with a holding capacity of around 1 Million units per Month. With the induction of Sushant Singh Rajput as its brand endorser along with the total investment of Rs. 100 Cr. this FY 2017-2018, Ziox aims to achieve an estimated revenue of Rs. 1,000 Cr and a sale of 10 million product units.
Commenting on this association and a promising future, Mr. Deepak Kabu, CEO Ziox Mobiles said “The future looks bright, Ziox Mobiles has a range of phones in the pipeline with exciting new launches. We are enthralled to present Sushant Singh Rajput as the new face of Ziox Mobiles. With Sushant Singh Rajput on board, it will help augment sales and further its reach in the market. The partnership with him is timed with Ziox Mobiles’ next phase of expansion on a pan-India level” Mr. Kabu further adds, “Sushant embodies talent, youthfulness and style. More importantly, he blends well with the core values of hard work, reliability, and is the epitome of our brand philosophy. Today our target audience is the young, driven, forward-moving generation, who have ever changing needs. Sushant understands the pulse of this audience well and has a great rapport with them. That is why, with immense preparation, he goes on to entertain his fans with one performance after another just as Ziox Mobiles constantly strives to understand the changing needs of its customers.”
Speaking on the association, Sushant Singh Rajput said, "I have always known Ziox Mobiles to be an inspirational brand in terms of their persuasion to becomes India’s biggest mobile brand. I am happy to be associated with a brand which is very young, and has a journey that is very similar to mine. I love how this brand designs its products to suit every need of its customers and are constantly innovating themselves as I see myself doing that while working on a role. I look forward to being part of the Ziox Mobiles family and to contribute to its fascinating growth journey in India." The ever-evolving brand has slated a major strategic transformation that entails the signing of a new brand endorser, an aggressive expansion and launches of it new products. The Brand at the event also announced the launch of its newest smartphone Series ‘Duopix”, Phone Series with Dual Cameras. Designed to fulfil the brand promise of providing users with superior camera performance and quality, ‘Duopix’ comes equipped with wide angle Dual front camera (8.0MP + 2.0) front +8.0MP Rear. The latest Dual 4G model runs on Android 7.0, with 5inch HD IPS Display along with 2GB RAM + 16GB ROM all packed in 2500mAh battery. Some of the key features includes strong battery life & also the fast charging capability. The budget friendly Smartphone comes equipped with various other features like 21 language support with multilingual phonebook, MP3 player, FM Radio, Bluetooth connectivity to help you stay connected. The phone will be available across all retail stores in few week’s time. Along with the smartphones, the brand also announces its foray into LED TVS and Consumer Durables category.

About Ziox Mobile: Ziox Mobiles, part of Sun Airvoice Pvt. Ltd., incepted in the Year 2015, with a singular motto to break the boundaries while offering technologically superior products without compromising on quality. Headquartered in New Delhi, Ziox Mobiles has built up an impressive product portfolio of more than 40 distinguished products and constantly innovating to make superior products.
Empowering consumers with affordable technology through quality products- the brand has truly demonstrated quick and robust expansion since inception, showing profitability and growing sales since the first year of operations. Being considered as one of the most innovative and fastest growing brands in the Mobile category, the brand has established its presence across India through its wide network comprising of its various branch offices and system integrators across several states in India.

          Sugar Free launches a web series ‘The Sweet Breakup’ a first of its kind in the food space        


by Shrutee K/DNS


Mumbai, August 2017: Sugar Free, a name synonymous with sugar substitute, is the single largest leader in India in the category. The brand always thrives on innovation as key for its growth and has introduced many variants in the category for the sweet binging yet calorie conscious Indians. As an extension to its innovation drive, the brand has unveiled a new campaign ‘The Sweet Breakup’, a one-of-a-kind 5-part web-series in the food category. The series is conceptualized and executed by Maxus Content, the content solutions arm of Maxus.
Talking about the campaign Tarun Arora, Chief Operating Officer & Director, Zydus Wellness said, “Our vision for “Sugar Free” is to make it the brand of choice for consumers seeking low / no calorie options to lead a healthier life style. Hence to address the myths attached with the usage of Sugar Free as part of one’s daily culinary needs made us conceptualize ‘The Sweet Break Up’.  This web series demonstrates in an authentic way that you can indulge into your favourite dessert guilt-free without compromising on the taste. The 5- city trail as part of the campaign only reaffirmed that any sweet recreated with Sugar Free tastes the same when made with sugar. I believe this was the first time a dessert truck was going around India and hence there was a lot of excitement amongst people wanting to know what’s cooking !”
Pooja Verma, Head - Content, Entertainment and Sports Partnerships at Maxus said, “Maxus believes that changing traditional behaviour among consumers with content, needs a compelling strategy which is driven by insights and fused with creative thought. Showcasing Sugar Free as more than just a sugar substitute via ‘The Sweet Break-Up’ campaign is a prime example of our focus. Sweets have a strong relationship with celebrations in our country. With that insight in mind, we brought our campaign together on the message that enjoying sweets while breaking up with unhealthy calories is a win-win outcome for every foodie. The creative vehicle to deliver that message is our one-of-a-kind series where Chef Kunal Kapur joins famous foodie-duo Rocky & Mayur, in recreating delicious Indian sweets with Sugar Free. Through this content solution, the brand stands to generate extensive and meaningful conversations with viewers who love their sweets.”

This campaign marks the culinary journey of Sugar Free across 5 cities Delhi, Lucknow, Kolkata, Bengaluru and Mumbai, where celebrity chef Kunal Kapur reconstructed 5 different speciality desserts by using Sugar Free products. The brand also had on board the famous foodie duo Rocky and Mayur whose fun banter added to the entertainment element in the web-series. The journey started from Delhi where the chef created the famous Tewari Brother’s Gulaab Jamun followed by Lucknow where Ram Asrey’s famous Malai ki Gilori was made. The truck then headed East to Kolkata where he recreated Balaram Mullick’s Sandesh and then southward to Bangalore where he made a fusion dessert using G Pulla Reddy’s Dharwad Peda and created Dharwad Peda Tiramisu. The final leg of the web series was shot in Mumbai where Chef Kapur added a spin to made Ladu Samrat’s modak and created delicious chocolate modaks. All of these were created using Sugar Free. While the brand has a strong linkage with table top consumptionand pellets as a format, the culinary consumption for powder formats is a gap that needs to be bridged. ‘The Sweet Breakup’ campaign is that step forward by Sugar Free to make consumers aware of the format, its usage and the fact that the taste of the dessert stays as good. What more? One can indulge in sweets now without having to feel guilty.
The Sweet Breakup will be unveiled on-air on youtube.com 18thAugust
About Zydus Wellness Limited: Zydus Wellness Limited is the Consumer products company from the Zydus Group. Zydus group is a pharma major with flagship organization, Cadila Healthcare Limited, a leading pharmaceutical company with significant global presence apart from India. Zydus Wellness has been a pioneer in various categories it operates in. The company focuses on emerging segments and has its DNA of innovations with “Do good benefits” at the core of its business. Zydus Wellness commands leadership in the sugar substitute market, table spreads and the skin care segments. In the sugar substitute market, Sugar Free is a market leader with a market share of 94% and targets health and fitness seekers apart from diabetics.
Nutralite is a market leader in the Fat Spread category and appeals to consumers looking for healthier alternatives to normal butter. It is cholesterol free, does not contain any hydrogenated fats and is also trans-fat free. Everyuth is a pioneer in facial cleansing space in India. It enjoys leadership in the scrub and Peel off Mask segments and is amongst the top players in the overall facial cleansing category with strong “Naturals” equity Zydus Wellness Limited is listed on NSE and BSE and has manufacturing locations in Gujarat and Sikkim.
About Maxus:  Maxus is a marketing communications consultancy that helps marketers build profitable relationships between consumers and their brands. They combine the disciplines of communications planning and customer relationship marketing to deliver Relationship Media, a next generation model powered by creative media thinking and sophisticated, real-time customer data.

Their services include communications strategy, digital marketing, direct response media, social media, data analytics, media investment management, content & sports marketing, marketing ROI evaluation and CRM. Having a talent team of 2,500 people across 55 markets, they are part of GroupM, the world’s largest media investment management group that serves as the parent company for all of WPP’s media agencies.

          Celebrate the platinum year of Indian Independence with HISTORY TV18        

This August watch inspiring stories of incredible Indians with ‘India: 70 wonders’ and a History TV18 original documentary on the great Subhash Chandra Bose with ‘Netaji Bose and the Lost Treasure’

by Shrutee K/DNS
Mumbai, August 2017: This Independence month HISTORY TV18 is presenting a marathon of inspiring stories that is sure to keep the viewers glued to their screen. The channel brings two most amazing shows India 70 Wonders starting 8th August, 2017 every Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 8 PM and a documentary on Subhash Chandra Bose - ‘Netaji Bose and the Lost Treasure’ on 18thAugust at 9 PM. The viewers are in for a surprise as the August marathon will feature Bollywood “womaniya” Huma Qureshi.
India 70 wonders will feature inspiring and out-of-the-box OMG stories of India and Indians. Some amazing stories from across the country include the cemetery-hotel in Ahmedabad, a barber who drives a Rolls Royce, a 75 year old woman who has mastered Kalaripayattu, a man who transforms iron nails into art and the likes. A series of 7 extraordinary episodes, each episode will showcase 10 inspiring stories that will depict 70 years of a young nation that is at the crossroads of change. Each story has been handpicked based on the level of amazement and intrigue generated.
The next offering is a television first, based on Subhash Chandra Bose, one of the most dynamic leaders of India's struggle of independence. The undying questions surrounding the mystery of the fabled INA Treasure and it’s disappearance along with Bose will come alive with ‘Netaji Bose and the Lost Treasure’ a History TV18 original documentary.  The secrets, locked away in the vaults of South Block and protected by the Official Secrets Act, will be showcased for the first time on television.
The thrilling one-hour special, is filmed in India, Malaysia, Singapore, Myanmar & Japan and uses rare archives as it pieces together the mysteries. With an interesting combination of present day shots, archival footage, graphics and interviews, the film takes one through an unexplored treasure hunt of World War II and its key players.









          Ambi Pur’s New TVC Focuses on Refreshing Monsoons        
Shrutee K/DNS

Mumbai, August 4, 2017:-Ambi Pur’s Smelly to Smiley campaigns have always challenged and conquered the toughest and most pungent odours in a real time set up with live experiments. The third edition of the Smelly to Smiley campaign focuses on yet another very relevant odour issue that most have us have encountered – the problem of the lingering monsoon odour that plagues all Indian households during the season. While monsoons have always stood for happy, fun times, growing up brings us face-to-face with monsoon-related issues. Akin to the advertisement format that has become synonymous to Ambi Pur, the new TVC is a real-life experiment at a real consumer’s home, where a unique sensorial challenge is conducted. After all, how often would you come across people with blind folds and pegs on their noses?

This interesting play on the senses reveals that a home, which may look immaculately clean, may, in reality, be perceived as unclean because it is doused with the damp monsoon odour. This TVC, conceptualized by Grey Group, features Brand Ambassador Boman Irani who presents a reality check in context to the damp, lingering odours that specially torment during monsoons. Launching nationally on August 03, the TVC positions the New and Improved Ambi Pur, with odour-clear technology, as the perfect solution to restore freshness to your favorite season. 

The recently released findings from a survey conducted by AC Nielsen, commissioned by Ambi Pur, unearthed the extent of suffering that these damp, musty odours impose on all of us. In fact, 9 out of every 10* women felt that monsoons bring issues within the household such as drying clothes inside, that lead to a musty damp odour.
 
Nidhish Garg, Brand Manager, P&G Home Care India, comments: “To drive awareness regarding the New & Improved Ambi Pur with patented odour-clear technology, we have launched the 3rdleg of the very popular Smelly to Smiley campaign. The brand stays with its ideology of putting the product to torture tests against relevant odour issues, and this time we take on the musty odour that all Indians face during monsoons. The TVC captures live reaction of a consumer who experiences the monsoon odour when visiting a friend’s home that looks perfectly clean. The same consumer sees Ambi Pur in action and how it completely eliminates the monsoon odour as opposed to temporarily concealing it with a fragrance. This format of communicating with our consumers through live experiments helps in building brand salience and credibility.”
 

Ambi Pur’s Brand Ambassador, Boman Irani further adds, “Monsoon is my favourite season but we all know the challenges that come with it, right from drying clothes inside to the rigorous cleaning regime. The new TVC shows that the house that looks clean may not actually smell clean due to the overwhelming moisture-heavy air giving out a feeling of lack of hygiene. It is always fun shooting for Ambi Pur ads, as well as extremely reassuring to witness the brand live up to toughest home odours in live experiments, year on year! This time too, Ambi Pur in its new avatar, truly eliminated the musty monsoon odour. So, it’s time to stop being enslaved by this moldy smell and refresh your monsoons with Ambi Pur.”

The New & Improved Ambi Pur uses a distinct formulation that focuses on odour removal, not just on emitting the fragrance. P&G has created a trademarked ‘Odour-clear technology’, which has been brought to India in July. The new technology fights odour at a molecular level, neutralizing it completely, and leaving behind a subtle fragrance, thus truly eliminating all tough odours.

All Ambi Pur fragrances, including the newly launched Sandalwood fragrance, are available across stores at a price of Rs. 299.

Agency Credits:
Lead Creative Agency: GREY Düsseldorf
Local Support: GREY Mumbai
Production House: Casta Diva Pictures, Mumbai

About Procter & Gamble
P&G serves consumers in India with one of the strongest portfolios of trusted, quality, leadership brands, including Vicks ®, Ariel®, Tide®, Whisper®, Olay®, Gillette®, AmbiPur®, Pampers®, Pantene®, Oral-B®, Head & Shoulders® and Old Spice®. P&G operates through 3 entities in India of which 2 are listed on NSE & BSE. The listed P&G entities are: ‘Procter & Gamble Hygiene & Health Care Limited’ and ‘Gillette India Limited’, whereas the unlisted entity (which is a 100% subsidiary of the parent company in the U.S) operates by the name ‘Procter & Gamble Home Products Private Ltd.’ In the last 12 years, P&G’s signature CSR program P&G Shiksha has built and supported 1000 schools that will impact the lives of 10,00,000 underprivileged children across the country by providing them with access to education. Please visit http://www.pg-India.com for the latest news and in-depth information about P&G India and its brands.

          Director, Sandeep Mohan & Tiranga Productions to release “Shreelancer” on 18th August         

Based on the story of a freelancer, the feature film is an adaptation of the people who are self-employed

by Shrutee K/DNS 

Director Sandeep Mohan’s next release, “Shreelancer” is a feature film starring Arjun Radhakrishnan (an actor known for his film “A White Feather”) in the lead along with a veteran theater artist Salmin Sheriff and Monica Mahendru. The film is produced by Giju John – Tiranga Productions Pvt. Ltd. and Sandeep Mohan and slated to hit the screens on 18th August 2017.

Official Trailer Link - https://youtu.be/VkM2WWU5kyY

The film has background score by Vivek Philip and features songs by Ankur Tewari, Prateek Kuhad, Andrew Sloman and Natalie Matos. The film features one of the popular Indie song, "Dil Beparvah" by Ankur Tewari and Prateek Kuhad. The film is looking to be one of the best adaptation of the people who are self-employed.

Shreelancer, a 98-minute feature film is the contemporary take on the life of a freelancer in today’s India. Shreelancer follows Arjun Radhakrishnan (Shree), a Bangalore based mid 20's freelance copywriter who is battling with nagging self-doubts about his artistic abilities. Shree belongs to a Maharashtrian family from Belgaum. He does ads for small time ad agencies, but is quite frustrated that the world doesn't seem to understand or respect freelancers. Unable to concentrate at home, he visits various cafes to find his peace and works from there. Addicted to his cellphone and the social media, Shree's worldview is shaped by what he reads online, not having traveled much in the "real" world. As fate would have it, Shree gets an invitation to attend an all-expenses paid trip to a college friend's wedding. And life as he knows it will never be the same again for Shree. The film highlights the journey of a freelancer, despite having a flexible schedule, they work on deadlines, love to take up all jobs and seldom say “No” to any assignment.

Shreelancer had its World Film Festival Premiere at the prestigious New York Indian Film Festival (NYIFF) in May 2017 where it was nominated in the best screenplay category. The film will next screen at the Blue Whiskey International Film Festival on the 8th August 2017 where it has been selected in the competition category. Apart from this, Sandeep Mohan has conducted 30 screenings at spaces like Cafes, Pubs, Office Spaces, Coworker Spaces, Colleges, Homes, Art Galleries, etc. and convert them into

mini-theatres for the duration of the film. Sandeep conducts this screening under what he calls the "The Great Indian Travelling Cinema" experiment.


          Swipe launches KONNECT at Rs. 4,999 Exclusively on Snapdeal        

by Shrutee K/DNS 

India, 4th August 2017: Swipe Technologies, India’s leading mobile internet technology company, is all set to unveil brand new member in its popular KONNECT Series - Swipe KONNECT Power.  The slim and sturdy smartphone sports 5” HD IPS display and boasts enormous 3000 mAh battery.  The compelling feature rich Swipe KONNECT Power is competitively priced at Rs. 4,999 only. It will be available exclusively on Snapdeal from 7th August 2017.

Swipe KONNECT Power is driven by a powerful 1.5GHz quad core processor that runs on Android 6.0 OS for lag-free multi-tasking smartphone experience. It comes with 2 GB RAM plus 16 GB internal memory, expandable up to 32 GB and OTG support enhances the storage options. The new 4G VoLTE-ready KONNECT Power features 5” HD IPS display that allows users to enjoy cleaner & sharper visuals at the highest resolution. Besides, this device has a very sleek body that makes the phone very stylish in its looks. That’s not all. For the photography enthusiast, KONNECT Power comes with 8MP Rear Camera and 5MP Front Camera. The camera app also comes with lots of features to enhance the photography. The new phone gives an extended company to the user with its 3000 mAh battery, which is installed keeping in mind the daily lifestyle and usage patterns of young smartphone users.  Commenting on the launch of KONNECT Power, Mr. Shripal Gandhi, Founder and CEO of Swipe Technologies said: “Fulfilling aspirations of demanding Indians at affordable price is what differentiates Swipe from other smartphone players.  Our latest creation is yet another affordable device under the KONNECT series – KONNECT Power. It is designed for the aspiring youth of the country who requires long lasting battery that too with 2GB RAM yet the phone is light on pocket.”
Vishal Chadha, Sr.Vice President – Business said: “As part of our commitment to the vision of Digital India, we are keen to bring our consumers access to compelling technology products at great value. With Swipe Konnect Power, we are confident that this newest exclusive addition to our smartphone assortment will be well received by our customers”
Swipe KONNECT Power comes with a gorgeous design, and it has a smoother touch experience as well as comfortable grip. Customers will be able to enjoy a greater multimedia experience, as they can capture stunning photos and videos in virtually any lighting condition.
About Swipe Technologies:
Swipe Technologies is an innovation-centric mobility solutions company, having started its operations in July 2012. Within a short span of time, Swipe has become the leading tablet and Smartphone maker in India.   Swipe was started with an aim to bring exciting devices in the growing Indian market and today, it is the leading consumer brand with key innovations across products, pricing and customer support. Founded by technocrat Mr. Shripal Gandhi, Swipe raised $5 million in May 2014 from the Venture Capital firm Kalaari Capital. In the last three years, Swipe has won a number of accolades including the “Top 50 Inspiring Entrepreneurs of India” by The Economic Times, the “Most Innovation-driven Company in India” by World Brand Congress, and the “Most Innovative Start-up” by Franchise India, the “Best Integrated Campaign” by the World Brand and Congress& the “Best Youth Brand Tablet” by CNBC. Also, Swipe’s young founder Mr. Shripal Gandhi has been recognized as the “CNBC Young Turks” for his breakthrough strategies and innovation in the field of mobile communication technologies. For details, logon to www.justswipe.com

          ASIA’S LARGEST FILM MAKING CHALLENGE INDIA FILM PROJECT CALLS FOR ENTRIES        

 
by Shrutee K/DNS 
Mumbai: Asia’s largest content creation festival, India Film Project that encourages people to create video content will enter into its seventh edition this year. India Film Project invites entries from all the film enthusiasts who love making films from across the globe for all their competitive sections with 31st August’2017 as a closing date.

India Film Project which is one of the rare platforms focused at content creation rather than content consumption will be held in Mumbai. Currently a daylong event, India Film Project will be conducted for two days hosting conversations with 50+ celebs, workshops and masterclasses, curated video screenings amongst others. The festival, this year, will be held on 30th September’17 and 1stOctober’17 at NSCI, Worli, and tentatively attended by over 60,000 film enthusiasts from across India.

Participants can enter into the following categories:

The Best of Digital category where participants can enter their already created work under the sections like short films, music videos, ads and brand films, corporate videos, food and travel videos, wedding and celebration videos, animation and motion graphics, web sketches and web series. Best of Digital awards bestows a chance to the content creators to compete with the best ones on the web. This is the first time the best in digital category has been introduced at India Film Project. Currently, there are no other awards and recognitions for digital videos in India.

Poster Redesign Compete in association with The Souled Store that encourages participants to design a movie poster and compete with some of India’s leading designers. The top posters will be exhibited at the festival and even bought by the audience offline and online.

Scriptwriting competition in association with Terribly Tiny Tales

For the first time ever, the festival bring to you a competition between the scripts from across the globe where one can stand a chance to present their story to some of the best scriptwriters of country and get talent recognized. Narrate your story in your own words around the theme “over the edge”.

50 Hour Filmmaking: India Film Project’s flagship competition which will battle it out with more than 30,000 filmmakers from 300+ cities to show your filmmaking skills in a duration of just 50 hours – Sep 15 to Sep 17. Teams can choose any one category to participate – Professional, Amateur or Mobile. The theme will be revealed at the beginning of 50 hours. The Last date to register 14th September’17.


          Accelerate Live! talk: Health-generating buildings, Marcene Kinney, Angela Mazzi, GBBN Architects        
Architects Marcene Kinney and Angela Mazzi share design hacks pinpointing specific aspects of the built environment that affect behavior, well-being, and performance.

 

During the past 20 years, we’ve witnessed an evolution in building design, from high-performance and energy-efficient buildings, to sustainable and green buildings, and now to spaces that enhance performance and promote wellness and health. 

In this 15-minute talk at BD+C’s Accelerate Live! conference (May 11, 2017, Chicago), Marcene Kinney and Angela Mazzi from Cincinnati-based GBBN Architects talk about their work in behavior change and health-generating design.

Their predictive outcome modeling helps clients make strategic design investments that enhance user and building performance, while minimizing behaviors that can lead to more negative outcomes, such as injuries, poor health, or mistakes.

They also share design hacks pinpointing specific aspects of the built environment that affect behavior, well-being, and performance to help clients get more success out of their spaces.

ABOUT THE SPEAKERS

As Principal and Market Director at GBBN Architects, Marcene Kinney, AIA, LEED AP, leads her team's exploration and focus to do more than merely solve functional architectural problems for clients. Her applied research details fives types of space and their physical attributes that contribute to socialization and gathering patterns within spaces. She has dedicated 17 years exploring how space facilitates social interaction and builds community within the educational environment. Kinney has presented her research-based design work to American Institute of Architecture and Society of College and University Planning audiences and is the recent recipient of an AIA design award for work completed at Northern Kentucky University. Perhaps most important are the satisfaction survey reports by her clients who are reporting increased engagement and retention from their customers.

Angela Mazzi, AIA, ACHA, EDAC, is a Senior Associate and Medical Planner at GBBN Architects, where she focuses on enhancing quality of life through built environments—connecting great design with user needs. Her background in design, business management, and research on socio-cultural contexts provides a unique perspective on how culture is reflected in architecture and user experience. Mazzi serves on the Board of Regents for the American College of Healthcare Architects (ACHA), the Board of AIA Cincinnati, the Advisory Committee for the Institute for Patient-Centered Design, and was an Advisory Board member for Arizona State University's Healthcare Design Program in its initial years. Her research linking wellness to design has been published in many healthcare journals and been presented at both national and international conferences.

FOLLOW GBBN ARCHITECTS

@GBBNArchitects
www.facebook.com/GBBNArchitects


          Mathias has arrived… well, for quite some time now!        

Well, I had a VERY good reason for disappearing from here for a couple of months. Our son Mathias Julian Costa was born last December the 7th, at 11:20pm, twenty days before my very own birthday! I can’t believe he is almost three months old now. He is a very sweet boy who looks a […]
          'Central banks’ seriously misguided attempts to defeat routine consumer price deflation is what fuels the destructive asset bubbles that eventually collapse.' (no replies)        
'..America's pension crisis is a big part of the $400 trillion pension time bomb threatening the global economy and it is deflationary and bond friendly.'

- Leo Kolivakis, America's Corporate Pension Disaster? August 4, 2017


'In order for the Maestro to be right, US inflation expectations have to pick up in a significant way. This won't happen and to understand why, read Gary Shilling's recent comment on three things central bankers don't get about wages.'

- Leo Kolivakis, Is the Maestro Wrong on Bonds? August 2, 2017


'Very recent data confirms slumping household saving ratios in both the US and UK. This was last seen in 2007, just before the bursting debt bubble blew the global economy and financial system to smithereens. The Fed and BoE should surely hang their heads in shame having presided over yet another impending disaster. Why will politicians and the people tolerate this incompetence? Indeed they won’t.'

- Albert (Shades of 2008: UK and US Savings Rate Plunges, Debt Comes Full Circle, August 3, 2017)


'It’s no mystery why central bankers are mystified: Collectively, they are economically illiterate fools engaged in Keynesian and Monetarist group think.

..

On deck is another round of destructive asset price deflation, brought about by Central banks who cannot see the obvious.'

- Mike “Mish” Shedlock, Central Banks Puzzled as Global Inflation Hits Lowest Level Since 2009: Solving the Puzzle, August 3, 2017


'..history and logic both show that concerns over consumer price deflation are seriously misplaced.

Worse yet, in their attempts to fight routine consumer price deflation, central bankers create very destructive asset bubbles that eventually collapse, setting off what they should fear – asset bubble deflations following a buildup of bank credit on inflated assets.'

- Mike “Mish” Shedlock, Historical Perspective on CPI Deflations: How Damaging are They? March 30, 2015


'BIS Deflation Study

The BIS did a historical study and found routine deflation was not any problem at all.

“Deflation may actually boost output. Lower prices increase real incomes and wealth. And they may also make export goods more competitive,” stated the study.

It’s asset bubble deflation that is damaging. When asset bubbles burst, debt deflation results.

Central banks’ seriously misguided attempts to defeat routine consumer price deflation is what fuels the destructive asset bubbles that eventually collapse.'

- Mike “Mish” Shedlock, How Twisted Minds Function, August 2, 2017


Context

'..If you can’t see this next crisis coming, you’re not paying the right kind of attention .. Financial politicians..'

'..the Next 30 Years: “Everything is Deflationary”..'

'..a 30-year bear market..'

          '..If you can’t see this next crisis coming, you’re not paying the right kind of attention .. Financial politicians..' (no replies)        
'..If you can’t see this next crisis coming, you’re not paying the right kind of attention..'

'This Fed has already engineered the next crisis, just as Greenspan kept rates too low for too long, ignored his regulatory responsibility, and engineered the housing bubble and subprime crisis. If you can’t see this next crisis coming, you’re not paying the right kind of attention. The Trump Fed is going to have to deal with that crisis, but we still have many questions as to what a Trump Fed will actually look like or do.'

John Mauldin (Source, Jun 25, 2017)


'..Their empathy circuits get turned off.'

'Powerful people everywhere routinely make decisions that hurt others. We see it in central bankers, politicians, corporate CEOs, religious groups, universities – any large organization. The old saying is right: Power really does corrupt. And corruption is a barrier to sustainable economic growth. This is more than a political problem; it has a serious economic impact.

Recent psychological research suggests that powerful people behave remarkably like traumatic brain injury victims. Controlled experiments show that, given power over others, people often become impulsive and less sensitive to risk. Most important, test subjects often lose empathy, that is, the ability to understand and share the feelings of others.

..

Powerful people also lose a capacity called “mirroring.” When we observe other people doing something, our brains react as if we were doing the same thing. It’s why, when you watch a sporting event, you may unconsciously mimic a golf swing or the referee’s hand signals. Some portion of your brain thinks you are really there. But when researchers prime test subjects with powerful feelings, their mirroring capacity decreases.

You can see why this is a problem. The Protected-class members of the Federal Open Market Committee must feel quite powerful when they gather in that fancy room to make policy decisions. It’s no wonder they forget how their decisions will affect regular working-class people: Their empathy circuits get turned off.'

- Patrick Watson, The Wedge Goes Deeper, June 30, 2017


'..I now feel that it's highly likely we will face a major financial crisis, if not later this year, then by the end of 2018 at the latest..'

'Re-entering the news flow was a jolt, and not in a good way. Looking with fresh eyes at the economic numbers and central bankers’ statements convinced me that we will soon be in deep trouble. I now feel that it's highly likely we will face a major financial crisis, if not later this year, then by the end of 2018 at the latest. Just a few months ago, I thought we could avoid a crisis and muddle through. Now I think we’re past that point. The key decision-makers have (1) done nothing, (2) done the wrong thing, or (3) done the right thing too late.

Having realized this, I’m adjusting my research efforts. I believe a major crisis is coming. The questions now are, how severe will it be, and how will we get through it? With the election of President Trump and a Republican Congress, your naïve analyst was hopeful that we would get significant tax reform, in addition to reform of a healthcare system that is simply devastating to so many people and small businesses. I thought maybe we’d see this administration cutting through some bureaucratic red tape quickly. With such reforms in mind I was hopeful we could avoid a recession even if a crisis developed in China or Europe.

..

One news item I didn’t miss on St. Thomas – and rather wish I had – was Janet Yellen’s reassurance regarding the likelihood of another financial crisis. Here is the full quote.

Would I say there will never, ever be another financial crisis? You know probably that would be going too far, but I do think we’re much safer, and I hope that it will not be in our lifetimes and I don’t believe it will be. [emphasis added]

I disagree with almost every word in those two sentences, but my belief is less important than Chair Yellen’s. If she really believes this, then she is oblivious to major instabilities that still riddle the financial system. That’s not good.

..

Financial politicians (which is what central bankers really are) have a long history of saying the wrong things at the wrong time. Far worse, they simply fail to tell the truth. Former Eurogroup leader Jean-Claude Juncker admitted as much: “When it becomes serious, you have to lie,” he said in the throes of Europe’s 2011 debt crisis.'

- John Mauldin, Prepare for Turbulence, July 9, 2017


'..Market distortions – including valuations, deeply embedded complacency, and Trillions of perceived safe securities – have become only further detached from reality. And the longer all this unstable finance flows freely into the real economy, the deeper the structural maladjustment.'

'This week marks the five-year anniversary of Draghi’s “whatever it takes.” I remember the summer of 2012 as if it were yesterday. From the Bubble analysis perspective, it was a Critical Juncture – for financial markets and risk perceptions, for policy and for the global economy. Italian 10-year yields hit 6.60% on July 24, 2012. On that same day, Spain saw yields surge to 7.62%. Italian banks were in freefall, while European bank stocks (STOXX600) were rapidly approaching 2009 lows. Having risen above 55 in 2011, Deutsche Bank traded at 23.23 on July 25, 2012.

It was my view at the time that the “European” crisis posed a clear and immediate threat to the global financial system. A crisis of confidence in Italian debt (and Spanish and “periphery” debt) risked a crisis of confidence in European banks – and a loss of confidence in European finance risked dismantling the euro monetary regime.

Derivatives markets were in the crosshairs back in 2012. A crisis of confidence in European debt and the euro would surely have tested the derivatives marketplace to the limits. Moreover, with the big European banks having evolved into dominant players in derivatives trading (taking share from U.S. counterparts after the mortgage crisis), counter-party issues were at the brink of becoming a serious global market problem. It’s as well worth mentioning that European banks were major providers of finance for emerging markets.

From the global government finance Bubble perspective, Draghi’s “whatever it takes” was a seminal development. The Bernanke Fed employed QE measures during the 2008 financial crisis to accommodate deleveraging and stabilize dislocated markets. Mario Draghi leapfrogged (helicopter) Bernanke, turning to open-ended QE and other extreme measures to preserve euro monetary integration. No longer would QE be viewed as a temporary crisis management tool. And just completely disregard traditional monetary axiom that central banks should operate as lender of last resort in the event of temporary illiquidity – but must avoid propping up the insolvent. “Whatever it takes” advocates covert bailouts for whomever and whatever a small group of central bankers chooses – illiquid, insolvent, irredeemable or otherwise. Now five years after the first utterance of “whatever it takes,” the Draghi ECB is still pumping out enormous amounts of “money” on a monthly basis (buying sovereigns and corporates) with rates near zero.

..

Thinking back five years, U.S. markets at the time were incredibly complacent. The risk of crisis in Europe was downplayed: Policymakers had it all under control. Sometime later, the Financial Times - in a fascinating behind-the-scenes exposé - confirmed the gravity of the situation and how frazzled European leaders were at the brink of losing control. Yet central bankers, once again, saved the day – further solidifying their superhero status.

I’m convinced five years of “whatever it takes” took the global government finance Bubble deeper into perilous uncharted territory. Certainly, markets are more complacent than ever, believing central bankers are fully committed to prolonging indefinitely the securities bull market. Meanwhile, leverage, speculative excess and trend-following flows have had an additional five years to accumulate. Market distortions – including valuations, deeply embedded complacency, and Trillions of perceived safe securities – have become only further detached from reality. And the longer all this unstable finance flows freely into the real economy, the deeper the structural maladjustment.'

- Doug Noland, Five Years of Whatever It Takes, July 29, 2017


'..This whole episode is likely to end so badly that future children will learn about it in school and shake their heads in wonder at the rank stupidity of it all, just like many of us did when we learned about the Dutch Tulip mania.'

'While I've written about numerous valuation measures over time, the most reliable ones share a common feature: they focus on identifying "sufficient statistics" for the very, very long-term stream of cash flows that stocks can be expected to deliver into the hands of investors over time. On that front, revenues are typically more robust "sufficient statistics" than current or year-ahead earnings. See Exhaustion Gaps and the Fear of Missing Out for a table showing the relative reliability of a variety of measures. In April 2007, I estimated that an appropriate valuation for the S&P 500 stood about 850, roughly -40% lower than prevailing levels. By the October peak, the prospective market loss to normal valuation had increased to about -46%. As it happened, the subsequent collapse of the housing bubble took the S&P 500 about -55% lower. In late-October 2008, as the market plunge crossed below historically reliable valuation norms, I observed that the S&P 500 had become undervalued on our measures.

Again attempting to “stimulate” the economy from the recession that followed, the Federal Reserve cut short-term interest rates to zero in recent years, provoking yet another episode of yield-seeking speculation, where yield-starved investors created demand for virtually every class of securities, in the hope of achieving returns in excess of zero. Meanwhile, Wall Street, suffering from what J.K. Galbraith once called the “extreme brevity of the financial memory,” convinced itself yet again that the whole episode was built on something more solid than quotes on a screen and blotches of ink on paper..

..

..greater real economic activity was never the likely outcome of all this quantitative easing (indeed, one can show that the path of the economy since the crisis has not been materially different than what one could have projected using wholly non-monetary variables). Rather, Ben Bernanke, in his self-appointed role as Mad Hatter, was convinced that offensively hypervalued financial markets - that encourage the speculative misallocation of capital, imply dismal expected future returns, and create temporary paper profits that ultimately collapse - somehow represent a greater and more desirable form of “wealth” compared with reasonably-valued financial markets that offer attractive expected returns and help to soundly allocate capital. Believing that wealth is embodied by the price of a security rather than its future stream of cash flows, QE has created a world of hypervaluation, zero prospective future returns, and massive downside risks across nearly every conventional asset class.

And so, the Fed created such an enormous pool of zero interest bank reserves that investors would feel pressure to chase stocks, junk debt, anything to get rid of these yield-free hot potatoes. That didn’t stimulate more real, productive investment; it just created more investors who were frustrated with zero returns, because someone had to hold that base money, and in aggregate, all of them had to hold over $4 trillion of the stuff at every moment in time.

When you look objectively at what the Fed actually did, should be obvious how its actions encouraged this bubble. Every time someone would get rid of zero-interest base money by buying a riskier security, the seller would get the base money, and the cycle would continue until every asset was priced to deliver future returns near zero. We’re now at the point where junk yields are among the lowest in history, stock market valuations are so extreme that we estimate zero or negative S&P 500 average annual nominal total returns over the coming 10-12 year horizon, and our estimate of 12-year prospective total returns on a conventional mix of 60% stocks, 30% Treasury bonds, and 10% Treasury bills has never been lower (about 1% annually here). This whole episode is likely to end so badly that future children will learn about it in school and shake their heads in wonder at the rank stupidity of it all, just like many of us did when we learned about the Dutch Tulip mania.

Examine all risk exposures, consider your investment horizon and risk-tolerance carefully, commit to the flexibility toward greater market exposure at points where a material retreat in valuations is joined by early improvement in market action (even if the news happens to be very negative at that point), fasten your protective gear, and expect a little bit of whiplash. Remember that the “catalysts” often become evident after prices move, not before. The completion of this market cycle may or may not be immediate, but with the median stock at easily the most extreme price/revenue ratio in history, and a run-of-the-mill outcome now being market loss on the order of -60%, the contrast between recent stability and likely future volatility could hardly be more striking.'

- John P. Hussman, Ph.D., Hot Potatoes and Dutch Tulips, July 31, 2017


Context

(2017) - '..a deeply systemic debt crisis akin to the aftermath of 1929 .. the stage has now been set..'

(Banking Reform - Monetary Reform) - '..debt is our biggest security threat..'

'..the Next 30 Years: “Everything is Deflationary”..'

          (2017) - '..a deeply systemic debt crisis akin to the aftermath of 1929 .. the stage has now been set..' (no replies)        
'..But after a decade of unprecedented expansion of government debt and central bank Credit, the stage has now been set for a more systemic 1929-like financial dislocation.'

'June 27 – Reuters (William Schomberg, Marc Jones, Jason Lange and Lindsay Dunsmuir): “U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said on Tuesday that she does not believe that there will be another financial crisis for at least as long as she lives, thanks largely to reforms of the banking system since the 2007-09 crash. ‘Would I say there will never, ever be another financial crisis?’ Yellen said… ‘You know probably that would be going too far but I do think we're much safer and I hope that it will not be in our lifetimes and I don't believe it will be,’ she said.”

While headlines somewhat paraphrased Yellen’s actual comment, “We Will not see Another Crisis in Our Lifetime” is reminiscent of Irving Fisher’s “permanent plateau” just weeks before the great crash of 1929. While on the subject, I never bought into the popular comparison between 2008 and 1929 – and the related notion of 2008 as “the 100-year flood”. The 2008/09 crisis was for the most part a private debt crisis associated with the bursting of a Bubble in mortgage Credit – not dissimilar to previous serial global crises, only larger and somewhat more systemic. It was not, however, a deeply systemic debt crisis akin to the aftermath of 1929, which was characterized by a crisis of confidence in the banking system, the markets and finance more generally, along with a loss of faith in government policy and institutions. But after a decade of unprecedented expansion of government debt and central bank Credit, the stage has now been set for a more systemic 1929-like financial dislocation.

As such, it’s ironic that the Fed has branded the banking system cured and so well capitalized that bankers can now boost dividends, buybacks and, presumably, risk-taking. As conventional central bank thinking goes, a well-capitalized banking system provides a powerful buffer for thwarting the winds of financial crisis. Chair Yellen, apparently, surveys current bank capital levels and extrapolates to systemic stability. Yet the next crisis lurks not with the banks but within the securities and derivatives markets: too much leverage and too much “money” employed in trend-following trading strategies. Too much hedging, speculating and leveraging in derivatives. Market misperceptions and distortions on an epic scale.

Compared to 2008, the leveraged speculating community and the ETF complex are significantly larger and potentially perilous. The derivatives markets are these days acutely more vulnerable to liquidity issues and dislocation. Never have global markets been so dominated by trend-following strategies. It’s a serious issue that asset market performance – stocks, bond, corporate Credit, EM, real estate, etc. – have all become so tightly correlated. There are huge vulnerabilities associated with various markets having become so highly synchronized on a global basis. And in the grand scheme of grossly inflated global securities, asset and derivatives markets, the scope of available bank capital is trivial.

I realize that, at this late stage of the great bull market, such a question sounds hopelessly disconnected. Yet, when markets reverse sharply lower and The Crowd suddenly moves to de-risk, who is left to take the other side of what has become One Gargantuan “Trade”? We’re all familiar with the pat response: “Central banks. They’ll have no choice.” Okay, but I’m more interested in the timing and circumstances.

Central bankers are now signaling their desire to proceed with normalization, along with noting concerns for elevated asset prices. As such, I suspect they will be somewhat more circumspect going forward when it comes to backstopping the markets - than, say, back in 2013 with Bernanke’s “flash crash” or with the China scare of early-2016. Perhaps this might help to explain why the VIX spiked above 15 during Thursday afternoon trading. Even corporate debt markets showed a flash of vulnerability this week.'

- Doug Noland, Weekly Commentary: The Road to Normalization, July 1, 2017


Context (Banking Reform - English/Dutch) '..a truly stable financial and monetary system for the twenty-first century..'

'Unsound Finance gets to the heart of the issue.'

'..Like monetarists, Keynes held no capital theory .. the role time plays..' - Jesús Huerta de Soto

'..Loose financial conditions and record debt issuance..'


'..investors’ fear of missing out is looking increasingly desperate..'

'..a giant passive 'beta' bubble .. This may be the Mother of all beta bubbles..'

'..The same combination prevailed at the 1929, 1972, 1987, 2000, and 2007 market peaks..'


(Banking Reform - Monetary Reform) - '..debt is our biggest security threat..'

          (Bazaarmodel - To Heal - Teal) Dream - Semco Style (no replies)        
Those who make dreams come true get noticed

- Aldowa (A Semco Style Company)

'Leading Wisely is a podcast series by Ricardo Semler about the search for wisdom in organizations. In discussions with business leaders such as Zappos' Tony Hsieh, Basecamp's Jason Friedman and David Heinemeier Hansson and with other experts on the topic such as Frederic Laloux, he challenges assumptions and explores how we can change the way we live and work.

- Killing the dinosaur business model, 2017

'In France, almost every couple of days a company or public sector organization is entering corporate liberation. How about US? Here is one more example on how a company’s leader decided to liberate his company.

Ricardo Semler’s book served as an inspiration. Add to that a deep conviction and a lot of common sense.'

- Freedom Inc, '..corporate liberation.' June 6, 2017


Context (Leaders)

'..I believe in responsibility but not in pyramidal hierarchy .. the negative value of structure. Structure creates hierarchy, and hierarchy creates constraint..'

(Bazaarmodel - To Heal - Teal) - 'Your physical .. cultural .. soul heredity..'

(To Heal - Teal - Bazaarmodel) - Striving for wholeness '..We have let our busy egos trump the quiet voice of our soul; many cultures often celebrate the mind and neglect the body..'


'I, too, have a pet little evil, to which in more passionate moments I am apt to attribute all the others. This evil is the neglect of thinking. And when I say thinking I mean real thinking, independent thinking, hard thinking.'

- Learning How to Think (Economics - '..acts of choice.' (‘..imagination of alternatives..’))


(Open Source) - '..“open innovation.” Companies such as AstraZeneca, Lilly, GSK, Janssen, Merck, Pfizer, Sanofi, TransCelerate, and others..'

(Haptopraxeology) - '..the senses were the windows of the soul and that reason had a divine right to feed upon fact..'

(To Heal) - Overview of Focus Levels '..to areas of greater free will choice.'


'..to rethink and to rebuild a culture where there are open channels between feeling and understanding..'

(Praxeology) - '..his or her subjective values .. to explain all economic phenomena as the results of what people do..'

'Reinventing Organizations: ..radically more soulful, purposeful and powerful ways to structure and run .. organizations.'


(To Heal)(Management innovation) - '..Teal Organizations to start healing the world..'

(Haptopraxeology) - Students of Civilization

          '..FORGET fuel-powered jet engines .. looking into hybrid planes .. plasma engine..' (no replies)        
'FORGET fuel-powered jet engines. We’re on the verge of having aircraft that can fly from the ground up to the edge of space using air and electricity alone.

..

Berkant Göksel at the Technical University of Berlin and his team now want to fit plasma engines to planes. “We want to develop a system that can operate above an altitude of 30 kilometres where standard jet engines cannot go,” he says. These could even take passengers to the edge of the atmosphere and beyond.

..

Göksel is hoping for a breakthrough in compact fusion reactors to power his system..

In the meantime, he is looking into hybrid planes, in which his plasma engine would be combined with pulse detonation combustion engines or rockets to save on fuel.'

- Sandrine Ceurstemont, Plasma jet engines that could take you from the ground to space, May 17, 2017


Context

(Fusion Power) - LPP Focus Fusion 1; '..FF-1 results are right now far ahead..'

(The Electric Universe) - SAFIRE as Astrophysical Laboratory | EU2016

'Open source is now mainstream..'


The New Fusion Race - Part 4 - Fusion Race: Who is Ahead, April 6, 2017

          The "CityTree" - 'Air pollution is one of the world's invisible killers.' (no replies)        
'..the "CityTree", a mobile installation which removes pollutants from the air, has been popping up in cities around the world, including Oslo, Paris, Brussels and Hong Kong.'

'(CNN) Air pollution is one of the world's invisible killers.

It causes seven million premature deaths a year, making it the largest single environmental health risk, according to the World Health Organization.

In urban areas, air quality is particularly problematic. More than 80% of people living in areas where pollution is monitored are exposed to air quality levels that exceed WHO limits. And given that by 2050 two thirds of the global population will be urban, cleaning up our cities' air is a matter of urgency.

One well-established way to reduce air pollutants is to plant trees, as their leaves catch and absorb harmful particulates.

But planting new trees is not always a viable option.

That's why the "CityTree", a mobile installation which removes pollutants from the air, has been popping up in cities around the world, including Oslo, Paris, Brussels and Hong Kong.

Moss is in the air

Each CityTree is just under 4 meters tall, nearly 3 meters wide and 2.19 meters deep, available in two versions: with or without a bench. A display is included for information or advertising.

Berlin-based Green City Solutions claims its invention has the environmental benefit of up to 275 actual trees.

But the CityTree isn't, in fact, a tree at all -- it's a moss culture.

"Moss cultures have a much larger leaf surface area than any other plant. That means we can capture more pollutants," said Zhengliang Wu, co-founder of Green City Solutions.

..

So far, around 20 CityTrees have been successfully installed, with each costing about $25,000.

..

Wu also argued that the CityTree is just one piece of a larger puzzle.

"Our ultimate goal is to incorporate technology from the CityTree into existing buildings," he said.

"We dream of creating a climate infrastructure so we can regulate what kind of air and also what kind of temperature we have in a city." '

- By Chris Giles, This 'tree' has the environmental benefits of a forest, June 8, 2017


Context

'..to Ban Internal Combustion Engines by 2030'

'..committed to 100 percent clean energy by the year 2050.'

'The future of shipping is, without a doubt, silent and emission free.'


(Global Infrastructure Upgrade) - Mexico's former president: Global infrastructure needs an upgrade

'Thorium reactor: cleaner, safer and sustainable nuclear energy within sight'

'..reductions in air pollution and lower costs .. moving to low-carbon electricity generation..'


Crowdfunding Focus Fusion (since May 6, 2014) - 'Focus Fusion: Clean Energy For All'

(Fusion Power) - LPP Focus Fusion 1; '..FF-1 results are right now far ahead..'

June, 2017 - 'Renewable sources of energy have generated more electricity than coal and gas in Great Britain..'

          Update (February 11, 2017) - '..ethical standards..' ('.. Dr. Bates appeared to distance himself from some of what he wrote in the blog post..') (no replies)        
Update February 11, 2017: 'In an interview on Monday with E&E News, Dr. Bates appeared to distance himself from some of what he wrote in the blog post, and from the way his criticisms were portrayed in the Mail on Sunday article.

“The issue here is not an issue of tampering with data,” he said, “but rather really of timing of a release of a paper that had not properly disclosed everything it was.”

Climate Home, a nonprofit site based in London that offers news and analysis, also weighed in on one of the central contentions of Mr. Rose’s article, that the publication of the NOAA paper had "duped” policy makers into adopting the Paris accord. The site contacted representatives to the talks from 10 countries; none said that the paper had any influence.'

- Henry Fountain, No Data Manipulation in 2015 Climate Study, Researchers Say, February 7, 2016


Update February 09, 2017: 'Dr Bates’ main complaint is that Dr Karl and his co-authors did not follow strict procedures required for NOAA’s ‘operational’ data. It is not yet clear whether Dr Karl should have subjected his research data to the same procedures. Dr Karl, who retired from NOAA in August 2016, has not yet had the opportunity to respond fully to Dr Bates’ allegations.'

- LSE: More fake news in ‘The Mail on Sunday’, February 5, 2017 (Wikipedia Bans Daily Mail As 'Unreliable' Source, February 08, 2017))


'..a failure to observe proper ethical standards..'

'Dr John Bates’s disclosures about the manipulation of data behind the ‘Pausebuster’ paper is the biggest scientific scandal since ‘Climategate’ in 2009 when, as this paper reported, thousands of leaked emails revealed scientists were trying to block access to data, and using a ‘trick’ to conceal embarrassing flaws in their claims about global warming.

Both scandals suggest a lack of transparency and, according to Dr Bates, a failure to observe proper ethical standards.

Because of NOAA ’s failure to ‘archive’ data used in the paper, its results can never be verified.

Like Climategate, this scandal is likely to reverberate around the world, and reignite some of science’s most hotly contested debates.'

- Exposed: How world leaders were duped into investing billions over manipulated global warming data, February 4, 2017


'Whatever takes its place, said Dr Bates, ‘there needs to be a fundamental change to the way NOAA deals with data so that people can check and validate scientific results. I’m hoping that this will be a wake-up call to the climate science community – a signal that we have to put in place processes to make sure this kind of crap doesn’t happen again.

..

Dr Bates said: ‘How ironic it is that there is now this idea that Trump is going to trash climate data, when key decisions were earlier taken by someone whose responsibility it was to maintain its integrity – and failed.’ '


'Dr Bates retired from NOAA at the end of last year after a 40-year career in meteorology and climate science. As recently as 2014, the Obama administration awarded him a special gold medal for his work in setting new, supposedly binding standards ‘to produce and preserve climate data records’.

..

Less than two years earlier, a blockbuster report from the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which drew on the work of hundreds of scientists around the world, had found ‘a much smaller increasing trend over the past 15 years 1998-2012 than over the past 30 to 60 years’. Explaining the pause became a key issue for climate science. It was seized on by global warming sceptics, because the level of CO2 in the atmosphere had continued to rise.

..

In the weeks after the Pausebuster paper was published, Dr Bates conducted a one-man investigation into this. His findings were extraordinary. Not only had Mr Karl and his colleagues failed to follow any of the formal procedures required to approve and archive their data, they had used a ‘highly experimental early run’ of a programme that tried to combine two previously separate sets of records.

..

Dr Bates revealed that the failure to archive and make available fully documented data not only violated NOAA rules, but also those set down by Science. Before he retired last year, he continued to raise the issue internally. Then came the final bombshell. Dr Bates said: ‘I learned that the computer used to process the software had suffered a complete failure.’

The reason for the failure is unknown, but it means the Pausebuster paper can never be replicated or verified by other scientists.

..

Whatever takes its place, said Dr Bates, ‘there needs to be a fundamental change to the way NOAA deals with data so that people can check and validate scientific results. I’m hoping that this will be a wake-up call to the climate science community – a signal that we have to put in place processes to make sure this kind of crap doesn’t happen again.

Dr Bates said: ‘How ironic it is that there is now this idea that Trump is going to trash climate data, when key decisions were earlier taken by someone whose responsibility it was to maintain its integrity – and failed.’

NOAA not only failed, but it effectively mounted a cover-up when challenged over its data. After the paper was published, the US House of Representatives Science Committee launched an inquiry into its Pausebuster claims. NOAA refused to comply with subpoenas demanding internal emails from the committee chairman, the Texas Republican Lamar Smith, and falsely claimed that no one had raised concerns about the paper internally.'

- Exposed: How world leaders were duped into investing billions over manipulated global warming data, February 4, 2017


Context '..conduct more meetings on ethics .. Respectful discussion of different points of view should be encouraged.' - John Bates

Climategate: Follow the Money - By Bret Stephens

Those Who Control the Past Control the Future, Climate Data Edition, February 5, 2017

'..Earth is warming more rapidly than previously thought was correct..'


'Trees are the best known ‘technology’ to cool our planet'

Focus Fusion - '..So, production reactors by 2020 or so.'

(Earth Defence - Earth Shield) - Faraday - Tesla - 'The Accelerating Winds of Venus.' (Electric Universe - Solar Climate Change)


(The Electric Universe - Earth Defence - Earth Shield) - Electric Fossils and Thundercrabs

(The Electric Universe) - '..weather systems .. an electric “wind” surrounds and often precedes an electric arc.'

(Thymology - Haptopraxeology) - '..entrepreneurship .. actions he will carry out and estimates the future effect of those actions..'


'...The peer review process is broken...' - '...don't have the "situational awareness"...'

On the Mail on Sunday article on Karl et al., 2015, February 5, 2017

          'We have no experience in stopping a nuclear war.' - Sidney Drell (no replies)        
'..My greatest concern is the lack of public awareness about this existential threat, the absence of a vigorous public debate about the nuclear-war plans of Russia and the United States, the silent consent to the roughly fifteen thousand nuclear weapons in the world. These machines have been carefully and ingeniously designed to kill us. Complacency increases the odds that, some day, they will. The “Titanic Effect” is a term used by software designers to explain how things can quietly go wrong in a complex technological system: the safer you assume the system to be, the more dangerous it is becoming.'

'The harsh rhetoric on both sides increases the danger of miscalculations and mistakes, as do other factors. Close encounters between the military aircraft of the United States and Russia have become routine, creating the potential for an unintended conflict. Many of the nuclear-weapon systems on both sides are aging and obsolete. The personnel who operate those systems often suffer from poor morale and poor training. None of their senior officers has firsthand experience making decisions during an actual nuclear crisis. And today’s command-and-control systems must contend with threats that barely existed during the Cold War: malware, spyware, worms, bugs, viruses, corrupted firmware, logic bombs, Trojan horses, and all the other modern tools of cyber warfare. The greatest danger is posed not by any technological innovation but by a dilemma that has haunted nuclear strategy since the first detonation of an atomic bomb: How do you prevent a nuclear attack while preserving the ability to launch one?

..

..the Cuban Missile Crisis, when a series of misperceptions, miscalculations, and command-and-control problems almost started an accidental nuclear war—despite the determination of both John F. Kennedy and Nikita Khrushchev to avoid one. In perhaps the most dangerous incident, the captain of a Soviet submarine mistakenly believed that his vessel was under attack by U.S. warships and ordered the firing of a torpedo armed with a nuclear warhead. His order was blocked by a fellow officer. Had the torpedo been fired, the United States would have retaliated with nuclear weapons. At the height of the crisis, while leaving the White House on a beautiful fall evening, McNamara had a strong feeling of dread—and for good reason: “I feared I might never live to see another Saturday night.”

..

The personnel who command, operate, and maintain the Minuteman III have also become grounds for concern. In 2013, the two-star general in charge of the entire Minuteman force was removed from duty after going on a drunken bender during a visit to Russia, behaving inappropriately with young Russian women, asking repeatedly if he could sing with a Beatles cover band at a Mexican restaurant in Moscow, and insulting his military hosts. The following year, almost a hundred Minuteman launch officers were disciplined for cheating on their proficiency exams. In 2015, three launch officers at Malmstrom Air Force Base, in Montana, were dismissed for using illegal drugs, including ecstasy, cocaine, and amphetamines. That same year, a launch officer at Minot Air Force Base, in North Dakota, was sentenced to twenty-five years in prison for heading a violent street gang, distributing drugs, sexually assaulting a girl under the age of sixteen, and using psilocybin, a powerful hallucinogen. As the job title implies, launch officers are entrusted with the keys for launching intercontinental ballistic missiles.

..

..A recent memoir, “Uncommon Cause,” written by General George Lee Butler, reveals that the Pentagon was not telling the truth. Butler was the head of the U.S. Strategic Command, responsible for all of America’s nuclear weapons, during the Administration of President George H. W. Bush.

According to Butler and Franklin Miller, a former director of strategic-forces policy at the Pentagon, launch-on-warning was an essential part of the Single Integrated Operational Plan (siop), the nation’s nuclear-war plan. Land-based missiles like the Minuteman III were aimed at some of the most important targets in the Soviet Union, including its anti-aircraft sites. If the Minuteman missiles were destroyed before liftoff, the siop would go awry, and American bombers might be shot down before reaching their targets. In order to prevail in a nuclear war, the siop had become dependent on getting Minuteman missiles off the ground immediately. Butler’s immersion in the details of the nuclear command-and-control system left him dismayed. “With the possible exception of the Soviet nuclear war plan, [the siop] was the single most absurd and irresponsible document I had ever reviewed in my life,” Butler concluded. “We escaped the Cold War without a nuclear holocaust by some combination of skill, luck, and divine intervention, and I suspect the latter in greatest proportion.” The siop called for the destruction of twelve thousand targets within the Soviet Union. Moscow would be struck by four hundred nuclear weapons; Kiev, the capital of the Ukraine, by about forty.

After the end of the Cold War, a Russian surprise attack became extremely unlikely. Nevertheless, hundreds of Minuteman III missiles remained on alert. The Cold War strategy endured because, in theory, it deterred a Russian attack on the missiles. McNamara called the policy “insane,” arguing that “there’s no military requirement for it.” George W. Bush, while running for President in 2000, criticized launch-on-warning, citing the “unacceptable risks of accidental or unauthorized launch.” Barack Obama, while running for President in 2008, promised to take Minuteman missiles off alert, warning that policies like launch-on-warning “increase the risk of catastrophic accidents or miscalculation.” Twenty scientists who have won the Nobel Prize, as well as the Union of Concerned Scientists, have expressed strong opposition to retaining a launch-on-warning capability. It has also been opposed by former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, former Secretary of State George Shultz, and former Senator Sam Nunn. And yet the Minuteman III missiles still sit in their silos today, armed with warheads, ready to go.

William J. Perry, who served as Secretary of Defense during the Clinton Administration, not only opposes keeping Minuteman III missiles on alert but advocates getting rid of them entirely. “These missiles are some of the most dangerous weapons in the world,” Perry wrote in the Times, this September. For many reasons, he thinks the risk of a nuclear catastrophe is greater today than it was during the Cold War. While serving as an Under-Secretary of Defense in 1980, Perry also received a late-night call about an impending Soviet attack, a false alarm that still haunts him. “A catastrophic nuclear war could have started by accident.”

Bruce Blair, a former Minuteman launch officer, heads the anti-nuclear group Global Zero, teaches at Princeton University, and campaigns against a launch-on-warning policy. Blair has described the stresses that the warning of a Russian attack would put on America’s command-and-control system. American early-warning satellites would detect Russian missiles within three minutes of their launch. Officers at norad would confer for an additional three minutes, checking sensors to decide if an attack was actually occurring. The Integrated Tactical Warning/Attack System collects data from at least two independent information sources, relying on different physical principles, such as ground-based radar and satellite-based infrared sensors. If the norad officials thought that the warning was legitimate, the President of the United States would be contacted. He or she would remove the Black Book from a briefcase carried by a military aide. The Black Book describes nuclear retaliatory options, presented in cartoon-like illustrations that can be quickly understood.

..

Although the Air Force publicly dismissed the threat of a cyberattack on the nuclear command-and-control system, the incident raised alarm within the Pentagon about the system’s vulnerability. A malfunction that occurred by accident might also be caused deliberately. Those concerns were reinforced by a Defense Science Board report in January, 2013. It found that the Pentagon’s computer networks had been “built on inherently insecure architectures that are composed of, and increasingly using, foreign parts.” Red teams employed by the board were able to disrupt Pentagon systems with “relative ease,” using tools available on the Internet. “The complexity of modern software and hardware makes it difficult, if not impossible, to develop components without flaws or to detect malicious insertions,” the report concluded.

In a recent paper for the Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies, Andrew Futter, an associate professor at the University of Leicester, suggested that a nuclear command-and-control system might be hacked to gather intelligence about the system, to shut down the system, to spoof it, mislead it, or cause it to take some sort of action—like launching a missile. And, he wrote, there are a variety of ways it might be done.

..

Strict precautions have been taken to thwart a cyberattack on the U.S. nuclear command-and-control system. Every line of nuclear code has been scrutinized for errors and bugs. The system is “air-gapped,” meaning that its networks are closed: someone can’t just go onto the Internet and tap into a computer at a Minuteman III control center. At least, that’s the theory. Russia, China, and North Korea have sophisticated cyber-warfare programs and techniques. General James Cartwright—the former head of the U.S. Strategic Command who recently pleaded guilty to leaking information about Stuxnet—thinks that it’s reasonable to believe the system has already been penetrated. “You’ve either been hacked, and you’re not admitting it, or you’re being hacked and don’t know it,” Cartwright said last year.

If communications between Minuteman control centers and their missiles are interrupted, the missiles can still be launched by ultra-high-frequency radio signals transmitted by special military aircraft. The ability to launch missiles by radio serves as a backup to the control centers—and also creates an entry point into the network that could be exploited in a cyberattack. The messages sent within the nuclear command-and-control system are highly encrypted. Launch codes are split in two, and no single person is allowed to know both parts. But the complete code is stored in computers—where it could be obtained or corrupted by an insider.

Some of America’s most secret secrets were recently hacked and stolen by a couple of private contractors working inside the N.S.A., Edward Snowden and Harold T. Martin III, both employees of Booz Allen Hamilton. The N.S.A. is responsible for generating and encrypting the nuclear launch codes. And the security of the nuclear command-and-control system is being assured not only by government officials but also by the employees of private firms, including software engineers who work for Boeing, Amazon, and Microsoft.

Lord Des Browne, a former U.K. Minister of Defense, is concerned that even ballistic-missile submarines may be compromised by malware. Browne is now the vice-chairman of the Nuclear Threat Initiative, a nonprofit seeking to reduce the danger posed by weapons of mass destruction, where he heads a task force examining the risk of cyberattacks on nuclear command-and-control systems. Browne thinks that the cyber threat is being cavalierly dismissed by many in power. The Royal Navy’s decision to save money by using Windows for Submarines, a version of Windows XP, as the operating system for its ballistic-missile subs seems especially shortsighted. Windows XP was discontinued six years ago, and Microsoft warned that any computer running it after April, 2014, “should not be considered protected as there will be no security updates.” Each of the U.K. subs has eight missiles carrying a total of forty nuclear weapons. “It is shocking to think that my home computer is probably running a newer version of Windows than the U.K.’s military submarines,” Brown said.In 2013, General C. Robert Kehler, the head of the U.S. Strategic Command, testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee about the risk of cyberattacks on the nuclear command-and-control system. He expressed confidence that the U.S. system was secure. When Senator Bill Nelson asked if somebody could hack into the Russian or Chinese systems and launch a ballistic missile carrying a nuclear warhead, Kehler replied, “Senator, I don’t know . . . I do not know.”

After the debacle of the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Soviet Union became much more reluctant to provoke a nuclear confrontation with the United States. Its politburo was a committee of conservative old men. Russia’s leadership is quite different today. The current mix of nationalism, xenophobia, and vehement anti-Americanism in Moscow is a far cry from the more staid and secular ideology guiding the Soviet Union in the nineteen-eighties. During the past few years, threats about the use of nuclear weapons have become commonplace in Moscow. Dmitry Kiselyov, a popular newscaster and the Kremlin’s leading propagandist, reminded viewers in 2014 that Russia is “the only country in the world capable of turning the U.S.A. into radioactive dust.” The Kremlin has acknowledged the development of a nuclear torpedo that can travel more than six thousand miles underwater before devastating a coastal city. It has also boasted about a fearsome new missile design. Nicknamed “Satan 2” and deployed with up to sixteen nuclear warheads, the missile will be “capable of wiping out parts of the earth the size of Texas or France,” an official news agency claimed.

..

Russia’s greatest strategic vulnerability is the lack of a sophisticated and effective early-warning system. The Soviet Union had almost a dozen satellites in orbit that could detect a large-scale American attack. The system began to deteriorate in 1996, when an early-warning satellite had to be retired. Others soon fell out of orbit, and Russia’s last functional early-warning satellite went out of service two years ago. Until a new network of satellites can be placed in orbit, the country must depend on ground-based radar units. Unlike the United States, Russia no longer has two separate means of validating an attack warning. At best, the radar units can spot warheads only minutes before they land. Pavel Podvig, a senior fellow at the U.N. Institute for Disarmament Research, believes that Russia does not have a launch-on-warning policy—because its early-warning system is so limited.

For the past nine years, I’ve been immersed in the minutiae of nuclear command and control, trying to understand the actual level of risk. Of all the people whom I’ve met in the nuclear realm, Sidney Drell was one of the most brilliant and impressive. Drell died this week, at the age of ninety. A theoretical physicist with expertise in quantum field theory and quantum chromodynamics, he was for many years the deputy director of the Stanford Linear Accelerator and received the National Medal of Science from Obama, in 2013. Drell was one of the founding members of jason—a group of civilian scientists that advises the government on important technological matters—and for fifty-six years possessed a Q clearance, granting him access to the highest level of classified information. Drell participated in top-secret discussions about nuclear strategy for decades, headed a panel that investigated nuclear-weapon safety for the U.S. Congress in 1990, and worked on technical issues for jason until the end of his life. A few months ago, when I asked for his opinion about launch-on-warning, Drell said, “It’s insane, the worst thing I can think of. You can’t have a worse idea.”

Drell was an undergraduate at Princeton University when Hiroshima and Nagasaki were destroyed. Given all the close calls and mistakes in the seventy-one years since then, he considered it a miracle that no other cities have been destroyed by a nuclear weapon—“it is so far beyond my normal optimism.” The prospect of a new cold war—and the return of military strategies that advocate using nuclear weapons on the battlefield—deeply unnerved him. Once the first nuclear weapon detonates, nothing might prevent the conflict from spiralling out of control. “We have no experience in stopping a nuclear war,” he said.

..

Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin confront a stark choice: begin another nuclear-arms race or reduce the threat of nuclear war. Trump now has a unique opportunity to pursue the latter, despite the bluster and posturing on both sides. His admiration for Putin, regardless of its merits, could provide the basis for meaningful discussions about how to minimize nuclear risks. Last year, General James Mattis, the former Marine chosen by Trump to serve as Secretary of Defense, called for a fundamental reappraisal of American nuclear strategy and questioned the need for land-based missiles. During Senate testimony, Mattis suggested that getting rid of such missiles would “reduce the false-alarm danger.” Contrary to expectations, Republican Presidents have proved much more successful than their Democratic counterparts at nuclear disarmament. President George H. W. Bush cut the size of the American arsenal in half, as did his son, President George W. Bush. And President Ronald Reagan came close to negotiating a treaty with the Soviet Union that would have completely abolished nuclear weapons.

Every technology embodies the values of the age in which it was created. When the atomic bomb was being developed in the mid-nineteen-forties, the destruction of cities and the deliberate targeting of civilians was just another military tactic. It was championed as a means to victory. The Geneva Conventions later classified those practices as war crimes—and yet nuclear weapons have no other real use. They threaten and endanger noncombatants for the sake of deterrence. Conventional weapons can now be employed to destroy every kind of military target, and twenty-first-century warfare puts an emphasis on precision strikes, cyberweapons, and minimizing civilian casualties. As a technology, nuclear weapons have become obsolete. What worries me most isn’t the possibility of a cyberattack, a technical glitch, or a misunderstanding starting a nuclear war sometime next week. My greatest concern is the lack of public awareness about this existential threat, the absence of a vigorous public debate about the nuclear-war plans of Russia and the United States, the silent consent to the roughly fifteen thousand nuclear weapons in the world. These machines have been carefully and ingeniously designed to kill us. Complacency increases the odds that, some day, they will. The “Titanic Effect” is a term used by software designers to explain how things can quietly go wrong in a complex technological system: the safer you assume the system to be, the more dangerous it is becoming.'

- Eric Schlosser, World War Three, By Mistake, December 23, 2016


Context

The International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons

          '..another Cold War that may last even longer than the war with world communism.' (no replies)        
'..until Muslim scholars find a Koran key to the free world and lead their followers to an entrance.'

'Economists pondering about human action distinguish between four types of individual incomes; the Koran permits only two, which explains much poverty in the Muslim world. Economists speak of labor income which flows from services rendered either in self-employment or working for an employer; the Koran smiles upon this basic kind of income. Economists also discern interest income which, reflecting human frailty and mortality, flows from the differences between man’s valuation of present economic goods and future goods; the Koran condemns “riba”, that is, interest income, and threatens all creditors who may be tempted to demand “riba” with “the fire prepared for unbelievers.” Economists also like to wax eloquent about entrepreneurial income, commonly called profits, which may be earned through correct anticipation of economic changes; failure to anticipate changes correctly may inflict entrepreneurial losses. The Koran simply prohibits economic activity that involves uncertainty, risk, or speculation and may earn “ghara.” The prohibition obviously discourages and hampers economic changes, adjustments, modernizations, and improvements that are uncertain and risky.

..

Muslim clerics are the tutors and preceptors not only of Islamic theology but also of social and economic ideology. Surely, they may not descend to the level of envy but may fly into anger and passion about the sinful behavior of all non-believers, that is, Christians and Jews, who grow rich in market economies, engaging in uncertain, risky, and speculative economic activity and prospering on riba and ghara. For some clerics the United States is the “Great Satan” and Israel his little offspring. It cannot be surprising that faithful followers abhor, fear, and hate the Great Satan and wish him evil. When a few Muslim fanatics flew into the World Trade Center in New York, killing more than 2,900 men and women, and another hijacked plane hit the Pentagon, killing 189 employees, jubilant masses thronged streets across the Muslim world, celebrating and rejoicing about the destruction and massacre.

..

..Today, the United States is in the early stages of a long struggle with radical Islamism that has been waging war against this country for some thirty years. Radical Islamic states have been breeding, sheltering, and financing the terrorist armies and radical clerics are invoking divine favor upon them.

The Western world, and especially the United States, is facing the prospect of a long and bitter war with a fanatical enemy. It is a desperate enemy because powerful forces of change are eroding its very ideological foundation. Modern communication technology has opened the windows of the world and is allowing people everywhere to observe Western mores and living conditions. A network of communication satellites, for instance, is continuously receiving, amplifying, and rebroadcasting signals to earth. Western ideas are reaching the minds of people everywhere and changing social, economic, political, and educational institutions. It cannot be surprising that Muslim autocracies like to keep the windows closed by monopolizing and disallowing access to such technology.

It is doubtful that the U.S. military will crush and completely render inactive a desperate enemy consisting of an organized guerilla force of Allah-fearing men and women. A small army of suicidal fanatics, a diminutive percentage of one billion and three hundred million Muslims in 206 countries, may wear away the patience and resolve of the American public and its political and military commanders. Such a possibility does not in any way intimate a victory and sway of Muslim fanatics over the forces of the West. Its paramount strength does not rest on brute military might but on its free and open way of life, its private property order and individual enterprise system. Its windows are wide open and its busy subjects are at work all over the world, simple ambassadors or even missionaries of its order. Even if the United States should ever stumble and lose its way, the windows are wide open and the bright light of individual freedom and the private property order would remain visible in many other parts of the West. It is unlikely that it can ever be extinguished.

The U.S. military is not going to conquer many Muslim countries, but individual freedom and the private property order may in time..

..

We shall know the future only when it comes. But our thoughts like to live in the future, and what they see is another Cold War that may last even longer than the war with world communism. They see the Muslim world in a crisis which causes a few revolutionaries to strike at Americans. Insurgents may continue to lash out until Muslim scholars find a Koran key to the free world and lead their followers to an entrance.'

- Hans F. Sennholz, In Another Cold War, 2004


Context

'..the battle of ideas taking place in the Muslim world..'

(Bazaarmodel - To Heal - Teal) - '..is it possible to build a truly Evolutionary-Teal school?'

          (Bazaarmodel - To Heal - Teal) - '..is it possible to build a truly Evolutionary-Teal school?' (no replies)        
'This factory-like system seems increasingly out of date. More and more people are crying out for innovation in education and starting to experiment with curricula, technologies, and governance in schools. But is it possible to build a truly Evolutionary-Teal school? And what would it look like? A superb example can be found in the center of Berlin in Germany. The “ESBZ” is a grade 7-12 school that opened its doors in 2007 with more than a bit of improvisation. Just three months before the start of the school year, the city council had suddenly given a decrepit prefabricated building from communist times to a group of pesky parents who simply wouldn’t let go of their dream. When the school year started, only 16 students were registered. A few months later, at the mid-year point, 30 more students had joined, mostly rejects and troublemakers other schools had expelled. Hardly a promising start for a new school. And yet today, only a few years later, the school has 500 students and attracts hundreds of principals, teachers, and education specialists from all over the country who want to study the ESBZ model.'

- Frederic Laloux, (Reinventing Organizations, Chapter 2.2 _ Self-management Structures), page 93


'..Yet unlike Sudbury, Montessori or Steiner schools, Rasfeld’s institution tries to embed student self-determination within a relatively strict system of rules. Students who dawdle during lessons have to come into school on Saturday morning to catch up, a punishment known as “silentium”. “The more freedom you have, the more structure you need,” says Rasfeld.

The main reason why the ESBC is gaining a reputation as Germany’s most exciting school is that its experimental philosophy has managed to deliver impressive results..'


'..At Oberländer’s school, there are no grades until students turn 15, no timetables and no lecture-style instructions. The pupils decide which subjects they want to study for each lesson and when they want to take an exam.

The school’s syllabus reads like any helicopter parent’s nightmare. Set subjects are limited to maths, German, English and social studies, supplemented by more abstract courses such as “responsibility” and “challenge”. For challenge, students aged 12 to 14 are given €150 (£115) and sent on an adventure that they have to plan entirely by themselves. Some go kayaking; others work on a farm. Anton went trekking along England’s south coast.

The philosophy behind these innovations is simple: as the requirements of the labour market are changing, and smartphones and the internet are transforming the ways in which young people process information, the school’s headteacher, Margret Rasfeld, argues, the most important skill a school can pass down to its students is the ability to motivate themselves.

“Look at three or four year olds – they are all full of self-confidence,” Rasfeld says. “Often, children can’t wait to start school. But frustratingly, most schools then somehow manage to untrain that confidence.”

The Evangelical School Berlin Centre (ESBC) is trying to do nothing less than “reinvent what a school is”, she says. “The mission of a progressive school should be to prepare young people to cope with change, or better still, to make them look forward to change. In the 21st century, schools should see it as their job to develop strong personalities.”

Making students listen to a teacher for 45 minutes and punishing them for collaborating on an exercise, Rasfeld says, was not only out of sync with the requirements of the modern world of work, but counterproductive. “Nothing motivates students more than when they discover the meaning behind a subject of their own accord.”

Students at her school are encouraged to think up other ways to prove their acquired skills, such as coding a computer game instead of sitting a maths exam. Oberländer, who had never been away from home for three weeks until he embarked on his challenge in Cornwall, said he learned more English on his trip than he had in several years of learning the language at school.

Germany’s federalised education structure, in which each of the 16 states plans its own education system, has traditionally allowed “free learning” models to flourish. Yet unlike Sudbury, Montessori or Steiner schools, Rasfeld’s institution tries to embed student self-determination within a relatively strict system of rules. Students who dawdle during lessons have to come into school on Saturday morning to catch up, a punishment known as “silentium”. “The more freedom you have, the more structure you need,” says Rasfeld.

The main reason why the ESBC is gaining a reputation as Germany’s most exciting school is that its experimental philosophy has managed to deliver impressive results..

..

Aged 65 and due to retire in July, Rasfeld still has ambitious plans. A four-person “education innovation lab” based at the school has been developing teaching materials for schools that want to follow the ESBC’s lead. About 40 schools in Germany are in the process of adopting some or all of Rasfeld’s methods. One in Berlin’s Weissensee district recently let a student trek across the Alps for a challenge project. “Things are only getting started,” says Rasfeld.

“In education, you can only create change from the bottom – if the orders come from the top, schools will resist. Ministries are like giant oil tankers: it takes a long time to turn them around. What we need is lots of little speedboats to show you can do things differently.” '

- Philip Oltermann, No grades, no timetable: Berlin school turns teaching upside down, July 1, 2016


Context

(To Heal - Teal - Bazaarmodel) - Striving for wholeness '..We have let our busy egos trump the quiet voice of our soul; many cultures often celebrate the mind and neglect the body..'

(Bazaarmodel - To Heal - Teal) - 'Your physical .. cultural .. soul heredity..'

(To Heal) - Overview of Focus Levels '..to areas of greater free will choice.'


(To Heal) - Overview of Focus Levels '..to areas of greater free will choice.'

          (The Electric Universe) - SAFIRE as Astrophysical Laboratory | EU2016 (no replies)        
'You are only suprised when you have the wrong model.' (minute 9:38)

- Michael Clarage, SAFIRE as Astrophysical Laboratory | EU2016)


Context

Dr. Hannes Tager, who has done significant historical research into the origins and the evolution of the electrical concepts of comets, going back hundreds of years, December 20, 2016

(Electric Universe) - '..the SAFIRE Project has moved into Phase 2..'

(LENR) - It's Not Cold Fusion... But It's Something


(Fusion Power) - LPP Focus Fusion 1; '..FF-1 results are right now far ahead..'

'Thorium reactor: cleaner, safer and sustainable nuclear energy within sight'

'..the first-ever 2000 horsepower (HP) electric class 8 semi-truck, called the Nikola One..'


(Project C - MDE, The Electric Universe, Fusion Power) - Montgomery Childs: SAFIRE Project Update | EU2015

(Electric Universe) - '..a Birkeland current may be responsible for the planetary spacings described by the Titius-Bode Law..'

          The Christmas Truce of 1914 - '..what might have happened if the truce had spread and this had caused the war to end earlier..' (no replies)        
'.."What If," points out that he thinks … and of course this is speculation, counterfactual history ... that if we had had no Russian Revolution, we wouldn’t have gotten to that point where communism took over, no Lenin, no Stalin, there would be no Treaty of Versailles, mistreated Germany, therefore Hitler would not have had his cause to rise and no Hitler and Nazism and World War II..'

'Deist: One thing that’s so remarkable about the Christmas Truce is this whole question of what might have happened if the truce had spread and this had caused the war to end earlier or be somehow limited. Weintraub addresses this in his book. We may not have had the rise of communism, the Russian Revolution and Stalin and Lenin, we certainly would not have had Versailles. As a result, we might not have had Hitler or Nazism or maybe even FDR. I mean, it’s remarkable to think about, isn’t it?

Denson: That’s right and that’s counterfactual history at its best. Weintraub, in his last chapter, entitled "What If," points out that he thinks … and of course this is speculation, counterfactual history ... that if we had had no Russian Revolution, we wouldn’t have gotten to that point where communism took over, no Lenin, no Stalin, there would be no Treaty of Versailles, mistreated Germany, therefore Hitler would not have had his cause to rise and no Hitler and Nazism and World War II, as I have argued in the past, World War II was simply a continuation of World War I with a truce, and World War I was to see if you could remake the world to benefit the English, the British, and the Russian Czar. World War II was to see if you could keep it that way, what they’d done in World War I. So, it would have changed the whole history, in my opinion, of the twentieth century. And, we are still in the Middle East, suffering the results of the treaties that ended World War I. I mean, the treaties that created Iraq, tried to give Syria to the French, and Israel was created in the middle of an Arab world and it’s still a problem that was created by the World War I treaties. So, all of that, the whole twentieth century, I think, would have been completely different, if it could have ended, say when the troops stopped at Christmas of 1914. It’s amazing to think about that.

..

..H. Kingsley Wood, a cabinet minister, got up and made a speech and he said, he had been in the trenches, he said in the front trenches in Christmas 1914 and he said, I took part in what was well known at the time as a truce. We went over in front of the trenches and shook hands with many of our German enemies and a great number of people and I think we did something that was degrading or wrong and refused to stop, he said, the fact is, we did it. And I then came to the conclusion that I have held very firmly ever since, that if we had been left to ourselves, there never would have been another shot fired. For a fortnight, the troops went on and we were on the most friendly terms and it was only the fact that we were being controlled by others that made it necessary for us to start trying to shoot one another again.

And he blamed the resumption of war on “the grip of the political system which was bad, and I and others who were there at the time, determined there and then, never to rest until we had seen whether we could change it.” And then it concludes. There are people that thrive on war, the military industrial complex and one of the results of the World War I revisionism showed that the people that do the armaments and make money off that, help cause war. There are people, bankers, that have an interest. JP Morgan had a big interest in America getting into World War I and he financed the British Army..'

- The Christmas Truce and the Future of War, December 24, 2016


Context

(Haptopraxeology) - '..We have lost three centuries as a result of ignoring our scholars!'

Christmas Truce of 1914

In The Electric Universe a Future of Peace and Love


'..the mismanagement and corruption of bankers and politicians..

Economics in One Lesson

          '..Russia .. cyberpower proved the perfect weapon .. political sabotage..' (no replies)        
' “We’d have all these circular meetings,” one senior State Department official said, “in which everyone agreed you had to push back at the Russians and push back hard. But it didn’t happen.”

..

Mr. Putin, a student of martial arts, had turned two institutions at the core of American democracy — political campaigns and independent media — to his own ends..

..

..The Russians clearly had a more sophisticated understanding of American politics, and they were masters of “kompromat,” their term for compromising information.

..

..the hackings of the State Department, the White House and the Pentagon..

..

What seems clear is that Russian hacking, given its success, is not going to stop. Two weeks ago, the German intelligence chief, Bruno Kahl, warned that Russia might target elections in Germany next year. “The perpetrators have an interest to delegitimize the democratic process as such,” Mr. Kahl said. Now, he added, “Europe is in the focus of these attempts of disturbance, and Germany to a particularly great extent.” '



'..the White House’s reluctance to respond forcefully meant the Russians have not paid a heavy price for their actions, a decision that could prove critical in deterring future cyberattacks.

..

..President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia moved beyond mere espionage to deliberately try to subvert American democracy and pick the winner of the presidential election.

..

..A low-cost, high-impact weapon that Russia had test-fired in elections from Ukraine to Europe was trained on the United States, with devastating effectiveness. For Russia, with an enfeebled economy and a nuclear arsenal it cannot use short of all-out war, cyberpower proved the perfect weapon: cheap, hard to see coming, hard to trace.

..

The United States had two decades of warning that Russia’s intelligence agencies were trying to break into America’s most sensitive computer networks. But the Russians have always managed to stay a step ahead.

Their first major attack was detected on Oct. 7, 1996, when a computer operator at the Colorado School of Mines discovered some nighttime computer activity he could not explain. The school had a major contract with the Navy, and the operator warned his contacts there. But as happened two decades later at the D.N.C., at first “everyone was unable to connect the dots,” said Thomas Rid, a scholar at King’s College in London who has studied the attack.

Investigators gave it a name — Moonlight Maze — and spent two years, often working day and night, tracing how it hopped from the Navy to the Department of Energy to the Air Force and NASA. In the end, they concluded that the total number of files stolen, if printed and stacked, would be taller than the Washington Monument.

Whole weapons designs were flowing out the door, and it was a first taste of what was to come: an escalating campaign of cyberattacks around the world.

..

The Russians were also quicker to turn their attacks to political purposes. A 2007 cyberattack on Estonia, a former Soviet republic that had joined NATO, sent a message that Russia could paralyze the country without invading it. The next year cyberattacks were used during Russia’s war with Georgia.

..

Mr. Obama was briefed regularly on all this, but he made a decision that many in the White House now regret: He did not name Russians publicly, or issue sanctions. There was always a reason: fear of escalating a cyberwar, and concern that the United States needed Russia’s cooperation in negotiations over Syria.

“We’d have all these circular meetings,” one senior State Department official said, “in which everyone agreed you had to push back at the Russians and push back hard. But it didn’t happen.”

..

Last year, the attacks became more aggressive. Russia hacked a major French television station, frying critical hardware. Around Christmas, it attacked part of the power grid in Ukraine, dropping a portion of the country into darkness, killing backup generators and taking control of generators. In retrospect, it was a warning shot.

..

..CrowdStrike’s nicknames for the two Russian hacking groups that the firm found at work inside the D.N.C. network. Cozy Bear — the group also known as the Dukes or A.P.T. 29, for “advanced persistent threat” — may or may not be associated with the F.S.B., the main successor to the Soviet-era K.G.B., but it is widely believed to be a Russian government operation. It made its first appearance in 2014, said Dmitri Alperovitch, CrowdStrike’s co-founder and chief technology officer.

..

Only in March 2016 did Fancy Bear show up — first penetrating the computers of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and then jumping to the D.N.C., investigators believe. Fancy Bear, sometimes called A.P.T. 28 and believed to be directed by the G.R.U., Russia’s military intelligence agency, is an older outfit, tracked by Western investigators for nearly a decade. It was Fancy Bear that got hold of Mr. Podesta’s email.

..

It was bad enough that Russian hackers had been spying inside the committee’s network for months. Now the public release of documents had turned a conventional espionage operation into something far more menacing: political sabotage, an unpredictable, uncontrollable menace for Democratic campaigns.

..

Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder and editor, has resisted the conclusion that his site became a pass-through for Russian hackers working for Mr. Putin’s government or that he was deliberately trying to undermine Mrs. Clinton’s candidacy. But the evidence on both counts appears compelling.

..

Mr. Putin, a student of martial arts, had turned two institutions at the core of American democracy — political campaigns and independent media — to his own ends. The media’s appetite for the hacked material, and its focus on the gossipy content instead of the Russian source, disturbed some of those whose personal emails were being reposted across the web.

..

In late 2014, hackers working for Kim Jong-un, the North’s young and unpredictable leader, had carried out a well-planned attack on Sony Pictures Entertainment intended to stop the Christmastime release of a comedy about a C.I.A. plot to kill Mr. Kim.

In that case, embarrassing emails had also been released. But the real damage was done to Sony’s own systems: More than 70 percent of its computers melted down when a particularly virulent form of malware was released. Within weeks, intelligence agencies traced the attack back to the North and its leadership. Mr. Obama called North Korea out in public, and issued some not-very-effective sanctions. The Chinese even cooperated, briefly cutting off the North’s internet connections.

As the first Situation Room meetings on the Russian hacking began in July, “it was clear that Russia was going to be a much more complicated case,” said one participant. The Russians clearly had a more sophisticated understanding of American politics, and they were masters of “kompromat,” their term for compromising information.

..

..code was put out in the open by the Russians as a warning: Retaliate for the D.N.C., and there are a lot more secrets, from the hackings of the State Department, the White House and the Pentagon, that might be spilled as well. One senior official compared it to the scene in “The Godfather” where the head of a favorite horse is left in a bed, as a warning.

..

As the year draws to a close, it now seems possible that there will be multiple investigations of the Russian hacking — the intelligence review Mr. Obama has ordered completed by Jan. 20, the day he leaves office, and one or more congressional inquiries. They will wrestle with, among other things, Mr. Putin’s motive.

..

Did he seek to mar the brand of American democracy, to forestall anti-Russian activism for both Russians and their neighbors? Or to weaken the next American president, since presumably Mr. Putin had no reason to doubt American forecasts that Mrs. Clinton would win easily? Or was it, as the C.I.A. concluded last month, a deliberate attempt to elect Mr. Trump?

In fact, the Russian hack-and-dox scheme accomplished all three goals.

What seems clear is that Russian hacking, given its success, is not going to stop. Two weeks ago, the German intelligence chief, Bruno Kahl, warned that Russia might target elections in Germany next year. “The perpetrators have an interest to delegitimize the democratic process as such,” Mr. Kahl said. Now, he added, “Europe is in the focus of these attempts of disturbance, and Germany to a particularly great extent.” '

- Eric Lipton, David E. Sanger and Scott Shane, The Perfect Weapon: How Russian Cyberpower Invaded the U.S., December 13, 2016


Context '[Russia] may become a threat to the world. That is the worst thing that could happen to Russia.' - Yegor Gaidar

'..Russian strategy of hybrid influence and destabilization .. German Council on Foreign Relations.'

'German intelligence says Russia is trying to destabilize German society..' - '..war that Moscow is waging against the West..'

'[Putin is doing] anything that can and will expand Russian influence to U.S.S.R.-era levels of power.'


'..Zero tolerance for Russian intrusions .. Estonia .. policy of publicly naming or prosecuting spies..'

'..the Soviet Union was cut off from Western financial markets and was effectively under permanent sanctions..'

          Full Circle        
I’m happy to report that Gabe and I are both parasite-free after our mid-service medical exams. After a few weeks vacationing in the decadent land of available cheese and hot showers (Europe) with our amazing friends and family who met us halfway around the world to bring me Junior Mints (among other things), we are [...]
          TOT/TDW and other peace corps acronyms        
Quiche dinner in the transit house Those of us who are helping with training this summer/rainy season are in Yaounde this week and next for the TDW (Training Design Workshop) and TOT (Training of Trainers). Gabe and I are here designing the technical training sessions for the 5 incoming computer literacy trainees as well as working [...]
          Jupiter Chevrolet Sponsors GISD Teacher of the Month Contest        

  The monthly contest compiles votes from parents and students at Jupiter Chevrolet’s Facebook page.  Every month, the highest vote-getter will win the services of a Jupiter Chevrolet vehicle for an entire month.  The contest, which awards the teacher who receives the most votes at the Jupiter Chevrolet Facebook page with a free car for […]

The post Jupiter Chevrolet Sponsors GISD Teacher of the Month Contest appeared first on Car News in the USA.


          Sanderson Lincoln in Phoenix Receives President’s Award        

Sanderson Lincoln has won the Ford Motor Company’s 2012 President’s Award for customer satisfaction excellence.  This major award recognizes top-performing Lincoln dealerships that achieve the highest levels of customer satisfaction in sales and service in automotive retailing. Since 1998, the President’s Award has been known for recognizing dealerships who achieve the highest satisfaction in sales […]

The post Sanderson Lincoln in Phoenix Receives President’s Award appeared first on Car News in the USA.


          Chrome - Google Tone        


I continue to be impressed by the options for access that are being developed for the Chrome Web Browser.  Google just released an experiment called Google Tone.  The concept is that it will play a short tone that other computers can hear, and they will open the URL you shared.  The extension must be installed on all the computers nearby (wish it worked on mobile devices!) and have access to the microphone.  Just click the link in the toolbar and it sends out the "tone".  You can install the extension here - g.co/tone and it works in Chrome for Mac, Windows and all Chromebook devices.  Happy Sharing!



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          Wandoo Planet        


It took me quite a while to get through my backlog of podcasts, so I just listened to a great episode from Chris Bugaj of the A.T.Tipscast.  Episode 132 featured an interview with a former educator spreading the word about Wandoo Planet.  Wandoo Planet is a recommendation engine for children, think Pandora or Netflix.  Basically, kids pick some of their favorite interests, via a fun game, and the website suggests books and/or movies for them to check out.  The goal is to help students find books in their interest and get them reading more, which as we all know, is one of the best ways to increase students ability to read!

I took a few minutes and tried it out myself, and have to say it's fun.  The game is a great way to get children thinking about their interests.  Some students may need to have the interests read to them, and a suggestion to make it more accessible might be to include pictures or text to speech for the interests.  It looks like a fun way to engage students and get them reading!



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          Powtoon - Free Accounts for Teachers!        


Powtoon is a fun platform for creating animations.  I've personally used it to create the trailer for the EdCeptional Show.  So far that's all I've done, but I can see it would be a fun way to engage students and excite them about a topic or lesson.  So, that's why I claimed my FREE Powtoons account!

Powtoons is giving away over $5 million of teacher and student accounts before October 2014.  All of these accounts will be valid for 1 year, and include 1 teacher account with 60 student accounts!  You can get yours now at Powtoons ToonUp.



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          AAC/Medicare Changes        

I was hoping to have written this post last week, so that you might have more time to help out, but life got in the way!  This is a VERY important post, especially to those of you who rely on Medicare to secure AAC devices.  Specifically this is related to patients with ALS, Cerebral Palsy, Muscular Dystrophy, Rett Syndrome,spinal cord injuries, spinal muscular atrophy and other impairments and their ability to retain and receive Speech Generation Devices (SGD).

As of September 1, Medicare will be changing the rules and will not allow patients to receive this devices to "unlock" them.  Thereby, denying individuals the ability to communicate with their families and other individuals via email, text, video chat, etc...  Even though the unlock fee is not paid by Medicare, they will no longer allow individuals to purchase devices that this could be done on.

Medicare has also been denying Eye Gaze devices for those individuals whose only means of access if via an eye gaze system.  Many of these cases have 2 medical professionals certifying the need for an eye gaze system and it is still denied. The backlog of appeals is years long and many patients are being denied the ability to communicate.

Please take a moment and go to this website - Center for Medical Advocacy, fill in your zip code, and the short form that follows to contact your representatives and urge them to sign a petition to stop these rule changes!  It takes just 2-3 minutes.  You only have until August 27, so please do it right away!



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          Chrome - QR-Code Extension        
I a big fan of the Google Chrome Browser, there are a ton of amazing extensions and apps that you can use with students.  I've blogged about quite a few of them - Read & Write for Google Docs, Kaizena,  and on EdCeptional #42.  Here's a new one that just for creating and reading QR Codes.

The QR Code Extension is designed to allow you to quickly create QR codes for downloading and sharing.  Once you are on a page, just click the icon in your extension bar (to the right of the address bar) and it will show you the QR Code.  Click "Edit This QR Code" to find options for downloading and sharing.

The other option is not one I've seen in an extension.  Click the "Scan a QR Code" and it allows you to use your webcam to decode a QR Code.  So if you've ever been sitting and wanted to use a code, this is the extension for you!!  It's a great option for students, I've always advocated for using QR Codes for long URL's and this would help do that without a special program.  Just print out QR Codes for your students and let them scan using the extension.

You can try out The QR Code Extension here!



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          QR Codes for Vocabulary        


Matt Bergman, at Learn, Lead, Grow, shared a great post on ways to use QR Codes to teach and retain vocabulary.  I love the ideas of engaging students with technology to teach this skill.  Check out all his ideas at his blog:

3 Ways to Use QR Codes to Make Word Walls Assessable to ALL Students #UDL



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          Google Classroom for SPED        

Google Classroom is a new offering for districts who use Google Apps for Education (GAFE).  Classroom is a combination of Edmodo and Doctupus; part social network and part document manager.  Once Classroom is enabled you are able to create classes and invite your students to join.  Google creates a folder in your Drive, a place for you to upload and/or create documents to share with those students.  From the main Classroom page you have options for posting Announcements or create assignments.  Assignments can be linked to a Drive Document, Youtube video, weblink or you can attach a file.  Students can then complete the work and turn it in via Classroom.  When using Google Docs you have the option to allow students to view the document, edit one document or it will create a separate document for each student.

For self-contained teachers this immediately solves issues with distributing and collecting Google Doc files.  It's also a place for students to communicate questions with their classmates or you.  While the interface is limited and the themes are pretty basic, I think the potential for this product is astounding.

From my new perspective of a push-in support teacher, I see this as a way to push out modified assignments to students.  Part of our new reading curriculum involves discussion guides and we, as a special education team, are considering modifying them so they are Google Docs.  This would give me a way to push out specific docs, to specific students easily.  I also think giving students a place they can post questions might be useful, especially students who may not want to speak up in class.  I can see it as a way for those students to contact me when we are not together in class.

I'm going to continue to give it a try, and see if there are other ways it can be utilized.  I'd love to hear some of your thoughts on using Google Classroom.  This week Google opened it all users with GAFE account, but there is one caveat.  You and your students must be on the same domain.  This is actually a problem in my district, my email ends in "d57.org" and our students are "students.d57.org" so I cannot create a Classroom unless I have a different login.  This is frustrating, but Google is aware and hopefully they will fix it in the near future.



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          Embrace the Shake        



It's been almost 5 months since I've actually sat down and written for this blog.  It's also been over 6 years since I put down my first post.  Over the past 6 years I've shared a lot of information, but it's also been a place for me to reflect.  Something I've missed the past year.  It's interesting, the reason I'm writing this post is because of a video I watched recently.  I'm a fan of TEDTalks and a colleague shared this one with me:

Phil Hansen:  Embrace the Shake

Within the first 2 minutes, I realized that this talk made sense to me.  I had difficulties in my new position and I gave up this blog.  I gave up something that has connected me to so many others and so many experiences.  I'm hoping that this year I can, as Phil says, embrace the shake.  I am starting another new position.  I'll continue in my role in Assistive Technology, but now I'll be (for the first time ever) in a resource special education position.  I've never done anything but self-contained, and while this was something I never thought I would do, I'm looking forward to it.  Whether it's the challenge or just the change I am going in with a lot of new ideas.

I don't know exactly how this will change this blog, but I do know that I am going to keep posting my ideas.  I'll be sharing my thoughts and hopefully getting some feedback!  Take a few minutes and watch Phil, maybe it will inspire you to embrace the shake



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          Three days in Berlin (or improving the pim user experience)        

KDE Project:

Last weekend I've met with some of our old timer KDEPIM developers and some of the newer ones who are interested in KDEPIM or related technologies in the KDAB offices in Berlin.
Being a KDAB employee for a few years already (wow, time is passing quickly), the place was familiar, the people looked familiar. The foosball table was slightly familiar, although some players changed their dresses in order to spread confusion inside the visitor's heads. That is the only reason we've lost against locals with 5-0, 5-0.
Suprisingly enough, the table wasn't used that much. Why? Because people were busy either working and talking. What they talked about I don't know too much, as I focused on some issues I planned to fix, but others can testify that Volker did not sit too much in front of his computers, but was dragged from one place to another for various discussions.
Most of us started on Friday around noon. I won't tell too much about what others did, that is mostly their problem. Especially if they were on the other side of the room and I didn't saw their screens, I can't tell if they worked at all or not. They looked like they did though. ;) I can share some things about what some sitting nearby did. See later.
As recently I became the de-facto maintainer and bugfixer for mail filters, I worked mostly on them. Unfortunately the first attempt to fix a bug failed: a bug that bothers me, although it is not the most reported one. It is about mails not being filtered for a while after a resume from hibernation. It is hard to reproduce, and although I run into it, I couldn't reproduce reliably enough and in a way I can debug it. After fighting with it and realising it won't work, I gave up. See you next time.
Meantime we had some excellent food in an Indian restaurant, then when finally everybody arrived (almost everybody to be honest, plus even some more from KDAB who didn't sign up, but show up there), we were ready to start with presenting the kdepim and Akonadi architecture. Old time pimsters Volker Krause, Kevin Krammer and Tobias Koenig helped me with it, and sometimes saved me, as my knowledge in some area proved to be superficial. We ended up with a pretty impressive drawing on the whiteboard:
Hopefully for those being on site it was understandable.

Time passed, so we went out for dinner to a Greek restaurant at the corner. Nice place, third time being there, good food (seems Berlin has only good eating places). We even saw how Germany won over Ireland. Too bad Steveire (Stephen Kelly) was not there... We continued with some more talks and hacking, then everybody went to their sleeping places.
Some left earlier, some later waiting for remote developers to show up and discuss the patches (he didn't show up).

Day 2
Next day started around 9 o'clock for some. Later for others. I continued with the filter debugging and fixing. I looked at the bugreports and tried to come up with some bugs that are both would help the users and myself. I'm selfish, I want to fix the bugs I run into. ;) One problem that bothered me for a long time is that email content from online IMAP is downloaded even if no filter for IMAP requires it (but a filter for e.g POP3 needs the full content). Now this is fixed and those who use online imap could notice a great speedup in mail syncing (depending on their filter setup). Another often reported issue was duplicating the mails, especially after spam filtering. You've ended up with a mail in the spam folder and a mail in the original place. This could be combined with a conflict dialog shown up as well for that mail. This problem actually revealed a not-well handled case down inside the Akonadi stack that was created by a reordering of filter commands in the filtering code. For those who want technical details: if there was a move action (like "move mail to spam folder") followed by a modify action (like "mark as read"), the filter reordered this to "mark as read" followed by a move. Unfortunately this exposed two problems, (mostly, but not only) IMAP specific: on IMAP you can't modify a mail, instead you create a new one and delete the old. What happened here is that a filter changed the mail (run through bogofilter/spamassasin), then the "mark as read" action was executed, which uploaded the changes, including the changed mail to the IMAP server. This caused a new ID for the item on the IMAP server. The mail with the old ID was deleted. Then the filter agent performed a move, but he had only the *old* ID, before the modifications. The move - if performed between two different resources, like IMAP and local maildir - is technically a copy followed by a delete. The copy worked fine, but the delete didn't. It tried to delete the old mail again (which was gone), not the modified version. That's how you ended up with a duplicate.
The current solution is to reorder the filtering pipeline, so the move is performed before the flag modifications. The extra benefit is that the filtered message is not uploaded again just to be deleted the next second. Speedup, less network traffic, better user experience. This doesn't fix the main problem with Akonadi, but it is an acceptable workaround. The reordering is so far only in the master branch (KDE 4.10), but the relevant code will be backported to the 4.9 branch, so it will be in 4.9.3.
And speaking of conflicts, that was the next hot topic, and one of the often reported bugs. It was mostly caused by conflicting flag changes (read/spam/important/etc), either caused by KMail itself plus the filtering or just KMail. After some discussion we agreed, that reporting conflicts on flag changes doesn't make sense, so we should not bother the user. It is not data loss, and in worst case some flag is reset. In normal case nothing wrong happens, as Akonadi is able to merge two changes in the flags (or so claims Volker).
I have to admit that this fix was not completed at the sprint, I finished it today, as I noticed more code in KDEPIM that didn't disable conflict check on flag changes.
While doing the changes, I did quite some refactoring, cleaning up the code as much as I could do for the parts I touched. The code was originally deep inside KMail (as most of other code), got extracted from it for 4.8.0, and now we are at the stage that we can make the extracted code more cleaner, we can remove some things that doesn't make sense anymore now that the filtering is not inside KMail.
While reading the bug reports, I also run into one indicating that mails arriving to an MBOX account (like /var/spool/mail/username) are not filtered automatically. Sounds like an easy bug to fix and so was it. Now they are filtered.
Finally another annoying issue was fixed: there was no indication that filtering is ongoing. Now when this happens, you can see in the KMail's progress bar.
The net result of the above: faster filtering, less annoying and useless error dialogs for the users. And according to bugzilla, 31 bugs less (some were duplicates though).

Nepomuk...one of the things that, well, so far I was always recommending for users to turn off. Slight detour here: what is Nepomuk and its relation to KMail? Nepomuk helps you to find data. It indexes all kind of data and with some queries you can find e.g every file where my name is mentioned, all email addresses from any file, etc. There is a process that goes through the akonadi data (emails, calendars, etc) and "feeds" to it for Nepomuk to be indexed. Then there are queries and code in KMail accessing Nepomuk: getting email addresses for composer's autocompletion, searching inside mail bodies, tagging your emails with custom tags, etc.
Unfortunately there are problems around it. One is that some queries ae processed quite slowly, that in turn slows down KMail, leading to poor user experience. E.g switching between mails, sending mails, etc. is slow. Or startup is slow or even blocked. I tried to fix the last part as I just run into it, but as this was my very first Nepomuk related patch, I'm not sure 100% succeeded. We found a problem with the Nepomuk API itself, and I informed Vishesh, the Nepomuk developer about it (even if I used non-blocking calls against Nepomuk, one call is blocking without question). He suggested something I might try later, although I'd be more happier if somebody with real Nepomuk knowledge could give a review of the pim Nepomuk usage.
Then there is the Akonadi feeder, that gives the data to Nepomuk. Something is not perfect there and the indexing causes a serious slowdown, where either itself or Nepomuk (actually its storage backend, virtuoso) starts to use the CPU *a lot*. This is the main reason I recommend to users to disable Nepomuk so far. We had Christian Mollekopf the author of the feeder in the sprint, and he worked on some optimizations. Hopefully this will improve the situation. Meantime we (and I) tried to convince Vishesh to use KMail, so he can see himself the problems our users face.

As a break we had another presentation, this time about KMail itself, what components make up KMail, how they are distributed. As far as I saw, this was less interesting to the audience, they rather looked at their computers and hacked on something. Luckily our KMail maintainer, Laurent Montel, is super active, but I wouldn't mind more contributors. Too bad he wasn't at the sprint.

We had a lunch at a nearby place, nothing extra, but the food was (again) good.

What did other do? Let's see what I can remember... Sune dreamed about crypto stuff and composite jobs. He worked on making some cryptographic code asynchronous and started to get faimiliar with kdepim code. I'd not say he picked up the easiest job.
Volker run around all the time, discussed various things like "spanish sync" with Alex Fiestas (see here), database backends with Martin, change recorder with David Faure (who remotely joined the meeting and got lost inside the change recorder code ... he has the solution now in his head, so be patient, we will end up with a better implementation for it that again speeds up Akonadi), job pipelines with me, and who knows what with others, as for a long time he just disappeared with a bunch of developers. They actually ended up in the lobby discussing "stuff". Milian Wolf, who is not (or not yet?) a KDEPIM developer, but mainly a KDevelop one, joined us and used massif to track down some ugly memory usage in KMail. And he did a good job in it. Previously KMail used more and more memory as you navigated between large folders (Alex mentioned some 2GB for him), while now it levels up at one point and doesn't increase. He might blog himself about, as he has also some nice graphs.
Then there were two guys from KDAB, who are old time pim developers (quiz: find their names in this blog), but they cooked something else, not related to KDEPIM, not related concretely to KDE, but to a lower level: to Qt. It is an amazingly cool stuff, but I don't want to give more details. Expect it to be presented a the Qt Developer Days, either in a talk or at the KDAB booth. Don't worry, I'm pretty sure it will be freely available what they did and KDE can enjoy it in the future.
I'm sorry that I don't remember what the rest did. In general I know that Martin Klapetek worked on the social network resources, Mark Gaiser, who recently started to work on KDEPIM stuff eagerly listened to our presentations and worked on a QML calendar application, Alex kept reporting bugs and discussed improvements with Volker, while John Layt, the "timezone KDE guy" worked on plasma calendar related issues.
As a KDE person Chani also joined us for a while, we quickly nominated her as the QML and Plasma person, so all questions related to them were immediately redirected to Chani. Jos Poortvilet was also supposed to join for some talks, but he could show up only on Sunday for personal reasons.
At the end of the day everybody was so busy, so instead of going out for eating, we just ordered some pizza. And most of us stood in the office well past midnight.

Day 3
Well, the above partially happened on Sunday. It was a shorter day for me, due to the late night standup before, and that I had to go to the airport after lunch. A lunch that wasn't exactly as planned. We went out for a Doner Kebab place that is supposed to be the best one in Berlin. It is just a small kiosk on the sidewalk in a street, but man, there was a big queue for it. On a Sunday! Locals says it is worse on weekdays. Even after almost an hour, we still had 10 persons in front of us, my departure time was approaching, so I gave up and instead bought some (quite good) chinese fast-food from a nearby place, then rushed to the airport.
A long journey awaited me with a 3 hour stopover in Munich, but luckily I had a power supply there and even some network (they offer 30 minutes/day/phone number), so I could continue on the work I started at the sprint. After flying and driving another 2.5 hours, I arrived late (or rather early) morning next day back home, and after sleept until around 10. Then I started to work again for KDAB, a work that is just as enjoyable as working for KDE. After all, the two communities has a serious overlap. ;)
That's from the sprint. If you'll be at the Qt Developer Days Europe, we might meet there. I'm looking forward for a good conference.


          The story of some bugfixes        

KDE Project:

This is the story of how bugfixes can happen. For each bug there is a bug reporter. It doesn't really matter if it is another developer or a non-developer user, as in the end it is just a user. Or does it? Let's see.

The first bug I fixed not so long ago was a line on the chat asking "what's ctrl+shift+l supposed to do in kmail?" from Albert (tsdgeos). Sounded like user support, but turned out that the reason he asked me was that pressing this combination crashed KMail. Of course, I tried and could reproduce it. It was related to Favorite Folders and as nor the reporter, nor I had such folders configured, it was rather straightforward where the problem is. Half an hour ago the bugfix was committed, everybody is happy.

The second was more complicated. There was a long standing report from our KDE expert David Faure that resulted in losing the mail content on move. It wasn't the first time I looked at the code to find the problem, without success. We couldn't even reproduce the bug. Then suddenly a message came on IRC: he could reproduce it again and found a pattern how it happens: it happens if the source mail account (resource) is in offline mode, meaning KMail *might* not have access to the whole mails, only to the cached parts (the mail header). Having this information finding the bug was relatively easy and next day David has the patch. But he wasn't happy: now he got an ugly message box with an error that doesn't mean too much, an error that doesn't tell what is the problem and what could be the solution. So I looked up how this could be fixed. The solution wasn't straightforward, involved changing several pim related components, including adding a new DBUS method that is used to communicated between different Akonadi part, but in the end I had it...only to realize that although I get a nice error now when copying mails, I can't read my mails. Because it gives a DBUS related error. I've added a method returning a string, but from the error it said that it was expecting a string, but got a boolean. Confusing.
Looked at the code, looked again, tried different things: no go. I told to David (knowing that he is an extermly good developer), that here is the code, here is the error, I have no idea what to do.
He looked at, and all seemed fine. It was late, we both called it a night and went to sleep. Of course the problem bothered me, so next day I wanted to give it a go. Guess what, David was also online (this was Saturday), he was also interested in the problem. :) To make the story short, he found the issue: the problem was a setDelayedReply( true ); call I overlooked. That caused basically QDBus to ignore our return value, that must be sent later (and the code sent a boolean there). David did a refactoring, I found a corner case, we both tested, all was fine. After a few final touches, like making the string translatable the patch was ready for review. As David said, it was a nice teamwork.

The last one was the same day at evening: a complaint that KMail cannot move/delete folders from an IMAP inbox. Weird bug, as most of us use IMAP, so this should have been noticed before. I asked for details, I asked for different logs, to try different scenarios. The reporter followed everything I told promptly, and the surroundings of the bug started to take shape. He had an IMAP server without support for ACL (access rights). In that case we should assume everything is fully accessible. And so was everything for him, but the top-level inbox. Having that information, by reading the code I found the faulty line - a line that was weird, and unneeded. The line was introduced because of a bugfix, so I looked up the bug only to find users complained it is still not fixed. No wonder, as the fix was not doing anything about the original problem, but unfortunately created other problems. I have to admit that the API involved is easy to be used in a wrong way, but hard to fix now. For those interested (and to avoid such API), here is the problem:

// Returns the rights the user has on the collection.
Collection::Rights Collection::rights() const
{
CollectionRightsAttribute *attr = attribute();
if ( attr ) {
return attr->rights();
} else {
return AllRights;
}
}


// Sets the @p rights the user has on the collection.
void Collection::setRights( Rights rights )
{
CollectionRightsAttribute *attr = attribute( AddIfMissing );
attr->setRights( rights );
}

And the problematic commit looked like this:

Collection root;
root.setRights( Akonadi::Collection::CanCreateCollection );

You see, by default, a Collection object doesn't have any rights set. If Collection::rights() is called it will return AllRights. What happens after the above setRights() call? The Collection will have now right attributes (CanCreateCollection), so a further Collection::rights() returns that attribute. But *only* that one. Certainly not the behavior one would expect. We can debate that the plural form (setRightS) suggests that, but I still find bad API.
Back to the reporter, luckily the problem could be fixed with the developer tool called "akonadiconsole", so he was happy. Other users will get the fix in the next release.

From the three reporters two were KDE developers. One not having too much knowledge about the PIM part, the other having some knowledge, as he is the one running in the most weird PIM Issues, and we just tell to him to fix his own bugs, while the third was somebody who I never met before, so I assume he is a regular user.

What helped in all cases was communication: giving valuable information (like how to reproduce, what is your configuration, etc) and carefully following the instructions the developer makes. Especially if the developer cannot reproduce it, the only real chance to fix it is that the user acts as the eyes and hands of the developer. If I tell to my hand to type "foo", but it types "bar", nothing good will result in it, as I'd expecet that "foo" was typed and act further accordingly.
So bug reporters, please try to gather as much information from your side as possible when creating a report and always follow the requests a developer makes.

You should not draw a wrong conclusion from the above: that reporting on *development channels* on IRC helps and you should always come there with your bugs. IRC is great for instant communication. It is very bad though as you might not find the right person there when you report.
Use the bugtracker. Wait patiently for feedback (e.g. I work on KDE only from time to time and many others do the same). It is ok to ask about certain bug on IRC, but don't forget to report it. It is also ok, once the developer responds and starts to work on the bug to contact him on IRC (if you know its nick), as communication is faster on it.
Just saying something doesn't work on IRC will also not do any good, unless you are prepared to help track down the issue. And then you will suddenly become part of the team. It is not that hard to be a KDE contributor, no? :)

To answer my first question: does it matter if the reporter is a developer or a user? In certain aspect it does, I couldn't fix the bug (at least not that easy) without David. It might be slightly easier or faster to get out information from a developer. But if the communication is good, it doesn't matter too much.


          KMail - making it more usable        

KDE Project:

KMail is one of the most important applications inside KDE, I think hardly can argue anybody about it. Everybody is using email, and even if some think that a webmail solution can be just as good, most of us still do what we did 10-15 years ago: download mail to our computer/phone/tablet and carry that around.
And for that we need a mail application.
It is not news that KMail got just too big and not flexible enough in the KDE 3.x days. Somehow it was ported to KDE 4, but this was a crude port, without much improvements in its design. A new generic PIM backend was growing up meantime, and with some corporate support from KDAB, a new generation of KMail, KOrganizer and other PIM application started to take shape.
From those I can tell about KMail, as I was more involved into it. As we wanted to have a mobile, touchscreen version as well, the work of porting KMail to Akonadi was done together with breaking KMail into smaller pieces, more or less standalone libraries to reuse as much code as possible. Time, manpower and other reasons limited what we could do, so this was a part success. We created and improves some generic usage libraries (KIMAP, KMime), some internal libraries that are nice, some that are not that nice, and in the end we had something that could have been a good foundation for KMail 2 series.
I started to use KMail2 at that time, and in the beginning it was a fustrating experience. I can't count how many times I deleted and created again the accounts, the Akonadi database. But after a while I realized that I don't have to do anymore. KMail2 was still not released to the public, but got better and better. Unfortunately only slowly, as even less people worked on it, and only in their free time. It had bugs, some more annoying, some less annoying, but was usable enough to not force me to go back to KMail1.
Then the PIM community took a deep breath - just like the KDE community did with KDE 4.0 - and finally released KMail2 officially.
Funny or not, around this time I started to have problems with it. A migration of my second computer failed horribly. A cleanup of the Akonadi database and changing from the mixed maildir to maildir format was also painful. I blamed the developers a lot (including myself :) ). Then things started to move on and KMail got a new maintainer, who is very active (hi Laurent!). And we organized a developer sprint to stabilize KMail.
The sprint took place last weekend in KDAB's Berlin office and was sponsored by the company. Everybody who knows the KDAB office, knows about the famous foosball table. Do I have to said that in the weekend we played only once? Yes, people were coding intensively, Volker had to raise the priority of the "FOOD" topic often.
Issues were listed on the whiteboard. And everybody picked up what he was interested to do. Work was done on the migrator, the mixed maildir agent, the maildir resource, on the akonadi server, performance bottlenecks were identified and a new filtering resource was created, fixing the most hated KDE bug (should be closed as soon as Tobias Koenig is happy with his work).
My choice in the sprint was mostly maildir related work, I tried to make it more reliable, more standard compliant and somewhat faster than before. And the biggest win is that I fixed most issues that bothered me with KMail's maildir handling. Yes, I was selfish.
The sprint did not end in Berlin, for me it continued on the flight back home (that thanks to the weather and Lufthansa was almost a day longer than expected). And somewhat still continues as of now, although daily work reduces the time I can allocate to KDE.
I can say that I'm happy again with KMail and Akonadi starts to gets less and less in the way of me and the users. The biggest success will be when users will not know that there is a nice server helping them, called Akonadi.
For those eager to try out the changes, unfortunately most of them are in the master branch only (the upcoming KDE 4.8). We will try to port as much as possible into the KDE 4.7 bugfix releases, but as some changes required library additions, this won't be always possible.


          Call for developers: Quanta Plus and KDEWebDev        

KDE Project:

Time is passing by. Sometimes I'm also amazed that it was more than 5 years ago when I wrote my first KDE application and soon after I joined the Quanta Plus project. And a few months later Quanta Plus become part of the KDE releases, I think with version 3.1.
Probably many of you know that I worked full time on Quanta in the past years, thanks to Eric Laffoon and many other supporters, who made this possible. But things have changed, and I cannot spend all my time anymore on this beloved project. I don't abandon it, just realized that alone it would take just too much time to get a release for KDE 4.x series out in time. Therefore I call for help, I'd like to ask the community, existing developers or users with some C++ knowledge, developers who would like to find a challenging project in the open source world to come, join us. Help to make Quanta4 a reality and make many users happy throughout the world. You don't have to be afraid of the size of the project, one of the goals of Quanta4 is to have a modular code, build up as KDevPlatform (KDevelop) plugins.

There are other projects inside the KDEWebDev module that need help, some even maintainers:

- Kommander: just take a look at www.kde-apps.org and you will be amazed by the number of Kommander scripts uploaded by the users. Help to have a good Kommander for KDE4 as well!
The executor is already ported, but we have lots of new ideas waiting to be implemented.

- KFileReplace: useful search and replace tool, unfortunately without a current maintainer. It works, but needs some love.

- KImageMapEditor: don't let web developers without a KDE image map editor!

Of course our priority would be Quanta Plus and Kommander, but if you are interested in either of the above, just contact us on our developer list.


          KDE4: is it usable for you?        

KDE Project:

I know it is not so nice to complain and bash a project when you don't contribute to it. And yes until now, I did not contributed to the KDE4 desktop as I wished. I compiled it regularly and used the libraries, but did not run the KDE4 desktop or KDE4 version of the applications except KDevelop and Quanta.
But as 4.0 is approaching, I decided that it is time to test, use, report bugs and even make fixes to it. I use KDE since a long time (~7 years), I think I always compiled from source, and for several years I compiled from CVS/Subversion regularly. I wasn't afraid to use the alpha/beta/whatever version as my daily desktop.
But with KDE4 somehow I feel lost. I tried a few days ago to start a KDE4 session. After getting through some issues that the libraries were not found unless LD_LIBRARY_PATH is modified (and knotify even with this setup has problem to find libkaudiodevicelist.so), I finally got it running. Well, it looks nice at first. So what to do there? I can start the KDE4 applications from the Run Command dialogbox. This dialog is a nice improvement over the old version, especially the autocompletion is handy.
In my version the menu was still missing, which isn't nice, but I don't care that much. What I care more is the speed, or to be exact, the lack of it. I blamed first the debug version of the libraries and the desktop, so I did a complete fresh build without debug information (a sidenote: my KDE3 is compiled WITH debug info and works fast enough). Sadly, it isn't faster. An example: right click on the desktop, and until the menu is shown, 3-4 seconds can pass. During this time Plasma and XOrg are heavily using the CPU. Moving around a window makes again ~58% CPU load (by kwin). Moving the mouse over the taskbar gives me 60% CPU usage by plasma AND 50% CPU usage by XOrg.
This slowness if everywhere on the desktop. I click somewhere and it takes some seconds until it reacts. The "natural" reaction is to click again, which makes things worse. What is the reason of this slowness, I don't know. But I am worried about it, because I have a fairy decent computer here, everything is fast except my video card: AMD Opteron 180 Dual Core (2.4Ghz), 2GB Dual Channel RAM, 7200RPM SATA HDD, Nvidia FX5500 card (with the binary drivers). The card isn't the state of the art one, but should be more than enough for desktop usage. I tried compiz with it, and it works OK. I can see the reaction lag with compiz as well (compared to the KDE3 version of kwin, which is lightning fast), but it is still quite usable.
I tried to remove kwin and use another window manager. This made at least the window operations faster, but the desktop was still slow.
That's about the speed.
Now about the usability side: I have no idea if what I tried is implemented at all or not, if there are plans to do them for the final release or not, but certainly I can say that as it is now, it is close to be unusable. There is the panel on the bottom with the taskbar and the clock. The taskbar let's say works, but I couldn't figure out what really a left/right click on an empty area of the taskbar does. It minimizes/restores the running applications, but I don't see the logic. I also don't know how to move around the taskbar on the panel. I don't know how to move the panel. It is possible to add new applets to the desktop, but I don't know how to move those applets to a panel. Moving them around on the screen is terribly slow.
There is also an Unknown Applet on my panel which "could not be created". I have no idea what it is or how it appeared there.
I also saw some bugs, like black boxes on top of windows appearing when you move a window over an applet, but this kind of issues are just simple bugs, acceptable at this stage of the development.
Unfortunately this experience can have only one outcome: I cannot use KDE4 as my daily desktop. Not even as a testing desktop.
So the solution is to test only the libraries and the applications. Luckily it is pretty easy to have a setup where you can run KDE4 applications under KDE3. Well, the first and one of the most important applications is Konqueror. I'm writing this blog from Konqueror4. Altough I feel a slowness here as well (when navigating through the menus, for example), this isn't a big issue, it is usable. I saw some rendering bugs, an ugly infinite loop when loading a certain page, but I saw similar issues with the old Konqui as well.
There is a problem with the editor area where I write the blog text (home bring to the beginning of the text, not the beginning of the line, mouse scrolling does not work) and the closing buttons on the tabs do not work, but again, in beta stage these are "normal" bugs.
For the applications the solution is to report the bugs or try to fix them. :) I will happily report them.

My conclusion: as it is now, the KDE4 desktop should not be released. Luckily we have some months left until the final release, so who knows, it might really be usable. I have more confidence in the base libraries and the applications. I think there only some polish is needed, in general they should be usable, but as I said, I didn't test many of them either. But what I started up for a quick test seemed to work.


          My Messy Room is Delirious - 3,85€         
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Who has a messy room? Here’s a great framed saying. "A messy house is a happy house - My room is delirious". Whose room would you put in??


          Lessons from a 5 year old        
Reblogged from conboykimberly: Watching HGTV with my 5 year old grandson and they are showing people who are looking for their second (vacation) home in Hawaii. Me: "I am so jealous of these people, I wish I had a second home." Grandson: " But you do have two homes already. Your first house (which my […]
          I usually take …        
I usually take a walk after breakfast, write for three hours, have lunch and read in the afternoon. Demons don’t like fresh air – they prefer it if you stay in bed with cold feet; for a person who is as chaotic as me, who struggles to be in control, it is an absolute necessity […]
          UNI Green Project Movie Night        

UNI Green Project will show the movie, "No Impact Man." This documentary involves a man and his family who spend a year living in the middle of New York City while trying to have no net impact on the environment. They do this by decreasing their negative habits and increasing the positive effects they have on the world around them.

Location: 
Room 2, Sabin Hall
Wednesday, February 15, 2012 -
1:30 pm to 3:00 pm
Enter Your Email: 
Name: 
Amy Joens
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          Around the Globe - Fundación Todo Mejora supports LGBT youth        

Todo Mejora means “it gets better”—and it’s this message that the Chile-based nonprofit has worked tirelessly to advocate for. In the wake of continual LGBT discrimination around the world, Fundación Todo Mejora strives to support the LGBT adolescents who face discrimination, including those considering committing suicide. Chile has one of the highest levels of suicide and school violence in Latin America. It’s projected that if nothing is done, in four years, one adolescent in Chile will end his or her life  nearly each day—an astounding metric that Fundación Todo Mejora hopes to change.1,2

Continuing  with our series about impactful organizations using Google for Nonprofits tools, this week we’re highlighting how Fundación Todo Mejora uses technology to spread its message and creates a safe space for these teenagers to find refuge in times of need.

Showing up when searching for help—Google Ad Grants

By implementing a strategic campaign using Google Ad Grants, the nonprofit targeted Google searches common to suicidal thoughts such as “I want to commit suicide”, “Who should I call if I want to kill myself?”, or “Help me, I want to die”. When a local person searches this on Google, Fundación Todo Mejora’s ads show up to intervene with supportive messages, and provide links to resources to find help. One 19-year-old girl who found support from these ads said, "Amidst my depression, I Googled how to commit suicide. Your foundation, ’Todo Mejora,’ popped up in my search results. It made me smile and reminded me the reason to go on.”

These ads have allowed Fundación Todo Mejora to save lives and navigate people to their website where they can find resources and support. As a result, website traffic increased by 20% in one year alone, which means the organization found a way to reach more people in need. This increase also prompted Fundación Todo Mejora to expand their suicide hotline support to 30 hours/week up from 7 hours/week.

Spreading the word—YouTube

To further increase visibility, Fundación Todo Mejora created a YouTube channel where adolescents share their personal stories, which have helped create a community of support, coupled with the call-to-action overlays inspiring others to follow suit, take initiative, and send donations. In their most popular video, with over 62,000 views, Demi Lovato speaks out against homophobic and transgender bullying and encourages victims to reach out for help.

TODO MEJORA - Demi Lovato, cantante

Storage & syncing—G Suite

Fundación Todo Mejora now uses G Suite exclusively for all its day-to-day operations, relying on Gmail, Google Drive, and Google Calendar to work productively. The unlimited user accounts and 30GB of storage per user has saved them time and money that once went towards paying for other storage products. Now, they can save important data in a shared and collaborative space which has helped them streamline their processes, preserve historical documents, and improve communication.

With more time, funding, and organizational processes, Fundación Todo Mejora can focus on expanding their support for youth in need and the LGBT community. Read more about their story on our Community Stories page on our Google for Nonprofits site.

To see if your nonprofit is eligible to participate, review the Google for Nonprofits eligibility guidelines. Google for Nonprofits offers organizations like yours free access to Google tools like Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Drive, Google Ad Grants, YouTube for Nonprofits and more. These tools can help you reach new donors and volunteers, work more efficiently, and tell your nonprofit’s story. Learn more and enroll here.

Footnote:  Statements are provided by Nonprofits that received products as part of the Google for Nonprofits program, which offers products at no charge to qualified nonprofits.

1 OECD (2016). Low Performing Students: Why They Fall Behind and How To Help Them Succeed. PISA. OECD Publishing. Paris

2.Ministerio de Salud de Chile (2013). Situación Actual del Suicidio Adolescente en Chile, con perspectiva de Género [Current Situation of Adolescent Suicide in Chile, with a gender perspective]. Programa Nacional de Salud Integral de Adolescentes y Jóvenes. Chile.


          G4NP Around the Globe - Zooming in on Action Against Hunger        

Every dollar and minute count to further your cause and focus on your mission. We’re pleased to highlight nonprofits who were able to make greater impact with fewer resources by using Google tools—from G Suite to Google Ad Grants–made available through Google for Nonprofits (G4NP) at no charge.

Varying in size, scope, and timezones, these nonprofits from around the world share one thing in common: utilizing the G4NP suite of tools to help their specific needs. G4NP offers nonprofit organizations across 50 countries access to Google tools like Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Ad Grants and more at no cost. This week, we’ll take a look at how the nonprofit Action Against Hunger utilizes these tools to increase productivity, visibility, and donations,  in order to improve lives in  the communities they serve.

Action Against Hunger

In 2016 alone, Action Against Hunger provided nourishment to over 1.5 million starving children(1). In order to save lives with nutritional programs, Action Against Hunger looked to Google for aid—not for food, but for technology. Action Against Hunger now utilizes five Google technologies that have drastically improved their ability to save lives around the globe.

Raising Awareness with Google Ad Grants & Analytics

For major international emergencies, like the Ebola outbreak or the South Sudan famine, Action Against Hunger needs a way to inform people and recommend ways to get involved. With Ad Grants, the nonprofit activates targeted keywords relating to the crises to drive people to their page and empower them to take action. Google Analytics then allows them to track their effectiveness and adjust accordingly to increase engagement and improve their fundraising techniques. With this data-driven strategy and the tools’ ability to optimize campaigns, Action Against Hunger has nearly doubled funding year-over-year. In fact, Ad Grants brought 158,000 people to their website in the past year alone, raising $66,000 which is equal to treating 1,466 hungry children.

Ad Grants brought 158,000 people to their website in the past year alone, raising $66,000 which is equal to treating 1,466 hungry children.

Increasing Productivity with G Suite

When working with a global network and managing hundreds of programs abroad, collaboration and communication are key. After experiencing unnecessary latencies in their operations, Action Against Hunger has since adopted G Suite which streamlined their workflow. The nonprofit is especially fond of Gmail, Hangouts, and Drive where Action Against Hunger employees can message each other quickly, share files securely, and collaborate on Docs in real-time—avoiding duplication of efforts and saving time.

Fundraising with One Today & YouTube

To drive donations and expand awareness to broad audiences, Action Against Hunger uses One Today, a Google app that allows users to easily donate $1 or more towards causes they care about. Campaigning on One Today on World Food Day in 2016,  Action Against Hunger raised more than $1,200 in support of their cause with each dollar going directly helping those in need. Additionally, Action Against Hunger creates and shares content on YouTube to reach their global audience, and is  beginning to use the YouTube donation cards to further increase donations. The large exposure and website referrals from both YouTube and Google+ helped Action Against Hunger raise over $20,000.

Using Google products Action Against Hunger gained extra time and energy to focus on what really matters: feeding the hungry.

To read more about Action Against Hunger’s story and learn how they used Google tools so effectively, visit our Google for Nonprofits Community Stories page. Stay tuned in the coming weeks for more inspirational stories about nonprofits using technology to help their cause.

To see if your nonprofit is eligible to participate, review the Google for Nonprofits eligibility guidelines. Google for Nonprofits offers organizations like yours free access to Google tools like Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Drive, Google Ad Grants, YouTube for Nonprofits and more. These tools can help you reach new donors and volunteers, work more efficiently, and tell your nonprofit’s story. Learn more and enroll here.

Footnote:  Statements are provided by Nonprofits that received products as part of the Google for Nonprofits program, which offers products at no charge to qualified nonprofits.



          Improve your nonprofit’s account security with 2-step verification        

While online accounts allow nonprofits to easily communicate with partners, volunteers and donors across the world, this shared network can also leave your account vulnerable to intruders. As your nonprofit continues to grow its online presence, it’s crucial to keep confidential information (e.g., finances or donor’s information) safe. While passwords have historically been the sole guardian for online account access, research from Google has shown that many passwords and security questions can easily be guessed. That's why we strongly recommend that all nonprofits using GSuite for Nonprofits, or Google products like Gmail, use 2-Step Verification (2SV) as an additional protection on their account(s). 

Account hijacking—a process through which an online account is stolen or hijacked by a hacker—constitutes a serious threat to your nonprofit’s operations. Typically, account hijackings are carried out by phishing attempts or hackers who guess weak passwords. Because of this, it’s especially important for your nonprofit to maintain strong and unique account passwords to keep sensitive data safe.

But 2SV goes beyond just a strong password. It's an effective security feature that combines "something you know" (e.g., a password) and "something you have" (e.g., a text, a prompt, or a Security Key) to protect your accounts. Think of this like withdrawing money from an ATM/cash machine: You need both your PIN and your debit card.

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Our free Google Authenticator app is available for Android and iOS devices, which generates a code for you each time you want to sign in to your account.

Now that you know what 2SV is, head over to our Help Page to start improving your nonprofit’s online security now. (Quick tip: Remember to keep your account settings up to date and configure backup options to use if your phone is ever lost or stolen). Stay safe, nonprofits!  

To see if your nonprofit is eligible to participate, review the Google for Nonprofits eligibility guidelines. Google for Nonprofits offers organizations like yours access to Google tools like Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Drive, Google Ad Grants, YouTube for Nonprofits and more at no charge. These tools can help you reach new donors and volunteers, work more efficiently, and tell your nonprofit’s story. Learn more and enroll here.


          Unlocking G Suite for Nonprofits: Improve internal workflow and communication        

Whether you have a team of five or 500 a seamless, collaborative workflow is critical in the digital age. Our goal is to make sure that your nonprofit is able to focus on changing the world by using technology to save time -- not waste it. In the digital age though, information sharing can often be complex; your team might not work in the same office, or even the same timezone. Some team members might be in an office with computer access, while others are in the field on mobile devices. Who from your team should be able to access confidential documents?

This brings us to a key question: How do you empower team members to work together towards a common goal, and use technology to enable it?

Great question. We’d like to introduce you to G Suite - (formerly  Google Apps for Work ). G Suite aims to help teams work together in real-time -- no matter where they are in the world.

Today, we’re spotlighting a few nonprofits to share how their teams  are using Google tools and apps to improve workflow and internal communication.

Mercy Beyond Borders - Internal Communication with Sheets & Sites

Mercy Beyond Borders (MBB) is a U.S. nonprofit that aims to forge opportunities for women and girls in extreme poverty to learn, connect, and lead. Utilizing a small office in the U.S. as home base, MBB targets rural areas in Haiti and South Sudan. In both of these areas, cultural norms and poverty prohibit full participation of women. In fact, these areas offer minimal education and opportunities for employment, which often  impedes the development of leadership skills or positions. Mercy Beyond Borders focuses its programs on providing trainings, scholarships, leadership camps, and business loans for women.

To achieve their mission, Mercy Beyond Borders faces the challenge of balancing US-based operations with field work in remote areas like South Sudan and Haiti. Their nonprofit partners range from large organizations to local schools to individuals. So how does Mercy Beyond Borders ensure that all staff, vendors, and partners stay connected and working together in sync?
MBB-trained nurse in South-Sudan village
MBB-trained nurse in South Sudan village. Photo credit: Mercy Beyond Borders

Mercy Beyond Border began using G Suite to streamline its workflow, connecting their team across the globe. Using G Suite, MBB’s team is able to access, share, and collaborate together in real-time. Take a glimpse into how they do it:

  • Track Finances: MBB manages their overseas program budget expenditures in Google Sheets. Using this tool, the domestic office tracks monthly vendor payments in Haiti. This enables the staff to wire more money as needed in order to ensure program success. Additionally, using Sheets enables the team to provide transparency in the organization, clarifying spending and creating a simple overview of total annual expenses. This standardized and collaborative approach to data enables better efficiency and communication between domestic and international offices.

  • Store images: Mercy Beyond Borders regularly takes photos in the field to keep the domestic office up to date on progress and communicate stories to their donors. The team overseas is able to upload the pictures to Google Drive, which allows them to share or retrieve the images at any time.

  • Share Information: It’s imperative that MBB shares frequent updates with the Board of Directors, highlighting current developments, areas for growth, and new opportunities. To keep the Board of Directors apprised of progress, the team created a MBB Board website with Google Sites as a way to provide updates outside of meetings. The site functions as a central hub, where the Board can find all relevant information and resources at their discretion. The website is organized in subsections including internal updates from the Executive Director, background articles on country conditions and descriptions of new partnerships. To take it one step further, MBB also added a comment section for board members to engage in open communication.

“It [G Suite] helps to better connect, engage, and keep Board members up-to-date in between meetings, or  if they are unable to make a meeting (in which case they can view the Meeting Archives page),” said Adrienne Perez.


MyFace - Increasing productivity and improving internal workflow by remote access

Established in 1951, MyFace was founded to address the medical, surgical and psychological needs of those living with facial deformities. The organization offers access to care and treatments --- regardless of the severity of the anomaly, the length of treatment, or the family’s ability to afford care. In America alone, 1 in 650 children is born with an facial cleft. Every year, MyFace helps more than 1,000 patients seek treatment. Of this population, 85% are children, 70% live in poverty, and 95% require long-term care. The costs involved in this are high and verges on insurmountable for low income families. With this in mind, MyFace ensures that all children receive highest quality interdisciplinary and comprehensive reconstructive care by doctors who provide their services pro bono.

As a small nonprofit (their staff of eight including their therapy dog, Bentley), employees are required to perform a variety of different tasks. On any given day, team members might be responsible for website design, grant proposal writing, and marketing strategy. And oftentimes, what one employee starts today is  picked up by another employee tomorrow. Because it’s often all-hands-on-deck, collaboration is particularly key for MyFace.

Our mission of changing faces and transforming lives can be fulfilled with the help of technology from G4NP Carolyn Spector Executive Director MyFace

To address their challenge, MyFace began using Google Drive to centrally store, access, and share information from anywhere at anytime. Drive helped decrease the amount of time that MyFace spends on administrative tasks, like sending documents back and forth or working with out-of-date data or information. Drive’s tools like Docs and Sheets enable the team to collaborate both in and out of office.

MyFace also deals with an overwhelming amount of data and information. The team needs this data to not only be easy to store, retrieve, and share — it needs to be secure, since it contains confidential and personal patient information. G Suite offers that as well, ensuring that all information is kept private and secure. (Want to know more about G Suite security and how safe they really are? Read more about it here).

“Our mission of changing faces and transforming lives can be fulfilled with the help of technology from G4NP because it offers invaluable resources to nonprofits of any size at no cost,” stated Carolyn Spector, Executive Director of MyFace.

MyFace Staff photo
MyFace team. Photo credit: MyFace

Having global teams of different sizes with varying access to technology can make timely communication difficult, if not impossible. While nonprofits like Mercy Beyond Borders and myFace strive to accomplish unique missions, both organizations are passionate about changing the world. And about using the right technology to help. Utilizing tools like G Suite has been key for nonprofits like these in order to improve internal workflow and communications. For Mercy and my Face, making information shared, up-to-date, and secure has been crucial for navigating the Technology Age.

Interested in learning more about the tools available to your nonprofit? Check out our website to see how G4NP can help your nonprofit with real-time, up-to-date communication and data sharing.

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To see if your nonprofit is eligible to participate, review the Google for Nonprofits eligibility guidelines. Google for Nonprofits offers organizations like yours free access to Google tools like Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Drive, Google Ad Grants, YouTube for Nonprofits and more. These tools can help you reach new donors and volunteers, work more efficiently, and tell your nonprofit’s story. Learn more and enroll here.

Footnote:  Statements are provided by Nonprofits that received free products as part of the Google for Nonprofits program, which offers free products to qualified nonprofits.


          A nonprofit's guide to online security: So you want to learn the lingo?        
This year marks the 25th anniversary of the World Wide Web becoming publicly available. For many of us, this is a reminder of just how much the Internet has transformed our daily lives. This rings true for nonprofits too: The Internet has revolutionized the way that nonprofits communicate, fundraise, and recruit volunteers. It has enabled nonprofits like yours to share their mission with a global audience. To raise awareness. And to change the world. 

But the power of the Internet also comes with great responsibility -- namely the need to keep information safe and secure. As a nonprofit, it can be difficult to keep up with online security, especially when terminology seems complicated. Yes, you might have heard of terms like “phishing” or “cookies,” but what do they mean?

Today, you can find the answers to your questions with our quick & easy to guide to online security terminology. In less than five minutes, you’ll be well on the way to helping keep your nonprofit safe on the Internet. 

Let’s get started! Here’s a quick guide to familiarize yourself with common lingo and learn how to distinguish terms that are friends vs foes in the online security realm. 


THE BAD GUYS: MALICIOUS ACTIONS/TERMS

  • Advanced Fee Fraud (419 scams): A technique which tricks users into sending or paying money to fraudsters on the promise of receiving greater rewards afterwards. It is most commonly associated with Nigeria, and 419 is the section of the Nigerian legal code that covers this fraud.
  • Botnet: A network of computers that are infected with malicious software without users’ knowledge, used to send viruses and spam to other computers.
  • Malware: Malicious software with the purpose of infecting devices and systems, gathering personal information, gaining access to systems or disrupting the operations of the device or systems. Essentially, any software that maliciously alters or compromises the system or device.
  • Phishing / Social Engineering Attack: An attempt by hackers who pose as trustworthy individuals or businesses in order to get your personal information such as usernames, passwords, and financial information.
  • Trojans: Malicious programs posing as or bundled with legitimate ones, which are designed to compromise your system. They are usually installed on computers from opening attachments in scam emails or by visiting infected websites. The term comes from the Trojan Horse in Greek mythology.

How to avoid social engineering attacks

THE GOOD GUYS: ONLINE SAFETY TERMS


  • [Internet] Cookie: A piece of data from a visited website and stored in the user's web browser in order to remember information that the user has entered or engaged with such as items in a shopping basket on an e-commerce site.
  • Encryption: The process of encoding data, messages, or information, such that only authorized parties can read it.
  • Firewall: A security system used to block hackers, viruses, and other malicious threats to your computer. It does this by acting as a barrier, acting on predetermined rules, which allows trusted traffic but blocks untrusted or non-secure traffic. 
  • HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol): is the protocol for secure communications over a computer network used on the Internet. It essentially provides authentication of the website and the web servers associated with it. 
  • Transport Layer Security (TLS): TLS is a protocol that encrypts and delivers mail securely, both for inbound and outbound mail traffic. It helps prevent eavesdropping between mail servers – keeping your messages private while they're moving between email providers. 
  • Two Factor Authentication / Two Step Verification: A method of using an additional process to verify your identity online. It combines both ‘something you know’ (like a password) and ‘something you have’ (like your phone or security key) — similar to withdrawing money from an ATM/cash machine, where you need both your PIN and your bank card.

That’s a wrap for now! Pass on these tips to your nonprofit partners to stay safe and secure online, so you can focus on what matters most: changing the world. 

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To see if your nonprofit is eligible to participate, review the Google for Nonprofits eligibility guidelines. Google for Nonprofits offers organizations like yours access to Google tools like Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Drive, Google Ad Grants, YouTube for Nonprofits and more at no charge. These tools can help you reach new donors and volunteers, work more efficiently, and tell your nonprofit’s story. Learn more and enroll here.


          Four ways to keep your nonprofit safe & secure online        
safety security g4np
For nonprofits, the Internet serves as a powerful vehicle for change — creating a way to access information, connect with users, and drive innovation. But navigating the web can also be a tricky task. Online safety and security has become increasingly pertinent for all digital users, including nonprofits. While it’s relevant to all though, it’s unattended by many. This raises the question: “How do we keep our nonprofit (and the community we serve) safe and secure online?”

Today, we’re partnering with Google’s User Advocacy Group to share four smart tips to keep your nonprofit, your users, and you safe online.

1. Secure your passwords

Many of us “know” that it’s smart to pick a strong password, but out of convenience we also continue to use our favorite pet’s name (e.g. “Clifford”) or other not-so-creative passwords like “password.” Although pets like Clifford are great, they don’t make great passwords. Rather, this weak protection creates vulnerable access to some of your nonprofit’s most sensitive information.

Picking strong passwords that are different for each of your accounts is extremely important -- it’s also good practice to update your passwords regularly.  Check out the following tips: 

  • Use a unique password for each of your accounts. Would you give a burglar a key that accessed your home, car, garage, and more? Using the same password for multiple accounts creates the same type of risk. Ensure you’re protecting your data by using unique passwords for each account.

  • Include numbers, letters and symbols in your password. The longer your password is, the harder it is to guess. Adding numbers, symbols and mixed-case letters makes it harder for someone to gain access to your account.

  • Create password recovery options and keep them up-to-date. If you forget your password or get locked out, you need a way to get back into your account. Many services will send this information to a recovery email address to reset your password, so be sure your recovery email address is up-to-date and accessible. You may also be able to add a phone number to your profile to receive a code to reset your password via text message. Having a mobile phone number on your account is one of the easiest and most reliable ways to help keep your account safe.

2. Take the security checkup


Google’s Security Checkup is a quick, easy way to review the following information about your account (and more)!
  • Recent activity: This is a quick overview of your recent sign-ins to Google. If you see any activity from a location or device you don’t recognize, change your password immediately.

  • Account permissions: These are the apps, websites, and devices connected to your Google account. Take a look and make sure you trust—and actually use—all of them. You might want to remove an old phone, or that dusty app you never use.

  • Check your 2-step verification:  Most people have only one layer of protection with their password. 2-step verification adds an additional layer of security to your account by requiring a phone or security key to access your account information.

3. Understand your privacy settings


If you do your personal and business work on the same computer, you will want to also check your privacy settings through Google’s Privacy Checkup. Privacy Checkup allows you to control what information like photos, videos and reviews are shared to the public or to whomever you choose.
  • Manage your sharing: You can decide what information you want to share such as videos, photos and reviews. Perhaps your nonprofit videos are only shared with your friends, when you want them to be shared with anyone. This is a simple way to check to see who can see what.

  • Personalize your google experience: One additional function of privacy checkup is to see what information you’re sharing with Google. Google uses this information to provide better search results and more relevant information to get you answers quicker and more relevant information to share to your nonprofit community.


Review important information about how Google uses data to make services better for you and your nonprofit.

4. Ensure you're switching between your personal & business accounts


We understand that as a nonprofit, you wear many hats and manage multiple business accounts in addition to personal ones. Google makes it easy toggle between accounts — visit your account settings to quickly determine which data you’re accessing, and rest easy knowing your personal and business information are separate.

  • Guest Mode or Incognito mode: Share Chrome with other people in your organization and ensure everyone has their own settings and bookmarks. You can also utilize Guest mode or Incognito mode to open a private browsing session in Chrome without leaving browser history or cookies behind once you’ve logged out.

  • Using Chrome on an unfamiliar device or machine: If you’re using an unfamiliar device or machine, ensure you’ve properly logged out of your account before heading off to your next meeting.


Online security doesn’t have to be difficult. These simple steps will give you peace of mind and protect your nonprofit’s valuable work. If you have any other online security questions or want to recommend a topic for a future blog, please add a comment below. 

To see if your nonprofit is eligible to participate, review the Google for Nonprofits eligibility guidelines. Google for Nonprofits offers organizations like yours access to Google tools like Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Drive, Google Ad Grants, YouTube for Nonprofits and more — all at no charge. These tools can help you reach new donors and volunteers, work more efficiently, and tell your nonprofit’s story. Learn more + enroll here.  


          Unlocking your nonprofit's data insights: Linking Ad Grants and Google Analytics        

So you’re a savvy nonprofit that has mastered Ad Grants? Read on! 

You’re a group of community leaders who know the impact of data. And who know that technology can help you leverage that.     

Like many other businesses, it’s critical for nonprofits to translate clicks on ads into a meaningful action on their nonprofit’s website. These actions could be donations, event registrations, file downloads, volunteer sign-ups or form completions — whatever it is that you’re compelling users to do.

Nonprofits like yours, however, often come to us with an important question: “How do we know if our Ad Grants account is actually resulting in these increased actions?” Great question!Our answer is simple, yet we hope it’s powerful too: Google Analytics.

Google Analytics is your go-to tool for providing insights into user behavior, which can be used to inform Ad Grants, as well as website optimization. By syncing data and using AdGrants & Analytics in tandem, you can boost the quality of traffic reaching your site and increase the chance of visitors completing a meaningful action on your NGO’s page. Best of all, Analytics can be used by nonprofits at no charge.

To get started, we strongly recommend defining your team’s marketing objectives. (If you haven’t set up goals yet, check out Smart Goals, which were designed with groups like nonprofits in mind.)

Then, link your Google Analytics account to your Google Ad Grants account to see your data. (Find out how to do so here: Link Analytics and Ad Grants). In doing so, you’ll unlock insights into your Ad Grants campaign. For instance, what happens after someone clicks on your Ad Grants ad and lands on your site? How does it differ by geographical region? Or how does user behavior differ between services offered?

Going forward, you can also track your nonprofit’s marketing goals in Google Analytics to understand how traffic from your Ad Grants campaigns is converted to meaningful action on your website. To do so, import your goals into Ad Grants as conversions.

Now, you’ll be able to see traffic quality data such as bounce rate, pages per session and average session duration for campaigns, ad groups, and keywords within Ad Grants. By adding goals as conversions, you’ll get the data you need to understand which text ads showing for keywords resonate best with your target audience.

Why, you might ask, is all this important for your nonprofit?

Take Science Buddies, a nonprofit that was one of the earliest adopters of the Google Ad Grants program, joining in 2003. Science Buddies then received 171,000 unique visits in 2004 via Ad Grants, with this number increasing by 4.5X to 773,000 unique visits in 2005. By 2006, Google Ad Grants had doubled the traffic to the website altogether. “Ad Grants really put us on the map!” said Kenneth Hess, President and Founder of Science Buddies.

The takeaway here is that the more you optimize, the better chance you have of improving your quality score — a key metric in an Ad Grants account! And more importantly, the better chance you have of authentically connecting with users who are trying to change the world along with with your nonprofit and you. 


Sign up for Google Ad Grants here.

For more information on how to get started and country availability, please visit our Ad Grants Help Center. To see if your nonprofit is eligible to participate, review the Google for Nonprofits eligibility guidelines. Google for Nonprofits offers organizations like yours access to Google tools like Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Drive, Google Ad Grants, YouTube for Nonprofits and more — all at no charge. These tools can help you reach new donors and volunteers, work more efficiently, and tell your nonprofit’s story. Learn more and enroll here. 


Science Buddies’ statements are made in connection with receiving in-kind donations as a participant in the Ad Grants program.


          Google for Education presents: Google RISE Awards!        

Google for Education just opened applications for the Google RISE Awards, a $10-25k USD grant given to nonprofit organizations globally that give girls and underrepresented students access to computer science through extracurricular outreach programs. In 2015, 37 organizations from 17 countries received RISE Awards for projects ranging from programming clubs in Johannesburg to workshops on CS and music production in San Francisco. 

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Learning about CS promotes valuable problem solving skills that students can apply to any field of study. Unfortunately, many students have a negative perception of what CS is and who it’s for. By partnering with nonprofits that are providing students with access and exposure to CS, we hope to change this perception and encourage more students to pursue CS. We’ve been inspired by the creativity and passion we’ve seen from our past RISE awardees, and this year we’re excited to expand the reach of the RISE awards by opening two rounds of funding applications for nonprofit organizations. 

The RISE Awards are now accepting applications through February 19, and more information on the application process is listed on our website. Visit g.co/csedu to learn more about Google’s other CS resources, including our CS teacher professional development awards, Computer Science for High School (CS4HS), which is also currently accepting applications for the 2016 year.


          Staff Accountant - Lux Research        
Mountain View, CA - Location: MOUNTAIN VIEW, CAType: Full TimeMin. Experience: Entry Level
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          Helpdesk Analyst- Alameda (US) - Metaswitch Networks        
Los Altos, CA - Megan Hogan
May 16, 2017 at 2:12 PM
The role

We have a highly expert IT Services team based in both the US and UK, who are responsible for designing, building and maintaining the company?s IT infrastructure as part of the wider Company DevOps team, which provides tools and
          Customer Operations Coordinator - Lux Research        
Mountain View, CA - Location: Mountain View, CAType: Full TimeMin. Experience: Mid Level
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          Quality Assurance Specialist - Lux Research        
Mountain View, CA - Location: MOUNTAIN VIEW, CAType: Full TimeMin. Experience: Entry Level
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          Sales Specialist - Crowdtap        
New York, NY - NEW YORKBUSINESS DEVELOPMENTFULL-TIME
APPLY FOR THIS JOB
We are currently seeking a Sales Specialist who is ready to quickly progress within the sales world. Our BDA Team is a group of highly motivated sales development professionals that focus on acquiring high potential C-
          Marketing Contractor - Pixability        
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Who We Are
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          The Collision of Faith, Media and Culture        
How do these three intertwine? More personally, how do these intertwine in our personal life? It is easy to live life   compartmentally, keeping nice, neat, separate boxes with the various areas of our lives. Is this effective? Our guest this week was a dynamic, intentional, creative leader, John David Ware, who is an award-winning writer-director…
          I know, I know, I'm a terrible blogger        
Silas has taken to pooping in the house in the same exact spot every time. Like it's his own personal carpeted potty. He'll do it right after he comes inside too. I'm really not sure what to do about it. I'm about to break down and pay for a flipping dog whisperer or something. I mean. Really.
Also he keeps nipping at us. And sometimes it hurts. And he still has puppy teeth. I can't even imagine what it will feel like once he has his big boy teeth.
On top of everything, work, my crazy dog, my messy house and did I mention work? On top of everything, people have been really difficult to deal with lately. I don't know if it's cause I'm tired or stressed or a combination of the above, but I take everything anyone says or does at a very personal level and I've been crying at the drop of a hat.
For instance. The boy's little sister wrote a blog post on her myspace about her faith and about religion in general and I commented in a way that I would to any of my friends. I talk to people as if they are intelligent human beings and I want to engage them in logical and thoughtful discussions. Is that such a crime? Well, in any case, one of her friends commented below mine saying, basically, not to pay attention to that "dumb girl your brother is datin" because she is all up on her high horse and who does she think she is? And I got upset. Like crying and almost hysterical upset. And I have no idea why. I cried because some 15 year old kid made fun of me on myspace??? Seriously? I don't know, I think it probably boils down to frustrations over my feelings that the boy's family thinks I'm just another "stupid girl" that he is "datin" even though we've been together for 2 and half years and are very committed. I don't think they'll ever take me seriously, or at least not anytime before our ten year wedding anniversary, which for all I know could be 40 years away.
And then someone else removed me from her facebook friends. And I shouldn't be upset about that. Because I really don't ever want to be friends with her again. We had a huge row about a month ago, and even before that she treated me (in my opinion) quite poorly and did not make me feel happy, which is what I think friends should do. But seriously? Removing me from your friends list? Are we 12????
The end.
PS: I promise to not be such a Debbie Downer with the next post.
          Who's a good boy?        
Silas hasn't had an accident in a whole week! It's like the most exciting thing ever...
Work is really crazy right now, I have less than 70 days left before the election which makes me nervous and excited and exhausted and relieved and terrified all at the same time. Mostly because part of thinks "holy crap there's so much to do before November!" and the other part of me thinks "thank goodness, maybe I'll be able to sleep a little bit soon" and yet another part of me thinks "ummmmm, I don't have a job starting November 10th and I haven't even thought about looking for one."
So those are the major stresses in my life right now. Not really sure what to do about them.
Last thing: Last night was the first night of the democratic national convention in Denver, and my Senator here in Missouri, Sen. Claire McCaskill spoke towards the end. Her kids, including her daughter Maddie (who I know!!! eeek!!) introduced her. This was the part of the convention I wanted to see. The ONE PART other than Obama's acceptance speech. And guess what? I MISSED IT. I was driving. because I work all the time. Boo. :(
          Design of the blade in your food processor        
This plays a huge roll in the overall performance of your food processor. It is technically possible to sharpen the blade, but it is a very difficult thing to do, and I personally couldn’t name a single parson that I know (myself included), who does it regularly. A high quality blade for your processor will feature micro serrations, which are retaining their ability to cut for much longer period of time than your razor-like smooth edge. It’s a problem even with some of the most expensive and downright best food processors in existence. They have overpowered motors, which would obliterate...
          OMG, stop the presses! Tyra says Lindsay Lohan is ‘excited to come back’ for LIFE SIZE 2′ sequel film starring them both        

The only people who could do this film justice are LIFETIME or… Michael Bay? Check out Tyra‘s interview above where she tip toes around some...
          OMG, Aaron Carter comes out as bisexual, expresses his attraction towards men        

pic.twitter.com/Zi6ahCtk4U — Aaron Carter (@aaroncarter) August 6, 2017 It’s Aaron’s party, come get it, boys! Welcome to the club Mr. Carter! SO – who are...
          OMG, and in case you’ve been living in under a rock: “Right In front of my salad!?” Lady is THE hottest new meme of 2017 and is sweeping the nation        

What happens who two of the people serving you lunch in a condo turn out to actually be naked and penetrating eachother!? A furious customer...
          8 Celebrities Who Look Like ‘Harry Potter’ Characters        
Everybody knows the feeling; you’re watching a movie, flipping through a magazine, or even just scrolling through your social media accounts, when you start to wonder why your favorite celebrity looks a little bit different. Is it a new hairstyle? Or did they give their wardrobe a major overhaul? Could it just be the angle … Continue reading
          So This Friend’s Got a TV Show…        
Ever sit next to one of those people on a plane who’s addicted to a show like Lost? Who gets that look in their eyes when they describe it?  I always wanted to be one of those folks with that mystical reverence for a particular TV program. Who lived by it, was truly loyal, and wouldn’t … Continue reading
          TV Finale Alert: What’ll You Watch?        
Happy Monday…hope you had an awesome weekend. First up, we’re sending all good wishes to rockstar (and reality star) Bret Michaels, who remains hospitalized in Los Angeles following a brain hemorrhage; his reps say he’s a fighter and we hope he’ll be back on his feet soon.  Happy birthday Carol Burnett, Tom Welling & Channing … Continue reading
          Hit TV Shows on the Big Screen?        
It’s Thursday – we’re almost there! And boy, do you all have some serious opinions about “American Idol” (thanks for the feedback). Seems very few of you are fans of Howard Stern: The Music Judge.  Although maybe he likes it that way.  In TV news, an obit. Captain Phil Harris, the man who piloted the … Continue reading
          Bo        




The lovely and talented Ms. Mouly asked me last Wednesday if I might have any cover concepts about pirates and portuguese water dogs. I didn't really, and though I tried my best to combine the two in a singular idea, I found that pretty impossible to pull off, so I gave her 8 sketches -- and this is the one The New Yorker went with. Anyone who does covers for the magazine knows how blisteringly fast the process can be -- with this one, 16 hours from sketches to approval to final art. While I wanted the piece to work on a decidedly decorative level, I'm also pleased that people have picked up on the subtle allusion; the black and white mixed-breed pet juxtaposed against the vastness, scale and magnitude of the office itself. BTW,  my preferred title for the cover was 'Oboma', the NYer opting instead for simply 'Bo'.



Detail of the dog


          A Letter, By George        
It's always nice to receive emails, letters and calls from people who like your work, but every now and then you receive a note that you would have never expected in a million years. Today I received a kind one from George Booth who, needless to say, remains a cartooning God to so many of us -- certainly me included. I grew up as a kid salivating over Booth's cartoons in The New Yorker, so to receive this letter, well, let's just say it's being framed even as you read this. So touched and honored.






          Vanity GREAT (As Opposed To 'Fair')        
I almost hesitate to post these because our buddy Kroninger holds the official Drawger position as 'Vice President in Charge of Posting Images at Least 50 Years Old While Simultaneously Running Down a Hallway Dangerously Holding a Pair of Extra-Sharp Scissors'. I was checking out the Vanity Fair site over the weekend and was paying special attention to the Jazz Age and Depression-Era covers. Now THESE are covers! Covarrubias, Carlu, Aladjalov, Bolin and my personal fave, Paolo Garretto. So graphic, so elegant, so able to communicate an idea visual with an economy of line, shape and effects. So pull up a mouse and check out some absolutely amazing covers by illustrators who continue to inspire, influence and still ASTOUND us well over 50 years later. Oh, and don't mind Kroninger writhing over there in the corner -- it's only a flesh wound. Vintage Vanity Fair Covers




















          Facing Foreclosure? Then You Need to Get on Board With Obama's Mortgage Loan Modification Today        
Believe it or not, you actually hold the upper hand when it comes to Mortgage Loan Modification in this situation. Your lender will have to pay a very high price to foreclose on your home. Added to this, is the mounting pressure from other companies and organizations for your lender to be more lenient with you in these hard times.

Think of all the memories your home holds for you. Do you recall the lazy days lying around or watching the children play. Maybe you have experienced countless emotions. Whether you have been happy, sad or angry, your home is something that you don't want to lose!

Your lender is not in the business of selling homes. The additional costs and fees associated with foreclosure will leave your mortgage provider looking for other suitable solutions.

With a Mortgage Loan Modification plan, you can reduce your payments for a period of 5 years to something far more affordable. The government can even reduce your mortgage principle in that time. This is a win-win situation for both parties. You get to keep your home, lower your repayments and have your mortgage balance reduced. Your lender doesn't have to go through the effort of trying to foreclose and sell your home and still receives some form of payment from you.

However, with a solution, there is usually always another problem right around the corner. Many people in your circumstances, resort to contacting attorneys, companies and specialists in mortgage foreclosure and loan modification. The fees that you can expect to pay can be astronomical and maybe even push you into further debt.

Some Loan Modification Companies have been reported to charge anywhere between $1500 - $5000 to perform this service. So this, of course, has led the way for certain individuals to fight back and complete the Mortgage Loan Modification process on their own.

If you need a step-by-step system and don't have up to $5000 to spend on Mortgage Loan Modification fees and charges then Click Here to see what other people who have "done it themselves" have to say.
          How Barack Obama's Modification of Your Mortgage Can Really Help Those Suffering Financially        
The New Mortgage Loan Modification Programs were introduced by the Obama administration in March 2009. For those of you struggling to meet your monthly repayments and with the threat of possible foreclosure hanging over you, this could be just the thing you are looking for.

With the agonizing recent recession and slump in housing prices, this has had a huge effect on millions of Americans. The Obama Loan Modification process has been introduced to help you through these hard times.

So what help is the government offering exactly?

Should you own and live in your mortgaged property and have a loan balance of below $729,750 you may be eligible. The government are looking to streamline your payments for up to five years. This may involve lowering the interest rate or extending the term of your mortgage.

For those of you suffering financial hardship and wishing to participate in this plan, you will be required to write and sign a letter stating such and if your overall debts are above 55% of your income, you will have to agree to take part in credit counseling. The final criteria to be eligible is that you must haven taken your loan out prior to January 1st 2009.

The process is a very rigorous form of verification, involving proof of ownership, proof of income and expenditure, through supplying relevant documents. Many industry experts believe that if these plans had been brought in a few years ago, then perhaps the current housing crisis could have been avoided altogether.

There are many companies who can help you through the legal and financial aspects for the Modification of your mortgage.

However, some Loan Modification Companies have been reported to charge anywhere between $1500 - $5000 to perform this service. So this, of course, has led the way for certain individuals to fight back and complete the procedures on their own. To learn how you can complete this process yourself Click Here.
          5 Top Tips To What Makes A Great Loan Modification Hardship Letter        
A well thought out and well written Loan Modification Hardship Letter can be the difference between success and failure when making a loan modification application. You must remember ever since the Obama Administration announced the new Loan Modification Plans And Programs back in March 2009, the majority of lenders have been inundated with applications.

So your letter needs to be clear, concise and if at all possible as unique as you can:-

1) Don't make excuses. Just describe in detail what the hardship is and why you are in this situation.

2) State what you have tried to do to overcome your current financial hardship.

3) You need to fully emphasize to your lender how important it is to you that you and your lender work together to resolve any problems.

4) Explain what your plans are to get yourself back on track with your mortgage repayments.

5) Don't beat around the bush. Be very clear and get to the point.

The Hardships that lenders will accept:-

- Death of a family member or the person who pays the mortgage

- Divorce

- Loss of your Job or Relocation

- Due to a reset variable rate your monthly mortgage repayments have increased
          Thanks For The Help Obama But Are You Willing To Pay $5000 For The Modification Of Your Mortgage?        
Since the Obama Administration introduced the new Loan Modification Plans on Wednesday 4th March 2009, many people have gone about planning the changes to their mortgages.

However, one stumbling block seems to get in everyone's way! The process of approaching your lender for the Modification of Your Mortgage usually requires a middleman. This is when the help of specialized attorneys, Loan Modification companies and professionals is required.

How much do these services cost you?

Well, you could be looking at anywhere from $1500 to $5000. Now, the way i see things, if you had that kind of money freely available you probably wouldn't need to approach your lender.
The actual plan of the Obama administration is to help out the 4 million plus Americans, who have either fallen behind with their monthly mortgage repayments or to those unfortunate enough to be facing foreclosure.

The help you will be offered is over a five year period. You mortgage principle can be reduced by up to $5000. Your interest rate can be dropped to as low as 2% and the term of your home loan can be extended up to a maximum of 40 years.

This certainly is a fantastic helping hand to those suffering financial hardship and looking to modify their mortgage repayments, but once again, you are faced with the fees and charges to get the ball rolling.

I knew it wouldn't be long before someone had to go through this whole process and then worked out a way of doing it for themselves! You are undoubtedly looking for no huge fees, no additional charges, just some guidance on how to approach the Loan Modification process. Hence the birth of the DIY Loan Modification Kit!

With the help of this kit, you can learn to:-

- Lower your interest rate and your payment

- Reduce the principal balance

- Convert to a fixed rate for peace of mind

- Have all late fees and charges removed from your record

- Stop the Foreclosure process

Click Here For More Info On The Do-It-Yourself Loan Modification Kit

What have some of the people who have used the DIY Loan Modification Kit got to say:-

"Thanks to the Do-It-Yourself Loan Modification Kit I was able to save my home! I had to stick to it for 3 months and really put my head down, but it was well worth it in the long run. I will be the first one to say it wasn't easy, but if you are struggling to make ends meet, it is definitely worth it. I ended up with a 40yr term at 4.5% reducing my mortgage over $1000 per month! I talked to a loan modification company before I chose the kit, but they wanted $3,500 upfront. I weighed my options and for only $29.95 I knew exactly what I was going to receive! And If I couldn't get the loan modification done myself at least I had peace of mind that I didn't waste $3,500."
Ted Basil, Syracuse, NY

"We have been in our home for 3 years and I think we were given the wrong mortgage. We got behind, but your kit showed us how to make our lender listen! We are now in a mortgage that we can afford. Our entire family appreciates you and the information that you provide."
Paul and Brenda Keen, Danbury, CT

"I was over $10,000 behind on my mortgage. My rate had just adjusted to 13.25%! Using your kit, I was able to negotiate the following: 13.25% adjustable rate was taken to an 8% fixed!And, get this... the lender allowed me to have the $10,000 I was behind, rolled onto the back of my loan!My new payment including taxes and insurance, is $300 less than what my previous payment was, and that's not including the taxes and insurance!!!
Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!"

Vivian Stephens , Dallas, TX

Click Here For More Info On The Do-It-Yourself Loan Modification Kit
          What's All This About Mortgage Loan Modification Plans?        
The Government has now come up with two plans to help people who have missed payments on their mortgage and are struggling. In this article i wish to introduce you to the one that is called a Loan Modification plan. To qualify, you need to meet the following criteria:-

- Your original mortgage loan cannot be greater than $729,000

- Your mortgage must have completed prior to January 1st 2009

- You will be required to provide proof of your income and expenditure, through payslips, tax returns and bank statements

- If your total debts are in excess of 55% of your income, you have to agree to visit credit counselling

- Finally, you must be living in the mortgaged property and will be required to write a letter in your own handwriting stating that you are in financial hardship

So what can your lender do for you in this situation?

- They can lower your monthly repayments to approximately a third of your monthly income.

- Interest has been known to be dropped to as low as 2%.

- You don't need to pay any fees for the modification as these are covered by the government

- The government are able to reduce your balance by up to $5000 over 5 years as long as you make your payments on time

- Your rate is reduced for the period of 5 years, so you may have to pay more after this period

- You are only ever allowed one modification

Loan Modification Companies have been reported to charge anywhere from $1500 - $5000 to help you with this process. If you don't have that kind of "spare" cash lying around, you will need to complete a "Do-It-Yourself" Loan Modification.

Click Here for More Info On The Do-It-Yourself Loan Modification Kit


          Is Getting A Loan With Bad Credit Really That Hard?        
Have you ever wondered why lenders seem to treat people with a bad credit history so badly? If you have bad credit and apply for a loan, you know, generally you're going to be declined or charged some extortionate rate of interest.

You simply want any potential lender to recognise that you haven't always had a bad credit history. You probably had a decent credit rating once, then, unfortunately some unforseen circumstance or an inevitable event forced you into having your credit record damaged.

However, what guarantee does a lender have that someone who has a perfect credit rating now, may not default on that loan at some time in the future. Circumstances change, things happen and nothing can be 100% guaranteed. It seems as though you are still being punished for what happened in the past.

Lenders have now started to notice, with the rising number of people falling in debt and bad credit, it no longer makes sense not to conduct business with everyone, good credit, bad credit or otherwise. Many specialized loans, credit cards and products have spread through the financial marketplace. You can now get a bad credit loan for a wide variety of purposes. Car Loans, Holiday Loans, Debt Consolidation loans.

A lender may ask for you to put up some form of collateral or asset as security against your loan. This can work well for both parties. A lender has some form assurance by way of an asset, usually your home...and as the borrower who has a bad credit history, in can be a case of once bitten, twice shy. You have been through the hell of bad credit, and all it brings, once. So why would you wish to lose an asset such as your home by making the same mistakes again.

Getting a Loan with bad credit without having to provide any collateral is possible as well. Usually an unsecured loan is only ever offered to people with a great credit rating. Some lenders may accept a borrower with a bad credit history, but you can usually expect to pay a higher rate of interest and sometimes you may be asked to pay a high fee and have to adhere to some near impossible terms of repayment.

Despite that, don't worry, there are lenders out there who will charge a reasonable rate of interest to those wih bad credit. Prior to approaching a lender or even an intermediary company for help, there are a few things you need to consider - You must decide exactly how much you need to borrow. Then the exact dispersal of your loan. Maybe, some of your loan is to consolidate some other debts, while some is to pay some bills and some is merely for pleasure. Then you need to work out an affordable budget and timescale to repay the loan. You don't want to fall into the same trap again of missing payments and eventually defaulting on a loan.

Once you have calculated all this, then you can approach a lender to find out if they can offer a loan that fits within your criteria. Finally, if you have managed to secure that all important loan, this will do wonders for your credit rating. By making your payments in full and on time, this will help to repair that bad credit history.
          Debt Consolidation Loans For Bad Credit To Delay The Further Worsening Of Credit        
The importance of debt consolidation loans can be best understood by people who are suffering with bad credit history. Debt consolidation loans for people with bad credit provides a manner in which they can prevent their financial condition and credit status from further deteriorating.

A debt consolidation loan replaces several small and big debts that a particular person might have incurred. Under this arrangement, a single loan is used to repay all debts of the borrower. Since the loan taken at this instance is not immediately repayable, borrowers get enough time to prepare for repayment.

Borrowers are referred to as bad credit when they have defaulted on debts in the past. Mortgage arrears, County Court Judgements, Individual Voluntary Arrangements, all count towards tarnishing the borrowers’ credit history. Credit history of borrowers is referred to in order to get data about the credibility that a borrower enjoys. A bad credit history would thus imply that the borrower has lesser credibility and thus make him a bad case for debt consolidation loans.

This however is not so. Borrowers with bad credit history are also considered for debt consolidation loans. The logic behind this is that by taking debt consolidation loan, the borrower with bad credit history is making positive efforts to change his/ her credit status. Thus, debt consolidation loan is readily available to people with bad credit history.

A slightly higher interest payment is what you are required to make on the debt consolidation loan if you have a bad credit history. You however need to distinguish between lenders who are charging the justifiable rates of interest and those who aren’t. The task is not as difficult. Just see what other lenders are offering to borrowers with similar circumstances. If that is not enough, you can request a select group of lenders to send their debt consolidation loan quote. The quote provides information about the rate of interest that will be charged, the period for which the loan will be offered and other important terms on which the loan will be granted. It is certain that on comparison, a few quotes will be rejected and some will be selected for further screening through several processes.

Once a debt consolidation loan provider is selected, the process of eliminating debts is initiated. The first step in any debt settlement process will be to make a list of the debts. The list must be as exhaustive as possible so that all debts are included.

The list of debts with the persons to whom each debt is due and the interest rate that each carries will be supplied to the loan provider. Debt consolidation loans have a special feature that borrowers are guided in the debt settlement process. The guiding principle of every debt settlement process is to save maximum for the debtor. Only through a proper negotiation can creditors be forced to write off a particular debt or a part of it. Borrowers do not have the necessary time and skills to make this happen. Thus, the service of the debt consolidation loan provider becomes necessary.

Debt consolidation loans come in either of the two forms, i.e. secured and unsecured loans. A secured debt consolidation loan is one in which the repayment is backed by a collateral. An unsecured debt consolidation loan, on the other hand, has no direct stake on any asset. There are subtle differences in the rates of interest and other terms that make secured debt consolidation loans more preferred in spite of the risk on assets.
          Debt Consolidation Loans Can Resolve Bad Credit Debt        
Replacing several high interest loans or credit cards with one consolidation loan can not only lower your monthly payments, but also save you money due to the lower interest rate on the new loan.

Look at the rates you are paying on your unsecured debts, i.e. credit cards with a rate of between about 13% and over 35%. These are obvious replacement loan candidates. Auto loans and store credit cards are other loans that should be paid off.

If you can get a second mortgage or refinance your current first mortgage, use these funds to pay off these unsecured loans. You should be able to currently save several thousand dollars in interest payments alone. I am assuming a total loan amount above the home debt to be about $20,000.

The other advantage to this plan is to reduce your monthly payments by a substantial amount. This also should allow you to gain a payment schedule that you can easily meet and even reduce quicker over time. Make sure you can pay off this new loan with extra payments with no penalty. It is a good place to put some of that extra money you have each month.

This idea also takes some solid research on your part. All banks and mortgage companies do not operate the same way. Also you want to find the best rate you can get for your debt structure.

Look to these sources for your consolidation loan: Local banks, local mortgage brokers, and the newest provider for these loans, the internet loan providers. There are many companies fighting each other to make these loans to folks like you. Take advantage of your popularity.

Sometimes, debt consolidation companies can discount the amount of the loan. The debt consolidator will buy the loan at a discount, usually when in danger of bankruptcy. The wise debtor can easily shop around for consolidators who will pass along some of the savings. Consolidation usually affects the ability of the debtor to discharge debts in bankruptcy. It’s prudent to weigh this decision rationally.

Take your future in your own hands and make this happen for your financial health. Saving money and paying off your debts faster will open your life to a freedom you have not enjoyed for a long time. A family with minimum debts has eliminated a potential family problem and replaced it with freedom. Do your self a favour and become debt free.
          Discover The Secrets Behind Emergency Personal Loans        
If you suffering a financial crisis then being able to get emergency personal loans may solve all your problems. There are now many online lenders that can offer an instant payday cash advance, even to people who have bad credit.

The majority of payday loans that you will be offered will be up to a maximum of $500. However, dependant on your income, some companies may be willing to offer you up to $1500. The reason that these companies like to limit your borrowing is because this is a short term loan and will usually need to be repaid within 2 to 4 weeks. Remember this type of loan is for those who are cash-strapped till payday.

The internet has made the process of securing emergency payday loans a lot more convenient. This will afford you a lot more privacy and can also speed up the process. There is no need to book appointments and wait agonisingly for a decision. In most cases, you will be required to complete an online application and hold on for an immediate answer. You may be asked to produce payslips or bank statements as proof of earnings, but these can either be faxed or scanned and sent by e-mail to the company in question.

As mentioned, the online process and acceptance can be an immediate solution. You may find that if you apply on a weekday, that the funds could be transferred to your checking account on the same day as your initial application.

These lenders are taking a high risk as there are usually no credit checks completed, hence the reason that more substantial sized loans are not offered.

Perhaps you have tried to secure a payday advance before and been declined! If you have been struggling for any amount of time and are not sure what to do next, i suggest you check out Kim Roach's Instant Payday Loan Formula.
          How to Finance Your Car With Bad Credit        
Have you been searching for somewhere to finance your car with bad credit? In this day and age everyone either needs, wants or has a car. Gone are the days when a car was considered a luxury item. A car is definitely a necessity for most. However, due to your poor credit history, no lender is willing to help. You have even approached your own bank and they have shut the door firmly in your face.

This is when your search to finance your car begins. Although there is a vast array of lenders available, you need to be very careful. I'm sure you have heard many horror stories of people borrowing money and then being held to ransom by the lender. Once they have gone through the reams of small print, they discover that they will need to pay back up to 10 times the amount they borrowed. This, unfortunately, leads to further debt., which in turn can worsen your credit rating and eventually lead to bankruptcy!

Fortunately, this is where certain companies and organizations have evolved to help you. They are intermediary organizations, who will do all the leg work for you. They understand having bad credit can be a difficult time and will provide you with everything you have been looking for. They can show you how to finance your car, even with bad credit. Usually these companies have a huge list of lenders on their books, who are willing to help people in your situation. They can also provide online support and even have access to many unknown government resources. You will usually have to pay a very small one-time fee to get access to this information and remember i said very small!

You can still Finance your Car With Bad Credit, but you will just need to be wary. This is why i believe these intermediary companies are actually a blessing in disguise. The majority of lenders on their books can give you that auto loan online, at a price you can afford. In most cases your auto loan can be agreed and set up within a matter of days.

If you urgently need to Finance Your Car With Bad Credit, then it is time you visited one of these intermediary companies. Click Here to find out exactly what others in your situation are doing and secure that car loan today.
          Who Else Has Bad Credit, Can Put No Money Down, & Needs a Mortgage?        
There are countless home loans and mortgages available to people with bad credit who are unable to put any money down as deposit. As someone who is new to the home buying process, you may be totally unaware of what help is available to you.

The sub-prime mortgage market is open to homebuyers with a poor credit history, those who have been made bankrupt or have even faced foreclosure. These types of lenders specialize in securing home loans for those who are struggling. Another fascinating fact is that many sub-prime lenders may be able to offer more favourable terms and interest rates than a conventional mortgage lender.

Two of the types of products that these lenders can offer are 100% financing and also 103% finance. The 100% finance mortgage is intended for those who have no money to put down and need to get their foot on the home buying ladder. This is also a great way for you to demonstrate that you have the ability to pay your monthly repayments in full and on time. This, of course will help to rebuild your poor credit rating. In most cases to secure a 100% loan you will be required to have a credit rating of least 580.

The 103% financing is aimed at people who not only have no money to put down, but require assistance in paying the associated costs and fees with your mortgage. In order to secure the 103% service, you will be required to have a minimum credit score of 600.

Even though having Bad Credit and no money to put down may seem like the end of your dream of securing a mortgage, it need not be.

Take this opportunity to see what others who have bad credit, can put no money down, but need a mortgage, have done.

Perhaps you need to improve your credit score first. In that case please grab a copy of your Free Report on the 6 Deadly Credit Repair Myths.
          Discover Who Can Find a Bad Credit Loan Today        
It's a familiar story, you find you have bad credit and you desperately need a loan today. You have tried the more conventional methods, but no lender is willing to give you a chance. This only makes matters worse. You are struggling to meet the monthly repayments on your bills and you have absolutely nowhere to turn. This is when you really need help and advice.

My Miracle Loans is a program that has been designed to help people in your very situation. So who can My Miracle Loans help to Find A Bad Credit Loan:-

- Those of you who have no job or cannot prove your income - let's face facts, if you had money, you wouldn't need urgent help. This is why they will help you secure a loan without having to provide numerous payslips and bank statements.

- People who have a poor credit history or a low credit score - there will be no credit checks, so this will have no effect on your ability to borrow.

- Those who have been made Bankrupt - This program has been created to help shed some light. You will discover methods to secure finance even when bankrupt that have been hidden from you for many years by lenders.

- You have no assets or collateral - This system is not about what you have to offer a lender in return for a loan. You will not be required to prove anything.

Even if you have been turned down before My Miracle Loans can help you find a bad credit loan today.

If you are struggling and not sure where to turn and you are looking to Find A Bad Credit Loan, then please read my full review on My Miracle Loans and discover how to ease your financial troubles today.
          Improve Your Credit Score - Part 3        
My system actually won't work for everybody.

As a matter of fact, it won't work for people
who don't take action and people who think
that their credit problems will magically go
away.

Then this isn't for them. It simply won't
work for everybody, but for people who do
take action and follow directions and who are
willing to put in a little effort, I think
they get outstanding results.

'THANK YOU' for taking action and doing what it
takes to have great credit.

Here's the special website
-------------------------------------
Get SIX Free Bonuses!
-------------------------------------

*Bonus #1: My PROVEN Step-By-Step Credit
----
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These proven letters are the EXACT letters that
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they work like crazy! (Just copy, paste, and send)

*Bonus #2: The Budgeting Success Guide!
----
A complete budgeting guide with 3 PDF guides to
help you track your credit card debt, income, and
expenses.

*Bonus #3: The Interest Annihilator Phone Script!
----
Use this simple script to annihilate your interest
rates on your credit cards immediately!

*Bonus #4: Interest Elimination Video
----
Real Life Video Showing How To eliminate your high
interest payments

*Bonus #5: The Complete Transcripts of All
Audio Interviews!
----
Complete Transcripts of the 4 interviews with
credit experts Donna Fox, Scott Bilker, and
Brett Bruce.

*Bonus #6: My "Snowball" Reduction System
----
This special spreadsheet will help you pay
off your debt faster, quicker, and easier than
ever before. Just plug in your numbers and see
how to reduce your large bills by "following the plan."

Go here right now and claim your copy before it's
too late

          Do You Have A Poor Credit Rating But Desperately Need A Loan?        
Are you someone who feels completely helpless because you have a poor credit rating and can't seem to get a loan? Being able to secure a loan would actually solve your credit problems and see you on the road to recovery. However, because of a poor credit history or poor credit rating, no lender in their right mind would ever consider you for a loan!

I'm sure that is a very familiar story for many of you. I know myself it is one of the worst feelings that you can ever have. I recall the days of having a fairly decent job and being offered credit left, right and centre. I'm not sure why, but I pretty much accepted all the offers of credit cards or loans. I think it was something to do with the “kid let loose in a sweet shop” scenario. The repercussions never really occurred to me at the time, so I continued to take out credit card after credit card and loan after loan.

If you can't wait any longer to secure a loan then Click Here to register for the "My Miracle Loans" program right now. For those of you who wish to read my story and review, you can access the program at the end of this article.

I think the effects of what I was doing finally hit me a few years down the line. I started to use less and less credit every month and tried to act a lot more responsibly. However, I had got to the stage where my minimum repayments for all my credit was pretty much the same amount as what I earned in a month. I once read a magazine article that stated – in order to repay $10,000 on a credit card, by just making the minimum payment, this would take up to 12 years. Wow! Unfortunately it wasn't just the one credit card I had to repay!

That's when it dawned on me that I had to do something...and quickly. After some careful investigation, I decided a debt consolidation loan and a couple of 0% APR credit cards was the way to go. I had racked up a total of $26,000 in debt. I looked at my current credit card limits and assumed I wouldn't get offered more than a $5000 dollar limit on a new credit card. So my plan was to apply for two 0% APR credit cards and a $16,000 loan. This would allow me to cut up all my credit cards and have all my debts cleared within 5 years. Or so I thought, I didn't count on getting declined for every bit of credit I applied for. My credit score was shot and at an all time low!

That's when I started searching for different methods and other forms of help. Nothing illegal, of course. I just thought to myself, I can't be the first person to find themselves in this situation and I definitely won't be the last! I actually found a total of 8 different companies, courses or websites, that said they could help and even provided me with testimonials of previous satisfied customers. Today I want to talk to you about My Miracle Loans.

My Miracle Loans is a program that will teach you a number of different strategies to obtain a loan. They advise you to read through their techniques and apply what you have learned. My Miracle Loans guarantee a 100% success rate, as long as you carry out their systems and procedures to the letter! They have helped people, like you and me, those with poor credit ratings, bad credit and even bankruptcies to secure credit and finance. My Miracle Loans are responsible for helping their members acquire over $10,000,000 in loans during 2008. They also claim to be able to help anyone secure a loan of $1,000 - $1,000,000 within 7 days! (Although it's very tempting, I think I will always steer clear of the possibility of securing a loan for $1,000,000!)

So what type of people can My Miracle Loans help:-

No job or proof of income – Obviously if you have a lot of money, you wouldn't need their help! You will never be asked for proof of income or to provide evidence of your income.

Bad Credit, No Credit or Slow Credit – There are absolutely no credit checks for some of the methods you will learn. So a poor credit history will not effect the outcome.

A FICO score of 450 – That's Bad! As mentioned above, many of methods you will learn do not require a credit check. So you're covered.

Bankruptcies in the last 7 years – My Miracle Loans dispel the myth that if you have been made bankrupt, you will not be able to borrow any money for up to 7 years. They can show you the exact methods to secure a loan or credit.

No Collateral or Assets – Their system has nothing to do with what worldly possessions you own. You will not be required to provide proof of what you do or do not own.

Been turned down before - Not a problem. These methods will still work for you.

I think that comprehensive list just about covers everyone. My Miracle Loans had quite clearly stated that not all the methods and techniques will work for everyone. Not all individuals are the same. This is why they have provided you with numerous different methods to try. If you do not get accepted for one, you move on and try the next one. They have an iron-clad guarantee that EVERYONE will find success with their program.

So for what purpose can you use the loans that My Miracle Loans will help secure for you?

Business loans – Whether you are purchasing a business, looking to expand or you need supplies. They will help you get whatever you want.

Cash Advance – Do you need a pay-day advance for your job? No problem you can secure that cash advance within 10 minutes!

Car Loans – You can get that luxury car of your dreams and you don't need the salary to match.

Student Loans – This is where my problems originally started. There are many students out there, who are yet to even start college, that may be affected by poor credit.

Debt Consolidation – If you need that peace of mind. Turn all your debts into one loan and make the monthly repayments easier to handle and keep track of.

Home Loans – You have no fear of being turned down, no matter how much you want to borrow. My Miracle Loans guarantee to help you find that dream home.

Personal Loans – A personal loan is usually determined and granted by you having a great credit score. My Miracle Loans will help those of you, who are not in a position to boast about your credit score!

So let me run through the main benefits that My Miracle Loans offer:-

100% success rate – As long as you carry out their instructions correctly, you will never be turned down again for a loan.

Take up to 30 years to repay the money – In many cases, lenders may penalize you for not paying back money as soon as you can. This is not the case with My Miracle Loans.

Receive your cash in 7 days guaranteed – This doesn't have to be a long drawn out process. My Miracle Loans will guarantee that you will receive your money in 7 days or less in the majority of cases.

Use your money for any purpose – as described earlier.

No upfront fees – Paying a company to lend you money does not seem ethical...does it?

Ease of use – this is not a complicated guide on how to write loan proposals or where to find investors and this is definitely not an outdated list of lenders willing to help people with poor credit secure a loan. This is a program that allows you access to many little known and closely guarded techniques.

So what's the catch? There is no catch! My Miracle Loans program will work for you no matter who you are and what your situation may be.

There is little more I can add about this great program. If you find yourself in the situation of having a poor credit rating and you desperately need a loan, you need look no further.

You have absolutely nothing to lose and everything to gain by registering with this fantastic program.

Click here to get started and acquire that loan that will ease all your money problems today.
          Who Else Wants To Know How To Raise Their Credit Score?        


Click Here To Get Access To Your FREE REPORT

Or Read On And Collect Your Free Report At The End Of This Article

Have you ever asked yourself, "How Do I Raise My Credit Score?" Over the years you may have racked up numerous debts. These may include, loans, credit cards and mortgages. As your debts increase through constant interest charges, things seem to get a little harder month after month. Perhaps, you have been unfortunate enough to miss some payments. This, regrettably, has the knock-on effect of additional late-payment charges and will eventually ruin your credit score.

The problem is, once you hit the rocky road of having a bad or low credit score, creditors or lenders will look at you with disdain. Gone are the days of being instantly approved for any form of credit. You are now looked upon as a high risk and no-one seems willing to help you.

This is pretty much what happened to me. I had a fairly decent job and that had helped me to secure various forms of credit. It was never a worry to me then, as i always had enough money coming in to cover at least the minimum payments, if not more. However, eventually mounting interest charges or the end of a 0% credit card deal, started to have an adverse effect on me being able to continue making full and regular payments. I had even got to the stage of using one credit card to make a payment on another credit card. So even though i was making some form of monthly payment, i was increasing my debt at the same time. Not Good! This, ultimately ruined my credit score and brought it to an all time low.

I then started searching for professional credit repair agencies. I soon discovered that many of these agencies make substantial claims to improve and raise your credit score. However, the majority charge a King's ransom for the privilege and they don't seem to deliver on their promises.

This is when i came across Chris Brisson's "37 days to clean credit" course. Chris had been in the same boat as many of us before him. As a college student he had built up a total of $14,000 in student loans and credit card debt. He had a small amount of income coming in and started to miss payments. Chris had managed to get his credit score down to a horrid 520! Once again, like so many of his predecessors, Chris scoured every possible resource to improve his credit score. He eventually admitted he got scammed by these so called "professional" credit reference agencies. This is when Chris decided to do something himself about it.

Chris had made a few discoveries along the way. He then went about legally "stealing" some of top secret methods that credit reference agencies use to remove negative items, inquiries, judgements and bankruptcies. After 37 days, Chris had managed to delete 9 inquiries, 5 late-pays, 4 default accounts and 1 judgement. In the process, Chris boosted his score by 135 points to a respectable 655.

So what exactly does Chris reveal in his Course:-

- How to easily delete 30, 60, 90, 120 or 150 day late-pays from your file

- How to easily set up a budgeting system to track income, expenses and all your payments

- A little known secret technique to getting your credit card APR interest dropped to 0%

- How to stop the harassing collections telephone calls

- How to repair bad credit in less than 30 days

- How to boost your credit score by 50 points even if you have the worst credit in the world.

- How to stop foreclosure and then negotiate with your bank to lower your monthly payment by 10% - 20%

These are just a few of the methods that Chris will go through. There are just far too many helpful little techniques to mention here.

One of my favourite systems i learned from Chris, was how to reduce the interest rate of my current credit card. It was as simple as making a phone call. Mention that you have in front of you a competitors details and that they are offering a 0% deal for six months, which will then turn into a 8% rate. Chris advises to always be polite and state that you will be looking to balance transfer unless they can lower your interest rate. In most cases, the operator will speak to a supervisor, who has the ability to drop your interest rate. To threaten to leave (in a nice way) is the key! So simple, but effective.

Another invaluable source contained within this course, is the copy and paste letters. Chris has structured a number of letters to be sent to creditors depending on what form of credit repair you are looking to achieve. The letters are organized in such a way, that you simply need to insert your own personal details in the blank spaces.

In addition to the course, Chris offers an unbelievable 5 free bonuses. They would usually retail at a value of $757, but are yours for free, once you sign up to Chris's course. I absolutely loved world renowned credit card expert, Scott Bilker's Interest Annihilation Method. This is one of your free bonuses. Scott unveils how to get approved for 0% APR credit cards. Scott also discusses the secret language indicators to use when you speak to your creditors. (yes, it's all down to the actual words you use!) and his 3 step debt elimination strategy system.

So if you have finally had enough of the way that lenders treat you, it's time to do something about it! Chris Brisson has come up with a guaranteed program to help you get the credit rating you have always wanted. So let me just quickly run through what you will get, once you have signed up to Chris Course:-

- The complete "37 days To clean Credit Course"

- The Interest Annihilation Method Audio with Scott Bilker

- The Credit Millionaire System with Donna Fox

- Credit Repair Mystery with Brett Bruce

- 45 "Copy & Paste" proven Credit Repair letters

- Super Budgeting Video Walk through

Don't forget to grab your Free Report on the 6 Deadly Credit Repair Myths as well.

Click Here to get started on raising your Credit Score today.

          The Secret Strategy Behind Instant Approval Credit Cards For Bad Credit        
Do you remember the days of Instant Approval Credit Cards For Bad Credit? Lenders were queueing up to authorize loans and credit cards for people and it didn't seem to matter how good...or bad your credit rating was!

Well times have changed. Now that the world economy is stuck in a deep and difficult financial recession, Instant Approval Credit Cards For Bad Credit seem to be a thing of the past.

This is not altogether true. There are a number of financial companies within the marketplace who are looking to help clients who are unable to borrow money elsewhere. The problem with many of these companies though, is they want to charge outrageous interest rates and levels of monthly repayment just for you to secure some credit. It's almost as though these companies are trying to hold you to ransom!

However, it now appears that many intermediary organizations are springing up to help you in your search. These companies usually charge a very small one-time fee and then allow you access to their database of lenders, as well as providing online and telephone support. They can place you with a lender who will provide Instant Approval Credit Cards For People with Bad Credit and at an affordable price.

The outcome for you is two-fold:-

1) you have finally managed to secure the credit card that you have been searching high and low for.

2) As long as you maintain your monthly repayments and pay them in full and on time, you are also repairing your credit history, thus meaning a wider range of lenders may be available to you in the future.

These companies are a god-send for you if you are struggling with your monthly bills. Sometimes you just need and want someone to listen to you - just being approved for a credit card or loan could improve your current financial situation no end and bring an end to those sleepless nights.

Do you urgently need to get Instant Approval Credit Cards For Bad Credit Now? Or perhaps you would like know how to secure Personal Unsecured Loans For Bad Credit.
          The Secret Behind How To Buy A House With Bad Credit        
Let me guess, the question "How To Buy A House With Bad Credit?" has been playing on your mind for a long time now.

It seems every one around you is getting on the mortgage ladder and leaving you behind. You know being able to put a deposit down and being able to afford the monthly mortgage repayments is well within your financial capabilities, but unfortunately no mortgage lender will even look twice at you because of your credit history.

Well actually lets face facts, that's not strictly true. You do have the occasional lender who contacts you and is more than willing to lend you the money that you need. However, let me guess, they want to charge you an extortionate rate of interest and the monthly repayments are unbelievable. So what do you do?

It now appears that there are many intermediary companies with mortgage lenders on their books who are willing to help you in your quest. These companies will normally charge you a very small one-time fee..and i mean small! Once you are on their books, they will provide you with online and telephone support and a huge database of mortgage lenders willing to help you in your plight and show you how to a buy a house with bad credit.

The great thing about this is the mortgage lenders will look to secure a home loan for you and it won't cost the earth. Once you have that all important mortgage in place and are committed to making your monthly repayments, this in turn will help to repair your credit rating, thus meaning a wider range of creditors will be available to you in the future.

How about if you need to Refinance Your Home With Bad Credit? Is that any different as you already own your own home?
          Can You Get Guaranteed Loans For Bad Credit?        
Is there such a thing as "Guaranteed Loans For Bad Credit"?

Have you ever found yourself in that situation? - Where your debts are continually mounting up, all of your creditors are phoning you every other day and you're unable to find a real solution to your problems!

That's when you find something financially challenging and unexpected comes along and gives you yet another huge problem and forces you into frantically looking for some immediate funds. However, you can't afford to pay for what you have now, you're in trouble with your creditors and no credible lender is going to look at you.

That's when you start to become inundated with calls and adverts for people who offer Guaranteed Loans For People with Bad Credit. The problem being they are going to charge you the most extortionate of interest rates and monthly repayments.

So where do you get that fast injection of cash?

There have been organizations created to actually make this search far easier for you. They usually provide you with a membership and then issue you with a substantial amount of information via a huge database of lenders willing to help and give you that all important loan.

Usually you will have to pay a small one-time fee..and i mean small, but this will not only give you access to this huge database of lenders, you should also be provided with online or telephone support and also many unknown government resources to help you obtain a loan.

Most of the lenders on the database will offer guaranteed loans for bad credit or even a bankruptcy. The lenders are willing to lend money for almost all purposes whether it be Auto Loan Financing, Personal Loans, Mortgages or Credit Cards.

If you absolutely have to get that loan today and you're still unsure how to get Guaranteed Loans For Bad Credit, then Click Here immediately to learn what other people are doing to get approved.
          From Mono To Giardia To Orthostatic Intolerance to … Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Dr. Cheney: the First Visit        
chris-cheney

My ME/CFS History 1989 – The First Flu-like Illness I was always a high energy burn the candle at both ends type-A person. In my early twenties (1989) I came down with a flu-like illness that did not go away. I had gone from a person who would play sports […]

The post From Mono To Giardia To Orthostatic Intolerance to … Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Dr. Cheney: the First Visit appeared first on Health Rising.


          Andrew Ng will help you change the world with AI if you know calculus and Python        
In an attempt to make the answer to those questions “anyone who wants to,” Andrew Ng is releasing a new set of courses teaching deep learning on ...
          The Found Cottage Mercantile Market        

I share everything with you guys usually, but for some reason I haven’t talked about this much here on the blog & I really should because it’s been taking up 80% of my time lately. Most of you know I own The Found Cottage boutique here in Michigan with two other amazing women who I […]

The post The Found Cottage Mercantile Market appeared first on Liz Marie Blog.


          Greetings from Afghanistan        
I haven’t posted in a long time on this. It was my original intention to try and get a weekly post up. Clearly that did work out. Since the last post I was deployed to Afghanistan and have been here nearly two months already with another six to go. My job over her is a strange one; I work alone traveling around the country. It must be similar to being traveling salesmen from the 50s. Save the cool car and sweet suits. In any case things have been very busy.
A quick rundown is as follows; Hired Brewer Jimmy Base. Jimmy has since produced an English Mild with chocolate malt and an English Bitters. These have been dropped off to Mrs. Louise Galuski for distro to a bunch of people who have helped New Buffalo from the start. We have a survey attached with it so we can get an idea of what people think.  After I post this I need to write some sort of intro letter for that. Sadly I’m unable to sample any of the beer since I’m over here.
We’re still looking at buildings. The old brewery packaging building on Fillmore has peaked my interest and I hope to take a look at it. It’s not in the area I would have liked to set up at all, but its tasting room could be cleaned up and a fairly interesting day trip for people.
Our other project is we need to start looking at Kickstarter allot closer. I don’t personally know anyone who works in internet video’s so I’ve sort of hit a stopping point on that.  We’re looking to do some work with Custom Brewcrafters and I’d like to bank roll it via kickstarter and have a series of ‘release’ parties leading up to our equipment being put in.
I doubt I’m ever going to have much time over here for the extra stuff which is too bad but it is what it is. Thank you all for following our build up.

          Merry Christmas!        
I’ve been busy on all fronts the last month and have no posted here as I would have liked to. I really need to take a page out of CBWs book and do a stern 1 week update. It’s never that there isn’t anything to talk about. More an issue of, should some of it be spoken about in a public form. 

We’re trying to get a deal together on a building in Black Rock and the support from the community has been tremendous. I really can’t say how great they have been to work with and we’re only pitching some ideas right now. The actually negotiations on the building have not been progressing as I’ve like. Hopefully I’ll have better news on that front by the 6th of Jan. If not I’ll like be forced to put everything on ice until I get back.

Speaking of getting back, I’m leaving for a bit. The USAF finally have dates ‘set in stone’ for deploying to Afghanistan. They’ve told me that these ones are for sure so I will be out of the country for 10 of 12 months in 2012. Longer then original expected but it will help buffer some of the startup costs, and I should get allot less smack talk from the Army. (a value in its self). This will delay the start up by 9 months, why so much more? Winter, its allot harder to move equipment in, doing concrete work in the middle of winter makes things harder than it should be; so we’ll wait for spring of 2013. Not what I want to do but what is necessary to do. 

This week I also brought Dana Saylor of oldtimeroots.com to do some research. She has a pretty cool site and its interesting work. I haven’t seen the finished product so I can’t vouch for her as of yet, but I feel pretty good about it so far. 

Lastly I promised more book reviews. I read a handful on my last few trips across the country. Just for a quick notes on them I’ll say if I liked them or not.

Great American Ale Trail: Its just a list of bars and a couple of lines about them. It’s sort of a good reference and The Blue Monk in Buffalo was in the notable mentions section for NY. If you’re thinking about opening a beer bar up I would say it’s pretty good. Other than that I don’t know anyone with the time or money to visit 1000+ beer bars in the country. Once we get New Buffalo Brewing, I’ll have my beer books on site so if someone wanted to stop in and check for a place feel free.

The Story of the Irish Pub: The begging with a history of the licensed trade was good, so about 70 pages of the book are good, the remaining 150, not worth it. Just little notes of where a bar is and who owns it. Over all very disappointing. If your going to Ireland it might be fun to stop  into one, but that’s about it.

In the Classic Beer Style Series, I picked up and read, Porter, Brown Ale and Stout. This series has been pretty fun to read, and for a serious home brewer I’d recommend them They all are set up with a little history, some water information, a few home brew recipes and a list of examples that are current for the time it was published (the early ones are over 12 years old). This book are really great for someone looking to starting a microbrewer, to see how far the brewing world has come in a decade. Also as an American, to see how we have consistently tossed out style guild lines and made so many great new beers. 

Porter was a really weak read, maybe if I hadn’t already read the mild book it wouldn’t have seemed poor.

Brown Ale was very good, tons of information on the different sub sets of Brown Ale and good information all around. So many beers in this style and information about most of them.

Stout has been the best read so far, The writer has a clear passion for stouts and has offered an immense amount of information on it, the different sub-styles and many references to Guinness. I’d recommend this the most of any of them so far. I will put out the disclaimer that I too love stouts. If there is just one style of beer I could have it’s a thick cream stout.

This should have been spread out to a couple of updates, but with the holidays I don’t know if I will get around to many in the next two weeks. Also one last pitch for buying our sweet gear for someone over Christmas! 

http://www.kegworks.com/search/search.php?keywords=new+buffalo+brewing&x=0&y=0

          English Mild        
Last night our English Mild was slated to be done, so in preparation for watching Dr. Who we taped the keg to see how it turned out. The only way to describe this beer is, well, mild. Abel said it tasted kind of like tea, I'm inclined to agree with him.

It had low carbonation, so it was very easy to drink, its almost the color of a brown tea, but it just doesn't have much flavor. I know that the idea of the beer but I guess my memories form England might have been a bit skewed favorably by my enjoyable company of the English.

I might try experimenting with this some more, more malt, more hops to see if I can get a bit a flavor out of it, if not it will be a great burger and fries beer.
          Review: Skin Food Choco Eyebrow Powder Cake        

Hello everyone. Today is Chinese New Year Eve in Singapore. Since I do not celebrate this holiday, I have some time off to do this third installment of my Althea purchase. I my first and second post can be found here and here. Before I start on my review, I would like to wish all my Chinese readers, Gong Xi Fa Cai!

I fixed my eyebrows recently at Benefit Brow Bar and the person who did my brow fill in the unevenness in my brows. I have a fairly thick and darks brows, however they are not even. So some parts of it are a little bare/bald. I have tried using eyebrow pencil and find it looking rather unnatural. Maybe because I rarely makeup and hence not really good at it. Then I tried using the colored eye brow gel from The Faceshop (review here). It is difficult to use and the color doesn't blend in with my brows.

So I was looking through Althea and wondering if they have those powder for brows (you know like the ones people use for eye shadows). Then I saw Skin Food Choco Eyebrow Powder Cake selling for only SGD$5. It was so cheap that I didn't think twice before putting it into my cart! So below is a photo on how the product actually look like. It didn't come in any dancing looking box. But it doesn't really matter to me as long as the product it not damage.

First look of Skin Food Choco Eyebrow Powder Cake

So you have choice of Grey Khaki Black or Grey Brown. I choose Grey Brown because I simply cannot imagine having khaki colored brows (I fit with warm colors better). The photos of the colors can be found below. I think you can tell which is the brown and which is the grey one. According to the website, the product contains real chocolate inside. I can't really verify it by taste (yucks) but the powder does really smell like chocolate, which is kinda of cute.

From left to right: Brown powder and grey powder
Below is a photo of the brush that came with the palette. I slightly swabbed the brush on the gray palette. As you can see the powder cake is not as pigmented as those eye shadow palettes. This lightness of the pigments can also be seen the following photo where I brushed some of the brow powder cake on hand. The top one is the brown powder cake and the bottom one is the grey powder cake.

The brush which comes with palette
From top to bottom: Brown powder cake and grey powder cake
I mixed both colors when I apply on my brown. I put the brown powder first and then layer it with grey powder. Don't underestimate the light pigment of the powder cake, a little powder goes a long way for your brows. Below you can see the before and after photo of my brows (I did not kid you when I said that my brows have some baldy areas)

Before applying Skin Food Choco Eyebrow Powder Cake
After applying Skin Food Choco Eyebrow Powder Cake
So what do I think about Skin Food Choco Eyebrow Powder Cake? Haha from the photo above, I think it works! The best of all it is extremely easy to use. The price is also a plus point. I think loose pigments of the powder also makes the eyebrows more natural looking after application.

I give this product 5/5.

Feel free to leave a comment if you have any question!

          Review: Laneige Water Bank Eye Gel        
This is my second post on my purchase from Althea. Other than the Missha Red Ginseng Sheet Mask, I also bought Laneige Water Bank Eye Gel. Eye bags and dark eye circles runs in the family. So whenever I do not have enough sleep, my eye bags and dark circles become more apparent. I have always wanted to buy a good eye cream while I was schooling but couldn't really afford because you know how expensive eye cream can be. So once I got my first paid I decide to get one. My first ever eye cream is Laneige Water Bank Eye Gel which is from Laneige Water Bank series.


Contents in Laneige Water Bank Eye Gel Box
The box comes with an instruction sheet, a glass bottle of eye gel and a spatula for ease of application. The description on the box states the Water Bank Eye Gel is 'A moisturizing eye gel that gently soothes the dry and sensitive eye area and relieves eye zone stress'. The box also states that the gel expires after 12 months after opening.



Removing the seal from the bottle
The gel/cream is slightly translucent and light. It is also really light and not sticky. When applied, it gives a slightly cooling sensation on your eye area. I am really impressed by how detailed the instruction booklet is. I always try to follow the instruction unless I am really tired.

Instruction 1

Instruction 2

So what is my verdict? I think the gel really helps to make my eyes feel less tired after spending a whole in front of the computer  at work. I could really feel the effects when I first apply it. My eyes felt less heavy the next day. However, I feel it doesn't really help to lighten my dark eye circles and it only help to my eyes become less puffy by slightly. Perhaps because my eyes isn't very puffy initially.  I tried using the cream on my mother who had really puffy eyes and it showed some visible effects! I can give inputs on its moisturizing function because my eyes' area are never dry in the first place.

I'll give this product 4/5.

          Side-talk: The Ramen Stall at 787 North Bridge Road        
Recently I heard raves about this newly halal food establisment that sells Japanese. I see pictures of their food on various social networking platform like facebook and instagram (especially instagram). Although Singapore has sizable a muslim population, it is not easy to get halal japanese food here; especially good ones. This is because japanese usually uses mirin and pork broth in their cookings. The newly halal restaurant that I am referring to is call The Ramen Stall, located at 787 North Bridge Road. When I heard that still stall sells halal ramen, I was really excited because I am avid viewer of Japanese Hour on Channelnewsasia and often see people eating ramens. I have never tasted japanese ramen simply because it is difficult to get halal ones. I even considered going to Tokyo to get taste of halal ramen there.


So yesterday I decided to give it a try after work. The place is located all the same street as Zam Zam. I was expecting a crowd since it is newly halal certified and I was right about 7.30pm and there was already a long queue. My friend and I then comtemplated whether we should go to Afterwit which was located nearby and serves Mexican food. Alas, we decided to queue up. Fortunately, we got a seat after 10 minutes becauses there was only two of us. Those who came in big groups in front of us has to wait longer.



I knew what to order straight away. I ordered their Volcano Ramen ($11). My friend to longer to decide because she is not familiar with Japanese food (unlike someone who watches Japanses Hour). She settled for Oyakodon ($9.90). We also ordered a sides, Torched Beef Sushi ($7.90).


The first dish to arrive was our Torched Beef Sushim It was soo good that I even considered on seconds. The beef was so soft and well marinated and smokey. It kinda melt in my mouth. It really went well with the wasabi and the preserved radish. Usually I dont even like to put wasabi on my sushi.


The came my volcano ramen. I selected level 1 because I not really a fan of spicy food. I like those which are savourly spicy. The broth before mixing with the chilli was quite mild. It tasted better after mixing with the chilli. The restaurant was quite generous with the toppings but I find the noodles quite little. Maybe because I like carbohydrate. I especially like the kale/seaweed, minced meat and the eggs in the soup. But I find this Volcano Ramen kinda overhyped.


My friend Oyakodon. It is like chicken mixed in batter of ingredients and then fried and placed on top of rice. It is then topped with raw egg and drizzled with soy based sauce. My friend found it nice and mind you she is a picky eater. The serving was also quite big.

There was also a 17% service charge when you dine in. I will definitely come back to try their sushis and unagi rice! 

          Review: Etude House Baking Powder B.B Deep Cleansing Foam        
Today I am writing a review on facewash/cleanser that I have been using since a year ago. I like it so far and already bought my third tube.

My current daily routine for my face before going out consist of moisturizer, concealer and lastly BB cream. As such, after school I need to ensure that I remove by BB cream and concealer well before going to sleep. If not I would have acne and clogging problem.

As someone who is lazy like me I like to keep things simple. Some people have a separate makeup remover before cleansing their face. Importantly, if your using a makeup remove you need to ensure that it is compatible with your skin. For this very reasons, I decided to purchase Etude House Baking Powder B.B Deep Cleansing Foam.

What I like about this cleansing foam is that its like a 2 in 1 cleansing scrub and makeup remover. Not only that it effectively removes my BB cream, i have also tried removing eyebrow liner and mascara using it. It works very well.

It is not extremely drying as I would need to apply moisturizer after washing up. But in overall I like it alot. I have no breakups or whiteheads problem after using this facewash.


Fresh from korea & my third tube
(FYI: I usually order my products online from korean since it is so much cheaper than buying their outlets in Singapore)

Looks out for any ingredients that you are sensitive to
According to the tube, it says that the cleanser is 100% natural fragrance and dye free. Just to inform you guys, the cleanser is actually slightly lemony and it is white in color (as seen in the picture below). It also have microbeads that is not quite visible from the picture but if you were to massage it on you face, you will be able to feel it.


This is my current favorite facewash/cleanser and I would purchase it again in the future.

My rating 5/5.

Lastly, everyone in Southeast Asian region remember to drink more water and put on more moisturizer! Its haze season again!

Toodles!~


          Travel: Our accommodation in Phuket (Thailand), BYD Lofts Boutique Hotel & Serviced Apartments        

This is probably my first post related to my overseas vacation. So this will placed under the travel series. This year in June, my family and I decided to go for a 6 days 5 night trip to Phuket. Initially, I said that I did not want to go but since I am not going for any graduation trip , I decided to tag along at the last minute. Plane ticket was a little more pricey because I did not but early. We took Silkair and my ticket cost about S$400++ about a hundred more than what my other family members paid for. That was my first time in Phuket but not my first time in Thailand. I went to Bangkok few years before this trip. And I really enjoyed the trip.

We stayed at BYD Lofts Boutique Hotel & Serviced Apartments. 


The van that ferried us to the hotel
When we first arrived at Phuket International Airport, we were greeted by the driver for the airport transfer. Since there were seven of us, we requested for a bigger vehicle. If not for that I would prefer being chauffeured by complimentary luxury transfers that BYD lofts provides.... Mercedes Benz CLS class

After travelling for about 2 hours, we reached BYD lofts. We were greeted by their staffs as soon as we alighted from the van. The staff actually came out from the lobby to greet us. I thought it was a nice gesture. We were also given welcome drinks and flower garlands at hotel lobby. The lobby was quite small but cosy. 


In front of BYD lofts, where out van stopped

The citrus welcome drinks and hot towels that we received at the lobby...Thought that the drinks tasted really interesting with chewy bits in it
The flower garlands that staff put around our necks



Let's talk about the room itself. BYD Lofts is located at Patong. The room that 4 of us stayed in is called 2 bedroom Penthouse. I think that is best type of room available at BYD Lofts. We were really excited to stay there and the experience did not let us down. Unlike most hotels, the pictures of rooms in their website are really true to what we received. The elevator brings us directly into the room, which was really interesting. We were greeted by a spacious living room once the door of the elevator opens. I remembered my mom was awed when she stepped into the penthouse LOL.

So the penthouse has a large living room, a balcony, a fully furnished kitchen, two bedrooms (master bedroom and a smaller room), 3 toilets (one in the living room, and a toilet in each of the rooms). There are also wifi which is password protected.

The living room equipped with TV and fully furnished. There were complimentary fruits on the tables

The balcony...good news for those who smokes

The kitchen. It has a fridge, dining tables, induction stove, coffee maker and etc. 

The master bedroom. It has a huge toilet, desk, TV, wardrobe and etc. 

One part of the master's bedroom toilet

Another part of the master's bedroom toilet

The second bedroom which fully furnished with a TV, wardrobe, a toilet and etc. 
PROS:
1) Good distance from the main shopping district e.g. Jungceylon, Bangla Road
2) Related to the first point, even though walkable distance to many amenities is not too near. Hence, really quiet.
3) There are a lot of laundry, massage and tailoring services near BYD loft
4) Spacious and lots of toilets!!!
5) Comfortable beds
6) 10 minutes walk to Patong beach
7) For those who needs halal, there are a lot of halal eateries nearby like Kusuma etc. but I did not eat there because of hygiene purposes. I will talk more about the halal restaurants that I ate at during another time

CONS:
1) Weird housekeeping time...which was frustrating at times
2) The lift in our room can be a little troublesome
3) Although the majority of the staffs were friendly, not many are fluent in English

Please feel free to ask any questions in the comment section below.

I will the end the post with a weird incident that happened in Phuket. It was 2 a.m. and everyone else in the Penthouse had already fallen asleep. I was awake charging my phone and using my macbook. Then I heard a bell from the intercom. I ignored it at first but it kept on ringing. Then I check the intercom and saw a person waiting at the first floor. He looked kinda drunk. Since I have no idea who it was, I checked that the lift connected to the room was locked. I got a little scared and went to bed after that...hoping that he doesn't come up banging the door.  


          Review: Laneige Water Drop Tinted Lip Balm        
Guess what arrived at my doorstep today


 It came safely and nicely packed with lots of bubble wraps in the evening.

That's right! I bought the newly released Laneige Water Drop Tinted Lip Balm. Compared the prices on Qoo10 and on retail. It is going for S$33. I think I paid about S$25 on Qoo10. But the downside of buying online is that you can't try it before buying.

Realised that the box is slightly dented but all is good because the tinted lip balm inside was not damaged.




Decided to buy because I saw an korean actress wore during a drama that I was following religiously. To be exact the drama is called "House of Bluebird"…it is a family drama so there are lots of episodes. But the good thing about family dramas is that the story are well developed. Back to the topic of Laneige Water Drop Tinted Lip Balm. The lip colour looked natural and sweet on her. I know I won't looked as good as her but I bought it anyway (haha gullible enough to fall for product placement). Below is an image of the actress with the lip balm on.

Credit: Laneige Facebook Page
 The lip balm comes in three colours. They are Pink Peach, Juicy Plum and Fresh Lime. I bought Pink Peach because the actress wore that colour and honestly I am not very confident or wearing bright lip colour so…yea to play it safe.




So above are the photos of Laneige Water Drop Tinted Lip Balm at first look. 


So above is how my lips looked liked after putting it for this first time. Unfortunately, I don't look as sweet as the actress HAHA.

So what is thought about the product after my first application?
For someone who does wear lipstick at all, I find the product easy to apply. I find that it looking like a lip gloss. However, it is more moisturising that the common lip gloss or lip balm. So I feel that the Moisture Upgrade claim is working? The colour is very light in opinion. My sister said it is not obvious at all. So for those who are going for the natural look, you can opt for this product. The tint does stain my lips slightly, I can see that my lip is brighter than usual after wiping the balm off. The balm lasted for about three hours because I ate during that period. I am not sure if this is the average or below average. Anyway my sister thinks that I will fit a brighter colour…I am not to sure about that.

To end off. For those who are intending to buy this product, I saw a video that showed that the Laneige Water Drop Tinted Lip Balm can be used on the cheeks and above the eyes. Do check it out below.


          Review: Meishoku DET Clear Bright & Peel Peeling Jelly〈Mixed Berry Fragrance〉        
It is time for a new product review again. Before I do that, I would like to wish all my readers HAPPY 2015! May 2015 be a great year for all of you. 

My eldest sister brought home lots of Japan Skin products after her trip to Japan in December 2014. Some of the products are from popular brands in Singapore while some are brands that I have not heard before. On a side note, I simply love how the Japanese package their products, it makes me really excited to try out the products. One of the products that I would like shared with the product is DET Clear Bright & Peel Peeling Jelly with Mixed Berry Fragrance.




It states on the bottle that the peeling jelly can help to remove black-heads (Black-Heads OFF), exfoliate (Skin Rebirth), Dark Spot Care and remove sebum (Sebum OFF). 

Since it is directly from Japan, there is no english translation on the bottle. It states "Peeling Jelly" on the bottle, so I imagine it as your typical peeling mask until I google online for more information on the product. I found the information at Meishouku website.

Rather than a peeling mask, DET Clear Bright & Peel Peeling Jelly Gel is like a "glue jelly" that traps dirt on your skin as you rub on it. As you rub it will gather like small blobs of jelly. Here are some of photos of me trying the Peeling Jelly on my hands. This is not my first time using it though. I tried it  the first time few weeks ago on my face but did not document it on photos. Nevertheless, I will blog my  first experience after posting the photos.



As shown above the gel is clear and it has nice berry smell. For those who has sensitive skin, you can but one that is fragrance free.


I spread the gel and rub on my clean hand focusing on areas that feel rougher than the rest.


The gel will start clumping once it has trap the dirts. You can proceed to wash away the gel. It is pretty easy to wash away the gel. You just need normal temperatures water.


After washing the gel, my hand feels smoother. It might not be clear on photo. I used the gel on my right hand only and I can feel the difference in level of smoothness between my right and left hands.

So more on using the gel on my face. I feel that the gel is really helpful in removing dirt behind the wings of my nose. It is really difficult to remove dirt there using just facial wash and even using face scrub. I can feel that the area behind the wings of my nose substantially smoother. However, I did feel slight itchiness around the wings of nose after using the gel for the first time. But do not worry, the itchiness stopped  the next day and it doesn't occur again after subsequent use.

I feel that there is some reduction in white heads around my chin area and black heads on my nose. But doesn't really remove deep-seated black heads. After using the gel at night, you can really feel how smooth your skin has become when you are cleansing your face in the morning. I was really impressed when I first tried it.

So if you are looking for something that can help you exfoliate your skin, I recommend this over other face scrub because it is quite gentle on the skin compared to face scrub.

I rate this product 4.5/5,



          Review: Etude House Aloe Moistfull Soothing Mist        
Alright, today's will be about Etude House Aloe Moistfull Soothing Mist. Furthermore, it is my second buys.

Aloe moistfull soothing mist
My first bottle was a tiny 50ml bottle (which depleted very quickly after I found out my nephew played with it by spraying it on the floor *sigh*). My currently one is 120ml bottle which is less portable but at least I don't have to keep ordering it online. 

 I was actually looking for a mist to sooth and  cool down my sensitive skin that occur due to the recent haze. My skin tend to react to haze and it get very sensitive. I can see redness around my T-zone and also more bumps around my face. Furthermore, the haze cause my skin to be oily at some area and very dry at the other parts.

I also wanted a moisturizer that is portable and can be applied easily against my skin when I am outside. So I decided to look for a mist kind of moisturizer and I found about etude house soothing mist and decided to give it a try.

Before
*Sprayed*
After

I really like this product as reduce redness around my T-zone and I can feel that my skin is less dry and more smooth after a few weeks of wearing it. I also apply it before applying my BB cream before going to school. Previously, after a few hours outdoor, some parts of my face would dry up and leave some BB cream residue at the dry area which I hate so much. It looks like I did not apply my BB cream evenly and can be quite embarrassing. However after using the mist, my skin is still moist even after many hours in school.

Furthermore, it is not oily and doesn't clog my pores.

The mist do have some sort of scent though it is not that strong. The difference between the small bottle and large bottle is that the large bottle nozzle seems to be able to produce much finer mist than the small one. I am unsure of the reason. Maybe the small bottle nozzle is defective.

For those who are interested in buying it you can try searching at qoo10.

Large bottle - S$14.33
Small bootle - S$12.65

I am not sure if you can find it at Etude House Singapore. Perhaps you can give Etude House Singapore a visit and compare the price.


Rating: 5/5

          The Punt: Thursday 10 August        
The Premier League is back! The Punt podcast is action-packed this week with Derek McGovern and In-Play Football Trading Manager, Andy Excell, previewing the TV games and the Times' Chief Sports Writer, Matt Dickinson, joining us to talk about the burning issues in the sport. We'll also catch up with Pete Farries, Gav Puszczalowskyi and Al Ross who give their best bets in the Championship and Leagues One and Two respectively, and Sam Norris picks a bet out in the European games this weekend. Enjoy. #ThePunt #football #betting #PL
          Next Middlesbrough Manager odds        
Pete Farries looks at William Hill's betting on who will be the next manager at Boro
          The FWA Podcast: Friday 3 March        
The Guardian's Chief Football Writer, Danny Taylor, joins William Hill's Dave Kelner to preview the Premier League action this weekend. Danny, who won two awards at the SJA Awards on Monday, gives his predictions for the TV games and speaks about Arsene Wenger, Jurgen Klopp and Sergio Aguero. #PL #football #betting
          The Punt: Friday 4 November        
Dave Kelner, Derek McGovern and Thom Kirwin are back with you to preview the 10 Premier League games this weekend. The trio battle it out to nap one particular team, who look to be too big a price on the coupon. #PL #betting #football #ThePunt
          The FWA Podcast: Thursday 22 September        
The Sun's Football Writer, Neil Custis, who covers Manchester City and Manchester United, speaks to William Hill's Dave Kelner about the weekend's televised fixtures in the Premier League. Neil talks about Wayne Rooney, Manchester City's start to the season, and gives his predictions for the matches. #PL #betting #MUFC #MCFC #FWAPodcast #football
          The League Podcast: League 1 & 2 Playoff Finals        
Jason Lewis joins Sam Norris to discuss the Play off Finals in League One and Two. It's Barnsley and Milwall who do battle for a place in the Championship whilst Wimbledon and Plymouth do battle for promotion to League One. Jason offers up his best bets in both finals. Enjoy.
          The FWA Podcast: Thursday 19 May        
The Daily Mirror's Chief Football Writer, John Cross, joins Dave Kelner on this edition of the FWA Podcast. John gives his verdict on Roy Hodgson's squad and who he thinks will be cut and previews the FA Cup final. #FWAPodcast #betting #sport #football
          The FWA Podcast: Friday 15 April        
Freelance sports journalist, Ralph Ellis, who works for the Daily Mail and Sunday Mirror, joins William Hill's Dave Kelner to preview the televised Premier League matches this weekend. The pair also run through the betting for the PFA Player of the Year on this edition of the podcast. #BPL #football #FWAPodcast
          AT&T Adds 2.1 Million Net New Customers In Second Quarter Of 2015        
AT&T Adds 2.1 Million Net New Customers In Second Quarter Of 2015

AT&T recently announced that it has added 2.1 million net new customers during the second quarter of this year. Interestingly, almost all of the carrier’s new additions is attributed to strong sales of tablets, and to connected cars. As a matter of fact, AT&T has added one million new additions driven by tablets and connected cars in the period spanning April to June.

It appears that there is a visible shift in the makeup of AT&T’s subscriber base, with a significant part of the new customer additions spurred by tablets and connected devices. Also, it seems that traditional subscribers -- i.e. those that use phones -- may be on the decline, at least in AT&T’s case. It is also possible that such diminished growth from traditional phone customers for AT&T is connected to the increased pressure from competitors like Sprint and T-Mobile, who are only eager to usurp AT&T’s place as the second biggest wireless carrier in the United States.

Earlier in July, T-Mobile had announced that it had added 2.1 million customers during the second quarter of this year. And just a few days ago, Verizon Wireless had revealed that it had gained over 1 million net new customers, and 1.1 million post-paid subscribers. 

As for AT&T, it had added 410,000 post-paid subscribers, however the growth entirely consisted of 600,000 tablets. In the second quarter of this year, the carrier had lost about 200,000 basic phone subscribers. Still, AT&T was able to add 331,000 prepaid customers as a result of boosting its prepaid arm Cricket Wireless. 

A new focus for AT&T is in connected cars. The carrier is signing up with the largest number of automobile manufacturers in order to bring cellular connectivity to vehicles. But perhaps the more pressing question is -- will people actually pay extra money to connect their cars to a cellular network? The potential is there, but for now, it remains to be seen. 

AT&T also managed to generate a profit in the amount of $3.04 billion, or $0.58 per share, during the second quarter of 2015. During the same period in the previous year, the carrier had a profit of $3.55 billion, or $0.68 per share. Not counting costs associated with its acquisition of two wireless carriers based in Mexico and its looming deal with DirecTV, AT&T managed $0.69 per share of adjusted earnings. Moreover, revenues increased 1.4 percent to $33 billion. As per data compiled by Yahoo, analysts predict, on average, revenue of $33.04 billion and earnings of $0.63 per share.

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          Sprint Called Out For Cramming Customer Accounts        
Sprint Called Out For Cramming Customer Accounts

Oops. Sprint has been busted for charging tens of millions of dollars in unauthorized third-party messaging charges to customer bills.

Moreover, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is about to issue a fine in the amount of $105 million for the carrier's dubious charges, as reported by the Wall Street Journal. Interestingly, the amount of the fine is the same as the one AT&T paid to the FCC earlier this year in a case that is similar.

The fine is not official yet -- the FCC is still waiting for the commissioner to approve it. However, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is not wasting any moment -- on behalf of the carrier's disgruntled subscribers, the CFPB is filing a lawsuit against Sprint.

According to the CFPB, Sprint should have made it a priority to protect its subscribers from third-party billing scams. But unfortunately for its customers, the carrier had let suspicious fees for unauthorized premium text messages show up on the customers' billing statements.

The CFPB further alleges that Sprint is choosing to ignore the tens of thousands of complaints and refund requests from disgusted subscribers due to the incorrect billing. The bureau also believes that with the carrier keeping about 40 percent of all the revenue generated from bills crammed with third-party fees, it is a lot easier for Sprint to turn a blind eye.

Even though the major wireless carriers in the United States have agreed to cease billing their subscribers for premium third-party services, the practice of cramming customer bills has always been frequently done by service providers for years. By doing so, they can generate some extra income out of unsuspecting wireless subscribers.

Last October this year, AT&T agreed to settle with the FCC over cramming complaints from its subscribers. Even T-Mobile had to deal with its own cramming lawsuit back in July of this year. Out of the $105 million fine paid by AT&T, the FCC took $80 million to be refunded to subscribers who were affected. For sure, the FCC will work to achieve the same result with its lawsuit against Sprint. 

For its part, Sprint is denying the allegations. The carrier claims that it took certain steps to protect its subscribers from unauthorized third-party billing practices. 

If the $105 million fine does go through, it will mark the first time that the FCC and the CFPB have joined forces together in taking action against a major wireless provider.

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          Sprint Prepaid Teams Up With Best Buy To Offer Free Month Of Service        
Sprint Prepaid Teams Up With Best Buy To Offer Free Month Of Service

Looks like Sprint is on a roll as we enter into the holiday season. The carrier offers another year-end special offer through its Sprint Prepaid brand, which is collaborating with retail giant Best Buy in giving customers one month of service that is completely free of charge. 

This special offer is a limited time offer only, and is open to all subscribers buying a new eligible handset from Best Buy and activating it under a Sprint Prepaid plan. Phones that eligible include the Samsung Galaxy S5, the Samsung Galaxy SIII, the LG Tribute, the LG Volt, and the Sharp Crystal.

Customers get to choose from three Sprint Prepaid plans that already include unlimited calls and unlimited text messaging. These plans are: the $35 monthly plan that includes 1 gigabyte of data, the $45 monthly plan that includes 3 gigabyte of data, and the $55 monthly plan 

Apart from unlimited calls and texting, Sprint Prepaid's plans also offer 50 minutes of off-network voice roaming per month. This is not usually offered by other prepaid service providers, which should delight those who decide to go for a prepaid plan from Sprint.

Sprint's free first month special offer is certainly a treat, but other prepaid brands also offer competitive deals. For instance, Cricket Wireless (AT&T's prepaid brand) has its Basic Plan, which offers unlimited calls, unlimited text messaging, and 1 gigabyte of high-speed data for $35 each month, that is once an AutoPay credit is applied.

New prepaid player Red Pocket also has an interesting offer. Via its GSMT Unlimited Everything plan, you get unlimited calls, unlimited text messaging, 200 minutes of international calls, and 2 gigabytes of data at full speed for $39.99 every recharge. This offer is also eligible for a full month of service free of charge from Red Pocket, provided the customer gets two months worth of recharges.

The year is not over yet, and we may still see other holiday deals from prepaid brands in the coming days or weeks. But Sprint Prepaid's offer is truly worth checking out. Customers can avail of it until January 31st of next year at all Best Buy retail stores in the United States.

Sprint has been rather busy in the past few weeks. The carrier has made its iPhone for Life and Easy Pay options available from Apple retails stores for the holidays. Apart from that, it has also teamed up with Uber in offering a free first ride promo for Sprint customers who sign up for the transport service. Interested to know more about Sprint's deals? You can compare plans and phones from the carrier here.

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          AT&T Expands Voice Over LTE To 18 Additional Markets        
AT&T Expands Voice Over LTE To 18 Additional Markets

AT&T first launched its Voice over LTE (VoLTE) service about seven months ago, but now the carrier is expanding its reach by adding 18 new markets for its VoLTE and HD Voice offerings.

The list of new markets include District of Columbia, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin. 

The good news is that this is just the beginning. AT&T's target is to transition every consumer to VoLTE. That would be easier said than done for sure, considering the tons of networks that need to be set up and the hardware that needs to be deployed. But AT&T is positive about the outcome, and early signs of success are certainly visible.

As stated by John Donovan, AT&T's Senior Vice President of Technology and Operations, the carrier's VoLTE network is performing very well after some internal tests, scoring an average of more than 99 percent in terms of accessibility and retainability (how well the users stay connected).

For those not in the know, VoLTE technology lets users simultaneously make calls and browse the Internet using their smartphones with very fast 4G LTE data speeds. 

As for HD Voice, it is a type of wideband technology that allows for better call quality with minimal background noise, made possible through widening the frequency range of the audio signals.

Voice calls were previously transmitted on a rather limited frequency range (between 300 Hertz to 3.4 Hertz). But with HD Voice, that frequency range is extended from 50 Hertz to 7 KiloHertz, and sometimes even beyond, in order to achieve high definition quality in voice calls.

However, before users can enjoy HD Voice, they need to meet the requirements. Firstly, the service must be available in their geographical area (AT&T is working on it). Secondly, the person calling and the recipient of the call must both use handsets that are HD Voice capable. For AT&T customers, just about the only devices available from their carrier that meet this requirement are the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus.

AT&T is far from being the only major wireless carrier that offers HD Voice though. Sprint may have been the first off the blocks, offering its customers a 30-day trial run of its HD Voice service in June earlier this year. Even Verizon Wireless is working on its own HD Voice brand, and the talk is that the Big Red will utilizing the AMR-wideband standard (the industry norm) for its service.

Interestingly, AT&T and Verizon Wireless are working together in providing clear call quality in both their customers. If they can pull this off, AT&T customers will be able to call their friends and family who are on Verizon as clearly as possible, and vice versa.

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          AT&T Throttles Users On Unlimited Data Plans Regardless Of Network Congestion        
AT&T Throttles Users On Unlimited Data Plans Regardless Of Network Congestion

AT&T has confirmed that it is throttling subscribers under its unlimited data plans, no matter how congested the network is. 

As reported by Ars Technica, subscribers who are using non-LTE 3G/HSPA+ handsets and are under unlimited data plans only get throttled when network congestion becomes heavy, and when the users exceed 3 gigabytes of data within a single billing period. But apparently, these same conditions do not apply to customers on LTE.

If a subscriber is under, say, a legacy AT&T unlimited plan and uses up more than 5 gigabytes of data on an LTE-compatible handset in a span of a month, the subscriber's data speeds will automatically be reduced for the remainder of the billing period, even if the network remains free of congestion.

Ars Technica further reported that data speeds slowed down from 23.5 mbps on average to just 0.1 mbps. When the subscriber's billing period is reset, only then are the data speeds returned to their normal levels. However, once the subscriber reaches 5 gigabytes, data speeds are automatically reduced again.

For its part, AT&T issued a statement defending its network management practices as legitimate. The carrier claims that the throttling was put in place in order to provide optimum network service for its subscribers.

AT&T further added that it is planning to address the data throttling concerns between its LTE and non-LTE unlimited subscribers sometime next year. The carrier says that it will be reducing data speeds for LTE users in congested networks as soon as that option is made available.

AT&T may be claiming that it is throttling data speeds for the benefit of all customers using its networks. But others see the throttling as a ploy to lead on long-term customers to more lucrative limited data plans. This tactic has been employed before, namely by Sprint for its Unlimited My Way and My All-In plans. Even Verizon Wireless thought of doing the same thing, but then the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) stepped in and pressured Big Red to reverse its decision. 

Right now, fewer than 20 percent of all AT&T customers are under unlimited data plans. Those that are signed up for the plans because they were thinking they could stream and download without having to worry about high overage fees if they exceed their data allotments. But it appears that they are getting throttled anyway, rendering their data privileges useless. 

As for the network congestion claims, some may find it hard to believe, especially when the subscribers who are under more expensive data plans (up to 100 gigabytes each month) never get to experience throttled data speeds.

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          Sprint Introduces Deal To Reduce Bills Of AT&T, Verizon Customers In Half        
Sprint Introduces Deal To Reduce Bills Of AT&T, Verizon Customers In Half

When it comes to grabbing customers from rival wireless carriers, Sprint does not seem to shy away from unusual tactics. Just recently for instance, the carrier introduced a new deal that promises to cut the bills in half of any customer from competitors AT&T and Verizon Wireless. Of course, for the customers to avail of the deal, they would have to produce a current AT&T or Verizon bill. It is a gutsy move for sure, but will it be effective? 

Sprint is calling the deal the Cut Your Bill in Half promo. In this deal, anybody who is currently on an AT&T or Verizon plan and wants to switch to Sprint, must first furnish a copy of their current bills, and either upload them to Sprint's website, or hand-deliver them to any official Sprint store. Sprint will then evaluate the bill submitted, and decide which Sprint plan matches it in terms of calls, text messaging, and data allotment. Sprint will then offer that matching plan for half the price of the defecting subscriber's current AT&T or Verizon plan.

For instance, a customer who hands in a bill for a Verizon family plan costing $260 each month will be offered a family plan with similar inclusions but only for $130 each month.

Sprint already launched a promotion wherein it covered early termination fees up to $350 in the form of a prepaid Visa gift card. This can be paired with the new Cut Your Bill in Half promo, as long as the customer qualifies.

There are a few caveats, of course. One, those who avail of this promo will not be able to buy a subsidized handset from Sprint. They must sign up for the carrier's leasing program, make installment payments, or buy the device outright at its full retail price. Two, participants will have to turn in their current AT&T or Verizon handsets to Sprint. Understandably, it would be weird using an AT&T or Verizon device on Sprint's network, but still, you would be parting ways with something that you've gotten used to. What if you don't have a smartphone to turn in? (Got lost, perhaps?) Sprint will then charge you $200 per line of service. It is not clear yet what Sprint plans to do with the devices that are turned in though. 

Sprint's Cut Your Bill in Half promo is offered on a limited time only. However, people who participate in the deal will be able to keep enjoying discounted bills in the future as long as they do not add more data or minutes. Once they do, their plans will be reverted the normal pricing structure.

One more thing -- this promo is off limits to T-Mobile subscribers. One possible reason is that T-Mobile is already competing with Sprint in offering slashed data prices in a manner that the other carriers, AT&T and Verizon, are not. 

And because the promo is designed to lure AT&T and Verizon subscribers, Sprint's own existing subscribers will not be able to take advantage of the deal. Find out what other deals Sprint is offering right now -- start comparing Sprint plans and phones now.

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          Nexus 6 Pre-Orders Start November 12th At AT&T; Goes On Sale November 14th At Sprint        
Nexus 6 Preorders at ATT and Sprint

Good news for Nexus 6 fans. Google's latest Nexus phablet will start to become available for purchase at two major wireless carriers this week. 

AT&T has confirmed that the Nexus 6 will become available for pre-ordering starting on Wednesday, November 12th. The device is priced at $249 on-contract. Buyers, however, can opt to purchase the phablet at its full retail price of $682.99 and pay off that total amount over the course of 20, 24, or 30 regular monthly payments via AT&T's Next 12, Next 18, and Next 24 plans, respectively. Unfortunately, AT&T has not yet provided any shipping estimates for the Nexus 6 as of this writing. But it will not be long now until the carrier makes announcement regarding availability.

Two days later on Friday, November 14th, the Nexus 6 will become available on Sprint's stores. As announced by Sprint, the phablet will be priced at $696 off-contract, with $0 down payment and 24 regular monthly payments of $29 through the carrier's Easy Pay plan. 

Also, it should be noted that Sprint will only be offering the Midnight Blue 32 gigabyte edition of the Nexus 6 smartphone.

As one might notice, the device does have a rather high price tag. That may not be too surprising. The Nexus 6 smartphone after all sports an enormous 6-inch 2560 by 1440 resolution display screen, and a 13-megapixel rear camera. 

Hardware-wise, it packs a Snapdragon 805 processor, 32 gigabytes (or 64 gigabytes) of internal storage, 3 gigabytes of random access memory (RAM), and a powerful 3,220 mAh battery.

It is also the first smartphone to have Android 5.0 Lollipop, the newest version of the Android mobile operating system. This updated edition of the world's most popular smartphone OS is truly a joy to behold, featuring a neater design further enhanced with animations and a more user-friendly interface and environment.

In the last two weeks, the Nexus 6 has only been made available through the Google Play Store and directly from Motorola, the phone maker who collaborated with Google in bringing the phablet to life.

In a few days, users will be able to get them from two of the four major wireless carriers in 
the United States. While AT&T and Sprint have already joined the party, many are expecting the other big boys (T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless) to follow suit.

Interested to learn more about AT&T and Sprint offers? Browse AT&T phones and plans here, or explore Sprint deals here.

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          Dumpster Newark NJ – We support any time!        
•When people need a way to get rid of a lot of waste all at once, they often forget to plan how to dispose of everything. •Ask anyone who has moved recently and they will tell you that they had … Continue reading
          'Zoo' Provides Some Balance In A Typically Unbalanced Show        

It’s not often that we get to do this. However, kudos are in order for CBS’ action drama ‘Zoo,’ because on this week’s episode, an episode called, “Emotional Contagion,” the animal rights wacko series actually gave credit to the other side of the argument.

But first things first. Let’s meet new character Ray Endicott (Warren Christie) who struggles to make friends with the locals:

   


          TNT's 'The Last Ship' Reminds Us Who the People Who Fight For Us Are        

If Adam Baldwin gets all the cool one-liners on TNT’s “The Last Ship” (and he does), then the Command Master Chief Jeter (Charles Parnell) gets all the great speeches. On Sunday night’s episode, “Valkyrie,” Jeter addresses the crew after four of their fellow crewmen were killed in a sabotaged oil rig explosion.


          How Will 'I Am Cait' Ever Feel Part of the Trans Community When They Keep Making Her Feel Like a Freak Because Her Story is One of Success?        

“I Am Cait” is nothing but a study in massive contradiction. On Sunday’s episode, “Take Pride,” Bruce Jenner’s weekly journey into the absurd continued as he took on two new and fearsome opponents: the pronouns “they” and “them.”

In this scene, Jenner lunches with two other trans people who appear borderline-offended that Jenner continues describing the trans community as “they” and “them”:

       


          Comment on Episode 221: Language in Games II by Matt Wetherbee        
Aw, you guys mentioned me twice! (I was also the fella who stumbled through Greenlight because I was nervous to meet y'all.) S-sempai noticed me. ヽ(*〇*)ノ
          Comment on Episode 210: Characterization by William Palmer        
Nice episode, I feel like y'all only scratched the surface on this one. I like the idea of characterization coming in the moment, from choices. So in a RPG context every time you have to make a choice or speak in character (which I guess is a choice) you decide in that moment who your character is, based on what has come before, and then from the directors stance, what you want to happen. in a video game context like Mass Effect every time you come to a decision point, the game is asking you to characterize your version of its protagonist to be either Paragon, neutral or correct. :) As much as we'd like perfect consistency, characterization changes (outside of intentional character arcs) whether we want it to or not. This comes from the gaps between play sessions, differences in our emotional play state (bleed), and the (almost necessarily) fluid nature of characters in the shared imagined landscape. This isn't a bad thing most of the time because it's minor and we modify our characters slightly based on the outcomes we as players would like to see. In a recent game of Eclipse Phase I just ran over Roll20 I had all the characters introduce themselves with a dream sequence. I made it very clear that this was to be an opportunity for solo storytelling and had everyone else follow the microscope rules of shutting up and not helping as to preserve a unique vision. It went over really well, even if we had a few more pauses for thought than normal, and even over Roll20 the characterization was very clear and shined through. That's another thing, characterization is much easier in person or through text than it is online which has always been one of my bigger pet peeves with online gaming. In person you get to use all of your senses, through text you get to expound as much as you'd like, online you're normally restricted to voice and actions. It makes you work harder and practice which brings a lot to in person games. Yet another thing, how quickly does a character come to you? Are most NPCs at the same level of characterization in their first min of screen time as say an ApoWo character? Obviously we know more about the ApoWo character but does that come through right away or do you build that character up with every interaction/decision? I would say the later. Another way to say that would be: Are most characters defined more by what's on their sheets or what's in our heads? Could y'all post a link to 183 days from the rants section? I seem to be having trouble finding it. https://www.google.com/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#newwindow=1&q=183+days+rpg Oh, have y'all ever Janked (that's now a thing, I'm making it a thing) about practicing for RPGs? If not, I have a potentially stupid topic for a cast, Do You Practice for RPGs? We practice writing, tennis, medicine, improv, calculus, sex, woodworking, and juggling; why not RPGs? This may be something that I'm alone in doing but I first took up acting in local theater partially because I thought it would bring something to my "craft" of role-playing. A lot of the time when I'm watching movies (especially bad but interesting ones like "In Time" or Divergent) I'm thinking about how I would translate that into a game (Fate conversion and Misspent Youth in those cases) and I'm logging away interesting choices or details that I can later bring back to the table. Staying in genre can be difficult when you have 5 different peoples conceptions of what noir is. But when you reference a movie or book everyone is familiar with then people are suddenly on the same page both conceptually and thematically. In general when I'm about to play in a game, or even worse run one, I often immerse myself in fiction of that genre to get it right. which seems like practicing a genre for an RPG to me. I've watched more than a few online videos on voice acting (see Roll20 stuff above). My bedside readers are fiction and things like Long-Form Improv by Hauck and Writing 21st Century Fiction by Maass. I've even run experimental one shots before to test out narrative concepts, like extreme flashbacks that only tie in tangentially to the main story, or practice something else unusual. I've never really retroactively declared anything longer than a one shot practice before but my first couple of fumbling forays into RPGs with D&D (because of coarse it was D&D) could certainly be called practice. I know RPGs aren't supposed to have a goal per se but what I'm striving for are improvisational stories that surprise me, thrill me, and touch my heart. What I'm after is a fluid game with little overt communication about it between players in the moment (all I'm asking for is mind reading here!). What I desire is a game that could be written down and sold as a good book and I feel like that takes practice. I practice to impress others, I practice to feel more relaxed and confident, but most importantly I practice to have a more distilled, better quality of fun. P.S. Your'e welcome for the text wall!
          Comment on JANK 200! by mrm1138        
I am hopelessly behind on my podcasts, so I only just got around to listening to this today. There were two things that struck me about this episode. You'll have to forgive me, though, because I'm not good at remembering the names of the casters and whose voice is whose. First, I must say that the idea of regimented interaction is precisely why I enjoy gaming. I'd always considered myself an introvert, but my wife, who is truly an introvert, has classified me as an extrovert who is just painfully shy. She can't stand to be around people for more than a couple hours and a time and needs to go home and have a lot of downtime to recharge. (She has never gotten into RPGs—as opposed to board games or card games—because the idea of spending several hours being forced to interact with people sounds like a nightmare to her.) I, on the other hand, really enjoy being around people for long periods of time. The only problem is that I have trouble keeping up a conversation unless there's something very definite to talk about, and that's where games come in. Second, when one of the casters mentioned that tabletop roleplaying gamers tend to be a progressive group of people (and that he himself was an activist for a time), I definitely agreed. I am huge into comic books, but one of the reasons I can't stand to listen to comic book podcasts is because the hosts tend to be your typical bigoted fanboys who will go into a nerd rage if a previously straight character comes out of the closet, or a white superhero is replaced by another character of a different skin color* or sex, or anything they perceive as being political correctness being forced into their comics. While the TTRPG community's record certainly isn't spotless—there were some particularly vile comments from TTRP-gamers after Gen Con delivered the press release regarding Indiana's "religious freedom" bill—I don't feel that the bigotry involved is nearly as rampant as it is in the worlds of comics and video games. *See the recent announcement of Miles Morales replacing Peter Parker as Spider-Man in the main Marvel Universe.
          Sofia Vergara Get Naked For A Cover At 45        
Sofia Vergara, who is 45, proudly posed nude on the cover of Women’s Health magazine and opened up about life as a sex symbol after 40. “Here’s a woman, 45, being able to show her body. It’s not like before, when it was just young girls who would make the cover of a magazine,” the […]
          â€˜I’ve needed her’ – Angelina On Parenting Without Her Late Mother        
Jolie opened up about her mother, Marcheline Bertrand, who died of cancer in 2007, in a new interview with ELLE France. “She would have thrived as a grandmother,” Jolie said, according to People. “I know how much she would have contributed to their lives and I am sad they will miss out on that. I […]
          Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay (The Neapolitan Novels #3)        
Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay (The Neapolitan Novels #3)
author: Elena Ferrante
name: Marisa
average rating: 4.31
book published: 2013
rating: 5
read at: 2017/02/25
date added: 2017/02/25
shelves:
review:


          The Interestings        
The Interestings
author: Meg Wolitzer
name: Marisa
average rating: 3.53
book published: 2013
rating: 3
read at: 2015/08/09
date added: 2015/08/09
shelves:
review:
Honestly, I tore through this 560 page book -- it hit a real narrative strive from the first page! I did feel strange reading a book abut middle class white privilege woes, but this book made those stories nuanced and captivating. The story of a group of friends who met when they were fifteen at a art camp and their lifetime of relationships dealt with the understanding that your life is not what you thought it would be. Wolitzer does a great job of switching between narrative voices while maintaining a certain language unique to the novel. This book felt true: friendships are complex, ESPECIALLY when they have lasted a long time. I appreciated the author taking the time to fully develop these characters through their life and their personal inner thoughts.

          5 Best Joomla Security Extensions For You to Breathe Easy        





Apart from WordPress and Drupal content management systems, Joomla is the most popular CMS used all over the world to power websites of all sorts and sizes. Just like any other open-source CMS, Joomla powered sites also have to deal with hacking attacks. In fact, almost every day Joomla powered site encounter callous hackers who mutilate website pages, upload backdoors and steal or delete sensitive information. And sadly, most of the attacks cost website owners substantial amount of time and money in getting the damage fixed. And so, it becomes needful for website owners take all the possible measures into account that helps to strengthen security of their Joomla site.

In this post we have come up with a list of remarkably useful Joomla extensions that helps to secure your Joomla website. 



jHackGuard

 










jHackGuard is an extension designed by Siteground that helps to protect the websites of Joomla users from being hacked. The extension is made publicly available to Joomla site owners, irrespective of whether they're using Siteground hosting services or not. This extension is a blend of a security plugin (that does the system work) and component (that helps to handle configurations) – that helps to protect a Joomla site by filtering the user's input data and integrating more PHP security settings. But, the plugin is disabled so that filters don't prevent authenticated administrators from performing their administrative tasks.


jHackGuard is compatible with Joomla version 3 and higher. And so, if you want to protect your site security running on an older Joomla version, you can choose to download the appropriate versions of jHackGuard for the older Joomla versions such as jHackGuard for Joomla 1.5 or other.







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