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          ASAHI INDIA GLASS LTD ANNOUNCES UNAUDITED FINANCIAL RESULTS FOR THE FIRST QUARTER ENDED 30TH JUNE, 2017        
by Shrutee K/DNS

New Delhi – AIS (Asahi India Glass Ltd.), India’s leading integrated glass Company announced its unaudited financial results for the first quarter ended    30th June, 2017 at its Board Meeting.

The consolidated financial performance highlights for the quarter ended 30th June, 2017 are as follows -

Sales (inclusive of Excise Duty) at Rs. 670.98 crores, reflected an increase of 8.60% over the previous period (Rs. 617.84 crores).

Operating EBIDTA i.e. Operating Earnings before Interest, Depreciation, Taxes and Amortisation was recorded at Rs. 109.85 crores registering an increase of 7.89% over the corresponding figure of Rs. 101.82 crores for the previous period.

Cash profit increased by 19.94% from Rs. 66.65 crores in Q4 FY 2016 to Rs. 79.94 crores in Q4 FY 2017.

PBT increased by 25.67% from Rs. 46.08 crores in Q1 FY2017 to Rs. 57.91 crores in Q1 FY2018.

PAT increased by 38.33% from Rs. 28.33 crores in Q1 FY2017 to Rs. 39.19 crores in Q1 FY2018.

The table below gives the details of the financial performance both on standalone and consolidated basis –  

AIS – Financial Results for the first quarter ended 30th June, 2017
(Rs. Lakhs)
Particulars
Standalone
Consolidated
2017
2016
Change (%)
2017
2016
Change (%)
Sales
65,891
61,022
7.98
67,098
61,784
8.60
Operating EBIDTA
11,314
10,427
8.51
10,985
10,182
7.89
Cash Profit
8,329
6,923
20.31
7,994
6,665
19.94
Profit Before Tax
6,202
4,963
24.96
5,791
4,608
25.67
Profit after Tax
4,145
3,058
35.55
3,919
2,833
38.33


We have also implemented some operational upgrades in our float glass plant at Roorkee leading to productivity increases from the next quarter. We also welcome the new regulations & standards from the government for architectural glass which shall be beneficial to everyone in the long term. As required by law, we have migrated to the new IndAS method of accounting and therefore, our results have been restated this quarter with minor upside on PAT coming from positives in depreciation.  Overall, we continue to look forward to consistent growth in auto and architectural segments as well as a stable macro environment.”

About AIS:
Asahi India Glass Ltd. (AIS) is a joint venture between the Labroo family, Asahi Glass Co. Ltd. of Japan, and Maruti Suzuki India Limited. AIS began operations in 1987.
AIS, today, is a leading integrated glass company in India, manufacturing a wide range of international quality automotive safety glass, float glass and architectural processed and value added glass. AIS operates under three strategic business units (SBUs), namely, Auto Glass, Architectural Glass and Consumer Glass.
Auto Glass is India's largest manufacturer of world class automotive safety glass and is, in fact, one of the largest in the field in Asia. It is the sole supplier to almost all the OEMs and has a market share of approx. 77 per cent in the Indian passenger car industry.
Architectural Glass is formed as a result of management merger of Float & Glass Solutions (Processed Glass) SBUs. This SBU manufactures quality float glass and deploys an extensive network of 4 zonal offices and over 1000 distributors. It also markets a wide range of AGC products in India as its distribution partner.
Consumer Glass SBU is Company’s interface with end users for its range of automotive and architectural glass offerings. Impeccable, customized and consumer centric solutions is the key differentiator of Consumer Glass SBU. It includes GlasXperts – a retail initiative in the Architectural Glass segment and Windshield Experts which is India’s only automotive glass repair & replacement specialist.

          Union Bank of India Announces Excellent Results for the Quarter ended June 30, 2017         
Highlights  of  Union Bank of India's Results for the Quarter ended June 30, 2017  

CASA     25.1 per cent YoY
Non Interest Income      `  ` 1414 crore  (up 36 per cent YoY) 
Savings Deposit     27.6 per cent YoY
Operating Profit     ` ` 2057 crore (up 26.5 per cent YoY) 
CASA Share      35.5 per cent 
Net Profit        ` 117 crore (up 7.3 per cent QoQ) 
RAM* Sector      14.8 per cent YoY
CRAR       12.01 per cent 
RAM* Share       55.4 per cent
Tier I      9.24 per cent 

 The growth in Deposits was driven by Savings Deposits, which grew by 27.6 per cent on YoY basis.
 
 Cost to income ratio improved to 43.79 per cent against 48.28 per cent on YoY basis.

 Capital Adequacy Ratio (Basel III) improved to 12.01 per cent compared to 10.75 per cent a year ago. * (Retail, Agriculture & MSME share in domestic advances) 

Business
Global Business grew by 10.5 per cent to `670971 crore as on June 30, 2017 from `607280 crore as on June 30, 2016. Domestic business grew by 10.0 per cent to `635233 crore as on June 30, 2017 from `577473 crore as on June 30, 2016.  Total deposit of the bank grew from `338727 crore as on June 30, 2016 to `375796 crore as on June 30, 2017 showing growth of 10.9 per cent. 
Financial Results for the Quarter ended June 30, 2017 
                                            
CASA deposits grew by 25.1 per cent to `133412 crore as on June 30, 2017 from `106604 crore as on June 30, 2016.   CASA share in total deposits improved to 35.5 per cent as on June 30, 2017 compared to 31.5 per cent as on June 30, 2016. Average CASA ratio also increased by 430 basis points (bps) to 33.5 per cent on YoY basis.  Savings Deposit registered YoY growth of 27.6 per cent.  A total of 8.70 lakh CASA accounts were opened during April-June 2017, out of which 8.38 lakh were Savings Bank Accounts (excl. BSBDA/BSBDS accounts).   The Bank’s Global Advances grew by 9.9 per cent (YoY) to `295175 crore as on June 30, 2017 from `268553 crore as on June 30, 2016.  Due to encouraging growth of 14.8 per cent in RAM (Retail, Agriculture & MSME) sector, Domestic Advances increased by 9.4 per cent from `242935 crore as on June 30, 2016 to `265683 crore as on June 30, 2017. 


Financial Performance for the quarter ended June 2017

Domestic Net Interest Margin (NIM) stood at 2.20 per cent for April -June 2017 as against 2.36 per cent for April -June 2016. Global NIM for April -June 2017 stood at 2.06 per cent as against 2.27 per cent for January-March 2017 quarter. It was 2.28 per cent a year ago.    Yield on funds stood at 6.94 per cent for April -June 2017 as against 7.94 per cent for April-June 2016 and 7.35 per cent for January-March 2017.   Cost of funds stood at 5.03 per cent for April -June 2017 as against 5.82 per cent for April-June 2016 and 5.24 per cent for January-March 2017.  Net Interest Income for April-June 2017 increased by 6.7 per cent to `2243 crore from `2103 crore for April-June 2016. It was `2387 crore during January-March 2017.  Non Interest Income for April-June 2017 stood at `1414 crore, showing increase of 36.0 per cent over April-June 2016.   Operating profit increased by 26.5 per cent to `2057 crore during April-June 2017 over `1626 crore during April-June 2016 and was `2134 crore during January-March 2017.  Net Profit for April-June 2017 sequentially increased to `117 crore from `109 crore in January-March 2017.  Cost to income ratio improved to 43.79 per cent for April -June 2017 from 48.28 per cent for April-June 2016 and it was 44.32 per cent for January-March 2017.  Return on average assets (annualised) stood at 0.10 per cent for April-June 2017 as against 0.17 per cent for April-June 2016 and 0.10 per cent for January-March 2017.  Return on equity (annualised) stood at 2.46 per cent in April -June 2017 as against 3.36 per cent for April -June 2016 and 2.27 per cent for January-March 2017.  Earnings per share (annualised) stood at `6.78 in April -June 2017 as against `9.69 for April -June 2016 and `6.33 for January-March 2017.

Asset Quality
Gross NPA stood at 12.63 per cent as on June 30, 2017 as against 11.17 per cent as on March 31, 2017 and 10.16 per cent as on June 30, 2016.   Net NPA ratio stood at 7.47 per cent as on June 30, 2017 as against 6.57 per cent as on March 31, 2017 and 6.16 per cent as on June 30, 2016.  Provision Coverage Ratio stood at 51.13 per cent as on June 30, 2017 as against 51.41 per cent as on March 31, 2017. It was 49.99 per cent as on June 30, 2016.  

Capital Adequacy

Capital Adequacy ratio of the Bank under Basel III improved to 12.01 per cent as on June 30, 2017 as against 11.79 per cent as on March 31, 2017 and 10.75 per cent as on June 30, 2016 compared to minimum regulatory requirement of 10.25 per cent.  The Tier I ratio as of June 30, 2017 is 9.24 per cent, within which Common Equity Tier 1 ratio is 7.73 per cent compared to regulatory minimum of 6.75 per cent. 

Digital Initiatives

The Bank has been pioneer in taking various digital initiatives and continuously launched various digital products for enhancing the customer services. Following are some of the key achievements during the quarter:
 66 per cent growth in mobile banking users on YoY basis.  U-Mobile transaction volume doubled from June 2016.  90 per cent growth in number of PoS terminals on YoY basis.  7th largest presence in banking industry and 3rd largest presence amongst all PSU banks within short span of time in Social media.  Trendsetter on Social media channels by taking various initiatives like Live streaming, Digital Education Series – #KyaAapJanteHai etc.   67 per cent share of “transactions through digital channels” in “overall transactions”. 

Financial Inclusion:

Under the Pradhan Manrti Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY), the the Bank has more than 69 lakh accounts having a balance of `1270 crore.   48.91 lakh Rupay Card issued under PMJDY as on June 30, 2017.

Total enrollment under Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana (PMSBY), Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana (PMJJBY) and Atal Pension Yojana (APJ) increased to 30.1 lakh, 12.8 lakh and 2.21 lakh respectively.  The Bank financed `696 crore in 33433 accounts under Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana, including an amount of `211 crore to 7964 beneficiaries through a specific scheme for financing of light commercial vehicle during April–June 2017. 

Network

The Bank has 4286 branches as of June 30, 2017 including 4 overseas branches at Hong Kong, DIFC (Dubai), Antwerp (Belgium) and Sydney (Australia). In addition, the Bank has representative offices at Shanghai, Beijing and Abu Dhabi. The Bank also operates in United Kingdom through its wholly owned subsidiary, Union Bank of India (UK) Ltd.   Total number of ATMs stood at 7574 including 1685 talking ATMs as of June 30, 2017. ATM to branch ratio stood at 1.77. 

Awards & Accolades during FY 2017-18 (April-June)

Skoch Award 
Skoch Order of merit Award – Operational Customer Relationship Management (OCRM)
Skoch Financial Technology Award - Unified Payment Interface(UPI)
Skoch Financial Technology Award - Green PIN solution for Debit cards 
Skoch Financial Technology Award - Union Digi Gaon
Skoch Financial Inclusion Award for Financial Inclusion

          BPCL awards its prestigious microsites design & implementation contract to Octaware Technologies        
by Shrutee K/DNS

Mumbai, August 10, 2017: Octaware Technologies Limited (BSE – 540416), a leading software and business solutions development company, is pleased to announce that they have been awarded the prestigious contract from BPCL for the design and implementation of their loyalty and brand microsites. Octaware was one of the bidders and was awarded the contract, post evaluation and presentation of efficient solutions and capabilities to the evaluation committee.

The scope of work under the contract includes design and implementation of microsites for BPCL’s loyalty programs – SmartFleet & PetroBonus and other brands - Speed and In & Out. The engagement includes a period of 3 months for implementation of microsites and an additional three years of support and maintenance. Octaware Technology Limited’s expertise in the areas of online portals & enterprise systems helped them win the contract.

Commenting on the development, Mr. Aslam Khan, Chief Executive Officer, Octaware Technologies Limited, said, “We are extremely delighted to have won the prestigious contract from BPCL, our first major win in the Indian PSU sector, post our IPO in April 2017. The fact that it falls under one of Octaware’s key focus verticals of governance, demonstrates our consistent and steady inroads in the Indian market, surpassing some of the strong players in the region. We look forward to a long-term business association with BPCL”.

About Octaware Technologies Limited:
Incorporated in 2005, Octaware Technologies Ltd is a software development company providing a range of information technology solutions. The company designs, develops, and maintains software systems and solutions. Company's services include custom software development, ECM/portal solution, ERP and CRM implementation, mobile platform solution, RFID solution, cloud and IT infrastructure services, consulting services and geospatial services.
Octaware provides specialized software application and product development services and solutions in the areas of healthcare, finance, and e-government industry. The company has proprietary products for domestic, as well as international markets, such as PowerERM – Human Capital Relationship Management, Hospice – Healthcare and Citizen Services solution, and iOnAsset – Inventory management and tracking System etc. These products are available as packaged products as well as software-as-a-service model integrated with legacy system.
Octaware Technologies Limited (BSE – 540416), got listed on the BSE –SME platform on April 3, 2017 and was oversubscribed by 148%, providing testimony to the faith, the investors have reposed in the company.

          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.

          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.

          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

          11 great solutions for the commercial construction market        
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          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..'

          (Banking Reform - Monetary Reform) - '..debt is our biggest security threat..' (no replies)        
'Now that he is president, Trump likes to tout the fact he’s listening to America’s generals. Perhaps he needs to talk to General Mike Millen, the former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Perhaps then he would see that the greatest threat America faces isn’t from China, Russia, or North Korea – it is from the national debt. Until Trump reverses course on military spending, and gets tough on entitlements, his "America First" budget will only make the US worse off.'

- Tho Bishop (Source, March 20, 2017)


'..a crippling national debt..'

'Under a Republican budget resolution, the national debt will explode by a third from an already staggering $19 billion to $29 trillion over the next ten years. Although counterintuitive, Democratic presidents, at least those after World War II, have reduced deficits as a portion of the value of the national economy (GDP) while Republican presidents have increased them — thus accumulating less public debt as a percentage of GDP. Yet neither political party has paid enough attention to this burgeoning national security problem.

National security problem? Yes. General Mike Mullen, while he was Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the nation’s top military man, was enlightened enough about long-term health of American power to realize that it takes continuing infusions of money to acquire the weapons and equipment, personnel, training, maintenance and benefits to create a credible military to adequately defend the country. In addition, all other indices of national power — political, diplomatic and cultural — require money too.

To generate those resources, a strong economy is needed. The number one problem dragging down economic growth rates through the George W. Bush and Barack Obama presidencies was a crippling national debt..'

- Ivan Eland, National debt is our biggest security threat: Column, January 11, 2017


Context

'..World Debt Hits $152 Trillion.'

'Our nation and the world are paying a very heavy price for a failed experiment in Inflationism..' - Doug Noland

'..Global policies since the 2008 crisis have spurred the expansion of speculative finance to multiples of pre-crisis levels..'


'Germany Plans to Cut 2017 Debt Sales .. Balanced-Budget..'

'..monetary knowledge .. of currency reform under difficult conditions you have to go to Carl Menger.'

(Banking Reform - Monetary Reform) - '..The Theory of Money and Credit .. an invaluable guide for ending the business cycles of our own time.'


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

          European Banking System on Verge of Collapse (no replies)        
'..doubt that European banks still had a viable business model.'

- 'Europe’s banks .. a “very fragile situation”..'


'..Monte dei Paschi, Italy’s third largest bank and oldest bank in the world is insolvent in any realistic scenario.

..

The Financial Times discusses the Vanishing Market Value of European Banks.

“The key to us is understanding this is a profitability issue versus an insolvency issue,” says Hani Redha, a portfolio manager at PineBridge Investments, regarding the sector’s performance.”

I suggest (as does the market) the entire European banking system is on the verge of collapse.'

- Mike "Mish" Shedlock, European Banking System on Verge of Collapse; Market Votes “No Confidence” in Italian Bank Rescue, August 2, 2016


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

'..the mismanagement and corruption of bankers and politicians in the 21st century.'

'Monte Paschi .. should be put into resolution, not bailed out.'

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

          'Monte Paschi .. should be put into resolution, not bailed out.' (no replies)        
'A bank that has proved multiple times that it has no reason to exist should exit the market to allow stronger competitors to survive.'

'This isn’t Monte Paschi’s first state-aid rodeo. Italy bailed it out twice after the crisis when the lender failed stress tests, posted billions of euros of losses and creaked under a mountain of bad loans.

The bank’s track record has convinced some observers that it should be put into resolution, not bailed out. That would require a determination by the ECB that Monte Paschi is insolvent.

“A bank that has proved multiple times that it has no reason to exist should exit the market to allow stronger competitors to survive,” said Lutz Roehmeyer, a fund manager at Landesbank Berlin Investment in Berlin. “Permanent rescues make it impossible to clean up the market and achieve risk-adequate pricing.” '

- Boris Groendahl, Monte Paschi Rescue Pushes EU Bank-Failure Rules to the Brink, December 23, 2016


Context

'..the mismanagement and corruption of bankers and politicians in the 21st century.'

          weekly Diigo Post (weekly)        

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.


          Gold, silver and the end of film.        
  Our previous “Inkonomics” article triggered a LOT of interesting emails from readers. Thank you for sharing your opinions. We just wish more people would comment below each post (instead of email) so not only we could benefit from different views. Perhaps a New Year’s resolution? A really intriguing comment was “the economic recession triggered […]
          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.


          Akonadi misconception #1: where is my data?        

KDE Project:

I regularly see the same misconception and fear popping up on the mailing lists, bug reports and IRC: if the Akonadi database gets corrupted, I will lose my data.

To make it clear from the beginning: the Akonadi database is NOT your MAIN data storage.
Even if it gets destroyed, removed, your data is still safe.

So what is the database?

1) It is an interface: the Akonadi server and the underlying database is a common interface to your (PIM-alike) data for different applications, so those applications do not have to deal with the data files directly.

2) But I see my email headers and even the body in the database and in $HOME/.local/share/akonadi/file_db_data. Why? Because the database is also a cache towards your data. Common, frequently accessed parts (like e-mail headers) are stored in the database. These are usually stored permanently and kept in sync with your original data source (IMAP folders, mails on the local disc).
Parts requested infrequently are either stored in the database or in the above folder. The actual place is decided upon the size of the data. These parts are from time to time cleaned up from the cache, if they were not used for a certain period of time. Technically it is possible to configure when the cache is cleaned or if it is cleaned at all, but the regular user should not have to deal with it.

3) Is there anything I might lose by deleting the database? Yes, there is, and that is the metadata added to your data. That can be anything extra information that cannot be stored in the format of your data, like Nepomuk tags or other custom information. In case of emails, you might think that read/forwarded/etc. can be lost. Luckily this is not the case (since KDE 4.7.2), as the email storage formats can store these informations natively.

The above explains why you will not lose any critical information by losing your akonadi database.

Good, but where is my data if not in the database? This depends on what kind of data we are talking about.

1) E-mail: in case of IMAP (online or disconnected) your data is on the IMAP server. With disconnected IMAP there are windows when your local cache contains data that is not yet syncronized to the server, deleting the local cache in this case indeed will make you lose the unsynchronized files. This is not Akonadi specific though, this is true for any disconnected IMAP client.
In case of POP3, the mails is stored immediately after download in a local maildir folder. The actual place of the folder depends on your configuration, it can be just as $HOME/Mail, as $HOME/kde./share/apps/kmail/ or $HOME/.local/share/.local-mail (for new installations).

2) Calendars and contact information: they can be either on a server (Kolab server, LDAP server) and only cached in Akonadi as explained, or they can be in local vcard or .ics file. The actual location of these files again depends on your setup. The new standard place for them is $HOME/.local/share/contacts.

Still there were reports of data losing, why? Unfortunately programmers are not perfect and introduce bugs in the codebase. One of the most severe bugs caused real data losing when copying mails from one folder to another. This is fixed with KDE 4.7.2+ and any recent Akonadi server. There are other bugs around, but none will cause losing your original data files.

Finally, what will happen if the database gets corrupted? Of course, it needs to be recreated. You can try by shutting down akonadi server (akonadictl stop), removing the $HOME/.local/share/akonadi and syncronize all your resources again (this will take some time). If the database is not recreated, you need to do a full cleanup by removing also the configuration files under $HOME/.config/akonadi.
Then you need to add back your resources (IMAP/POP3/contact files/etc) and syncrhonize them. In case of emails, you need to check your filters, they most probably try to move the mails into a wrong folder.
Yes, this is a lot of work and should be avoided as much as possible, but it should be done only in the rare case of real database corruption.

I hope this will clear some confusion about the data storage inside Akonadi.

And a few word about the database itself.
We use MySql. I don't know the original reason why it was picked up (ask Volker about that ;) ), but I know some people don't like it for whatever reason.
Most of them try to use SqLite. A friendly warning: don't. This is explained also in the akonadi wiki. All what is written there is true, and I experienced myself as well.
Unfortunately recently I learned that MySQL has some severe issues in certain cases: NFS mounted home directories and failed suspend/resume. In these cases the database gets corrupted (this is a MySQL bug!), and cannot be easily restored. I did not experience this corruption myself, but was reported from time to time.
What remains is trying another database server, namely PostgreSQL. Akonadi supports it, it is possible to change the database backend in the akonaditray or in the akonadiconsole application. Changing backends means importing all your data again to the database, like you'd start from scratch. PostgreSQL support is not that well tested, so expect some rough edges, but we would like to see people try it out and reporting their experience with it.
It is my personal opinion only, but if PostgreSQL proves to work fine, we might switch to that as the default backend, given the problems with MySQL.

What about other database backends? There were plans to use Virtuoso, to reduce the number of database severs needed for a KDE desktop, but the work was not completed. See the techbase aritcle.

UPDATE: Christophe Giboudeaux raised a point about PostgreSQL, that their database format changes between major releases in an incompatible way and there is no automated, easy way for upgrade (you need to dump it with the old version and import with the new one). Sad, that there is no perfect solution.


          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.


          KDE and NVidia (updated)        

KDE Project:

The above combination was never a painless experience, still at some point in past it seemed to be better to have a NVidia card on Linux then anything else, so I continued to buy them whenever my system was upgraded. Lately although it started to make me rather bad. I have two computers, one that is a 4 core Intel CPU with 8GB of memory, the other is a Core2Duo with 3GB. The latter is a Lenovo laptop. Both have NVidia, nothing high end (Qudaro NVS something and 9300GE, both used with dual monitor setup), but they should be more than enough for desktop usage. Are they?
Well, something goes wrong there. Is that KDE, is that XOrg, is that the driver? I suspect the latter. From time to time (read: often), I ended up with 100% CPU usage for XOrg. Even though I had 3 cores doing nothing the desktop was unusable. Slow scroll, scroll mouse movements, things typed appearing with a delay, things like that. Like I'd have an XT. I tried several driver version, as I didn't always have this issues, but with newer kernel you cannot go back to (too) old drivers. I googled, and found others having similar experience, with no real solution. A suspicion is font rendering for some (non-aliased) fonts, eg. Monospace. Switching fonts sometimes seemed to make a difference, but in the end, the bug returned. Others said GTK apps under Qt cause the problem, and indeed closing Firefox sometimes helped. But it wasn't a solution. Or there was a suggestion to turn the "UseEvents" option on. This really seemed to help, but broke suspend to disk. :( Turning off the second display and turning on again seemed to help...for a while. Turning off the composite manager did not change the situation.
Finally I tried the latest driver that appeared not so long ago, 256.44. And although the CPU usage of XOrg is still visible, with pikes going up to 20-40%, I gain back the control over the desktop. Am I happy with it? Well, not....
As this was only my desktop computer. I quickly updated the driver on the laptop as well, and went on the road. Just to see 100% CPU usage there. :( Did all the tricks again, but nothing helped. Until I had the crazy idea to change my widget theme from the default Oxygen to Plastique. And hurray, the problem went away! It is not perfect, with dual monitor enabled sometimes maximizing a konsole window takes seconds, but still in general the desktop is now usable. And of course this should also make me have more uptime on battery.
Do I blame Oxygen? No, not directly. Although might make sense to investigate what causes there the NVidia driver going crazy and report to NVidia.

So in case you have similar problems, try to switch to 256.44 and if it doesn't help chose a different widget style.

Now, don't say me to use nouveau or nv. Nouveau gave me graphic artifacts and it (or KDE?) didn't remember the dual card setup. Nv failed the suspend to disk test with my machine and doesn't provide 3D acceleration needed eg. for Google Earth.

UPDATE: I upgraded my laptop to 4.5.1 (from openSUSE packages).Well, this broke composition completely, I got only black windows. I saw a new driver is available (256.53), let's try it. So far, so good, even with Oxygen. Let's see on the long run how it behaves, I didn't test it in deep.


          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.


          Styled Shoot        

Having been working through my new year’s resolutions for Digital Bohemia Wedding Videography, it was my aim to be part of a styled wedding shoot in 2014, and when Lauren of French Made approached me with the idea of an 80’s themed, super-kitsch, same sex wedding shoot I jumped at the chance! On 11th November […]

The post Styled Shoot appeared first on DigitalBohemiaWeddings.


          Introducing “G4NP in Three,” a new YouTube Series        

Google for Nonprofits (G4NP) offers nonprofit organizations across 50 countries free access to Google tools like Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Ad Grants and more. Whether you’ve been using our products for years or are thinking about signing up for Google for Nonprofits, we want you to feel confident when using our products.

That’s why we’re excited to announce our brand new YouTube series, “G4NP in Three.” Every few weeks, we’ll walk you through one of the many products we offer  from enrollment process to optimization—all in roughly three minutes.

What You’ll Learn

We’ll start with the basics. We’ll cover program eligibility requirements, walk through the different signup processes, and give you tips and tricks on how to best use our products. In the first few videos, we’ll focus on some of our most popular products: Google Ad Grants, G Suite, and YouTube.

Meet Your Hosts

Bri and Jay are volunteers on our video production and G4NP YouTube strategy team. Both work in different parts of the Google organization for their core roles, but have been aligned to G4NP for over a year. They write, edit and star in videos to help educate the nonprofit community and, in addition to hosting, are the co-creators of the “G4NP in Three” series.

Jay

​A​ San Francisco native, ​Jay ventured to Ann Arbor, MI to get his degree at the University of Michigan. ​After graduating, he started at Google where he currently works as a Communications Specialist in People Operations. Aside from his passion for marketing, communications​,​ and diversity in the workplace, Jay’s claim-to-fame is singing for President Obama at the White House.

Bri

Originally from Mountain View, California, Bri attended Chapman University. There she earned a degree in Public Relations and Advertising. After graduation, Bri started a position at Google as an Associate Account Strategist supporting our advertisers. Outside of work, Bri thoroughly enjoys knitting, hiking, and venturing off on the weekends to find the best cup of coffee in the Bay Area.

The first “G4NP in Three” video is now live! Videos will be released every few weeks. Subscribe to Google for Nonprofits on YouTube to stay updated.
G4NP in Three | Ep. 1: What is Google for Nonprofits?

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.



          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.

//

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.


          2016 Year in Review        

2016 was a year of many things - changes, challenges and opportunities. But above all else, 2016 was a year where you continued your work to change the world; to bring the world a little closer to finding common ground amongst peace, progress, and innovation.

As 2016 comes to a close, Google for Nonprofits took one final opportunity to reflect on a year past and look forward to the year ahead.  So without further ado, here are the top posts from 2016 from your friends at Google for Nonprofits.

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From LA to Tokyo: YouTube Spaces opens production studios to nonprofits free of charge

From LA to London, Tokyo to Mumbai, Berlin to São Paulo, YouTube Spaces empower nonprofits by providing them exclusive access to the best production resources around — all at no cost. All enrolled nonprofits with 1,000 or more subscribers are now eligible to apply for production access at YouTube Spaces.

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

So you’re using Ad Grants - our in-kind advertising solution for nonprofits which allows you to run text ads on Google Search - and you’re looking for more insights? Google Analytics is your go-to tool for providing insights into user behavior, which can be used to inform Google Ad Grants, as well as website optimization. By syncing data and using Ad Grants & 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.

Benefits of Linking your Google Analytics and Adwords Accounts

Four ways to keep your nonprofit safe & secure online

“How do we keep our nonprofit (and the community we serve) safe and secure online?” In 2016, we partnered with Google’s User Advocacy Group to share four smart tips to keep your nonprofit, your users, and you safe online.

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What do you and your nonprofit want to learn in the new year? Leave a comment below, and we’ll work on learning together in 2017.

Lastly, we so appreciate all nonprofits’ unwavering dedication to changing the world. We wish all nonprofits and their communities a peaceful holiday season and a joyful new year.

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.


          3 Reasons why Chromebooks might be a good fit for your nonprofit        
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When we speak with nonprofit organizations, we often hear about the challenges related to technological resources. So when it comes to investing in new technology, it’s important to consider three primary factors:

  • Security: Does it keep my information private and secure?
  • Compatibility: Does it work with the programs I use?
  • Price: Is it within budget?
To address these questions, Google created the Chromebook, a series of laptops built with ChromeOS. The vision behind Chromebooks is simple — to create a safe, accessible, and affordable laptop. To improve user privacy and security, Chromebooks  automatically update to provide virus protection, encryption and safe browsing. For easy access and collaboration, they’re outfitted with Gmail, Google Docs, Hangouts (and nonprofits receive the full Google Apps bundle with 30GB of space per user at no charge). What’s more, they start at $169 USD & that’s for a laptop that has up to 10+ hours of battery life!
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ASUS Chromebook C201 ($169)

Case Study

Charity:water, a non-profit organization that provides clean and safe drinking water to people in developing countries, has a “100 percent model,” where every dollar donated goes directly to fund clean water projects. As a result, resources are limited. In order to cover operational costs like salaries and supplies, the organization relies on a few passionate and dedicated supporters. With this in mind, Charity:water transitioned to Chromebooks to improve the efficiency of its staff’s workflow. Now, employees can spend more time focusing on their goals and working towards their mission to nourish the world.

Want to learn more?

Chromebooks gives nonprofits unified access to the Google Apps suite, including:

  • Google Docs, Sheets, Slides: Allows you to create documents, spreadsheets, and presentations in real time. They’re automatically backed up online, and you can also open and edit Microsoft Word, Powerpoint or Excel files.
  • Google Hangouts: Google Hangouts can be used to make phone calls, screenshare, and video chat.
  • Google Drive: Store, sync, and share documents in the cloud for secure and easy access.

As a nonprofit, you also receive discounted access to Chrome licenses, which give you management controls via the Chrome Device Management. Chrome Device Management is a unified way to manage all of your nonprofits’ users, devices, and data. For nonprofits, the Chrome management license is discounted to only $30 dollars — in comparison to $150!

Chromebooks are our vision for providing cheaper, easier to use, and more secure laptops. Installed with Google Apps out of the box, nonprofits can maximize impact, while saving both time and resources.


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.

To learn more about Chromebooks for nonprofits, take a look at Google for Work’s Chromebook’s website. To take advantage of the Google Nonprofit license discount, a Google partner will reach out to you once you fill out the Contact Us form.


          Four ways to keep your nonprofit safe & secure online        
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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.  


          HAPPY 13TH BIRTHDAY, Google Ad Grants        
Happy 13th birthday, Google Ad Grants! We launched Ad Grants 13 years ago to offer nonprofits a free online advertising solution to share their causes with the world. 

Over the years, we’ve learned a lot together about what it means to be a nonprofit in the digital age. And as the industry landscape has changed, we’ve aimed to ensure that AdWords consistently helps to deliver your mission online. 


We’ve celebrated the ability of groups to change the world — one day, one person, one place at a time. At the same time, we’ve also come to understand the challenges of the nonprofit sector by both listening to your stories, as well as working directly alongside you. In doing so, we recognized that nonprofits struggle to find the time or resources to manage an AdWords account. So in 2015, we launched AdWords Express for Ad Grants as a part of Google for Nonprofits.

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With nonprofits’ limited time and resources in mind, we created AdWords Express to be an automated advertising solution that serves the same effective ads on Google Search as standard AdWords. AdWords Express requires less ongoing maintenance than AdWords, while still delivering an exceptional experience for Ad Grantees. 


With AdWords Express, your nonprofit can create an online ad quickly and easily, attracting more users to your website. There’s minimal ongoing management necessary, and AdWords Express runs and automatically optimizes your ads for you. Much like AdWords though, you can still reach customers on desktop computers and mobile devices (such as smartphones and tablets), as well as review the effectiveness of your ads in your dashboard. 


Sign up for Google Ad Grants here. For more information on AdWords Express, 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 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. 


          From LA to Tokyo: YouTube Spaces opens production studios to nonprofits free of charge        
We know that having a physical space to do your work matters, but it’s not just about where you work — it’s about what you create there. So today, we’re announcing special access to YouTube Spaces, YouTube’s global network of production studios, for eligible nonprofits to learn, connect, and create great content for YouTube.

Given that Google was started in a garage, we’re more than familiar with the limits of physical space. As a nonprofit, it can be difficult to find access to great spaces for video production, especially when time, location, and money are constraining factors. As a result, space often becomes limiting, rather than limitless, to producing great content on YouTube.

From LA to London, Tokyo to Mumbai, Berlin to São Paulo, YouTube Spaces empower nonprofits by providing them exclusive access to the best production resources around — all at no cost. All enrolled nonprofits with 1,000 or more subscribers are now eligible to apply for production access at YouTube Spaces.

But we’re also offering more than just physical space. In addition to our state-of-the-art production facilities, YouTube Spaces brings together creatives of all stripes. YouTube Spaces offers nonprofits opportunities to learn new skills through live workshops, as well as collaborate with the YouTube community through events, panels, screenings, and more! 

YouTube Spaces
Don’t know where to begin? Once enrolled in and approved by YouTube for Nonprofits, start with theYouTube Creator Academy. From there, nonprofits can take advantage of the workshops offered by YouTube Spaces to establish a successful foundation on the platform. From lessons on building your channel to learning physical production, these workshops will help your nonprofit define its strategy and engage subscribers. Then, it’s time to get the cameras rolling! 

Get out of your garage, and get ready to create something amazing. After all, spaces are not just about where we we work -- it’s about what we create there.

Find out more about the YouTube Spaces here. 


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.

Nonprofit must have signed up for the Google for Nonprofits program and be enrolled specifically in the YouTube for Nonprofits product with a YouTube channel that has at least 1,000 subscribers. Qualifying YouTube channels must be free of copyright and terms of use strikes.


          Competing for a better, more inclusive world at the 2015 Special Olympics World Games        

When athletes from around the world come together, some of them compete for the glory of winning. When the 6,500 athletes from across the globe competed at the 2015 Special Olympics World Games, they were playing for so much more — acceptance and inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities.   

Special Olympics
In order to bring together thousands of athletes, tens of thousands of volunteers, half a million spectators, and tens of millions of dollars in donations, the World Games Organizing Committee had a herculean task ahead of them. They needed technology that could keep up with their ambitious goals. 


Growing an audience for the World Games was paramount. With Google Ad Grants to run an AdWords campaign and Google Analytics to track behavior on their site, they were able to get their message in front of millions of people. Instead of flying around the world to train their many volunteers, they relied on Google Hangouts to efficiently and cost-effectively spread their knowledge. Twenty-five different sporting events means a lot of things to keep track of. They used Google Sheets to ensured everyone stayed on the same page and Google Sites to publicize the transportation schedule. 

As Patrick McClenahan, President & CEO of the 2015 Special Olympics World Games says, “When people are educated, inspired and engaged, hearts and minds are changed.” Carrying their message further means a more inclusive world for us all. 

Watch members of the World Games explain how they used Google tools here.


          Bella Communities: Utilizing technology & Google tools to drive "volunteer-ship"        

In 2009, Khoi Pham co-founded Bella Communities to address low-income housing issues and resident supportive services. Today, Bella Communities is harnessing the energy of thousands of community leaders, affordable housing owners, neighbors, nonprofits, resident volunteers, and professionals to offer a meaningful livelihood to their low-income housing tenants.  In addition to providing affordable housing, Bella’s signature program aims to mobilize low-income residents with an economic-opportunity modeled volunteering program. This programs enables residents to engage with other nonprofits, building civic engagement and social capital; improving career and personal skills; and earning rent credits to have financial capability and housing stability. Through this innovative “volunteer-ship” training program, they seek to help families “not just get by but also get ahead.” 

Bella Communities
What was the key to their success? We sat down with Khoi to hear exactly how they utilized technology and Google Apps for Nonprofits to achieve their goals.

Which role does technology play in Bella Communities?

Khoi: It’s critical! Technology allows us to communicate with our constituencies efficiently and cost-effectively which is vital for us. We want to empower our low-income residents with the tools needed to achieve economic development. With Google Apps for Nonprofits, we’ve built our own technology platform serving this objective. We have been able to switch from a desktop, web-based platform to a smart-phone mobile application, increasing engagement and participation from our residents using Google Forms. Most of them have skipped desktop to go mobile first!

Do you think technology has changed the way you work?

Khoi: Absolutely. It allowed us to operate in multiple states, virtually and real time! Communication, collection, and sharing data became seamless and effortless, which is fundamental to keeping pace.

Also Google Apps for Nonprofits has allowed us access to technology without heavy IT costs in order to preserve limited start-up resources and marshal them effectively. Google tools are all cloud-based and do not require us to build an internal IT infrastructure, which has enabled quick adaptability and flexibility to change. I have been amazed by the intuitiveness of the tools and how easily they integrate with one another!

Can you tell us more about your homemade program “Resident Volunteership United Program”?

Khoi: A study by the Corporation for National and Community Service showed that volunteers have a 27% greater chance  of finding a job after being out of work than non-volunteers? That is precisely why Bella Communities designed and tested an innovative supportive service program to simultaneously tackle both financial empowerment and civic engagement mobilization.  The Resident Volunteership United Program (ReV-UP) engages residents living in low-income communities to volunteer with other non-profit organizations in the immediate neighborhood to build community and economic development..

Google Apps was vital to the deployment of this program — we never would’ve been able to do it without that! It allowed us to manage workflow, and most importantly, it allowed us to gather, collect, and share data to build a case for supporting our program.

How are you measuring the success of this program?

Khoi: Using Google Forms and Google Drive, our low-income residents can easily manage their volunteer records online, as well as share and report their activities to the program managers. For the program pilot years, they contributed nearly 3,500 volunteer hours to their communities and generated earned approximately $21,000 in rent credits for their households.

Want to traverse the IT curve without the huge dollar investments? Find out how your nonprofit can better utilize technology with Google Apps for Nonprofits.

To see if your nonprofit is eligible to participate in the nonprofit programs, 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.

Bella Communities’ statements are made in connection with receiving free products as a participant in Google for Nonprofits, a program which provides free Google products to qualified nonprofits.


          Case study: Youth-oriented nonprofit overcomes limited budget with Google tools        

Just because you don’t have a big budget doesn’t mean you can’t have a big impact. Robin Bossert found that to be true when he started Navigators USA, a nonprofit that provides scouting experiences for children and their parents to help them spend more time outdoors. With over 100 independent chapters in the US and a shoestring budget, Navigators USA uses Google for Nonprofits tools to maintain and grow their organization.

Case Study
As an organization that works with youth, Navigators USA needed to have a way to maintain privacy and security while still being able to share information quickly and efficiently with parents. They use Google Groups and Sites to control access when sharing information. Juggling so many chapters across the country can be a challenge. To keep an open dialogue and get timely feedback from chapter leaders, they use Google Forms to send out questionnaires and use Google Drive to share trip ideas with other chapters. Handling logistics like shipping uniforms across the country is managed through Google Sheets and enables them to track their inventory and make sure their chapters have the supplies they need. By not having to worry about their technology budget or capabilities, Navigators USA can focus on building a movement and get more children outside. 

Watch Robin and other members discuss how they used Google tools to help manage and grow Navigators USA here. 


          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. 

chromebooks.JPG
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.


          Support and Solutions Specialist - Legacy.com        
Evanston, IL - Evanston, IL Full Time Mid Level


Are you a take charge Support and Solutions Specialist? Are you passionate, energetic and an inquisitive thinker? If you answered yes to any of those questions, we?d like you to become an integral part of our team! As the leader in online
          Linux Administrator - Retail Solutions, Inc.        
Providence, RI - Technical Operations - Providence, RI - Full Time
POSITION SUMMARY:

The Linux Administrator position is a contributing member of the RSi Technical Operations team. This team strives to provide a consistent level of world-class, utility grade support for its internal and external
          Sales and Marketing Intern (CapDB) - Bullhorn        
Boston, MA - Sales
Boston, MassachusettsIntern

Job Description

Our international recruitment software delivers best-of-breed technology solutions for the world?s leading recruitment firms. With over 300,000 users, we work at a rapid pace to deliver an incredible customer experience. As a
          Inside Sales (medical device) - Lux Research        
Nashville, TN - Location: Nashville, TNType: Full TimeMin. Experience: Mid Level
The CHALLENGE:

Seeking a hearing solution is a big deal. For most people, it?s a big decision that involves a long period of research and contemplation which can lead to a complicated purchase process that involves
          Senior Product Manager - Bullhorn        
Boston, MA - Product Management
Boston, MassachusettsFull time

Job Description

At Bullhorn, we put the world to work. Our international recruitment software delivers best-of-breed technology solutions for the world?s leading recruitment firms. Our engineers use modern technologies in agile
          Software Tester - RuffaloCODY        
Cedar Rapids, IA - Software Tester
Location
Iowa, Cedar Rapids
Apply Now
The Software Tester?s main duties will be focused primarily on testing applications that are under development. This person will be a key member of the development team and responsible for developing robust testing solutions
          Retailer Big Data Analytics Intern - Retail Solutions, Inc.        
Northbrook, IL - Customer Success - Northbrook, IL - Internship
POSITION SUMMARY:

This Analytics Intern will be supporting one of the nation?s largest drug chains customized big data solutions and help drive RSi? analytical reporting and business intelligence application adoption and deliver
          Software Configuration Analyst - Retail Solutions, Inc.        
Providence, RI - Project Management - Providence, RI - Full Time
POSITION SUMMARY:

The Software Configuration Analyst will be responsible for supporting our internal business processes by designing, implementing, documenting, and deploying enhancements to our JIRA and Zendesk implementations.


          Entry Level Software Engineer - Bullhorn        
Boston, MA - Development
Boston, MassachusettsFull time

Job Description

Entry-Level Software Engineer

At Bullhorn, we put the world to work. Our international recruitment software delivers best-of-breed technology solutions for the world?s leading recruitment firms. With over 300,000
          Account Manager - Retail Solutions, Inc.        
Providence, RI - Customer Success - (Multiple states) - Full Time
POSITION SUMMARY:

The Account Manager drives usage of demand-driven data in line with the customer?s strategic vision for an enterprise-wide DSR. They will oversee all user-facing account activities while serving as a voice for
          Executive Vice President Sales and Marketing - HealthHelp, Inc.        
Houston, TX - Job Description
This role is responsible for creating sales strategies, building revenue-generating pipeline and developing relationships within the managed care market. Maintain familiarity with managed care solutions and practices as well as connections with key decision
          Marketing Contractor - Pixability        
Boston, MA - Boston HQ
Who We Are
Pixability is a video advertising technology company that gives media professionals the ability to plan, buy, and report across YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, and Spotify. Pixability?s holistic solution empowers advertisers to deliver
          Inside Sales Representative - Ryan Herco Products Corporation        
New Jersey, NJ - ID:1252
Department:Inside Sales
Employment Type:Regular Full-time position
Location:New Jersey, NJ
Description
Ryan Herco Flow Solutions is the leading nation-wide distributor of fluid handling products providing ultrapure, corrosion-resistant fluid handling systems and
          Superb movie secret window region 2 dvd - prix incroyable - johny depp +        
Objet ayant éà servi mais qui est toujours en bon état. Le boîtier ou la pochette peut présenter des dommages mineurs comme des éraflures des rayures ou des fissures. Pour les CD le livret et le texte arrière du boîtier sont inclus. Pour les VHS et DVD le boîtier est inclus. Pour les jeux vidé les instructions sont incluses. Pour les CD et DVD le disque ne saute pas. Pour les bandes VHS image est ni floue ni neigeuse. Consulter anonce du vendeur pour avoir plus de étails et voir la description des éfauts. Afficher la éfinition de tous les états- la page ouvre dans une nouvelle fenêtre ou uouvel onglet... En savoir plussur étatnFormat: nDVDnZone: nZone : EuropenOrigine: nCinéma américainPackaging: nEmballén n nCHECK OUT ALL MY OTHER ITEMS BEFORE THEY SELL. n PLEASE BID PROMPTLY SO AS NOT TO LOSE OUT!!!!n NOUVELLE SOLUTION TRÈINTERESSANTE:nAchetez des autres articles ensemble pour économiser sur les frais postaux !!!n SECRET WINDOW   nBOXED DVD !n nAUDIO LANGUAGES AVAILABLE: ENGLISH OR GERMANnMOVIE SUBTITL
          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.
          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.
          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.
          National Account Manager / Remote        
CA-San Diego, Mitchell 1/ (A Snap-on Company), is a leading provider of vehicle repair information, and business management solutions for automotive and heavy duty shops. We are currently seeking a National Account Manager for the Heavy Duty Truck Group. The territory for this position includes the Central and Eastern United States. This is a work from home and considered a remote position. GENERAL FUNCTIONS: O
          Information Security/Information Assurance Analyst        
MD-Bethesda, TS/SCI w/CI poly Duties: · Provide expert information systems advice and serve as an information security subject matter expert to the IT enterprise management community stakeholders · Provide information systems security solutions to support the management of the community Databases Program by continuously monitoring, assessing, and analyzing database performance to assure data integrity and to s
          Meet Our New Text Analytics Solution Powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI)        
An intro to AI Text Analytics, which uses artificial intelligence (AI) and natural language processing to better understand the voice of your customers ...
          Side-Talk: Halal Omiyage (Souvenir) from Japan        
As mentioned in my previous post, my eldest sister went to Japan in December 2014 and brought back lots of Japan face products. While she was there, she whatsapp us to help to her search online for halal mochi which she can bring as souvenirs for her muslim colleague. I look up on google and do not find any halal kochi that is already in Japanese market. However, I did find out that there are halal omiyage out there are halal certified by Nippon Asia Halal Association (NAHA). Interesting huh. Below is the halal logo of NAHA.

One of the product is "Arare", which is a type of rice crackers. It is product by Osama Rice Cracker Co. Pte Ltd. Do note that not all of their products are halal. So what is "Arare"? According to wikipedia, it is japanese confectionary made from glutinous rice. The difference from senbei is its size and shape. In other words it is fried mochi.



Okay great there are halal souvenirs but where do we buy them? We saw online that it can found in a shop called "Hyobando" along the row of shops at Asakusa Temple. But my sister said it is too out of the way for her. 


Photo credit: NAHA Facebook page

Then browse through NAHA Facebook Page. I found out that it is also sold at Narita Airport Terminal 1! I was thinking great then, she can buy it before she bought the plane. NAHA posted the photo below but did not state the exact location of it…like where in Terminal can it be bought.

Photo credit: NAHA Facebook page
So using my detective skills, I go Narita airport website to check the directory and look out for shops with similar display. The is called KONNICHIWA and the location is at:

Narita Airport Terminal 1
Level 4 of Central Building

So back to the story about my eldest sister. She say her departure hall is at Terminal 2 instead and most like would not be able to Terminal 1 first due to shortage of time. So I look for a way for her to buy the halal "Arare" online. Sakura Gate (link) enables you to buy online and provides delivery service to the Airport. Except you will need you to order in advance…and this is not possible for my sister. But I think the idea is genius! Tourists can now save time from looking for souvenirs while they are on holidays. I always find looking for souvenirs to but for others a waste of time HAHA. In the end, I said to me sister that I have no other solution for her.

So she finally returned to Singapore after her trip and reach home at 2am in the morning. I saw her carry this ANA paper bag with the 8 packets of halal "Arare" in it. I was like, where did you get it from. Apparently, it is sold in Narita Airport Terminal 2 as well. So another place for you to buy the halal "Arare" is at ANA FESTA lobby gift shop located at:

Narita Airport Terminal 2
Level 4 of the Main Building

My sister bought 2 flavours of halal "Arare, seaweed and red pepper. I only have photo of the seaweed one since we already ate the red pepper one. Heard there is going to be a new flavour (Wasabi) coming out soon.



For more information and updates of halal products in Japan, do visit NAHA Facebook page. 


          LG Introduces The Curved Phone G Flex 2        
LG Introduces The Curved Phone G Flex 2

Back in 2014, LG released the G Flex handset, a 6-inch smartphone with a unique curved body design and a self-healing coating that clears up scratches or any damage done to the device's casing.  

Now, the South Korean company is introducing an enhanced and more streamlined version, the G Flex 2. This time around, the newest version comes with a smaller but more handy 5.5-inch display screen, and Qualcomm's most powerful chip set.

The G Flex 2 smartphone was introduced by LG during its very recent press conference at the Consumer Electronics Show 2015 (CES 2015) held in Las Vegas, Nevada in the United States. 

With its introduction, LG's G Flex 2 handset is the first of many phones this year expected to feature Qualcomm's newest offering -- the Snapdragon 810 processor. It is an eight-core 2.0 GigaHertz chip set that is 64-bit compatible for Android 5.0 Lollipop, the latest version of the Android mobile operating system. The 810 processor functions with 2 gigabytes of memory, and can support 3 x 20 MegaHertz LTE carrier aggregation for all networks that support it.

For the device's display screen, LG employed its own plastic OLED display technology. Techies may recall that this is the same display technology utilized in LG's G Watch R wearable device. But in G Flex 2's case, the resolution is set higher to 1080 pixels. 

As for its camera, the G Flex 2 smartphone sports a 13-megapixel camera that has laser autofocus system and optical image stabilization -- features that users may also find in LG's current flagship device (the LG G3).

The G Flex 2 features a 3,000 mAh battery that takes full advantage of Qualcomm's fast charging technology available via the latest Snapdragon chip sets. This technology significantly reduces the recharging time by up to 75 percent. Thus, users can get the G Flex 2 half-charged in just 40 minutes.

But what really makes the G Flex 2 unique is its curved body. The front side (display screen) has a 700 millimeter curved radius, while the rear side is curved just a bit less (650 millimeter radius). This is by design, by the way. According to LG, this helps users hold the phone more easily and also, allows the device to fit more easily in users' pockets.

Naturally, the G Flex 2 will be launched first in South Korea before the end of the month. But American users will not have long to wait. Major carriers AT&T and Sprint have already confirmed that they will be including the device in their respective smartphone line-ups this year. Regional carrier US Cellular has also announced that they will be offering the device in spring. No specific release dates and pricing details have been provided yet, but LG fans in the US should be pretty excited nonetheless. 

Want to know more LG devices? You can start comparing LG phones and plans 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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          Comment on Episode 196: New Year’s Gaming Resolutions! by mrm1138        
Thanks!
          Comment on Episode 196: New Year’s Gaming Resolutions! by Todd        
The name of the novel was Station Eleven by Emily Mandel.
          Comment on Episode 196: New Year’s Gaming Resolutions! by mrm1138        
What was the name of the Apocalypse World-esque novel discussed during this episode? Since I listen to podcasts while I drive to and from work, I figured I'd just wait until I could check the show notes. Unfortunately, the show notes don't actually mention any of the games, movies, books, etc. mentioned in the episode. That would be incredibly helpful in the future.
          Comment on Episode 196: New Year’s Gaming Resolutions! by iamclyde        
Timo calendars will be released soon? Because we're already a decent way into Janurary.
          [BUY] "Website Defacing Cookbook ~ A Step by Step Guide to Website Defacing"        
Do you want to learn how website hackers manage to deface website and change it's index pages with their own fancy coded pages. If your answer is 'YES' then surly you are at a right place. We are selling an e-book titled "Website Defacing  Cookbook ~ A Step by Step Guide to Website Defacing"
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          How To Deface Websites?        


Everyone who is new to hacking, the first thing that they want to learn is how to deface a website, root the server or how to crack cPanels of the website. In this post I will be telling you how hackers manage to break into a website- deface it, symlink it, root the server etc.

So let's start.

SQL Injection

SQL Injection is one of the most widely and commonly used method for hacking and breaking into the website. For performing SQL Injections attacks, manual approach as well as automated tool approach can be used. You can find SQL Vulnerable sites from here

For Automated SQL Injection
SQL Injection using Havij Automated Tool
SQL Injection through SQL Map
SQL Injection with you Android Phone

Download Havij Pro version from here

For Manual SQL Injection
Manual SQL Injection
MySQL Injection
Hack Admin Panel of a Website with SQL Injection

Hacking a Website on Shared Server.
Suppose you have a website which is hosted on the server with an IP address 192.168.1.4 and you want to shell this server and have to access a particular site and deface it.
So to accomplish this task you can use bing, Learn it from here

Broke into the admin panel? confused now what to do?
Now, you are finally into the administrator panel of the website. Now you next task is to upload a shell. So for that find a upload forum, and shell it with Live HTTP headers, learn this from here.
Sometimes server security is tight so it is difficult to get you shell executed. If you face any similar kind of problem, here is the solution.

To upload you shell on Joomla refer to the post -> How to Upload You Shell on Joomla
for Wordpress go here -> Upload You Shell on Wordpress

Learn hacking wordpress and joomla sites from here

You got your shell up on the server. Now you can simply deface it. Root the server, mass deface it. symlink it.

How to root a server
How to crack cPanel
How to mass deface
Mass defacing script
How to Symlink

Got doubts? Comment below and get you query solved.

          Arbitrary or Unrestricted File Upload        
Arbitrary or Unrestricted File Upload is a type of web application vulnerability which occurs due to improper validation of the file which is being uploaded on the server.
Suppose there is a website which allows users to upload image files with the extension like .jpg, .png, .gif and so on, but if the website is unable to properly verify the image file being uploaded, an attacker can take control over the whole website/server. This is especially true for files with the extension .php & .asp because they are automatically executed by the server.


So in this post I will be explaining you how this vulnerability is caused by studying the source code. This post has been written keeping in mind that you are new to this type of vulnerability, so examples which will be explained will be basic ones. Advanced example will be posted in PART 2 of this post.

Example
The following is an HTML upload forum which allows pictures to be uploaded on the server.

<form action="upload.php" method="post" enctype="multipart/form-data">
Choose a file to upload:
<input type="file" name="filename"/>
<br/>
<input type="submit" name="submit" value="Submit"/>
</form>
 
When the file is submitted, it is send to upload.php on the server. The file is been stored in a temporary location until it is retrieved by the server side code. So after the file is uploaded, it is sent to a permanent directory or location through upload.php
 
// Define the target location where the picture being
// uploaded is going to be saved.
$target = "pictures/" . basename($_FILES['uploadedfile']['name']);

// Move the uploaded file to the new location.
if(move_uploaded_file($_FILES['uploadedfile']['tmp_name'], $target))
{
echo "The picture has been successfully uploaded.";
}
else
{
echo "There was an error uploading the picture, please try again.";
}
 
The problem with the above code is that, the file type is not verified which is being uploaded, as a result an attacker can upload a malicious file on the server.

Once the malicious file is uploaded on the server, arbitrary command execution is possible.

Well, a simple solution to patch this type of problem is to check for MIME type in the uploaded request.
 
if($_FILES['userfile']['type'] != "image/gif") {
      echo "Sorry, we only allow uploading GIF images";
      exit;
}
 
Well this method too can be bypassed by the manipulation of Request Header allowing
What can be done instead is that use PHP functions to check that the file type is indeed of desired type, for example: ‘getimagesize()’ function of PHP takes a file name as an argument and returns the size and type of the image

Some File Upload Vulnerabilities : 



http://www.hackingsec.in/2012/03/testing-imageshell-and-deface-upload.html

http://www.hackingsec.in/2012/03/file-manager-remote-shell-and-deface.html

http://www.hackingsec.in/2012/02/fckeditor-remote-file-upload-exploit.html

http://www.hackingsec.in/2012/01/file-thingi-deface-and-shell-upload.html

http://www.hackingsec.in/2012/01/another-deface-and-shell-upload.html

http://www.hackingsec.in/2012/01/defaceshell-and-image-upload.html



          Recover Your Lost Files With EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard for Mac        
Keeping your information protected and secure with a backup solution is crucial, yet consider the possibility that you delete something before you created a backup. What should you do when you never created a backup and accidentally erased a record? The appropriate response isn’t to move around shouting in frenzy. The appropriate response is to ensure you have […]
          How to Make Bubble Solution for Giant Bubbles        
Making your own bubble solution is quick, easy, and fun to do with the kids. This recipe for bubble solution is perfect for making giant bubbles! It has quickly become one of our favorite go-to outdoor activities to enjoy together on beautiful Spring and Summer days. Tip – for best results, make bubbles on a […]
          Daniel Boone        

Daniel Boone

BOONE, Daniel, pioneer, born in Berks County, Pennsylvania, 22 October, 1734 (For more on Daniel Boone's birthplace please visit his Homestead); died in Missouri, 26 Sept., 1820. Among the immigrants that landed, 10 Oct., 1717, at Philadelphia was George Boone, of Exeter, England, who came with his wife and eleven children, bought land near Bristol, Bucks County, Pennsylvania, and joined the society of Friends. His son, Squire Boone, married Sarah Morgan, and Daniel was their son. Squire Boone, who was a farmer, moved, about 1748, to Holman's Ford, on the Yadkin, in North Carolina.

Daniel's education was very limited; he could read and write, but beyond that all he knew related to the fields, the woods, the net, the rifle, and hunting. He was a hunter born, and loved the solitude of the forest. Strong, brave, lithe, inured to hardship and privation, he traced his steps through the pathless forest, sought out the hiding places of panther, bear, and wolf, and was the match of any Indian in the sagacity with which he detected the footsteps of the red man. About 1755 he married Rebecca Bryan and set up his own log cabin, but, displeased with the encroachments of civilization on his solitude, and incited by the glowing accounts brought by John Finley, who had penetrated into the unknown regions of Kentucky, formed a company of six kindred spirits, and, bidding adieu to his family and the comforts of home, on 1 May, 1769, set out on his perilous journey of exploration.

America's Four Republics: The More or Less United States
By: Stanley Yavneh Klos
Edited: Naomi Yavneh Klos, Ph.D.

  • First United American Republic: United Colonies of North America: 13 British Colonies United in Congress was founded by 12 colonies on September 5th, 1774 (Georgia joined in 1775)  and governed through a British Colonial Continental Congress.  Peyton Randolph and George Washington served, respectively, as the Republic's first President and Commander-in-Chief;
  • Second United American Republic: The United States of America: 13 Independent States United in Congress was founded by 12 states on July 2nd, 1776 (New York abstained until July 8th), and governed through the United States Continental CongressJohn Hancock and George Washington served, respectively, as the Republic's first President and Commander-in-Chief; 
  • Third United American Republic: The United States of America: A Perpetual Union was founded by 13 States on March 1st, 1781, with the enactment of the first U.S. Constitution, the Articles of Confederation, and governed through the United States in Congress Assembled.  Samuel Huntington and George Washington served, respectively, as the Republic's first President and Commander-in-Chief; 
  • Fourth United American Republic: The United States of America: We the People  was formed by 11 states on March 4th, 1789 (North Carolina and Rhode Island joined in November 1789 and May 1790, respectively), with the enactment of the U.S. Constitution of 1787. The fourth and current United States Republic governs through  the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate in Congress Assembled, the U.S. President and Commander-in-Chief, and the U.S. Supreme Court.  George Washington served as the Republic's first President and Commander-in-Chief.

After numerous adventures with the Indians, having become intimately acquainted with the character of the country, established an enviable reputation for sagacity and integrity on important frontier service assigned to him by Lord Dunmore in the campaign against the Indians, usually called "Lord Dunmore's War," and constructed a strong fort on the left bank of Kentucky river, which he named "Boonesborough," he determined to bring his wife and family to the new home. Some of his neighbors joined him, and he conducted the party, numbering upward of thirty, safely to "Boonesborough" without having encountered any other difficulties than such as are common to this passage. 



 Daniel Boone founded Boonesborough while he worked for Richard Henderson of the Transylvania Company.


On one occasion Boone, with an armed party of thirty men, had gone for a supply of salt to a place called "Salt Licks," nearly 100 miles north of Boonesborough, and was captured, with twenty-seven of his men, by a band of more than 100 Indian warriors led by two Frenchmen. 



They carried them first to Old Chillicothe, on the Miami, and then to Detroit, where they surrendered for a ransom all their prisoners except Boone; him they took back to Old Chillicothe, where the great Blackfish, a renowned Shawanese chief, adopted him into his family under an imposing but painful ceremonial; all his hair, except a tuft three or four inches in diameter on the crown of the head, was plucked out; that tuft was allowed to grow to the length of the "warlock," dressed with feathers and ribbons; an ablution in the river was supposed to cleanse him from the taint of white blood; a coat of paint on his face, and a solemn charge from Blackfish, completed the rite. 

After a prolonged and anxious residence among them, during which he was kindly treated, he discovered their intention of marching upon Boonesborough, and resolved, at the peril of certain death in the event of recapture, to attempt his escape and save his family and friends. Chased by 450 Indians, he performed that daring feat in the forty-third year of his age, and thus simply records it: "On the 16th [of June], before sunrise, I departed in the most secret manner, and arrived at Boonesborough on the 20th, after a journey of 160 miles, during which I had but one meal." 




At the fort he learned that his wife and children, despairing of ever seeing him again, had returned, and safely reached her father's home in North Carolina. The Indians assailed the fort, but were repelled with loss, and retreated. Boone then, in the autumn of 1778, rejoined his family on the Yadkin, and returned with them to Kentucky in 1780. 

The country, though well settled, was still unsafe, and, soon after his return, Boone and his brother, Squire, were surprised by Indians; Squire was killed and scalped, and Daniel had a narrow escape. A sanguinary engagement, called the "Battle of the Blue Licks," took place in 1782, in which Boone's two sons fought at his side. One of them was killed, and the other severely wounded. Boone was full of expedients, and on one occasion extricated himself from four armed Indians by blinding them with tobacco dust. Kentucky was admitted into the union, 4 Feb., 1791, and in the survey of the state the title to Boone's land was disputed. The case was decided against him, and, stung to the quick by the wrong, he had again to seek a new home, which he established at Point Pleasant, between the Ohio and the Great Kanawha; but in 1795 he removed to Missouri, then a Spanish possession, and received not only the appointment of commandant of the Femme Osage district, but a grant of 8,000 acres. The Spanish possessions passed into the hands of Napoleon, who sold them to the United States, and, in the survey that followed, the Spanish grant of Boone's lands was pronounced invalid. An appeal to the legislature of Kentucky, and another to congress, resulted in a grant by the latter of 850 acres. Boone was then seventy-five years of age, hale and strong. The charm of the hunter's life clung to him to the last, and in his eighty-second year he went on a hunting excursion to the mouth of Kansas river. He had made his own coffin and kept it under his bed, and after his death they laid him in it to rest by the side of his wife, who had passed away seven years before. 

On 13 Sept., 1845, their remains were removed to the cemetery near Frankfort, Kentucky, a few miles from the fort of Boonesborough, by the concurrent action of the citizens of Frankfort and the legislature of Kentucky. 


Cemetery in Frankfort, Kentucky where Daniel and Rebecca Bryan Boone were re-interred


His son, Enoch, born in Boonesborough, Kentucky, in 1777 ; d. 8 March, 1862, was the first white male child born in Kentucky. Daniel Boone's wife, with her daughters, went to live with her husband in his palisaded fort in June, 1776, and while there gave birth to this son; but after Boone's capture, on 7 Feb., 1778, his family returned to North Carolina. -- Edited Appleton's American Biography Copyright© 2001 by Stan Klos TM




An American biographical and historical dictionary Containing an account of the lives, characters, and writings of the most eminent persons in North America from its first settlement, and a summary of the history of the several colonies and of the United States. By: W. Hyde, 1832.


BOONE, Daniel, colonel, one of the first settlers of Kentucky, was born about 1730. While he was young, his parents, who came from Bridgeworth,England removed from Pennsylvania or Virginia to the Yadkin river in North Carolina. 






He was early addicted to hunting in the woods; in the militia he attained to the rank of colonel. In 1769, in consequence of the representation of John Finley, who had penetrated into the wilderness of Kentucky, he was induced to accompany him in a journey to that country. He had four other companions, John Stuart, Joseph Holden, James Money, and William Cool, with whom he set out May 1. On the 7th of June they arrived at the Red river, a branch of the Kentucky; and here from the top of a hill they had a view of the fertile plain's, of which they were in pursuit. They encamped and remained in this place till Dec. 22, when Boone and Stuart were captured by the Indians near Kentucky river. In about a week they made their escape; but on returning to their camp, they found it plundered and deserted by their companions, who had gone back to Carolina.




Stuart was soon killed by the Indians; but Boone being joined by his brother, they remained and prosecuted the business of hunting during the winter, without further molestation. His brother going home for supplies in May 1770, he remained alone in the deep solitude of the western wilderness until his return with ammunition & horses July 27th. During this period this wild man of the woods, though greeted every night with the howlings of wolves, was delighted in his excursions with the survey of the beauties of the country and found greater pleasure in the solitude of wild nature, than he could have found amid the hum of the most elegant city. With his brother he traversed the country to Cumberland river. It was not until March 1771, that he returned to his family, resolved to conduct them to the paradise, which he had explored.


Students and Teachers of US History this is a video of Stanley and Christopher Klos presenting America's Four United Republics Curriculum at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School. The December 2015 video was an impromptu capture by a member of the audience of Penn students, professors and guests that numbered about 200. - Click Here for more information



Having sold his farm, he set out with his own and 5 other families, Sept. 25,1773, and was joined in Powell's valley by 40 men. After passing over two mountains, called Powell's and Walden's, through which, as they ranged from the north east to the south west, passes were found, and approaching the Cumberland, the rear of the company was attacked by the Indians on the 10th of October, when six men were killed, among whom was the eldest son of colonel Boone. One man was also wounded, and the cattle were scattered. This disaster induced them to retreat about 40 miles to the settlement on Clinch River, where he remained with his family, until June 6,1774, when, at the request of gov. Dunmore, he conducted a number of surveyors to the falls of Ohio. On this tour of 800 miles he was absent two months. After this he was entrusted by the governor, during the campaign against the Shawanese, with the command of three forts. 



Early in 1775, at the request of a company in North Carolina, he attended a treaty with the Cherokee Indians at Wataga in order to make of them the purchase of lands on the south side of the Tennessee river. After performing this service, he was employed to mark out a road from the settlements on the Holston to the Kentucky river. While thus employed, at the distance of about 15 miles from what is now Boonesborough, the party was attacked March 20, and 23, 1775 by the Indians, who killed four and wounded five. Another man was killed in April. On the first day of this month at a salt lick, on the southern bank of the Kentucky,in what is now Boonesborough a few miles from Lexington, he began to erect a fort, consisting of a block house & several cabins, enclosed with palisades. On the 14th of June he returned to his family in order to remove them to the tort.. His wife and daughters were the first white women, who stood on the banks of the Kentucky river. Dec. 24th one man was killed and another wounded. July 14, 1776, when all the settlements were attacked, two of Colonel Calway's daughters and one of his own were taken prisoners; Boone pursued with 18 men and in two days overtook the Indians, killed two of them, and recovered the captives.






The Indians made repeated attacks upon Boonesborough; Nov. 15,1777 with 100 men, and July 4 with 200 men. On both sides several were killed and wounded; but the enemy were repulsed; as they were also July 19 from Logan's fort of 15 men, which was besieged by 200. The arrival of 25 men from Carolina and in August of 100 from Virginia gave a new aspect to affairs, and taught the savages the superiority of "the long knives," as they called the Virginians. Jan. 1, 1778 he went with 30 men to the blue licks on the Licking river to make salt for the garrison. Feb. 7, being alone, he was captured by a party of 102 Indians and 2 Frenchmen; he capitulated for his men, and they were all carried to Chillicothe on the Little Miami, whence he and 10 men were conducted to Detroit, where he arrived March 30. The governor, Hamilton, treated him with much humanity, and offered 1001, for his redemption. But the savages refused the offer from affection to their captive. Being carried back to Chillicothe in April, he was adopted as a son in an Indian family. He assumed the appearance of cheerfulness ; but his thoughts were on his wife and children. Aware of the envy of the Indians, he was careful not to exhibit his skill in shooting. In June he went to the salt springs on the Sciota. On his return to Chillicothe he ascertained, that 450 warriors were preparing to proceed against Boonesborough. He escaped June 16, and arrived at the fort June 20th, having travelled 160 miles in 4 days, with but one meal. His wife had returned to her father's. Great efforts were made to repair the fort in order to meet the expected attack. On August 1st, he went out with 19 men to surprise Point Creek town on the Sciota; meeting 30 Indians, he put them to flight and captured their baggage. At last, Aug. 8, the Indian army of 444 men, led by captain Dugnesne and 11 other Frenchmen, and their own chiefs, with British colors flying, summoned the fort to surrender. 



The next day Boone, having a garrison of only 50 men, announced his resolution to defend the fort, while a man was alive. They then proposed that 9 men should be sent out 60 yards from the fort to enter into a treaty; and when the articles were agreed upon and signed, they said it was customary on such occasions, as a token of sincere friendship, for two Indians to shake every white man by the hand. Accordingly two Indians approached each of the nine white men, and grappled with the intent of making him a prisoner; but the object being perceived, the men broke away and re-entered the fort.



An attempt was now made to undermine it; but a counter trench defeated that purpose. Atlast on the 20th the enemy raised the siege, having lost 37 men. Of Boone's men two were killed and four wounded. "We picked, up," said he, "125 pounds of bullets, besides what stuck in the logs of our fort, which certainly is a great proof of their industry." In 1779, when Boone was absent, revisiting his family in Carolina, Colonel Bowman with 160 men fought the Shawanese Indians at old Chillicothe. 



In his retreat the Indians pursued him for 30 miles, when in another engagement col. Harrod suggested the successful project of mounting a number of horses and breaking the Indian line. Of the Kentuckians 9 were killed. June 22nd,1780, about 600 Indians and Canadians under col. Bird attacked Riddle's and Martin's stations and the forks of Licking river with 6 pieces of artillery, and carried away all as captives. Gen. Clarke, commanding at the falls of Ohio, marched with his regiment and troops against Reccaway, the principal Shawanese town on a branch of the Miami, and burned the town, with the loss of 17 on each side. 


About this time Boone returned to Kentucky with his family. In Oct. 1780, soon after he was settled again at Boonesborough, he went with his brother to the Blue Licks, and as they were returning the latter was slain by a party of Indians, and he was pursued by them by the aid of a dog. By shooting him Boone escaped. The severity of the ensuing winter was attended with great distress, the enemy having destroyed most of the corn. The people subsisted chiefly on buffalo's flesh. In May 1732 the Indians having killed a man at Ashton's station, captain A. pursued with 25 men, but in an attack upon' the enemy he was killed with 12 of his men. Aug. 10 two boys were carried off from major Hay's station. Capt. Holden pursued with 17 men; but he also was defeated, with the loss of four men. In a field near Lexington an Indian shot a man and running to scalp him, was him- self shot from the fort and fell dead upon his victim. On the 15th Aug. 500 Indians attacked Briant's station, five miles from Lexington,and destroyed all the cattle; but they were repulsed on the third day, having about 30 killed, while of the garrison 4 were killed and 3 wounded. Boone, with cols. Todd and Trigg and major Harland, collected 176 men and pursued on the 18th.



They overtook the enemy the next day a mile beyond the Blue Licks, about 40 miles from Lexington, at a remarkable bend of a branch of Licking river. A battle ensued, the enemy having a line formed across from one bend to the other, but the Kentuckians were defeated with the great loss of 60 killed, among whom were cols. Todd and Trigg, and Major Harland, and Boone's second son. Many were the widows made in Lexington on that fatal day. The Indians having 4 more killed, 4 of the prisoners were given up to the young warriors to be put to death in the most barbarous manner. 

General Clarke, accompanied by Boone, immediately marched into the Indian country and desolated it, burning old Chillicothe, Peccaway, New Chillicothe, Willis town, and Chillicothe. With the loss of four men he took seven prisoners and five scalps, or killed five Indians. In October the Indians attacked Crab orchard. One of the Indians having entered a house, in which were a woman and a negro, and being thrown to the ground by the negro, the woman cut off his head. From this period to the peace with Great Britain the Indians did no harm. "Two darling sons and a brother," said Boone, "have I lost by savage hands, which have also taken from me 40 valuable horses and abundance of cattle. Many dark and sleepless nights have I spent, separated from the cheerful society of men, scorched by the summer's sun and pinched by the winter's cold, an instrument ordained to settle the wilderness."

From this period he resided in Kentucky and Virginia till 1798, when in consequence of an imperfect legal title to the lands, which he had settled, he found himself dispossessed of his property. In his indignation he fled from the delightful region, which he had explored, when a wilderness, and which now had a population of half a million. With his rifle he crossed the Ohio and plunged into the immense country of the Missouri In 1799 he settled on the Femme Osage river with numerous followers. In 1800 he discovered the Boone's Lick country, now a fine settlement: in the same year he visited the head waters of the Grand Osage river and spent the winter upon the head waters of the Arkansas. At the age of 80, in company with a white man and a black man, laid under strict injunctions to carry him back to his family, dead or alive, he made a hunting trip to the head waters of the Great Osage, and was successful in trapping beaver and other game.




In January 1812 he addressed a memorial to the legislature of Ky. stating that he owned not an acre of land in the region, which he first settled; that in 1794 he passed over into the Spanish province of Louisiana, under an assurance from the governor, who resided at St. Louis, that land should be given him; that accordingly 10 thousand acres were given him on the Missouri and he became Syndic or chief of the district of St. Charles; but that on the acquisition of Louisiana by the United States his claims were rejected by the commissioners of land, because he did not actually reside; and that thus at the age of 80 he was a wanderer, having no spot of his own, whereon to lay his bones.

The legislature instructed their delegates to congress to solicit a confirmation of this grant. He retained, it is believed, 2,000 In his old age he pursued his active course of life, trapping bears and hunting with his rifle. Though a magistrate and sometimes a member of the legislature of Virginia, and much engaged in agriculture; yet he preferred the solitude of the wilderness to the honors of civil office and the society of men.


He died at the house of his son, Major A. Boone, at Charette, Montgomery Company, September 26th, 1820, aged nearly 90 years. His wife died in the same place. He left sons and daughters in Missouri. In consequence of his death the legislature of Missouri voted to wear a badge of mourning for 20 days. A brother died in Mississippi Oct. 1808, aged 81. 

Col. Boone was of common stature, of amiable disposition, and honorable integrity. In his last years he might have been seen by the traveler at the door of his house, with his rifle on his knee and his faithful dog at his side, lamenting the departed vigor of his limbs, and meditating on the scenes of his past life.

Whether he also meditated on the approaching scenes of eternity and his dim eyes ever kindled up with the glorious hopes of the christian is not mentioned in the accounts of him, which have been examined. But of all objects an irreligious old man, dead as to worldly joy and dead as to celestial hope, is the most pitiable. An account of his adventures, drawn up by himself, was published in Filson's supplement to Imlay's Description of the Western Territory, 1793.— Niles Register, March 13, 1813.

Capitals of the United States and Colonies of America

Philadelphia
Sept. 5, 1774 to Oct. 24, 1774
Philadelphia
May 10, 1775 to Dec. 12, 1776
Baltimore
Dec. 20, 1776 to Feb. 27, 1777
Philadelphia
March 4, 1777 to Sept. 18, 1777
Lancaster
September 27, 1777
York
Sept. 30, 1777 to June 27, 1778
Philadelphia
July 2, 1778 to June 21, 1783
Princeton
June 30, 1783 to Nov. 4, 1783
Annapolis
Nov. 26, 1783 to Aug. 19, 1784
Trenton
Nov. 1, 1784 to Dec. 24, 1784
New York City
Jan. 11, 1785 to Nov. 13, 1788
New York City
Nov. 1788 to March 3,1789
New York City
March 3,1789 to August 12, 1790
Regarding 2015, I just wish.........




Have a healthy, happy and beautiful baby girl...........


Have a happy family....................


To focus in myself, in my own happiness, in my health...... treat myself better........


And to feel good about myself.......... 


Photos: www.pinterest.com

          Protecting Our Houses of Worship: Guest Column by Security Expert / Retired NYPD Detective Sergeant         

By ALAN SCHISSEL

Founder & Chief Executive Officer

  • Integrated Security Services

  • According to the Washington Post, “it’s been a bad 2017 for Jews.” During the month of January, 48 bomb threats were called in to Jewish community centers across the country. Also last month, a neo-Nazi made national news by promising to hold a march in Whitefish, Montana to intimidate the town’s small Jewish population.

    This, of course, was followed by another unprecedented press conference by our President during which two reporters were moved to ask Mr. Trump about the rise in anti-Semitism. Many of us were aghast at the President’s rude and dismissive response, and his unwillingness to address the question seriously. The fact is, the country is experiencing an alarming increase of anti-Semitic incidents, and this has been trending upward since 2015. A security report issued by the Department of Homeland Security on protecting houses of worship stated that the United States has approximately 345,000 religious congregations representing 230 denominational groups and roughly 150 million members. Despite being sanctuaries from the troubles of the world, houses of worship have also been targets as violence has spiked across the country in recent years. The killing of nine people at Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston, South Carolina was the largest mass shooting in a house of worship since 1991, when nine people were shot at the Wat Promkunaram Buddhist temple in Waddell, Arizona, northwest of Phoenix.

    [Under relentless pressure, the President subsequently denounced anti-Semitism.]

  • Empathy and action: Muslims unite to help fix vandalized Jewish cemeteries


  • The intent of this column is to generate awareness and provide a short guide which contains security practices for religious institutions, parishioners and our non religious communities to help deter threats, mitigate hazards and risks, and minimize the damage caused by an incident in or around a house of worship, including mass casualty events.

    I preface with the word “short” because there is a wide range of methods from programmatic and procedural considerations to technological enhancements that religious facilities and their leadership may consider implementing based upon the most likely threats to their facilities and their available resources. Basic security principals would suggest taking a blended approach to security and safety with the goal of hardening the facility to deter, detect and/or delay a criminal occurrence before it happens. The next steps are equally important and this is where lives are saved and mass casualties are reduced. Selecting the appropriate response to a threat or armed intrusion will help facilitate a safe transition into an effective recovery and restoration of services mode.

    Identifying Your Threats & Vulnerabilities

    Identifying and evaluating a known or potential threat to a given facility is the first step of a security assessment. The results of which will guide the process of developing a security plan. A proper readiness plan will aim to deter a threat or mitigate a threat by reducing the religious facility’s vulnerability to those threats.

    Natural Hazards vs. Targeted Violence

    As stated before, all life safety solutions should be designed using a blended approach to managing risk. Protecting a religious facility means your emergency management plan(s) must address an all-hazard approach to both natural hazards, e.g., infectious diseases and illnesses, fire, and seismic and weather-related events (hurricanes, tornadoes, flash floods) as well as targeted attacks. Spontaneous and pre-planned attacks are likely to occur by individual(s) who use firearms; improvised explosive devices (IEDs); vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices (VBIEDs); chemical, biological, or radiological attacks; or arson in order to inflict a number of casualties and damage to religious facilities.

    Protective Measures

    As previously mentioned earlier, a house of worship environment is managed by creating layers of protective measures in collaboration with state and local partners that allow religious institutions to deter, detect and delay threats. These layers also allow an institution to consider a threat as soon as possible and to more effectively respond to, further deter, eliminate or mitigate that threat.

    • Technological sensors such as CCTV surveillance cameras or alarms (fire, smoke, wind, and intrusion detection) will trigger informed decision-making.

    • Barriers, such as locked doors or fixed barriers or uniform security personnel should be in place to deter or delay a threat and afford more time for effective decision making.

    • Having the correct inbound and outbound communication network in place will influence a number key decisions. Time, or the lack of time, is a principle disrupter of effective decision-making. Sound communication strategies such as emergency email blasts, voice activated alert systems, and silent alert systems help to improve response to and during a crisis. An effective communication protocol should expand the window of time available to leaders to make sound decisions.

    Additional Measures to Consider:

    • Reporting Procedures

    • Establishing Collaborative Planning Teams

    • Starting an Emergency Operations Plan

    • Define Roles and Responsibilities

    • Notification Procedures

    • Evacuation Lockdown and Shelter‐In‐Place Policies and Procedures

    • Plans for Diverse Needs of Children and Staff

    • Necessary Equipment and Supplies

    • Common Vocabulary

    • Emergency Drills

    Call us at (212) 808-4153, or write us to tell what you think or how we can be of more assistance and remember, always dial 911 first in an emergency!







  • Integrated Security Services


  • About Alan Schissel










  • Cool Justice Editor’s Note: By way of disclosure, Cool Justice is an occasional denizen of Integrated’s Hartford office and once in a while even does a little work …

  • more COOL JUSTICE

  • Hartford PI Stars in Network Real-Life Manhunt Show

  •           The future of electricity        
    The future of electricity

    When the future of electricity is discussed, quite a number of thoughts come into mind. Let’s look at a few of such ideas. Electricity will be wireless!
    Wouldn’t it be delightful to see no wires in the house even with an uninterrupted supply of electricity? Will the future see wireless supply of electricity? Apparently, it will, according to industry experts. Last year, a team at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology conducted a wireless electricity experiment successfully. This dream has never been far-fetched, and with the success of wireless electricity experiments, this dream will soon come true. So, it is not very far that we will see electrical appliances charging themselves off air!

    Consumers will have complete control!
    Industry experts believe that in future, your power supply will not be dependent on the electricity department but on you. You will have complete control on how you want the power supply to reach your place. You may not be required to pay the mandatory amount when you are vacationing around the world, shutting off the house. Experts see a variety of control options for consumers in the future. Now, whether this future is in the next ten years, or twenty, or a fifty years is not known, but what is known is that the future will see the consumers in control of what they use.

    Electrical energy will be clean!
    Do you know that the remains of electricity production emit enormous amounts of carbon dioxide in the air? The future of electricity is perceived as green and clean. Given the concern for the environment, the electricity in future will make use of renewable sources of energy, leading to a clean environment. Currently, electricity is produced mostly by consuming fuels that are on the verge of being extinct. All things will be electric!
    OK, we have already seen electric cars and electric shavers, what else will the future see? May be, electric shoes! Combs, toothbrushes, watches, glasses, even clothes may become electrical gadgets. If these sound far-fetched ideas, visit the futuristic shops at Akihabara in Japan for a glimpse of the future.

    There will be no outages!
    More than anything, consumers look forward to seeing a future with absolutely no power outages. Alternate power solutions promise to take us into a future that has no power interruptions. With increased dependency on power for everything, consumers need to have an uninterrupted supply of power.

    Make power at home with solar and wind energy to eliminate your power bill. Get our complete guide at www.renewableenergyrescources.com

    Make power at home with solar and wind energy to eliminate your power bill.
    Get our complete guide at
    www.renewableenergyrescources.com


              Burn After Reading        

    Who’s Who
    What’s What

    In the World of CIA Fronts, Partners, Proprietaries & Contractors




    NEW BOOK:

    The Almost Classified Guide to CIA Front Companies, Proprietaries & Contractors
    By WAYNE MADSEN
    ISBN: 978-1-365-11196-9


    Cool Justice Editor's Note: Following are excerpts from author Madsen's introduction and the body of the work. Additional suggested reading: News story about Madsen's book via the Washington, D.C. based Justice Integrity Project [link at the bottom of this post].

    EXCERPTS:

    From the Introduction


    One of the most pervasive uses of companies as intelligence partners was under the CIA’s Operation MOCKINGBIRD. During the Cold War, the CIA, often with the approval of corporate executives, infiltrated their agents to work as journalists in newspapers, radio and television networks, wire services, and magazines. The following pages in this book are rife with examples of this penetration of the Fourth Estate – all too many in the opinion of this journalist. The CIA admitted to at least 400 journalists on the agency’s payroll at the height of MOCKINGBIRD. The CIA traditionally understates its capabilities, especially when its covert activities become publicly known. Moreover, the end of the Cold War did not stop the practice of the CIA in infiltrating the media and slant news reports to its wishes.

    *

    An insightful look behind the veils of secrecy into the CIA’s use of fronts, proprietaries, and partners calls into question the purpose of the CIA. Created by President Harry S Truman to serve as a central collector and repository of intelligence, the CIA became much more than that. A few weeks after the United States witnessed the assassination of President Kennedy in the middle of downtown Dallas, Truman penned an op-ed piece that appeared in several newspapers around the country. In it, Truman shared his regret for having created the CIA in 1947:

    “I think it has become necessary to take another look at the purpose and operations of our Central Intelligence Agency—CIA . . . For some time I have been disturbed by the way CIA has been diverted from its original assignment. It has become an operational and at times a policy-making arm of the Government. This has led to trouble and may have compounded our difficulties in several explosive areas.

    "I never had any thought that when I set up the CIA that it would be injected into peacetime cloak and dagger operations. Some of the complications and embarrassment I think we have experienced are in part attributable to the fact that this quiet intelligence arm of the President has been so removed from its intended role that it is being interpreted as a symbol of sinister and mysterious foreign intrigue.”

    *

    The 21st century’s CIA’s partners are more likely to be found among high-tech companies marketing the latest and greatest mobile applications and data mining programs than among banks, law offices, and advertising agencies. However, in the post-World War II era, the CIA’s top and middle echelons were normally found operating through cover as typewriter-pecking journalists, traveling Madison Avenue admen, corporate lawyers, and chain-smoking oilmen. In the 1970s and 80s, CIA contractors and partners began showing up in the high-tech field, with database, local area networking, and on-line information retrieval systems attracting the most interest by Langley.

    *

    As this book went to press, the smart phone game application Pokémon Go fad was sweeping the planet. Unbeknownst to many of the on-line game’s avid fan’s was the connection of the game’s developers to the CIA’s venture capital firm IN-Q-TEL. All users saw their geo-location and other smart phone data being swept up by a CIA partner firm.

    SELECTED ENTRIES

    Amazon, Inc. [CIA contractor]. Company provides cloud computing services for the CIA. Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos also owns The Washington Post.

    American Historical Society. [CIA partner]. Many society officials were OSS/CIA officers.

    American Press Institute. [CIA front]. Operating out of Columbia University, the institute’s director in the 1950s was a CIA officer.

    AmeriCares. [CIA partner]. A non-profit organization that is often the “first in” at refugee situations. Founded by tycoon J. Peter Grace, a board chairman of the CIA front, the American Institute for Free Labor Development (AIFLD) and a trustee of another CIA front, the American Committee for Liberation from Bolshevism, AmeriCares was involved in funding the Nicaraguan contras. The group has also provided the CIA with recruiting opportunities at mass refugee sites, particularly in Latin America and Asia.

    Bechtel Corporation. [CIA contractor]. Bechtel is a large construction company that has included former CIA director Richard Helms, CIA pseudonym “Fletcher M. Knight,” among its executive ranks. Bechtel was active in providing corporate cover for the OSS in the Middle East during World War II. Bechtel has been a consummate service company for various CIA operations, including support for the CIA-inspired coup against the Syrian government in 1949, the Iranian government of Prime Minister Mohamed Mossadeq in 1953, and President Sukarno of Indonesia in 1965. From the 1960s to the 1970s, Bechtel provided cover for CIA agents in Libya under both the regime of King Idris and his successor, Muammar Qaddafi. Sometimes called a “secret arm” of the CIA, Bechtel’s executives included those who would join President Reagan’s Cabinet, including Secretary of State George Schultz and Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger.

    Before World War II, Steve Bechtel formed a military-industrial complex partnership with John McCone. McCone later became the chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission and later, director of the CIA. The CIA has used Bechtel to provide cover for non-official cover CIA operatives abroad.

    Blackstone Investment Group. [CIA front]. With offices in Washington, DC and Moscow, arranged for the purchase of KGB documents following the collapse of the Soviet Union. Among the documents sought by the front company were any related to illegal CIA activities during the Cold War, including the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

    Bourbon and Beefsteak Bar and Restaurant. [CIA front]. Opened in 1967 in King’s Cross in Sydney, Australia. Served as a rendezvous point for CIA, Australian Security Intelligence Organization (ASIO), and organized crime figures. Its proprietor was Bernie Houghton, a CIA operative with links to Nugan Hand Bank, CIA weapons smuggler Edwin Wilson, and CIA clandestine services officers Theodore Shackley, Rafael Quintero, and Thomas Clines.

    Center for Democracy. [CIA front]. Administered under the aegis of Boston University, the center maintained offices in Boston, Washington, DC, Guatemala City, and Strasbourg, France. Involved in CIA operations in eastern Europe, Central America, and Africa.

    Colt Patent Firearms Company. [CIA partner]. Based in Hartford, Connecticut, provided corporate cover for CIA officers operating abroad.

    Daddario & Burns. [CIA partner]. Headed by former OSS officer Emilio Daddario, a Democratic Representative from Connecticut, the Hartford-based law firm provided services to the CIA.

    DC Comics. [CIA partner]. Worked with the International Military Information Group (IMIG), a joint CIA/Pentagon unit at the State Department, to disseminate propaganda comic books, featuring Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman, in Serbo-Croatian and Albanian, to youth in the Balkans during the military conflicts in that region.

    Disney Corporation. [CIA partner]. CIA agents who were adept at creating front companies and shell corporations in Florida, worked closely with Disney in preparation for the construction of Disney World near Orlando, Florida. OSS veteran “Wild Bill” Donovan and CIA shell company expert Paul Helliwell helped create two fake Florida cities, Bay Lake and Lake Buena Vista, as well as a number of shell corporations, to keep secret the plans for Disney World. This kept land prices low because real estate speculators were unaware of the prospective value of the land in a desolate area of central Florida.

    Emory School of Medicine. [CIA partner]. Located in Atlanta, Georgia. Involved in the CIA’s MK-ULTRA behavioral modification project.

    Enron Corporation [CIA partner]. Houston-based firm that was used by the CIA to provide commercial cover for its agents around the world. There were at least 20 CIA employees on Enron’s payroll. Andre Le Gallo, a former official of the CIA’s Operations Directorate, went to work as a corporate intelligence officer for Enron.

    Fair Play for Cuba Committee (FPCC). [CIA front]. Officially established by American Trotskyists, the group was penetrated by CIA operatives. The FPCC New Orleans office was a CIA front that provided cover for the anti-Fidel Castro activities of Lee Harvey Oswald, Clay Shaw, and David Ferrie, among others. The New Orleans FPCC office was located at 544 Camp Street and shared the same building entrance with Guy Banister Associates, Inc., a private detective agency, the address for which was 531 Lafayette Street and around the corner from 544 Camp Street.

    In December 1963, after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, the FPCC ceased all U.S. operations.

    General Electric Company. [CIA partner]. Based in Fairfield, Connecticut, provided corporate cover for CIA officers operating abroad.

    General Foods Corporation. [CIA partner]. Advertising account at CIA’s Robert Mullen Company handled by an active CIA employee.

    Google, Inc. [CIA partner]. Developed as a result of a research grant by the CIA and Pentagon to Stanford University’s Department of Computer Science. The CIA referred to the research as the “google project.”

    Greenberg Traurig. [CIA partner]. Washington, DC “connected” law firm.

    Guy Banister Associates, Inc. [CIA partner]. New Orleans private detective agency headed by former FBI agent Guy Banister. The detective agency coordinated the activities of various anti-Castro Cuban groups in New Orleans, including Banister’s own Anti-Communist League of the Caribbean, as well as the Cuban Revolutionary Council, the Cuban Democratic Revolutionary Front, Friends of Democratic Cuba, and the Crusade to Free Cuba Committee.

    Banister and Associates shared office space with the CIA’s New Orleans front, the Fair Play for Cuba Committee, headed by Lee Harvey Oswald.

    Hale and Dorr. [CIA partner]. Boston-based law firm that provided cover for CIA’s Independence and Brown Foundations.

    Halliburton. [CIA contractor]. Based in Houston, it is the world’s largest oil service company. Recipient of a number of CIA sole-source contracts for services worldwide.

    Harper and Row, Inc. [CIA partner]. Manuscripts submitted to the New York publisher that dealt with intelligence matters, particularly CIA operations, were turned over to the CIA for censoring edits before publication.

    Hewlett Packard Corporation. [CIA partner]. Sold computers to Iraq for Saddam Hussein’s missile program with the knowledge and approval of the CIA.

    Hill & Knowlton. [CIA partner]. Public relations firm that teamed with the CIA on a number of operations. Hill & Knowlton’s numerous offices abroad provided cover for CIA agents. One known Hill & Knowlton office that was a CIA front operation was in Kuala Lumpur.

    Kerr-McGee. [CIA partner]. Provided corporate cover for CIA officers operating overseas.

    Kissinger Associates, Inc. [CIA partner]. New York-based international consulting firm founded by former Secretary of State and National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger. Former National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft is a co-owner. The firm provided support to the CIA-linked American Ditchley Foundation and the Bilderberg Group. Much of the 1982 seed money for Kissinger Associates was provided by Goldman Sachs.

    Knight Foundation. [CIA partner]. Also known as the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. Based in Miami, the foundation provides funding for various CIA-connected media operations in the United States and around the world.

    Kroll Inc. [CIA partner]. Founded in 1972 by Jules Kroll, who had links to both U.S. and Israeli intelligence. Based in Manhattan. French domestic law enforcement believed Kroll’s Paris office was a CIA front. Kroll handled the security for the World Trade Center after the 1993 terrorist bombing and continued to be responsible for security up to, during, and after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack. Kroll employed former FBI assistant director for counter-terrorism John O’Neill, who died in the collapse of the World Trade Center.

    Lincoln Savings and Loan. [CIA partner]. Based in Irvine, California and headed by notorious swindler Charles Keating, Jr., involved in laundering funds for the Iran-contra scandal.

    Lone Star Cement Corporation. [CIA partner]. Based in Stamford, Connecticut and linked to the Bush family, provided corporate cover for CIA officers operating abroad. Involved in the Iran-contra scandal.

    Mary Carter Paint Company. [CIA front]. A money-laundering operation for the CIA. Involved in casinos in the Bahamas.

    Monsanto. [CIA partner]. The firm contracted with former CIA official Cofer Black’s Total Intelligence Solutions (TIS), a subsidiary of the CIA-connected Blackwater USA, later Xe Services, to monitor animal rights groups, anti-genetically modified (GM) food activists, and other groups opposed to Monsanto’s agri-business operations worldwide.

    National Enquirer. [CIA partner]. The tabloid’s founder, Generoso (Gene) Pope, Jr., worked for the CIA’s psychological warfare unit and the agency’s Italy branch in 1950. In 1952, Pope acquired The New York Enquirer broadsheet and transformed it into a tabloid, renaming it The National Enquirer. This transformation bore the imprimatur of the CIA’s Operation MOCKINGBIRD media influence program.

    Newsweek. [CIA partner]. Magazine reporters and stringers fed information to the CIA. Newsweek’s stringers in southeastern Europe and the Far East were CIA agents. When Newsweek was bought by The Washington Post Company in 1961, cooperation between the magazine and the CIA increased. It was a participant in the CIA’s Operation MOCKINGBIRD media influence program. Much of the staff of Newsweek was absorbed into a new online publication, The Daily Beast, which continues to disseminate CIA-influenced articles. See Washington Post.

    Nieman Foundation. [CIA partner]. Located at Harvard University, the foundation awarded Nieman Fellowships, some on behalf of the CIA, for foreign journalists to study at Harvard. The journalists were subjected to CIA recruitment efforts prior to their returning to their home countries.

    Pamela Martin & Associates. [CIA partner], Escort firm run by Deborah Jeane Palfrey, the so-called “DC Madam.” During her 2008 trial for mail fraud, Palfrey attempted to invoke the Classified Information Procedures Act in order to discuss her relationship with the CIA. The U.S. Court refused Palfrey’s request and she was convicted and later said to have committed suicide before her sentencing hearing in Washington, DC. One of her clients was Randall Tobias, the head of the CIA-connected USAID. Another was Louisiana Republican senator David Vitter.

    Paris Review. [CIA front]. Literary magazine edited by George Plimpton. Published works by Jack Kerouac and Samuel Beckett. The magazine’s co-founder, Peter Matthiessen, relied on his affiliation with the magazine as his CIA cover.

    Quaker Oats Company. [CIA partner]. Worked with the CIA and Atomic Energy Commission to place trace amounts of radiation in breakfast cereal served to boys at the Fernald School for the mentally retarded in Waltham, Massachusetts.

    Radio Corporation of America. [CIA partner]. Provided corporate cover for CIA officers operating abroad, particularly in Iran, Philippines, Japan, and West Germany. Provided technical assistance to CIA-financed clandestine and propaganda radio stations worldwide, including Radio Free Europe. RCA founder David Sarnoff was a major supporter of CIA operations, including propaganda dissemination around the world. RCA chairman and chief executive officer Thornton F. Bradshaw was active in the operations of the CIA-linked American Ditchley Foundation.

    Reily Coffee Company. [CIA partner]. Also known as William B. Reily Coffee Company and based in New Orleans, this company employed Lee Harvey Oswald and a number of other U.S. government employees, many of whom were suspected CIA officers.

    Robert M. Mullen Company. [CIA proprietary]. A Washington, DC public relations firm, it was used as a front for CIA activities. E. Howard Hunt, the CIA agent, worked for Robert Mullen when he was arrested in the break-in of the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate Hotel in Washington in 1972. The Senate Watergate Committee reported that “the Mullen and Company has maintained a relationship with the Central Intelligence Agency since its incorporation in 1959. It provided covers for agents in Europe (Stockholm), Latin America (Mexico City), and the Far East (Singapore) at the time of the Watergate break-in.”

    Rockefeller Foundation. [CIA partner]. Used by the CIA to direct scholarships and grants to the Third World and Eastern Europe. Rockefeller Foundation money was funneled to the American Committee for a United Europe (ACUE), created in 1948. The chairman of ACUE was OSS chief William J. Donovan and the vice chairman was Allen Dulles. One of ACUE’s board members was Walter Bedell Smith, the first CIA director.

    Summa Corporation. [CIA partner]. Owned by Howard Hughes, Summa is believed to have skimmed gambling profits from the Sands, Desert Inn, Frontier, Silver Slipper, Castaways, and Landmark casinos in Las Vegas and Harold’s Club in Reno for the CIA and the Mafia. Provided financial cover for the CIA’s Glomar Explorer project.

    Teneo Intelligence. [CIA partner]. Branch of Teneo Holdings, which is headquartered in New York. Teneo Holdings’s intelligence branch includes former CIA officials. Teneo is closely linked to former President Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton. Teneo Intelligence has offices in New York, London, Rome, Brussels, Dubai, Bogota, New Delhi, and Tokyo.

    Texas Commerce Bank (TCB). [CIA partner]. Houston-based bank founded by the family of James Baker III. Texas Commerce Bank was used to provide commercial cover for CIA agents. After serving as vice president for Texas Commerce Bank in Caracas from 1977 to 1979, Jeb Bush joined his father’s presidential campaign in 1980. Serving with Bush on the campaign was Robert Gambino, the CIA deputy director of security who gave Bush his orientation brief at Langley in 1977.

    Kenneth Lay, the chairman of Enron, which had its own links to the CIA, served on the board of Texas Commerce Bank. Texas Commerce Bank was acquired by Chemical Bank in 1987.

    The bank provided major loans to Howard Hughes’s Summa Corporation. See Summa Corporation.

    United Fruit Company [CIA partner]. Involved in 1954 CIA overthrow of Jacobo Arbenz government in Guatemala. Published the Latin America Report, a publication that was a CIA front used for clandestine activities. The CIA transferred weapons to United Fruit employees in Guatemala who were involved in undermining the Arbenz government. The joint CIA-United Fruit plan was code named OPERATION FORTUNE. Company provided an airfield in Guatemala for the CIA’s training of Cuban exiles for the Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba.

    U.S. Rubber Company. [CIA partner]. Headquartered in Naugatuck, Connecticut and later called Uniroyal, provided corporate cover to CIA officers operating abroad. Included those operating under the cover of the Dominion Rubber Company of Canada, a subsidiary of U.S. Rubber Company.

    U.S. Youth Council (USYC). [CIA front]. Founded in 1945 and based in New York. Some 90 percent of its funds came from the CIA. USYC received funding from the Foundation for Youth and Student Affairs (FYSA), a CIA front. The USYC was composed of American Youth Hostels, Camp Fire Girls, 4-H, American Unitarian Youth, National Catholic Welfare Conference, National Students Assembly, YMCA and YWCA.

    Wackenhut. [CIA contractor]. Wackenhut, a Palm Beach Gardens, Florida-based security firm, stood accused of providing the CIA with specialized services around the world, including Chile, Greece, and El Salvador. Its Venezuelan branch, Wackenhut Venezolana, C.A., was accused in 2002 of involvement in the CIA’s coup against President Hugo Chavez. William Casey served as Wackenhut’s outside counsel before becoming CIA director in 1981.

    Wackenhut eventually merged into the global security firm G4S.

    Washington Post. [CIA partner]. The Washington Post was part of the CIA’s Operation MOCKINGBIRD, the agency’s media influence project. Post publisher Phil Graham was a close friend and associate of MOCKINGBIRD chief Frank Wisner, Sr. and CIA director Allen Dulles. Wisner assisted Graham in acquiring The Washington Times-Herald and WTOP radio, creating a sizable CIA-influenced media operation in the nation’s capital.

    W. R. Grace. [CIA partner]. Provided corporate cover to CIA officers operating abroad, particularly in Latin America. Provided donations to CIA front foundations.

  • News story about Madsen's book via The Justice Integrity Project



  •           The solution to NBC’s midseason mystery? Bring on “Monk” and “Psych”!        
    Apparently realizing that its schedule cannot survive on a diet of "American Gladiators" and "The Baby Borrowers," NBC intends to re-air two USA series, "Monk" and "Psych," on Sundays in March, following the debut of their new seasons on USA at 9 and 10 p.m. Friday, Jan. 11.
              Capers        

    Caper plant (Capparis spinosa)
    Legend has it that the caper plants originate in the Western Wall, where the little folded letters containing the prayers, dreams and promises of the pilgrims are transformed into beautiful white caper blossoms, blooming for a day and sending the prayers to heaven.

    Many of the prayers are of barren couples who beg for a child of their own. Perhaps that is why these caper flowers are considered a remedy for fertility, as are the roots of the the plant. But this is only one of the many medicinal qualities attributed to capers in herbal and folk medicines. I will only highlight a few that I read about: The entire plant parts (root, leaves, fruit) were used as remedy for toothache, and an infusion of the fruit after it has been boiled in water is considered to aid those suffering from diabetes. The fruit and the root, when ground up, are placed for short periods on aching joints to relieve joint pain (long exposure of the skin will create burns). Despite all its many therapeutic values, caper is not a very common plant in the modern pharmacopeia -perhaps because of the emphasis on it as a culinary item.

    Caper (Capparis spinosa) buds on the bush
    The pickled capers most people are familiar with are the buds of Capparis spinosaIt grows here in the wild, and quite in abundance. What's special about it is that it blooms all summer long, from May through September - an unusual quality in those scorching months, which on its own alludes to nearly magical qualities.

    Soaking caper buds for pickling

    My first jar which I've pickled about three weeks ago turned to be quite the delicacy, so I thought I'd better hurry and go get some more buds before the season is over. As it turns out - in the meantime, the plants developed their fruit (AKA caper berries). They look like plump and short cucumbers are also very pickle-able, as are the leaves and stems of this plant.

    Caper berries

    I was pleased to learn that the blooming season is rather long, and will continue all summer. The hardiness of the plants around here to the arid conditions is amazing to me. I can barely survive a hot day and they can endure all summer with very little water from dew and that which is found deep in the crevices of rocks.

    Capers has interesting history and uses - both culinary and medicinal. The famous "Cypriot wine" mentioned in the Talmud as well as in the Jewish daily prayer (used in the preparation of incense) was intact wine made of capers.

    Capers have a unique flavour that is a tad mustard-like which develops while they pickle and release the glucocamparin (mustard oil) within them. Through the picking process, white or violet coloured dots will form on the buds, which contain the citrus flavalnol ruin, which is also dominant in asparagus, buckwheat flour and black raspberry. The stems can be added to yogurt, and both the stems and leaves can be pickled and added to salads.

    Recipe for pickling capers:
    The hardest part about this task is the actual harvest: the bushes are equipped with hook-shaped thorns that are quite vicious. Once you endured a few of these claws-in-flesh encounters, and collected enough caper buds or berries, soak them in water for three days, changing the water daily.

    To pickle, sterilize a clean jar by rinsing with boiling water, fill with the capers, and cover with the salt and vinegar solution:

    1/2 cup filtered or spring water
    1/2 cup appel cider vinegar 
    1 Tbs salt

    Season with:
    2-4 Bay leaves 
    1 tsp yellow mustard seeds, whole 
    (Both are local spices, so to speak, that grow wild)

    Marinate for one week, then keep refrigerated. The pickled buds can be used as a flavourful garnish to sandwiches to offset fatty elements such as cheese and smoked salmon. It's great as an addition to salads, marinates, stuffed vegetables, and just to eat on their own on the side with ripe watermelon or charcuterie. It can also be used to make tartar sauce, pasta sauce (spaghetti ala puttanesca, anyone?) - and just anything else your imagination may take you to.

    As for the pickled caper berries (or fruit) - I have one more week to wait till they are ready. So will report later.

    Pickling capers



              Comment on Everything about SaaS Helpdesk Solutions by Prakash Raj        
    SaaS has become very important these days. Every other client needs Saas. Here is a blog regarding <a href="http://www.wolkensoftware.com/5-benefits-cloud-based-enterprise-service-desk-business/" rel="nofollow">5 Benefits of a Cloud-Based Enterprise Service Desk for Your Business</a>. You'll like it.
              Homily: 1st Sunday of Lent 2015        
    Based on today’s Gospel it would seem that before Christ could begin his ministry, a time of desert wilderness was necessary. This 1st Sunday of Lent reminds us of the need for time in our own desert experience…but one which is deeper than just pledging renewed New Year’s resolutions. What does that looks like? The answer is brought to light by what the Mayan Indians did 1,000 years ago on an island off the Florida Keys. What was it? And how does it help open our eyes to what we need to do to deepen our Lenten experience? Check it out….
              Comment on The Writing Process: Coming Up With Titles by Paul O'Mahony        
    Maybe a simple solution you'd like would be to use the first line of the poem as title? Walt Whitman did that
              By: Catherine        
    Hi! I'm Cateure from Instagram, we just friended each other and I really love your blog and am so impressed that you were in Carol J Adam's book! That's so awesome! I just did a paper on why feminist ethics are the solution to animal exploitation...so I love her work and I am so intrigued with the connection between woman and body vs. male and brain and how that affects our diet and the exploitation of animals, which are seen as bodies like women...ANYWAY. :) OH and love the girl crush post.
              Secure Exchange Solutions Achieves Constant Growth of Integrated Secure Messaging users from iPatientCare’s Users Base        

    Secure Exchange Solutions (SES) a Health Information Service Provider (HISP) leading the field of fully integrated direct messaging solutions, reports continuous growth of integrated secure messaging users from iPatientCare’s users base

    (PRWeb November 30, 2016)

    Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/iPatientCare/Secure-Exchange-Solutions/prweb13885423.htm


              iPatientCare is Pleased to Welcome Physicians' Desk Reference® and Area 51 Data Solutions On Board as Event Sponsors at its NUCON, October 21-23, 2016        

    iPatientCare is Proud to Host Physicians' Desk Reference® and Area 51 Data Solutions on National User Conference 2016 as Sponsors and Exhibitors at the Event

    (PRWeb October 12, 2016)

    Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/iPatientCare/PDR-Area51/prweb13751489.htm


              iPatientCare Set to Demonstrate Its iRemind Services and share knowledge on Reducing Billing Obstacles During its Monthly VUCON to be Held on August 18, 2016        

    iPatientCare to Present Pathway to Eliminate billing road blocks with help of its efficient Revenue Cycle Management Services and show how to remain compliant by availing its MUPlus Services along with demonstrating a complete solution for patient reminder services in its Upcoming Virtual User Conference (VUCON) to be Held on August 18, 2016

    (PRWeb July 27, 2016)

    Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/iPatientCare-VUCON2016/RCM-MUPlus-iRemind/prweb13576483.htm


              New Year's Resolution        
    My Plans for 2007: Move GrowingMoney blog to my own domain. This will give me more flexibility in the web design and I will also have my own web space to host files (photos, PDFs, etc.). Feel free to provide help for those with your own domain. Contribute to my SEP-IRA. I have open a SEP-IRA with Fidelity and I will make a contribute in the beginning of the year after my accoutant decides what the amount should be. Reallocate 401k Funds. I plan to shift more towards large-cap growth funds. Qualify for IPO trading.
              Interesting forum on self-publishing at 2017 Outwrite LGBT Book Festival in Washington DC        

    Today I visited the 2017 Outwrite LGBT Book Festival in the DC Center office space and surrounding atrium at 14th and U Streets in Washington DC.

    This year I did not have my own table;  I’ll get into this elsewhere.

    The most interesting part of the visit was a presentation in DC Center’s largest room (on 14th Street ground level) from LGBT book publishers and literary agents.

    There was a discussion of what an author goes through if he/she wants to control the process.  It’s usually necessary to hire a copyeditor and a typesetter (who is often the same).  It’s necessary to find a book manufacturer, and prices can vary a lot (many companies exist in the Shenandoah Valley and down in the North Carolina Piedmont).  It seems that Milo Yianopoulos has controlled the production of his book “Dangerous” after Simon and Schuster dropped him after a controversy.

    There was discussion of “guerrilla marketing”, and of the tendency recently for trade publishers not to offer advances, which typically have to be recovered from book sales. 

    There was mention of the use of pseudonyms and pen names, and that in a real world some authors really need to keep their identities secret, usually for reasons other than just being  LGBT, like workplace conflicts or possible security concerns for themselves or others around them.  This is rather alarming.


    There was discussion of “sea turtle authors”, often introverts, who do not like to be pressed to sell aggressively, and are perfectly content to let their “eggs” lie dormant.
      

    I asked about print-on-demand publishers, like Author Solutions.  The group did not think well of this business model, and referred to it as a “shadow industry”  They felt money should go to authors directly,, but that only works if the author owns the publishing entity.  I did refer to the fact that POD companies have been pressing authors harder to buy copies of books and build their own stores and credit card operations, rather than depend on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. 

    I did mention the SESPA bill from the Senate and the implicit threat to web speech, including eventually author websites. 

              Amazon starts cutting out book distributors, at least overseas in Asia; the issue can matter to some authors         

    Amazon is ceasing to do business with some book distributors, at least in Japan or overseas, and wants to get books directly from publishers. Goodreader has an article on the issue today.  The Japan Times also has a more detailed story.

    In the US, big book distributors (like Ingram, or previously Bookmen in Minneapolis which got bought) have been a main vehicle for both chain and independent bookstores.  POD publishers, such as Author Solutions, have been somewhat aggressive with authors to try to get them to work with bookstores and not get “lazy” with Amazon, and more passive marketing. I suppose that jobs (in bookstores) and literacy initiatives (in underprivileged communities) can be at issue when authors become less interested in their own retailing. It’s also possible for an author to buy copies POD at a deep discount and sell cheaper (probably) than Amazon or BN sometimes (that’s good for the POD publisher) but requires a lot of retail hustle from the author.  Not all books (especially in the policy or personal non-fiction areas) can sell that well. 

              New Paper Dance Macabre        
    C. A. Fuchs, M. C. Hoang and B. C. Stacey, “The SIC Question: History and State of Play,” arXiv:1703.07901 [quant-ph] (2017). Recent years have seen significant advances in the study of symmetric informationally complete (SIC) quantum measurements, also known as maximal sets of complex equiangular lines. Previously, the published record contained solutions up to dimension … Continue reading New Paper Dance Macabre
              How To Get Clear Skin - The Real Reasons You Still Have Acne        
    To find out how to get clear skin, you must do me one big favor. You have to stop listening to all of the myths and lies that surround acne and start applying some real truths. A few of the lies and myths include connections between diet and acne, why do we need to keep buying products every month instead of finding a permanent solution and the most annoying off all; washing your face to stop breakouts. [...]
              Drawdown Gives Us 100 Uplifting Climate Solutions        

    Drawdown Offers 100 Uplifting Climate Solutions

    Reverse

    Adapted from Mom’s Clean Air Force blog post by Kerry Trueman

    If our current administration’s head-in-the-sand approach to climate change leaves you with a sinking feeling, I’ve got just the book to buoy you: Paul Hawken’s Drawdown.

    Drawdown leapt onto the New York Times top ten bestseller list in its first week of release, validating Hawken’s belief that a positive approach to this potentially overwhelming crisis is the best way to address it. He characterizes global warming not “as an inevitability, but as an invitation to build, innovate, and effect change.”

    The Project Drawdown campaign invites you to join a global community of visionary individuals who’ve got an astonishing range of ideas on how we can tackle our climate crisis, no matter where we live or who governs us.


              La Solution + ENERGIE serum 15 ml        
    Absolution. Perfect serum for stressful skin. Contains lots of vitamins and antioxidants and keeps your skin healthy looking. Calming and energizing. Perfect for all skin types and for men too!  Use daily before your day/evening cream. 
              Sorbet Lipstick Dusky Rose 05        
    Absolution.
              Sorbet Lipstick Papaya 02        
    Absolution.
              Ergonomic Funding Programs Turn to LiftnBuddy        
    Ergonomic Funding Programs Turn to LiftnBuddy as Practical Employee Safety Solution
              Dr Owen The Love And Money Spells Expert +27780207885        
    The most effective spiritual spells for a permanent life solution to all your problems including love, work, money, sickness and everything else. Am Dr Owen from the mountains of the Kalahari desert a...
              Love Money Family And Sickness Solution +27880207885        
    Send me your most important desire and I shall work my powers in your favour.   Spell casting has its roots in ancient cultures and times. Nowadays, witchcraft spell casting is often considered simila...
              Pega Training - Best Pega Training In Chennai        
    Pega Training Best Pega training in chennai Bound tech solutions offer Pega training (Online Class room training in chennai). We have well experienced trainers those are working in top MNCs in the s...
              Allied Universal turns 1        
    08/02/2017

    Allied Universal, a leading facility services company and one of the largest security forces in North America, marked its one-year anniversary this week after forming a year ago via the merger of AlliedBarton Security Services and Universal Services of America.

    In the announcement, Steve Jones, Allied Universal CEO, thanked all of the company’s 150,000 employees and its clients “for their continued support and commitment that contributed to a phenomenal first year as our new company! I look forward to our continued success in the security and services industries."

    Over the past year the company has made several acquisitions, as it continues to transform to a full-service security company, moving beyond the manguarding services the it has been known for.

    Jones told Security Systems News, after the company’s most recent acquisition of ALERT Protective Services in May, that the company continues to look at acquisitions as a way to diversify its offerings.

    “We’ve got a pretty robust pipeline of deals that we are looking at—some in the technology space and some in the traditional manguarding space—and we hope to announce a few more before the year is over that will help us to diversify our company and bring more value to our clients.”

    In the press release announcing the one-year milestone, the company outlined some additional organizational achievements since the merger:

    •    Became the unequivocal leader in guarding services throughout North America. Our security professionals and our company play a major role in keeping the U.S. and Canada safe and secure.

    •    Provided service to over half of the Fortune 500 companies and nearly every major retail mall in the U.S. From healthcare facilities, commercial office buildings, manufacturing and industrial plants, residential communities, transportation facilities and government services, Allied Universal has a significant security presence.

    •    Managed the integration of a workforce of over 150,000 security professionals to perform our jobs on a daily basis and serve our growing customer base.

    •    Implemented a world-class training program, the AU Institute, which offers over 1,000 training assets and professional development programs to enhance our security professionals' delivery of service and protection.

    •    Introduced several technological innovations to expand our physical and operational security solutions and service offerings to enhance the protection of client properties and assets.

     


              House Training a Dog        
    One of the most common themes in dog training concerns problems people have with house training their dogs.

    When house training goes well new pet owners assume that this is a cake walk and it should be like this all the time. These people are wrong. More often than not problems come up and when that happens people get frustrated.

    The fact is there are many many reasons that puppies and older dogs develop house training problems. There is no one silver bullet that is going to fix each and every dogs problem. With this said the solution to all house training problems lies in owner education.

    Before owners can solve their dog’s problem they must first have a clear picture of the correct way to house train a dog. I have written an article on House training which is on my web site.

    This purpose for article is to help pull a lot of information from my web site together so dog owners can develop a game plan on solving their house own training problems.

    When problems arise pet owners almost always often fall into a common trap. They start to ask family and friends what they can do to fix these house training problems. Unfortunately most these people are unqualified and lack the experience to offer accurate advice. This results in a lot of bad information being passed out which only makes the problems worse.

    Here are some of the most common problems areas.

    Puppies usually can’t hold it for 8 hours until they are 16 weeks old. With this said some have problems until they are 6 to 7 months old some are good at 8 weeks. Usually dogs on an all natural diet do better because they poop about 5 times less than commercial kibble.

    You have to use a dog crate, If your not prepared to do this, quit reading and move on because you are wasting your time. You are not going to reinvent the wheel by doing this without a crate.

    In the beginning take your dog out a lot. The concept is to teach the dog that “if it holds it just a little longer you are going to take it outside”

    The way we house train a dog in our home (both puppies and adults) is explained in detail in the article I wrote titled THE GROUNDWORK TO BECOMING A PARK LEADER

    It takes a dog about 5 seconds to pee. This translates into a simple rule which is “NEVER TAKE YOUR EYES OFF YOUR DOG – not even for 5 seconds”

    Those “pee pads” that pet stores sell are the dumbest idea I have ever heard. They teach dogs to pee and poop in the house.

    We don’t let our dogs to have free time in the house until they are 2 to 3 years old. If a dog has an accident in the house they go right back to square one and start again. Some dogs can not be house trained to the extent that they can be left alone inside the house (out of the crate) when you are gone.

    If you have a dog that’s between 8 weeks and 16 weeks of age I strongly recommend that you get my DVD titled Your Puppy 8 Weeks to 8 Months

    If your dog is 4 to 5 months old I recommend my 4 hr DVD titled Basic Dog Obedience. Obedience training is one of the steps in teaching our dogs that are “RIGHT” and “WRONG” things to do in life. The fact is if you as a pet owner find yourself in a problem with house training you have more to learn than your dog. My 10,000 page web site, and my web discussion board with over 100,000 posts in it’s archives can help you through this process.

    By Ed Fawley
              Lovely Karen here for you        
    Are you feeling stressed? Do you need help relaxing? Well the solution is here make an appointment today and come relax with us.
              [Article] Why Proof Will Be the New Normal // Part 4: A Hook for Home Performance         
    Corbett and Grace have their work cut out for them. In a decade that has seen employment in the solar-energy sector surge to over 260,000 jobs, home performance enterprises have struggled to find similar traction. SolarCity pulled the plug on its home efficiency services in June 2013, six months after the company went public. Last year, Next Step Living, a venture-backed home energy firm based in Boston, closed its doors and laid off 200 people. Powersmith Home Energy Solutions upgraded over 1,000 homes in the Long Island area before ceasing operations around the same time.
              Implants Dentistry        

    An implant is a prosthetic solution that replaces a missing tooth. It offers the most realistic, long-lasting solution for the restoration of functionality and your smile. Made of titanium, it is placed in the jaw, and a crown is placed on top, providing the appearance of a natural tooth. It offers greater stability and durability […]

    The post Implants Dentistry appeared first on Medical Treatment, Medical Treatment centre, Medical healthcare Centre.


              Penguin tail feathers reveal secrets of where they swim for food        
    Conservationists need to track penguin populations, but tagging hundreds of birds is impractical. A technique borrowed from forensics offers a solution
              Westinghouse Receives Final NRC Approval for Advanced Logic System® Safety System Solution        

    Westinghouse Electric Company announced today that it received the final Safety Evaluation Report from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission for the Advanced Logic System® (ALS) platform, the company’s next generation safety system instrumentation and control solution for operating plant safety system upgrades and new nuclear plant opportunities.

    (PRWeb September 18, 2013)

    Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/WestinghouseALS-SER/091813/prweb11135113.htm


              Voyage to study Earth’s mostly submerged hidden continent begins        
    The research ship JOIDES Resolution is on its way to take samples from Zealandia, a continent that lies mostly below the waves
              In the age of the web: Typed functional-first programming revisited        

    Most programming languages were designed before the age of web. This matters because the web changes many assumptions that typed functional language designers tak for granted. For example, programs do not run in a closed world, but must instead interact with (changing and likely unreliable) services and data sources, communication is often asynchronous or event-driven, and programs need to interoperate with untyped environments like JavaScript libraries.

    How can statically-typed programming languages adapt to the modern world? In this article, I look at one possible answer that is inspired by the F# language and various F# libraries. In F#, we use type providers for integration with external information sources and for integration with untyped programming environments. We use lightweight meta-programming for targeting JavaScript and computation expressions for writing asynchronous code.

    This blog post is a shorter version of a ML workshop paper that I co-authored earlier this year and you should see this more as a position statement. I'm not sure if F# and the solutions shown here are the best ones, but I think they highlight very important questions in programming language design that I very much see as unsolved.

    The article has two sections. First, I'll go through a simple case study showing how F# can be used to build a client-side web widget. Then, I'll discuss some of the implications for programming language design based on the example.


              Not a New Year's Resolution        

    I have been getting on really well with my crochet blanket in browns, creams and beiges. I can get on with it if I'm watching TV and it will encourage me to watch more DVDs as I can crochet and watch a screen at the same time, but I can't crochet and read at the same time! I have DVDs I got for Christmas presents years ago that are still in their wrappers so I'm definitely going to make sure they get watched in 2017. It's not a New Year resolution though....


    It was cold on Saturday but at least it was bright and sunny. I walked to Aldi and back again and into to town to pick up a parcel and walked 6.5 miles in total. If I manage to walk again on Sunday I'll have completed my thrice weekly walking plan for the first time this year. I want to try and do this this every week. It's not a New Year's resolution though just a plan I want to carry out...

    On my walk I visited the Beds Garden Carers charity shop where they have a small clothing area upstairs. I bought 3 tops for 50p each; one is a white fitted shirt, another a brown and cream top - I lack brown tops  -and the last item was by Yasmin Le Bon and is a beautiful, white, embroidered sleeveless tunic. It's for my cousin Doirin in Ireland as I think she'll like it.


    I bought this top the first time I ever visited the Bedford Guildhouse charity shop which was last year sometime; but I'd never got round to wearing it. It's by John Rocha and I liked the turquoise and yellow floral print. Jeans also charity shopped, as are the necklace and bangles. The earrings I bought in Topshop in 2002 and the watch was a 2012 Christmas present from daughter.


    Boots from Lidl


    Yellow cardigan online retail; 2015 Christmas present from OH.


    Because this is a blog about (my) real life here's how I looked on Sunday. Same jeans as Saturday; no make up. T shirt charity shopped in Donegal 50 cents; cardigan M&S charity shopped; all jewellery charity shopped.

    I suppose the New Year is a time for reflection on the old year gone out and I thought I'd share some of my thoughts with you about what I've learned since I started blogging. Please feel free to skip this part if you want...

    Thoughts on Blogging in no particular order....

    The blogging world of style/fashion/older style and fashion seems to be filled with incredibly kind, supportive and lovely bloggers most of whom have a terrific sense of humour.

    I had no idea how time consuming blogging would be. Not only do you write and edit the blog, but there's the taking of photographs;  then the uploading of same. Then there's all those wonderful blogs to read and comment on. I doubt I could do this if I worked, so thank goodness I'm retired!

    People like it when you respond to their comments on your blog.

    Taking photographs wearing different outfits has taught me so much about what suits me; what works and what doesn't; what flatters and what doesn't. Sometimes I have a mental image of what an outfit will look like on - and it may look ok in the mirror - but a more objective perspective can be gained by looking at a photograph of me wearing it.

    I've learned that my style and taste in clothes has changed as I've get older.  For example, I've learned to love orange and yellow; avoid mid calf length skirts/dresses and the importance of accessories.

     I've improved my layering skills and learned to try new things; OTK boots for example.

    I spend too much money in the charity shops on clothes.

    It's better to concentrate on quality rather quantity when charity shopping.

    Invest in padded hangers. I buy them whenever I see them in charity shops at reasonable prices.

    As I have  too many  a lot of clothes I've had to organise them so I can see what I have and therefore wear. I organise my clothes by type; blouses/shirts/tops together for example, then by colour. Occasionally, I find something I have no memory of buying and it's been in the wardrobe for ages hidden between things.

    I button at least one button on shirts/blouses when I hang them up to prevent its fellow getting tangled up inside. This is particularly relevant as I have too much a lot  on my rails.

    It doesn't matter how much storage space I have I will find clothes to fill it.

    I usually plan next day's outfit just before I go to bed; although occasionally inspiration strikes sooner - see below. I hang everything up ready for the morning and sometimes I even get the ironing of the outfit done the same evening!

    Sometimes an idea for an outfit pops into my mind, and as I can't rely on my memory I have now started to write them down. So far, I've managed to write down 9 outfit ideas since Saturday 14th January 2017; when I first thought to do this. This will be so useful on those occasions when I think "what the heck can I wear today"?


    This is what I wore to the Red Cross shop on Monday. Everything is charity shopped except the boots which were bought with Christmas vouchers from Debenhams about three Christmases  ago.


    Skirt; £1.00 rail Barnardo's Great Denham; scarf and lace top charity shopped; green cardigan by Benetton; charity shopped years ago.


    Beads, bangles and watch; charity shopped. Earrings, Bedford market.

    You may remember that I was trying to keep track of my spending in the charity shops and did it for the month of November. What I learned from this was that I spend far too much and I really want to cut down.

     I'm going to spend a weekend in Devon with my friend Hilary at the end of January and at Easter I'll be going to Ireland, so I have an incentive to save as much as I can for these two trips. My plan, therefore, is to a) spend only in the Red Cross charity shop or only on the £1.00 rails in any other charity shop; b) don't visit any charity shops on my free afternoons or for a day out - at least not till I get to Devon!

    So today I put my plan into action (note it's not a New Year resolution). I bought a pair of green cords at the Red Cross shop for £1.00. I have a green pair already, but they're a little too short in the leg and have a miniscule hem so I can't let them down. It will be one pair of trousers in and one pair out. At the 3:16 shop which I pass on my way home I bought; a blue and white striped M &S shirt and an Old Navy blue and white pleated skirt for the summer. Both were a £1.00 each.


    On Tuesday I was at the foodbank and went to town in the afternoon. On Wednesday, I walked with the group and we walked 6.5 miles from the village of Clophill to Haynes and back. After the walk we went for a meal to celebrate 20 years of Wednesday walking with the Ivel Valley Walkers. I've been walking for almost three years with this group.

    This is what I changed into in the car after the walk. The top from New Look was one of the 50p tops I bought on Saturday in the Bedford Garden Carer's charity shop.


    Long sleeved brown top F & F, charity shopped. Leggings; M & S, retail; boots Sainsbury's, retail.


    All jewellery charity shopped.

    On my way back from the meal I drove through Ampthill so I stopped off and had a look in Barnardo's. I was so proud of myself; I only spent £1.49 and bought a red pair of capri pants for the summer and a blue spotted top.

    Photos by middle grandson
    On Thursday I went out for lunch with my friend, Ann. We had a good catch up. It will be a year this Thursday since her husband had a stroke and she has been caring for him ever since. It was good for her to have a break from the house and usual routine.


    Everything I'm wearing is charity shopped. Boots, leggings, tunic (M&S) and short sleeved cardigan.

    All jewellery charity shopped except earrings; Sainsburys and watch bought with Christmas money from New Look.

    Friday was busy. I took the children to school and the youngest grandson had an assembly which I stayed for. When that was over I went for a 6.5 mile walk. The weather was great; cold 2.5 degrees but very sunny and bright. When I came back I changed then went and did the food shopping (booooring). Picked up children from school then took youngest grandson and his dad home after 5. Then there was dinner to make and finally - chill time!


    A selfie taken after the assembly - specially requested by grandson!


    This is Friday's outfit. Everything charity shopped except boots from Lidl.


    Knitted dress; Dorothy Perkins; probably the Red Cross; shirt unknown but charity shopped in the Red Cross. Wine coloured tights charity shopped somewhere...


    All jewellery charity shopped except watch which was bought in New Look with Christmas money.

    I went to see my son on Saturday and on Sunday I'm  hoping to go for a walk and recce my walk for the Ramblers.


    Everything charity shopped except the OTK boots - on line retail and the watch, New Look and the necklace which was a Christmas present from one of my brothers about five years ago.


    Skirt, M&S; top by Cavita bought in the Mercy in Action Charity shop in Olney last week. Jacket by Country Casuals and bought in the Red Cross for £1.99. Scarf; charity shopped.


    Earrings and bangle charity shopped.

              Home computer repair - Home computer repair Tampa troubleshooting        
    The basic parts of a Home computer repair are monitor, motherboard, SMPS, processor, daughter board, network cards, RAM, CMOS battery, hard disk, buses (cables), keyboard, mouse, UPS and modem. So these components will face damage as they are electronic components.


     Long beep sound heard while starting custom pc repair tampa and OS is not loading. Your RAM is damaged. So buy a RAM either D RAM or SD RAM after checking the slot in your motherboard and install new RAM.


    Your Operating system OS may be damaged due to improper shutdown or due to missing of some files. Please re install your OS. Another problem can be your hard disk damage.


    Huge sound coming from CPU. Your cabinet cooling fan may be making that huge noise while working. Try to replace that bad cooling fan with a good one.


    Sometimes there will be problem in Home PC repair Tampa booting. So Home computer repair boot troubleshooting can be done by pressing delete button while restarting PC and providing appropriate settings in BIOS.


    If you are like most people who often use computer repairs Tampa at work or in your home, then you must also know how frustrating it can be when your Home computer repair crashes in the middle of an important task. Home computer repair errors such as crashes and file corruption are often a result of registry problems. To make sure your PC always performs efficiently, you have to invest in registry repair software.


    Do you use a free windows registry repair for your Laptop computer repair? There are a few guidelines that you need to keep in mind when purchasing software and these are:


    It is important to note however, that software that can find many errors aren’t necessarily the best kind. Some dubious repair programs list errors where there aren’t actually any so choose well.


    Unless you are a certified Home computer repair genius, it is best to choose user friendly software. Everyone needs free window registry repair programs.



     



    Some Home computer repairs actually come with a built-in registry repair program and while you may be tempted to fix the registry yourself, remember that you might inadvertently delete information that is critical to Home computer repair operations.


    About the author: Tampa pc pros inc takes pride in offering a wide range of computing solutions like: Pc Repair Tampa , Computer Repair Tampa , Custom Pc Repair Tampa , Computer Repair Service Tampa , Virus Removal Service Tampa.

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              Diminishing Obesity's Risks        

    Mouse data suggest that, properly managed, obesity can be benign.

    Food for Thought

    Health-care professionals typically refer to an extremely heavy person as being morbidly obese. The term reinforces the idea that the individual is at high risk of diabetes, fatty-liver disease, and heart attacks. Researchers who have been working with mice now report that certain chronic diseases don't have to be consequences of obesity.

    The team accomplished the disconnect by tricking the animals' bodies into storing all their excess fat within their fat cells, or adipocytes.

    That's not what the bodies of rodents—or people—typically do. Initially, excess lipids—fat—are stored in these cells, making up what's called adipose tissue or simply body fat. These deposits lie primarily in the breasts, belly, and thighs. However, once adipocytes fill up, new storage sites take up the overflow. Those new depots usually develop in muscle and the liver.

    Of those two depots, the liver is more dangerous when it becomes fatty. Straightforwardly named, fatty liver disease can arise and lead eventually to hepatitis, cirrhosis, and death.

    A drop in the hormone called adiponectin is the body's signal to store fat outside adipose tissue. Sometimes referred to as the starvation hormone, adiponectin normally remains high in lean animals. With obesity, however, blood concentrations of the molecule fall.

    Philipp E. Scherer of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and his colleagues reasoned that keeping adiponectin concentrations high might fool the body into making extra adipocytes instead of sending surplus fat to muscles and the liver.

    The team has now investigated the hypothesis in a strain of mice that make copious adiponectin regardless of how fat they become. In the Sept. 4 Journal of Clinical Investigation, the researchers report that as the novel mice mature, they become unbelievably huge. Indeed, muses Scherer, these are "the fattest mice ever reported," with fat comprising 60 percent or more of their body weight.

    As hoped for, the mice deposit all their excess fat in adipose tissue. Also in sharp contrast to other obese mice, the high-adiponectin animals develop no signs of diabetes. They also avoid a metabolic disorder known as syndrome X, which puts animals, including people, at high risk of heart disease (SN: 4/8/2000, p. 236).

    So, although these barely mobile, blubbery mounds of flesh look like wrecks, they don't appear to be at high risk for several chronic diseases associated with obesity, Scherer told Science News Online. Actually, he says, from the preliminary data, the mice "appear perfectly healthy."

    He suspects that there's a lesson in this for investigators of human-obesity treatments. Drugs exist that raise adiponectin values in even overweight individuals. Most, like pioglitazone (Actos) and rosiglitazone (Avandia), are prescribed to treat diabetes. However, data suggest these drugs also reduce the buildup of fat in the liver.

    Unfortunately, diminishing health risks in morbidly obese people may require far more than just supersizing their treatment with the diabetes drugs—especially since data reported earlier this year linked rosiglitazone with an increased risk of heart attack (SN: 6/23/07, p. 397).

    Fat signals

    Tissues throughout the body communicate on a regular basis via signaling hormones. Adiponectin is one of those messengers released by adipocytes to inform the rest of the body about how full the fat cells are. If they aren't full, Scherer explains, the cells pour out copious adiponectin. The body then responds by directing its fat into those cells for storage. As adipocytes fill with lipids, they turn down the adiponectin signal, telling the body that it's time to find new fat depots.

    Adipocytes release several other messengers, among them leptin. As lipids swell the adipocytes, the cells crank up production of this hormone. Once released into the bloodstream, leptin circulates to the brain, where it offers a status report on how full the fat cells are. If leptin signals that there's plenty of fat on hand, a healthy body not only experiences satiety but also reduces its food intake and burns more calories.

    At some point, a spontaneous mutation in mice led to a strain of animals that lacked the ability to make leptin. The resulting rodents, always hungry and primed to store—not burn—any excess energy consumed, inevitably become obese. Scherer's group worked with this strain and engineered it also to make extra adiponectin. The new mice typically produce about twice as much adiponectin as a normal, svelte rodent does. This excess is comparable to what can occur when people take certain diabetes-controlling drugs.

    In the new study, the researchers compared normal, lean, leptin-producing mice with leptinfree, obese ones and the new leptinfree-but-high-adiponectin animals. By adulthood, the new mice far surpassed the girth of the original obese line. But instead of having high blood sugar and insulin concentrations—characteristics of the original obese animals that mimic type-2 diabetes symptoms—the new megafatties exhibited normal insulin and blood-sugar values. In fact, Scherer says, the engineered animals had about the same insulin characteristics as healthy, lean mice.

    "That was a real surprise," he concedes—"that the [new] mice could get so fat and yet remain very healthy, metabolically speaking."

    One solution: More fat cells

    Most people are like obese mice, chronically taking in more calories than they burn, Scherer says.

    Lipid buildup in the liver is "really the driving force for insulin resistance," a metabolic change that precedes the development of diabetes, notes Scherer When this develops, the body makes normal amounts of insulin, but finds itself increasingly unable to use it. The end result: Too little insulin is used to move energy into cells, leaving high concentrations of sugar in the blood.

    The new study with high-adiponectin mice shows that "if you can overcome this block of overexpansion of adipose tissue, there is no need for excess calories to deposit as fat in the liver," Scherer says. Instead, fat can accumulate where it does the least damage, "in the professional fat-storage cell, the adipocyte."

    But Scherer doesn't want to say that excess calories are benign when they wind up in fat cells. Bulging adipocytes send out a number of inflammatory compounds (SN: 2/28/04, p. 139). It's not yet clear how important a role these compounds may play in chronic disease, but some have been linked to diabetes. Moreover, extra weight may strain an animal's joints and even its heart. So, it's premature to give a clean bill of health to mice whose physiques rival that of Jabba the Hutt.

    Still, Scherer argues, "from a qualitative point of view, these [new] mice are relatively healthy." Indeed, he says, what happens in the animals' tissues may explain why some very obese people are able to retain good insulin sensitivity and dodge the diabetes bullet.

    People who develop diabetes as adults tend to put all of their fat into a few big, inflammation-prone fat cells. However, some people's bodies employ a different strategy, Scherer says. They pack relatively small quantities of fat into an ever-proliferating number of fat cells, ones that never seem to undergo stress-induced inflammation. This approach is triggered by a "local overexpression of adiponectin in adipocytes." That, in turn, switches on production of a key signaling molecule—PPAR-gamma—that serves as a master switch "governing how many fat cells we have," he explains.

    "None of this is an endorsement for obesity," Scherer cautions. "But it shows that if you can expand your fat stores in a healthy way to keep up with your caloric intake, this will improve insulin sensitivity."

    Overall, he argues, "the best strategy is to eat less and exercise more. But for the many of us who continue to take in more calories than we burn, it would be better to expand our fat-cell numbers than to store excess lipids in other tissues. That's our take-home message."


    If you would like to comment on this Food for Thought, please see the blog version.

    Citations

    Philipp E. Scherer

    Touchstone Center for Diabetes Research

    Department of Internal Medicine

    University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center

    5323 Harry Hines Boulevard

    Dallas, TX 75390-9077
    Further Reading

    Dormandy, J.A., et al. 2005. Secondary prevention of macrovascular events in patients with type 2 diabetes in the PROactive Study (PROspective pioglitAzone Clinical Trial In macroVascular Events): A randomised controlled trial. Lancet 366(Oct. 8):1279-1289. Abstract available at [Go to].

    Harder, B. 2007. Fixes for fatty liver. Science News 171(March 3):136-137. Available at [Go to].

    Pawlak, D.B., et al. 2001. High glycemic index starch promotes hypersecretion of insulin and higher body fat in rats without affecting insulin sensitivity. Journal of Nutrition 131(January):99-104. Available at [Go to].

    Psaty, B.M., and C.D. Furberg. 2007. Rosiglitazone and cardiovascular risk. New England Journal of Medicine 356(June 14):2522-2524. Available at [Go to].

    Raloff, J. 2007. Fattening carbs—Some promote obesity and worse. Science News Online (Sept. 29). Available at [Go to].

    ______. 2007. Infectious foie gras? Science News Online (June 30). Available at [Go to].

    ______. 2007. Super-size mice—Fast food hurts rodents. Science News Online (June 9). Available at [Go to].

    ______. 2004. Inflammatory fat. Science News 165(Feb. 28):139-140. Available at [Go to].

    ______. 2000. The new GI tracts. Science News 157(April 8):236-238. Available at [Go to].

    Seppa, N. 2007. Diabetes drug might hike heart risk. Science News 171(June 23):397. Available at [Go to].

              The Self Service Economy        

    Consumers want to be in control.The service expectations are increasing day by day. The only solution to meet consumer expectations is a self service solution. The majority of consumers is ready for self service. This report contains the summary of a global research project in which we mapped this trend.
              Kommentar zu Docs & Demo von Thomas        
    Hi, your plugin looks really great and if it would work I would also donate usage. Unfortunately I´ve a fatal error when if I try to activitate the plugin: "Fatal error: Uncaught Error: Call to undefined function mysql_get_server_info() " Wordpress verion: 4.7.3 PHP-VErsion: 5.6.29 MySQL-VErsion: 5.7.15 Do you know any solution?
              32 Soft at #QADExplore        
    We’re excited for the start of #QADExplore on Monday, May 8th. Visit our booth #613 to discover our brilliant productivity solutions for QAD and enter our drawing for a $100 gift certificate to amazon.com. Hope to see you there.  
              Moldovan local public authorities' representatives invited to MUNI EXPO 2018, MUNI WORLD 2018        

    Two meetings of the representatives of the municipalities MUNI EXPO 2018 and MUNI WORLD 2018 will take place in Tel-Aviv, Israel, on 13 – 15 February 2018, the government’s communication and protocol department has reported.

     

    The events will provide municipal leaders with opportunity to interact with business and service providers, familiarizing themselves with innovative products, solutions and services in various fields such as infrastructure, environment, construction, engineering, information technology, education, social, culture etc.

     

    The sessions will take place under of the Israeli Federation of Local Public Administration’s (FLAI) patronage, with participation of municipal delegations from different countries, including the Republic of Moldova. The travel expenses are to be provided by the participants.

     

    The representatives of the local public administration in Moldova who wish to participate in those events are asked to send a message including the name, surname, function, contact details to e-mail addresses: victoria.cujba@gov.md  or grigore.butucea@mfa.md within 20 days.

     

    More details about events can be found at: http://www.muniexpo.co.il.


              Comment on How to Use Multiple WordPress WYSIWYG Visual Editors by Jonny        
    For reference I just got this working (wp 4.4) with the following: $settings = array('textarea_name' => $mb->get_the_name()); wp_editor(html_entity_decode($metabox->get_the_value()), 'myID', $settings); [this is a variation on the solution Adam posted above 5 years ago. No changes to functions.php are needed] I found I had to use html_entity_decode - otherwise any HTML would render in the tinymce editior on save. This could cause a problem when saving some content - only time will tell. Hope this assists someone.
              Comment on How to Use Multiple WordPress WYSIWYG Visual Editors by Javier        
    I just can't multiple instances of wp_editor (not repeatng) in wpalchemy .. this is driving me crazy! None of the solutions here or over the internet is helping me ... I need your help please Dimas!! Thanks in advance again. I already bought your item, please help me!
              Philips Signage Solutions BDL4290VL Digital signage flat panel 42.02" LED Full HD Zwart        

    Normale prijs: € 1.699,95

    Aanbiedingsprijs: € 1.549,95


              Resolution 2328 to deploy United Nations observers in Aleppo        
    The Security Council, Recalling all its relevant resolutions, especially 2139 (2014), 2165 (2014), 2191 (2014), 2258 (2015) and 2286 (2016); Reaffirming its strong commitment to the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of the Syrian Arab Republic; Alarmed by the continued deterioration of the devastating humanitarian situation in Aleppo and by the fact that urgent [...]
              Draft Resolution on Non-Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction        
    11 DECEMBER 2016   CLEAN VERSION UNDER SILENCE PROCEDURE ENDING ON WEDNESDAY 14 DECEMBER 2016 AT 7 AM   Draft Resolution   The Security Council, (1)    Reaffirming its resolutions 1540 (2004) of 28 April 2004, 1673 (2006) of 27 April 2006, 1810 (2008) of 25 April 2008, 1977 (2011) of 20 April 2011, and 2055 (2012) [...]
              Nuclear test on Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK)        
    Following the announcement today by the government of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) of having conducted a new nuclear test, the government of Spain strongly condemns this action, a flagrant violation of several resolutions of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). 09/09/2016 This last test, the second this year and the fifth since [...]
              Philips Signage Solutions Multi-touchdisplay 10BDL3051T/00 touch screen-monitor        

    Normale prijs: € 464,95

    Aanbiedingsprijs: € 422,95


              Global Voices: Innovative solutions to global refugee crisis        
    Prospects seem grim for the world’s 22 million refugees. The United States and Europe are slamming doors. Kenya is forcing Somalis in Dadaab, the world’s largest refugee camp, to go home — even if it’s not safe to return. Uganda […]
              New Year's Resolutions for Post Production Producers        

              Rajdhani Express (from Rajdhani Express)        
    ------------
    Note 1: I am posting this from Rajdhani Express.

    Note 2: I realised that since I have come to Bangalore, I have not done any train journey at all! Specifically Rajdhani Express, it's been almost 8 years since I boarded one. It is the one thing that the Indian Railways gets right after-all (apart from Palace on Wheels, I suppose). I used to absolutely love the experience as a kid. They used to serve soup-sticks with soup. Soup-sticks! On a train! Must have that experience again. I am on an epic 34-hour journey from Delhi to Bangalore. On Rajdhani Express.
    ------------


    I reached the Hazrat Nizamuddin station in Delhi well in advance. I went to my platform, my train was waiting for me. How sweet! I checked the passenger chart pasted beside the entrance of my coach 'B8', not to confirm my name on the chart, but for a more customary glance to scout for 'F22' to 'F26' "fellow" passengers. This is the reason I had booked a 3rd AC ticket as against a 2nd AC ticket. You have 5 fellow passengers in 2nd AC, but 7 fellow passengers in 3rd AC. I was merely hoping to tilt 'Law of averages' in my favour. If it worked, imagine a cute girl sitting next to you with nowhere to go and no-one to talk to but you for 34 hours. Thirty, four, hours! I could have then let my charm do the rest.

    As luck would have it, most of my co-passengers are > 'M45'. Worse, there is a family travelling with an ever-curious 8-year old kid travelling ALL the way to Bangalore with me. The annoying kid began asking his dad weird questions, which apparently pissed off his dad, even. The kid wanted to know a real-time answer to "Papa, train ki speed kitni hai abhi?", asked every two minutes. The geek in me made me tell the dad that there was an android app which he could install on his phone which tells the exact speed using GPS. Indirectly, my way of telling the kid to STFU. Thank goodness for the invention of GPS. One annoying kid shut up. And as if fate hadn't already had all the fun with me, there were two cute girls, my age, sitting bang in the next compartment. I smiled at them, they ignored me, life moved on. I realised that my coach was a bait rather than a 'B8', and I had fallen into its trap.


    The clock struck 8:50 PM, and the train moved. Woah! ON TIME?! Like I said, the one thing Indian Railways gets right.

    As soon as the train started, the staff jumped to action, and oh boy, first up, soup with soup-sticks! Paisa wasool already! While sipping my soup, I realised that a train journey is so much more comfortable than air travel. You have ample space to sleep, eat, stretch, relax. Plus, for people who smoke, there are two excellent smoking lounges (read: toilets) on both sides of the coach! If only the staff who served food looked like their Indian air-travel counterpart:




    So, after a proper three-course dinner, I took out my laptop, and aptly for the moment, decided to watch a romantic comedy - 'The Princess Bride'. Nothing much about the movie, except that I found parts of the movie mildly annoying. It did though answer something for me which I have been thinking about since I started watching 'Sherlock'. Remember the pilot episode? In which the cabbie has pills in two containers in front of him, one of them poisoned and the other not, and our hero has to deduce which one is poisonous and has to make his pick. Well, the case gets solved, cabbie is killed (apologies for the spoiler), but we never find out which was the correct choice. The exact same game is played in 'The Princess Bride', with a solution that is both plausible and mind-boggling, even in the context of 'Sherlock', which made the movie worthwhile.


    Another equally awesome discovery I made on this trip was Alpenliebe Mangofillz, which they served with the evening snacks. Oh. My. God. I haven't had a candy so full of joy in a LONG time. Smooth, delicious, filled with raw mango awesomeness! I am going to buy me a jar as soon as I reach Bangalore!


    About 12 hours of my journey to go, which includes a movie or two, and another awesome dinner, until Bangalore...



    Rajdhani Express (from Rajdhani Express)...

              Electrical Apprentice & Licensed Tradesman at Auzzie Industries Monto, QLD 4630        
    QLD-Monto, Electrical Apprentice & Licensed Tradesman at Auzzie Industries Monto, QLD 4630 Auzzie Industries Electrical Service are a small Electrical Company looking to expand our team with both an Electrical Apprentice and a Licensed Electrical Tradesman. Our company has been servicing the needs of the North Burnett for over 7 years and provide electrical solutions for residential, commercial and governmen
              NCR Unveils the Next Generation of its Counterpoint Channel Software Solution        
    PRZOOM - Newswire (press release) - 2017/05/22, Duluth, GA United States - Omni-channel solution leader launches new version of its proven, all-in-one retail software - NCR.com
              NCR’s Innovative Restaurant Solutions on Display at National Restaurant Association Tradeshow in Chicago        
    PRZOOM - Newswire (press release) - 2017/05/19, Duluth, GA United States - Global technology company to demonstrate solutions that help restaurants transform their operations and build connected experiences - NCR.com
              NCR Brings Silver® Tablet POS System to Australian Shores        
    PRZOOM - Newswire (press release) - 2017/04/05, Sydney, Australia - NCR Corporation, a global leader in omni-channel solutions, has launched the NCR Silver family of point-of-sale (POS) solutions to Australian retail, service and restaurant merchants - ArepasAustralia.com.au / NCRSilver.com.au
              NCR Launches Consumer Self-Ordering Solution for North American Restaurant Customers        
    PRZOOM - Newswire (press release) - 2017/04/03, Duluth, GA United States - Solution Enables Restaurant Guests to Order from Kiosk - NCR.com
              NCR Wins Two Product Design Awards at iF DESIGN AWARDS 2017        
    PRZOOM - Newswire (press release) - 2017/02/21, Duluth, GA United States - NCR’s SelfServ™ 90 and FastLane SelfServ™ Checkout solutions were rewarded for excellence in product design - iFWorldDesignGuide.com / NCR.com
              NCR Introduces NCR ENCOR for Small and Medium Sized Retailers in North America        
    PRZOOM - Newswire (press release) - 2017/02/08, Duluth, GA United States - Purpose-built solution for the fast-moving consumer goods market to meet omni-channel demands available exclusively through the NCR Interact Partner Program - NCR.com
              Globus Hypermarkets in Russia Introduces Scan & Go with NCR Technology for a Faster and More Convenient Shopping Experience        
    PRZOOM - Newswire (press release) - 2017/01/16, Duluth, GA United States - The Scan & Go system is based on the NCR FastLane Mobile Shopper powered by Re-Vision solution and is the first customer implementation in Europe - Globus.de / NCR.com
              NCR and Zebra Technologies Work Together to Provide Store Transformation Solutions        
    PRZOOM - Newswire (press release) - 2017/01/13, Duluth, GA United States - NCR Corporation and Zebra Technologies Corporation expanded their global strategic relationship in two key areas of NCR’s Store Transformation portfolio to provide truly visionary and frictionless customer service to shoppers in-store [NASDAQ: ZBRA]
              SkyBus Melbourne Rolls Out New Self-service Ticketing with NCR        
    PRZOOM - Newswire (press release) - 2016/11/21, Melbourne, Australia - Fast-growing airport transfer service chooses NCR’s omni-channel self-serve solution - SkyBus.com.au / NCR.com
              5 Signs Your Sell Sheet Needs A Makeover        
    Synopsis Is your sell sheet driving the results you want or need? If not, it might be time for a makeover. The solution may be to rebrand, adjust your value proposition, or simply modify your existing strategy before these danger … Continue reading
              ECU ALUMNUS CHRIS BUCHANAN NOW DEPUTY DIRECTOR OF INDIAN HEALTH SERVICES FOR U.S. PUBLIC HEATH SERVICE        
    Chris Buchanan

    Chris Buchanan, East Central University alumnus and a member of the Commissioned Corps of the United States Public Health Service (USPHS), was recently promoted to the flag-officer rank of Rear Admiral and appointed Deputy Director of Indian Health Services.

    Buchanan also recently served six months as acting director.

    As a senior ranking officer, flag officers exemplify the core values for which commissioned officers of the U.S. Public Health Service are held in high esteem, according to Dr. Patrick Bohan, ECU Environmental Health Sciences professor and Retired Captain of the USPHS.

    “Flag officers provide executive-level leadership within the department and the agencies which they serve,” Bohan said. “Our flag officers also carry the title of Assistant Surgeon General and, as such, we rely on them to support special initiatives and exhibit the highest caliber of public health leadership.”

    Buchanan, a native of Konawa, joins fellow ECU alumnus Rear Admiral Kevin D. Meeks as a high-ranking official within the USPHS. Meeks is acting deputy director of field operations for the Indian Health Service, an agency within the Department of Health and Human Services and the principal federal health care advocate and provider of health services for American Indians and Alaska natives.

    ECU has provided more environmental health officers to the Commissioned Corps of the U.S. Public Health Service than any other institution in the country, according to Bohan. The Environmental Health Science program at ECU is one of 31 accredited undergraduate programs throughout the United States.

    “The Environmental Health Science program provided an interdisciplinary foundation that prepared me for my career in Indian Health Service,” Buchanan said. “Environmental health graduates of the program are problem solvers. We use this type of approach to develop skill sets

    that help to constructively review environmental and public health issues and come up with solutions. I have and continue to use these skills in my role as the deputy director of IHS.”

    Buchanan credits the late Dr. Mickey Rowe, former chair and professor of the ECU Environmental Health Science Department, with setting the stage for his career.

    “Dr. Rowe was a force of nature. He left a lasting impact on me personally and professionally,” said Buchanan. “His expectations were high for all his students and former students. He made it clear upon graduation that you would be representing the ECU Environmental Health Program and your environmental health decisions will have an impact on public health. His expectation was nothing short of being the best both academically and in your profession.”

     As deputy director Buchanan, an enrolled member of the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma, leads and oversees IHS operations to ensure delivery of quality comprehensive health services. He ensures that IHS provides for the full participation of tribes in programs and services and helps to establish and track the goals and metrics through which the IHS U.S.-federal-government-operated, or direct service, health care program improves outcomes.

    Buchanan ensures IHS services are integrated across all levels of the agency and engaged with other Operating Divisions of the Department of Health and Human Services and external partners, including states and national organizations.

    He previously served in 2016 as the acting area director for the IHS Great Plains Area, with administrative responsibility for 19 service units serving 130,000 people and 17 tribes through seven hospitals, 10 health centers and two urban Indian health programs, overseeing a complex health care program during a period of change. Previously, Buchanan has served as director of the IHS Office of Direct Services and Contracting Tribes.

    As an environmental health officer in the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps with more than 20 years of active duty, Buchanan began his IHS career in 1993, serving in various environmental health positions in the Phoenix, Albuquerque and Oklahoma City areas, including serving as the administrative officer for Lawton Indian Hospital and the chief executive officer for Haskell Health Center. In 2010, he was administrative officer of clinical services for the Chickasaw Nation’s Division of Health in Ada.

    Along with serving on several national IHS workgroups and being deployed to several natural disaster events, Buchanan has received numerous professional awards, including one for National Council of Chief Executive Officer’s Rookie of the Year. He earned a bachelor of environmental health science degree from ECU and a public health degree in health policy and administration from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill.

    Buchanan has seen Indian Health Service improve over the years, evolving in a similar manner as the traditional healthcare delivery model to a more value-based healthcare delivery system.

    “The IHS sees these changes through the administration of a nationwide health care delivery program that is responsible for providing preventative, curative and community health care for approximately 2.2 American Indians and Alaska natives in hospitals, clinics and other settings throughout the United States,” Buchanan said. “An example of this evolution includes emerging technologies such as telemedicine. By utilizing these healthcare technologies, IHS will continue to improve the populations we serve.”

    Telemedicine is the diagnosis and treatment of patients in remote areas using medical information such as x-rays or television pictures, transmitted over long distances, particularly satellite.

    -ECU-

    For Immediate Release: 

    Contact: Brian Johnson or Amy Ford

                                    East Central University Communications and Marketing

                                  580-559-5650 or 405-812-1428 (cell)


              7 Reasons why Easy Loans Should be Avoided at all Cost        

    Personal Money Store Blog

    Easy loans aren’t always the best financing option, and they’re almost never a wise solution when your income already doesn’t stretch far enough. The temptation to borrow increases as a direct result of how easy it is to apply and get approved for a loan. However, easy and quick loans should be avoided except in

    7 Reasons why Easy Loans Should be Avoided at all Cost


              Methadone-Induced Hyperhidrosis Treated With Oxybutynin        
    Objectives: This case report aims to help healthcare providers and methadone clinic patients to recognize one of the less recognized adverse effects of methadone, hyperhidrosis, and to suggest oxybutynin as a possible solution. Methods: A 35-year-old man on methadone maintenance therapy presented with excessive sweating, which began promptly after methadone was introduced. Urine toxicology was conducted every 2 weeks to rule out other illicit substances that may have contributed to the sweating. Results: Oxybutynin (5 mg PO QID) resulted in cessation of the methadone-induced hyperhidrosis within 2 days of starting the medication. Conclusions: Methadone-induced excessive sweating is an adverse effect of the medication that reportedly affects up to 45% of those prescribed methadone, and oxybutynin is a potent treatment for methadone-induced excessive sweating.
              Is there a solution to terrorism in Europe?        
    A terrorist attack in Nice, France left scores of civilians dead on Bastille Day. The Daily Beast's Dana Kennedy joins MSNBC's Brian Williams to report.
              Purchasing & Production Manager        

    Production & Purchasing Manager | Full Time Position

    Bazzaz, Inc. is seeking to fill a full-time position for a Purchasing & Production Manager. 

    Bazzaz is a designer and manufacturer of superior-quality motorcycle & ATV electronics and dynamometers located in Chino Hills, CA. We are committed to providing customers the very best experience which we believe stems from hiring the best employees. For more information on the company please visit bazzaz.net.

    Location: Chino Hills, CA

    Description: Seeking an individual who will plan, organize, and control production at Bazzaz Z-Fi fuel controller factory, which produces harnesses, strain gages, and printed circuit boards. Candidate must be committed to ensuring that Bazzaz products are produced efficiently, on time, within budget and to the highest quality standard. Issues Purchase Orders for the raw materials. Candidate should be solution-driven and acutely focused on quality. Listed below are the basic duties and requirements of the position:

      • Supervises production assembly team of 12-20 persons. Subordinates perform assembly of products or sub-assemblies according to verbal or written instructions, or by following drawings or diagrams. Provides work direction and reviews work performance.
      • Responsible for light maintenance of production machinery for harnessing and SMT.
      • Production Planning and ability to apply LEAN manufacturing techniques.
      • Manages the purchasing function according to department policy and procedure. Accepts and scrutinizes vendor bids or proposals. Selects sources based upon analysis. Arranges vendor contracts, bargains for best costs, and observes quality of purchased materials. Prepares reports and required documents. Organizes activities with sales, engineering, production, or warehouse personnel.
      • Manages inventory of materials, parts, and finished product to maintain required supply. Maintains records, replenishes stock, and plans for future requirements based on orders, production schedules and forecasts. Strives to achieve JIT.
      • Quality assurance - Manages quality assurance operations for the factory. Comes up with new ideas to enforce and improve quality programs. Monitors Production Department's conformance with QA standards and procedures. Conducts quality assurance training for employees engaged in materials handling or product assembly. Suggests methods for improving product quality or design, or manufacturing processes.
      • Manages shipping & receiving staff. With an emphasis on efficiency and accuracy.
      • Provide production updates to Bazzaz Team.
      • Harness Documentation / Create BOM.
      • Assist R&D.
      • Reports to Vice President.

    We are looking for a responsible, highly motivated and detail oriented individual, who wants to be part of a growing and dynamic company. This person must be a problem solver, have a get it done attitude, and enjoys working with a team. Bazzaz is on the leading edge of technology in the motorcycle aftermarket industry and this position plays a critical role in delivering the ultimate customer experience.

    Desired Qualifications:

      • Minimum of a 2 year degree.
      • Minimum of 2 years of experience in production and/or purchasing for wiring harnesses and/or printed circuit board assembly.
      • Winning attitude. Must be a team player and enjoy working in a fun yet focused atmosphere.
      • Experience with MRP/ERP software.
      • Computer literate with accurate data entry skills.
      • Able to read a wiring diagram.
      • Person shall demonstrate competency when using scales and other hand tools. Individuals should exhibit strong communication and organizational skills.
      • Mechanically inclined.
      • Ability to lift 50 pounds.
      • Bilingual in Spanish and English, preferred but not required.

    Benefits:

      • Starting salary is $40-50K annually, based on experience.
      • After six months eligible for company Health/Dental/Vision Insurance.
      • 1 week vacation. 6 Paid personal days. Paid Holidays.
      • Monthly bonus plan.

    Applicant must successfully pass a drug screening, E-Verify, and background check in order to qualify.

    Bazzaz, Inc. is an at-will, equal opportunity employer. If you believe yourself to be a good candidate and meet all requirements, please e-mail a brief description of your qualifications and resume to jbuxton@Bazzaz.net.

    *Position descriptions and anticipated skills acquired are neither conclusive nor definite and can be expected to change throughout term of employment. 


              Tips for Planning Your Irish Itinerary        

      When planning a big trip, it’s easy to feel pressured to get it right. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution, but here are a few tips that might help you along the way. Work out the critical details first. While you can work on your Ireland wishlist at any time, there are a few decisions to […]

    The post Tips for Planning Your Irish Itinerary appeared first on Irish Fireside Travel and Culture.


              Meat Packer - VPS HR SOLUTIONS - Thornhill, ON        
    Must have clean backcheck. Our client located on Weston and Steeles is looking for general labour workers who are seeking full time employment in the food... $12.25 - $13.00 an hour
    From Indeed - Mon, 10 Jul 2017 15:41:19 GMT - View all Thornhill, ON jobs
              Warehouse Order Picker/Packers - IS2 Workforce Solutions - Winnipeg, MB        
    All candidates must be able to pass a Criminal Backcheck in order to qualify. IS2 is excited to be opening up a new office in Winnipeg and we’re hiring dozens... $15.50 an hour
    From IS2 Workforce Solutions - Thu, 03 Aug 2017 02:20:57 GMT - View all Winnipeg, MB jobs
              Ways to stay safe this New Year's Eve        
    It's a time of celebration. A time of rejuvenation. A time to make resolutions that will stick for a week, and then quickly go by the wayside.

    New Years Eve marks the beginning of a new year, and a new start for many people. However it also marks  a popular night to go out and party, leading to auto accidents, many of which are unfortunately deadly.

    395 people were killed in an alcohol-related crashes in the second-half of December 2011 alone, making it a total of 9,878 for the year. That's fortunately a 2.5% decline for the year, but still makes up roughly a third of all traffic deaths. Per usual, police will be issuing traffic stops to not only catch those abusing the law, but also to get the word out about drinking and driving.

    If you, your friends or some loved ones are going to be at a party, here's a few tips on how to stay safe:

    1. Pick a Designated Driver
        Whether it's you or someone else, make sure someone refrains from drinking and remains responsible enough to drive everyone home safely. Just because you or someone else ends up becoming the DD, it's not to mean they have to keep from having fun.

    2. Drop off the keys
        If you don't have a Designated Driver, and you still want to drink, just give the keys to someone you trust. Having those on you may tempt you to get behind the wheel, so turn them in and go enjoy yourself.

    3. Pack a bag
        Maybe you're planning on staying somewhere overnight…or maybe you're not. Either way, packing a bag of some essentials is a great idea for those who are ready to drink deep into the night.

    4. Use Public Transportation
        If you're close to a bus or train, heading home in a safe and convenient environment is one of the best ways to go. They typically run all the time, and are fairly inexpensive. Another option is the cab ride, which is nice for the fact that they pick you up wherever you are. However, it can get costly, depending on where you are and where you need to go, so if you can, find someone who lives near you, and split the fare.

    5. Walking
        Many people have the impression that after a long night of partying, walking is safer than getting behind the wheel. While that may be inherently true, 1/1 is the deadliest day of the year when it comes to pedestrian deaths. If you do decide to walk, make sure to go in a group and wear visible clothing, to ensure that drivers have a better chance of seeing  you.

    6. Coffee doesn't help
        It's been told that coffee helps a person sober up. In fact, it's just plain 'ol time that cures all…plus a good carb-heavy meal and a caffeinated, non-alcoholic beverage.

    So if you'd rather go out than stay home this upcoming New Year's Eve, stick to one of the aforementioned tips, and be safe!

    If you're in the market for a new or pre-owned vehicle, visit your local Acura dealer at Muller Acura of Merrillville. For quality and professional service, please call to set up an appointment.
              Fireworks Image Drawing        
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              What I've learned in Africa        
    I failed miserably in the two learning targets I set myself when I arrived here - mastery of the French language (I get by but am by no means fluent) and competence at drumming (I've managed to fit in two lessons in over six years).  But I have learned a number of things, some about myself and some about Africa.

    I learned that I'm not as emotionally self-sufficient as I'd always thought - that I need people.  My first couple of years were really quite lonely, until I worked out that the best response was not to try to toughen myself up so I could cope better but to go out and find friends.

    I learned that I'm not a very compassionate person.  I care about injustice towards groups of people and want to do my bit to put that right, but I don't cry over the suffering of individuals nor do I give and share what I have in the way that Africans (and some Europeans/Americans) do.  I don't feel sympathy when I see someone begging, I just feel a need to try to change the system.  It's not a trait to be particularly proud of, but then again it is one that makes it easier to cope with a job like mine where you do witness a lot of suffering.

    & I learned (or rather confirmed my suspicion) that I am physically suited to the environment here.  I love the heat - don't miss winters, or indeed seasons, at all - and my only illness during my time here was the bronchitis I picked up on a winter trip to the US and a touch of flu in my first month here.  Not only have I avoided malaria but I haven't even suffered one bout of diarrhoea in more than six years here!

    As regards Africa and its people?  Well, I've learnt that it is a highly materialistic society and with conspicuous consumption preferred over savings or investment, that Africans of different shades of brown and black can be far more racist (towards eachother) than any whites I've ever met, that things will happen when they happen no matter how many times an impatient white person looks at their watch in irritation, and that when things appear to have gone wrong, there is always a solution, especially when Africans spot a white person in need.

    I've learnt a lot about the huge importance of the obligations that come with the extended family system, and the way in which this system is a strong barrier against Africa developing on the same path that the West has.  On the one hand it works against people building up the kind of wealth necessary to build businesses, as the more one earns the greater the number of family members who come calling for help; I don't think I have any African colleagues who don't spend a significant proportion of their income supporting their extended family.  On the other hand this means that what we in the West would call corruption and nepotism (those with power using it to favour/benefit family and friends) are in Africa normal and acceptable forms of behaviour.  I'll never forget the dinner in Mali where I heard a government minister tell some friends that he was going to resign as he couldn't cope with the constant demands for money and jobs from his family and community.  Taken up to the next level - the tribe - this also explains in large part why Western-style democracy does not really work in Africa.

    I learnt that every sub-Saharan African, whether Christian, Muslim, atheist or animist, believes in a spirit world. This world operates in parallel with the material world but with the ability to interfere in the latter for good or evil.  Typical manifestations of this belief include the protective amulets worn by many people and widespread accusations of witchcraft to explain what we would call bad luck.

    Finally, I learned about a very important existential difference between the West and Africa - or, more accurately I suspect, between the West and rest of the world - in the way we look at a human being.  In the West we focus almost entirely on that person as an individual, with rights and choices that attach to him/her as an individual.  Here in Africa, that is not important.  A human being is not seen as an individual but in terms of their relationship to others.  So one is a mother, a sister, a chief, a Christian, a member of a certain tribe...

    I recently spent a few days in an African household, where I was soon referred to as "aunty", the usual term for a respected (older) family friend; there was no way I would have been called by my name.  Birthdays are not celebrated here either.

    Of course those relationships carry obligations and expectations (built up in the culture over many generations) which are considered far more important than anything the individual concerned might prefer were they to be given free choice.  It shows what a clash of cultures it is to try to impose individual human rights (eg the right of a child to go to school rather than to help with the family business, or the right of a man to live and sleep with another man rather than to marry a woman and to produce children) on societies where the happiness of the individual is considered far less important than the well-being of the community.  Particularly in a part of the world where it is believed that failing to maintain the traditons of the ancestors is likely to bring misfortune.

    It's ironic really that one of the things many expats relish, myself included, is the freedom from expectations and obligations that we have through living outside of our own cultures.


    Unless anything momentous happens in the next 48 hours that has to be reported here, this is my last post on louiseinsenegal.  Hopefully it won't be long until my first post on louiseinpanama.
              Blog Post: Rooted In Shallow Soil        

    Gamers were dumbfounded when PopCap announced it was transplanting the Plants vs. Zombies series from the backyard to the battlefield. To say the multiplayer-shooter spinoff is a huge departure for the casual game developer is an understatement, but the aesthetics and lighthearted tone are a wonderful change of pace for the violence-obsessed genre. Dig beneath the surface, though, and you find some fundamental flaws that hold back this family-friendly shooter.[Excerpt]

    PopCap is known for making highly polished games that virtually anyone can pick up and play. Unfortunately, that equation only rings half true for Garden Warfare. The developer's simplified approach to the genre does away with basic concepts like sprinting, melee attacks, and limited ammo, making it easy for anyone to get into the swing of battle. However, the gameplay is uncharacteristically buggy; players get hung up on other characters and geometry, corpses twitch on the ground, and even the slightest bit of network lag renders some abilities (like the all-star zombie's dash attack) ineffective. A variety of classes and unlockable characters add some nuance to the simple fun, but PopCap's limited mode offerings hamstring replayability.

    Garden Warfare only features two main competitive modes: Team Vanquish and Gardens & Graveyards. Team Vanquish is your run-of-the-mill team deathmatch. Gardens & Graveyards tasks zombies with assaulting a series of consecutive capture points in a map, similar to Battlefield's rush mode. A classic variant of each mode disables upgrades and unlockable characters (making them less interesting), and the beginner mode gives you more health the more you die, but you're still playing one of two basic formulas.

    Gardens & Graveyards is clearly the main attraction. Maps have unique themes, and capture points are built around interesting locations that facilitate large-scale confrontations. Every map features an interesting final objective, such as sneaking five zombies into Crazy Dave's mansion or destroying the roots of a giant sunflower growing inside of a lighthouse. Gardens & Graveyards provides hours of fun, but eventually you get tired of assaulting or defending the same points on the same handful of maps, and Team Vanquish does little to alleviate the boredom.

    Garden Warfare's co-op offerings are equally uninspired. Garden Ops is a four-player horde mode, which tasks players with defending a garden against ten increasingly difficult waves of zombies. Aside from the occasional zombie boss or special wave, you don't have much to draw you in once you've beaten a few matches. 

    Garden Warfare's most interesting twist is how it incorporates the series' tower-defense elements into matches. Players can spawn zombies or plants in designated locations on the map, which then attack opponents autonomously. Unfortunately, these characters are treated as consumable items that players must purchase before matches using Garden Warfare's microtransaction-ready economy.

    The vast majority of Garden Warfare's content is locked behind its PvZ Coin currency. Support plants and zombies, customization items, weapon upgrades, and even new class characters are bought with the coins you earn from matches. However, can't just buy what you want; instead you must purchase blind card packs of varying prices. Consumable card packs give you a handful of zombies and plants to summon during matches, while more expensive packs provide random upgrades or character stickers – though you have to collect all of the stickers for a character before you can actually play as them. Like any good pusher, EA gives you a couple packs for free, but after that the grinding for coins begins.

    This faux free-to-play approach undermines Garden Warfare's promising tower-defense elements. Each plant or zombie you spawn feels like a waste of money; regardless of how helpful they may be on the battlefield, buying consumable packs just holds you back from the larger goal of unlocking more playable characters, which is the only motivator to continue playing after you've learned the maps inside and out.

    Those extra playable characters are worth unlocking. Although they have the same class abilities, each character has its own unique twist on gameplay. For instance, the marine-biologist zombie features a higher rate of fire than the regular scientist zombie, and the fire sunflower deals extra elemental damage. Unfortunately, characters take an exorbitant amount of time to unlock, and because card packs are random, you can't just unlock upgrades or characters for the class you're interested in.

    [View:3255212410001]

    Perhaps the most surprising aspect of the economy is that there's no option to purchase coins with real money, but EA says it may institute such an option in the future. Frankly, I can't imagine a world where that change doesn't happen, but it doesn't really matter. The progression system and tower-defense elements are already broken to accommodate the possibility. Garden Warfare is designed like a free-to-play game, despite the $30 price tag.

    PopCap's approach to class progression also plays out for the worse. Instead of gaining experience points, you level up classes by completing a series of challenges. Things start out easy – deploy five potato mines, kill three plants with rockets – but more specific challenges distract players from what's best for the match and make leveling up a pain. Killing two scientist zombies with a sun beam or shooting down three garlic drones seems easy enough, but what if the other team isn't using those characters? I went entire matches making zero progress with characters simply because the right elements weren't on the battlefield. Some challenges are downright devious; spawning five conehead zombies first requires you to buy consumable card packs until you randomly receive enough of them to complete the challenge. Luckily, you unlock all of the abilities for a class in the first few levels anyway, so you can abandon the progression scheme after that.

    Before the tedium set in, I had fun with Garden Warfare. Spending a few hours with the accessible combat and charming world was entertaining, but the random card packs and achievement-style leveling system killed my desire to keep playing. Garden Warfare's simplified gameplay and limited map selection can only entertain for so long – without rewarding progression, there's no carrot (or brain) at the end of the stick.

    The Xbox 360 Difference
    While both the Xbox One and Xbox 360 versions have their share of problems, the last-gen incarnation fares considerably worse. While testing the 360 version, I ran into increased gameplay bugs, load times, pop-up, and embarrassingly blurry visuals as the game struggled to stream in the high-resolution textures. These shortcomings don’t ruin the experience, but they are significant enough to earn the Xbox 360 entry a lower score than the Xbox One version. 

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              Fix your Xperia X10        
    Many reviewers test a product over a period of 1 week and feel they can adequately give someone advice on whether or not to buy a certain product. I’ve lived with the Xperia X10 for almost a year now so my review is very personal and will touch on all the –ve’s and positives for the phone.

    Camera

    The camera on the phone is great and it was one of the key buying points when I got the phone. I have however realised that I don’t use the camera nearly as often as I thought I would. The camera is good compared to other phones, but no where near as good as a good 5 megapixel camera – such as Canon IXUS range.

    The dedicated camera button can take 4-10 seconds to launch camera app – that is annoying. I have not found a fix for that yet.

    TimeScape and MediaScape

    Those 2 apps were another reason I bought the phone. They were great for about 2-3 weeks, after which I wanted toknow how to get rid of them. The problem with those 2 apps is that you can get many apps on the market that can do a better job. For example, I don’t use MediaScape for music or video – instead I use PowerAmp and RockPlayer. Not X10 users I know use MediaScape. As for TimeScape – I used it for 1 week and never touched it again. It’s a shame that these are the 2 apps that hold back quick Android updates on the X10 – one has to wonder just how important they are to Sony Ericsson (yes no user would mind if you got rid of them)?

    Perhaps Sony Ericsson would do well to offer a customised version of X10 and a non customised version. If there was ever a phone that could have toppled the iPhone it was this phone. Sony Ericsson needs to be very careful not to fall in the Microsoft trap – for 10 years Microsoft thought it had the formula for Smartphones figured out. Users view their Smartphones like Computers. When a new OS comes out – give me the ability to update. If Sony Ericsson employees have computers, they will understand how important it is to be able to remove manufacturer add-ons – like MediaScape and TimeScape. Instead of wasting money on MediaScape why not just buy PowerAmp????

    On the Move Music Player Test

    You cannot select music using MediaScape if you’re walking. IMPOSSIBLE! The buttons are too small and the swipe bar at the bottom is just too thin. iPhone music player buttons are bigger and easy to select music as you walk. Blackberry Bold is also easy, albeit not touch screen. Sony Ericsson – maybe it’s time you fired you UX team! Seriously, pick uo one of the phones and walk at a moderate pace and try and select Album – Scroll to one in the middle of the list – select a song in the middle of the album! IMPOSSIBLE! Yet, this is an afterthought for iPhone or people who download a 3rd party app!


    Fixing Headset Volume on Xperia X10

    A quick look around on any train ride and ½ the people have headphones on. Music player functionality just has to be spot-on in this day and age where the iPod/iPhone set the benchmark over 3-4 years ago.

    The headset volume of Xperia X10 running Android 1.6 is just terrible. Many of you will say that the X10 is now on Android 2.1 Éclair. Great – so I retested and decided that the 2.1 results would be the best and most up to date. I compared it to 2 of my old phones – the iPhone 3G the Blackberry Bold (9000) and my wife’s iPhone 4. I conducted the test with a pair of in-ear JVC-FXC80 headphones and over-ear AKG 701. The X10 volume is still terrible. It is about ½ as loud as the iPhone 3G. The Blackberry Bold is very loud and clear – the iPhone 4 has no reception but sounds great all the same.

    I downloaded PowerAmp and tried to boost the volume that way. DISTORTION! That’s right, when it’s loud the music is simply too distorted. This is obviously not the fix for the volume. PowerAmp is a great music player, but it is definitely not going to sort out your music playing experience on the X10.

    I did a quick search using Google and there were suggestions that the Nordic ROM would fix the headphone problem. So at last after almost 10 months I decided to download a custom ROM and root my phone whilst I was at it.

    So I went here - http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=835308 and downloaded the custom ROM, loaded it on the X10 and fired up the music player.

    FIXED!

    Yes, the music is now louder. Shame on you Sony Ericsson!

    Saving Battery

    Here is the best tip anyone can give you. Download a plain black background and use it as your wallpaper. Turn down your screen brightness (contrast is better with the black wall paper) and there you have it. 20-30% better battery!

    Keyboard

    Does anyone actually use the Default X10 keyboard? I use SwiftKey.

    Making Phone calls

    The buttons are now bigger and pressing the call button does not tale you to another menu item like in 1.6 but makes the call! Good job. I think the calling functionality is good. Just make the letters a little bigger on the contacts menu.

    Hindsight

    In hindsight I probably should have gone for the Google Nexus One. The fact that it receives updates before any other phone is justification enough. I have lived on Android 1.6 for almost 12 months and my contract ends in 6 months time. Logic would suggest – once bitten twice shy. The other reason is the volume on the Nexus One. I could play my music properly.

    My next phone will run be an HTC or Vanilla Android. I’m not interested in silly customisations that delay software upgrades – HTC somehow has their upgrades figured out.

    In 6 months time I’ll upgrade to a phone with better than 640 x 960 resolution. If Samsung can get AMOLED screens to 640 X 960 then they have a winner. But it would be silly to play catch up with the iPhone. I would suggest 640 X 1024.
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              Guide for Picking The Best Android Phone for You        
    Sony Xperia X10 vs Nexus One vs Motorola Droid vs Acer Liquid vs Archos


    Xperia X10


    Nexus One


    Motorola Droid


    Acer Liquid



    (Updated: 21st Jan 2010) The Android handset landscape has changed drastically over the past year, from a literal handful of options to – the fingers on both your hands, the toes on both your feet and all the mistresses Tiger Woods has had in the past 24 hours (OK, maybe 4 hours). You get the point though, there are quite a few options and through the course of 2010 these options will only increase.


    The only other mainstream handset smartphone option that rivals the Android handset options available in 2010 will be the Windows mobile platform – and we're all rushing for it – not!


    So what are the handsets to consider in 2010? The ones currently released on the market that we will look at are the Acer Liquid and Motorola Droid and an additional three to be released early 2010, the Sony Xperia X10, Google Nexus One (Passion, HTC Bravo) and Archos Phone Tablet – though we only have a handful of details on the phone.



    Archos Phone


    We will look at hardware and software sub-categories, and compare the phones based based on the information we have.


    HARDWARE


    Processor


    The Nexus One and Sony Xperia X10 have the snappier Qualcomm Snapdragon 1Ghz processor onboard. The Acer Liquid has a downclocked version of the Snapdragon running at 728Mhz – perhaps to conserve battery. This would probably put the Acer Liquids performance more on par with the Motorola Droids. The Archos Phone promises to be a really fast phone with an upgraded ARM Cortex processor running at 1Ghz and also with improved GPU over Droid and iPhone.


    Nexus One

    Motorola Droid

    Sony Xperia X10

    Acer Liquid

    Archos Phone

    Qualcomm Snapdragon QSD 8250, 1.0 GHz

    Texas Instruments OMAP 3430 550 Mhz

    Qualcomm Snapdragon QSD 8250, 1.0 GHz

    Qualcomm Snapdragon QSD 8250, 768 MHz

    ARM Cortex 1Ghz


    Graphics


    The Snapdragon's Adreno 200 Graphics core is phenomenal on the triangle render benchmark, coming in with a score of approximately 22 million triangles per/sec compared to approximately 7 million triangles/sec on the Motorola's SGX530. This is an important element for 3D graphics. Interestingly, the iPhone 3GS has a similar CPU to Motorola Droid but an upgraded faster SGX535 GPU which is capable of 28 million triangles/sec and 400 M Pixels/sec. Archos may get better SGX GPU.


    Xperia X-10 Graphics Demo


    Nexus One

    Motorola Droid

    Sony Xperia X10

    Acer Liquid

    Archos Phone

    Adreno 200 Graphics Core with OpenGLES 2.0

    PowerVR SGX530 Graphics Core with OpenGLES 2.0

    Adreno 200 Graphics Core with OpenGLES 2.0

    Adreno 200 Graphics Core with OpenGLES 2.0

    PowerVR SGX540?

    22 M Triangles/sec

    7 M Triangles/sec

    22 M Triangles/sec

    22 M Triangles/sec

    35 M Triangles/sec

    133 M Pixels/sec

    250 M Pixels/sec

    133 M Pixels/sec

    133 M Pixels/sec

    1000 M Pixels/sec

    HD Decode (720p)

    HD Decode (720p)

    HD Decode (720p)

    HD Decode (720p)



    3-D Graphics Benchmark









    Motorola Droid 20.7 FPS (Android 2.0).

    Nexus One 27.6 FPS. (Android 2.1)

    Acer Liquid 34 FPS. (Android 1.6)

    Xperia X10 34FPS+ est. (Android 1.6)



    Note: All phones tested running WVGA resolution 480 x 800 or 480 X 854. Different versions of Android will be a factor e.g. Android 2.0 + reproduces 16 million colors vs 56K for 1.6. Older phones such as G1, iPhone 3GS may score 25-30 FPS but they use lower 480 X 320 resolution.



    Memory/Storage


    The Nexus One comes in with an impeccable 512MB of RAM. This provides an element of future proofing for the hardware and puts it in a league of its own. The Xperia X10 comes with 1GB of ROM and 384 MB of RAM. The 1GB means you'll be able to have twice as many apps on your phone until Google lets you save on your removable memory. The Acer Liquid and Droid are more or less the same.




    Nexus One

    Motorola Droid

    Sony Xperia X10

    Acer Liquid

    Archos Phone

    RAM

    512 MB

    256 MB

    384 MB

    256 MB


    Flash

    512 MB

    512 MB

    1024 MB

    512 MB



    Display


    The Nexus One uses an AMOLED screen which provides crispy images and more saturated colors than a TFT-LCD. It's also more energy efficient. Xperia X10 packs a 4.0 inch TFT screen with 854 x 480 resolution. Expect similar picture quality to the Motorola Droid for the Sony Ericson phone. The Archos Phone promises to deliver an interesting experience that could potentially make it the King of Androids.



    Spot the difference: Top TFT-LCD screen and bottom OLED



    Nexus One

    Motorola Droid

    Sony Xperia X10

    Acer Liquid

    Archos Phone

    800 x 480 px, 3.7 in (94 mm), WVGA,

    AMOLED

    854 x 480 px, 3.7 in (94 mm), WVGA,

    TFT-LCD

    854 x 480 px, 4.0 in (102 mm), WVGA,

    TFT-LCD

    800 x 480 px, 3.5 in (89 mm), WVGA,

    TFT-LCD

    854x 480px, 4.3 in (109mm), WVGA, AMOLED



    Display Input


    All standard stuff here. All are pretty much Capacitative with multi-Touch depending on the continent you buy your phone from.



    Nexus One

    Motorola Droid

    Sony Xperia X10

    Acer Liquid

    Archos Phone

    Capacitative, Multi-Touch

    Capacitative, Multi-Touch

    Capacitative, Multi-Touch

    Capacitative, Multi-Touch

    Capacitative, Multi-Touch



    Battery


    The Xperia X10 has the largest battery – and might I add likely the best quality battery from the lot. It's the same battery used in the Xperia X1 and it performed admirable. Talk time for the Nexus One is very good and we expect the Xperia X10 to match this or be marginally better. Of concern is Nexus Ones 3G stand-by time of 250 hours. It's worse than the other phones but not bad at a little over 10 days! Updated 21st Jan 2010 - confirmed Xperia battery times. Xperia more or less performs at the same level as the other Android phones, delivering 5 hours talk time.


    Sony 1500 mAh Battery




    Nexus One

    Motorola Droid

    Sony Xperia X10

    Acer Liquid

    Archos Phone

    mAh

    1400 Li-Po

    1400 Li-Po

    1500 Li-Po

    1350 Li-Po


    Talk/Standby 3G

    hrs/hrs

    7/250

    5/380

    5/300

    5/400




    Communication


    The phones are all capable of 3.5G (HSDPA 7.2 Mbit/s) data transfer. The Motorola Droid and Sony Xperia X10 can give you a little bit extra supporting 10.2 Mbit/s data transfer. Obviously the network must exist to support these speeds. Motorola is the only one with Class 12 EDGE, but this is not too important in this day and age of 3G.




    Nexus One, Bravo

    Motorola Droid

    Sony Xperia X10

    Acer Liquid

    Archos Phone

    HSDPA (Mbit/s)

    7.2 (1700 band)

    10.2

    10.2

    7.2


    HSUPA

    2.0 - 5.76

    2.0-5.76

    2.0-5.76

    2.0-5.76


    GSM

    (850, 900,1800,1900)

    Y

    Y

    Y

    Y


    EDGE

    Class 10

    Class 12

    Class 10

    Class 10


    UMTS band 1/4/8

    (2100/AWS/900)

    Y

    Y

    Y

    Y


    GPS

    Y

    Y

    Y

    Y


    Network

    3-3.5G

    3-3.5G

    3-3.5G

    3-3.5G




    Connectivity:Bluetooth/Wifi


    Nexus One is the only Android phone that currently offers 802.11n connectivity. In fact, I can't think of any other phone out there that also has 802.11n. This might be the Google Talk phone we all thought was heading our way after all! All phones have either bluetooth 2.0 or 2.1. These will essentially be the same as far as data transfer (3 Mbit/s) is concerned. Version 2.1 offers better power efficiency though and a few other enhancements.


    Nexus One - Broadcom 802.11n



    Nexus One

    Motorola Droid

    Sony Xperia X10

    Acer Liquid

    Archos Phone

    Bluetooth

    2.1 + EDR

    2.1 + EDR

    2.1 + EDR

    2.0 + EDR

    Y

    802.11 b

    Y

    Y

    Y

    N

    Y

    802.11 g

    Y

    Y

    Y

    Y

    Y

    802.11 n

    Y

    N

    N

    N

    Y


    Ports/Connectors/Sensors


    The 2GB shipped micro-SD card with the Acer Liquid is unrealistic by todays standards. The Motorola Droid offers the best deal with a 16GB micro-SD. The Sony Xperia X10 is shipped with an 8GB micro-SD card, but remember the Xperia X10 also has that slightly bigger 1GB flash memory on-board as well for and impressive total of 9GB expandable to a total of 33GB. Google decided to save on costs by only offering a 4GB micro-SD card with the Nexus One, but if the idea is to compete against the iPhone then 8GB should be the minimum. Clearly the Motorola is on the right track with 16GB shipped, and you can't ignore the impressive 1GB ROM on the Xperia X10.


    SanDisk working on 128GB Micro-SD




    Nexus One

    Motorola Droid

    Sony Xperia X10

    Acer Liquid

    Archos Phone

    Sim Card

    Y

    Y

    Y

    Y

    Y

    3.5 mm jack

    Y

    Y

    Y

    Y

    Y

    Micro USB

    Y

    Y

    Y

    Y


    Shipped Micro SD/Supported (GB)

    4/32

    Class 2

    16/32

    Class 6

    8/32

    Unknown

    2/32

    Class 2


    Unknown

    Light Sensor

    Y

    Y

    Y

    Y


    Proximity Sensor

    Y

    Y

    Y

    Y


    Compass

    Y

    Y

    Y

    Y


    Accelerometer

    Y

    Y

    Y

    Y


    Cell/Wifi Positioning

    Y

    Y

    Y

    Y

    Y



    Case Material


    The Motorola metal case is the sturdiest. Build quality for the Nexus One and Xperia X10 is very good. The Xperia X10 has a refelective plastic whilst the Nexus one is more industrial with teflon and metal on the bottom. Acer Liquid has average build quality, but that was always the intention with the Liquid in order to keep manufacturing costs low.



    Nexus One

    Motorola Droid

    Sony Xperia X10

    Acer Liquid

    Archos Phone

    Rubber/Plastic

    Metal

    Plastic

    Plastic



    Keyboard


    If you want a physical keyboard then the Droid is your only choice in the list. The keys on the Droid keyboard are basically flush so you don't get the comfortable key separation feel on a Blackberry keyboard. The others (Droid as well) have virtual keyboards which work in portrait or landscape mode.



    Droid Slide-out keyboard



    Nexus One

    Motorola Droid

    Sony Xperia X10

    Acer Liquid

    Archos Phone

    Virtual

    Physical

    Virtual

    Virtual

    Virtual


    Camera


    The Xperia X10 is one of the best camera phones. Sony used it's camera know how for their new smartphone lineup and it will be hard to match-up against Sony unless the other guys partner up with someone like Canon. The X10 comes with an 8.1 mp camera with X 16 digital zoom. The software has also been changed from standard Android to include typical camera options. Also included are a four face detection feature that recognizes faces in a photo and appropriately tags/files the photo. Motorola Droid comes in with a 5 mp camera with X4 digital zoom compared to the 5mp and x2 digital zoom on the Nexus One.



    Xperia X10 sample photo

    ***Additional Photos***



    Motorola Droid sample photo



    Nexus One sample photo



    Acer Liquid sample photo




    Nexus One

    Motorola Droid

    Sony Xperia X10

    Acer Liquid

    Archos Phone

    Megapixel

    5

    5

    8.1

    5


    Zoom

    X 2

    X 4

    x16

    1


    Flash

    Y

    Y (dual)

    Y

    Y



    Video


    Video wise, the Nexus One, Motorola Droid and Xperia will perform roughly the same.














    Nexus One

    Motorola Droid

    Sony Xperia X10

    Acer Liquid

    Archos Phone

    Video Res.

    720x480

    720x480

    800x480

    320x240


    Flash

    Y

    Y

    Y

    N




    Size/Height/Weight



    Lightest and thinest is the Nexus one. Motorola is weighed down by the metal used. They all are roughly the same size as the iPhone 3Gs which comes in at 115.5 x 62.1 x 12.3 mm and weighs 135g.



    Nexus One

    Motorola Droid

    Sony Xperia X10

    Acer Liquid

    Archos Phone

    Height (mm)

    119

    115.8

    119

    115


    Width (mm)

    59.8

    60

    63

    62.5


    Depth (mm)

    11.5

    13.7

    13

    12.5

    10

    Weight (g)

    130

    169

    135

    135




    SOFTWARE


    OS Level


    Nexus One has the most current OS level at 2.1. Motorola Droid is expected to upgrade soon as well as the Acer Liquid. The heavily customized Xperia X10 will be more of a challenge to upgrade to 2.1 because of the heavy customization.



    Nexus One

    Motorola Droid

    Sony Xperia X10

    Acer Liquid

    Archos Phone

    2.1

    2

    1.6

    1.6




    Customization


    Xperia X10 shines as far as demonstrating how customizable Android really is. The other 3 phones have very few changes to the standard Android OS.


    Sony TimeScape/MediaScape



    Nexus One

    Motorola Droid

    Sony Xperia X10

    Acer Liquid

    Archos Phone

    None

    None

    Rachael UI

    Acer UI 3.0



    Application Market


    We are likely to see more App market emerge. Sony currently leads the way and Motorola and HTC (Nexus One) will follow suit as well.



    Nexus One

    Motorola Droid

    Sony Xperia X10

    Acer Liquid

    Archos Phone

    Android Market

    Android Market

    PlayNow, Android Market

    Android Market



    Media


    Mediascape is an ambitious effort to add decent media functionality to Android. Sony succeeds and also introduces a fun way to organize your media. Acer has Spinlet which is not as complex as Mediascape.



    Nexus One

    Motorola Droid

    Sony Xperia X10

    Acer Liquid

    Archos Phone

    Android

    Android

    MediaScape

    Spinlet



    Social Networking


    Sony again leds the customization way with Timescape. This is another good job by Sony to add extra functionality to Android. Timescape helps manage your contacts better and brings social networking and contacts onto one application.



    Nexus One

    Motorola Droid

    Sony Xperia X10

    Acer Liquid

    Archos Phone

    Android

    Android

    TimeScape

    Android





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              MPEG decoding, state save/restore, NRF emulation, ...        
    It's been a while since I wrote anything here, but that doesn't mean that work on CD-i Emulator has stopped. On the contrary, a lot has happened in the last month and describing all of it will take a very long blog post. So here goes…

    Last January an annoying date-checking bug was found which forced me to release beta2 somewhat earlier than anticipated. After that I did no further work on CD-i Emulator. There were various reasons for this, but the most import one was a very busy period at my day job.

    After a well-earned vacation I resumed CD-i related work in early August. First I spent a few days on Walter Hunt's OS-9 port of gcc, the GNU C/C++ Compiler that I found in October of last year. Getting it working on a modern Cygwin installation was interesting and something very different from my usual line of work. The result could be useful for homebrew activities: it's a much more usable C compiler then the Microware OS-9 one and supports C++ as a bonus. I intend to use this for ROM-less emulation validation some day; see also below. The sources need to be released but I haven’t gotten to that stage yet.

    After that I had another go at the Digital Video cartridge emulation. At the point where I left off last year the major stumbling block was the presumed picture / frame buffering logic of the MPEG video driver. When the appropriate interrupt status bits are set the driver starts copying a bulk of status information to an array of device registers and it will sometimes also read from those registers. This is all controlled by several status and timing registers that are also referenced elsewhere and I previously could not get a handle on it.

    My first attempt this time was spending another few days staring at it and tracing it, but this did not gain me much new understanding. Finally I decided to just leave it for now and see how far I could get without understanding this part of the driver. I decided to once again attempt to get "CD-i Full Motion Video Technical Aspects" working.

    This CD-i was produced by Philips to give future Full Motion Video (as the new MPEG playback functions were called at the time) developers a demonstration of the technical capabilities of the new hardware, at a time when this hardware was still in the early beta phase. The CD-i actually contains the compiler libraries necessary for making FMV calls from CD-i applications, as these had not previously been widely distributed.

    It is not a very slick disc visually, being intended for developers, but it demonstrates a number of FMV techniques such as regular playback, playback control including pause, slow motion and single step, freeze frame and forward/backward scan, special effects like scrolling the FMV window, a seamless jump and a sample of overlay effects with the CD-i base case video planes.

    I had previously tried to run this disc on CD-i Emulator, but it always crashed for an unknown reason that I attributed to MPEG device emulation problems. This time I traced back the crash and it turned out to have nothing at all to do with FMV playback but was instead caused by an incorrect emulation of the 68000 instruction "move ea,ccr" which is supposed to set the condition code register (ccr) to the value specified by the effective address (ea). In the processor manual this is classified as a word instruction and I had emulated it as such, which turned out to be wrong as it caused a word write to the full status register which should have been a byte write to the lower eight bits of it which hold the condition codes.

    The problem manifested itself when the application calls the math trap handler for some mundane number calculations, which were naturally supposed to set the condition codes. The value written to the status register inadvertently changed the processor from user to system mode (and also scrambled the active interrupt masking level) which caused an instant stack switch that caused a bus error when the trap handler attempts to return to the application program (the cpu took the return address from the wrong stack and got garbage instead).

    Most CD-i applications probably don't use the math trap handler so the problem went undetected for a long time. Now that it's fixed some other titles have probably started working but I haven't tested that.

    After this, the FMV Technical Aspects application would get to its main menu screen, allowing me to start FMV playback operations. Regular playback worked fine until the end of the video clip, where there turned out to be status bit generation issues that prevented the application from properly detecting the end of video clip condition (the decoder is supposed to send a "buffer underflow" signal, among others, after the end of the MPEG data and my emulation didn't do that yet).

    This was not very easy to fix because of the way that MPEG data buffering and decoding is handled inside CD-i Emulator, which I'll get into below. So it took me some time.

    Regular play working fine, I started worrying about window control. This was the area where I feared the picture buffering stuff, but it turned out that this was easily bypassed. The horizontal / vertical scrolling functions were ideal to test this but it took me some time to get it working. There were bugs in several areas, including my integration of the MPEG video decoding code, which I took from the well-known mpeg2dec package. This code is written to decode a single video sequence and consequently did not handle image size changes without some re-initialization calls at the appropriate times. Failing that, it mostly just crashed (at the Windows application level) due to out-of-bounds video buffer accesses.

    Another issue was the timing of device register updates for image size changes; I turned out to have the basic mechanism wrong and consequently the driver would keep modifying the window parameters to incorrect values.

    Having all of the above fixed, I returned my attention to playback control. So far I can get the video playback properly paused, but I haven't been able to get it properly resumed. For some reason the application resumes the MPEG playback but it doesn't resume the disc playback. Since the driver waits for new data to arrive from disc before actually resuming MPEG playback nothing happens (this is documented as such). The application is presumably expecting some signal from the driver to get into the proper state for resuming disc playback, but I haven't found it yet.

    At this point, it seemed promising to look at other CD-i titles using playback control and the Philips Video CD application is an obvious candidate. Again, regular playback appears to work fine, but playback control (including pause/resume) does not. It turns out that this application uses a different driver call (it uses MV_ChSpeed instead of MV_Pause, probably in preparation for possible slow motion or single step), which never completes successfully, probably again because of device status signaling. Similar issues appear to block playback control in a few other titles I tried.

    I've given some thought to tracing driver calls and signals on an actual player to see what CD-i Emulator is doing wrong, and it appears to be relatively simple, there's just a bandwidth issue because all of the trace output will have to go out the serial port which can go no higher then 19200 baud. Some kind of data compression is obviously needed and I've determined a relatively simple scheme that should be enough (the CD-i player side will all need to be coded in 68000 machine language so simplicity is important!), but I haven't actually written any code for it yet.

    I know there are issues with the proper timing of some video status signals. Things like start-of-sequence, end-of-sequence and start-of-picture-group should be delayed until display of the corresponding picture, at present they are delivered at decoding time, which can be a few pictures early. But that does not really affect the titles I've tried so far, because they do not attempt picture-synced operations. An application like The Lost Ride might be sensitive to thinks like this, though, and it needs to be fixed at some time. Similar issues are probably present with time code delivery. In addition, the last-picture-displayed and buffer-underflow signals are not always properly sent; I'm fixing these as I go along.

    In the process, I decided that the magenta border was getting annoying and tried to fix it. That turned out to be harder then I thought. The MPEG chip has a special border color register that is written by the MV_BColor driver call and it seemed enough to just pass the color value to the MPEG window overlay routines. Well, not so. Again the issue turned out to be timing of decoder status signals, but of a different kind. The driver doesn't write the border color registers until it has seen some progress in certain timing registers related to the picture buffering thing, presumably to avoid visual flashes or something on the actual hardware. Fortunately, it turned out to be easy to simulate that progress, taking care not to trigger the complicated picture buffer code that I so far managed to keep dormant.

    At some point, possibly related to slow motion or freeze frame, I might need to actually tackle that code but I hope to by that time have gained more understanding of the supposed workings of the MPEG chip.

    Looking at the above, you might think that all of the difficulties are with the MPEG video decoding and that is indeed mostly true. I did have to fix something in the MPEG audio decoding, related to the pause/resume problems, and that was the updating of the audio decoder clock. When audio and video playback are synchronized the MPEG video driver uses the MPEG audio clock as it's timing reference, which means that it has to be stopped and restarted when video playback control operations occur. Since I had never before seriously tested this, the audio clock wasn't stopped at all and the video driver obligingly continued decoding and displaying pictures until it ran out of buffered data.

    There is currently just one known problem with the MPEG audio decoding: the audio isn't properly attenuated as specified by the driver. This causes little audio distortions at some stream transitions and when buffers run out. There is also a problem with base case audio synchronization but that is hard to trigger and possibly even not audible in many titles so I'll worry about that much later.

    Above I promised to get into the MPEG data buffering and decoding issue. The basic problem is one of conceptual mismatch: the CD-i decoding hardware gets data "pushed" into it (by DMA or direct device I/O) at the behest of the driver, whereas the MPEG decoding code (based on the publicly available mpeg2dec and musicout programs from the MPEG Software Simulation Group) expects to "pull" the data it needs during decoding. Things get messy when the decoding runs out of data, as the code does not expect to ever do so (it was originally written to decode from a disc file which of course never runs out of data until the end of the sequence). Some obvious solutions include putting the decoding in a separate thread (which given multi-core processors might be a good idea anyway from a performance perspective) and modifying it to become restartable at some previous sync point (most easily this would be the start of an audio frame or a picture or picture slice). Both options are somewhat involved although they have obvious benefits, and it may turn out that I will need to do one of them anyway at some point. For now I've avoided the problems by carefully timing calls into the MPEG decoding code so that enough data to decode a single audio frame or video picture should always be available; the MPEG data stream at the system level contains enough timestamp and buffering information to make this possible (in particular, it specifies the exact decoding time of every audio frame or video picture in relation to the timing of the data stream, thus making it possible to make those calls into the decoding code at a time that a valid MPEG data stream will have already filled the buffers far enough).

    The approach depends on the timing of the MPEG data entering the decoder, which means that it does not handle buffer underflow conditions unless you add some kind of automatic decoding that continues even if no more MPEG data appears, and this is basically what I’ve done. In the end it was just relatively straightforward extension of the automatic decoding already there to handle the fact that MPEG audio streams do not have to explicitly timestamp every single audio frame (the CD-i Green Book does not even allow this unless you waste massive amounts of space in each MPEG audio data sector) and would have been needed anyway to correctly decode the last pictures of a sequence, but that had never been tested before.

    For performance and possible patent reasons I have taken care to edit the MPEG decoding code (placing appropriate #ifdef lines at the right places) so that only MPEG 1 video and audio layer I/II decoding code is compiled into the CD-i Emulator executable. This is all that is needed for CD-i anyway and MPEG 2 video and audio layer III greatly complicate the decoding and thus significantly enlarge the compiled code.

    Being somewhat stymied at the FMV front, I next decided to spend some time on another lingering issue. During testing, I often have to do the same exact sequence of mouse actions to get a CD-i application to a problem point and this is starting to be annoying. Input recording and playback are a partial solution to this but then you still have to wait while the application goes through it, which is also annoying and can sometimes take quite some time anyway. The obvious solution is a full emulation state save/restore feature, which I've given some thought and started implementing. It's nowhere near finished, though.

    During the MESS collaboration I spent some time investigating the MESS save/restore mechanism. If at all possible I would love to be compatible for CD-i emulation states, but it turns out to be quite hard to do. The basic internal mechanism is quite similar in spirit to what I developed for CD-i Emulator, but it's the way the data is actually saved that makes compatibility very hard. Both approaches basically boil down to saving and restoring all the relevant emulation state variables, which includes easy things like the contents of cpu, memory and device registers but also internal device state variables. The latter are of course not identical between different emulators but they could probably be converted if some effort was thrown at it and for a typical device they aren't very complex anyway. The MESS implementation uses an initialization-time registration of all state variables; at save/restore time it just walks the registrations and saves or restores the binary contents of those variables. CD-i Emulator has a somewhat more flexible approach; at save/restore time it calls a device-specific serialize function to save or restore the contents of the state variables. The actual registration / serialization codes are structurally similar in the two emulators (a simple list of macro/function calls on the state variables) but the code runs at different times.

    The real problem is that MESS includes very little meta information in the save files: only a single checksum of all the names and types of registered state variables in registration order. This is enough to validate the save data at restore time if the state variables of the saving emulator exactly match those of the restoring emulator, because there is no information to implement skipping or conversions. This holds between different versions or in some case even configurations of MESS emulators, but it holds even more so between MESS and CD-i Emulator! The meta information could of course be obtained from the MESS source code (relatively simply macro modifications could cause it to be written out) but that would require exact tracking of MESS versions because every version could have its own checksum corresponding to different meta information (in this case CD-i Emulator would need meta information sets for every MESS checksum value it wants to support).

    I want CD-i Emulator to be more flexible, especially during development, so I decided to make full meta information an option in the save file. The saved state of every device is always versioned, which allows the save/restore code to implement explicit conversion where needed, but during development this isn't good enough. With full meta information turned on, the name and type of every state variable precedes the save data for that variable in the save file. This allows more-or-less automatic skipping of unknown state variables and when properly implemented the restore code can also handle variable reordering. At release time, I will fix the version numbers and save full metadata information sets for those version numbers so that the same automatic skipping and handling of reordering can be done even if the metadata isn't in the save file (it probably won't be because of file size considerations, although that may turn out to be a non-issue because save files need to include the full RAM contents anyway which is 1 MB of data in the simplest case without any compression, which is of course an option).

    In addition to all of the above, I made some progress on the ROM-less emulation front. First I spent some time reading up on the internals of OS-9 file managers, because writing a replacement for the NRF file manager (NRF = Nonvolatile RAM File manager) seemed the logical next step. Actually writing it turned out not to be that hard, but there were of course bugs in the basic ROM emulation code. Most of them had to do with handlers not calling into the original ROM, which totally screwed up the tracing code. Some new functionality was also needed to properly read/write OS-9 data structures inside the emulated machine from the ROM emulation code; I wanted to implement this in such a way that compilation to "native" 68000 code remains a future option for ROM emulation modules. And of course the massive tracing described in the previous blog post had to be curtailed because it was impossible to see the relevant information in the morass of tracing output.

    The new emulated NRF stores its files in the PC file system and it currently works fine when you start it with no stored files (i.e., the player will boot). In that case it will write out a proper "csd" (Configuration Status Descriptor) file. However, if this file already exists, the player crashes, although I have so far not found any fault in the NRF code. The origin of the problem probably lies elsewhere; I suspect it has to do with the hidden "player_shell_settings.prf" file. This file is read and written by the ROM bootstrap even before OS-9 is running; it does this by directly accessing the NVRAM memory (the file never changes size and is always the first one in NVRAM). Since the bootstrap accesses of this file do not go through the NRF file manager or even the NVRAM driver they are not redirected by the OS-9 emulation. However, later accesses by the player shell *are* redirected and the player shell does not seem able to handle the file not existing in the PC file system in the case where a csd file already exists. Solutions include extending the emulated NRF to always access this particular file from the NVRAM instead of the PC file system or somehow synchronizing the two locations for the file. The latter is probably the easiest route given the fixed location and size of the file, but the former is also useful as it would provide a full reimplementation of the original NRF that could in principle be compiled to native 68000 code to replace the "original" NRF in ROM (this is where gcc comes in as alluded to earlier, since all emulation code is written in C++).

    In either case, I do not want the file manager to directly access emulated NVRAM although it could do so easily, as there is already an internal CNvramPort interface that provides just such access independent of the actual emulated NVRAM chip. The NRF file manager should instead call the NVRAM driver, which means that I need to implement cross-module calling first. It's not really hard in principle, the design has been done but there are a lot of little details to get right (the most obvious implementation uses at least 66 bytes of emulated stack space on each such call which I find excessive and might not even work; smarter implementations require some finicky register mask management or a "magic cookie" stacking approach, the latter having the best performance in the emulation case but being impossible in the native 68000 compilation case). When cross-module calling is working, I can also have the file manager allocate emulated memory and separate out the filename parsing functions by using the OS-9 system calls that provide these functions (the current emulated NRF does not allocate emulated memory which is arguably an emulation error and has the filename parsing coded out explicitly).

    When everything works correctly with the emulated NRF, I have to find some way of integrating it in the user experience. You could always start over without any NVRAM files, but I'd like to have some way of migrating files between the two possible locations without having to run CD-i Emulator with weird options. Extending the CD-i File Extractor (cdifile) by incorporating (part of) the emulated NRF seems the obvious choice, which would also provide me with some impetus to finally integrate it with the CD-i File Viewer (wcdiview) program that's supposed to be a GUI version of cdifile but so far is just a very thin skeleton barely able to graphically display a single CD-i IFF image file passed on the command line (it doesn't even have a File Open menu) and will often crash. A proper implementation would look like Windows Explorer with a tree view on the left (CD-i file system, real-time channels and records, IFF chunk structure, etc) and a variable content display on the right (raw data view, decoded sector view, code disassembly view, graphical image view, audio playback, slideshow playback, decoded MPEG view, MPEG playback, etc).

    That touches on another area in which I did some work last month: the saving of CD-i IFF image files for each emulated video frame. The motivation for this was to bring full-resolution real-time frame saving into the realm of the possible, as it would write only about 2 x (1024 + 280 x (384 + 32)) = 247 KB of raw CD-i video and DCP data per frame instead of 560 x 768 x 3 = 1260 KB of raw RGB. At least on my PC this has turned out not to be the case, however. The data is written out fine, which is not as easy as it sounds since video line data size can vary with each line because of pixel repeat and run-length encoding, but it's still too slow. That being so, I am not really very motivated to extend the CD-i IFF decoding implementation to actually decode this information. Some kind of compression could be an option, but that takes processor time and makes things even harder and possibly slower. Perhaps using another thread for this would be a solution, on a multi-core machine this should not greatly impact the basic emulation performance nor the debugging complexity as the compression code would be independent of the emulation itself.

    So there is still a lot of work to be done, but it's all quite interesting and will provide for some entertaining evenings and weekends in the coming weeks or possibly months.

              Baaziz @ dimanche 20 novembre 2016, 11:57        
    Suite aux derniers classements de US news (http://www.usnews.com/education/best-global-universities/africa?page=2), l'idée de fusion des universités au Maroc peut être une solution pour grimper dans les rangs. L'exemple de l'actuelle Université Mohammed V (fusion de 2 universités précédentes, Agdal et Souissi) en est un exemple. L'université Mohamed V a occupé le rang 15 en Afrique. Ce sont toujours les Universités anglophones qui enregistrent les meilleurs classements. Lire l'article du 13 Novembre 2016 'Les world rankings, un gage d’excellence pour les universités', lien: http://lematin.ma/journal/2016/les-world-rankings-un-gage--d-excellence-pour-les-universites/257972.html La nouvelle gouvernance des universités semble donner ses premiers fruits. Pour la première fois de son histoire le nom d’une université marocaine figure dans le classement mondial de l’US News and World Report Global Ranking. Et c’est l’Université Mohammed V qui a pu réaliser ce sacre en se plaçant première au Maroc et au Maghreb, 15e en Afrique et 866e dans le monde.
              Analista Infraestructura        
    Sophos Banking Solutions S A S - Bogotá DC - Profesional en Ingeniería de sistemas, Ingeniería de Telecomunicaciones o Ingeniería Electrónica. Con experiencia en dimensionamiento de Infraestructura, IAAS. Experiencia en servicios on Cloud (AWS, Azure, etc). Conocimientos sobre administración y configuración avanzada de Sist...
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              Politicians and Water: The Murray Darling Basin Scandal Fallout        

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    The outrage from the revelations of water theft and other illegality by big irrigators in the northern NSW area of the Murray-Darling Basin (MDB) has increased over the days since the program was screened.  Politicians have been left scrambling and forced to change tack following the strength of the reaction and the condemnation of the inadequacy of their initial responses.
    In NSW the Nationals Minister for Primary Industry, Niall Blair, was forced to change from an internal inquiry conducted by his department to an independent inquiry.  Blair was excessively optimistic in thinking that such an internal inquiry would be acceptable given that Four Corners had revealed a questionable relationship between Gavin Hanlon[1], his department’s Deputy Director General (Water), and big irrigators in the upper MDB.  In addition there was the important question of why the department had failed to act on departmental compliance officers’ reports of licence breaches and meter tampering. And there were questions about the role of the former water minister Kevin Humphries in dealing with the large irrigators.
    The NSW Opposition has also taken action referring both the former Nationals water minister Kevin Humphries (Member for Barwon) and a senior bureaucrat (presumably Gavin Hanlon) to ICAC.
    The Federal Government reaction was initially almost dismissive.  The Minister for Water Resources, Nationals Leader Barnaby Joyce[2], as well as attempting to downplay the water theft by comparing it to cattle rustling, claimed that it was a matter for NSW and that there was no need for Federal Government involvement. Billions of dollars of taxpayer funds have been used to buy back water for environmental flows and instead of being used for this purpose this water has gone to the big irrigators in the upper Barwon-Darling.  Presumably the taxpayer funds had come from the Federal Government. This would surely make it a matter of very great interest to this government which, seeing it is so concerned about budget repair, would surely be appalled at the waste of billions of taxpayer dollars.
    Joyce’s totally inadequate initial response was compounded shortly afterwards with what he said in a speech to irrigators in a hotel at Shepparton, a speech which was recorded by one of those attending.
    Joyce said, "We have taken water, put it back into agriculture, so we could look after you and make sure we don't have the greenies running the show basically sending you out the back door, and that was a hard ask.”
    "A couple of nights ago on Four Corners, you know what that's all about? It's about them trying to take more water off you, trying to create a calamity. A calamity for which the solution is to take more water off you, shut more of your towns down."
    Even a dinosaur like Barnaby Joyce should have been aware that anyone carrying a smartphone has the capacity to secretly record what others are saying.  In the political sphere we have seen how damaging this can be in the cases of Christopher Pyne and One Nation’s James Ashby. The Shepparton recording has certainly damaged Joyce and has added volume to the calls for him to be sacked from the Water portfolio.  Unfortunately, this is unlikely to happen as the Prime Minister has enough problems in his own party without alienating Joyce and the Nationals.
    By Sunday 30th the scandal became a matter that the Federal Government had to act upon despite Joyce’s earlier labelling it a state matter. The Federal solution was for the Murray Darling Basin Authority to carry out an independent basin-wide review into compliance with state-based regulations governing water use. The Authority is to report by 15th December 2017.  The Government saw this review as complementing the other investigations of the Four Corners allegations.
    However, this is a case of far too little too late.  The MDB Authority is scarcely a body able to conduct an independent review of what has obviously been happening under its watch.  Furthermore a cynic would see the reporting date of 15th December, just before the Christmas holiday season, as a typical government move to ensure that the review report would receive minimal attention and be forgotten about over the holiday break.
    The Federal Opposition, like its NSW state counterpart, has also taken action on the scandal.  It requested that the Auditor-General expand his current audit of the Federal Department of Agriculture and Water Resources.  The Auditor-General will now include how the federal department is monitoring the performance of NSW under the National Partnership Agreement on Implementing Water Reform in the MDB relevant to the protection and use of environmental water.
    Unsurprisingly, the South Australian Government, which has long been concerned about the lack of water reaching the end of the Murray-Darling system, was outraged by the allegations.  It is calling for a judicial inquiry, a much stronger investigation than those arranged by NSW and the Federal Government.  SA senators from Labor, the Greens, the Nick Xenophon Party and the Conservatives have joined their state government in calling for a judicial inquiry.
    This scandal has a long way to run yet.  There are major questions to be answered about the National Party – both state and federally - and its relationship with the big irrigators and its apparent indifference to the needs of other irrigators further down the system.  There is also the question of its influence on the workings of the NSW Department of Agriculture.   And just what role has it had in limiting the effectiveness of – perhaps even of sabotaging - the Murray Darling Basin Plan?
    For both Federal and NSW state Liberal leaders there is the question about the advisability of having resource management portfolios in the hands of Nationals and of putting both Agriculture and Water in the same portfolio.  Each of these governments has a very poor environmental record.  What has been happening on the Barwon-Darling reinforces the view that keeping “in good” with the Nationals is far more important for the  Liberals than ensuring that environmental policies are in the best long-term interests of the state and nation.
    [1] Gavin Hanlon joined the NSW Department of Primary Industries in December 2014.  Prior to this he had been Managing Director of Goulburn Murray Water since 2011.
    [2] The water portfolio was removed from the Environment Department and allocated to Joyce as a result of the agreement with the Liberals in 2015  following  Malcolm Turnbull becoming Prime Minister.

    Hildegard
    Northern Rivers
    2ndAugust 2017

    Guest Speak is a North Coast Voices segment allowing serious or satirical comment from NSW Northern Rivers residents. Email northcoastvoices at gmail dot com dot au to submit comment for consideration.

              I'm gonna rouge my knees and roll my stockings down...        
    To bare, or not to bare? That is the question- well, it is when it comes to wearing stockings and suspenders, at least. Ever since last summer, with the rise of the underwear as outerwear trend, and since I first began to see pictures of the beautiful Miss Momsen rocking exposed stockings and suspenders on her endlessly long legs, I have been obsessed with the idea of wearing some myself. All last summer, I entertained visions of myself strutting the streets in a cream vintage slip, black stockings and an oversized parka, or hitting the town in heels, stockings and suspenders and an LBD, with my baggy leopard print vintage shirt thrown over the top. I have managed to wear mock-stocking tights a number of times, and did so that summer- although what I really want to do is strut out of my front door and off to to the shops in a pair of actual suspenders. Sigh. If only it were that easy.

    Let me just tell you a little story detialing my daily walk to the train station. So, I'm walking down the road in my flat winter boots, black opaque tights and huge fur coat fastened up to my chin. As I round the corner, I see the work van belonging to the builders who are working on one of the houses parked along my route to the station. My stomach clenching with nerves and annoyance, I deliberately cross the road to avoid them, even though I am already on the side I need to be. I keep my eyes and head down so as not to draw additional attention to myself, but as I draw level with the builders, the inevitable wolf- whistling and cat-calling begins. The first time I walked past them, I got a leering grin and an 'alright love', which I returned with a polite, albeit embarrassed, smile. After that, I felt too self conscious to walk right past again, so I started crossing the road. Each time I get at least a whistle. The other day I got 'excuse me!' shouted out repeatedly, which I firmly ignored. Taylor Momsen gets hoards of screaming fans and paparazzi clamoring for a photograph as she walks along the street with her army of bodyguards. I get a whistle of approval from Bob the overweight, middle-aged builder. This is the sort of response I get when I am completely covered up in my winter gear. Now try to imagine the chaos I would stir up if I actually walked past wearing a mini skirt revealing supsenders and sheer, lace- topped stockings, a la Taylor. I'd be asking for it, right? But that's the thing- I'm not asking for it, and this leads me onto my next question: how much freedom do women actually have to dress the way that they want to?

    This is something I have given a lot of thought to in recent months. As someone who dresses in what some would call an 'unusual' way, I inevitably tend to stand out from the crowd quite a bit. Especially around Orpington and Bromley, where I live, as opposed to in London where crazy fashion is more the norm. Having people stare at me for wearing attention-grabbing outfits and even bold makeup is something I've had to force myself to accept as part of expressing myself through my style. I think the time where I first began to really notice it was, surprisingly, in New York. I went to New York back in April for my 21st birthday, and began planning my looks months and months and months in advance. I was finally going to visit a place that I had adored and worshiped since I was sixteen, when I discovered Sex and the City. I was going to the HOME of Carrie Bradshaw. The playground of the Gossip Girl social elite. I was going to the city where dreams come true. I think it's safe to say that what I wore to the New York City was pretty damn important. I pulled out all the fashion stops- I scoured magazines for inspiration, visited Topshop.com on a daily basis and hunted through vintage shops to put together the most fun, fabulous outfits I could think of. When I got there, I spent two hours getting ready each morning, wore fake eyelashes everyday and honestly treated the streets like they were my catwalk. New York was my big date, and I wanted it to be impressed. However, I didn't exactly get the response I was hoping for. People actually stared open-mouthed as I stepped into cafes in my see-through black lace body with only a skimpy croptop underneath, deep plum lipstick and flamboyant floral headband. One woman in a supermarket stared fixedly at my legs for about five whole minutes when I was wearing my denim chambray body-con skirt and bow-print tights. I searched the streets for the Blair Waldorfs, Serena Van Der Woodsens and Jenny Humpfreys, but all I saw was a load of suits, jeans, T shirts and trainers. I was disappointed. To be honest, New York street style was nothing like I'd expected, and I stood out like a sore thumb. I did manage to find some really trendy shop owners and stall-holders, but they were confined to the safety of their thrift-stores and vintage street fairs. Unlike me, they were safe from the bewildered stares of passers-by on the streets.

    Most of the stares I got were from men- and it's the same here. I stand there sometimes and watch as their eyes travel unashamedly up my legs in my short skirts, or oggle me square in the face, even when I stare right back at them. Seriously, did their mothers never teach them it was rude to stare? Don't get me wrong- it's not that I don't want people looking at me. I put alot of time and thought into my outfits and it's lovely when you get an admiring glance and a smile from a stranger. But it's the fact that no one ever SMILES. Even when I'm smiling at them (which I always do- it's polite to smile) they just stare back at me like I'm an alien from outter space (if the person is female) or someone that they are thinking very dirty things indeed about (if the person is a straight male). If ever I look at anyone to take in their outfit and they happen to catch me looking, I always, always smile. It's just a natural reaction. When I catch people looking at me and they continue to stare straight into my eyes without even the hint of a polite smile- I must admit- it totally freaks me out.

    So, should we try to avoid this rude, blatant, open-mouthed staring by dressing in a less eye-catching manner, and more to the point, should we, as women, try to dress less provocatively in order to avoid unwanted leering from men, even if it means not being able to wear our favourite trends? In attempting to give out the signal that we are strong, confident women who dress how we damn well please, do we instead give out the signal that we crave sexual attention from men? What happens when the signals you are trying to give out to the world are totally misread? I don't want to be unfair to men here, and I do understand that men can't help but look at women they find sexually attractive on the street. It's natural. I even think sometimes it can be quite flattering. A little look and a smile, or even a 'you look beautiful' is actually a real confidence booster, and when that happens to me, I take it as a compliment. But when men cross the line by leering unpleasantly or repeatedly shouting things out or muttering vulgar comments to their friends as you walk by, it makes you feel really uncomfortable. When I was sixteen, a builder who was older then my dad and much, much fatter, stood and watched me as I approached him for what felt like an age, and then as I walked past, leaned towards me and growled 'you're fit.' I think it's safe to say that I didn't take that as a compliment.

    Worse still, is the idea that women are 'asking for it' or are 'up for it' if they wear a revealing outfit. Or, as my ex- friend's boyfriend once convinced her, that women who wear skirts and dresses have 'no respect for themselves.' As a result, she only ever went out after that wearing jeans, when previously, she had been the most daring, fashion-forward person I knew. Now, I don't know about you, but someone who allows a man to dictate to them how they should dress seems to me to have a lot less respect for themselves than a girl who wears whatever she wants because that's what she likes. I'm not saying that every woman should wear revealing clothes, I'm just saying that women should have the freedom to wear whatever they like, without certain men assuming that they are desperate sluts who are up for a one-night-stand simply because they are showing a bit of leg. One thing I HATE when I come across it in womens' magazines, are those articles where they ask 'what do men think of they way we dress?' The article always comes to the conclusion that most men think extremes of fashion are weird, therefore we should avoid wacky trends at the cost of our boyfriends no longer finding us attractive. What do men think of the way we dress? Here's a thought- WHO CARES?? I want to wear stockings and suspenders because I think it looks edgy and cool. Also because I am a creative person who likes to have fun and experiment with clothes. Wearing suspenders would reflect a style that I like- therefore reflecting my personality, and that's why I want to wear them. Not because I want men to shout out 'oi oi' and ogle me like I'm a piece of meat.

    This also begs the question of how accepting are people in general of fashion? Of course it depends where you are, but the answer, in most cases I think, is not very. But then here's another question: should we care? Having experienced this sort of bewilderment  first hand for as long as I've been interested in fashion, I think it's safe to say that there are always going to be those people who just. don't. get it. For example, there are certain people who would never understand why I would never want to wear fake tan or get a sunbed. They just can't see that there is any other way to be attractive than that of being tanned. They think that there is only one way to be beautiful, whereas I disagree. I believe that beauty comes in many, many forms, and that you can be beautiful in so many unique, different ways, no matter what your skin colour/race/hairtype/bodyshape. Yes, girls with blonde hair, blue eyes, big busts and golden tans are beautiful (ie Blake Lively), but so are girls with bright red hair and milky white skin (ie Nicola Robers)- it's just a different type of beauty. But then again, there are also a lot of people who admire and appreciate the style choices of others, even if it's something they'd never wear themselves. It seems that acceptance is always the solution at the end of the day, folks. Once people stop judging each other in such a negative way and start to accept the fact that we are all different, the world will be a much better place.

    So- in conclusion, no, I don't really care if some people out there don't like the way I dress. Not that it's a nice thought- after all, we all want people to like and accept us. But if you want to make a statement with your clothes, you will have to accept that not everyone will like the statement you are making. As Christina Aguilera once sang, 'I'm humanly unable to please everyone at the same time...I'm gonna carry on, I'm gonna keep on, singin' my song'. So, in light of Miss Aguilera's fantastic advice, I will keep on singing my song. Come summer, I will wear my stockings and my suspenders, and I will do it with my head held high...

    Ok, so enough of the heavy stuff: Here're some pics to get you inspired:


        Lilly Allen working the look on stage


    Wearing mock-stocking tights again, this time with an amazing sparkly jumper dress. (I want this outfit.)


          So many celebs were seen in THOSE famous Henri Holland tights (I've already gotten through two pairs).
    The beautiful Pixie Lott working chain-effect suspender tights
    Lily, Taylor and Pixie.
    The queen of suspenders herself
    Seriously- can this girl get any cooler? My fave look of them all!!!
    These shoes got a really mixed reaction- but I LOVE them.
    What I wore today.
    These are just two of the outfits I plan to wear in the summer when it's warm enough! I got the amazing Bob Marley Tee from a vintage shop in Greenwich today for only a tenner. Don't the lyrics written on it PERFECTLY capture the entire theme of this post? I didn't even realise that until I'd finished writing this piece!

    Please leave your comments and let me know your responses to my article- I'd love to hear your opinions on the subject! Thanks!

    Love and kisses,
    The Porcelain Princess xoxo
              Surprise, surprise - those Murray-Darling Basin water raiders have slithered over the horizon once more and are eyeing off the Clarence Valley river system yet again        

    With so little fanfare that much of  Northern Rivers region missed it, the NSW Berejiklian Government reopened the March 2016 inquiry into augmentation of water supply for rural and regional New South Wales on 28 May 2017, with Terms of Reference published in July 2017.

    This Upper House inquiry is chaired by Robert Brown MLC, from the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party and its reporting date has been extended to 30 March 2018. 

    Current committee membership is as follows:

    Robert Brown MLC, Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party, Chair
    Mick Veitch MLC, Australian Labor Party, Deputy Chair
    Jeremy Buckingham MLC, The Greens
    Rick Colless MLC, The Nationals
    Scot MacDonald MLC, Liberal Party
    Greg Pearce MLC, Liberal Party
    Penny Sharpe MLC, Australian Labor Party
    Daniel Mookhey MLC, Australian Labor Party
    Paul Green MLC, Christian Democratic Party
    * Jeremy Buckingham MLC (Greens)is substituting for Dr Mehreen Faruqui MLC for the duration of the inquiry.
    * Matthew Mason-Cox MLC (Liberal)  is substituting for Hon Greg Pearce MLC for the duration of the inquiry.
    * Paul Green MLC and Penny Sharpe MLC will be participating for the duration of the inquiry.

    A poorly advertised public hearing scheduled for 1 August 2017 in Lismore (with details sent to media on 31 July 2017) excluded Northern Rivers residents from giving evidence unless they represented a small number of invited groups.

    It appears the committee had also determined that Clarence Valley Council was to be asked its view on diverting Clarence River system flood water.

    Given flood water is already diverted to the purpose built Shannon Creek side dam to ensure a sustainable water supply for the est. 125,103 residents (Census 2016) currently living in Clarence Valley and Coffs Harbour local government areas, there are no prizes for guessing where any additional water diversion would be allocated.

    Yes, that paragon of sustainable water mismanagement - the cluster of councils, industries, irrigators and water traders within the Murray-Darling Basin.

    It will come as no surprise that Griffith Council is still pursuing a Clarence River dam and divert scheme. North Coast Voices reported on its obsession in August 2016.

    This is what the Griffith City Council Deputy mayor, Dino Zappacosta of Zappacosta Estate Wines in Hanwood, told the inquiry on 1 March 2017:

    The issue that my committee, Build More Dams, has looked at is that we need more water because farmers are crying out for more water. We need new water. By "new water", I mean water that is not currently being used at all. We looked at various options, including the Clarence Valley area, where millions and millions of megalitres of water flow out into the sea for what seems to be no real benefit at all for the community of the Clarence region, other than for the natural farming land and the fishery industry there.

    It soon became apparent that, appart from the notion of free water at the expense of Clarence Valley communities’ social, cultural, aesthetic, environmental and economic values, Griffith Council knew little about how this dam and divert scheme would work.

    The Hon. RICK COLLESS: You have been talking about the Clarence River diversion scheme. Is it correct that that is essentially restricted to the Mann River subcatchment?

    Mr ZAPPACOSTA: To the best of my knowledge, it covers most of the tributaries—for example, the Boyd River, the Mann River, the Nymboida River and the Timbarra River. They are highlighted on map 2, which was provided to the Committee.

    The Hon. RICK COLLESS: I am a little confused about the way the map reads. It appears as though the water is coming out of the Mann River catchment, which is a subcatchment of the Clarence. The divisions appear to be above the confluence of the Nymboida and the Mann. You recommend a 23 per cent Clarence River diversion, but the question is: What percentage of is that of the Mann River flow and what environmental impact will that have on the Mann River below where it is diverted? We should keep in mind the history of the Snowy River and what has happened there over the past 50 years. Does anybody have any thoughts about that? Mr ZAPPACOSTA: I will have to take on notice exactly how much comes from the Mann River itself.

    The Hon. RICK COLLESS: What is the reduction in flow from the sub-catchment rivers below where the water is diverted from them? What environmental impacts will that have on those rivers?

    Mr ZAPPACOSTA: I appreciate the question. I think what you are asking is something we should dig into a bit deeper; there should be a study of it, preferably a feasibility study.

    The Hon. RICK COLLESS: There needs to be a lot of work done on this, as you would appreciate.

    While the Director of Utilities at Griffith City Council stated:

    As an engineer I see the great benefits of supporting a scheme such as the Clarence River diversion scheme, not only from a water augmentation point of view. My directorate covers water supply as well as the flooding impacts caused by rainfall run-off. The Clarence River diversion scheme is not only a supply scheme but a flood mitigation solution, as the general manager mentioned. In my research I have referred to the document entitled Lower Clarence Flood Model—Update 2013 produced by BMT WBM consultants. They happen to be the same consultants who undertook our flood study and provided our flood mitigation options. They work across the State and they are well versed in flooding, from the Northern Rivers down to our area.

    The Clarence River catchment on the far North Coast of New South Wales is one of the largest catchments on the east coast of Australia. It is approximately 20,000 square kilometres. It is above the towns of Grafton, Maclean and Yamba, and it is home to more than 20,000 people. The lower Clarence Valley has a long history of flooding, since settlement in about 1850. Bear with me as I read out the dates of the flooding events. I was just going to say a number, but it has more of an impact when you follow the years of flooding that the area has endured due to the large catchment that sits above it. Floods were recorded in 1863 and 1864. There was a record flood in 1890 in which two people lost their lives and there was extensive damage to the rural area. Further floods occurred in 1921 and 1928. Since 1945 the incidence of major flooding has been much higher, with floods occurring in 1945, 1946, 1948, 1950, 1954, 1956, 1959, 1963, 1967, 1968, 1974, 1976, 1980, 1988, 1996, 2001, 2009 and 2013.

    There is a regular occurrence of extreme flooding in the Northern Rivers catchment, below the Clarence River. Section 4.4 of the Lower Clarence Flood Model—Update 2013 acknowledges that "the river flows originating from upstream of Grafton dominate flooding in the Lower Clarence Valley". Diversion of the Clarence River flows for that area towards the west, and the 25 per cent or 23.8 per cent that will be captured, diverted and controlled, will be of great benefit to flood mitigation in the Northern Rivers area. The document further says that it will maximise the investment from the Government not only to help solve water augmentation issues but to reduce the financial and human impacts flooding has in the northern coastal areas. The Clarence River diversion scheme was documented in 1981 by David Coffey and he estimated costings back then. We have done a projection to a present-day cost of approximately $10 billion. There are statistics on the map that I have provided to the Committee.

    The Snowy Mountains scheme would have cost $10 billion in present-day money, so there are similar costings in the schemes. The 1,100 gigalitres diverted per annum from the Clarence River has generated $1.82 billion in agriculture. The scheme means that 23.8 per cent of the flows that would be heading down to flood people can be diverted. When you equate the $550 million a year in flood damages with the cost of a diversion scheme, 1,100 gigalitres can generate $1.8 billion a year in agriculture growth. The additional water means that 118,000 hectares of viable open country can be farmed. The offset of diversion and flood protection is that it is beneficial to all. That is where I will leave it.

    The public hearing in Griffith was reported thus by The Area News on 2 March 2017:

    HIGH-profile Griffith water users and city officials enjoyed a rare opportunity to sit face-to-face with Members of the NSW Upper House on Wednesday to discuss their handling of water….

    The Honourable Rick Colless, The Honourable Paul Green, The Honourable Matthew Mason-Cox and The Honourable Penelope Sharpe were on hand to hear the concerns of the community….

    Along with wanting to fix the water sharing plans, the other hot topic was the Clarence River Scheme, initially conceptualised by David Coffey in the 1970s.

    The plan outlined diverting river flows westward from high rainfall catchments in the Northern Rivers.

    According to Griffith City Council, the scheme will benefit lands south of the Dumaresq River while also providing flows into the Murray River, reducing the reliance for Murray-Darling Basin allocations to fill the original allocation to the basin. 

    “We have looked at various options and we look at the Clarence Valley area where there are millions of millions of megalitres of water flowing out into the sea for what seems to be for no real benefit,” Councilor Dino Zappacosta said.

    Griffith City Council general manager, Brett Stonestreet said it’s time the scheme is looked at again.

    “It provides new water to give this state another shot in the arm,” he said.

    “It also looks at potentially reducing flooding impact of the coastal communities adjacent to the Clarence by 25 per cent.

    “There is a huge amount of money that can be generated and inland communities rediscovered and regenerated through new water.”

    Mayor Dal Broi was pleased with how the inquiry was conducted and the feedback from the Senators.

    “Some of the questions that were asked by the panel members, we know now what they are thinking,” he said.

    “They were very receptive to the concept of new water so whether it's the diversion of the Clarence or lifting the wall on Burrinjuck Dam ... they were very receptive to that because we tried to make the point that the limited resources at the moment.”

    “We need new water if our regions are to grow and have a better long-term sustainable allocation.”

    Not content with bringing down the largest river system in Australia in order to line their own pockets, these wanabee water raiders just keep on coming after what they see as more 'free' water for the rorting.

    Clarence Valley Council gave evidence at the re-opened inquiry on 1 August and the only question of interest to the water raiders came after a few minutes of questioning at Page 26 of the Lismore public hearing transcript:

    The Hon. GREG PEARCE: Thank you for your submission. In your submission you talk about this idea of diversion of the Clarence River to west of the Great Dividing Range. Could you give us a bit of a background on that proposal and what your council thinks about it?

    Mr ANDERSON: I will start but Mr Mashiah might finish. Our council has resolved six times that they do not support the diversion of the Clarence, and each time that has been unanimous in regard to council's position. That is based on the fact that damage to the environment and the ecological systems that work within the Clarence River emerge from there. 

    The CHAIR [Robert Brown MLC, Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party]: You probably cannot answer this, but that is an all-encompassing position of council?

    Mr ANDERSON: Yes.

    The CHAIR : I wonder what the council's position would be on the diversion of floodwaters only.

    Mr ANDERSON: Again, Mr Chair, like you said, I cannot answer that question.

    The CHAIR: What I am asking you is that I guess the council's resolutions were not burrowed down to that extent to be able to answer that question. We might ask Clarence council for an opinion on that.

    The Hon. GREG PEARCE: Are those decisions supported by an independent side to pick advice? How were they derived?

    Mr MASHIAH: There was a Healthy Rivers Commission inquiry into the Clarence in I think it was 1999, from memory, and part of the outcome of that commission inquiry was the importance of regular flood events in terms of the fishing industry and also the cane industry. I believe you have representatives from the cane industry here with us later.

    The CHAIR: This afternoon, yes.

    Mr MASHIAH: And also in terms of fisheries, one of the aspects that Clarence Valley Council has been active in for the past 20 years is trying to manage the floodplain to address issues such as acid runoff.

    The CHAIR: Solid sulfate soils.

    Mr MASHIAH: As the sulfate soils and particular acids run off. So we have done things like open floodgates and—

    The CHAIR: And you should be congratulated.

    Mr MASHIAH: Thank you, Mr Chair, for that. I will pass that on to the relevant staff who have been coordinating that. The regular flushing of those areas, which are fish breeding grounds, by floodwaters is very important. So if floods were diverted there are significant concerns from the fishing industry about the ongoing viability of the industry because the grounds where fish breed, according to the studies that have been undertaken, would then be adversely impacted. So that is one of the reasons that the fishing industry has very strongly opposed, through our estuary management committee in particular and through the estuary management plan, any diversion of water and we have tried to ensure that the fish breeding grounds are protected.

    The CHAIR: I just made the observation that most of those fish breeding grounds would not be the same areas of land that are subject to high residential development or business or commercial or other aspects. In other words, you are not talking about the township of Grafton itself, you are talking river peripheries, flooded-out areas, for breeding concerns?

    Mr MASHIAH: The challenge is that the urban footprint on the lower Clarence floodplain is probably about 1 to 2 per cent of the total surface area and all the urban areas are surrounded by rural areas. So it is very hard to work out how you manage that 1 or 2 per cent without adversely impacting the other 98 per cent, or vice versa, how do you manage the 98 per cent without adversely impacting 1 or 2 per cent of urban area?

    The CHAIR: The 2013 flood, you have described it as a major flood, correct?

    Mr MASHIAH: It was the flood of record at Grafton.

    The CHAIR: I am wondering how the 2013 flood would have enhanced the fishery on the Clarence?

    Mr MASHIAH: The main issue with the 2013 flood—I guess with any flood in the Clarence the flood behaviour in the upper river is a lot different to the flood behaviour in the lower river because of the tidal influences in particular and also how wet the floodplain is already. The 2013 event was actually three floods.

    The CHAIR: And they rolled up on each other?

    Mr MASHIAH: Yes, within a three-week period—quite distinct flood events.

    The CHAIR: So it was a prolonged flood.

    Mr MASHIAH: It was a prolonged flood and that meant there was significant inundation of back swamp areas, and I understand that there were some areas that effectively were areas that were flushed that had not been flushed in floods probably since 2001, so it is probably 12 years. So from an ecological perspective, talking to our environmental scientists, I understand that it was actually quite beneficial because the bigger floods only get into those areas once every 10 to 20 years.

    The CHAIR: Were there any concurrent blackwater events for the fishery?

    Mr MASHIAH: Not that I can recall, and I think that is a result of the management measures that have been undertaken on the floodplain because most of the farmers now operate the floodgates and so only shut the floodgates when there is actually a flood coming and open them fairly soon afterwards.

    The CHAIR: So it is their responsibility to operate their own floodgates, is it?

    Mr MASHIAH: That has been passed on to them, yes.

    The CHAIR: Do you have any oversight of that?

    Mr ANDERSON: Yes, we do, and we work with those groups and undertake training et cetera . It is a two-way street of communication: they tell us what they need and, vice versa, we provide training associated with that and inductions and operate that through a number of committees et cetera as well.

    Evidence was also given by the NSW Professional Fishermen’s Association (commencing Page 38) the NSW Canegrowers Association (commencing Page 45) and the Clarence Environment Centre (commencing Page 56).


    One has to wonder why the committee members of this reformed Water Augmentation Inquiry didn't seek the views of those holding Native Title (See Yaegl People #1 Yaegl People #2) over the Clarence River from the waters approximately half-way between Ulmarra and Brushgrove right down to the eastern extremities of the northern and southern breakwater walls at the mouth of the river.

    After all they are significant stakeholders in any discussion of water policy and water management in the Clarence River catchment area.

    The other matter of note, arising from North Coast Voices somewhat belated discovery that the water raiders were back on the scene, is the suggestion that not all Clarence Valley councillors had forewarning that council staff were appearing before the inquiry on 1 August.

    If true this would be a disturbing indication that council administration has retained some of the bad habits it acquired under the former general manager who was handed his hat in March this year.


              Facebook Inc still pursuing dream of spying on users through their webcams and via their touch screens or mobile phones        

    The Daily Dot, 8 June 2017:

    Your worst internet nightmare could be on its way to becoming a reality.
    newly discovered patent application shows Facebook has come up with plans to potentially spy on its users through their phone or laptop cameras—even when they’re not turned on. This could allow it to send tailored advertisements to its nearly two billion members. The application, filed in 2014, says Facebook has thought of using â€œimaging components,” like a camera, to read the emotions of its users and send them catered content, like videos, photos, and ads.

    “Computing devices such as laptops, mobile phones, and tablets increasingly include at least one, and often more than one, imaging component, such as a digital camera. Some devices may include a front-facing camera that is positioned on the same side of the device as a display. Thus, during normal operation, a user may be looking towards the imaging component. However, current content delivery systems typically do not utilize passive imaging information. Thus, a need exists for a content delivery solution that takes advantage of available passive imaging data to provide content to a user with improved relevancy.”

    This is the US patent application to which the article is referring.

    United States Patent Application 20150242679
    Kind Code:
    A1
    Techniques for emotion detection and content delivery are described. In one embodiment, for example, an emotion detection component may identify at least one type of emotion associated with at least one detected emotion characteristic. A storage component may store the identified emotion type. An application programming interface (API) component may receive a request from one or more applications for emotion type and, in response to the request, return the identified emotion type. The one or more applications may identify content for display based upon the identified emotion type. The identification of content for display by the one or more applications based upon the identified emotion type may include searching among a plurality of content items, each content item being associated with one or more emotion type. Other embodiments are described and claimed.

    Publication number
    US20150242679 A1
    Publication type
    Application
    Application number
    US 14/189,467
    Publication date
    Aug 27, 2015
    Filing date
    Feb 25, 2014
    Priority date
    Feb 25, 2014
    Also published as
    Inventors
    Original Assignee
    Export Citation
    External Links: USPTOUSPTO AssignmentEspacenet

    Facebook Inc appears to have been granted this related patent, Techniques for emotion detection and content delivery (US 9681166 B2- Publication date 13 June 2017):

    ABSTRACT
    Techniques for emotion detection and content delivery are described. In one embodiment, for example, an emotion detection component may identify at least one type of emotion associated with at least one detected emotion characteristic. A storage component may store the identified emotion type. An application programming interface (API) component may receive a request from one or more applications for emotion type and, in response to the request, return the identified emotion type. The one or more applications may identify content for display based upon the identified emotion type. The identification of content for display by the one or more applications based upon the identified emotion type may include searching among a plurality of content items, each content item being associated with one or more emotion type. Other embodiments are described and claimed.

    BACKGROUND
    Users of computing devices spend increasing amounts of time browsing streams of posts on social networks, news articles, video, audio, or other digital content. The amount of information available to users is also increasing. Thus, a need exists for delivering content a user that may be of current interest to them. For example, a user's interests may be determined based upon their current emotional state. Computing devices such as laptops, mobile phones, and tablets increasingly include at least one, and often more than one, imaging component, such as a digital camera. Some devices may include a front-facing camera that is positioned on the same side of the device as a display. Thus, during normal operation, a user may be looking towards the imaging component. However, current content delivery systems typically do not utilize passive imaging information. Thus, a need exists for a content delivery solution that takes advantage of available passive imaging data to provide content to a user with improved relevancy.

    Facebook also appears to have been granted a US patent in May this year for Augmenting Text Messages With Emotion Information (US 20170147202 A1).

    According to CBINSIGHTS this patent would; automatically add emotional information to text messages, predicting the user’s emotion based on methods of keyboard input. The visual format of the text message would adapt in real time based on the user’s predicted emotion. As the patent notes (and as many people have likely experienced), it can be hard to convey mood and intended meaning in a text-only message; this system would aim to reduce misunderstandings.
    The system could pick up data from the keyboard, mouse, touch pad, touch screen, or other input devices, and the patent mentions predicting emotion based on relative typing speed, how hard the keys are pressed, movement (using the phone’s accelerometer), location, and other factors.


              Helpful Resolutions        

    RESOLUTIONS ARE GOOD FOR LOTS! To many, the New Year is all about starting to be better. During this New Year Season, some people make a big deal about resolutions; and then there are the people make fun of those who make these new commitments. You know what I say to people who make fun […]

    The post Helpful Resolutions appeared first on .


              Obama to join ranks of our roadless forest heroes?        

    I had the honor Monday of joining two of my heroes — former Forest Service Chief Mike Dombeck and U.S. Representative Raul Grijalva from Arizona — to share with reporters what steps we would like to see the Obama Administration take to protect our nation’s roadless forests. Recent court rulings favored by President Bush and his oil-and-gas-industry cronies have inserted what we hope is just a temporary sliver into protection for areas that play a critical role in improving the quality of life for people and safeguarding habitat for wildlife.

    Grijalva, chairman of the House National Parks, Forests and Public Lands Subcommittee, noted that our incoming president is already a champion of these values. Obama co-sponsored legislation that would permanently protect America’s unroaded forests when he was a senator and he often mentioned their importance as a presidential candidate. Now that he’s set to take office in a week, The Wilderness Society and many of our friends in the conservation community including the Pew Environment Group can move from addressing the question of whether a new president will protect these pristine forests to how he will do so.

    Our immediate focus is on asking the new administration to make it a lot more difficult for the still Bush-heavy Forest Service to approve any projects that would destroy the integrity of our roadless forests. This can be accomplished by stipulating that any destructive activities such as road building, logging, oil and gas development, and mining be reviewed by an Obama appointee rather than allowing such decisions to be made by the Forest Service at the local level.

    There are two other items we will work with the administration to accomplish in the short-term. (The phrase “working with the administration” is a refreshing change after the last eight years.) As we all told reporters yesterday, we would like President Obama to:

    • Require the Department of Justice to vigorously defend our roadless forests in the various on-going court cases that we hope will result in a victory for the millions of people who care so deeply about roadless areas.
    • End the temporary exemption from the national roadless rule that Bush placed on the Tongass National Forest in Alaska.

    All three of the principles I’ve mentioned here are expressed in The Roosevelt Resolution, a request to help our forests that honors the legacy of President Theodore Roosevelt. By clicking on the link above, you can also listen to yesterday’s press conference so that you can hear directly from the roadless rule architect, Mr. Dombeck, and one of our most courageous public lands advocates, Rep. Grijalva.

    I don’t think it will take you long to discern why they’re heroes of mine, or why protecting our roadless forests is so close to all of our hearts.


              Tuto vidéo : Utiliser les niveaux automatiques et les ombres portées dans Gimp        
    Gimp propose de nombreuses solutions pour améliorer la qualité d’une photo. Dans ce tutoriel vidéo, vous apprendrez à faire la balance des blancs, à améliorer les couleurs, le contraste et la netteté d’une image. Enfin, vous verrez comment appliquer une ombre portée à un texte. Points à retenir : Couleurs > Auto > Balance des … Continuer la lecture de Tuto vidéo : Utiliser les niveaux automatiques et les ombres portées dans Gimp
              ESET Smart Security 7.0.302 Full Version        
    ESET Smart Security 7.0
    ESET Smart Security 7.0.302 Full Version | 65.68 MB

    ESET Smart Security is a security suite for your PC including the following solutions: Anti-Virus, Anti-Spyware, Anti-Rootkit, Anti-Spam, Anti-Theft, Firewall, Parental Control, and Web and Email protection. ESET Smart Security ranks among the leaders in virus, trojan and spyware detection and deletion. It's very fast and uses less system resources than most competitors.

    ESET Smart Security utilizes heuristics and a cloud-based file reputation system to detect the newest threads. It's Anti-Theft feature allows you to track a stolen laptop on a map, view the thief via your laptop’s webcam (if it has one) and lock it with a password.

    Download Link
              TuneUp Utilities 2014 v14.0.1000 + Key        
    TuneUp Utilities 2014 v14
    TuneUp Utilities 2014 v14.0.1000 + Key | 28.97 MB

    Tune Up Utilities Pro is a powerful set of Tune-Up products which optimize Windows and improve its efficiency, design and supply. This software is able to optimize Windows, boost your PC's performance, fix problems and it helped you to customize Windows.
    Tune-Up Utilities package contains a complete set of software Saver System Optimization Configuration , Cleanup and maintenance to increase the efficiency of the system, keep it clean and helps solve the various problems.

    A key feature of the software TuneUp Utilities:
    - fix various common error in Windows
    - Configure and optimize Mozilla Firefox browser
    - Windows icon customization, style shift boot and welcome screens and windows
    - it automatically scans the system and prevent problems The speed reduction system
    - allows secure and permanent removal of your sensitive data from hard drive
    - Remove all unwanted and unnecessary files from the hard disk
    - Hard disk integrated powerful tool
    - great cleans registry
    - play Abbey random information that has been deleted by the user.
    - New features enhance the speed of your connection to the Internet
    - the free RAM to increase the speed and efficiency of operations
    - a program Uninstall Manager, to remove the installed applications in Windows and its management
    - a complete management system and the processor Running programs
    - Aid effectiveness in solving standard Windows problems
    - easy to customize the configuration of Windows
    - a program to manage the programs registered StartUp Manager StartUp in Windows
    - contains the System Information, for more information about your hardware and software system
    - reviews and bugs, hard disk drive
    - Find the plan that significant memory and CPU are unwarranted
    - Full compatibility with the new generation of applications such as Internet Explorer, Firefox, Windows Media Player and They are optimized for Office
    - Full compatibility with Windows Vista
    - and ...

    System Requirements
    - Minimum: 800x600 screen resolution with 256 colors; recommended: 1024x768 screen resolution with 16.7 million colors
    - Minimum: 60 MB free disk space; recommended: 100 MB free disk space
    - CD-ROM or DVD-ROM-Drive
    - Internet Explorer 6 or 7
    - Internet access

    Install:
    1. Temporarily disconnect internet.
    2. Install program.
    3. Use given key to register
    4. Done. Enjoy.

    Download Link
              Nero Burning ROM 2014 v15.0.01300 ML Incl Crack + Key        
    Nero Burning ROM 2014
    Nero Burning ROM 2014 v15.0.01300 ML Incl Crack + Key | 87.94 MB

    Award-Winning Nero Burning ROM is the Only Burning Software You’ll Need! Nero Burning ROM offers you the most advanced disc burning solution. Nero Burning ROM - Leading CD, DVD and Blu-ray Disc burning and copying technology. When it comes to burning, accept nothing less than the industry’s best. Award-winning Nero Burning ROM is known for reliable, high-quality CD, DVD and Blu-ray Disc burning and copying. Loaded with advanced features that go beyond just burning, it also features SecurDisc technology for the ultimate in data readability and protection. It’s the only program you’ll need to save and share your files.

    Disc burning's reigning champion
    - Burn DVD-Video, BDMV, and AVCHD compilations
    - Rip audio CDs to your PC and convert audio
    - Create reliable and secure discs with SecurDisc technology included

    Advanced, reliable & secure disc burning – now Windows® 8 ready
    There’s a reason Nero Burning ROM is the application you’ve trusted for years with your most important data. Its advanced disc burning engine simply lets you burn reliable and secure CDs, DVDs and Blu-ray Discs™. With more incredible new features and support for Windows® 8, there’s no reason to use anything else.

    Span large files efficiently across multiple discs, automatically
    Don’t waste discs. With Nero DiscSpan, you can split oversized files and burn them to multiple discs. With the all-new Nero DiscSpan SmartFit feature, go even one step further and automatically span the data across the fewest number of discs possible. Even mix disc types to use your optical media economically.

    Little touches that makes all the difference
    Now with Nero Burning ROM, you can create CDs, DVDs and Blu-ray Discs™ that begin playing a defined executable file with an assigned icon automatically when you put them into your PC drive. It’s the little touches that make all the difference!

    Stand up to scratches and protect privacy
    Inevitably, discs get scratched. But scratched discs don’t have to become unusable. With Nero SecurDisc technology, your burned data can withstand disc scratches and discs that deteriorate from age. Moreover SecurDisc technology enables you to create password protected data discs for utmost privacy and protection.

    Rip audio from CDs and convert audio
    Still one of the easiest ways to make your own compilations and take your favorite playlists with you anywhere. Use Nero Burning ROM to rip audio CDs to your PC, remix them and create your own discs to play on your home or car stereo. Also convert your audio files to a great variety of high quality audio formats including APE, FLAC, AIFF, OGG, and more. Set variable bitrates for MP3/MP3 PRO to gain highest quality output with minimum amount of storage space.

    Supported OS: Winows 8 / 7 / vista / Xp

    Download Link
              Windows Doctor 2.7.5 Final With Activator        
    Windows Doctor
    Windows Doctor 2.7.5 Final With Activator | 7.52 MB

    Windows Doctor is the perfect solution to all kinds of registry problems. Its advanced scan engine is able to scan your entire registry within a few seconds to identify every single registry error and safely repair them for you. With Windows Doctor, you’ll see immediate increases in performance and decreases in system conflicts. It will make your computer run as fluently as new and error-free. Windows Doctor applies the most professional and effective registry cleaner to solve your registry problem. Editing registry items is a highly risky task in that improperly modifying registry items may cause severe system damages. Windows Doctor knows the right way to deal with Windows registry. With a professionally designed scan engine, it carefully screens out the system-sensitive entries and accurately identifies and removes registry errors to boost Windows performance and eliminates Windows freezes and hangs. Windows Doctor guarantees 100% safety and effectiveness.

    In addition to the registry cleaner, Windows Doctor provides many other useful tools to optimize your Windows so that you don’t need to spend extra money on the expensive single-task software.
    • History Cleaner can clean all tracks of your activities to protect your privacy and improve PC performance;
    • Shortcuts cleaner identifies and removes the annoying redundant shortcuts that point to non-existent or invalid files.
    • Registry Defragger will defragment your registry to acquire linear registry structure, reduce application respond time and registry access time.
    • Start-up Manager allows you to easily inspect, delete or temporarily disable the start-up programs.
    • Uninstall Manager can safely remove the unwanted applications installed on your computer.
    • System Optimizer allows you to optimize your system settings, and as a result, boosts your system speed and improves system performance.
    • IE Manager can easily repair your IE problems as well as settings changed by malicious websites.
    • Additionally, Windows Doctor collects a list of very useful system tools to help you better manage your computer, such as Disk Cleanup, Disk Defragmenter, DirectX Diagnostic Tool, Registry Editor, etc.

    Registry Cleaner – Fix PC Errors & Boost System Performance
    • Professionally designed scan engine will scan your entire registry within a few seconds.
    • A comprehensive error report after scan will list the found registry errors in 20 categories
    • User is allowed to easily sort the error report according to 10 different attributes
    • Powerful registry fixer will quickly fix all registry problems with one simple click
    • For advanced computer users, it provides more freedom by allowing user to select items to fix by himself.

    Windows Doctor will fix all the registry errors that cause system instability, PC errors, crashes, system slowdown, including but not limited to:
    • Invalid User software settings
    • Invalid class keys
    • Invalid system software settings
    • Invalid fonts
    • Invalid browser helper objects
    • Invalid start-up programs
    • Invalid custom control settings
    • ActiveX errors
    • Errors in uninstall sections
    • Obsolete history lists
    • Shared DLL errors
    • Invalid file paths
    • Sound and AppEvents errors
    • Invalid file extensions
    • Startup popup window
    • Invalid software locations
    • Invalid System settings
    • Windows services error
    • Invalid help and resources
    • Invalid virtual devices
    • Empty registry keys
    • Invalid device drivers

    System Optimizer allows you to optimize your system settings, and as a result, boosts your system speed and improves system performance. The System Optimizer will optimize the following settings to speed up your system:
    • Automatically end hung applications
    • Enable UDMA66 support
    • Optimize Internet connection
    • Force Windows to Unload DLLs from Memory
    • Speed up Windows refresh
    • Speed up browsing remote computers
    • Speed up loading internet explorer pages
    • Speed up the menu show delay
    • Boost up the Windows prefetcher service

    OS: Windows 2000. XP, Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8 32-bit and 64-bit.

    Download Link
              Lazesoft Data Recovery Unlimited Edition 3.4 + Keygen        
    Lazesoft Data Recovery Unlimited Edition
    Lazesoft Data Recovery Unlimited Edition 3.4 + Keygen | 112 MB

    Lazesoft Data Recovery offers home users and businesses complete solutions to recover deleted files or lost due to the format or corruption of a hard drive, virus or Trojan infection, unexpected system shutdown or software failure.

    With easy to use interfaces and the most powerful data recovery software engine, you can using Lazesoft Data Recovery recover data by yourself, preview recovered files while the search is in progress.

    Easy recovery in all major data loss cases.
    Accidentally deleted files or emptied from recycle bin
    Formatted media/disk drive/partitions/dynamic volumes
    Logically crashed disk
    Data deleted using Shift+Del keys
    Files corrupted due to virus attacks
    Software crash
    Power faults
    partition with corrupt file systems, etc.
    Recover files even when your computer cannot boot up and cannot enter Windows.

    Recover Data When Windows Cannot Boot up normally!
    On some disk or Windows serious crashed, you might not be able to boot up your computer and enter Windows. Lazesoft Data Recovery can burn a bootable data recovery CD/USB and allow you to boot up your computer and rescue your data.
    Boot from various brands of desktops, laptops like Dell, ThinkPad, Hp, Sony, Toshiba, Acer, Samsung, etc.
    With WinPE-based and linux-base bootable disk builder, Lazesoft Recovery Suite has best hardware compatibility.
    Boot up computer from CD or usb disk.
    User friendly Boot Media Builder interface

    Download Link
              â€œI’m not in a state of moral decline” says former prime minister        
    Morally vacuous?
    Responding to accusations that the former prime minister Tony Blair has been in state of moral decline for some time now, former prime minister Tony Blair has said, “Yeah, ok, look, there is a small part of me I suppose yeah, that might feel alienated, disaffected, but you know, the majority of me is pretty bloody decent.”

    His comments come in an interview with the Catholic newspaper, “It’s Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve” after a week of speculation about the former New Labour acolyte’s moral well-being.

    “Yeah, hey, I know there are people out there that will say, “he was partly responsible for the deaths of thousands of innocent people in the Middle East and now he’s personally profiting from it” but you know, I don’t accept that I’ve totally lost my way morally.”

    Questioned about how his soul could ever be saved from eternal damnation he responded, “I don’t accept that. Yeah of course there’s a part of me that’s at odds with any canons of proper behaviour but I don’t agree that there is any one specific solution. Now leave me alone I’ve got some Isrealis to make some money out of.”

              Review: Mobile Phone Tracker Gps Software Of ExactSpy        

    Review: Mobile Phone Tracker Gps Software Of ExactSpy With the help of a user friendly service panel, one can easily gain access to mobile phone GPS location. People can see device notifications and get active GPS locations with the help of such tracker software and solutions. Regarded to be powerful mobile tracking software and spying […]

    The post Review: Mobile Phone Tracker Gps Software Of ExactSpy appeared first on .


              Video Vancouver: Transform Your City With Tactical Urbanism        
    Via Streetsfilms: If you’re a public space aficionado or transportation maven, one only needs to sign on to one of the various social media feeds to see the daily movement that is sweeping across the world: groups of people are literally taking back their streets by implementing low-cost, temporary solutions to what they see as […]
              Top 5 ‘Leading Women’ in Technology        
    “Right now is a great time to be a woman in tech – but there’s not enough women in tech.” –Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo, on CNET Whether it’s in the design or manufacture of new technologies, or providing solutions and services around the application of those technologies in the enterprise or consumer market, Marissa […]
          

              Exclusive interview: the man who helped rescue 1,500 child soldiers        

    During a recent visit to DR Congo, Claire May (Head of Programme Funding) interviewed 30-year-old Blaise, a former combatant who now works for our partner Centre Résolution Conflits (CRC) rescuing and reintegrating soldiers from the bush. Here is his story.

    The post Exclusive interview: the man who helped rescue 1,500 child soldiers appeared first on Peace Direct.


              Calling for local solutions to peace in Syria        

    March 2016 marks the fifth anniversary of the war in Syria. After years of devastating conflict, the economy has been destroyed, countless lives have been taken and the population is exhausted. There is no easy answer as to how to begin to combat the difficult situation that Syrians find themselves in now – or in the near future. But the power of local organisations to determine and build that future is strong and must be given more attention, as a recent panel discussion hosted by the Overseas Development Institute highlighted.

    The post Calling for local solutions to peace in Syria appeared first on Peace Direct.


              EPSA 2015: The Public Sector as Partner for a Better Society - by Julia Bosse, Michael Burnett, Susanne Møller Nielsen, Claude Rongione, Harrie Scholtens        

    Under the theme “The Public Sector as Partner for a Better Society”, the EPSA 2015 gathered and rewarded those ground-breaking and evidenced solutions of public administrations facing current (European, if not worldwide) challenges related to areas such as migration and integration, health and educational sectors, the labour market, energy, the environment and demographics coupled with pressures on welfare budgets and general budgetary constraints.

    A total of 266 projects from 36 European countries and European institutions were submitted, which shows that working in partnership is a necessity for all levels of public administrations across Europe in order to contribute to and take the lead towards a better society.

    This publication highlights the trends identified from the EPSA 2015 practice-front in order to share best practice elements with the readers – as a source of inspiration for their own change projects. Thus, this publication presents a first analysis and taster of the novel solutions applied by public administrations across Europe.

    It is split into two parts: An EPSA 2015 Trends & Practices Report analysing the best practices and successful elements identified in the EPSA submissions, which are of interest to other public administrations looking for solutions on how to address current challenges. Common elements, enablers and barriers are pin-pointed during this analysis. The general findings and common trends across the two administrative categories are sketched out in the joint conclusions at the end of this report.

    The second part of this publication contains the Best Practices Catalogue, which comprises the EPSA 2015 statistics and the edited executive summaries of the 64 best practices (9 nominees and 55 additional Best Practice Certificate recipients) with the contact details of the EPSA 2015 winners, nominees and best practice certificate recipients to allow the reader to directly contact the public sector innovators behind the rewarded projects and thus encourage joint learning and knowledge transfer.  

    In conclusion, this publication contains inspirational and working solutions which are ready to be adapted to and replicated by the readers’ public sector institutions in their own administrative cultures and systems.


              Weathering the Storm: Creative EPSA Solutions in a Time of Crisis - by Julia Bosse, Michael Burnett, Alexander Heichlinger, Claude Rongione, Harrie Scholtens        

    The economic storm faced by European public administrations continues unabated. Budget cuts and austerity measures coupled with unpleasant tax increases have been extensively applied, though they have not always delivered the expected results.

    Difficult choices lie ahead for Europe’s public sector in order to stabilise public finances, while continuing to deliver the services needed more than ever by an increasing number of citizens as a result of the economic pressure. Trends over time which exacerbate such pressures are unlikely to be reversed in the medium term.

    The EPSA 2013 edition has collected a rich harvest of 230 solutions from across all levels of public administration and from 26 European countries and EU institutions, which can all be proud of their achievements and also showcase how they are dealing with these challenging times.

    This publication aims to sketch out the trends, ideas and solutions in the various creative public management and service reforms on the one hand, whilst pinpointing common elements or obstacles in their delivery – The Research Part. Key findings, among many others, include active strategies to promote economic growth, the ability to enhance social inclusion, the use of transparency as a means to promote better governance, or the smart deployment of ICT to boost trust in government and improve service delivery.

    On the other hand, the best and top-ranked 47 practices (15 nominees and 32 additional best practice certificate recipients) are subsequently described, allowing the reader to not only get an idea of the innovation and drivers behind the cases, but also to directly contact the owners behind the applications in order to encourage the learning and transfer potential. These outstanding public achievements span sectors such as economic and urban development, sustainable development, justice and police, education and training, sports and youth, public health, social media, and human resources management. This part – The Catalogue – is supported by data and statistics on the applications (e.g. type, country, size, fully or partly EU co-financed).

    In a nutshell, the EPSA 2013 book demonstrates – again! – how the public sector has tried to resolve the various urgent challenges linked to the current crisis, by combining creativity and sustainability, accompanied by an often needed passion in their solutions.


              In Search of Local Public Management Excellence - Seven Journeys to Success - by Julia Bosse, Alexander Heichlinger, Emanuele Padovani, Jan Ole Vanebo        

    A well-functioning local public sector is the cornerstone for prosperity and growth. Cities are being confronted by significant pressures and challenges, such as demographic change, an increasingly culturally diverse population, the impact of new technologies, social polarisation and segregation, urban sprawl, and environmental threats to the urban ecosystems. More importantly, the difficulties of the economic system are a reality for many local communities due to the dynamics of globalisation of economies. This exacerbates the well-known problem faced by local policymakers and managers of ‘doing more with less’.

    This book seeks to examine, compare and contrast seven European cities – Bilbao (ES), Birmingham (UK), Mannheim (DE), Milan (IT), Tallinn (EE), Tampere (FI), and Trondheim (NO) – which have proven their success in adopting creative and excellent solutions. This is done by combining a solid scientific approach of comparison, with a more practical examination of the cases (‘...the making of…’). It concludes by presenting seven steps leading to excellence.

    Each case is first analysed in terms of background, strategy development, ‘journey’, management control system and financial management, results, and innovation power (key drivers and enablers). These success stories from different areas of local public management – from comprehensive local business-change processes, to smaller and bottom-up projects – aim to show other cities that various routes to smart solutions are possible. The only thing left to find out is: are they ready to take on the challenge?

    Also available in Spanish and German


              Microfoundations of Policy Implementation - by Phedon Nicolaides        

    The European Union (EU) has a compliance problem: there are persistent failures in the implementation of EU rules and policies by the member states. This book examines how policy implementation may be improved. It explains the nature of policy mistakes, proceeds to consider how individual public authorities and organizations can avoid making policy mistakes and then, in the light of its findings, derives how the EU may induce its member states and their public authorities to improve their compliance with EU rules and policies.

    Basically, this is a book about how the right incentives at national level can improve institutional performance and contribute towards more effective application of EU rules across member states without having to confer new competences to the EU. Its premise is that strengthening the capacity of organizations to learn should not only lead to better performance, but should also stimulate useful policy experimentation across the EU.

    Although this volume focuses on the obligations of EU membership and how to strengthen compliance, the proposed solutions have broader applicability. Improved organizational capacity for policy implementation will also be beneficial in those areas where the EU has no formal competence. Just as member states can learn from each other, so can policy officials in different policy fields. Good practices can spread.


              The impact of demographic change and its challenges for the workforce in the European public sectors - by Danielle Bossaert in cooperation with Christoph Demmke and Timo Moilanen        

    European public sectors are particularly affected by the demographic challenge and an ageing and shrinking workforce. According to OECD statistics, over 30% of public employees of central government in 13 countries will leave during the next 15 years. Moreover, the public sector has as compared to the private sector to rely on a much older workforce, who will have to work longer in future. Against this background, European governments need to react and re-think major elements of current HR and organisational management in the public sector. Particularly the skills in age management should be improved in order to also maintain in future a highly productive, competent and efficient public sector and to ensure that public employees stay longer ‘employable’, ‘healthy’, ‘fit for the job’ and ‘up to the task’. The survey suggests some solutions by investing more in three priority areas in the field of HRM.


              European Public Sector Award 2011- Project Catalogue - by Marga Pröhl & Alexander Heichlinger        

    The catalogue is structured into three parts. In the first chapter, data and statistics on the applications are provided, i.e. an overview of the projects by countries, administrative level, and size of administration or sectorial area of the submitting institution. Subsequently, the EPSA multi-step selection and assessment methodology and process is decribed in detail. The third chapter illustrates all the good practices following a brief introduction to each of the three EPSA 2011 thematic areas - Smart Public Service Delivery in a Cold Economic Climate (Theme I), Opening Up the Public Sector Through Collaborative Governance (Theme II) and Going Green: Concrete Solutions from the Public Sector (Theme III) - and ordered by country and EPSA registration number. Each case description also provides the reader with contact details of the submitter and how to find more information about the project in order to facilitate the exchange of good practice and lessons learnt.


              Better Implementation of EU Legislation is not just a question of taking Member States to Court - by Dr Michael Kaeding and Friederike Voskamp        

    The single market is one of the most wide-ranging and significant symbols of European integration. While it brings great opportunities to European citizens in theory, in practice, delayed and incorrect implementation of single market rules leave EU citizens with a highly fragmented ‘regulatory patchwork’, deterring citizens and businesses from exercising their rights. One way to solve such a problem is to turn to formal proceedings such as to the European Commission and its role as ‘Guardian of the Treaties’ and Treaty articles 258-260 TFEU, i.e. the infringement procedure or to a national court. An alternative way to guarantee street-level EU law enforcement is through SOLVIT; an outof- court dispute settlement mechanism providing quicker solutions to problems of crossborder nature. This article provides a timely analysis of the reinforced infringement procedure and SOLVIT centres, how the system works and how we will be able to strengthen its strategic role to address the citizens ‘integration fatigue’.


              Competitive Dialogue - A practical guide - by Michael Burnett        

    Competitive Dialogue has been hailed by some as the new solution for public authorities wanting to award contracts for complex infrastructure projects, while others see problems in applying it effectively to obtain value for money for the public sector. Objective advice for decision makers on when and how to use Competitive Dialogue is hard to find. This book - written for politicians, public officials and their professional advisers - is an independent guide for those facing these challenges at all levels in Europe.

    After an explanation and analysis of legal framework for Competitive Dialogue, the book sets out how Competitive Dialogue emerged, how it compares to the Negotiated Procedure, the legal challenges in applying Competitive Dialogue, when it is appropriate to use it and where it is being used in the EU. Successive chapters then analyse the key issues arising in the implementation of Competitive Dialogue at each stage of the process and how they should be addressed. Finally, the book draws together the key conclusions for the future use of Competitive Dialogue and the actions needed to implement them at EU and national level. Taken together, they add up to an agenda for the future effective use of Competitive Dialogue.


    Book Review
    What people have said about “Competitive Dialogue – A practical guide”

    “Burnett and Oder...have produced an essential practitioner’s guide into the complex area of concluding public contracts” Professor Christopher Bovis (in European PPP Law Review)
    Read the review here.


    “Has added to our understanding of the Competitive Dialogue process. If it is read and its guidance is followed there could be significant improvements in public sector procurement outcomes” John Tizard (in Government Opportunities)
    Read the review here.

    “This book is a unique addition to the existing literature on Competitive Dialogue...Burnett and Oder set out their findings in a clearly written, illustrative and practically relevant manner” Sylvia de Mars (in Public Procurement Law Review)
    Read the review here.


              2007 in Retrospect        

    As I did in 2006, here's my review of 2007. For some strange reason, I decided to make some New Year Resolutions in 2006. How did I do? I said I'd do more unit testing - and I did, but there's always room for more unit testing. I said I'd do more open source. Well, I released Fusebox 5.1 and Fusebox 5.5 as well as my Scripting project and a cfcUnit facade for CFEclipse so I think I did alright there. I also said I'd do more Flex and write some Apollo (now AIR) applications. I didn't do so well on those two! I think I'll revert to my usual practice of not making resolutions this year...

    2007 was certainly a year of great change for me, leaving Adobe in April (a hot thread with 62 comments!) to become a freelance consultant, focusing on ColdFusion and application architecture. I also worked part-time on a startup through the Summer but consulting has been my main focus and continues to be my total business as we move into 2008.

    2007 also saw me getting much more involved with the ColdFusion community, rejoining all the mailing lists that I hadn't had time to read with my role at Adobe, becoming an Adobe Community Expert for ColdFusion and then taking over as manager of the Bay Area ColdFusion User Group.

    I also got to speak at a lot of conferences in 2007:

    I also attended the Adobe Community Summit which was excellent!

    ColdFusion frameworks were also very busy in 2007:

    Adobe was extremely busy too:

    • Apollo (AIR) hit labs in March
    • The Scorpio prerelease tour (Ben came to BACFUG in April) with the ColdFusion 8 Public Beta in May and the full release in July
    • Creative Suite 3
    • Flex began its journey to open source
    • The Flex 3 and AIR Beta releases
    • Adobe Share

    I had a number of rants:

    Other good stuff from 2007:


              Coming soon...        
    It's almost that time of the year where we tend to take stock of the last twelve months and make resolutions for the coming twelve months. I've never been much for making resolutions but I always provide a review of the last year, based on my blog postings, so expect my review of 2007 within the next week or so. Whilst not a resolution, I will be embarking on a series of blog postings in the new year that are longer and more in-depth than my regular posts. They will cover a lot of the architectural advice that I find myself giving many of my clients and I will also be covering frameworks in more detail based on requests I've been getting via email over the last year. I'll also be looking at some anti-patterns that I've been seeing in code that I've reviewed over the last eight months (without identifying anyone, of course!). I hope it will help other avoid these problems in their own code. I hope folks will find it interesting reading!
              OWC Drive Dock With Thunderbolt 2 and USB 3.1 Gen 1 Unboxing Review @OWCsolutions        
    Owcdigital.com TECH SPECS INCLUDES OWC Drive Dock .6 meter (24″) USB 3.1 Gen 1 cable (Standard-A to Standard-B) 1 meter (39″) Thunderbolt cable Internal power supply and power cable User...
              YI 4K+ Action Camera Unboxing Review @YItechnology        
    YiTechnology.com Lens 7 layers of glass lens, 155° FOV, F2.8, f=2.66±5%mm LCD Screen 2.2” touch screen, 640*360 screen resolution at 330PPI, 250 cd/m2 brightness, 16:9. Main Processor Ambarella H2 chipset...
              WASPcam® 9907 4K Action Camera Unboxing Review        
    Waspcam.com The ‘WASPcam 9907 4K’ is one of WASPcam’s newest camera models, with new 4K video resolution capabilities, and 20MP photo quality. The new WASPcam 9907 4K is WASPcam’s most...
              Comment on Tim Parry and Fred Lizza Discuss “Ship From Store” and Other Timely Multichannel Retail Order and Inventory Management Topics at IRCE 2013 by cstoreoffice1        
    Great info for all of us. Inventory Management is a powerful tool for retailers because there are many way where inventory management help retailers, it will give them total control over inventory, personnel, pricing and margins and help them for improve their operations i think it will be a Beneficial experience for all specially for those who want to start their business.... <a href="http://www.petrosoftinc.com/" rel="nofollow">Petrosoft</a> is the ideal solution for all companies of any size becuase Petrosoft’s back office software, C-Store Office, gives you the ability to control your back office accounting and store inventory management tasks quickly and easily, increasing your gas station and convenience store automation and your profits.
              In Defense of Economic Noninterventionism         

    A recent Wall Street Journal article has surprisingly good news: US companies are seeing the highest profit growth in two years with “two consecutive quarters of double-digit profit growth for the first time since 2011.” This surprisingly comes not from policies pursued in Washington, but the hard work of the private sector.

    The fact that businesses and job creators can make such a phenomenal showing after years of regulatory uncertainty and continued political intervention reminds us of the power of the free market and that the best successes come from the work of the individuals, not collectivists in the public sector.

    Perhaps the best reminding of what the last eight years brought us was President Obama’s infamous 2012 campaign speech “If you've got a business, you didn't build that.” Throughout the course of his administration saw a creation of routine legislative and executive actions that were designed to both micromanage business and supposedly “create” jobs. Unfortunately, none of this had the intended success.

    Most prominently among the actions from the executive administration while Obama was presidents include significantly increased regulations. Among these have included the Waters of the United States Rule (WOTUS), Dodd-Frank, the stimulus package, and, most spectacularly of all, Obamacare. All of these added a large interventions and onerous barriers in the economy that failed to achieve their stated goal.

    WOTUS was probably one of the greatest power grabs by the EPA in recent history. The rule essentially sought to define “navigable waters” in the clean water Act which “brought nearly half of Alaska and a total area in the lower 48 states equivalent to the size of California under the CWA’s jurisdiction.” The proposal, had it not been blocked and rescinded, would have cost thousands of dollars for permits on land that was not previously under the EPA’s jurisdiction, delayed production since a permit can take up to months, and this would have resulted in reduced development and production as well as higher prices.

    Though the WOTUS rule was not fully implemented, regulations that did have a massive negative impact on the economy include the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.

    As implemented, Dodd-Frank imposed various new regulations on the financial sector, including creating the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), designated firms as systemically important financial institutions (SIFIs), and instituted price controls on debit and credit card transactions. The result was a climate of over regulation with banks being incentivized to become as large as possible in the hopes of being bailed out while the CFPB became a revolving door for lobbyists and influence peddlers to regulate the market with little to no oversight.

    Unsurprisingly, one fifth of the banks in the U.S. banks, totalling 1,708, went under between the law’s creation and 2016, which is about one per day, and by 2015 five large banks controlled 50 percent of the banking industry.

    Outside of simple regulation, there was also so called “jobs creations” programs that were supposed to create jobs the President did not think businesses could such as the stimulus package. The program was sold as a job creation plan that would keep unemployment below 8 percent for the low price of $830 billion.

    The next four years were marked by above 8 percent unemployment while the money ended up being wasted on worthless projects, including trees in wealthy neighborhoods, a study of erectile dysfunction, and the failed company solyndra which was run by a bundler for the Obama campaign. To make matters worse, though unemployment eventually went down long after the stimulus’s implementation, the labor participation rate reached its lowest in 38 years which shows that people still weren’t working.

    However, the crowned jewel of overregulation and job destruction during the Obama administration was ObamaCare. Implemented to expand health insurance coverage, it has repeatedly failed to reach its goals as premiums went up, enrollment failed to reach its projections, and the legislation gave corporate welfare (including promised bailouts) to the insurance lobby. In the end, most of the coops failed and major companies pulled out of the exchanges, resulting in 1,000 counties, including five whole states, only having one insurer, a major failure in the goal of expanded coverage.

    Inevitably, the phenomenal intervention in the economy by President Obama failed to achieve the job creation while it instead made made doing business that much harder. With record breaking numbers of regulations, Obama was the first President since the Great Depression to never see 3 percent GDP growth.

    The Trump administration in the meantime has pursued a different approach than its predecessor. The Trump administration has seen sixteen regulations cut for every one it has created, had signed four resolutions of disapproval under the Congressional Review Act to overturn regulation within two months as President, and rolled back the clean power plan which could have cost $40 billion per year. All of this marks a significant change in policy that will greatly open up business opportunities and expand economic growth.

    However, policy alone does not explain why there has been high profit growth for the last two quarters. As the Wall Street Journal article admits, health care legislation and tax reform have been stalled in the senate. This has caused a climate of uncertainty which businesses have not been happy with.

    Nevertheless, they have instead moved on from Washington and instead remained focused on doing business. Political events seem to have taken a backseat to actual business as the number of S&P 500 companies have mentioned the President or his administration during conferences is down by a third as the research firm Sentieo found out. To be blunt, the involvement of Washington and government policy is not driving the current profit growth and the lack of involvement may actually be increasing it.

    For a better example of how reduced involvement can improve the economy, look no further than the Depression of 1920. At the time, war time debt had exploded, unemployment peaked at 11.7 percent in 1921, and inflation rates jumped above twenty percent. It had the potential to be even more catastrophic than the Great Depression that started in 1929.

    However, the policies pursued were entirely different. The federal budget was severely reduced from $18.5 billion in FY 1919 to $3.3 billion for FY 1922. Taxes at the same time were cut by about 40 percent.

    As a result, unemployment dropped to 2.3 percent by 1923 and a crisis had been averted. This was accomplished not by bailouts and and overregulation but by getting the government entirely out of the way. This is a radically different approach than was pursued during the financial panic of 2008 or even the Great Depression.

    Overall, there has been a repeated belief that government involvement has made economic advancement harder. As was stated by former President Reagan, “Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.” President Kennedy noted the same when he said “Our tax system still siphons out of the private economy too large a share of personal and business purchasing power and reduces the incentive for risk, investment and effort — thereby aborting our recoveries and stifling our national growth rate.”

    It should come as no surprise then that business are fully prepared to run their own affairs and is best capable to address its own need, for as JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon noted, “We’ve been growing at 1.5% to 2%...because the American business sector is powerful and strong and is going to grow regardless.”

    It remains the desire of others that the government should intervene in the economy to make improvements. However, this has always resulted in guaranteed failure. Be it raising the minimum wage in Seattle or increased taxation and regulations in Connecticut, the result is usually lackluster growth and decreased jobs. At the national level, Venezuela’s nationalization and China’s increased infrastructure projects have created the same results, which is to say none.

    As history and current events have shown time and time again, the best results come not from government involvement and micromanagement, but from the hard work of free individuals in free markets. More and more, the adaptability of businesses to their consumer’s demands and their ability to whether adversity in the marketplace has always been more efficient than the micromanagement the state perceives. As a result, sometimes the best thing to do is to have the government do nothing so that those who can make the economy better will.


              House Rural Broadband Caucus Urges FCC to Support TV White Space Broadband        

    Recently, the economic disparity of the urban-rural divide has garnered substantial attention, especially as it relates to Internet and technological expansion. Rural economies suffer from a lack of Internet connectivity relative to urban areas, with rural adults being 10 percent less likely to have broadband or smartphones than urban adults.

    The House Rural Broadband Caucus (HRBC), a group of legislators seeking solutions for the digital divide between rural and urban America, believe that TV white space broadband could help close this gap.

    The HRBC announced its support for TV white space broadband in a bipartisan letter signed by 43 members of the caucus sent today to the Federal Communications Commission. Among these members were conservative stalwarts, Reps. Rod Blum (R-Iowa), Tom Garrett (R-Va.), Jody Hice (R-Ga.), and Mark Meadows (R-S.C.). The HRBC sees TV white space as a solution for the lack of Internet service providers and expensive or non-existent cable deployment in rural communities.

    TV white space is unused high propagation radio frequency spectrum that, if allowed, could provide devices with Internet connectivity at low infrastructure costs. Technology companies believe that it could provide Internet connectivity through TV white space at 20 percent of the cost for cable broadband. The technology is proven, as hospitals, mega-churches, and schools already legally use white space spectrum for unlicensed devices.

    To create a private market for TV white space broadband, providers would need three available channels totaling at least 18 megahertz of unlicensed spectrum. The HRBC letter requests the FCC to set aside a third channel in addition to the two white space channels already authorized for unlicensed use. If the FCC were to accept such a proposal, rural Americans could see the cost of broadband access plummet.

    FreedomWorks Foundation has already filed comments with the FCC and wrote about the benefits of TV white space. In accordance with the HRBC, FreedomWorks believes that TV white space is a formidable market solution for expanding competition, lowering prices, and closing the urban-rural divide in connectivity.

    FreedomWorks supports the HRBC’s endorsement of TV white space broadband and urges the FCC to consider allocating an additional channel for unlicensed white space use.


              FreedomWorks Presents FreedomFraud Awards        

    FreedomWorks today announced the FreedomFraud Award winners for this year: Sens. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), and Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), Sen. Dean Heller (R-Utah), and Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.). This is the counterpart to the FreedomFighter Awards.

    The FreedomFraud Awards recognize the height of political fraud by senators who voted to defend ObamaCare by voting against a bill virtually the same as one they supported less than two years ago. While protected by Barack Obama’s veto, they supported ObamaCare and railed against it. Now that President Trump supports the bill, they have exposed themselves as political liars.

    FreedomWorks Vice President of Legislative Affairs Jason Pye delivered the awards to senators’ offices Friday afternoon. You can see an archived live stream here. Eligibility for the award is based purely on whether senators campaigned on repeal and voted for this bill less than two years ago and opposed it when it could have passed.

    “These people committed the greatest political fraud in American history,” said Jason Pye. “Republican politics has focused on repealing ObamaCare for the better part of a decade. There were frequent votes to repeal ObamaCare. These senators showed great contempt for their constituents by going against everything they’ve stood for on ObamaCare repeal.”

    After the 2015 bill passed, Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) said, “I'm for repealing this broken law and replacing it with something better that gives patients more choice, decreases costs and increases access to quality, affordable care.”

    After the 2015 bill passed, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Ala.) said, “This law is not affordable for anyone in Alaska. That is why I will support the bill that repeals the ACA and wipes out its harmful impacts. I can’t watch premiums for Alaskans shoot up by 30 percent or more each year, see businesses artificially constrained, or see the quality of public education decline.”

    After the 2015 bill passed, Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) said, “I am glad that a repeal bill will finally reach the president’s desk.”

    Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said, “It is clear that any serious attempt to improve our health care system must begin with a full repeal and replacement of Obamacare, and I will continue fighting on behalf of the people of Arizona to achieve it.”

    Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.) said, “This DC bureaucrat-driven healthcare system will only result in limited health care choices and higher costs for Nevadans.”

    Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) said , “The wisest course is to repeal Obamacare and replace it step by step with solutions that lower health care costs.”


              Six Senators Perpetrate One of the Biggest Political Frauds in American History        

    FreedomWorks President Adam Brandon released the following statement after the Republican-majority Senate voted to save ObamaCare:

    “Our activists have fought for the better part of a decade, led on by campaign promises and actual votes to repeal ObamaCare, to get Republican majorities in the House and Senate, as well as a Republican in the White House. Sens. Dean Heller, Lisa Murkowski, John McCain, Rob Portman, Shelley Moore Capito, and Lamar Alexander each voted for the very same bill in 2015.

    “We now know that these six senators are ObamaCare repeal frauds. Even though we’re still wondering if Sen. Susan Collins is in the right party, at least she was consistent with her vote.”

    Here are quotes from a few of these Senate Republicans who have heavily criticized ObamaCare and today voted to keep ObamaCare as the law of the land.

    Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.): “The wisest course is to repeal Obamacare and replace it step by step with solutions that lower health care costs.”

    Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.): “I have consistently voted to repeal and replace this disastrous health care law, and I am glad that a repeal bill will finally reach the president’s desk.”

    Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.): “This DC bureaucrat-driven healthcare system will only result in limited health care choices and higher costs for Nevadans.”

    Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska): “This law is not affordable for anyone in Alaska. That is why I will support the bill that repeals the ACA and wipes out its harmful impacts. I can’t watch premiums for Alaskans shoot up by 30 percent or more each year, see businesses artificially constrained, or see the quality of public education decline.”

    Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.): “It is clear that any serious attempt to improve our health care system must begin with a full repeal and replacement of Obamacare, and I will continue fighting on behalf of the people of Arizona to achieve it.”

    Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio): “I'm for repealing this broken law and replacing it with something better that gives patients more choice, decreases costs and increases access to quality, affordable care.”


              Key Vote YES on H.J.Res. 111 to Cancel CFPB’s Giveaway to Trial Lawyers        

    On behalf of FreedomWorks’ activist community, I urge you to contact your representative and ask him or her to vote YES on H.J.Res. 111. FreedomWorks Foundation drove more than 15,000 responses to the CFPB against the rule during the comment period.

    This resolution of disapproval under the Congressional Review Act (CRA) would cancel the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) arbitration rule. The final rule was published on Regulations.gov on July 19. While the CRA isn’t a panacea, it does provide a means for Congress to act as a check on out-of-control federal agencies.

    The CFPB’s arbitration rule is, in reality, a giveaway to trial lawyers. The rule ostensibly bans contractual arbitration clauses related to consumer financial products offered by banks and other financial sector firms. This severely limits consumers’ ability to enter into arbitration during disputes.

    Arbitration is an easier and quicker process for consumers to resolve issues, but lawyers don’t make much money from this process. The rule, however, will encourage trial lawyers to pursue more class-action lawsuits, which take longer and result in smaller payouts to consumers. But class-action lawsuits do bring in big dollars for trial lawyers.

    Class-action lawsuits can take two to five years to resolve, and the average payment is $32.35 per individual. These class-action suits, for which trial lawyers are paid an average of roughly $1 million, also drive up costs to consumers. By comparison, arbitration typically takes two to five months, with an average payment of thousands of dollars. It’s clear which process truly protects consumers.

    FreedomWorks will count the vote on H.J.Res. 111 on our 2017 Congressional Scorecard. The scorecard is used to determine eligibility for the FreedomFighter Award, which recognizes Members of the House and Senate who consistently vote to support economic freedom and individual liberty.

    Sincerely,

    Adam Brandon, President, FreedomWorks


              Capitol Hill Update: July 24, 2017        

    Schedule:

    The House and Senate are in session this week.

    There are five (5) legislative days remaining for the House before the August recess and 53 legislative days remaining in the year. The Senate will supposedly work through the first two weeks of the August recess.

    House:

    The FY 2018 budget resolution, dubbed "Building a Better America," was marked up and approved by the Budget Committee on Thursday in a party-line vote. The budget would reduce the budget deficit by $6.5 trillion over the ten-year budget window and eventually come into balance in FY 2027, creating a $9 billion surplus.

    Perhaps one of the most important components of the budget is that it begins the reconciliation process for fundamental tax reform. There are also reconciliation instructions for 11 House committees to find roughly $200 billion savings or reforms in mandatory spending.

    The FY 2018 budget resolution isn't on the calendar for the week. It's unclear if House Republican leaders will bring it to the floor.

    Additionally, the 21st Century Aviation Innovation, Reform, and Reauthorization (AIRR) Act, H.R. 2997, introduced by Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) could come to the floor for a vote this week. The bill reauthorizes the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and reforms the United States' out of date air traffic control (ATC) system. FreedomWorks has released a key vote in support of the 21st AIRR Act.

    On Monday, the House will consider 17 bills on the suspension calendar. Most of the bills on the suspension calendar related to veterans or active military issues. There are three bills on the suspension calendar that relate to small businesses and investment. The House will also consider the Intelligence Authorization Act, H.R. 3180, sponsored by Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) on suspension.

    There are three bills on the suspension calendar for Tuesday, including the Medicare Part B Improvement Act, H.R. 3178, sponsored by Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas), and a yet-to-be-numbered resolution that will impose sanctions on Russia, Iran, and North Korea.

    The House will also consider H.J.Res. 111, a resolution of disapproval under the Congressional Review Act, to cancel the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's (CFPB) giveaway to trial lawyers. The rule put restrictions on the use of arbitration to settle disputes over consumer products. This would lead to more class-action lawsuits, benefiting trial lawyers and hurting consumers. FreedomWorks has signed a coalition letter in support of H.J.Res. 111 and will likely include the vote on our 2017 Congressional Scorecard.

    For the balance of the week, the House will consider at least four more bills on the suspension calendar. The Make America Secure Appropriations Act, H.R. 3219, will also come to the floor. This is the consolidated appropriations bill, or "minibus," for the Department of Defense, the Legislative Branch, Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, and Energy and Water. Like virtually every other bill to come to the floor this year under "regular order," the Make America Secure Appropriations Act is subject to a rule to limit or prevent amendments from the floor.

    On Thursday at 10:00 am, the Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing entitled "The Need for the Balanced Budget Amendment." The witness list for the hearing has not yet been announced. Twelve constitutional amendments have been introduced in the House that would require a balanced budget. Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) is the sponsor of two of them, H.J.Res. 1 and H.J.Res. 2. Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.), the primary sponsor of H.J.Res. 15, is among the House conservatives who have introduced a balanced budget amendment.

    The committee and subcommittee schedule for the week can be found here.

    Senate:

    Presumably, the Senate will vote this week on the motion to proceed to the House-passed version of H.R. 1628. It's still unclear on what happens next. A vote to proceed to the House-passed version has always been the first step. The next step will be for an amendment to the bill that will substitute the language of either the Better Care Reconciliation Act or language similar to the 2015 ObamaCare repeal bill, now called the ObamaCare Repeal Reconciliation Act. FreedomWorks' key vote on the motion to proceed applies only if the base text that will be substituted is similar to the 2015 ObamaCare repeal bill.

    At least a few Senate Republicans have backed away from their votes for the 2015 ObamaCare repeal bill, which was passed in December 2015 with the support of all but two Republicans, including Sen. Susan Collins. Moderate Republicans who refuse to vote for the 2015 ObamaCare repeal bill have demanded $200 billion in Medicaid funding offered by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to get them to support the Better Care Reconciliation Act.

    Some parts of the Better Care Reconciliation Act are in limbo, however, as the Senate parliamentarian has apparently ruled that provisions limiting funding for Planned Parenthood and tax credits for plans that cover abortion will require 60 votes. Other provisions that may require 60 votes include the State Innovation Waivers. Many of these provisions can be altered to make them withstand a Byrd rule challenge, as was done in 2015.

    The Senate still has several nominees to consider and, on the legislative front, the FDA Reauthorization Act, S. 934; the National Defense Reauthorization Act; and the debt ceiling are among the items awaiting action.

    Separately, Senate Democrats are rolling out their "better deal" economic agenda today, which is a rehashing and repackaging of virtually every leftist policy proposal in recent years. The agenda is Democrats' attempt to find a message after a string of special election losses around the country.

    The full committee schedule for the week can be found here.


              INFERMIERE/BIOLOGO NUTRIZIONISTA BOLZANO        
    SYNERGIE HR SOLUTIONS - Bolzano - Synergie HR Solutions ricerca per importante azienda specializzata in servizi di screening e diagnostici all’interno delle farmacie una/un: INFERMIERE e/o BIOLOGO NUTRIZIONISTA Le risorse svolgeranno un’attivit di screening e consulenza attraverso l’utilizzo di apparecchiature bi...
              RELEASE: Microsoft Workplace Analytics for Office 365 Enterprise        
    Microsoft Workplace Analytics—a powerful new organizational analytics solution—is now generally available. Workplace Analytics uses a variety of techniques to learn about a workgroup’s productivity through *anonymous* examination of emails, calendars, & potentially information pulled from HR databases. Microsoft Workplace Analytics is available as an add-on to any Office 365 enterprise plan.  The add-on costs depend […]
              NEWS: Microsoft signs agreement to acquire Hexadite        
    <taken from the announcement post> Microsoft Corp. has signed an agreement to acquire Hexadite, a company delivering agentless, automatic incident investigation and remediation solutions. The terms of the agreement have not been disclosed. Once closed, the acquisition will build on the successful work Microsoft is already doing to help commercial Windows 10 customers detect, investigate […]
              ASP.NET Core Hosting Comparison – HostForLIFE.eu vs HostGator        
     Hosting solutions are not created with the same specs; hence, the need to compare their pros and cons to make sure that you get the fitting package. Nonetheless, checking numerous plans wastes time and effort, so we created this comparison platform. Here, immediately compare HostForLIFE.eu with HostGator. We will compare their pricing, features, server performance,…
              Who is the ASP.NET Hosting Winner? A2Hosting or Godaddy?        
     At present, both A2Hosting and Godaddy all grow to be the cost-effective web hosting providers that ensure the quality service for ASP.NET hosting mainly. As you might be confused between their hosting solutions, this time, we’d like to come out an A2Hosting vs Godaddy comparison. With the detailed comparing information, you can learn their pros…
              ASP.NET Hosting Comparison – HostingUK.NET vs WebWiz        
     HostingUK.NET and WebWiz are two famous ASP.NET hosting provider in UK. They have been in this business for many years. Now, we will make comparison between them based on price, performance, reliability, and also support. ASP.NET Hosting Pricing Scheme – HostingUK.NET vs WebWiz HostingUK.NET has released 4 optional solutions to enable people to choose the most appropriate one for…
              FYI- The real cost of doing business the right way. What customers need to know.        


    This post is one of a series we will be doing titled FYI. (for your information)


     What I have found in most cases between those that do it right and those that don't is that all too often the cost of your service will be the same. However... what your getting for that price rarely is. While they say that imitation is the purest form of flattery, for those of us that incur the cost to play by the rules it is at least disheartening to find yourself competing with some neighbor down your road who's winging it. For you the customer the potential for problems with that can be much more than just disheartening. So with that said I am going to give you some things to consider.


    What you need to know.

    1) Do they have liability insurance is probably the number one thing you need to be concerned about should you find yourself considering hiring anyone for horse drawn carriage service. The equine liability laws in no way protect you, your event, or your venue in the event of an accident. Posting it does not protect the uninsured provider from lawsuit either. What posting that sign usually means is that the carriage service does not carry liability insurance and thinks that by posting that sign they are exempt from lawsuit. Nothing could be further from the truth.

    Equine liability laws only protect a horse owner if a horse causes harm to someone in the act of being a horse. i.e. kicking, biting, pawing, bucking, etc, and that is only in cases where there was no known prior history of misbehavior. The law presumes that if you get near a horse you should understand that these things could possibly happen and that there is a level of inherent risk from being near, or getting on the animal. The sign is to make sure you understand that.

    However...lots of things can happen that could cause loss, damage, or injury and do not in any way absolve the carriage service of being responsible for it. In fact a great many things that have contributed to accidents are not even remotely related to what is covered by state equine liability laws. Some examples would be, broken tack resulting in an accident, a horse or its carriage causing damage to someones property, a person getting hurt by a carriage wheel, a motorist hitting the carriage, etc. The list of things that state equine liability laws do not cover is truly endless. Put it this way, there is lot more they don't address than what they do.

    So what does all this mean to you the customer? What it means is that if you hire an outfit that does not carry the proper liability insurance, and heaven forbid something were to happen, you are left high and dry without much recourse for losses, damages, doctor, or hospital bills. Without liability insurance your only hope lies with the civil court which is a long drawn out procedure where very often the injured party never recovers a dime. What it means for the people who are operating a business without insurance is that they literally risk losing everything they own.

    Now before I scare you half to death here the solution is really simple. ASK! and then ask for a copy of the liability policy! We have stacks of proof of insurance available for anyone who asks and we are delighted to provide you with a copy. While we have operated for over 30 years in horse and carriage without a single incident, that really is not the point. Accidents can happen to anyone and to do any business the right way the outfit you hire should be properly insured. So check, if they refuse, or it offends them? your shopping in the wrong place.

    2) Are they even a legal business? You may or may not think you should care about this, but ask yourself this, If they skip over the legal requirements to be in business what other important things do they willfully overlook? Liability insurance maybe? Safe equipment? Safe proven horses? and that list too goes on. It is after all law that they file with the Sec of State as a legal business, You can check that status here : http://www.sos.arkansas.gov/corps/search_all.php , just type in the name of the company and if they are legit their name will show up. If you search "The Princess's Carriage" you will see we are listed and properly filed with the SOS as a legal business in good standing.

    Besides the yearly fees to maintain the legal right to do business in the state with the proper authorities there are also the fees of a yearly business license that also has to be paid for. There are even costs for special permits for us to operate in certain towns legally. It quite literally costs thousands of dollars to do this business professionally, properly insured, and legally.

    So please understand the cost to us of being in full compliance is no joking matter. So dear customer do know that it is in your best interest to know who your hiring. Ask for proof of insurance, and at least check to see if they are operating their business legally. Find out if they have the permits they need. It's quite literally the difference between hiring a legitimate business, or a monkey business.          
              Upcoming Events        
    Photo: Autumn means crisp days, hot cider and caramel bourbon pecan apples. Wish you were here!


    Thanksgiving Feast

    If you haven't made your reservations yet for Thanksgiving give us a call (207)677-215 or email us at bradley@lincoln.midcoast.com. Come for dinner, spend the night! Fresh organic turkey, all the fixins, a dessert sampler and leftovers to take with you. 

    Sugar Plum Tea (weekend prior to Christmas)

    Again this year we will host the Sugar Plum Tea for children. This includes tea and treats in the magical Bradley Inn, story telling, gingerbread house decorating and other surprises! After tea we will have musical entertainment and goodies for the adults as well. Please call for more details! 

    Jump Start Resolutions with a Wellness Weekend (weekend prior to New Year's)

    The holiday shopping, decorating, running around craze will be over. Relax, unwind and pamper yourself with peaceful stay at the Inn, join in some Yoga, melt your stress away in the Sauna, loosen the tension with a deep massage or just curl up in the living room with a good book. This makes a perfect gift for your special someone, parents, co-worker or that someone that has everything. Start the year off with a renewed sense of wellness!



              Simulate wet surface with screen space reflection        
    A wet surface will reflect some of the light, but reflections are computationally expensive. Using a deferred shader, it is possible to simulate this reflection (fresnel reflection) to the second stage. The basic idea is simple: If a pixel should reflect, a ray tracing algorithm is used to compute where the reflected ray will hit the background.

    We don't want to trace the ray through the real geometry, which would be expensive. Instead, it is computed what pixel it corresponds to from the G-buffer of the deferred shader. The data we need from the defered shader is: World position, normals and colors.

    To do the actual ray tracing, an iterative algorithm is needed. The reflected vector is first computed, and then incrementally added to the world position of the point we start with. This is repeated as long as needed.

    There are a couple of problems that limit the use of this technology:
    1. The reflected ray can point backward to the camera and hit the near cutting plane of the view frustum.
    2. The reflected ray can point sideways, and go outside of the screen.
    3. The reflected ray can hit a pixel that is hidden behind a near object.
    4. The increment used in the algorithm should be small to get a good resolution of the eventual target point, which will force the use of many iterations and high evaluation costs.
    These all sound like severe limitations, but it turns out that wet surface reflection can still be done effectively:
    1. The Fresnel reflection has the effect of reflecting most for incoming light at large angles to the normal. That means that light reflecting backward toward the camera can be ignored.
    2. Wet surfaces are typically rough. This can be simulated with some random noise, which can hide the effect where some ray reflections couldn't be determined.
    3. The iteration can start out with a small delta, and increase it exponentially. That way, it can be possible to get good resolution on short distances, while still being possible to compute long distances.
    The following is an example fragment shader to help calibrate the constants:

    // Create a float value 0 to 1 into a color from red, through green and then blue.
    vec4 rainbow(float x) {
    float level = x * 2.0;
    float r, g, b;
    if (level <= 0) {
    r = g = b = 0;
    } else if (level <= 1) {
    r = mix(1, 0, level);
    g = mix(0, 1, level);
    b = 0;
    } else if (level > 1) {
    r = 0;
    g = mix(1, 0, level-1);
    b = mix(0, 1, level-1);
    }
    return vec4(r, g, b, 1);
    }

    uniform sampler2D colTex; // Color texture sampler
    uniform sampler2D posTex; // World position texture sampler
    uniform sampler2D normalTex; // Normal texture sampler
    in vec2 screen; // The screen position (0 to 1)

    layout(location = 0) out vec4 color;

    void main(void)
    {
    vec3 worldStartingPos = texture(posTex, screen).xyz;
    vec3 normal = texture(normalTex, screen).xyz;
    vec3 cameraToWorld = worldStartingPos.xyz - UBOCamera.xyz;
    float cameraToWorldDist = length(cameraToWorld);
    vec3 cameraToWorldNorm = normalize(cameraToWorld);
    vec3 refl = normalize(reflect(cameraToWorldNorm, normal)); // This is the reflection vector

    if (dot(refl, cameraToWorldNorm) < 0) {
    // Ignore reflections going backwards towards the camera, indicate with white
    color = vec4(1,1,1,1);
    return;
    }

    vec3 newPos;
    vec4 newScreen;
    float i = 0;
    vec3 rayTrace = worldStartingPos;
    float currentWorldDist, rayDist;
    float incr = 0.4;
    do {
    i += 0.05;
    rayTrace += refl*incr;
    incr *= 1.3;
    newScreen = UBOProjectionviewMatrix * vec4(rayTrace, 1);
    newScreen /= newScreen.w;
    newPos = texture(posTex, newScreen.xy/2.0+0.5).xyz;
    currentWorldDist = length(newPos.xyz - UBOCamera.xyz);
    rayDist = length(rayTrace.xyz - UBOCamera.xyz);
    if (newScreen.x > 1 || newScreen.x < -1 || newScreen.y > 1 || newScreen.y < -1 || newScreen.z > 1 || newScreen.z < -1 || i >= 1.0 || cameraToWorldDist > currentWorldDist) {
    break; // This is a failure mode.
    }
    } while(rayDist < currentWorldDist);

    if (cameraToWorldDist > currentWorldDist)
    color = vec4(1,1,0,1); // Yellow indicates we found a pixel hidden behind another object
    else if (newScreen.x > 1 || newScreen.x < -1 || newScreen.y > 1 || newScreen.y < -1)
    color = vec4(0,0,0,1); // Black used for outside of screen
    else if (newScreen.z > 1 && newScreen.z < -1)
    color = vec4(1,1,1,1); // White outside of frustum
    else
    color = rainbow(i); // Encode number of iterations as a color. Red, then green and last blue
    return;
    }
    The shader doesn't implement the actual reflection, but will show color coded information. White is used to indicate a reflection going back to the camera, yellow indicates a pixel hidden behind another object, black indicates we got outside of the screen. Finally, a rainbow code is used to indicate the number of iterations needed to find the target. Red is 1, then green and finally blue for maximum.

    The example code will do at max 20 iterations (increment i with 0.05). Notice how the delta gradually is increased (incr is increased by 30% every iteration at line 50). Starting with a color texture as follows:
    Original
    And then applying the shader above, the result is:

    Calibration mode
    Please ignore the red and yellow sky, and look at the big block in the foreground. Much of it is white, because that reflects mostly back to the camera. The left side, however, has several colors. Black indicates a ray that goes outside of the picture, but the spectrum from red to blue indicates successful ray tracing. The bottom is red, which is logical as the reflection will immediately hit the near ground. The trees are found at median distance, indicated by green. And the sky is blue, which means a maximum number of iterations was needed to hit the sky pixel.

    Notice that the single monster is reflected twice, at two different iterations. This is an effect of iterating in big steps.

    Next is a picture from inside a cave, with no reflections enabled:
    Caves without reflections
    The same view, but with reflections enabled:
    Caves with reflections
    In this picture, the normals were manipulated randomly, and the original pixel color is blended with the reflected color depending on the angle. The final fragment shader source code for this is:

    // Create a float value 0 to 1 into a color from red, through green and then blue.
    vec4 rainbow(float x) {
    float level = x * 2.0;
    float r, g, b;
    if (level <= 0) {
    r = g = b = 0;
    } else if (level <= 1) {
    r = mix(1, 0, level);
    g = mix(0, 1, level);
    b = 0;
    } else if (level > 1) {
    r = 0;
    g = mix(1, 0, level-1);
    b = mix(0, 1, level-1);
    }
    return vec4(r, g, b, 1);
    }

    // Return a random value between -1 and +1.
    float noise(vec3 v) {
    return snoise((v.xy+v.z)*10);
    }

    uniform sampler2D colTex; // Color texture sampler
    uniform sampler2D posTex; // World position texture sampler
    uniform sampler2D normalTex; // Normal texture sampler
    uniform usampler2D materialTex; // Material texture sampler
    in vec2 screen; // The screen position (0 to 1)

    layout(location = 0) out vec4 color;

    // #define CALIBRATE // Define this to get a color coded representation of number of needed iterations
    void main(void)
    {
    vec4 origColor = texture(colTex, screen);
    uint effectType = texture(materialTex, screen).r & 0xf; // High nibbles are used for modulating factor
    if (effectType != 1) {
    color = origColor;
    return;
    }
    vec3 worldStartingPos = texture(posTex, screen).xyz;
    vec3 normal = texture(normalTex, screen).xyz;
    vec3 cameraToWorld = worldStartingPos.xyz - UBOCamera.xyz;
    float cameraToWorldDist = length(cameraToWorld);
    float scaleNormal = max(3.0, cameraToWorldDist*1.5);
    #ifndef CALIBRATE
    normal.x += noise(worldStartingPos)/scaleNormal;
    normal.y += noise(worldStartingPos+100)/scaleNormal;
    #endif
    vec3 cameraToWorldNorm = normalize(cameraToWorld);
    vec3 refl = normalize(reflect(cameraToWorldNorm, normal)); // This is the reflection vector
    #ifdef CALIBRATE
    if (dot(refl, cameraToWorldNorm) < 0) {
    // Ignore reflections going backwards towards the camera, indicate with white
    color = vec4(1,1,1,1);
    return;
    }
    #endif
    float cosAngle = abs(dot(normal, cameraToWorldNorm)); // Will be a value between 0 and 1
    float fact = 1 - cosAngle;
    fact = min(1, 1.38 - fact*fact);
    #ifndef CALIBRATE
    if (fact > 0.95) {
    color = origColor;
    return;
    }
    #endif // CALIBRATE
    vec3 newPos;
    vec4 newScreen;
    float i = 0;
    vec3 rayTrace = worldStartingPos;
    float currentWorldDist, rayDist;
    float incr = 0.4;
    do {
    i += 0.05;
    rayTrace += refl*incr;
    incr *= 1.3;
    newScreen = UBOProjectionviewMatrix * vec4(rayTrace, 1);
    newScreen /= newScreen.w;
    newPos = texture(posTex, newScreen.xy/2.0+0.5).xyz;
    currentWorldDist = length(newPos.xyz - UBOCamera.xyz);
    rayDist = length(rayTrace.xyz - UBOCamera.xyz);
    if (newScreen.x > 1 || newScreen.x < -1 || newScreen.y > 1 || newScreen.y < -1 || newScreen.z > 1 || newScreen.z < -1 || i >= 1.0 || cameraToWorldDist > currentWorldDist) {
    fact = 1.0; // Ignore any reflection
    break; // This is a failure mode.
    }
    } while(rayDist < currentWorldDist);
    // } while(0);
    #ifdef CALIBRATE
    if (cameraToWorldDist > currentWorldDist)
    color = vec4(1,1,0,1); // Yellow indicates we found a pixel hidden behind another object
    else if (newScreen.x > 1 || newScreen.x < -1 || newScreen.y > 1 || newScreen.y < -1)
    color = vec4(0,0,0,1); // Black used for outside of screen
    else if (newScreen.z > 1 && newScreen.z < -1)
    color = vec4(1,1,1,1); // White outside of frustum
    else
    color = rainbow(i); // Encode number of iterations as a color. Red, then green, and last blue.
    return;
    #endif
    vec4 newColor = texture(colTex, newScreen.xy/2.0 + 0.5);
    if (dot(refl, cameraToWorldNorm) < 0)
    fact = 1.0; // Ignore reflections going backwards towards the camera
    else if (newScreen.x > 1 || newScreen.x < -1 || newScreen.y > 1 || newScreen.y < -1)
    fact = 1.0; // Falling outside of screen
    else if (cameraToWorldDist > currentWorldDist)
    fact = 1.0;
    color = origColor*fact + newColor*(1-fact);
    }

    The source code for this can be found at the Ephenation ScreenSpaceReflection.glsl. The snoise function is a 2D simplex noise that can be found at Ephenation common.glsl.
              Ephenation evaluation report        

    Vision of Ephenation

    To have a game like World Of Warcraft, where players are able to add their own adventures. I think this is a probable future development. This type of games should be fully realized and generally available in something like 10 to 20 years.

    Goals

    Unlimited world

    The size of the world should not be limited. It is easier to implement a flat world than a spherical world, and a flat world can be unlimited. The nature will obviously have to be created automatically.

    Unlimited players

    This is not possible, of course, but the number of simultaneous players should be big. Limitation to 10 or 100 is much too small, as everyone would more or less know everyone and work on the same project. A minimum would be 1000 players, but preferably more than 10000. That will lead into a situation where you always meet new players you don't know, and the world is big enough so as to always find somewhere that you have not explored.

    Unlimited levels

    Most RPG type of games have a limited set of levels. But that will put a limit on the game play. After reaching the top level, the game is no longer the same. Not only that, but there is a kind of a race to reach this top level. Instead, there shall be no last top level. That will put an emphasis on constant exploration and progress.

    Allocate territory

    Players should be able to allocate a territory, where they can design their own adventures. This territory shall be protected from others, making sure no one else can interfere with the design.

    Social support

    The community and social interaction is very important. That is one reason for the requirement to support many players, as it will allow you to include all friends. There are a couple of ways to encourage community:
    1. Use of guilds. This would be a larger group of players, where you know the others.
    2. Temporary teams, used when exploring. It is more fun to explore with others.
    3. Use of common territories. It shall be possible to cooperate with friends to make territories that are related and possibly adjacent to each other.

    Mechanics

    It shall be possible to design interesting buildings, landscapes and adventures. The adventures shall be advanced enough so as to support triggered actions, with dynamic behavior that depends on player choices.

    Execution

    This is a description on how the project was executed. It was started end of 2010. Most of the programming was done by me (Lars Pensjö), but I got support with several sub modules.

    Server

    It was decided to use Go as the programming language for the server. Go has just the right support for this type of software:
    1. High performance (compiled language)
    2. Object oriented and static typing
    3. A concept of gorutines (light version of threads)
    4. A very high quotient for "it works when it compiles"
    5. Garbage collection
    The disadvantage of Go when the Ephenation project was started, was that Go was a new language, in transition, with uncertain future. This turned out to not be a problem, and the language has today a frozen specification (Go 1).

    To be able to manage the massive amount of players, quadtrees are used for both players and monsters.

    It is the server that has full control over all Model data. Player attributes, melee mechanisms, movements, etc.

    Client

    The client was initially designed in C, but I soon switched to C++. There are still some remains from C, which explains some not-so-good OO solutions. OpenGL was selected, instead of DirectX, partly as a random choice, but also because I wanted to do the development in Linux.

    It was decided to use OpenGL 3.3, instead of supporting older variants. There are some nice improvements in OpenGL that makes design easier, which was deemed more important than supporting old hardware.

    The world consists of blocks, voxels. This is difficult to draw in real time with high FPS, as the number of faces grow very quickly with viewing distance. Considerable effort was spent on transforming the list of cubes into a list of visible triangles. It is also difficult to make a level of detail (LOD) algorithm that gradually reduce details on long distances.

    Another technical difficult with a world based on cubes was to make it look nice, instead of blocky. Some algorithms were investigated that used a kind of filter. As the view distance is limited, there can be a conflict when being underground.

    The game engine can't know whether the far distance, which is not visible, should be replaced by a light background (from the sky) or from a dark background (typical to being underground). A compromise is used, where the color of the distance fog depends on the player being at a certain height.

    Protocol

    There are strict requirements on the protocol. If a server shall be able to handle 10000+ players, the communication can easily become a bottleneck. TCP/IP was selected in favor of UDP/IP, to make it easier to handle traffic control. The protocol itself is not based on any standard, and completely customized for Ephenation.

    Mechanics

    There are two major choices. Either use a scripting language to control the aspects of the world, or a graphical approach. A scripting language is more powerful, but on the other hand it is harder to learn. There is also the problem with supporting a massive amount of players, in which case time consuming scripts would make it unfeasible.

    The choice was to go for a limited set of blocks, with a special block type that can be used to initiate predefined actions. Inspiration was taken from the principles of Lego blocks. With a relatively small set of basic blocks, it is possible to construct the most amazing things.

    Evaluation

    Game engine

    The client side was designed from scratch, instead of using an existing game engine. This may have been a mistake, as the main development time was spent on graphical technology, instead of exploring the basic visions.

    Adventure design and mechanics

    The set of blocks and possible actions with "activator blocks" are currently limited. It is not enough to construct full adventures that are fun to explore and provides great entertainment.
    Early version of the game, where a player abused the monster spawner

    Game play

    The basic world is automatically generated. This usually make a game of limited interest, as game play is bound to become repetitive. Support from initial players enabled the creation of a world with many new buildings and creations. The more advanced features that support dynamic behavior was not added until later, which unfortunately lead to most part of the current world being too static.

    Graphics

    The graphics is working, but far from a production level. There are several glitches, e.g. camera falling inside the wall and lighting effects cut off. As the world is dynamic, the possibility to do offline precalculations are limited. That means most graphical effects has to be done live, which is a difficult requirement. For example, it is not known how many light sources that should be possible to manage. It was chosen to use a deferred shader, which improves the decoupling from geometry and shading.
    Early attempt to create automatic monsters. This was later replaced with fully animated models.

    Social

    The social side of the game play has been explored very limited. There are ways to send message to nearby players, and to communicate privately with any player. Although this is a very important aspect of the final vision, it is known technology and not difficult to implement.

    Performance tests

    The aggressive requirement to support 10,000 simultaneous players is hard to verify. A simple simulator was used, adding 1000 players at random position with a uniform density. These players simply walked around. If they were attacked, they attacked back again. If they were killed, they automatically used the command to revive again.

    On a Core I7 with 8 GBytes of RAM, the load from the server was approximately 10%. This is no proof that the server can actually manage 10,000 players, as there may be non linear dependencies. There are known bottlenecks, for example monster management that is currently handled by a single thread. That means at most one core can be used for this, but it should be possible to distribute this task into several smaller goroutines.

    The communication was measured at around 100 MB/s. With linear scaling, it would be 1GB/s for 10,000 players. The intention is that the scaling should be linear, as cross communication between players is designed to be of constant volume. Still, it remains to be proven.

    There is the obvious question whether the simulator is representative to real players. One way to improve that assessment would be to measure the actual behaviour of real players, and compare with the simulator.

    Another possible bottle neck is the communication with the player database (MongoDB). This depends on the number of login/logout and auto saves. It also depends on load generated from the web page. This has not been evaluated. Typically, an access takes about 1ms. The MongoDB is currently located on the same system as the game server, minimizing communication latency. The database will have to be managed by another computer system for a full production server.

    Equipment

    The objects that the player can wear and wield are simplified. As the game as a concept is unlimited, it is not possible to hand craft objects. Instead, there are 4 defined qualities for each object, per level.

    Communication

    TCP/IP has a higher overhead than UDP/IP. Some packages are big (the complete chunks), which would have required several UDP/IP packets and a complicated transmission control. It may be that UDP/IP should be used instead. However, this was not an issue for evaluation of the project.

    As the server is responsible for all object atributes, the clients need to be updated frequently. Player and monster positions are updated 10 times per second. This generates some data, so the update is limited to nearby players. Because of this, the client need to do interpolation to be able to show smooth movements, and the client need to be able to manage stale information about other players and monsters. The advantage of having the server manage all attributes is that it is not possible to cheat. The client source code is available, and it would have been easy to do changes.

    Conclusion

    Moore's law

    I believe the computers will continue to grow more powerful exponentially for many years still. However, the full power will probably not be accessible unless the game server can scale well with increasing number of cores. The performance test were done on hardware from 2011, and there are already much more powerful equipment available.

    Adventure design

    As a proof of concept, I think the project was successful. The thing I miss most, is a powerful enough mechanism that supports custom adventures. This is a key point of the game concept, but I believe, with more personnel involved, that new ideas would be available that would improve the possibilities considerably.

    Document update history

    2013-02-22 First published.
    2013-02-24 Added discussion about using voxels on the client side.
    2013-02-27 Information about entity attribute management and communication.
    2015-05-04 Pictures failed, and were replaced.

              Smooth world from block data        

    Ephenation is a voxel based world. Everything (almost) are blocks that have a given address. Graphics based on square blocks doesn't look very good. There are ways to make it look good, e.g. the Marching Cubes algorithm.
    However, this algorithm has some drawbacks. Every created triangle has a texture, and it is not trivial to decide what texture to use for triangles that span from one block type to another. Another problem is that some cubes in the world shall still be shown as cubes. This leads to difficulties in the transition between smooth terrain and cubistic blocks.

    Use of a filter

    In Ephenation, it was decided to use another algorithm, with similarities to a low pass filter. The basic idea is to take every coordinate and add a specific delta to each of the three dimensions. The magnitude of the delta is determined as a function of neighbor blocks. A two dimensional example of this could be:
    Delta in X dimension
    Next, if the same delta is applied in 'y', we get:
    Delta in Y dimension
    The principle is simple; the delta is computed in every dimension and can be applied independently.

    Three dimensions

    When computing the delta for 3 dimensions, neighbor vertices has to be take into account from 3 dimensions.

    In the figure, there are 8 cubes. They are initially uniformly distributed. The content of these 8 cubes are used to determine the delta of the point P, in the middle, for each of the X, Y and Z dimensions. Only one filter is defined for one dimension, and then the transformation is rotated in three different directions. The algorithm uses a small matrix, of the size 2x2x2, that is initialized with the content of the 8 cubes. The delta computation uses that matrix to determine the delta in one dimension. And then this small matrix is filled with the same content, but rotated for the other dimensions, and the test is repeated.

    Merging normals

    After applying the delta, it is possible to change the appearance without changing the geometry. If the normals for all triangles that meet at the same vertex is replaced by an average, then it will further increase the smoothness look of the world. To speed up this process, the vertex data is sorted on vertex position. A std::multiset is used, with pointers to the vertex data. This set of pointers is then sorted. A question is whether normals from different materials shall also be averaged. This is not done currently.

    There are some special cases that need to be taken care of. For example, it may be that the sum of the normals is a null vector. When that happens, the normals are simply left unchanged.
    Non modified normals
    And with normals merged, the same geometry will be:
    Merged normals

    Calibration

    The amount of the delta has to be calibrated. See below a video clip where the delta goes from 0 to 0.17.