The Youthful Microsoft Admins

education.asu-ma-ed-techA Window chat app that wasn’t working finally made me curious and I asked for MS help. I noticed at once that the second MS administrator that replied is young (the profile pic of the first isn’t his face). When I met the 9th of them, I just have to write about the surprising discovery: none of these admins look thirtyish. This was the first time I witnessed a youthful group of admins—at least in this one involving a tech giant. Since they decided that my topic should be private, I know I should not say anything more about it.

The second discovery was that MS might ask your permission to grant access to your account if your problem requires it. It asked me to send a screen capture of my browser network info. And since MS was very strict about our discussion being private, I knew I could trust them and I granted permission and sent the private image.

Did my first discovery meant MS practices employee age discrimination? I cannot claim that since I only dealt with one department. Anyway, the admins were efficient. That’s what should matter first.

What is Killing Writing?
Amazon Isn’t Killing Writing, The Market Is
‘Amazon’s war on publishers reached a crescendo yesterday with the leak of Kindle Unlimited, a subscription plan that would allow readers to pay $9.99 per month for unlimited access to the Kindle ebook library. No longer content with simply demanding steeper discounts from publishers like Hachette — which is locked in a bitter fight with the e-commerce giant over book prices — Amazon is finally reaching its end goal: the complete dissolution of the traditional book business model through a vertically integrated publishing platform, from writer to Kindle.

‘The idea of a “Netflix for Books” has been a popular startup theme for a while, and Kindle Unlimited certainly enters a crowded field. Oyster raised $17 million of venture capital over its two rounds of financing, and Scribd recently pivoted from hosting documents to a book subscription service. Yet, only Amazon currently has the scale to see such a plan become an industry standard, where it dominates ebook sales with an estimated 65 percent market share…’

8 Places to Download Free E-Books
Here are 2 of them
‘In the free section of the Google eBookstore, you’ll find a ton of free books from a variety of genres. Look here for bestsellers, favorite classics and more. Books are available in several formats, and you can also check out ratings and reviews from other users.

‘With a collection of more than 45,000 free e-books, Project Gutenberg is a volunteer effort to create and share e-books online. No registration or fee is required, and books are available in ePub, Kindle, HTML and simple text formats…’
all places

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The Downside of Having a Popular Blog

Citizen journalism / blogger card by Pinseri-blog

Citizen journalism / blogger card by Pinseri-blog (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Why you should be careful if your blog is too popular
Blogger Fined for Ranking Too High on Google
Negative restaurant review gets French blogger in trouble
‘A French judge has ruled against a blogger because her scathing restaurant review was too prominent in Google search results.

‘The judge ordered that the post’s title be amended and told the blogger Caroline Doudet to pay damages.

‘Ms Doudet said the decision made it a crime to be highly ranked on search engines.

‘The restaurant owners said the article’s prominence was unfairly hurting their business.

‘Ms Doudet was sued by the owner of Il Giardino restaurant in the Aquitaine region of southwestern France after she wrote a blogpost entitled “the place to avoid in Cap-Ferret: Il Giardino”.

‘According to court documents, the review appeared fourth in the results of a Google search for the restaurant. The judge decided that the blog’s title should be changed, so that the phrase: “the place to avoid” was less prominent in the results.

‘The judge sitting in Bordeaux also pointed out that the harm to the restaurant was exacerbated by the fact that Ms Doudet’s fashion and literature blog “Cultur’elle” had around 3,000 followers, indicating she thought it was a significant number…’

Top 5 Data Resources for Bloggers
‘Everybody has an opinion. It’s nothing special. It proves nothing, not unless you’ve got the numbers to back up your propositions. Numerical data is absolutely essential to creating a successful blog. People don’t just want an actionable agenda, they want cold hard facts, supporting details, and colorful charts and graphs to back up whatever crazy ideas they’ve come up with. And this being the information age, there’s usually a few surveys out there that can allow them to do just that.

‘Not only are data resources necessary to back up existing opinions, but they’re great for generating content ideas for you to slap onto the blog section of your WordPress. As they say, when you are blogging it’s easy to find templates, pictures or opinions. Unfortunately, it can sometimes be a pain to find reputable resources for reliable data.

‘No worries though, we’ve got you covered. Here is a list of the top 5 data resources that every blogger needs bookmarked…’

How to develop an effective commenting strategy
How to Comment on Blogs the Right Way
‘Are you commenting on other people’s blogs to grow your own readership?

‘This is often a good strategy when your blog is brand new – and it’s a great way to start building relationships in your niche.

‘Too many bloggers, though, go about commenting the wrong way.

‘If you leave comments that don’t say much more than “great post!” then you’re wasting your time (and everyone else’s)…’
the 5 steps

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Writing Wasn’t Popular and Ignored for 2 Thousand Years

Originally posted on Plato on-line:

smithsonianmag-fig5_tokens_from_zt.jpg__800x600_q85_cropAncient Assyrians still used clay markers, 2K years later
‘These days, not too many people use or even own typewriters. Those clunky machines have almost entirely been replaced by a smoother model: the modern computer. Imagine, however, that thousands of years from now people were still clinging to their typewriters, ignoring all the technological advances that developed along the way. It seems illogical, but this is pretty much what ancient Assyrians did, according to new research.

‘Archaeologists digging in Ziyaret Tepe in Turkey recently uncovered a mess of clay tokens made in various geometric shapes. Prior to the advent of writing around 3,000 BCE, the people living in the region that eventually formed the kingdom of the ancient Assyrians used the tokens as primitive record-keeping tools…’
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60 new abbreviations that an internet savvy should know
‘According to a social media marketing agency, the ordeal of new meanings…

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Is Independent Media the Only Real Press?

Originally posted on Plato on-line:

The Enemy Within (Michael Savage)

The Enemy Within (Michael Savage) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

That’s the claim of Michael Savage

‘After describing how lapdog media figures cozy up to the establishment, conservative radio talk show host and author Michael Savage gave kudos, in particular, to the work of Infowars’ newest reporter Staff Sgt. Joe Biggs, who last week traveled to south Texas where House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi was scheduled to give a press conference.

‘Infowars was denied access to the Congressperson because it was not “pre-credentialed” by the establishment, in other words it was decided the news organization based in central Texas and not far from the border is too dangerous to be allowed near Madame Pelosi, who is known for her fumbling answers to serious questions…’

Buy Books that are Banned in Middle Eastern Countries!
‘Ala’ Alsallal, a twenty-eight-year-old entrepreneur and founder of the four-year-old Internet book retailer Jamalon, is selling books banned…

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New Journalism @ App World

Originally posted on Plato on-line:

Sir Matthew Pinsent interviewing during a spor...
This is a guest post from my blogging firend Daphne Holmes

Forget desktop computers, laptops, and tablets. They still have their place, of course, but these days increasing numbers of people are getting their information and entertainment on smartphones. Smart news outlets are taking advantage of this fact by optimizing content for mobile and, even more important, finding new ways to reach smartphone users via chat apps. The BBC, for instance, is on WhatsApp, WeChat, BBM, and Mxit, distributing news, crowdsourcing information, and reaching new audiences. For instance, it provided coverage to Indian audiences during the general elections in April-May 2014, and announced plans to cover the World Cup via WhatsApp and BBC Brasil.

Yet there are challenges for news outlets that want to go this route. One big challenge is finding a way to scale their efforts via chat apps, breaking the one-on-one limitations of chat and reaching much…

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New Rules with Paid Wikipedia Editors

English: wikimedia foundation globe with hallway

English: wikimedia foundation globe with hallway (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

They have to disclose now if they’re paid. Will that stop the Editorial Wars?
‘The heart of the change is that anyone who is paid to edit the site must “add your affiliation to your edit summary, user page, or talk page, to fairly disclose your perspective,” according to Wikimedia’s explanation of the change. The organization has also published an FAQ on paid editing.

‘The changes come after some high-profile commotions over paid editing. In October, Wikipedia deleted more than 250 accounts believed to be connected to a PR firm that was writing articles on the site. In January, the Wikimedia Foundation fired an employee who was accused of taking paid editing gigs…’

Social Advocacy & Politics
The Epic Twitter Arrest of @PeoriaMayor
‘…I find Mayor Ardis’s reaction to @PeoriaMayor a wasted opportunity. Instead of learning something from the parody account, he reacted in anger. When I learned of @MayorEmanuel, not only was I pleased that Rahm had taken such a positive view of it, but it spawned an epiphany for me.

‘I realized Twitter could be used to create theater for advocacy. Unlike Facebook, you are allowed to create Twitter accounts for fictional characters. In fact, that is part of the charm of Twitter. And if you can create fictional characters performing theater on Twitter, you can use them to tell a story that moves people to support your cause…’

One Year After Death, Michael Hastings’ Lost Novel Satirizes Corporate Media
‘…One year after his death, Hastings’ reporting has made waves once again. In 2012, Hastings wrote a major investigation for Rolling Stone on the American prisoner of war, Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl. At the time, Hastings thought it was the most important story of his career. But it only recently earned widespread attention after Bergdahl’s release for five Taliban members sparked a political firestorm. In his report, Hastings revealed Bergdahl was profoundly disillusioned with the Afghan War and may have walked away from his base as a result. With Bergdahl still silent as he recovers from five years in Taliban captivity, Hastings’ article remains the definitive account of the young soldier’s story. Today, another major work from Hastings is upon us: “The Last Magazine,” a posthumous novel and scathing satire of the corporate news media based on Hastings’ time at Newsweek. We are joined by Hastings’ widow, Elise Jordan, who brought the book to life after coming across the manuscript following her husband’s death…’

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Art is All About Harmonization

Rain Bow (Paper Sculpture)

Rain Bow (Paper Sculpture) (Photo credit: cobalt123)

Do you appreciate art, listen to music, or read a story that is all without harmony?
Wassily Kandinsky on the Spiritual Element in Art and the Three Responsibilities of Artists
“To harmonize the whole is the task of art.”
‘Bemoaning the tendency of the general public to reduce art to technique and skill, Kandinsky argues that its true purpose is entirely different and adds to history’s most beautiful definitions of art:

In each picture is a whole lifetime imprisoned, a whole lifetime of fears, doubts, hopes, and joys. Whither is this lifetime tending? What is the message of the competent artist? … To harmonize the whole is the task of art.

‘And yet, Kandinsky admonishes, the notion of “art for art’s sake” produces a “neglect of inner meanings” — a lament perhaps even more “sad and ominous” in our age of consistent commodification of art as a thing to transact around — to purchase, to own, to display — rather than an experience to have. He writes:

‘The spiritual life, to which art belongs and of which she is one of the mightiest elements, is a complicated but definite and easily definable movement forwards and upwards. This movement is the movement of experience. It may take different forms, but it holds at bottom to the same inner thought and purpose…’

Whatever Happened To Stiff Paper?
One thing I like about Japanese artists is that they still use stiff paper, textured cards, or paper mache’ for their creations which are really beautiful. I shouldn’t have discovered that if I wasn’t shopping on a surplus shop.
‘Card stock (basically stiff paper) was used for plane tickets, train tickets, ferry tickets, the cards in library books. It was (and is) thicker than a sheet of typewriter paper, thinner and more flexible than paperboard. It was made to last.

‘But when you go to a theater these days, when you board a bus, what do you see? People show up with a sheet of ordinary paper bearing bar codes; some simply slide their phones under a scanner; airlines will still print you a ticket at the gateway, but it’s possible now to fly all over the world without ever needing to handle a stiffer-than-usual ticket.

‘OK, so the world is using less stiff paper, so what? If you’re a tree, that’s a good thing. If you’re a business having to deal with increasingly crumpled, wrinkly tickets pulled out of pocket-bottoms and folded wallets, maybe that’s a problem, but card stock is expensive. Businesses must be saving money. Legibility may suffer, but the real loss, suggests materials scientist , is more spiritual…’

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