NYC Subway's Finally Set to Get WiFi and Cell Phone Access


If you live in New York and use public transportation lately you probably also know that the subway, no matter how hot or smelly or crowded it can be, is also a brief reprieve from digital leashes that are harnessed to you the entire today. At least that’s what you could tell yourself to try and make the smell of urine more palatable.

Now, even that “silver lining” is about to come to an end.

After an almost three-year delay, work is set to begin on a $200 million plan to bring mobile- phone and Wi-Fi service to New York’s subway stations.

After three years with no progress many New Yorkers assumed the project had fallen by the way side. Thanks to Broadcast Australia’s injection of a new revenue stream the project is once again gearing up and will reportedly have six stations wired up and ready to go within the next two months.

Does anyone want to get in on the over/under on the first cell phone related brawl happening on a subway platform?

Waiting for a training on a hot, smelly platform while running late for work can be stressful enough. Add into that equation a hundred or so people with no sense of “inside voice” having conversations on their cell phones around you.

This is quite possibly the worst thing I can imagine happening to the MTA Subway system.

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Blogging Tips that Keep You From Being Confused With a Blogger that Sucks: Lesson #1


It took me a while to build up the courage to begin this series of posts, mainly because this is only part one of a 700 part series, and that’s the abridged version.

One of the amazing things about blogging is that virtually anyone can do it. Unfortunately, one of the drags about blogging is that virtually anyone can do it. Without a doubt the easiest part of blogging is sucking at it.

Fortunately, if you’re reading this, you’re already one step closer to what blogging is all about, success and glory.

Blogging Tips that Keep You From Being Confused With a Blogger that Sucks is a master-level course painstakingly constructed to, not only make you a better blogger, but to make you more attractive to the opposite sex as well as learning how to turn your blog posts into cold, hard cash.

Alright, enough with the introductions, let’s get down to brass tacks. Click after the jump to get started.

Lesson #1

Post with passion. No matter what subject your blog or your post is about there are sure to be innumerable other blogs or posts out there on the same subject. The one thing that separates you from all the others is you. You are the unique ingredient in your writing.

Earlier I started to post a blog entry about YouTube’s announcement that they’ve increased the maximum length of their video uploads to 15 minutes, up from 10.

Fortunately before I hit the “Publish” button I realized I had absolutely no business at all to be publishing a post about that. Sure, I write about tech but the only thing I use YouTube for is publishing 30 second long videos of my daughter.

Granted, YouTube increasing its maximum upload length by fifty percent is pretty big news, but really what else is there to say that hasn’t already been said?

There’s nothing wrong with posting content that you know is already being covered, that being said, keep in mind what makes the content interesting to your readers. Your perspective. Don’t just tell your readers that YouTube has increased its maximum upload, tell them why that is good news for them. Tell them how you plan on taking advantage of it and what it means for the industry.

For me, the YouTube story is a perfect example, because there really isn’t too much to say about it. If your readers can’t figure out the benefits of uploading 15 minutes of video as opposed to 10 minutes of videos then original content probably isn’t your biggest concern. Your biggest concern would be why your content is attracting people that are so dumb.

Summary

Don’t just go around the internet and grabbing every headline you see just to throw content onto your blog. Trust me, no one is going to come to your blog and be blown away by the fact that you jumped on that 15 Minutes of YouTube train.

A great goal to aim for is to be aware of your content and work toward giving your readers something they can’t find anywhere else. You.

As Opposition to Health Care Reform Continues to Decrease Seniors Still Alarmingly Misinformed


For more than a a hundred million years there have been two absolute certainties in life. Two constants that are integral in balancing out the randomness of the universe. Two universal truths that you can absolutely count on.

  1. Death
  2. Taxes (It’s a little known fact that even dinosaurs paid taxes. Recent archeological evidence uncovered has revealed that a little more than 65 million years ago a “conservative” dinosaur was elected dinosaur president and almost immediately cut taxes on the rich dinosaurs in a completely futile and ridiculous attempt to stimulate the dino-economy. Not only was it a miserable failure, it eventually resulted in massive agency cutbacks and the closing of the DMDA, the Dinosaur Meteorite Detection Agency (See #1).
  3. One hundred million years later two more certainties have been added to that list.

  4. An astonishingly large number of hard-working, decent Americans will, given the choice, vote against their own best interest in favor of the interest of the corporations.
  5. There seems to be some correlation between a person’s age and how emphatically they will argue a point and make sweeping generalizations on a subject they are woefully misinformed on. (Hint on the age: People aren’t getting wiser with years.)

A large number of seniors “mistakenly believe the law includes provisions that cut some previously universal Medicare benefits” and 36% think that the law creates ‘death panels.’ Also, only 14 percent of seniors know that the law will increase the Medicare Part A trust fund by 12 years “and nearly half (45%) of seniors think the health reform law will weaken the financial condition of the fund.
”

One of the GOP’s favorite tactics besides fear-mongering is blatantly doling out misinformation to keep people in the dark. It’s just another form of fear-mongering considering most people are afraid of the unknown.

Considering senior citizens make up a large part of the Republican demographic that it would be in their best interest to inform their constituents. Of course that would mean setting aside the partisanship and actually caring enough about your core group of supporters enough to give them the facts and allow them to make the decision for themselves.

  • Only 14% of seniors knew that the law does not cut Medicare payments to doctors; 45% answered incorrectly and 41% said they did not know.
  • Only 24% of seniors knew that it is projected to extend the solvency of the Medicare Trust Fund.
  • Only 28% knew that the law improves the availability of long-term care at home for seniors with disabilities.
  • Only 22% knew about improvements in chronic care.
  • Only 33% knew about the new, free yearly wellness visit Medicare will now provide.
  • Two out of three seniors either did not know (43%) or gave the wrong answer about the future growth of Medicare spending. Only 34% knew that it will continue to grow under the new law, just more slowly.

It’s pretty alarming to think that with the seemingly limitless amount of information we have at our fingertips, people seem to be misinformed now more than ever.

[Image courtesy of Natalie Dee]

Facebook is Asking Humans to Help Complete Transformation to Skynet


You all laughed and threw things at me when I rented the sandwich board, grew my hair out and lamented the end of days, but now we’ll see who has the last maniacal laugh. 

Facebook has obviously been planting these hipsters in t-shirts around the globe to make us think that Google was the real Skynet. Now we finally know the truth.

What was the one thing that was holding Facebook back from it’s final transformation into Skynet? Obviously it was Facebook’s inability to tap into the collective unconscious of humankind. It was the last thread that was keeping us from being enslaved and forced to spend eternity in indentured servitude on a farm in Farmville. 

Today we’re introducing Facebook Questions, a beta product that lets you pose questions like these to the Facebook community. With this new application, you can get a broader set of answers and learn valuable information from people knowledgeable on a range of topics. 

Facebook Questions helps you tap into the collective knowledge of the more than 500 million people on Facebook. For example, if you’re vacationing in Costa Rica and want to know the best places to surf, you can use Facebook Questions to get answers from nearby surfing enthusiasts. Because questions will also appear to your friends and their friends, you’ll receive answers that are more personalized to you.

Check and mate. Once Facebook definitively knows what my favorite shade of purple is we are all doomed. Doomed!

Insurance Company Profits From a Fallen Soldier While Simultaneously Ripping Off His Family


I wish I could say this story was somehow shocking or the exception rather than the rule, unfortunately, for anyone who’s even somewhat paid attention over the past decade or so it’s obvious that this is par for the course.

There seems to be no end to what the greed of corporate executives will drive them to do. If you’re wondering why the gap between the haves and the have nots is ever widening, you need look no further than this story and then multiply it 20 or 30 million times.

We’re not just talking borderline shady or questionable actions, we’re talking about downright despicable policies that blatantly put corporate profits ahead of the well-being and interest of the people they’re supposed to be serving. The very people who are responsible for their success in the first place.

For Prudential insurance it doesn’t even seem to matter that the person whose life in question is an American soldier who lost his life fighting in Afghanistan.

Sgt. Ryan Baumann was out on a mission riding in his Humvee when he spotted an IED, his immediate reaction was to shout to the driver to “turn left”. That left the IED directly under himself. Sgt. Baumann was killed instantly while the driver, gunner and medic that were with him survived.

His mother was forced to face one of the most unimaginable things a parent can face. Having to bury their own son or daughter.

It was hard to accept life without her son, until a casualty assistance officer asked her to choose how she would like to receive his death benefits. 

“At that moment, you realize this was real,” she said. “I also knew that you know, to me, it felt like I was profiting from his death, you know, by getting money.” 
She eventually filed, electing to receive a lump sum of $400,000. But the check never came. Instead, she received a check book and a packet from Prudential saying the money had been placed in its “alliance account” where it was “available immediately” and would “begin earning interest” right away.

Everything seemed fine, until she tried using the checks. 

“I was told that the check could not be verified,” she said.

Here’s the gist of what’s going on. Instead of actually giving out the lump sum as requested, Prudential holds the money in an account of its own and sends out checks to use. Meanwhile, Prudential is paying out less than one percent interest on the money to the family member while collecting nearly five percent from their own investment of the money.

Yes, I am aware that this isn’t an anomaly and that many corporations capitalize on death in one way or another. The question is how long can corporate America keep draining the resources of the bottom ninety percent of Americans before our entire system destabilizes and implodes on itself?

President Obama Speaks Out Against the GOP's Attempt at a Hostile Corporate Takeover of America


Whether or not you’ve been completely happy with what President Obama has done since he’s been in office, it’s usually speeches like this that keep bringing me back to his defense.

We, as citizens, and the politicians we elect that truly are looking out for our best intrests should be running these people and these politicans out on a rail.

httpvhd://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U-E7DYqPj_w&feature=player_embedded

The Republicans are supporting a bill that would allow unlimited corporate donations, both foreign and domestic, to politicians, without even having to disclose who it came from.

We’ve turned into a feudal system where the corporations are our lords and masters and openly slap us across the face and skim money off the top as we smile and ask for more.

Please watch this video and pass it around to as many people as you can.

Facebook's Unplanned Family


Since it’s inception, Facebook has been all about groups, cliques, clubs etc. When it first started it was primarily focused on college kids. You had to use your university email address when you signed up and you were automatically grouped by your college.

Next, Facebook opened up to high school kids and you were grouped by what high school you were going to. When Facebook eventually opened up to anyone over 13 people were still big on grouping themselves with something, usually their work. Once you signed up and validated your work email address you grouped with all your fellow co-workers.

As Facebook started to grow and become more mainstream we saw a natural evolution starting to take place. Facebook was so good at connecting groups of people that had something in common and allowing them to share information, photos, videos, etc with just those people, it sort of organically became the natural place for families to start connecting.

Families are the ultimate group. Suddenly, your aunts and uncles, cousins and parents, people whom with you might have updated your life separately throughout the year at different times, now they had immediate access to your daily life, you to theirs.

Facebook unintentionally became the thing that we had been looking for all along. Since the birth of the internet people realized its ability to bring people closer together. Facebook stumbled into place with just the right tools, at just the right time to become the de facto online scrapbook for families to keep in touch.

Once Facebook caught on they started making it as easy as possible to connect with your families, even creating Create a Family Group pages.

With 500 million users there are bound to be a couple million critics but say what you will Facebook has just enough features, and is easy enough to use to keep people of all ages coming back.

I live in New York with my wife and my 2-year-old daughter. I’m the only one in my family that lives here. My family is spread out in Colorado, Indiana and Michigan. I know that for me it’s been a wonderful thing that anyone in my family can log onto Facebook and share in the memories we are making with our family. My mothers and sisters can watch videos and see photos any time that is convenient for them.

It’s clear that it didn’t start out to be a family platform, but just like many unplanned families, Facebook started with a college kid and a few too many drinks. Accidents aren’t always a bad thing.