7/19/12 Social Media Event

This week, I went to a social media event sponsored by the Social Media Club of Richmond.  They talked about reasons to blog and that blogging is on its way out, in which I kinda agree with.  These days, people use Facebook and Twitter to instantly connect with others.

Also at the event, a group of girls from RichmondMom.com described their road trip to SXSW in Austin this past March.  Chevy was trying to think of ways to brand itself, so they reached out to teams, like the girls from RichmondMom, all across the country and asked them to drive to Austin using Chevy’s cars.  Chevy’s goal was to take people who normally wouldn’t drive their cars and put them in it.

Chevy wanted the groups to tweet about their journey and how they liked their cars.  The Richmond Mom group had another mission while on their road trip.  Their goal was to visit local classrooms along the way and raise money for the schools.  They did that by using PR and social media. They even got onto the local news in Alabama because of their PR and networking skills.

This social media campaign was a smart move on Chevy’s part because this allowed them to interact with their fanbase and gain new fans for their products.

It was a really good event, and it was interesting to see how big companies, like Chevy, come up social media campaigns.

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Weekly Roundup – 7/15/12

I’m going to do a condensed version. I didn’t spend a lot of time reading the news this week.

Penn State blamed over Jerry Sandusky sex abuse
Louis Freeh’s report, released on Wednesday, laid much blame in the hands of four of Penn State’s “most powerful people”: President Graham Spanier, Vice-President Gary Schultz, athletic director Tim Curley and head football coach Joe Paterno.

They “failed to protect against a child sexual predator harming children for over a decade. These men concealed Sandusky’s activities from the Board of Trustees, the university community and authorities,” Mr Freeh wrote.

The four men, including the university president, knew that Sandusky was under investigation by university police of allegations of child sex abuse on campus as early as 1998.

It’s easy to look back now and say that.

Boston ranks 19th worst in traffic gridlock study
According to TomTom, a manufacturer of GPS navigation devices, Boston is the 19th most congested city in North America, behind such cities as Vancouver and Miami. The company’s Congestion Index report for the first quarter of the year, which surveyed 26 North American cities, found the absolute worst traffic is in Los Angeles.

On average, Boston commutes take 16 percent longer than they would if traffic were flowing freely — like in the middle of the night. In the evening rush, however, Boston commutes take 35 percent more time than they do when everything is moving well, according to the TomTom report.

By comparison, Los Angeles commutes take an average of 33 percent longer than they would in free-flowing traffic and a whopping 77 percent longer during evening rush hour.
My commute isn’t too bad.

China’s Video Sites Ordered to Censor Content
If you run a video website in China, you will now be charged with a daunting task: watch all your content and censor out any questionable content before posting.

China’s new online video censorship rules came this week via the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT), China’s official broadcast regulation bureau. SARFT made the pre-screening policy known through a statement released to Chinese press that was later reported on by The Register.

Chinese video websites can be held legally liable if they fail to comply with the self-screening and censorship policy.

Ouch.

Weekly Roundup – 7/8/12

Virginia/US
WEATHER: Dangerous heat wave through weekend
But Saturday may end up being the hottest day of this heat wave, with an expected high temperature of about 104° in Richmond, with other high temperatures in central Virginia above 100°.
An excessive heat warning is in effect for much of the area Saturday for heat index values around or above 110°. More of the same is on tap for Sunday as well. With high heat and humidity like we’ll experience through Sunday, it doesn’t matter what you’re doing or where you are – even healthy people will be at risk for heat-related illnesses.

HOT HOT HOT!

Massive frozen meat recall
The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced on Saturday that a New Jersey based company, Buona Vita., Inc., is recalling 324,770 pounds of frozen, ready-to-eat meat products due to a possible Listeria contamination.

Buona Vita, Inc. is recalling products produced on May 3, 4, 7, 8 and 9. The USDA says the products were sold to facilities all over the country. Brands infected include Napoli, Bullpen, Whorle’s, M&R Frosted Food Co., Argenta Pride, Silver Lake Brand, Dirusso’s, Buona Vita, and Mama Isabella.

Ew. Good to know though.

New York couple arrested, jailed for dancing at subway station
A New York city couple was arrested and jailed for nearly a day for dancing on a subway platform and attempting to film the police officers who apprehended them.
The New York Post reports that Caroline Stern, age 55 and her boyfriend George Hess, 54, have filed a federal lawsuit in Manhattan against the city of New York over the July, 2011 incident.
According to the suit, the couple was heading home late one night after a swing dancing event at Lincoln Center when they came across a busker playing steel drums. Captivated by the tropical beat, Hess, a film industry prop master and Stern, a dentist, began dancing with joyous abandon on the subway platform.

Dancing on a platform is unsafe, but they shouldn’t have gotten arrested over it.

Team Romney looking at women for running mate
As political chatter over Mitt Romney’s choice for running mate gets louder, the presumptive GOP nominee’s wife offered a new glimpse into the highly secretive process: the campaign, she said, is looking at women.

“We’ve been looking at that,” Ann Romney said when asked in a CBS interview whether her husband should select a woman to join him on the GOP ticket. “I’d love that option as well. So, you know, there’s a lot of people that Mitt is considering right now.”

Good news. More power to us women.

World
Russia Floods Kill At Least 103
Intense flooding in the Black Sea region of southern Russia killed 103 people after torrential rains dropped nearly a foot of water, forcing many to scramble out of their beds for refuge in trees and on roofs, officials said Saturday.

Aw, so sad! Mother Nature is taking a toll on everybody.

Report: Hitler ordered reprieve to Jewish man
Then there’s Ernst Hess, who was a decorated World War I soldier, former judge and, despite being raised a Protestant and marrying someone of that faith, a “full-blooded Jew” in the eyes of the Nazi regime.

According to a groundbreaking report, Hess was granted a reprieve despite this designation thanks to none other than Adolf Hitler.

Susanne Mauss, editor of the Jewish Voice from Germany newspaper, found the August 27, 1940, note from the Gestapo (the infamous Nazi secret police) that saved Hess — albeit temporarily. The order was revoked the next year, and Hess spent years doing hard labor in Nazi concentration camps and work sites.

Hitler is an evil man. It’s a shame.

Health
India to provide free generic drugs
India is set to provide generic drugs free to its people. In a country where public spending on health care last year was a mere $4.50 per person, the policy will make a vast difference to the lives of hundreds of millions.
The $5.4 billion policy will enable India’s public doctors to prescribe free medicines to all their patients. This is an immense improvement on the current situation, where only a quarter of India’s population can afford prescription drugs. The positive impact of the policy on the health of the population in a country characterised by extremes of wealth and poverty would be difficult to overstate. In India, forty percent of the population live on $1.25 per day or even less. For people in such circumstances, access to free medicine could well mean the difference between life and death.

Is anything ever really “free?” I’m sure taxpayers are paying for it.

Technology/Social Media
Mini-iPad coming this fall?
Rumors of a mythological miniature Apple tablet–smaller than the iPad but larger than the iPhone–have been circulating on the Internet for a while now, but if two new reports in the Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg are to be believed, the myth will become a reality by the end of the year.

On Wednesday, both the Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg reported that a smaller Apple tablet may be on the market by the year’s end.

We don’t need a mini iPad.

Thousands face internet loss as FBI shuts off servers
More than 300,000 people, including many in the US and UK, could lose internet access later as the FBI shuts off servers used by cyber thieves.

The FBI seized the servers in November 2011 during raids to break up a gang of criminals who used viruses to infect more than four million victims.

Victims’ web searches were routed through the servers so they saw adverts that led to the gang being paid.

Many machines still harbour the gang’s malicious code.

Some people have nothing else better to do. Instead, they spread viruses to harm other people’s computers.

Business/Money
Netflix exceeds 1 billion monthly hours of video viewing
Netflix, the internet video streaming company, boasts they are world’s leading internet subscription service for watching movies and TV programs after they seem to be gaining back popularity.

After achieving over a billion monthly views, Netflix CEO, Reed Hastings, posted a thank you to chief content officer Ted Sarandos on his facebook account.

That’s a lot of time spent watching stuff on Netflix. That reminds me that I need to utilize my account more. My sister uses my account to watch stuff more than I do.

British Airways program upsets privacy groups
A British Airways effort to improve customer service by letting airline employees look up passenger photos and other information on the Internet is ruffling feathers among privacy advocates.

Over the past year, British Airways equipped airline employees with Ipad devices to search passenger data such as previous travel arrangements, food preferences and even Google images. The London-based airline says the “Know Me” program was directed primarily to better serve VIP passengers.

Creepy.

Entertainment
Andy Griffith died of heart attack
The North Carolina native had long endured hypertension and hyperlipidemia, his certificate said, which can suggest high cholesterol or high triglycerides.

The heart attack occurred about 24 hours before he died, the certificate says. Griffith passed away at 7 a.m. Tuesday morning and was buried less than five hours later.
He was 86.

RIP Andy!

Declared Brain Dead by Doctors
Usher’s 11-year-old stepson has been declared brain dead by doctors following the accident yesterday when he was struck by a jet ski … TMZ has learned.

According to our sources, Kyle Glover (son of Usher’s estranged wife Tameka Foster) has not experienced any brain activity since he was admitted to the hospital. We’re told there has been no decision yet as to whether or not to take him off life support.

Oh wow, that’s so sad!

Did Scientology Eventually Bring Down Cruise-Holmes Marriage?
On Friday afternoon, Cruise and Holmes announced they were breaking up after five years of marriage. Holmes, who once claimed she and Cruise would “always be in our honeymoon phase,” filed for divorce in a New York court on Thursday, citing “irreconcilable differences” and seeking sole legal custody of their 6-year-old daughter, Suri.

The Internet wasted no time in speculating on what really wrecked their marriage: his religion.

“Scientology Was Her Breaking Point,” blasted TMZ, one of many gossip websites that made the allegation. Holmes filed her papers in New York (even though the couple lives in Los Angeles), perhaps a sign that she plans to move as far away from her soon-to-be ex-husband as possible.

Holmes, who converted to Scientology in 2005 before marrying Cruise, reportedly hadn’t been seen inside a Scientology Church for some time. Several years ago, she enrolled Suri in a Catholic preschool.

I don’t blame her. Tom Cruise and Scientology are just a bad mix.

Sports
Wimbledon grass faces Olympic race against time and nature
Just 20 days after the men’s final at the All England Club, the tennis competition at the 2012 London Olympics will begin — and the team working on the famous courts are keeping their fingers crossed that this week’s inclement weather does not cause any further delays.

Andy Newell from the Sports Turf Research Institute (STRI) gives Wimbledon head groundsman Eddie Seaward and his staff expert scientific advice on that preparation and admits that any delay into a third week would be a serious problem.

“They don’t want to lose time because they are already on such a fine edge and even a day would mean you lose 5% of your preparation, and that could be crucial,” he told CNN.

Ten of Wimbledon’s courts will be used for the Olympics and it’s going to prove Seaward’s biggest challenge — coming in his final year in the job, after more than two decades of involvement.

Preparation is the key, and the London Olympic Organizing Committee (LOCOG) insisted on a trial run at Wimbledon after the Games were awarded to the UK capital.

“We worked on them just a couple of years ago to prove to LOCOG that we could do that within a short period of time, get the courts back in pristine condition,” Seaward told CNN.

But trial run or not, it’s still a daunting prospect with little room for error. The grass must be cut to an exact 8 millimeters for optimum performance, and Seaward and his team have to keep a wary eye on that unpredictable British weather — ground temperature and humidity levels are constantly measured.

Wow, sounds like a tight deadline.

Weekly Roundup – 7/1/12

Virginia/US
U-Va. board unanimously reinstates Teresa Sullivan as president
The University of Virginia governing board voted unanimously Tuesday to reinstate Teresa Sullivan as president, more than two weeks after board leaders had forced her to resign and unleashed a storm of campus upheaval.

The board brought her back mainly because the governor gave them an ultimatum. He told the board to fix the problem or else they would all be forced to resign.

Gov. McDonnell declares state of emergency after deadly storms
McDonnell said Friday’s storms left at least six people dead in the state. He said two people died in Bedford County. Two were also killed in both Fairfax and Albemarle counties.
Officials said more than two million in the state are without power.
As a result, McDonnell said a state of emergency was issued for the Commonwealth Saturday morning. This gives localities power to implement curfew and also allows the governor access to up to 300 members of the National Guard.

We’ve been hit pretty bad this week, weather wise.

US Supreme Court upholds healthcare reform law
The US Supreme Court has said President Barack Obama’s landmark healthcare reform act is constitutional.

The court upheld a core requirement known as the “individual mandate” that Americans buy insurance or pay a fine.

Of the nine justices on the bench, Chief Justice John Roberts’ vote was decisive in the Supreme Court’s 5-4 ruling in favour of the law.

Obamacare sounds socialistic. Then again, universal healthcare works for Canadians.

World
Dozens saved after second Christmas Island sinking
More than 120 people have been rescued after a boat sank north of Christmas Island, a week after an asylum-seeker boat sank in the area.

Australian officials said merchant vessels had gathered 123 people from the water, after the boat sent a distress call early on Wednesday.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard said between 123 and 133 people were believed to have been on board.

Two Australian navy vessels were on their way to the site.

Sounds like mostly everyone was saved. 🙂

Health
Role of stress in dementia investigated
A Swedish study that followed nearly 1,500 women for a period of 35 years found the risk of dementia was about 65% higher in women who reported repeated periods of stress in middle age than in those who did not.

Scottish scientists, who have done studies in animals, believe the link may be down to hormones the body releases in response to stress which interfere with brain function.

Lovely…

Technology/Social Media
We Know What You’re Doing: Website exposes Facebook stupidity
The site uses Facebook’s Graph API, as well as publicly available Foursquare check-ins, to automatically generate streams of brainlessness, vitriol, and over-sharing from publicly available Facebook posts. These posts are categorized into four columns: Who wants to get fired? (people ranting about their job, bosses); Who’s hungover?; Who’s taking drugs?; and Who’s got a new phone number? Each post includes the user’s profile picture, and lists their first name and last initial. In other words, there’s nothing anonymous about this — that’s the point.

This is why you watch what you post.

Entertainment
TomKat declawed: Katie Holmes divorcing Tom Cruise
But the couple’s romance was instant fodder for the tabloids, who chattered about everything from the couple’s fights and Suri’s clothing to Holmes’ conversion to Scientology.

Sounds like a hot mess marriage.

Sports
Michael Phelps makes the right call, deciding seven is enough for the London Olympics
Michael Phelps did a wise thing Monday: He gave up the chance to compete for another eight Olympic gold medals.

The move will allow him to rest properly at the London Games and have time to recover between races, which is much more important now that he’s 27 years old, his body battered by a dozen years of high-level swimming. He’s out of an event that might be more loaded than any other, one he certainly could’ve won — never bet against Phelps — but appeared more competitive than his other races.

He needs all the rest he can get.