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Patrick Moore

Patrick Moore

Sunday, 04 December 2016 14:33

8 Steps to Securing Online Privacy

Last week, I set out my reasons for expecting serious civil liberties and privacy problems under a Trump presidency. I strongly recommended that you take steps to protect yourself — steps I’m going to outline shortly.

We now live under conditions that would make the great authoritarians of yore salivate with envy. Government’s capacity to monitor us has never been greater. And, as that capacity advances, politicians and bureaucrats adjust their understanding of privacy and constitutional liberties in ways that allow them to use it.

The only thing that prevents them from defining those things out of existence entirely is the residual respect for constitutionality held by those in key positions. As I argued last week, evidence of such respect is very thin indeed in the incoming Trump administration.

San Francisco transport system Headphone Yahoo Hack Facebook crime

That’s why, love him or hate him, you need to be prepared…

Privacy Is Your Responsibility

No matter who’s in charge, government always finds a way to justify new methods to invade our privacy.

For example, the Justice Department’s legal rationale for monitoring our emails and phone calls is based on the old-fashioned postal letter. Back when snail mail was king, courts ruled that any information on the outside of a letter — addressee, return address, place of posting — was in the public domain, and therefore available to government investigators. That’s why the post office scans and records every single piece of mail in the U.S. … every day.

That logic now applies to the metadata of every call you make and every email you send. Soon it may apply to your Web browsing history as well. I simply don’t trust Trump’s key appointees to resist that logic. So, here’s what I recommend:

  1. Get Signal and/or WhatsApp for mobile messages:Signal is a sophisticated Swiss messaging app that fully encrypts all your text messages. It requires both parties to use it, so it isn’t ideal for everything. Nevertheless, Moxie Marlinspike, the founder of Open Whisper Systems, Signal’s developer, says there has been a huge expansion in their user base since the election. So you’ll probably find more Signalers on your contact list as time goes on.WhatsApp is an alternative that encrypts your messaging and VoIP calls. It isn’t as secure as Signal because it’s owned by Facebook, whose approach to court orders is uncertain, but for ordinary purposes it will prevent real-time monitoring of your communications.
  2. Encrypt your computer’s hard drive: As I describe in Privacy Code 2.0, full disk encryption makes the contents of your computer totally unintelligible to anyone without the password. For example, if you are stopped by Homeland Security upon return to the U.S., your laptop can be searched before you officially enter the U.S. But if it’s encrypted, no law says you must divulge the password.Both Apple and Windows computers have automatic encryption built in if you activate it. That’s fine for most purposes, but if you want added security, a free, easy to use open-source encryption utility can be found here.
  3. Get a password manager: Using secure apps and utilities like those above means having passwords — lots of them. Don’t write them on your palm. Get a password manager that stores them (encrypted, of course) in one place and generates and even changes passwords for you.Personally, I use Dashlane. Other good password managers are 1Password and KeePass. I don’t recommend LastPass, another popular one, because they allowed themselves to be hacked last year. That’s just not good enough.
  4. Use two-factor authentication: Most email programs, cloud storage utilities, banking apps, social media and other sensitive applications these days offer two-factor authentication (TFA). TFA requires that every time you sign in, you go through a secondary layer of security: a code to enter at login that is sent to your phone via text message. Some offer such codes via email, but don’t use it. If hackers gain access to your email, they can get access to your accounts by having TFA codes sent to them.
  5. Use HTTPS Everywhere: My friends at the Electronic Frontier Foundation developed a browser plug-in for Firefox and Chrome that forces websites you visit to use the most secure connection protocol. If encryption is available on the site you visit, your connection to the site will be encrypted, and you will be protected from various forms of surveillance and hacking during that session.
  6. Don’t rely on your browser’s “incognito mode” to do things it wasn’t meant to do: Browsers like Chrome, Safari, Opera, Firefox and Microsoft Edge allow you to start a browsing session that doesn’t record anything you do during that session. Any websites visited, cookies downloaded or other connection stats will be wiped clean when you end the session.“Private” browsing modes thus protect you from searches of your computer. But unless you’re connecting to an encrypted site (via HTTPS Everywhere, for example), whoever operates the site can collect all your browsing data anyway since it is recorded by the site’s server.
  7. Use DuckDuckGo for sensitive searches: If you’re not convinced that Google’s motto “do no evil” is anything more than a marketing ploy, use DuckDuckGo, an alternative search engine that doesn’t record your searches or anything else about you. It produces great results, so you won’t really lose much by using it instead of Google.
  8. Use a virtual private network (VPN): As my privacy report explains, a VPN is the best all-around protection you can get on the Internet, because it encrypts everything you do, including your identity and location. VPNs can be used on both your computers and your phones. That’s important, because as Eva Galperin, global-policy analyst at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, says, “Logging into airport Wi-Fi without using a VPN is the unprotected sex of the Internet.”As a bonus, you can also use a VPN to spoof your location and gain access to region-locked streaming content, like Amazon Prime, when you are abroad. The only downside is that they slow your connection a bit. VPNs are provided by specialized hosting companies that charge about $5 a month for the service. A good selection can be found here.

These techniques make some or all of your electronic communications and data instantly invisible to anyone. They use levels of encryption that would take a bank of supercomputers hundreds of years to break.

When it comes to protecting your privacy, now is the time … because afterward is too late.

Author:  The Sovereign Investor

Source:  http://www.valuewalk.com/

You can achieve whatever you want, as long as you are willing to pay the price.”~Elvin Semrad

If you could do or be anything in the world, what would it be? For some people, it would be to be a famous singer, musician, film or television star, writer, or a high profile professional athlete. Others desire simpler things such as to get out of debt, retire early or own and operate a business. Whatever your lifelong dream is, it IS possible–no matter how remote that possibility is. How do I know? Because others have done it.

So what makes some people successful and others mediocre? Is it innate talent, education or just plain ole good luck? Is there some secret formula that some discover and others don’t? Could it be as simple as being in the right place, at the right time and knowing the right people? The answer to all of those questions is–yes. All of those elements are factors in determining your level of success. However, the two most important characteristics that ultimately determine success are a relentless abundance of ambition and a dogmatic, never quit, supercharged work ethic.

Ambition

Ambition, simply defined is a strong desire to achieve a goal requiring determination and hard work. That’s it. So, the question isn’t what do you want? The true fundamental question pivotal to your success is: how bad do you want it? The latter question requires an answer, because ambition has a price…

Work Ethic

We all understand work ethic. If you have ever accomplished anything worthwhile, you know what hard work is. Our work ethic is developed in our early experiences and interaction with work. There are several questions worth pondering that will highlight where you value system concerning work was derived. Were your efforts productive? Were they rewarded? Was laziness and laissez faire-ness rewarded? Were you pushed or coddled? Were you allowed to quit? Did you quit often?

The equation is simple: Ambition + Hard work = Success

Ambition – Hard work = A Dream

Many people say they are ambitious–but are they really? Simply wanting something is not enough. True ambition is always coupled with hard work. They are conjoined twins that cannot be separated. Putting in the minimum amount of effort to achieve a satisfactory result is a behavior associated with people that have little or no ambition. Successful individuals take nothing for granted. They realize that it takes hard work and dogmatic commitment to their goals and they may have to put in extra hours or do things that may feel punishing to either their mind or body – quite often both.

We romanticize the dreamer who fantasizes about what could be. If you are not willing to work hard to achieve what you want, you are a dreamer; stay stay in bed.

Hard work – Ambition = Hamster in a wheel

Truth be told, most people fall into this category. They work hard, put in long hours, go the extra mile but continuously come up empty. Ambition (a strong desire for a specific thing) is the focus that allows you to aim your hard work at a specific target. We’ve all seen the hamster in the wheel. The tiny creature runs and runs, striving to reach an imaginary destination but the culmination of all of that expended energy and effort is exhaustion and being in the exact same place where it all began. Do you see yourself here?

Ambition + Hard work = Success

Find your passion and make it your life’s mission to achieve it. Truly successful people cultivate ambitious habits.

  • They are goal oriented. Once they accomplish one goal, they immediately set another. They are always reaching. They do not, however, broadcast their goals. They are internally focused.

  • They are relentless. They are laser focused and when they do get side-tracked they regroup and recommit to their path. Set backs are not failure to them–they are opportunities to grow. The are dissatisfied with mediocrity and avoid becoming complacent. They commit to the process and always follow through.

  • They take risks. Chasing a dream is risky business. Ambition requires risks and involves a certain amount of failure. The risk of failure will cultivate courage if you continue to take those calculated leaps of faith.

  • They believe in themselves. …even when know one else does. They are confident that they can accomplish their goal and know how to use their own unique gifts and talents to their advantage.

  • They are positive. Success is a state of mind. In order to remain focused and keep driving toward your goal, your mind must be disciplined to remain optimistic in the face of disappointment, failures and the drudgery that accompanies ambition.

  • The are strategic. Focusing on what is important, the ability to prioritize, the ability to conserve and expend the right amounts of energy and effort–in short, the ability to be strategic about your ambitions is extraordinarily important. This minimizes set backs and wasted time. Being strategic means that you squarely face where you are visualize, where you want to be and then draw a map connecting the two points.

There is a difference between a dreamer and a dream chaser. One stays in bed fantasizing about what could be and the other wakes up every morning and fills their ambition mug to the brim with focused hard work and diligence.

Source : http://www.lifehack.org/

Author : 

( November 27, 2016, Montreal, Sri Lanka Guardian) On 24 November I had the pleasure of attending a luncheon presentation entitled The Next 100 Years of Aviationconvened by The International Aviation Club of Montreal and McGill University.  It was an event well attended by the aviation intelligentsia of Montreal.  The presentation was well thought through and eloquently delivered.  One of the prognostications presented for the next century was that Mars would be colonized and we would be growing vegetables and other produce for our consumption on the planet.  This is not difficult to imagine since  at present the Mars One project has developed plans to send humans to Mars, although much has to be accomplished in the nature of making the planet habitable for human existence. It is said though, that “establishing a permanent settlement is very complex, but it is far less complex and requires much less infrastructure that is sent to Mars than on return missions”. Already, Mars One – a not-for-profit foundation that works at establishing permanent human life on Mars –  has commenced discussions with established aerospace companies with a view to developing the systems needed for sustaining human life and establishing human colonies. Although such systems require complex designing, construction, and testing, it is said that no scientific breakthroughs are required to sustain human life on Mars  as existing technology is sophisticated enough to ensure living conditions on the planet.  Perhaps the most encouraging statement issued by Mars One is that there will already be a habitable environment waiting for the first human crew to land on the Planet.

Doubtless, this news is music to the years of the next generation of aviation professionals who occupied two tables at the luncheon – youngsters from both the International Civil Aviation Organization and McGill University.  How exciting for them to be at the cusp of outer space travel, let alone be faced with the long term prospect of being able to have an extra terrestrial abode for their children and grand children!

However, there seem to be a couple of snags here:  At the presentation, it was forecast that by 2116, there could be at least one flight a day from Earth to Mars presumably carrying tourists and settlers.  But before then, well, way before then, humans would have landed on Mars and in fact settled there permanently.  Sarah Knapton, Science Editor for The Telegraph in her article entitled   Nasa planning ‘Earth Independent’ Mars colony by 2030s   quotes NASA as having claimed that humans will be living and working on Mars in colonies entirely independent of Earth by the 2030s. In fact, NASA is purported to have released a plan for establishing permanent settlements on Mars on the basis of creating ‘deep-space habitation facilities’ which will act as stepping stones to Mars.

If humans were to settle on Mars in just 15 to 20 years’ time, how is this conceivable when we still do not have a global understanding or agreement on at what altitude air space ends and at what point outer space begins?  What are the laws that would govern travel from airspace to outer space?  Air law and space law are closely inter-related in some areas and  both these disciplines have to be viewed in the 21stCentury within the changing face of international law and politics.  Both air law and space law are disciplines that are grounded on principles of public international law, which is increasingly becoming different from what it was a few decades ago.  We no longer think of this area of the law as a set of fixed rules, even if such rules have always been a snapshot of the law as it stands at a given period of time. The issue of air space and outer space is looming over the aerospace community, particularly with the prospect of space travel on a commercial basis which is already a reality.  Currently, the aerospace community is considering such issues as sub-orbital flights and space tourism, both of which could further blur the boundaries between air space and outer space, while raising issues of topical interest.  So far, there has not been a universally accepted definition distinguishing air space and outer space.  Some years ago, when the legalities of an aerospace plane, which is a hypersonic single stage to orbit reusable vehicle that horizontally takes off and lands on a conventional runway were considered, it was thought that the transit through near space which is involved is incidental to the main transit which takes place within the airspace.  Generally, the aerospace plane, which will be constructed with the use of aeronautical and space technologies and would be capable, and, indeed, required to fly both in airspace and outer space, would bring to bear the need to consider the applicability of and appropriateness of  laws relating to the space plane’s activities.  It will be subject to the sovereignty of the State whose airspace it is in. This is an incontrovertible fact which need not be stated since any object within the airspace of a territorial State would indeed be subject to that State’s sovereignty.

Recently, the official launch of space tourism, where paying customers travelled beyond Earth’s atmosphere, gave rise to an entirely different dimension, where the different issue of sub-orbital flights has emerged as requiring some consideration, particularly on the question as to whether such flights travel to outer space or whether they are deemed to be considered as not leaving the Earth’s atmosphere.  Unlike the aerospace plane which would leave the territory of one State as an aircraft, enter outer space and travel in outer space until it descends to a destination State, sub-orbital flights would not usually travel between two States but would ascend to an altitude sufficient for the persons on board to view the Earth as a whole globe, a phenomenon not available to aircraft passengers.  The vehicle would descent to the State from which it took off.  This activity is called “sub-orbital flying” and is gaining increasing popularity in the realm of space tourism. One of the issues that sub orbital flights raise is whether, at the height the flights are conducted, the vehicle is deemed to be in air space or outer space.  Therefore, sub orbital flights inevitably call for a determination as to what might be air space, as against outer space This question is particularly relevant when one considers liability arising from death or injury to passengers  while travelling in outer space. Although there are established treaty provisions regarding air travel under the Montreal Convention of 1999 there is no such treaty governing travel in a spacecraft in outer space.

Once the travel issue is settled, the other question that would emerge would be what laws would govern human conduct in outer space.  Who would be the governing authority?     Article 1 of the Outer Space Treaty provides that the exploration and use of outer space, including the moon and other celestial bodies, shall be carried out for the benefit and in the interests of all countries, irrespective of their degree of economic or scientific development, and shall be the province of all mankind.   It goes on to say that outer space, including the moon and other celestial bodies, shall be free for exploration and use by all States without discrimination of any kind, on a basis of equality and in accordance with international law, and there shall be free access to all areas of celestial bodies.

Finally, Article 1 provides that there shall be freedom of scientific investigation in outer space, including the moon and other celestial bodies, and States shall facilitate and encourage international co-operation in such investigation.

The more challenging provision in the Treaty is Article 2 which prescribes that outer space, including the moon and other celestial bodies, is not subject to national appropriation by claim of sovereignty, by means of use or occupation, or by any other means. This precludes a State from appropriating a celestial body inter alia by use.

Garold Larson, Alternate Representative to the First Committee of the 64th Session of the United Nations Assembly held on 19 October 2009, succinctly outlined the policy of the United States on space exploration.  The foremost principle outlined by Larson was that the United States will continue to uphold the principles of the 1967 Outer Space Treaty, which the United States recognized as providing fundamental guidelines required for the free access to and use of outer space by all nations for peaceful purposes.  He went on to say that the United States will continue to take an active role in identifying and implementing cooperative efforts with established and emerging members of the international spacefaring community to ensure the safety of the space assets of all nations and also expand cooperation with other like-minded spacefaring nations and with the private sector to identify and protect against intentional and unintentional threats to its space capabilities.

 The European Union, in 2008, published a draft Code of Conduct for Outer Space Activities, which it later revised in September 2010. The fundamental postulate of this code is that member states should establish policies and procedures to minimize the possibility of accidents … or any form of harmful interference with other States’ right to the peaceful exploration and use of outer space. The Code applies three basic principles in pursuance of its overall objective:  freedom of access to space for peaceful purposes; preservation of the security and integrity of space objects in orbit; and due consideration for the legitimate defence interests of states. The code is not a legislative instrument and therefore has no legally binding effect on member States. It remains a voluntary agreement among states with no formal enforcement mechanisms.  On 4 April 2011 the European Commission published a space strategy for Europe whereby the European Union seeks to identify and support the development of essential technologies for exploration, in particular in the fields of energy, health and recycling (support for life in isolated environments). These matters are not necessarily dealt with in the space sector itself and cross-fertilisation should be promoted with other sectors in order to benefit the citizens directly.

Answers can always be found but the key principle is that technology and space exploration must go on for the benefit of humanity.  In the ultimate analysis, a joint space programme between key players of North America, Europe and Asia could greatly stabilize international space exploration. Growing spinach on Mars is one thing, but getting the laws in place within the next 15 years is an entirely different prospect.

Author:  Dr. Ruwantissa Abeyratne

Source:  http://www.slguardian.org/

Monday, 21 November 2016 13:05

Your Marketing Planning Guide for 2017

WALTHAM, MA—It is said that if you keep doing the same thing, you will keep getting the same results. If you want to increase your revenue, customer outreach and position yourself as a leader in your marketplace in 2017, you should do things differently. Here is a quick guide and basic fundamentals to plan your 2017 marketing.

Bring Marketing to the Forefront

Your products and services are important. But so is marketing because it will educate your potential customers about the value you bring to the table. If you do it right, your products and services will sell by itself.  That is the goal of marketing.

If marketing has been on the back burner in your company, bring it to the forefront now. Spend time on thinking, planning and strategizing on consolidating exiting clients, bringing old ones back and seeking new customers. Marketing will play a big role in revenue generation.

How Much Should I Spend on Marketing?

The short answer is: spend as much as you afford, but do spend and never spend less than what you did the previous year. The U.S. Small Business Administration recommends spending 7 to 8 percent of gross revenue if your revenue less than $5 million per year. Other sources suggest spending up to 13 percent.

Where Should I Start?

Well, a lot has changed in the marketing in recent years. It is no longer just doing PR, getting an article published in trade publications or direct marketing. Now there are so many marketing channels and you want to be everywhere, integrated with the same message. You need a 360-degree view of marketing, including digital, social media, PR, direct and content marketing, web analytics, print or online advertising. If you are unfamiliar with any of these areas, the best thing will be to bring an outside consultant who can audit everything you are doing and make some recommendations. Later, you can decide whether you have the required talent pool to execute those recommendations or if you will need to bring in an outside firm.

Here are some channels to think about

CONTENT MARKETING: Content marketing is the king of online marketing. According to the Content Marketing Institute, 88 percent of Business-to-Business and 76 percent of Business-to-Consumer organizations are using content marketing. What is content marketing? “Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action,” says Content Marketing Institute. “Instead of pitching your products or services, you are providing truly relevant and useful content to your prospects and customers to help them solve their issues.”

EMAIL MARKETING: Do not underestimate the power of email marketing. Despite powerful spam filters, unsubscribe options and people getting annoyed by too many emails, email marketing is effective. In fact, email marketing holds the second place after search marketing & SEO. According to an article in Forbes magazine, email marketing is responsible for 16 percent of customers acquired, compared with the less than 1 percent acquisition rate from Facebook.

SEARCH ENGINE MARKETING & SEO: Search engine optimization, popularly known as SEO, is one of the most effective marketing tools for increasing online visibility. Yet, 50 percent of businesses doing digital marketing had no form of digital marketing plan or strategy, according to a 2015 study by Smart Insights. In a recent survey by Fleishman-Hillard and Harris Interactive, 89 percent of consumers reported using search engines to inform their purchase decisions, according to Search Engine Land.

VIDEO MARKETING: As the watching habits of people (especially the younger generation) shift to computer screens and mobile devices from traditional television, you should not ignore video marketing. By video marketing, I mean both video advertisements and producing your own video content, which you can host on your website and social media channels, as well as email to your target audience.

Marketing pundits are predicting that video will account for 69 percent of consumer internet traffic soon; 7 in 10 people view brands more positively after watching their video content; and 64 percent of marketers expect video to dominate their strategies, according to Audience Bloom.

In conclusion, identify your marketing deficiencies and market your competitive advantage. “Marketing is too important to be left to the marketing department.” –David Packard

Source : indianewengland.com

Author : UPENDRA MISHRA

Saturday, 19 November 2016 14:52

Top 10 Things To Do In Dubai

In the past four years I have lived in Dubai I have been privy to a remarkable boom, followed by a crash and, ultimately, recovery. If I was living outside of Dubai my impression would be that all construction had suddenly stopped, all the expats left and that the high life in Dubai ceased to exist. But nothing could be further from the truth.

While the economy has delayed some construction plans, such as the massive entertainment complex Dubai Land, other high-end projects are being driven to completion with even more urgency and focus. Dubai is still a thriving metropolis with world-class attractions on its doorstep. The best thing about them is their sheer accessibility. The city stretches some 25 miles along the coast, a straight up-and-down journey from one place to the next. Taxis are cheap and plentiful and now, with the metro up and running, getting around is very easy.

A couple of tips for aspiring tourists: It is a Muslim country and should be respected as such. So while there is plenty of alcohol to be had, one should not be found rolling around the streets in a stupor. Also the weather is often very hot, but that does not excuse wearing next to nothing in public places such as shopping malls, where the temperature can be as low as 60 degrees Fahrenheit. In the end, act respectfully and you will be treated with kindness, high levels of service and enjoy a nearly crime-free environment. Leaving your car unlocked with little chance of theft is a delicious pleasure rarely enjoyed elsewhere in the world.

If you ask anyone in Dubai what things they would do if they had guests to visit, their answers will have changed dramatically over the last four years. The construction boom has borne the many fruits of Dubai’s aspiration to be home to the biggest and best of a multitude of things. Here’s my top 10.

The Burj Khalifa

The tallest structure on the planet is impossible to miss from the moment you arrive in Dubai. Soaring above the city like a giant needle-shaped spacecraft, it really is a wonder of modern technology and design. The opportunity to view the city from the observation deck on the 134th floor is not to be missed, and day or night the view is truly spectacular. I think it is best described as being on the wing of an airplane. Insider tip: Book your visit a few days in advance online and you’ll save considerably over the “instant access” tickets on the door.

The Dubai Mall 

Dubai is famous for its shopping malls, but this mall has to be seen to be believed. It is simply huge, with something for everyone inside. The shopping and eating are almost a side attraction. With a 22-screen cinema; an indoor theme park, called Sega World; a world for children, called Kidzania; a giant Aquarium with an underwater zoo; and a full-sized ice rink you, will want for little. Just be sure to be wearing comfortable shoes. The topping on this treat is the Dubai Fountain, which has shows every evening starting at 6 p.m. that easily rival anything that the Bellagio in Las Vegas has to offer. Insider tip: Get a table outside (weather permitting) from one of the many restaurants bordering the fountain at the mall or at the nearby Souk Al Baher. From these vantage points you can relax and enjoy the shows away from the crowds.

Skiing at the Mall of the Emirates 

Telling your friends that you went skiing in the desert is quite a boast, but Ski Dubai in Mall of the Emirates offers a genuinely great ski experience, with the longest run at around 1,300 feet. You can rent all the ski gear you need, and there are plenty of lockers. Insider tip: If you have kids with you, hit the snow park and let them slide down the slopes on inflated inner tubes. I recently took my 4-year-old nephew, and his squeals of delight remain with me to this day.

Hang out at the Walk 

The largest single-phase residential construction in the world is the Jumeirah Beach Walk, locally known as JBR. It consists of a wall of 36 towers along the beach front in the Dubai Marina. Along the front of the JBR is a lovely, wide promenade flanked on one side by shops, cafes and restaurants and on the other by a single-lane road. This is the ideal spot to enjoy a leisurely meal while people- and car-watching. I can guarantee you will see things that you would not have thought possible–like a gold-plated Porsche Cayenne or a two-tone Ferrari.

Zuma 

Everyone wants to know where to go for that special meal when they are in Dubai. You won’t be short of options; nearly every conceivable cuisine is available in a variety of price ranges. However, for that one special night out, my recommendation would be Zuma, a Japanese restaurant with a vibrant bar and lounge area. The open kitchen and excellent staff ensure a memorable dining experience. Reservations are absolutely essential. Insider tip: Be sure not to miss out on their signature black cod dish, Gindara no saikyo miso yaki.

The Lost City

I have witnessed an island being created from nothing with the construction of the Palm Jumeirah, and quite fittingly the Atlantis hotel sits at the very top of the Palm and makes for a spectacular landmark as you drive down the central “stem.” The Atlantis is a five-star hotel resort hosting numerous restaurants and a night club for adult fun. There is also a world-class water park, called Aquaventure, where you have to try the “Leap of Faith” slide for an exhilarating experience. You can meet dolphins up close and personal and, for the kids, there is fantastic children’s play area and a man-made beach to relax on. If, like me, you love aquariums, then your pass for the water park also allows you free entry to the “Lost World” inside the hotel.

Friday Brunch

Weekends in Dubai start on Thursday nights, and it has almost become a tradition for restaurants to put on an all-you-can-eat-and-drink brunch at Friday lunchtime. The various establishments battle for which can put on display the most elaborate array of dishes and beverages, and the choices can at times bewilder you. The very top-end buffets put others I have been to in Las Vegas or Asia to shame, but you can get by spending far less and still walk away satiated. Insider tip: The brunch at the Al Qasr Hotel or Bubblicious at the Westin Hotel score highest for high-falutin dining, with more relaxed affairs at the either the Shangri La or Spectrum on One at the Fairmont Hotel. All of these get popular, so book early.

Day Tripping

There are numerous tour companies who will collect you from your hotel and take you out for a tour in the desert, a camel ride and a traditional Arabic meal with a belly dancer. This can be a little formulaic, but provides an accessible display of traditional Bedouin life. If you’re more adventurous, rent a 4×4 and bring a copy of the UAE Off-Road Explorer and you’ll be bathing in the natural rock pools of Hatta in under an hour or splashing around at Wadi Wurrayah, home of the UAE’s only natural waterfall. This really is a taste of the UAE that tourists rarely get to enjoy. Insider tip: It’s always best to go to such places in a convoy of at least two vehicles, and heed the advice given in the guide book: The desert can be a dangerous place for the unprepared.

Haggling 

If at any time in your life you wanted to buy gold, there are few better places to do that than in the Old Gold Souk (or market) in Dubai. Be very specific with the taxi driver that you want the “old” souk, otherwise you may end up in one of the newer indoor gold souks, which do not have the same charm. Walking around the Gold Souk you will see dazzling window displays of gold on a scale rarely seen in the Western world. You will be even more surprised when you are left alone to browse a whole tray full of solid gold bracelets or necklaces. Such are the joys of an essentially crime-free city. Be sure to haggle and barter where appropriate, and steer clear of the guys trying to sell you fake watches and handbags. They never have the same shine when you get them home.

Burj Al Arab 

The world’s only seven-star hotel since its construction has been an icon for Dubai. Despite the many new fancy hotels, the Burj Al Arab still has a lure and is on the recommend list of many Dubai residents. From the aquariums that flank the escalator to the underwater seafood restaurant or the exotic glass elevator, it is all eye candy for new visitors. Definitely stop in for high tea or cocktails in the Skyview Bar, but book at least a week in advance. The vista across old Dubai’s Jumeirah and Umm Suqeim neighborhoods gives a tantalizing glimpse back to the Dubai prior to the explosive growth that started in 2005. If after that heady view you are keen to get wet, then the excellent water park, called Wild Wadi, is just a moment’s walk from the hotel. Insider tip: Tourists turning up at the door to the Burj Al Arab hoping to have a look around inside will be sadly disappointed, as a reservation for one of the restaurants or bars is required for entry. Having said this, there are excellent photo opportunities to be had outside or from the nearby Madinat restaurant and shopping complex next door, built in the style of an old Arabian souk which can offer a fun afternoon of exploration.

Dubai and Abu Dhabi continue to change. A new Guggenheim museum, the Yas Island Race Track, the Ferrari Theme park and even a tour of the QE2 are all possible either now or very soon. Who said anything about a slowdown?

Aaron White is an expat who moved to Dubai in 2006, works in the IT field and writes the blog An Englishman In Dubai.

Source : www.forbes.com

Author : Aaron White

Earlier this year, a security consultant from Telus Security Solutions, Milind Bhargava revealed that over 70,000 Canadian credit card numbers were listed for sale on a dark web market.

Bhargava released the findings as part of a presentation that was aimed at providing insight on just how much personal information from Canada was available on dark web markets.

He announced this at a SecTor conference held in Toronto.

Credit Cards Were All From One Province

Bhargava’s division, which is usually tasked with monitoring dark web sites that deal in the sale of credit cards for their corporate clients, said that like any other credit and debit cards, Canadian credit cards were easy to identify using the first six digits on the card.

These identify the type of card and also the bank it is affiliated with. As it stands, no organization has claimed credit card theft.

In his presentation, Bhargava said that more than 70,000 Canadian credit cards were suddenly put up for sale on the dark web following the data breach.

Despite the cards being from multiple banks, the security consultant noted that they all came from the same province.

Bhargava noted that it was rare to find such a large amount of stolen credit card information coming from such a localized area. He refused to disclose the identity of the province in question.

Data Breach was Some Form of Contest

70,000 credit cards for sale on the dark web shaken the belief that Canada is immune to cyber and malware attacks rarely make it to the public eye.

 

The stolen Canadian credit cards were on sale for as little as forty cents to as much as $3. The expiry dates on the cards ranged from this year to 2020.

According to Bhargava, there is no clear indication as to how or when exactly the data breach occurred.

The only assumption that could be derived from the situation was that the data collection may have happened for at least over a year.

He also speculated that due to the fact that the cards were sourced from all over Canada, it was possible that the credit card data collection was hosted by some sort of an organization as a contest.

Cyintelligence Inc. Emphasizes on Diligence in Protecting Organizational Data

The CEO of Cytelligence Inc., Daniel Tobok, was not impressed by the figures, saying that the discovery of 70,000 Canadian cards on the dark web market was not that astonishing.

The former managing director of the forensics and security consulting division at Telus, who is now the current head of the Toronto-based digital security consulting firm Cytelligence Inc., divulged in an interview that an upwards of 400,000 different credit and debit cards from Canadian banks are currently on the dark web.

He confirmed the speculation that Canadian cybercrime is largely underestimated, saying that Canada is just as targeted by cyber criminals and malware attacks as any other country.

What’s more, these dark web criminals seek more than just credit card information.

Human resource department databases are often raided for personal data such as social security numbers and T4 income tax information, among other sensitive information.

As Tobok divulged in the interview, his firm had recently been investigating year-long data breaches that resulted in the thefts of approximately 18,000 records containing credit card information and T4 income tax information from a Canadian organization, which he refused to name.

The organization’s security was breached using a carefully executed phishing scam which included email spoofing to install malware in order to breach the organization’s security.

The organization in question was negligent, in Tobok’s opinion, as they had last carried out a thorough security audit two and a half years ago.

Stolen Information Unverifiable

In Bhargava’s presentation alongside Telus consultant Peter Desfigies, he highlighted the fact that despite the alarming amount of Canadian data available for sale on the dark web, there was no way to verify the legitimacy of the stolen data on offer.

However, the availability of Canadian Interac accounts from almost all the major banks in Canada, which came with all the necessary information such as usernames, passwords, and PIN codes, and even security questions spoke volumes about the legitimacy of the stolen information.

Bhargava is, however, sure that little can deter criminals from piecing together bits of data even without the assurance of verification.

He himself had previously been a target of a crime under the pretense of a Canadian government official who tried to extort him in connection with an immigration violation.

The anonymous caller had every bit of Bhargava’s information down pat.

 Source:  darkwebnews.com

I am probably suffering from “information overload.” Maybe you are too.

In 2016, 6,000 feature films were made and 400 new TV series were broadcast on prime time. In one day, a single major new firm publishes anywhere between 200 and 500 stories. In just over half of one day -- Friday Oct. 28, 2016 for example -- there were more than 1 billion websites, 133 billion e-mails sent, almost 3 billion Google searches, 2.6 billion blog posts, 275 million Tweets, 37.9 million Instagram photos uploaded, 59.4 Tumblr posts and 117 million Skype calls. Each minute, 32 million Facebook messages are sent and more than 500 hours of video get uploaded to YouTube.

Back in 1970, Alvin Toffler, a consultant and futurist, coined the term “information overload” in his book, Future Shock. Toffler said humans were having trouble absorbing and processing all the information flowing around them each day. Information overload made it tough for people to make decisions and stressed them out.

Toffler died on June 17, 2016, but he was not the first or the last thinker to contemplate information overload.

Comparable worries have surrounded each and every new innovation in the history of communication technology. The print revolution that spread across Europe following Johannes Gutenberg’s invention of the printing press in 1450 was met with concerns that too many books were being published, and too many bad books were being read. The philosopher Immanuel Kant, for example, complained that the abundance of books encouraged people to “read a lot,” and read “superficially.”

Yet, our age of information overload is different than the 18th century one that Kant lived through. I just Google searched for “information overload,” and the algorithm returned 4,730,000 results in 0.56 seconds. That’s more information about one idea than Kant was exposed to in his entire lifetime.

I feel overwhelmed, not enlightened.

Today, there is more information being produced and consumed than ever before in human history. Perhaps there is too much information. The Internet and world wide web invite us to inform ourselves, but also remind us of the impossibility of ever becoming fully informed. As we pursue knowledge in the digital age, we quickly learn how much there is to know, and how little we actually know.

Our society is glutted with information and we are trying to figure out how to deal with it and what to do with it.

Our ability to cope with information overload requires new means for dealing with it.

That’s the message of the big data industry at least.

A lot of new high-tech firms are designing and selling software for storing, organizing, analyzing, curating, and visualizing data. The big data market is worth about $28 billion and its growing.

Paradoxically, the big data industry’s attempt to innovate and sell technological solutions to the problem of information overload may, in the long run, just exacerbate it. After all, Big data produces more data.

— Tanner Mirrlees is an assistant professor in the communication and digital media studies program, faculty of social science and humanities, at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology.

Source : durhamregion.com

Most recently Skillings spoke to members of the Suburban Chamber of Commerce which serves the business communities of SummitBerkeley Heights, and New Providence. He spoke about improving online visibility with Google. Prior to that, he addressed the Neighborhood Networking Group in Berkeley Heights under the general topic "Things You Can Do with Your Website" to draw more traffic there. These speaking engagements came on the heels of workshops he conducted on search engine optimization (SEO) in Monmouth County.

"I think it is important to speak to business groups, because I feel I can make it easier for businesses to understand how search engine marketing (SEM) works," Skillings explained. "I also want them to know that I can step in to do the difficult things like link building that they can't do themselves."

Link building, for example, is essentially about establishing and then fostering inbound links to a website. Skillings points out that a business website can be something of a magnet to potential customers with SEO tools like keyword research, expert analysis of the competition and even social media consulting. The goal is a custom designed plan that fits the client's budget.

His own business website uses the symbolism of the needle in a haystack to simulate the typical business website trying to get found on the vast internet. Google will get you inside the haystack, Skilling reports, but you'll need the right tools and someone who knows how to use them to uncover the needle and make it more visible.

 

"My clients' interests are my interests and what I do every day is move my clients to better positions in the search engines," says Skillings, who is a Google Certified Partner, which, according to Google "means that you've demonstrated AdWords skill and expertise, met AdWords spend requirements, delivered agency and client revenue growth, and sustained and grown your client base."

Skillings was Global Reporting Manager at Mercer, an international consulting firm, when he launched his SEO business in 2006 at the age of 31. He is a past speaker and regular attendee of the SMX Advanced Expo in Seattle, the biggest and best national search marketing conference for professionals in that field.

Source : prnewswire

To promote Fantastic Beasts, Warner Bros. is joining forces with Amazon, Google, and other tech companies in new ways.

Social media companies have long partnered with Hollywood studios to market films, with platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram leading the charge by posting early trailers and behind-the-scenes footage from upcoming films in a mutually beneficial arrangement: Star-studded snippets drive use of a platform, and studios get direct access to an enormous, and enormously engaged, audience. But the new Harry Potter movie spin-off, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, which Warner Bros. is releasing on November 18, has motivated new levels of activations from these and other Silicon Valley players, including Google and Amazon. To promote its new Pixel smartphones and Daydream View VR headset, Google is launching a series of branded promotions for Fantastic Beasts that goes far beyond showing sneak peeks. And for the first time ever, Amazon is integrating the film into its search engine in a surprising new campaign.

The appeal for all these companies is a highly anticipated tentpole movie with a built-in global audience. While Fantastic Beasts is not exactly a Harry Potter movie—it is based on the textbook that Harry and his fellow Hogwarts are required to read their first year of wizardry school—it is being positioned by Warner Bros. as a post-Potter franchise, with four more films already in the works. And its Potter bonafides are intact: The film is being directed by veteran Harry Potter director David Yates, and Potter creator J.K. Rowling wrote the film's script, a role she never took on with the previous Harry Potter films. All of this has revved up the boisterous Potter community. On FacebookFantastic Beasts, which stars Eddie Redmayne as "magizoologist" Newt Scamander who arrives in New York with a case filled with magical creatures 70 years before Harry enrolls in Hogwarts, has already racked up 1.8 million followers to add to the over 77 million followers across all the Fantastic Beasts and Harry Potter Facebook pages.

 

Those kind of numbers, along with the J.K. Rowling seal of approval and track record (the combined Harry Potter films grossed $7.7 billion), has tech companies eager to get in Hollywood's latest "universe," today's buzzword for franchises that promise years, if not decades, of future movies, merchandise, and theme parks (think Star Wars, Marvel, and DC Comics).

For Warner Bros., meanwhile, there's an opportunity to leverage a major product launch, in the case of Google, or take advantage of new-ish ones, such as Facebook Live and Twitter's customized emojis. "To be able to have Fantastic Beasts travel with all that advertising and promotion that goes into launching a new product for them, it really says that Fantastic Beasts is an event," says Blair Rich, president of worldwide marketing for Warner Bros. "That it's very of the moment. That it's cool for young people. It makes it a cultural destination, and that's our ideal. We want to associate with all these new products because it makes the film a cultural destination in a way that you can't do by regular advertising."

Katherine Waterston as Tina and Eddie Redmayne as Newt Scamander in Fantastic Beats and Where to Find Them2016

Fantastic Beasts is an obvious complement for the Daydream headset, a smaller, more comfortable device than the Samsung Gear—that is, at this point, enabled only through Pixel phones (in the future, there will be Android compatible devices). In the experience, the Daydream controller becomes a magical wand that allows you to open up Newt's leather case. Once inside, Redmayne's voice guides you as you levitate objects, cast spells, and interact with creatures from the film, such as the Graphorn, a humped-back beast with long, sharp horns. Closer to the launch of the movie, a longer experience will debut that will allow viewers to interact with the Thunderbird and Erumpent.

"To be able to bring a completely magical part of our film to life through that platform, where you get to go into Newt's case and explore this completely otherworldly world that J.K. Rowling created—it's pretty spectacular," says Rich.

But that's just the beginning of Google's efforts. The company is also integrating Fantastic Beasts into Google Maps, allowing users to look up four New York City locations from the movie and see them both on a street grid and as a 360-degree street view circa 1926, the year the film takes place. By typing in locales such as MACUSA (Magical Congress of the USA), Steen National Bank, the Blind Pig, and the residence of Tina and Queenie Goldstein, users will be directed to images of those locations from the film.

Typing in Blind Pig, for example, will transport you to 124 Macdougal Street, where you'll see the outside of the "witch-friendly subterranean speakeasy." Choosing street view will take you to the bar's entrance, and if you click through, you'll be taken inside the musty bar. The MACUSA listing allows you to view the exterior of a vintage department store, where the fictional MACUSA organization is housed in the film. Once inside, you can view the grandiose main hall, as well as the office used by Tina Goldstein, Newt's love interest in the film. There is also a Magical Maps site on Google, where you can see these images in a more immersive setting, completely with music, moving images, and Easter eggs.

Google Android phones are also being looped into the Fantastic Beastspromotion. Through the "OK Google" voice activation program, Android phones will respond to three magic spells from the movie. By saying, "OK Google, Lumos," the phone's flashlight will turn on. "Nox" turns the flashlight off, and "silencio" silences the phone.

Google is also launching stickers (its version of emojis) on the new Google Allo Messenger app for Android and iOS phones, which launched in September, and it recreated a set from the movie at its newly opened YouTube Space in London, where YouTube influencers have been able to shoot video. Finally, it is running promoted spots through Google search. So if you search, say, for movie showtimes, you'll be shown content from Fantastic Beasts.

If Google is using Fantastic Beasts to help sell phones and VR sets, Amazon wants to pull Potter fans into its ecosystem in order to buy stuff. Any manner of stuff, from Harry Potter books and movies to Harry Potter-themed 18K gold necklaces to collectible quidditch sets to Gryffindor ties, all of which the e-commerce giant sells. But the way it's doing this is powerfully simple—and highly unusual—for the company, which places a high premium on UI experience. It's building a campaign around its central tool: the Amazon search bar.

From November 6-20, if an Amazon user types in one of five spells from the movie into the search bar, a magical effect will cover the screen before taking the user to a Fantastic Beasts landing page featuring information about the movie and products for sale. For example, typing in "Aguamenti" will appear to cover the screen in water. As for the four other spells, Amazon is not calling out the exact spell on its site, but will tease them via social messaging.

Twitter, meanwhile, has also created emojis for the film, which it began rolling out in October. The emojis—all 12 of them—can be unlocked by typing in hashtags based on the characters (#FBNewt, #FBTina, #FBJacob, #FBQueenie), beasts (#FBBowtruckle, #FBThunderbird; #FBNiffler, #FBSwoopingEvil), and objects (#MACUSA, #NOMAJ, #NewtsCase, #FBTickets) from the movie.

And Fantastic Beasts' Twitter account is asking users to type in special combinations of text and emojis that are themed to Fantastic Beasts in order to unlock clips from the movie. Tweeting the correct "spell" results in a link to an exclusive video. So for instance to cast this spell, you must tweet out #FBQueenie, a cake emoji, and #FBJacob in that order. @FantasticBeasts will then send you a 30-second clip from the film showing the magical creation of a stride, a scene with Newt and Jacob Kowalski.

Facebook's campaign for Fantastic Beasts launched months ago when cast members answered fans' questions at VidCon and Comic Con in San Diego via Facebook Live. But since October, Fantastic Beasts fans have been able to upload a movie-themed profile frame from Facebook's Fantastic Beasts page. The frame features Newt's magic case and wand on the bottom of the frame.

"When we had Harry Potter, none of this technology existed," says Rich. "So to be able to creatively interpret this world through technology and allow people this very unusual kind of interaction with it, is really a marketing plus."

Source : fastcocreate

Technology is a part of everyday life, but how well do we really understand it? Eighty-four percent of U.S. adults may use the Internet, but their awareness and understanding of how it works varies widely.

A new Pew Research Center survey of 1,066 online adults found that while most people understand everyday terms including URL and hashtag, they don’t know many key facts about the Internet. Many also have trouble understanding its underlying basis and some of its broad implications. Fewer than half realize that just because a company has a privacy statement online, it doesn’t mean the consumers’ information is being kept confidential, for example. Younger and better-educated consumers tended to score higher, but not always. Select answers below:

If people have incorrect views about how companies are using their information, awareness and concern about online privacy are growing overall. A year after Edward Snowden leaked information on the government’s surveillance activities, most people have at least some awareness that the government is keeping tabs on citizens, Pew has also found.

Misinformation about how data is collected online and how it can be used is still widespread, though, according to Forrester. That hasn’t stopped people from taking action to try to protect themselves, however. According to the researcher, the percentage of consumers who are taking steps to protect their privacy online has jumped more than threefold in the past year. The most common steps include changing privacy settings on social media accounts or installing anti-tracking apps like Adblock.

Consumers are a bundle of contradictions when it comes to online privacy, though. Although they feel their personal information is at risk and they have widespread concerns about government and business surveillance, they also want the government to do more to regulate what advertisers do with consumers’ online data. They’re also willing to make privacy tradeoffs to get online services for free. Forrester looked at the tradeoffs consumers are willing to make in exchange for benefits, and while 42 percent said nothing would entice them to share personal information with companies, an almost equal amount said they would in exchange for hard cash.

Despite consumers’ desire to avoid being tracked, the ad industry apparently hasn’t done a good job at educating them about AdChoices, the program that lets them opt out of targeted ads. A survey by Parks Associates found that awareness is scant and has barely changed over two years. It’s bad news for the ad industry, as offering consumers privacy options and making them aware of them is a key to being able to preserve self-regulation.

Privacy isn’t the only area of confusion when it comes to the Internet. Native advertising has become a basic offering of many online publishers. But despite the use of labels to denote them, such as sponsored content, BrandVoice or Paid Post, the average consumer is often in the dark about who’s behind them (perhaps not surprisingly, given how much its practitioners struggle with defining it). In an online survey by Contently of 542 U.S. adults, people’s responses varied widely when asked what sponsored content was.

Source : digiday

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