BusinessKnowHow.com published my comments on facilitating international payments (cost/timing); Full article here: https://www.businessknowhow.com/internet/internet-success-tips.htm
Is washing soda! If you have super dirty laundry (kids), hard water or both, add extra washing soda. We add about a cup to our loads. No more of that stinky moldy smell with kitchen clothes either, and we use bleach WAY less.
What we buy:
Parents with young children need to monitor, if not outright abandon, YouTube. This TED talk takes parents through “why” but high level, never let them watch YouTube with automatic play. Avoid surprise egg videos. Don’t let them watch videos you haven’t checked them and take precautions if leaving them watch unattended.
Visit dollar street to find how income affects how people live. Also startling… everyone in a 1st world nation is considered RICH! And unfortunately we take a lot for granted; like having a toothbrush. Bill Gates introduces the Dollar Street site here. Explore Dollar Street in full here.
(11Sep2018 edit) The book Factfulness: Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the World—and Why Things Are Better Than You Think by Hans Rosling describes the 4 levels of income groups and explains the kind of life these people have (similar to Dollar Street). Explore these income groups (which replaces the concept of developing vs developed world): https://www.gatesnotes.com/Books/Factfulness
What’s to blame for slower growth and rising inequality? Regulatory capture. And who practices Regulatory Capture? EVERYONE “Regulatory capture is a form of government failure which occurs when a regulatory agency, created to act in the public interest, instead advances the commercial or political concerns of special interest groups that dominate the industry or sector it is charged with regulating. When regulatory capture occurs, the interests of firms or political groups are prioritized over the interests of the public, leading to a net loss for society. Government agencies suffering regulatory capture are called “captured agencies””. This is an issue that is a “bipartisan blind spot” and affects politicians from any political view.
“…[I]t’s ultimately the duty of the governors to make sure that the rules are in the public interest, rather than in the narrow interests of the various clamoring claimants who come before them.” The first step to eliminating regulatory capture is to recognize that it happens.
One of the reasons the public tolerates regulatory capture is that special interest groups use a positive policy image which creates a natural blind spot in the public’s eyes. An example used by Planet Money is teeth whitening and North Carolina’s Dental Board. The public feels that dentists help people so when the NC Dental Board lobbied to get a regulation to stop non-dentists from offering simple tooth whitening services the dentists initially won. Teeth whitening is more like a pedicure for your teeth rather than a dental procedure and anyone can do one. In fact, these days, people can buy teeth whitening kits at the grocery store. It had to go to the supreme court for the regulation to be removed. While waiting for all the legal trials to settle the issue stifled competition (natural market forces): teeth whitening service costs were artificially inflated (bad for consumers) and non-dentists were put out of business. Planet Money explains a few more examples and including one where homeowners practice regulatory capture.
Planet Money’s story called “Rigging The Economy” https://www.npr.org/templates/transcript/transcript.php?storyId=592376568
* As published in the PMI-SAC April 30, 2018 email newsletter.
Remote Working Tips
Sometimes its impossible to avoid having remote team members. Here’s some tips for preparing to communicate:
1) On teleconferences, mitigate any “bad connection” problems by reminding all participants to mute unless they are talking.
2) Check the internet connection before the meeting. If possible, choose a wired connection over wireless. If the internet is bad or unavailable a participant may become audio only. As a contingency to audio only, having a team sync tool that offers use in offline mode can be useful. Examples are: Google Drive, OneDrive, Dropbox.
Extra tip: Cisco Spark has a tool for testing internet readiness for softphone calling, screen share and conference calls. In addition to bandwidth it also tests for critical real time application requirements such as jitter: https://mediatest.ciscospark.com/#/main. If the remote work site is a location that will be used often then it might be worth having the local internet service provider look into any issues the Cisco Spark tool finds.
3) Ensure the remote worker has a good headset. As long as the internet connection is good typically a stereo headset will noticeably exceed cell phone quality. It also avoids having to connect two tools: a phone and a screen share. Here’s a site with headset reviews: http://www.toptenreviews.com/business/articles/best-voip-headset-review/
Extra Tip: Have a visual cue to remind yourself of your mute status. This reduces the chance for the dreaded “talking while accidently muted” issue. The author uses the Logitech H820e wireless headset as the boom mike has a red LED.
The opportunities we have available to us depend on our network of people. If you want to imagine a different world or life, you need to meet the right people. The people you know now are unlikely to get you there or worse, block you. More on this important concept on TED:
650K people die from flu each year according to the World Health Organization. Vaccination (herd immunity) is especially important to protect people at highest risk. Even pregnant women need one according to the CDC and Consumer Reports.
Consumer Reports also addresses the three common excuses for not getting the flu shot in their article “Why Your Excuses for Not Getting a Flu Shot Stink“. Up front is the idea that it can cause the flu. No, it just makes your symptoms less severe if you get it (e.g. YOUR LESS LIKELY TO DIE… dying being a symptom apparently). And no, there is no scientific link to autism despite tons of fake news to the contrary.
So please, do the world a favor and get a flu vaccination yearly.
10Jan2019 update: Influenza has killed 3 unvaccinated Sask. preschoolers so far this season: public health officials “virus is hitting otherwise healthy children hard, particularly those under age nine”
13Mar2019 update: Unvaccinated children in Italy have been banned from preschool. Under the new law, parents are also subject to fines of 100 to 500 euros and local health authorities will then schedule vaccinations for the children to make sure they get caught up. The fines presumably are for the extra administration of managing the vaccinations instead of the parents. This is directly addressing the “tragedy of the commons” issue that unvaccinated people represent.
26Apr2019 update: The Cost of Measles: Let’s leave the science aside and talk about the economics. According to this NPR “The Indicator” podcast, it would cost the US economy $4 Billion annually without vaccinations (an outbreak). It costs $45 Million to subsidize vaccines. That’s a 90,000% return on investment. “Measles is extremely contagious. It can remain in the air for up to two hours after you’ve left…. [T]here can be really significant long-term effects. Some people unfortunately have brain damage after their body is trying to fight measles because of lack of oxygen. They may lose their hearing. They may lose their eyesight. … [W]hen people are having to respond to these outbreaks and they form an outbreak team, those people aren’t just materializing out of nowhere. They had another job in the public health system before that now they have to leave to go do this. We were realizing, like, wow, measles isn’t just causing measles. It’s also causing these weaker links in the health care infrastructure and the public health infrastructure. And goodness knows what that could be doing kind of for our risk for other diseases down the road.” Based on this scenario I think it’s pretty plain to see that we’re going to start seeing policy for folks who don’t vaccinate.
“When you leave this earth will you leave a vacancy or a void?” Bob Ross, author of book “Laugh, Lead and Profit”
A vacancy are easily filled. A void can take some time as you’ve made an impression.
It’s #copyrightweek. Here’s some interesting material to help you decide:
Planet Money podcast “…bring[s] you an economist who set out to test a core political conviction. [Talks] to a novelist who came face-to-face with the shaky foundations of his ideas about copyright. ”
And an insightful email from OpenMedia:
Since the 1700s, a form of copyright law has ensured creators could profit from their original work before it passed into the public domain. In the 20th century that began to change, as ‘rights holders’ more aggressively expanded the scope of these laws, profiting handsomely – often at the expense of the creators – and turning aggressive litigation, with tenuous connection to original work, into just another revenue stream.
Copyright law has now been captured by major media interests all over the world. That’s why digital rights organisations in Brazil, Pakistan, Canada and Austria all fight to make it better for everyone: accessible and open, not just owned by a few huge corporations.
Every year we see the absurd lengths corporate giants will go to to maintain this power:
A video of 5 hours of white noise has 5 different copyright take-down claims under YouTube’s ContentID system.1(that’s the system European decision makers want to expand to all user generated sites.)
Tractor owners have a black market in manuals because John Deere forbids farmers from fixing or tinkering with the expensive machinery that they have actually paid for.2
The European Commission buried research that proved links are actually good for the spread of news and information, because that was not what they wanted to hear when trying to sell their Link Tax.3
This week is Copyright Week, a global event bringing these groups together to plan what we will do to overhaul copyright laws, so they have a positive impact on our rights and on creativity once more rather than more of the stories we see above.
Just like us at OpenMedia, these organisations depend on their communities to make a difference.
You can share the ways you’ve made a difference on these issues using #copyrightweek.
I know our global community has had some great victories, like when Canadians spoke up to make sure that the dangerous Intellectual Property chapter from the Trans Pacific Partnership was dropped. The secretive trade agreement would have introduced strict punishments for infringement, even longer copyright terms and a global ‘notice and takedown’, leading to vast amounts of lost content online.
The most inspirational moment of last year for me was watching hundreds of people calling their MEPs about the Link Tax and against Censorship Machines, huge changes to how the web works that would limit free expression in the name of copyright enforcement for media giants. Key decision makers have heard those calls and put the upcoming vote on hold to come up with a better version, one that we hope won’t undermine our freedom of expression.
Copyright is currently used to deny people Internet access,4 to demand take-downs of original content,5 to deny people access to content based on where they live,6 and to silence the very fan communities that make or break pop culture.7 You can share your stories and read more about how these issues impact libraries, engineers, schools, universities, and artists by following #copyrightweek.
 White noise take down video. Source: BoingBoing
 Why American Farmers Are Hacking Their Tractors With Ukrainian Firmware: MotherBoard
 Commission to scientists: Stop ruining our copyright plans with your facts and your research! Source: Julia Reda
 ‘Radical and overreaching’: Bell wants Canadians blocked from piracy websites: CBC News
 When I want to teach, but can’t thanks to Universal Music Group. Source: Adam Neely
 The reasons why geo-blocking must be stopped. Source: TechRadar
 Despite the certainty of takedowns, fan developers still pursue Nintendo’s works: Polygon
Jan 24, 2018 – Update
As you may have seen, yesterday Canada joined 10 other countries in signing onto a reworked version of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), now known as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).1,2
In a big win for the Internet, the new agreement suspends many of the controversial provisions included in previous versions, including the Intellectual Property (IP) chapter and ISDS (Investor-State Dispute Settlement) rules.3 These suspensions are not a coincidence — these were among the top concerns raised in over 18,000 emails sent to the government on behalf of concerned Canadians.4
This is all because of you, our community! The overwhelming majority of these submissions came from the OpenMedia community, using our Let’s Talk TPP tool.5 The Minister of International Trade, François-Philippe Champagne noted the influence of public feedback with regards to the IP chapter in the new version of the TPP.6
The improvements in the new TPP are a testament to all these years of pressure and relentless work. We never backed down, kept up the pressure, and finally the government listened.
However, even with these improvements, the CPTPP — and especially the process through which it was negotiated — is still deeply flawed. Discussions continue to be held behind closed doors, with little information available to the public.
Despite how far we’ve come, there’s still much to do. This week marks the 6th round of negotiations in NAFTA — yet another trade agreement where our digital rights are still at risk, and our government continues to negotiate in secret without the transparency we were promised.7
So we’ll still be here, working to make sure that the government is held accountable to its citizens, and does not ignore our digital rights. We need you to stand with us as we continue to demand transparency and accountability from the government, in the final stages of the TPP, the upcoming NAFTA agreement, and all ongoing trade negotiations.
These negotiations are supposed to benefit us all, and thanks to your efforts, we are much closer to that than we might have expected.
Everything you’ve done so far has led us here, so I want to say thank you, Trevor. It’s a big win in what has been a long and notoriously closed process.
Marie, on behalf of the OpenMedia team
P.S.: Our advocacy work against closed-door agreements like the TPP and NAFTA is kept alive with donations from supporters like you. If you can chip in $5 today, we would greatly appreciate your support!
 Consolidated TPP Text: Government of Canada
 Canada reaches deal on revised Trans-Pacific Partnership: CBC
 Annex II – List of Suspended Provisions: Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
 When Consultations Count: Why the TPP is a Reminder of the Value of Speaking Out: Michael Geist
 Let’s Talk TPP: OpenMedia
 Statement by Minister of International Trade on successful conclusion of Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership: Global Affairs Canada
 Trade secrets damage the credibility of NAFTA negotiations: The Globe and Mail