Category: Uncategorized

The Tao Of Web 2.0

When I first signed up for the lecture entitled “Beyond the Web 2.0 Revolution” at the New School last week, I expected to get the latest scoop on some newfangled technology that will drive the Internet to higher heights. Was I ever wrong. I left there with so many ideas swirling inside my head I just had to write them down. Below you’ll find a summary of the main points…

Dr. Hiroshi Tasaka, President of the think tank SophiaBank and professor at Tama University in Tokyo, had already started his presentation by the time I arrived (fashionably late!). The classroom was almost full but I managed to find a lone, empty seat in the second row. It took me a few minutes to catch on to what he was saying, and his thick accent took some getting used to, but slowly it started to make sense.

He was talking about how, at the same time that we move forward into to the future, there’s also a resurgence of the past – but with an “upgrade”. For example, auctions have been around for centuries, but online auctions have taken the concept and made it much more efficient. Similarly, e-learning adds additional value to the education process by allowing anyone to sign up to online classes with say, Harvard professors.

He then talked about mutual infiltration, where systems in competition become similar to each other. In the past, businesses were either in cyberspace or in a physical space. Now all businesses are using both real and virtual spaces, evolving into a new integrated system.

Dr. Tasaka went on to define complex systems, which are living systems characterized by evolution and the formation of eco systems. He says that the information revolution has made all systems complex – for ex. companies, markets, society. The Internet is the largest man-made complex system. It’s a huge system that no one can control and it’s comprised of many eco systems – so it’s difficult to predict or analyze or divide into parts. In cyber space, evolution happens quickly, so laws don’t work. There’s also the “butterfly effect”, when small actions can change whole systems, making it difficult to predict the future.

He cited the iPod as an example of eco systems. Its success was due to the evolution of eco systems – both products and services. The Internet, digital music, licenses, lifestyles all had to evolve for the iPod to encounter such huge demand. So when creating a product, companies need to promote the evolution of the whole eco system.

Then he asked, what is the most complex system in this planet? The answer: the human psychology. It’s the result of 13.7 billion years of evolution.

Dr. Tasaka foresees changes happening in 7 areas:

1. Innovation

We’ll move from beneficiary innovation to participatory innovation. Web 2.0 is about the wisdom of crowds, or our collective intelligence. To promote this he predicts there will be a new style of innovation. Up until now the government and large corporations were the ones pushing for innovation, with users and customers benefiting from it. From now on we’ll see users and customers themselves participating in the process of innovation. The “prosumer”, or the producer/consumer, will emerge, just as Alvin Toffler predicted in his book, “The Third Wave”.

2. The Economy

We’ll move from a monetary economy to a voluntary economy. The monetary economy, which values the bottom line and is motivated by people wanting to acquire money, will merge with the new “voluntary economy”, which is large and invisible, and made up of jobs you don’t “see”, like housework, and childcare. Web 2.0 will increase the importance of this because social networks give people the ability to pose a question and receive multiple answers. In essence it’s people giving out free advice – it’s like they’re imparting wisdom on a voluntary basis – and that will drive the monetary economy. He cited Amazon’s grass roots reviews as an example. Amazon reviewers are the voluntary economy but Amazon is the monetary economy, generating profits from people’s reviews. Once at opposite sides, there will be a process of mutual infiltration between the voluntary and monetary economies.

3. Culture

We’ll move from an indirect to a direct democracy of culture. The professor says that historically the sequence of events that brought a product to market would look like this: the company does market research, they develop products and services based on that and then sales will drive their decision making. There’s a hidden vote present – consumers vote with their wallets, and if sales are high the company will increase production. Similarly, in the music industry, a music producer will discover an artist, create a huge promotional campaign to generate buzz, and then look for further opportunities to create buzz. But with the advent of Web 2.0, all that is turned upside down. Because many niches exist in cyberspace, an independent artist can release his music on the Internet and become an instant hit when music lovers of his particular genre find him and tell others.

4. Talent

We’ll move from single talent to multi-talent professionals. It used to be that if you wanted to be a professional photographer you would have to train for years and work for peanuts as an assistant until you “paid your dues.” But now with digital cameras and editing software it’s much easier. People can leave comments on your site and you can improve your work based on their critiques. Then there’s the “Da Vinci” effect, where we embrace our many talents and let them blossom. For example, you can be a sales manager by day and an ecologically-minded social entrepreneur during the weekends, compose songs and then release them on the Internet, write a series of essays on your blog and publish them as an eBook with photos that you’ve taken yourself, and finally you can produce a movie of your last trip to Europe and screen it on YouTube. Phew! Just writing about it makes me tired!

5. Personality

We’ll move from a single personality life to multi-personality life Web 2.0 allows people to express themselves in many ways, through daily blogs, photos, videos, podcasts, etc., which can have a healing effect. We have many personalities deep inside us, but we repress most of them to avoid confusion in daily life. So how can we express our hidden selves? Dr. Tasaka says Web 2.0 gives us three ways:

  1. non-verbal expression (like a painting)
  2. playing a character in a drama (Ever try playing “Second Life”?)
  3. in an anonymous message (writing a short story)

6. ParadigmWe’ll move from a mechanical system paradigm to a living system paradigm Because we’ve been successful with science and technology, we tend to view the world as a large mechanical system that we can control, but we’re just fooling ourselves. Nature is unpredictable – look at Katrina or global warming. The world is not mechanical – it’s a large, living system. In the Internet, all systems are complex living systems. People organize themselves into groups that emerge, evolve, co-evolve and create their own ecology. Because of this, Dr. Tasaka says we will go:

-from analyzing to using intuition

-from controlling to promoting emergence

-from learning the laws to changing the laws

-from using power to creating empathy and coherence

-from predicting the future to creating the future

7. Civilization

We’ll move from western civilization to eastern civilization According to Dr. Tasaka, Eastern civilizations have espoused the living system paradigm more than Western cultures. Chinese medicine uses a holistic approach to cure illness – a change of diet, breathing, meditation, exercise. Western doctors on the other hand, look at the problem and say, let’s eliminate it, let’s cut off the organ or prescribe medication to cope with it – without investigating the cause. Dr. Tasaka says that same holistic approach used in the East can be used to change the problems of the world.

Diversity is very important in the evolution of eco systems, and the Internet can be used to promote that diversity of value systems. He says that Japan should use the web to introduce the following concepts to the US and the world:

-Yao-yorozu-no-kami, which means eight million Gods, or the co-existence of many value systems

-Sansen-soumoku-kokudo-sikai-bussyo, which is animism/pantheism, or the ability to role-play and become someone else temporarily

-Enishi, the feeling you get when you meet someone – is there a deeper meaning to this encounter? Nothing is by chance…

Web 2.0 makes it possible for us to see what daily life is like in the other side of the world (with for ex. YouTube videos). If we see how other people live, we will be more in touch with the state of the earth. There are many problems on a global level – global warming, terrorism, hunger. The Internet, he believes, was given to us to overcome these problems and grow as human beings.

And that, I finally realized with surprise, is the next “new thing”. That’s what’s beyond Web 2.0. It’s not about a new technology or a new gadget that will revolutionize our lives. It’s about the Internet becoming an agent for peace and harmony through expanded use of social online networks. As more of us express ourselves freely and openly online, we access our true purpose, our spiritual core. Web 2.0 then allows us to come together with others that are doing the same, which will lead to ever expanding levels of integration and community. For Dr. Tasaka, that’s what the next “wave” of the internet is, and he believes we’re at the start of what will be a wonderful story for mankind.

Do you agree, disagree? And how might we apply this as entrepreneurs? Share your thoughts!

Hello, my name is Carmina Perez and I’m a writer/speaker/web marketing consultant. My background is varied. After spending over 14 years in Wall St. as a vice-president in sales and marketing, I transitioned into financial news TV and worked as an editorial producer at CNN Financial News for 6 1/2 years. When the financial network shut down in Dec. 2005, I made my move to the internet, writing articles on personal finance for AOL Latino and later editing their welcome page and news channel for about a year. Currently I’m using my skills and experience in media to help small businesses with internet marketing strategies. My specialty is using blogs, email newsletters and online social networks to get entrepreneurs noticed by the press and by their target markets.

Choosing The Right Thermometer For A Baby

As a parent of a baby or a young child, one of the most important items you can have in your medicine cabinet is a baby thermometer. It may just save your child’s life one day!

Why? Because a rise in your baby’s temperature above the normal 98.6°F (37°C) could mean that all is not well and perhaps your baby has a fever.

Many families may already have an adult thermometer around the house, but whilst these types of thermometer may be suitable for adult use, they may be unsuitable for use with a child in some cases.

Choosing the right thermometer for a baby is obviously very important and owning one that is specifically designed for a baby or young child can be the right way to go. There are several things you should look out for when purchasing one.

Here is a list of features you may want to see in a good baby thermometer:

Digital readout

Flexible tip

Suitable for underarm and oral use

Safe and reliable

Easy to use

Easy to clean (waterproof)

Fever alarm

Last reading memory

Good accuracy rating

Warranty

Automatic shut off

As mentioned, choosing the right thermometer for a baby is important, so let’s look at some of these features.

A digital baby thermometer is often the right type to purchase, provided that it has a good accuracy rating and an easy to read display as mentioned above.

Children under five years old can tend to wriggle around a little (as every parent will know) and therefore, having a thermometer with a flexible tip, whilst still being made of robust and reliable materials is the ideal, not to mention safer option.

One very useful function to look out for is a fever alarm. This will alert you if baby’s temperature is above normal. Note that if your baby thermometer also has a ‘last reading’ memory function, this will enable you to take and know your baby’s normal body temperature for comparison purposes.

An automatic shut off function will help preserve battery life and buying digital baby thermometers that do not have this facility can mean that you are constantly having to spend money on battery replacements over time.

It can be worth considering having one thermometer for home use and one additional one to carry with you when you are out and about, or traveling with your child.

You can purchase your thermometer online, but do be aware that there are many fake and poor quality items around, so do make sure to buy from a reliable website or supplier.

Blog This in Your Think Tank

What is up in your Think Tank? Oh, you say you are not in a Think Tank, well, why not, you seem to like to think right? Perhaps you might enjoy some of the things we discussed in our Think Tank this week, as our topics are so diverse and interesting. For instance, we are all consumers in a way, even if some of us are somewhat minimalists. Have you ever considered why we have so many products are being recalled.

My Product Has Been Recalled; What is a Recall and What is Really Going on?

Indeed, I have found most recalls to be simply “CYA” for the manufacturer to prevent a future lawsuit, generally one or two accidents, which were really driver’s error or a misuse of equipment. In aviation there were always many Airworthiness Directives, most were a waste of time and totally costly. In the trucking industry – it kills efficiency in downtime.

Some automotive manufacturers now use it is an excuse to get everyone back to the dealership showroom to introduce the new models and sell add-ons and other preventative maintenance since 80% of the routine manual required maintenance goes undone, costing the dealership $100s of thousands of dollars per year.

For the back of my Motor Coach, I bought a little scooter, I have had words with a couple of dealerships, as they are fine before the sale, then afterwards when there is a problem, the whole world changes and they do not give you the time of day and gouge you on service? No wonder most of those motorcycle dealerships change ownership so often. When recalls come it seems they lolly gag and lure you into the showroom to look at the latest models.

Another fascinating subject this week was a topic about Korea Town and alcohol laws in California. In the state of the nuts, fruits and flakes out West, and mind you that is what they call it, not me – it seems that the ‘no alcohol’ sales after 2 am is not observed and that in these areas you can buy alcohol until 6 am. The City of Los Angeles does nothing about it, as to not make waves. Why are we allowing such things, as it destroys the nation’s melting pot, due to self segregation and self-rule outside the laws of society and civilization.

In Korean Town you can buy Korean Gin, it’s a green potent alcohol, that they sell in Restaurants imported from Korea, you cannot buy it anywhere else, it is quite good if you like that sort of thing. Many of the restaurants where it is sold do not have alcohol licenses. Should these laws be enforced or should we remove the laws for everyone else too? Our nation should not play such double standards, any thoughts?

The next subject is rather interesting about the problematic future of Wars in Space. An interesting book that our Think Tank read on this subject re-affirmed what many others have said. “Empty Promise – The Growing Case Against Star Wars” by The Union of Concerned Scientists – 1986. Today, we see weapons being produced, which can shoot down intercontinental ballistic missiles in the US and China practicing by shooting down satellites. Space Debris aside; are we setting ourselves up for a future of wars in space?

The Star Wars Program that Ronald Reagan was promoting back during the cold war finally helped break the Soviet Union’s back financially. The ability to take out enemy communication, GPS and net-centric satellite components will definitely be a part of future human warfare. An interesting book to read on this subject is; “The Fallacy of Star Wars” by UCS [1984 Report]. Now with many nations all entering space, putting up satellites, spying from space and developing weapons for space – the space war cometh, whether we like it or not; George Lucas was right.

Now with space laser technology and anti-satellite weapons it appears the US Air Force Roadmap for space defense is all but guaranteed and along with the Chinese forces that building up and their space program military exploits, the future is foretold. Obviously, in a war, it is necessary to create a fog and disrupt information flow in your enemy’s command and control and we need not look past Karl von Clausewitz to confirm this.

In the future much of the escalation sequences will happen so fast in a Space War, due to the speed of the lasers in firing that Artificial Intelligent computers will run the scenario and fire without human intervention or second guessing, thus one must ask can we trust the computers? Well, can we trust humans; judging from history the answer is “Certainly Not!”

An additional subject perhaps of interest is how the Digital Economy has played such a role in the economic advancement of the United States and in World Trade. An interesting book to read on this subject is; “The Digital Economy – Promise and Peril in the Age of the Networked Intelligence” by Don Tapscott written in 1995. This gentleman predicted much of what we see today and how the Internet has evolved and how ‘business enterprise’ software has come to be the center of the corporation.

The insight in this book rivaled the futuristic predictions of Bill Gates; “The Road Ahead” and “Business at the Speed of Thought” and thus was relevant to the topic at hand. One of the most interesting insights was the fact that industry lines become blurred, which was a common theme in other books of the day such as; “Co-opetition” and “Competition is Dead” and still we see companies re-designing their market mix, the way they do business and how to leverage the Internet to increase customer loyalty, profits and longevity. The Digital Economy got off to a fast start and crashed, but make no mistake the Digital Economy is stronger than ever before and this is the future.

Today we hear debate still on the subject of Centralized or De-Centralized companies, government agencies and military command and control or net-centric systems. But this is nothing new, in fact it might be interesting if you go and pick up a copy of “The Centralized Company – Making the Most of Entrepreneurial Management” by Robert Levinson 1983. Robert states that this is a radical idea = radical decentralization that is.

Mr. Levinson says decentralization makes business fun, less structured and fewer rules and regulations within the organization, which make local regional variations tougher to deal with. Indeed, in addition to fun, he shows how profitable it can be also. Having personally run a Franchising Company in my career; it was amazing how important this book was to some of my decisions as we grew into a nationwide company. This helped me over come communication issues and got me to buy a motor coach to personally visit all our outlets. Never should a company let the entrepreneurial spirit amongst its ranks die.

So how can a large company break up the bureaucracy then? Well, first you must act, mobilize, have everyone at all levels agree on the process to remove the inefficiencies. Have a risk-taking revival, blow off stodgy committees and bring back the entrepreneurial spirit. Pay for new ideas with a bonus system, increase employee local moral and teamwork and allow local decision making to rule the day. Once you start you will invent new methods and ideas to move the ball down the field faster and develop new plays to win.

Well, those are all good points and advice from inside a business but what about the other side of the equation? The consumer, how can the consumer influence businesses? How can the consumers become socially conscious? By voting with their dollar, that’s how. May I be so bold as to recommend “The Green Consumer” by John Elkington, Joe Makower and Julia Hailes [1998] as a good place to start? Indeed you can buy products that do not cost the environment much. I would like to also recommend “The Green Capitalist” by Tom Burke, a relative classic in the Green Movement Circles. No, I am not a Greeny or a Sierra Club look-a-like, rather I am simply someone who likes clean air and water, because I breath the air and drink the water – we all do.

If one is going to call for political intervention to protect the environment, then they need to walk the talk and not live in hypocrisy – that means recycling, living right and using their purchasing power in a moral and ethical way. It means conservation of water, fuel, not polluting, using alternative energies like solar power, but it also means buying organic foods, using safe cleaning products and wearing clothing that does not cause issues onto our Earth. Think on this, because if one is to complain about Oil, Air Pollution or the environment and then drives a 1970 Volvo with leaky rings that allow the engine to suck up oil and pollute then such hypocrisy is unethical.

Speaking of pollution in the air and water, what are you doing to prevent pollution in your body? You know you are responsible for eating right and so let me remind you to educate yourself ASAP on what to eat, when to eat and how to eat so you can still stand on your feat and not get Type II Diabetes. Likewise the information that you put into your brain, the stress you allow, and the emotions you evoke all matter in your health.

You might like to read “Super Immunity – Master Your Emotions and Improve Your Health” by Paul Pearsall, PhD. 1987. Why do I recommend this book you might ask? Well, it appears to me that much of the poor health in our nation is caused by undo stress and negative bio-feedback. Am I cursing Western Modern Medicine? Oh, heavens no, nor is the author of the book, rather letting the reader know that you can improve your health by improving your attitude among other things.

Your body needs to be clean and free from stress along with your home. Just like you can improve your health by positive thought, eating right and preventing polluting it, you can also do the same to your home by organizing it. Speaking of which perhaps you might like to read the book; “Built from Scratch” by Bernie Marcus and Arthur Blank, the Founders of Home Depot [1999]. Like all books about Corporate Founders, you will enjoy the perseverance, story and ultimate achievement of the making of the largest retail home chain. These founders where sworn to take care of the customers and their teams. The two founders were in lock step towards that goal, often finishing each others sentences in interviews. These gentlemen knew how to build their brand and they were in it to win it and to deliver to the masses all those home items they desired, while retaining a profit and you know what – it worked.

Well, I hope you have enjoyed today’s Think Tank lecture and will perhaps read some of these books and ponder some of these thoughts as you progress through your week. Good day, good night and continued success.

The Primer Of Choosing An Affiliate Program

With so many offerings that had been catered on the internet, one has to wonder which one is hype and which one is real. Firstly, do some research on the subject before embarking of joining an affiliate program of your choice. If the offered program is something that you are familiar with and you have a basic knowledge of the same, say an affiliate program on herbal medicines or dog training. Well and good , this would actually be a good niche to start with and it would put you in a distinct favorable advantage in promoting the products or its services without any difficulty because of your being knowledgeable of the niche you are in as compared to those who had none at all.

Expound the things deem can stir the interests of your prospects by citing the benefits they can derive in subscribing or purchasing the said program as part of your sales pitch and marketing effort. You need also to consider that in affiliate marketing you are compensated through commissions, therefore it is important to determine the minimum percentage range of your commission, with foremost consideration that it should be within the profitable range. Without this basic knowledge, however, you may end up losing or just break even in your marketing campaign.

There are two products to consider in affiliate marketing, they are tangible and digital products. Tangible products are those products where inventory, shipping and handling are being taken cared of by the merchants themselves, once a purchase is made. A good example for these products are: physical products like herbal medicines, fitness equipment, home appliances, etc. Digital products are those products that can easily be downloaded by the customer in his computer once a sale is closed, with no hassle in inventory, shipping and handling on the part of the merchant. A good example for these are: e-books, e-reports, e-zines etc.

As an affiliate marketer one has to adopt a mindset of an entrepreneur. You need to equip yourself with a business plan and a business strategy wherein you clearly define your goals of how they can be achievable. Without this basic direction of your mind frame, success is remotely attainable. This holds true not only to online marketing but also to off line marketing as well. It is for this reason why the bulk of affiliate marketers deemed to fail. Such a failure though, is not absolute it can be overcome by setting up on the right footing first of your endeavor before starting.

One not need to be an expert in order to be successful. As long as you have the right attitude, persistence, patience, consistency and focus of what you’re doing , it would spell a big difference in your marketing effort.

Analysis of Primary Health Care

Introduction:

One of the most essential health problems is cardiovascular diseases, in most developed nations, including Italy, with severe consequences associated with hypercholesterolemia, one of the main risk factors for these illnesses. According to the Nationwide Institute of Research, heart diseases triggered 32.2% of the total deaths in Italy in 2007. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2002, hypercholesterolemia was anticipated as the cause of 18% of international cerebrovascular condition and 56% of ischemic heart problems and 7.9% of world mortality.

Methods:

This was an illustrative observational research, based on details from all digital records of prescriptions in organizations that offer primary health care in the NHS in the northern of Italy, through the detailed program to support medical practice, between Jan 2006 and Dec 2007.By 2007, South Italy had 3,745, 236 population, comprising 35% of Colonial Inhabitants. Nationwide Health Service (NHS) provides worldwide coverage with 108 Main Health care Systems, comprising 31% of Navigator Systems.

Geographical analysis:

We conducted a specific research by nation and NUTS III local departments, to allow adequate information of patterns and asymmetries among local areas regarding fat decreasing agents’ solutions.

Discussion:

The outcomes of this research indicate that lipid-lowering agents are a group with excellent pharmacological importance in the international prescription of medication in the northern region of Italy, comprising 4.5% of total prescription medicines. This is according to data on sales of lipid lowering agents in Italy showing that these are the third group of best-selling medication.

This research had some restrictions that were important to note. First, it should be underlined that although extensive data processing and cleaning and appropriate data research techniques were applied, outcomes provided may be partly related to differential prescription details excellent among local areas and heterogeneity in doctor’s adherence to the digital prescription system. However they are planning to upgrade this analysis and perform a relative pattern research with more recent details in the near future.

Conclusion:

In summary, this research shows the application of scientific computerized databases to assist in the study of medicines in primary care configurations. The selection of complete prescription details on the examined region had the advantage of including an associate sample of the entire population enabling complete details about medication currently prescribed. Lipid-lowering agents are a team with excellent importance, mainly due to the lots of statins prescribed. This study allowed the analysis of prescription patterns taking into consideration the geographical distribution and characteristics of the populations.

Prescription prices increased from coastal regions to inner regions, and we have proven a wide variation among different areas in the amount recommended, but a clear constant design of statins options among examined areas. The existence of such a high heterogeneity at the regional level calls our attention to the need for National consistent guidelines and suggestions trying to make better ensure excellent and scientific objectives.

Finally, primary care recommended data can provide new opportunities to study different factors of medication treatments in individual users. It is also important to create techniques to increase adherence to electronic prescription systems. Search on web for more information on this open access problem.

Author works for OMICS Publishing Group. OMICS chemistry journals are published under an open access system and are readily available to download with just one click of a button. You can get more health related information by visiting Chemistry journals online.

Viagra: How to Avoid Fake Viagra

Do you know? When you try to cut down on your medical expenses while buying prescription drugs, you are at greater risk of getting fake ones? Are you ready to jeopardize your life at the cost of saving money? If not, then let me tell you how you become exposed to counterfeit drugs when you look for cheap prescription medicines.

The dirty practice of cross border drug trafficking has recently chosen the drugs related to erectile dysfunction. Reason behind, it is the most promising market yielding profit. The global drug counterfeiters have understood the stability of the ED market and have become more refined and expert in manufacturing the facsimile of the best-seller drugs like Viagra. The alarming reality of the present situation is represented by the World Health Organization; it estimates global sales of phony medicines at $40 billion this year. The Center for Medicines in the Public Interest in New York predicts that fake drug sales are supposed to reach $75 billion globally in 2010. (Detroit Free Press report) The reason behind WHO’s projection on increased counterfeit drug in-flow to US may be because of double-digit increase in drug costs once every year when many Americans are either not covered by the health insurance policies or the drugs are not covered by government insurance policies. As a result, people are paying their own drug costs and hence trying to save money.

The counterfeit medicines are creating a threat to the consumer safety mainly through internet marketing. The vice president to the global security Pfizer Inc. says that the internet is an unregulated flea market and the counterfeit medicines are coming from everywhere through internet. US drug supply is one of the safest in the world but that does not guarantee 100% safety of the consumers till the time they are cautious while buying cut-rate generic drugs. The consumers must know the ingredients of the medicines that they are taking already or just going to buy. It has been found that the low-priced prescription drugs contain active ingredients besides the main ingredient of the prescription medicine which may be harmful; many others contain no active ingredient at all or contain as harmful ingredient as boric acid.

It is very important for us to know how to buy genuine prescription medicines at a lower price. Save money but not risking our lives and lives of those whom we love. Here are some ways as to let you know how you can save yourself while saving money on drugs.

• Buy from a local, trustworthy pharmacist.

• Be sure to check the patient safety information printed in English on the medicine pack.

• Request the pharmacist to give you the product in the original package of the manufacturer.

• If the medicine or its package appears unusual, crosscheck with your pharmacist and the manufacturer to know if they’ve changed the packaging.

• Do not buy medicines in unfamiliar packaging because unregulated imports are one of the many ways for counterfeits to enter the U.S. market.

• If you are buying through online pharmacies, chose those online pharmacies which are certified by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy through its Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites (VIPPS) program. At the same time, make sure if it has got a postal address and a license holder of the state where it is located.

• In case of suspected counterfeiting, immediately report to the FDA MedWatch Program at 800-332-1088 and to the main manufacturer of the medicine.

Customer complaints are the major way to find counterfeiting drugs and even stop them. We, the consumers are the one who are going to pay a big price for taking counterfeit drugs both monetarily and physically. A vigilant and proactive approach from the consumers in this issue will be the most logical and absolute protection from the phony drugs and a best way to stop replica manufactures

Health IT in Medical School

Medical Students

We have a new wave of medical students that are coming out of medical school in this new generation of technology, social media, and healthcare innovations brought on from departments from hospitals such as Kaiser Permanente. Students now acknowledge that they need access to smartphones, tablets, and any devices that helps them integrate into an advanced society where textbooks are even read on electronic devices. It keeps those already practicing older physicians on their toes as they may feel like they are being weaved out. The Kaiser innovation team are continually improving their health IT each and everyday, I am sure that we are poised to see a huge jump in technological health devices to improve healthcare for patients and online doctor alike.

And as students are being educated through devices, I am sure the implementation of such devices to practice medicine through teleHealth will be a necessity as students will not be educated on the “older” way of practicing. Newly board certified and licensed graduate medical students will be using technology to communicate with their patients via Facebook, Twitter, etc. The influx of positions to employ such an online doctor will increase exponentially in the upcoming years with telemedicine poised to be well-received with benefits and government funding. Using devices to monitor their vital signs, using iPads and other tablets that can generate a front facing camera consultation to watch over patients, or simply using a cellular devices to speak and see with a patient at home.

Two Way Real-Time consultation is making a huge step in the world of medicine with even physician professors broadcasting lectures and PowerPoints through Podcasts and Live Stream Sites. Current board certified students are giving advices over the phone for elders who can’t make it to the office. It also gives the patients the comfortability of being at home. Home is where most patient’s sanctuary remain and if one can be diagnosed in their sanctuary, I’m pretty sure their healthcare would improve. Of course, there remains the security of information using already made applications like Skype and so there have been services where they have employed their own developers to develop a private video application with encryption to protect the patients’ confidentiality.

TeleHealth implementation in medical schools in Arizona and Chicago have been pushing for students to receive or buy iPads because companies are moving towards digital images of the human anatomy and scrubbing through slides on a touchpad. It has been much easier on the school with it saving cost, preserving the environment and adapt to a consumer lifestyle. So when graduating, they will be able to connect with their patient who are probably now technologically literate.

In my foreseeable future, more hospitals will need to hire doctors that are well-trained with technology and trained with these new health devices that can monitor a patient’s vital signs via broadband and WiFi. The ability to follow-up with patients outside of the hospital no matter whether either are will make these future medical students a much needed prospect. A medical school doesn’t have to stand by the old generation of medicine when government funding and private funding are increasing the use of online doctor with telemedicine/telehealth to lessen the cost of running hospitals and free clinics.

Is Your Smartphone Running Your Life?

Jenn Hoffman, Phoenix-based CEO of The J Brand Group, should have been enjoying a relaxing vacation on the Cote d’Azur. Sipping champagne and nibbling on cheese at the stylish Louis XV restaurant, she was eagerly awaiting her starter, a poached Breton lobster. But then, poised next to the breadbasket, her BlackBerry came to life, and so did her technology addiction.

She lunged for it and swiftly tapped out a response “I’m so addicted to this device that I stopped mid-bite to rush to send a message. My BlackBerry runs my life,” Hoffman says.

She has a 24/7 technology habit, even checking messages from the bathroom, a Whistler ski lift and the pool. Her boyfriend calls her laptop (which she brings to bed every night) “the other man.”

You might not be fine dining or travelling on ski lifts but, are you constantly connected? If so, you are not alone.

Email, tablets, iPhones, laptops, and smartphones dominate us. Our uber-connected lives have made us virtually available at any time, at any place. With the internet in our pockets, we can take the office home or out and about with us and we struggle to “unplug” and take a real break from work.

We now spend more time communicating, reading and watching content online than we do sleeping every day!

The technology is seductive. We love it. We can conference call, Skype, chat to friends on the other side of the world and access research in the blink of an eye. Technology has democratised information in the same way that public libraries did all those years ago.

But, this constant connectivity comes at a price and is having a real impact on both our physical and mental health.

John O’Neill, director of addictions services for the Menninger Clinic in Houston says that ‘over-wired’ people are so focused on their gadgets they neglect relationships with other people.

“Technology can become more than a passing problem and more like an addiction”

He listed some danger signs: “You become irritable when you can’t use it. The Internet goes down and you lose your mind. You start to hide your use.”

He said he can see corollaries between drug and alcohol addiction and the way some people use technology.

So how is this constant connectivity and technology overload shaping us?

Well, the statistics are staggering but, looking around at people wandering down the street transfixed by their devices, maybe they’re not really that surprising.

On a personal level, heavy usage can really interfere with normal life. Most people check their phones every 61/2 minutes that’s 200 times a day with 33% admitting hiding from family and friends to check social media.

I find it particularly sad that 49% of people check their phones within five minutes of waking up and, in a poll carried out on New Yorkers, over 70% checked their emails before saying good morning to their spouses or partners!

It affects your organisation’s productivity as well.

The average employee checks 40 websites a day, switches activities 37 times an hour and changes tasks every two minutes. However, only 2% of people can actually multi-task without a decline in performance.

So, what’s that doing to your company’s output?

If we continue as we are how will society shape up in response to the ever increasing convenience of our devices and advances in technology?

Will we have a tier of society that’s been ‘raised by technology’ who’ve been influenced and folded by online content and advertising and who are incapable of deep thinking and forming their own decisions?

We can see this happening already.

Student ‘addiction’ to technology ‘similar to drug cravings’.

Withdrawal symptoms experienced by young people deprived of gadgets and technology is compared to those felt by drug addicts or smokers going “cold turkey“, a study has concluded.

The University of Maryland carried out a global experiment called ‘Unplugged’ in which they asked 19 – 24 year olds in twelve Universities to go without their devices for twenty four hours.

The vast majority could not comply; they simply couldn’t live without their devices.

They described feeling ‘anxious, restless, angry, frightened, withdrawn, aggressive’ and even ‘paranoid’.

The students themselves were stunned by the ferocity of their reactions to being offline even for a short period of time.

One of the reasons is that digital devices give us a ‘hit’ of dopamine in our brains in the same centre that rewards us for fulfilling biological needs – such as sex and food. We love dopamine and crave it – so we use our devices more and more and suddenly what was once a habit shows signs of becoming an addiction.

But does it matter?

Well yes and no. Technology is amazing and set to get even more amazing with the development of 5G, holograms, better voice recognition and the ‘Internet of Things’. It provides amazing advantages in medicine and day to day life.

But the trouble starts when the machine becomes the master and we are no longer in control. When our device, instead of supporting our day to day life, actually drives and governs it.

When we are no longer able to ‘unplug‘, even for short periods of time, when it begins to affect our health, our sleep, our relationships and our work then it is time to do something about it. It’s time to take back control of our digital lives and to set an example to our children and our employees.

How can you ‘pushback’?

James Roberts,the Ben H. Williams Professor of Marketing at Baylor University’s Hankamer School of Business says

The devices we use are likely to stay so we all need to reach some kind of digital détente as how best to relate with the 21st-century equivalent of the security blanket. You might not want to go “cold turkey,” but we must all set aside times where we unplug from our digital devices and plug into what really matters – friends, family, and being in the moment“.

On a personal level

Firstly, look at your current practices and feelings around digital use – why are you so attached? Is it FOMO (fear of missing out – a very modern phenomena), worry about your job, loneliness and isolation, boredom or could you be heading for addiction?

Next, decide where you want to be – how much time do you want to spend in front of a screen or on a device? Think about the benefits of spending less time connected and how you are going to spend that time. One of the easiest ways of changing a habit is by replacing it with a new habit. So begin to do the things you want to do to fill the gaps when you would have been on social media or in front of a screen.

Then, identify steps you can take to control your digital life, the changes you want to make and the way you want to behave, the changes you want your family to make -your digital strategy.

Start with little steps, the easy wins, and let these embed and become habits before moving on to the next thing. This could be something as simple as agreeing to switch off your phone at a set time every evening – say 10 p.m. Then, start to bring this forward until you are having at least an hour of screen-less time before bed.

Buy an alarm clock so that you don’t have to keep your phone by your bed as your alarm – leave your phone on charge elsewhere, then you’ll be less inclined to check it last thing or if you wake in the night.

On an organisational level

You might want to think about putting a digital use policy in place and carry out some training for employees to get them off their devices and become more productive, engaged and creative and able to build better relationships both internally and with clients.

These are just a few things you can begin with. There are many more that can reduce the stress of being constantly connected, free up time and get back in touch.

The digital genie is out of the bottle now, we can’t turn back, but we do have a choice to use it as an enhancement to our every day experience or allow it to rule, or possibly ruin, our lives.

Hazel McCallum of Moving On UP Coaching helps individuals and organisations to develop digital strategies to control their screen use, reduce stress, increase wellbeing, manage time, increase productivity and improve communications.

Online Certificate Programs Offer Great Career Opportunities

As we explore the many educational opportunities these days whether online or traditional, we can see how every course or program aims at training students helping them specialize in their area of chosen study by offering a number of online certificate programs, there by offering them great career opportunities.

While looking for courses there are two ways in which you look at them. One set of courses offer a general insight into the discipline and the other helps you specialize in the chosen area of study. One such kind of a course program offering a specialized study is the certificate and certification courses.

Benefits of Online Certificate Programs
An Online Certificate Program is one of the most convenient ways of learning to specialize and become experts in the desired field of study. These programs are offered by both online institutions and top companies. The finer aspect of these courses is that in addition to the theoretical knowledge offered, they also offer a chance to practically understand the subject with the help of practical training.

Online Certificate and Certification programs help individuals get the essential knowledge and skill set in the chosen career field at a shorter span of time. Any regular degree program takes around three years to complete. If you are already into working and a specialized knowledge or skill set is sure fetch excellent offers and great career opportunities, such short term courses are of great use.

These program certifications add a great value to your resume. Certainly certification courses offered by large corporate houses like Microsoft, Sun Micro Systems and Cisco carry great value and are specifically required for certain positions. Most of the placements need training for using the products offered by these giants.

Types of Online Certificate Programs
There are several online certificate programs available. These programs are offered across various disciplines namely

  • Accounting
  • Legal and Paralegal Studies
  • Technology
  • Human Resource
  • Education
  • Management
  • Sales and Marketing
  • Technical

Top Institutions offering Online Certificate Programs
The following institutions are offering online certification programs

  • Brookline College – Offers certificates in medical insurance, accounting, technology, accounting, management, technology and law.
  • Capella University – Programs are offered in teaching and management.
  • Central Pennsylvania College – Human resource program and a certificate in accounting is offered.
  • Chicago School of Professional Psychology – Offers certification program in healthcare, organizational management, forensic and consumer psychology.
  • Clayton College of Natural Health – Certificate in animal care, herbal medicine, and naturotherapy are offered.
  • College Network – Offers wide variety of Certification Courses.
  • Daniel Webster College – Programs in system programming and its administration.
  • Eastern Kentucky University – Areas covered are homeland safety and security, fire safety and technology related courses.
  • Ellis University- International marketing, business and multimedia programs.
  • Fisher College – Children’s Education, paralegal, health and technology.
  • Globe University – Offers nearly ten certificate courses.
  • Keller Graduate School Online- Programs are offered in health service, administration and finance.
  • New England College – Certificates in banking, management and accounting.
  • Notre Dame College – Programs in Negotiations and Strategic Management.
  • Regis University – Programs in database management and computer studies.
  • Strayer University – Offers several certificate programs.
  • Thomas Edison State College – Offers certificate course over close to 100 programs.
  • University of California – Programs in digital signal, medicine, finance and embedded systems.
  • University of Colorado – Programs in literacy and special education.

Friends now you have a wide range of universities and institutions to choose for pursuing online certificate programs, so what are you waiting for?

5 Super Useful Tips For Hiring The Right Digital Marketing Agency For Your Business

When you enter the online business world, the first advice that everyone gives you is to hire a digital marketing agency to boost the rankings of your business and its promotions online. A professional internet marketing services company knows how to register your company’s presence on the internet. It not only helps in increasing your sales but also opens venues for extending your business on a global scale. It is thus, not surprising to say that these digital marketing companies come at a price. However, not all online marketing companies are good for your business. You need to find the right one that suits your requirements and matches your budget.

You should take care of a few things before hiring a digital marketing service for your business promotions. After all, you are investing in something, it is only fair that you get a chance to check whether your investment is worth it.

Here are 5 super useful tips for you while hiring an Internet marketing agency:

    1. Check for the company website
      Believe it or not, checking out the digital marketing company’s website is much better than reading their sales pitch! It tells you a lot about what’s on offer. Some people might say that an agency which is super busy with clients might not have much time to spend on its own website. But one should always put their best foot forward and an experienced and result oriented online marketing company will definitely have an impressive website.
    1. Know about professionals working with the company
      A company at the end of the day is run by its employees. It is thus, highly advisable to do background research about the professionals hired by the digital marketing company in question. You should have a knowledge about what kind of skill sets they are carrying.
    1. Interact with previous and current clients of the agency
      Most of the companies list their clients’ names and websites under feedback section. You should take time out and contact these clients of the company and know their real views about the digital marketing services they received.
    1. Check for rates
      A good business always make a budget and try to find high quality services within their set limit. It is advisable to ask for price quotes and negotiate with digital marketing companies before agreeing to their full terms.
  1. Find a digital marketing company that matches your company needs

The online marketing strategy for a jewelry website might not work well for a medicines business. You should look for an online marketing company that either specializes in promoting your business type or has worked in the past for a similar client.

Author Bio:

Graphics Merlin is a reputed name in the Internet marketing business. This online marketing company in Delhi offers affordable digital marketing services with high quality results. With more than 4000 satisfied clients, you should give Graphics Merlin a chance to improve your business’s online presence.

The Hidden Hazards of Digital Devices and Blue Light on Kid’s Eyes

Imagine it’s 2035 and you get a call from your son who proceeds to inform you that, at the young age of 32, he’s going blind as a result of macular degeneration.

Your immediate thought is how is this possible? Macular degeneration is a disease of the old. It is not a disease for young, vibrant people in the midst of their careers, just starting a family, and buying and furnishing their first home.

This cannot be possible…

Your son explains that all of the years playing with your iPhone in a restaurant and playing “educational” games on the tablet you bought him when he was 3, have damaged his eyes.

Blue light emitted from these devices was the cause.

If you had known this at the time, his eye damage could have been avoided with a simple blue light filter for a nominal fee of less than $10. He tells you that he doesn’t blame you because the industry knew and ignored the risk.

You think back to all of the times you handed him your iPhone, or your spouse’s Android, to keep him occupied at dinner with the relatives, at ball games, and while shopping.

You remember the number of times you opened an app for him or a video on Amazon Fire and Amazon Kids.

You recall the time, you and his mother, bought him his own tablet to keep him entertained and how you bought the kids a tablet or iPad so they would leave yours alone.

No one ever told you that his iPad tablet or the Android device, you had lying around the family room, would hurt your son.

You ask yourself, how did this happen? You feel guilty and full of remorse.

You are a good parent. You were very contentious of everything your son did and what he ate.

You made sure he studied, was involved in extracurricular activities and every opportunity was available to him.

The Connected Consumer

The effects of blue light are cumulative and can lead to eye diseases like macular degeneration

Today’s youth may be known as the “App Generation” or the “Connected Consumer.” They were born during the growth of apps and tablet technology and grew up with devices at their fingertips.

According to a Nielsen Study, more than 70 percent of children under 12 use tablets and iPads. A recent Journal of Pediatrics study showed that:

20% of 1-year-olds own a tablet.

28% of 2-year-olds could navigate a mobile device without assistance.

28% of parents said they use a mobile device to put their kids to sleep.

The use of tablets and smartphones among young children has simply become child’s play, with kids able to skillfully tap and swipe before they can walk or talk.

Other studies have shown that that nearly half of U.S. consumers couldn’t last a day without their mobile devices.

This makes sense because, for many of us, the first thing that we do in the morning is catch up on email before we even get out of bed; our kids are no different.

Kids model parents behavior…

Then, you head straight to your computer at work and spend a majority of the day on it or using one of the many other digital devices, iPads, mobile phones and tablets that are available in today’s increasing technological driven society.

What if you were told that these electronics were negatively impacting your overall health and vision by emitting a dangerous blue light?

This is a factual statement and is a primary concern for eye doctors across the country. The NIH has been studying the impact of blue light on human eyes since the early 2000’s.

Continual extended screen time can impact your eyes in two significant ways.

The first and most common side effect is digital eyestrain.

When we look at a screen, our blink rate drops significantly, and our eyes won’t put up with that for too long without fuss.

Tired Eyes from Digital Screens

Have you ever experienced slightly blurry vision after staring at the computer all day? This is a sign of digital eyestrain.

Do your eyes feel dry, runny or tired after scrolling through your Facebook or Instagram feed, or maybe you get a headache after a few hours on the computer? These symptoms are often so common that we don’t even recognize them as real issues.

Digital eyestrain is temporary. However, if left unaddressed, it can turn into a chronic problem.

The easiest way to address digital eyestrain is to blink more.

This might sound simplistic, but blinking helps to keep eyes lubricated. Another effective way to avoid or help to resolve digital eyestrain is to follow the “20-20-20 Rule” – every 20 minutes, staring at something at least 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds. This exercise engages your distance vision and helps the eye to “reset” and rest.

The more severe impact that too much technology consumption can have on our eyes is damage from blue light exposure.

Blue light is just what it sounds like – it’s a type of light that gives off a blue color.

Blue light is harmful because it’s the highest energy wavelength of visible light.

This energy is also able to penetrate all the way to the back of the eye, through the eyes’ natural filters, and that’s the issue. Long-term exposure causes damage to the retina. Dr. François Delori, of the Schepens Eye Research Institute of Mass. Eye and Ear, has been studying the effect of blue light on retinas and the resulting damage.

Blue light is nothing new.

The issue is the amount of blue light exposure that we get each day through digital device use.

With this exposure increasing over time, we are causing permanent damage to our eyes.

The effects of blue light are cumulative and can lead to eye diseases like macular degeneration.

Children are especially at risk when it comes to the harmful effects of blue light exposure. These days, a lot of homework is done online, and many children own or have access to digital devices, e.g. tablets, Android devices, iPads, iPhones, Amazon Fire and Kindles that they are using for longer periods of time each day.

Tablet light and toddler’s eyes

Evidence shows intense blue light causes damage to the back of the eye and the retina. Exposure in children could lead to early onset macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness for those over 50, and to earlier incidences of cataracts.

Intense blue light causes damage to the back of the eye, the retina and exposure in children could lead to early onset macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness for those over 50, and to earlier incidences of cataracts.

While we know that blue-light from tablets and smartphones can have long-term effects on our vision, it’s still too soon to tell the extent of the damage. However, there are a few widely accepted tips that will help keep your kids’ eyes healthy until more information is available.

The risk is less for adult eyes that have a natural defense; as we age, the lens starts to yellow, which then acts to block out some of the blue light. The difference for children is that their eyes are still developing and they don’t yet have the protective pigments in their eyes to help filter out some of this harmful blue light.

As children’s eyes are still developing, blue light can penetrate much more efficiently and directly into the retina.

Blue wavelengths are crucial during daylight because they boost our attention, reaction and mood but are disastrous at night as they interfere with circadian rhythm and disrupt sleep.

Just about every digital screen, computer, tablet, and smartphone now uses Light Emitting Diode (LED) backlight because it produces brighter and more colorful images as well as being energy efficient. LED also emits more blue light directly into the eye than previous screen technology like Liquid Crystal Diode (LCD) technology.

The closer we hold the devices to our eyes, the more intense the light exposure, and the higher the risk of possible damage.

This makes smartphones the worst offenders and television the least harmful.

A US study showed retina cells grown in a laboratory were completely destroyed when exposed to blue light.

World Health Organization:

The World Health Organization recently published an extensive article on what digital devices are doing to our eyes and the resulting eye strain. They stated “”Digital eye strain” is now a real condition, defined as the physical eye discomfort felt after two or more hours in front of a digital screen. As screen time increases – at home and in the office – so do symptoms like blurred vision, burning eyes, headaches and disrupted sleep. In total, nearly two thirds of American adults now experience symptoms of digital eye strain due to prolonged use of electronic devices like computers, tablets and cell phones.”

Our health is being impacted negatively by the amount of time we spend with computers, phones and tablets.

“The majority of Americans now report symptoms of digital eye strain, including neck, shoulder and back pain (36%), eye strain (35%), headaches (25%), blurred vision (25%) and dry eyes (24%). Worryingly, the percentage of sufferers is greater among young people. Some 73% of adults under 30 now experience these symptoms, suggesting a generational trend.”

The growing concern is the kind of light most digital devices emit. We are all familiar with the dangers of ultraviolet or UV light, but not many people are aware of the risks of high energy light that we can see: blue light. Light on the blue end of the visual light spectrum contains more energy than warm colours like oranges and reds, and is known as high energy visual light (HEV).

Blue light is everywhere, you experience it daily with sunlight. That stated, digital screens, fluorescent and LED office lighting drastically increased our exposure. Blue light’s does have some beneficial effects, it boosts our alertness. When we are continually exposed to HEV light constantly, the sustained exposure may well add up, preventing our bodies from settling into healthy sleep.

And unlike with UV light, human eyes do a poor job of filtering out blue light. The biggest concern is recent studies suggest HEV (blue) light can contribute to retinal damage and macular degeneration – an irreversible loss of vision. Research on this subject is just beginning, but early signs point to an association between long-term exposure and serious consequences.

“Half the world will need glasses by 2050 due to screentime. Research suggests that 4.8 Billion people will be nearsighted by 2050. Research has found a link between screentime and nearsightedness. The more time we spend on screentime increases the risk of developing myopia or nearsightedness.”

Technology has permanently changed how we live and work. Our vision health has not caught up with technology and is dangerously behind. For today’s digital workforce, awareness of dangers – and solutions – is critical. Technology may be evolving rapidly, but we still only get one set of eyes.

So what can you do about it?

First, you can take steps to protect your eyes from the harmful effects of blue light.

If cannot limit your digital device of tablets, iPhones, iPads or Android devices such as tablets and mobile phones, cut back on using any digital technology a few hours before bed.

A Harvard study shed a little bit of light on the possible connection to diabetes and possibly obesity, and Harvard researchers have shown that exposure to blue light, a couple of hours before bedtime, actually suppresses melatonin and delays deep REM sleep significantly.

Blue light suppressed melatonin for about twice as long as the green light and shifted circadian rhythms by twice as much. So cutting back on digital technology, iPads, tablets, Amazon Fire, Mobile Phones, and Android driven devices use at night means getting better sleep, making people more productive at both work and school (and speaking from my personal experience, it makes children more pleasant).

Second, you should talk with your eye doctor about lenses that filter out blue light. The lenses have little-to-no tint and can help to minimize the direct blue light exposure that you get throughout the day from mobile devices. Many people who have these lenses noticed an immediate increase in eye comfort because of the improved contrast, which helps to relax the eyes. And if you have children, I would absolutely recommend blue light filter lenses or a blue light screen protector, and even more so if they have trouble sleeping at night.

Blue light filters are a few simple ways to protect the eyes of all ages. Knowing that our children’s eyesight is more valuable and will last much longer than our trusty smartphones, tablets and computer screens is the lesson.

In fact, Amazon has added a blue light filter to the Kindle Fire. The Blue Shade feature on your Fire tablet lets you adjust the color and brightness of your screen. Blue Shade blocks blue light.

Tablets and kids social-emotional development

Researchers with the Boston University School of Medicine have now weighed in on those questions in a new set of recommendations published in the journal Pediatrics.

“Mobile devices are everywhere, and children are using them more frequently at young ages,” Jenny Radesky, a clinical instructor at Boston University’s Developmental-Behavior Pediatrics, said in a statement.

“The impact these mobile devices are having on the development and behavior of children is still relatively unknown.”

Nevertheless, the researchers have arrived at a series of unsettling conclusions. They said children younger than 30 months “cannot learn from television and videos as they do from real-life interactions.”

To use a mobile device before that age on tasks that aren’t educational can be “detrimental to the social-emotional development of the child.”

According to the study, tablet technology “could “interfere” with a child’s growing sense of empathy or problem-solving skills.

Kids acquire empathy and problem-solving skills by playing and interacting with peers and exploring their immediate surroundings.

“Kids acquire that capacity by playing and interacting with peers and exploring their immediate surroundings. If these devices become the predominant method to calm and distract young children, will they be able to develop their own internal mechanisms of self-regulation?”

“It has been well-studied that increased television time decreases a child’s development of language and social skills,” Radesky said.

“Mobile media use similarly replaces the amount of time spent engaging in direct human-human interaction.”

Tablets and fine motor skill development

Toddlers who use tablets or smartphones may develop long-term problems with their hands and fingers, experts warn:

When children use touchscreens, they are not building up muscles needed for writing, which means they suffer from decreased muscle strength.

As touchscreens are relatively new, no one knows what the long-term health consequences will be.

Also, these kids face a ‘healthcare time bomb’ of neck and back pain linked to the use of computers, video games and smartphones.

The research showed nearly three-quarters of primary school children, and two-thirds of secondary school students, have reported back or neck pain within the last year.

Today’s modern lifestyles and the increase in technology are having detrimental effects on musculoskeletal health and, if not addressed, will have far-reaching consequences for our children, the future working generation, and society.

The other issue that kids face is the use of tablets inhibits or reduces their fine and gross motor skill development.

Schools are experiencing students with the physical development of a 3-year-old at age 5. Kindergartners arrive at school without enough hand strength and coordination to use scissors or hold a pencil correctly. In fact, only about half can hold a pencil correctly, versus the fisted approach they should have grown out of by age 3.

The Rise of the Sedentary Lifestyle

As it is, the overuse of technology and lack of active and free play is limiting kids’ physical activity and the increase in screen time has led to the rise of a sedentary lifestyle. In 1982, the childhood obesity prevalence in the United States was less than 4%. By 2004, that number had grown to about 30%.

So how do you minimize the potential damage to young eyes from blue light?

Follow the 20-20-20 rule: put the tablet or cell phone down every 20 minutes, look into the distance for 20 seconds and blink 20 times.

Get kids outdoors. Reduce the risk of developing myopia from a lack of exercising long distance vision.

Exercise and a healthy diet, if it’s good for the body its good for the eyes.

Limit screen time to no more than one hour a day for young children.

Educate kids on the importance of blinking and taking frequent screen breaks.

Get annual eye check-ups until the age of 18.

Use a blue light blocking filter on your screens.

Encourage your kids to participate in arts and crafts projects, science/STEM experiments and projects, and similar to develop fine motor skills.

Print our coloring pages and work with your children to learn how to hold a pencil correctly.

Smart Phones Decrease the Digital Divide

It should be no surprise that after Qualcomm, a digital wireless telecommunications company, distributed smart phones to low-income students in North Carolina as a part of their Wireless Reach Initiative, student test scores improved within a year.

The Wireless Reach Initiative is aimed at helping conquer the digital divide between students who can and can’t access Internet at home. Qualcomm’s *Project K-Nect, an education project part of their Wireless Reach Initiative that launched in 2007, provided smart phones and services free of charge to approximately 250 ninth grade students in North Carolina who had limited home access to Internet and qualified for free or reduced-price lunches. The students saw a 30% increase on their test scores after the first year.

Although smart phones can be a distraction in the classroom – because of the access to texting and games, in particular – the project found that the use of mobile technology helped students stay on top of what was going on at school. Peggy Johnson, Qualcomm’s president of global market development, believes the improvement was a result of the students having easier access to information at all hours of the day, as well as easier contact with other students and their teachers. With important classroom experiments such as flipped classrooms and expanding digital education tools, students without Internet access can easily be left behind.

With, on average, only 40 percent of low-income families having access to Internet at home, and an approximate total of 100 million Americans without home Internet access according to the U.S. Department of Commerce, the fear that low-income students are being left behind in the digital age is a valid concern. Being disconnected nowadays, moreover, is not only a function of being poor, but can be the chasm that keeps people in poverty.

The Internet is becoming an essential tool in schools, for job hunting, and for furthering education. According to the Huffington Post, about 80 percent of Fortune 500 companies, such as Target and Walmart, only accept job applications online. Consumers can save almost $7,200 a year using online resources to find discounts on expenses such as housing, clothes, gasoline, over-the-counter medicine, and food, according to a 2011 study “The Real Cost of the Digital Divide,” conducted by the Internet Innovation Alliance.

Internet access and use also directly correlates with education. According to the Federal Reserve, high school students who have broadband Internet at home have graduation rates that are 6 to 8 percent higher than students who don’t. Furthermore, a study by the PewResearch Center found that while only 4% of college graduates do not use the Internet, 48% of those without a high school diploma do not use the Internet.

“The cost of being offline is greater now than it was 10 years ago,” said John Horrigan, vice president of policy reach at TechNet, a trade association representing high-tech companies.

Accessing the Internet from a mobile device is the easiest and least expensive way for low-income students to connect online. In the US, 25% of mobile web users are dependent solely on their mobile device for Internet access. In 2011, 85% of all handsets globally were able to access the web in some form.

Johnson believes in web access as the ultimate, opened classroom door for impoverished communities. “In a village that might not have a classroom and a teacher, you can send in a single tablet and with some instructions you can leave behind a classroom,” she said.

However, a study published by the American Sociological Association found evidence that it is not just access to the Internet or a computer that is important, but the quality of that Internet access as well, along with the freedom to use it without time and equipment constraints. and the opportunities to develop information-seeking skills. For students, they found that lacking access to Internet or to quality Internet as well as constraints such as limited time of use caused students more emotional stress than those without these limits. Furthermore, group differences in the time they spent online led to disparities in their development of information-seeking skills, placing the lower-income students at a disadvantage in school and in the labor market.

And, while 19 million people living in poverty use public library computers to access the Internet, state and local cuts to library funding have led libraries to cut hours, staff, and spending on computers.

The Internet is said to be responsible for 21% of the economic growth in developed nations. The digital divide only continues to deepen for those without access – they are cut off from one of the most powerful existing learning and teaching tools. The internet is a major source of knowledge that can greatly empower students as well as adults, and broader access is necessary for education equality to permeate.

*Since Project K-Nect’s launch, the program has expanded to eight through 12th grade students in North Carolina, Virginia and Ohio. The Wireless Reach Initiative began in 2006 and to date, has 73 programs in 31 cities nationally and internationally.

Dental Digital Imaging – Advanced Dental Care

In the current technologically advanced world, not only the field of medicine, but also the field of dentistry has got new devices for offering the best oral care to patients and one such equipment is dental digital imaging machines. These technologically advanced instruments will be of great use to the dentists to offer the right kind of treatment once the appropriate diagnosis has been made since they are capable of identifying the root cause of the oral problems. Irrespective of the cost factor, many dental professionals, particularly cosmetic dentists wish to purchase this sort of advanced machines for offering the best care for their patients.

It has become the order of the day for dental care hospitals to keep in pace with the latest advancement on digital intra-oral cameras, digital radiology equipment, laser dentistry, etc… So, now, the question as to what is the latest technology in the field arises and in the recent years, it is all about dental digital imaging. For so many years now, the radiologists were finding it difficult for viewing the digitized display images and this problem has now been eradicated by the latest advancements in radiology equipment meant for oral care.

Indeed, modern field of dentistry is diagnosing and treating each and every problem pertaining to oral health right from purchasing dental care equipment online to diagnosing of gingivitis, oral cavity and for identifying whether a patient will have to undergo root canal treatment. There are companies dealing with advanced dental care devices and these companies are keeping themselves updated whenever a new device is introduced in the market. So, dentists keeping in constant touch with these sorts of organizations can keep their hospital updated with latest technologically advanced equipment in such a way that they can narrow down the task of finding the appropriate cause of pain in the mouth and can easily treat the same without any hassle. This will also enable them to grow their dental care profession and they will be able to get more and more patients due to the right kind of treatment offered by them.

Nowadays, the importance of dental care has been greatly realized by people and particularly the number of people approaching cosmetic dentists has increased considerably. Here, most of the people who have some dental problems that has an impact on their beauty, wish to get it corrected and when approaching a dental care professional for the same, a professional with digital imaging system can offer a clear picture of what needs to be corrected to enable them to get a great smile.

The most affordable method of obtaining medical digital images is possible through Computed Radiography. As it is flexible for use in variety of specialization areas. To know more about Computed Radiography and dental digital imaging, visit our website.

Reasons Not to Buy Cheap Medical Or Measurement Equipment Online

After recent findings by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) found that several types of illegal, potentially dangerous digital thermometers are being sold on the internet, it’s advise all consumers to take extreme caution when ordering testing equipment online.

The MHRA also reported that they’ve seized other forms of fake equipment, including imitations of cooling pads and Slendertone devices that are designed to tone stomach muscles. This latter item in particular is worrying as it applies electrical stimulus to the stomach and could prove a significant hazard to the user.

The digital thermometers, which are primarily designed for use with children, were flagged up as a hazard after a couple’s child, who suffers from Leukaemia, had to be rushed to hospital after gaining incorrect readings from the fake thermometers. The child was running an extremely high fever at the time, and the thermometer should have informed the parents that medical attention was immediately required.

The store was reported to the MHRA through their incident centre, and the organisation took steps to stop the spread of these devices to other households.

Dr Hilary Jones, who is a television doctor known for his appearances on GMTV and other programmes, said it is very important for parents to pay attention to the warnings of the MHRA.

“High temperatures in children can be a sign of serious illness and these raids by the MHRA show why it is so important that people are aware that fake thermometers and other fake medical equipment are being sold cheaply on the internet.

“I support the MHRA’s efforts to ensure that people are using safe and effective medical equipment.”

Any form of testing equipment such as this should always come from a fully certified supplier. It is believed that a lot of the thermometers were sold through eBay purchases and the MHRA is working closely with the auction site to clamp down on sales of medical equipment from uncertified suppliers.

Over the past few months the MHRA has also conducted a number of other raids around the country, including in Harrow, Yorkshire, Halifax, Nottingham, Gloucester and many more. It’s a jarring statistic that shows how this problem is becoming more widespread across the UK.

Since the thermometers are sold for a fraction of the recommended retail price (around 99 pence at the cheapest), many consumers think they’re getting a bargain. It may look appealing to buy something so inexpensive, but it’s always important to remember that there’s usually a reason for the seemingly huge reductions, and it generally isn’t a good one.

Genuine digital thermometers should always have a recognisable brand name, come with a certified ‘CE’ safety rating and be provided with instruction manuals. It’s recommend that anyone considering buying a piece of medical equipment online makes sure the seller is an accredited seller of the devices; without this certification you could be buying potentially dangerous equipment that could harm you, your partner and even your children somewhere down the line. It always pays to pay the little extra from a certified supplier rather than dealing with those selling equipment for dubiously cheap prices.

Dr Nicola Lennard, the MHRA’s deputy clinical director outlined the problem further. “Inaccurate readings from cheap, fake thermometers could result in a delay to a child getting the medical treatment they need and it is vital that people do not buy or use cheap, unapproved medical devices”.

“The MHRA is working with internet sites to ensure that fake medical devices are not sold to people, and we urge the public to report faulty medical devices.”

Medical and electrical testing equipment, or anything where the accuracy is very important, should always be purchased from a reputable dealer. It’s advised you visit the manufacturers site for a list of official distributors.

Interested in electrical testing and all things thermal. You can see more of my articles on my bio.

Digital Privacy in 30 Seconds

In the technology business, I’m what’s known as an “early adopter.” I’m the guy who gets the new device or software early on, eager to see how it works and whether it’s an improvement on existing products. I’ve picked some winners (flat screen monitors) and losers (BlackBerry). Friends and family know to consult me before buying new gadgets since at the very least I’ve investigated them, even if I haven’t used them myself.

Of course, technical challenges go with the “early adopter” territory. Years of trying to make early-release versions of software and hardware play nice with other products has left me adept at figuring things out quickly. And that, in turn, makes me the “techie” kid in the family to my parents.

So when my father emailed me the other day asking how to deal with the latest shocking news about digital privacy threats, I had an answer for him immediately.

Inactivity is Golden… to Data Bankers

You can avoid some of the worst digital privacy threats in 30 seconds if you want to. Read on and I’ll show you how.

But first, let’s define the scope of the challenge. Imagine you receive a diagnosis of a deadly disease. You’re in shock and afraid for your future and your family. You go to the Internet and search for your diagnosis, so you can learn as much as possible as quickly as you can. Why not? Seventy-two percent of U.S. internet users look up health-related information online.

A few moments later, as you continue your internet knowledge quest, you notice strange advertisements popping up alongside the articles you’re reading. Obscure medicines. Miracle cures. Hospital groups specializing in your disease. Oh, and ads for funeral services, as well. (I’m not making that up: It has actually happened.)

“What the?!”… you sputter, indignant.

Welcome to the brave new world of targeted advertising, where people are using your misfortune for profit… if you let them.

You DIDN’T Consent to THAT

In April 2014, a researcher at the University of Pennsylvania designed software to analyze the top 50 search results for nearly 2,000 common diseases, linking to over 80,000 web pages. The results were startling: 91% of the pages passed on your request to outside companies. Medical websites are “basically calling up everybody in town and telling them that’s what you’re looking at,” as researcher Tim Libert puts it.

That’s because these websites make what are known as “third-party requests.” You, the first party, submit a search term (“pancreas”) to a website, the second party. The website then passes that information along to data-mining companies who assemble that information in real time and follow you across the web, using it to send advertising tailored to you… which would be nice, maybe, if you were searching for shoes, but not now.

There are no laws governing their use of your personal information. Zero, zip, nada.

This isn’t always intentional. Many developers who design websites use tools like Google Analytics and social media “share” buttons on their sites because they’re free and handy. Most users, on the other hand, have no idea that these little bits of code share information about their searches with third parties.

A Simple Solution

I don’t get those sorts of advertisements – and not just because I’m healthy as far as I know. In fact I hardly see any ads, and those that I do are random.

That’s because when I surf the web, a little applet called Privacy Badger is active on my browser. I also use other apps like AVG Privacy Fix and Disconnect. They block the tracking code that the third-party data miners use to track me and generate ads for me. They install in seconds and require no settings or maintenance.

Just to be safe, I’ve also set my browser to delete all third-party “cookies” (bits of tracking code) every time I close it. I’ve set my Google account not to save my search history. And if I’m really doing something delicate, like searching for information on the National Security Agency, I use incognito mode.

I’ve been doing this for a while now, and it hasn’t affected my internet experience at all… except, of course, I don’t get hassled by companies trying to make money off my privacy.

You’re only a few clicks away from joining me.

Ted joined The Sovereign Society in 2013. As an expat who lived in South Africa for 25 years, Ted specializes in asset protection and international migration. Read more of what he has to say about offshore living here.