Your Internet Life – A Former President’s View

I guess you know the former President is Obama, a man who really does think and hope for a better future for America. I, for one, am very thankful for this. If only the current White House resident would care to listen. I think he is still more interested in feeding his own ego by degrading anyone who speaks “truth to his power.” Prince Harry interviewed the President in September for the BBC and I think we should all be grateful that he is now “speaking out” on some very critical issues. And I think there are some pearls of wisdom here for all of us living in the Internet Age.

– “All of us in leadership have to find ways in which we can re-create a common space on the Internet.”

– “One of the dangers of the Internet is that people can have entirely different realities. They can be just entirely cocooned in information that reinforces their current biases.”

– “It is harder to be as obnoxious and cruel in person as people can be anonymously on the Internet.”

Thank you, Mr. President!

Ray Myers

Happy New Year! Will be back next Wednesday, January 3, 2018

P.S. For the last time this year, please have a look and listen at mypeacecorpsstory.com, podcast #018, where I discuss my “technology-free” Peace Corps years in India, 1966-68.

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Happy Holidays

Just a very simple post today. I hope you be able to take some to spend with family and friends over the holidays. I will be back next Friday with a final post for 2017.

“May your days be merry and bright,” even though they may not be white. Thank you for following TechtoExpress.

Ray Myers

P.S. Please have a look and listen at mypeacecorpsstory.com, podcast #018, where I discuss my “technology-free” Peace Corps years in India, 1966-68.

Copyright Infringement Posts on Facebook, Oh My!

Not to worry, Facebook has already removed these nearly 3 million posts – including videos, ads and other forms of content from its services during the first half of 2017 after complaints about copyright and trademark infringement. Now I am really curious about why it has been so difficult for Facebook to account for all those Russian-based posts during the last Presidential election that were basically falsehoods or propaganda intended to enhance Mr. Trump’s chances and defame candidate Clinton? I don’t think these were ever taken down en masse but were “reviewed” individually and removed or retained in a very sluggish (and arbitrary?) manner.

The global data on intellectual-property-related takedowns is a new disclosure for Facebook as part of its biannual “Transparency Report.” Aggregate data shows that Facebook received about 377,400 complaints from January through June, with many referencing multiple posts. About 60 percent of the reports related to suspected copyright violations on Facebook. Determination of copyright infringement, of course, can result in the awarding of monetary compensation for damages.

So we can all rest assure now that American (global?) commercial interests have been protected by our courts where even Facebook has to be judged for its transparency. But please still don’t believe everything you see or read there, comrade!

Ray Myers

P.S. Please have a look and listen at mypeacecorpsstory.com, podcast #018, where I discuss my “technology-free” Peace Corps years in India, 1966-68.

Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Requests and You in the Age of Trump

Don’t expect any rapid responses to any of your recent FOIA requests during these Trump Administration years., particularly if you are interested in the activities of the Department of Interior or the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). You would think that in our digitally-advanced age that this process would now be expedited in a way that would make information and data retrieval much simpler and more efficient in responding to Americans’ inquiries. Back in “text-based” days this search and retrieval process often meant digging through cumbersome file cabinets, or motorized storage receptacles that would occupy vast government office spaces. It would often take work days or hours.

So now we can literally say that information is at our “fingertips” in our digital age. But in the case of retrieving information about some of the activities at the Department of Interior and the Environmental Protection Agency, we are still living in the pre-digital age. Or maybe it’s not really all about the efficiency of the digitally-enhanced process, but more political in nature. “The result is that some high-level officials at EPA and Interior are keeping closer tabs on these FOIA requests, while at least at the EPA- according to those who have filed such requests – bureaus drag their feet when responding.” (Washington Post, December 18).

Oh, and by the way, please don’t worry about global warming. There seems to be a lot of information out there, from both governmental and non-governmental sources, just don’t believe it!

Ray Myers

P.S. Please have a look and listen at mypeacecorpsstory.com, podcast #018, where I discuss my “technology-free” Peace Corps years in India, 1966-68

No More Net Neutrality and, From Russia with Love

So it’s just that kind of day.

I’m not sure what more I can say.

FCC puts the Internet up for sale.

Putin and Trump are best friends forever. (“Hacking Democracy,” Washington Post, 12/15)

Ray Myers

P.S. For a diversion from the present state of world power politics and Internet control, please have a look and listen at mypeacecorpsstory.com, podcast #018, where I discuss my “technology-free” Peace Corps years in India, 1966-68

Net Neutrality in the U.S.

Only one day left before the Federal Communications Commission in the U.S. votes on plans to abandon Net Neutrality in favor of lifting restrictions on Internet providers. In other words, allow Internet providers to become more entrepreneurial in offering their services at competitive market rates. I think we all know what this means: consumers will now have to pay more and receive less in terms of services provided.

In terms of trying to better understand the impact of these proposed changes, and as a means registering your opposition (assumed), please visit this site to make your voice heard: https://www.battleforthenet.com/breaktheinternet/

The full power and potential of the Internet should not be left to only those who can afford it!

Ray Myers

P.S. Please have a look at mypeacecorpsstory.com, podcast #018, where I discuss my “technology-free” Peace Corps years in India, 1966-68

Big Brother is Listening, So is Alexa, Echo, Siri, and Google Home!

This post is not meant to make you worry about all your digital assistants, but I guess the best advice is just to remind yourself that “somebody” or “something” else may be listening. But who really cares about all my mundane conversations in the privacy of my own home or someone else’s? Personally, I don’t have any state secrets to share, but it all does seem a little spooky to me. The again, why would you share you secrets with a talking machine?

Danny Hakim, in NY Times Sunday edition, put it this way: “At least I can take comfort that I’m not the only one who wonders about these things. In the past three years, the Better Business Bureau told me that it had received 9,876 complaints about Amazon.com. Seventy-nine were related to the Echo speaker, which features Alexa, and just a single one of these complaints mentioned privacy concerns.”

So why should I worry? Let’s face it, we may all be living in an era when our lives are an “open book,” or at least those parts we share with our digital assistants!

Ray Myers

P.S. Please have a look at mypeacecorpsstory.com, podcast #018, where I discuss my “technology-free” Peace Corps years in India

Reading Skills in the U.S.A. and the Rest of the World

I guess the title of this blog is not a real “attention-grabber” but it is still very important if we want to better understand how technology is playing an increasingly important part in reading instruction. Here is the link if you would like to read the complete report: https://nces.ed.gov/pubs2018/2018017.pdf. The report focuses on reading achievement levels across fourth graders in sixteen countries and their proficiency in reading ONLINE.

In terms of the percentage of fourth-grade students who performed at an advanced level, the United States was the fourth highest in reaching this level. Students in Singapore, Ireland, and Norway tested higher on this online measure of informational reading (ePIRLS, National Center for Education Statistics, 2017). “The report has at least one silver-lining: Students in the United States fared far better on an Internet-based version of the assessment that tested their ability to process information online. U.S. students placed fourth out of 16 education systems that participated.”

Unfortunately, for American students who are reading in a more “text-based” manner, the results are not as high when compared to their international peers. They dropped to 13th place. “The decline was especially precipitous for the lowest-performing students, a finding that suggests widening disparities in the U.S. education system (National Center for Education Statistics, 2017).”

Ray Myers

P.S. Please have a look at mypeacecorpsstory.com, podcast #018, where I discuss my “technology-free” Peace Corps years in India

Realizing the Civil Rights Dream – Can Technology Help? (Retweet w/corrections)

I am retweeting this post from yesterday with my apologies. I have corrected the title, and added categories and tags.

Faculty and students gathered at the Berkley Center in Washington, D.C. on Oct. 12th for a discussion with Rev. Kenneth Bedell, who explored questions of American race relations and sociology in his newest book, “Realizing the Civil Rights Dream: Diagnosing and Treating American Racism.”

One Georgetown student, Andrea Su, commented that she was “really surprised at how much of an open discussion the Q&A section was. It was awesome to be able to engage in one discussion a reverend, a sociologist, and a handful of professors and students in some really raw and challenging questions on racism and racial injustice in this country. She hopes more opportunities like this one will come to Georgetown.” Fortunately, in our Information age, you don’t have to come to Georgetown to join in this discussion. Please feel free to visit the website mentioned below, and post any comments you may have. Additionally, with the many different information and communication technologies available to us today, you can also join in and continue this discussion in any preferred social media platform.

http://www.civilrightsdream.com/georgetown-university-students-faculty-and-guests-discuss-racism

Ray Myers

P.S. Please have a look at mypeacecorpsstory.com, podcast #018, where I discuss my “technology-free” Peace Corps years in India

Realizing the American Dream – Can Technology Help?

Faculty and students gathered at the Berkley Center in Washington, D.C. on Oct. 12th for a discussion with Rev. Kenneth Bedell, who explored questions of American race relations and sociology in his newest book, “Realizing the Civil Rights Dream: Diagnosing and Treating American Racism.”

One Georgetown student, Andrea Su, commented that she was “really surprised at how much of an open discussion the Q&A section was. It was awesome to be able to engage in one discussion a reverend, a sociologist, and a handful of professors and students in some really raw and challenging questions on racism and racial injustice in this country. She hopes more opportunities like this one will come to Georgetown.” Fortunately, in our Information age, you don’t have to come to Georgetown to join in this discussion. Please feel free to visit the website posted below, and post any comments you may have. Additionally, with the many different information and communication technologies available to us today, you can also join in and continue this discussion in any type of social media you prefer.

http://www.civilrightsdream.com/georgetown-university-students-faculty-and-guests-discuss-racism

Ray Myers

P.S. Please have a look at mypeacecorpsstory.com, podcast #018, where I discuss my “technology-free” Peace Corps years in India