The Social Media Rabbit Hole

I caved last week, and FINALLY became a member of the Tumblr community. Wait, is Tumblr considered so yesterday?
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Anyways, while perusing Tumblr, I came across a community called Studyblr. I was fascinated by the aesthetics of each photo that I saw while scrolling: beautiful stationary lined up neatly, planners, stacks of books, an organized desk, laptops, beautifully written study notes, and perfect natural lighting.
Studyblrs are blogs meant to encourage others to develop healthy study habits, promote organizational skills, and even encourage tracking your daily water intake.
Yeah, it definitely caught my attention. Did I just stumble upon the holy grail of organization!?

I found myself asking how was I organizing and balancing my stressed out life and wishing my desk at home was neat like the photos I saw on Tumblr. Why couldn’t there be more natural lighting in my room? Why –?

Wait.

These are the moments in which we need to catch ourselves and break from social media. I was beginning to compare myself to people I’ve never met before. I was assuming that they have it all together. For all I know, these bloggers might not even be as organized as they seem.

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There’s a big debate in the community as to whether or not Studyblrs are helpful or harmful to ones mental health. Some stating the unrealistic study habits and pressure that’s attached to it.  After watching a variety of Youtubers and reading blogs on the Studyblr community I was able to develop my own opinion about the whole debate:

1) Studyblr photos are beautiful to me! I’m a huge fan of stationary, contrasting colors, and well organized books.

2) They have some amazing tips! But I’m here to keep it real with you. Their study tips are not for everyone, and that’s okay. Everyone learns differently. Rewriting notes in different colors might not be your thing. I had one professor in college introduce me to Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences, and encouraged me to create art in class while she lectured. She knew I had my own style of learning. Read more about Gardner here.

3) You don’t have to do everything a blogger is doing. Be you. That means embracing your uniqueness and doing what’s best for you. Pick and choose what works.

4) Stop comparing yourself to everyone on social media. Be who you are in this very moment. We’re all on a different path in life. Inspired by something or someone? That’s great, but remember learning any new skill takes time. 

5) Comparing yourself to others creates unhappiness, which can lead to stress, and can manifest itself into physical ailments.

Interested in Studyblr?
-Here’s a link to a free planner
-Tutorial on how to setup a bullet journal

Check out the Studyblr community on Tumblr and Youtube. Leave your thoughts about the Studyblr, your own personal study habits, or share a moment you fell down the social media rabbit hole.

-Sarah

Apps to…relax?

stressedTake a moment to look up from your phone while you’re waiting for the train. What do you notice? Almost every single person is on their phone focused on an app. It could be social media apps, games, or even a music playlist. Technology has helped human kind advance in countless ways, but is it possible to find balance using it? For the next few articles, I will be providing more helpful details to help you discover that thing that could aid in your journey to self-care. I conducted an informal search for the top apps on social media to see the 2016 favorites.

4) Head Space: Sign up for a free 10 day trial to experience a personal mind trainer. Head space offers personal customizations for those on the go. Users have reported reduced feelings of anxiety, learning to stay present, and proper breathing techniques. A monthly subscription costs around the same as a monthly Netflix subscription.

3) Calm- Meditate, Sleep, Relax: Available for Android & IPhone is an easy to use app that, which according to my friends, has greatly reduced their anxiety. Some of them utilizing the app when they have a break to help them remain present and cope with daily stress.

2) White Noise: One of my personal favorites. This app features an impressive sound catalog of 40 sounds. Discover comforting sounds like rain fall, crickets, crackling fires, and more. You’re able to mix your favorite sounds to create the perfect ambience, and even set a timer. Normally I steer clear from using my phone a half-and-hour before bed, but if I’m too restless, I’ll pick my favorite customized mix and fall right to sleep. You can download the free version or pay a one-time fee of 99 cents.

Honorable mentions include: Words with friends, Meditation guide with Deepak Chopra & Oprah, Spotify, and Pandora. And drum roll for our number one…!

1)Power Button: Just turn off your phone. Sometimes technology can make us more stressed! Take a moment to close your eyes, focus on your breathing, and stay present.

Use an app to relax that wasn’t mentioned in the list above? Share your favorites with us!

-Sarah

Blogging Events Effectively

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Last Tuesday, I attended the International Youth Leadership Assembly (IYLA) at the United Nations and the whole time I thought about blogging the event. However I felt I couldn’t create the post last week. Although I uploaded images on social media, I had to leave an hour early to make a meeting with charter school to be a possible affiliate for my organization. I really had to go and did not get to experience the IYLA event fully. And therefore I was stuck.

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Of course I could have just uploaded the images I took and wrote on the speakers I did see or parts I did partake in. However, I felt I would not capture it fully and effectively, being that I missed on on substantial parts. Of course I could have took it into a different direction and spoke on the IYLA organization that led the program and the message of “Moral and Innovative Leadership: Vision, Service & Entreprenuership.

Therefore (a week later), I am writing how to capture events effectively.

  1. Stay for the Duration: You should stay for the duration in order to capture everything with imagery and/or with notes.This will also give you a first hand look and ability to connect with what or whomever you need to.
  2. Bring a Friend: I know you may not be able to get two tickets or press releases but try. If its a free for all bring someone to accompany you. Two heads are better than one. While one person is taking pictures, the other is taking notes. While one person is networking the other is making announcements. While one person is bobbing for apples the other is capturing the moment. 😉
  3. Take Images: If a scene can not be found on the internet or its unique to the event, make sure you take your own image. If possible hiring a photography, lol, or just bring a friend. Its always best to have original imagery when speaking on events.
  4. Take Notes: Although you think you’ll remember, when its time to write your blog certain facts or instances will be forgotten. For example I had to try and look up the presenters at the past IYLA event and some topics before I could write the blog that didn’t get published. 🙁 Have a system on notes, try not to just write everything all over the place. Organize your notes.
  5. Have a Focus: What were the special topics that sum up the event. For example: was it about empowering or networking and what took place to show that.

Pros and Cons of Blogging

A blog is information or conversation that is published online. Having been blogging since about 2010/2011, doing my beauty/hair blogs, as well as reading the blogs of others, I noticed some great things and some wow factors. Therefore, I have comprised my first list about the pros and cons of Blogging.

PROS

  1. There is a market for everyone: What ever you think about, hope to be, or have an interest in, can be the topic of your blog. There will be several other people who will be interested in that information as well. If you google cleaning with lemons, thousands (made up figure) of blogs and individuals asking the questions will pop up.
  2. Easy to start: All you have to do is go on Wix, Blogger, WordPress, Facebook, or have your own site and start writting. There are several free and paid avenues to start from. I started with Blogger and WordPress before publishing my own site and adding a blog to it. All were free.
  3. It is a great marketing tool: If you have a product or service you wish to spread to the masses, just blog about it. You can post video, reviews, comments and more. Share it on social media, advertise on craigslist, and/or post links and ads to your blog or the blogs of others.
  4. You can make an additional income: Speaking of advertising for other blogs, you can use the your blog to get paid and advertise for other blogs, services and products. You can get paid or get free products to review products and share it on your blog. For example, I was sent a hair product to review for my beauty blog.

CONS

  1. People have freedom: With freedom comes responsibility, or one would hope. Some people post Lies, degrading things and disgusting things. Either way, because there are no limitations, they have that freedom.
  2. It can be hard knowing who or what is credible: With the freedom to post, people try their best to decieve others. They may have fake facts, fake logos to make you think its a known site, and other ways of deception. Make sure before you take ideas you do your research.
  3. Without a following you can be your only subscriber: For sometime it may seem like you are the only one reading your post. You maybe, just share it and market your blog. You can become an affiliate of another company also and get paid, which I spoke about in previous post. You will eventually get some people to comment or follow you.
  4. Self-ran: You have to put in the work on your own, unless, of course, its a team of bloggers like THE BUZZ.

For help with your blog, advertising, or more email me at amonib.biz@gmail.com


QUESTION TO THE AUDIENCE: What do you think are pros and cons of blogging. ?

Getting Paid From Your Following

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Last week I spoke about How To Go Viral on social media. This weeks blog is about using your audience/following to generate income.

When I first started my YouTube and blogger site years ago I had no idea of its potential. I carelessly vlogged about my life, which of course consisted mostly of beauty and cosmetics. I began to receive numerous messages to join campaigns, promote advertisers, and review products. For many I was hesitant but I did get free products and joined blogging social sites. years later after the buzz i had dwindled I realized I could have monetized many of my videos, or obtained money from my former post. I wish I knew what I know now, I wish I was more consistent and I wish I took it more serious regardless of my situations.

Although I wont go to in-depth, here are a few ways to make money from your online presence:

1. Advertising (ie: Google Adsense): usually getting paid per click when you post about the company. You can use links or have actual ads on your site or social media page.

2. Affiliate Marketing: Companies will pay per person that visits their site or purchase products. Some sites pay based on the amount of people that follow you.

3. Selling Your Own/Service: Most people you know will either support or share, its free publicity on your own page.

Now, I know at first it may start off as chump change but when you are persistent and consistent the possibilities can make you a millionaire, as many on YouTube.


 

QUESTIONS TO THE AUDIENCE: Are you making money online? doing what? | Will you now consider using your following to generate income?


I blog weekly EVERY MONDAY. Follow me on YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, and FaceBook / FaceBook2

Bio-Printing – An Amazing Breakthrough in Medicine and Technology

Bio-Printing

What is it?

A relatively new offshoot of 3D printing, Bio-Printing involves the use special printers, inks and paper to create living 3D replicas of human tissue. Where 3D printers print inanimate (and sometimes edible) objects using materials like plastic, metal, rubber granulated sugars, Bio-Printers use ‘Bio-Ink’ a  liquid mix made from living cells to create things like blood vessels, skin cells, noses ears, and hopefully in the near future, fully functioning livers, lungs and hearts.

The Printing Process

First an image of the tissue to be printed must be created. Using software similar to AutoCAD, a 3D blueprint of the tissue is made and fed into a printer. Ink containing biopolymer solutions are fed into a printer’s ink jet and the print job is started. Bio-Print jobs are created by continuously layering cells at varying temperatures on Bio-Paper (special paper created to keep printed cells alive).

Why is it important?

For people on the bottom of the transplant waiting list, Bio-Printing is the light at the end of an otherwise dark tunnel. Through Bio-Printing, Doctors would have an endless supply of organs to transplant without the worry of transmitting diseases, or transplanting incompatible organs. People born with missing or damaged organs or limbs could have a new one created based on Bio-Ink created from their cells. From a cosmetic point of view, with research, Bio-Printing would allow people to have their entire faces printed. Eliminating the possibility of botched surgeries and greatly reducing the risks of plastic surgery.

Ethical Issues

There are mixed opinions on the ethics of Bio-Printing. The “Complex Heterogeneous Tissue Constructs Containing Multiple Cell Types Prepared By Inkjet Printing Technology” study combined both human and animal cells to create living tissue. While the majority of the public was not (and still isn’t) aware of the human cross animal tissue, it started a heated ethical & moral debate. Some of the tissues used in Bio-Ink come from stem cells – making the use of the ink highly controversial. The Catholic Church prohibits the use of stem cells that originate from human embryos; however, this prohibition does not extend to all stem cells. A two year old born without a windpipe, had an artificial one created for her from stem cells taken from her bone marrow.

Bio-Printing has the potential to revolutionize the medical community. It can save lives that would have otherwise been forfeit, but it will eventually force people to deal with serious ethical issues. Bio-Printing has not yet reached the level of being able to create fully functioning organs, but the technology improves by leaps and bounds every day. Should a person accept a liver that will save their lives if it contains the cells of say, a pig? Should an infant be allowed to die because their only option is to be given a heart printed from embryotic stem cells? When we eventually perfect this potentially lifesaving technology, what will we do with it?

Sources

http://www.engineering.com/3DPrinting/3DPrintingArticles/ArticleID/6585/Gelatin-Bio-Ink-Could-Lead-to-3D-Printed-Organs.aspx
http://www.engineering.com/3DPrinting/3DPrintingArticles/ArticleID/4969/The-Status-of-Bio-Printing.aspx
http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-bio-ink.htm
http://pubs.rsc.org/en/content/articlelanding/2013/bm/c3bm00012e#!divAbstract
http://now.uiowa.edu/2013/02/ui-researchers-developing-3d-printer-bio-ink-create-human-organs
http://www.technewsworld.com/story/80198.html
http://www.technewsworld.com/story/80205.html?rss=1
http://www.techradar.com/us/news/computing-components/printers-and-scanners/report-says-3d-bioprinting-will-spark-debate-on-ethics-1219739
http://www.techradar.com/us/news/computing-components/printers-and-scanners/report-says-3d-bioprinting-will-spark-debate-on-ethics-1219739
http://www.3dprinterworld.com/article/chinese-researchers-invent-regenovo-bioprinter
http://www.explainingthefuture.com/bioprinting.html
http://news.msn.com/obits/2-year-old-with-windpipe-made-from-stem-cell-dies

Image Credits

http://3dprintedorgans.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/Bioprinting.jpg

New Threat on the Digital Block: The CryptoLocker Virus

CryptoLockerA few months ago, I got an annoying piece of code on my laptop known as the FBI Moneypak virus. It locked down my laptop screen and demanded a ransom for me to have it unlocked – right in the middle of midterm week. Thankfully the virus was easy to remove and I was able to boot my laptop in safe mode before running anti-virus software to remove it. Different variants of the Moneypak virus began popping up over the internet, each strain slightly different and more difficult to remove until two months ago when an infinitely more dangerous began to appear. The Moneypak virus scares victims into thinking their computer will be permanently locked, covering their screen with a digital ransom note that cannot be removed until a victim pays up. Even if you don’t pay the money, or if you remove the virus, your files are (usually) safe. CryptoLocker however is the complete opposite.

Most people are infected through spam mail. Clicking on attachments from people you don’t know, or from friends or family you weren’t expecting to get attachments from is a very easy way to get infected. You can also catch the virus from less harmful malware already installed on your computer. You can also get the virus from computers that share resources on your network. The virus spreads similarly to the Autoplay malware that made its way around campus last semester, it you share network drives, USBs drives or email and receive attachments often, you are also liable to get infected.

This virus is a nasty one, there’s no other way to put it. Very rarely do victims of this virus know when they’ve been infected.  Once it gets onto a computer, it targets files with the following extensions:

*.odt, *.ods, *.odp, *.odm, *.odc, *.odb, *.doc, *.docx, *.docm, *.wps, *.xls, *.xlsx, *.xlsm, *.xlsb, *.xlk, *.ppt, *.pptx, *.pptm, *.mdb, *.accdb, *.pst, *.dwg, *.dxf, *.dxg, *.wpd, *.rtf, *.wb2, *.mdf, *.dbf, *.psd, *.pdd, *.pdf, *.eps, *.ai, *.indd, *.cdr, *.jpg, *.jpe, *.jpg, *.dng, *.3fr, *.arw, *.srf, *.sr2, *.bay, *.crw, *.cr2, *.dcr, *.kdc, *.erf, *.mef, *.mrw, *.nef, *.nrw, *.orf, *.raf, *.raw, *.rwl, *.rw2, *.r3d, *.ptx, *.pef, *.srw, *.x3f, *.der, *.cer, *.crt, *.pem, *.pfx, *.p12, *.p7b, *.p7c.

The virus then proceeds to encrypt them with RSA (Rivest Shamir Adleman) and AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) encryptions.  Any and everything attached to your computer will be infected. Cloud storage won’t necessarily save your files – people who installed have Dropbox on their computers will have the files in their account encrypted. Attached USB or disk storage will also be encrypted. Any new files you create with the above file extensions will also be encrypted, effectively rendering your computer files useless.

Once CryptoLocker has successfully infected all the files on a target PC, it displays a warning message, giving victims 72 hours to pay around $300 or their files permanently encrypted. They aren’t bluffing. There are numerous reports of people and businesses loosing important files because they didn’t pay the ransom. It’s much worse for people who attempt to (or even accidentally) remove the virus from their computers.The ransom can increase anywhere between 3 and 10 times the initial value of $300. Only an infected computer can access the website to pay the ransom to unencrypt their files, but for the people who’ve accidentally uninstalled the virus, don’t worry.The creators of the virus realized that they were missing out on income and so, provide victims with a link to reinfect their computers so that they can pay up.

There’s a serious debate over whether or not people should pay money to retrieve their files. The argument against paying is that giving up the money encourages the hackers to target more people and continue to update the virus to earn more money. Who wouldn’t – the creators of CryptoLocker are said to have earned upwards of $5 Million in on year. For people who risk losing irreplaceable family photos, financial documents and client files worth thousands of dollars each though, there’s no other option than to pay the money.

Open attachments at your own risk.

 

Sources:

  • http://krebsonsecurity.com/2013/11/cryptolocker-crew-ratchets-up-the-ransom/
  • http://arstechnica.com/security/2013/10/youre-infected-if-you-want-to-see-your-data-again-pay-us-300-in-bitcoins/
  • http://krebsonsecurity.com/2013/11/how-to-avoid-cryptolocker-ransomware/
  • http://blog.malwarebytes.org/intelligence/2013/10/cryptolocker-ransomware-what-you-need-to-know/
  • http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/virus-removal/cryptolocker-ransomware-information
  • http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/cryptolocker-is-the-nastiest-malware-ever-heres-what-you-can-do/

 

A Slice of Raspberry Pi

Raspberry Pi - single board computer

Raspberry Pi – single board computer

Not a dessert, or a bad math pun, Raspberry Pi is one of many the many single board computers available on the market today. The device was created by the Raspberry Pi Foundation – a UK based charity founded in 2009 and dedicated to promoting the study of basic computer programming in children. Their ideal is to start from the bottom up. If children are given tools to learn to program early on, they spend less time learning basic programming techniques in college and can move on to acquiring skills that will help them efficiently work in the computer industry. To all the CST majors, think of how much easier Java or C++ would be to pick up if you’d at least touched on the subject in grade school.

That’s not to say the Raspberry Pi is limited to just kiddie stuff. While it was developed to work with Scratch, an educational programming language, the Pi is capable of running operating systems including Debian, Arch Linux, and a custom made OS optimized for use with the Raspberry Pi known as ‘Raspbian’. Various programming tools are available from the ‘Pi Store’ with everything from apps and games to development tool. Programmers who can write in Python, C and Perl will feel right at home here.

Despite being the size of a credit card, the Raspberry Pi boasts some decent specs.

Model A Model B
CPU 700 MHz ARM1176JZF-S
GPU 250 MHz Broadcom VideoCore IV
Memory 256 MB 512 MB
USB 2.0 Ports 1 2
Video Input CSI input connector
Video Output Composite RCA, HDMI, DSI
Audio Output 3.5 mm jack, HDMI
Onboard Storage SD / MMC / SDIO
Onboard Network None 10/100 Ethernet adapter
Power Rating 300mA (1.5 W) 700 mA(3.5 W)
Power Source 5 volt (via MicroUSB or GPIO header)
Operating Systems Arch Linux ARM, Debian, Fedora, FreeBSD, NetBSD, Plan 9, Raspbian OS, RISC OS, Slackware Linux, Firefox OS, Android 4.0, Haiku, Unix

* Both cards are 3.4 x 2.2 inches and weigh 1.6 oz.

Raspberry Pi also has a wide range of uses. One such use was creating a homemade, networked, motion sensitive, HD surveillance system. British native Christoph Buenger used a model B Raspberry Pi, a Raspberry Pi camera module, a housing for the camera, a power supply, an SD card and a Wi-Fi USB adapter (around $100 worth of equipment) to create a system just as capable as one that would cost thousands of dollars. The instructions are available here, and video recordings can be stored to a folder on a computer or viewed as a live stream online via computer or mobile device.

Another person made a Halloween project using a variety of items including a model B Pi, cheap rat toys, red LEDs lights, servo controllers, power regulators and solderless breadboards. Known as the ‘Ratsberri Pi’, the project (with instructions that can be found here ) makes creates creepy glowing eyed rodents that move according to programming.

All in all the Raspberry Pi is a gadget with potential limited only by a person’s imagination. We’re a technology college with plenty of students and faculty capable of coming up with some awesome projects. I’m making one of these an early Christmas present for myself, but what can you guys come up with? Let’s see some projects!

Sources

 

Image Source