Thursday, December 22, 2011

Media Consumption: Clean, Simple Designs & New Technology

There are several different ways one can consume media today. Our television watching experience has become more diversified. However, one of my favorite experiences is watching movies at a drive-in. For an entire list of drive-in theaters in the United States you can check out a great site called Drive-ins and Drive-in Movies. 

Technology is expanding and shrinking at once. The more advanced the technology, the smaller in size it becomes. The best example is the smart phone.  

Now, this all relates to how we consume media because we seem to find it fascinating to watch and read everything on a screen that is the size of a tablet or smart phone. The fact that high technology has shrunk shows the need for lighter and less cumbersome designs. This is why I feel certain products have done better than others.

Simple, easy to use and user friendly designs seem to have an easier ability to sell itself than more complex designs where the product comes with a training manual that makes “War and Peace” look like a quick read, a short entertainment novel you take with you to the beach. All products seem to follow this common thread of what users want. Take the car industry where Toyota’s are one of the most popular vehicles not just because of their reliability, but because of the Toyota design. The Chicago Tribune wrote a recent article relating to Toyota's Camry 2012 design. In the article you can find words like: "edgier," "minimal," and that, "Toyota's designers got it right when they added covers to the Camry's multiple storage compartments, making it easy for the car's interior to look clean and clutter-free." The designs of most Toyota’s are simple, modern, and clean; I own a Prius and it is the one thing that I enjoy about it. To start the car, you push a button. To get to a place, you use the navigator and it takes you anywhere you need. If you are being robbed or attacked, you can push a panic button on the roof of the car and it calls the cops for you. The car let’s the cops know where you are located. I know because I accidentally pushed the button once and two cop cars showed up within minutes.

Most blue-ray players now come with Netflix, Hulu Plus and other video viewing applications which allows you to hook up your blue ray player, sign in to your Hulu plus account, Netflix, Blockbuster online, YouTube, and others. We can also go to our apple store on our iPhone’s or other smart phones, buy or download a free video application widget. In yesterday's CNN online "technology" article The 10 biggest stories of 2011 in mobile tech stated it best:  

This year's U.S. debut of Spotify -- along with new and updated mobile streaming music and video services from Facebook, Amazon, Google, Apple, Netflix, Hulu and video chat/calling services like Google Plus hangouts -- are helping to fuel the demand for streaming mobile media. And behind the scenes,  technology from companies like MobiTV are helping streaming video consumers seamlessly shift their viewing experience from one device to another.

The iPhone's still do not play flash movies. When I tried accessing a video from my Amazon video library, it wouldn’t play on my iPhone because it doesn’t run flash. I tried buying or putting flash capabilities on my iPhone but it still wouldn’t play. Other than this minor annoyance, our society today has evolved into numerous methods of television and film consumption. However, I think that like some of the new blue-ray players, easy access and simple designs is what most consumers are looking for today. 

Though, just as technology has evolved so has our theater watching experience. I love drive-in theaters during the summer months and for the grueling cold winters, treating yourself to an IMAX film will not be something you regret. 

My most recent IMAX experience was "Mission Impossible Ghost Protocol," worth the $36 for 2 adults. Yes, this is expensive, but do not prejudge the "weirdo scientologist" because Tom Cruise does not disappoint in this film. From beginning until the end, the flow of the action and the film left me on the edge of my seat. 

The way we watch film, television shows today varies. We have much more ways to consume media today than we did 10 years ago or even 5 years ago. Pick your devise, venue, technology tool, it makes no difference because the theater experience is up to the audience. As long as we're viewing a captivating film, television show, web series then the tool is only a small fraction. Though I must admit, the tools are clean and simple designs.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Netflix Streaming: Some Positives

Netflix has caused quite a stir, angering its customers when it separated the cost of its streaming and DVD rental cost on customers, raising their prices. Back in July a Forbes, magazine article complained “Only a company that is overvalued would think that it has the right to increase our monthly fee by 60%.” Recently, more unsatisfied customers complained about a new Netflix application for the X-Box 360 upgrade and the “removal of the Netflix party feature” one web news site After Dawn states.

However, not taking sides, I want to point out that it is not just Netflix raising their prices. It seems that most things are simply more expensive. My husband and I took a short trip to the grocery store today and we got a few things. Well, the few things ended up being nearly $100.  On the drive, back home we reminisced when just a few years ago $100 worth of groceries took you much farther than it does today. Everything is much more expensive today and unfortunately there is not enough jobs or raises to compensate for the higher cost of living. We can turn to Occupy Wall Street to get that many of us are more than frustrated.

Therefore, when companies such as Netflix raised their prices on their customers, it caused a fury. Many of my friends dropped membership even and decided that they could no longer afford what Netflix had to offer. If one looks at the movie collection on Netflix streaming, especially under “New Arrivals,” what Netflix considers “new” is not what it used to mean years ago. Going back about 10 years ago when Blockbuster was not going out of business, whenever Blockbusters or Netflix said “New Arrivals” they meant it. These new movies were the films you missed in the theater because you were either: a) not interested, b) broke when the movie came out in theaters OR c) too busy and didn’t have any free time to catch the flick in theaters, as much as you wanted to, meant to…you missed it.

In a latest Washington Post article, “Netflix increases 3Q spending to woo lawmakers as subscribers rebel against price increase” expressed that although people enjoy the convenience of watching on-demand videos and streaming content, that Netflix has to offer. They do not enjoy the new wave of media consumption at the additional price spike. The article stated “Netflix Inc. spent more money currying favor with U.S. lawmakers and regulators in the third quarter while the video subscription service’s customers rebelled against a price increase.”

I happen to be a Netflix subscriber that has recently joined. Perhaps for long-term subscribers, the prices and membership plan changes feels like a betrayal. If Netflix would have decided to not raise or change plans for older members and only begin changing plans with new members, maybe Netflix would not have to spend so much time, energy, and money battling with law makers. For me, I do not have an issue paying the $7.99 that costs me for unlimited streaming per month. I do not want to wait for DVDs to arrive in the mail. I have developed a method of watching movies, tv shows, as convenient and low cost to me as possible. Netflix, I will admit does not have all the new movies. Their streaming film library is pretty limiting. If you are looking to watch the latest new release to have gone to DVD, you may not find it on Netflix streaming. If you are looking to watch films that are recently new, you missed it in the theater and it has been a while since it has gone to DVD- it may be on Netflix.

Netflix streaming is good for those that want to catch up on television shows and documentaries. Honestly, Netflix streaming actually has a real good television show selection and one of the largest online streaming selection of documentaries I have seen in a while. If you are in to foreign films, you could find some new and unique films on Netflix. There are some surprisingly interesting independent films available, as well as a large horror selection if you are a horror-junky.

Hey listen, I know money is tight. No one wants prices to go up, but who is not raising prices? Doesn’t it come with the territory of a bad economy? Everything is more expensive today. Netflix is one of many businesses raising prices. It is happening everywhere. Netflix is just happening to take more of a beating than other businesses doing the exact same thing.

Honestly, if I want to watch newer movies that Netflix doesn’t have- it is actually on Redbox. For a little over a buck, I can get a new movie that I won’t be able to see on Netflix streaming. Then, to catch up on television shows and my thirst for documentary films, I go to Netflix streaming, I like the fact that for $7.99 a month I can watch: 100 episodes of How I Met Your Mother, at least the first 2 seasons of Vampire Diaries, most if not, all the episodes of older series such as South Park, classics like The Wonder Years, and one of the most addicting shows on FX, my number one favorite show, Son’s of Anarchy.  For the newest thing to hit the theater, I go to the theater.

What’s the big deal? My personal opinion, I see no reason to complain about Netflix. Yes, I would like a larger film selection of new releases and I hope they keep their library of tv shows expanding. My only request to Netflix, if they are reading this blog- it would really be awesome if they could put all of Dexter’s series on Netflix streaming. I know this probably will never happen, but maybe Santa will bring me a full collection of Dexter for Christmas.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

New Reality Show Trends: Non-Realistic Reality?

I am convinced that the next new wave of Reality TV Shows are tending to go towards the absurd. But, again I am very guilty of watching them because Reality TV tends to hook their audience. The more absurd, the more one is glued to the television screen. Reality Television is often not as real as it would appear. I think people are catching on more and more.

TLC has "Sister Wives" which I watch because I think it is so insane. It is about a Mormon dude that has not 1, not 2, not 3...but 4 wives. For anyone watching the show, the average person is not a polygomous. In my husband's words "In this economy, who the heck can afford 1 wife let alone 4!" Sister wives, seems to reflect the unusual life of one guy who has four wives that live in Las Vegas and each of them have their own house. He is currently unemployed I think or looking for work. I am not exactly sure who is paying for 4 separate house holds? Would they be making enough money from TLC? The Gosslins made money from TLC, I suppose being filmed isn't such a bad gig. Don't get me wrong, I love reality shows. I watch them and would love to even work for TLC or Bravo or Discovery. I am addicted to reality shows. But, I can't help but feel like the title should be changed to "Not Typical Reality" or "Not the Norm Reality" or "Non-Realistic Reality."

Maybe the more unusual and absurd the more we want to watch? Take "Extreme Couponing" for example. This show is by far the most non-realistic reality show on today. It gives us false expectations that we can go out and get all this food for free using coupons. I do not know where all these people get stacks and stacks of coupons and then spend up to $500 worth of groceries and get it usually for $30 or even for free. Most of them, if you have ever watched the show- tend to buy stuff for bulk but stuff that is usually bad for you. Stuff like 3 dozen boxes of twinkies and 4 pounds of candy and 20 cans of processed food. Either way, I tried going on line and printing out coupons and looking for them. There is no way on earth a person can realistically gather that many coupons without some sort of help. Maybe help from the  network filming them? Who knows, but either way I do not see how any real person can actually go out there and get 500, 600, $700 worth of groceries for free using coupons. Some people on the show have actually broken the register because of all their coupons being scanned. I don't know, call me skeptical, but that is one show I am not sure about and would fall under my "Non-Realistic" category of reality shows.

My last "Non-Realistic" reality show is "Hoarders." The show can make you want to clean your house. Yes, I also watch the show and like it. But, I also think that it is not the norm. Most people fall into something in between. The people that are on the show fall under the extremes. Some of us have clutter in our home, a bit of a mess but not to such extremes as seen on this show. Again, "Non-Realistic" reality shows. I can name more, but I won't. In my opinion, reality shows are going to get much more extreme in nature.

CONCLUSION: We will continue to exploite the extremes, the weird, and the absurd. Why? Because it sells and because it makes those that are watching feel less screwed up or perhaps normal people are boring to watch.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Vampire Obsession in Film and TV

There is an obsession with the supernatural world in story telling as of late. Recently, it seems that most of the popular block buster hits has come from comic books or the paranormal world. The fascination with vampires has especially sky rocketed. The fight between good and evil is an old tale. It seems that there are very few stories that have not been done before. But, recently there is something that is compelling people to escape in the fantasy of romanticizing what traditionally has been the picture of evil.

Evil has a face for most of us, a face from a myth that has had a great American tradition. Vampires were a bit more wicked, but has recently softened in character. They have since, morphed in to visual versions of historical romance novels, which is where it all began. Since, historical romance novels has branched out into sub-genres: supernatural and paranormal romance novels.  I am guilty for reading all sorts of books from romance novels to Kurt Vonnegut. I have a range because like television or film, I like to think of it like a buffet. I like to taste a little of everything, because I think it helps one to be well rounded.

Vampire movies are not what they used to be. They satisfy our craving to understand the dark side within us. In my opinion the romanticized version of vampire movies today is catching the attention of so many young adults and hell, people of all ages. It has morphed in to more than a trend, but a huge cult like wave, a following that is unbelievable. The fight that vampires must battle inside themselves to choose between killing to live and living an eternity finding ways to be good despite their nature to do what is considered "evil." This internal struggle is something most people can identify with. Also, comic book heroes and vampires can get away with doing things that we can't ordinarily do. Again, we as the audience are sucked into escaping within the vortex of the supernatural world. Why? Because the impossible is possible and because the rules of the universe change.

Although, the vampires today are not what they used to be when they first appeared in films. Humans have always been intrigued by the concept of eternal life. But, this modern day 21st century vampire has definitely filled our ordinary and dull lives with a new fantastical and romantic dance between love, lust, and yes... blood.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Flawed Health Care: Lack of PCPs & New Online Medical Database

The most frustrating thing about health care today is that even if you do have health care, there is not enough Primary Care Physicians. When I moved to Upstate, New York getting a Primary Care Physician was next to impossible not to mention a specialist. I am not sure how health care is for other insurance holders, that is if you are lucky enough to be covered under an insurance at all. But, even if you do have insurance there is a wait list for everything. One deals with either being put on a 6 month wait list or being denied because the Physician is no longer taking new patients.

If you have a diagnosis and you need medication, one has to resort to waiting in the emergency room for hours and hours just to get a prescription refill. Recently, I had to do the whole "emergency room bit" just to get a prescription refill. Because some doctors have policies, they require a PCP to sign off on a referral in order to be seen. But, with a 6-month wait list for a Primary Care Physician, by the time one actually gets around to seeing the specialist that they need to see, it's practically a year later! Tri-Care which is the insurance for military people and their family tends to be a nightmarish situation of having supposedly great health care benefits, those of which some civilians envy. But, what most people do not realize is that the chances of being seen by a doctor in areas where there is a shortage of Primary Care Physicians is next to impossible. Who can wait 6 or even 9 months for medication that one is prescribed and one needs to take every day?!?! There has got to be a better solution for this.

My last ER visit (to just get simple prescription medication I must take daily in addition to a simple referral to finally get seen) was quite strange. I was put in a data base with my consent of course, in order to have my medical records accessible anywhere, in any city and in any hospital nation wide. One might question the ethics behind medical records being this accessible and how easy computer systems and data bases can be hacked in to. But, if you are someone such as myself that travels frequently and needs their medical records available readily, it feels like a new sense of freedom. Strange, how sharing more of your information- especially one such as medical records is becoming more and more the standard. For those of us that have disabilities and or need to take medication on a regular basis. To function in a learning environment or a work environment, medical records need to be accessible in order to provide proof. Having updated online medical record data bases can definitely feel like an invasion of privacy. But for someone that needs medical treatment on a regular basis and a hospital nearby, it is an equally necessary tool in today's world where we need information quickly and accessibly.

Soon, we may even restore the "VeriChip" which was discontinued in 2010. It was also called "VeriMed." It was made up of a 16 digit number and transmitted as it was scanned. 80 hospitals and 232 doctor's agreed to this having medical records accessible via an imbedded micro-chip. And although it was discontinued in 2010, it may come back new and improved. Who knows? As of now, I am awaiting my own medical records to be mailed old-school from Colorado where I once lived. Having a copy of our medical records are always an important thing to have. But soon, my medical records will be updated over the web and available anywhere, nationwide. This is both good and bad depending upon whom utilizes such a powerful tool. And soon, people like me will not have to wait a week or more for medical records to be mailed to us. It will all be available via the internet, as it already is I am sure.


Microchip implant (human)

Good Related Articles: 

Ethical Issues of Medical Records on the Internet

The Future of primary care in an ACO model

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Learn To Listen: Embracing Conversation in the Digital Age

Look around and observe your surroundings, be interested in what other people have to say. Often when we are trying to find our way in this world, carve out a path for our lives we spend more time assuming than actually fully recognizing a message in its entirety. Observation is the key to growing as an individual because it causes us to become aware of what is going on around us. Observation forces us to take notice of national and international affairs, awakening our senses to other people's reality even if it is for one brief moment. You'll be amazed at how much you grow when you stop to try and gain perspective from expanding your ability to empathize with people you don't know.

When we are consumed with our own world or even our own thoughts, we do a disservice to the real lesson's people teach us. That is why it is always better to learn how to be a stronger listener and not just be an active listener, but one that is sincere. Being honest in your work; being an honest writer and filmmaker is that sensitive balance that comes from healthy objectivity and regulating your emotions. It is surprising how easy it is to get offended. It is surprising how easy it is to misunderstand one another. We live in a society full of "entitlement" thinking and egos that get in the way of healthy bi-partisanship.

The more the wave of technology brings new media and new changes, it is still just as important to know the power behind them. We must not allow technology to numb our sensibilities and cause us to forget how to simply be genuine and have a sincere conversation with another human being. No texting. No IMing. No phone calls. Take a moment out of your busy day, when you are talking to someone- learn to be a better listener. When you are having a good conversation or when someone is speaking and really teaching you something, embrace the lesson with both ears and a sincere hunger to want to understand their perspective even if you may not agree.

If you happen to have a good conversation with someone, count yourself lucky. The basis to any story,  good writing or film begins with experiences. Embrace the inspiration that is around you and experience a good old fashion face-to-face.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

"Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don't lose faith." Steve Jobs

Time is short. People have less and less time to read their e-mails let alone the news or a blog. So, I will keep this short and simple. Success hinges on keeping our lives simple. It goes beyond who we are, our connections, our age, our gender, our race, and our environment. If we need to find an answer, it is usually within ourselves. We have the ability to understand what it is we have to do, sometimes we are blessed with people to help guide us there. We are blessed to have been inspired by people like Steve Jobs who left this world a better place, a more advanced world that was not so without him. He conquered his fears with his actions.

He made no excuses, he just executed his vision and he powered through his fears with constant invention. He did this having tasted failure, having tasted defeat but he never let it get to him.  A successful man like Jobs managed his life simply. Everything in our lives are connected and our ability to manage our time is the key. If we can manage our time, we can manage our tasks and if we manage our tasks we can cross them out as we complete them. If we manage our tasks we can get to our goals and if we get to our goals we become closer to succeeding. Do you see how things connect? How simple it can be if one thing is thrown off, how our entire day can be? So, do not let this happen. Seize control of your life by the tiniest steps. It is amazing how the simple tweaks in the way we do things can make a huge difference. Going to bed a half an hour early. Saying yes to new opportunities you would normally say no to. Not complaining instead of opening your mouth and muttering your usual grumble. Being thankful instead of taking the things you do have for granted. Counting your blessings especially when you feel you have hit rock-bottom. Knowing that it can always be worse. Knowing when you are spread too thin. Knowing when to let things role off your back. Knowing when to not take things personal. Stopping yourself first before you speak, letting others talk and being more interested in what they have to say.

Simple. It is all very simple.

There are simple ways to become brilliant. Sometimes brilliance begins with the most simple steps, the ones that people forget. To create, to achieve, to succeed we must master the smallest of things before we can tackle the larger tasks. I say this to myself as much as I say this to others that we can get a lot done in our lives by examining the tiniest things. Here are the things that I feel the "Steve Jobs" of this world did well and excelled.

1. Be unafraid to follow your intuition and trust your instincts. 

2. Never compare yourself to another person ever. Every circumstance is different. Every person is different.

3. Use your time wisely. Be on time and manage it. This means managing your time even when you suddenly find yourself with extra time or knowing how to turn around a negative situation such as when Steve Jobs got fired from Apple. Knowing how to use your extra time when an unfortunate event occurs.

4. Use your imagination, do not be afraid of exploring new ideas, you never know what your idea can develop into, so do not doubt yourself or your ability.

5. Never take your life and your health for granted and especially the people in your life that love you.

6. Do not hide behind your environment, your past, your childhood, your disabilities, your shortcomings, we all have something we wished we could change.

7. Have confidence that you have a purpose and a reason. It is your job to find the reason why you are here and your purpose.

8. Take care of yourself because if you are run ragged, you will soon burn out and being burnt out is unproductive.

9. Do not get discouraged by set backs, rejections, or failures. Everything happens for a reason. Set backs make you stronger and is a new reason to invent something new.

10. Love what you do.

And if you have not listened to this speech Steve Jobs did at Stanford in 2005, you should take the time to listen.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

SEPTEMBER 11th- A DECADE LATER: time does not erase tragedy

Photography by Jimmy Sadler

We all are facing our own battles. Daily, we deal with the reality of a 9.5 - 9.7 national unemployment rate, a national debt crisis that causes to question the government spending, our military influence globally. When bringing up the the national debt one cannot bring up the debt crisis without questions of our presence in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Reading several different sites from various sources streaming over the internet from reputable entertainment sources to news- I have surprisingly read some people reacting in a hostil fashion towards 9/11 rememberance. Some people feel that it was 10 years ago and to just "leave it alone already" and that "the economy is the important thing to be thinking about today."

Photography by Jimmy Sadler

And while, yes the economy and our own personal lives is wrought with our own personal tensions and stress. When I read negative comments from some people actually getting annoyed with any sort of tribute towards 9/11- I tried to stay objective and yet I was floored. 10 years ago the attack on our soils changed the course of history, destroyed lives, and caused so much suffering. It was a moment in history most of us will never forget.

Personal family photos of my husband & his father
It is a moment that made people like my husband feel the need to serve his country with his life. He was about to start making plans for Graduate school when the event changed his life forever and many others as well. The picture here is a young boy (my husband) standing with his father proudly posing before the twin towers, a moment in time that burned a deep desire in him to sacrifice his plans to go to Graduate school and live the comfortable, typical civilian life.

Since, he has deployed 27 months both to Iraq and Afghanistan in some of the worst places. He will be going again on a 3rd deployment to Afghanistan in the near future. Since, we have buried many, many friends- too many soldiers and all have sacrificed their lives for this great nation.

When we bring up 9/11 we cannot bring it up without remembering all of what has happened within the last 10 years, including the wars. Many, many people may not agree with the causes or reasons for being in Iraq or Afghanistan.  Frankly, there have been too much division, disputes, and disagreements over this. I would rather not make this about a political debate over the wars.

Nonetheless, I  will honestly say one thing about it and write what I do know based upon my very real and extremely personal experience. What I do know from having lived through 27 months of worrying whether or not my husband was coming home alive or not-  is that those that have family, husbands, and fathers that have deployed to war and have gone and fought- our feedback should carry more weight over the war debate than those that have never understood the sacrifices. Those that have never gone to any of the funerals or do not know what it is like to worry or wait for a husband who is deployed to war. Those that have not lived in our shoes should not try to speak for us or attempt to banter on and on about anti-war this or pro-war that in an extremely politically divisive (right or left) way.  Most of these opinions, as I have come to find, usually come from those that assume to know or think they know. Just because one is highly educated does not make them war strategists, economists or genuine experts in the field. They especially cannot speak for the sacrifices that our military makes if they do not have the first clue as to just how much we really sacrifice.

But, rather than divided, in a very bi-partisan way 10 years ago what started as a tragedy turned in to a moment of unity. It was a moment where everyone came together. Those that did not believe in God- prayed for the first time. Those that did not understand what real loss was- felt it for the first time and it was so heavy that no one could escape it. It was so deep in our hearts, the grief touched all of us. For those that feel annoyed by remembering 9/11 or feel that it is exploitive and may cause those that have lost loved ones on this national tragedy to have to "re-live" that moment.

Photography by Jimmy Sadler

For those that feel that we have bigger problems to worry about like the economy and to just "get over it." To me, remembering soldiers that died for this country, fire fighters, police officers, and the victims of 9/11 is not exploitive- but our duty as citizens of this great country. It is our duty to remember them and to never forget. It is selfish of us to say " oh, get over it." I hope we never really get over it. There is no such thing as placing a number or a time table to a tragedy. There is no such thing as saying that if "X amount of time or years have gone by, then we should move on and forget it." Lives are forever changed. There are friends and family and children and people we are never going to be able to bring back. Ever. 

Like the holocaust and slavery and moments like the tragedy that happened 10 years ago that marked history, they are moments that cannot be blown off with a number. That is not to say that we do not continue to become stronger and learn from our past as a country and fortify our international and national security. However, there are some things in life that no matter how many years and decades go by, the grief remains just as real as the very day that all of it happened. Today is a moment to selflessly put others in our thoughts above our selves. We have plenty of hours in the day to think about ourselves. Today, let us reflect on all of the sacrifices and the lives lost on this very day that felt more like yesterday and not a decade.

Photography by Jimmy Sadler

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

iPhone Photo Apps: Dummy-Friendly Apps, the next new media wave?

The invention of new applications for the smart phones has become more and more simple, yet these applications can do so much now. I am blown away by the amount of things we can do. I am especially impressed with the photo applications capability on the iPhone. Although, the iPhone's picture quality initially is not that good. The applications that you can add to your phone (free-$2.99 average, can be more) does so much, it simplifies what even Photoshop and those that are advanced Photoshop users can do.

There are some applications that are worthy to use and ones that I love, but they are not compatible or able to be shared easily. One of the most popular ones today and one of my personal favorite applications because it merges social media with photo sharing is Instagram. Instagram allows you to follow people like you would on twitter. They can like your comments the way that you can on Facebook and all of it is centered around sharing events or your lives with one another by way of photos. It is a brilliant and simply designed application. It is easy to use, easy to obtain viral friends and followers and is becoming the next social media trend in my book. My prediction is that social media is going to become more and more photo and video sharing related. The only thing about instagram that you can not do is share a slideshow of photos. They may have already come out with a new version, but the last I checked- you can only share one photo at a time.

On the other hand, there are other applications that will allow you to create slideshows and all from your phone. Take Mediastory- the photo slide presentations application for the smart phones: primarily targeting the Droid and iPhone. I used it to make a slide presentation- put it on Facebook and could not download it to my personal computer or e-mail it. The only way that I could share it was through Facebook. I had to recreate it in a program called PhotoSnack in order to show you here, what I was able to recreate using Mediastory on my iPhone. The downside to Mediastory, yes, it is a great application and a quick way to make slideshows of your photos on your smart phone. But, it doesn't allow you to share the slide show with anyone other than Facebook.
You can't e-mail your slide show picture presentation to your friends or family. You can't twitter it and you can't embed it because it doesn't give you the code to do so.

Whereas, PhotoSnack, although a web based only tool, does allow you to embed your slide show to your personal blog or websites as seen below. It also allows you to share it with a variety of social networks with a simple click of a widget/button they provide. I foresee them eventually turning their operation into mobile applications that will allow users to sign in to their account on their smart phone, create a slide show and save it. Then, the slide show can be accessed on your home computer as well as be twittered, e-mailed, or posted via Facebook. I am imaging that they will eventually cave in to creating a smart phone friendly version of their web based photo slide tool. As of right now, I have researched and found no smart phone version yet.

There is another favorite of mine called Befunky which has got to be the coolest photo application. It is simple to use and makes any photo no matter how awful the original- it makes it look a million times better after the effects.



There is Photo lab and many, many more. Here is a good article written about the many photo applications available on your iPhone "100 Fantastic Photography Apps for iPhone"

As you can see, there are so many things that you can do with the iPhone now. This blog would be way too long if I went in to all of the applications that could possibly be placed on the iPhone. But, those that own iPhone's and Smart phones know the capability of the new wave of media using the smart phones as a platform of use. Most people are using their phones now to do more as tweets, facebook messages, and e-mail replies are all yesterday's news when it comes to using the smart phone as a media platform. The iPhone and most smart phones can do so much more now, as it practically thinks for us. From navigation, tip calculator, Skype, various types of instant messaging, photo manipulation capabilities. Why, there is even an application on "How to Tie a Tie" and apparently it works really well from my sources that have used it. 

If you are not careful, you can spend a lot of money and time in the Apple store application on your phone surfing through all of the different applications to place on your iPhone. All in all, my prediction is that these applications are going to become more and more user-friendly and yet have the capability to do high quality, professional level work with no need for the user to have formal training and all this will be achieved with a few simple clicks. 

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Media Rumors and Misinterpretations

The funny thing about media is that rumor's can spread fast by just a few lines that you write. For the most part we have to censor what we say now or it can be taken out of context. Even if we do not censor what we write, in the real world people can still take a few things that we have said and spread the words around. Have you ever heard of the telephone game?

When I was a child we would play the telephone game. The game was relatively easy, you take a group people, lined them up and take a phrase. You whisper that phrase in to some ones ear and then that person whispered the phrase in to the next person's ear. By the time the message hits the very last person,  it is an entirely new message. Media is the same exact way and this is the reason why it causes so much havoc in lives.

You may think that you set your privacy setting on your blog or Facebook, you write something only meant for your very close family to see and then suddenly in the wrong hands this message spreads. Once a rumor goes viral, forget it. There is no turning back. For the record and clarification- I have a sister Ipuna Estavillo Black who responded to one of my posts. She is a Professor in Las Vegas, Nevada. She teaches nursing and is currently a PHD nursing student. I said to her "Ipuna, thank you as a PHD student and a Professor I value your opinion." When read by others, this sounded like I was saying that I was a PHD student and a Professor, thus lying about myself. I was not speaking about myself. I was referring to my sister. There was confusion with phrasing from people that were reading and interpreting what I wrote wrong. Again, the telephone game- it is now viral.

People can think we are lying about ourselves when we are really being misunderstood and the interpretation of the media is incorrect. All it takes is one person to take what we write, say or do and spread it to other people and suddenly one word turns in to a totally different and twisted lie.

We can say- "I have got the best car in the world!" We can say this in an excited way, not meaning anything by it but simply delivering it with sheer enthusiasm. Then suddenly, the entire thing is taken out of context and spread around. All the sudden we are arrogant, stuck-up, and we think we have the best car in the world and we are materialistic. However, what we might have intended was to say the phrase more "tongue and cheek."

That is how easy misinterpretations can form. That is how easy media can be misunderstood, taken out of context, and spread viral for all to skew. You can have the best intentions, but if your audience interprets the media and film completely wrong then the end result is the only thing that matters to them and nothing else. Media can cause biases, allowing the audience to skew one way or another.  In the same way, when a film is evaluated and interpreted by a critic that gives it a negative review. The audience reading the review will automatically have a negative bias of the film before even watching it or they may choose to not watch it at all. There is no right answer as to how to fix misinterpretations, misunderstandings, and prejudices based upon skewed media interpretations and readings. However, a thorough analysis of the media or speech prior to launching it out in to the viral world for all to see or read is necessary above all else. Without careful consideration of the words we are choosing to write or the message we are choosing to send to our audience, we might send an entirely different message to our audience- one that we regret and have a difficult time retracting once it is out in viral space. 

But, one thing that is important to keep in mind just because some people in your world does not like something you've written or directed does not mean that a different audience might not respond differently. My short film that I recently directed over the summer for example, may not have won the hearts of its original audience when first shown, but it certainly won the heart of Comcast which will now be airing my short films in two different cities in Virginia. In my book, as long as I have impressed the connections that matter and those that will not only like my filmmaking, but air it on television. Then my goal is accomplished and everyone else that never cared for my film does not need to. We agree to disagree and part ways with the freedom to have our own taste of what is aesthetically "good" according to our own personal definition.

Media rumors, biases, judgmental critics and negative media interpretations based on either poorly interpreted information or the "telephone game" can be toxic to the actual message that is trying to be presented. In the wrong hands, a message can take on an entirely new meaning at the end of the day and that's how rumors are spread and falsehoods are created. 

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Doodle Riggers- Inspired By Kurt Vonnegut

This was for assignment with my writing professor in Undergrad. It was a screenwriting course, however he began with delving into short form prose writing. Here in this assignment we had to mimic the voice of one of our favorite authors. This I found to be a fun exercise. Here's another piece I wrote inspired by Kurt Vonnegut one of my all time favorite authors. I have read nearly all of his books. I wish I could say I have read all of them- but haven't. Nonetheless, Vonnegut fans will quickly catch on to his style I mimic here. I wrote this a few years ago around 2004 or so. Depending upon what I am writing, I have learned to adjust the narrative voice. I thought to add these to give readers a chance to see how one can alternate narrative voice and flex it until you find your own unique voice that fits with you. The novel I completed "Scars of Valor" (338 pages) just last year was inspired by my real life experiences regarding my husband's deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan- 27 months to some of the worst areas of both Iraq and Afghanistan. The book will still need to be revised again and I am currently adding to it. But, the book has a different voice from the one I use in my blog posts. You have to be flexible and know what voice to use and when. I am not an expert and still learning however, but this is just based upon my own experience.

I had also mentioned in my earlier blogs that I have gotten an opportunity to potentially write someone's Biography. This is still in the works and will take a lot of planning. Nothing has been set in stone, but it is still in the brain storm stage. Anyhow, I recall having read advise by Stephen King somewhere, where he said that one should not wait too long to complete their book including editing. This goes with anything you are creating because you may get too removed from it and never come back to it again. 

For me, I have to jump back in to it as I have already revised it once. I haven't worked on editing again. I got it pretty close during my last heavy edit. However, your work as a writer and creator is never quite done. It is all in the editing where you must re-structure, reformat, cut out and add the necessary elements that you need in order to achieve a mature manuscript ready for submission. In screenwriting it is the same way. All of it takes time and working at it regularly. So, here you can see how I shift voices to flex and mimic Vonnegut. It is a good exercise- try it some time. Enjoy. 

Doodle- Riggers

Here is a story of the only extra-terrestrial I have ever met. The alien I’ll call Tommy Haengii for short. His actual extra-terrestrial name is much too long and without any vowels, a normal human wouldn’t know how to say it. He was a boring thing who ascended here from God knows where. Before I begin, I’d like to say that this is not really happening. That really, it’s only fictional. It is however, both fictional and reality. I was there so I am entitled to tell you about boring Tommy and his his boring obsessions with a humanoid by the name of Amy. Human? Or so he thought.  

. . .
             She was fast. This meant that she had much speed. This also meant she had much development in the years it’s taken to build her up. Tommy Haengii took oolongs of moments staring at her hardware; her drive had made something ignite in him. He wasn’t sure what.  Boy did he love her software. She was a package. He wanted me to introduce him to her. To show him “the ropes” so that he could be learned well and so on. I said to him “All I can do is show you the basics of her components; it’s pretty simple… getting down to it.” It wasn’t simple for Tommy. Not at first. 

. . .
            Tommy Haengii arrived at planet earth in a place full of rectangular shaped objects, shoved against the wall. On his planet, they made these rectangular objects. They created them. This place was called the bookstore. These rectangular shaped objects opened and beckoned to him to pick them up. He was good at being boring. So much that he told me he learned how to figure the objects out rather quickly. He learned on his own and after a day or so, he finished figuring out a dead man. He was called a philosopher. He was named Plato. And his object was 1000 pages. Other such objects he did use. More and more and more, until the bulge on his shoulders was full of such annoying doodle- riggers called-words. See, Tommy wasn’t only just boring but fidgety and for an extra-terrestrial, extremely talkative. Don’t ask him to recite the objects he’s filled his bulge with. It was a mistake I made once. He wouldn’t quiet up. From his planet, this was the way they all worked. On his planet caffeine consumption in the amount of gallons of coffee (10 times stronger then that of human-coffee) was consumed on a day to day basis. These creatures would become fidgety, begin searching, begin spilling out their doodle-riggers, that is words from over consumption of dead people like Plato or Faulkner, and then they’d absorb some more doodle-riggers and rectangular objects. Absorb every detail about anything, especially about other earthlings they’d analyze and scrutinize. And then they’d flap their jaws endlessly. Until that is, I explained to him what “Shut the fuck up!” meant.  

. . .
            This is when I introduced him to Amy. She was an exciting new gadget he soon became obsessed over.

. . .
            Love, Tommy told me was something he thought he was in. I told him he didn’t know about it and where the hell did he get it from. He said he found it in the rectangular objects when he’d first arrived here. The object was called the ‘Bible’.  Here is what it said:                                                       

‘Love is patient, it is kind,
it is not easily angered,
it does not hold any records of wrong or right,
it is not jealous, or boastful…

And so on…

. . .
            Tommy Haengii understood Amy’s language. He said she understood him too. I showed him all I knew about her. As his nature, he figured out how she worked. Finally. He learned what made her run, what made her shut down, and what brought her into overload. What he didn’t know was that he could make her crash. What he didn’t know was she was immortal. Never ending, always existing. Though one day he spilled water in her tower, her motherboard fried and he thought her dead. He thought he was dead too. He said he had those doodle-riggers called-words stored in her. He said he was working on one of them rectangular objects, a book. Like the bookstore he’d arrived in. I tried to salvage Amy. I worked on her until I could no more. It was good however that he had these doodle-riggers called words saved on a disc. He continued to flap his jaw in panic. So I said, “Calm the fuck down it’s saved you dumb ass extra-terrestrial.” 

. . .
            Tommy and I went to heaven the very next day. I told him it was called ‘Fries Electronics.’ He told me it was heaven, like the ‘Bible’ described only better. There he realized Amy never left him. She was there surrounding him, beckoning him. So he purchased her for a good price. And Tommy Haengii began feeling something very strange. It was a doodle-rigger called contentment or rather ecstasy. 


Inspired by the voice of: Kurt Vonnegut

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Soul and Virtue

Written 2-2-00 Philosophy 101 (Thought to dig up some of my old writings and post them. Enjoy.)

In our steadfast conditions of accelerated changes in technology, views on what is ethical and just have differed. We live in the new days of plastic surgery and the beginnings of a new minority, those who have not changed their physical appearance due to many reasons but one primary, unhappiness with self. This world bursting in the new century brings along with it a sense of liberalized, yet superficial ways of thinking.

This train of thought coincides with the philosophical subject on our "Soul and Virtue" which both are synchronized with one another. Today, tedious stupidity blinds us from seeing a person’s Soul, now days the superficiality within the structure of the new generation, society, media, television causes one to judge, look for, love some one based on physical appearance. Most people try and protest, they say they do not look for that in a person but most of us do, attraction is there and some of us become blinded by it. Democritus states many things that in my opinion holds so much truth, one in which he says ‘Physical beauty is merely animal unless intelligence is present.’ From personal experiences I have found that most men observe, stereotype and then pre-assume that I am void of intelligence or they realize that I am, yet do not care because appearance means more to them. That has never settled right with me. Again, I agree with another statement in which Democritus states ‘He who chooses the advantages of the soul chooses things more divine, but he who chooses those of the body, chooses things human.’ I think one of the biggest errors is that many tend to put the blame on the fact that they’re “just being human” when it is not that at all. 

Being human means having all the desires, wants, needs, cravings but being an individual is making all of our own decisions despite our desires, wants and needs. This brings up the issue of virtue. A fragmented statement from Democritus once again can express this ‘Violent desire for one thing blinds the soul to all others.’ He not only expresses how desire can hinder the soul, he also covers one’s virtue yet he further expresses his views on what he thinks is virtuous by saying to ‘Accept no pleasure unless it is beneficial.’ He also believed that loving and wanting beautiful things was not necessarily a horrid thing either by saying ‘Virtuous love consists in decorous desire for the beautiful.’ Because there really is nothing wrong with wanting to have beautiful things weather its material or a person just as long as the intentions are honest and true, not just loving the surface but more.

‘Virtue consists not in avoiding wrong-doing but having no wish thereto.’ And living a virtuous life is something I believe Democritus stressed. More and more we hear of so many horrible things happening all over with all the intent to do so. The high school shooting not to long ago, the woman who drowned her two little boys in her car, the murder of a black man being dragged behind a car and so much more happening every single day, too many unreported. It is within a person’s soul that lies his true intention, weather bad or good. Our soul, which is our being, our spirit, our ghost, our mind, our heart holds the right and wrong. ‘Happiness does not dwell in flocks of cattle or in gold. The soul is the dwelling-place of the (good and evil) genius.’ He further says ‘Happiness, like unhappiness is a property of the soul.’ And we could choose to either live a happy and virtuous life respecting people for their character’s and souls or choose to live a different road.  ‘Good breeding in cattle depends on physical health, but in men on a well-formed character.’

Monday, August 22, 2011

Lost Humanity: Total Political Divide

Politics must be the most sensitive subject, it goes beyond religion in my book. It is so sensitive, that it creates so much chaos and division all over the world. Just 10-12 years ago, we could bring up our political opinions and still get along with people at school, professors, bosses at work, co-workers, friends, family. Now, if you dare breathe your opinion you are marked and pegged for ever. My husband and I have family we love dearly that are extreme right and left on the political spectrum. I can't say how many times there has been huge disagreements that have started regarding this.

It seems ever since the Bush administration and now Obama- both parties on either side are so extremely narrow minded in their own views there is no way around one gigantic fist fight at the end of a political discussion. There is no such thing anymore as having an adult disagreement when it comes to politics. Agreeing to disagree just does not exist in 2011. Since Bush and now Obama- right or left, war or no war, high taxes or no taxes, Capitalism or Marxism-- there is no agreeing anymore.

It makes me ill how our ability to communicate effectively like adults have been dissolved from our current society. Whether I am around extreme conservatives or extreme liberals, my level of discomfort is so huge. I am an independent and I do not believe that people are even allowed to be. Both parties force the independent to choose and take one side over the other.

Politics is favoritism. Playing politics is what people do when they favor one candidate over the other. When someone wants to select one candidate over someone else for the job. Politics are involved most of the time when selecting a candidate regardless if they have done well on an interview or not.

This world has been dissolved into "Every man for himself." If you are lucky to have someone respect you regardless of differences, it is a one in a trillion chance of that happening today. Most people pre-judge and assess who they like based upon preset prejudices of whom they feel comfortable establishing a long term friendship or connection. Everyone determines who their friends are based upon preset prejudices that have to do with their background, family, education, and how they grew up. Most people will lean towards individuals that are similar to them.

The way political discourse and division is, as I have experienced it in my life. Cut-throat. Unkind. Ruthless. I am a lone wolf in this world. I am an independent desperately wanting to not conform or belong to just one set of rules and conditions. An independent that does not want to have to choose, someone that wants to speak up and say what is on my mind and have an opinion. In this world, the one that I have been living in- there is no such thing as peaceful discourse and peaceful politics.

There are no more friendly political bi-particans left. If you are opinionated, different, unable to conform to any sort of organization. If you want to fight to be independent and strong. If you are "In Rome" but you "Do NOT want to do as the Roman's do." You may be fighting the battle alone for ever and this fight, you may lose. I fear no one is safe in this divided political world. No one is allowed to speak their minds and share their views and agree to disagree. Freedom of speech is an illusion, it is not real it never has been.

We have lost the few ingredients that separates us from the rest of the animal kingdom: a conscious and ability to reason and love.  We have lost our humanity.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Diet Coke, hold the Rum: Socializing Sober

I used to enjoy alcohol beverages for social occasions because it helped me to relax and let loose. For most people, alcohol helps to temporarily numb any social anxiety and awkwardness. Feeling socially awkward is not the same thing as "low self-esteem." I have always had a healthy dose of confidence, but have always felt socially peculiar especially around people I am just getting to know. It is natural in my opinion and actually more common for the majority of people to feel self conscious, even if they care to not admit so.

People are all striving towards some form of acceptance no matter who they are- they want to be understood and loved and know that they are not alone. The most over used ideology, phrase, cliche, and repeated mantra most people say is "I don't care what people think." Because if you are simply human, you will naturally care what other people think to a small degree. Some have mastered the art of not caring what people think, but not everyone is born with natural tendencies to not be concerned about others viewpoint of them.

Because, drinking, socializing, and wanting acceptance comes from over thinking what people think.  And for the most part, if there are those that begin drinking to relax and loosen up, talk to that cute girl at the bar that they would normally be scared to ask out. Talk to peers or friends in a way that is not, well, themselves. Why? Because many people at the end of the day are sometimes sick of being themselves. Living in a world full of social rules and decorum. They want to escape, loosen up, dance crazy, shout at the top of their lungs, and swing their hair all around. They want to let go in a way that they normally can't. They want to escape the reality of who they are and the reality of life.

Other times, drinking is not as complex. From the beginning of time, it has been a way to socialize and bond. It has been the largest bonding agent in America for centuries now. It is so ingrained in our society, that many still are not able to know how to bond without the use of alcohol. Whether it is one drink, a bottle of wine, or a keg. Alcohol allows us to be less inhibited. It is similar to the excitement everyone feels for dressing up on Halloween. You get to be someone else for a day. You get to be as silly, as scary, as wild looking, as freaky as you want and no one will judge you. Everyone will except you.

Alcohol allows us to drop our guards and our personal boundaries, by allowing us to be uninhibited enough to erase the bit of consciousness left in us that rationalizes and over analyzes. Being someone who is confident and yet suffers with social anxiety, I have always hated the strangeness of new encounters or ones that made me dig deep to learn to re-adjust to new environments. However, being in the Army has allowed me and my husband to adjust more easily to almost any situation. Yes, I get stressed out, but the day we both decided to commit our lives to not drinking again was a day that we completely cut alcohol out of our lives. We decided we did not want to drink anymore. It was too costly in more ways than one. It was risky and dangerous and always lead people to do crazy things. The higher amounts of negative consequences due to drinking outweighed the positive reasons to have it in our lives. Plus, it was a stimulant one that was not natural and toxic to our memory, liver, and overall health.

It has been about a year now since we stopped drinking alcohol. I used to smoke cigarettes and cigars too believe it or not. I had quit on and off for years. But finally, I gave it up completely a year ago when I gave up drinking. I wanted to not be addicted to anything, not have anything dominate my life to such a degree that it controlled me. Someone with an addiction is someone with an illness that controls their life. Having a father who is an alcoholic, a grandmother who is, and a grandfather who died from it- I decided to cut alcohol out of my life. I was always an occasional drinker, but could have become an alcoholic if I continued to indulge in it- especially with my family history on my father's side.

My husband and I at Wiseguys, Lake Placid, NY with friends
So, those of us who have stopped drinking. You have to re-learn how to socialize without the use of alcohol. You have to re-learn how to organically find the strength to flow with any natural social anxiety and move through the feelings- not trying to find the solution at the bottom of a cocktail glass. My husband and I have many friends and family that drink from social drinkers to those that are alcoholics. On a Saturday night, many friends want to hang out at bars. Today we enjoyed ourselves at "Wiseguys" in Lake Placid, NY- a super fun little ski town bar. We met up with our friends. We drank our soda and water and we had a good time, sober. It still feels strange for me, to not be tempted to pick up a glass of wine and say what is the big deal. But, it is a pact that we made and something we've decided we would cut out for the rest of our lives. While that may be drastic to some people, other people may find that it is honorable learning the amount of discipline it takes to control your life and not let it control you.

Water in hand and one goofy smile across my face; this is me having a
blast sober and yet organically drunk off life.
Social networking often relies on parties, bar nights, alcohol, dancing, karaoke and some good old drunken singing/shouting. Social networking often requires this sort of bonding. But, you can eat bar food, play pool and darts and sing at the top of your lungs and not be drunk. My epiphany came today in one humorous realization.

That, if you are not a drinker and you must socialize, bond, network with peers, co-workers, and people you need to be schmoozing with or around family and close friends. If it is alcohol related schmoozing (which most American bonding requires) then you treat it like Halloween. You can not go wrong at all. You can scream and yell and dance around and do the old fashion line-dance all by yourself. You can do it all and no one will care because, they'll all assume that you are drunk. They will also be too drunk to care anyway. Or, you can be as reserved as you want. You can smile as little as you want. You can be as serious as you want. You can be as yourself as you want and no one will care. Why? Well, because again- they will all be too drunk to notice. Either way, when having to network and schmooze and not a drinker, that is okay. Behave however you want because the drunkards around you will not remember a thing in the morning. So, order that diet coke- hold the rum, and embrace socializing sober.

"Some one who can live organically is someone with a lot of confidence, self esteem and motivation to make their own choices and have their own voice. They stand up for their beliefs and do not let others dictate their lives. They need not escape from reality, but live in it." Sonyo Lee Ferstl

Saturday, August 20, 2011

How to Utilize Linkedin For Effective Networking

There are many forms of networking tools to utilize these days and more are getting developed. With the flood of viral communication, the important thing to keep in mind are which social media sites you want to invest your time.

Negative Effects of Social Media (primarily Facebook):

1. Increases isolation and reduces real life communication with people.

2. Increases misunderstandings if words or something that is written is taken out of context or interpreted wrong.

3. Increases time on the computer, wasting away countless hours.

4. Increases chance of identity theft.

5. Increases cyber stalking, snooping, ease-dropping.

6. Increases anti-social behavior.

7. Trains this generation of being less capable of real communication, reducing the ability to communicate in person.

8. Allows fantasy to over-ride a person's life, increasing escapism.

9. Allows people to believe that unknown viral friends are somehow real when most of them they have never met in real life.

10. It is not real.

The absolute best example of this is in the new Toyota commercial.

However, the best sort of social networking use are for the following purposes: obtaining jobs, job leads, connections for small and large businesses, viral marketing and PR uses for self publishing or self promotion of any type. Social networking is a powerful tool. But, needs to be intelligently used. One highly recommended site I use the most is Linkedin. I feel that it is the only professional networking site that does help you get connected to jobs. While Facebook has attempted their own version called "Branchout," it still doesn't come close to Linkedin. Unfortunately, anything on Facebook can not be taken seriously. Posts people have of their parties, drinking binges, and even bragging about murders- as one kid did when he killed his parents in Florida, then posted it up on Facebook, inviting his friends to a party while his parents were rotting away. 

Linkedin, you can begin with the contacts you do have and then spread out by joining professional groups. You have to be accepted by the group. But, once you do- in each group there are many more members you can connect with. You can send them an invitation request if you have their e-mail, if you know them personally, or if you are apart of the same group. So far, I have joined 32 professional groups. I have been able to join in discussions, inquiries, and spread my networking. Linkedin is not a waste of time, with the proper use and knowledge- one can learn to get a job and continue to network on a professional level.

The rule of thumb for anyone in college (undergrad, grad, PHD) schools/Universities, in a business, or any professional environment where you are in contact with bosses, peers, and professors.

1. Learn how to listen.

2. Learn how ask the right questions.

3. Be friendly and social, but sincere (not fake).

4. Be a team player.

5. Establish professional boundaries immediately (by far the most important- even boundaries with family and close friends).

My Linkedin Groups where I am a participatory member: