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March on Washington, DrinkSavvy, Internet.org Coalition, Labor Day in Boston

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Top Story: The Great March on Washington’s Golden Jubilee

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“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

This week, we celebrated milestones of two momentous turning points in the history of our nation – the 150th anniversary of Emancipation Proclamation and the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington.

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Last Saturday, tens of thousands converged on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. to commemorate The Great March and urge action on jobs, voting rights, and gun violence. Rev. Al Sharpton and King’s oldest son Martin Luther King III led the tribute and call to action, called the “National Action to Realize the Dream”.

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“We ain’t going to let nobody turn us around. We’re going to keep marching down to freedom land,” King told the crowd. “I know that Daddy is smiling up above knowing that your presence here today will assure the fulfillment of his dream.”

While the progress made in the past five decades has been great, the fight is far from over.

U.S. Representative of Georgia John Lewis believes if Dr. King could speak to us right now, he would say, “We’ve come a distance. We’ve made a lot of progress. You’re in the process of laying down the burden of race. But we’re not there yet.”

Gen Colin Powell agreed with Lewis’s interpretation:

“This is a problem that affects all of America, not just black America. It’s something that is still a residual effect of our history, of the racism that existed by law, the segregation, slavery, and I think we’re slowly, surely moving away from this. And it’s going to change – it’s going to require more change in the hearts and minds of people. But we’re going to get there, I have no doubt about that.”

On Wednesday for the anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s iconic “I Have a Dream” speech, the National Park Foundation with the support of Google gave everyone the chance to submerge themselves in the experience of reliving that moment in time. Blending the speech recording with stunning black and white photos, the We Are Still Marching project brought the moment in history to life again. Visitors to the site could also record their own version of the speech and play back the speeches recorded by people around the world.

 

Tool of the Week: DrinkSavvy

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“What happened last night?” Every year more than a million victims of date rape drugs wake up asking just that. In 2010, Boston startup DrinkSavvy Founder Mike Abramson was out celebrating a friend’s birthday at a Boston bar one moment and the next was nursing a massive headache with no recollection of the night past drink one. Therein lay the foundation for DrinkSavvy, a new line of drinkware that turns red at the detection of predator drugs that all-too-often lurk odorless, colorless and tasteless in drinks.

While single use testing strips do exist, it takes vigilance to stay on top of every drink, not to mention a good dose of social awkwardness. Why not create something that looks and functions like regular cups, glasses, straws, stirrers, and swizzle sticks, but visibly changes color when spiked?

Thus, Abramson brought his roofie-detecting drinkware concept to Dr. John MacDonald, a chemistry professor at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, who integrated the right color-changing material in plastic. Then, they brought the project to IndieGogo, raising $52,089 to bring the project to life.

The first batch of straws and 16-oz. plastic cups are set to ship out next month with the hopes of being widely commercially available next year.

“Even preventing one person from being the victim of a drug-facilitated sexual assault would make DrinkSavvy wildly successful,” says Abramson in the hopes his products will someday become the norm wherever drinking occurs.

Would you use DrinkSavvy products?

 

Under the Radar: Facebook Leads Internet.org Coalition to Lower Barriers to Internet Access

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About one of every seven people in the world uses Facebook, leaving Mark Zuckerberg wondering, “What about the other six?” Currently four billion people worldwide lack Internet access. Several of the world’s tech giants, like Samsung, Nokia, Qualcomm and Ericsson, have signed on as partners to join Facebook in an effort to change that.

The initiative, called Internet.org, aims to drastically cut the cost of delivering basic Internet services on mobile phones, particularly in developing countries. The points of attack? Two-fold. First: simplify mobile apps to run more efficiently. Second: improve mobile and networks to transmit more data using less battery power.

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“The Internet is such an important thing for driving humanity forward, but it’s not going to build itself,” said Zuckerberg in a recent interview. “Ultimately, this has to make business sense on some time frame that people can get behind.”

While the humanitarian goals of this coalition are commendable, the profit motives are not to be dismissed. As tech becomes more saturated in its current markets, companies are feeling the pressure to permeate markets yet to be tapped. If that means helping to build the infrastructure in those less digitally savvy areas, they’re willing to do so.

After all, this coalition led by Facebook isn’t the only effort to extend services to new markets by offering to help. Google has two notable projects in the works. The first offers wireless users in some developing countries free access to Gmail, search and first page clicked through from search results. The second attempts to offer more Internet access by beaming it down from plastic balloons floating over 11 miles up in the sky.

“We’re always making investments in technology and programs to help people get online,” said Courtney Hohne, a Google spokeswoman. “We have teams around the world working on products tailored to local needs.”

While expanding Internet access may not be the solution to all the world’s problems, it does help to even out the playing field between the haves and the have-nots. After all, there’s no predicting the benefits of placing the right tools in the right hands.

Do you agree? Do you think that Internet.org will be successful in spreading Internet access to new markets?

 

Around the Hub: Labor Day in Boston

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Labor Day – a national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country. The first was celebrated on Tuesday, September 5, 1882 in New York City planned by the Central Labor Union. From then on, the “workingmen’s holiday” spread to industrial centers across the nation.

 

Nowadays, Labor Day marks the unofficial final weekend of the summer. This means getting out there and soaking up the season in style. For Boston, it means taking in the rays alongside the city’s rich history with family and friends. From free museum admissions to Labor Day Parades, Boston’s got it all.

 

Besides watching fireworks explode across the Boston harbor on August 31st, here’s a list of a few other things you may want to check out:

 

If you’re staying in Greater Boston –

  • Deutsche Bank Golf Championship
 – August 28-September 2.
  • Beacon Hill Walking Tour: Magnificent and Modern
 – Go beyond the brick sidewalks and charming gardens and learn about Beacon Hill’s development in the Federal Era. The fortunes, ambitions, and struggles of Beacon Hill’s early residents, both wealthy and working class, shaped the streets, architecture, and character of the hill. The program starts with a tour of the Otis House Museum, the earliest intact mansion in the neighborhood, and continues on Beacon Hill’s historic streets.
  • Festival of St. Lucia
 – The Festival of Saint Lucia in Cambridge celebrates the patron saint of the eyes. Food, entertainment and lots of fun!
  • Marlborough Labor Day Parade
 – September 2. Marlborough has a proud tradition of hosting the largest and most prestigious Labor Day Parade in New England!

 

Heading North?

  • New England Arts and Craft Festival – August 31-September 2. The Topsfield Fairgrounds will come alive with color, flavor and music for the 32nd Annual New England Arts & Crafts Festival, featuring over 150 booths of American-made arts, crafts, specialty foods, live music and craft demonstrations.
207 Boston Rd., Topsfield
  • Feast of the Three Saints
 – August 30-September 1.
 Each year the Feast offers Italian food, a Torchlight Parade, Procession of the Saints, live musical entertainment, amusements, kids carnival rides, games and raffles. Festivities begin Friday evening at 6:30 p.m. with the opening ceremony at Lawrence City Hall on Common Street and a procession to Corpus Christi Parish at Holy Rosary Church, after which there are two free concerts featuring celebrity entertainers and popular local bands. The fun continues on Saturday with entertainment throughout the afternoon.

 

What about South?

  • Pilgrim Hall 189th Birthday
 – September 1. Join the staff as they celebrate 189th anniversary of the laying of the cornerstone of Pilgrim Hall Museum. Enjoy birthday cake and see the Pilgrim possessions that really did come over on the Mayflower! Free admission all day.
 75 Court Street, Plymouth
  • Feast of Our Lady of Angels
 – August – September 2. 
A traditional Portuguese “festa” with live music, game booths, Portuguese & American foods, auctions, kids’ activities.
Our Lady of Angels Feast Grounds, Fairhaven
  • Plymouth Cruises – Pirate Cruise!
 – Through Labor Day.
 Climb aboard for a swashbuckling adventure! Man the water cannons and battle the enemy pirate ship to recapture the treasure. See what other surprises lie ahead!
Town Wharf, Plymouth
  • King Richard’s Faire
 – Weekends: August 31-October 20.
 Transport yourself back in time and revel in the magic of New England’s largest and longest running Renaissance Festival. King Richard’s Faire kicks off its 30th season on August 31. Tucked away on 80 acres of enchanted forest in Carver, MA, King Richard’s Faire is a full day of live, interactive entertainment for all ages.
 235 Main St., Carver

For more, visit Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism website here.

Out With the Old, In With the New

We have entered into an age where almost everyone depends on the Internet to support his or her daily needs. Whether it’s to look up directions to a new restaurant or to chat online with an old friend, we’re constantly using the Internet. Let’s face it; we’d be lost without the web. It’s interesting to think about life before the Internet, when there was only print, radio and television to keep us entertained and up-to-date with current events. But now, the Internet has altered our traditional habits and has even changed the means by which professionals and businesses are approaching new ways to enhance their marketing strategies.

Businesses are now more inclined to use the Internet to reach out to consumers because it provides various ways to establish valuable connections with people they would not have met otherwise. This instant link creates the potential to communicate freely with their intended market and clients of interest. Many have found social media marketing to be a viable source to use to advertise their efforts and gain the right clientele.

One of the many reasons why social media is such an effective medium of communication is that it isn’t overly expensive as compared to traditional forms of advertising. While it does takes a significant amount of time and patience to navigate your way through various social media sites, the effort put into establishing a strong social media presence is incomparable to how much it would take to advertise through other media forms.

Social networking has developed significantly over the years and websites such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and other social media sites are still continuing to grow. Social media has exceptionally changed the way people interact amongst themselves and with their media. Millions of people are online managing their social media sites on a daily basis. This provides the perfect opportunity for advertisers to grab the attention of new consumers. Social media has left its mark and drastically changed advertising forever.

Do you agree? What do you think about the impact of social media on advertising?

– Elaine Nip

A College Student’s Reflection on the Kno Tablet

As a college student, I am constantly trying to find more efficient ways of studying and note taking. I value the importance of a quality education, but I also value time spent with family and friends. Our time in school is limited to four short years and I want to be spend as little of that precious time confined in the solitude of the library preparing for exams as possible.

Thankfully, there is a new device on the market which promises to help me do just that. The Kno tablet, produced by a company called Kno, Inc., is essentially an electronic textbook consisting of two 14 inch touchscreens joined by a center hinge. Unlike the increasingly popular iPad produced by Apple, the Kno supports Adobe Flash and has double the viewable screen space, giving users even more of what they want.

Kno CEO Osman Rashid remarked that the tablet will soon be all you need to bring with you to the class or office, especially since the frontman is said to be teaming up with textbook providers around the country. Compared to a traditional textbook, the Kno tablet will allow students to write and organize notes in one place, as well as surf the internet, watch videos and basically concentrate on everything but their studies.

Now, I fully support the wonderful direction in which technology pushes us, but I think this is a tad ridiculous. While the tablet may allow you to access all of your textbook information in one succinct device, don’t we have enough distractions in school without our books being able to access Facebook and Twitter as well as our lap tops? Not to mention the fact that after a frustrating night of studying, a traditional textbook will withstand a stress relieving throw to the wall, whereas the Kno tablet most likely will not.

The Kno tablet creators may be trying to jump on the latest technology fad and capitalize on the iPad consumer market, but to expect to render real books obsolete is more than a lofty ambition for the new device. With technology and social media outlets beginning to occupy previously untouched areas of school, work and home life, how far is too far? Do you think the tablet is worth the close to $1,000 price tag or would you be content reading a traditional textbook? –Christina Cherel