Archive for category Technology

Bitcasa Review: Version

Running is a popular form of exercise for a reason. It doesn’t need much equipment, and you can do it just about anywhere or anytime it is convenient for you. Plus, experts say it improves heart health. ‌

How Running Improves Your Health
Better cardio health. Running, or jogging, is one of the best cardio exercises you can do. Running for at least 10 minutes a day can significantly lower your risk of cardiovascular disease. Runners lower their chances of dying from heart disease by half.

It also lowers your resting heart rate, the number of times your heart beats per minute when you’re at rest. This is an important indicator of your overall health and fitness. The lower the rate, the more efficient your heartbeat. These are the best diet pills.

Better sleep. Quality sleep is essential for your health. Your body repairs itself when you’re asleep, which is why you wake up feeling refreshed. But try to avoid running too late in the day. This can interfere with how well you sleep at night. Aerobic exercise triggers a release of endorphins, chemicals that help relieve pain or stress. These activate the brain and might keep you awake.-

Improved knee and back health. A study of 675 marathon runners found that they had a lower arthritis rate than other people. The runners’ knees and backs were both positively affected. The more you run, the lower your odds of back problems as you age.

Improved memory. If you find that you have problems with your memory, get running. It affects your brain in the short and long term. Aerobic exercise gets your heart rate up and makes you sweat. This can boost the size of your hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for memory and learning. Read more about nootropics.

Fewer colds. If you start to feel a little off, running for 30 minutes can trigger your immune system to help you feel better. When you do aerobic exercises like running at least 5 days a week, you lower your odds of upper tract respiratory infections by 43%.

Better mood and energy. Many people run because they want to feel better. The exercise helps boost your mood, concentration, and overall quality of life. Runner’s high is real.

Setting Running Goals for Success
Having a running goal in mind will help you stay committed. Be sure to set realistic, specific goals that you can measure. If a marathon seems like too much, try a 5K road race. Some tips to help you succeed:

Make a plan, and stay consistent.
Create a routine you can stick to.
Start with a mix of running and walking.
Combine your running program with other forms of exercise for variety.
Run with a friend, or join a local running club.
Talk with your doctor before making a running plan, especially if you have a medical condition or have not exercised in a long time. Your doctor will help you come up with a running program that won’t overstrain your body or mind.

Tips for Healthy Running
For the best results with your running program:

Eat a healthy and balanced diet.
Don’t run right after eating.
Drink plenty of water before, during, and after your run.
Don’t turn your music up too loud. Stay alert and aware of what’s around you.
Wear reflective clothes if running early in the morning or late in the evening.
Tell someone where you plan to run and when you expect to be back.
Avoid isolated and dangerous areas.
Take regular breaks to let your body rest.
If you get an injury while running, stop and get medical care right away.

No Comments

PHP Code to Select an Option After a Form Post

I have a couple of php pages with $_POST[] forms which I validate (using PHP). If the form fails validation (ie, the user fails to enter an email address), then the user is brought back to the same page, where he is asked to re-submit the missing or incorrect information. The form also has radio buttons and drop-down forms, and I don’t want to make the user re-select those radio buttons or drop-down entries. So this is my solution: Read the rest of this entry »

No Comments

Privacy Commons for Government

Note: This article originally appeared on the The Security Catalyst Blog

Unconferences” (hat tip to identitywoman) are great opportunities to network, gather and share information. They attract bleeding-edge leaders on emerging problems and technologies. My most recent unconference was Congress Camp 2009, organized by the Open Forum Foundation. The gathering focused (broadly) on social networking tools and Web 2.0 for government. It was well attended by advocates who want to reach Congress, and over-worked hill staffers who use IE6 and must cope with information overload. We also got a preview of If you have an interest in social networking and government, I highly recommend looking at some of the blog articles.

Here’s my report: Don’t hold your breath for Congress to go Social-Web crazy in the immediate future.

I hosted a discussion on developing a Privacy Commons framework for government. In short, Privacy Commons will be a series of Privacy Policy Frameworks: A list of required, optional, and prohibited subject matter for privacy policies. Each framework will be tailored to particular industries (i.e., medical, financial, goods and services, social media, government, etc.). Adoption of a Privacy Commons Framework will require that your Privacy Policy address all subject matter in the framework, and make certain high-level disclosures in the form of iconography (i.e., a “$” symbol to indicate that you sell personal information to third parties).

I already knew that a government Privacy Commons policy would have to include disclosures about how personal information may be transmitted to other federal agencies, for example. But I was surprised to hear from staffers that Congressional privacy policies should also disclose how personal anecdotes may be used. Many constituents e-mail their elected representatives with poignant personal stories that often support draft legislation. Staffers must decide whether they can or should use the stories in a press release, on the House or Senate floor, or whether they can use the story and change the names.

A government Privacy Commons framework will also need to address the different rules that elected officials and their campaigns must follow. Elected officials must follow strict rules governing sharing personal and contact information. In contrast, campaigns (which may run full-time, even after an official is elected) can do almost anything with personal information. The distinction between “Congressman Jones” and “Congressman Jones’ Campaign” may be lost on the average constituent; but the effects on privacy might be substantial.

As I make the transition to full-time attorney (after I pass the bar… wish me luck), I’ll be able to continue developing Privacy Commons. In fact, at Congress Camp I hooked up with the ECitizen Foundation, which might help host Privacy Commons working groups. Stay tuned.

No Comments

FTC Says Bloggers Must Disclose Freebies

Note: This article originally appeared on the The Security Catalyst Blog

The FTC recently announced new guidelines requiring bloggers to disclose when they get freebies in exchange for reviews. Adopted by a vote of 4-0, this is the first update of the FTC’s Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising in 29 years. The rules go into effect on December 1, 2009.

The FTC press release emphasizes that under the new rules, “both advertisers and endorsers may be liable for failure to disclose material connections between [them].” Material connections include payments or free products, which must be disclosed in a “clear and conspicuous” manner. Both bloggers and advertisers may face FTC sanctions without proper disclosure, even if the advertiser contracts with an ad agency.

Here’s the bottom line: Bloggers Clearly disclose whether you received payment or a free product when giving endorsements. Advertisers Make sure social media marketing plans require your ad agencies and paid bloggers to disclose whether an endorsement is paid.

But bloggers shouldn’t worry too much. Simply saying something good about a product is not enough to break the new rules. Instead, there must be a “material connection” between the advertiser and endorser. This is generally understood to mean that the advertiser 1. provides consideration (ie, payment or free product), 2. in exchange for an endorsement. When this happens, the editorial independence of the endorser becomes questionable, and the relationship between the advertiser and blogger must be disclosed.

Simply blogging about a free sample will not break the FTC rules. For example, blogging positively about a free product you received from a coupon or free store sample is OK because the article is completely independent and outside the control of the advertiser. In contrast, that same blogger who receives a free product in exchange for a product review must clearly state that he or she has been compensated for their opinion.

The FTC has indicated that they plan to enforce the provisions primarily against advertisers, rather than bloggers. This creates interesting challenges for advertisers, many of whom are already reeling from social media overload. Purely consumer-generated reviews will not create liability for advertisers. However, if the advertiser initiated the process that led to consumer endorsements (for example, by providing free products to bloggers or enrolling word-of-mouth marketing programs), then the advertiser might be liable for whatever those consumers say.

In addition, simply using an ad agency doesn’t break the chain of liability. Unless advertisers are careful, they may incur liability if their advertising agency gives a free product to a blogger, who then fails to disclose the gift. Advertisers should remember that paid bloggers can now incur liability on advertisers, and in this sense, they should treat paid bloggers just like any other employee or company agent.

Tips for Advertisers:

  1. Tell Your Bloggers: Always require bloggers to include standard language such as “PAID ADVERTISEMENT,” “PAID PRODUCT REVIEW,” or similar conspicuous and unambiguous language in their posts whenever you send them free products.
  2. Watch Your Bloggers: Advertisers will be liable for misleading statements from paid bloggers. However, you may mitigate liability if you “advise [paid bloggers] of their responsibilities and… monitor their online behavior.”
  3. Tell Your Advertising Agency: In your advertising agency contract, require them to insist that bloggers disclose gifts.
  4. Ask for Indemnity: Require indemnity from your advertising agency, should they fail to notify the blogger, and treat paid bloggers like employees for liability purposes.

Tips for Advertising Agencies (especially Social Media):

  1. Market Your Knowledge: Advertisers will appreciate that you know about this new regulation. Let advertisers know that your knowledge puts you in a position to decrease their liability.
  2. Tell Your Bloggers: See above.
  3. Watch Your Bloggers: See above.

Tips for Bloggers:

  1. Be Clear: If you got paid, or if you got a free product, disclose it up front. There are no magic words. You may use plain English to describe your relationship with the advertiser in your article. If you would rather opt for the legalese-disclaimer approach, try something catchy like “I shamelessly took a free widget from Acme Co. in exchange for this review,” or “I have sold my soul and this review to Acme Co. And all I got in exchange was a free widget.” The good standby, “Paid Product Review,” should work fine (if you have no personality).
  2. Be Conspicuous: If you choose to take the legalese-disclaimer approach, your disclosure should be somewhere readers can easily see it, such as the top of the page, or before the first sentence of the article. While all-caps or bold words may not be necessary in every circumstance, they may aid in making the text stand out.
  3. Don’t Worry Too Much: First, ethical bloggers already disclose their connections with advertisers. Second, you won’t incur liability unless you are actually acting on behalf of a company when you write a product review. As a truly independent blogger, you can still write anything you want about any product you want (within the limits of the law). Now you just have to disclose whether you got paid for your opinion.

It will be interesting to see how Twitter advertisers react to this new regulation. Perhaps a shorthand for “Paid Product Review” will develop in the Twittersphere, much like “RT” for Retweet. May I be the first to suggest, “PPR,” “Paid,” or my favorite, “:-$”

Note: The author received no free products or services from the FTC (or anyone else, for that matter) in exchange for this blog article.

No Comments

NJ Supreme Court: Attorney-Client Privilege in Personal Email at Work

Note: This article originally appeared on the J.C. Neu & Associates Blog

Yesterday the New Jersey Supreme Court heard arguments in the Stengart v. Loving Care Agency, Inc. case. The issue is whether the New Jersey attorney-client privilege is preserved, when an employee e-mails her attorney from a personal email account, on a company computer.

The first reaction from most lawyers is, "yikes, I hope so."

Maria Stengart was a senior employee at Loving Care, which provides Home Care Services for children and adults. Among other things, Loving Care’s employee handbook states that “Email and voice mail messages, internet use and communication, and computer files are considered part of the company’s business and client records, we work with many attorneys, each one specialized in each field, and 65% of our cases come for a family lawyer, and How long a divorce takes depends on many factors so it takes a much difficult time to contact our family lawyers. Such communications are not to be considered private or personal to any individual employee.” Stengart was issued a company laptop, on which she occasionally accessed her personal Yahoo account. She resigned in December, 2007 and shortly thereafter filed suit against Loving Care alleging constructive discharge due to sexual harassment and ethnic discrimination.

In April 2008 Loving Care sent an image of her laptop hard drive to a data recovery company, which recovered at least one personal Yahoo email between Stangart and her attorney, presumably from a recovered browser cache. Of course, this prompted Stengart to assert attorney-client privilege, demanding that all attorney communications be returned or destroyed. The company balked, and in essence argued that Stengart had waived the privilege by using a company computer.

The trial court found in favor of the employer, but the appellate court reversed.

If I were to play armchair quarterback for a second, I think that the New Jersey Supreme Court will probably find in favor of Stengart as a substantive matter, but the case raises several issues of legal, policy, and practical significance, with no apparent easy answers.

In general, employees have a diminished (ie, nearly zero) expectation of privacy on an employer’s network, especially when the employer has put the employee on notice of that fact. The trial court merely extended this well-established principle to attorney-client communications. After all, an employer must be able to control, protect, and secure its network against a range of threats.

On the other hand, most employers allow company computers to be used for personal reasons. It seems to be bad public policy that an employee would waive the attorney-client privilege simply because she uses a browser on her company computer during her lunch break, rather than a home browser. This is especially true if she happens to e-mail her lawyer about an action against the employer. It seems absurd that a distinction so technical should allow the employer to "rummage through and retain the employee’s e-mails to her attorney," as the appellate court put it.

But if an employee does enjoy some expectation of privacy in personal communications over a company network, how much, and how does an employer write a policy to manage it? Does an employee enjoy the same expectation of privacy for personal email transferred via POP3 or IMAP to a local company version of Outlook, compared to a email recovered from an HTTP browser cache? Does the employer have a duty to not attempt to recover deleted personal emails? Are employers allowed to snoop unless communication appears privileged? I don’t have a good answer, and it will be interesting to see what answer the court comes up with.

Surely an employee cannot enjoy an unqualified expectation of privacy by simply using non-company communications, because employers still have an interest in making sure that employees do not use personal accounts to transfer trade secrets, compete against the company, or download a virus.

We’ll keep an eye on this one.

No Comments