From the moment I met Becky Blanton online last August, I always suspected her claim to fame would be unique. "Ordinary" is not in her vocabulary. Becky has become a dear friend and mentor. She is remarkable. She helps me help others start and sustain small businesses and nonprofits. She sees me advocating for 4 Paws for Ability, and joins the fray. Multitalented and multiexperienced, she is everywhere at the same time. That said, read how she became one of Mashable's 5 People Who Broke the Rules of Social Media and Succeeded Keep your eye on Becky Blanton. She's only just begun.
Archives for March 2009
JTrek LLC, a division of Xtel Communications Inc, just announced openings for beta testers to check out its personal security surveillance software. Ever since I learned about JTrek, I've wondered about the many ways people can use their Smartphones to record situations that appear dangerous. Or situations where there's been an accident or other incident. And how might this work for many people with disabilities? Why? Because people with a JTrek account can, in such situations, hit a panic button, and begin recording an incident or person who appears questionable, and the info immediately appears on the JTrek website. At the same time, hitting the panic button will notify pre-arranged contacts via texting or email. And JTrek uses Geotagging, as well. Everything is recorded on the website, and can later be edited (except anything to do with GPS, which can't be edited). Think about runners who constantly put themselves in harm's way. Think about students on campus who need that extra feature to protect them both in dormitories or on campus. Think about people on night shifts who must use isolated parking garages. Think about people out walking dogs (exceptions: German Shepard, Rottweilers, etc.). Think about people in hotels who often leave and arrive at night. And many of these same people must use darkened parking garages as they travel. Think about nannies and parents watching children in a park. Think about people with disabilities who often must move more slowly in a given situation. And JTrek has its beta testing open. If you have a Smartphone, consider testing this amazing software, and while you're doing so, think of all the ways it can be used to deter crime and record incidents that need photos. Here's how JTrek sums up its product and the potential for deterring crime:
...once the application grows in popularity and the public becomes more generally aware of technology used in this manner, the application will undoubtedly provide a degree of deterrence to other crimes. For example, see how crime has diminished now that video cameras are installed in automatic teller machines. We don't claim to be able to prevent anything like this from happening to you, but once perpetrators learn of our video/photo technology with cellular-based Smartphones, we are confident they will likely avoid confrontation with you, rather than risk being identified.Many of us are on the streets, in shopping malls, on campuses, walking, running, and traveling. Constantly. Consider being a beta tester for JTrek, and give your opinions to the JTrek team and via social networking.
Guest post by Bette Miles-Holleman As a parent of two children on the Autistic Spectrum, I am always looking for ways to help them achieve their full potential. During my research, I read about Music Therapy and its applications for children (and adults) with learning challenges. Music, with its powerful effect to stimulate the brain by triggering memories and emotional responses, can also help special needs children physically, by improving relaxation, muscle coordination and range of motion, and a host of other positive benefits. Studies show that Music Therapy is particularly effective for children with Autism, as well as dyslexia and ADD/ADHD. Music Therapy can include singing, playing an instrument alone or in a group, or just listening to various music selections. Some children with learning challenges show great musical abilities, so why not encourage them in a pastime they can both enjoy as well as learn from?
My kids, Ben and Hannah, have been taking music lessons for the past year. Since then, their speech has dramatically improved. Ben, who plays the snare drum, had a stutter that has completely disappeared, and our budding pianist Hannah's sentence structure and pronunciation have gone up exponentially.Music has helped them in their school work, too. Their concentration levels are longer and more intense, and they can work without interruption to finish their homework. Ben plays with a local bagpipe and drum band, and Hannah studies the Suzuki Piano Method through our local junior college. Bette Miles-Holleman is a home schooling mother of of 5, living on the West Coast. She is editor/CEO of Beauty Culture Magazine, a Giant Squid lensmaster on Squidoo, and is a guest contributor on many websites such as DealingWithLearningDisorders and HealthyFoodForHealthyLiving.com. NOTE FROM JUDY VORFELD: Here's a dynamic article on Music Therapy published yesterday in the Washington Post.
NOTE: Recently someone in the media found my website on Hawaii, including articles on sugar cane harvesting, etc., and asked, "What is Hawaiian sugar cane's role in making ethanol or bio fuels for part or all of America? How does it differ from using corn based bio fuels? Which is best?" I sent the questions to Ted Vorfeld, an engineering consultant who knows the workings of the sugar cane industry better than most people. Here's his response: Compared to sugar cane or sugar beets, corn is a very poor source for making ethanol but there are vast areas of the US that grow corn and the federal and state subsidies are keeping corn-to-ethanol alive. I've heard that there are other high starch crops being developed that are even better for ethanol than sugar cane or sugar beets. Hawaii sugar cane is nearly extinct. Gay and Robinson stopped planting cane last year and will be totally out by end of this year. HC&S on Maui is having difficulties. Neither have produced ethanol from sugar although both have investigated it thoroughly. Hawaii's high labor cost make growing sugar cane for ethanol or any other need non competitive with other foreign countries. Brazil has a very large government mandated sugar to ethanol program, but their labor costs are very low. It has been my experience throughout the years that food for people is the highest value use for food crops, followed by food for animals followed by food crops for energy-so long as no government subsidies are involved. If I were to guess, I would say that countries like Brazil, India, China and other low cost sugar producers will shift their surplus sugar to ethanol but gradually (as in Indonesia) a rising standard of living will consume more sugar in country until they have no surplus. Cane sugar in the tropical countries is highly politicized since it employs so many low income people. With regard to other biofuels, the Hawaiian sugar industry has in the past been a major provider of electric energy to the local utilities using the residue of the cane for fuel for their boilers. There is a lot of interest today in processes that turn cellulose from many sources into a diesel or ethanol fuel, but no plants on line in Hawaii as yet. The State of Hawaii has set high goals for energy independence using home grown resources but as yet no realistic plans have developed.