.NGO | .ONG Domain Names Available This Summer

The new .NGO and .ONG domains will be released late Summer 2014. Unlike .ORG, the new domains will only be available to NGOs, charities, and nonprofits, which will form a nice international index of verified NGOs. The new domains will be released on a first come, first serve basis, so fill out an expression of interest form today to help you get your first choice. 

Read more about the what and the how.

Thanks to Annie Hernandez for the tip!

The Web-Deprived Study at McDonald’s

Yikes. What a conundrum. People increasingly need the internet to help complete school assignments, research and apply for jobs, stay current with the news, and be connected with their networks. Not everyone can afford Internet, so they look for places offering free WiFi. Cue McDonald’s, the home-base for all things unhealthy, to offer that service at more than 12,000 locations. Health issues are tied to economic status. If you’re going to McDonald’s to use their free WiFi, you’re in a demographic that is at higher risk for obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. This is not the greatest scenario. But, who else is stepping up?

The Web-Deprived Study at McDonald’s

Chris has been watching math videos (huh?!), so I tuned in for a few, including this video introducing differential equations. They’re really easy to watch, follow, and learn from, and the instructor is an absolute delight. It’s impressive to see lessons that are considered ‘upper level’ math presented with such ease and in such manageable chunks. I am sad that my last math class was 8 years ago; these mini-lessons are just enough to fill that void for awhile longer!

Even if you’re not a math person, there are videos for you! The Khan Academy is an online-based nonprofit with a mission to make quality education available to everyone. They have nearly 4,000 videos on topics from biology, to animation, to finance, to history. I love the mission and the execution; two thumbs up. Now go learn about differential equations!

Gmail being down feels scarier than expected. Realizations:

  • I am so used to having it passively open at all times that I feel disconnected and anxious when it goes away.
  • There is so much personal history / record-keeping on it that if something ever were to happen with gmail, I would lose that life data.
  • I should research and cover backups in my gmail class.
  • Google is assumed to be fairly perfect. It has changed how things on the Internet are done. We trust it, partially because there’s little choice not to and partially because there hasn’t been a convincing reason not to. Will this change trust? Probably not. Should it? Not sure.
  • Others share my addiction to gmail, need to connect, and fright. Citing: Twitter.

It’s back up now (kind of; still not working properly), like that last 5 minutes were a strange blip in my reality, but these thoughts remain.

What’s Wrong With #FirstWorldProblems

Check out this short but to-the-point look from The Atlantic at #firstworldproblems, which you’re undoubtedly familiar with if you’re on the internet. (If you are not familiar, click on the hashtag and read a few.)

A teaser:

I don’t like this expression “First World problems.” It is false and it is condescending. Yes, Nigerians struggle with floods or infant mortality. But these same Nigerians also deal with mundane and seemingly luxurious hassles. Connectivity issues on your BlackBerry, cost of car repair, how to sync your iPad, what brand of noodles to buy: Third World problems. All the silly stuff of life doesn’t disappear just because you’re black and live in a poorer country. People in the richer nations need a more robust sense of the lives being lived in the darker nations. Here’s a First World problem: the inability to see that others are as fully complex and as keen on technology and pleasure as you are.

I have always felt mixed about this hashtag, because it’s kind of self aware and kind of perpetuates (often gross) dichotomy and/or ignorance. It also sounds flippant, and maybe shouldn’t be taken so lightly, although that irony and flippancy is also part of what twitter is great for.

Not only did this phrase of (in)sincere commentary grow online, but I have observed many (including myself) saying it offline, or IRL. If one of the goals of social connectivity online is to spark conversations offline, maybe there’s something here. BUT, perhaps unfortunately, the phrase is said more as a giggling joke than as a conversation about poverty or abuse or injustice; it’s just a way to characterize the (lack of) true importance of a problem.

Use it, don’t use it….whatever. I get it, and am still uncomfortable a bit by it. And maybe keep the conversation going?

What’s Wrong With #FirstWorldProblems

Via USA.gov: How and Why You Should Write a Social Media Will

Social media is a part of daily life, but what happens to the online content that you created once you die?

If you have social media profiles set up online, you should create a statement of how you would like your online identity to be handled. Just like a traditional will helps your survivors handle your physical belongings, a social media will spells out how you want your online identity to be handled.

Like with a traditional will, you’ll need to appoint someone you trust as an online executor. This person will be responsible for closing your email addresses, social media profiles, and blogs after you are deceased. Take these steps to help you write a social media will:

  • Review the privacy policies and the terms and conditions of each website where you have a presence.
  • State how you would like your profiles to be handled. You may want to completely cancel your profile or keep it up for friends and family to visit. Some sites allow users to create a memorial profile where other users can still see your profile but can’t post anything new.
  • Give the social media executor a document that lists all the websites where you have a profile, along with your usernames and passwords.
  • Stipulate in your will that the online executor should have a copy of your death certificate. The online executor may need this as proof in order for websites to take any actions on your behalf.

Learn more about what else you should include in your will and how to create an effective estate plan.

This is a really interesting blog post (especially for USA.gov!) topic. It sounds so morbid, but what a smart idea. The internet allows for more eerie reminders of someone who is no longer alive, whether it’s gmail suggesting other people you might want to include on the email or facebook pages that become interactive memorials. It would make sense that there be a way to control what happens; however, as with “regular” wills, I imagine it has the potential to cause fighting among family and friends and layers of interpretation. With the internet and privacy settings constantly changing, too, it’s likely that the wishes documented in a social media will wouldn’t even be able to be entirely honored.

Don’t worry guys, I sometimes do morbid posts about certain angles of death; it’s just fascinating. I’m not going anywhere, so jenbokoff.com isn’t either.

Via USA.gov: How and Why You Should Write a Social Media Will

Sherry Turkle: Connected, but alone? A TED talk well worth watching. Please do share your thoughts in comments if you watch; I’m very curious to hear them as I haven’t fully formed my own.

We all need to focus on the many many ways that technology can lead us back to our real lives, our own bodies, our own communities, our own politics, our own planet; they need us. Let’s talk about how we can use digital technology, the technology of our dreams, to make this life the life we can love.

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Homeless people have become Internet hotspots at SXSW through a partnership between the festival and Front Steps. They can make money through PayPal donations, and the idea behind it is that it’s more useful to attendees than selling newspapers. It’s edgy and certainly controversial.

I like it*. Each hotspot’s success – like any other enterprise – is largely determined by the money it nets and the function it serves. The money earned is currently unknown to me, but the purpose of the business is completely viable. Ethics are also an important determinant of sound business, and despite criticisms that this partnership is dehumanizing and horrifying, it doesn’t feel nearly as second-class as dudes in Rx costumes outside of pharmacies at flu season waving people inside AND nobody is forced to participate! Plus, for people who enjoy interacting with people and are good at it, this certainly could be both financially worthwhile and enjoyable. I’m curious what these employees have to say about the experience when it’s over, but I am comfortable with this innovative approach to helping homeless people productively earn money.

What do you think?

* based on what I know about it; I am not experiencing this in person