Browsed by
Author: Staff Writer

Donald Trump Nominates Sam Clovis for Top USDA Post??

Donald Trump Nominates Sam Clovis for Top USDA Post??

donald trump

Ever since January of this year, I’ve felt like I’ve been living in an alternate universe.  Mainly because of the state of politics in the United States right now.  As a political science major, and someone who works with politicians, I am very interested in it.  But right now, there is nothing really interesting about politics.  It also amazes me that anyone thinks they can do a good job being a politician.  Or even a political advisor.  There is the thought that no experience is needed.  And maybe experience is overrated when it comes to the elected officials.  But, they need to surround themselves with people who are educated.  They need people in their corner who know and understand what’s happening, in order to be able to make informed decisions.

I’m mentioning this because of an article I read today.  I really shouldn’t be surprised, as it only seems to be getting worse and worse.  But here it is.  President Trump has nominated Sam Clovis to be the head of the U.S Department of Agriculture.  Which means he will be in charge of research, education and economic analysis. What’s the big deal you ask?  Well, Clovis, in my opinion doesn’t have the credentials to do the job.  In the past, this particular job has been held by biochemists, plant physiologists and food nutrition experts.  The position requires these kinds of background in order to research specifics related to science, public health or food policy.… Read the rest

Google Feed – Customized News Based on Search History

Google Feed – Customized News Based on Search History

google feed

Google is getting into the news game in a completely different way.  Google is trying to deliver news to you based on what you like.  How, you ask?  Well, like all things Google, they will use your search history to provide you with news that you want to read.  Google is re-branding their “Google Now” app, in what they are calling Google “feed”.  Like I said, they are basing what news you will want to see on what kinds of things you’ve searched for.  They will also include the top headlines of the day, and local news, which is great because it’s nice to know that these things are going on.  Some are comparing this to Facebook’s news feature, and while I can see the comparison, I’m not sure I’d make it myself.

Google has been in the news business for a long time now.  And while, they haven’t been in the news customization business, I don’t think that this is a knock off of Facebook.  Why?  Because you don’t have to like anything.  You don’t have to necessarily show Google what you want to see.  Yes, you’re doing it indirectly when you’re searching for something.  But they do it now with advertisements.  So how is this any different than that?  Also, isn’t it nice to be able to get all the news you actually want to read in one place?  Think about the news sites that you follow.  You have to scroll through everything in order to find out if there’s anything you want to read.  … Read the rest

Paperwork Goes Missing – Students May Not Have to Repay Their Loans?

Paperwork Goes Missing – Students May Not Have to Repay Their Loans?

student loans

So why can’t this be my life? I read an article in the New York Times where the headline was this: “As Paperwork Goes Missing, Private Student Loan Debts May Be Wiped Away”.  Seriously?  I will say it again – why can’t this be my life?  Honestly, these people are super lucky.  According to the New York Times, tens of thousands of people who took out private loans to pay for college, might get their debts wiped away.  Because the paperwork is missing, people! This also feels a bit like a comedy of errors, but one that is going to benefit a lot of people.  Especially since many of these people were struggling to repay their loans to begin with.

So what happened exactly?  These particular loans are at the centre of a legal dispute between the borrowers and a group of creditors who are aggressively trying to pursue them in court for non-payment. Judges have already dismissed dozens of lawsuits against former students, because the paperwork proving who owns the loan went missing.  Which means, these former students are getting their loans forgiven.  This is actually a bigger financial issue, but I’m still kind of thrilled to hear this.  As someone who relied heavily on student loans, and who is also still repaying them, this makes me happy.

losing money

It’s not really good to celebrate as this paperwork error is costing someone (or multiple someones) a lot of money.  In the billions.  … Read the rest

Here Are Some Ways to Hook People When Using Your App

Here Are Some Ways to Hook People When Using Your App

on boarding

How many apps do you have on your phone?  And of those apps, how many have been there for more than six months?  Or a year?  With today’s attention spans being what they are, it’s very easy for people to delete apps that they haven’t used.  I know I do.  I have probably 4 apps on my phone that I use regularly.  And if the others weren’t so dang useful, I’d delete them too.  Why?  Because if I’m not using it constantly, then I really don’t need it.  It’s like that shirt that’s hanging in my closet.  If I haven’t worn it in 6 months, I’m probably not going to wear it again.   The same can be said about apps.

According to Localytics, an app loses 64% of its users within the first thirty days.  So what do you do to get people to want to use your app?  And then continue to use your app?

  • What is the purpose of the app?

Make sure your app description explains the purpose of your app.  People don’t really read, so make sure it’s short, but also something that is going to catch someone’s attention.  Perhaps explain the “why” of your app.  This isn’t necessarily going to get people to want to use your app, but it’s going to push you one more step in that direction.

  • Keep it Brief

Keep your on-boarding process brief.  Why?  Because ain’t nobody got time for that.  … Read the rest

How Risky is it to Withdraw from your 401(k) Early?

How Risky is it to Withdraw from your 401(k) Early?

think about tomorrow today

In this day in age, it’s extremely important to have some kind of financial plan.  Which includes saving for your retirement.  Which is not an easy thing to do when you have outside financial pressures, like tuition costs and medical expenses.  How do you balance these?  It’s also next to impossible to predict all of the financial troubles you will encounter in your life, so you might find yourself withdrawing from your 401(k) early.  Is that a good idea?  What are the consequences?  And does it really even make financial sense?  Let’s think about this for a moment.

The idea of an early withdrawal, to me, feels like a long term vs. a short term issue.  I typically have a hard time planning for the long term, so I feel like I would use the early withdrawal option.  If I had no other choice.  And if the penalty was minimal enough to justify it.  But that being said, you really have to balance the need here, and ask yourself – is this something I should actually do?

As far as withdrawing goes be prepared to pay the consequences.  Literally. If you’re below 59 1/2, the government will tax you like it’s regular income, and you will also owe a 10% fee.  In addition, you should remember that you can only withdraw from the amount that you directly contributed.  Not from the earnings itself.

retirement

When should you consider withdrawing?  Obviously, there needs to be a good reason.  … Read the rest

Sticky AI – A Fun New Way to Create Social Media Stickers?

Sticky AI – A Fun New Way to Create Social Media Stickers?

sticky ai

Are you of the opinion that there aren’t enough social media stickers for you to enjoy?  If this sounds like you, then Sticky AI is for you.  The app allows you to take a selfie and, well… add stickers.  There are some other features in there too, like being able to remove the background, and actually change what the photo looks like.  Think – drawing.  Either black/white or with colour.  But that’s about it.  Which makes me wonder if it’s even worth it?  If you’re big into sharing these kinds of stickers with your friends, then perhaps.  But honestly, it doesn’t have that many features.

Basically, you take a selfie.  Or you use an existing one.  From there, you remove the background.  You can add a background in, but it’s a solid colour only.  Which, doesn’t seem that exciting to me.  If I’m creating stickers, I want them to be fun.  I want to add something ridiculous in there.  Like a dinosaur.  Making it look like it’s going to bite my head off.  But as it stands you can only change it to a colour.  And not even a fancy colour.  Like red, green and blue.  From there, you can change the way the face looks.  So, if you want it to look more like a drawing, you can.  Your options are: your original image, black and white drawing, or colour drawing.  And lastly, you can add some words in there.… Read the rest

Why is the AppStore Rejecting AdBlocking App Updates?

Why is the AppStore Rejecting AdBlocking App Updates?

adblock

Popular ad blocking applications like Adblock and Weblock have explained that Apple has stopped accepting updates to their applications, on the grounds that they violate a section of the AppStore Developer Guidelines.  Which one?  Well, the requirement stipulates that apps should be useful, unique and provide some kind of value.  More specifically Apple states: “your app should include features, content and UI that elevate it beyond a repackaged website.  If your app is not particularly useful, unique or “app-like”, it doesn’t belong on the App Store.  If your App doesn’t provide some sort of lasting entertainment value, or is just plain creepy it may not be accepted”.

Why is this an issue for Adblock and Weblock?  They are both VPN-based adblock apps who recently had their updates rejected.  Again, why is this an issue? The adblocking app installs certificates on your device to block advertisements both in Safari and other applications.  The issue for Apple is that they want advertisements through Safari.  Apple indicated that they “have always supported advertising as one of the many ways that developers can make money with apps”.

weblock

If you want to block the advertisements, you have to find an app that uses the Safari Content Blocker.  Further to that, they haven’t removed the actual applications from the AppStore, but rather are just blocking future updates.  Does this make sense?  And is it fair?  For one, this has been a rule of Apple’s since day one.  … Read the rest