Heartbleed

In a world where technology is constantly growing and new media is always just a click away, there are certain drawbacks that we must be aware of. In the last month, the public has become aware of a new internet hack called the Heartbleed bug. Similar to what happened to Target stores, this bug steals the most important information that we store on the internet. Most of the time, websites are protected by what is called SSL/TLS encryption. When you have a website that begins with “https” and has a little lock button next to the browser, it used to mean that the site you were on was secure and you were able to enter personal information without it getting out. Heartbleed allows anyone on the internet to gain access to the information that was once secure. The problem with Heartbleed is that your information can be stolen without you ever knowing anything has gone awry. This bug originated from a flaw in the Open SSL system that leaves your credit card information and passwords vulnerable.

Thankfully, this bug has been patched up quickly and almost all websites have recovered and prompted their users to change their passwords. Websites are also offering other tips on how to build strong passwords. The strongest password is long, has uppercase and lowercase letters, and at least one number and/or character. Although these passwords might be more difficult to remember, they will help you in the long run with internet security. Another website suggests changing your password every 90 days just to be sure that you are being secure online. It is always important to be cautious when putting important information on the internet. As safe as you think it might be, there is always a chance that your information could fall into the wrong hands, so always take precautions. Be smart on the internet, and change your passwords to prevent yourself from threats.

http://heartbleed.com Logo for the Heartbleed bug

http://heartbleed.com
Logo for the Heartbleed bug

Sports in the Media

Week 12

This week in class we have been discussing the impact of the media on sports and how we as individuals are personally affected by sports. Athletics are such a huge part of our culture that we often do not realize how prevalent they are in our day-to-day lives. On an given day on campus, I will see thousands of college students supporting some sort of athletic team whether it is from their high school, Bloomsburg, or professional. Sports are often a way for people to connect and bond. I enjoy watching football games with my roommates on the weekends during football season, even though we all cheer for different teams. In recent years, like everything else, sports and athletic teams have demanded a large gathering on social media. The NFL Twitter account has over 6.2 million followers. Athletes in every sports have Twitter accounts with millions and millions of followers watching their every move. Athletes have often gotten in trouble because of something that was leaked onto social media. For example, someone filmed the Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Riley Cooper using a racial slur at a Kenny Chesney concert this past summer. Cooper was fined for his actions. This is something that no one would have known about if it was not for social media and the ability for anyone to post anything on the internet.

Because of the large following that sports teams have, money has become a huge factor in sports. Ticket prices are costly, merchandise is expensive and players get paid more than they ever have before. When people are exposed to that much money, they become greedy and want more and more. Athletes live expensive lifestyles and most do give back to charities, although they will make more money in one season than the average American will in their lifetime. I believe that sports have turned into a business and that money has affected the game. I believe that the amount of money that players and coaches make has taken away from the pure love of the game that caused all professional athletes to begin playing in the first place.

Google Glass

Week 11

You may have heard of Google Glass, one of the world’s latest and most innovative technologies. It is essentially a smart phone that you can wear like eyeglasses. It allows hands-free convenience by using voice-command technology and it serves a variety of functions. Google has partnered with the owners of Ray-Ban and Oakley to allow for stylish eyewear choices for the glass.

If you have been dying to get your hands on your very own Google Glass, Tuesday, April 15th will be your lucky day. Google is opening up sales of this device to any adult in the United States but only for this one day. The first customers to purchase the Glass will receive free frames or sunglasses with it. This is the first time that Google Glass will be available to the general public. Previously, only developers could purchase Glass, and then Google expanded and allowed select “Explorers” to buy the glass. Some were hand-picked and others applied and were selected through a contest. Now, for one day, Google is allowing anyone in the nation to become a Google Glass Explorer.

Google Glass has experienced some controversy in its first year. People are claiming that it is an invasion of privacy due to the fact that you can take pictures and videos and no one around you will know. People have mocked Glass wearers for looking silly. People have even been given tickets while driving with Glass due to distracted driving. Google is hoping that this one day sale will lead to more exposure and education to dispel some of these fears and lead to a positive view from the general public. You can learn more about Google Glass here. Don’t forget to sign up here for a reminder from Google to purchase your Google Glass on Tuesday morning.

CGA’s Big Event

Week 10

Each year, Bloomsburg University students volunteer by the thousands for one afternoon in the spring to help with a variety of projects to improve our community. This day is sponsored by the Community Government Association (CGA) and is titled The Big Event. Students volunteer a Saturday morning/afternoon to go around town to help community members with a variety of tasks that they could not do themselves. I believe that this is one event that sets Bloomsburg apart form other schools. Not only do Greek Life and athletic teams participate, but other smaller on-campus organizations put together a team of helpful participants as well. The best part is you don’t even need an organization to participate! If you and a group of your friends want to volunteer your time to community service just for fun, you can sign up as a team or as individuals. CGA provides breakfast and free t-shirts to the volunteers the morning of the event. Once all the volunteers gather at the town park, they are given assignments and tools and are sent on their way to help Bloomsburg become a better place.

This year, students were able to discuss and share their tasks with the hashtag #CGABigEvent, and tons of students did share! You can see a compilation of some of the days best photos and tweets here. My group shared some photos of our day and we also enjoyed scrolling through the hashtag to see what other groups were up to. Social media can make events like this much more fun. Although you might be alone at your job site, you just have to check Twitter to see all the hard work that others are doing all around you. It is a heartwarming event. Although most college students do not want to get out of bed on a Saturday morning (myself included), I changed my mind very quickly once I met the residents I was helping. One man had an oxygen mask thanks to a nasty case of pneumonia and could not take care of his own yard work, so we were happy to help. Another lady who’s house we visited had a heart attack last year and therefore needed some help around her yard. She had the sweetest dog that we loved getting kisses from in between raking!

The Big Event this year took place last Saturday on March 29th and was a huge success!

Virtual Wallet

Week 9

Social media has changed our lives in numerous ways. The development of smart phones and mobile apps have given us access to so much information at the touch of a button. Apps have made so many things easier and more accessible in our day to day lives. As a busy college student, I am a huge fan of coffee, so the Dunkin Donuts and Starbucks apps are both downloaded on my phone. Both of these businesses have perks and rewards on their mobile apps to encourage consumers to use the apps. The part of the apps that I find the most interesting is that you can pay for your order with your phone. If you have a Dunkin Donuts or Starbucks card, you can put it on your phone and use that to pay for your coffee. Technology has become so advanced that you do not even need your wallet anymore. You can use the internet and apps to continuously reload money on to your card on the app. This is just one example of how technology and media are improving our everyday lives.

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There is an app that comes automatically on all iPhones called Passbook. This app keeps boarding passes, movie tickets, retail coupons, and loyalty cards all in one place on your phone. It is essentially a virtual wallet that allows you to use apps to organize all of your information that you would normal keep a hard copy of. This way, all of your information that you need is always on your phone. The only drawback to the reliance on technology is that it could fail. Technology is not always reliable, and if your phone crashes or is dead and that is the only place you have all your information, you could be in trouble.

However, most of the time people have back-ups for these apps and they often work properly 97% of the time. I think in the future, physical credit cards/gift cards will become obsolete to apps and using your smart phone to make transactions.

Pray for Jackie

Week 8

In late February, there was a party on Iron Street on a Saturday night which is a pretty typical scene in Bloomsburg. However, what happened next is something not typical for Bloomsburg. Several Kutztown University football players got into a fight with Bloomsburg University students and Jackie Lithgow, a 19-year-old freshman from Boiling Springs attempted to break up the fight. Lithgow was hit in the head causing him to fall back and hit his head on the concrete sidewalk. He was unconscious and is currently in intensive care at Geisinger Medical Center and has had to have part of his skull removed and has also suffered bleeding from his brain. Four Kutztown University football players have been arrested.

Although this is a horrible, tragic event, the university has come together to support Jackie and his family during this terrible time. BU Now, an on-campus organization, has started a fundraiser and are donating part of their profits to Jackie and his family to help them pay for medical expenses and a play to stay while their son is receiving medical care in Danville; approximately two hours away from their hometown. Other ways to help are buying a t-shirt to show support for Jackie or donating directly to the cause here. The support this family has received in such a short time has been incredible and would not be possible without social media and the kind, caring students on this campus. Students have done prayer vigils and other various things to show their support. They have also spread the word for these donation pages on Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag #PrayforJackie which allows people to hear about this story and show their support to this family. Social media can have such a positive impact in situations like this. If you would like to follow Jackie’s progress, you can follow his family’s blog here.

As much good as social media has done for this cause, there was also a negative impact. Angel Cruz, one of the alleged attackers from Kutztown sent out this horrible tweet the day after the incident: “Everyone dies someday.” His Twitter account has since been deleted, but not before receiving a fury of angry messages from Jackie’s supporters. The insensitivity shown by Cruz will undoubtedly negatively impact his case. Students still have trouble understanding how big of an impact social media can have, and the tweet will definitely be a factor in Cruz’s sentencing. Judges will surely take into consideration the little remorse Cruz has shown for his actions and Lithgow’s life.

http://bunow.com/66831-bloomsburg-shows-support-for-jackie Lithgow with his family on his high school graduation day this past summer

http://bunow.com/66831-bloomsburg-shows-support-for-jackie
Lithgow with his family on his high school graduation day this past summer

I have high hopes that Jackie will make a full recovery, and we hope to keep his family positive by knowing they have our entire university behind them showing support. I also hope that justice will be served to the four attackers. Please continue to pray for and support Jackie Lithgow and his entire family.

Stephen A. Smith

Week 7

Stephen A. Smith is an American sports journalist who works for ESPN. He came to Bloomsburg University to deliver a speech about leadership on February 22nd, 2014. In class today, we were able to watch a DVD of his inspiring speech. The main thing I got out of his speech today is that you must be responsible for yourself no matter what. He said that this is a key ingredient of leadership. To be successful, you need to embrace responsibility and always work hard no matter what.

He started out his speech by telling us that truth is positive. He says that he is successful because he does not consider himself successful. He works hard every single day despite what he has already achieved because he “has not scratched the surface of his potential” yet. He conveyed to the audience that it is so important to understand and embrace competition. There will always be people out there who want the same things as you, and you have to want it the most. You must acknowledge the competition and then embrace it. He also said that there is no excuse for being unprepared, you are always expected to be prepared.

Part of being responsible for yourself is accepting that some people might not like you. Rather than blaming it on your race or some other factor, you have to accept the fact that sometimes people will not like you. Leaders embrace responsibility and they confront challenges rather than avoiding them. You have to accept that you will have obstacles, understand those obstacles and then plan to overcome them.

He talked about a job versus a career. A job is doing what you have to do in order to elevate your quality of life, a career is doing what you want to do that also elevates your quality of life. A career requires you to put in extra work and longer hours, but you do not mind because you love it and you live for it. He told us that part of being a leader is learning how to be a thief and steal successful habits. If you see someone who is in a position you want to be in, learn from them. See what works and learn how to apply it to your life.

Another important topic that he touched on was that it is important to always have solutions. He told us to never go to a boss and complain. Your supervisors will always want you to have a solution and be able to fix the problem, not just complain to them about it. Facing adversity shows what you are made of. Confronting challenges helps you to grow and learn. If you do not accept and confront challenges, someone else will and that will put them ahead of you. He told us that the more you surround yourself with knowledgeable people, the more knowledgeable you become.

One of the final things he touched on was also one of the most important. He told us that we are going to fall. It is inevitable. Then he asked us, are you prepared to get up? This left the audience with motivation to overcome adversity. Rather than sugar coating everything and telling us how successful we will be, he taught us to accept failure and learn how to overcome it because that will make us that much more successful.

Follow Stephen on Twitter here.

 

Pedorazzi

Week 6

Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard are actors, spouses, and new parents to a baby girl born in March 2013. Since the birth of their daughter, they have been very vocal about the fact that they will not be putting photos of her out into the world. No magazine covers, no cute twitpics. They have both agreed that they chose to be celebrities and have their life in the public eye, but their daughter has not and they feel that she deserves her anonymity until she is ready to make her own decisions.

Recently, they have embarked on a new campaign to try and stop what they are calling “pedorazzi” AKA paparazzi who stalk celebrities and their children and sell photos to magazines. They argue that these men are damaging to the well-being of the children and stand by their statement that celebrities signed up to have their picture taken, children did not. Halle Barry and Jennifer Garner have been crusaders for this same cause and are actively trying to stop paparazzi from being able to photograph their children. Most of the time, getting the pictures we see in magazines involves children being harassed, chased, and subjected to camera flashes in their faces and large groups of people surrounding them at all times. These conditions are extremely frightening for adults but especially for children, and they do not deserve this treatment when simply out and about with their parents. They do not understand why people want to take their pictures or take pictures of their parents because to them, they are simply mommy and daddy.

Kristen and Dax have made it their mission to stop this gross act. They are reaching out via Twitter to news sites like People magazine and other publications and also E! News and other television news sites to stop printing/showing these pictures. They say that if we as consumers stop buying publications with these kinds of photos, they will get the message and eventually stop printing them. They want us all to stand up and ask for better treatment for these kids.

Here is some more information about their cause:

This video explains more about Kristen and Dax’s fight to stop pedorazzi.

Dax Shepard wrote an article for the Huffington Post about the same issue that you can read here.

This is a video that Kristen Bell shared on her Twitter account of paparazzi stalking Katie Holmes and her daughter, Suri. It shows how visibly upset Suri is by the paparazzi.

Media History

Week 5

This week, we had an assignment to interview someone 65 or older and ask him or her questions about their memory of different media forms and how it has altered their life and changed throughout the course of their life. I am lucky to have two amazing grandparents: my grandfather Angelo Salvatore is 90 years old, and my grandmother, Dolores Salvatore is 88. In their lifetimes, they have seen media expand from the early days of radio to smart phones. My grandmother thinks that Siri is an amazing concept and finds it hilarious that my cell phone will talk to me, and my grandfather is equally amazed at FaceTime and how you can see the other person you are talking to. I asked them some questions about what they remember of media throughout their lives.

My grandfather was about 14 years old when his father brought home their first radio. He told me “it looked like a piece of furniture, it was so big!” He remembered listening the fights of Joe Louis, an American professional boxer and World Heavyweight Champion from 1937-1949. He specifically remembered listening to the fight between Joe Louis and Max Schmeling who was from Germany. My grandfather remembered the outcome of both matches: Schmeling was victorious the first time they fought in 1936, but Louis came out on top the second time in 1938. My grandmother was about 12 years old when she remembers her family getting their first radio. She said that when her parents weren’t listening to it, her and her siblings would fight for what station they wanted to listen to. They would all listen together when they were home because there was only one.

My grandparents were married in 1947, and did not have their first television until after they were married. Their first television was black and white. My grandparents each remember watching a different TV show with their parents: my grandfather said that in his fathers house, it always had to be silent when the news was on. Conversely, my grandmother said that in her mothers home, it always had to be quiet when The Lawrence Welk Show was on which debuted in 1955.

My grandparents don’t remember specific dates, so I asked my mom to fill in some of the gaps. My grandparents had one television set until the early 70s when my mother was a young teenager. Growing up, the one television they had only reached three channels. They did not have cable until they got their first color television set in 1972. My mother and my grandparents agreed that a second TV set made a difference in their lives. My mother said it meant she got to watch more of what she wanted because she did not have to watch the same thing as her parents. Although, she did say she often fought with her two older brothers over what programs to watch.

My grandparents enjoyed going to see live theater in the 60s and early 70s more than going to a movie theater. When my grandfather was younger, he would clean his older sisters basement for a nickel, which, at the time, was enough money to go down the street and see a movie. He has not been to a movie theater in years. I think it is amazing how much the price of a movie has so drastically changed since my grandfather was young. My mother has memories of going to the drive-in movies with her parents and brothers when she was a young girl. The first movie she remembers seeing in theaters was The Singing Nun which my grandmother took her to see when it came out in 1966. My mother was six years old.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Singing_Nun_(film) "The Singing Nun" movie poster

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Singing_Nun_(film)
“The Singing Nun” movie poster

My grandparents have never owned a VCR or DVD player or TiVo/DVR, so instead I turned to my parents. My parents bought their first VCR when they were first married in the 1980s. It cost over $500, which seems ridiculously expensive to us now, but back then it was the newest technology. My mother said that VCR/DVD players greatly changed her quality of life. She remembered being a little girl and waiting all year to watch The Wizard of Oz because it only played once a year. She said they were very careful to only get snacks and use the bathroom during commercial breaks so they did not miss any part of the movie–if they missed some, they could not rewind or pause, they had to wait a whole year to see it again. Because I grew up with VHS tapes, this concept seems crazy to me! I can’t imagine having to wait a whole year to see a movie. My biggest inconvenience as a child was rewinding my VHS tapes when they were over. We got our first DVD player in my house in the early 2000s, and I remember being sad because some of my favorite movies were still on VHS tapes.

My grandfather is adorably stubborn and does not like to change his routine, so new technology is always hard for him to adjust to. My parents told me that it took years to convince him to get a remote for his television when they came out. He kept saying he didn’t need one and that he didn’t mind getting up to change the channels himself but my parents got him one anyway, and he loved it. The same thing happened recently. We had been talking to my grandparents about getting a cell phone for several years, and they always refused. Two years ago, my parents insisted and got them a very basic phone. My brother and I programmed all their phone numbers in it and taught them how to use it, however they still have a hand-written hard copy of all their family and friends phone numbers on the inside of their kitchen cabinet. Even though my grandfather was hesitant about a cell phone at first, I asked him if he thought it improved his quality of life and he said absolutely. “Now I wonder how I got along without it!” He thinks it is smart to have because we live two hours away and when he drives to visit us, it is important that he has a way to contact someone if he gets stuck or his car were to break down. He says it is a plus to have a cell phone and makes him feel better because if something were to happen to him or my grandmother, he could call a doctor or for help no matter where they are.

Although they are recent owners of a cell phone, my grandparents have never had a computer or anything of the sort. They say that they do not understand anything about computers and gadgets and wouldn’t know how to work one. My parents got our first computer in the early 1990s.

Overall, my grandparents said their quality of life has improved. They are always amazed by the technology we have today and how many different things I can do with my iPhone. My grandmother said life is so fast today; you can’t sit still because everything is different and always changing and you have to keep up. I definitely agree with her! It is sometimes difficult to stay on top of all the current technologies, but it has changed our lives and the way we communicate in so many ways.

I loved doing this assignment because I always love talking to my grandparents about their lives as children and trying to understand the differences in the way we grew up. I think back to the world they lived in when they were children and how amazing it is that they have seen virtually every version of technology grow and develop.

Mr. Bloomsburg 2014

Week 4

This week, I am going to do some self promotion for the club I am involved in on campus, PRSSA (Public Relations Student Society of America). I have been actively involved in PRSSA since my freshman year of college. I do admit that working with a bunch of senior level PR students was intimidating at first, but being in this club since the start of my college career has benefitted me in so many ways. Now, I am the Vice President and have no problem taking on leadership roles and have learned how to run successful events over these past two and a half years.

One of the biggest events that we do during the course of a year is Mr. Bloomsburg, a male beauty pageant. This will be the fifth year for Mr. Bloomsburg and each year, we try to make it bigger and better than ever. One of the biggest challenges we face during the planning of this event is getting guys to want to compete. In order to make guys sign up, we have to make it fun and worthwhile for them. This year, we are targeting Greek Life in hopes that if a fraternity nominates one of his brothers to enter, the audience will grow from the other members wanting to come cheer him on. For even more audience growth, we are hoping a sorority will sponsor a frat brother and that they will also come to watch their guy compete. Men of all ages can compete in this pageant and each year, we get prizes for the first and second place winners.

We are also trying to become much more present on social media sites. We have tried to make a Twitter account for this competition in years past, but it never gets very many followers due to it being a limited time event. Instead of making a new account each year, this year we created Facebook and Twitter pages for the event that we will update each year with new information. This way, we can build a consistent base of followers as new people join and as old students graduate.

The pageant will take place this year on April 1st, 2014 in the Kehr Union Ballroom. Follow us on Twitter and Like us on Facebook!