A Lizard In The Security Shed

Hey, here’s a short audio clip, recorded by the EK-FM Radio Presenter, Nancy Sungu, in Kenya. For the past 8 weeks, EK-FM has been off-air due to maintenance issues (in fact, a lizard got into their security shed and fried their transmitter!). The silent air-waves caused much upset in the community.

In the interview, Diana Akinyi, a small-scale farmer on Mfangano Island, explains the impact of EK-FM. Each week she listens to the farmer’s voice radio hour to get up-to-date information on local farming practices. While the radio was off-air getting repaired she missed out!

Diana on the Impact of EK Radio:

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The good news? The transmitter was just returned to the Island last week. And because EK-FM won a 1st place prize award in the Big Ideas at Berkeley competition, they were granted $8K to do a solar upgrade to increase broadcast hours from 5 hours a day to 12 hours a day. This is the real deal.

kr

Travel Tips, Inspired By Misadventures

Okay, you already know about useful sites like TripAdvisor and SeatGuru, and you’re doing your best to accumulate and use frequent-flier points. Here are some tips to cover the other stuff, inspired partly by my own misadventures.

The context for these tips is that I travel for public service and philanthropy, not business; I haven’t been in craigslist management since 2000. (I hear that people travel for “pleasure” or on “vacation,” which I understand are mythological concepts.)

Store everything online. Anything that has to be local, encrypt. Act as if you could lose your laptop anytime. Recently, I cleverly left my backpack in the cab taking me from airport to hotel, containing my laptop and medicines. The latter includes thyroid medicine, since I need it daily or I WILL DIE. (Slight exaggeration.)

As for forgetting the laptop, that’s expensive, but I keep very little data locally (anything sensitive is elsewhere). Worst that could happen is that someone would learn my terrible taste in music and books…

Learn to do pretty much everything on the phone. Seriously, I can do almost all of my work on a smartphone, though some tasks are much easier on a laptop. Regarding your phone, store everything online. Accept that your terrible taste in music and books will become public. Always carry your phone in a pocket or somehow attached to you. For male humans, if the pocket thing doesn’t work for you, learn to love the “murse.” May have begun with Seinfeld…

Before you get to the airport, or inflight with Wi-Fi, check out your flight status. Now and then, I get a flight canceled with little notice. Sometimes that happens when I’m in flight, and my connecting flight is the problem. I use flightstats, which also seems to have the most current ETA. Even if you’re at the airport, and they ask you to line up for customer service to get a flight, get on the phone while you’re in the line.

Do good while traveling. Sometimes hotels don’t have a preventive maintenance program, and you encounter a problem with facilities like the shower or A/C. Even if you’ll be there one day and have to deal with it once, call hotel engineering anyway. (The next guest won’t have to deal with it and will never know you helped, but do it anyway.) While you’re at it, bring an extra charger and cable, and loan it or give it away to someone who forgot theirs.

If you happen to mix business with pleasure, be prepared to dodge drool.

Sometimes, I’ll take a side trip and wind up in a family way. Pictured is the #20 nephew, aka The Kumquat. He’s the one (visibly) drooling.

Oh, and if you’re possibly getting married, and it’s possible that they might have a chair dance planned for you, I recommend scotch.

Photo: creative commons licensed (BY-ND) flickr photo by ♔ Georgie R; selfie with Billy the baby

Some Things You Should Know About Voter ID Laws

Voter ID Laws: solving a nonexistent problem with more government and more expense.

Folks, we’re almost a month away from National Voter Registration Day, on September 23, 2014, and less than 3 months away from elections, and that means that you should be aware of your rights.

Elections for US States Senate will be November 4, 2014. These elections mark 100 years of direct elections of U.S. Senators.

The elections to the US House of Representatives, elections for governors in states and territories, and many state and local elections will also be held on November 4, 2014.

The Declaration of Independence reminds us that we’re all equal under the law, but there are politicians who find that threatening.

There are some real bad actors out there trying to implement laws to stop eligible people, including women, the elderly, and communities of color, from voting. What I learned in high school civics class is that an attack on voting rights is virtually the same as an attack on the country.

According to the ACLU, 30 states require voters to present identification to vote in federal, state and local elections.

The Founders of the US tell us that everyone is equal in the eyes of the law, meaning that citizens have the right to vote. However, there are politicians who don’t like that, and they’re attacking the integrity of the election by making it hard for people to vote.

But there are some orgs out there who are doing real good work, like the Advancement Projectthe Brennan Center for Justice, Rock the Vote, League of Women Voters, and Voto Latino, they really have their boots on the ground when it comes to protecting the voting rights of us all.

49 yrs ago, LBJ signed the Voting Rights Act (VRA) to protect all voters. And, hey, maybe it’s time Congress does the same. It’s been over a year since the Supreme Court gutted the VRA. Congress needs to protect all voters by passing the Voting Rights Amendment Act (VRAA) to restore the VRA and provide modern, nationwide protections against discrimination at the polls.

It’s important to know when the Voter Registration deadline is in your state, you can find out here.

Disenfranchising voters is not a new thing, but has been happening across the country for some time now. A while back, my team and I created an infographic about the impact of voter suppression. And we also put together a list of voting resources; please check it out, and share any helpful resources that you think are missing in the comment section.

Is There Such a Thing As Online Privacy?

Folks, do you think that online privacy really exists?

This is what we tried to find out when we surveyed 1,007 Americans. Rad Campaign, Lincoln Parks Strategy, and infographicI teamed up to uncover experiences and views about online privacy. We took the results and created an infographic to share with you.

This is the second portion of data from the poll to be released. Last month, we released an infographic showing that about half of Americans under 35 have been bullied, harassed, or threatened online, or know someone who has.

Here’s a snapshot of what the Online Privacy survey revealed:

  • 74 % of Americans are either very or somewhat concerned about having too much personal information about them online.
  • On average, those surveyed believe that 64% of Americans have too much personal information about themselves online.
  •  People under 35 have more trust in social media sites than any other age demographic.
  • 70% are certain or think it’s very likely that social networks collect personal data such as interests, political affiliation, purchase habits, and what content is clicked, and then sell that data to advertisers to target ads and/or content at them.

privacy laws

If Internet users are so concerned about their privacy, do they read the terms of service (TOS)?

  • 66% either just click the agree box without reading any of the TOS, or skim through the TOS then click agree.
  • Only 17% carefully read the TOS before agreeing.
  • More college grads (27%) than non-college grads (18%) just click agree without reading.

The way I see it, more people need to read the TOS before signing up for these sites so they understand what kinds of data they’re giving to these platforms.  Stronger privacy laws could be useful too.

Folks, are you concerned about your online privacy? And if so, what are you doing about it?

Check out the full infographic and data here.

 

Why It’s Important to Get Girls Involved in Tech

Folks, I’ve been supporting an effort to get women and girls involved in tech for some time now, with support for orgs like Girls Who Code and Black Girls CODE. I’ve also done some work with Roya Mahboob and the New Delhi-based Feminist Approach to Technology. And, I’ve been working with The Women’s Building in SF. Check out this map to see where we’ve teched across the globe…

The U.S. Department of Labor projects that by 2020, there will be 1.4 million computer specialist job openings. To reach gender parity by 2020, women have gotta fill half of these positions, or 700,000 computing jobs. Right now, women make up half of the U.S. workforce, but hold only 25% of the jobs in tech or computing fields (according to Girls Who Code).

This is why it’s important to get girls involved in tech now.

girls who code

Here are 5 other reasons we need to focus on teaching girls about tech:

  1. In middle school, 74% of girls show interest in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM), but when choosing a college major, just 0.3% of high school girls select computer science. If we encouraged girls to code and to get involved in tech, more girls might start majoring in computer science.  For example, 100% of girls who participated in Girls Who Code’s 2012 program report that they’re definitely or more likely to major in computer science after taking the program.
  2. Today, women represent 12% of all computer science graduates. In 1984, they represented 37%. This number should be increasing.black girls code
  3. When we create technology and tech products, we create for the masses. By having a male perspective consistently leading and developing tech, we’re building this through the lens of men and their perspective not the masses.
  4. “The fastest way to change society is to mobilize the women of the world.”- Charles MalikThat is, we’re living in a very small period of tremendous social change, where the people who are best prepared, who have the best listening and cooperative skills should get their chance of running things.

    I don’t think we’ll see revolution, we’ll see a rebalancing of power, shifting from traditional sources of power (authority and money) to power based on the size and effectiveness of one’s network.

  5. Although the digital divide’s steadily eroding, tremendous barriers to entry in the technology field still remain for women of color. Black Girls CODE notes that early access and exposure are essential to changing the status quo.

Google launched an initiative last month called Made With Code, with the goal of getting young women excited about learning to code in an effort to close the gender gap in the tech industry. Google’s investing $50 million into the program over the next 3 years. Hey, it’s a good start.

How else do you think we can work to get more girls involved in tech and coding? This is the real deal, more to come…

Fighting Pigeons, and Other Home Office Visitors

Hey, I get a lot of appreciated disturbances at my home office. Sometimes the visitors act as my alarm clock, and other times they’re drooling. Here’s a brief look from my window…

2Fighters, or …?

1

Insects are delicious, or, Woodpecker waking Craig up at five am is hilarious.

suet
Steller’s Jay locks in best target in the Squirrel-resistant Suet Palace.

(note to self: refill the Palace)

A Robin, bath interrupted, and indignant
A Robin, bath interrupted, and indignant.

Craig's wake up call today provided by two raccoons

Craig’s wake up call is sometimes provided by two raccoons, here’s one of ’em.

New way to wake up Craig- a very chuffed, very loud, Western Scrub Jay

Others have discovered a new way to wake up Craig: a very chuffed, very loud, Western Scrub Jay.

Okay, we'd like to see more of these guys. The Mrs put up a parrot toy. She's instructed me to make parrot noise

Okay, we’d like to see more of these guys. The Mrs put up a parrot toy. She’s instructed me to make “parrot noise.”

Parrots, skeptical and amused (at least the bald spot hasn't grown in  20 years...)

Parrots, skeptical and amused. (At least the bald spot hasn’t grown in  20-30 years…)

Philosopher pigeon wonders about it all

Philosopher pigeon wonders about it all.

Selfie with Billy

Selfie with Billy, nephew #20 who will visit, someday. Billy’s the one (visibly) drooling…

the demure one

The demure one.

The team

The team.

Walter

And, finally, this is Walter.

These photos are all by the Mrs. and myself, and were pulled from my facebook page, and the #Crileen (that’s Craig and Eileen) Birdography Spectacular. A Special thanks to Cornell Lab of Ornithology and eBird.org for helping out with some bird IDs, they do great work!

I’ll keep you posted on the parrot noises…

Why I speak ONLY for myself

Hey, recently I’ve made a point of reminding people that I haven’t been a spokesman for craigslist, or had any role in management since 2000.

My deal is that, as a manager, I kinda suck, but I found my calling in customer service, and every day I saw how we helped people put food on the table and put a roof over that table.

Customer service is a big part of what inspires me; also consider that “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”(Martin Luther King Jr.)

For a few years now (time flies!) I’ve been working on public service and philanthropy under the craigconnects.org umbrella.

In the short term, I have a few causes I believe in and support a number of organizations who are good at getting stuff done for those causes.

In the long term, over a twenty year period say, my goal is to connect people everywhere, to support the stuff *they* believe in.

People often know me as the founder of craigslist, but these days I’m on my own public service mission. So, thoughts I share publicly here (or anywhere else) are my own, and I speak only for myself.

That way craigslist and its users won’t (or at least shouldn’t) get blamed for anything I say or do.

 

Respect for the Federal worker

The NextGen Public Service Awards will be awarded soon, and I was asked to do a little video thanking people for their service.

Here’s the video, couple minutes, maybe indulge me by taking a look:

The gist is the Fed workers don’t get no respect, and that’s way unfair.

In the video I extend my respect, and suggest that Feds can get the respect they’ve already earned by posting good news regarding their work in social media.

Then, they can ask friends, including me, to further Share and retweet those posts.  (I’m already doing so for multiple agencies.)

Please bring your Public Affairs Officers into the loop; remember that their jobs are already really tough.

If anyone gives you crap, Blame Craig.

(and yes, the “don’t get no respect” thing is a Rodney Dangerfield reference.)

The Road to Hell’s Paved With Good Intentions

Hey, recently I wrote a blog post outlining some of my philosophies, and mentioned that there was more to come. I figure I should follow through.

On Time Management and Effectiveness – 

When I think about effective orgs, I ask, do they have the ability to actually get things done? Because that’s not true of a lot of nonprofits or other well intentioned people or groups.

A lot have good intentions, but there’s a saying that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. It’s important to mean well, but also have the ability to get stuff done.

Cole Valley update, by the wife...
Cole Valley update, by the wife…

Let’s say if an org smells good, in that direction, then I turn to the people who actually know stuff, the team around me. I may have some inclination that a group can get stuff done, but I’m not a nonprofit expert.

When looking for effectiveness, I look for people’s ability to conduct themselves briefly and well. If you can articulate what you’re about in 45 seconds or less, then I’m more generous time-wise and I try to be a nicer person. But anyone you want resources from will be judging you based on how well you can articulate yourself.

On Passion and My Sunset Years- 

I’m kind of tired of passion, especially as I enter my sunset years. But the deal is, you really want commitment from people. You want the excitement, but then they need to follow through. Following through is the hard part, and that’s what I look for.

In addition to passion or excitement, I’m looking for commitment. People can get excited about something, realize it’s hard, then that passion might not count for anything.

By the way, when I talk about the sunset years, I’m not far from claiming my AARP discount. I’m not kidding as much as you think I am.

5 Things You Should Know About the Military Consumer Campaign

Folks, “today’s service members and their families must be extra vigilant in guarding against scams and predatory lending practices. With separation from family and friends, frequent relocations, the stresses of deployment and a steady paycheck, scam artists are often quick to target [these communities].” Cmdr. Peter Hoegel says this over on the Department of Defense’s website in his article, 5 things you should know about the Military Consumer Campaign.

Photo illustration courtesy of the Office of Military Community and Family Policy
Photo illustration courtesy of the Office of Military Community and Family Policy

This has to do with bad actors ripping off service members and their families.

Cmdr. Hoegel, Deputy Director, Office of Family Policy/Children and Youth, continues his article by saying:

As members of the military community, we understand the importance of being mission-ready.  It’s worth taking a minute to remember that the financial readiness of service members and families is a key contributor to mission readiness.   Especially for deployed service members, knowing that finances are secure and that the families back at home are financially stable gives them peace of mind and allows them to focus on the important tasks at hand.

What is the Military Consumer Campaign?

The Military Consumer Campaign is designed to empower our military community by offering tips and tools to becoming informed consumers.  This is the second year the Federal Trade Commission is sponsoring the campaign.  As part of DoD’s larger, year-round financial readiness campaign, the Military Consumer Campaign strives to educate the military community to help service members and their families make informed decisions when it comes to financial products and services.  In addition, the campaign will shed light on common scams that target the military community.

Who is involved in the Military Consumer Campaign?

The Department of Defense has teamed up with the Federal Trade Commission, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Office of Service member Affairs, and the Consumer Federation of America.  All of us at these organizations are committed to supporting service members and their families through financial education, as well as aggressively addressing scams and fraud directed at the military community.  Collectively, these organizations provide considerable knowledge and expertise at no cost to our military community.

Why is the Military Consumer Campaign important?

Educating our military community on financial topics is key to helping service members and their families steer clear of scams. In 2013, the Federal Trade Commission received more than 72,900 consumer complaints from our military community with identity theft continuing to top the list with more than 22,000 of those complaints.  Other top complaint categories for the military community include debt collection, imposter scams, banks and lenders, credit bureaus, information furnishers and report users; and auto-related complaints.  The Military Consumer Campaign is designed to use this information and better educate our community to prevent these types of scams in the future.

When does the campaign kick off?

As a lead up to the Military Consumer Protection Day, the Federal Trade Commission is sponsoring:

  • The official kick-off of the Federal Trade Commission’s Military Consumer Campaign, includes but not limited to, A Twitter “Town Hall” chat that starts at 2 p.m. EDT on July 16, 2014.  Follow the Twitter chat with hashtag #MCPD2014.

Other events currently scheduled are:

  • Wright-Patterson AFB and their local Federal Trade Commission field office are planning an informational fair on July 16, 2014.
  • Navy Federal Credit Union is sponsoring “Shred Days” in Norfolk and New London, and the Federal Trade Commission, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority and Better Business Bureau San Antonio are joining with others to host a fair at Joint Base San Antonio on Sept. 23, 2014.

Consumer protection is important year-round, and the department is pleased to support the Military Consumer Campaign as we support the Consumer Federation of America’s Military Saves Campaign. Check with your Personal Financial Management Program for information on local kickoff events, and watch Military Consumer website for ongoing information.

Where can I find more information on the Military Consumer Campaign?

The Military Consumer website offers a whole host of resources for the military community, materials for service providers, and a blog that addresses timely issues as well as tips. Their resources come from more than 30 federal, state and municipal agencies, consumer advocates and military support organizations.

The Know-How page looks at purchases and divides them into topics, including vehicles, banking, saving and investing, and more. A brief look through their auto purchasing section provides users with information on Lemon Laws, car-buying tips and odometer fraud, just to name a few. The Military Consumer website is a valuable tool for all of the military community, offering new tips for some and solid reminders for others.

There is great freedom in living within our means, and financial education is just one of the tools to help you improve your financial picture.  Get involved in Military Consumer Protection Day events this year and take advantage of the beneficial resources this campaign has to offer.  If there aren’t any events near you, visit the Military Consumer website or your local Personal Financial Management Program for more information.

And remember that Military OneSource financial counselors are available for counseling at no cost year-round by visiting the website or calling 800-342-9647.  Take a look, contact us and don’t forget to share the information with other in our military community.

 

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