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Sat, 21 May 2011 14:27:44 GMT
The Arab Spring and the Fate of Social Media Freedom

Much, if not all of the success of the ongoing Arab revolutions of 2010-11 has been attributed to the organizing and information spreading made possible by sites like Twitter, Youtube, and Facebook. Armed not with rifles but smartphones, laptops, and cameras, the youth of the Arab world has been able to Tweet their way to toppling regimes and seriously challenging others once considered unmovable. The atrocities of their opposition are no longer occurring behind the brick walls of compounds but on grainy, shaky, but nonetheless gut-wrenching video made available to millions on Youtube. Governments the world over have invested billions into domestic defense systems designed around the threat of an armed insurrection. But nothing in their battle plans ever anticipated the power of social media in the revolutions of the modern age.

That's going to change, and don't think the United States isn't included. You might already take issue with many of the online restrictions already in place in the freest nation on Earth. Maybe you took the time to seriously learn about online poker strategy only to find out internet gambling is pretty much illegal in this country. That probably upsets you very much. But the internet poses potentially bigger problems to those in charge besides gambling complications. The United States and other stable countries are just a catastrophe away – whether economical or natural or otherwise – from undergoing domestic crises similar to those in the Middle East. Not even that – even localized issues can generate paramount protesting and upheaval if they're bad enough. This will obviously be fueled by the same social media tools used to launch the Arab Spring.

Leaders and lawmakers here are undoubtedly interested in inhibiting the revolutionary power of social media. The freedom of assembly, along with the other free speech rights entailed by the first amendment, were not written to anticipate the potential for information to be spread instantly and to millions. These issues have their origins in radio, television, and the internet in general, but not since social media has the information been completely outside the control of the government. Radio, television, and the internet are at least in some ways regulated by the FCC, and not only that much of the information that gets processed by the public is filtered through corporate influence and the industry focus of pushing commodities through communication: commercials. There are no such filters in social media. People can say just about anything to just about anyone who wants to listen.

How will lawmakers attempt to maneuver around our first amendment rights and restrict the social media inspired revolutions of the future? If legislators are good at one thing it's getting around the constitution as much as possible without actually infringing upon it. Watch for the way the internet itself is regulated in coming years – it might be the fate of online poker that you're most interested in but the political posturing may be less about such immediate concerns and more about keeping the ability to access one another so easily through social media to a minimum. Just remember, until then you'll have the power of social media on your side to prevent it. Take a lesson from the Arab Spring and prevent the fall of social media freedom.

Mon, 09 May 2011 14:54:18 GMT
What is a Pharmacy Technician?

As health care expands in the coming years, those who work in related fields have opportunities to find good careers. One of the careers that you can consider is that of pharmacy technician. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the middle 50% of pharmacy techs earn between $13.32 and $15.88 an hour. Some pharmacy techs earn as much as $19.00 or more an hour, according to the U.S. government.  

What Does a Pharmacy Technician Do? 

Pharmacy technicians help licensed pharmacists in their work. A pharmacy tech can provide customer service, perform administrative duties, and get prescriptions for customers. They work under the direction of the pharmacist, and, depending on the state regulations, can usually receive prescription requests, label medication, and count out tablets.  

If a pharmacy tech works in health care facility, rather than in retail setting, he or she might deliver medications, and record information in a patient profile. These duties are usually performed in nursing homes, assisted-living facilities, community clinics and hospitals. In some cases, pharmacy techs are required to work odd hours: Weekends, holidays and evenings might be required. Those working in retail settings may have more regular hours, though. 

Certifying as a Pharmacy Technician 

It is not always necessary to certify as a pharmacy technician. Some states do not require special training. However, if you want an edge, it can be helpful to earn the proper certification. The Pharmacy Technician Certification Board and the Institute for the Certification of Pharmacy Technicians are both organizations through which you can receive recognized certification. You usually have to pass an exam. You can improve your chances of passing the exam with the help of a formal training program, which can last between six months and two years. The longer programs include more  

Before you can take the exam, you do need to meet certain qualifications. You usually need to have earned a high school diploma (or GED) in most states before you can be a pharmacy tech. Also, you cannot have any felony convictions or misdemeanor convictions related to illegal drugs or pharmaceuticals. Once you are certified, you usually need to re-certify every two years to maintain your certification as a pharmacy technician. Some of the basic skills you need as a pharmacy technician include: 

* Good customer service 

* Oral and written communication skills 

* Phone skills 

* Basic computer skills 

* Basic math skills 

* Reading skills 

* Ability to follow directions 

Also, realize that the pharmacy environment is clean and orderly. You will be expected to maintain this cleanliness, as well as present yourself in a professional manner. 

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the outlook for this job is fairly good. So, if you are looking for a job that commands a degree of respect, and allows you to make a reasonable wage after a relatively small amount of education. Because the entire health care field is expected to grow in the next decade, pharmacy technicians should enjoy fairly stable jobs, and opportunities for advancement if they are willing to continue on with education, and if they do a good job. 

Mon, 09 May 2011 14:53:53 GMT
Formspring Mobile B0rk

One thing I can't stand is websites that are designed for mobile devices, but that simply don't work on my Blackberry. Are they testing on the Blackberry. Makes you wonder.

Today my complaint is formspring.me. There's a nav bar at the top of the page that is repositionned when you scroll. I scroll down to see more content and the nav bar repositions itself, quite often over top of the area I'm trying to read. When I try to scroll right, the nav bar respositionning forces the screen back to the left. I can't see anything on the right side of the screen.

http://www.formspring.me/

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