Silver bells are ringing, I hear those sleigh bells jingling and soon the carolers will be singing. It must mean it is nearing Christmas time in the city.
A lot of us have already experienced some very cold temperatures and have already seen snow falling. What a glorious time of the year, and families and friends are getting ready to come together and create new memories to cherish for a lifetime.
As we near the end of another year, I cant help reflecting over the past year recalling the many things that have taken place within our Out-Of-Sight family. We have shared many experiences together, some of them happy ones, some sad events, but, we have gone through them together being there for one another, and isnt that what our extended family is all about.
Life passes by so quickly, so let us not take each other for granted, but, make sure that during this busy holiday season you take time to let your family and friends know how much you love and appreciate them.
Our newsletter contributors have been busy again this month compiling articles and information that I hope you will enjoy.
I pray that everyone has a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, and will take time to remember the real reason for the season.
I am looking forward to seeing all of you in the coming year, and continuing to get to know each one of you better, and making new friends from all around the world.God bless all of you,
The spotlight is traveling 2,826 miles from the east coast, Brooklyn, New York, to the west coast, Sacramento, CA to shine ever so brightly upon Victor Chan, our December member of the month. Victor was born in Southern China in 1955. He grew up with six siblings, 3 sisters and 3 brothers. His father was in the Nationalist army during World War 2. China was scary and dangerous since becoming a communist country.
His parents had to bribe a few cadres to gain their family’s passage to Hong Kong in 1956. They basically gave away all of their possessions in order to move and be “free” from the communist government. So they started all over in the countryside of Hong Kong. They managed to squatter a piece of land to build their “dream farm. First they tried to grow vegetables but the land was too sandy for most vegetables. Then they ended up raising pigs and chickens. Victor had been quite attached to the pigs. He especially enjoyed bathing them. He told me that no two pigs are alike behavior wise. He went on saying that you, for some reason can’t treat a pig like a horse. Those uncooperative pigs, poor Victor. Hey, is this why sometimes during a game Victor will start belting out the words to Old McDonald? Hmm?
They were in such a rural part of Hong Kong that they did not have any running water or electricity. As Victor told me, in order to brush his teeth in the morning he had to get the bucket, go outside to the well, and fill the bucket with water. And I thought I had it rough, climbing out of my warm bed to the bathroom to brush my teeth over the sink. Nope, not by a long shot. When it became dark they would use kerosene lamps. They slowly built and added on to their house, and by the time Victor was in sixth grade they had electricity. Yeehaw!!
At the age of 4 Victor had developed cataracts in his eyes. He had surgery but it didn’t go so well. His vision was poor. Now it was time for our well-mannered, polite, and serious friend to attend school. But school in Hong Kong is not at all like it is here in the United States. Here we have public school which is paid for with taxes. In Hong Kong education, from elementary to post graduate is paid for by the families. Also, many of the teachers were former military officers; no further explanation is needed here. Victor told me that once a student was called upon they had to stand right up and give the answer. On Victor’s first day of school the teacher asked him to read what was on the board. Victor stood up and told the teacher that there was nothing written on the board. Well, he got disciplined for what the teacher considered to be a wise crack. Victor? Wise guy? Really? There was something on the board; however Victor could not see it. As Victor explained it did not matter if he could see it or not, it was not the right answer. Victor became accustomed to not being able to see the blackboard, and continued in school this way. He did not like school at all!
In 1970 Victor woke up one day and could not see anything. He went to the local public hospital and it was determined that he had a detached retina. He had to stay in bed for months in order to help his eye heal. This was a teaching hospital he was at and he had some procedures performed while he was there. However, six months later his retina detached in his other eye. In 1971, at the young age of 16 Victor came to the United States for the first time. He was referred to the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary. Over a course of some time, Victor had four surgeries and some vision was restored. As Victor states, not great, but he could still get around. Victor and I have come to the conclusion that we actually met while we were both at MEEI. Victor was flirting with the nurses, and I was playing with the toys. Was that you they were calling Romeo, way back then?
Some of Victor’s siblings were already living in the states. His two sisters and one brother moved to the states to continue their education. Victor then headed to Fredonia, New York, not far from Buffalo to attend high school. He graduated from high school, with no outside assistance at all. He then went on to SUNY, State University of New York, at Fredonia, where two of his siblings had graduated from earlier.
After attending a couple years of college, Victor had the chance to study abroad. He jumped at the opportunity. However, Victor misunderstood; he thought he would be studying a broad, not in another country! All kidding aside, Victor did spend 1976 studying in Spain. I am sure he probably studied a broad or two. Victor said that this was a great time for him, he absolutely loved Spain. He said it was like heaven, the people were so nice, and he did not want to leave. Victor still vividly remembers the day he returned to Fredonia. He left Spain when it was 76 degrees, landed at Kennedy airport at 5 degrees, and arrived in Fredonia at a balmy minus 40 degrees. Victor said that he had no winter clothing and he was “skating” all along the sidewalks. I bet he was happy to be home, ya think? Victor graduated in May of 1978 with a Bachelor’s in Foreign Languages, with a concentration in linguistics.
Victor then headed out west to California. One of his sisters attended Berkley, and was living in San Francisco. Victor continued on to San Francisco State University, earning a MBA in International Finances, in 1983. He told me his thesis was on foreign exchange rates. Could that explain why he has so many chips in All in Play?
It took Victor a while to find a job. However, he first worked as an instructional aid within the Sacramento Public School district. Yes, Victor was molding the young minds of kindergarteners through second grades. Yikes, JK! Victor remained in this position for a couple of years. He then worked for the state in housing finance.
Then Victor worked for the Department of Developmental Services, in Sacramento. He started as an account clerk, level 2, and positioned his way up to Senior Account Officer Supervisor. Way to climb that ladder Victor! Victor had the responsibility of handling over 100 million dollars a month! Now that’s not monopoly money he was dealing with! He was the person who authorized, or not, the disbursement of payments for monthly supplies and services. Back to all of those chips on All in Play, just wondering? Victor lost all of his eyesight by 1998. The department then put Victor on some other desk duties. These tasks included training staff, compiling desk procedures, and seeking assignments outside the accounting area. He remained in this position until 2004 when he and the department concluded that retirement would be the best solution. Victor worked there for 20 years, and he still misses the office and the work.
Victor and Lisa, a love story. In 1985 Victor went back to China for a visit. He met Lisa, who was a classmate of his cousin. Of course, our Romeo charmed and swept Lisa off of her feet. But easy come easy go, he left for the states again. Victor, being the true Casanova, continued to correspond with Lisa via letters. Awe, no Skype yet.
In 1987 Victor became a United States citizen, good for you! In the same year, he asked Lisa to come to the states and he would sponsor her. How could she say no? Well, of course she didn’t say no, and they were married in Orange County. Victor was that a trap, come to the USA and I will sponsor you, but first you have to marry me? I am sure it was not, since you and Lisa have been married for 27 years. Congrats to that!!Victor and Lisa have two sons. Stephen is 25 and is an IT consultant. Michael just recently turned 21, and he is attending college. Victor shared this story about Stephen when he was about 4 years old. He wanted a toy but Victor and Lisa told him that they had no money to buy him one. Well, being the intelligent young boy he had come up with a solution for this problem. He told them that they had to go to Lucky, a local supermarket to get the money. His mother asked him who was going to give them the money. He said that she always got money after shopping. And folks, that was true. Lisa would pay for the groceries with her debit card and ask for either $20 or $40 cash back. And who says that kids do not pay attention. As for Michael he was all about repetition. Victor had to tell The story of The Three Little Pigs night after night after night. Hey, wait a minute, was this for Michael or was Victor regressing back to his youth? Well either way, if Victor did not tell the story the same way each time, Michael would let him know. Again, who says that children do not pay attention? Still think the story was for Victor.
Ok, now that I told you the sweet lovy dovey stuff, here is how Victor describes he and his wife’s relationship; the oddest of all odd couples. Victor told me that Lisa has absolutely no sense of humor, and he strongly stressed the word absolutely. And, we all know that Victor has a great sense of humor, he can joke around with the best of us. Victor says that she is so serious that she does not even laugh or get his jokes. Now Victor likes to plan things out ahead of time, and Lisa does not plan anything. Hmm, were their boys planned or not? Lisa loves to window shop, and what man doesn’t like to accompany their lovely wife on this type of excursion? Well, you have to give credit to Victor; he did stroll along with Lisa during those long shopping events, but only for three months. How did you do it that long? Needless to say, Lisa loves to shop, and Victor does not. Victor also told me that he refers to Lisa as a walking price list. Here is an example straight from Victor’s mouth. Quote That wife of mine, not only she enjoys window shopping but she is a walking price list. She may tell you that she won’t buy the potatoes at Lucky because Pic and Save has the same 10-pounds of potatoes for a nickel less and there we go traveling 2 miles for the potatoes. End quote. Now if that isn’t love I just don’t know what is.
Victor had skyped me a day after the interview because he forgot to tell me something. About four years ago, Victor underwent a double quadruple bypass. How one forgets that, I don’t know. He was having some trouble catching his breath. He went to the doctor’s and they were going to use a balloon to clear minor blockages in his arteries but that is when they found a bigger problem. All of Victor’s arteries were at least 88% blocked. Without much notice, two days later, that is when Victor went in for what he calls the maximum surgery. He says when he does something he does it right and to the maximum. Well his health is just fine now, and we are all thankful for that.
Victor enjoys reading detective stories, and books about travel and nature. He has always had a fascination with the stock market. He still follows along, but not as closely as he had in the past. Victor likes to keep his mind busy thinking and learning. Right now he is in the middle of translating countries and their capitals into Chinese, not an easy task.
Victor has been with Out of Sight for about five years now. He first heard about the site from For The People. Victor enjoys all the trivia games, especially Pam’s Trivia, Rich’s 5 Category Trivia, and Karen’s www.huh. You can find Victor just about every weekday morning in the Sport’s bar talking and goofing off with the others in there. Victor says he enjoys Out of Sight because of the group of people and because they are so friendly.
I would like to thank Victor for sharing his story with me in order to share with the Out of Sight readers. I just wanted to tell you when I first asked him for this interview he said, and I quote, Just can’t wait to tell you about my absolutely unimpressed life. Just hope you won’t be bored to death or run away to tinBuckTu or CatmanDo. You know who. End quote. Well, I hope you can all see by this article that Victor is certainly a fun, interesting, and intelligent person.Thanks, Victor.
Citizens, hear us well. Our great nation is being undermined by a secret society of individuals who carry deadly white truncheons and lead vicious attack animals in public on a daily basis. These mysterious folk also have a secret means of communication, while shocking new evidence seems to indicate that they may even possess senses superior to those of other humans. We are speaking, of course, of the legions of the so-called blind.
Let us assume for a minute that we swallow this quote, blindness, end quote hoax in the first place. If these people are somehow bereft of the gift of sight, how does that explain the works of Stevie Wonder, Ray Charles and Ronnie Milsap? How could such men possibly play music if they were blind? What do they take us for - ignorant saps?
The first issue I must point out is their very public display of armed might. Every individual laying claim to sightlessness carries a cudgel on their person at all times. These quote, canes, end quote, as they call them, are supposed to help them feel their way along. They are painted white, almost as if the bearer wished to remind passersby of its presence, and the weapon's tip is painted a chillingly suggestive red. Those who have studied the mysterious fighting arts of the Orient know that such sticks may be wielded with deadly force by those with skill. In a surprise attack, strategically placed squads of the quote, blind end quote could quickly overwhelm our police forces. Their fearsome nature encompasses more than just personal weaponry.
Many of the alleged blind also own large, vicious attack dogs for the supposed purpose of guidance along city streets. With one word from their scheming masters, these slavering quote, guide end quote dogs could become guided missiles! Indeed, most of these fearsome beasts are German shepherds, a species of killer wolf invented by twisted, Fascist dog breeders, which has somehow fallen into this most suspect faction of the disabled.
The most frightening aspect of this diabolical conspiracy by far is their ability to communicate with one another unbeknownst to upstanding citizens. Their secret code consists of a series of raised dots cunningly arranged into arcane shapes. Known as quote, Braille, end quote, this demonic alphabet has begun popping up in places that were doubtlessly chosen for their mundane, everyday outward appearance: elevators, building directories, automated teller machines and the like. This system seems rational enough, and does not attract undue attention. But think! If the messages on the signs changed suddenly, how would we know ?
Next year, next month, next week, maybe even tomorrow, the signs will change from quote, second floor end quote, to quote, STRIKE NOW! STRIKE HARD! end quote, and our nation will be thrown into the chaos of revolution. At this juncture, there is no hard evidence that the blind are planning such a revolution. We hope to have such evidence very soon. But can one group possess such an overwhelming element of surprise and fail to use it to seize power? And can their goals be anything but evil? No, I say! I maintain that true blindness lies in failing to see the threat where it must obviously lie, and we must be vigilantly wary of the blind menace.
Like many people, you may be experiencing sleep challenges you dont understand, nights of sleeplessness, and days when you fight to stay awake. This may sound like a sleep disorder, but it's actually Non-24-Hour Sleep-Wake Disorder (Non-24), a circadian rhythm disorder.
If your answer to any of these questions is yes and you're totally blind, you may have Non-24-Hour Sleep-Wake Disorder (Non-24).
Non-24 is a circadian rhythm disorder. Your circadian rhythms are controlled by your master body clock and tell you when to sleep, when to wake, when to eat, among other things.
In most people, the master body clock runs slightly longer than 24 hours. What this means is that rather than cycle on a 24-hour day, most peoples natural rhythms actually cycle a bit longer. Whether the cycle runs two minutes or 30 minutes longer, if you have Non-24 these minutes add up day after day, a few one day adding to a few more the next, eventually causing a noticeable change in the times during the day when your body expects to sleep and expects to be awake.
Though Non-24 may appear to be a sleep disorder, it isnt. It is actually a serious, chronic circadian rhythm disorder very common in people who are totally blind, and it can arise at any age. Currently, there are 1.3 million people who are legally blind in the United States. Of the legally blind, 130,000 have no light perception (i.e., totally blind), and as many as 70 percent suffer from Non-24.Non-24 brings about two significant symptoms.
First is a profound inability to sleep or to stay asleep at night, and the second is an overwhelming urge to sleep during the day. Both changes are caused by the timing of the release of the hormones, melatonin and cortisol. Melatonin controls sleep and mood, and cortisol controls when to wake up and when to eat. Cortisol also controls your metabolism, cardiovascular function, immune system, and appetite. Because the release of melatonin and cortisol shifts continually, not all nights are the same. Some are sleepless, others are normal, and poor sleep happens only when the master body clock is out of sync with the typical day-night cycle. And when poor sleep happens, sleep deprivation may make it difficult to focus on the task at hand and may affect your mood when interacting with family, friends, and colleagues.
Non-24 comes about when the master body clock runs on its own natural rhythm. Hence the name, Non-24, which indicates a master body clock that is not 24 hours long. For unknown reasons, most peoples body clock runs a little longer than 24 hours, which means most people could have Non-24 to some degree. The difference is that for sighted people, environmental light cues signal the brain to reset the master body clock every day to 24 hours.
For people who are totally blind, the master body clock runs its natural course. This means that if your body clock runs on a 24.5-hour schedule, today you're 30 minutes behind and tomorrow your body clock will be an hour behind. The next day will be 90 minutes, and so on. Day by day, this time adds up until you're many hours behind, creating a rhythm that's out of sync with the typical day-night cycle. Eventually, your body operates as if night is day and day is night. While you could try to maintain your usual schedule, more often than not you have a hard time sleeping at night and then feel an overwhelming urge to sleep during the day. In time, you once again reach the point when your body clock is in sync with the typical day-night cycle. But then, just as quickly, it moves out of sync again.A complication that can sap your energy
Because its effects are so wide-ranging, Non-24 may hinder the methods you use to get through the day. It may sap your energy. You may suddenly fall asleep at inopportune times, and it may make crucial daily tasks a challenge, such as counting bus stops so you know when to get off.
Living with Non-24 may make you feel as though no one understands what you are going through, and this sense of being alone only makes the effects feel that much worse. The truth is, you are not alone. There are many other people living with Non-24 who are experiencing many of the same challenges you do.You can learn more about Non-24-Hour Sleep-Wake Disorder at:
Howard Lutnick, the chief executive of Cantor Fitzgerald, one of the worlds largest financial-services firms, still cries when he talks about it. Not long after the planes struck the twin towers, killing 658 of his co-workers and friends, including his brother, one of the first things on Lutnicks mind was passwords. This may seem callous, but it was not.
Like virtually everyone else caught up in the events that day, Lutnick, who had taken the morning off to escort his son, Kyle, to his first day of kindergarten, was in shock. But he was also the one person most responsible for ensuring the viability of his company. The biggest threat to that survival became apparent almost immediately: No one knew the passwords for hundreds of accounts and files that were needed to get back online in time for the reopening of the bond markets. Cantor Fitzgerald did have extensive contingency plans in place, including a requirement that all employees tell their work passwords to four nearby colleagues. But now a large majority of the firms 960 New York employees were dead. Quote, We were thinking of a major fire, end quote, Lutnick said. Quote, No one in those days had ever thought of an entire four-to-six-block radius being destroyed, end quote. The attacks also knocked out one of the companys main backup servers, which were housed, at what until that day seemed like a safe distance away, under 2 World trade Center.
Hours after the attacks, Microsoft dispatched more than 30 security experts to an improvised Cantor Fitzgerald command center in Rochelle Park, N.J., roughly 20 miles from the rubble. Many of the missing passwords would prove to be relatively secure — the JHx6fTexclaimation9 type that the company’s I.T. department implored everyone to choose. To crack those, the Microsoft technicians performed brute force attacks, using fast computers to begin with letter a then work through every possible letter and number combination before ending at ZZZZZZZ. But even with the fastest computers, brute-force attacks, working through trillions of combinations, could take days. Wall Street was not going to wait.
Microsofts technicians, Lutnick recalled, knew that they needed to take advantage of two facts: Many people use the same password for multiple accounts, and these passwords are typically personalized. The technicians explained that for their algorithms to work best, they needed large amounts of trivia about the owner of each missing password, the kinds of things that were too specific, too personal and too idiosyncratic for companies to keep on file. Quote, It is the details that make people distinct, that make them individuals, end quote, Lutnick said. He soon found himself on the phone, desperately trying to compartmentalize his own agony while calling the spouses, parents and siblings of his former colleagues to console them — and to ask them, ever so gently, whether they knew their loved ones passwords. Most often they did not, which meant that Lutnick had to begin working his way through a checklist that had been provided to him by the Microsoft technicians. Quote, What is your wedding anniversary? Tell me again where he went for undergrad? You guys have a dog, dont you? What is her name? You have two children. Can you give me their birth dates? end quote.
Quote, Remember, this was less than 24 hours after the towers had fallen, end quote, he said. Quote, The fire department was still referring to it as a search-and-rescue mission, end quote. Families had not accepted their losses. Lutnick said he never referred to anyone as being dead, just quote, not available right now, end quote. He framed his questions to be an affirmation of that persons importance to the company, he said. Conversations oscillated between sudden bawling and agonizing silences. Quote, Awful, end quote, he said. Sometimes it took more than an hour to work through the checklist, but Lutnick said he made sure he was never the one to hang up first.
In the end, Microsofts technicians got what they needed. The firm was back in operation within two days. The same human sentimentality that made Cantor Fitzgeralds passwords weak, ultimately proved to be its saving grace.
Several years ago I began asking my friends and family to tell me their passwords. I had come to believe that these tiny personalized codes get a bum rap. Yes, I understand why passwords are universally despised: the strains they put on our memory, the endless demand to update them, their sheer number. I hate them, too. But there is more to passwords than their annoyance. In our authorship of them, in the fact that we construct them so that we (and only we) will remember them, they take on secret lives. Many of our passwords are suffused with pathos, mischief, sometimes even poetry. Often they have rich back stories. A motivational mantra, a swipe at the boss, a hidden shrine to a lost love, an inside joke with ourselves, a defining emotional scar — these keepsake passwords, as I came to call them, are like tchotchkes of our inner lives. They derive from anything: Scripture, horoscopes, nicknames, lyrics, book passages. Like a tattoo on a private part of the body, they tend to be intimate, compact and expressive.
Perhaps my biggest surprise has been how willing, eager actually, people are to openly discuss their keepsakes. The friends I queried forwarded my request, and before long I started receiving passwords from complete strangers. There was the former prisoner whose password includes what used to be his inmate identification number (a reminder not to go back); the fallen-away Catholic whose passwords incorporate the Virgin Mary (it is secretly calming); the childless 45-year-old whose password is the name of the baby boy she lost in utero (my way of trying to keep him alive, I guess).
Sometimes the passwords were playful. Several people said they used the word incorrect for theirs so that when they forgot it, the software automatically prompted them with the right one (your password is incorrect). Nicole Perlroth, The New York Times cybersecurity reporter, told me about the awkward conversation she had not long ago, when, locked out of her account, she was asked by the newspapers tech-support staff to disclose her password: a three-digit code plus an unpublishable epithet — a reference to a funny exchange she overheard years earlier between a store clerk and a thief.
Often, though, these disclosures had an emotional edge to them. One woman described the jarring realization that her sisters name was the basis for all of their mothers passwords. Another, Becky FitzSimons, recalled needling her husband, Will, after their wedding in 2013 because he was still using the digits of his ex-girlfriend’s birthday for his debit-card PIN. Quote, I am not a jealous person, end quote, FitzSimons said. Quote, But he changed it to my birthday the next day, end quote.
Standing at the park watching my 11-year-old son climb on the jungle gym, I struck up a conversation with a woman walking her dog, and I told her about my keepsakes idea. Like most people, she did not want her name used in my article, because she said her vignette was too personal; she also feared being hacked. But she proceeded to tell me that several months after her son committed suicide, she found his password written on a piece of paper at his desk: Lambda1969. Only then, after some Internet searching, did she realize he had been gay. (Lambda is the Greek lowercase l, which some historians say stands in gay culture for liberation. The number, 1969, she explained, referred to the year of the Stonewall Riots — the protests that followed a police raid on the Stonewall Inn Greenwich Village.)
Some keepsakes were striking for their ingenuity. Like spring-loaded contraptions, they folded big thoughts down into tidy little ciphers. After being inspired by Sheryl Sandberg’s book, Quote, Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead, end quote, Cortni Kerr, a running partner of mine, began using Ww$$do13, which stood for What would Sheryl Sandberg do plus 13 for the year (2013) of the password’s creation. TnsitTpsif was the password of another friend, a computer scientist who loves wordplay. It stands for The next sentence is true. The previous sentence is false, which in philosophy is called a liars paradox. For my friend, it was a playful reference to the knots that language can tie. When I described keepsake passwords to Paul Saffo, who teaches engineering at Stanford and writes often about the future of technology, he coined the term crypto haiku.
Rachel Malis, 29, a friends former housemate, heard about my password fixations and emailed hers to me: Odessa, the Ukrainian city of her fathers birth. It seemed unremarkable to me. But she said there was more to it. So I suggested we meet for coffee. We sat for an hour while Malis nursed a latte and explained what gave her password its power for her.Passwords do more than protect data. They protect dreams, secrets, fears and even clues to troubled pasts, and for some, they serve as an everyday reminder of what matters most.
Odessa, she said, referred not just to her lineage but also to a transformative trip she took there in 2008 with her father. In a sense, it was a place that had always separated them — it embodied a language, a regime and a past that she could never share. Her father fled Ukraine in 1980 when he was 28, and he vowed never to return. Even in America, old habits, like his KGB-induced skepticism of the police lingered. Malis said that during her childhood in Trumbull, Conn., near New Haven, he would close the living-room blinds whenever he wanted to discuss anything quote, sensitive, end quote, like summer travel plans or family finances. The city loomed large in her fathers consciousness when Malis was growing up. She once asked why there was no fleck of green anywhere in their house — not in the wallpaper, pictures, dishes, throw rugs — and her mother explained that it was because the color reminded him of painful early years spent in the army.
On that trip back, Malis paid for her fathers plane ticket and arranged their accommodations, and they were both surprised to find him just as lost as she was in the streets of Odessa. Her laconic father was more talkative, though, in his native tongue. He was strangely calm visiting his fathers grave but became choked up when he showed her the tracks where he caught the train that whisked him out of the city one panicked night so long ago. Above all, Malis said, typing Odessa every time she logged in to her computer was a reminder of the true epiphany she carried home: that getting closer to something — her father, this city — didnt make it smaller or more manageable. Quote, It actually just brought their complexity and nuance more into focus, end quote, she said.
At least as interesting as the amount of thought Malis had packed into this one six-letter word was the fact that she was telling me it all. I confessed to her that I loved Odessa as a password. At the same time, I worried that her office’s techies might not share my affection, given that their first rule is to avoid choosing passwords with personal significance. Malis pointed out that we break that rule precisely because secure passwords are so much harder to remember. Our brains are prone to mooring new memories to old ones, she said. I added that I thought the behavior spoke to something deeper, something almost Cartesian. Humans like, even need, to imbue things with meaning, I suggested. We are prone to organizing symbols into language.
Malis gave me an inquisitive look. So I continued: We try to make the best of our circumstances, converting our shackles into art, I said. Amid all that is ephemeral, we strive for permanence, in this case ignoring instructions to make passwords disposable, opting instead to preserve our special ones. These very tendencies are what distinguish us as a species.
These special passwords are a bit like origami, I suggested: small and often impromptu acts of creativity, sometimes found in the most banal of places. Malis seemed to agree. She nodded, shook my hand and left.
Asking strangers about their passwords is a touchy proposition. Push too hard, and you come off as a prospective hacker. Go too easy, and people just rant about how much they hate passwords. Still, it’s not every day that you stumble across a conversation topic that teaches you new things about people you’ve known for years.
I discovered, for example, that my father — a recently retired federal judge and generally a pretty serious guy — derived his passwords from a closeted love for goofy, novelty songs from the late 50s and early 60s (The Purple People Eater, Monster Mash).
The 4622 that my wife uses in her passwords was not just the address of her own fathers childhood home but also a reminder of his fragility and strength. Apparently when the former 270-pound football standout, a scholarship athlete and the pride of his working-class neighborhood in west Tulsa, was a small boy, he had to sing his home address (4622 South 28th West Avenue) in one full breath rather than try to say it normally; otherwise, his debilitating stutter would trip him up.
My young son revealed that his password was philosophy, because, he said, several years earlier, when he created it, he took secret pride in knowing the meaning of a concept that big. The disclosure had an interesting echo for me, because one of my first childhood passwords was a play on ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny, an evolutionary theory from a high-school biology class that I found especially captivating. (The hypothesis, now unfashionable, posits that the physical or intellectual development of each individual passes through stages similar to the developmental stages of that individual’s species or civilization.)
I asked Andy Miah, a professor of science communication and digital media at the University of Salford in England, for his thoughts on passwords, and he offered an anthropological outlook. Keepsake passwords, he suggested, ritualize a daily encounter with personal memories that often have no place else to be recalled. We engage with them more frequently and more actively than we do, say, with the framed photo on our desk. Quote, You lose that ritual, end quote, Miah said, Quote, you lose an intimacy with yourself, end quote.
For some people, these rituals are motivational. Fiona Moriarty, a competitive runner, told me that she often used 16:59 — her target time for the 5,000 meters in track. Mauricio Estrella, a designer who emailed me from Shanghai, described how his passwords function like homemade versions of popular apps like Narrato or 1 Second Everyday, which automatically provide its user with a daily reminder to pause and reflect momentarily on personal ambitions or values. To help quell his anger at his ex-wife soon after their divorce, Estrella had reset his password to Forgive@h3r. Quote, It worked, end quote, he said. Because his office computer demanded that he change his password every 30 days, he moved on to other goals: Quit@smoking4ever (successful); Save4trip@thailand (successful); Eat2@day (it never worked, I am still fat, Estrella wrote); Facetime2mom@sunday (it worked, he said, Quote, I have started talking with my mom every week now, end quote).
Keepsakes also memorialize loss or mark painful turning points. Leslye Davis, the New York Times reporter who produced the video series that accompanies this article online, said that stroke911 was her original Facebook password because she happened to create her page on the same day that her cousin had a stroke. My friend Monica Vendituolis keepsake was swim2659nomore — a reference to a career-ending shoulder injury in 2008 that prevented her from hitting the 26.59-second qualifying time in the 50-yard freestyle she needed for a championship meet in high school. But the effect of typing this password had shifted over the years, she added. What started as a mourning ritual, she said, was now more a reminder of how time heals all.
These personal tributes vary widely, I found. Stuck on a tarmac last year, I sat next to a chatty man who, judging by his expensive watch and suit, seemed to have done well for himself. We made small talk about our jobs, and eventually I told him about my interest in passwords. After a long, silent look out the window, he turned to me and said that he typically uses 1060 in his passwords. This was his SAT score, he explained. He liked reminding himself of it, he said, because he took a certain private satisfaction in how far he had come in life in spite of his mediocre showing on the standardized test.
I got an email from a college student, Megan Welch, 21, who described having been trapped several years earlier in a relationship with a physically abusive boyfriend. She recounted how he routinely spied on her email. When she tried to change her password, he always either guessed or got her to tell him the new one. Quote, I was so predictable, end quote, she said. After finally deciding to break up with him, she used for her new password the date of her decision, plus the word freedom — a deviation, she said, from the cutesy words that had been her norm. In being uncharacteristic, her password became unhackable; it was at once a break from her former self and a commemoration of that break.
Keepsake passwords are so universal that they are now part of the fabric of pop culture. I noticed, for instance, that on Showtime’s Dexter, the main character (a blood-spatter analyst for the police by day, vigilante serial killer by night) forgot his work computer’s password. He was soon visited by the ghost of his adoptive father, Harry, who killed himself after witnessing Dexters violent tendencies. The visit reminded Dexter of his password (Harry) and the viewer of the longevity and depth of his personal torment.
Googling for more examples, I came across Jack Donaghy, Alec Baldwins character on the NBC sitcom 30 Rock. He convinced himself that a high-school crush still had feelings for him after he learned that her voice-mail code, 55287, stood for Klaus, the name Jack used in the high-school German class they took together. I found George Costanza from Seinfeld nearly driving his girlfriend mad, and maybe even killing a guy, by refusing to share his A.T.M. password, Bosco, a reference to Georges weakness for the chocolate syrup.
But perhaps the most bizarre one I found was Jerry Seinfelds A.T.M. code — Jor-El. On the simplest level — as the episode explained — this was the name of Supermans Kryptonian father. It served as a nod to the fictional Jerrys love of the comic-book character. But in digging a bit further, I found that the real-life Jerrys father was of Eastern European-Jewish descent, and his first name was Kalman, a.k.a. Kal. This is why one of the actors two sons, born long after the episode was made, has Kal as his middle name. Though most people know Superman as Clark Kent, his Kryptonian name is Kal-El. What Jerry hid in his PIN looped between fact and fiction, past and present; and comic book, sitcom and real life.
I loved the Seinfeld password story because it was so convoluted that in retelling it I could barely follow it myself. Its circularity inspired a certain awe in me — the way you might feel when you first see an optical illusion by Escher. That got me thinking about the intricate and self-referential patterns famously described in Douglas R. Hofstadters 1979 classic Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid. The book is a beautiful and personal musing on how we mold both language and our sense of self from the inanimate material around us.
The Internet is a confessional place. With so little privacy, passwords may soon be tomorrows eight-track player, quaintly described to our grandchildren. Ten years ago, Bill Gates announced during a tech-security conference in San Francisco that people are going to rely less and less on passwords, because they cannot meet the challenge of keeping critical information secure. In recent years, there has been a push for machines to identify us not by passwords but by things we possess, like tokens and key cards, or by scanning our eyes, voices or fingerprints. This year, for example, Google purchased SlickLogin, a start-up that verifies IDs using sound waves. iPhones have come equipped with fingerprint scanners for more than a year now. And yet passwords continue to proliferate, to metastasize. Every day more objects — thermostats, car consoles, home alarm systems — are designed to be wired into the Internet and thus password protected. Because big data is big money, even free websites now make you register to view virtually anything of importance so that companies can track potential customers. Five years ago, people averaged about 21 passwords. Now that number is 81, according to LastPass, a company that makes password-storage software.
Partly this push is being fueled by a growing and shared hatred of passwords. The digital era is nothing if not overwhelming. The unrelenting flood of information. The constant troubleshooting. We only just master one new device before it becomes outmoded. These frustrations are channeled into tantrums over forgotten passwords.
There is scarcely a more modern sense of anomie than that of being caught in the purgatory where, having forgotten a password, we are asked personal trivia questions about ourselves that we cant seem to answer correctly. The almost-weekly stream of news stories about major security breaches makes it tough not to feel as if privacy on the Internet is unattainable.
It is enough to make the conscientious objectors seem sane. These are the many people I interviewed who said they had given up on the whole notion of online security, opting instead to adopt intentionally insecure password. Digital nudists of sorts, these people throw all discretion to the wind, leaving themselves naked to hackers and identity thieves; they are protected only by the hope that they might disappear in the crowd. Their humble acts of rebellion seem to suggest that maybe the reason people were so willing to tell me their keepsakes was that it offered a small, private catharsis from the pent-up pressure that we all feel to police our online security.
The digital nudists were well represented. At least one of every 10 users chose a name or a name plus a year for his password. Two of every thousand passwords were the word password. But the RockYou breach had bigger lessons to offer. Most password research is focused on security, rather than on psychology or anthropology. Few modern activities, however, are more universal than creating a password. Rich, poor, young, old, virtually all of us are confronted daily by some kind of registration-demanding technology: wire transfers, prepaid cellphones, online banking, email, calling cards. The RockYou database could show how, when and why words gather weight — existential, personal weight.
For the past several years, a small team of computer scientists at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology has studied the RockYou database for lexical patterns. Among their more interesting finds: Love was by far the most common verb among the passwords — about twice as common as conjugations of the verb to be and roughly 12 times as common as conjugations of the verb to hate. By far the most popular adjectives used in the database’s passwords were sexy, hot and pink. Mens names were about four times as likely as womens names to appear as the object of passwords that start with I love.
Christopher Collins, one of the groups lead researchers, explained that affection even appears in disguised forms. What at first looked like a disproportionately frequent use of the word team, for instance, turned out to be versions of the Spanish words te amo, or I love you, Collins said. The number 14344 appeared unusually often, and the researchers at first figured that it referred to a date: March 14, 1944. After consulting the urban dictionary, they soon found out that the number actually is popular code for I love you very much. (Count the letters in each word.)
In my own conversations, I, too, noticed that love (familial, unrequited, Platonic, failed) seemed to be a common source of inspiration for keepsakes. Perhaps my favorite of these anecdotes came from Maria T. Allen, who wrote that in 1993, when she was 22, she used for her password a combination of the name of her summer crush, J. D., with an autumn month and the name of a mythological female deity (she wouldn’t tell me which) to whom he had compared her when they first met. The fling ended, and they went their separate ways. But the password endured. Eleven years later, out of the blue, Allen received a message through Classmates.com from J. D. himself. They dated for several years, then decided to marry. Before the wedding, J. D. asked Maria if she had ever thought of him during that interim decade. About every time I logged in to my Yahoo account, she replied, before recounting to him her secret. He had the password inscribed on the inside of his wedding ring.
Granted, passwords harbor humanity’s darker side too. Joseph Bonneau, 30, who was among the first computer scientists to study RockYou’s archive, said he was amazed that tens of thousands of people would choose to introduce messages like killmeplease, myfamilyhatesme and erinisaslut — not to mention a slew of obscenities and racial slurs — into their lives multiple times a day.
People take a nonnatural requirement imposed on them, like memorizing a password, he said, and make it a meaningful human experience.
In studying the database, Bonneau’s focus was not on the meaning of passwords but their security. And the further he dug into it, he said, the more he worried about the fate of privacy as so much of life moves online. What the database made clear, he said, was that humans really are the weak link when it comes to data security. I later recounted Bonneau’s comment to Collins, who agreed. We don’t just make it a meaningful experience, he said. Statistically speaking, at least based on the data, it is most often an affectionate experience.
There is something mildly destructive about collecting peoples keepsakes. Observers disturb the things we measure. But with passwords, or other secrets, we ruin them in their very discussion. Virtually all the people who revealed their passwords to me said they planned to stop using them. And yet they divulged them all the same.
Over the course of a half-hour, Hossein Bidgoli, a management information systems professor at California State University, Bakersfield, and editor of The Internet Encyclopedia, told me about the many dangers of using personal information in passwords. He fell silent, however, when I asked him whether he thought keepsakes were a bad thing. Then he began to tell me about his life. He grew up in a small town near Tehran, he said, where he lived until he left Iran in 1976 to pursue his doctoral studies. He described his high school, which was named Karkhaneh, and the roses and rhododendron at a nearby plantation where he and his parents used to picnic. He recalled the distinct taste of the freshly made olive oil that his father, an engineer, used to bring home from the olive-processing plant where he worked.
What you’re calling keepsake passwords, Bidgoli said, mine is Karkhaneh. Translated from Farsi, the word means the place where people work, he said. But for him, the name conjured a past happiness, time spent with his parents and the place that shaped his work ethic and his ethnic identity. It’s a pretty memory, he said, sotto voce.
I wondered why someone so concerned about security would be willing to tell me his password. I figured it might just be an extension of the oversharing culture that the Internet has created. Maybe my very hunt for significance in passwords and people’s general eagerness to help in that endeavor says more than any particular meaning I might actually find in the passwords themselves. Humans arent the only ones who solve puzzles. We are, however, the only ones who make puzzles simply so that we can solve them.
Bidgoli said he wasnt sure why he disclosed his password. It just seemed like your keepsakes are true, he added after a long pause. I wanted to contribute to that.
Fifteen months ago, we told you that Comcast was developing a talking version of its TV listings for use by visually impaired subscribers. Today, the company announced that it will be introducing the feature to users on its X1 platform.
The speaking guide will be available to all X1 users and will be rolling out over the coming weeks. It reads aloud information including titles, network, date/time, and ratings from Rotten Tomatoes for live TV programming, recorded content and on-demand offerings.
Comcast says the feature can be turned on by pressing the A button (that is the yellow triangle button) twice on your remote and choosing to Turn on Voice Guidance. This option is also available under Accessibility Settings in the general settings menu.
Programming my DVR is one of the most empowering things I have ever done with my TV, said Eric Bridges of the American Council of the Blind, who was part of the pre-launch test group for the service. My wife and I are both blind, so thanks to this new feature, we no longer have to choose between going out to dinner or catching our favorite show.
The talking guide encourages independence and self-sufficiency; it is a real game-changer for anyone who is blind and loves TV.” Comcast says that while the talking guide is intended to help the more than 8 million Americans with visual disabilities, the company believes that some sighted subscribers may find the service useful.
The talking guide is as much about usability as it is about accessibility, explains Tom Wlodkowski, Comcast VP of Audience, in a statement. We think about accessibility from the design of a product all the way through production and this feature is the result of years of work by our team including customer research, focus groups and industry partnerships.
On a tour of the United Nations Accessibility Centre for the audio, visual, and physically impaired today, United States Senator Tom Harkin said that “when you make a system better for a person with a disability it makes it better for people without disabilities.
In an interview with UN Radio, Mr. Harkin, who is the lead advocate for disability rights in the US Congress, explained why he was so passionate about the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).
Well, it means that we now have a global effort to make things more accessible for everyone for all persons with disabilities in education, in transportation, communication, everything,” Mr. Harkins said. “The CRPD means raising standards all globally for persons with disabilities and, if I might add, what we have found at least in the united states and I’m sure in other countries too, that when you make a system better for a person with a disability it makes it better for people without disabilities,” the Senator added. The Senator’s visit to the Accessibility Centre in New York comes after the recent Senate’s rejection of the Convention (CRPD).
Senator Harkin pledged that he will work tirelessly to ensure Senate ratification of the CRPD. The Convention and its Optional Protocol, adopted by the UN General Assembly on 13 December 2006, aims to change attitudes and approaches to persons with disabilities. The United Nations Accessibility Centre, which opened in December 2013, is equipped with state-of-the-art assistive information and communication technology to support audio, visual as well as physical impairments. At the time, Secretary-General hailed the new facility as “a model of the digital United Nations we are trying to create.
Equipment from the Centre is spread out all over Headquarters. Palm On keyboards can be found at other IT kiosks around the building. Other available services include: braille and other assistive keyboards, hearing aids, bone conduction headsets and screen readers.
Our teacher asked what my favourite animal was, and I said, "Fried chicken." She said I wasn't funny, but she couldn't have been right, because everyone else laughed. My parents told me to always tell the truth. I did. Fried chicken is my favourite animal. I told my dad what happened, and he said my teacher was probably a member of PETA. He said they love animals very much. I do, too. Especially chicken, pork and beef. Anyway, my teacher sent me to the principal's office. I told him what happened, and he laughed, too. Then he told me not to do it again.
The next day in class my teacher asked me what my favourite live animal was. I told her it was chicken. She asked me why, so I told her it was because you could make them into fried chicken. She sent me back to the principal's office. He laughed, and told me not to do it again. I don't understand. My parents taught me to be honest, but my teacher doesn't like it when I am.Today, my teacher asked me to tell her what famous person I admired most. I told her, Colonel Sanders.
Guide dog owners whose dogs have been attacked will get support that is tailored to their needs thanks to new guidelines agreed between Guide Dogs and the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO).
The Service Level Agreement (SLA) recognises the devastating impact that an attack on an assistance dog has on their owner’s life and will ensure that incidents are treated much more seriously than a dog-on-dog attack.
From today, when a guide dog owner reports an attack, police forces in England and Wales have committed to taking steps such as assigning a named officer to their case and recording the victim as vulnerable, so investigations are tailored around their needs. The full impact of the attack on their guide dog will also be taken into account.
Guide dog owner Jemma Brown, whose dog Gus was attacked so many times he had to be retired, has welcomed the Service Level Agreement. Jemma, from Southampton, said: “The attacks on Gus were horrible for both of us, but I count myself as relatively lucky as my local police force have been pretty good at helping me. It’s nice to know that guide dog owners everywhere will get the same level of attention and support from their local police force at what can be a traumatic time.
On average, 10 guide dogs are attacked by other dogs every month in the UK, often with devastating consequences for the animal and its owner. If their guide dog cannot work, the owner is left unable to get around on their own, robbing them of their independence. In several cases guide dogs have had to be retired early, which is extremely distressing for both dog and owner and wastes Guide Dogs donors’ money.
Chief executive of Guide Dogs, Richard Leaman, said: “We’re grateful to North Wales and Northamptonshire police forces for listening to us and working with us to put this Service Level Agreement in place, and we’re delighted that every force in England and Wales are keen to adopt it.
When a guide or assistance dog is attacked, the consequences for its owner are devastating. Our guide dog owners rely on their guide dogs to get around and if a dog can’t work, their owner can be left housebound. But once the physical wounds have healed, a dog attack can also have a dramatic effect on both a guide dog and its owner’s confidence.
The SLA follows the creation in May of a new offence, under the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014, of allowing a dog to attack an assistance dog. This offence attracts a maximum sentence of up to three years in prison. During the consultation period before the Act was passed, Deputy Chief Constable Gareth Pritchard of North Wales Police and National Policing Lead for Dangerous Dogs, together with Mr Leaman, gave evidence at the House of Commons. DCC Pritchard said: We recognise the devastating effect of attacks on guide dogs. This new offence gives police forces a great opportunity to strengthen how we support victims and improve how we deal with such traumatic incidents.
Apple introduced iCloud Drive in iOS 8 and Mac OS X Yosemite. It is designed to be a more easily understandable cloud storage location, working more like Dropbox, OneDrive, and Google Drive. Previous versions of iCloud could sync your documents and data, but iCloud Drive now exposes a sort of file system to you. You can sync any file you like and browse your saved files.How to Enable iCloud Drive
When you set up iOS 8 on an iPhone or iPad, or when you set up a Mac with OS X Yosemite, you will be asked whether you want to migrate your account to iCloud Drive.
This is a one-way upgrade from the old Documents & Data system. After you convert your account to iCloud Drive storage, iOS 7 and pre-Yosemite Mac OS X systems wont be able to access your files.
If you didnt enable iCloud Drive during installation, you can do it later. On an iOS device, open the Settings app, select iCloud, and turn on iCloud Drive.
On a Mac, open the iCloud Preferences window and enable it.
On a Windows PC, open the iCloud for Windows application and enable it.How iCloud Drive is Different Previously
Apples iCloud Documents & Data system was designed to hide the file system from you as much as possible. You would use TextEdit on a Mac to save a text file to iCloud Drive, and that text file could only be seen from within the TextEdit app itself. On iOS, there was no TextEdit app, so you could not see it. There was no location where you could go to see all your stuff.
This changes with iCloud Drive, as Apple has apparently realized that there is no substitute for an exposed file system that lets you see all your stuff. iCloud Drive is still a bit weird, though. By default, every iCloud Drive-enabled app you use will save its own files to its own folder. Apple is trying to organize your drive for you. However, you’re free to place files anywhere you like and make your own folder structure.
As with other cloud storage services, files you store in your iCloud Drive are automatically stored on Apples servers and synchronized via your devices. They are tied to your Apple ID, and Apple offers 5 GB of storage space for free.How to Access Your iCloud Drive Files
Your iCloud drive files can be accessed from an iOS device, Mac, Windows PC, or any device with a web browser.Here is how:
iOS 8+: On an iOS device, there’s no single app that exposes the entire iCloud Drive file system like there is for Dropbox and other similar apps. Instead, you need to use an app that uses iCloud Drive, open its file chooser, and access your file system in that way.
For example, you can open Pages or another iWork app and use the app’s document browser to browse for files stored in iCloud Drive. iCloud Drives plugs straight into the storage provider extension point in iOS 8.
Mac OS X 10.10 Yosemite+: On a Mac, iCloud Drive is available directly in the Finder’s sidebar. Select iCloud Drive and, by default, you will see your documents organized into folders depending on which app they are from. However, you are free to dump any file you like in here and make all the folders you like. They will be synced via iCloud.
Windows: Windows computers need iCloud for Windows 4.0 or newer installed. After this software is installed, iCloud Drive will appear as an option in the File Explorer or Windows Explorer file-browser windows. Select it under Favorites to access your iCloud files in the same way.
Web Browser: Your iCloud files can also be accessed from the iCloud website anywhere you have a web browser. To do this, visit the iCloud Drive page on iCloud and sign in with your Apple ID.
On Nov. 17, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that it had entered into a settlement agreement with Ahold U.S.A., Inc., and Peapod, LLC, regarding the accessibility of www.peapod.com and its associated mobile application.
This follows on the DOJ having earlier this year entered into a consent decree with H&R Block (which culminated from a lawsuit originally initiated by the National Federation of the Blind) regarding the accessibility of its website, online tax preparation product and mobile application.
Both agreements require that the websites and mobile applications be made compliant with the Level AA Success Criteria of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 (WCAG 2.0). WCAG 2.0 are voluntary guidelines issued by the World Wide Web Consortium in December 2008. Existing regulations and accessibility standards issued under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) do not expressly address accessibility requirements for websites and mobile applications. In the absence of such legal standards, both the DOJ and private plaintiffs have relied upon WCAG 2.0 as criteria for making websites and mobile applications accessible.
In July 2010, the DOJ issued an advance notice of proposed rulemaking indicating its intent to promulgate regulations under both Title II (state and local government programs) and Title III (public accommodations) of the ADA to address requirements for website accessibility. To date, DOJ has not yet issued its notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) under either title of the ADA. In its most recent semiannual regulatory agenda, issued in May 2014, the DOJ had anticipated issuing its Title II NPRM in August 2014, and its Title III NPRM in March 2015. DOJ’s Title II NPRM currently is under review by the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) pursuant to Executive Order 12866. The U.S. Access Board’s separate NPRM under Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act to adopt WCAG 2.0 with respect to websites and other electronic and information technology maintained by the U.S. Government, also is currently under review at OIRA.
The U.S. Department of Transportation has already issued final regulations under the Air Carrier Access Act requiring that airline websites comply with WCAG 2.0 Level AA Success Criteria. Notwithstanding the delay in the DOJ’s rulemaking, entities covered under the ADA are well advised to assess the accessibility of their websites and mobile applications. Through its enforcement activity, the DOJ has signaled a clear intent to rely on WCAG 2.0 Level AA Success Criteria as defining “accessibility” for websites and mobile applications under the ADA, notwithstanding the fact that it has not yet adopted WCAG 2.0 as legally enforceable standards.
Additionally, as evidenced by the Peapod settlement, the DOJ is pursuing enforcement in this area as part of its authority to conduct “compliance reviews” under the ADA, even if no individual has filed an administrative complaint. Whereas the DOJ previously has included website accessibility in its compliance reviews conducted under Title II as part of its Project Civic Access program, the Peapod settlement appears to be the first instance in which the DOJ has done so under Title III. With respect to third-party content provided on its website or mobile application, the Peapod settlement requires that Peapod seek a commitment from the vendor to provide content which either conforms, or can be made to conform, to WCAG 2.0 Level AA Success Criteria.
The settlement also requires PeaPod to designate a Website Accessibility Coordinator (for both the website and mobile applications); to adopt a Website and Mobile Application Accessibility Policy; to solicit customer feedback on how accessibility of the website and mobile applications can be improved; to modify its policies regarding “bug fixes” so that bugs which create nonconformance with WCAG 2.0 are remedied with the same level of priority as other bugs; to acquire and use an automated accessibility testing tool with respect to both the website and mobile applications; to conduct annual tests utilizing individuals with different disabilities; to retain an independent website accessibility consultant; and to train Peapod’s website content personnel on website accessibility.
The settlement also requires that Peapod submit annual compliance reports to the DOJ.The complete Peapod settlement is available at:
While walking down the street one day a Corrupt Senator was tragically hit by a car and died. His soul arrives in heaven and is met by St. Peter at the entrance. "Welcome to heaven," says St. Peter. "Before you settle in, it seems there is a problem. We seldom see a high official around these parts, you see, so we're not sure what to do with you.
No problem, just let me in," says the Senator. "Well, I'd like to, but I have orders from the higher ups. What we'll do is have you spend one day in hell and one in heaven. Then you can choose where to spend eternity.” "Really? I've made up my mind. I want to be in heaven," says the Senator. "I'm sorry, but we have our rules." And with that, St. Peter escorts him to the elevator and he goes down, down, down to hell. The doors open and he finds himself in the middle of a green golf course. In the distance is a clubhouse and standing in front of it are all his friends and other politicians who had worked with him. Everyone is very happy and in evening dress. They run to greet him, shake his hand, and reminisce about the good times they had while getting rich at the expense of the people. They played a friendly game of golf and then dine on lobster, caviar and the finest champagne. Also present is the devil, who really is a very friendly guy who is having a good time dancing and telling jokes. They are all having such a good time that before the Senator realizes it, it is time to go. Everyone gives him a hearty farewell and waves while the elevator rises.
The elevator goes up, up, up and the door reopens in heaven where St. Peter is waiting for him, "Now it's time to visit heaven...” So, 24 hours passed with the Senator joining a group of contented souls moving from cloud to cloud, playing the harp and singing. They have a good time and, before he realizes it, the 24 hours have gone by and St. Peter returns. Well, then, you've spent a day in hell and another in heaven. Now choose your eternity.
The Senator reflects for a minute, then he answers: Well, I would never have said it before, I mean heaven has been delightful, but I think I would be better off in hell.
So St. Peter escorts him to the elevator and he goes down, down, down to hell...Now the doors of the elevator open and he's in the middle of a barren land covered with waste and garbage. He sees all his friends, dressed in rags, picking up the trash and putting it in black bags as more trash falls from above.
The devil comes over to him and puts his arm around his shoulders. I dont understand, stammers the Senator. Yesterday I was here and there was a golf course and clubhouse, and we ate lobster and caviar, drank champagne, and danced and had a great time. Now there's just a wasteland full of garbage and my friends look miserable. What happened?
The devil smiles at him and says Yesterday we were campaigning. Today, you voted..Vote wisely my fellow Patriots.
Really, I thought I was going to have a heart attack, said Fran Fulton. She's smiling infectiously though, as she says it. That's because Fran Fulton is talking about the moment she first began to see after more than 20 years being blind. "What I see are pixels or electrodes, little blinking lights," she said. That might not seem like much to people with full vision but to Fran Fulton it's everything. She suffers from a disease called retinitis pigmentosa or RP, a degenerative eye disease that caused her to lose all vision in her late 30s. Four months ago, at 66, she had a surgery that changed her life. Now, she sees 58 pixels. "Going from seeing absolutely nothing in front of your face to getting these blinking lights and looking at something and say 'I see something on the wall - is that a picture?'.. It was very, very exciting," she said.
Fulton owes her vision to a visual prosthetic made by a company called Second Sight and a talented team of doctors. The entire system is called the Argus II. The company has a simple mission: help the blind to see. So far, it is having some success doing that. Some 90 patients are using the Argus II to help restore their vision. Patients have a device implanted in their eye which then communicates with a "system" worn by the patient - including glasses with a camera.
Vision isn't restored completely though. Fran, for example, still uses her walking cane. But for patients who have lived in the dark for years any vision is seen as miraculous. It's the brainchild of billionaire Alfred Mann whose mission is, in many ways, to help cure the world.
According to Second Sight's CEO Robert Greenberg, Mann is a driving force behind this project: "I think that sense of possibility and the capital to make it happen were really what it took." According to Greenberg Mann's vision is, simply, to help the blind to see, the deaf to hear and the lame to walk. So far, he's tackled the first two. (The third is being attempted by Israeli exoskeleton company ReWalk - RWLK.) Another of his companies, Advanced Bionics, made cochlear implants. He's also spent a billion of his own money trying to cure diabetes. Curing blindness hasn't come quickly, though., The company was conceived in 1998, but didn't receive FDA approval for use in the U.S. until last year. Now the company is hoping to expand, making its public trading debut on the Nasdaq this week under the ticker EYES, meaning you too can own a piece of the miracle.
CEO Robert Greenberg, himself a trained doctor and engineer, says the goal is to begin treating a wider variety of patients. Right now, the device is only approved to treat RP in the U.S., although it is approved to treat a wider variety of eye diseases in Europe. "Our hope is with this new financing, with this IPO financing, is to actually take the technology that today is in Fran's eye . and implant a version of that in the brain, actually in the visual part of the brain, and bypass the optic nerve," he said. That would mean the company could "help all forms of blindness not just the retinal forms of blindness that we're helping today." Specifically, Second Sight's next frontier is macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness in adults over 50.
The company is set to start clinical trials in the UK in the coming weeks. For Fran, though, 58 pixels are just the beginning. Her greatest hope, she told Yahoo Finance, is to clearly see the faces of her grandchildren.
Blindness is not a reason to prevent one from following their dreams and pursuing a life of happiness. Yet, there are sometimes barriers that stand in our way that centre around the blindness. Many occupations, once thought to be out of reach of the blind, are being filled with competent and hard working blind persons. At times, challenges that are in our way may include technological or attitudinal barriers. So, when we look at fulfilling our duty, if being called for Jury Duty, how do we approach the topic of whether to include, or, whether to exclude a blind person from participating on a jury. This was a topic that we had off the cuff in one of the chat rooms on Out of Sight. I appreciated what everyone had said and I wanted to take the question to the greater Out of Sight community and hear what people thought. That's how this month's Survey Says question came about. Without further adue, here are the results, and thanks so very much for everyone who completed the survey and submitted their comments. Please keep reading on past the comments for a special message.Question:
I am very impressed with the breath and depth of the variety of comments that were submitted to this month's question. They were well thought out and I hope you got something out from reading what others have shared. I am heartened that you all have taken time to stop what you were doing to do this month's survey question and all the previous survey questions. It has been a real treat to pose a thought-provoking question for you to munch on, month after month. I am closing out 2014 with this being the last edition of the And, Survey Says, column. I wish you all a spiritually full time to prepare for the coming of Our Lord on Christmas during this special time during the Holy Season of Advent. May Our Lord, the Prince of Peace, who left his paradise and came among us, beginning at that first Christmas, fill you with renewed hope, grant you good health and happiness, and bless all your endeavours. Many many thanks, smiles.
OK, so I have been reading your column and I cannot figure you out. One day, you are cute, and other days you are a drill instructor. You remind me of my mother. Well, that is another story so I will not get into that. Anyways, before I ramble on more, I wanted to see if you would like to come on over and we can watch Happy Days. I have the complete DVD set. Or, perhaps you want to watch WKRP because I have that complete set too. It has been a little slow in my relationships area so I am hoping to have you over, or, perhaps you could give me some guidance. Yet, please don't hammer me down, that's what my mother is for. I will conceal my first name to remain anonymous.Sincerely,
You have many many issues. You need a team of people working on you round the clock. I have better things to do then to visit and watch your crummy reruns. You just want to re-live your college days on the air so that's why you are consumed with the show WKRP. And, stop knocking your mom, did you ever think that you are the instigator who lights it all up, and then pours gas on it? Well, not only do I think so, but I know so because I have seen you in action on a number of occasions while I visited you. I even heard you start n argument with your mom while she was at your place, while you and I were on the phone. Yep buddy, Betty Blunt won't be coming over to your place, but, perhaps I may stop in sometime in the future to delight down on your mom's great cooking. Oh boy, does that lady know her way around a kitchen! So, if you have not yet caught on, I am Betty Blunt and it has been a pleasure writing for you all. So, I bid you a fond farewell and thanks for all the great laughs!Insincerely,
Thank you to everyone who submitted answers to Novembers brain teasers. Many of you were very close, but close only counts in horseshoes!
Congratulations to Roann Clarke, Roger Khouri, Linda Knights, Lee Smiley, Lorelei, Lawrence MacLellan, Glenda Ray, Charles Rivard, and Yasir Saleem for ansering both brainteasers absolutely right!
A job well done to Kaye Zimpher for answering one brain teaser correctly.In case you missed them, here are the November brain teasers and their answers:
Now, here are the super duper brain teasers for December. Are you smarter than a 5th grader? Hmmm?1. I am round on the ends and high in the middle. What am I?
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