Saturday, November 30, 2013

Federal government boosts digital strategy with mobile apps, security programs

By Chantal Tode

May 29, 2013

SaferBus

The White House is talking up a series of recent mobile initiatives designed to more efficiently and effectively connect Americans with government, including mobile security guidelines and a mobile application development program.


These developments reflect the growing role that mobile is playing in people?s lives and the government?s strategy to deliver information anywhere, anytime and on any device. The news was revealed by the White House on the year anniversary of the release of its Digital Government Strategy and is meant to build on that strategy.


A blog post introducing the mobile initiatives addressed how open government data that is publicly accessible in easy-to-use formats can fuel innovation and economic growth.



App development
One way that the government is embracing mobile is through the release of hundreds of APIs that can be used by private-sector developers to create new applications and services.


These APIs encompass government datasets such as home and business energy trends, real-time earthquake notifications around the world and the current weather on Mars transmitted from the Curiosity Rover.


 


To facilitate the creation of new apps, each government agency has released its own developer pages and Data.gov launched a government-wide API directory so these resources are easier to find and use.


These moves were further supported by President Obama?s recently executive order and open data policy making open and machine-readable the new default for government data.


The federal government also created the Mobile Application Development Program to help agencies launch mobile apps.


Mobile analytics
The government is also focused on optimizing federal Web sites for mobile devices and creating its own mobile apps to ensure government services are available to citizens on any device.


For example, the new USAJobs app from the Office of Personnel Management makes it easier for job seekers to search and apply for jobs with their mobile devices, and the SaferBus app from the Department of Transportation allows users to access a bus company?s safety performance record and file a complaint from their mobile devices.


 


In order to have insight into what information the public is looking for, where they are looking for it and if they are able to find it, the government has implemented a digital analytics program.


Centralizing the management of mobile devices used by government employees and strengthen the security of government?s mobile platforms is the focus of another series of developments, including the creation of a government-wide mobile and wireless contract program that acts as a ?family plan? for the federal government and which is expected to save taxpayers $300 million over the next five years.


A new Managed Mobility Program was also created at GSA.


Final Take
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Marketer, New York

Associate Editor Chantal Tode covers advertising, messaging, legal/privacy and database/CRM. Reach her at chantal@mobilemarketer.com.


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USPS rounds out mobile offerings with BlackBerry app

By Lauren Johnson

September 24, 2011


A screen shot of the USPS BlackBerry app


The United States Postal Service is furthering its claim to make its services available on every mobile platform with a BlackBerry application.


USPS? main goal is to put the most important features of a post office on consumers? mobile devices. The BlackBerry app joins the company's other mobile offerings, which include iPhone and Android apps and a mobile-optimized Web site.


"Anything that a customer can do in a post office should eventually be available on a mobile device,? said Joseph Adams, general manager of digital access at USPS, Washington.



Simple mail
The free USPS Mobile app is available in the BlackBerry App store.


The BlackBerry version marks the fourth app that the company has rolled out in the past two years.


With the app, consumers can use GPS to find the nearest post office location and access directions.


Users can also track and confirm packages and look up?ZIP codes.


?For BlackBerry?s user base, USPS makes sense, especially for the more business-drvien services,? Mr. Adams said.


 


Consumers can find nearby postal services on the BlackBerry app


According to Mr. Adams, both the BlackBerry and Android app will soon have similar, advanced features that are currently available on the iPhone version, including pricing information.


USPS claims that the most popular feature for on-the-go consumers is tracking a package, which is why it has rolled out the specific?function on all of its apps.


Let freedom ring
USPS? BlackBerry app is the most recent example of delivery systems seeing a need for a mobile presence.


Similarly, UPS recently rolled out a new service that lets consumers control their deliveries via alerts (see story).


Additionally, FedEx used a rich-media ad to highlight shipping for the company?s golf club service (see story).


By giving consumers increased access to mail and delivery services via mobile, companies are seeing a direct need from both consumers and feeling pressure to keep up in the industry with competitors.


In the coming months, USPS.com will be relaunching its Web site to include account tracking and history.


The new Web site features will also be rolled out across mobile so that consumers can see one place where?all their activity?is located.


Between mobile and Web initiatives, USPS hopes to provide an entirely digital shipping and?mailing experience because consumers increasingly want their daily errands ? such as running to the post office ? to be made simpler on mobile devices.


?By taking our services to mobile and digital, it provides the USPS the ability to serve consumers in a way they want to be served,? Mr. Adams said.


Final Take
Lauren Johnson is editorial assistant on Mobile Marketer, New York

Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Marketer. Reach her at lauren@mobilemarketer.com.


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Program Specialist, MPS/PHY, GS-301-7/9/11 NF (Closes: 12/12/2013)

To qualify at the GS-7 level, you must have one of the following:
1. At least one year of specialized experience equivalent to the GS-5 level in the Federal service. Examples of specialized experience include: collecting data and evaluating information, reviewing budget data to monitor expenditures, and assisting with database queries. OR
2. At least one full year of graduate level education. OR
3. Superior Academic Achievement - possession of a Bachelor's degree with one of the following: In the upper one-third of your graduating class; OR a GPA of 3.0 or higher on a 4 point scale for all course work, or based on courses completed during your final 2 years of coursework. OR
4. A combination of post high school education and experience that together meet the qualification requirements for this position.

To qualify at the GS-09, you must have one of the following:
1. At least one year of specialized experience equivalent to the GS-7 level in the Federal service. Examples of specialized experience include engaging in ongoing analysis of business processes to continually identify and recommend solutions to problems, using quantitative and qualitative analytical techniques, developing and presenting factual evidence both in writing and before an audience to support enhancements in the methods of performing work, reviewing data for trends related to business processes, interpreting those trends, and determining causes and possible courses of action. OR
2. A master`s or equivalent graduate degree or 2 full years of progressively higher level graduate education leading to such a degree. OR
3. A combination of post high school education and experience that together meet the qualification requirements for this position.

To qualify at the GS-11, you must have one of the following:
1. At least one year of specialized experience equivalent to the GS-9 level in the Federal service. Examples of specialized experience include: analyzing the effectiveness and efficiency of business operations and programmatic processes using qualitative and quantitative techniques; choosing, interpreting, or adapting guidelines for application to specific issues or subjects studied; planning and carrying out projects to improve administrative support efficiency and productivity; gathering data and analyzing, evaluating and interpreting trends to enhance work performance; completing reports and making recommendations to managers related to internal administrative operations. OR
2. A Ph.D. or equivalent doctoral degree or 3 full years of progressively higher level graduate education leading to such a degree. OR
3. A combination of post high school education and experience that together meet the qualification requirements for this position.

Education may be substituted for experience as described in "Qualifications."

You must meet eligibility and qualification requirements within 30 days of the closing date.

You must answer all job-related questions in the NSF eRecruit questionnaire.

All online applicants must provide a valid email address.  If your email address is inaccurate or your mailbox is full or blocked, you may not receive important communication that could affect your consideration for this position.

This position is in the bargaining unit.

Ratings will be assigned based on your responses to the occupational questionnaire. In some cases, additional assessment processes may be used. Review your resume and responses carefully. Responses that are not fully supported by the information in your application package may result in adjustments to your score. A Human Resources Representative will validate the qualifications of those candidates eligible to be referred to the selecting official. In the merit promotion selection process, due weight will be given to incentive awards and performance appraisals.
To preview questions please click here.


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Texas Dept. of Transportation enlists mobile to discourage drinking and driving

By Chantal Tode

October 18, 2012

Texas Dept. of Transportation

The RideFinder mobile site


The Texas Department of Transportation is leveraging text messaging and the mobile Web in a new campaign to deter college-age adults from driving under the influence of alcohol.


The ?Who?s Driving Tonight?? campaign includes a mobile site where users can find a variety of transportation options based on their location, including cab numbers, limo companies and bus routes. Signs on college campuses and in other locations encourage college-age adults to text a keyword to a short code for a link to site.


?Our target audience is tethered to their cell phones--they don?t leave home without them,? said Kenna Williams, s enior associate and interactive supervisor at Sherry Matthews?Advocacy Marketing , Austin, TX.



?Mobile marketing gives TxDOT the opportunity to connect with young adults while they are drinking and at a critical point of decision,? she said.


?We wanted to empower this at-risk audience to makes smart choices by making it easy to find a sober ride.?


Sober rides
Young adults are often the worst offenders when it comes to drinking and driving. At the same, these consumers are among the heaviest users of mobile phones, so building a safe rides campaign around mobile makes a lot of sense.


The Texas Department of Transportation enlisted 3Seventy and Sherry Matthews Advocacy Marketing to create the campaign, which is focused on deterring this audience from drinking and driving by promoting the importance of planning a sober ride.


The RideFinder mobile site, soberrides.org, is being promoted via online ads, mobile ads, social media outreach, SMS text messaging, and out-of-home media on college campuses and in bars.


 


On the site, users can find location-based transportation options, including cab numbers, limo companies, bus routes, and even pedicabs.


The campaign to promote the RideFinder site launched Labor Day weekend and goes through the first of November. It will be followed up with another campaign during Spring Break.


Location-based ride options
The RideFinder site asks users to key in their location or, if they do not know where they are, it uses location-based technology to find where they are. It then provides a list of the four or five closest cab and limousine companies as well as pedicabs that they can call for a ride. Users can click to call any of these numbers.


The site also pulls a user?s list of contacts so they can easily click to call a friend to ask for a ride.


If the user would prefer to use a bus, the site automatically populates Google Maps based on their location so they can see bus routes, the nearest stops and the bus schedule.


During the first month of the campaign, 6,200 users were served a safe ride after going to the site.


?This is a great example of a mobile campaign that reaches college students on the go and in a time of potential need,? said Carrie Chitsey, CEO of 3Seventy, Austin, TX.


Final Take
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Marketer, New York

Associate Editor Chantal Tode covers advertising, messaging, legal/privacy and database/CRM. Reach her at chantal@mobilemarketer.com.


View the original article here

Friday, November 29, 2013

Military.com increases pay-per-click landing-page conversions via mobile site

By Lauren Johnson

July 29, 2011

military.com

A screen shot of Military.com's mobile site

Military.com increased its pay-per-click landing page conversions by 70 percent after adding mobile-optimized pages.

The company worked with SiteSpect to create mobile-optimized pages for some of its most popular features. Miltary.com has also recently gained new insight into understanding how their users digest email with the company Return Path.

?Military.com was tasked with making their site better for end users, part of which is optimizing a site and understanding that more people are coming through mobile sites,? said Eric Hansen, CEO of SiteSpect, Boston.

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?Military.com has people active in the field with phones and mobile devices already, so being able to reach them through mobile platforms is almost a necessity,? he said.
?
Military.com is owned by Monster Worldwide and gives military members and families information about programs, benefits and other service-related content. Military.com has more than 10 million subscribers.

Opt for mobile
According to Mr. Hansen, SiteSpect?s work in general sees 6?10 percent or more of a Web site?s users coming via mobile.

SiteSpect created mobile-optimized pages for some of Military.com?s most popular content, including search features, programs and service articles.

Additionally, the company increased mobile conversions by 56 percent.

?Of course figuring out ways to help users? experience on mobile is hard because of the screen size and what the device is capable of, but it?s important for companies to always keep the end user in mind,? Mr. Hansen said.

Tracking users
Military.com started working with Return Path in July 2010 when they realized they needed more insight into how their users were getting information.

?We didn?t have any insight into how our newsletters and campaigns were being read by our users,? said Kirk Gray, emarketing specialist at Military.com, San Francisco.

?We needed to look at our already existent technology and figure out new ways to get our information out to our mobile users,? he said.

?When we went through our data after using Return Path?s analytics, we found surprising mobile numbers.?

In July 2010, Military.com had a 13.2 percent mobile readership. After boosting their mobile presence, the company saw a 99 percent year-to-year change, resulting in the current 26.3 percent of users who read email on their mobile devices in July 2011.

Military.com also found that the iPhone was the top performer and device used for opening email with 81.3 percent of mobile readers using the device.

?We keep seeing reports on how Android is catching up with mobile users, but we still see an overwhelming number of Apple users, whether it?s on the iPhone or iPad,? Mr. Gray said.

Mr. Gray also credits the increase in mobile readers with the company?s demographic of on-the-go service men.

Military.com is now revamping their newsletter templates and looking for new ways to engage with users, which might include expanding the company?s discounts for service men on geo-located platforms.

?Mobile wasn?t at the top of our list last year as a priority but it is this year,? Mr. Gray said.

Final Take

Lauren Johnson is editorial assistant on Mobile Marketer, New York


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FCC proposal to ban blocking of lawful content, apps on Web

By Mickey Alam Khan

December 2, 2010

Julius Genachowski

Julius Genachowski is chairman of the Federal Communications Commission


The Federal Communications Commission will stoutly defend Internet openness on wired and mobile devices, the agency?s chief said yesterday, reiterating a long-held position that does not sit well with some broadband service providers.


In his address at the FCC headquarters in Washington, FCC chairman Julius Genachowski touted the framework to preserve the Internet as an engine of growth, spelling out open rules for the medium. He also alluded to the potential of mobile broadband, whose growth is key to mobile content, marketing and commerce.


?Under the framework, the FCC would closely monitor the development of the mobile broadband market and be prepared to step in to further address anti-competitive or anti-consumer conduct as appropriate,? Mr. Genachowski said.



Reproduced below is Mr. Genachowski?s address in full.


Federal Communications Commission
Chairman Julius Genachowski
Remarks on preserving Internet freedom and openness
Washington, DC


December 1, 2010


Good morning. After months of hard work at the FCC, in other parts of government, in the private sector, and in the public interest community, and after receiving more than 100,000 comments from citizens across America, we have reached an important milestone in our effort to protect Internet freedom and openness.?


Yesterday, I circulated to my colleagues draft rules of the road to preserve the freedom and openness of the Internet. This framework, if adopted later this month, would advance a set of core goals: It would ensure that the Internet remains a powerful platform for innovation and job creation; it would empower consumers and entrepreneurs; it would protect free expression; it would increase certainty in the marketplace, and spur investment both at the edge and in the core of our broadband networks.?


I am gratified by the broad support this proposal has already received this morning ? including from leading Internet and technology companies, founders and investors; consumer and public interest groups, unions, civil rights organizations, and broadband providers.


The proposed rules of the road are rooted in ideas first articulated by Republican Chairmen Michael Powell and Kevin Martin, and endorsed in a unanimous FCC policy statement in 2005. Similar proposals have been supported in Congress on a bipartisan basis. And they are consistent with President Obama?s commitment to ?keep the Internet as it should be ? open and free.?


Their adoption would culminate recent efforts to find common ground ? at the FCC, in Congress, and outside government, including approaches advanced by both Democrats and Republicans, and by stakeholders of differing perspectives. In particular, this proposal would build upon the strong and balanced framework developed by Chairman Henry Waxman, which garnered support from technology and telecommunications companies, big and small, as well as from consumer and public interest groups.


The animating force behind all of these efforts is a shared appreciation for the Internet?s wondrous contributions to our economy and our way of life.?


Millions of us depend on the Internet every day: at home, at work, in school ? and everywhere in between. The high-speed networks we call broadband are transforming health care, education, and energy usage for the better. It?s hard to imagine life today without the Internet ? any more than we can imagine life without running water or electricity.?


The Internet has been an unprecedented platform for speech and democratic engagement, and a place where the American spirit of innovation has flourished. We?ve seen new media tools like Twitter and YouTube used by democratic movements around the world.?


Not only is the Internet becoming a central part of the daily lives of Americans, the Internet has been a strong engine of job creation and economic growth.


Internet companies have started as small start-ups, some of them famously in dorm rooms and garages with little more than a computer and access to the open Internet. Many have become large businesses, providing high-paying, high-tech jobs in communities across our country. It?s the American dream at work.


Small businesses and start-ups have accounted for more than 22 million new American jobs over the last 15 years. And broadband has played a central part, enabling small businesses to start, to lower their costs, and to reach new customers in new markets around the country and, indeed, the globe.


Why has the Internet proved to be such a powerful engine for innovation, creativity and economic growth? A big part of the answer traces back to one key decision by the Internet?s original architects: to make the Internet an open platform.


It is the Internet?s openness and freedom ? the ability to speak, innovate, and engage in commerce without having to ask anyone?s permission ? that has enabled the Internet?s unparalleled success.


This openness is a quality ? a generative power ? that must be preserved and protected. And the record in the proceeding we?ve run over the past year, as well as history, shows that there are real risks to the Internet?s continued freedom and openness. Broadband providers have natural business incentives to leverage their position as gatekeepers to the Internet. Even after the Commission announced open Internet principles in 2005, we have seen clear deviations from the Internet?s openness ? instances when broadband providers have prevented consumers from using the applications of their choice without disclosing what they were doing.


The proposed open Internet framework is designed to guard against these risks, while recognizing the legitimate needs and interests of broadband providers.?


In key respects, the interests of edge innovators ? the entrepreneurs creating Internet content, applications and services ? broadband providers, and American consumers are aligned.?


Innovation at the edge catalyzes consumer demand for broadband. Consumer demand spurs private investment in faster broadband networks. And faster networks spark ever-cooler innovation at the edge.


A central goal of the proposed open Internet framework is to foster this cycle of massive investment in both the edge and the core of broadband networks, to the benefit of consumers and our economy.?


Protecting Internet freedom will drive the Internet job creation engine.


The crux of the proposal, which would establish open Internet rules for the first time, is straightforward:


First, consumers and innovators have a right to know basic information about broadband service, like how networks are being managed. The proposed framework therefore starts with a meaningful transparency obligation, so that consumers and innovators have the information they need to make smart choices about subscribing to or using a broadband network, or how to develop the next killer app. Sunshine can help solve problems early, reducing the number of issues that even come to the FCC.?


Second, consumers and innovators have a right to send and receive lawful Internet traffic ? to go where they want and say what they want online, and to use the devices of their choice. Thus, the proposed framework would prohibit the blocking of lawful content, apps, services, and the connection of non-harmful devices to the network.


Third, consumers and innovators have a right to a level playing field. No central authority, public or private, should have the power to pick which ideas or companies win or lose on the Internet; that?s the role of the market and the marketplace of ideas. And so the proposed framework includes a bar on unreasonable discrimination in transmitting lawful network traffic.?


The proposed framework also recognizes that broadband providers must have the ability and investment incentives to build out and run their networks. Universal high-speed Internet access is a vital national goal that will require very substantial private sector investment in our 21st century digital infrastructure. For our global competitiveness, and to harness the opportunities of broadband for all Americans, we want world-leading broadband networks in the United States that are both the freest and the fastest in the world.


To this end, broadband providers need meaningful flexibility to manage their networks ? for example, to deal with traffic that?s harmful to the network or unwanted by users, and to address the effects of congestion. Reasonable network management is an important part of the proposal, recognizing that what is reasonable will take account of the network technology and architecture involved.?


Our work has also demonstrated the importance of business innovation to promote network investment and efficient use of networks, including measures to match price to cost such as usage-based pricing.?


The record in our proceeding reflects both the importance of openness principles to mobile broadband, and the appropriateness of recognizing differences between fixed and mobile broadband. This is not a new point, but one that I?ve made consistently since the beginning of this proceeding. For example, mobile broadband is at an earlier stage of development than fixed broadband, and is evolving rapidly.


Accordingly, the proposal takes important but measured steps in this area ? including transparency and a basic no blocking rule. Under the framework, the FCC would closely monitor the development of the mobile broadband market and be prepared to step in to further address anti-competitive or anti-consumer conduct as appropriate.


The work of the FCC staff on this proceeding has been exceptional, no more so than in connection with the complex legal issues. Informed by the staff?s additional legal analysis and the extensive comments on this issue over the past year, the proposal is grounded in a variety of provisions of the communications laws, but would not reclassify broadband as a Title II telecommunications service. I am satisfied that we have a sound legal basis for this approach.?


I want to emphasize that moving this item to a vote at the Commission is not designed or intended to preclude action by Congress. As always, I welcome the opportunity for the Commission to serve as a resource to Congress.?


The Commission itself has a duty and an obligation to fulfill ? a duty to address important open proceedings based on the record, and an obligation to be a cop on the beat to protect broadband consumers and foster innovation, investment, and competition. I believe the proposed framework advances this mission, and that its adoption will provide increased certainty and benefits to the American public.


I look forward to ongoing work with my Commission colleagues on this and other issues. We have very important work to do for the American people in the months ahead, as we strive to harness the opportunities of broadband and communications for the benefit of our economy and for all Americans.??


Thank you.

Editor in Chief Mickey Alam Khan covers advertising agencies, associations, research and mobile marketing issues, as well as column submissions. Reach him at mickey@napean.com.


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Mobile will play pivotal role in 2012 political campaigns

By Lauren Johnson

January 10, 2012

Obama

A string of Obama's recent SMS program


In the 2008 presidential elections, President Obama?s campaign was applauded by mobile marketers for its use of SMS and mobile Web. But with an increase in consumer adoption and more companies incorporating mobile in the past three years, how will political candidates use the channel in the upcoming 2012 elections?


Text messaging is still the most effective way for political candidates to reach a broad group of consumers, but video, applications and advertising will also play an important part in the 2012 elections. Additionally, political candidates will need to combine their mobile efforts with other marketing channels including social media, broadcast and Web for 2012.


?Voters will demand more with real-time engagement in the 2012 elections, whether it is breaking news, polling information or an insider perspective from the campaign,? said Scott Goodstein, CEO of Revolution Messaging, Washington.



?Mobile is growing up and the fad is wearing off with people that want real-time information via their devices,? he said.


Multichannel campaign
Mobile is slated to take over a bigger part of ad dollars for political candidates in 2012 after marketers saw the impact that mobile had in 2008.


However, now marketers have access to other channels that were not as widespread in 2008.


?Whether it is through in-app, MMS, a mobile landing page or a YouTube clip, the ability to watch a video through mobile makes a direct connection between candidates and voters,? Mr. Goodstein said.


Video is a key component to a political campaigns with debates and speeches, making mobile a natural extension for candidates for voters to visually see candidates while on the go.


Mr. Goodstein, who worked on Obama?s election campaign, says that the campaign wanted to use more video in 2008 but was held back with technology advances.


For example, smartphone penetration has increased dramatically since the last presidential election and has created larger data plans and better video quality for consumers.


In addition to video, applications will also play a more strategic role in political campaigns this year.


Mobile campaigns are expected to especially use more location-based services that tie political messages to real-world places where voters can do something to support a candidate.


From getting contact information, finding supporters or locating a nearby voter stations, apps can help political marketers target a large group of voters and make a campaign more tailored for specific voters to help educate them.


Mobile apps can also be used to help drive donations by political candidates.


For example, Calyp, which is a loyalty and rewards app, is currently being by used by Republican candidate Rick Perry to let users donate via the app. Users can also share Rick Perry content with their friends and family via social media.


?A mobile political campaign is not just about short text messages anymore,? said Andrew Levi, founder/CEO of Calyp, Dallas.


?Mobile needs to be used as part of a full, creative campaign with interactive videos and social media to target a mass number of consumers,? he said.



Here is the in-app endorsement that Rick Perry is using on the Calyp app


Talk via text
Despite the rapid growth in smartphone ownership, SMS reigns as the channel with the broadest reach, which is especially important for political candidates looking to reach a mass amount of voters.


However with the increased use of mobile marketing, consumers expect more when opting into a SMS program and candidates will need to make sure their text message programs use mobile more strategically in the 2012 elections.


?With political campaigns, you are talking about trying to market to people in mid-America with a higher percentage of SMS usage,? said Derek Johnson, CEO of Tatango, Seattle.


Tatango has worked on the SMS programs of Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown and Washington State Senator Patty Brown and believes that SMS is beyond the stages of being a vessel for communicating.


 


Obama's text messages lead users to a mobile Web site where they can donate and buy merchandise


Consumers are familiar with mobile Web and therefore expect to get a message with a direct way for them to act on.


For example, Obama?s most recent text messages include links to mobile Web sites where users can donate and learn about upcoming campaign events.


MMS can also help political candidates bolster their campaigns.


?The key to text-message marketing is getting people engaged and having the opportunity to provide a rich media experience that gathers voters? attentions and grabs a piece of emotional ground for them,? said Steven Gray, CEO of iLoop, San Jose, CA.


Text message programs can also be effectively used to interact with voters at events and build a mobile database.


?Mobile is a phenomenal tool for citizens to speak out about issues they are passionate about,? said Amanda Moskowitz, general manager of?Mobile Commons, New York.


?For political candidates, mobile messaging is a powerful way to grow a base of supporters from their media and events," she said.


"Candidates can then affect important outcomes through mobile messaging with these groups,?such as?rallying people for more local events, motivating them to get out the vote, prompting a donation and many other forms of effective engagement."


?Target audience
Another big area of mobile growth for 2012 will be in mobile advertising, specifically with geotargeting.


Location-based mobile advertising lets candidates target voters in areas that they might need an extra push, such as battleground states.


For example, Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachman recently used geotargeted ads at the Minnesota State Fair that educated users on a proposed tax increase on food found inside the state fair.


Voters can expect to see similar mobile initiatives from political candidates in 2012 looking to drive a specific, targeted message to a group of consumers by location.


?Geo-targeting is the magic bullet for political campaigns because it enables them to focus their ad spending only in the markets where there is heated competition,??said Alistair Goodman, CEO of?Placecast,?San Francisco.?


?We can expect to see a number of new uses of mobile technology - from geo-triggered alerts when a candidate is speaking in the area to social services connecting like-minded campaign supporters when they are near each other,? he said.


?Political campaigns are consistently at the leading edge of using new digital marketing tools for reaching their audiences and spending on mobile this time around will be both substantial and highly valuable.?


Final Take
Lauren Johnson is editorial assistant on Mobile Marketer, New York

Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Marketer. Reach her at lauren@mobilemarketer.com.


View the original article here

US Army expands commitment to potential recruits via mobile app, site

By Rimma Kats

March 2, 2011


The United States Army is extending its commitment to engage potential recruits via an iPhone application and mobile-optimized site.


The Army Strong Stories iPhone application and mobile site let users share their own Army Strong story, post comments and learn more about Army service and the careers available. The application is available?as a?free download in Apple?s App Store.


?With more than 600 soldier bloggers contributing to Army Strong Stories, many of them active duty, it was a natural next step to provide them with portable access to the site so they can share their stories, pictures and videos at anytime from anywhere,? said Bruce Jasurda, chief marketing officer of U.S. Army Accessions Command, Louiseville, KY.



?The U.S. Army remains committed to providing a transparent view of soldiers? daily lives and this mobile program helps enhance that transparency,? he said.


?Furthermore, the Army Strong Stories iPhone app and mobile Web site offer visitors portable access to new ArmyStrongStories.com content and features and enable them to ask questions, leave comments, and post new stories."


The U.S. Army Accessions Command, a subordinate command of U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, meets the human resource needs of the Army by transforming volunteers into officers, warrant officers, and enlisted soldiers.


Army strong
Users can access the mobile site by entering http://m.armystrongstories.com on their mobile browsers.
Via the application and mobile site, users can upload written content, photos and videos.


Additionally, users can access information about the army and connect to its official Web site.


?The iPhone app is a pilot program to enable our bloggers to tell their stories easily with mobile technology, and the army is always evaluating additional mobile platforms to gauge program expansion,? Mr. Jasurda said. ?We are getting word out about this initiative through a variety of means.


?Through ongoing engagement and communication with our network of soldier bloggers, we notified them of this new tool so they can download and try it out,? he said. ?This was a request they made and we're excited to meet that request.


?We are also sharing the news through various internal, army communications channels, and conducting media and social media outreach to spread the word.?


 


Users can read blog posts


 


Users can read a soldier's particular blog


In addition, users can read posts from their favorite bloggers, comment on the posts and share stories on Facebook and Twitter.


?Given mobile adoption, use and interest, it is definitely an area of focus for the army,? Mr. Jasurda said. ?There are some other mobile programs in development that army will look to launch over the course of the coming months.??


Final Take
Here is a demo of the application


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Ronald Reagan Building mobilizes visitor center with new app

By Rebecca Borison

September 6, 2013

Ronald Reagan Bldg

The Ronald Reagan Building


Washington's Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center is releasing a mobile application that will help its visitors access the building?s numerous events, restaurants and other offerings.


The app will provide users with detailed maps and self-guided tours along with educational and interactive games. Trade Center Management Associates, which operates the Ronald Reagan Building, partnered with XCO Digital to develop the app.


?We are a unique federal building, chartered by congress, open to the public 365 days a year, 7 days a week,? said Julia H. Rapley, vice president of sales and event planning at the Ronald Reagan Building, Washington. ?We host over a 1,000 conferences and special events every year. It?s a very dynamic and exciting place.



?Because there is so much going on all the time, the start of the development of the app was really to come up with a way to help people find where they were going and find things of interest in the building,? she said.


Mobile trade center
By the end of the month, the Reagan Building?s app will be available for free in Apple?s App Store and Google Play.


It will offer an interactive guest experience for people visiting the building.


The app will list the various public events and conferences taking place in the building as well as direct visitors to the locations within the building. Maps will locate exhibits, tenants, restaurants, shops, restrooms and parking.


Visitors will also be able to create customized self-guided tours that explain the history, artwork and highlights of the Reagan Building.


Additionally, the app will list building hours, directions, contact information and a calendar of events. It will also provide transportation information, including next Metro train/bus, Capital Bikeshare locations, airport departure times and taxi cab information.


Not only will the app provide practical information, but it will also offer fun games that relate to the building?s history and goals.


If the building wants to send relevant information out in real-time, the app enables push notifications as well.


Enhancing the building experience
Many different buildings have related apps that guide visitors through the venue itself.


For example, the Museum of Modern Art offers a number of apps that guide guests through the museum. The apps give visitors information about the artwork and provide maps of the museum to help them make their way through the building (see story).


Lowe?s also recently added a map feature to its app to help consumers navigate the in-store experience (see story).


?I think it is safe to say that the vast majority of people coming to the building have a mobile device with them, and it offers us a great way to put a lot of information about the building right in someone?s hand,? Ms. Rapley said. ?With the enhancements and functionality that XCO gave us, it also gives those mobile users great opportunity to customize and put together their own tour of the building.?


Final Take
Rebecca Borison is editorial assistant on Mobile Marketer, New York

Rebecca Borison is editorial assistant on Mobile Marketer. Reach her at rebecca@mobilemarketer.com.


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Saturday, November 16, 2013

From homeless man to sharply dressed exec

This Veteran's Day donate to Degage Ministries to help other homeless veterans.

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No wonder this guy can't find love

Wedding photographer Romeo Rose tries to explain a very specific personal ad calling for his dream girl.

Romeo Rose has come under fire for posting a series of inflammatory tweets. Romeo Rose has come under fire for posting a series of inflammatory tweets. Source: Supplied

Romeo Rose in action. Romeo Rose in action. Source: Supplied

NO WONDER this guy can't find love.

An American photographer who made headlines for his brash requirements for the perfect girlfriend has done it again, but this time he's taken aim at women, homosexuals and black people in a series of inflammatory tweets that's quickly given him the reputation as the world's worst wedding photographer - and potentially the world's worst human.

Overnight, Larry Busby, aka Romeo Rose, posted a series of rants describing rape as a "womens (sic) fantasy" and that they "put themselves in that position then whine about it later".

Prepare yourself.

A screengrab of Romeo's vile Twitter rant before his profile was suspended. Picture: Twitter @RomeoRosePhotos A screengrab of Romeo's vile Twitter rant before his profile was suspended. Picture: Twitter @RomeoRosePhotos Source: Supplied

And it didn't end there.

************

It's no surprise that not soon after, the Twitterverse began to react. Yet he refused to admit he was a troll and a racist.

************

************

His account was suspended at approximately 11:30am AEST, but he posted on his Facebook page soon after: "just because you get a acct (sic) suspended or removed does not mean you will ever change the way I think or shut me up from voicing my opinions".

He returned under the Twitter handle @SleeplessNATX, describing himself as a "living legend & icon", but Twitter was quick to react and the profile has already been suspended.

He also made the shock announcement that he would be running for Mayor of Austin, Texas, at the next election, claiming he'll "get rid of all hippys (sic), liberals, potheads, blacks, gays and feminists".

But considering he doesn't have enough money to pay for his electricity bill, we have a feeling pigs will fly before he reaches the dizzying heights of politics.

That's karma for you.

Picture: Facebook/Romeo Rose Picture: Facebook/Romeo Rose Source: Supplied

Continue the conversation via Twitter @the_mattyoung


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Friday, November 15, 2013

You are way dirtier than you think you are

Your hygiene habits are way worse than you think. Picture: Thinkstock Your hygiene habits are way worse than you think. Picture: Thinkstock Source: Supplied

BACTERIA and faecal matter. They're everywhere.

It doesn't matter how many times you wash your hands, launder your clothes or clean your bathroom. You're probably still covered in them.

The Huffington Post has put together a list of disgusting facts that show you why your hygiene habits "are way worse than you think".

Washing your clothes doesn't get them clean

University of Arizona research found that washing one load of underwear can transfer 100 million E. coli into the water, and into the next load you do.

Microbiology professor Charles Gerba, who conducted the research, told ABC: "There's about a tenth of a gram of poop in the average pair of underwear."

To combat the problem make sure you take your laundry out of the machine as soon as its finished, or bacteria will multiply in the dark, damp conditions.

Washing dishes is disgusting

The kitchen sink is less hygienic than a toilet bowl, according to Eileen Abruzzo, the director of infection control at Long Island College Hospital of Brooklyn. Dirty plates and soaking pots are the perfect breeding ground for E. coli and salmonella.

There could be faeces on your toothbrush

Flushing a toilet without closing the lid causes faecal matter to fly into the air. Dr Gerba compared it to "the Fourth of July" fireworks, The Atlantic reported. And the particles can travel up to 1.8 metres, which is bad news if your toothbrush is in range.

There is no such thing as the "five second rule"

Clemson University researchers found that food picks up 99 per cent of bacteria are soon as it hits the ground. "The five-second rule probably should become the zero-second rule," says Dr. Roy M. Gulick, chief of the division of infectious diseases at Weill Cornell Medical College. Carpets and wet floors harbour more bacteria than hard floors. Salty and sugary foods take longer to pick up bacteria.

To read the full list, go to the Huffington Post.


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Why your kids need device curfews

Experts warn parents are risking their children's physical and mental well-being by allowing so much screen time and inter Experts warn parents are risking their children's physical and mental well-being by allowing so much screen time and interaction with online activities. (File picture) Source: News Limited

TECH-savvy kids now spend more time online or watching TV than they do at school and should be put on a "media diet'' of two hours a day, paediatricians warned.

Doctors have been advised to start grilling parents about their kids' online habits to prevent obesity, bullying and sexual problems.

Australian paediatricians are backing new guidance issued by the American Academy of Paediatrics, which urges parents to impose a "curfew'' for smartphones, and discourage babies and toddlers from watching any TV.

Australian Medical Association president Steve Hambleton said children were growing obese because they spend too much time sitting in front of screens.

Experts say very young children shouldn't watch TV at all, and others need to be put on media diets along with things like Experts say very young children shouldn't watch TV at all, and others need to be put on media diets along with things like smartphone or device curfews. (File picture)

He also warned that kids were watching pornography and violence on smart phones.

"It's disturbing normal sexual development,'' he told News Corp.

"Girls feel they have to act like porn actors and boys think they want to be treated that way.''

Dr Hambleton urged parents to ban TVs and the internet from kids' bedrooms.

The new US guide says the average 8 to 10-year-old spends nearly eight hours a day with media, while teenagers spent up to 11 hours a day online or watching TV.

"Young people now spend more time with media than they do in school,'' it says.

"It is the leading activity for children and teenagers other than sleeping.''

The guide advises GPs to ask parents during kids' health check-ups about how much time their children spend in front of screens, and whether they have a TV, computer, tablet or smart phone in their rooms.

And it suggests kids be placed on a "media diet'' of two hours a day.

The lead author of the American guide, Professor Victor Strasburger, said children should not be allowed to watch the internet alone in their rooms.

He said he could guarantee that if a 14-year-old boy had internet access in his room, "he is looking at pornography''.

"Keep technology out of the bedroom,'' Professor Strasburger told News Corp from New Mexico.

"You cannot control what kids are seeing or how much time they spend online if they are wired in their bedrooms.

"When I was growing up, 'Go to your room' was a punishment but now it's a technological vacation.''

Professor Strasburger said he was concerned about the impact of online porn on teenagers' sexual development.

"Forty years ago the worst thing a 14-year-old could get into was Playboy magazine,'' he said.

"But sex online differs from a magazine, and we do such a poor job of sex education at home and in school that media has filled the gap.''

Professor Strasburger, a US adolescent medicine expert who has worked at the Sydney Children's Hospital, said babies and toddlers exposed to television before the age of two were slower to start speaking.

"They can learn from you as a person, but not from a person on the TV screen,'' he said.

The Paediatric and Child Health Division of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians yesterday backed the new US advice.

Its president-elect, Dr Nicki Murdock, said children were using smart phones to bully other kids, take videos of other children or themselves, and watch pornography.

"Children don't realise they're opening themselves up to regret and threat,'' she said.

"Pornography and inappropriate content is freely available on the internet and some parents are not tech-savvy to block the child's access.

"And when children are using computers or watching TV it means they are not going outside running around and riding their bikes.''

Dr Murdock agreed it would be a "good idea'' for doctors to ask parents about their children's media use during health checks.

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Thursday, November 14, 2013

Is buying bottled water like buying air?

It takes 6000 glasses of tap water to equal the cost of a single bottle of water. Picture: Thinkstock It takes 6000 glasses of tap water to equal the cost of a single bottle of water. Picture: Thinkstock Source: Supplied

Hilarious campaign pokes fun at consumers6000 glasses of water equal cost of one bottleVisit the Choose Tap Facebook pageFind out more on the Choose Tap campaign

"IT'S KIND of like buying bottled water."

That's the message from Yarra Valley Water in this ad campaign, Choose Tap, that pokes fun at consumers by comparing buying bottled water to buying air.

The aim is to promote the use and health benefits of drinking tap water after figures revealed it takes 6000 glasses from the tap to equal the cost of a single bottle of water.

The campaign, which was filmed in a real store in Melbourne, centres on a fictional brand, Dupé (pronounced due•pey), selling a variety of strange products such as 'February Moonlight', 'Vintage Compliments From Nanna' and their signature product, 'Organic Fresh Air', all at incredibly high prices.

The reactions of customers were filmed by a hidden camera.

Australians spend big bucks on bottled water, more than $500 million a year, "which is not only putting greater strain on the environment, it's an expense we could easily avoid," says Yarra Valley Water's website.


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Bird flu kills 13 in Cambodia this year

CHINA-HEALTH-FLU Cambodia's latest bird flu victim was a young boy who became sick after tending to a group of chickens that died suddenly. Source: AFP

CAMBODIAN authorities say a 10-year-old boy has become the country's 13th person to die of bird flu this year.

Cambodia's Health Ministry and the World Health Organisation said in a joint statement that the boy died from the H5N1 bird flu virus on Saturday after suffering from fever, cough, a sore throat and breathing difficulty.

Cambodia's 13 bird flu fatalities and 24 confirmed cases are the country's highest annual total since the virus surfaced in 2003, and also the highest for any country this year for the H5N1 variant.

The H5N1 virus normally spreads between poultry, but can sometimes spread from poultry to humans.

The statement said that about a month before the boy became sick, about 30 chickens died suddenly in his village and that he helped carry them.


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Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Meth boom sweeping Asia: UN

Asia methamphetamine Thai police guard packages containing about two million methamphetamine pills. Seizures of crystal meth and methamphetamine pills reached record highs in East and Southeast Asia in 2012. Picture: Sakchai Lalit Source: AP

The United Nations has sounded the alarm over record seizures of methamphetamine across much of Asia as the illegal drug floods streets and clubs.

Last year, 227 million methamphetamine pills were seized in East and Southeast Asia - up 59 per cent from the year before and a more than seven-fold increase compared with 2008, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) said on Friday.

"If you look at the five-year trends, since 2008 the seizures have increased pretty exponentially," said UNODC regional analyst Shawn Kelley, who said data suggest the trend has continued into 2013.

He said the "huge spike" was the result of increased efforts by law enforcement agencies as well as soaring production in Myanmar and an increase in the smuggling of drugs into Asia from other regions.

Seizures of potent crystal meth also increased, jumping 12-fold in Myanmar, 10-fold in Brunei, 91 per cent in Hong Kong, 75 per cent in both Indonesia and Cambodia, and 33 per cent in Japan.

In its pill form, methamphetamine - known in Thailand as "yaba", which means "crazy medicine" - is used both as a party drug and pick-me-up for those working long hours.

Between them China, Thailand, Myanmar and Laos seized 99 per cent of all yaba in East and Southeast Asia, according to the UNODC report.

Asia Record Meth Year A 2013 poster of the varieties of Myanmar-made methamphetamine pills hangs in the office of the Anti-Narcotic Task Force at Yangon's domestic airport. Picture: Jocelyn Gecker

All countries showed significant increases on a year earlier, with Thai authorities netting 95.3 million pills - a 93 per cent increase - while Chinese seizures rose 25 per cent to 102.2 million and Myanmar's more than tripled to 18.2 million.

Much of the methamphetamine seized in Thailand is thought to be produced in neighbouring Myanmar.

Before the country began opening up to the world under a new reformist government in 2011, it was believed that rebels were increasing drug production to buy weapons amid tensions with the then-ruling junta.

"But now it's still going on," said Kelley, despite ceasefire deals between Myanmar's new quasi-civilian government and many of the armed ethnic minority groups.

The drug is mostly made in isolated mobile laboratories hidden in the forests of Shan State in eastern Myanmar, which is also the second-largest global source of opium after Afghanistan.

But at least one major "fairly sophisticated large lab" was discovered in 2012, with quantities of meth suggesting "industrial production", said Kelley, adding that some well-organised groups had financing from outside the country.

In Thailand, the use of methamphetamine has become a major public health issue, said Kelley, with signs that traffickers are pushing "promotional sales" of the more potent crystal meth to develop the market.

The country saw a 63 per cent increase in people admitted for treatment for yaba last year, to 245,920. The number of those given help for crystal meth, while still smaller at 16,500, was more than double the previous year.


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Stressed? More heading to the shops

Foodbank general manager Ken McMillan launches the 2013/2014 annual donation drive in partnership with Quest Community Newspapers, Retail First shopping centres and All Purpose.

Easing the stress by shopping is increasing ... Lorraine Harrison and Kellie Fraser love their new shoes. Picture: Russell Brown Easing the stress by shopping is increasing ... Lorraine Harrison and Kellie Fraser love their new shoes. Picture: Russell Brown. Source: News Limited

MORE Australians are turning to retail therapy to manage their stress, according to a new survey of the nation's well-being.

While watching television and movies and spending time with family remain the most popular stress relievers, the proportion of Australians trawling a shopping mall increased from 47 per cent to 60 per cent between 2011 and 2013.

And more than two thirds who went shopping to relieve stress this year rated it as an effective stress management strategy.

But Professor Lyn Littlefield, head of the Australian Psychological Society which conducted the survey, warned while shopping and watching movies distracts people from their problems, it doesn't solve them.

"In the short term they are effective but they are not a long-term solution," she said.

"When you come home from shopping it becomes very hollow the next day," she said.

The results of the online survey of 1,548 people conducted by the society suggests stress could be a factor in the nation's obesity crisis.

Three out of four people report they eat something to deal with stress, up from 69 per cent in 2011.

Eating something to cope with stress was rated as only 55 per cent effective compared to 85 per cent who rated spending time with family as effective.

This is probably because the survey also found that the pressure to maintain a healthy lifestyle was the fourth most common cause of stress.

The media was rife with reports on the problem of obesity and the need to eat well and exercise and people who struggled to do this felt inadequate, Professor Littlefield said.

DO YOU RELEASE STRESS BY SHOPPING? TELL US MORE BELOW

The computer has emerged as a counsellor with almost one in two people (49%) turning to social networking sites to cope with stress, up from 37 per cent in 2011.

Finances and family issues remain the nation's top causes of stress but for one in three workers their job is a source of stress.

Only half the nation's workers feel valued by their boss and job satisfaction is on the decline the survey found.

Workplace stress was worst for those aged 36-55 with one in two people in this age group suffering stress from their job.

The global financial downturn and redundancies in many workplaces worried those who still had a job and they may also be working harder as a result of workplace downsizing, Professor Littlefield said.

More than one in three of those surveyed reported depression and one in seven had severe depression.

Family issues top stressor for women, finances top stressor for men

Stress was so bad for seven in ten people they said it was affecting them physically.

Those who found their problems overwhelming to the point where they could not turn up at work or leave their homes could get help from a psychologist.

Psychologists had strategies to break problems down into smaller chunks so it could be deal with gradually, Professor Littlefield said.


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Weight losers rewarded with gold

Obesity Dubai Hussain Nasser Lootah, Director General of Dubai Municipality, presents Syrian architect Ahmad al-Sheikh, 27, with the top award in a weight loss competition in Dubai. Picture: Karim Sahib Source: AFP

DUBAI municipality has dished out 2.8 million dirhams ($809,874) in gold in prizes to contestants in a weight-loss challenge, an initiative by the Gulf emirate to fight obesity.

The "Your Weight in Gold" campaign promised one gram of gold for each kilogram shed, provided the contestants lost at least two kilos by August 16, when the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan ended.

Ahmad al-Sheikh, a 27-year-old Syrian architect, claimed the top prize of 63 grams of gold worth 10,048 dirhams after losing 26 kilos.

Sheikh, who weighed 146.7 kilos at the start of the competition, was one of 2648 winners who together received 16.82 kilos of gold on Thursday.

"I actually registered 15 days later in the campaign and was worried at first, because I thought I lost a head start to all the other contestants," he told the Gulf News daily.

The second and third place winners shed 23 kilos and 22 kilos, respectively.

During Ramadan, the faithful refrain from eating, drinking and smoking between dawn and sunset.

Dubai obesity The participants in 'Your Weight in Gold' during the final weigh-in. Contestants were promised one gram of gold for every kilogram shed. Picture: Karim Sahib

But many tend to tuck in heartily after dark, despite warnings that overindulgence can be bad for the health.

Many Gulf countries are struggling to reduce the level of obesity among their populations.


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Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Boy's awesome note reveals perfect survival tips

Don't run away. Picture: ThinkStock. Don't run away. Picture: ThinkStock. Source: Supplied

THIS little boy hasn't even run away yet but already he's broken one of his main rules: "Don't let anyone see this".

That was point #32 on an extensive list written by a nine-year-old planning his perfect getaway - and how to survive on the lam.

In this awesome series of notes uploaded by Imgur user vwbrenna, the boy known as Jack plots every last detail of his runaway fantasy, stuff.co.nz reports.

And he kid's certainly got an imagination.

Take for instance tip #14: "try to find a new family" and tip #21: "act normal".

Then there are the repeated reminders to use bird's nest as kindling in any fire he'll create along the way.

But at least he's healthy; Jack's #1 tip is this: "Bring lots of food, no junk food". Picture: Imgur Picture: Imgur Source: Supplied

Picture: Imgur Picture: Imgur Source: Supplied

Picture: Imgur Picture: Imgur Source: Supplied

Picture: Imgur Picture: Imgur Source: Supplied

Picture: Imgur Picture: Imgur Source: Supplied

Picture: Imgur Picture: Imgur Source: Supplied

Picture: Imgur Picture: Imgur Source: Supplied

Picture: Imgur Picture: Imgur Source: Supplied


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Tassie workers' amazing feat

Active Education Department Education Department employees -- including, from left, Jodie Bruun, Bec Campton, Lyn Metcalfe and Karen Jones -- have blitzed the opposition in the Global Corporate Challenge. Picture: Nikki Davis-Jones Source: Mercury

FITTER, healthier and more productive, Tasmania's education employees are on top of the world.

Department of Education workers have beaten thousands of international counterparts by being named the world's most active government organisation.

The 602 employees who took part in the Global Corporate Challenge aimed for 10,000 steps per day -- which could be achieved walking, running, cycling or swimming.

Four out of five exceeded the benchmark.

The average was 12,934 steps a day, far beyond the unhealthy 3000 of an average worker.

The challenge was attempted by 1200 companies worldwide, involving 262,000 employees.

Education staff beat 118 government agencies in the 12-month initiative, which encourages a gradual change in behaviour and attitudes.

"Employees benefited personally as well, 86 per cent said they now thought of exercise more positively and 67 per cent said they had more energy," GCC chief executive officer Tom Sermon said.

"Employees said exercise had decreased their stress and improved their productivity."

The GCC aims to help businesses and employees by ensuring they arrive each day in the right physical and mental shape.

Department corporate services deputy director Andrew Finch said staff who had done the GCC reported that they lost weight and felt fitter and healthier.

"There is significant evidence that healthy staff provide social and economic benefits to organisations and the community generally, such as reduced absenteeism from illness and injury, greater productivity at work, reduced health care costs and a more satisfied work force," Mr Finch said.

Tomorrow is the 15th annual Walk to Work Day, which encourages Australians to build walking into their daily routine.

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Monday, November 11, 2013

Six drinks that will make every party

le georges SO it's true - the beautiful people get the best tables at restaurants while the homely are pushed into the dark  corners.  

Cidar HERE are some of the perfect drinks to help you get through those lazy days by the pool or in one of the many beer gardens scattered across the country.   

Bottoms up: What kind of drinker are you? DRINKING alcohol is a part of almost every event these days, so research has investigated drinker behaviours and found the four types of drinkers.

The foods most likely to give you food poisoning CHICKEN and seafood always get the blame for food poisoning, but it's more likely the culprit was one of these seemingly harmless items.

Cidar Cool, refreshing drinks are the name of the game this silly season. Source: Supplied

THE more refreshing the better is the key when choosing your drop of poison to help get you through the sizzling summer which expects to see the mercury reach sky high proportions across the country.

It’s all about fresh fruit with splashes of vibrancy and heaps of fun in your drinks this season to quench your thirst without feeling that sickly and bloated sensation. Here are some of the perfect alcoholic drinks to help you get through those lazy days by the pool, at a picnic or BBQ or in one of many beer gardens.  This is too easy to make (and drink!) at home and will also transport you back to your childhood. All you do is blend 100 grams of frozen raspberries, 100 grams of sugar, 200ml of still water and two whole lemons then sieve the combo a couple times and throw in a bottle or two of your favourite sparkling wine. “It’s gorgeous and it’s a beautiful pink colour,” Gastronomy event caterer Miccal Cummins said. “It’s super easy - a couple of long straws and off you go.” Cider has undergone a massive transformation from a tacky British tipple to the fastest growing alcoholic beverage in Australia boasting a 35 per cent rise in sales in the past year. Keystone Group bars manager Jason Williams said cider has particularly filled the gap for those women who never got into beer.“The category will keep evolving and expand in terms of its range – there are new brands coming out every day,” he said. “It goes beautiful with food but you’ll also see people smashing them in cans as well.” One of the many brands new to the Australian market is Stassen cider which is created from 100 per cent crushed fruit.The juice is extracted in cider presses and fermented using champagne or wine yeast. The Belgian line comes in sweet apple, delicate pear, juicy red fruits and zesty elderflower and lime with no other additives – perfect for those stinking days.Once upon a time it was perceived as a nanna’s drink - now gin has managed to slowly but surely push vodka off the liquor shelf. Williams said gin fell off the radar when vodka reigned supreme in the 80s and 90s but new products has created a resurgence in the good ole fashioned G & T. “People have grown out of vodka to a certain extent,” he said. “New gin products have modern vibrant fun flavours which are a bit more versatile that work with tonic, soda or a cocktail especially in the warmer months.”Drinks Pink, fruity and cool, these drinks will keep everyone happy this summer. Source: Supplied

Chef and restauranteur Stefano Manfredi says you can’t go past a truly traditional Italiano spritzer to cool you down on a hot day. “It’s a beautiful summer drink,” he said. “It’s really refreshing with bitterness from the Aperol or Campari which is important because it takes your thirst away.” Ideally use four parts Prosecco, if not any bottle of sparkling wine, two to three parts Aperol or Campari and one part water or ice.The pink sweetness in a bottle has really taken off with Moscato becoming the fastest growing wine variety in Australia as sales increased 18 per cent in the past year. The drop goes hand in hand with summer matching well with barbecued meats, salads and cheese platters. Banrock Station has just released a Red variety which displays ripe berry flavours with a fun fairy floss twist. Nothing can go past an ice cold beer at the end of a long summer’s day, but stubbies and tinnies are being shafted for the boom in craft beers. Cooks Notebook blogger Mel Kettle says the boutique labels are an ever growing market that just keeps on giving. “Most people are sick of the main breweries producing fairly bland and tasteless beers,” she said. 

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Bottoms up: What kind of drinker are you?

What kind of drinker are you? What kind of drinker are you? Source: ThinkStock

DRINKING is a huge part of the Australian culture.

Just look at the images that surfaced in the wake of this week's Melbourne Cup for proof.

Most race-goers spent the day with one - or several - drinks in their hand, and there were quite a few punters who finished the day face down on the grass, retching. Not really a classy look.

This Melbourne Cup punter might have had a bit too much. This Melbourne Cup punter might have had a bit too much. Source: AAP

A research study from the RMIT University has investigated the role that alcohol plays in Australian culture. Researchers interviewed thousands of alcohol drinkers in Victoria to reveal four 'drinking types'.

The question is, which type of drinker are you?

"Heavy drinking is viewed as acceptable in almost all social situations, from weddings to sports matches, and even at funerals or baby showers," stated the research report. "There are very few occasions where drinking alcohol is not encouraged."

A bit of sport with your booze? A bit of sport with your booze? Source: ThinkStock

The report found that our "society's inherent and deeply embedded drinking culture makes most people feel they need a specific reason not to drink, rather than a reason to drink."

The research matched people's personal values, motives and lifestyle factors with the frequency of their alcohol consumption, and found that certain factors corresponded with people who drink greater amounts of alcohol.

So, what are the four types of drinkers and which one are you? The full research report from Victoria Health gives us the run down.

The Initiator likes to have fun ... with alcohol of course. The Initiator likes to have fun ... with alcohol of course. Source: ThinkStock

THE INITIATOR: "I drink what I want and I know what I'm doing."

Initiators comprise of 40 per cent of the drinking population. Typically they:

- are outgoing and the 'life of the party'

- love to have a drink and 'let loose'

- like to be an expert on alcohol brands

- are spontaneous and love to make things happen

- drink to have fun

- like to go out and drink at bars and clubs and meet people

- can sometimes be a booze bully

The Follower is influenced by the enthusiasm of Initiators around them. The Follower is influenced by the enthusiasm of Initiators around them. Source: ThinkStock

THE FOLLOWER: "When I do drink, I wish I could stop at just one or two ..."

Followers make up 13 per cent of the drinking population. They are usually:

- fun, social and easy-going

- influenced by social and cultural pressures

- persuaded join in or go with the flow

- swept up in the moment and enjoyment of social situations

- inclined to drink at home with friends and family

Moderators enjoy a drink over dinner. Moderators enjoy a drink over dinner. Source: ThinkStock

THE MODERATOR: "I choose not to drink much. I like to have a drink with friends over dinner, then go home at a decent hour."

Moderators are a surprising 26 per cent of the drinking population. They are generally:

- self-disciplined and self-sufficient

- relaxed and prefer a more chilled-out experience

- confident about saying 'no'

- inclined to have a glass or two, but that's it

- happiest when drinking at home

The Protector is like your guardian angel. The Protector is like your guardian angel. Source: ThinkStock

THE PROTECTOR: "Not having a drink when others are drinking doesn't bother me."

Protectors represent 21 per cent of drinkers. They typically:

- are controlled and conscientious

- enjoy having fun in a safe environment

- look out for others when socialising

- are not overly interested in drinking alcohol

- are the designated driver

Think you know which type of drinker you are? Comment below or join the conversation on Twitter @newscomauHQ | @gracekoelma | @VicHealth

Take the 'what kind of drinker are you?' quiz here.

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