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22 May 2013

Oklahoma Tornado and Cell Phone Use

By Dan Wagner, Published: May 22, 2013

WASHINGTON, D.C. --  When disaster strikes, cell phone service is oftentimes among the first victims.

High winds, heavy rains, floods, hurricanes, thunderstorms and tornados can all knock-out cellular service to thousands in a flash. Suddenly those who need lines of communication  most -- have no way to communicate with the outside world.

Natural disasters regularly disrupt all types of everyday services. Landlines and electricity go out. Water service is easily lost. Internet substations may be damaged, causing the signal to your house to go dark (if you still have electricity).

In short, we all need to have a back-up communication plan on stand-by in the event disaster hits home.

First responders to the devastating Moore, Oklahoma tornado have advised local residents to use their cell phones to send text messages to loved ones letting them know that they are okay. Even with the loss of so many cell towers, Moore residents may able to grab onto a faint signal from a distant cell tower not damaged by the tornado.

The problem is that the public's need to communicate far outweighs the limited bandwidth of any remaining cell towers. And if you try and try again to connect a voice call, you are unknowingly eating-up precious bandwidth at a time when so many others need it too.

If we remember to use lower bandwidth means of communication (texting, email etc.) during times of disaster, then many more people will be able to communicate with their loved ones. This is easy to say after the fact... but for those whose homes were pulverized by the recent tornado, hearing the voice of a loved one may be one of the few remaining comforts they have left.

The last thing they are thinking about is the fact that the bandwidth used to make their voice call could be used to send dozens -- or even hundreds of equally important text messages.

21 May 2013

The Right Age for Facebook

By Dan Wagner, Published: May 21, 2013
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Internet Protocol's host, Letitia Miele and the show's Executive Producer Dan Wagner look into when is the right age for a young person to join Facebook.
Is it 13, 15, 18? Facebook allows anyone to create a page if they say they are at least 13 years old, but should that be seen as a hard-and-fast rule? Some parents create Facebook pages for their kids at a much earlier age... others want them to wait as long as possible.
What's your opinion? Join our conversation and let us know what you think in the comments below.

16 May 2013

Angelina Jolie's Decision to go Public about her Preventive Double Mastectomy

By Letitia Miele, Published: May 16, 2013

NEW YORK. -- Internet Protocol's host, Letitia Miele and the show's Executive Producer Dan Wagner discuss actress Angelina Jolie's recent announcement about choosing to have a preventive double mastectomy.
Ms. Jolie carries a rare cancer causing genetic mutation which, according to doctors, gives her an 87% chance of developing breast cancer during her lifetime. She says she made the decision to insure a better life for her six children and her husband, Brad Pitt.
Internet Protocol looks into how this deeply personal decision -- shared with a global audience -- has opened dialogues and may usher in a new chapter of global breast cancer awareness.

15 May 2013

ISS Commander Chris Hadfield

By Dan Wagner, Published: May 15, 2013
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Commander Chris Hadfield arrived at the International Space Station in December 2012 and increasingly became an Internet sensation on Earth. His YouTube videos about everyday life in space were seen by millions. He showed us how astronauts and cosmonauts eat in space, how they sleep, bathe, clip their nails, cook, play guitar, cry, communicate and maneuver -- all in zero gravity. Hadfield took the seemingly mundane aspects of day-to-day life in space and made them extraordinary... and made them accessible to everyone.
He embraced social media by posting high resolution imagery of Earth... complete with thought provoking descriptions that shed additional light on his emotional journey unfolding at 17,500 miles per hour -- 240 miles above the Earth's surface.
He tweeted, posted, pinned, shared and updated his Facebook status continually while he and the other astronauts/cosmonauts orbited Earth every 90 minutes.
While in space, Hadfield wrote songs about his journey... and slotted time in his otherwise busy schedule to take part in live video chats with students around the planet. In several televised events, Cmdr. Hadfield played the guitar and sang his songs from space -- electronically joined by choruses of young voices singing down below.
International Space Station Commander Chris Hadfield has helped reignite our collective curiosity about life in space... simply by tweeting from the highest vantage point of all.

19 March 2012

What Are Senior Citizens Doing Online?

By Dan Wagner, Published: March 19, 2012

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Contrary to popular belief, a good percentage of Internet bandwidth is being eaten-up by senior citizens.

That's right. Everyday, a growing number of elderly people are buying computers and are entering this brave new world called the Internet. For seniors, it's scary at first, but once they get the hang of it, they can't get enough of it.

I don't know about you, but I still have a hard time imagining what my grandparents would do online.

Would Grandpa be hooked on espn.com? Would Busybell sneak onto the back porch and watch JibJab on Youtube? Until just recently, I didn't really think much about Internet usage by senior citizens. I just assumed most of them were spooked by technology... and by proxy were leaving it to the next generation to enjoy.

Was I ever wrong.

There are a number of studies out that show senior citizens not only enjoy the Internet, they are embracing it. Facebook, Google+, YouTube, Twitter. There's hardly a site that seniors don't visit.

They are doing the expected online; genealogy, knitting groups, card playing, e-mail. They are also doing the unexpected. The AARP crowd is all over Facebook. They have dating sites tailored to their age group. They are gamers. YouTubers. Tweeters. They write fascinating blogs. They prefer email to snail mail.

According to 66 year old Avalon McGann of Vero Beach, Florida, who had never touched a computer until a few years ago and is now a webmaster, senior citizens should "pick one of their hobbies and go online and search for other people who like the same things. Connect with your family and friends. I don't know what I would do without my computer."

As "baby boomers" become of age and the ranks of senior citizens continue to swell, a larger percentage of the world's elderly population will own smartphones, iPads and Kindles. And as they age, the young people of today will stay connected in ways their ancestors couldn't possibly have dreamed of.

Each and every day, we really are marching toward a brave new world where being old doesn't mean isolation and loneliness. A world where being old could be a lot more fun if you have a strong WiFi signal and a charged battery.

Click here for a full transcript of this show

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