Monday, November 10, 2014

Does Vladimir understand that he can not “command” the economy to improve?
Russia Says Sanctions Hurting as Bank Moves to Protect Ruble
… The Bank of Russia said in Moscow today that gross domestic product will probably stagnate in 2015, highlighting the damage wrought by a slump in oil prices and international measures linked to the conflict in Ukraine.
… Forecasting that sanctions will last through 2017 and oil will average $95 a barrel, the Bank of Russia cut growth in its main 2015 view to zero and pushed back its medium-term inflation target of 4 percent by one year from 2016, according to the revised three-year monetary policy plan that it published today.

Local. Did the school board even bother to talk to their lawyers?
The Denver Post Editorial Board writes:
Good for the Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition (CFIC), which went to bat for a parent seeking the names of teachers at his daughter’s school who called in sick in September to protest Jefferson County school board policies.
At first, according to the coalition, the district rejected Kyle Walpole’s open-records request on the grounds that it pertained to “confidential medical information.”
Read more on Denver Post. Of course a sick-out really has nothing to do with confidential medical information, and the parent ultimately prevailed.

Another example of Things on the Internet of Things. If you used one of those 'driving tracking' devices to lower your insurance rate, perhaps the insurance company would use one of these to ensure you did not change your 'safe driving' ways?
Creditors use new devices to put squeeze on debtors
… In a recent report, The New York Times revealed that many borrowers with low credit ratings have to endure more than just sky-high interest rates if they want to drive a car off the lot. Now they must also allow the repo man to ride with them at all times.
This repo man isn’t a flesh-and-blood person occupying one of the car’s seats, though. He’s a technological extension of the lender — called a starter interrupt device —installed in the vehicles of subprime borrowers. The device allows lenders to track and monitor the location of the vehicle — both in real time and over time — and provides them with the ability to remotely shut off vehicles if, say, the borrower falls behind on payments (sometimes by just a few days) or drives outside an approved area.
There is no escaping debt collectors who can, with the push of a button on their smartphones, disable your car until you cough up payment.

Are we in for a time of specific payment apps for each store? I doubt that will go over too well even if they do have discounts and ever more elaborate interfaces.
PayPal Teams up with Burger King
Apple Pay can be used in McDonalds stores across the nation and now it seems that PayPal’s service can be used at all Burger King locations.
… “With the app, consumers can unlock deals, access menu items and view nutritional information. To pay with PayPal, consumers simply launch the Burger King app, which automatically generates a four digit pin that they can use to pay at the register,” stated Ferguson.

Another tool for editing documents without printing them out!
Poetica Introduces Groups for Editing Online as if You Were Writing on Paper
Back in April I wrote about a neat service called Poetica that you can use to edit documents almost as if you were writing on paper. This month Poetica is introducing groups. Groups will allow you to share drafts of documents with reader that you invite to your group. You can register for access to groups by completing the form here.
Editing writing in Poetica is very similar to the manner in which we have written edits on papers for years. When you read a document in Poetica you can click on any word or space between words to insert a line drawn to the margin where you then write your comments. Clicking on a word or space also allows you to simply insert a suggested word above a line in the document you're editing. If you want to suggest a change for an entire sentence you can highlight it and insert a drawn line to the margins where you can write your suggestions. Your suggestions are written in blue while your corrections are written in red.
Poetica supports importing Word files, PDFs, and Rich Text documents. If your school doesn't use Google Drive, Poetica could be a great tool for editing your students' written work. The visual connections between your markings and the comments could make it easier for your students to match your suggestions to specific portions of their documents.

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