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Ransomware: A NOT So Humorous Look

15 Feb

As we’ve reported before, the ransomware threat has many negative effects. Ransomware “is malware. The hackers demand payment, often via Bitcoin or prepaid credit card, from victims in order to regain access to an infected device and the data stored on it.” [Ransomware: The Smart Person’s Guide, by James Sanders]

How pervasive is the threat of ransomware in our everyday lives? Check out this rather scary cartoon from Joy of Tech. It was inspired by the recently published Ransomware: Defending Against Digital Extortion by Allan Liska and Timothy Gallo! [Click the image for a larger version of the cartoon.]
 

 

Fortune’s 2017 Crystal Ball

8 Feb

Each year, Fortune magazine presents an interesting series of predictions for the coming year.

The 2017 “crystal ball” is based on these principles (and includes the use of IBM Watson 🙂 ):

“The election of Donald Trump to the presidency represents a seismic shift in American politics, an event with implications nearly impossible to predict. One casualty of the election, indeed, may be the science of prediction itself. For all their algorithmic gymnastics, pollsters and betting markets were utterly confounded by Trump’s win. Which is why it’s essential to have a prediction tool that relies as much on art (and whimsy) as it does on science. And this year, for some extra insight, we’ve even teamed up with artificial-intelligence powerhouse IBM Watson, which mined tens of millions of sources to help us spot hidden trends. Here, we offer our well-informed, intuitive take on the stories that will shape business—and much else—in the coming year.”

Fortune’s 2017 predictions are divided into several categories:

  • Techno-Futurism
  • Politics
  • Economy
  • The World
  • Trendsetters
  • More Companies Tie the Knot
  • Where Fortune Is Placing Its Bets
  • How We Did in 2016

 

Click the image to read the 2017 predictions.


 

Don’ts for Businesses Using Social Media

30 Jan

In this new era of fake news, alternative truth, and inflammatory messages on social media, it is a good time for us to appraise (or reappraise) our own use of social media. Are we doing the best we can to avoid careless mistakes or inflammatory language?

Recently, Annie Pilon described “20 Taboo Topics to Stay Away from on Your Company’s Social Media Channels” for Small Business Trends. Here are some of her observations. PLEASE keep them in mind when utilizing social media and reacting to comments by others:

“If you use social media to promote your business online, you’ve probably put a lot of thought into what types of posts to share. But sometimes it can be just as important to consider what NOT to post on social media.”

             “Making fun of specific groups of people can go too far.

Even the occasional complaint about customers can be enough to damage your brand.

Avoid complaining about your employees online.

Customers want to know that you have a team that they can trust.

Nonconstructive criticism about public figures can seem petty to your social media followers.

You don’t want to be too intrusive when asking questions of your followers.

Be careful not to share anything that’s not true, as it can make your business look bad and lead to your followers being misinformed.

Healthy competition can be good for a business, even on social media. But there’s a big difference between a friendly back-and-forth and trash-talking.

Social media also isn’t the place to share sensitive or confidential information about customers.

Don’t share with followers every time you’re having a bad day or just feeling ‘blah’ about your business.

Posting anything illegal, whether it’s drug use or even just speeding, is a very bad idea.

Stay away from sharing any content that could be considered controversial.

It’s also best not to post anything that’s irrelevant to your audience.”

 

Click the image to learn more from Pilon.


 

Great Books to Read in 2017

26 Jan

As we continue to look ahead to 2017, there are various books that provide valuable information and that are highly rated by reviewers. Here are a few sources for YOU to check out, by topic.

Click the images to read the reviews.
 

“5 Must Read Books That’ll Inspire Entrepreneurs in 2017”


 

“12 New Books to Help You Build Wealth and Get more More Done in 2017”


 

“11 Great Business Books to Read Right Now”

 

“20 Books Every Marketer Should Read in 2017”

 

“Top 15 Best Books on Social Media Marketing for 2017”

 

Comparing AI Virtual Assistants

23 Jan

Over the last year, artificial intelligence (AI) personal assistants have become BIG!! The leading ones are (alphabetically): Alexa from Amazon, Cortana from Microsoft, Google Assistant, and Siri from Apple. These AI options can answer questions, play music, give directions, tell jokes, and even play games (try Jeopardy on Alexa).

How good are they? For this stage in their development, they are very good and relatively accurate for the simple tasks in which they specialize — and they can be fun to use. But they do each have limitations and their evolving software updates will continue to get better. In addition, there may be security issues that occur now. [Read this article for more on security.]

Recently, Jeff Dunn, writing for Business Insider, did an excellent comparison of these four virtual assistants:

“As the Web diminishes and the Amazon Echo [Alexa] continues to be a runaway hit, all the big players are convinced that talking to an AI will soon become the dominant way we interact with our computers. So they’ve started building. Apple has Siri, Amazon has Alexa, Microsoft has Cortana, and Google has the new and refreshed Google Assistant. The tech has come a long way, but all of these companies openly admit that it’s very early days for this proposed future. As such, all of these assistants are far from polished. But they’re also things you can use today. So which one works best? I strapped in for eight hours of robot conversations to find out, testing each of the big four assistants across a variety of categories.”

“There is a ton of work to be done. The problems here are large and sweeping: Each assistant still feels like a fragile, thinly veiled web of loosely connected services — because that’s what they are. It’s almost impossible to tell when one of them won’t be able to do the thing you asked. You have to be OK giving up your location and loads of personal data to get the most out of them.  There are numerous instances where using a Web browser is simply faster for doing fundamental tasks. Each one is still wildly finicky when it comes to phrasing. They all think too much in black and white; one misplaced or forgotten word is often enough to discard an entire request.”

Here are some of Dunn’s comparative findings:

  • Best for travel — Google Assistant
  • Best for E-mailing — Google Assistant and Siri
  • Best for messaging — All four in different scenarios
  • Best for Music — Alexa
  • Best for weather — Alexa, Cortana, and Google Assistant
  • Best for social — Alexa, Cortana, Siri
  • Best for general knowledge — Alexa

 
Click the image to read a lot more from Dunn.

 

A Message of Hope: Happiness Is a Choice

2 Jan

As we begin 2017, we are reblogging our most important post EVER! from among of the nearly 1,500 posts that have appeared on Evans on Marketing.

_________________________________

A HEALTH AND HAPPY 2017 TO YOU AND YOURS!

Since beginning more than four years ago, Evans on Marketing has always presented posts in a professional and informative way on a wide range of business topics. Before this post, we (Joel Evans) have never written about ourselves on a personal level. As we usher in the New Year, this is a special post.

Today only, I am breaking break with our practice to cover a topic of extreme personal and societal importance. In this blog, I am going public on a private matter (being a cancer survivor) with the intent of helping others to deal with the ramifications of this insidious disease. The post is to dedicated to my family, my friends, and my wonderful group of doctors Thank you!

To quote the great Yankee baseball player Lou Gehrig, when he was honored at Yankee Stadium shortly before his death from ALS: “Today, I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth.” Here’s why. [After my story, PLEASE listen to the radio show in which I participated.]

In early 2015, my wonderful endocrinologist Dr. Joseph Terrana saw the results of a routine blood test that was part of my regular three-month testing as a diabetic and did not like the results. So, he sent me for an immediate CT-scan which showed a lump in my pancreas. Within a couple of weeks, I underwent 9-hour Whipple surgery by Dr. Gene Coppa of Northwell and the Hofstra Medical School. The tumor was malignant, but removed in full. After a short recuperation to build my strength, I then underwent six months of chemotherapy and other treatments under the supervision of Dr. Jeffrey Vacirca and his right-hand person Diana Youngs, nurse-practitioner, of NSHOA.

Why do I consider myself so lucky?

  • I was diagnosed REALLY early and able to have surgery shortly after my diagnosis. Unfortunately, pancreatic cancer can be a real killer because it is usually diagnosed too late. Eighty percent of those who get PC are diagnosed too late to have surgery.
  • My family and friends have been terrific since day one, and I have bonded with many other cancer survivors.
  • My medical team has been extraordinary. Besides being excellent professionals, they are caring and devoted people who are dedicated to making our lives as comfortable as possible.
  • I work in a profession that I love. I have been at Hofstra University for 42 years now; and except for having to sit out the spring 2015 semester, I have not missed a single class during the three semesters since then.
  • I have an innate personality trait and drive that encourage me to be upbeat about dealing with life’s events. That is why I have two mantras: “Live life every day” and “Happiness is a choice.”
  • On February 12, 2017, I will celebrate two years since my surgery. After finishing chemotherapy at the end of August 2015, I have had all clean CT-scans. Yea. My plan is to be around for many more years. 🙂

ADVICE:

  1. Do not avoid the doctor because you are afraid of what he/she may find.
  2. Early detection is the best way to mitigate your health problems. Have regular checkups and blood tests.
  3. Listen to the medical professionals!
  4. Surround yourself with family and friends who are supportive.
  5. Be upbeat; getting down is counter productive. [(a) When diagnosed, I set two goals: to dance at my daughter’s October 2015 wedding and to deliver a toast. Mission accomplished. I never thought these things wouldn’t happen. (b) People don’t believe me when I remark that I never said “why me”? Instead I say, “boy was I lucky to be diagnosed so early.”]
  6. Seek out your friends/acquaintances who have also dealt with cancer. They can be a wonderful resource and sounding board (when you don’t want to further burden your family).
  7. Be active. [I went to the gym while undergoing chemotherapy.]
  8. Live for tomorrow and the time thereafter. [In my case, that has meant getting involved with the Lustgarten Foundation, which engages in PC research. Click here to donate. My new passion is to give back to others through volunteer work.]

If you’re down to this point, thanks for reading. Next is a podcast from a radio show on which I appeared with two other cancer survivors:

“Wishing You a New Year of Hope and Resilience — The New Year’s Podcast 2017 on Psych Up Live is one that will invite you to embrace your own resilience and underscore the power of connection, gratitude and hope.”

“Surviving Cancer: Personal Glimpses of Resilience: In this episode Professor Joel Evans, Patricia Malone, and Dave Berger will share personal glimpses of their diagnosis, treatment and survival from cancer. You will hear about the impact of diagnosis, the role of family and friends. The question of stigma and the response of colleagues. You will hear about the expected and unexpected, the trust in medical teams and the personal factors that each drew upon to keep on going at the roughest of times. These are stories of pain, persistence, fear, gratitude and possibility.”

Tis the Season to Be Inspired and Hopeful — and Live Life Every Day

30 Dec

A HEALTH AND HAPPY 2017 TO YOU AND YOURS!

Since beginning more than four years ago, Evans on Marketing has always presented posts in a professional and informative way on a wide range of business topics. Before this post, we (Joel Evans) have never written about ourselves on a personal level. As we usher in the New Year, this is a special post.

Today only, I am breaking with our practice to cover a topic of extreme personal and societal importance. In this blog, I am going public on a private matter (being a cancer survivor) with the intent of helping others to deal with the ramifications of this insidious disease. The post is to dedicated to my family, my friends, and my wonderful group of doctors Thank you!

To quote the great Yankee baseball player Lou Gehrig, when he was honored at Yankee Stadium shortly before his death from ALS: “Today, I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth.” Here’s why. [After reading my story, PLEASE listen to the radio show in which I participated.]

In early 2015, my wonderful endocrinologist Dr. Joseph Terrana saw the results of a routine blood test that was part of my regular three-month testing as a diabetic and did not like the results. So, he sent me for an immediate CT-scan which showed a lump in my pancreas. Within a couple of weeks, I underwent 9-hour Whipple surgery by Dr. Gene Coppa of Northwell and the Hofstra Medical School. The tumor was malignant, but removed in full. After a short recuperation to build my strength, I then underwent six months of chemotherapy and other treatments under the supervision of Dr. Jeffrey Vacirca and his right-hand person Diana Youngs, nurse-practitioner, of NSHOA.

Why do I consider myself so lucky?

  • I was diagnosed REALLY early and able to have surgery shortly after my diagnosis. Unfortunately, pancreatic cancer can be a real killer because it is usually diagnosed too late. Eighty percent of those who get PC are diagnosed too late to have surgery.
  • My family and friends have been terrific since day one, and I have bonded with many other cancer survivors.
  • My medical team has been extraordinary. Besides being excellent professionals, they are caring and devoted people who are dedicated to making our lives as comfortable as possible.
  • I work in a profession that I love. I have been at Hofstra University for 42 years now; and except for having to sit out the spring 2015 semester, I have not missed a single class during the three semesters since then.
  • I have an innate personality trait and drive that encourage me to be upbeat about dealing with life’s events. That is why I have two mantras: “Live life every day” and “Happiness is a choice.”
  • On February 12, 2017, I will celebrate two years since my surgery. After finishing chemotherapy at the end of August 2015, I have had all clean CT-scans. Yea. My plan is to be around for many more years. 🙂

ADVICE:

  1. Do not avoid the doctor because you are afraid of what he/she may find.
  2. Early detection is the best way to mitigate your health problems. Have regular checkups and blood tests.
  3. Listen to the medical professionals!
  4. Surround yourself with family and friends who are supportive.
  5. Be upbeat; getting down is counter productive. [(a) When diagnosed, I set two goals: to dance at my daughter’s October 2015 wedding and to deliver a toast. Mission accomplished. I never thought these things wouldn’t happen. (b) People don’t believe me when I remark that I never said “why me”? Instead I say, “boy was I lucky to be diagnosed so early.”]
  6. Seek out your friends/acquaintances who have also dealt with cancer. They can be a wonderful resource and sounding board (when you don’t want to further burden your family).
  7. Be active. [I went to the gym while undergoing chemotherapy.]
  8. Live for tomorrow and the time thereafter. [In my case, that has meant getting involved with the Lustgarten Foundation, which engages in PC research. Click here to donate. My new passion is to give back to others through volunteer work.]

If you’re down to this point, thanks for reading. Next is a podcast from a radio show on which I appeared with two other cancer survivors:

“Wishing You a New Year of Hope and Resilience — The New Year’s Podcast 2017 on Psych Up Live is one that will invite you to embrace your own resilience and underscore the power of connection, gratitude and hope.”

“Surviving Cancer: Personal Glimpses of Resilience: In this episode Professor Joel Evans, Patricia Malone, and Dave Berger will share personal glimpses of their diagnosis, treatment and survival from cancer. You will hear about the impact of diagnosis, the role of family and friends. The question of stigma and the response of colleagues. You will hear about the expected and unexpected, the trust in medical teams and the personal factors that each drew upon to keep on going at the roughest of times. These are stories of pain, persistence, fear, gratitude and possibility.”

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