internet

She Combines Entrepreneurship and her Love of Cuban History to Start a Blog in Havana

Digital Newspaper‘Follow your passion’ is a phrase that may be just overused these days whether it is to get a job or to get ahead in your career. Generally speaking, when someone follows their passion, they seem happier about themselves and have a better outlook on life. It is risky to even say that a passion can turn into entrepreneurship.

Some people may be able to find their passion early on in life, others later on in life and some never find it, or never recognize it.

For Cuban blogger Yoani Sanchez, she took her interest in Cuban history and has launched her own independent digital newspaper, ‘14ymedio’. ‘14ymedio’ tells about Cuba from inside Cuba and overall, inform the people.

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It was not only her interest in Cuba that led her to start a digital newspaper, she has become a critical voice recognized outside of the island because of Generation Y.

A challenge that Sanchez faces is that all mass media are controlled by the state. Furthermore, only independent publications that circulate on the island belong to the Catholic Church. What’s more important is that the internet has become a way for people to express their ideas and share what they care about to keep everyone informed.

From Pay Phone to a Wi-Fi Spot?

Pay PhoneEverything that use to be ‘the way of life’ is slowly becoming digital. There is less mail with paperless bills, there are reminders via a text message, being able to buy groceries online, and remember those phones that you use to put a quarter in and dial a number? Yes, the pay phones will soon cease to exist because they will be turning into Wi-Fi spots.

Currently, proposals are being made as to how the pay phone could be made into a Wi-Fi spot. Some features at minimum would include them being offered 24 hours a day, seven days a week use and be able to make free 911 and 311 phone calls.

The process for the Wi-Fi spots would extend throughout the five boroughs over the next 4 years and be overseen by the New York City Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications.

One interesting question that has not been resolved yet is what to the with the existing pay phone system? There are so many generations who are just use to the classic phones that it may be tough to get rid of them. Think about it. How do you get someone who has a flip phone, for example, to use a more upgraded phone with email, Internet and other advanced features?

The proposals would have to include this information as well. Yet, with this advancing technological world, it is certain, that someone will come up with a solution. We will have to see in the years to come what will happen.

LATISM Conference 2013 Recap

Founded in 2009, Latinos in Tech Innovation & Social Media (LATISM) is a 501(c)4 nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to advancing the social, civic and economic status of the Latino community through the use of technology and social media.

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The LATISM 2013 conference was held at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City and LatinTRENDS was fortunate to partner with LATISM. In a statement LATISM founder Ana Roca Castro said, “With our National conference being in New York City this year, LatinTRENDS is a perfect partner. We especially love that LatinTRENDS strives to reach the entire Latino community through a grassroots approach by partnering with local small businesses,” she added.

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The theme for this years conference was “Using tech innovation and social media for social impact.” Through education, health, technology and business LATISM strives to inspire those to be the “voice for the voiceless” as stated by Roca Castro. During the three-day conference the agenda was jam-packed with workshops on Infographics, gaming, social media, coding, health and much more. The First Ever Latino Hackatón was one of the main events and at the end of the conference participants joined in on the All4immigration march around Park Avenue.

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I was fortunate to attend the Infographics, gaming and mobile, social media workshop. I also attended workshops on social media and and personal branding and professional growth through LinkedIn. Astonishingly, LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network on the Internet with more than 225 million members in over 200 countries and territories. Professionals are signing up to join LinkedIn at a rate of more than two new members per second! I definitely learned some helpful tips during all the workshops in order to bring about change to our Latino community.

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According to a Pew study, Latinos are the leading users of social media, and have been earliest, strongest adopters of mobile technology. LATISM is a great way to bring together bloggers, businesses, media, and more to help the Latino community. It was a privilege to be invited and hope to be back next year! View the video below to see footage from the LATISM conference.

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Senator Maziarz Decries Latest Ploy By CBS in Dispute With Time Warner Cable

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Today various 3rd parties, including the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce, the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce and NYS Senator Maziarz issued statements regarding issue surrounding Time Warner Cable and CBS. Senator Maziarz who is Chairman of the State Senate’s Energy & Telecommunications Committee released the following statement:

Recently, a commercial dispute between CBS and Time Warner Cable (TWC) subjected TWC customers in the downstate region to blackouts of CBS television programming. Now, in order to gain an advantage in negotiations between the two companies, CBS is holding ALL TWC customers across New York hostage.

It has come to my attention that CBS is blocking TWC Internet Customers both downstate and upstate, including my district, from accessing full shows on CBS.com, even if they can still watch CBS programming through their local affiliate. CBS is also blocking that contact for residents who are TWC Internet customers only, who use a different provider for television such as satellite TV.

Attempting to use Internet access as leverage in the negotiations, unfairly places residents throughout this state at a disadvantage, when they have nothing to do with the negotiations. These actions are contrary to the public interest and fair broadband policies.

I am hopeful that CBS will rethink their latest ploy that unjustly targets consumers in Western New York and across this state.

DIRECTV released the following statement in support of Time Warner Cable:

Just like the characters in CBS’ Under The Dome, all pay TV customers are feeling trapped and helpless as broadcasters expect them to absorb ridiculous rate increases for the exact same programming. In trying to protect our own customers, DIRECTV has certainly had its share of these battles, so we applaud Time Warner Cable for fighting back against exorbitant programming cost increases. We are also appalled to learn that CBS is now punishing DIRECTV customers, who may happen to have Time Warner as their Internet provider, by denying them access to CBS content online.

The conduct of content companies in their efforts to extract outrageous fees from distributors and consumers may have reached a new low.

American Television Alliance (ATVA) statement:

Following CBS-Time Warner Cable blackouts, subscribers of four different pay-TV providers in 52 markets have lost 75 separate TV stations. As a result, the number of television markets now subjected to blackouts is higher than ever before.

As long as we all continue to watch television using rules that were written way back in 1992, consumers will continue to be subjected to blackouts and higher fees. And broadcasters will continue to game the system, using retrans fees to purchase more stations and pay for expensive network programming.

Now more than ever, viewers deserve video rules written in this century.”

Connected: Cuba now receiving internet access

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When we open our laptops, flip on our ipads, or search the web on our cellphones we don’t really take the time to acknowledge how easy it is to be connected by easy access to any Wifi hotspot. While we don’t truly see being able to go online as a luxury but a normative, the people of Cuba will probably see their internet access differently than we do.

This Tuesday Cuba began offering public internet access throughout 100 locations on the island. Beginning June 4th, through the state telecom Etecsa people of the country will be able to sign up for temporary or permanent accounts which will enable people to go online.

Back in 2011, Cuba’s internet accessibility began when the country started sending and receiving through a fiber-optic cable that created a data traffic between Cuba, Venezuela, and Jamaica. The link allowed Cuba to receive its first hard-wired connection to the outside world via the internet. Since then the country has been slowly introducing its citizens to the World Wide Web.

“Great! I knew this was coming,” said Camila Delgado, a 44-year-old shop work in Havana, about the new development.

Only 2.9% percent of Cubans are believed to have access to the internet, according to the Cuban government statistics. However, according to reports made by outside observers there are a reported 5 to 10% who are without internet connection. A reported 16% of Cubans are connected to the web via domestic services which can be accessed through workplace or school clubs devoted to using computers.

Apart from the workplaces and school, internet access in Cuba has also been limited to tourist hotels where the service is charged; companies that are owned outside of the country, and some sectors of Cuban government and businesses. Internet access amongst civilians is rare, and if permitted it is restricted.

While the move to grant internet access to the public is showing the country’s progress forward, there are still some hiccups. To use the internet one must go to a computer hub and pay an estimated $4.50 an hour, a price that may be a bit too much for some citizens whose earnings average about $20 per month.

“There’s still a ways to go to be like everywhere else on the planet. We don’t have access at home and prices are prohibitive.” Delgado said, noting her country’s move forward yet it’s possible denial to grant all access to the new service.

On Cuba Si, a Cuban news network site, a man named Osvaldo Ulloa sarcastically commented how the internet service is a “real bargain. I mean, I work for a week and then I get online for an hour—fabulous.”

But price aside, another hindrance to the service is the access of the internet itself.

Although Cubans will be able to go online certain sites will not be accessible. Along with blocking sites containing pornography, sites that may be deemed politically disagreeable by the government will be censored.
The move to have some sites censored can be viewed as an example of the government violating the freedom of its people by disallowing them to fully access the internet without inference. Meanwhile, Authorities claim the limitations are merely to ensure in the benefit of the public by providing a service to be used for work and research.

Despite some of the cons, this is merely Cuba’s first baby steps into opening its doors for its people to see the world that surrounds it.