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If you and your business aren’t keeping up with the times, your customers know it. Google found digitally advanced small businesses made twice the revenue per employee as their counterparts and saw four times the revenue growth.

Of course, it’s usually not that most small businesses don’t want to reach out digitally. Most just don’t have the resources, the training or the time to make a full-court digital press while trying to keep their operations going.

However, that’s no excuse for not having a stable web presence. Sourcery helps split the difference, offering you a cool website with innovative features that doesn’t require nearly as much work as even the simple drag-and-drop website builders.

With other builders, you need the skill of a graphic artist to pick and modify your site template, a developer to block out site organization, an SEO guru to find and implement keywords and other optimization strategies; and a writer, photographer and videographer to create content.

And that doesn’t even consider who’s going to be continuing to feed new content to your site.

Sourcery takes all those worries off the table. Once you’ve started your Sourcery account, you put in your company name, answer a few short questions, and link your social media profiles. From there, your role is essentially done.

Within seconds, Sourcery has you set. They devise a modern, dynamic site, with an industry-appropriate look and feel, fully optimized for your audience. Their decade-plus of analyzing user behavior and web analytics give them all the tools to see what a visitor wants from your site, get a better understanding of each customer, then serve them with the content they want on their next visit. Read the rest

Chicken enjoys riding bicycle with human

This unusual chicken enjoys joining their human for a relaxing bike ride. Read the rest

This children's book about Oliver Cromwell is like playful colonialist violence for kids

There's been a lot of news lately about taking down monuments to terrible people, or renaming buildings that were christened after them.

In related news, there's still a statue of Oliver Cromwell outside of the UK House of Commons in Westminster. Cromwell led English Army against King Charles I and served as Lord Protector of the British Isles until his death in 1658. In 2002, he was chosen as one of the 10 greatest Britons by the BBC. He was also responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths in Ireland, and the export of thousands more Irish into forced (non-chatel) servitude in the Caribbean.

But you wouldn't know any of it from this delightful children's book about his life!

Even Winston Churchill — who did not have a particularly positive relationship with the Irish — thought Cromwell was a dictator:

Cromwell’s record was a lasting bane.

Read the rest

This app puts a hi-tech spin on practicing with sheet music

Whether you’re dedicated to practicing with an instrument or just want to learn to play for the first time, diving into music can be daunting. One of the steepest learning curves for budding musicians is reading and understanding sheet music, the backbone of virtually any musical performance.

But, thanks to modern technology that learning curve might not be so steep for long. While it’s still seldom a simple process, aids like Tomplay Interactive Sheet Music can not only speed up a student’s learning but also offer some great accompaniment to already accomplished musicians always looking to sharpen their skills.

Tomplay works with almost two dozen different instruments, including everything from the biggies like the piano, violin, or guitar all the way to less prominent instruments like the oboe, harp or tuba.

Fire it up, select from the extensive archive of more than 18,000 titles covering pop, jazz, classical and more, then let Tomplay scroll the sheet music automatically on your screen, all displayed in time with the music itself.

Tomplay scores are designed to be appropriate to the skill of each musician from beginner to expert, allowing users to just follow the cursor and focus on the score, while working on their listening skills.

And the accompaniment isn’t one of those mid-80s keyboard MIDI arrangements either. Each high-quality audio track was recorded by professional musicians or licensed from the original recordings, so you can hear how your playing sounds with true experts.

Students can slow down or speed up the pace as the learning advances and even record themselves so they can listen back to their playing and troubleshoot areas to work on. Read the rest

Boston Police Union throws a tantrum over Black Lives Matter at school week

Boston's got a bad reputation when it comes to race. And unfortunately, much of it's deserved. Of course, there are people who are trying to fight and make a positive difference despite the segregation that's left the predominantly black neighborhoods behind in schooling and socializing. Which is why the Boston Teacher's Union planned a week-long series of events in coordination with Black Lives Matter, to help educate students on inclusion and restorative justice. After all, February is Black History Month. So that all sounds good, right?

The Boston Police Patrolmen's Association disagreed, and sent a letter to BTU President Jessica Tang condoning the events. In the letter, BPPA President Michael Leary refers to Black Lives Matter an "anti-police organization" who has endangered the lives of Boston police officers. This is demonstrably untrue. But BPPA refuses to let the facts get in the way of their feelings. The letter continues on about the "irrational hatred" of BLM, accusing them of "inaccurately demonizing police as racists who kill innocent people" before passive-aggressively warning about the potential dangers of not cooperating with Boston Police, like some kind of mob protection racket.

BPPA is also upset about an education initiative to provide more funding for guidance counselors, instead of just shoving more police officers into schools to solve behavioral problems by threat of force. Read the rest

New Zealand's domestic spies, obsessed with illegally surveilling environmental activists, missed a heavily armed right-wing terrorist

New Zealand is one of the Five Eyes countries (UK, USA, Canada, Australia, NZ) who collaborate on mass surveillance, and it has a notoriously off-leash, invasive surveillance apparatus that has been caught spying on NZ Greenpeace, the NZ Green Party, the Mana Movements and anti-TPP activists; the state was also caught giving private corporate spies access to its national surveillance data to help them hunt down and neutralize activists; unsurprisingly, the NZ police also abused these records, accessing them without a warrant on thousands of occasions (NZ also recruited the NSA to spy on kiwi activists). Read the rest

Justin Trudeau's NAFTA concessions include 20 year copyright extension

Donald Trump has wrung many concessions out of Justin Trudeau on the NAFTA renegotiation, but none is more nonsensical and potentially damaging than a 20 year copyright term extension that will bring copyright in line with the US's extreme copyright system, where copyright endures for the life of the author plus 70 years, meaning that nearly every work created in US history will disappear due to commercial irrelevance, rather than being made available for scholars and other users by libraries and other nonprofits. Read the rest

Trade negotiators are increasingly unwilling to entertain "corporate sovereignty" clauses

One of the most repugnant features of international trade agreements, from TPP to TTIP to CETA, is the "Investor State Dispute Settlement" (ISDS) clause, which gives corporations the power to sue governments to repeal health, safety, and environmental laws if they interfere with the company's profits. Read the rest

Canada stripped the TPP of its terrible IP proposals: will the US seek revenge in NAFTA talks?

It's been nearly a year since Trump killed the Trans Pacific Partnership by pulling the US out of it; last week, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that Canada and the other TPP countries would sign the agreement without the USA -- an announcement timed to coincide with Trump's appearance at the World Economic Forum in Davos, presenting the TPP nations as a kind of coalition of the willing for political moderation and maturity. Read the rest

Tobacco giant Philip Morris is quietly funding an "anti-smoking" foundation offering $1 billion in "grants" to public health leaders

Derek Yach, president of The Foundation for a Smoke-Free World, sent a letter to 344 public health researchers and groups inviting them to bid for grants from a $1b fund set up by tobacco giant -- the list was a roster of Yach's former colleagues from his stint at the World Health Organization. Read the rest

CIPPIC: Standing Guard for Canadians' Digital Rights

NAFTA 2.0, the return of the TPP, mobile phone surveillance, copyright term extension, class actions targeting movie downloads: Canadians' digital liberties have never been under more pressure than they are today. Digital liberties matter to Canadians. CIPPIC, Canada's public interest tech law clinic, stands on guard for Canadians' digital liberties.

StratoEnergetics introduces new Slaughterbot autonomous weapon

Looking like an iPhone rollout or creepy TED Talk, this sci-fi PSA from the group Stop Autonomous Weapons looks at a possible near future of autonomous drones trained to kill a specific human target. Read the rest

This guy had a stroke after white supremacists doused him in torch fuel and struck him in the neck with torches

My friend John Park sent me the following:

This is an article about my old friend, UVa housemate, fellow Glee Club member, and all around wonderful character, D.R. Tyler Magill, who took on Nazis in Charlottesville and has now suffered a stroke.

In the video below we see Tyler doing the right thing, in a smart, calm way, as he chased Nazi organizer Jason Kessler from the podium along with a group of fellow protesters. This, despite having already been doused in torch fuel and struck with torches by fascist thugs as he and a group of 25 students were surrounded by the alt-right mob at the base of the statue on Saturday night. At one point he was struck in the neck, which damaged an artery, leading to his stroke.

He's stable from what we know, and has a fundraising goal to cover sick leave costs, but more publicity about his actions would be a good thing.

I hope Tyler inspires others to be this brave in the face of fascist thugs.

Here's another person who was injured in the same terrorist attack that killed Heather Heyer. Her name is Natalie Romero:

Here's a USA Today article about Natalie. She was in the Junior ROTC. Read the rest

Check out this psychedelic 'Yellow Submarine' bass

This gorgeous yellow beauty is the handiwork of The Painted Player Guitar Co., a crew of artists and luthiers located in the United Kingdom. This groovy bass guitar is, of course, based on the Beatles' 1968 animated feature, Yellow Submarine.

If custom guitars are your thing, be sure to take a look at their whole mind-blowing collection.

(Dangerous Minds) Read the rest

Interview with Prince Ea

I like Prince Ea's videos because he talks about important issues in the world: the health of our planet, racism, and being kind to each other. He made a video about a DNA test he took to learn about his heritage and I interviewed him about it.

What events in your early years shaped who you are today?

Good question, two events. Number one, I had the opportunity to get a decent education. Secondly I received the love of both of my parents. These very important factors that made me the person that I am today.

How did you come up with the concept for this video?

Well I had the opportunity to work with an amazing creative agency Berlin Cameron and director JJ Augustavo from Skunk, who really put the awesome video together. When I wrote the piece, I just wanted it to come from my heart. Through the MyHeritageDNA test, discovering that I had a connection to a number of ethnicities not only amazed me but visualized what I had been thinking for a long time. Namely, that we can't be restricted to one box. It was this realization and my BA in Anthropology that really helped me come up with the words for the piece.

How did you feel after discovering your diverse heritage? That is pretty cool. Despite what society told me, I'm not just "one thing." I, along with every other human, am a mix of many beautiful ethnicities.

What can young people do to improve the world? Read the rest

Freaked out about Trump's assault on net neutrality? Come work for EFF on keeping the net free and open

Trump's FCC is shaping up to be a complete disaster: the new Chairman is dismantling privacy protections and broadband subsidies for low-income Americans, plans to allow the pending Time-Warner/AT&T merger, and, of course, he's planning to gut net neutrality. Read the rest

Deliberate leaking is a time-honored government tactic that Trump doesn't understand

Governments have "official" unofficial leaking policies, releasing tons of confidential material to the press without any attribution or public acknowledgement: they leak stuff to maintain good press relations, to test out ideas, to hurt their in-government rivals, or to let information be generally known without having to answer difficult questions about it (for example, letting the press report on "secret" drone strike in Yemen without a press-conference where embarrassing questions about civilian casualties might come up). Read the rest

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