Minority Civil Rights Group asks FCC to investigate Tech Diversity


A minority advocacy  organization has asked the US Federal Communications Commission to address the tech industry’s “abysmal failure” to employ African-Americans, Hispanics and women.

The Minority Media and Telecommunications Council  (full disclosure: I am on its board) said the technology sector’s “troubling” employment practices hurts the FCC’s ability to follow congressional directives to “regulate EEO and promote employment and ownership diversity.”

Specifically, in a letter to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler and all four FCC members, the group asks the FCC to have its Diversity Committee investigate the employment disparity and determine to what extent, if at all, tech companies “recruit on campuses with high minority enrollments, actively mentor minorities for careers in the technology sector, and select diverse candidates who are U.S. citizens or residents.”

MMTC points to the fact that in the near future most media jobs will be more like tech jobs than traditional TV/radio production, advertising sales, and on-air jobs the group usually advocates on behalf of. Further, given media convergence, diversity within the tech sector will increasingly fall within FCC EEO authority, MMTC said.

“The digital divide cannot be closed when a sixth of the economy so profoundly and uniformly excludes African Americans, Latinos and women from equal employment opportunity,” the letter stated. 


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The Darren Wilson and Ray Rice connection Black Male Apologists don’t get


ray rice

Gut check…

If you start your statement:

I support equality but…

I think women should have equal rights but…

I don’t condone Domestic violence or what he did to her but…

You have already said too much.

Taking a break from discussing politics and technology, I am going to make one last  attempt to explain to many well-intentioned black men who don’t support domestic violence and do not condone what Ray Rice did to understand why many black women are turned off by their less than supportive response and their reactions, nonetheless.

I’ve been battling folks all week in social media and after reading this Washington Post “Post everything” blog think piece on it which declares many black men akin to Darren Wilson supporters, I think I have it.  

You see brothers who supported the Mike Brown family, have also expressed outrage over the fact that the 18 year old Ferguson, Missouri’s killer, police officer Darren Wilson hasn’t been arrested while on paid administrative leave pending investigation.

You’d think a piece equating them to Darren Wilson supporters would let them get it, but nope!

Many are still out here, in the comment section and on the pages of those who have posted the piece, calling the author, Julian Long, of TheNegroLobby.com horrible emasculating names, and calling him gay and whatnot, just for writing in support of women. and/or dissing the piece, generally.

Talk about TONE DEAF!


I’m going to give it one last try, tell me if this is  convincing to make the point AGAIN by presenting this hypothetical:

Imagine, a hypothetical situations where  Darren Wilson, after killing Mike Brown, told his boss that Mike Brown was choking him when he shot and killed him, which leads the police chief to put Wilson on paid administrative leave.

Imagine, hypothetically  that a video surfaces from a camera phone which proves that Wilson NOT Brown was doing the choking or that there was no choking at all.

It turns up the chief had access to the video to prove what happened but chose not to pursue it; or gave him a slap on the wrist thinking no one would ever see the video.

The video gets released and circulated creating outrage in the community.

It causes the chief to fire Wilson.

Under that hypothetical scenario, would you be here, today, arguing that the police was wrong for firing Wilson, and subjecting him to a form of double Jeopardy?

The answer is likely NO.  As a black man, you can empathize with Brown and and can relate to him?

You would be too busy concerned over the dead 18 year old and wouldn’t give a rat’s ass about Wilson getting double jeopardy fine.

That is the point.

That is why you all come across as Darren Wilson supporters.

Y’all are doing the same thing…taking up the case for the PUNISHMENT of the aggressor, the one who did the killing or punching.

And in doing so, you all come off as you are MORE upset at the institution dishing out the punishment for not subjecting the aggressor to a stiffer fine earlier on to appease the masses so that the aggressor could play next year….

…or so Darren Wilson could return to the force in a year.

Many of us women don’t want to hear it.

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Why ‘We the People’ should decide how the FCC regulates our services

we the people

Every week, I am seeing groups who are not necessarily  subject-matter experts in telecom make broad misstatements and present distortions to their captive audiences about what is needed to “save” the internet from so-called “fast lanes” that will put smaller, rising businesses and users at a disadvantage.

I agree that there does need to be some changes in regulators’ approach to dealing with internet companies and users, but I am most concerned with the fact that the current laws are quite out-dated, close to 20 years old and most likely do need to be updated to avoid some of the doom and gloom predicted to happen.

Former Congressman Rick Boucher turned telecom law firm partner, picked up on the most salient points  to consider in this area in the recent OpEd piece. Focusing on a new paper by a think group he honorary chairs,  Boucher lays out a good case for letting consumer preference and habits dictate.  Internet and digital online and mobile services and offerings  today cannot fit neatly into  traditional archaic regulatory paradigms.

“With the cascading movement of consumers to Internet-based communications, regulators face far more difficulty in assuring the continued provision of the core consumer values of access to public safety and disability services, competition, consumer protection in dealings with the service provider, and universal connectivity,” Boucher writes in a recent commentary in The Hill. “Regulators simply don’t have purview over platforms like Facebook, Skype, Twitter, Snapchat, email and messaging,”

Boucher, who founded the Congressional Internet Caucus and chaired the Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Communications,  said technology and the Internet acknowledge the call in the research for a “new network compact” which recognizes that consumers, regulators and service providers have more complex relationships with one another than in the recent past.

Before, regulators determined that most consumers needed one certain basic type and level of service and offerings, but these days, consumers have more choice and no longer are limited to receiving their voice, data, and video services through traditional means.

For example, you can watch your favorite Broadcast TV show on your mobile phone or on your computer and not necessarily on a television set. Consumers can make a telephone call via their computer via Skype. Many smart phones and  tablets act like computers of yesteryear and have some if not all of the capabilities of traditional desktops.

“Recognizing that consumers are now in charge, a new network compact should feature empowered consumers in a dynamic relationship with competitive providers,” Boucher states. “Regulators should seek a more strategic relationship with service providers that focuses on the core consumer values yet remains responsive to consumer behavior.”

The example he gives relates FCC’s Lifeline program designed in the mid-1980s to provide low-income consumers with affordable wired telephone service, then subsequently wireless voice service.

“But, in the Internet communications age, a subsidy to phone companies that discounts the cost of service has lost much of its utility for consumers,” he adds.

Correct! Not everyone even have a traditional landline phone any longer.

Consider also the rapid amount of cord-cutting going on by cable customers who are relying on their Smart TVs and subscription services like Netflix.

Let the customer decide and be flexible in approach, so for example instead of mandating wholesale access to existing networks for competitors, regulators could let the competitors actually compete for the type of services consumers want most. The result would be to drive innovation, competition and investment into new networks which all could expand  broadband capacity.

Acknowledge the rapid, fast moving competitive landscape that is afoot and the new world order of more consumer options.

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Two new Ways You’re getting Ads on your Smartphone


Not only is overall mobile usage up, according to pretty much every report available on the internet, but there has been a major boom in the amount of commerce conducted via mobile. A report recently released by comScore states that m-commerce is up…

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On #DearKate Controversy: 10 Features on Women in Tech wearing more than just underwear

high tech women

Here is the deal.

In a field like the entertainment industry, where women are raking in as much money, and are just as big stars, if not bigger than men, they can afford to roll around half naked on stage and it can be legitimately be called feminism. They can, with a straight face, say that wearing sexy clothes on stage is empowering and an example of  taking back sexuality. Few would object.

Okay, let’s be real. Of course plenty people who would disagree that it is an example of women empowerment but there would be many more self-proclaimed feminists around to  legitimately call those out who slut shame scantily clad female entertainers as practicing respectability politics – you know, the concept that being a good girl who dresses demurely and is lady like are upstanding and can avoid being mistaken for a whore.  The idea being that women can avoid  unwanted sexual attention, sexual harassment or sexual assaults  if she doesn’t lead men on with her looks.   But we know that how a woman dresses doesn’t necessarily deter rape which is a crime of violence anyway; and that men can wear what they want without suffering stigma and negative labels.

In a nutshell, in industry’s where the power differential is slightly closer, feminist campaigns and messages can go over easier without too much fuss.

refinery cool women in tech

Not so in Tech.

Consider that women make up between 10 to 20% in workforce in the tech field although they are 57% of the US workforce. Sexism allegations and scandals are plentiful, the most recent and notably former Sengrid evangelist Adria Richards at PyCon controversy last year. And a  recent study by global think tank, the Center for Talent Innovation (CTI), found that women in science, tech and engineering  fields in the U.S., Brazil, China and India are “languishing in the middle-rungs of their organizations and, as a result, are much more likely than men to report that they plan to leave the industry within the year.”

Clearly, nationally and even globally, we  have a challenge to achieving parity and equlity in a field plagued with accusations of rampant sexism; and dogged by the perception and reality that hostile environments within various companies are plentiful and women are challenged with stereotypes, bias and gender-based stigma.

So when one thinks of how to meet this tremendous task of elevating women’s value in the tech space, pairing this important workplace justice matter with an underwear campaign would not ordinarily come to mind.

There is a time to promote women being able to embrace her body and her choice to be photographed in her underwear without shaming; and to promote the idea of  all shapes and sizes of women being  celebrated , and there is a time to promote high achieving women in tech.

But those times don’t always have to exist in the same campaign.

Apparently, the creators of Dear Kate underwear didn’t get that memo when it decided to name its latest line of undies, the Ada collection, after female tech pioneer Ada Lovelace. In what was meant to be a provocative expose about women who code can also be sexy and free to pose in their underwear if they want turned sour when many readers  didn’t greet the article or photo lookbook as intended.

Many in social media have complained that the spread really just reduced women to be objects to be gawked at once again.

Maria Joyner over at Medium.com did a piece including several anonymous comments from men disappointed with the underwear campaign, and who, among other things, admit how hard it is for women in tech to advance and overcome sexist environments; and accuses the Dear Kate campaign as being a cheap publicity stunt.  It is not a purposeful attempt to spark conversation about different body types featured in magazines, as many of dear Kate’s supporters are touting it to be, Joyner argues.

It is pretty safe to say any intended empowering message has gotten lost and buried in the controversy.

And Dear Kate’s attempted to reclaim the issue with the hashtag #noncontroversial but again, as with this campaign, just because you say something is [fill in the blank] doesn’t necessarily make it so.

No one is commenting on articles about the women are even discussing their poignant and insightful commentary on their industry.

It also seems silly considering the controversy is a big win for the dear Kate brand’s exposure.  BizJournals did a piece about how sales have soured, the company’s websites pageviews have spiked and founder Julie Sygiel and some of the women featured are getting more media appearances than before. She’s seen beaming with pride in the piece.

To be fair, it is hard to promote women in tech without pissing someone off.

Ask Refinery 29 about its lukewarm response to a post last year on 8 cool women changing tech that featured a fashion blogger, tech journalists and women with businesses that are online moreso than women inventors, coders, developers or engineers.


Although, I did think Entertainment Weekly’s feature on female actors who portray kick ass characters in sci-fi and super hero movies did a good job of showcasing women as soft and stylish displaying the multi-dimensional aspect to women who are rough and tumble on screen.

To borrow an oft used cliché conclusion, at the end of the day it all  boils down to the fact that those who want to promote women in any professional field have a tough time doing so without evoking the primal and most basic element that separates them from women and that is their sex; and all that stereotypically defines women.

As Angelia Levy poignantly pointed out in her blog, we are not talking about the accomplishments of these trailblazing women, but rather the fact they were in their underwear

I did a quick search and managed to quickly find 10  features with very eye catching featured images at the top in stories about women in Tech.  All the women looked fashionable and mostly attractive.  

I learned a lot about their contribution despite the fact they were not in their underwear. Imagine that!

amybaxter-sized (1)

Inc’s 15 Women Tech Start Ups to Watch


Women in Tech in Singapore


Female Start Up Founders Share Lessons Learned


A Celebration of women in Tech - UK


Women in their 20′s share successs

DVtNyAZ - Imgur

Digital Undivided Women in Tech feature


Hackbright’s Coding Academy

latinas in tech

25 Latinas in Tech


Kansas City Women in Technology


Women in Tech in NYC




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Facebook changes algorithms to Defeat Click Bait; Will suppress Publisher posts with links too


Facebook recently announced that it is taking on “Click-Bait” content shared on its site. Those are articles shared with scandalous, inflammatory and other salacious titles written to entice a reader to click the link.  Only, soon after, the reader discovers it wasn’t what he or she anticipated the piece would be about based on the headline.

Posts like these tend to get a lot of clicks, which means that these posts get shown to more people, and get shown higher up in News Feed,” Facebook wrote in a post. 

The social network site plans to take note of the amount of time readers spend on these articles, keep track of which articles are not read for along time. Then, Facebook’s algorithm will begin to suppress those articles that show readers spent less time on them as its fancy machines would identify them to likely be click-bait.

Sites like Buzzfeed, UpWorthy and the like that are notorious for “Click-Bait” headlines will have to worry, maybe.

It also announced in the same post that it will encourage publishers to simply post their article on their page from a service or directly, but without doing what a lot of people do now: post a “see more” text with a link that is placed in the caption of the photo.

Publishers that use the latter will see their posts suppressed from Facebook users’ news feeds, and from the feeds of people who have “liked” their page.

DON’T DO THIS: leave the hyperlink in the caption to the photo after it uploads onto your page, DELETE the hyperlink.

culinarian-newDO THIS: (DELETE THE LINK after the article attaches with the image)


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TMobile, Sprint offer $12 No-Data Cap Music Streaming; Social Media Only Plans


Just the other day while doing my budget, I was lamenting with a family member on how I would love it if all utilities came with a la carte options and pricing. It really hurts the pocketbook to have to shell out exorbitant monthly expenditures to pay for a full menu of services when I only use a few. This is the case especially with my cable bill.

The computer retail market seemingly has resolved that problem.  Prices have dropped because consumers can opt out of purchasing the souped up machines already pre-loaded with expensive software they won’t use and instead by a basic machine and install what they need. That way, they also maximize storage space and have a quicker and more efficient running system.

Mobile phone customers got a relief recently when Sprint and T-Mobile offered new price plans that save customers from going over their data allotment monthly.

I could relate because when my husband first got his smartphone a few years back, and we switched to a shared minutes plan, we used to bump up on our allocation all the time until we learned how to manage our bandwidth.

These new packages could also solve that problem considering we both use our smartphones for checking email, streaming music and accessing social media sites mostly.

With Sprint’s, for $12, subscribers can get a plan that connects just to FacebookInstagram, and Pinterest, for an additional $10 more. They can do all the surfing, uploading, pinning they want and stream unlimited music from any app they choice for just $5!

Perfect for long runs outside or at the gym or work commutes on public transportation.

T-Mobile offers a similar plan that caters to the way some users consume info and data on their smartphone.  It lets customers listen to some of the most popular music services without it eating up their data.

Both these new options are clearly a reaction to competitors like Boost Mobile and Clear Wireless. Both companies burst on the wireless scene not too long ago and immediately gained popularity with their no-contract, pay as you go options, especially among customers who could not qualify for pre-paid plans or did not have the budget to manage mega bills with those plans.

For both, data usage charges do not apply when subscribers access sites covered by the plans.

There’s nothing like watching your customers walk off to a new carrier to cause you to think creatively. To no surprise, some of the net neutrality advocates managed to find fault in increased consumer choice and flexibility, pointing out how these new options permit ISPs to pick winners and losers among services and to discriminate against some.

Never mind that the consumer still ultimately has the option of picking the comprehensive plan and going with one of many plans that all ready exist. The new options do not take away existing options, just add on. Color me confused.

Consumer choice when users get to pay for what they consume most is a good thing for some people, not all but some.

Am I missing something here?

These options will be perfect for those on limited budgets like students, new wireless broadband users, the elderly and some low-income wireless phone users. Sounds like a winner.

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42 Simple Ways to Improve Your Life



We all talk a good game about wanting to be a better person, shed negativity, be more upbeat and to upgrade, change, improve our lot in life and generally enhance it, but the hardest part is taking the steps to get there.

It can be daunting but breaking it down into simple steps may do the trick.

Check out these 42 simple habits to make  yourself a better from LifeHack.

The first task is committing to pick at least one of these selections and sticking with it.


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What makes your Blog Content Shareable?


Social signals like shares are crucial for any blog’s success as Google and other search engines greatly value real users’ engagement . You’ve crafted an amazing, conversational and valuable blog post, and now you are ready to let it into the world ….

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How #Ferguson is being Exploited and Weaved into Tech Policy Debates


There is no doubt that Ferguson, Missouri and Mike Brown shooting death story has been a case study in Social Media and Tech news history.

Many credit social media activists and the social media hashtag #handsUpDontShoot for helping elevate the news item to national levels, as viral images of various individuals and groups circulated to further bring awareness to the situation and active protests. It is akin to what happened with with the Boston marathon Bombing, as dozens of citizen journalists tweeted their witness testimonies and live on-the-ground accounts of civil protests and unrest following the police killing of Brown, who was unarmed at the time.

Over the course of the past few weeks, and a few overzealous militarized overreactions, followed by several dozen arrests of investigative news, and photo journalists later, traditional and established news organizations have poured out numerous articles, think pieces, researched analysis, and stats about police brutality cases, the US criminal justice system and race relations. It has all been illuminating, as the world watched.


The infamous hacker group Anonymous got involved early when it leaked the name of the police officer who fired 6 rounds of ammunition into the unarmed man a couple weeks ago.

Twitter has certainly played a strong role but there is a story unfolding now about how sites like Twitter may be empowered to suppress news items, like Ferguson.

We know Twitter, specifically, has the technical capability of suppressing the speed at which you can tweet.

Many of us who tweet often and in rapid-fire succession know, Twitter, for example has the power and ability to throttle your tweets and messages. Most of the time, being put in “Twitter Jail” happens because of an algorithmic process that mistakes your successive tweet as spam.

It’s seemingly innocuous, but, recently, some authors have analyzed and determined that Twitter has the power to suppress the actual content of a tweet and withhold speech if it determines the message being disseminated is too graphic, inappropriate, violates its terms of service or if it simply doesn’t like the message?

Yesterday and today, we’ve seen reports on how Twitter has  been suppressing images and videos of journalist James Foley’s beheading and stopping it from being  shared on the site.

Such suppression of content is causing some like David Holmes  of PandoDaily  to worry if the site will soon become an accidental censor. This would be the case if Twitter soon alters its algorithm to be more closely to Facebook’s as reported. If so, some may miss important stories like Ferguson as they develop if those they interact with the most aren’t also sharing the story.

In my Facebook world, I have some friends who share close to zero info and news about the evolving Ferguson case, while others only share it.

Currently, Facebook’s unique algorithm determines what news and posts get filtered into users feed, and it is based on what friends in their circles are sharing. Twitter is unlike that where all tweets, independent on their level of closeness to a person, filters through.

Others query whether mammoth Internet companies like Google, Twitter and Facebook could be purposeful censors as well

Interestingly enough, however, around the same time these pieces about Twitter, Facebook and Google’s power to censor came out, I noticed that my colleague who I have sat on news and media panels with on the radio and in social media, Dr. Jason Johnson penned a  HuffPo piece which  unfortunately links the tragedy in Ferguson to tech policy but in a totally unrelated manner. Johnson argues, in sum, that network neutrality is needed so that news about stories like what is going on in Ferguson can be heard and disseminated to the masses quickly via social media sites like Twitter.

And to no surprise, the folks at Free Press have linked Ferguson to Net Neutrality as well.

It is the modus operandi for an organization that should know about the dangerous impact that regulation of the free and open internet can have on investment in web-based start ups and businesses, but seemingly isn’t too concerned over it.

So I had to jump on here and pen my own response because, once again,  I see the nation’s historic civil rights organizations are being questioned on their decision to take a different policy position.

This is all going down whilst groups like NAACP are in the middle of rallying around this young man’s loss of life, educating the masses in Ferguson on their voting obligations and rights and getting the people of that town geared up to be prepared to be more active and civically engaged in their local government.

You see,  Ferguson has an apathy in voting problem. Two-thirds of Ferguson’s residents are black, but blacks are severely underrepresented in Ferguson’s city government and school board. The mayor is white, as are five of six City Council members.  Six of seven school board members are white.


So NAACP’s focus, I’ve noticed, has been on increasing civic participation, yet we see these guys are over yanking their pants hems for the sole purpose of bringing Net Neutrality into the picture.

In doing so, they are shamefully exploiting a controversial killing, which has inflamed passions, incited daily and nightly protests, violence, and ignited explosive conversations about the criminal justice system, involving local, state, and finally the FBI and US Department of Justice.

Johnson’s thesis is without Net Neutrality, America would never know anything about Ferguson.

Really?  But guess what? Without network neutrality, we did and do! Thank you Open and Free Internet!

What we have CURRENTLY, is status quo and is WORKING!

Hands off the internet, please!

What we have now is an opportunity where content and messages flow fluidly, 24 hours a day, and seemingly quite smoothly, as is.

There has been no breakdown from ISPs, or any of the various companies and counterparts that make up the network of fiber and communication which facilitate the free and open internet.

In fact, Johnson’s and Free Press’ rants are void of cases of a breakdown as a cause of some absence of regulatory oversight and intervention.

Nope, instead, Johnson leads his readers down a dark hole of hypothetical scenarios and “what ifs”.

I guess that’s what you have to do when you have a solution where there is no problem.

You have to invent them.

See what they did there? Create imaginary scenarios.

But alas, it is a tried and old tactic of generating unfounded and unsubstantiated fear mongering in order to get people over to their side of a wonky tech policy matter that has nothing to do with Ferguson, dead black men and an inequitable justice system.

The pro-net neutrality crowd has done it before last round about 4 years ago when the issue was ice hot.  And since then, the Internet has continued to run—Sans any heavy-handed regulatory oversight  and regulation, which has the real and possible potential to deter Angel and Venture Capitalist from funding web-based startups.

And to be clear— all regulation isn’t bad —so long it is for consumer protection and is certainly needed to ensure there is no market failure or breakdown where the interest of the public will be severely compromised.  Today, the FCC, thankfully, has such a tool to deal with these scenarios in Section 706 of the Telecom Act.

But by all means, we should not be experimenting with a good thing by creating spanking new government overreaching regulations to quell a litany of hypothetical problems that “could” arise.

Meanwhile, web and Internet-based Businesses have continued to prosper.

In fact, Buzzfeed just got another $50 Million in funding from investors towards its web-based digital publishing platform.

I say that is a win for Open Internet!

photos: Getty/NBC news

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