Better Banking

A rapper by the name Killer Mike (also an avid Bernie Sanders supporter) made a call to action on a 107.9, a popular Atlanta radio station last week. He said,

We cannot go out in the street and start bombing, shooting and killing,” the rapper said during the town hall. “I encourage none of us to engage in acts of violence that will cause more peril to our community and others that look like us. I encourage us to take our warfare to financial institutions.

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Screen Shot 2016-07-24 at 9.18.22 AMThe result? EIGHT THOUSAND 8,000 PEOPLE OPENED ACCOUNTS AT CITIZENS TRUST BANK IN ATLANTA. That figure was reported last week by USA Today and many mainstream news outlets. Similar results were reported in Houston at Unity National Bank, the only black-owned bank in the state of Texas and at OneUnited Bank, with locations in Los Angeles, Miami and Boston. Think you’ll see this on the news?? Don’t hold your breath! Need to finad a black owned bak or credit union near, you, check out this list on Facebook and be sure to follow the conversation on Twitter, #BankBlackBankSmallBankLocal

Now THIS is a movement! #startsomewhere #dosomething #anything #getmad #divertmoneyawayfromthesystem 🙌🏽

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The New Yorker Presents

The New Yorker Magazine has a new television show, The New Yorker Presents, available exclusively on Amazon Video.

Each episode tells a number of stories, some light, some serious, as depicted in the broad range of topics presented in the trailer below. It’s sort of like getting The New Yorker’s top news on-the-go but in a very entertaining way, like a live version of the magazine itself. The New Yorker Presents is free if you have Amazon Prime but the first episode is available for free. #fan

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Apple vs. FBI

The FBI ordered Apple to create a “backdoor” so it can break into the San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone 5c. Apple basically said no, challenging the FBI on encryption.

Official_Apple_Logo_2013_Pictures_5_HD_WallpapersSurely Apple saw this coming which is why CEO Tim Cooke started his appeal months ago. I’m 100% convinced that if we were not living in a post-Snowden world, Apple would have never had the “balls” (pardon my language) to stand up to the FBI. Apple must think it has the support of the American people; however, most in the tech community would support its position. The average Joe? We can’t be so sure so an uphill battle is almost a given. This case could make its way all the way to the Supreme Court... oh, wait, we only have 8. So in a tie breaker, the ruling of the lower court stands <== important point here

Supreme Court: What happens in case of a tie? The high court’s ruling is rendered almost meaningless; it leaves the most recent decision intact, usually from a federal appeals court or a top state court. There is no new, national precedent created by the nation’s highest court. USA Today

fbi-sealThe FBI’s case was brought forth in the STATE of CALIFORNIA. Recently, a lawmaker introduced a law that would ban encryption on ALL phones in the state starting in 2017. In essence he wants all phones to be, “capable of being decrypted and unlocked by its manufacturer or its operating system provider.” There’s also a similar bill in New York.

It remains to be seen where other tech giants like Microsoft, Samsung and Google will land in this debate. You better believe if Apple is FORCED to do this,  other cell phone manufactures will be on the hook as well. If they all side with Apple, #GameOn. Either way, it’s an interesting dialogue to have!  Regardless of your position on this issue, pay attention people! (I just turned notifications on for Eric Snowden on Twitter… can’t wait to hear what he as to say).

***BTW, do you know how much money do we spend on the FBI each year?? Wikipedia said the number was $8.3 billion in 2014 (2 years ago). If breaking into an iPhone is the only “chance” we have to catch a terrorist network/cell, we may already be doomed.

Watch a preview of Tim Cooke’s 60-minute interview from December 2015 here:

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View the statement issued by Apple last night (click the image to read more)

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Ransomware & Bitcoins

Ok ladies, it’s time for some heavy lifting! So let’s get right to it:

  • Question: What is Ransomware?
  • Answer: Ransomware is a type of malware that prevents or limits users from accessing their system. It forces its victims to pay the ransom through certain online payment methods in order to grant access to their systems, or to get their data back. (Trend Micro)

Let me give you a real life example to help you relate. If a criminal kidnaps a child, like in the popular Denzel movie, Man on Fire, they often demand cash in exchange for returning the person to their relative/loved one. During the time of the kidnapping, the family has no access to the child – they cannot even see the child or perform everyday tasks like eating dinner together or talking about what happened at school that day. Imagine that the child got their report card on the day they were kidnapped – the family would not be able to see what was on the report card – not the child’s name, not their grades, nothing. Access to the child and everything the child has is completely cut off. No family member can get to the child or access to the information they may hold until the ransom is paid and the child is returned. #InThatOrder

Ransomware is technical jargon; but, it basically means the same situation as described above; but, in this case the kidnapper is a computer hacker and the kidnapee is a computer systemA hospital in Southern California, Hollywood Presbyterian, is under a ransomware attack as we speak. Their computer system is completely shut down and workers do not have access to patient information, records, etc. Patient  registration, notes, medical records and conditions are all being handled the old way – by pen and paper. This is serious: the FBI has been called in to investigate and help!

The ransom being demanded is 9,000 bitcoins (or 3.4 million dollars). In exchange, the hackers would send back the key code to restore the system. are a sort to encrypted virtual currency – think of it as electronic money (they are not real dollars) that can be transferred between entities or people digitally and ANONYMOUSLY. Your bank keeps track of everything you send/receive but that’s not possible with Bitcoins. Users simply have a Wallet ID and that’s it. You can “never” know who the buyer or seller is. This virtual currently is not ensured by the FDIC and this industry, praised by Bill Gates and others, is largely unregulated.

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Today, it’s a hospital, tomorrow maybe it’ll be the Social Security Administration or your bank. Then what? Sure, those agencies/companies spend millions of dollars fighting cyber attacks – President Obama recently announced that he wants$3 billion from Congress to to fight such crimes as these, cyberattacks; but, we, very much live in a digital world and it only takes one lucky attempt or try for a hacker to do “virtual” damage.

Ransomware is not just for companies, individuals can be targeted as well. Even you! So, what can you do? Don’t open email from people you don’t know, especially attachments. Don’t click on UNKNOWN links – seriously, if the sender’s email address is something like “” this should a RED FLAG. If you haven’t paid attention to that before, spend 5 seconds to look NOW! Don’t download FREE software you think is going to solve your problem (i.e. my computer is slow software X claims to be able to fix it”, etc.) Don’t play games online that require you to DOWNLOAD something. PERIOD. FREE != GOOD != SAFE… I just taught you a bit of computer programming there 🙂 And finally, get a Mac. Seriously… read more here.

I included a few videos below in case you want to learn more about Ransomware or Bitcoins. #StaySafeOnline

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New Education Bill


(Surprisingly) Congress passed a new education bill last week. Forget “No Child Left Behind” rolled to in 2001 and embrace “Every Student Succeeds Act“. So what are the changes?

  • Testing will continue, but STATES – not the U.S. government – will now decide how to use the results in evaluating teachers and schools. The new law encourages states to limit the time students spend on testing, and it will diminish the high stakes for underperforming schools.(Associated Press)
  • Computer Science has been included in the definition of well-rounded education subjects. Its inclusion, for example, will allow computer science educators the same level of access to professional development opportunities as teachers in other subject areas such as science and math. (Wall Street Journal)

(see also The Case for Computer Science)

These are the two main points I saw as I scanned multiple news outlets’ headlines – there may be more. You can read the full details here (it’s only 1,068 pages). #HappyReading