Peter Gasca

Curating What Makes Me Happy

Internet Slow Down Day

I have trumpeted the call to step up for Net Neutrality on a few occasions, but today we again need to draw attention to the threat the cable companies pose to our internet freedoms. Check out the the “Join the Battle for Net Neutrality" site and do one of the following:

Post this modal at the <HEAD> of your website for the day:
<script src=”//” async></script>

Or, use one of these GIFs for your profile picture.

Or use one of these images for your profile picture and cover photo:

Happy Independence Eve: Newcastle Ad

@NewCastle new #IfWeWon ad campaign is brilliant.  I love good ad campaigns.  I love great ad campaigns better.  Newcastle certainly has one in their Independence Day Eve campaign, starring British greats @StephenMerchant and @ElizabethHurley.  Entertaining, comical and in true-British tradition, self-deprecating.  What I find even more interesting is the angst and anger of some Americans toward the campaign (see the “Apology” video below).  Lighten up.  We won.  That’s all the matters.  If nothing else, this campaign gives you a reasons (regardless of how valid) to grab a Newcastle and toast a day early.  I will.  Cheers!

Happy Independence Eve, America!

Stephen Merchant Presents: If We Won


Names of Things: If We Won

Elizabeth Hurley Gets Vulgar

Elizabeth Hurley Apologies … for not apologizing.

Why Hobby Lobby Matters

[Video] Nice job @IamJohnOliver. Nailed the #HobbyLobby issue. Best quote, “If you really want to be treated like people, corporations, then guess what, paying for things you don’t like is what it feels like to be one.”  

I’ve said a couple of times, the Supreme Court decision that corporations can opt out of mandated health care obligations on religious grounds just tastes bad … really, really bad.

I’ll start by saying that I don’t think businesses should be required to provide health care for employees in the first place.  It’s an archaic practice that was started by accident during WWII, when wages were flat and businesses started offering insurance as an incentive.  After WWII, as the economy flourished and the middle class continued to grow, businesses no longer needed to offer insurance, but the fed provided tax incentives to businesses to continue the practice.  It eventually stuck, and as we know now became the apparatus by which the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was able to mandate medicine.

Corporations, however, should no more be in the business of supplying health insurance as they would car insurance, homeowner’s insurance, etc.  

This legal precedent ultimately has nothing to do with the ACA, socialized medicine, or whatever.  It really strikes at a much more troubling issue: prejudice on the grounds of religion.  Forget for now the fact that the ruling has furthered the rights of corporations to act as people … evidently, now religious, church-going people … what it has done is potentially brought religion back into our laws.  Bad idea.

And if you argue that the US was founded on Christian values, yadda yadda, I would shoot back that it was founded on  ”religious” values.  We are a country of many, many different religions, so if we are to create laws that cater to religious beliefs, upon which religious foundations will you base them?  

For this reason, we don’t allow religion to influence our laws (for the most part).  Instead, we elect people to represent our views and make laws accordingly.  If you don’t vote, then you can’t complain.  Truly.  This is how you create change.  Of course, people unfortunately lose from time to time … that sucks … really … but as the old saying goes, “you can’t please all the people all the time.”

We saw this recently with the law in Arizona that allowed businesses to discriminate against the LGBT community if their sexual preference was not in line with the business’s religious beliefs.  Eventually, better-minded people prevailed, and the law was struck down.  

Discrimination on any grounds is just plain bad.

But this is the Supreme Court that has handed down this decision.  A decision that was voted for by an all white male majority, seemingly placing discrimination rights at the feet of corporations.  The precedent is dangerous, because as US citizens, we have the right to call out, “What about me?  What about my religion?”.  And how will this reconcile itself with civic rights laws?  Where will the madness end?

I do believe that in today’s hyper connected and social environment, we as a culture and as a people tend to error on the right thing to do.  We have the freedom to speak with our wallets, and for the most part, we can leave our place of vocation if we are unhappy.  We have choice and remarkable access to information to help us make informed decisions.  It takes time, in some cases an entire generation, but eventually, we get things right.  

This is the Supreme Court, however, so it will be interesting to see how it pans out.

[Infographic] Five Reasons Your Content Doesn't Go Viral

Creating great content for your business is hard enough, but getting it in front of others is a whole other challenge.  If you spend a good amount of time creating great content, you should understand how to distribute it properly to get the attention and draw people to your business.  While being in people’s “grill” is good, having material go viral is even better, as it is typically shared by trusted friends and families.  Below is a great inforgraphic from explaining how to get more “virality” from your online content.  NOTE: This blog post is not intended to be an example.  Cheers!

Veronic Jarski,

Control Your Career - Learn To Code

I was an early adopter of the coding movement (translation: I was one of the young geeks who spent hours on a Commodore 64 typing lines of “if-then” code that would spit out my name).  Unfortunately, I didn’t stick with it, and I have often regretted not staying current with the basics of coding over the years.  More frustrating than anything is the fact that I can’t make seemingly easy changes and customization to any of my own websites without pulling my hair out.

Now, I may be in the minority, especially among my generation, in believing strongly that in order to achieve a professional advantage in the future, you need to know how to code.  I also feel that schools should be leading this charge and instilling a basic understanding of coding at the elementary school level, much like cursive and reading.

More important, as technology continues to become completely entwined in our lives, understanding how to control is will provide a distinct competitive advantage over those who know little or nothing about how it works.

For those inclined to take the self-taught approach and learn a little coding, below are a few resources I have utilized and found useful.

- Code Academy: Free resource and has a great set of resources.
- Udemy: With numerous online classes that cover many topics, there are a few good coding courses.  Most are pay as you go, but keep your eye open for frequent discount coupon codes.
- Tree House: Very easy to follow video tutorials with workspaces you can use to follow along.

By now means are these the only resources.  A simple Google search will result in numerous resources, though I have include a few below from a great resource I found.

- An international nonprofit that provides mentorship and instruction, committed to making sure women of all ages, races, education levels, income, and upbringing can build confidence in their skill set to develop web and mobile applications.

- Stanford University’s Udacity is one of many sites that make college courses—including Introduction to Computer Science—available online for free.

- Helping more than 25,000 young people from low-income communities learn to express themselves creatively with new technologies every year.

- Through CoderDojo’s volunteer-led sessions, young people can learn to code, go on tours of tech companies and hear guest speakers.

- Offers online courses in a wide range of programming languages, design and web tools.

- Geared specifically toward 13 to 17 year old girls, pairs instruction and mentorship to “educate, inspire and equip” students to pursue their engineering and tech dreams.

- Aims to help address the “dearth of African-American women in science, technology, engineering and math professions” through workshops for young girls of color.

- Offers a variety of coding courses at their campuses across the globe. Additionally, their free online platform, Dash, teaches HTML, CSS and Javascript through fun projects on a simple interface that is accessible from your web browser.

And, from TED: Mitch Resnick of MIT Media Lab: Coding isn’t just for computer whizzes — it’s for everyone. In a fun, demo-filled talk Resnick outlines the benefits of teaching kids to code, so they can do more than just “read” new technologies — but also create them. (Filmed at TEDxBeaconStreet.)