4.26 | Monday, April 30, 2012
:: FEEDBACK: Stop butchering the trees
:: SPOTLIGHT: Charleston Green Commercial
:: CALENDAR: This week ... and next
:: QUOTE: The journey
:: BROADUS: Helping sea turtles
WHERE IS IT?
2012 -- Get ready for mobile payments to change how we make in-store purchases
and how companies collect information about us. Nearly all the major smartphone
manufacturers, Internet service providers (ISPs), credit card issuers,
and tech companies are gearing up to provide consumers with mobile payment
services. Many of these services will let consumers buy items in brick-and-mortar
stores just by swiping their phones at checkout.
While this will create interesting and convenient new apps, mobile payments will also provide more consumer data to more companies than traditional offline credit card transactions. Without strong user privacy controls, mobile payments may turn your cell phone into a magnet for telemarketing, spam, and online behavioral advertising.
More information to more companies
Mobile payment services can expose consumer data to several companies that were not included in traditional credit card transactions. In addition to credit card issuers and payment processors, mobile payment services also involve the mobile payment provider (i.e., Google, in the case of Google Wallet), the Internet service provider (i.e., Verizon or AT&T), and third party apps that consumers download (such as a budget app). With mobile payments, these companies can get access to the consumer information revealed during a traditional credit card transaction - and more - and use this information in new ways.
With magnetic stripe credit card transactions, credit card companies have access to consumers' contact information, codes identifying the general category of purchases, as well as the date, time, location and amount of the purchase. In addition to this data, companies can program their mobile payment systems and apps to track the specific items a consumer purchases. Today, most consumers do not expect their offline transactions to influence the advertising they see on the Internet, but consumers should expect mobile payment services to use transaction information to hit consumers with offers, coupons, and customized advertising.
Merchants can get also more detailed consumer information from mobile payments than from traditional magnetic stripe credit cards. When using regular credit cards, merchants hold an itemized receipt reflecting consumers' purchases, but merchants do not receive the cardholder's full contact information - telephone number, email address, and mailing address - unless the consumer provides it to them or the merchant takes the trouble to seek out the consumer's personal information from a credit bureau. This is one major reason why merchants institute loyalty card programs, so they can match customers' purchase histories with their identifying information to create detailed profiles of the customers' shopping habits.
Many mobile payment services will collect consumers' contact information when they register with the service. Mobile payment services and apps can be programmed to provide merchants with consumers' phone numbers, email addresses, and purchase histories during a transaction in a store -- so long as the merchant's point of sale system is able to receive this information. Consumers today are enrolled in loyalty programs with only a few companies, such as their supermarkets, but mobile payment services will make it simple to establish the equivalent of a loyalty program for every merchant the consumer comes into contact with - every café, taxicab company or magazine stand. The easy ability to build detailed customer profiles is a common incentive for merchants to embrace mobile payment services.
Weakening privacy laws
As CDT pointed out previously, mobile payment services that provide merchants with consumers' contact information will weaken the protective effect of existing privacy laws, such as those restricting telemarketing and spam.
'Privacy by design' is crucial
strong user privacy controls into mobile payment services during the design
phase is the most efficient way of addressing these problems. Mobile payment
services should give users both global and granular to restrict the disclosure
of any information that is not necessary to complete a transaction. This
way, consumers can decide how much information is given or withheld from
merchants, mobile payment providers and app developers. Mobile payments
can offer killer apps and great convenience to consumers. But if companies
fail to build meaningful privacy controls into their services, consumers
will not trust mobile payments and a promising new industry will be discredited.
APRIL 30, 2012 -- So the grand experiment is to start today for our family: Living without cable television.
We've had Comcast and Knology over the years. Now we've got Dish. We like them all, except for two things -- they're expensive ($100-plus per month) and we don't use them all that much. Our children watch some of the kids' shows. My wife will get glued to one of the cable news channels every now and then. I like HGTV and the Food Network. And the Comedy Channel gets a thumbs up around here.
But overall, we don't turn on the television that much on any given day, which has led us to wonder whether it is worth it.
Now with the advent of streaming services through things like the Sony Media Player, we can have access to some of the latest cable television shows, a bunch of old movies and kids' shows. So here's the plan:
Bottom line: We might miss some stuff that we don't watch often, but we're figuring that we probably won't really notice because of the plethora of offerings available through streaming or the antenna. The big benefit? Saving more than $1,000 a year.
Have any of you made the switch?
* * *
The Post and Courier starts a grand experiment Tuesday when it limits online content to non-subscribers to five stories a month. We understand the reason for the paper doing this -- it wants to put a premium on the value of advertising in the printed daily newspaper. Newspaper leaders must figure that unless they do something to stanch the continued growth of the Internet as a free news source, more and more people will dump the printed paper for online access. And that would mean expensive print ads would have less value, which would cut into the paper's big profit margin.
So what the paper is doing is trying to make current subscribers believe they're getting a whole bunch of new benefits when, in fact, it is just repackaging what's already available -- and taking away content from non-subscribers. If people want to subscribe only online, it will cost $10 a month, about half of the printed paper.
Call me a cynic, but I think the paper is struggling to try to capitalize monetarily in a way that won't work over time. First, by restricting access for non-subscribers over the Internet, the paper likely will see a drop-off in online readers. In turn, that means that the value of ads on the paper's Internet site -- which has been highly promoted for years -- will go down. Second, it's likely that some people will cancel subscriptions to the printed papers in favor of the cheaper online alternative. And because subscriptions to printed daily newspapers all over the country have been dropping in recent years, the overall effect is a reduction in the value of print ads over time (Charleston traditionally has weathered this storm relatively well, but we now wonder if there are concerns over readership drops.)
Bottom line: The paper may be creating a scenario that devalues print and online ads, which means revenues will drop over time. What we may be witnessing is the start of a long and slow downward spiral (many of the laid-off Post and Courier workers from the last few years would say the paper has been spiraling downward for a while.)
What newspapers do best is publish news stories in print. The Internet is an additional platform for spreading news. And while its ads might not be as revenue-laden, they should be able to add significantly to the revenue stream -- if the paper doesn't overdo its site with things that newspapers don't do well -- video and flashy content offered by former video journalists.
is sure from The Post and Courier's new experiment -- it should
make free publications like Charleston Currents, West Of and the
Charleston City Paper more valuable to readers and advertisers.
To the editor:
The tree butchers are at it again and West Ashley is ground zero. On the way to James Island this afternoon, we noticed that trees had been severely cut on Highway 61. Many of the beautiful live oaks and magnolias had deep Vs taken from their centers. Others had one whole side cut back. It's really ugly. I understand why SCE&G feels the need to do this but the severity of it is a bit over the top (no pun intended). We also noticed that a good bit of trimming had been done recently on portions of Folly Road.
I don't know of another city I have visited that has to do this butchery to their trees. There has to be someone at SCE&G who is responsible for checking up on their contractor to see what they are doing. This seems to continue year after year. What do our visitors think of us? We practically worship the live oaks but allow the utility companies to go wild with the pruning.
I would like everyone who lives where the trimming is being done in West Ashley to send in their photos of what they consider to be the worst tree trimming job in their neighborhood, Maybe we could have a contest and choose the worst from the submissions. Perhaps we could get CharlestonCurrents.com to judge the photos and pick and publish the one deemed to be the worst offender.
It is a sad note for Tree City, USA.
The public spiritedness of our underwriters allows us to bring Charleston Currents to you at no cost. In this issue, we turn the spotlight on Charleston Green Commercial, a full-service commercial property management company that pays attention to detail, provides exceptional personal service and is committed to adding value to buildings. Offering professional property management, consulting and other services, the company strives to improve clients' bottom lines with superior service, accessibility, reliability and a wealth of knowledge of the Charleston real estate market. By blending use of proven contractors and contacts with environmentally-conscious practices, the company helps clients stay on the leading edge of commercial real estate practices. More.
APRIL 30, 2012 -- From Lee Baldonado at the S.C. Aquarium comes this fascinating information about its effort to provide an 'almost-zero waste' event for Charleston Waterkeepers.
"For the Charleston Waterkeeper Waterball, the effort was put in place to try to divert 100 percent of the waste from the landfill. All trash cans and recycle bins were removed from the River Terrace and 1st floor of the Aquarium. I worked with Dan Dickison (volunteer recycling coordinator for the event) and Isaiah Nelson (Charleston Waterkeeper's outreach coordinator) to see if this goal was possible using our facility for a large event of around 350 people.
"As you will read below we didn't not meet our goal, but we did however find success in failure. All dishes and glasses were reusable and were collected by a volunteer staff of College of Charleston students (10 students) and this alone helped to reduce the waste footprint of the event. We composted around 30 pounds of fruit, paper towels, etc. and recycled over 280 pounds worth of glass, cans and paper. Also all oyster shells were collected from the cocktail hour and delivered to DNR for oyster bank nourishment.
"So with this effort, only 20 pounds of waste was generated from this event. This equaled out to one 50-gallon trash can. We were amazed at the reduction in trash and the learning opportunity for all. This event will serve to hopefully help us better green our in-house events."
St. Francis Foundation recently received a transformational commitment
of $1 million from the Ronald H. Fielding family of Kiawah Island in honor
of the late Donna M. Fielding.
gift will enable Roper St. Francis Healthcare to create a comprehensive
cancer wellness program to better help patients and their families with
the physical, emotional and spiritual needs that often arise when facing
this disease. It will be named in honor of Donna Fielding, who lost her
battle with melanoma in 2011.
Donna Fielding Cancer Wellness Institute will allow seamless coordination
of the many needs of cancer patients and their families," said David
Ellison, MD, Charleston Hematology Oncology Associates and Roper St. Francis
Cancer Care Medical Director. "This program will also provide a vehicle
for people who want to learn more about how wellness can reduce their
risks of cancer. We applaud the Fielding family for their recognition
and support of this effort to lessen the damage that cancer can cause
to ourselves and our loved ones."
the activities within the cancer wellness program will be coordinated
by a new wellness navigator, who will guide each cancer patient through
their personal battle with cancer. This new cancer wellness navigator
will be instrumental in orchestrating many phases of care and support
for the more than 2,000 newly diagnosed cancer patients seen at RSFCC
family knows firsthand the difficulties patients and their families face
when diagnosed with cancer," said Ronald H. Fielding. "Donna
and I shared a vision of bringing a comprehensive cancer wellness program
to Charleston and believed Roper St. Francis Cancer Care was the perfect
place to house this program."
New Charleston publication focuses on sustainable living
Hats off to our friends over at West Of who have just started The Good Footprint, a weekly online publication featuring lots of good information on sustainable living. In the first issue, you can find out about the Eco Bridal Gala at Magnolia Plantation, sea turtles, improving energy efficiency and more.
The publication, offered every Wednesday, has been on the drawing board for more than a year. "It's actually a digital publication, covering all things green, local, and sustainable," the site offers. "Delivered weekly via email to thousands in the Charleston area, The Good Footprint also serves as a club of sorts, where members will receive monthly deals and exclusive offers from Good Footprint advertising sponsors."
According to publisher Lorne Chambers, the goal of The Good Footprint is not to preach or be overbearing about "being green." Instead, the publication will report on what's happening in the local environmental and eco-conscious community. If the publication is successful in Charleston, it might be rolled out in communities across the country.
Citadel offers day camps on science, math, more
The STEM Center of Excellence at The Citadel will offer several day camps this summer designed to engage students in science, technology, engineering and math in a fun way. The 2012 weekly summer camps will start in mid-June and finish in August. Offerings include:
All camps will take place on The Citadel campus. To learn more or register, click here.
Don Reno probably ranks second only to Earl Scruggs in prestige among bluegrass banjo pickers. He composed many original songs in the early days of bluegrass, most of which he recorded on the King label with his longtime partner Arthur "Red" Smiley. Born on February 21, 1927, in Spartanburg, Donald Wesley Reno grew up in Haywood County, North Carolina, where he learned to play banjo from local musicians and indirectly from the radio artist "Snuffy" Jenkins. He spent his early professional days working with both Arthur Smith's Crackerjacks and the team of Wiley and Zeke Morris, both at WSPA radio in Spartanburg.
Enlisting in the army in World War II, Reno saw combat in Burma as a member of the unit that became known as Merrill's Marauders. Back in civilian life, the young man spent a year in Nashville with Bill Monroe's Blue Grass Boys as a replacement for Earl Scruggs. In 1949 he joined Tommy Magness and the Tennessee Buddies, through which he met the guitarist and lead-vocalist Red Smiley. As members of this band, they did their first recordings together on Federal in March 1951.
Later that year they formed a partnership. They made the first 16 of more than 200 recordings for King in January 1952, including Reno's classic gospel original "I'm Using My Bible for a Roadmap." They had trouble getting show dates for a time even though their records did well. Meanwhile, Reno went to work for Arthur Smith at WBT radio in Charlotte. During that time Reno and Smith composed and recorded their noted instrumental "Feuding Banjos."
In the spring of 1955, the Reno and Smiley team finally got to work together on a regular basis at WDBJ-TV in Roanoke, Virginia, with their Tennessee Cutups band that included John Palmer and Mack Magaha. This group performed together for nearly a decade, dissolving their partnership in the fall of 1964. They continued their periodic sessions for King, producing such classic songs as "I Know You're Married (But I Love You Still)," "Trail of Sorrow," and "Let's Live for Tonight," as well as original Reno banjo tunes such as "Banjo Signal" and "Choking the Strings."
Reno had a short partnership with the fiddler Benny Martin and then formed another team effort with the singer-guitarist Bill Harrell that lasted for a decade and resulted in many more recordings for King, Rural Rhythm, CMH, and other labels as well as numerous appearances at bluegrass festivals. He also made two more albums with Red Smiley, who died in 1972.
After that Reno formed a group that included his sons Ronnie, Don Wayne, and Dale. They made numerous recordings, but Reno's health began to fail. Heart problems ended his life on October 16, 1984. His sons continued to perform as the Reno Brothers for some fifteen years until they split into two groups at the end of 2001.
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Gifts for grads
With high school and college graduations around the corner, we started looking for some good ideas for practical gifts to celebrate all of those new diplomas. Here are five suggestions (and send in any you have too):
"A journey is like a marriage. The certain way to be wrong is to think you control it."
(NEW) Rein and Shine polo: Gates open 11 a.m., May 6, for two polo matches to benefit Rein and Shine. Tickets are $15 for adults; kids under 11 are free. More.
Two art exhibitions open: May 4, Gibbes Museum of Art, Charleston. In the Main Gallery of the museum through Sept. 9 will be "Mary Whyte: Working South," a display of watercolors of vanishing blue-collar professions from 10 Southern states. At the same time, the Rotunda Gallery will feature "Places for the Spirit: Traditional African American Gardens of the South," a series by fine art photographer Vaughn Sills. More.
Tall ships in Savannah: May 3 to May 7. The five-day festival will give visitors the chance to view 14 tall ships and board many of them. It's the only Southern stop during an Atlantic coast race. Tickets are $20 to $50. Learn more.
CALENDAR: ONGOING AND SOON
7:30 p.m., May 8, First Scots Presbyterian Church, Charleston.
The University of Kentucky Chorale will be in Charleston to perform wide
variety of sacred choral classics. The group has performed all over the
(NEW) Greek Festival 2012: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. May 11 and May 12; Noon to 5 p.m., May 13, at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church, 30 Race Street, Charleston. Enjoy delicious Greek food and beverages, Greek music, folk dance performances and much more for just $3 per person. Learn more.
(NEW) Yappy Hour: 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., May 17, James Island County Park's dog park. Live music will be provided by local band Folk Grass. Other Yappy Hours planned for June 7 and Aug. 23. Free with admission to park. More.
Weekend water fun. Splash Zone Waterpark at James Island County Park, Splash Island at Mount Pleasant Palmetto Islands County Park, and Whirlin' Waters at Wannamaker County Park will be open on weekends in May. Splash Zone will open daily beginning May 21, Whirlin' Waters and Splash Island open daily beginning May 28. More: www.splashparks.com
contest: Entries due June 6. If you want to submit pictures
to the 2012 photo contest by Magnolia Plantations and Gardens, you can
start taking picture now. Submissions start April 1 for photos
taken between March 5 and May 31. More
Bird walks: 8:30 a.m. to noon, every Wednesday and Saturday. This is the time of year that a great variety of migrating birds fly through the Lowcountry so what better time to take part in one of the regular early morning bird walks at Caw Caw Interpretive Center in Ravenel. Pre-registration is suggested. Cost is $5. Learn more online.
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