A portrait of Scotland: Gallery reopens after £17.6 million renovation

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Today saw Edinburgh’s Scottish National Portrait Gallery reopen following a two-and-a-half-year, £17.6m (US$27.4m) refurbishment. Conversion of office and storage areas sees 60% more space available for displays, and the world’s first purpose-built portrait space is redefining what a portrait gallery should contain; amongst the displays are photographs of the Scottish landscape—portraits of the country itself.

First opened in 1889, Sir Robert Rowand Anderson’s red sandstone building was gifted to the nation by John Ritchie Findlay, then-owner of The Scotsman newspaper and, a well-known philanthropist. The original cost of construction between 1885 and 1890 is estimated at over 70,000 pounds sterling. Up until 1954, the building also housed the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland who moved to the National Museum of Scotland buildings on Chambers Street. The society’s original meeting table now sits in the public part of the portrait gallery’s library, stared down on by an array of busts and phrenological artefacts.

Wikinewsie Brian McNeil, with other members of the press, received a guided tour of the gallery last Monday from Deputy Director Nicola Kalinsky. What Kalinsky described as an introduction to the gallery that previously took around 40 minutes, now takes in excess of an hour-and-a-half; with little in the way of questions asked, a more inquisitive tour group could readily take well over two hours to be guided round the seventeen exhibitions currently housed in the gallery.

A substantial amount of the 60% additional exhibition space is readily apparent on the ground floor. On your left as you enter the gallery is the newly-fitted giant glass elevator, and the “Hot Scots” photographic portrait gallery. This exhibit is intended to show well-known Scottish faces, and will change over time as people fall out of favour, and others take their place. A substantial number of the people now being highlighted are current, and recent, cast members from the BBC’s Doctor Who series.

The new elevator (left) is the most visible change to improve disabled access to the gallery. Prior to the renovation work, access was only ‘on request’ through staff using a wooden ramp to allow wheelchair access. The entire Queen Street front of the building is reworked with sloping access in addition to the original steps. Whilst a lift was previously available within the gallery, it was only large enough for two people; when used for a wheelchair, it was so cramped that any disabled person’s helper had to go up or down separately from them.

The gallery expects that the renovation work will see visitor numbers double from before the 2009 closure to around 300,000 each year. As with many of Edinburgh’s museums and galleries, access is free to the public.

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The expected significant increase in numbers has seen them working closely with the National Museum of Scotland, which was itself reopened earlier this year after extensive refurbishment work; improved access for wheelchair users also makes it far easier for mothers with baby buggies to access the gallery – prompting more thought on issues as seemingly small as nappy-changing – as Patricia Convery, the gallery’s Head of Press, told Wikinews, a great deal of thought went into the practicalities of increased visitor numbers, and what is needed to ensure as many visitors as possible have a good experience at the gallery.

Press access to the gallery on Monday was from around 11:30am, with refreshments and an opportunity to catch some of the staff in the Grand Hall before a brief welcoming introduction to the refurbished gallery given by John Leighton, director of the National Galleries of Scotland. Centre-stage in the Grand Hall is a statue of Robert Burns built with funds raised from around the British Empire and intended for his memorial situated on Edinburgh’s Calton Hill.

The ambulatories surrounding the Grand Hall give the space a cathedral-like feel, with numerous busts – predominantly of Scottish figures – looking in on the tiled floor. The east corner holds a plaque commemorating the gallery’s reopening, next to a far more ornate memorial to John Ritchie Findlay, who not only funded and commissioned the building’s construction, but masterminded all aspects of the then-new home for the national collection.

Split into two groups, members of the press toured with gallery Director James Holloway, and Nicola Kalinsky, Deputy Director. Wikinews’ McNeil joined Kalinsky’s group, first visiting The Contemporary Scotland Gallery. This ground-floor gallery currently houses two exhibits, first being the Hot Scots display of photographic portraits of well-known Scottish figures from film, television, and music. Centre-stage in this exhibit is the newly-acquired Albert Watson portrait of Sir Sean Connery. James McAvoy, Armando Iannucci, playwright John Byrne, and Dr Who actress Karen Gillan also feature in the 18-photograph display.

The second exhibit in the Contemporary gallery, flanked by the new educational facilities, is the Missing exhibit. This is a video installation by Graham Fagen, and deals with the issue of missing persons. The installation was first shown during the National Theatre of Scotland’s staging of Andrew O’Hagan’s play, The Missing. Amongst the images displayed in Fagen’s video exhibit are clips from the deprived Sighthill and Wester-Hailes areas of Edinburgh, including footage of empty play-areas and footbridges across larger roads that sub-divide the areas.

With the only other facilities on the ground floor being the education suite, reception/information desk, cafe and the gallery’s shop, Wikinews’ McNeil proceeded with the rest of Kalinsky’s tour group to the top floor of the gallery, all easily fitting into the large glass hydraulic elevator.

The top (2nd) floor of the building is now divided into ten galleries, with the larger spaces having had lowered, false ceilings removed, and adjustable ceiling blinds installed to allow a degree of control over the amount of natural light let in. The architects and building contractors responsible for the renovation work were required, for one side of the building, to recreate previously-removed skylights by duplicating those they refurbished on the other. Kalinsky, at one point, highlighted a constructed-from-scratch new sandstone door frame; indistinguishable from the building’s original fittings, she remarked that the building workers had taken “a real interest” in the vision for the gallery.

The tour group were first shown the Citizens of the World gallery, currently hosting an 18th century Enlightenment-themed display which focuses on the works of David Hume and Allan Ramsay. Alongside the most significant 18th century items from the National Portrait Gallery’s collection, are some of the 133 new loans for the opening displays. For previous visitors to the gallery, one other notable change is underfoot; previously carpeted, the original parquet floors of the museum have been polished and varnished, and there is little to indicate it is over 120 years since the flooring was originally laid.

Throughout many of the upper-floor displays, the gallery has placed more light-sensitive works in wall-mounted cabinets and pull-out drawers. Akin to rummaging through the drawers and cupboards of a strange house, a wealth of items – many previously never displayed – are now accessible by the public. Commenting on the larger, featured oils, Deputy Director Kalinsky stressed that centuries-old portraits displayed in the naturally-lit upper exhibitions had not been restored for the opening; focus groups touring the gallery during the renovation had queried this, and the visibly bright colours are actually the consequence of displaying the works in natural light, not costly and risky restoration of the paintings.

There are four other large galleries on the top floor. Reformation to Revolution is an exhibition covering the transition from an absolute Catholic monarchy through to the 1688 revolution. Items on-display include some of the Scottish National Portrait Gallery’s most famous items – including Mary Queen of Scots and The Execution of Charles I. The portrait-based depiction of this historical age is complemented with prints, medals, and miniatures from the period.

Imagining Power is a Jacobite-themed exhibition, one which looks at the sometime-romanticised Stuart dynasty. The Gallery owns the most extensive collection of such material in the world; the portraiture that includes Flora MacDonald and Prince Charles Edward Stuart is complemented by glassware from the period which is on-loan from the Drambuie Liqueur Company which Kalinsky remarked upon as the only way Scots from the period could celebrate the deposed monarchy – toasting The King over the Water in appropriately engraved glasses.

On the other side of the upper floor, the two main naturally-lit exhibitions are The Age of Improvement, and Playing for Scotland. The first of these looks at societal changes through the 18th and 19th centuries, including Nasmyth’s 1787 portrait of the young Robert Burns and – well-known to past visitors to the portrait gallery – Raeburn’s 1822 depiction of Sir Walter Scott. These are complemented with some of the National Gallery’s collection of landscapes and earliest scenes from Scottish industry.

Playing for Scotland takes a look at the development of modern sports in the 19th century; migration from countryside to cities dramatically increased participation in sporting activities, and standardised rules were laid down for many modern sports. This exhibition covers Scotland’s four national sports – curling, shinty, golf, and bowls – and includes some interesting photographic images, such as those of early strong-men, which show how more leisure time increased people’s involvement in sporting activities.

Next to the Reformation to Revolution gallery is A Survey of Scotland. Largely composed of works on-loan from the National Library of Scotland, this showcase of John Slezer’s work which led to the 1693 publication of Theatrum Scotiae also includes some of the important early landscape paintings in the national collection.

The work of Scotland’s first portrait painter, the Aberdeen-born George Jamesone, takes up the other of the smaller exhibits on the east side of the refurbished building. As the first-ever dedicated display of Jamesone’s work, his imaginary heroic portraits of Robert the Bruce and Sir William Wallace are included.

On the west side of the building, the two smaller galleries currently house the Close Encounters and Out of the Shadow exhibits. Close Encounters is an extensive collection of the Glasgow slums photographic work of Thomas Annan. Few people are visible in the black and white images of the slums, making what were squalid conditions appear more romantic than the actual conditions of living in them.

The Out of the Shadow exhibit takes a look at the role of women in 19th century Scotland, showing them moving forward and becoming more recognisable individuals. The exceptions to the rules of the time, known for their work as writers and artists, as-opposed to the perceived role of primary duties as wives and mothers, are showcased. Previously constrained to the domestic sphere and only featuring in portraits alongside men, those on-display are some of the people who laid the groundwork for the Suffrage movement.

The first floor of the newly-reopened building has four exhibits on one side, with the library and photographic gallery on the other. The wood-lined library was moved, in its entirety, from elsewhere in the building and is divided into two parts. In the main public part, the original table from the Society of Antiquaries sits centred and surrounded by glass-fronted cabinets of reference books. Visible, but closed to public access, is the research area. Apart from a slight smell of wood glue, there was little to indicate to the tour group that the entire room had been moved from elsewhere in the building.

The War at Sea exhibit, a collaboration with the Imperial War Museum, showcases the work of official war artist John Lavery. His paintings are on-display, complemented by photographs of the women who worked in British factories throughout the First World War. Just visible from the windows of this gallery is the Firth of Forth where much of the naval action in the war took place. Situated in the corner of the room is a remote-controlled ‘periscope’ which allows visitors a clearer view of the Forth as-seen from the roof of the building.

Sir Patrick Geddes, best-known for his work on urban planning, is cited as one of the key influencers of the Scottish Renaissance Movement which serves as a starting point for The Modern Scot exhibit. A new look at the visual aspects of the movement, and a renewal of Scottish Nationalist culture that began between the two World Wars, continuing into the late 20th century, sees works by William McCance, William Johnstone, and notable modernists on display.

Migration Stories is a mainly photographic exhibit, prominently featuring family portraits from the country’s 30,000-strong Pakistani community, and exploring migration into and out of Scotland. The gallery’s intent is to change the exhibit over time, taking a look at a range of aspects of Scottish identity and the influence on that from migration. In addition to the striking portraits of notable Scots-Pakistani family groups, Fragments of Love – by Pakistani-born filmmaker Sana Bilgrami – and Isabella T. McNair’s visual narration of a Scottish teacher in Lahore are currently on-display.

The adjacent Pioneers of Science exhibit has Ken Currie’s 2002 Three Oncologists as its most dramatic item. Focussing on Scotland’s reputation as a centre of scientific innovation, the model for James Clerk Maxwell’s statue in the city’s George Street sits alongside photographs from the Roslin Institute and a death mask of Dolly the sheep. Deputy Director Kalinsky, commented that Dolly had been an incredibly spoilt animal, often given sweets, and this was evident from her teeth when the death mask was taken.

Now open daily from 10am to 5pm, and with more of their collection visible than ever before, the Scottish National Portrait Gallery will change some of the smaller current exhibits after 12 to 18 months on display. The ground-floor information desk has available five mini-guides, or ‘trails’, which are thematic guides to specific display items. These are: The Secret Nature trail, The Catwalk Collection trail, The Situations Vacant trail, The Best Wee Nation & The World trail, and The Fur Coat an’ Nae Knickers Trail.

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Top 5 Benefits Of Hrms Recruitment Module

Employees are the most important assets of an organization because talented and bright minds have a huge role to play in the success of the company. This makes the hiring process all the more important because it is only through an efficient process that organizations can find and hire the most talented resources. Organizations around the globe have realized and are investing in a good HRMS recruitment platform. So, this makes one wonder how exactly can a recruitment gateway help and how it makes things different from hiring talent manually.

1] Provides an Integrated Database

One of the biggest advantages of investing in a HRMS recruitment gateway is the fact that it integrates all the data relevant to the hiring process and allows access to all of them on a single platform. This makes it immensely easy for the human resource personnel as they can find not just all the resumes of the candidates but also the details of each candidate with a few clicks. Data management is one of the biggest challenges of the hiring process and the recruitment module is designed to handle it.

2] Enables Easy and Quick Referrals

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Human resource management software platforms like Digital HRMS, BambooHR and Zenefits have recruitment as one of the many modules they offer. These comprehensive HR platforms not just automate all the important functionalities of the human resource department but also allow the employees of the organization controlled access. So, the employees get the privilege to login to the platform certain actions. They can check the current openings and refer candidates for one or more of the open job positions.

3] Makes it Easier to Post Job Openings

Nowadays, the human resource team is required to post job openings on multiple platforms, which includes the various job portals, the company Careers page as well as on social media. Since the HRMS recruitment module can be integrated with all the major job portals as well as the Careers page and the major social media platforms. This allows the team to post as well as update job openings on multiple platforms with a few clicks. This results in saving of time and efforts.

4] Makes Collaborative Recruitment a Possibility

Since a human resource management tool makes all the data available at one centralized location, it can be used to make the hiring process a collaborative process with different members of the HR team involved. Most HRMS recruitment gateways come with a tracker functionality which tracks the journey of each candidate in the interview process. This makes collaboration easier between everyone in the team, right from the junior recruiters to the seniors, making the process faster and more effective.

5] Creates and Maintains a Resume Bank

Every organization receives applications for positions that may not be open at the time. However, it is always recommended that the resumes of the most relevant candidates are sorted out and stored in a separate database so that there is always a resume bank to fall back on in case of an emergency hiring. The new age HRMS recruitment modules have this feature known as resume parsing, whereby the software automatically sifts through all the resumes, extracting all the important information like name, contact details, position applied for, skill sets, and so on. The resumes of the most relevant candidates are then stored in a database.

Conclusion:

These were the some of the key benefits that the new age HRMS recruitment modules can bring to an organization. Also, it is interesting to note that HRMS platforms today have different modules and each of them comes with its own set of benefits. No wonder, organizations today have acknowledged the fact that HRMS is indeed a good investment.

Blown for Good author discusses life inside international headquarters of Scientology

Friday, November 13, 2009

Wikinews interviewed author Marc Headley about his new book Blown for Good, and asked him about life inside the international headquarters of Scientology known as “Gold Base“, located in Gilman Hot Springs near Hemet, California. Headley joined the organization at age seven when his mother became a member, and worked at Scientology’s international management headquarters for several years before leaving in 2005.

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British conductor Edward Downes and wife die in double assisted suicide

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

British conductor Sir Edward Downes and his wife Joan took their lives at a Swiss assisted suicide clinic on Friday, July 10, 2009, according to a statement from their family. Lady Downes, 74, was afflicted with terminal cancer, and Sir Edward, 85, was nearly blind with increasing hearing difficulties. These disabilities had forced him to give up conducting. Having no religious beliefs, the couple decided against holding a funeral.

The statement read, “After 54 happy years together, they decided to end their own lives rather than continue to struggle with serious health problems. They died peacefully, and under circumstances of their own choosing, with the help of the Swiss organisation, Dignitas, in Zurich.”

Many who knew the couple as friends said that Sir Edward was not terminally ill, but wanted to die with his wife, who he had been with for more than 50 years.

Sir Edward Downes’s children, in an interview with The London Evening Standard, said they escorted their parents to Zurich, and on that Friday, they watched in tears as their parents consumed “a small quantity of clear liquid,” and then proceeded to lie down together, holding hands.

“Within a couple of minutes they were asleep, and died within 10 minutes,” said their 41 year old son, Caractacus Downes.

Sir Edward was well respected in the operatic and orchestral worlds and was particularly noted for his performances of British and Russian music and of Verdi, conducting 25 of the composer’s 28 operas. He had a long association with the Royal Opera House, where he conducted for more than 50 seasons in succession. This did not stop him from refusing to conduct a series of performances of Verdi’s Nabucco there as he was “out of sympathy” with the adventurous production. His approach to conducting was similarly conservative. He wrote “The duty of a conductor should be to present… a faithful and accurate account of the composer’s music as he wrote it, disregarding any subsequent ‘interpretations’, ‘meanings’, or political agendas that may have been attached to it by others.”

It was on Friday, 28 September, 1973, that Sir Edward conducted the opening public performance at the Sydney Opera House, a staging of Prokofiev’s War and Peace by Opera Australia, of which he was musical director. Downes also served as chief conductor of the Netherlands Radio Orchestra and principal conductor of the BBC Philharmonic.

The family reported that Lady Downes “started her career as a ballet dancer and subsequently worked as a choreographer and TV producer, before dedicating the last years of her life to working as our father’s personal assistant.”

The Metropolitan Police have announced that Greenwich CID are investigating the circumstances of the couple’s deaths. Assisting a suicide is illegal in the United Kingdom.

Over 100 people who wished to die have made the journey from Britain to Switzerland to take advantage of the clinical services that Dignitas offers. British police have investigated many of the resulting deaths, but no family member has yet been prosecuted for helping relatives negotiate with Dignitas and travel to Switzerland. Debbie Purdy, a woman with multiple sclerosis, attempted last year to obtain a ruling from the English High Court that family members would not be prosecuted for helping someone use the service, and in particular that her husband would not be charged should she decide to use Dignitas in future. The court refused as it believed that such clarification is the responsibility of parliament and not the judiciary.

Last week the House of Lords rejected a proposal by former Lord Chancellor Lord Falconer to allow people to help someone with a terminal illness travel to a country where assisted suicide is legal.

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Cosmetic Surgery Loans: Viable Funds To Let You Enhance Your Personality

Cosmetic surgery loans: viable funds to let you enhance your personality

by

Richard Pasic

Looking and feeling good is almost important. So, when you do get the chance of availing funds to remove the blemishes or injury scars, you will always grab the chance at the earliest. In addition to these, there are other surgeries that you might want to undergo. But cosmetic surgery, under the present circumstances does seem to cost a fortune. If you are not quite in a position to deal with the expenses, then it does not mean that you can never go for these types of surgery. In fact, in this context, you can best make use of the provision of

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cosmetic surgery loans

.

As far as these loans are concerned, deriving the funds is never much of a problem. With these loans, you are financially equipped, so that you can resolve the expenses with relative ease. The loans are indeed made available to you against optimal terms, which do not seem to burden you a lot, when it comes to repaying the amount sourced. With the loans amount by your side, you can tackle expenses on surgeries such as liposuction, tummy tucks, forehead tilt, hair transplant, dentistry and so forth. In order to qualify to attain these loans, there are some certain requirements, which you do need to comply with. In this regard, you must be a permanent citizen of UK and that you must be employed, with a fixed and regular income source. Depending on your need and requirement, you are free to source funds anywhere in the range of 1000-25000. The amount borrowed then has to be paid back over a period of 24-60 months, which does seem conducive enough. Applicants with problems pertaining to bank defaults, arrears, CCJ, IVA can also avail the service of these loans. In order to attain the funds conveniently, without much of a hassle, you can apply through lenders based online. Online application of the loans results in quick and immediate approval. The loans do get sanctioned within a short span of time and that too against suitable terms and conditions. It is on availing easy cosmetic surgery loans

, which then enable you to procure the funds, which then can be used to go for a cosmetic makeover.

Richard Pasic has been associated with Loans. He is offering loan advice for quite some time. He writes on various types of loans. To know more about

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, bad credit cosmetic surgery loans, cheap cosmetic surgery loans and instant cosmetic surgery loans, secured cosmetic surgery loan, unsecured cosmetic surgery loans visit http://www.easycosmeticsurgeryloans.co.uk

Article Source:

ArticleRich.com

Open source game developer Perttu Ahola talks about Minetest with Wikinews

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Recently, Finnish open-source video game developer Perttu Ahola discussed Minetest, his “longest ever project”, with Wikinews.

Started in October 2010, Minetest was an attempt by Ahola to create a sandbox game similar to Minecraft. Minecraft is a multi-platform commercial game, which was in alpha version when Ahola challenged himself to create something similar to it from scratch, he told Wikinews.

Minetest is an open-source game, which is free for anyone to download and play. It is written in the C++ programming language, and the source code is available on code-hosting site GitHub. According to Ahola, Minetest attempts to run on older hardware, with limited graphics, but to be accessible to more people: those who have outdated technology, and making it available for no cost. Minecraft, on the other hand, is a paid game, currently costing USD 26.95 for its computer version. Minecraft is currently owned by Microsoft, and performs poorly on older hardware.

A correspondent from French Wikinews contacted Perttu Ahola via Internet Relay Chat a few weeks ago, discussing Minecraft. This interview is built on top of the previous interview, as we take a deeper dive into knowing more about this free game which is about to turn ten years old in a few months.

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Gay Talese on the state of journalism, Iraq and his life

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Gay Talese wants to go to Iraq. “It so happens there is someone that’s working on such a thing right now for me,” the 75-year-old legendary journalist and author told David Shankbone. “Even if I was on Al-Jazeera with a gun to my head, I wouldn’t be pleading with those bastards! I’d say, ‘Go ahead. Make my day.'”

Few reporters will ever reach the stature of Talese. His 1966 profile of Frank Sinatra, Frank Sinatra Has a Cold, was not only cited by The Economist as the greatest profile of Sinatra ever written, but is considered the greatest of any celebrity profile ever written. In the 70th anniversary issue of Esquire in October 2003, the editors declared the piece the “Best Story Esquire Ever Published.”

Talese helped create and define a new style of literary reporting called New Journalism. Talese himself told National Public Radio he rejects this label (“The term new journalism became very fashionable on college campuses in the 1970s and some of its practitioners tended to be a little loose with the facts. And that’s where I wanted to part company.”)

He is not bothered by the Bancrofts selling The Wall Street Journal—”It’s not like we should lament the passing of some noble dynasty!”—to Rupert Murdoch, but he is bothered by how the press supported and sold the Iraq War to the American people. “The press in Washington got us into this war as much as the people that are controlling it,” said Talese. “They took information that was second-hand information, and they went along with it.” He wants to see the Washington press corp disbanded and sent around the country to get back in touch with the people it covers; that the press should not be so focused on–and in bed with–the federal government.

Augusten Burroughs once said that writers are experience junkies, and Talese fits the bill. Talese–who has been married to Nan Talese (she edited James Frey‘s Million Little Piece) for fifty years–can be found at baseball games in Cuba or the gay bars of Beijing, wanting to see humanity in all its experience.

Below is Wikinews reporter David Shankbone’s interview with Gay Talese.

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US lottery jackpot tops $500 million, sets world record

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Mega Millions, a multi-state lottery in the United States, produced no winner on Tuesday night’s drawing which had a jackpot of US$363 million, sending Friday’s drawing to an all time world record high of $500 million.

Players must match all 5 numbers and the Mega Ball in order to win the jackpot. Only 47 tickets with a $250,000 payout were sold, which matched at least five numbers, but not the Mega Ball. Over 2.5 million tickets matched only the Mega Ball for a cash prize of two dollars. The numbers drawn were 9, 19, 34, 44 & 51. The Mega Ball was 24.

The previous U.S. lottery jackpot record was $390 million which was set by Mega Millions in 2007. Two individuals won the jackpot from Georgia and New Jersey. In January 2011, the jackpot rose to $380 million the second largest ever, producing two winners, one in Idaho and the other in Washington. In 2006 Powerball reached $365 million with one winner in Nebraska.

After all taxes are paid on the prize money, Tuesday’s Mega Millions jackpot would have been worth just over $180 million. The lottery’s last jackpot winner was on January 24 when a College Park, Georgia resident won $72 million. Since then there have been eighteen drawings which produced no jackpot winner.

The next drawing occurs on Friday at 11:00pm (EDT).

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Computer Security It S Bigger Than Spyware And Viruses

Submitted by: D. David Dugan

Computer security, in basic terms means keeping your computer and the data that s in it safe and secure. More of our personal data is stored in or accessed from our computer, now more than ever before. Yet most people lack even the basic understanding of how to keep their computers safe and secure. By following just a few simple rules you can dramatically improve the overall security of your computer.

The first thing to understand is what exactly it means to be connected to the internet. Your computer connected to the internet is similar to your house in many ways. There are many ways into your house. Windows, doors, etc. The more windows and doors you have, the more ways someone has into your house. An open door doesn t necessarily mean you are going to be robbed, but it does improve the chances. Complicating matters, the ones that you think are locked, may not be because the lock is faulty or even the door itself may have an as of yet undiscovered flaw that would allow an intruder easy access to your home.

Your computer has many windows and doors, not all of which are locked. New flaws are being found everyday, often with the fix not coming until days after. Just like you wouldn t leave your front door unlocked, you shouldn t leave your computer wide open either. The first two things we will discuss to help with this task are installation of a quality firewall and regularly updating your installed software.

Updating your software is becoming easier these days, especially your Operating System. We don t have the time here to go into detail about the many ways to update the many software packages you may have or use, but generally speaking the software manufacturer will provide you a way to do this automatically via the internet. A good example of this is the Microsoft Windows Update feature. Be sure to get the updates for everything installed on your computer, nothing is too trivial.

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There are two basic types of firewalls and both perform the same functions. One is hardware the other is software. A hardware firewall is probably included in your router if you are using one, while you may or may not have a software firewall installed. To continue our house analogy, a firewall is like building a wall and gate around your home and giving the guard at the gate instructions on who to let in and out. While this does give a great deal of protection, it is not all that is required. Someone may know a way around or under your wall, or even be able to coerce the guard into letting them in.

You yourself may unwittingly allow someone in. This could happen by simply opening an email or even simply surfing the net. Spyware, viruses, trojans and the like are ever more adept in their methods of fooling you and your guards. Emails may come from a trusted friend containing a dangerous virus without them even knowing it. This is where the next layer of protection comes in, anti-virus software.

Anti-virus software is a large category these days. Often these packages come as suites including a firewall and Spyware scanner. While most of these programs are very effective in their promised tasks, it is not wise to be lulled into a false sense of security by them. They are simply one layer in what should be a multi tiered protection plan for you and your computer. One last important note about anti virus software is to be sure that it updates on a regular basis. New threats come out daily so check its updates manually to be sure they have happened.

Back to our house analogy, we now have all of our windows, doors and other entry ways locked and fully updated. We have a wall around our house with a guard at the gate and we have software scanning everything that comes in past the gate. Sounds pretty good, but there s one last security hole we need to address, you.

A large percentage of infections are caused by the computer user themselves. The internet is an ever changing place that requires it s users to be educated about its use. I m not suggesting that you need to be a computer expert to simply read your email. I am however suggesting that you take some time to educate yourself on some of the dangers that pop up everyday, and the precautions to take in order to avoid them.

In summary, your computer is a powerful machine connected to one of the greatest things ever invented, the internet. This vast resource can be a dangerous place if you are not properly prepared and informed. Regular software updates, a good firewall, anti virus software and a little education are the basics in computer security. Having and understanding these basics will make your computer safer, more secure and more enjoyable.

About the Author: D. David Dugan is the president of DD&C and personally helps to maintain their computer support forum at

forum.dugancom.com

as well as their Spyware Information site

spyware.dugancom.com

.

Source:

isnare.com

Permanent Link:

isnare.com/?aid=35050&ca=Computers+and+Technology

Proposed U.S. legislation seeks to push China to raise the value of yuan

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Eswar Prasad, a professor at the trade policy from the Cornell University, warns the United States legislators, that their bill could poison the relationship between USA and China.

This warning was given regarding the U.S. bill, which is meant to force China to raise the value of its national currency yuan. Currently yuan has a value, which is about 40% lower than it should be, as stated by the legislators, which gives the Chinese trading companies a huge advantage on the international trading ground.

Professor Prasad, who was a China trade expert and an economist at the International Monetary Fund until late last year, said that this bill would not have a long lasting effect and would not influence the problems the legislators are trying to avoid.

The opinion of the China trade specialist was that the USA should try to collaborate with Chinese officials in order to fix the problem of U.S. trade deficit and the current instabilities in the Chinese economy. The strategy to force the Chinese Government to do something would only worsen the relationship between the two countries.

The expert’s opinion was it was more important to concentrate on the question what framework of the monetary policy could substitute the fixed exchange rate of the Chinese currency, which helped China in anchoring the inflation expectations.

Mr. Prasad added that the best way to stabilize the Chinese economy would be to couple an inflation objective with a flexibility of exchange rate.

The bill needs two thirds of the votes both in the U.S. House of Representatives and in the Senate, in order President George W. Bush would not have the possibility to veto the bill.

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