California ‘bombogenesis’ storm pushes north

Vehicles trying to negotiate flooded Interstate 5 in Williams, north California, where more rain is expected

A fierce storm, dubbed “bombogenesis” or “weather bomb”, has eased in southern California, while pressing on further north in the US state.

Torrential rain, flash floods and mud slides wreaked havoc on Friday and early Saturday, killing at least five people.

Metrologists said it was the worst storm to hit California in years.

Forecasters warned residents in the north, including San Francisco, to expect more heavy rain on Sunday.

Meteorologists described the storm as “bombogenesis”, an intense extra-tropical cyclonic low-pressure area, or “a weather bomb”.

A fire engine being recovered close to Los Angeles after part of a freeway collapsed from the heavy rain

One man was killed after a tree fell and pulled a power line on to his car in the Sherman Oaks area of Los Angeles.

A second person died in a vehicle when it was submerged by a flash flood in the town of Victorville.

Two others died in car accidents in the San Diego area, and another person was found dead after being swept into a creek in Ventura County.

Evacuation orders were lifted in the towns of Duarte on Saturday afternoon (local time).

The north of the state has already experienced fears of flooding at the tallest dam in the country, Oroville Dam, when more than 180,000 residents were evacuated from their homes last week.

Authorities at the dam have been working to lower the level of the lake and have said it has continued to fall despite the storm.

[Source:-BBC]

Iraqi forces launch large-scale push to retake western Mosul from ISIS

FILE - In this Nov. 28, 2016 file photo, Iraq's Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi speaks during an interview with the Associated Press in Baghdad, Iraq.

U.S.-backed Iraqi forces launched a large-scale military operation on Sunday to retake the western half of Mosul and dislodge Islamic State militants. It is the latest phase in a 4-month-old offensive to retake Iraq’s second largest city.

Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi announced the start of the operation on state TV, saying government forces were moving to “liberate the people of Mosul from Daesh oppression and terrorism forever,” using the Arabic acronym for ISIS. He called on security forces to deal with civilians properly and to respect human rights.

Iraqi forces declared eastern Mosul “fully liberated” last month, however ISIS militants continued to launch attacks there. Hours after the latest operation was announced, suicide bombers struck troops and pro-government Sunni militiamen in eastern Mosul.

“ISIS’s cruelty, brutality and reach show they are not just a threat in Iraq and Syria, but to the region and the entire world,” said Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend, commander of Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve, in a statement.

Plumes of smoke were seen rising into the sky early Sunday morning as U.S.-led coalition jets struck militant positions southwest of Mosul and militarized Iraqi police fired artillery toward the city. Heavily armed police units were getting ready to move north with their armored vehicles from a base just southwest of the city.

“This is zero hour and we are going to end this war, God willing,” said Mahmoud Mansour, a police officer, as he prepared to move out.

The battle for western Mosul promises to be the most daunting yet, as the half of the city west of the Tigris River has older, narrower streets and is still home to hundreds of thousands of civilians, who have been told to shelter in place.

“Mosul would be a tough fight for any army in the world, and the Iraqi forces have risen to the challenge,” said Townsend. “They have taken the fight to the enemy and sacrificed their blood for the people of Iraq and the rest of the world.”

The immediate objective was to take the villages on the southern outskirts of Mosul airport, a police spokesman told The Associated Press. The officer spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to brief reporters.

Police units quickly moved into the village of Athba, about 3 miles (5 kilometers) southwest of the airport, encountering only light resistance, according to an AP reporter traveling with them. Separately, the army’s 9th Division moved into the village of Bakhira, also southwest of the city, the Iraqi Ministry of Defense said.

The United Nations meanwhile warned that hundreds of thousands of civilians trapped inside their houses “are at extreme risk,” with dwindling fuel and food supplies and scare drinking water and electricity.

“The situation is distressing. People, right now, are in trouble,” Lise Grande, the U.N. humanitarian coordinator for Iraq, said in a statement. “We are hearing reports of parents struggling to feed their children and to heat their homes,” Grande said.

Citing witnesses in western Mosul, the U.N. said nearly half of all food shops were closed and bakeries had shut down due to a lack of fuel and an inability to purchase costly flour. Prices of kerosene and cooking gas have skyrocketed, and many of the most destitute families are burning wood, furniture, plastic or garbage for cooking and heating.

“Three out of five people now depend on untreated water from wells for cooking and drinking as water systems and treatment plants have been damaged by fighting or run out of chlorine,” said Peter Hawkins, of the U.N. agency for children.

The humanitarian agencies were gearing up to aid 250,000 to 400,000 civilians who may flee due to fighting, the statement said. The U.N. estimates that about 750,000 civilians may be left in western Mosul.

Iraqi forces spent three months driving ISIS from eastern Mosul, but the militants appear to have left sleeper cells to carry out attacks behind the front lines.

Brig. Gen. Yahya Rasool, an Iraqi military spokesman, said a suicide bomber set off struck a patrol of Sunni tribal fighters in Zihoor neighborhood, while another targeted Iraqi troops in Nabi Younis.

Rasool declined to provide casualty figures. Two policemen said one Sunni fighter was killed and nine wounded in the first attack, while the second attack wounded five soldiers. They spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to release information.

Iraqi special operations forces, regular army and federal police units are taking part in the offensive along with government-approved paramilitary forces, mainly consisting of Shiite militias, which are operating on the city’s outskirts.

Mosul fell to ISIS in the summer of 2014, along with large swaths of northern and western Iraq. It is the extremist group’s last major urban bastion in Iraq.

[Source:-Fox news]

Mosul assault: Iraq troops make headway against IS

Members of the Iraqi rapid response forces fire a missile toward Islamic State militants during a battle in south of Mosul, Iraq February 19, 2017

Iraqi government forces have seized several villages as they move towards an assault on the last area held by the so-called Islamic State (IS) in Mosul.

Hundreds of military vehicles, backed by air power, rolled across the desert towards IS positions early on Sunday.

The progress on Sunday in the south of the city, the second biggest in Iraq, takes them within striking distance of Mosul airport.

Fears have been voiced about the safety of many thousands of trapped civilians.

The offensive was formally announced by Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi early on Sunday.

Army Staff Lieutenant General Abdulamir Yarallah said in a statement that elite Rapid Response units captured the villages of Athbah and Al-Lazzagah – two villages south of Mosul airport.

Attack on west Mosul: Day one in pictures

Government forces retook the eastern side of the city, the last major IS stronghold in Iraq, last month. But military officials say the western side, with its narrow, winding streets, may prove a bigger challenge.

For now, there is no advance from eastern Mosul as all bridges from there to the west of the city, across the Tigris river, have been destroyed.

Map of Mosul city showing areas of control

Lieutenant General Stephen Townsend, the commander of the US-led coalition forces, said in a statement on Sunday: “Mosul would be a tough fight for any army in the world.”

Special forces units safely detonated a number of IS car bombs as they cleared villages south of Mosul, according to the BBC’s Quentin Sommerville, who is embedded with the troops.

As well as primed car bombs, the jihadists left behind SIM cards, clothes, instant coffee and weapons as they retreated.

  • Photos show ‘weaponised drones’ in Iraq
  • Satellite images reveal Mosul damage
  • Iraq gaining momentum against IS
  • Islamic State group: The full story
A hidden and still live car bomb found in a village homeImage copyrightQUENTIN SOMMERVILLE/BBC
Image captionA hidden and still live car bomb found in a village home

The UN has voiced concern about civilians trapped there, amid reports that they could number up to 650,000. Leaflets warning residents of an imminent offensive were earlier dropped over the west of the city.

Charity Save the Children said on Sunday it believed that as many as 350,000 children were trapped.

“This is the grim choice for children in western Mosul right now: bombs, crossfire and hunger if they stay; or execution and snipers if they try to run,” said the charity’s Iraq country director, Maurizio Crivallero.


The BBC’s Quentin Sommerville is embedded with the Emergency Response Division special forces troops near Mosul

The assault began just after dawn, after days of coalition air strikes, with hundreds of armoured vehicles, thousands of men, and support from helicopter gunships.

The men of Iraq’s Emergency Response Division, police special forces are leading the attack. Their targets are three IS held villages to the south of west Mosul. They are trying to gain the high ground from IS, which will give them sight of the city’s airport and its southern edge.

The government forces made quick gains but have been slowed as they begin to take villages. There are no signs of any civilians. Heavy machine gunfire, rockets and artillery fire are constant.

For the first time in nearly three years, the Iraqi flag is again flying over the south of western Mosul.

Soldiers rest during the offensive in southern MosulImage copyrightQUENTIN SOMMERVILLE/BBC
Image captionSoldiers rest during the offensive in southern Mosul
Iraqi troops near MosulImage copyrightQUENTIN SOMMERVILLE/BBC
Image captionA soldier looks out over the desert as the offensive begins

Follow Quentin Sommerville on Twitter


Iraqi forces have now all but surrounded the western part of Mosul, while the US-led coalition has been carrying out air strikes on IS targets.

Ahead of the launch of the operation, Mr Abadi said in a televised speech: “We announce the start of a new phase in the operation, we are coming to Nineveh to liberate the western side of Mosul.”

“Our forces are beginning the liberation of the citizens from the terror of Daesh [IS],” he added, quoted by AFP news agency.

Quentin tweet
Quentin Sommerville tweet that reads:
Quentin Sommerville tweet that reads:

The UN humanitarian co-ordinator for Iraq, Lise Grande, told the BBC on Saturday that “all of the parties to the conflict do absolutely everything they can to ensure that civilians survive the battle, and that they live”.

“Absolutely nothing is more important going into the campaign to retake western Mosul,” she added.

As the advance got under way, the UN commissioner for human rights called on the Iraqi government to investigate videos shared on social media that appeared to show Iraqi troops brutally abusing and executing IS fighters on the streets of east Mosul late last year.

The videos have not been verified at this stage by any government authority or independent group. The Iraqi prime minister’s office said it had launched an investigation.

The offensive on the eastern part of the city was launched on 17 October, more than two years after jihadists overran Mosul before seizing control of much of northern and western Iraq.

Experts warn that western Mosul, although slightly smaller than the east, is more densely populated and includes districts that are seen as pro-IS.

The UN said in late January that almost half of all the casualties in Mosul were civilians. At least 1,096 have been killed and 694 injured across Nineveh province since the start of October.

[Source:-BBC]

Why Quarterback Is Again An Offseason Priority For The Cowboys

The biggest story of 2016 for the Dallas Cowboys was how they wound up with their new franchise quarterback through a combination of good evaluation and just plain luck. Dak Prescott proved to be far more capable than anyone dreamed. Arguably, he represents the greatest first-year return on draft investment ever, not just for Dallas, but for any team.

As good as that is for the Cowboys, it came with the unfortunate downside of ending the career of Tony Romo in Dallas with much more of a whimper than a bang. And it also means that there is a very familiar question facing the Cowboys again this year: Just what do they do about the backup quarterback situation?

In a recent mock draft, SBN draft maven Dan Kadar not only looked at who he projected for teams to take in the first round this year, he also addressed the question of whether each team should draft a quarterback. His answer for Dallas was succinct.

Should they draft a quarterback? Lol

That is funny, as well. It also is pretty much the wrong answer.

With Romo on his way out (and the whole story of where he might end up growing daily), the Cowboys now have exactly zero backup quarterbacks under contract. Kellen Moore and Mark Sanchez are both free agents. Even if the team should re-sign one of them, they still need at least two more camp arms. But camp arms and possible future backups are two different beasts, and the Cowboys have to be looking for the latter. Obviously they are not going to be looking to draft a quarterback early, but on day three, it becomes not just a possibility. It should be something of a priority.

It is certain that the team will want at least one experienced backup going into training camp, and that search would logically begin with Moore and Sanchez. Of the two, Moore would be the more likely option (signing both seems highly improbable). In the first installment of his breakdown of the roster, our own Mark Aggarwal laid out the logic.

Kellen Moore: Second String – As a favorite of Scott Linehan, there is a good possibility the Cowboys will re-sign him to backup Prescott. He knows the Cowboys system, has the trust of the coaches and should come relatively cheap.

That would result in more deja vu all over again, as having Moore as the incumbent backup to the established starter is exactly where the Cowboys were a year ago. Of course, Prescott does not have the injury and age concerns Romo had. But the team was clearly looking to upgrade at the position when they took Prescott in the draft, and that also still applies. The problem with Moore is that his ceiling just looks limited.

What the drafting of Prescott did show was that the staff, especially the coaches, were able to see something that others clearly missed (or at least were unwilling to move on before Dallas got its chance at the end of the fourth round last year). The odds are staggering against finding another Dak this year – but that wasn’t what they thought they had when they took him. They believed at the time they had a developmental quarterback with a lot of upside and good intangibles. This year, they should be combing the available quarterbacks for the same thing. They won’t find a second Dak – but maybe they can find Dak Lite.

The Cowboys have not had a history of taking quarterbacks in the draft in the years before Prescott was selected, but they also had a similar aversion to taking offensive linemen early before a certain Tyron Smith was drafted. His success led to a complete revision of the approach which led to adding Travis Frederick and Zack Martin, and indirectly to La’el Collins as well. Now that they hit the mother lode with Prescott, it would not be surprising to see them go back to that well.

However, this is seen as a relatively weak quarterback class, with no Jared Goff or Carson Wentz creating a sellers’ market for top draft spots to take perceived blue chips. The Cowboys do not want to force things here. They need to stick to their board, which they have been doing fairly well of late. If the value is not there, they will have to go the UDFA route (which, admittedly, they have also had some remarkable success at doing in the not too distant past). They can also consider signing another veteran backup, such as Josh McCown, but that is not a long-term solution. The goal for Dallas is to find a young arm with good football intelligence and processing speed to groom.

The ideal model here is the New England Patriots, who have a long history of drafting quarterbacks, making them look good, flipping them for draft picks, rinse, and repeat. Jimmy Garoppolo is the latest, and we all know about Matt Cassel as well. As much as we love to hate the hoodie, Bill Belichick is a master at this game. And there is nothing wrong with stealing an idea from the best.

What the Cowboys should be hoping for is a QB they have a third- or fourth-round grade on to slip into the sixth or seventh round, the way cornerback Anthony Brown did last year. Brown was the other real draft coup from last year, able to start capably when Morris Claiborne was injured, and now one of the cornerstones for rebuilding the secondary with so many key payers from last year also free agents.

If that happens, the Cowboys need to be ready to pull the trigger. There is no guarantee that they will solve the QB2 issue this time around, but it may take more than one shot at the target. They can’t be shy about making the pick if their scouting backs the move. Like it or not, it is a real need to address this year – as long as everything lines up properly.

[Source:-Blogging The Boys]

Widgets in iOS 10: Notifications, streaming videos, 3D Touch and more

Apple’s use of the term “widgets” may not match what Android users consider a widget, but at the end of the day the two distinct approaches serve the same purpose: To provide snippets of information at a glance.

With iOS 10, widgets are still displayed in the Today view, and can still be accessed by sliding down the Notification Center and swiping to the left.

However, you can now access widgets in more places and they can and (eventually) do more.

More than just notifications on your lock screen

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

iOS 10’s lock screen has completely changed. Beyond the new unlocking method (which requires you to click the home button), you now swipe to the left to view your widgets. Using this same gesture, you can view widgets to the left of your main home screen on an unlocked device.

On an iPhone, you’ll see a single column, while on an iPad there are now two columns of widgets. You can edit the left and right side, or the single column but scrolling to the bottom of your widgets and tapping on Edit. Select the green “+” icon to add a widget, or the red “-” to remove one. Tap and hold on the three lined icon to put your respective widgets in order.

On a locked device, when you attempt to view a widget where personal information can come into play, such as the Activity widget, you will need to place your finger on the home button to unlock your device. Notice, you don’t actually press the home button to open the home screen. With your device unlocked, information in the Activity or Find My Friends (just two current examples) will fill in.

3D Touch

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Beyond iOS 10 widgets hiding just off the left side of your screen, apps that have been updated for iOS 10 can now show a widget when you Force Touch on its icon.

Pressing on an app icon reveals the standard shortcuts, plus a widget regardless of whether or not you’ve added it to your curated list in the Today View.

If you haven’t added a particular widget but want to, you can tap on the Add widget button when viewing it.

Streaming video, interaction and more!

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Now that we know how to access widgets in iOS 10, let’s talk about just what you can do with widgets.

While viewing your widgets, you will notice a button in the top-right corner of some widgets that says “Show more.” Selecting it will expand the widget. For something like the Calendar widget, you’ll see more of your upcoming agenda, whereas the Weather widget will show you the week’s forecast along with current conditions.

During the iOS 10 announcement, Apple used a sports app to demonstrate viewing stats for a basketball game and video highlights directly within the widget. This is an area of iOS 10 that will undoubtedly grow in feature set now that iOS 10 has officially launched and as developers begin to push updates to the masses.

[Source:-Cnet]

[Update: Gone from the beta too] Twitter removes its homescreen widget support from the latest alpha

Twitter is struggling to figure out what it wants to be when it grows up. Life can be tough when you’re a social network that almost everyone has heard about but no one knows how to use when they’re just joining for the first time.

But despite these tumultuous times at Twitter’s headquarters, the Android app has seen some of its best days in the past few months: an overhauled Material Design inspired interface, a test for a night mode, Android N Direct Reply, and more. But instead of giving something new, the latest Twitter alpha 6.9.0 takes away a feature: the homescreen widget.

If you have the widget added to your homescreen, you will see the above message instead when you’re on the latest alpha. The widget is clearly no longer functional. Whether this change will carry through to the beta and stable versions remains to be seen, but it’s clear that Twitter’s Android developers are at least considering the possibility of removing the widget support altogether. Maybe they found out it wasn’t used all that much and the people who had added it were so few that it didn’t warrant keeping it alive and supported. I guess we’ll have to wait and see. In the meantime, feel free to cry foul in the comments below.

[Source:-Android Central]

Five Potential Cap Casualties For The Dallas Cowboys In 2017

Our sister site Pride of Detroit, the SB Nation community for fans of the Detroit Lions, had an interesting piece earlier this week on Detroit’s potential cap casualties.

As teams around the league get ready for free agency, many have started cutting players to create some additional cap space. The New York Giants for example released Victor Cruz and Rashad Jennings on Monday, freeing up $10 million in cap space. The Dolphins on Thursday released defensive linemen Mario Williams and Earl Mitchell to free up $12.5 million in cap space, and offensive tackle Branden Albert will likely follow either via cut or trade, clearing an additional $7.2 million in cap space.

For the Cowboys, Tony Romo is the most obvious candidate to be cut or traded, but he’s not the only one.

1. Tony Romo

Cap Saved: $5.1 million/Cash Saved: $14 million

The Cowboys can clear $5.1 million of cap space by trading or releasing Romo now, and could clear even more space by making Romo a June 1 cut, which would free up $14.0 million in cap space. However, as a June 1 cut, Romo would remain on the Cowboys’ books in 2018 with $8.9 worth of dead money counting against the cap.

Romo will not play for Dallas in 2017, and his impact on the 2017 salary cap will depend on whether the Cowboys find a trade partner for Romo or release him outright

2. Alfred Morris

Cap Saved: $1.6 million/Cash Saved: $1.6 million

Morris arrived in Dallas as a two-time Pro Bowler and a three-time 1,000+ yard rusher and was expected to share carries with Darren McFadden. That all changed when the Cowboys drafted Ezekiel Elliott and McFadden was injured, but in the end, he totaled just 69 carries for a career-low 3.5 yards per attempt, and was inactive when McFadden was back in the lineup over the final two regular season games and in the playoffs .

The Cowboys will restructure some big contracts to get under the cap by March 9, and may not need the $1.6 million cap savings from Morris, but they are likely to move on from him at some point, as they can get that type of production for a lot less.

3. Cedric Thornton

Cap Saved: $0.5 million/Cash Saved: $0 million

Cedric Thornton signed a 4-year, $17.0 million contract last year, including $9.0 million guaranteed, which means his entire $3.0 million base salary this year is fully guaranteed. The Cowboys can’t save any real money by cutting him, and the $0.5 million in cap savings isn’t going to make any difference in the grand scheme of things.

Thornton didn’t start a single game last year, and only played 262 defensive snaps, but he was fairly productive in the process, recording 18 tackles, 3 TFLs, 1.5 sacks, and 9 QB pressures, along with one forced fumble and a fumble recovery.

The Cowboys will almost certainly stick with Thornton for now, but if they find an upgrade in free agency or the draft, that could change. If the Cowboys make him a June 1 cut, they could create $3 million in cap space for 2017 (though they’d be left with $3 million of dead money in 2018).

4. Joe Looney

Cap Saved: $0.8 million/Cash Saved: $0.8 million

On paper this looks like a substantial potential saving for a backup interior lineman who played just 156 snaps on offense, but those are “fake” savings as the Cowboys would have to find a replacement for Looney, and it’s not clear that that replacement would be any cheaper.

5. James Hanna

Cap Saved: $1.5 million/Cash Saved: $2.3 million

Hanna may come as a bit of a surprise on this list, and it’s unlikely that he would be a cap casualty. But there is a chance Hanna could get released with an injury settlement.

Hanna had developed into a solid No. 2 tight end behind Jason Witten, and the Cowboys signed him to a 3-year, $8.25 million contract extension in March 2016. But then Hanna entered training camp complaining about knee soreness and was subsequently placed on the PUP list with what was initially described as a “bone bruise.”

For Cowboys fans, “bone bruise” set off all kinds of alarms because that was the same description the Cowboys used to describe an injury that effectively ended the career of Anthony Spencer. In Spencer’s case the term was used as a euphemism for potential microfracture injuries, and those almost never resolve well.

In mid-August, Hanna and the Cowboys opted for knee surgery to address his knee issue, but that apparently didn’t result in a significant improvement, so Hanna underwent a second knee surgery in November.

The Cowboys are not going to cut Hanna now as they are going to wait and see how his recovery progresses. But if he is unable to play by training camp, the Cowboys could cut him, thereby creating $2.3 million cap space in 2017.

[Source:-Blogging The Bpys]

Create A Scrollable Widget Full Of App Icons Using ‘Foldery’

There are a ton of apps for Android that allow you to improve your productivity. As this is Android we’re talking about, you have far more freedom than you’d have on iOS, for example. There are apps that can boost your messaging experience, multitasking, and even change the look and feel of your entire home screen while adding some extra features into the mix. Well, we’re here to talk about an app called Foldery Multicon Folder Widget’ or ‘Foldery’ in short, which is basically a widget that will help you organize your home screen in a unique way, read on.

Many of you probably have quite a few icons on your home screen, and some of you are probably reluctant to use too many home screen pages. Well, with Foldery, you can create scrollable widgets and place app icons inside of them. You can essentially create a 1-by-1 widget on your home screen and place a number of icons inside of it. You can go through them by swiping either vertically or horizontally, that’s totally up to you. If your launcher allows you to, you can resize this widget and truly take control of what will it look like. The app also allows you to manipulate the size of the icons you include, you can make them huge, or simply use the standard size, it’s totally up to you. You can also increase the number of columns you’d like to use in a widget, change the background of the widget, and Foldery also supports icon packs, which means you can use whichever icon pack you want, as long as it is installed on your smartphone.Foldery worked great during our testing, and the app is very well designed, it’s not exactly in line with the latest Material Design guidelines, but it looks nice and it’s fairly easy to navigate. One thing to keep in mind, however, is that you can create only 1 Foldery widget in the free version of this application, if you’d like to add more of them, you’ll need to make an in-app purchase. Interesting enough, you have 5 levels of contributions to choose from, ranging from ‘Patronage’ to ‘Coconut Cocktail’, which essentially means you can choose how much you’d like to pay for the app, though do keep in mind that you won’t be able to pay less than $1. All of these aforementioned options will give you access to ‘Foldery Premium’, and this is a one-time payment.

[Source:-AH]

 

10 things learnt from 10 years of blogging

10 things learnt from 10 years of blogging

Image via Shutterstock

For the past 10 years I have been writing a blog about Melbourne’s visual arts. My first blog post on Black Mark, Melbourne Art and Culture Critic was on February 16, 2008. It was ‘Faster Faster Pussycat’ about Phibs, Debs and other street artists painting a wall in Fitzroy. Now over a 1000 blog posts later this is what I have I learned about blogging.

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    1. It can motivate you The first thing I learned was that writing a blog was motivation to do more in life; I was already going to many art exhibitions but now there was more motivation to go to places, meet people and do other fun things. Soon I started to get invitations to do more things and meet more people. Blogging changed my life; although it wasn’t actually the writing, nor the taking endless photos, or the posting online that really made the change.
    2. You probably won’t make money Do not expect to make money from advertising on your blog but there are a variety of other ways that you can use a blog professionally from promotion to networking. My friend Professor Alison Young, who I met through blogging, uses her blog Images to Live By, to introduce herself. Middle-aged academics are not a typical part of the street art/graffiti scene but now Alison is ‘Banksy favourite criminologist’.
    3. You can make friends I have made many new friends through writing the blog, which has improved the quality of my life. One reason why I have made so many friends blogging is that I mostly write about what other people are doing.
    4. You learn how to manage enemies I have learned how to deal with hostile comments, trolls and other idiots. You can’t predict what will get people to write hostile comments – it could be pigeons in Coburg. I have never shied away from controversy, writing posts about the persecution of Bill Henson and Paul Yore. When I have hostile comments I always remember that the person writing them will forget about it after a day or two. If they don’t, that I can always block them from making comments, but I’ve only had to do this once in ten years. Comments are not indicative of anything; no comment does not mean a bad post. Out of 1,077 post I have only had 2,099 comments; half the comments are my own because I generally reply to all comments but I avoid feeding trolls.
    5. You need a focus My blog is focused on Melbourne’s visual arts but I do post about other things on it. Having a clear focus for a blog is important but it is a balance between a very narrow focus and ranging too far. With 13 categories on my blog I’m not sure that I’ve got it right but it is a lesson I’ve learned.
    6. You get to do a lot of people watching Vox pops can make a good local blog post. These don’t have to be direct quotes, but observations on how people are reacting. I like to watch how small children react at art exhibitions; are they engaged or bored? ‘Why does a tree need a sweater?’ is an example of how one observation of an angry man made a successful blog post about yarn bombing.Another local blogger and people-watcher is the writer Jane Routley, who writes about her day job in Station Stories, life as a Station Assistant.
    7. You might get a book published In 2015 my first book, Sculpture of Melbourne, was published by Melbourne Books. I started writing and researching the book on my blog and before I started my blog I couldn’t have imagined writing a history of Melbourne’s public sculpture. I am now working on my second book about true art crimes in Melbourne.
    8. You should follow your analytics I learnt from watching my stats the there was an interest in Melbourne’s public sculpture. What the public wants to read about art is different to what many arts writers want to write about. There are a lot of different kinds of feedback that you can get on blogs from comments to stats. Lots of stats, numbers of subscribers, views, repeat views. In ten years I’ve had approximately 537,000 views from 155 countries around the world (still no views from Greenland, Cuba, Iran, South Sudan and various central African countries). Stats can be addictive – you get the idea.
    9. Blogs can be works of art.My blog isn’t but the artist Peter Tyndall’s blog was exhibited at the NGV in 2013’s Melbourne Now exhibition and there are other less notable examples.
    10. It is hard work but satisfying

You are your own boss, your own editor and you make your own deadlines. Ignore the advice about blogging that you have to post regularly. Writing a blog may not be for everyone but it has worked for me and I will continue.

[Source:-Arts Hub]

6 Bitcoin Apps You Need to Know About

top bitcoin appstop bitcoin apps

If you are a bitcoin enthusiast, there are a few bitcoin apps you need to know about, as they might come in handy. Whether you want to earn a few free satoshis playing games in your free time, or whether you want to constantly keep track of bitcoin’s price, there is an app out there that will take care of your needs. Here are a few examples:

6. CRYPTONATOR

This free app allows you to check conversion rates for over 500 different cryptocurrencies, in over 40 different exchanges. Essentially, Cryptonator makes it easy for users to find out how much cryptocurrencies people own are worth.

It also includes a portfolio tool that allows users to see how their selected coins perform over a specific period of time, as well a “winners & losers” section that shows which coins are doing good, and which aren’t.

5. BITCOIN TICKER WIDGET

Bitcoin Ticker Widget is exactly what it sounds like it is: a widget that gives you bitcoin’s price directly on your home screen. Widgets with the price of other cryptocurrencies can also be set up, showing conversion rates for a few different fiat currencies. The prices shown in the widgets are taken from some of the world’s top cryptocurrency exchanges, such as BTCC and Bitstamp.

4. BLOCKCHAIN GAME

If you want to introduce someone to bitcoin, you need to show them this game. Not only will it give you context to explain what blockchain technology is, but it will also help the other person earn a few satoshis and start playing around with bitcoin before they get serious about it. The game itself is pretty entertaining, and killing free time while earning bitcoin makes it a lot more enjoyable.

3. BITCOIN MAP

Bitcoin Map is a free app you can install on your smartphone that shows you where you can spend your bitcoins. This way you will be able to know whether the local burger joint accepts bitcoin or not. Even if you know every brick-and-mortar store accepting bitcoins in your area, the app may still come in handy when you decide to go for a road trip. There are other Bitcoin map apps out there, but most of them only give you the location of bitcoin ATMs, not actual brick-and-mortar stores accepting the cryptocurrency.

2. BLOCKFOLIO

Blockfolio is a free financial app aimed at cryptocurrency enthusiasts. Not only does it show price information for bitcoin and over 800 altcoins, it can be set to send the user a notification whenever a specific currency reaches a price threshold. Moreover, as if that insane number of altcoins wasn’t enough, it also features over 30 different fiat currencies so it can reach a global audience.

1. ZTRADER

zTrader is the trading client app every cryptocurrency trader needs. It features information from most major exchanges and can show in-depth analysis on different currencies, giving the user a great market overview. The app is pretty complex and gives users tons of information that can, at first, be overwhelming. It will, however, make traders’ lives easier.

The app features secure, encrypted storage of API keys, and even though it’s free to download, there is also a pro version.

[Source:-ME]