Tag Archives: IPad

Stay Safe … Tips from Peter Shankman

How To Avoid Being A Victim, Anywhere, Any time.
by Peter Shankman

I was born and raised in Manhattan. As such, I have a built-in situational awareness barometer that helps keep me safe. It’s a sixth sense that city-kids have. We just “know” when things aren’t right. If we listen to our gut, we can stay out of trouble almost 100% of the time.

However, I grew up in the 80s, when New York City didn’t have the same “Sex and the City” siren’s call that it has now. In the past ten years, I’ve seen more people come to NYC without a clue in their heads – Doing the most irresponsible stuff known to man (or woman.) Taking the subway home at 2am, drunk off their ass. Pulling out their $600 iPhone on the A train at midnight. Lost in their iPad, reading away, completely oblivious to their surroundings, and the dangers that exist.

I’ve wanted to write this post for a long, long time. If it helps one person, or prevents one mugging, (or something worse) it’s been totally worth it. I encourage you to Tweet it out, Facebook it, and pass it along to friends, family, and coworkers. There’s nothing worse than being a victim in a situation where you totally and completely didn’t have to. Sharing buttons are at the bottom for your convenience.

I want to thank Ty Francis (if you think a 6’1″ former head of security for some of Southampton’s toughest clubs doesn’t have any good safety tips, think again) as well as retired Law Enforcement Officer Clement Tang for their most valuable tips that have made this article as helpful as it is.

I’m breaking this article down into different sections, but know this – There’s not one section in here that can’t help you. Read it. Please. If we can prevent one more NY Post Headline that screams about how a young woman left a bar at 3am and wound up dead, we couldn’t ask for anything better from this article below.

General Safety Tips you should always follow, whether you live in a big city or a small town.

Don’t develop a pattern of behavior.

  • A pattern is what allows bad guys to plan an attack or ambush. It allows them to track your comings and goings. So they can plan when they can safely break into your apartment.
  • Vary the times you come and go.
  • Vary your routes to work, school, gym and coffeehouse
  • Ever notice that when President Obama goes for a run, or even travels anywhere, he never goes the same route twice? There’s a very logical reason for that. Patterns can get you in trouble. Don’t have them.

Know your surroundings

  • Beware of what is normal in your neighborhood…or anyplace you frequent.
  • Is that a new car on the street?
  • Have those guys always hung out on that corner?
  • Knowing what is normal allows you to notice the changes.  Noticing changes makes you more aware of potential dangers.  Those changes will cue you as to when something unexpected might be about to happen

We have a “gut” for a reason. 99.9% of the time, going against it is bad form.

The number one clue that something isn’t right will more than likely come from inside of you. Your gut – That “something doesn’t seem ok here” feeling you get in your stomach. Don’t ignore it! There’s a reason we have those feelings. They’re ingrained from primal instincts, from millions of years ago, when we’d turn around and find a Tyrannosaurus Rex walking behind us, sizing us up for lunch.  DO NOT IGNORE YOUR GUT. If something doesn’t seem right, it probably isn’t. Trust your gut. You have it for a reason.

Situational Awareness is your best friend. Not using it turns your surroundings into your worst enemy.

  • Yes, it’s fun to play Angry Birds on the subway. But don’t you think people are looking for those who are doing exactly that? If you’re busy throwing birds at pigs, or landing planes, or even reading a book on your device, the following things are happening:
  • You’re focused almost entirely on whatever you’re doing, and not on your surroundings.
  • You’re not holding onto your device with any level of strength – Rather, you’re just resting it on your hands. You can’t fling birds or turn pages if you’re grasping onto a device, so you don’t do it. Instead, you just rest it there, just waiting for someone to grab it and run off the train at the next open stop.
  • This isn’t limited to transportation. Using your phone while walking down the street is just as bad – It’s so easy for someone going the other way to focus on your device, grab it, and be in a running start while you’re still like “What the hell just happened?” The thief is already ten feet away and running by the time you turn around and even realize what’s going on. Good luck catching up and getting your device back.
  • In the end, I know we’re not going to stop using our devices in public places. That would defeat the entire purpose of the device. What we can do, though, is at least be more aware of our surroundings when we do it. Can we look up for a second after every level and just assess our situation? That’s not that hard to do.

Have your keys in your hands

Whether going to your car, work or apartment, have your keys in your hand before you approach the door. This allows you quicker access through the door and avoids the major distraction of fumbling for keys as you reach the door. An attack is most likely to occur when you stop at a door and try to find your keys.  Your head will be down and you will neither be looking around or listen for unusual sounds (like steps coming your way).  Attacking a victim at this time also has the advantage of gaining access to whatever you were about to enter. Also, being hit with a large set of keys can often discourage an attack and holding the keys between your fingers and punching someone with them can make them very unhappy.

Small things we should all do, but rarely do.

  • Wherever you are, a small powerful flashlight is one of the most important things you can have.  Even with something as innocent as a power outage, think of all the places you’ll be on any given day that have no outside windows to let in light…hallways, stairs, elevators.  A flashlight will always allow you to find your way to a safer place.
  • In that same vein, don’t fall into the movie plot setup of investigating noises in the dark…that is why you have a cell phone and know how to call 911 (or just walk away)
  • A whistle or other noisemaker is your friend. Attach a small whistle onto your keychain. There. Now it’s always there. Do NOT be afraid to use it to attract attention.
  • Instead of yelling “HELP” when something goes wrong, yell “FIRE!” People are more likely to respond to “Fire” than to “help.”

Have a buddy system

This doesn’t mean you always have to take a buddy when you go somewhere.  It means letting someone know when you are doing something different or going someplace you haven’t been before… Also, when you plan to return.  It doesn’t mean where to start looking for the body when you are kidnapped (although it does help), but it can be very useful if should you be stranded or injured in an area that doesn’t have cell coverage. You think it’s an exaggeration? Some very logical examples that could easily happen to you

  • You leave work late one night, and get stuck in the elevator, long after everyone else has gone home.
  • You fall asleep on the subway and wake up lost (or worse, in the yards. I’ve seen it happen.)
  • You get in a car wreck and skid off the road, down a 200 foot hill into a ravine, hidden from sight of the road.
  • You get sick. Your appendix bursts. You hit your head. You name it.

Know the people in your neighborhood. When I’m walking to the gym in the dark at 5am, there’s a homeless man on the corner of 46th Street. I bring him a cup of coffee each morning. In turn, he keeps an eye on me in the dark. It’s a good trade. Do you know the people in your neighborhood? Can you call for them if you’re running away from trouble?

Don’t look like a Victim

  • Victims of violent crimes like a mugging or robbery call attention to themselves by either being oblivious to their surroundings (defenseless) or by looking helpless (unable to defend themselves).
  • Walk down a street with your head up and looking around.  Don’t hug either side of the sidewalk…especially not the inside where you have to pass close to doorways. For God’s sake, don’t text and walk at the same time. You’re screaming out “ROB ME!”
  • Don’t stare (it can be taken as a challenge) but don’t be afraid to look at people (it isn’t an elevator).  You can nod or smile if you’d like, but beware of offering an unintended invitation.

At the end of the day, personal security and situational awareness comes down to not being clueless. I encourage you all to not be clueless.

Don’t be clueless

  • Yes, it is a wonderful new world out there to explore.  But try to pay attention to the unusual when out walking.
  • Has that person been behind you for a while?
  • Do they stop when you stop and continue when you do?
  • Do they look away when you turn to look at them?
  • The easiest thing to do is go into a public place, like a coffee shop or an eatery, and have a seat…if they stop too, you might consider calling 911 and have them check out your stalker.
  • The worst thing to do is continue on your way is it takes you to a less traveled area…if you can’t stop; take a longer but busier route.

I’d love to hear your tips, as well. Please post them in the comments below.

Stay sharp, stay aware, and stay safe, my friends.

a repost from 2012

A Tale of Two Stories


Media Prioritizes Gadgets Over Gun Violence

Is the launch of a thinner iPad bigger news than a teenager gunning down a teacher at school? Cable news seems to think so.

ThinkProgress took a look at the coverage of the two stories on Monday and here’s what they found:

On Monday morning, another school — this time in Sparks, Nevada — was thrown into chaos when a seventh grader brought in his parents’ semi-automatic handgun and shot a teacher, two 12-year-old boys, and himself. Local news outlets, notably the Reno Gazette-Journal, immediately and thoroughly reported the developing story on the ground. But as the tragedy unfolded, major cable news channels chose not to cover it as a breaking news event, only mentioning the shooting sparingly throughout the day.

According to a ThinkProgress analysis of the media monitoring site TVEyes between 10 am EST on October 21 and midnight, Fox News and MSNBC barely discussed the Sparks Middle School shooting on Monday. Fox News had nine mentions of the shooting, while MSNBC talked about the shooting just five times. CNN’s coverage was more regular, mentioning the keyword “Sparks” 19 times.

By contrast, another breaking news event on Tuesday attracted a flurry of media attention. The hype surrounding Apple’s press conference releasing the new iPad and iPad mini started growing hours before the event. All in all, the Apple event got more coverage than the Sparks shooting on all three channels: CNN mentioned the Apple event 23 timeson Tuesday, while Fox News mentioned it 12 times and MSNBC mentioned it nine times.

Free Donald


Release my boyfriend and soup kitchen manager Donald Perry, in prison since August for offering a ride to a homeless man.
Sign My Petition


In 2011, my boyfriend Donald Perry — a manager at a soup kitchen and homeless outreach center in western Massachusetts — was pulled over and arrested. His crime? He gave a ride to a homeless man who, though Donald didn’t know it, had stolen items with him including an iPad.

When the man realized the police were using GPS to track the iPad to Donald’s car, he fled — leaving Donald to be arrested. But although Donald was acquitted by a jury in July, he is still in prison seven months later.

At the time of his arrest, Donald was on parole for a robbery he committed 30 years ago. But since then, Donald has been one of the Parole Board‘s great success stories — especially because of his tireless service to the homeless. Donald isn’t a danger to society — he’s a loving father, grandfather, partner and public servant. He should be home with me, not in prison.

I started a petition on Change.org calling on the Massachusetts Parole Board to release Donald immediately. Please click here to sign my petition now.

When Donald first told me he was on parole, I wanted to cut the relationship off. But he won me over with his commitment to serving those in need and his boundless love for his children and grandchildren. We were working hard and we were happy — we were even planning our next vacation together.

As of today, Donald has been in prison for 17 months. He is surrounded by men who feel hopeless and in some cases are mentally ill and physically dangerous. It is terrifying that a hearing next month could decide whether or not he goes home — or stays in prison for years to come even though a jury acquitted him.

We’ve been so touched by the outpouring of support for Donald from our community that we’re ready to open up to the possibility that many more people around the country could stand with us to call on the Parole Board to let Donald come home. If thousands of people sign my petition, I think we have a real chance the Parole Board will listen.

Please click here to sign my petition and call on the Massachusetts Parole Board to free my boyfriend and committed public servant Donald Perry now.

Thank you.

Elaine Arsenault
Montague, Massachusetts

AFL – CIO – Can Apple be ethical and innovative ?

Apple is under intense scrutiny right now. But rather than genuinely addressing the problems in its supply chain, we believe the company is trying to stop the outcry by brushing its problems under the rug.We’re demanding that Apple do what it takes to ensure the people who manufacture its products are treated ethically.And we’re joining a global movement to deliver hundreds of thousands of petitions from activists worldwide at Apple’s annual shareholder meeting this Thursday.Sign our petition: Tell Apple to transform its industry by being ethical and innovative.

Not that long ago, I switched from a BlackBerry to an iPhone. It’s been a great switch. The iPhone is intuitive and powerful—it’s an incredible piece of machinery. If you don’t use an Apple product yourself, you probably have friends or family who do.

When it comes to technology, Apple has revolutionized its industry and set a standard other companies aspire to meet. The company has been richly rewarded for its success. It is now the biggest publicly traded company in the world, worth a whopping $465 billion. The company made $17.5 billion in the fourth quarter of 2011 alone—just shy of a 40 percent profit margin.(1,2)

But Apple’s record-breaking success comes at a back-breaking price. According to news reports, workers who assemble iPhones, iPads and iPods at Foxconn, Apple’s largest supplier in China, have needlessly suffered lifelong injuries and even died from avoidable tragedies, including suicides, explosions and exhaustion from 30- to 60-hour shifts. And there are stories of workers suffering such awful repetitive motion injuries that they permanently lose the use of their hands.(3)

Sign our petition to Apple’s CEO Tim Cook. Tell him to ensure that people integral to Apple’s success—workers who manufacture Apple’s electronics—are treated fairly.

Apple is under intense scrutiny right now. But rather than deal with that by genuinely addressing the problems in its supply chain, we believe the company is trying to stop the outcry by brushing its problems under the rug.

Recently, Apple joined the Fair Labor Association (FLA) to arrange for inspections of its factories. We believe these inspections will not expose—or begin to solve—Apple’s problems. The FLA is funded and controlled by the multinational corporations it oversees, which means it is not at all independent. As Scott Nova of the Worker Rights Consortium (WRC) recently said, independence “means an organization is not funded and governed by the companies it is charged with investigating.”(4)

A couple days ago, Foxconn also announced a recent raise for some of its workers. But we believe that, too, is a PR smokescreen. According to Students & Scholars Against Corporate Misbehavior, “The new basic wage…only applies to the workers in Shenzhen. In inland provinces, where two-thirds of production workers are based, basic salary remains meager. Given that the inflation in China is high, Foxconn is just following the trend of wage increase in the electronics industry in China.”

We call on Apple to immediately allow genuine unions, with truly independent factory inspections and worker trainings. Trying to brush this under the rug—or hide behind a front group like the FLA—only will make Apple’s PR problems worse.

Tell Apple’s CEO Tim Cook: Get to work to ensure people who manufacture Apple electronics are treated ethically.

One anonymous Apple executive told The New York Times there’s a trade-off between working conditions and innovation: “You can either manufacture in comfortable, worker-friendly factories,” or you can “make it better and faster and cheaper, which requires factories that seem harsh by American standards.”(5)

We disagree with the idea that Apple can’t be both ethical and innovative. Apple needs to ensure the quality of its working conditions matches the quality of its products.

As one anonymous Apple executive told The New York Times, “[s]uppliers would change everything tomorrow if Apple told them they didn’t have another choice.”(6)

Please sign our petition to Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, urging him to treat all of the workers who make Apple’s electronics fairly—no matter where they live.

Thank you for standing in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in China.

In Solidarity,

Richard L. Trumka
President, AFL-CIO
Twitter: @richardtrumka

P.S. What leaders do matters. And Apple is now the leader in its industry. That’s why the AFL-CIO will be watching Apple closely to make sure the company does right by the workers who make its products—no matter where they live.

Apple has the resources it needs to do this right.
 Manufacturing costs are only a very small portion of Apple’s expenses: Workers are paid just $8 to manufacture a $499 iPad, for example, while Apple pockets $150 of the retail price. And the company is sitting on nearly $100 billion in cash.(7,1)

Sign our petition to Apple’s CEO Tim Cook, telling him to make Apple’s products ethically.

(1) www.google.com/finance?q=NASDAQ:AAPL&fstype=ii
(2) http://money.msn.com/top-stocks/post.aspx?post=f7428a06-dd15-4076-bec0-4204c437c814
(3) http://sumofus.org/campaigns/ethical-iphone/
(4) www.cnn.com/2012/02/17/opinion/nova-apple-foxconn/index.html
(5,6) www.nytimes.com/2012/01/26/business/ieconomy-apples-ipad-and-the-human-costs-for-workers-in-china.html
(7) www.forbes.com/sites/timworstall/2012/02/15/chinese-workers-get-only-8-from-each-apple-ipad-2/