Gilda & Madeline

Ovarian Cancer silenced the voices of two of the funniest women the world has ever known. Gilda Radner and Madeline Kahn both succumbed to the silent killer. The pair were close friends who shared a gift for making people laugh. With their passing, the world lost two brilliant and courageous women.

Gilda Radner

Gilda Radner was the first of the pair taken away from us. In her case, the disease was not so silent. She experienced symptoms beginning approximately ten months before she finally received her diagnosis.

Gilda grew up in Detroit, Michigan with her brother, mother and beloved father. She was twelve when her father was diagnosed with a brain tumor that left him bedridden for the two years before he died. After attending the University of Michigan and working as the weather girl at the campus T.V. station, she left school to move to Toronto with her boyfriend at the time.

In Toronto she joined that city’s Second City Comedy Troupe. She appeared in the National Lampoon Radio Hour before being cast in a new television show, Saturday Night Live, in 1975. Here Gilda introduced the world to such characters as Roseanne Rosannadanna, Emily Litella, and her spoof of Barbara Walters, Barbara Wawa. She earned an Emmy for her work on Saturday Night Live in 1978. She was a performer on the show for five years.

During those years, however, Gilda struggled with bulimia and the drug use of other cast members. She was reputedly one of only three original cast members to refrain from cocaine use, according to her friend and biographer Alen Zweibel. Shortly before beginning what would be her final season on SNL, she met G.E. Smith, a musician who worked on the show. The two married in 1980.

In 1982, while filming the Sidney Poitier directed film Hanky Panky, Gilda met actor Gene Wilder. Her marriage to Smith disintegrating, it was love at true sight for both of them. After her divorce, the two were married in 1984, in the south of France.

The two wanted children, but Radner suffered through multiple miscarriages. In 1985 she began to feel pains in her upper legs and extreme fatigue. She desperately sought a diagnosis for ten months before finally receiving the news that it was Ovarian Cancer.

Gilda went through chemotherapy and radiation to fight her cancer and was in remission when she wrote her book, “It’s Always Something. The book detailed her ordeals and experiences with the disease. Radner died May 20, 1989, three days after slipping into a coma during a CAT scan. Her husband Gene Wilder was at her side.

Madeline Kahn

Madeline Gail Wolfson was born in 1942 in Boston, Massachusetts. Her parents were Jewish, but non-observant. They divorced when Madeline was two years old and she lived with her mother. At age six she was placed in a progressive boarding school while her mother pursued an acting career. During this time, Madeline began acting in school productions herself.

After graduating high school in 1960 she began attending college on a dramatic scholarship, graduating with a degree in speech therapy. She taught school for a short time while auditioning for acting parts before making her stage debut in Kiss Me Kate. She began using her mother’s maiden name shortly afterward.

She continued to act on stage throughout her career. Her first film role was in a 1968 short De Duva (The Dove), and her feature debut was in What’s Up Doc?, a screwball comedy. In 1973 she earned an Academy Award Nomination for her role in Paper Moon. After creative differences with star Lucille Ball, Madeline was fired from the film production of Mame.

The loss of this job turned out well for Kahn, when she was hired for Mel Brooks’ Blazing Saddles. The role redefined Kahn’s Hollywood persona. Previously she had been cast in roles where she was either frumpy or neurotic, however, with the role of Lily von Shtupp, she became known for more sexualized roles. Brooks also cast her in Young Frankenstein, High Anxiety, and History of the World Part I, in what are widely considered some of her best roles.

During the eighties, Kahn appeared in several films that did not receive box office success. Her experiences in television were not successful, either. Her television series, Oh Madeline, was cancelled after one season due to poor ratings and a pilot was not picked up. She successfully returned to the stage, appearing in several shows on and off Broadway.

In 1996 she was cast as the friend of Phylicia Rashad on the show, Cosby. In 1998 she was diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer. Her appearances on the show were reduced to four for that season. She went through three courses of chemotherapy, three surgeries and multiple natural treatments, but her illness continued to progress. In October 1999 she married her longtime companion John Hansbury. They were married for three months before she passed away on December 3, 1999.

Their Legacies

Besides their impressive legacy of comedic genius, both of their deaths brought increased awareness about this terrible disease. Radner’s widower, Gene Wilder co-wrote an instructional book on Ovarian Cancer that told the story from three perspectives-Gilda’s personal story in her own words, his story, and a doctor’s perspective on the disease. He helped to found Gilda’s Club, a support center for cancer patients and the Gilda Radner Familial Ovarian Cancer Registry, which created a registry for families with two or more members diagnosed with the disease.

Each year, An Evening of Laughs is hosted at Caroline’s in New York City to honor Madeline and raise money and awareness for Ovarian Cancer. The 2011 event raised over $150,000.

neil-gaiman:
From: http://www.metafilter.com/112698/California-Dreamin#4183210 “I’ve spent the past year and a half of my life in library school, and about three years before that working in some capacity in rural, suburban, and urban libraries, and currently I’m currently at a cross-road in terms of… 

Neil Gaiman: Why Libraries Again…?

Digital Rights Management

When producers of creative content like music, movies, video games, apps, and eBooks want to protect their products from copying or other unwanted use they use Digital Rights Management. Digital Rights Management, commonly referred to by its initial letters, DRM, is copy protection embedded into digital files to prevent unauthorized use. This unauthorized use may include duplication, printing, or copying. DRM works by only allowing the permissions wanted by the company publishing the material.

The movie industry claims to lose around $5 billion a year in lost revenue because of illegal downloading and copying. This number is difficult to prove or disprove because of the clandestine nature of downloading. Since movie studios began putting DRM features on VHS tapes to prevent duplication, Digital Rights Management has been an important tool in the arsenal for the fight against intellectual piracy.

Digital Rights management began being used by music record labels to prevent music from being ripped from CDs. Record labels and movie studios feel that by including DRM features in their product, they can prevent further loss. Artists do not lose revenue when DRM software is included in their media. Consumers who used their CDs in computers soon found that their computers were seizing up or programs began acting differently. This caused backlash, as people couldn’t even play a music CD on their computers without it wreaking havoc upon their system.

Other forms of media, including movies and video games on DVDs began using DRM to protect their products from copying. As music and movies began to be offered for download from services like Amazon or iTunes, DRM was included in the digital files. EBooks and apps for download also included DRM features that limited their use to certain platforms.

DRM has proven to be unpopular with consumers. While most of them would be reluctant to illegally download music, movies or other media, they overwhelmingly want portability features. Consumers want to be able to listen to their music on their mp3 players or mobile phone, without having to worry about whether they can load their favorite songs. They want to be able to read books or watch movies on their iPad or other tablet. Without the ability to move their media to various devices, some turn to alternative channels for their downloads.

Digital Rights Management architecture works by creating a chart of permissions and actions. Authorized uses of media are granted permission by the DRM software, while unauthorized uses, like copying text from an eBook, are denied. Creators set permissions before the release of the media product in order to protect their intellectual property from copying and theft.

Digital Rights Management features prevent unwanted use of media by consumers. They protect the interests of the content creator and the content distributor. DRM features are in place to prevent copyright infringement and theft. Despite their popularity with content providers, their reception has not been as positive with consumers. Consumers have railed against the restrictions placed by DRM software, demanding portability for their media. Some content producers have changed their positions, as pressure from customers railed against the restrictions of DRM. Because of the mixed feelings regarding DRM protections, they are not used as prevalent as they once were or have been altered to be less intrusive.

Subscription Services

While content providers in the music, movie and gaming industries have shunned the internet for over a decade. Some of them have found new ways to utilize the internet for distributing their content without having to worry about theft or copyright infringement. New services have been introduced that consumers are willing to pay to use. These services allow users to take their media with them on any device by paying a monthly subscription fee.

Portability has long been the one feature consumers have overwhelmingly demanded. Content providers denied consumers portability in the fear that their media content would be copied and stolen. Content providers have decried the theft and copyright infringement of their products for decades. With the advent of the iPod and mobile phones that play music and videos, however, this view has been seen by many as outdated.

These critics feel that the resistance to portability has actually encouraged piracy, as consumers seek ways to put their media in portable devices, or to back up their media. They point to the success of subscription services like Spotify for music and Netflix for videos. These services allow users to watch videos or listen to music on a variety of devices. These services thrive despite the multitudes of opportunities for “free” music or movies from piracy networks like The Pirate Bay and Demonoid. Customers have consistently demonstrated that they do not want to steal music, movies, and software, but they do want to be able to use the media they have purchased in a variety of ways.

Subscription services fill this need. Content providers receive payment for their products and customers are able to access the music and movies that they want. Some cell phone companies have gotten into the subscription business as well, offering unlimited music downloads with some of the mobile phone plans that they offer. These have quickly become the most popular plans the companies offer.

Subscription services are quickly becoming the legal alternative to piracy. Consumers can load their music and videos onto their mp3 players, mobile phones, tablets and other devices. While they have become popular very quickly with consumers, some content providers such as music production companies are reluctant to allow their music on these services. Netflix has encountered resistance from movie studios, as well. The companies are concerned that they are not getting fair royalties from subscription services.

In the fight against piracy and copyright infringement, subscription services have emerged as a way for consumers to use the media that they purchase, the way they wish. The services have been popular with consumers, but not as popular with movie and music companies. Until content producers sign on to allowing subscription services to stream their music or provide it for download, subscription services will have trouble providing the services for consumers. This gives consumers very few options for legitimate portable media downloading. Consumers overwhelmingly want portable media options, but can find them hard to find or use. Without the subscription services they may download their media through less than legal methods.

Web 2.0 Copy Protection

Content providers of all types, including music and video production companies, eBook publishers, and software developers use copy protection to secure their intellectual property from theft or copyright infringement. This policy, however, has its critics, as purchasers of DVDs, CDs, webapps, eBooks and software feel that once they purchase a product, it is their property. Debate and even court cases have arisen regarding this issue, but have yet to solve the problem of copyright infringement.

In today’s digital world, users share all kinds of media through blogs, social networking and peer to peer software. Some of these media are not the property of the person doing the sharing, and are considered copyright infringement. With the availability of software that defeats the copy protections used by publishers, many companies find the investment in expensive copy protection software useless. CD and DVD ripping software are easy to find online, sometimes for free even. Web 2.0 is a term that refers to the communities that have arisen online through these blogs and social networks.

Even before DVD copy protections, there were copy protections placed on VHS tapes. Their usage was unpopular, though, as picture and sound quality suffered. DVD producers use CSS, a form of copy protection to encrypt DVDs, making them harder to reproduce.

One example of social networking where copyright has become an issue is Youtube. Youtube’s user generated content has led to many situations where copyrights have been infringed, as users upload videos from TV shows, or DVDs or use music for their videos that has not been properly licensed. This has led to problems for Google, Youtube’s owner. The site has become much more vigilant in ensuring that videos uploaded are the property of the users who are uploading them.

Since the Web 2.0 model involves sharing so heavily, companies may feel that they are being robbed blindly, right and left, as users share music, movies, and other content freely. This does not have to be the case. Users have consistently demonstrated the willingness to pay for subscription services, and pay per use channels like iTunes have had great success. Consumers are willing to pay for products, as long as they are convenient and easy to use. Customers don’t want to be limited as to where they can watch their movie or listen to their song. Amazon and iTunes have given consumers the tools to make these products portable without having to pirate them.

For products like software and webapps, copy protection can harm the overall product by slowing it down or even making it unusable. With user reviews so important to the success of software, including copy protections that hurt usage can be a big mistake. This can lead to frustration on the part of software developers who fear that their product will be stolen or pirated. Companies that offer quality products, however, find that consumers are more likely to pay for a legitimate copy of a product that is guaranteed to work than downloading a shoddy imitation that may or may not accomplish what they need.

Overall, copy protection in a Web 2.0 world is a contentious issue, with reasonable arguments found on both sides of the issue. Even many artists themselves have come out against copy protections. Offering a quality product and making it convenient to use seems to be the best protection from copyright infringement, rather than including copy protections that alienate customers and make the product difficult to use.

Pros and Cons of DRM

The usage of DRM has had an overwhelmingly negative response from consumers. Despite this backlash, content producers in the music, movie and video game industries continue to use some type of DRM. There are arguments on both sides of the issue, leading some content producers to question whether it is appropriate to include DRM restrictions in their products.

Content producers use DRM protections to limit copyright infringement and theft of intellectual property. Many of them believe that using Digital Rights Management technology can protect artist and developers’ rights to control media that they have created. This protection can also maintain the revenue streams from that media, allowing artists and developers to continue to earn an income from residuals and royalties stemming from purchase of their works. Movies studios claim that they have lost over 5 billion dollars in revenue from piracy and copyright infringement. They use DRM to attempt to staunch this flow. If artists can continue to earn money from past creations, they are encouraged to create new works. Record producers, movie studios and video game companies are much more likely to take a chance on an unknown artist or developer if they know that they can make money from the works of those artists and developers.

The usage of Digital Rights Management is not popular with consumers, who desire portability and the ability to use their media the way that they want. Critics claim that Digital Rights Management technology can limit even legal usage of media purchased by consumers. This usage may include creating backup copies and lending by libraries, which are considered fair use under copyright law. Other critics of DRM usage claim that there is a chance that some media may become totally unusable with changes in technology. Another problem they find is that may be an anti-competitive practice to include DRM technology in products. They believe that current copyright laws do not give copyright holders the rights to restrict usage at the level that they currently do. Critics have many different reasons to oppose Digital Rights Management, ranging from legal arguments to practical ones. Some call it Digital Restrictions Management, claiming that record labels, movie studios, publishers and game and app developers make their products defective by design.

The use of Digital Rights Management features is controversial. People on both sides of the issue give reasonable arguments supporting their stances. The debate continues to rage. The ultimate decision lies with the consumer, however. Consumers can choose whether to purchase products that use DRM technology or to not purchase those products. The content producers will find out whether Digital Rights Management features actually protect their products or limit usage unnecessarily. They will be able to gauge this through sales and other methods.

DRM technology is used to protect artists and other content producers from copyright infringement and theft of intellectual property. Its usage is not popular with critics and consumers who find it overwhelmingly restrictive. Ultimately its usage will be determined by how many consumers choose to use DRM protected media.

Encryption 101

With the common fear of identity and information theft, keeping information secure is important. In order to keep information safe, companies use encryption software to encode data in a format that only the person who is supposed to access it can read it. Encryption software uses algorithms to convert the data into a ciphertext. This ciphertext can only be unencrypted using a data key. It is important that companies find the right software that keeps data secure using these complex encryption algorithms. Understanding the concepts involved and why certain encryption software is better at keeping data secure than others is important in an increasingly digital world.

Encryption as a concept has been used since the days of the ancient Greeks. Generals from Sparta encoded their messages to each other, using a scytale, in order to ensure that information did not fall into enemy hands. Since then, cryptography has been used extensively by armies throughout history to keep information safe. During World War II even more complex codes were developed that required the use of machines to decode.

Online, banks and other websites that handle sensitive information encrypt data using encryption algorithms and complex coding systems. Encryption and decryption are also used in wireless communications to protect the security and privacy of wireless customers when making calls, texting, or using data. Companies use encryption in their company computers to maintain the security of their databases. This security is vital to maintaining the reputation and integrity of a business, so that customers can trust that their information is being kept private and securely.

The algorithms used to encrypt data are complex mathematical formulas that convert data into ciphers. Ciphers are different from codes, in that they are only intended to be decrypted by the recipient, while codes are openly available for decoding, such as Morse code or ASCII. Some ciphers are so complex and indecipherable that governments have become concerned that terrorist organizations may be able to use them to conceal their activities.

Encryption software comes in different forms and can be found easily online. The most complex and secure codes, however, can be very expensive. The peace of mind involved in investing in a more secure encryption system may outweigh those costs. It is important that the encryption software be reliable and worthy of trust. They should adhere to strict standards of security and safety. This makes freeware encryption software and other low cost encryption techniques seem suspect.

Data encryption software can be carried on smart cards or usb drives. This ensures portable encryption capabilities for businesses and individuals seeking secure data encryption. This portability can be important when workers travel for their job or bring home work.

Companies looking to keep data secure should invest in a strong encryption system that comes from a company or developer with a good reputation of security. This software should use complex algorithms to encrypt information and should not easily be decrypted. Choosing the right data encryption system is important to corporate and individual privacy and security.

Reducing Licensing Costs of Enterprise Software

Many companies are spending much more for software licensing than they need to. Companies frequently buy enough licenses for every computer in the company. This is an unnecessary expense. For a small business, the costs can be too much to purchase software for every computer. Taking a look at the actual usage of licensed enterprise program is a good idea when attempting to save money on enterprise software.

Whatever the industry, most companies struggle with the same question: What computer and software will work best for my company? They need a system that works seamlessly with the various departments within the company, is affordable and is easy to use. Business owners may find the sheer complexity and variety of options to be overwhelming. With the right amount of research, however, it can be fairly easy to find programs that meet the needs of the company and stay within budgetary guidelines. Some of the factors that must be taken into account are the individual needs of the company, security, ease of use, cost, time to install and setup, reliability and compatibility with vendors and other companies. An important step that often gets skipped is to write a list of features that the decision maker wants in the software. These needs are different for every business. When it is known what is needed, then a side by side comparison can be made with different software options.

It is very likely that not everyone in the office is using a particular type of software. For example, it is not cost effective to purchase accounting software licenses for every computer when only the accounting department will use this particular program. For some users within the company, only a simple office suite is necessary to complete their job. If this is the case, significant savings can be found by using alternatives to Microsoft Office. These alternatives may be significantly lower in cost, or even free to use.

There are three different types of options available to business associates making software decisions:-open source software, freeware, and proprietary software. There are reasons for and against each type of software and they must be debated when deciding which type of software will be used for a particular business. In order to keep costs down, many businesses use a hybrid solution to their computing needs.

Specialty software licenses should be limited to the small amount of actual users. This can lower licensing costs significantly. Even when using enterprise software throughout the company, it is always best to comparison shop, or take competing bids from vendors. This can ensure that the software both meets the need of the organization and is the most cost effective choice.

Ultimately the decision as to which software is the best for a business cannot be made without taking all of the details of the company into account. There is no software solution that is right for every company and each business must make the choice of which software packages to use.

Awesome movie!
I just saw this today and all I can say is that Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson nailed it. Action, adventure and funny as well.

Chocolate Hogwarts (Taken with Instagram at Fry’s Marketplace)

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