Thursday, January 19, 2012

COP:24/7 : Blackout Free and on the Move

Never let it be said that this forum doesn't keep its ear to ground on all the issue breaking news and beyond. No matter how hard I attempt keep up, there's always something that I miss, get late notice or for some reasons may not resonate with me on the first notice. Nevertheless, COP 24/7 keeps coming out of the box while kicking it up dust when needed. This forum was front and center during yesterday's showdown concerning the SOPA and PIPA measures that were being winked and nodded through Congress. The furor over these twin headed interlopers was swift and bold as those embracing the Net as  a zone that already has sufficient regulations, darkened their websites and protested otherwise. I am always proud to know when this platform can be used to show our solidarity on numerous issues that I believe should get my attention in full. As that eclipse rolls away, COP 24/7 goes back to the mat to share with each of you,"what's really going on..."

Ground breaking LA Corp Book Released

Congrats are in order for The Living Affected Corporation's publishing arm with the mid -January release of "Our Lives, Our Stories, The Untold of Stories of Women with AIDS."
According to CEO Diedra Levi, "the book became a labor of love as the we worked through the entire spectrum of the program." She continued, " the ladies shared their stories and experiences openly and honestly while discovering commonalities in their individuality." The book features four participants from the organizations, The Plus Club program which allowed women dealing with HIV and AIDS to engage socially in a safe zone designed to meet their needs. The organization concluded that many women either living affected or infected by the disease often languish in isolation as well as lacked exposure to socialization opportunities. It was the vision of the program to create a monthly social activity that included the journaling process, assorted board games, a catered meal and a environment that encouraged further bonding. Indexed within the book are also local resources and providers that serve the HIV/.AIDS community. Arkansas' Community Planning Group voted in December 2011 to make a bulk purchase of the book via its association to the Arkansas Department of Health to offer to other community based organizations involved in sexual health programming.  The program began February 14, 2011 and will end with a book release event tentatively scheduled for February 3, 2012, at Pyramid Gallery and a after party at Miss Kitty's Saloon both in Little Rock. Copies of the book are available for purchase for $20. For more information contact: or call 877.902.7HIV 

Can You Hear Me Now? Part One

Every now and then there's just some situations that cause me to sit and wonder, "WTF!" Case in point was a round of recent e-mails concerning the aforementioned ACPG in its efforts to be inclusive while extending it reach using some of today's snazzy new conference call technology. Actually their are two issues involved but lets go with the first that I'm acutely aware of and have pondered as to why wasn't their a tested method utilized to facilitate a conference call platform that allowed user to actually feel as if they were apart of the proceedings. The current system being used is good if all those on the call are using actual "phones" to which they would be using as individual "microphones" to speak. Yet this system doesn't work when used in a room or auditorium where others are speaking but not directly into any mechanism that will amply their voices to the those on the conference call. So what to do yo ask? Well, it would seem that any agency with an internal IT department would have sought the expertise of those individuals as to how to either address or at some point fix the problem. Unfortunately COP 24/7 is not quite sure exactly what equipment is being used but it obvious that either its not adequate enough to solve the problem or maybe there's other options that haven't been considered. Therefore being enamored by all things tech, COP 24/7 decided to suggest some great gadgets to consider to make these calls more user friendly. After all why have a call if its an unpleasant or better yet agonizing exercise in listening and hearing very little. And now lets window shop shall we...

The Yamaha PJP-50USB is a web conferencer microphone speaker with an adaptive high performance echo canceller. When connected your PC with a USB or audio cable, it provides a multi-person web conferencing experience that’s as smooth as video conferencing.

The PJP-50USB also features a noise reduction function that reduces or eliminates unwanted sounds such as from projectors and air conditioners, plus a wide band microphone speaker that delivers high definition audio. With the PJP-50USB, listeners hear only clear voices and nothing more.

8 high sensitivity microphones — achieve equivalent or better audio pickup than twice the number of conventional microphones. And with audio gain control, distant or quiet voices are picked up better than ever. Designed for large conference rooms allowing for high voice quality!

Advanced features ensure smooth conferencing for both listeners and talkers! Listed at $1,099.00 (  Not to mention it just looks cool.

Also at Hello Direct comes this sweet, bad ass piece of equipment cited as Polycom's best tabletop conferencer! The Polycom SoundStation VTX 1000™ is the world's first conference phone that automatically adapts to each meeting environment, providing high fidelity voice clarity for all participants. Just look at the features! And its marked down from $1,749.00 to a mere $1,549.00.

Wideband audio technology — Delivers voice quality so rich, it sounds like you're meeting face to face. WOW!!!

Dynamic noise reduction — Eliminates distracting background noise for professional sound quality.

Full-duplex sound — Eliminates voice cut-outs so there's no clipped conversation or breakup during your conference calls.

Upgradeable software — Protects your investment by allowing you to remotely download new software features and applications.

Large LCD — Offers many functions right at your fingertips and is easy to use.

99-Number phone book — Provides plenty of room to store all your important contacts. Search by name, number, or company name. Speed-dial is built in, too.

Plus: mute, redial, 3-way conferencing, speaker volume control, ringer volume adjust, and 10 ring tones.

Bonus Pack — Includes VTX 1000 conferencing unit, subwoofer, 2 extension microphones and cables.
Of course these are just wide eyed possibles among the wide array of possibles. Ultimately, something must be done to get these teleconferences up to speed and boldly offering users an listening experience that is worth their time commitment to joining these calls. Just sayin....

Crowns A-Go-GO

Frank Sinatra used to speak of being the chairman of the board and much of his then "rat pack" were hand picked board members that pack rowdy and raucous to boot. However that well heeled Board of Directors didn't have any problems meeting any obligations asked of them and its been my experience as a current board member of The National Association of Black and White Men Together that its takes time and treasure to do so. A few weeks back I learned that the Board of Directores of MGA pageant system seemed to have "Houston we have a problem" moment as numerous board members were broadsided by a directive that would have them forking over a more substantial cash contribution to the pageantry cause. From what we've learned and the story seems to be "ebbing and flowing" by the moment, that it was decided by at least two senior board members prior to the announced meeting to assess an "upgraded' financial commitment that would be instituted immediately without discussion. Once the members arrived they were dealt the news with a resounding "thud." Tongues are wagging that none of those present were ready for the information and it didn't set well as allegedly most took a walk from the meeting in full dramatic effect. You know the verbiage, "I'm going to call L & T Entertainment about this" or "you bitches haven't heard the last of this blah, blah, blah..." which I wonder will result in exactly what?  Furthermore what's more puzzling to me is all of this strife over a couple of Benjamin's to support their favorite sorority mission to promote"symbols of excellence." I've said this before and I'll say it again, as a board member you are charged with the vitality and financial soundness of your chosen organization.

If you didn't know this, then now know that if the business model of presenting a pageant is not working or making the dollars needed to sustain it, then its up to those who "choose" to believe in the mission to make the damn work. This means if you've got a bad business model that's in the red, it's the board of directors who assume the responsibility for either garnering more participants, raising entry fees, securing bigger sponsors or either pony up before the enterprise goes belly up. It's just that simple. As for myself, I've given both in-kind, travel, direct and sponsorship to NABWMT surpassing the $5,000.00 mark. Why you ask?, because as a board member I fully understood my charge to support the organizations purpose to address racism, sexism, homophobia and HIV/AIDS while acting as a steward otherwise. Unfortunately, the pageant system has been battered and mangled over a course of time. Although I assume that it still has relevance and in some quarters usefulness. But as a true "business model" it is rife with loosing possibilities for both contestants, sponsors and promoters.

Currently on the MGA website(  there's at least 5 such pageants "for sale," across the state. Only Miss Gay Little Rock has even been scheduled at this post. Does this seem like a business model that anyone wants? Meanwhile promoters have literally gone begging for contestants including lowering entry fees, residence restrictions and all manner of enticements that have all but been ignored. Also we can't ignore recent incidents with big promises made to unsusupecting contestants who later found themselves without certain parts of their prize packages. Not to mention promoters whom after pageant expenses offer little to no support and have packages that are marginal. Let's not forget any entity that can't support its figurehead or "icon" in a financial manner can't expect or should expect much from that individual. Hello, can we say Miss Gay Pride or any of the other pageant send-ups. Many have stated to COP 24/7 that attempts at keeping up with escalating cost and performance demands have become barriers. Others have just lost interest with some quipping that the "sisterhood isn't as sisterly as they once thought." For the record and in full disclosure I have been a pageant winner and have no dog in this fight. I'm speaking as a one who has seen the hey day of this "art form" and I'm now witness to its slow descent to being only important to those who desire what it brings to their lives personally or professionally. As more develops, if it does, we'll bring it...stay tuned. 

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