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first_img Kali Clement* Nicholls UT Sr. Thibodaux, La. Cayla Jones* Northwestern State 2B So. Missouri City, Texas Name School Pos. Class Hometown Megan Landry* Nicholls P Sr. Pierre Part, La. Alexandria Saldivar* McNeese DP Jr. Princeton, Texas Ali McCoy* Southeastern Louisiana OF Jr. Maurepas, La. Heidi Jaquez Houston Baptist C Jr. Wharton, Texas Taylor Davis* Lamar DP Sr. Nederland, Texas FRISCO, Texas – The Southland Conference has announced the 2019 preseason all-conference softball teams. Among the nine schools represented, Nicholls led the way with eight picks on the all-conference rosters. Of the 24 preseason honorees, 20 made their way as automatic selections following the conclusion of the 2018 season.The Colonels lead all represented schools with six first-team selections in addition to a pair on the second team roster. McNeese and Sam Houston State came in next tied with three picks apiece, two first-teamers and one second team honoree for each school.Nicholls six first team members include Jewel Lara who was named 2018 Southland Freshman of the Year in 2018, Amanda Gianelloni at shortstop, outfielders Kasey Frederick and Kelsey Miller, 2018 SLC Newcomer of the Year Kali Clement and reigning Pitcher of the Year Megan Landry. Alexis LaBure also claimed a spot on the second team to round out the Nicholls preseason honorees.Catcher Bailey White and pitcher Lindsey McLeod were awarded first-team accolades as two of Sam Houston State’s three automatic qualifiers. McLeod claimed all eight of Sam Houston State’s eight shutouts last season and will look to partner with White in order to bolster the Bearkat defense. Tiffany Thompson was also awarded a second team berth in the shortstop role.McNeese enters the year after a flawless record at the 2018 Southland Conference Tournament and a postseason run into the NCAA Regional Tournament. The Cowgirls are led by first team preseason selections Justyce McClain and Alexandria Saldivar. After closing out 2018 with a 41-21 overall record and a 18-9 mark in Southland play, McNeese will look to defend their Southland Conference Tournament title.Northwestern State sophomore Cayla Jones returns as an automatic pick to the first team after helping the Lady Demons to a Southland Conference Tournament appearance and a 28-25 overall record. Jones led Northwestern State with a .378 batting average, 10 home runs and 10 runs batted in. Fellow Lady Demon Kaitlyn St. Clair joins her teammate on the preseason roster as a second team selection.Central Arkansas’ Kaylyn Shepherd rounds out the first team members with an automatic selection at first base. Shepherd collected 399 putouts and a .981 fielding percentage for the Bears in the 2018 season. Senior Morgan Felts stands as the second UCA player named to the preseason roster with a second team nod.With 20 of the preseason honorees earning automatic qualifying selections, a quartet of newcomers all comprise spots on the second team. Making their way onto the preseason squad for the 2019 campaign are Nicholls junior Sam Dares, Southeastern Louisiana sophomore Madison Watson, Houston Baptist junior Heidi Jaquez and McNeese junior Alexsandra Flores.The 2019 season opens up Thursday, Feb. 7 with Southeastern Louisiana hosting San Jose State in Hammond, La. First pitch is slated for 5 p.m. CT. McNeese also begins their schedule that same evening with a 6 p.m. home game against Samford at Joe Miller field in Lake Charles, La. Nine of the remaining 10 league teams will open up their seasons Feb. 8.The preseason all-conference teams are voted upon by the league’s head coaches. Returning players from the 2018 All-Conference First and Second teams are automatically named to the 2019 Preseason All-Conference teams at their respective positions. Second team players are elevated to first team if the first team slot is vacated by a non-returning player at the same position. Justyce McClain* McNeese OF Sr. Phoenix, Ariz. Lindsey McLeod* Sam Houston State P Sr. Austin, Texas First Team Kaylyn Shepherd* Central Arkansas 1B Jr. Mechanicsville, Va. Kelly Meeuwsen* Lamar 2B Sr. Hillsboro, Ore. Donelle Johnson* Abilene Christian OF RJr. McKinney, Texas Jewel Lara* Nicholls 3B So. Missouri City, Texascenter_img Name School Pos. Class Hometown Second Team Bailey White* Sam Houston State C RSo. Burleson, Texas Kaitlyn St. Clair* Northwestern State UT Jr. Cypress, Texas Tiffany Thompson* Sam Houston State SS Jr. Montgomery, Texas Amanda Gianelloni* Nicholls SS Sr. Napoleonville, La. Morgan Felts* Central Arkansas OF Sr. Conway, Ark. Alexis LaBure* Nicholls P So. Port Neches, Texas Sam Dares Nicholls 1B Jr. Metairie, La. Madison Watson Southeastern Louisiana 3B So. Reserve, La. Alexsandra Flores McNeese P Jr. Lufkin, Texas Kasey Frederick* Nicholls OF Sr. Bridge City, Texas Kelsey Miller* Nicholls OF So. Denham Springs, La. *2018 All-Conference Selectionlast_img read more

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first_imgTOTTENHAM’S players went from villains to heroes to prove to new boss Jose Mourinho they can get up for the battle.The Special One was The Fuming One in the first half as his side shockingly went 2-0 down to Olympiakos in their Champions League clash.7 Serge Aurier got his name on the scoresheet to give his side the lead for the first time in the game – and it was a beautyCredit: Getty Images – Getty7 Harry Kane wrapped up the victory as he headed home his second and his side’s fourthCredit: Getty Images – Getty7 Jose Mourinho was delighted as his side performed a spectacular comebackCredit: AFPIt forced Mourinho into a 26th minute substitute, hooking off the defensive Eric Dier for the offensive Christian Eriksen.And it proved a masterstroke from Mourinho as the Dane laid on two assists to complete a remarkable turnaround and ensure qualification for the last-16.Goals from El-Arabi  and Semedo had stunned the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium – it even saw “MourinhoOut” trending on social media.But Dele Alli – looking re-invigorated after just two games under Mourinho, capitalised on poor defending to give his side hope just before the break.7 Tottenham were stunned with just six minutes on the clock when El-Arabi fired home the openerCredit: EPA7 Spurs fans were stunned into silence when Semedo tapped home for 2-0Credit: News Group Newspapers Ltd7 Dele Alli brought Spurs back into the game with a goal right at the end of the first halfCredit: Getty Images – Getty7 Harry Kane was the man to get the equaliser early in the second halfCredit: News Group Newspapers LtdAnd in the second half it was as if a whole different side had taken to the pitch – no doubt with some stern words from the gaffer ringing in their ears.Captain Kane levelled the scores at 2-2 before full-back Serge Aurier beautifully half-volleyed at the back post to give the hosts the lead for the first time.Kane then headed home Eriksen’s pin-point free-kick to seal the most remarkable of victories on a night that began so terribly for Jose and his troops.It also meant Kane became the fastest player in Champions League history to reach 20 goals.The victory, a second in two games for Mourinho, means that Spurs can go to Bayern Munich in a fortnight with their place in the last 16 already secured.Jose Mourinho celebrates with Spurs ball boy after his quick thinking leads to Champions League equaliserMost Read In FootballTHROUGH ITRobbie Keane reveals Claudine’s father was ’50-50′ in coronavirus battleTOP SELLERGavin Whelan has gone from League of Ireland to David Beckham’s InstagramExclusiveRIYAD RAIDMan City’s Riyad Mahrez has three luxury watches stolen in £500,000 raidPicturedAN EYEFULMeet Playboy model and football agent Anamaria Prodan bidding to buy her own clubI SAW ROORodallega saw Rooney ‘drinking like madman’ & Gerrard ‘on bar dancing shirtless’NEXT STEPJonny Hayes set to move to English Championship having been let go by CelticTough they are unable to top Group B even if they win in Germany.But the manner of their early performance could have the alarm bells ringing for the new boss, who saw his side produce a display that had all the hallmarks of the end of Mauricio Pochettino’s reign.If Spurs thought that the arrival of Mourinho would provide a quick fix then the horror show that was the opening half hour proved how fanciful that idea is.last_img read more

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first_imgWhen more than 40 heads of state recently met in Washington for the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, improving economic opportunities topped the agenda. The leaders could take pride in Africa’s recent economic performance. But the gathering also spotlighted a daunting obstacle to sustaining robust and widely shared growth on the continent: rampant corruption that robs citizens of billions of dollars every year.By one estimate, illicit financial flows from Africa amounted to US$1.4 trillion between 1980 and 2009 — more than the economic aid and foreign direct investment the continent received during that period. A joint report by the African Development Bank (AfDB) and Global Financial Integrity (GFI) found that a staggering 60 to 65 percent of this lost cash disappears during “commercial transactions by multinational companies.”The extractive industries — which take natural resources like oil and minerals from the ground — are particularly prone to corruption, because they generate huge wealth that is easily diverted to line the pockets of venal rulers or businesses. This can be devastating in resource-rich developing countries like the Republic of Congo, where the government depends on earnings from extractive industries for 85 percent of its revenue. The siphoning of Africa’s riches is an old story, of course, though today’s culprits are not European imperialists like Belgium’s King Leopold II, but unaccountable African officials and corporations, both foreign and domestic. The paradoxical result is the persistence of grinding poverty amidst apparent plenty, a paradox visible in Angola, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Nigeria and a dozen other African nations. For too many Africans, improving governance of natural resource extraction is “a matter of life and death.”The sentiment is broadly shared among civil society groups across the continent. African citizens are increasingly aware that corruption and poor governance is cheating them and their countries out of billions of dollars. In a moving letter to U.S. President Barack Obama on the eve of the summit, civil society leaders from nine African countries declared that their children’s future depended on ending this destructive cycle:Our natural resources are an opportunity for us to create better lives for our future generations, but if good governance does not prevail, that chance will be squandered. And with oil, gas and mining, the one chance is all you get… We are fighting everyday to change our future. We risk arrest and intimidation to bring the issue of natural resources into the open. Where once silence reins people now debate in the streets how their revenues should be managed.Improving governance in the extractive industries would go a long way toward achieving the five goals of the Obama administration’s vision for the Africa summit: expanding trade and investment ties, engaging young African leaders, promoting inclusive sustainable development, expanding cooperation on peace and security, and gaining a better future for Africa’s next generation.Upon closing the summit, Obama announced that the assembled leaders had “agreed to step up our collective efforts against the corruption that costs African economies tens of billions of dollars every year — money that ought to be invested in the people of Africa.” The centerpiece of this effort would be “a new partnership to combat illicit finance,” based on “an action plan to promote the transparency that is essential to economic growth.”But where do we begin? Though it is an uphill battle, there are already a number of worthwhile international initiatives seeking to empower citizens to fight corruption and help ensure that natural resources benefit local communities. The authors of the abovementioned letter, for example, all belong to one network of NGOs called Publish What You Pay, which campaigns for transparency in extractive industries. The idea is that forcing companies and governments to publicly release information about their negotiated contracts and commercial transactions will discourage them from engaging in corrupt practices, and allow citizens to hold them accountable if they do.The Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) is another, increasingly influential coalition that requires participating governments to ensure that transactions between extractive companies and governments are fully disclosed to the public. To maintain their status as “EITI-compliant,” member countries must prepare annual reports about how they are implementing common standards. In parallel with this campaign, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has released its own set of best practices, “Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises,” and the United Nations has produced its own document, “Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.”These are all welcome initiatives. But what has their impact been? And how might they be improved?Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

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first_imgBut City manager Guardiola, who was then on a sabbatical, has played down the idea Ferguson proposed the United job to him.“My English is not perfect now, but it’s a little bit better. But in that period my English was not good and maybe I didn’t understand him,” Guardiola said on the eve of Sunday’s Manchester derby.“But I don’t remember, when we were in a magnificent restaurant having dinner, that he suggested to me that I should go to Old Trafford. I don’t remember. I know he said that, but I don’t remember.“We spoke about life, about football of course, about the Premier League, but he never sent me a message under the table to say: ‘Maybe, you know, United will be involved,’ or something like that.“I don’t remember that. It was just two friends, two colleagues in football, talking about many, many things.“When he spoke really fast, it was difficult to understand him. But it was nice because he chose an amazing restaurant and of course he paid.”Ferguson stepped down at United at the end of the 2012-13 season, but by then Guardiola had already committed to join Bayern Munich.In any case, Guardiola said he wanted to join City and link up again with director of football Txiki Begiristain, with whom he had previously worked at Barcelona.– Ferguson achievements ‘magnificent’ –“I had already spoken to Bayern,” Guardiola told reporters in Manchester this week.“And in my mind, I was clear that I wanted to live that amazing experience in Germany.“Bayern Munich were the first to call me, alongside Manchester City. But I decided to go to Germany, to learn German and to live that experience.Pep Guardiola is pictured with Alex Ferguson during the UEFA Champions League final in 2011 © AFP/File / CARL DE SOUZA“From the moment Manchester City approached, I decided that if I were to go to the Premier League, I would go with them, because I know Txiki.“I met Khaldoon (al Mubarak, the City chairman) there in my last period in Munich and they showed more interest than any other club to pick me up and that was so important for me.“They said: ‘We want you, not just for the hypothetical titles you are going to win, or won in the past. We want you.’“That’s why I decided to come here. And believe me, I don’t have any regrets about that.”Guardiola retains plenty of admiration for Ferguson, who won 49 trophies in 26 and a half glittering years as United manager.“Definitely. Definitely,” said Guardiola. “Just imagine, 13 Premier Leagues. That’s why he’s ‘Sir’.“It’s magnificent, what he’s done. I said many times that sometimes you are lucky to be manager for one period when you have a group or generation of amazing players and you win a lot of titles.“He had a generation, out. A new one and win again, out. New one and win again. That is so complicated.“To maintain that for a long time and be there winning with attractive football, scoring lot of goals and not just in ‘Fergie time’, but during the games… I respect his long career.”0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000Pep Guardiola said he wanted to join Manchester City and link up again with director of football Txiki Begiristain, with whom he had previously worked at Barcelona © AFP/File / Oli SCARFFMANCHESTER, United Kingdom, Dec 10 – Pep Guardiola says Manchester City were always his first-choice club when he decided to come to the Premier League, despite Alex Ferguson’s attempt to lure him to Manchester United.Former United manager Ferguson wrote in his 2015 book ‘Leading’ that he asked Guardiola to contact him before accepting his next job during a dinner in New York in 2012.last_img read more

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first_imgFollowing a pitch inspection at Healy Park this afternoon, there is currently surface water on the playing surface and the weather forecast gives more rain tonight. Brewster Park is also unplayable.Subsequently, the Ulster Under 21 Football Championship game between Ard Mhacha and Dún na nGall has been moved to Kingspan Breffni Park, Cavan with the slightly later throw in time of 8.30pm.  DONEGAL’S U-21 GAME WITH ARMAGH MOVED TO CAVAN was last modified: April 2nd, 2014 by John2Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)last_img read more

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first_img Drake Game Notes Story Links Live Stats DES MOINES, Iowa — The Drake University football team is coming off its bye week and hosts the Campbell Fighting Camels on Saturday at 1 p.m.Saturday’s contest will be the seventh all-time meeting between the Bulldogs and the Camels. Drake leads the all-time series, 5-1, with Campbell earning its first win over the Bulldogs last year. The Bulldogs enter Saturday’s game with a 3-4 record and are 2-2 in PFL play after losing to San Diego on Oct. 15. The Camels have lost their last two games and are coming off a tough overtime loss to Stetson, 30-24. Senior running back Conley Wilkins is one of the best in the PFL. He ranks second in the PFL with 968 all purpose yards and third with 586 yards rushing. Wilkins has found the end zone five times this season and has scored at least one touchdown in six of his last nine games, dating back to last season. For the second straight year, fifth-year senior Eric Saubert is leading the Bulldogs in receiving. This season, he has racked up 475 receiving yards on 41 receptions and five touchdowns. Last year, he caught 55 passes for 506 yards receiving and nine touchdowns. Defensively, fifth-year senior Taylor Coleman leads the Bulldogs and ranks fifth in PFL with 61 tackles. He recorded a season-high 16 tackles in Drake’s setback at Dayton on Oct. 1.Campbell has a pair of outstanding skilled players, running back DeShawn Jones and wide receiver Aaron Blockmon. Jones is one of two PFL running backs averaging more than 100 yards rushing per game and ranks second in the conference with nine touchdowns. Blockmon ranks fourth in the league with 79.0 receiving yards per game and third in scoring with 6.3 points per game. Campbell’s defense is one of the best in the league. The Camels lead the league in third-down conversion and rank fifth in the nation, holding teams to just a 27 percent conversion rate. Campbell also leads the PFL in pass defense and ranks sixth in the country allowing only 157.7 passing yards per game. Print Friendly Version Tickets Audio Live Video last_img read more

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first_imgfrederic lardinois Starbucks just launched two iPhone apps. One app, myStarbucks, allows users to find stores, build drinks, and browse the coffee chain’s menu and find nutritional information. While this is interesting, the second app is far more exciting. Starbucks Card Mobile gives users a virtual Starbucks Card and in 16 select stores in Silicon Valley and Seattle, users will be able to use this app to pay for their drinks. The app will display a barcode that the baristas at these stores will be able to scan. In addition, the mobile payment app will also allow users to check their card’s balance, reload it with any major credit card, and view their transaction history. For now, this feature will only be available in these two test markets, which, according to Starbucks, were chosen because of the high usage rates of iPhones and Starbucks’ loyalty cards. After this trial, Starbucks will decide whether it will bring this feature to other markets.While similar and more sophisticated payment schemes that use mobile phones have already become relatively widespread in other countries, the US is still lagging behind, though some interesting mobile payment projects have already made it to the market. Just last month, Nokia announced its Nokia Money service, but it remains to be seen if this service will be able to gain any traction.Starbucks, on the other hand, already has a large user base for its Starbucks Card and given that customers have to use their card to get access to Starbuck’s Wi-Fi network, customers already have a pretty strong incentive to use the card and the app. Related Posts Tags:#mobile#news#web What it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech …center_img Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces Role of Mobile App Analytics In-App Engagement The Rise and Rise of Mobile Payment Technologylast_img read more

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first_imgBack in March I reported that I would be taking leave from this blog as I embarked on an eight-month sabbatical. With support from the Hanley Award I received last year, I was able to take an unpaid leave from BuildingGreen for some rejuvenation, reflection, research, and writing.I did all that, and my colleague, Tristan Roberts, kindly (and ably) took over this blog while I was out of commission. Now I’m back, invigorated by the time off and inspired by my work during the sabbatical. An old bicycle, panniers, and a handlebar bagStarting in late March, I bicycled through the major desert biomes of the American Southwest. I flew with my 12-year-old Cannondale bike, four panniers, and an assortment of gear (including a new ultra-lightweight MacBook Air computer) to San Diego, California. With the help of a friend, I reassembled my bike the night I arrived in my hotel room and the next morning packed up all my gear into the front and rear panniers and handlebar bag, and began an adventure that would take me 1,925 miles over six weeks.I won’t say that the trip was easy. I have been a commuter bicyclist for decades, but I don’t think I had ridden more than 25 miles in a day for 25 years before I started out. Some 30 years earlier I had participated in a 600-mile trip to raise money for the Northeast Sustainable Energy Association, of which I was executive director, but that was long ago, I was with a group, and we had a support vehicle. On this trip, I was alone, a lot older, wiser (well, maybe not), and self-contained. Time to thinkIn the academic world (with which I’m only peripherally involved), sabbaticals are intended to be times of recharging, but also opportunities to delve deeply into one’s area of focus. A microbiologist might conduct research into the role of enzymes in regulating cell metabolism. A classics scholar might write a book synthesizing new perspectives on Greek society.For me — someone who has been involved in energy conservation and green building for 35-plus years — this was an opportunity to think about where we’re heading with green building and how to bring about the dramatic reductions in energy consumption that are needed if we are to head off the worst impacts of climate change.I did a lot of that — and will discuss my emerging perspectives over the next several weeks. But first let me discuss the rejuvenation part of my sabbatical. Only one flat tireAmong the challenges I faced:â— Getting drenched by cold rain on my second day as I rode out of Alpine, California. (I would later come to long for some of that precipitation in Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas, where I saw scarcely a drop of rain.)â— Riding through a tunnel on Highway 60 going uphill after I left Superior, Arizona. There was no shoulder, and the Adventure Cycling map I had with me warned of the dangers. In the middle of the tunnel, a dozen Harleys passed me with throttles wide open and mufflers modified to be extra loud. I learned later that it was Motorcycle Week in Arizona.â— Keeping warm camping at 6,000 feet after crossing a pass near Three Way, Arizona, as I threaded my way through a section of the western Rockies. I had a very lightweight down sleeping bag and even with virtually all my clothes on in my bag and in my solo tent, I was really cold. I didn’t have a thermometer, but a water bottle I had in the tent with me froze pretty solid that night!â— Getting blown into the road in Hatch, New Mexico where winds coming out of the southeast were a steady 30-40 mph, with gusts as high as 60! The dust blowing across the road blocked visibility to such an extent that the New Mexico Highway Department actually closed the highway between Deming and Hatch!â— Competing with traffic and exhaust on the seemingly endless strip of fast-food restaurants and gas stations in El Paso, Texas as I skirted the Mexican border.â— Fixing a flat — my only one! — near Sierra Blanca, Texas, in the middle of nowhere.â— Breathing the smoke of West Texas fires and getting stuck at the McDonald Observatory for a second night due to wildfires in the area. (Staying two nights at the observatory was a great thing, but the fires were a bit disconcerting!)â— Surviving unseasonably hot weather in West Texas; it was 104° when I biked into Langtry, which is a dirt-poor, dust-dry town of just a few tens of residents that was made famous by Judge Roy Bean, who famously took things into his own hands with his “law west of the Pecos.”â— Nursing my sore knees on the endless miles of Texas, where the only food would be at gas station convenience stores (and their packaged white-bread sandwiches) that might be 50 miles apart. I pedaled over 1,000 miles in the state!â— Making my way down to Houston, Texas, where I ended my trip, on a six-lane frontage road to an eight-lane highway. 1,800 miles without a drop of rainBut, those hardships were really pretty minor. Overall, I had an amazing time, exploring from the ground level a part of our country that few of us ever get to know. I had no falls or run-ins with vehicles. The big-sky vistas and rolling highways were spectacular. I met wonderful people, especially members of the Warm Showers network who graciously open up their homes to bicyclists.I visited nature preserves with verdant springs hidden deep in the desert. I dipped my toe into the back-road towns and forgotten highways of the rural Southwest. And I got a taste of political attitudes that are quite different from what we have in Vermont — let’s just say I wouldn’t have wanted to be riding through Texas wearing an Obama tee-shirt!And while I got less of the reflective time than I thought I would on the bike trip — instead of wiling away the miles lost in thoughts about the future and solutions to our energy problems I was mostly thinking about my knees and my butt and how good a Gatorade would taste about now as I labored up yet another hill, and whether I would really make it to the next town, still thirty miles away — I did come away from the experience with new, fresh perspectives on the challenges facing us.Biking through the Southwest, where for about 1,800 miles of my trip scarcely a drop of rain had fallen since the previous fall, I thought a lot about our most precious of resources: water. I saw first-hand how great our dependence is on the rivers and aqueducts carrying this precious commodity from mountains many hundreds of miles away — and how vulnerable we are to droughts and shortages.That experience informed much of my work during the remainder of my sabbatical, when I was focused on “resilient design.” I’ll be addressing that over the coming weeks.Alex Wilson is the founder of BuildingGreen, Inc. in Brattleboro. To access archives of his daily blog on this bike trip, visit Alex’s personal website. To keep up with his latest articles and musings, you can follow him on Twitter.last_img read more

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first_imgHow Intelligent Data Addresses the Chasm in Cloud Related Posts Serverless Backups: Viable Data Protection for … adriana lee Dropbox clearly wants to be more than a mere cloud-storage company. To get there, it’s trying to rally developers with a new suite of coding tools to shape what it calls the Dropbox Platform.What’s The Dropbox Platform?Dropbox, founded in 2007, offers two gigabytes of free cloud storage to users who register. It faces no shortage of competitors, but its simple drag-and-drop desktop interface, generous storage offer and referral bonus of additional storage has steadily won converts. Dropbox now says more than 175 million people use its service. As of its last funding round in 2011, the company is valued at $4 billion dollars. A Dropbox account currently syncs documents on your phone, computer or tablet to the cloud, allowing you—and others you invite—to access them just about wherever you go. More than 100,000 third-party apps can tap Dropbox services to build upon that basic functionality, the company says, often to store documents and related data for personal or collaborative purposes.Dropbox has ambitious plans to expand that simple setup into a much bigger, if still somewhat vague, ecosystem of apps and services. One goal is to let users sync and share a broader range of data—your contacts, say, or playlists, or game saves—in order to, in effect, kill off the hard drive altogether.It’s a big vision, even if it remains a bit hazy. In effect, Dropbox wants more app makers to adopt its cloud storage for their needs, which is presumably how your contacts or playlists or photos or whatever would end up in its cloud to begin with. Then, the company figures, it should be possible to build meta-services that can benefit from all that data stored in Dropbox. Which Is Where Developers Come InDropbox unveiled a new suite of coding tools today designed to pave the way for app makers to incorporate its cloud storage into their offerings. Dropbox’s Datastore API, for instance, lets developers store and sync any type of application data to Dropbox (i.e., those game saves and to-do lists and whatnot). This is very different from today’s commonly Dropboxed documents, spreadsheets and PDFs, since end users would never directly edit the raw structured data.Apps themselves, however, rely on these files to save and remember sessions. So having those files synced to Dropbox could let you play a puzzle game on your iPhone and pick it up on your Android tablet later. And if one session gets interrupted—say, by a cellular dead zone—the app could be programmed to save the data automatically as soon as a connection becomes available.Dropbox also announced a few user-interface components it calls “Drop-ins,” which are essentially bits of shortcut code designed to offer easy access to Dropbox storage within apps, whether they’re running on iPhones, Androids or other devices.The Dropbox Chooser, for instance, opens a window that lets users select files currently stored on Dropbox. The company explains it this way:The Chooser is the fastest way to get files from Dropbox into your web app. It’s a small JavaScript component that enables your app to get files from Dropbox without having to worry about the complexities of implementing a file browser, authentication, or managing upload and storage.A similar drop-in called Saver sort of reverses the process, allowing users to, well, save files back into Dropbox. Saver is currently only available for the Web, but Dropbox plans to make it available for native apps later in the year. Lead image by Madeleine Weiss for ReadWritecenter_img Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Cloud Hosting for WordPress: Why Everyone is Mo… Tags:#cloud storage#developers#Dropbox#software platform last_img read more