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Why the Girl Scouts Are Learning to Pick Locks

In 2011, One of the girl scouts caught the attention of Kelly Robinson the lockpicking instructor. Robinson has come to this Cyber Camp at Collin College, a community college just outside of Dallas, to steer young girls toward the booming information security profession. She’s been running a lockpicking program at monthly Dallas Hackers Association meetings for two years and does presentations at information security conferences. But teaching Girl Scouts to pick locks, hack computers, break zip-ties, and escape handcuffs is something new.


ALMKE, GERMANY – JULY 31: Scouts singing prior to their dinner at the camp on July 31, 2010 in Almke near Wolfsburg, Germany. About 5000 young scouts from Germany, Russia, Belgium, Suisse, USA and Italy aged 12 to 20 participate in a camp. Since 1973, the German VCP-Christian Guides and Pathfinders organisation, offers an International historic boys and girls scout meeting during the summer holidays. On a 25 hectare field include 1370 tens, a tent church and a tent theater. The Federal camp is held every four years. (Photo by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images)

“If you let off the tensioner, those pins will drop,” Robinson tells Genung. “Just take a deep breath, chill for a minute. Tell yourself it’s just a lock.” A few minutes later, her pupil cries out in triumph as the lock pops open in her hand.


This weeklong Girl Scout Cyber Camp is the first in the region and among the first in the nation. Soon the badges will follow. The Girl Scouts, along with Palo Alto Networks, will be unveiling its official Cybersecurity badges for Daisy, Brownie and Junior (grades K through 5) Girl Scouts this summer. Badges for Cadettes, Seniors, and Ambassadors (grades 6 to 12) will roll out in 2019.


These camps are at the forefront of the movement to build a conduit for Girl Scouts and careers in science, engineering, science and math (STEM.) “I’m hoping I’m showing young women like the Girl Scouts that they can become leaders in this field,” Robinson says. “And that it goes so far beyond just sitting at a computer.”


The connection between lockpicking and hacking is stronger than you might think. Both skills can be used for productive or for nefarious reasons. And like a hacker, a good picker doesn’t break the lock with brute force but with subtlety and finesse.


Of course, the Cyber Campers are told not to pick locks that are not theirs without permission, and taught that the hacking skills they learn are to be used for good, to protect people against malicious “black hat” types. But this is about more than ethics. It’s about opening their eyes to future careers.


“There is a growing crisis in confidence among young girls, particularly when it comes toSTEM education and the pursuit of STEM careers,” says Amanda Duquette, the chief marketing officer of the Girl Scouts of Texas. “As the largest girls leadership development program in the country, Girl Scouts is poised to fill this gap.”


William Whitney is a Collin College professor and the designer of the Cyber Camp curriculum who does contract work for cities trying to protect their utilities from hackers and cyber saboteurs. “I’m in the midst of a penetration test on a power plant,” he says as the Girl Scouts work their locks. “In fact, I have to go there after this.”

Whitney’s Cyber Camp curriculum starts with hardware, although not the kind with padlocks and rake picks. He walks his students through electrical theory and instructs them on physically cabling computers before they move on to anything else. “They say, ‘I thought we came here to hack,’” he says. “But you can’t hack before you know how things are put together.”


The hacking happens within a small network that is set up in a single room. The scouts use Kali Linux penetration testing software to learn hacking skills. The girls have laptops and duck in and out of a central server, learning some common exploits and how to guard against them.


“The hacking part is hard if you do what you’re supposed to do,” Whitney says. “Take that back home and teach your parents.”


One part of his lesson plan is to show the campers how much information is available if left unprotected on public servers. The demonstration is dramatic: He uses entirely legal methods to see photos, music selections, and other information from actual strangers. “If I can access this, so can everybody else,” Whitney says.


For Mikaela Lawrence, 13, this is an early step toward her future. Asked what she wants to do when she grows up, she says “robotics engineer” without hesitation. She knows the coding and hands-on work with computers at Cyber Camp will help attain this dream, but she picked up other practical lessons during the week.


Lock picking was just one of many things she learned during that week. She got an eye-opener when she watched a stranger open someone unprotected photos. “I need to be safer,” she says. “And I definitely need more complex passwords.”



Implementing a Moving Business to Success

Finding the right moving business is vital if you would like the procedure to be a smooth one. A number of them are a complete nightmare to use and you also wish to avoid them at any cost. Speaking of prices, you also should be certain you’re getting a fantastic value for what they’re doing. It’s necessary to understand benefits of hiring a moving company to help you move that all moving companies provide. You have to learn what they specifically can do for you before you commit to working together.

The advertisements for a moving company might encourage you to get hold of them. But it’s your obligation to check beyond that too. You have to learn what their standing is on the market. This may be checked with the Better Business Bureau for any complaints. It’s also wise to inquire to find out that other individuals have used for their particular moving needs. Their stories will be able to allow you to determine if a given moving firm is doing a fantastic job or never.BBB A+


It is well worth it to start looking into reductions too. There might be coupons in their site that it is possible to save money with. Just because they’re a moving business does not mean they do not possess such supplies to encourage folks to use them within the contest. Do not pick your moving business based on these offers though. This ought to be an additional advantage when it’s supplied to be able that will assist you to save money but to also get excellent support.

Locate out the length of time a moving firm has been in business. The ones that have years of support behind them clearly do understand how to run a successful business. They’ve observed numerous changes in the business however they have the ability to continue moving forward. Contact them with any questions that you have so that you can learn how their degree of customer support is.

Contact at least three moving companies which have a good standing to schedule a complimentary consultation. This enables them to return to your home and also to let you know exactly what they can give you. Then you may compare these costs, services, guidelines, and time frames to base a last decision on. It’s a good idea to have a list of questions currently readily available to talk about with each of these. The answers to these questions can help to find out which one you will select also.

The perfect children photography experience: how to have a great day!

When planning for your baby or loved ones to shoot some pictures, viewing online portfolios of angelic children that were grinning and peaceful sleeping babies, you will be pardoned for believing that family photograph sessions are consistently a soothing peaceful experience. Where are all the cranky toddlers, the teenagers that are stubborn and the infants that are starving to decline everything that crosses their path?

Well, the fact remains, it’s really rare that a picture shooting including babies and kids goes off with no hitch. Most issues are surmountable, many are short lived, but it really is part of working with kids to expect these problems and find approaches for coping together.

Therefore, what can your kids get the most out of your session and you do to be sure you? These suggestions might help:

1. First and foremost, try to experience no expectations. This is the biggest mistake of all. Getting into a child photography session with a photo record of shots that you think you should have gotten, having a clear image in your mind’s eye of everything you desire just because a friend has the same on her wall, and burrowing best behavior into the kids in advance is a recipe for failure. The the fact is, the most kids get an off day because they can be shy of strangers, or just feel demanded they are not exactly certain what’s expected of them. The minutes that you are spending with the kids and the photographer are the best spend by developing a relationship between your photographer along with your kids. They usually are skilled at bringing out the very best in them. So, your pictures may be a little more ‘honest’ than you expected, or the youngsters mightn’t all be looking at the camera at precisely the same time. But they’ll be more authentic, and more relaxed if your expectations can also curl up and luxuriate in the shock of what may come.

2. Ensure that your children are wellfed and rested. It simply goes without saying that kids who are thirsty, starving or tired are more likely be and to grizzle distracted.

3. Assuring a reward for good behavior can work well throughout a session that is difficult, but please, usually do not get this benefit food oriented! Giving a kid a chocolate biscuit half way via a blast isn’t just period consuming, but messy! Offer some bubbles, play with a basketball or put on some music. That is the best way to handle a situation like this.

4. Offer careful consideration to your youngsters’ clothing. Whenever they’re not wearing clothing they may be used to wearing; they won’t behave like themselves. Buttondown shirts tucked in with belts and shoes /socks don’t make kids feel as this is not their normal play equipment relaxed. It is still a clearer idea to dress kids that are young in clothes they can curl up and be comfortable in. You should be after more formal shots than play shots. Straightforward, solid colors in soft cloths will assist simply take the focus far from the garments and straight back on the youngsters.

5. Expect your youngsters to behave a little differently than ordinary. In the case of babies, they’ve carried away in their program, and with younger children, they fight to comprehend precisely what is asked of them. A kid that is typically smiley might only be a little more allowed. A sleepy infant could be just a little more conscious. Specialist photographers are accustomed to this and also have strategies for dealing with it.

6. Be prepared to be surprised. A whole lot of the capturing occurs mid song waving a toy above our heads, or /dance routine, or hanging out of a tree. Your photographer will know what he/she is doing, although it is common for parents to believe it’s all going a bit pear-shaped. It really is rare that some family pictures that are fabulous aren’t produced by these impulsive minutes.

7. Get a drone to make some pictures: homepage. Kids probably have never seen an aircraft like this and it’s very likely they will find it interesting. You will get some nice shots out of this.

8. Make sure you bring some nice foods for your kids. If you are worried about their health try some of these bars:

Needless to say, in case your kid is miserable, or sick, always reschedule your program. You want them at their very best, but taking that no one is on their best behavior from time to time and that sometimes the very best results are brought by the sudden, is the main element to extremely soothing and letting the session unfold together with the electricity of your youngsters. It’s just all-in a days’ work to your photographer.

How to Use Blog Posts As a Market Research Tool


One of the most powerful market research tools that you have at your fingertips is your business blog.

You can learn everything about your audience with a few well written posts – their thoughts, their feelings and of course, their buying habits.

Blog posts are created with social media in mind, and should be used to interact with your audience.

If you use your business blog well, you can find out all kinds of information through it and that information will enable you to develop future products and services.

Ones that your readers actually want and will pay for. So how can you use your blog as one of your main market research platforms?

Let’s dig in.

Ask a Question

Come right out with it and ask a question in your blog post. Your audience and conversation is a two-way street, they’ll happily share what works for them – if you let them.

Write a blog post on a topic related to your business or product, and then at the end, ask readers what they think. They’ll give their opinions in the comments and you’ll learn valuable data about your product and service offering – live R&D

Always Answer Comments

Just because you asked a question, your job is far from done. You need to take the time to respond to every commenter.

  1. Thank them and comment on something they said
  2. Answer their question if they’ve asked one.
  3. Use this opportunity to follow up on their comments and ask them for more details.

In a market research style blog post your job is to make everyone, every commenter feel valued. After all, they’ve taken the time to help you and your business.

Email for More Info

You can also choose to email respondents for follow-up details. Sometimes this can be a better approach because your reader may be more willing to share their opinions on your products and services privately with you.

You do not want to look like you’re soliciting information or praise – that feels false, and your reader can detect that easily.

Only use the email address they provide on the blog’s comment form. Now this is something I don’t do as the privacy laws in the UK are different to those in the US, however, if I see they are subscribed to my newsletter as well, then I will reach out in private, as they have opted into communication and dialogue with me.

I tend to send a link to the post and express an interest in their opinion and thoughts on the topic.

You can always offer up your email address in post for private feedback or suggest they use your contact form if you prefer.

Making Your Blog a Nice, Safe Neighborhood

Often, people won’t leave their comments because they’re afraid of getting attacked or insulted.

I’ve stopped commenting on other blogs when other commenters have attacked people and the blog owner has ignored it. I don’t like to read bitchiness in the comments. Bitchy comments affect your business, they show the commenter and you in a not so positive light.

Help your commenters overcome their fear by aiming to be as supportive and personal as possible.

While your business blog should generally stick to business related topics, share a personal story sometimes and make it feel human rather than cold and sterile. And if there is any bitchiness, stamp on it quick, you may think it’s banter and harmless but I’m not the only person put off by it.

Use Comments for Future Posts

When people comment on your blog, they tell you what they like or don’t like. They may also express interest in learning more about something. Use this feedback for future blog posts.

For example, readers may ask a question about something you said in the post or something related to it. If you use the Editorial Calendar Plugin then add these ideas to the titles section. Start a list of these topics that your readers are interested in.

You’ll get the triple benefit of a ready source of new blog post ideas while giving your audience what they want and making them feel part of your community at the same time.

Spy on Your Competition

You can get great information about your market-place just by looking at your competitors’ blogs.

There’s a good chance you share your audience with them, so see what their readers have to say in the comments. Join in and leave a comment too, you can get traffic back to your own blog from a well placed, supportive comment.

You can use your competitors’ blogs for future post ideas as well. There is no copyright on a comment, so you can expand upon something you read, although it’s good practice to state your source. In fact, I’d insist on stating the source, it can lead to a friendship and all kinds of joint venture opportunities.

Beyond Your Blog

The technique of asking questions to get a discussion going for market research purposes is one you can use anywhere. Try posting your blog post on your Facebook profile, Twitter feed or any forums you belong to.

The key is to approach it not as a marketer gathering information, but as a friend asking for opinions. This makes people much more comfortable and the information they give you will be more honest and thoughtful.

And finally, remember there are many types of post you should be using on your business blog. Market research posts are just one type and you shouldn’t over do them. Remember to write the hyper useful posts that give back to your readers:

  • How to posts
  • Review posts
  • Case Studies
  • And avoid coma business blog posts

And always share with your readers the results of your research – as an extra for newsletter subscribers or as another blog post. This is another way of thanking them for their time.

Over to you – have you used your blog for market research? How did it go? What extra would you add to this?