MAKE 50,000 MORE SMALL BUSINESSES ELIGIBLE FOR FEDERAL CONTRACTS

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is seeking public comments on two proposed rule changes. These changes will help Agen ceme businesses to be eligible for federal government contracts.

The SBA is seeking a revision of small business size standards for two sets of business categories. One includes eight sectors that include agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting; mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction; utilities; construction under the RIN 3245-AG89. While the other, RIN 3245-AG90, covers businesses in transportation and warehousing; information; finance and insurance; real estate and rental and leasing.

In the rules, the SBA is looking for a review of size standards for 113 industries. What this means is, the pool of small businesses eligible for federal contracts will expand to over 50,000. Additionally a further 280 additional financial institutions will also qualify as small businesses. As a result this will make them eligible to bid in the 23% of contracts federal agencies have set aside for small businesses.

SBA Wants to Allow 50,000 More Small Businesses to Bid for Federal Contracts
If approved the measure will help small businesses impacted by COVID-19 get an additional lifeline towards the road of recovery.

This is also part of a comprehensive review of the small business size standards, as required under the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010. Besides evaluating business size standards, SBA will also consider the structural characteristics of individual industries, including average firm size, the degree of competition, and federal government contracting trends.

Last year federal government agencies provided a whopping $ 132.9 billion in contracts to small businesses by awarding 26.5% of federal contracts to small businesses. Of which, $26 billion in bids were awarded to women-owned small businesses. While a further 33.27% of federal subcontracts bids had been given to small businesses. This is up from the $120 billion of the previous year.

How to Introduce Your Kid to the Wild World of Social Media

One of the trickiest parts of parenting is teaching our kids how to safely do things that have a great potential for harming them. It starts with teaching them to use scissors safely when they’re preschoolers, then sharp knives to cut their own food and, before we know it, how to drive a car. We don’t like it but we do it because we know the alternative—that they do these things without ever learning how to do them safely under our guidance—is much worse.

Whether we like it or not, our kids will grow up and use the internet with all of its potential cyberbullying, fake news and disturbing content. We could ban them from all of it while they’re still children, tweens and teenagers; or we can teach them how to use social media—and, more broadly, the internet—safely.

Remember when we thought “Stranger Danger” made sense?
We used to teach kids not to talk to strangers. A stranger could hurt you! A stranger could kidnap you! Strangers are dangerous. But then we realized that we talk to strangers all day—the host at the restaurant, the clerk at the post office, the woman in front of us in the grocery store check-out line. We were a walking contradiction.

Only a very small percentage of strangers are dangerous, and those people exhibit behaviors that can tip us off to this fact. And actually, a child is much more likely to be hurt by someone they know rather than someone they don’t. That’s why we started teaching our kids about “tricky people” instead.

We can think about online strangers the same way. Caroline Knorr, parenting editor at Common Sense Media, writes for the Washington Post that it’s better to teach our kids to recognize predatory behavior than it is to teach them not to talk to strangers online at all:

In today’s world, where kids as young as 8 are interacting with people online, they need to know the boundary between appropriate and inappropriate conversation. Kids are often pressured by their own friends to talk about sex, so they need to know it’s okay to tell peers to back off. Go beyond “stranger danger” and teach them what kinds of questions are not okay (for example, not okay: “Are you a boy or a girl?”; “Where do you live?”; “What are you wearing?”; “Do you want to have a private conversation?”).

How Parents Can Get Involved on ‘Safer Internet Day

You know what would be great? If every day were “Safer Internet Day.” There is a lot for parents to be terrified of when it comes to the internet: online predators, cyberbullying, the prevalence of incredibly graphic and violent pornography, and so on. But complete avoidance isn’t an option if we want to teach our kids how to navigate the internet safely and wisely. So we created a holiday to help us along, and that holiday is today.

Safer Internet Day started in 2004 in Europe as an internet safety awareness campaign and is now celebrated in more than 100 countries, according to its website. It is hosted in the United States by ConnectSafely, a non-profit organization that is “dedicated to educating users of connected technology about safety, privacy and security.” Here’s a little more about the holiday:

Safer Internet Day aims to create both a safer and a better internet, where everyone is empowered to use technology responsibly, respectfully, critically and creatively. The campaign aims to reach out to children and young people, parents and carers, teachers, educators and social workers, as well as industry, decision makers and politicians, to encourage everyone to play their part in creating a better internet.

Participate in person
PTAs and YMCAs across the country have committed to hosting events today or in the coming weeks and months in support of Safer Internet Day. Google’s Be Internet Awesome program is partnering with key organizations, including the National PTA, ConnectSafely, Scholastic and YMCA, to offer workshops and trainings for families.

You can search available workshops with the YMCA and view the full list of participating PTAs.

How to Fix Your Family’s Tech Problems Without Going Crazy

I don’t mind helping out friends, loved ones, and extended family members when some device or service goes wrong, but it can be tricky when they don’t quite understand how to describe the problem—or even the things they’ve done to fix it. Having found myself in this position quite a few times, I’ve come up with a few general troubleshooting techniques that you can use to (hopefully) address most problems your family members bug you about.

Make sure the device is running the most updated version of its software

Whether someone says they’re having a problem with their smartphone, their router, or most other devices, it never hurts to confirm that they’ve actually updated their device’s software to the latest version. That’s easy for smartphones; for PCs, make sure they’ve at least run the system-update tools in Windows or macOS recently. If they’re still using an ancient version of either (such as Windows 7 or macOS Sierra, for example), you might even consider walking them through an upgrade to a more modern OS—a longer-term project, but something worth considering as a larger solution.

You’ll probably need to walk your friends and family members through the firmware update process for trickier devices, like their routers, but it’s worth the time for the additional security updates or features they’ll receive. And if a device has some kind of auto-updating feature, it doesn’t take that long to pull up its manual, find out where that setting is, and have them confirm for you that they have it turned on.

Ditch These Racist Terms From Your Tech Vocabulary

The tech industry has a lot of work to do in the fight for racial justice and equality. But while hiring black employees and other under-represented minorities in the field is crucial, there are subtler issues that need to be addressed, too. That includes reflecting on and changing the racially insensitive terminology that is commonplace throughout the industry, and there’s a growing movement of companies and independent developers that are trying to do just that.

Recently, GitHub announced it will change the term “Master repository” to “Main repository” due to the former term’s references to slavery, and will be abandoning the terms “whitelist” and “blacklist” to remove any racial connotations from their use. The changes will apply to all projects on the platform.

Github isn’t the only company leaving these words behind. Other organizations that have made similar pledges include:

Android Open Source Project (AOSP)
Apple
Curl (programming language)
Drupal
Go (programming language)
Grammarly
Microsoft
OpenZFS
OpenSSL
PHPUnit
PowerShell
Python
The UK Government’s cybersecurity branch
This is just a small selection of organizations that have updated or are in the process of updating their terminology with neutral phrasing sans such overt racial references. Some groups began changing these terms years ago, but the numerous alternatives to terms like “Master” or “Slave” has made the transition slightly messier than expected—“Main and Secondary,” “Primary and Secondary,” “Master and Minion,” etc.

How to secure your open source supply chain

Commentary: Open source has never been more popular, which means it’s time to figure out how to effectively secure the open source you use. Two experts weigh in.

The world is made of software, and upwards of 99% of any software you use–open source or proprietary–includes open source components. Some of those components come with a vendor standing behind them, willing to indemnify you in case something goes wrong. For other components, you might be able to get a subscription through a company like Tidelift to ensure steady maintenance.

But then something like the Heartbleed bug rips a hole open in OpenSSL, and you’re left wondering, “How could I have prevented this?” The short, but hopeful answer is: You can’t. Not really. Not completely. As Chef and System Initiative co-founder Adam Jacob stressed in a recent Open Source in Business interview, the real question is “how quickly can you react to the disruption in your supply chain?” not how to preempt such disruptions.