Collier Mosquito Control District…don’t grow your own

Patrick Linn, MS, MSHAPI Executive Director, Collier Mosquito Control District

Here’s a true story that occurred this summer in Naples, as told by one of our professional Field Technicians who answered a “request to visit” on behalf of a resident.

Resident: “I’m being eaten alive by mosquitoes when I get the paper each morning, but my neighbors aren’t getting a single bite!”

Field Technician: “Is it ok if I walk your property to check for mosquito habitat?”

Resident: “Sure, go right ahead, but I don’t have any bodies of water here!”

Field Technician (a short time later): “I think I found the problem, and you are correct, you don’t have a body of standing water.  Instead, you have a large pile of yard debris over in the corner of your yard which is providing a paradise for mosquitoes to hide  during the day. After they bite you in the morning, they’re hunkering down in that debris while the sun is out.”

Our Field Technicians encounter similar situations on nearly a daily basis during the summer months in Collier County, when
mosquitoes are most prolific. Residents relay reports of horrible mosquito infestations, and after a brief property inspection, our
Technicians typically identify a small, localized habitat where mosquitoes are breeding.

They then provide recommendations promoting a mosquito farm in their own yard. The most common suggestion is to remove or reduce the habitat by draining water from an item or removing piles of yard waste. The notion that one must live near a swamp or a body of water is misleading because mosquitoes can deposit their eggs in as little as a few tablespoons of standing water.

Then, thanks to the heat in our subtropical environment, those eggs hatch into buzzing blood-feeders in about seven days. Yes, even a discarded bottle cap full of rainwater can produce about 100 mosquitoes.

Property inspections are just one facet of the the Integrated Mosquito Management (IMM) program used by the Collier Mosquito  Control District. Our professionally trained employees utilize a science-based and multi-faceted approach which combines public education, source reduction, surveillance, and the biological, organic, or chemical control of larval or adult mosquitoes. All of these tools are required for an effective mosquito control program.

Need to schedule a Field Technician visit for your property? Please use the form on our website ( or call our office at (239) 436-1000.

Partners in Life and Business…Alex and Marina

Couples can have very diverse interests as well as personalities. Their business and personal life has a distinct separation, others merge and blend seamlessly. Alex and Marina are one of those “blended” couples   who are partners in life as well as business. During a recent  question and answer interview they provided background information and insight into their success. 






Names of Couple:  

Marina Berkovich and Alexander Goldstein

State or Country of Origin:

Both born in USSR – one country then, two countries now

Marina Berkovich in Ukraine

Alexander Goldstein in Russia   


Alexander Goldstein holds Masters of Music Degree from the prestigious Gnessin Russian State Academy of Music, where he studied from the age of 6 for 16 years. In USA, he studied computer video, audio and graphics at various certified institutions.

Marina earned her Bachelor of Arts in Accounting and Information Systems from Queens College, CUNY. She graduated from New York University School of Continuing Education as Computer Programmer and received her CPA licensure from The State of New York.

 Length of time in Naples:

16 years

 What drew you to Naples:

We were looking for a safe tropical community with good infrastructure, sandy beaches, existing cultural life, and overall atmosphere that would be conducive to productivity of our creative business as well as year-round health(ier) than NYC Metro area lifestyle.

 Name of Business:

ABG World Video and Audio Production

 Type of business and an overview of what you do:

ABG World is a Video and Audio Production Company. We are a full production company with capabilities to take a project from idea to premiere. We make broadcast quality video production, like documentary films, TV shows andpromotional reels. As an audio production we make film music and music compositions for figure skating, gymnastics, artistic swimming, etc.

 Services ABG World provides to general public:

DocuMemory is our trademark service to capture family oral/visual history to film formats with background music and client’s photos and videos. We made films from 5 minutes long to mini-series for people interested in preservation of their family archives, collections and stories for their future generations.

We perform data transfers from tapes, films, vinyl records or from any other analog media to digital formats on CD/DVD/Blu-ray, flash or hard drives.

What fuels your passion for what you do:

We are a family of workaholics, happy to take on a variety of creative challenges in our business setting. The more challenging the assignment, the more satisfaction we receive from its completion. We constantly reinvent ourselves through our creative pursuits, Alex through music composing and cinematography, Marina through writing books and scripts.

 Joys and challenges of living and working together:

To the question “how long you’ve been married?” Alex usually responds “One Day.” We love being together, sharing the same pursuits, playing off each other’s ideas and are always in discussion and contemplation, sometimes calling each other on the phone to the next room or more often, shouting “Eureka” from our adjacent business offices or from our adjacent home offices. We only have two challenges of working together – Marina cannot play any music when she writes, because it interferes with Alex’s music composing, and Alex cannot blast the music he’s editing, because it interferes with Marina’s writing. Ok, there’s a third challenge, scheduling time away from work…

 Advise for married couples who are considering going into business together: 

Set clear business vision, goals and expectations and define business roles.

Marina is a non-practicing CPA. As she advised her many clients starting a partnership, make sure you have worked out a clear agreement about business participation, assets, liabilities and income/loss distribution. It does not have to be a huge expensive legalese document. One page of who’s responsible for what and how will do to start with. Sign and date it. Don’t forget to periodically update it when business goals and priorities change. As the business grows, or when it’s complicated at inception, a more formal or substantial document may be needed.

In very trying times, like that we experience now with COVID and economic standstill, even the strongest of marriages may cave under the emotional and financial trauma of diminishing business income and assets or the loss of business itself. Couples should remember that marriage takes priority to business, so always reassess, re-strategize and do not blame each other.

Never stop participating in education circle – learn from a more experienced person, teach a newbie, pass new knowledge to your partner.

Also, as cliche as it seems, a very practical advice is to never put all your eggs in one basket. Develop some side income streams when times are good, so you can always restart with plan B.

 How can you be contacted:

239-566-1771 ABG World



NCH Healthcare System Sends Coronavirus-Killing Robot to Disinfect Local Restaurants

NCH is sending one of its Xenex Germ-Zapping robots to several local restaurants as a way of saying “thank you” to those businesses who collectively donated thousands of meals to NCH staff during this pandemic. Yesterday, NCH sent it’s robot to Sails Restaurant and Bellini on Fifth with plans to disinfect Lake Park Diner, La Colmar, Bill’s Café, and New York Pizza & Pasta by the end of the week.

The Xenex Germ-Zapping robot has been proven effective in killing Coronavirus and other  germs and viruses that may linger on surfaces by using powerful UV light. NCH received 4 of the robots back in February as an added level of disinfection to cleaning protocols already in place at our hospitals to help further lower hospital acquired infection rates. With the coronavirus pandemic impacting the globe, the decision was made to acquire 5 more bringing the fleet of virus-killing machines to nine.

The expense for all nine robots was covered by the generous donations from members of the board of trustees and other community members. “When we think of the restaurant industry, we know they have their cleaning protocols in place. We know they’re following the guidelines to keep diners safe,” said Georgine Kruedelbach, RN, Director of NCH Infection Prevention. “The robots and the UV light give just an extra layer of protection to complement everything else.”

NCH is happy to be able to give back to these establishments who gave so much to us, as they begin to reopen their doors to the public. “We are incredibly thankful that the community rallied behind NCH during this pandemic, and now it’s our turn to thank our community,” said NCH President & CEO, Paul Hiltz. “We are thrilled to offer the services of our germ-zapping robots to help these restaurants demonstrate our shared commitment to keep our community safe.”

 About NCH Healthcare System

The NCH Healthcare System is a not-for-profit, multi-facility healthcare system located in Naples, Florida, and is a member of the Mayo Clinic Care Network. The System is more than just two hospitals (referred to as the NCH Baker Hospital and NCH North Naples Hospital) with a total of 713 beds. NCH is an alliance of 775 physicians and medical facilities in dozens of locations throughout Collier County and southwest Florida that offers nationally recognized, quality health care to our community.

Our mission is to help everyone live a longer, happier, healthier life.

For more information, visit

Virtual Fundraising Galas Explained by expert Scott Robertson

Are you experiencing difficulties sleeping as you worry about how the charity, that is near and dear to your heart, is going to be able to survive in our current economy? Are you secretly afraid your charity is going to close its door because a lack of fundraising? Are you intrigued by the concept of Virtual Fundraising Gala to replace your traditional fundraising event?

It’s no secret that the effects of COVID-19 is straggling the fundraising efforts of many Not For Profit (NPO) organizations. They are faced with the same questions;

  • How are we going to survive without the revenue and exposure of our traditional gala?
  • How are we going to meet payroll so we can retain our dedicated staff?
  • How much longer can we afford to pay rent for our office?Our staff is working from home, but we have a lease signed for 3 more years?
  • What does the future hold and how are we going to raise the money to keep our doors open?

As we all know staying in a concerned state of worry attempting to answer these questions and more….Is simply not healthy, nor does it benefit your charity.

The question NPO’s should be asking is “How to do turn our traditional fundraising gala into a virtual fundraising gala”.

Let’s be honest, before March, 2020, 99.9% of charitable organizations had never heard of a virtual fundraising gala but less hosted one. They have no idea what elements of a traditional fundraising gala can apply and what won’t. They are frightened, uninformed, and afraid to make a mistake. Their gala is their biggest annual fundraiser and primary tool for donor development……and now they are faced with cancellation. This is typically when “analysis paralysis” sets in as leaders of NPO struggle with how to proceed with a virtual fundraising gala.

You are not alone. Many NPO’s share the same problem, how do we raise funds for our charity during the COVID-19 pandemic. The hard reality is without fundraising, your organization may no longer exist in 12 months (or even sooner). Please know I feel your pain and anticipated this issue.

In late February 2020, when I realized that COVID-19 was going to totally interrupt our lives and how traditional gala fundraisers were held, I invested most of my waking hours into creating a recipe of success for hosting Virtual Fundraising Galas. I knew that if I could figure out how to orchestrate a fundraising gala, into a digital format where everyone could shelter in place, enjoy themselves, and join others in supporting their favorite charities, we could save many charities and allow them to continue to do what they do best, serve their clients.

Your supporters believe in your charity and we needed a creative solution to allow them to give and or bid on auction items to support your charity. Thus, the concept of the virtual gala was born.

As few people actually understand how to produce a virtual auction, I realized I need to assemble a team of talented/knowledgeable vendors to help NPO’s host a successful event.

These include:

  • Production team to digitally choregraph all the elements of a Virtual Gala and broadcast out to our supporters
  • Story telling videographer to present the mission and work of the your organization in a concise and entertaining format.
  • Talented Co-hosts to help the show flow, be emphatic, and entertaining. Virtual auctions need to be fun!
  • Script writers
  • Partnerships with personnel from mobile bidding platforms to keep the bidding and donating process running smoothly

This allows my clients to work with skilled experts, who have the best interests of the charity in mind and allows me to focus on being the onstage talent and the big picture of the event.

One obstacle, I discovered, is these skilled vendors did not know what was entailed to be successful at a virtual gala, but they were willing to learn, try new concepts, and offer suggestions. Because of their winning attitude, and willingness to pivot, we make an unstoppable team. We have become one of the top Virtual Gala teams in the nation and we have a strong record of success to back up this claim.

We were there at the beginning, pioneering fundraising techniques that are new standard across the country for virtual galas. This cutting-edge thinking is allowing NPO’s to thrive instead of throwing up their hands to cancel their event.

Is this information making sense and starting to sound good to you?

You are likely thinking, what strategies are the same for virtual galas and what are different.

Mission first. As with any fundraiser for a NPO the message of the mission must permeate the event and provide compelling reasons to support the cause. Philanthropists support the change they wish to see in the world. This is the same for both traditional and virtual galas

Entertaining personality to keep the audiences attention and engaged. Again, both critical elements for a virtual and traditional gala. As a fundraising auctioneer instead of my usual role of being a talented stage performer, I had to quickly pivot to being in front of the video camera. Your Virtual Gala is being broadcast onto your supporter’s Smart TV’s or computer laptops. Your supporters are accustomed to being entertained and engaged by these devices, thus your co-hosts must be entertaining and engaging as well. Once the interest of your viewers wain, you have lost your audience. At a traditional gala, to disengage with the event the person has to get up and leave, at a virtual gala, they simply have to turn off the device.

Auction items The same live and silent auction items that sell well at a traditional gala will sell well at your virtual gala.

Special Appeal/Paddle raise the presentation elements are the same for virtual or traditional, just if there is a plan for an “in person” pitch, this will need to be pre-recorded on video.

Engaging Co-host/Emcee. During a traditional gala, as the auctioneer, I sometimes work with an emcee and sometimes work solo, both ways are effective. At a virtual gala, due to the format, an engaging emcee is a must for playful banter, insight, and helping to keep the show flowing.

 So, as you can see, many of the same elements for a virtual or tradition fundraising gala remain the same, the difference the method of delivery.

Clients often ask “as a pioneer of virtual fundraising galas, what have you learned?

Having spent 100’s of hours of research and resolving potential issues for a Virtual Gala, I knew two important things that a Not for Profit would likely want to know before proceeding. User friendly for the charity and proven effectiveness

User friendly for the charity. During this period of uncertainly, I knew it was imperative the program we assembled, while still a lot of work for the charity, had to be intuitive for the charity in order to be successful.

Proven effectiveness. In order for the charity to agree to taking the risk and host a Virtual Gala I knew there had to be documented success this concept will work effectively. Most Virtual Galas, when executed properly have exceeded expectations and often surpass the amounts generated the previous year at a live traditional gala.

You may be thinking, this all sounds good but “how do we turn our traditional fundraising gala into a virtual fundraising gala?”

 This is where my team and I come in. If your charity is struggling, you need a solution now. We can help.

Are you interested in hosting a virtual fundraising gala? We are currently selecting organizations with who wish to work with and who we feel will be successful. Please let us know at if you wish to schedule a one on one phone conversation with me to discuss this opportunity.


We have never hosted a Virtual Gala previously; we don’t know how it will work for our organization.

This is why you hire a Fundraising Auctioneer that has experience in creating and hosting virtual galas.  Virtual Galas can be complicated and have many moving parts like a traditional gala. However the knowledge and experience required are completely different, and few if any committee members have this knowledge

Our advisory board is hesitant to ask our supporters to donate during COVID-19.

Board members, traditionally are afraid of making mistakes which they feel with reflect negatively on them. As a former board member at a NPO I understand, their concerns, but I find this excuse short sighted. The problem is, without fundraising, the charity may not survive. Board members are fearful of the “optics” of asking people for money, when they should be focused on enduring through these troubling times

We do not have the technology to host a virtual gala.

How inexpensively can we make this virtual event? Can we use an I-Phone, Facebook Live, and our CEO for this event?

Why do we need a virtual gala? Can we just put our auction items in an online auction and people will give?

Can we just ask our supporters to make donations to our organization and have the hassle and expense of a virtual gala?

Our supporters are typically over 60. Will they feel comfortable using their smart phone to bid?

What equipment will the supporters need to be able to participate?

Our regular fundraising auctioneer is nice and really funny, why shouldn’t we use them for our Virtual Gala?

Should all NPO’s have virtual gala?

Do all fundraising galas lend themselves to being successful virtual galas

What are the characteristics of an organization that will be successful with a Virtual Fundraising Gala

What is the downside of postponing our event until fall?

Can I realistically host an event in the fall and another in spring at our usual date?

What if I just cancel my event? What opportunities will I be missing?

You have the questions and we have the answers….

Are you interested in hosting a fundraising gala? We are currently selecting organizations with who wish to work with and who we feel will be successful. Please let us know if you wish to discuss this opportunity.


Worlds Most Influential People in Ophthalmology

Three of Bascom Palmer Eye Institute’s faculty members are among those honored as the Top 50 most influential figures in ophthalmology. Philip J. Rosenfeld, M.D., Ph.D.,
Carol Karp, M.D., and J. William Harbour, M.D., were named to the Ophthalmologist Power List 2019.

Rosenfeld pioneered the off label use of Avastin (bevacizumab) to treat  wet age-related macular degeneration, a leading cause of  vision loss among the elderly. A specialist in vitreoretinal diseases, he said upon receiving the award, “On a daily basis, I am most proud of my research team and their ability to tackle difficult problems, endure  failure, understand what it takes to perform bulletproof science, and merge with exciting new data that makes a difference in the world.” His discovery has saved the vision of millions, has become the standard of care for retina specialists throughout the world for its effectiveness, and has saved healthcare agencies billions of dollars. This is the fourth time Rosenfeld has been named to the Power List.

Karp, holder of the Richard K. Forster Chair in Ophthalmology, is an expert in the management of ocular  surface tumors and anterior  segment surgery. In the late 1990s,  she pioneered the use of interferon for the treatment for ocular surface squamous neoplasia. She designed protocols to study the drug in patients  with ocular surface tumors, curing them of their cancer without surgery. Her work has helped to change the standard of care of these lesions.

Harbour, M.D., holder of the Dr. Mark J. Daily Endowed Chair, is one of the most highly respected ocular oncologists in the world. He discovered the key gene mutations in uveal melanoma and then invented a highly innovative  prognostic test for the disease, based on gene expression profiling and computer machine learning. This test has become the standard of care throughout the United States and is considered the most accurate prognostic test available for ocular  melanoma – benefiting thousands of patients every year.

Eduardo C. Alfonso, M.D., Bascom Palmer’s director, was named to the Power List in 2014, 2016 and 2018. Also named in 2018 were Bascom Palmer professors of ophthalmology: Harry W. Flynn, Jr., M.D.; Richard Parrish, II., M.D.; and Sonia Yoo,  M.D.  In 2017, Ranya Habash, M.D., assistant professor of clinical ophthalmology, was included in the Power List that featured ophthalmology’s “Top 50 Rising Stars.”

The members of this year’s Power List are recognized in five categories: Champions for Change, Inventors, Emerging Leaders, Mentors and Surgical Pioneers. Each of Bascom Palmer’s 2019 honorees are listed as Inventors. Three other doctors on the 2019 Power  List trained at Bascom Palmer: Alan Bird, M.D., (fellow, 1969), recognized as a mentor; inventor Steven Charles, M.D. (resident, 1973); and surgical pioneer Robert H. Osher, M.D., (resident, fellow, 1981).

Controlling SW Florida Mosquitoes

Patrick Linn, MS, MSHAPI Ex. Dir.
Collier Mosquito Control District

In 1950, Naples was a sleepy fishing town undiscovered by tourists. In fact, finding Naples on a map proved rather difficult. However, mosquitoes didn’t need a map and their sheer numbers in the Naples area severely limited outdoor activities.

A referendum in 1950, held in accordance with Florida law,  established mosquito control in Naples. With no money, no employees, and no equipment, the newly formed organization  borrowed a truck and driver from the Town of Naples to disperse a mist of insecticide throughout all six square miles of the small town.

That method of controlling mosquitoes was a singular one: targeting adult mosquitoes when conditions warranted. Since then, the science of mosquito control has evolved to include multiple facets that we refer to as Integrated Mosquito Management (IMM).

Mosquito control fogging was first accomplished with a truck borrowed from the Town of Naples.

Our IMM program today includes community education, habitat surveillance, and mosquito larvae control materials, with adult mosquito treatments being the last resort of controlling the pesky biters. Gone are the days when DC-3s flew in formation over Naples  using thermal fogging to control mosquitoes (i.e., a mixture of insecticide and diesel). The DC-3s were sold long ago, and our aircraft today use Ultra-Low Volume systems that
apply a fine mist of insecticide at a rate of one-half ounce per acre when targeting adult mosquitoes.

Rapidly evolving technology is revolutionizing our IMM program, from the use of drones for mapping mosquito habitat to increasing the use of natural mosquito larvae control methods. For example, the District expanded the use of larvicides in 2019 by nearly 40 percent. We purchased a new helicopter that accommodates a larger system for the distribution of the granular larvicide material.

The larvicide poses no harm to humans, fish, plants or animals, and its effect can reach up to 30 days. We are finding that the larvicide reduces the number of treatments required to target adult mosquitoes in a given area during the season.

We are using drone technology for inspection of mosquito habitat and applications of material targeting mosquito larvae.

Additionally, education is at the very foundation upon which IMM is built. Our Communication/Education staff is continually expanding our reach into the community. From educational presentations in area classrooms to participating in community events, they seize opportunities to inform people about the District’s “what, why and how,” as well as what citizens can do to protect themselves from mosquitoes.

Moving forward, the District will strive to improve our IMM program by continually researching the development of new control materials, using advanced technology to reduce mosquito habitat, and embracing proven industry best practices amid the
backdrop of rapidly changing science and technology.

Want to learn more about the our IMM program? We welcome visitors for tours of the District’s campus located at the Naples Airport, which include presentations by our scientific team in the laboratory, our  operations/surveillance team, and a visit to the hangar. Please call our office at (239) 436-1000 to schedule a tour or if we can provide more information.

Hodges University and the world of technological

Professor Tracey Lanham

When you think about experts in technology, it’s easy to assume that men are the ones who lead the way. At Hodges University, Tracey Lanham, Associate Dean of the Fisher School of Technology, actively encourages more women to enter a growing field that will continue to expand exponentially.

That encouragement has to start before college. “It’s important to continue encouraging young ladies, particularly  in middle school and high school, to pursue computer  technology career paths,” Lanham said. “We need a diverse group of experts to engage in the development and advancement of technology because they better represent the growing diversity of users. For new, cutting edge solutions, you need experts with different backgrounds and  thinking.”

According to NCWIT, women hold 57 percent of professional occupations overall, but only 26 percent of women are in professional computing occupations. Professor Lanham volunteers her time as a regional director for the National Center for Women and Information Technology (NCWIT) and organizes the annual Aspirations in Computing
(AiC) Awards in Southwest Florida.

This year the awards ceremony is May 23, 2020. “We work with our regional high schools to actively encourage girls to pursue computing careers,” she said. “Each year we host the
AiC awards to recognize girls for their continuing contributions to the field. This year we have a record 64 girls who have earned this recognition. They are then qualified to advance to the national level and can earn scholarships, and this year, we have one who is
an honorable mention winner. Just as important, they have access to resources and mentoring opportunities.”

According to NCWIT, 82 percent of the annual award winners continue their pursuit of computing careers. Demand for computing experts is growing, as the US Department of Labor said that by the year 2026, there would be over 3.5 million computing related Hodges  University job openings. Of those new job openings, only 17 percent of them could be filled if the pool of college graduates with a bachelor’s degree in computing doesn’t increase.

“What many people don’t understand is that computing is the foundation of just about every other Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) discipline,” said Lanham. At Hodges University, the Fisher School of Technology offers degrees that help students develop the skills needed to make a positive impact in the technology sectors of our business community.

Students can pursue Bachelor degrees for computer information technology,  cybersecurity  and networking, and software development. Students can pursue associate degrees in computer information technology. “What distinguishes our degrees is the fact that our students can also earn industry certifications while pursuing their degree,” said
Lanham. “Those added credentials are appealing to employers.

We also offer specialty certificates that are designed to enhance the skill sets our students gain in specific areas of focus.” Professional certificates include animation design, AutoCAD drafting, cybersecurity, e-business software, e-business ventures, database management, graphic design production, help desk support, information technology support, networking specialist, and user experience and web design.

“These certificates are the result of conversations with area businesses to find out what skills their current employees need, and what skills they look for when hiring new employees. It is our priority to fill the gaps that currently exist in the industry,” added
Lanham. “All of our programs are designed to lead directly to careers. Many of our programs have earned national recognition for excellence.”

The versatility of a computing degree extends far beyond technology. “Computing degrees are highly adaptable, and offer graduates the opportunity to play an important role in nearly every industry,” said Lanham. “In addition to the obvious careers at technology
companies, there are plenty of opportunities in healthcare, education, marketing, business and finance. The opportunities in this field are nearly endless, and that’s exciting for me and our students.”

For more information about computing degrees at Hodges University, visit

Sky is the Limit and Dave Trecker tells us why

Dave Trecker

Drones are coming to Naples. And not just the kind you buy at Walmart for your grand-kids. Eye-in-the-sky commercial drones are becoming mainstream. They’re cheaper than manned aircraft, and they can swoop and maneuver just about anywhere.

With half a dozen drone companies now operating in the Naples area, you can arrange aerial photography for weddings, monitor roof repair, document storm damage for insurance, even track game for hunting.

Real estate companies take aerial shots of homes for sale. Developers map construction sites. Law enforcement scans the wild for lost hikers. The Coast Guard searches for missing boaters. New uses are being developed every day. Most important is commercial delivery, bringing packages to your door by air. United Parcel Service got FAA approval last year for aerial delivery to rural areas in Virginia. Amazon and Uber are vying for similar approvals.

At stake is a vast market. We’re talking about food take-out and retail delivery of clothing, books, groceries. Limited by traffic and cost, overland delivery takes too long in this hurry-up world. Driverless cars are one way to cut costs, but drones are cheaper and
faster. Experts say the round trip from restaurant or retail store and back should take no more than 10 minutes.

Australia has had some success. The Wall Street Journal reports that Alphabet drones made more than 3,000 deliveries in Canberra last year, transporting ice cream, medicine and even coffee to homes in minutes – and without spilling. Singapore and Iceland
will be next.

Not surprisingly, health care has been an early beneficiary. Rwanda uses drones to deliver medical supplies to remote locations where people are isolated by mountains and bad roads. Tanzania is gearing up 120 autonomous aircraft to transport blood and vaccines to scattered medical clinics.

In the United States, UPS is working with CVS to test drone delivery of prescription drugs. A trial with a medical center in Virginia showed emergency deliveries could be made in as little as three minutes.

When can we expect widespread use? Sooner than you might expect. A delivery drone could appear in your driveway in as little as two years. Last month the FAA laid out a comprehensive plan for regulating commercial flight – certifying safety and framing how and where the drones might be flown.

Over 400,000 unmanned aircraft are waiting for the green light. Delivering small packages is one thing. But what about delivering people? That’s the real challenge. Where are Frank Loesser’s “horseless carriages that fly?” They’re coming too. Flying cars – with vertical takeoff and landing – are being designed by nearly a dozen companies around the world, including heavy hitters like French aircraft-maker Airbus.

The concept is a lightweight vehicle with multiple rotors powered by batteries and
controlled by computers, either on board or on the ground. For this to work, efficient lightweight batteries must be developed.

It’s not a matter of whether, but of when. Uber hopes to test autonomous airborne taxi service by 2025. Passengers would use a smartphone to program their trip or, more likely, be guided by an earthbound command center.

While there are many obstacles still to overcome, optimism runs high. An Airbus executive said, “In as little as 10 years, we will have drones that set new standards for product shipments and drones that revolutionize urban travel for millions of people.”
The sky may indeed be the limit

Protect yourself from the Microsoft and Apple Tech Phone Scam.


Computers and technical devices are great, when they work. It is when they are not working properly that we wish we knew more about them or had a tech person in the family. Lack of knowledge and frustration makes us vulnerable for a tech support phone scam.

You receive a call from a scammer claiming to be from Microsoft or Apple. The scammer says that they have detected an issue with your computer and that they need to help you fix the problem. If you are having computer issues or if your computer is running slow you might take them up on their offer. The scammer will direct you to a website where you click on a link to download a program enabling them to remotely access your computer.

Now for the show. The scammer will move the cursor around on your computer monitor so it looks like he is scanning your computer. Then, images appear on your screen showing your computer has more than 50 viruses and other bad stuff. At this point, you begin to panic. The scammer tells you everything will be okay because he can remove the viruses and such, for a fee. The fee ranges from $100 to $800.

You eagerly agree to pay the fee and provide the caller with your credit card information. Depending on how eager you are, the scammer may say that they are having trouble processing your credit card and asks you if you have another one. Then the scammer will tell you that they are having trouble processing credit cards, but they could auto-deduct the fee from your bank account. If you comply,
the scammer now has information on two of your credit cards and your bank account. Don’t forget, he still has remote access to your computer.

If the scammers call 200 people a day, the odds are relatively high that many of them are having an issue with their computer. The IC3 report revealed that in 2018 Americans lost over $38.6 million to tech support scams.

Hang up the telephone. It really is just that simple. Do not engage with these people. The phone number displayed on your caller ID is not the scammers phone number. Scammers can make the display show whatever they want it to display.

If you have already fallen for this scam, don’t beat yourself up. People from all walks of life have fallen
for this scam.
1. Disconnect your device from the internet until you have a professional scan it to remove the remote access software and anything else that may have been installed.
2. Contact your financial institution (credit card or bank or both) and report the scam.
3. Confirm that there are no additional autopayments deductions scheduled from your bank
or credit card account.
4. Tell everyone you know. You could help prevent them from becoming the next victim.
5. Speak with your CPA about possibly writing off the fraud loss.
Companies like Microsoft and Apple have no idea who you are except that you and a million other people bought devices from them. These companies will not call you out-of-the-blue to tell you there is a problem with your computer. If you do need tech support, you will be the one to initiate the call. Depending on if your warranty has expired or if you pre-purchased a service plan, you may be charged a fee for the tech support. Either way, you are the one that is initiating the call, not the other way around.