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Acclaimed Father-Daughter Duo Authors Releases an Inspiring Comic Book “SpotZ the Frenchie: He’s been a naughty puppy” – IT Industry Today


Acclaimed Father-Daughter Duo Authors Releases an Inspiring Comic Book “SpotZ the Frenchie: He’s been a naughty puppy” – IT Industry Today – EIN Presswire

























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Microsoft Azure Will Grow Faster and Bigger Than Expected, Says Analyst

A Microsoft logo adorns a building in Chevy Chase, Maryland.


Eva Hambach/AFP via Getty Images

Microsoft
Azure, the software giant’s public cloud business, continues to generate outsized growth, gradually eating into the big market share edge held by market leader Amazon Web Services. And at least one Wall Street analyst thinks his peers are under-estimating Azure’s potential.

In a 67-page research report published on Thursday, Credit Suisse analyst Phil Winslow laid out in detail why he thinks
Microsoft
(ticker: MSFT) can grow Azure “faster and bigger” than what Wall Street expects. Winslow sees a shift unfolding in the way businesses are using the cloud that plays to Microsoft’s strengths.

In the March quarter, AWS had revenue of $18.4 billion, up 37% from a year ago, while Microsoft had $11.3 billion in revenue, up 46%.
Amazon.com
(AMZN) is bigger, but Azure is growing faster. Winslow thinks the trend will continue.

Following the Great Recession more than a decade ago, the analyst noted, the focus among IT buyers was on shifting applications to the cloud, with the widespread adoption of subscription-based software-as-a-service models, often hosted on AWS.

Now, Winslow said, companies are “moving forward on multi-year strategic cloud-first transformation,” a jargony way of saying they are making wholesale changes in the way they structure their IT infrastructure, not just shifting specific applications to the cloud.

He added that the pandemic “exposed the shortcomings” of relying on legacy on-premises applications and IT operations, strengthening the case for cloud computing. Winslow thinks overall public cloud spending will surpass on-premises IT spending by 2024, excluding PCs, tablets, printers and IT services.

The analyst believes Azure will disproportionately benefit from this shift, and will “continue to narrow the revenue gap” with AWS, while widening the gap ahead of
Alphabet’s
(GOOGL) Google Cloud, the distant No. 3 player in terms of market share.

Winslow said he thinks Azure will “drive sustained growth for Microsoft and meaningful upside to consensus estimates.” His view is that enterprise customers that already have large investments in Microsoft technology in their own data centers are likely to choose Azure as a strategic cloud provider.

The Credit Suisse analyst conceded that Wall Street already is “largely positive” about the outlook for Microsoft, but contends that the full-year impact of Azure’s growth opportunity is not properly reflected in Wall Street models. He noted that Azure has been faster than AWS to reach major revenue run-rate milestones —faster to $500 million, to $1 billion, to $5 billion, and so on. But he said that consensus forecasts from here — with Azure now on an estimated $10.5 billion run-rate — look overly conservative.

Wall Street, he said, sees Azure’s growth rate gradually slowing from the 46% rate reported in the March quarter, to under 30% by the fiscal fourth quarter ending in June 2025. But Winslow sees much more robust growth, with a compounded rate of nearly 41% through 2025.

Winslow’s bullish view on Azure supports his thesis that Microsoft can post mid-to-high teens revenue growth for at least the next five years, with earnings and free cash flow per share growing in the high-teens to 20% range, aided by increasing scale and continued share repurchases. 

Concluded Winslow: “We believe these levels of sustained growth and profitability are still not properly reflected in consensus estimates or valuation.”

Write to Eric J. Savitz at eric.savitz@barrons.com

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10 Best VPNs Reddit Users Love, And The Best VPN Subreddits

Reddit remains one of the best places to find information from real-life consumers. This includes which VPNs are tried, tested and true, a topic of which Redditors have left no stone unturned.

This article aims to cover the ins and outs of the 5 best VPNs according to Reddit. We examined over 25 of the most upvoted threads that discussed VPNs and recorded which VPNs were recommended most.

Most Commented VPN threads on reddit overall:

In addition to reddit thread mentions, we used the following criteria to sort VPNs:

  1. User ratings – Real user feedback on long-term use of these VPN services including value for money, customer support, security protocols, and more.
  2. Independent investigation – VPN trials to distinguish the best options for everyday consumers.

Listed below are the best VPN services, according to Reddit.

1. CyberGhost – Most recommended VPNs on reddit

What this company offers and gets Reddit users pumped about is the easy-to-use interface. A VPN is only as good as its tools that make one’s online activities private and secure.

Another item CyberGhost offers is the next-generation Wireguard system and its own browser. Its 6,400 servers located in 90 countries make it extremely fast and secure.

There is a 24/7 chat feature, as well as a free, one-day trial period. Costs start at an affordable $2.25 per month and go up from there, according to the plan.

Its military-grade, 256-bit encryption security system hides the user’s identity and provides top-line security from hackers. Plus, an automatic kill switch leaps into action once VPN coverage lowers too far.

Pros

  • Very privacy-friendly
  • Limited free trial
  • Unlocks Netflix
  • Fast connection speeds
  • Good for torrenting
  • Customer service is decent
  • Top security encryption

Cons

  • Mac and iOS users have fewer features to use
  • Poor owner reputation

2. ExpressVPN – Best for Streaming

Some Reddit users have expressed doubts about this VPN service, but it remains one of the top VPN companies overall. While it does not have an extensive server supply compared to other companies, only 3,000+ in 90 countries, Redditors still use it frequently.

Many Redditor users do agree that finding a better VPN service may be difficult. Especially if those services do not unlock Netflix, torrenting options, or are not compatible with AppleTV, FireTV, and Playstation.

The cost has many customers fuming, though, as its minimum paid plan starts at $6.67 per month, and only mobile devices get access to the free 7-day trial. When Redditors sign up, they are treated to AES 256-bit security encryption, which is a major benefit.

When the VPN protection drops, the network lock kicks in and kills the connection. Android users have another kill switch to protect their internet presence. iOS customers are left out, though.

Pros

  • Great torrenting speed
  • Knowledgeable customer service team
  • 24/7 chat support
  • Works for Netflix users
  • Mobile apps available

Cons

  • Costly by comparison
  • No kill switch for iOS users
  • No stealth protocols

3. Surfshark VPN – Best for privacy policies

With 60 locations, 3,200 servers, 689 Mbps download speed, and a 24/7 live chat feature, this company rates among the best and is a Reddit user favorite. Add in the low, monthly cost starting at $2.49, and it is easy to see why Redditors like this company.

Consumers receive WireGuard protocols, Netflix accessibility, and AES 256-bit encryption. There is also a no-logs policy, kill switch, and military-grade, leak protection.

One of the drawbacks to Surfshark is that the free, 7-day trial is limited to Android, Mac, and iOS users only. There is a 30-day money-back guarantee, though, available to anyone.

Pros

  • Strong encryption technology
  • Unlimited device connections
  • 24/7 chat support
  • Unlocks Netflix
  • 30-day, money-back guarantee
  • Smooth torrenting

Cons

  • No auditing information available

4. NordVPN – Best money back guarantee

The 256-bit encryption security system has Reddit users singing the praises of this company. This does not come as a surprise because this VPN service provides top-level protection and great torrent download speeds.

Plus, Redditors like the 30-day, money-back guarantee this company offers to all who sign up. With over 5,400 servers in almost 60 countries, NordVPN stays at or near the number one spot by being able to unblock Netflix.

Also, this company offers a 7-day free trial and pricing plans starting as low as $3.49 per month. There is a monthly plan for just over $11 if anyone wants to avoid an ongoing commitment to the company.

Its Smart Select technology makes sure a user can bypass those annoying geoblocks while seamlessly switching the user to the right server without service interruption.

Those are just a few of the options that get Reddit users excited about this VPN company. Other features include compatibility with different operating systems, and many marketplaces like Amazon, Hulu, and so on.

Pros

  • Excellent security
  • Works in China
  • Affordable rates
  • Great customer service
  • Custom apps
  • Fast speeds
  • Top-notch privacy protocols
  • Kill switches

Cons

5. ProtonVPN – Best for multiple-device connection

This is a Swiss-based company that provides top military-style encryption to protect all members’ internet activities. It is highly recommended by some Reddit users who may like the fact that this company owns and maintains all of its servers.

They may have the fewest number of servers, just over 1,000 in 54 countries, but that does not impact Redditors’ performance, some of whom connected up to 10 devices.

The company provides four different plans. There is a basic option for free, and others that cost between 4 and 24 Euros per month. Other features include a kill switch and DNS leak prevention, all of which make Reddit users turn to this company for their VPN needs.

On top of all that, Reddit users and conspiracy theorists appreciate that the Swiss data center used by Proton VPN is housed in an old military bunker 1,000 meters below the Swiss Alps.

Pros

  • Flexible paid plans
  • Decent free option
  • Great security system
  • Privacy protection provided
  • Email bundles and cell apps available

Cons

  • Fairly expensive
  • No live chat
  • Few servers and locations

VPN Subreddits for Further Information

Reddit users like to talk about VPN companies and their services. Here are some Reddit pages to go to when someone needs to do more research on this topic:

  1. r/VPNAdvice – Q&A for VPNs
  2. r/VPNgeeks – vpn tips and tricks
  3. r/VPN – general information
  4. r/VPNReviews – more specific information about the different services
  5. r/VPNTorrents – details on torrenting with a VPN
  6. r/privacy – updates on current threats
  7. r/NetflixByProxy – information for bypassing Netflix geoblocks

What Are VPNs and How Do They Make Their Money?

The letters “VPN” stand for Virtual Private Network, and these companies exist to help an internet user connect to a website while masking their true location. Plus, they help consumers connect to region-restricted websites without any hassles.

While Redditors argue over various details and subjects, they tend to agree that free VPN services are not what they claim to be. Many think that VPN companies use these trials as a way to make money off users. This could happen by using cookies to track internet surfing, stealth advertising, and selling information to third parties.

When a person only needs a VPN for a limited time, Reddit users suggest a free trial anyway.

Should Someone Use a VPN When Accessing Reddit?

It certainly would not hurt to use one when privacy is of the utmost priority. Also, VPNs do not just protect a person’s privacy. They block annoying ads, protect people from hackers, and keep internet searches hidden from curious eyes.

While Reddit users provide people with a lot of information, they are not all great people to contact, so do use discernment.

Final Words

Reddit users keep consumers up to date on what is happening in the VPN industry. Since the website is so large, it is hard to manipulate the opinions of Redditors. Take what they say with a grain of salt and conduct personal research to be sure.

Visit MagnoliaMediaNetwork.com for the full review and other product analysis.

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2 Online Hustles Making $89,000 a Month: Investing Influencer

  • Charlie Chang spent years improving his writing, video editing, and SEO skills. 
  • He uses them to attract and teach his audience about money while earning commissions. 
  • His content is focused on investing, personal finance, and entrepreneurship.

Charlie Chang didn’t hit the ground running when it came to figuring out what he was going to do with his life. In 2010, he was premed at the University of California, Los Angeles with plans to go to medical school. 

Becoming a doctor was a dream his parents had for him, but one that he didn’t have for himself. It wasn’t until he received a rejection letter from UC San Diego’s medical school in 2016 that Chang was able to reevaluate his life and what he wanted. 

In the months that followed, he began dabbling in miscellaneous gigs to make extra cash. He tried tutoring, selling on Amazon, and photography. While he was able to earn some money, he wasn’t where he wanted to be financially. 

It took him five years of attempts at solo entrepreneurship while keeping extra jobs as a mortgage loan originator and a real estate broker to build his online brand. In between his day-to-day deals, he’d spend time watching YouTube videos and reading forums to learn new skills. 

eIn 2020, when the pandemic hit and people were suddenly home during lockdowns, he began to see more success with YouTube views. He took advantage of the momentum and began covering key topics people were searching for, such as stimulus checks, unemployment, side hustles, and investing

Chang was eventually able to rake in over six figures a month from various income sources, mostly online, according to screenshots of his YouTube dashboard and affiliate commission trackers viewed by Insider. For example, he made $126,300 from YouTube AdSense during March, April, and May. Through affiliate links, he made $141,500 for the same period, which came to about $89,000 a month from two sources. 

He told Insider his monthly expenses can range between $6,000 to $8,000 to pay for editors and writers, an assistant, and subscriptions to things like


Zoom

, Kajabi, Frame.io, web hosting, Adobe Creative Cloud, and other software. 

His content is overwhelmingly about personal finance and entrepreneurship. He’s a long term investor himself, mainly funneling his bets into exchange-traded and index funds that track the S&P 500. He also invests in tech companies that he screens for their strong fundamentals and cash flow.

He’s not a day trader nor does he touch options because he would rather channel those efforts towards growing his businesses. 

His main platforms are YouTube, where he has almost 700,000 subscribers, and TikTok, where he has almost 400,000 subscribers. 

One of Chang’s biggest takeaways is that in today’s world, self-taught skills are just as valuable as going to college. When it comes to technical skills, he points to three main ones that he says helped him build his success. 

Search-engine optimization (SEO)

SEO, which involves using keywords that help a search engine understand your content and rank you higher on a search page, is key to drawing in eyeballs. The bigger an audience, the more Chang is able to earn through affiliate links and brand partnerships. 

The most powerful type of audience is the one that finds your content through a search engine, Chang said. This is because those people came with intent, meaning they had been seeking your content rather than accidentally coming across it on social media. This type of audience is best for affiliate marketing because they’re more likely to use the links and make purchases, which translates to commissions for Chang. 

He mainly learned to use SEO by watching YouTube tutorials. He uses SEO on his YouTube channel by filling the description box with words and phrases he intuitively knows are key to the topic discussed. For additional ideas, he uses TubeBuddy, a Youtube extension that lists high-performing search terms to fill in additional phrases. 

As for his blog, startupwise, a website about entrepreneurship and side hustles, depending on the topic, Chang thinks of various ways a person could search for a concept and then naturally incorporates it into his content. For example, if it’s a post about mattresses, he’ll use terms such as “top mattresses”, “best mattresses, and “most comfortable mattresses” in one article. He also places keywords within titles and headlines. Additionally, keeping readers on a page longer helps with ranking higher on search engines. Chang makes sure his content is thoughtful and well-written. 

Writing

Creating quality content in text, video, or audio format that conveys information about what you’re selling is crucial, Chang noted. And all of these formats require a well-thought-out script that can draw people in. 

Since each platform is different, writing content for each one should be too. 

For example, TikTok thrives on short and catchy content. The platform’s deck is designed to allow users to easily and quickly scroll through videos. This means you have about one to two seconds to catch someone’s attention before they decide to swipe, he noted. Therefore, it’s important to immediately start with a hook, which is an opening statement that grabs attention and creates a sense of urgency or curiosity, Chang said. In other words, if they don’t watch the video, they’ll feel FOMO, or a sense of missing out, he added. 

Generally, he finds that videos that run 10 to 15 seconds long do best on TikTok. This means that the remainder of the script is also kept very short and concise. No filler words, and every sentence needs to have a purpose.

Scripting for YouTube is a bit more forgiving because videos can run longer. Chang has noticed that videos that are 10 to 15 minutes long tend to perform best. The opening hook can also run longer, at about 15 to 30 seconds, he added. 

When he writes scripts for YouTube, he pretends he’s having a casual conversation with someone. This means he avoids overly technical and in-depth content. Instead, he tries to explain concepts using simple terms that are easy to understand. 

Generally, writing for a video is very different from writing an article. For his blog, he is able to use more complex language. He also injects statements and words that are SEO-based throughout the document, even if it means restating the same thing in a different way.  

Video editing 

Editing high-quality video is central to Chang’s brand since most of his content is on YouTube and TikTok. While brands look for influencers that have high followers and views, quality content is also a big part of the equation. 

Since most of his videos are just him talking to the camera, he finds creative ways of keeping his audience engaged. These additions are as simple as zooming in and out of a frame, cutting out pauses between sentences, and adding music at certain increments to create a mood. 

For software, he uses Apple’s Final Cut Pro and sometimes a free version called iMovie that’s available on all Mac computers. For PC users, he recommends checking out Filmora, which has a free and subscription-based option.  

Final Cut Pro can be technically challenging because of the endless editing features available. Chang learned to use the tools on his own through trial and error. He began dabbling in video editing during middle school when he had to create short skits for French class. Then, throughout high school, he created fun short films for YouTube. 

He also had a huge learning curve when he tried to create two unsuccessful Youtube channels before launching his third. His first channel was based on music covers. He would create his own rendition of popular songs with his sister. This process taught him how to synch audio sources, and integrate equipment such as microphones, and lighting. 

To date, Chang is still learning how to edit and create high-quality videos. His top go-to when he needs guidance on camera and lighting quality is a public forum called photography-on-the-go.  

It’s a place where users post their images for feedback and critique by others. 

Intangible skills

Most people with these exact skills don’t end up making six figures. Chang believes he has been this successful because of his attitude and habits.

He has always had a strong sense of curiosity and desire to learn new things. He is a big believer in exploring various topics and remaining a generalist until you’ve discovered your passion. This allowed him to realize what really resonates with him. 

The second most important element is resilience and persistence, which is easier to achieve when you’re passionate about what you’re doing. When Chang was building his YouTube presence he had two failed channels and created many videos before any revenue came in.

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Despite choppy NFT waters, museum and other players help artists make cash, raise visibility

Credit: Unsplash/CC0 Public Domain

Along a seemingly endless hallway in the Boca Raton Innovation Campus, where IBM developed its personal computer several decades ago, artworks displayed on a half dozen 65-inch commercial monitors rotate every 20 minutes.

But they’re not oils or watercolors. They are unique pieces of digital art—some still images, some digital animations—that occupy Lynn University’s new NFT Museum. NFT stands for non-fungible token, which a collector can buy online. The original exists as a unit of data that the owner keeps on a blockchain—most are on the Ethereum blockchain —a digital ledger that keeps records of art deals in cyberspace.

Each token has a limited number of versions, more like a limited print edition of a piece of art. Theoretically, a digital artwork can be viewed simultaneously at different galleries, schools, stores, or at home.

Amid a burgeoning wave of South Florida consumer and entrepreneurial interest in cryptocurrencies, NFTs and blockchain technology, Lynn University opened its NFT museum in mid-March at the hallowed innovation campus located at 4950 Communications Avenue in Boca Raton. Members of the public can view the rotating creations by students, faculty and who donated their pieces to the school.

Cesar Santalo, dean of Lynn’s college of communication and design, devised the project. Though there’s only six screens at the moment, the museum includes simultaneous real-time displays at the American College Dublin in Ireland, and there’s the potential to similarly share art with dozens if not hundreds of other institutions.

“I think that the fact we are in a building as highly trafficked as the BRIC reinforces our mission, not only to spread the word about under-represented artists around the world, but also to get people into the habit of seeing original artwork and being able to purchase it without a middle person,” he said.

“Basically what we’re doing here is we’re controlling all three locations with software we’re running,” he said. “We control what each monitor is displaying and the time intervals of each artwork.”

“A year ago, we didn’t have a museum at the university,” Santalo added. “But now you can view an original in multiple locations simultaneously.”

From Beeple to a growing cast

While it is too early to quantify the degree to which NFTs are catching on among artists and collectors in Broward and Palm Beach counties, cultural promoters, educators, and art observers report a rising interest. Nationally, enthusiasts were tantalized last year when an NFT by the digital artist Mike Winkelmann, a.k.a. Beeple, was sold at Christie’s in New York for a record $69.3 million.

Last December at Art Basel Miami Beach and Miami Art Week, NFTs took center stage. Among the more notable demonstrations, visitors were able to create their own NFTs as the German artist Mario Klinemann, a.k.a. Quasimondo, generated portraits of people who used the blockchain Tezos to mint tokens of their digital art.

At Art Week, an NFT by Los Angels artist Brendan Murphy called “The Future Has Not Yet Been Written,” sold for $1.1 million. The piece was part of his Boonji Project, a collection of 11,111 unique digital NFTs. All of the project’s Boonji Spaceman avatars feature elements from Brendan’s artwork, according to his website.

Last year, according to the annual Art Basel & UBS Global Art Market Report 2022, “the total sales value of art-related NFTs on the Ethereum, Flow and Ronin blockchains increased over a hundredfold to $2.6 billion.”

“The NFT market continues to present a rapidly changing picture, with clear patterns yet to be fully established,” the report said. “In 2020, the primary market accounted for 75% of art-related NFT sales by value, but in 2021 this was inversed, with 73% of value derived from re-sales in the secondary market.”

A survey of high net worth collectors in 10 key U.S. markets showed 74% had bought art-related NFTs last year, the report said.

But there is a persistent risk, the report warned, as unregulated sales platforms are exposed “to fraud, copyright infringement and artificial price inflation. At present, NFTs are hard to reliably appraise, and continue to be subject to the uncertainties inherent in emerging disruptive technology.”

Caveats aside, the local South Florida interest is on the rise. Last October, the Broward Cultural Division hosted a free workshop in downtown Fort Lauderdale that gave around 70 artists and others interested in NFTs the chance to gather information and speak with experts about the growing art and technology space.

“There is a huge appetite for this in Broward,” said County Mayor Michael Udine, an avid advocate of the emergence of cryptocurrency and NFT activity in the county. “It’s not for everybody because there is some risk. But it is really cool and has some important potential.”

Fort Lauderdale attorney and artist Joshua Lida, director of art and business law at the firm Twig Trade and Tribunal, was among the presenters, and sees a wide open opportunity for financially pressed artists to sustain themselves by selling digital work that would gain visibility over time.

“NFTs allow for artists to have continuing income from their work as it gains popularity,” he said “The reality is, artists historically miss out on the largest increases in value of their works over time.”

Artists continue to earn because sales are executed through so-called “smart contracts” that assign ownership and manage NFT transfers between buyers and sellers. When an NFT sells, the contract automatically distributes the funds. When the work passes through the hands of subsequent owners and sellers, the artist receives resale royalties from a portion of any profits earned.

The process is not perfect, Lida says, as there are technical difficulties and “some people try to work around it.”

Museum as launching pad

For artists, digital productions cut through the vagaries of shipping, storage, security, insurance and paperwork associated with all of those business functions.

“We want to reimagine the constructs of a traditional museum’s capabilities and the entire experience utilizing NFT technology,” Santalo said. “This will allow artists to authenticate their work using the blockchain. This digital ledger records transactions that provide proof of scarcity, provenance, and one-of-a-kind status to artists and buyers. We will showcase digitally illustrated and animated works of art as NFTs and film and poetry.”

Santalo says the visual quality of the work is preserved as he acquires the digital files in high definition “and it works just perfectly.” “Because they are NFTs, they are saving the high resolution file in the marketplace. When you click on it, those high resolution files are there.”

What about the tactile power of standing in front of an original Jackson Pollock painting or Donald Judd sculpture? Santalo said “one of the things I say is this: a lot of these files, not all of them, are digitally native. so experiencing them in their true environment is to me the closest to the artist’s intentions. So it’s like when Rembrandt created a painting he always thought it was going to be 30 x 40, and you would always see the painting in the museum.”

He said the museum also intends to work with foreign museums that lack the means to showcase digital art. “A decentralized museum is a way to collaborate with artists and curators who may be dealing with political or economic challenges in their own countries,” Santalo said.

“The more we can increase collaboration, diversity of thought, and expression amongst our curators and partners, the more it will drive innovation in our college for our students and faculty alike.”

He said that all of the proceeds of the sale of the NFTs occur directly between the artist and buyer in OpenSea, the world’s largest NFT marketplace.

Collector sees broad possibilities

Oakland Park businessman and collector Charles “Scooter” Vaughn sees opportunities beyond the museum space.

A retired professional hockey player who finished his career in the New York Islanders organization, he started small nearly a decade ago when he bought two bitcoins for $300 and $350 apiece.

“I let them sit,” he said. “They’re still sitting. It was [with money from] my first actual paycheck playing professional hockey.”

He got into NFTs last year after speaking with friends who are involved, and now owns 52 tokens with artwork attached to them. He acquired most through OpenSea.

“I haven’t lost any money,” he said. “Making money would be nice. I got into it because I see a lot of things going—smart contract gives people ownership [to things] people usually don’t have ownership to. I hope it gets to where you can have experiences where you might not normally have.”

There are lots of items to own besides standard artwork, he noted.

He bought an NFT that gives him access to the animated Stoner Cats production. The tokens serve as lifetime passes that give the owners access to future content.

An overheated market

But the recent slide in the values of cryptocurrencies and NFTs has shaken some people who paid premiums for their NFTs.

Industry publications note that on average, NFT trading volume and prices have taken a precipitous drop since peaking in 2021. Now, with rising interest rates, a wildly fluctuating stock market and plunges in the values of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, the NFT market is going along for the ride.

Morgan Stanley, the securities brokerage, is forecasting an outright crash among NFTs. Many players are finding it difficult to unload tokens purchased for premium prices. One well-reported episode focuses on an NFT of the first tweet by Twitter founder Jack Dorsey. The buyer reportedly paid $2.9 million for it, and hasn’t been able to draw a bid higher than $21,000.

But like the museum, there are commercial players who are undaunted by the choppy waters in the NFT world.

In Miami, Erick Haskell, CEO of Arteza, a seven-year old arts supply retailer, got into the NFT business to help his -customers become better known and make money.

“We like to think we are a champion of creators and artists,” he said, “because we are a direct consumer company and all of our customer service is in-house and we have a direct relationship with artists. With the emergence of NFTs and its relationship to art, our ears perked up.”

On June 1, the company launched a “Fuel Your Creativity” campaign to promote the works of seven artists; part of the effort involves the sale of NFTs developed by the artists, who receive all of the sales proceeds. The company is helping four artists with 18 pieces up for sale during a four-week auction.

Haskell, though, feels the greatest interest in the art world will come from art enthusiasts as opposed to those who seek to make a financial killing. And, he notes, the values of NFTs and the values of cryptocurrencies are “not directly” tied to each other.

“Our followers are not NFT investors, they’re professional artists or hobbyists,” he said. “I think it’s like any time you see froth in the market, ultimately supply and demand evens out. I trust this market will be the same as any other.”

“I think all of that is working out,” he added. “I think there is a permanent future for NFTs.”


NFT museum opens its doors in United States


2022 South Florida Sun Sentinel.
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Citation:
Despite choppy NFT waters, museum and other players help artists make cash, raise visibility (2022, June 15)
retrieved 16 June 2022
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Resilience and prosocial behavior among Chinese university

Introduction

As the most important global health crisis and the biggest challenge faced globally since the Second World War, the COVID-19 pandemic has posed a serious threat to human beings’ physical and psychological health.1–3 Physically, the virus resulted in problems such as fever, musculoskeletal symptoms, and dyspnea.3 Psychologically, the pandemic caused anxiety, posttraumatic stress disorder, and depression in college students,4 medical workers,5 and general populations6 alike.

At the beginning of COVID-19 crisis, Chinese governments issued the highest-level public health alert and implemented a series of strict self- or forced-quarantine measures and travel restrictions to diminish transmission. These long-term and mandatory isolation measures triggered a series of profound changes in people’s lives. University students were no exception, as they encountered school terminations, peer separation, and a switch to online learning at home.7 Moreover, unlike university students in the US who have various living arrangements, and due to the collectivism of Chinese culture and traditional family-oriented norms, university students in China generally live with their parents during university holidays before they get married.8 Therefore, during the COVID-19 home-quarantine period, university students were forced to continue living with their parents for their online study. Consequently, the fear and uncertainty caused by COVID-19, such as dealing with online-based academic challenges, renegotiating parent–child relationships, and fear of bleak job prospects, has dramatically changed university students’ mental health and associated behaviors.9–11 A high prevalence of mental, psychiatric, and behavioral health problems, such as PTSD, depressive symptoms, and sleep disturbances has been reported among this community.4,12 Although the COVID-19 outbreak has been effectively controlled in mainland China, recent outbreaks in South and Southeast Asia, such as India13 and Indonesia14 and the rise in the delta variant have continued to challenge governments and medical institutions. This is especially obvious in middle- and low-income nations, showing the persist influence of the COVID-19 pandemic.15,16

Prosocial Behavior and Resilience as Ways to Alleviate Suffering

Prosocial behavior has been heralded as a potential factor in alleviating the negative impact of suffering.17 As a key aspect of social competence, prosocial behavior represents a broad category of behavior that refers to some important segment of society and/or one’s social group as generally beneficial to others, such as helping, cooperating, donating, and/or sharing.18 Studies have found elevated prosocial behavior transpired in the aftermath of traumatic events such as the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the US,19 earthquakes,20 and the COVID-19 pandemic.21 For example, one recent study demonstrated that prosocial behavior, such as donating money, blood, and sharing personal protection equipment, significantly increased during the COVID-19 pandemic compared with the period before the outbreak.22 Engaging in prosocial behavior can protect individuals against a myriad of adverse outcomes and in turn predict positive outcomes in well-being, such as harmonious peer relationships and higher self-esteem.23 Therefore, it is vital to explore positive factors that can promote prosocial behavior among university students, especially in view of the complete upheaval of their lives caused by the temporary closing of higher education institutions as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Resilience is regarded as a comparatively stable personality trait, which is characterized by the ability to recover from passive events and flexibly adapt to changing life needs.24 COVID-19 pandemic-related policies may lead to increased loneliness and anxiety, but they also provide an opportunity for building the capacity for resilience.25,26 Thus, individuals with high levels of resilience may be more flexible in coping with stressful situations and may be able to turn negative perceptions into positive action (eg, pleasant emotion and altruistic behavior).27 The theory of altruism born of suffering posed by Staub points out that resilient individuals who encounter adverse and traumatic experiences are more likely than others to exhibit altruistic behavior in order to return the help they received from others.28 As an important positive personal resource, resilience enables people to deal with traumatic events by strengthening their self-efficacy, problem coping skills, and adjustment, which can thereby facilitate greater altruistic behavior.29 A study in northern Uganda showed there is a positive relationship between resilience and prosocial behavior among adolescents.30 Moreover, a recent study conducted in Italy found that high levels of resilience are essential for the social and emotional development of children, which may help them strengthen their psychological resources to promote the development of prosocial behavior.31 Until now, no study has explored the relationship between resilience and prosocial behavior under the COVID-19 pandemic context, especially among the university students community.

Social Support as a Mediator

Social support has been recognized as an important interpersonal factor accounting for prosocial behavior.32 Social support is defined as an individual’s network of psychological and material assets intended to improve one’s ability to cope with adversity and is generally categorized as emotional, informational, and instrumental support.33 The sudden and unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic likely contributed to a chaotic and hectic living environment for many people, where individuals may have actively sought coping strategies and felt a more urgent need to rely on support from their families, reliable friends, and faculty to help them keep psychological distress at a minimum.34 Based on social support resource theory, as an external and protective resource, social support is closely correlated to the quality and function of interpersonal relationships.35 When interpersonal relationships are healthy and meaningful, they can bring positive changes to one’s life and improve psychological wellbeing and ultimately facilitate positive behavioral responses.36 From this theoretical perspective, when individuals perceive higher levels of social support, they are more inclined to show better adjustment against traumatic events and gain more positive changes,37 resulting in more prosocial behavior. Additionally, previous research has shown positive links between social support and individuals’ prosocial behavior.34,38

Various studies have demonstrated that resilience is positively related with social support, which may help trauma-exposed individuals protect against adverse environmental pressure and improve one’s psychosocial function.39,40 For example, in a cross-sectional study, Pietrzak et al found that resilience is positively associated with increased social support in a sample of American veterans.39 A positive, robust association between resilience and social support was also found in trauma-exposed individuals.40 More recently, a study regarding COVID-19 found that resilience was positively associated with social support, both of which can mediate the link between COVID-19-related trauma and PTSD among university students.41 To the best of our knowledge, there is no prior research on how social support mediates the relationship between resilience and prosocial behavior.

Social Support as a Moderator

As previously mentioned, social support and resilience are important interpersonal and intrapersonal resources that maintain an individual’s psychological health in painful or stressful contexts. According to the stress-buffering model, social support acts as a buffer to reduce the negative impact of stress on well-being.42 Positive relationships with others not only help individuals bounce back from stressful experiences, but also play a role in increasing individuals’ inner motivation and potential to positively perceive the external environment and act benevolently,43 thereby contributing to prosocial behavior. For example, one study showed that social support is key to resilience when it is considered to be a process/outcome.44 Additionally, a study from China indicated that during COVID-19 mitigation, social support served as a buffer to prevent the negative influence of low resilience on individuals’ psychological health of different age stages.45 Although previous studies have indicated that social support serves as an important interpersonal resource to promote positive outcomes, few studies have taken into account the moderating role of social support in the relationship between resilience and prosocial behavior.

Gender Differences in Resilience and Prosocial Behavior

Studies also indicate that gender is an important variable associated with resilience and prosocial behavior. Several studies on resilience have shown that males were more resilient than females,46,47 whereas other studies have failed to report similar gender differences.48 In regard to prosocial behavior among adolescents, studies indicate that girls are more altruistic and show higher prosocial behavior than boys because care-oriented concerns are stereotypically female-typed, with the tendency for girls to be socialize towards prosocial behaviors.49,50 However, some studies show no gender differences or that males endorse greater prosocial behavior than females.51,52 Hence, there are no clear gender differences in resilience and prosocial behavior evident in the literature. However, little information is currently available for gendered analyses on resilience and prosocial behavior in the context of COVID-19 mitigation.47,53

The Current Study

Despite the serious threat to human mental health and well-being, little research has focused on the suffering that the COVID-19 outbreak has brought to human beings’ prosocial behavior and its social and individual protective factors and/or mechanisms. To address this gap, this study explored the link between resilience and prosocial behavior among university students in mainland China, a community particularly vulnerable to mental distress during COVID-19 mitigation. Further, this study aimed to improve understanding of the multifaceted relationship between resilience and prosocial behavior by examining the possible mediation and moderation role of social support (subjective support, objective support, and support utilization) in this link. Based on the literature and previous discussion, it was hypothesized that resilience and prosocial behavior would be positively associated among Chinese university students (Hypothesis 1). In addition, it was expected that social support would have mediating effects in the association between resilience and prosocial behavior (Hypothesis 2). Moreover, it was expected that social support would moderate the relationship between resilience and prosocial behavior, such that the association between resilience and prosocial behavior would be strengthened in the context of higher levels of social support (Hypothesis 3). The proposed theoretical model is illustrated in Figure 1.

Figure 1 The proposed mediation and moderation model.

Materials and Methods

Participants

An online survey using convenience sampling was conducted in mainland China from 23rd February to 3rd March 2020, the same time period in which university students encountered school closures and a switch to online learning as a result of COVID-19.54 All questionnaires were anonymous, and informed consent was given by all participants on the first page of the questionnaire. This study was approved by the Ethics Committee of Sichuan University. In total, 325 respondents were initially recruited. The eligibility criteria were undergraduate or postgraduate student, willing to provide informed consent, and living in mainland China. A total of 12 questionnaires were excluded due to not meeting these criteria. The final data set included 313 eligible university students from 25 provinces of mainland China; 60% were females (n = 188), and 40.0% were male (n = 125); 37.7% were freshmen to juniors (n = 118), 39.3% were seniors (n = 123), and 23.0% were postgraduates (master or doctoral students; n = 72); 47.28% were only children (n = 148), and 52.72% had siblings (n = 165).

Regarding the sample size and its sufficiency, we conducted a priori power analysis using G*Power 3.1 to calculate the required sample size.55 For the mediation analysis, we used the statistical test of linear multiple regression: fixed model, R2 deviation from zero in the F-tests. Results showed that a minimum of 107 participants was needed to achieve sufficient power (95%) in detecting a medium effect size (f2 = 0.15).56 For the moderation analysis, we selected the statistical test of linear multiple regression: fixed model, R2 increase. A minimum of 89 participants was required to achieve sufficient power (95%) to detect a small effect at α = 0.05.56 Thus, with the study sample size N = 313, the research design had more than sufficient power.

Measures

Demographic variables included gender, grade (freshman, sophomore, junior, senior, or postgraduate), only child or not, and province.

Measurement of Resilience

The Chinese version of the Connor-Davidson Resilience Scale was used to assess an individual’s psychological flexibility and capacity to maintain their psychological health.57 The scale contains 25 items belonging to 3 factors: tenacity, strength, and optimism. A sample scale item is, “I consider myself as a strong person.” Each item was rated on a 5-point Likert scale ranging from 1 (never) to 5 (always), with higher scores indicating higher levels of resilience. This scale has shown good psychometric characteristics with Chinese samples.54 Cronbach’s α in the current study was 0.93. Furthermore, confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) indices demonstrated a satisfactory fit: χ2/df = 2.36, CFI = 0.90, TLI = 0.89, SRMR = 0.05, and RMSEA = 0.07.

Measurement of Prosocial Behavior

Prosocial behavior was measured using the Prosocial Tendencies Measure (Chinese version).58 It contains 23 items belonging to 6 factors: compliant, public, altruistic, dire, emotional, anonymous. A sample scale item is, “When others are present, I am more likely to help people in need.” Responses to each item were provided on a 5-point Likert scale ranging from 1 (completely inconsistent) to 5 (completely consistent), with higher scores indicating higher levels of prosocial behavior. Cronbach’s α in this study was 0.78. The CFA indices showed a reasonable fit: χ2/df = 2.42, CFI = 0.93, TLI = 0.90, SRMR = 0.07, RMSEA = 0.07.

Measurement of Social Support

Social support was measured using the Social Support Scale (Chinese version).59 The scale contains 17 items belonging to 3 factors: objective support, subjective support, and support utilization. A sample scale item is, “When faced with a dilemma, I will take the initiative to seek help from others.” Responses to each item were provided on a 5-point Likert scale ranging from 1 (completely inconsistent) to 5 (completely consistent), with higher scores indicating higher levels of social support. This scale has been used in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and showed satisfactory reliability and validity in Chinese university students.60 The Cronbach’s α in the current study was 0.94. The CFA indices showed a reasonable fit: χ2/df = 2.53, CFI = 0.95, TLI = 0.94, SRMR = 0.05, RMSEA = 0.07.

Statistical Analysis

Before conducting the analyses, all variables of interest were inspected for missing data, normality, and potential outliers. Then, descriptive statistics including means and standard deviations were calculated for study variables using SPSS 22.0. The differences were assessed for significance using an independent-sample t-test and ANOVA. Second, Pearson’s correlation analyses were run in order to explore the relationship between variables. Third, the regression-based mediation analysis was conducted to test whether social support (subjective support, objective support, and support utilization) mediated the link between resilience and prosocial behavior. Fourth, in order to explore the moderating role of social support in the relationship between resilience and prosocial behavior, the interaction between resilience and social support (subjective support, objective support, and support utilization) was calculated using PROCESS Model 1.61 To increase the robustness of the standard errors for parameter estimation, the bootstrapping method was applied to examine the significance of all the effects62 using 95% bias-corrected confidence intervals of these effects based on 5000 bootstrapped samples, and confidence intervals without zero indicating the effect was statistically significant.

Results

Preliminary Analyses

There were no missing data in the current study since a forced response was used during data collection for participants to be able to move to the next item. For the normally distributed data, the findings from the preliminary analyses indicated the skewness scores ranged between −0.87 and 0.62, and the kurtosis scores ranged between −0.37 and 0.91. No univariate or multivariate outliers were detected. Results of Pearson’s correlations (Table 1) demonstrated that resilience has a small positive association with dimensions of social support (r ranged from 0.23 to 0.27, p < 0.01), and a strong positive association with prosocial behavior (r = 0.65, p < 0.01). Also, dimensions of social support were found to have a small positive association with prosocial behavior (r ranged from 0.25 to 0.33, p < 0.01). Therefore, variance inflation factors (VIF) were calculated to check for multicollinearity. VIF values ranged from 1.077 to 2.751, and these are all lower than the upper limit of 5.63 Conclusively, there was no issue of multicollinearity in the model.

Table 1 Correlations Between Variables

Scores on measures of resilience, social support, and prosocial behavior by gender are presented in Table 2. Men scored significantly higher than women on resilience (t = 2.33, p < 0.05). Women scored significantly higher than men on social support (t = –3.78, p < 0.001), as well as subscales of subjective support (t = –2.86, p < 0.01), objective support (t = –2.86, p < 0.01), and support utilization (t = –4.21, p < 0.001). However, no significant differences were found for prosocial behavior by gender, grade, or provincial categories. Given the significant gender differences on resilience and social support, we included gender as a covariate in subsequent analyses.

Table 2 Psychological Characteristics by Gender Among Chinese College Students

Mediating Role of Social Support

Mediation analyses were conducted to test any possible mediation effect of social support in the link between resilience and prosocial behavior (Table 3 and Figure 2). Three factors of social support were used as mediators in the analysis. In the first mediation model, subjective support partially mediated the link between resilience and prosocial behavior. Specifically, resilience was positively correlated with subjective support (b = 0.08, SE = 0.02, p < 0.001). Subjective support was positively related to prosocial behavior (b = 0.49, SE = 0.10, p < 0.001). After taking into account the mediation effect of subjective support, the residual direct effect of mediation was still significant (b = 0.35, SE = 0.03, p < 0.001). Further, results revealed a significant indirect effect (b = 0.04, SE = 0.01, 95% CI 0.02, 0.07), and the indirect effect accounted for 9.9% of the total effect (b = 0.39, SE = 0.03, 95% CI 0.33, 0.44) of resilience on prosocial behavior.

Table 3 Mediation Analyses Between Resilience, Social Support, and Prosocial Behavior

Figure 2 Mediation and moderation models of social support. (A) Mediating role of social support (subject support, objective support, support utilization) in the association between resilience and prosocial behavior. (B) Moderating role of support utilization in the association between resilience and prosocial behavior.

Abbreviations: SS, subjective support; OS, objective support; SU, support utilization.

Notes: *p< 0.05, **p< 0.01, ***p< 0.001.

Similar to subjective support’s mediation mechanism between resilience and prosocial behavior, objective support partially mediated the relationship between resilience and prosocial behavior (indirect effect = 0.03, SE = 0.01, 95% CI 0.01, 0.05). The indirect effect accounted for 7.5% of the total effect of resilience on prosocial behavior. Similarly, support utilization partially mediated the relationship between resilience and prosocial behavior (indirect effect = 0.03, SE = 0.01, 95% CI 0.01, 0.06). The indirect effect accounted for 7.6% of the total effect of resilience on prosocial behavior.

Moderating Role of Social Support

We also examined whether social support moderated the link between resilience and prosocial behavior. Resilience was posited as a predictor, gender as a covariate, three dimensions of social support as subsequent moderators respectively, and prosocial behavior as the outcome variable. Results showed that only support utilization, but not subjective support or objective support, moderated the link between resilience and prosocial behavior. There was no significant main effect of gender on prosocial behavior (b = 0.27, p > 0.05). A significant and positive interaction effect of resilience × support utilization on prosocial behavior existed (F = 5.99, p < 0.05). The adjusted R2 for the entire model was 0.41. For descriptive purposes, this study plotted resilience on prosocial behavior, separately for low, middle, and high levels of support utilization (−1 SD, 0 SD, and 1 SD, respectively; Figure 3). Analyses revealed that resilience was positively related to prosocial behavior for low (bsimple = 0.30, t = 9.00, p < 0.001), middle (bsimple = 0.37, t = 12.69, p < 0.001), and high (bsimple = 0.42, t = 10.91, p < 0.001) levels of support utilization, indicating that support utilization significantly strengthened the association between resilience and prosocial behavior.

Figure 3 Moderating role of support utilization on the link between resilience and prosocial behavior.

Discussion

Using a sample of university students in mainland China, this study examined the relationship among resilience, social support, and prosocial behavior during COVID-19 mitigation. Findings showed that university students’ resilience had a positive association with their prosocial behavior. To date, this is the first study to explore the internal mechanism between resilience and university students’ prosocial behavior during COVID-19 mitigation. Most importantly, findings indicated that social support (subjective support, objective support, and support utilization) partially mediated the link between resilience and university students’ prosocial behavior; additionally, support utilization had a moderating role in this link. As such, these findings provide a substantial contribution to better understand the potential mediating and moderating effects of social support between resilience and prosocial behavior among Chinese university students during COVID-19 mitigation.

In this study, men endorsed greater resilience than women, which is consistent with previous literature.46,47 In addition, there was no significant gender difference in prosocial behavior, which is identical to a study conducted in the US, which found no significant differences between genders on all types of prosocial behavior among adolescents.51 This may be due to the concept of “altruism as hedonism”,64 with both men and women being more likely to engage in prosocial behavior to relieve their own distress or sadness during the COVID-19 pandemic. Further, the current study found that, under the Chinese context, university students’ resilience level positively predicted their willingness to show prosocial behavior during COVID-19 mitigation, which is consistent with prior studies conducted in Western contexts.30,31 As a vulnerable community during COVID-19 mitigation, Chinese university students suffered from home-quarantine, employment obstruction, and fear of uncertainty about the future. Consistent with the theory of altruism born of suffering,28 our results showed that resilience may provide Chinese university students with the resources they need to cope with ongoing stressors and thus exhibit greater prosocial behavior. Further, due to Chinese culture emphasizing collectivistic orientations, prosocial behavior is an essential goal for the socialization of individuals, as it contributes to an integrated and harmonious society.65 Thus, it is possible that during the COVID-19 pandemic, resilient students are more likely to actively take on social responsibilities and thus engage in more prosocial behaviors.

Next, our results contribute a new finding that university students’ levels of social support partially mediated the positive relationship between their resilience and prosocial behavior. Previous empirical studies have documented a positive association between resilience and perceived social support.39,40 Additionally, previous studies have shown that high levels of social support positively predict individuals’ willingness to show prosocial behavior.32,38 In line with prior findings, the current study indicated that university students’ resilience, social support, and prosocial behavior were significantly intercorrelated.30,32,39 Our findings also make significant contributions by signifying resilience as a key predictor of subjective and objective support and support utilization in university students. This provides further evidence of resilience and social support as effective interpersonal and intrapersonal protective factors that can improve prosocial behavior under difficult life circumstances or suffering. The theorized mechanism behind this association is that individuals with higher levels of resilience are more capable of handling stressors related to the pandemic, which in turn experience more positive perceptions, and seek the necessary social support from family members, friends, and even teachers. When they feel stable about their own support and access to resources in the context of COVID-19, they are more inclined to engage in prosocial behavior in order to give back to others and society.

In addition to a mediating role, analyses revealed the moderating role of support utilization in the association between resilience and prosocial behavior, such that the path from resilience to prosocial behavior was strengthened in the context of higher levels of support utilization. Theoretically, the stress-buffering model suggests that social support acts as a buffer to reduce the adverse impact of stress on an individual’s well-being.42 Consistent with this model, our findings affirmed that social support served as a buffer when individuals were confronted with the COVID-19 pandemic, which, accordingly, protects youth’s mental health. Previous literature supports the moderating role of social support under a context of suffering.45,66 Holt and Espelage, for instance, verified the moderating role of social support in the relationship between child maltreatment histories and psychological outcomes in adolescents.67 Moving beyond these models, the current research supported the buffer role of support utilization in the relationship between resilience and prosocial behavior in the context of COVID-19 mitigation. It is possible that high levels of support utilization could protect individuals from COVID-19-related distress by allowing individuals to view the situation as manageable, further facilitating resilient students’ adaptive development including prosocial behaviors. This is first study to date to reveal direct and moderating effects of social support with resilience in predicting prosocial behavior, and these findings should be further explored by future researchers.

Taken together, these findings are consistent with prior studies,30,32,39,42 and more specifically demonstrate that social support (subjective support, objective support, and support utilization) mediated the relationship between resilience and prosocial behavior in the context of COVID-19 outbreak. The moderating role of support utilization in the relationship between resilience and prosocial behavior was also demonstrated in this pandemic context. This study has several theoretical and practical contributions. First and foremost, it addresses a major gap in the current trauma psychology literature, suggesting that as critical intrapersonal and interpersonal resources, resilience and social support play important roles in building positive interpersonal relationships by encouraging more prosocial behavior, ultimately contributing to the alleviation of people’s psychological trauma. In addition, considering the adverse influence of the COVID-19 pandemic on young adults’ psychological health, university administrators or supervisors are advised to make more programmatic efforts to build an institutional atmosphere that is supportive of improving students’ ability to cope with setbacks and suffering. This will likely have substantial implications for university students’ prosocial behavior post-pandemic. Finally, given the endurance of COVID-19 in low- and middle-income countries, current study findings provide guidance for improving the prosocial behavior of university students in countries with serious epidemics.

Limitations and Future Directions

There are several limitations that should be addressed in future studies. First, the study was cross-sectional. The sample size may be not comprehensive and could not include all the correlations between variables, which would increase the chance for error in measured data. Future research needs to expand the scope and number of samples. Furthermore, a longitudinal approach should also be considered to better understand the protective and buffering effects of social support. Second, participants were comprised of university students that were recruited using convenience sampling, which is considered to be a limitation of the study’s generalizability. Therefore, further literature is needed to explore the moderation and mediation role of social support using various samples of participants experiencing some form of suffering. Third, this study only examined the mediation and moderation effects of social support between resilience and prosocial behavior. In the future, other personal characteristics such as age, family factors such as family social-economic status, quality of interpersonal relationships, and cultural factors could be considered to improve research in this area.

Conclusions

This study investigated the mediating and moderating role of different dimensions of social support in the relationship between resilience and prosocial behavior among Chinese university students. Study results showed that, during COVID-19 mitigation in mainland China, university students who reported higher level of resilience had high willingness to engage in prosocial behavior. Moreover, social support (subjective support, objective support, and support utilization) acted as a partial mediator in the association between resilience and prosocial behavior. In addition, to improve understanding of the interplay of social support with resilience on prosocial behavior, this study examined the potential moderating role of social support in this relationship. Results showed that support utilization, rather than subjective or objective support, could also moderate the relationship between resilience and prosocial behavior, such that the positive effect of resilience on prosocial behavior was strengthened with increasing levels of support utilization. These findings have important implications for beneficial interventions targeting the psychosocial pathway linking resilience with prosocial behavior in the post-pandemic period.

Data Sharing Statement

The datasets in the study are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.

Ethics Approval and Informed Consent

This study was performed according to the Declaration of Helsinki for Medical Research involving Human Subjects. Ethics approval was obtained from the Ethics Committee of Sichuan University. The participants provided their informed consent to participate in this study.

Acknowledgments

The authors would like to thank Miss Yanchen Wei and Miss Yixuan Li for their help in participant recruitment. The authors also thank all participants in this study.

Funding

This research did not receive any specific grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.

Disclosure

The authors report no conflicts of interest in this work.

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RIP Internet Explorer: Microsoft’s web browser retired

WASHINGTON: Internet Explorer, Microsoft’s once dominant web browser that some users love to hate, was retired on June 15 after 27 years on the world’s computer screens.

The tech giant will no longer offer fixes or updates to the existing version of Explorer and users will be directed to its replacement, Microsoft Edge.

It was a moment marked with some genuine nostalgia – and plenty of jokes at the expense of what was many people’s first gateway to the Internet.

“You took long to download stuff, you kept freezing, and you got replaced pretty easily by other browsers,” tweeted @Zytrux_1, under the hashtag #ripinternetexplorer.

“But there goes one of the first browsers I’ve ever used, and got plenty of good memories thanks to it.”

Twitter was flooded with Explorer memes, including tombstones or coffins bearing the browser’s signature blue “e”, and the occasional screenshot of error messages saying the app had stopped working.

Microsoft announced the change last year, and in a blog post on June 15 explained the need to start fresh with a different browser – Microsoft Edge.

Internet Explorer (IE) is officially retired and out of support as of today,” the firm wrote.

“The web has evolved and so have browsers. Incremental improvements to Internet Explorer couldn’t match the general improvements to the web at large, so we started fresh,” it added.

Antitrust battle

Internet Explorer’s first version came out in 1995, in a challenge to the then rising early Internet star Netscape Navigator.

The ubiquity of Microsoft’s operating system became a route also for Explorer to steadily become the default for many users.

In 1997 US authorities contended Microsoft, by incorporating its Internet Explorer in the Windows operating system for the first time, was trying to crush competition from Netscape.

The case was concluded with a settlement in November 2001 that imposed no financial penalty, but forced billionaire Bill Gates’s software giant to disclose more technical information and barred anti-competitive agreements on Microsoft products.

However, users gradually got more alternatives to the browser many loved to hate for its slowness and tech glitches.

Microsoft’s market share in the browser business plunged from more than 90% in the 2000s to the low single digits this year.

Google’s Chrome, with nearly 65%, is the market leader, according to Statcounter, a web traffic analysis site. – AFP

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Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) Has ‘Graduated’ to Must-Have

The internet is a vast and powerful place. It is constantly fueling innovation and bringing the world together. Even so, cybersecurity remains a persistent and growing concern for internet users (which is nearly everyone, at this point). This perfect storm of use and risk is pushing multi-factor authentication (MFA) into the spotlight.

The Rising Threat of Cyber Crime

Cybercrime is up. It’s a fact, and it’s serious. Aite Novarica reported that, in 2020, 47% of Americans surveyed claimed that they had experienced financial identity theft.

Since then, the FBI released data stating that its Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) had received a staggering 847,376 complaints in 2021 — a 7% increase from the year before.

Everywhere you turn, cybercrime is on the rise. The number of instances is increasing, often thanks to circumstances, such as the coronavirus pandemic and the growth of remote work.

In addition, hackers continue to perfect their abilities. That leaves those striving to protect data to respond by increasing their security protocols.

Basic Security Protocols Aren’t Enough

Up until now, data security has often boiled down to basic activities. The most common of these was setting a single password.

In the past, the debate typically focused on how strong a password was — and that’s an important starting point. The problem is that security measures often didn’t go further than a single strong password. Occasionally, other things might add to the mix.

For instance, many have stressed data hygiene and the need for clean data as important cybersecurity activities, as well. AccuData defines “clean data” as “data containing errors, whether it’s outdated, incomplete, duplicated, or simply incorrect.”

While keeping clean data and strong passwords is good, though, it isn’t enough anymore.

Basic protections, such as these, used to be sufficient for the majority of cases. But the growing rate of cybercrime is pushing individuals and businesses alike to adopt more stringent measures.

As the need for larger quantities of digitized personal data grows, the online world needs a stronger firewall to protect against things like account takeovers and credential stuffing. That’s where multi-factor authentication is making a difference.

Multi-Factor Authentication Is a Growing Solution

Most consumers (and many business owners, too) are familiar with the concept of two-factor authentication. But what about multi-factor authentication?

Multi-factor authentication (MFA) takes place when security measures require an individual to prove their identity through one or more sources of validation. The nuance comes through what those forms of validation are.

For instance, IdP (identity provider) platform Okta outlines three MFA categories:

  • Knowledge-Based Factors: These are things such as passwords, PINs, and security questions.
    • These are the easiest to compromise and the lowest form of MFA security.
  • Possession-Based Factors: This includes physical possessions, such as a credit card or mobile phone.
    • While easier to protect than knowledge-based factors, there is still the potential to lose a possession.
  • Inherence Factors: These are elite MFA validation techniques and include biometric options such as fingerprints and voice recognition.

Along with the variety of forms that MFA can take, it can also be present in any number of levels.

For example, a single fingerprint might be a strong enough form of MFA to validate a certain interaction. Other cases might require a trio of a strong password, mobile push notification, and facial recognition.

The ability to scale both the complexity and number of requirements makes MFA an adaptive and powerful solution for both individuals and businesses looking to preserve and protect their data.

In fact, it’s worth noting that there are times when MFA is so effective that it removes the need for a password entirely. This is commonly referred to as FIDO2.0 or “passwordless” authentication.

If a combination, like a fingerprint and location tracking, is strong enough, an individual may not need to ponderously plug in a password to get into an application. This gives MFA the potential to streamline rather than complicate certain data security measures.

Our World Is Graduating to Multi-Factor Authentication

Multi-factor authentication has been around for a while now. But the growing needs of the data-driven world are rapidly turning it from a luxury to a necessity.

The ability to set up strong security is a priceless benefit for IAM (Identity and Access Management). It delivers a tremendous sense of security to a company or an individual’s operations.

In addition, MFA can help organizations meet increasingly stricter data privacy regulations. As governing entities strive to increase the protection of society through more sophisticated legal hurdles, MFA enables companies to adapt and keep up with the change.

As cybersecurity continues to claim a critical place in our daily lives, it’s important for everyone to recognize the fact that more advanced protection measures, such as multi-factor authentication, aren’t just a perk. At this point, they’ve become a necessity.

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Oteglobe picks Infinera 800G platform for pan-European network

European wholesale carrier Oteglobe has chosen the ICE6 800G coherent technology from Infinera (San Jose, CA), carried aboard the GX G42 Compact Modular Platform, for its pan-European network. Oteglobe expects to double the capacity in selected parts of its terrestrial backbone network and offer new 400 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) services to its customers thanks to the upgrade.

With more than 21,000 km of fiber, Oteglobe’s pan-European network spans Greece, the Balkans, Italy, and Eastern and Western Europe. It connects to major European gateways over multiple diverse fiber routes.

This is not the first time that Infinera and Oteglobe have teamed up. Oteglobe previously deployed the ICE6 coherent technology on its submarine routes. The company maintains two unrepeatered submarine cables between Greece and Italy, each spanning approximately 350 km. The ICE6 equipped the links to deliver up to 16.4T of capacity, a 60% boost compared to previously.

“Infinera’s ICE6 solution on the G42 platform significantly expands the capacity of our backbone network routes and supports L-band operation,” said Panagiota Bosdogianni, Oteglobe CTO. “it also successfully addresses our requirements for lower operating costs and automation.”

“Deploying ICE6 on Oteglobe’s terrestrial backbone modernizes its network and offers its customers the latest services including 400GbE,” said Nick Walden, senior vice president of worldwide sales at Infinera. The technology achievement successfully delivered on Oteglobe’s submarine route lays the foundation for upgrading and deploying ICE6 across Oteglobe’s entire network.”

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