Posted in Technology, Trends

Figuring Out Your Ancestry – Making Sense of Your DNA Results

PV_DNA_Pie_ChartThis month, after thinking about the possibilities for years, I received my DNA ancestry results from Ancestry.com. It was a much desired Christmas gift that cost about $80 and a month of excitement and anxiety. I began 2018 finally learning about my ancestral heritage, but after the climactic reveal, I was left wanting to know much more. This quest for specific genetic information of myself led me to multiple questions that eventually left some doubt in my initial DNA findings.  I now, however, have made sense of the numbers and am confident in stating I am 55 percent European, 21 percent African, 21 percent Native American, and three percent Middle Eastern.

I was informed something to that effect with my first results but with such a sensitive and important matter, I needed to find a reliable way to verify the complex information.  I wanted to see how accurate these initial numbers were, so I requested a second DNA analysis from another company. I noticed a significant difference in the ethnicity results. I then submitted my raw data file – which can be downloaded after your results are completed – to a third company to find yet another surprisingly slight variation. I decided that I would cross-reference as many results as possible to confidently determine the breakdown of my own ethnicity.

I took my raw DNA data file and provided it to three free online sites/tools for their analysis, paid $20 to have my DNA analyzed by one company, bought an online app for $5 for another analysis and requested a free review from another company. In total, I was able to compare eight different sets of my DNA results. I entered the data in a color-coded multi-tabbed spreadsheet and averaged out related results to create one trustworthy master set of scientifically sound data that I could fully own and faithfully believe and pronounce.

For this research, I compared my DNA analysis data from the following companies: Ancestry.com, FamilyTreeDNA, My Heritage, DNA.land, GenCove, WeGene, GenePlaza.com, and GEDmatch.com.

After several hours of crunching numbers and analyzing patterns I have determined, with overlapping evidence, that I am 25 percent Spanish (numbers were in the 22-30 percent range but averaged out at 25.) I learned that my Africanness mainly originates from Nigeria/West Africa, my Taino indigenous blood can be traced to the Mayan and Amazonian people of South America, and I was surprised to find out that I am about three percent Ashkenazi European Jewish.

DNA ancestral testing is very popular right now and as the cost of tests become more affordable, DNA testing will become even more widely accessible.  I think everyone should have his/her DNA tested. I now have a broader world perspective of who I am and where my ancestors came from. I look forward to learning more about my diverse historical ethnic background and making meaningful connections with my ancestors.

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Posted in Technology, Trends

Why I Chose a Kindle Fire Over the New iPad

(Photo courtesy of Wired.com.)

I use a Mac and an iPhone and recently set up Wi-Fi at home, mainly because I had been thinking about getting a tablet. I of course had been thinking of an iPad for some time, but price had been a big factor in my holding off the decision to buy my first tablet. My Macbook Pro and iPhone 4S keep me well connected and I paid a lot for them, so I thought I’d hold out on an iPad until the price went down to about the $299 range.

While doing research on tablets, the first thing I learned was to decide if I really wanted one and where would I mostly use it. I would mainly use it reading on the bus or subway or while I’m home. I just got Wi-Fi at home so I thought, why not? I basically wanted a larger version of my phone to read in bed.

I was immediately impressed with Amazon’s Kindle Fire. At $200 I’d get all I need. I live off my laptop at home and my phone keeps me connected all day. Then I noticed the Barnes & Nobel Nook and it was a tough decision. I went with the Kindle vs. the Nook because I had already been an Amazon customer and it offered more books, apps, and overall entertainment to download. I’ve been using it for two weeks now and I’m happy with the purchase.

The weight of the Kindle was the first thing that got my attention. I thought it would weigh less and be quite flimsy. But it was sturdy and the quality of the glass was just as good as Apple’s. The size was pretty perfect. I could comfortably hold it with one hand. The Internet experience was fine, the sound and brightness sufficient, and the apps were cool enough.

Of course, you get what you pay for. Apple’s out of this world when it comes to quality electronic products and the future of technology in general, but Amazon has a really hot item on its hands with the Kindle Fire. Recent news shows that Amazon is making some good money off a tablet that some say is really an e-reader with Internet access.

If Apple makes a mini-iPad, as rumors have it, and sells it for a starting price of $299, it might even do more phenomenally in the tablet wars. After ordering my first Kindle, I did get to hold and use a Samsung Galaxy Tab and I would have gone with that if I wanted something in between the technology and price of the Kindle Fire and the New iPad.

If you’re loving your iPad, Kindle, Nook, Galaxy Tab or whatever, feel free to comment below. If you’re thinking about getting a tablet, do your research, decide what you’re going to use it for, and how much you’re willing to pay for it.

I’m really digging the Kindle Fire but think eventually I’ll own an iPad.  However, kudos to the Kindle for now. But then again, you never really know how big this tablet thing might get. Target and Walmart are probably thinking of making their own, who knows?

Posted in Social Media, Trends

Restaurants and Social Media

Image courtesy of socialmediarestaurant.com

Social media is the best way for a company or brand to truly connect with their customers, and recent data shows that 55 percent of adults use it to find information on restaurants. A Pew Research Center study released last month found that about 55 percent of adults seek out information about restaurants, bars and clubs, and that those adults are more likely to be women, young adults, and technology adopters. Of that number, 51 percent look to the Internet for that information; 38 percent relied on search engines, 17 percent on specialty web sites, and 3 percent on social media sites or Twitter.

Today along with websites, Facebook pages, and Twitter accounts, restaurants also utilize other social networks particular to the industry like Yelp and Urban Spoon. Many social media-savvy customers use sites like Foodspotting, Open Table, and Zagat to report dining experiences and favorite foods. Customers are also using location-based social sites like Foursquare to check-in to restaurants which promotes the business to their network of friends.

So the next time you dine out, check out the Internet first, check-in to the place of your choice, and write an online review. Restaurants are looking at this activity and some offer special deals to customers using social media to promote their businesses.

If I missed any other restaurant-related social sites, please feel free to leave a comment below.

(Disclosure: The author of this post/blog is a communication manager for a Latin restaurant in NYC.)

Posted in Trends

Unemployment Rate Falls to Lowest in More Than Two Years, Thanks to Small Businesses

Photo courtesy of abcradioonline.com
Photo courtesy of abcradioonline.com

The November 8.6 percent jobless rate is down from the 9 percent reported in October. The last time the employment rate was 8.6 percent was in March of 2009. November’s job creation was steady, with employers reporting they added 120,000 people to their payrolls. The latest numbers are driven in part by small businesses that finally see reason to hope and hire.

The 120,000 jobs created in November is not an abstract figure for me personally or for a local small business in Brooklyn. I am actually one of the 120,000 new hires, thanks to the owners of Bogota Latin Bistro in Park Slope who officially hired me as their communication manager. In the past two months I have witnessed first-hand the power of small businesses and the incredible impact these organizations have on our nation’s  economy.

So remember to continue to support your local small businesses. It truly makes a difference.