Apr 16

OK, I admit it. I don’t like FaceBook. I know it’s hard to believe that there’s someone who actually doesn’t enjoy using the incredibly popular social networking tool — but I don’t.

It’s not that FaceBook isn’t useful or doesn’t allow me to keep up with people — it’s actually been quite useful for that. I’ve reconnected with people that I would have never had the chance to meet up with again otherwise, which has been fun. It’s also fun to check out people’s pictures and connections and see who knows who.

My problem with FaceBook is that I can’t really keep up with the messages and notifications. A long time ago I just assigned all FaceBook messages a particular priority in my email (which essentially is ‘I will never actually look at this’). Instead, I occasionally log in to FaceBook to see if I have any messages — which I often do. I then have a ton of non-personal invites to things (like associations’ groups I belong to on FaceBook, don’t ask me why), which I try to ignore.

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Mar 26

I’ve been going through some of the videos from the Technology, Entertainment, Design conference that I talked about last time. While I’ve come across some interesting videos, one of the coolest videos I’ve seen was sent to me by a reader (who wishes to remain anonymous). The video below is Pattie Maes demonstrating a wearable technology that could allow you to physically interact with the web (and web-based metadata) in the real world.

One of the most interesting things about this demo is that the device she talks about is really just assembled from a bunch of technologies that already exist. It’s a good reminder that innovation and invention are not always the same thing, but are still sometimes tough to tell apart.

Feb 04

Poor Mark Ghosh. As someone who uses a ton of different email accounts, online community profiles and social networking tools, I really feel for this guy. Having any account compromised just plain sucks (I’ve had it happen to me, and I totally understand Mark’s reference to ‘panic mode’).

I thought this was a particularly relevant narrative about Google’s security, as I just posted a few days ago about GDrive (which could effectively store any file you’ve got on your computer). So while online storage may be convenient, it’s no fun when your convenient online storage account suddenly becomes a grab bag of personal information for malicious attackers.

I guess this is also the danger of the tendency that Google has to consolidate accounts under the umbrella of the Google Account. One login to everything means that only one set of login credentials needs to be compromised for attackers to get access to all your stuff.

Anyway, I hope you gets control of your account back Mark, as well as some kind of useful response from Google about the security of Orkut.

Feb 02

GDrive’s been spotted again! I’ve been excited about Google GDrive product for quite a while now (yes, I actually do get excited about new products from Google, it’s a sickness). I think I first heard about it around two years ago (as you can see from these headlines, this is not the first time the product was believed to be launching ‘soon’), and I’ve been hoping for a Google launch of the product since then.

If you haven’t heard of GDrive before, it’s basically an online hard disk — you can store whatever files you’d like, with (allegedly) pretty much infinite storage capability. GDrive also marks a significant shift in thinking in terms of computer storage, moving away from the ‘things are stored in my computer’ approach to a cloud computing approach.

While this is a great thing for all of us who would like a ton of storage at little or no cost (and be able to access those files from any internet-connected computer), there are a few potential glitches. Privacy‘s one issue that has come up over and over again whenever the GDrive rumour (yes, I’m still very much classifying a launch of GDrive as rumour).

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Nov 26

Is the ‘people/process/technology’ trio clichéd?

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Patrick Lambe over at Green Chameleon has an interesting post about the holy trinity of people, process and technology that is a response to Dave Snowden’s suggestion that the three have become a pointless reductionist categorization.

I think Patrick’s point here is an important one — both IT and non-IT folks need a remember now and then that technology is not going to solve all their problems. While it may seem obvious that all three of these factors need to be considered in any technology rollout, it’s surprising how often only the ‘technology’ part really gets considered.

So while I agree that lumping these three things together has certainly become clichéd, there still exists a decent reason for putting them together, as Patrick has suggested in his post.

It’s also worth remembering here that unwilling people and poorly-conceived processes can break even the best technology, and that conversely, even inferior technologies sometimes take hold because of a dedicated group of a people.

Nov 17

Is email a dying technology?

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I came across a post over at ClappingTrees this morning that pointed out the rise in content creation among young people on the web, as well as an increase in their use of social networking tools.

The Pew Internet & American Life Project survey (in .pdf) found that 93% of teens use the internet, and that teens tend to post and view more videos and pictures than adults (interestingly, they also tend to limit access to their photos and videos more than adults).

Email, in the eyes of teens, has dropped to the bottom of the list in terms of the preferred way to contact friends. Take a look at the technologies they prefer to use in order of most preferred to least preferred:

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Nov 08

There was a time (which seems like many years ago now), where I thought wasteful publications (and I think you can guess what I mean by that: flyers, catalogues and other things you get, but never asked for) would become extinct.

So I was rather dismayed by an announcement made by the City of Toronto (where I live) that they are going to publish a new publication, called Our Toronto, up to four times a year, which would incorporate ‘newsletters’ that would go out to city residents about things like crime, garbage and taxes. The publication is going to cost about $800 000 per year.

While those familiar with Toronto might already know that the city is almost 3 billion dollars in debt — and wonder why close to a million dollars is being spent on this publication — something else came to mind as I read this story.

Most Canadians, like most people around the world, are relying more and more on the internet for information and transactions — so why is the city trying to turn back the clock and publish a newsletter that will almost certainly end up going straight in the recycling bins of most city residents?

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Oct 20

I don’t want to sound like I’m always picking on Microsoft. I use their products every day, and I can’t really say I have too many complaints (I have some, but this isn’t a post about any issues I might have with Microsoft’s products).

I’ve done my share of complaining, however, about the Bill Gates/Jerry Seinfeld team-up that went so horribly wrong — but it would seem that Microsoft has managed to salvage something from the wreckage. Check it out:

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Sep 02

While I’ve talked about ‘Web 2.0’ before in a neutral context before, I often find it difficult to stomach the variety of ‘2.0’ variations that have a tendency to profilerate in the collective knowledge management context.

The concept of ‘Web 2.0’ comes from a very real place — the idea that the internet as an entity is moving from less of a static, passive place to one that is participative and inclusive. It’s a noble vision that we should the internet will eventually realize.

But the whole concept of ‘2.0’ is in danger of becoming so diluted that it’s just meaningless. Last month, David Gurteen talked about just about everything in terms of 2.0 — and demonstrated how two numerals and a decimal can be dangerous.

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Aug 08

A dusty, but hilarious, Microsoft advertising gem.

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Since it’s a Friday, and since it’s summer, I thought I’d post something to give you a bit of a laugh that I came across. If you want to skip to the funny part, it’s around the 7 minute mark.

The video below is hilarious, but can also show what happens when advertising goes horribly, horribly wrong. The ad’s for Windows 386 by the way. Enjoy and have a great weekend.