Category: Social

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Better (RED) Than Dead

Super Bowl XLVIII is a real snoozer, with Seattle’s huge lead, and the adverts aren’t much more interesting. Among the few catching my attention: U2 song “Invisible” free on iTunes, with Bank of America donating a buck to (Product) RED. The promotion/donation ends 11:59 p.m. EST February 3.

On Sept. 29, 2006, I posted a quick analysis about (RED), which was then freshly started, to my JupiterResearch blog. The site is long gone, but I have the posts archived. What follows is the original text, complete with the original links, including to MySpace. Facebook was just a wisp seven-and-a-half-years ago. What that brief introduction…

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All This Googlism disturbs Me

Today, Ian Betteridge posts: “One thing that is impossible not to notice on Google+: There’s a very distinct skew towards big Google fans in commenting. It doesn’t matter which tech site’s page you look at, the (in my view, tedious) ‘fanboy’ mentality is hotter here than on any other social network”.

I commented on his post but want to draw more attention to Ian’s observation, to which I concur. I am rethinking my social service presence because of pervasive Googlism. While now immersed in the Google lifestyle, I am not a Google fanboy. But the leanings here are quite strong now, and tipping more all the time. Also, there is increasingly less tolerance for non-Google tech posts and more criticism of those regarding competitors like Apple.

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Google+: Subliminal is sublime

Google+ reminds subscribers all about birthdays in the stream, and in sending wishes to someone from Nexus 7 FHD this morning, the default message, “Happy Birthday, +person’s name!”, lit up my synapses.

I wonder about the hidden, subliminal positive connotations of Google using a plus-sign before all subscribers’ names. Does seeing it make us feel happier?

Facebook uses “Like”, which is loaded with positive connotations, and Google copied the approach with +1, which makes sense for a company where numbers are so important—from the math behind search to all the data associated with the search keyword business model.

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Christmas Uncommon

There’s something wrong with American culture and emphasis on the individual. I got to thinking about it today when yet another neighbor dragged another dried-out Christmas into the common area and out into the back alley—this one spewing white spray-on fake snow to go with the pine needles.

I live in a small apartment complex—nine units and delightful common courtyard. Six of the units had Christmas trees this year, all live cut. (On Christmas Eve, we put up a 3-foot fake from Walgreens).

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Hybrid Cars are a Bad Idea

I philosophically oppose the concept of hybrid cars. The hybrid is a feel-good response to concerns about the environment that doesn’t go near as far as needed. For other folks, hybrid auto is a no-conscience purchase; it’s about saving money on gasoline. Mother Nature deserves better than these gas guzzlers and air polluters.

How about those natural gas vehicles, like the Metro buses moving around Washington, or ethanol-powered alternatives? They’re no better choices than hybrids. All these vehicles are bad for the environment and in their wickedness preserve an oil-based infrastructure and economy that long ago surpassed any meaningful usefulness. 

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Not So Fast

I really dig the New York Times redesign that launched yesterday. There’s something blog meets print paper about the new layout. I’m reading more than ever, and I love the great emphasis on digital content. Strange, I likely will continue subscribing to the Sunday paper, which gets opens access to online premium content.

Anyway, today I devoured story “Living on Impulse“, which I probably would have missed if not for the redesign. Reporter Benedict Carey masterfully gets to the bottom of science studies about impulsive behavior. His story is non-fiction, science writing at its best. 

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Where Milk Matters

My quote of the year (so far) goes to Vermont Governor Jim Douglas, explaining why the state isn’t cracking down on illegal immigrants working on dairy farms: “I respect the laws of the United States, of course. But the cows have to be milked”.

The governor is quoted in a New York Times story about Vermont’s massive exodus of young people. One result is a worker shortage that makes it hard for businesses to justify staying in the state or simply expanding operations. Fewer jobs mean more young people looking elsewhere for work. Fewer young workers mean fewer businesses offering jobs. Pick a term: Negative feedback loop, perpetual motion machine, or the economic equivalent of song, “There’s a Hole in the Bucket“. 

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Be Responsible for Your Kids Online

Over the last couple days, I’ve seen an awfully good AP story, by reporter Matt Apuzzo, stir quite a flurry of fallout about kids online safety at blogsites. Matt focuses on MySpace.com, but the problems of too much information disclosure are persistent.

In December posts What Kids Reveal Online and Minimizing Kids’ Online Risks, I explored the dangers of teen blogging and what kids foolishly reveal. 

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‘Live 8’ or Death

Two Saturdays ago, the family hauled off to Tysons Corner Center, so that my wife could shop at the New Balance store and my daughter at the Sketchers there. On a giant flat-panel monitor at the back of the Sketchers played Live 8, particularly Richard Ashcroft’s performance, with Coldplay, of The Verve staple “Bittersweet Symphony”.

The performance stuck with me, as did vague memories of Live 8, which I mostly missed. I certainly shouldn’t have overlooked the concert as much as I did. During summer 2005, I struggled through some logistical problems at work, which greatly distracted from many things that should have been greater priority. Events like Live 8 come `round maybe once in 20 years, if Live AID is any indication.