Archive for November, 2011

Tuesday silly: The Bad Thing in Yosemite

Tuesday, November 29th, 2011

The big store in Yosemite Valley has a sign showcasing their commitment to various food standards.
Yosemite market offers organic foods

Unfortunately, it is guilty of The Bad Thing:

"NO CHEMICALS". Yeah right.

NO CHEMICALS

Privacy is controlling your own data

Sunday, November 27th, 2011

One topic I find myself ruminating on is the ability to own your own data. For example, many of us use Facebook or Google Calendar, and all the information we’ve painstakingly entered there is available for our use, but if we want to move to a different service, we can’t just pick up our data and go, we have to re-enter a lot of information, but some of the information we just lose.

Google and Facebook and Twitter have various APIs to allow some amount of access to our (and other peoples’ data), but it’s still only as much as the provider cares to share. The data is still subject to the providers’ deletion. Also, an API is fantastic if you’re a programmer with spare time, but an end user doesn’t have a lot of options.

There are some tools that aid to this end, but not nearly as many as I’d like. I haven’t investigated any of the following as thoroughly as I’d like, but for any interested party:

Although not a specific tool, there are distributed social networks. These are pieces of software with functionality similar to Facebook or MySpace or Friendster that you can install on your own machine. I believe some support being install across multiple machines, so I could have a copy on my server, my friend who’s a privacy nut could have a copy on their server, but we could interact with eachother like we’re both on the same site. To me, this type of social network has the most advantage, because it allows anyone who wants absolute ownership of their data to have it, while those who don’t care can just sign up and be an end user.

The downfall with a social network that isn’t already established is that since we use it to socialize, it’s not very useful until it reaches a certain critical mass. Most of our friends don’t want to leave their existing social network because it has all their data and all their friends. However, now is a great time to try to break that barrier. The buzz (no pun intended) around Google+ is putting doubt into people’s minds that Facebook is The Only Way. A lot of my friends are signing up without any investment, mostly to just see what it’s about. Now would be a great time for some enterprising nerd to take advantage of that curiosity.

Tuesday silly: Dressing vs Stuffin’

Tuesday, November 8th, 2011

Dressing; Stuffin'
I saw this in Yosemite. I’m not sure why one has the final ‘g’, but the other just has an apostrophe.