Decisions, Decisions

“The way to make better decisions is to make more of them” -Anthony Robbins

We do learn from retrospective analysis of effects. I question the need to make our own bad decisions in order to learn. We ought to be able to watch others make mistakes and avoid them.

Dunbar on Facebook

You’ve read my previous posts on Dunbar‘s Number, right?

Go on…. I’ll wait.

Remember the one on Scoble and Facebook? Good. For a while, I fastidiously ensured my number of friends stayed below 150 because I took the idea of Dunbar’s number as a life strategy. Then I let it slip to 200 which I pared back down to 150. My laziness let it hit 500.

It appears Robin Dunbar is now studying Facebook users to see ‘if the “Facebook effect” has stretched the size of social groupings.’ He says despite the large number of friends people only interact with about 150 of them. Maybe like most of psychology, the subjects are college students who supposedly are almost all on Facebook. In the real world, most of the people with which I have regular interaction, exactly those Dunbar’s number covers, are not my Facebook friends.

My Facebook friends instead are my information buffet. Social networks are how we keep in touch with what is happening in the world. My information technology friends provide me what is happening in my career field. My photography friends provide me with useful tips for a big hobby. Also, the bigger our social network, the more opportunities for help from or being consequential strangers. Social networks are a strategy not a replication of the brain.

The term “friends” used by Facebook, I think, is a brilliant marketing ploy. People would much rather show up as my friend than my contact.
🙂

Non-Secure Content

Apparently designers are embedding video from external sources in our Vista 8 environment. Internet Explorer complains when elements of a secure page reference non-secure elements. In this case, CE/Vista has the secure page. The embedded video is a non-secure element. At best the IE complaint is to prompt the user to pick whether to view the non-secure element. At worst, it just refuses to show the page and shows “Navigation cancelled”.

The possibilities are:

  1. Browser: Use a different one which doesn’t complain.
  2. Settings: When it comes to security settings, I’m hesitant to recommend thousands of users change them without being extremely sure doing so is safe. Seems to me having it ignore the issue exposes users to danger. Rumor is also Windows Updates can revert the settings back to defaults.
  3. Content: Change how the content is delivered to avoid the issue.

The content is being put inside HTML files rather than using the Web Link tool to open a new window with the video. Even using a Web Link tool to show the content inside the same window causes the IE complaint.

All three will cause a ton of work to address the issues. In my opinion wrangling designers ought to require the least amount of work of the three. Though I guess that would depend on the popularity of IE and neediness of the users.

Unable to locate the page you requested

The CE/Vista error “Unable to locate the page you requested” is supposed to be a more user friendly error than the HTTP 404 Page Not Found. Okay, sure between the two, more users would understand the CE/Vista one than the generic HTTP one. The only suggestion for dealing with these is to contact the server administrator via a mailto link.

Say what? We had over 22,000 active sections last term? We have 40 institutions and dozens of professional designers and thousands of faculty designing their own classes. Cryptic emails about being frustrated with Vista means I have to contact the sender, find out what institution, class, problem happened and send that to an institution person who has to figure out which designer to direct it. I’m too far removed to be useful for these requests.

Solutions:

  1. CE/Vista ought to keep a broken link report. It would record to a log in the Designer Tools reporting which addresses resulted in errors and a list of the referrers, how many times requests came from each referrer. This gives designers something they can use to address the problems. Maybe give the designers the ability to reset the log on a page when they think they have fixed it. Give them an icon in the class list to see when there are unhandled cases.
  2. Assuming the above is too hard, this mailto link should be a form recording the learning context involved, referring page, browser, user, and file which failed the request. The message could go to the mail tool for the designers.

Facebook Link RSS

The people I know on Facebook post fascinating things. [1] The people I count as my “Facebook friends” have something interesting to say. I enjoy reading the partisan politics, science, recipes, web comics, and even the celebrity gossip my contacts post. The status updates are one way. Links are another way.

Since Facebook copied the Twitter Retweet feature, I was looking for something worthy of letting all the others I know see. Somehow I was surprised to find my News Feed was missing about half the Links my contacts posted? My first reaction was to put My Friends’ Links in Thunderbird’s RSS Reader (where I put my feeds I don’t want strangers subscribing in Google Reader). Then it dawned on me.

At the bottom of the News Feed is an Edit Options link. A while back there were Facebook chain-statuses about editing the settings here because it controls which of my friends I see. On the first page, one can put how many of my friends I can see vs which I don’t. Also, there is an option for explicitly naming which I will see.

It seems I set specific names which at one time was everyone. However, as I added new people, I never went back and added the new people. All these new people were the ones posting the missing links. Doh! So, I’ve set Facebook to show me the top 9999 people. (The highest it will go.) I’m hoping this will fix it.


[1] Please don’t be offended I consider some of you acquaintances, colleagues, or other social context other than friend. I’ve overly specified in my head what constitutes a friend while recognizing the definition is much more liberal for others.

On Loving Our Enemies

(Originally posted to ezrasf.com)

In honor of the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., it seems we need his wisdom more than ever. A friend posted part of this on Facebook, so I found this expanded version.

Why should we love our enemies?

The first reason is fairly obvious. Returning hate for hate multiples hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Hate multiplies hate, violence multiplies violence, and toughness multiplies toughness in a descending spiral of destruction.

Another reason why we must love our enemies is that hate scars the soul and distorts the personality. Mindful that hate is an evil and dangerous force, we too often think of what it does to the person hated. This is understandable, for hate brings irreparable damage to its victims.

But there is another side which we must never overlook. Hate is just as injurious to the person who hates. Hate destroys a man’s sense of values and his objectivity. It causes him to describe the beautiful as ugly and the ugly as beautiful, and to confuse the true with the false and the false with the true.

A third reason why we should love our enemies is that love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend. We never get rid of an enemy by meeting hate with hate; we get rid of an enemy be getting rid of enmity. By its very nature, hate destroys and tears down; by its very nature, love creates and builds up. Love transforms with redemptive power.

A great example of how the above is true can be seen in the media reports about the vitriol passing between the United States political parties over health care. The reactionary climate resulted in counter-productive posturing and slowing the process. Of course, no one physically assaulted others or shot them in a duel, so I guess things are civilized… Just full of hate. We all suffer because these people take opposition personally. That is easy to do when their best arguments are ad hominems.

Maybe 50%+ (House) and 60% (Senate filibuster proof) are too low of a threshold to get consensus. What about 66.7% like that for amendments or 75% or 80% as the necessary threshold? Even better? Since the issue here is the parties don’t work together, maybe the solution is passage requires 10% more votes over the membership of the majority party?

On Loving Our Enemies

In honor of the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., it seems we need his wisdom more than ever. A friend posted part of this on Facebook, so I found this expanded version.

Why should we love our enemies?

The first reason is fairly obvious. Returning hate for hate multiples hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Hate multiplies hate, violence multiplies violence, and toughness multiplies toughness in a descending spiral of destruction.

Another reason why we must love our enemies is that hate scars the soul and distorts the personality. Mindful that hate is an evil and dangerous force, we too often think of what it does to the person hated. This is understandable, for hate brings irreparable damage to its victims.

But there is another side which we must never overlook. Hate is just as injurious to the person who hates. Hate destroys a man’s sense of values and his objectivity. It causes him to describe the beautiful as ugly and the ugly as beautiful, and to confuse the true with the false and the false with the true.

A third reason why we should love our enemies is that love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend. We never get rid of an enemy by meeting hate with hate; we get rid of an enemy be getting rid of enmity. By its very nature, hate destroys and tears down; by its very nature, love creates and builds up. Love transforms with redemptive power.

A great example of how the above is true can be seen in the media reports about the vitriol passing between the United States political parties over health care. The reactionary climate resulted in counter-productive posturing and slowing the process. Of course, no one physically assaulted others or shot them in a duel, so I guess things are civilized… Just full of hate. We all suffer because these people take opposition personally. That is easy to do when their best arguments are ad hominems.

Maybe 50%+ (House) and 60% (Senate filibuster proof) are too low of a threshold to get consensus. What about 66.7% like that for amendments or 75% or 80% as the necessary threshold? Even better? Since the issue here is the parties don’t work together, maybe the solution is passage requires 10% more votes over the membership of the majority party?

Google Conspiracy?

Found this gem called The Great Google Coverup about Google changing their minds about continuing to filter searches following a Chinese supported cyber-attack. Whether the attack origin was by Chinese government employees, corporate thieves, or kids living in their parent’s basement, accounts were compromised. Personal data fell into the hands of people who didn’t own it.

This led to this gem:

For the first time, many of us Google converts feel like the cloud, where Google wants us to organize our personal and professional digital lives, is less secure than that encrypted hard drive under the desk.

Sounds like Douglas Rushkoff didn’t understand the Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, or even GeorgiaVIEW for which I work didn’t invent impenetrable computer systems for developing the cloud systems. There are best practices which may or may not be followed. There are code improvements to counter known security holes which may or may not be applied. Personally, I think the public is doing well just to be informed there was a security breach.

Security isn’t about absolutely preventing someone from getting the data. It is about placing stumbling blocks in the way to make attempting to get the data so difficult the perpetrator moves on to an easier target. An extremely determined person or group could unwind the layers of the best security.

Gmail does encourage encryption of POP3 and SMTP. I wonder though how much communication between email servers operates through encrypted SMTP? In general, I figured email to be sent via plain text. Which is why if something is sensitive or super important, email might not be the best medium through which to transmit it.