Better Circles and Lists

Last week I blogged about Facebook Lists and Google Circles being similar concepts so nothing Earth shattering.

The problem with is both reliability and validity. The imperfection of human recall and recognition means both Lists and Circles have glaring obvious holes in establishing the correct connections. As users increase the size of their social networks, the problem just gets worse as errors accumulate and the effort at resolving them becomes more daunting. At this point, most people of which I am friends with on Facebook after 2009 are not in a list. Those who are probably are not in all for which they qualify. Google+ probably will end up in a similar condition in a year or two.


The girlfriend of friend of my brother added me on Facebook to see wedding photos and tag herself in them. I happened to take of her and her boyfriend dancing and tagged him. The photos are in my Weddings album where family and my brother’s halo list could see the photos. She still could not see the photos until I realized my mistake and added her to the halo list.

Klinsmann Excitement

A friend had a great Google+ post about Klinsmann’s hired as the US soccer coach. It is the kind of thing where I probably want to post to friends who like the game and no one else. It is easy to pick out who hold certain roles. Correctly recalling who have specific interests seems much more daunting.

What I would like to see are recommendations about my potential connections based on mutual properties, interests, and connections. We already are asked to name our work places, education, interests, and location. People who are connected probably belong in the same group. The things we post probably are already being analyzed to determine how to advertise to us. Use that information to help us better identify who will be interested in what we share.

Obviously, no one should completely rely on recommendations any more than the recommendations of whom to befriend or instructions suggesting one drive a car into a lake. Okay… Maybe those who completely rely on technology to tell them what to do deserve the consequences.

Halos and Circles

Facebook and Google+ both have ways of categorizing people for targeted sharing.

The first way I attempted to handle my Facebook lists was basic categories like Coworkers, Family, Friends, Internet, and Locals. Then I switched jobs. It became a little weird to gripe about the new job to both, so I went down the crazy path of splitting lists in more and more specialized so I could include and exclude very targeted photo albums and posts. I have four family lists: Dad’s family, Mom’s family, Sister-in-Law’s, and Extended (beyond aunts, uncles, and first cousins). I also have VSU IT, VSU library, and VSU other former coworkers, USG coworkers, and a random cloud of friends who happen to work at UGA. There are 64 lists. It surprised me it was not closer to a hundred.

A goal for a while was identifying the supernexuses of my clusters of friends. (Malcolm Gladwell in the Tipping Point described them as “Connectors“.) Many of my contacts were due to my social connection with a specific person or a couple people. We friends form a ring around these…. A halo. An example are the high school and college friends of my brother and his wife. Maybe an electron cloud would have been more appropriate? Anyway, the point is I used an allusion to a round object for naming some of my Facebook lists.

Google+ has circles instead of lists. It struck me as odd Google and I both would use a round shape for categorizing people. Of course, Google using “Halo” might invite lawsuits from Microsoft who owns Bungie, makers of the game Halo. More likely it is all coincidence.

Just Call Me the Anole Whisperer

Just Call Me the Anole Whisperer

Got a couple of feet close to this anole. They seem to trust me enough to get close enough to grab them like I did as a kid. These days I just take a photo. (Not as traumatizing for both when grabbing results in getting bitten.) Also, this was about halfway the color change from green to brown.

TED Talk: Derek Sivers: Keep your goals to yourself

I read quite a bit. Not having a spouse, children, or real adult responsibilities, I have much free time to spend. Reading is a preferred way of spending that time. My goals probably are better described as self-challenges to stretch my reading in new ways. Perhaps it is more like a 5K race winner deciding to try out a 10K than a couch potato trying to win a 10K. I have not yet failed any of these reading challenges.

These challenges are constantly on my mind. I feel guilty going to anywhere by myself without a book. (The Kindle on my phone is awesome if only for having a book anywhere I am.) I gripe about how I am behind and need to spend more time on them.

The other goals are more going from being a couch potato to trying to win a 10K. So Sivers’ message makes a little more sense.

Telling someone your goal makes it less likely to happen.

Sivers goes on to say telling someone your goal tricks the mind into thinking it has already happened. I’ll need to look up these studies. What he seems to leave out in the TED Talk is the last paragraph of the blog post:

It may seem unnatural to keep your intentions and plans private, but try it. If you do tell a friend, make sure not to say it as a satisfaction (“I’ve joined a gym and bought running shoes. I’m going to do it!”), but as dissatisfaction (“I want to lose 20 pounds, so kick my ass if I don’t, OK?”)

I have heard of studies where another keeps those aspiring to achieve something to account will help success. That sounds similar to the dissatisfaction style of telling someone else. Which seems to me really change the whole message.

Goal Progress

Yesterday was the 182nd day of the year, so at the halfway point, here is an update on my resolution progress.

  1. Complete unfinished novel series. I finished the Harry Potter series at the first update. The Sword of Truth series is now done. I have most of the Ender’s series books, so I am working on them now. At the halfway point, I should have 6.5 of 13 books done. With 8 done, I am ahead.
  2. Complete the first 25 of the BBC The Big Read Top 100 (from 2003). Pride & Prejudice, Great Expectations, Jane Eyre, Wind in the Willows, Catch-22, Gone With the Wind are done. Little Women and Corelli’s Mandolin are both in progress. I only have 6 of 13 done. Half a book behind is not bad.
  3. No more complaining about Blackboard, Inc. Still a miserable failure so far. I thought the first hundred days were tough. They really pulled out all stops to give me things about which to complain. Better to just abandon this goal. Though with possibly changing to a new vendor, I get to complain about all new people and software. Yay for me?
  4. Attend more social events when invited. Skipped a few. Still attending more things than skipping.
  5. Go away more. Went a couple of places on a whim. Probably should have defined this one better. So abandoning it.
  6. Goodreads: Read 50 books. At 24 books done, I am just one behind the pace. Eight were over 600 pages, so I should be able to focus on shorter books for a while to get ahead.

Quotes That Make You Think: Collected for First Half 2011

More quotes for Quotes to Make You Think collected over the past year. Additional ones can be found under the Quotes tag.

The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires. — William Arthur Ward (1921-1994)

Making the simple complicated is commonplace. Making the complicated simple, awesomely simple, that’s creativity. — Charles Mingus

The greatest obstacle to love is fear. It has been the source of all defects in human behavior throughout the ages. — Mahmoud Mohammed Taha

The Seven Blunders of the World…

  1. Wealth without work
  2. Pleasure without conscience
  3. Knowledge without character
  4. Commerce without morality
  5. Science without humanity
  6. Worship without sacrifice
  7. Politics without principle

— Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi

The good writers touch life often. The mediocre ones run a quick hand over her. The bad ones rape her and leave her for the flies. — Faber. From Ray Bradbury’s “Fahrenheit 451”

The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes. — Marcel Proust

Time is a sort of river of passing events, and strong is its current; no sooner is a thing brought to sight than it is swept by and another takes its place, and this too will be swept away. — Marcus Aurelius

They say: “Laugh, and the world laughs with you.”
I say: “Laugh and they wonder what you are up to.”
— Unknown

The problem is not that there are problems. The problem is expecting otherwise and thinking that having problems is a problem. — Theodore Rubin

They may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel. — Unknown

Watch your thoughts; they become words.
Watch your words; they become actions.
Watch your actions; they become habits.
Watch your habits; they become character.
Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.
— Lao-Tze

The truth is, we make a mistake when we think that generations can be separated. The truth is you need me so that I have shoulders you can stand on, and we need you because you have shoulders somebody else can stand on. We are one. —Maya Angelou

The meek shall inherit the Earth. The rest of us are going to the stars. — Robert Heinlein

Be always at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors and let each new year find you a better man. — Benjamin Franklin

If you are in the grip of the ego, you believe that by doing more and more you will eventually accumulate enough ‘doings’ to make yourself feel complete at some point in the future. It won’t. — Eckhart Tolle

It is unlucky to be superstitious. — Unknown

Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear. — Unknown

Those who know the least will always know it the loudest. — Unknown

Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around — Leo F Buscaglia

Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage. — Lao Tzu

Happiness is like a kiss… you must share it to enjoy it. — Unknown

Stopping at what we think is the limit of embarrassing behavior, we let others claim the credit, the opportunity, the job, the person we love from afar… What you perceive as prudent social caution is  probably limiting your life to about half its natural capacity. — Martha Beck

The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, worry about the future, or anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly. — Buddha

Don’t tell me the sky’s the limit / There’s footprints on the moon — Brandt Paul

Thanks to Brian, Dusty, Ekstrom, Janice, Juls, Kyle, Mojan, Sherry, Tonya, and other friends who posted their favorite quotes.