Lost Weight

I suspect people are just being nice when they ask if I have lost weight. A normal person wants to and feels pleased when others notice. So it is a safe thing to ask.

Except I do the mental calculations of when was the last time I saw the person, where I was on the belts last seeing them, where I was on the belts next seeing them, and want intensely to call them out for being wrong. Even a small loss I want to count as not having lost weight. From 2007 to 2012, my typical pattern was to hit a peak weight around October and bottom out in March. Basically, in the Georgia summer heat I say inside for the air conditioning and do more walking around in the winter. But people assume the opposite since normal people are more active in the summer.

Since 2013 was cooler, I ended up being a little more active. So I fell out of the normal pattern and did not gain as much as normal. As a result, I have tried to be more accepting of these compliments. Still, it is tough.

Last night I bought a scale. So maybe I can have a more accurate measure than holes in my belts.

Alienating Friends Through Correcting Misinformation

Snopes is your friend. Even if you cannot remember the site, searching for a sentence of a text probably will pull up a hoax clarification site.

Facebook is the new chainletter forwarding medium. The share button allows people to very easily and simply pass along anything. Often this is before they do anything to verify the information. Before anyone I know who reads this comments, I have been guilty of it too. I like to think it rarely happens.

Almost as long as I have been online, I have fought back against this kind of misinformation. When I see factual claims, I try and verify them. My GoogleFu is strong because of researching things I read or hear to confirm, deny, or better understand. If claims were false, then I left a comment. Initially I wrote in my own words detailed explanations on why something was in error. Then as I got lazier, I quoted places like Snopes who probably wrote better explanations anyway and linked back to the source.

These days at my laziest, I just post a link to the source.

Usually, I received a comment back in thanks. Sometimes it hurt feelings for me to have sent these comments. People have even stopped talking to me over getting a comment. The interesting ones involve me being called a liar or mean. So I pull back for a while and try not to hurt feelings. Eventually, I will resume responding.

Something I really should remember is people love their biases and these shares are part of solidifying them. I probably ignore the things with which I agree. By trying to correct them, I am fighting against cognitive dissonance and am not going to win.

 

TED Talk: Risking Redefinition

This is the first TED Talk I get to post because I know the speaker rather than just know of them. Rebeka was originally a new employee in training who really did not need it. Over the past few years we’ve followed each other through social media, so I was aware of the elements of this story. So I am glad she got the opportunity to put it all together through a venue like TEDx.

I look forward to seeing what she does in the future.

If the video below does not work, then try this link Risking Redefinition : Rebeka Geer at TEDxUGA.

TED Talk: The currency of the new economy is trust

How would you describe my reputation in three words? My judgment, knowledge, and behaviors in various situations?

Back in the 1990s, the beauty of the Internet was we could disappear and be whomever we wanted. Wherever we went, almost no one knew who we were. Then web sites started providing accounts to sites and tracking who we were. Then web sites started sharing who we were. Now our reputation is going to follow us around on the Internet?

I guess it already does. I got my current job by doing something similar to the StackOverflow example used in the video. Helping others solve problems with the product developed into people trusting me. Measuring trust though. No existing rating system really works as well as I think it should.

I really dislike the ratings on most web sites because I do not really trust them. Authors don pseudonyms. Publishers make fake accounts. So I prefer something like Goodreads where people I actually know are the raters and whether or not to trust the rater is an easier task. Books that changed other people’s life? Meh. Restaurant I love? Other people find meh.

Guess I should go figure out how to trust the raters so eventually people can trust me trusting them.

If the video below does not work, then try The currency of the new economy is trust.

2011 Resolutions

My resolutions for 2010 involved a lot of reading, improving my cooking repertoire, improving my photography repertoire, and having fun in the present. In goal accounting for 2010, 2 were successful and 2 not. Except for the reading goal, the other three were well outside my comfort zone.  I forgot my statement for the resolutions in 2009.

Useful resolutions to me are things I realistically can and will accomplish applying moderate effort. Making too hard of a challenge will result in giving up too quickly. Making too easy of a challenge will result in doing something I would do anyway.

The successful resolutions only required moderate effort. The failures required me to move outside my comfort zone. So for 2011, I ought to come up with some resolutions more encouraging my strengths than discouraging for likely failures.

  1. Complete unfinished novel series. In 2007 I started several novel series, but the 2008 and 2009 resolutions conspired to make these books less than ideal. I made it to book 4 of Harry Potter, book 4 of the Wheel of Time, book 7 of the Sword of Truth. It is time I finished off these series. Especially to move on to start others.
    • Harry Potter books 4-7 (4)
    • Wheel of Time books 4-13 (#14 due early 2012) Number four was unbearable. Giving up this series.
    • Sword of Truth books 9-11 (3)
    • Ender books 4, 6-11 (7)
    • Total: 24 14
  2. Complete the first 25 of the BBC The Big Read Top 100 (from 2003). This the real list, not the Internet Meme one which has been passed around for years and multiply modified in the process. The list is:
    1. Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen
    2. Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë
    3. Catch-22, Joseph Heller
    4. Wuthering Heights, Emily Brontë
    5. Birdsong, Sebastian Faulks
    6. Rebecca, Daphne du Maurier
    7. The Catcher in the Rye, JD Salinger
    8. The Wind in the Willows, Kenneth Grahame
    9. Great Expectations, Charles Dickens
    10. Little Women, Louisa May Alcott
    11. Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, Louis de Bernieres
    12. War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy
    13. Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell
    14. Total: 13
  3. No more complaining about Blackboard, Inc. Too many of my blog posts, Twitter, and Facebook updates are about Blackboard. Most of that is negative. Going forward it needs to be positive or constructive. There are lots I dislike about the company and products but to little productive effect.
  4. Attend more social events when invited. All too often I listen to the butterflies in my stomach and stay home. In 2010 I did better than normal at attending parties, potlucks, etc. Seems like I went to about 50% of them when I did not have a conflict.
  5. Go away more. Almost of all of my out-of-town trips in 2010 were all back to visit family. I need to get out more and do something fun. So much stuff to do when I am sitting at home on my recliner.

There are some other intentions like praying and learning the Baha’i Writings, being available for helping Mom, getting healthier, try dating, etc. Instead of making a resolution, I’ll just try to keep them in mind.

Followup

Me Social Media

Dan Schultz doesn’t like Facebook or Twitter because they are too focussed on individual expression rather than the community.

That may be because he is using them wrong. I liked photography as a kid, but I didn’t know any photographers. Flickr happened to come into my life just after I bought my first digital camera. My participation in photography exploded. Not because I had a way to post my photos but because I had a way to find other local photographers for mutual encouragement. Even better was forming local groups to encourage people to meet. The value of Flickr is developing the community.

Worldwide Photowalk Panorama

Similarly, I got into Twitter because my community, peers at other universities running the same software as myself, were seeking help there. Any place with answers to the problems we face, which is where people with the answers are watching, is where we go. Twitter was the place to get the attention of the right people not a forum like phpBB. (There are already lots of email lists.) My other community, people using the software I run are also on Twitter. I’ve resolved issues for many clients by finding their public complaints and offering solutions. When my focus changed away from using Twitter for the community is when I stopped liking Twitter.

Personally, I have yet to find much sense of community in the phpBB, Google Wave, and Ning. So I find it strange these are the exemplars of community applications. They seem fractured so one finds dozens of groups to covering the same interest. Sometimes this is because some moderator upset a portion of the community with draconian behavior causing people to form an alternative community. Bad blood exists for a while. Other times people set up a new community unaware others exist.

DDoS of Social Media

Twitter, Facebook, LiveJournal and other sites all admitted to suffering from a DDoS attack. It seem to me the purpose of a Denial-of-Service attack (DoS) against a web site is to flood it with so much traffic the site becomes unusable. The DDoS is where multiple other computers are coordinated into launching the attack.

All three of the above mentioned sites have had recent issues keeping up with growing usage. The USA inauguration and Iran demonstrations peaked traffic so much the sites seemed like they suffered from a DoS. Already at the edge, an attack tipped the barely making it social media sites over it. Some users abandon them for less popular (so more stable sites). Those who stick around suffer from learned helplessness.

Causing all this hullabaloo over a single user seems odd to me. I don’t speak Russian, so I don’t know if this guy from Georgia (the country) deserved it. Also, it is almost the one year anniversary since Russia invaded Georgia. During the invasion, DDoS attacks disabled Georgian web sites. So, maybe this is to show Georgia the Russians are still capable of causing problems? This is why security evangelists want us to be able to deal with threats.

Various computer viruses over the years have turned millions of computers into zombies for botnets. So… If you are upset about your favorite social media site getting taken down, then maybe you should act on ensuring your computer and others in your social network were not enlisted into a botnet?