Archive - Jun 2011

June 30th

Thinking about Google+

Well, everyone has written their initial impressions of Google+ based on the early invites they received, or perhaps on looks at the documentation Google has provided. From a technical side, I’m there isn’t much I can say that hasn’t been said. I did receive and invite late last night, but by the time I received it, I couldn’t login, so I’m still waiting on that.

At work, CHC is part of the Google for Nonprofits program. I asked there if there was anything coming with Google+ for Nonprofits; nothing yet. One friend at Google posted a link to where to sign up for Google for Developers. I signed up there and am waiting for information.

I loaded Google+ on my Android phone and set it up with my Gmail account. Unfortunately, the Android app doesn’t allow for multiple accounts and the invite I received was for my Orient Lodge email account. I tried uninstalling the app, hoping to re-install it and then set it up with my Orient Lodge account. However, it won’t uninstall.

So much for the technology side, let’s think about the how it might change things.

Circles are the most interesting to me. I have over two thousand friends on Facebook and over thirty four hundred followers on Twitter. Both systems, provide for things like lists or groups, but all of my connections were established before groups and lists, and neither have been all that easy to use or move to, so, to borrow from David Weinberger, all of my contacts are miscellaneous.

That said, I really like the ideas of circles, not so much for a privacy reason. If I post something on Facebook or Twitter, I’m assuming anyone will ultimately be able to read it, and it doesn’t matter which circle it goes to. On the other hand, I like the idea of being able to read what people in different circles are saying. Sometimes, I want to read the political stuff. Sometimes, I want to read the local stuff.

There are a lot of different ways I would like to look at circles. I’m interested in Venn or Euler diagrams of my different circles. Sometimes I want to read Politics. Sometimes I want to read Connecticut stuff. Sometimes I want to read the intersection of the two, Connecticut Politics. Likewise, some circles are subsets of other circles. For example, I would like to have a Woodbridge circle and a New Haven circle, maybe even a Bethany circle. Each of these circles would be a subset of a New Haven County circle, and a Third Congressional District circle, which in term would be a subset of a Connecticut circle and a New England circle.

Similar circles about QR Codes, Drupal developers, the old Wave developers group, Maemo developers, etc. would all fit into a technology circle. Progressives, moderates, independents, would all be part of a political circle and there would be some interesting overlaps between Republican and Democratic circles.

With that, I could also imagine doing some interesting intersections of circles like progressive drupal developers in New York.

Now, if other people have interesting circles, I could easily imagine looking at what my progressive friends are saying just to their progressive friends as opposed to what they are saying about the red carpet at the latest awards show. That said, sometimes, I may want to hear what my progressive friends are saying in entertainment circles.

All of this runs into the difficulty memorialized in a Saturday Night Live skit during the early days of digital watches, a watch so complicated it takes four hands to use.

The next issue is social and group dynamics aspects. How does this relate to small groups, large groups, subgroups, and other types of dynamics? This is a topic I really want to explore in more detail, but its time for dinner, so that will wait for another time.

So, what do you think about Google+? Oh, and I added Google’s +1 link to my blog posts as another thing to play with…

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June 29th

Wordless Wednesday

IMAG0160, originally uploaded by Aldon.

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June 28th

Beside the White Chickens

Recently, I’ve been writing a bit about living the great American Novel, yet sometimes, it seems that the events of the day might be closer to living a short story destined for a collection of Great American Short Stories. Perhaps last weekend’s adventure was a short story like that. There was no profound character development or conflict overcome. There were no profound moments of poignancy or great mirth, simply a snapshot in the lives of the people that make up this country.

My regular readers will know that last weekend, I set off to meet a friend that I knew from social media whom I had never met face to face. It was a pleasant day for a drive. We drove local roads to get up to the Interstate, passed the farm that sells home made ice cream. Not a lot of stories there. Likewise, the interstate seemed a bit like just about any other road. It was a section of highway I’ve travelled many times before, and there wasn’t any great feeling of a road trip.

As we got off the Interstate and started to drive the final portion of the trip, it started to feel a little different. There were signs for firemen’s carnivals along the way and Fiona lobbied to stop at them. We passed placid looking lakes, all the time driving through this land between suburbia and exurbia, with the pull of New York City in the distance.

We pulled into the little neighborhood where the party was. Unfortunately, the GPS didn’t have the exact location. It placed us on a side street along which many cars were parked. But they weren’t for the barbeque we were going to. No, it was for a graduation party. There was a yard full of people. Kids were splashing in the swimming pool. Others were talking or eating. We walked down the street in search of our party. At the end of the street, to high school boys approached a third. They gathered around a motorcycle in what appeared to be a discussion about whether one of the boys would by the bike for another.

Soon, we found the barbeque. There were several cars in the driveway and voices coming from the backyard. Should we walk to the front door, or poke our heads around the back. I’m not particularly a front door sort of person, so I looked towards the back. Out on a deck, my friend was at the grill, and shouted down a greeting.

It is probably fair to say that a majority of my friends online are either activists or technologists, and my friend fit nicely into both categories. I was expecting that others would have similar geeky tendencies, but instead, the gathering had more of a feeling of a bunch of friends from junior high school, with artistic inclinations.

There were some interesting discussions about music, particularly as we found others that enjoyed the same festivals we go to, but there wasn’t a lot of geeky discourse. Instead, it was the fabric of life. The broken marriage, the career difficulties and new jobs, the hopes and aspirations of kids heading off to college, the traffic death of a high school student, and the reuniting of friends from many years ago.

The drive home was also uneventful; again, passing by placid lakes a long commute from New York City. As I sit at write this a few days later, I wonder, am I any different as a result of the trip? Did the trip make any difference? No, it made no difference, and it made all the difference, sort of like a red wheelbarrow glazed with rain water beside the white chickens.

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June 27th

Writing in the Lap Lane

For me, writing can be like swimming. There are times that writing is like being in a crisp clear lake. You have lots of energy, and you feel compelled to leisurely go a great distance. Other times it can be like swimming in the ocean, a fun challenge as waves hit you from one direction or another. It is harder work, but it is still joyful. Then, there are times that writing is like doing laps in the local pool. You just put your head down and do it. It may not be as much fun as open water swimming. It may not be as interesting. Yet it is part of staying in shape.

For the competitive swimmer, which I am not, I imagine that the audience may also play a role. For me, swimming is more solitary, even when done in a crowded pool. Yet when I write, I often have the audience at least partially in mind.

Today is another day where I am tired. I’ve written a bit already today for work. I have more to write tomorrow. So, as the day ends, I do a couple laps on the keyboard and churn out at least a few paragraphs. I struggle to make it someone interesting, but I know that I am just doing laps and look forward to a day when I’m better rested and can explore one of the more interesting writing themes waiting for me.

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June 26th


I am exhausted. I’m not sure why. It was a good weekend, and we did a lot, but my level of exhaustion seems to far exceed what we’ve done this weekend. Because of this, we are not doing Fiona’s radio show this evening. I am not putting up the blog post I started to write, but didn’t finish about yesterday’s adventures. I won’t spend time talking about Pride day in New York, after same sex marriage passed there, nor about the importance of changing your mind, which one of the New York State Senators did a very good speech about. I didn’t watch any of the Sunday morning cable news shows. I rarely do, so I’ll save any comments about which G.O.P. Presidential candidates said what. I won’t speak about the issues in the schools of New Haven or of the teen that was just killed in the neighboring city. I won’t talk about the fireworks schedule, either the fireworks that we’ve already missed, or the plans for next weekend.

Any of these could probably be a good blog post, if I had more energy, and perhaps they turn out to be blog posts over the coming days, but for now, I’m going to rest.

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