A fun look at how our Prime Minister spends the day. Of course my question is it doesn’t show him working on his hockey book.
The interruptions that come in from Twitter, Facebook, and text messages at work pretty much makes having a meeting or even a conversation impossible some days. I think we lose half of our working days some day to social media which is really appalling. With texting making it easy for anyone to get you at anytime, it is almost as if work plays second fiddle to personal correspondence in many places. It’s no wonder why some organizations pay for voice but don’t give out data plans on their company phones; employees don’t know how to police them.
For those of you who think I am difficult, meet my son as I try to take a nice photo of him. Of course he is on his netbook right now, typing this tweet to Sean Shaw.
I had fun talking politics with
@seanshaw last night.It’s going to be awkward if I ever run against him in the future.
— Mark Cooper (@coopermark) August 5, 2012
If Sean wins in Ward 3, he has a deal to take over the live blogging of city council meetings. That’s scary enough, what’s scarier is that it already clicked in that he can use that ability for evil. I need to start controlling who he is folling on Twitter and online a lot more carefully.
Life on the net can be hard. It’s human nature to want to be liked, and to feel bad when someone says something negative to you. And if it’s one thing we all know about the internet, it’s that at any moment, someone, somewhere, is saying something negative.
An easy solution would be to withdraw, to not participate at all. But the world is getting more digital, not less. Eventually we won’t have a choice: if we want any kind of social life, we’ll have to participate in the social web.
Another solution would be to develop a thicker skin. And while I’ve certainly done that over the years, I never want to become so callous that I just don’t care about anything. I want to be able to be myself in the world.
So the solution I’ve come to is this: I care a lot about a very small group of people. I maintain a hierarchy of who I need to be okay with. It starts with my wife Heather, my parents and my sister, and includes my clients and a very short list of friends. You know who’s not on that list? Anonymous internet commenters. For them and everyone else not on the list, I just try to remember a saying I heard once: “Your opinion of me is none of my business.”
If you’re reading this, chances are, you’re not on that list, and I’m sorry if that hurts your feelings. But the truth is, I’m probably not on your list, either. It’s okay if our hearts are not yet big enough to include everyone they deserve.
He manages it this way
If you use Twitter, you pay attention to your mentions – the tweets that include @yourusername – because that’s how you have conversations. And therein lies the problem, because anyone can tweet at you that way. Some of those people are batshit crazy like the Haight Street Guy, while others are just merely rude like the Conference Talker Guy.
The difference is, on Haight Street, you have to walk briskly away and hope you’re not followed. And at the conference, you have to de-escalate the conversation politely, in front of a crowd. But on Twitter, there is a magic button, and in one click, poof, the crazy is gone.
It’s a wonderful thing. A thing so lovely I often find myself wishing it existed in real life.So why is blocking such a taboo?
I think the Block function on sites like Twitter and Flickr is unfortunately named. There’s something about the word – Block! – that comes across as a personal insult. And that’s too bad, because it’s basically the only tool we have to effectively manage our social experience in those communities.
I propose that blocking people on sites like Twitter or Flickr should not be interpreted as an insult. I propose that it’s simply taking yourself out of someone else’s attention stream.
If I block you on Twitter, my tweets no longer show up in your timeline. If I block you on Flickr, my photos no longer show up on your contacts page. In these settings, this is the only way for me to remove myself from your attention.
I don’t know what Derek defines as his breaking point. Over the years I have left a couple of comments on both his and Heather’s Flickr and Twitter streams that have been sometimes ignored and sometimes replied to but I haven’t been blocked. I tend to do the same thing although I fall more on the ignore side of the things which doesn’t mean I don’t care but it often means I have nothing to say back. It’s how Twitter works. I hadn’t thought of it that much until someone that I know unknowingly posted something fairly offensive on my Twitter stream and I was going to reply when I realized that I didn’t care what this person thought of my views so I hit “block”. I used to do it quite a bit on my blog but a combination of blocking those that just want to argue and not posting very much eliminated the need.
I get a lot of criticism and feedback at work. I work with the hard to house and many have significant anger issues along with a variety of social disorders. When they don’t get their way, they generally comment on my weight, my intelligence, my faith, being bald, and being ugly. It happens day in and day out but at the end of the day I can go home and relax. To log in and get it day in and day out when all I want to do is a little reading and writing is absurd. By blocking you, I remove my offensive views from your attention and we are both happier. My piece of the internet is free from inane comments, your net is free of my views that bother you so much. There is such a thing as win/win and it’s found by clicking block.
Powazek talks of the need to stay reconciled with some people but I find that those people don’t take stupid potshots online. The other thing is that there is a difference between being close to someone and having to interact with them online. Facebook and myself don’t get along that well. It doesn’t mean that I don’t like people who choose to interact there, it just means that I choose not to interact with them there. Same with online. On Twitter I choose who I follow but I can also choose who I want to follow me and I am realizing more and more, I don’t want all people interacting with me there. I realize that some people that are normal in person are jerks online. If you don’t like it, I think I just said, I don’t really care.
As SaskTel winds down CDMA coverage in Saskatchewan, I need to upgrade Mark’s cell phone (a LG Rumor 2) that he loves. He is on a cheap pre-paid plan with Virgin that I don’t want to upgrade or add data so I will keep with a feature phone, probably a LG Rumor Plus or a Samsung Gravity 3. It’s talk, text, and email which is really all Mark needs right now.
I have been thinking about what I need ever since RIM’s network when down last summer. This is how I am thinking. I had a Blackberry Curve 8530 and like a lot of smartphone users, I have everything flowing through that phone.
- Two email accounts
- Blackberry Messenger
- Flickr (which never worked on the phone)
- Dropbox so I could send and receive files
- The Score Mobile App (I have a problem okay)
- MySask411 which replaced my phone book
I got a fair amount of work done and even wrote a couple of columns with it. It worked really well for me until that outage. When Blackberry went down, so did my phone. I couldn’t get calls, I couldn’t even connect to a Wifi network. My phone was essentially a brick that I carried around and hoped would return. While it wasn’t the reason I switched a Samsung Galaxy Ace over Christmas (the cost of the new Curve’s were high on Koodo and didn’t seem to offer a lot more capability as well as my general lack of faith in the Blackberry platform) I essentially swapped out RIM for being totally dependent on Google and this week I had an uncomfortable realization about how totally dependent I am on Google.
I was one of the first bunch of Gmail users way back in 2004, back in the days where invites were limited to five per person and where actually being sold for money. I got one, used my five invites on Wendy and some friends. Gmail was so new and fresh it had that new email smell to it. It served me well until this year when I got a notice that my email had been accessed by someone using an IP address from Serbia. It was really unsettling because as I had a decent password and changed it periodically. Having not travelled to Serbia recently (or ever) the idea that I had been hacked was a horrible one.
As for my ID, you have your drivers license, your passport, your Saskatchewan Health Card, your Social Insurance Number but my email is just as big of a part of my ID as anything. I have used it to sign up for Flickr, YouTube, Twitter, PayPal, even my bank and credit card uses it to communicate with me. While I am careful, having everything exposed was not that pleasant and it resulted in new credit cards being issues, new passwords, and really all new everything.
Shortly after that I had a huge problem with email. Emails were missing and there was about a 1500 email hole from about a year before that I discovered. I wasn’t the only one that has had this happen to me. The Gmail help forums are full of users that have lost thousands of emails and no one really knows why.
Since then there is someone that I will email periodically at The StarPhoenix that occasionally doesn’t acknowledge the email. I am the same way so I never thought of it until Friday when I got a call from my editor to see why I never filed my column except I did on Wednesday. I resent the column and it appeared. It’s the second time it happened but I have long had these sneaking suspicions that it was a problem with the @thestarphoenix.com domain. I checked the Gmail help forum and it tells me that I need to check with the domain name that wasn’t getting my email as they are of course faultless. Of course the email was never received.
This isn’t the first time this happened. A friend used to work at USA Today. An email I sent him took a full year one time to show up. I was working somewhere else and using their email (which was served up on Dreamhost) was the only server they ever had a problem with and then only sometimes. It has happened to me before from SaskTel where an email just hung out for month before being delivered. It happens but how do you know it happens. I never got a bounce message in any of those situations so I assumed (incorrectly) that it had gone through. Maybe we need to downgrade to Eudora 3 and start sending read receipts again.
So on Friday, my email was down, my cell phone was acting erratic (I think the problem was Koodo) and I realize that when things go down, they really go down. What can you do about it?
Leaving Gmail is really hard because I think we underestimate how much spam and email that we get and I really don’t want that to make it to my phone. I know SaskTel has web access but so many friends of mine have had their email account become totally full after a couple of days that it is pointless if you are a heavy email user. I can set up a 500mb account for myself on Dreamhost but I get thousands of spam a day and Gmail handles it better than anyone else. I am in the process of putting coop AT jordoncooper.com to rest which will cut back on some of the spam but it’s a big problem when you are have old email accounts. There are a lot of things that still use it, including some that I am sure I don’t remember but will need someday.
As Wired Magazine published yesterday, Gmail has a pretty big security hole in it.
But since Gmail added OAuth support in March 2010, an increasing number of startups are asking for a perpetual, silent window into your inbox.
I’m concerned OAuth, while hugely convenient for both developers and users, may be paving the way for an inevitable privacy meltdown.
For most of the last decade, alpha geeks railed against “the password anti-pattern,” the common practice for web apps to prompt for your password to a third-party, usually to scrape your e-mail address book to find friends on a social network. It was insecure and dangerous, effectively training users how to be phished.
The solution was OAuth, an open standard that lets you grant permission for one service to connect to another without ever exposing your username or password. Instead of passwords getting passed around, services are issued a token they can use to connect on your behalf.
If you’ve ever granted permission for a service to use your Twitter, Facebook, or Google account, you’ve used OAuth.
This was a radical improvement. It’s easier for users, taking a couple of clicks to authorize accounts, and passwords are never sent insecurely or stored by services who shouldn’t have them. And developers never have to worry about storing or transmitting private passwords.
But this convenience creates a new risk. It’s training people not to care.
It’s so simple and pervasive that even savvy users have no issue letting dozens of new services access their various accounts.
I’m as guilty as anyone, with 49 apps connected to my Google account, 80 to Twitter, and over 120 connected to Facebook. Others are more extreme. Samuel Cole, a developer at Kickstarter, authorized 148 apps to use his Twitter account. NYC entrepreneur Anil Dash counted 88 apps using his Google account, with nine granted access to Gmail.
This is where it gets nerve wracking.
You may trust Google to keep your email safe, but do you trust a three-month-old Y Combinator-funded startup created by three college kids? Or a side project from an engineer working in his 20 percent time? How about a disgruntled or curious employee of one of these third-party services?
Any of these services becomes the weakest link to access the e-mail for thousands of users. If one’s hacked or the list of tokens leaked, everyone who ever used that service risks exposing his complete Gmail archive.
The scariest thing? If the third-party service doesn’t discover the hack or chooses not to invalidate its tokens, you may never know you’re exposed.
The reliability isn’t just a Gmail issue but most of us switched to Gmail because it was run by Google and we never thought that we would have these issues.
The other issue with Google is that even though they post an Apps Dashboard to let you know how things are going, this is a multi-billion dollar company with no way to contact them unless you are a large customer. I have had Gmail down and nothing shows up on the Dashboard so it has to be a big outage to report it. That’s fine if you are affected with others but if you are not part of a giant collective of frustrated Gmail users losing control on Twitter, what recourse do you have. Google tells you to that they look at help forums but there are thousands of unresolved issues, some that go on for a long time. This isn’t unique to Google, a friend had a nightmare in getting locked out of his Twitter account because of a Twitter database error. It look a couple of months to resolve and that was even after it’s CEO got involved. At least you can contact Dick Costello, who do you contact anymore at Google?
I download and backup periodically my contacts for a couple of reasons, I need to keep them sync’d across my two accounts (one for work, the other one is personal). They are also sync’d on my iPod Touch, iPad, and Android phone. Of course I just read on Kottke this week that stealing your address book among iPhone developers is quite common.
It’s not really a secret, per se, but there’s a quiet understanding among many iOS app developers that it is acceptable to send a user’s entire address book, without their permission, to remote servers and then store it for future reference. It’s common practice, and many companies likely have your address book stored in their database. Obviously, there are lots of awesome things apps can do with this data to vastly improve user experience. But it is also a breach of trust and an invasion of privacy.
I did a quick survey of 15 developers of popular iOS apps, and 13 of them told me they have a contacts database with millons of records. One company’s database has Mark Zuckerberg’s cell phone number, Larry Ellison’s home phone number and Bill Gates’ cell phone number. This data is not meant to be public, and people have an expectation of privacy with respect to their contacts.
So while I am giving all of my contact information to Google intentionally, I (and so are most of you) am un-intentionally giving up your contact information to developers (sorry about that) which is one of the reasons why there is so much spam in this world. Thanks Apple. So even if Google is protecting our private information, as soon as we sync it with our iPhone or iPad, it is compromised.
This brings up my next issue, which phone vendor can we trust? Apple allows people to download your most private of personal information, Google controls and ties it all together in an Android phone, with Blackberry you just have a crappy phone experience and does anyone expect Windows 7 Phone to be any better. RIM has better security but isn’t able to deliver on their phones.
I was talking to a businessman who has been tied to his phone since AGT came out with the Aurora (such old technology, Google doesn’t even know about it) and he said to me the other day that he was willing to ditch his smart phone and go back to a flip phone (or a feature phone so he could text his kids). His company email server was down and he couldn’t do “anything” and was frustrated in the same way we all get frustrated. He said with a regular cell phone, when it went down, all it did was affect his phone calls. Now when his smartphone isn’t working, it affects everything. He was actually in the process of heading to Midtown Mall and purchase a cheap phone so as he put it, at “least I can call someone”. In some ways as I looked at a Nokia C1 by Fido today I wondered if this may be what I really want, an update to the Nokia 1100 which is still the world’s most popular phone.
Koodo’s cellular service is okay here in Saskatoon. They use Telus’ network and do a not bad job of staying active. I find that when SaskTel is having problems, so is Telus/Koodo which makes me feel somewhat better but not a lot. In other words when I get no service at my house, neither does anyone else using SaskTel, Telus, or Virgin. When Koodo’s network is acting up, I can tell by looking at my phone when something is wrong. My Foursquare check-in options revolve around Carlton University’s campus, my network says Telus or even SaskTel instead of Koodo, and my calls drop more than they should. Wireless is defined by it’s Ready, Shoot, Aim background and we shouldn’t be surprised with it’s technical difficulties considering the rate that technology is changing but more and more I keep wondering if a step back may be order and evaluate if I want all of my personal information being in a platform that is so easily exploited.
Even if you can trust them now, can you trust them in the future. Google’s recent privacy changes spooked millions and may have launched a competitor in Duck, Duck, Go. These aren’t new concerns as I remember AKMA struggling with how much he should trust Flickr years ago.
I could come off the cloud but that is a lot easier said than done. I could use Thunderbird for email and contacts and Lightning as a calendar. I could use Dreamhost’s IMAP server, keep my email off my phone, and ditch my iPad, or at least not sync up information with it. It can be done but it is a very different 1998 era web that I don’t think I want to go back to either.
When you think of the information you have in your Gmail account, address book, calendar, and other apps (think of Mint and your bank app on your phone), why aren’t we either demanding more security or at least taking steps to protect ourselves. I know RIM’s the most secure but their phones are terrible right now. I wonder if the next thing in wireless will not just be the cool apps but the cool apps that protect your data because right now my data isn’t feeling all that safe.
I had wanted to upgrade Wendy’s Samsung Link for a while now as Virgin Mobile has had some entry level Android smartphones out for a while. Every time I went out and looked, they were sold out. I finally tracked one down today at Best Buy and decided to pick up a Samsung Galaxy 550. It’s not cutting edge but it runs Foursquare, Twitter, Angry Birds, Flickr, and a bunch of other apps pretty well while being a lot cheaper than an iPhone. While I don’t think it will make me want to give up my Blackberry, it’s a pretty decent little phone. The bad part is now our competition on Foursquare is heating up.
While I am talking about Virgin Mobile, Visions Electronics is giving away free Virgin phones with no contracts. You can cancel a month into it if you want. They have the LG Rumor 2, the Samsung Gravity 3, and some others.
The other day in the hospital, Mark complained to me about his Twitter user name. He doesn’t like @coopermark and said it looked stupid. I replied to him that others have that form of username. When pressed who I was referring to, I said Warren Kinsella’s username on Twitter is @kinsellawarren. Mark asked who Kinsella was and I said, he helps Liberal’s win elections. Mark replied with, “So he hasn’t done much lately.”
After reading Sean Shaw’s review of 2010 for his blog, I started to look at the stats and demographics of jordoncooper.com. This is what I discovered.
The bulk of my visitors are from the United States and then Canada followed the by U.K. The site used to be blocked in China but I see the Great Firewall of China has invited me back in for 2010.
Of course there are countries that aren’t so found of this site. In 2010 it received no visitors from the following countries; Western Sahara, Guinea, Burkina Faso, Niger, Chad, Central African Republic, Gabon, Mozambique, Somalia, Swaziland, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. Then again Sean’s blog could be sucking up all of the traffic from these countries.
My worldwide marketing efforts paid off and I received one visitor each from Cuba, Palau, New Caledonia, Greenland, Mali, Mauritania, Sierra Leone, Senegal, Maldives, Laos, Turks and Caicos Islands, U.S. Virgin Islands, Saint Helena, Congo [DRC], Montserrat, and the Solomon Islands.
My march towards worldwide media domination is working as traffic has doubled in other parts of the world and I have received two visits from each of the following countries. Benin, Namibia, Grenada, Gibraltar, Cameroon, Kyrgyzstan, Haiti, Madagascar, Myanmar [Burma], Libya, Paraguay, Albania, Botswana, Yemen, Zambia, Moldova, and Réunion.
The top ten keywords of 2010
- jordon cooper
- jordan cooper (they could be looking for this guy)
- narcissistic personality disorder
- impact of facebook
- facebook impact on society
- ford festiva
- impact of facebook on society
- facebook impact
- salvation army christmas hampers
- social impact of facebook
As far as technology goes, most of you still use a horrible web browser. You may want to upgrade to Firefox, Chrome, or Safari.
The most popular phone to browse the site is the iPhone/iPod touch, followed by the Blackberry, Android, and even some T-Mobile Sidekicks. In 2010 there was also one visitor running OS/2.
Some of the more interesting networks visiting the site more than ten times in 2010 were the RCMP, the Whitehouse (I have had readers now from three different administrations), CTV, Kentucky Department of Corrections, Department of Veterans Affairs, Apple Computer, Briarcrest College (which is interesting in that I used to be banned by them), Defense Research Establishment(apparently there is a military industrial complex), University of Tehran, U.S. Navy, U.S. Department of Justice (was researching a case I had posted about – someone called me to talk about it), USA Today (I think it is a sports blogger), The New York Times (over 1000 page views), Time Inc, Toronto Star, U.S. Department of State, U.S. Department of Energy (nuclear secrets, second door on your left), U.S. Senate, U.S. House of Representatives, the Privy Council Office (page views show a loyal reader in the office), Oral Roberts University (?!), Halliburton, Foreign Affairs Magazine, Council on Foreign Relations, Department of Homeland Security, Department of National Defense (looks like a P.R. thing… looking at my posts on the F-35), Canadian Football League, Canadian House of Commons, Canadian Senate, Canadian Space Agency, Canadian Forces Command and Staff College, and CBS.
As far as Twitter goes, I am being followed by 1,132 people and am blocked by one Saskatoon city councilor.
It seems to be economic in nature
When rallies erupted in January, they were at first largely tribal affairs in the impoverished Bedouin villages where King Abdullah recruits his forces. But as they spread to Amman, the capital, and to other towns, other disgruntled Jordanians, including Islamists, teachers and leftists, have jumped on the bandwagon.
Not sure if King Abdullah’s plan for dealing with the crisis works
In response, the king at first increased the meagre government pensions and salaries by 20 dinars ($28) a month; few of the beneficiaries sounded grateful. Then, on January 31st, he sacked his government, a time-honoured Jordanian device for fobbing off protest. The new prime minister, Marouf Bakhit, comes from the same Bedouin and military stock as most of the protesters. In a previous stint as prime minister, he placated his Bedouin troops by raising their salaries. Muhammad Sneid, who organised the first rural protest in the town of Dhiban, cheered the appointment of one of his own.
Maybe he could take some advice from his step-mother and start using Twitter.
They are having low level talks… meanwhile this site can be had for the bargain price of $8 billion.
On the 27th I went to Best Buy to take a look at DSLR’s on sale. I didn’t see any DSLRs but while I was there, I saw that Koodo had dropped their price on Blackberry Curves to $150 and no contract. I had thought about getting a LG Rumor 2 this year but after looking into it, we decided to get the Curve. I had been quite happy with Virgin but I have had technical problems with my account for two years and it was getting worse. While Virgin’s tech support and customer service staff have been really helpful, they still could not fix the problem so I finally decided to make the move.
The first thing I did was get my Curve set up to our wifi connection in the house. That wasn’t working that well. Then I realized my router was about a billion years old (it was a 801b router) and it needed an upgrade. Since my new router was on my desk, it was pretty easy to upgrade. The Curve, my iPod Touch, and our notebook suddenly worked a lot faster. I upgraded my old router’s firmware and will give it Computers for Kids and if they don’t want it, it can go to SARCAN.
Here is are the apps that made their way onto it over the last couple of days.
- Blackberry App World | How does this not come preinstalled? Seriously. It’s like Apple not installing iTunes or an App Store on their iPhones.
- Google Sync | It keeps my contact information and calendar current and sync’d with my Blackberry.
- Google Mobile Apps | I probably don’t need them but they are there just in case.
- Google Latitude | Does anyone use this? That being said I tend to favour Foursquare
- Personal Assistant
- The Weather Network App | It’s set up to find the weather in Saskatoon, Calgary, Regina, Edmonton, Winnipeg, and Govan.
- Urban Spoon | Wendy can never decide where to go and eat. This helps solve that. Well not really but I am wishful thinking.
- Ping Chat | I can chat with Wendy and Mark on their iPod’s with this app.
- Foursquare | It doesn’t yet use wifi but it allows you to check in and out all over the place. It’s one of those apps that doesn’t make sense until you use it and then you love it.
- Twitter | Umm, it’s one of the main reasons why I upgraded to a Blackberry.
- Facebook (one the off chance for some reason I need to actually log in sometime… maybe in 2012)
- Flickr | It’s an uploader that uploads my camera phone shots to Flickr. It rather annoyingly resizes them but I’ll deal with that later.
News and Sports
- The Globe and Mail
- New York Times
- The Score Mobile
- AP Mobile
- MySask411 | I never saw this as a “must have” app but now that I have it on my phone, its great.
- The Rider App | The Saskatchewan Roughriders are the only CFL team to have their own app.
- Globe and Mail
- CFL App from Telus
Am I missing anything? Let me know in the comments.