Friday, August 28, 2009

Related job opportunities? Must be tough out there.

It was interesting to see that Monster.com was reporting that people that applied for a Chief Information Officer position also applied for the position of manager at a drive-thru bagel restaurant and a first-level Teacher.
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Thursday, August 27, 2009

Apple OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard

Apple's upcoming release of its new operating system, code-named Snow Leopard, is arguably the most important advancement since the initial version of OS X. This new OS is a full 64-bit operating system and completes the Apple migration from Power PC chips to an Intel architecture. What does this mean for the average user? First, it won't run on any Apple with a Power PC processor like the G5, G4, and G3. Secondly, as a full 64-bit system, users should see speed increases with compatible applications of 10-60%, depending on other factors such as installed RAM and video specifications. Snow Leopard's improvements and additions are mostly "under the hood", so users will generally see little cosmetic changes and few new applications. However, don't let this fool you as there is a LOT under that hood. Some of the major improvements include:
  • Open CL allows the use of the graphics CPU for general purpose tasks
  • Quicktime X
  • Improved Accessibility and additional VoiceOver functions
  • Native Microsoft Exchange support in Mail, iCal, Address Book - no longer requiring MS Entourage
  • Malware checks and protection
  • Improvements to the Dock
  • A rewritten Finder with expanded capabilities
  • Improvements to Exposé
  • Smart eject for removable media and storage devices
  • Better substitution
  • Enhanced functions in Preview
  • New speed enhancements to Time Machine
  • Better reliability and recovery time to Sleep and Wake Up
  • 7 GB less space needed compared to Leopard
  • iChat gains higher resolution
  • Printer driver updates available through software update automatically
  • More efficient file sharing
Apple has priced this cat to move. At an upgrade price of only $29 for a single user or $49 for a Family Pack covering up to 5 users , there is little reason to not upgrade. However, you must already be running OS 10.5, known as Leopard, to qualify for the special upgrade pricing. If you don't have OS X 10.5, you need to purchase the box set, which will also include the updates to iLife 09 and iWork 09. Walt Mossberg, of the Wall Street Journal, has uncovered that users with OS X 10.4 Tiger can use the $29 upgrade on their systems and this has since been confirmed by Brian X Chen of Wired. However, while this may technically work, you will be in violation Apple's End User Agreement. Before you run out, buy the upgrade, then slip the DVD into your system for the install, read over what you need to prepare before performing the upgrade. Lifehacker has an excellent piece on what is needed, as does ComputerWorld. These purchases can be made at your local Apple store or from Amazon using these links: Mac OS X version 10.6 Snow Leopard Mac Box Set – (with Snow Leopard) Mac OS X Snow Leopard Family Pack (5-User)

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Swine flu could cause up to 90,000 U.S. deaths and infect 50% of population

On Monday, August 24, the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology released a report on the H1N1 Swine Flu that indicates the United States could see an infection rate of 50% or more. The number of deaths from infections is expected to range from 30,000 to 90,000. It is expected that infection rates will soar as children return to school and, maybe even more importantly, college students geographically relocate as campuses start their fall semesters. The peak infection time could be in October. This is unfortunate as the current timetable for swine-flu vaccinations isn't expected until mid-October at the earliest. This mis-match in timing is expected to have a major impact on the spread and impact of the virus while reducing the overall benefit of the vaccine -- since many will not receive it before they are infected. The most vulnerable portion of the population is expected to be pregnant women, health care workers, parents and guardians of children under 6 months of age, and adults under 65 with an underlying health condition, such as asthma. The CDC released preparedness guidelines for schools and business several weeks ago at the website www.flu.gov. Since the H1N1 virus emerged in the Spring of 2009, WHO (World Health Organization) reports that lab-confirmed cases number over 182,166 and over 1800 people have died from it. Due to difficulty with health care reporting in many areas of the world, these numbers are considered to be an underestimation. The CDC reports 43,771 confirmed and probable cases in the United States with 7,983 hospitalizations and a total of 522 deaths as of July 24, 2009. The latest reports indicate that 98% of all influenze type A viruses reported to the CDC with H1N1 (swine flu) viruses.

CNN Report: Swine flu could cause up to 90,000 U.S. deaths

(Via United States Centers for Disease Control.)

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

No More Perks: Coffee Shops Pull the Plug on Laptop Users - WSJ.com

No More Perks: Coffee Shops Pull the Plug on Laptop Users - WSJ.com

Reading the article on how coffee shops, mostly the independents, are beginning to limit and discourage laptop use, I was reminded of my own experiences. I happen to like Panera Bread and there was a location near my old office. However, it was a royal pain to eat there as there was rarely room to sit. On the occasions I managed to go in AND get a seat, I observed people with a cup of water or a single coffee taking up entire tables for 6, but by themselves. I witnessed some of these laptop users taking their own food or microwave meals out of backpacks and using Panera's microwave to cook them. I often wondered where this insane sense of entitlement came from. This is a business that provides a free service to complement your meal and the business you give them. Yet, these laptop users acted as though it was their Internet provider and we lunchers were in their way. Unbelievable. I am not a coffee drinker, but I do sometimes take my notebook and wander into a Panera or other establishment that offers WiFi. I'll usually get some food and a drink, then partake of the WiFi service for a bit. But I have always been cognizant of the establishment's clientele and whether the seat/table was needed. It wouldn't occur to me to NOT do that.

(Via @AlohaArleen.)

Irony or Wrinkle Free

Chris Brogan's blog had a post about the hoopla around a t-shirt. Yes, a t-shirt. Evidently this t-shirt had its reviews taken down from the Urban Outfitter web site for some unknown reason. Well, if you go to the Amazon listing for the t-shirt you might get an idea. While there didn't seem to be anything offensive, the posted reviews are just hilarious.
So, with that being the case, why did Urban Outfitters see fit to take down the reviews from their site? And, it raises the question about overall censorship of reviews.

Irony or Wrinkle Free

(Via Chris Brogan.com.)

Monday, August 3, 2009

It's official

Don Boudreaux, chair of the GMU econ department, comments on this sign of the times:

...Uncle Sam is on the verge of paying the City of Los Angeles $30 million to subsidize a ten-year run of Cirque du Soleil.

So it's finally come to pass - America has embarked on the same road down which ancient Rome marched to its ruin: Uncle Sam not only subsidizes bread (by subsidizing wheat production) but now also circuses.

[From It's official]

Saturday, August 1, 2009

A Brief and Informal Twitter Etiquette Guide

twitter spammers I love Twitter. I think the service is a wonderful tool that permits a whole new way of communicating. The thing is, it’s also a place where newcomers might often make some mistakes in their choices that will likely be taken in a negative manner, and will likely result in an unfollow or a block from other Twitter users. The idea to write a brief and informal twitter etiquette guide came from my new friend Zaven, who asked whether, in some cases, people might just be behaving in a social structure that makes sense to their culture, but not mine. He might be right. With that as a motivator, here are some guidelines for Twitter to consider. NOTE: these come with the You’re Doing It Wrong seal of “don’t take anyone’s word for law, least of all Chris Brogan’s.”

Maybe, as this is fleshed out, you’ll have some ideas to add or subtract to the guide, and we can update it accordingly. Fair?

A (less) Brief and Informal Twitter Etiquette Guide

  • A complete bio and avatar pic (I like people’s faces, but do what you will) is always a good idea. We want to know who you are. (inspired by Kendra).
  • It’s helpful to be transparent about your work/employer in your profile, if your use of Twitter has any implications for your day job. (from Eden Spodek)
  • Face to face you get a sense of how your idea is being received. No such thing on Twitter. So play nice. (from Carolyn Stephens)
  • Be yourself. It is ok and welcome to be different on twitter. (from Sudha Jamthe)
  • It’s okay to follow people you don’t know on Twitter. They can choose whether or not to follow you back.
  • It’s okay to unfollow people on Twitter. Unfollowing doesn’t automatically mean “I don’t like you.” There are many other reasons.
  • It’s okay to @reply someone a question or comment vs direct message, especially if it’s an idea where others might weigh in or add a perspective.
  • It’s better to direct message someone if you’re making 1:1 plans or having a very focused, personal conversation.
  • It’s not polite to direct message people you don’t know well with your automated quiz results or similar. It’s great that YOU like those quizzed, but others see it as spam.
  • Most folks don’t like seeing those “I just used whateveryoucallit.com to gain 300 new followers right now!” services. – (from Steve Woodruff).
  • Some people are not a fan of auto reply messages that are sent in direct messages when someone follows you on Twitter. They (and by “they,” I also mean “I”) consider these robot behavior.
  • Promoting others and talking with others is a great way to show your participation to the community.
  • Only blurting out your information and links doesn’t usually come off as friendly or community-minded.
  • Tim O’Reilly suggests that @replies have lots of detail in them, so that others picking up the conversation can understand the response (example: turn “yes” into “Yes, I really love the new G.I. Joe movie.”)
  • You don’t have to read every tweet.
  • You don’t have to respond to every @mention.
  • You aren’t obligated to reply to every direct message.
  • If someone direct messages you and you find that you cant message them back because he or she isn’t following you, a simple @reply stating, “I went to send you a direct message back but you’re not currently following me” is good manners. – (inspired by Kendra). *NOTE: Twitter sometimes loses follower relationships during clean ups. It doesn’t always mean that someone actively unfollowed you.
  • However, the more you can respond, the more people tend to stay with you and build relationships.
  • When retweeting other people’s works, it’s okay to truncate a bit to be able to retweet. Please preserve the link and also the original person’s Twitter name. (ex: RT @mackcollier “Twitter lives and dies on retweeting.”)
  • When retweeting someone else’s retweet, it’s sometimes okay to drop the secondary source and just retweet the original poster of the information. (example showing a change to a retweet): “RT @chrisbrogan RT @mackcollier Twitter lives and dies on retweeting” turns into “RT @mackcollier Twitter lives and dies on retweeting.” (make sense? agree?)
  • Want to avoid the above problem? Make your retweets more retweetable.
  • It’s Ok to have multiple twitter identities (from Jack Bresler)
  • It’s OK to disregard robots. (from Jack Bresler)
  • If you’re running a customer service Twitter account, it’s polite to follow back the people following you. (from Ted Coine).
  • Unless you have the author’s consent, it also may be unwise to pull from another feed stream, like mybloglog, and place the information into the twitter stream (from WWAHHMpreneur)
  • Swearing/cursing might well be bad etiquette, and feels like swearing loudly in a public place. (from BizyBiz) . *Note: I sometimes swear. Sorry. :(
  • Pitching your blog might not be the next best move directly after a follow. (inspired by cherylandonian)
  • Don’t get hung up on the numbers, that’s not what matters. Its a case of who you know not how many you know. (from Justin Parks)
  • People might unfollow you if you tweet excessively (falls into Chris’s “You’re Doing it Wrong” category). – (from Chloe Wilkinson)
  • It’s OK (heck, it’s recommended) to actively BLOCK followers you don’t want following you. – (from Bonnie Lowe)
  • Check your links before you tweet them! (from Sure)
  • If you can, cite the source of the link you’re posting. – (from Carlos R Hernandez)
  • and what else?

What else would you want to tell people who are new to Twitter? Do you agree or disagree with my ideas? What else will we do to help new people get acquainted?

Your thoughts are important.

[From A Brief and Informal Twitter Etiquette Guide]

High schooler sues Amazon: The Kindle ate my homework | The Social - CNET News

Amazon was recently faced with one of those "no-win" decisions. It had come to light that a publisher who provided a Kindle version of George Orwell's 1984 and Animal Farm didn't have the rights to publish in that format. Amazon made a choice that sent ripples throughout the technology world; to use its wireless link with Kindles to remotely remove the books without advance notice. Now, mind you, these are electronic copies for which consumers bought and paid for legitimately.

Another repercussion of this act was that any notes, bookmarks, or related commenting done by the reader on their Kindle was made irretrievable. This is due to those items being stored in a separate file that is linked to the book; no book, no link, no access.

Amazon had other options and should have weighed on the matter more before taking action. The eBook market is still maturing and there are likely many people that were a bit hesitant about the idea of only having electronic versions accessible only on the Kindle. This Orwellian (pun intended) approach of reaching into someone's personal property and removing a product bought and paid for cannot possibly help those consumers who sit on the fence lean towards the Kindle and Amazon.

As it turns out, Jeff Bezos later released a statement apologizing for the action and indicated Amazon would never do such a thing again. We'll see if their market position gives them enough clout with the publishers to really do that.

[From High schooler sues Amazon: The Kindle ate my homework | The Social - CNET News]