Information is the new currency. When it comes to social-networking sites and many other online enterprises, your attention is the product that is being sold. So it is not surprising that data mining, particularly efforts to link your online behavior to specific opportunities to market to you, is an exploding trend.
Data mining in itself is not inherently good or bad, but it raises many social issues whose implications we all need to understand and include in our ongoing dialogue. Data mining has benefits, including an opportunity to create a customized online experience that truly serves you better. Misuses can lead to serious breaches of privacy. I encountered several stories on data mining Tuesday that caught my attention.… Read more
It's back to school time, and Internet safety expert Linda Criddle has come up with homework for schools, students and parents: Do a safety checkup of your school's Web site to ensure that it is not making too much personal information publicly available.
She has created Guidelines for Safer School Web Sites to help schools cope with the new realities of our information society. News that can be appropriately shared within a school community--student names, team affiliations, sports practice times, and photos, for example--can expose students to considerable risk for misuse when shared with the whole world online.… Read more
It was awhile ago that YouTube first allowed video comments on its service, and over time responses in video form began to populate the site--including those that address the original video and those that don't. In theory, Friction.tv is a Web portal built around YouTube's video response feature. In practice, there are few, if any, response videos, though people have been active leaving text comments. (In the interest of full disclosure, Friction.tv is a sponsor for the NewTeeVee Pier Screening Series in which I have been asked to speak on a panel).
"Summer lovin' had me a blast. Summer lovin' happened so fast..."
When iPhone came out, I fell hard. I was all ready to sign up as an early adopter. After all, the iPod tops my list as the gadget that has improved my life the most over the the past five years (with TiVO in a close second place). Apple convinced me that the iPhone was the next quantum leap in the digital lifestyle.
Well, now that iPhone and I have been together for a couple of months, I wish I could kick it to the curb like a summer fling. Unfortunately, we're bonded together by a two-year contract. Why hasn't iPhone been the end-all, be-all device I was hoping for?… Read more
Our (parent . thesis) blog is two months old now, and writing it has given me a renewed feeling that a woman's angle on technology is distinct from the male point of view.
When I was a high school student, I hated writing term papers. I thought the whole enterprise of collecting information was tedious and boring. I remember visiting the local college library to look for information for a term paper I was writing about Eleanor of Aquitaine. It was a struggle to find the five required references. I remember looking up books in the card catalog, then hunting them down on the shelves, and scouring each one for relevant information that I wrote down on index cards. Some books were missing, some were out of place. It took hours to gather enough information to begin even writing a paper.
Then there was the task of transforming these pieces of information into a coherent narrative, typed on an electric typewriter.
Boy do I feel old. But more to the point, it's ironic that I became a writer in the long run. It turns out that I love to do research, but only when I can get to the information I need as quickly as possible.… Read more
Baby naming has suddenly become a hot topic. News sources from Salon.com, to conservative commentator David Brooks have recently weighed in on the significance of a baby's moniker. The Wall Street Journal even framed the naming decision as "the art of 'branding' your newborn."
Parents' stress levels may be rising as the naming the baby becomes a high-stakes decision. Expensive consultants have even cropped up. The Today Show featured a self-proclaimed "nameologist," who charged a couple $300 to help them choose among combinations of Charles, Robert, and Matthew. I say keep the three hundred bucks and choose a name out of a hat if you are that undecided.
Luckily there are many free or low-cost naming tools that can add to the fun rather than the stress of baby naming. In addition to the many books on the topic, from the thematically-organzied Beyond Jennifer & Jason, Madison & Montana, to the encyclopedic 100,000+ Baby Names, there are many free resources available online.… Read more