Photo Sharing, My Child, an It’s Privacy: Rambling On

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Even before my son was born, I was stuck with the dilemma of how to show everyone who wanted to see photos, the photos I took. I’m a very security minded person, and the last thing I want to do is put my son in the public eye. It is fine if I do it, but my son, should have at least a choice. Children born in the Facebook era, are in the public spotlight from when they are born. By the age of thirteen, when they are finally able to use the internet, most of their milestones have been publicly documented (including the answers to their security questions).

I am really against all the moms and dads that lost their individuality because they want to everyone to see photos of their kids.  I’m friends with the adults, not the child(ren).  I don’t mean to sound harsh, but I when there are facebook extensions to remove baby pictures, I think it cross the line into a ‘thing.’

With security being the enemy of convenience, I have to manage both.  I need to make it easy for people to access and easy for me to post, but I make sure it is secure.  I don’t want the photos easily accessible by people I don’t want. Rolling my own photo service makes viewing photos a burden, but I control who sees it. Using an ubiquitous service makes it easily accessible to all, but not secure. With all the public services, I am aware that nothing will do everything what I want, nor will they not be stealing my (child’s) information.

The other issue that I have is I don’t want all my ‘friends’ seeing the photos.  I only want a certain subset of them (close friends and family) to see the photos.  On an aside, I find it strange by how many people want to see baby photos.  Maybe I’m weird.  I understand babies are cute, but I don’t need millions of photos.  I really want the control. Control is more important that simple.

I’ve decided to use Google+, not because I’m a fanboy. I decided because I think Google took the right approach in sharing. The circle concept has been very successful, and from privacy settings were apparent from the start. People who want photos can get it, and those who don’t won’t. The photo editing has only been getting better, and the album view has really improved. I can also share out of Google+ without a hassle. I can take an album and set permissions to only people with said link.

Not to mention that Google Glass integrates very well with Google+.  The photos get backed up, and easily allow sharing from all my devices.

Dropbox has also emerged as a competitor in a different way.  I give family a link to the shared folder.  In the meantime, any photo my wife and I upload we stick in dropbox.  My family can then see all the photos.  I can sort of do the same with others, but it gets to be cumbersome.

If you have spoken to me at all regarding my social networking habits you know that I am not a fan of Facebook. I’ve gotten to a point that I some photos, some public knowledge information, and almost no details about myself. I purely use it for Facebook Messenger, and to keep in touch with friends. I don’t have my favorite books, or movies. I don’t have more than a handful of photos. I reject most tags of myself, and refuse to allow anything other than some innocuous posts. I just don’t trust Facebook. There were always security and privacy concerns that have always rubbed me the wrong way. With that said, I don’t want pictures of my child on there.

Because I have to use Facebook if I want my friends and family to see my photos, I will link the G+ album to a Facebook post. It is the easiest way of posting on facebook, but leaving it without content. Facebook to my knowledge doesn’t scrape the photos of a link.

Twitter is just not an option. The feature set does not allow albums.

Instagram also has the same problem as twitter.

Flickr was an option, and a decent one at that. However, I was never a Flickr fan, nor are any of my friends. Plus the pro account, costs money. So while Flickr should be the obvious choice, nobody, not even me uses, Flickr. So many years of neglect, didn’t help either.

My personal site was an option, but there is too much overhead for me. There is too much work for me for a photo here or there.

After rambling, it is important to remember that I want to keep the photos and exposure of my child as controlled as possible.

Moto X – The Next Day [Updated]

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motoxpinwheelWe all had the night to digest, and I think we looked at it the wrong way.  In fact my co-host, Paul Shapiro, gave me a different way to look at it.  Look at the product as a whole, just like any Apple product. (Here is our discussion of it)

The spec war, is like a way to say, my phone is faster than yours.  Honestly, the only thing that I care about is can the phone be responsive to my needs.  I’m a pretty heavy power user.  What scares me the most about a new phone is month 20 -24 where I’m waiting for an upgrade.  Will the phone be usable then?  Most people are shocked that I do keep my phone the duration of the contract.  The power users that I talk to, upgrade, usually between 9 months and a year.  A $650 phone should last longer than a year.

The Moto X seems to have an new strategy.  Let’s build the software around the hardware (or is that hardware around the software).  The Moto X is not a high end phone, but it isn’t a slouch.  If you ignore the spec war,  and look at it from a trusting point of view, you have a really good phone, one that I’m going to recommend to people.

You have Motorola and Google working together to create a very usable skin of Android.  This may be the first skin that people may give praises to.  It isn’t just a skin, but something that is integrated with the hardware.  Having specific cores doing certain things, is a refreshing way to look at it.  Combine that with 4.3 with project butter 2.0, and you have something interesting.  When idle, it will listen to your commands on one core, do background tasks on others, but combine the full power when you are doing an active task.  I think Motorola executed the Samsung features of touchwiz in a much better way.

The big question are the updates.  4.3 is already out, and this phone when shipped later this month will be running 4.2.2.  Motorola has been really quick with their updates, but this scares me.  Just like how the Google Edition S4 and the HTC One are getting their updates from the manufacturers.

The customization features hopefully turn into something more than a gimmick.  Remember, the first phone accessory you buy is a case for your phone.  Covering all the customizations up with a case, is not what people want to do.  It looks durable.  I commend Motorola and Google, for creating a way to customize a phone, quickly into consumer’s hands.  On a feel good note, we are creating US manufacturing jobs.

I can’t be all sparkles and sprinkles on the device.  The carriers have destroyed my hopes and dreams of picking up this phone.  AT&T has exclusivity to the customization features, the phone doesn’t come with an unlockable bootloader (the announcement didn’t say it was explicitly unlocked).  We don’t know the ‘developer edition’ price yet. Each carrier has their own rules and release dates.  Remember the HTC is still not out on Verizon, months after the release, and months after the Google Edition is up for everyone.

Punit Soni originally shared:
Perhaps this got missed in the launch hullabaloo …
Moto X on the Sprint, US Cellular, Rogers and T-Mobile networks will have an unlockable bootloader, and in addition, we will be offering a Verizon Wireless Developer Edition and a general North American Developer Edition. 

For most people a two year contract is not a big deal.  You have to be on a carrier, so let them take the hit.  Most people don’t upgrade their phones more frequently than every two years. However, for some people, (me) I rather buy the phone outright for an acceptable price, and be in control of the upgrades.

As a consumer facing phone, Motorola and Google did a good job.  I’ll be recommending this to people who want it.  As a power user, I’m going to pass, and wait on the new Nexus device.

 Please Comment on the Google+ page found here:


Privacy Concerns With Google Glass

posted in: blog, tech | 2
source: Nobel Ackerson
source: Nobel Ackerson

If you know me personally, you know that I’m a very public person. I am also a very private person when it comes to certain things. Having the right to privacy, whether you choose so or not, is something I want to always have regardless if I choose to or not. If I choose to be engaged in social media, it is my choice, but I have to make sure that I only invoke my right (or lack) of privacy, and not anyone else’s.

When I take photos, I NEVER tag people in the shared album. I always ask the people, even if I can share the album. While, I assume, I’m in my right to tag someone, out of respect I don’t. What I assume is safe to post, may not be for everyone.

There is a very legitimate privacy concern over glass, when it comes to being in a place where cameras and recording devices are prohibited. In these places recording devices are banned. you don’t need to make another law specifically for glass. it is assumed that any recording device will be prohibited. The goal of Glass is to push the limits of technology. It is not a new way to spy on people. if Google didn’t put a camera, people would complain that it didn’t have a recording element.I believe that Google Glass is a huge milestone in technology. I believe that is a net positive gain for convenience. Remember Google’s mission statement / company policy is “do not evil.”

I will say that people are not paying the all this money to show us the very worst part of Google Glass. They have a vested interest in making a positive impact. I bet all the Glass toting population are very nice people who want to see this technology become mainstream. If the rumored iWatch has Siri that must mean it could also be a recording device. Are we banning watches?

The violation of one person’s privacy rights (implicit or implied) is a huge concern. The underlying issue is that the technology has already been given a stigma of being something that it is not. I am not going to walk around recording everyone. Just because I have a recording device doesn’t mean I’m going to use it for nefarious purposes. Those same devices have existed for years, but somehow we trust the user. We trust the user because we have the same technology, and understand how it works.

When you talk to someone who doesn’t understand what Facebook is, we hear the same privacy invading rhetoric. “I don’t like ‘the Facebook’ because it [Facebook] steals our information.” It very well could be true, but the evidence used, is not based on fact, but on rumor that someone told them. This argument also comes from the same people who won’t give you their address or phone number out of privacy concerns, but will friend you on Facebook ten minutes later.

People are already trying to pigeonhole Glass into a category of spying and video recording mainly because that is all they know.  We don’t ban pencils because someone can stab someone with it.  The fear of the unknown, has been led to the forefront. Just like any new technology, without real analysis, the cynics are going to complain about everything. How about we focus on real privacy concerns rather than potential recording in public places. I don’t hear complaints that your ISP just hands over browser history with only a governmental request. What about the data leakage that occurs when your friends play FarmVille?  You do know, Zynga, by virtue of your friends playing the games, has access to your Facebook account?

Let’s address the problem when it comes up.  Until then, let us all marvel in the new technology.  We have much bigger problems than some people looking funny who may want to take your picture in public without your consent.

The Hard Truth About Google Reader And What I Want As A Replacement

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Obviously last week was a terrible week to be a Google fan boy  You probably didn’t get into I/O, but more importantly, you heard of the demise of Google reader.

People are saying this is good because it will breed innovation, something that Google destroyed when it released its product 8 years ago. The problem is that I don’t want some gorgeous app. I want to quickly read the headlines of my feed with or without a blurb, and to move on. I also want it synced to all my devices.

Why Google killed reader has conspiracy nuts going.  It probably came down to 1) not being able to monetize the product, and 2) Resources they need are going to the wrong place.  The Reader team was basically on borrowed time.  Now what Google does with Reader is a different story.  My hope is that it gets merged with Google+ in a way that makes everyone happy (or at least appeases them).

The stated reason was that nobody uses RSS.  My mother doesn’t use RSS.  Most people can’t spell or elaborate on RSS.  RSS is used in the back rooms giving people things to read.  Someone chose today’s story of the day, and it went viral.  The problem is we are giving power to a select few to curate content for us. The social sharing is not what I want.  I don’t want other people telling me what to read.  On some level I want that granularity.  For a long time, and still am, a follower.  Their idea was get editor approved content, or pay $5/month and see EVERYTHING.  Everything was so much with too little time, I ended up trusted the editors.  Trusting the editors was after years of making sure they chose articles relevant to my interest.  90% of the time they were spot on.

As the Internet gets more ingrained in our lives, and our attention span becomes shorter, people want the best news of the day.  Well, I don’t… I want to be known for knowing as much as I can on technology.  I want people to ask me.

I do like Flipboard, Pulse, Current, Zite, and others.  I do like that they give you a magazine layout.  The issue is that I parse articles, I don’t read them.  When I do read them, I do want something like those mentioned above.

Here is Flipboard, my current favorite, catch up on The Economist, magazine reader:


For that style app, it is one of the best.  I highly recommend it.  As an aggregator  however, it is terrible.

As a contrast, here is my Google Reader:


readerNotice how many articles I have to go through.  At the time of this writing it is 760 articles.  Of those articles maybe I’ll look at 100.  250 of these articles are cat pictures.

I have on my list, The Verge, Gizmodo, and Engadget.  Most of the time those sites duplicate articles.  The Verge alone posts 75 articles a day, most of them have little interest for more than a headline.  I really don’t want to flip through a gorgeous UI for that.  I want in, get the information, than leave.

So what exactly do I want?

If we are starting from scratch, then here are my choices for a good application that I would pay money for.

Must Haves (Deal-breakers)

Quick access to feeds.  This is the most important thing.  I must be able to quickly access feeds, mark as read, and navigate.  Like I said, my workflow is such that I need to quickly read articles.  I need quick access to those that interest me, and a quick way to skip over those who don’t.

Provide a web interface AND access to an app, or allow an API so others can access it.  Most of the current iOS/Android apps hook into Google Reader API.  I need to have access on any device I use.  It doesn’t have to be a standalone app, but it should allow others to integrate it (paid if need be).

The ability to sync across devices.  I use many devices during the day.  I need access to news where ever I am.  I need to also keep my spot in line.  I may be a power user, but I need to know that I’m not reading duplicate entries all throughout the day.

Good to have:

Different Views:  Allow me to set headlines only, blurb form, or full article form.  Actually have it laid out based on screen size.

oAuth:  I do not want separate account information unless needed.  Find a way that I can log in with the social networks, mainly Google+.

Social Sharing: Be able to at least email a post to someone.  It would be good if the major sharing sites (including Google+) is there

Read it Later:  Same as social sharing.  Allow access to the read it later sites like Instapaper.  If you could “send to Kindle” I would pay for that.

Local Storage/Offline Access: Most of the aggregators already do this.  Harness HTML5 for data storage.

Paid (Ad Free Service):  I have no problem paying server costs.  Allow ads, or allow people to pay for the service and make it advertising free.

Algorithmically generated stories:  If I subscribe to blogs, try to suggest others that I may like. Even better, have a local section based on location that will populate a folder called “local news.”

Subscribe to Bundles:  Since data mining should be done, find out the most popular news feeds, and allow people to subscribe to them in themes.

Extensions for media:  If the RSS feed is a podcast, I want the ability to hit play.


As you can see, your favorite application for reading RSS probably has this built in.  Hopefully Google gave them long enough to figure out a back end to allow hosting.

I’m disabling comments.  If you would like to comment, follow the Google+ link.

Ingress: The Best Game You Have Never Played

posted in: tech | 4


IngressI want to preface this with, I don’t play games.  My attention span is so short that the loading screen loses my interest, yet, Ingress has one of the longest loading intro screens I have come across.  Ingress requires you to actually go outside, and walk around.  It requires you to talk to others and coordinate to strategize.  There are no in app purchases.  The app is a huge battery hog, and has a pretty lousy UI/UX (the graphics are awesome though).  With all these negatives, I am addicted to it.

Why haven’t you heard of it?

Currently this is beta, invite only, and only on Android.  Once you play, you can see why you need to really beta test this out slowly.  I can tell you that you can’t avoid Ingress if you are on Google Plus.  Everyone is clamoring for invites.  If you go on Twitter or Facebook, this is all non existent.


I’m Happy That Your Password Got Hacked

posted in: tech, tips | 5


What happened to the Senior Editor from Wired was horrible.  I do not wish anyone that same fate, but deep down, I am happy that it got massive amounts of attention.   I keep saying that security breaches only hurts us at the worst time, but it also serves a valuable lesson.

I want you to read the story from Wired Magazine.  I’ll wait here, while you do.

In real life, you lock your house or car door.  You don’t park in nefarious areas, you avoid areas known for crime.  If you don’t lock said doors, the first time, someone in your life gets robbed (or worse you), you start implementing more security. I wrote about this in the password post, but unless something bad happens, you don’t change your life. When someone on the internet gets hacked, you make up an excuse.  When your friends Facebook gets hacked, you don’t blink an eye. You just quickly tell them to change their password.   You just are happy it wasn’t you.  Someone very famous just got hacked, wrote about it, in amazing detail, and people can associate themselves.  This whole saga lasted less than an hour.  One hour!  In one hour, someone lost EVERYTHING digitally important to them.


WordPress Issues for a Clueless Programmer

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Over the course of the last few days, I learned one major thing.  I am NOT a developer. Not even close.  What else I learned was that I do know what I’m doing, and can follow with the big boys, I just can’t do it.

I spent a lot of time at the google plus sessions.  My goal was to learn how to use the API.  Specifically my goal (I failed at it), was to be able to put a horizontal +1 button with all of those who like it:

I was amazed to learn what I can do with the new History API.  While understanding my limitation, I did just want to change the style of the +1 button.  I wanted it specifically to be inline (just like you see above).  I wanted to link to the page, be shareable, and be traceable (analytics already does this).

Checking out the developer site, they showed me what to do, and how to do it.  It said “place this [insert spot] here.  On the admin side to WordPress there are close to 50 different pages (5 or so more specific post related pages).  I had no idea where the post was actually rendering.

All the googlers were willing to help, but they were at a loss.  Their wordpress ninja eventually conceded that he rolled his own theme, as well as his own code for most of his site.  He did work with me for a while, but the mutual agreement was to find a plugin that will incorporate this.  Again, I’m not a developer, but I can read and understand code.  Adding pre written code should be easier.

The first thing I am asking for is the ability to paste common social codes directly into the themes.  How does someone paste adsense codes, google +1s, likes, shares, tweets, etc… without running through a widget or plugin.  I know wordpress is supposed to focus on the content, and not the back end, but this should be simple [enough].

The other cool thing that the history API will eventually do is to pull google+ comments. I want to be able to pull google+ comments from plus itself and post them to wordpress.  I haven’t thought about how exactly I want this to work, but I figure that if someone posts on plus, they are already authenticated, which means there doesn’t need to be a second wordpress authentication.

So feature request two is: Can we incorporate commenting from other networks without having to use disqus, or another third party?

I want harness google+.  Google showed over the last few days that google+ is here to stay, and I’m excited.  Read later on the features, but I want this to work, and I want to incorporate it into my blogging strategy.

I want to thank all the googlers who helped me over the last few days.  This post was recommended by them, so they can ask Matt Mullenweg on how to proceed next.

Updated: Google Music For The Win (In the Cloud Storage War)

posted in: tech, tips | 7

Updated: I did a followup here:


With all the new cloud players out there, which one will have the advantage.  I think I have a plus for google music.

Running a mac, with an android phone, and an ever growing music library, I have yet to find the perfect solution.  The iphone was the perfect solution except for the fact that Android does more of what I need, and music isn’t super high up there.  While play counts, and playlists are, other functionality won out.

Converting from PC to Mac to a Windows Home Server, my iTunes.itl file is the holy grail for me.  It is one of the few things that I have backed up just about everywhere.  When you have reconverted your audio in ever increasing (and now FLAC) quality, you lose space. Lots of space.  With an 8gig nano in your car, you have to choose your music wisely.

So what am I complaining about ?  Simply, how can you use a cloud service to store all your music and update your play count.  I think I found it.


The Fight Between the Three Major Social Networks

posted in: tech | 2

Before I start, I think this graph is ultra biased.  1000+ days ago was 2008.  Facebook was released in parts first to college, then to high school, then to entities.  Twitter was created in 2006, to the still lingering question, “What do I do with this.” Google being the number 1 search engine by a huge margin, has been creating rumors about their social network. When it finally came out, of course EVERYONE wanted to try it.   Now the question is, “Which one of these services is going to suffer?”


Google + May Finally Have the Buzz to Topple Facebook [UPDATED 1]

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Thanks XKCD


UPDATE:  Just had a long talk with @justinfreid, about this.

I’m rushing this post out, but I’m really impressed by what I see.   What I’m talking about is google+.  Google’s answer to social networking, and I think that google not only hit it out of the park, but hit it out of the stratosphere.  Being so nascent, hidden features will come, but this is what I see:


First, how did I get an invite.  If google planned this, then it was genius.  They gave invites to the celebrities.  This is standard operating procedure.  Then they opened up the floodgates, but allowing invites.  Not just 10 invites, but an unlimited number (I must have invited 30+ people without it blinking).  This allowed the people who wanted in to be in, and invite those who they thought were useful to join.  Immediately after, posts invites, and everyone joined.  In 20 minutes, I had four friends, already posting, +1″ing,” adding photos, and commenting.  Within the hour, I was “hanging out.”