Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Security paranoia in a location aware world

I know I'm super paranoid about security.  

My wife still gives me hell because she doesn't have access to my computers or phones, and has no password access to any of my stuff.   I carefully manage audit trails of my things, so I can ensure the best possible security for my identity.  (In fact, I couldn't use the blogger app on my ipad for this post, because two-factor authentication is setup on my google account to my US cell phone, and I'm using my UK one while traveling.   So I used the web interface instead)

However, I wondered today about the use of certain data from a corporate espionage perspective today as I was considering a Foursquare checkin.   I'm a fan of collecting check-ins these days, and a new stop in a new city is a great way to remember it when viewing my travel log.    As my thumb hovered over the check in, I realized.... "hey, wait... I'm going to a meeting to discuss a potential deal.     That deal isn't out.   Could someone figure out what I was doing just based on where I was?"

I think the answer is no in this case - this is a big city with lots of reasons to be here, and so I moved on.   But is this something to think about in the future?   Will companies use social media information to make competitive decisions?   Can it reveal more about what's going to happen rather that what has or is happening?

Checking in at the office of the deal is stupid - but can you read into the broader location?

Something to consider.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Help me learn about coffee and tea

I've never been a coffee or a tea drinker.   I always laugh that I have plenty of other vices -- as I do like beer and the hard stuff, I like to gamble, I enjoy driving fast -- that I've never picked this one up.  I was always a soda drinker, to the point of a bit of insanity.   In college, I never picked up the coffee habit, but kept pounding soda.

The first time I lost weight, gearing up for my wedding, I switched from "regular" to "unleaded", moving to Diet drinks as part of the calorie management solution.   I did Weight Watchers, and it worked really well for me, and I was able to get down to a trim 175 for my wedding.   Sharon even thought it was too much weight loss.

I put the weight back on over the past two years, and with a rather stern warning from my doctor at the beginning of the year, I was told not only did I need to take the weight off, but that watching my sugars and carbs was going to be part of my life.   Yay me.

Thus, I geared up and dropped Diet soda as well as the other changes to my diet, and I'm well on track to target weight.   (Beer is currently under a restriction, where I only drink it in the UK, because mixed drinks in the UK is a waste of time and money.)  

What this has done, however, is leave me in a spot where, besides water, there aren't good "on the go" drinks.   With sodas out, and juices containing a lot of sugar I'm trying to avoid, and sports drinks off the table for calories reasons, I need to find myself something I can have.

Coffee and tea are things I've just not had the taste for, but I suspect it's because it's something I don't understand more than something I won't like.  For example, I didn't always like beer, and still don't like ALL beers (India Pale Ales just don't do it for me), there are beers I like and ones I don't like.   I feel like with this wealth of types of coffee and teas out there, there have to be ones I'd like!

But where to start is the bigger question.   I hear a lot of "go into a coffee shop and try things", but what to try?  When you don't know what things are, this isn't helping much.   I can't be adding tons of sugar to things either, as that defeats the purpose.

My preferences:

I like sweet things, and always have.  Of course, I'm on a sugar restricted diet, so no cheating and adding sugar.
Carb management is important, so watching those is important.

What to try?

I know there are a ton of coffee and tea drinkers out there -- how to best tackle this?

Monday, May 6, 2013

Am I getting bored with social media, or am I using it wrong?

I had this realization this weekend that I'm getting kinda bored with social media.

Maybe what is happening is I'm getting bored with my own social media presence, and maybe I'm using it wrong. I've never wanted to do two profiles, having profiles for personal and profiles for work. I've always thought the two are mixed, and in particular, I've always liked having a well rounded profile exposed to work people. This worked reasonably well when I had a smaller network, and there were less sites to manage.

Let's break this down by social media outlet.

Facebook is my "primary" one, and of late I feel like I'm not even getting content I want to see. By some obligation, I go there at least two or three times a day, but I don't feel like my news feed is actually giving me the stuff I care about. Maybe some of it is, but the whole interface is too slow to scan quickly, it focuses too much on stuff I don't feel I'm interested in, and the number of ads showing up in my feed is just insane (and even worse on mobile! Heaven forbid I try and read that there.

I like sharing things on Facebook -- that makes some sense to me, and seems to work rather well (at least, I think so), as people tend to like the stuff I post (meaning I get actual likes and comments, so some kind of engagement.

I've never gotten Twitter.  There, I admit it, I'm a social media "expert" who just doesn't get it.   If I thought Facebook had too much stuff I didn't care about, Twitter is even worse.    I try and be careful about who I follow, and thus not get too much info, but again, it's just this mass of stuff I never seem able to keep up with, and for something that's supposed to be about conversations I never seem to HAVE any conversations with people.   I've used automation to provide my stuff -- there, I admit it -- because I've never really figured it out.  Should I just follow less people?   Is it a matter of lists or something?  How do I get to just the stuff I want to see?

I want to like LinkedIn more than I do.   The feed seems useless to find out what anyone is actually doing, and the groups are just absolutely unmanageable.    I figured out how to make Foursquare (more on that in a moment) link to LinkedIn for just work-type places, and that seems really useful, but in terms of actually having meaningful interactions with people, what am I doing wrong?   I love it as a repository of who I work with and who I'm linked to -- but can it be a personal CRM too?   I can't link it to tasks (which I love, and use heavily, on my iOS devices synced with iCloud), but I can't link them to people very easily.  

Foursquare has been kinda interesting lately, mostly in that I like collecting checkins already, and now I can link to Facebook pretty easily, and collect a ton of them.  It's been really useful for exploring new places too (despite it's inability to find me a good coffee shop to work and try coffee in around my house).  I think I have the alerts up too high, because several other friends around me check in a lot too and it's just too much incoming information, but I think if I was just diligent I'd be able to clean that up. I got into Foursquare when they made the Facebook integration so good.

I admit I also like Untappd for beer (and linked to FB and 4SQ) because I like tracking what I tried (and can never remember what I like), the MLB At the Ballpark app because it also lets me link to 4SQ but collect the checkin in their app and see my game history.   There's one or two others that seem to work the same way, so when I think of them I use them. I think I like it because it's just a specialized "check in", and isn't in another place.  

Blogging is always something I've enjoyed doing but lack instant ideas.  I try and write something weekly for the corporate blog, and I just fired this back up because I didn't have a place to put it, but maybe I just need to develop a better writing habit.   Then the question comes up as to "Should I worry about sharing this, and if so, where".  Or do I have other things feed this blog?  (For instance, should I replicate my posts on the corporate blog here.  I mean, they're my words there too, and it seems silly to make people look for me in two places).

RSS Feeds I still love -- always have.   I love reading sites, and getting things in my Google Reader (soon to be something else) and in the Reeder app.  I feel like I can get information when I want it on the topics I want, and keep up.  I'm something of a completionist, so I like the fact I can catch up on all the stuff I missed since the last time I read.  

Where is the "main" one?  Should I have things feed into other things?  

And what about mood or time or intention?   Is that what I'm doing wrong with the integrated approach?  When I'm working, I want work information in front of me.  When I'm out having fun, I want to find others to have fun with, and share my fun.

I actually think I do a reasonable job of pushing OUT good content.   I try not to share crap, I try and be relevant, I try and connect others to good information, that kind of thing.  But when I'm looking for content, I feel like it's just too much and I'm not getting the stuff I'm looking for.  The end result is that I'm feeling bored -- or not engaged or not interested or whatever -- because I'm not getting enough of what I want out of it.  

I'm throwing this problem out there to see what I get back.