Friday, January 7, 2011

Gone Fishin'

Hey folks.

I have moved from this blog to my new one. Please drop on by to www.davefromgp.ca for more recent content!

Dave From GP

Monday, November 22, 2010

Privacy and Targeted Marketing


Our concepts of privacy are evolving at breakneck speed. The other morning on CBC Radio's The Current, the topic was about posting videos and pictures of your kids online, especially ones that go viral. What would the implications be for the kid's future? What does this say about parenting? One point brought up was that the new generation is taking pictures and videos and posting themselves daily. Perhaps their interpretation of privacy will be different to ours.
A lot of the privacy concerns revolve around Facebook and Google and their interest in using our personal information for profit. Their targeted marketing is based on what our "Likes" and dislikes are by clicking on a Facebook thumb or the trail we leave via the types of websites we surf. The way I see it these corporations seem to believe that advertising is the way they are going to make their money. Would it not be better to get ads on my Facebook page that are for products or services I am interested in rather than being bombarded by general advertising? In real life, when the Mountain Equipment Co-Op catalogue arrives in the mail I am happy. It is full of things I am interested in. When a flyer for Walmart shows up, I could care less. This flyer advertising has been used for years and where does most of it end up? In the recycle bin, but the MEC catalogue, because I am interested in it, goes in a special bin beside my favourite chair.
If I had my choice there would be no advertising but since it is inevitable I guess I am for the targeted kind.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Trying New Things!

Spent the evening working on my new blog, not so much publishing anything but clicking around the WordPress program. Looks like there is some amazing stuff you can do. A little overwhelming I guess, but I think I can figure it out. If all goes well I hope to get something going on it this weekend.

While I'm on the subject of new things, I have been testing out a couple of browsers in an effort to widen my options. I have been using Internet Explorer since I first started using Windows 95. As much as I hate to admit it, I have been considering switching over to Mac in the future so at first I decided to give Safari a whirl. Can't say I have been to impressed with it so far.

I have been using Google Docs recently to do up some lesson plans for the club I'm in. I was having some issues with the cursor doing weird things as I was editing documents with IE8. One of my Twitter acquaintances, Kyle Thomas of the website With Media, asked if I had tried Google Chrome. I had not but it seemed the most logical thing to do. I downloaded it and was using it for my browsing today. I must say it is quite different from IE8 but I am really liking it so far. I tested it briefly in Google Docs and seemed OK but so did IE8 when I first started. I'll give it a good workout this weekend as I work on some more club projects.

Stay tuned!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A Time for Change

Have you ever seen the movie Metropolis? This silent movie made in Germany in 1927 is one of the gems of the silent era and for the science fiction film genre in general.

The most iconic scene is the one where Maria's image is downloaded into a Machine Man. This electronic doppelganger goes on to incite revolution and violence in a bold statement on classes and oppression. The Machine Man brings about a revolution that unites the two classes of society in friendship.Technology becomes the great equalizer.

But hold on! This is really a byproduct of the fact that the scientist was using the robot to get revenge due to a lost love from years before. So maybe we should be fearing technology and the chaos it could bring in the wrong hands.

Our minister gave a sermon on Sunday that touched on destruction and rebirth. Many times the things we hold sacred need to be torn down so that new ideas can be given a chance to flourish. We get stuck in the old ways. we continue to do things in the same fashion because they have always worked. At some point we are forced to look around us and realize that those ways do not work anymore.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Connecting the Club

I volunteer for a couple of organizations here in town and I am really trying to sort out a way to keep members involved or at least informed in the most efficient way. I inherited the job and a few of the basic tools from my predecessor. This was mainly a Gmail account for email and a wide assortment of club specific documents thrust down from higher up in the organization, mainly cumbersome Excel spreadsheets and Word documents. There is also a Facebook account which is basically a portal to allow members to access the secret Facebook group page.

My goal is to have one location that our members can go to look at a calendar of events, post pictures of things we have done and view documents such as financial statements. As the one club is an outdoor based youth group I would also like the ability to post Google maps of places we are planning to go. For the instructors I would like to build a database of accessible lesson plans for present and future use.

On the one hand as I look at this I am thinking that I need to just build a website and put everything there. On the other, I wonder if Facebook should become my main page for all these things? I don't think Facebook allows you to store documents etc, however it may be a good jumping off point to access the Google Docs. However, I also discovered that even though I had shared the prototype calendar from Google Docs with all the members of the club, they cannot access it without a Google Account, therefore members are forced to sign up for another online service they may not necessarily want.

What about those who are not so computer savvy? Is it really fair to impose all this technology on them?

I need a one stop place to store this information and it is looking like a website may be the best answer.

What do you think? Are these online tools as good as Google and company would have us believe or does the good old website still have a place?