Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Google Plus Custom URL's REQUIRE a Mobile No., Check Out GplusTo

Google Plus Custom URL's Are Rolling Out
Google has started hitting the masses with their custom URL rollout for their Google Plus product.  The only catch is if you don't have a mobile phone, you are S.O.L., because at this time, they are requiring that you supply your phone number to them to get an SMS message for security purposes.

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For several months now I've been pestered by my Google service products to "supply my mobile phone number for security purposes."

Here's one of their explanations for such a request:

"Why Google asks for your phone number to verify your account

In an effort to protect our users from abuse, we sometimes ask users to prove they’re not a robot before they're able to create or sign in to accounts. Having this additional confirmation via phone is an effective way to keep spammers from abusing our systems.
"

Why?  Or what if one does not have a mobile number?  Sometimes?

I use passwords and keep track of my passwords. And I never supply my phone number to any service I use.  I don't need to.  And they do not need it.  At least that's my take.  But all my

Over the last few months Google kept trying to get my phone number from me when I log into my Gmail account or other services.  I keep declining.

But now they might have me over the barrel.

They've offered me my very own custom URL in Google+.  Except if I want it, I HAVE TO provide my cell phone number so they can text me.

Bummer.  I was so looking forward to getting and using my custom URL.  Hey Google, Facebook doesn't require this of me.

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As I tooled around under my Google.com Dashboard, it's pretty impressive how busy they've been collating our data, via the tools we use from them.

They know I have two android devices. (So much for telling them I don't have a mobile device!  LOL.  Even if they're off by one.), they think I have 559 contacts in my life.  LMAO.  Google has kept track of any and every single email address that's come and gone through my communication channels.

Side note: OK, that sucks.  There's my dead uncle's email address.  That wasn't a memory I needed to tap into right now. Thanks Google.

I've had 5,397 conversations under Gmail.  I've "plussed one" 217 items over on Google Plus.

They don't have my location history because I disabled it back when they offered that option. What the hell is Orkut?  I have 2,483 images under Picasa*.  Huh, I have 10 recordings under Speech.  Guess I should look into that, since I have no clue.

*Always try to minimize your image footprints (size).  There is a limit to how much data they'll hold for you, for free.  Yes, Google offers pay plans for storage over a certain size. And lighter (smaller in file size) images are a best practice under the old SEO rules.

Not sure why they still have anything from me under iGoogle.  They're smiting that function.

So yep, they've collected quite a bit on my habits.

OH, and on the vanity/custom URLs for Google+, I'm not sure if you noticed the legal speak, but there's a tiny clause in there that says,

"Custom URLs are free for now, but we may start charging a fee for them."

A lot of people can't see that happening, but others can see Google charging for EVERYTHING they offer somewhere down the road.  And on the flip side of that concern, I believe Google has always said that about every service they offer.

And that doesn't stop me from keeping track of the old, original link to my G+ Pages.  You never know when you might need it! (Yes, they still work, regardless of whether you pick a Custom URL or not.)

But if you've been checking in on some of my more constructive observations on what Google has been doing with the search world (Like forcing authors onto G+ if they want any kind of ranking), well, they move in slow and methodical fashion with their plans.

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I'd rather not supply my phone number to Google.  And it looks like they're not answering anyone's questions about the issue over on their G+ support boards.  It's making Gplus.to looking better and better at this rate.

I'm just one guy and my digging in won't matter much I'm sure.  Heck, they probably don't even realize I'm here.  Why?  Because I'm 1 of 540M users of Google products or 1 of 300M Google+ users.  (Yes, M for Million.)

Oh well, I would have enjoyed this new url.

PS:  gplus.to is way too easy to use.  I headed over to see how it works and had a custom url from them in less than a minute.  You can come by and visit me on my personal G+ page via http://gplus.to/BruceSimmons.

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The Amazing Stupidity Of Bringing Guns To the Airport

OK guys... anyone who knows anything, including flying on airliners knows that you don't bring things on aircraft (or to the airport for that matter) like things any larger than small pocket knives, uncontrolled fluids and the like. 

The idea, to me, is that you don't even consider taking anything like a gun on an airplane.

Does that not sound like a reasonable premise?

Knives brought to the airport statistics

Yes, to you and me.  But when a buddy of mine showed me the TSA blog, I was dumbfounded to see some of the things I saw on the blog!

The pictures in this article are of some items confiscated, THIS WEEK ALONE.  THIS WEEK.

Gun brought to the airport statistics


The above pic is not an ad for a gun sale.

I'm rather stunned by just how many and what people bring to the airport in their carry-ons.

And if you think these pics are crazy, take a look at this graphic below in how many guns were brought to the check-in line, loaded and/or chambered.

Gun brought to the airport statistics

And here you thought it was safe to be in or at the airport.

Nope, there are crazy silly people everywhere!

Wow, just wow.  Thanks Kevin for the heads up on the TSA blog.

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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Stanford's Mystery License Plate Note Takers

Today, for the 2nd time in as many weeks, I was driving through the intersection of Stock Farm Rd. and Oak Rd. on the NW side of the Stanford campus in Palo Alto, CA.

When we passed through, there were people in orange vests taking license plate numbers of vehicles passing through the intersection.  They're pretty blatant about it too.

After we were done and leaving the campus, I had stopped by one of the plate number takers to ask what they were doing.

I got the oddest answer.

Me:  "Why are you guys writing down license plate numbers?"

Him:  "I don't know.  I'm only doing what I'm told."

What a pile of crock.

I'll be calling Stanford tomorrow to see what they have to say.  And next time I see these people, I'm pulling over to ask more uncomfortable questions.

UPDATE:  They're official reply/guess was...

"Twice a year, the university has to count the amount of traffic coming in and out of campus per its agreements with Santa Clara County under its General Use Permit. That permit dictates the amount of construction allowed on campus and the traffic offsets that result when construction occurs. So, very likely, the workers were part of the semi-annual traffic count."

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Traumatized Dog Needs Adoption in Winston-Salem Region

Dog Needs Adoption in Winston-Salem Region

A fellow member of my FB Australian Cattle Dog group posted a CraigsList ad for a dog that needs adoption.  Apparently it has some form of trauma and is very, very, very shy about playing or anything.  But the person who has her now may not get that.

The person who adopted this dog is one of "those" folks that gets a dog as a novelty and not a commitment, considering that he adopted it out of sympathy, and is now moving to a place that does not allow pets.

The big problem with this offer is that the original post was pulled, and the anon email address is rejecting contacts.

It seems that the poster is getting attacked for his choice of verbiage...

"she cannot keep up as a serious jogging partner"

"Has stuck close to an unfenced residence and not run away when let outside unmonitored on a daily basis. (Well... I tried... but she won't leave.)"

"She's cool with pretty much anything... dressing her up in costumes, drawing on her with a sharpie..."

This is the original link, https://winstonsalem.craigslist.org/pet/4153266780.html

And the replies range for "let us please help" to, well, not pretty.  And those are understandable.  But I think they've driven this person underground and now my FB ACD group friends are worried for the dog.

I was originally going to post about anyone in or near the Winston-Salem area who could help, but I fear this is going to become a search and rescue to eventually find the poor pup.

It's so sad.

Let's think about the soon to be up-for-adoption pup and if you somehow get in contact with this person, be kind to them, thinking of the dog, not the person.  Let the person be welcomed to give up the dog.  In this case, the dog will find a better, more compassionate home, and in this case, the rehoming of the dog will do it the world of good.

Keep your eyes peeled folks!  And let's hope this dog gets a happy ending.

Original Text from AD:


Found this 20lb. mixed breed dog last Christmas in Monterey Park, Los Angeles. According to what the vet says, she's probably 2.5 years old now. Looks like a Jack Russell's drug-addled second cousin (but she's healthy).

PROS: Does not bark, or shed much to speak of. House trained. Does not overeat, so you can just leave her dry dog food in a bowl and refill when it's empty. Has stuck close to an unfenced residence and not run away when let outside unmonitored on a daily basis. (Well... I tried... but she won't leave.)

CONS: Does not know what 'play' is. If you throw a ball at her, she will run and hide. Any treats given to her have to be handed directly (thrown ones will scare her). More importantly, she cannot keep up as a serious jogging partner.

Friendly and compliant, will sit in your lap if you put her there. Not the cleverest about "jumping" or other "tricks". Never seen a dog where chasing a treat thrown was a "trick"... but to her, that's a trick.

Took in for sympathy, but planning a downtown move where dogs won't be welcome. Would make a good pet for someone who wants a non-barking, non-biting, non-playing dog just to hang out with. She's cool with pretty much anything... dressing her up in costumes, drawing on her with a sharpie, no problem. (Just don't throw a treat toward her.)

Food, crate, harness, leash, rawhide chews, flea bath additives, etc. included.

  • Location: Pfafftown
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Below, are a pile of replies... I've marked the one I like best, since there are terrible people out there that scour the web:

http://winstonsalem.craigslist.org/pet/4153923343.html
http://winstonsalem.craigslist.org/pet/4154338405.html
http://winstonsalem.craigslist.org/pet/4154387582.html
http://winstonsalem.craigslist.org/pet/4154522614.html
http://winstonsalem.craigslist.org/pet/4155849398.html
http://winstonsalem.craigslist.org/pet/4155981926.html
http://winstonsalem.craigslist.org/pet/4157537148.html
http://winstonsalem.craigslist.org/pet/4157888856.html
http://winstonsalem.craigslist.org/pet/4157865211.html
http://winstonsalem.craigslist.org/pet/4157926246.html
http://winstonsalem.craigslist.org/pet/4157933888.html
http://winstonsalem.craigslist.org/pet/4158034304.html
http://winstonsalem.craigslist.org/pet/4158226453.html
http://winstonsalem.craigslist.org/pet/4158351209.html <<
http://winstonsalem.craigslist.org/pet/4158420490.html
http://winstonsalem.craigslist.org/pet/4158872679.html

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Amazon Search Fail, An Observation

Have you ever noticed that the Amazon search function has some serious flaws at times?  It's amazing how I can look for item 'one two three,' and after a few decent results, you start seeing things whose names might or might not have parts of 'one two three' in them.

You would think it's a flaw, but if you were trying to sell things, you'd probably redirect clients left and right to sell as much as you can.

Here's a great chase around the tree search I had fun with:

The other day I was looking for the song, Counting Stars, by OneRepublic.

When I went to Amazon, doing a search for OneRepublic gave me the following list:

-Apologize     OneRepublic
-Good Life     OneRepublic
-Secrets     OneRepublic
-Counting Stars (Radio Version)     High Level Tunes
-Beethoven's 5 Secrets     The Piano Guys-Good Life     OneRepublic
-Counting Stars (In the Style of One Republic) [Karaoke Version]     Ameritz Karaoke Planet
-All The Right Moves     OneRepublic
-Apologize (Album Version) [feat. OneRepublic]     Timbaland

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We played the Counting Stars (Radio Version) and it sounded right, but we noticed it wasn't from OneRepublic.  It was from High Level Tunes.

We did a search for 'Counting Stars one republic mp3' and received the following set of results by tribute bands from Amazon:

-Counting Stars (Radio Version)     High Level Tunes
-Counting Stars In The Style Of One Republic Instrumental Karaoke - Single     Instrummer
-Counting Stars (In the Style of One Republic) [Karaoke Version]     Ameritz Karaoke Planet
-We'll Be Counting Stars     Zap Monkees
-Counting Stars (Original Version)     Cyriaque
-Counting Stars in the Style of One Republic [Karaoke Backing Track]     Sunfly Karaoke
-Counting Stars (Karaoke Version) [In the Style of One Republic]     Karaoke Universe
-Counting Stars (Originally Performed By One Republic) [Karaoke Version]     Karaoke NYC
-Counting Stars (In the Style of One Republic) [Karaoke Version]     The Karaoke Studio
-Counting Stars (In the Style of One Republic) [Instrumental Version]     The Karaoke Studio
-Counting Stars (Acoustic Version)     Cyriaque
-Counting Stars (Instrumental Version)     High Level Tunes
-Counting Stars     We'll Be Alright

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If you notice, not a single result from OneRepublic.

I was befuddled.  I had to leave Amazon, ind the song on iTunes, discovered what album it was a part of there.  Then I went to Amazon, looked up the album with "one republic native mp3" but we got Waking Up MP3 Exclusive.  But no Counting Stars.

I finally did the search for "one republic mp3," but no results.  Then just "one republic."

I finally did the one word version of their name, OneRepublic, and we finally saw the album in the results that we wanted and clicked on that.

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This isn't the first time we encountered some funky search results from Amazon but was surprised that such a huge distributor had such iffy results for something I presume is much bigger than most of the stuff I search for.

Oh, btw, if you too were looking for the song/album, here you go:  Native (Deluxe) [+digital booklet]

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Friday, October 25, 2013

NorCal Bay Area Halloween 2013 Events

If you're wondering what you might do in or around the Bay Area this Halloween, there are seemingly, quite a few things seem to be going on around the region.

San Francisco


Boo at the Zoo at the San Francisco Zoo;

Haunted House of Horrors in San Francisco;

Scaregrove Halloween Festival at Sigmund Stern Grove, 19th Ave. & Sloat Blvd., San Francisco;

The Dead: An Interactive Zombie Experience in San Francisco;

Clancy's Pumpkin Patch in San Francisco;

Great Pumpkin Patch in San Francisco;

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North Bay


Belvedere Halloween Haunt, at the Belvedere Community Center;

Vintage High School Haunted House in Napa;

House of Blackbeard and Fright Fest at Six Flags in Vallejo;

Fright Fest at Six Flags in Vallejo;

Kevin’s Strawberry Villa Pumpkin Patch in Mill Valley;

Marin Country Mart Pumpkin Patch in Larkspur;

The Great Peter Pumpkin Patch-Spring Hill Cheese in Petaluma;

and

Nicasio Valley Farms Pumpkin Patch in Nicasio.

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East Bay


Berkeley Thrills and Chills Haunted House in Berkeley;

The Haunted School in Oakland;

The Neumanskys Haunted Pumpkin Patch in Alameda;

Alameda Teen Haunted House in Alameda;

Lafayette Community Center Haunted House in Lafayette;

Walnut Countrys Haunted House in Concord;

Fear Overload Haunted House in San Leandro;

The Pirates of Emerson in Pleasanton;

Ardenwood Halloween Train in Fremont;

Fremont Haunted Cemetery in Fremont;

The Candle Lighters Ghost House in Fremont;

Bay Street Pumpkin Patch in Emeryville;

West End Pumpkin Patch in Alameda;

Piedmont Avenue Pumpkin Patch in Oakland;

Monster Dash 5K at Discovery Bay at Willow Lake Blvd.

Menlo Park Couple Killed Walking Dog (Who Will Save the Dog?)

Uncontrolled dogs mean potentially lost dogs.  A note from Vader's World

It's horrible when you hear about dumb ass drivers
(alleged) who threaten and harm innocent people out taking walks or walking their dog.  A few months back I had heard of a driver who cut the corner while a couple was out walking their dog.  They had let their dog lead quite a distance ahead of them on their extendo leash.  The dog was killed.

In the latest terrible news, a Menlo Park couple was killed by an 'alleged' drunk driver who ran them over from behind, throwing them through the air, while the car then careened back across the center divider, hitting another car, then a tree.

This (alleged) asshole was determined to have been drinking and according to one paper, this driver had already had a DUI earlier, in November of 2012.  She was on probation.  Oh goody, that did the world of good.  (Oh, and there were people inside the car with the driver.  (They should be charged to, allowing this woman to drive.))

The couple were killed instantly (per estimates) and leave behind three teenage children.

Their dog, a Chihuahua, was also injured, but was picked up quickly for medical care by the Peninsula Humane Society.

Hopefully, the dog survives.

The Humane Society {http://www.peninsulahumanesociety.org/} wasn't open yet when I wrote this piece, but maybe some folks can help the grieving family by contacting the org and asking to donate to the dog's care.

Peninsula Humane Society
Address: 12 Airport Blvd, San Mateo, CA 94401
Phone:(650) 340-7022

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To be honest, it's a scary world we step out into every day.  We take our chances and TRUST that those around us won't kill us with their stupidity.  Sometimes, there's very little we can do.

But there are a couple of things we can try and practice to try and avoid these bu****it situations.

For One, Keep Your Dog on a Leash.


I see a few folks who tend to walk their dogs without leashes.  You know the story... "Fido won't go anywhere."

Of course not. 

And no one will ever get run over by a car on a sidewalk (90-yr-old pinned two 6-year-olds last week to a storefront wall here in MP.); No one will ever become a serial killer's victim; No one's dog will ever get oddly spooked and run away from them.

Ignorance is bliss, until the trauma sets in.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Is This How Everyone Is Feeling About Facebook?

I was on my way home Sunday afternoon, and my route takes me past the Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, CA.

Facebook Headquarters in Menlo Park, CA

Whenever I drive by the place, there's usually folks getting their picture in front of the big 'Like' symbol out front of the property.  It's a very popular photo destination for many, now that the facility is located somewhere slightly easier to get to, than it's previous location.

As I pulled up to the light today and was waiting for it to turn green, I thought I'd snap a pic.  I couldn't see what was going on, there was another car to my right in my way.  But I aimed my camera high and snapped a blind shot over the car in the direction of the sign, hoping to get something.

Boy, did I.

When I got home to review some images I had taken today, I just happen to see my last image of the day and started laughing out loud.

Facebook unlike

To be honest, I think this image depicts a growing trend of how folks are feeling about the site as it goes through its various stages of financially motivated evolutions.  I think it's going to slowly start to go the way of MySpace.  (Who?)

I say that because statistically, to show up at some random time and snap a pic like this, well, it's like seeing a spider or a cockroach.  Where you see one, there are many you aren't seeing.

What do you think?  Is this a sign of the times?  Is Facebook starting to alienate enough folks to possibly start hurting its own momentum?  Or just a fluke opinion, indicating the need for an unlike button on the site?  Or least in its driveway!
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Thursday, October 17, 2013

Critical Product RECALL: APC Surge Protectors

Schneider Electric recalls APC SurgeArrest surge protectors

I don't know about you, but I've been trusting my computer equipment to name-brand surge protectors over the years.  When you review the sales pitch of cheap products, versus actual performance stats, you'll see that sometimes it's best to go with what works and who stands tall behind their products.  For me, that's been APC all the way for my gear.

Well, except for this particular product recall that went out in the early part of October that is.

REMEMBER, as with any recall, it behooves you to get in front of some of these situations to make sure you don't become one of the statistics that gets quoted in press releases.  And it would be a shame to have had the info available, and not have done anything about it.

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Schneider Electric recalled some of their APC SurgeArrest surge protectors due to what they say, are fire hazards, by a particular set of models numbers.

Product Recall: Schneider Electric's APC SurgeArrest surge protectors

It turns out this recall involves OLDER units they've sold, where they were manufactured prior to 2003.

This recall isn't just an observation and a company being careful.  This recall has some merit to it, due to the fact that Schneider Electric has had 700 reports of overheating and melting. 

They've seen 55 claims of property damage from smoke and fire, including fire damage to a home and a medical facility.

They've received 13 reports of personal harm, which included smoke inhalation and contact burns.

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The recall impacts potentially 15 MILLION units, (this is going to be a pricey fix for them) that were sold at outlets such as Best Buy, Circuit City, CompUSA, and other stores nationwide, between January 1993 and December 2002.

As with any recall, especially one of this nature, consumers are urged to unplug the item in question and stop using the product immediately and contact Schneider Electric IT Corp. for instructions.

They can be reached toll-free at (888) 437-4007 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday, or you can go online at http://recall.apc.com, or www.apc.com, find the recall link and go from there.

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The Nitty Gritty...
How can you tell if you have a recalled surge protector?

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Another Facebook Change, Another Piece of Your Privacy Taken

Today I chat a bit about the latest privacy change from Facebook, a bit on the different things they've taken from users, Zuck's own rabid need for privacy and a tiny bit on how Facebook works with the NSA.

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Facebook: privacy, nsa, zuckerberg, user profiles
A few years ago, Facebook knew they had a something big.  User counts were on the climb and with numbers like that, they were able to pitch their product to large brands, with the tease of all the exposure.

But then the large brands said, hey, why are we paying you anything when all we need to do is create our own brand page?  Hmm.

Then Facebook started figuring out how to get more exposure for their paying brands and entities.  They wanted to expose everyone to as many other updates from their various clients as possible.

In regards to the latest change that Facebook implemented, the latest change, as Facebook put it,

{
we wanted to make sure you know we're removing the "Who can look up your Timeline by name" setting.

This setting controlled whether people could find your Timeline by searching for your name. We're removing the setting because it isn't as useful as it was before, and now there are better ways to manage your privacy using your privacy shortcuts.
}

Or to put it plainly, they've removed the option to block folks from finding you in their search, making ALL USERS of Facebook searchable.

You used to be able to block people from finding you via search.

But according to the company who is the most selective hiring force in the industry, hiring ONLY THE BEST of the BEST (that Google doesn't grab), they said that this option for the users was creating problems with their search function.

I'm a bit suspicious and feel like FB thinks we're total morons with a line like that.

-

After you click that new pop-up message button, "Okay, I Understand," they let the fun begin.

As soon as I clicked that button, my feed became slightly different.

Now my feed has even more stuff in it.

I now seem to get everything I've been following, but now, I'm seeing EVERYTHING my friends are commenting on and liking.  And getting the option to like everything they like.  Ug.  Though at the moment, they haven't removed our ability to block all game updates.  That's still sweet.

And pages I like/follow are showing up on my feed when they comment on things.

Wow, this small mod seems to have changed quite a bit for me.

-

Another small change that will help Facebook connect more users to their paid clientele has yet again taken place.

Little tiny steps at a time, all the while hoping you forget about some of the changes they've been making over time.

What was private, Your name, profile picture, gender, current city, networks, Friends List, and all the pages you subscribe to, became publicly available information.

Now they made YOU publicly available in their search.  Regardless of what you want.

But Zuck says they're only making the changes that society is undergoing.  Yup, undergoing on FB that is. 

(Did you know Facebook has been working the the NSA to give them backdoor access to all their user data?)

Look, Facebook is free.  To some degree, we can never complain about a free service while that service figures out how to stay viable financially.  And we are free to use it or leave it.  Or take control and make sure our profiles are set to the way we like it.  I've set up my profile with very little info, and is designed around letting my friends know about my websites.

DYK: Earlier this year, as folks were getting antsy about their privacy and other issues, it's been estimated that 9 million U.S. monthly users bailed from FB.

Here's the kicker:  While Zuck seeks personal privacy by using a shell corporation to anonymously buy houses around his neighborhood, within the same week, he removes a facet of our online privacy.

Niiice!

-


Info Resources:

{abcnews: facebook-makes-users-searchable}

{readwrite.com: zuckerberg_age_of_privacy}

{dailymail.co.uk: Facebook-users-quitting-site}

{ibtimes.com: facebook-removes-search-privacy}


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Monday, October 14, 2013

Debunking Web, Internet and Urban Legends

Many, many years ago, when I first started using the web, it was via one of those AOL CDs and my first web account.  One day I had received an email about something, I don't recall what.  BUt it panicked this new web surfer and with my best intentions, I grabbed every single person's email address that I had and forwarded this incredibly critical warning.

Everyone must be apprised of this terrible situation that lurked in the darkest digital corners of the web!  I must crush this binary threat!

Within five minutes, my boss replied to my well-meaning email to let me know what I just sent out was wrong.  And in so many polite words, (or I was reading between the lines), called me pretty stupid.

Since that one moment, I never forwarded another stupid, baseless email rumor.

Over the years, I've gently did the same that my boss did for me that one day so long ago.  One or two folks seem to not take heed of checking their sources or information, but for the most part, most of my friends are much the wiser.

(The ones that continued to send out baseless warnings got themselves their own email forwarding filter and their emails end up in their own folder outside my inbox.  I don't want to lose their messages, but 99.99% of their messages are those hollow warnings.)

But that daring day, when I felt like a fool, I learned.

I learned to use websites like Snopes, Urban Legends, TruthOrFiction, or About Urban Legends, Hoaxbusters, and a few other sites.  (It never hurts to have more than one source to tap.)

So the next time you see a horrifying internet warning...  play it safe and verify the info first before passing on the good-intentioned word!

-
sources: .techrepublic., .similarsitesearch.

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Thursday, October 10, 2013

Is Your Facebook Feed Not Updating Like It Should?

Facebook Feed Not Updating as often as you think it should?

I know that sometimes you get caught up in the flow of information and you know you like several or dozens of pages on Facebook.  But have you sit back and noticed that some of the pages you've liked aren't posting any more?  Or maybe you have so many Facebook pages you like that you missed their content streaming by in your already busy feed?

There's more to it than that.

If you follow George Takei's page, he or his ghost writer has been posting that despite having millions of followers, they estimate that only 10% of their 4.6M subscribers are seeing any of their posts.

So, as you see, it's not that your favorite pages aren't posting it's that Facebook has this new (well, since early 2012) marketing algorithm that is actually filtering your news and page feed.

-

Yep, Facebook Knows What's Best For You!


Facebook Edgerank can be a monster

Part of this process is called the Edgerank algorithm.  Under that programming, FB "determines" for you, what stories "It Thinks You Will Find Most Interesting."

The sad part is that it not only impacts pages you think you liked, but your friends updates as well.  Well, those who you have not unsubscribed from or already filtered out that is.  (Yes, you can remain friends, but turn off the noise of what they say, if it gets under your skin.)

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Part of this filtration process that has stopped you from getting updates from everything is actually your (and my) own behavior.

Facebook PAGE ADMINS, Pay Attention:::

Edgerank looks at aspects like...

-If you've interacted with your friends and pages;

-If anything you've posted has been marked as spam;

-Any Unlikes you've received;

-If friends interact with your page/stream or not;

-Freshness:  Have you logged in over the last week or so, or are you having your bots and apps do the work for you?


In English, that means the amount of engagement you have with pages or friends, and the strength of your relationship ties.  (How many friends, or friends of friends have touched a page or post, etc..)

Because of this, many large name brands are adopting the strategy of telling their fans how to subscribe to their content so they don't miss out.

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The Various Ways To Get Your Updates


Getting Your Facebook Feed To Update What You Want
(image courtesy of techwyse)

To make sure you do get updates from pages or people you want to see posts from, the options are over there, under the 'Like' button.

If you hover your mouse over the Facebook 'Like' button, you can see options like

"Get Notifications,"

"Show in News Feed," or

"Add to Interest Lists...,"

which in theory, will keep you connected to that page/person.

Tidbit:  Some folks believe that 'liking' a page does not automatically select the "Show in News Feed" option.  So make sure of this.

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The INTERESTS categories are great.

Facebook, Menlo Park: Interests category is a great option

In your left pane, you might need need to click 'more' near the bottom if you don't see it, but there is an INTERESTS field. 

Here, I myself broke out several content subjects and all I have to do is click on that label so see, who, under what, has posted recently.  This makes it a filtered feed and it has a slightly cleaner format than the main feed does.  (At least it does today, 10-10-13)

If I want to only see my Bigfoot pages that I follow, clicking on that interest that I've created/added will only show those pages I've put under that heading.  And it's a much cleaner feed to review.

So the noise is cleared out and you can focus!  (I get so ADD reviewing my news feed some days!)

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Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Starbucks Giving Out Free Coffee If...

The government shutdown is forcing many acts and deeds to rise to the surface.  Some wonderful and some, just dumb. (Like ticketing people who are found in closed parks.)  But mostly, the politicians forcing this on to our economy continue to get paid, or receive back pay when all is said and done.

Free coffee from Starbucks, from 10-9 to 10-11 2013



But Starbucks is taking it a step further today, Wednesday, 10-9-13, to this Friday, 10-11-13.

They call it PayitForward.

It's about helping everyone else out, and so doing, actually seeing a reward for that deed.

As they put it,

"If you come into Starbucks and buy someone else their favorite beverage, we’ll give you a free tall brewed coffee."

It's a statement for everyone involved.  Starbucks wins and so do we. 

Thought you'd like to know.

{http://www.starbucks.com/promo/come-together}

 (Oh, and about this shutdown?  I'm taking names and making sure that who ever was party to this bull*t is someone I NEVER EVER vote for ever again.  But that's just me and how I roll.  And that rolling includes never forgetting when I've been slighted by someone.)


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Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Google: No Page Rank, Penguin Update + More

More Google Changes impacting YOUR SEO

GOOGLE'S PAGE RANK

If you've been wondering where the hell your 'Google Page Rank' change has gone and why you haven't seen it, well, Google is yet again making more changes that will impact the big picture and leaving you wondering what's up.

It's been eight months since we've seen any page rank updates and per Google's mouth-piece, Matt Cutts, in short, he said he'd be surprised if we saw an update before 2014 gets here.

I know that 'page rank' is not the end all to any of our SEO focuses, but it's nice to see some kind of feedback, that's in addition to actual internet traffic stats.

What few we're being allowed to see these days.

BCB Prediction:

As it is, as we continually watch Google make subtle but constant changes to their processes, I would not be surprised to see 'page rank' return but in the form of some kind of 'author rank' that's tied in to their Facebook mimic, Google+.

Why else would an update be stalled or ignore this long, unless they were making yet one more change designed towards forcing web authors to G+?

Don't forget, in their push to get more people to Google Plus, they're converting YouTube comments over to G+ only profiled users sometime down the road.  Yep, they figured out how to get more non-author type folks from the real web to the G+ world. 

Web authors, being that we are a prolific part of the web population, have already been lured (forced?) to G+. 

I had no use for G+ until some months after my main site started tanking from the Panda and Penguin updates, that I can help my web search results by joining G+ and creating my "author" profile.

They've changed something in how Gmail works.  It's not as easily edited as it used to be.

Google docs has become Google Drive, the once easily clickable black tool bar on top of Gmail has become a rectangular menu requiring more clicks to get where you want, and if you've signed up for YouTube with a specific user name that isn't your real name, they keep badgering you to change your profile there to your G+ name.

Do you remember when Google Plus came out?  No One Cared.  They're making it so you have to care.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Review: McDonald's Hot Wings (Mighty Wings) Are Might Tasty

As is the case, one  of my guilty pleasures is McDonald's.  I can't help it.  I think when done right, they have some of the best fries around.  And I happen to love their Filet 'O Fish sandwiches because they're so simple and to the point. Like their basic cheeseburgers.

McDonald's Mighty Hot Wings review


When they come out with new products, sometimes I check them out.  In the case of the new hot wings offering, well, if it's a hot wing, I have to check it out.  (Yes, hot wings are another GP.)

I found myself trying them out on two different occasions.  Because, hey, two data points are better than one, right?

What I found was that this new football season offering is pretty good.

The hot wings are not scrawny, are lightly breaded, and have a mild spicy kick to them.  (I ordered as is) I also chose the creamy ranch dipping.

And don't be fooled, the five-piece meal is sufficient for most days, so don't let your eyes act bigger than your stomach.  (A non-stop problem form me.)

The spice is probably considered mild to a light-medium.  If you have a high tolerance for spicy, you would think they're close to bland.  But if you are sensitive to spicy, you might appreciate them.  But to be safe, bring a friend, (ME!) just in case you find them too spicy.

On the two visits I made to test these wings, I did get the creamy ranch dressing dip.  It's nice on the wings, even, IMO, they don't need them.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

'LensCrafters' And One Consumers' Questionable Experience

One consumer's experience with LensCrafters - And it disappointed

This is one consumer's experience with LensCrafters and a lesson that says just because a franchise might appear to be your best financial bet, may only be relying on image and advertising and not actual facts!

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My wife has been using the LensCrafters, Menlo Park location for quite some time now and never had anything to be concerned about.  We'd go, she get her (required?) eye exam, and later, we would end up picking up the glasses she picked out.
But a few years ago we had a bit of a poor experience with one of the help who found himself getting very snippy when we started asking questions outside the norm.  It was pretty disconcerting, but we moved on from that.  The glasses were procured and that was that.

But this time around, (in the month of September, 2013), something fascinating took place.

My wife's lens coating started to peel up off her mid to top-of-the-line glasses (*That's an important aspect to carry forward in this consumer experience) and so we thought, hey, just go back to LensCrafters in Menlo Park where we got them and they'll take care of this.

Oh, but were we in for a surprise.

First, my wife's prescription never changes.  So there's that.  Besides, we were just looking to have the protective coating issue fixed.

But our first surprise was that LensCrafters would not cover their product with the coating that had started to peel off.

They insisted or required that my wife get another eye exam first.  That and they also made note that the protective coating on the glasses was the bottom of the line and there's better coatings.

(That might have been nice to know when we purchased these mid-range expensive glasses.)

Hence, by the end of her visit to the store, she knew that,
She required an eye exam (regardless)
They don't cover their product indefinitely (like some other store chains might)
And that "her glasses," once fixed, would cost over $220.

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My wife was miffed and adding this to her troublesome experience the last time we were there, decided to try a different franchise.