Archive for November 2008

“What Is LinkedIn?”

November 29th, 2008 — 9:12am

Whenever I take a trip out of my “new media” bubble and hang out with old friends from high school, it’s always a humbling experience, for a number of reasons.

One of those is the realization that many of my high school friends (and, by extension, most people in general) don’t care nearly as much about the things I think are really important. Sitting around with a few drinks and some old friends, talks of the recent landmark MySpace litigation did not come up, trying to explain my job as an Online Content Manager ends with a number of polite nods and a change of the subject, and then there’s this…

I had tried to connect with a good friend of mine on LinkedIn a week or so ago, but couldn’t find him. At a friend’s house, I asked him about it.

“What’s LinkedIn?” he said.

What was more interesting was another friend’s quick response.

“It’s like Facebook for resumes.”

More than resumes

Now, in my second friend’s defense, he was quick to add that it’s more about networking than it is about resumes. After having just led a quick tutorial at work for a few of our business development folks and sales people on the value of LinkedIn, I was glad to hear him add that addendum.

In any case, coming home for the holidays can be fun, awkward, surprising, uncomfortable, etc., for any number of reasons. For you “new media” friends of mine, do you have any similar experiences? Do old friends look at you like you have two heads?

2 comments » | Job, New Media, Social Media

The Institution Versus the Web

November 26th, 2008 — 2:26pm

I’ve been a big fan of Clay Shirky since I watched his video on the participatory potential of the Web.

I’ve also become a huge fan of and have been watching entirely too many videos up there as well (including the Johnny Lee talk).

But here’s another, earlier talk given by Shirky back in July 2005. I think he had some prescient things to say about how the Web has evolved over the past couple of years, as well as some of the threats the Web poses to institutions.

Comment » | Clay Shirky, Video, Web

Day 3 – Still No Infrared LED Pen for the Wiimote Hack

November 25th, 2008 — 8:17am

Forgive me in advance if my thoughts are a bit incoherent this morning…I’m on my second cup of coffee and still not feeling fully awake…

So I ordered my infrared pen from Penteractive for the wiimote whiteboard hack from Johnny Lee, but I’m still awaiting the pen in the mail. The site was slick, payment via Paypal seamless, and I’m still within the promised 2-5 business days – but man, am I getting antsy!

More to come…

2 comments » | Johnny Lee, Penteractive, Wiimote

Facebook Privacy Course 101

November 23rd, 2008 — 10:52pm

I recently helped a friend (whose name I shall not mention) sign up for Facebook, and walked said friend through the process of setting up an account.

It occurred to me (through observations among friends and colleagues) that the most recent wave of Facebookers in the U.S. are by definition those who are late to the game, and therefore are least comfortable with the idea of ceding some of their privacy for the benefit of increased connectedness with friends and family.

Here’s a great tutorial that walks through recommended privacy settings on Facebook, although it’s a little outdated. My tips are below:

Privacy settings, privacy settings, privacy settings

Walk through these as soon as you sign up, and make sure you’re comfortable with the amount of information you’ll be sharing with your friends. Here’s an article (with a cool graph) that indicates how few Facebook users visit the privacy settings.

If possible, sit down with a friend who is already on Facebook and have them walk you through it first before you even sign up.

“I just want to be friends…”

You’ll have the option to share a lot of your information on Facebook with your friends, their friends, your entire network (school, city, etc.) or anyone on Facebook. When in doubt, choose “only my friends.”

Better to pick that one by default, because the immense growth of Facebook means that the other options offer ultimately no control over who sees your stuff.

Crawl before you walk…

In general, pick the most limiting privacy settings first. If you’re uncomfortable with an option, opt out. If you’re not sure you want to share something, don’t.

You can always add more later, adjust your privacy settings or upload more information. Better to start prudent and open up more down the road.

Got any more tips to add…?

Feel free.

Comment » | Facebook

Why Wasn’t Hillary Clinton Considered for Top Post at Department of Health and Human Services?

November 23rd, 2008 — 12:33pm

In the wake of multiple appointments made by President-elect Obama as he readies his transition to the White House (Clinton for Secretary of State, Daschle for Department of Health and Human Services, Timothy Geithner as Secretary of Treasury, etc.) one question still lingers in my mind:

Why wasn’t Clinton considered for the the department of Health and Human services, where she could put her experience with health care to work? Is that not the top post in the land for reforming health care? Is that not her legacy?

Don’t get me wrong, I think she’ll make a fine Secretary of State. And I think Tom Daschle will do fine at the department of Health and Human Services. My point is, I just haven’t heard anyone ask that question. Am I missing something? Is there a plain reason why a simple explanation isn’t given by any reporter’s story of Obama’s picks?

Enlightenment welcomed…

Comment » | Journalism

Johnny Lee’s Wiimote Hack/Whiteboard is Awesome (So Far)

November 22nd, 2008 — 8:47pm

When I first saw this video by Johnny Lee, I thought it was awesome, futuristic-looking, but completely irrelevant to anything I might care about.

Two weeks later I saw it on, where Lee describes the outburst in experimentation on the part of teachers and students alike in classrooms across America to expand on his innovation. After that, I basically assumed a personal responsibility to get my wife (who is a teacher) her very own multi-touch whiteboard in her first grade classroom. First watch:

Here are my steps for making this a reality for her, but realize that (1) I’m only about 3/4 of the way through the process and (2) this is in layman’s terms. I don’t program. I know little about hardware, and so if I’m come off as less than schooled on these matters it’s because, well, I am. (Much better support provided in the forums at

Step 1: Bluetooth

Make sure you have Bluetooth on your computer/laptop. Seems silly, but if you don’t, then you’ll need to go out and get an external device that enables Bluetooth file sharing.

Step 2: Wiimote

Get a Wiimote. Again, sounds silly but hey, I gave up gaming with the eclipse of the Sega Genesis by faster, better game consoles. I don’t own a Wii, but I got one at BestBuy for $40.00. I’m sure you can get them online for much cheaper, but I was impatient.

Step 3 Sync ‘em Up:

Sync your Wiimote with your computer. This is way more difficult than it sounds. Read the forum above, where I plan to detail the process I went through to do it, but suffice it to say that the Wiimote is not designed to sync with a PC. All other problems stem from there.

Step 4: Get the Pen

Fashion, or purchase, an IR LED pen. There is a great schematic on Johnny Lee’s Web site, but this company, Penteractive sprung up in the wake of all of this and sells them for $8. Again, I’m not good with hardware so I opted for the easy way out.

Step 5: TBC…I’ve yet to get my pen in the mail, or download Lee’s free software, but I’ll leave an update and probably a video response to Lee’s once I do.

Why this is awesome

Lee didn’t invent. He innovated. What’s more, he made it in an open source way, promoted it on YouTube, and stands to provide every classroom in American with the tools to create a reasonably inexpensive interactive whiteboard.

To paraphrase the man himself, his solution is only about 80 percent as good as a commercial one. But it comes at about 1 percent of the cost.

So cool…

3 comments » | Johnny Lee, Wiimote

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