Commentary: ..and Cue the Google Plus is dead pundits

I love how everyone is prematurely putting the wooden stake in the heart of Google+. It’s amusing actually.

First it was Robin Wauters over at TechCrunch claiming the site was going down because they’d had a 41% drop-off in public posting. [1] (Though he stopped short of putting it into the DeadPool.) And now, today, in a post yesterday on Network World, I see that we have Paul McNamara freaking out because Larry Page hasn’t posted anything in public since the 15th of August. [2]

It’s not what you see, it’s what you don’t

Both of them have acknowledged that the possibility exists that while _public_ posting is down, _private_ posting may be going strong. That is what I’m seeing a lot more of.

I’ve had several friends post “polls” asking people what topics they were interested in, and in turn, have seen a lot more people limiting posts to only one or two of their circles. Basically, what we’re seeing, is that people are starting to treat sharing on Google+ as they would treat sharing over on Facebook. They’re limiting content to people who _they_ want to see it, and not, by default, posting everything to their public feed, as you would with Twitter status updates.

If everything was to be public, they wouldn’t have given us control

And that’s key. Google+ was designed from the start to allow you to pick and choose who you wanted to share with. Therefore, unless you have access to Google’s numbers (which I don’t) these writers, and everyone else, has no idea how well Google+ is doing.

Just remember: No matter what you think, Google+ is not dead until the fat lady sings.

References:

[1] Robin Wauters – TechCrunch: “Raise Your Hand If You’re Still Using Google+”
http://techcrunch.com/2011/09/15/raise-your-hand-if-youre-still-using-google/

[2] Paul McNamara – NetworkWorld/BuzzBlog: “Has Google’s CEO stopped using Google+?”
http://www.networkworld.com/community/blog/has-googles-ceo-stopped-using-google

Dissenting Eagle: My Reflection on the Past 10 Years

In the decade following 9/11, we have seen a terrible rollback of our civil liberties, in the name of security, of course.

In the decade following 9/11, we have seen ourselves get into 2 wars, 1 justified, 1 not, in the name of rooting out terrorism.

In the decade following 9/11, we took far too long to stand up and challenge the policies of a nearly dictatorial president and the Congress who went along with him.

In the decade following 9/11, we ignored the fact that our military was treating captured enemies not as prisoners of war, subject to the Geneva Conventions, but as “enemy combatants” who were tortured, held in horrendous conditions, and generally mistreated.

In the decade following 9/11, my generation has watched far too many kids of our age die because of unjust policy.

In the decade following 9/11, we’ve gone from a country who can work together, to a country divided over the most stupidest of crap.

For many people of my age, we watched it, in our dorm rooms, unfolding live on our TV screens.  It’s a day that not many people will soon forget.  However, we need to sit back and take a good, long look at the state of our country.  In the last 10 years, we’ve gone from a prosperous country following the Clinton years, to a country that is fighting among the parties on whether or not we can pay our bills.  Polarized on everything.  The pundits might go up on Fox News or CNN or MSNBC and declare that “we won” or “mission accomplished” but really, have we?  I remember a TV spot following 9/11 that said something along the lines of “On 9/11/01 the country changed” and showed to shots of a “main street” with houses and then the same street with houses decorated with flags.  The reality is that we have changed, and not in a good way.

The country is broken.  We’re constantly living in a media-driven fear.  The only thing that’s changed is that we’ve gone from being able to work together, to being at each others throats.

So my big question is…   Who really “won” this?

Now… Of course the decade following 9/11 has also done one big thing: It’s brought us the technology to democratize the process of getting out information.  Before, the only way information got out was if it was in the paper, or on the nightly news.  Now, we have the likes of Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, etc.  Now, the majority of people are carrying phones that have better cameras, in a smaller package than what we had in 2001.  If things like the Arab Spring, or the Tehran demonstrations had happened without the advent of this technology, there’s a very good chance to say that we might not have hear about them.  The same can be said for some of the more damaging things that have come out over the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  In the decade following 9/11, it seemed as thought the networks and the major papers became more of followers and sheep than the voice of the people.  They did almost nothing in the years following 9/11 to question the Bush administration.  No one challenged him over things like the Patriot Act.  Or why he thought we *had* to invade Iraq.  They just rolled along with the administration, feeding back it’s propaganda to the people.

But of course, that’s just my opinion.  And thankfully, they haven’t yet taken away my rights under the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States to express it.  Well, not yet anyway.

Review: @LadyGaGa’s “Born This Way”

The album that Lady GaGa has been teasing us with for the last few months finally dropped last month.  I, like quite a few people I know, took advantage of the 99-cent Amazon MP3 gold box deal to get the album, and then filled in the missing tracks to get the deluxe version of the album, all-be-it in MP3 format.  It is a very excellent album.  It shows off GaGa’s WIDE range of musical talent.  Born This Way is not just a pop album, it’s a rock album, it’s a country album, it’s an everything album.  A few songs stand out from the rest, and I’ll get to those in a second.  Like most albums she puts out, there are hidden gems among the singles that you hear on the radio. 

Born this Way is the anthem that the “rest” of us can turn to.  It’s the title track to the album and is the glue of the whole album.  GaGa sends home the message that everyone should love themselves for who they are no matter what anyone else things.  It’s a song and a message that plays well to people like myself who were the targets of bullies in school.  

The Edge of Glory is another great song off the album.  Doing some research for this post, I see that she composed it as a tribute to her dying grandfather.  The song has a lot of rock styling to it and it a great song.  I have to admit that I’ve played this song quite a bit.  This, like Hair also has that feeling that this could almost be a rock song more than a pop song.  Especially with the awesome, almost Springsteen like, sax part right in the middle of it.

All of those are radio singles off the album.  But there is at least one non-single, as of writing anyway, that I think is a “must listen to” song off this album, and that’s You and I.  This song sounds like something that I would have expected to have come out of Nashville.  In fact, I bet if I played it for you, without telling you who composed / sung it, I bet you would probably mistake this for something that Taylor Swift or Carrie Underwood had put out.  It’s raw, it’s emotional, it’s legitamtely a country song.  By far I think this is one of the best song she’s put out, that hasn’t been featured as a single on an album.  It shows her range of styling as an artist.

Honorable mentions, by the way, need to go out to Hair as well as the song that I played on repeat for quite a while, but yet still don’t quite understand, Judas.  Both songs are great, solid, pop radio friendly songs.  Both are catch and I like them.

I’ve played this album almost non-stop since it came out and can say this is by far one of Lady GaGa’s greatest works to date.  If you haven’t heard it, I suggest you head over to iTunes or Amazon and grab a copy of it.  I love it, and I think you will too, even if you’re not a fan of Lady GaGa.

1 “new”, 2 old. That was my Saturday night.

Tonight I deemed it “movie night” because, well, I had the night off and really didn’t feel like being social.

First up was The Social Network.  I wasn’t sure what to think of the movie going into it.  I’ve heard glowing reviews of the movie and well, had high expectations.  It didn’t disappoint at all.  I’m not entirely sure how much of the story in the movie is factual to the actual founding of Facebook, but damn it’s a great story.  I see a lot of myself in the Mark Zuckerburg character in the movie.  Of course, now I also just feel like I’ve let myself go.  We’re both brilliant nerds…  He’s a zillionaire, I’m uh..well let’s just say far from that.

For the next 2 I decided rather than watch one of the new movies I’ve got waiting to be watched, I’d go into my back catalog.  First up was Chasing Amy.  For those who have never seen it, by all means watch it.  I’m a huge fan of Kevin Smith’s films and I think this is one of his best in the Jay and Silent Bob series.  (For those who don’t know already, Dogma is my favorite.)

The last movie I watched was Heathers.  Yeah…you probably either haven’t heard of it or don’t remember it.  It’s one those 80’s teen drama movies.  Candace is the first person to have shown it to me.  I bought a copy when I found it in the discount bin at Walmart a long while ago.  I haven’t watched it in a while and figured that since Christian Slater is back on TV, I might as well break it out.

Wait.  So were you like expecting movie reviews or something?

Follow-up Meta Post

The WI Supreme Court election didn’t go as I had hoped.  Maybe.  At the end of election night it looked like my candidate was going to win, but in the official vote certification stage, we see that somehow, out of thin air, the other guy got a ton of votes that had been “forgotten” to be counted.  We’ll see how this turns out.  Deadline to apply for a recount is Wednesday.

Actually, I was  1 for 3 in the big races.  The candidate I voted for in the city’s mayoral election was defeated as well…by the guy he defeated 8 years ago.

Another mom-blogger posted about an experience where her “princess boy” meets another.  Read it here.  Coincidentally, her blog was the one I was trying to find when I was writing my original post.

Also, this non-controversial J. Crew ad was turned into a controversy by the internet…because OMG a boy is getting his toes painted.  I’m sure if she’d of been playing oh say baseball or basketball with her daughter, this would have just blown over.  The only good thing is that it is at least sparking some sort of discussion on the topic. Anyway, I still don’t see how the ad is at all controversial.  And well, the fact that there is an alleged controversy surrounding the ad just further re-enforces gender stereotypes and gender roles.

Wisconsin Spring Election Day 2011

I’m going to take a second here to encourage everyone in Wisconsin to go out and vote today.  This is an important election and it’s imparative that you participate in it.  A number of key issues will hinge on the outcome of a few races, however, the most crucial of them is the Wisconsin Supreme Court race.

I’m not taking sides publicly in most races, however, please vote responsibly in this election and weigh the fact that in races like the WI-SC, the conservative, incumbant candidate is more likely to side with Walker on issues like the current “budget repair” union busting bill.

Whoever you vote for, though, the important thing to remember is to VOTE.  If you don’t, I don’t want to hear you bitching later about what is happening in the state.

Girls will be boys and boys will be girls

In the last few months, an interesting debate is starting to happen regarding gender roles, gender appropriateness and gender stereotypes. You might remember the “Princess Boy,” both the book and the namesake young boy who likes to look pretty and wear dresses.   Or maybe the mother who wrote the “My Son is Gay” blog post talking about her son’s decision to go as Daphne from Scooby Doo.  (She’s been in the news again recently, this time because the church she attends doesn’t like the blog post.)  Or the father who had to defend his transgender tween daughter.

I 100% completely support these parents and their kids for both allowing them to express themselves and be who they are, and for defending their kids’ actions and not, in the least, bowing down to the societal pressures that exist right now to fit into some “black” or “white” mold of how the concept of gender should be presented and rationalized.  Most people who I’ve talked to are well aware of the fact that gender isn’t the nice, defined boxes of “male” and “female” but a fluid, changing, rainbow of gender, so to speak.

Looking through the blogosphere (yes, I still use that term, and yes, I’m still one of those quacks who uses a RSS reader to stay on top of news) it seems that one of the countries top, so called “experts” on all things people, has a difference of opinion.  Dr. Phil, whom I refuse to watch on TV, has allegedly told a concerned parent of a 5-year-old son who likes to play with Barbies to “take away the girl things and buy him boy toys.”  Um… What?  To me it sounds like Dr. Phil is advocating the line that most people want to hear…there is a such thing as a “boy toy” and a “girl toy” and that it’s somehow inherently wrong for a boy to be playing with something labeled a “girl toy.”  (I’m sure he’d have no opposition, however, to a girl say picking up and playing with a football.) 

And since the Dr. Phil article and show were published, more people have taken a look into the marketing of toys to children…and surprise, surprise, it’s a very gendered marketplace out there.  A very awesome new “female geek” blog that has sprung up recently, The Mary Sue, has a beautiful pair of word cloud info graphics that illustrate the way that marketers are targeting children based on their gender.  I can’t say that it shocks me the least to see that the toys that are being targeted to boys have marketing that is filled with words that suggest power or dominance, while the toys being targeted towards girls have words that suggest motherhood, submissiveness, and beauty.  Another article that has been recently published, too, show how kids can be bullied for having toys, or in this case a water bottle, that isn’t “gender appropriate.”

From personal experience, I can tell you that I had a kitchen set as a kid.  I never was interested in GI Joes, Ninja Turtles, etc.  I suck at most Nintendo games.  Though, I did have my Matchbox and Hot Wheels cars, however.  Oh and with a few exceptions, my best friends have been girls.  (OMG!!!)  So what?  Seriously!  So what?  Of course, in retrospect, I’d love to have seen what the reaction would have been if I’d wanted to go as one of the girls from Scooby Doo.  (Totally think I could pull off Velma, no?)

Anyway, enough kidding around…  The bigger picture to all of this is not that there should or needs to be a line drawn between what is appropriate for each gender.  The bigger picture is that we need to accept the differences that lie with-in each of us.  We need to stop worrying that Johnny wants to wear a dress, or that Suzie likes to play with GI Joes.  (Do they even still have those?)  Varience is a natural part of our existence.  So is self expression.  Neither of those scenarios are odd, or mean that a kid (or an adult) is in particular going to “turn out” some way.  They’re natural parts of life.  We should take this as a chance to be able to learn tolerance and acceptance of life’s differences.  Because it’s that which makes us each unique and not just another sheep in the herd.

(And yes… I’ve been working on this for 2 months.  I can’t say I’m the fastest blogger in the world.  Oops!)

RIP Ron Santo

Today, well yesterday at this point, is a sad day on the northside of Chicago…  Cubs legend Ron Santo passed away due to complications from bladder cancer.  Ron was not only a great player, but he was a true blue Cubbies fan.   You could hear it in his radio call.  He got excited when they did something great, he got disappointed when they didn’t.  But one thing stood out…  He always believed in the team.  Through good or bad, he always rooted for the Cubs.

But the worst thing, however, right now is this:  He will never see himself elected to the Hall of Fame.  Despite having impressive credentials, Ron Santo has been passed over through his entire length of eligibility, and every year since by the veteran’s committee.

Mr. Olbermann can sum this up here:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/32545640

Now… While he can’t be there to make his speech, the HOF people sure better right this wrong when it comes time to vote next time around. 

RIP Ron.  I know you, Harry, Jack, and Arnie are having an Old Style (or probably a Bud in Harry’s case) together right now.

…and Go Cubs!

 

 

First big snow of the season…

Well.. Sullivan has issued a Winter Storm Watch.  And Brian is on vacation.  Pretty sure we’ll get the upper end of this forecast!

WIZ056-057-062>064-067>070-030145- /O.CON.KMKX.WS.A.0004.101204T0000Z-101205T0000Z/
SAUK-COLUMBIA-IOWA-DANE-JEFFERSON-LAFAYETTE-GREEN-ROCK-WALWORTH-
INCLUDING THE CITIES OF…BARABOO…PORTAGE…WISCONSIN DELLS…
DODGEVILLE…MADISON…JEFFERSON…LAKE MILLS…DARLINGTON…
MONROE…JANESVILLE…BELOIT…ELKHORN…LAKE GENEVA
1131 AM CST THU DEC 2 2010

…WINTER STORM WATCH REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM FRIDAY EVENING THROUGH SATURDAY AFTERNOON…

A WINTER STORM WATCH REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM FRIDAY EVENING THROUGH SATURDAY AFTERNOON.

* TIMING…THE HEAVIEST SNOW IS ANTICIPATED LATE FRIDAY EVENING THROUGH EARLY SATURDAY MORNING. THE SNOW WILL TAPER OFF FROM WEST TO EAST SATURDAY AFTERNOON.

* SNOW ACCUMULATIONS…A TOTAL OF 6 TO 8 INCHES ARE POSSIBLE ROUGHLY SOUTH AND WEST OF A LINE FROM WISCONSIN DELLS TO MADISON TO LAKE GENEVA.

* IMPACTS…THE SNOW WILL IMPACT TRAVEL FRIDAY EVENING THROUGH SATURDAY MORNING. MOTORISTS SHOULD BE PREPARED TO ADJUST TRAVEL PLANS AND TAKE EXTRA PRECAUTIONS.

Sigh. I’m so sick of snow and cold. I need sun and warmth!