Category Archives: Commentary

Old Data Never Dies… ūü§ô

 

Ladders Bad Data

Date: September 3, 2017 at 8:00:43 AM EDT
Subject:Notice of Updated Terms of Use & Privacy Policy – September 2017
Reply-To: jobs

Somewhere, somebody is looking at a report about job hunters on “the Ladders”. My personal information¬†there is obsolete. There’s a number in that report that represents my ancient sign up on their site as a participant and job seeker, that is bogus. Because? I am not a participant in “the Ladders”, nor an active member, nor a ¬†job seeker, nor have I been for years.

Don’t they take any responsibility for the “freshness” of their data? Of course! They send out Policy and Terms of Use update notices. Obviously anyone who doesn’t respond is still a valid member, desires to remain on their roles, and agrees to the Policy changes. That’s how everyone expresses agreement right, by silence?

This is not just a “Ladders” issue; it’s another example of the convoluted backward logic and misleading or outright fraudulent data that permeates the Internet. It’s in a company’s interest to have more users, more members, more eyeballs, more job seekers. Those numbers are important‚ÄĒeveryone knows they are inflated, don’t they? (THAT’s a rhetorical question. NO, I don’t think “they” do.)

A responsible Internet company will periodically roll-off and clear out that data (making the assumption that true data would be more valuable). Most even have a mechanism in place to do this. How? The former job seeker/member logs in and updates his/her information or maybe even closes the account.

But, relying on the user? Asking someone to clean up an old login they used more than a few years ago? This is worse than getting off a snail-mail catalog subscription, where you can usually call an 800 number! If the user has to login, or send¬†mail from an old or non-existent email address, or go through an annoying and time-consuming password upgrade process? Too much work! It’s not happening.

If companies were serious about truthful data, they would make this process easy. How? Notify the user that the account is about to expire, and the data will be expunged or otherwise no longer considered “active”. No response:¬†assume that the data should be cleared, and clear it!

They’d rather have bigger numbers. True data is good, but to these jokers¬†more data is better. More members even if they are imaginary. The companies want your data, even if it is wrong, and they are getting more obstinate about keeping it.

ūü§ôūüŹĽ

‚ÄĒ TechWite

(And no, I’m not nuts about this. Maybe someone has a reason not to be online and away for…a few months, or years? So put a mechanism in place to put everything in¬†archive mode first, before it disappears permanantly. These issues are not that difficult.)

 

Advertisements

Clickbait is Killing the Internet

theattentionmerchants_coverDid that headline get your attention?
Did you click a link to get here? Why? What did you expect to see? Okay, sorry, that title was “clickbait”. I want you to read my blog. I want you to stop whatever you were doing and visit the TechWite site, so I created a sensational title. That was my motivation. What was yours? It’s worth thinking about…


ClickbaitDo we really need to define this? It is what it sounds like: A title, heading, or image designed to DISTRACT the web user from whatever s/he is doing, click a link, and “go” somewhere else.


Clickbait is often about advertising, the end result to get you to BUY something. But it’s also about EYEBALLS, to get you to look at an ad, push up the “readership” of a page, a video, or person, or site. It’s not just in Facebook and gawdawful “news” web sites like nj.com. It’s on LinkedIN.

HINT: If an article has “Steve Jobs” in the title, especially if it’s about “Tim Cook is NOT Steve Jobs” it’s clickbait. If it’s about¬†Apple or some other company being doomed or “beleaguered” it’s¬†clickbait.

Dishonest clickbait is infuriating.
Let’s say just because it sounds interesting, you click on one of those links, “The¬†Five¬†Worst Plastic Surgeries of Playboy Bunnies”. That GRABS your attention.¬†But gosh, now you’re on a page with an article about lawnmowers! Where are the bunnies? Nope, not even the kind with long ears. You’ve been had. And somewhere, somebody gets to claim your click and say their link¬†got you to look at a web page. This is getting so bad that on YouTube you’ll click on a link for one thing, and end up watching a video for something completely different. And before you know it, minutes, maybe hours, have gone by. Where? Can you remember what you watched? Do you know what a “black out” is? I’m inventing a new term today: “the CBO“- Clickbait Black Out. If you’ve experienced this, it’s time¬†to take a look at your digital life.

Think before you click!
Internet people, TechWite‚ÄĒnewly committed to spending less time in¬†a browser‚ÄĒis not going to write a long essay about this. Not today. But TechWite will offer you some sage advice: Think before you click. It could save your life, a few minutes at a time. Think before you click. Take a couple of seconds before you take the bait. TRY to remember WHAT you were planning to do today. Be aware. Right here. Right now. And may you go for a walk, outside, in nature.

‚ÄĒTW

Want to know more? These links open in new windows, think before you click!!:

Partly covered as a topic in this book by Tim Wu, “The Attention Merchants“.

Or read or listen about it here:  How Free Web Content Traps People In An Abyss Of Ads And Clickbait : All Tech Considered : NPR

“Courage”, Innovation, and Headphone Jacks

 

screen-shot-2016-09-11-at-4-22-08-pmA word about “Courage”:
Phil. Seriously? At this particular date, with all of its significance, the word “courage” applied to the way people use their $600 telephone is a mind-jarring mis-use of English. Is this just another case of pandering to the drama of Ellipticals? They can deal with it. It’s just a freakin’ jack!!

The crazed, emotional rants in advance of the official product announcements were generally from people complaining that they don’t want to give up their¬†wired headphones. You don’t have to give up your headphones. You lose the jack.

Read the details people.

  • The iPhone 7 comes with Apple lightning connector “Earpods”‚ÄĒyou connect them to your phone with a “lightning” connector. (The same connector used for your power adapter.)
  • Apple also includes¬†a little “dongle” to connect your current headphones using the Lightning port.
  • This only applies to iPhone 7 and newer Apple devices going forward.
  • For now, you can’t charge your phone and listen at the same time. Wow. Big inconvenience.

iMac 1998‚ÄĒWhat’s a Big Inconvenience?? The first friggin’ iMac was a Big Inconvenience!
The first iMac was the first Macintosh with¬†USB connectors. Printers? Scanners? Modems? Hey, none of the old stuff worked!! You¬†had to buy all kinds of new cables, adapters, and peripherals. USB¬†was brand new. And mice? Thank you, Jonny Ive, who designed¬†this crazy ROUND mouse (which became known as “the Hockey Puck“) that spawned a whole industry of replacements and add-ons because it was so useless. AND there was no floppy drive to install all the new drivers!! Gone! All those boxes and stacks of 3.5” floppies were now about as useful as…well, nothing.¬†We didn’t call that “courage”, we called that “Steve Jobs fixing Apple”.


screen-shot-2016-09-11-at-4-22-51-pmAirPods?
As for the new wireless earbuds, airbuds, EarPods, AirPods, whatever…those beautifully designed Dyson-style, GI-Joe sized, mini-hairdryers will only work for people who can put them, and keep them in their ears. I can’t. Love the technology. Hate the shape.

Here I am giving away another brilliant idea again: “Pod Shapers”, a special adapter for the AirPod to hold it on your head because it won’t stay in your ear. Especially for the Boomer market, available in a range of fluorescent colors to make them little buggers easier to find!

To The Whiners‚ÄĒIf you really hate Apple roping you into its eco-system and “forcing” you to go wireless and buy airbuds, EarPods…whatever, then go on, buy a Samsung. Just, make sure you also¬†buy¬†a fire extinguisher. ūüėé

‚ÄĒTechWite

 

Want a Private Facebook? Try #Slack

NYTimes: A Charming Alternative Universe of You, Your Friends and No News

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/18/technology/a-charming-alternative-universe-of-you-your-friends-and-no-news.html?smprod=nytcore-ipad&smid=nytcore-ipad-share

imageThe Times article (above) tempts with the idea of an alternative to the competitive, super-public, extrovert dominated world of fake friends and insincere “likes”. But, the NYT never seems to escape from that social norm, suggesting instead the candy sweet illusion of Instagram “Stories”.

Really?

TechWite says: Try Slack
Do you want a place online where you can share photos, web links, movies, and all that other stuff but not have it smeared with ads, streams of articles and media curated by robots, comments from people you don’t know, don’t remember, or want to forget? Do you want an app where you can have a private conversation (the “DM”‚ÄĒDirect Message‚ÄĒin Twitter becomes a “Private Channel” in Slack) with someone you already know, who is already participating in this place, and where you don’t have to use email to do it? And your team only has members that you want in it. Period.

Not “The Next Big Thing”‚ÄĒBetter!
Yea, yea, yea, everyone tells you to use Slack for business, for software development projects, to integrate your two diverse companies that now have to merge their email systems and don’t have a common platform to work on, blah, blah. Blech!! I’m suggesting you, and a small group of real friends who want to plan your next bike trip, group vacation, backpacking adventure, etc. etc., create a Slack Team. Spend a little time and effort figuring out how Slack works. Yes, there are apps for iOS, Android, Windows, Mac, and POWB (plain old web browsers). And¬†sure, there are tons of plug-ins and commercial upgrades and corporate tie-ins, but only if you want them. This is not “The Next Big Thing”‚ÄĒthis is the thing you want to use to communicate and stay in touch with your REAL¬†Friends and Family. The basic version is free.

Life is short. Create a team! Have fun!
These links open in a new window:
Create your own Slack Team:  https://slack.com
Join the public SlackBITS Team run by our friends at TidBITS: http://slackbits.herokuapp.com

Tell them TechWite sent you!

BTW: No, I have no commercial, financial, or stock interest in #Slack. But I am open to the possibility!

‚ÄĒPeace Out

That VR is so hot right now.

VR3


VR is HOT right now. Do you know why? You probably see those goofy goggles and imagine some gamer shooting aliens. That is WAY off. The whole VR world has changed. TechWite helps you understand how.


  • “Old VR” – Think of Google Maps “Street View”‚ÄĒflat, boring…
    • 2D – although you can “move”, the images have no depth.
    • Viewed through a porthole – big screen, little screen, it’s still like a submarine.
    • Controlled manually – by a keyboard, joystick, or game controller. It kind of works, but it’s not like being there.
    • Still images create the 360 degree “dead” world
    • No interaction with anything “in” the images
  • “New VR” – Think of Star Trek TNG’s “Holodeck”‚ÄĒmind blowing, you are there!
    • 3D – What you see has depth, you can see “around” objects
    • It Devours¬†your vision – that’s what those goofy headsets are for- everything you see is part of the VR world. Add stereo sound, and that’s why it’s called “immersive”. You are in it!
    • Controlled by your movement – Turn your head to the right, you see what is on your right in the VR world. Look up, look down, ditto. This alone is a bit of a shock the first time you experience it!
    • Content can be 3D 360 degree video – Want to go for a helicopter ride over Manhattan? Be sure to hold on to something before you look down!

That’s just the beginning. Size, gravity, time – they can’t stop you. Examples:

  • RTVR – Like drones? Be one. Experience flying, in Real Time Virtual Reality
  • Remember Fantastic Voyage? You are now a tiny submarine inside a living human body. Explore¬†the arteries and veins and organs. You see this, and experience it.

There’s so much to learn about this, to think about. Fortunately, the Tech media is all over it. (Links for you, below.) Start reading about it. But no words can do this justice, you must experience it. Get some Google Goggles, get the New York Times app for your iPhone or Android, and download one of the demos. Then take some time to imagine the possibility of experiencing the impossible.

‚ÄĒTW

via TidBits On the iPhone, Virtual Reality Is Unofficially Real

via AirWatch Blog  5 Epic Examples of Business Using Virtual Reality

via Google Filed Patent For Injecting A Device Directly Into Your Eyeball To Improve Vision – Forbes¬†‚ÄĒYes, another suggestion that we are not that far from “The Matrix”.

via Augmented and Virtual Reality: A New Vision – Deloitte CIO – WSJ

via Virtual Reality Therapy: Treating The Global Mental Health Crisis | TechCrunch.

via Samsung Announces Gear 360, a New Virtual Reality Camera – The New York Times.

 

Forecast CLOUDY For IT Jobs and Vendors

AWS_sysadminWake up and smell the drought. IT infrastructure jobs fast evaporating…

via The Morning Download: Cloud’s Impact on Traditional IT Vendors Looks Increasingly Serious, JPMorgan Chase Says РThe CIO Report РWSJ

“41.6% of corporate workloads at big companies are expected to be running in the public cloud within the next five years, up from 16.2% today.”

Hey, this is no happy blog post. Techwite wants to help, Techwite wants to be positive. And¬†Techwite also wants to speak the truth. Sometimes that means taking a look at what is happening and discussing it. If that’s not for you, skip this. I’ll have a Tip soon about iCloud Calendars. Otherwise, if you have more information or comments about this post, join in.‚ÄĒTW¬†

Make no mistake, moving to “the cloud” is part of a trend to shift as much of corporate IT as possible into a commodity subscription service, like electricity. ¬†Billed monthly¬†by volume used, managed offsite, no local server upgrades or software updates, maintained by¬†somebody else.¬†The WSJ article referenced here concerns itself chiefly with the effect¬†on the investment world¬†of mega-cloud vendors Microsoft and Amazon on their smaller rivals Oracle and IBM. But from a¬†human standpoint, your local IT, your local data center, your local administrator, your local Help Desk, THEY¬†(and if you are one of these people, I am talking about you)‚ÄĒARE ALL GOING AWAY.

“Hybrid Cloud” and “Middleman” Hosting is a stepping stone.¬†You’re company isn’t putting everything in the Cloud? Not yet? Accenture, IBM, Dell‚ÄĒsomebody like that‚ÄĒcan take care of your local IT administration requirements! They’ll manage your relationship with Microsoft, and for now you can tell everyone you are “going to Office 365” although technically, you’re not. (That would be using Microsoft totally as your host for Office…)

Your IT Infrastructure Director¬†may optimistically tell you, “Don’t worry, we’ll need someone to engage in ‘vendor management‘, someone who understands Infrastructure…, and heck, if you get on well with them, maybe you can work for the hosting vendor!”

If you know your stuff, you¬†can probably point out that your “hosting vendor” is missing the boat with¬†Microsoft Exchange backups, mobile security, a proprietary and non-standard archive solution that “locks you in”, and inefficient mail routing. But how long will that save your job if you are seen as a bump in the road to “the full Cloud”? And will that endear you to your potential new employer? Remember, the CIO wants his IT Infrastructure to be as easy to manage and replace as an iPad.

Meanwhile, the data center/hosting company is¬†getting squeezed on both ends and trying to survive a similar change. How long can they compete with their big brother‚ÄĒand former mentor? Does anyone¬†need a middle man?? Your Account Manager’s boss is telling him, “Don’t worry, we’ll probably get absorbed by Microsoft. And either way, you can probably work for them!”

We are seeing a massive consolidation and centralization of data and processing, and elimination of jobs. In addition to the stripping of jobs as the infrastructure ascends to the cloud, much of the work that was¬†outsourced to cheaper labor sources will soon be automated‚ÄĒthink robots and “chatbots“. There are going to be fewer and fewer jobs in IT Infrastructure. (Coincidentally, ¬†last week the Verizon strike provided an example¬†of this shift: ¬†The Verizon Strike Signals a Larger Economic Battle.)

What about the people?¬†The overall trend is clear for companies, especially large companies, and service organizations. But what about at the individual level? The level of the gal or guy in IT today? IT is the “service economy” equivalent of the Detroit factory job in the manufacturing economy of 20 years ago. This is just the beginning. Clearly there will be some jobs in hands-on management of Cloud services, such as AWS, and there is still time and opportunity for corporations and small businesses to hang onto that shred of control. As for other opportunities in IT? Infrastructure is going to shrink drastically or disappear altogether. That leaves software development. Web development, mobile apps, databases. The skills will be needed and they are constantly churning, so those who can stay on top of the latest development trends will likely stay employed.

Many of these trends are going to affect the rest of the economy as well. The Uberization of driving jobs will soon shift to autonomous cars and robot assisted shipping. Even the old saw about finding a job “flipping burgers” will not hold true for much longer. Where will people find work? That I would like to know.

“…we have to make sure that we have the kinds of policies here at home where we provide people with the skills they need to get the jobs that are available in the economy…”
‚ÄĒ
US Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, interview with Kai Ryssdal, Marketplace

Yes, Jack, we need to be sure that people are trained up for those jobs. But what are those jobs? And where are they? Where are they?

‚ÄĒ Techwite

Call me Ishmael. Call them Nverts.

 

They used to call it the “blog-o-sphere”‚ÄĒthe world of bloggers. As blogs became less fashionable and Tweeting became¬†all the rage, “Twitter-sphere” became “Twitter-verse”. (Because a¬†Universe¬†is BIGGER than a¬†sphere, or planet, get it?)

Then it was¬†“Facebook”, the number one tip-top destination, yea, the very Paris of the Internet. What do you call¬†that? ¬†“Facebook” obviously. To many¬†people, Facebook¬†is¬†the Internet. (But, by the way, as India proved recently to Mark Zuckerberg,¬†it’s not.) Are the unwashed Facebook masses the “Facebook-ians”? “Bookees?” “Fakers?” No matter.¬†Today, I want to identify¬†the un-brainwashed masses, the unfettered few, the unsavvy, who don’t know, and maybe don’t care about all that social stuff, and who, in this wacky, world wide web may get misled or tripped up by their blissful ignorance.

You know¬†who “they” are, you might even be one of them. And heavens, “they” represent¬†a whole spectrum of experience:¬†Folks who¬†founded the Internet,¬†who pioneered it using¬†America OnLine¬†or CompuServe, yet they don’t know¬†a¬†Snapchat¬†from a¬†Tinder. Face it, at the speed of tech, even the savviest of ellipticals probably aren’t familiar with the most current and hippest of apps, whatever¬†those may be this week!¬†So there are plenty of people out there who don’t know one thing or another about “social”, and I want to help.

But first what are “they” called? How to refer to the innocents in this overwhelming and over-rated world of Social Media? The collective mass of humanity not hip to “social”. Is there a name for what¬†Apple’s marketing used to call, “The Rest of Us?”

“Newb” suggests they are “new” to Social, but are joining the herd.¬†Not¬†what we are looking for.

“Social Media Luddite” has been used‚ÄĒway¬†too¬†judgmental.

Call them nverts!¬†First we identify their “place” as “the Nverse”. This is short for “Non-Social Universe”‚ÄĒ”Nsphere” sounds pretty good too,¬†but face it, a UNIVERSE is bigger than a SPHERE, and we need¬†a lot of room. (And in this crazy, mixed up world, nothing is¬†original.¬†If you Google, you’ll find #Nverse, meaning, who-knows-what? Some kind of reference to a Math equation? We don’t care.) Oviously the denizens of the Nverse are¬†Nverts‚ÄĒlike Non-Social Internet Introverts, they¬†turn¬†away¬†¬†from the social Internet.¬†It’s not perfect. How many people know what a¬†phub¬†is anyway? A lot of research and effort went into creating¬†that¬†word. Nvert. If you have a better name for Nhabitants of the Nverse, tell me!

But why am I do doing this?¬†What’s my point? Here. I read this on a web site recently:


“Currently, we have about 70,000 followers on Facebook and Twitter.¬† That‚Äôs 70,000 people that we can learn from and service on a daily basis.”*


Uh, no. Seriously.¬†No, you can’t.¬†Nverts, awaken! NO, THEY CAN’T LEARN FROM AND SERVICE Seventy Thousand of them¬†ON A DAILY BASIS.

There is a certain na√Įvet√©, a¬†hubris in that statement. The world has not changed that much. A¬†small company, well-staffed by super-smart well-parented and motivated and energetic staff,¬†may¬†“learn from, and service”¬†some of their customers who “follow them” on Facebook and Twitter. But 70,000? Uh uh.

I have a Twitter feed, I use Instagram, I write a blog.¬†It’s “reality check” time for the Nverse.

‚ÄĒTechWite

P.S. Happy Tenth Birthday Twitter!!

*I’m not going to follow good journalistic practice and tell you where I got this quote because I don’t want to¬†drive more traffic to their site. They may implode with information!