I wonder if whoever said that included all the steps involved in packing the car? Nevertheless, the journey to Oregon begins, so pardon me if I’m a little slow responding to anything or sharing articles, etc.
Not that you all shouldn’t be out enjoying the holiday weekend anyway!
If you’re interested, I’ll probably be posting some photos of the journey on the photo blog.Tags: Oregon, Photo
Photo, Training, Travel, Twitter
Awhile ago, I floated the question on Twitter about what it takes to say you’ve “been” to a place. Does walking across a border or an hour in an airport terminal “count”? Where’s the line?
Someone suggested using this definition: that you’ve only “been” somewhere if you had some experience there worth sharing. That, to me, seems like the ultimate point of travel. But too rarely do we hear of such experiences from bucket-listers’ jet-set cousins, what I call the country collectors.
Many of these folks wear the tally of the countries they’ve visited as badges of honor. Adding to the total in as little time as possible often means horribly ill-timed flight connections and a couple of hours spent outside the terminal, before moving on to the next destination. Guinea-Bissau? Check!
I’ve been sharing photos from our recent vacation over on my photo blog, so if you follow that, this might be a bit of a repeat. However, purely as a geeky interest, I wanted to also share photos of an area of Valencia, Spain known as the City of Arts and Sciences.
The City of Arts and Sciences in Valencia is a unique complex devoted to scientific and cultural dissemination which is made up of five main elements: the Hemisfèric (IMAX cinema and digital projections), the Umbracle (a landscaped vantage point and car park), the Príncipe Felipe Science Museum (an innovative centre of interactive science), the Oceanográfico (the largest aquarium in Europe with over 500 marine species) and the Palau de les Arts Reina Sofía (which takes care of the operatic programme). The Ágora gives the complex a multifunctional space.
Of course, the other cool, geeky, thing we found in Valencia was this bit of graffiti art. I couldn’t resist taking a photo of it.Photo
Not that anyone in the US actually takes theirs, right? After being gone from work for these last two weeks, not to mention being without any internet access for 10 days, I’m beginning to see why that is such a huge mistake. We need the break. Not only that, but I think we’d all do well to have a part of our life that has nothing at all to do with our chosen profession. Life is about more than what you do for work, and we should probably remember that occasionally.
During the break, I’ve had a few thoughts about work life balance, and what working in a service industry really means. I’m planning some blog posts along those lines in the next week or so. I will also be posting many, many photos from the trip as well, in fact you can see the first of such posts over on the photo blog, with a link to the Flickr set with the handful of photos taken from our departing port in Barcelona. Give that site a follow, either by RSS, Facebook or email if you’re interested in seeing those.Tags: Facebook, Flickr, Photo, RSS
Just wanted to pass along that I’ve got a couple of pages worth of photos over at the photo blog from our recent trip to Myrtle Beach.
While you’re over there, check out the different ways you can follow that site and see new photos as they are posted, by email, RSS, Tumblr or with it’s very own Facebook page.
Looking forward to sharing more photos with you all!Tags: Facebook, Photo, RSS, Tumblr
NPR has a story this morning talking about Facebook’s facial recognition tools and the potential risk to our privacy that comes along with it.
One of the things I like about this story is the explanation of modeling, and how without a model, facial scanning doesn’t really work. It’s comparable to the conversations I’ve had about using eDiscovery software to do Optical Character Recognition. Typically, when I explain that running OCR on handwriting is not really going to be useful. People want to know why, when they “write” on their tablet device, it can translate that into text, but OCR software cannot. It’s because you’ve already modeled what your individual handwriting looks like for the tablet device. It is not trying to identify some random person’s handwriting. If I can, I’ll also drive home that point by picking up their tablet device and show them how terribly it recognizes my handwriting, because that’s not the model it is comparing from.
Facial recognition, as of right now, works very similarly. It’s great when you know who you are looking for, but horrible at identifying a random person, because we don’t have a full model of photos for that person for the software to compare. But, along comes Facebook with their photo tagging feature, and suddenly, is there the possibility of getting a model based on a large number of different photos from your FB profile, to be shared with law enforcement? Yes, there is that possibility. But, if I were in law enforcement, while I might be interested in having access to FB’s photo modeling, I’d also have to be somewhat wary of using it. It relies on Facebook users to actually tag photos of the actual people in the photo, or someone to go through that multitude of photos to correct for all of those cases where people have posted a picture of a baby, and tagged the parents, or of a pet, and tagged the owner, and so on and so on. Of course, we know those things happen, so the risk here is not so much that law enforcement would use FB photos and compare them to surveillance video in order to capture wrongdoers. The real risk is the chance that the inaccurate models will cause mistaken identifications, and lead to harassment and investigation into completely innocent people.
That’s also the risk of all government surveillance programs. When the NSA gathers as much data as Edward Snowden claims that they have, the risk is not that they are reading your emails. It’s almost impossible to imagine that someone is sitting and looking at the billions of messages and phone records they are collecting. No, it’s the collection and storage of that data, because if and when you are identified as a suspect, based on some random algorithm based on the “big data” collection they have, they will now have all of that information and start drawing conclusions based on things you’ve said in emails, or who you’ve talked to on the phone. They’ll start investigating the people you communicate with, talking to the people you work with, and so on.
When you have that much data it’s useless until you know what you’re looking for, (If you work with eDiscovery, you know this fact well), but once you know what you’re looking for, it’s easy to find data that conforms to your theory if you have enough of it, even if your theory is completely wrong.
When you are actually innocent, that kind of investigation doesn’t go away in terms of how people think about you. False accusations ruin lives. With that much data about you living in one place, the potential for this to happen to you, rises.
In the end, I’m not worried about Facebook recognizing my face, because if it gets it wrong, it’s mostly just funny and correctable. But I am definitely concerned about the government using that same technology, because when they get it wrong, I can’t correct it, and it is most definitely not funny.Tags: eDiscovery, Facebook, Photo
If you’ve been paying attention, I went on a quest back at the beginning of the year to check out the Tumblr blogging platform and see what the big deal is about it. I started out with writing a sports blog, just something for fun and giggles. As I got that off the ground, I started to notice some things about Tumblr in general, one of which is that it is not a good platform for the written word. There isn’t much of it there, it’s a lot of animated gifs, images, videos, and snarky comments. (Also known as every teenager’s perfect site! LOL)
Given that reality, I decided to start up a photo blog there as well, to see if the experience would be different if I had a blog that was all about images and things like that. Sure enough, it was. That blog got some early attention, some likes and reblogs, etc. and generally seemed to be more of a part of the community. I liked it, but with a couple of caveats.
1. I never really felt comfortable having my writing, and my content, only on Tumblr. Even before Yahoo bought the service, I was never comfortable with it. Call it old time blogger syndrome if you want, but I didn’t like the fact that Yahoo could simply make it go away any time they wanted to.
2. Tumblr blogs really don’t get any Google juice unless they are absolutely huge. Absolutely no one ever found any of my tumblr blogs by searching. I even had a hard time finding it searching for things like my name.
3. Tumblr isn’t quite the walled garden that Facebook is, but it’s close. Yes, technically, the blogs are available to be read and commented on by anyone who finds the site, but the reality is that almost all of the traffic came from within the Tumblr community, and sharing really only occurs with reblogs to other Tumblr blogs. Might that change over time as the site becomes more well known? Perhaps, but there was no evidence that it might happen.
4. Reblogs are great for getting your images seen, but do not drive anyone to check out more of your blog. They see the post that was shared by someone they follow, and move on to the next item in their feed.
So, after much deliberation, I decided that I didn’t want to completely abandon the Tumblr community, but I wanted the post hosted on my own site. Luckily, with WordPress, I can have my cake and eat it to. So, I’ve created a couple of sub domain blogs, sports.mikemcbrideonline.com and photos.mikemcbrideonline.com, that will cross post back to the original Tumblr blogs, and I will also be using those blogs to do some reblogging and following other Tumblr blogs when I have a chance.
What this allows me to do, is get all the benefits of WordPress for those sites, adding in some features that I struggled with on Tumblr, like email subscriptions and Categories, and use Jetpack’s built in sharing features along with IFTTT to share some things between both blogs, and import posts from Instagram, etc. I spent some time this weekend getting it all setup, and I think I’ve got it the way I want, but then again, I’m not exactly known for never changing my mind about these things.
So, if you want to talk sports, or keep up with my photos, there you go!Tags: Blogging, comments, Facebook, Google, Photo, Tumblr, Wordpress