Changing the World

I have had the most amazing conversation today. It turns out that one of my fellow hosts on The Podcast Network is a Registered Nurse, Molly Carlile. Her area of expertise is Palliative Care. The podcast is called Dead Serious. Molly has heaps of bits of paper but most importantly to me she gets the whole Internet thing and the huge impact that it can and will have as a platform for media delivery and communication. Especially in relation to healthcare and professionals alike. Plus she believes that one person can change the world. That is the thing that blew me away. We have things in common, we are vastly different practitioners yet this technology drives us together. Now that is why I am so passionate about what I do, and why I think nursing and related professionals, leaders, managers and everyone else that might keep the healthcare ball rolling should stop and take notice!

I make a point of not crossing the boundaries between my professional career and what I do online. I rarely touch on what I do or have done as far as work goes in my blog or the podcast. The reasons are many and I have blogged about it before. But this time the two worlds have collided and I feel that it is okay to meld the two. Because that is what I really have a passion for, that is for the medical industry and associated fields to embrace new technology and methods of communicating and apply them.

So Molly and I had a great discussion and we shared some great ideas for some projects that might eventuate next year. I’ll add it to the pile! But this is something that may have a huge influence on nursing and the way that we do things. Not to mention the turns my life may take as a result. That is hugely exciting and frightening for me. It is starting to look more and more like I am never going to be able to win people over by trying to convince them. So what about showing them how it is done? Lead by example and demonstration; showing the effectiveness of new mediums to convey concepts, ideas and access to information.

Molly has some great insights into quantum physics, spirituality and personal existence in the universe. Although she has found it difficult to get a show out lately there are regular blog entries on the Dead Serious Homepage. I am now off to check out some the shows that are available. Keep up the great work Molly and a pleasure to have meet you. Our introduction is a perfect example of the power of this medium.

About Dead Serious:

“Molly produces and hosts a weekly program on The Podcast Network called Dead Serious which addresses issues of spirituality, life, death and how we make meaning in an increasingly isolated social world.”

From Molly’s About page

Dead Serious Homepage

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Facebook Privacy Issues: I Don’t Get It

This last week saw a huge problem blow up at Facebook the social networking site “…an on-line directory that connects people through social networks”. Basically two new features were rolled out; “News Feeds” and “Mini Feeds”. From what I can gather they are like any News Feed aka: RSS type of deal, as you might have for a blog. These features allowed users to see what their friends were up to such as; items added, pictures, comments and the like. What Facebook did not realise was the outrage this would cause from users.

So these new features were rolled out and there was a revolt. Here are some of the actions taken by users:

In my effort to try to understand what all the fuss was about I have found some of the reasons that users have issued as to why the new features are unwanted. I do not have a Facebook account myself so this is all I have to go on: Here are various quotes taken from a few sources and since they seem to be talking for the masses…

“It damages what privacy was left on Facebook. Before Feeds, it was already easy enough to stalk anyone at your school, and everyone on your friends list; but with the advent of Feeds, it is now nearly impossible not to be “stalked” or to “stalk””

“Without even trying an individual now knows the changing relationship status of individuals on their friends list”

“It is almost impossible now to keep your information to yourself…”

“Before Feeds there were steps that could be taken to prevent your information becoming everyone’s property; now there is literally no option to prevent your information from going completely public.”

“This feature was not requested by the users”

“People that I have spoken with are perturbed by the overwhelming collection of personal information that is displayed about friends, acquaintances, and other Facebook buddies.”

“Despite the fact that this does not “violate the privacy policies already in place,” we feel that it is invasive and directs us to information that we are not normally interested in.”

While not ranking too high on the priority list, there were issues raised about the aesthetics of the additions.

“There are other reasons users are complaining, ranging from the fact it takes away the time-wasting aspect of Facebook to aesthetic complaints about the new look.”

I am not sure if this is truly representative as there are 9.5 million users of Facebook. But there are reports that there are 100 thousand users belonging to the “Students Against Facebook News Feed” group. So that is a fairly large representation and not to be ignored. So I will assume that the anti-feed lobby is a fairly universal feeling among users.
This all created a huge buzz, resulting in an issue that has become much talked about until steps were taken to subdue the masses on Facebook. Indeed the CEO himself responded personally to the negative reaction that the features received.

The issue seems to be resolved in so much as the Facebook people have developed a bunch of privacy controls to give the user control over what is put into feeds, if anything; and who can see them. That sort of thing anyway.

While I do not criticize users for the way that they feel. I would also argue that any company should put the users first and listen to them. I would also say that if they feel this way, even with the exaggerated responses that are inevitable that there must be truth in their concerns and these should be addressed.

But here is the bit I just do not get. News feeds within the blogging community are valued and relied upon as a useful tool and an accurate indicator of just how many real readers you have. It also helps you disseminate information. For me I would be devastated if I lost the feed from my site. Indeed the changes were reviewed favourably by some. But to me the reaction by Facebook users flys in the face of contemporary feeling and sentiment of the Internet community and information sharing. To me it is the equivalent of me asking WordPress to allow me to have privacy controls over my RSS feed and allow some people to access it and not others. Sure this can be done with secured RSS feeds that require passwords but I have not set up a public blog to do that. Maybe that is not the case on Facebook.

I am not criticizing the users of Facebook for the way they feel. Certainly there looks to be a generalised fear of “stalking” and harassment. Perhaps even assault in real life, but this was not stated. This may be a genuine fear and well founded. However it does seem a little “school playground” type mentality in so much as they seem to want to stick to their “clicks” and groups and maintain their privacy within those groups. This is a strange concept to me, seeing it in on-line communities. It could be argued that it comes accross as immature, but that is from the outside looking in. Not sure if this is a reflection of the demographic or not but I would expect that there was a large school-aged user base, given that these are the groups where Facebook started; colleges, schools, areas, regions etc.
Adding to that it looks like you could belong to a group within Facebook that was your school. I can see how some information getting out could be damaging to an individual at that level. However that in turn would cause me to ask why is that people are putting that sort of information in a public space on the web.

So that is what I see and how I have seen the whole Facebook fiasco. I am quite open to being corrected in regards to the finer points of Facebook. However, I am looking at it from an information sharing and the comparison to RSS feeds and the differences that can make in a tight community. The prompt action and changes made by Facebook are to be commended.

Marketing Our Podcast: A Challenge Issued!

TPN LogoWe are having some trouble at The Global Geek Podcast HQ! We need some kick-arse marketing strategies and quick. No, I am not doing what my brother suggested:

“…Tattoo the URL to your penis, photograph it, then post it on your blog, digg the article.”

While this strategy might spike some interest and probably work; it was not really what I had in mind when I asked him if he had any ideas about exposure! So I am asking the faithful readers of my blog to do a couple of things that will help.

  • If you have not checked out the podcast, head on over to The Global Geek Podcast homepage and at least have a listen to the show, if you like it SUBSCRIBE to the RSS feed.
  • If you like the podcast or you think someone else might then tell them.
  • If you have a blog then why not give us a bit of a plug or put the podcast in your blog roll or links. I can get you a logo or graphic if you want it to look good.
  • We reviewed a site called Folkd in the last podcast it is a great “Digg” type site but very, very good and looks awesome, I have posted our podcast on there so that it can be voted on. If you like the podcast then Register and give it a Folkd! (vote/”digg”).
  • Same for Shoutwire and Newsvine
  • If you have a Digg account then why not Digg the latest episode? (doesn’t look so good if we do it…)
  • Let us know what else we might do to spread the word about the podcast.

I think that we have a reasonable podcast and that our content is good. So now we need exposure. We are trying to do that but we need your help! If you listen to the podcast and reckon other people should as well then tell them, or at least another two people, then tell them to do the same. It is greatly appreciated.

So I also issue a challenge! Read on…

If one person truly blows me away by something that they do to give us some major exposure (that we can see results from – like more downloads), I will personally fund a prize for that person! That’s right I’ll send you clobber. Don’t expect anything too amazing, we are not making money you know, but it will be cool and practical – cause that’s what you do when you don’t have much cash!

And you are on the show (if you want to be) to tell everyone what you did!

If there are any podcasters out there or anyone else for that matter with some great ideas then let me know by dropping me a comment or you can also send us email at The Global Geek Podcast. Thanks everyone I appreciate it and so does The Podcast Network!

The Global Geek Podcast: http://www.globalgeekpodcast.com

RSS Feed: http://globalgeek.thepodcastnetwork.com/feed/

Podcast Player Found! No Help from LibSyn…

Well I am as happy as a pig in poop! Yesterday I blogged about the LibSyn Player malfunction and the fact that I was not getting any help from Liberated Syndication with the problem. The no help thing has continued, step in the wonderful blogging community.

Big ContactYesterday I recieved a comment on the post that was an answer to my prayers. Rob from New York Mets Baseball Podcast put me onto Big Contact's Feed Player. To say that it is unreal is an understatment. It is feature packed and the main thing is: It Works!

In actual fact this player has more features and more options than the LibSyn did! Features like having a list of previous shows as well as the most recent show to play is great. In addition to that there is the function of being able to see the show notes from the player! There are also instructions on how to "subscribe" to the show… AND Adam has just assisted me to make the player "detach" from the page, allowing visitors to surf the web or work elsewhere and listen to the show. Very cool. There is more but I think you get the picture. Oh and did I mention it is free?

Please head over to the Global Geek Podcast Homepage and check it out, especially if you are looking for a player. There are many other customisable features that podcasters may want to modify to suit their needs and the very fact that you can is another big plus.

Many, many thanks to Rob again and hey Rob I have talked to Sebastian and we are only too happy to plug your show on ours so if you would like to send us a promo we will slot it in. Because that's how the world should work.

Stay on the look out for more changes to the Global Geek Podcast Homepage… woot this is going to good…

Global Geek Podcast #004 Recorded

Another one down and recorded reasonably successfully. Although due to my state of health at the moment I am not sure about the speed at which I will have it out this week. For that I apologize in advance but I will do my best.

A few surprises this week. There is a special appearance by a young listener and we run our first promo slot!

Sebastian and I had a blast recording this show. We did a lot of work leading up to the show and we are refining our communication in the lead up to the show. To not give anything away we are utilizing RSS to "feed" each other links and information. I know we could just use email but the problem with email is that we would have to write it in HTML to put all the links in and the stories from web pages would not work unless they were in HTML. To top it off I never use HTML for email. We both use FeedDemon more than we use email so it makes sense. If anyone wants to know exactly what we do I am happy to give you details if you contact me.

I think that Sebastian and I are starting to work more effectively together, utilizing each others strengths and making fun of our weaknessess, as usua. But that said I think that we have put together a great show. We will leave the final judgment to out listeners.

Keep an eye out on the RSS or the web site for when it is published.

Skype 2.5 Installed: I am Over my Hissy Fit

Skype2.5Well I was a "tad" peeved off that this release of Skype did not include a record function and I had decided that I wasn't downloading it until I got over that. But after some encouragement from Sebastian I decided to install it.

I was pleasantly surprised at what I found. The "new" Skype is not all that new, rather more functional. The install is all the same and that had no problems. The first really noticeable thing was that the audio quality is better and there is greater emphasis on that with the inclusion of a "quality monitor". Not sure how that works as I do not have that many issues related to audio quality because I have a pretty quick connection. The problems that do occur are usually related to lag or resources pressure on the other person or person's local machine. And that I am afraid is unavoidable.

I said that I did not think I would use the SMS function. But I have actually found myself using it a lot. Like today I have come online, I got a message that someone wanted to talk to me, they are online but not answering. So I have SMS'ed him and now he knows I am here: he is yet to turn up though. But I think that it is cool that I can do that. The reason that I hate SMS is the fact that it is a pain in the butt when I am used to a keyboard. Having the ability to SMS from Skype actually makes SMS more accessible to me. By the way any reply that is sent to an SMS that I send from Skype goes to my personal mobile, the recipient is none the wiser about where the SMS was sent from. Seamless; an in usual Skype fashion; "It just works".

By the way the cost of an SMS in Australia via Skype is 0.12 AUD and to send an SMS to the UK is 0.13 AUD. I was told today by a colleague that the cost to the UK is normally 0.35 AUD. Definatly a saving there.

I am yet to try the mass call function which can apparently support up to 100 people. I am also yet to investigate Skypecasts, not sure what that's all about but I think it has something to do with this new feature. The thing that bothers me a bit is the fact that when you want to join a Skypecast it says that it says Skype is making a SkypeOut call. Apparently, at this point in time they are not charging you for this service as reported by Andy Bramson. Andy also reports as to the origin of the SkypeOut call, interesting stuff. But I suppose that means they will have that option in the future, we will see what happens. Skypecasts are, as far as I can tell are community chats and conferencing. The scope of this is massive. Imaging a Podcast with 20 others listening, contributing and live! Awesome. Aparently there is a "virtual" microphone that can be handed out by the moderator. I am going to have to explore this as it looks exciting.

Topping up your Skype credit is much easier with 2.5. Which as I have said before is in the interest of Skype. That said it is much easier and it is secure.

There are some other minor additions like the fact that the modern ring-tone has changed yet again to something yet more nauseating! But they have included the "classic" ring-tone that we all love. That is my take on Skype 2.5.
Maybe in the final release they will just drop a record button in there…

Nice Blog

Thomas Marban; who I can only assume is the author of POPURLS left a comment on my last entry. I went and checked out his blog, amazing.

Thanks Thomas for the comment, nice to know my ranting is being read by someone. I took a look at Thomas' site and it is very nice. Think minimal, 2.0 niceness. It is simple and yet functional. On first glace I thought "what the?", I actually thought that I had a bit of comment advertising. But I stayed and clicked a few of the headings, while obscure I found the blog easily enough and found it easy to read. The thing I like about the whole site is that it is unique and not your average blog. I would not expect it to be given he wrote POPURLS! He is also obviously heavily involved in web design. Perhaps the reason I thought it was a bit of corporate work is the fact that the world is not used to seeing a blog that is as polished as this one and perhaps I will not make assumptions in the future.

I urge you to go and have a look at what the future of Blogs might be like and have a poke around, I liked it but it might not be everyone's "cup of tea". Nice work Thomas. That's if you want the opinion of a small time blogger! I could only dream of a site that went anywhere near the quality!