I didn't realize those wireless mics you use in office conference centers, churches, etc. could become illegal soon if they are broadcasting in the 700MHz band. I posted the details over at the Friends in Tech blog.
Speaking of Friends in Tech and the holidays, Douglas Welch, of the Career Opportunities podcast, as well as many, many other things, sent an email out last night that I thought you might be interested in. So if you're looking for a little of the holiday spirit, check it out. I haven't seen this year's reading yet, but it's usually a pretty good time.
As you may have known, we produced our 4th Annual Live Reading of Charles Dickens "A Christmas Carol" on Sunday. Below are links to the audio and the video from uStream, too. If you subscribe to my shows, you will see the audio in your podcast downloads, as well.
“Mattie Stevens, a young boy of the early 80’s, dreams of owning a Commodore 64. He sets out to convince everyone this is the perfect gift. But, along the way runs into opposition from his parents and everyone around him including old Santa Claus"
Unfortunately, I didn't get a chance to participate in this year's Christmas special (A story for another time in itself...), but I know that a lot of hard work went into it, from FiT members and special guests, and that all that work really shows in the final production. Give it a listen and enjoy the geek humor, and if you enjoy this special, check the bottom of the post for links to previous FiT specials, some of which I did play a small part in. :)
Douglas Welch started off the New Year by launching a Ning network tied to his Career Opportunities podcast, which is somewhat interesting. Of course, the one big reason I went with Ning, as opposed to an existing social networking platform like Facebook, was to allow folks to participate in a network for child abuse survivors, without having to tie it to a professional, or other existing profile. I'm not sure why we need to Ning sites to network in common areas of interest instead of existing platforms, thereby making us keep up with yet another profile.
I'll be interested to see how and if Douglas can differentiate this network from something like a Facebook group, so I did join. (Of course, the fact that I already have a Ning ID makes it easy for me to do that, even though I'd have to recreate profile customizations on this network as well if I wanted it to match the other Ning networks. But I don't really want to do that, so I left my profile pretty generic for now.)
Victor Cajiao, longtime host of the Typical Mac User Podcast, announced the start of a new podcast coming in January focusing on Photography. The idea came up during the end of year holiday tech discussion on Friends in Tech.
The same day that was released, of course, Victor announced the Typical Shutterbug Podcast would be coming, complete with a new website and Flickr group. I'm excited to see what we can learn from this new endeavor!
I've been randomly taking a look at Facebook's "People you may know" feature over the last week or however long it's been available. It occurs to me today that this feature is actually a perfect example of the limits of the "friend" definition on Facebook and other social networking services.
Here's an example. I have some friends on Facebook, and also MySpace, who I only know through one of my websites. For the sake of example, let's look at my fellow Friends in Tech members, very few of whom I've met, and who live in pretty diverse geographical areas. Between all of us, we're spread pretty much all over the country, but we also interact fairly regularly online and are friends in that sense, so many of the FiT members are also connected on social networks like Facebook. That's to be expected.
The problem comes in when you consider that to Facebook, any friend is a friend in the same sense. It pulls the "people you may know" group from your friend's contacts. Just because they know someone who I also know, doesn't mean I know them, and in the Internet age, where I'm interacting with folks from all over the world, let alone the US, the chances that they have many, many friends that I know nothing at all about, increases dramatically.
I've got people on my friends lists who I've worked with in the past or people who my wife works with, who are mostly local to us. I've got people on my lists who are regular readers of this blog, and people who are regular readers of my child abuse blog. I have folks I met at a legal conference, and people I've known from my years in IT. Do you think those groups of people would know each other just by virtue of knowing me? I may be a link between them, but I'm a tenuous link at best.
Wouldn't it be better if we could better define our friends and this matching feature actually took that data into account when suggesting people we might know? Instead of being presented with a list of people who are local to someone I only know online, wouldn't it be better to see only the other online friends that person has, and vice versa for people I know and see in real life on a regular basis?
I think that'd be a whole lot more useful than what I'm seeing at Facebook right now, and I'm hopeful that someone over there will take a really hard look at using the Friend List feature, and someone at Myspace is taking a long look at using the friend groups feature to help push this further along that path. Is anyone listening?
OK, pardon me, but I just wanted to do a little plug for the Friends in Tech blog, mostly because when asked about recovering a forgotten password from a protected PST file, I knew I had seen Kevin Devin talk about that before, and sure enough, there it is on the FiT blog.
Turns out, the tool he recommended did the trick and worked great for this person too. Thanks Kevin!
Today the last episode of In the Trenches was released. The show will be missed, but as I mentioned in the audio I gave them to use, it'll be very interesting to see what sorts of things Kevin and George will be getting into now!
Douglas Welch started the project, and has asked all the fellow Friends in Tech to pitch in and help out with the Wish Book Holiday Podcast. Here's what Douglas has in mind:
* Visit The Wish Book site * Find a toy or other object that you remember from your childhood * Tell us a story about the toy or object * In the end, the stories don't have to be based on the catalogs. Tell us your favorite personal holiday story is fine, too
Try to include the following information in your recording:
* Your Name and Home Town Location i.e. Douglas E. Welch from New London, Ohio * The catalog and page where you found you item (So that others can see a picture of it) * Your story
Your story can be whatever you wish -- a real-time discussion with siblings, "hey do you remember that? Didn't you leave that out in the rain?" to amore structured "I remember this..." type of story. Let yourself go! Tell us what made this item so special to you. If I receive enough submissions for The Wish Book, I will create a daily podcast running from Thanksgiving Day through until Christmas or New Years.
Check out the website for all the info if you're interested in participating. I'm going to be looking through the catalogs this week to try and get a good story recorded and sent over to Douglas, I hope you'll consider it too!
Just a head's up. Kevin Devin has created a Friend in Tech group on Facebook, for fans of any of the various FiT member shows, or blogs. If you're interested in hanging with some other techies or getting to know the other fans and members who have Facebook accounts, go check it out!
Even if you don't have a Facebook account, you should check out Kevin's FiT-o-lantern on Flickr. That boy is, well, umm, dedicated. That's it, dedicated!
I wasn't around when the guys were putting this together last week, so I can't take any credit at all this time around, but I have heard it and it is geeky fun!
Coming out of the Shadows this October 24th...Fiends in Tech present our 3rd Annual Halloween Special:
"It's the Great Server Chuck and Kreg"
Convinced that the Great Server will be making its yearly appearance, Kreg refuses to go Trick-or-Treating with the rest of the FiT gang and instead pulls an all-nighter waiting for the Great Server to "...rise up out of the server farm and brings technology to all the good geeks around the world."
Friends in Tech, the group of podcasters and bloggers that I belong to, and blog for, when I'm not as crazy busy as I have been lately, has added a new member, Steve Riekeberg of the Geek Cred Podcast.
I can't say that I'm all that familiar with the podcast, but I'm going to download a couple of episodes and take a listen while I'm out of town this week.
BTW, yes, I am in SFO now. Had a relatively nice trip out today, and got here in time to catch the Blue Angels flying around, and take a nice walk to the Bay for some photos. Training class starts in the morning, but I think I should still manage to find some time in the evenings for photos, and I have all day Friday, and most of Saturday, to myself. So, I'm looking forward to seeing some of the city we didn't get to see when we were here last Spring as well as getting prepared for my Summation Trainer Certification. I should be learning a lot over the next few days!
I just posted a note to the FiT blog about a new "mashup" we created of all the Friends in Tech members various photography related feeds. I used a great service called xFruits to aggregate all the feeds into one single source feed. I really like the service, you should definitely check it out.
And if you're interested in checking out a bunch of tech guy's photography, subscribe to the feed as well.
I'm somewhat blown away by the kind things Tim Fehlman had to say about Friends in Tech. We were featured on the Daily Cup of Tech site as the Tech Blog of the Week today, and all humility aside, it's great to be associated with such a great group of techs, and people.
Kevin Devin has a nice screencast over at Friends in Tech showing off a little tool he found from Eric Appel called SmartSetr that lets you create dynamic sets on Flickr by tag or date, etc. I'll definitely be taking a look at that one soon.
Another tool that I might take a look at if I get some free time to play is something called LeafLetter that I saw reference over at Cleverhack today. This is a tool to create web "leaflets" that can be embedded on your blog or social network sites.
Santa is trying something different this year and is enlisting all the elves to create a new Massive Multiplayer Online Game for all the girls and boys. Demos have gotten tough reviews and there is a lot of work to be done before Christmas.
Lucky the Reindeer and his friend and Elf, Herbert, Leave Santa’s Workshop out of frustration because they feel like they don’t fit in and are not included in the round of development. Heading out to look for the one place that will accept a geek for who he really is, they travel in search of the Island of Misfit Geeks.
Will they find the Island? Will Santa be good to his word and get a good game out in time for Christmas?
Yes, the Friends in Tech Christmas special, Lucky the Reindeer and the Island of Misfit Geeks, is coming! It's now in production and is due to be released Dec. 18th. Stay tuned to the Friends in Tech site that day to get your geek-holiday fix. In the meantime, you can listen to the promo on the FiT site now! (Update: You can also listen to last year's special.)
Speaking of, I better get back to recording my lines. Darn flu made me wait until my voice was back in good form to get this done. You know, it really is never a good time to get sick. There's always so much to do...
I was presented with an opportunity to submit some email questions to Ellen Fanning, Special Projects Editor for Computerworld, in regard to their 20th annual IT Career Survey. You can see the discussion over at Friends in Tech. Check it out and share your own experiences and thoughts!