Sunday, 10 July 2011

Google+ and the possible mass exodus

So I have been playing around with Google+ for just a few hours now and already I think I will be making the switch from Facebook, the reason? Circles, Circles and more Circles. I first heard about Google+ from a former classmate, Robert Snow, check out his blog at

So, Circles. They remind me of groups in Facebook but with one very simple yet very fundamental change. In Google+, any contacts you add to your social network will have to be organized into Circles. You begin with 4, Friends, Family, Acquaintances, and Following and also allows you to create as many circles as you want, whenever you wish. You then can separate your contacts amongst those circles. Very great idea, since there have been many embarrassing moments due to the fact that on Facebook, all your contacts can see everything posted your wall, and any pictures that are tagged with your name, this will be cut down with the circles idea, because you can choose what circles of contacts you can share any bit of information at any time. Here is an extreme example, say a contact in your friends circle tags you in a photo where you are at a party, say you call your work and claimed to be sick to be at that party, your boss, who is in another circle, is much less likely to see the incriminating photo of you boozing it up while you were supposed to be in bed dying from the horrible flu that you lied about.

It seems that Google+ looked at what was working with Facebook, and also looked at what could be improved, and did just that. You can create photo albums, you have a wall to display your thoughts (and you can choose what circles see those thoughts, neat, huh?) and one of the best features I think, is the ability to create hangouts where you and up to nine of your friends can video conference, this particular feature appeals to me, why? Well I have been a pen and paper Roleplayer for many years. In high school, it was very easy to get everyone together for a game as we did not have the responsibilities of adult life. Now that everyone has jobs, significant others, and many of my RP friends have moved out of the Provence, there is now a simple platform we can all use to video conference and play the games we love, despite being separated by thousands of miles.

I am eager to see if there is a mass exodus from Facebook. Everyone I know uses Facebook to keep up with their friends or people they have newly met, will Circles be the new thing? Should Facebook be worried? If so, will we see an upgraded version soon to compete with Google+? As few people have the time and patience to keep up with two networking platforms, it feels like an online war may be brewing, the weapons of this war; the iconic Like button, and the new +1. Who will win? I'm on the edge of my keyboard.

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Friday, 1 July 2011

Memorial Day, Canada Day, and our Rights and Responsibilities.

I am so very lucky, so very honored, and so grateful, that I am a Newfoundlander, and a Canadian. I live in a place where I can walk the streets or dark paths at 2 a.m. and not fear a mugging. I can strike up a conversation with someone while waiting at the bus stop, and it isn't awkward. I have the right, as a Canadian, to free speech, health care, if I lose my job, there are provisions made to help me along until I can get back on my feet, if my country is threatened, there is a group of very dedicated and courageous men and women who will defend my right to lie in my bed at 1:37 in the afternoon.

Lots of rights were paid for by the blood of our ancestors, a whole lot of blood, thousands upon tens of thousands of lives worth of blood. Think about that for a moment while you read this, look at the numbers of lives that have been lost to date in protection of our rights and lives. Just in World War One, the total number of civilian and military casualties are numbered around 37.5 MILLION, 16.5 Million of those were deaths, while around 21 Million were wounded, and that's just in the first World War.

So on a day like today, we remember those brave souls who so long ago took up arms against a menace  so far away from home. We run ads, donate a few dollars out of our pockets, come November we buy poppies for a few cents, some of us will give a lot, but I don't think anyone gives enough. We just don't seem to care as much now, our shit's just more important.


Our Rights, my rights, his rights, her rights, right to freedom of the press, right to freedom of speech, right to a decent wage, right to a safe environment to raise our children. Everywhere I look, I see people screaming that they have rights to do this and that... I never hear about their responsibilities.

Yes, you have the right to say whatever you want. But you have the Responsibility to ensure you are not stopping others from exercising that right.

Yes, the press needs the right to freedom of information, but they have the Responsibility to ensure that they convey that information in an unbiased and transparent way, using only facts.

Yes, you have the right to a decent wage, but you have the Responsibility to do your job, the way you agreed to do it, when you were hired.

Yes, you have the right to a safe environment to raise your children, but you have the Responsibility to be an active participant in ensuring the safety of that environment.

These are just a few examples, but with every right, there comes a Responsibility, I hear everyone demanding their rights, but I only see a few living up to their Responsibilities. You know who you are.

Final note: The Military. Let me tell you a story. In South Korea, I was in an airport, in a little room with an open ceiling, it was the smoking room and I lit up like many of the Koreans around me. A man in a Korean military uniform came in and he searched himself for his pack of smokes. I could read on his face that he suddenly realized that he must have forgotten his pack somewhere else. He reached for the door, and before he could even touch the handle, EVERY other Korean in that little room, offered him their pack, bowing in respect. That is how our Military deserves to be treated. We may not agree with the reasons they fight, but that isn't their choice, they follow the orders of our leaders. If we do not agree with the military's actions, then it is OUR responsibility to take that up with our leaders, not with the people who's job is to take orders, and to pay the price of blood.

Our Military has a hard enough job, don't make it harder on them. Instead, help make sure, that our brave men and women, aren't sacrificed in vain.

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