Category Archives: Technology

Is Delicious about to be shut down?

Okay this is making me panic a little bit. I love using Delicious. It’s such a great tool for bookmarking sites that I want to reference later on.

What am I going to do when it gets shut down? I guess I could start using some other webapp out there…but it’s so integrated into my workflow =(

Anyone have suggestions? I think MobileMe has a bookmarking tool…right? I guess I could use that. Might as well make full use of my MobileMe account.

Leaked Slide Shows Yahoo Is Killing Delicious & Other Web Apps.

The Perils of Internet Celebrity

It’s hard out there, being slightly famous and known by the Library world. I just have to keep myself grounded, before I let all this fame get to my head…

Wait. What am I talking about? Oh. Right. I’m pseudo famous. Or as I liked saying all weekend at CLA “I’m big on the Internet”

This all started Friday afternoon at the Exhibit Hall at CLA. I was walking around, checking out the exhibits when I heard rumors of a carving station. Being a slave to roasted meat, I went in search.

Roast beef, get in mah belly! Standing in line, I’m chatting with a colleague when out. Of. The. Blue. Someone comes up to me to tell me they love my blog.

I’m sorry. You must have me confused with someone else. And she started telling me about my posts. So. Awesome. I’m glad that others are reading my blog and enjoying it. And that she enjoyed one of my favorite pieces, about idealistic love.

Shoutout to Jill S!

Well, this went straight to my head! I spent the rest of the conference telling people I’m Internet famous (when they talked to me)

Aside from this encounter, I also did this little thing called Battledecks: Click here for synopsis/video. It was kind of awesome-slash-embarrassing. All of the other contenders were library professionals – they’ve been doing this for YEARS. I was the only student who was ballsy enough/stupid enough to volunteer. Well, as expected, I did TERRIBLY but still had major fun. The judges were really nice to me and even gave me a group hug! awwwww.

The video of the hug is not up anywhere; let’s just say I was embarrassed and embraced. (see what I did there?)

The next day, on the exhibit floor, I had so many people come up to me and tell me they saw me at Battledecks! It was crazy! I kinda loved it. I, of course, hammed it up and just acted like a goofball the entire time. I even wore my QR code for the rest of the day, telling people to scan me. That was a great ice breaker, as I ended up talking to so many people about QR codes!

So, like I said, I’m big on the Internet =)

Full CLA rundown will be posted sometime tonight or tomorrow. Expect lots of boring details about sessions, along with a crazy review of the weekend as a whole!

The uncanny baby valley

I can’t wait for the day when robots and humans will co-exist…or when robots will take over the planet, Matrix-style.

Until that time actually occurs, I’m pretty sure we have nothing to worry about because people in general are still scared. There’s this concept in psychology and robotics (I think those are the appropriate fields…) called the Uncanny Valley. For those unfamiliar and unwilling to click on the link, it’s the concept that as robots/figures/other objects approach the look of a healthy human, the more we feel familiar with it – comfortable, not afraid, not worried about its actions.

However, there comes a point when the other appears TOO human. At this point, our comfort with the other drops…by a lot. It is this drop that is the uncanny valley. Example – a zombie or a corpse appear more human than a robot, but we feel much less comfortable with these two because they are too close to humans, yet very clearly aren’t. It’s interesting to think about how humans feel comfort in the familiar, yet when things are too familiar we recoil.

This can be seen in peoples reactions to things beyond objects. When someone we barely knows acknowledges us at a bar, we don’t really make much about it. However, when they are overly familiar with us – addressing us by name, asking personal questions they shouldn’t be asking, we feel uncomfortable. Odd, isn’t it? You’d think we would feel better that someone is trying to be approachable.

Okay, long detour…lets get back to the robots! Is it well accepted that babies learn best by being socialized? I feel like I read that in some study before….if anything, this study proves it. It appears that some researchers have decided to start training babies to be familiar with their future robot overlords. By getting the child comfortable in their environment, then introducing a robot figure as if it was human, the researchers have been able to convince babies that robots have some sense of intelligence or thought.

If, once again, you are too lazy to click through for the article, here is a brief summary: researchers took babies, half of whom were presented a robot with which the researcher interacted with to make it appear to have sentience, while the other half were presented a robot with whom no one interacted with. The babies were witness of this interaction.

The babies who saw the researcher interact with the robot were more likely to act as if the robot itself was a real person and pay attention to its behavior. For example, if the robot were to look in one direction, the baby was more likely to look in that direction if it saw the interaction.

To me, the most interesting part of the article is that this shows our social judgments/skills can be basically trained, even at a young age. That, and we just need to get babies used to robots, but also to be cautious so that robots don’t get to smart and take us over.

Source: Human or Robot? Ask the baby

A fractal/recursive social network

Today’s announcement of a modified Groups feature brought out my latent mathiness (the concept of recursion/fractals)  with this thought – that Facebook is now opening up…a Facebook.

From my understanding of Groups, it will be a closed social network that you can invite subgroups of your friends to, kind of what Facebook was like in the beginning. Great and hopefully useful feature.

However, some points:

1) It’s a nice feature because then you can create subject specific groups. In my case, it would probably be Family, Library Dorks, Grad School, Work

2) If your goal is to communicate to specific groups, then yay. If your goal is to exclude people, then boo. If you have to exclude people, why did you add them in the first place?

The Mashable article makes the point that I wanted to make – why is there a need to cloister ourselves inside Facebook? It’s probably because we have added people we don’t want to interact with and now, through a lack of regulated social media etiquette, we don’t know what to do about them. Do we delete them? Do we block them? Do we hide them? Will they know?

Source: Groups feature is the new Facebook

Hyperlocal ads

Two things come out at me from this article, about Google moving towards a hyperlocal ad revenue stream

1) Before, I would have said this was a major invasion of privacy, using the phones GPS unit, or triangulating the location using the cell towers, to send out local ads to Google results. But really, this is useful for a lot of people. While many searches done today are not necessarily location-dependent, those who are searching on the go, on their mobile devices, probably care about the distance to what they are searching for. From personal experience, I know that when I Google something on the go, it’s because I’m curious as to its location. However, this doesn’t necessarily have to be on google.com – I usually do this in the Maps application, which is supposed to be able to access the GPS unit and NOT necessarily store my searches and connect it to my google screenname. hmm, sounds like I’m being suspicious, but I’m not! i think it’s great to allow for local searching. Trust me. I’ll all for it.

2) Googles comment about how they envision the majority of their revenue coming from mobile searches. Interesting comment – I wonder how they quantify this. Do they have a projection setup predicting the number of mobile users in the future compared to desktop users? I supposed they’ve seen more traffic coming in from mobile versions of popular browsers – how do they account for users of the Google mobile app? When I did a brief research project on user perceptions of mobile device usage, I found that people were still using Google SMS to do their searches for them. I’m not too familiar with this, but I imagine Google doesn’t get much, if any, revenue for this…do they sell your number to get revenue?

Anyway…I, for one, look forward to our Overlord Google dominating us. I say this while I Google news articles in Google Chrome…

Source: Google Brings Hyperlocal Ads to Mobile Search

I wish I had stuck with being a CSandE major…

Sometimes, I really regret giving up on being a programmer/engineer. I started UCLA as a Computer Science and Engineering major, but dropped out after a semester to transition to Math, then eventualy to a double major in Math and Sociology.

Along the way, I ended up taking some basic programming classes – I did fairly well in C++ and studied MatLab in a few of my math classes. But in the end, I don’t have the programming background to really get a computer type job. It’s only know that I’m four years out of college that I’m realizing how useful a programming background could be, especially with the types of things I enjoy doing.

I love doing web design, which is not programming, but could take bits of code, such as PERL or Javascript.

I want to get involved more in interactive design, user interfaces, etc. I’m trying to learn Ruby on Rails and PHP.

It’s just really time consuming, to do those things along with everything else I’m doing with my life.

It’s terrible to think that there is a whole generation of kids who are excited and willing to join the military to fly the latest plane or man the newest drone – but they can’t program them to save their lives. It feels like a consequence of the digital age – though we are surrounded by new technology, we are not really aware of the inner workings of it. We take things for face value.

Source: Why Johnny Can’t Program: A New Medium Requires A New Literacy