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Month: April 2009

Editing Documents in SL

Editing Documents in SL

[vimeo 2541800 w=1239 h=755]
Interesting. But it might be faster and easier to just do this through your browser alone. Is there a circumstance where you need to be both in-world and collaborating on a document?

This might actually have some interesting implications as a display tool, where you can get people watching a collaboration in which they aren’t participating directly.

I’d love to see some real applications of the HUD.

Search Strings: The Return

Search Strings: The Return

I haven’t done this in a long while, mostly because I did something to my site that prevented me from being able to access them anymore, and I only recently thought about adding Google Analytics. So now I can see them again! So here we go:

“a diary is an example can you til me is primary or secondary
This is interesting; homework question? It’s clearly not a copy/paste, or a typed in copy from a question sheet. It looks like it was typed in on the fly; is this an example of someone using a computer/device while in class? If so, do you think that’s a good or a bad thing? It’s research, right? Is this an example of someone getting the internet to do their thinking for them?

ban a friend (email with comma) subject
Ban a friend…from where? IM? Facebook? email with comma, does that tell us why this person wants to ban a friend? It’s a mystery!

cheapest sd cards
I suspect no one needs me to add a data point to the research indicating that people use the internet to buy things. And to find deals. But this does indicate that people look pretty broadly to find general advice before buying technology and its associated bits.

confessions of an ugly stepsister chapter summaries
There’s always someone looking for ways to avoid reading the book. It’s a good book; just read it! It won’t take that long!

dream and meaning and running home across a field
This one is an interesting combination of boolean and free text. Not “dream interpretation”, but dream AND meaning AND “running home across a field”.

dreaming of making out with someone but don’t see there face
I must post too much about dreams, apparently. This one is on the verge of being a full-blown question, interestingly; if you added an “I’m” to the front, and then the obvious question at the end, “What do you think that means?” While the first dream related question shows evidence of some thought in terms of search construction, this one is more free-flowing, containing mostly words that won’t bring up a useful result.

how do you find if someone had been running a search for your name on the internet
An entire question, minus the question mark. Now: conceivably this might work; if someone created an FAQ with this as a question on it, you’d get a good result. But given the lack of quotation marks, it reads more as if the user is asking google a question rather than searching it. I love how conversational it is. We really do think of google as an extension of our brains in a way, don’t we? Our searches are so stream-of-consciousness.

how to do that google search thing where your name comes up and it says “did you mean”
Speaking of conversational! Yeah, it’s as if instead of the Google logo, the words above the search box says “I would like to know…” and the user merely finishes the sentence. I wonder how many hits you get when you search for “that google search thing”.

primary source subject heading strings capitalization
Someone’s cataloguing homework?

swallow lymph nude on back of my neck and can’t fell on that side
This is a strange combination of search terms and conversationality. Since you can’t very well swallow your lymph nodes, I presume those are separate constructions; swallow, plus “lymph node on back of my neck” “can’t feel on that side”. A pretty ingenious way to search for a series of symptoms, really. If it weren’t for the spelling errors. It’s always easier to type symptoms into google than it is to go see your doctor. But rule number one when you have a serious illness; don’t google it. What you’ll find will only depress you.

the emerging tools to access oa content.
With a period, no less!

what could me to have a rough feeling red ring around my neck
More stream-of-conscious medical questions. We talk about how users don’t need training in how to use Google, and we know they don’t usually go beyond the first page of search results, but looking at strings like this makes it clear that they don’t really know how to use the tool. There’s just so much in it, and we appear to have so much patience with google searching (we like the browse aspect, I guess?) that we will keep hammering at it until we get somewhere that interests us.

whining and complaining examples
You came to the right place!

will having the radioactive iodine treatmenat to kill my thyroid also get rid of the puffyness around my eyes?
Of course I’m going to attract the radioactive iodine and thyroid cancer crowd. Now this one interests me for a whole other reason. No matter how sick we are, vanity is always there, isn’t it. For me, I knew how big my scar was going to be, but I didn’t really care very much about that part; I didn’t care about how it would make me look. Once I had it I realized that it marked me as damaged, made me sort of Frankenstein-like. Pulled apart. Never the same again. I never once considered whether radioactive iodine would have an effect on my face, except that I worried about whether it would block up my salivary glands. However, it’s pretty clear that this person doesn’t have thyroid cancer, s/he has hyperthyroidism. But I don’t think the radiation would change puffiness. It only gets rid of the bug-eyed look that comes with Graves Disease. Sadly, there’s no pill that will magically turn us into Scarlett Johansson.

you don’t have to be afraid of cancer anymore
I hope that’s an accurate prediction.

Speak slowly, Scientists Warn

Speak slowly, Scientists Warn

(GNN)– Rapid-fire news from conversation with friends or too many stories from newspapers could numb our sense of morality and make us indifferent to human suffering, scientists say.

Scientists say updates from friends and family, let alone media like printed text, are often too quick for the brain to fully digest.

New findings show that the streams of information provided by newspapers, street signs, and conversation with others are too fast for the brain’s “moral compass” to process and could harm young people’s emotional development.

Before the brain can fully digest the anguish and suffering of a story, it is being bombarded by the next bit of information or update from one’s mother, according to a University of Southern Suburbia study.

“If things are happening too fast, you may not ever fully experience emotions about other people’s psychological states and that would have implications for your morality,” said researcher Mary Helen Scaremonger-Yang.

The report, published next week in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Online Early Edition, which tries to update itself as slowly as possible because of these findings, studied how volunteers responded to real-life stories chosen to stimulate admiration for virtue or skill, or compassion for physical or social pain. Growing pains for the conversational art?

Brain scans showed humans can process and respond very quickly to signs of physical pain in others, but took longer to show admiration of compassion.

“For some kinds of thought, especially moral decision-making about other people’s social and psychological situations, we need to allow for adequate time and refection,” said Scaremonger-Yang.

She said the study raises questions about the emotional cost, particularly for young people, of heavy reliance on a torrent of news snippets delivered via vocal conversation and text-based sources such as newspaper headlines and posters in shop windows.

She said: “We need to understand how social experience shapes interactions between the body and mind, to produce citizens with a strong moral compass.”

USS sociologist Beamish Boy said the study raised more concerns over fast-moving lives than the conversational-based environment.

“In a culture in which violence and suffering becomes an endless show, be it in a play, politics, or merely your means of employment, indifference to the vision of human suffering gradually sets in.”

Research leader Tony Dammitall, director of USS’s Brain and Creativity Institute, said the findings stressed the need for slower delivery of the news and conversation, and highlighted the importance of slow-burn emotions like admiration.

Dammitall cited the example of French Absolutist Louis XIV, who says he was inspired by his father, to show how admiration can be key to cultural success.

“We actually separate the good from the bad in great part thanks to the feeling of admiration. It’s a deep physiological reaction that’s very important to define our humanity.”

Conversation, which allows users to swap messages and use their hands to emphasize a point often in as little as a single word at a time, is largely seen as a solution to information overload, rather than a cause of it.

This function, it is said, “means you can step in and out of the flow of information as it suits you and it never queues up with increasing demand of your attention. You can just stop and ask someone if you want to know what’s going on. No pressure.”

(In response to this.) Ahem.

Twitter Follow Fail/Win

Twitter Follow Fail/Win

In response to Mashable’s Twitter Follow Fail, my own 10 Reasons why I won’t follow you on Twitter:

1. You’re trying to sell me something. This goes for all entrepreneurs of all varieties, particularly the “social media” ones. Now, if you’re a social media entrepreneur but not directly using Twitter to market yourself and your company, but instead using Twitter like everyone else, that’s cool.

2. You follow a zillion people. By a zillion I mean something near or over a thousand, because it’s unlikely that you’re even able to follow all those people. So why are you following me? It’s not like you’re really going to read what I’m saying right? Now, as an exception: if your tweets are awesome and I want to follow you for the content, I don’t care how many people you follow, and if you follow me I will follow you back.

3. You follow a zillion people, hardly anyone follows you, and you have no posts. It’s work to follow a zillion people, so I’m suspicious. Are you using twitter as a feed reader? I sometimes post links, but that’s not really what I use twitter for. Are you just trying to gather followers?

4. You post pretty much nothing but RTs and memes. I’d rather follow people with original ideas rather than rerouters.

5. You post about your follower count. “Three more followers and I’ll be at X00!” “Yay, just hit 500 followers!” Anything like that. Even if I know you, this calls for an immediate unfollow. Sorry. I don’t want to be a notch in anyone’s belt. Clarification: posting about wondering why a bunch of people recently unfollowed you, and wondering if you’ve been offensive, doesn’t make me unfollow. It’s only if you’re demonstrating that you’re using twitter only partly to do anything other than gather enough followers to feel good about yourself.

6. Your archives consist largely of @replies. Some people say this is a display of engaging with your community, but I have my twitter set to not show me any @replies to people I don’t follow. So: if all you do is use twitter as a public chatroom, I’m not going to see your updates anyway. And I don’t think that’s a very effective use of the medium.

7. You post about specific topics that don’t interest me. I sometimes get followed by people who post mostly about life with kids kids, or entertaining kids. I don’t dislike kids, but I have no interest in reading about them on twitter. Sorry. edit: unless I know you and/or your kids. I want to hear about @halavais‘s baby, of course. just not generic stuff for kids. Well, unless it’s YA fiction, which is a whole other topic. Maybe I should think this one through some more.

8. You’re a “life coach”. Just…no.

9. All your posts appear to be automated. I don’t really understand the phenomenon, and I already use a greasemonkey script to remove them from my feed. If all your updates are just links, I’m unlikely to follow you.

10. You are arguing against gay marriage, posting about your love of the Republicans or of Stephen Harper. So not interested.

Now: 10 reasons I WILL follow you on Twitter:

1. You’re a librarian. I love following librarians. All kinds of librarians. I like to use Twitter as part of my work, so I love seeing what librarians are thinking about.

2. You work in a library. I love hearing from everyone in the library world.

3. You’re in library school. I miss being in school, so I’d be very very happy to read updates about your classes and things that interest you. I think of it as a way to listen in on classes.

4. You’re interested in social media/emerging technologies from an educational/community perspective. I’m not interested in the “social media for profit” crowd, but am very interested in the “social media for fun and learning” crowd.

5. You make me laugh. Hello, @StephenFry.

6. I know you, or I should know you. You live in Toronto, you work at the same school as me, we move in the same circles, you’re my husband, my best friend, or my dad. We’ve had dinner together. We hang out on the same IRC channel or other online community. Something like that.

7. You go to the same conferences I do. I will definitely follow you if I see you tweeting about the same conferences I’m at. I love to hear the thoughts of other conference attendees.

8. You’re at a conference I wish I were at. It’s great to hear what’s going on at a conference I can’t attend. If you’re there, I might want to keep following you after the conference too.

9. I admire your work. Academics, start-up owners, Googlers, etc.

10. You respond to me in an interesting way. I might not have noticed you before, but you responded to something I said in a way that piqued my interest. I’m a sucker for intelligence and thoughtfulness.

I bet this says a lot about what I use twitter for.