He’s dead, Jim.

I think I’ve finally killed InksEnd.   The last migration seems to have unlinked all my previous blog posts.   I suspect that means I’ll have to do some work on it.   Oh, well.

Update:  Changed permalinks to default.   It’s back.

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Facebook Ticker Trick

    I wouldn’t call it love-hate.  My relationship with the worlds most ubiquitous social network is a bit more complex.  I consider Facebook’s history around data privacy and Mark Zuckerberg’s public statements about online identity to be a warning.  In short, anything you or I expose on Facebook is inventory and Facebook has a history of changing the rules about who gets inside the warehouse, how easy it is to find our information, and which doors are well or poorly locked.

As long as you understand that, it’s a great tool.    

It’s within this context, I occasionally find friends and family posting things like this:

I’d like to keep my FB private except to those I am "friends with". So if you all would do the following, I’d really appreciate it. With the new FB timeline on its way this week for EVERYONE, please do both of us a favor!

Hover over my name above. In a few seconds you’ll see a box that says : "Subscribed". Hover over that, then go to "comments and likes" and UNCLICK it. That will stop my posts and yours to me from showing up on the bar side for everyone to see, but most importantly it limits hackers from invading our profiles.

If you re-post this I will do the same for you. You’ll know I’ve acknowledged you because if you tell me that you’ve done it I’ll "like" it …. Thank you.

Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love it when someone takes the initiative to consider how their personal information is shared online.   It’s especially important to me since the very nature of Facebook means that my privacy is in the hands of every one of my friends (or specifically those I grant access to with lists), it’s a good sign when someone thinks about and takes action to secure their data online.   It takes one friend with a stolen password and anything I’ve shared is at risk.

However, this particular warning is misleading and the steps taken don’t change your effective privacy.   

The key feature of the Ticker is that you see things you can already see on Facebook, but in real time.

In the example below, Rob is a friend of Shawn, but Clair is only friends with Rob.   Rob notices that Shawn’s updated his status earlier with a funny quote and "Likes" it.   If Shawn has NOT restricted access to his wall and left it open to the public, anyone on Facebook can see that Rob Likes Shawn’s comment.  

It’s under these circumstances that Clair will see her friend Rob’s activity.   If she’s looking at Facebook when the event happens (remember the Ticker is real time) then she’ll see an update "Rob Liked Shawn’s Status" with a link that she can follow.  

Keep in mind, Shawn has left his Wall open to the public and Clair could have gone there on her own and seen Rob’s activity.   For that matter, I can go to Shawn’s Facebook page and view the same update and I’ll see that Rob Likes the update. 

If Shawn is a bit more cautious and has restricted access to his updates to Friends Only (or even specific Lists), then only Shawn’s friends will see his update.    Clair will not be notified that Rob Likes Shawn’s update.

It all goes back to the original source restrictions.   From Facebook help: 

Remember: People can only see the posts, comments and likes that you share with them. So if you share something with friends, only they will see it in ticker

….

Remember, your comments and likes are only visible to people who can see the original post. For example, you might comment on a photo one of your family members posts just to family. A friend of yours who cannot already view the photo will not see a story in ticker about your comment.

So the post I keep seeing can be rewritten:

I’d like to keep my Facebook "Comments and Likes" private.  Unfortunately some of my Friends leave their pages open to the Public and you might see some of my activity on  these Public pages.  

I’d prefer you not see that so I’m asking you to unsubscribe from my "Comments and Likes" in your Ticker.   This won’t change the visibility my activities on these pages, it just means you won’t see it unless you go directly to the page.

So, if you’re tired of seeing what I’m up to in your Ticker, hover over my name above. In a few seconds you’ll see a box that says : "Subscribed". Hover over that, then go to "comments and likes" and UNCLICK it.

That will stop my posts and yours to me from showing up on the bar side for everyone to see, but most importantly it limits hackers from invading our profiles.

If you re-post this I will do the same for you. You’ll know I’ve acknowledged you because if you tell me that you’ve done it I’ll "like" it …. Thank you.

I’ve struck the second to last line as well.   I can’t find a way to re-interpret it accurately.   This isn’t about keeping hackers off your profile, but more of an attempt to compensate for pages left too Publically exposed or perhaps the desire to separate activity between groups of friends.   I’ll discuss the later in a separate post on using Facebook Lists.

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Tanking Ego

Zahraah at Pugnacious Priest asks,

“Do you need an ego to tank? Should I roll a ‘tank’ and see?”

Lao Tzu is credited with the following quote -

“A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves.”

I love that quote and its variations and forgive its author for a 600BC gender bias.

To have or not have an ego isn’t an option. By classical definition, our sense of self is our ego. However, if I read the question as “Do I need an inflated ego to tank?” I can have some fun. Now our answer revolves around whether an inflated ‘sense of self’ manifested (occasionally?) as arrogance helps a successful tank. I’d say at times “yes” but in the long run absolutely not.

However, what we’re talking about here isn’t exclusively about tanking. It’s leadership. As a tank, the [simplified] job is to make sure everybody wants to smack you around more than they do your generally more squishy compatriots. Do that and stay alive and you get the cookie. I think that’s trainable through research (EJ) and class mentoring.

Leadership is much more complex and not the exclusive domain of tanks. I’ve seen some great dungeon/raid leaders that were confident, patient, knowledgeable and most importantly aware of the need to work as a team to be successful. I’ve also seen plenty of groups with poor or no leadership. In my experience, that leadership role seems to more commonly fall on tanks, but I have seen great leaders in the DPS and heals spots too.

So what about this ego issue? Here’s it in a nutshell: Leaders see the success of the group as part of the value they add. If you’re a tank and find yourself as the defacto leader AND you accept that responsibility then confidence (in the form of appropriate self esteem / healthy ego) balanced with humility (it’s not the “Mr. Tank and scrubs” show) can get even a mediocre group through difficult content. That’s not an inflated ego.

On the other hand, tanks relied upon to lead that don’t accept or understand the role can easily become arrogant (“oh it’s all up to me”), hostile (“what the hell are you thinking with that gem?”), and or just disengaged (“pulling w/o watching mana levels or group proximity”). They might be proficient tanks, but lousy leaders.

Personally, I don’t know if I’m good at either. I’ve been druid tanking for about two months as I moved from 75-80. I’ve tanked most of the Northrend 5-mans but no raids. Some people have been very complimentary of my ‘tanking skills’ and others have offered good suggestions about gear/gems/etc. I have occasionally pulled a boss too early and to my amazement, I’ve pulled before my healer is ready. I heal as Resto too and have an 80 holy priest I’ve healed on for over a year /facepalm.

I start most instances with an honest statement about how many times I’ve tanked it (either reg or heroic). Most people seem to respond very well after that. In my approach, I’ve also had to step up my game and read more about bosses and fight strategies. I also feel I need to understand what all classes bring to fights and how to best use them. Many of those skills I learned as a healer, e.g. raid wide resistances make healing so much easier.

Does any of that make me an effective leader? Only time will tell, but I suspect that the better I get at bringing out the best in the rest of the group the closer I’ll get.

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Fairly Free Internet Security

Rarely does a month go by before someone I know asks me about basic security software for their home PC. Usually it’s at the right after their pre-installed anti-virus expires or when their college age children bring the laptop home.

In the past I’ve purchased McAfee and Symantec products (usually to extend my own pre-installed version), but for the last several years I’ve relied almost exclusively on free software. There are hundreds of articles from experts on the relative benefits of one package over another, but I tend to rely on millions of my closest friends, “the crowd“, and Cnet’s download site. A quick trip to Cnet and a search on “anti-virus” quickly takes me to a list I can sort by “Most Popular.” At time of this post, roughly 230 million people have downloaded “AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition.” There are several other very good free tools there as well. I like SpyBot for its scanning tool as well as the ability to tweak startup settings withing Windows.

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(not) Tweeting the Day Away

From InformationWeek

Update – September 2009: John Swainson has announced his retirement from CA. I wonder if he’ll pick up twitter next year.

John Swainson, CEO of CA, says he uses Facebook and LinkedIn but communicates mostly by E-mail (much of it on his BlackBerry) and IM and hasn’t felt compelled to jump into Twitter. “I don’t need to publish my position daily or hourly or minutely,” Swainson said in an interview, “though I’m sure my staff would consider ways for me to.”

I originally posted this quote to highlight what I saw as a growing first impression of Twitter.

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The Power of “What I Can Do” Now

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I read the The Power of Now some time ago and have been watching with some amusement at the level of activity surrounding Oprah’s embrace of Tolle.

Years ago I purchased a Tony Robbins tape set. I wonder if he still does the Unleash the Power(?) series? All I remember is a grinning giant in a helicopter on an island. “Yeah, I want all that [stuff].”

I’m left thinking that a balanced approach to the present and action is called for in my life.

I think Kent Thune is onto something in his post at the newly renamed “the Change blog.” He shares the following quote to start.

“As a single footstep will not make a path on the earth, so a single thought will not make a pathway in the mind. To make a deep physical path, we walk again and again. To make a deep mental path, we must think over and over the kind of thoughts we wish to dominate our lives.”
Henry David Thoreau

In another article back on Kent’s blog, the Financial Philosopher, he starts..

“All truly wise thoughts have been thought already thousands of times; but to make them truly ours, we must think them over again honestly, till they take root in our personal experience.”
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

So where do we go with all of this? I think there’s significant truth to being here ‘now.’ Dwelling in the past or future seldom yields more than a fleeting warm memory but can often create hours of unease. It’s the action that I take now that makes me whole.

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What Really Matters

In an article over at Pick the Brain, Jonathan Mead writes

One simple fact divides effective and ineffective people: effective
people spend the majority of their time working on important rather
than urgent things.

It’s an age old problem, what should I do now? I’ve spent decades with various planning systems and daily planning tools for business and my personal life. Some rely on ageless technology like paper and pen while others give me an excuse to buy PDAs, laptops, and software. I always love the chance to buy a new toy under the guise of “productivity.”

Alas, none of them have helped me decide what I should hope to accomplish. They merely help me keep track of what I wrote down earlier in the heat of a busy moment or brief daily brainstorm. I find that if I work from, manage, and update my list I am one thing — effective at working my list.

However, Jonathan has touched several items that truly help in choosing “what” to put on my list. It comes in at #3 on his list, but adding value is an absolute requirement in my planning these days. While he leaves it generally open to adding value for “myself or others,” I have to flip that equation and look at the value my work provides others first and to myself second.

Unfortunately, I always find that grande soy latte (or in my case that boring venti decaf no-room) “seems” valuable to me when I’m having it. But in almost every case that I’m adding value for a customer, my family, a co-worker, a manager, a friend, or even a complete stranger I leave that task feeling better about the day and my accomplishments.

It might be a random act of kindness, a quick hello by phone or the completion of a work project.   If it touches someone else in a positive way it’s a mark in the daily ‘important’ column.

I still have to do all the other things that keep the bills paid, food in the fridge, and the lights on, but that’s where some of Jonathan’s other points ring true as well.

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Fragg’d – an oddly graceful moment of Zen

Interesting commentary at Wired on virtual killing [and death].

– you watch as your corpse goes pinwheeling
gracefully through the air, arms and legs flailing in the grip of
rag-doll physics.

Clive Thompson recounts the ways he’s died in video games and a new paper on emotions of gamers by Niklas Ravaja. It appears we actually enjoy getting fragged. Or as Shakespeare writes in Othello:

If after every tempest come such calms,May the winds blow till they have waken’d death!

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