Deleting your Facebook account

All the years of having a blog and I never thought that the web would make me feel over exposed. I am paranoid when it comes to computers because I know that everything that we put out there not only CAN be tracked, but it is already being tracked.

That does not bother me all that much. That is until you think of the audience.

Facebook has already called personal problems for me. When you have everyone you know being capable of knowing where you are at, what you are doing, what you are listening to, what you are eating… it gets a little intrusive. I love sharing things, places I love to go, burgers that are too big to be healthy, Gyros to make friends that cannot get them hungry, etc. It is the active thing that I like, the choice I make… but when we are moving to a “frictionless” way of sharing, it changes a lot.

Once I got my iPhone, I started to realize how a lot of applications are now connected directly to facebook. From your little phone minigames, to your music streaming apps. They are all connected to facebook. If you have not researched how to get rid of your facebook, you don’t know that it takes 14 days of not loggin into it for your account to be deleted. If any of your little apps logs in, bam, your account is back!

I am not deleting my facebook account just yet. I want to see how the new “timeline” feature really works before I cry foul.

Online interaction is a lot different than having a dinner party at your house. Unless you have your life completely compartmentalized, anything you share will be seen by everyone. I was used to thinking that way for a long time because of the blog… but now facebook might make it that way because of my life.

I just heard on the news this weekend that OnStar even if you are not paying for the service anymore continues to gather data on your car. Your car basically will track your speed, location, how long you leave your (check engine light) on, etc. This is all consumer data that can and will be sold. Scary right?

Well facebook does the same thing to your online experience. Even if you are not logged in, they are still able to track everything you do online. And now that they are adding “frictionless” posting, this might extend to everything you do.

All this information was available before if someone had enough computer tracking skills. A couple of programs in your computer and I could track your every move… but imagine everyone you know being able to do that to your life. Everyone could know that I spent most of 2010 eating Chinese food every day, not just my friends that I would joke with when I would order it because the lady already knew my voice and was ready to just send the food.

I simply don’t like it. I think it is too much information out there. There are years of my life that I seriously don’t want to remember.

The ultimate purpose of this post is simple. Think about your online behavior and see if that is something you want everyone in your facebook to know. And I am not just talking about your pr0n escapades either, but lets say that you and your spouse are looking at adoption sites… is that something that you want everyone to know?

Just think about it, and start keeping track of what sites (or little apps) you use your facebook sign on to access. If you ever wanted to delete your facebook, you would have to go to each one of them. It might not be a bad idea to have a list.

*Update*

Check out the comments for some really great links! Also make sure you check all those apps you have (like spotify, and make sure they are not “integrating” with facebook.)

Jesus Phone vs Android vs CrankBerry

As you guys know I have been looking to change my Android. I had already set my eyes on the iPhone and was even thinking about dropping Verizon altogether (even though I have been with then for over 10 years… since they were Ameritech and even before that I think). I know that the iPhone 5 is just around the corner, but I am not interested on going to Sprint or waiting forever for a phone. I am already sick of my android.

Before we continue with this post I would like to define a couple of things. When I say phone, I mean call quality and ease of making phone calls. That is not to be confused with smartphone which I associate with all the other computer related functions. I had my Motorola Droid for 2 years, the blackberry for a week and been using my wife’s iPhone 4 since she got it over 6 months ago. I have also been the original iPhone that practically became my iTouch since my wife upgraded her iPhone.

The night before I pulled the trigger someone started to sing the praises of the BlackBerry Torch 9850. I fondly remember how much I love the experience of having a BB and how great of a phone it was. Calls were easy to make and I never hung up on anyone while talking to them. I think I hung up on someone at least once a week with the android.

I was prepared for Verizon to give me their canned speech when I called. I had been looking at the BB but it was not available through Verizon, so I had my argument all prepared. When I start to go into it, guess what sir, we now carry the BB torch, it just came out this week in Verizon. I am like NOOOOOO! Dam it all.

I decided… lets give it a try. Even though the reviews are pretty poor, maybe it will serve me well. Oh how wrong I was. Long story short, after a week of trying to love the BB I ended up returning it and getting an iPhone 4. Now I will explain why.

Feature iPhone 4 Android BB Torch
Phone Calls 7 5 10
Web Surfing 9 7 2
Battery Life 7 5 8
Apps 9 7 2
Navigation 9 7 3
User Input 8 6 3
Design 9 7 8
Score 8 6 5

Phone Calls

Here is where blackberry shines. BB makes hands down the best phones that I have used in recent years (I’ve had in possession LG, Motorola Android, BB with and now without physical keyboard.) Making a call is extremely easy, it takes literally a couple of button presses and you are dialing. This is where the Android started to wear down on me. Making a phone call always felt cumbersome, like the smartphone had to open up an up to become a phone dialer. It was a PDA trying to have phone capabilities (remember the Treo.) Couple that with hanging up on people consistently an 50% failure rate of answering the second incoming call (it could have been mostly user error,) muted myself all the time and you have one unhappy customer. The iPhone does not shine, but also it does not hung up on people.

Initially I thought that since call quality is my number one priority on my phone choice, that it will clearly outweigh the other smartphone features. After one week with the BB, it clearly did not. I obviously use the smartphone part of a device a lot more than the actual phone. I became increasingly annoyed every time I tried to web surf and failed.

Web Surfing

Web page loading is one of the most annoying things about the android phone. The way a page is rendered can mean you getting to content quickly or you basically just giving up. While it is great to be able to zoom in to read content, if you have to do it over and over, it becomes a chore and depending on your level of interest on the content, you simply give up. The BB made this even more painful. Viewing any kind of web content required at least 3 or 4 interactions with the user interface. Then while reading you had to scroll probably twice as much as I did even on the android. That is annoying.

The iPhone has alternative web browsers, but even with just Safari, the experience is superior to the other 2 phones. Content is easy to read and you do a lot less clicking. I thought that the BB providing me with a quasy mouse experience to click on those hard to reach link (because they were too small) was somehow going to make up for things, but it just made things more annoying because my fat finger would some times still activate the touchscreen resetting the mouse. What a mess of an interface to just try to read something.

Battery Life

If I would have written this post prior to spending a week with the torch, I would have talked a lot more about how this matters. Now, all I have to say is that who cares if you have a smartphone that stays charged for 2 days with medium level use if the reason its not getting heavy use is because it sucks. Get extra cables, charge it in the office or the car. Don’t let battery life affect your decision at all, its all about the extra cables.

Apps

So I don’t play a lot of games on my phone. I do however play games on Bea’s old iPhone (for a while my iTouch) now retired device.

Leave it DeGuia (who by the way seems to have been planning this Borg conversion with Bea because they are both laughing at me for having an iPhone now.) to rub it in my face that he has an app for that. Driving on my way home last week it smelled like a whole forest was burning. It was not a near by forest, it was all the way in freaking MN! So what does DeGuia do, oh let me pull up the police scanner up to see what they are saying. If it is local the cops will probably be talking about it. SHOW OFF!

Not to mention that Gaucho Software is coming out with a new version of Seasonality. (Disclaimer: the developer of Seasonality is one of my best friends.)

I don’t think I even have to make a case for this, the apps available for the iOS are just better than anything I was able to find for android and light-years away from what is available from the BB.

Navigation

The blackberry simply fails on this area. You have to be able to navigate through your phone in an intuitive and seamless way. I thought that having everything available via menus was going to make my life easier, I really liked having that option before. After a couple of minutes your brain should not be aware of trying to find something, it should be able to just find it. Android does it well, iOS does it better.

User Input

This is where my hatred of the new Torch started. I have not mistyped a letter on an iOS device after I spend an actual 20 minutes playing with one. I spent a lot of time on the Torch the week I had it and I would never actually type an e-mail on it… and that is what the BB are supposed to be the stars at. Sure the ones with a physical keyboard might be able to… but their touch keyboard is garbage. The auto-complete feature worthless.

I don’t particularly love the android keyboard and I very seldom used the physical keyboard. It is sad, but iOS made me forget about physical keyboard on devices now. A feature that I thought would be a must on any device.

Design

I never thought that BB could come up with a cool design, but the Torch is beautiful and feels amazing to the touch. They did make a couple of mistakes with the button, but overall I think it is a great design both in looks, comfort and weight. Too bad that they cool factor wears off quickly when you cannot quickly access the multimedia experience that the awesome display is supposed to deliver.

Score

Sadly for the Android and the BB, the iPhone just pulls ahead. Sure it might not have the best battery life and you might have to jail break it to have the flexibility that android has. The iPhone might not be as strong of a phone as BB is. The iPhone basically does not compete with any of those other devices, it is in a class of its own and everything else simply seems to be playing catch up. As sad as this makes me, I have to break up with google at least when it comes to mobile devices. I don’t stay sad for too long though, I am now part of the Borg and LOVING IT!

FF 92311

Questions courtesy of the cousin of the person that posts on that blog, Dackel Princess. And…here we go!

1. When I walk around my neighborhood I see tax dollars put to use… not sure if its good use, but at least they are resurfacing every street it seems.

2. Salmon is my favorite thing to cook.

3. Life is beautiful.

4. My new Jesus Phone makes me feel all warm and fuzzy.

5. Pumpkin? is my favorite Autumn vegetable.

6. Home made coffee is better when it is anything else.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I’m looking forward to laundry, tomorrow my plans include laundry and Sunday, I want to laundry!

Is your Google+ boring?

Then you are doing it wrong.

I guess Facebook has once again tried to keep up with Google plus and twitter and in the process alienated their user base. I don’t think they understand their users anymore. Once you move a platform forward and have wide spread use, those users might not want to embrace the change. I have been wanting to talk about Google plus for a while now, but I think today is a great day. Facebook is all screwed up trying to be google plus, so why not try the real thing? Specially now that is not just invite only anymore!

First go get your account. I’ll wait. If you don’t have a gmail address, get one of those as well. They are both very useful things to have.

Once you have an account, add me. The cool thing about Google plus is that we don’t have to be friends. You can simply see the content I put out whenever you want. You can make a new circle called Frenemies or Secretely hate or BFFs or Chicago and add me to that circle. The awesome thing about this feature is that you become your own curator for online information. That could be done before in other places, but content creation in google plus is a lot more robust than in either twitter or facebook.

You know who is another cool person to follow, its Tom, yeap, the dude from MySpace. The content he creates is pretty informative.

You can create very obscure content, like how to write a procedure on user creation on 3 LDAPs at once. Instead of making all of your friends and family scratch their heads with that post, you can select to only share it with your technology circle. You can even make a Jersey Shore fan group and share the latest Snooky rumor just to that group without making it awkward at the next bikers meeting.

But that is just the tip of the iceberg. Google plus has many features, and if you are bored with Google plus, that means you are doing it wrong. You can customize your google plus with something called Sparks. It is kind of like what you are interested on, but its also a very powerful news aggregator of sorts. Type anything that might interest you and see the useful thing being posted in the net pop up. Its like having a friend that knows a lot about that subject share some of the latest links with you.

The other awesome feature that I have not used but know many people that have is the hangouts. Basically it is Skipe, but better and free! How about that.

Any social network you join is only as powerful as the people you follow. With google+ you can follow everyone, just make sure that you put them in the right buckets. Have a lot of buckets and enjoy the experience.

Take google plus for a spin, I think the network will grow little by little. If anything it will be a place for you to find the information you want in an informal way.

Salad is not a four letter word

I used to hate salads. Not sure where I picked up my dislike, but I felt like it was rabbit’s food. Back in 2008 my Mom got really sick. She had to change her diet and now if she does not watch what she eats she can end up in the hospital. It really changes your relationship with food.

She asked me to do a fruit/veggie shake and try it. It was a weird mixture with aloe, cactus, pineapple, celery and orange juice. I did it for a while, but not sure why the cactus part of it just did not agree with my stomach. I have since then modified the concoction and make it with just pineapple, celery and orange juice. The side effect since back then is that after I did it for a week or so, I would start craving celery.

When I was working from home at my last job, I had the local Chinese place so used to my voice that I would dial and the lady already knew what I wanted. While I would try to go for the “healthy” options, like king pow and white rice instead of fried… it was just not doing me any favors to eat it as often as I was.

Both Bea and I love fruits, and when we went looking for a coffee bean grinder I saw a Magic Bullet. It was an easy decision to get a convenience blender and a coffee grinder all in one. We have used it a lot more than I expected and smoothies are a breeze to make.

We also invested on a juicer which gets a lot less use than I thought, but if we do want to do a fast we have it available. We end up using it after grocery shopping for a quick carrot orange juice mixture that we both enjoy.

Because of gout pain I also had to curve my red meat consumption… which is a good thing to get out of my diet since there is such a history of heart disease. I do miss eating burgers all the time, but not as much as I thought I would.

So what does all of this have to do with salads? Its a very strange side effect, but eating and drinking more vegetables and fruits has made me love them. About 4 times a week I have soup and salad for lunch. I no longer mind getting a salad for a meal. I also never feel not satisfied after eating a good salad.

Perspective is so powerful sometimes. Yesterday I saw a coworker eating a salad and they looked miserable. We chatted for a bit and they admitted that watching what they eat was just horrible for them and they hated the salad itself. It was a totally different approach, I was also eating a salad but I was enjoying it.

I never thought I would end up being able to make such a big change in my eating habits, but I have. Ever since starting this new job the salad bar has been my destination at lunch. I waited a month to see if I could actually sustain it and not get completely sick of it. I still enjoy it.

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