A couple weeks ago we attended a parents evening on Facebook. I am not a big Facebook user. I have it turned on, I have pictures posted for friends and have connections to a host of old and current friends. It is a convenient way to stay in touch. But I don’t post … because I blog.

The evening event was hosted by Chris Vollum of Social Media Trust and was titled Facebook 101 for Parents. During the day he had held 3 sessions for the lower, middle and upper schools. I consider myself pretty technical, but I was a bit naive on Facebook as I have not invested the right amount of time into understanding it (our boys are just now showing interest). The biggest eye openers for me were the long term impact that Facebook activity can have on children. I am very personally aware of what I write on this blog, but do children of 14 or 15 think before they do something off the cuff?

The photograph of his slide is chilling .. sent to a student who was enrolling in the University of Connecticut:


Consider these statistics from a University of Massachusetts study that polled 453 college admission departments:

  • 26% are actively researching students through search engines
  • 21% are checking out social networking profiles like MySpace and Facebook

More concerning is just how open most people are on a few fronts:

  • Too many people do not understand the privacy settings. They may think that they are just with their friends, when in fact, they are wide open. The speaker showed a random woman in Florida who had her university info, birth date, and a host of other private pieces of information up for everyone to see. A identity theft just waiting to happen. Sophos has a good guide on how to lock down here.
  • People post too much. As per the last part, they are wide open and then they post everything. He typed in ‘Friday vacation’ and up came hundreds of posts from people talking about how they were going on holiday on the weekend. He told the story of a friend who posted ‘leaving today, coming back late next Sunday night’. The only thing missing was which mat the spare key is hidden under.
  • Facebook policies are changing and people don’t understand it. Last fall Facebook reset everyone’s privacy settings and if you had a fully locked down profile, you had to go back in and set it back to ‘locked up’. And they will do it again.

A very eye opening and cautionary evening.



While at a conference I saw several solutions where a person’s LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter feeds were viewable right from the CRM feed. At a social networking workshop it became very clear that managing one’s online presence is incredibly important. I have often wondered how much to put on LinkedIn with regard to the profile, and after much thought I think it is time to make it a bit more robust. GTD has an action item, time to update LinkedIn.

It is also time to take a look at a few sites like Jigsaw and other to see what is in there. Will be very interesting.



I came across this site while listening to the BBC World new. The UK government has put ‘1,000 years of national government documents’ online for everyone to use. They are also seeking people’s insight and support, if you see a picture that you recognize they encourage input to help them collect more data on the who, what and where.

In the African site you see pages and pages of colonial era photos, now posted on Flickr. I found the letter from an employee to employer with regard to his ‘dejobment’ fascinating; note the number of children that he has brought into this ‘vale of tears’. I wonder if he was ever ‘rejobulated’? (Although I would wager that using the word homicide in a letter cannot increase one’s odds).

I hope they post more pictures of Egypt. I cannot imagine living in those times, where there were no barriers and people would still climb the pyramids.

Of course it would have taken a month by boat to get there ….

Amazing raw insight into the past.



I came across the site UDEMY through the week and am intrigued by the idea:

"There are millions of experts everywhere, and we provide them with the tools to share their knowledge online. Udemy gives instructors the ability to use video, PowerPoint, articles, and blog posts to build rich courses. They can even host virtual conferences with students. People spend $9 billion on casual learning each year, and another $20 billion on continuing and professional education. We can catalyze that market to move online, and provide forums that create in-depth learning experiences about everything from Thai cooking to calculus to Esperanto. We launched in May 2010 and more than 2,000 courses have been created. We’re introducing a pay platform so our instructors can decide if they want to charge for their courses, but we expect 80% will remain free. The education industry is very top-down, but this has the power to change that."

It is a very interesting notion, but it will have to differentiate from simple video sites and there is a question of the end game of the content creator. If a author simply wants to sell more books – then a medium such as YouTube is more effective due to broad reach. However, if I am an educational institution or an educator/presenter, there is a revenue opportunity and it is a neat idea – that I can go and provide a high quality web course at a low one time cost.

There is also the potential draw of the website being educationally orientated and focused – a place to easily find course content. Which leads to the question, how do they keep it focused and vet quality? For example, while I enjoyed the ‘course’ Fun with Posters and Charts, is this really a course? Not really, it is more appropriate for a site like slideshare.

That being said, a site I will watch.



PS: Loved the slideshare ‘10 Ways to Suck at Social Media’, great piece for companies.



Finally. Microsoft Hotmail has allowed proper calendar and email sync on other platforms by enabling Exchange like functions. You can read it here. The settings below (set it up like Exchange):

Field Setting Server / URL: m.hotmail.com

Username: Enter full email address, for example: someone@example.com

Domain: Leave this blank

SSL: Enable this

Certificate: Accept the SSL certificate when prompted

Mail, Contacts, Calendar, Tasks: All can be enabled (see the Solution Center article for exceptions on some phones)

I have been spending a lot of time playing with Android over the last month. Amazing OS, more on that soon.



This week I had someone say they knew me from the old University days and I just could not place the name. So I fired out a note to a few old friends to ask if they remembered. No one did. But it did open a ‘man, it has been a long time since we saw each other. We should get together’ email thread.

To which one added ‘You should invite Toe after that underwear thing’. Of course I had to ask ‘what underwear thing?’ I could only imagine, he is a great guy, definitely was the craziest out of the lot and has a life full of stories. For example, the story of why Mark McIntyre is called Toe. They sent me this:


Mark is a testicular cancer survivor. How he found out that he had testicular cancer is a story in itself, you can read it here. I have not talked to him for a long time, but I went through the site, was in awe of the effort and really enjoyed the videos. In the end, he didn’t raise $25K for cancer, he raised $50K AND he raised awareness. Just do a search and you will see, the media was all over it.

Congratulations Mark. How appropriately memorable from a guy who is the main character in many of my University stories. Especially the car and the lake story (smile). Great guy, great accomplishment.



  • The question of whether or not you can catch up on sleep is often debated. Turns our that a weekend spent sleeping late after a week with little sleep does work, according to the Sleep journal:

A study in the Aug. 1 issue of the journal Sleep suggests that a dose of extra sleep on the weekend may be good medicine for adults who repeatedly stay up too late or wake up too early during the workweek. However, even a night of 10 hours in bed may not be enough to cure the negative effects of chronic sleep restriction.

  • There are many articles about whether or not video games are beneficial. It is amazing to watch them play now, so fast, much faster than me. According to a University study, there are benefits; fast paced video games improve decision making:

Participants in a University of Rochester study, "Improved probabilistic inference as a general learning mechanism with action video games", by UR professor of brain and cognitive science Daphne Bavelier played 50 hours of video games over multiple weeks. Players who played action games like Call of Duty 2 (pictured here) made quicker decisions than those who played slow-paced strategy games like The Sims without sacrificing accuracy.

  • Esquire had an article for the holidays on how to be more interesting (in social situations) …. Most are common sense, but 8 made me think:

8. With people you don’t know, limit stories to the last five minutes of your life — the turnout, the Scotch selection, the homeless man you mistakenly took for a valet.

The Who’s Been Sleeping In My Bed Award to three British Holiday Inns for launching another new amenity – human bed-warmers. During a January cold snap, guests who paid an extra fee could have a staff member in a one-piece sleeper suit crawl between their sheets to preheat the bed to 20 C. The service is “a bit like having a giant hot water bottle in your bed,” chain spokeswoman Jane Bednall said. Guest Evan Jones disagreed. “It’s slightly creepy,” he said. “I might pay to not have it.”

  • Enjoyed the article How Canada’s Dollar Got Ahead and Left America Behind in Esquire, discussing Canadian financial prudence and the fact that there wasn’t a single Canadian bank bailed out during the recent crisis. The article could have been called ‘Revenge of the Conservative’.

canada dollar