In my recent departure from Facebook, it has become evident why so many people have lost touch with friends — we’re not required to actually engage in conversations anymore. From commenting on posts, to texting our friends, everything is readily at our fingertips. Who needs a good phone call or visit anymore? Apparently Johnny does, because per his recent Facebook post, him and Sheila aren’t doing too well. My reasons for leaving Facebook? I didn’t want anyone to know what I was up to. Not in a mischievous way, but in a way that if anyone cared enough, they would call. I think it started with me sifting through all of my “friends” on Facebook and realizing that I couldn’t consider more than half of them actual friends. So I deleted it, and solved that dilemma. It made me start analyzing the people I surrounded myself with. I would go hang out with a group of friends and notice every little thing; Wow, she’s been looking down at her phone for almost an hour, he’s been playing video games since I stepped through the door, and everyone is staring at each other trying to figure out what we should do tonight. It was just too much for me. No one was actually talking to one another, and not in the least caring. We were drones — Replying with “K” and “IDK” for hours on end. Also, when you go out to eat with a friend, what are you supposed to talk about? I’ve been experiencing bouts of awkward dinners with friends recently. I’m unsure if it’s anything to do with academics, but grammar seems to be a fading concept. Dinner tables and restaurants aren’t fair game for gossip and tweeting about the fabulous food you’re eating. Not in the least bit. I’m not suggesting you talk with your mouth full at the person across the table from you, but do engage and be present. We, as society, have gotten so caught up in “what’s happening to her?” or “look at that hideous picture” that we’re missing out on everything else around us. We’re missing out on the present because we’re too consumed with anything else but what’s in front of us. I guess what I’m trying to say is, stop making it all about you. In order to posses a friendship fairly, you have to build off one another and converse frequently. Stop mentioning the drama going on between you and your family, and start seeking advise. Stop drilling your colleague about the importance of a perfect grade, and start providing mentorship. We live in a world full of self-help novels and mentors, so stop entertaining your time behind your cell phone and social media sites trying to fill that gap. Have meaningful conversations, meditate, walk your dog, have a quiet meal with a friend/family member, and I promise you’ll be able to notice a difference. Make an effort. [An excerpt from a friendly conversation with a classmate/friend] “I want authenticity. I grew up in a simple place..People might have been a little “slow” by this generations standards, but they were authentic.That is what I think is missing from conversation.People are afraid to have their own opinions because it may cost them money, or popularity, or even their job.So people talk about superficial things and pretend to be superficial even when deep down they probably aren’t, at least I’d like to think there’s more in there, it has just been shoved aside to the point its forgotten..”. Conversations like this. These are moments we need to cherish. -Chelsea
eBay has long been known as the de facto marketplace for buying and selling physical goods. But today the marketplace giant is making an interesting move into digital goods, launching a dedicated marketplace for digital comics. Via a limited beta test in the U.S., the marketplace allows you to purchase and read digital comics, in the same way you would via the App Store or through Amazon.
A company focused on teaching anyone the fundamentals of web development, Bloc, has raised $2 million in seed funding in a round led by Harrison Metal, with First Round Capital, Baseline Ventures, and Learn Capital also participating. What’s interesting about Bloc is that, while it’s offering an online program that can be accessed anywhere a student has a computer and Internet access, it also retains the human element of teaching through a one-on-one connection between a learner and their mentor.
Bloc was founded by fellow University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign grads Roshan Choxi (CEO) and Dave Paola (CTO) who had found themselves in the San Francisco Bay Area after college. The two shared a mutual interest in the education space, and began working together around two years ago on various projects. One of these, an early version of what has become today’s Bloc, debuted in early 2012 at the Launch conference, helping seed the company’s user base with the first few thousand signups.
With today’s version of Bloc, the idea is to connect students directly with an experienced mentor who serves as part teacher, part code reviewer, and sometimes even pair programmer, as need be.
“We believe an online apprenticeship is superior to the classroom model,” says Choxi of Bloc’s apprenticeship angle. “It’s the better way to do advanced skill training, so it’s natural that it could apply to other verticals and other topics,” he adds, hinting at the company’s broader vision as Bloc grows.
Way back in the ancient prehistory of 2009, Foursquare made its first foray into push notifications, at a time when using push at all was still rare. Two years later, it made an attempt to capitalize on those notifications with a vision of an app that would alert you proactively when you were near neat things to do, eat or see.
Unfortunately the world — and smartphones with their anemic battery life — weren’t quite ready for Foursquare’s Radar.
Now, after a limited pilot over the past couple of months, Foursquare is delivering location aware push notifications to all of its users across iOS and Android. The new alert system is launching in version 7.0 of the app, alongside a series of visual refinements that make the app more scannable and place the bits of info that you’ll find most useful right at the forefront.
Instagram has invited members of the media to an event in NYC on December 12 to “share a moment” with Kevin Systrom and the Instagram team.
It’s unclear what this event is in reference to, but considering that the invitation was sent in the mail, on paper, the photo-sharing app could be hinting at a future in print. Other invites were a block of wood with pictures printed on them, with a hanger on one side to hang on the wall. If that isn’t a hint toward printing, I don’t know what is.
It sounds ridiculous, considering the digital revolution is in full swing and paper is on its way out, but there is an entire ecosystem of applications, services, etc. that piggy backs off of Instagram’s success.
Researchers from Philadelphia took data from 949 brain scans and divided them into three age groups and by gender. They then analysed the connections between 95 separate divisions of each brain using a technique called Diffusion Tensor Imaging.
With this data they constructed “connectome” maps, which show the network of the strength of connection between those brain regions.
Statistical testing of this showed significant differences between these networks according to sex — the average men’s network was more connected within each side of the brain, and the average women’s network was better connected between the two hemispheres. These differences emerged most strongly after the age of 13 (so weren’t as striking for the youngest group they tested).
** This is day 7 of a 100 day challenge to write 1,000 words per day. Content for this blog is created pretty much on the spot, unless I have a specific task that I’m writing for that day. This preamble is not included in said word count. **
As a city-dwelling 20-something who has worked in finance, consulting and tech, there’s one topic that underscores a significant number of conversations with friends, colleagues, and mentors: the future. What are you going to do? Where are you going to go? What is your plan and how are you going to get there? All valid questions, all very hard to answer.
Perhaps it’s just generally accepted that planning ahead, knowing where you’re going — strategizing — leads to success, but talking about your plans has the opposite effect. Talking about what you’re going to do and publicizing your goals makes it less likely that you’ll actually accomplish those things:
Four different tests of 63 people found that those who kept their intentions private were more likely to achieve them than those who made them public and were acknowledged by others. Once you’ve told people of your intentions, it gives you a “premature sense of completeness.” (Source)
Whoa, a “premature sense of completeness” sounds serious (and wrong). Are we giving ourselves instant early gratification by talking the talk? On the other hand, do we stress out too much if we venture into the future without having a plan and knowing where we’re going?
I’m a big proponent in just going, instead of worrying about where I end up. From travelling alone with an open mind to attending my first Hackathon on a whim, which led to starting my first company, just doing and going has led to intensely rich experiences, many of which I consider to be the highlights of my life. Doing is powerful and attracts attention from other people who are doers as well.
Image via CrunchBase
Last February, I was convinced by a friend to attend a hackathon in NYC being held by the Department of Consumer Affairs’ Office of Financial Empowerment. At the time, I was a beginner coder (even more so that I am now!) and didn’t think that I could contribute much, but went anyways because — why not? Turns out, the hackathon was part hacking together an application and part problem-solving session. I had a blast thinking about how to solve a real life problem and putting my limited coding skills to use. The result? We won first place, and that hackathon idea led to a contract, which led to the implementation of our product across NYC, and now is in the process of being offered to cities across the country. With no prior planning and a “let’s do it attitude”, I stumbled into a wonderful experience and possibly a sustainable startup venture (but more on that another day).
The same philosophy goes for writing as well. If you read the preamble, you know that I’m currently on day 7 of a challenge to write 1,000 words for 100 days. Prior to this challenge, I tried time and time again to start blogs and come up with interesting material. I would procrastinate on the writing, trying to come up with interesting material and picking the right fonts, themes, and pictures — and ultimately never get to the writing. None of those attempts even made it past a few posts, and certainly not to any fan fare. This time, I just started writing. Following Srinivas Rao’s suggestion of “putting my fingers to the keyboard”, I typed until I got to 1,000 words — it took an hour and a half, but I got there. Day 2 was also a struggle, but I just wrote on. By the third day, the words started coming a bit easier, and a dozen or so people read my post. Fast forward a few days, and my last post on travelling alone has garnered over 1,300 reads and a dozen tweets! For a person who a week ago had no writing presence and a small Twitter following, it blows my mind the impact that ‘just doing’ had.
I was searching for cookies when I discovered Google is violating one of the first rules in UX design, consistency.
Here are *nine* different screenshots based on the clickable elements in a Google search page. I found more than nine inconsistencies, but these are the most notable. The screenshots below are all based on this search:
1.) The Default Underlined Link
Since the beginning of Google we have seen the default blue link, we are still seeing them. Nothing happens when a user hovers over them.
2.) The Default Link Without an Underline
Alongside the underlined links, there are the non-underlined blue links on the same page. These links have an underline when the user hovers over them, but they are inconsistent from the default style with an underline.
3.) The Menu Links
Dark grey links aren’t underlined on hover, instead they are given a darker grey. The red border-bottom shows when they are the current page.
Coming to terms with being a writer has been surprisingly difficult. I should introduce myself: The most important thing to know about me is that I have “a massive inferiority complex.” I have extinguished many an idea before the flame ignited the wick.
That and I have fancied myself since childhood a writer of fiction. I have created umpteen plots in both in our less than perfect present and various dystopic futures no better than our current reality but none have I allowed myself the freedom to fully explore. Yet.
I’ve stood in my own way fearing that my characters are too specific. But how can that be? Is each individual person not unique? I believe I may have feared that my audience may read my characters as I intended and perhaps I was uncomfortable with the vulnerability of speaking plainly if semi-disguised in the voice of another.
Writer Wordart (Photo credit: MarkGregory007)
I have thought myself a failure to become this thing I have imagined of myself since Kindergarten when I wrote my first story about a squirrel and a tree (which I also illustrated!). But—I recently had a revelation that was somewhat embarassing for a professed lover of words: I have been down on myself for not being a ‘writer’ when in actuality it’s a novelist that I am not; AND, I am okay with that.
My thoughts I have been chronicling for over ten years in a dozen plus Moleskines, various online blogs, emails and letters.
I write! I’m a writer!
Is that sufficient in the modern age of instant access, instant sharing? Is that enough for me? I’m afraid it isn’t. Least of all for my ego. For someone who fears inadequacy I have the most painful desire for validation that can come only via public comparison.