Learn something new every day.

I’m a voracious reader, and an equally voracious learner. In the past few weeks alone I’ve learned a several new computer languages, APIs, and technologies.

Humans need constant stimulation in order to survive. I feel that if I haven’t learned at least one thing each day, then I just haven’t been successful.

Set a personal goal to learn at least one new thing each day.


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What would you endorse?

Erick Schonfeld of TechCrunch liveblogged Facebook’s advertising announcement. This final thought caught my attention:

Beacon Partners (Facebook advertising buttons that exist on other sites and when clicked are reflected in members’ feeds as a brand endorsements—how many of these brands would you bother to explicitly endorse to your Facebook friends, opr even identify with?):

This is followed by a list of partners, few of whom I would have any interest in whatsoever. It made me think though, who would I endorse?

Now I might recommend a particular movie, but I can guarantee that I will never endorse the Sony Pictures corporation. I’m an Apple user and I would certainly endorse them, but they aren’t on the list. And my "trusted friends" already know how I feel about Apple, believe me.

So who or what would you endorse? And why?

The thought that Facebook friends will be endorsing things doesn’t necessarily rate those things higher on my list of things to buy. I don’t need a beacon to tell me what’s good. My trusted friends tell me in numerous other ways what they endorse – or ever better – what they actually use. Now that’s a recommendation.

I don’t need to be advertised to more than I already am. But feel free to show me what has worked well for you. Not just what you think I need.


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Leave my internet alone.

Professor Michael Geist notes that the Quebec recording industry, among others, wants Canadian content prioritized on the internet:

Second, it would like the CRTC to require ISPs to prioritize Canadian content, noting that if ISPs prioritize content for commercial purposes (ie. non-net neutrality) then they can be required to do something similar to advance Canadian culture. ADISQ is not alone on this one – a growing number of cultural groups want the CRTC to re-examine the new media exception and to consider rules that bring cancon-like requirements to the Internet.

Living in Canada, I am forced to listen to a certain percentage of Canadian music on the radio, which means that certain Canadian songs are played over and over to meet that quota.

Any television show that is simulcast on a Canadian network is automatically switched to on the cable network, meaning that I am forced to watch Canadian commercials – even during the SuperBowl.

I can only buy satellite service from a Canadian company. It is illegal to subscribe to DirecTV.

All television stations in Canada must be approved by the CRTC. The seemingly infinite selection of digital cable channels end up showing a lot of 20 year old Canadian television series. I pay for a movie channel that broadcasts a huge percentage of bad Canadian movies.

I am forced on my cable system to pay for channels like APTV – the Aboriginal People’s Television Network. Fortunately, they actually occasionally have good movies which have little to do with aboriginal people.

My tax dollars also subsidize all of this largesse, including an entire network called the CBC. Though the odd good show like Corner Gas does occasionally appear.

If content is good it will survive. If not, then it shouldn’t be rammed down people’s throats.

So as a beaten down and ignored consumer I beg you, leave my internet alone.

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Social search still doesn’t make much sense.

Almost four years ago I made this comment about social search:

I may know and trust lots of people, but I’m not sure that my searches will be improved by understanding what they are searching for. Having working previously for a search technology company, I consider myself and expert searcher, often finding detailed information in one or two searches. I might therefore find my searching less effective if matched with even similar searches done by my friends.

And almost four years later, Mathew Ingram shares pretty much the same sentiment:

I can see that if you were searching for companionship, for example, you might want to know that others were searching terms like “lonely” or “desperate for a relationship” or whatever your search might be. But how many searches would actually benefit from having a social component? Would you want to know that others were looking for the definition of “amanuensis” or the location of a good hardware store? I’m not convinced that really makes any sense.

A search is a unique occurrence. Unless my friends are searching for exactly the same thing then they won’t be of any help to me. So what are the chances of that happening?

Now there is a particular situation I can see working. If I am searching for something and can connect my search, not with friends but with experts in the field, then my search could become focused much closer to what I am looking for. For example, if I am searching for a particular infectious disease and my searches are correlated with those of reseachers at the CDC, then I am likelier to get exactly what I am looking for.

But it isn’t that likely that my friends will be looking for that same thing.


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Climate change affects ski resorts.

The United Nations is very concerned about climate change, especially how it affects tourism:

“The entire tourism product will be affected,” said Geoffrey Lipman, assistant secretary general of the United Nations World Tourism Organization, “Every destination has a climate-related component.”

Speaking by telephone from the meeting, Mr. Lipman said that if the climate was going to change, “which we know it will, we’d all better adapt.”

A changing climate is the only certainty, he said. What kind of change and how it will affect a nation’s tourism industry will depend on where you are and what you offer. Indeed, climate change in some places may actually provide opportunities.

I’m not sure which I find more amazing; that someone from the United Nations is actually saying that we should adapt to climate change rather than create some new tax or bureaucracy, or that the United Nations actually has a World Tourism Organization.

Perhaps the funniest line though is this one:

At the end of the Davos conference, the World Tourism Organization advised travelers to take the climate into account and “where possible to reduce their carbon footprint.”

This from the organization that holds conferences attended by thousands in places like Davos. Conservation should really start at home, shouldn’t it?

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