I Fail at Social Networking, and so do you…

The internet is a wonderful thing! A wealth of knowledge at our fingertips, and immediate access to our friends and family.  We live in an age where I know so much about my friends lives, that it is easy to spark up conversation if I actually ever meet up with them! This happens to me all the time, I bump into a friend in the grocery store, and ask them how the new car is, or how their trip to Thailand went, or that I liked the new pictures they posted of their perfect kids…

Facebook knows every little detail about you. Google might know things too, but your search history or email contents aren’t posted for all your friends and family to see. Wouldn’t that be embarrassing! lol

We offer up our lives inside our Facebook accounts.But it is not just Facebook. Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram, Reddit, Google+, Myspace(joking). But, have you ever noticed that our friends lives are soooo much more interesting and fun than our own. Facebook is kind of depressing for me most of the time. Everyone is posting how great their life is, how they just #boughtthebestthingever…, went on the #tripofalifetime. Again. Look at me!! My life rocks…

This video puts it all into perspective for you my friends…

Feel better? I know I did…

But the web we are all entangled in doesn’t stop with Facebook. The companies that run our favourite sites are fighting a battle for your attention, and in the end, your money. They are in the business of making money, and their sights are set on you…They excel at reminding you that you haven’t tweeted in a while, or that your buddies have been talking about all your favourite hobbies behind your back! You better click the link and get back in the game…

I’ve realized that I have a mutually balanced love and hate for my online life. I love ‘sort of’ keeping up to date with (or at least learning about) what my friends and family are up to. Why? Because I care about people in my life. But most of the time, I am simply too busy to include them in my hectic life. And, honestly with 4 young kids, I get that some of my friends might be ‘just too busy too’…

But, as time passes, I feel bad about being a hermit. What kind of friend am I really if I see people once a year or even less? I like hanging out with friends. I also enjoy shutting down my Facebook account all the time! Then realize that I am as hooked as everyone else with my online persona. However, I forget to use Twitter, realize that I haven’t blogged on here in a very long time, how much I love Reddit but forget about it, that my RSS reader is filling up with tons of cool stuff, that Google+ is neat but no one I know is really active there. I never “succeed” at any social website…

Look at me having fun...
Look at me having fun…

Then I ask myself, why didn’t I post about taking some time off of work, because I couldn’t cope with a tornado of crap that hit me all at once? #nervousbreakdown. That is life, isn’t it? But instead, I took pictures of me mountain biking, and joking that it was my therapist…It kinda was. And kinda is…

That is the key distinction for me. We go on these sites to feel better about our kind of normal, boring lives… I don’t think I’d go on Facebook if all I saw was how hard it was for my friends to pay their bills, that their marriage was on the rocks, that their kids were making them go insane, that they had just lost their jobs. We get that intimate with people in our lives, but not there… So, our online personas aren’t real. They aren’t. To get to know people, we need to accept that we are probably seeing them with rose-coloured glasses, and need to dig deeper. In person.

So, I accept that I fail at social networking , and I can only hope you do too…

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What RSS reader are you using now that Google Reader is dead?

I’m curious about what RSS reader my readers are using now that Google Reader is dead?

I’m finding Digg coming up with interesting content. A good mixture of Digg’s legacy of original content, along with an RSS reader.

For looks for me, it’s got to be Feedly! I almost forgot about it, until the other day I was looking through my Lastpass database and came across it. Logged in, then thought, “Wow, this is sure pretty!”.

What are you using?

This habit of sitting on my ass.

I’ve slowly been developing a habit over time. It is a habit that will kill me over time.

It’s me sitting on my ass.

Everyday, in my job, I sit on my ass. For 9 hours.

Then, I get into my car, and sit on my ass on the drive home.

I get a small reprieve while I get the kids off to bed, clean up their tornado.

Then, I’m tired. And sit on my ass until bed.

What did I used to do?

I would put on my night lights, throw my leg over my mountain bike, and go ride. At least twice a week!

Over the last 6 months, it has got down to once every couple of weeks. The rides are getting shorter, I exert myself less, and I am getting fat.

Currently I’m the heaviest I’ve been in my entire life! 205 pounds! I’m usually between 185 to 195 pounds, and fit. Not now.

This post is my ‘public shaming’. I’ve got to make a change.

So, I’m doing something that I hope will motivate my round bottom…I got a used bike frame! Much like some people that get a gym membership, or a treadmill to hopefully get off the couch, a new(ish) mountain bike can do that for me!

Here it is, in all it’s glory…I’m not religious, but I pray that this will help me get back on track again…Single track that is.

May this help me get back on the trails again...
May this help me get back on the trails again…

Seems Reasonable…

seems_reasonable
My Sigg bottle top is getting gross. But like most things, getting parts for something is difficult. Why not just throw it away and get a new one, right?

Not me, my friend…

So off to eBay I go to find a deal…

Seems like shipping costs may have gone up? haha

What is IFTTT? For my friends that keep losing their photos…

I’m always surprised to hear from my friends (mostly on Facebook), that they lost all their photos, contacts, data on their phones when they dropped them in the tub, toilet, washing machine…

But then I am reminded that when I mention cloud computing and backups, a lot of them look at me with a blank deer in headlights look. I suppose I understand, as the saying, “store it up in the cloud”, can create some confusion! Recently a relative of mine asked where this cloud was located? In space? It does sound virtual, doesn’t it? Wouldn’t it be awesome to have your photo backups located out in space?? Yes. Yes it would…

Boring Building
Source – http://www.datacenterknowledge.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/google-councilbluffs-datace.jpg

Sadly, technology is not quite there, and cloud backups are located in large warehouses like this one. How it all works is much like magic (Sorry, no magic, but epic programmers that are as smart as magicians). Most consumers really don’t need to know too much about how our data gets backed up, as much as we need to trust that it has been!

For anyone that has a digital camera, backing up your photos & videos is an important part of protecting those precious moments with your kids, family, and friends. It only takes one slip up and your slippery iPhone is at the bottom of the lake, together with the now destroyed processor. Good luck retrieving the data on there!

If you have not heard of online storage, today is the day you should learn more about it! I could point you to multiple services, and go through the pros & cons of them all, but I’m just not going to do that…There are just too many! I’d recommend a service that will be big enough to be in business for years…If you spend some time setting up an automated backup (or even manually backing up your data), it is important that they stick around a while! A few that come to mind are Dropbox, Evernote, Box.net, and Google Drive.

How long is long enough? That is a good question! Many people feel that we are in a heap of trouble as time goes on, in that we are relying on online digital backup services to stay in business so we can retrieve our data 20 years from now. Seem like a long time in the future? Tell that to your kids or grandkids when they want to see into their past, and ALL your photos are digital, and you didn’t backup the 100+Gb of photos that accumulated in the various services you were using two decades earlier…A photo album seems a bit silly today, but I have pictures 50 years old still that will probably survive another 50 years for my kids. So the moral of the story is to choose your backup service wisely, and make it as mindless and automated as possible…

Now onto how to make your backups simple…ifttt

You need to set it up, and not have to think about it again!

That’s where ifttt.com comes in! It is a site to automate your digital life! It can do so many different things for you, I can’t even begin to describe how helpful it is.

For instance, I get a daily text message with the weather, as well as when it is scheduled to rain tomorrow so I can get kids’ rain gear ready. It backs up all my photos I take with my phone automatically to Dropbox, then in turn, that backup is backed-up to Box, and Evernote. I have it email Craigslist searches for items I’m looking for. I get up to date emails for Reddit posts, I have it forward any public posts I do on Google+ and push it to Twitter, then Facebook. Hell, if I lose my phone, I can email ifttt and it will make my phone ring! Helpful as well as crucial.

Instead of spending an entire post on how to set it up, just go to ifttt.com and set up an account. It is extremely easy to set up, and you won’t be one of those friends that posts on Facebook that they lost all their photos!

Birthday Surprise! Beer of the Day – McEwan’s Scotch Ale

McEwansMy wife and I went out for a date tonight to celebrate my birthday! We went to a nice restaurant called the Mahle House, thanks to my mother-in-law getting us a gift certificate for Christmas!

The best part of the dinner was that I decided to treat myself by getting a beer, which I typically never do when we go out. To my surprise, on the menu, was my very favourite beer, McEwan’s!

Back in the early 90’s my good friend Dave and I went camping on the West Coast of Vancouver Island in a place called Tofino. It’s beautiful! Trust me when I say if you ever want to visit Canada, Tofino & Long Beach are a must stop on your trip.

Anyhow, when we were setting up our trip, we didn’t have a cooler, and needed to find beer that we could drink warm on the beach. The guy at the beer store suggested McEwan’s. Ever since I’ve had such fond memories of my times camping there, and have considered it one of my favourites.

That is until a couple of years ago, when I was told that this Scottish classic wasn’t being imported into Canada anymore.

That is until I saw it on the menu today, on my birthday!

What a great birthday present for me. 🙂

A Football Coach teaching Tolerance and Inclusiveness

Today I was moved by an article I read over at Delancey Place. The excerpt speaks for itself, so I won’t go into too much of the content, as I recommend going there to read it for yourself.

Having grown up in a hockey & football focused high school, I have a pre-conceived notion of what the boys were raised to be like by their coaches. I ran into aggressive, sometimes violent classmates that loved to fight, intimidate, and gang up on other kids that were not part of their small circle of like minded friends. Being a soccer player, into trumpet, and having friends in drama, I was a target myself of bullying. Luckily for me, I had an athletic streak, and had a way to talk myself out of getting the shit kicked out of me. Many other kids were not so lucky…

When I read this article, all I could think about was how I wished that this coach’s program would be taught as a mandatory course in all high schools! I was blown away…And, I really questioned some of my beliefs on why I lump everyone involved in these sports into the same box. This coach seems amazing!

Here is a short part of the excerpt. Click through the link at the bottom to read the entire article.

In today’s encore selection — as reported by Pulitzer Prize winning author Jeffrey Marx in Season of Life: A Football Star, a Boy, a Journey to Manhood. Gilman High School in Maryland has a highly successful football team. And its coaches have a few unusual rules — such as an ironclad rule that no Gilman football player should ever let another Gilman boy — teammate or not — eat lunch by himself. And the requirement that players constantly base their thoughts and actions on one simple question: What can I do for others?:

“What happened that first day at Gilman [High School] was entirely unlike anything normally associated with high school football. It started with the signature exchange of the Gilman football program — this time between [head coach] Biff [Poggi] and the gathered throng of eighty boys, freshmen through seniors, who would spend the next week practicing together before being split into varsity and junior varsity teams.

” ‘What is our job?’ Biff asked on behalf of himself, Joe, and the eight other assistant coaches.

” ‘To love us,’ most of the boys yelled back. The older boys had already been through this routine more than enough times to know the proper answer. The younger boys, new to Gilman football, would soon catch on.

” ‘And what is your job?’ Biff shot back.

‘To love each other,’ the boys responded.

“I would quickly come to realize that this standard exchange — always initiated by Biff or [defensive coach] Joe [Ehrmann] — was just as much a part of Gilman football as running or tackling…

Click to continue to read the full excerpt!