Meeting Notes - 9 September 2014

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Meeting Notes - 9 September 2014

Post by bdahm on Sat Sep 13, 2014 5:36 pm

“Eat so we can meet” -  Since the Airport Greenery has been providing us free use of the restaurant on Tuesday afternoons for close to three years now, it would be fitting if we patronized the place by buying food and/or drink while we are there. Eric suggested that for those who do not wish to partake of anything that they have on the menu, make a small donation either to the wait staff or in the tip box at the check-in desk in the lobby. 

The CIA is on Twitter. They have been since June. There first message was kind of cute. They said that they could neither confirm nor deny that they are on Twitter. See for yourself, but don’t get caught.

Data Brokers Follow-up
Last week we showed a video about how data brokers collect information on all of us and sell that information so others may market to us. Just before the meeting this week I was listening to a podcast on this topic by a fellow at the Institute for  Quantitative Social Science at Harvard University. He said that with just three pieces of data, there is an 87% confidence factor that you can be personally identified with data you voluntarily provided. Those three data points are Zip Code, Date of Birth, and gender. If you want to throw a wrench into this system, you should either not provide that data when it is asked for, or better yet, provide misleading and false data. The big take away here is that “free” services on the internet are not free. You are being bought, sold and marketed to using the data collected about you. Beyond that one needs to be asked if you are actually seeing ads on items you are personally interested in.

One of the companies in the video said they would make available to you some, but not all, of the data they have collected, ostensively so you can correct it. Here is the web site you can go to to see what they have on you. You will, of course, have to supply personally identifying personal information to prove that you are who you say you are and that includes your social security number.

The Book Book 
 Anyone who follows Apple is aware of the way it markets their products, sometimes called the “reality distortion field” and the importance of design and user experience that it bakes into its products. Here’s a cute video from a company that picks up on that theme to market its products. Thanks to Jerry for bringing this to our attention.

Smart Bands  
With Apple to join the wearable ranks with its Apple Watch, it looks like this technology is here to stay. Disney is in the forefront of smart band use. Here’s how it works. It’s pretty sophisticated as you will see in the second video.

Creating a Web Site
It seems that lots of people have a web site, blog, or some internet presence these days. Most people are deterred from going the web site route, because unless you know some programming language such as HTML, it’s going to take you some time to figure out how everything works. Often you also have to arrange hosting and domain name registration.

One company I am familiar with called Square Space has made this a lot easier and user friendly. It’s basically a drag and drop experience to set up a web site. Square Space gives you something like 25 templates that you can customize to your heart’s content. Square Spaces gives you two weeks to play around and a create a web site, at no cost or obligation to you. After that time you can decide if you want to become part of their service. Plans start as low as $8/month. Live customer support is available 24/7.

I thought that it would be instructive to actually set up a site during a meeting. We quickly learned that some forethought is important before you start creating. One has to have a name and a description for the web site. It was a little hard to come up with this on the fly so we didn’t get very far before the end of the meeting. If I have some time before the next meeting, I will fill in some of the basic info and maybe we can forge on from there. Stay tuned.

With that, I’m going to call it a wrap for this week. See you next week.


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