A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘social networking

[LINK] “No Laptops, No Wi-Fi: How One Cafe Fired Up Sales”

leave a comment »

Writing for NPR, Annie Russell describes how Vermont’s August First Bakery & Cafe boosted business by banning portable computing.

When owner Jodi Whalen first opened four years ago, she initially offered free Wi-Fi to customers. Students like Colt flocked to the business and started typing away — and staying. All day.

“We saw a lot of customers come in, look for a table, not be able to find one and leave,” Whalen says. “It was money flowing out the door for us.”

That’s why Whalen decided there’d be no more screens. It was a gradual move. She started by shutting down the Wi-Fi two years ago. Then, the cafe banned screens during lunch.

“A lot of people were disappointed,” Whalen says. “But we actually saw our sales increase.”

What’s socially acceptable when it comes to using a laptop in public, anyway? Student Luna Colt says it’s about how much money you spend.

“You should buy something every two hours if you’re going to be here and just work all day,” Colt says.

As long as you’re being a good customer, she says, there’s nothing wrong with working on a laptop. It’s why she’s been coming here in the first place.

“If I was going to be here all day, I’d probably come here and eat breakfast. Then a few hours later, I’d have lunch,” Colt says. “I would guess that wouldn’t lose them any money, really.”

Not quite, according to Whalen. It’s less about how much any given laptop user buys, and more about table space.

“Even if they think they’re a good customer because they buy lunch, they’re still here for four hours,” Whalen says.

Written by Randy McDonald

April 24, 2014 at 3:59 am

[NEWS] Some Saturday links

leave a comment »

[BLOG] Some Wednesday links

leave a comment »

  • Bad Astronomy’s Phil Plait revisits the skydiver/meteorite video. It looks like it was just a rock in the chute.
  • Broadside Blog’s Caitlin Kelly writes about the benefits of leaving one’s comfort zone.
  • At False Steps, Paul Drye presents the life of Mercury capsule designer Max Faget.
  • A Fistful of Euros’ Doug Merrill warns (1, 2) about the growing scope of Russia’s actions in Ukraine.
  • The Financial Times‘ Gideon Rachman argues that Russia under Putin is trying to destroy the current Ukrainian state.
  • Joe. My. God. notes that the two daughters of Lyndon Baines Johnson think that American president would likely support same-sex marriage based on his principles.
  • At Lawyers, Guns and Money, Scott Lemieux celebrates the defeat of the Parti Québécois as something that would protect religious freedom.
  • Marginal Revolution hosts a discussion in the comments surrounding the economic policies of Narendra Modi, aspirant for the Indian presidency.
  • John Moyer writes about the virtues of revisiting some books (here, James Joyce’s Dubliners).
  • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer wonders if Russian expansion into Ukraine will encourage imperialism generally and wonders how the ZunZuneo social networking project in Cuba was supposed to prmote democracy.
  • At the Russian Demographics blog, the author notes that Russia stands out not only among European countries but among the BRICs.
  • Window on Eurasia holds that Ukrainian Muslims prefer Ukraine to Russia and argues in favour of a sustained policy of non-recognition of Crimea’s annexation.

[BLOG] Some Tuesday links

leave a comment »

  • The Buffer blog advises online writers as to how often they should post on different media.
  • Centauri Dreams reacts to the discovery of the ocean under Saturn’s moon Enceladus.
  • The Dragon’s Tales notes a recent paper claiming to set limits on a potential distant planet X and observes archeological data suggesting a 9th century settlement date for a Tongan island.
  • Eastern Approaches comments on the Hungarian election.
  • A Fistful of Euros’ Doug Merrill warns that if Russia does move into eastern Ukraine, terrible choices will be afoot.
  • Geocurrents’ Claire Negiar takes a look at the Caribbean island of St. Martin, divided between French and Dutch halves.
  • Joe. My. God. links to an article examining the use of the drug Truvada to prevent HIV infection and notes that Blondie’s Debbie Harry has come out as bisexual.
  • Language Log’s Victor Mair explains what Chinese might mean when they talk about prayer.
  • Towleroad’s Ari Ezra Waldman comments on Brandon Eich’s resignation.
  • Window on Eurasia notes one Russian commentator’s argument that the Baltic States have been lost to the Russian sphere, another noting a fall in anti-Caucasian sentiment in the media as Ukraine heats up.

[FORUM] How far will social networking, and the market, penetrate our lives?

leave a comment »

I’m continuing to meditate on Adam Fish and John Carter McKnight’s Savage Minds essay. Their argument that the penetration of social networking and online life into every area of life will allow every area of life to be charted on the market is plausible to me.

Is it plausible to you?

Written by Randy McDonald

April 5, 2014 at 11:18 pm

[LINK] “Beyond Surveillance Fridges and Socialized Power Drills: Social Media and the Financialization of Everyday Life”

with one comment

At Savage Minds, Adam Fish and John Carter McKnight have an extended essay arguing–convincingly, I think–that the elaboration of online life and social networking is extending capitalism to altogether new areas of private life.

As kids growing up in Nancy Reagan’s “just say no” 80s we endured a lot of propaganda regarding drugs. One was the myth of the “gateway drug.” We were told that drugs like marijuana with few medically provable harms were highly dangerous because they were gateways to harder more evil drugs. Gateway drugs are like linkbait, hooks that bring unwitting subjects from a one innocuous practice to one more pernicious.

Morozov claims that social media is a gateway drug for the financial sector to hook us on a new range of products and services, while increasing its control over our lives. We hear that the dark insides of our mouths, fridges, rubbish bins, and cars will be scrutinized by networked and image-recognizing surveillance cameras. Videos will be algorithmically analyzed producing “data portfolios” which will be automatically used (for a fee) by third parties to adjudicate our credit worthiness, employability, and romantic fitness. As longtime admirers of Morozov’s guts and wit we’ve been pleased to see him begin (finally) to use the name and identify the problem head-on—neoliberal capitalism galvanized by ubiquitously networked humans.

In making this argument, Morozov brings together two academic terms and says that they are co-constituting: mediatization and financialization. Mediatization claims that social practices are increasingly linked to media performance. We do it for the camera. Presidential elections, of course, are a key example of mediatization, in which every utterance, campaign stop, handshake, and tweet is delicately engineered towards manipulating the 24-hour news cycle. Mediatization assumes a new level of embeddedness in encounters with persistent, searchable, archivable, user-generated social media, a process we call social mediatization. The “social” qualifies the “mediatization” by identifying a new phase in which information is not broadcast from corporations or politicians to a passive audience, but generated and shared constantly among people, businesses, and governments.

Financialization works much like social mediatization: both identify the ways that foreign logics (financial or mediated) find their way into once-private and domestic spheres. Classic examples of financialization include online banking at home, stock investing as a hobby, and other forms of money management which were once “work” but are now billed as necessary and mature forms of personal responsibility and risk management for the middle classes.

Basically, late capitalism. The authors end their article by sharing Evgeny Morozov’s vision of an “all too likely future of trying to level up our gamified toothbrushes to lower our dental insurance premiums.”

Written by Randy McDonald

April 5, 2014 at 8:45 pm

[BLOG] Some Friday links

leave a comment »

  • D-Brief shares the news that scientists think that Saturn’s moon Enceladus has a subsurface ocean in its southern polar region.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze links to a remarkable paper claiming that red dwarf stars are exceptionally likely to have a planet in their circumstellar habitable zones.
  • The Dragon’s Tales links to an other paper on Mars suggesting that world was never very hot, even in its youth.
  • Eastern Approaches suggests that Poland is approaching the point of relative energy-independence from Russia.
  • The Financial Times The World blog reports on the failure of a US-subsidized Cuban social networking system.
  • The Frailest Thing’s Michael Sacasas links to an account of an 1895 conversation between Paul Valéry and a Chinese friend suggesting that Chinese may have had different perspectives on technology than Westerners.
  • Geocurrents’ Martin Lewis notes Ukrainian regionalism, observing that the Europe-leaning west/centre region has inside it a strongly nationalist Galicia and a regionalist Ruthene-leaning Transcarpathia.
  • Joe. My. God. points to the story of a Floridian sex offender who tried to burn down the home of a lesbian couple and their eight children just because.
  • Personal Reflection’s Jim Belshaw explores the origin of the word “bogey” in Australian English to mean swimming hole.
  • The Planetary Society Blog’s Bruce Betts reports on the progress made in the search for planets at Alpha Centauri. (So far, no evidence for Alpha Centauri Bb, but then the technology isn’t sensitive enough to confirm that world’s existence.)
  • Towleroad reports on the controversy surrounding the recent resignation of former Mozilla Brandon Eich, Andrew Sullivan aligning with left-wingers and Michael Signorile making the point that Eich’s donations to people like Pat Buchanan tipped things over.
  • Window on Eurasia comments on the successful program of the Kazakhstani government to settle ethnic Kazakhs in the once-Russian-majority north of the country so as to prevent a secession.

[BLOG] Some Tuesday links

leave a comment »

  • At the blog Buffer, Kevan Lee shows what lengths–in characters and in words–tweets and blog headlines and blog posts should be, according to science.
  • Patrick Cain notes that Canadians have no way of knowing how many banned guns there were under the former registry since its junking.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze links to a paper examining what, exactly, is needed for a planet to become Earth-like.
  • The Dragon’s Tales, meanwhile, links to a paper claiming that the Cambrian explosion of biodiversity was a product of a nearby gamma-ray burst.
  • Geocurrents explores the question of whether and how it matters to call the eastern European country “Ukraine” or “the Ukraine”.
  • Joe. My. God. links to a site gathering the first and last lines from noted gay novels.
  • At Lawyers, Guns and Money, bloggers question whether the American soldiers who perpetrated genocide in the Wounded Knee massacre of 1890 should have their Medals of Honor stripped from them, and have no truck with the idea that American airpower can save Ukraine.
  • John Moyer responded to OKCupid’s boycotting of Mozilla for its anti-gay president by quitting Mozilla, and explains why.
  • At the Planetary Society Weblog, Emily Lakdawalla examines the latest thinking on Titan’s methane lakes and oceans. Where do they come from?
  • pollotenchegg maps the distribution of Hungarians in former Hungarian territories in central Europe.
  • Strange Maps examines how maps are used to lie in George Orwell’s 1984.
  • Torontoist shares a picture of a vintage streetcar on the streets of east Toronto’s Scarborough.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy comments on the International Court of Justice’s ruling against Japan on the subject of its supposed scientific whaling program, and argues that a federal system for Ukraine might not be bad notwithstanding Russian bullying.
  • Window on Eurasia notes that Russia’s military depends heavily on the technological and industrial output of southeastern Ukraine, relying on now-suspended cooperation.

[NEWS] Some Monday links

  • Al Jazeera notes that Somali asylum-seekers in the United Kingdom are being deported to Somalia, at great potential risk to themselves, and observes the continuing and self-serving chaos in that country.
  • The Atlantic debunks the myth that GLBT people are well-off relative to heterosexuals in the United States, at least, and uses a San Francisco building’s history to take a look on the history of that city throughout the 20th century.
  • The Atlantic Cities shares a photo essay about Rochester’s subway, abandoned after more than a half-century.
  • The Australian Broadcasting Corporation shares the news that some ecologists in Australia think that triage should be applied to the continent’s threatened species.
  • BusinessWeek notes that China’s first lady Peng Liyuan may be taking Michelle Obama as a model for her position, and notes that Exxon’s partnership with Rosneft (and other Western-Russian business partnerships) are looking problematic) after the Crimean annexation.
  • CBC observes that the Turkish state has lost in its attack on social networking platform Twitter.
  • Taking on issues of Québec City, MacLean’s observes that getting back the Quebec Nordiques isn’t helped by the resurgence in nationalism, adding also that despite being a potential national capital Québec City doesn’t vote for the Parti Québécois.
  • Open Democracy makes the argument that Scottish separatism is driven by a desire to be a normal European country, in contrast to an increasingly inegalitarian England.

[LINK] “Meet the 4 Most Desired People in New York (According to OKCupid)”

Logan Hill‘s recent New York Magazine article examining the most popular OkCupid is an interesting read. How do these people–by extension, every user–be so successful? The strategies they describe are interesting.

Hill’s evenhandedness is also appreciated, as the four people are picked from specific gender/sexual orientation demographics (gay male, et cetera).

I found [Lauren Urasek] after a conversation with ­OKCupid­ co-founder Christian Rudder, who famously crunched the site’s user data on the blog ­OKTrends­ and sold a book based on it, Dataclysm, for seven figures. In New York, online dating is practically a municipal utility, connecting millions of strangers. To find out how some people manage to stand apart from the masses, and how it feels to be so desired, I asked Rudder to introduce me to the most popular OKCupid daters in the city in four categories—straight and gay women and straight and gay men.

Rudder analyzed the data from a one-week period in January and used a simple methodology: finding the users who receive the most messages from potential suitors. The four people selected wouldn’t necessarily claim to be the wealthiest, most stunning or successful singles, but, out of 400,000 annual citywide users on the site, they were among the top five in their respective categories and, perhaps less scientifically, were the four who were also willing to be interviewed for a story.

Lauren received 245 messages in that one-week period. While she was surprised to find that she is the most sought-after straight woman, she doesn’t think guys are complicated. “I’m not a stuck-up girl, but I think looks are No. 1 for everyone,” she says. As a makeup artist, Lauren spends her days at photo shoots and knows what makes a good picture. “I believe in a head-to-toe shot to show what you look like,” she says. “But you don’t need to have your ass hanging out!”

She thinks it helps that her profile reflects her idiosyncratic interest in astronomy: She has a moon and a planet tattooed on her knuckles; she quotes a physicist and links out to NASA.gov. “Even if an amazingly attractive girl said something stupid in their profile, she’ll still get messages,” she says. “So I feel like I’m intelligent and people think I look good, so I guess it’s as simple as that?”

It doesn’t hurt that Lauren, after getting out of a four-year relationship with a “pathological liar” who had a drug problem, isn’t necessarily looking for anything serious. So, in OKCupid’s searchable “I’m looking for …” section, she, like most women, selected “long-term dating,” “short-term dating,” and “new friends.” Unlike most women, she also selected “casual sex,” figuring she might as well tell the truth.

Written by Randy McDonald

March 22, 2014 at 3:59 am

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 354 other followers