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Alexander Franz
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Alexander Franz

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Poll, please put '+1' to your personal preference.

When travelling:

* Should one try to see / do all the must-sees in the area one is travelling to, and by that broaden one's mind

or

* Should one try to find out what would enrich one's own life most, no matter how mundane that may look to other people

?
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+1 to the second statment
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Alexander Franz

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Why are Facebook and Google changing our brains on the level of neurons, and changing the brains of kids even more?

Why is it more rewarding to post something when you have a fifty-fifty chance that many people will like / reshare it?

Why should you play video games, at least from time to time?

Dr Paul Howard Jones is with the Graduate School of Education, University of Bristol.

#neuroscience #riskbaseddecisionmaking
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Alexander Franz

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How the mind makes Hell of Heaven, and Heaven of Hell.
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Alexander Franz

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Both +Robert Scoble and +Vic Gundotra are touching valid points here, but I am not sure they fully cover it.

We all suffer from what psychologists call 'functional fixedness'. 'Functional fixedness' refers to the fact that people tend to see all objects, basically everything in life, in the context of previous usage.

The classic experiment by Gestalt psychologist Karl Duncker (1945): Fix a candle to a wall. Available tools: a book of matches and a box of drawing pins (thumbtacks). The solution was to nail the box to the wall with a drawing pin, and put the candle in the box. However, most people were unable to see that solution. In their minds, the box had a fixed function, to serve as a container for the drawing pins. That already assigned function of the box being a container prevented them from seeing new applications for the box, like being a base for the candle.

Functional fixedness is an enemy of all innovation. Functional fixedness makes as tweak any new product so much that it finally becomes something that is not different from what we already know. Functional fixedness makes us use new products in old ways.

Eric von Hippel (1986) identified the risk of involving normal users at early stages of innovative products. Functional fixedness of those users could undo the innovation. His solution was to only involve what he called 'Lead Users', people with specific properties with regards to the innovaton. Some newer research suggests that young children below the age of 6 are even immune to functional fixedness.

From what we see here in Google+ right now, I guess it is clear that users of Google+ are not all under the age of 6 and / or Lead Users. So while we all appreciate Google's attempt to receive our feedback, there is a risk to that. And yes, in this interview by +Liz Gannes http://allthingsd.com/20110628/google-execs-explain-why-they-launched-google-now-before-its-ready/ it becomes very clear that receiving feedback from real users was the driving force behind the field trial. The risk is that we all, due to functional fixedness, try to turn Google+ into something that already exists (MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, you name it) rather than exploring what it could be.

Scott Jenson (2004) made a point that functional fixedness (he called it 'Default Thinking') ruined early mobile internet. When Apple first introduced the iPhone, lots of reviews were just hitting on what was different compared to the then popular Nokia handsets: The first iPhone had no support for MMS, no UMTS radio, no copy & paste, no support for video calls, no running of apps in the background and so on. Apple was wise enough to not listen too much what the media was saying (or rather what functional fixedness was saying), and not turning the iPhone into a Nokia phone.

When the early posts by Google came out that they invite users to report profiles that do not represent people, they left some room for interpretation. For those who had followed the discussion around businesses on Google+ this request by Google was about removing businesses who started to spam Google+. For others this apparently sounded like removal of pseudonyms. Shortly afterwards this became a discussion of people using their complete and very offical legal name vs. people using whatever comes first to their mind when opening the account.

To me, the problem here was not that there was too little control over statements by Googlers (Google employees). The problem here was too little emphasis that this is all a field trial. Too little emphasis that Googlers who post here are not giving press statements, but talk to us as if we were part of Google. And this being a field trial, we, who are using Google+ right now, are somehow part of Google, part of the team.

Following this path of thought, it would be logical for Google to continue to participate in the discussion. Even if the only statement was 'I am listening' or 'I feel that we need to do some corrections immediately, and block some accounts, but that should not be understood as establishing new rules - I do not yet know the rules either' or 'Something is going terribly wrong right now, but what we really want to achieve is XYZ, and we need some more time to figure out how to implement that into code - please bear with us'.

Personally I totally admire how brave Google behaves as a company with regards to Google+, and how brave the Googlers individually behave during this trial. Beeing open to users rather than hiding behind PR representatives, having all these conversations or asking for comments rather than just giving interviews etc. That is so much how I personally envision how companies should communicate with their users these days. For me, these achivements count more than the few mistakes that have been made. Who doesn't make some mistakes when they try something totally new?

Permalink to this post: https://plus.google.com/108148301314648041799/posts/3hopTdgdeDk

Permalink to the post I am refering to: https://plus.google.com/111091089527727420853/posts/Fddn6rV8mBX

(Strangely enough, there is no way to 'share&comment' in a way that the introductionary comment will become part of any re-shares. That is why I re-did this post in a different way. Thanks to +Bernard ben Tremblay for making me aware of that problem)

Update There is post by +Bradley Horowitz on the matter, see here https://plus.google.com/113116318008017777871/posts/VJoZMS8zVqU
I talked with Google VP <span><span>+</span><a href="https://plus.google.com/107117483540235115863"…</span>
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Bernard “ben” Tremblay's profile photoFlorian Poprat's profile photoCharles Warren's profile photo
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As for "this is a field trial" there's a couple of things that don't mesh with this, not to my way of thinking.
If you don't know what you're doing, you cannot read meaning into consequences. If Google's efforts were incoherent then reaction / response / feed-back would be less than beneficial.

They say in their Public Policy Blog to use names that "friends and family call you in daily life". Well fine ... nobody calls me Bernard except government officials and sales people. Oh, and bankers, but I'd have it no other way.
So I use "Bernard (ben) Tremblay" as a convention. Here (long before G+), on LinkedIn, etc etc etc.
After suspension I'm told to remove the middle name.
I removed the parens, and account is re-established. That's part one.

Part two: after acct restored, I'm told (in email from Profile Support Team) that "the punctuation was the problem". Well if that's so, why didn't they just say so in the first place? This isn't the end of part two.
Here's the end of part two: Google employee Brian "Fitz" Fitzpatrick has had no problem with his account.
So what's going on, are nicks allowed, or not? is punctuation allowed, or not? are quotes allowed? then why wasn't that suggested?

Incoherent. That's a lousy way to run a ship.

I refer you to "setting up to fail" as a valid R&D process, see Arno Penzias' writings on practice.

cheers
--ben
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Alexander Franz

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How YouTube changes education (ted talks)
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I prefer the youtube version of my cousin as well.
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Alexander Franz

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if you ever wanted to know how the '+1' tab could be used to reflect your interests ;)

Permalink to original post: https://plus.google.com/109214544141308911020/posts/d69jevEn9i4
David Saff originally shared:
 
Quick. Look at your +1 tab on your profile page*. Now look at mine (http://goo.gl/tMphn). Now look at your tab, now back to mine. Sadly, your +1 tab is not mine. But it could look like mine, if you use Google Book Search and Google+1.

Where are you? You're on http://books.google.com, searching for your favorite book. What's that under your hand? It's a cover image with a +1 button for that book you love. Click it. Your favorite book is now diamonds!**

Anything's possible when you use Google Book Search.

* Click on your picture, there in the left column, and then on the tab that says "+1's".
** Where "diamonds" means "a link on your +1 tab".

[Props to +Rich Conlan and team for the implementation. I'm just the messenger...]
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Alexander Franz

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How did less stress on school tests form an elite?

How do you teach kids to enjoy discovery?

Why are uninterrupted blocks of work time important?
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Guess the key points here is:

What is the objective of education?

Perhaps that changed during the past 50 years, and we need to revisit the existing set of tools to decide which one is the best for today's and tomorr's challenges.


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Alexander Franz

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Idrialis Castillo originally shared:
 
WORLD'S FIRST PRINTED AIRCRAFT

Definitely, nanotech and 3D printing are changing the world.... are you aware of this?

World’s first ‘printed’ aircraft
@ Kurzweil News
(expand to see video link at the end)

"Engineers at the University of Southampton have designed and flown the world’s first “printed” aircraft, which could revolutionize the economics of aircraft design, the engineers say.

The SULSA (Southampton University Laser Sintered Aircraft) plane is an unmanned air vehicle (UAV), with its entire structure printed. This includes wings, integral control surfaces, and access hatches. It was printed on an EOS EOSINT P730 nylon laser sintering machine, which fabricates plastic or metal objects, building up the item layer-by-layer.

It took only 48 hours to print. No fasteners were used and all equipment was attached using “snap fit” techniques so the entire airframe could be put together without tools in about 30 seconds, according to Prof. Andy Keane. The aircraft took around 8 person weeks. It passed tests for speed, maneuverability, and climb rates.

“The great attraction is the fully automated manufacture with guaranteed quality and very simply assembly — weight is comparable to other systems since reduced strength of nylon compare to CFRP is compensated for by structural design sophistication,” Keane told KurzweilAI.

The electric-powered aircraft, with a 2-meter wingspan, has a top speed of nearly 100 miles per hour, but when in cruise mode is almost silent. The aircraft is also equipped with a miniature autopilot.

Laser sintering allows the designer to create shapes and structures that would normally involve costly traditional manufacturing techniques. This technology allows a highly-tailored aircraft to be developed from concept to first flight in days, the engineers said.
So when can we fly in one? “This process is currently size limited to UAVs, as SLS machines cannot build parts more than a meter across. As the machines get bigger so will the aircraft,” said Keane."

UPDATE:
Here is a video link thanks to +Martin Lake
World First: 3D Printing - First Flight of Fully Printed Aeroplane (UAV/drone by Laser Sintering)
Engineers at the University of Southampton have designed and flown the world's first printed aircraft, which could revolutionize the economics of aircraft
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Alexander Franz

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:)
Bradley Horowitz originally shared:
 
Last night, +Robert Scoble shared some information based on his conversation with +Vic Gundotra. That post (https://plus.google.com/111091089527727420853/posts/Fddn6rV8mBX) went a long way toward clearing the air, and we want to thank many of you for your feedback and support. I wanted to also more directly address some of what we’re learning and how we’re reacting to the feedback. Note that this isn’t a comprehensive “last word” on the topic that touches on every issue. On the contrary, it’s just some transparency and insight into a dialog that I expect will continue for a long time.

(It’s worth noting that in general we’ve only been discussing upcoming changes to Google+ as they are being released. In this case, we felt it would be helpful to signal to concerned parties “what’s coming.” This immediately begs the question of “When?!” And the answer is as soon as possible. We’ve already improved our process, and the changes below should arrive in a matter of weeks.)

We’ve noticed that many violations of the Google+ common name policy were in fact well-intentioned and inadvertent and for these users our process can be frustrating and disappointing. So we’re currently making a number of improvements to this process - specifically regarding how we notify these users that they’re not in compliance with Google+ policies and how we communicate the remedies available to them.

These include:

- Giving these users a warning and a chance to correct their name in advance of any suspension. (Of course whenever we review a profile, if we determine that the account is violating other policies like spam or abuse we’ll suspend the account immediately.)
- At time of this notice, a clear indication of how the user can edit their name to conform to our community standards (http://www.google.com/support/+/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=1228271)
- Better expectation setting as to next steps and timeframes for users that are engaged in this process.

Second, we’re looking at ways to improve the signup process to reduce the likelihood that users get themselves into a state that will later result in review.

Third, We’ve noticed that some people are using their profile name to show-off nicknames, maiden names and personal descriptions. While the profile name doesn’t accommodate this, we want to support your friends finding you by these alternate names and give you a prominent way of displaying this info in Google+. Here are two features in particular that facilitate this kind of self-expression:

- If you add nicknames, maiden names, etc. to the "Other names" portion of your G+ profile, those with permission to view those fields can search for you using that term. For example: some of my colleagues call me "elatable," a pseudonym I’ve used on many services, so I've added it to my list of other names.

- The "Employment," “Occupation” and “Education” fields in your profile can appear in your hovercard all across Google+ -- to those with permission to view them. This also helps other users find and identify you. In my case "Google+" appears in my hovercard (see screenshot), but I'm already seeing lots of creative uses of this real estate.

These and many more changes are coming. We’re flattered and appreciative of your support and interest. I assure you, teams of passionate individuals are pouring their talents and care into making this a great experience for you. Thank you again.

Finally, I wanted to debunk a few myths I’ve seen circulating.

MYTH: Google doesn’t care about ____. (businesses, teenagers, organizations, pseudonymous usage, disadvantaged populations, etc.)

We aspire to having great solutions for these (and many more) use cases. While this may appear as easy as the stroke of a policy pen (“Just let the businesses in!”), we think we can do better. We’re designing features for different use cases that we think will make a better product experience both for them and for everyone else. Please don’t misconstrue the product as it exists today (< 4 weeks since entering Field Trial) as the “end state.” We’re flattered that there’s so much passion and interest... and will continue to improve the product and innovate in ways that will hopefully surprise and delight.

MYTH: Not abiding by the Google+ common name policy can lead to wholesale suspension of one’s entire Google account.

When an account is suspended for violating the Google+ common name standards, access to Gmail or other products that don’t require a Google+ profile are not removed. Please help get the word out: if your Google+ Profile is suspended for not using a common name, you won't be able to use Google services that require a Google+ Profile, but you'll still be able to use Gmail, Docs, Calendar, Blogger, and so on. (Of course there are other Google-wide policies (e.g. egregious spamming, illegal activity, etc) that do apply to all Google products, and violations of these policies could in fact lead to a Google-wide suspension.)

We'll keep working to get better, and we appreciate the feedback-- and the passion --that Google+ has generated.
I talked with Google VP +<a href="https://plus.google.com/107117483540235115863"…
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Alexander Franz

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Both +Robert Scoble and +Vic Gundotra are touching valid points here, but I am not sure they fully cover it.

We all suffer from what psychologists call 'functional fixedness'. 'Functional fixedness' refers to the fact that people tend to see all objects, basically everything in life, in the context of previous usage.

The classic experiment by Gestalt psychologist Karl Duncker (1945): Fix a candle to a wall. Available tools: a book of matches and a box of drawing pins (thumbtacks). The solution was to nail the box to the wall with a drawing pin, and put the candle in the box. However, most people were unable to see that solution. In their minds, the box had a fixed function, to serve as a container for the drawing pins. That already assigned function of the box being a container prevented them from seeing new applications for the box, like being a base for the candle.

Functional fixedness is an enemy of all innovation. Functional fixedness makes as tweak any new product so much that it finally becomes something that is not different from what we already know. Functional fixedness makes us use new products in old ways.

Eric von Hippel (1986) identified the risk of involving normal users at early stages of innovative products. Functional fixedness of those users could undo the innovation. His solution was to only involve what he called 'Lead Users', people with specific properties with regards to the innovaton. Some newer research suggests that young children below the age of 6 are even immune to functional fixedness.

From what we see here in Google+ right now, I guess it is clear that users of Google+ are not all under the age of 6 and / or Lead Users. So while we all appreciate Google's attempt to receive our feedback, there is a risk to that. And yes, in this interview by +Liz Gannes http://allthingsd.com/20110628/google-execs-explain-why-they-launched-google-now-before-its-ready/ it becomes very clear that receiving feedback from real users was the driving force behind the field trial. The risk is that we all, due to functional fixedness, try to turn Google+ into something that already exists (MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, you name it) rather than exploring what it could be.

Scott Jenson (2004) made a point that functional fixedness (he called it 'Default Thinking') ruined early mobile internet. When Apple first introduced the iPhone, lots of reviews were just hitting on what was different compared to the then popular Nokia handsets: The first iPhone had no support for MMS, no UMTS radio, no copy & paste, no support for video calls, no running of apps in the background and so on. Apple was wise enough to not listen too much what the media was saying (or rather what functional fixedness was saying), and not turning the iPhone into a Nokia phone.

When the early posts by Google came out that they invite users to report profiles that do not represent people, they left some room for interpretation. For those who had followed the discussion around businesses on Google+ this request by Google was about removing businesses who started to spam Google+. For others this apparently sounded like removal of pseudonyms. Shortly afterwards this became a discussion of people using their complete and very offical legal name vs. people using whatever comes first to their mind when opening the account.

To me, the problem here was not that there was too little control over statements by Googlers (Google employees). The problem here was too little emphasis that this is all a field trial. Too little emphasis that Googlers who post here are not giving press statements, but talk to us as if we were part of Google. And this being a field trial, we, who are using Google+ right now, are somehow part of Google, part of the team.

Following this path of thought, it would be logical for Google to continue to participate in the discussion. Even if the only statement was 'I am listening' or 'I feel that we need to do some corrections immediately, and block some accounts, but that should not be understood as establishing new rules - I do not yet know the rules either' or 'Something is going terribly wrong right now, but what we really want to achieve is XYZ, and we need some more time to figure out how to implement that into code - please bear with us'.

Personally I totally admire how brave Google behaves as a company with regards to Google+, and how brave the Googlers individually behave during this trial. Beeing open to users rather than hiding behind PR representatives, having all these conversations or asking for comments rather than just giving interviews etc. That is so much how I personally envision how companies should communicate with their users these days. For me, these achivements count more than the few mistakes that have been made. Who doesn't make some mistakes when they try something totally new?

Permalink to this post: https://plus.google.com/108148301314648041799/posts/MadVba9P1tH

Permalink to original post below: https://plus.google.com/111091089527727420853/posts/Fddn6rV8mBX
Robert Scoble originally shared:
 
I talked with Google VP +Vic Gundotra tonight (disclaimer, he used to be my boss at Microsoft). He is reading everything we have written about names, and such. Both pro and con.

He says he is making some tough choices and that he will be judged over time how those choices turn out.

He says that he is trying to make sure a positive tone gets set here. Like when a restaurant doesn't allow people who aren't wearing shirts to enter.

He says it isn't about real names. He says he isn't using his legal name here. He says, instead, it is about having common names and removing people who spell their names in weird ways, like using upside-down characters, or who are using obviously fake names, like "god" or worse.

He says they have made some mistakes while doing the first pass at this and they are learning. He also says the team will change how they communicate with people. IE, let them know what they are doing wrong, etc.

I pushed him to make more of the changes, like give us a good appeals process, etc.

He also says they are working on ways to handle pseudonyms, but that will be a while before the team can turn on those features (everyone is working hard on a raft of different things and can't just react overnight to community needs).

After running through his reasoning, mostly to have a nicer, more personal, community, I feel even stronger that Google is on the right track here even though I feel they weren't fair or smart in how they spun up these new rules, but Vic convinced me to hang in there and watch their decisions over the next few weeks.

I am on board and it will be interesting to watch Vic and his team. Me? I am having a ton of fun here and that is most of what counts.
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we are indeed :)
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Patrick Chanezon originally shared:
 
Fun video about Google+, what it is and why you need it.
What is Google+ (Google Plus) and do I need it?
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Alexander Franz

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if you wonder what businesses are doing on Google+, listen to Stephen Clark, Seth Myers and Scott Monty. Scott Monty is with Ford Motor Company, the first pilot business on Google+ officially suppored by Goggle.

Permalink to the original post: https://plus.google.com/u/0/107676142364460994676/posts/e5GJ1yYAiN4
Seth Myers originally shared:
 
What's this whole Google+ thing all about and where is it going? Sat down tonight to chew over those questions with +Stephen Clark and +Scott Monty of +Ford Motor Company...
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I wanna tune into this video when I pull up my laptop. 
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