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Lauri Watts

Lauri's posts

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Oh. I got auto-awesomed. 
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Samantha Whitsitt was tagged in Lauri Watts's album.

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Hi, and thanks for having me aboard. I'm a returning college student doing a double BS/BSocSci in Psychology and Pedagogy - which I must explain is not education or teaching, it's a discipline of it's own in the nordic countries, but would be somewhere between Philosophy of Education and Educational Psychology. Here in Sweden, it was the same department as Psychology until the 1960's, so lots of psych content and cross pollination even though it's now another discipline. 

I am not sure I will have much to say, I'm here to learn and hope that a moderated community will provide a better quality of content than shared circles managed. I might post the odd pointer to an interesting Swedish study now and then though, if one crosses my path.

Here's a random google docs feature I just figured out, and it's really quite useful.

On the far right, at the top, "Share" -> "Publish as a web page", in fact does quite a lot more than the obvious.

You can publish a doc in read only format (among others, html, rss or even pdf) independently of it's visibility within gdocs. The resulting output is not visibly identifiable or connected to your profile or username, updates when the source is changed if you choose or is a static snapshot if you choose. Usefully, you can also stop publishing it if you need to, or are done with it.

The result is a URL that you can freely hand around, without it necessarily being tied to you. The use case I had: I helped someone format up some data that I really have nothing to do with, but I have more spreadsheet mojo than anyone who did. Now they can give the URL to the pdf whoever they like, and I won't be left holding the bag so to speak. But I can think of a plenty of uses for being able to quickly toss up a spreadsheet, document or graphic in an anonymous ad hoc fashion.

There are many reasons people use pseudonyms on the web, and even when we don't, we don't always want or need to be connected to every single piece of data we put out there.

Bookmarks, google or delicious

There's been a little chatter lately about the delicious relaunch, which made me idly drop by my rarely used google bookmarks.

Anyone else noticed that there is now a delicious importer on google bookmarks? It works flawlessly too, and very fast. I may actually start to use the g bookmarks now, especially with chrome sync and the extension that syncs the browser bookmarks to the google ones.

I'm suspecting there's changes in the works there too. It already has list sharing capability, having that hooked up to G+ circles is a natural idea. And the bookmarks service has always been a bit "out in the cold" relative to other google services.

My first G+ music find is +Tyler Ward. Quite a few of you have probably seen the video Tyler himself made of homeless Denver musician Dred Scott covering Princes Purple Rain. Both it, and the story behind it are touching and Dred is certainly a talented man, but I took a little look further at Tylers own Youtube channel, and was pleasantly surprised.

My own music taste can best be described as eclectic (I'm a big industrial and NDH fan, for a start, been listening to KMFDM for 20+ years, but I also know most of the words to everything Marty Robbins or Jim Reeves ever sang). Eclectic is pretty much the best word I can find to cover Tyler too. Not all the music is to my taste personally, but even the songs I don't absolutely love, he's very talented, I'm still listening.

But the thing that appealed to me was how much straight up fun he seems to be having in all the videos. Some of my favourites are two One Republic covers, which is hilarious if you only knew how much I dislike One Republic themselves. But there's everything here from hilarious dance instructionals to an even more hilarious video for "Latin Percussion"

So, a shout out to a really talented and apparently very sweet guy, Tyler Ward.

Josie (11-year-old) Ft. Tyler Ward - Stop and Stare (One Republic Acoustic Cover) (Tyler and an utterly amazing 11 year old named Josie)

Purple Rain (acoustic cover) - Dred Scott (homeless Denver man) - Tyler Ward Featured Artist (Dred Scott)

Tyler Ward - Good Life (Feat. Heather Janssen) - OneRepublic Cover - Music Video (Tyler Ward and Heather Janssen Stick with it when it starts to get weird near the end :)

Is anyone else bothered by this "girls club" rubbish? It always comes up, and it always rubs me entirely the wrong way.

I am not a "girl", and I suspect I'm not a lady either much of the time. I am definitely not a delicate little flower who needs to be protected from the "bad men" who oh my god, might think dirty thoughts because I have breasts. I am perfectly capable of handling someone who decides to "hang out" during a hangout. I have a block circle and am quite capable of wielding it with abandon. I've been taking on online bullies and trolls since usenet, I can take care of myself.

I certainly don't need strangers telling me unbidden "I am loved" and sharing beatles videos because I am a woman. If that's your thing, great, but why should I have to opt out of it? What is "feminist" about any of this? What is empowering about it?

None of this has any use to me in order to be a contributing member of a technical community if indeed that's what I would like to be; maybe I'm just here to hang out and share Parry Gripp videos with my kids. The people putting me in the "girls" box didn't bother to ask.

It's one thing to stand up and be comfortable in my own skin as a woman with a decidedly technical background and interests, but if you're going to label me, I can think of a lot of better words than "girl".

And if you want to be taken seriously (and honestly, not all of us do, not all the time) in any community, man or woman, the answer is always the same: interesting content. Original, or well curated, but consistently interesting to your audience. That's all.

Some good old fashioned social engineering scamming to watch out for

So I just got a curious phone call from a gentleman with an indian accent, who called me by name, and suggested my computer was reporting virus and malware errors to his company. For only $199 a year they would provide tech support and help me fix it.

This service, is, naturally, a scam, but the guy was very slick. Apparently they've been operating for a while now, under the names ring2geeks and PC Doctor, particularly in Australia. And once again, in case it's not clear, they are scammers.

They'll have you open your start menu and run 'eventvwr' (ie, look at the event viewer log), which as anyone pc savvy knows, is usually full to the brim of ominous and cryptic looking error messages with scary looking red error icons by each. I can see people who are not tech-aware being scared into believing their spiel.

However, he made a few mistakes: First he called me in English (I live in Sweden), and clearly didn't know where I lived, while claiming to be a local company. Secondly Sweden has a cold calling opt-out register which I am on and no swedish company would dare break, because the consumer protection laws are very tough here (so I know that any cold caller is always calling me from outside the country).

The big one though, it's pretty damn hard to look at the windows event viewer when you aren't running windows.

(Yes, I am well aware most of you out there reading this are too smart to be taken in by anything of the kind, but we all have that one family member or friend who is too scared of tech to exercise some critical thinking. And some of them will be showing up on Google+ in the upcoming weeks. That and another search result for ring2geeks + scammers doesn't ever hurt.)
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