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Gateway Computers

Last weekend, my computer caught a virus. Thanks to some Gateway computer features and the Cloud, it survived quite handily, back up and running with just about everything in place in less than 24 hours. This is how it all went down so you can learn from my experiences and perhaps protect your computer and avoid a disaster. Let’s start at the beginning…

My computer caught a virus

My sick computer

The computer that got ill, poor baby.

It was a mean one. It pretended to be a Windows anti-virus that dubbed all programs on my computer as “infected” and “unsafe,” preventing me from running any of them. This includes Firefox and my own anti-virus. Once my computer was held hostage, it asked me to scan my computer using this program, whereby from past experience I knew it would say that my computer was hideously compromised and the only way to fix it would be to hand over my credit card information to this fake Windows anti-virus.

I had encountered this virus before, or at least ones like it. Once on a friends computer and a second time on another computer of mine (used only for video watching). In both cases the OS had to be wiped. Unfortunately, this time, the computer was my work computer and main personal computer.

Knowing what I was up against, I immediately transferred my files over to my little netbook. Luckily I don’t have much saved on my computer. Just work documents. No photos, no videos, no music.

If I don’t save my photos, videos, and music on my computer, how do I survive? Obviously I have tons of photos – I am on Facebook. I listen to music – I am a young adult and I do fit some stereotypes. I love watching videos – again, I’m a young adult.

So why aren’t they on my computer?

Look to the clouds.

I host my photos on Facebook. It is the largest photo-sharing website, after all. Actually, most of my photos are shared in my Friends’ profiles. I don’t take many myself.

My music? Saved on Spotify. I love Spotify. I am not a paying member, mostly because I haven’t gotten around to it. But I will. Just wait.

Videos? Do I own DVDs? Not really. I watch movies and TV series on Netflix and Hulu. What DVDs I own are a historic artifact from when you couldn’t get anime without ordering online. Now I just go to Netflix and their ample Japanese animation library.

So when my computer got ill, I at least wasn’t loosing anything. It took me about an hour to transfer all files I couldn’t afford to lose to my netbook using a simple 250MB thumb drive that my father got for free years ago at a conference.

The USB stick. I couldn't have done this without it!

Okay, Gateway gets some credit

And the little netbook that make it possible.

And the little netbook that make it possible.

I don’t have a Windows 7 OS CD. Luckily, however, Gateway has a simple Factory Defaults setting that resets the entire computer to out-of-the-box newness. I just needed to start that and bam! I had a brand new old computer. It’s only a year old, but I didn’t want to buy a new one yet. This was perfect, and, really, it’s what saved my computer.

Once the computer had its amnesia, it forgot all about that virus. No more virus, no more danger. Unfortunately, it also forgot all the programs I had loaded on it over time. But no worries. I hadn’t paid for any of them.

I use Tweetdeck for Twitter, and that’s free. Skype for phone calls with family, and that’s free. I’ve already mentioned Spotify for music, and yes, that’s free, too. I use Chrome and Firefox to surf the net, free and free. I just spent a morning working off my netbook while I downloaded my main computer redownloaded all my favorite programs. Rather simple, actually.

But I don’t ever want this to happen again, to you either

In all, I discovered that my computer had a virus at about 10:30 pm last Sunday and had my computer back up and running with all integral programs by 11:am the next day. I haven’t moved all my files back, but that’s just me being lazy. I have rediscovered my netbook and just like using it more so the urgency to move the files has worn off.

That said, I don’t want this to happen again, so I’m going to do as my father has suggested: start using Virtual Box to surf the net. It’s from Oracle and it is free (like everything else I use, apparently). Basically, it runs a partitioned second OS on your computer that you can use to surf the net. If you download cookies and viruses during your surfing, you can just delete that partition without affecting the rest of your machine. It’s like having a disposable computer within your computer. Neat, huh?


picture of the application on my profile

I just finished Reality is Broken by Jane McGonigal. Great book. I really enjoyed it (review coming soon), but this left me with a problem: what to read next?

I use reading as a method to extend my education and really keep my brain active and puzzling the issues I’m interested in, such as digital marketing, social media, innovation, game design and gamification, and even story structure. But, I often find myself at a loss when it comes to finding a new book to read. I read more than most people I know (a novel and a business/non-fiction book going at the same time, all the time), so asking friends for recommendations doesn’t always work.

I used to go to the bookstore with my smartphone, look at pretty covers and what’s on special and then look up Amazon reviews. Then I would go home and buy it for my Nook. Yes, this works, to a degree, but it’s not the same as seeing what is on everyone else’s shelves, and thus what I should probably read, too, in order to keep up. This weekend I used Reading List by Amazon and was able to do just that.

application discriptionThis is one of the older applications on LinkedIn, so there are probably those of you who are already very familiar with it. Even I’ve been using this application for a while now. But I wasn’t using it to its full capacity. I thought it was a handy way to demonstrate my interests to anyone who bothered to scroll down that far. It could show that I’m truly into my field and the other areas I’m interested in. I honestly just didn’t bother to actually go into more depth with it.

Yet this weekend, as I sat down at my desk trying to figure out what book to purchase next for my Nook, I decided to give the application a go for its intended purpose: networking around books. Thanks to this handy little app, I picked up Free by Chris Anderson. Yes, it’s not new, and I’ve known that it exists for a while. But when I was thinking about what book to read next, this book hadn’t occurred to me at all. That is, until I saw it on a Reading List shelf.

The way the application works is that you add in the titles of all the books you want to read, have read, or are reading. All you need is the title or author since it works just like an Amazon site search to find the books you want. As you work your way through your “want to read” list, you can leave comments and reviews, ticking them off as you move them into the “am reading” and “have read” lists. You can even recommend books. Simple, right?

The useful part comes when you watch the lists of other people. One way to do this is to find people who are in your industry with the Industry Updates list. You can also see who is following your list and then follow them back. Whenever you view another person’s reading list you can also see whose lists they are following and who else is following them. So once you find a person who has similar tastes to you, it’s a simple matter of following them and the other people who have similar tastes. In this way it is like Twitter for books.

There are some drawbacks. As I was exploring I realized that some people’s lists were very out of date or really sparse. Still, like following an inactive Twitter account, you can unfollow later. And honestly, what’s the problem with following an inactive account? I don’t think it will hurt you much.

As I said, I’ve been using Amazon’s Reading List feature for just about a year now but this is the first time I decided to fully explore the application. I think that  LinkedIn applications are not as appreciated as they should be. They can be really useful, and even fun. Now that I am following the Reading Lists of several interesting people, I can’t wait to see what books they read and recommend. If you have the application, find my list and follow me. I’ll follow you back.


number of my connectionsAfter my talk on how to use social media profiles professionally for Huntswood’s People Learning and Development Associate Evening, I was asked plenty of questions. This was great, and I enjoyed answering them. They were usually practical, and most of them I was able to answer on the spot. But there was one that I couldn’t: How do disconnect from a LinkedIn Connection.

The first thing that flashed through my mind was, “Why would you want to? Does it hurt to have a connection?” But I quickly realized that, yes, actually, it sometimes can. The particular gentleman asking the question no longer wanted to be associated with someone. I, personally, was connected to someone who I have long considered more spammer than useful Connection, but just hadn’t bothered to disconnect from. There are plenty of reasons to disconnect from someone on LinkedIn. It’s a social network, and like all social networks, it’s based on relationships. And sometimes relationships just don’t work out.

While I still believe that it is not good to burn bridges, I can still believe that sometimes you just have to separate from someone. Like a spammer or someone who has “poisoned the well.” So, if you are connected to someone like that, here’s how you can disconnect on LinkedIn.

Step 1: Go to your Connections page

LinkedIn Disconnect first screen shotLook in the upper right-hand corner, tucked away from all the normal things you look at. Click there.

Step 2: Choose the offending Connections

LinkedIn Disconnect Second screen shotUsing the check boxes, select all individuals you no longer wish to connect with and then click the blue “Remove Connections” button.

I think it is important to note that unlike when you first become Connections and you receive a wonderful e-mail congratulating you on your new link, the person you’re disconnecting from will not receive notice that you’ve disconnected from them. This is common to most, if not all, social networks. For example, Twitter sends you an e-mail when your followership goes up, but not when it goes down. So your risk of being found out and cornered for an explanation is lowered. It could still happen, however, if the person you disconnected from notices that he or she can’t see your updates anymore, but at least the risk is lowered.

Also note that if you should wish to Connect to this person again, it will be easier. I believe you wont have to be accepted again. The Connection will just reappear.

Step 3: Make sure it went through

LinkedIn Disconnect final screen shotI think it is important to make sure that it worked. So look out for this screen. If you don’t see it, it is possible that LinkedIn is buggy.

So there you have it. Disconnecting is really easy. Again, I recommend using this with due thought, but if the relationship isn’t working, get out of it. That’s what my mother told me about boys, and that’s what I tell all my gal pals. I don’t see why this isn’t true for all relationships.


me and Paul Wycherley

Me and Olympian Paul Wycherley, another speaker

This past week, I spoke at the Huntswood People Learning and Development event about how to use social media professionally. My audience was made up of contractors in the learning and development field, trainers who work with financial services providers. For the most part, though they may have been on LinkedIn, they were not using social media professionally to aid them in their work. That’s where I came in. My job was to introduce them to the benefits of social media. In less than 20 minutes. I obviously couldn’t discuss everything, so I limited my discussion to profiles. And even then I still went over.

The thing is, profiles are not easy, particularly for those who are not avid social media users. After all, even those who do frequently use social media often get limited use out of their social media profiles. There is a lot more to a LinkedIn profile than merely saying your name and work history. Even Twitter can have some potential, even if you do not use the service regularly. As for Facebook, well, I suggested creating a Facebook Page. It’s just too tempting to post a picture from Friday night on Facebook, both for you and your friends. And those privacy settings are confusing. A Facebook Page just makes more sense here.

As far as first speaking gigs go, I think I did pretty well. I was the first guest speaker, and after me was the canapés, also known as dinner, drinks, and mingling. I was flooded with questions and personal stories. Everyone seemed ready to get started and redo their own online profiles, or put them up in the first place. That’s all a speaker can really ask for, isn’t it?

Here is the full presentation. A video should be on its way shortly from Huntswood, so expect that as well.


my twitter bio

My Twitter Bio

If you follow me on Twitter (I’m @KateDavids by the way), you know I love the thing. I’m on at least five times a day, often more, and I use numerous tools to facilitate my participation. I source news, find out about trends, and have even landed a job through the service. I share news, both industry and personal. Most importantly, I have made friends through Twitter.

But most people are still on the outside looking in. Let’s face it, Twitter is not easy to start. You begin with a blank slate. This is great- you can do whatever you want, be whoever you want. But it is also scary- you don’t know what on Earth to do.

I recently started a new Twitter feed, @Masked_Geek. I want to join the wider community of science fiction and fantasy fans. Here are the guidelines I am using to build my new account. If you follow them, you can build yours, too.

1.       No One Cares What You Had for Breakfast

egss and toast X

Original photo by Brandi Jordan on Flickr (I added the X)

There is a misconception that people on Twitter keep saying what they are eating. Yes, sometimes this happens, but for the most part people are sharing articles, networking, and discussing topics from politics to the latest sports match. They are generally not discussing the finer points of eggs and toast.

So Tweet about the things you enjoy. With the @Masked_Geek account, I share links to cool things that my target audience would like. I talk about events I go to, or other relevant topics.

2.       Everyone Starts Off Talking to Themselves

man alone

by JB London on Flickr

When you start on Twitter your follower count is a big fat zero. If you do have a few followers, I’m willing to bet they are spammers hoping that you will follow them back so they can inundate you with useless promotions (#Adidas for #Cheap! Only $4.99! bit.ly/Sucker).

This is normal. Don’t be worried. And don’t feel weird. The only way to get real followers is to have an active feed. If you are following 400 people and have a grand total of 4 Tweets, no one will follow you. With only 4 Tweets, they don’t know you are worth following. The only way to show that is to talk to yourself.

So, even though no one was listening to me, I shared my links. I may have been talking to the air at first, but now I have 42 people listening to what I am saying. And you know what? That count is growing each time I look at it.

3.       Find Cool People by Listening to Cool People

a group of school kids, take a picture at the camera

by jurvetson on Flickr

Another of the big problems people have with Twitter is finding who to follow. Yes, you can use Twitter search, but often enough this will get you celebrities and not normal people you can actually talk to.

With @Masked_Geek, I am interested in following other sci-fi and fantasy fans and engaging in that online community, but “geek” refers to many things, like tech “geek” or science “geek.” Finding the specific kind of “geek” I’m looking for is difficult. People don’t just announce, “I love sci-fi and fantasy” in their bios. The type of person I’m interested in is more likely to say “I love butterflies that dance with death rays.” Not very searchable.

To get myself started, I followed science fiction and fantasy bloggers on Twitter. Once I was following them, I was able to see who they interacted with and to start following those new people. If I could find one person who engages in sci-fi and fantasy banter, chances are, he was already talking to other fantasy geeks. You may have to go to a person’s Twitter profile page to get a clear look at who they engage with, but it is worth it. Keep an eye out on Fridays for #FF or #FavoriteFollow. This hashtag is how people share with their Followers (which would be you) whom they enjoy following. Follow these new accounts to increase your network even more.

4.       They Tweet, Not Bite

vampire duckie

by ToobyDoo on Flickr

Finally, once you’ve got a bunch of people to follow, talk to them. Many people won’t follow you just because you are following them. This is a good thing. Following everyone who follows you will clutter your News Feed with irrelevant updates.

In order to get people to follow me, I talk to them. This lets them know I exist and am not a weird stalker. I once heard Twitter compared to a cocktail party, and just like at a cocktail party, you can walk up and chat with people you do not know. It’s okay. It’s allowed. This is how you make friends.

This List Is For Individuals

These tips are for individuals, not businesses. If you are a business, you have a whole other list of tips to get started. For example, unlike an individual, you’ll probably want to follow back everyone who follows you. But, if you are an individual, then this is the place to start. Follow these simple rules, and you’ll learn how to use Twitter by using it. If you don’t like it, that’s fine. It’s not for everyone. But at least you’ll be able to say that you understand the tool.


So Facebook did it again. They tweaked with the system and made people grumble. This time they changed how photos are displayed. As you can see, my picture of Fluff is now displayed in a window that looks a little like a slide-show program you mike have downloaded to your computer. Personally, I like the change. It looks sleek, the slide-show function is more prominent than before, and it doesn’t require pushing the back button when I want to get back to my news feed. I don’t even have to hit the “x” to close it. Apparently this was a frequently requested feature, but the reaction I’ve seen has been mixed.

Photograph displayed in Facebook

Really, though, is this anything to even grumble about? To be sure, I haven’t seen an uproar, but still. Why do we even care? One suggestion was that since we all use Facebook so frequently, when they change something it is like someone has rearranged our kitchen cupboards. I can see it. But honestly, this isn’t our kitchen. It’s not even our property. It’s Facebook’s. Yes, they seem to have a habit of changing things just to mess around (remember them changing the font size of our News Feeds? Yeah.) But that should make it all the more okay with us. We should be used to it. Yet we still have this, “What did you do?!” reaction.

We all feel like we own a bit of Facebook since we use it so often. But we don’t. Use does not convey ownership, particularly if the use is free.

 

 


 

 

 

 


by Horia Varlan

By now, I think we’ve all heard of Quora. Most of us, after hearing about it, asked, “What the heck is it?” The response: “The new Twitter,” or “It’s like Linked In Answers.”  I think those responses lead to false ideas of what Quora is, so after playing with the site for a week or so, here are 6 ways I have seen that Quora is actually quite unlike either Twitter or Linked In.

  1. Follow Answers Not Updates Quora  may be experiencing a whirl-wind popularity growth, but it doesn’t really resemble Twitter at all. The phrase, “The new Twitter” creates a link that’s not really there. On Quora, you only see what your contacts do in regards to the questions. Granted, you can “Post a Message to Your Followers,” but it is not a highlighted function by any means. Granted, the people who originally called it “The new Twitter” probably meant only the popularity growth, but misunderstandings happen.
  2. No Painful Lonely Stage Another way Quora is not Twitter is that it lacks that awkward “now what phase” all new Tweeters go through right after they sign up. They don’t know who to follow or what to Tweet. Quora, on the other hand, immediately asks if you want to follow the people you are following on Twitter. You can build off of all that work you’ve done on the older platform and avoid that painful lonely stage. If you’re not on Twitter, or just adventurous, you can follow categories you are interested in. In this way, Quora is actually more like one of my other favorite networks, Brazen Careerist. You see all questions tagged in that category. Example categories include “Advertising,” “Anime,” and “Neil Patrick Harris.”
  3. by betsyweber

    Relaxed Culture This brings me to how Quora is definitely not Linked In Answers. There’s not really anything professional in the “Anime” or “Neil Patrick Harris” categories. I suppose if you were a TV producer you would have some professional input, but in practice, that’s mostly a fan space. This extends even to the more “professional” categories. The Quora culture is just more relaxed and laid-back. With LI Answers, everyone is trying to show off and vie for the coveted Best Answer recognition. This makes Quora fun and not a task you do for your personal branding. Or whatever reason you have for using Linked In Answers.

  4. Conversations as well as Answers Another difference with Linked In Answers is that on Quora the questions can turn into conversations. In Linked In Answers, you can’t reply to your own question. As far as I can tell, you can in Quora. You can also reply multiple times to the same question, making a conversation possible. It’s a big plus for Quora and I hope they don’t get rid of it.
  5. Lots of Responses Another difference with Linked In Answers is that questions gather answers in multiples of 10. In Linked In Answers, people don’t seem to want to read other people’s responses. Not so in Quora. I happily read what other people had answered, and I’m sure I’m not alone. Of course questions on Linked In Answers can’t really rack up that many responses. They close after about a week. Questions on Quora can stay open forever.
  6. Very Thoughtful The reason why I happily read what others had posted is that the responses are interesting and more thought out than those on Linked In. Not saying the answers on Linked In aren’t good, it’s just that people tend to get more into them on Quora, providing responses that often resemble blog posts more than answers. For instance, one question I enjoyed, “What life lessons are unintuitive or go against common sense or wisdom?” has 41 responses, many quite interesting. The ability to bump good responses up in the list means that you don’t have to hunt for the gems, either, like Digg with web articles.

So in the end, Quora resembles other platforms, but mixes them together to make something new. I’m actually surprised it’s usually only compared to Linked In Answers when there are so many other cool techniques it’s taken from other websites. Of course, Quora will change and grow. It might even just change and fade. They may get rid of the “Post a Message to Your Followers” function or make it more important. But for right now, it is very different from Twitter and Linked In Answers.


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Who Am I?

I am a Digital Native who is trying to puzzle out what exactly that means. I share my thoughts on social media, digital business models, and PR here on this blog.

I am currently getting my Masters in Digital Marketing from Hult International Business School, having gotten my B.S. in Marketing from Arizona State University. Everything is on track and I am making headway towards my dream: World Domination... or being a productive, helpful citizen and marketer. Whichever comes first.

Don't hesitate to get in touch. I Tweet daily at @KateDavids and also have a science fiction and fantasy blog (maskedgeek.wordpress.com) and Twitter (@Masked_Geek).

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