This is the second of four online training webinars that we are working on for the members of our Annual Conference. This session covers the basic features of Gmail as well as walking through all of the configuration settings. You can find out more about the webinar schedule here: http://nccumc.org/it/webinars/.
Archive for the ‘Social Networks’ Category
I’ve finally done it. I suspended my Facebook account. I’m going to take a break for awhile. Don’t worry, Facebook is still sending me e-mail occasionally so I can still keep in touch somewhat. From their website:
Note: Even after you deactivate, your friends can still invite you to events, tag you in photos, or ask you to join groups. If you opt out, you will NOT receive these email invitations and notifications from your friends.
I thought their account deactivation page was very clever. I’ll share it below:
I’ll still see some stuff via e-mail. I’m not sure how long this will stick but I’ve set myself a goal of 30-45 days. We’ll see where it goes from there. If you would like to keep in touch with me until then you can find me on DouglasWard.net, on Google+ or on Twitter. See you soon!
Facebook has a feature allowing the download of your complete profile. This includes photos, status updates and most of the rest of the information that was uploaded to their website. Since I’ve decided to take a break I thought I would go ahead and download my archive. Just in case I decide to not reactivate my profile I would like to already have my files downloaded.
Start by heading over to Account Settings and clicking on the link to download a copy of your Facebook data.
Click the Start My Archive button to start the process. This is when you start waiting for the archive to process. If you have years of history on Facebook (like I do) then it might take awhile.
No big decisions can happen without being asked twice if you really want to do it.
Now we wait for the archive to process. Facebook will send you an email with a download link once the file is ready.
Facebook also has an option for downloading an expanded archive. This archive contains a lot of the internal system information that Facebook tracks behind the scenes. It includes login times, who you are friends with, etc. This archive processes a lot more quickly but doesn’t contain any of your pictures, status updates or any other personal information.
Same prompt as before when you click the button to start creating the archive.
The screen that you see while waiting is nearly the same as well.
That’s about all it takes to get your files (in theory). My archive failed twice. After spending a good deal of time trying to figure it out I gave up. I’ll take another swing at this later and see how it goes. I hope it works better for you!
I spend way too much time on Facebook. It’s been bothering me for awhile now but I’ve ignored it. At last count I have 242 friends in that service. With all of the groups that I subscribe to, my likes (and my friend’s likes) and various other interactions there is a lot of background noise on that site. I spend a great deal of time filtering through that noise.
Some of my friends post genuinely funny, witty and relevant content. I love interacting with them and finding out what is going on with them and their families. I also enjoy keeping up with my own family. Facebook keeps me in closer touch with them than I ever was before they started using it. It is a very valuable tool for interacting with the people that I am journeying through this life with.
The rest of the system is a giant noise generation machine. People post the same memes and joke photos repeatedly. Blocking game notifications is a lot like playing whack-a-mole. My likes and my friend’s likes keep cluttering my news feeds with advertisements. I won’t even comment on presidential elections, the gun control debate, how much I love Jesus, support the troops or any other major news story of the day. My news feed settings seem to change from time to time, burying content from the folks that I interact with regularly underneath a digital waterfall. It’s true that everyone is entitled to their own opinion. If you take that one opinion and multiply it by 242 and the sound can be deafening.
I don’t mean this to be a complaint against Facebook. I’ve been using it since it was first released to the public. I still enjoy using it. I just remember when I didn’t need to spend a lot of time every day keeping up with all of that content. I’m burned out. I need a break.
It would seem that the easy solution would be to cut into my friends list. We all have a bunch of folks that we added on a whim, or because it seemed like a good idea at the time. Maybe they were much better friends in the past than they are now. People change. People move on. Paths diverge and people head off in opposite directions. No hard feelings, right? It turns out there are hard feelings after all. Somewhere along the way people started tying their personal identities into their Facebook profiles. Some people (myself included) don’t mind if they get removed from other’s friends lists. It’s nothing personal. After all, it’s just a website, right? Others take it personally. The first time I had to deal with personal fallout from my friends list was an eye-opening experience. Fast forward to today and I’m getting tired of worrying about it. I could hide them from my news feed. I could even limit what they can see. That’s not the point though. It’s my profile, not theirs. When I start feeling like I can’t remove people because of how they will take it then I’ve lost control of my information. I find that to be unsettling.
The fact that I’m tired is also troubling. It means that this social network has become way too heavily integrated in my daily life. I’ve been going back and forth with this decision for a long time now. I’ve finally made up my mind. I’m going to take a break. I’ll write about that process as I work through it. Will it stick? Will I be able to handle the silence? Time will tell. I’ll write more on this decision later. For now though, it feels good to have finally made up my mind. Instead of reading Facebook today I think I’ll read a book!
I think I may have found a good replacement for Google Reader. After reviewing a few different options today I have settled on The Old Reader. This site looks and feels a lot like Google Reader did. It offers nearly the same functionality at the same price (free). This service also comes with a Chrome extension. The articles don’t seem to refresh as quickly as Google Reader but I can be patient.
It looks like it will take awhile to set it up. There’s quite a queue of people waiting to have their subscription lists imported. It’s a good thing I can wait until July 1st. I like this service so far. You should give it a serious look if you are set adrift from Google Reader like I am.
I submitted my first article for our new Faith & Technology blog today. We are starting this up as a collaborative effort between several clergy and lay people around our Conference. Its purpose is to discuss technology and the various ways in which it impacts faith and our local church community. This is my first foray into scheduled writing for another publication (except for this blog of course). My first article discusses what happens to clergy with full friends lists when they leave a church. I am very excited about this opportunity. Be sure to subscribe. We have lots of interesting things coming!
Annual Conference is over! This was a very good year. All of our systems functioned properly throughout and we had an extra day to set up our operations. The extra day really helped us with making sure that everything was working before we got started. From an operations standpoint I hope we never lose that third day. It’s only been one year and I already can’t imagine going back to a two setup day year!
I particularly enjoyed working with my co-workers in the News Room this year. Since we had the extra day the entire operation had a significantly lower stress level throughout for everyone. Some things broke and had to be fixed. Some things had us running in circles for awhile. We had our challenges like we do every year but this year has to stand out as one of the better ones. We had time to actually talk to each other during the week!
One of the big new items to come out of this year’s work is that we will be meeting at the Raleigh Convention Center for the next two years! I am excited about being able to sleep in my own bed for part of the week but I will miss Greenville. From an operations standpoint the Greenville Convention Center fit our needs quite well. It remains to be seen how things will work in Raleigh but I’m not worrying about that this year.
Bishop Gwinn’s State of The Church Address stands out as one of the highlights of conference in my mind. He delivered a powerful message to the people about a variety of topics including cross racial appointments. I have never seen him get so emotional before.
Another of my highlights has to be the African Children’s Choir. What a joy they were! This group of children from war torn Africa inspired and moved everyone in the crowd. How can anyone watch this and now smile? I shot this video from backstage with my Droid. Apologies for the poor quality…
That brings us to the end of the 2010 North Carolina Annual Conference. I look forward to seeing everyone next year. Now it’s time to break all of this stuff down and head home. I’m going to take a day of rest tomorrow and then dive right into the building move. June is a busy month!
While managing the network infrastructure at our Annual Conference I have run across a weird redirect issue. All of the computers in the News Room running Windows XP, Vista and 7 started redirecting to MySpace pages. In the beginning it was redirecting to an actual profile. After an hour or so the website started returning 404 errors (as if they had removed the profile). We first noticed the issue yesterday but dismissed it as a glitch. This morning the issue has arisen in full force. I can’t find much online about the problem but here is what we have done that seems to clear it up for us. I believe that this issue is spreading through the social networks but I cannot confirm it yet. Since we are running nearly all of our news coverage through those websites we are sitting ducks. The latest antivirus definition files from multiple vendors doesn’t seem to help either. Please be sure to comment if you have any additional info.
Affected browsers: Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer and Safari. All are running the latest patches as of this writing.
Steps to remediate for Windows XP users:
- Start – Run
- Run the program “cmd” for the command line
- Enter “ipconfig /flushdns” and hit Enter
- Restart the browser
Steps to remediate for Windows Vista/7 users:
- Start – All Programs – Accessories
- Right click on command prompt and select Run As Administrator
- Enter “ipconfig /flushdns” and hit Enter
- Restart the browser
I have seen some small issues with Ubuntu and Mac laptops. We resolved those by dumping the browser cache, restarting the network connections and restarting the browser. I will post an update as I learn more.
Update: June 10th @ 5:24 PM
I’ve done a good bit of googling and found out that the issue is most likely linked to our brand spanking new Linksys WRT320N wireless router (relevant threads can be found here and here). Apparently that entire family of routers has trouble with DNS requests. I didn’t see a sticker on the box when I bought it that said something along the lines of “I suck at DNS.” Who knew? I updated the firmware at our dinner break. We’ll see how it goes from here.
My friend Evan Carroll is working on an interesting project called The Digital Beyond. This project seeks to explore what happens to our online data after we die. We spend a lot of time creating gigabytes worth of data on all of our favorite social networks. What happens to that data when we pass on? I’ll be watching this project to see what they come up with. Here’s a good introductory video:
I saw this presentation live at Ignite Raleigh a few weeks ago. When the speaker comes out the crowd gave an audible groan. When he was finished he got one of the best ovations of the evening! The crowd reaction doesn’t show up as good as I wished it did. Trust me, I was there!