Saturday, October 31, 2015

More on ideas for community

Had fun earlier today brainstorming ideas for Twitter, which may or may not be useful. But guess it begs the question: if useful why just give such ideas away?

And make no mistake, ideas on this blog are just FREE and completely given away with no expectation of something in return. I've started thinking one way to put it is, not an idea squeegee man.

So why give away ideas I at least think are valuable? Others might wonder, is it because don't believe could be paid for them? And I don't know but to me that's immaterial as community is a value to me and global community is something where I have lots of concern.

Which means that if I see a global community value then to my mind the payment is in benefit to the world, and yup, am on the same planet as everyone else.

Wouldn't mind leaving for a bit, but have not yet figured out how to build a starship.

In any event, worked through when to charge in a post already on this blog. And one of the reasons for figuring out my positions on such things is so I don't have to worry about explaining over and over again. Explain once and can just link to something.

Though it can take me a while to get what I think is the best explanation, so have addressed this subject with other posts.

Is it possible might act as a consultant on things if someone wanted to hire me and do the entire contract thing? I don't know. Turns out it's a more difficult problem for me than most, and explaining? Well haven't got that one down yet.

James Harris

Tweets local?

Find myself concerned about Twitter again, and started pondering where I think there is a problem with more people signing up to be on the platform and I think it's simple: plenty of people are hesitant about potentially talking to the planet.

And yeah an awesome strength of Twitter is that a public tweet can bounce around the world but what if that causes caution in plenty of people? Then they can sign up, yeah, but without tweeting themselves are likely to feel left out. And also Twitter relentlessly reminds you of your follower count, which is another subject, but not tweeting? Where is it likely to go?

So occurred to me quickly, wouldn't it be cool if there were an option for tweets to just be local?

And I'm brainstorming here, with just thoughts as a fan of Twitter, tossing things out on my blog. Does not matter for me if taken seriously or not. But if are? Cool.

But like, say you had to have location on, which is the one problem with this idea, and tweets tagged to a location, like say New York City, would only be shown by the Twitter platform to people IN that location? So like from San Francisco you couldn't see those tweets at all.

And you couldn't see them if you didn't give your location which is my one concern with this idea as I brainstorm it out. But you can cut on location to SEE such tweets if you arrive some place and cut it off, when you leave or just don't want to see those tweets.

So these would be special location specific tweets, while public ones would be just the same.

And of course there would be the caution that the tweets could still be potentially seen outside a location as people could figure out ways to share them but that the platform would only show them location specific.

So the Twitter platform would behave a certain way with them, and guess they couldn't be shared like public tweets which is another problem. Like no retweets except to local? But people can't see them to retweet them anyway. Or even if retweeted only would show local? Yeah that makes sense. So even if retweeted, for someone outside the locale they just wouldn't even show. The platform would just check: is user in location? If yes, show. If not, do not show.

You could do it by city or region maybe. It could even be user controlled though don't know how heavy of a coding task and infrastructure load that might be. But like if you could tweet local to even a small city, or town, that could be a powerful feature, where people could chatter away for just their location with a reasonable expectation that others were unlikely to see!

And I think LOTS more people would sign up. Actually tweet, without worrying about talking to the planet, and even build decent follower counts within their locale.

Public tweets can be a BIG deal. Twitter should recognize that reality. And maybe give people more options to limit their exposure?

Just a thought. But yeah I think it could be cool. Like you arrive in San Francisco, cut on local tweets, and walk into conversations just within the City, which you can't see until you get there. Could be like a welcome home.

And decided to brainstorm this post which means limited editing. Oh, so better go back and read through a couple of times before I post. Limited editing done. Throwing out there.

James Harris

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Putting things out here

For me one of the best things about the web has been in getting information in areas previously either closed or where it was hard to get. Or hard to be sure of what you got. But for instance I like documentaries and thanks to being able to view several on the same subject had the ability to compare. The web makes that routine, as before that would require special access of some kind.

One of the things that I often see on documentaries are people who don't fit what was seen as a traditional mold when I was growing up talking about being frustrated at not seeing people like themselves while growing up! And I'm the same way! So it seemed like a good idea to note how I see myself as being way outside traditional molds.

May as well,

So grew up in a small rural area next to a small Georgia, USA, town called Tifton. Where I mention USA to keep from possibly confusing people with the country. Web is international. As a Black person in that area was very much aware of race. And family was not well-off but were lower middle class, at least until parents had a nasty divorce. Which means were not poor. Had shelter, food without public assistance, clothes though my Mom just PICKED them for us, no debate.

So yeah, grew up much of my childhood as a rural Black person in a lower middle class family in the Deep South. There was a lot of farming activity around me. And lots of farms. Grew up next to a farm. Sometimes farm animals would run through the yard, dropping turds. That was actually cows should say. And those were really big turds. That was really rare though. Farmer had great control of his livestock.

Went to school and did better than others. And that's where I got to stand out.

Was good at math, loved it. Loved to read, and thought one day I'd be a science fiction writer, which is one of the reasons I took physics in college. Other was it was the hardest degree field I could choose which still gave me flexibility.

I know the value of your interests. So much is just about curiosity in a world where more and more people can chase knowledge with a passion, and see where that pursuit leads.

Oh yeah, started programming computers when was 12, as despite us not even being solidly middle-class was lucky that my father bought one of the early personal computers which I mostly used, which was a TI-94a. So I just did BASIC. But also took a community college course on BASIC at ABAC which was local, because my mother thought I was a prodigy. She was wrong. But course was easy enough. Did get an A, but was so bored as it was focused toward business.

So been coding since was 12 off and on so to me it is a natural activity where for some reason I rarely do it professionally though did for a while around 2000 when the tech bubble burst so was right there in a major corporation watching the carnage.

So am I think rather nerdy, though it can be hard to define. But for the most part am a creative who is a writer, with a political, math and science focus, who can code.

And I'm global if we can trust Google, where by various measures for various things have had interest in something or other of mine according to their metrics available to me from over 100 countries for a while. I finally noticed back in 2006 or 2007.

Still puzzle over it, but well if Google says. And am kind of like, oh, well, whatever. Just roll with it. Haven't figured out how best to make money from it though, in case you're wondering. Know I do.

And finally in 2010 decided I had a responsibility to put a face up, so that people could see someone unlike who they might usually see from usual sources. Here I get to put up what I want. No desire to discriminate against myself. So convenient!

It is odd to consider that a simple choice for me, put my face potentially in front of people in over 100 countries, which was a choice unlikely to have ever been made by others. Some of them silly people who thought they knew which humans could possibly do what. Such silly people. They dominated so many things for decades. Now they don't.

Web gives you that potential.

Today with a lot of help from the web I think as gives such easy access to the information, of course we're learning all it takes is to be human. Then you can do those things that humans do.

James Harris

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Why I like functional ideas

To me functional ideas are those you can check. And much better when that is without a lot of effort also, as the web means we get so much information available, and it can take a lot to be sure something actually works. I don't want to do a lot of work checking ideas.

Can't be helped sometimes. But if you can quickly assess functional ideas as functioning? Then that is SO much better in my opinion.

Before people might rely more on institutions which is forced on us. There is too much knowledge which has been proven over time, or is accepted and you have to act with it in mind or else, for it to be any other way. Much of that information has been wrapped up by some institution or other, which should be the basis for its existence.

But for most for the first time as human beings with so much information accessible, it's often not enough for someone to just cite some authority, if you can find reliable sources disputing in minutes.

Confidence in explanation is not necessarily important. Like, lots of people believe all kinds of things, but what can they predict?

Prediction is where functional ideas really show their worth, when you expect one thing to happen and others either don't know, are guessing, or are just wrong.

There is such a powerful feeling if what you knew would happen does. No one can take that away either. As with the best ideas? You get that feeling relentlessly.

As guess what? The future is not interested in your opinion, your status, your confidence, or anything else about you. Long after you're dead and gone the future will still be here.

The future does not care what you believe is possible. The future does not care about you.

The future is forever the ultimate test. Test your ideas against it. When they fail, let them go.

Or if they don't fail, raise expectations. The best functional ideas are never wrong. And their predictions? Always come true. That perfection is what people can not understand, like when they hear the word "science".

It fascinates me often how accurate predictions from science are, even though without that accuracy you couldn't read these words. In our time, your computer is cycling through at millions of operations a second. That speed just keeps increasing as well.

At millions of operations per second, a glitch is catastrophic. Or, more simply, your computer stops working.

So glad it is still working as you read these words.

But even the rate of glitches in your computer is predictable. Our science explains so much. It's important to understand why. Prediction is key. The future doesn't care, but it can make sense.

Science is our way of making sense of the future.

There is no science without prediction.

James Harris

Monday, October 12, 2015

Social media is more honest

Found myself this morning once again looking at Instagram fascinated by likes. And can take it for granted now that soon after someone posts have a lot of information, where for some it's that it has 1 million likes. So different from television where if you even bother to keep up with ratings someone has to tell you what they were.

And it has to be more honest even though some seem to love doubting this immediate and very public information about what actually interests people, at least on Instagram, but why do we believe television ratings? Or do most people not? Or do most just not really think about them?

And it matters a LOT as you can see trends being set, and the impact hits economically, and politically, so it turns out it's a big deal where people are actually paying attention.

Which has me wondering, as there are ways I think things are clearly improving, and gotta ask: why did we think we had the most important information before?

Looking in just one area I am endlessly puzzled often, while we could get such simple answers before, as if the viewing audience could be so readily explained.

Maybe they just wanted to believe that, the people crunching the numbers, so they put something that made sense to them out. But today?

We get human interest reality, I think. There is that skeptical side of me that wonders how am sure, but you know? The complexity of it comforts me. It IS hard to explain.

That sounds very human to me.

James Harris

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Moments of sunrise

Found myself curious, so will embed one of Twitter's Moments. This one is of sunrises.

Wondering how it will look, and also can it be relatively timeless. I prefer things that don't go stale after a bit. And sunrises? Yeah, they should fit the bill.

Friday, October 09, 2015

When to charge?

In my opinion whenever a stranger needs something from you that isn't about community, critically important, personal or life and death, then you should both enter into some kind of contract and there should be remuneration from that person. Which is an opinion I'm working through. So the more trivial the thing? Yeah, definitely there should be a fee.

Oh yeah though, you BOTH should see it as trivial, had to edit to add. If you see something as very trivial but to another person it's terribly important then there can be a problem.

The more important the thing? Then other considerations should be involved. Like my favorite example is if someone is dying of thirst. Stranger or no, give them some water!

However, with a business, there should probably always be a fee, unless it's community, and the more important it is to that business, the bigger the fee should be.

That split between human beings and businesses fascinates me and I think it's very hard to get right, and that even massive corporations themselves are screwing up with these kinds of things! Businesses are trying to charge human beings for things they shouldn't and giving things away free to businesses because they do to human beings when they shouldn't, in my opinion.

That messes up monetary flows, cripples economies, and can really mess up people's lives.

In general I think businesses should charge businesses.

Money helps prevent exploitation of people or organizations, as you get an equal exchange at the point of transaction versus relying on goodwill going forward. That is, you don't just do someone a favor and wait and see if they'll return it, when there is a proper exchange involving money. Of course the monetary system can fail many ways, but optimally it protects people.

Putting out things I'm pondering helps me ponder them. That does not mean these opinions are definitely correct. But it's my blog so I can put them here.

James Harris