Unge bruger Facebook virkelig meget…

Digitale Unge er en tænketank, der tænker dybe tanker om unge og sociale medier. De har netop offentliggjort en ny rapport med særlig fokus på de unges forhold til privatliv. Den udkom i sidste uge og jeg havde glædet mig til at læse den. Det har jeg så gjort nu, og jeg er måske nok lidt, øh, skuffet? Rapporten er udfærdiget af Gry Hasselbalck, Rikke Frank Jørgensen og Verner Leth. Disse tre udmærker sig ved at være næsten usynlige på nettet – enten er det en demonstration af, hvor dygtige de er til at opretholde et privatliv på trods af sociale medier eller også er det et udtryk for, at de forsker intenst i noget, de ikke har nogen reel berøring med. Eller måske begge dele?

In this photo illustration, a Facebook logo on a computer screen is seen through a magnifying glass held by a woman in Bern

Rapporten er baseret på fokusgruppe-interviews og konklusionerne er de følgende:

  • Facebook er en integreret del af de unges liv
  • De tilgår primært Facebook fra mobilen
  • Facebook er det primære sociale medie – der er øjensynlig ikke talt meget om andre medier i disse fokusgrupper
  • Der er en lang række uskrevne regler for, hvordan man agerer på Facebook
  • De unge bruger meget Facebook-grupper – fx. klassen, holdet, pigegruppen, sportsteamet
  • De unge ved godt, hvordan de fx skal “untagge” sig selv på fotos og også, hvordan de skal agere over for uønsket materiale
  • Ingen har læst Terms & Conditions (næh, virkelig?)
  • Mange af dem kom på Facebook, før de blev 13 år (Facebooks aldersgrænse)
  • De er klar over, at Facebook ejer retten til deres billeder – men de er ligeglade
  • De er ret afslappede over for, at myndighederne kan belure dem på sociale medier
  • – og i afdelingen for sjov og spas: Man er først rigtige kærester, når man har ændret sin status på Facebook. Og årsdagen er den på Facebook – ikke den dag, man først mødte hinanden.

Jeg ved godt, jeg interesserer mig mere for krydsfeltet mellem sociale medier og børn/unge end de  fleste. Men alligevel – kommer ovenstående bag på nogen?

Personligt ville jeg hellere have hørt, hvilke af de nyere sociale medier de bruger, hvad de synes om dem, hvorfor? Hvad de tror, der vil ske med sociale medier i de kommende år, etc. Og i forhold til privatliv ville jeg gerne have hørt om de unges holdninger til NSA m.fl.’s snabel nede i vores data og deres begrundelser for at være så relativt ubekymrede. Det kunne have været interessant at have konfronteret dem med nogle dilemmaer og bedt dem forholde sig til konkrete scenarier.

Jeg har henvendt mig til digitaleunge.dk, fordi de har en blog og ønsker sig gæstebloggere. Men jeg fik det svar, at jeg ikke arbejder akademisk med børn og unge, så mine evt. bidrag kunne ikke bruges.

 

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Noget er FARLIGT for svage sjæle

Men hvad dette noget er, ændrer sig hele tiden. I dag er det computerspil og Facebook, der står for skud – der er faktisk næsten ingen ende på al den elendighed, vi angiveligt geråder ud i, når vi spiller og roder med smartphones.

Vi diskuterer det jævnligt på Twitter og en dag var der nogen, der fandt dette fantastiske klip fra 1987 frem. Bemærk, hvad der var farligt dengang – og bemærk så retorikken, der ligner en retorik vi kender…

I øvrigt er der ingen som helst dokumentation for, at computerspil eller Facebook er farligt. Det er dog heller ikke bevist, at det IKKE er farligt, men hvorfor automatisk antage, at noget er farligt? Voldeligheden blandt unge i den vestlige verden er dog bevisligt faldet drastisk i de seneste 20-25 år, og det diskuteres intenst, hvad årsagen (årsagerne) kan være.

Nogle mener, at det skyldes fremkomsten af computerspil, der har fået unge væk fra alkohol og væk fra gaderne, andre at aborten blev fri/mere legal og atter andre at det skyldes, at vi er ophørt med at bruge bly i benzinen

videogameviolencechart

Der er også de lidt mere spøjse forklaringer:

explorer

(mon ikke denne mest er lavet for at henlede opmærksomheden på forskellen mellem korrelation og årsagssammenhæng?)

Og apropos den megen snak om, at vi er blevet ligegyldige over for hinanden og vores børn, fordi vi hele tiden sidder begravede i vores smartphones:

TwomasCtweet

Tak til @matthiaspoulsen, @boab og @vullebalut for links.

 

 

 

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Farlig småbørns app?

TalkingAngelapicMange steder på nettet advares mod småbørns-app’en Talking Angela, og forældre spreder advarslen via e-mail og Facebook uden et øjeblik at overveje, om historien mon er sand.

Det er den ikke, hvilket man kan sikre sig ved simpelthen at google *talking angela*. Så nemt er det. Det, den beskyldes for at gøre, nemlig at indsamle private fotos, film og data om de børn, der benytter den, er slet ikke lovligt. Og man kan jo mene meget om Apples ekstremt rigide politik for app-godkendelse, men den var næppe sluppet igennem, hvis den havde overtrådt så mange regler og bestemmelser så groft. Det er jo ikke NSA

Sådan her ser den advarsel ud, der florerer:

TalkingAngelaApp’en er angiveligt meget populær hos de små brugere, så mit gæt er, at en konkurrent har sendt denne her rundt i håb om at begrænse succes’en. Hvorfor ellers?

 

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Er din Iphone blevet vandtæt?

IOS7waterproof

 

Nej. Og du skal nok have fat i noget NeverWet for at opnå det. Personligt tror jeg dog, jeg vil nøjes med at bruge NeverWet på mine sko…

Annoncen herover er ikke nogen annonce, men fup og fidus og fremstillet med det ene formål at få folk til at ødelægge deres Iphones. Der er ikke nogen gevinst i det for afsenderne, så vidt jeg kan se. Andet end at genere Apple og Apple-brugere, hvilket åbenbart er et væsentligt motiv i sig selv. (Kilde: The Independent)

Desværre viser den også, at det bliver sværere og sværere at gennemskue, hvad der er sandt og hvad der er løgn.

Så, pas på derude!

(Har du eksempler på fup, svindel og vildledning, især af børn, så send dem meget gerne til mig)

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Vanvittig video hitter på Facebook

eller – det påstår BT i hvert fald i denne artikel.

Jeg var til Wikipedia-dag for nylig, hvor jeg i et oplæg udbredte mig om fup og svindel på nettet og bl.a. viste den video, jeg også har omtalt her på bloggen. En af deltagerne fortalte om videoen, der hentydes til i overskriften, og spurgte om jeg vidste, om den var ægte. Det gjorde jeg ikke, for jeg havde ikke hørt om den. Men angiveligt har den været vist på både DR og TV2.

Jeg lovede at gå hjem og grave. Det har jeg imidlertid ikke fået meget ud af – dvs. jeg ved stadig ikke, om videoen er ægte. Den ser endog meget overbevisende ud, men alligevel er der nogle ting ved den, der pirrer min mistro.

  • Den findes KUN på BT. BT siger, at den “hitter” på Facebook, men jeg har ikke kunnet søge mig frem til den, og ingen af mine sønner eller andre, jeg har spurgt, har set den i deres Facebook-strøm. Dermed ikke sagt, at den ikke er der – det er bare mærkeligt, at den ikke dukker op i mine ret omfattende søgninger.
  • Den er ikke på YouTube og ikke på Vimeo. Mao den skulle være lagt direkte ud på Facebook. Det forekommer som mærkværdig adfærd for unge af Jackass-generationen (man får over 2 millioner hits, hvis man søger på Jackass på Youtube).
  • Hvis videoen er lavet med greenscreen (Chroma Key) teknologi, giver ovenstående nogenlunde mening. Det gør det ikke, hvis den er ægte.

Har du oplysninger, der kan føre til en opklaring af dette “mysterium”, så skriv endelig en kommentar eller ping mig på Twitter. Det gælder også, hvis du selv er stødt på noget, der har vakt din undren.

NB: Læs lige hele BTs artikel om videoen, inden du farer i tasterne.

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Social på mobilen

Denne serie om børn og deres færden på nettet startede med et kig ind i den nære fremtid.

Som nævnt i et tidligere afsnit, er også de sociale medier for alvor flyttet til de mobile platforme. Det gælder naturligvis Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, m.fl. Herunder gentager jeg lige mig selv fra tidligere med en lille gennemgang af de sociale medier, der er baseret på at være mobile.

Instagram – det første sociale medie, der er tilpasset den nye verden, hvor alle har en smartphone med et kamera. En billeddelingstjeneste, hvor billederne/videoerne kan behandles så de ser ekstra lækre eller sjove eller gammeldags ud. Voksne bruger det i udpræget grad til solnedgange og lækker mad. Det er, som det ses af statistikken, mest piger, der bruger Instagram.

instagram

Vine – Også en mobiltjeneste – denne gang med 15 sekunder lange videoer. Det er på mange måder lige så harmløst som Instagram, men også dette kan og vil selvfølgelig blive misbrugt. Igen – du kender dit barn og har nok en god fornemmelse for, om de optager hjemme-porno eller løbehjulsvideoer… Vine er i høj grad blev det medie, der bruges til sjov og ballade. Trænger man til en opmuntring, kan man altid finde hylesjove “vines“, som de allerede hedder, lavet af både børn og voksne.

Snapchat – en ret ny tjeneste, som, må jeg indrømme, giver mig kuldegysninger. Den er mobil ligesom Instagram og Vine, og ideen er, at beskeder og fotos er tidsbegrænsede. Afsenderen fastsætter det antal sekunder, modtageren har til at læse beskeden eller se billedet – derefter sletter det sig selv.
Det siger sig selv, at dette er et “genialt” mobbe-format, fordi beviserne er selvdestruerende. Dog – det bruges mest som et én-til-alle medie, hvor man fx sender et fjollet billede af sig selv til alle sine Snapchat-venner.

4square – også mobil. En tjeneste, hvor man “checker ind” dér, hvor man nu er. Nogle mennesker checker ind religiøst på alle steder, hjemme, på arbejde, i Netto, men de fleste bruger det til at fortælle, at de nu er et særligt sted, sammen med andre 4square brugere, for at anbefale/advare mod et sted, eller til at se, om der evt. skulle være nogen tilstede, som de kender. Det kan fx være til en stor koncert eller til en sportsbegivenhed. Facebook har også introduceret denne mulighed – du har måske lagt mærke til, at nogle af dine venner checker ind rundt omkring i din Facebook-strøm. Tal med børnene, om det nu er en god idé, at de bruger den tjeneste. Det afhænger i høj grad af deres vennekreds.

Get Glue – endnu en mobil tjeneste. Den er ikke slået rigtigt an i Danmark endnu, men den eller en lignende vil helt sikkert snart blive et hit. Man checker ind på den film eller det tv-program, man sidder og ser, og så kan man se, hvem af ens venner, der har set det/ser det og hvad de evt. synes ligesom man kan se, hvad alle mulige andre ser og synes om. Et ganske ufarligt socialt medie.

Endelig er stort set alle mobilspil, som børn og unge gider bruge tid på, også sociale – i større eller mindre udstrækning.

***

Dette var sidste afsnit i den serie om børn på nettet, som jeg mere eller mindre havde skrevet i forvejen. Men jeg fortsætter med at skrive om dette krydsfelt, nok i høj grad med fokus på dissekering af kædemails, fup, phishing, spam, løgn og latin – for både børn og voksne. Jeg vil derfor sætte pris på alle links I kan sende mig til historier af tvivlsom karakter, mærkelige mails og forunderlige videoer, som I får i trawlet på jeres vej gennem nettet.

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Apps til børn

Denne serie om børn og deres færden på nettet startede med et kig ind i den nære fremtid.

Mange børn i den vestlige verden vokser nu op med en smartphone og/eller en tablet inden for rækkevidde. Af samme grund produceres der endeløse mængder af apps til børn – fra baby til teen. Hvis man interesserer sig for det, kan man finde steder rundt om på nettet, der tager området seriøst og forsøger at anmelde nye apps til børn – men det er en jungle! Mit råd i forhold til, hvad man skal downloade/købe er at dele opgaven med andre forældre til børn i samme aldersgruppe, så I deler erfaringer med de apps, jeres børn leger med. Men derudover? Ja, så må man ud og lede. Aviserne anmelder kun apps sporadisk – jeg tror fx Politiken anmelder tre apps om ugen – de burde jo anmelde tre apps om dagen!

Som jeg tidligere har nævnt i mine poster om computerspil, så er biblioteket normalt en god ressource. På Københavns Kommunes Bibliotekers hjemmeside findes en folder (pdf) om bl.a. apps. Her er en del gode anbefalinger. Møg ærgerligt er det dog, at den findes i pdf-format på deres side i stedet for et mere fleksibelt format, så det ikke blev forældet på et halvt år! Hvis bibliotek.dk har en underside, der handler om apps, så har jeg ikke kunnet finde den. Og hvor nemt er det så for andre?

Bedre ser det ud hos en anden public service institution, nemlig DR. I denne artikel fortælles om apps til børn, og der henvises til forskellige hjemmesider, der anmelder børneapps. Tak DR!

in-app

I ovennævnte artikel nævnes kort et problem, som mange forældre øjensynligt døjer med – nemlig in-app køb og i det hele taget børnenes køb på Itunes eller i Google Play. Søde forældre, hør nu lige her, mindre børn skal IKKE have adgangskoden til Itunes, og I skal spærre for muligheden for in-app køb i deres spil. Så er det heller ikke sværere! Større børn kan man vælge at vise den tillid, at de har koden til Itunes/Google Play. Så skal der foreligge en krystalklar aftale om, hvad de må downloade og for hvor meget. Og I sørger naturligvis for, at der kommer en mail fra Itunes/Google Play, hver eneste gang, der er købt noget. Ja, ok, det fylder måske lidt op i indbakken, fordi der så også kommer mails hver gang I selv køber noget, men det er et beskedent problem i forhold til ekstraregninger i 10.000 kroners klassen.

Næste afsnit er lidt repetition om sociale medier på telefonen.

 

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Det mobile net

Denne serie om børn og deres færden på nettet startede med et kig ind i den nære fremtid.

Hvis det er forbigået din opmærksomhed, at nettet lige så stille er på vej væk fra den støvede computer i hjørnet og på vej ind alle mulige andre steder, så lever du muligvis i en boble.

Næsten hver dag kommer der nye statistikker, der viser, at indhold i stigende grad bliver forbrugt på mobilen. Og det er ikke kun nyhedslæsning, men simpelthen alt. Bare for få år siden, var der ingen der redigerede dokumenter eller blogs fra mobile enheder, men tablets har ændret det fuldstændig. Man kan lave præsentationer i PowerPoint, Keynote eller Prezi direkte på sin tablet og med hjælp af et lille omformerkabel præsentere på storskærm, helt uden at en computer har været involveret. Smartphonen kan bruges som fjernbetjening.

Og børnene – ja, de, der er små i dag, når nok aldrig at få en computer i gammeldags forstand mellem hænderne! Efterhånden som vores lidt sløve politikere fatter vigtigheden af effektiv digital infrastruktur overalt i Danmark, vil vi i højere og højere grad se internettet blive fuldstændig integreret i alle afkroge af tilværelsen. Det kan man så vælge at begræde, men jeg synes ikke, der er nogen grund til det.

Ligesom vi i vores familie ikke har TV på hverken badeværelset eller i køkken og soveværelse, så kan vi også individuelt sætte grænser for, hvornår vi får nok af, at alle sidder med næsen i telefonen/tablet’en. Reglerne for almindelig god opførsel og høflighed behøver jo ikke blive sat ud af spillet, blot fordi der indføres nye genstande og tilstande i hverdagslivet. Men også her er det vigtigt, at vi ikke reagerer på rygmarven. Det er fx ikke holdbart at forbyde børnenes smartphone-brug ved morgenbordet, hvis man selv sidder begravet i en papiravis!

På min yngste søns gamle skole hadede de simpelthen mobiltelefoner, og brugen af dem var forbudt forbudt forbudt – i enhver sammenhæng, hvilket selvfølgelig ledte til gentagne sammenstød mellem børn og lærere. På hans nye skole beder klasselæreren dem lægge telefonen (som er på lydløs) ned i tasken i timerne, så de ikke bliver forstyrret af vibrationer i lommen. Men hvis de pludselig får brug for at google noget, så tager de dem bare op af tasken. I frikvartererne er der frit slag. Og vi hører ikke noget brok fra børnene over den regel – for de forstår jo fuldstændig, at sådan må det være!

Næste afsnit bl.a. om apps til børn og in-app køb.

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*OMMMM*

I market myself as a kind of social media strategist. Anyone who knows about these things also knows that all good things come to an end. And one day there won’t be a need for services like mine. This article is about my next career move ;-)

In my last post I wrote about the Arizona shooting. Since then I’ve read this incredibly interesting analysis on Politico. It’s about twisting words till they are devoid of meaning and getting away with it. It says for instance:

in the past week, the question of whether a carefully planned assassination attempt on a member of the United States Congress might have had anything to do with politics has been mocked into oblivion. Well, let’s see. The dominant theme of Loughner’s ravings was suspicion of the government. He apparently didn’t believe in paper money and thought only gold has value. He believed the government was responsible for Sept. 11. And so on. This is not a random collection of nutty opinions. There is a theme to it, and it is not simply that the guy was crazy.

It’s a bit like the discussions about political correctness. Once an opinion has been successfully deemed politically correct by the right, it can’t be uttered in the public debate anymore. I often wonder why the liberals don’t reclaim the term. I mean, at the moment it seems that the most politically correct statements are that “we must cut public spending to get the country back on its feet” or “we need to cut taxes so we can get the wheels spinning again”.

Sometimes the kind Internet will direct you to sources you’d normally never think of consulting. And just as we think that we here in Denmark have brilliant minds who deserve to be heard outside our small country, regional papers in e.g. the US also have brilliant writers, who are rarely heard outside their own territory. This article is from a Chicagoan paper, it’s about blogging, expectations and “what’s in it for me”. Very good and true. Posted on twitter by @KrisWager.

Here’s another news source that you wouldn’t normally come across, The Boston Globe. When we travelled the US, this was a paper that I learned to like and respect. Now I’m just happy that people on the web sometimes remind me of that. Here’s a very thorough article about the consequences of the legalisation of drug possession in Portugal. Well researched and unbiased.

I’ve tidied up my Twitter favourites and found a few gems that I’d forgotten about, re. my last post about reading lots and forgetting most. This article is a very well researched piece on why women are needed in tech companies. I’m sure that @Elektronista will agree with the article’s author and with me.

Never a blog post without at least one thing about Twitter. This is a column from The Guardian by Margaret Atwood. She’s not a young woman anymore, but she’s still managed to fall in love with Twitter, head over heals. Read about it here and follow her on Twitter @margaretatwood.

Twitter isn’t all gooey and lovely. It’s also used to spread completely unfounded rumours by people who forget to think before they write. Let this collection of tweets serve as a warning. Verify, verify, verify! Note that some of the tweets have been removed. Some very embarrassed people have deleted their tweets.

Sometimes you need to jump off the grid for a while and pretend to have a life. @sheamus has written a short, humorous post about it.

From Gizmodo

Now for some gadget news. Must haves, nice to haves. Here’s a lovely charger for all your stuff, smart and practical.

And what about this one – a sun charger for the Iphone. One that works. Apparently.

We’ve been talking for ages about using our phones to pay for stuff. And already we can buy bus/train tickets with them. Which is great. Next up is lattes at Starbucks.

Guardian is trying the free/paid option that Danish paper Politiken is also trying. Free news online, but paid app. So far I feel uninspired to buy the Politiken app (especially since I subscribe to the paper version, but haven’t been offered the app for free, grump), but the Guardian app seems to be great value, 4£ for a YEAR, that’s one pence per day.

On BBC News I’ve read this suggestion to Facebook: That they mimic Apple and vet the applications that we allow access via Facebook. This is a really good idea. I’m slightly paranoid when it comes to Facebook applications and have allowed almost none. But especially young people don’t understand what they are doing when they allow various games apps access to their Facebook accounts.

Not a gadget, not even an app, but did you know that bit.ly doesn’t only help you shorten URLs but also helps you create quick lists of links? Very practical for a birthday wish list or a shared reading list.

Do you sometimes need some Zen-time to focus on something you’re writing? But you’re constantly disturbed by incoming mails or tweets or Facebook posts and are too weak-minded to turn the whole thing off (like someone I know)? Ommwriter is for you then. Great little programme you download and write in. When you open it, everything else on you desktop magically disappears and some lovely yoga-style music is added to the blank-but-not-white screen. Peace.

I was recently given Patti Smith’s autobiography and was in fact going to exchange it for something else, as I’m neither a a big fan of biographies, nor a huge fan of Patti’s. Strangely, a few days later, with the book on my desk beside me, somebody posted this interview with Patti Smith. After watching only a bit of it, I grabbed the book and started reading. Am halfway through it now. She’s a gifted writer (why do some people get all the talent?) as well as musician and the intertwined stories of her own and Robert Mapplethorpe’s lives are gripping. Warmly recommended.

The rest of the links today are on the silly side. This is a video of an in-air proposal. Awww. And here’s a young man who seriously doesn’t want to be disturbed while reading his book.

This has been a week of loads and loads of math homework for Dane. I’m not exactly a math wizard and the family wizard (David) is not around most days. One day I had to post a photograph of Dane’s assignment on Twitter for help. Help was around five minutes away.

The same day, and possibly as a comment to this, someone posted the quote below on Twitter. When son gets around to equations (am bracing myself for the day), he will wholeheartedly agree.

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A few days on the Interwebs

Across all the media I (try to) follow on the Interwebs, all kinds of news and information appear every minute, hour, day. I read lots and lots and lots but fear that much of it is forgotten again very quickly because I don’t “do” anything with it. Have been pondering this for a while and then thought that if I quickly save links or keywords on a dedicated page and then write a bit about it, the information might stick better. So that is what this is!

I read this post on Salon about Wikileaks and Assange. I’m not quite sure whether this is mere conspiracy theory or if there’s something to it. What do you think? I find it to be the most far out “coincidence” that it is Assange who’s accused of rape – of all the famous people who take, more or less, advantage of their notability. Salon, however, is not the first to suspect the Wallenberg family of wrong-doing. If you’ve read the Stieg Larsson trilogy or books by Jan Guillou you know what I mean. If you would like to read a complete update on the whole story of Wikileaks and Assange, go to Vanity Fair and read their interview with the enfant terrible.

Also at the serious end of the spectre, Sarah Palin has published a video to clear herself of the accusations against her for inciting hatred. I’m sure you already knew that, but have you actually seen the clip? And have you seen that map with shooting targets that she had on her website until moments after the Arizona shooting? The interesting thing about the video is the obvious discrepancy between the text, which (except the little “slip” with blood libel) is really quite good and her completely insincere expressions, which she clearly can’t control. And then the technical glitch; that you can see the teleprompter reflected in her glasses. *Amateurs*

I will get to news about gadgets and new ways to waste time on the Internet in a moment, but why don’t you bookmark this short article for reading when you’re in that “OMG, I’m mortal and I will eventually die”-mode. It’s a reflection over two famous atheists’ last stance before death and it’s both thought-provoking and quite life-affirming. The two atheists are hundreds of years apart – it’s David Hume and Christopher Hitchens.

I’d read about the Mikkelsen brothers before, but like with so much else, I’d forgotten about it. Then yesterday, I read about them again in Wired. Two brothers make good use of collaborative software to help refugees trace their families. It’s called Refugees United.

The lovely, but slightly awkward chef and animal welfare campaigner Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall has started the campaign Hugh’s Fish Fight. I predict that he’s starting this at exactly the right moment in history and that this campaign will be quite successful. Sustainable fish is the new black. Please like the likable Hugh on Facebook – you can do it directly from the Fish Fight website. More importantly, however, is to walk the walk. Eat sustainable fish. Which, among other things, means that we must choose our sushi restaurants with care.

The rest of this post is light weight stuff, but life must consist of both or we go mad:

This morning @tveskov posted this about Steve Jobs‘ leave of absence and the IPhone 5. It’s fairly tech-heavy, but the gist of it is that the financial markets are very worried that the Apple top management  can’t quite pull off the constant innovation without Jobs. Must admit that I don’t know enough about the personalities in the Apple top to have an opinion about that. One would think that, based on experience, Jobs would have taken great care and hired some visionary people, knowing what happened the last time he had to leave the company. The rest of the article is about expected features on the IPhone 5. Looks wildly interesting and like a huge leap forward. Which is much needed, because as it is now, the Android phones are rapidly overtaking the IPhone in many respects.

My dear husband has an IPad and I have tech-envy. But on the other hand am not quite sure that I have enough spare time to really enjoy it. Can I use it to read in bed? I feel that it’s slightly on the heavy side, as my bedroom is icy cold and you can’t really sit up in bed unless you’re wearing a sweater… On the other hand, this is the device I’d bring to the breakfast table (rather than my phone) to read the news, check the weather forecast, etc. And to the sofa in the evening to tweet and browse. Anyway, the next one is said to not have a home button. I’m fine with that, as long as it can skype, which is what I miss most on the current one. See a video demo of it here.

Another Apple news tidbit is that the (free) Twitter application for Mac is really, really good. And that it has a super cool extra function (only works in Safari and Chrome and only with the latest OS), which lets you tweet directly from a webpage. If this interests you, have a look here.

I don’t read women’s mags, I’m not much into fashion and generally uninterested in celebrities. But. (There’s always a but). I adore the reports from the big events in the movie biz with all the superstars in their fabulous dresses. Can’t tell you why, but after the Golden Globe thing the other day everybody scrambled to see Ricky Gervais’ faux pas, but I jumped to Vanity Fair to look at all the dresses. I think I agree with VF that Natalie Portman was loveliest of all – pregnant and rosy. Just saw her shine in The Black Swan, a dark dark film but Portman is fantastic – she actually does the dance scenes herself, a feat that is truly amazing. As much as I adore Julianne Moore I HATE her dress! Same goes for Mad Men star January Jones’ red show stopper. Bah. But I rather like Angelina Jolie’s understated green. Do you share my fascination or do you say BAH, who cares?

Picture from Foxsearchlight.com

Speaking of dresses, this one could save the planet. I want to see it at the next Golden Globe or Academy Awards!

Anders Høeg Nissen (@4nd3rs) of local Danish Harddisken fame brought this marvelous little thingummy to my attention. I have to say, with my lacking DIY-skills, this is something I absolutely MUST HAVE. As those of you who’ve visited me at home will know I’m very fond of what silicone can do for me. Outside my body, that is.

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What women want. Aha. But what do men want?

Phones 4U has done a survey on the attractiveness of men, judged by the mobile or smartphone they own. Not too surprisingly women find men with Iphones to be the most attractive. You know, they have enough money to buy one and hopefully use some of the arty applications rather than sports- and porn applications…

Iphones in the family (bar one who wasnt present...)
Iphones in the family (bar one who wasn't present...)

Read about this survey here in MacWorld. I scrolled and scrolled to find the bit about the reverse situation. How does a man think a woman’s phone adds or detracts to her attractiveness? But will you believe it? There’s not a word about that.

Now, does that mean that men don’t care what phone a woman uses as long as her other, eh, attributes, are attractive to him, or does it mean that Phones 4U simply didn’t think to reverse the question? Which leads to another question: Does that mean that far more men than women own Iphones? I know you should be careful when judging from your own circles and I am. But still, at least half of the Iphone owners I know are women.

Just asking…

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My favourite Apps

If you don’t have an Iphone and don’t have any plans to buy one, you’ll loathe this post. So I suggest you don’t read it. If you still read it, you know, just to allow yourself to get annoyed, then consider this:

“Yes it was a shocking thing to say, and I knew it was a shocking thing to say.
But no one has the right to live without being shocked.
No one has the right to spend their lives without being offended.
Nobody has to read this book.
Nobody has to pick it up.
Nobody has to open it.

And if they open it and read it, they don’t have to like it.
And if you read it and dislike it, you don’t have to remain silent about it.
You can write to me.
You can complain about it.
You can write to the publishers, to the papers,
You can write your own book.
You can do all those things.

But there your rights stop.
No one has the right to stop me writing this book.
No one has the right to stop it being published, sold, or bought, or read.
And that’s all I have to say on that subject.”

This quote is by the brave and wonderful Philip Pullman, in reply to a person who chastised him for criticising the Christian faith in his new book. It’s about much more important things than whether you can be worked up about other people loving their Iphones, but it really does apply everywhere. Thank you to Richard Whitelock for opening up his new blog with this lovely quote. It was brought to my attention by @rhodri, who never replies to tweets, but who often tweets good stuff.

The Iphone apps are what makes your phone truly yours. Look at a person’s apps and you’ll know a lot about them. Thanks to Twitter I only rarely “hunt” for apps, they sort of present themselves when people tweet ecstatically about them. My other sources are the tech blogs and Wired Magazine. And people, of course. When you get together with other Iphone-lovers, they’ll tell you if they’ve found a new app that they love.

I have two Twitter apps, Tweetdeck and Tweetie (they can do slightly different things) and the Facebook and LinkedIn apps. I think I tweet as much from my phone as I do from my computer. Typically because tweeting is something you sneak in between other things you do and when I’m at the computer I’m usually supposed to be working… Facebook and LinkedIn mostly on the computer I think, but wouldn’t be without either on the phone.

I have a shopping list app which I’ve taken to more than I thought I would. I never write a pen-and-paper shopping list anymore. I’ve had to personalise it a lot to accommodate for this family’s apparently special shopping needs and deleted lots of items that I never ever buy, but now it works just great. Great advantage is that I always have it with me, both when I remember something that I want to add to it and when I go shopping. A similar type of app is a to-do-list app, which I’ve only just got. Usually, I find that to-do-list “systems” never work for me, but this one could. It’s still “on trial”. Many good features.

An app that has really and truly improved my life is the sleepcycle app. I first heard of this technology years ago and have coveted it ever since. Your sleep is monitored (originally by a bracelet) and, having set a time where you have to be up, it will wake you at the best possible time before that, which is when your sleep is lightest. It is brilliant! Has also shown me how my sleep pattern changes drastically from day to day and goes a long way in explaining why I sometimes feel dazed even if I have slept 7+ hours and at other times totally perky after <6 hours.

The Iphone also functions as a portable reference library, which is incredibly practical when you have a memory like a sieve and a child that asks at least 25 questions a day, some of which rather tricky. I have the lovely Wikipedia and Wikitap apps (for discussion of the use of Wikipedia, look here), Dictionary, Ordbogen (Danish – English), RedDelicious (all my bookmarks readily available), Iformulas and Reader (all my RSS feeds imported from Netvibes).

As most people I also have a number of news apps from my favourite news sources and also some aggregated news. Almost every paper and online news source have their own app, so it can be tailored very specifically to your needs and wants.

Then there are a number of practical apps that you can’t really claim to “need”, but which are all very handy. I have the Flickr app so I can upload pictures from my phone directly to Flickr with comments, tags and everything. I use that a lot. I’m very pleased with the Flixster app, which shows me what’s on in my local cinemas and with the Urbanspoon app, which guides me to restaurants in London while I’m there. I’ve used that more than once and been very pleased with it. Also I have a few recipe generators for when I’m completely out of ideas. Some funny dishes have come to the table thanks to YumYum, BigOven, among others.

A handful of apps cater to my intellectual and artistic needs, among them Stanza, which lets me read classics for free as well as a number of high quality magazines. I re-read The Great Gatsby on a flight to Copenhagen not long ago, that was very pleasant! Another app in that vein is the new app from the National Gallery, called LoveArt. Take a look at it, it’s really fabulous!

To entertain my son when we’re in the car, on a train or he’s bored in a restaurant I have a whole page of games. Very handy indeed!

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Musings before Mother's Day

Feminism:

It being Mother’s Day tomorrow, the Times has asked six women, mainly writers, to write a letter to their children at 21 (they all have young children) or to share the advice of their own mothers. Some of these letters are so, so beautiful. I didn’t just well up, I had to go and get a clean hanky out of the drawer. I like Sarah Vine’s and Justine Picardie’s the best. Found on Tania Kindersley’s brand new blog.

The Times has also compiled a list of the most powerful Muslim women in Britain. An interesting read!

So, at 49, I’ve finally found a word that defines me: Geek Mum

Olivia James writes a very poignant piece about Mother’s Day. Read it if you have a troubled relationship with your own mother!

Food:

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall has a weekly food column in the Guardian. If it wasn’t online I’d feel compelled to buy the paper every Saturday. Actually, I might do that anyway, the Weekend Guardian is a very good paper, lots of sustenance! Today it’s about flour. Also one of my pet causes. I buy almost all my flour freshly milled at the Farmers Market, not least the lovely spelt. It’s a totally different experience from the supermarket stuff. Hugh forgets to mention cornmeal – not the dreary stuff that you buy to thicken your gravy, but the real stuff. I use it in muffins, which then look beautiful and yellowish and as one of three types of flour in my sourdough bread.

Sourdough bread & cake with muscovado sugar, cinnamon & courgettes.
Sourdough bread & cake with muscovado sugar, cinnamon & courgettes.

I’ve promised Tania Kindersley to publish my recipe for Panzanella. It’s from The Blue River Café Cook Book. I hope they won’t sue me for copyright infringement…

Panzanella – serves 6:

  • 3 stale ciabatta loaves
  • 1 kg fresh, plum tomatoes, chopped, seeds removed, save juices (key to recipe is the tomatoes actually tasting of something)
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed (I always dump them in boiling water for a bit to take the top of the “sting”)
  • Maldon sea salt (or similar) & freshly ground pepper
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 tbs red wine vinegar
  • 3 red peppers – grilled until black & skinned, then chopped
  • 2 fresh chillies – not necessary
  • 100 gr salted, large capers
  • 100 gr salted anchovies (these can be ground to a paste and mixed with the dressing)
  • 150 gr black, pitted olives
  • 1 large bunch of basil

Cut the bread (preferably stale) into bite-sized chunks. Mix all “wet” ingredients and toss the bread chunks in this. Mix all ingredients. Don’t serve cold.

Science:

Also in the Guardian, Ben Goldacre again crucifies a number of journalists for their faulty and misleading interpretations of a scientific paper about prostate cancer.

I’ll never stop recommending TED. Probably the best source of ideas on the web. It never, never fails to inspire and to lift my spirits. Here’s about how to grow your own fresh air… What to do when you DO NOT have green fingers?

Tech:

A lot of people are – as usual – angry with the new design of Facebook. Maybe I’m easy, but I’m fine with it… Here’s one who doesn’t like it, but makes a good joke of it.

Here are some very useful tips about how to customise the new Facebook. I’ve already done it – I have some FB friends whose updates are rather boring, to be frank. But I still want to keep them as friends. Done!

I don’t find any reason whatsoever to doubt this story about the GRU and the FSB in Russia using cyber “weapons” against Georgia in the war. But then I’m not a great fan of the Russian Leadership.

Oh yes, and as an Iphone owner I’m thrilled to bits by this. Can’t believe I forgot to write about it earlier!

Politics:

An American soldier tells the moving story of when he accompanied a fallen soldier to his final resting place. Very touching and also enlightning. The Americans are good at honouring their fallen. Would be nice if they were as good – or even better – at honouring the wounded and crippled.

Here’s about the methods of torture applied by the CIA. You know, the ones sanctioned by John Yoo, as mentioned yesterday.

This sounds like a good plan. Geithner reveals how the US will deal with its toxic assets.

See, here’s what sets a respectable Republican apart from one you can’t respect. Please Sarah Palin, can’t you just go elk hunting forever?

How can this and this take place in the same country at the same time? It’s about the right to life on the one hand and the right to a dignified death on the other.

With a few exceptions, which are from my RSS reader, all of the above were harvested over 24 hours on Twitter. So don’t tell me twittering is a waste of time.

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Twitterism & loads of links

I’ve now been twittering for a couple of weeks and am beginning to understand the workings of Twitter. For me it’s a place to harvest (more) interesting info than I’d otherwise find. Sometimes a bit on the much side I’m afraid. Below you’ll find a scattering of info that’s been twittered from my followees throughout the weekend. Particularly the tech-ones have been inanely active, since they are all gathered at SXSW.

Tech stuff:

A review of the app Dropbox, which I’m a very contended user of. For instance, it’s a great way of sharing documents between me and my writing partner at uni (he’s in DK). And thanks to him for recommending Dropbox.

Blogger apps for the Iphone. Sounds veeeery interesting, haven’t looked at all of them yet.

Twitter personalities the Myers-Briggs way. Which one am I, I wonder. Hope I’ll be considered as the Messenger type…

A Youtube add-on that makes it safe for little children. Quite good if you like your kids to browse away but preferably not to stumble over some of the more horrid videos that are in ample supply on Youtube. I think this will work up till the age of 8-9. After that they’ll have learnt to circumvent it and it’ll be up to you to teach them how to navigate not only Youtube, but all of the web.

Now to brain stuff:

We learn more from the unexpected than from the expected. Our brains respond just like the traders on the stock exchange floor. That’s bloody disappointing! From Science Daily.

Want to know what dialectical bootstrapping is? Read this. Also from Science Daily. Hint: It’s about applying the wisdom of crowds to your mind…

Also from Science Daily is this article about brain training as a preventative method against Alzheimers. I like the scientist’s down-to-earth advice:

In her opinion, the best way to keep one’s cerebral functions is to do intellectual activities, eat well, control vascular factors, particularly in the case of diabetes and hypertension, and remain physically active.

Brain activity reveals memories. Science Daily.

Health stuff:

This article (Science Daily again) reveals why I’ve never been able to make serious money. I was not particularly popular as a child. Or what?

My mother is dead, unfortunately, so I can’t share this information with her. I would’ve liked to, because I think she might secretly have blamed herself for my cleft palate/lip. But it’s in the genes! Luckily then, I haven’t passed it on to my sons.

Here’s another story to do with genes. It supports every smoker’s favourite story about the Grandmother who Smoked 20 Cigarettes a Day and Lives Happily to be a 100 Years Old.

I don’t usually quote the Telegraph, since it’s rarely worth quoting, but that’s the point really. To equal a school, which actually does something actively to improve the pupils’ health with Gestapo is just so out of this world!!!! My son tells me that, although his school has strict policies about sweets and crisps NOT belonging in the lunch pack, lots of children still have it every day! It’s just sad, sad, sad that parents understand so little about nutrition that they give their kids a packet of crisps and a white cardboard sandwich with square ham every day! It certainly supports the study about how IQ and education are directly linked to life expectancy, which I wrote about previously.

On feminism (watch out for the flak!):

Why women opt out of certain careers.

Miscellaneous:

The Health and Safety Executive has a myth-buster page, which is a comforting read. Clearly, what we’re seeing at schools and other places are over-zealous interpretations of the health and safety rules. So if we just stuck to the rules themselves, we’d be fine. Here’s a great example.

About coffee. Why the crap coffee in canteens and at railway kiosks gives a much higher boost of caffeine-induced energy than the luxury coffee we brew at home.

That’s all folks.

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Tech news of the day

In Washington Post about viruses on social networking sites. It’s a very sober article, telling us the facts about the current viruses out there, how to spot them, how to avoid them:

It’s important to note that practicing basic online street smarts can save you from falling for these types of attacks, regardless of the medium. As always, be extremely cautious about clicking on links in unsolicited messages, even if they appear to have been sent by a friend or acquaintance. Also, don’t install applications or programs if you didn’t go looking for them. Before you install anything, take a few minutes to research the program and its vendor first. If you decide to install the application, make sure to download it directly from the vendor’s Web site, if possible.

– waste of time set aside, this is a good a reason as any to avoid all the silly applications on Facebook. I’ve kept just one and that’s because it’s been developed by a friend of mine, so I trust it.

Havent installed the app yet!
Haven't installed the app yet!

Also in Washington Post about a cool app for the Iphone, the kind you wish you’ll never have to use. At a calm moment in your home you record all details about your car, insurance etc. And then, if you’re in an accident, you can report it to the insurance company with details like photos of the wreckage etc. in seconds.

Wired has the story about Flickr now opening up for videos, even in HD, also for the non-paying members.

Guardian Tech tells that Yelp has launched for London. It’s a review site like so many others, but this has apparently worked really well in the US. At a cursory glance it looks good. Worth checking out if you’re going I’m sure. We go there so relatively rarely that I still feel so totally like a tourist – map in hand 50% of the time…

Finally a tip from down under. I’ve started following this entertaining blog, which has such a cool take on its two subjects, economy & children. He really knows how to mix those two things in new and entertaining ways! He also Twitters and a few days ago Twittered about a math site for children called Mathletics, which he recommended. I checked it out and now I’ve purchased it for Dane. We just did an hour and he won his first certificate. Not only is this a fairly cool way of learning stuff that could otherwise be boring (it responds intelligently to you getting a question wrong and goes back and gives you an easier one or one with more help), you can also play against other children around the globe. For me specifically I finally get a glimpse of the curriculum for his year and I can tell you, I breathe much easier now!

Oh, and then this one which isn’t techie at all, but still lovely news. Bryan Appleyard has good news, namely that pundits get it wrong 66% of the time. I’m sure that’s more than me :-D    and more than the flip of a coin.

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