Google

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Photo by Pixabay

Faster Google Searches

Searching on Google has become second nature for all of us but there’s still a lot we can learn about how to search faster and more effectively.

Here are some of the key tips from an expert:

  • Think an extra second about what it is you are really asking for

Here is a search example “What is the distance to the sun?”

It seems simple. But where are you measuring from? 

  • Don’t include your answer in a search

People sometimes include the expected answer into their search. It’s better to ask, “What is the average length of an octopus” rather than “Is the average length of an octopus 21 inches?” 

  • Use ‘context’ search terms

Numerous “context” terms will help you better pinpoint a search, including words such as lesson, background, summary, tutorial, define and history.

  • Search by voice for a spelling

Use your voice if you are unsure of the spelling of a word, pneumonia, for example. Using voice or text, you can also determine how a word is pronounced.

From: Senior Google research scientist Daniel M. Russell’s “The Joy of Search: A Google Insider’s Guide Going Beyond The Basics” and USA TODAY

The Internet

“Fifty years ago, two letters were transmitted online, forever altering the way that knowledge, information, and communication would be exchanged,” wrote Joshua Bote in USA TODAY October 29, 2019. Those letters were “l” and “o” and perceived as “hello” when the system crashed before the word “login” could be typed. They were sent by a professor at UCLA to another computer at Stanford Research Institute.

At that time only four universities had computers. They were room-sized and required under-floor air conditioning. In 1971, the first email was sent by an MIT researcher and was also the first time the “@” sign was used to designate a specific recipient of a message. I remember the early days when researching medical papers I had to go through a university (@edu) library which would search and produce the Internet address for the requested information.

The World Wide Web (WWW), as we know it, didn’t get invented until 1989 and it was 1991 before the first web page was published. Over the years other services that we are all so familiar with were created, Amazon (1995), Google (1998), Facebook (2004) and Twitter (2006) among others.

Now the internet is as much a part of our lives as driving a car or brushing our teeth. We can access information on any topic, find the answers to burning questions, listen to music and see movies. When I see my granddaughter, a college senior, doing research and taking tests Online, I recall trips to the library and searching through a card catalog. Once the desired journal or paper was located we photocopied it for preparing our research papers. I am glad that she and all students have it easier than we did “back in the day.”

I am sure that I am not alone when I say I love the Internet, warts and all. We know that it can be corrupted, both operationally and politically but we would never go back to a time without the WWW.

Internet
Graphic Courtesy of Pixabay

Facebook F/U

This is follow-up to my post “Facebook” on July 30 last year.

https://crookedcreek.live/2018/07/30/facebook/

Per The Daily Mail one-third of Facebook users from 16-34 have deleted their accounts. The main reason does not seem to be Facebook’s exploitation of 50 million users profiles but because it is “no longer cool.” Good for them regardless of the reason, their personal data will now be safer. 

According to Inside Facebook 15 million users from the US and approximately 5.5 million Canadians have removed themselves from Facebook because of privacy concerns. This sounds like a lot but as of September 30, 2018, Facebook had 2.27 billion monthly active users according to the company.

Personal Opinion: It will be interesting to see how this plays out in view of Mark Zuckerberg’s lack of contrition and another upcoming presidential election. 

“There is a saying that if you get something for free, you should know that you’re the product.” Yuval Noah Harari

 

Graphic by Pixabay

Facebook

Goodbye Facebook

Several friends have asked me why I deleted my Facebook account a few months ago. They miss my comments and photos. They miss me. I do not doubt this because I miss them also. I miss their updates and photos and I miss being in contact. But we see Facebook through the lens of their own relationships. Friends, grandchildren, lovers, church members, baby photos, kitten videos, all good I thought.

I was one of over 2 billion users, showing off with little to no thought of how my personal information was being used. I didn’t read the terms of the agreement or try to understand the privacy settings. I was having fun and for free!

Giving up Facebook was not something I did lightly. After being a member for so many years it was a sacrifice. One thing I’ve learned though and not unexpectedly is that while being a member I was sacrificing time. The time that I could be doing more productive things but this is not why I left Facebook.

My last comment on Facebook before I departed was this:

“I have been betrayed. Facebook used me and used my friends and our data. More importantly, Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg have endangered the democracy of the US and the safety of democracy globally. After 10 years of FB membership, I am hurt and disillusioned. I will never be back and will encourage others to take the same step.”

Full Stop

That is the reason and it is not hyperbole. Facebook sold our information to a foreign government through Cambridge Analytica and by other means. Cambridge Analytica alone obtained information from 50 million Facebook user profiles without permission from members.

Experts believe that Facebook, more than any other social media platform, has facilitated the spread of fraudulent news because of its vast number of users and the many mechanisms it offers for sharing information quickly.*

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Billions $

Facebook lost over $120 billion in stock on July 26, the largest one-day stock loss in history when investors dumped over 20%. One might say it serves them right, but how many millions did they make off us over the past three years or so? Also, Mark Zuckerberg doesn’t miss his $16 billion loss any more than I’d miss one hundred. He is a multibillionaire, down from third richest person to the sixth. I do not begrudge him his wealth, but I vehemently resent how he earned it off of unsuspecting members, like me, like my friends and family.

Those fun Facebook quizzes were designed to learn our preferences and our weaknesses which were played upon in advertising and bogus news. I didn’t do many quizzes but learned that when my friends did so it opened up my data. This devious plan duped the highly educated professional just as it did the uninformed.

Zuckerberg has a history of saying “I’m sorry” but that is not enough when things stay the same. Facebook VP Carolyn Everson recently made the following statement:  “The entire company is focused. We’re adding over 10,000 people, we’re using technology to help us find bad actors and bad behavior.” It doesn’t take that many people nor technology to figure out that the bad actor is the company founder and CEO.

No Return

I’m enjoying the extra hour or so I used to spend on Facebook each day even though I do miss folks I care about. True friends will stay in touch, the other few hundred not so much.

I hope that others have reached a similar decision, but I am only responsible for my own and I refuse to be used to weaken the democracy of the country I love.

Sources: CBS This Morning and *Alicia Shepard of USA Today and NPR.

“Where you see wrong or inequality or injustice speak out because this is your country. This is your democracy. Make it. Protect it. Pass it on.”                Thurgood Marshall

 

Graphics by Pixabay

150

Another Milestone!

As of yesterday Crooked Creek has 150 followers. This is the point at which I had planned to update the blog to a new look. But, I couldn’t wait, so that was completed a few days ago.

Thank you to all readers and followers. I appreciate each of you. I also appreciate other bloggers who I follow.  Some have been recommended here and I will continue to do that from time to time as well as perhaps reblog with the writer’s permission. 

Please continue to let me know what you like, make suggestions for topics and tell me when I’m out of line! I appreciate each of you. 

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FOR YOU! 

 

Theme graphic in title by Pixabay

Milestones

Followers/Readers

Today Crooked Creek has 148 followers. That makes me very happy. What would be even better is if most of those signed up as “followers” are real readers. It stands to reason that some percentage “follow” and forget, but if some of my posts are read and cause people to think more deeply (or widely) on any subject then I feel the time spent blogging is worth it. When we look at life’s challenges and even day-to-day issues from an before unexplored angle I believe it often changes our way of doing, of living, of giving. 

Blogging

fullsizeoutput_1644Blogging is a chore, I will not lie! It is not easy, even after attending a class for new bloggers. It turned out that the instructor was learning as she went along and that was very frustrating.  I must admit that it has continued to be frustrating after almost 100 posts. Some things don’t work as they should. Some things just don’t work at all. It takes me several hours for each post, but I’m sure that many bloggers have less difficulty and perhaps some worry less about small errors. I’m saying all this to say that that it is worth the effort. The internet affords us the opportunity to share our stories and I am grateful for that. If you think you’d like to blog, I encourage you to jump in.

I started out on the WordPress platform with a free domain. I quickly learned that it was not going to be very attractive, so after a while, I bought the “Personal” plan. I’ve never been satisfied with its bland look, so today I upgraded to a “Premium” plan and have to admit that it looks more like what I envisioned. I had planned to make the changes when Crooked Creek got to 150 followers, but today I was in the mood to move forward. So, SURPRISE! I hope you like the new look. 

Writing notepad-3316995_1280

Writing is not a chore. It takes time and effort and sometimes it turns out better than others, but I enjoy writing tremendously and blogging is about the next best thing to writing that book we all have inside us (or think we do). Thank you, readers, for following, reading and commenting from time to time. 

Theme photo in title by Pixabay

Books

Do You Still Read Books?

Do you have books or do you use a Kindle or other eReader? Do you read or listen to electronic books? Since all the information in the world is available on the Internet, do we even need books anymore?

 

 

If you still have real paper books where do you store them? What do you do with a book when you’ve finished reading it? Do you loan it to a friend? Do you donate it or sell it for a fraction of the price you paid for it? Or can you not part with it at all?

Exploring Books

Over the next few blog posts let’s talk about books and what they mean to us in today’s world.  Let’s discuss how and what we read and how that has changed over time. I look forward our discussion and will start out with a brief confession about my reading.

Confession  

I have always been a very slow reader. I cannot scan. I cannot rush and still comprehend written material. For some reason, I seem to mentally pronounce each little preposition and I often must go back and reread a sentence or paragraph because my mind has wandered onto some earth shattering issue or maybe my grocery list. 

Coming Up: Your First Book Memory and Your Bookshelf

Part 1 of 5