23 Things Day 7: Twitter

My Twitter account has been in lock down for about 2 years. I rarely tweeted anyone other than my friends. I have set up lists:

  • News services and clued up people.
  • People who make me laugh.
  • Very clever people.
  • Work.
  • People I’ve met in real life.

I like the self editing nature and I’ve fallen away from it slightly since it now allows for extra characters. I like to spend time concentrating and crafting words. (You may have noticed I tend to witter). I makes me think, makes me self edit and makes me consider if what I’m about to say is unique enough to merit the effort or if perhaps someone else has done it better. Need to quickly get information across Tweet it. A few words and a link.

 ‘Brevity is the soul of wit’ – Hamlet, by William Shakespeare.

23 Things Day 6 : Accessibility

In my previous place of work, we had a great Assistive Technology Officer, who worked with everyone to make sure no one was left out of their academic life.

Tools I learnt to use from her included Inspiration, Dragon – i, ATbar and AccessApps, As a Learning Technologist it helped me to have an understanding of this issue and to be able to instantly help someone facing a accessibility issue.

Being able to ensure that the people around you feel included, secure and supported, I have found, makes them more confident. Knowing that they may have an issue around some aspect of the work but that it has been considered and that measures have been put in place to help minimise the impact is reassuring. I know, as a sufferer of ‘Zombie Fingers’ ( a new malady where touch screen simply do not respond as expected to my touch), when presenting from a iPad or touch screen PC I need to have a stylus handy. Tiny bit of prep saves me a lot of anxiety.

 “Focus not on the differences of people with disabilities but the talent of the individual.”― Neil Milliken

23 Things Step 5 : Diversity

As part of Day 5 of the 23 things project, I was asked to look at several articles about the reactions to the Apple and Facebook release of diverse emoji/emoticons in 2015 and 2016.

I will hold up my hand as an emoji Luddite.

On more that one occasion I will send a text message then immediately send another going -“That was too abrupt. It wasn’t supposed to come across as angry!” when apparently a little 😎 would have sufficed.

As such, I feel I need to start using emojis before I can really start thinking about how the reflect me. Continue reading “23 Things Step 5 : Diversity”

23 Things Step 4 : Being Safe

I like to think I do okay in terms of keeping myself safe online.

I’m good at spotting  phishing emails and generally cautious about handing out my details.

A couple of years back I woke up to my phone constantly buzzing, in the space of 20 minutes I had received over 300 email messages. A quick glance revealed one of my email accounts had been spoofed and was being used to send out spam email.  The messages where bounce backed emails from this mass send out. I was really shocked, appalled and totally unsure what to do.

If I’m honest I can’t remember everything I did, it was about 3 am. I know I contacted the Police and my Service Provider and following their advice, I changed the password to ALL my email accounts and that stopped the flood of emails into my account. I had close to 1000 at that point. My main concern was that people out there thought I was the bad person behind their annoyance – or worse that some one was hurt or scammed by the email and thought it was my fault.

I supposed this incident made me more cautious about my information online but it also helped me understand that these things happen and there is a mechanism in-place to deal with them.

For me, in cybersecurity issues, Knowledge is Power.

Make sure you know what is happening to your information and know places you can check up on things online. I use Snopes quite often to explain to people that an online story is just scaremongering in the hope that they will do something silly.

Let people know if you are not happy with them sharing your information online. I have a friend who doesn’t like her details to be included in group posts and has instructions saved on how to BCC (Blind Carbon Copy) messages on most Social Media platforms which she will politely send to anyone who forgets or doesn’t know how to do this.

I love the internet, I love all the wonderful things that can be done and communities that can be created but, as in all thing in life, I recognise that it can be misused. I choose to focus on the good and do my best to arm myself against the less savoury element that exist in the darker edges.

“If security were all that mattered, computers would never be turned on, let alone hooked into a network with literally millions of potential intruders”
― Dan Farmer

 

23 Things Day 3 : Having a quick Google

Step 3 in the 23things project I mentioned in the previous post is about checking out your digital footprint. The task was to ‘Google’ yourself and reflect on the results and I must admit this made me feel instantly old.

<anecdotetime>

In Dec 1997, when the Google website was barely a few months old, a friend of mine got in touch – the old fashioned way, by turning up at my door and ringing the bell.

I can always remember it was December as I had her Christmas present in the middle of the living room floor waiting to be wrapped. It was in full view of the front door and I had to jig about in a approximation of the ‘pee pee’ dance in an attempt to block the view of her gift.

Anyway, my friend had a problem; one that, apparently, only I could solve. She need to apply for a job but had missed the deadline to post the application and need to email it to the company. Could I do that for her? I was the only person she knew with an email address. I was a little shocked by this but yes I could help her but I had to closed the door for 2 minutes. Which I did and scooped up her gift and deviously hid it behind a pot plant.

In 1997, I had 2 email account – one that came with my home internet account and one for my work. I kept in touch with my family overseas with my personal account and my colleagues and clients with my work account, it was at that moment I realised none of my friend where online. I told my friend that I was going to do one better than that, I was going to give here an email address all of her own. One where she could send her own CV and check up on it online. And so I started to create for her a Yahoo Mail account of her very own.

We hit a snag very early on, in that my friend wanted her username to be just her first name. It was a very unique name, which came about when her Italian/Dutch father had not only mispronounced but also misspelled the Welsh name her mother had decided on when filling out her birth certificate. No one had the same name as her and it was something she celebrated. So when we typed in the name only to be told it was already taken and offered it with the number 3 after it. There where not enough emojis in the world to express our surprise, this is because emojis didn’t exist yet. (This is why I feel old)

Yahoo Mail was pretty new and if not just one but two people already had that user name – it meant my friends name was no where near a unique as she thought it was. So using multiple search engines we tracked down the other holders of this name : both were in America and both worked in Silicone Valley. My friend settled on a using both her very unique first name and relatively plain last name. We posted her CV and sat back down with a glass of wine and my friend encouraged me to search my name which I did and discovered that I shared a name with a rising star on the basketball circuit. I was quite chuffed about that, the first dozen or so entries talked about her career and prospects and listed around 15 or so was a link to my profile page on my company website.

My friend loved her gift and got the job BTW. She emailed me a few weeks ago to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Yahoo Mail account which she has kept through all of its iterations.

</anecdotetime>

I have since then Google myself infrequently, the Basketball Star gave way to incredibly successful Wedding Photographer in Dallas ( They could be the same person, I’ve not paid enough attention). I’ve slunk down the listing a bit further as time has passed.

An incident 5 years ago when one of my email accounts was spoofed caused me to lock down nearly all of my social media accounts, it was around the time I had started working in education so I created a short course on keep thing safe online based on my own experiences. So now, unless you get very specific with you search terms – I barely appear at all.

So for a giggle, just now, I Googled myself in the broadest terms, not using any “”+- or any other helpers and I’m pleased to announce that apparently I’m marrying Prince Harry* later this year.

 

*I’m not marring Prince Harry and to my knowledge I’m not related to Megan Markle at all but , come on, the name’s not that common and surely I deserve an invite for that.
“It ain’t what they call you, it’s what you answer to.” ― W.C. Fields

Writing a little something for 23ThingsEdUni

Last week I signed up for the 23 things project at Edinburgh Uni. It looked like something fun I could do while still expanding what I know about the world.

I will admit that I’m not fond of collaborating online with strangers ( although its part of my job to encourage others to do so), but I’m old enough now to realise jumping in with both feet first is usually the best way for me to proceed.

If I drown, then I’ve learnt my lesson to be more cautious next time, If I succeed then I have to learn how to repeat and improve on that success for next time.

So here is for the next time and the time after that.

‘Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.’ Samuel Beckett

Cliché [klee-shey, kli-] noun

a trite, stereotyped expression; a sentence or phrase, usually expressing a popular or common thought or idea, that has lost originality, ingenuity, and impact by long overuse, as sadder but wiser, or strong as an ox.

As I’m starting this Blog while still in the first week in January, my first couple of post ideas started with ‘New Year, New Start’ or something just as cliché ridden. But as this isn’t my first stab at blogging and, well, barely even New Year any more I started in with a far more cynical approach.

I found I need a place when I can practice being ordered and reflective and several sources where encouraging me towards blogging so here I am, ready to try to make a small part of cyberspace my own. I’m afraid it will be full of cliches and probably ramble on a bit but I hoping no-one who ever pops by will care.

I’m not sure if this blog will focus on my work life, Education, or my personal passion, Cinema, or any of the minutiae that catch my eye everyday or fall somewhere in between. I shall discover this as I plod along.

“The reason that clichés become clichés is that they are the hammers and screwdrivers in the toolbox of communication.” Terry Pratchett, Guards! Guards!

M