Jason H. Davis

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This is me.

Google Game Console

I’ve been invited to the Google Games beta on Google Plus – the icon for it makes me think that Google will be releasing a console, USB game pad for TV, or some controller that uses this configuration.

Google Games on G+

Could Google be developing a gaming platform? Clearly, they already are.

Perhaps I am reading into this too much, but doesn’t this look like a D-pad that has been put on its side?

Macbook Core Duo broken hard drive and broken cd drive

Apple recently released the operating system Lion which no longer supports the Core Duo macs, which were the first model of Intel Mac’s introduced in May of 2006 to (Sept. 2007?). So, I bought a new 500GB hard drive and intend to give the original Blackbook a new life.

Problems:

  1.  Lion does not support Core Duo
  2. Hard drive is unformatted (but already installed!)
  3. CD Drive is unreliable / unusable

Materials

  1. An extra Mac (yours or a friend’s)
  2. A Firewire cable (in my case, 400 to 800)
  3. Copy of Snow Leopard CD

Solution

  1. Start your Mac in target disk mode. Press power then hold t
  2. Ensure connection between Macbook and facilitating Mac computer
  3. New hard disk should appear on your desktop
  4. Open Disk Utility
  5. Find the drive on the left column, ensure you click on the ‘Firewire Target’ icon
  6. Go to the Partition Tab
  7. Select two partitions
  8. Make one Primary, and make the other “OS X Installer” and dedicate 10GB. Click Apply
  9. Select the Snow Leopard DVD image “Mac OS X Install DVD”
  10. Go to the Restore Tab
  11. Source is the DVD, destination is the “OS X Installer” partition you just created
  12. Once the disk image has bee duplicated, you should be able to reboot the computer into the installer

Now discontinued and no longer supported by latest OS

Legacy Mode

Since I can not install Lion, the laptop will forever be dependent on compatibility to the 10.6 operating system. This will mean that certain programs will begin dropping support of my operating system. I believe there is still a one to two year life left, as long as the main logic board continues to survive.

Keeping A Copy

Having the install DVD as a partition insures that you will always be able to restore your computer to an earlier version. At this point, the laptop is not my primary device, so I will mostly be using it for travel and compatibility checking.

Going Ubuntu

If the laptop is no longer supported by Apple, then at a certain point it would be feasible to install and use Ubuntu on the machine.

Update 3/11/12

Battery latch has failed. The release knob still turns, however, the battery fails to secure. I have not researched how difficult this is to fix. It has rendered the computer immobile. Age: 5

 

How to cancel LinkedIn Premium

LinkedIn recently went public and was immediately criticized for being overvalued. My experience with LinkedIN has been good for its free product, poor for its premium product. In particular, they make it very difficult to cancel.

When watching This Week in Startups, they talked about this problem and thought that I could provide a little extra information on this process. On the show, they say to downgrade premium service you need to submit a question to the contact form to be issued a ticket. If this is not effective for you, see steps 2 and 3.

Here’s how:

  1. Attempt to contact LinkedIn through the contact form: https://help.linkedin.com/app/ask
  2. Contact linkedin_support@cs.linkedin.com
  3. Contact Angie Busch, at abusch@linkedin.com
It is unacceptable for a company to make downgrading Software As Service such a hassle.

Training Facebook

As you may be aware, Facebook customizes the homepage feed in order to give a best guess as to what you are interested in seeing. This is done through a process of machine learning – Facebook algorithms determine what functions will cause you to spend the most amount of time on the site.

For example, Facebook began giving me an endless scroll, and without noticing I scrolled until the top of the page and the bottom of the page seemed impossibly long distances away. I closed Facebook. Now, Facebook shows me the bottom of the feed.

Using this piece of information, I am now beginning to remove myself from autoscroll entirely. Each time I notice the page has grown in length (based on change in scroll bar) I exit Facebook. My goal is to make Facebook give me what it believes is the best content for me in the first 3 to 4 posts.

Key concept: by knowing that websites are being automatically optimized to increase your time on site, users can inflate negative impact actions (site exit) when a website performs something the users doesn’t like. By over-reacting to events such as this, you can send a stronger signal about your preferences to the personalization bot.

HTML 5

Makes my life easier.

Apple's perceived & planned obsolescence

Q: Why does the iPhone 4 appear ‘blocky’ compared to the 3g?
A: To make it curved later

Q: Why does the the iPad 2 have a proprietary CPU?
A: To later justify a architecture switch similar to the PPC -> Intel switch

Just calling them like I see them.

Gmail deletes user accounts: user testing run amok

I wanted to talk about this for a moment because the language Google uses to handle this minor crisis is very good, but the root cause is the very thing that Google prides itself on. Testing.

So what caused this problem? We released a storage software update that introduced the unexpected bug, which caused 0.02% of Gmail users to temporarily lose access to their email. When we discovered the problem, we immediately stopped the deployment of the new software and reverted to the old version.

source: Gmail Blog

150,000 users woke up to an empty inbox because they were part of a testing sample. This is routine for large production sites – they continually roll new features out to testing audiences. If Facebook has a new feature, they’ll put it in front of a test audience. As it is, I believe the storage (gmail offline) feature is an opt-in labs option.

It’s great that Google has a backup plan for a catastrophic data collapse. Hopefully they also have backups for the backup of their multiple location redundant data distribution network.

Obviously, Google does not mention anything about user testing or being more careful with its user tests. They are, however, very sorry. This is not to rail against user testing, it is much better that only 0.02% of the population was exposed to this malignant code.

Remember your backups. Only expose beta users to potentially dangerous code. Hey, they signed up for it.

Setup Mac web development, Apache server, mysql, php

Just a quick note. I had spent about 2 hours getting MySQL and maybe an hour getting Apache going inside of OS X. Afterwords, I couldn’t get MySQL to work again.

Today, I installed MAMP (Mac, Apache, MySQL and PHP).

It was up and running in 10 minutes, so I had time to write this blog post.

no more twitter; or where do I tell people about my sandwich?

Well, I haven’t tweeted in months and have no desire to. Except, I really want to tell people about the sandwich I’m about to eat. Twitter use to be the place for that, now it’s frowned upon.

It’s a duck egg, kale w/ balsamic. Daily’s co-op has been selling duck eggs and they taste quite a bit like regular eggs. This past batch was humongous.

Edit, 2minutes later: Forgot that there’s avocado on this thing to. It ain’t all local.

Gmail Artificial Intellegence

Gmail (Google) will be rolling out ‘Priority Inbox‘ sorting in the coming weeks to help users determine which emails are most important and should be answered first.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5nt3gE9dGHQ&feature=player_embedded[/youtube]

This service works based on emails that a user reads and replies to most often. Priority Inbox learns a user’s preferences and delivers their interests. It is part of a coming wave of intelligent machines. Google, for example, has started scanning books, not necessarily to be read by people, but by machines to create a more knowledgeable machine.

This is happening now, and I believe there is an inherit flaw in the way prediction software is thought about. Although, I am no expert. It comes down to the idea that calibrating results based on preference may induce an echo chamber effect, helping lead to a more insular society.

That is to say, the algorithm seems to be based on what the user believes is important, but what if the user’s preference is wrong? Not in a ‘their ideas are wrong,’ but maybe in the sense that a person can never know what they truly need. Or, maybe they never realized a sphere of knowledge existed (very common in our diversity of people) . For example, my father has recently been talking about block time management and being a ‘slave to email.’ It is interesting to think about if these personalized algorithms will reinforce bad habits and behavior or serve as a gentle nudge in the other direction.

Netflix, for example, has been holding a competition to improve its recommendations for movies (source). While the algorithm is designed to give an oddball every now and then, we see that this methodology could quickly become an echo chamber. It’s nice to have a computer’s help, but you have to wonder at what point the machine is thinking for you.

I believe it comes down to the principle that a machine is only as good as its operator.

In other news: Starting in January, I will be starting a business based on my existing freelance career. I will probably do something different with this site, although it is on the back burner at the moment. Technical walk troughs have been the most popular, so one of my goals is to increase the coverage of that here.