It's been a while since I have posted here, and I'm missing it a bit... I enjoy taking a look at what is going on in the city around me and looking for connections, possibilities, and opportunities for improvement. So I'm going to try a new format for a while - the Tuesday Morning roundup: Each Tuesday morning, stop in for development and urbanism-related news snippets, photos of interesting projects, and maybe a few bits of insight and/or snarkiness (depending on whether or not I have had my morning coffee).

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The Long Goodbye

28 Sep 2011

This evening, I am starting to disentangle Facebook from my personal life. I have just finished reading a disturbing article about the ways Facebook gathers, stores, and utilizes the information I give it.

Some key points I gleaned:

  • If you are not paying for a free service (like Facebook or Google), then you are the commodity being sold. In return for linking you to your friends and family, Facebook extracts payment in data - about who you are, what you do, websites you visit, and all the content you create and post to the Social Network. You no longer control any of this information, regardless of the "privacy settings" I'm sure you closely monitor. The new Facebook "ticker" is a glaring example of this.
  • Facebook's "Open Graph" allows third-party, non-Facebook websites to report your online activity back to Facebook. If you browse to Facebook-connected site that utilizes Open Graph, your unrelated online activities may be published to the ticker on your friends' Facebook page. This information is retained as long as Facebook chooses to retain it. This is not the future, this is now: the Washington Post's "Social Reader" app reports what you read to all your friends without explicit consent. That's fine when you are reading an article about the farm subsidy debate, but what if your girlfriend notices you have been suddenly reading up on gonorrhea?
  • If a website asks you to "connect with Facebook" don't do it. If the website requires you to "connect with Facebook" find another website. The more you "connect" with Facebook, the more information you are sharing with them and the more information Facebook will share with random people you don't know.

I am starting the process of disengaging my personal content from Facebook: my "status" and "likes", my opinions, my photos. I would like to share this with all of my friends, but I don't like the new strings attached. I will start posting "social networking" content and photos on Google+ rather than Facebook. Of course, for the time being, I will also put notifications up on my Facebook page.

Right or wrong, I trust Google over Facebook to do better by me and the content I create. When I engage with social media, I will make an effort to do so on Google+ rather than Facebook. I hope at least some of you will join me.

Add swilkeshapiro@gmail.com to your Google+ circles and I'll add you back!

See you all on the flip side.

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What I Read

30 Jun 2010

I consume the vast majority of my news and analysis in digital form. on a rare occasion (like when the Rehabbers Club gets press) I pick up a paper to save, and I do enjoy reading the Sunday version cover to cover.

Here are some of my favorite Des Moines online sources (in no particular order):

  • Des Moines Report - A relatively recent venture that aggregates Des Moines related news and commentary. I look for this one to grow over time and become a great one-stop summary.
  • Des Moines Is Not Boring - Promoting Des Moines as a fun and interesting place to live and play.
  • Locally Grown - Local chef/writer has great prose and insight.
  • Des Moines Register - The online version is great if you don't bother to read the user comments, which trend towards thinly veiled racism and general idiocy.
  • dsmBuzz - Promoting locally-owned businesses.
  • Living Downtown Des Moines - Personal blog of an active and engaged downtown resident.
  • Brianne Sanchez Blog - Juice Magazine writer living Des Moines to the fullest.
  • Our New Old House - Renovating a home in the Union Park neighborhood.

Check out these great blogs and news sources!

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I just implemented Facebook "Likes" into the Des Moines Perspective. If there is an article you enjoyed reading, or think someone else might enjoy, please look for the "Like" button at the bottom of the article text, below the Comments - it will automatically share the article on your Facebook Wall for your friends to read!

Comments are Working

10 Jun 2010

Thank you to the reader who alerted me that the comment submission form was broken. It's now fixed and you are encouraged to post comments!

Back in Business

27 May 2010

After many months of (very) sporadic work trying to fix critical technical issues, last night I finally stumbled upon the reason behind dmperspective's web illness. It is fixed now, and I will resume regular postings.

Over the next few months look for a game-changing pie-in-the-sky downtown development idea, advocacy regarding historic tax credits, an analysis of the Ingersoll streetscape, and Rice Field among others.

Thanks for reading!