Friday, March 28, 2014

Attrell Update

Hey sister (and to anybody else reading this),

As you are well aware, you're not living in Canada right now. In fact, you're actually studying in Dijon, France right now. What you might NOT have known, is that since we stopped living together (when I moved away for school) is that I've been missing you (a lot!) and wishing I had a good way to keep up with your life.

What I'm proposing is pretty simple really: we keep YouTube video journals, updated weekly, that let the other know what is going on in our lives, or just talks about anything we want! Really, the video above explains it all.

I made a YouTube channel for us (here, or here: +Attrell Update) and I'll let you start the proceedings. Let me know which day of the week you'd like to take to post your video, and I'll pick one that's on the other side of the week.

I got the inspiration for this idea from two brothers, John and Hank Green, doing a similar project for the last few years (+vlogbrothers) and they have really gotten to have fun with it, and I think we can do the same!

See you very soon, I can't wait to see what you come up with!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Bad Relationship Advice (You Should Take)


Far be it for me to give any kind of help with others' relationships, but in this case I think I've stumbled on something that might actually be useful for a lot of people who tend to get in trouble when they are just trying to have fun (as I am often wont to do).

One of my favourite shows AND it fits this post perfectly!
Basically, I treat my social relationships as a game a lot of the time (serious situations notwithstanding, obviously) and it tends to cause friction more often than it needs to when discussing extremely stupid stuff.

That being said, here's what I propose:

Treat conversations with people you care about like a game of Hollywood Squares.

In case that needs some explanation, Hollywood Squares is a game that has been on TV in various forms for a REALLY long time. There are modern versions of concepts that are very similar to this (like @Midnight and I assume Celebrity Game Night), but the basic premise is getting funny people together and letting them have a good time for entertainment. They are asked questions and are given free rein to provide one joke answer to the question that pops into their heads, before continuing to seriously address the question.

I think that relationships, more than anything, are about having fun spending time with the person you're with. Keeping that in mind, I think that people should be given a free pass to give one joke answer to a non-serious question (and even perhaps serious questions to break tension, so long as it's not abused).

My very favourite kind of humour (wow that is a very British sentence) is off-the-cuff, ad-libbed humor that ties together past situational references in humourous ways. This means that sometimes a really well-phrased (but not socially considerate) joke will sometimes escape my lips, and I don't think it necessarily warrants a massive blowback every time it happens.

I've already brought this up with my sig. oth. (a abbrev. I have simultaneously coined and disavowed myself from) and have asked for this opportunity in our relationship. I hope it will really help, and if it leads to any hilarious happenstances I will be sure to keep you updated.

Side note: I really do think that most things we as humans tend to be sensitive about are so funny for the very reasons we're all sensitive about them, because we can all relate. I constantly try to break down barriers of stereotyping with socially conscious jokes, following in the footsteps of my heroes like Michael Scott (Steve Carell) and Stephen Colbert (Stephen Colbert). I think we could all do with a little less sensitivity and a little more humour.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

I stayed in touch with ALL the cool people in my life with this one weird trick.

Hello friends and family,

Here's an idea for you, do yourself a favour and give it a try:

First, log in to your Gmail account, henceforth called your Google Account (Gmail).

Now that you've done that, head to the sidebar where your display picture and chat list are (on the right -->) and click on your display picture (you will see the options shown over there).

Right at the top, click on "Try the new Hangouts". You will be shown an message explaining hangouts, and though it will seem foreign, click OK and once your email reloads, you are ready to start exploring Hangouts in all its glory.

For starters, once you've taken the above steps, you can click on the new chat search (called "New Hangout") and start typing my name. Depending on how close friends we are, my name and photo should show up right away and you can begin typing out a message to me. Say hi and I'll welcome you to the wonderful world that is Hangouts!

Now that you're all connected and ready to go, it's time to discover what you can do with Hangouts. If you head to Google+, you will see that your same chat list will appear on the right side of the window. If they're not there yet, click the Hangouts button at the top right of the window and they'll pop up right away.

You can start a free phone or video call from your computer, iOS or Android device (download the Hangouts app here from your phone, this page also contains a ton of info about the app).

This week on +Future Tech Chat, we will be discussing all of the details of Hangouts, and comparing it to the myriad other chat and video apps available to you, and hopefully we can convince you that Hangouts is the place to be.

As a final note, while Google+ is awesome, it definitely isn't necessary to use Google+ in order to use Hangouts.

You can check out the discussion on Hangouts and other chat apps here too, starting live at 12:30 PM EST on Saturday, March 22nd, 2014. If you're reading this after the episode has aired, the video will be watchable in its entirety. Hope you like it!

And remember to tune in to +Future Tech Chat every week for a new episode. We're also starting a blog which will cover tech questions and cover topics like this.

Follow us @FutureTechChat on Twitter or Future Tech Chat on Facebook, and be sure to subscribe and follow on YouTube and Google+ to stay up to date!

Friday, March 14, 2014

The Future in the Present

Hello friends, family, and other,

The following is a shameless plug for something I've been working very hard on lately. If you like the idea, please share it with friends and family!

I'm writing this now because I've been working on a project for the last 6 weeks that is a culmination of a lot of thinking I've done since finishing my master's degree in 2011. So far, it has consisted of a weekly live video chat with some of my more technologically inclined friends, but I hope to expand this project more soon. I call it +Future Tech Chat, and in these discussions we delve into the world of the near technological future, or the recent present to share ideas and information about technology with the world.

I have a lot of strong ideas about technology, the internet, and the world we now live in. I'm eager to talk about these ideas and to share them with you, and I really hope you like what my friends and I have done so far. We've discussed cell phone carriers and data plans, social media, "the cloud" and many other little topics in between. The episode this week covers digital photography, a topic that has become very near and dear to my heart in the last year. The motivation for covering photos and video in the context of the internet stems from a conversation I had with my sister on the weekend. She is currently studying in Dijon, France for a semester, and she has been taking lots of pictures (as girls her age are wont to do when travelling). When we had a video chat last weekend, she wanted to share a collection of pictures she took with her phone with myself and my parents (who are in Calgary and were also on this video call).

As is so often the case, we had to give up this endeavour right away, because she had no system in place to keep her photos backed up online. She had been sharing small sets of photos on Facebook, but if she wanted to keep her family and close friends more updated on her life in France, she was unaware that there are valuable sets of tools to do just that on the internet. I intend to address that tomorrow at 12:30 PM on the next Future Tech Chat (viewable here directly!). These chats are scheduled as events on the Google+ page +Future Tech Chat and can be viewed directly from there, or on the YouTube channel.

Mostly, what I want to accomplish with this weekly (for now...*foreshadowing*) webcast is to be able to open the eyes of those around me to the possibilities that the internet and our current technologies present to us on a daily basis. For those people out there who wish to do more with technology, to solve problems and to bring people closer, this is the place for you.

For now, if you have any questions or suggestions for topics you'd like to see discussed (no tech topic is off-limits), there are a few ways to get in touch with me or to stay in the loop about the project (or to provide advice/constructive criticism).

In order of relevance:

YouTube: (subscribe and/or leave a comment)

Google+: +Future Tech Chat (follow the page and/or leave a comment)

Twitter: @FutureTechChat (follow the account or tweet @ me)

Facebook: Future Tech Chat (like the page and leave a comment)
*I do not like Facebook for this because it limits reach of posted content from people and pages to encourage paying to promote posts)

And thanks to +Mike Attrell+Carolyn Higman and +Nick Maddox for helping me out in getting this started! If you are interested in participating in a future chat, please let me know.

This playlist contains all the tech chats we've had so far, I hope you enjoy them!