8 things

ReadWriteWeb listed 8 Things Every Geek Needs to Do Before 2010. As if I didn’t already have enough things to do! Anyway, I’m giving myself a bit of a reprieve, and some of these will be done by February 1 instead of January 1.

1. Edit your privacy settings and friendships.

This one is easy for me. I practice radical transparency. If I don’t want the world to know about it, I don’t put it anywhere. So, yes, I’ve tracked on some of the Facebook concerns, but since my “friends” know little more about me than other publics do, I frankly am not concerned. If someone decides not to hire me because they’ve seen me being a bit nuts in a classroom, or a bit tipsy at a party, then I don’t want to work there.

(I won’t get into the larger argument. I think there are worthy reasons to pursue certain sorts of privacy, but I think a common understanding of the idea of “privacy” is part of the residue of mass society and now it’s, well… it’s complicated.)


2. Change your passwords.

This one is long in coming. I’ve had a poor password regimen, and someone has put in a malicious backdoor on my Dreamhost account somewhere that leads to access to this blog among other things. I don’t think that’s a password issue (more likely a poorly protected application), but the damage is done.

I don’t like password managers, but I do have a set of relatively default passwords that I reuse at various levels of security. I’ve started replacing those–even for the very basic ones–with a unique password arrived at algorithmically. Replacing all those passwords is going to take a while–and probably won’t be done by 2010. But I’ve gotten a good start on it.


3. Own your name.

I don’t think there’s much more I need to do with this. Nobody is likely to confuse this Alex Halavais with all the others out there.


4. Prune your feeds.

Truth is, my feed reader has grown so out of control that I stopped using it this year. In large part, Twitter and popurls have taken its place.

Nonetheless, I want to be a little more ahead of the curve. I’ll go back to the system I had before, of organizing reads into first, second, and third tiers. I’ll update here as I decide what those waves are.


5. Find a better mobile.

All the chatter about the new Google phone and iSlate isn’t compelling to me. I found the Droid I was looking for. I’m glad I waited. Though I hate being tied to the Verizon contract, and I’m a bit uncomfortable with how closely it clings to Google services, it’s very convenient, and it lets me run my own home-made apps. Even if I never have time to write them, I like the idea of having that option. Looking forward to more locative blogging.


6. Update copyright notices on your website.

RWW is mostly concerned with copyright year, which isn’t really a big deal, at least for me. But (see below), I will be updating the footer to more clearly indicate the Creative Commons License.

7. Revisit your blog.

This one is a big one. I’ve set up an action plan for this blog, which has mainly gone fallow, and will be starting a second site for a new project.

Over the coming weeks, I will:

1. Blog the creation of my new class, of the work I’m doing on a paper, and of my work with the DML Hub and a research network here in New York.

2. Create a research page outlining my scholarship and providing links to as many of my articles (in draft form) as I can.

3. Create a teaching page that does the same, and links to some of the class sites I’ve created.

4, Work through the categories and a tagging structure, as well as effective search.

5. Rethink the layout, and bring in better archives, searching, and my twitter feed.

8. Back up your data.

This has also been a long-time issue for me. I had a box that I was going to turn into a NAS using OpenFiler or FreeNAS, but because of a number of issues, I gave up on that plan, and realized that the (eminently hackable) DLink DNS-321 was on sale for < $100 after rebate. That’s been loaded with a pair of 2TB drives in RAID1. This is a backup system in addition to another server that’s simply set up with a bunch of old drives. Now that the hardware is sorted, need to get the actual backups going (including an offsite backup for the most vital chunks).


As you can see: serious New Years Eve partying this year :). Hoping that “ten” is your best year so far.

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