Sunday, December 23, 2012

Tech Blunders and Good Manners

Here's an interesting commentary on technology and etiquette published by Therese Poletti. Think about this commentary when making your own New Year's Resolutions:

10 tech blunders to avoid in 2013
By Therese Poletti
Dec 20, 2012 09:57:33 (ET)
SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) -- Paul Saffo, Silicon Valley's leading futurist, recently described the current wave of technology as having gone through a transition from "personal" as in the personal computer, to "intimate" with the proliferation of smartphones,
But this intimacy -- having a camera phone and a connection to the Internet in your pocket -- is fueling increasingly annoying behavior.
Chip giant Intel Corp. has even been conducting studies on mobile etiquette. In September, it released a study that found a lot of "oversharing."
"At least six out of 10 adults and teens said they believe other people divulge too much information about themselves online, with Japan being the only exception," Intel said. Read Intel's most recent mobile etiquette survey.

This column visited the issue of smartphone etiquette over two years ago. But I regret to inform you that it appears personal behavior is getting even worse, in no small part to oversharing on social media like Facebook and Twitter.
So here are 10 tech blunders to avoid next year:

No more photos of food in restaurants. Sorry, but I don't really care about your tower of pommes frites, your perfectly braised steak au poivre or your pan-seared sea bass. Photos of food, especially via Instragram, need to stop. I bet I am not the only one sick of food porn.

Check-ins via FourSquare or status updates at airports detailing your destinations, especially exotic locations like Fiji, so that all your friends will be jealous. Perhaps these people do deserve to get robbed after telling their 1,000 Facebook friends they are on their way out of town for a three-week vacation.
Close-up photos of skin problems or other health issues posted in social media, in an effort to "crowd source" a diagnosis or to get sympathy from friends about an illness. Please, just go to the doctor.

Sharing whatever you are listening to over Spotify. Do we really need to learn that so-and-so is listening to Bob Dylan, The Smiths, Britney Spears or Lady Gaga? Often, instead of getting ideas of new music to listen to from our friends, we end up privately laughing at them, or thinking their music choices are pathetic. Just keep your music selections to yourself.

Stop sending massive email attachments, especially over corporate email systems. Many people think everyone welcomes a one megabyte photo or larger of their new baby, grandson, home or pet. Public relations people are the worst, often sending giant attachments, instead of just linking to a website. Stop this rude behavior now.
This is a no-brainer and has been complained about ad infinitum. But it is worth reminding everyone that you should never post drunken photos, photos of yourself chugging booze, in a drinking contest, looking drunk, or out of it. As has been written before, it is very hard to delete photos from social media, and recruiters often search social media to learn more about potential candidates. The same goes for status updates or tweets about being wasted.

Sending messages to individuals on Twitter in public that really should be private messages, or having public arguments over Twitter. Some self-aggrandizing types seem to think that everything they do should be chronicled and scrutinized over Twitter. We don't care.

Stop acting like the smartphone is the center of your world. Do you really need to check your email, play a game, update your Facebook status, or send a tweet every minute of the day? Some people even admit to sleeping with their smartphones. A smartphone is an electronic device, not a spouse. Wake up and look at the world around you.

Be considerate of others when using your mobile phone or tablet. Do not speak loudly in public, text or surf the Web while driving. If you have to make a phone call or send a text, please excuse yourself and leave the room, conversation or meeting. Read more about mobile manners from the Emily Post Institute.

Stop taking up room on public transportation with your laptop-laden backpack, which remains on your back while you stand in the middle of the subway or bus. Or the clueless riders whose mobile offices occupy a seat while fellow commuters are forced to stand. Make room for others and put the bag at your feet. San Francisco is full of arrogant people whose giant bags hog public transport space and I am betting other cities have similar incidents of people with no manners.

For a New Year's resolution in 2013, please try to think about your actions before you type, click, or share.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Stocking Stuffers - Free E-Books

Here's an opportunity for all you last minute holiday shoppers: I'm offering free promotional downloads of the Kindle edition of both CONDITIONAL and UNANNOUNCED on Friday and Saturday, December 21 and 22. Treat your favorite Kindle device to a Merry Christmas indeed by downloading either novel from free of charge during those two days. If you've been very good, your Kindle might even let you enjoy the books yourself. HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Books in Amazon Prime Lending Library

Both UNANNOUNCED and CONDITIONAL are now enrolled in the Amazon Prime Lending Library. Prime members may borrow the Kindle edition of either book free of charge and keep it for as long as they like. Amazon allows one free book loan a month, and members can have only one book at a time. Check out the Lending Library at and enjoy an exciting medical thriller about some things that went off course in a few hospitals accredited by The Joint Commission.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Plaza Book Club Event

George and a few members of the Book Clubs
Discussion of the fiction writing craft and CONDITIONAL in particular at San Antonio's Plaza Club was exciting. In addition to the Plaza Book Club, several members of a book club based at the Cody Branch of San Antonio Public Library attended. Everyone enjoyed a great dinner with butternut squash bisque, an entree of salmon or chicken, followed by a delicious peach cobbler. Quite a few questions about the book and about creative writing generated a lively discussion during and after dinner. The entire evening was enhanced by stunning views of the city's holiday lights from the twenty-first floor downtown penthouse club. George signed copies of CONDITIONAL for a few members, others had downloaded the Kindle edition prior to the meeting.

George discussing his books with the group