It’s a Small World Afterall – Tiny House Movement.

Houses seem to be getting bigger and bigger until they take up most of the block of land they’re on. No room for kids to play. No room for a shed. No room for gardening, which is okay because with climate change and water restrictions, it’s not like you could keep anything alive anyway.

Tiny HouseIt seems to me like this is just the way it will be. Ever smaller block thanks to subdivision and urban crush, with multi-storey dwellings becoming the norm. Increases in medium to high density living and a constant pull on resources in constantly decreasing public spaces…

 

That was until I was this website yesterday. The Tiny Life is a cause I could really see gaining momentum. 

The cost of living is always increasing, but it seems we are having to stretch the dollar further and further these days just to make ends meet. Demands on housing mean pretty soon the “1/4 acre block” will become a thing of fantasy, or the exclusive domain of those with an endless supply of cash.

It just seems to make more sense to me to live small. At the very least it means less space to keep clean! 

A house on a trailer is the land equivalent of a houseboat, without the constant holiday feel of living in a caravan. Brilliant! Not to mention that it seems to me to be a highly sustainable way of living, requiring less resources and making less impact on the environment. 

All in all, it would be lovely, and I think I may have just changed my plans for the future. 

Would you be able to live like this? Could you live off the grid and on a trailer? Let me know!

On Being Thankful.

Giving thanksThis morning an article on LinkedIn caught my eye. I finished reading it and spent a moment thinking about its underlying meaning.

There are things to be thankful for in any situation, but sometimes we find it easier and, dare I say it, more socially acceptable to be down on everything in our lives.

This is my time to be thankful. Being thankful isn’t just able saying, “Thank you,” and moving on. It’s about seeing the silver lining in the darkest cloud, knowing it’s there, appreciating it, embracing it and carrying it with you as you move through the difficult situation. It’s about allowing the good feeling of being thankful to fill you and not feeling ashamed to smile about it, regardless of how people around you are acting.

These are the things I am thankful for:

  • I have a good, healthy life
  • My child is healthy
  • I have a healthy, happy relationship with a partner who supports me and my decisions
  • I can support my family financially and emotionally
  • I have attended university
  • I have people around me who believe I can succeed
  • I am able to show my intelligence and not be sidelined for it
  • I work with great people who are genuine about their interests and passionate about their work

Now, this isn’t about joining in on the American tradition of Thanksgiving Day.

It’s about making sure I, and I hope you as well, take the time to reflect on what is really precious in life. Offering a silent thank you and being truly appreciative is not often something we do these days, but I think it’s a very important part of bringing a sense of balance to an otherwise hectic schedule. All it takes is a moment of your time.

Facebook Ditches Old Settings… Again.

So, the other day I got this email from Facebook.

The Facebook email

I knew the change was coming. I had known for a while but, like most other Facebook changes that are gossiped about, I thought it wisest to leave it until it was officially confirmed by Facebook. I knew exactly why this setting was being removed, even before Facebook decided to tell anyone. What I didn’t count on was no one else picking up on the possible implications of it all.

I logged into Facebook this morning and saw this:

Facebook warning

Well, now it’s on like Donkey Kong.

So, what does the removal of this setting mean for the average Facebook user?

Not much… Unless you like privacy and are lazy in locking down your privacy settings.

Basically, this change is being made to make way for Graph Search. Haven’t heard about Graph Search? Watch this space. I’ll tell you about it real soon. In a nutshell, Facebook’s Graph Search is going to allow for more personalised search terms to be entered into the search bar and yield results which you might think strange.

Rather than searching through your friend list for all your friends who like a certain band, then looking through them to find out who also likes another band, you will just be able to type into the search bar: “friends who like band x and band y” to get your results.

On face value, this seems fairly innocent, right? Right. Except for the fact that this information is being obtained from the 6 petabytes of user information that crosses the Facebook servers every day. If you haven’t already taken a look at your security and privacy settings, to limit who sees what you post, I would suggest doing it now. I would also suggest limiting your past posts. Another thing I would suggest doing, which is going to take you a little time, especially for those of your with large numbers of people in your friend’s list, is to start creating friends lists, if you haven’t done so already. This is going to make sure you can pick and choose who sees what with a little more control.

If you have no care about who can see your personal information, then as you were soldier. If you’re concerned that your personal information might be seen by people you have no association with, then I say to you: Either lock down your profile or get off Facebook altogether.

EDIT:

This morning when I logged in to Facebook, I had this pop-up in front of my newsfeed.

Facebook pop-up

Seems like they’re making sure everyone sees the notification. I’m guessing there’s more to this settings change than most others in the past.. Hmmmmm…

The Cloud is not as safe as you think it is.

We have all been taken in by the romance of the Cloud. Not longer do we require terrabytes of storage for our documents, hooked up to our desktop computers. This has been one of the most important steps in freeing us from the shackles of our desktop machines, bringing about the rise of the laptop/tablet/notebook/iDevice/miniwhatever.

IBM Cloud Computing

But, and it’s a very big but, is all that information you’re transmitting and sharing through the Cloud as safe as you think it is? Short answer: no.

Take, for example, the case of Dan Tynan. Dan was one of hundreds of people using the Cloud to store and share files for work purposes. Through sheer bad luck and a series of seemingly minor errors, his entire cloud-based drive was deleted. In a flash, his entire collection of work documents disappeared. Not only would this have cause hours and dollars in trying to reinstate all the documents, but he could also have been held in breach of contracts he had with companies who included clauses stating he was required to hold onto documents for a period of time, in case of a lawsuit.

Well, surely this couldn’t happen to anyone? It’s just a rare occurrence, I hear you say. Ha!

Between operating system updates deleting your back-ups, the Cloud being blamed for loss of jobs, messy court cases over who actually owns data and if anyone actually has the responsibility of returning data, and Symantec “discovering” that apparently 43% of users lose data in the Cloud, it’s little wonder that more and more people are choosing to turn away from cloud-based computing and return to physical and local storage of data.

Sure, it may not be “cool”. It may mean having to organise an off-site backup for really really important data, just in case. It may even mean investing in a fire-proof, water-proof safe for storing … *shudder* … back up copies, but anything has to be safer than someone you have never met having control over your information.