Category Archives: Trends

It’s a big week for Facebook. Yesterday they announced the Friendfeed acquisition and today they’re upgrading their search capabilities.

When I teach personal branding on Facebook, I always warned people to make a note of important things when they see them – that the information will disappear into the stream as fast as it got there. Now that is no more. Facebook has improved search to cover all those great (and not-so-great) things in your stream.


According to their blog post,

You now will be able to search the last 30 days of your News Feed for status updates, photos, links, videos and notes being shared by your friends and the Facebook Pages of which you’re a fan. If people have chosen to make their content available to everyone, you also will be able to search for their status updates, links and notes, regardless of whether or not you are friends. Search results will continue to include people’s profiles as well as relevant Facebook Pages, groups and applications.

So now you can find that site someone shared with you and you were going to look at later. The search results filter things on the left-hand side, which is a familiar format for Facebook users. You can view results by friends, posts, applications, and more. You can even search the Web and Facebook will source the results from bing.

This definitely makes Facebook more useful for me – if only because I do put off acting on my friends’ suggestions and this makes things more searchable. Will I change my privacy settings to make my content available to everyone on Facebook? Probably not. I’ll stick to my friends in my walled garden and be perfectly content.



Tweet Michelle @writetechnology, send her technology news at michelle[at]writetech[dot]net, visit her wine blog when you’re thirsty, and drop by her day job.

Today, the Wall Street Journal has an article on coffee shops that are “pulling the plug” on laptop users. Apparently people (and they’re blaming it on the unemployed) are getting their cheap, refillable cup of coffee and then hanging out for hours, using the free wi-fi. In return, coffee shops are instituting “no laptop” rules for specific hours, such as between 11 am – 2 pm, or after 8 pm. They are also locking the outlets so that laptop users can’t charge up.

But in New York, the trend is accelerating among independents. At Cocoa Bar locations in Brooklyn and on the Manhattan’s Lower East Side, a five-month-old rule forbids laptops after 8 on Friday and Saturday nights. At Espresso 77 in Jackson Heights, Queens, owners covered three of five electric outlets six months ago after its loosely enforced laptop-use restrictions failed to encourage turnover. At two of three Café Grumpy locations — one in Brooklyn and the other in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood — laptops are never welcome.

Now, as a freelance writer, I work from home. That means I often get lonely, so about once a week, I head to the Bean Haus in nearby Covington. Covington is one of those urban, trendy areas that are fun anyway, and the Bean Haus is a funky, independently owned place that makes my chai from pressing real tea leaves.

I will hang out at the Bean Haus for up to 4 hours at a time. After that, I feel rather like I’m imposing, although they certainly don’t make me feel that way. In my four hours, I will drink at least three, if not four, $4.38 large skim chai lattes. Why? I sort of see it as paying for the free wi-fi. I would never just sit there and nurse one drink for more than an hour. This sort of rule, although personal, seems polite. I’m plugged into their outlet, using their table (usually a window seat), and taking advantage of their free wi-fi. Bean Haus is my office away from my home office. I even hold meetings there occasionally, as they have a wonderful (and free) conference room.

The sandwich/bakery/coffee chain Panera, locally, has always had the no laptops between 11 – 2 pm rule. It makes sense; they have a lunch crowd. I won’t often work at Panera though, because I don’t feel comfortable turning my back on my laptop for a few minutes to order a new latte. At Bean Haus, I am perfectly comfortable with that.

Part of me wishes the WSJ hadn’t published that article. I certainly don’t want to give any of the awesome coffee shops around here any ideas. So freelancers, unemployed, and other office-free folks, I beg you. Don’t abuse your free outlets and wi-fi at the local coffee shop. Give them your business, not just your body taking up a seat.

Image Credit: mangpages, via CC license



Tweet Michelle @writetechnology, send her technology news at michelle[at]writetech[dot]net, visit her wine blog when you’re thirsty, and drop by her day job.

This is a bit of fun for a Monday morning. is sort of an LOLCats for your parents on Facebook. We’ve all experienced this at one point or another. Whether your own parents joined or your aunt. In my case, my parents and in-laws haven’t yet joined, but my best friend’s mom and aunt have both joined. It does add somewhat of a twist to your Facebook experience.

Of course, our parents rarely “get” it when they join Facebook, so it can lead to some funny and/or embarassing moments. Jeanne & Erika, inspired by the Facebook misadventures of their own families, started “Oh Crap. My Parents Joined Facebook.”


They’re asking you to email your own familial Facebook fun to In the meantime, just relax and have a chuckle at the Facebook Fun they’ve already posted.



Tweet Michelle @writetechnology, send her technology news at michelle[at]writetech[dot]net, visit her wine blog when you’re thirsty, and drop by her day job.

I just got back from BlogHer  ’09, a conference which astounded and disappointed me all at once. Amongst other things, I was floored at the number of attendees who wanted “pay for post.”

I pride myself on my blogging ethics. As a wine blogger, I receive a lot of samples and a lot of complimentary meals. I also have a disclaimer and sample policy on my blog and I make sure that whenever I receive something for free, I tell my readers. Giving me something for free does not guarantee a positive review. If an winery advertises on my site, I won’t review their wines. As a tech blogger, I also occasionally receive technology to review and when I’m done, I give it back. I do not have a multitude of phones and gadgets sitting around for which I didn’t pay.

Perhaps that is why I was so disappointed to hear so many people at the event wanting pay for post. To be clear, pay for post is a sponsored post. In my own life, perhaps a winery would offer to pay me to positively review their wine. Locally, we had a group of people who received free meals, were not clear about it, and in return for the free meal blogged a positive review. Pay for post. It’s no different from a magazine giving great product reviews to a major advertiser without full disclosure. Truly, I don’t get it. In my mind, pay for post compromises your credibility. Why would you want to do that?

BlogHer was rather heavy on the “Mommy Bloggers,” which is a whole other post in itself. Remember, Mommy Bloggers, like tech bloggers, are key influencers and are being offered a lot of household and baby products for free or pay for post. But several of the Mommy Bloggers have created Blog with Integrity, in response to the proposed FTC Guidelines and, as I witnessed, some of the greed existing in their own community (as well as others). Blog With Integrity is really just a badge you put on your web site. Launched on July 22 (the day before BlogHer), the site has already extracted pledges from 453 bloggers. According to the women who created the site,

After a spring and early summer of polarizing debates about blogger compensation, sponsored posts and product reviews, an alarming increase in ethical lapses and idea theft, and a growing backlash against poor blogger relations practices, we believed it was time to refocus on integrity.
The Blog with Integrity pledge recognizes that there’s no single right way to blog and more than enough room in the world for different approaches.
What matters is the relationship with our readers. Meeting our commitment to them and to our community. Clear disclosure of our interests so they can evaluate our words. Treating others with respect. Taking responsibility for our words and actions.

All you need to do to sign up is enter your name and blog URL on a contact form and place the badge on your web site. The “code of conduct” is simple and to the point – and isn’t heavy handed like a blogger code of conduct that came out in past years.

What do you think – do bloggers need a written code of ethics, no matter how simple?



Tweet Michelle @writetechnology, send her technology news at michelle[at]writetech[dot]net, visit her wine blog when you’re thirsty, and drop by her day job.

This is a rumor folks, but what a juicy one it is.

Gizmodo points us to an article in today’s Financial Times about the rumored launch of an Apple tablet just in time for the Christmas Shopping Season this year. The  device sounds an awful lot like a giant iPod Touch, so I’m not sure how much credence I put in this. I’ve travelled a lot lately, so my mindset is sort of “How could I use this on a plane?” and that would be pretty handy for movies. (Although the iPod Touch/iPhone takes up a lot less space.)

This will compete directly, I would think, with the various “netbooks” that are out there. Apple has done enough with touchscreens to be able to support a tablet, and the keyboard would be more usable to those of us with fat finger syndrome.

According to the Financial Times,

Apple is racing to offer a portable tablet-sized computer in time for the Christmas shopping season, in what the entertainment industry hopes will be a new revolution.

The device is expected to be launched alongside new content deals, including some aimed at stimulating sales of CD-length music, according to people briefed on the project. The touch-sensitive computer will have a screen that may be up to 10 inches diagonally.

The article takes great pains to mention that this could also be a competitor to the Kindle, with book publishers already interested. My thoughts on that? Unless it’s e-ink, which is easy on the eyes, I don’t see it as a challenge to e-Book Readers like the Kindle and/or the Sony.

Estimated pricing is between $600-$1000 (did I mention it’s a rumor?). Would you buy an Apple tablet in that price range or is this just another random tech gadget?


Send Michelle technology news at
Michelle at michelle[at]writetech[dot]net, visit her wine blog when you’re thirsty, and drop by her day job.