Archive for Technology

Smithsonian bans selfie sticks

From a Smithsonian press release:

For the safety of our visitors and collections, the Smithsonian prohibits the use of tripods or monopods in our museums and gardens. Effective today, March 3, monopod selfie sticks are included in this policy.
This is a preventive measure to protect visitors and objects, especially during crowded conditions.
We encourage museum visitors to take selfies and share their experiences—and leave the selfie sticks in their bags.

Good move and I guess it must’ve become a problem at other museums if not the Smithsonian yet. 

You’re Doing Twitter Wrong


Rusty Blazenhoff of CNET has the details on a video by the comedy duo Tripp and Tyler:

In their latest video, sketch-comedy duo Tripp and Tyler confront each other on all the offensive ways they’ve been using Twitter. Yes, they are speaking to each other, but make no mistake, this eye-opening piece is really directed at you, dear self-proclaimed social-media guru.

Here’s the video:

Russians threaten to block Twitter and Facebook


Russia’s internet regulator has threatened to block Twitter, in the most detailed warning on the options Moscow is considering in its efforts to tighten restrictions over the internet.

“We can block Twitter or Facebook in Russia tomorrow within a few minutes,” Maksim Ksenzov, deputy head of Roskomnadzor, the telecom, IT and communications supervisory agency, said in an interview published by daily newspaper Izvestia on Friday.

“If at any point we believe that the consequences of ‘switching off’ social networks will be less significant than the damage done to Russian society by the unconstructive position of the leadership of international companies, we will do what we have to under the law,” he added.

The remarks come as bloggers, civil rights advocates and internet companies are fretting over legal amendments which could transform Russia’s so far freewheeling online sphere into a much more controlled space.

This should be no real surprise for anyone. Russia is just staying true to is autocratic tendencies, just like China and other countries who have done this.

Online problems continue to plague campaigns


I’ve previously written about problems in execution various candidates have had for social media and email platforms. This time I have an item for three different campaigns.

Authority lines are one issue. Here’s what John Wagner pointed out in a December 2013 story about many candidates and legislators not having authority lines on their Twitter account:

Under regulations issued in 2010, all candidates in Maryland are supposed to include an “authority line” when they promote themselves on social media, including Facebook and Twitter. Violations are subject to a fine of up to $500.


With new enforcement powers that were included in legislation passed this year, [State Board of Elections official Jared] DeMarinis said the elections board intends to start cracking down on candidates who aren’t following the rules.

A reminder about the social-media requirements was included in a memo that the board sent in September to candidates, their chairman and their treasurers. There are also reminders on the board’s campaign finance Web site.

I noticed yesterday that Mike Hough, via his @houghforsenate twitter account had an authority line, but it was an incorrect one. The authority line was attributed to Hough for Delegate. After checking to make sure his current campaign organization was indeed called Hough for Senate, I made this tweet:

Shortly thereafter, the profile was changed to correct the authority line. This was apparently just an oversight made back in February when Delegate Hough announced he was running for senate.

There’s another candidate in District 4 running for delegate with authority line issues. David Vogt has no authority line at all on his Twitter or Facebook accounts.

Here’s his Twitter account profile for @Vote4VogtTeam:


UPDATE:  Almost a month after he filed, Vogt’s campaign corrected the Twitter account shortly after I made this post today (3/17/14)

This is something that should have been taken care of when Vogt entered the race for delegate after dropping out of the congressional race. He withdrew from the congressional and filed for delegate on February 20. Vogt had another Twitter account (@Vote4VogtMedia) affiliated with his congressional campaign, but it has been inactive since November.

Vogt also neglected to put authority lines on his campaign Facebook page. (UPDATE: His campaign added an authority line to the about section on the Facebook page shortly after I posted this also. That was something they previously neglected to do since February 20.)

Here’s the main view:


Here’s the full about page:



Moving on from the authority lines, the next issue is a minor one by comparison.

Today, the campaign of Charles Lollar posted a link on Facebook to a message from Art Laffer. It was clear when you clicked on the link that the message had originally been sent as an email. However, when you go to the page from it being linked in Facebook or elsewhere the code for variables (for mail merge) show like this:

Dear {{ recipient.first_name_or_friend }},

This relates to the message text being manually posted into a blog post (NationBuilder does not auto-generate web versions of emails)  from the original email without the codes being removed. As I said, it’s not a huge deal but it’s something that can be fixed moving forward.

Here’s what it looked like:


As I’ve noted,  I have critiqued campaign/political emails and social media on more than one occasion before. Most recently a critiqued a poorly executed David Brinkley email and a brutally ugly Larry Hogan email. Additionally, I pointed out the problems in another Hogan email.

I previously wrote about ethical issues with Wade Kach emails. I did the same for an email sent by Kathy Szeliga and got a very nice response and reaction from her about it. I also criticized a Maryland GOP email sent out in April. Additionally, I was critical of one of the worst political emails I’ve ever seen sent by the Lollar campaign (that was in addition to writing about all the twists and turns while the Lollar campaign website was down for 11 days.) I wrote about the Maryland GOP sending out a 1300-word email on the 4th of July and the campaign of Ken Cuccinelli sending out an 1100 word email. These are all subjects I have written about before based on my experiences being  involved in the process of creating and sending political emails all the way up to the point of clicking on the big green send button in the email system.

An unforced error by David Craig’s campaign manager


Previously, I wrote about a post made on David Craig’s Facebook page made over the weekend.


Then later that night, this comment showed up on the above status:


Some people might say that commenting about a typo is probably a bad move. I probably would’ve deleted the status and replaced it with a corrected one had it been me. Unlike personal user profiles, it’s not possible to change a status message on a Facebook page unless it’s one with a photo posted. Another option would have been to leave it as-is. My reason for just deleting and replacing: there were no comments made on the status until the Ellington one apologizing for the typo. So, Ellington drew attention to the error where no one had previously commented about it.

After that, gadfly Jason Boisvert, a Lollar supporter, chimed in:


There was no evidence of any “attack” as far as anyone else reading this post on Craig’s Facebook page was concerned. And actually, if you read my original post there was no attack. I posted it without comment. This is just a sign of Jason Boisvert‘s obsession with anyone online who disagrees with him.

This was no big deal in the beginning. It still really isn’t, but it’s a slightly bigger one now. You can look at the sheer volume of blog posts on this site to see that just making a short blog post on its own is not an “attack.” Of course, Paul Ellington and Jason Boisvert both have paper-thin skin, as shown by Ellington’s behavior before after I wrote something he didn’t like.

Maybe the Craig campaign should have someone other than the campaign manager handling their social media accounts. It seems like a waste of his valuable time, especially in light of the fact that I’ve been told he doesn’t “get” blogs or social media before.

Google Doodle for Veterans Day 2013


Above is a Google Doodle up now for Veterans Day 2013. Google has done a Veterans Day doodle before. However, they have caught criticism for their selection or omission of other days to honor with a Google Doodle in some circles.

Ruling: Police must get warrants for GPS trackers


If the police have to get warrants for these now, then what will the states do about these harebrained schemes to track mileage via GPS to tax citizens?

A federal appeals court has laid down new restrictions on police who use GPS to catch suspected criminals.

The recent ruling by the 3rd Circuit Court in Philadelphia is putting many cases on hold and might overturn quite a few more as evidence is thrown out in Maryland and elsewhere.

The panel expanded an earlier Supreme Court ruling and requires police to get a warrant before attaching a GPS tracking device on a suspect’s vehicle.

The court agreed that the practice which has been commonplace since the system became available a few years ago amounts to a violation of 4th Amendment protection against unreasonable searches.

The exception is in the case of an imminent danger.

The justice department is considering an appeal.