children

Now on Oprah.com: Life passages online, plus an empty nest bonus

My latest blog post for Oprah.com talks about ways to get support during life passages. Whether you’re celebrating milestones like the birth of a baby, a marriage or a birthday, or confronting challenges like death or illness, I’ve got some pointers on how the web can help. This post looks at one passage in particular: your newly empty nest.

The geek’s guide to child-proofing: how to keep your tech safe from baby

The geek’s guide to child-proofing: how to keep your tech safe from baby

With the wisdom earned from six years’ of childraising, two destructive children and four or five figures’ worth of maimed technology, I’d like to weigh in on the neglected side of childproofing. Because once you’ve figured out how to keep your baby safe from your stuff, it’s time to figure out how to keep your stuff safe from baby.

12 things you don’t know about Rob Cottingham

12 things you don’t know about Rob Cottingham

In a few hours I’ll be thankful for a plate of turkey, stuffing and gravy. Meanwhile, there’s nothing like jamming chunks of bread into the cavity of a formerly living creature to make you appreciate what really matters in life. As I stood elbow-deep in turkey, I found myself reflecting on the person who is at the heart of most of what I have to be thankful for this year

Social media and the health sector: an introduction with case studies

Social media and the health sector: an introduction with case studies

Social capital, understood as the density of relationships and trust within a community, is a key determinant of health. Individuals are happier and healthier in communities with high levels of social capital, and high social capital communities have stronger economies and more stable political systems. This post provides an introduction to the role of social media in building social capital, illustrated with examples of how health care organizations are using social media for storytelling, connecting and knowledge management.

How the social web can nourish your most personal relationship

How the social web can nourish your most personal relationship

The process of strengthening a relationship by working hard together; by facing, nurturing and celebrating your successes and challenges together — that’s an experience that’s open to any couple, or indeed any relationship, that integrates the creative and communicative possibilities of the social web. Here are some of the ways you can use the social web to bring the energy of creative collaboration into your relationship.

You can’t download sovereignty

You can’t download sovereignty

I waited for Tivo. I waited for iTunes video downloads — and I'm coping with its still-too-limited content. I'm even scraping by without Amazon Unbox. But THIS is the last straw:

We are deeply, deeply sorry to say that due to licensing constraints, we can no longer allow access to Pandora for listeners located outside of the U.S. We will continue to work diligently to realize the vision of a truly global Pandora, but for the time being we are required to restrict its use. We are very sad to have to do this, but there is no other alternative.

Our friend Adam put us onto Pandora a couple of months ago. It is a deeply groovy, rapidly addictive web radio service that creates custom channels based on your musical preferences. It took just a tiny bit of feedback to get a great mix that plays a great range of mellow working tunes on one channel, a set of showtunes on another channel, and energetic hip-hop on a third. Most magically, each channel settles into that perfect balance of tunes you know and love, and tunes that you are thrilled to discover. For those of us who have ceded control of the radio to our children, this is a wonderful chance to explore musical genres that don't involve farm animals or princesses.

But once again, Canadian sovereignty has done me out of my online content. Part of me (the part that subscribes to Entertainment Weekly) wants us to undertake the digital-era equivalent of those currency schemes in which countries adopt the US dollar instead of going to the trouble of running their own currencies; let's just trade our precious intellectual property freedoms for a broadband hookup that delivers all the goodies available to our southern neighbours, and sign onto all the American I.P. laws so that what works there works here.

The other part of me (the part that subscribes to the New Yorker) is sick of being ingored by media companies that can't be bothered to navigate regulations they haven't written themselves. Yes, it's very convenient to get the laws changed when your mouse is about to go rogue, but sometimes companies have to figure out how to comply with laws instead of just writing new ones.

And the way I see it, there's no time like the present: with the majority of the US media empire stymied by a labour force that has recognized its own interests in digital media rights, their lawyers might as well turn their attention this way. Maybe we can catch their attention if we point out that the writers up here are covered by a different union.