How much should we tell Facebook, LinkedIn?

Dos and Don’ts in the social media age

Recently the Facebook “lab rats” testing for its “news feed” is the news (see this one at Guardian). I gave it some more thought and since I’ve thought about this privacy thing before, I’d like to share some of my thoughts.

We all knew (hopefully heard about) a few years ago, people complained employers in the Facebook (or linkedIn), and got fired. So if one does not plan to move on, my suggestion is not to say negative things about employers publicly. Because although Facebook and other social media appears not necessarily public, they are actually public as soon as it’s went up in the air.

The more worrisome thing for me is, though, is with the big data (data scientists) Facebook and LinkedIn got, they have already affected how we interact with friends, reading news, and how to look for new jobs. And in the process they could manipulate how we think (Facebook appears already did this). So there is the danger of intersection of social media, psychology and data science. Should we worry about all this?

I don’t know. I am not a pessimist, but I think to be careful, or use another proverb: trust but verify. The technology usually will brings positive changes to society, but just like iPad, we should be careful don’t let iPad to our baby sitter :-)

PS, I happened to read some unpleasant reviews on my former employer at made by some former coworkers. I don’t think that’s a good idea either. I think those can be address at exit interview, or survey, but not at a public places like I don’t have personal opinion about this website (for/against), I just felt some of the comments went to extreme: too good to be true, or too bad to be true.

Another reason which I think is more relevant to those kinds of comments, is people felt frustrated (due to various reasons). And they felt relieved when they left for new jobs, and they wanted to say whatever they like. Wrong. Two reasons: 1) We don’t want to comment others purely out of our own frustrations; 2) We don’t want to bad mouth others if all at possible.

Oh, boy, now we are talking about human psychology :-)

PS 2: came across this article “Facebook – the big tobacco in social media”, thought it’s interesting read.

Stacy Park vs. Beirne Park

We go to Berine Park a lot, we meant mostly Serentity and myself, sometimes my wife will also go. The main reason is it’s so close to our home, across the street from Olive blvd, and 2 to 3 minutes driving. It’s across the street from the Spoede Elementary School, if everything works out as we expected, that’s where Serenity will go for Kindergarden next year. Beirne Park has some nice feature, as explained by playstlouis blog here. I don’t have any complaints. The only thing is sometimes, it has very few people, probably due to its location (not exactly next to Spoede, tucked in a bit). It could be an advantage too, as sometimes we joked that’s a private park.

But as Serenity gets older, and more social, she really wants to play with other kids, because she is the only one (so far), she can play with kids mostly in parks besides in her pre-school. That’s Stacy Park comes into play. It’s a much bigger park, and has some nice feature too (playstlouis; yelp). And in addition to that, it has the “social feature”, both for Serenity and my wife, as it got more people. Interestingly enough, the Creve Coeur park website says Berine Park is one of the busy park in Creve Coeur, that is probably compared to other Creve Coeur parks. Stacy park got to another level. A few days ago, I think was July 3 evening, I saw bunch of many kids playing soccer, and play ground.

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Self identity

Serenity became 4 years old a few months ago, and we are actually expecting our second child this July. Being the 1st generation Chinese immigrants in mid-west, we have some unique challenges such as being the minority in the community. This is not the case in the pre-school/toddler community we sent Serenity to (Hope Montessori at Creve Coeur). But it’s not always the case. I recall, once when Yoyo was still very little, probably one year old, we went to a mall play ground, and a Caucasian girl (about 10 years old) came over to play with Yoyo, but her dad called her back. It seems to me a race kind thing was going on (from the expression). This is fine with me, my personality is I don’t care too much about discrimination other people say/express towards me. But nonetheless, I don’t want my daughter felt that way when she grows up.

Economy condition
Beside race, another common thing is different economy conditions among families. For us personally, we really work hard to send her to the private pre-school. It’s not a small change for us. I wishes my app store or google adsense revenue could make up some of those some day :-)

Fun aside, once I talked about private school option with a fellow parent (his daughter is my daughter’s good friend in the class). And one worry from her dad, is if we send our kids to private school, will they feel so removed to ordinary people’s lives. Note both of us have fairly humble up-brings. We don’t want our kids growing up having no empathy for people are less fortunate than us. This is a very good point I did not think much before the conversation. Interestingly enough, I heard discussions on similar topic lately with my coworker, one reason they decided moving to new school district is that new school district demographics matches their background better. Not too affluent like some other districts :-)

I will update more as I have more thoughts on this topic.

St. Louis farmers market project

The summer is coming. Since we will be free on Saturday mornings, I plan to take my daughter to all the farmers’ market in the area. We have been to Tower Grove before; Creve Coeur just opened the farmers market at the same time (Saturday morning) at the Parkway north middle school parking lot: 181 Coeur De Ville Drive (intersection of I-270 and Ladue Road). I heard Ellisville has a farmers market too, it’s Thursday 4 to 7:30 pm. Ferguson always has already a good one. Then there is Kirkwood.

Btw, I will update the “To Market” app once I got all the facts correct for the markets in the area.

(Update 05-24-2014) I submitted the 2014 update (v 1.2.4) to the app store a few days ago.

(Update 05-26-2014) I found stltoday has a google map for all the farmers market in the area. Here is the link.

(Update 06-03-2014) The update is available at the iTunes App store.


Kindermusik and Team Central Gymnastics

This is the end of school year, it is also the busiest time for parents and kids. I just realized it this year. As this past week we had two activities for Serenity: besides the Spring musical, we had Spring Performance at Team Central Gymnastics. Yoyo has done this for a year now, I knew she might not be talented in this, and we sometimes skipped classes (especially in the cold winter), but we got to finish it with a strong note.

spring_performance_team_centralIt’s also a bit emotional to say goodbye to our Kindermusik teacher and friends. We have done this for last 2 years, since Yoyo was 2.5 years old. I recall at one time when she was transitioning from toddler class to pre-school at Hope, the only class she likes to go is Kindermusik.

    Spring Musical

    Serenity’s school usually have this Spring Musical, in which each class will take turns and sing two songs. Each year they have a theme. Last year it was about Season. In the May of St. Louis, the weather is almost like summer. Some classes picked Summer, Spring, or Fall, Serenity’s class picked two Winter songs, which I think is quite unique. Here are the two song: Winter Wonderland and A Marshmallow World.

    Winter Wonderland

    A Marshmallow World

    This year’s theme is transportation. Next Wednesday evening, they will have the magic Spring Musical again. I know the songs their class will sing. “Life is a highway”. She has being sing that for a while.

    And “on the road again” by Wille Nelson

    Interestingly, both season (change) and road trip are metaphors of life path, or growing. They are all good picks. And last but not least, the song we all sung together last year is the Circle Game by Joni Michtell. Don’t know about this year’s pick.

    Also, this time I asked Serenity how the teachers picked the song. She said the teachers googled it :-)

    Mall playground, park playground

    (Update 07-20-2014) We went to St. Louis Mills today, as I felt it’s might be a better fit for my older daughter as she is 4 years and 4 months old. I vaguely recall they have a playground, last time we visited there (a year or two ago), Serenity was not quite there yet. Today it’s no question she is ready for that. The plus side of this playground is it’s both big, have a fence around it, and it’s indoor (good for summer and winter). The two new outlet malls in Chesterfield don’t have big playground like the one in Mills.

    (Update 05-10-2014) We went to Chesterfield mall today, specifically the playground, as our little guest has allergy, we try to play inside. Personally I prefer Chesterfield mall over West County mall for the playground, it has more room.

    (Original 05-04-2014) I have not been to the mall much recently, but the past Friday evening we went to mall to pick up something, and let our daughter playing in the playground for a while. Two things made me uncomfortable: one little boy, who is still in diapers, was a bit aggressive, he pushes my daughter and other kids, while his parent does not care much until I complains. Also, there is a “Asian child fund” charity, presumably they see me as asian, asked me for donation, which is fine by itself. I am not comfortable though, is when they showed me the list of money other people gave (don’t know if this is true or not). It’s just not the right way to ask for money, in my opinion.

    Yesterday evening (Saturday), after dinner we went to Beirne Park, and we enjoyed it as usual. Personally I think the atmosphere at park and at mall playgrounds are different. Obviously it’s not a fair comparison too, as the park playground is much bigger. But at least the parent can watch out the kids and teacher them if needed.

    Water outage
    This past Wednesday we had an water outage; this is the first time I experienced this in the condo/maybe in the US. Personally I am not too upset by this, because back in China we had those kinds of things more often when I grew up (power/water outage). I joked we need to go to hotel if we don’t have water. But everyone in the neighborhood was asking each other about what happened. Water was restored after we came back from dinning outside. Yesterday (Saturday) we received a letter from the condo management co. explaining about what happened: it was essentially a clerical/communication mistake, the water company thought we did not pay the water bill, and we have already paid actually. This made me to think: this water company monopoly thing does not help, say if we are not happy with the water company, we can not switch, because they are the only provider.

    Farmers market
    Creve Coeur opened its own farmers market. I saw an interesting comment written a while ago.

    My apps free for a week


    The last app (collegeFund) has a problem I know of, and I already submit the fix/update. It will take some time for App store to review and make it to the store.