Going in Google+ circles

Going in Google+ circles

Are you in the Circle?

Apparently, I am. But I’m not in the loop.

Circles are the latest social media hub — the place where you want to be. It’s replacing followers on Twitter and friends on Facebook.

And yet, Google+, the company’s newest social-networking effort, looks a lot like the latter social networking site.

You organize people into Circles and you can choose what you share with them. There’s a news feed, called a Stream, and a feature called Sparks that encourages users to plug into news that interests them. And there are things called Hangouts, a 10-person video chat that’s way cooler than anything Facebook has to offer thus far.

The best part? You don’t have to request to be friends with anyone. Or approve (or ignore) friend requests. Always the awkward part about Facebook.

A look at Google+

Sounds great, doesn’t it?

Except I have no idea how this whole thing is supposed to work.

There are so many terms I need to get used to: Huddle, Spark, Hangout, Circles. I was just getting used to tweeting and DM-ing. Now I need to master the Google+ lingo while managing the same friends I’ve already organized in Twitter (in lists) and Namesake (in conversations) on a site that looks like my Facebook.

I have a headache.

I’m wondering if all this social media stuff is really making me more social — or more socially deficient. I spent more time these days managing my sites — posting pics, responding to replies and comments, browsing status updates, endorsing followers, “like”-ing photos of double rainbows — that I don’t have time to really socialize with real people in real time in real life.

Is this really what social media should be about?

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Great Debate: Kids in restaurants

Great Debate: Kids in restaurants

Let’s face it: we love kids.

Until they kick our seats in a plane or scream mercilessly in a restaurant.

But is banning kids from places like airplanes and restaurants really fair?

This question came up recently when a Pennsylvania restaurant decided to ban kids under six starting July 16.

McDain’s owner Mike Vuick sent this email to his customers:

“Beginning July 16, 2011, McDain’s Restaurant will no longer admit children under six years of age. We feel that McDain’s is not a place for young children. Their volume can’t be controlled and many, many times, they have disturbed other customers.”

I can totally empathize.

The other day we were having dinner at a Japanese restaurant. On a nearby table, a child kept screaming at the top of her little lungs, mostly for no reason. Her parents did little more than shush her quietly to no avail.

And I can clearly remember an afternoon spent at the movies with a toddler running up and down the theater aisle, screaming, with parents creating more of a distraction trying to stop him. After a few very loud complaints directed to the parents — “Control your kid!” was the most effective — the entire family left the theater. To applause. (Read Joel Stein’s column, “Baby on Board,” in TIME.)

According to a story in Reuters, banning kids from restaurants and other places of business isn’t technically illegal. (Nowhere does it say you can’t discriminate based on age. Think about 21-and-over hotel pools — I’ve been to one — and discounts for seniors.)

But is it fair? Or right?

I can understand why business owners want to put in place these blanket bans. Who wants uncontrollable kids ruining the experience of other patrons?

But maybe it’s not the kids who should be banned — but their parents.

What do you think?

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Co-working: the new way we work

Co-working: the new way we work

Have you been to a Starbucks lately?

People aren’t just buying overpriced lattes and oatcakes.

They’re meeting clients, they’re tweaking websites, they’re studying for finals, they’re grading papers.

Starbucks has long been the office away from your office. Freelance writers, IT consultants, wedding planners, mom bloggers — anyone in need of an office space (and who was tired of being distracted by laundry piles and daytime TV at home) would pack up computers and cords, put on sweats and head to the nearest coffee shop with free WiFi.

I’ve done. In fact, I enjoy writing in noisy cafes where I tend to focus and get more done.

But these spaces aren’t open 24 hours — at least not in Hawaii — and I don’t feel right about spending eight straight hours using a table that I paid for with just one cup of hot chocolate and maybe a piece of lemon cake.

Enter co-working.

There are places where you can rent desks — per day, per hour, per week, per month — in an office space equipped with printers, coffee machines, meeting spaces and, yes, free WiFi.

This new workspace concept has exploded in popularity around the world, with co-working facilities on nearly every continent. (Check out this co-working wiki for a list of cities.)

Honolulu got its first co-working space — The Box Jelly — last month and already the group is looking to open new locations in downtown, off Nimitz Highway and on the North Shore.

I visited the site last week and, for $10 a day, it’s a great option to the busy, noisy, bustling coffee shops, which don’t have printer services or refrigerators where I can store my home lunch and Diet Coke.

Too bad I have an actual office. I’d consider working here, instead.

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Today’s happy shot

We had grabbed an early dinner at the Korean Festival over the weekend and caught this: a rainbow over Diamond Head. Truly a sight!

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Today’s happy shot

There’s just something magical about Waikiki.

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