More about privacy and language

Hello, dear readers. A post on the weekend? I know, it’s shocking. But I feel I need to apologize for my last post after being told by a friend that it contained rather atrocious sentence construction and lacked a certain level of variety in vocabulary so as to irritate those most demanding critics, English majors. My apologies. If I am allowed an excuse, it was a long and tiring week and I really wanted to share some cool technology lists, but lacked the time to edit the post to exacting standards given the 5 hour meeting yesterday. (I also happen to be a fan of Godin’s “just ship it” approach and the Cult of Done, but that’s to be discussed at some other time.) So I feel that I owe you, dear reader, a bit more coherent and thoughtful post. Therefore, let’s talk about two subjects that just keep popping up in the blogosphere: privacy (a very important topic) and language (something I love to talk about, and hopefully will not mutilate in this post). Allons-y!

EDUCAUSE has a new publication on the 7 things you should know about privacy in Web 2.0 learning environments which would be lovely to share with your patrons and instructors given the increasing level of interest and use of Web 2.0 technologies in education. While I’m all for being in compliance with student privacy acts and regulations, I do hope that the legal concerns over privacy do not dissuade instructors from incorporating emerging technologies and tools in their courses. As Michelle Pacansky-Brock notes over on her blog, MPB Reflections: 21st Century Teaching and Learning, there are so many possibilities of incorporating interactive, social media tools in the classroom that it would be a huge disservice to our students to exclude these tools. Instead, we as librarians and educators should frame this issue as an educational opportunity to teach our students (and faculty) about safe and effective uses of Web 2.0 technologies–a great opportunity to show the value and applicability of information literacy for the instructional librarians among us.

If you are leaving a job and need to return a laptop to your employer, check out Lifehacker’s What should I do to my work laptop before I leave my job? article. This is a must read if you want to make sure that your files, passwords, etc. do stay private even after you return the laptop. Just another facet of privacy that may interest you.

Secret codes happen to be a way of communicating messages semi-privately, even on a PA system, if most people don’t understand the code. If you are interested in some of the more commonly used phrases and codes, or just wanted to know what “paging Dr. Firestone” means, check out the post. See, learning can be both fun and useful.

While secret codes are fun to learn but may or may not be that useful, this post on commonly misheard expressions to avoid (or fix) in your writing is quite useful. I’m sure all but the English majors among us have committed some of these errors and could use a quick review. Now you should be able to avoid these mistakes that may cause confusion in your communications. And, limiting confusion definitely will increase your productivity (as you won’t have to answer emails explaining to people what you thought you had explained already) and decrease the time spent wanting to bang your head against a wall, both of which are very good things.

I thought it might be nice to end with a fun video (which I unfortunately cannot embed) from The Big Bang Theory. (If you haven’t ever watched The Big Bang Theory, I suggest that you do–it is quite funny.) I’m a bit rusty in physics, so if someone could explain to me how, in a multiverse, being a clown made of candy in a few universes means one cannot dance in any of them, I would be most appreciative. Please leave your explanation in comments.

Dear readers, I hope this post made a bit more sense than Friday’s post. As always, I wish you a fantastic weekend and a productive, stress-free, and lovely week to follow. The Waki Librarian will be back on Friday.