Google thinks Custom means Suggested

I am finding myself disappointed by our supposed innovation star, Google.  Maybe I just haven't been paying close enough attention or maybe it is because I am starting to see the world through a small business owner's perspective.  But with the recent hoopla about their YouTube Content ID service changes, I am should be surprised to find out that Google+ does not actually offer Custom URLs.  They are just Suggested URLs.  Their community Help page states that there is no review system or option to choose an alternate URL.  Meantime, posts on the page by users indicate that the option was available at one point, but everyone is getting rejection emails.

Google!  Ewe dun fuk'ed it up again!

Although these options do match my name on my profile, I don't want to use my name, I want to use my USERNAME.

Whatever happened to anonymity.  Does google not value it?  Another idea for a blog post, maybe..... hmmm....

Please leave your comments below.

FYI - I am thinking of switching to Wordpress or Drupal sooner than later, being unsatisfied with the limited commenting options available for Google's Blogger. What I really want is something like Comments Evolved which allows readers to comment in any way they prefer.
Shannon Medlin Web Developer

Is it time for a YouTube clone?

With all of the recent Content ID matching issues on YouTube, I am starting to seriously consider creating my own video hosting website as a replacement.  This would be an Open Innovation organization using copyleft licensing like Creative Commons, encouraging fair use content with an ad-revenue structure.

This type of venture would require a CDN (Content Delivery Network) that already supports this structure and if none exists, the creation of a new CDN.

The basis of this desire stems from the strong belief that IP Claims abuse is rampant and growing.  If we don't restrain corporate interests from being able to undermine the legal system in this manner, they will destroy the creativity movement entirely.  Worldwide, we are facing the potential for total disaster at every turn.  If we continue to discourage creativity and innovation in the same manner, we will surely experience further recession and other potential consequences.

Would you be interested in participating in this type of venture and/or do you know of any other organizations that are already attempting a media website like this?  Please leave a comment on this subject.  I would like to know what you think.

Related Videos:

Related Articles:
Shannon Medlin Web Developer


Norah's Notebook: Artist or the Clay?

Video 1.8 - Design Thinking: Bringing Empathy and Collaboration To Your Designs

The perfectionist in me can't stop from noticing that the first video in this series covered the 3rd and 4th points. Where the second/last video covered the first two points. But, I digress.... This program is really trying to drive home the point that good product design is intuitive. Being a female engineer, I am intimately familiar with this concept. I find myself wondering if the world if starting to catch on to my personal passions surrounding open innovation and creativity or if I am being shaped by this world. Am I the artists hands and is the world my clay or is it the other way around?


engineeringdotcom. (2012). Design Thinking. Bringing Empathy and Collaboration to Your Designs. Engineering.com. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2-tQJ9RHKRw

engineeringdotcom. (2012). Integrative Thinking and Experimentalism in Design Thinking. Engineering.com. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m_kc80XumZY
Shannon Medlin Web Developer


Norah's Notebook: Crazy=Awesome?

Video 1.7 - How To Design Breakthrough Inventions

David Kelley's Stanford’s Joint Program in Design is realizing the same benefits as this IEMS program at Full Sail.

I feel strongly that this course, in particular, is getting into material and discussion that is going to make the most difference to by business ventures.

Each material, discussion and assignment provides additional personal validation.


How to design breakthrough inventions. (2013, January 6). 60 Minutes. CBS. Retrieved from http://www.cbsnews.com/videos/how-to-design-breakthrough-inventions-50138327/

David Kelley. (2013, December 4). Stanford University Institute of Design. Retrieved from http://dschool.stanford.edu/bio/david-kelley/
Shannon Medlin Web Developer


Norah's Notebook: Why does starting a business have to drive you nuts?

While catching up on some reading homework today, I found myself writing this in my notebook:
Great Brands Are About Fusing Product And Service. How Do You Do It

"Companies need to start thinking about the holistic experience between their brands, products, and services. Crafting an experience requires design that considers these three elements of brand, product, and service in order to generate successful results. Any company can be analyzed through these lenses to evaluate the experience it creates for its customers (Seiger, 2013)." I feel very strongly that we require a strong brand image.  In fact, this has been my largest roadblock.  It keeps holding me back from starting.  I feel like I can describe the elements that I want, the emotion I want it to bring... but have not yet fully allowed myself to realize what that looks like, what arrangement is required and it amounts to my own fear, that I am incapable of doing so, that even though I appreciate and desire to perform and produce art, I am never going to be good enough... Ughhh, maybe I need to get a counselor....  Why does starting a business have to drive you nuts?

Steiger, R. (2013, December 3). Great Brands Are About Fusing Product And Service. How Do You Do It?Co.Design. Retrieved from http://www.fastcodesign.com/1670034/great-brands-are-about-fusing-product-and-service-how-do-you-do-it
Shannon Medlin Web Developer

Closing the Auto-share loop: From Twitter to Google+

On my previous blog post, Automatically Share Blogger posts to Multiple Social Networks, I discussed my strategy for sharing Blog posts to Blogger.  However, Buffer does not yet post to Google+ Profiles, which often leaves this social network out of the loop and in turn decreases my reach.  To remediate this concern, I have created a this IFTTT recipe.

Logic: Twitter posts with links are usually in regard to a new, whereas those without are usually a discussion specific event.  Thus, I have designed it to only fire when posting a link to twitter.

In order to avoid double posting to Google+, I have removed automatically posting to Google+ from the other recipes that use sources, like Tumblr, Blogger and Disqus.

The loop is now closed and the structure, subsequently, easier to diagram.

UPDATE (12/21/2013): Updated IFTTT recipe to use Link to Twitter post instead of embed code, which results in a blank post.
Shannon Medlin-Stein Web Developer


Automatically Share Blogger posts to Multiple Social Networks

Social Network Management is often costly and time consuming, to say the least.  Using a combination of IFTTT and Buffer, you can automatically share a blogger post to all your social networks for FREE!
Just follow these 5 simple steps:
  1. Follow this post to Setup SMS to Google+
  2. Login to Buffer and link to your social networks
  3. Login to IFTTT
  4. Use this IFTTT recipe to send ALL blogger posts to your SMS and/or Buffer emails
  5. Use this IFTTT recipe to send LABELED blogger posts to your SMS and/or Buffer emails
I use a combination of the two IFTTT recipes, where all posts get sent to my personal network.  Then I use one labeled version per other network. Specifically, tekAura goes to my company pages, where tekNorah goes to my personal-business/company-employee network.

You might have noticed there is no SMS loop for the tekAura company network.  That is because Buffer now posts to Google+ Pages.  When they add posting to Google+ Profiles, I will likely be able to remove the SMS/Google Voice paths, as well.

By default, this setup will delay posting via Buffer based on your schedule.  This behavior can be modified with advanced controls on the Buffer Email Guide.  I usually add these as labels to the post so it is easy to identify which posts were sent immediately or to a specific profile.

UPDATE: You can only have one Google+ account activated per Google Voice number.  Also, links will not embed using this method.  Although not as visually appealing, it is still functional.

UPDATE 2: I have switched Automatic posting to Google+ from Blogger using this method: https://support.google.com/blogger/answer/1752748?p=share&rd=1 for My main NorahAura Profile.  However, Google+ SMS is still useful for other services like Tumblr, Disqus and posting to an alternate Google+ profile (tekNorah).

UPDATE 3: Opened to allow for reader comments.  Didn't realize I had it disabled for this post.  It appears I have to set this every time.  *Sarcastically* THANKS GOOGLE! You have made my life Oh-So! Simple as of late!.... Sorry guys, it is working now.  Also, please see the newly revamped Auto-share Diagram in the Related Posts.

Related Posts:
Closing the Auto-share loop: From Twitter to Google+
Shannon Medlin-Stein Web Developer


Women Leaders: What we want but can't have

Picture courtesy of ASU women honor STEM role models 
Today, I commented in the group Connect: Professional Women's Network, Powered by Citi on What would you like to see from your female leaders?:

Although I agree with the general desire to have more women in leadership, especially in STEM fields, I think it is more important to highlight the specific qualities that we desire from women in leadership. It has been a long road to gender equality and I believe we are now at a crossroads. Traditionally, women have worked their way into executive STEM positions by being a hellcat. This aggressive behavior has done much to break the walls down, to show that we have the capacity for brutal, calculated, process driven decision making. We have proven that we can "stack up" against our male counterparts. Advantage has been gained and recognized. I believe this is why there is an increase in female management in departments that are appreciate our communication skills, like HR, Customer Service, Healthcare and Sales. Our culture, now having experienced some improved interactions, are demanding an increase in service quality. This is our next biggest opportunity.

I am have witnessed several women climb the ranks in IT, Sales & Accounting departments within the Education, Healthcare and Finance industries. Upon entry into leadership, many of them take on the role of a scornful mother. I have personally experienced their ice cold reprimand, which appears to be heightened by fear. Fear of not meeting goals set by the executive membership, peers or themselves. This tends to migrate to frustration and anger towards employees who do not meet translated performance goals. And women, believing that attainment of these goals requires them to whip their troops into submission, become disrespected. This behavior only produces marginal results and they end up portraying themselves with an unappealing image of being moody, difficult and uncaring. It is no wonder why we desire mentorship from women in leadership. We know that sharing knowledge and investing effort in each other is a positive and productive experience.

Personally, even though I understand the intricacies of traditional large-organization, management and political structure, it no longer appeals to me. I now believe strongly in the Open Organization where decisions are made by rough consensus of a working group, actions are transparent and accountable and vision is maintained
collectively. Leaders will still arise in this type of format, usually by way of recognized and apparent skill. However, the sense of pyramid power is consistently squashed. Some of these concepts, like those of Daniel Pink, have been creeping into the corporate mind. Although, it has not received significant traction because corporations are hooked on protecting this notion of intellectual property instead of product/service value.

So, what do I think will break the glass ceiling of gender-biased leadership?

Remodel the structure.

Additional Reading:
Shannon Medlin-Stein Web Developer


Exposed: Creative Process or Paranoid Delusions?

As some of you may have heard, I walked away from University of Phoenix and the corporate high-wire act last month on August 20th, 2013.  I have laced my combat boots, stocked my armory and my tank is overflowing with Octane Boost 3000.  Don't fret, my siblings, Goddess Norah is going to teach 'em a thing or two before we are through.

Over the years, I have documented some of my personal struggles and triumphs here.  Although you readers are a treasured few, I have always treated this space as a living autobiography.  Usually, the primary benefactor is myself as I have frequently looked back to these pages to remind myself of my progress.

I have always been a fairly shy person, likely due to some clinically traumatic experiences I endured during adolescence.  I have talked the talk for many years, trying to lead by example in an attempt to explain my passion.  In the process, I have found myself crying in the presence of strangers many times, often behind closed doors and too many times with my superiors, managing to divulge some gruesome nugget from my past.  All this only to become disgusted with myself later on because it invited pity instead of the intended respect.

Now I understand that those people were not my target audience, but rather, unwilling guinea pigs. Moreover, I was not really ready to tell my story, did not yet have the courage to be myself and realize my power. As my fantasy is now quickly becoming reality, I thought it equally important to embrace my desire to be open to the world.

Uncensored, Unflinching and Unafraid to tell it like it is and speak my mind!  Any who follow: Be warned... YOU may not be ready to receive.

In light of that announcement.... Here is a story idea I came up with today:

Article Subject: The Enduring Nature of Weird

Current Heroes: Mick Foley, Hunter S. Thompson, Bill Murray, Ozzy Osbourne, Andy Kaufman, Neil Degrasse Tyson, Carl Sagan, George Carlin

Current: Changing times, Smart is Sexy, Creative = Smart

Historical Heroes: Hercules, Robin Hood

Fictional vs. Factual : Difference between historical and current heroes, or are they?

What makes something Weird? (Definition, Description of Feeling, etc.)

How does the Brain perceive Weird?

Weirdness scale? (As the observed behavior deviates from the established norm, the level of weirdness increases)

Is there a ceiling to weird? What does it become or branch to?  Obscene, Offensive, Disgusting,

Maybe this is best described as an infographic.... Maybe I should blog using only infographics from now on.... ok, now I am just rambling to myself....

Hmmm... this could even be a post... on a post-it or a piece of paper.... oooo.... I could write all of this out on a piece of paper.... then take a picture.... no, no, then they will see that I obviously wrote it first on the screen... no biggie... I'll just... wait... don't tell them.... they are watching now.... just act.... stop typing... what are you doing?  Oh no, I'm stuck, I can't continue any thought without typing it first.... lolz...  jk... okies... going now!

Update (12/21/13): I opened comments on this article.  Sorry, I missed this one.
Shannon Medlin-Stein Web Developer


My Whole House Journey to Health

I recently emailed an inspiration in the health food industry and thought I would re-post here:

Dear Dr Pierson,
I have been threatening to switch my cats to homemade cat food for about 2 years now. However, initially reading your website, and others near the beginning of my inquiry, I was intimidated by the amount of warnings and specific formulations.  Now, I am revisiting the idea and find myself renewed and inspired by your website.  I think, mostly, because we have transitioned to a primarily home made human food diet within the last year.
My husband and I have lost at least 50 lbs, combined, on our journey and are en-route to obtain our healthy goals weights within the next year.  We had always prided ourselves on our culinary aptitude.  However, still were victims of the convenience of processed food.  For health, monetary savings and impending economic doom, not only are we making almost all of our baked goods from scratch, we now also make at least half of our condiments and sauces, like mayo, soup and stir fry bases.  (I am still in the process of running out of some others, like ketchup and mustard to have an excuse to make them from scratch, as well).  Also, recently, finally purchased a small food processor and blender.  Where I always had my 500W Professional KitchenAid mixer, and was practiced in the art of desert loafs, muffins, pastries, cookies, batters, meringues and whipped cream, I had only used the included grinder once years ago when on a weight watcher diet and ground some turkey and salmon for alternative burgers.
Now, I am constantly satisfying a increased need for "from scratch" recipes for everything under the sun and found ways to be creative and innovative with the tools at hand.  For instance, I have always enjoyed a good smoothie or juice, but never had the ability to make it at home.  Now, I juice with the food processor and flour sack cloth and blend my own fresh smoothies with as much or more variety than can be found at the local juice bar. I hope to continue with next major appliance purchases:
Pinterest - DIY = PreppingInline image 1
It is with this new venture and the fact that my cats ran out of food today (yes, it is dry food. I am now more driven since reading your page again to switch).  My first 2 attempts, cooking the food because I am not sure as to the safety and some of the meat was frozen, tonight were somewhat turned away, but valiant efforts are appreciated as the screaming for food has temporarily abated.  I am confident that with a quick trip to the store tomorrow to pick up the items from your recipe and few transition items like a couple cans of food (which I know they will eat, thankfully) and tuna (one of mine dies of anticipation when cans are opened in the house), I am on my way to healthier cats, which have been gaining weight since becoming indoor only (apartment living vs house, prior).
Long story short, thank you for your persistence and updates over the years on your website.  Your diligence has lent to my decision to go natural and release my feline's inner carnivore!

Stay tuned for some kitten photos!
Shannon Medlin-Stein Web Developer