Thursday Thoughts 11.0

It’s been a very busy couple of weeks. I have a lot on my mind today so let’s get to it. I apologize in advance if this is the longest Thursday Thoughts post you’ve ever read…

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[1]

Blogger beware–the lovely pictures you post of yourself on your blog may unknowingly contain the GPS coordinates of where the picture was taken. I recently got a new iPhone and have been downloading apps like there is no tomorrow. Whenever I open an app for the first time and it brings up a prompt asking to use my current location I nearly always say no (because I’ve read a few scary articles about people being stalked by apps that broadcast your GPS coordinates). In other words, I consider myself to be a pretty careful iPhone user. But it was recently brought to my attention by Steve over at Personal Security 101 that my iPhone pictures were geotagged with GPS coordinates. At first I didn’t want to believe it (I really don’t EVER remember giving the camera app permission to use my location), but after downloading a few of the pictures directly from my blog I discovered to my horror that he was right. Needless to say those pictures have been removed from my blog, and in some instances I deleted posts all together just to be on the safe side (i.e. this really isn’t the actual 13th Thursday Thoughts post anymore). So do yourself (and me) a favor and ensure that your photos are not being geotagged (unless you really want the GPS coordinates of where you take each and every picture).

[2]

…and speaking of useless technology I have to wonder about the necessity of embedding GPS coordinates in each and every photo that is taken. Have you ever had a moment while flipping through vacation pictures where you thought: “gee I wish I knew EXACTLY where on Earth I took this picture?” Well maybe you have, but I sure haven’t. In the reading I’ve done since I made this discovery I’ve come to learn that sometimes these coordinates are used by law enforcement agencies to catch criminals…and I can appreciate that. But by and large it seems like this feature is overkill and just plain unnecessary for the vast majority of the population. I’m sure there are instances where knowing the exact location a picture was taken would come in handy…I just can’t think of any. Call me old fashioned (and maybe a hypocrite because I have a blog) but I do like to have a little privacy in my life. Maybe I’ll never find the exact location where my super, cool, amazing picture was taken…but hopefully people won’t track me in my daily life either.

[3]

Yesterday I presented a poster at a conference for the first time. It was a really long day (man I slept so hard last night), and although I didn’t win the poster competition I feel like I did learn some important lessons along the way.

1. It is very important to carefully read the instructions (which are buried in a 3 page email) regarding the exact dimensions your poster is supposed to be. For some reason while reading the instructions for this conference, my brain read “we will provide a 4 foot by 3 foot easel to display your poster. Please adhere to this maximum size.” I assumed this meant 3 feet high by 4 feet wide since most of the posters I stare at in the hallway every day are in the landscape orientation and not portrait. But apparently what it ACTUALLY said was “4 feet high by 3 feet wide.” When did I realize my error? When I was printing my landscape-orientation poster of course. So I spent most of my Tuesday fixing my poster. Believe me, next time I’ll read the fine print.

2.  Often times at these events you are crowded into small rooms in which the air conditioning does not work well…so wearing deodorant or some kind of perfume/cologne is a must. Especially when you are talking in close proximity to me.

3. It is a really good idea to make friends with the staff at these events. Not only can they help point you in the right direction when you are lost, but they can also sneak you food from the lunch you were barred from attending (more on that in a minute).

4. Those people during the conference talks who look like they are giving the abstract book a very thorough reading? Yea, they are definitely playing Words with Friends (this wasn’t me I swear!).

5. Becoming a professor does NOT improve your presentation skills. I couldn’t believe the number of people who talked entirely to their presentation slides. For 15 minutes.

*Note these observations are in a no way a reflection of the quality of the conference or the research that was presented (believe me there was some good stuff there). They are merely my observations and experiences from the day.

[4]

When I registered for the above-mentioned conference, I had my first case of what I’ll call “conference registration fee sticker shock.” Yes, I’ve heard tales of these exorbitant fees before, but I never had the privilege to experience it for myself. When I registered for this conference there were two student options: basic student (no meals) and student (included meals). I choose to go with the no meals option because it was significantly more expensive (like $100 more) to get the meals. In my opinion this wasn’t really a case of me being cheap since the conference fee was already more than my monthly food budget.

So, I’d accepted the fact that I wasn’t going to get food at the conference. Fine. I imagined I’d just quietly duck out while everyone else went to their fancy lunch and then I’d magically reappear at the poster session later (“What do you mean? I was TOTALLY there the whole time! The salmon/potatoes/desert was AMAZING”). No big deal. What I didn’t expect was that my decision would be displayed in big red letters on my name tag:

Why don’t they just write “LOSER” in really big letters instead?

Not only did the badge identify me as “Mrs. Heather ____”, (and by the way not only am I not married I don’t even have a boyfriend) but it also broadcast to the world that I was “cheap.” I was a conference-food leper. While it actually ended up being a good conversation starter (“…So you don’t get any food eh?”) AND my new friends on the conference staff actually got me some of the precious food…I still think it was kind of unnecessary to proclaim it in big red letters on my nametag.

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Linking up with Sarah!

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