Category: Tricia Stream

How Online Algorithms Actually Work

An algorithm is a self-contained step-by-step set of operations to be performed. Simply, it’s a procedure or formula for solving a problem. We teach our technology the basics and expect that ingenious marketing algorithms will continue to learn, thereby creating loyal customers who just can’t get enough.

Here’s how it really works:


Find a topic of utmost interest to you. Demonstrate your true devotion by divulging your email address. Sign up for one, single, newsletter.

Wake up the following morning forced to sift through 45 spam emails received between the hours of 6 a.m. and 6:03 a.m. “You have asked to receive emails from Victoria’s Secret. If you have received this email in error, please unsubscribe here.” I DID NO SUCH THING!

But where is the information you actually want to receive? Silly you – you’ll have to go spelunking for the desired “promotion” under the filtered eponymous tab in the user un-friendly interface that is the Gmail web login.

TechMom Tuesday: Voltron the Zippy Locks Me Out

I am officially a commuter. I think it may be somewhere in the Silicon Valley bylines that I must then acquire a commuter car.

We went with the Chevy Volt – a zippy little plug-in hybrid that transitions to gas mode if I drive too far, while still allowing me to go months between fill-ups. (The price point is also significantly less than the sexier looking Tesla.)

The Volt operates as a pure battery electric vehicle until its plug-in battery capacity drops to a predetermined threshold from full charge. From there the internal combustion engine powers an electric generator to extend the vehicle’s range via traditional fuel as needed. When the engine is running it may be periodically mechanically linked (by a clutch) to a planetary gear set, and hence the output drive axle, to improve energy efficiency.

Human controlled success in driving efficiencies is indicated by a green bouncing ball on the dashboard. Accelerate or break to fast and the ball sinks to an angry yellow dot.

My vehicular history took me from an 11-year-old Honda that didn’t bother with bells and whistles such as power doors, windows or steering. I then graduated to the MomMobile – an SUV that had a fancy computer chip in the key that allowed for remote locking and unlocking. One still needed to insert the key physically into the ignition.

And then I met my Volt. All selections derive from the internal computer. (I do not know the operating system ultimately behind it.)

Welcome Tricia Stream to

I am very pleased to announce that Tricia Stream is joining me here at  For those who followed AlliOSNews before I ended my iOS wilderness wandering, you will know Tricia.  For those of you who don’t know her, let me give an little introduction.  Tricia’s comments below are in [Bold].

Tricia is an award winning blogger and author who is passionate about prematurity (she’s the mom of twin preemie boys – Search and Destroy) and has a flare for technology.  [Jazz hands.] Tricia has been honored numerous times for her work with Blogher but is also the author of an upcoming children’s book as well as being part of various other publications on prematurity and mental health.  She lives in the heart of Silicon Valley and often reminds me of how she is amazed at how poor a signal she gets there on her iPhone.  Yes, Tricia carries an iPhone.  In fact, Tricia is pretty much Apple through-and-through.  So why is she writing for a through-and-through Windows site?  Simple. Apps.

[Actually although my first household computer was an Apple IIgs, I was a Windows girl from the day I turned 13 until I joined the corporate world. My 13th birthday gift was a glorious 386 computer with accompanying 14.4 modem and wooden desk that lived in my room. It’s where I started earning my nerd stripes. (That may have been the last my parents saw of the teenage me.) It wasn’t until I started my career that I started using Apple again. I know. I did it backwards.]

Tricia’s approach to technology has always been from the mother/real user perspective.  In fact her posts here will be under the title of “TechMom Tuesday”, where she will post every few weeks on Microsoft related apps and services that she leverages in her day-to-day.  It will give a different perspective than my own as I always approach the apps and services from Microsoft from a Windows and Windows Phone perspective.  Tricia will approach it from an Apple perspective to let you know how those apps and services perform across the spectrum. [Full disclosure: It’s not solely from an Apple perspective so much as an, “I really need this to work because this is what’s happening in my life” perspective.” I use technology because I’m TechMom. I share it with you because I can’t keep my mouth shut.]

Please welcome Tricia to the site!  You can follow her on her blog Stream of the Conscious as well as on Twitter.

[Come back on Tuesday where I tell you all about getting locked out of my super high-tech car.]

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