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Archive for the 'Noteworthy' Category
imeem: The Best of Social Media
Posted on Thursday, October 19th, 2006 at 11:52 pm.

Let me introduce you to imeem. Its tagline is “The Best of Social Media”. And let me tell you what I think is the importancy of this service. It’s better than Friendster. It’s better than MySpace. It’s better than Facebook. Look, this is absolutely amazing. So it is the Best of Social Media.

Video. Music. Playlists. Photos. Blogs. Tags. Meems. People. That’s their navigation bar.

I don’t know how they managed to finish the PHP or whatever, but this is most excellent. It blends the feature-richness of MySpace with the reliability and simplicity of Facebook. This is social networking perfection. This is true Social Networking web2.0.

It also has a nice client software for itself, as a software download. I have not tried it yet, but it is for Windows and Mac.

And of course, imeem also has privacy options. Excellent.

So check it out for yourself. Get an account and start mingling. It’s pretty amazing. Add me on the way

Facebook Reforms News Feed
Posted on Friday, September 8th, 2006 at 5:43 pm.

Due to the overwhelming response to the “stalker-ish” News Feed, a new feature implemented into Facebook, I wrote an email to Facebook.

Facebook,
Look. I like the new Facebook. Newsfeeds are innovative. It shows what you and your friends’ statuses are, and when they change. They deliver news about new groups, friendships, and comments. Essentially subscribe to your friends’ notes. People have the choice to stay out of the newsfeed by deleting entries. Which, in my opinion, keeps the privacy part of Facebook still intact.

I believe that this has gotten out of control. Facebook goes out of their way to be innovative and have this extremely ingenious feature that lets you interact with your friends in ways you did not think possible. In other words, the common Facebook user cannot spot changes of anothers’ profile efficiently. To get changes, they go to everyone’s profile and see if anything changed.

In my view, the Newsfeed changes all of that.

It basically highlights changes to the profile. It’s useful. It’s time-saving. It’s efficient. It’s fun.

And then I see groups with over 200,000 people protesting the new Facebook Newsfeed and Mini-feed.

“So-and-so joined the group WE LIKED FACEBOOK BEFORE IT GOT FUCKED UP. 2:01pm”
“So-and-so joined the group Students against Facebook News Feed (Official Petition to Facebook). 6:13am”

That’s not the kind of response I’d expect. My response was that it was innovative. Others say it’s stalkerish. You can keep a tab on what everyone’s doing. “Person 1 and Person 2 are now friends. 2:21pm” “Person 1 tagged Person 2 in the note Random Note. 9:25am” “Person 1 added new photos. 8:08am”

If you don’t notice the problem, it’s that it’s STALKERISH. One acts like a STALKER knowing what everyone is doing.

Trust me, I’m not a stalker. I believe that Newsfeed is somewhat useful.

Apparently, others don’t.

Take a step back.

The way I see it, you have three options.
1. Give the option to remove oneself from the Newsfeed of one’s friends.
Judging from the group size of some (500 to 300,000 members) this will basically cripple the fundemental use of Newsfeed. If lots of people remove themselves from the Newsfeed, there is basically no use for it, since the scope of aggregation is so narrow.

2. Give the option to remove certain Newsfeed items from the Newsfeed of one’s friends. I.e., options to censor Notes, +Friends, etc., to keep them private.
This option, if one does not use it to block everything, will not cripple the Newsfeed system in a sense. This will work hand-in-hand with the Privacy settings one sets. It will be the same idea, like when you added Notes.

3. Remove Newsfeed altogether.
Of course, this will absolutely kill the Newsfeed, setting Facebook back to when Notes came out. People would like it, right? …right?? I’ve got no statistics on that.

So there are the options I percieve you have. I believe choice two is the best blend between the innovative-ness of the Newsfeed, and the privacy that students require.

Thank you.

Regards,

Steven Bao
Quivira Media. www.quiviramedia.com
http://stevenbao.com/ (Blog)

I recieved:

Hey Steve,

Wow! Thanks for taking your time to write us a detailed response,
we definitely appreciate it. Here’s the thing, the Feeds are not going
any where, frankly we like it a lot and think people will like them
too once they get used to it.

I’m going to send your email to our engineers and let them take a
look at your suggestions.

Thanks again!

The next day, I was seeing that the Facebook News Feed uproar has gotten even more out of control. So I sent them another email.

Facebook, last time I checked the largest group that is against the Facebook Newsfeed is approximately 600,000 people. I highly suggest you start changing something promptly. From this point I don’t think “you’ll get used to it” will have any effect. I believe a change is to be made NOW.

I don’t hate the Newsfeed. I think it is interesting. The problem is, others hate it and think it’s stalkerish, like the USA PATRIOT Act. I believe it is time to roll back the PHP files to just before the Newsfeed was released.

There has been extreme controversy over this topic. I apologize for sending Facebook another email, but this matter should be extremely critical. When 600,000+ people join for one single cause to change something on a website, shit happens. I’m a web developer myself, and I think you guys should be smart enough to respond to this other than a blog post.

I highly appreciate the effort, but this is extremely important. This could be the downfall of this web app, take this with an extremely high mass. This may jeopardize the future of Facebook, so I ask you, reform the Newsfeeds so that users will be happy.

Thank you.

Steven Bao
Quivira Media. www.quiviramedia.com
http://stevenbao.com/ (Blog)

They responded:

Hey,

We understand that some people are unhappy or concerned about the recent changes to Facebook. Mark even responded to some of these criticisms in his most recent blog post (linked to at the bottom of every Facebook page). Your feedback is welcome and appreciated because our goal is to make a website that is in line with our users’ expectations. As we consider future changes and modifications, we will certainly keep everyone’s opinions in mind. We think, however, that once you become familiar with the new layout and features, you will find these changes just as useful as past improvements such as Photos, Groups, and the Wall.

We introduced News Feed and Mini-Feed because we wanted to make it easier than ever before to see interesting, relevant pieces of information from the world around you. News Feed automatically generates the most recent news stories about your friends so that you have a resource available to guide your movement throughout the site. Mini-Feed allows you to quickly and easily see the latest developments in the lives of people whose profiles you choose to visit.

What is important to remember with all of these features is that we are not allowing anyone to see anything that they wouldn’t normally be allowed to see. For example, if you join a secret group, any friends that are not members will not receive a News Feed story about this action. Similarly, when they look at your Mini-Feed, they will not be able to see a story about you joining the group. The settings that are established on the My Privacy page and the settings that apply to Photo albums, Notes, Groups, Events, etc. dictate the stories that are displayed in News Feed and Mini-Feed. Although there is no option to completely turn off Mini-Feed, all users have the option to hide individual stories. If you select the ‘X’ button to the right of any of your own stories, that content will no longer be visible to anyone viewing your Mini-Feed. Facebook prides itself in giving users complete control over the information that they share with others. Let us know if you have any questions about the privacy settings that we offer.

Thanks for using Facebook!


Paul
Customer Service Representative
Facebook

This helped the crisis… by not that much.

So today, I saw the following message on my home page:

An Open Letter from Mark Zuckerberg:

We really messed this one up. When we launched News Feed and Mini-Feed we were trying to provide you with a stream of information about your social world. Instead, we did a bad job of explaining what the new features were and an even worse job of giving you control of them. I’d like to try to correct those errors now.

When I made Facebook two years ago my goal was to help people understand what was going on in their world a little better. I wanted to create an environment where people could share whatever information they wanted, but also have control over whom they shared that information with. I think a lot of the success we’ve seen is because of these basic principles.

We made the site so that all of our members are a part of smaller networks like schools, companies or regions, so you can only see the profiles of people who are in your networks and your friends. We did this to make sure you could share information with the people you care about. This is the same reason we have built extensive privacy settings – to give you even more control over who you share your information with.

Somehow we missed this point with News Feed and Mini-Feed and we didn’t build in the proper privacy controls right away. This was a big mistake on our part, and I’m sorry for it. But apologizing isn’t enough. I wanted to make sure we did something about it, and quickly. So we have been coding nonstop for two days to get you better privacy controls. This new privacy page will allow you to choose which types of stories go into your Mini-Feed and your friends’ News Feeds, and it also lists the type of actions Facebook will never let any other person know about. If you have more comments, please send them over.

This may sound silly, but I want to thank all of you who have written in and created groups and protested. Even though I wish I hadn’t made so many of you angry, I am glad we got to hear you. And I am also glad that News Feed highlighted all these groups so people could find them and share their opinions with each other as well.

About a week ago I created a group called Free Flow of Information on the Internet, because that’s what I believe in – helping people share information with the people they want to share it with. I’d encourage you to check it out to learn more about what guides those of us who make Facebook. Today (Friday, 9/8) at 4pm edt, I will be in that group with a bunch of people from Facebook, and we would love to discuss all of this with you. It would be great to see you there.

Thanks for taking the time to read this,

Mark

They reformed them - they now have privacy features. Thanks Facebook.

WWDC 2006: OS X Leopard
Posted on Monday, August 7th, 2006 at 1:26 pm.

10:23 PM - looks like they’re talking about the OS X. I’ve got bets it’s about Leopard. Okay, of course it is, so you won’t bet me, but… uh…

Listen to this - “enabled amazing transition to occur in 210 days 86 million lines of source code ported to run on a different chip pretty amazing” - they took just 210 days to make PowerPC architecture => Intel architecture‽ That’s wicked awesome.

Now they’re talking about how Spotlight was copied in Windows Vista. “Redmond - start your photocopiers” Damn Microsoft, if you want to get the better technology out faster than the competition, then get the frickin’ technology out faster than the competition. Or this happens. Meaning, you get 0wn3d! Windows Vista looks like it also copied stuff like “mail, calendaring, address book” as well as the Windows logo to make it look more ‘aqualike’.

Let’s look at Spotlight. Now it’s easier to find information on your local disk and on the Web. They did a major innovation. Instead of having the menu on the top right, they have it on the bottom left. Another major technology is RSS. We have a browser that’s simple and elegant and added Safari RSS. Guess what? IE7 RSS.

“This is iCal, our calendaring program, and this is Windows Calendar . They even tried to copy our color scheme but they didn’t get it quite right. This is their logo. You may think I took a Windows logo and added a nice Aqua bubble on top, but no, that’s the logo, but underneath it’s still Windows. It still has the registry at its core. It still has DLL hell and it still has this well-loved feature called activation. If you can’t innovate, you have to imiate, but it’s never quite as good. So, to talk about our future, I’m going to turn back to Steven.”

Apple says that they’re working on Leopard and they’ll give a demo of Leopard today (!!!)

One - Leopard 64-bit feature - it can run 32-bit applications on 64-bit machines sans emulation or translation into 64-bit architecture.

Two - Time machine? Help users backup easier, my guess. Pretty useful for me, dontchathink? This stuff should be built in. “dig a little deeper - most that say they are are manually dragging files & folders into another drive - not really secure” Sure as hell is not. “how many use automated software to stay always backed up? only 4%” :-O Built-in, automated backup software!?
Holy Jesus - Time Machine will be capable of backing up every single file automatically to your hard drive or a server (probably via FTP or something) - holy crap. And then they have a new way to back up files.

We plan to change all of that in Leopard with a feature caled Time Machine. And we back up everything. All of your files, folders, applications, operating system, which means we can restore everything. If your hard drive dies, you can buy a new one and be right back where you were.

“Ever had time where you work on a doc and you do a save as and overwrote the wrong one?” “finder windows - important stuff” (me: ?) “with time machine, you can get those files back by entering a date or time” Holy crap - this is like Subversion! SUBVERSION BUILT INTO AN OS, BACKING UP YOUR FILES! “finder windows move through timeline on the side of the machine through time - very cool to watch. visual representation of moving through time. timeline on right-hand side. finder windows ‘warping’ forward can go back a day - or two days.”

“So here we are on the Leopard desktop. Here are the four files I’m working on. Click on Time Machine down on the dock and…”Screen changes to a 3D group of of screens that lets you select from multiple versions of the window. “Notice the stars are moving. Let me go back to yesterday. I can go back two days. I’m not sure where the file is. I can fly back therough time and… oh, there it is. So as you can see, this file was deleted some time after June 24th. I can double-click to get a preview of it. Now I just click Restore… done.”

And apparently - you can search (probably with Spotlight 2.0) past documents, and it works in 3rd party applications - as well as iPhoto, like if you delete a photo, you can go ahead and undelete it. This is absolutely amazing.

“It is that easy to go back in time and bring back things. Now Time Machine works with more than just the Finder. I’m going to look for… Sonya. I must have accidentally deleted Sonia. Now (opens Time Machine) I can look for Sonia and… there she is. Again, I just click Restore and I can bring her back to the address book. But as I said earlier, the most important thing to me is my photos. Now there’s an entire roll missing from a trip I took….”
“Bring up iPhoto, fly through time, select the photos, hit restore and restores them all the way back to the present. There they are in iPhoto.”

Three - Leopard will have a “complete package”. This includes Boot Camp! And also - next generation Front Row and Photo Booth will be built into Leopard.

Then it’s got Virtual Desktops, “create different spaces for different clusters of apps to work together” Meh, it’s a bit like Virtual Desktops. But better. PWN. PWN in ALL directions.

Then, we’ve got Spotlight, which is apparently going to be better. So they’re adding boolean searches (AND, NOT, OR, etc). It will also have recent files. As well as an application launcher that puts the Windows one I had (forget the name) to absolute shame.

Core animation. No idea what this is. So here’s Engadget’s description: “Core animation lets you dramatically increase the production values of your application. Lets you take a scene and decostruct it into layers. Text, images, video, OpenGL.

‘You specify a start state, goal state and key frames optionally. Core Animation will automate the whole animation.’” Look at the screenshots. I say OMG.

Universal access. They say that they’ve “made major enhancements to VoiceOver, Braille support, closed captioning support, faster, better navigation.” Their text to speech is supposedly amazing. And better than Vista’s. Damn. Too much 0wn…

Then we’ve got Mail enhancements. So they have Stationary (which I never liked, if they were those annoying templates that included images and stuff that make your emails look good - look, emails are meant to be simple, send your love letters through snail mail), Notes, and To-do. Which should have been in Mail in the first place. So, okay, the stationary looks nice, but I’m not so hot about it unelss if it could be used for newsletters, I guess.

Sweet.

We’re not done yet. Dashboard. There will be a developer application called dashcode that will help to design, and develop dashboard widgets. It also includes a parts library - it apparently includes search fields, etc. that you can use in your widgets. It will also have a debugger. Integration with Safari to make a webclip, like an instant updating widget, such as for (their example) webcomic Dilbert. Basically, standard Mac users can now create widgets instantly with no hassle.

And they’re still not done. They say that they need to make iChat better - “multiple logins, visibility, animated icons, video recording, and tabbed chats”, slideshows, etc. And iChat Theater, good for “collaboration on projects.”

Okay, so at the end - “these are just 10 of the many new features in Leopard.” …

Damn. It’s shipping in Spring 2007. Get ready.

Hard Drive Failure!
Posted on Friday, July 28th, 2006 at 7:07 pm.

Damnit. I am not sure what happened, but it seems as though my hard drive just got corrupted. Yeah. Worst nightmare. My theory is that when my dad took my laptop, (uh, right, we had an argument) I was still writing files to my Hard Drive and he forced shutdown. Another theory is that he put it somewhere unstable and unventilated - like a table ahem ahem and it overheated (due to the uncanny ability of my laptop to overheat while being placed on any surface for more than 30 minutes, without changing places shrug what a crappy laptop) and it went to that disk check thing. Somewhere during that 1 minute boot, it fell on the floor (around 2 feet) and … the hard drive head was still reading from the hard drive… damnit…

One hell of a run-on, but either of those could have happened. I’m taking the second one.

I lost one hell of a lot of stuff - INCLUDING MY NEW WORDPRESS TEMPLATE! Damnit!

I probably won’t be able to do blogathon either.

Formal Resignation will be posted soon.

Blogathon: Have You Any Suggestions?
Posted on Thursday, July 27th, 2006 at 4:43 pm.

The Blogathon is coming up - less than two days left until 9:00 AM EST on Saturday. Therefore, I would like to start asking any readers of this blog if they have any questions or anything you want answered - say you wanted a tutorial on something CSS, just ask it and I may write a tutorial on it.

The idea is that any questions I feel like answering will be answered. I don’t have any real theme for blogathon this year, so I might as well see if anyone wants any questions answered on some topics. Please make it something within reach. Any CSS questions are allowed, though I might not be able to answer them.

They don’t even have to be questions - they could be suggestions of something to blog about. Firewalls, PHP, or recurrence relations - it’s all good. Keep in mind that I don’t have any certifications or majors in anything - yeah. I don’t know everything about CSS or PHP or SQL or whatever, nor do I know everything that you might ask about math, or general computing. That said, if you have some suggestions for something to blog about, or you have a question about something, go ahead and comment. I will not answer any questions talking about “casin0s” or “pheromones” as they will get eaten up.