Tag Archives: facebook

Facebook execs feeling the heat?

According to news reports, Facebook has called an “all hands” meeting today to discuss its privacy policies. That’s because they are facing a brewing revolt among Facebook users alarmed by the company’s cavalier attitude toward protecting your privacy.

In recent months, Facebook has rolled out some very privacy-unfriendly practices, from the “privacy transition” that took away privacy controls to “instant personalization” that instantly shares your personal information with third party pages without your consent.

At every step, the ACLU has been there to push back. Why? Because the less control you have over your own personal information, the more likely that information could end up in the wrong hands—including the government’s.

Facebook’s founder Mark Zuckerberg has claimed that “the default is social.” That means Facebook starts from the assumption that your personal information will be distributed far and wide without your consent. But, tens of thousands of you have signed the ACLU petition to make it clear that you want to share with your friends, not a spying government.

Facebook is feeling the heat. It’s time to hold the company’s feet to the fire and take back control of our personal information.

Sign an online petition here >>

Needle in a Facebook Haystack; The Neeris and Cyber Security

Facebook’s photo storage system holds 850 million photos and costs a lot of dough. Niall Kennedy has a nice overview of what Facebook is doing to minimize its storage costs.

Facebook’s system, dubbed Haystack, is custom-built but relies on content delivery networks and NetApp. Facebook is trying to minimize the custom stuff and use commodity hardware.


Old worm, new tricks…

The Neeris worm, which dates from as far back as May 2005, making it a bit of geriatric, has been adapted to spread using the infamous MS08-067 vulnerability harnessed by Conficker. Earlier variants of the Neeris worm exploited a much older flaw (MS06-040) in the same Windows component hit by the Conficker exploit, so the update to the older malware probably involved more of a tweak than a complete rewrite.


With President Obama’s 60-day comprehensive review of US cyber security still underway, Sens. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) and Olympia Snow (D-ME) on Wednesday introduced sweeping legislation that would establish a cyber security “czar” within the White House and bring both governmental and private sector “critical infrastructure” under a unified regulatory regime.

In case a lone cyber security advisor doesn’t seem like enough, that legislation provides for the creation of cyber security advisory panel to be staffed by stakeholders from the governmental, private, academic, and nonprofit sectors.

The bill establishes a dizzying array of programs, administered by a variety of agencies, over the course of its 51 pages. Perhaps most significantly, the bill tasks the National Institute of Standards and Technology with developing a set of security standards and vulnerability tests that will apply to any information networks or software used by federal agencies and contractors-but also by any private entity designated as “critical infrastructure” by the President. The President is also empowered to order the disconnection of any federal or private critical infrastructure network, either during a “cyber security emergency” or for reasons of national security more broadly.


Windows only: Looking for a different kind of, and can be customized to fit any theme.

Unlike other popular Windows alternatives to the taskbar, like the previously mentioned (and popular) RocketDock or ObjectDock, SliderDock offers a kind of pop-on, jump-out functionality. That is, if you only want to use SliderDock for a certain subset of apps or file locations, you can hide it with a custom keyboard shortcut.

Facebook’s virtual money, Camera record 1080p video

The rumors were true. Canon has crammed the $1500 50D’s sensor and 5D-Mark-II-like 1080p video capture into an $899 entry-level Rebel. We ran it through its paces for a few hours, and it’s awesome.

So what we have here is almost the exact sensor from the 50D-a 15.1 megapixel CMOS with sensitivities up to ISO 12,800 at its top-end H2 boost setting. And almost the exact same HD capture from the 5D Mark II-the only change is that 1080p video is captured at 20fps, down from the 5D Mark II’s 30fps.


On Tuesday night, a Los Angeles Times blog post pointed to an soundbite that Facebook “gaming guru” Gareth Davis produced at the GamesBeat conference in San Francisco: that the company is “looking at” offering a virtual currency to developers. The virtual goods industry, the article notes, is a $1.5 billion behemoth.

This would mean that games and other apps with a presence on Facebook could use a universal “Facebook currency” that would not only be interoperable between apps, it could also line Facebook’s pockets with some extra cash. But Davis’ language (“looking at”) is about as ambiguous as it gets, so my advice to potentially-excited developers would be “don’t hold your breath.”

Late last year, Facebook switched the payment system for Facebook Gifts from U.S. dollars to “credits,” making it easier for the site to charge more or less than its previous standard $1 for the virtual items.


If you’re planning on any outdoor parties, like camping out or just hanging around a bonfire, it’s always nice to bring some music with you. This BoomCooler is easy to wheel around no matter where you go, although you might want to keep a tarp or something around to protect it just in case it rains. It has a built-in CD player or you can hook up your iPod to the cooler. They actually recommend for better sound using something plugged into the aux input or USB input as opposed to using the CD player.


Nintendo president Satoru Iwata’s GDC keynote today has revealed that the Wii will not be on the receiving end of a new hard drive, but will instead support the SDHC memory card format. Owners of the Wii will be able to do so using the Wii Menu 4.0 by downloading content straight onto the SDHC card from the Wii Shop Channel, where up to 240 SD channels are supported. With the SDHC standard to hit 32GB in the near future anyways, it makes perfect sense to use this relatively diminutive card instead of a portable hard drive.

And a new Zelda in the works?

Nintendo’s CEO Satoru Iwata took the keynote stage at GDC this morning to encourage the developer community, talk about the DSi handheld and unveil some new titles for the Wii and DS platforms including a new Zelda game called Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks (working title).

Facebook, Song.ly and Middlespot News

It’s true, I have a Facebook profile much like everyone else online these days. I like it. I like the different things you can send to people and it’s nice to be able to see what everyone is up to. I don’t like the cheesy apps where people send me tupperware, but what can you do. I also hope they don’t allow people to start modifying the look of their pages like on MySpace. I hated that! I know people like to be unique, but Facebook is a profile about you, how much more unique do you need to be?

Anyway. PC World has an article up today titled, “10 Facebook tips worth reading“.

One of the tips is about the gmail add-on. It shows everyone you email who also has a Facebook account. I admit I do know about that and I do have it plugged into my e-mail account. It has helped me to see which publicists and artists also have Facebook profiles and in some cases I do add them as a friend. That way they can see if I have written about them and I can keep up with their news.


A company profile that was just submitted: Middlespot, another startup taking a crack at making the web search experience more visual, joining the likes of SearchMe and Viewzi.

Like its counterparts, Middlespot aims to enhance searching for websites, images, news, Amazon and even Twitter by returning screenshots of results rather than just text links.

Their mission… “We believe searching is an iterative activity of evaluation and interpretation that doesn’t end with the presentation of a linear list of text only results. It’s why we’re building the tools to make the activity of search more effective.”



Share & Discover Music on Twitter!

Type in a song title or mp3 link to tweet. Your followers will get a short link to a page allowing them to play the song right in the browser without having to download it first!

They have a button widget you can add to you blog posts which will allow people to tweet an mp3 if you have one embedded. But as far as I can tell it takes some manual work for the blogger in each post because you have to add the mp3 url to the button. Optional fields include the artist and title which of course would be quite helpful to a listener so I know I’d add them even though they are only optional. So I don’t know, maybe I’ll try added the tweet song.ly button to some posts in the future, but I doubt I’ll add them every time.


In the same week that Samsung Mobile launched its own online movie and television entertainment service to challenge the likes of iTunes, Netflix and Xbox Live, Apple Inc. has moved to up the ante by announcing the wider availability of high-definition (HD) films through its popular iTunes Store.

Offered up for either full purchase or rental, Apple’s new selection of 720p content will continue to grow alongside future studio releases and already includes relatively new movies such as comic book adaptations Punisher: War Zone and The Spirit along with action titles Transporter 3 and Bangkok Dangerous.

Prices for high-definition movies available through iTunes – on both PCs and Mac systems – are positioned at $19.99 USD for a full purchase, while high-definition rentals cost markedly less at $4.99 USD and older HD titles are priced at $3.99 USD.

But as I have been complaining about in the past. There is not easy way to put the movies you buy on iTunes onto a DVD to watch at home. You can only ever watch them on a computer. Yes, you could hook your computer up to your TV but that is annoying. I’d rather buy the DVD and be able to watch it wherever I want.

Facebook suit, Skype Type, Disney Flicks

South Korea is proving yet again that its PMP designers are truly top notch with the FineDrive iQ500, which proudly sports an expansive 7-inch LCD (800 x 480 resolution), a 600MHz ARM processor, 4GB / 8GB of internal storage, an SDHC expansion slot, WinCE, GPS module, a DMB TV tuner and support for a smorgasbord of audio and video file formats.


The latest sad episode of humanity’s ugliness allegedly being played out on Facebook’s pages has resulted in Facebook itself being sued for $3 million.

Denise Finkel, currently a student at the University of Albany, accused four of her ex-classmates at Oceanside High School of setting up a Facebook group “calculated to hold the plaintiff up to public hatred, ridicule, and disgrace.”

The group, whose page was password-protected, allegedly said she had AIDS, was an intravenous drug user, and had “inappropriate conduct with animals.”

How do you password protect a facebook page?

Facebook said it would vigorously fight the lawsuit.


Disney CEO Bob Iger told a conference audience yesterday that the company is “is considering creating a subscription-based online movie and TV rental service from the company’s huge video library,” reports Deadline Hollywood’s Nikki Finke.

Nikki says the “an online Disney video club” the mails out DVDs and lets viewers download and stream them too.

Unless it’s way cheap I doubt this will do any good. You can get those movies elsewhere.


Skype has added the ability for its users to get voicemail messages converted to text, and sent to a mobile phone via SMS (Short Message Service), the company’s COO Scott Durchslag said at the Cebit trade show in Hanover, Germany, on Wednesday.

The service is based on text-to-speech technology from SpinVox, he said.

It can currently convert voice messages in English, Spanish, French and German to text. However, the SpinVox Voice Message Conversion System currently also supports Portuguese and Italian.

Nintendo DSi News, Plus another solar phone

Nintendo DSi is scheduled to hit stores on April 5th. The system will launch for $169.99, will include all the goodies you’ve been reading about. The DSi has two cameras — an outward-aiming camera for taking pictures of others, as well as an internal one for taking pictures of the person holding the system.

An SD card slot allows for additional picture storage beyond the internal memory and for digital music files (iTunes’ standard AAC format) that can be played back on the system. An audio player lets you tinker with speed and pitch of songs and of recorded sounds (using the built-in microphone). Songs can be broken down into vocals and instrumentation for use in karaoke games.

Downloadable games will be available through a DSi Ware shop, similar to the current Wii Ware game store.

DSi will not include a slot for inserting Game Boy Advance games.

When the DSi launched in Japan last November, it came in both a “matte black” and “matte white” color scheme. But we’re hearing it will be available in blue as well.



Samsung wasn’t the only company showing a solar-powered cell phone at the GSMA World Congress. On Wednesday, Chinese manufacturer ZTE launched a green model of its own.

Created with Digicel and Intivation, the Coral-200-Solar is designed for emerging markets where electricity may not be readily available. And, of course, it’s Earth-friendly.

It should be available in June.


Pentagon boffinry chiefs have announced that they would like some self-aware computer systems capable of “meta-reasoning” and “introspection”. The plan is to place these machine intelligences in command of heavily armed, well-nigh invulnerable robotic tanks.

This latest plan for humanity’s subjugation comes, of course, from DARPA – the agency believed to harbour the largest known group of lifelike people-simulant robots piloted from within by tiny, malevolent space lizard infiltrators in the entire US federal government.

The plan is called Self-Explanation Learning Framework (SELF). It is being handled by Dr Mike Cox of DARPA’s renowned Information Processing Technology Office.


Amid user revolt Facebook backed away from a newly implemented terms of service that many considered a privacy violation. Last night Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said the company would reverted back to its previous version of its terms of service that “everybody can understand.”

(I think I’m slightly insulted by that remark.)

Zuckerberg explained in a blog post: “Over the past few days, we have received a lot of feedback about the new terms we posted two weeks ago. Because of this response, we have decided to return to our previous Terms of Use while we resolve the issues that people have raised.”

Facebook owns you, and who’s in your circle?

Panasonic recently unveiled it’s first Blood Pressure monitor with an SD card slot. You can save health data on the SD card for up to 5 different people.

Tip: If you have 5 people in your house unhealthy enough to need this device, you are in some serious trouble and should probably be in the hospital right now.

The data can be read via your computer or your doctor’s PC.


Since Verizon has now purchased Alltel, subscribers have wondered if the company would offer “My Circle” as a feature on their plans. My Circle was a group of friends or family that you could call an unlimited number of times and not have it count against your plan minutes. Verizon announced this week, its new Friends & Family feature, a comparable option to My Circle.

With the Friends & Family single line option, you can choose 5 of your contacts to make unlimited calls to without using your plan minutes. For family line users, the allowance is extended to 10 contacts.

This is not surprising.


ManicTime is a detailed time-tracking application for keeping tabs on where your workday goes. Get a handle on how you spend your time with tags, graphs, and reports.

If you were intrigued by previously reviewed RescueTime but were turned off by the idea of uploading all your data to the RescueTime servers, ManicTime offers a very similar set of tools but stores your data locally.

ManicTime runs as a background process and consumes very few resources. When open, ManicTime records which programs are open and what files they’re accessing. Even if you never plugged any input into it, the app would do a very thorough job telling you when you were working and what you were working on. There are three primary timelines in ManicTime: the activity line shows whether you were idle or active, the application line shows which applications were in use, and the tag line is for user supplied information about the work at hand. You can tag both idle and active blocks of time by simply highlighting them and applying the tag.

I certainly hope this never gets applied on a server level in the workforce.


Facebook’s terms of service (TOS) used to say that when you closed an account on their network, any rights they claimed to the original content you uploaded would expire. Not anymore.

Now, anything you upload to Facebook can be used by Facebook in any way they deem fit, forever, no matter what you do later. Want to close your account? Good for you, but Facebook still has the right to do whatever it wants with your old content. They can even sublicense it if they want.