Archives for category: Facebook

Onwards to my favourite subject, but one I’ve been a little neglectful of lately. All things technological.  In particular, two subjects, that of the Social network and of Apple.

 

Facebook has become THE social network. It’s slowly grown into that position over a (relatively) long period of time, as you can see here:

[[posterous-content:pid___0]]

I’m sure you’d agree that’s some pretty rapid growth. But that’s nothing.  Take a look at Twitter’s growth numbers.

[[posterous-content:pid___1]]

So Facebook went from zero to 800 million users (by far the most of any Social Network) in 7 years. You could average it at 114m users a year if you like.

 

However, Twitter went from zero to 200 million in 5 years, which again you could average to 40m a year. So that’s still very rapid growth, but not as fast as Facebook.  So what about Google plus?

 

G+ went from zero to 10million users in 16 days…..  and we can see from the trends of the other networks that growth starts off slow….  If that’s slow! then these are crazy numbers..  averaging out at 228m a year!!! Holy crud.  Of course – these are just statistics and as we know 87.4% of statistics are made up on the spot.  G+’s biggest problem is that to move people from Facebook onto G+, the Facebook crowd won’t budge until their friends are there, or until Facebook changes something major that they don’t like.

 

And guess what?  One snippet of tech news that’s not just a statistic is that Facebook is changing.  Their recent F8 conference announced a whole raft of changes which clearly show they feel threatened by the release of Google+ and that they’re running to catch up quick.  One of the more interesting is the timeline, which I actually think looks very nice – but it’s pretty creepy when stuff like this happens to what you thought was personal – and then suddenly isn’t.  

And of course, Facebook users – who are traditionally a fairly conservative bunch – won’t like the change.  At least for about three weeks and then they’ll just resort to their usual level of bland chitter-chatter.

 

Here’s what timeline looks like from Facebook’s perspective…

 

 

Now, from socialising, onto the fruit stuff… Apple…..

 

If you didn’t know already, there’s an Apple announcement tomorrow and this has served to whip the IT press into a frenzy.  Here’s what I’ve heard that seems pretty solid…

 

Steve Jobs probably won’t be there, because Tim Cook will be, now that Steve has officially retired. It would be great for him to appear to handover to Tim, but he’s probably too unwell, which is a great shame.  He’s clearly been one of the most innovative CEO’s in the tech industry over the last 10 years and turned Apple around when they needed it most. He will be greatly missed by the tech world as a whole.

 

As for the announcement, the expectation is the iPhone 5 will land – and I have to say after all I’ve seen and read – I don’t think it will. I think the iPhone 5 (which might have a curved back a bit like the iPhone 3 – or it might not) isn’t going to show up until next year at the earliest. 

 

Furthermore, the location for the announcement (Apple’s HQ) is a very small venue – too small for an iPhone launch – and this time of year is traditionally reserved for iPod announcements.  Having said that, the invite for the event looks like this:

[[posterous-content:pid___2]]

Now – lots of people have tried to analyse this image – and have drawn the conclusion that – it’s clearly an iPhone event (and not an iPod event), It’s on Tuesday the 4th at 10am in Cupertino, CA and it’s about voice recognition on the iPhone.  That seems to fir with all the other rumors pretty nicely.

 

iPhone stuff

  • There’s going to be a cheaper 8G iPhone 4 (model N90A)
  • There’s going to be an iPhone 4S (model N94) will have CDMA GSMA HSPA+ (in other words 4G capabilities)
  • Really good speech recognition. Probably not on the iPhone 3Gs or earlier.

 

Non iPhone stuff

  • The iPod classic will no longer be available.
  • A new iPod touch possibly

 

Other random guesstimate….

  • There really might be an Apple HDTV – but it’s really dodgy ground.  I’d love to think this was true, but who knows. We’ll just have to wait until tomorrow….

 

The far more interesting part of the announcement will be the arrival of iOS 5.

 

iOS 5 has loads of great new features – and as I’ve said elsewhere, since Amazon have announce the Kindle Fire – hardware isn’t where the fight is anymore.  It’s moved on to content. Once more, content is king again. 

 

If you count an OS as content, then Apple are going to do something awesome in this space. You can read about the advertised changes here: http://www.apple.com/ios/ios5/

But one last minute feature that I hadn’t heard about until this week is iOS5’s new locking features – including shapes. Drag your finger in a shape to unlock the screen.  Android does this already – so it’s a welcome addition.

 

So – 10am PST is 6pm UK time. The only absolute certainly is the tech press will still be talking about it and wondering what Apple will do next.


This post originally appeared here: Posterous

….I find myself absolutely shattered. I’ve spent all afternoon wrestling and scrapping with the dreaded beast but to no avail. I’ve been unable to best it alone. In the end I needed a helping hand from pooh to finally put it to rest. It seems that my laptop just isn’t powerful enough to import the final element into such a large cost case. Bloody software.

By the end of the day the weather was turning too and rather than a nice bright evening that we’ve been experiencing of late, it became dark and over cast and made any further painting in the kitchen impossible. You can’t paint in electric light – Essex fact.

Daughter was baby sitting for Auntie S, Mrs G had corrie’s to catch up with. I had a wealth of reading list to work through. As a special treat we availed burger star of a take away for dinner. It’s not right, but I can justify it with the inordinate amount of cycling we’ve been doing of late, the condition of the kitchen and the overwhelming evidence that it is ‘not McDonald’s’ and is made from very fresh ingredients. It was lush in a very naughty way.

Image

Today sees me having to make a trip to the dentists. A filling. Nothing serious, just my contribution to his yacht fund I’m sure.

I’m hoping for a quieter day today, and if time permits I may try and jot down my thoughts on Google+. I’m particularly surprised at the number of tech heads who are leaving Facebook and twitter in their droves it would seem. I’m already hearing reports of several million new users to G+ in this week alone… And it’s only Tuesday!

Image

Have a great day.


This post originally appeared here: Posterous

Ooooooo….  that’s interesting…  loads of stuff happening with double O’s in their names.  I doubt it’s a sign of anything though.  A quick run through then:

 

Facebook announcements. Last night saw (the now slightly more famous because there’s a film about him) Mark Zuckerberg, referred to as Zuck in the IT press, announce some new bits and pieces over at Facebook. And finally it looks like they might actually be trying to get something right. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting I suddenly feel the need to trust them with anything, but they are making the right noises, al be it slowly.  There’s a full summary of what Zuck terms “Giving You More Control” over here on the Facebook Blog, but the two key elements that stood out for me are 1) The ability to download your data and take it somewhere else and 2) A new way of handling groups.

Downloading your data may not seem like a big deal, but it’s got to be useful if you decide you want out, but want to keep a copy of your facebook life. AS usual with any new large-ish change at Facebook though, it’s not available in the UK yet. When it is, you’ll just nip into your “Account Settings” and near the bottom of the page there’s a “Download” option which will generate a file on their servers and send you an email when it’s ready for you to collect.. Quite a neat way of dealing with it I think. Now all we need is a really secure, new, facebook-like site, that works the way it should, to be able to import this downloaded file 🙂

Facebook groups are long overdue a fix.  They’ve had a sort of groups system for sometime, but it’s been a headache to manage and doesn’t really work in a way that reflects the real world. Now they have this: http://www.facebook.com/groups/  I’m still not 100% certain it solves all the problems, but I’ll give it a go first before I write them off. 10 out of 10 for effort at least.

 

HootSuite. This is an interesting toolset that I’ve yet to make proper use of but I like the look of. They’ve announced some very confusing changes to their pricing structure. Anyone with a team on Twitter should probably be using it though. Can anyone figure out which bits are free and which bits you pay for??  http://hootsuite.com/

 

Flook. Here’s an idea. Take a picture of a useful, interesting or secret place and post it with geographical refrences online so that other people can find out about it.  Sort of like a do-it-yourself yellow pages but looking like post-cards. it’s a nice interface and has clearly been thought about, much like Gowalla is growing on me over Foursquare (but that’s another story). I’m not sure it’s going to meet it’s goals, which have been described as “Geo-Google”, but it’s fun trying and actually has some really neat little elements to it. While it began life as purely an iPhone app, it is now available via a web browser, so theoretically across any Internet enabled mobile device. Even plays nicely with Twitter & Facebook. Give it a go. http://flook.it/

 

Google TV @ Logitech. We’re no seeing signs of Google TV actually arriving soon, although still no news about a UK launch. Logitech have announced the pricing for their set top box (STB) to be $299.99. It’s called the Logitech Revue. Read all about it over here: http://www.logitech.com/en-us/smartTV/revue

Two other O apps for the Mac that I want to mention, but not doubles this time…

See and download the full gallery on posterous

AppOmater, which can be found here: http://www.appomator.com/ helps you develop iPhone applications without any programming knowledge. In my book, this is the lazy way, but then again, there are thousands of p[eople out there with ideas for applications that may never get realised without something like this.  

It’s not a freebie mind you. It is free to sign up and download and start using their application, but if you have something you  want to get published, you have to pay $50 to register with their service and then an ongoing fee for hosting the application you’ve developed. They also get a cut of any profits you make from the App Store, but it’s still entirely possible for you to make a small fortune with next to no development skills.

I’ve not heard of anyone else offering this kind of service yet, so it might be just what you’re looking for. Give them a go.

The other one is CronniX. This is just a tiny little freebie app to help you manage the cron. If you don’t know what that is, then you probably don’t need it. To be perfectly honest, if if you do know what that is, you don’t necessarily need it. After all, the cron is just a text file full for your Mac (or Unix box).

Imagine it’s your systems TODO list. It just helps it manage whats in it’s diary. When things need to get done, that weren’t already being done somewhere else. It’s a time-based job-scheduler. Anyway, if you want a GUI front end to your Mac cron, it’s here: http://code.google.com/p/cronnix/

Enough geekery, back to work….  These pencils won’t push themselves you know. oooooO

 


This post originally appeared here: Posterous

In the fight for Social Geolocation supremacy, how many more applications can we take ?  It’s getting out of hand and pretty soon we’ll have more GPS tracking apps than we’ll know what to do with.  This year they’ve rocketed. But where’s it all heading and where will it end ?

Let’s see if I can summarise where we’re at.  These are the big players (alphabetically) in the market so far.

iPhone App Android App Blackberry App Virtual Rewards Real World Rewards
Foursquare Yes Yes Yes Yes Some
Facebook Yes Yes Not Yet No No
Geomium Yes Not Yet Not Yet No Some
Google Latitude Web Web Web No No
Gowalla Yes Yes Not Yet Yes No
Twitter Yes Yes Yes No No

As you can see they all have differing levels of functionality even if they are trying to do basically the same sort of thing.  Foursquare and Twitter tend to stand out because they’re readily available across all of the main mobile platforms.  Google Latitude isn’t far behind with a clean web interface, but there’s no checkin-in with Latitude. It’s on or off.

So are any of these actually any use to the users aside from being a bit of fun?

Well, there are some “Real World Rewards” available from Foursquare and Geomium highlights local deals to your current position, but ultimately they are a bit “gamey”. There’s not really any killer functionality that makes them a must have app.  I’m not suggesting they’re a complete waste of time, they just haven’t found their place yet. I still think they will.

One of the largest inhibitors is not knowing who you’re sharing your location information with and this feeds a basic level of paranoia among many people. In some cases rightly so.  You only have to have followed the news concerning http://pleaserobme.com/ to understand how this stuff can get out of hand. If you missed it, you can go back in time here.

Obvioulsy the answer is like anything else. Be aware of what you’re doing.  You don’t go to some strange city in the middle of the night and hand out pieces of paper with your bank details on do you ?  So why would you go online and tell complete strangers where you are at this precise moment ?  Share with your friends by all means. But if you’re an idiot, you’ll still get yourself into trouble at some point. You only have to have read a handfull of lamebook.com pages to know that.

I could foresee a time when these guys all end up merge into one big social network (probably called SocNet, or worse still – “Blue Banana” – or something equally inane) where we have bits of Facebook, geo-locationary statuses and micro-blogging all in one clean application that works on every platform. You’ll even be able to neatly segregate colleagues, celebs, family, friends, romans, countrymen… lend me your e- … sorry. Got carried away there. But you get the point. Each of these groups will be able to be kept separate in the Blue Banana world, to save you from yourself.

Will it ever happen?  Not this month.  Ask again in November. That’s how quickly it changes.

 


This post originally appeared here: Posterous

Back to the grindstone today and catching up with the wad of eMails in my inbox. Not as many as usual, but then I have been actively trying to manage my email numbers downwards. eMail really is the spawn of the devil and is completely misused in today’s business environment. For example, I was out for 7 business days and in that time received 114 emails (an average of 16.28 messages per day). Of these, 70 were instantly deletable, things like:

  • meeting invites for last week
  • machine generated notifications
  • cc’s on things that don’t really concern me
  • announcements which are summarised into a single weekly message (meaning I actually get these twice!!)
  • one long joke thread.  

This means that 61% of my email is rubbish. 

There’s a long way to go before I can consider switching eMail off altogether, but I still think I can get it to a slimmer point yet, and that has become a goal. I still have 30 that are worthy of some attention, although of these, so far I’ve seen 5 that I’m likely to respond to. Just for the sake of completeness – 5 eMails!! = 4%!!. Tells a story doesn’t it. 

I have a feeling the answer to this problem lies in Social media.  The likes of Twitter & Facebook make for a far more direct method of contact, and you’re far more likely to get in touch, if you NEED to get in touch. I wish I’d thought of it, but I can’t take the credit for it. The most eloquent and driven proponent of this thinking that I’ve found so far, has to be Luis Suarez. Have a read of this http://www.elsua.net/ and see if you don’t agree.

I’ll write more on this later in the year as my inbox shrinks.

Freebie time now….

First of all, I have 5 invites for Tweasier…  first come first served if you drop me an email or DM with your email address in.  Eh?   Hang on. What’s Tweasier ??  It’s a Twitter analysis tool (sort of).  I’m still trying it out so I’m not 100% certain what I think of it yet, but if you want to learn a bit more about it, here’s the video:

http://player.vimeo.com/video/11965597

Tweasier – The Walk through video from Tweasier on Vimeo.

And then secondly of all…  a free listen of a brand new Album from 3DiCD. I’m sure you remember me blathering on about Howard Jone’s release of Ordinary Hero’s. Well, today see’s the launch of Syd Barrett’s forthcoming release “An Introduction to…”  For those of you who don’t know, Syd Barrett was of course the original front man from Pink Floyd. There’s everything you ever wanted to know just a click away, here: http://www.sydbarrett.com/

Do me a favour and turn it down just a tad….  I’m trying to read a ridiculous amount of eMail here! 😉


This post originally appeared here: Posterous
I’m sure you remember me mentioning the ‘Facebook Movie’ called ‘The Social Network‘. It’s the story of Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of facebook from way back in 2004 and some of the trials and tribulations there have been along the way. If you’re interested, the UK release date is October the 15th, so a little under a month and if you’d like another shufty at the trailer….. Here it is:


Well, if you know about that ‘facebook’ movie, you might already know about a second one, which might show up in the UK if it gets enough attention. ‘Catfish‘ has been billed at ‘The Hitchcock film that Hitchcock never made’….. 

They had no idea that their project would lead to the most exhilarating and unsettling months of their lives. A reality thriller that is a shocking product of our times, Catfish is a riveting story of love, deception and grace within a labyrinth of online intrigue.

Excellent concept and deserving of a run. It’s won plenty of critical acclaim, so let’s hope we get the chance to see it on our green and pleasant land.  Here’s the trailer for your delectation:

Those of you that have been paying close attention will have seen the launch of Facebook places in the UK this week. Now you may already be aware of my opinion, but I’m just not over impressed. You can create a “place” anywhere you like and check-in. But the worst of it is that your friends can check you in to any of these places whenever they wish. That’s the default setting. So you can expect to see people being checked in left right and centre to places that they’ve never been to or are never likely to go near. Just for fun of course. I already checked a few friends of mine into the carpet shop yesterday just because I was looking for a rug that “really tied the room together”…. 

Only I wasn’t of course. But it makes the point. Knowing facebook, this is only going to lead to trouble of some sort. I can already feel myself being checked into rehab. Fun times.

As for getting on with it, well that’s just what I’m about to do.  My list of jobs decreased a little, but when I’m not rigidly focused, I’m easily distracted which is why I found myself cycling instead of shredding or sorting out the garage.

The “Done” List:
Expenses
Haircut
Hoovering
Bed dissassembly and reassembly
General tidying up of stuff

The “Still to do” List:
Paintwork touching up – various locations
eBaying some items for the iPad fund
Shredding
Garage clear out
Re-Installation of the hardtop on the car ready for the winter

No rest for the wicked, or even the “Liberal Fuzzy Middle Classes” it would seem. 😉


This post originally appeared here: Posterous

While waiting and assisting in daughters recovery (which is going well but slowly you’ll be pleased to hear), I’ve been pondering big questions as is my occasional want. Afterall, wasn’t it Eleanor Roosevelt who said:
Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.
In my mind’s eye she may have been a batty old biddy in a similar vein to @CatBinLady although in reality, history records her as a powerhouse of a woman and far more than just the first Lady of the USA (while her husband was President) I suspect she was actually something akin to the tough 80’s Margaret Thatcher.

Now, to my big-ish question. Well, it’s a big sort of question in my world because I think it will have an impact on a large portion of the planets population eventually. Geo-located Social Media stuff again…. I seem to be harping on about this a bit, but to be fair, it’s moving along rapidly.

TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) usually have interesting and acurate speakers who follow their mantra with “Ideas Worth Spreading”, but for the first time I found myself heavily disagreeing with one of them. Just before I get into it, If you’ve not watched any of the TED speakers, I’d highly recommend their Top 10 Talks of all time. To get back to the point – Seth Priebatsch gave a talk entitled “Building the game layer on top of the world”. I hadn’t heard of him either, but it turns out he’s one of the guys behind the application “SCVNGR”. Here he is in action:

So can you guess where I’m going to disagree with him? I’ve long espoused my views on Facebook so it should come as no surprise that I was very pleased to hear/read that the new facebook will be arriving soon. (ed: Actually this article isn’t 100% correct. The source code will start to become available on the 18th, but the public alpha won’t be open until October). Hopefully it will bring some healthy competition that might shake up the zuckerberg machine. It’s not that I’m a facebook hater, but it is broken and needs fixing. If things go particularly badly for the FB crew there might even be enough material to make a second ‘Social Network’ movie. See, there’s always an upside. For their brand at least.

So for me, to hear our “Proud Princeton dropout” (who is self titled the “Chief Ninja” at SCVNGR – Oh dear) suggesting that Facebook is the Social Layer framework for connections and that it’s construction is complete and if you’re not happy about that, there is nothing you can do, just sounds naive and mis-judged. Half a billion people (the membership of Facebook) means that there are still a further 6 billion people (at least) that don’t use it.

You often find sites and applications now that will enable you to login using your facebook credentials rather than having to re-register with the particular system you’re about to use. This implies a level of trust with facebook which I’m not convinced exists. I’m concerned that developers and users alike are rushing headlong into a facebook disaster and we still have no alternative in sight. In fact, Seth’s only argument for facebook being the ruling force in terms of social network connections, is this lack of an alternative. This is why I still have high hopes for both Diaspora* and the heavily rumoured Google Me

That’s the first problem with Seth’s little chat. The second and more fundamental to his plans is that of the “game layer” or the “location-based social application market”. I hope you’re already aware that facebook is trying to join this game, all be it belatedly in the form of facebook places (So if you’ve got a facebook account, make sure you’ve got your security settings for “places” sorted out -Ed). Luckily, most of europe don’t have this functionality just yet, but it’s just around the corner. You have been warned. The big player in this market though, is Foursquare who seem to have a far more mature approach to the way it works and hot on their heels is Gowalla who both do fairly similar things.

They have both made a much bigger splash in the US than this side of the pond as yet, but they are starting to gain momentum as news of their existence surfaces. It’s all about checking in at locations like The supermarket, a football match, a concert, a shop…work, anywhere… In it’s early days (and we’re still in this phase in the UK to a certain extent) all you’re doing is sharing your whereabouts with your friends – or the world in general if that’s what you’d prefer. Over time, you earn badges for doing things (25 check-ins for example) and this provides you with a sort of status not unlike that outlined by Seth. Foursquare’s favourite badge has to be that of Mayor, which you can earn by checking into a place on multiple occasions over a period of time. Imagine being the Mayor of Lidl! – will wonders never cease?

So this is all well and good, but the bigger problem is “Do people want to broadcast the fact that they are in a particular location just for the sake of gaining a badge?”

I think the answer is most definelty no. So, Seth – to overlay gaming onto social networking is fine for the kids, but where is the benefit to the greater good??… However… When it starts to get interesting is when checking into a supermarket, for example, means you get your newspaper that you collect in store for free or something similar. Customer rewards!! In the US, the GAP store have already been trialling this, with a 25% discount for foursquare users checking in. It’s safe to say, that once the retailers and the public get behind a concept like this, it will go viral, and it will be big news.

So there we have it…. The idea is Geo/Social networking, the event is the launch of such products and the people? Well, they’re us dumb schmucks using it all….

Have a great day.
Sincerely, the Mayor of Golfy’s Office.

When it kicked off back in 2004, it was just a method for students at Harvard to share info. In fact, Mark Zuckerberg (and who ever else was actually involved with it) didn’t really know what they’d got themselves into from what I’ve read. Anyway, it turned out that “facemash” (as it was first called) became the website they decided to call facebook which in turn became an almost overnight global sensation. It wasn’t actually open to the world until September 2006. I joined up not long after in 2007.

Zuckerberg has come in for a lot of criticism over the years, and some of it appears to be well placed. Facebook’s attitude towards data security hasn’t been a good one. The rumours of how the people that work at facebook use the data are all bad, and the tools for the user to be able to manage their own security settings are equally poor. Things have been bad…. very bad….

But the take up of such a dodgy environment has been huge!!. And when I say huge I mean off-the-scale. They now claim to have over 500million users signed up and most estimates suggest around 50% use the site everyday. That is an insane amount of traffic. It’s also an enormous amount of personal information about a very large number of people.  With security and privacy being so poorly managed no-one should feel surprised when the see headlines like this:

Details of 100m Facebook users collected and published

But actually this isn’t a particularly new or disturbing story….  What’s actually happened is that some bright spark has written a piece of code that harvests all the publicly available information from the facebook site. Note how this information is Publicly available.  This is simply because at least 100 million members of facebook have not changed their default privacy settings and so their information os free for all to see.

If you want a better understanding of some of the impact of this, take a look at this site: http://youropenbook.org/ which gives you the ability to search all of the unprotected posts on facebook in real time. And this is just posts….. not birthdays, biographies, phone numbers, email addresses, all of which also exist and many of which aren’t hidden from view either.

Given all these terrible traits, people still join facebook…. and they don’t appear to be leaving in a hurry either. And that is for two very simple reasons. 1) All their friends are on here and that’s how they keep in touch. Even more-so now that they can do it from whichever mobile phone they have (and everyone has a mobile phone in the 1st and 2nd worlds) and 2) Where would they go?? There’s hundreds of social networking sites out there, but none seem to be a viable alternative or picking up enough momentum to take on the might of the appallingly managed facebook.

Sadly this is true for me to.  I keep banging on about leaving facebook, and I’m trying to.  I don’t post to it any more. Although I do post selective tweets….  and occasionally I’ll have a look at my friends status updates…. and maybe comment on a few…  and post the odd picture…  d’oh… you see??…. It’s like giving up any addiction. Damn near impossible. But it can be done.

Just recently there have been rumours of a “Delete Account” option being in the works, or in some cases available, and for those of you that are really ready for it, there’s a Wiki How To which explains what you need to do. http://www.wikihow.com/Permanently-Delete-a-Facebook-Account.  Me?, I’m really nearly almost set to consider thinking about the possibility of leaving facebook….  *** Sighhhh ***

I managed to crowbar mowing the lawn in between the showers yesterday while waiting for Daughter & Mrs G to get back from the hospital (Nothing to worry about). To be fair it hardly needed it what with all the warm weather we’ve had of late, but a least it’s tidied the garden up.

I do love an empty Sunday. A full english brunch is on the cards and if the wether turns to rain, which it’s looking like it might, I may finally get to see the last instalment of “The Silence” which I was raving about earlier in the week. For various reasons we didn’t get to see it on Thursday, Friday or Saturday. We did get to see a few old friends last night in the form of C’s 40th birthday bash, which was a BBQ and drinkies at their house up north….

I could say more but I can’t and that brings me nicely to my subject today: Fixing Social Networking (or SocNet, which is the phrase that I’ve coined and is now copyrighted to me 😉 ).

The undisputed king of social networking is Facebook. With over 400 million regular users, 50% of whom check in every day, there’s no denying it is all encompassing. That said all is not well in the kingdom of the book of faces. In recent years it’s security and privacy policies have come under scrutiny and they’ve had to make significant changes, but while these things are concerning they’re not the elephant in the room which Facebook are ignoring.

The big problem is who your Facebook friends are. For example, it might seem like fun to be Facebook friends with your boss, that is until he/she sees what you’ve been up to with your Facebook friends from the pub. This is the tip of the iceberg, and its an iceberg that the unsinkable Facebook is sailing straight towards. These two social groups (pub & work in our example) are non existent in the world of Facebook, and this lack of ‘friend granularity’ is what will lead you to post less or be far more selective about who your Facebook friends are based on what people may or may not learn about you. As you acquire more friends in more social groups you’ll be using Facebook less and less.

The fix is obvious and is simply a case of grouping your friends together in their respective social groups so that the right people see the right things and not the wrong people seeing the wrong things. The groups will have to be able to crossover because (in our example) you might be the type of person who spends time in the pub with your boss. It’s a function that’s not in place today, but you can bet it’s being worked on, if not by Facebook then by google (Google Me) or someone else who has their eye on the SocNet throne.

Worse still for the SocNet owners, this problem is by no means exclusive to Facebook. Twitter, Foursquare and any number of SocNet sites all suffer from the same basic failing. So in fact, what were faced with is not something that perhaps Facebook can fix or maybe even should. Ownership of this metadata about your friends (your relationship status to them) is something that is unique to you and you should take responsibly for and thus be able to manage.

I think your contacts is where the action is really at and we should look closely at the vCard, CardDAV (or similar) standard. Here’s the ifs that could make it work:

  • If your contacts were all in the cloud
  • If your contacts held SocNet data (ie: pub, work etc)
  • If your contacts held SocNet membership data (ie: is a member of facebook, twitter etc)
  • If your contacts auto synced to your local device (smartphone, PC etc) that would be nice too.

Then each of the SocNet sites could (after your approval) interrogate this data and manage your posts accordingly. Of course you would still have to mark which of your social groups can see your posts, but you would have a finite list based on your contacts metadata that you own.

All the tech to do this exists today. The question is who will be first to tie it all together and make it work? Whoever it is, let’s hope they get it right and then I can tell all – at least to the right people.

Mrs G and I had a fairly leisurely day planned for Saturday doing not an awful lot. A wander into town to pick up Wednesday’s copy of the local paper (because there’s an article featuring Daughter in it) proved fruitless as we discovered the newspaper office is closed on the weekend. Not much happens round here that’s newsworthy obviously.

Picked up a couple of birthday cards for forthcoming celebrations and on the way back to the car I was surprised and humoured to see a longish line of people in a queue outside the O2 shop. I’m fully aware of the O2 shop queue due to son having stood in it on Thursday for the iPhone launch (which incidentally meant that the back of his head also appeared in the local paper), but this time, there was another familiar face. Auntie S. There she was dutifully queuing up to get herself one. We stopped and chatted for a while only to find out that the O2 store had around 50 handsets in stock. 50!? Really ?? I’d already decided not to bother until at least a couple of weeks, when I figured the stock levels would be replenished, but to hear that they have them again already – was quite a surprise. Needless to say – I joined the queue.

Having now procured, this also meant I could finally save Mrs G from her Samsung thing, and get her on a decent phone instead. After a few grumbles and gripes we soon had her all set up and now she’s a convert too. Thank god that my tech support mantle can be laid to rest for a while.

BTW – Last note on the subject – they really are all they’re cracked up to be. The fastest phone I’ve had the pleasure of using. Video calls with Son have been a blast already even though for the time being we both have to be within a WiFi hotspot. For me personally, not a signal drop out in sight either, although I have heard the talk. I’ve also heard there’s an imminent fix for it in the form of software – this I do find surprising, but it’s not a problem for me at the moment either way.

On the flip side – terrible news from the badman that he is without the necessary drugs to sustain him. I wish I could tell him there was an “app for that” but alas even that wouldn’t help him as he’s also smartphone-less. The best he can hope for is to buy pre-ground and save himself from certain dementia.

So then to Sunday Lunch – obviously the football (more on that in a moment) was the most important thing, so a BBQ at BBB’s house was the plan. He wanted some help getting set up, so I scooted over early so that we could hang the 40″ TV on the garden wall and install shade where appropriate, fill the pool and chill the beer. As a build up to the game (and to be honest this should almost be the law whenever England play Germany) we watched “Escape To Victory” with Michael Caine, Pele & Sylvester Stallone – Fantastic stuff. For the BBQ, Mrs G and I bought this, just like chicken…

And then of course there was the football, which is just too depressing to think about too much. I know it would be easy to say they were crap. But actually they weren’t crap (to start with). I know it would be easy to blame Cappello, but everyone was doing that after the first two games, then after the third and we got through, everyone was saying how great a manager he’d been by showing some real passion. He may have made some “odd” choices in team lineup’s, but I’m sorry, it’s just not his fault.

It seems clear to me, that the touchline/referee method for calling a goal is outdated and obviously doesn’t work. The FA & FIFA’s argument for the lack of technology is that they want a level playing field (no pun intended), whereby every team (right down to pub teams) have the same chance of scoring (or being disallowed). While this has some merit, in the modern world it makes a mockery of what is supposed to be a modern sport. Tennis & Rugby have both embraced the technology with no detriment to the game whatsoever – It’s time to put that right.

IF, and of course it’s a big IF, but IF the england goal had stood, which (as we can all see from the video playbacks) it should have, then psychologically the England squad would have been playing a different game entirely. I disagree when people say it wouldn’t have effected the overall scoreline, because quite simply a goal boosts the confidence of the team, just like a disallowed (obvious) goal dents their confidence.

Too late now though. What’s done is done and at least we don’t have to bother watching any more of it. My predictor has Argentina and Portugal in the final, but I don’t really care.

A few interesting snippets that I’ve picked up over the weekend for you now:

Anyone who’s read the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (which I mentioned on Friday) will be aware that the meaning of life is exactly 42 (sorry if I’ve spoiled it for you, but you should have read it already). It turns out that the maths behind this has been expanded, and here’s the result. Magic….

I was also very interested to read that:

Researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) developed a software program that can detect depression in blogs and online texts. The software is capable of identifying language that can indicate the writer’s psychological state, which could serve as a screening tool. Read More

Good to know that when I’m depressed, my blog could tell me.

TED always teaches interesting concepts. Never thought I’d see this one though.

Then there’s the Rubik Cube art, which makes me want to buy a whole bunch of Rubik’s cubes and make my own: RubikCubism

For the electrical engineer’s I spotted this:

Resistance Begins at Ohm – $14.95 by Chris Murphy



So finally, back to the real world and two stories of interest.  First of all. Cash dispensers are about to start chucking out £5 notes again. Everyone runs out of fivers, so the bank of England have been making it their business to get them back into circulation. I for one am very pleased to hear this news because when I only want a fiver out of the cash machine, I only want a fiver and not a tenner.

Second of all, someone is having a crack at Facebook. Kevin Rose, the founder of “Digg” tweeted on Saturday the following: “Ok, umm, huge rumor: Google to launch facebook competitor very soon “Google Me”, very credible source”. Can’t wait to finally kill off my Facebook account. Oh I do hope there’s a super-fast hi-definition, multitasking app for that! Bring It On!