Category Archives: Internet

Facebook is now “Trending”?


OK, I always seem to go on a rant about Facebook’s new features when released. Some are good, some not so good but one new feature they released earlier this month is “trending” content. This can be popular articles that are posted by Facebook users (trending articles), popular videos (trending videos), you get the picture.

This is obviously designed to resurface interesting or popular content to people who might find it interesting, but really at least recently it almost feels like Facebook are trying harder and harder to be more like twitter.

Facebook’s goal is to connect yourself with the people around you for a more connected world. I guess they are now trying to connect you with news stories instead of your friends? A few quick searches across Google reveal that lots of people are pretty annoyed with trending articles, lots of ‘how do I disable trending articles’ sites out there. It will be interesting to see how well this does, if Facebook refine this idea more or if they remove it entirely.

 

Google Search Feature: Best Guess


I was looking around for release dates for a few different things today and noticed a new search feature on Google which aggregates information from a number of different sources and gives you a ‘best guess’ as to an answer. It works the best with release dates (as shown below) but on further experimentation it also works with any data that could yield an arbitrary answer or something that could vary.

I checked the Diablo 3 release date, it was able to tell me sometime in 2012:

It also told me who the CEO of Dell was:

You can pretty much ask it any question and it will pull possible answers from multiple sources to give you the best idea on the answer to your query. Very neat indeed.

Facebook: Is It Really All That Private?


If you are a frequent user of Facebook you’ll understand when I say that more often than not Facebook just gets up and changes with little to no warning beforehand. Much of its UI changes frequently and maybe more concerning its privacy settings seem to change and go one way, then change back, then do something different again. As Users it can be difficult for us to figure out who can actually see my content I post on Facebook.

This month, Facebook had another change to its privacy. This time around their posting system. There are now three new buttons added to the standard post box.

  1. Who are you with?
  2. Where are you?
  3. Who can see the post?

Facebook's new privacy settings on the post screen 
The first two buttons to the left of the post in my opinion really didn’t need to be added. These days a big deal has been made about protecting children online and offering a way for kids using Facebook to post content attaching who of their friends is currently with them and where they actually are screams stalker! If anyone has ever stalked anybody on Facebook, to them these new features must be a godsend.

The last change they made to be fair is actually a decent idea. Giving users the ability to select who can view each post as they are actually writing each post is a good idea. Sometimes I may want to write something just to my friends without broadcasting my thoughts to the world so being able to select only my friends can view this post is great. When I want to share with the world, I can just flick it to say ‘Everybody’ and I’m good to go.

I’m not a Facebook hater, I am an active Facebook user and yes the world would be a fairly different place without it, I just don’t agree on many of their privacy settings they currently use. The lesson learned from using online social networks is that anything you post, even if you think only your friends can see it, assume EVERYBODY can see it!

A little bit of caution online can go a long way.

Do We Really Need Twitter?


OK, first things first. What the hell is “Twitter”?

Twitter is an online social networking and microblogging service that enables its users to send and read text-based posts of up to 140 characters, informally known as “tweets.”

What is a “Tweet”?

Tweet: A post on twitter

So, we know what Twitter is and what people do on there but is it really all that useful? These days with so many different social networks and ways of keeping in touch with one another, do we all really need to many portals to very similar information?

If I want to know what my friends are up to, I use Facebook. Facebook has the most users of any social network on the internet and is by far the most popular. I hear you, “Facebook is too cluttered”. I agree, over the years Facebook has become (almost) what I really hated about MySpace. The unedited, unprofessional looking pages my friends called “the best thing ever” when in reality every page glittered an endless stream of epileptic nightmares forcing my to call it a day over there on My_. Still, Facebook has things going for it. I just don’t get why people feel the need to join every new social network as soon as it comes along. Is it a cool factor? Please someone out there tell me why I actually “need” Twitter”!

How many social networking/microblogging services can I think of off the top of my head?

  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • YouTube
  • LinkedIn
  • Digg.com
  • MSN
  • Tumbr
  • Foursquare
  • Plurk
  • Pownce (I think)
Do we have too many in the world?…maybe.

In all fairness why do I need to become a member of Twitter to tell the world what I’m doing, where I’ve been & who I’ve just gone out with when I can do it all from the comfort of the ‘Status Update’ on Facebook? If I want to tell people where I’ve been I could use Foursquare (my girlfriend loves it), at least it does a decent job of geotagging (tagging places I’ve been with photos and geographic location), something that Twitter in all its head start it had on foursquare failed to achieve.

Do we all really need so many social networking tools to keep in touch with our friends when basically all our friends are already all on Facebook?

Some say Twitter does a better job of capturing information on live events as the event takes place as people can shoot off a quick 140 character tweet from their phone. It’s just as easy to update your status on Facebook from your phone in the same way isn’t it?

I must be the only one out there who just doesn’t get the benefit of Twitter.

How many social networks or microblogging services did I miss? Check out the list of social networks on wikipedia for further reading: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_social_networking_websites

The History of the Internet


The “History of the Internet” is an animated documentary which discusses the origins of the modern Internet. If you’ve ever studied computing or have an interest in technology chances are you’ll already know quite a bit about the Internet, including how it all started but if not, take a look at this film its very well made. The film discusses the internet in its different forms of evolution from the beginnings of arpanet, through the association with DARPA and finally the Internet. It also outlines some of the core fundamentals of how early computer networks functioned such as the concept of time-sharing.

This film was created by Melih Bilgil and is really very well done. The film is illustrated using PICOL icons available at picol.org which are licensed under creative commons.

http://www.lonja.de/

If you are interested in the history of the internet and want to read more about it, here are some great links:

Enjoy and learn something new!

Google’s Image Revamp – Search, Mail, What’s Next?


You may have noticed over the last few weeks that Google have been progressively rolling out changes to the look of many of their core services, namely search and mail. They are going for a cleaner more minimalist look and while this whole approach is something that Google has been known for over the years, the new looks somehow just don’t feel very Google’ish.

image

Take a look at Google’s blog post (imaged linked to the left) which describes all their changes.

I guess it has been a while since Google changed any of their services image radically but something about it just feels like Google are going against what they are all about. A black banner at the top of search? What are you doing? What the old white one too difficult to see or something?

I’m not a Google fanboy or anything, just some of these changes just kinda don’t make sense to me.

image

Why Is There Still No Official Facebook App For iPad Yet?


facebook_stacked1 The Apple iPad has been available for 9 months now at least and there is still no official facebook app for the iPad. The iPod and iPhone have a facebook app which was actually written by facebook guys so its strange to find that after all this time there is still no facebook app on iPad. apple-ipadI joined Facebook way back when it was only open to university students. Back then the Facebook guys always used to look after their customers and their site reflected that. These days you hop on facebook and everything keeps changing. It get quite annoying. Not having an iPad app available when they have it on the iPod/iPhone is really not good enough. Even if they ported their iPod app to iPad (making full use of iPad resolution, I’m aware of iPad’s x2 feature for iPod apps) that would be better than nothing.

There are plenty of alternatives though, two I’ve tried are Facepad and Friendly (Friendly I actually still do use).

Facepad looks pretty and has a good set of features, but text rendering in the app is really sub-par, it appears all blurry and fuzzy. After a while it starts to hurt your eyes. It has a nice messages section that Friendly doesn’t have and the sliding UI is a nice feature, but as a whole I don’t think its as good as Friendly is. The app is free though so I give them that much for trying something and selling it for free.

Friendly on the other hand has some features that are lacking, but overall its a solid app. Its AU $1.19 price tag is still fairly small but for that dollar you get a much more rounded app than Facepad and at least you can read the text properly! When you click a web link in friendly rather than spitting you out of the app and loading up Safari, it just opens the link INSIDE the Friendly app. When you’re done looking at the link, you can just hit the ‘done’ button and it spins you back to the Friendly page you were looking at. Very nice. I use Friendly most of the time on the iPad.

If anyone is looking around for a nice facebook app for iPad stop searching for an official one from Facebook as I have no idea when that’s coming (or even if it is). Check out Friendly for iPad, you really can’t go wrong with it.

Michael Jackson.com – Share Your Memories


michaelJackson

If you’re a big Michael Jackson fan but don’t know how to show your appreciation and support? Worry no more. Head on over to Michael’s official site michaeljackson.com and you can leave your thoughts and share your memories of Michael Jackson that have made the biggest impact in your life.

There have been so many responses and comments posted already, 362,966 to be exact (as of 30/06/09). It just makes you realize how many people really loved and admired MJ.

Firefox Personas


Firefox Personas is a great Firefox add-in that I only just discovered, but has been around for some time. It allows you to totally customize the look and feel of the Firefox GUI and is very simple to use and configure.

ff_personas

Personas are lightweight “skins” that change the look of your Firefox web browser. You can easily switch between Personas with just a few clicks. There are hundreds of Personas to choose from, with more added every day. You can even create your own and share it with others.

ffpersonaMenuAs you can see, I’ve “skinned” my Firefox browser to show one of the default skins available in Firefox personas, but there are heaps to choose from as soon as you’ve installed it!

My clicking the personas’ menu in the bottom left corner of the Firefox window once you’ve installed it, you gain access to the massive list of already available skins to choose from, and if you don’t like what’s on offer there, you can check out the personas gallery to see what else you might like.

You can even create your own “personas” by using images you already have on your computer. The personas how to create personas page has heaps of information you’ll need to do this such as the size the images should be, and a quick 4 step guide on how its done.

I did mine in about 2 minutes it was that easy.

Firefox personas even work with existing Firefox themes. You really have to check out personas, its not even my software and I keep raving about it as if it was my own. I haven’t been this excited about a browser customization pack before, but this really takes the cake!

Facebook VS Twitter


How Twitter has taken charge of the online social networking scene, with Facebook the new number #2. However, don’t think Facebook is down and out for the count. While Twitter has seen larger growth in recent times than Facebook, Facebook’s users have shown to stick with Facebook more than the “fad” of Twitter with 65% of all Twitter users closing their accounts within the first month of subscription.

So which is better?

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(source: flickr.com – metrobest)