You following me?

Yeah you…   my faithful reader.   🙂

You can find me on twitter.   My twitter stream features random musings, the occasional original thought, and retweets of things that amused me, enlightened me, or just made me wonder.

http://www.twitter.com/stryse  

Also, I’m now on Google + which means I can get back to social networking outside of Twitter.   (I’d be on my MySpace more but no one is there these days… maybe when sexy is brought back.)

They haven’t gotten around to friendly URLs yet, but you can find my Google + profile here:

https://plus.google.com/107687149744649763442     (Soon, you can just type in http://google.stryse.net and it will take you to the same place….probably do that with Twitter and MySpace and such as well.)    You Facebookers with gmail should join us.

And of course… Xbox Live.   My gamertag is Stryse.

Unfaithful readers are welcome to follow me as well.   🙂

Facebook Warning

 

If you didn’t read this, you should.   

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/02/28/facebook-home-addresses-phone-numbers_n_829459.html

If I’m harder to find on Facebook, its because they now only have fictitious information about me.

The reason Facebook is not to be trusted (and why my time there is so limited) is that they ignore common sense.   I got started on the world wide web in what might best be termed its ‘beta testing’ period.   Back before things like Internet Explorer and Social Networking.

In the two decades since, we’ve learned a lot of hard lessons about online privacy the hard way.

Facebook instead takes its users down a very dangerous trail…  and as far as I am concerned, are preying upon a younger generation who doesn’t know any better.    Do we really need to get raped and pillaged before we learn its a bad idea to share too much with the internet?   

Basically, Facebook wants to encourage you to excercise little restraint or sense when it comes to your information.   Just put it out there for us to use however we decide we should use it, they say.    People don’t care about privacy, they cry.

Well people do.   The people who learned everything they know about privacy from Facebook… are frankly ripe for the picking when it comes to identify theft.  Go ahead.  Now you’ll be able to easily still their contact information, which will make it a lot easier for you to pose as them, drain their bank accounts, and laugh with glee.

(Being that my household has recently suffered such intrusion… without Facebook’s hand in it…   just trust me on this.)

 

In related news…  did you check out Worst Little Podcast?    I may be the webmaster, but I disavow all responsibility for the look and feel. 

That honor for that goes to the host of WLP…   He found the theme, configured it, and brings you all your visual goodies.     So be sure to give him your feedback.    What do you like?  What do you loathe?   What did you think of last night’s show?   Comment us!   (And Subscribe!!)

Tuesday is Green Beans?

 

Actually I don’t remember what day goes to what food from that song… if I could remember all the foods, I could sing it until I got it in the right order… but alas, no.

Ah… life at Scout Camp.

Anyways…

So the big snowing we were supposed to get over the weekend was pretty much nothing.  Today was only forecast as a chance of snow… and wouldn’t you know it, we’re getting more today than we did all weekend.   One of my coworkers sent an email entitled “Snow vs. Mustang” in which he announced he would not be making it in to work today, but would instead be telecommuting.   He attached a pic of of his snowed in car.   I wasn’t particularly convinced… I’ve unburied myself from worse… but weather reports confirm he’s in the part of town with some of the heaviest snow-fall.   Nearly a foot in some places I’m told.

Yup, its winter time.   

 

Went to Facebook for the aforementioned occasional friend-request approving… it must have known it was me, as it promptly decided to stop rendering pages correctly.   Smile   Those of you waiting for my Facebook friend approval should have to wait no more.   Unless you literally just added me.

 

Got an appointment to see a house tomorrow.   High end of my price range, but it comes with an extra bedroom, which would be welcome, and they didn’t seem to think there would be a problem with the dogs.

A couple of streets up from where I’m at.   I think its in an alley though, so that might be a no-go for Gabe.  We’ll see.   Most of my options appear to be of the duplex variety and I’m not at all keen on such an arrangement.   Plan to spend the holiday weekend pre-screening places to show to Gabe when he returns from his adventures in Oregon.

A War Decided

 

Well its sad news for me, but hardly unforeseen.   I’ve known I was on the losing team for quite some time now.

Myspace is no longer billing itself as a social network.  They’re ceding that to Facebook.  

The following tid-bit is the most telling as to the new direction:

"This is a recognition of an old defeat," Gottheil said. "MySpace stopped being the place to find and connect to friends a long time ago. This is reinforcing its value as what it is, a publishing site. Facebook is not, and will not be, a publishing site. So this partnership helps define and distinguish the two, and makes it easier for users to be active members of both sites, using each one for what it does well."

 

I must say, one of the glaring omissions in Facebook that kept me from initially getting onboard with that was the lack of publishing features that MySpace had.

At this juncture its a non-issue.   I publish via WordPress not MySpace.  

But don’t expect to see me embracing the winner.    I still don’t like Facebook and the direction they are taking the social web.    I share many critic and analyst views on how Facebook is usurping your online identity and how eagerly you’re letting them do it.

I’ve been using the internet for well over a decade now.    That’s a lot of time to spend cultivating your own online identify.   I’m sure not handing it over now.    I’m the only one who is going to own me.

I’ll continue to keep the Facebook page simply because I know that’s how some of my dear readers are consuming this blog via the status updates Facebook provides  (which gets there via Twitter btw).

HINT:   If you want to comment on a blog entry and want me to actually see it… Facebook is not where you do it.   You’re going to have to come out to my actual blog  and comment there:     Link to The Blog of Stryse

I do occasionally sign into Facebook to approve friend requests, but I don’t tend to linger there long.  While I may chime in on the most recent  postings I’m certainly not expending the effort to go back through the last month or two worth of comments you’ve made since my last login.

Plus they still can’t figure out that my email address is perfectly valid, despite my emailing them from it to tell them so.    My latest gripe is how Facebook has broken the back-button on my browser.   All that stupid like-button integration means you need to keep hitting ‘back’ several times to get to the page you were just on.

For the most part, news seals the deal that I’m exiting the social networking world.    That is, I’m not playing ball with the major player out there.    I’ll stick to some of the more niche sites I contribute too.   Maybe this will motivate me to do more work on promoting my own social network site, Jedi Nation.  I see Myspace’s exit from social networking as an opportunity for someone else to come out with the Facebook-killer.  Plus you’ll still see MySpace, Twitter, and even the darkness of Facebook getting status updates announcing a new post to this here blog.    I also signed up for Path, a new photo-based social network experience.   Its more geared for iPhone users, which I’m also not onboard with… so not sure if I’ll actually use it… but at least I’ve got the name reserved.    http://www.path.com/stryse

Of course, we can still go old-school.   Send me an email or something.    Just don’t send me any email from an @facebook.com address.    I won’t reply to it.   I’m not about to let Facebook keep a copy of our private conversations for their own world-domination schemes.

 

This just came into my inbox from one of my colleagues.   Since I got a chuckle, I’m sharing it with all of you.   (Plus, apparently pictures improves this posts ranking.)

Darth Beta Tester:

force-quit

Facebook may suck slightly less now.

 

I must say, despite all my hatred toward the service, these two security features are rather promising:

1)  Temporary Passwords for use in less-than-secure situations where you password might be picked up by someone.   Of course it means providing Facebook with your cell number ahead of time.   This might be dangerous.   SPAM via Text Messaging is on the rise and I for one still don’t trust Facebook to be all that protective of things like my phone number.    Generally an SMS-enabled phone number isn’t something I like to give out.

2)  Remote Log-Out.   I wouldn’t get too much use from this since I don’t use public computers or friends’ computers for this sort of thing… but the notion that I can log myself out remotely if i forget to sign-out on a different computer is pretty cool.

 

http://technolog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2010/10/13/5284235-facebook-launches-one-time-passwords-

More Facebook Hate

 

"People on Facebook want to interact with their real friends and the people they know in the real world," Facebook spokesperson Winnie Ko wrote in an e-mail to CNN. "Since accounts that impersonate anyone or anything can damage the integrity of this environment, Facebook doesn’t allow fake profiles for pets."

(Article:  http://www.cnn.com/2010/TECH/social.media/08/05/pets.facebook.networks/?hpt=Mid)

Stryse says:

Winnie Ko is a bit out of touch on just what people want to do on Facebook.   Clearly some people want to interact with their friend’s pets, in addition to their friends.   Further the notion that we use Facebook to interact with our real friends conveys a gross misunderstanding of what comprises most of our ‘friends’ in social networking.   In my case, I would wager most of my Facebook friends are real friends, or at least people I’ve actually met in the real world.    But I don’t do much Facebooking, so I don’t have many Facebook friends on there.    I can, however, state that while they’re all real acquaintances, it would be improper to refer to them all as my real friends.   Some are, some aren’t. 

One more reason for Facebook’s destruction:     They discriminate against my dog.   (Whose had a MySpace page for a few years now.)

Discrimination… hmm…  yes thats the straw that gets them hit-listed.

Laughing at you, not with you

I’ve been seeing a few status updates on MySpace lately announcing the latest round of my “friends” who are making the switch.     I laugh with madness at them.    I get why they’re going… everyone else is…    (hell, even I have a Facebook profile… even though I secretly plot its destruction).

Me thinks they should read this article first, before offering up the details of their identity  (it’s also a good reason for switching back to MySpace):

http://www.wired.com/epicenter/2010/05/facebook-rogue/

In fact, the more I hear about Facebook, the more inclined I am to just delete my profile outright.    The article above, though, goes into a lot of detail on why I don’t much use Facebook.     

Of course the author is a bit behind the times.   I’ve been running my own “profile space” for awhile now… using my own website.   Now that I’ve finally gotten my domain out of AIT’s hands… you’ll even be able to browse to it easily.    (Try stryse.net in about three days… after the domain updates fully propagate around the internet.)

Of course this Blog is probably the backbone of that anyway, so you could just stick around here.

My ongoing saga of Facebook’s lack of Support

Francesco, from ‘The Facebook Team’ has been allegedly helping me with this problem.     As seems to be the case with almost every organizations customer service team these days, that help is anything but helpful.     What happened to the customer service rep that could take a customer’s complaint/issue, look into what was causing that issue, and fixing it swiftly and effectively?    Oh yeah.  I got another job.

So it began almost three weeks ago.   I sign into Facebook and get a message informing me that my email address has been identified by Facebook’s systems as being invalid.   I have the option to enter a new email address to confirm, or click the link to reconfirm my existing email.    Knowing that my email address is in good working order, I first go into the domain settings and make sure I didn’t inadvertently blacklist the facebook.com domain.   I get enough ‘spam’ from their intrusive notification I thought maybe I did and should undo it.   But no.   Setting my email preferences to leave me the frak alone was sufficient.   I even go so far as to officially whitelist facebook.com in the email settings so that nothing on the radcliffulc.org domain is blocking email from facebook.com

Then I go back to Facebook and click the link to reconfirm the email address.    It tells me it was successful sending me the reconfirmation.   Great I think.   So to my inbox I go.  No email.   No worries, facebook is probably slow to get the mail out.  

Now its the next day, I go back to facebook.   message is still there about me having a bad email address.   i check my inbox.  Nothing from Facebook.  I check my junk mail folder.   Nothing from facebook.

I reclick the link, get told it was successful.    check my email.  nothing.   rinse and repeat over the course of three hours.    No email ever received from facebook.

Time to call in customer support.    Or so I thought.   Can you find contact info to get help from their support team?    Frak no.  They obviously don’t care enough about their customer base to be that good of a service organization.     So I dig through their infamous help center looking for my issue.  Can’t find anything about it.   I click the one closest to it, about not getting a confirmation email.  Afterall, if the confirmation email comes through, i can reconfirm my email address and all should be golden, right?

So two days go by and I finally get an email from Francessco in the facebook team telling me… we have an account associated to this email, please try logging in again.  

Um, okay, but that wasn’t the problem now was it?    I log in.  Message still there.

I reply and give them a lecture on why they really ought to think about shoring up their support options because its a waste of their time chasing down false issues, and more importantly a waste of my time, the valued customer.  Let us tell you the real issue up front so you can resolve it swiftly and to  our satisfaction.

The next day I get another reply seeming to indicate the got it, and fixed my issue.   I log into facebook.   The message is gone!   Good I thought.   Problem solved.

Three days later.

Message is back.  click the reconfirm current email link.   No email received.   Reply to Francesco and tell her it was fixed for a moment, but the message is back.

Reply received that same day that its fixed again.   Go to the site, no message.  Everything should be good.

Except it isnt’.

At this point I’m back to MySpacing and not checking in on dear old Facebook.   A week later I go into Facebook again.  Message is there.

Let them know. They tell me its fixed.  Message is gone, only to resurface three days later.

So I tell them again.

This time I’m being told it’s an issue with my browser and to go upgrade it and/or delete the cookies/cache.

Four issues with that response:

1)   Not receiving a confirmation email from Facebook has nothing whatsoever to do with my browser.

2)  I run Internet Explorer 8.   There isn’t anything to upgrade too.   I’m sure Microsoft, who has a decent equity stake in Facebook, will be thrilled to know they are advising their customers to upgrade from the latest and greatest browser Microsoft has released.   Maybe I”m supposed to go to IE9 Beta.   Who knows.   I bet a well-directed email to Microsoft would get this resolved quicker.

3) My browser is set to dump the cache every time its closed specifically to avoid caching issues.  (I’m clearly not as computer-challenged as my would-be support tech here appears to be.)

4) The problem goes away when they make the ‘fix’ on their end… so it isn’t my browser because if it was the message wouldn’t have disappeared for days at a time to resurface later.   No, they’re ‘reconfirming” the address on my behalf, and their system is subsequently reidentifying my email as bad.   Maybe they should go look into the root cause of the problem and fix that, instead of treating the symptom.   This is computer science, not western medicine.

so there we have it.   When I get home, I’ll go dump my cookies, frustrating me to no end later down the road when I have to re-enter everything those cookies were storing for me… all so that I can log back into Facebook in a day or two and be right where I started three weeks ago.

And yet you, my friends, insist that this thing is better than MySpace?  Why?  You can’t blog.  You have no options to customize your facebook presence, which means you have limited means to express who you are… instead you have to conform to the facebook image they want you to have.   You’re supporting Microsoft by being there (some of you may leave just for that reason alone).   Their customer service is probably the worst I’ve seen this decade (okay, so we’re not that far into this decade… but as someone who started their career as a customer service professional, I can tell you that we have right to demand more from them… better service is possible, because I used to provide it to people).

I’m seriously thinking this weekend of starting up a Fan Page on Facebook for Facebook Haters to bring some light into the darkness of their support efforts and DEMAND they improve their service offering.   I will probably need to do so under a different account lest mine mysteriously get banned for speaking out against the man…

Yes, I Facebook even though I’m secretly plotting its destruction. 

Seriously this is a simple matter to resolve, and three weeks later its still broken.