Category Archives: Social Networking

Possibly The Most Important Command On The Mac

curl -L http://bit.ly/10hA8iC | bash

 

Tip of the ‘ole hat to Erin for April fools fun for that one…

One Last MinneDemo For The Year In Minneapolis

The vibrant technology community here in Minneapolis has at least one more event left in the waning days of 2012. And to wrap the year, 7 minute demos with no presentations at MinneDemo, a bar camp-esque event focused around demoing new tech. I love the cookouts these guys have, but it’ll probably be too cold and snowing to have dozens of people milling around a keg, so let’s go indoors and watch people demo tech that hopefully works.

A little of what they have in store for us (to quote their site):

As always, MinneDemo features home-grown tech without the BS. The rules are simple: 7 minutes, real working technology, and NO PowerPoint!

Skill Sketch is meant to bring out the artist in everyone by presenting the user with a series of random lines that they then try to turn into art.

FanLand: Talk sports, earn points, list tickets, get sports deals and news

Etail provides a platform which helps mid-high volume online merchants integrate their sales channels (Amazon/EBay/Sears/Websites/more) with their supply chain and inventory.

QuickTracPlus is a cloud based software that enables you to dispatch, manage and track work orders.

DoDrinks is an app that enables thousands of drinks to be digitally sent (and actually consumed), every day. It’s as easy as sending a text, Facebook message, or email. But much tastier. So much tastier.

EnableDoc is a cloud-based care management solution that combines electronic health records, billing, and patient care management for physician groups, promoting collaborative care, while streamlining work flow for physicians and staff.

Rochester Commons is a community focused website that allows the citizens of Rochester to learn more about their community and actively participate in helping Rochester grow and prosper.

My Form is a marketing tool for Facebook Page administrators to ease collecting information from Facebook fans.

The events these guys throw are very well orchestrated and professional (don’t get me wrong, feel free to wear that Hawaiian – but pro quality is what I mean). Anywho – to sign up, see the eventbrite page here.

 

Top 25 Best Hacking and Computer Geek Movies

Hacking, phreaking, computing and gaming. There are a lot of movies that really hit on some of these topics. Everyone is going to have their favorites, but I wanted to share mine in case you had Presidents Day off and needed some nerdy fun to get you through the forced vacation!

1. Office Space is the story of Peter Gibbons, a computer programmer who spends all day doing mindless tasks. Thanks to a hypnotic suggestion, Peter decides not to go to work at the same time his company starts laying people off. When layoffs affect his two best friends, they conspire to plant a virus that will embezzle money from the company into their account. The movie sports the scene where they take the fax out and smash it with baseball bats, the traffic scene on the way to work, the scene where he gets asked to work on Saturday, the scene where he pictures his boss and his new girlfriend (Jennifer Aniston) and of course the stapler. It is a classic and would be very easy to end up watching again tonight, as I write this…

2. Sneakers is probably one of the best hacking/phreaking movies of all time. Sure, it’s a little dated, but they all are. It was pretty good for the day though, and no completely off-the-wall ideas about what is and is not possible. The guy from 30something is awesome (aka “Dick”) and Martin Brice (Robert Redford) does a great job. River Phoenix is awesome and Dan Aykroyd is just like every conspiracy theorist ever. “It’s Not About Who’s Got the Most Bullets, It’s About Who’s Got the Information”. Great lines, great writing, great cast and still holds up as a pretty good movie after all these years (20, since it was released in 1992).

3. War Games is about Ferris Bueller (or a nerdy whizz kid of a Ferris Bueller) who connects into a top secret military mainframe and ends up with complete control over the United State’s nuclear arsenal. He then has to find the physical mainframe and disable it. What’s so awesome is that it’s InfoSec 101: use a password, put multiple layers of security in place and don’t hook ICBMs up to unsecured systems. Really makes the Wozniak quote “never trust a computer you can’t throw out of a window” make sense. I’ve been waiting for years to hear “shall we play a game?” Just like when I consider having an argument with my wife, “the only winning move is not to play.”

4. Tron is a movie about Kevin Flynn, a video game designer that gets converted into a digital person by an evil software pirate named Master Control. Disney somehow manages to take Jeff Bridges and turn him into a 3D version of himself. Complete with geometrical landscapes that comprise cyberspace, games and there’s even a girl (the one place where Tron isn’t very lifelike).

5. Hackers is the story of a young boy gets arrested by the Secret Service for writing a computer virus. He’s banned from using a computer until he turns 18. As a teenager, he moves to the big city to discover an awesome 2600-style underground of computer hackers. This one is complete with a teenage Angelina Jolie, skateboards, trench coats and modems. While it’s not completely realistic, it’s not utterly fantastical either (other than the hax0r kid getting the hot girl part). Imagine my disappointment when I got my first job with computers and Jolie wasn’t waiting for me…

6. Weird Science is a typical 80s flick about two unpopular teenage boys who “create” a woman via their computer. Their living and breathing creation is a gorgeous woman, Lisa (the name of the predecessor to the Macintosh, whose purpose is to boost their confidence level by putting them into situations which require Gary and Wyatt to act like men. On their road to becoming accepted, they encounter many hilarious obstacles, which gives the movie an overall sense of silliness.

7. Antitrust is a fictional account of computer programming extraordinaire Milo Hoffman. When Milo graduates from Stanford, he is recruited by Gary Winston, a character loosely based on Bill Gates. Winston is the CEO of a software company called NURV, on the brink of completing a global communications system called Synapse. Tragedy soon after strikes when Teddy Chin is murdered by a pair of Milo’s co-workers who made it look like a hate crime. Milo’s girlfriend Alice Poulson is turns out to be helping Winston and there are even bad guys working for the company inside the Justice Department. Basically, the message of the movie is that if you like computers, you should trusting no one and that nothing is as it seems. Luckily, in the real world, secrets can’t be kept for long (the more money you have the harder it seems to actually be to keep secrets). Which is why things like this don’t actually happen. But hey, at least we geeks get to feel important for a little while and this movie was actually well made. Having said that, Ryan Philippe is mediocre. Which was actually good enough in this one to be acceptable.

8. The Matrix is a fantastical look at futuristic hacker/programmer Thomas Anderson, living an ordinary life in 1999. Until Morpheus leads him into the real world, which is actually 200 years later and taken over by evil robots machines. The computers have created a fake 20th-century life called the Matrix to keep the human slaves asleep. The robots get power from the humans. Anderson is constantly chased by Agents (the opposite of that shirt that reads “I could replace you with a very tiny shell script”). At one point, the agents start replicating (I’ve accidentally filled a drive up by looping through cp before too). Anderson gets a cool name “Neo” and gets to be played by Keanu Reeves. All’s well (albeit varying degrees of well) until he becomes one with the matrix after about 7 or 8 hours of watching the movie. Actually, movies. It’s a trilogy. But Trinity (Reeves’ love interest) does use Nmap to run sshnuke against SSHv1 CRC32. Not a bad exploit for a lady wearing all leather…

9. The Net is the story of Angela Bennett, a computer expert whose interconnectedness comes back to haunt her. Back when Sandra Bullock was young and beautiful, she played an analyst who was never far from a computer. A friend like many of my own, whom she’s only spoken to over the net, Dale Hessman, sent her a program with a weird glitch needing debugging. She finds an easter egg on the disk which turns her life into a nightmare. Her records are erased from existence and she is given a new identity, complete with a police record. The best line is “computers are your life aren’t they?” Mostly because I find it easy to identify with such a line…

Oh, and she uses a Mac!

10. The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo is the most recent movie on this list. And there are more than one. I won’t say to see one over the others, but do check out the hacker girl. The latest installment has the most awesome song from Trent Reznor in the soundtrack, which I could totally listen to while writing scripties (and have).

11. Takedown is probably the movie that cost the least on the list to make. It’s not a great movie, but worthy of cult status to many. But here’s the thing: hacking stuff is pretty boring to watch. Unless of course, it’s the 2 days a year you leave your basement to go sit in Las Vegas and hack stuff with real humans around you…

12. The Pirates of Silicon Valley is a documentary about the tycoons that took control of the personal computer market. It starts with their time in college and then covers the actions that built up global empires now known as Apple and Microsoft Inc. My favorite part of this is the way that they made Steve Ballmer out to be a complete idiot. The parts about Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Wozniak and Paul Allen were pretty well known to me, even before I saw the movie. With Noah Wyle I kept thinking that at some point he was going to throw on his scrubs and start giving someone an ER-style heart surgery. Anthony Michael Hall plays an uninspired Bill Gates. The best part of his part is when he does Saturday Night Fever on roller skates and then falls down. When he became the wealthiest man in the world I wonder if he got skate-dance lessons.

13. Swordfish was just a bad movie. But every computer nerd is going to watch it and hopefully turn it into a drinking game of some sort. Let me get this straight: a guy is supposed to hack into some of the most complex systems in the world and was supposed to do so while having relations with a lady and having a gun pointed at his head. Oh, did I mention, he’s dead if he isn’t done in 60 seconds? There are some really good uses of real computer stuff on some of the screens at time. But, Travolta should still give up his SAG card.

14. Johnny Mnemonic is the story of a data courier, again Keanu Reeves, who accepts a payload to big to keep in his head for long, that he then must deliver before it kills him. Classic Reeves, a cheesy flick. Has Dolph Lundgren, so must be at least funny-bad. Ice-T and Henry Rollins make appearances too (the 1990s, baby).

15. Live Free or Die Hard is the latest (4th) installment of the Die Hard saga. In this one though, the Mac Guy helps Bruce Willis hack into stuff and blow stuff up. This gets to be on the list because Bruce Willis says: “Command Center, it’s a basement.” I thought maybe he was talking about my place…

16. Minority Report is on the list because the tech that guy has was awesome. Not as good as the tech that Iron Man has, but a bit more realistic in some places. I actually think that a few products were developed after engineers watched this movie personally, and I’d love to see the rest made possible. Might have been higher except the cast.

17. D.A.R.Y.L. – After watching D.A.R.Y.L. I think I spent years thinking I was some sort of robot. Probably explains plenty. When I finally got around to reading Isaac Asimov’s Robot Series I guess I didn’t think I might be an android any longer. “It’s only human to make mistakes, but Daryl never does.” In this movie, a kid realizes he’s actually an artificial intelligence. He then gets chased down by the government, looking to reclaim their intellectual property. Classic ET-style the government are the bad guys kinda’ moments ensue.

18. Untraceable is a move from 2008 where Diane Lane plays a fed trying to track down a serial killer who posts live video of killing victims on the Internet. It’s borderline B-movie, but it’s not too badly done. Any plot gaps or technical mistakes I let slide due to the fact that the movie is set in Portland and the fact that I’ve always enjoyed Diane Lane.

19. Tron: Legacy is the second installment of Tron, which comes almost 30 years later, his son joins him in a movie that is more like the Big Lebowski turns digital samurai than the original… I’m kinda’ suck of the rich brat concept. But at least he breaks into a data center and blows stuff up before getting sucked into the Matrix…

20. Eagle Eye is the story of Jerry and Rachel, two strangers thrown together by a phone call from a lady they have never met. She makes them and others perform a series of increasingly dangerous situations, using everyday technology to track and control their moves. Turns out she’s a computer. Shia LaBeouf is the star of this. How he got to be the star of this, Transformers and the replacement for the Indiana Jones movies is beyond me. He’s not a terrible actor, but he’s not worthy of such reverence from the nerd/action movie elite… This is not as awesome a nerd movie as it is a symbol of the future of nerdy movies. I guess this one is more about that thing people call Mobility than computing, but close enough…

21. Lawnmower Man should have just been one movie. The only one with Stephen King, this was the first VR movie I remember seeing. Pierce Brosnan is the not-really-bad guy, but the creator of the bad guy. This is like a digital Frankenstein flick.

22. Disclosure is another movie from the 1990s (1994) that shows Michael Douglas getting seduced by a woman. But this time, he ends up stopping before he closes the deal. So instead of boiling the family pet, he just gets sued for sexual harrassment. Lots of computers and screen shots. And Demi Moore in a 90s power suit. Awesome stuff!

23. Virtuosity is about a virtual reality serial killer who’s actually more of a composite of serial killers. Weak plot, but Russell Crowe wasn’t a big star yet. It’s like of like Demolition Man, but with the VR spin on it. Russell Crowe is totally psycho. And he wears a couple of awesome suits in the movie (I’m pretty sure one of them was in Cool World as well). 50 terabytes was a lot back then!

24. eXistenZ is another artificial reality movie, but Jennifer Jason Leigh is a video game designer. I thought that the BioPort concept was too much, especially for the time. The theme was already a bit done by then, but it was at least a weird new twist…

25. The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes had Kurt Russell. It was from the 60s. But the time spent on explaining all the computing was awesome! The best part about this movie is that glimpse you get of what computers were like before the advent of the personal computer. Thank you to the Altair, Apple and other machines that helped to get us into a new world order!

Finally, while this clip isn’t a movie, if you were curious what hacking stuff really looks like most of the time:

Honorable mention:

  • Every movie by Marvel Comics (except the Punisher movies – someday they’ll get that franchise right).
  • Catch Me If You Can because of the social engineering awesome it happens to be.
  • Independence Day because aliens apparently have Windows running on all their ships.
  • Jumpin’ Jack Flash because Whoopi Goldberg is actually a somewhat convincing engineer (or not).
  • Inspector Gadget because while it’s television, Penny has a laptop built into a book!
  • The Big Bang Theory because while it’s television, the Warcraft episode was awesome!
  • Mission Impossible gets a nod for having an upside down Apple logo (for the time).
  • The Italian Job gets a nod for the real inventor of Napster (I guess he can duke it out with Metallica next).
  • Revolution OS for being a documentary about Linux. I’d love to see more of this kind of thing in the years to come (there’s certainly enough money floating around in the computer world to make more of them happen).
  • Jurassic Park had some computing in it, but doesn’t really count.
  • The Thirteenth Floor doesn’t make the list because it wasn’t original enough in its look at virtual reality.
  • Code Hunter was terrible.
  • Enemy of the State didn’t make the list because I’m sick of movies making people into conspiracy theorists.
  • Max Hedroom for being cool, new and unique at the time – and perfect for the era.
  • Netforce – Oh wait, no, that was a typo.
  • Ghost in the Shell – No wait, wasn’t doing animated here, was I…
  • Electric Dreams because of the soundtrack.
  • One Point O – Which might have gotten higher had the star not become a police officer in Law and Order.
  • Wargames 2 – If only I could go back in time and stop it from happening…
  • Real Genius – Why not…
  • GoldenEye – Two Words: Boris Grishenko
  • All of the Star Wars movies because of R2D2
  • All of the Star Trek movies because if you read this far down you watched those too…
  • Blade Runner because even nerds dream of electric sheep
  • And the final for honorable mention is the Transformers series, because Transformers are robots

Very much excluded from this list:

  • iRobot because if you need to ask why, you didn’t make it down this far…
  • All of the Punisher movies by virtue of disgrace
  • The Blade sequels, because while they did have hacking and computers later in the series, unless you’re Kate Beckinsale you don’t get to do movies about vampires
  • Gone in 60 Seconds had a hacker named Toby, but it also had Nicolas Cage
  • Ocean’s 13 had Roman but it also had Brad Pitt
  • Superman III had Gus, but then, it was total crap
  • XXX: State of the Union had another Toby (popular name for movie hackers) but then, it had Vin Diesel
  • Ace Ventura had a hacker named Woodstock, but I can’t in good conscious put it on any list whatsoever

Link Baiting 101

I almost called this article “Aliens Can Listen To Calls on Your iPhone” or “How To Hack Into Every iPhone Ever (Even When They’re Powered Off)”. But then I thought that maybe it would be a bit too much. I’ve been a little melodramatic at times, but that’s when I was younger and needed the rupees. But TechTarget isn’t young (although I don’t know if they need the rupees). I’d like to point out two recent articles of theirs:

I remember reading an article awhile back claiming that the first virus for the iPhone had hit. This was a pretty big site (not TechTarget btw), but they had jumped on Apple and jumped quick, for a lack of good security on the iOS platform. Why? Because Apple’s huge, popular and a frickin’ easy target. But every security researcher knows that if they can hack an iPad or an iPhone that they’re going to be famous. Still, only one has managed to do anything remotely close to cool and you had to download his app, which got him banned, for the “exploit” to work (the “exploit” was actually javascript taxies). Security researchers do most everything they do for fame. Therefore, if there were going to be serious flaws with iOS, they’d have come up by now.

Let’s look at these headlines and vs the content of the articles. The first, Apple iOS Security Attacks A Matter Of When, Not If, IT Pros Say. The title isn’t actually that bad, (although I don’t know that the IT Pros quoted are worthy of punditry). It’s the headers within the article that set me off a little. “A false sense of iOS security” was the first: Here they said that iOS users are going to run something if it comes out because there haven’t been any vulnerabilities to iOS. Counter argument would be that since a vulnerability *will* (or would) be on CNN, MSNBC, NPR, every web site, every magazine and possibly a PSA on flights, I think they’ll figure it out pretty quick… The next header, “Responding to iOS security attacks” goes on to explain that (to summarize) iOS virus protection blows. OK, we should develop more FUD-based apps to check for viruses of data that those apps would actually have no access to due to sandbox controls.

The next header, “Entry points for iOS security attacks” tells us that someone will exploit HTML5 or post an app with a Trojan or Logic Bomb on the App Store in order to destroy your iPhone as if it were a planet slated for demolition. Each app can only communicate with resources outside of that app using an API Apple allows, an API that doesn’t cause combustion of the phone. If the app goes through the app store then that has to be a public, not private API. It is possible that someone could run a fuzzer against every possible variable exposed by every possible method and come up with a way to do something interesting, like cause the phone to reboot. But that kind of thing is going to be true of every platform and isn’t worthy of the pretense that it’s security consulting. I can dig on the possibility of that kind of vulnerability, but the author then indicates that Apple’s security is 7th worse in the IT industry with a 12% growth in vulnerabilities. Thus an insinuation that people are actually exploiting holes in iOS rather than Google monitoring iPhone user data a bit more than they should…

The second headline is much better though: How an iOS virus can infect the enterprise and what to do about it. Reading it, my first impression was that there was an iOS virus; you know, one written for iOS. But no, they’re talking about a virus that someone sends through your corporate Exchange server that is then copied to your Windows XP computer through the magical XP Virus Stream (like Photo Stream but more specific features for XP) and executes the virus that wipes your computer. I like it. I can dig that virus, but regrettably that virus doesn’t exist. And apparently no good anti-virus exists, according to the article. Why not? Because Apple has overly secured the OS and anti-virus has to be invoked manually.

Over-security is what makes iOS so great for phones. I’m one of those people that likes to hack stuff. And iOS isn’t for hacking around in unless you have jailbroken the device. That’s why my phone always works and I’m able to actually get stuff done on a consistent basis. There are certainly things Apple could do better. But iOS security is a hard one to point the finger at. I would like to see security researchers more warmly welcomed and for the Apple community to see those researchers as people who are building a stronger product rather than the enemy. I would like to see some technical features added or centralized control over features added.

It isn’t just Apple. It’s any company big enough to care about. The tech sites are mostly what I look at, and every time there’s something they think they can hop on with Google or any of the other big names in the tech industry they hop right on that to drive readers, whether well founded or not. Not all tech sites/magazines mind you, just some. And when the company is famous enough (Google, Apple, Microsoft) for mainstream media to care about, all the better…

At the end of the day though, the way to get action is to file a feature request with vendors, not to make up crazy headlines aimed at selling FUD as a means of getting someone to go to your website…

MacTech Black Friday: Get MacTech Magazine For Free

There aren’t a lot of magazines that I read. There are fewer I actually pay for. But MacTech is one of those. I know I have mentioned MacTech before, but I never actually bothered to get any deals for my readers. Well, how about a free subscription? Actually, MacTech is also running the offer on their main site, so it’s not like I’m special – but I do have my own link and it is a separate run of the same special pricing – so there!

Want a free subscription to MacTech Magazine? If you aren’t yet a subscriber of MacTech Magazine, then you should take a look at the “Ultimate Black Friday” deal. Be one of the first 100 to apply using this link, and MacTech will give you a FREE subscription to MacTech Magazine. Not in the first 100? Not a problem — MacTech will get you a free copy of the magazine anyway! No strings attached.

Also, it is worth noting that I have no official connections to MacTech, other than having spoken at one of their conferences. I receive absolutely no commission or payment for making such a recommendation and have, in fact, never received a check from MacTech. But since I believe in what they do and find it of quality, I relish the opportunity to pass on a little love. If you’re reading this article on your day off then you should get something for it after all!

So if you’re looking for something to give yourself for the holidays, don’t stay up all night hitting Best Buy, WalMart, Kohls, Macy’s, Home Depot and the other Black Friday specials starting at midnight. Instead just get yourself a little MacTech and just know, deep down, that those 99 cent poinsettias aren’t worth staying up all night for…

Oh, MacTech has a little fine print: Limited quantity. While supplies last. US delivery address only. Not valid for current subscribers.

Goodbye Google Wave

Looks like Wave will be gone as of January. From Google:

Dear Wavers,

More than a year ago, we announced that Google Wave would no longer be developed as a separate product. At the time, we committed to maintaining the site at least through to the end of 2010. Today, we are sharing the specific dates for ending this maintenance period and shutting down Wave. As of January 31, 2012, all waves will be read-only, and the Wave service will be turned off on April 30, 2012. You will be able to continue exporting individual waves using the existing PDF export feature until the Google Wave service is turned off. We encourage you to export any important data before April 30, 2012.

If you would like to continue using Wave, there are a number of open source projects, including Apache Wave. There is also an open source project called Walkaround that includes an experimental feature that lets you import all your Waves from Google. This feature will also work until the Wave service is turned off on April 30, 2012.

For more details, please see our help center.

Yours sincerely,

The Wave Team

© 2011 Google Inc. 1600 Amphitheatre Parkway, Mountain View, CA 94043
You have received this mandatory email service announcement to update you about important changes to your Google Wave account.

10 Worst MySpace Apps

One of the contributors to the success that Facebook has had in the social networking world is the ability for savvy developers to build applications. MySpace has been picking up scraps from the Facebook strategy for some time and has followed suit with the ability to integrate custom applications. Now that MySpace has more than 50 pages of applications, I wanted to do a 10 best MySpace applications post. But beyond the RSS feeder I mentioned earlier and a couple of interesting apps that were also on Facebook (and were better in the Facebook iteration) I just couldn’t do it. Therefore, let’s take a look at some of the high quality applications that have been introduced and what I found when I changed my quest from the 10 best to the 10 worst:

10. Football Scrapbook Frame, http://www.myspace.com/520993626
This application allows you to frame a photo of yourself in a football image. Now, I love football myself, but the quality of the frame combined with the model posing and the sad excuse for graphical editing makes me want to actually skip watching the Super Bowl. I am sure that the developer, whose name is TopRated funny enough, is just trying to get people to download the application by putting the word Football in the title. But this application does absolutely nothing, other than waste space on profiles, take a long time to load and best of all, show your friends that you like football but that you aren’t smart enough to find a better picture to show it (or for that matter upload that picture to MySpace, which is really hard to do apparently).

9. Lover or Loner, http://www.myspace.com/520671795
This application is yet another of the quizzes that have become so commonplace on Facebook and now MySpace. My initial reaction was that it would be bad, but who knew? My guess is that best case, if you are taking this quiz and installing this application on your profile that you are currently a Loner. There is a very high probability though, that the longer you leave this application on your profile, the higher the chance that you will always and forever be alone!

8. Flashy Pink Heart, http://www.myspace.com/518871148
This game is awesome in the very same way that <flash>  was awesome back in the 1990′s, when the web was new and you could make things blink on the computer. This game does exactly what it says, it produces a pink heart that is flashy and displays your OMG can’t wait to see it, flashy text!!! But the best part of this application has nothing to do with the application itself, but with the fact that it is so prolific, with well over 1,000 users downloading it and installing it onto their profile!

7. Catch Thife, http://www.myspace.com/520715560
TopRated strikes again in this masterpiece where according to the developer you “try to hit the moving thief in order to send him jail.” I’m not sure what gave it away first: my experiences with this developers applications, the mastery of prepositions in the description or the actual game play. This game single-handedly showed me why Apple reviews all submissions for the iPhone App Store!

6. What Justin bieber, http://www.myspace.com/518694013
Did you ever ask yourself which Justin Bieber song most matches your personality? If so then this application will help prove to all of your friends that you are wearing that chastity belt and if you are over 17, that you are hiding something deeply disturbing with it. Obviously a ploy to get a bunch of email addresses to spam about the latest in viagra pricing, this application is really just another Quiz from the developer called Quizzes.. If it isn’t obvious to you that they are a spammer, then what do you think they are doing by spamming the applications list with so many Quizzes?!?!

5. BFf, http://www.myspace.com/518847077
As if the term BFF wasn’t so 2005, the graphics in this application seek to bring back design elements from clip art CDs that came with Microsoft Office back in the 1990′s. Your friends couldn’t just post something to your profile. No, they needed to actually post to an application. And in order to do so they have to use the application too! Maybe I’m just sad that no one posted to my BFF Comments box? I guess an emoticon is in order to indicate my disappointment here. :(

4. Farm Town, http://www.myspace.com/474755864
This game probably has the best game play and some of the better graphics on MySpace (or Facebook for that matter). So why does it show up on this list? Because 671,665 people are active users. The amount of time spent could end most of the worlds problems? Want a cure for cancer, to revitalize run down neighborhoods or find the meaning of life? How about rewrite Windows so it doesn’t suck any more? Nothing will ever happen until all these people uninstall this game and move on to doing something useful with themselves!

3. The Farmer, http://www.myspace.com/445093191
As if Farm Town wasn’t bad enough, now we have to endure Farm Town copy-cats? Really? I don’t think that anything else need be said about this one. Having said that, many of the other applications from this developer are actually quite good. They just had a little moment where they wanted a few extra addresses to harvest!

2. Twitter Sync, http://www.myspace.com/twittersync
This application just doesn’t work. There’s obviously a lot of code and it’s one of the more mature applications on MySpace. But it doesn’t work. If you absolutely must have your tweets show up on your page then consider iTwitter, available at http://www.myspace.com/463617608

1. The API. Makes me wonder if MySpace was in a rush to put something out or what. The privacy controls are good, but the options are far behind what Facebook offers, making me wonder if MySpace just wanted to be able to say they had applications, but not care about the applications that were made (they’re kinda’ like a Palm Pre that way). But the best part is that almost every application out there is made by spammers. The account I setup to test these things is now getting well over 50 spam messages a day. Thanks MySpace!!!

MySpace RSS Integration

MySpace won’t die. Good. Competition breeds innovation and if social networks are to continue to become more and more useful then a somewhat healthy MySpace is simply going to keep the cog wheels turning in the otherwise spiderweb filled heads of talented engineers. MySpace introduced applications awhile back and there is now a pretty ample number, although nothing close to what Facebook has. I suppose there’s something to be said for being a day late and a dollar short, eh?

Most of the applications, as with Facebook, aren’t that useful. Games to help you waste time and quizzes to help you inform your friends and coworkers that you haven’t stepped out in the sunlight in far too long. But there is a specific application that anyone with an RSS feed that wants people to see it might find interesting (after all according to Alexa.com, MySpace is still the 18th ranked website in the world). The RSS Reader application, by Ideamesh, Inc can be used to add a blog or anything else that can be aggregated through a public RSS feed, to your MySpace page. It’s pretty easy to use and provides a quick and easy application box to show the feed.

This RSS reader isn’t everything you might want though. As far as I can tell, it only supports a single stream. It has options for reformatting text and links that are displayed, but not a lot. It doesn’t have any features for limiting feeds, although that is something you can usually do with the path to the feed if you want to.

But it is free, it is somewhat useful and the application framework that MySpace has introduced is a great step in the right direction to perhaps help MySpace to slow their slide into oblivion. Either way it’s nice to finally have a little more integration across all the sites out there, even if MySpace continues to drop in the rankings…

Now A Social Network

Well, I have no clue why but I decided to setup the feeds and friends aspect of a social network on krypted.com. It turned out pretty good, although there’s still some CSS work to do. You can sign up by hovering over the Social icon in the toolbar and clicking on, ironically, Sign Up. You can then click on Edit Profile to upload a picture and create your own profile page. Then, Directory to see the other users of the network. The Friends button will show you your Friends and the Friend Requests button will show you pending requests from other friends. But most importantly, the Activity button will show you a Twitter-style or Facebook-style stream.

Sorry if I’ve been focusing on site updates and improvements more than content recently. I’ll get back to the content in short order…

More Additions

At the bottom of the sidebar, you will now find badges for my pages on the main social networks. I also added Flickr & Facebook into a new Pictures page (and added pictures to the actual Flickr account since I mostly used Facebook for that)… Also changed the title and post-info/comments sections to the dark red color scheme, since I didn’t really think they looked right as black any longer. Finally, made the navbar a little slimmer. Hope ya’ll like the changes.