Facebook Pages

Better late than never. Facebook pages for some of my books: Will post a few more things soon. Thanks!

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!!!

Integrating WordPress Comments with Facebook

In a constant search for achieving comment nirvana for the sites I manage, I was recently looking into integrating WordPress (and a couple of other CMS engines) with Facebook. The sites are setup to only allow authenticated users to comment and it just seemed like with all of the single-sign on technology out there that it just didn’t have to be so annoying. After installing the OpenID integration it seemed like there still had to be a better way to allow even more people to authentication. How about Facebook? Facebook has done a lot of work on making their API one of the best in the social networking world. The initial implementation of FBML was a little clunky (a client was an early adopter) but it proved to be one of the things that set them apart from the competition. And the API doesn’t just allow for embedding objects into Facebook, it allows for extending Facebook out as well. One of the best examples of this is for authentication. Which brings us to actually making it work. The first thing to do is go grab an API key. To do so, visithttp://www.facebook.com/developers/apps.php and click on Set Up New Application (orhttp://www.facebook.com/developers/createapp.php?version=new). Provide the domain name and any other required fields and out pops an API key and a secret. The API key will be exposed but the secret will act as a password of sorts, much the same way many other key exchanges function. Copy these and do not give them out. Once you have your key, go to your WordPress site and log into the admin page. From there, click on Plugins and then click on Add New. Search for WP-FacebookConnect. Install the one from Adam Hupp and then locate it in your sidebar (it will say Facebook Connect). Click on it and then provide the API Key and Secret and click on Update Options. Now that it the plugin is installed and configured it’s time to add it to your theme. This part is a little more tricky than most but it can be as simple as a single paste. Copy this into your clipboard:
<?php do_action(‘fbc_display_login_button’) ?>
Now click on Appearance back in the sidebar and then click on Editor. In the Editor scroll towards the bottom (usually) and locate the form that takes in the comments, which likely begins with:
<div id=”comment-form”>
Now paste it in immediately above or somewhere inside the form, which means somewhere below the first line but above the following:
Once done, open one of your pages and you should see the Connect with your Facebook Account icon so you can authenticate using Facebook. You can also move the text around in the box by moving between areas in the comments.php file (in the themes screen). If you don’t see the Facebook icon then try accessing the site from another browser as you might still be logged into your administrative portal. Finally, consider the strategy that you use for managing comments. You can still hold comments for approval, you can still approve once and give users unbridled commenting love and you can still scan comments for spam using one of the filters for doing so. That is according to you. But you now have an easy-to-authenticate to solution where visitors don’t have to sign up and get an email back, etc. But they can if you want, given that there are still at least 4 or 5 people (I believe they are in deep freeze somewhere) who don’t use Facebook, and you wouldn’t want to alienate them!

Social Networking

This is as much for me to have a one-stop shop to find this information as it is for my readers, but some social networks I can be found on: There are more and so I’ll update the list as I can think of them.

No More Facebook Friends For You!

I got a message telling me that I have reached the maximum number of Facebook friends allowed. Apparently one is not allowed to have more than 5,000 friends. Go figure. Therefore, over the course of the next few weeks I’ll be trying to whittle that list down. If I inadvertently remove anyone then feel free to readd me, but if we haven’t actually met in person, please try and indicate why you’re adding me so I know it isn’t spam.

Weird Facebook Spam

I once denied someone’s request to add me as a friend on Facebook and got an earful about how they bought one of my books and couldn’t believe I would be so rude, etc. Since then I’ve been an open networker on most of the social networks. It’s kinda’ weird sometimes to listen to people talk about how they keep track of their friends through feeds when I have too many to keep track of, but the tools continue to become more sophisticated and I’m getting closer to be able to do so. Having said that, there is a new thing I’ve been noticing recently. Someone adds you as a friend and then tags you in a photo that you’re not in. Perhaps its a photo where they’ve added your profile picture or your name for a character from a comic book or video game. There’s really no reason for them to do this. You click on their profile and they have thousands of friends and have posted hundreds of these things, perhaps too many to do by hand. Wondering why they’re doing it I browse around their profile, looking for links or something to explain why – but nothing… Most spam that we get is for someone to make a buck off a product. Maybe they’re selling Viagra, maybe it’s someone trying to get you to wire them money so they can send you that $10,000,000 check that only you can cash or maybe it’s for some seedy website. Either way they want you to do something that results in payment being made to them through some fashion. This is different. It’s people just posting weird collages of other people’s profile pictures and then tagging 16 to 20 people. But there’s no apparent financial gain. It’s confusing to me… Why do it? The only fix I can think of is to de-friend them and/or just untag the photos. But now I feel the need to track them and try and figure out what the point is, or whether there is a point…

Facebook Acquires FriendFeed

Let’s over-simplify this: Twitter is a very popular site.  FriendFeed is kinda’ similar.  Facebook is a very popular social network site that happens to have the features of FriendFeed built in.  Now Facebook owns FriendFeed.  Some acquisitions are about technology, some about user base/customers and others about the talent that a company has.  I would assume that almost every person with an account on FriendFeed already had an account on Facebook.  Facebook can easily integrate the same technology that is present in FriendFeed (and already has for the most part).  So I’m gonna’ go out on a limb and say this one likely had more to do with the talent (mostly ex-Google rock stars) that FriendFeed had amassed…  But who knows, there are likely plenty of variables I am not privy to, so that’s conjecture.

Facebook and Privacy

A friend sent me an article the other day about Facebook, where the author had an almost chilling reception to Facebook’s privacy policy/terms of use.  In fact, last week alone I got at minimum three such emails asking what “a security guy” thought and since the new privacy policy was put into place I’ve gotten no less than 30 or 40 requests/invitations to join various groups that seem to have serious issues with this policy (btw – not all “security guys” wear tin foil hats). Someone once told me not to put anything in writing (or on film) that I didn’t want my grandmother to see.  The obvious extension of this is not to put anything out there that you wouldn’t want your employer, your neighbor, your future spouse or that child you haven’t yet considered having to see either.  If you’ve ever gone to a portrait studio with the family you’ll notice that unless you pay a hefty additional sum then the portrait studio ends up owning the negatives of your photos.  If it were Sears, it seems like they should ask you whether or not they can plaster them into every Sears in the world if they were to do so, but they wouldn’t have to.  By having them take the photos in the first place you’ve provided them ownership of photographs of your family/child/self/dog/flea trap of a cat/whatever.  Do you have a problem with this agreement? A number of people are upset because Facebook put in their terms of service that they basically own anything you upload to their site, in perpetuity.  Mark Zuckerburg responded to such privacy concerns that when people upload their data to Facebook,”people own their information and control who they share it with.”  I’ve talked about Facebook’s stance on open networking in the past and their every attempt to protect privacy for users from one another.  But in this case it seems people are more concerned about Facebook itself, rather than other users.  Are you also concerned about Sears? People are uploading massive quantities of photos, videos and even documents & sharing that data with their friends.  I wouldn’t be concerned about what Facebook is going to do with your data.  For now, it is in Facebook’s best interest to protect your data from being accessible to others.  Because, Mark Zuckerburg’s vision was to provide that level of privacy for students.  But, what happens when Mark Zuckerburg has to sell Facebook (ie – to Rupert Murdoch who I’m sure will still be buying companies in 2040 at +100 years old)?  Are your pictures going to end up on the ‘skinny jeans’ edition of Facebook’s Girls Gone Wild?  Will your children happen across your video clips on Facebook MST3K?  I’m not too concerned with privacy, whether it’s Facebook or some other site.  Why?  Because I pretend that my grandmother will see all of it – and if it’s all some day assembled and sold as stock photography and video she very well may.

Boobies on Facebook

Today I found a game/app in my Facebook feed called Vrais ou faux seins ? The application has blatantly exposed breasts.  I can’t speak French so I can’t tell what it is about, but the pictures sure seem to tell a pretty compelling story.  I’m sure that the good people at Facebook will end up finding the application and removing it soon enough.  But it brings up, again, the changes that the increasing globalization that the Internet has brought about. And in my standard Facebook feed… It’s not that I care.  I don’t.   It’s more just watching culture classes as they continue to emerge.  Much like Google’s Schmidt leveraging YouTube to speak out on Iran in a way… There are positive aspects of a more open world, but there are also aspects with regard to differing values that will have be reconciled in the culture clashes that continue to happen.  Such as the appearance of boobies in little Archie’s Facebook feed…