Voice Updates to Facebook

Privately held SpinVox, which has developed technology to convert voicemail to text messages or e-mail, on Thursday will announce a new service that allows users of Facebook, Jaiku and Twitter social networks to dictate updates to their profiles by calling a specially assigned number.

Read the full New York Times article

This could win “Most Useless Invention of 2007.” This reminds me of when Google had voice search in their Google Labs. You would call a 1-800 number, state your query, and then your results would pop up on your screen.

Especially in this day in age of the iPhone and the Blackberry–Unless you’re a member of all of the services above, and want to update all your statuses simultaneously, this service doesn’t look like a time saver.

Top 5 Things Facebook Needs to Fix

Facebook AIM field5. Facebook has gone global… Its contact information should too. Originally Facebook was only home to American college students, a group in which everyone uses AIM. Now there are members from all around the world. And just like no one in the US has ever heard of Skype and MSN Messenger, no one in Croatia has ever heard of AIM. So add more messenger fields.
Facebook Developer Platform4. By hiding the Facebook Developer Platform where no one will find it, Facebook is getting everyone to think it’s a ploy to sell information, when it actually has nothing to do with that. Rather, it lets you use your Facebook login to access some boredom-killing and useful web software, much of which is Facebook related. There’s the Facebook Firefox Toolbar for example, and FB Notify, a program that will inform you about any new messages, friend requests, etc. Currently access is hidden under My Privacy > Friends, Notes, and Facebook Development Platform (Edit Settings) > Click here > Product Directory. Yeah… no one will ever find that. Here’s a direct link.
3. What is the point of sharing by posting something to my mini-feed? I get the sharing with actual friends idea, but if I just want to share something with all my friends, place it in their news feed, not just my mini-feed. Isn’t it a little naïve to assume people will check my mini-feed daily to see what I am sharing? OK… Shares can also be seen under “My Shares”, but no one checks that daily. If I want to share something with everyone I have to post a note… Which is just what I’ll do.
2. Stop showing me John Doe’s new relationship in the center of the screen while restricting my new message notification to a tiny number in parentheses and my friend and group requests some tiny notification on the right menu bar. In the days before the news feed, these things were in your face every time you went to your home screen.
1. Stop the group-creation insanity! How? When someone posts on a group’s wall or in a thread, show it on my news feed! It seems everyone joins a group in the first 24 hours because their news feed shows them all their friends did. Then there’s some crazy wall posting going on before no one ever looks at the group ever again! So, the cycle continues to the degree that by the end of the year I’ll be in 500 groups because the ones older than a day have gotten boring.

Facebook is Now Open to Everyone

It’s been around 33 minutes since Facebook opened the floodgates to the 6 billion or so people who haven’t been able to register under one or more of the supported networks. Amazingly, I have not received any spam yet. Maybe these privacy settings really work! Now I can invite my favorite bartender to Facebook! It is indeed a great day!

Facebook Feeds: Good Idea, But Not Enough Options

Yesterday Facebook added a “Feeds” feature which shows a user’s every move on the friends network to his or her friends. The addition caused an immense negative reaction by users concerned about their privacy.
A lot of the activities are a bit creepy, such as seeing when “X writes on Y’s wall”, when “Y breaks up with Z” and when someone joins or leaves a group. Facebook definitely needs to create line-item privacy options of what activity a user wants to show. However, I see no harm in the feeds feature itself, as it gives a great overview of what a user’s friends are up to. If users had actually only added their real friends, instead of hundreds of people they’ve maybe met once, maybe we wouldn’t have a problem!
When a user creates a photo album, they most-likely want their friends to see it. Same would go for a new note or event… At least that would be my expectation. I certainly hope Facebook keeps the general structure of the “Feeds” feature, but allows users to choose how much of their activity they’d like to share, and possibly how much of their friends’ activity they’d like to see.

Weblog Now Synced With Facebook Notes

Facebook added a “Notes” feature today that functions just like a weblog. Other friends networks have done this as well, but they often aren’t used much because it would require the user to switch weblog hosts. Facebook fortunately has an import feature that allows users to continue posting on their usual blog. Entries are then automatically imported into the Facebook “Notes” feature. Furthermore, entries can be tagged on Facebook just like photos.
The advantage this has for me is that more people will undoubtedly read my entries. First there’s a “Friends’ Notes” feature, which shows all recent posts of a users friends. Second, my friends will be interested if they are attached to a post through tagging, which shows up, just like photo tagging, in the top left corner of a user’s profile.
More people reading my post might also inspire me to post more…

How to Get Online on the Continent of No Free Refills

Living in the United States, you get to have certain expectations, such as free soda refills at restaurants and fast food places. In terms of internet connections, it appears Internet Service Providers don’t really care how many computers are connected to your home network.
Here on the continent of no free refills, this doesn’t to appear the case. If you use a broadband provider like Chello, you’ll probably have to give them you computer’s Ethernet ID, and that computer will be the only computer that can connect to the internet.
Well, a couple months ago my PowerBook’s hard drive crashed, upon Apple replaced almost everything vital. When I arrived in Austria two weeks ago, I found out that I could no longer connect to the internet at home.
Here’s the solution if you’re on a Mac with OS X and you know the ethernet ID / MAC address that’s activated:

  1. Unplug the ethernet cord
  2. Open Terminal (It should be in Applications/Utilities)
  3. Enter the following code:
    sudo ifconfig en0 ether [Ethernet ID you want to change to]

  4. You’ll have to enter your computer’s root (master) password
  5. Plug ethernet cord back in

Depending on your computer, you might have to change en0 to en1. This is only a temporary solution, as your Ethernet ID will be reset upon restart to its original one.