Facebook is Watching You

// i'm gonna try something new. as the resident internet geek here, i'll be sharing some of the latest internet / technology news with you, and more importantly, tell you why it's important to you. to start things off, let's go with Facebook's newest feature...

Beacon is a social form of advertising that shares your purchases or other actions you take on an advertiser's site with all your friends on Facebook through their News Feeds. What has privacy advocates up in arms, and advertisers skittish, about Beacon is the way it seems to be spying on you as you surf the Web and then, on top of that, reporting what you just did to everyone you know.

Basically, Facebook has partnered with over 40 companies, including eBay, Blockbuster.com, NYTimes.com and College Humor. Example:

Mel is on Blockbuster.com. He decides to rent Brokeback Mountain (Extended Version). Within a couple clicks, Brokeback Mountain is on the top of his queue, and will be the next movie mailed out to him. Mel doesn't see the little notification on the lower right of his screen:

Then say Samir logs onto Facebook and sees in his Newsfeed. "Mel has rented Brokeback Mountain from Blockbuster.com!" Samir tells everyone. Everyone makes fun of Mel. Mel runs away.

Okay, a little over-dramatic. How about this:

Samir is planning to propose to his girlfriend. Sam finds a great deal on an engagement ring from eBay. He buys the ring. Within minutes, all of Samir's friends on Facebook have seen the news that "Samir bought an engagement ring from eBay.com!"

This is one situation that I've read about. I'm not sure if this really happened, but with Facebook's Beacon project, it certainly can happen. I mean shit, Facebook even confessed that it's tracking the activities of non-facebook users.

Thankfully, a lot of users and companies are putting pressure on Facebook, and it appears that Facebook is caving in. We'll see how it goes. In the meantime, watch out for that little notification before it blasts something to all of your Facebook friends.

"You can't force people to follow directions they deem arbitrary."

You can't force people to follow directions they deem arbitrary.

Dear RIAA: Keep on trying to force DRM-locked music on us. Keep trying to rape us with ridiculous prices for CDs. People will always follow the path of least resistance. The harder you try, the harder you'll fail.

You can't force people to follow directions they deem arbitrary.

New Hotness: OSX Leopard


My favorite features so far:

  • Time Machine -- Backing up has never been so easy and so sexy. This thing has already saved my life as I accidently deleted some priceless files for the577.com.

  • Spaces -- At the office I'm constantly working on as many as four projects at a time. Finally I'll have a space (virtual desktop) dedicated for each project instead of having a clusterfuck of windows.

  • Screen-Sharing -- Got a problem with your Mac? Just hit me up on iChat and we'll start up a screen-sharing session so I can show you how to fix it.

Hasta la Vista!

More Info: OSX Leopard

My New Aeron is #1 Butt Love

Those infomercials say that the average person spends a third of their life in bed. So why not spend the money for a really great bed?

Well, I easily spend over 13 hours of the day at the desk...so why not spend the money for a really great chair?

$1,200 is a big chunk o' change, but with a 12 year completely-covered warranty, I think it's worth it. I mean the chair I've been sitting on is the same chair I've had since 7th grade. If that chair could last that long, I'm sure the Aeron can too.

The Aeron by Herman Miller

It's like sex. For your ass.

The Comic Book Effect with Photoshop

If you haven't seen any movie trailers lately, there's this crazy-looking movie coming out called A Scanner Darkly. The first thing you'll notice is their trippy comic book effect, which the director said that it took almost 500 hours to edit one minute.

The Rotoshop software that they use to do this isn't available to the common consumer, but one guy figured out how to create the same effect in photoshop.

I tried it out once and this is what I came up with:

Pretty cool, eh?

Starting with Google Reader

Once in a while I find a gadget or website or something that changes my life. This is one of 'em. With Google Reader I'm able to subscribe to News Feeds and keep up with over 130 websites.

What's a News Feed?

Websites publish feeds with the latest updates to their sites so that, instead of visiting a website over and over for the latest news, you can use a reader (such as Google Reader) to keep track of updates for you. Your reader can take multiple feeds and display all that content the way you want it.

Most websites these days have a News Feed that you can subscribe to. Typically News Feeds are indicated by the words "RSS Feed," "News Feed," "XML" or "Atom Feed." But more commonly they'll be indicated by an orange icon like these:

feed icon
RSS icon

So here's what you do:

  • Log in at http://www.google.com/reader with your Gmail account.
  • Right click on these icons (or links) and copy the URL.
  • Paste the link at the top of Google Reader and hit Enter.
  • Subscribe to the News Feed.
  • Enjoy your News Feeds listed on the left side.

Check it out!