Archive for category Gripes

Facebook Responds to My Post – Well Not Really

A few weeks back I wrote a post about how Facebook is killing itself by messing up their traditional full stream of news from friends . Yesterday, Facebook announced a beta testing program that attempts to address the muddling of the friends stream of news.  The Blog Herald has an excellent piece on this beta program.

First, Facebook is testing a program from strangers (supposedly people and not marketers – but we know that will not last) to send you messages to your personal inbox rather than your “Others” folder. This is again an example of how Facebook is muddling their promise of connecting people for private conversations. Hey, if people can pay to send me junk mail can I pay to have it blocked? Facebook could add a paid anti-spam/junk mail option with an added option to block ads and paid messages. Could be worth more than a penny or two.

The second announcement is the one that responds to my earlier post.  Facebook is going to add a filter that they hope will direct all your real friend messages into you inbox and keep them out of the “Others” folder.  If this works, which I doubt, then we could see the return of the communications tool which we fell in love.  Also, if this works, do we really need a paid option?  My guess though is that the marketers will learn to game this system as well and that I will continue to miss out on the cute cat and baby pictures of my friends.



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Wikipedia: An example of democracy and human nature

Wikipedia is no doubt one of the most referenced sites.  It also drives a lot of traffic to sites and is always in the top search results for it seams like everything.  But there is a public misconception about Wikipedia.  Sure we all know the information may not be accurate.  What I am talking about is the wrongful belief that anyone can update an entry.  This was once the intent.  It has failed in practice because of human nature to want to own and control territory.

I have on my personal side gone in and updated points of fact.  I have also attempted to enter details (again pints of fact) for clients.  They are always erased within minutes by rather militant individuals who through their aggressive editing actions have taken ownership of a set of content.  We have found this to be the case throughout Wikipedia.

Example, we updated the mission statement for an environmental non-profit.  The old mission statement was there quoted from the Web site.  We simply updated it to the current mission that had one line adjusted.  This was rejected by an editor because this was “self promotion” by an organization.  The old mission now remains on the site.

Slate now has an article about how only a limited few can edit pages of popular people.  This is no surprise to many people who already know that editing within Wikipedia is actually tightly controlled.  So, what make someone popular? Isn’t just being in Wikipedia mean that you are noted somehow above the rest of us mere mortals? I imagine that if someone who is mentioned on Wikipedia tried to correct their own birthday or something similar it would be rejected as being “self-promotion.”

Now let the fun comments telling me I do not know what I am talking about begin!

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Magazine and Sweepstakes Telemarketer Scam Alert “Readers Services”

For the past couple of months I have received calls every few days from some company calling themselves “Readers Services.” They claim they represent the magazines I subscribe. Nope. I subscribe to one wood working magazine. I call this publisher and they say this company is a scam to sign up people for magazine subscriptions. Indeed the callers try to say I must complete some sort of question and answers and provide billing details in order not to be charged $1200.00.

Every time I say not to call me anymore they say okay. Then they call again. On the call last night at 9:30 PM (that woke my 2 year old) I tried to obtain their real company name and address. When I demanded the address the caller hung up. Amazing as for every other call no matter what I said they would not hang up.

This morning I ran some searchers. They indeed seem to be some scam soliciting for magazines. They go under the name of Readers Services, National Magazine Exchange, Special Data Processing Corp, Agora Marketing Solutions and other names. They appear to be out of Clearwater Florida.

They seem to get your contact information from the wealth of online giveaways and sweepstakes. Darn – I never should have asked for that Eucerin coupon or something similar.

Seems like the next step is to write letters to a whole bunch of folks such as the FTC, MA and Fl state attorney generals and others.

And here is the site for the scammers – or Seems from most references to be the first of these two sites. Yet, they seem to be interconnected when reading the various complaints.

Here are some links to various folks with the same issue:


Don’t bypass the CMS

Point 1: Many content management systems (CMS) have templates and pages setup eternal to the CMS as a set of content blocks.  It is unfortunately common for a programmer/coder to set content and format in these blocks that are not linked into content modules that are managed with in the CMS. 

This is usually done by the programmer because they find it is easier to code these in directly than it is to have to link each and every image, meta data or content block to a CMS object.  True – this does often save time up front.  however, it almost always is detrimental in the long term.  When coded outside of the CMS the site administrators, editors and content managers using the CMS do not have the ability to modify this content.  This requires going back to a coder to perform tasks that are intended to be the function of a CMS in the first place. So, please coders – take the time and make it all manageable by your users even if you think it is an easy affair to pass the work on to you. 

Point 2: Use the feature sin the CMS rather than bypassing them.  Every CMS offers its own code for items such as date formats, meta data and other functions.  Programmers often have code snippets or other methods outside of the CMS set that they prefer.  However, the use of these non-CMS methods can sometimes lead to long term issues.  For example, we recently wanted to change the date format on a site.  We went into the CMS and changed the format using the management tools.  The date format changed in half of the site in an instant. Then we found the other half had date formatting set external to the CMS.  Not only was this bad form not to use the CMS, but it was not setup to use a consistent method.

Point 3: Follow the best practices from the CMS provider.  Simply implementing a design in a CMS is not enough.  Read through and follow the best practices to enable CMS functionality for the admins, editors and other users.  These are just as important a set of audiences as are the visitors to the Web site.

Think this is all silly.  Not so.  I find that even the best world-class programmer/coder can be light on the longer term management strategies impacted by their decisions.  After all, they are not expected to have this as their focus.  They are expected to focus on the execution and we need to be sure that managers and strategists are clear on the architecture and best practices to be integrated.

Please correct me if I am wrong.

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Yes Virginia, Mahogany is a Wood

Back on December 9, 2007 there was this post on Weird Spot about a guy who made a car out of mahogany. Very cool from a woodworkers point of view. What made me laugh though was this line – “made from mahogany (a type of wood).” Mahogany, a type of wood? No kidding. I thought this strange at first and then I clued into the audience for Weird Spot and realized that maybe they are simple enough to not even know that mahogany is a wood.

And yes, I realize that mahogany could be a color – but if the post is titled “Car Made from Wood” and then you say “made from mahogany” and you have a picture –do you really need to say “a type of wood”.

End of Rant

Oh, and of course I still NEED to read this stuff because how else do you find out stuff like A Hospital Serves Up Mouse Head on Plate Because you know this is much more important than CNET, WSJ, NYT or any other news .you could possible imagine. 😉

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