Living in the Now!

Learning to enjoy my life more!

Bye bye Facebook, you’ve changed!

At first…

When I first joined Facebook back in October 2008 it was with a degree of reluctance, I didn’t really see what was so good about it and I was happy with MySpace. I met my wife Vicky on MySpace, I had been using it since I was in college and had a lot of friends and enjoyed it. But after speaking to a few people and looking at a few articles I decided I was going to take the plunge and give it a try. A picture of the Facebook time line at the point I joined.

After the first few months of finding out what everything did and how it worked, playing games and uploading pictures I started to settle into a rhythm of what I liked using and didn’t. Added friends and discovering groups. and I happily used it for years.

Dealing with Facebooks short comings

Over the years I’ve had various different issues crop up and most of which were easy to forgive. When a service like Facebook goes down or a part of it stops working, I can forgive it that. Its a free service and there has been no promise that this would never happen so I let it go, (unlike a lot of other users that feel entitled to have a problem free service and get outraged when it suffers the smallest problem.). showing one of facebooks bugs

But when the problems that arise are because of an ill considered feature then I tent to start questioning the company’s ability to create a quality service. The ability to block game posts was a huge plus for me as I hate the constant stream of game posts coming from other users. but when there are some that cannot be blocked then I get a little pissed off. It’s not even the same as a service like Raptr that just updates friends about game activity, its the constant begging of users to give stuff or collect stuff or even to join the game.

There are many other ill considered or implemented features that make using Facebook a pain, the lack of proper controls and the constant changing of where and how options work.

previously hidden posts.

This all adds up over time and eventually I began to feel as though I was using a half finished site and never knew if I was going to be able to use or control something the same from one day to the next. This is a particular pain as I ran several groups and fan pages, and was part of many more.


Facebook likes to filter information, I was annoyed constantly when the default view was what it considered top stories, when I like a chronologically ordered feed. How hard is it for them to make it so that when I select most recent on the sort option, the site remembers what I last selected and sticks to it?
(here is a hint, not that hard! I’ve written something similar my self in PHP.). But all this information filtering has also means that I am not seeing all posts from all my friends. I didn’t discover this till I started to use Tweet Deck on my phone, it would show me posts in chronological order (that’s why I love it!) and seems to ignore all of Facebook filtering (for good and bad, blocked game requests would now be visible but only in Tweet Deck.)

Users

There are many types of Facebook users, the Facebook gamer, the whiner, the preacher, the show off and more that I could mention but we aren’t creating a list here. And most normal users are guilty of indulging in all of these activities at any one time, my self included. But variety is the spice of life and that’s good but when the gullible start falling for scams (and there are a lot of gullible users on Facebook). My daily feed is just filled with pathtic attempts to find who’s been looking at another users profile, or attempts to get £175 in Tesco vouchers, or what ever scam has been rife among my friends list. Sometimes I can see it start with one friend and watch it spread from person to person, attempts to warn others either results in scoffing or ignorance.

Most users are like sheep locked in the pen in a nice field, safe, protected or so they think. it is actually a island in the middle of a motorway at rush hour and the only things on the road are trucks, big 18 wheeler trucks with heavy loads and inattentive drivers. But this is true of the internet in general not just Facebook.

But this all boils down to the fact that Facebook doesn’t actually care about its users, otherwise there would be more safe guards against scam’s. Better controls for filtering what information get’s to our feeds and more protection of its users. Because a lot of what I’ve mentioned isn’t the users fault, yes there is a severe lack of education among internet users but the services they use should try everything in they’re power to protect the users.

But as a more seasoned internet user I am personally unaffected by such things, but it’s witnessing this happening everyday, seeing my reports of abuse going unheeded day in day out.

Mobile Application

The mobile application is OK, but it lacks all the features of the full site. Biggest missing feature for me is the ability to re-share content. Take a look at the next screen shot, where is the re-share button? Not there is it? there are plenty of other social networks out there who also have a mobile application, and they have re-share buttons. Even twitter has the ability to re-share a post.

Some one doesn’t like sharing!

Why not Facebook?

So where has this left me

I have had enough of all the problems above, I also think that I like many other Facebook users spend too much time using it. Also it’s not the only Social Network on the block, and the others do things differently and better. I’ve had a Twitter account for years started around the same time as I started on Facebook, but at the time I didn’t get twitter, didn’t understand it and thought it was limited and cluttered. The past few weeks I’ve grown to use it more, and the more i use it the more I’m begining to enjoy it.

I like the simplicity of it, quick little sentence that’s all, nothing overly complex. Throw a hash tag in there to make something searchable throw someone’s name to give them a mention. it works really well when your out and about as these quick little messages come in a bit at a time and any other media is linked so you don’t have to downloaded it if don’t want to. All features work and work well, the level of discourse is as good or bad as you want it to be. and there’s so much scope for tailoring it to the way you want using 3rd party applications or services. There is no extra faff to distract you, it is clean simple with no messing about.

Google+ is nice, it has a lot of the functionality of Facebook and in a format that wont be too alien to some Facebook users. it has a few improvements over Facebook and a few features that Facebook doesn’t have. But it’s still developing and still changing, the nicest thing is the lack of advertising. But out of the three only Facebook advertises to its users directly, so it’s not a unique selling point. But I have this saying “If the service is free then you are the commodity!” and because of this and a few other things I get the impression that Me, I as a person is being analysed and Google are storing every little thing about me they can just so they can target me better. And just because Google don’t have adverts on G+ doesn’t mean they don’t use that information when I use the other services that do advertise using Google’s information.

But then conversely I’m not sure what to make of Twitter with regards to the same thing but I don’t see them advertising and yet I don’t see what information they could possible collect from my tweets. So I fail to see how they make money. But they don’t worry me as much as Facebook do when it comes to this, Facebook are underhanded and I distrust them and the methods they use. I spent a day just going through my Facebook account deleting all my information by hand because I don’t trust that they will remove it after my account is closed. And yes I’m not so stupid that I think they don’t have a backup and could restore anything, any time or that the history of my profile isn’t already full of past information and sold long ago to the highest bidder.

It was the price I paid

It is the price everyone pays and most pay it without knowing or caring, I knew from day one and cared but not enough to stop me using it. I don’t even object to them making money off me, as I’ve said it’s a free service and they have to cover costs and pay staff some how. But I dont want it anymore and I dont care for it anymore. Time to move onto the next thing.

So I say, so long and thanks for all the fish, sorry spam!

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Fat man with blue hair: A new hope.

Recently I turned 30 and aside from feeling just as child like as ever I decided to do more to loose weight. Well I thought I’d do what any geek would do, enlist the help of my smart phone! Back in June I got an upgrade from my ageing HTC Hero to a new HTC Desire HD.

Profile shots of a Desire HD

Not the newest phone on the market so I felt I could get a deal, but I got it because it has the largest screen out of the HTC Android range. In some cases size does not matter but in this case it very much does!  It’s what I quite often refer to as a “man size” phone, having large hands and fingers I feel this is just the right form factor, and the on screen key board is perfect for blogging on the go.

Anyway back to the topic, I looked around the Android market place and downloaded a few apps and found one called Noom. And its brilliant, it allows me to log my exercise and count the calories of each meal and suggest a daily allotment. Although I have only been using it for a 3 weeks and I’ve yo yo’d a little in my weight but I am much more aware of my diet.

I also found a good pod cast down loader and player for Android called DoggCatcher, there is no free version that I could find but I took a chance and paid the £4 something and gave it a go. and after using it for 2 days I’ve been impressed by it, but also I haven’t once been frustrated or felt as though I was limited by it. This is I feel a good indication of a quality app. So if your looking to get an app to manage your pod casts directly on your phone without having to download them to your computer first and copy them across, check out DoggCatcher.

Currently I’m enjoying the summer holidays from college but the truth is I’m running out of things to keep me occupied so I’m looking forward to going back for the last year of my HND.

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