All entries for Tuesday 05 September 2006
September 05, 2006
the thought kitchen
During my daily round I came across this promising little blog here, from a new company called Nau. The subject is one that I am slowly taking more and more of an interest in: sustainability There’s nothing particularly ground-breaking about this particular entry, I just really like the way it’s worded, and so I would encourage everyone who gives a crap about our planet to read it.
(Get me being all politically-charged today. Believe me: this is depressingly rare. Future blogs will probably fit a lot more along the lines of “ooh, shiny, look!” You have been warned.)
Writing about web page http://www.facebook.com
UPDATE THE SECOND: Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg has posted a big open letter apologising for the Feed, announcing that Privacy controls have now been put in place for people to control exactly what they will allow to show up on the feed (if anything at all). Isn’t that nice? Ok, they should have thought it through in the first place, but it’s nice to see that moaning masses occasionally have some clout. Who knows? Today: Facebook! Tomorrow: Peace in the Middle East!
For those that use Facebook, what the hell is up with their new Newsfeed feature?? At first I was charmed by yet another new gimmick and the spruced up interface, but after this initial magpie-like fascination it’s quickly become clear that this is a case of “too much information”. WAY too much information. Sure, there’s the argument that you shouldn’t be using a community site like Facebook unless you want your information to be accessible to others; the problem with Newsfeed (and the equally annoying Minifeed) is that I can see it being abused far too quickly. Tiny details about people’s habits, as well as the messages they send to friends, are too easily available to anyone who’s gone through the procedure of adding them as a Facebook friend (hardly a rigorous screening procedure). Yes, people can ultimately get hold of this anyway, but not without expending a good deal more time and effort than this allows.
This smacks of Big Brother (the creepy Orwellian kind), and isn’t something that makes me particularly keen to carry on using this online “community”. Which is a shame really, because I was started to get quite fond of Facebook.
The Newsfeed has been rammed down our throats without allowing us any option for disabling it. What can we do about it? Complain! Join one of a growing number of anti-Newsfeed groups that are cropping up, and log a complaint. Of course, if you’re feeling malicious like I was a few hours ago, you can track down the brains behind this “great” new idea and administer a bit of rough justice, Facebook style: with a good old poke.
We understand that some people are unhappy or
concerned about the recent changes to Facebook.
Your feedback is welcome and appreciated because our
goal is to make a website that is in line with our
users’ expectations. As we consider future changes
and modifications, we will certainly keep everyone’s
opinions in mind. We think, however, that once you
become familiar with the new layout and features,
you will find these changes just as useful as past
improvements such as Photos, Groups, and the Wall.
We introduced News Feed and Mini-Feed because we
wanted to make it easier than ever before to see
interesting, relevant pieces of information from the
world around you. News Feed automatically generates
the most recent news stories about your friends so
that you have a resource available to guide your
movement throughout the site. Mini-Feed allows you
to quickly and easily see the latest developments in
the lives of people whose profiles you choose to
What is important to remember with all of these
features is that we are not allowing anyone to see
anything that they wouldn’t normally be allowed to
see. For example, if you join a secret group, any
friends that are not members will not receive a News
Feed story about this action. Similarly, when they
look at your Mini-Feed, they will not be able to see
a story about you joining the group. The settings
that are established on the My Privacy page and the
settings that apply to Photo albums, Notes, Groups,
Events, etc. dictate the stories that are displayed
in News Feed and Mini-Feed. Although there is no
option to completely turn off Mini-Feed, all users
have the option to hide individual stories. If you
select the ‘X’ button to the right of any of your
own stories, that content will no longer be visible
to anyone viewing your Mini-Feed. Facebook prides
itself in giving users complete control over the
information that they share with others. Let us
know if you have any questions about the privacy
settings that we offer.
Thanks for using Facebook!
Customer Support Representative
Sigh. So it’s a case of “we realise you have objections, but we’re not going to do anything about it. Deal with it.”
- Frozen Land
Saw this incredibly bleak Finnish film last week. It’s similar to Crash in that it features several different protagonists whose messed up lives are all interconnected in some way. The story is kicked off by the forgery of a 500 Euro note, which passes through the lives of several characters, old and young, as they struggle to make it in an unforgiving city where vice and money hold more sway than integrity and honesty. The key difference between this and Crash is that Frozen Land is devoid of any of the latter’s Hollywood warmth – it offers an unremittingly bleak picture of life, and more subtly too: the semi-improvised dialogue never at any point veers towards the occasionally cod-polemic tone of Crash. I can’t make my mind up though. Frozen Land struck me as being a good film (just to clarify, so did Crash), but I still can’t really pin down why I think this is, especially as my overriding impression was that I don’t want to see it again any time soon. The title provides a neat little analogy: I’d describe this film as bleak because it made me quietly melancholy and contemplative, rather than manically depressed. Frozen rather than heated, if you like. Pace is probably a big contributing factor here: Frozen Land is a slow film (despite what the blurb might have you believe), where people don’t so much crash as slowly unravel (barring one notable exception involving a train, which I don’t want to give away too much more about. Or remember.) I felt similar after watching Capote , another good film which I’d probably to struggle to sit through again, and left me feeling slightly cold and empty. It’ll be interesting to see how Frozen Land is received, but I’d recommend it.
Incidentally, the film is loosely inspired by Tolstoy’s novel False Note, which I haven’t read. I have read Anna Karenina though and the connection makes sense: a none-too-cheery study of human interaction and the inevitable misery that results from it. Maybe I’ll read False Note and see if that sheds any new light on the film.
…On second thought I think I’ll just leave it at that and say that it’s worth seeing. I just hope my upcoming visit to Finland is more cheerful.