Category Archives: Evolution of the WWW

Stop whining about privacy: YOU are the one GIVING it away

Following Facebook’s announcement of their “Home” app, many people seem to have read Om Malik’s melodramatic cry over spilt milk:

Om says, “But there is a bigger worry. The phone’s GPS can send constant information back to the Facebook servers, telling it your whereabouts at any time.”

Yes, it can Om, you’re right. And how does it do that, exactly? I’ll tell you shall I… Here’s a step-by-step;

  1. You download the app
  2. You agree to the app using  your GPS
  3. You open the app
  4. You allow the app to take over the home screen

OH MY GOD! I’ve suddenly realised how awful Facebook is – taking all that information from you without your consent(!)

Justifying his lying on the floor kicking and screaming, Om continues, “Facebook, a company that is known to have played loose-and-easy with consumer privacy and data since its very inception..”

Again, he’s spot on. But rather than make his point this shows how pathetic his argument is. If anything, that should have prepared him for the inevitability that Facebook will use his data. He appears to be saying,

“I can’t believe Facebook is using the huge amount of data about my life that I handed over!”

My response to Om, and anyone else whinging about their privacy within the Facebook wall, is;

If you willingly hand over any data about your life to any company whose terms, which you agreed to, state they can use that data then they will bloody well use it. If you don’t like it, don’t fucking hand over your data, you moron!

My next rant will be about why I LOVE handing over my data! 😉

Update: Instead of of that second rant, just read this which I agree with completely. In fact, I’m already allowing Google to track my every move and loving the benefits I’m getting.

Why I backed App.net

Given the choice I’d prefer to pay for a product than be the product.

I want ownership of my own data, my own mutterings, musing, incoherent rants and drivvle.

My own words and creations should be available to me in the format I want them in, not subject to someone else’s corporate branding guidelines and platform stifling despotism.

Being in a walled garden feels anathema to the world wide web that was envisaged by TBL and that I fell in love with so many years ago.

So many people whinge about being delivered ads on Facebook, in their Gmail, or promoted tweets on Twitter. Yet often (not always!) those same people don’t seem to get that they are the product.

App.net lays the foundation (important: Alpha does not equal App.net) for that relationship to fundamentally change, in their favour.

This is why I love Google…

Whilst watching the Olympic marathon I wondered about the length, so I asked Google what 26 miles is in kilometres, knowing it’d give me an instant conversion. A pleasant surprise was that Google figured I was probably watching the marathon given the timing of my query and also showed me the live results, as you can see from this screenshot.

image

Occasionally I see articles pop up from people (mostly copyright holders) whining about this kind of use of information by Google. The fact is, it’s incredibly useful to the user. These kind of intelligent results show exactly why Google commands such a massive dominance in the search market.

Bad ads

Finally, I  plucked up the courage to purchase my shiney new Samsung Galaxy S3 (more on that later) and whilst reading the latest news on the Guardian app I noticed that they (or their ad server people) still don’t know how to do ad targeting properly.

See my screenshot of the app below, taken on my new Samsung Galaxy S3 and showing me an advert for… wait for it… the Samsung Galaxy S3.

Obviously I’m never going to click that ad. I already own an S3. I’m using it!

The worst bit is that it’s easy to detect that I’m using it. They should know that I’m using an SGS3 and remove that ad accordingly. Any marketer wanting to keep their job should be aware of this and be eliminating such horrendous wastage from their marketing budget. You’d think the Guardian would want to make their offering useful, too.

image

Okay, rant over. As you were.

Think open data is just the realm of geeks? Not in Lichfield…

This is partly the reason why I love Lichfield so much. Our council CEO recently joined Twitter and was last night tweeting (much revered) webmaster, Stuart Harrion;

[blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/#!/Ninadawesldc/status/133285420699095042″]

Where else do you get a council chief exec tweeting her webby on a Sunday evening about the Open Government License?!

Fantastic!

There is no web 1.0, 2.0 or 3.0

This is deliberately similar to my first Posterous post, “There is no new vs. old media“…

There is no web 1.0 or web 2.0 or even web 3.0. There is only the evolving web. I despise the use of the phrase “web 2.0” when it relates to web design, for example – it implies that it needs to have cool jQuery and Ajax stuff going on. You know what, if you’re building a site figure out your user need and build it using the right technologies. Don’t just build a “web 2.0” site ’cause it’s what all the cool kids are doing.

Okay, rant over. But who’s to say I’m right. Disagree at will using the comments.

This was posted via web from Philip’s posterous

Free your post code!

Today, Ernest Marples Postcodes was shut down by Royal Mail. The service enables great sites such as PlannngAlerts.com and The Straight Choice as well as many others.

The action is stifling digital innovation in the UK and really needs to be freed up. So, in order to combat this let’s free up the postcode data by creating our own version of Royal Mail’s Postcode Address File (PAF).

UPDATE: It turns out, this isn’t such a good idea. Read Matthew Somerville’s comment.

It’s really easy to do, and here’s how:

  1. Go to the Get Lat Lon site.
  2. Type your post code into the search box.
  3. Zoom in so you can see your house/location (use the Satellite view, top right).
  4. Centre the map so that the cross-hair rests on your house/location.
  5. Below the map will be two numbers representing the latitude and longitude. Copy/make note of these numbers.
  6. Go to the Free the Postcode site.
  7. Type in your details, and paste in the latitude and longitude you took down. (Note: you don’t have to use your real e-mail address, see Bruce’s comment below.)
  8. Type in the postcode of your house/location and click Submit.

You can also submit your address to the Open Postcode Database to free it from Royal Mail’s licensing restrictions.