Facebook being governed in an open way

Earlier this month there was much furor over Facebook’s revised terms of service which they subsequently reverted back to the original and also opened up communicatin amongst their users to get feedback w.r.t the terms of service. Very positive turnaround, and a nice idea, but like someone said, it’s tough enough keeping order in a meeting with a dozen people but is it practical and possible to do so with millions in the meeting room?

With this in mind, Facebook have now opted to publish two documents, Principles and Statement of Rights and Responsibilites, which will replace the current terms of service. You can read both documents in their respective groups by following each link.

We’re honored that so many millions of people around the world have decided to bring Facebook into their lives to share information and experiences with friends and loved ones. We understand that gives us an important responsibility to our users.

History tells us that systems are most fairly governed when there is an open and transparent dialogue between the people who make decisions and those who are affected by them. We believe history will one day show that this principle holds true for companies as well, and we’re looking to moving in this direction with you. – read more on the Facebook blog.

VOTD: Music track made using only Windows XP/98 sounds

You know the sounds your computer makes when a dialog pops up, or something goes wrong, or you’re notified about something. The default dings and tadas used in Windows XP and Windows 98 were used to make a musical track. Watch (or rather listen) to the video below. [via ChrisM]

Big Picture: At Work

I’ve just come across the latest post at Boston.com’s The Big Picture, of various people at work in various industries. It’s an impressive collection showing people from around the world, at work. [via Boston.com]

When the economy makes big news, many photographs of people at work come across the wires, usually to help illustrate a particular story or event. By collecting these disparate photos over the past few months, I found that a global portrait emerged of we humans producing things. People assembling, generating, and building items small and large, mundane and expensive, trivial and important. I hope you enjoy this look into some people’s work lives around the world. (45 photos total) – source Boston.com


An operator walks in the control room of the closed third unit of the nuclear power plant of Kozlodui north east of the Bulgarian capital Sofia.

Fewer than normal posts

To my regular readers, all 11 of you :), sorry for the fewer than normal posts this month. Unfortunately work has gotten in the way. Yeah, don’t you just hate it when work gets in the way of fun things? Anyway, this phase of the project I’m currently on is coming to a close this month, so hopefully the pace will be more bearable from next month onwards and I’ll have a little more time to dig around for interesting things to share with you, or write a little rant or two.

To all the non-regulars, keep watching this space, always an interesting thing or two being shared here.

Facebook owns you, well your data

facebook-logoThere’s a lot of uproar on the interwebs in this week around Facebook’s new terms of service. It’s been talked about here, here, here and here … and many more. Why? Well below is an excerpt of the updates TOS:


“You hereby grant Facebook an irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, transferable, fully paid, worldwide license (with the right to sublicense) to (a) use, copy, publish, stream, store, retain, publicly perform or display, transmit, scan, reformat, modify, edit, frame, translate, excerpt, adapt, create derivative works and distribute (through multiple tiers), any User Content you (i) Post on or in connection with the Facebook Service or the promotion thereof subject only to your privacy settings or (ii) enable a user to Post, including by offering a Share Link on your website and (b) to use your name, likeness and image for any purpose, including commercial or advertising, each of (a) and (b) on or in connection with the Facebook Service or the promotion thereof.”

and this was just added…

“You may remove your User Content from the Site at any time. If you choose to remove your User Content, the license granted above will automatically expire, however you acknowledge that the Company may retain archived copies of your User Content.”

So basically what it boils down to is the fact that Facebook can do what they want with your content you’ve uploaded to your profile. Well, unless you decide to deactivate your account, but then they still retain the right to keep archived copies of your data (most probably for data mining purposes).

What people don’t get is, there’s no such thing as a free lunch, and in the same light, no such thing as a completely free service. You’re not paying Facebook to use their service so they need to get something out of it (yeah they make a tonn out of advertising too, but they’re still not making a profit, yet).

If you’re the type to do things that could be used to incriminate yourself, then you shouldn’t be using or even near the Internet, in fact a computer or any electronic device – then again, if you are and you’re reading this – FAIL!


Update 18 February 2009: Facebook seems to have retracted it’s TOS and reverted to the previous version until they’ve “solved the problem”

Over the past few days, we have received a lot of feedback about the new terms we posted two weeks ago. Because of this response, we have decided to return to our previous Terms of Use while we resolve the issues that people have raised. For more information, visit the Facebook Blog.

If you want to share your thoughts on what should be in the new terms, check out our group Facebook Bill of Rights and Responsibilities.

Read more on TechCrunch.

Capitalism and exploitation

rose-flowerYou know, I’m all for making money, after all I make money too, by offering my services to my employer, as a software developer, for a monthly remuneration. Heck, I’ve had my share of businesses in the past and partnerships and we’ve made money too. Yet, the one thing I’ve always done is give people a fair deal and ask for what is regarded as, market related salaries/rates. 

I strongly believe you should pay for what you’re getting, the better the quality, the more effort involved, the more you should pay for it, and rightly so.

Now, to the crux of the matter and the reason for this post – WTF do florists think makes their flowers so f$#%*ing special on the 13th and 14th of February every frickin year that warrants them ripping off their customers by charging more than 3 times the price they’re normally sold for?

Did they feed them with special gold-laced flower food in the week leading up to Valentine’s day making the flowers grown more expensive than the rest of the flowers – from the same frickin plant – prior to the week leading up to Valentine’s day?

I can almost guarantee they will make the same profit for the month, if not more, if they actually droppped their prices on and around special occasions and more people will buy their products. 

Don’t get me wrong – I’m not against Valentine’s day – I love my wife – we went out to a restaurant last night, and this morning I made her breakfast in bed. No, I didn’t buy her flowers and no, I didn’t buy her a card (another pet-hate but that’s for another day’s rant). I’ll buy her two bunches of flowers at the end of the month for less than half what I would have paid yesterday, or today.

1234567890 Day

WTF? I hear you say – it’s a Geek party 🙂

The techies out there know what Unix time is – for the non-tech savvy people it’s a single numeric number representing a date and time (the number of seconds elapsted since midnight January, 1st, 1970). 

And at 3:31:30 PM (PST), today, 13th February 2009 – that numeric representation will be 1234567890

To find out more check out the official website.