"Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful." - William Morris

Facebook vs. Your Privacy

Posted: February 29th, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: Privacy & Security | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

Somehow I’d managed to miss the bruhaha about Facebook licencing its users’ photos to newspapers – as witnessed in this case of the shooting of a 14 year old girl in Toronto this New Year. The situation was that the newspapers needed some images of the girl, and rather than just use the ones given out by the police or from the family, they went to the ‘source’ as it were and used some from her Facebook profile.

Wow. That seems to me to be a pretty blatent disregard for your user’s data privacy, and it’s seriously making me think that Facebook is not a good place to be right now. I understand that when I upload content to a social network that I should expect my friends to see it, and everyone if I’ve set the viewing privileges that way, but I’d never expect that content to get in a newspaper. Knowing what my little sister and her friends post on Facebook I’m sure they wouldn’t want any of that out in the public! I mean, people might not know exactly how much she likes kittens.

Perhaps it’s actions like this that will cause Facebook to lose all their visitors, as seems to be the trend right now. Of course it would require people to go somewhere else, as it’s now part of our modern culture to be connected with our friends and contacts over a social network. There are no outstanding candidates for the ‘next’ Facebook right now, however much some sites might think they are it looks like, for the time being at least, that Facebook is the last of the monolithic social sithttp://www.blogger.com/img/gl.link.gifes. What’s coming down the line is a mix of personal control via your own website, feeds and posting aggregate feeds from sits like Twitter, combined with niche sites where you can focus your groups of contacts together – such as LinkedIn for business, or Flickr for photo friends.

Whatever happens, Facebook’s strikes seem to be coming hard and fast now which is never a good sign. As a company like that grows they have to maintain something of what made them popular in the first place, evolving it to meet the demands of their new users – not selling their user’s commodities in a fire sale when they get a chance. Imagine if Google started selling your search results – how quickly would you find another search engine? Anyways, that’s enough for now – I have to go build the next big social network to capture all Facebook’s users when they leave the sinking ship.

Firefox – Missing JPG Images Solved

Posted: February 26th, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: Technology | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

For a while now I’ve been noticing that some sites suffer from missing JPG images in random ways. The image won’t appear when the page is rendered fully with the site CSS, turn off the CSS using the wonderful Web Developer Toolbar and a broken image link appears. So surely it’s just a broken image? Well that would be true, except when you put the image URL from the HTML directly into your browser – and the image appears. Most concerning, especially when you’re working on some HTML that needs to be finished.

Missing JPG images screenshot

An example of this behavior is at the site of my local yoga studio – Centre Luna Yoga. When I visited their site the header image wouldn’t appear, as you can see from the image above. However the image itself loads just fine. Hmm. From a bit of searching on the web, the most likely culprit was an add-on as the Mozilla/Firefox core is well tested and stable, so using that old standby of starting Firefox in safe mode I checked the page again – lo and behold, the image appeared. Hmm.

By a quick process of elimination I decided the most likely candidate was the AdBlocker, so I disabled this and restarted. Bingo. The image appeared. Then by a further process of elimination I found the guilty filter: /banners/banner. Yes, somewhere in my auto filter download someone had decided that /banners/banner was only applicable to Advertising. Doi. The URL for the home banner image at my local yoga studio’s site had this in it: /banners/banner_15.jpg, so problem solved. The guilty filter was disabled and all is good in the world again.

London 2012 Games Design Disasters

Posted: June 6th, 2007 | Author: | Filed under: Graphic Design | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

Well the London Olympic games may still be a few years away, but there’s plenty of controversy to keep everyone entertained in the meantime. Recently the British Olympic committee unveiled the new logo design to immediate, countrywide disdain. The logo cost £400,000 (~ US$800,000) and it’s amazing to see what you get for that money – I’m sure it paid for a lot of focus groups & surveys.

2012 Olympic Logo (Pink)

So now the BBC is asking people to send in their version of a logo – most of which are, frankly, awful – but some of which show promise and are more in keeping with common London design styles (translation: lots of Gill Sans). What amazes me is that, as a country, we didn’t take this change to have an open public competition to create a logo and vote for it. Think of the money you could raise for the Olympic fund running a premium text message vote for ‘Britain’s Next Top Logo’? Unknown British designers could submit their designs and win a top prize plus a place on the design team. It would have been perfect, but old school ‘money for the boys’ thinking reigned supreme – no wonder the Olympic budget keeps getting increased.

Now there’s another uproar; the presentation video developed, I can only assume for even more money, includes a section of flashing lights that has triggered epileptic fits in susceptible people. So our beloved Ken, the Mayor of London, has waded into the fray and demanded that the company responsible not be paid for this “catastrophic mistake”. My feeling on this is that it is a more honest mistake, and I’m sure that plenty of government people reviewed the video first so is it really the fault of the company developing it? Britain has pretty strict rules about limited sighted people being supported on websites, but I’ve never heard of anything regarding epilepsy.

It will be interesting to see how this pans out. I’m sure we’ll hear of more ‘mistakes’ such as these. I can only hope that as a country we don’t mess up by spending so much energy complaining about mistakes that we don’t have any left to make the games the success they should be.