Friday morning’s interview with Sonia Sly on Kiwi Summer was the most fun I have ever had on radio.
Radio New Zealand National was the most fair and balanced medium I dealt with when running for Mayor of Wellington in 2010, and I was glad that Sonia thought of me for its summer programming this year.
I joked to friends prior to the interview that 2011 was much like 2010: go on to National Radio to dis the Wellywood sign in the ﬁrst half of the year, and have a fun interview in the second half.
This was a casual, fun interview thanks to Sonia putting me at such ease. It goes on for a healthy 17 minutes, covering my involvement in Lucire, judging the Miss Universe New Zealand pageant, my branding work, including the Medinge Group, and my typeface design career. The feedback I have had is that people enjoyed it, and I’d like to share it with you all here. Here’s the link, and you can always ﬁnd it at the Kiwi Summer page for the day, where other formats are listed.
And if you’re wondering where the opening reading comes from, it’s taken from this review of the Aston Martin V8 Vantage I penned many years ago.
Frictionless sharing on Facebook, as I understand it, works largely as described in the diagrams at Shortstack. If you want more depth, ReadWriteWeb explains it.
But what if you have never authorized the application? In my case, I have never authorized anything from Disney or ABC. I double-checked today to see what apps I had in Facebook, and there’s no mention of anything from this corporation. I’ve nothing to hide, and the list of my authorized apps is shown below.
If that list is accurate, how could I possibly have shared the article as the ABC News social plug-in states at left?
My journal does not mention it, but I’ve learned to have a healthy scepticism when it comes to Facebook (or Google) and privacy.
Is Facebook tracking us even on sites that we have never authorized, just by virtue of their having a social plug-in? If that’s the case, then this is something that I never anticipatedâand it means that our understanding of frictionless sharing, and Facebook’s own assurances about it, were not accurate.
PS.: I got two pop-ups today (December 21) of the same nature, this time while using Facebook. I think we can rule out Speed Dial as the reason.âJY
For the Firefox bofﬁns out there, I began using Super Start, after having trialled Speed Dial and Fast Dial over the past year or so.
These replicate what Opera users are used to with their Speed Dial, and what Google Toolbar users have with their menus. Your most accessed websites are shown to you in thumbnail format when you open a new tab.
Super Start is probably the best of them all so far. It’s compact, doesn’t seem to drain the resources, and you can program more than the eight that it comes with (I presently have 12).
I only began seeking an alternative to Speed Dial because OpenX ad pop-ups began appearing. I don’t know what was causing them, but since I work with only a small handful of sites, it seemed odd that these were appearing each time I opened a new tab, usually to begin searching with Duck Duck Go. I was reasonably sure they were not coming with the search engine, Facebook or our own company sites. They were quite hard to get rid of, with a script that had a new window open up if you closed the ﬁrst.
I have no proof that these were connected to Speed Dial, and they could have come from any website that I visited. Maybe there was a delay from another website (not uncommon). However, it’s equally odd that they have ceased to appear after I deleted Speed Dial and replaced it with Super Start. To my knowledge, Speed Dial sent me no notiﬁcation of a recent update that might have brought with it these pop-ups. At best, Speed Dial was the victim of unfortunate timing.
Again, I’m blogging this in case other computer users have had the same issue creep up recently. Maybe we can narrow down the cause of these sudden pop-ups.
If you’re a car nut, then you won’t be mourning, too much, the passing of former Czech president Vaclev HĂĄvel. Or, for that matter, Kim Jong Il. It’s Saab that has ﬁnally died as it ﬁles for bankruptcy after GM, which still licenses key technologies to the Swedish ﬁrm, vetoed its sale to Zhejiang Youngman Lotus Automobile.
GM has a JV with SAIC, the Shanghai automaker, and believes that if those technologies were to ﬁnd their way into the hands of a small upstart Chinese rival, it wouldn’t be to its advantage. Saab, which had been teetering on collapse since March, when it ﬁrst stopped production, decided to call in the receivers today.
GM had issued a statement at the weekend, saying, ‘Saabâs various new alternative proposals are not meaningfully different from what was originally proposed to General Motors and rejected âŠ Each proposal results either directly or indirectly in the transfer of control and/or ownership of the company in a manner that would be detrimental to GM and it shareholders. As such, GM cannot support any of these proposed alternatives.’
Swedish Automobile, the parent company of Saab, responded, ‘After having received the recent position of GM on the contemplated transaction with Saab Automobile, Youngman informed Saab Automobile that the funding to continue and complete the reorganization of Saab Automobile could not be concluded.
âThe Board of Saab Automobile subsequently decided that the company without further funding will be insolvent and that ﬁling bankruptcy is in the best interests of its creditors.’
GM, in the two decades in which it owned Saab, failed to turn a proﬁt with the brand. However, its parting gift, the new 9-5 saloon, was heralded by some fans as a return to form for the company. Hopes were high for it, and the 9-4X crossover, helping Saab back into a position of strength.
It’s easy to do a post mortem now, but the failure could be levelled at GM’s misunderstanding of the Saab brand. It may have been sensible to shift Saab models on to Opel platforms for economies of scale, but, in doing so, the cars lost some of their character. The lowest point was when GM created a rebodied Subaru Impreza and called it the Saab 9-2X, which fooled few buyersâone has to remember that Saab buyers tended to be well educated. Saab never ﬁtted well in a business which targeted the mainstream: its own cars were always bought by people who enjoyed their quirkiness and the fact they did not follow convention.
GM only understood this when it was far too late, as the last two models demonstrated.
When GM itself had to ﬁle for bankruptcy protection in the US in the late 2000s, Saab, Pontiac, and Saturn were the victims.
When Saab was sold to Spyker, its boss Victor Muller invested heavily into the business to try to turn it aroundâbut he, and other investors, would have lost tremendously today. Saab fans will likely remember Muller favourablyâafter all, he put his own money into the business and shared his supporters’ passionâbut in a world where break-even points are at hundreds of thousands of units, Saab’s 30,000 in 2010 were never going to be enough. MG Rover Ltd. collapsed with 2004 sales of 115,000 in 2005.
As hindsight is 20-20, Saab and Youngman might be accused of wishful thinking, believing it to be unencumbered by GM’s IP rights. However, the American business held the right of revocation over key licences that make up Saab’s 9-3, 9-4X and 9-5 models.
It’s not the ﬁrst time intellectual property has got in the way of car businesses. One of the most famous examples was BMW arranging with Rolls-Royce trade mark owner Vickers plc to license the brand for motor cars, as Volkswagen negotiated to buy the Rolls-Royce Motors business. And all Volkswagen really had to do to ﬁnd this out was visit the Rolls-Royce website home page at the time: right at the bottom, stated clearly, was the message that the Rolls-Royce brand was licensed from Vickers plc.
[Cross-posted] Summer Rayne Oakes and Benita Singh’s Cartier award-winning venture, Source4Style, which helps designers source sustainable fabric through a well designed, transparent website, launches its second version today. Lucire has the low-down in the main part of the site, and this story forms part of some of our next 2012 print and other non-web editions.
We believe this will revolutionize the way the business of fashion is conducted. Think about it: consumers demand sustainability and the trend has no signs of stopping. Yet, according to Singh, suppliers are spending up to 43 per cent of their marketing budgets just on trade shows. âItâs a huge up-front time and ïŹnancial commitment with no guarantee of a return,â she says. On the other end of the scale, Cornell University research shows that designers are spending up to 85 per cent of their time visiting those same shows, going through online directories, or wading through sample folders.
Source4Style uses the internet to bridge the divide, and has obvious positive implications for smaller suppliers, who are on a level playing ﬁeld with the big names. Some of these suppliers are in third-world countries, so it’s not hard to see the ﬁnancial beneﬁt that Source4Style can have for them and their communities.
It’s in line with the ideas in Simon Anholt’s Brand New Justice, where Anholt posited that good brands helped third-world communities ﬁnd greater proﬁts and margins. Source4Style doesn’t quite give these companies brands per se, but through the site, it allows them to be the equal of businesses that are operating in the ﬁrst world, and levels the playing ﬁeld.
It is the solidity behind this venture that sees us devote two web pages and the cover to it. We encourage readers to take a look, as this may well be the moment when fashion changes for goodâin more than one sense of the word.
I seem to be putting the major news events on my Facebook as public posts these days, such as the passing of Kim Jong Il or the Murdoch Press phone-tapping scandal. Since Facebook introduced public sharing in August, I’m having a rethink about what each outlet means. What is this blog for? What is my Tumblr for?
The things that used to go on my Vox blog were the problems I had with websites, which I have a knack of either crashing, or ﬁnding major bugs that no one seems to have confronted.
Last month, I found that I could no longer tag myself in a particular photograph in Facebook and had to ask a friend to do it for me. She obliged, and that worked.
Today, that became harder still. It turns out that even if someone else tags you, the tag won’t “stick”.
I had been uploading some old photos after our new Microtek Scanmaker 5800 arrived. I realize that scanner buffs will tell me it’s not new, but let’s just say I’m the ﬁrst owner, and I wanted a unit that would plug into the existing LAN without any changes of software.
I put up a photograph. So far so good. I could tag myself. But the minute I added a friend’s name in the caption, or a date, or a location, my tag disappeared.
Facebook has had problems with tagging since the beginning. I still have photographs where Facebook has among the tags my name (unlinked), then my name again (linked). Some photos I had to tag twice before Facebook “remembered” who it was.
This time, even when a friend tagged me, the tag would not “stick”. I approved it each time, but it would vanish. A friend even saw it disappear from her ticker at exactly that moment. It would also disappear from my Facebook journal: there’d be an ‘Approve all’ button, but nothing below that to approve.
As usual, I have found out what is wrong. And Facebook doesn’t know, or doesn’t care. I’m pasting the solution, as I did when I discovered Facebook blocked me from selecting Limited Proﬁle two weeks ago, in case anyone else comes across this problem.
In this and the previous case, I have told Facebook. Here is what I wrote (italics added):
If you have your privacy settings thus:
Tag review: On Facebook can check you in to places using the Mobile Places app: Off
any tags you make of yourself will disappear the minute you add a date or a location.
Any attempts to re-tag will not work.
The only way to then have the tag âstickâ is to turn tag review off and have a friend tag you.
Then, you manually approve the tag (which is a bit odd, since turning the tag review off would imply that you wouldnât need to review the tag), during which Facebook will ask if you want the Mobile Places check-in turned on. You answer in the afﬁrmative.
Then, and only then, can a dated, location-added photograph be tagged with your own name.
In other words, as I told a friend: ‘OK, hereâs what you have to do: turn off your veriﬁcation in the privacy settings. Sign on as someone else. Tag yourself. Sign out. Sign back in as yourself. Say yes to Facebook asking if you want to turn mobile tagging on. Approve the tag. Go back into your privacy. Turn off mobile tagging. Turn on veriﬁcation. Do not add location, do not pass go.’ I’m not the only one this has happened to, and presently the above appears to be the only answer.
I’m not terribly sure when I became Facebook’s QC department. Mark, where’s my cheque?
January: The Hustle crew is back in Brum, but without the ‘created by Tony Jordan’ credit on some episodes.
Why is Tony Jordanâs name missing from these episodes of Hustle?
We put JY&A Consulting on to the jya.co domain. Zen is awesome, even if the male cast largely speaks with English accents and the female cast speaks with Italian and French ones. John Barry dies. My favourite composer. RIP.
The Christchurch earthquake and stories of tragedy and heroism.
The fall and fall of Charlie Sheen, and if recasting Two and a Half Men, put Martin Sheen in it and set it in 2040. Mad Dogs begins.
February:Mad Dogs: great British telly. Philip Glenister adopts a Gene Hunt pose, but with Marc Warren instead of John Simm.
Firefox 3 crashes a lot.
Kelly Adams is off the market, boys. Mad Dogs ﬁnishes.
The Americans make William & Kate with Los Angeles and Hollywood standing in for Buckingham Palace, London, Klosters, St Andrewâs and other locations.
I go on telly to dis the copyright amendments in a new bill, which has been spurred on by Hollywood lobbyists. Farewell the presumption of innocence and due process.
Elisabeth Sladen dies.
Everyone talking about Pippa Middletonâs rear end.
April: This seems to be the enduring image of the UK Royal Wedding.
June: Australians unite against homophobes who pressure a billboard company to take down a safe-sex ad.
Australians unite against a billboard company that takes down an ad featuring a gay couple. The CEO responds within the day, which is a contrast to how Wellington Airport conducted itself over public outcry over âWelly-woodâ Part II.
MSG is evil. A redhead wins Miss USA.
People go on to Google Plus to talk about Google Plus.
The Murdoch Press phone-hacking scandal.
UN: internet is a human right.
I think the movie The Avengers is about John Steed and Emma Peel.
The Unscripted exhibition and I get photographed with Jekyll himself, James Nesbitt. Oh, and the Mayor.
Nigerian con-men send me a 419 scamâin hard copy.
Facebook Timeline. Old School, New School exhibition has Joe Churchward and Mark Geardâs typeface designs.
October: The Russian Sam Tyler.
Russians remake Life on Mars.
More ânek minnitâ.
Gaddaﬁ owned a Toyota (just like bin Laden).
Above: My Facebook Timeline, as it appeared in October.
As more of the planet gets on to Facebook Timeline, it’s been interesting to watch reactions.
When Facebook went to a new layout three years ago, plenty of peopleâmyself includedâwent to an anti-new Facebook group. Most were there because they didn’t like change, threatened to leave, and failed to carry out their threat. It was like those who said they would stop reading tabloids after the Princess of Wales diedâas circulation rose the following year.
I joined not because I disliked the changeâI thought the redesign was quite goodâbut because Facebook never did any testing and we were the guinea pigs. The new design was about as reliable as a Wall Street banker, and given it kept failing, I joined to voice my opposition.
No such issue with Timeline, at least not till regularly. Having been on it for two months, I haven’t come across the concerns the majority haveâat all.
Here are a few I’ve heard, including in the mainstream media.
My privacy is compromised. How? Timeline has exactly the same settings as Facebook had, prior to Timeline’s introduction. I didn’t like these new settings when they were introduced in mid-September, because I was used to shutting my wall off to certain people (e.g. those having a company name on a personal accountâyes, I did want to hear from the company, but no, I don’t know who runs the account), but I could see the merit of having public posts which rendered such a setting irrelevant.
If there was a time to complain, it was three months ago. If you’re complaining now, you’re well late. I doubt Facebook will make any changes since relatively few of us made any complaints when the privacy settings were changed last quarter. Those of us who knew were probably spending more time ﬁguring them out and protecting ourselves.
People can now see what I posted x years ago at an instant. Among the changes was a setting that allowed you to restrict all past posts. That was a new privacy entry that wasn’t there before September. Use it and restrict them to yourself, or yourself and your closest friends. I never had this problem, since Facebook always had different classes of friendsâat least since I joined in April 2007âand my statuses were always customized to different audiences.
People can now go back to a particular year and ﬁnd out more about me. True, but see above.
Itâs ugly. This is one I have some sympathy with. Design is subjective, and there is some merit to the argument that Timeline introduces extra elements on to the page (see below). The rule of good design, in my book, is the reduction of elements. So in some ways, I can understand this complaint, but, I rather like the idea of a “timeline” going down the middle, and I can see why Facebook used the two columns: to minimize the need to scroll.
I can’t go back to the old Facebook. I always thought it was clear that when you changed, that was it.
As usual, my problems with Timeline seem to be different to those of the general public.
Why two friends’ boxes? When Timeline was introduced in September, it was actually cleaner than it is now. There was one friends’ box: in the header. Last week, when it was rolled out to New Zealand, a second box was introduced that was completely superﬂuous.
I joked that this was typical of American design. They start out with a clean design, like the original Buick Riviera or Oldsmobile Toronado, or even the Ford Taurus, and then they add unnecessary stuff to it and clutter it up. That’s what’s happened with Facebook.
This second box is probably not helping people understand what Timeline is about, and it does contribute to its clumsy look. Amazing how one thing can ruin it, but that’s how design sometimes works.
The location settings. When Facebook allowed friends to tag you at a location, it also gave us the option to approve each tag. Problem: this has never worked properly if using Mobile Facebook. Even when you change the settings to allow automatic tagging, they don’t tend to stick and the tags plain disappear regardless.
You can no longer use the lists properly. This was a huge surprise, when Facebook stopped me from selecting ‘Limited Proﬁle’ in any privacy setting, be it a status update or a photo album. This has still not been ﬁxed. I traced the bug to Facebook’s new inability to add fan pages to your lists. It still allows you, but beware: adding a fan page to any list will render it inaccessible for your privacy settings.
Not many people seem to care about this one, though there are complaints about Facebook’s ‘Smart Lists’ on its fan page. The majority doesn’t use them, or was unaware they even existed till this year, calling Facebook copycats for taking a Google Plus feature. As mentioned above, it’s certainly been there since the mid-2000s, so I’m unsure how Facebook in 2007 managed to copy Google in 2011.
I’ve got to scroll down a long way. At the time of writing, I have to scroll down six days before I can see my December summary. Before the roll-out, Facebook had this ﬁxed at a number of posts. I preferred it beforeâagain, this lengthy scrolling is contributing to the public’s concerns about Timeline’s concept and their privacy.
The Friendfeed and Tumblr plug-ins no longer work the same way. Facebook will gather up a series of posts before it puts a summary into a Timeline “box”. The Tumblr ones have totally disappeared. (Tumblr has been notiﬁed.)
Despite my many misgivings about Facebook, especially about its privacy changes over the years and the imposed defaults that it got a lot of ﬂak about, I have increased my usage at the expense of Tumblr and other services. I now make public posts for the subscribersâthose I choose to have outside my friends’ list. When Facebook killed my Limited Proﬁle last week, I spent some time doing a cullâI’ve cut my list down by about 80 people, including those I was on a business club with but who never shared a single Facebook post with me in two or three years. (âI must have killed more men than Cecil B. de Mille.â) In my mind, these have all been healthy moves.
Popping by others’ pages is a bit more enjoyable, seeing what graphics they have chosen for their headers, although I have spent very little time visiting. I have spent some time âﬁlling in the gapsâ over November with pre-2007 statuses and photographs for me, and adding locations to other statuses.
In most of these cases, only my real friends know them: that’s the beauty of having availed myself of the privacy settings since day oneâand keeping an eye on them on a very regular basis.
Facebook never took a step back, so I’m afraid no matter what our complaints are, they’ll fall on deaf ears. Even after posting the solution to their newly introduced lists’ bug on to Facebook’s Lists’ Team page, they haven’t lifted a ﬁnger to ﬁx the faultâbut, then, since it doesn’t affect the boss, it might never get ﬁxed.
As long as their member numbers keep growing, Facebook might think itself impregnable, even if I like Timeline. Altavista once thought it would remain the number-one website in the world, too.
P.P.PS.: As of December 21, 9.29 GMT, Facebook has ﬁxed the bug.âJY
P.PS.: Scroll down, as I traced the source of the bug two days after the original post. At the time of this post-postscript (December 21, 2.46 GMT), Facebook still had not ﬁxed things.âJY
Facebook privacy is broken.
After discovering last week that Facebook will no longer let me select Limited Proﬁle in any privacy setting, I created a new list today, putting in people who weren’t in the old Limited Proﬁle listâtotalling around 690. It was (slightly) easier than ﬁnding 1,871 parties to re-create the Limited Proﬁle list, and since Facebook’s “merge lists” feature does not exist (but allegedly still available, according to the French Q&A), I had no choice.
For a few hours today, at least I could have some semblance of privacy on Facebook close to what I enjoyed.
Until Facebook decided to render my new list inaccessible as well.
That’s right: although the new list exists, just as Limited Proﬁle exists, it cannot be selected in any privacy setting. No more using it for status updates, photo albums or anything else. Lists on Facebook, it seems, only survive for a few hours before they make them unusable.
In other words, if I create a new photo album, and I want certain privacy settings on it, I have to spend a few hours to create a new list again, then restrict or include those people. I can’t use either my new list or Limited Proﬁle to customize the privacy.
True to form, no one at Facebook is answering messages, via any bug reports, the Lists’ Team Facebook page, the Get Satisfaction complaint, the Facebook blog, or anywhere else.
Since my last post on this matter, I have discovered some people with deleted Limited Proﬁle lists on their Facebook. There is even a two-year-old group on Facebook dealing with restoring Limited Proﬁle, so this has been going on for a while. But since my surname is not Zuckerberg, there’s fat chance of anyone rushing to my aid.
I can’t be the only person who uses lists in privacy settings on Facebook.
PS.: I may have found the bug, and it is a legacy issue in Facebook.
For those who can remember back a few years, Facebook used to group privacy settings for pages and friends in the same section. In other words, you could restrict pages in much the same way as you could restrict friends, and add them to a classâsuch as Limited Proﬁle.
I continued to add pages to friends’ classes as I always didâmainly because it was allowed. If you go to any Facebook friends’ list today, you will ﬁnd that you can select pages to add (below). And that is Facebook’s mistake.
Above: Facebook says you can add fan pages to a friends’ list. Don’t do it: it will render that list unusable in any privacy setting.
The new list functioned ﬁne when no pages were added to it. But when I added my ﬁrstâa page run by a friend of mineâit stopped being accessible.
Rule: if you want your friends’ lists to function, do not add any pages to it. If you have old lists with pages in them, don’t touch them. Any that existed before Thursday will still work. Any list modiﬁed since Thursday will not work.
How many people work there at Facebook again? Why is it always Joe Schmo who has to ﬁnd this stuff out?âJY
Those who know me know that I tend to break most websites.
I’m the guy with a Blogger account where Google has held on to the data of one blog against its terms and conditions, but can’t tell me which blog it is. In fact, Google tells me that it’s one of Errol Saldanha’s blogsâon which I’m not an author. Either they’re BSing me, or they don’t know. After I told them they were wrong, they gave up investigating. They’re not very good at handling criticism.
I’m the guy who doesn’t have a Google Buzz account or a Gmail, but, to this day, has seven followers whom Google won’t identify to me as part of its “transparent” Dashboard.
I’m the guy who (maybe until this weekâI have yet to start a new service ticket, but I have heard back) could not follow up tickets on the Telstra Clear Right Now customer support service because of a corrupted proﬁle.
I’m the guy who had to wait two days for a compose screen to show up on the old Vox.comâand argued with them for weeks till they discovered that, if signed in as me at Six Apart HQ in San Francisco, that they could not get it up, either. It was never ﬁxed, and they eventually found it easier to close Vox.com down than deal with all of its failures.
And now, I’m the guy with no Limited Proﬁle option in Facebook, despite having had it since the day I joined in April 2007.
At ﬁrst I thought it was a system-wide malfunction brought along by Timeline being opened up to Kiwis, although I’ve had Timeline since September 25.
But after checking at a party tonight, others who use Limited Proﬁle still have it.
Among a group of my friends, it’s just me. Nice one, Facebook.
Limited Proﬁle cannot be selected as a friends’ list from the status update window and it no longer appears in any of the previous posts. I can type it, but the option either never appears, or it appears for a split-second before disappearing.
It cannot be seen on the page of a friend who is on that list.
The list still exists, and the privacy settings are preserved when “viewing as” that person, but I can no longer do anything with it.
Should it show upâsay after a language changeâFacebook will not let me save my new settings. The following window will not go away unless I cancel it: