Month: February 2008

Locked out of Facebook

No sooner do I discover the new personals ad on Facebook that I start getting flagged for sending too many messages. It starts with a warning that you are about to exceed your quota for sending messages, that you have to slow down. This message shows up every time you send a message. Then I am shut out: I can use Facebook, can receive and read messages, but cannot send them.

Now, how many messages can you send until you get blocked? I didn't send a lot, despite the Personals app. I counted them, and despite the fact it's hard to figure out from the FB message box, it's about 50 in 5 days.

Would you think that 10 messages a day is such an egregious abuse that you should get flagged because of it? Would you think that if you send a message every hour, that still doesn't count as "slowing down"?


The Satanic Verses (S. Rushdie)

Well, it's a bit early for a review of The Satanic Verses just yet, since I barely have dented the first 20%, so forgive me for sharing preliminary thoughts. On the other hand, the first impression is probably what is going to be leading into the final review, so I probably should share how the beginning feels, alright.

I always wanted to read this book. Mr. Rushdie had been heralded as one of the greatest writers of the century, and not having read anything by him was a little dirty secret that I couldn't confess to anyone, even to me. I was going to read him, one day, I swore, constantly forestalling the moment whenever I ran into The Satanic Verses at any bookstore. 


Facebook apps – personals

I have been following the ascent of Facebook, just like everyone else in the Bay Area that likes technology. The advent of a company that does so much so well is astonishing, especially after considering all the competitors that didn't do so well.

In particular, Facebook opened up their own application to third party app developers. They provided a series of APIs that allow geeks to create add-ons that use the Facebook database and integrate into its user interfaces and communication mechanisms.

Most of the apps that came out early on were simple dissemination gadgets. It was about "infecting" your friends and creating as wide a circle as possible. This is in direct response to the concept of the social graph that is so close to the company's founder. 


Back from Whistler

{moszoomimglink:Village and mountain}Ah, after two weeks of snowboarding and finally starting to see some of what Whistler has to offer, I really had a hard time leaving. I mean, the snow was wonderful, the people incredible, the company hilarious… I could go on for hours, waxing lyrically, and instead will focus on plans for another snowboarding trip.

Social Networking (2) – Replacing the Social Graph with Social Gravity

So, after we looked at how {moscontentlink:my primer|I saw Social Networking (SNW) develop}, here is my look at how I see things develop. As I mentioned in the article above, working for Bluepulse made me think about SNW a lot, and I decided the starting point for any conversation on the future of SNW had to be the current standpoint of Facebook.

Now, you see, Mark Zuckerberg has been talking a lot about the social graph. That's the topological graph of people on a social network and the way they are connected. The concept is fairly old, dating back to the original Friendster: you could interact with people depending on their social distance from you, see their profiles if they were your friends' friends, and needed an introduction if they were once removed. 


Social Networking (1) – my primer

You know, having worked for a social networking startup (Bluepulse) made me spend a ton of time thinking about the purpose of social networking (SNW) itself. I had spent a lot of time on a bunch of different SNW sites, pretty much enjoying just the fun of looking at them, at how they tried to solve a problem, trying to get to the bigger picture.

Of course, it all started with Friendster, the grandmother of SNW. We all joined back in the day, and we had find exploring the possibilities of interacting with friends of friends, getting introduced to them. Friendster showed us that we were connected with people in ways we didn't understand, and that those who we may have thought strangers were actually just a party away from us.


com_sync – Starting the project

Like all good open source projects, this one was born out of a frustration. I wanted to be able to write entries for my personal site when off-line, but the only good software I could find to do so, Blogg-X, refused to work for me. The installer for the latest version wouldn't run on Linux, and the previous version failed to login to a current Joomla site.

What to do? Of course, write your own. I thought for a while and realized that the approach taken by Blogg-X is wrong: there is no benefit in tying Joomla and Java, especially for content editing. What you really want is a local copy of your site, make modifications on one or the other, and then merge them into a synchronized site. 


Microsoft bids $44M for Yahoo!

Ok, the market and I saw this coming: Microsoft just announced last night they were going to start an unsolicited bid for Yahoo! at a share price of $31. There had been rumors (confirmed with the bid) that Microsoft and Yahoo! were talking about a merger, but (as Microsoft confirmed) they went nowhere fast.

As an ex-Yahoo!, and one that cares about the company a lot, I am sad to see one of the flagships of the Internet (potentially) disappear, but it was a catastrophe long in the making. At the same time, the transaction makes perfect sense for both parties involved at this stage in their life, and I wish the best to both bidder and biddee (that sounds so like bidet…). 


Intrade trading (2) – what are the risks?

Now that we have a perfect way to make money, let's look at the risks associated with it.

Here is a list of risks, and we'll discuss how they affect the trading below:

  • There is no change in behavior: the undersold contract stays undersold, and the oversold contract stays oversold until it matures
  • Of the two components of the multiplied expected value we picked the wrong one
  • Intrade finds out about this method
  • Method trading becomes a large part of overall trading, skewing the values
  • Intrade runs out of business