"A unique, wry and often satirical look at the Internet, the modern age and life in general" (there is way too much search-engine competition for the phrase "incoherent ramblings")

Saturday, October 27, 2007

I scorn your Facebook "friendship"

Having firmly established that Facebook is better than MySpace, I must comment on something I feel warrants the attention of you Future-Phobics. It is the friend-collecting phenomenon, which was absolutely rife on MySpace and which you need to actively consider if you are to avoid it on Facebook.

Facebook is quite different from MySpace in that the connections you make are strictly "friend of a friend". In other words, it is not possible for anyone to request to become your Facebook "friend" unless they either have your email address, or they are already a "friend" of some friend of yours.

The problem is, all too often these friends of friends for some reason known only to themselves will send you friend requests, even though to be perfectly honest you are barely acquainted. In fact, let's be even more perfectly honest and say that you are actually NOT friends at all.

Now what do you do? Think carefully, do you really need a Facebook account packed with dozens and dozens of people, many of whom you do not know in real life, and have nothing to talk about with? Or do you want a Facebook profile that really is a reflection of your circle of actual, real-life friends and where there is a fighting chance you will have some benefit from the service?

I know what my answer is and I say, next time that "friend of a friend" sends you a request, politely press that "ignore" button. Trust me, they won't be offended. In fact, if I have correctly assessed the psychology of such people, chances are they won't even remember they sent the request...

Friday, October 19, 2007

You can die, and Amazon doesn't care

I was thinking these days how much Amazon has diversified. I mean, weren't they originally a bookstore?! That does seem a long time ago!

Now when you go to their site, you are confronted with an almost unfathomable array of different windows displaying bestseller lists, "related products", new products, wishlists, customer reviews and a dozen other features which most of us ignore.

Not only that, but they have expanded their range such that there seems almost nothing you CAN'T get on Amazon. In fact I tried to think of something they didn't sell and couldn't. I was going to joke, "tourism" and then realised they do actually offer travel deals! I think the only thing I couldn't find on Amazon was funeral services. As I implied in the title of this article, their customers might justifiably feel Amazon were abandoning them in their hour of departure from this world. If Amazon want to be with their customers unto death, then there's a little tip for them, a niche they might be missing out on.

A brief trawl revealed that on Amazon you can buy just about everything else, including the following:

riding lawn mowers
cowboy boots
inflatable pools

...to name but a few distinctly un-book-like products available there (yes, my affiliate codes are in there - *shrug* - how do I know, maybe you were looking for riding lawn mowers!)

And just lately, they have got into video downloads (the "Unbox" service) and the other day - da-da-daaaaa... mp3 downloads!! Well, they got there in the end!

So that's it - unless you're planning the interment of a loved one, or indeed yourself, Amazon has now got just about everything. And if they don't, they will have soon.

P.S. Oh yes, they've got books, too

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Technology is making us talk funny!

I am racing down a mountain road on my bike, the wind whistling past me, yelling seemingly to myself, "Paaaaaaarzzzzz, paaaaaarrrrzzzzz!!" How did things come to this pass?

To go back a little way, I was recently reviewing a new mobile phone, the HP iPaq 514/512/510 Voice Messenger, on my mountain-biking blog (long story, go and check it out, maybe this rant will make more sense) and I was reminded of an article I wrote a while back called Internet affecting the "color" of English? in which I pondered the effect the Internet is having on the English we use in writing.

Well I have realised with horror that technology in general is making us talk funny too! The case in point is the above-mentioned phone, which has a voice-activated feature, allowing you to issue commands such as Play Music, Call mobile, and the really cool What time is it? (or is it What is the time? - I can never remember) Now this doesn't require "training" - the phone just recognises your speech. This is great! A dream for the cyclist - ok, car driver too, I suppose - who wants to be in control of his cellphone and still have both hands on the handlebars.

Except, the phone expects you to be talking with an American accent. And herein lies the problem. If I want to be understood by my phone, it's no good saying Pause ('Porz')) with my British accent, because it won't understand me. I am sure of this, because it misunderstood it as Call several times, with embarassing results. No, I have to try to approximate an American accent and say Paaaarrrzzzz! Hence the scene depicted above.

Even worse is the fact that it will not understand the names of non-English people, of which there are a great number in my phone address book. So for example, to call my friend Jovan Jovanović I have to say something like, Kaaaaarrrrlll Joe-vaaan Joe-vaaan-er-vick! I don't know how hot your Serbian is, but trust me, that ain't how his name is pronounced.

And now imagine me walking down a British street, in public, seemingly talking to myself in this strange unnatural language.

Technology is making us talk funny, no two ways about it. But then again, we got used to housewives calling from the supermarket just to ask their husbands if they needed frozen peas, so maybe we'll get used to this too...

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Digital Point readers confirm Facebook is better than MySpace!

Following on from my article, Google confirms Facebook is better than MySpace, I can reveal that DigitalPoint forum members agree! In fact the discerning users of this well-known forum for webmasters started a poll a few weeks back (nothing to do with me guv'nor!) asking the simple question, Facebook or Myspace?

And guess what - the results are almost exactly the same as my scientific Google-based research. Just over 60% of DigitalPoint members ALSO confirm that Facebook is better than MySpace!

If that doesn't settle the question, then I don't know what will!

Friday, October 5, 2007

Your site can be the second page of the internet

The position of First Page of the Internet is already taken. But your site can be the second page of the internet! What is the second page of the internet? It's the page that is linked to from the first page of the Internet, right?

Have a wander over to the First Page of the Internet and get your site (or someone else's!) listed as the Second Page of the Internet, at least for a fleeting moment in history! Choose wisely though, you can only make one submission!

It's better than Digg, and all those voting sites, because EVERYONE gets a chance, albeit a brief one! And who knows what dizzy heights of fame your 15 minutes (well, probably more like 15 seconds actually) could catapult you to...! Well, what are you waiting for!