Why You Should Put Your Friends In Boxes

I’ve fairly recently entered into a new relationship after my last one ended about a year before. When I broke up with my last girlfriend Facebook became a bit of a painful experience for me, seeing everyone having such a great time when I was feeling down in the dumps but more so because Facebook had a plethora of photos of me and my ex-girlfriend on at various events we’d been to over the years together.
As they were painful to ok through I didn’t go thru and remove all of them, I just ended up stopping looking at them. In time it was no longer painful and I moved on but I didn’t bother going back thru all my photos to delete

Now I’ve entered a new relationship and, of course, my new girlfriend isn’t too happy about seeing photos of me and my ex on Facebook. As such I’m faced with the labourious task of taking all the photos down or changing the permissions so that my girlfriend can’t see them.
As more than just my ex and I are in these albums and the others in those albums might like the photos of them and want to keep them online still, changing the permissions seems like a logical option. Note, that’s man logic, girlfriend logic would probably dictate that I’m keeping them online so I can look through them whenever I want. I’m going to work with man logic for this post.

So if you want to prevent your new girlfriend from seeing photos of you and your ex by exclusion then you’d need to go through each album the very instant you add your girlfriend on Facebook and add her as someone who can’t see this album.
Far better than when you start dating a new girlfriend you put her and friends who are likely to be in the albums with you, into one Facebook friend list, then only allow access to that group.
That way if you need someone to see those photos you have to add them to that group, rather then have to hide it from whomever you need to.

As such it seems like putting your friends, and girlfriends into little boxes is the best way to ensure that people don’t see what they don’t want to see.


Security: Where’s The App For That?

So you might be on the ball enough to change your Facebook, or Google settings to use HTTPS, the secure way to browse websites. However when you fire up your Facebook or your bank app on your smart phone are you still being smart? Is it using secure protocols to talk to the servers or is everything you do being sent in clear text over your coffee shop’s wireless network.

It’s reasonable to assume that the lack of up roar from the geek community means it is secure, but with no visual indication of this end users aren’t to know. Stats mentioned in the news lately suggest that app usage is starting to outstrip website usage. This is fine for most end users, however it should be done right and securely, and there should be transparency if this security to the end user.


The future of newspapers

Newspaper publishers are finally coming to terms with new media and trying to work out where there business model lies in this new landscape.

However it occurred to me that they’ve missed a very basic thing in the current transition to new media.
All newspapers that are currently working with charging models are all using a subscription based service.
As someone who had a few paper rounds in their youth I know that there are far more houses I’d cycle by than deliver too. I also don’t know anyone at work who get’s a regular paper on their way in.
I’ve been enjoying the Guardian’s iPhone app. I’d never read the guardian before but actually got some semi-regular use out of the app, particularly as I could just read those sections and contributor’s columns that I enjoyed. However now they’ve introduced a new app with a charging model. The price is very reasonable at £3 per month and comes with a few new features over the old app. However it’s still a subscription model. For occasional newspaper readers like myself and everyone I know at work a subscription isn’t what they are after.
And so I got to thinking how comes Newspaper publishers, who were so fearful of change, have moved to a model where you can’t replicate the real world activity of being able to buy just one news paper.
Even if this translates to paying a one off fee for a period of access those people who don’t want to sign up to a recurring subscription don’t seem to be being catered for and are a missed business opportunity.

I hope that Newspaper publishers redress this oversight and allow the occasional buyers access and themselves to get the extra revenue to realise new media is not a threat, it’s an opportunity.


Time O’The Signs

Via gizmodo.com, and email a couple of webbased service pricing changes that affect me came to light this week.

Mozy.com is cutting it’s unlimited service to a tiered pricing system. There’s a couple of things that suck about this, firstly a service that was costing me in the region of £3 per month, and I was backing up 350GB too was now going to cost me over £22, and secondly they only gave half a month’s notice in which to decide and either migrate your data or pay up.

Now it took me the best part of a month to back up my data in the first place with Mozy.
I’m now in the process of backing up to Carbonite which will cost £5 a month for unlimited backups.

I can see that an unlimited model can be unsustainable, you will always end up with some people abusing it, but with that sort of offer you are playing the averages game, assuming that most won’t and so are covering the costs of those who will.
Why they jumped the pricing up quite so much I do not know. They are going to lose customers in great swathes.
They cited trying to make customers more aware of the data they are backing up, but surely this defeats the set it and forget it motto that they use to sell the product in the first place.

I’m curious why they opted for a model which costs users so steeply. Switich to Carbonite has nearly doubled my cost of back up but is still a negligible cost for an offsite backup for me, where as Mozy’s new model was a hike I couldn’t swallow.

Last.fm is the other network based service that is changing it’s pricing model. Now wanting users to have premium accounts in order to stream to devices.
I’ve got no issue with a great service like Last.fm trying to have a workable long term model, but I think this change is lacking in a couple of ways.
I use a Sonos S5 for my music needs at home, and often stream Last.FM via it, in fact far more than I used to on my computer. Thru Last.fm I discovered new artists based on artists I already liked or by listening to Last.fm ‘radio’ stations based on a tag. If I liked a artist enough I’d go and buy their album.
So here’s a few thoughts, shouldn’t the record companies be paying Last.fm a subscription fee to keep playing artists on their label and enabling new listeners to find their artists.
Also now, I can listen to Last.fm for free on my computer and even put that thru a line out into my Sonos to get the same audio quality, but I can’t use my Sonos S5 to listen to last.fm directly without paying £3 a month.
Maybe they should move to an ad supports free version like Spotify and premium users get no ads.
My issue is that for £3 a month, I get the same service I’ve had for free for years, nothing extra as far as I can see, no exclusive offers, or even the option to choose which artist’s album I want to listen to and listening to in it’s entirety, no I get to listen to a random selection of songs based on one criteria I specify.
At which point I have to question, do I pay £3 for discovering music, or do I pay £10 for spotify and then get the option to listen to albums I want to hear and be able to download them for offline playing on my iPhone?
Last.FM I’m an advocate of yours, I want you to succeed, I want to support you, but you’re not offering me anything that I can’t get for free. Innovate to survive, please!


What’s in the future for the iPad?

Apple ipadI’ve been a bit quiet hear so far this month whilst my work get’s busier, but that’s not to say I’m not constantly thinking about technology and our future with it.

At best I can only see I’ll use it as a portable web reader for reading web documents away from my desk.
For instance the other day I had a couple of web documents that I needed to get my head around so I printed them both and went off somewhere quiet to get into the documents. However, any decent eReader can provide a similar function, though admitedly I’d need to print to PDF the docs and load them to the eReader.

Either way an iPad seems a bit of over kill for that. Maybe the apps that come to the iPad will make it more essential.
For now I’ll stick with my iPhone to fill the app gap.


This is the Future of Transport in London

Gizmodo posted an interesting article today http://gizmodo.com/5530730/b+cycle-the-gps+equipped-bike-sharing-system-i-want-right-now

This is very similar to a cycle system I was envisaging for London about 6 years ago except more techie. GPS wasn’t so prevalent when I was dreaming up my idea but both ideas contain the key factor. The fact that you can pick up a bike from one location and drop it off at another.

For years I travelled into work, the majority of my journey being on an overground rail line into London Bridge station and then I had to negotiate the shorter distance to Shoreditch. I looked into getting a folder bike at the time but I would have nowhere to store it at/near work.
As such I resorted to buses and tubes, much preferring to be above ground when possible, especially in summer.

More recently I live within walking distance of a tube line and have got rid of my car as driving across London was an unpredictable drain on time, any one incident on the way could add between 30 to 60 minutes on a journey. Many of the journeys I could get a tube, but many more I would happily have been able to cycle had I had anywhere to store my bike at the other end. London is addressing this with more and more cycle rack to lock your bike to, but when you want to be able to change plans at a moments notice, as is common in the thriving London you having the system that Trek is putting in place in Denver makes even more sense.


Mindfulness of Technology

www.twitter.com/tinybuddha‘s post http://bit.ly/dwYuNh I’m inspired to think 2 things:

  1. There is no digital replacement for a hug. So hug someone.
  2. You can use the batteries in your life to regulate some good habits. For instance. If your mobile’s battery is running low at the end of the day, think you’ve done at least as much work and so should do something positive. Meditate, switch off, recharge by sleeping. You could also pull the power from your laptop and use the battery life of your laptop to regulate you taking a breaking. Stash your charger in a drawer so you can’t just whack it on charge quickly.

Ideas and Innovation from the active mind of a lazy body