Monday, July 27, 2009

Oh, You Ignorant Facebook Users.

If you use Facebook regularly, I imagine you've seen a version of this status message:
FACEBOOK has agreed to let third party advertisers use your posted pictures WITHOUT your permission. Click on SETTINGS (at the top where you see the Log out link). Select PRIVACY. Then select NEWSFEEDS and WALL. Next select the tab that reads FACEBOOK ADS. There is a drop down box, select NO ONE. Then SAVE your changes. (Repost to let your friends know).
I'm so sick of seeing this message. Sure, it seems helpful, but there are some issues here that need to be addressed.
  1. Facebook has done nothing without your permission. Every time they change something like this, they post BIG notices at the top of your Facebook Home page. Every time, Facebook encourages you to read the changes, comment on them, and generally be an informed site user. (Side note: did you also know that Facebook comes in a variety of languages, including "pirate"? No? There are sidebar ads trying to tell you so at least once daily.) Facebook has your permission to use your likeness in advertisements because you never withdrew your permission. They said they would unless you told them "no", and you didn't tell them "no".
  2. As a result of the notices, I changed this value MONTHS ago. Why didn't you? Don't you regularly check your privacy settings, especially after a notice that the policy changed? Most people don't, assuming that if something really big changes, a "goodwill" message like this will alert them. That's lazy. That's the behavior of a person who gets charged two months at $49.95 because they forget to cancel their three-day trial membership to a dubious website. You don't want to be that person, and you don't want someone else to get lazy and develop the same habits.
  3. Reposting this message is becoming a bit like doing Christian missionary work: Everyone's heard it. If you just found out, you really are the last on the block. At this point, your posting this message simply shows people you didn't pay attention at any previous time. You don't read notices, you don't check your settings very often, and you either don't log in very often or you don't pay much attention to the things your friends say in status messages. You're the demographic that Facebook thought advertisers would be able to use in their ads.
Hopefully people will learn the REAL lesson: when a website tells you their policies changed, YOU SHOULD READ THE NEW POLICIES. If you simply can't be bothered to scan through the legalese, you can still take a moment to see if the privacy settings for the site changed.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The things we do.

There is a bicycle on a chair behind me.

I'm fixing it, airing the tires, making sure the brakes and gears work as best I can make them, etc. I ran into a bump while doing so, but that's probably because I woke up, went downstairs, got the bike from its spot, and brought it up here to make things happen. I still haven't had any caffeine; a moment while I correct that error.

Ahh, sweet nectar. So: while bike repair is certainly interesting to a subset of people, it's only a part of the larger story. The important part is WHY I'm fixing the bike: to impress a girl. There's this cool woman I met a few weeks back at a social gathering. She's attractive, relaxed, funny, and single, as far as I'm aware. Combine these elements and the sum is, of course, that I want in her pants.

Sometime during the evening I mentioned biking. I referred someone to Workshop Houston and talked about my experience there, how I learned to affect a few minor repairs to my bike with their help. The attractive woman (whom I will refer to as "Erythorbic", because that is the oddly-named acid in the ingredient list of my Mountain Dew and because it enhances "freshness") used to bike quite often, misses it, and is looking for a bike. She tracked me down through mutual friends and asked where she might pick up a decent bike. I, wanting to get closer to the fair Erythorbic, quickly offered up the derelict from my backyard.

"Derelict" isn't really being kind to this bike, and I'd like to be kind as it's probably reading this post over my shoulder. The bike needs a new chain, but solely because of neglect and the rust neglect brings. I haven't checked the derailleurs, but odds are they work well enough to shift through a few of the more important gears. I suspect the brake and gear wires could use some spray lubricant to make them feel better about life in general. $10 would make this not a pretty bike, but a pretty functional bike.

It's a little too early still for bike repair, though. I really did get up, go downstairs, and get the bike so I wouldn't procrastinate too badly. That doesn't sound terrible. The terrible part is that I was up until 4:30 this morning. I'm working on a bike with very, very little sleep, and it's not surprising that I ran into a minor issue while trying to do something about which I only have a passing knowledge.

Ah, Erythorbic. I hope you appreciate my efforts.

I hope the bike's tall enough.

Monday, July 20, 2009

The posts come few and far between!

We'll see if I can change that or if my plans to blog more fall by the wayside. AGAIN.

I am getting pretty good at some things. One of those things is modifying Wiis so that they can play "backup" versions of games. I'm considering starting a service and charging people for it, except there's already a dude in Houston who does that, apparently. I can undercut him, perhaps, but then we might get into a price war, and THEN we might get into a knife fight, and I'm not as in-shape as I have been. I've also never been in a knife fight. It seems like it's safer, if not as lucrative, to just let the other guy have the business.

I'm getting pretty good at not exercising. I really need to fix that one. I REALLY need to e-mail a friend of a friend that I met the other night, as he and his wife live a stone's throw away and exercise all the time. I shall do that tomorrow.

I am getting better at Punch-Out!!. I know because I finally beat King Hippo today for the first time. I also beat Piston Hondo, but he didn't seem nearly as much of a challenge. I guess that's good, because it would be pretty sweet if I could actually beat the game.

I hope that I am getting better at making mixed drinks, because I have a pretty nice tequila in the freezer, and some lime juice and Triple Sec. I want to make a margarita that's worth drinking. My efforts in the past have been, shall we say, mind-flaying, blistering failures. I may look for some detailed recipes a little later. I need to get it right because I don't want to spend the evening crying and pouring good alcohol down the drain because I just can't stomach it.

I also hope that I am getting better at keeping this blog updated. Let's see!