Facebook’s proposed policy changes: VOTE

Your voice. Your vote.

Facebook has proposed a number of policy changes to their “Data Use Policy” and their “Statement of Rights and Responsibilities” (SRR). Users have been given the ability to vote on whether they want these proposed changes to go ahead or not. The result of this vote is only binding if at least 30% of all of Facebook’s over 1 billion active users vote, otherwise it is only “suggestive”.

Unfortunately, Facebook has made it difficult to see what exactly the changes are. The only way is to actually read through all four documents: the proposed and current SRRs, and the proposed and current Data Use Policies. To help you make an informed decision in your vote, I’ve gone through them both and highlighted the important changes for you.

If you wish to read these documents yourself:

Facebook’s current Data Use Policy

Facebook’s proposed Data Use Policy

Facebook’s current SRR

Facebook’s proposed SRR

If you want to go and vote on the decision, and I strongly encourage you to do so, then please go to The Vote Page by clicking here. Make sure you do so before 10th December, 2012, because that is the deadline (12:00 PM PST, or 20:00/8:00 PM UTC). Do it at some time on the 9th or earlier to be safe.

The first, and in my opinion most important, change made is the removal of the following statement that was present in the original SRR. A similar removal was made from the Data Use Policy.

If more than 7,000 users post a substantive comment on a particular proposed change, we will also give you the opportunity to participate in a vote in which you will be provided alternatives. The vote shall be binding on us if more than 30% of all active registered users as of the date of the notice vote.

This means that future changes would not be subject to a vote in the same way that this one is.

They have also removed some of the control over Facebook email, and who can control what gets sent. In the following quote, all but the first sentence was removed (the part struck out did not exist on the proposed document).

Your Facebook email address includes your public username like so: username@facebook.com. You can control who can start a message thread with you using your “How You Connect” settings. If they include others on that message, the others can reply too.

The following few quotes were added in which seem to simply clarify practices already undertaken by Facebook, rather than actually changing Facebook policy.

When you hide things on your timeline, like posts or connections, it means those things will not appear on your timeline. But, remember, anyone in the audience of those posts or who can see a connection may still see it elsewhere, like on someone else’s timeline or in search results. You can also delete or change the audience of content you post.

And

But remember that people can still find you or a link to your timeline on Facebook through other people and the things they share about you or through other posts, like if you are tagged in a friend’s photo or post something to a public page.

And

As described in the what your friends and others share about you section of this policy, your friends and others may share information about you. They may share photos or other information about you and tag you in their posts. If you do not like a particular post, tell them or report the post.

In addition, they are now more clear about which pieces of information—which you have already provided them—they may use in order to show you more relevant ads.

If you indicate that you are interested in topics, such as by liking a Page, including topics such as products, brands, religion, health status, or political views, you may see ads related to those topics as well. We require advertisers to comply with our Advertising Guidelines, including provisions relating to the use of sensitive data. Try this tool yourself to see one of the ways advertisers target ads and what information they see at:https://www.facebook.com/ads/create/

Other clarifications regarding users who violate the terms of service:

We also may retain information from accounts disabled for violations of our terms for at least a year to prevent repeat abuse or other violations of our terms.

Finally, they add new information about Facebook “affiliates”, which include Facebook-owned properties like Instagram, Facebook Inc., and Facebook Ireland Ltd

We may share information we receive with businesses that are legally part of the same group of companies that Facebook is part of, or that become part of that group (often these companies are called affiliates). Likewise, our affiliates may share information with us as well. This sharing is done in compliance with applicable laws including where such applicable laws require consent. We and our affiliates may use shared information to help provide, understand, and improve our services and their own services.

I hope that this summary of the changes helps you to make an informed decision on whether you believe the proposed changes benefit Facebook or not; and regardless of whether you prefer the current documents or the proposed changes, I hope that you will vote for your preferred choice. Please share this information with as many people as you can in order to try and reach the immense goal of over 300 million votes and make this referendum binding.

Click here to go to the voting page and cast your vote!

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The benefits of publicness

My YouTube videos and comments now show my real name.

My YouTube videos and comments now show my real name.

I recently made the move of switching my usernames on various websites to be my real name. Previously, many websites I went on used the name “Zagorath”, or some form of it, like LOTRzagorath which I used on YouTube. Most notably, I linked my YouTube with my Google+ so that it is now using my real name for comments and uploads, and I changed from @zagorath to @jimcullenaus on Twitter.

But why would I go to the effort of making the change, potentially losing recognition among the few people that have come to know me (a few smaller YouTubers, particularly, on whose videos I regularly comment), and gaining a longer Twitter name?

For me, the main reason is simply consistency. I have a Google+ account tied to my real name, and I wanted the benefits of linking my YouTube account to that. In addition, I liked the idea that people could see my real name on both, so it was immediately clear that they were the same person. This second reason is also part of the benefit of changing Twitter along with them. Previously many of my accounts online could be split into two categories: those where I used my real name, and those where I used the handle Zagorath (or some variation thereof). Facebook, email, and Google accounts were probably the only ones that fall into the former category, while most others used Zagorath. However, even for this latter group, it has always been easy to find out my real name because in many cases that same account had my real name entered into another field. The best example of this is my Twitter account, where my real name has always been visible along with the handle.

Other than that, I believe that by using my real name people will be able to trust in what I have to say. By knowing this is a real person attaching their real name to what they do, I believe people will be less inclined to subconsciously discount or devalue what I have to say because of my anonymity.

Over time, I’ll see about changing over what I haven’t already changed (this blog, for example—Wordpress does not allow you to change your username, although you can change the URL), but for the moment I’ve made the changes on the majority of the accounts that I use regularly that I would wish to change

After I had drafted most of this post, I realised that this was something journalist and advocate of openness Jeff Jarvis (who I know from the This Week in Google podcast he co-hosts weekly on the TWiT Network) probably had something to say about, so I did a quick search and it turns out he’s done a post with the exact same title. His post is a far better one at actually describing the general benefits of being public and open. It’s a brilliant read, based on a chapter from his book “Public Parts” which—from what little I’ve read about it—looks like a really enlightening book. That post brings up some great benefits to publicness in a more general sense, and talks about being public not necessarily (or, not only) with your name, but with sharing information and knowledge in a public and open way. It’s a sentiment I can definitely agree with.

I definitely see the advantage of anonymity. It can allow people to express unpopular viewpoints without fear of potential retribution—social, political, or otherwise—but for me personally I think the benefits of publicness outweigh the negatives.

The myth of the retina display

As more and more Android phones are coming out with high resolution displays, along the same line as Apple's iPhone's Retina Display, many tech journalists are comparing their screens to the iPhone. They're saying thingts like "it's lower than the iPhone, but still above the 'magic' 300 pixels per inch mark".

It's important to note, though, that the 'magic' 300 really isn't that magic at all. In Apple's announcement, although it wasn't on the slide, Steve mentioned that 300 ppi is the human eye's limit to resolve an image at a distance of around ____ inches.
Many people seem to have forgotten this last part, and are taking the number to just be 300 ppi. If we take the definition of a retina display to be a display that the human eye is incapable of resolving at its intended use distance, then for a larger display, such as a tablet or a computer, the required pixels per inch will be lower. In the case of these larger Android tablets, such as the Galaxy Nexus, which is 4.65 inches, compared to the iPhones 3.5 inches, it's probably safe to say that you'll be holding it a little bit further from your face, and thus the required pixel density will be a little lower.  Thus, the difference of 14 pixels per inch makes even less of a difference than it would if they were held at the same distance.
Device Resolution Size PPI
Retina iPhone 960 x 640 3.5” 329.65
iPad 1024 x 768 9.7” 131.96
Double resolution iPad 2048 x 1536 9.7” 263.92
Galaxy Nexus 1280 x 720 4.65” 315.83
Information courtesy of AnandTech and this DPI calculator
 
 
Now, let me consider the rumours of a retina display iPad. If the same pixel density were used for the iPad as the iPhone, 330 ppi, at the same size, the iPad's screen would be a massive 2558 x 1919 However, because the iPad would be held further away, it's probably safe to simply double the iPad's resolution to 2048 x 1536, and call that a retina display. That gives a pixel density of 264, according to this DPI calculator. This not only makes it much easier to achieve (a significantly lower resolution display, which is likely cheaper to manufacture, and would draw less power), but also makes it easier for developers. A simple doubling in size would provide them with the same assistance as they got when the iPhone 4 was released with its retina display.

YouTube Easter Egg: Let Google Rick Roll you!

I just discovered a cool little Easter Egg that YouTube has included in its HTML5 version.

By going to http://youtube.com/html5 and joining the experiment, the right click menu on a video will give you the option to ‘Save Video As…’ If you click that option, it takes you to a video of Rick Astley’s song ‘Never Gonna Give You Up, better known as the Rick Roll video.

Why not use this as a clever way to Rick Roll your friends?

Picture instructions on how to join the HTML5 experimentA picture showing the context menu when you right click on a YouTube video

A quick side note, this will only work with videos that do not display ads. The HTML5 player can’t display ads, so YouTube reverts to the normal Flash player, even if you’re in HTML5 mode.

To switch back to the normal Flash mode permanently, just go to the same page, and click ‘Leave the HTML5 Trial’

If you liked this post, please consider sharing it with friends and leaving a comment.

How to update Facebook from Twitter

This post looks at how you can easily update Facebook and Twitter at the same time, while only visiting Twitter, or your favourite Twitter client.

  1. Go to Facebook, and search for “Selective Tweets”

    Select the App with that name.
  2. Type in your Twitter handle in the box next to the “@”, and click “save”
  3. Then just append “#fb” to the end of any tweet, and it will automatically be sent to Facebook as your status. Read past the break for a few little extras

  4. One final thing you can do is choose to be able to put the #fb anywhere in the tweet. The developer mentions that there can be some complications to this, however. If you want to do this, go to the settings, and put a tick in the box next to “Allow the #fb tag anywhere in the tweet?” You should then be able to put #fb anywhere within the tweet to send it to Facebook.

Please leave a comment, was this useful or not? Do you know any good alternatives? What did you think of the post? Or just any general comments.

New Logo

I’ve recently created a new logo for Music Meets Tech.

You can clearly see I’m no graphic designer, but I think it’s quite nice. It gives the general idea of what this blog is about.
I designed it on my Mac in Adobe Photoshop, using a variety of images which belong to me, or were found on the internet.
Unfortunately, the logo isn’t quite what I had in mind, because Blogger wouldn’t let me have more than 200 pixels in height. It’s a bit more squished than it would be otherwise, but doesn’t lose anything important.
Let me know what you think of the new logo—or the design of the site in general—in the comment section below. You can post with nothing but your name and email address, or even anonymously (although it’s always nice to see who the post comes from).

Follow up: Mac start-up problem

As I wrote about in a previous post, I was having trouble getting my new Mac to start up. This is just a quick follow up to say that it’s now working. In fact, shortly after I posted my last one, I tried again to shut it down, and it finally turned off!

I turned it back on again, and held option, but it didn’t work, but this time at least it shut down. Then I tried C, and then D, but they didn’t work. Hoping that I could at least get the disk out, I tried holding down the trackpad, to remove the disk on start-up. The disk was removed, and the computer started up correctly. I have yet to shut down the computer again, but will update this post once I have, to see whether or not I have the same problem again, but I expect not to.