Category Archives: Social Media

Firefox changes it’s status with Facebook, now “in a relationship”

Mozilla is becoming more social. Today the Firefox web browser maker announced full integration with Facebook Messenger. The app works much the same as any Firefox add-on, but it has been built on some brand new technology.

Messenger for Firefox utilizes the new Social API from Mozilla. Users will need to be running the latest version of Firefox, but seeing as the browser generally updates users automatically, that should not be a problem. The extension doesn’t come with the latest version though — you will still need to visit the above link to install it.

The add-on will allow you to chat with friends and view status updates from whatever web page you are on, so no more clicking back to that tab that you keep open while you are surfing. And, Mozilla promises that this is just the beginning.

“Today’s Facebook integration is just the start of making Firefox more social. We’ll soon add support for more features and multiple providers.”

Where will the browser maker go next? My best guess would be Twitter, but it’s likely the company will look at all social platforms in an effort to keep, and grow, market share.

Freedom of Speech in the UK

Law GavelIn the latest podcast, Todd rightly asks about the apparent lack of freedom of speech on social media in the UK. Undoubtedly, it’s a complex issue but it is becoming increasingly clear that the right to free speech is under threat here in Britain. In this post, I’ll look at some of the issues, but to start with, I am not a lawyer (thank goodness) and this doesn’t constitute legal advice.

Unlike the USA, the UK does not have a written constitution guaranteeing rights. The closest the Britain gets to this is the Human Rights Act (1998) which only came into force in 2000. The Human Rights Act is the embodiment in UK law of the European Convention on Human Rights (pdf).  The ECHR’s Article 10 provides the right to freedom of expression but as will be noted from part 2 of the article below, there are plenty of possible exceptions. I’ve embolden the part that is relevant to the discussion here.

“The exercise of these freedoms, since it carries with it duties and responsibilities, may be subject to such formalities, conditions, restrictions or penalties as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society, in the interests of national security, territorial integrity or public safety, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, for the protection of the reputation or rights of others, for preventing the disclosure of information received in confidence, or for maintaining the authority and impartiality of the judiciary.”

Obviously, the UK police do not pro-actively monitor social media looking for offensive posts. A complaint has to be received by the police based on someone taking offence at a posting on social media. The UK law has increasingly moved away from “offence intended” to “offence taken”. This was primarily done to increase the power of law in areas of discrimination, where people could avoid convictions by claiming that sexually or racially offensive language wasn’t intended in the way it was taken. Now the law supported those who were offended by the sexual or racial innuendo, regardless of intention. However, the “offence taken” law has grown out of its discriminatory roots to take hold in almost any area of offence.

Much as the compensation culture has grown, a similar one has arisen that “bad things” are always someone else’s fault and they have to pay. Although it started with physical hurt, this has gradually extended to psychological hurt and finally simple feelings. Instead of “sticks and stones will break my bones”, it’s “I’m going to tell on you.”

Finally, both the police and the legal system have increasingly taken a view of what’s legal and illegal rather than what is right and wrong. Consequently, instead of the police looking at the social media post with a bit of common sense and telling the complainant to grow-up, the police are now obliged to follow procedure and take up the complaint.

Overall, these changes in the law and approaches to policing now mean that abusive and offensive comments are taken much more seriously than before.

Let’s take a look at three cases that show the variety of circumstances.

The first tweet to come to widespread notice was Paul Chamber’s tweet in response to his local airport being shut because of snow. “Crap! Robin Hood airport is closed. You’ve got a week and a bit to get your (expletive deleted) together, otherwise I’m blowing the airport sky high!!” He was initially found guilty in May 2010 of sending a “menacing electronic communication” but fortunately eventually won his challenge in July of this year. The whole incident was farcical and made the law look stupid.

The second isn’t a tweet but a T-shirt worn in response to the shooting of two police officers that said, “One less pig perfect justice”, pig being an abusive slang term of the police. Barry Thew was jailed for four months for this, but many would have seen this as political commentary, particularly as it was about to be revealed that the police covered up their incompetence in a sporting disaster in which 96 people died by disgracefully blaming football fans killed and injured in the incident.

And finally, Britain has been embroiled in child sex abuse scandal involving a well-loved (but now dead) BBC TV personality. In the wake of this, a living person was named on Twitter as being a paedophile when he was wholly innocent and completely blameless. He’s now suing everyone who repeated the lie unless they apologise.

As can be seen, it’s a complex issue with both the freedom of speech under threat and the rights of others needing to be protected. The Crown Prosecution Service has recognised that there is potentially a problem and is intending to consult with the legal profession and social media companies. The Director of Pubic Prosecution, Keir Starmer, QC, has said that “People have the right to be offensive, they have the right to be insulting, and that has to be protected.

In a recent statement about another tweeting case, the DPP said, “Social media is a new and emerging phenomenon raising difficult issues of principle, which have to be confronted not only by prosecutors but also by others including the police, the courts and service providers. The fact that offensive remarks may not warrant a full criminal prosecution does not necessarily mean that no action should be taken. In my view, the time has come for an informed debate about the boundaries of free speech in an age of social media.

There’s hope yet.

Courtroom Gavel photograph courtesy of Bigstock. an Alternative to Twitter is a Twitter replacement which is based on a subscription. I joined 5 days ago. The cost is $36.00 which is a drop of about 25 percent from the originally $50.00 for the subscription. There is also a $5.00 monthly subscription available. Under you own all your content If you decide to cancel your service you have 60 days to export your data. has promise to make that exporting easy. They promise not to sell you personal data to advertisers or any other third-party.

Unlike Twitter, App.Net actively encourages developers to create third-party apps. Based on users feedback, will distribute $20,000 among developers monthly. Right now there are over 30 mobile apps alone. Most are iOs based, there are some Android apps also and at this point only 1 mobile Window app. I expect more Windows mobile apps to be created once Windows 8 mobile comes out. There is a listing of all the available third-party apps for the various platforms listed on the website. Personally on my Mac I am trying bothWedge and Appetizer. On the iPad I am currently using AppNet Rhino however Netbot by the same people who make Tweetbot just came out and it is also very popular. On my Android phone I am trying Robin which is invite only beta.

Why join

1. There are no ads.
2. It is a place where you can have great conversations.
3. At this point it is mostly celebrity free.
4. So far no annoying hashtag trends.
5. There is 256 character limitation instead of the Twitter’s normal 145.
6. Most third-party apps are set up to allow you to cross-post to Twitter.

The negative

1. You have to pay for the service
2. There is a small but growing membership
3. Not for someone who just wants to announce things
4. Your friends may not be on the service, so you will need to persuade them to join.

I am really enjoying and if you join I am listed as klandwehr

Shazam, Now Works with TV Shows

ShazamShazam the music recognition app has been updated to also recognize TV shows . I was trying it out today and it still needs some work. It didn’t recognize many of the shows that I was watching. It either gave back no information or incorrect information. There were times when it took multiple tries before it came back with the correct information.

I wasn’t surprise when it didn’t recognize Bleach, my favorite anime show. However, I was surprised when it didn’t recognize a Rock documentary on Rush. Not surprisingly it recognized most network programing, however it had trouble recognizing the show Major Crimes which is a new series on TNT this afternoon. This evening though it did recognize it, so the database appears to be improving all the time.

Once the show is recognized  it will show the songs that are played on the show. You can play samples of the music. If you are a Spotify premium member you can play the whole song. You can also view the song on Youtube if it is available. You can also view the lyrics, get tour information and buy ringtones. You can also read the latest celebrity buzz, get the cast information, read the latest Tweets. If you are using it on an iOS device you can share to Facebook or Twitter. If you are on Android you can share thru any app that you have, including Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus

IntoNow, a Yahoo product recognized more shows than Shazam, however once a show was recognized, Shazam had more options available. Get Glue the other media sharing app, is just that a way to share what you are watching. It doesn’t have the information that is available through either Shazam or IntoNow. Shazam needs to improve its recognition of non network shows. However it is on the right path and I do recommend downloading it if you like to share what you are watching to your favorite social network.

Formspring Had a Security Breach

Those of you who have a Formspring account might want to take a minute to go and check on it. Formspring announced today, July 10, 2012, that it has had a security breach. and that some user passwords may have been accessed.

They are taking a precautionary measure and asking all Formspring members to change their passwords now. The same blog post that announces the security breach has advice about some guidelines that they recommend you use in order to create a strong password.

I found out about this just a few minutes ago when Formspring sent me an ominous sounding email.

At first, I wasn’t sure if this email was legitimate, or if it was some sort of phishing scheme. So, I opened up a new window in my browser and attempted to log in to my Formspring account. The result wasn’t good.

Since I was getting nowhere, I decided to click the word “resend”, in the hopes that this would help me to recover my Formspring account. I rarely use it, but even so, I didn’t like the idea of it potentially being accessible by someone other than myself. It took a few tries, but I was, eventually, sent an email that gave me a link to click on so that I could reset my Formspring password.

I was able to click on the new link that I was sent. However, this did not enable me to achieve a desirable result.

Uh-oh! I ended up having Formspring resend another email, with a new link inside it. That one worked, and I was able to successfully access my Formspring account, and change the password to something completely different than what it was before the security breach. I figured it was worth it to send out this little “heads up” to other people out there who are using Formspring. Hopefully, after reading this, you won’t panic if Formspring sends you an email like the one it sent me.

Jolicloud Launches Public Profiles

Cloud storage hub Jolicloud today announced the launch of their new Public Profiles for users.  If you aren’t familiar with Jolicloud, it’s a service that grabs all of your various data from different social services like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Flickr, Picasa, and Tumblr and places the data into neat files in one single location that users can then easily scan.  For instance, you’ll find all of the photos you posted on different networks all grouped together in a convenient Photos folder.  The same for music, links, videos, and documents.

The new Public Profiles allows users to more easily share content with friends straight from Jolicloud.  Users can invite and follow friends and give them access to your media stored there.  Jolicloud only shares the data users have made public.  The new update is for both the web and iOS versions, but they hinted that Android would be coming next week, possibly with even more features.  Their official annoucement stated, “We’ve heard a lot of feedback about Jolicloud over the last few weeks, and now we’ve decided to bring some of the most requested features to you with an update to our iPhone and web apps.”  They went on to hint that, “Rumors among robots mention a major event for next week.  But you know, those are only rumors..”

Jolicloud is still officially in beta, but the service is stable and so far seems secure.  It’s also free to use, and there are mobile apps for both iOS and Android.  You can get a view of the main screen below.

Why Cable TV Subscribers Are Making It Miserable To Cut The Cord

This is what I look like waiting for TV shows to be released on Netflix. Not really – this is what I look like all the time. Image Credit – BigStock

There’s a new report out this week (to be filed in the “Duh” folder…right next to “No Kidding”) showing that some 2.6 million cable television subscribers cancelled their service in favor of Internet-based streaming services between 2008 and 2011.

Reported by Slashdot, Yahoo and others this morning, Canadian research firm Convergence Consulting Group summarized the following from their…well, research:

“We estimate 112,000 TV subscribers were added in 2011, down from 272,000 in 2010, and forecast 185,000 TV sub additions for 2012. 2000-2009 annual TV sub additions averaged 2 million. Based on our TV Cord Cutting Model (takes into account economic conditions, annual subscriber additions, digital transition), we estimate 2.65 million (2.6%) US TV subscribers cut their TV subscriptions 2008-11 to rely solely on Online, Netflix, OTA, etc, 1.05 million (1%) in 2011 alone. We forecast cord cutters will reach 3.58 million year end (3.6%) 2012.”

So, essentially, folks are fleeing traditional television for streaming services in decent numbers, but those numbers seem to be slowing. News reports on this are rounding up the typical line-up of culprits for this dialing-back on the rush to streaming – content limitations of streaming services (a.k.a. ‘ I can’t believe Netflix doesn’t have so-and-so) based on sluggish deals being struck by Netflix and others with studios and networks; and the ultimate price-tag of achieving a more robust catalogue of content will break the cost model for places like Netflix and their service will become prohibitively expensive. Continue reading Why Cable TV Subscribers Are Making It Miserable To Cut The Cord

What Social Media Really Deserves

Shitter Toilet RollHere at GNC, we pride ourselves on the quality and integrity of our writing, but for one article only, it’s going to go down the pan….literally.

Much of the Internet is full of crap and Twitter is responsible for its fair share. Put the two together and you get Shitter, toilet paper printed with a Twitter feed of your choice. No, really.

It’s a bit pricey to clean up your number twos at $35 for four bog rolls but imagine the satisfaction you’ll get from wiping your arse with the musings of some Z-list celebrity. Alternatively you could view it as a post-modern critique of the “me” culture.

Perhaps “sheeting” will catch on as the verb of the year – remember you heard it here first!

Wave Goodbye to Google Wave

Google Wave was once the hot, new, exciting thing from Google. When it first came out, I remember hesitating before jumping into it because I was having difficultly understanding just what, exactly, Google Wave was supposed to be used for. Personally, I found the interface to be counterintuitive. I recall hearing people say “I’m on Google Wave. Now… what do I do with it?”.

It seems that I wasn’t the only one who was confused about what to do with Google Wave. Over a year ago, Google decided to stop developing Google Wave as a separate product. In November of 2011, Google sent an email to users of Google Wave that included specific dates that they had selected for ending the maintenance period for this product, as they worked towards shutting down Google Wave forever.

Right now, you can still access Google Wave, but it is in read-only mode, and cannot be added to. I got an email from Google today that was a reminder that they will turn off Google Wave, for good, on April 30, 2012. Wave goodbye as Google Wave rides off into the sunset.

As I said, I never managed to find much of a use for Google Wave. If you did, then you need to be aware that you can continue to export individual waves using the PDF export feature until Google Wave is turned off. Exporting it will allow you to keep that information, even after Google Wave is gone. It is recommended that you export your data from Google Wave before April 30, 2012.

Google also has some suggestions about other things that you can use in case you find yourself grieving the loss of Google Wave. Both of them are open source projects. One is Apache Wave, which has just entered its incubation period. When Google announced that they would stop developing Google Wave, it handed it over to the Apache Software Foundation.

The other is Walkaround, which is made by Google. There is an experimental feature in Walkaround that will let you import all of your waves from Google Wave. The feature has some limitations but, some users might find this option to be better for them than downloading their wave in a PDF format would be. If you cannot bear the thought of having the information you posted on Google Wave disappear, there are options that will allow you to keep it.

Image: Google by BigStock

Yahoo Sues Facebook Over Ten Separate Patents

Yahoo has filed a patent infringement suit against Facebook. The case has been filed in federal court in San Jose, California.

Yahoo says that it is suing over ten patents that are related to web-based advertising. Yahoo is also suing because the company says that Facebook is using a social networking model that is based on Yahoo’s patented social networking technology.

In plain English, here are the things that this dispute is about:

US Patent 7454509 Online Playback system with community bias
This refers to a music station that selects what songs to play based on what you and your friends have indicated that you like to listen to.

US Patent 7599935 Control for enabling a user to preview display of selected content based on another user’s authorization level
This one is basically talking about the News Feed page in Facebook. Everything you see is there because your friends decided to share that content with you.

US Patent 5983227 Dynamic Page Generator
The easiest way to describe this is to say that it is talking about an individualized homepage that you can modify and customize to better suit your own personal interests.

US Patent 7747648 World Modeling using a relationship network with communication channels to entities.
In short, this patent is talking about a system that allows you to send a private message to someone else that you have connected with within a particular social media system. It is talking about the “e-mail” that you get within Facebook.

US Patent 7406501 System and method for instant messaging using an e-mail protocol
This patent refers to the instant messaging system that you can use to talk to other people who are also on Facebook. In other words, the chat function.

US Patent 6907566, US Patent 7100111, and US Patent 7373599 Method and system for optimum placement of advertisements on a webpage
These three patents are all referring to when Facebook places an ad on its website that is based on things you have done before. Those ads that sit on the side of your Facebook page are specifically targeted to your interests, based on what you clicked on or “liked” in Facebook.

US Patent 7668861 System and method to determine the validity of an interaction on a networking
This patent refers to the system that Facebook uses to figure out if someone who joined Facebook is a real person. It uses the data posted by said user to make that determination.

US Patent 7269590 Method and system for customizing views of information associated with a social network user.
Have you ever logged into Facebook and noticed that one of your friend’s current profile photos has been displayed? This patent refers to the system that is used to decide which friend’s photos you will see.

Image: Facebook Social Media by BigStock