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What happens when an old law is updated for the digital age? - Attorney Dana Newman discusses a proposed update to the '80s-era Video Privacy Protection Act.

What happens when an old law is updated for the digital age? - Attorney Dana Newman discusses a proposed update to the '80s-era Video Privacy Protection Act.
By Jenn Webb
December 21, 2011

The '80s-era Video Privacy Protection Act had the unintended consequence of inhibiting consensual sharing of video viewing habits. Attorney Dana Newman weighs in on updated legislation.

Strata Week: 4.74 degrees of Kevin Bacon - Facebook says we're closer than we thought, Gnip targets finance, and eBay grabs Hunch.

Strata Week: 4.74 degrees of Kevin Bacon - Facebook says we're closer than we thought, Gnip targets finance, and eBay grabs Hunch.
By Audrey Watters
November 22, 2011

Facebook research questions the "six degrees of separation" rule, Gnip gets into the real-time financial data business, and eBay looks to put Hunch's recommendation engine to use.

Four short links: 22 November 2011 - Facebook Encircles the Web, Async UIs, SimRedistricting, and Questioning the Flipped School

By Nat Torkington
November 22, 2011

Facebook is Gaslighting the Web (Anil Dash) -- interesting to see the way in which Facebook is attempting to embrace and extend the web, as opposed to AOL's doomed attempt to set itself up in competition and opposition to the web. As Molly's piece eloquently explains, what Facebook is calling "frictionless" sharing is actually placing an extremely high barrier...

Four short links: 17 November 2011 - University Relevance, Free as in Dom, Patent Trolls, and Facebook Teams

By Nat Torkington
November 17, 2011

Questioning University -- my take on the issue of whether a university education (particularly CS) is still relevant or whether kids should go straight to startups. So what do I tell my kids? Should I urge them to go to university? Should I tell them to jack it all in and run off and join a startup? This is...

Four short links: 27 September 2011 - Source Code, SPDY Trials, Data from Facebook, and Voting Tools

By Nat Torkington
September 27, 2011

Phabricator -- Facebook-built web apps that make it easy to write, review, and share source code. (via Simon Gianoutsos) The Slow Way to SPDY -- attempting to actually try SPDY for yourself sounds like a nightmare as getting hold of a stable SPDY implementation at this point is not unlike an uphill climb on a slow mudslide - the...

ePayments Week: Financial Times bets on its web app - Financial Times goes all-in on its web app, Flickr puts up fences, and daily deal fatigue sets in.

ePayments Week: Financial Times bets on its web app - Financial Times goes all-in on its web app, Flickr puts up fences, and daily deal fatigue sets in.
By David Sims
September 1, 2011

The Financial Times says subscriber data trumps Apple's reach, Flickr introduces geofencing to keep things private, and the cracks in the daily deal world start to show.

ePayments Week: Who do you trust for mobile payments? - Consumers trust Visa, MasterCard & American Express more than Web-native brands. Also, PayPal researches online game payments, and a quick look

ePayments Week: Who do you trust for mobile payments? - Consumers trust Visa, MasterCard & American Express more than Web-native brands. Also, PayPal researches online game payments, and a quick look
By David Sims
August 11, 2011

A survey by Ogilvy & Mather shows consumers trust Visa, MasterCard & American Express the most, but PayPal beats out Google and Apple. Also, PayPal researches online game payments, and a quick look at smart phone platform market share.

Strata Week: How Facebook moved 30 petabytes of Hadoop data - Facebook migrates to a new datacenter, Ex-NASA CTO launches Nebula

Strata Week: How Facebook moved 30 petabytes of Hadoop data - Facebook migrates to a new datacenter, Ex-NASA CTO launches Nebula
By Audrey Watters
July 28, 2011

In the latest Strata Week: Migrating 30 petabytes of Hadoop data, democratizing cloud computing, and "liking" library metadata.

Four short links: 20 July 2011 - Meaningful Subsets, iPhone Reading, JSON Parser, The Epiphanator

By Nat Torkington
July 20, 2011

Random Khan Exercises -- elegant hack to ensure repeatability for a user but difference across users. Note that they need these features of exercises so that they can perform meaningful statistical analyses on the results. Float, the Netflix of Reading (Wired) -- an interesting Instapaper variant with a stab at an advertising business model. I would like to stab...

Google+ is the social backbone - There's a lot more to Google+ than a challenge to Facebook

Google+ is the social backbone - There's a lot more to Google+ than a challenge to Facebook
By Edd Dumbill
July 19, 2011

Google+ is the rapidly growing seed of a web-wide social backbone, and the catalyst for the ultimate uniting of the social graph.

The good, the bad, and the ugly of Google Plus - Of all the Google social efforts, Plus has the best chance of making something great.

The good, the bad, and the ugly of Google Plus - Of all the Google social efforts, Plus has the best chance of making something great.
By Nat Torkington
July 8, 2011

Google has been dinged for being engineer-driven and not having the design sense of Apple or the agility of Facebook. Plus represents a significant change in how they approach and release product, so it's worth stepping back to see how it stacks up.

Four short links: 6 July 2011 - China Snaffling Facebook Stock, DNS Douchebaggery, Corporate Whores, and Comic Relief

By Nat Torkington
July 6, 2011

China Wants to Buy Facebook (Forbes) -- Beijing approached a fund that buys stock from former Facebook employees to see if it could assemble a stake large enough "to matter." This has implications for Facebook entering China. Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg is reportedly "wary about the compromises Facebook would have to make to do business there." If she...

Four short links: 27 June 2011 - Poor Economics, Shrinking Web, Orphans Put to Work, Realtime Log Monitoring

By Nat Torkington
June 27, 2011

Poor Economics -- this is possibly the best thing I will read all year, an insightful (and research-backed) book digging into the economics of poverty. Read the lecture slides online, they'll give you a very clear taste of what the book's about. Love that the website is so very complementary to the book, and 100% aligned with the ambition...

Radar's top stories: June 6-10, 2011 - Face recognition is here to stay, why everyone needs to learn JavaScript, and the secrets of Node's success

Radar's top stories: June 6-10, 2011 - Face recognition is here to stay, why everyone needs to learn JavaScript, and the secrets of Node's success
By Mac Slocum
June 10, 2011

This week on Radar: Tim O'Reilly offered a different take on Facebook's face recognition technology, a self-described JavaScript "hater" explained why everyone now needs to learn the language, and the secrets of Node's success were revealed.

Strata Week: The fears of face recognition - Fears over Facebook's face recognition, hacked passwords get analyzed, and a video game taps historical data.

Strata Week: The fears of face recognition - Fears over Facebook's face recognition, hacked passwords get analyzed, and a video game taps historical data.
By Audrey Watters
June 9, 2011

Stories this week examine some of the fears — real and imagined — around our social data, our privacy and security. But in case we forget the great things social data can build, we also look at the archival data behind the video game "L.A. Noire."

Facebook's face recognition strategy may be just the ticket - Face recognition is here to stay.

Facebook's face recognition strategy may be just the ticket - Face recognition is here to stay.
By Tim O'Reilly
June 9, 2011

Facebook's face recognition may provide a great strategy for cutting the Gordian Knot on this thorny privacy problem.

Why Facebook isn't the best home for your public events - Facebook may not be great for event listings, but it could be a useful conduit.

Why Facebook isn't the best home for your public events - Facebook may not be great for event listings, but it could be a useful conduit.
By Jon Udell
June 9, 2011

Organizations should strive to own and control their online identities (and associated data) to the extent they can.

Strata Week: Hadoop competition heats up - Vendors jockey for Hadoop positioning, Facebook visualizes PHP modules, Shaq's stats

Strata Week: Hadoop competition heats up - Vendors jockey for Hadoop positioning, Facebook visualizes PHP modules, Shaq's stats
By Audrey Watters
June 2, 2011

Competition among Hadoop vendors heats up, Facebook visualizes its PHP code modules, and a Many Eyes tool visualizes the stats from Shaquille O'Neal's basketball career.

Search Notes: Trying to understand Facebook's whisper campaign - Facebook's PR gaffe, the Chromebook debuts, and dreams of text-free searching.

Search Notes: Trying to understand Facebook's whisper campaign - Facebook's PR gaffe, the Chromebook debuts, and dreams of text-free searching.
By Vanessa Fox
May 13, 2011

In the latest Search Notes: A look at the curious campaign against Google's Social Circle, the Chromebook is an I/O highlight, and Google Goggles hints at a new kind of search.

ePayments Week: Report says developers chill on Android - A report says Android dev interest is stalling, Facebook Credits gets noticed, PayPal buys another real-world service

ePayments Week: Report says developers chill on Android - A report says Android dev interest is stalling, Facebook Credits gets noticed, PayPal buys another real-world service
By David Sims
May 5, 2011

A report says developers are holding back on Android, put off by fragmentation in the platform and a disappointing uptake in Android tablets. Also, Facebook Credits gets attention and we take a look at PayPal's latest purchase.

Developing countries and Open Compute - While developing countries may benefit from Open Compute, bigger issues need to be addressed first.

Developing countries and Open Compute - While developing countries may benefit from Open Compute, bigger issues need to be addressed first.
By Jenn Webb
April 21, 2011

The potential for Open Compute to benefit developing countries was mentioned during a panel discussion that followed the project's announcement. Intrigued, I turned to Benetech CEO Jim Fruchterman for more on Open Compute's utility in developing nations.

Four short links: 11 April 2011 - Facebook for Non-Profits, Groklaw is Goneburger, Map Ads Mandatory, and Corruption Fought

By Nat Torkington
April 11, 2011

Fundraising on Facebook -- only 7% [of companies surveyed] cited social networking as one of their most effective sources for customer acquisition [...] only 2.4% of non-profits were able to raise over 10k through Facebook in 2010. (via Chris Brogan) Groklaw Closes -- There will be other battles, and there already are, because the same people that propped SCO...

What Facebook's Open Compute Project means - Open Compute could be a big step forward for infrastructure, ops, and the web.

What Facebook's Open Compute Project means - Open Compute could be a big step forward for infrastructure, ops, and the web.
By Jesse Robbins
April 7, 2011

Jesse Robbins says Facebook's Open Compute Project represents a giant step for open source hardware, for the evolution of the web and cloud computing, and for infrastructure and operations in general.

ePayments Week: Tapping our hunger for Facebook Credits - Shoppers choose virtual currency, AmEx gets geolocation, and Isis plans for an NFC future.

ePayments Week: Tapping our hunger for Facebook Credits - Shoppers choose virtual currency, AmEx gets geolocation, and Isis plans for an NFC future.
By David Sims
April 7, 2011

IFeelGoods finds some shoppers choose virtual currency over the real stuff. Also, American Express teams with Foursquare for geolocated offers, Isis plans a tap-and-pay test in Utah, and Boku steps out of the gaming world to pay for real goods.

Social media design should start with human behavior - Facebook's Paul Adams says social media is about more than just technology.

Social media design should start with human behavior - Facebook's Paul Adams says social media is about more than just technology.
By Jenn Webb
March 18, 2011

In this interview, Facebook global brand experience manager Paul Adams says social design is to web developers as electricity is to appliance engineers. It's an essential element that must be baked in rather than bolted on.

Facebook comments: Fewer and better, or just fewer? - Alistair Croll and Sean Power examine the impact of Facebook's embedded comments tool.

Facebook comments: Fewer and better, or just fewer? - Alistair Croll and Sean Power examine the impact of Facebook's embedded comments tool.
By Jenn Webb
March 15, 2011

Facebook's new embedded comments option offers websites an additional social layer, but does it attract or drive away content engagement?

Four short links: 8 March 2011 - Open Source at Facebook, Mobile Patterns, Data Vis, and Open vs Crowd Sourcing

By Nat Torkington
March 8, 2011

Facebook and Open Source -- David Recordon interview. HipHop really embodies how we create at Facebook. It started as a hackathon project by Haiping Zhao, who was later joined by Iain Proctor and Minghui Yang. Haiping noticed a number of similarities between the syntax of PHP and C++, and wondered if you could programmatically rewrite one into another. Two-and-half...

Four short links: 25 February 2011 - Banshee Bucks, Log Mining, Visualization Secrets, and Repression Tools

By Nat Torkington
February 25, 2011

Canonical's New Plan for Banshee -- Canonical prepare the Linux distribution Ubuntu. They will distribute the popular iTunes-alike Banshee, but instead of the standard Amazon store plugin (which generates much $ in affiliate revenue for the GNOME Foundation) they will have Canonical's own Amazon store plugin and keep 75% of the revenue (25% going to the GNOME Foundation). They're...

5 assumptions about social search - A look at the possibilities and issues attached to social search.

By E.A. Vander Veer
February 23, 2011

"Facebook: The Missing Manual" author E. A. Vander Veer considers some of the deeper implications of social search.

Mind-blowing, world-changing technology by the numbers - Facts and humor in this video illustrate the reach and impact of new technology.

Mind-blowing, world-changing technology by the numbers - Facts and humor in this video illustrate the reach and impact of new technology.
By Jonathan Reichental, Ph.D.
February 16, 2011

This is a golden age of technology. Almost anyone with modest technology such as an internet connection or a mobile phone can have an impact on the world. This video is just a small slice of the staggering numbers and impact of technology that we witness today.

Indexing the social signal - Charlene Li on the problems and possibilities of social search and realtime updates.

Indexing the social signal - Charlene Li on the problems and possibilities of social search and realtime updates.
By James Turner
February 15, 2011

Search engines used to leisurely index static results, but the rise of social media and real-time updates has changed the game. In this interview, Altimeter Group founder Charlene Li looks at how search will have to adapt to this new environment.

ePayments Week: How to steal coffee from your friends - Starbucks skips security, Visa wants a cut of those Smurfberries, and Nokia's CEO sets a fire.

ePayments Week: How to steal coffee from your friends - Starbucks skips security, Visa wants a cut of those Smurfberries, and Nokia's CEO sets a fire.
By David Sims
February 10, 2011

The stakes may be low, but the weaknesses in Starbucks' mobile app highlight the trade-offs between security and convenience. Also, Visa buys a virtual goods platform and Nokia won't go quietly.

Four short links: 28 January 2011 - RSS Dashboard, Hardware Filesharing, Making is Learning, and Revenue/Customer

By Nat Torkington
January 28, 2011

NiftyUrls -- open source elegant wee RSS dashboard. I haven't looked into the source yet, but I'm already thinking of applications. The PirateBox -- small piece of hardware that creates a wifi network for local filesharing. Not connected to the Internet. (via BoingBoing) More Hammer, Less Yammer (Julian Bleecker) -- If you’re not also making — you’re sort of,...

Four short links: 24 January 2011 - National Facebook Relations, Personality Design, Lessons Learned, and Khan Academy

By Nat Torkington
January 24, 2011

The Inside Story of How Facebook Responded to Tunisian Hacks (The Atlantic) -- After more than ten days of intensive investigation and study, Facebook's security team realized something very, very bad was going on. The country's Internet service providers were running a malicious piece of code that was recording users' login information when they went to sites like Facebook....

Visualization deconstructed: Mapping Facebook's friendships - A deep look at Paul Butler's popular Facebook visualization.

Visualization deconstructed: Mapping Facebook's friendships - A deep look at Paul Butler's popular Facebook visualization.
By Sébastien Pierre
January 21, 2011

Paul Butler's visualization of Facebook friendships turned a lot of heads recently, and rightfully so. It shows a fascinating connection between virtual relationships and the physical world.

Pages before ads and other Facebook marketing tips - Authors Dan and Alison Zarrella on how businesses can put Facebook to use.

Pages before ads and other Facebook marketing tips - Authors Dan and Alison Zarrella on how businesses can put Facebook to use.
By Howard Wen
January 20, 2011

Traditional marketers and businesses tend to downplay Facebook's utility. That's a mistake, according to Dan and Alison Zarrella, co-authors of "The Facebook Marketing Book." In this interview, they explain why engagement is the key to Facebook campaigns.

Four short links: 18 January 2011 - How Facebook Ships, EU Funds, Bacteria Play, and Screens Capture

By Nat Torkington
January 18, 2011

How Facebook Ships Code -- all engineers go through 4 to 6 week "Boot Camp" training where they learn the Facebook system by fixing bugs and listening to lectures given by more senior/tenured engineers. estimate 10% of each boot camp's trainee class don't make it and are counseled out of the organization. Reminded me of Zappos paying people to...

ePayments Week: McAfee worries about mobile security - 2011 threat predictions, Google's Hotpot trial, and Facebook's stuffed piggy bank.

ePayments Week: McAfee worries about mobile security - 2011 threat predictions, Google's Hotpot trial, and Facebook's stuffed piggy bank.
By David Sims
January 7, 2011

In this edition of ePayments Week: mobile platforms and geo services appear in McAfee Labs' Threats Predictions report; Google tests near-field communications; and what will Facebook do with all that new money?

Four short links: 17 December 2010 - Systems Programming, Peer Review, Web Mining, Facebook Design

By Nat Torkington
December 17, 2010

Down the ls(1) Rabbit Hole -- exactly how ls(1) does what it does, from logic to system calls to kernel. This is the kind of deep understanding of systems that lets great programmers cut great code. (via Hacker News) Towards a scientific concept of free will as a biological trait: spontaneous actions and decision-making in invertebrates (Royal Society) --...

Four short links: 17 November 2010 - Data Metrics, AR Intervention, Facebook Export, and Android ROMs

By Nat Torkington
November 17, 2010

Understanding Your Customers -- I enjoyed Keith's take on meaningful metrics. We talk a lot about being data-driven, but we interpret data with a model. The different take on meaningful metrics reflect the different underlying models that are lit up by data. It's an important idea for the Strata conference, that gathering and processing data happens in the context...

Active Facebook users by region: November, 2010

By Ben Lorica
November 16, 2010

With Facebook unveiling an integrated messaging system for its more than 500 million users, I decided to update a few charts that breakdown its users by region.

Four short links: 10 November 2010 - Facebook Behaviour, Multitouch Modelling, Early Ads, and Gaming Public Transportation

By Nat Torkington
November 10, 2010

Risk Reduction Strategies on Facebook (danah boyd) -- Mikalah uses Facebook but when she goes to log out, she deactivates her Facebook account. She knows that this doesn’t delete the account - that’s the point. She knows that when she logs back in, she’ll be able to reactivate the account and have all of her friend connections back. But...

The economics of gaining attention - Power lies with those who can decipher attention algorithms.

The economics of gaining attention - Power lies with those who can decipher attention algorithms.
By Joshua-Michéle Ross
November 1, 2010

As our social, economic and political lives are increasingly mediated through a few consolidated technologies such as Facebook and Google, software exerts a profound influence on the way we engage with one another.

Bookish Techy Week in Review - Snooki to publish; yet more surveys on who is reading how; tablet sales continue to rise; TOC Frankfurt preview

By Kat Meyer
October 1, 2010

This week we noticed: Snooki getting a book deal; Google taking an instant dislike to certain word searches; children liking ebooks; Amazon setting up shop at Facebook; Babylonian poetry finding its voice; and some people cutting up their personal library books.

A new twist on "data-driven site" - How a billion points of app data shape TripAdvisor's website.

A new twist on
By Mac Slocum
September 27, 2010

TripAdvisor is using data from its Facebook application to expand its website. In this Q&A, Sanjay Vakil discusses the inner-workings of this app-website relationship and he passes on advice for companies pursuing their own data-driven products.

Four short links: 14 September 2010 - Facebook Bank, New in NoSQL, Twitter Numbers, and Open Source EEG Driver

By Nat Torkington
September 14, 2010

ASB Bank's Facebook Virtual Branch -- the world's first Facebook branch of a bank, where you can live chat with tellers. (via Vaughn Davis) SciDB -- GPLv3 NoSQL database. In addition to being multi-dimensional and offering array based scaling from megabytes to petabytes and running on tens of thousands clustered nodes, SciDB's will be write once read many, allow...

Facebook Places plays nice with Yelp, Foursquare, Gowalla and Booyah

Facebook Places plays nice with Yelp, Foursquare, Gowalla and Booyah
By Brady Forrest
August 19, 2010

In one move, Facebook appears to have both validated and claimed the check-in space. We take an early look at the functionality and impact of Facebook Places, the company's just-announced check-in / location tool.

Which social gaming companies are hiring

By Ben Lorica
July 29, 2010

Disney's announced purchase of Mountain View gaming startup Playdom, follows on the heels of EA's purchase of London-based Playfish last November. Based on active users, Zynga remains by far the biggest online social gaming company. But what other independent companies are growing? To see which companies are expanding, I used our data warehouse of online job postings1 to detect recent...

Facebook Mountain ("I wish I knew how to quit you") - Why abysmal customer satisfaction levels won't stop the social giant.

Facebook Mountain (
By Mark Sigal
July 29, 2010

Facebook is an unstoppable force, rocketing to 500 million users, building a breakout software platform and hardwiring the web with "Like" buttons and single sign-on via Facebook Connect. This piece looks at the reasons why, even in the face of abysmal customer satisfaction levels that rank below the airline industry, the social networking giant's reign is only getting started.

Where Facebook's half a billion users reside

Where Facebook's half a billion users reside
By Ben Lorica
July 21, 2010

Facebook announced that they now reach 500 million active users (just five and half years after launching). But where do these half a billion users reside? Refreshing my post from February, the share of users from Asia continues to rise and now stands at 17% of all Facebook users. Over the past 12 weeks, Facebook added over a million active users in fourteen countries, including 5 in Asia and all three members of NAFTA.


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