September 2011

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Another Facebook redesign, and another wave of hysteria. Good grief. The pattern has become too frequent, to predictable, and altogether too insignificant.

First, if it really sucks so bad, if it really harms your life, if you’re really afraid they’ll change the profit model and “force you to pay”, then just leave. Get out. Take off. I don’t know of any friends on Facebook who have actually voted with their feet on this one and actually left. Well, honestly, maybe I do, and just didn’t notice them leave; I don’t miss them on Facebook, and apparently they don’t miss me, at least enough to drop me an email (yes, email, that loathsome snailmail of the FB generation).

Secondly, this is the first redesign that actually seems focused on improving privacy and the control thereof. Personally, I’ve had all my FB settings on “Friends Only” since it first became an option, several iterations ago, and as such, this newest “upgrade” really changes very little for me. If anything, I do believe things are improved a little, in that I can now (partly) defeat the “smart feed” and actively pull more content from people I want to see more from.

Thirdly, these “services” are really products, bought and sold in a marketplace. You’re dumping almost everything about your life into private servers owned by private companies driven by strong private financial gain. Worried about paying for Facebook? Google? Hotmail? These companies are already profiting by mining your personal information. In return, they are offering you a “free” service, which you are under no obligation to make use of. Is this nefarious? Not at all. When Google reads my email in exchange for excellent “free” webmail service, I consider that a fair trade.

Lastly, and most importantly, you cannot lose what you have not got, and in this case the lacking item is an expectation of privacy in a glaringly public place. No, I’ll correct that: in a glaringly private space, albeit owned by someone else. Right now, someone somewhere is sitting at their laptop, on an unsecured and/or public wireless network, uploading some scathing and virulent critique of Facebook’s privacy abuses.

Those of you readers who plainly perceive the irony at play understand all too well, while those of you who don’t probably never will.

It is a long-standing and well-accepted fact of life that everything is made better by bacon. Well, this at least holds true for foodstuffs, and for folks who consume bacon. Obviously, if you eat meat, and furthermore eat pork, then it is not entirely unreasonable to state that you are a fool for anything wrapped, infused, or otherwise doped with that sweet sweet salty sweet pig candy, bacon.

Still, there are those, even amongst my closest friends, who do not eat bacon. This leads me to ask: is there a vegetarian equivalent to bacon? Now let’s be very clear here: I’m not talking about veggie bacon, soy bacon crumbles, or other fakery. Real bacon is real bacon, and nothing else is close. No, what I’m after is the foodstuff that, for the vegetarian, has that same magical power to completely transform any/all other (vegetarian) foods to otherworldly greatness, in much the same manner as bacon is able to do for those of us with less herbivorian instincts.

Is there such a substance? An ingredient? Some magical vegetarian condiment with powers approaching those of mighty bacon?