Ric Bretschneider

My thoughts in your brain…

Archive for December 2011

How Facebook Will (May Have Already) F#@k You Up

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Really, I’m not doing much here.  Just trying to draw your attention to someone else’s work on how Facebook’s recent bout of ill-conceived changes continue to mess with your privacy, your communications, and your ability to actually use the system without getting screwed-up.

It’s essentially the same problem.  The code monkeys at Facebook have decided that they know better than you how you want to get your information, or more importantly, they’re deciding what information is important.  They’re trying to prove how smart they are by writing algorithms that watch what you do, analyze words in messages, and essentially hide a shit-ton of stuff you probably would prioritize higher than they do.  Any time you have someone who has doubtable social skills managing your social interaction, you are doomed.

From Slate Magazine - Used to promote their story And Facebook is no better at predicting what you want to see than any other company.  Do you recall that old chestnut “My Tivo Thinks I’m Gay“?  Well here we are a decade later and Facebook thinks you don’t want information from someone you just met, haven’t actually met but who really needs to get in touch with you, or haven’t spoken with for a while because they only recently decided to forgive you… the list goes on with the potential ways Facebook will or may have already f#@ked you up.

This time, it’s messages.  Did you know there’s a whole bunch that Facebook pushes off into a separate area without EVER giving you a surface level indication that they’ve arrived?  Yup, we can thank Slate Magazine’s  for sharing her experiences today in Furious at Facebook Again!

Seriously, when are these guys going to be sued for abusing their customer’s information?  This is an area where we set serious and definitive precedence.

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Written by ricbret

December 11, 2011 at 11:26 pm

Nest Learning Thermostat

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Last Friday I installed a new thermostat in the house, the first one since we moved in.

Now the prior thermostat was programmable, hourly and daily you could configure it to heat and cool as you like.  It made a lot of sense at the time, but so did parachute pants.  Yeah, it’s been a while.  Unfortunately programmable thermostats don’t take into account when you’re gone, you have to remember to override the programming (time-consuming and bothersome) or turn the thing off (and come back to a frozen cat.)  But it was better than the manual option of course.

Now a company called Nest has come out with a Learning Thermostat.  One that tracks your use, and presence, and uses that information to anticipate the best settings for you at any given time.  It’s also a green device, and will help you try to use less energy while staying comfortable.

The Nest Learning Thermostat

The new thermostat. The green leaf means we're saving electricity. And that we're cold.

I’m not going to rewrite their web page (which you can view here) but wanted to show you a little walk-through video I made to answer all my geeky friends questions.  Click here to enjoy the video on YouTube.

Written by ricbret

December 6, 2011 at 1:35 am