Posts Tagged ‘Facebook’

Homeland Security, Security Warnings, Facebook, and Twitter

Thursday, April 7th, 2011

Yeah, there's no potential for misunderstandings here...

One of the stories making its way around the web this morning is that of the Associated Press obtained a draft by the Homeland Security Department for a plan that would reduce the current five color terror alert system and replace it with only two levels of warnings, elevated and imminent.

It would also allow for the use of Facebook and Twitter to relay terror warnings to the public.

Does anyone else see problems with the last bit of this plan?

The document itself is reportedly marked ďFor Official Use Only??? and is dated April 1st. Taking that into consideration, it is possible (in my mind) that someone may have been pulling a fast one within the office. Thatís my hope, at least, where the use of Facebook and Twitter are concerned in regards to relaying information or warnings to the public at large.

Thereís not only the potential for abuse by prank playing co-workers (as the graphic hints at) but thereís also the fact that many people have a hard time believing anything they may read on Twitter or Facebook as being actual fact. There are those of us who just assume anything related to world news via those mediums is a prank or someone trying to get a rise out of their friends.

Plus, seriously, how do you actually go about getting fans or followers for a Homeland Security account?

Gritskrieg – End of Line

Facebook to start streaming movies

Wednesday, March 9th, 2011

Can WB and Facebook > Netflix?

(Reuters) – Warner Bros is making some of its films available on Facebook, opening up a new revenue source for the Internet social network and signaling new competition for online entertainment companies.

Consumers can pay for the movies using Facebook Credits, a virtual currency so far used mainly in social games on the site, according to Warner Bros, a unit of Time Warner Inc, on Tuesday.

Facebook, which makes money mostly through online advertising, takes 30 percent of the revenue from sales by third parties on the website using Credits.

The service will initially be available in the United States, the company said.

The streaming of full-length Hollywood films on Facebook creates a new role for the 500-million-plus member social network, which has grown into one of the most powerful Web players by making it easy to share photos, videos and other content with friends.

In a note to investors on Tuesday, Goldman Sachs analyst Ingrid Chung said Facebook represents a long-term threat to online rental service Netflix Inc that caught Wall Street investors by surprise.

“The ‘wisdom of friends’ could be a bigger driver of movie viewership than the ‘wisdom of crowds,’” wrote Chung.

[Full article at]

Ken Turns To Facebook For Advice On Barbie

Monday, February 7th, 2011
Star Trek Barbie and Ken

We never, ever owned one of these...

Far be it from me to criticize someone looking for relationship advice on Facebook.

It happens almost every dayÖ one of my friends status updates lets me (and their other 1000 friends) know theyíre having second thoughts or troubles in the relationship theyíre currently in. But when a page created as an advertising ploy for a 50 year old toy line starts asking people what they think should be done in a relationship, I have to say something about it.

Sue me, I shouldnít have an opinion on Barbieís former beau Ken. Iím a guy so the only interaction I had with the Barbie and Ken dolls were when I needed some bodies for my G.I. Joe ďhostage scenario???. Poor Ken rarely made it out alive but the noble rescuers were always there to comfort poor Barbie in her time of loss. Look, my imagination is a soap opera. Donít judge me.

Mattel actually is looking to fans of Kenís Facebook page to determine where the two former lovebirds will be reunited in coming years with a poll on the social networking site. For those of you who didnít know, Ken and Barbie apparently parted ways on Valentineís Day seven years ago. Iím willing to bet she finally got with one of the Joes because they were way more macho. I mean, have you seen Ken? Every time I see him, heís got like a pink sweater tied around his neck. Totally un-macho.

But Mattel said that after the split, Barbie hooked up with some Australian surfer doll named Blaine. Blaine. Surfer or not, Blaine is a lame name for a rebound boy.

Kenís aiming to win back Barbieís heart next week when Valentineís Day rollís around and according to Kenís page, itís up to the fans of the toy line to ultimately decide the fate of the plastic lovers.

Thereís no word as of yet on how the Facebook poll was looking or if there was any word on whether there was a page for a jilted Joe whoís had his heart been broken while he was off fighting a war he couldnít win while Barbie snuck off with some Australian surfboard jockey.

Soap opera imagination, I tell ya. Bite me.

Gritskrieg – End of Line

To Friend or Not to Friend

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

The dilemmas of social media

Social networking has become very popular in the last few years. It seems that everyone and their grandmother has a Facebook or Twitter account. Hell, some people still use MySpace. This increasing popularity raises many questions of etiquette regarding when and what to share and who to friend or follow. So, where do you draw the line? My first instinct is to advise use of common sense, but I donít believe that the answer is that simple. It really does depend on the individual, but there are many considerations to be made before you post something.

Did you know that businesses are now taking to the web, especially social media sites, to stake out potential employees? Next time youíre punching up your resume, think about punching up your Facebook page and maybe dropping those pictures from that pub crawl you did last month. Sure, some employers are going to think that youíre fun and colorful; however, this is not likely.

Itís not just those seeking new employment that need to take this into consideration; these social media sites actually give an employer the right to check up on your personal life. Iíve worked in large offices for many years and there are plenty of things about my personal life that I did not wish to share with anyone in my workplace. So, is this invasion of privacy? Though some may disagree, I say absolutely not. If you put something on the web, unless you turn your privacy settings up to the max, youíre putting your information out there for anybody see. Should they do it? Once again, you may disagree, but I say it depends on the situation. Many people post their work information on their profiles and some employeesí deeds may be bad for business. Can you fire someone for something they posted online? Yes, and itís perfectly legal.

This brings to mind another question. Do you friend your co-workers or even your boss? This is where it gets hinky. Security settings will allow for an innocuous friendship, so you can avoid the awkward decision of whether or not to accept your bossí friend request. Accept it, but lock them out of what youíre actually posting. Or, you can choose to leave work at work and keep your social networking fun to between you and your buddies. If you do choose to friend your boss and/or co-workers, take caution. They might not care that you were dancing on the bar or doing body shots off of a stripper; but, when youíre playing hookie, you might want to stick to that story you used when you called in sick that morning. Donít mention how you went to the zoo, or whatever it is you do when you play hookie.

Then, of course, thereís whether or not you should recommend that your friends like your business. Maybe this is a personal endeavor or itís your day job. Discretion is key here. Personally, all of my friends are subject to these suggestions. Most of the people on my friends list understand who I am and what I do, so they either like it or ignore it. If you have a small business or youíre promoting your band, cast a wide net. If you donít want to impose, donít impose. But, think about this, why are these people on your friends list? Who are they to you and how do you know them? You donít have to suggest it to all of our friends, think of those who your suggestion may benefit most and start there.

It all comes down to discretion. Why are you on Facebook and/or Twitter? Social media is imperative in todayís tech-dependent society. What better way to get the word out? Social media today is the equivalent of standing on top of a soap box in a town square eighty years ago. Some people are going to stop and listen while others continue on their way. This is your voice with a much bigger amplifier.

Author - Michele Hale

Michele is an indie author and publisher from Austin, Texas. She loves roller derby, tattoos and science fiction. She is the founder of Cowgirlie Publishing and is currently working on a three-book sci-fi series due out in 2011.


Facebook, Farmville, and an Angry Mother

Friday, October 29th, 2010

Alexandra Tobias has pled guilty to Second Degree Murder

Anyone whoís been to my house has met Thor, Dog of Thunder. Heís a Shih Tzu with an uncanny knack of detecting when Iíve finally gotten a raid in WoW or a huge firefight in Modern Warfare 2 and choose that exact moment to need to go poop. It isnít a ďhey, I could go out in a few minutes??? need. Itís a frantic, bark inspiring, full-on ďI GOTTA GO NOW??? need. Even though it happens nearly every time Iím in into some epic gaming, I always look at him and ask the exact same thing, ďYouíve got to go *now*????

Itís not that I mind taking him out, it really isnít. I knew what I was getting into when I got him and Iím used to him hopping into my lap and trying to get some attention by putting a paw on my Xbox controller. Iíve gently chided him on more than one occasion to which he wags his tail and I end up feeling guilty and quitting out of whatever Iím playing in order to pet him or take him outside for a walk.

Youíre probably wondering why Iím sharing all of this with you but I swear thereís a good reason. In the news yesterday, there was a story of a mother who killed her three month old child because he was crying while she was on Facebook playing FarmvilleÖ† Iím going to let that sink in. Facebook, Farmville, dead infant. Hereís the full story for those of you who are interested.

Now, I was going to let this pass without saying anything but Iíve read and re-read the story and I really canít make sense of it so the soapbox is getting dusted off and Iím going to go on a rant. Iím a wordy bastard, folks, so if youíd prefer to keep right on browsing, I wonít be offended.

To say that Iíve been addicted to games would be an understatement. My history with World of Warcraft, Fallout, and Mass Effect has been well documented †through these very pages. Iíve spent entire weekends in front of my PC or a console bathing in the LCD radiation emitted by my monitor and lost myself in these epic stories. Iíve forgotten to have a meal, suddenly realized I needed to go to the bathroom, and even lost all track of time because I have been so immersed in a game. But, for the past six years, Iíve had that one little reminder that Iíve got this little lifeform that depends on me for food, water, and the distinct need not to pee on the carpet.

I canít count the number of times that I have gotten kicked from groups on WoW, been cursed at for just standing around on maps in Modern Warfare, or left a game on pause forever and a day because there was something I needed to do. I may, on the odd occasion, allow my personal hygiene to slip a little while I play a game or even forego grocery shopping until a weekday in order to get in just a little more weekend play time but I can honestly say, as addictive as some games are, Iíve managed to maintain hearth and home while indulging.

There are those who would say that what I describe isnít an addiction, that by its very definition an addiction overrides all other aspects of life. Itís not an argument I care to get into but two words should clarify my stanceÖ ďfunctional alcoholic???. Just because one is able to maintain a life while indulging an addiction doesnít make it any less of a handicap. It happens every day for people who are most assuredly in the throes of an addiction.

Thatís why this occurrence is so utterly alien to me. I canít comprehend what was going through Alexandra Tobiasí mind when she was interrupted by her babyís crying, went and picked up the baby to shake him, set him down, and come back after smoking a cigarette to shake him again. Iím not a woman, however, and so thereís a good chance that I will never experience postpartum depression but even trying to mentally account for that, I literally can not understand what would drive a person to become so angry over a game, especially one that is so geared towards casual play.

Donít talk to me about the sleep deprivation that comes with a newborn. Iíve been an insomniac my entire adult life and Iím lucky to get three hours a night, if that. Even at my most irrational and/or my most paranoid, the most Iíve done is raised my voice to friends and family. Iíve never physically lashed out from lack of sleep, not even at my pets.

Iíve had friends who were single mothers as well as hardcore gamers. That their lives changed the moment their child was conceived was unavoidable. Iíve seen the eyebrow twitch when their child started crying. Iíve seen them cry for reasons I could never fathom. Iíve listened to them speak about how they thought they were going crazy from lack of sleep. After all of that, I am certain of one thingÖ none of them would ever harm their child for something as innocuous as crying while they were trying to squeeze some game time in.

Perhaps I am more emotionally and mentally stable than I have assumed throughout my life. Perhaps I am being too harsh in regards to what Alexandra was going through for the past three months. Perhaps Iím even being much too judgmental about someone I know nothing about and the circumstances that led to this outcome. Thereís nothing I can do about it though. As a gamer, an avid gamer, the idea that a game could cause me to harm my own flesh and blood is so foreign to me that I literally canít see this from another point of view.

Judge me if you will, I accept that you might and invite you to voice your disapproval. At this point of my rant, however, Iíll take time out for a public service announcement.

If you or someone you know may have a problem with a gaming addiction, there are support groups who can help. Go to for help and support with your addiction.

And if you or someone you know is going through Postpartum Depression, thereís support groups for that as well. Visit for more information.

Gritskrieg Ė End of Line

Your boss hates Farmville…

Friday, July 23rd, 2010

...not if you get fired first...

Despite warnings from employers and guidelines outlining proper company equipment usage, a recent study from Cisco indicates that Enterprise users continue to access social networking sites and tend their virtual crops in Farmville.

The study shows that of the employees surveyed, 50% confessed to ignoring social media policies at least once a week while 27% were guilty of reconfiguring settings on their corporate devices in order to access content and applications which were expressly forbidden by their employer. Of those verboten applications accessed, the number one application accessed was Farmville. Not far behind were games like Mafia Wars, Cafť World, and Treasure Isle.

The primary focus of the report is network security with Cisco demonstrating that one of the largest threats to Enterprise networks is Social Networking sites. Unsurprisingly, the document goes on to analyze the impact of social networking and the games it offers on workplace productivity. While the number of people who spent an excessive amount of time on Farmville and the like was below 10%, there was evidence that those individuals spent an average of 68 minutes per day tending their web crops while in the office. That comes out to approximately 295 hours a year. Thatís 7.4 weeks out of the 52 week year. And you wonder why your boss gets grumpy when you Tweet from workÖ

The overall message of the report is that while social networking is a great tool for getting your companyís product into the public eye that allowing rampant use can not only lead to a loss of productivity but can open your business up to hackers and cybercriminals. Sadly, I see the persons who are most at risk on a daily basis, individuals who donít lock down their personal information and happily open any attachment that comes their way.

If youíd like to see the full report, you can access it here.


Gritskrieg Ė End of Line

Facebook promises “less complex privacy tools”

Tuesday, May 25th, 2010

Does Facebook actually care about your right to privacy? We'll see.

A couple of weeks ago, I voiced some of my concerns about the decline of Facebookís privacy controls. I even considered deleting my account after having some troubles trudging through the myriad of privacy controls that seemed to be set up to frustrate and discourage people from making any changes whatsoever. But I caved and kept my account after figuring out how to lock my account down so that only friends had access to my info.

The temptation to remove myself from Facebook is still there. The only thing holding me back is the thought that many of my friends and family depend on Facebook as a reliable means to get in touch with me. You know, since I donít have a cell phone or anything. /sarcasmoff

The site and its creator, Mark Zuckerberg, have been catching some flak for what many essentially view as an invasion of privacy and with just cause. There are a number of my friends on Facebook who did not realize their phone number and home address were pretty much out there for the world to see after the last batch of changes to Facebookís privacy policy.

Zuckerberg did, however, apologize for the ďcomplexity??? of the privacy controls in an open letter to the Washington Post and made a pledge to both simplify the privacy controls and enforce stricter guidelines to protect the private information of Facebookís 400 million plus users. Maybe the poll by the Internet security firm Sophos, showing that 60% of the Facebook users they polled were ready to bail over privacy concerns, played a part in that?

Whatever the reasons, Zuckerberg has lost a lot of ground with users with his apparent disregard for personal privacy and the release of a chat transcript that would seem damning in regards to the level of trust users have given him over the years. And that transcript would seem to reflect the string of changes that have been made to the privacy policy over the years.

I know Iíve harped on Facebook and privacy issues quite a bit in recent weeks but my heart is in the right placeÖ Or Iím paranoid, one of the two. But the point here is that while you may do your utmost to protect your own information, you canít control the actions of others. As it stands now, any information anyone else might have in regards to you is essentially up for grabs if you know where to look. We donít need more concerns about our private information, social networking site or otherwise.

Now if youíll excuse me, I have to go make a new tinfoil cap.

Gritskrieg Ė End of Line

Facebook, the Open Window of the Internet

Thursday, May 13th, 2010

Facebook needs your information... How else are they going to show it to anyone who wants it?

I have an entire website to post to and people I don’t know personally will actually read those posts.

I’m not saying this to be vain or brag. I’m saying this because I have an outlet where I can rant and rave and whether people agree with what I am saying or not, I have the means to make my views and ideals very public. But why am I bringing this up?

Over the past couple of years, I have become increasingly social on the Internet. However, there are certain aspects of my life that I prefer to limit to my friends and family. If you were to see me on Facebook, you’d see that I often post up what could easily be considered toilet humor. I don’t necessarily believe that everyone should be subjected to it and so I keep my friends to those people I actually know.

Therein lies the problem. Over the course of the past two years, the information I have provided to Facebook in order to have my account with them has been increasingly difficult to keep on the downlow. And it only seems to be getting worse.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation recently posted up the changes to Facebook’s privacy policy since its launch back in 2005 (you can find that information here) and just the tone of the post conveys their concern in the apparent decreasing lack of concern that Facebook has for its users private information. It’s good reading and may help you to see where the recent concern about what Facebook is doing to people’s privacy has come from. And if you don’t want to take the time to read it, you can find a nice graphic here showing the timeline.

Make no mistake, there are certain aspects of my life and certain information about me that is available for anyone to see. I’ve certainly made no secret of my love of good times with good friends and good beverages. But I’ve also gone to lengths to keep certain portions of my life private, like who I’m dating or family matters I’d rather the world at large not have access to at the click of a mouse.

But that information is becoming harder to protect, so much so that in recent weeks I’ve actually considered deleting my Facebook account. A recent “adventure” with Facebook’s “privacy” settings in an attempt to secure my private data nearly led to a “rage delete”. Most certainly the tools Facebook offers to keep one’s information from prying eyes has become more and more difficult to comprehend, much less use. In fact, has posted up a fairly decent chart of how difficult is has become to keep your information out of the hands of third parties.

I’m certainly not a prude about my personal life. In fact, I’m often willing to discuss it with perfect strangers. But more often than not, that discussion is an attempt to make them uncomfortable so they’ll move away from me. Handy in movie theatres, I assure you.

My point here is that as a social networking site, Facebook seems to be working very hard to get me to share my information with people and companies I know nothing about. There is no means for me to be able to know who is looking at my info since now, and I love this one, you can set up all the privacy you want but if that friend of yours who hasn’t logged on in over a year doesn’t pop on and change some of the settings on their account, your information may still be available and completely out of your control.

Think I’m exaggerating? This is a blurb in the privacy settings on Facebook:

“Please keep in mind that if you opt out, your friends may still share public Facebook information about you to personalize their experience on these partner sites unless you block the application.”

I’m going to make an admission here. I used to go out and try to find new applications that Crutchboy and Timothy Danger hadn’t blocked yet. They hate all the updates from your mafia, your farm, or whatever the hell you’re playing on Facebook. Yeah, yeah, I’m a jerk. It amused me though and that’s what mattered.

I don’t do that anymore after reading the information above. Sounds too much like I could be publicizing other people’s information because I laughed when one of my friends asked me when the hell I got anything done with all the dumb games I was playing on Facebook. And I’ll be damned if I’m going to help contribute to this privacy issue.

Look, I’m not trying to create panic here, I’m not trying to say Facebook is evil but it certainly does seem that in their attempt to monetize their application and cash in on their popularity that they’re opening the door for the complete de-privatization of the public at large. Check it out for yourself and see what you think about their privacy guidelines now.

When you do, you may decide there may be such a thing as too social.

Gritskrieg – End of Line

FBI = FaceBook Investigators… Who knew?

Monday, March 22nd, 2010

Your new "friend" on FaceBook might have ulterior motives...

Last week, an internal Justice Department document was obtained through a Freedom of Information Act by the Electronic Frontier Federation, a San Francisco based civil liberties group. The document outlines and makes clear how U.S. agents are following the social networking trend and using sites like FaceBook and MySpace in order to gather information in ongoing investigations.

The 33 page document goes on to stress the importance of using social networking sites to track suspects in those investigations to allow authorities to more easily check alibis or look for suspicious photos that may demonstrate an unusual spending spree after a crime. Analyzing evidence in this manner may allow agents to establish times and locations of suspects simply by looking through users’ uploaded photos.

It wasn’t that long ago that agents kept any eye on chat rooms such as AOL in an attempt to apprehend sexual predators but in this day and age, it’s much easier to analyze data like videos, pictures, or even audio clips posted via social networking sites to look for patterns of behavior. Already authorities have began using the information to track suspects’ whereabouts in order to apprehend them.

The documents, while detailing the worth of existing social networking sites in order to procure information from/on suspects, do not go into detail in regards to how to use the sites. And that is where the concern of the Electronic Frontier Federation lies.

Without guidelines in place, where does the line get drawn? Should agents be allowed to impersonate a parent, child, or sibling, for instance, in order to gain a suspect’s trust? How is evidence to be handled when the information may have been obtained through a chat session on FaceBook? How can it be determined that the information was indeed provided by the suspect and not from someone impersonating them?

These questions and more are being raised by the Federation in the hopes that the government will establish a set of rules in order to prevent potential abuse of the sites in investigations. The Electronic Frontier Foundation has stated that it will make the documents available on its website tomorrow (Tuesday) morning.

So be careful, wrongdoers. The next friend you add on MySpace might just be a federal agent.

Gritskrieg – End of Line

XBOX LIVE FEATURES stacking up a week later?

Wednesday, November 25th, 2009
Social networking ang gaming are becoming one...

Social networking ang gaming are becoming one...

Last week, XBOX LIVE released 4 new features to their entertainment dashboard. These features are meant to take your XBOX from high end gaming console, to your one stop entertainment shop. The features: Facebook, Twitter, Last FM, and Zune HD Video were highly anticipated, and now that theyíve been around for a weekÖ Just how do they stack up?

For this, I had BG send me a 360. (Yes up until recently I did not own oneÖ and yesÖ there are more people like me in the world.) So after a few days of using the XBOXÖ the verdict is inÖ I use the new features probably more than anything else.

I admit it, Iím a sucker for technology and new features. I am the ultimate busygamer. Between writing for these guys, my own writing projects, playing in an indie band and being an all around badass, itís hard to squeeze in gametime. My games are limited to casual gaming on the PC and (on the occasional sick days from the office) a big olí MMORPG splurge once every few months. But as a writer and musician, one thing I am always doing is trying to stay connected. The Facebook and Twitter features (which are the most used apps on the Iphone) were particularly interesting.

FACEBOOK: Myspace? Yeah we got one, but honestly we donít use it as much as good olí FB. In fact it seems like every 3 years a new social networking site pops up (weíve been noticing the great migration from MS for some time now) Facebook is so streamlined, and thankfully, all those annoying glitter graphics that plague MS are gone. On the XBOX LIVE experience, FB is pretty cool. You can view friends statuses and comment pretty easy (if you donít mind using a controller to scroll through the virtual keyboard) Another cool feature is the fact you can view your (and your friendís) photos on your TV. Trust me folks thereís nothing like looking at a Gametteís photos on the olí big screen. It does have some drawbacks thoughÖ for one, typing is not fun, unless you buy a keyboard accessory. All in all though, it does save you from logging into your computer or using your phoneÖ. And like I said, the picture thing was probably the most fun to use (but then again we have cool pictures)

TWITTER: The king of the microblogging status only services strikes back with an XBOX LIVE feature. While this is pretty much what you expect, it does lack a little. You can do basic things, it is fun to tweet that you are updating from your console, but honestly, I use about 4 apps just for twitter on my Iphone (twitter is serious business when your in our line of work) The apps spoil me, they all have their strengths so I use them all, for XBOX I guess the strength is thatÖ well.. itís an XBOX

LAST FM: Probably the thing I thought I would like the least is the one I fell in love with the most. LAST FM reminds me a lot of Pandora radio, only as far as I can tell, I can skip songs a lot more. IT gets smarter the more you use it, and it shows a slideshow of the bands playing on your TV when the music is going (perfect for a party). I fell in love with it so much, I use it now on my computer and my Iphone (Pandora has been neglected)

ZUNE HD VIDEO: I got to admit. I have Netflix and the first thing I did was activate it to the console. I canít see paying for a movie when I already have Netflix and can stream unlimited movies (for free) through the console. This one didnít get used, even after I have had time to play with the whole system. Maybe I will download it to see what all it can do, but at this point, I donít see it.

The biggest thing to me is probably the time it steals. Sure its fun, but after day one after talking through a headset via party mode with Crutchboy, I realized we had been on for six hours. Where did the time go? I mean sure I was connected with friends and business contacts, but probably could have done lots more. Thatís life of a busygamer for you.