Category Archives: Social Networking

Good old fashioned email centric community

I Just caught an article on techcrunch. It was titled Facebook Fatigue? Visitors Level Off In the U.S.The article spoke of a coolling down of visitor traffic on facebook . Facebook, the internets big social phenomenon of 2006-2007 whose founders keep holding out from selling their internet property pending higher and higher evaluations, it seems is in trouble.It turns out Facebook is no exception to the fall in traffic once a social networking site gets too popular . As has been observed in the internet social networking ecosystem,once a website becomes mainstream and common place it either becomes a victim of its own success and fades away into nothingness or becomes so much a part of your everyday existence that its no longer exciting but very usefull. All of this begs the question, is facebook useful. Before you read any further.  I must confess I hated facebook from the get go.
 Yes! I do have a functioning presence on the medium and I do politely accept friend requests. But from the very start I found Facebook annoying, confusing and downright useless. Nothing made me want to jump onto the naysayer bandwagon more than playing a game of 20 questions every time  I visited the site. I will not repeat myself , and get right back to answering the question. Did I ever find facebook useful. Well maybe! but it definitely wasn’t worth the pain of feeling that If I click the wrong option box ..all my information gets sold to an add selling bot.  I always preferred and still prefer the “privacy” of email or the “convenience” of sharing a link to my picasa album ..over the 20 question and click-a-box-too-many  game that every facebook app made me go through everytime I wanted to be social.

Visiting  facebook convinced me that these games are only played by people who are used to jostling with crowds at the local club ( akin to  answering all those questions, responding to pokes and writings on my wall) or having their clique that they keep in touch with constantly. Fortunately for me ( my point of view) I never needed that level of interaction and so facebook was never for me, and so for me it was useless!Facebook made me realize how warm a personal email can be over a writing on someones wall.  Thank you facebook for making me realize how valuable and indeed immensely social the email centric communities I participate in are. I have gotten more value from checking and respondint to my email since I realized this fact.  Facebook made me love my gmail account and yes .

In case you have feelings about this..do write on my facebook wall..because chances are I will never read it

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Why I dont like Facebook

Allright ..treat this as a post designed to elicit comments or its just me venting

Why I dont do Facebook by me

Firstly : The adds ! They are bloody annoying: I dont know why the adds on facebook annoy me more than the adds on Youtube . But they DO.My first few logins were greeted with jarring adds with models in various stages of undress! I am no prude but thats very intrusive , esp when you are at work . I also dont believe in addblock as a strategy. I believe adds do contribute some value to knowing whats out there and pay for many sites to stay alive. Its my way of giving back..clicking on an add every once in a while if it catches my attention.I also think their adds make my already cluttered page look more cluttered. In my defence I have rarely found wordpress pages with adds annoying

Secondly: The countless apps ..I get it ..the apps are what makes Facebook what it is. But I would prefer the uncluttered look. Fewer apps on a profile seem more focussed. Or maybe thats the idea a profile with several apps is the nature of the game! Also installing the apps involve playing a game of 20 questions , maybe the questions can be reduced to 1 or two

Third: The wall! ..A great way to get others to contribute “content” to my profile.

Fourth: I said it above..but the 20 questions and several clicks to do anything ! Even my bank seems less intimidating

And once more the adds!. I will have to turn on addblock and create a special firefox profile .. just to get on facebook. And the only reason I would still get on Facebook is because all my friends are on Facebook and I am trying not to be the grumpy one in the bunch.

Out of the cradle and into a beta- Bioscreencast.com

I am very excited to announce the coming to fruition of a project that five of us have been working on for the last few months.Its a site based on screencasts called Bioscreencast.com. You can read more about the site on our bioscreencast blog post and at my Omics world blog.

The entire site was coded into life by one person, our head web geek and javascript junkie, Suresh.

As a wannabe coder, I came away amazed at the sheer power of the many open source libraries out there, the robustness of mysql databases, the sheer elegance of css..the swiss army knife like ffmpeg , the clumsiness of php, the list goes on. What made the whole process doubly enjoyable was that all five of us are relative web newbies.. and learning how these things work along the way was a lot of fun.

Watching Suresh work his web magic has made me want to learn more of the six technologies I want to master, and I have also added a few more to the list( more on this in future posts)

Just thought Id give my plug for Bioscreencast.com. I hope the life scientists out there ,  like the site,  and all of you will keep your feedback coming.

Links:

The Bioscreencast website

The Bioscreencast Blog

One of our co-conspirator Deepaks intro post

The entire site was coded and crafted by one person, our head geek Suresh .

Ignite Boston- loved the format.

Just got back from the first ignite Boston event organized by O’Reilly. Met a lot of really cool people and heard a few good talks.

It was just strange that quite a few of the talks ended up as blatant sales pitches for new companies or were very partially disguised so they didnt sound like sales pitches. Regardless..

The catchiest demo was the one on buzzword, a fully WYSIWYG flash based word processing app that ran inside the browser from a Boston based startup, Virtual Ubiquity. Rick Treitman the CEO demoed the app which is still pre beta. The user experience it promised was truly breathtaking. Buzzword made google docs looks like your grandpas word processing app.

Matt Welsh gave a cool talk on wiring cambridge with 100 sensors connected by a 802.11 wireless grid . The NSF and Microsoft funded city sense project would open all these sensors to the public and make the sensors programmable and make their data available to the general public. ALong these lines Brian Jepson gave a good talk about blanketing Rhode Island with wifi and the cool things you could do with the Make magazine electronics kit and the RI-WIns network.

The talk by Matt Douglas was about marketing and how to go about publicizing a new web or computer startup. Woven into his talk was a plug for Punchbowl.com which touts itself as a replacement to evite.

Though I am hardly a gamer, the talk by Jason McIntosh from volity was interesting in its approach to bringing open source components into the online gaming world.

Among the general interest and non sales pitch oriented talks ,Rod Begbie gave a fun talk about good presentations and Chris Brogans talk on using social networking to actually network effectively, was very nicely done.

Greg Raiz from Raizlabs and PicMe a photo sharing site also gave a very nice talk about his websites approach to data organization , His theory was that perfect organization is not always what we want ( or should want) .

The event was held in a crowded room where it was almost impossible to hear anything going on on stage if you were in the back.

On the whole the event was a lot of fun and I cannot wait for Ignite 2- Boston.

Ignite Boston – I cannot wait

Deepak has blogged about Ignite Seattle an informal gathering organized by Oreilly in Seattle geared towards the local tech crowd. I always wondered why Boston does not have an Ignite event as well considering its huge tech population.

Well I just heard on the Berkman Thursday meetings blog that Oreilly is organizing an Ignite Boston event on May 31st, 2007. These meetings sound like they are a lot of fun and I am glad Boston finally has one.
It will be fun to get another opportunity to meet the local tech crowd.I cant wait !