Yahoo! Mail Welcomes Facebook

June 2nd, 2010 |

I’ve never been a fan of things I don’t need. I don’t need a snuggie come this cold winter, I don’t need a bread maker from one of those shopping networks, and I don’t need Yahoo Mail teaming up with Facebook. In late May, Yahoo announced that its mail service would be stepping up by making the web more accessible through Yahoo Mail. Sites like Pandora, Flickr, YouTube, and popular blogging sites were magically incorporated last year to seamlessly transfer their updates to your user account for your viewing pleasure. The big news, however, came when Yahoo announced that your Facebook news feed would be accessible through Yahoo Mail. Not only will you see the latest viral videos that your friends ‘like’, but your mail even gets pre-sorted thanks to an upgrade. You can now read the important things first, but those e-mails about inheriting a large sum of money from an African Prince will have to wait. Sorry Nigerian scammers. Read the rest of this entry »

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Sunil Ramsamooj

Facebook Quit Day – A Discussion With Its Creator

May 18th, 2010 |

In the past several weeks, Facebook has come under fire after widely publicizing changes in privacy settings. With over 400 million users in its grasp and the Internet seemingly bowing down to its every need, this negative publicity must be making Facebook a little uncomfortable, and it’s just getting worse. In April, New York Senator Chuck Schumer asked the Federal Trade Commission to check out the privacy guidelines of Facebook. There are now a growing number of users who are leaving Facebook for good. So far 1,605 people have signed up for Facebook Quit Day on May 31st. Here I interview Matthew Milan, one of the creators of the group. He currently runs his own company that specializes in the strategic side of interaction design for the web and devices.

SR: Who is behind the movement and how did it get started?

MM: The frustration people have with Facebook that you’re are calling a movement [I don’t see it that way] has been developing for a long time. Joe Dee and I didn’t look to start a revolt as some have suggested, we just put a URL to a notion that was on the mind of a lot of people right now.  We reached a point where we didn’t feel comfortable being on Facebook anymore, and decided to be open about why we we’re leaving.

What was your biggest issue with Facebook?

While I believe it’s acceptable for organizations to collect and use comprehensive personal data from individuals, they must do it in a way that 1) Gives individuals fair choices to decide how that data is used, and 2) Is done with the intent of serving the best interests of current (and future) society as a whole.

Since Facebook is not doing either of these (and is, in fact, heading rapidly in the other direction), I’m no longer interested in maintaining a presence of any type on the site. If a company doesn’t consider information sustainability in their designs, they are not creating any long term value for humanity. For me, my frustration with Facebook wasn’t about privacy – privacy is a symptom of some emerging bigger issues, which most of us can’t clearly articulate yet. We latch on to privacy as the main concern because it’s an issue we can all directly relate to. Read the rest of this entry »

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Sunil Ramsamooj

You Have The Technology, Use it Properly! Shoot and Upload Quality Photos

March 22nd, 2010 |

These days, everyone wants to be a photographer, because everyone CAN be a photographer. Digital cameras are insanely cheap and the optics that power them are getting better every year. Incredibly popular are digital single lense reflex cameras (DSLRs).

Canon and Nikon, two well known camera companies, can attest to this. In the last couple of years, both Japanese companies have seen tremendous success in the entry-level DSLR bracket. Commonly known as “Pro-sumer” DSLRs, models such as Nikon’s D40/60/3000 or Nikon’s XSi/XTi/T1i are cheap, lightweight, and take great photographs that a point and shoot camera could never produce. Coupled with memory cards capable of storing thousands of photos, it’s no wonder that photography will soon become a profession that doesn’t require professionals.

Any person can just grip a camera, press the button and, voila, make a photo. The world doesn’t need another photograph on Flickr, just for the sake of being able to upload one.

Image courtesy of the tsirkus.org Flickr photostream

Photographs should show something without the aid of text or speech. Photography is all about the visual experience. Much like how a well written story “shows” and doesn’t just “tell,” a great photograph is one that doesn’t need to be explained.

Facebook makes it easy to upload albums and albums worth of photos, but how many of them are worth spots in their respective albums? How often do you see people just uploading everything from their memory cards directly to Facebook?

Again, comparing photography to writing, all the “bad” stuff is edited before it ever makes it to the reader. A book isn’t perfect when it goes through its initial rounds of editing, and neither should your photographs.

Here are a few tips everyone should follow:

1) Delete. This function is so simple, yet so many people are reluctant to use it. Great photographers know that for every ten photos, one or two will make the final cut. Even if two photos do get away from deletion during the first round, one of them is usually deleted in the second round. You will never know what photos are good, great, or terrible if you never learn to tell the difference. Good photos aren’t great. Delete them. You can make better ones when you acknowledge that. Because we’re no longer restricted by film, it doesn’t mean that we should keep all the “garbage” on our photos just because we can. It’ll clog your hard drive when you transfer it over and when you’re low in storage, you’ll kick yourself for not deleting all the lame shots in the beginning. Read the rest of this entry »

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Raymond Wong