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DogHouseDiaries on social media’s simmering privacy policies

DogHouseDiaries on social media’s simmering privacy policies

Social Media is an important way to interact with friends and colleagues, and in many cases, with colleagues, customers and suppliers. It can be a powerful tool, but it can also be an incredible productivity sinkhole.

It is also a fact that many of the major social media services have progressively and slowly evolved (eroded) their terms of service to decrease privacy.

Today’s DogHouseDiaries comic beautifully expresses this.

Personally I minimise my time on social networks, sticking mainly to Twitter and LinkedIn. I use Google+ and Facebook selectively, and then only in dedicated (read: sandboxed) apps, or in a browser that I only use for these sites. I don’t access Google or Facebook from my main browser. Fast Becoming a Powerful, Open Social Platform Fast Becoming a Powerful, Open Social Platform

Netbot ScreenShotDalton Caldwell announcing the File API :

The promise of “unbundling”

Imagine a world in which your social data (e.g. messages, photos, videos) was easier to work with. For instance, imagine you could try out a new photo sharing service without having to move all of your photos and social graph.

In this world, your photos are held in a data store controlled by you. If you want to try out a new service, you can seamlessly login and choose to give permission to that service, and the photos that you have granted access to would be immediately available.

This is one benefit of an “unbundled” social service. Unbundling gives the user power to pick the software that best suits their needs, rather than being forced to use the software made by the company that manages their data.

I’ve been an (also known as ADN for “App Dot Net”) user since early on – when they took the the concept to the people and offered something different – a model where the users are the customers, not the product. Unlike Twitter, Facebook and others, ADN does not rely on advertising revenue, and instead is a subscription service.

The addition of a wide range of apps was the first step in ADN getting traction. But an interesting thing started to happen – each developer started to add innovative features, as a result of direct communications with users. Although I primarily use Netbot for iOS and Wedge for OSX, I actually use other apps for specific features.

The ADN team recognises the power of having an underlying layer for data storage and exchange, and a platform that allows developers to provide innovative front end features. They also recognise that the power for them, in their business model, is to let different users choose the apps that provide them the features they want.

I think that ADN should be firmly on the radar of serious users of social media, and of course SMEGs.

I am @desparoz on ADN.

AFR: Tweets, Facebook posts track fire hotspots

AFR: Tweets, Facebook posts track fire hotspots

IMG_1135The Australian Financial Review has a good article describing the role played by social media in getting the word out about fire warnings during the potentially catastrophic confluence of weather we had on Tuesday.
As discussed in my post on the the NSW Bushfires and the Fires Near Me app, agencies like the NSW Rural Fire Service and the NSW Police, backed up by media like the ABC have used Twitter very effectively to get the word out. The RFS’ Fires Near Me NSW app served this purpose well, as did their website and the bulk SMS sent out to people in the areas declared to have a catastrophic fire risk.

So far, this situation has been dealt with very effectively by the agencies concerned, and I hope people will continue to use the tools and heed the warnings passed on.

Reeder for iPhone Supports Fever

Reeder for iPhone Supports Fever

I am addicted to RSS feeds. Well, addicted may overdo it a tad, but RSS is certainly the way I prefer to keep an eye on various websites, and thus to get my daily dose of technology, scuba and martial arts news.
For a long time I was a committed Google Reader user, which served well the back end management of my list of RSS feeds, and the syncing of then. For the front end, I loved the Reeder app for iPhone, iPad and Mac OSX.

Reeder is a simple but powerful app that syncs with Google Reader, providing a pleasant UI and easy interaction with services like Instapaper, Twitter, Readability, Pocket, Evernote and others. I much prefer to browse my RSS feeds in Reeder than in Google.

But, Google has been getting increasingly creepy for me (among many others), and have actually crossed the “creepy line”. I’ve decided to spread my data out among various providers (including Google, Apple and others), and one thing I did was to move my RSS feeds off Google Reader and onto Fever, a self hosted RSS engine. I’ve been loving it, and enjoying the fact that my data is now under my own control. Google now has less of a complete picture of me.

Fever works beautifully and because its web based it syncs seamlessly across devices. It has built connectivity to some of the services like Instapaper. The only thing I’ve been missing is the dedicated apps for iPhone and iPad, as I generally prefer apps over browser on these devices.

Granted there is the Ashes app for iPad. I found that it worked clunkily for a few days and now just crashes every time (literally every time) I try to do something radical, such as read my feeds. Waste of time and money!

I was pretty excited today to see the launch of Reeder 3.0 for iPhone, which supports reading Fever, Readability and Google Reader feeds. So far its working beautifully, bringing back the joy of a dedicated iPhone App for my RSS feeds. The seamless linking to Instapaper, Email, Evernote, etc is a joy, and I find that I can browse feeds much faster in this app than on a browser interface.

I’m looking forward to an iPad version too, but in the interim I will be happy to use the iPhone version at 2x on my iPad.

If you’re into RSS and use an iPhone, get Reeder. And if you want Google to have an incomplete picture of you, consider moving your feeds onto Fever.