Category Archives: Technology


Ma, how does this thing called Facebook work?

BBC News reports that Aaron Sorkin, creator of TV drama The West Wing, is due to make a film about the founders of Facebook. As part of Aaron’s exciting preparations for the movie, BBC News reports that he has

even opened a Facebook account to aid his research

Now, that’s not exactly going above and beyond, is it? He’s taken two minutes (three, if he’s especially computer illiterate) out of his day to set up a Facebook page. No so impressive, Aaron!

I want to see some proper research going on. I want to see Aaron Sorkin spend every waking minute of every day from now on updating his profile, adding new photos, tagging people, “find out” what his exes are doing, changing his status (“Aaron has writer’s block, LOL!”), playing Scrabulous…er, scratch that, playing “What Would Be Your Stripper Name?”… I want him to set up his own, completely new, social networking site and grow it into a 100 million user plus website. I want to see him kidnap the actual founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, assume his identity and start living his life for him. I WANT SOME PROPER RESEARCH, I tell you!

Facebook Hysteria


Where would be without Facebook? No, really – this is a serious question I’m asking. I’m not referring to you and me, “ordinary” users of the social networking site. I of course refer instead to journalists and bloggers. (Alright, so the last grouping does include me, but whatever.)

What we’d be left with would be masses and masses of blank pages in newspapers, magazines and online. For everyone angle of Facebook and its uses and problems, pros and cons has been covered to death in the past year or so. First there were all the articles about the the rise in popularity of the site, and the amount of working hours lost to it. Then, there was the whole “stalker-type” issue, whereby current or potential employers, partners (who could also be current and potential, I assume), exes and others could all be looking at your profile RIGHT NOW and finding out all sorts of embarrassing details or photos. (Not that you’d be the one looking up exes on Facebook, oh no.)

Thirdly, and onto more serious issues: the data privacy question, and the possibility that sensitive information could be found out about Facebook users by all sorts of undesirables who are no doubt hacking into your bank accounts and draining it RIGHT THIS INSTANT.

And now, finally, the apparent “death” of Facebook, brought on by news that usage of the site is down by 5% between this past December and January. Cue lots more articles detailing why people don’t like it anymore, why they’ve been turned off it, and the bad experiences they’ve had with it.

Facebook isn’t going to die, and it will still get plenty of use. It’s a compact way of keeping in touch and sharing information with friends – whether news, photos, invites or whatever. Social networking websites have sprung up all over the place in the past few years, and there’s something for everyone…well, pretty much. In broad terms, there’s MySpace for the music, Bebo for the kids, LinkedIn for business, to name but a few. It’s just a case that online users will settle down to use that one (or two) that they feel is most appropriate for them.

Two things probably will happen though. Firstly, the days of users logging into Facebook every 15 minutes or so to check the latest from their friends are surely behind us – after all, the initial attraction and excitement over the site has gone. Secondly, all these hysterical articles in the press and online will become less frequent. Well, let’s hope so in any case.

I guess on that note, I should really make this post my first and last on the subject.

Hmmm to the Amazon Kindle

Kindle has launched a “revolutionary” wireless electronic reading device…that looks like something from the 1980s, and which costs $399! I mean I’m big on retro stuff and love the 80s, but this is pushing it a bit far. In the same year that we’ve been given the gorgeous and sexy touch-screen iPhone, seen the Wii’s popularity grow out of all proportion, and get new technological advances left, right and centre, we get a gadget such as the Kindle come along.

It claims to have a a sharp, high-resolution screen that looks just real paper, thereby, I suppose, getting round the old eye-strain problem associated with computers. It says it has long battery life, downloads very fast and is light, and can store about 200 titles. Sure, it allows users to download books, newspapers and blogs wirelessly, with no connection charges…but you’ll still have to pay $9.99 per book or for a newspaper subscription.

I’m not convinced. Don’t most people like physically holding (and owning) books? Gripping the cover tight on a real page-turner? Lending them out to friends? All in all, what’s the point of the Kindle? Aside from saving on bookshelf space. Oh, and not fighting with big broadsheet newspapers on the train during a rush hour…