The Awesome Tech Blog

chic, straightforward and shrewd words on tech ever desired

Archive for the ‘Facebook’ Category

5 settings to change today to enhance your Facebook security

leave a comment »

The social networking website Facebook has to be known to make new changes at a rate similar to some sports website changing it’s content and hardly a handful percentage of users get to know about what’s actually going on. A few days back, Orli Yakuel on Tech Crunch mentioned five things Facebook should fix immediately in it’s interface, and also ranted about the rapidity of changes Facebook has been carelessly doing lately. Today while messing around my account’s settings, I came across a few functions you might wanna enable/disable to feel a lil bit more secure on the network.

Turn on HTTPS:

HTTPS is an extension of a the normal Hypertext transfer protocol (HTTP). (The ‘S’ in HTTPS stands for “Secure”.) With HTTPS, whatever information you share on the web goes through a secure medium in an encrypted form. So does data via HTTP go in plain text form, you may ask. Yes, full plain text. From your chats, to statuses to messages, everything is sent in plain text. Which means anyone having access to those servers can read your stuff. Every damn stuff. But now that Facebook let’s you completely browse via HTTPS and it’s time that you enabled it. Go to Account | Account Settings – scroll down to ‘Change Security’ and check ‘Secure browsing (https)’ .  As mentioned earlier here on Awesome Tech, enabling login notifications is also a good practice.

**You can also enable HTTPS for all the websites by installing this simple browser extension, which is another good practice.

Turn off Instant Personalization

Now Instant Personalization is a complicated feature that Facebook is slowly rolling out to people. To learn more about it go to: https://www.facebook.com/instantpersonalization/. Now, whether you care to learn more about it or not, it is advised you turn it off. To do that go to Account | Privacy Settings | Apps, games and websites settings | Instant Personalization | Uncheck “Enable instant personalisation on partner websites.” (Instant Personalization is not available to all users as of now)

Disable Facebook Places

Now I’m concerned about my privacy and Facebook Places is something that could mess up one’s privacy to a newer extent. What is Facebook Places? If Facebook Places is enabled, you can check into places – like any place and tell “I’m here at XYZ joint”. Besides that, your friends can check you in places. Though good for social network, I have a few questions though. Why would one like to do that? Why would one tell everyone where he/she is? That’s insanely stupid! And keep privacy aside, telling where you are to your social network isn’t the safest of tasks! To disable Facebook Places, go to Account | Privacy Settings | Set “Places I check into” to ‘Only Me’; un check “Include me in “People here now” after I check in” and “Disable” the option “Friends can check me in to places”.

Cut down information available through friends

In order to serve stupid apps better, Facebook allows apps to access your data if a certain friend uses a certain stupid app – like a quiz or something. To see what you’re sharing and to change those settings go to Account | Privacy Settings | Apps, games and websites settings | Click Edit Settings next to “Information accesible through your friends” and suit yourself. Best thing to do is to uncheck every option in that list!

Don’t let Facebook show your info in Facebook Adverts

Facebook has came up with a unique idea called Social Adverts. Keeping this functionality enabled, the adverts can now boast your information along side the advert. What kind of information? Your likes. And in some cases, your profile picture. Like for example, let’s say your are Mike Chang. Now an advertiser opts for social actions with his advertisements on Facebook and if you “like” that advertiser’s page – the advert to your friend might appear as, “Mike Chang” likes this. It might or might not have profile picture. Now this isn’t a big deal, but I would not like if I was Mike Change. So better off, you can disable this by going to Account | Account Settings | Facebook Adverts and opt for “None” for both the options.

Besides changing these five, it’s always advised to keep as subtle information as possible on social networks. Who knows what can happen someday! Socialize safe:)

Advertisements

Written by rahulbhagchandani

March 30, 2011 at 4:00 am

Posted in Facebook

Tagged with , , ,

Firefox addon ‘HTTPS everywhere’ lets you browse through HTTPS wherever possible

with one comment

HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocal Secured) is a better web protocol to interact with rather than HTTP. What’s the difference you may ask.

Well, in simple words, HTTPS is more secure. Why? Because HTTPS sends all the data you give to your browser, in a secured and an encrypted form – i.e. only servers can read your stuff.

It’s a good practice to opt for HTTPS wherever possible even if one gets that as a compromise to browsing speed. Having said that, it’s not all websites have HTTPS servers and also, it’s difficult to figure out which site has and which doesn’t. And if you do figure out those sites, there might be further glitches in accessing them via HTTPS.

And that’s where Firefox addon HTTPS everywhere comes in place. HTTPS pulls the strings at possible website that could use HTTPS servers and let’s you browse safely. And does all that efficiently.

In today’s unsafe world of web, this Firefox addon’s a must!

**Install ‘HTTPS everywhere’ – https://www.eff.org/https-everywhere

**Difference between HTTP and HTTPS – https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/HTTP_Secure#Difference_from_HTTP

Written by rahulbhagchandani

March 30, 2011 at 1:07 am

Posted in Facebook

Tagged with , , ,

Let Facebook tell who logged into your account

with one comment

Facebook has this hidden feature available and I bet not many of you reading this are aware about it. The feature, if enabled, just after logging in and before accessing your account, Facebook asks the user to enter a particular name for the location user is logging in from. And that name entered along with IP address and location, time of logging in, the browser used to browse the site and even the OS – everything is mailed to your primary email address just the next moment.

The whole point is – you should know when someone else logs into your account and if this feature is enabled, you’ll know it. Easy!

It might be a bit of pain because enabling the feature means an additional step between logging in and accessing the account, but the feature is too powerful to be ignored. Apart, clicking the button, “Don’t ask for this device again” won’t ask you again of course until the browser’s cache is not deleted.

To enable this feature, go Accounts tab | Account Security option under Settings tab | Click Change | And enable the Radio button On under Get notified by SMS or email if a new computer or mobile device logs into your account.

For an easier tutorial, follow the attached slideshow.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Written by rahulbhagchandani

December 23, 2010 at 4:30 pm

Facebook profiles get a facial makeover

leave a comment »

And voila, Facebook is all-set to roll out another change in it’s user interface. In fact the changes have been already rolled out .

It’s the individual profile pages that have got a relift this time round and I am very happy to say, they are not disappointing! After the groups debacle, Facebook I guess has hit the right chord as far as profile pages go.

Anyway, the change isn’t an alien one either. The new profile pictures have the design based on the design of friendship pages (stalking pages :P) which were recently rolled out.

The new design of the Facebook profile (click to enlarge)

The good thing is, the new design adds a freshness to the interface which always a good sign. The old design was anyway getting a bit dull and so the renovation will indeed help. What more, the new design is pretty uncluttered and it’s pretty interactive – unlike the old design.

As you might have noticed in the above image, all the tabs on the top having been taken to a vertical column on the left. The info page now boasts a much better appeal, especially the activities and interests part of the info page – here every interest of the user appears in the form of image thumbnails instead of plain text links.

Activities and Interests on the Info page (click to enlarge)

Even in the Friend list – the major element now is the user’s Facebook profile thumbnail and the name and other info is secondary.

Other notable change is the addition of a user’s info summary just at the top of the page. This summary shows the relationship status, school/uni and employer info, place, hometown, birth date et al.

A snippet of the user's info summary at the top of the top. Niche, right? (click to enlarge)

It is clear that a lot of emphasis has been laid on using a lot of images all across the user’s profile making the profile look a lot more prolific and sheeny.

Fortunately, having the new profile pages won’t require you to request an invitation. If you’re lucky, Facebook might have already posted something on the top of your home page introducing you the new design. If you haven’t don’t worry.

Head to this link – http://facebook.com/about/profile – and click that green button on the top right corner to upgrade to the new profile pages. Just to be clear, once switched, you can’t come back to the old pages.

But then you don’t even need to!

Written by rahulbhagchandani

December 6, 2010 at 4:04 pm

Posted in Facebook

Tagged with , , ,

Now Download your Facebook data

with one comment

Just a few weeks back Facebook rolled out a new feature which allowed users to download their Facebook data – like profile information, images, your wall/wall posts – in short everything that your Facebook profile has. The download takes a few minutes to process and after you request one, a link to download is emailed to your inbox. 

Your data is wrapped in a compressed zip file – and your entire account’s data – profile info, messages, photos, videos, notes, wall including wall posts, friend list and even events attended can be accessed via an index.html file located inside that zip.

Photos are included in the zip but the videos aren’t. Anyway, there is a link under every video which allows you to download the same.

I’m still trying to figure out the “good” part of this feature.

Though I can say about the bad thing. As all the conversations are located in once single .html page, it becomes easier to browse through past messages. Now there is a possibility that you didn’t delete some not so nice messages and BOOM, here you are trying to figure out how to cope up the bad memories that just flown in.

(In-post tip: Always delete things went bad –like conversations.)

The index.html file looks something like this

Another bad thing is, if in case this zip goes in the hands of someone you don’t want, well, disasters can then follow.

Anyway if you’re slightly interested in downloading your data, go to

Account| Account Settings| Click on “learn more” beside the option “Download your information”

Request for your download and you will be emailed a link as soon as the download is ready.

There is one flaw though. My download shows wall posts only until April 1, 2010. I don’t know why but it is so. Ill ask some pals to check with their downloads and will leave an update here. If in case you dig up something here, do fire in a comment.

And on a concluding note, I would like to add – when Facebook launched this feature, they didn’t even bother to do a blog post about the same. Huh, opaque people.

Written by rahulbhagchandani

November 28, 2010 at 11:56 pm

Posted in Facebook

The kidlike Facebook-Google war continues

leave a comment »

Facebook is seriously an online version of a spoiled brat, let’s say someone like a 9-year old Justin Beiber. And Google, the Internet search behemoth, is no less (well no less as far as this fight goes, else Google is a pretty mature bloke). Let’s say Google is a teen, a teen like a present day Justin Beiber.

Now just wonder what crazy things could happen if two Beibers start fighting? It will be like the brat kid is continuously annoying the teen kid, and sorta winning as well whereas the teen kid is continuously poking around and trying to flaunt his eldership.

*Messy*

So what is happening exactly, you may ask.

Let’s flashback a lil for the entire story.

It was the first week of November when Google changed its’ terms of service. Google guys decided, “We’ll share our user data only if reciprocated”.

This meant – the start of a war between two Beibers. Why? Well, you see Facebook lets you find friends via your email addresses and also lets you invite people similarly. Gmail allows Facebook to access the user’s contact list but on the contrary, Facebook shares no information whatsoever with Google.

Here, Google in return was seeking for contact numbers and email addresses of a particular user’s friends. That’ll help Google to increase its productivity and with Google already having a Voice and SMS functionality in US, it would have in-short led to an increase in Gmail’s overall usage.

But Facebook didn’t respond nicely to this. And so, Google stopped giving the contacts’ access to Facebook.

Here, Facebook tried acting smart and well, they did come up smart. They used a Google feature in order to let users import contacts from Gmail. What did they do? Facebook here allowed users to directly download a .csv (contacts) file to their system and then subsequently asked them to upload it to Facebook’s servers. This way, Facebook kept their feature running.

To this Google decided to do nothing technically and hence, they started the war of words. The official response statement from Google read,

We’re disappointed that Facebook didn’t invest their time in making it possible for their users to get their contacts out of Facebook. As passionate believers that people should be able to control the data they create, we will continue to allow our users to export their Google contacts.

To this Facebook remained quiet for a while, but later, instead of replying with words, they just removed Gmail from the list of services available to find or invite friends. They just removed it literally. How dumb?!

And still now there’s no Gmail as an available service in Friend Finder app. See it for yourselves.

Even though all this happened, peace prevailed all across but only until tomorrow when a third party developer decided to build a Google Chrome extension named “Facebook doesn’t owns my friends” – an extension that allowed users to export the Facebook contacts into Gmail.

The add-on clearly mentioned, “THIS CHROME EXTENSION IS NOT AFFILIATED WITH GOOGLE OR FACEBOOK.”

People felt like freaking awesome then. And more awesome would have felt those guys and gals who actually exported their contacts.

You may ask here, why can’t we feel awesome? We can too, right?

To which I have to say disappointingly – NO. The add-on is out of service already.

According to TechCrunch, that add-on stopped working ten minutes after the news broke on their website. That add-on is still showing “403 Forbidden” error. See it for yourselves here.

It’s still unknown about who stopped the add-on service but very understandably, it’s a block from the Facebook’s end.

My point here is, WTF Facebook is upto? The Lamebook fight and then this prolonged fight. Indeed Facebook doesn’t own our contacts, so why not let us export it altogether at once? Instead what Facebook wants is – we open a text editor, go to each of our friend’s profile, copy their info and paste it in the text editor.

And then manage it accordingly.

WTF?

Written by rahulbhagchandani

November 27, 2010 at 5:08 pm

Facebook v Lamebook

with one comment

Before I get on the main topic I’d like to introduce you to Lamebook if you don’t know what it is. If you know, you can sure skip the next few senteces. 

Lamebook is actually a website – a nifty, and a naughty parody website of Facebook.

Lamebook is a daily updated site where users sent in screenshots of amusing, unusual and mostly hilarious (or lame) posts by them or their friends. The site, which is a brain child of two Texas graphic designers – Jonathan Standefer and Matthew Genitempo started in April 2009 and since then has been growing at a pretty freaking rate!

The site is funded by panoptic adverts and the content is categorized in various categories.

I discovered about Lamebook somewhere last week and have been a regular visitor since then and mind me, the stuff out there is either freaking hilarious or freaking lame. But no matter what the content is, it makes lol like hell! Mind me, makes me LOL!

If you are keen, you must check out Lamebook here.

But you might ask, why did I name this post as “Facebook v Lamebook”?  Well I named it so because there is actually a fight going on between guys from Facebook and between guys from Lamebook.

And I’m not kidding.

Indeed. These guys are fighting like joshes.

To understand the fight in its’ clear sense we need to flashback a bit. So here we go.

It was someday in March 2010 when Facebook sent a “cease and desist” notice to Lamebook and asked them to change their name and logo. Lamebook in reply claimed that Lamebook is “just a parody” and so it does not infringes or/and dilutes Facebook mark.

Talks after talks continued, but the parties couldn’t reach any resolution. Considering the same, in July Facebook readdressed their same concern to Lamebook, this time threatening to sue.

Then more talks. And all of them failed. This bought us close to somewhere near the end of October.

Then things got serious as just around 10 days back news broke that Lamebook had sued Facebook over infringement.

Yeah I wrote it right. Lamebook actually filed a complaint against Facebook.

Lamebook here simply intended to seek judicial declaration from the court of Texas which said “Lamebook did not infringe/dilute the Facebook mark”. Read the copy of the complaint if interested.

Facebook guys sure were disappointed on Lamebook’s move. They quoted,

It’s unfortunate that after months of working with Lamebook to amicably resolve what we believe is an improper attempt to build a brand that trades off Facebook’s popularity and fame, they have turned to litigation. We are confident in our position and believe we will prevail in court.

And then it was Facebook’s time to play some tricks. Yes, Facebook sued Lamebook now. Infringement of Facebook mark was their argument. 

And then Facebook decided to do more shitty things.

Just around 48 hours back, Facebook shut down Lamebook’s fan page, blocked all the content on Facebook that directed to lamebook.com and that’s not it, they also disabled the Facebook “likes” functionalities on lamebook.com.

Yes even I felt like WTF?!

But then there was a twist to the Facebook’s final move. Just after people criticized Facebook’s move to block Lamebook, Facebook’s Chief Technology Officer had the following to say…

This was a mistake on our part. In the process of dealing with a routine trademark violation issue regarding some links posted to Facebook, we blocked all mentions of the phrase “lamebook” on Facebook. We are committed to promoting free expression on Facebook. We apologize for our mistake in this case, and we are working to fix the process that led to this happening.

And hence all such lameness shown by Facebook was revoked.

As of now, sharing stuff directing tp lamebook.com works and so does “likes” functionality on lamebook.com but the official Lamebook page wasn’t resurrected. It remains shut down.

Meanwhile, Lamebook has been asking for readers support. In the latest statement on the home page of the site,

Well, Facebook didn’t like us sticking up for ourselves, so they shut down our Fan Page. In light of this, be sure to follow us on Twitter so you get updated with the latest and funniest of the lame!

The Lamebook's home page which now boasts various messages asking people to support the parody website. (Click to enlarge)

And that is what the Facebook v Lamebook battle has to offer.

The point is why Facebook has to be so rebellious? I mean wtf does a small company running on advert revenue would do the behemoth? And then the suffix “book” isn’t something that Facebook owns, do they? And then, Lamebook is nowhere in the competition with Facebook. So why the fuss? Why act like cry babies?

And this is not the first time, Facebook did sue Placebook (now TripTrace) and Teachbook for using the suffix –book in their names.

As a personal opinion, I want Lamebook to win this case and take the shit outta Facebook’s attitude. I don’t think Facebook can run around all over the web threatening people if they use the -book suffix or do something like lamebook has done.

Lamebook makes me laugh and so does to people. Facebook in literal sense doesn’t. And something that makes people laugh is very precious. Not everything or everyone can do that job – the job of making people laugh and enjoy. Lamebook is doing that, since 2009.

And I have a gut feeling that Lamebook will survive the battle!

Written by rahulbhagchandani

November 24, 2010 at 1:25 am

%d bloggers like this: