Sunday, 25 October 2009

You need cool things to put on Facebook?

Facebook, Inc.Image via Wikipedia

You sign up for an account on Facebook and you try to excel - you see that the people who post lots of fun stuff are popular. Since it's 2009, you Google it: Cool things to put on Facebook is aparently a searched term and gets this blog post on Facebook ads a steady trickle of traffic.

Unfortunately that post is no help in answering. So before Demand Media get the "Cool Things on Facebook" video out, I decided to dig a little, have some fun and think of and research sustainable ways of generating fun things to put on Facebook.

1. Start following funny video sites, joke sites, etc.
There are tonnes of these, search for them, follow them, repost the really funny stuff. A good twist on this is to track sites few other people know. Maybe look for niche humour sites or foreign sites.

2. Befriend various people who post cool stuff and repost their stuff to friends who do not know them

3. Know that you are not alone in this quest. Check the replies in the following Yahoo Answers threads: What funny things can I post on Facebook?
BTW, the user was looking for things as clever and funny as "I have just woke up, i would of woke up earlier but i was asleep." or "right i think it is time to check the inside of my eyelids, ill be back in 8 hours."
What are some cool things to post as your status on facebook?
What are some cool things i can add to my facebook page?

Do you have any other ideas of cool things to put on Facebook to share with the readers here?

Friday, 23 October 2009

Can Apple afford to be this unresponsive?

Welcome, MobileMeImage by ensign_at_e233net via Flickr
This was supposed to be a tweet but it's too twisted of a story for 140 characters.

I visited, a friend's site. A weird pop up appeared (and I've seen it somewhere before):
User name and password are being requested by The site says:

When I clicked on Cancel, the site continued loading but the error popped up several more times and I had to click it away.

I coppied the error message and searched for it in Google. I was amazed to find a discussion of the problem on the official Apple site forum going back a month, to September 23. Another users asked in mid-October: Why is my site requiring a password to view?

Aparently, for users browsing with Firefox, the bug affects sites using Apple's Mobile Me service ( The service synchronises info between iPhone, mac computers and other Apple devices. I have come across reports going back to 2008 on the problem.

Something seems amiss at Apple if user after user of their pricey software and hardware complain about a massive bug that hurts their websites for weeks, without anyone from the company responding. And I had for a moment considered getting a Mac (kidding, not really).

Some people obviously use the Mobile Me platform for ecommerce publishing. If I was one of them, this would definitely make me reconsider.

Oh and a bonus: when I was composing the tweet that never materialised I wanted to "ping" Apple's Twitter account but they actually don't seem to have one (other than @itunestrailers).

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Is the conference discount on hotel room sometimes a surcharge?

Perth - Sheraton Hotel - ballroom set for conf...Image by leozaza via Flickr

You stay in a hotel room. The man in the identical room next to yours is paying 40% less.

You are attending a conference. The organisers gave you a code to use when booking accommodation in the official conference hotel to receive a discount.

You make the reservation at the alleged discount and maybe never find out that the same room reserved through the hotel's public website costs far less and comes with better terms (I stumbled upon a Prague hotel offering a conference rate of EUR 88 during a recent editors' conference, the hotel website showed a rate of EUR 58 for the same date).

There are a few possible economic rationales:
- the hotel is simply using the pricing power gained from being the 'official venue'
- an intermediary marks up the rates (although sometimes the hotel itself does)
- the rates for accomodation subsidise lower charges to organisers for other services

I found a nice clarification called Why stay at the conference hotel on the website of a US computer association. They say:
On occasion, one of the many internet providers or sometimes the hotel itself will offer a few rooms in their inventory at a lower price than the conference is offering. There are often restrictions and penalties associated with these rates.

So next time you are attending a conference make sure to crosscheck the rates with the hotel website and third party sites.