Thursday, August 30, 2012

Rude Intrusions on Facebook: Relentless Game Invites and App Requests

Do you get multiple game invites and app requests on Facebook, from the same person? This is very rude and intrusive. Why would anyone keep sending these to you, when it's obvious you don't intend to respond?

It's like a recent weirdo in our town who is going around door to door selling "educational toys". When people tell him they're not interested, and shut the front door on him, he tends to bang on their windows. Belligerent behavior and annoyingly aggressive, pushy attempts to persuade always backfire.

So why would anyone keep sending you game invitations and application requests on Facebook, over and over again? You have not accepted them, thus you do not wish to join them in whatever "fun" they think they're having on these apps.

But still they send them to you. You keep getting these Facebook notifications that Billy Doofus has "sent you a request on Between You and Me". Kathy Summer Salt has "sent you a request on Bumper Stickers." On and on, they keep coming, with no regard for the fact that you are not responding to these requests.

I blocked someone on Facebook recently who was gleeful about sadistically "spamming my FB friends with game invites" as retaliation. A few friends asked her to stop sending invites, so she had a hissy fit and is sending them more often now, just to annoy those who had the nerve to ask her to stop.

Facebook games and apps are basically time wasters that contribute nothing of enduring value to anyone's life. 

Between You and Me
Birthday Calendar 2012
Angry Birds
Mafia Wars
Texas Holdem Poker
Bubble Witch Saga
Hidden Chronicles
Diamond Dash
Tetris Battle
Bumper Sticker
Pieces of Flair
Super Wall
Pirates vs. Ninjas

... if someone fails to respond and accept your Facebook game invite or app requests, why not be polite and leave them alone?

It's the civilized thing to do.

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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

profile bait vs troll bait

Profile bait and troll bait are common in social media. Here's the difference.

Today a friend of mine on Facebook posted a classic form of "profile bait":


If anyone is annoyed or mad at me please take a number and kindly move to the back of the line. 


Do you see what is going on here, from a social engineering angle? It's clever way to lure people to your profile page. When people read this post, they'll be curious and want to find out what you've been posting lately that might anger or irritate people. In this case, I think it was just sports stuff. 

I'm always amazed at how something as trivial as sports can cause tempers to flare and even violence to erupt. Sports, politics, religion, race, ethnicity, national origin, fashion, all sorts of topics can be the cause of hostility, hatred, and heated debates.

Why? Because some people, being empty inside, need to identify with something in an extreme manner, to fill their inner void. Extreme identification with an idea, person, object, or group gives some people a sense of belonging, purpose, and personal reality.

The problem is that when someone expresses a contrary view, the over-identified individual takes it very personally. They feel like an opposing, or simply different, opinion is a personal attack. This childish reaction is unrealistic and can be a harmful attitude to carry around.

In addition to "profile bait", there is "troll bait". Have you ever seen someone express their support for a political candidate, sports team, atheism, religion, or other issue in an inflammatory manner?

That's "troll bait". 

They're stating their opinion in an obnoxious, confrontational way in order to lure people into an argument. Often they will demonize those of differing views. They want you to troll them; they want flamers and other riled up types to enter into verbal combat with them. It's just another form of gratuitous violence.

"Candidate X is the only choice to save America, and if you don't see that, you're an imbecile with a hereditary brain disease."

"Sports Team Z is the greatest team in the history of sports and anybody who disagrees is a total idiot."

"If you believe in God, you're against the progress of science."

"If you question our pastor, you're fighting against God."

"My nation is specially chosen to dominate and lead the world."

Inflammatory statements are begging for a fight. The person making such statements may be in denial and claim "I'm just expressing what I really think" but there's more to it.

You can speak your mind in a polite and dignified manner. You can express an opinion in a sincere and intelligent way, without inciting riots. 

Before posting that strongly worded opinion, ask yourself:

Am I trying to stir up extreme emotions? 

Do I want to argue about this? Why? 

Am I being sadistic? Do I get a weird pleasure from attacking other people with my ideas? 

Do I want to humiliate those who have different views? 

Do I hate the fact that some people have opposing opinions? 

Do I wish everyone agreed with me? 

Would that make me happy? 

Why do I think all my views are superior? 

Am I so insecure that I have to try to silence those who disagree? 

Do I tend to mock and say filthy things to those who dissent, or do I honestly want to engage in an educated discussion to understand the other side of this issue and test my own opinions?

Why do I even feel compelled to express this opinion? Am I trying to share something valuable and helpful with others? 

Or am I just reacting to all the propaganda from the other side, which has pushed my buttons and got me all upset?

What do I hope to accomplish?

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Monday, August 27, 2012

Blocking vs Unfriending Users on Facebook

Why would you Unfriend someone, when it's far more effective to Block them? If someone is stalking, offending, or annoying you on Facebook, you had better BLOCK them and NOT Unfriend them.

I posted on Facebook how I blocked 3 Facebook users last night. Someone then asked me if I unfriended them, or is there something more involved with blocking them.

Blocking someone makes it seem, to them, that you have vanished. It seems like you are no longer on Facebook. As far as they're concerned, you no longer exist as a Facebook user. They are no longer in your Facebook experience and you are no longer in theirs. I like that a lot.

I don't know why anyone would simply unfriend somebody.

That does not go far enough, in my opinion. If someone is posting offensive, irrelevant, or insane things that appear in your News Feed, and you're tired of having to see it all the time, I suggest you BLOCK them.

If you just unfriend them, they can still stalk you, see what you're posting, and contact you, perhaps to bother you with questions as to why you unfriended them. Since they can still read your posts, and view your activities, they can gossip about you, quote you, and know where you're going and what you're doing. That could be a serious problem, especially if you're a woman.

Unfriending someone is like divorcing a spouse, but still hanging around with them as pals. It doesn't make sense. If you need to get away from someone who's abusive, annoying, or even dangerous, you should do it abruptly, completely, and permanently. Half way measures potentially just prolong and complicate the process.

I never simply unfriend anybody, I always block them. I don't block people who disagree with me, or who have views contrary to my own. I only block people who pollute my News Feed, and thereby invade my consciousness, with posts that I can no longer tolerate based on my sense of civility, sanity, or decency.

For example, someone last night posted some sexually explicit images, then said she was tired of people telling her to stop sending them FB game invites, "so I'm going to start spamming the f*** out of all my Facebook friends with game invites".

In short, a nasty person with issues that I no longer care to know about.

This same person was posting a lot of posts with filthy language and I finally decided I'd had enough. There was no value or relevance in their posts. Just rants about what they disliked, sexually explicit images, and seemingly drunk statements.

Proclaiming how you intend to harass people and spam them is also a violation of Facebook terms of service and can get you kicked off Facebook.

According to Facebook's Statement of Rights and Responsibilities, under Safety, items 6 and 7 state:

6. You will not bully, intimidate, or harass any user.
7. You will not post content that: is hate speech, threatening, or pornographic; incites violence; or contains nudity or graphic or gratuitous violence.

You know, there are sociopaths, perverts, criminals, and psychos on Facebook. If you wouldn't invite them into your home, why let them spread their garbage in your News Feed?

You don't need to command them to stop. You don't need to explain why you don't like their attitude. You don't need to clarify to them your own morality and standards. You don't need to try to shame them. You don't need to demand that they explain why they post what they post. Just block them.

When you UNFRIEND someone on Facebook this is what happens:

1. That person does not appear on your Facebook friends list.
2. You can still find each other on Facebook search.
3. You can still message each other.
4. You can read the other person's wall.
5. You can still re-add each other as friends.

Blocking makes you disappear from Facebook, as far as they are concerned. They can't find you and can't contact you.

When you BLOCK someone on Facebook this is what happens:

1. They cannot find you at all on Facebook.
2. Both of you do not appear in each other's search results.
3. It is like you do not exist on Facebook at all.
4. They cannot contact you anymore as there is no way to find you.
5. NOTE: You might still appear on third-party apps like Facebook games. If both of you are playing the same games.

HOW to BLOCK a Facebook user:

Click on the name of the person you want to block. When you're at their Facebook profile, to the right, directly across from their name, you'll see Friends | Message and a gear icon (representing Tools) with a down arrow drop down menu. When you over over Friends, you'll see options to add them to lists and other actions, then Unfriend is at the bottom of the menu.

But to BLOCK someone, you have to go to the gear tool icon, and click the down arrow to activate the drop down menu. You'll see the last two menu options are Unfriend and Report/Block. When you click on Report/Block, you'll see another menu that shows Unsubscribe | Unfriend | Block and Report This Timeline.

Click on Block. If you feel you need to also Report this Facebook user, click on Report This Timeline and you'll see a checklist of options to report.


Facebook Help Center "Blocking People"

Facebook Help Center "Report Abuse or Policy Violations"

Sunday, August 26, 2012

New Tech Neologisms for Internet Computer People

Please start using these carefully coined phrases to replace the commonly used terms. Together, as a people united, we can Occupy Tech Language.

(1) Compu-chumming (instead of "social media")
(2) Infinite library (instead of "internet search")
(3) Actionoid (instead of "widget")
(4) Stickers (instead of "tags")
(5) Electro-note (instead of "email")
(6) Digital effluvium boat (instead of "website")
(7) Oneiric Eric (instead of "entrepreneur")
(8) Macro-beamed (instead of "viral")
(9) Coordinates (instead of "URL")
(10) Servomechanism loop (instead of "comment")
(11) Loquacious signal path (instead of "online conversation")
(12) Abend (abnormal end) (instead of "crash")
(13) Porta-chine (instead of "cell phone" or "mobile device")
(14) Mist meandering (instead of "cloud computing")
(15) Information superhighway car (instead of "web browser")
(16) Biz embryo (instead of "start-up")

I went to the infinite library in my information superhighway car to do some compu-chumming and there, in my loquacious signal path was a servo-mechanism loop from an old high school buddy, who is now an oneiric eric, living in California. He said his new biz embryo has been macro-beamed, and he gave me the coordinates of his digital effluvium boat. I was mist meandering on my porta-chine but one of my actionoids caused an abend, before I could sticker it. I sent him an electro-note telling him I'd like to know more.

PHOTO ABOVE: Soon everyone will have a computer in their home. Mothers and daughters will be able to keep track of food inventories and send out invitations to parties with great speed and ease. Imagine all the free time you'll have once you install a Jumbomat X25 in your domicile.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Microsoft Windows 8 Smart Screen: Safety or Surveillance?

Yet another controversy regarding Windows 8. It includes, by default (but can be disabled in security settings) Smart Screen that allegedly monitors "application reputation". 

Supposedly to help protect users from malicious apps, some tech people are alarmed at the invasion of privacy, since Smart Screen reports back to Microsoft every application you download to your computer. Is this a safety or a surveillance issue, or both? You decide.

musicon on SlashDot says: "...This is a very serious privacy problem, specifically because Microsoft is the central point of authority and data collection/retention here and therefore becomes vulnerable to being served judicial subpoenas or National Security Letters intended to monitor targeted users. This situation is exacerbated when Windows 8 is deployed in countries experiencing political turmoil or repressive political situations."

IE Blog (Windows IE Engineering Team Blog) "Smart Screen Application Reputation"

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Monday, August 20, 2012

Sharing G+ Posts Directly is a BAD Idea

There are G+ users that I like, but they are now doing that "User X Shared a Post Directly With You" and their text snippets are like "Hello G Plus friends. Here's a really great ____ that I think you'll enjoy..."

It's a real turn off. It's very spammy. That breezey, radio DJ intro to each post leaves me cold. I'm not the slightest bit interested in the posts. I don't even check them out. I just ignore the Notifications.

If you're doing this, I'm not trying to guilt trip you, I'm just telling you my honest opinion.

Sometimes trying to be too social in social media, it can backfire.

Don't treat me like an intimate, life-long, confidante or best buddy, when I simply like you on a very limited level. I might have a beer or a coffee with you, but I'm not going to let you crash on my sofa for a week.

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Saturday, August 11, 2012

Dangers of Facebook Places Maps

In your profile page on Facebook timeline, you'll see Places.

Location based status updates -- in stealth mode. Involuntary. Difficult to manage. "Frictionless" surveillance.

What is Facebook Places?

It's a data mined map of every place you've been lately. Stalkers, predators, your angry ex, enemies you don't even know you have, and other ne'er-do-wells are ecstatic, they LOVE it. Now they know where you or your kids hang out. Now burglars know if you're home or away on a trip. Welcome to Involuntary ('frictionless") Foursquare-type Check-ins.

You, especially if you're a woman, a youth, elderly, or disabled, are now far more vulnerable.

The city is what Facebook claims they display, but in reality, your location that you mention in a post, or that Facebook determines based on data mining algorithm, ends up being a pin on a specific street on a map.

What happens when you mess with the location icon at the bottom left corner of a wall post -- as you type it in your status update? 

When you click on that icon, a list of Places appears in a drop down menu. In my case, it's a list of restaurants, stores, and other locations that I've mentioned, but most of these spots are places I don't go to, I just discussed them in a post. 

This is a very stupid "feature". You parents better look into the maps that Facebook is creating on your children's Facebook profiles. Single ladies? Elderly? Feeble or disabled? Be careful.

How can you protect your privacy (there's that dirty word that total transparency freaks, corporate advertisers, official surveillance thugs, and identity theft criminals hate)? How can you keep your locations and places you visit away from prying eyes?

It's very convoluted and mysterious, of course. Sharing Where You Are is promoted like it's a good thing, but in reality, it's a stupid, useless, and potentially dangerous thing. If you want someone to know where you are, text, phone, or email them. Automatically displaying it on social media is unwise.

Facebook states:


Turn location on or off, up front.

The location button (second icon from the left at the bottom of a post) in the sharing tool lets you add your general location to all of your posts after you turn it on and until you turn it off. You can also add a specific place, like a restaurant or park, to your posts.

Don't want to add your general location to all of your posts? You can turn off this feature at any time.

How do I remove my location from a post before I share it?

We suggest a general location for your post. If our suggestion isn’t accurate or you don’t want to include it, you can remove it by clicking the “x” when you hover over the location tag. Then if you’d like, you can fill in your current city yourself. 


Tuesday, August 7, 2012

National Purple Heart Day motorcycle rally Peoria, IL

O.p. Seils and Steven Edward Streight
at Veterans Pub and Pizza,
2525 NE Adams, Peoria, IL

I could see the line up of motorcycles on the street as I approached Veterans Pub and Pizza on 2525 NE Adams, Peoria, IL. They glistened in the 98 degree warmth of the sun on this bright afternoon.

Buddy Streight the Minpin likes O.p. Seils' Harley. I had to coax him to jump off. Not sure if Buddy has a license to drive a motorcycle.

O.p. Seils

Monday, August 6, 2012

Social Media Sympathy Fishing

DO NOT use Facebook as a psychiatrist's couch, shoulder to cry on, or confessional booth. Fishing for sympathy can backfire, and cause many more problems. Like losing custody of your kids.

I'm sure you've seen people on Facebook who use wall posts to air their dirty laundry. They're bummed out or something is ticking them off. Often it's a relationship issue. They describe their personal problems, family matters, and private issues. Often, their style is frenzied, foul-mouthed, and nearly incoherent.

In Facebook wall posts they recklessly portray themselves as manic-depressive, depressed, suicidal, alcoholic, drug abusing, unstable, vengeful, violent, confused, angry, hysterical, and even "psycho".

They actually brag about how self-destructive or whacked out they are. They may even confess to things they did in a fit of rage, then add, "but that doesn't make me a bad person, you have to understand the situation I was in ...."

Why would anyone paint a negative picture of themselves in a public venue like Facebook? What good does it do to give your enemies daily updates on what a terrible person you are? How can a person not realize that their fueling the fires of gossip and rumor?

My best guess is they are drama queens, men and women who seek sympathy and support. They hope someone posts a comment like "Hang in there. I know you're a good person deep down inside. Your ex is going to get his karma. Let's go out for drinks this Friday night. We'll have fun. I'll cheer you up. We'll get wasted."

All these wild rantings can be used against them in a court of law, for example, a child custody battle. These manic explosions of self-disclosure also make your ex and his or her pals laugh at you.

Even if you've blocked them, there are others who get your Facebook updates, people you forgot about, who knew both of you, and are now siding with your ex. These informants love it when you say something stupid or crazy or drunken on Facebook. It all gets back to the ex, one way or another.

If you're going through a tough emotional time, a relationship breakup, legal separation, or divorce -- try to control yourself in social media.

Post happy, sober, rational messages. Talk about how great you feel, now that you're free. Mention a comedy movie you saw that was really funny. Keep the personal life details off Facebook. The less your ex knows, both good and bad information about you, the better off you will be.

Don't mention who you're hanging out with. Don't mention what bars or restaurants or stores you're visiting. You don't want your e stalking you or getting others to follow you around and keep tabs on you. Become MYSTERIOUS, UNKNOWN, OFF THE GRID.

Facebook and other social media are NOT some eternal, sacred, cherished documentation of your every mood and move. STOP thinking you have to rush to post a new status update every time you have a strong feeling or something bad happens. You have NO obligation to share with the world every freaky thought that enters your head and every frustrating event that happens in your life.

Social Media Sympathy Fishing is a dangerous, addicting activity. You can cause a lot more harm than good. A few supportive comments by real life friends will not make up for incriminating statements you make in a wall post, that a judge or jury will frown upon. Nor will it make up for the gossip your enemies will spread about you.

If necessary, stay off Facebook for a few weeks, or months. Just post a link to a news item every so often. Say NOTHING personal at all. Be like a company that just grinds out anonymous sales messages. Grind out news links or photos of cartoons on Facebook status updates.

If you take a break from social media, post a notice like: "Taking time off Facebook to sort things out. Don't worry about me. Will return when things settle down."

Your family and true, close friends will still be able to contact you by phone or email. You won't be totally shut out of their lives by taking a vacation away from social media.

But your silence will frustrate your ex and other enemies. They will be going berserk, having no juicy information on you anymore. They will deeply resent your sudden absence. Maybe that will force them to move on and get a life.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Published Articles on Web Tech by Steven Streight

In the process of submitting samples of my online writing for a project in web development that was announced on LinkedIn, I came across some older content I produced and almost forgot about.

Here are some of my examples of web content that I've had published over the years. The ideas and insights, going back as far as 2004, one year before I started my first blog, are still valid today.

When someone asks me, "What is web content development? What exactly is that you do?" these links can help explain and clarify.

Photo at top of post: "Sunset Over K-Mart" by Steven Streight, August 2, 2012.

Articles for web usability sites: 

Society for Technical Communication "Designing High Fidelity Home Pages"

WebCredible "8 Web Usability Killers"

My web technology and creativity articles for the Technical Communication Library at the Rhetoric and Professional Communication program at Iowa State University.

My photo blog: Lensing and Shuttering.

My web technology articles in InterBusiness Issues magazine.

A recent video I produced for a local criminal defense law firm: "Introducing Miller & Pugh Law Offices, PC".