I make films. I'm also a nerd.

Shocker: Facebook Doesn’t Care What You Want

Laura from The Well-Prepared Mind has tried numerous times to delete all of the content in her Facebook profile, to zero effect. Her “deleted” content just keeps coming back from the dead.

I am stunned by Facebook’s callous disregard for their users. I simply cannot fathom that they refuse to respect my decisions to delete my posts from my Timeline. This is outrageous. I realize that I was one of Facebook’s products, am still until I delete my account, but I should be able to decide to delete something and have it deleted. And stay deleted.

While I completely understand Laura’s frustration, I’m not sure I understand why she’s surprised at all. Facebook exists solely to collect data–they’re not even good at selling ads against it. They just suck it up like a giant data Hoover, and that’s all they do.

Link-Blogging With Drafts And Pythonista

I write about the useful aspects of both Drafts and Pythonista quite often. The fact is, these two applications (with a little help from TextExpander, naturally) make writing on iOS almost as easy as writing on a Mac. I have found a few key ways to use them to automate tasks which used to be tedious on mobile devices; my life is a lot simpler as a result.

One example–and it’s something I often use multiple times per day–is a combination of a Safari bookmarklet, a Pythonista script, and Drafts. It was developed by iOS automation-nerd Federico Viticci, and originally shared in his oft-refenced Macstories post “Automating iOS: How Pythonista Changed My Workflow“. Its inputs are: 1) text selected by the user on a Web page, and 2) that page’s URL. It passes those inputs through Pythonista, and then it shoots them over to Drafts. The output of Federico’s workflow–i.e. the new object in Drafts–consists of the user’s selected text, followed by the URL preceded by “From: “. I love it as a means of quickly getting started with a “link-blog” style post, in which a source is cited, and then a block quote is given. However, I had one small problem with the Python script: the link was injected after the block quote, and none of the output was formatted as Markdown. It just didn’t fit the way I want to write. So I tweaked it.

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Sean Parker Proves Again To Be a Total Jackwagon

Kevin Roose for New York Magazine:

Parker is so upset about his cruel treatment at the media’s hands that he wrote a 9,500-word essay-manifesto for TechCrunch detailing, at great length, the names he was called after the media began picking on him, the philosophy behind his wedding, and his views on the evolution of the media. […] The essay’s title is "Weddings Used to Be Sacred and Other Lessons About Internet Journalism," and lo, it is a masterpiece — a love story, a Greek tragedy, a media rumination, a parable for our times, all wrapped up in one self-defensive package.

If Sean Parker could truly wear an ass for a hat, it would need to have the mass of Jupiter. My favorite bit: someone, somewhere apparently called him a "douche canoe."

Is anyone really surprised that it was TechCrunch who decided to publish Parker’s verbal diarrhea?

The United States Map–As a Font

Stately is a free, open-source font for the Web in which each glyph is one of the fifty United States. The states fit together automatically to form the full map of the U.S. Fonts are vector-based, which means the output can be resized at will and remain sharp. It’s really a pretty ingenious idea.

Using the x-cancel Parameter On iOS

Eric Pramono at Geeks With Juniors has written up a very helpful tutorial on the use of the x-cancel parameter within x-callback-url actions. I haven’t made much use of x-cancel yet in my own URL actions for Drafts, but Eric makes a good case for their usefulness. Worth a read.

Change Is Youth

There’s something about the desire in every living thing to find comfort in the entropy of stasis.

An ex-con wants to go back to prison, because it’s the only world he knows. A cat wants less and less to escape a house. Change is scary because it throws out the wisdom we’ve gained in experience. We’re innocent and naïve again. Everything we know is for shit. Our time before now, wasted. There’s something of this in everything that lives–in everything which has the capacity to know.

ICANN Approves More Strident WHOIS Guidelines

Akram Atallah (President of ICANN’s Generic Domains Division), as quoted in the press release on PRWeb:

In no small way is this agreement transformational for the domain name industry. […] Our multiple stakeholders weighed in, from law enforcement, to business, to consumers and what we have ended up with is something that affords better protections and positively redefines the domain name industry.

First of all, please note the order of his priorities: government, then businesses, and finally individual human beings. I would have thought business would come first.

Second, let’s raise our hands if we’re excited about publicizing even more information about ourselves right now. After all that’s happened in the past few weeks, it’s a great time to put people’s private email addresses and phone numbers on the open Web, isn’t it?

App Review: DuckDuckGo Search & Stories for iPhone

As I’ve said before, I find DuckDuckGo to be a compelling replacement for Google. Not only is it a far less creepy company (which is a really, really big deal now that we know about PRISM), but it’s also a lot more useful in some key ways–one example being its !bang syntax, which allows a user to search across numerous popular sites right from within DDG. One minor sticking point, for a user of Apple devices, is that DDG cannot be set as the default search engine in Safari1. That being the case, a good iOS app is crucial–if I don’t have a good way to search with DDG at all times, on all my devices, I may as well keep giving Google full access to my digital underwear drawer.

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PRISM Can’t Actually Be An Anti-Terror Program

Bloomberg‘s Leonid Bershidsky makes a great point:

The debate over the U.S. government’s monitoring of digital communications suggests that Americans are willing to allow it as long as it is genuinely targeted at terrorists. What they fail to realize is that the surveillance systems are best suited for gathering information on law-abiding citizens.

Think about it for a second: is a Facebook chat or a Gmail conversation the method you’d choose through which to plan an act of terrorism? It doesn’t make any sense.

Voyager 1 Finds Weirdness At Edge of Solar System

Adam Mann writes for Wired:

Not content with simply being the man-made object to travel farthest from Earth, NASA’s Voyager 1 spacecraft recently entered a bizarre new region at the solar system’s edge that has physicists baffled. Their theories don’t predict anything like it.

The Voyager probes’ exits of the realm of our sun’s influence continue to be fascinating to watch. There’s no telling what we’ll be able to learn from all of this. Maybe we’ll make some kind of breakthrough that will give humanity hope again.

It’s nice to dream about it, anyway.