Facebook hax0red

August 12, 2007

Facebook Source Code Leaked
We just received a tip that the source code for the Facebook main index page has been leaked and published on a blog called Facebook Secrets.

I wish they had broken into the Honesty Box facebook app and published the authors of the anonymous comments. Imagine the drama! For a taste, read the app’s forum on facebook – it is a riot.


Google News with comments – A Huge Mistake

August 9, 2007

Google News Blog: Perspectives about the news from people in the news
Starting this week, well be displaying reader comments on stories in Google News, but with a bit of a twist…Well be trying out a mechanism for publishing comments from a special subset of readers: those people or organizations who were actual participants in the story in question. Our long-term vision is that any participant will be able to send in their comments, and well show them next to the articles about the story.

Google will get into a lot of shit for this and rightly so. This restricted participation model coupled with their policy of forbidding other sites from aggregating this content (as pointed out here) is completely against the spirit of the so-called Web 2.0 model. Hell, it is even worse than the limited reader participation encouraged by newspapers. Although letters from readers are filtered by the editorial staff, readers themselves need not have any connection with the article to have an opinion.

I suspect that with this (mis)step, Google was trying to annotate news articles with relevant commentary from authoritative sources. Except that they completely fucked up the algorithm to determine authority – on the new web, authority is determined by links not by editors. You want good commentary on your news articles, then look at TechMeme. Or Wikipedia‘s participation model (e.g., the Talk Page). On a technical level, I am surprised that Google opted for such a centralized and non-scalable model – they always favor algorithmic approaches that scale (e.g. PageRank, Adsense, Adwords).

It is ironic that the same company that built the largest index of the web by crawling open content using a democratic algorithm (PageRank) is now making a complete U-turn. Do Not Be Evil, my ass.

Inte’s TBB Library: Same old, same old

July 25, 2007

Intel Creates Open Source Project for Its Popular Multi-Core Development Software
Intel® Threading Building Blocks (TBB), a popular software C template library that simplifies the development of software applications running in parallel (key to any multicore computer), is now available as an open source project under the GNU General Public License version two (GPLv2) with the runtime exception.

After reading the articles on DevX, this just looks like a Pthreads wrapper. It adds in some C++ syntactic sugar to do some very simple stuff like parallellizing for loops (OpenMP, anyone?) and elementary data-parallel programming constructs (PeakStream did this much better). Yes, it makes it easy to write parallel programs. But the fact is programming with threads (or tasks or whatever fancy name you give them) is a pain in the ass. No matter how wonderful your threading library is, you will run against the same age-old problems of races and deadlocks. No library is going to stop you from shooting yourself in the foot. And no matter how smart developers are, threads just plain don’t scale in terms of guaranteeing correctness.

So yeah, nothing new here really from Intel. Boring. I will wait for Microsoft to release their transactional memory based framework.

Are feed users idiots?

July 21, 2007

Why Feedburner is trouble (Scripting News)
These technologies work best when there’s lots of competition and lots of choice, and when users are alert and don’t trust companies that don’t deserve their trust.

First of all, people who subscribe and read feeds are not your normal users. They tend to be somewhat informed in matters related to openness and standards. Second, I don’t think somebody at Google “owns” all your Feedburner feeds. Also, last time I checked, people at Google are extremely well-paid and self-satisfied. Third, what is the market share of Feedburner and Google Reader? They don’t dominate their respective markets like Microsoft did. I like paranoia when it is backed up by some facts. This is pure speculation driven by Dave Winer’s need to protect RSS (or his ego, same thing). I doubt Dave would have raised the same objections if Feedburner was acquired by Yahoo (which owns “My Yahoo” – the most used feed reader on the web).

If Facebook is VB for the web then God help us!

July 20, 2007

Master of 500 Hats: Kottke is wrong — Facebook isn’t AOL; it’s Visual Basic.
Facebook — or more accurately, the Facebook Platform — is the equivalent of Visual Basic for the Web. Because it provides a simple & easy way for anyone –ANYONE — to build a quick & dirty little app that can be deployed quickly on Facebook. Hell, i haven’t coded anything more advanced than HTML in over 10 years, and *I* even got the basic tutorial app to run.
And that’s why Facebook is going to dominate the Web.

After Kottke’s “Facebook is the new AOL” rant, here comes another stupid metaphor. I wonder if Facebook platform is the VB for the web, then what does that make Facebook? Microsoft Windows? Next up: Facebook is the new God because it got me laid.

Facebook: After the hype comes the bashing

July 20, 2007

Facebook: the new data black hole « Scobleizer
I added the WordPress Facebook Application a few days ago. Now my blog, and your comments, are showing up on my Facebook Profile Page. Along with my Twitters. My Flickr photos. My Google Reader items. My Kyte videos. And a bunch of other things.

Scoble, you are late on the meme. Read Kottke’s post – he did a better job. Jeremiah: The fb profile data is available through the API – write a friggin app and export your profile someplace if you want to. Btw, Scoble, your twitters, Reader feeds, blog posts are all RSS. They are supposed to get sucked elsewhere.

Hello, World!

July 20, 2007