Note to Microsoft Press and “Fans”: Stop The Whining

I have not written in a while, but thanks to IFTTT my Instagram photos have been keeping this site full of fun and exciting pictures.  Okay, maybe they are not fun or exciting!  Then I see something that makes me angry, so here I am.

This week Facebook is cutting off access to a very old version of their Graph API.  An API that has been updated over and over again.  At an event well over a year ago Facebook announced that they would be cutting off access to this old version, and that anyone who uses it should update their app or service to use the new version.  So this week Microsoft posts that because of this change many Microsoft services that were connected to Facebook using this ancient version of an API were no longer going to work.  Then comes the crazy and stupid headlines.  Some said that Facebook was f**king Microsoft, and many others made it sound like Facebook was going after Microsoft users specifically.  This was factually incorrect, but that does not matter.

This reminds me of the Google cutting off Exchange Active Sync story from a couple of years ago.  If you just listened to and read many that covered or followed Microsoft you would think that Google was targeting the twelve Windows Phone users (I was one of them at the time).  The truth is that this was a move by Google that impacted a lot more iPhone users who used EAS to connect their Gmail accounts.  Google was trying to force their free users to use the Gmail app in order to have push e-mail.  If you still wanted EAS access, they said pay up for a Google Apps account.  You can disagree with what Google did to their users, but this was not a shot at Microsoft or Windows users.  They were doing what every company is doing, trying to get their users to use the official app.

Then there was the YouTube app debacle.  Google once again did not make an app for Windows Phone users, so Microsoft at the time decides to build their own app.  There are ways to make a third party YouTube app that works, but that is not what Microsoft did.  They built an app that broke every rule Google had set for app developers in order to get the reaction they did from Google.  Microsoft even had an option to download videos in the app!  This was going on at the same time that Microsoft was running an online and TV ad campaign called “Scroogled”.  Somehow people wanted you to believe that Google was the one targeting Microsoft here.  The truth is that Microsoft was poking Google over and over again trying to get Google to react so Microsoft can spin it and use public pressure to get an official app.  Well that did not work.

The good news is that the new regime at Microsoft stopped the “Scroogled” campaign, and seems to have moved pass this mentality.  Microsoft is going back to what they do best, making software.  This software is now running well on every platform their customers run.  From iOS to Android to Windows, you can use Microsoft’s software and services and Microsoft says thank you.  It is time for Microsoft users and the press that covers them to realize the reality they now live in.  Facebook and Google are not going out their way to target Windows Phone users.  Apple and Google are in the middle of  a holy war over privacy, but Google is still creating new apps for iOS.  They are doing what they need to do to run their own business.  The same way Microsoft is now doing what they have to do.

Own Your Information With Known

With so many services and social networks it is hard to keep track of what information you are sharing where.  This is one of the reasons I have this site.  While I enjoy and use all of today’s social media services like Twitter and Facebook, where the data is and what happens to it should be something in the back of all our of minds.  

A new service call “Known” helps with this problem.  You can host the service on your web server or setup a hosted account.  Then use it to share your comments, links, photos, etc all across the web.  With built in social sharing to sites such as Twitter, Facebook, and Four Square your friends will still see all you want them to see.  One of my favorite parts of this service is their mobile website.  No, they don’t have an app.  They don’t need one.  The mobile site works flawlessly on all platforms, and lets you share anything you want right from your phone.  

I am going to use Known as my primary link sharing service.  I have put a link to my Known site right on the menu bar here.  Go setup an account over at www.withknown.com and let me know what you are using it for.     

Google In A Nutshell

From today’s Facebook announcement:
“When asked why the company was not working with Google, Zuckerberg said that previous discussions collapsed over Google’s unwillingness to accommodate Facebook’s privacy needs. For example, he said, Facebook wants its search engine partners to remove certain pieces of content from its index, such as photos, when its users change the privacy setting.”

Nothing Is “Free” On The Internet, The Instagram Mess

I am sure most of you have friends freaking out today about Instagram’s new terms of service.  The new TOS says they will have the right to allow third party advertisers to use your photos in the ads.  While this seems scary, have any of you read the terms of service for Facebook, Gmail, Twitter, or other online services?  Facebook allows advertisers to use your name in ads for companies that you like, Gmail scans your e-mails to put ads that match the topic on the right side of the screen, etc, etc, etc.  The point is that if you are using a product that you are not paying for, you are paying for it with your information.  Some are not bothered by this, and some are.  You have to decide what is right for you, but the storm today over Instagram is comical.  They have always had these rights to your pictures.  When they were a small company launching, their terms were just very vague.  Now that they are owned by Facebook, and will be sharing more information with Facebook they had to rewrite these Terms in a more detailed and specific way.
If you are looking for a service that allows you full ownership of your pictures, Flickr does still do this.  They make their money by selling a pro account that gives you extra storage and features.  On the e-mail side Microsoft allows you to opt out of advertising by paying a yearly fee for outlook.com (old hotmail.com and live.com).

Just remember nothing is free online.  Instead of money, you are paying with pictures, likes, check-ins, and comments.

Windows 8 Phone Tip- Send Photos Via Facebook

I was reading comments online about the new Windows Phone and found someone asking how to send a photo to a friend on Facebook in a private message.  To be honest I never knew that you could attach an image to a private message on Facebook until now.  That feature seems to exclude us WindowsPhone 8 users.  After a few minutes of brainstorming, I have found a solution until this feature is added to the OS (one can hope).  I will give detailed instructions below, but in summary you are going to create a new friends list that only includes the one person you are sharing with, and then upload photos with only that group allowed to view.

  • On your desktop go to www.facebook.com
  • On the left side of the page, find where it says “Friends” (hint: you might have to hit more)

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  • Now in the main area of your page you will see a button that says “create list”

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  • Give your list a title and select what friends you want to give access
  • Click “Create”
  • Click on the new group you created and it will bring up a wall that shows what you have shared (should be empty)
  • Click “Create Photo Album” and select any random picture from your computer (it makes you add at least 1 photo to create album)
  • Before you hit “post photos” select your new custom list right to left of the “post photos” button
  • Now click “post photos”

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  • Now on your Windows Phone 8 device go to your Facebook App (not photo hub)
  • Slide left to bring up a list of options (profile, friends, messages, etc) and find “photos” which will be under apps
  • Find the album your just created and open it
  • Finally hit “+” on the bottom of your screen and add your photos

Now this might seem like a lot of steps to go through when you can just e-mail or message a picture to someone.  However, many people like to use Facebook to share photos with a significant other or friend.