September 19, 2006

Facebook’s Strategy

Posted in Random Oddments, Technology at 11:51 am by Calico Jack

First of all, apologies for the dead zone over the past week or two. It’s amazing how unimportant certain things (like blogging) become when life gets in the way. Now on to the post…

Last week came the news that Facebook was planning to allow open registration based on geographic locations. No longer will Facebook adhere to an increasingly transparent facade of exclusivity. With potentially millions of new users flooding the site, and without such features as a music player and video, Facebook needs to find a way to gain some appeal to new users.

Today, Facebook introduced a new feature (again!) called “The Facebook Friend Game.” In their words:

The game is very simple – a trivia question, five friends to choose from, one correct answer, and the clock is ticking. As always, this maps to your privacy settings, and since only your friends are involved, the actual content is protected by your Limited Profile privacy settings. If you uncheck ‘Personal Info,’ the friends on your Limited Profile list will never see you in the game.

There is no score kept, and you aren’t competing against anyone else. The questions follow a general pattern along the lines of “Which of your friends listed ‘There are two absolutes in life: friends and vodka!’ as one of his or her favorite quotes?” Trivia is drawn from profiles, and it’s surprising to see how wacky some of the information is.

I might be easy to dismiss this new feature as a minor footnote in Facebook’s history. But it’s important to realize that this is an additional way for users to spend more time browsing the site — as if they needed another reason. Over the past several months, Facebook has taken several steps towards openly competing with MySpace; and anything that encourages people to spend more time on their site is less time spent elsewhere.

I wouldn’t be surprised to eventually see video uploads and a Flash music player be added to Facebook profiles. It seems that the Powers That Be are trying desperately to take a big chunk out of the dominance of MySpace. There’s a feeling of general unrest in the air among a lot of users, however; and if Facebook ends up becoming a prettier version of MySpace, I suspect that many college students who made this site so popular will leave. What’s been done before can be done again — only better.

September 9, 2006

New Casino Royale Trailer

Posted in Movies, News at 6:56 pm by Calico Jack

I wrote about the upcoming James Bond movie Casino Royale earlier, but now the new full-length trailer has finally hit the internet — and it looks pretty cool. Check it out:

September 7, 2006

Ignorant who?

Posted in Random Oddments at 5:22 pm by Calico Jack

It’s always fun to realize just how strongly some people react to innocuous things. Today, a reader named “Chasz” wrote a comment about my experience with Applebee’s a few weeks ago. I was a bit disgruntled that I had to pay a 15% automatic gratuity, even though the service was lousy and the food terrible. I explained in some detail the reasons for my unhappiness, and I was careful to point out that I am not against tipping at all — but I believe that tipping should come as a result of good service, and not be automatically added on to my bill. Although I was a bit firm, I also tried to be fair. So let’s take a look at Chasz’s comment, shall we?

I’ve been to Applebees and will never go back the service was good but the food I didn’t like. There seems to be an issue of you tipping more than the food or service and if you don’t like to tipp stay home and don’t go out, you ignorant piece of trash. The audacity you have to complain on the net and you probably never said a word to the manager cause your too chicken people like you hide behind a wall and make life rough for those who get out and try. I am a very successful in my Profession I’m out all the time and see people like you everywhere your filth and you discuss me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Be thankful I didn’t feel like adding a [sic] or two…or ten. But I would like to invite our dear reader Chasz to feel free to “discuss” me any time.

Keep ’em coming, folks. I’ve just gotten my entertainment for the day.

September 6, 2006


Posted in Random Oddments at 3:49 pm by Calico Jack

Once upon a time…

September 4, 2006

Steve Irwin Killed By Stingray

Posted in Celebrities at 1:11 am by Calico Jack

From the Courier-Mail:

Irwin had taken calculated risks with all sorts of wildlife for decades, relying on his knowledge of animal behaviour and personal experience to beat the odds.

For someone who spent so much time around killer animals, Irwin seemed to leave a charmed life.

So his demise was all the more shocking because it apparently involved a stingray, an animal regarded as dangerous but not as a killer.

It is understood that Irwin was swimming off the Low Isles off Port Douglas filming a documentary, a task Irwin has carried out on countless occasions.

Yet this time, Irwin, ever so careful around danger, was taken unawares when, apparently, a sting ray he was filming struck out with its tail, the venomous barbs fatally embedding in his chest.

In a way, it really isn’t surprising. Irwin has been playing with danger for many years now. But our sympathies go out to his wife and two young children.

Update: Some perspective, courtesy of Anonymous Lawyer’s usual snark.

September 3, 2006

Hello, Australia!

Posted in Celebrities, Random Oddments at 12:43 am by Calico Jack

(Erin McNaught and Jennifer Hawkins)

I never hear about this happening in the States:

SYDNEY schoolboy Jordan Avramides was “a bit bummed” when Jennifer Hawkins (Miss Universe 2004) took up Bathurst lad Daniel Dibley’s invitation to go to a school formal.

Jordan had also written the beauty queen a letter but had been rejected because Hawkins had filming commitments.

Enter Hawko’s understudy, Miss Universe Australia 2006, Erin McNaught.

McNaught, 24, is now off to the Trinity Grammar School Year 10 formal in November as Jordan’s date – and the 16-year-old is “totally” stoked.

“She’s cute. Let’s hope she’s a nice one too,” he said. “My mates are on the formal committee and they choose the tables so they’re loving it. Dad’s pretty happy too. He’s baggsed driving us there.”

There’s one small problem, however…

The only hurdle was the girl he’d already invited before McNaught agreed to step in.

“She’s fine with it. I went over to her house with mum and told her and she was really happy – she’s a good mate,” he said. “I double checked she hadn’t bought a dress or anything yet.”

But good old-fashioned chivalry will be alive and well on the night with a traditional corsage in order for McNaught.

I guess his chivalry doesn’t extend as far as to keep his promise to another girl. However, if offered the chance to take a Miss Universe to the prom, I suspect I’d have to think for a little while about what I should do. No, who am I kidding? I’d make it up to my date later.

And in an ironic twist, Jennifer Hawkins has now declined to go to the first boy’s formal:

The former Miss Universe-turned TV presenter had accepted an offer from Bathurst student Daniel Dibley to be his partner for his big night.

But Hawkins yesterday rang the 17-year-old to tell him she would not go because of the media hype.

“It wasn’t really like ‘Oh, actually, I just don’t wanna go’,” she told Southern Cross Broadcasting today.

“All this publicity and pressure just got a hold of it. And honestly, when I said yes to it…I thought it was really sweet and I didn’t expect all of this. It’s been a media circus and I just apologise.”

However, poor Daniel’s efforts will not be entirely wasted; Ms. Hawkins will meet him for a lunch date instead.

So, which girl do you think is hotter?


Captain Morgan adds: Jennifer