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April 23, 2010

Facebook's New Social Plug-Ins

Originally posted at Facebook.


Dear everyone,

I know you'll see the Social Plug-Ins (i.e., LIKE buttons outside of Facebook) that Facebook is now offering as a cool new feature. "Neat! I'm on your IMDb page and there's a Facebook LIKE button. I'll click it, because I like you!"

Noooooooo. Step away from the mouse. Read this. And then decide.

First: I am no conspiracy theorist. Not by a longshot. I am not paranoid. When people get all up in arms about websites sharing their personal information, I want to smack them because they're flying into a panic about information THEY have provided being shared, and that just means they don't read the flippin' TOS before THINKING about telling the world they love yoga or dogs or chocolate. So, when you read my words, know I'm not into fear mongering. In fact, I hate that. I don't want to stir up a panic. I just want to be sure folks KNOW what they're doing before they give away the keys to the castle.

Second: I am a PhD dropout, all but dissertation, in Instructional Technology. I spent years in service of combating technophobia. I have a passion for reading the nitty-gritty details and distilling things that other folks gloss over (or don't even read, before clicking AGREE) into one simple, bottom line. So, that's what I'm going to try and do here.

Now--for some context--here are a few articles written by others about the Facebook LIKE button and what it means to us, since Facebook won't tell us, simply. (Wait, why won't Facebook do that? Oh, because last month, every FB user got an update in their inbox letting them know that FB would no longer be sending out changes to TOS. That if we WANTED to be kept abreast of changes that affected our terms in using this site, we would have to become a fan of the FB Site Governance Page http://facebook.com/fbsitegovernance and seek out the updates for ourselves. They rolled out THAT change before rolling out THESE changes, because they didn't want THESE changes so very well-publicized while still in the development phase. With good reason. They're creepy.)





So, we've all opted in to this LIKE thing (Social Plug-Ins) just by being on Facebook. We don't get the option of saying no up front. We're in it, and we have to go through a few not-uncomplicated steps to get OUT of this (and we have to use militant observation of future additions to the approved plug-ins area of our privacy settings to be sure we turn OFF the new ones Facebook will add regularly, before they take our info and give it out all over the web).

Let me break this down.

You see someone's IMDb page and there's a Facebook LIKE button on this non-Facebook site (same is true for Pandora and Yelp, etc., as of now). You say, "I like you. I'll click LIKE."

You've just given Facebook permission to share all of YOUR information AND ALL OF YOUR FRIENDS' DATA to not just IMDb, but Pandora, and Yelp, and any future site with whom Facebook contracts the LIKE button placement.

Here's how to block Social Plug-Ins, right now:


Go to your Account (top right of any page) --> Privacy Settings --> Applications and Websites --> Instant Personalization --> Uncheck "Allow..." --> Confirm.

That's the first step.

To block what your friends can share about you, go to Privacy Settings --> Applications and Websites --> What your friends can share about you, and uncheck EVERYTHING.

That's the second step.

Next, you have to INDIVIDUALLY block the apps that Facebook whitelists for Social Plug-Ins EVEN if you have disallowed this setting.

AND, any time you slip up and click LIKE on an outside site, you've just RE-ALLOWED Facebook to share all of your--and your friends'--info, all over the web. Yup. Every time. The only way your friends can't share your info through THEIR social plug-ins is to BLOCK the app, and then to NOT slip up and hit LIKE outside of Facebook, which would reverse your previous setting automatically.

So, how to block the individual apps that Facebook has whitelisted so far (and remember, you'll have to check back and keep doing this, as new sites will be added regularly). Go here: http://www.facebook.com/help/?faq=17105 -- Each of the currently authorized partner sites is listed. Open each of their pages (fan pages--see why Facebook will NEVER turn off the nonstop spamming of fan page "become a fan" or, now, "like this" requests at Facebook for this stuff? It's advertiser driven and they will not turn off an advertiser's ability to get their page in front of you again and again and again) and click Block Application. Those apps will now show up in your blocked applications list (which I highly recommend you update, regularly, as there may be some fun meme you wanted to be a part of, but now you're over it and your information is still being fed through to them, their partners, their customers, all of it, per TOS to which YOU agreed--so don't complain, just BLOCK that stuff).

To keep an eye on that list, go to Privacy Settings --> Applications and Websites --> What you share, click LEARN MORE, click the "this page" link at the bottom of that page, and then go through EVERY area of that page by using the drop-down menu at the top right of the table (default stop: Recently Used) and see what you are letting Facebook share about you, EVERYWHERE. Any you don't like? FIRST choose Edit Settings for each app, then uncheck and turn to "me only" on anything that rubs you the wrong way, save those settings, and then click the X in the table to kill it off altogether. But definitely change the settings to "locked down" first, because if you delete while OPEN, your info is still theirs.

Got all that?

Lemmeknow if you have questions. And please, feel free to share this all over FB. :) I've made it visible to EVERYONE (even though the rest of my FB page is locked down to friends only), so you can pass it along.

Yes, I love Facebook and I'm grateful to them for existing and allowing me to connect with people I otherwise could never see on a regular basis, and to connect more deeply with people I may never get to know so well otherwise. I love it. I do. But this latest surrender of our information--without full disclosure--is icky. Plain and simple. ICKY. So, I recommend going with a conservative approach to how we're letting our info be used FIRST and then slowly begin to let some info out, when we learn what of this new level of access is good for us and what is bad, bad, bad.

Thanks for reading! Happy Facebooking! :)

3:17pm 4/23/10 -- Update from Nicholas Sayaan: You may also find this interesting, re: fb allowing apps to cache personal data forever ever (forever ever?), forever ever. http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/how_to_delete_facebook_applications_and_why_you_should.php Thanks, Nick!

4pm-ish 4/23/10 -- Update from BenWhitehair: RT @Twitter_Tips: Your Mom's Guide to Those Facebook Changes, and How to Block Them: http://gigaom.com/2010/04/22/your-moms-guide-to-those-facebook-changes-and-how-to-block-them Thanks, Ben!

5:15pm 4/23/10 -- Update from Marci Liroff: More FB privacy shite. http://gawker.com/5522433/how-to-restore-your-privacy-on-facebook Thanks, Marci!

11:50am 4/24/10 -- Update from Alexis Adair via Jana Perrone DeLuna "This dovetails nicely with Bonnie's note. I found it especially interesting that insurance companies are taking notice. If they're raising premiums, it means there's a solid, proven, numerical correlation. Combine this with the current FB un-privacy changes, and it's not hard to imagine someone or group creating apps for the sole purpose of getting access to enough information to rob you blind, or worse. Stalkers-R-Us, anyone?" http://daol.aol.com/articles/never-say-this-on-facebook-or-twitter Thanks, Alexis!

5:20pm 4/24/10 -- Update from Keith Johnson: "Here's some articles worth reading about Facebook's retarded attempts to do shit without our knowledge and consent." From CNET: http://news.cnet.com/8301-31322_3-20003185-256.html and from the Electronic Frontier Foundation: http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2010/04/facebook-further-reduces-control-over-personal-information Thanks, Keith!

12:19pm 4/28/10 -- Update from Sarah Levin: More fb info... 1.5 Million Facebook Profiles Hacked And Up For Sale | Triona's Tech Tips http://www.guidryconsulting.com/techtips/2010/04/1-5-million-facebook-profiles-hacked-and-up-for-sale Thanks, Sarah!

4:02pm 4/28/10 -- Update from Ellen Ginsburg: Senator Schumer & some other Senators are coming out against Facebook's privacy changes! here's a link to one of the recent articles, in case you didn't see it yet and want to read it. Senators' letter to Facebook - Politico Staff - POLITICO.com http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0410/36406.html Thanks, Ellen!

7am 4/29/10 -- Update from Jeff Greenstein: A timeline of Facebook's eroding privacy policy. http://w2.eff.org/deeplinks/2010/04/facebook-timeline Thanks, Jeff!

12:19pm 4/29/10 -- Update from Masasa Moyo: Hi Bonnie, Here's some more food for your ire. http://www.wired.com/epicenter/2010/04/report-facebook-ceo-mark-zuckerberg-doesnt-believe-in-privacy Thanks, Masasa!

10:55pm 5/1/10 -- Update from Jonathan Latroy: I saw an article/blog entry earlier about the invasiveness of the new "community pages": http://facebookiswatchingyou.blogspot.com/2010/04/your-status-on-facebook-might-be-going.html Thanks, Jonathan!

5:53pm 5/5/10 -- Update from Marci Liroff: Aargh! I LURVE the community here on Facebook, but I'm getting pretty weary/wary of the privacy and security issues and how it seems to change on a daily basis. http://www.boingboing.net/2010/05/04/six-reasons-to-hate.html and http://eu.techcrunch.com/2010/05/05/video-major-facebook-security-hole-lets-you-view-your-friends-live-chats and http://www.boingboing.net/2010/05/04/six-reasons-to-hate.html and http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/06/technology/internet/06facebook.html Thanks, Marci!

Posted by bonnie at 2:43 PM | Comments (0)

April 18, 2010

Why My House Is Dirty

I had a run of stress today.

And when I get stressed out--like really stressed out--I clean. I really clean.

Took about ten minutes of heavy-duty cleaning today to get my stress levels back in order and sit back down and get back to work.

I realized while this was happening that this is why my house is so dirty, lately.

I don't have as much cleaning-inducing stress these days!

Yup. My life is so stress-free of late that I haven't needed the "get on all fours and scrub a floor for an hour" therapy I used to require more regularly.

So, um, that's actually pretty dang cool!

(I mean, as reasons for being proud of a dirty house go, right?)

Posted by bonnie at 3:23 PM | Comments (1)

April 14, 2010

April 12 of 12

Hello again and welcome back to Chad's last year of 12 of 12. Who is this rockstar named Chad? Click here.

(If you really love Bon-photos, I'm also participating in a Spynotebook-generated project called Snapshot a Day. Yup. 365 photos in 2010. Click here to check that out at Flickr.)

As always, please enjoy my 12 of 12, even when it goes up super late (sorry; busy). Click any photo to enlarge. :)

1:14am: Email to Team Cricket Feet about Somebody's Basement. Closer and closer to launch! Yeah, baby!

8:36am: Archie and I would like to keep sleeping a little longer, please.

10:30am: Lovely Miss Chatelaine's Autumn Raspberry and Muscadine Wine Jam for my gluten-free waffle pleasure.

12:43pm: Starline Tours in Westwood.

12:57pm: UCLA MFA Showcase, about to begin! This is the kit in my lap.

2:27pm: The Mighty TicTac in front of South. Had to cure a craving for some pulled-pork nachos, stat!

3:35pm: Wall. Of. Porn.

4:08pm: We were told to bring healthy snacks for game night. I chose veggie flax chips and parmesan pepper cheese. Keith chose Ho-Hos. The Midol is not for game night. :)

5:21pm: This is how my boys take a nap. In two months, these naps will involve Quinn. Cannot WAIT!

8:17pm: Travis is sampling something called a hummingbird from Doughboys. Um, yum.

8:48pm: Dot believes she's a lapdog. Rob doesn't disagree.

9:48pm: My personal best round of Apples to Apples. I am awesome. (But Travis still won.)

As always, thank you, Chad, for another lovely 12 of 12. :) See y'all next month! Thanks for the comments, thanks for the visits, thanks for the love. <3

Posted by bonnie at 11:56 PM | Comments (0)

April 10, 2010

GSFiSCC: Bertha's Soul Food

What is the Great Southern Food in Southern California Challenge? Click here for the low-down. Want to see reviews of all stops on our tour? Click here. Wanna see any photo below, only larger? Well, just click on it!

Our sixth stop on the GSFiSCC was Bertha's Soul Food, 1714 W. Century Blvd., Los Angeles, 90047.

Before I dive into the review of the awesome time we had at Bertha's, let me just say that we now have a contest going on. Until stop six, the clear frontrunner for winner of the GSFiSCC was Miss Peaches. There was no contest. And now there is.

Photo by Masasa.

Bertha's is the oldest soul food joint in Los Angeles, so says Rod, the proprietor. (Est. 1965.) When he learned about our challenge, he was intrigued and confident. Knew for a fact his website is the best (it is) and told us about how a golfing buddy offered to create it as a tribute to the food. That's awesome. Also awesome: Just this week, Bertha's Soul Food was selected to be the only soul food joint at LAX. Get ready, Delta terminal, you're in for some good in-flight, carry-on eatin'!

Photo by Masasa.

And something very reminiscent of home, here. Bertha's accepts food stamps. That's badass.

Photo by Masasa.

When you arrive at Bertha's, you're greeted by men sitting in rocking chairs on the side yard, inside the purple picket fence.

Photo by Keith.

When you walk inside, you're greeted by folks sitting on the benches waiting for takeout orders (or just hanging out and chatting). And you're acquainted with the rules.

Gotta love a place that shows zero tolerance for rudeness. I love it! And I love that you can order at the counter or take a seat in either of the dining room areas inside.

Keith and I arrived just after 5pm, way earlier than anyone else (but we knew there'd be a challenge with a 5pm start time. Still, we have some folks who can join us after work, others who have night classes... so we just try to pick a different start time and day of the week for each stop on the tour). We chose a large table in the second dining room, which had a perfect TV view for each of us. Keith could watch sports on the TV behind me and I could watch--you guessed it--the greatness that is The People's Court on the TV behind him. Bertha's gets bonus points all over the place, now!

André came over and introduced himself, gave us menus, and asked if we wanted to wait for the rest of our party to order. "Heck no," I said! "We're hungry. They're late. We're gonna eat!" He laughed and immediately asked if this was our first time at Bertha's, how we heard of 'em, and whether we needed recommendations on what to order.

Gotta say, the place smelled amazing from the parking lot. Keith said, "I'm having fried chicken," before he even saw the menu. And then he saw the menu. And ordered smothered pork chops (yes, two. That's what comes with the order. Amazing quantities, here. But more on that in a moment).

Joining me on the sixth stop of our GSFiSCC were David, Keith, Masasa, Ryan, and Shirley. This was Keith's first stop on the tour and David asked why I let him figure out where we would be. Soon, Ryan observed that Keith and David are basically the same guy. Yup.

Keith toured the men's room and came back saying, "The men's bathroom is the sweetest-smelling bathroom I've ever been in." And then he showed a photo that explained the why. Yeah. That's a lot of smell-goods for one tiny room.

Photo by Keith.

Dude. Enough with the set-up. Let's eat!

Sweetest cornbread muffins on the tour so far. Masasa refused to try 'em due to lack of real butter as an option for spread ("I don't do spread," she said), but hon', I gotta tell ya, there was nothing wrong with butter-like spread on these warm, sweet muffins. Gluten be damned!

Keith's smothered pork chops looked so good that when Ryan arrived, he ordered 'em too. And Masasa, who always dislikes "meat in sauce," said, "This, I approve of." It was that good. (It wasn't pork that lived in a bin of sauce, simmering all day. It was cooked to order. And delicious.)

I ordered fried catfish after being assured it was battered in cornmeal. Clearly, that ain't cornmeal. So, I gave most of it away and ate enough to know it's fantastic. Just not battered in a gluten-free way.

I also ordered collard greens and black-eyed peas. Every order comes with rice and gravy. That's not terribly southern, but oh my lordy was it delicious! "This rice and gravy is out of this world," is what I actually said. Shirley agreed, "This rice is so good." The greens were too sweet for me. Still good. Just sweet. And I like my greens bitter. The way god intended. Masasa called herself the "rogue on the greens," because she likes 'em sweet. "It might be the Canadian in me," she figures. When we launched into a discussion of hamhocks in greens, Ryan said, "That's the thing I don't want to know exists." "But it tastes like magic," I said. That is true.

The fried chicken was insane. This was a partial order. André brought out a bit of what Shirley ordered because the rest was still frying. "This is so way more chicken than I can eat," Shirley said. No worries. We helped her. And--holy cow--this fried chicken was good. The best we've had. Juicy, tasty, crispy, and oh so good! I cannot undersell this. The chicken was amazing.

Green beans, mac and cheese, and of course the rice and gravy. The green beans were salty. Masasa said, "I can roll around in salt, so if I say it's salty, that's saying something." Actually everything that was sweet was too sweet (except the iced tea--it was perfect, possibly the best sweet tea I've had on the tour) and the salty stuff was too salty, for most folks. David's corn was "sweet. Super, super sweet," he said. As for the above-pictured mac and cheese, I'm told that it didn't cut it. And that Chef Marilyn's mac and cheese is so good that Masasa has been back three times for it. Wow! Anyway, when Shirley said, "Everything's salty," Keith replied, "Everything's just right." He does love his salt.

Masasa models her collard greens, rice and gravy, and mac and cheese with red snapper. Now that is the fish I should've ordered. Cornmeal breaded and lightly fried. That is right. I had a bite of Masasa's fish. Yes. That's outstanding.

Yams were way too sweet. And cinnamony. "I think it's nutmeg," Shirley said. "Nutmeg always goes up in my nose." Ryan suggested maybe it had both spices. Either way, it was way too sweet to eat more than a little taste of, so we passed it around the table and each had a bite. Not bad for a buck-fifty side item. "It's like a pie filling," Shirley summed up.

David sampled inhaled the strawberry soda and quickly said, "I gotta have another one of those!" I loved that the menu mentioned the options of "strawberry, pink, and yellow lemonade." When André walked by with one of the strawberry lemonades for another customer, we all got a little excited. It's like a black and tan. But better.

André displayed a few dessert options for us, including sock-it-to-me cake, red velvet cake, sweet potato pie, and something called a yellow chocolate, which Keith ordered immediately--with milk--and then he loved it so much that he ordered a second one to take home.

And then there was a peach cobbler situation. After I took one, scrumptious bite, I asked, "Anyone want peach cobb--" "YES!" shouted Ryan, before I could even finish my question. "Inside voice, Ryan," I said, as I handed him the piping hot, delicious dessert. After a bite, he reported, "That is GOOD!" I offered some to Keith, who said, "Is it a pie made with fruit, baked? Then no." He doesn't like baked fruit. Okay. More for us! And when I offered some to David--who had arrived late, so his meal hadn't arrived yet--he said, "I cannot have dessert before my food comes." "Not a bite?" I asked. "I'm not that kind of person," he revealed. Again... more for us. :) Good news: André loved us so much, he gave us a freebie to go. David got it. "Yeeessssss!" was the sound of that win.

Now, let's get to the nitty-gritty. How does Bertha's Soul Food measure up, using the criteria I set out when issuing this Challenge?

Yes. A little on the sweet side, a little on the salty side, but yes. Good eatin'. The best chicken we've had. The best sweet tea I've had. Goooood food. Yes. "This is like all the foods that I want to feel good about myself," Ryan said.

Absolutely. No question. It was just like home in so many ways. The flavors were very sentimental ones. Ryan said the fixins were especially southern.

Everyone thought the price was right, except for Ryan, who always thinks it's high. We got a little generous on the tip because André was so awesome to split checks and comp a dessert. ($60 on $45, $25 on $16, etc.)

Absolutely! And the tablecloth is just like my grandmother's with the vinyl on one side and puffy cotton stuff on the other. We were treated like family and included in on the jokes. Staff sat at tables across from patrons and chatted about all sorts of things. It really was homey. When André saw me snapping a photo as he walked by, he joked, "Facebook!"

Without a doubt. It's good, through and through. Just a little over-seasoned in some cases.

Everyone who had eaten at Miss Peaches agreed that Miss Peaches is still in the lead... but barely (and one of the folks who ate at Miss Peaches actually said Bertha's might be better, but I'm not allowed to quote her because she doesn't want Connell coming after her for saying so). And everyone who hadn't had Miss Peaches said Bertha's was the best stop on the tour thus far.

We realized, once we get down to our final four, we should issue an Iron Chef-style challenge where the best contenders can vie--hopefully on a soundstage somewhere in Hollywood or at CBS Radford--for the title in front of a live studio audience. Let's hope we can work that out. 'til then, check back for a review of our seventh stop before the end of the month.

Posted by bonnie at 3:59 PM | Comments (2)