links for 2010-05-08

  • I tried this on 3 browsers. Firefox and Chrome said I was over 90% likely to be female. Safari had me at only 61%. Um, I click like a man more on Safari?…
    (tags: gender tools)
  • EFF blog post that spawned the interactive graphic I just mentioned:

    "To help illustrate Facebook's shift away from privacy, we have highlighted some excerpts from Facebook's privacy policies over the years. Watch closely as your privacy disappears, one small change at a time!"

  • "Facebook is a great service. Facebook hasn't always managed its users' data well. In the beginning, it restricted the visibility of a user's personal information to just their friends and their "network". Over the past couple of years, the default privacy settings for a Facebook user's personal information have become more and more permissive. They've also changed how your personal information is classified several times, sometimes in a manner that has been confusing for their users. This has largely been part of Facebook's effort to correlate, publish, and monetize their social graph: a massive database of entities and links that covers everything from where you live to the movies you like and the people you trust.

    This blog post by Kurt Opsahl at the the EFF gives a brief timeline of Facebook's Terms of Service changes through April of 2010. It's a great overview, but I was a little disappointed it wasn't an actual timeline: hence my initial inspiration for this infographic."

  • Another great Malian musician: "She cut an unconventional figure from the moment she arrived on the international circuit. Here was an unassuming young woman who strummed an acoustic guitar, much like a West African Tracy Chapman, while surrounded by the accoutrements of ancient Malian music. Some of us, frankly, did not know what to make of her a decade ago when she played a low-key show at the Pizza Express Jazz Club in Soho. Could such introverted work ever find an audience beyond a narrow coterie of roots enthusiasts? It seemed unlikely at the time. Traoré pushed on regardless, each successive album experimenting with new sonorities. By the time she released the acclaimed Tchamantché — easily one of the best albums of 2008 — she had incorporated the rough-hewn textures of the rockers’ Gretsch guitar."
    (tags: music africa)

links for 2010-05-07

  • "Markdown is a text-to-HTML conversion tool for web writers. Markdown allows you to write using an easy-to-read, easy-to-write plain text format, then convert it to structurally valid XHTML (or HTML).

    "Thus, “Markdown” is two things: (1) a plain text formatting syntax; and (2) a software tool, written in Perl, that converts the plain text formatting to HTML. See the Syntax page for details pertaining to Markdown’s formatting syntax."

links for 2010-05-05

  • What does Facebook publish about you and your friends?
    Any information you see below is visible to anyone on the Internet through normal use of the Facebook Graph API. Facebook apps used by you or your friends might see more.
  • "Moving from theory into potential, imagine reading a young adult book where the protagonist is a twelve year-old girl. Under the current system of metadata, finding another book where the lead character is another twelve year-old girl involves a great deal of digging – you can narrow the field with the BISAC, but finding a characters specific age is going to require some elbow grease and a great deal of digging. However, with interior, specific metadata, a few taps can bring up an assortment of similar books.  Interior, specific metadata also allows for comparison and contrast reading. Imagine, if you would, a modern book on the Spanish-American War. Using our future metadata system, finding a book on the same subject written during the war is an easy task. Fully leveraging the system could combine the two books – side-by-side – showing the differences."

Alexa web traffic stats: Display varies by browser

Earlier today I was editing a post by Susan Mernit on Oakland Local (the community news & views site I’ve been working on lately). She was using the popular service to compare traffic statistics for three other Oakland-based web sites, for her post today: Can you gentrify the local web?

I got pretty confused when I couldn’t immediately replicate on Alexa the results of the searches Susan linked to there. Alexa appeared to be displaying some very different types of information from what Susan’s story described.

Finally, I realized that, at least on a Mac, the information that Alexa displays for site statistics can vary by browser.

Here’s an example…

Continue reading

links for 2010-05-04

links for 2010-05-03

  • "In a couple of weeks, I’ll walk across a stage and receive a piece of paper that tells me I have the right to become a professional journalist and begin a straight path toward poverty, depression and overall self-hatred.

    "I refuse to consider my secondary education a waste – even though $200,000 is a large price tag for a degree I no longer want to use directly. Journalism school made my writing better, changed the way I think about writing and helped me find my writing voice. One way or another, those things will prove their value."

links for 2010-05-02