Monthly Archives: April 2010

Amazon Ad Targeting Fail: IE8

I just got this ad while shopping at Amazon. This is an ad targeting failure for a number of reasons.

  • I am using Chrome, which is better than IE8
  • I am on a MacBook Pro, which isn’t even supported by IE8
  • I was not shopping for a new browser, I was shopping for video games

I went ahead and clicked on the link for the lulz. I ended up getting to this strange terms page with a bunch of links to download the software for different (Windows) operating systems. How bad of a user experience is that!?

It appears they are after a quick buck with this “partnership” and really don’t give a crap about going about it properly. Too bad for them. At least they have an ad feedback box for me to mock them with:

Anime Nano iPhone App For Sale! (Free)

My first iPhone application has been approved and is “ready for sale” in the Apple App Store! I decided to do a native version of Anime Nano, which already has a mobile site. This native one loads faster and also doesn’t have ads (yet). Get Anime Nano for iPhone!

If you install it and play around, you’ll notice it’s really simple and lacks features. This is on purpose. Instead of spending a lot of time getting it perfect and including all features of the full website, I figured that I would release the most simple functioning app first. I read a bunch of Rework before having to return it (I borrowed a digital copy from a library). Rework basically suggested that software be light and easy to use, and I think Anime Nano for iPhone fits well within that mentality.

I plan on iterating on Anime Nano to improve it. I think enabling an iPad version would be the next logical step, as well as including things like the personalized blog list and series, and search.

Anyway, if you have an iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch, please download Anime Nano (for free) and let me know what you think!

A Chat With Hung Truong

I use Olark (formerly on my portfolio site. It’s a widget thing that lets you chat with your visitors. My friend Ben invented it, so check it out.

Anyway, some guy just started chatting with me on it. He was also named Hung Truong. Here’s the strangeness that ensued:

webuser5.1128: yo

me: hi

webuser5.1128: sup man

me: not much bro

webuser5.1128: where u from?

me: uh, you’re on my portfolio

webuser5.1128: my name is hung truong ๐Ÿ™‚

me: what
me too

webuser5.1128: like seriously though
i search my name in google
and this website came out

me: yeah, cool
do you have a website?

webuser5.1128: nope, but nice webste man

me: thanks
there’s also some hung truongs in the news

webuser5.1128: wow

me: like one who killed a police officer or something
that’s not me
that’s not you either, right?

webuser5.1128: hahaha

me: ok good

webuser5.1128: lol

me: just checking to make sure

webuser5.1128: i was born in vietnam
are you by any chance vietnamese

me: my name’s vietnamese but i’m actually chinese
my parents lived in vietnam
but i was born in the US

webuser5.1128: cool
i g2g man nice talking to u dawg

me: yeah you too

webuser5.1128: peace out

[System] (visitor closed chat)

SXSW Student Startups Podcast Up!

SXSW just posted their audio recording of the Student Startups panel that I moderated! Here it is in embedded form, or you can download it, too!


Oh man, I sound super nervous (I was). Please let me know what you thought of the panel if you didn’t get a chance to attend and you’re hearing it now for the first time!

Thanks again to my panelists, Ben, Ellen and Marc! They did a terrific job!

Questions About Facebook And Data Portability

Something that is usually on my mind, either in the forefront or the back of it, is data portability. I like “owning” the data that I create, whether it’s from a tweet or a Facebook status message, or even more mundane like the bit of knowledge via a scrobble that I listened to Dexter Gordon’s Wave at 3:27am on August 16, 2007 (I’m thinking this is in GMT?). The point is that data that I create is my property. I would go as far as to say that the online interactions I have, like friends’ activity that I comment on and interact with, is also my property. For example, a friend’s status message that I reply to and that ends up being a long thread.

Some services make gathering my data easy. Twitter has a dead simple API and so does I’ve been toying around with gathering location data from Twitter, embedded in photos I take on my phone, and other sources. One website that still confuses me a bit with regards to their policies is Facebook.

About two years ago, there was a semi-large fuss made over Facebook joining a Data Portability organization. Apparently it was sort of a me-too move to copy MySpace. Since then, there’s been a Stream API created and you can actually grab stuff from your “activity stream” from Facebook.

The thing is, the rules are super vague and contradict each other. For example, the Statement of Rights and Responsibilities states that

You own all of the content and information you post on Facebook, and you can control how it is shared through your privacy and application settings.

This makes it seem like I have the right to collect that content and information that I create, since I “own” it and have control over it. Yet the Developer Policy states:

  • Storing and Using Data You Receive From Us
    1. You must not store or cache any data you receive from us for more than 24 hours unless doing so is permitted by the offline exception, or that data is explicitly designated as Storable Data.
    2. You must not give data you receive from us to any third party, including ad networks.
    3. You must not use user data you receive from us or collect through running an ad, including information you derive from your targeting criteria, for any purpose off of Facebook, without user consent.
    4. Unless authorized by us, your ads must not display user data – such as users’ names or profile photos – whether that data was obtained from us or otherwise.
    5. You cannot convert user data you receive from us into Independent Data (e.g., by pre-filling user information with data obtained from the API and then asking the user to save the data).
    6. Before making use of user data that may be protected by intellectual property rights (e.g., photos, videos), you must obtain permission from those who provided that data to us.
    7. You must not give your secret key to another party, unless that party is an agent acting on your behalf as an operator of your application, but you must never give your secret key to an ad network. You are responsible for all activities that occur under your account identifiers.

    This basically says that I have to delete any information gathered within 24 hours. Facebook is making the assumption here that users are not developers and vice versa. I’m not interested in gathering other users’ data; I just want my own. And yet here are two conflicting statements.

    I’ve already used the Facebook Stream API in the past to collect my data. While the policy states this is not allowed, it’s basically unenforceable. What bothers me a bit is that it is against policy for me gather my own data using Facebook APIs. Twitter allows this, and even goes a step beyond by suggesting that developers cache data to improve performance. To their credit, Google has a “Data Liberation Front” whose purpose is to keep an eye on products and keep data import/export for users as a priority.

    I see data portability as a big issue while considering the natural lifecycle of a social networking website. As I use Facebook less and less, I still want to have a connection with those who are on it, and I want to maintain a record of what happened. I hate to think that while I “own” this data, I have no right to access it, especially if I decide to leave the service.

    I started writing this post before realizing that Facebook’s annual f8 conference is actually going on today! I guess I can look towards today’s news to see if anything has been announced re: data portability.

    EDIT: Well that was fast! I guess they removed the 24 hour limit thing during the keynote today. What this means directly to data portability is still up in the air, though.