Social networking

Fear and loathing over Facebook apps

Maintaining a comfortable degree of privacy in the fast-moving digital age is an ongoing battle.

The debate over how much control we have over that privacy is heating up again, thanks in large part to a Wall Street Journal article frighteningly titled "Selling You on Facebook" (subscription required). After a history lesson on the evolution of the app, the article's authors report that the developers of Facebook games, quizzes, and other sharing services are "gathering volumes of personal information" and may violate the social-networking giant's policies:

A Wall Street Journal examination of 100 of … Read more

If your account is subpoenaed, Facebook sends police, well, everything

We all live in the hope that we will never enjoy the prying eyes of the law.

But what happens if someone in authority decides they want to discover a little more about you? What if, despite your fine privacy settings on Facebook, the police or a prosecutor decides they'd like to bypass all of that?

As part of its investigation of Philip Markoff, the so-called Craigslist Killer, the Boston Phoenix got hold of the documents that Facebook sent the authorities after a subpoena had been issued.

These documents were part of the Boston Police Department's case file. … Read more

EA, named America's worst company, tries to make amends

Can Electronic Arts possibly be a worst company than, say, Bank Of America? Can it possibly offer more troubling customer service than even Facebook?

It seems that, in more than a few eyes, it can. For it has just been voted by readers of Consumerist as America's worst company. Yes, the worst. The very worst. The most irredeemably awful company of all.

The Hollywood Reporter tells me that some people were rather upset that Mass Effect 3 had a rather less satisfying ending than "The Sopranos." In conclusion, the customers stopped believing.

Gamers, just like any other … Read more

Bosses' big fear? That employees will film them

Your boss might sometimes show contempt for you. But secretly, he's scared of you.

It's not so much that he thinks you're far more talented than he is. His vast, overbearing ego wouldn't even allow that thought to enter the heavenly gates of his mind.

No, he's scared you might use your new technological tools to make naughty videos -- the worst of which would be to secretly film him with his metaphorical pants down and then post the footage for public delectation.

I am not making this up. For I have been given advance … Read more

Cyclist hits pedestrian, posts eulogy for helmet, say officials

In today's edition of "Well, What Would You Have Done?" might I present the interesting and very contemporary case of Chris Bucchere?

Authorities say he happened to be going downhill, perhaps a little too quickly, at the corner of Castro and Market Streets in San Francisco, when the lights changed color to red.

Then, they say, he careered into pedestrians who were crossing in a crosswalk. The ultimate conclusion to this event was that 71-year-old Sutchi Hui died.

Though this might have been a tragic accident -- and it may well be that Hui didn't directly … Read more

Google's augmented-reality glasses: Is it all PR?

I know many people will be out this weekend, practicing walking down the streets and not looking where they're going.

This is in preparation for Google's new augmented-reality glasses -- code name Project Glass -- which were teased this week.

I use the word "teased" advisedly. Always.

For though the sight of Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin wearing the glasses in public might offer credibility to the high-tech specs, it might also reveal a desire on Google's part for outpourings of love.

You see, those who have spent much of their lives working … Read more

Instagram for Android gets tablet, Wi-Fi, SD card support

Instagram seems to be on a mission to add hipster photo filters to all your mobile devices this week. First, the long-awaited Android version of the popular iPhone app dropped and quickly racked up over a million downloads, and now an update opens up support to tablets and Wi-Fi devices in the Android universe.

The news is more salt in the wound of scorned iOS users who were apparently under the impression that their Vegas honeymoon with Instagram would live forever, but times are changing and it doesn't make sense for many apps to be monogamous these days. … Read more

Google+, not exactly a 'ghost town,' sees visits jump in March

Google+ may be a ways off -- a long ways off -- from unseating Facebook, but it's not exactly a ghost town, either. U.S. visits to Google's still fledgling social network exceeded 61 million in March, up 27 percent from February.

That's according to Experian Hitwise (report not available on the Web), which shared its figures with me by e-mail. Here's how Experian reckons the growth in Google+ visits since its inception last June:

Just to be clear, Experian Hitwise defines a single "visit" as any period in which a user stops by … Read more

No 'Arab Spring' in Saudi Arabia anytime soon

SAN FRANCISCO -- The autocratic Kingdom of Saudi Arabia doesn't have much to worry about, at least not yet, from democracy activists and the Internet, one of the country's best known bloggers predicts.

"It is very unlikely that we will see any change in the country in the short and medium term," Ahmed Al Omran, creator of, said at an event in CNET's offices in downtown San Francisco yesterday evening. Al Omran left Saudi Arabia to study at Columbia University and now lives in Washington, D.C.

A so-called Day of Rage protest … Read more

For IBM CEO, is golf's sexism on par with the tech world's?

While you might be enjoying eating various confections of bunny this weekend, IBM's CEO, Virginia Rometty, has to wear casual business attire and mix with men for whom she is an unwelcome species.

For Rometty's company, you see, sponsors the U.S. Masters. The U.S. Masters tournament is played at the charming Augusta National Golf Club. And the Augusta National Golf Club hasn't -- as far as we know-- invited Rometty to join.

It's not that Augusta has anything against IBM's fine CEOs. The last four have all been offered club membership. It's … Read more