The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

Moronic Facebook Security

So, I’m in Vegas,and being the creature of the internet I am, I get the laptop hooked up.  Someone has left me a message on Facebook.  I go to log in.  Facebook notices I’m not logging in from my home computer and decides to play security games with me–which apparently means showing me pictures tagged with “friends”.

Do these idiots not understand that many Facebook friends aren’t real life friends?  That they aren’t people I’ve met?  That I don’t know what they look like?  Do they not understand that this is true of much of their customer base?  (Heck, one picture was an abstract picture with no people in it at all, I’m supposed to guess who got tagged in it?)

What happened to asking me questions about, oh, myself?


(Staying at the Encore in Vegas.  So far, it is very nice.)


Off to Vegas


Netroots Schizo


  1. Facebook is deeply moronic in so many ways. I try to stay away from it.

  2. This is not true of much of their customer base. As best I can tell, Facebook intends for people to only friend people they know in meatspace. They do their damndest to ban pseudonyms and fake profiles, even though some do slip through the cracks.

    Pictures are harder to police than name changes, considering that Facebook hosts more photos than Flickr, but I’m pretty sure they forbid abstract userpics somewhere in their terms of service.

    If Facebook wanted me to friend strangers, they haven’t made it easy. For example, they haven’t added a properly working ability to separate family from friends from coworkers so that all forms of content could be targeted at only one of the groups. A LinkedIn competitor they are not.

  3. rumor

    Well, I hope you’re enjoying Vegas at least, such as it is. I felt horribly conflicted during my one stay there, but still did enjoy myself. If you get the chance, my highest recommendation is to go watch the Ka Cirque show at MGM Grand.

  4. There are people with literally thousands of FF friends. People have been using FF to keep track of non-friend “friends” for quite a while now.

  5. peter cowan

    facebook is far beyond being just moronic. facebook is evil.

    Leo, the idea that Facebook friends represent “meatspace” actual friends just isn’t the case anymore. Beyond people like Ian who probably get tons of friend requests from fellow bloggers/commenters, Facebook makes a large portion of their revenue from Zynga games like Farmville, and Mafia Wars, and people who get addicted to those games must move beyond their real life social circles and find other addicts in order to progress.

  6. Peter Cowan: Yep. Facebook is pretty much evil. Subscribing to this view has put a serious damper on my social life, but I’m still resisting the pull of the psychic Ponzi scheme.

  7. David H.

    If Bette Middler is still playing @ Caesar’s Palace I can’t recommend her show highly enough.

    You folks in the back stop giggling!

    She puts on a great show & doesn’t just go thru the motions. LV isn’t an early retirement home for her. She gives it all she’s got.

  8. Ian Welsh

    Enjoyed my first day here. Doubt I’ll do any political blogging till NN actually starts. In fact, I am not reading any blogs but my own till then, or any news. Unless the world is ending before my vacation is over, screw it. 🙂

  9. You have so much more determination to vacationize than I ever do. 🙂 *admiration*

  10. Facebook’s privacy policy. Interesting reading.

    Probably only an hour or two of careful study is needed to untangle it. If you’re a lawyer.

    They should actually be paying the users a cut from their data mining and advertising revenues, since the ONLY real value-add that Facebook enables is what users themselves add (for “free” — that is, “on their own time”). Just another rent-sucking machine…

  11. Apparently they’re making a biopic of Mort Z called “The *nods off, starts snoozing*

  12. Customer satisfaction at social networking sites; low, for the sort of user experience that Ian gives (that, plus having their data mining mandibles sunk deep into people’s online identities).

  13. I do have a better experience with Twitter…as an RL tool for work-related things. I get a useful “headline” rundown of what others in my line of work are thinking and have actually learned from it, and sometimes gotten useful feedback. I don’t use it much as “social” media.

  14. Stormcrow

    Sorry you’re getting dumped on by what the great geniuses at Facebook think is “security”.

    I’m a security techie by profession. And I have carefully avoided Facebook like it was cholera ever since I heard about it. Not just for this reason.

    What this means, as I’m pretty sure you know, is that any real security of your personal information is going to be absent. That’s why you have to put up with the Kabuki.

  15. Well, Stormcrow, I think it’s real thoughtful of Facebook to ask Ian who his most trusted friends are, under the guise of security. Don’t you?

  16. Ian Welsh

    I can’t remember the last time I had a real vacation. Even this isn’t really one. I’m enjoying the couple days that are vacationy enough that I’m thinking I might actually do a formal one at some point.

  17. Are you more the beach/hotel vacation type or the Do Stuff vacation type? I’m really strongly the latter which is why I find it hard to, well, stop thinking about work. By Do Stuff I mean make like a hyperactive squirrel through every museum I can find.

  18. Ian Welsh

    I have traditionally been of the “do stuff” camp, but I am finding I’m enjoying doing very little (some gambling, a show, a massage, etc…) I think I would grow bored over time, but since the real extent of this vacation is about 3 days…

    The other “vacation” I really want to take is Italy: Rome and Florence in particular, mostly for the architecture. That would very much be a “do thing” vacation.

  19. I’ve been dreaming for a decade of Prague. I like the whole fairytale castle thing, plus Central/Eastern Europe is cheaper to find decent accommodation, and I actually know a couple of people who live in Prague. But somehow I’ve never managed to do it (too expensive to justify even after all that).

  20. alyosha

    I used to stay at a somewhat run down Best Western within sight of the Encore, which looks like pretty ritzy digs, from any point of view. Soak it up Ian, “smoke em if you got em”, reality will return all too soon.

  21. Say, with the downturn, are the better LV hotels especially cheap these days?

  22. Out of curiosity, Ian, is OFA giving stipends to any of the attendees?

  23. alyosha

    Mandos, I used to travel to LV a lot in recent years. Am now constantly getting emails from the MGM and a few others advertising very cheap rates.

  24. I don’t gamble and the only attraction of LV are the shows, really. If I lived closer I might have taken advantage of those rates but the plane ticket from Normal People Time is still not cheap enough. Oh, well.

  25. Ian Welsh

    The rates are very cheap. I’m staying at the Encore for less than I could get a hotel half as nice in Toronto (with a package deal, but all I did to get it was go to expedia and book both my hotel and flight through them). I’m sure this was not the case pre-recessions/depression (for the Encore, anyway.) Of course, they expect to get you with other services and/or gambling, but if you’re determined not to be got it’s not too hard to find cheap alternatives off site and just don’t gamble.

    There are some stipends from the people who run NN, I know some people who got them, but never looked into how they are given, since I certainly wouldn’t qualify (I ain’t rich, but I can afford to pay my own way right now.)

  26. i really didn’t like Vegas when i was there for the first GOS fest. the convention and folks there were fine (so surprised to hear of all the connection issues this year! i feel sorry for the planners) but the casinos depressed the hell out of me and my hotel was a total shithole. i don’t think i’ll ever go back. i don’t enjoy being surrounded by obviously desperate and poor and sick people who can’t control a pathetic addiction, and that seemed to be the majority of the people in the casinos.

    have fun, Ian! gosh you deserve some.

  27. DancingOpossum

    I love Vegas even though I’ m not much of a gambler. Always have a great time there.

    For cheap rates, go off the strip–although many strip hotels are offering good deals now. For anyone planning a trip there, I cannot recommend The Orleans highly enough–only 2 miles from the strip with a reliable shuttle to and from the strip, but so much fun by itself (and so nice) that you won’t feel the need to even use the shuttle service. When we were there we discovered that it’s a favorite locals hangout, too, and I can see why. The Rio is another popular off-strip joint (I saw Penn and Teller there) but I find it a little too noisy/brassy for my old fogey self.

    For hotels on the strip, I love the Flamingo best. Others might be fancier but it has a lot of personality. It also has O’Shea’s right next door, the best all-night, no-glamour, down and dirty bar in town.

    I’m not the kind of person who should like Vegas as I’m a tree-hugger and a nature lover, and a person who needs a lot of quite downtime, but something about it, I’ve just always had so much fun there. Still, I understand why people hate it, I truly do. I can’t argue against any of those reasons, I can only state my own quirky relationship with that crazy place.

  28. DancingOpossum

    quite=quiet. Spellcheck!

  29. alyosha

    D.O. – I’ll check out Orleans (and O’Sheas) next time. I’ve come to like South Point, which is an efficient, cheap, gigantic family oriented multiplex type place, about five miles south of the all the action, right off the freeway, very convenient to those of us approaching the town from LA (which of course was its purpose all along). If you’re there for business and don’t need to live amidst the glamour and shows (or don’t mind driving to them), it’s a good, cheap base.

  30. Hey Ian, are you going to attend the humour panel? That’s about the only one I’d bother to attend if I were there, because I’m a frequent S,N! lurker still.

  31. Ian Welsh

    CD: that’s one of the reasons I prefer the Encore for my gambling. It’s pretty upscale and I haven’t come across anyone yet who felt to me like they were losing money they couldn’t afford to lose. When I used to gamble many years ago, in Ontario casinos, I met some folks with a real problem, who had lost way more money than they could afford (one guy, his house) and it was very sad to see. As I always do (on the very rare occasions when I gamble) I decided my stake before I left, and I will stick to it.

    Gambling’s just like booze, cigarettes or various other legal and illegal drugs: it’s a vice, and it will destroy you if you can’t control it. But if you do control it, it can be fun.

    (And I know two people who used to make their living from poker, and one guy who wrangled a living for years from the craps and roulette tables (I have no idea how, since in principle that shouldn’t be possible, but he did it)). Ya just never know.

  32. Ian Welsh

    Opossum: yeah, most of my friends hate Vegas (including CD), but I like it, or rather I like the “upscale” side of it, for the reasons I mentioned above. As you say, I know why people hate it, can’t disagree, but I enjoy it. (I put upscale in square quotes cause even the upscale parts are kind of tacky, but it’s the type of tacky I kind of like. As opposed to say Niagra, which I hate.)

  33. Ian Welsh

    Came across a couple last night who shouldn’t have been gambling. They obviously couldn’t afford their losses, and were playing at tables where the stakes were too high for their bankroll. I left the table.

  34. anon2525

    Came across a couple last night who shouldn’t have been gambling. They obviously couldn’t afford their losses, and were playing at tables where the stakes were too high for their bankroll. I left the table.

    Mr.&Mrs. Fossil-fuel Economy? They had their money on a Rescue by Technological Breakthrough, right? I heard about them. Tragic.

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