Creeva’s Shared items in Google Reader

January 4, 2008

by — Posted in Lifestream Archive

Creeva’s shared items in Google Reader

Creeva’s Shared items in Google Reader

 

Rare Atari Breakout handheld shows up on eBay

Posted: 03 Jan 2008 04:58 PM CST

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It’s certainly not the first bit of super rare Atari gear to show up on eBay, but those looking to expand their collection may want to take stock of their bank account right about now, as the Super Breakout handheld prototype pictured above (apparently one of only two known to exist) is now up for auction with less than a day to go. As you might have guessed, it doesn’t actually work, or even have the finished branding, but it apparently is the real deal — purchased directly from the handheld’s designer, no less. If that’s got you all nostalgic for what could have been, you’ll only have to beat $385 (as of this writing) to be the top bidder, although you can be sure you’ll have to drop a good deal more than that if you actually want to get your hands on it.[Via OhGizmo!]

 

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Plaxo Flubs It

Posted: 03 Jan 2008 12:22 PM CST

News leaked prematurely today about a new Plaxo Pulse feature that allows users to match Facebook contacts to Pulse contacts, and then import contact data about the matches into Pulse.

Plaxo has been testing the feature with a number of journalists and bloggers. It involves running a script against Facebook. You tell Plaxo your Facebook account credentials; Plaxo then goes in to Facebook, looks up every one of your friends, and pulls down their contact information.

Plaxo could have done most of the work via the Facebook API (and in fact we covered a startup called FriendCSV that does just that). But the Facebook API doesn’t allow exporting of a crucial piece of data, email addresses. In fact, emails are shown as images instead of text on Facebook so that scripts cannot easily download them.

So Plaxo avoided the API and went with screen scraping. They developed optical character recognition software to recognize email addresses and add them to the export.

Facebook doesn’t like this, of course. But it isn’t Plaxo that’s paying the price. It’s the journalists and bloggers who’ve been testing out the service. Robert Scoble was banned yesterday from Facebook for running the script. He received an email from Facebook that said “Our systems indicate that you’ve been highly active on Facebook lately and viewing pages at a quick enough rate that we suspect you may be running an automated script. This kind of Activity would be a violation of our Terms of Use and potentially of federal and state laws.”

Plaxo was certainly aware of the risk. In an email from the company asking me to try the service last week, they said “We don’t know whether Facebook will try to shut us down (despite their increasing verbal support for the concepts of open-ness), so we want to let a few key folks have access to the functionality before we make it available to everyone.”

Yeah, they guessed right. Plaxo started running automated scripts against Facebook without any warning or discussion with them beforehand, in violation of their terms of service and, I’ll add, common sense. Of course users were shut down. Facebook must regulate this kind of behavior, without it the service would crumble.

Beyond the automated script issue, Facebook also has a very good reason for protecting email addresses – user privacy. Robert Scoble may be perfectly fine with having my contact information be easily downloaded from Facebook, but I may not be. Ultimately it should be me that decides, not him. And if Plaxo wants to push the envelope on user privacy issues, again, perhaps they should at least have given Facebook a heads up. And be prepared to take the consequences themselves instead of passing them off to their users. Robert Scoble was Plaxo’s lab rat in this experiment. I’m glad I wasn’t one, too.

Update: Loren Feldman basically agrees with me.

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A fair use primer for online content creators

Posted: 03 Jan 2008 11:31 AM CST

Fair use wasn’t just bolted on to copyright law; it stems from the very purpose of copyright. A new report hopes to teach creators of user-generated content about when using other material is fair and when it might not be.

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IPv6: coming to a root server near you

Posted: 02 Jan 2008 11:43 PM CST

On February 4, 2008, ICANN will add IPv6 addresses for four root DNS servers to the root zone file, making full IPv6 Internet connections a reality. Time to check that DNS software and those firewalls to avoid any possible trouble.

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Iowa State Presidential Primary: Online Caucus Coverage

Posted: 02 Jan 2008 05:40 PM CST

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