My Life the Soap Opera

Chinese Facebook
Chinese language version of Facebook

A little more than a week after the launch of the simplified Chinese Facebook site, users all across China, including yours truly, are reporting that they are unable to access Facebook. Having had to endure the Great Firewall of China for over five years now, I am quite familiar with the slight of DNS error technique that can be observed in the status messages at the bottom of the Firefox browser when attempting to access the typical blocked site, and the phenomenon is definitely observable when attempting to access Facebook. The interesting thing is that I have seen similar errors on and off for the past couple of months. Usually just closing the instance of the browser and opening a new one will fix it, but not today. This time it appears it may be for keeps. Or not. It is never a simple task to attempt to predict how the censor goons will behave.

I suppose I should question why it would really bother me so much that Facebook is blocked. I am actually surprised at how accustomed I have become to the social network, to the point that I would definitely feel deprived if I was unable to access it. Compare this with my first social networking site, Tribe, that I have pretty much abandoned after spending hours a day every day for months on end. What is it I wonder? I believe the difference is that a good number of my friends on Facebook are my real flesh and blood friends, rather than mere Internet-only “friends”, although I have a fair number of those as well. Somehow, I enjoy the news feed that keeps me updated on the goings on of my circle of friends, without having to actually meet them and and talk to them to find these things out. Is this progress? I wonder. Certainly the amount of “flesh time” I spend with most of my Facebook friends is relatively low, so, is it right that I am so up to date on their goings on? Well, actually, I rarely follow the stories in the news feed, but I do find it far more interesting than the news offered by, say, CNN, and, in fact, many of the most interesting stories I find on the Internet these days are from links posted by friends on Facebook.

Facebook is many things to many people. To me, it sometimes seems like little more than the ultimate stalking utility. Yet, I have exchanged some of the most meaningful philosophical conversations of my life here as well, although, Tribe is really hard to beat on that front. So, the bottom line is… Why block it? Is it really that subversive? Who knows? I just hope that like Wikipedia, the blockages will come and go. But mostly go. Facebook through a proxy is tedious in the extreme. Reddit Slashdot Digg Facebook Technorati Google StumbleUpon Furl Yahoo Ask Mister Wong China Newsvine Simpy Spurl Wink Rawsugar Squidoo Fark

I’ve been under a lot of stress recently as I attempt to finish writing a book with way too little time to do it. When I get stuck, I find myself gravitating towards Facebook for quick escapes. I recently discovered a very cool little application that charts your biorhythm and displays it in a beautiful chart. The application goes even further by providing you with western and Chinese astrological data, as well as a fun compatibility check for your friends.

I found it quite ironic that my heightened intuition level indicated in the chart led me to find something that shows me that everything else is in a slump!

I also love the fact that Biotrend are scrupulous developers who spend more time developing a quality application than attempting to figure out sneaky ways to badger people into spamming all of their friends. This is a trend that bothers me so much, I started a group on facebook entitled, “Stop spamming me so you can find out what freakin vegetable you are“.

Check out Biotrend just for fun! Reddit Slashdot Digg Facebook Technorati Google StumbleUpon Furl Yahoo Ask Mister Wong China Newsvine Simpy Spurl Wink Rawsugar Squidoo Fark

Magic 8-ball

My very first occult fetish was with the Magic 8-ball. I first encountered the 8-ball at a friend’s house, hiding in the bottom of his closet. “What’s this?” I asked. “A Magic 8-ball,” he replied. “What do you do with it?” He looked singularly uninterested, and said, “You’re supposed to ask it questions, and it tells you the answers.” Really, I thought, that’s amazing! “You can have it if you want,” he said, “I never use it.” So began my love affair with the Magic 8-ball.

As time went by, it seemed I eventually invested more time in trying to trick the 8-ball into revealing an answer that was obviously inaccurate. The 8-ball was appallingly good. While not always giving up pearls of wisdom, it would skirt just shy of any glaring falsehoods. I’m not sure what eventually became of it and it retreated to a mere memory. Until Facebook.

I must admit I spend too much time on Facebook. I try to justify it by telling myself time spent on Facebook is “research” for that killer Facebook application I’m working on, but the fact is, sometimes I just like to kill time there. Most of the applications developed by third parties are at the very least boring and stupid, and at worst make me want to strangle the developers, especially the ones that won’t work unless you spam all your friends first, or worse yet, fill up my Inbox and notifications as they spam me. Not so with the Magic 8-ball application. It installed without a hitch and didn’t even have all of my friends checked to invite by default. Nice!

The first question I asked was about a certain Facebook friend, one of my “hottest friends” and whether there was any prospect of anything interesting developing between us. “Doesn’t look good” was the reply. Hmmm. Let’s ask again. “Highly unlikely.” What about any of my Facebook friends, “hottie” or not? “It is better not to say at this time.”

Hmmmmm. Is there truly not one of my “hot friends” with whom I have the slightest chance?

“Outlook not so good.”

Magic 8-ball Outlook not good

Now, here’s where I always tried to outsmart the 8-ball in my youth, to prove that it is far from an infallible oracle, and that I am therefore free to ignore its dire pronouncements.

“So, Magic 8-ball,” I begin coyly, “Do you ever give positive answers?”

“To be sure.”

“Can I really believe a word you tell me?”

“You may rely on it.”

I never could get the 8-ball to give me bad advice in my youth, at least not obviously so, and it seems to have retained it’s potency in its digital incarnation. Of course, now that I’ve been around the block a few times, I surmise that it is I who actually empower the 8-ball with its divinatory powers, my subconscious Self manifesting through this quirky interface.

And that is exactly why I love it!

Thank you Magic 8-ball. Reddit Slashdot Digg Facebook Technorati Google StumbleUpon Furl Yahoo Ask Mister Wong China Newsvine Simpy Spurl Wink Rawsugar Squidoo Fark

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