OK Social Networks – Enough!

I am going to have to have a close look at how this happens. Let me set the scene. I am doing some recruitment consulting at the moment, specialising in Project Management and Pre-Sales roles, two areas I have a lot of experience in. So I am doing this to help out a mate whilst I am looking for a permanent role for me. I never look for a role I have applied for so it is all squeaky clean and no conflict of interest.

Tonight the boss asked me if I would have a look for a Business Intelligence expert for an organisation working in the Micro Finance area. Sure, says I, “what BI tool are they going to use?”

“Either Tableau or T24″ he says”.

Now T24 I know. Tableau I wouldn’t know from a slice of pizza. So, a quick bit of googling and I turn up the web page for Tableau. That is all well and good then I noticed that there was a news release from the company saying they had made the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Business Intelligence solutions, in the Leader Quadrant and at the head of the field. A quick click on that link and I saw the table.

OK, so what’s my beef? I later went in to check up on my social life in Facebook and to make sure those dimwits had not switched me off “most recent” and slipped me into “top stories” again. They hadn’t but, as I started to scroll down my timeline (I like it chronologically thanks) I came across the following:

Like I want to see this in my social diary!
Like I want to see this in my social diary!

So, on my Facebook timeline I never talk about work or the companies I work for. I don’t talk anything really, other than social issues, wargaming, and why technology keeps failing for Mr Phillip.

If Tableau Software and Facebook think that this is going to have me rush out and either recommend their software or (gasp) buy it, they are seriously mistaken.

A task has been added to my next spare time (when I am not painting little toy soldiers) to scroll through all the settings on Google, Facebook and anywhere bloody else I can think of, and switch off anything that connects.

#fail #whatpissesmeoff dudes!

Lego – this is just insulting

imageAs many folks know, I go by the handle of ‘thomo_the_lost’ when I need a username on a website as it tends to fit my lifestyle of a year or two here, a year or two there. I have even used that handle on the odd financial services website without any issues. However, when trying to join the Lego website (don’t ask why), I was told I could not use that username, even though no one else was using it.

Normally I would not care about that and just change it but this happened to me earlier in Facebook as well. When I tried to use ‘thomo_the_lost’ for my Facebook homepage, Facebook rejected it even though it was not used anywhere else.

imageIn both cases (Lego and Facebook), if I changed my username to ‘thommo_the_lost’ then it worked fine.

What is the difference between the two handles? One ‘m’ only. The words and sounds are still the same. So why does one reject and not the other? Simple really (although it took me nearly 60 seconds to work it out).

‘Thomo’ has the string ‘homo’ in it. To test that this is indeed the reason, I tried to set a username of ‘homo_sapien’. I thought, “that’s a good scientific name for a person”.

imageGuess what? That failed too.

Just to confirm my suspicions and to make sure that I was being fair to Lego before writing this, I tried to login as ‘homo_sapien’ and then clicked on the ‘I forgot my password’ link. I figured that if ‘homo_sapien’ was already used as a username I would be able to see it from the return screen.

imageThe screen to the right was the response to that – there is no login username of ‘homo_sapien’ in the Lego system.

This is the same as Facebook (and I guess a number of other websites as well).

The problem is the ‘homo’ string. It seems that these organisations think ‘homo’ is a sexual or indeed homosexual term and that if that string is allowed in usernames, it will be the end of civilisation as we know it!

What is doubly disappointing to me is that Lego is a Danish ((and just to be sure I checked – the website carries a notice under the terms and conditions section that says, “the Site is owned and operated by LEGO A/S, a corporation incorporated under the laws of Denmark, having its principle office in Denmark.”)) firm and Denmark has strong non-discrimination laws. “Discrimination” I hear you say. “That’s a bit rich isn’t it?”

Well, it must be discrimination – I leave you with my last experimental trial on the Lego website – have a close look at this username!


Thomo Attacked up the Punjab


I logged into Facebook this morning and a Facebook security warning came up. Following the prompts I was told that there was a suspicious account access – namely from the location on the map. Facebook then asked me to confirm whether or not it was me.

Well, it was an access from a mobile somewhere up in the Punjab. I’m in Sydney. Yep, definitely not me.

Of course, the thing that had me most confused (and therefore cautious) was that I travel and I have accessed Facebook from Manila and Singapore in recent weeks. This message did not appear then. Does Facebook keep track of the MAC number of the machine you normally access from and when the MAC Address and location do not match, it then looks at the error? I wonder. I will need to consider this more over coming days as I am still feeling a little uncertain ((and if any of you get a shed-load of emails from me offering quick winnings, anatomical enlargements, other anatomical shrinkages or such, let me know as it will mean I have been truly hacked)).

Of course the remarkable piece of timing with this is that yesterday my partner went to the cinema and watched “The Social Network”, a Hollywood interpretation of the Facebook story. Bizarre!

Thomo’s Facebook

I surrender – Facebook wins for idiocy. I cannot register “thomo.the.lost” as a Facebook username as Facebook thinks it might be a naughty word … or at least the “homo” in “thomo” might be naughty.

So, I have registered the username “thommo.the.lost” instead. I could say that it was in honour of those of my friends who type my nickname as “thommo” but it was not – it was just Facebook.

So, if you want to check my Facebook (and goodness knows why you’d bother, here is much more interesting), I’m now at “facebook.com/thommo.the.lost”. Mark Zucker-thing-a-me-bob may have made a motza setting it all up but you’d think he could afford a couple of bucks extra for some half decent programmers.

Facebook II

I mentioned Facebook before here and the fun I was having learning how it all hung together. I must admit I was surprised when I started using it at the number of acquaintances and friends I ran across in there. Some where techno-cripples, others were gregarious and still others quiet folks. In the space of a week or so, I have run across 36 friends and it has been great to reconnect with them. Some I thought I would never talk to again.

I must admit, I am kind of sold on Facebook. It may not be as elegant as Orkut is but it certainly is easy to use and to find folks. I worry a little about the privacy issue but I think the risk is low, especially if you are careful and pick your words carefully as well as decide what information to make available.

Well, I for one will spend some more time in there tonight, then back to painting some figures before bed.

Now, where is that wall-to-wall button again?


I’d joined a couple of weeks ago to look at something on a contacts page. Really didn’t play around with it much other than to fiddle a little with my mobile phone as 3, my service provider, provides a Facebook link on the phones main page. Another friend of mine sent a note today saying he was playing with Facebook as well so I had a look at his entry. Sigh – I then lost my full lunch hour today updating my profile, listing my likes and dislikes and chatting with some friends I bumped into in there.

I have to admit, it is a slick operation and piece of software. Surprisingly for these times, it is also fairly intuitive to use. I can see a few more lunch hours disappearing over the coming year.