My Latest Invention – The Facebook Clip Show

You know how, when The Simpsons needs some material post haste, they piece together a clip show from pieces of previous Simpsons episodes? So what do the same thing, but with Facebook posts? And if you aren’t following me on Facebook it’s all new to you.

The Status Updates

I don’t understand the point of roller skating rinks. I could stay at home and hold on to a wall.

Wife is out with a friend for a performance of The Vagina Monologues. I wonder if she’ll buy me a t-shirt?

If I ever open a bookstore I’m going to call it Books on Paper.

The Image Macros

From the “Obama said ‘Jedi mind meld” hilarity a few weeks ago:



I made one myself.


The Video

I usually only listen to lame white boy rappers with three nipples who go on to have sucessful acting careers, but this is pretty good.

The Photos

It seems like I never post my photographs on the blog anymore, so here’s a series from Facebook:




Make Perfect Facebook Cover Pictures with Google’s Free Picasa

Blount County Courthouse

Facebook has moved everyone to the Timeline layout, so everyone needs a cover picture.

The cover picture format is 851 x 315 pixels. Your pictures can be bigger than that – Facebook will resize them to fit. The main thing is to make sure they’re in the 851:315  aspect ratio before you upload them so you can control how they look. Here’s how to do that in Google’s free Picasa photo editor.

Cantilever Barn in Cades Cove

1. Bring up the picture in Picasa.*
2. Click the Crop button.
3. From the dropdown menu choose Add Custom Aspect Ratio.
4. Here’s the real trick. For Dimensions, enter 2.7 x 1. (851 pixels divided by 315 pixels is 2.7 and change.) For the Name use Facebook Cover Picture. Click OK.

Creating a custom Picasa crop ratio for Facebook

With that aspect ratio saved, it’s easy to make Facebook cover pictures any time by choosing Facebook Cover Picture from the dropdown menu.

5. Drag your cursor to crop the photo the way you want it to look.

  • Picasa will constrain the crop rectangle to a 2.7:1 ratio that will fit exactly in the cover picture area without losing any part of the picture.
  • You can drag the corners and sides of the selection area to make it larger or smaller.
  • You can grab the middle of the selection area to move the rectangle.

6. When the crop looks the way you want it, click the Apply button.

7. Optional: Click the I’m Feeling Lucky button to see if you like the improvements Picasa makes to your image. You probably will, but if you don’t you can always click the Undo I’m Feeling Lucky button.

8. Export the picture. Go to the File menu and choose Export Picture to Folder. You want it to be at least 851 pixels wide, but wider is better – someone may want to see an enlarged version. The surefire settings are Use Original Size and Automatic image quality. Make a note of the Export location so you’ll know where to find the file, or click Browse and send it to the Desktop.

Export to Folder

9. Upload it. On your Facebook wall hover over your cover picture, click the Change Cover button and choose Upload Photo.

* If the photo isn’t in Picasa, go to the File menu and choose Add File to Picasa. If you want to choose from a bunch of photos, put them all in a folder. Then go to File and choose Add Folder to Picasa.

Follow me on Facebook at

J&K Superstore

Facebook Changes Algorithms to Encourage Sponsored Posts; Many Pages See Massive Drop in Reach

From Niel Van Niekirk:

Currently I have more than 9,000 fans, and previous to all this, every time I post a new selection of photos, it would usually show after a few days that I had reached an audience of around 4,000 to 7,500 people. That sounds good. A majority of people who liked my page, saw the new posts in their news feed.

Then this week I noticed that a few hours after I had posted a new photo album on FB, it still had only reached an audience of 6 people. Yes, 6 people!  A massive drop.

Facebook wants people with company pages to pay to promote their posts. If you don’t pay most of your followers won’t see your posts.

Page followers aren’t happy, because they aren’t seeing posts from those pages unless the page owners are paying for promotion.

Page owners aren’t happy that Facebook has changed the rules and is cutting them off from their followers. Some people who have tried paying for promotion are reporting that many of the likes on promoted posts are coming not from the U.S. but from the other side of the world, suggesting a problem with Facebook’s algorithms.

Funny how going public and having a stock price in the gutter can turn a company into a bunch of jerks ruthless beancounters. (Scratch that. Facebook has always been pretty jerky to their users. They’re the 800 pound gorilla and they know it.)


Facebook Cover Photo Tips

Effective March 30, all company pages on Facebook use the new Timeline layout. As part of that layout you’ll need a cover photo. Facebook specifies a 851 x 315 pixel picture in sRGB colorspace for best appearance. Copyblogger has some useful design tips.


DPReview: Facebook Lightbox will offer improved Facebook photos, but Google+ still has the edge

Digital Photography ReviewFacebook Lightbox vs Google+: which better presents your images?

Facebook is making its first steps towards taking photography seriously with the launch of its Lightbox display interface. The change, which is being rolled-out to users in the coming weeks, darkens the rest of the screen when a photo is selected and shows images in greater detail than before (up to 960 pixels in each dimension). How does this presentation compare to the more obviously photo-friendly Google+ service?

Facebook expected to account for 5% of all online advertising in 2012

Ad spending on Facebook will nearly double this year.

Yo Dawg


Facebook to Netflix: “Here, let us stick another knife in your business plan”

Zero HedgeLights Out Netflix? Facebook (And Its 600 Million Users) Enters “Zero Barriers To Entry” Video Streaming Market:

Has anyone seen the latest Whitney Tilson NFLX reshort memo? Because if the news that Facebook and its 600 million registered users is entering the video streaming market is true, and it appears to be, the “value inventor” should promptly forget that he topticked the market with his short cover a few weeks back, swallow his pride and actually make money. As for Netflix, the world’s most ridiculous zero barriers to entry business model is about to realize why most SWOT analyses typically at least cast a casual glance at said barriers to entry. Because when there are none, you can go from hero to zero in a like amount of time. All Things Digital reports: “The social media giant is taking its first step to connect you with movies and TV shows, while collecting a fee in the process. It’s going to let users rent movies directly from the site, using Facebook Credits to pay for the transaction. First up is “The Dark Knight”, from Time Warner’s Warner Bros.. It will cost 30 credits, or $3, for a 48-hour rental, via an app the studio has built for the site. More movies, along with the ability to purchase the titles outright, are coming.” And so, the race to the bottom in Netflix margins begins. Next up: we repeat our prediction that NFLX will be forced to come to market with an equity offering, which will promptly cut the value of the world’s most overpriced stock by at least 33%.

UPDATE: It’s official. Bloomberg: Netflix Shares Decline as Warner Bros. Starts Offering Movies on Facebook

PreviouslyAmazon to Netflix: “Here, lemme put this knife in your business plan”

How to Make Facebook Use Secure HTTPS Connections for All Pages

Facebook has been rolling out this feature for the past few weeks. I checked the other day and noticed it was available in my account.

1. Click on Account (upper right corner).

2. Click Change next to Account Security.

3.Put a checkmark next to “Secure Browsing (https) and click Save. When you’re logged in all of the Facebook pages you view will be SSL encrypted.

PreviouslyFacebook now offers SSL encryption (https) for all pages if you change your security settings

Facebook now offers SSL encryption (https) for all pages if you change your security settings

InfoSec Daily:

Facebook announced that it is now offering users the ability to use encryption to protect their accounts from being compromised when they are interacting with the site, something security experts have been seeking for a while. The site currently uses HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) when users log in with their passwords, but now everything a user does on the site will be encrypted if he turns the feature on, the company said in a blog post. Enabling full-session HTTPS eliminates the ability for attackers to use tools like the Firefox plug-in called Firesheep to snoop on communications between a person’s computer and the site’s server. “Starting today we’ll provide you with the ability to experience Facebook entirely over HTTPS. You should consider enabling this option if you frequently use Facebook from public Internet access points found at coffee shops, airports, libraries, or schools,” the post says. “The option will exist as part of our advanced security features, which you can find in the Account Security section of the Account Settings page.” Using HTTPS may mean that some pages will take a little bit longer to load, and some third-party applications aren’t currently supported, the company said. The option is rolling out over the next few weeks. “We hope to offer HTTPS as a default whenever you are using Facebook sometime in the future,” the post says.

I checked my account settings and I don’t have the option yet. That’s consistent with the what it says about the feature rolling out to different users over the next few weeks.

"FacebookÂ’s New 'Download Your Information' Feature is an Early Christmas Present for Lawyers"

That’s what Computer Forensics Director Bill Dean is talking about over at Sword & Shield’s blog.

What Facebook Information is Downloaded?

  • Profile page with all of the userÂ’s information.
  • The usersÂ’s ”Wall” with all status updates.
  • Replies/comments to all user contents, including status updates and photos.
  • A complete list of Facebook friends.
  • Notes.
  • Events to which the person RSVPÂ’d.
  • A listing of all photos with the time of the upload
  • A complete list of the elusive Facebook messages (email) with the entire conversation thread with timestamps.

Bill is looking at it strictly from a legal discovery point of view. From a different point of view I like the new feature.

One of the reasons I prefer blogging to Facebook is that I own the data. I can export it out of WordPress. I can import it into a different blogging platform. I can use a Web page grabber and pull down the entire blog as a set of HTML pages. I’ll never lose that info.

With Facebook you could post a dozen times a day for years, with no way to archive those memories. This new feature gives Facebook users at least a minimal way to save their data.

BofA bows out of bidding for federal SmartPay card contract.(Industry News)

Cards & Payments March 1, 2007 Bank of America Corp. says it will not bid on a 10-year contract with the U.S. General Services Administration to issue payment cards to federal employees in the second go-round of the agency’s SmartPay program.

“We have appreciated the opportunity to participate in the SmartPay program over the years and to serve a number of federal agency clients,” notes a BofA statement. “However, we have concluded that the economics of the SmartPay 2 program ate not economically viable for us.” That leaves larger pieces of the GSA’s pie for other banks bidding to provide card products for purchasing, travel, fleet and other spending needs of 350 federal agencies, organizations and Native American tribal governments.

In fiscal 2006 spending on nearly 3 million MasterCard- and Visa-branded cards in the SmartPay program generated more than 98 million transactions amounting to $26.5 billion.

The GSA’s request for proposals, issued Sept. 28, included several enhancements from the expiring SmartPay program. In SmartPay 2, the GSA wants new core products and services such as prepaid and contactless cards, and customer support in foreign languages for some employees working abroad. website bidding for travel

Current SmartPay card purchases incur commercial interchange rates from issuers, but SmartPay 2 seeks lower interchange rates for government-to-government payments. “We view the risk of a transaction between two government agencies to be lower than that of a standard commercial purchase,” David Shea, director of the GSA’s SmartPay program, says.

Five banks issue cards under the GSA’s current SmartPay contract, which began in 1998 and ends in Nov. 2008. The institutions Include BofA, Citigroup, U.S. Bancorp, JPMorgan Chase and Mellon Bank. Despite the departure of BofA, other veteran issuers consider SmartPay 2’s requirements worth the effort.

A GSA spokesperson would not disclose which banks have bid to join SmartPay 2. Citigroup Inc., which provides card services to agencies such as the Navy and Department of Veterans Affairs as the SmartPay program’s largest issuer, confirmed that it is one of the bidders for SmartPay 2. see here bidding for travel

U.S. Bancorp, which serves the Defense Department (except the Navy), the executive office, Homeland Security and the U.S. Postal Service as SmartPay’s second-largest issuer, also confirms that it has bid for SmartPay 2.

The GSA says the SmartPay program has saved the government billions of dollars by replacing many slower, and more-costly, paper-based payments with electronic methods. In fiscal 2006 the GSA’s purchasing card program alone helped its customer agencies avoid some $1.4 billion in administrative processing costs. And government agencies earned $118 million in rebates from issuers in fiscal 2005 (fiscal 2006 figures are not yet available).

Winners of SmartPay 2 card-issuing contracts for fleet, travel, purchasing and other government spending needs will be announced at an unspecified date this year.

There are a lot of variables. How do you handle chargebacks? How do you handle cash-back situations where a business may have received an acquirer reimbursement of $100 for a debit card transaction, but the business only received $50?

Rob Drozdowski, Senior Director, Electronic Transactions Association

Will Facebook help your business?

Is Facebook For Me is a 10 question quiz that helps you predict whether Facebook will benefit your business.

I took the quiz for my company and got a 4.4: “What this means for you: Facebook will not be a major traffic source for you, but it will bring you more customers and help you discover things about them that you couldn’t find out any other way.”

That’s about what I expected. The usual social media models for B2C companies don’t really work for us. We’re a B2B company selling expensive services. We can’t give dollar off coupons or post goofy quizzes, and our customers in general aren’t spending hours and hours on social media, so we have to be respectful of their time.

We are using social media to stay in touch with our customers. We’ve seen some benefits from it. We’d like to find a way to do more with it, but we haven’t figured out a way to do that yet.

Hat tip to ROI Revolution.

“Please put this in your status” is the new “forward this important email to everyone you know”

“Please put this on your status if you know someone who suffers from stupidity. People need to understand that stupidity is real & should be taken seriously. You could be sitting next to a sufferer right now. There is still no known cure for stupidity, and sympathy does not help but we can raise awareness. 93% won’t copy and paste this because they don’t know how to copy and paste.”
— Jeff

PreviouslyIs “fewer Facebook friends” the new “more Facebook friends”?

Is “fewer Facebook friends” the new “more Facebook friends”?

I’ve noticed a couple Facebook friends announcing that they were trimming their friends list, removing people who hadn’t commented on their posts. What’s up with that?