It Done Broke.

Facebook Invalid Email Contacts

Just today I logged into Facebook and discovered that it felt that the email address I had supplied as a contact was no longer valid.  It provided me an inline form to give them a new address as well as a link to click if I thought this message was in error.  Action on either front made it cough back an message saying what I’d given them was still invalid.

I did a bit of digging around the site’s help pages and I’m sure it’s no surprise to anyone that it’s pretty much impossible to contact an actual person to help you out.  I do have to credit the CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s enormous ego with creating what is possibly one of the most successful sites with the paradoxically worst support system ever.  The customer forum is composed of an unbelievably byzantine interface link structure that rivals Microsoft’s.  It’s pretty much impossible to find the answer to a problem which they don’t deem to be an official “issue”, nevermind one they do.

Anyway, I did eventually find a solution (without input, of course, from any Facebook staff, possibly from Google).  For some reason, they’ve started scanning their database for contact emails that they deem “generic” (e.g. “mail@…” and “info@…”).  At their request, I changed mine to something else, something equally generic but not what they’re flagging and then set it on my email server side to forward to the address I had previously given Facebook.  This seemed to satisfy it.

I did notice in the “help” pages that some customers had tried to follow Facebook’s instructions but on doing so, became locked out of their accounts.  They’re now stuck in purgatory.  I won’t dwell on this too long, since it’s only a matter of time until I too, am banished with all my contacts, groups and fan pages blown to dust.

Seriously, Facebook:  F.O.

Also, anecdotally (from the “help” pages), more than one customer had reported finding a help page in there somewhere that directed them to contact Facebook support at the following address: “”.

Converting Facebook Groups To Pages

A few weeks back I was thinking about converting a Facebook Group I have into a Page.   So I was looking through the Facebook “Help” pages and wondering if there was a mechanism for doing this.  There was.

In fact, Facebook would do it for you.  I put a request in for them to do this.  I waited and having not heard back from them in these weeks, I thought I’d check up on it.

Turns out, now:

We’re no longer able to convert Facebook Groups into Pages. You’re welcome to create a Page and notify your Group members that you’ll be using the Page instead of the Group going forward. If your Group has too many members to send them a message, we unfortunately aren’t able to provide you with any other solutions for how you might contact them about this change.

It’s pretty obvious that a Group admin would especially be looking into an automated option if the Group had a lot of members.  It’s doubly irking that there’s no indication as to what motivated their change of heart.  Was it technical?  Or was it sociological?

Anyway, I’m now wondering if I should bother since apparently there’s no way to invite “Fans” to your Page whereas there still is with Groups.

Social Networking Charting

The only problem with this chart is the fact there’s significant overlap between some of these, e.g. “People who can’t afford” and “Proud ownever of butterfly tramp stamps”.

Facebook Mail & Old People

I know how old this makes me sound but kids, I just gotta say this: I hate Facebook Mail. Facebook is great for lots of stuff but the fact is it’s a web-based messaging system, a crappy & broken one at that, that duplicates an existing system without actually making it better.  And it actually creates a redundancy – at least one.

The fact that it forwards new Inbox items to my contact email account drives me insane. So why don’t I just turn it off?  Or why not only use FB Mail?  Well, I have about a thousand other email accounts for other purposes and identities.  I don’t just do one thing.  So it’s great to be able to do it all in one place, using either Outlook (*shudder*), Thunderbird, Apple Mail, or even Gmail using POP fetching.

I guess this is where Facebook departs from its original intent as a gathering spot for university & college students who actually really only need(ed) the site for one purpose and one purpose only – gathering friends for a party and then posting the aftermath pics.  Also, for stalking high school crushes.

However, now that old people have been using Facebook for several years now it’s maybe time for them to revisit how its users use its mailing system.  What would be wicked is if the Facebook API allowed a developer to create an IMAP or POP bridge.  I’m not alone in wanting this.  A quick Google and I found this and this.  At least with a bridging application Facebook could still keep the content flowing through their system (and yes, using whatever data they can glean from it for their evil marketing plots) while making it actually usable.

What would be wickeder is if they just set up their own IMAP/POP servers and allowed you to have direct access to them.  In fact, it would take a huge load off their web servers by reducing the number of page-fetch calls and instead running far more efficient and less processor-intensive mail servers.  After all, most mail is text-based anyway and fairly slim.  And, of course, they could still have the web interface there fetching mail off the mail servers to not break functionality.

Google Gears for Firefox 3.1

Firefox 3.1b2
Google Gears

You know what would be really faboo? If the devs for Google Gears figured out it was worthwhile looking at the non-compatibility issue with Firefox 3.1 and Google Gears. I know, I know, it’s free software and there are a million other things to get to. And they’ve said (unofficially) that by the time Firefox 3.1 gets out of beta they’ll be ready. The only reason I’m asking is this:

There are now a preponderance of sites out there now that are JavaScript heavy. All Google products, Facebook, MySpace, and yeah, WordPress – especially the admin backend which is now AJAX supercharged. So when you’re dealing with these sites a lot it really makes a big difference having a browser that can crank through the JS routines and render the damn page already. This is why I’m working with the beta version of Firefox 3.1 (actually, now the OSX optimized version, Shiretoko – there are Windows versions out there too) which has the Tracemonkey JavaScript engine enabled. It’s quite fast; incidentally I’m also testing WebKit, the Safari engine development version which is right up there too.

Anyway, FF 3.1 makes a big difference in shaving off my waiting time, especially here in WordPress-land. And incidentally, the kind folks at WordPress have incorporated Google Gears functionality to offload the download…load. Works great on WebKit/Safari, but since the Gears guys haven’t worked out the FF 3.1 compatibility yet, we’re still waiting.

Not a big rush, really…but it’s Valentine’s Day. Blow me a kiss, boys.