Friday, November 12, 2010

Three things for improving Facebook privacy

We're not gonna take it
Never did and never will
We're not gonna take it
Gonna break it, gonna shake it,
Let's forget it better still
-- We're Not Gonna Take It (The Who)
  1. ReclaimPrivacy: everyone should be using this and scan periodically. This is an extremely easy way of detecting which privacy leaks you haven't plugged.
  2. Remove Facebook Like buttons: a Greasemonkey script to rid you of these from non-Facebook pages. These buttons are nasty and let Facebook track you as you surf around the web.
  3. Facebook Link Rewriter: another Greasemonkey script to stop Facebook from tracking which links you click on.
Sure would be great if I could stop doing these types of posts, eh?

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Steal this idea: Off-hold notification

Woke up this morning I was all alone
Saw your picture by the telephone
I was missing you oh so bad
Wish I had you here to hold
All I've got is this touch-tone phone
So I guess I'll give you a call
-- Telephone Song (Stevie Ray Vaughan)

Here's another app idea for smart phone software developers. When I'm put on hold and I don't have a headset, I'd like to put the phone down until I am taken off of hold. I'd like it so that when the phone "hears" a loud signal over the line (it may need to do some noise cancellation in case there is noise on my end) the phone will vibrate or (optionally) switch to speakerphone.

This would mostly be for talking to people but a harder problem is handling customer service centers. (Ideally, customer service telephone systems would take your phone number and have an agent give you a call when they're free rather than wasting time on phone calls, but few companies do this currently) In these cases, it might be able to use a voice/music detector and check for repeated messages. Many of things you hear while you're on hold alternate between music and voice, so this might end up notifying you too much. With luck, it could be trained that some pieces were recordings (by memorizing sound "fingerprints" or something like that like) for use in later phone calls.