Weekly Blogistan Round-Up no. 47/2008

obamoidaNo more denial, it's official by now: no more outdoor swimming 2k8, winter has kicked in Vienna. Yesterday, the little white thingie called snow was floating around in the air, which is nice, if you live near the Alps (skiing season!), but which sucks, if you live in Vienna: as soon as the first snow is falling, car-drivers get crazy: no matter if the streets are actually slippery or not.

Seth on Trust: I trust you, says Seth, but if you abuse my trust once, you won't be part of the inner circle next time. No need to comment on that, expect: full akk:

If I believe I'm talking on the record, to everyone, I need to be a lot more careful in what I type. Of course, there's no way for me to enforce this. No way for me to sue you or something if you start taking my words (in context or not) and post them here and there. Except for one: I just won't trust you again.

Craig's face gets redder: Obviously, Facebook wants to re-furbish its marketplace. Classified are big business, which currently is largely covered by Craigslist, MSN and eBay (via Kijiji). According to TechCrunch, Facebook chose Oodle, who probably won the pitch thanks to their previous field-experience aka Walmart Classifieds – the relaunch will take place in December. If Facebook manages to offer a better product than their competitors, this could mean some big buck: the combination of a social network with a classifieds-system sounds like a very good idea – but obviously, something was missing so far, since the current marketplace is one of the least busy areas in FB-town; let's see if Oodle will change that.

Monty Python on youtube: No more need to illegally upload MP-sketches: the British comedians are going affirmative and created their very own Channel, which not only features the well-known pieces but also rarities from the vault. I bet fan-numbers will increase rapidly! [via Laughing Squid]

A quantum of what? Glad I don't have to watch the newest JB movie, as Dan reviewed A Quantum of Solace and came to the frightening conclusion that there is actually no bond girl in this movie. Actually, his resum

Guest post by Kim de Vries: Your Friend has just tackled you

Kim de VriesBite, lick, or tackle them back, or click here to theorize about what this all means. I'm very happy to publish the first guest posting here on datadirt. Kim De Vries, who I met via Facebook, wrote a very interesting paper about the symbolic kind of communication we all know so well from social networks like Facebook. “He who never superpoked shall throw the first rock” – enjoy the reading! Dr. Kim De Vries is working at the California State University Stanislaus, you can reach her at kdevries [at]


Though Facebook was initially the province of college students, it has become popular with a broad range of users since opening its door to anyone with an email address in September 2006. However, until very recently, most research on Facebook has focused on the student demographic rather than exploring how Facebook is growing into a massive online society that is inhabited by many different groups using Facebook in a variety of ways for a variety of reasons. The academics studying Facebook generally join it and use it in order to observe students; now that more faculty are using Facebook outside the classroom, to organize events and to socialize, turning the focus to our own use of Facebook reveals that our own communities are being affected as well.

As of August 2008, Facebook is one of the most rapidly growing social networks, boasting 100 million active users, translated into twelve European and a growing number of Asian and African languages. The extent to which groups of people connected on Facebook can be defined as communities is highly debatable and a useful alternative has been suggested by Rieder and Sch

Social media triX: turn subdomains into profile URLs

Profil-Redirects mit SubdomainsA couple of social networks offer nice, human readable profile URLs, but most still don't. And since nobody is going to remember a link like, it's a good idea to use a redirect: this way, Facebook and other URLs are much easier to remember in an offline talk for example. If you're running your own site using your own domain, it's very easy to set up a subdomain which points to your profile. opens my fb-profile page – here's a quick checklist on how to do that.

This kind of redirection is suitable for all kinds of links which you want to shorten and/or make easier to remember. There are no disadvantages whatsoever, as we are going to use a permanent redirect: this means that Google will not index the subdomain and hence there's no duplicate content problem. I'm using my own Facebook URL as an example for the following instructions – caveat: Your server has to run Linux and the apache rewrite engine must be enabled.

  1. Add a new subdomain: the way you set up a new subdomain depends on your web hoster. Usually it's done via some administration interface. Basically, a subdomain points to a subdirectory of the domains root-directory. In this example I added the new subdomain “” using the directory
  2. This directory is going to contain just one file which you have to edit now. The name of the file is .htaccess (that's an Apache standard naming convention) and it contains the instructions that point the user to the destination URL. It takes only one line using the following syntax


    In this example, the content of the .htaccess file is:

    Redirect permanent /

  3. There's no third step – you're done. Don't expect your new subdomain to work right away though: because of the way the DNS system works there might be a delay of up to 24 hours until the new subdomain works. But you can instantly test your setup by entering the absolute URL, in this case:
  4. Multiple redirects: Of course you can set up multiple subdomains (on multiple servers) and have them all point to the same profile. I added another subdomain to my personal site which also points to my Facebook profile:

    How to edit your .htaccess file using Windows: If you're using Windows, there is no chance of naming a file .htaccess as Windows requires at least one character before the dot. So use a name like temp.htaccess, edit the file, upload it to your subdomain directory via ftp and then rename it to .htaccess on the server. Or you can use a command-line tool and edit the file via a terminal window.

Lord Jeebus vs. Chuck Norris

our Lord JeebusToday I got invited for an interesting new facebook group: it's all about a so called Jesus: he's a guy invented by some antichrists with the sole intention to mis-credit our true one and only saviour, Lord Jeebus Chuck Norris. So repent, SINNERS – and never forget what Jack Donaghue said about Irish catholics on 30 rock: “There's always the crusing guilt!” On the facebook group page it says:

JESUS told us about LOVE.
JESUS told us about TOLERANCE.
JESUS told us to HELP the others.
JESUS told us about PEACE.
JESUS told us about FREEDOM.
JESUS told us about FORGIVENESS…
lets go this way together.

But while Jesus is walking on water, Chuck Norris is walking on Jesus. Or swimming through land. So shouldn't the intro rather say:

CHUCK NORRIS is his own SON.
CHUCK NORRIS counted to INFINITY. twice.
CHUCK NORRIS told us to SMASH THE FACES of others.
CHUCK NORRIS told us about the dangers of PEACE.
CHUCK NORRIS reminded us that FORGIVENESS is for pussies…
lets go his way together.

Who’s gonna manage our digital identity?

Scotty, get those phazers ready – the battle for digital identity management is about to begin. The Google Klingons have yet not been able to successfully launch their not-so-secret weapon OpenSocial, while the Federation's OpenId primarily seems to appeal to nerds.

But hey, behold: the times they are-a-changing: just a couple of days ago myspace announced the introduction of Data Availability, which is basically an interface allowing myspace users to share their profile data with third party websites like Twitter, Photobucket and the like.

Just two days after the information became public, Facebook started talking about Facebook Connect, a perfectly similar system – Techcrunch has more. Both interfaces will be publicly available for any interested partners in a couple of weeks and both will fight Google and OpenId for supremacy over digital id management – and the battle is set up to be very interesting to watch.