Among the first 1000 commenters here on the blog, I will give away 10 brand-new iPhone 5S *. To enter the contest you have only two thing to do. Write a comment below this article and like my Facebook page. In the next hours I also will post two more tasks on Facebook which will raise your chance to win one of the iPhones. The first task will be: “Like this, if you ever had a cold.” and finally the second upcoming task will be a survey with the following question: “If you are a men, like this – if you are a woman share this”. And always stay tuned because next month I will give away even 100 MacBook Pros*. And so it goes with the social media, am I right?
Now let’s face it – of course I won’t give away anything! Neither 10 iPhones, nor 100 MacBooks and even not 500 Peruvian guinea pigs or my stamp collection. (From which money should I buy all those stuff?) And yes, the introduction is provocative and no, I couldn’t resist that.
What I really want, is to talk about these unspeakably stupid pseudo-competitions which are held regularly on Facebook. I mean those “If you like this, you will win one of 20000 iPhones!”-contest. If any people with too much free time feel the need to start totally unrealistic, Brand Infringing and bordering on fraud competitions, whose content consists mainly of “Like XYZ and share my new page”, then normally I would say: “Hey let them do what they want, I don’t care about…”.
But what really shocks me every time afresh is the naivety of people who still fall for it. I actually thought that my contacts on Facebook are formed to in the extent that they do not fall for such meshes and scams. Sadly, I still get messages ala ” XYZ likes ’5000 iPhones for the first 5000 likes’ ” into my Facebook timeline again and again – and often it involves people who are stuck in the middle of their studies. (This does not mean that I see a degree as a prerequisite for common sense, but just from students I actually expect a more critical and questioning attitude.)
I always ask myself the following question – “Why does someone like such obviously fake sites” – And now I’ve set the following theories:
- People do not even read what or who they provide with their “like”-click
- The people switch off their brains as soon as the words iPhone and giveaway are mentioned in the same sentence
- The people still havn’t learned that there is not anything for free on the Internet
No matter how I turn it, none of the assumptions can be a good sign for supporters of such Facebook pages. Since then, one only remains the possibility to sit down and pray for the people or just withdraw the friend request on Facebook. The only people who benefit from these “sweepstakes”, are the operators who sell the Facebook pages (if they have enough Likes) a few days later on eBay to lowbrow “Social Media Managers”. That such a site is actually worthless because the Likes come from a very different context and visitors remove the likes when they realize that there is nothing to win, for sure isn’t mentioned in eBay auctions description…
So all in all I please you to loudly read out the following sentences in an almost mantra-like audition:
- Before I click on “Like” buttons, I read what I actually will like
- Before I join lotterys/contest on Facebook I check the authenticity of the operator and ask myself whether the Sweepstakes may be genuine or whether the gain is so high that it must be a fake
- I wonder if the site is so good that I really want to annoy my friends with messages of this page in their timelines
There isn’t much more I have to say about this topic for now. What do you think about it? Do you also have such “candidates” in your friends list, who taking part in such contests or do you take part in it yourself? If so, please tell me why do you join such fake contests? I would love to understand what drives a human to take part in such competitions. Really!
* Also at this point again – I will not give away neither iPhones nor MacBook Pros. The introduction of the article serves as a “sarcastic rhetorical device” to draw attention to the overall problem.
The article picture is taken by John Karakatsanis and released to the public under the CC BY-SA 2.0 License and can be found here.
Today I wrote the fourth round of my “Best of Web” series. As some may have noticed, there have been no posts in this series for the last two weeks, even though I really wanted to bring up a contribution to the series on every Monday.
However, as I noted in the first article of the series, I have reserved the right for me that, depending on the workload and quality of the links I found in the last week, I suspend the series sometimes – and that is what happened the last two weeks. But this week I’m back with a new article.
Today there is (again) a lot about programming and hardware(-hacks) and of course again a small video clip at the end of the article. Let’s go into the fourth round!
Bus departure times in real time for your home
The first topic, which I want to draw attention to today, deals with the departure times of buses. I think everyone knows the display panels at bus stops, which give an information on when the bus(-line) departs and how much delay it has. Oona Räisänen has determined that this information is transferred to the information panels via FM radio. She has taken the matter, decrypted the protocol and built a small display/board for her home, so she every time knows exactly when the next bus arrives. I find this is quite interesting project and I’m not averse to look deeper into my local bus stop display technology in the upcoming months.
A simple do it yourself YubiKey
The YubiKey is a small USB device (stick) that serves as a key for two-factor authentication. Also, the mastermind behind the BCH Professional Engineering blog, had procured one of these YubiKeys, he got his sample only to find out that this was both, impractical and already broken even after a few months of use.
Without further ado, he decided to build his own small USB security token. Both, the idea and the implementation, have done it to me, so that I like to share his project with you.
What you should know (as a programmer) about character sets
The article by Joel Spolsky has now been around 10 years in the internet, but in my opinion, lost none of its topicality. Joel looks at the basics of character sets and encodings and does away with one or the other misunderstanding. I share his opinion and say, “Yes, what he has written in this article is basic stuff, that really every programmer should know.” What I would like to know – did you already read Joels article in the past and if not, do you still have learned something new?
Parallel programming in .NET 4.5
Sure the terms “Async” and “Parallel” are no strangers to me, but I liked the overview on the topic of parallel programming in .NET 4.5 – which is given in the Visual Studio blog, so I would like to recommend this article to you.
The Simpsons in Breaking Bad – Breaking Bart
Finally, as already done so in the last rounds of my “Best of Web” mashups, I’ll share a short video with you. As a fan of The Simpsons and beeing a friend of “Heisenberg”, I decided for the following clip this week.
Anyone who has ever worked with Microsoft’s Visual Studio, will know and love Intellisense. When writing source code the auto-completion feature does a good piece of work for you. Now the good news! If you are rather a fan of writing your code in a more lightweight editor like Notepad++, you don’t have to completely give up the autocomplete support.
Even Notepad++ comes with a auto-completion feature. It only needs to be activated. How to do that, is what I want to show you in the following.
Open the Options dialog from the menu and change to the tab “backup / autocomplete”. Now check both, the “Enable autocomplete” and “Show Function Parameters” option.
From now on Notpad++ should propose you the most common functions of the programming/scripting language while typing.
Certainly the feature can’t be compared with Microsoft’s Intellisense for real, but it nevertheless facilitates immensely the work. And Notepad++ is, contrary to the Visual Studio. even a lot of megabytes smaller and also free of charge. What I’m a little bit sad of, is that you have to activate the autocomplete in Notepad++ by hand. Sure, there are only 2-3 clicks until the feature is activated, but who isn’t a “notorious setting hustler” like me, comes usually not in such exquisite taste of gimmicks.
So now I want to know, if you knew this feature already? Or do you use even another editor?
Now it goes into the third round of Best of Web (#BoW). Every Monday, as promised, I post a few of my favorite internet finds. This week I’m a little late, but Monday just prior to 23:00 clock still Monday. (So I’ve reached my own goal again this week.)
Today there are some links about hardware and software hacks, IE toolbar programming and WordPress speed optimization. Also featuring: A infographic for nerds, the answer to the question “How to cluster a handful of Raspberry Pis?” and a short video to your general amusement. Let’s go!
Use the Raspberry Pi as Babel Fish
Ok, it’s not a real Babel fish, but Dave Conroy’s Raspberry Pi project is getting close to Douglas Adams Babelfish. He has “taught” the Raspberry Pi to translate between a lot of languages using various online translation APIs. The Raspberry captures your speech by using a microphone, converts it to text, sends the text to a translation service and then reads out loud the translation. Finally it does all that almost fully automatically in near real time and between over 50 languages.
Millions lines of code
Once again I discovered a nice infographic on informationistbeatiful.net. This graphic shows over 50 software products and their lines of source code. There is software listed from a few thousand lines, ranging up to several million lines of code. I was really surprised to see that the source code of a development environment such as Visual Studio 2012 consists of more lines of code than the entire Windows 7 operating system. Maybe this might also explain the high price of Visual Studio …
Write toolbars for IE in C#
The next topic for today deals with toolbars for Internet Explorer. Yes, I’m ok and I’m really serious about that. Toolbars. Internet Explorer. Two concepts that seem to be frowned upon for many in this days. But I can tell you from personal experience – neither the one nor the other is dead, and as long as there are developers out there who have to deal with the development of toolbars for Internet Explorer, the following three articles have their right to exist.
When developing a toolbar for the Internet Explorer you say “COM object” instead of “XML”. You say: “rather difficult than easy”. Writing a toolbar for IE in C#.NET? Difficult, but not impossible. The first article deals with the basics of toolbars, the second one tries to eliminate ambiguities that might come up while reading the first article and the third article describes again the intricacies of Internet Explorer concerning toolbars.
Speed up WordPress by using Redis
I think it can not be disputed, that WordPress is one of the most widely spread CMS. Likewise it can’t be disputed, that WordPress has gone from slim Blog CMS to a fully-blown heavyweight in the CMS scene. Unfortunately, with the increasing functionality, WordPress has also become somewhat slower/sluggish and because load times play a crucial role in the context of search engine optimization as well as for visitor satisfaction, you should really try to speed up your WordPress installation. And this is where Jim Westergren’s blog comes into play. In his blog, he explains in detail how to incredible speed up your WordPress with Redis. The best example of this technique is his own blog, which has more than impressive loading times.
A cluster out of Raspberry Pis
The last article for today is again about a Raspberry Pi project. Specifically about how to build a cluster of Raspberry Pis and then use this as a web server/webgrid. Sure there has been one or the other article on computer grids build of Raspberry Pis, but I have never seen a website with so much and detailed information about building a Raspberry Pi cluster as on Steve Breuning’s website. Whoever is serious interested in clustering one or more Raspberry Pis or simply wants to see some performance benchmark, shouldn’t miss this link tip of the week.
The smallest garage in the world
Finally there is again, as also in the last two Best of Web round ups, a short video. This time it is to go about the supposedly smallest garage in the world. Don’t be scared by the Dutch (?) audio track – you don’t need it, to understand the video. The true message still comes across…