At one minute past midnight Eastern Time this Saturday, Facebook users will be permitted to claim a unique user name, which may well spark a virtual vanity landgrab the likes of which we've never seen. Author
and former BB guestblogger Douglas Rushkoff
says this is the moment when Facebook becomes obsolete.
The Facebook Land Grab (Daily Beast)
This is more than 200 million users, already engaged, simultaneously scrambling in the greatest territory dash since the Oklahoma Territory's land run of 1889, albeit with fewer shotgun injuries.
But Facebook's new page-naming scheme actually brings up other memories for me, ones that hold bigger stakes for the company itself. It reminds me of the moment that AOL, formerly a completely closed network with its own content, allowed its users onto the greater Internet for the first time. Internet USENET boards were filled with what we called "newbies" wandering around and asking anyone they could find how to download pornography. Formerly high-level conversations were quickly brought down to the lowest common denominator as a huge population of people uninitiated in basic Internet etiquette flooded the networks faster than we could educate them.
The impact was far worse for AOL. By opening itself to the greater Internet, AOL revealed itself as something of a wading pool. A mini-Internet. Once people could use AOL as a portal to the true, unadulterated, global net, the company was reduced to an ISP. AOL became series of phone numbers you dial to get online, and little more. Steve Case knew his moment was over, and used his inflated stock price to purchase some real assets like Time Warner. We all know how that turned out.
NCR reports in-the-wild sightings of “deep skimmers” (tiny, disposable card-skimmers that run on watch batteries and use crude radios to transmit to a nearby base-station) on ATMs around the world: “Greece, Ireland, Italy, Switzerland, Sweden, Bulgaria, Turkey, United Kingdom and the United States.”
Here’s a puzzle from Martin Gardner’s “Mathematical Games” column, which ran for many years in Scientific American. I found it in his anthology, My Best Mathematical and Logic Puzzles, which is only $3.42 on Amazon. There is a simple procedure by which two people can divide a cake so that each is satisfied he has […]
Religion blogger Fred Clark is fascinated with the urban legends and panic surrounding “satanism,” so years ago he set up a Google News Alert for the word “Satanic.” Over at Pathos, he posted the funny, ridiculous, and fascinating things he’s learned. Here’s a sample: • Every year, dozens of filmmakers try to recapture the magic […]
White hat hackers get paid to find holes in their own employers’ online systems, and plug those holes before they become serious security risks. It’s a job that pays handsomely…mostly because few job candidates, even experienced IT professionals, have the skills to scamper over firewalls and infiltrate the deepest recesses of a battle-tested network. But […]
Why buy one of those expensive and confusing universal remotes, clogged with enough buttons to launch a space shuttle, when you could accomplish the same electronic control right on your favorite mobile device? The Blumoo Universal Remote, now just $52.99 in the Boing Boing Store, harnesses the audio power of all your household equipment right […]
You may not love Microsoft Word, but you’ve definitely used it. Other than being one of the most ubiquitous programs on the planet, it’s been the go-to word processing system for more than a quarter-century because it’s as basic as it gets. But occasionally, you’ve got assignments that beg for a lot more options than simple […]