616 - Losing faith in Facebook
Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Losing faith in FacebookEdit

Wow, it turns out this Beacon advertising thing is really messed up, y'all! Now Facebook has admitted that the ad service would track your purchases on third-party sites even when you're logged off. That's evil power, right there. Speaking of evil power, it turns out that a small, power-mad cadre of paranoid editors has been secretly controlling Wikipedia via mailing list. Thought so.

Stories CoveredEdit

Facebook Admits Ad Service Tracks Logged-Off Users
Facebook has confirmed findings of a Computer Associates security researcher that the social-networking site's Beacon ad service is more intrusive and stealthy than previously acknowledged, an admission that contradicts statements made previously by Facebook executives and representatives.

Correction on Coca-Cola & Facebook: Relationship Not On Hold; Not In Beacon To Begin With
So a correction on a post this weekend about Coca-Cola’s participation in Facebook’s controversial Beacon ad program, and from the NYT’s understanding of what Coke said, and then our interpretation of what they wrote. A Coca-Cola spokesperson said the underlying premise was wrong and clarified some details:

-- Coca-Cola hasn’t put its Facebook participation on hold. In fact, the company is and remains a “landmark partner” taking part in two different ad/marketing programs.

-- The company wasn’t part of Beacon to begin with, and for now is only considering it; taking part in that was what the NYT meant was on hold.

Secret mailing list rocks Wikipedia
AControversy has erupted among the encyclopedia's core contributors, after a rogue editor revealed that the site's top administrators are using a secret insider mailing list to crackdown on perceived threats to their power.

Microsoft Withdraws Vista's Kill Switch
In what they are calling a change of tactics, Microsoft has removed the controversial 'kill switch' from Vista in SP1. This feature is designed to disable pirated copies of the OS, but had led to numerous reports of it disabling legitimate copies. It will be replaced with a notice that repeatedly informs the user that their OS is pirated.

Microsoft: Vista piracy rate is half that of XP
There are a variety of reasons for that, including the fact that businesses no longer have volume license keys that can be used to activate an unlimited number of machines. Another is the fact that Vista machines that aren't properly activated pretty quickly become basically unusable once they enter "reduced functionality mode."

T-Mobile Germany stops selling unlocked iPhones
Apple's strategy for the iPhone has been to grant one operator in each country exclusive rights to sell the handset. In return, Apple takes an unspecified cut of the revenues generated by customers' iPhone contracts. In late November, wireless operator Vodafone Group complained that T-Mobile, which won the German exclusivity deal to sell the handset, was being anticompetitive by not allowing the handset to be used on other networks, while locking users into 24-month contracts..

Universal bets on free music on Nokia phones
Music group exec says subscriber plan including 12 months of access to free music "is how consumers will consume music going forward."

Universal Music Restricting Music Streaming On Certain Sites
Universal Music Group, the largest music label, has implemented a new online streaming policy for its artists: each song for its artists will be limited to either 90-second clips or full-songs that contain promotional voice-over messages, reports Billboard. Excluded are any online services that UMG has a commercial licensing deal with, which means it is getting compensated for each stream.

MPAA's University wiretapping product taken down for violating copyright
The MPAA's "University Toolkit" (a piece of monitoring software that universities are being asked to install on their networks to spy on students' communications) has been taken down, due to copyright violations. The Toolkit is based on the GPL-licensed Xubuntu operating system (a flavor of Linux). The GPL requires anyone who makes a program based on GPL'ed code has to release the source code for their program and license it under the GPL.

MP3 Blogs Offer File Sharing Even the RIAA Could Love
There are countless MP3 file-sharing sites that don't look anything like BitTorrent or Lime Wire. They're low-key, homegrown blogs that don't host illicitly copied music, but do provide links to third-party sites, or storage lockers, such as Megashare, where pirated music is stored. These bloggers do it for the love of the music, they say, but it doesn't hurt that they make a little money from advertising along the way.

MySpace launches new music program

Chimps Outscore College Students on Memory Test
AP's Malcolm Ritter reports that young chimpanzees were better at remembering a series of numbers flashed on a screen, than the Japanese college students used as a control group.

From The PhonesEdit

  • Michael from New York Poltergeist in my iPod
  • Matt from St. Louis Where can a guy change into his tights these days?
  • Ashwin So what would Coke be selling anyway?


  • How about anti-disinformation digital switch-over flyers?!?

Is anyone like EFF or the FCC working on that? I'm just sayin'--educated tech-heads of the world--be empowered to inform those who don't know better, ya know? I'd be happy to put flyers at my apartment complex and hand them out.

Yeah, that isn't much of a battle cry--feel free to create one...maybe something like "consumer empowerment now!" something.

Best, Shalin


Digital television answers for everyone
Hey Buzz crew,

A quick note to all of your subscribers, the Web site has a lot of FAQs about digital televisions and digital broadcast signals. Most of your subscribers can probably find this information themselves, but this may be a good site for them to recommend their not-so-techy friends and family to take a look at and learn the facts of the DTV broadcast switch. Note, it does mention that consumers that subscribe to cable, satellite, and phone company services will not be affected by the switch. This will help the not-so-techy get an upper hand on the sales reps telling them differently.

Love the show, Engineer Joe from Indiana

Gerstmann hoopla
Hey buzzers,

OK, so I was mighty tempted to pull the plug on all my CNET subscriptions in the wake of the Gerstmann-gate hoopla, but have accepted your position that and are two seperate entities, and agree with Molly that not everyone should be tarred with the same big brush. However, I think there are still some issues here that have not been satisfactorily addressed. On Friday's podcast, you promised to deal with the Gamespot issue on Monday's show--you did but, I have to be honest, it didn't feel particularly whole-hearted. As the self-described reporters on Buzz, it seems to me that you missed all sorts of buzz--the intertubes are packed with stories on this, all of which makes for very interesting reading, even if the medium is, in fact, the real message.

But, here's my real issue with this. I'll take, at face value, your assertion that the folks at aren't pressured by editors or advertisers with regard to content. But I can't shake the deep suspicion that the opposite is true at I'll also accept the assertion that those two sites are independent (more or less). The only conclusion to be drawn is that and are being held to different editorial standards. This certainly goes toward the (very skeptical) buzz about 'gaming journalism' that has been zooming around the tubes. At the end of the day, this is a huge sticking point for me, and I still think that 'CNET Networks' has some 'splaining to do.

Todd ("Todd-the-theatre-professor") Hennessey

Comcast offering 100Mbps?
BOL #614--you talked about Comcast DOCSIS 3 and FiOS.

Don't bet on it!

The spec calls for 160Mpbs, right? Well, DOCSIS2 calls for 40Mbps and when was the last time you actually got that "up to" 8Mbps?

You cannot compare a shared cable "up to" xMbps with a true fiber xMbps.

Fiber is considerably faster, and easily upgradeable.

I'm not sure if you are aware, but several communities already offer fast fiber connections to their citizens without relying on incumbent providers. I published a case study Burlington, Vermont, and its publicly owned fiber network at that was later featured on Future Tense.

Christopher M.


We just got back in time for puberty for Jason - Molly

After The CreditsEdit

Buzz Out Loud Episode Guide Navigation
2010 | Jan
2009 | Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2008 | Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2007 | Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2006 | Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2005 | Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

Ad blocker interference detected!

Wikia is a free-to-use site that makes money from advertising. We have a modified experience for viewers using ad blockers

Wikia is not accessible if you’ve made further modifications. Remove the custom ad blocker rule(s) and the page will load as expected.