The Facebook Phone?

Business Insider, Henry Blodget: “Although Facebook might want to be a mobile platform, there’s no obvious need for a Facebook phone.”

I can’t imagine how crappy this could turn out. If you’ve ever used the Facebook iOS application you know what a steaming pile of poo that is. An entire phone, dedicated to Facebook? I’d imagine it will appeal to the narcissistic, reality show, types. Think Kim Kardashian, perfect target for The Facebook Phone.

Good luck Zuck, I think you’ll need it.

Cloud Social

Facebook, one giant app

ars technica: “Because Facebook’s entire code base is compiled down to a single binary executable, the company’s deployment process is quite different from what you’d normally expect in a PHP environment. Rossi told me that the binary, which represents the entire Facebook application, is approximately 1.5GB in size. When Facebook updates its code and generates a new build, the new binary has to be pushed to all of the company’s servers.”

As much as I rail against Facebook, they don’t mess around when it comes to their technology. If they can’t find what they’re after, they build it.

Most web sites are built from a little of this and a little of that. Now doubt Facebook has many components that make it up.

The idea that they’ve gone against conventional wisdom and built a monolithic application is kind of refreshing. They own the world because they’ve continued to make their own path.

The Hacker Way, indeed.


Instagram Stack

Instagram LogoInstagram Engineering: “We thought it would be fun to give a sense of all the systems that power Instagram, at a high-level; you can look forward to more in-depth descriptions of some of these systems in the future. This is how our system has evolved in the just-over-1-year that we’ve been live, and while there are parts we’re always re-working, this is a glimpse of how a startup with a small engineering team can scale to our 14 million+ users in a little over a year.”

Go read this post, if you haven’t already. It’s amazing how much the company has changed in just a little over a year.

I wonder how long it’s going to take to transition all this content to Facebook servers? Will they even attempt to do it? The integration of the systems will be fun to watch. From a DevOps perspective it’ll be a great challenge. Hopefully Facebook will leave most of the stack alone and move the parts that can be moved fairly easily. I figure the actual storage of photos is one area that could come over fairly easily. Facebook has some caching mechanisms that could work right away, but all-in-all I think I’d leave most of the Instagram infrastructure in place. Why? Because it’s working.

Their new infrastructure sure beats where they were on October 6, 2010.

“On Wednesday, October 6, 2010, Instagram launched its mobile photo sharing service for iPhone. In six hours, the back-end operation, which was running off a single machine in Los Angeles, was completely overwhelmed.”

That’s right, all of Instagram was hosted on one computer. Amazing.


Facebook Redesign

Inside Facebook: “The redesign, the largest for pages since February 2011, creates a more unified look and feel for the site after profiles and groups were updated earlier this year. Page owners will have a 30-day window to redesign their pages and publish when they are ready. On March 31, all pages will automatically switch to the new format.”

Who had the timeline first, Path or Facebook?

I say hats off, regardless of who was first. The new look is brilliant and is something I’d love to have, just not on Facebook.

I wonder if anyone has created a weblog template for WordPress, or any other popular weblogging platform, that gives you this look? It makes complete sense. Everything rolled up into one site.

The center of my universe starts with That’s where I need this look. Not on a marketing site.

I really need to learn how to roll web pages. You use tables for layout, right?


Twitter, It’s About Mobile

MG Siegler: “The most powerful aspect of Twitter, to me, is its mobile/client usage. The website is fine, but not its core, in my opinion. Some love it, some hate it. It will never be Facebook — it doesn’t have to be. Twitter’s mobile experience (no matter which app you use) is much better than Facebook’s because the simple nature of the network is a more natural fit for mobile.”

You’d think Zuck would understand how important mobile is. If he thinks Facebook Mobile is good, he’s smoking crack. Facebook’s mobile apps is absolutely hideous and buggy. This is where Twitter shines. There are multiple clients that outstrip the client offered by Twitter. Apps like Twitterrific and Tweetbot are fantastic. I easily do 90% of my tweeting from a mobile client.


Facebook hates the open web

AHHHHHH!Yep, that’s right, Facebook hates the open web. A few weeks back I deleted my Facebook account and I haven’t missed it. On occasion I do visit Facebook because so many people and companies use it you can’t ignore it. Recently I wanted to do something with an RSS feed through ifttt and using the pages URL didn’t resolve to its’ RSS feed. Now, the same URL worked in my feed reader, but ifttt didn’t like it. I thought I’d found a bug so I contacted ifttt and they informed me the URL I was providing wasn’t the path to the RSS feed. Here’s a bit from the support email.

The URL you shared is not a Feed URL at all. Instead, look to the left column of that page and you will see a button for: “GET UPDATES VIA RSS”

Notice the bold text. I thought maybe I was blind, I couldn’t find a link that mentioned anything about RSS. Why? It’s not actually on the page, unless you have a Facebook account and are logged in. I was able to confirm this with my wife. She was able to see the link, along with a few others that don’t show up.

Here’s what I saw when I visited the page.

Facebook is a walled garden. In the end, it’s bad for an open web.

UPDATE: A big thanks to Prasenjeet Dutta for pointing me to this piece by Anil Dash called FACEBOOK IS GASLIGHTING THE WEB. WE CAN FIX IT.


They have a design team?

Inc.: “They’re not the only ones. Unsurprisingly, Facebook (where Cox started her career as a product design lead) has been running its design team in the same way for years. Unlike most software companies where day-to-day and detailed product decisions are made by product managers with business backgrounds, Mark Zuckerberg’s design team is his imperial guard. They work closer to him than any other discipline in the company.”

Based on the giant disaster that is the Facebook UI I thought it was all engineering driven. I’m really surprised to find they have a “design team.”

Maybe this is why they’ve gone on a buying spree. They’re trying to get design talent through acquisition.

Business Cloud

New Facebook? Sounds like a Weblog.

ArrrrrrBrian Solis: “Timeline is a new kind of profile, one that lets people tell their story in a visually-rich and artistic fashion. In addition to aesthetics, Timeline is essentially a social home page for all that moves you, from media to experiences to people. The biggest difference you’ll notice is presentation. Starting with the substantial image that you choose to depict your persona, the new format essentially turns your profile into a Flipboard-esque (magazine) pictorial rich with updates, content, and connections…all designed to tell your story, your way. Don’t be confused by the name however, Timeline is much more than that, it’s essentially a storyboard for your digital and real life as told by what you share and what others share with you.”

“Timeline is the story of your life,” said Mark Zuckerberg “All your stories, all your apps, express who you are.”

It sounds just like a weblog, imagine that? I don’t need a siloed service to provide that. I already have it, I have a weblog.

If you care about your content, you should publish it yourself, you don’t need Facebook as much as they’d like you to think that. Use Facebook as a connector, drive traffic back to your weblog and your content. It is your content, right?


The Facebook Fool

The FoolNumair Faraz: “If you are entrusting your life data to Facebook, or if you are depending on Facebook and its platform for your livelihood, beware. In the real Facebook world, there is no trust, and there is no friendship — there is only money and power. Think really hard — really, think — before trusting Facebook or its employees with anything. Don’t be a Facebook fool.”

Walled gardens and all.


Facebook, It’s not about the money

Fast Company: “Creating a social network is so last week. Today, American Express is unveiling a social media platform called “Link, Like, Love” that gives card members personalized deals on Facebook based on their social graph, while also giving businesses an easy way to set up shop on different social networks. Local and national merchants are already signed on to the program, which dynamically updates new deals in a dashboard tailored to a cardholder’s likes, interests, and friends.”

You can’t call Facebook dumb, that’s for sure. This appears to be at least part, if not all, of their answer to Groupon.