Sunday, December 7, 2008

Google Friend Connect - Consolidating social networks

A few days ago I was pleasantly surprised to receive an Email from Google titled:
You have been whitelisted to use Google Friend Connect.

I registered my interest in Google Friend Connect several months ago, I became interested because I liked the idea of turning my html website into an interactive site, where people could join, rate/review and comment, without the need for me to know or do any programming whatsoever (A godsend for a PHP Spaz like me).

I set up a test page on one of my websites the night I got the email, it was as easy as downloading two html files, uploading them to the websites root directory, copy and paste a few snippets of code to the page I was testing, and Ta-Daa! Just like magic I had a Members gadget on my site.
People are now able to Join and log in using there existing Google, Yahoo, AIM or OpenID account.

The Members gadget allows visitors to join your site, sign in and out, see other members, and use other social features. You may also use a more minimal, simple sign-in gadget, on multiple pages on your site to ensure that visitors can sign in and out as desired. Once you've installed one of these, visitors can start joining your site.

I have now set up "Google friend connect" on my busiest site, the site is avaliable in eight languages and I was able (because of my sites structure) to set up a different members gadget for each language.
So far two people have joined the site... Me and my alter ego :|

I have not done any promotion, and there is very little on the site explaining exactly what Friend connect is. I Will wait a few days and see if curiosity can entice people to join up and start participating, if not, I will write up a brief explanation about friend connect and ask people to join in :)

If you would like to check it out what friend connect is all about, then you can see it in action (or non action in my case) at


Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Government adopts mandatory internet censorship

The Federal Government is set to introduce mandatory censoring of the internet.

Imagine a government proposing an internet censorship system that went further than any other democracy - one that made the internet up to 87% slower, more expensive, accidentally blocked up to 1 in 12 legitimate sites, and missed the vast majority of inappropriate content.

This is not China, Saudi Arabia or Iran - this is the vision of Senator Stephen Conroy for Australia. Testing has already begun. The community must now move to stop this plan.

The system that Senator Conroy wants is a mandatory filter of all internet traffic, with the government of the day able to add any unwanted site to a secret blacklist. Already, the wrangling has begun for the inclusion of material relating to anorexia, euthanasia and gambling. It isn't difficult to see the scheme is open to abuse.

The protection of our children is vitally important - that's why we can't afford to waste funds on this deeply flawed system. We should be concentrating on solutions that are more effective and won't undermine our digital economy or our democratic freedoms.

This must rank as one of the most ill-thought decisions of the Rudd Government's first year in power. We need to act now to tell big brother the mandatory internet filter is incompatible with the principles of a modern democracy and modern economy:

Our government should be doing all in its power to take Australia into the 21st century economy, and to protect our children. This proposed internet censorship does neither.

The proposed scheme will pass all internet traffic through a government filter - it's like asking Australia Post to filter every letter sent in Australia.

All concerned Australians should sign the petition to save the net