Managing Facebook, Don’t Let It Manage You!

Right now, I’m about 52% pro-Facebook, 48% anti-Facebook. In case you’ve been living under a rock, the social networking site has made a number of privacy changes over the course of the last year that has exposed your data to your friends, advertisers, sites and the rest of the world. Not convinced? Check out how the default privacy settings have changed over time.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I love Facebook — or more specifically — I love how Facebook has allowed me to connect with friends (new and old) and share ideas, content, photos and more in a clean and easy-to-use format. I stress those two points, because MySpace and Friendster were the first pioneers into this space, however Facebook took it a step further by using web 2.0 technologies and cleaning up the mess.

At this point, though, the company has made so many privacy blunders that I really want to close my account — if it weren’t for all the people I still want to keep in touch with. So, first and foremost, I recommend going through your privacy settings with a fine-toothed comb and making sure that everything is set the way you want it to be. There’s a great article over at PC World that walks through what everything means and their recommendations of how to set things up.  I strongly encourage every Facebook user to check it out.

As a next step, I also donated $10 to the new open source social network project known as Diaspora. The concept is that you host your own “seed” of the social network, which can then communicate with other “seeds” rather than having all of the data stored on one master web site. Think of it like peer-to-peer networking, where each person has a small chunk of the entire data — and each peer communicates with eachother. In this model, you host and store all the data you want to share — and you decide what level of privacy you want (how novel!). For $5, you can get a starter CD to host your own seed once it’s available. For $10, you can get the starter CD and some stickers — and I’m all about stickers. It goes up from there, with each level getting an additional perk.

If you’d like to help make a more open (but private) social networking system, head on over to Kickstarter and donate a few bucks towards Diaspora. It’s it time to start telling Facebook enough is enough?

Thirty-Two

Some years I’m excited about birthdays. Some years, not so much. Unfortunately this year falls into the latter category. There is no particular reason for my lack of excitement. I’m generally content with where I am at this point in my life. Considering that birthdays are generally the time when you reflect the most about your current situation, I would say that my situation has passed the Birthday Test.

For whatever reason, though, I have made every attempt to hide the fact that it is my birthday this year. I have hidden this information from my Facebook page, I’ve intentionally avoided any birthday-related activities, and, quite frankly, would love for this week to be over as quickly as possible.

There’s nothing wrong with getting older — it’s all clearly laid out in life’s rule book. For what its worth, we get older every day, it’s just that we just use one calendar day of the year to represent the point at which your age becomes age+1. But, again, I hide.

Being 31 wasn’t that exciting, but only the Great Sea of Life (N.S.) knows what I have in store during my thirty-third year of life which officially begins today. Perhaps this is the direction that I need to take.

Perhaps that’s the purpose of this writing… An opportunity for me to re-evaluate the perspective that I bring to birthdays. Rather than focusing on being another year older, I should instead celebrate the clean slate which I am now given to work with. Similar to the Jewish Holiday of Rosh Hashanah , this is my opportunity to start anew.. a fresh start. Celebrate endings and new beginnings.

Regardless, I don’t have the luxury to go into complete hiding this week — and chances are by the time next weekend rolls around, I’ll want to go out and party once again. So I’ll stop my complaining and just suck it up like I do any other week — this one just happens to have an annoying milestone in the middle of it.

A festival of the Jazz Variety

I’ve recently returned from the soulful city of New Orleans, where Jazzfest was in full swing. From the moment I left the house in San Francisco,I knew it’d be an adventure — flying to Baton Rouge by way of Houston and then taking a bus ride to New Orleans. Upon arrival, I had plans to stay with some friends from Jam Cruise, known as A Touch of Class in town about 15 minutes from downton New Orleans known as Metarie, LA.

The moment I arrived, I felt at home with my classy friends. Blake, the owner of the house, was the most gracious host I’ve ever had the pleasure to stay with  and everyone else was so welcoming into their group of friends. Early in the night we headed over to the Howlin’ Wolf for the megalomaniac’s ball featuring a 2AM set by Garage a Trois.

Thursday night, we had a minor detour known as “Project OPP’ — but ended up seeing about half of the Galactic Show, snuck in the back door of an art gallery to meet up with my friends The Joker, Rhonda & Leslie and saw a bit of the Dirty Dozen. Late night, featured Big Galactic and DJ Ruscoe at Republic. Dub isn’t exactly my thing, but somehow I ended up having an absolute blast! The crowd (and venue) was a lot of fun. Plus — this was my first opportunity to party TOC’er Lauren from Philly, a Professional Party Princess! Would’ve been nice to see Marc, too, but that’ll have to wait for the boat!

We managed to scrape together a badass crawfish boil on Friday — but soon learned that not nearly enough people came over to pre-party which left many many pounds of boiled crawfish to be savored at a later date. Friday night, I went back to the Howlin’ Wolf the Bayou Rendezvous. I managed to check out George Porter’s Runnin’ Pardners and Col. Bruce’s band before the craziness began. And by craziness, I mean running to the Dragon’s Den to see Gravity-A from 12-2 followed by a trip to Tipitina’s in the Quarter to check out Some Cat from Japan and get a shout-out by Nigel Hall!) then to head back at 4am to see the second Gravity-A Set.

Saturday evening was the only night that was a little questionable. We were disappointed by the Greyboy set on the riverboat — they just couldn’t keep up the energy of the show, I felt. I later headed over to One Eye’d Jack’s to see BreakScience considering how much I enjoyed the dubstep from earlier in the week. I was sadly disappointed to learn that I really dislike BreakScience. Oh well, so it goes. I partied late night with the crew at Snake & Jake’s and all was right with the world again… or was it?

Sunday night was the night I had been most looking forward to of the trip. An evening at the Howlin’ Wolf  for the Royal Family Ball and JamCruise reunion. Soulive was awesome — I don’t think I’ve seen them since Bonnaroo 2004 and Lettuce simply blew my mind. I am pretty sure that they tried to kill me with the Funk.

The trip home was relatively uneventful, except for the police action that took place on my bus at the station in New Orleans that involved one drunk homeless guy claiming to another drunk homeless guy stole his cell phone. The end of the trip was fairly entertaining as well, when I realized that my car keys were in my checked luggage — which arrived 4 hours later than I did because I finagled myself an earlier flight. Nice.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering.. yes, I did make it to the actual festival, too. The food and music were amazing, but the late night club sets were so much more impressive!