Tag Archives: myspace

Bit by the Coding Bug

I’m getting my inner geek on – again. I spent the majority of my day today trying to figure out how to crosspost from WordPress to MySpace. I’d found a “hack that looked like it had potential”:http://noumenon.roderickrussell.com/wordpress-to-myspace-auto-crossposting that I messed with for quite a while, but so far I’ve had no success in getting it to run, despite having following the directions to the letter and checked everything over fifthlicate (and then some). I’m still waiting for a reply back on my comment to see if the hack’s author has any idea what’s blocking my attempts.

Ultimately, I gave up on that and started trying to find a way to put a light-weight Twitter badge on to my MySpace profile. I don’t like any of the badges that Twitter produces, so I looked around for other options. But of course, MySpace being the notoriously unfriendly environment that it is, there are no good solutions that are both functional and attractive on the page. So, I’ve given up on that option for the time being, as well.

In the meantime, I plan to learn a little more about the ins-and-outs of PHP coding tomorrow. I’ve got the MyDashboard plugin installed on this blog, but it doesn’t display quite as much information in the dashboard from some of my other behind-the-scenes plugins as I’m used to. So, my intent is to learn out to create a few gadgets that will tap into these plugins and put this information closer to my fingertips. If all goes well, I may even plan to create gadgets for a few other things that I’ve always wanted on the dashboard and never been able to find plugins for.

On that note, I’ve got a few of the plugin pages from the WordPress codex up in my browser. I really would like to get more involved with the development end of WordPress, but it is my sketchy knowledge of PHP that limits how much I can do. Since I have at least a two or three more weeks of down-time while I heal up from surgery, I hope to make some use of that time to learn a little more about how to write plugins for WordPress. I’ve come up with ideas in the past for things I’d love my WordPress installation to be able to do, things that, thus far, no one else has created plugins for. So, I hope to learn and add a few things to the WordPress community myself.

I’ve got other things to work on, as well. I still have plans to create a customized WordPress theme. I’d started work on a minimal theme last week, but that’s been on hiatus due to surgery last week. But now that I’m beginning to feel better and gain some more mobility again, I hope to get back to this project, as well, and try to finish it up. The skeleton I’d managed to build last week will probably undergo an overhaul, though, as I’ve changed my mind about some things in my mind about where I want to go with it. Heck, if I get _really_ ambitious, I might even tailor a new bbPress theme to go with it.

Facebook versus MySpace

I’ve been running Facebook and MySpace side-by-side for a couple of weeks now. I’d created a MySpace profile primarily because it was the only method available for me to get back into contact with some of my friends from high school who I haven’t spoken to in ten years. Of course, long-time readers of this blog know how I feel about MySpace, but I was willing to deal with the evils of the social networking site if it meant being able to ‘talk’ to some people I hadn’t seen in a long time.

Then, of course, WordPress announces the fact that they’ve added a wordpress.com application to Facebook. So, being the WP fanboy that I am, I immediately set up a profile there, as well – and found three times as many of my friends already there than there were on Facebook. Lunacy. And to make things even better, I found a plugin this morning that will also allow self-hosted instances of WordPress (from the wordpress.org site) to post up a news item in both the news and mini feeds everytime you add a new entry. Better and better.

I’ve “diatribed on the evils of MySpace before”:http://shamuswrites.com/2006/12/15/myspace-is-evil/, and nothing has demonstrated to me just how badly designed the place is than trying to surf various profiles there on my laptop. A friend of mine gave me his old laptop a while back, and since I’ve been on my back for the last five weeks, I’ve been using it quite a lot for all my web surfing. This laptop is not what I would call a powerhouse – I usually have to reboot once or twice a day just to recover enough RAM to continue working. I don’t usually have too many problems, though, at least not until I surf over into MySpace. Suddenly, all my RAM is gone, my browser locks up for lengthy periods of time, and I can’t close the MySpace tabs I have open so that I can even reboot the laptop and attempt to rectify my mistake.

Facebook, on the other hand, has been extremely simple and light-weight to use. It has yet to cause to my laptop any issues or headaches. And the beauty of Facebook is that it seems to be infinitely more customizable than MySpace – and with less demand on your computer’s resources. Granted, most of the applications in Facebook I have no use for, but I do like the way I can make it merge so seamlessly with all of my WordPress installations. Facebook is also the thing that has gotten me using my “wordpress.com”:http://stitzelj.wordpress.com account that I’d set up originally just for the API key for Akismet. Did I mention that I’m a WordPress fanboy?

So, yes, all this to say that I believe Facebook to be a far superior social networking system to MySpace. It’s built better, it runs better, and it just plain works better. I’ll likely be keeping my MySpace account, since I find it highly unlikely that everyone I have contact with there can be persuaded over to Facebook, but Facebook will continue to be my primary resource to maintaining quick and easy contact with people I know.

Of course, then again, there is always email.

See-Through MySpace

I’ve done it again, much to my chagrin. I’ve set up another “MySpace account”:http://myspace.com/stitzelj. I wouldn’t have done it, but frankly, right now it’s the only way for me to re-establish some semblance of contact with a few of my high school classmates. Oh, the things I do for my friends…

In the process, though, I’ve discovered yet _another_ terrible layout idea – opacity. Specifically, making just about everything on the page opaque just so that the background design can be seen. It’s obvious that those who employ this particular technique know nothing about web page design. Opacity _can_ be a good technique – when used in moderation. Making an entire page opaque, however, is a very bad idea because it makes everything super-difficult to read. And I’m not one of those ultra-patient folks who will labor through it just to find out what’s new.

Oy, MySpace is _still_ evil. But in this case, I have good reason to live with it – at least for the time being.

MySpace is Evil

I’ve been rebelling against the MySpace craze for quite some time now. I don’t like the site for a variety of reasons, but recently, I went ahead and set up a profile for myself. ((And no, I’m not providing a link; it’s probably not going to be active much longer, anyway.)) Enough people that I know have their own profiles that I was curious to at least test-drive the service for myself and see what it was all about. And I’m afraid that my worst suspicions were confirmed.

MySpace is, indeed, evil.

There are a number of reasons why I say this. For one thing, customizing site profiles breaks just about every rule for good web page design that there is. The way the site is set up, for instance, margins break all the time. I use a 1024×768 screen resolution on my monitor, and far too often I am forced to sidescroll twice that width in order to view the entire page. This is usually due to the annoying practice that many MySpacers have of pasting images that have no business appearing on a computer screen into the comments. Someone left one such comment on my own profile, and I summarily deleted it. It would be better to completely disallow images in the comments, but I do not see such a thing occurring anytime in the near future.

Apparently, few people have ever been told that it is really bad form to load onto their web pages audio or video files that start automatically. It is not uncommon to surf to a MySpace profile where at least one audio file is playing, and sometimes there are two or three playing on top of each other. Two words – cacophony. Links to files are good; embedded files are bad.

MySpace also gives non-registered users the sense that there is more happening behind the scenes. I was disappointed to find that this is not really the case. Yes, there are image and video galleries that are only accessible to registered users. There is also a pseudo-mail system at work and bulletin boards, but aside from that, there really isn’t a whole lot happening on the backend. What you see on the front page is pretty much all there is. Again, two words – blasé.

My end conclusion is that MySpace is a lot of fluff and nonsense with no real substance. It’s a social profiling site, and in my opinion, that’s a waste of both time and effort. If I really wanted to get to know someone, I would do it in real life, not through a shoddy, poorly designed web page system. Take part in a discussion forum, chat over Xbox Live, meet people in real life, but by all means, whatever you do, avoid MySpace. There are better ways to socialize over the Internet than via this site. ((By the way, I hold the same opinion about similar sites, like Facebook, etc.))

A well-designed MySpace profile _can_ be a good thing and can be very useful if you want to promote something, like a new novel or a band you’re in, etc., but such profiles are a scarcity. The amount of junk and the number of broken profiles that proliferate the system far outweigh any advantages MySpace holds. As such, it’s best left alone.

Maybe we’ll get lucky and the whole thing will cave in on itself. We can hope.