As the Chinese government worked to regain control of the streets on Wednesday following ethnic clashes in the northwestern region of Xinjiang, Facebook reported some problems with its service, even as Beijing moved to suppress anger and dissent that is simmering online.
Nearly every powerful media and technology executive you can think of will be camping out in the idyllic and affluent ski resort town of Sun Valley this week. They have aimed their Gulfstreams squarely at Idaho so they can show up at the 27th edition of Allen & Co’s media and technology conference, which investment banker Herb Allen holds every summer here.
Facebook is super easy to use in many respects. Send out that snarky message and the whole world knows what’s on your mind. But even though the site’s managers have tried to give users privacy options, figuring out how to limit who can read your murkiest thoughts has been less than straightforward.
The social network is revamping its publishing and privacy capabilities, giving individuals greater control about who sees the status updates, photos and messages they post on the service.
No one needs another Facebook or Twitter so any social networking site had better have something new. Serial entrepreneur Vince Broady, who has experience in knowing what people like through his background with games and entertainment, is convinced he has one. It launched this week as thisMoment.com.
***Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg wore the only tie on display when he welcomed reporters for a reception and tour of his company’s new headquarters, tucked below a hill in a residential area of Palo Alto, not far from the Stanford campus.******The old HP research facility was refurbished for comfort, not for luxury. Facebook tore out a sea of cubicles to reveal wide open spaces for desks and oversized terminals. Nearly everyone sits there, including all company executives.******The result is something like a dream college dorm, with good food available throughout the day in a cafeteria .******“It’s a temporary space. It’s not going to last us forever. It’s an experiment so we can decide what sort of building we want for ourselves going forward,” said Aaron Sittig, who took reporters around the 137,000 square foot building that celebrates the quirky.******Privacy is afforded in meeting rooms, some with names that are mashups of video games and condiments, like Donkey Kong Chutney and Guitartar Hero. A leftover crane from HP days decorates one of the snack kitchens. There is an outdoor basketball court, an indoor ping pong table (mixed doubles were going on when reporters walked by) and RipStiks are scattered around for quick transport.******”It’s a rite of passage to learn how to use these to get around,” said Sittig.******Facebook has 700 employees in the building and another 200 in other cities. It will stay in its new home for a few years, until Stanford — which owns the land — wants it back.******Photo: David Lawsky
Among all the limelight-hogging features and rock-bottom prices unveiled at Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers’ conference on Monday, two underscored the potential for the consumer electronics giant to sidle up and get up-close and personal with users – whether they like it or not.******For the hundreds gathered in San Francisco for the company’s annual developers’ pow-wow, Apple previewed a new iPhone feature that will allow users to remotely locate their device if they ever get separated from it. Executives highlighted another application that, eerily, can directly monitor a person’s vital signs.******In this day and age, when millions advertise not just their location but what they had for dessert via social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, it’s unclear how consumers will respond to functions that monitor their movements or their inner workings. Favorably, judging from the applause and hooting when those features were expounded upon.******Find My iPhone allows users to remotely locate their device via the Web. Logging onto Apple’s MobileMe, users can locate their phone on a map; send a text message to the phone, asking that it be returned; or play a strdient alert or alarm. The feature is intended to aid finding a phone left unattended at a restaurant or hidden under a couch cushion, developers said.******The new software also has a feature that allows users to remotely “wipe” the device of all data if it is truly lost or stolen – but allows users to reload the wiped data via Apple’s iTunes Web site — which usually offers music, applications and even video for sale — if the phone is then found, meaning data is periodically stored via a user’s iTunes account.******Besides additional uses of the phone’s GPS capability, Apple on Monday highlighted a third party app that allows doctors to monitor patients’ vital signs remotely - accessing real-time heart rate, temperature, blood pressure and other data collected by hospital devices on their iPhones – clearly helpful for on-call doctors but also very private information.******The app would allow doctors to zoom in and out, measure different parts of the data, and scroll through historical data.******The Critical Care app from AirStrip Technologies has yet to be approved by the FDA, but the company said it was in advanced testing and expects the app will soon be available.******(By Clare Baldwin)