I've become addicted to Facebook

7 April 2007

Oh dear. I did have plans for the Easter weekend. Well, not big plans, but plans nevertheless. Back at home with my parents, I was going to catch up on some reading,  watch a bit of telly, and gorge myself on good home cooking and Easter eggs.

But then I discovered Facebook.

I’ve dabbled with social networking sites before. I’ve got two MySpace accounts - one personal and one for my music. The trouble is I’ve only got about four friends on each account, and they get bombarded with spam messages and spam “add friend” requests from desparate friendless American teenagers.

I had an invite thing for Facebook a few months ago, but I’ll confess I didn’t bother with it because I thought it would be pretty much the same. But then my sister showed it to me on Thursday and I was embarrassingly excited.

Facebook is a like a combination of:

  • MySpace - but with all the crap bits taken out. No "unofficial" profiles of popular sitcom characters. No pretending that you're on first-name terms with Russell Brand. No rubbish music blaring out when you click on somebody's profile. No brain haemmorage as you suffer what somebody else thinks is a "kewl" colour scheme.
  • FriendsReunited - but with all the crap bits taken out. No paying money just to send someone a message. No removing of email and website addresses from profiles, so you don't see silly things like "email me at .com" or "my website is http://" because the owner didn't realise.
  • Flickr. I expect there are some crap bits about Flickr. I've not used it much.
  • Blogging, but you don't even have to tell people about your blog because you can just import it into your Facebook notes. Genius.

And it seems pretty much everybody I’ve ever known has a profile already.What an annoyingly good idea. I wish I’d come up with it.

So, instead of the nice relaxing Easter weekend I had planned, I’ve spent much it trying to remember the names of everybody I’ve ever known. If I go away from the computer to read or watch TV for a while, it’s not long before I come running back to the computer to search for somebody else I’d forgotten about, or just to check if anybody else has added me as a friend.

Facebook is not without its faults of course. I’m a mere normal person, and not a student, and I’m self-employed (for now) and don’t have US phone number, so I can’t “verify” my account. That means every time I want to add a friend I have to enter one of those annoying image verification codes which are always an interesting challenge. Sometimes these don’t even come up, so when I click the “add” button I get told that I got it wrong.

Also for some reason all the times I see are an hour ahead of the real time.

But these are just minor flaws. The thing that really worries me is, where are the adverts? There are hardly any. Who is paying for all of this? Are they just getting us all hooked until we depend on Facebook for normal human interaction, so they can then stick the knife in and make us pay exorbitant fees just to keep in contact with our friends? Or do they really think they can sustain their business by getting us to occasionally pay for a small picture of a cake to appear on somebody else’s profile?

I think I’ll have to start limiting my Facebook usage, as I could easily spend all my time on it. There is a danger that you can almost use it as a replacement for real life - living vicariously through your News Feed showing what your friends are up to. It probably won’t be long before people find out they’re dumped because their News Feed tells them that their girlfriend or boyfriend has changed their status to Single. And I don’t think paying $1 for a small picture of some flowers is going to fix that.


textadventures.co.uk - the new Quest Games Archive

9 February 2007

I have created a new website to replace the Quest Games Archive.

It’s here: www.textadventures.co.uk

It’s more flexible and powerful than the old archive. As well as allowing you to post reviews again (something that was disabled a while ago on the old Quest Games Archive due to spam), you can now upload a game and it will be instantly available for download.

Logging in

If you ever submitted a game or posted a review to the old Quest Games Archive, you will already have an account on textadventures.co.uk as everything has been transferred over.

In order to log in, click the “forgot your password?” link to receive an email allowing you to create the password for your account.

Once logged in, you can start posting reviews and comments, and you can upload games.

Uploading games

When you upload a game, it will be available immediately for download. Please note that at the moment, each game has to be manually set up for the “play online” feature, so you may have to wait a day or two for this feature to be available for your game.

Also note that I will of course check each game after it has been uploaded, and will remove anything inappropriate - e.g. anything that isn’t a Quest game.

Feedback

Please let me know if you have any questions, suggestions or comments about the new website - please email me at [email protected].


Quest Games Online (Beta) - text adventures in your web browser

2 February 2007

I am currently developing an extension of the Quest Games Archive that will let you play Quest games within your web browser - no additional software required.

To give this a go, please go to http://www.axeuk.com/cgi-bin/gamesonline.cgi and just click on any game link to begin playing.

All you need is a browser that supports JavaScript and Flash.

So far I have tested this with Internet Explorer 7 and Firefox 2.

Please post any comments to the forums, or drop me an email at [email protected].

Note that as this is a beta, the facility may go down from time to time - but if you do notice any problems please let me know.


Quest 4.0 released

18 January 2007

Quest 4.0 has finally been released, after a few months of beta testing.

QDK, the visual Quest editor, features a completely redesigned interface - it’s now easier and faster to edit your games, and the editing is handled within one main screen, so you’ll see less pop-up windows. Much of the internal code has been rewritten too, making QDK much more robust and reliable.

New features in Quest:

  • containers
  • verbs make it easier to set up custom commands
  • you can now embed pictures, sounds etc. within your game file (using Quest Compiler)
  • you can use more complex mathematical expressions within statements
  • numeric variables are no longer forced to be integers, so you can use decimals and much larger numbers
  • new Object Debugger gives you more power when debugging your game - when you're developing your game, you can change object properties and "jump" around it while it is in progress
  • "select case" (switch) support
  • MP3 support
  • pictures are now displayed within the main text window

To find out more, to order Quest Pro or to download a trial version, please go to http://www.axeuk.com/quest

We hope you enjoy using the new version of Quest - please contact us via the “Contact Us” link on the website if you have any questions, suggestions or problems.


Annoying adverts on the tube

8 January 2007

Here are a couple of adverts that have been annoying me while I’ve been travelling on the London Underground:

“Confidence” says this advert in large letters. “Don’t rush the good things. Prolong the pleasure”. Unfortunately the picture tells us something different - they certainly look pleased with themselves, but why are they still fully clothed?

There are two interpretations of the picture:

  • The guy fell asleep before any activity took place. His girlfriend finds this quite amusing.
  • They like to practice safe sex by keeping their clothes on. Maybe they are afraid of other lovers or parents walking in, or perhaps they have particularly gruesome sexually-transmitted infections which means they prefer not to even think about each other’s genitals.

“The song that makes you call the friends your girlfriend doesn’t like”.

I really hate this advert. There’s something about the smug smile on his face that makes me want to smack him in the mouth very, very hard. What is he thinking? “This is the song that me and Pete played in the car after we picked up those prostitutes”.

This is one of a series of adverts with a theme of “Music gets you talking”. No it doesn’t. No song has ever made me want to phone anybody. Mobile phones have lots of functions these days, but that’s not a reason for advertising to claim that some of these functions are related. “Playing a game makes you start taking photos”? No. “Video calling gets you browsing the internet”? No. About the only one I could accept would be “The built-in organiser reminds you to call your mum.”


All Posts