Timeline - Finally a Reason to Use Facebook

Mark Zuckerberg introduces Timeline at F8
I got caught up watching the F8 Keynote speech this morning on Mashable. Which is unusual in its self because I'm not that much of a Facebook user but with the introduction of Google+ I was interested to see if Facebook would do anything that would leap it far ahead of its new rival. With Timeline I think they've delivered something special. See the short video below.



Before I continue, just a quick comment on the F8 speech, which went for 1 hour and 40 minutes. The opening joke by SNL's Andy Samberg impersonating CEO Mark Zuckerberg, whilst funny to begin with, kind of stretched into something weird to the point where I was just glad to see him get off the stage. I was definitely with Mark when he jokingly said "Don't start doing impressions".

The rest of the keynote was delivered in Mark's somewhat awkward but still very listenable style. I felt he really did explain the changes well. The highlight for me though was when Chris Cox, FB Vice President of Product Management, came onto the stage and explained the inspiration behind Timeline. A fascinating story in its self. I'd recommend you watch the keynote speech just for that - which starts at about 1 hour and  24 minutes in.

Back to Timeline and my thoughts. In a nutshell, to me, Timeline is like the Super Profile page you've been waiting for. It's the scrapbook of your life. It doesn't just record your activity on Facebook as it happens, it also allows you to add to it retrospectively. For example, if you have a photo of you as a very young child, you can add it into your timeline so it appears chronologically in the year it was taken. That ability to me is important enough on its own.

In many ways your Facebook profile could become the ebook of your life.

Imagine using your Timeline as a basis for a book to preserve your family history. I'm sure print on demand publishers like Blurb will see an opportunity here. Pick a year from your timeline and turn it into a gift book for family.

How about all those videos you've uploaded or the music you've shared. Create a DVD of a year or two in your life, complete with the music you liked that year, perhaps?

There's certainly a lot of potential for how Timelines can be used and why you'd want to spend time curating yours. It's the kind of profile page that you won't just fill out and occasionally update - if you remember. It's something you'll probably visit just to see how it looks... and it does look good.

I have to hand it to the designers and programmers of Timeline. It really is something you want to look at just to see if the automatic algorithms are really picking out the highlights or whether you need to tweak things a bit.

I'm sure when Timeline is finally rolled out to everyone on Facebook there will be the usual backlash of people who liked the old Facebook. They've already started with the recent introduction of the new look news feeds and live ticker. Both of which I like a lot - especially the live ticker.

In the big scheme of things the complainers will settle down because Facebook, wisely (or arrogantly depending on your point of view), usually sticks to its guns when it introduces change. Quite frankly I want to see Timeline succeed... and maybe Google+ will then look at its self and do something complimentary rather than competitively.



I haven't even gone into all the ways the new look Facebook will help you discover all kinds of things from your friends as they discover them. It's probably better if you watch the keynote speech for that.

All I'm saying is, for the first time, I'm looking forward to using Facebook... and that's a paradigm shift for me.

Frog Van, Right Spanner - Part 5

The Frog Van is all back in one piece but it seems having the right spanner just wasn't enough. After cleaning off a year's worth of dust and cob webs from the exterior I took it for a test drive.

It seemed okay at first but the engine power and acceleration was definitely sluggish compared to how I remember it. I managed to get to a service station before running out of fuel (the petrol tank has been sitting on empty for some time after semi regular start ups just to make sure the van still worked).

From there I took it to the other side of town - only a five minute drive at most - but the backfiring problem was back and getting worse. I headed back for home with the backfiring finally getting so bad that it stalled the engine. Fortunately I was at a point where it was easy to pull over.

At this point I was pretty much at a loss for what to do. The backfiring seemed to get worse as the engine got warmer so I decided to remain parked for a while to let the van's engine cool down.

Twenty minutes later I got it started again and spent a little time adjusting the mixture screw on the carburetor - which seemed to help a little. The van still drove sluggishly but the backfiring had settled down a little and I was able to drive it all the way back home.

My knowledge of engines is limited to broad strokes. I know, in a general sense, how they work and I can perform basic repairs but recognizing faults and understanding what causes them - that's a little beyond me. Even with all the information you can find on the internet... and believe me I've researched backfiring engines extensively.

The Frog Van definitely did need the manifold gasket changing. I knew that because a professional mechanic told me the van had a manifold leak - and he was right. After changing the gasket the van did start easier and idled much better to begin with. However fixing the backfiring may need a professional eye (or ear). With any luck a proper tune up and service may be enough to solve the problem.

Unfortunately that will have to wait until I have some funds again.

Frog Van, Right Spanner - Part 4

After a couple of days delay waiting for the right manifold gasket I was able to start putting the Frog Van's engine back together. (Note: if you have a picture of the gasket you want but not the part number, show it to the person who is ordering the part - even if they say they don't need it  - that way you should get the right part first time).

Before I could get started I had to drill out a bolt that had snapped inside the inlet manifold. After a bit of research on Youtube for the best way to do this I discovered you could get a special drill bit just for the job.

Fortunately I was able to improvise with a regular drill bit and a precision sanding drill bit head (I'm not exactly sure of the drill bit's proper name but essentially it's a drill bit with a metal coarse grain head in the shape of a cylinder slightly wider than the drill bit its self).

If you've never had to remove a broken bolt before the technique I used was to centre punch the end of the broken bolt. Drill a small hole into it - smaller than the diameter of the bolt. Then I used the precision sanding bit, with the drill in reverse. Pushed it into the hole I made. The roughness of the bit gave it enough grip to spin the broken end of the bolt right out of the hole.

I also had to re-glue the part I glued previously as this broke almost as soon as I started trying to detach the hose fixed to it. The extra day this had to dry was the only benefit of not getting the right gasket first time.

Once that was done I cleaned up all the surfaces between the manifolds and the cylinder head block and commenced putting it all back together. I won't describe putting everything back in detail. I'll just say it was much easier to reconstruct the engine than it was to pull it all apart.

The Frog Van's engine back together again.

It was quite dark by the time I was ready to start it up and I'm happy to say it started without too much effort. However there was a worrying white smoke coming up from between the carburetor and the engine block. It was too dark to tell where it was coming from so I shut it down for the night just to be safe.

This morning I started it up again and discovered the smoke appeared to be coming from one of the manifold studs. I think maybe it was just some gunk on the stud burning off because it cleared up and everything appears fine.

The engine's still not running as well as I hoped but it's no longer back firing and I've managed to minimize the back firing it appears to be doing back through the carburetor by adjusting the mixture screw.

I didn't get to take the Frog Van for a test drive today because the registration had expired so I went into town and paid that. Now all I have to do is fix the front passenger seat back into place and I'll be ready to give it a spin.

Will be nice to drive it again since it's been year (almost to the day) that it's been stuck on our back veranda waiting to be fixed.

Related Posts with Thumbnails