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How to hide your Facebook friends list and status updates from everyone

Sep 2008

Every day, the Facebook Help Center gets asked questions about hiding the friends list and status updates. But they nearly always go unanswered. So I’m providing the solution I use.

The trick is to operate a white list, not a black list.

  1. Create a new “Friend List”. A “Friend List” is what Facebook calls a sub-grouping of friends. Click on the Make A New List button in the Friends section. Let’s name the new list “Blocked”.
  2. Add all your friends to the new “Friend List”. Although there isn’t a “Select All” option to select all your friends at one go, Facebook makes creating a “Friend List” quite easy. Even if you have a few hundred, it takes only a few minutes to add all your friends by clicking on each picture. No need to type their names.
  3. Add the “Friend List” to Limited Profile. Go to Profile Privacy, scroll down to the Friends section, click on the Edit Custom Settings link. Type “Blocked” in the text box underneath Limited Profile. Then click “Okay” and “Save Changes”.
  4. Repeat Step 3 to hide your status updates. Under the Status Updates section of Profile Privacy.

The Caveat. This isn’t a perfect solution because Facebook isn’t designed to operate white lists. For instance, when you add new friends, they’ll be able to see your entire friends list and status updates until you manually add them to “Blocked”. So they may realise that you are hiding stuff.

But in most cases, it works. So give it a try.

TV commercial blog

Dec 2005

My experiment with locating TV commercials around the internet to create blog content is working out surprisingly well. At first I thought I’d be posting a few a week. But it looks like there are so many good TVCs around the web that I can promise to post three new ones every week day. And I’ve been running it for over two months already. Of course it’s only my opinion of what is a good commercial. Feel free to submit your own, I’d love to find out more about what’s out there.


Wifi phones

Dec 2005

This news about Philly’s metropolitan wifi LAN (MOWLAN) experiment isn’t new news. They’ve been talking about it for years. I came across the story a few years ago when I was researching a new idea that has yet come into fruition.

My idea was to eradicate cellphone networks and replace cellphones with wifi phones. Phones that work using VOIP.

I was inspired by the development of MOWLANS in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, where there is currently the world’s largest MOWLAN. Wifi phones would allow calls to other wifi phones to become absolutely free and calls to land-line phones or cellphones anywhere in the world to be cut as much as 50%. Wifi phones use practically the same technology to communicate by voice as you do using Skype.

Wifi phones aren’t new. Currently, they work exclusively with hotspots like the ones at Starbucks or the ones being established by more and more offices. There are two things holding back the development of wifi phones.

First, there is the lack of network coverage. But with the creation of MOWLANS, this is becoming a moot point. Already, MOWLANS have been established in small towns in the US where cabling is harder to setup and maintain than an internet connection via satellite.

Second (and this was the problem with the establishment of wifi phones in Malayia), the cellphone companies are too powerful. They blocked any talk of wifi phones and the spread of MOWLANS using threats of legal action.

So far, the Philly story hasn’t spoken a single word about wifi phones. But I’m pretty sure that VOIP companies like Vonage are already on the ball.


Dec 2005

You know what would be a really cool name for a blog about comment spam? Yup, Iamspeechless.com (or the other four-word variation Thismakesmespeechless.com). I get dozens of these comment spams a week with just those three words and a bunch of irrelevant links.


Dec 2005

I’m really happy that Ozh recommended Akismet.com to me. It’s a comment spam catcher for Wordpress. For the past couple months I’ve been getting more and more comment spam every day — the kind that looks like it was sent by a real person and doesn’t use any of the comment blacklisted words.

Akismet caught 26 for me in the last 24 hours. Zero false positives. If you aren’t using Akismet yet, all you need to do is sign up to Wordpress.com.

Theme feedback

Nov 2005

If you tried the Problogger Clean theme for Wordpress and you had problems with it, please do leave us a comment.

We have had some comments by email about problems with IE. But we’ve had inconsistencies with replicating the problem. The comments have revolved around the sidebar being misplaced in the single post pages.

If you have had this problem, please let us know the browser and platform you are using. A screenshot would be most helpful. Thanks!

Immedi.at offers IM alerts for new RSS content

Nov 2005

I thought this was pretty cool. But I was expecting Microsoft to be the first to introduce this feature. Immedi.at gives you a bookmarklet which you click on when the website you want has a auto-discoverable RSS feed (or click on the bookmarklet when you are on the actual feed url). But I find it inconvenient that Immedi.at doesn’t save my IM settings so I have to re-enter them every time I want to bookmark a new feed for IM alerts.

immedi.at helps you to keep track of online information as it changes. It sends you an instant message whenever any RSS or Atom feed you want to monitor changes. immedi.at works with all major IM carriers including MSN Messenger, Yahoo Messenger, Google Talk, Jabber, and AIM/ICQ.


Problogger Clean Theme for Wordpress

Nov 2005

This theme is based on my own blog design. But in many ways, this theme release is better (and with neater mark-up too). It has been tested on Firefox, Safari and Windows IE. Seven things are significant and quite unique about it.

  1. Monetised

    This is one of the first Wordpress themes that comes with Adsense blocks built in. The adsense blocks have been tested to have optimised positions and optimised colours.

  2. Featurised

    Unlike other themes which come sans-features, this one has built-in features using a single functions file that comes with the theme folder. So it does not rely on any plugins.

  3. Corporatised

    It is a bit of a serious theme with a very corporate colour scheme, not usually the kind preferred by personal bloggers.

  4. Search engine optimised

    Heavy interlinking for search bots to easily find pages. And page titles are automatically customised to the post titles.

  5. Promotion optimised

    There are a few features that allow you to promote yourself and allow visitors to the site to share it with others if they find it interesting.

  6. Stickitised

    Ok, that’s not a real word, but it simply means particular attention was paid to the internal navigation. Links to other posts are placed prominently and throughout all the blog pages to invite visitors to click on them.

  7. Prioritised

    The positions of the sections, colours and font sizes have been prioritised to the immediate communication needs of the first time visitor. The theme is space sensitive and is thus very content focused, keeping much of the important details at the top or near the top of the fold.

And those are also the reasons why the theme is called Problogger Clean. If you choose to use this theme, please do email me or leave a comment about it on the support forum. We’d really like to see how you use it so that we can get more ideas on improving themes.

Proceed to download Problogger Clean or view the documentation.

Read the rest of this entry »

Openomy launches

Nov 2005

I just received an email telling me that Openomy.com has launched. Openonomy gives its users the ability to store files of up to 1 gig total on its servers. (There’s no copyright policy on the site that I found so I assume it can be used to store all kinds of video and audio files.) You can add tags to them to describe each file.

But Openonomy isn’t just a file system with tags. If it was, it would just serve as your own private online file catalog. Openonomy also allows its Ruby-savvy users to write applications to manipulate and present the tag data from your file system as well as the file systems of other users. It’s kind of like Ning.com in that sense, but only with the ability to manipulate file tag data.

New Wordpress theme coming

Nov 2005

Watch this space. On Wednesday, Ozh and I are releasing a new Wordpress theme. But this one is made for bloggers who are interested in having a monetised blog — the theme has Adsense ad positions and colours built into it (I think it’s a historical first, but I could be wrong). It also has numerous functions built into it too. It comes out on Wednesday.



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