TheJoyOfHack

For people who like to make things


Taking Back My Relationships

I’m trying to formulate a sensible strategy to overhaul my net presence. The rough plan so far:

  • Change my 12-year-old email address that is on every spammer’s short list
  • Extract friends’ contact info from Facebook
  • Delete Facebook account.
  • Import FB contacts into Google & Mac
  • Redirect facebook friends to current tech blog (aijazansari.com) and new personal blog.
  • Find out if FB friends can subscribe to an RSS feed of my blog somehow (doesn’t seem possible any more)
  • Pick up the phone and actually talk to friends more often.

The goal’s pretty obvious - I want to reclaim my data.  I think I own my relationships, not FB, not Twitter, and not Google+.  So far, G+ may be the most accommodating network out there - if I can export my G+ presence as easily as I can export my G+ contacts, we might have a good candidate here.

If you have any ideas or comments or experience with this, please let me know.

I’ll keep you posted.


Update 2012/06/30

Like so many of you, I’ve given up on Google+. Most of the people I wanted to communicate with never made the switch. In the end, having those lines of communication open with my friends was more important than the platform. G+ has been dismissively called a “Ghost Town,” and in my case, at least, that wasn’t too far from the truth.

more ...

Sometimes Text Files Are Better Than Databases

A File
A File

I remember in my first Computer Programming class in college, the instructors wanted to make sure we understood the concept of persistence by saving application data to disk.  To keep things simple we would serialize data and save it to text files.  Once we learned advanced concepts we migrated to using relational databases.  As a professional, most of the apps I see use an RDBMS like DB2, PostgreSQL, Sybase or Oracle.  Text files have been relegated to the simple homework assignments of Programming 101.

There are, however, many classes of applications for which text files are the preferred means of storing data.  One of the main reasons is that when data is stored in a relational database, editing it is not a trivial task.  A well-normalized database is not easily updated via an SQL command line.  More often than not, a dedicated, graphical editor is needed to model the complex relationships. more ...