Facebook isn’t thankful for mobile

As per my usual routine, I grabbed my tablet in bed before I had really woken up and checked Facebook. I was not surprised to see almost every post dealt with Thanksgiving. However, one of them mentioned “Instead of posting what I’m thankful for…” I thought that perhaps the poster was being snarky in relation to all of the other posts. But, then I discovered another one of my friends posting the exact same words.

I hadn’t thought about that coincidence when I used Chrome to get to the full Facebook website in order to look at tagged photos of someone I had met the previous night. I then noticed the below question: “What are you thankful for?”

Facebook status update box on the full website

Facebook had changed the status box to ask “What are you thankful for?” It turns out my friends were in fact commenting on this special Thanksgiving question. I switched over to the Android mobile app to update my status because I have had bad experiences using the full website on my tablet for text input. It then noticed that the special Thanksgiving day question didn’t appear. Perhaps changing the question within the app would have required an entire update, and so it isn’t worth it to change just for that question.

Facebook App
Facebook Mobile App status update
The regular question “What’s on your mind?”

My interest had been piqued however so I switched to my phone. I knew it was the same Android app so that wasn’t worthwhile to check, but I do in fact use the mobile website on my phone often since the app can be unbearably slow. Unfortunately I was not greeted with the same question and instead I saw the usual “What’s on your mind?”

Facebook Mobile Website Screenshot

The regular question “What’s on your mind?”

I know that Facebook could have easily updated their mobile website to the special Thanksgiving question. It didn’t. This shows that mobile is still an afterthought at the company. Ideally it should even be able to update the app question without pushing out an entirely new update if it is in fact a technological limitation. I suspect not. Other content is updated within the app, what would make the status box question unable to be updated on the back end? Nothing. I don’t think it is a technical problem and more of a problem of priorities. They are not a mobile first company.

Yes, this is a diminutive detail but it is indicative of their mobile strategy that does not bode well for the company. Whichever team on Facebook decided to update the status update question for Thanksgiving did not work with the mobile team, or the mobile team was not able to deliver a technical solution. Neither speaks well of the company. Google managed to update their Thanksgiving doodle on their mobile website, Facebook needs to step up its game in order to compete.

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Born This Way

<Review>

So after listening to Born This Way for almost 24 hours and about 40 times so far, my initial impressions are positive. While distinctly Gaga in Aesthetic, it does chart a different course for this album than either The Fame or Fame Monster. It is decidedly celebratory and meant as an anthem for oppressed people. However, there has been a lot of discussion over the lyrics and the use of words. For example, Orient, Transgendered, Chola, and beige. These words are certainly not up to date with modern parlance and aren’t at the edge of anti-racist rhetoric. While I certainly see this viewpoint, I don’t think they call for completely condemning the entire song. Sure, could Gaga have written better words? Yes, but then it wouldn’t have had the same metric flow that she was looking for. I think that is why she chose to use them, because they fit the space she needed for text. She probably  figured that people wouldn’t take her too literally, and would instead embrace the spirit of the song and the message, instead of the specific details of the words. This is how I choose to view the song. She obviously wouldn’t write a song intentionally trying to stereotype people and use oppressive language, but then have the song about anti-oppression. She simply needed words that fit the song metrically, and had to make decisions about which words to use. I might be mistaken, but it seems like she listened to some of the criticism in the space between releasing the lyrics, and releasing the song. I don’t hear transgendered, I hear Transgender. That wouldn’t be that hard of an edit to do at all, and I think that they edited that in to appease people, although I have no factual basis to back that up, besides not hearing Transgenered in the song at all. Also, the lyrics are very religious. While officially printed as “Capital H-I-M” to me, it sounds like “Capital H-i-m”, aka God. In this view, the song takes a very religious tone essentially making it a progressive Christian pop-rock song. This is further displayed by the plagal harmony and IV – I progression I’ll talk about later.

Other people have compared this song to Madonna particularly Express Yourself. I had never heard express yourself, and heard it only after these comparisons had been made. To me, they sound nothing alike. They share a somewhat similar harmonic progression, and supposedly the melodies are nearly identical, but the song aesthetics are very different. Gaga’s song is harsher than Madonnas, which seems to be a very soft song to me. This is evident in the electronic sounds. Gaga’s are very industrial, while Madonnas are soft 80s synth.

<Harmonic Analysis>

Harmonically, they share stepwise root motion as part of the primary progression, but Born This Way extends that concept even further. Born this way is I – VII – IV – I. This sets up very retrograde feel and also a sense of false tonic. The False Tonic comes from the fifth root relationship between VII and IV, it sets up VII as the tonic. Assuming VII as tonic, the progression becomes II or (V/V) – I – V. This is highly retrograde, functionally being PD – T – D. This upsets the assumed function and order of these chords, similar to what Gaga is trying to achieve with the lyrics through anti-oppressive efforts, which try to upset the cultural norms and expectations. The lack of traditional function for the false tonic throws the entire progression into tumult because there is no longer a strong sense of tonic, except through repetition and the expectation that the progression should start on tonic. This in turn makes each chord functionally independent, creating a new meaning for it – exactly the aim of the songs lyrics. Back to analysis of the piece from the real tonic, the step-wise root motion between I and VII basically acts as I to V with the VII taking a somewhat dominant function. Thus in turn it becomes I – V – IV – I; the standard blues progression. Why is this progression used? The I – VII is borrowed from Express Yourself/is a common pop progression, but the addition of the IV makes it wholly unique. The IV also gives it a decidedly plagal feel, and by the end with the inclusion of the organ, definitely gives it a religious mood, almost like a hymn from a black baptist church, but with inclusive rhetoric. This simultaneous borrowing of the I – VII and the IV- I, make it harmonically a blend of pop and a hymn. Harmonically this is a very conservative song in relation to her previous works which are much more harmonically adventurous. As part of this, I find it also intriguing that there are also only major chords in the main progression, in stark contrast to the Fame Monster, and also to the Scheisse Mugler Remix. As we only have one and a half songs released from the album, it is difficult to say what the rest of the album will sound like. There have been rumors about the Born This Way video however. It will be produced by Jonas Akerlund who also did Paparazzi and Telephone. Will this be the third (and final?) episode in the series? It took four and a half days to film, and there are rumors that Gaga’s people were at parties in New York recruiting Trans people to be in the video. I am looking forward to what the video entails if it in fact encompasses all these elements.

</Harmonic Analysis>

The first Gaga song I fell in love with was Poker Face, and since then her other songs I largely initially didn’t like, but then became obsessed with. In contrast, Born This Way I liked immediately, so I don’t know what my thoughts will be on it with further listening. I’ll keep you updated.

</Review>

How to get the cr48 search key in Ubuntu

<How To>

This article got me thinking about how much I really wanted this for my own computer. I am an internet addict, and have never used the Caps Lock key in the first place. It turns out that since I am running ubuntu, it’s not that hard to do with just a little bit of easy work in the terminal, and a few minor tweaks. Note however that this sets it to one browser only, and if you use multiple browsers, only one of them gets the shortcut. Since I have switched to Chrome a few weeks ago, I have set it to Chrome, but if another browser is your primary browser, I’ve included code for that as well.  The only disadvantage is that it only works for one browser at a time, and thus for people using multiple browsers, you would have to manually switch it between them, or only have it work for one. I wish I could set it to open a new tab in whatever browser you are currently using, but I don’t have the knowledge on how to do that, I think it would require some sort of script.

1) Disable the Caps Lock Key.

Enter in terminal Code:

xmodmap -e “clear Lock”

2) Install xbindkeys

a) Code:

sudo apt-get install xbindkeys

b) Install xbindkeys-config, it’s a GTK frontend for xbindkeys so it’ easy to configure xbindkeys with that.

Code:

sudo apt-get install xbindkeys-config

c) Configuration

Launch xbindkeys :

Code:

xbindkeys

d) Then launch the GUI :

Code:

xbindkeys-config

3) Create Shortcut for search key

a) Select New

b) Change the name from Remark to Search Key

c) Click ‘Get Key’

d) Wait for the dialog box to pop up, then hit the caps lock key

e) Change Action from Command to

Code for Chrome:

/opt/google/chrome/google-chrome –new-tab http://google.com

Code for Firefox:

firefox -new-tab http://google.com

Code for Epiphany:

epiphany-browser –new-tab http://google.com

Code for Opera:

/usr/bin/opera –new-tab http://google.com

4) Click ‘Apply’

5) Click ‘Save & Apply & Exit’

6) If using chrome it should look like the screenshot below

This is what it should look like

</How To>