Category Archives: Facebook

BART Departures on Facebook

Late last night we released a new Facebook app, BART Departures.

You can use this app to see when the next BART train is leaving from the station of your choice. Once you’ve found the train you plan to take, you can click on the “I’m taking this train!” link and we’ll post a little note to your Facebook profile to let your friends know you’re on your way.

bart_departures_screenie

The application also displays the last few status updates from @SFBART on Twitter, so if there are delays or other unusualness with BART, it’s easy to see what’s going on.

This is one in a series of Facebook apps we’ve developed as part of our Facebook application development practice at Platform Associates.

Update: Got a few inquiries about whether it’d be possible to do something like this for Muni or Caltrain. The answer is that anything’s possible if we can get a reliable data feed containing arrival and departure times, but I don’t know of any for Muni or Caltrain. The problem with Muni is that they outsource their tracking to a private company (Nextbus) which doesn’t provide public APIs. When I inquired with them about this a few years ago, they gave me some cock-and-bull story about how the public agencies that they work for claim some sort of proprietary ownership over the data, which is nonsensical since our tax dollars pay for all this. More likely that the company is protecting the data because they think that by keeping it proprietary they’re protecting their own franchise.

Update: It looks like Caltrain doesn’t provide very good status updates, but there is an interesting crowdsourced effort to do so.

New Platform Consulting Products: Amazon and Facebook

Just posted three new categories of consulting practices over on the consulting web site:

  • Facebook (application strategy, corporate presence and application development)
  • Amazon Web Services (focusing on their S3 storage and EC2 hosting products)

The Facebook and Amazon practices actually aren’t new, but we’ve packaged them up in the form of consulting practices and put them on the web site for the first time.

We’re launching these practices at the same time because they’re somewhat related. The Facebook/Amazon EC2 in particular is powerful mojo; we’re just about to release a Facebook application for a client that uses Facebook and EC2 together.

He Said, She Said – Which Is It? Facebook Asks

Link: He Said, She Said – Which Is It? Facebook Asks

Social network site Facebook will press members to declare whether they are male or female, seeking to end the grammatical device that leads the site to refer to individual users as “they” or “themself.”

The Internet phenomenon, which boasts 80 million users worldwide, exploded in popularity over the past year as a convenient way for Web users to communicate and share personal details with selected groups of friends or acquaintances.

But grammatical errors in the automated messages Facebook uses to personalize pronouns when members share information with their friends have proliferated since the site expanded from English-only into 15 new languages in recent months.

Horse hockey. This has nothing to do with grammar and everything to do with contextual advertising.

Chering is caring

I wrote this back in February and I just realized I only told a few people about it. It’s a Greasemonkey script that mucks with the standard text display of the Facebook “Share” link. (It’s really just a silly joke.)

The instructions:

Step 1: Install the Greasemonkey extension for Firefox from here:

https://addons.mozilla.org/firefox/748/

Step 2: Click here to install the script:

http://files.approver.com/public/cher.user.js

Step 3: Go to a page that contains Share links such as
http://www.facebook.com/barackobama and bask in the enhancement.