lack of illustrating skills, much?

Over the past couple of years Facebook has probably become one of the most visited websites on the web. I for instance use it excessively throughout the day and so do most of my friends. While there are bugs and minor annoyances every now and then the designers of Facebook have done a pretty good job so far. Yet there is one peculiar thing that has bugged me for a long while now. What is it about the female silhouette avatar (you know,...the one that shows instead of your photo when you have not yet uploaded a profile pic). Either the guys working at Facebook have never seen a woman before or they lack some serious illustrating skills.
Honestly, when looking at the above image I cannot help but be reminded of this dude:

 Seriously, Facebook...you might want to consider changing this silhouette into a more desirable image...


new design. still experimenting. background yes or no? sleek or flashy? love it or hate it? ideas welcome.


Curb Shame

Source: Flicker - Roberto Israel

Urban Dictionary (www.urbandictionary.com) defines this as: 

"Embarrassment at waiting on the curb obediently as other pedestrians ignore the "don't walk" signal in the absence of traffic."

Yup! This is what I frequently experience ever since I have returned from Japan a few months ago. Before living in Tokyo I always ignored the signs when crossing the street. Now that I am back I tend to debate for a while whether or not to obey the stop lights. Has Japan made me "soft"? Well I am not sure what it is but I am glad that there is an official term describing what I am feeling ;-]


Urban Jungle

Source: Lixi Falk

 Here in Berlin I live right in the center of the city, with cafés, shopping districs, art galleries, and nightclubs near by, yet only footsteps away from my appartment door lies a vast green plane of land. This area is approximately 360 hectares (or 36,000,000 square metres) wide, can be accessed from three different boroughs and is one of the largest inner-city green spaces in the world. What I am talking about is the historic Tempelhof Airport. Tempelhof played a huge role in World War II when the Nazis used this are for displays of propaganda, as well as during the Cold War when Tempelhof was used by the allies in order to bring food into East Germany, which was then occupied by the Soviet Union. Temelhof also served as a "Luftbrücke" (lit. air bridge) that made it possible for a large number of people to flee from East Berlin by plane. Tempelhof therefore is also a symbol of freedom for many Germans. After the war Tempelhof still served as a minor airport in Berlin mainly for diplomatic reasons, yet plans to close it down have started in 1996. In 2008 these plans were taken into effect and Tempelhof as an airport closed down completely.

Source: www.tempelhoferfreiheit.de

A high number of investors immediately tried to buy this land in order to realize large construction projects, however the city government decided that Tempelhof will be given to the people of Berlin. Under this idea a kind of council was started in which the citizens of Berlin are able to submit idea for what can be done on this area online. Everything concerning the park is also posted and updated online at http://www.tempelhoferfreiheit.de/

Source: D. Laubner

This historic area now serves the purpose of a city park with plenty of space for sports such as Biking, Skating, Hiking, Jogging, Tennis, Baseball, Basketball, Soccer, Miniature Golf and even Cross-Country Skiing in Winter. People can rent Sagways and cruise through the park or try Wind-Surfing on boards with wheels. Throughout the year several events take place, for example music festivals, art exhibitions and sport competitions. Designated grill areas also make it possible to enjoy the whole day out in the sun to relax.
The area is so great that even if the number of visitors is high you still feel like you are in you own backyard.
Tempelhof is still evolving and new ideas are being put into place frequently. It is great to see this project grow and I think it is a great idea that people are able to shape their city.
istory, Tempelhof


Facebook as a Military Weapon?

My fellow puppeteers of sp711 probably already know what I am talking about. Operation Ernest Voice was brought to my attention by Professor Otto last week. It is essentially a military operation, run by CENTCOM, which creates fake online identities to spread pro-American propaganda on social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, etc. First information about OEV were leaked in 2010, which confirmed that this "sock puppet" software was originally used to manipulate online conversations to counter the presence of pro Al-Quaida opinions in Iraq. If you want more detailed information about OEV I really recommend to read the article "Revealed: US spy operation that manipulates social media" in the Guardian.

So what does this mean for our everyday internet experience? Does privacy on the internet even exist? From my personal experience in the way I deal with my online presence, my personal photos, opinions etc. I know that social networks such as Facebook create a feeling of privacy, when really, at least those working at Facebook probably have full control of all the user accounts. Especially being only connected with people I know in real life gives me comfort when posting online. However, if a military operation can spread propaganda in foreign countries, doesn't this mean such operations could also be going on at home? It might not be solely for military reasons but for political manipulations. What for example if operations like these would be used in order to spread false information about certain political parties? Furthermore such operations could be used simply for marketing campaigns in order to promote a product. Our personal information (age, gender, location, preferences, dislikes, interests etc.) is already "safely" stored on our accounts, ready for companies to extract and create suitable advertising campaigns around this information. But how bad is all of this really? Should there be complete privacy online? is it even possible? What do you think?


Bonjour, Guten Tag, おはよう!!

This is my very first blog, which I will soon be filling with lots of interesting stuff, so keep checking for new entries ;-)