Spotify and third party connections

One of the reasons why you will not see me connecting my Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, (enter any other social network) with another application is because in exchange for that specific connection you may be giving away something of value.

We all know that there is a price on being part of a social network, networks provide their service in exchange for your data and the more they convince you to give your personal data the better. That’s why they encourage you often to set reminders, check in, like something, provide your DOB, city, state, and more.

Where I feel networks go beyond harvesting your personal data is when networks harvest data from my friends or family.

spotify_terms

Today as I restarted Spotify to install the new and shiny application I was prompted to accept their Privacy Policy and their Terms of Service. Doing a quick scan on their Privacy Policy I ran into the following two paragraphs:

If you connect to the Service using credentials from a Third Party Application (as defined in the Terms and Conditions of Use) (e.g., Facebook), you authorise us to collect your authentication information, such as your username and encrypted access credentials. We may also collect other information available on or through your Third Party Application account, including, for example, your name, profile picture, country, hometown, email address, date of birth, gender, friends’ names and profile pictures, and networks.

That may not be scary for you but take a look at what else they can do with your data:

the use of cookies and other technologies;
the transfer of your information outside of the country where you live;
the collection, use, sharing, and other processing of your information, including for advertising-related purposes (as described in the rest of this Privacy Policy, so please keep on reading!); and
the public availability of your information and the controls over such information as described in Sharing information.

There you have it, short and simple. Does that mean that I will stop using Spotify? Personally I won’t stop using the service, I just won’t connect my other social networks.

Dealing with Apache, Dispacher, and AEM on Mac OS X

I am working with our team to have AEM (Adobe Enterprise Manager) and their Dispatcher (AEM caching and/or load balancing tool) running along with Apache running on our local installations. AEM is rather easy to “install” but here are some of the commands that help me during the installation.

#display Apache version installed on your system along with other useful details
$ apachectl -V

Server version: Apache/2.4.9 (Unix)
Server built:   Sep  9 2014 14:48:20
Server's Module Magic Number: 20120211:31
Server loaded:  APR 1.4.8, APR-UTIL 1.5.2
Compiled using: APR 1.4.8, APR-UTIL 1.5.2
Architecture:   64-bit
Server MPM:     prefork
  threaded:     no
    forked:     yes (variable process count)

#test your configuration settings
$ sudo /usr/sbin/apachectl configtest

You will get information about the modules installed and also if there any syntax errors in your httpd.conf

AH00526: Syntax error on line 606 of /private/etc/apache2/httpd.conf:

If your httppd.conf file is error free you will only get an OK.

Syntax OK

The Rise and Fall of Clash of Clans from SuperCell

I was intrigued by the game Clash of Clans ads in Facebook, altho I never click on Facebook ads I still went directly to the source in the Apple store and installed the game to check it out. It definitely is addicting and for the looks of it the company that created the game was aware of that they were doing and how to do it right , with a monthly gross revenue of $15M as reported by InsideMobileApps you could think nothing could go wrong with this game and company. Until update 2.73 came around…

What’s New in Version 2.73
Chat improvements:
&#10003 Global chat is now moderated! Report offensive messages by tapping them and choosing “Report”.
&#10003 Improved profanity filter for global chat creates a nicer and safer chatting environment.

Clan Improvements:
&#10003 You can now set minimum amount of trophies required for your clan. Players won’t be able to apply if they don’t meet the minimum requirements.
&#10003 Added notices to Clan chat when members are promoted, demoted, join or are kicked out of the clan.
&#10003 You can now send a personal message when you kick someone out of your clan.

Other changes:
&#10003 Players with lower Town Hall levels now lose less resources when attacked by higher Town Hall level players (2 level difference or more).
&#10003 There is now a short no-attack period after maintenance breaks to allow players to log back in unperturbed.
&#10003 Added an extra confirmation step when loading village from Game Center to avoid accidents.

On Monday SuperCell posted a message on their Facebook wall with the comment “Clashers, it’s time for the UPDATE :)” as the time of this writing there are 394 Likes and 1,259 comments. it doesn’t take long to read through some of the comments to that post and most of them are negative towards the game. Some commenters display the amount of money they were able to get back from the Apple store after complaining.

For one I did not invest any “real” money in the game but I had a chance to play the game for some time and it was fun. What ruined it for me was the Global Chat moderation, after I posted a “hello” message to the global chat I was banned without any information on why I had been banned. After reading some comments it looks like I was not the only one being banned randomly but that anyone could “report” you and after a certain number of reports wether they were valid or not you would get banned from the Global Chat for a certain period of time. For sure I am not the ideal client for SuperCell since I didn’t spend any money on the game or gave them access to my social networks data, however I would be interested to find out what effects update 2.73 will have on this game. Will it ruin it completely or will the users get over it and live with the changes? It seems to me that one of the updates was driven by the desire to make more revenue which $500k a day doesn’t sound bad to me but maybe the company uses all the gainings just to keep the game running.

My predictions are that either SuperCell will learn from the latest update to Clash of Clans and create a new game similar which will not be so aggressive at trying to get more revenue or they will be able to revert some of the latest updates and make their current users happy again and have them return. For one I know SuperCell won’t miss me in Clash of Clans and I am happier now not spending time on such a fun game.

PHP Development with XAMPP

Larry Ullman wrote a great post about his experience with MAMP. Many years before I heard about MAMP I had been using XAMPP (http://www.apachefriends.org/en/xampp.html), it was in fact that a friend told me about the great piece of software he was using called MAMP which was only $39 (at the time, today you have to pay $59 for a new version and $29 for an upgrade). MAMP is able to let my friend have a LAMP stack up and running in no time in his MAC. I asked my friend why would he be paying $39 for MAMP while XAMPP was free! and he had two reasons. One, he could update the vhosts quickly, second he had been using the software for quite a while so he didn’t have to learn a new piece of software. I believe there is a free version but you are not able to edit the vhosts which for what I undrestand is one of the main sell point for many.

My setup for PHP development on MAC and PC is the free XAMPP package. Since I use the MAC 99% of the time I have created an alias in my .bash_script which opens two files in TextMate that allow me to create a vhost rather quickly. Lastly I open the XAMPP control panel, restart Apache, and I am set to go.

here is my .bash_script alias:
alias vhosts=”mate /Applications/XAMPP/xamppfiles/etc/extra/httpd-vhosts.conf mate /etc/hosts”

There are other benefits with XAMPP (it may be very similar with MAMP but I have never used it) after you start mySQL from XAMPP control panel you can do all your database administration by visiting http://localhost/phpmyadmin. I have also set up a “dump” alias http://dump.localhost where I can drop any quick php tests without having to create a new virtual host.

http://dump.localhost/test_a
http://dump.localhost/test_b
http://dump.localhost/test_c