How Facebook killed by mistake a 250k users app.

Building on top of Facebook can lead to big things…

Yesterday, I noticed some unusual activity in Talk&Comment’s Analytics reports; basically, there were no active users.

Talk&Comment, a product I built as a side project a few months ago, has got lately a huge success: more than 50.000 daily active users, with 1.000 new ones each day.

It’s basically, a browser add-on (on Chrome, for now) that adds a layer of voice messaging and commenting superpowers on top of the Facebook web platform. And it has been `very` well welcomed by users across 215 countries.

Talk&Comment Google Analytics.

The Talk&Comment invasion.

That’s all countries Google Analytics can track, and more countries -195- than officially in the World, FYI. (and I still have no single clue why it’s being used massively in Iraq.)

… but it can/will screw you.

Except that everything is sent as a http://talkandcomment.com/* link (that then gets rendered as an inline audio player).

And Facebook blocked it, yesterday. Hence the no active users.

Oops.

Oops.

Facebook scans all links from non-authority websites (YouTube, Soundcloud, and the likes) and the “safety system” (part of the spam prevention mechanism) tags them Unsafe, if they show the following signals, ordered by severity (probably more?):

  • Piracy site (torrents, warez, …, DMCAed sites).
  • Very short domain/perceived as URL shortner.
  • Same links get shared in a `spammy` manner.
  • Different links get shared exponentially by different users. (the current scenario, but also the behaviour of a software worm.)

And if you’re blacklisted, the only way out to get “whitelisted again” is through users letting Facebook know that it was a mistake.

But who does that?

Well, shit.

I do understand that Facebook tries to prevent stealing user data and protecting information, and maintaining Facebook a trusted environment and blah blah blah. There’s a note by Facebook that explains how Facebook’s spam prevention system works and how it’s prone to errors. That dates back to 2010.

But at the current company stage, post-IPO, the margin of error should be next to none – especially that there’s no way to interact directly with Facebook regarding anything, except Adverts. (hint: 1Bn+ users).

So Facebook might not be (or do) evil. But it’s very immature, and lacks experience.

How to fix Viber on Mac OS X Yosemite

As the time of writing this post, Viber didn’t release an updated version that supports Mac OS X Yosemite.

Chances are the app icon is marked with an and you get an error message once you try to launch it.

It’s pretty easy to actually fix this issue; Just head to your Applications directory, right-click on the Viber icon then Show package contents. Navigate to the Contents folder and open Info.plist ; Note that you’d probably need a Plist file editor installed (or XCode) to edit this file. If it’s not the case, just open it with your preferred text editor – and you’ll get something like this:

/Applications/Viber.app/Contents/Info.plist

/Applications/Viber.app/Contents/Info.plist

Notice the highlighted lines – all you need to do is change the values 4 and 4.0.0 to, respectively, and 5.0.0

 

After editing the file

After editing the file

Save your file. Relaunch Viber. You’re good to go!

Approach your users. That’s Growth Hacking.

I launched less than 3days ago a Chrome extension that had for purpose adding Voice commenting capability to Facebook, Talk&Comment.

Well – it was highly welcomed. And loved, and for a moment, people were happy and playing around with their christmas gift.

But the nerd that I-am, kept tracking every event and user action there is, trying to understand the users. I even added some users on Facebook just to get their reaction. Continue reading “Approach your users. That’s Growth Hacking.” »

Heroku: The TOP5 legit use cases.

A Quick note about Heroku

Heroku is good. Like, Really good. He’s my best-virtual-friend. And if you’ve never used it, you’ve been missing on a lot. And you should start here. To sum it up in a sentence, it’s a Platform as a Service build by and for developers that makes the product lifecycle easier to handle from build to deploy & run. It supports Ruby, Java, Scala, NodeJS, Clojure, and Python. That’s super Awesome. But it comes with side effects: expensive (for production) and not highly flexible (for out of this world apps).

Here’s 5 reasons where using Heroku is a legitimate choice. Continue reading “Heroku: The TOP5 legit use cases.” »

What you should know about Facebook Voice Audio Comments: Delivering Happiness.

A Brief History of the Evolution of Communication.

A few days ago, I was bored to death in a coffee shop. Mainly because everyone was talking out loud.

But they were talking.

Not texting (except a few nerds), but TALKING. Voice talking.

It’s kinda the natural way we communicate. I won’t get into the details of how communication started, you can read it about it here when you’re done reading this, but evolution dictates that what started with cave paintings should end with thought message passing, not texting and writing, going through sound communication.

The Great Alexander Graham Bell changed the way we communicate with sound, but, we took a “Historical detour”.

A “Historical detour” in Communication

Modern time Telegraphy started with Telegrams. Voice channels we not that cheap back in the 19th century. Actually, they were none until June 2nd 1875. Commercial ones started a few years later. Continue reading “What you should know about Facebook Voice Audio Comments: Delivering Happiness.” »

Fix Vagrant and VirtualBox

If you just started using Vagrant (which I highly recommend), and on the last version of OSX (or any other system as a matter of fact) + VirtualBox, it’s highly likely that you’ll stumble on an error during your first `vagrant up` :

mount -t vboxsf -o uid=`id -u vagrant`,gid=`id -g vagrant` /vagrant /vagrant
Stdout from the command:

Stderr from the command:
mount: unknown filesystem type 'vboxsf'

The sharing isn’t setup. A bit frustrating. And you’ll need to install Guest Additions on the box (and that’s not straightforward if using Vagrant).

Turns out, the fix is quite easy.
Continue reading “Fix Vagrant and VirtualBox” »

JobFinder.ma – The Big WHY.

It started a month ago …

On July 24th, I was having coffee with a friend.

We talked a bit about employment opportunities in Morocco, challenges, perspectives … but mostly, problems.

One problem that came up was the huge fragmentation in the job market. More accurately, the fragmentation in the job offers/listings/postings. Then he said :

I wish I had a system that notifies me whenever a job opening that concerns me is posted, anywhere.

I was amazed by how simple the phrase sounded, but also, but how big the problem was.

At the moment, I was working on approximately 3 different projects and running almost 10 experiments.

I dropped everything. Continue reading “JobFinder.ma – The Big WHY.” »

Create hashtags for Facebook. Then create the Hashtags killer.

A few months ago, (Jan, 12) I created Hashtags for Facebook : a Chrome extension that adds the Hashtag functionality to Facebook with trending topics support, location and whatnot.

Little did I know that the idea would be adopted by Facebook – eventually it was just a question of time.

Exactly 5 months and some users later, on Jun 12, Facebook launched officially its hashtags service. And I launched a Hashtags killer … for Facebook, after a friend suggested it.

If you ask why, just look #at #difference #between #this #part and this other part : it’s exactly what it does. And for someone with ADHD, life becomes easier to navigate through.

Download Facebook Hashtags Killer from the Chrome Webstore.

Could the secret to Infinite Renewable Energy lie in a simple equation ?

Dear reader, if you’re looking for a deep insight, maybe an “aha!” moment, read along. If, on the other hand, you’re looking for a secret tasty recipe, I recommend this show.

A (very) brief history of Energy.

We have been trying to harness energy from Nature’s own existence since our earliest ancestors. Energy was then knows as Fire. They started making fire with a stick, then a bow drill, then rocks.

Obviously, that wasn’t enough for them.

Our great grandfathers kept looking mercilessly for other, most sophisticated ways to create The Ultimate Fire. One that could keep the cave warm, the food grilled, and the enemies away. Continue reading “Could the secret to Infinite Renewable Energy lie in a simple equation ?” »