The Watchtower of Destruction: The Ferrett's Journal - The New Social Network
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The New Social Network|
People have been touting the new social network Reality, which they claim will surpass all the other social networks. I have to admit, the API (documented here) seems to have some pretty slick technical specs - “Our wire transfer protocol consists of a simple series of audible vibrations projected through the atmosphere. Most humans are equipped with the proper drivers and hardware for it, so it shouldn't be hard to find other Reality users!”
Having taken it for a spin, I have to say: I’m not impressed.
The algorithms that allow you to find other, like-minded users in your area seem hopelessly decrepit as compared to Twitter or Facebook - you have to seek out and find people almost at random, asking them, and even then (as anyone who’s worked on the still-botched “dating” protocol will know), their recommendations are often total shit. Then, once found, the keeping in contact with them involves a lot of individual work - their latest information isn’t streamed to you, as is standard, but you have to actually seek them out and download it. This is incredibly time-consuming, even if they do try to leaven the process by adding the new (and tasty!) “Lunch” download bay.
Furthermore, the whole “audible vibrations” things sounds good, but the medium suffers from severe attenuation - beyond a range of about 500 feet, you can’t contact them. Plus, there’s very little security - anyone enabled for those vibrations can listen in - and speaking at distances of 200 feet in, say, a “Lunch” download bay can get pretty crazy. (You’d think they’d be happy to use the phone-based amplification signals for vibrations, which seem native to the environment, but the API specifically says, “There's no phones... involved.”) Plus, get eight users in the same place and the comments become very snarled and hard to catch up on thanks to signal bounce.
The vibrations thing means that essentially, you can’t stay in constant contact with friends more than a city or two over, and for those in other states or countries, it becomes nigh-impossible to catch up with. The “Reality” social network seems extremely limited - a lot of work to sift through many people thanks to the poor selection algorithm controls, then a ton of time spent downloading data at a close range, all for people in a small geographic center. Plus, no Farmville.
In short, I don’t recommend this social network. Too much trouble.
This entry has also been posted at http://theferrett.dreamwidth.org/90475.html. You can comment here, or comment there; makes no never-mind by me.
|Date:||March 31st, 2011 04:57 pm (UTC)|| |
Have I mentioned lately that I completely adore you?
Edited at 2011-03-31 04:57 pm (UTC)
|Date:||March 31st, 2011 05:05 pm (UTC)|| |
I have nothing of substance to add to this, but I adore you too (yes, I know I'm a total stranger), and you just made me cheery and happy on this dreary day.
I believe your scheduling algorithm may have fallen for an off-by-one or possibly fencepost error.
|Date:||March 31st, 2011 08:19 pm (UTC)|| |
I hear that happens a lot. The scheduling just isn't very robust.
|Date:||March 31st, 2011 05:09 pm (UTC)|| |
This is absolutely brilliant. You are awesome. *kiss*
And, honestly, that communication protocol is incredibly lossy *and* impossible to search. I mean, there are ways to archive communications for later review, but as far as I can tell they're all pretty unwieldy. And don't get me started on the fact that there is no native search! You'd think in this day and age search is so basic that they would *start* there, not just leave it as to-be-implemented.
Plus, if you don't have the hardware or drivers installed (or if the installation of the drivers was hopelessly b0rked, which happened to me) it's very difficult to get aftermarket hardware, and new drivers are just impossible to find. So irritating.
|Date:||March 31st, 2011 05:17 pm (UTC)|| |
Aftermarket hardware for reality. There's an app for that!
I've had a great deal of success with this "Reality" social network.
I find the interface much simpler and more rewarding than facebook.
While the recommendations may need work, I find this is due to inaccurate profiles or even user error rather than a flaw in the algorithm.
I do agree with this, however: "The vibrations thing means that essentially, you can’t stay in constant contact with friends more than a city or two over, and for those in other states or countries, it becomes nigh-impossible to catch up with."
It's an unfortunate flaw.
The snarled comments and signal bounce you mention when several users are together -- I enjoy that! :)
The branding's a little ambitious, don't you think? I mean, they're going to have egg all over their faces, figuratively speaking, when it turns out they're brains in jars, or emergent phenomena of a cellular-automata-based universe sim.
I have no way of confirming or denying this statement.
|Date:||March 31st, 2011 09:24 pm (UTC)|| |
I think I love you.
And you can be more certain of doing so than you can be of my existence. How awesome is that?
Say what you will about Reality -- the "Random Shuffle" contact feature introduced me to my husband. He just showed up in my living room one afternoon.
|Date:||March 31st, 2011 07:41 pm (UTC)|| |
That feature is such a security risk! I once saw the real time chat of two Reality players from my house application. They were discussing if it would be worth it to hack the app because they wanted the expensive TV application that they could see through an open API. Never again!
Security breaches seem to be a constant risk once you've installed windows.
|Date:||March 31st, 2011 07:57 pm (UTC)|| |
Yeah, and even closing the windows doesn't help against determined hackers. The security and privacy awareness is just not there. I'm sticking with LiveJournal and Twitter.
|Date:||March 31st, 2011 05:45 pm (UTC)|| |
I agree with all the points you've listed here but I think the most important thing about this social network is the real feeling of community it engenders. The very fact that you have to try to keep in touch with those friends makes you feel somehow closer and more connected to them.
I do wish I could find the archives though. I had some memorable moments using Reality that I'm having trouble accessing as time marches by.
|Date:||March 31st, 2011 07:26 pm (UTC)|| |
There was a 'Computer Based Archive' add-on released recently
|Date:||March 31st, 2011 07:58 pm (UTC)|| |
Also, say what you will but I find that Reality can really suck you in if you're not careful and end up taking all your time. As buggy as it is it's still quite a time sink.
I'm throwing in with Dropbox.
|Date:||March 31st, 2011 06:20 pm (UTC)|| |
This is ... simply brilliant.
In defense of the Reality social network, however, I must point out that once its intracacies have been mastered by the user, it generates opportunities for more and better sex than other social networks.
it's the going up in levels that sucks. i mean, you screw up, sometimes you have to go back down a level or two depending on how high up you already are. :(
I do agree the sex functions are more satisfying. However, I've heard of a couple of friends who've caught viruses.
|Date:||March 31st, 2011 07:25 pm (UTC)|| |
Some of the less ocean-bound members of Reality do have their own versions of Farmville but it's not nearly as much fun.
The "getting to taste or make money from the food produced" part is a vast improvement though. I think it makes it more fun, even though my starting farm size was only 4 squares.
I suspect Reality Farmville gets pretty tiresome to play once you upgrade to a 24x24 farm, but again, at least the rewards scale too!
|Date:||March 31st, 2011 08:16 pm (UTC)|| |
I know people who upgraded, only to be forced to downgrade. That's a real bummer. The UX doesn't follow even the most basic error handling heuristics. In fact users are often severely punished for minor mistakes. You can even lose a life that way, and you've only got the one. How primitive is that?
Also, a friend of a friend tried to create a couple of sock puppets. It was time consuming and the outcome was uncertain. Even if you succeed, keeping the sock puppets alive is very expensive and oftentimes they "grow up" and you have to create new ones.
Well, you can get a greater range with the Drill Sergeant upgrade, if you have the proper hardware. However, if overused, you will suffer from a greater number of dropped connections.
|Date:||March 31st, 2011 08:17 pm (UTC)|| |
FERRETT! HOW DO I MAKE MY REALITY INFORMATION PRIVATE? MY EX-BOYFRIEND KEEPS INTERFACING WITH ME IN THE REALITY CHATROOM DESPITE ATTEMPTS TO BLOCK HIM. ALSO, I DON'T WANT MY JOB TO KNOW I'M NOT WEARING PANTS. CAN THEY SEE ME USING REALITY VIEWER? HOW TO BLOCK!?!?!
ALSO SOME SPAM COMPANIES CALLING THEMSELVES "VERIZON" AND "LOCAL UTILITIES" KEEP TRYING TO GET ME TO GIVE THEM MONEY! LOLOLOLOL! DO THEY THINK I AM A N00B?
Edited at 2011-03-31 08:19 pm (UTC)
Sadly enough, there are a number of people out there that would probably agree with this post sans snark.
One plus though, no Farmville.
Fixed that for you.
I've found for friends from farther afield, that the old-fashioned paper and pen and postal worker works well, but is incredibly slow.
|Date:||March 31st, 2011 09:20 pm (UTC)|| |
You have to admit that the polygon count is hella awesome, though.
And changing your avatar and getting a rename is hellish.
|Date:||April 1st, 2011 02:07 am (UTC)|| |
And all those duplicates that are allowed! It can get very confusing.
That is the most annoying thing about Reality editing one's personal info and/or avatar ranges from extremely difficult to outright impossible and to make it worse these factors are randomly assigned the first time you log on. Who would put up with that?
The "Reality" social network is best used in conjunction with other social networks. It doesn't work so great on its own. But abandon it at your peril!
I really hate Reality. The people are so rude, and droll. I am going to stick with Facebook.
|Date:||April 1st, 2011 06:32 am (UTC)|| |
...whole “audible vibrations” things sounds good...
|Date:||April 1st, 2011 08:38 am (UTC)|| |
My Reality friends often must resort to using Twitter and Facebook to connect and make arrangements to link up in one of the lunch bays that are available to both of us. Otherwise we end up using the amplified audible vibration communicators in our home bases or attached to our belts to hook up over long distances. This is often limiting and can be frustrating when said devices are busy with other conversations, out of range or of such an old design as to limit our ability to move about when in contact.
Great review of this technology, by the way, but I agree with your last sentence (And still, I keep trying to get the hang of Reality because I like the price point, most of the time. Thank you for a good laugh, too. Peace ----Ellen
Despite its many faults, at least Reality includes a "Dislike" button.