Dirty little fingers in the data bucket

OkCupid | NO MATCH

Well I got to say… Its good to see some of the online dating sites feeling the heat from BBC’s Panorama last week.

In “Tainted Love: Secrets of the Dating Game,” the state broadcaster’s flagship current affairs program, Panorama, claimed to have uncovered a wide range of questionable practices by the online dating industry.

These include deliberate use of millions of photos and private details taken from social media sites without consent and reused to set up fake profiles of imaginary potential partners to, in the program’s words, “tempt the lovelorn.”

The documentary featured interviews with former online dating agency staffers who admitted on camera how they’d used such data to create fake profiles and adopt multiple personas to reel in those looking for love — and to boost profits.

The report also claimed the sources of this illegally obtained personal material ranged from British celebrities, politicians and even children. On camera, one former employee said that other European countries (notably Spain) were the main target, with easy pickings apparently coming from platforms such as MySpace.

As part of the investigation, reporters posing as prospective dating agency business openers were able to buy 10,000 people’s details, including birthdates and sexual preferences. That dataset included a member of the House of Lords, academics and BBC staff, all of whom told the BBC they had never signed up for such services.

Even my choice OkCupid are being targeted. Which is good because to be fair, although I do like their business model (well its better that the rest), I will never forget that they have been bought by Match.com and things are slightly changing for the worst.

 

Never have in your dating profile picture

Ayares the Lost Terrorist

I said in the last post about how I spent some time looking at OKcupid with my mother on Easter Sunday. There were some interesting insights to be learned but also we came up with a list of things you shouldn’t have in or as your profile picture in OkCupid, or following a suggestion from The Hodge, generally as your profile/avatar picture (although I admit thats just my own hate of weird pictures as avatars).

OkCupid has their own more scientific views on what you should do with your profile picture but here’s mine, my mother and a few twitter followers…

Here’s the list of what to never have in your profile…

  • Dog & Cat
    Its ok to have a picture with your pet in the background but as your primary picture and without you even in the picture? wtf! Seriously… wish I could take a screenshot and post it!
  • Unusual pets
    Mum hates creepy crawlies and to be honest when I saw a woman with a hamster, I just thought… yawn, who cares.
  • Car or some other thing
    It wasn’t just some lady in front of a car, it was a head in a Audi TT driving at high speed. I honestly don’t even think it was her car because the number plate looked highly customised and expensive. You might be proud of your car or your hire car but ffs, not on your dating profile. Imagine if I was posing with my tablet!
  • Your House
    Is it a good idea to take a picture outside the front of your house. One where you can almost read the house number and recognise the street. Not smart and not clever.
  • Parents
    Ok its nice having a picture with the parents but as my mum said, who really wants to see your whole family before seeing you? Its about you and not your parents. One lady had 5 pictures and they were all of her parents and her. Not a single one of just her alone or a close up of her face as my mum noticed.
  • Twin
    It can’t be too clever to have your twin in the one and only picture you have in your profile. Luckily they weren’t identical but it was tricky to see the difference from the low quality picture.
  • Ex-girl/boyfriend
    Its not great to have your ex in the photo and the scissors cuts are a little rough but heck, pick the right photo to do it to. We seen a couple where the woman is literally dancing or staring into the other persons eyes which have been cut out. It would be like me using this photo (of course I’ve not, because I’m not stupid – not that woman who have done such things are necessarily stupid)
  • Your weapons
    From Eastmad this one… I haven’t seen anyone with a weapon but I can imagine on some sites, it happening.
  • Instagram photos
    Please no hipster filters…!
  • Certain holiday pics
    From Louise, the kind with bad dress sense, sunburns and too many pint glasses… Yes whats a lovely image to conjure up. I would also add snow pictures of you wearing a big massive snow coat, wolly hat and skis against a white backdrop on your ass is not a good idea.
  • Your children
    From Louise again, but with additional thoughts from my mum and myself… They have no place on a dating site as they can’t consent, among other things. Louise is right and frankly its extremely off putting. Yes your child(s) might be the centre of your world, I get that! No problem. But showing off your children on a dating site seems very wrong. I mean, whos going to say oh wow what beautiful children, shame about the mum? Ah screw it worth it for the kids… The consent issue is massive which follows in the next one…
  • Someone elses children
    This has to be a no way! If having your kids in the photo was bad then having someone elses kids has to be a total no go. How do you even explain to their parents what your going to do!
  • 10 year old picture of yourself
    Thanks Dom, also hate those pictures of people when there 10years old. You look nothing like that now and whats the point in putting a picture from the 70’s or 80’s on a dating site. Ok not seen this as of yet, but when I do there will be trouble!
  • No Sausages, pasties or other foods
    This goes without saying (Of course I’m not talking about food here)… Thank goodness Okcupid’s filters does a good job removing this type thing…!

A great app that will never be on the iphone? Locale

In March 2005, Judge Robert Restaino jailed 46 people when a mobile phone rang in his New York courtroom and no one would admit responsibility.

So we invented Locale. Problem solved.

Locale in action

Locale was recommended to me by my good friend Sheila. And within a moment of playing with it I started thinking wow this app can do so much for me.

Locale simply makes the android phone do (setting) something when a set condition is triggered (situation). And thats about it. But this is the clever part, there are loads of plugins to make locale work in different ways.

One of my current favorites is the speak Text and Email setting which does just that. When I’m at home, I usually have the phone next to me on the sofa or on the coffee table. Using "say my name" it will speak the email or text out loud to me, so I don’t even have to look or touch the phone. Of course it also says the person calling if thats the case.

The problem is I don’t want my phone to read out messages when I’m in a public place. But this is easily solved with Locale!

I have a situation setup to say if the phone spots my ssid for wireless and/or its pluged in via usb and charging. Then change the setting to allow speaking aloud and reading my messages.

Its that easy!

One of the most common situations I’ve seen and setup myself is to turn on wifi when at home (once again using the SSID) and turn it off when your not near wifi again. I also added a setting to change the ring volume if I’m at home and when I’m not.

There are tons of conditions and sensors which can be bought and setup. From Battery, Bluetooth and Cell stations to Time, Orientation and SSID for the conditions. Volume, Sync, Brightness, Gtalk, Lock, Ringtone, Wallpaper, Wifi are some of the settings which can be tweaked based on the condition (and these are just the free ones).

I said a long time ago, (maybe before I started blogging even) that controlling your profile on the phone would be the key to mastering it. Problem was that changing profiles required too much attention. I mean who has the time or can be bothered to change the profile each time they walk into a meeting or get on the bus? Instead Locale does all the hard work by turning your phone into a series of cleverly thought out sensors…

…and this is just the start. I keep coming up with interesting uses for locale like for example if I was on Foursquare, gowalla or facebook places. I could tell my phone to automatically send a http post to a url when I’m in the location (by gps, 3g, ssid, etc) to automatically sign me in to a location.

So why is this great application not available on the iphone platform?

  1. Well the iphone doesn’t have profiles!? Why?! I have no idea… I guess Apple thought they were being clever or smart
  2. And even if it did have profiles, would Apple allow you to screw around with the defaults? I doubt it…
  3. Even if they would, the apps don’t seem to work together like on the android operating system. For example could you write a app which will turn on and turn off the wifi?
  4. Oh and if that all works, would you be able to do real multitasking and backgrounding to allow locale monitor the conditions of the phone at all times?

The control of the operating system, is squeezing the innovation at the app level. Heck i’m not the only one saying this. And this level of control will ultimately be the downfall of the iOS platform (imho).