Posts Tagged ‘facebook’

Using Facebook Groups over

We’ve had MySQL meetup’s organised thanks to for years now, and its sad to see the relationship end in about a fortnight. Never fret, because it seems that Facebook can do all that, and more.


If you’re the meetup organiser, and you checked the Members list, or even attempted to download it, you’ll be disappointed. You get a CSV file, with the name of the person, some other metadata, if they’re on the mailing list (chances is yes to all), and the URL of the member profile. What’s missing? An email address.

So while its nice to have a CSV copy of the member list, it will not assist you in any migration, whatsoever. Totally data lock in :-(

Mailing list/message board

Keep in mind that you’ve got mailing lists and message boards on You’ll want to make use of this, to tell people to join your new Facebook group. Mailing lists are of the form:, and you can find out more from

In case you’ve had people unsubscribe from the mailing list, better make things redundant, to announce the move to Facebook, and also post to the message board.

As the owner of the meetup group, you can also edit the description of your meetup group – do so, pointing to the new Facebook address of the group.

Facebook Groups

Facebook | Home |Groups 1 Look at the bottom of your screen, and you’ll notice a little toolbar, and its not too hard to spot groups. Once you see the groups page, you will be able to “Create a New Group”. The exact link to creating a new group will work, as long as you’re logged into Facebook. Once you’re done, don’t hesitate to enter some relevant group information:

Facebook | Create a Group

It’s probably worth noting that naming nomenclatures might be useful. Like I liberally used: The Malaysian MySQL User Group (Kuala Lumpur), but if you’re in a country like the United States, and you’re doing this in San Francisco, a name such as: The San Francisco MySQL User Group would make sense. Used similarly, like “The New York City User Group”, or if you’re in Australia, something like “The Melbourne MySQL User Group” will make sense. In that sense, I should really be calling the Malaysian one that I organise, “The Kuala Lumpur MySQL User Group”, and I have a feeling that once there are more meetups in the states around here, I will do just that.

Next up, you’re asked to upload a picture. Go ahead, make one up, or leave it blank. Something with your city in it, might be a good one. If the meetup group has a website, then enter its URL. The default settings on “Step 2: Customize” are all accurate, so just leave it be.

Facebook | Edit The Malaysian MySQL User Group (Kuala Lumpur) Once that is done, and you click “Save”, you’re asked to publish it on your wall. This is what I call publicity to those closest in your social network — you should go for it! You want all the help you can get, to spread the word, to make your meetup even more successful!

Now comes the fun part — you can invite your friends, or invite people via email — the choice is yours.

And that’s it, now you have a Facebook group, with an appropriate URL to point people to. In my case, the Malaysian MySQL User Group is at: Yes, the URL’s are not friendly, so maybe you want to make use of a URL shortener (Something like, powered by MySQL).

What to do in the Facebook Group

The Facebook group you just created is useful. It displays the members, it has a discussion board facility, it has a wall (which may not be so useful, when it comes to actual discussion). It allows for members to post photos, links, videos, and more. In short, as long as all attendees are members of Facebook and the group, you’ve just created your own little virtual community!

Facebook | The Malaysian MySQL User Group (Kuala Lumpur) Now, one thing that shone with was the ability to have a meetup once every month, and details go out to all members about topics, et al. Facebook allows this too. Select “Create Related Event”. In fact if you scroll down a little more, below Group Type, and Admins, you can also Create Events, as there is a nice Events tab, right before the Related Groups one.

Once you’ve selected Create an Event, you’re told to enter some event information, as follows:

Facebook | Create an Event

That’s just basically filling up relevant information, the time, the location, and some contact details of the meetup organiser. Click Create Event, and magically, you now have a new event! Again, the defaults under customisation are perfectly safe, except, for the bottom, where you should scroll down, and under the “Publicize:” option, you definitely want to tick it, and say “Show this event in search results“. The more publicity, the better.

Click Save, and again, you’re asked to publish this to your wall, like above. If I were you, I’d go for it, so that even your friends who aren’t in the meetup group, might want to come depending on the topic being addressed in that particular month.

Like earlier, you can now invite guests (even via email) to the event, and once you’re done, you should have a similar page (looks so familiar to your group page, huh?) for the event in particular. Go forth and publish that URL on Twitter and other social networks, so more people show up :-)

Remember, that if anything changes, go back to the same event page, and select: “Message Guests”. This will allow them to all receive a Facebook message with the relevant information, changes, and so forth.

What else?

That’s basically it.

I can think of one more thing that Facebook has, that you don’t have on – that’s chat within the browser. You can chat with your friends, and meetup attendees potentially might want to confirm some last minute details, and the chat is a great feature.

One thing I find lacking is that you don’t have mailing lists. I’m an email type of guy, and if you want mailing lists, don’t hesitate to ask for one, at We’ll be happy to provide yet another avenue to keep your meetups going strong.

Another strong point? You can be a member of multiple meetup groups, without having to leave your own. As someone who travels somewhat frequently, I love attending other user groups just to meet the community and see what they’re doing with MySQL. I can now, as events are open ;-)

Have questions? Leave a comment and I’ll get back to you. Otherwise, happy meeting users in your own areas and areas you’re travelling to!

Air your thoughts via Facebook

I don’t know if this is the right use of Facebook, but Malaysia’s Deputy Higher Education Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah has decided that a good thing to do, is to be online, on the first and third Wednesday of every month, from 10-11pm (so he’s working nights), on Facebook, so that he can probably participate in a Facebook chat with students.

He mentions “Facebook messaging”, and its unclear if he plans to add students as his friends, to then get them chatting, or if he just wants to receive “email” via Facebook? Or is it a good way to get information about students that are griping to the minister, and mark the troublemakers out?

Who’s to say. Whatever it is, I don’t think Facebook is the right platform for this sort of thing, but kudos for trying to be hip.

Facebook Lexicon, the flu, and data mining

I recently found out about the Facebook Lexicon. There’s a FAQ, but in a nutshell, the Lexicon tracks and counts occurrences of words and phrases on Facebook Walls (profile, group, or even event Walls) over time. It doesn’t seem like status messages count, though maybe the new Lexicon might in due time.

Searched for “the flu“, only because I wanted to compare it with what you’d get over Google Flu Trends. Facebook doesn’t have the limitation that it has to be US only – its worldwide.

Then I thought about Twitter search, since lots of people post their updates on life, their feelings, et al – look at the results there, for the flu. Look at the mashup the New York Times built for the Superbowl on Twitter. Are there graphing tools, that track keywords? It might actually be cool.

Lots of new ways to data mine, it seems. Google shares some semblance of raw data. Facebook doesn’t. Twitter has whatever is available, that is limited by its API (what, some 3,200 entries?).

Imagine all this being used to predict flu clusters, or something more close to home, dengue clusters. Or voter turnout (status saying “voted”, even).

Facebook kills

no longer listed as single... Facebook notifications People tend to be excited when a Facebook status changes. In fact, Facebook gives it a lot of prominence by embedding it on the start page of your friends.

This Facebook status message thing though, can cause a lot of misunderstandings. If you’re not listed as single, it doesn’t mean you’re in a relationship (it could just mean that you’ve stopped looking, decided to become a priest, celebrate celibacy, et al). Whatever.

For some, it can even cause death. Via The BBC, in Wife murdered for Facebook status:

A man murdered his estranged wife after becoming “enraged” when she changed her marital status on Facebook to “single”.

Fiona Cortese, of the Crown Prosecution Service, said: “Richardson became enraged when Sarah changed her marital status on Facebook to single and decided to go and see her as she was not responding to his messages.

I’ve read about breakup’s on Facebook. I’ve read about people’s happiness on Facebook. But this is a first, I’ve read of a murder thanks to Facebook. Waste of a twenty six year old life. Bad social networking.

Some tabs – Marten interview, Facebook, Flickr

I’ve been collecting a bunch of tabs, MySQL related, that I think people might have missed during the holiday period.

Contrarian Minds: Marten Mickos – this is a great interview with former CEO of MySQL, now SVP of the Database Group, at Sun Microsystems. Its got a bit of interesting history, and thoughts about the future. There’s also some interesting photography.

Facebook is now at 150 million users. They grew quite a bit recently, it was just 140 million about a month or two ago.

Flickr has seen traffic reaching ten terabytes. As you know, Flickr runs MySQL, and they make use of InnoDB. Recently, Chief Operations Officer, John Allspaw, showed how fragmented one of their databases was. Reminds us all, that running optimize from time to time, is useful. Flickr is also using MySQL 5.0.51 currently.

Flickr make extensive use of Ganglia. I found that there are Ganglia graphs for MySQL metrics available now. Interesting stuff.

Tab roundup for December 2008

Om Malik’s blog design, and themes as a business
I stumbled upon Om.Is.Me…, Om Malik’s private blog, and was taken away by the design. For one, its hosted at (something I’m thinking I might do at some stage, if it was less rigid). But more importantly, what I noticed was the design – I was really taken away by the blog theme. Its designed by GNV & Partners, and it looks snazzy.

Is there big business in WordPress themes? If their website was in English, I’d be a little more interested… Largely because I have to theme at least two WordPress sites in the near future, and I’m not looking forward to mastering CSS, etc.

What do custom WordPress themes go for? How many folk pay for themes?

Found this via Twitter (thanks @achitnis), and it Hackerspaces reminded me a lot of coworking. When in Melbourne, I always pined of a co-working space (I believe, Joe’s Garage came close to it – upstairs, anyway). Now that I’m in Kuala Lumpur a lot more, I am wondering if a warehouse somewhere, might make sense…

Cybercafes in Japan, offering physical addresses to the homeless
Read Cyber cafe offers address to homeless. I didn’t know that cybercafe’s in Tokyo gave away a free email address (maybe they don’t, but they might give you access to one), but I was impressed that comic books and unlimited beverages were a norm. Kudos to Cyber @ Cafe offering long-term lodging and an official registered address (important, when PO BOXes aren’t acceptable or you’re homeless).

Takemitsu Karitachi, used to sleep on park benches, but he doesn’t have to anymore:

This simple service is vital for the 50 semi-permanent residents of the cafe, many of whom have taken refuge here after being laid off abruptly during the current recession.

Takemitsu Karitachi, a contract worker at a nearby factory, is one of the many people who have been sleeping at the cafe every night for the past two months since he lost his office job and his apartment.

Karitachi, who used to roam the streets and hopped between various Internet cafes for months, says he is now relieved to have found a more permanent home — even if it’s a cubicle just slightly bigger than the back seat of a car.

BMW India sales records
It stunned me when I found out that in 2007, BMW only sold 1,338 cars, and in 2008, plans to sell 2,800 units. The sales ratio between the BMW 5 and 3 series is 55:45 (so the one’s buying a BMW, actually have a lot more disposable income than one would think).

I don’t know the cost of a BMW in India, but if its prohibitively expensive as it is in Malaysia (what is it, up to 300% excise duty?), I’m surprised the numbers are a lot lower. Seeing a BMW (or a Mercedes) on the road in Malaysia is very common – yuppies are driving 3-series cars (BMW 320), straight into their first management job, willing to fork out RM220,000+, and paying it off over seven or nine years.

Lucky for me, I don’t think of a car as a status symbol (and think that people that do, are rather daft).

After Credentials
Read Paul Graham’s After Credentials. It is probably his best essay in recent time, and its very pertinent to those living in Asia.

Not only in South Korea, but in most parts of Asia, education is touted as being very important. Quotes like “In our country, college entrance exams determine 70 to 80 percent of a person’s future,” don’t surprise me. Paul thinks its old fashioned – I tend to agree. Today’s universities are not more than cram universities.

The problem comes when parents use direct methods: when they are able to use their own wealth or power as a substitute for their children’s qualities.

Let’s think about what credentials are for. What they are, functionally, is a way of predicting performance. If you could measure actual performance, you wouldn’t need them.

This doesn’t work in small companies. Even if your colleagues were impressed by your credentials, they’d soon be parted from you if your performance didn’t match, because the company would go out of business and the people would be dispersed.

In a world of small companies, performance is all anyone cares about. People hiring for a startup don’t care whether you’ve even graduated from college, let alone which one. All they care about is what you can do. Which is in fact all that should matter, even in a large organization.

The whole article is interesting. There is a good analysis of the big company versus small company paradigm, as well as the fact that people want instant (and not deferred) rewards.

I predict that within Asia, in the next two decades, hiring based on your after credentials (first bachelors, then masters, possibly doctorate eventually), are going to be a thing of the past.

Lawyers use Facebook to serve notices
Via The Age:

Canberra lawyers have won the right to serve legally binding court documents by posting them on defendants’ Facebook sites.

In a ruling that could make legal and internet history, a Supreme Court judge ruled last week lawyers could use the social networking site to serve court notices.

Email and even mobile phone text messages have been used before to serve court notices, but the Canberra lawyers who secured the ruling are claiming service by Facebook as a world first.

“The Facebook profiles showed the defendants’ dates of birth, email addresses and friend lists and the co-defendants were friends with one another,” a spokesman for the firm said.

On perfumes, and smell
This is interesting, The scent of a man. Very captivating, here are a few select quotes:

They already knew that appropriate scents can improve the mood of those who wear them. What they discovered, though, as they will describe in a forthcoming edition of the International Journal of Cosmetic Science, is that when a man changes his natural body odour it can alter his self-confidence to such an extent that it also changes how attractive women find him.

They found that those who had been given the commercial fragrance showed an increase in self-confidence. … What was surprising was that their self-confidence improved to such an extent that women who could watch them but not smell them noticed. They were, however, unable to distinguish between the groups when shown only still photographs of the men, suggesting it was the men’s movement and bearing, rather than their physical appearance, that was making the difference.

Perhaps the greatest takeaway was: “The sexes themselves smell different, too, and women can glean information about a man’s social status from his smell alone.””

Women can smell success?