Fixing Other Peoples Products

The coolest thing about open source and truly free software is, of course, the ability to hack it in your own image. I learned what “open source” meant from a single anecdote in one of Richard Stallman‘s books.

Once upon a time, Richard was able to program his printer. Then, one day, that printer was either replaced or the software updated or something and Richard no longer had access to it. Henceforth, Richard lived as a slave to the printer.

I think it’s great people make Add-Ons and Extensions for browsers but I like the idea of an open source browser that everyone can contribute to and improve much better.

If I created a product and an entire industry grew up around ways to make my product better, I’d be pretty ashamed of myself.

Enter Facebook.

I’ve ranted plenty on this blog about how I don’t want anything automated unless I automate it. I don’t want software to do anything I haven’t told it to do. I hate that Facebook somehow thinks it knows better than I do what stories I want to see. I’m not talking about the recent “Fake News” thing — that’s a whole other issue. I’m talking about the default “Top Stories” sorting on the newsfeed.

The fact that people in the Facebook Help Community actually have to say, “I want to see everything and I want to see it in chronological order” is … pathetic, baffling, infuriating. You can like, unlike, friend, unfriend, follow, and unfollow — that’s how you choose your own “top” or priority stories. Facebook is free so I’m willing to see sponsored nonsense but, again, that’s not what I’m talking about.

Somebody had to create an extension [for oodles of browsers] called FBPurity that, among other things, overrides Facebook when Facebook tries to override the fact that you changed your newsfeed sorting to “Most Recent” (a setting that only lasts about a day). IMHO, that makes Facebook look bad.

Apparently, as I’m now looking at, the extension also, “lets you remove the annoying and irrelevant stories from your newsfeed such as game and application spam, ads and sponsored stories. It can also hide the boxes you don’t want to see on each side of the newsfeed.”

Those features of the extension don’t make Facebook look bad — nothing relevant to revenue implies poor quality.

FBpurity looks to be beloved and reputable but if, like me, you’re still skeptical about all such things, there’s also this great tip I found. When you bookmark Facebook, use this URL:

Sean Nicholson‘s article explains the “sk” is the “Most Recent” parameter.

Ben Patterson‘s article explains it a little better, saying “chr” stands for “chronological.