Who’s your friend?

Facebook have announced they’re working on allowing users to categorise their friends:

Sort out your friends.

We’ll let you organize that long list of friends into groups so you can decide more specifically who sees what.

This is great news and will allow my online presence to more closely reflect the information I give out in the Real World. Will this be the end of Facebook Stalking?! Also useful for those who get a lot of junk emails via Facebook will be the ability to combine these into a once-a-day digest.

Via TechCrunch.

Facebook > MySpace

You could see this one coming – Facebook has finally overtaken MySpace in terms of unique visitors. TechCrunch UK is surprised that Facebook is no longer the fastest growing network:

In something of a revelation however, Facebook is no longer the fastest growing social network. Instead Perfspot, the US-based site where people “share their interests”, is fast gaining traction in the UK.

TechCrunch UK is forgetting that it’s percentage growth so small sites can get much higher growth rates more easily – PerfSpot is still less than one-twentieth the size of Facebook. It’s still worth taking all these figures with a large pinch of salt but it’s interesting that the one-time unstoppable MySpace is now looking decidedly shaky.

Going Live!

GO PortalDon’t worry, this doesn’t signal the return of Gordon the Gopher, we’ve just made some changes to the GO Portal. Yesterday we flicked the first switch in launching the all new GO. We’ve moved from iChain to Access Manager as the underlying SSO system. Access Manager has lots of improvements over iChain, but to people using it, it should be faster and more stable. I’m sure the chaps in Core Services will explain more about what they’ve done!

The first thing you’ll notice when logging in is a new login box. Logging in for the first time, GO will ask you for an email address. This is used if you ever need to reset your password so it needs to be a non @edgehill.ac.uk address which you can access even when you can’t log in to GO. It’s possible to skip this if you don’t have one.

And then you’re in… to the old version of GO! Yep, no sooner have we given you a taste of the swish new login boxes and self help systems do we shift you back to the current system. Well, not quite! We’re using the next few days to test the system under a bit of load so all logins are going through the new GO before being passed on to the old site. Early results look promising – the servers didn’t bat an eyelid when we switched and seem quite happy with the volume of users.

This also gives us the opportunity to open up testing to a wider audience. Staff will see there’s a new link on the navigation bar – New Go – so if you’re feeling inquisitive click through and see what’s new – you can switch back easily during the transition.

While a lot of the features are targeted towards students, I still think it’s an improvement on the current Staff GO. We’d love to hear feedback and suggestions for additional features – we’ve had lots from our beta testers (and thank you very much!) but feel free to send in more.

YouTube PanelSome of the interesting features available include a web client version of go.talk, our Jabber-based IM system that we’ll also be pushing out to the desktop. There’s lots of ways of pulling in information from external sources such as Flickr, del.icio.us and YouTube – add the user ehunews to get get an instant TV channel of Edge Hill related news stories, or edgehilluni to get Jez’s film masterpieces!

For the students reading, don’t worry, your chance will come very soon to opt in to the new GO portal! If you’d like an early preview, leave a comment and we’ll sort you out with access.

P.S. Happy Talk Like a Pirate Day! Aaaarrrrrgggghhhh!

One Year On

Today marks me being at Edge Hill for one year, at least according to dates – if you count days of the week then Doc John’s termly address yesterday marked the anniversary (I had time to gulp down a cup of coffee before going to it last year, this year being in a different country means I missed out).

It’s been an interesting year working on projects quite different to what I’m used to and in an environment that’s pretty different too (more than three colleagues :-)). There’s lots of exciting things lined up for the year ahead – the roll out of GO later this month (our beta testers have been examining with a fine-tooth comb over the last few days), major developments on the main website and more I’m sure. We’ll have an addition to the development team in the next couple of months which will allow us to do even more than in the past! Here’s to the next year…

Work with us…

We are currently looking for a Web Applications Developer to join our team.

Full details about the post can be found on our website but I just wanted to add a few words about Web Services and where we are going.

Why join us?

At Edge Hill we’ve taken an innovative approach to Web Communications and our sites reflect this. The Hi Applicant Community website demonstrates our use of web 2.0 technologies and our commitment to opening up communication with our users and keeping informaton clear and simple.

We’re also committed to developing services based on user requirements and our Go portal (to be re-launched later this month) reflects this. Students (and staff) will control the information in their own portal based on user preferences.

Why do we want you?

Our applications team is growing. Under the leadership of the Web Applications Project Manager, Mike Nolan, the team will be re-developing our corporate website in coming months to create a much more functional and usable interface for our users. Building on from our experiences with the Hi site we want to ensure that we can serve information to the user dynamically and position our website as the best in the sector.

We are looking for a strong, creative developer to work on these projects to ensure we can meet our targets. Our projects are creative and innovative – we are quick to adapt and flexible enough to change when required – we want someone who can work with us in this fast paced environment.

Why Edge Hill?

We’re the fastest growing University in the Country. We are flexible and innovative and when it comes to the web we’re doing some really exciting stuff. We’re a growing team and we have a clear vision of where we want to be.

If this sounds interesting to you then read the job description or contact me for further information.

Alison Wildish, Head of Web Services – alison.wildish@edgehill.ac.uk

The Empire Strikes Back

Occasionally Microsoft comes out with some really interesting stuff. The Break Up, and the accompanying blog show that at least parts of Microsoft are thinking right. But while the video is fine and all that, perhaps more interesting is the fact that the blog uses WordPress.com rather than Microsoft’s own platforms, video is hosted by a third party service and the blogger writes a strange mix of independent and official.

How believable is such a site? Is it really more convincing that the official sites or are people wise to underground marketing now?

Via CentreSource.