My Facebook Experiment

I love my friends on Facebook. I love your status updates. I love the pictures you take. The more, the better. When you post to Instagram and share it on Facebook too, that’s really cool. If you write a clever tweet, I want to see it. If you write a blog post and share a link to it on Facebook, I want to see that, too.1Actually, that’s my biggest complaint about Facebook: it doesn’t show me everything you post.

In other words, if you wrote it, created it, or photographed it — I want to see it!

Conversely, your links to news, your links to politics, your quiz results, your game invites — I’m not so interested.2I get news, politics, and religion from Twitter and some RSS feeds I read. But if you post all those things, don’t worry. I’m not asking you to change.3In return, please don’t ask me to be consistent. I won’t be.

Instead, I’m taking charge of my own Facebook news feed.4This was inspired by Mat Honan who “liked” everything he saw on Facebook for two days straight. His experiment made Facebook an ugly mess. My experiment does the opposite. YMMV. When someone shares a link to something they didn’t create,5I have a few exceptions. There are some organizations I’ve liked. I actually want to see their stuff. There are also a couple of news orgs that I haven’t (yet) hidden. Time will tell whether I hide them, too. I click the “V” at the upper right and then select the “Hide all from this website” on the drop-down that appears. I won’t see links on Facebook from that source again. Ever!6Yeah, this does appear to be irreversible. Not that I’m complaining. At some time in the future, I expect to accidentally hide a source I might want to see from in the future. At that point, I’ll get more serious about learning how to undo this. In the meantime, should I recognize my error immediately, there is a handy undo link.

I started this experiment by hiding one of Buzzfeed’s quizzes. Since then, I’ve hidden scores of viral story sites, radio stations, news organizations, sports sites, recipe sites, etc. The effect on my newsfeed has been dramatic. I see more of my friends and less “stuff.”7Sure, my friends continue to link to places I haven’t yet hidden. But it feels like there’s less of it.

And the satisfaction from hiding stuff? That just can’t be beat! :-)

Network Woes, Help Needed

See update at bottom of post.

I’m having problems directly accessing my blog from home. Here are the symptoms:

  • According to Site24x7 and, my site is up.
  • When I attempt to access my site using either Firefox 3 or Internet Explorer 6, I get a timeout error.
  • When I attempt to access my site using FileZilla, I get a timeout error.
  • Verizon claims not to have blocked access to my site, but their diagnostic tools are down until tomorrow morning. Does Verizon even block specific sites?
  • I can access other sites using FF3 or IE6.
  • I was able to access my site when I was at the PDX and SMF airports.
  • I can access my site from home if I am VPN’d into Intel’s network. Yeah, that’s how I wrote this post.
  • I verified that my host does not have IP blocking preventing my access (at least, not that I can see through cPanel.
  • I haven’t exceeded any bandwidth limits I can see. I’m not even close.
  • The issue started a couple of nights ago when I backed up my blog, downloaded it as a .tar and decided I wanted to download it uncompressed. Halfway through the FTP download, I lost access.

Being a good Windows user, I’ve rebooted my computer and my FIOS router. No luck.

Although this doesn’t seem to be a big deal because I have the VPN workaround, it’s only a partial workaround. You have to be a network firewall god to FTP through Intel’s firewall. I’m not, so I can’t continue downloading my site or upload any updates.

Help! Any ideas?

Update. Turns out my host is blocking my IP address. It said I had 538 open connections. Wow! I haven’t changed any configurations and I’ve never had any issues.

I am running the latest SVN versions of WordPress. Could that be causing the issue? I’ll try to update it once I get access again.

Update 2: Support said that I needed to decrease my simultaneous FTP sessions from 4 to 2. I’ve never had an problems before with this setting, but then again, I can’t remember attempting to download my site in the same way before.