Reason #206 NOT to use Facebook

June 30, 2012

Did you know that Facebook creates advertising based on anything you may have “liked” or simply shared on your page, even if it isn’t anything you might approve of. An example from a recent New York Times article:

“On Valentine’s Day, Nick Bergus came across a link to an odd product on a 55-gallon barrel of … personal lubricant. He found it irresistibly funny and, as one does in this age of instant sharing, he posted the link on Facebook, adding a comment: “For Valentine’s Day. And every day. For the rest of your life.” Within days, friends of Mr. Bergus started seeing his post among the ads on Facebook pages, with his name and smiling mug shot. Facebook … had seen his post as an endorsement and transformed it into an advertisement, paid for by Amazon.”

And they don’t need to ask your permission because, apparently, you have already given it simply by joining the evil Facebook.

These “ads” are called sponsored stories and, as the NYT reports

“Facebook recently began to show sponsored stories in the site’s main news feed.  ‘Because sponsored stories are just stories from the news feed, you cannot opt out of them,’ Facebook explains.”

Eric Goldman from Santa Monica University says “Sponsored Stories creates a zero-sum game.  I as a user probably don’t get any value from the public presentation of my implicit endorsement (if anything, it might hurt my position with my friends), but Facebook and its advertisers benefit from it.”

In a recent class action suit in California (which Facebook is settling out of court) lawyers argued that “the company had been unfair and deceptive in deploying users’ names and pictures in advertising without consent. In its defense, Facebook took a press-freedom approach, saying it did not need consent because sponsored stories were actually “news,” because all Facebook users were public figures to their friends.”

What bullshit is that?

Previous reasons NOT to use Facebook


June 27, 2012

Do You Want To Be Interviewed?

June 24, 2012

I am beginning to prepare the sequel to my earlier book, “The Drive … To 1956” which will bring the history up to 1999.  If you lived or worked or played on or near Commercial Drive in those years, I’d like to interview you for the new book.

I am scheduling interviews between the end of July and the end of September. Contact me at and we’ll make arrangements.

Community Gardens at Woodland Park

June 22, 2012

Last night I was at a really interesting Grandview Heritage Group meeting and thus I was unable to attend the community meeting at the proposed community gardens in Woodland Park.  I am a big supporter of this plan and we are looking forward to getting a plot for our own growing needs next year.  Jordan, the organizer, has sent around an email discussing the proposal’s next steps.  I hope they don’t mind if I repeat the important stuff here:

“Thanks to all you who came by Woodland Park this evening for the community garden open house! It was inspiring to see such a good group of neighbours (more than 25 of us!) gathering to talk about the park and the neighbourhood, and I hope that it foreshadows the kind of community that can be built in our neighbourhood around a new community garden in the park. Most of those who came were very excited about starting a new community garden in the park. There were a few people who expressed some concerns as well, but we are confident that those concerns can be addressed through proper design.

For all those who support the community garden proposal, we ask that you please help out by sending an email to the Parks Board at pbgreen@vancouver.caexpressing your support; the deadline for public input is June 30th. Then the Board will vote on whether or not we can have a garden at Woodland Park.

Even if you’ve already voiced your support in our online survey a few months ago or by email, please write to the Parks Board – they need to hear from you directly. It’s crunch time! You can send a one-liner, just saying you’re in favour of having a community garden at Woodland Park. And even better, get your neighbours to send their support to the Parks Board as well!

Again, the email address is:

We are so close, and as long as enough of us voice our support, we can make this happen!”

I hope as many of you as possible will write to the Parks Board in support of this project by June 30th.  We need more community gardens and food resources!

Tanning Through The Clouds

June 18, 2012

Sunday was Car Free Day on the Drive, and our Grandview Heritage Group had a display table set up in the 1400-block.  It was great.  We were promised showers all day, and the morning was miserable, but we had not a spot of rain from 11am until we quite at almost 6pm.  No sun, and cloud cover throughout, but not a drop of the anticipated downpour.

I love Car Free Day.  Last week was Italian Day on the Drive. A similar affair with the streets closed, restaurants and merchants pushing their wares into the street.  It was popular when I wandered through, but the whole thing seemed so commercial, so set up.  By contrast Car Free Day is a genuine community event that just feels friendlier — and with just as many visitors, I am sure.

At the Heritage table, Michael Kluckner, Bruce Macdonald and I all had our books out for display, and we drew a steady crowd.  Along with our other colleagues, we chatted up our 100th Birthday Sign event, we shared our concerns about the future of the Florida Building and, mostly, we listened to the stories of folks who have been here for 40, 50 and even 60 years.  Wonderful stuff.

Anyway, when I got home after seven hours outside, I had a bright red face and head — the start of my summer tan!

Changes On The Drive #10

June 10, 2012

Boy, there have been a bunch of changes on the Drive in the last month or so.

Cafe Crepe at 1818 Commercial closed (it never really got the Drive vibe, I think), as did The River at 1750 and Theresa’s at 1260 (they never did reciver after that fire.)  But the space at 1260 is already being renovated for a new French-style bistro, Absinthe, which is hoping to open in July.

Vacancies now are at 2223 (the old Rental place), 1840 (the old Deja Vu place, which seems to being worked on), the new storefront next to Liberty Wines, the former DQ site at 1629, the former BLVD store at 1338 and, of course, the Latin Quarter at 1305.  Word is that the Latin Quarter is to be replaced by a “tavern.”

Other changes include Work BC at 2106 (there was another agency there previously, I think.)  And the funky old laudramat at 1910 is now called Washing Wells:

And the old Apollo Poultry store has a bright new shade with the name My Barbecue Hut emblazoned on it.

Kitchenware, next door to the Apollo, is looking sadder each day as its imminent closure approaches. But on the brighter side, the former Vigo Remittances office has been taken over by Little Earth, a consignment store for infant and children’s stuff.

And then there’s the Florida — but that will take another post.

Previous Changes on the Drive posts.

History Tour of Commercial Drive

June 10, 2012

A thanks to everyone who came out for the history walk of Commercial Drive yesterday morning.  The weather was just about perfect and we had a great time.