Hacking Facebook: Get fans, hits, and revenge.

Thanks to a combination of a shitty platform and horrible foresight, there is a ridiculously easy way to get massive amounts of people to visit websites outside facebook.

Oh really?

No, I just like to say things like that. Yes, really. Alright, you sit down at your computer, open your browser, and start up facebook. Facebook, in turn, hurls all its updates into your lap. One, towards the top, looks like this:

Yes, you ALL have liked something like this before.

Yes, you ALL have liked something like this before.

You think, “Durr, mee two.” and, ignoring a rule about commas instead of periods within quotation marks, you click “like” without even looking at the page. SO, later on, someone else sees that you’ve liked this “page” and clicks like. It’s a ripple effect. We’ve all seen it. Thats why, in the early days of Facebook, groups like “THE SN0WBALL EFFECT! INVITE ALL UR FRIENDS!” got so popular. So, this keeps on going and going and going until this group has amassed something of a following.

And then…

Why do you people like things like this?

Why do you people like things like this?

Later, you go back and click on the link to that page. You aren’t taken to a facebook page, but instead to some obscure spam page, or a 404 error page, or some extremely shady site about Paypal and Nigerian bank accounts. “Well, damn.” you think. “Not only can I not use punctuation at the end of quotes correctly, but I also seem to have joined a fake Facebook group. How in tarnation did that happen?” Best yet, because the page doesn’t have a real PAGE, you can’t exactly “unlike” it. To unlike pages, I usually just go to them, scroll down a whole bunch, and hit “unlike.” That usually does it for me.

In order to make a page that is “like-able” on facebook, you simply need to add this neat little snippet to your webpage:

<iframe src="http://www.facebook.com/plugins/like.php?
href=THE_WEBPAGE_THIS_IS_ON&
layout=standard&show_faces=true&width=450&
action=like&colorscheme=light" scrolling="no"
frameborder="0" style="border:none; overflow:hidden;
width:450px; height:80px;"
allowTransparency="true"></iframe>
This will add a nice little “like this” field to your page, and include the number of people who like said page. Here, I made a page for you to look at. It redirects to my blog’s homepage in 15 seconds in case you forgot how to get back to it.

How to make people click.

If you clicked “like,” that’s very kind of you. You may have noticed that it says that you have become a fan of the page “HOW TO GET TONS OF FANS ON FACEBOOK” or something like that. This is so that people like you will click the link and give people like me internet reputation, albeit in a less-than-honest way. To get it to look like your facebook group is something retardedly popular, just add these two META tags to your page between your page’s HEAD tags, like this:

<head>
<meta property="og:title" content="HOW TO GET TONS OF FANS ON FACEBOOK!"/>
<meta property="og:site_name" content="HOW TO GET TONS OF FANS ON FACEBOOK!"/>
</head> 

What do I get to do now?

Here’s the fun part. Well, for me at least. Not so much for my fans. Apart from the fact that I can drive traffic from facebook to my website, I can also edit ANYTHING on my fake fan page, like those meta tags above. Because I can change these meta tags, I can also change the title of this group/page thing. That means, I can make a title of a really, really popular group like “JUSTIN BIEBER LIKES MEN,” or “I HATE THESE LONG FACEBOOK GROUPS,” or even “THIS WILL TOTALLY MAKE YOU SUFFOCATE TO DEATH NO LIE DON’T JOIN,” and then, when people least expect it, change it to something obscenely racist, stereotypical, or opinionated, like “GINGERS HAVE NO SOULS,” “THE PITTSBURGH PIRATES ARE FRICKIN’ SWEET, DESPITE THEIR BILLION YEAR LOSING STREAK” or “MACS CAN GO SUCK EGGS.” In this way, it’s almost like I’m commanding the opinions of thousands without really even trying. Hey, maybe I should sell ad-space once I get a group large enough, right?

Total credit goes to Simplaza.net for getting me interested in this exploit, and for explaining how it works. Check out his fake page here.

UPDATE!

This is probably more obvious than anything else, as it’s whole idea is to be obvious (huh?). Another simple exploit has been circulating around, and it doesn’t take a moron to figure it out. If you want to draw tons of attention to yourself, be obnoxious, and get a lot of other obnoxious fans, you can make the title of your facebook page something REALLY REALLY LONG. A popular one is “PI = [24000 digits of pi]. I mean, I’d hope facebook would be prudent enough to patch this (something like changing “REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY LONG” to “REALLY REALLY… [more]” would do nicely) sooner rather than later. Then again, facebook is rather pre-occupied with making all of its users vomit all of their photos out into the public by accident, so I’m skeptical. ” Some guy named PyroHawk seems to be pioneering this new and improved version of obnoxious-ness, with ten – count em, TEN – spam facebook pages. View them all here.

Flash for iPhone… sort of!

Flash, ON an iPhone. How great is that?

The BIGGEST thing I’ve heard from everyone is the need for flash for the iPhone or iPod Touch (or iPad, for that matter). Adobe has argued that their mobile flash package is lightweight enough, but Apple keeps yelling about how incomplete it is. It’s a very frustrating dilemma, and Flash keeps getting farther and farther away.

But wait! A somewhat-shoddy fix has been implemented! An app, recently (May 6th) added to the appstore, promises flash- and java-enabled browsing on any i-Device! Yay! The screenshots look great, and the reviews are fairly good.

How does it work?

It doesn’t exactly install any sort of distribution of Flash on your iPod, sadly. Rather, it connects you to a private server cluster, each running a distribution of Firefox  running on lightweight linux servers. The servers act something like virtual hosts, and the app like a VNC client. All the app does is allow you to remote view/control the firefox browser. Apparently, the speed isn’t bad; one comment says that it’s even possible to play Runescape on the app. It’s a server-powered browser on your iPod; it’s going to be FASTER. Some comments on the app noted that the pages load faster than in mobile safari. Nice, right? Plus, the app is FREE (as of right now).

So, what’s the bad stuff?

Because every browser is run on a server, the loads can get heavy at times. The app will drop your connection if the server you’re connected to becomes too crowded. The app is bound to become at least moderately popular, so the speeds will start to decrease, unless the company buys more servers/server space. There was something about the app replacing “@” with “2,” but restarting the app and/or your iPhone/iPod Touch should fix that.

Additionally, the fact that you’re browsing on a remote server means that what you are browsing can be viewed by whomever administers those servers. While it might be being too overprotective, I wouldn’t recommend doing anything involving sensitive passwords or data. For example, don’t EVER do your banking on this app. It’s not worth the risk.

Overall?

Regardless, there aren’t many flash-intensive sites that deal with private information, so I still recommend this app. Until some sort of flash port comes out, this is a very good alternative. Plus, the speed and power of the app is great; you’re browsing on an actual computer, from your iPod!

Is Classical music dying?

A friend of mine, Geoff King, wrote this article and published it on Facebook. It’s worth spreading, so send it to friends, family members, or other classical music fans. Just give it a quick read; you won’t regret it.

Music critic Normal Lebrecht wrote a book a few years ago called The Life and Death of Classical Music, in which he claimed that the classical music industry is dead. Personally, I disagree somewhat, after all it is obviously making a comeback with mp3 downloads and the rise of more “accessable” composers like Jennifer Higdon. (Her Violin Concerto just won the Pulitzer for Music. She writes nice stuff. Check it out.) But Lebrecht has a point. Take, for example, Deutsche Grammophon, possibly the most respected classical music label. Their releases for this month include an album of Baroque arias (mostly by Handel, Vivaldi, and Scarlatti, and therefore likely recorded before), a collection of Chopin and two collections of Schumann ‘masterworks’ (How many times have the Chopin preludes been recorded? On DG alone, 18.) a DVD of Hansel and Gretel (4th time), an Anna Netrebko recital of Rimsky-Korsakov and Rachmaninov songs, and in the only touch of originality, an album of Bach played on accordion. No wonder the industry is dying! Do they really expect us to continue to buy recordings of works which we already own?

Lebrecht, despite his gloomy outlook, praises the Naxos label for its attempts to reinvigorate the industry. A quick poke around its website reveals why. Deutsche Gramophone’s catalog contains the work of 195 composers. Naxos: 4,656. It’s not just the price of their CDs (a sweet $6 for most single disks) that attracts people, but also the fact that their catalog is almost 24 times as broad as DG’s.

So why do we, as classical music fans, tolerate this? Everyone acknowledges that the Beatles are one of the best bands of all time, and yet Universal Pop doesn’t put out a new cover of “When I’m 64” every other month. The problem, I believe, comes from all sides: from composers, from audiences, and of course from the labels themselves.

The first source is one close to my heart; as an aspiring composer, it pains me to see people turn away from contemporary music because they just don’t “get it.” Contemporary classical music (even the name is a bit of an oxymoron) has a bad reputation of being incomprehensible, and the burden lies with us as composers to make it accessible to the public. Art is ultimately a populist good, so there is no point to art if there is no public understanding on some level.

Audiences also deserve some of the blame. Year in year out, orchestras perform the same symphonies, concerti, suites, and overtures, not because they are not interested in other music but because audiences demand it. True, there is no experience quite like Beethoven’s 9th, but there are other experiences out there. Naturally, since audiences for classical music are primarily upper class white seniors, they will demand the standards. But as the ones responsible for programming, orchestras also need to show more of an interest in new music. People will generally accept what they are given, especially from a source they trust.

The labels face the same problems as the orchestras, only compounded. Performances are over as soon as the applause starts. Recordings last forever. I have on my shelf the 1965 Karajan recordings of the Beethoven symphonies. Will I ever buy another set? Probably not. But yet for some reason that simple fact has not stopped DG from releasing 31 other recordings.

The solution then will come from all sides. I call on composers to make their music accessible, not simple or arcane. I call on performers and audiences to embrace it. And I call on record labels to promote it. So to my musician friends: this will require participation from all sides. Classical music is one of the highest, most universal forms of expression we have, and to let it fall by the wayside would be doing society a huge disservice. We have the power to change the course of classical music for the better, so let’s prove Mr. Lebrecht wrong.

Naxos Record Label

I get by with a little help from my friends…

So I thought I’ll give a quick shout-out to one of them. My friend, Jon, has started putting recordings of himself playing piano, guitar and singing up on YouTube and, I have to say, they’re pretty good. He taught himself everything, and he plays by ear, which is harder and harder to find these days. Everyone, check him out, give him a quick “Like” on his YouTube videos, or subscribe to his channel.

Here’s his cover of Coldplay’s “Yellow.”

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ciF-YyAVk70

Check his youtube page out.

New Muse Song – Neutron Star Collision

That's right, this is... for Twilight?

That's right, this is... for Twilight?

*sigh* I haven’t blogged in ages, thanks to SAT’s, AP Tests, and pre-college stress. It really gets to you. 10 years from now, I’ll look back at this and laugh, but right now it doesn’t seem so funny. On that note, if anyone is taking AP US History next year, I have a nice Google Doc with a compilation of all the “important” terms that you should know for the AP test. According to the Princeton review “If you know even half of the terms, you’re well on your way to a five. More than that, and you might as well teach the course.” Here it is, at any rate. It’s incomplete, so I’ll open it up to editing some time next year.

Anyways, Muse.

Right, I digress. Muse has announced that they will be releasing a new single, entitled “Neutron Star Collision (Love Is Forever)” on the seventeenth of this month. Exciting, isn’t it? It was written and recorded earlier this year (cool) and was chosen to be the lead single for the new Twilight movie, Eclipse (DAMN IT). I see Muse, like my other favorites, Mutemath, Radiohead, and Iron and Wine, is becoming “Twilight Property.” Regardless, I’m not about to judge a song by it’s movie, so I’m still excited for the song’s release.

Singles Only?

On a similar note, Muse has always hinted that they like the album format less and less. They announced in ’08 that they’d ditch the concept of an “album” completely, and then went and released the album, “The Resistance.” Maybe this is finally the beginning of a long line of singles from the band. Radiohead made a similar claim, and seem to be following through with it. I like the idea of an “album,” only because albums fit on vinyls much better (for obvious reasons) and they provide a nice flow of music. Even still, I’m up for new ideas.

In the mean time, here’s a nice spread of anti-Twilight paraphernalia, propaganda, and groups to satisfy you for a while.