Thursday, October 29, 2009

Facebook's Iron Curtain of "customer service"

One irritant about Facebook's management and minions is that they do a really thorough job of remaining behind an electronic Wall Of Invisibility, much like AOL always did.

Need an answer to a question about how Facebook works, or, as in my present case, whether a "change-your-login" email that I'm getting is spam or really from them? Get ready to spend lots and lots of all your free time being steered through pages and pages of other users' answers to anything that resembles your question.

Would it be too much to ask for more authentic Help Center texts written by employees who know the answers to these questions, as opposed to everybody guessing — and their guesses given approval ratings by other guessing users?

Okay, I realize it's free, and I'm sure that's their explanation. But the question here is one that would seem to potentially affect the security of the community at large, since enough "phishers" could cause us to start questioning who's behind any given face on FB, and whether they're trying to turn our computers into nodes on the hacker botnet — no small matter there.

I've been getting this message in my own email, looking every bit the routinely formatted FB type, every day for the last several:

>> SUBJ: New login system
>> Dear Facebook user,
>> In an effort to make your online experience safer and more enjoyable, Facebook will be implementing a new login system that will affect all Facebook users. These changes will offer new features and increased account security.
>> Before you are able to use the new login system, you will be required to update your account.
>> Click here to update your account online now.
>> If you have any questions, reference our New User Guide.
>> Thanks,
>> The Facebook Team

The message looks just like and is FROM the same "@" address as legit 'friending' notices and replies to threads I'm, uh, stitching with. But the link at "Click here" goes to a specific spot at a fishy address, "", and the genuine-looking "Update" button they helpfully include goes to yet another site across the Pond, "", etc. And I received no mail or message from within FB about it.

So I just spent way too much time fishing around in FB — at least I think I'm signed in to the real one, he remarked drolly — trying to find some place to read about or report this pretty sophisticated con. But it's a lot like knocking on the door and hearing a voice from inside say, "Nobody's home! Go away."

Related, here:
Posts tagged "Great Customer Service"

Friday, October 09, 2009

Sustainable New(s) York, October 2009

This week, a range of good news on New York State projects and initiatives for renewable energy:

$10 Million Stimulus For NY State Solar Projects
New York's Governor Paterson announced that $10 million in federal stimulus funds are now available for solar energy projects. The grants will be distributed through a competitive statewide solicitation to accelerate the installation of photovoltaic systems.

Separately, this winter the New York Power Authority plans to request bids to develop 100 megawatts of solar generating capacity, increasing New York's solar generating capacity five-fold. The generators would be owned and operated by the developers, with NYPA buying electricity on behalf of customers.

“The statewide interest in developing our solar energy production is proof that New York is fertile ground for the clean energy economy," says the Governor, whose goal is to meet 45 percent of the State’s electricity needs by 2015 with more efficient and renewable energy. It's been estimated that clean energy technologies will create some 50,000 new jobs in New York.

"But That's Not All" — Green Hotels Sprouting
In a third (!) story, the state's Department of Environmental Conservation has launched a program to certify hotels and inns as "green." 43 of them are already signed up to be certified by the Audubon GreenLeaf program, which will award them one to five green leaves based on their performance in saving energy, reducing pollution and waste, and conserving water and other resources. The program joins another one to promote "green restaurants" under the New York State Green Hospitality and Tourism Partnership.

Can we say that the ball has begun to roll in earnest? We'd certainly like to think so.

"NY governor says $10M available for solar projects" — AP, 10/7/9
"New York state launches program to market green lodgings" — AP, 10/8/09
Related, here:
Posts tagged "Green tech"
Our Sustainability 'Heat' Map of the Hudson Valley