Where to find Facebook Etiquette Tips

by Shane Perris on Wednesday, 23 January, 2008

in how-to

etiquetteI am happy to concede that I was slow to jump on the Facebook bandwagon. After all, there is only so much adopting that one can do in a fast paced, 2.0 "must be the first, oh please, I just have to be the first" fashion and Facebook was over that threshold. However, once I signed up, I found myself bewildered as I had no context for the rules of engagement. I needed an etiquette guide and I maintain that social networks like Facebook are failing their new users when they don’t at least point to a user-generated guide.

The first attempt was Save Face on Facebook on Wired’s How To Wiki. I was relieved that t he community had filled the gaping void and provided meaning to the bewildering array of behaviours I was witnessing.  It had a common sense list of actions (well, all except the one about not writing on your own wall, that is. Why is that? The whole Wall-to-Wall thing seems counter-intuitive to me and I think that’s one for the Facebook usability gurus to work on). Yet, the guide has let me down. The more astute will notice that this How To entry hasn’t been updated since October 2007.

And then I discovered Practising a Proper Social Demeanour: A Guide To Facebook Etiquette , a creation of research student Maz HardyProper Facebook Etiquette deals with the big questions such as:

If you’re looking for sensible guidance in the Brave New (2.0) World, you could do worse than stopping by Proper Facebook Etiquette.  It might save your precious reputation one day.

Photo credit: numberstumper


Opening ODT and DOCX – are they human readable?

by Shane Perris on Friday, 18 January, 2008

in how-to,tutorials

One of the supposed benefits of XML is that documents produced in this format are able to be opened as a text file and read by normal people, allowing the content to be recovered, even if the formatting was unavailable Tired of wondering just how human readable either format was, I decided to take a look for myself.

I created a simple document in both Open Office as .odt (Open Document Text) and in MS Office 2007 as .docx that had a heading, some paragraphs, an unordered list and an ordered list. I used the Loren Ipsum generator that can be found at Lipsum.

(click on images for larger versions)

Screenshot of an open document text file.

A screenshot of a Windows Office 2007 docx file

.odt is followed by .docx

To start off with, I opened both documents up in Wordpad to see what they looked like. Not at all human readable.

Screenshot of an odt file opened up in a text editor

Screenshot of a docx file opened up in a text editor

A quick trawl through a Google search revealed that .odt is a container format that compresses all the relevant file parts in to one file. I changed the file extension from .odt to .zip and opened it up to have a look. 

Screenshot of an odt file opened up as a zip file

Screenshot of the xml of an odt f



What worked for one format might work for the other. I took a punt, changed the file extension from .docx to .zip, held my breath, crossed my fingers, closed my eyes and double-clicked…


Screenshot of a docx file opened up as a zip file

Screenshot of the xml in a docx file


…and discovered that in .docx, the goodies are there, albeit buried a little deeper.

Both .odt and .docx are human readable, after a fashion. If for some reason in the distant (or not-so-distant) future either format is unreadable in its container form, with some effort the data could be extracted. It may even be possible to extract large parts of the formatting, but that’s beyond my ability to assess.

In my assessment, .odt comes out ahead slightly in the human readable stakes: it isn’t buried quite so deep and comes with less additional XML-related formatting and overhead. As to which is the better format overall, I’ll leave that as an exercise for the reader (although I wish I could create .odt inside of Office 2007 – I do love the new Office user interface).