The News Feed is intended to be relatively easy to use for anyone who is used to Facebook, and of course the latter is designed to be used by everyone in the known universe ;=) There is in fact a certain association with Facebook, insofar as you can log in to the news feed using your Facebook identity. But you don't have to subscribe to this association. You can register and have a normal user ID and password.
Logging in with Facebook.
If you click the blue 'Sign in with Facebook' logo, you will be taken to a regular Facebook login page. The first time you do so, Facebook will ask you for permission to do various things. The News Feed does not keep any information resulting from these permissions. It merely allows you to do a little of what you would be able to do if you were logged into Facebook directly. Permissions to do that are not given to any other News Feed user. Even if we did, all they or we would be able to do with them would be to post information on your page purporting to come from you - you'd probably notice that, and be cross with BEV!
Logging in with a User ID and Password.
To do this you will need to register. It does not cost, and we don't want much in the way of information, to wit:
- A user ID that you choose - one word, alphas and digits.
- Your actual name.
- Your choice of password.
- Optionally, your email address (see Security below for why).
- An indication of where you are in the world. You can lie if you like, but we're just curious about who reads from where.
- An avatar image - if you don't provide one you will get an ugly anonymous avatar.
When you enter the registration information you will be logged on.
After you are registered you just click the login button and enter either your user ID or your email address, and your password.
Ii you check the 'Remember ' box before you log in, then your login will be persistent. That is you will stay logged on until you explicitly log out, or for a year. This will only work if you allow cookies in your browser.
Registration is required to improve the user experience - it's nice to have some small idea of who you are talking to. Also so that there can be some redress against spammers.
The term security can be applied to various aspects of an application. Here we discuss data security and protection of your reputation and privacy.
The data security of the Newsfeed is low, in the sense that data is not retained beyond a certain length of time determined by the administrator
- probably 30 - 90 days. Also pictures may be resized to a width of 800px. The Newsfeed is not an archive! There are plenty of places on the web to provide that service. If you want to preserve some witty post, or a message exchange - copy, paste and save!
The Newsfeed will display your name, mugshot picture and location as provided (or as provided by Facebook). Your user ID and/or email address (if you provided one) will not be displayed or otherwise published. Posts and comments that you provide will be visible to any visitor, registered or otherwise
, so don't get yourself into the same position as the British man who got into trouble for threatening to blow up an airport! However subject to the notes below, only you or the administrator will be able to modify your posts/comments.
Protection of privacy and reputation otherwise will depend on the information you provided at registration. Be aware that the database does not contain your password, but just a digest of it. It is difficult to impossible for the administrator to recover your password, so if you tend to recycle passwords, feel free.
If you register simply with a user ID and password, protection is pretty good, depending on the strength of your password. If you forget your password you will have to register again from scratch. You can use the same name, so nobody else will see much change except for those who you had message exchanges with.
If you register with an email address and a password, a user ID is optional. Protection is pretty good, depending on the strength of your password. If you forget your password, you can reset it quite securely, since the token required to do that will be sent to your registered email address.
If you register simply with a user ID and password, and select the option to allow insecure password reset, then your protection depends heavily on your user ID, and you should guard that as you would your password. Anyone who knows your user ID will be able to request a password reset and thus to hijack your registration. You will find out. Next time you try to log in it will fail and you will get a message that includes details of the last password reset - whodunnit. However, by that time the attacker will have had chance to read your private messages and to modify your posts provocatively. You can reset your password again and put your posts back as they were, but ...
Recommendation: Register with a userID (usually less to type than an email address), and provide an email address for the forgotten password eventuality.
Changing Your Password.
If you have forgotten your password, there is a page you can go to where you can initiate a password reset. You will at that point have to give your user ID and your email address. You will then receive an email with a link to a page where you can reset your password. The link is only good for about an hour, and you should request the reset from the machine where you have accessed the BEV Newsfeed in the past. If you have forgotten your user ID you will have to register again from scratch with a new user ID of your choice.
Changing Your Mugshot (Avatar).
If you are a Facebook login, we use your Facebook profile picture. You can change that in Facebook.
Otherwise if you click the picture next to the logout button at the top right of the feed you will be able to upload a new mugshot from your machine.
Posting to the Feed.
Just click the 'What's Up' box. It will be replaced by a text editor box where you can type in your post text. If you have a picture to add to your post, select it from your machine before you click 'Post' - JPEG, PNG, or GIF. You can change your mind about posting by clicking 'Cancel'.
Posting to the Feed by Email.
You can create a post via email. This is primarily intended as a means of communication from a relatively dumb mobile phone. Layout an email as follows:
Body: Whatever you want to say.
Note that there should be no spaces before of after the comma separating userid and password
Email it to firstname.lastname@example.org. The server checks for emails every 10 minutes, so the result should be fairly quick.
You can add a single image attachment (JPEG, PNG, or GIF). Please resize it before sending to something that is manageable for a computer screen. Most phones that can send multimedia messages have facilities for this.
Modifying Your Post.
When you are logged in, if you mouse over your name at the top of a post that you added, you will find that it is clickable. Click it, and the text of your post will be displayed in an edit box. You can cancel, modify the text and then apply the modification, or delete the post.
Commenting on a Post.
When your post is displayed there will be a link underneath that says 'Comment'. Click it to comment. Pressing the enter key normally will complete your comment and add it to the Post. If you want to add explicit line breaks use shift+enter.
Modifying Your Comment.
Publishing Your Post.
If you are a Facebook login, then under a new post it will say 'Comment, Publish'. Clicking 'Publish' will write the Post to your Facebook wall, so your Facebook friends will be able to see it in your newsfeed (for some reason known only to Facebook, you won't see it in your newsfeed - if you want to see it you will have to go to your wall. I think this is a Facebook bug.) You only get one shot at this - the 'Publish' link will disappear as soon as it is clicked. This is to avoid accidental multiple postings that will annoy your friends.
If you feel compelled to publish some BEV newsfeed post that you added earlier, and did not publish at the time, you will have to copy it, paste it into a new post, submit the new post, and then delete it. Sorry about that, but it is as-designed.
This publishing capability is the only interaction with Facebook that the BEV Newsfeed has other than the login mechanism.
It seems that as things are at present that this facility is pretty useless. It works, things you post appear on your wall, but you are the only one who can see them. It will probably get removed some time soon until such time as Facebook decides whether such posts are first class or second class citizens. Removing it will also mean that fewer Facebook privileges must be requested - then just location.
Clicking on a posted picture will show it at its actual size, or at a size that is a fit in the available area. Click one of
the little red close buttons above the enlarged picture to revert to the normal view.
Finding out who uses the BEV Feed
Registered users, and users who have logged on via Facebook are listed in the right column. There is much TBD there. You can go to a Facebook user's profile page just as you could if you searched for someone on Facebook. Eventually, registered users will be able to message each other. This is TBD.
Publishing Your Post.
Content that is offensive, or is blatant advertising will be removed, and the user will be blocked from posting. However, BEV's definition of offensive is quite liberal.
Messaging other users.
If you click the name of a user in the list in the right column, a dialogue will pop up that allows you to see the history of any conversation between you and that user. The upper text box shows the history, and the lower one is used to enter a new message. Click the send button to send the message you have typed there. If there are messages from the other user that you have not marked as read, you can so mark them by clicking the other button.
As and when you receive a message from another user, as you log on, or while you are browsing, a 'You have messages' alert - redolent of the old AOL days - will appear in the box where it says "What's Up". Click that alert to see the message dialogue. Mark the new messages as read, or reply, otherwise the alert will keep nagging you at intervals.
If you go to say the BEV Software page, and click on the 'Discussion' menu item there, you will also see the BEV Newsfeed, but it will have different content. If you look at the link in the browser navigation bar, you will see that it is different - it ends with '?dept=1'. The digit 1 represents the software 'department'. The main page is actually department 0, but this does not have to be present in the link explicitly. However ...../feed/?dept=0 would work fine.
If you were to log on the first time from the software page, then you would initially only appear in the user list of the that department. However, if you were subsequently to log on from the main page, the login would be accepted, and you would then also appear in the user list for the main page. You don't have to have a split personality ;=)