Facebook can now read your mind

So, I’ve decided to come out of my unexplained month-long solitary confinement because A) It’s about bloody time, and B) I just had to share this story.

Remember that I have, on several occasions, remarked on Facebook’s sneaky monitoring of my Internet activities and then feeding me relevant ads?

And not doing a very good job of it, I might add, like when it started showing me ads for eyelash curlers immediately after I bought one online? I don’t need to look at eyelash curlers anymore after I’ve bought one. I’m not interested! Or, like, showing me loads of ads targeted at teachers when my occupation is clearly listed as blogger?


Me with curled eyelashes, courtesy of an eyelash curler.


Well, I’m thinking that Facebook must have taken my complaints to heart because it has recently improved its stalking skills, not to mention telepathic ones.

That’s right. Facebook can now read your mind.

Even when you’re not on the Internet.

And here’s the proof.

Last night, Piers and I went to Sainsbury’s to buy breakfast stuff for the weekend. When we were at the bread aisle, and Piers was busy choosing a packet of bagels to bring home, I saw a product I’d never seen before (because we normally shop online so we miss stuff that way).

It was this product:


Warburtons Sandwich Thins
Warburtons Sandwich Thins


I thought it looked very tasty so I said to Piers, “Hey, this looks really nice. I’m going to try it next time.” (We’d already agreed on bagels this weekend.)

Piers didn’t hear me because he was still too busy mulling over bagel flavours.

But someone else heard me.

Someone sneaky by the name of Facebook.


Because, this morning, when I went online and logged into Facebook, I was immediately greeted by this ad:


Facebook ad


In case you can’t read the small print, it says, “You like our Sandwich Thins, now like us on Facebook too!”

You like our Sandwich Thins…




Last night was the first time I knew of the existence of these Sandwich Thins and I didn’t mention it to anyone apart from a selectively deaf husband, who was entirely focused on bagelry at that time, nor did I come home and google it or anything like that. The fact is that I forgot all about it the moment we left the bread aisle.

No one should know that I was showing any interest at all at Warburtons Sandwich Thins, okay, you hear me, Facebook?! Not a soul!

So there is only one thing left to do now.

We must all start wearing tin foil hats. And stat!


Britney Speares in a tin foil hat
Man, some people just look good in everything! Pfft.

Don’t believe everything Facebook tells you

Piers pointed out to me today something funny that he saw on his Facebook feed.

There were my status updates where I was stressing about my essay, groaning about not having much time left to finish it. And then, on the same page, it also showed that I had been watching Prison Break on Netflix.




Now, this is a complete lie because, while I was toiling away at my essay, Piers was the one who was watching Prison Break on my Netflix account. Because my Netflix is linked to my Facebook, it auto-updated.

Stupid Facebook.

But it’s all good. I enjoy linking all my apps to Facebook so that everyone knows whenever I watch a movie, listen to a song, play a game or toast some bread.

Today, we live in the happy delusion that people actually care about every breath we take and every fart we make. If it keeps us happy and raises our self-esteem, why not, huh?

Indeed, why not.

But just remember not to believe everything you see in Facebook because someone could pretend to have watched an intellectual film just to appear intellectual, or another person could use someone else’s Netflix account to watch Prison Break while said someone else is supposed to be working hard on an essay.

But, still, all is good. I have scanned through Netflix quickly and not found any overly embarrassing films or TV programmes in there so Piers is welcome to knock himself out watching all the shows he possibly can because Netflix is like a TV buffet.

Anyway, the worst of my chicken pox is over now. I don’t even want to talk about it because it is the worst singular experience I’ve had in my life.

I am now trying my darnedest to catch up with my school work because I had to miss an entire week of classes, during which I was sick and miserable at home, at times fantasizing about rushing outside in the middle of the night to provoke random drunk students so that they would be inspired to stab me dead.

In the meantime, I have been honing my drawing skills on the new social game, Draw Something, which you can play on Apple and Android devices, and which you should because it’s fun. Download it and add me via Facebook or e-mail so we can play together and I can traumatise you with my crappy drawings.

Can’t stay to chat now. I have just finished writing a 5,000-word essay but I have one more to write, the contents of which were taught when I was absent from school.


Have a good March and be as mad as a March hare!

Facebook the tattertale

I got told off this morning.

All because Edgeworld, a game I’m playing on Facebook, sneakily told all my friends that I’m playing it.

A lot of Facebook games do that, in fact. You can’t even log in to Facebook these days without everyone immediately knowing that you’re at the moment skiving off instead of working/studying/blogging.

So, this was what happened.

I totally didn’t know an update was posted when I logged into the game, and then suddenly I got a notification that someone had commented on my activity.




To further illustrate my point about Facebook games being sneaky tattertales, there was this one morning when I woke up and went about my daily routine, which was:

  1. Turn on computer.
  2. Turn on MSN and say hi to Piers.
  3. Open all my current Facebook games to use up stored energry/collect daily credits etc. Then, if I have time, play for a bit.

((I know it looks like a very sad routine but looks are deceiving so let’s leave the judging for another time because today’s topic is not to discuss my Internet/gaming addiction (although the word I prefer is passion)).

So in the midst of doing my routine this one morning, an MSN message suddenly flashed on my screen:


“You logged in to Edgeworld before saying hi to me!”


Now, before you get the wrong idea about Piers, he was just teasing me and not being stalkerish. It’s impossible to develop an impulse to stalk a girlfriend who wants to stay home all day and play games. I would say I’m quite safe from having a stalkerish boyfriend.

To clarify the situation, I did in fact turn on MSN before I opened my games, but it’s just that Chrome loaded my games a lot faster than MSN signed in, so it would have appeared to stalkers, should I actually have any, that I prioritised games over going on MSN.

This incident brought home the point that Facebook is quite dangerous so we should never add our bosses, teachers, parents, elders and people we don’t like on it.

Who knows what other kinds of things, in the future, Facebook will tell about us without us knowing.


I didn't post that!


Of course, we can (and should) try to be more careful. And if we strive to be honest and reliable and diplomatic in all things, we don’t have to worry about Facebook telling on us.

Like, if you wanted to turn down a date from someone you don’t really fancy, just say no and don’t come up with stupid excuses like “I broke all my fingers so I can’t come out” and then the next thing is he sees you playing Edgeworld on Facebook.

I’m sure I’m not saying anything new here. Everyone already knows the dangers of Facebook. But then people still keep getting caught in embarrassing situations. We really can’t be too careful.

In the meantime, I’m not too worried. I can live with the odd person telling me I game too much. Not that it’s even news, duh.

And Justyn should be quite happy now so I should be able to log in to Edgeworld without further repercussions.

It is very hard to please everyone but that doesn’t mean we can’t try our best.

So, be happy and make people happy! Just don’t burp or pick your nose when Facebook is watching.

Stalking is the new socialising

I’m back! But I probably have only one reader left because everyone else must have been scared off by the scary anti-virus warnings on my blog.

(Piers is hard to scare.)

The viruses (malicious codes) are gone now. Lionel from Ripplewerkz scared them off for me. Yay.

On the bright side, no readers means I don’t have to watch my words and can be rude if I want to. However, I’m not in the mood to be rude today, so I think I shall do a bit of updating, instead.

Shall be rude another day.




Studying in UK

I’ve finally completed all the paperwork and legwork. All that’s left now is to wait for my student visa to be approved and then for the school term to start (Jan 9, 2012).

My IELTS results startled me. I had expected to only borderline pass because it was such a tedious and tough exam. But I miraculously got an overall 8.5 (top score is 9).


IELTS results


For school, I have been given a reading list and tasked to read the first book before the course starts.

It’s rather old, the book, first published in 1948, so maybe some things have become either outdated or common knowledge. But I still find in it a wealth of information that’s intriguing and thought-provoking.

Can’t wait for the course to start.


Book list





When I quit Restaurant City and Cafe World (about two years ago, if memory serves), I swore I’d never play another Facebook game again because they’re too freaking addictive despite being exceptionally silly.

I was true to my word for two years.

I don’t know what happened, really.

I started spending more time in Facebook recently because I liked the latest layout with all the interesting additions such as scrolling real-time friend updates.


Facebook profiel


It took just one curious click on a Facebook game advert to suck me in before my brain remembered that I wasn’t supposed to click on ads.

But then I discovered that Facebook games have gone through marked improvements since two years ago; they are marginally less silly now.

I still hate how some games force you to beg your friends for in-game gifts. I had to make Piers play this cutesy game in order to gift me game items since he’s the only person I don’t mind begging from.


Facebook profile


But he was understandably horrified about Facebook putting words in his mouth (see above picture) and promptly deleted the app.

I started many new games in the last few weeks and also quit many. Even if fun and cute, I refuse to play games that make you beg for stuff. You could pay for them but they cost too much for the paltry purpose they serve.


My current active Facebook games list:

Family Feud
Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader?
Bingo Blitz
CSI: Crime City
1 vs 100
Games (has about 100 games in it)


By the way, feel free to stalk me on Facebook.

Stalking is the new socialising.





People in Facebook would have been able to see me jumping from game to game like a true gaming addict every day in the last few weeks.

I can’t hide. When I load up a game, my 1381 friends know that I’m awake and playing a game instead of doing something more useful with my life.

Piers noticed once that I was playing CSI: Crime City despite having said good night to him an hour earlier. It was a bit hard to explain to him why I felt compelled to solve crimes in the middle of a sleep.

On the flip side, I also know what my friends are up to every minute I’m in Facebook.

Supposedly, that is a scary thing. But it must also be cool. Times have changed, right? Stalking is not the exclusive domain of crazy stalkers anymore.

These days, people are willing to be stalked, which increases the demand for stalkers, a position easily filled because social networking has made it fun and easy.

Don’t try to stalk bulls, though. They don’t like it.




Piers and I encountered this bull in Guernsey (a little island in the English Channel) while driving around. It was standing alone just a few feet from the road, so I stuck my camera in its face and started snapping away.

It stood upright and bellowed at me angrily.





Other than Facebook games, I haven’t been gaming much. My iPad is only used for reading now but I expect to get tired of Facebook games eventually and go back to my iPad.

I recently tried a pretty cool game recommended by Swordplay. It’s a small independent game in alpha stage that’s a bit like Little Big Planet, called Way.

In this two-player game, you travel through a world, trying to get past obstacles with the help of a second player who is very likely a stranger from another part of the world. You’re not allowed to text or talk to each other, but you can communicate by manipulating your avatar’s facial expressions and arms. In this way, you try to work with each other to complete the stages.

It’s really tough and frustrating but also rewarding as you conquer each obstacle. But Piers and I cheated a bit; we were on webcam when we played it together.

We made this picture in the end:




You can “write” to each other in the game after you complete it.




Jet lag

It is so very hard to adjust my body clock every time I come back to Singapore. For two weeks, I was sleeping at 9 am and waking up at 5 pm.

I tried making myself really exhausted by waking up early even after only sleeping three hours. I’d then go to bed around 2 am, hoping to wake up at 10 am, a goodly hour.

But then, I would wake up after only two or three hours of sleep and not be able to go back to sleep.

I tried doing that for three days, managing only to sleep about three hours a day. I finally collapsed from exhaustion one afternoon and slept all the way through to 9 pm, which completely undid my heroic effort.

Give up.




And now it’s time to eat.

My appetite has been largely dead due to jet lag. But I only have one month left to enjoy Singaporean cuisine. What am I going to do?

Facebook brings out the stupid in people

I was a late adopter of Facebook, purposely resisting it because it was overhyped and I hated when that happened.

I only signed up way after everyone I knew had a Facebook account, and that was after I happened to sit in on an advisory panel on blogs and social networking.

Because I couldn’t contribute much on the topic of Facebook, I realised that limiting one’s knowledge and horizons just for the sake of showing people that you’re not one to follow trends and buy into hype is just stupid and prideful.


Sheylara's Facebook


So I signed up, maybe to my detriment because when Facebook games became more sophisticated, I got addicted and was playing them almost full-time, neglecting everything else.

I am glad to report that I went cold turkey earlier this year and never looked back at all.

Which has freed up a lot of time for me to spend on iPad games, instead.

Actually, iPad games are a more productive use of time, in my case anyway, because I enjoy playing puzzle and strategy games on the iPad and, so, I’m actually working my brain.

Facebook games (such as Restaurant City and Cafe World) do tax my brain cells a bit because I start making charts on the most efficient and profit-maximising ways to do things. But that’s really child’s play. Once you’ve got a formula, you just apply it and continue churning out the goods in a robotic manner.

Which is practically useless.

But I can’t say that Facebook has been a total waste of time for me. I did enjoy the games very much and I continue to enjoy reading my friends’ updates and posting my own and reading comments on them.


Sheylara's Facebook


So, what’s the big deal about Facebook?

We answer this question in Star Blog this week!

Read my piece: Facebook is for showing off or being a voyeur

On a related note, also read this illuminating rant on Facebook’s Super Wall and FunWall which I wrote three years ago.

It will illuminate to you how Facebook makes people stupid.

Or maybe I should more accurately say: How Facebook brings out the stupid in people.