The Perils of Caller ID / The Abomination Known as Jigsaw

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With (1) the impending arrival of my first child, (2) doing my actual real job, and (3) preparing to not be doing my real job for a week or two when item (1) actually goes into production, I haven’t been posting much in the last couple of weeks, and I don’t anticipate posting much over the next couple. Since I know you all are suffering from horrible withdrawl, I’m trying to get a few items out of my “blogfodder” files and up here for your enjoyment.

The Perils of Caller ID
My wife’s due date was this past Wednesday, but the kid appears to be quite happy where he or she is at the moment, displaying no inclination to head out into the cold, grey December weather that we’ve been enjoying here in NYC.

Due to the technological wonder that is telephone caller ID, our friends and family no longer answer our calls with the traditional “hello,” the archaic but enjoyable “ahoy-hoy,” nor yet the now familiar “what do you want?” Instead we’re greeted with with “do you have a baby yet?” or the occasional “where’s my damn grandchild, already?

I’m seriously considering contacting these guys to see whether we can get our ID changed to NO, NO BABY YET for a while.

Blogfodder Item One:
Dismember Your Business Relationships with a Jigsaw

A few days ago I dropped a del.icio.us link into the feed about Jigsaw, “an Online Business Contact Marketplace where business people buy, sell and trade business contact information.” It came back into my head when I came across this reference to Duncan Work’s Call for a Social Networking Bill of Rights.

One of the premises of this essay is that “[t]he right of each user to control access to information that they contribute is fundamental. Each individual must have control over his or her own information.” I couldn’t agree more, and what’s so fundamentally fucked up about Jigsaw’s premise is that the information being contributed to the network is not information about the user — the system explitly requires users to contribute other people’s information.

If I wanted my contact information out there for public consumption I’d join Linkedin. (Actually, I did join linkedin a while ago, to see how it worked, and just now discovered that I’m four degrees of linkage away from my boss. I have to contact him through another friend, apparently…I’ll have to revise our org charts accordingly.) The point here, though, is that Jigsaw asks you to treat your friends and colleagues as pieces of meat, to be bought and sold for your benefit rather than their own.

Kinder and gentler folk might just call this Yet Another Social Networking System that should quietly fade out of existence before long, but to me…well, I’m just disappointed that Jigsaw apparently came to the party too late to register the URL that they really wanted: www.businesspimp.com.

Update: Jigsaw Even Lamer Than Expected
So I registered for Jigsaw.

Problem one? Their confirmation emails point you to an activation page on http://www.jigsaw.com, but that domain doesn’t actually resolve. You have to manually remove the “www” in order to actually confirm your request. Nice. Quality workmanship.

Problem two? I searched for contacts in my company. There were eight results: three valid, four invalid, and one with just a name, no title attached…great. Three of the invalid ones were for people who left the company anywhere from 18 months to three years ago, and two of them actually had the person’s name completely wrong.

I find some consolation in this: while it’s an incredibly bad idea and encourages disrespectful treatment of your personal network of contacts, at least it doesn’t work very well.