Posts filed under social networks

How to update metadata of a link in Facebook postings

It sometimes happens, that you want to post something in Facebook with a URL in it and Facebook automatically fetches a preview-pic and some data. When this information is stale (or you suddenly want to update it), there is a cool way to force Facebook to refresh its cache:

As you can see, it shows exactly what was fetched, when and also offers a "Fetch new scrape information" - sweet!



Posted on August 13, 2015 and filed under development, productivity, social networks.

I am giving away most of my IT books - the hand-over

During the last two weeks I was having a cold - two times :) This brought some delay to my "I am giving away most of my IT books". But finally I start to organise the meet-ups where I will hand over the books!

So if you have entered your name/email to one or more of the books, expect an email in your inbox :) 

Thanks again for taking part and showing interest so the books can get a new home. I am looking forward to the hand-overs!

Posted on November 28, 2014 and filed under development, productivity, social networks.

I am giving away most of my IT books

In the last years, I have gathered quite some books on various IT/development topics. And since my space in my workroom is limited, I give away for free most of my IT books - I keep some classics though ;)


You can find the list of books and how it works here (described in german):


Check them out and save your's!


PS: the reason?

  • I need more space!
  • I switched from learning more online/with PDFs
  • I use only general overview books and for specialised knowledge i rely on google, pluralsight etc
  • I switched to buy more photography coffee-table books ;)
Posted on October 20, 2014 and filed under development, productivity, social networks.

LinkedIn fake profiles more advanced now

Recently, an unusual high number of fake profiles at LinkedIn contacted me and asked me to add them to my LinkedIn network.


The classic tips for identifying a fake profile (e.g. stated here) are not really valid anymore. They got more sophisticated ;) Thats how such a request looks like:

Quite often

  • the name looked realistic (no lower-case names, no dots in front of the last name)
  • only a handful of groups were joined
  • they have a significant amount of connections (e.g. when I first checked, it was around 80, five minutes later the profile had 110 connections) and some of your colleagues are in the list ...
  • the location was Austria (not suspicious)


Whats still suspicious:

  • there is no information about the professional history of the person
  • no or a stock photo as profile image
  • its almost always a senior management position which makes you feel flattered
  • just the generic "Hi Michael, I'd like to connect with you on LinkedIn." message


What I do about it

  • check back with your network
    Often, you have shared connections. Use them and ask about the profile - if its a real contact, how they know each other etc. If you get back "I don't know this contact and he/she never contacted me", you probably know enough. 
  • reject
    I mostly reject contact requests of profiles that does not include a real request or question they have. "Human" requests almost always include a topic they want to discuss with me - and thats for now the only distinguishing property. "Aim for a small(er) but high(er) quality network" as a friend of mine said.
  • report or block
    if you are sure about a fake profile, you can block or report it to LinkedIn:

So, everybody out there who wants to contact me via LinkedIn: include your intention or you probably will get rejected ;)


Whats your experience with LinkedIn and faked profiles? I would like to hear from you!

Posted on September 19, 2014 and filed under social networks.

LinkedIn Endorsements - 6 problems and how i deal with them

If you have a LinkedIn account, i am sure you stumbled upon their relatively new feature "Endorsements". The main idea behind this is a quite good one: you get recognised for your skills. In reality you probably do the same: you try to get opinions from your network about some person to judge the skills of this person.


Endorsements - why they suck

Despite the good core idea the design of the feature at LinkedIn leads to a couple of severe problems: 


1. Skills are pushed up by the LinkedIn algorithm

If you start getting endorsements, the algorithm of LinkedIn shows the skills you got already first. This leads to the fact that - if a couple of people started giving you endorsements for topics you don't like to have on top of the list or that are just plain wrong, you cant do anything about it. You don't have a chance to change the endorsements or not show them. 

See my example: i do know alot of SCRUM and have worked with it for many years, but i would not state it as my Top-1 skill. You can visit my LinkedIn profile to see my full spammy list of skills. 


Screen Shot 2013-08-14 at 9.39.33 AM.png

2. Everybody can give endorsements

In reality you would only ask people in your network who you trust to provide a proper judgement of the skills of a person, not EVERYBODY in your network. Together with the fact that LinkedIn suggests the skills that you are most endorsed for, people that barely know you endorse you for this skill - and bam! Another misleading endorsement...


3. My skills change over time

I happen to work in the IT industry as a Solution Architect and Software Developer. This requires that i have to learn new frameworks, languages etc almost every week. If you have some topics on your list that you've been working intensively lets say 3 years ago, you have no chance to move them down or don't show them. Since the endorsements are listed by the number in a descending order they just stick at the top... (see my example above, SCRUM is no focus right now)


4. Endorsements within a split of a second

Another feature of LinkedIn - Recommendations - can be used to give some in-depth information about the person. But since its a free text, the person that gives the recommendation has to think what he is actually recommending! If you reduce the fact, that a person owns a skill to a simple click (and even 5 skills with one click or 4 persons at once!!), you just devalue this information. Its too easy to endorse. Just as the dumb "like" button at Facebook, the +1s and so on ...


5. Endorsements are way too spammy

In the beginning i got excited about new endorsements. but if you look on my profile now, it really is too spammy. And if you hit the 100, LinkedIn just displays "99+"...  


6. Influencing (manipulating) the endorsements

Recently i saw, that a lot new endorsements came in for "Entity Framework" for my profile. I know the concepts behind it, some basic stuff, but i would not list it as one of my skills. Interestingly somebody did introduce this skill and now LinkedIn is suggesting this to my contacts. 


This also means that I probably can influence my skills by introducing new skills by myself, asking some of my friends to endorse me for that and get it up in the ranking. Though i could influence my skills-listing with this, thats not the way how i would like this to be handled... 


To my contacts at LinkedIn

Here we come to the main point of this blogpost. I am fed up with all the problems of the endorsements feature of LinkedIn.  


Please prefer to give me a recommendation, and do not endorse me anymore. Recommendations are the superior feature and i think they give a much better idea about a person and his/her skills. Just take some minutes and think, why you recommend me and write it down in a couple of sentences - just clicking one button is too cheap for this.   


If you really want to endorse me, do me a favour and endorse me for stuff, you know that i can do. Don't endorse me just because you can. Also lets have a chat before you endorse me for stuff, i don't to be endorsed for. E.g. i did a lot of XSLT in the past, but don't you dare to endorse me for that! :)  

Posted on August 14, 2013 and filed under social networks.