There’s now more than one way to convert your MSN Messenger contact list into FOAF.
Phil McCarthy’s msn2foaf has been around for quite a while and is
a Perl botlet which logs onto your MSN Messenger account and outputs your contact list as friend-of-a-friend RDF data, which was extended in March 2003 by Bill Kearney to hash the mailboxes.
What I hadn’t realised about MSN Messenger is that it actually allows you to save your contact list to disk as a .ctt file, which is just plain, human-readable XML. Frank Geerling has written a python script which takes this ctt file and converts it to FOAF – there’s even an easy-to-use web interface.
It works well and will hash or not hash the email addresses of your contacts as an option. The only criticism I have isn’t even Frank’s fault – the ctt file outputted by Messenger only includes your contacts’ addresses, not their nicknames. So whilst the resultant FOAF is useful for smushing purposes, it’s of little use on its own.
My girlfriend and I were talking about computers the other day; she’s got one, but she’s just a normal user, and to be honest I was slightly surprised with the conversation we were having. “If anyone tried to tell me that I really should be using Linux and Firefox, I’d tell them to fuck off.” she said. Well, that’s her opinion made pretty clear. Despite my success with converting quite a few (maybe twenty?) people over to Firefox from IE, I’ve got absolutely no chance of converting my own girlfriend. What makes it worse is that we’re using Windows XP at home, and the default browser is a system setting, not a user setting, so whenever I’m on her machine and try to follow a link in my aggregator or mail client, up comes IE. Nightmare.
So anyway, that’s why it’s interesting to read articles like this one in Slate:
You’ve probably been told to dump Internet Explorer for a Mozilla browser before, by the same propeller-head geek who wants you to delete Windows from your hard drive and install Linux. You’ve ignored him, and good for you.
I was kind of hoping that that article, along with one from the BBC would help influence her, but instead she just said “That article seems to be saying ‘Use Firefox!!!’ ‘*cough* even though it means even this site won’t work properly’”, and she’s got a fair point. How do you convince users who couldn’t give two hoots about security or extra features to move? Ah, if only I could uninstall IE…