Backpack Shuffle: 25 random public pages 04 May 2005

30 comments Latest by happyracks

We just put up the Backpack Shuffle page where we pick 25 random Backpack pages people have made public. It’s a great way to discover new uses for Backpack.

Some cool ones I just discovered: Apartment hunting, comparing guitars, the world of custom consumer offerings, organizing the wedding, redesigning a room, sharing course notes, organizing a trip to a wine festival, comparing hard drives, organzing the move, who knows what in Japanese (but it looks very cool), and plenty more.

30 comments so far (Jump to latest)

Bryan W 04 May 05

Some things to do with public pages.
an index
make them searchable

A friend 04 May 05

I’ve already found 4 pages with sensitive usernames/passwords that are public.

I don’t know if people thought that “make public” meant “make public to people who don’t know the URL”.

Callum Mcleod 04 May 05

I believe that it is not Japanese actually, but Chinese.

Great post though, gives me an idea of how Backpack should be used.

Keith 04 May 05

Ah, nice use of Google Adsense there. You’ll have a frequently updated stable of unique content pages with targeted ads on them. Not sure if that was the intent, but it’s clever! ;)

JF 04 May 05

I don�t know if people thought that �make public� meant �make public to people who don�t know the URL�.

We’ve added more language and alerts to make sure this is extra clear.

David Grant 04 May 05

I love those apartments in “Apartment Hunting” - cheap too.

Thomas Baekdal 04 May 05

JF: I think you are getting into quite a privacy trouble. The reason being there is a distinct difference between something made public by a Backpack owner and what you have done now.

To give you an example: I use Browsercam to test our web projects. In some cases I choose to make the results public, so that it can be visible to my clients and partners. But that does not mean I want my other clients and partners to see this. In fact in most cases it would be rather catastrophic if they did.

It is the same with Backpack. It should you not be you (Backpack) who controls who can see public pages - it should be the owner of that particular Backpack page. You have taken control, supervision and ownership away from the owner.

After all, most note taking/information gathering is a private thing, that you only share with small group of people. You are okay with telling your friends and family about your personal plans - but your would in many cases not want to expose yourself to strangers. Not because it is particular secret, but because you (the owner) wants to control access to his or her personal information.

I can only recommend either to stop using “shuffle”, or make two levels of public pages - one that the owner is in control of and another that is fully public.

JF 04 May 05

Thomas, we note in various places that these pages are public and can be seen by anyone (that is why they are called public). We even added a note right in the sharing section that says that public pages can be listed on the shuffle page. Further, we also added this language to the help page. We’re being clear.

Finally we actually offer three levels of privacy: 1. Private (only you can see the pages), 2. Private Share (only you and people you specify can see), and 3. Public (anyone can see).

Thomas Baekdal 04 May 05

BTW: Backpack does offer “let certain people see…”, but since it requires seperate accounts (for the other people) it is not usable for one-time communiations.

Anonymous Coward 04 May 05

JF: Just a note, what is the usefulness of Shuffle? From owners point of view?

I can see the usefulness from 37signals point of view, since it is a convienient way to market your product. But the owner only gets uncontrolled sharing of information.

Do not get me wrong, I think Backpack is a promising new product - and you guys really do some amazing things (same goes for your other products). In many cases you are very innovative in the way you do things.

Thomas Baekdal 04 May 05

Ahh… forget to add my name - the anonymous person above is me. (sorry)

Me 04 May 05

I tend to agree with Thomas, just because I make a URL public doesn’t mean it should be published. There’s a difference. I think rather than “public” a “share with world” would be a better label.

JF 04 May 05

But the owner only gets uncontrolled sharing of information.

The owner has all the control. They can make their pages only viewable to them, only viewable to them and a few people, or viewable to anyone. Every page starts out as private. Then it’s up to them.

Scorched 04 May 05

I’m a bit nervous about the use of the wildcard domain names. Typically, to gain access to a remote resource without permission, a user would have to guess both the username and password. Google is already revealing lists of backpackit subdomains, with more to come in the very near future. A hacker now has access to lists of usernames, and only needs to guess passwords. With the addition of public pages, hackers have base material to guess from. Without captcha support, enforced strong passwords, or password attempt limits, it’s trivial to gain access to accounts. I would recommend to everyone to limit their use of backpackit to material that is not sensitive in any way.

David Heinemeier Hansson 04 May 05

Thanks for your concern, Scorched. But this is really no different than gmail or hotmail logins. People are happily throwing those addresses around every where and they serve as the user name for logging into these systems.

So I think the recommendation should probably rather be for “picking better passwords” than alarm against sensitive data. Of course, you should always treat sensitive data in a prudent manner. Whether you’re sending an email through gmail or storing it on a private Backpack page.

Elizabeth 04 May 05

I’m sorry, but the little parenthetical may be viewable here with the here being a link to the shuffle page is hardly clear. I thought you were supposed to be usability experts!?!? I challenge you to survey a random sample of your customers who made one or more pages public to see if they understood the full implications of this.

On a more global note, the word public has multiple common meanings in webspace. It can mean that it’s indexed, searchable, and likely to be viewed by random strangers. Or it can mean that it will be viewed only by those who happen to know its URL, which in all likelihood will only be people to whom you provide the URL. You’re conflating the two, and you’re doing so for marketing purposes! As Anonymous pointed out, the shuffle feature helps you, but it’s difficult to see how this helps your users/customers.

Tony 04 May 05

What Internet are you using where not distributing a URL to someone keeps them from finding your site? Ever heard of something called Google, which goes around indexing web pages?

And shuffle IS helpful to users. At the very least, it’s inspiration.

Bryan W 04 May 05

it helps me by letting me find other public pages to look at.

ketsugi 07 May 05

To confirm what Callum said, that is most definitely Chinese and not Japanese.

Shazia Hashmi 10 Sep 05

I forget my passward for my email address [email protected] please mail my passward to my cusion email address [email protected]

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