Tweet of the Day, :pointing: “Google Cow” edition.

Fun party trick: if you see a cow, and point at it while saying ‘Cow’ in just the right deadpan voice, people will automatically look to see the cow.  And once you’ve got them doing it, they’ll do it even when they’re in a completely ridiculous place to find a cow.  And it doesn’t matter if they know that you’re doing this to them.  An ex-girlfriend called the condition ‘bovilepsy,’ and I’ve spent half my life amusing myself with this particular game.

So… :pointing: Cow.

OK, I admit it: I expected worse of this Computerworld article on Google and Cuba.

Said Computerworld article argues that Google is not going to be able to wire up Cuba for the Internet. When I saw that, I started to huff and mutter Well, of course not it’s not going to work right. Cuba is a totalitarian Communist dictatorship.  I wonder what excuse the author will use to avoid writing that.  And then, sure enough: the author gave his ‘explanation’…

The problem is that Cuba is a totalitarian Communist dictatorship.

…Oh.  Well, don’t I look foolish, now. I’m sorry for assuming the worst.


Google finally admits that ‘Don’t Be Evil’ isn’t really a core value for them.

About time: “Alphabet, which took over as Google’s new holding company on Friday, has dropped the tech giant’s “Don’t Be Evil” mantra from its code of conduct.” I mean, there’s a limit to how many deals you can make with ruthless non-democratic and totalitarian states before people start wondering what, exactly, your definition of ‘evil’ is. Certainly Chinese and Russian dissidents might have an opinion on the subject.  They may not dare to express that opinion, but they certainly have it.

Don’t get me wrong: I still use Google myself. But let’s have no illusions about the company, shall we? And certainly no more smugness from them, either.

How Ed Snowden helped Russia get a good choke hold on its own online dissidents.

‘Inadvertently.’  How droll. How abso-[expletive deleted]-lute-ly droll.

Let me set the scene: Russia – which has comfortably settled back into the patterns of bureaucratic autocracy that has more or less been its operating methodology for a millennium – has a problem.  It’s that pesky Internet, which was created by those pesky Americans, and our pesky stubborn insistence that people have rights and needs that trumps the State’s. Worse, an American’s instinctive response to foreigners insisting the we shut up on the Internet traditionally involves a bodily function, a rope and directions on how do the former upon the latter. You can do that, when all the servers are on your soil. Sooo

For Russian President Vladimir Putin, this was intolerable. In his mind the solution was simple: force the platforms — Facebook, Google, Twitter, and Apple among them — to locate their servers on Russian soil so Russian authorities could control them.

The challenge was how to do it.

Continue reading How Ed Snowden helped Russia get a good choke hold on its own online dissidents.

Tweet of the Day, Science Will Ensure That You Only Need To Know English edition.

I think that this is a reasonable way of doing things: the rest of the planet can keep their signage, and we don’t have to worry about learning other languages. Win-win!

Mind you: as a certain engineer I know notes, all demos are faked.

Google makes Amiga emulator app for Chrome.

Sounds pretty cool.

The Amiga 500 lives again — in Google’s browser.

Google developer Christian Stefansen on Thursday resurrected a version of the venerable computer system from the 1980s in the form of a Web app that runs in Chrome. Forty-year-olds who want to relive their childhoods or younger people who want to see just how hard their elders had it can visit the Amiga 500 emulator for Chrome online, boot the machine, and play some games.

Via Steve Jackson Games.

So, my problem with the new Gmail mailbox, in a nutshell.

And it’s a doozy:

  • On the one hand, they have arbitrarily, and without my input, pre-sorted my mail for me and have now divvied my whole Inbox into personal mail, mailing list mail, and quasi-spam mail folders.
  • On the other hand, they did a really, really good job at it.
  • On the gripping hand, they completely forgot to tell me that they were doing this before they went and did it, which is probably the worst part.

So, par for the course for Google, really.