Showing posts with label Google. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Google. Show all posts

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Top that, KITT!

Behold pure awesomeness in action.

Obviously, your average fast-food worker hasn't ever heard of this:

Tuesday, October 09, 2012


If you type "" into your web browser now, something will happen.

That's an improvement over what's been going on here -- or not going on here, actually -- for more than a week. About that, I have just two things to say:
● Never assume that pointing your Internet domain name at this website instead of that will be anything but a harrowing, drawn out, overly complicated and crazy-making experience.

● Avoid Network Solutions as a host for your website or as a registrar for your domain name.
Revolution 21's long not-so-national nightmare began as the web-hosting contract ended. Basically, I didn't want to pay significant green just for Network Solutions, may a camel pass gas in its tent, to host a website that did little other than point you to this blog, 3 Chords & the Truth and where to buy R21 swag. That and a couple of email addresses.

The plan was to leave the domain name -- -- registered at Network Solutions (pretty cheap and the contract had yet to expire) and just have the web address point right here to Revolution 21's Blog for the People. After all, the blog is where all the website action is anyway and, as you've no doubt noticed, it now has several pages for all the same destinations and explanations.

And the hosting is free on Blogger. That, my friends, is a big monetary and operational "Well, DUH!"

EXCEPT. . . .

To redirect your domain name, Google/Blogger gives you one set of instructions and Network Solutions gives you another. Blogger's won't work with Network Solutions -- indeed, the web host rejects one of the DNS addresses Blogger says you must enter -- and Network Solutions' do nothing on the Blogger front.

So you call the technical support at Network Solutions late one night -- actually, early, early one morning -- and the Guy Somewhere in Timbuktu gives you a third set of instructions that turn out to be somewhere on the bad side of bulls***.

So later that day, you send a help request in writing with a detailed summary of the problem and "27 8x10 color glossy photographs with circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one explaining what it is." They say they'll get back to you within a business day.

A business day passes. Nada.

Another half a business day passes. Nada.

You're doing a slow burn, and you do some research on the Web. And from running across many of Network Solutions' unhappy customers who became grateful ex-customers, and from seeing rave reviews of DNS hosting companies that actually can get your domain to work with Blogger, you decide to just transfer your domain to a better place. In this case, that better place is easyDNS in Toronto. Even between the devalued American dollar and the strong Canadian one, the price is what I was paying at That Whose Name I'm Done Uttering.

OF COURSE, after you've signed up with easyDNS -- which will redirect your domain name for you . . . for free -- then TWNIDU starts trying to rekindle the geek romance when you call up to inform them of the coming tech divorce. And then . . . then you hear back from tech support regarding that written help request you sent.

The service rep writes that he's sorry about the delay, and won't you please give him another chance or he won't be able to live with the shame and the loneliness and the regret, that he'll do something drastic if you don't take him back, he swears to God!

ACTUALLY, that's not exactly true. He wrote to apologize for my request being sent to the Group W bench, and to say that TWNIDU could just go ahead and reconfigure my settings and redirect the domain name for me.

For a minimum of $99.

Sorry, dude. The tech support from north of the border is fast, friendly, personal and free . . . and now everything works just fine. And we also find time to chat about beer a little.

Did you know that beer on tap is unheard of in Ontario, and you have to go to the provincial bottle shop to pick up a six-pack? Bien sûr, there are no such stabs at prohibition across the border in Quebec, for the Gallic heart (mine included) requires an unregulated sip, snort, quaff or blast every now and again.

Tonight, when I typed in "" and, lo, the blog appeared, I just may have hoisted a couple of cold ones in sudsy tribute to the good people of Canada . . . and their technology sector.

To TWNIDU, I merely say "FU."

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The algorithm made me do it

The motto of Google is a simple one: "Don't be evil."

That's why the folks there had to come up with algorithms to do the dirty work for them. That way, it's not you, exactly, who's screwing start-up companies over, it's the algorithm.

Those damned algorithms. Somebody ought to do something . . .

HEY, don't look at me, O Google algorithm! I'm just repeating what was in Silicon Prairie News:
After nearly a year of unreturned phone calls and emails from its Google AdSense account manager, it took a tell-all blog post and an appearance on the front page of Hacker News for Des Moines startup Hatchlings to get Google on the phone.

"The (Google employee) who called me made a comment on the Hacker News post," Hatchlings CEO Brad Dwyer (left) said in an interview on Monday, "and that was one of the things that really struck me about this whole ordeal."

Though Dwyer's post on April 5 encouraged people to "share, tweet, and reblog," he said he didn't expect it to blow up like it did, getting the attention of tech blogs, The Economist and notable investor Paul Graham, among others. But from his business interests – understanding why his company's AdSense account was shut down in 2011 resulting to an estimated loss of $40,000 – and his personal interests – warning others of dependence on platforms like AdSense – he hoped that would be the outcome.

However, Dwyer did not learn specifically why Hatchlings' AdSense account was disabled. During phone calls with Google employees on April 7 and April 20, Dwyer was not told what Hatchlings did that led to the disabling of its AdSense account.

"They made it very clear before I even talked to them," Dwyer said, "they told me to set expectations for the call that they really weren't going to be able to tell me anything in regard to my specific case or tell me why I got banned or tell me what happened or what we think we did."


"They weren't ready to talk about specifics, but they kind of expressed a little bit of sympathy and we had a pretty lengthy conversation," Dwyer said. "I think in talking to me they understood that we're not black hat SEO people, we're not trying to scam anybody out of money, we're just trying to figure out what happened."

Dwyer added: "They said that they're continually working on their algorithms and that my case in particular might be one – they couldn't make any promises – but it might be one in particular that they re-visit later when they have different tools to instead of just taking out, work with people to change."
IT'S JUST LIKE Google to pull a stunt like th

Thursday, April 05, 2012

The world through Google-powered glasses

If you think distracted driving is a problem now, just wait.

Above we see a promotional video for Google's new "augmented-reality" glasses. What that means in this case is your Android-based smartphone is now in a pair of glasses.

Oh, joy.

I enjoy technology. I appreciate, and daily take advantage of, its practical applications -- the ability, for one thing, to accomplish in minutes or seconds what would have taken me hours or days in 1979. And we all now take for granted the ease with which we keep up with one another, whether we be across an ocean or across the street . . . instantly and cheaply.

Remember waiting days and weeks for a letter? Or astronomical long-distance bills?

WHAT I do not appreciate, though, is a world in which everyone's brain is overloaded by non-stop information and ceaseless connectivity. I don't appreciate numbskulls barreling down the road texting on their iPhones -- or even talking on them, for that matter. I want their eyes, and their minds, focused on the road before them.

I don't appreciate an overstimulated world filled with people who no longer have the luxury of being alone with their thoughts, or of being unconnected long enough to actually form coherent thoughts.

I don't appreciate this present era of unceasing stimuli, instant overreaction and no contemplation. I likewise don't appreciate the ability technology gives us to instantly raise a lynch mob, instead of taking the time to put one together the old-fashioned way which, at least theoretically, gives the designated victim a head start.

I don't appreciate talking to someone as he thumbs through his E-mail or sends text messages to someone obviously more important than I am at that particular moment.

AND I would say that I don't appreciate not being left the hell alone from time to time . . . but that's a problem I have solved.
How? By not having a personal cell phone.

We own exactly one of the things, and the missus can have it. Needless to say, I don't think I'll be looking at the world through Google glasses, either.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

F*** Google

After a year of resistance, it's about to become futile.

I'm going to get the new, "improved" Blogger interface whether I want it or not. In fact, I'm using it now.

And I hate it.

Perhaps "hate" is too weak a word. All right, I loathe it. Despise it. 

It sucks.

some things are easier -- allegedly -- with the new interface. Adding a video, for example. But not that much easier, and you get what you get. You can't change the size that way . . . see?

You can't customize the size of your photos, either. There's small, medium, large, extra large and original size. Before -- unless you were foolish enough to try to post to your blog from the Google Chrome web browser -- you could drag a corner of a picture and make the thing as large or small as you wanted.

If you'd like to try that with the new interface, dig into the HTML code, open up your calculator program and do the math. See the "TV set on acid" above? Did the math to get it that size.

I hate math -- even the easy stuff like that. Maybe I should invent a proportion wheel marked off in pixels.

Homogenization and standardization is the way of our postmodern, corporate world, though, isn't it? You know what? I resign. I quit. I refuse to be the idiot against whom everything must be "proofed."

If you want to be a cog -- or an idiot -- go ahead. Not me. I'm about this close to going off to live in a shack in the woods.

And this blog is now officially on life support . . . not that the world would come to an end if it did. Anyway, that's what I'm thinking. Your mileage may vary.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Oodles toodle to Google doodle

In Australia, it's tomorrow, which means it's already the 122nd anniversary of Charlie Chaplin's birth, which means Google down under already has a special Google doodle up and running.

This will come to our Google tomorrow, which in the land of kangaroos and koalas will be yesterday's news.

I think.

Whatever day it is, this is the best commemorative
Google doodle ever. Ah, these Modern Times. . . .


Thursday, January 13, 2011

The trouble with translators

It started in 2006 out of necessity for American soldiers in Iraq.

They needed a microphone and a clunky laptop running a new speech-translation program to tell scared Iraqis "THIS IS A RAID! WE'LL TRY NOT TO KILL YOU!" in the middle of the Babylonian night.

Now all you need is a Google Android phone to live dangerously and
"presione 2 para español."

ONCE AGAIN, we have achieved Star Trek.

We are on the verge of the "universal translator," and it will lead nowhere good. Klingon opera, anyone -- in English?

College radio awaits.

Friday, February 12, 2010

The trouble with Google

The problem with smart people is they can be so dumb.

Take the techie wunderkinds at Google. They thought it would be a fine idea to combine Gmail with elements of Twitter and Facebook, thus giving themselves the chance to be the Masters of All Social Media.

BUT NONE of these scary-smart people thought combining the exhibitionism of Twitter and Facebook with the inherently "private" nature of electronic mail (even if it is web based like Gmail) might be a problem. And could, for some people, be a full-blown privacy nightmare from which they'd be hard-pressed to wake up.

(Note that the last link is not kid- or workplace-friendly . . . the title is "F U Google," only spelled out in all its Anglo-Saxon glory. And the post gets more bitter from there.)

Reuters explains it all here:
Google touted its 176 million Gmail users as a key advantage in its latest attempt to break into the red-hot social networking market, dominated by the likes of Facebook and Twitter. But email may turn out to be Google’s Achilles heel.

Less than four days after introducing Google Buzz, a social networking service that is built-in to Gmail, the company is already moving to address a growing privacy backlash.
At issue is the network of contacts that Buzz automatically creates for new users based on their existing email contacts, saving people the laborious chore of manually building a social graph from scratch.

The problem is that Google’s ready-made social network is composed of people’s frequent email contacts – which are not necessarily the folks you want to receive regular status updates and random musings from (e.g. your landlord).

But the bigger problem – as many blogs and online publications have pointed out in recent days – is that people’s email contacts are in inherently private and the mere fact of making them publicly accessible can be dangerous.

Who needs the National Security Agency to comb the Internet for every detail about us when Corporate America so helpfully encourages us to out ourselves? And then we're shocked, shocked when an abusive ex-husband shows up on the stoop with a shotgun. Or when an employer takes a dim view of that picture of you . . . well, prudence dictates that I not elaborate upon that one.

Thing is, it's not just Buzz in Google's quiver of poison-tipped arrows aimed right at the stuff formerly known as "None of Your Beeswax."

See the above screenshot.

If you have Google Chrome as a web browser, you might want to be extremely careful about who you let use your computer. Or about using any remote-desktop software.

You might even want to set up various user accounts on your PC, and then banish Chrome from all but your own. Then again, you just might want to uninstall the whole thing and resign yourself to surfing the web more slowly.

That's because all it takes for someone to steal every saved password you have is to open Chrome, click on the "wrench" icon on the toolbar, go to "options" and . . . voila!

AND IT WILL show them all to you, too. Or anyone else. Oops.

The trouble is you're likely to look at that and think, at first, "That's handy. I can't keep up with all the damned things. Can't remember half of them." Only later -- if ever -- do you get around to thinking that if you can look up all your passwords. . . .

Pity. I like Chrome. It really is sleek and fast.

But I like lots of things that, sooner or later, could land me in a world of hurt. The question is whether you can afford to indulge in them.

And that question, the way things are going, could be the death of Google.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Creating a negative buzz

Who in the world, upon hearing the premise of Google Buzz, ever could have thought privacy issues might come into play for all those early adopters getting their "buzz" on?

Really, what in the world could be the problem when you, in effect, combine Twitter and Facebook with your clunky old G-Mail account?

WELL, this, according to Business Insider:
There is a huge privacy flaw in Google's new Twitter/Facebook competitor, Google Buzz.

When you first go into Google Buzz, it automatically sets you up with followers and people to follow.

A Google spokesperson tells us these people are chosen based on whom the users emails and chats with most using Gmail.

That's fine.

The problem is that -- by default -- the people you follow and the people that follow you are made public to anyone who looks at your profile.

In other words, before you change any settings in Google Buzz, someone could go into your profile and see who are the people you email and chat with most.

(Freaking out already? Here's how to IMMEDIATELY stop following someone >)
YOU ARE NOW FRIENDS with that cheap barfly from the Cougar Lounge in the Bide-a-Wee Motel. Boy, you E-mail her a lot. Thirty-seven people like this.

Your wife does not.

Personally, I try to avoid "friending" loose women from local drinking establishments. That's one reason I've been married almost 27 years now.

See, there are things that I electronically share only with a specific person or persons. That is called E-mail -- it's not perfectly private, but it's about as private as you get in cyberspace.

Then there are things I care to share with friends, acquaintances, friends of friends and friends of acquaintances. That is called Facebook -- it's a great tool for finding folks, catching up and keeping up.

Finally, there's this thing I use to spew out pithy little tidbits to whomever wants to read them. I also use it to, in a matter of speaking, keep my electronic ear to the ground. That is called Twitter.

I GUESS if I were someone who just couldn't manage to keep three applications straight in my head -- and on my computer -- I'd be interested in Google Buzz. But I bet if that were the case, I'd be someone you'd figure you couldn't trust with a secret.

Monday, May 04, 2009

The virtual photog . . . yet again

See what I mean? The virtual photography possibilities are virtually endless . . . and Omaha offers a lot to photograph.

VIRTUALLY, of course. Or tangibly, if you roll "old school."

With Google's 360/180-degree photographic bubble on its "street view" function, you get to pick your own virtual "shot." Just like the "real" thing. Sort of.

Above is a shot of downtown's Gene Leahy Mall, facing westward, taken from the 10th Street bridge over the park's central lagoon.

Hey! If nothing else, just say I've discovered a great -- and creative -- time waster.

16th and Douglas: the Googledy view

Here, in the Googledy view of Omaha, we have the old refusing to be intimidated by the towering hulk of the new.

ON THE LEFT is the Brandeis building, constructed in 1906 and added to in 1921. Originally the city's largest department store -- 10 whole floors of everything you ever needed -- the building now houses condominiums and apartments.

Meanwhile, on the right, is the new kid in town -- the First National Tower, opened in 2002 and the city's tallest building at 40 stories. It's the corporate headquarters of First National Bank.

17th and Douglas . . . by Google

17th and Douglas Streets, Omaha.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

More Google art

The other day, I was doing a virtual drive through my hometown, during which I discovered the artistic -- the virtual photographic -- possibilities of the "street view" option on Google Maps.

Tonight, I thought I'd do the same with my present home, Omaha., Neb. Likewise, I thought I'd try the same subject matter -- the original transmission tower outside the studios of one of the city's venerable television stations.

So, here's the "street view," artistically selected, of KETV, Channel 7, at 27th and Douglas Street in downtown Omaha. I call this photography for the Facebook age.

AND I DO THINK there are possibilities in this for developing students' "artistic eye" in the classroom . . . and for photographers planning cityscape shoots before they get to the city and have to shoot "scapes."

On a personal level, though, I find I can just go to Google maps and virtually do what my late father-in-law did tangibly more than half a century ago when crews were erecting the Channel 7 tower, now the station's auxiliary transmission site.

OMAHA was a smaller place in 1957, television still had a large element of the whiz-bang to it and -- face it -- pleasures largely were of the "simple" variety. At least comparatively.

Back then, as a promotional thing, the future Channel 7 started the KETV Tower Watchers Club, and Dad was "hereby admitted to the circle of those who regularly observe the rise at 27th and Douglas Streets of this newest addition to Omaha's skyline."

I probably would have joined, too.

After all, I am the guy coaxing virtual art photography out of the functional, "how the hell to I get there" world of Google's "street view" gizmo.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Unintended art

One of the things you get to do when you're sick is let your mind wander. And just aimlessly fool around with stuff, because you don't have to accomplish anything . . . because you're sick.

So, one of the things I did while convalescing yesterday was to take a virtual drive in my Louisiana hometown, Baton Rouge, via Google Maps' "street view" function.

I WENT DOWN Government Street from my old high school to the riverfront and -- apart from being depressed at how damned dilapidated everything is . . . streets, buildings, sidewalks -- it occurred to me how the 360-degree view allows you to make "street view art."

Also, it seems to me that Google's street view could be a powerful tool for photographers to plan their architectural or cityscape shoots.

Here's a virtual photo I "took" while virtually passing by the studios of WAFB, Channel 9. I always thought the station's original tower would make a fun picture, and I was right.