21 thoughts on “Well, That’s Interesting”

  1. I have to wonder if Google is stupid or arrogant. (not really, I think I know) It would be so totally simple for them to keep a list of accounts that are sensitive. Like presidential candidates that shouldn’t be disturbed. This would do nothing to protect the 99.999% of us but would keep them from exposing their biases so blatantly.

  2. That’s ~3 hours of revenue for google. I don’t think Tulsi’s worth that much.

    Google and all of SV are getting pretty brazen about their attempts to suppress non-mainstream-Democrat voices at this point. Seems a pretty stupid move. Alienating basically all of the GOP means they’ll be happy to rip you to pieces, and at least half the Dems will gladly do so as well to get some of that sweet money for themselves.

    Google should in fact be broken up, with the search capability distributed openly (which basically already happens), and no search engine allowed to have the Google name anymore.

  3. Back when Google first started to be ubiquitous, I thought that getting caught fooling with their results would put them out of business. I may have been right then, or not, but clearly not now.

    Google’s search capability depends on a lot of hardware and software and engineering that uses a lot of electricity and costs a lot of money to support. It’s openly available to the exact extent that they grant access to outsiders and for exactly as long as they feel like it. Google could cut off the meta-search providers in a heart beat and there would be no recourse.

    I still probably have a book I bought when I first started on the Internet. It was largely a list of URLs. I don’t remember if Alta Vista was up or not, but nobody expected search to eliminate practically every other way of discovering content. By the time news papers and other established media had something on the net that might have been worth paying for, everyone realized that they didn’t have to. Companies keep discovering anew that putting something behind a pay wall makes it disappear.

  4. I’m extremely reluctant to support govt action to break up or otherwise punish Google or any other company for any reason. However, the big tech companies are so arrogant, so brazen, and are screwing over so many different people so openly that it’s obvious some kind of economic and/or political reckoning is merely a matter of time. It happened to Microsoft and many people don’t even think Microsoft did anything wrong. (Bundling a free browser with their operating system? Who cares.) Google, Facebook and Twitter openly censor speech and are trying to throw elections. They are on a collision course with the Trump administration, and with every administration that follows, because eventually even mainstream Democrats will see an unaccountable tech industry as a threat. I wouldn’t be surprised if Google’s trajectory has already peaked.

  5. The Clintons and the Obamas are going to make a coupla hundred mil from being president. (Trump and the Bushes already had money, and didn’t make much more. Trump may even be losing money.) Tulsi’s chances are pretty remote, but if she were to be in the running as a VP, for example, or she starts writing books or making speaking appearances, Google’s crushing her in the moment of her best shot is probably worth a lot of bread. Maybe not $50M, but counting in the millions isn’t crazy.

    The bad press and possibility of even a mildly adverse legal result is worth much more to Google. I hope she drags this out for a year.

  6. Microsoft is irrelevant. If it manages another ten years it will have run a little longer than 50 years altogether. Actually an unusually long run. The government couldn’t kill them but ignoring and then botching mobile will.

    Google has lots of money and nothing worthwhile to spend it on. They’re still making almost all of it from where they were 20 years ago. I can’t think of one of their initiatives outside of running adds beside other peoples content that has been anything other than a black hole. Possibly Cloud, but that’s a very competitive area and there isn’t a lot of evidence that they have a compelling advantage. They’re having to spend a lot of money trying to make sure that adds don’t show up next to content that the paying customers find objectionable. How long before they can only run adds against content that has been actually vetted. Everything else will be a pure expense. At the same time, if they stop accepting content, it will go somewhere else.

  7. And how many of you use google for search?

    Try Duck duck go. It searches google and bing for you but does it anonymously.

    How many use Chrome for browsing?

    Chrome sends every. Single. Keystroke. To Google

    Chrome is built on opensource software meaning anyone can build a non-google version.

    I normally use Firefox but I also been using Comodo Dragon, same as chrome without spying, for 5-6 years.

    Dissenter is a new browser released earlier this month and is now my primary browser on desktop. Built on the same software as Chrome and i am really liking it except i cant download youtube video. I can watch, of course but can’t dowload.

    Here’s an article with a list of alternatives to all Google products


    John Henry

  8. PDJT could put the screws to Google tomorrow without even an exeutive order

    “Google has refused to work with the us govt on military and other contracts. If they won’t work with us, we won’t work with them.

    We also have concerns about potential Chinese infiltration.

    I have requested all executive branch departments to to block Google for search. Effective imediatelty, only Bing and Ddg will be used for search on any govt system.

    Only explorer, dissenter, edge and Firefox browsers shall be used.

    On a personal note, due to many complaints about my tweeting, I will move to parler, gab and mastodon instead of Twitter.

    Thank you and have a pleasant tomorrow ”

    They would lose the govt business but they would also lose an enormous amont of non-govt business as people follohis lead. He woul not even have to ask them to.

    John Henry

  9. I think it was in May that insty had an article about Netflix hiring the Obamas for millions of dollars.

    The very same day I got an email telling they were raising the subscription by about 25%.

    Id been watching Prime more than nf anyway. They just made the decision so easy.

    John Henry

  10. It is actually possible that this was an innocent error. Algorithms that attempt to understand human language are crude instruments, and human censors attempting to implement complex and extensive policies are probably often not much better.

    Hopefully, this case will get far enough that discovery will shed some light on what really happened here and in similar instances.

  11. re: google, it’s interesting how low profile the founders are. They’ve basically disappeared from public for nearly a decade now. It’s pretty odd, in comparison with the other SV stars.
    If I was a novelist, I could spin a story about how google (and the internet in general) was a joint US-Soviet project (recently joined by China) to deploy the ultimate totalitarian state…

  12. I use Firefox locked down with NoScript, Privacy Badger, Cookie Autodelete and Ghostery. A lot of sites won’t work unless I unblock at least a couple of scripts. Often I don’t bother and move on. I have been using Vivaldi which is Chrome based, set to delete everything between sessions for “security” conscious sites that I can’t get to work any other way. One of the worst I’ve had to use is Texas Blue Cross.

    I’ll have to look into some of the suggestions above.

    I have DDG as default search but have to use Google sometimes. After all the years of work, natural language search is still mostly useless, so you have to give it hints with all of the usual tricks of punctuation.

    I expect that I’ll be using a VPN shortly. Barr was making stupid noises about encryption the other day. Good encryption is so cheap now that a government push would just encourage wide spread adoption. If they think export controls are tough, just wait till they have to try to stop every programmer from releasing code. I don’t know of any language that doesn’t have a library, usually several, that make implementing fairly easy. The code has already been written and checked by experts. Even weak encryption would raise the cost of surveillance exponentially. It would be like when the Soviet Union tried to control typewriters and carbon paper.

    Even if I had the slightest faith that these back doors wouldn’t be misused in the first 30 seconds of availability, I’m certain that it would hardly be longer before it was completely out in the wild.

  13. Has anybody found an alternative to google maps that works as well? Also, what about Brave as a browser?

  14. I use ddg on my desk bing on my laptop ddg on tablet and phone.

    Every once in a while I can’t find something on bing or ddg so I try Google. I have never found something on Google that I have not found on ddg/bing.

    I do a lot of professional writing so probably search more than most people and at a more technical/arcane level.

    There was a huge battle over encryption in the 90 especially over Phil Zimmerman’s release of RSA (Rives-somebody-somebody) public key encryption. He called his version pgp for pretty good privacy.

    It was legally restricted as a “munition” under US law. I played with it some at the time but the dos user interface was clumsy.

    RSA public key encryption is theoretically uncrackable except by brute force. That is, try every possible combination.

    With a 512 or even 1024 key length, you are talking thousands of millenia even for supercomputers.

    One of the arguments that came up then but was never tested in court is that encryption is “speech” under the First Amendment. So if I say to you “hey mcs 43$5&@)()=78654@432“

    And you reply.” yeah john and & $3416&&$#??54 to you, too”

    It is not our problem wea are the only ones who can understand it. No more than if we were speaking some arcane dialect of Tibetan.

    John Henry

  15. Garmin GPS as an alternative to Google maps.

    A big advantage is that it is GPS off satellite rather than off the cell phone system. My phone did not work when we went to Banff ladt month.

    Still lots of areas in the us where Google maps won’t work. The only place gps does not work I can s in a parking garage or a tunnel. If you can get lost there, there’s no help for you.

    Garmin always works.


    John Henry

  16. I messed around with True Crypt, a descendant of PGP with a nice UI and several features like the ability to encrypt a hard drive or partition so it looks like random noise. It was suddenly pulled a couple of years ago with no explanation. There are now thoroughly tested forks available. I decided it wasn’t something I was that concerned with then. The same with using public key encryption for email. They can probably change my mind.

    Encrypted hard drives on laptops and phones are common. You can get micro SD cards up to 512GB, probably larger. By the time this barn door is shut, the horse won’t be even a distant memory. It raises the question of how effective law enforcement is against any but the most stupid criminals.

    I’ve never used phone navigation; compared to the times I’ve been with someone that is, dedicated works much better. Not least because most of the people using their phone were trying to drive with one hand, hold it with the other and work the phone with their third hand. Now, most phones would probably take up too much of the windshield if they had a proper mount.

    Back when telegrams were a common way to transact business, it was common to encrypt them with simple ciphers. The law was that the key had to be provided to the government on demand. I don’t know if it was ever tested.

  17. I’ve got a Garmin GPS in my car, but in no way is it comparable to Google maps on my PC. Do they have a PC product I’m missing?

  18. If you use DDG for searching an address, MapQuest comes up. They’ve actually been at it for a lot longer than Google has existed and still publish paper map atlases and paid Geographic Information products. They are pretty good for what I’ve needed. No Street View though.

    I also use Google maps. What I avoid is using Google for everything, especially email. I also have Google Analytics and Google Tagmanger permanently black listed with every other tracking site I can find. I may be deluding myself, but I believe that I’m at least somewhat harder than average to track.

  19. I use Pale Moon as my browser. It’s a trimmed-down version of Firefox so it’s less clunky. Also uses many of the same add-ons as Firefox.

  20. Adam and John were talking about Bitcoin and how some politicians here and abroad think it is dangerous and want to block it. “Good luck with that” Adam said, “It’s just strings of numbers.”

    He was speaking of the technical problems of banning it and it is something I’ve heard before.

    But I wonder if there is a first amendment issue with Bitcoin? Isn’t the string of numbers, transmitted to Fred in an email, “Speech” and protected?

    So if Alice says to Bob “Hey Bob, could you send me two widgits please. 1092854627439” And Bob says “Sure, I’ll get them right out.”

    Is that speech of a monetary transaction?

    Then Bob says to Carol, “Hi Carol, send me over 3 large pizzas, please 1092854627439” Sending Carol the same bitcoin he received from Alice.

    Alice gives it to David for something, David to Eleanor and so on to Zeke who gives it back to Alice in exchange for her sewing some custom shirts.

    Now has an economic transaction taken place? Yes, but, arguably, not a monetary one. It is really a multi-party barter transaction.

    Has “speech”, in the meaning of 1A taken place? Is it protected? Does speech protection trump the legal ability for monetary regulation?

    One more thing for me to lie awake at night thinking about.

    John Henry

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