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Google sucks

October 5, 2014 Leave a comment

It would appear that despite their ambition to not do evil Google has finally succumbed to evil nonetheless.

Ok, here’s the issue – I have an English OS on my computer, but I live in Russia but I want to use Google in English. Issue number one is that when you do a Google search from your browser google takes you to your local google domain, google.ru. in my case – WITHOUT EVEN ASKING ME.

OK, I found a way around that, there is a google chrome plugin that always takes you to google.com and yet now I have to set my language settings to English several times a day because the damn thing keeps setting my language preferenc to Russia – again it doesn’t ask me if I want to use google in Russian, it just forces the Russian UI down my throat and the worst thing is that it FUCKING IGNORES MY SETTINGS – I’m logged into my account, I FUCKING EXPLICITELY SELECTED ENGLISH A THOUSAND TIMES ALREADY and yet GOOGLE KEEPS IGNORING MY CHOICE.

I need a place to vent. I’m not the only person having this problem. Go on google support forums – there’s people complaining about this shit from all over the world and GOOGLE JUST IGNORES US.

You write in those forums about how you’re logged in go into settings, select English but the damn google search reverts back to Russian and some fucktard intern from Google tells you to ‘log in go into settings and select English’ – that’s the level of their customer service.

Currently, in my book, Google is the MOST EVIL IT COMPANY IN THE WORLD.

Update: it turns out it wasn’t google’s fault after all. I’m the idiot in this little tale – when I was at parents’ place I logged into Google and never logged out. My dad ended up using my account and every time he went on google he changed the language settings to Russian. Logging out of my account on my parents’ computer has solved the problem. Sorry Google, you’re not all evil, sometimes evil is within us.

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The Internet is no internet without google

December 22, 2011 Leave a comment

Earlier today something went wrong with google in Russia. I’ve no idea what it was, it’s just that for maybe about an hour google and all its services first slowed down to a crawl and then went down completely for maybe 15-30 minutes. Entering google.com in the browser and hitting enter would give you an error message and pinging 8.8.8.8 or 8.8.4.4 would result in one request timed out after another.  I assume it must have been some technical glitch, or possibly the FSB trialling a new firewall and as is the custom with them, failing miserably.

So left without google I felt like I was marooned in a sea of information without rhyme or reason. I went to yahoo and then bing but to my total horror, neither of them allow you to limit your search to content that’s been updated in the last 24 hours, in the last day etc, a feature that’s been part of google for yonks.  It was a harsh reminder of why all the other engines still suck next to google. Even yandex, the Russian ‘yet another index’ that some people prefer for searches in the Russian internet as it supposedly does a better job of finding all possible inflected forms of Russian word, doesn’t seem to have this extremely useful feature and it sucks.

It’s kind of weird but I still have vague memories of the Internet without google. Back in the day everybody was using altavista.com and when I saw google for the first time I was unimpressed. It looked kind of spartan, just a search box. It’s definitely gone a long way from those humble beginnings. Just how much of an integral part of the Internet it has become over the years was made very clear to me today as all of a sudden I couldn’t access it. It felt as if the Internet just stopped making sense, I was lost, totally without direction.  That’s what the power of habit can reduce us to.

At the same time it makes me wonder what the Internet will be like in the future, post-google. After all it’s only a matter of time before google gets overtaken and left in the dust by some other technology.

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Cloud computing may not be for the faint of heart just yet

That’s the conclusion that I couldn’t help jumping to after reading this piece:

http://www.twitlonger.com/show/bt2p2o

In short the guy writes about how he spent months painstakingly  migrating all his other email accounts to his one gmail account and uploading all his documents to his google docs account only to have his google account deleted (or suspended) by google.

It’s sort of like when you have all your info on this one laptop that you lug around with you everywhere you go and then you drop it and it breaks into tiny little pieces from which no information can be recovered only it’s probably more like having somebody grab your laptop from you and smash it to pieces as you stand there and watch helplessly.

Well, maybe  it’s not all that bade and who knows, google may eventually reactive the poor fella’s account and he’ll once again have access to all his stuff. However, what this story really calls attention to is the risks people are invited to take when they are encouraged to switch to cloud computing.  On the surface cloud computing looks like a very cool idea – software as a service, a new digital utility that allows you to rent digital space and applications, however at the end of the day what cloud computing boils down to is that you let someone else handle your (sensitive) data. Cloud is a very cool metaphor, but in actuality what it sort of conceals is that fact that your data that is in the ‘cloud’ is in actuality sitting on someone’s hard drive.

It may not really be that much of a problem from a purely technological viewpoint as in all probability those data will be backed-up and there will be some redundancy built into the system so that even if the actual server your data is stored on should go down, some other server will pick up the slack; in the worst case scenario loss of data will be minimal and 9 times out of 10 you probably won’t even notice anything. However, what do you do if your cloud computing provider decides you’ve violated some obscure terms of use (which most people hardly ever read anyway) and pulls the plug on your account. And what if it’s a major provider of cloud services like google with millions of users that can afford to ignore complaints from the likes of you for weeks on end or even to never get back to you at all? Yes, probably in most cases they will reactivate your account eventually but still what if it’s at a critical point that they shut down your account; suppose you’re finishing an important project and all of a sudden poof, you can’t access your data anymore and you write them an email and they tell you that you’ve violated their terms of use and that they’ll get back to you next week but your project is due tomorrow.

So what’s the lesson we can learn from this cautionary tale? – for the time being it would appear that the best policy is to store all your most important files locally and to only use the cloud for backups.

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the google swindle

A friend of mine recently had her google adSense account canceled.  It wasn’t really that big of a deal as she only had 70 bucks in there. It’s just that it came as a bit of a shock; she just has a couple of very low-key websites with 50-100 visitors per day and put up some google adsense ads on those, not really expecting to make a fortune off of them but just to see how it all works and then all of a sudden, totally out of the blue, she gets a message from google, telling her how she’d been cheating and clicking on her own adsence ads and what not, they practically accused her of being the devil incarnate, and informing her that her account had been canceled.

Naturally she wrote them an appeal, which, also, naturally had no effect. And then, again naturally, out of curiosity she went online and searched for info about people having their adsense accounts canceled by google – turns out it’s quite a common occurrence. There’s no real statistics, but quite a few people claim that account cancellations usually happen when you earn close to 100 bucks, that is the minimum amount that google allows you to have transferred from your google adsence account into your bank account. So you sign up for adsence, you put google ads on your website (or several websites) and then as soon as you’ve earned about 100 bucks google just go and cancel your account, accusing you of having violated their rules and policies. Now let me ask you is this some kind of a con or what?

There a story on the Internet (again, it’s no more than heresay) about a guy who had several sites on which he managed to make about 6000 dollars through adSense and then he ran into some financial difficulties and was forced to sell all of his websites. All the while he just kept his adSense money in his adSense account. Now having run through the cash he got from selling his websites he was fixing to transfer his google money into his bank account when bam, out of the blue there arrives a message from goole into his email box, informing him that his adSense account had been canceled because of violations, his ‘hard-earned’ 6K is gone. The guy has a heart attack and has to be treated in hospital.

Well, truth be told that at least in the case of my friend and her $70 there is a kind of happy ending – her account had been restored, at first without any money in it but today they gave her back her $70; no explanation was ever offered as to why exactly it had been deemed necessary to suspend her adSense account. They said violations they never specified the kind of violations.

Google takes Spotlight online

September 9, 2010 Leave a comment

Spotlight is a feature I first saw in MacOS X, a couple of years ago, a Mac fanboy friend of mine, showed it off to me on his macbook and his father’s iMac. At the time I found it to be the most impressive feature in MacOS. Back then when you wanted to do a search in WinXP you had to bring up a special ‘search window’, type in the name of the item you wanted to find, specify whether it was file or a picture or a video you wanted to search for and then you hit ‘search’ and sat there waiting until the search result list got populated.

By contrast Spotlight made the whole search process appear easy and incredibly responsive;  results would start to appear while you were still typing and they changed ‘on the fly’ as you backspaced and retyped. Later on MS copied this feature in Vista and later it became the default search in Win7. Now finally Google has brought it to online search. You have to be logged in to your google account to use it though, and you have to be on the google website, but if both these conditions are met the search results appear as you type in your query, just like in Spotlight, kudos to Google.

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Does Android have a future?

September 2, 2010 Leave a comment

Android, as perhaps most people know today, is Google’s very cool operating system for mobile devices. It’s based on a linux kernel, but when it comes to writing applications for Android, you use Java, however your Java code runs not on the standard SUN/Oracle ME JVM but on Google’s proprietary JVM called Dalvik.

It all seemed like a good idea until Oracle sued Google claiming they infringed some patents ( I don’t know all the gory legal details) by developing their own version of JVM instead of using the original micro edition.

From what I’ve read on the Internet so far, it appears that originally Java Micro Edition, back when Sun hadn’t yet been purchased by Oracle, was released under different licensing terms than Java SE and Java EE, meaning, essentially that from a purely legal viewpoint Oracle is entitled to determine what can be done with Java ME and what cannot be done with it. In other words they have a good chancing of winning the litigation against Google, in which case Goodle, in any scenario, will be made to pay substantial damages, and will also have to do something unpleasant about Dalvik. Here several things are possible, they may be ordered to discontinue Dalvik and use Java ME instead, paying royalties to Oracle, or they may be forced to hand over Dalvik to Oracle. There are some other possibilities too, none of which, however, are very good for Google or Android. Most ‘blogging’ lawyers seem to agree that there is a very high probability that Google may end up losing control over the Android development platform and that could mean major suckage for the whole Android community in the worst case scenario, if, for instance, Oracle decides to simply pull the plug on the whole thing.

What should Google do?

I’m no legal expert, but if I were Google, I would try and turn this setback into an opportunity; I would bin Java, venerable but basically outdated language, and would migrate to Scala. Far as I can tell there can be no licensing problems there and from a technical perspective, Scala was designed from the very start to run on JVM, so I would imagine it shouldn’t be too difficult to develop a version that will run on Dalvik. Then Google could just tell Oracle to shove their Java ME up their fat corporate ass (one fat corporate ass telling another fat corporate ass to shove things up its fat corporate ass, isn’t it ironic), they’ll still probably have to pay damages to Oracle but they’d get their very own development platform for Android that nobody would be able to sue away from them.

It has to be mentioned here, though, that at this point I have no idea whether developing a version of Scala for Dalvik would be technically viable (I expect it should) or whether it would make sense as a business proposition for Google. Scala, though rather obscure, is fast gaining in popularity as an ‘improved Java’, it’s free and it has a vibrant, though small, community of developers.  Perhaps there might even be a chance that if Google played their cards right they might get a Dalvik Scala for free, if the Scala community shows enough interest in developing for Android.

Anyway, just food for thought.

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