Essentially he just proved that the "Google Defense" is, in fact, a perfectly valid argument.
From the site:
The intention of this site is to demonstrate the double standard that was exemplified in the recent Pirate Bay Trial. Sites such as Google offer much the same functionality as The Pirate Bay and other Bit Torrent sites but are not targeted by media conglomerates such as the IFPI as they have the political and legal clout to defend themselves unlike these small independent sites.
UPDATE: Google has blocked this site from searching Google. How retarded is that?
Now, in addition to sharing your location with your contacts via your phone's maps app and your iGoogle page, you can embed your Latitude location into any page, enabling ANY CRAZY PERSON to stalk you with near-realtime accuracy. The neat thing is it defaults to automatic zooming, using your positional accuracy to determine how detailed the map is. With GPS turned off, using cell towers for location info, it zooms out to a city view with a blue "somewhere in here" circle. Turn it on and it zooms down to street level. Very awesome.
It looks like this:
The map atop my blog has long been non-functional due to the hassle involved in keeping it updated, but IT LIVES ONCE MORE, thanks to the fact that my phone is always updating positions with Latitude. Thanks, Google!
If you're interested in using Latitude in this way, head on over to http://www.google.com/latitude/apps to get your embed code. Assuming, anyway, that your phone is compatible.
Here's a handy list:
* All Android phones.
* Most Java-enabled (J2ME) mobile phones.
* Palm devices with Palm OS 5 and above.
* All color BlackBerry devices.
* Windows Mobile devices with Windows Mobile 5.0 and above.
* All 3G Symbian devices.
* Not iPhones. Pbbt. (I'm guessing the 3.0 update will have Latitude support. Still -- suck it, iPhone.)
So Android isn't QUITE the magical open platform i had imagined. As it turns out, T-Mobile and Google are doing all they can to ensure that the specific types of things I want to do with it stay impossible. It's early in the game yet, but it could easily be characterized as "cat-and-mouse." Unfortunately for them, these mice are always a few steps ahead of the cat. Plus, the fact that the cat made some really stupid mistakes out of the gate makes things a bit nicer for us mice.
MY Android phone is completely open to all the sorts of things that I want to do now, with some particular clever mice having compromised Google's latest update and used thier own security against them, but if you've got a T-Mobile G1 and want to have the opportunity to do some of the more awesome stuff we mice are working on, it's extremely important that you don't update to the RC30 update. There's nothing new and exciting in the update anyway.
I don't have much to say lately, but I need to say this:
Google's Android mobile phone platform is freakin' AMAZING. T-Mobile's "G1" handset -- which is the first of the commercially available Android phones -- is very nearly as awesome a device as is the underlying platform.
Imagine the offspring resultant from a drunken one-night-stand between a Sidekick/Hiptop and an iPhone. That pretty much describes the G1; it is fully touch-enabled and has a wealth of downloadable applications ala iPhone, but boasts the flip-out keyboard and actual navigation buttons which are the hallmark of a Sidekick for those times you don't feel like looking like a total tool rubbing your fingers all over your phone.
Best yet, you don't need to deal with any of the iTunes bullcrap that every iPhone owner has to admit to disliking dealing with. If you want to put mp3s (or oggs, w00t!) on it, you simply plug a NORMAL USB CABLE into it and it shows up as a removable drive. Copy your music over and you're good to go. Same with photos and videos. Software updates come automatically over the air, so no dealing with the endless cycle of backing up and restoring when iTunes makes a mess of things. (Or, if you're a nerd like me, you can manually download the firmware update and apply it yourself.)
Unlike with iPhone, users can install applications that modify very nearly any aspect of the device, and are not at the whims of Apple as to whether the app will be "allowed" or not. For instance: I have an app installed that can turn on and off features when certain criteria are met. When the GPS finds that I've arrived at home, it automatically enables wifi. When I leave it turns it off again to preserve battery. If my battery drops below a certain point I've got it set to turn off GPS as well to further save battery. Try doing that with iPhone :).
Want to set an mp3, m4a or ogg file as a ringtone? No problem, support for that is built in.
All-in-all, Android has far exceeded my expectations, and is quite the anti-iPhone platform that I'd envisioned. I highly recommend it.
Well, this problem has not yet been addressed by the Google team... but it has been addressed by me.
I greased up the monkey and with one fell swoop made Google Reader's interface one gripe cleaner. My new Greasemonkey script copies the title/URL from the top of every item and includes it at the bottom as well.
If, on the other hand, you're mystified by this whole Greasemonkey thing, I'll give a brief explanation. Greasemonkey is a Firefox add-on that lets users create scripts that will affect the content of web pages before they're displayed in the browser. There are thousands of pre-made scripts to be found at userscripts.org, affecting all sorts of popular sites, and you can always badger your favorite nerds into making custom ones. Some of my favorite pre-made scripts are:
1) AutoPagerize, which causes page 2 (then 3 etc) to automatically be inserted at the end of page one for many popular site. Tired of 'next'ing your way through your Google search results or Twitter timeline? This handy script just requires you to scroll and the next bunch magically appear.
2) YousableTubeFix, this does a bunch of handy things to YouTube pages, the most handy of which is defaulting the the "HD" videos, and increasing the size of the player dramatically. YouTube has never been so pleasant.
That ought to be enough to get you started, but with Greasemonkey, pretty much anything you've ever dreamed you could do with a website is possible.
It's me again. Since our last conversation, I've realized something else you could do to make our time together in Reader more productive and less angrifying. Know how I share lots of stuff in my "Shared Items," despite only like 4 people seeing them? Well, it'd be really helpful if I didn't have to be subscribed to my own Shared Items. I mean, I shared them. I don't need you showing them to me again. (Despite that one time that I accidentally saw something cool in there that I forgot had gotten there because of me, and went ahead and shared it again. Sharing an item from my shared items... that's classy.) At the very least, could you make sure they actually get marked as read after I read them? I perpetually have 11-or-so "new" items in there that I've seen a hundred times.
Seriously, Google. I'm beginning to think this conversation is one-sided. Don't make me start writing to SkyNet instead.
With the news of Microsoft possibly buying Yahoo! spreading around the internet, I've been hearing doom-and-gloom from people pretty consistently regarding their Flickr accounts. Left and right I see people lamenting that they'd JUST paid for another year, but now wish they hadn't because Microsoft is going to ruin Flickr.
To long-time Flickrers, this is nothing new. Yahoo! "ruined" Flickr a couple years ago, yet it is still going strong. I'm not sure how many of the complainers are pre-Yahoo! users, but their argument is pretty flimsy. "Oh no! A big evil company is buying the photo site I love from... another big evil company?" If you're fine with using a cool little photo site that's been co-opted by Yahoo! to make as much money off it as possible (by doing sleazy things like using its users's's photos in advertisements without asking), then you really have no reason to worry if some other company then wants to start making money off your stuff instead.
Look, I'm as anti-Microsoft as the next guy (OK, probably a lot more), but do I think they're going "ruin" Flickr more than Yahoo! already did? No way. So quit yer bitchin'. Chances are you already use Google Mail, Google Maps, Google IM, Google Documents, Google Analytics and Google Prostate Check and fully intend to buy a Google Phone as soon as they come out, so why all the worry about Microsoft getting into the mix? If Google bought Flickr the entire blogosphere would cave in upon itself under the strain of a bajillion bloggers rejoicing in unity, sending waves of trackbacks back and forth, obliterating Technorati's servers.
I've recently taken to clicking the 'share' button in google reader whenever I come across something I think others would be interested in.
Unfortunately, I have a grand total of 3 'friends' in Google Reader, so I feel that the stuff I'm sharing is falling on largely deaf ears. So, if anyone's interested in seeing my shared items, they can be viewed/subscribed to here.
And if you use Google Reader and ever use the 'share' functionality yourself, please feel free to add firstname.lastname@example.org to your 'friends,' as I'd enjoy seeing new stuff.
1) my love/hate relationship with google continues. Once again, google reader's mobile interface is borked up, meaning I have nothing to read. (I wrote this yesterday morning; reader mobile is working again now.)
This brings to mind the point that I'm reluctantly participating in their scheme for world domination, and really ought find another option that won't both leave me in the lurch and use me as a tool for advertising. Maybe this will be the push I need.
2) I hate insurance companies/lawyers. The insurance company of the girl who rear-ended me contacted me over the weekend, asking that I give a recorded statement.
What no one seems to understand is that I'm not out for a settlement or something, and that the only reason we even filed an insurance claim1 is because I was worried that she'd get stuck with a huge medical bill in the event that I WAS injured. So anyway, they asked whether there were any prior injuries or conditions that could simply be "aggravated" by this accident. I suspect that I would probably have been within my legal rights to not answer it, but I did anyway; I said I have had neck problems, even went through physical therapy to deal with it. This really seemed to please the insurance tool.
I understand that they have to look out for themselves in the event that someone tries to screw them over, but it really pisses me off that as someone who is never going to screw someone over, I still have to deal with this crap. In the event that I DO have problems, I'm sure they're going to try to weasel out saying "oh no, he had that BEFORE, we're not payin'."
1: she was really scared of the process of making a claim and having her rates go up. She wanted to pay for the damage and any medical bills herself, but after explaining that medical bills can get REALLY high, she reluctantly decided it'd be best to file a claim as a protection in the event that I were injured. She still wants to pay for damage to my vehicle herself, which I think is kind of silly, but not something I'm opposed to.
Tired of seeing this every time you use Firefox's built-in RSS handling to add a site's feed to your Google Reader account?
Me too, so I figured out a way to get rid of it. Now I'll show you how too.
Simply type 'about:config' into your url bar, and as soon as all that scary-looking stuff loads, scroll down until you see 'browser.contentHandlers.types.2.uri', and then double click it.
A dialog will pop up asking for a uri, and will be pre-filled with 'http://fusion.google.com/add?feedurl=%s'.
Simply replace it with 'http://google.com/reader/preview/*/feed/%s' then restart Firefox.
Next time you click on an RSS feed, you'll see a preview of it in Google Reader, completely bypassing the option to add it to your Google homepage.
Note: You'll need to actually click the 'subscribe' button in the preview window to subscribe, so the sum total of clicks will be the same, they just won't be dealing with Google's bad UI decision. Besides, it's nice to see the contents of the feed before committing to it. I routinely change my mind if a feed is only a partial-text feed.
Google Inc has announced that it will be soon launching a personalized home page on the lines of the ones currently offered by MSN and Yahoo!
The home page will include integrated features like integrated features its e-mail service Gmail, news, weather, stocks, driving directions and movie listings.
This doesn't necessarily mean the begin of Googles decline, but it was sure a bad sign when the other search leaders did exactly the same thing right at the beginning of the dotcom bust.