Don’t Be Evil

Google got into trouble when they started covertly mapping people’s wireless networks with their street-view vehicles. Obviously, this raised a number of privacy issues.

Well, Google has an answer for that:

http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2011/11/greater-choice-for-wireless-access.html

Basically, you can opt out of this “service” by renaming the SSID for your wireless network to include “_nomap” at the end.

Read that again. That’s their solution.

Are they serious? Never mind the fact that the vast majority of people aren’t going to know they need to do this, do they realize that most people aren’t even going to know what that means, let alone how to do it? (I’m guessing that yes, they do realize that. And that’s the point.)

Oh, sure, they have directions for doing this linked from that blog post. This is part of their directions:

  1. Establish a physical connection between your access point and your computer using an ethernet cable.
  2. Establish the default gateway of your connection:
    1. On Windows, type ‘ipconfig’ into the command prompt (accessed from the start menu).
    2. On Mac OS, type ‘ifconfig’ into the command prompt.
    3. On Linux, type ‘ifconfig’ into the command prompt.
  3. Once you have the default gateway (it will look like 192.168.0.1), type it into the address bar of your web browser, this will take you to the control panel for your access point.
  4. You may have to sign in to your access point’s control panel. If so, the appropriate username and password should have been included in the booklet included when you received the access point.

They’re joking right? They really expect the average user to be able to do this? They really expect that the average person is going know what they’re looking at when they run those commands? This is the output of running ifconfig on the computer I’m currently using:

lo0: flags=8049 mtu 16384
inet 127.0.0.1 netmask 0xff000000
inet6 ::1 prefixlen 128
inet6 fe80::1%lo0 prefixlen 64 scopeid 0x1
gif0: flags=8010 mtu 1280
stf0: flags=0 mtu 1280
en0: flags=8863 mtu 1500
ether 10:9a:dd:ac:6e:a2
inet6 fe80::129a:ddff:feac:6ea2%en0 prefixlen 64 scopeid 0x5
inet 10.251.10.53 netmask 0xffff0000 broadcast 10.251.255.255
media: autoselect
status: active
vboxnet0: flags=8842 mtu 1500
ether 0a:00:27:00:00:00
en1: flags=8863 mtu 1500
ether 00:0e:c6:88:42:a0
inet6 fe80::20e:c6ff:fe88:42a0%en1 prefixlen 64 scopeid 0x4
inet 10.251.10.52 netmask 0xffff0000 broadcast 10.251.255.255
media: autoselect (100baseTX )
status: active

They really think the average person is going to understand that!? (Never mind the fact that it doesn’t even tell you the default gateway.)

That this “opt-out” procedure is their answer to people’s privacy concerns is a complete joke. They clearly don’t want people to be able to opt-out, or even know that they need to. This should be an “opt-in” service, plain and simple.

It seems everyday Google does something to make their “Don’t be evil” slogan more and more of a joke.

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“Old Guy” Moment

This is one of those “You Know You’re Getting Older When…” posts.

So, I finally bought a new (well, used) car*.  On Saturday, I went to the bank to get a loan.  While I was going through the steps with the banker, at one point she asked for a second proof of ID, like my debit card.  But, what she actually said was “bank card”, and for a moment I thought she meant my bank ID card.  My first reaction was thinking “I haven’t had a bank ID card in, like, twenty years”.

Of course it only took a second to realize what she meant, and when I did I laughed a bit.  So, I had to tell her why I laughed, and then had to explain that some banks used to issue ID cards so that you could identify yourself to the teller when you went to the bank to get money out of your account.

Suddenly, I realized I was the old guy explaining how things used to work in the olden days before ATMs.


*I’ll post about the car later this week (or next) after it gets delivered.

Switching

Some of you know this already, but I use a Mac at home and work on and support Windows machines at work.  If you switch between the two operating systems, like I do, you may find that you sometimes get your keyboard shortcuts confused.  This, of course, happens to me all the time.

Today, while at work on my Windows 7 machine, I selected a file and hit the space-bar expecting to see a preview of that file.  It was only at that moment I realized just how often I use that awesome feature of Leopard when I’m on my iMac at home.

Sigh.

UnMac-Like Behavior

I’ve come across several apps over the years that exhibit unMac-like behavior.  Usually, these are apps ported to the Mac from the Windows world, and usually they’re business apps (it’s funny how the people who write vertical market apps don’t pay attention to details).  Well, I’ve just come across the worst unMac-like behavior I think I’ve ever encountered.

Let me preface this by saying that I’ve recently updated Safari to 4.0.  Prior to that, I was able to connect to my work’s Citrix server and launch a desktop session right from the browser.  Well, the Safari update seems to break the Citrix plugin, so I had to re-download and re-install it.  Now, when I click on the link to launch the desktop session, it downloads the .ica file, which I have to then double-click on to launch the Citrix client (I don’t have Safari set to automatically open files after they complete downloading).

Anyway, after I finished my desktop session by logging out of Windows I started working in other apps, but after a few minutes I noticed that the Citrix client icon was still in the dock.  So, I ⌘-Tabbed to the client and hit ⌘-Q to quit the app.  Nothing happened.  I hit ⌘-Q again, and again, nothing.  So I pulled down the application menu and saw that the Quit option didn’t have ⌘-Q listed as a keyboard shortcut!  In all my years of using a Mac, I don’t think I’ve ever come across an application that didn’t utilize ⌘-Q to quit.  Of all of the unMac-like behavior I’ve ever come across, this has to be the worst!

Fixed the Captchas

Some more moving pains.  It turns out the captchas were still pointing to the old domain.  (Thanks to Stu for pointing out that this was broken.)

Anyway, it’s fixed, so everyone can now resume commenting.

Pet Peeve

I really, really hate it when people say “ink cartridge” when they mean “toner cartridge”.  I know that 95% of the population probably doesn’t understand the difference, but it still really just bugs the shit out of me.  (Pet peeves don’t have to be rational.)

Not Really a Protest

I’ve got news for you all:  It’s not really a protest when it’s organized, bought and paid for by corporate lobbyists.

(And, how come for the past eight years, people who protested the war and all of the other disastrous policies of the previous administration were “traitors”, but people duped into protesting taxes for the rich are somehow patriotic heroes?  It’s funny how that “liberal media” works.)

What Were They Thinking?

More marketing “genius” at work here.  The cable channel SciFi has changed its name to SyFy.  I think they may be in direct competition with Pepsi for the worst marketing decision of the year.

You know it’s bad when the president of the network is touting the decision by saying something like this:

“When we tested this new name, the thing that we got back from our 18-to-34 techno-savvy crowd, which is quite a lot of our audience, is actually this is how you’d text it,” Mr. Howe said. “It made us feel much cooler, much more cutting-edge, much more hip, which was kind of bang-on what we wanted to achieve communication-wise.”

Okay, you can stop laughing now.

Stupid Outlook

Why, oh why, can’t Outlook figure out that if I go into my “Sent items” folder and pull up an email I set to someone, and hit reply (because I want to follow up that message with more information) that I’m not trying to reply to myself!?

Seriously.  Other email clients get this right and put the person that the email was originally to as the recipient, why can’t Outlook?  (And why can’t I remember this when I’m using Outlook and continuously accidentally sending emails to myself?)

Oops!

I’ve been a little sick the past couple of days.  Yesterday, I was working in the server room (server closet is more accurate), and the air conditioning was blowing right at me.  Being sick, this did not feel good.  So, I turned the air off while I was in there – I wasn’t going to be long, anyway.

Today, I’m walking by the server room (closet), and I think “What is that noise?” Well, that noise was all the fans on all the servers and switches going full-out because someone forgot to turn the air back on!  Oops!

Luckily, everything is still running, and nothing appears to have been affected.  I’ll chalk it up to a “live and learn” experience.