Thursday, April 29, 2004

Thinking about Gmail
So yeah its true that what Gmail is doing is not really anymore intrusive then what other internet email companies are doing when they filter spam. Its just that Google, with their legendary lack of subtle social skills, has made an already existing problem far more visible and apparent to the end user. In a way we should be thankful for them for bring issues to forefront. Most internet users have no clue just how much information they are depositing into databases of Google, Amazon, Yahoo and the other big internet players. And somewhere down the line people are going to wake up in shock, with the realization of just how much these corporations know about them and their personal habits. Just because a problem has been ignored doesn't mean its not a problem...

Enter the second line of defense, "trust Google, they are smart". Never mind that the early reports indicate that their spam filters are crap. Google indeed was quite innovative when they revolutionized the world of search engines at the get go. They also where a couple of PhD students plus a handful of employees. Now they are a multibillion dollar business about to go public. Innovation comes a bit differently in environments like that. Google's second big innovation came in the area of ads. Notice a shift in priorities? They've gone from innovative ways to help users, to innovative ways to help advertisers. So when they innovate are they going to innovate in a way to make your email better for you? or for their business?

This rant about Google and Gmail is worth a read if you have a moment, otherwise the extract above gets the main point across. Fudgeit has Gmail. I wonder how she's getting on?

Friday, April 23, 2004

Magic indeed
At the moment what happens is that a couple of guys put down a big polythene sheet. Then the executioner arrives. Then the van arrives with the prisoner and his guard. They lead the prisoner to the center of the sheet and make him kneel. If the relatives of his victim want to pardon him, now is the time for them to shout, and he’s released, pays blood money instead. Otherwise the sword swings, head comes off, lots of blood, people faint, someone pukes. Body and head are taken away. Polythene sheet rolled up. All over.

Get yourself over to The Religious policeman right now!

Thursday, April 22, 2004

'Fucking lazy nigger'
The conversation was thought to have been heard on Middle East channels which continued to broadcast the live feed after the final whistle.

And if it hadn't been broadcast? Clearly the word IS part of Ron Atkinson's 'off-air vocabulary' right?
Great cartoon
The release of Mordechai Vanunu

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Deserved trashing
Why life would be better because some woman who sounds like her throat is full of phlegm is warbling tunelessly at them, is beyond me. I mean, cough, woman, COUGH. Get it out. Stop sounding like someone took a cheese grater to your throat.
ET takes it out on Dido.

Thursday, April 15, 2004

Not enough time?
I hope Fudgeit isn't out of action for too long. What does 'for a while' mean?
Crem la tart?
Why won't she smile? Actually I can detect a slight smirk on occasion.. no maybe it's just me.
I've no idea what a 'professional book critic' is in the first place
Due to a widely reported technical blooper, the Canadian division of Amazon.com revealed the identities of several thousand of its anonymous reviewers. For just a few days in February, until the company restored their electronic fig leaves, these stealth critics were effectively unmasked. For the most part, of course, this was no big deal. What difference did it make if "a reader from Saskatchewan" turned out to be named Keith -- and actually lived in Hoboken? Surely such minor mendacities could be forgiven. Maybe Keith was just shy, and longed for the Great White North.

James Marcus has a piece in the Washington Post about Amazon reviewers. He's annoyed that (amongst other things) writers can get friends to rave about their books anonymously. What's the fuss? As if that doesn't happen in conventional book reviews.

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

Google further evidence of anti-Semitism
Krane said the ranking for Jew Watch is largely based on changing vocabulary patterns. "Jew" has been used less and less in mainstream society since Word War II, replaced by less culturally loaded terms such as "Jewish person." Google searches for "Jewish," "Jewish person" and "Jewish people" are all topped by pro-Jewish sites, including a number of Jewish dating services.

See the first site that turns up if I search Jew? The explanation above more than suffices though. I don't think I've ever referred to any of my Jewish friends as Jews. Which is strange come to think of it.
Musical Key
What's it all about?
Sentence meme...
1. Grab the nearest book.
2. Open the book to page 23.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the text of the sentence in your journal along with these instructions.

And here it is:
The stars were already fading and I noticed the moon sink feebly into the sky as though into troubled waters.
It's from Franz Kafka, Description of a Struggle.
Link via Kitabkhana, but tracing it back led me all the way here.
Anyway. That felt quite stupid.

Sunday, April 11, 2004

From Bemuda beach...
In every country, including our own, the fanatics are preaching their gospel of hate, basing their doctrine on a wilful perversion of the true religion of Islam. At their fringe are groups of young men prepared to conduct terrorist attacks however and whenever they can. Thousands of victims the world over have now died, but the impact is worse than the death of innocent people.
What on earth is that supposed to mean? He must mean 'greater' not worse. Surely the death of innocents is the worst of it? No?

I only read Blair's letter after hearing about it on 5 Live this morning. I do think it's worth a read, if only to get an idea of the stupidity and arrogance of the people that rule over us. I don't care. I was going to cut it up and comment on all the delusions and non sentences. But what for? Millions of people marched last year to prevent the bloodshed that's happening right now and it made no difference. And he has the audacity to mention Palestine. He needs to visit Rafah.
Oh god..
How I hate this time wasting. I ought to do some work, but everything is against me:
1. The weather. Its cold then warm then humid then cold again. No more leaning against a warm radiator with a cup of instant dissappointment/Kenco reading Crash Course.
2. The internet. I blame broadband. It seems impossible not to check the status of all the downloads that should be progressing nicely. Are they? Maybe they aren't. Best just check.
3. The guitar. Enough said.
4. Franz. My best friend these lonesome days.
5. Iraq. What's happening? I keep checking bbc or Al-Jazeera, or better yet Al-Manar. (damn you illegal dish!) What's happening? Who knows.
6. Jeff Buckley. Why didn't I know of him when he was alive? Just listen.. again.

This morning
It finally dawned on me that my guitar pick must have fallen behind the bookcase against which the guitar had been leaning. The bookcase was far too heavy with books to be moved. I tried to slide a ruler behind the bookcase to wedge out the pick if it was there. No luck. The space was tight and dark. I couldn't even tell of the pick was there for sure. I rumaged thorugh my drawer for a torch. I found an ophthalmoscope and shone it into the space. I could see an old hat, some 35mm film and alot of dust. And then the battery ran out. Damn! Throwing the ophthalmoscope hard against the floor I retreated to the far corner of the room and sat down, frustrated on the bed and held the guitar in my hands. And then I saw that the dial had come right of the poor ophthalmoscope. Just the right size and weight.. better, in fact than a regular plectrum.

The man who once had a £1.5m bounty on his head ...

This coming weekend the writer who initially came to fame as a firebrand of literary genius, who then dominated news headlines as a fugitive from death, who was then feted as the darling of the jet set and who now plays Scrabble of an evening with the singing Minogue sisters, is to get married for the fourth time. It won't perhaps be a wedding on the scale of Catherine and Michael's, or indeed Liza and David's, but it is taking place in New York and has attracted almost as many speculative column inches so far.
etc, etc.

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