Wednesday, February 23, 2011

So no one can say if the internet good or bad, on the whole?

This is a very good interview for people to read and think about.

We hear a lot about how great the internet is for freedom. Evgeny Morozov takes a very balanced view. Namely that the internet is a double-edged sword. Yes, it is used by activists to communicate the abuses and oppressions they are suffering to the world, as well as to coordinate organizing strategies. But it is also used by oppressors to monitor activists and spread disinformation about them and to disseminate propaganda.

Once again we find that computers are fabulous tools to increase productivity. For our side and theirs.

I HIGHLY recommend you read the article.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Dawn's ULTIMATE fortune

Yesterday I got the ultimate fortune cookie for me. All others will be downhill from now on.

It read

Your ability to find the silly in the serious will take you far.

I wish.

Of course, in my case, it probably means..."far, far away from civilization".

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


So, according to this article, Google has figured out that Bing uses Google as a subroutine. Specifically, when you do a Bing search, Bing essentially performs the same Google search, and combines the results with its own indexes, and outputs results that incorporate Google's results. (You may get a different order of items, or some items may be different, but it's essentially using Google as one factor in finding and ranking results.) And it seems that part of what may be making this possible is a kind of eavesdropping that IE 8 does, that allows it to send home to the mother ship people's search results and the links they choose to pursue.

It was very clever how Google figured this out: they apparently rigged things in their databases for a set of nonsense searches, so that they would find a specific totally unrelated site. They then tried Bing on the same nonsense searches, and lo and behold, what should come up, but the exact same totally unrelated site. More details are here.

Microsoft does not deny the claim. They tried to shrug it off as Google is just one among 1000 factors. Which is probably true. The question is: is it closer to factor 1 or to factor 853? I think we can all guess the answer to that one.

I doubt this is against the law, but it's certainly cheesy.