Category Archive 'Google'
04 Apr 2014

Even Some Lefties Are Outraged by Mozilla CEO’s Ouster for Thought-Crime

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Mozilla to Brendan Eich: “But don’t do it here!”

New York Times:

In Silicon Valley, where personal quirks and even antisocial personalities are tolerated as long as you are building new products and making money, a socially conservative viewpoint may be one trait you have to keep to yourself.

On Thursday, Brendan Eich, who has helped develop some of the web’s most important technologies, resigned under pressure as chief executive of Mozilla, the maker of the popular Firefox web browser, just two weeks after taking the job. The reason? In 2008, he donated $1,000 in support of Proposition 8, a California measure that banned same-sex marriage.
Brendan Eich, creator of the JavaScript programming language, was appointed Mozilla’s chief executive on March 24. MozillaBrendan Eich, creator of the JavaScript programming language, was appointed Mozilla’s chief executive on March 24.

Once Mr. Eich’s support for Proposition 8 became public, the reaction was swift, with a level of disapproval that the company feared was becoming a threat to its reputation and business. …

“We didn’t act like you’d expect Mozilla to act,” wrote Mitchell Baker, the executive chairwoman of Mozilla. “We didn’t move fast enough to engage with people once the controversy started. We’re sorry. We must do better.”

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Rather astonishingly, a couple of prominent commentators on the left came out solidly in defense of liberal (in the classical liberal sense) values.

Andrew Sullivan (who I think is often dead wrong) was courageously right on this one.

Will he now be forced to walk through the streets in shame? Why not the stocks? The whole episode disgusts me – as it should disgust anyone interested in a tolerant and diverse society. If this is the gay rights movement today – hounding our opponents with a fanaticism more like the religious right than anyone else – then count me out. If we are about intimidating the free speech of others, we are no better than the anti-gay bullies who came before us.

Andrew deserves one of his own Yglesias awards.

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Conor Friedersdorf, Andrew Sullivan’s former employee, now at the Atlantic, was equally forthrightly on the good side this time.

[N]o one had any reason to worry that Eich, a longtime executive at the company, would do anything that would negatively affect gay Mozilla employees. In fact, Mozilla Executive Chairwoman Mitchell Baker, his longtime business partner who now defends the need for his resignation, said this about discovering that he gave money to the Proposition 8 campaign: “That was shocking to me, because I never saw any kind of behavior or attitude from him that was not in line with Mozilla’s values of inclusiveness.” It’s almost as if that donation illuminated exactly nothing about how he’d perform his professional duties.

But no matter.

Calls for his ouster were premised on the notion that all support for Proposition 8 was hateful, and that a CEO should be judged not just by his or her conduct in the professional realm, but also by political causes he or she supports as a private citizen.

If that attitude spreads, it will damage our society.

Consider an issue like abortion, which divides the country in a particularly intense way, with opponents earnestly regarding it as the murder of an innocent baby and many abortion-rights supporters earnestly believing that a fetus is not a human life, and that outlawing it is a horrific assault on a woman’s bodily autonomy. The political debate over abortion is likely to continue long past all of our deaths. Would American society be better off if stakeholders in various corporations began to investigate leadership’s political activities on abortion and to lobby for the termination of anyone who took what they regard to be the immoral, damaging position?

It isn’t difficult to see the wisdom in inculcating the norm that the political and the professional are separate realms, for following it makes so many people and institutions better off in a diverse, pluralistic society. The contrary approach would certainly have a chilling effect on political speech and civic participation, as does Mozilla’s behavior toward Eich.

Its implications are particularly worrisome because whatever you think of gay marriage, the general practice of punishing people in business for bygone political donations is most likely to entrench powerful interests and weaken the ability of the powerless to challenge the status quo. There is very likely hypocrisy at work too. Does anyone doubt that had a business fired a CEO six years ago for making a political donation against Prop 8, liberals silent during this controversy (or supportive of the resignation) would’ve argued that contributions have nothing to do with a CEO’s ability to do his job? They’d have called that firing an illiberal outrage, but today they’re averse to vocally disagreeing with allies.

Most vexing of all is Mozilla’s attempt to present this forced resignation as if it is consistent with an embrace of diversity and openness. Its public statements have been an embarrassment of illogic, as I suspect the authors of those statements well know. “Mozilla believes both in equality and freedom of speech,” the company wrote. “Equality is necessary for meaningful speech. And you need free speech to fight for equality. Figuring out how to stand for both at the same time can be hard.”

This is a mess.

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The hell of it is: Google is just as PC totalitarian as Mozilla. This blog was suspended by Google from its advertising program one day, abruptly, and with no prior notice, for having published, years earlier, examples of cartoons criticizing Islamic religious attitudes by the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.

Google’s cryptic communications indicated that I was expected to purge from this blog every potentially controversial item critical of Islam which Google might object to, and then beg them to take me back. I sent Google an email inviting them to kiss my ass.

I’m seriously thinking of going Linux on my next PC.

05 Jul 2013

Banned By Google Adsense

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I live far from urban American decadence, way out in the boondocks. The main drawback of which is crappy Internet delivered via satellite. For some time now, I had been noticing that one of the major advertising blocks in my sidebar was missing, but I just figured that particular item had taken to loading slowly, and I was too busy to sit around waiting for it.

Technical savant that I am, it has taken me a mere six months to take the time to delve deeper into what was going on. I finally yesterday identified what was not coming up, and then logged into Google Adsense to investigate.

What do you know! I had no ads.

And why was that? Maybe there was a message somewhere… I looked and found this message from “The Google AdSense Team:”


Hello,

This message is to alert you that one of your websites is not currently in compliance with our AdSense program policies and as a result, ad serving has been disabled to your website.

Issue ID#: 18671552

Ad serving has been disabled to: neveryetmelted.com

Example page where violation occurred: http://neveryetmelted.com/2012/09/19/france-closes-20-embassies-after-french-satire-magazine-again-publishes-mohammed-cartoons/

Action required: Check all other remaining sites in your account for compliance.

Current account status: Active

Violation explanation

To protect the integrity of our advertising program and due to a lack of appropriate ad inventory, we do not allow monetization of websites that are dedicated to overly sensitive, tragic or hurtful content.

Action required: Check account for compliance

While ad serving has been disabled to the above site, your AdSense account remains active. Please be aware that the URL above is just an example and that the same violations may exist on other pages of this website or other sites you own. Therefore, we suggest that you take the time to review the rest of your sites to ensure that they’re in compliance with our policies, and to monitor your sites accordingly to reduce the likelihood of future policy emails from us. Additionally, please note that our team reserves the right to disable accounts at any time if we continue to see violations occurring.

Appeals

If you wish to appeal this disabling then you can do so by using the Issue ID listed above to contact us via our Help Center: https://support.google.com/adsense/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=113061.

Thank you for your cooperation.

Sincerely,

The Google AdSense Team

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So I was banned by Google Adsense, back in last November, which I did not realize since the notice was (narcissistically) sent to my Google email address (which I never actually use).

The reason was my publication of “sensitive, tragic or hurtful content,” identified as a posting from 19 September 2012 reporting that France closed 20 of its embassies after the (vulgar and sophomoric) French satire magazine Charlie Hebdo, for the second time, had published crude cartoons mocking Mohammed.

My posting made a point of publishing images of the actual cartoons, which at the time many news organizations refrained from making available to their readers for fear of Muslim retaliation. I thought the cartoons were trivial in content and in poor taste, but I did also think that Islamic threats, violence, and intimidation challenging free speech in Western countries, and the cowardice of the establishment media, were quite serious issues and well worthy of attention.

So, Google Adsense, I find, is, in essence, enforcing Islamic prohibitions against even publishing, in the context of news reporting, cartoons insulting the Prophet Mohammed.

I was invited “to appeal.” Google absolutely refuses to enter into any other kind of communication with as insignificant a former business partner as myself.

When I clicked my way through the “appeal” on-line forms, I found that an appeal really consisted of a form begging Google to re-instate one’s advertising account and swearing that one had removed whatever it was that Google didn’t like.

Well, I have edited my sidebar code. Good-bye, Google Adsense. That space block is now dedicated to Amazon Associates advertising.

As for the Google Adsense team: “Ich heisse Götz von Berlichingen

Personally, I think it is disgraceful that an American company is taking it upon itself to define and punish so-called “hurtful content,” even when the quotation objectionable to the camel-fornicating community was made specifically for news reporting purposes. But Google is, we must recall, located in California, land of left-wing bedwetters, where the eucalyptus trees exude so much self-entitlement, sanctimoniousness, and political correctness that the entire atmosphere is full of the stuff. What can one expect from a bunch of metrosexual millennials who go to work in Bermuda shorts and hoodies?

10 May 2013

Seen By Google Street Views

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Tiger

Canadian blogger Jon Rafman explores Google Street Views and selects screenshots of the most interesting and unusual scenes captured, like the (above) tiger roaming near a convenience store.

The original pictures are taken by Google’s fleet of hybrid electric automobiles, each carrying 9 cameras, hence Rafman’s web-site name: 9-eyes.com

One key weakness in his concept is the editor’s failure to link each image to its Google maps location.

Where was that tiger photographed?


Where is this house?

Sample selection of 30 at Demilked.

Hat tip to Atessa Helm.

31 Mar 2013

No Easter For Google

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No Piero della Francesca RESSURECTION, not even an Easter egg, or an Easter bunny, today Google’s search logo art is focusing on something much more important.

For those hoodie-wearing fashionistas down in Mountain View, billions of Christians celebrating the most important date in the Christian calendar are irrelevant, what is important about today’s date is it being the 86th (posthumous) birthday of leftist agitator Cesar Chavez.

So let’s all raise a middle finger to those communist heathens at Google and eat some grapes. (Cesar Chavez was famous, back in the day, for organizing a grape boycott.)

There are lots of comments on Twitchy.

17 Mar 2013

St. Paddy’s Day (Google Glass Version)

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Via the Dish.

27 Apr 2012

Sometimes You Get Lucky

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Hat tip to George Takei.

01 Apr 2012

8-Bit Google Maps

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Google’s April 1st contribution.

Hat tip to Ben Slotznick.

14 Feb 2012

Valentine’s Day Animation From Google

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22 Dec 2011

Fun

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Go to Google search, type in “Let it snow” and hit Enter.

25 Oct 2011

Every Conspicuously Successful Company Looks Like a Monopoly to Washington

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Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Google

L. Gordon Crovitz, in the Wall Street Journal, quotes extensively from an interview which former Barack Obama-supporter Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Google, gave after being hailed in front of a Congressional committee recently to answer charges that Google is a monopoly and guilty of unfair trade practices.

Mr. Schmidt had just given his first congressional testimony. He was called before the Senate Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee to answer allegations that Google is a monopolist, a charge the Federal Trade Commission is also investigating.

“So we get hauled in front of the Congress for developing a product that’s free, that serves a billion people. OK? I mean, I don’t know how to say it any clearer,” Mr. Schmidt told the Post. “It’s not like we raised prices. We could lower prices from free to . . . lower than free? You see what I’m saying?”

An absence of consumer harm didn’t stop senators from offering some improbable recommendations. Among them: that Google replace its algorithm with a panel of experts to ensure “fair” search results. As Google tries to improve the relevancy of its search results for consumers, some sites inevitably come up higher and some lower in the results. The losers now lobby Washington.

“Regulation prohibits real innovation, because the regulation essentially defines a path to follow,” Mr. Schmidt said. This “by definition has a bias to the current outcome, because it’s a path for the current outcome.” …

Washington is always slow to recognize technological change, which is why in their time IBM and Microsoft were also investigated after competing technologies had emerged.

Mr. Schmidt recounted a dinner in 1995 featuring a talk by Andy Grove, a founder of Intel: “He says, ‘This is easy to understand. High tech runs three times faster than normal businesses. And the government runs three times slower than normal businesses. So we have a nine-times gap.’ All of my experiences are consistent with Andy Grove’s observation.”

Mr. Schmidt explained there was only one way to deal with this nine-times gap, which this column hereby christens “Grove’s Law of Government.” That is “to make sure that the government does not get in the way and slow things down.”

Mr. Schmidt recounted that when Silicon Valley first started playing a large role in the economy in the 1990s, “all of a sudden the politicians showed up. We thought the politicians showed up because they loved us. It’s fair to say they loved us for our money.”

He contrasted innovation in Silicon Valley with innovation in Washington. “Now there are startups in Washington,” he said, “founded by people who were policy makers. . . . They’re very clever people, and they’ve figured out a way in regulation to discriminate, to find a new satellite spectrum or a new frequency or whatever. They immediately hired a whole bunch of lobbyists. They raised some money to do that. And they’re trying to innovate through regulation. So that’s what passes for innovation in Washington.”

Read the whole thing.

25 Aug 2011

Yale Accidentally Exposes 43,000 Social Security Numbers to Search Engine Access

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Liberals, as we all know, basically believe we ought to abolish democracy immediately, and just turn running the entire world over to the kind of morally superior, highly educated, and totally enlightened beings who run Ivy League universities.

IvyGate, however, finds that the omniscient wisdom of Yale, for instance, is not all that it might be, even in the fairly obvious matter of routine identity theft prevention.

Remember that time when you first matriculated? And Yale was all like, “Hey guys, no big deal, but we’re going to need all of your personal information. Yeah, that Social Security number? Fork it over. Don’t worry, though. We’re world-class academics. We know not to do anything stupid with it, like make it available on Google, or whatever.”

Yeah, well, turns out Yale was wrong.

The university announced on Friday that around 43,000 Social Security numbers — belonging to current and former students, faculty, staff and alumni – were released into the Google ether at some juncture in the past, apparently by force of sheer incompetence innocent mistake.

19 Aug 2011

From Redmond: “GMail Man”

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Microsoft’s O365 group takes a nice whack at Google.

08 Jan 2011

HHS Paying Google to Shill for Obamacare

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The Weekly Standard tells us that Kathleen Sebelius’s Department of Health and Human Services has harnessed the power of the popular Google search engine to give the public a better opinion of Obamacare.

Try typing “Obamacare” into Google, and you’ll find that the first entry is now the Obama administration’s www.healthcare.gov. If you don’t particularly like that result, you’ll probably hate the fact that you’re paying for it.

You’ll get the same paid-for result if you type in “Obamacare facts,” “Obamacare summary,” “Obamacare info,” “Obamacare overview,” “Obamacare questions,” “Obamacare explanation,” “Obamacare basics,” “Obamacare pros and cons,” “Obamacare and elderly,” and even “Obamacare and abortion.” For each of these search terms, and many others, the Obama administration’s site comes up first, as a paid entry. But it doesn’t come up if you type in “ObamaCare repeal.”

Politico’s Ben Smith, in a post entitled “HHS Buys ‘ObamaCare,'” quotes an official from Secretary Kathleen Sebelius’s Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), who confirms that this clear attempt to influence what Americans read about Obamacare does, indeed, represent your tax dollars at work.

Via Christopher Taylor. Originaly discovered by George Scoville.

17 Feb 2010

Google Taking Over Yale’s Email System

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The Oldest College Daily reports:

Information Technology Services administrators plan to join with Google Apps for Education to bring students, faculty and employees the Gmail e-mail service by the end of this month, said an undergraduate member of the Student Technology Collaborative who asked to remain anonymous because of ITS policy. The service, tentatively called “Bulldogs,” will also offer users a suite of tools for communication and collaboration — including Google Calendar, Google Talk and Google Docs. The new interface will look like the standard Gmail layout, but without advertisements, the student said.

The Gmail-based service will gradually replace the University’s current e-mail client, Horde, the student said. The incoming class of 2014 will be the first to go directly to the new Google system, and current freshmen and sophomores will have to make the switch. Upperclassmen will have the option of keeping Horde, but the University plans to phase out Horde by spring of next year, the student said.

Planning for “Bulldogs” did not include computer science faculty, computer science professor Michael Fischer said, adding that he and his colleagues have not yet discussed the transition with ITS administrators.

“It’s a complicated issue, and I’ve just learned about the plans for the switch myself,” Fischer said. “They’re certainly not finalized yet, and we’re going to be holding discussions over the next few days to work things out.”

The transition to Google Apps will also give users more storage capacity — 7.4 gigabytes — than the two gigabytes that the University’s Pantheon data storage system currently offers, the student said. Students and faculty will be able to upload any file smaller than one gigabyte to the Gmail server and share it with other users. With Pantheon, students can upload files of no more than 200 megabytes, or one-fifth of a gigabyte.

Another student tech, who also asked to remain anonymous, said switching data to Google Apps would save Yale 12 gigabytes of on-site storage per student, totalling tens of thousands of gigabytes’ worth of data.

“Now [Yale] can host it all off-site and allow Google to maintain it for them,” the second student said in an e-mail. “The extra space can be reallocated or shut down to save money.”

Yale’s in-house disc space will then be given to only faculty or graduate students who need large amounts of data storage for academic purposes, the first student said.

Another factor in the decision to make the switch, the student said, was Gmail’s user-friendly interface.

“Since settings for ‘Bulldogs’ will be identical to Gmail settings, e-mail forwarding and the use of e-mail clients (such as Thunderbird or Outlook) will be easy,” the second student said in an e-mail.

I’m so old that I can remember the days when IT at Yale consisted of playing Star Trek and Adventure on a PDP-10.

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