The evil in ‘do not be evil’ google

The words “do not be evil” have been linked to Google for a while now, and has reached near mythical proportions now with some of its users. But how much of this is true?

One would argue, successfully, that google must absolutely not be evil, since these very words where immortalized in it’s IPO. However, such reasoning would have one flaw:

They have shareholders now.

Perhaps when google started out, it truly was guided by wonderful guidelines like that, many companies do. Personally, I always strive to be as honest and transparent as possible, but as a private person, I can do that. A publicly traded company like google cannot. It has shareholders. Shareholders are in it for one thing only: making a profit, and as much as possible of that profit. There is no “for the greater good of mankind” in stocks.

Now, a lot of you will grab a torch and pitchfork, (There is an app for that) and demand proof.

Okay, here are some examples that I plucked from a number of users at app.net (commonly known as ADN by it’s users):

  • when removing my unused google+ account, It also – without warning – deleted my YouTube account with all it’s video’s.
  • when I wanted to upload a new video to my companies YouTube channel, it first demanded and forced me to create a google+ account
  • Now, we all know google+ is google’s third or something attempt at building a social network. Personally, all I hear or see about it is messages on Facebook or ADN saying: I created a google+ account for some reason. Followed by a message a month or so later: I deleted my google+ account.

    But seriously, forcing people to create an account there, and deleting their stuff on other sections of the platform if you delete the account? That is pretty evil. It is safe to say that google’s latest attempt to do something akin to a social network is failing too. Most accounts are idle, and those that are not are few and far between. All I hear is that there is zero interaction and zero community feeling. (Something that comes by the bucketload on app.net)

    What is next? My google enterprise (which just got a very unexpected, inconsiderate, and hefty price increase) account will get whipped out if I don’t want to use a google+ account?

    Google, even more then apple, is the most rampant example of vendor lock-in I have witnessed in the industry so far. An apple device without iCloud will function just fine. An android device? Not so much.

    So, is google evil? Yes, increasingly so. They have no choice, their shareholders demand that of them. You see an almost similar thing happening at apple after Jobs, Jobs was fascinatingly good at keeping shareholders at bay, in order to build a monumentally good product ecosystem. He just about got away with everything, simply because the figures showed he was right. Now, you slowly see shareholders demands for higher profits creep in in the little things. And this is worrying. Shareholders don’t know what makes a company like that successful, and they should not get too much say in the development processes. Companies like apple and google need a Jobs who can stick to his core principles and damned the consequences. Shareholders – despite what they might say – do not have the best interest of the company, it’s products, it’s customers at heart. It’s all about how much profit they can make. And if that is by dissolving the company, they will do that in a heartbeat.

    Samsung Continues to Poke Fun at Apple Fans in Super Bowl Ad

    A nice post from MacRumors points out that Samsung continues to poke fun at Apple users, who stand in line to get the a newly launched product.

    Now, as a dutch person, I am blissfully oblivious to the Super Bowl, but one thing I do know is:

    Super Bowl ads do not come cheap

    So, Samsung thinks people are wrong for being dedicated to a certain brand other then theirs (Apple, no surprises so far). And wants to use advertising to ‘convert’ such people to purchasing the ‘right’ choice. (their product). Nothing shocking so far.

    So, they have spent millions ( from what I’ve learned, Super Bowl Ads really do not come cheap) on an ad, in which they alienate their prospective customers, by – basically – calling them idiots. Now, I am not one to complain when a big corporation pisses away it’s money. But seriously. Did you even pay attention in marketing school? Never, ever, ever, piss of people you want as your customer.

    For people who buy Apple stuff, your products are probably just not interesting enough. From my own personal experience with Samsung: apple hardware is a hell of a lot better quality. If I spend money, I don’t mind spending more money, if I get a better product. Apple delivers. Every damn time.

    Not that I would personally stand in line for it.

    The only thing the iPad might be lacking

    I, like many others, like the iPad. I don’t own one, and never have, because as much as I love my iPhone, I don’t like one simple thing:

    – it’s got no separation for users

    Separation for users, while a common thing on computers, including OS X, is very uncommon on phones and tablets. On phones like the iPhone this is entirely justifiable because phones in general have only one intended user. It’s a PIM, or personal information device. Computers are very much the opposite, where more then one users frequently accesses the same computer both in a work or a home setting.

    Enter the tablet. The tablet seems to fit right between those two groups, but one thing is for sure: a tablet is often shared amongst people in a household.

    Now comes the issue of user separation: my girlfriend and I both have email accounts, Facebook and twitter accounts, etc, that we would like to access on a tablet we would share. We also both have iPhone’s and Mac’s. But neither of us has any interest or business in the other’s email or Facebook, and the mentioned apps are not build to support more then one user for the most part, anyway.

    Now, one might argue that we could just choose not to use email, Facebook, twitter, and what not, on the tablet, and this is possible. However, how much sense does it make to purchase a device for about € 499, and then be utterly limited in it’s use? And no, buying two would simply be wasteful.

    So, one seemingly innocent feature, would probably open up a whole new piece of the market. I know it would for us. I imagine tablet manufacturers would much rather sell everyone in the household his or her own tablet. But in cases like this it’s not about making the most money, but just doing what’s right. You’re probably not going to loose sales over it. Some households will still buy more then one tablet, simply because the demand is high enough to justify such a purchase.

    Add another to the list

    I can finally, after being long overdue, add the UK, and more specifically: Scotland to my list of countries visited.

    Last month, Kirsteen and I travelled to Glasgow on a family and friends visiting trip.

    I absolutely loved it. Though we did find the hotel lacking. Not worth what they charge. Though the breakfast at the Park Inn ( previously: Langs ) was very nice indeed.

    I look forward to going back to Glasgow soon.

    bacula: Fatal error: Failed to authenticate Storage daemon

    When you see the backup of a (non localhost) client failing with the message:

    Fatal error: Failed to authenticate Storage daemon

    Keep in mind that bacula uses tcpwrappers, though probably not in the way you expect it.

    instead of doing:

    bacula-sd : 111.222.333.444

    do:

    $name-sd : 111.222.333.444

    where $name is the name you specified in the bacula-sd.conf

    Most services that use tcpwrappers (tcpd) use the name of the service (bacula-sd in this case), but bacula has a cute approach to it that listens only to the name you defined for the service. As far as I can tell this applies only to bacula-sd, and not bacula-dir or bacula-fd.

    So, say you would have the following config in bacula-sd.conf:

    Storage {                             # definition of myself
      Name = foo.bar-sd
      SDPort = 9103                  # Director's port
      WorkingDirectory = "/var/lib/bacula"
      Pid Directory = "/var/run/bacula"
      Maximum Concurrent Jobs = 20
    }

    then your /etc/hosts.allow would read:

    foo.bar-sd : 111.222.333.444

    Please note that you will still need to take care of your passwords on both ends, any mismatches there will results in no backups being made. Be sure to test your backups regularly.

    do companies ‘sell out’ their customers?

    Normally I don’t answer ‘blocked’ phone numbers on my cellphone, but since I’m expecting a call from a company I got tempted today. It was (off course) some call center, who immediately asked:

    “I’m sorry to bother you, but do you by any chance have children under the age of 12?”

    my (logical) answer was:

    “I fail to see how that is any of your business”

    Now, comes the interesting part about the whole affair: my cellphone number is not listed anywhere. That’s right, nowhere. Sure, I’ve given it to some companies who I do business with, and off course all my friends and relatives.  So, how exactly did some random call center get it’s hands on my number? Obviously, the only way they could have gotten it is because one of the mentioned companies has sold out on it’s customers, and there you have it. Could be the telco, could be another company. I doubt we’ll ever find out exactly who.

    On the plus side,  here in The Netherlands we have something called (translated) “don’t call me“. It’s an online database, and numbers registered in it can not be called by marketers. ( That is law, by the way ).  It has worked fabulously for my home phone number , which has been listed there since day one. I just forgot to list my cell in there too,  since I’ve never been called by marketers on that one. It’s listed now.

    I do feel there should be a law prohibiting companies selling any of their customer information to a third party. Privacy and such. Specially when it comes to e-mail addresses and phone numbers.

    Spamassassin 2010 bug

    Someone on IRC pointed me to this wonderful bug in Spamassassin, it’s easy to quickfix, but the fix itself will become a bug in 10 years, in any case, until they push an update that correctly fixes this:

    ##{ FH_DATE_PAST_20XX
    header   FH_DATE_PAST_20XX      Date =~ /20[1-9][0-9]/ [if-unset: 2006]
    describe FH_DATE_PAST_20XX      The date is grossly in the future.

    ( meaning emails sent in 2010  will also trigger the scoring )

    should be changed into:

    ##{ FH_DATE_PAST_20XX
    header   FH_DATE_PAST_20XX      Date =~ /20[2-9][0-9]/ [if-unset: 2006]
    describe FH_DATE_PAST_20XX      The date is grossly in the future.

    Making it not a problem until we reach 2020 🙂

    On my ubuntu box the rule is found in:

    /usr/share/spamassassin/72_active.cf

    Special thanks to Habbie for making me aware of the problem on IRC!

    oh and by the way:

    Happy New Year!

    🙂

    a wonderful xmas :)

    I had a wonderful Christmas this year 🙂

    On the 24th, my girlfriend Kirsteen flew in from Vienna, where she lives, and she stayed until the 27th. We did the whole exchange of gifts on Christmas-eve, a first for me – it’s more a British tradition I think, and since she’s Scottish … I think I’m converted 🙂 She liked what I got her, and I loved what she got me.

    Otherwise, we did nothing exceptional for x-mas, the usual: stuff yourself with food and watch a ton of movies (I has Blu-Ray).  She brought the latest Star Trek movie on DVD (great!), which she got from her friend Amber for x-mas.

    Unfortunately, my daughter could not join the party, but that’s life for you. I still have some gifts for her, so she’ll get them later.

    New years will involve working for me, one of the tragedies of life as a computer geek.  But in January I will see both my girls again, and I ‘m looking forward to that a lot.  A trip to Kirsteen in Vienna (and a trip to Bratislava together from there) is in the works. And I’m sure we’ll enjoy that little break very much.

    leopard-h57-satinblack-09

    January will also (hopefully) finally bring the delivery of my new bike (picture on the right). I’ve been biking to work since I started my new job at Mirabeau Hoorn in November, it’s a mere 15 minute trip and the first time I’ve worked so close to home that I can bike there. I love it every day (and hey, it’s healthy too!).