Tag Archives: Google

Come With Me If You Want to Live

Over the past few weeks, people have been growing increasingly nervous about the Conficker worm. All anyone’s knew about it until now is that it was going to start looking for a message on April 1.

It appears that Conficker has received its message, and it doesn’t look good for us.

Google has announced their new Artificial Intelligence, CADIE (Cognitive Autoheuristic Distributed-Intelligence Entity).

I’ve already taken a look at CADIE’s homepage and YouTube channel and as far as I can tell, it’s indistinguishable from what most humans put on line. And if you can’t reliably tell an A.I. apart from a human, then the A.I. has passed the Turing Test.

Now we know what the Conficker worm is: It’s Google’s A.I. Or rather, it’s Skynet.

If you need me for anything, I’ll be hanging out with Sarah Conner.

What Happened to the Ads?

You may have noticed that Google ads have been disappearing from my site. I took them out of the convention list pages about a week ago, and removed them from the blog just a few minutes ago.

I’ve had Google ads on the site for the past five years. The initial intent was mainly so I could look at the ad statistics and find out how many people were viewing the site (with JavaScript turned on) as opposed to the various bots which just scrape the pages. There was also a fantasy that perhaps I’d generate enough ad revenue that the site would pay for itself.

The ad revenue never really amounted to much of anything and although some of the ads were relevant, an awful lot of them weren’t. Most people visiting the site were looking for things related to various fandoms, a lot of the ads were for hotels and convention centers, not necessarily in the same cities as the conventions. And then there were the rather “spammy” ads for alleged weight loss programs.

The final straw came a couple weeks ago. Google announced that they were changing the way the ads worked. Instead of just making them (allegedly) relevant to the page content, they were going to track the sites you visited and base the ads on the type of sites you visited.

OK, sure, that way the ads are more interesting to you, and perhaps you’re more likely to click them that way. But having a company track my movements for marketing purposes just feels icky. And to make it worse, not only did you have to explicitly opt out, but Google made it the content owner’s responsibility to notify you (via a privacy property you’d probably never look for) of Google’s actions.

So, I’m removing the ads. I do feel that content owners deserve to be compensated for their work, but I think Google crossed a line.

Google Loses its Glitter

Starship Farragut premiered their two new “Crew Logs” mini-episodes today. I’d been planning to attend the premier and post a short review of the new episodes, but my plans didn’t quite work out.

In a rather infamous incident six years ago, I got lost on my way to Ocean City. It was my first-ever time going there and in the end, it took me six hours versus the three it took my friends. I have no doubt that the directions MapQuest gave me were accurate, but they involved following a number of unmarked back roads. I haven’t used MapQuest since.

For the past several years, I’ve been using Google Maps without significant problems. I’ve been increasingly concerned about Google lately though. They’ve been rolling out a variety of new features (e.g. Street Views), but it appears the core mapping system is suffering from a lack of attention. Two months ago, I discovered a park which in reality is just a couple miles up the road was supposedly located on the other side of the county. More recently, a street which had been labeled correctly for the past five years suddenly had all of its street numbers reversed (I truly hope that no Emergency Services use Google for anything important.)

Today was strike three for Google Maps. I knew the Farragut premier was at the University of Maryland’s Hoff Theater, but never having been there, I needed directions. Not to worry though, I visited Google Maps, typed in “Hoff Theater” and Google quickly popped up a set of directions. All was good. Or so I thought.

The route from Google dropped me into the middle of a residential neighborhood, with no theaters of any sort, just a “hole in the wall” restaurant, a couple nearby gas stations, and a whole heck of a lot of houses.

I don’t blame the Farragut folks for this. Heck, I probably shouldn’t blame Google either. Instead, I should have looked around on the University of Maryland’s web site to see if they had directions. The worst of it is, from my previous experiences, I should have known better than to trust Google.

By the time I got myself sorted out, it was already 4:30 and by my reckoning, the Starship Farragut event was likely halfway over. On my way out, I spotted a sign for the University of Maryland campus, but by then I didn’t see much point.

Hopefully the Farragut Crew Logs were well-received. I’m looking forward to seeing them.

But for now, I need to find a better source of maps.

By Google’s Command

I’m a bit embarrassed I hadn’t noticed this before.

The icon for Google’s new Chrome web browser features a sort of beach-ball thing with a circle in the middle. It looks a little like a robotic eye.

Chrome eye.

They’ve included that eye in the logo on the download page.

Chrome eye.

On the new Battlestar Galactica, the human-appearing cylons are frequently referred to as “skin jobs.” The more classically robotic centurions are occasionally referred to as “chrome jobs.” These so called “chrome jobs” have only one eye.

One eye. Robotic. Chrome.

Do you suppose Google is being run by Cylons?