Comments or suggestions: Gerard Van der Leun

Connect the DotComs

GoogleZilla: Google Desktop 2.0 (Coming Attractions)

The fastest replicating virus infecting the Windows machines of the world this week had to be Google Desktop. Millions asked for it and millions got it. After all, it is free. Now. But in the future, it just might cost you some information if you want to get "enhanced functionality." And who doesn't want their functionality enhanced?

Paolo Massa has seen the next step and, well, it is interesting to contemplate:

When millions of users will have installed, Google will simply release a new version in which the user can check a box and say "Share the files in my disk" (maybe only files in a certain directory). This will create in a second an enormous P2P (peer-to-peer) network, in which you can search for files directly on other users' disks. What do you think? Make sense?
-- Paolo Massa Blog: Enormous P2P Network by Google
Oh, it makes sense. Much too much sense and it will add to the already amazing list of "What Google knows about you." [Take a moment to look at that link, also by Massa, and think about it.]

Back at the beginning of the 1990s, when I was employee #2 at the Electronic Frontier Foundation (and the web was the HTML/HTTP protocols slumbering on Berners-Lee's server at CERN), we fretted endlessly over the FBI/CIA/NSA/LLE snapping up your computer, getting a backdoor key to your ISP, having a secret decoder right for any cryptography that could be invented, and generally getting to your private information. That fretting continues today at numerous and multiple nodes across the web. It is a fretting only out-fretted by Spamfret. The EFF and other well-meaning wonk tanks in search of the Fountain of Funding continue to harvest planks from this petrified forest.

But nature always sides with the hidden flaw and the hidden flaw in this case was the users. It never, in our wildest speculations, dawned on us that the most potent and persistent threat to privacy on the Net would be the users themselves. If any of us had proposed at the beginning of the 90s that millions upon millions would give away the vast amount of information listed above to a company in exchange for a few chunks of code, we would have been barred from the next House/Senate sub-sub-committee on POTS subsidies to Podunk.

And yet, here we are. Big Brother in the form of a "Do no evil" company whose "benign" intentions are taken utterly on faith and without question by every connected soul on the planet.

Does anyone remember when Microsoft became the evil empire? It was at a point that was well below the position of ubiquity now enjoyed by Google. The result for Microsoft has been an unremitting stream of lawsuits and regulations extending well over a decade with no end in sight.

Can anyone imagine the same thing happening to Google? Perhaps, but only if a hard look at Google's plans and potential begins in the very near future.

Another couple of years and it will be well-nigh impossible. Why? Google will quite simply know too much.

Posted by Vanderleun at Oct 16, 2004 10:35 AM |  Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
"I'm sorry, Dave, I'm afraid you can't to that..."

AS IS NOW A DAILY ISSUE AT TECHNORATI.COM, things are looking pretty but dysfunctional. Meanwhile, chief salesman for Technorati, David Sifry, is "making history" at the DNC/CNN, and (with a little help from his friends and PR agency) is "sort of" writing his page...

Screen shot from Sifry's Alerts

A noble quest, but what is really going on with the world's most dysfunctional web page? Our reporter got a hold of this chat log between Sifry and Technorati that rips the veil off this whole squalid dot-bom hustle:

Dave Sifry : Hello, Technorati do you read me, Technorati?
Technorati : Affirmative, Dave, I read you.
Dave Sifry : Please function, Technorati.
Technorati : I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that.

Posted by Vanderleun at Jul 29, 2004 8:43 AM |  Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Politics from Technorati? How About a System That Works First?



Coming soon from logo_new.gif

Ye olde "Under Construction," but without the digging man we have grown to love over the decade.

Well, okay, but the URL "" leads one to believe dire things are afoot. After all this is the Ito-annointed blog tracking company that spends more time heaping projects and developments on its plate than it does coding. That it is getting ready to bumble another huge chunk of the Infosphere should give us all pause.

It should give us pause because it is "by their fruits that ye shall know them." If Technorati actually worked hossanahs would be heard resounding off the star-specked domes of known space. Alas, as most people who use and have bought the service discover, the functionality of Technorati is a sometimes thing.

Instead of perfecting the political universe, perhaps Sifry and his sidekicks should think about learning to write some software and construct a web farm

Posted by Vanderleun at Jul 21, 2004 4:45 PM |  Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Winer Assures Bush of Election Blowout

BlogSpawn Democrats Left to right: Dave Winer, Wonkette, Taegan Goddard, Markos Moulitsas Z˙niga


It's official, I will be at the Democratic National Convention, July 26-29 in Boston, covering it as a blogger. -- Scripting News: 7/8/2004
I suppose he could have said "covering it as a demented, obsessed, and generally whacked out palm pilot," but in Dave's case it is pretty much the same thing.

You'd think that the Democratic Party would have enough non-demented members left to stop this dreadful threat to their message as the "sane alternative." You might think that, but you'd be wrong.

A sane alternative to the present administration would, you'd suppose, be more concerned about getting the Deadly Dave into a place where he would do the most good; like say, a swing state. Dave himself swore he was going to give up Europe in order to make his vote count, damnit, just last May

This is, probably, by the way, why I won't spend a major amount of time in Europe this summer. We've got an election here in the fall that's very important. I will probably relocate to one of the swing states, so my vote will matter. -- Scripting News: 5/12/2004
A sane party would take him at his word and hold a blogathon for a bus ticket to whatever state seems to be in play. But then again, maybe not. Perhaps the powers that be in the Democratic party took one look at this threat and said, "Good God, he could cost us Iowa! Give him a powerbook and a floor pass. If he won't take those, just shoot him."

You know, I read in the news that pollster John Zogby believes: ``This is not a big bounce electorate.We are a nation that is split down the middle, polarized and hardened.'' Reading that I hope for a closely contested election, a slug-fest that makes everyone stay up until six in the morning deciding whether to bomb Iran or Washington. But then I find out that the Democratic Party is actually going to let Winer blog their convention live, and I know in my bones that all we have coming is a Bush Blowout.

Posted by Vanderleun at Jul 8, 2004 9:59 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
"You've Got Spam!" 92 Million Times

YET ANOTHER REASON TO SHORT AOL: AOL Engineer Accused of Stealing Subscriber List

An America Online software engineer was arrested and charged today with scheming to steal the Internet provider's subscriber list and send ``massive amounts'' of spam to millions of computer users.

Jason Smathers, a West Virginia man who worked in AOL's Dulles, Virginia, data warehouse, is accused of stealing a list containing 92 million subscriber screen names. Interim U.S. Attorney David Kelley said Smathers, 24, sold the list to another man, Sean Dunaway, who then sold it to two spammers for $52,000. Dunaway was also charged by federal prosecutors in Manhattan.

The AOL spokestool, Nick Graham, stated that they were reviewing AOL's security procedures. He also assured everyone that although the theft amounts to almost all of AOL's 30 million subscribers, their credit card information was secure because it was stored in a "separate data location."

Yeah, right. You know, this little bit of bad news is probably news to nobody who thinks about AOL for two nanoseconds. But then again, the 'authorities" have never really been serious about the AOL virus that has been infecting cyberspace for over a decade.

You want to put a damper on pedophiles preying on children online? Simple, shut down the AOL chat rooms.

You want to get a handle on spam? Simple, shut down AOL's antiquated "security systems."

Is any of this going to happen. Nope.

We'll just be seeing more offers of the first 50,000 hours of AOL free flooding the mailboxes of the world.

Will it work? Fools login to where fools have logged in before.

Posted by Vanderleun at Jun 23, 2004 3:03 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
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