“Simplicity is the reward after the challenge of complexity.”
That’s actually by me, and I said it spontanously during a nice pub conversation with a business partner and an old friend.
16 years ago today, I left my first trace on the face of the internet. I was a posting to the Usenet newsgroup sci.crypt, and I was posting in German. Translated, the post reads:
I coded a simple encryption algorithm in Turbo-Pascal, whose sole purpose is to secure a few lines of text against the eyes of less ambitious “spys”. Anybody interested in testing it?
The response was – ahem – poor (read: zero), but it was the start of an interesting journey which has not yet ended.
Actually, the date when I got my first account on one of the Sun 3/50 workstations which were connected to the Internet, was a few months earlier – but this Usenet post is the first “jour fixe” I can tie my net presence to.
What a great job! http://news.google.com/news?q=jetblue%20emergency%20landing
Since I installed Google Earth I wondered if someone mapped the filming locations as placemarks. Quick web searches didn’t reveal much – only one placemark for Helm’s Deep. However tonight I found a very rich collection of Middle Earth placemarks, showing many locations plus the WETA studios.
I’m very attached to the Lord of the Rings. Since the age of 12, when I read it the first time, I have re-read it numerous times. Also, dearly missed friends have emigrated to New Zealand almost two years ago – so my longing to actually go to Middl… er…. New Zealand has increased dramatically.
WebmasterWorld and Tom Raftery mentioned the new Google Blog Search almost simultaneously. Yes, it’s nice. Yes, it’s way faster than Technorati. No, it hasn’t all features of Technorati (yet). Yes, :tz: is listed. Yes, I like it.
Sounds like a “me too” post? OK, here comes the beef:
Via Google Blog Search (which really should be called Google Feed Search, because it lists feeds as well), I found a posting on an Australian blog for one of my employers “money terms”, which never popped up on my radar before! It was a rather harsh (but honest) end-user report about one of our products, and it came to me raw, unfiltered. I commented on the blog and I contacted the author, and we had a rather interesting email conversation. I raised awareness for the issues at hand, and I got a better understanding of this specific end customers needs. Something I get – if at all – only filtered by various levels of distribution hierarchy.
So Google Blog Search made my day. Within the first minute of using it, it brought a valuable link to my attention, which neither regular websearch, nor Technorati, nor Pubsub brought to my attention before. Go figure!
I had a revelation today! I cycled home from work, and my mind was wandering a bit, and I thought about a few things which happened during the last days. All of a sudden I became aware that TYCon3 is over now and Kai hasn’t blogged anything new about it. And that opened my eyes!
I would very much like Kai to know that I want more reports on TYCon3. So my options are:
What I envision is that I could comment on a future post! I go to the blog, I open the comment form, I give it a topic (in this case for example “TYCon3 summary”), and I write my comment (in this case “Hey, Kai, so what was your overall impression?”). The original blog author only needs to write a post to my comment.
What do you think?
Here’s the thing. Google has memorized who you are. It’s memorized all of us, through those little forgotten bits that we leave behind like breadcrumbs. And what’s more important, it’s memorized it’s own idea of you. Google is omniscient. It’s omniscient and omnipotent.
What tingled down my spine is the similarity between this short story, and a discussion I initiated some while ago on WebmasterWorld:
Does Google know who I am? I mean on the larger scale, not per individual transaction? [...] They set all these cookies in my browser. And even though I use a total of 4 browsers on a total of 2 PC’s with both static and changing IP-adresses, I think it is pretty easy to combine these to ONE user profile. So do they know who I am? And if so, what are they going to do with that knowledge? Will they put me (or my sites) on a watch list to have a closer eye on them? Will red flags appear on some huge wall spanning backprojection screens? Will automated routines zoom in on me as soon as I enter the Matrix? Oh my, that probably sounds pretty paranoid…
But, I mean, they are good at collection data on a large scale, and to process it. What does the distilled data I so freely submit look like? Mostly harmless? Damn, were is my tinfoil hat?