On a recent five-star November afternoon, I decided to visit Trinity Church Cemetery in northern Harlem. Starting at the plateau on Amsterdam Avenue and 154th Street, I followed the winding paths down through a kaleidoscope of autumn leaves and crumbling crypts, which, glowing in the western sun, appeared almost transitory. As one tends to do in cemeteries, I contemplated the end of all things. Lately, I had heard murmurs about “the death” of the internet, and though inclined to dismiss such speculation as a form of insipid nostalgia that often clings to any recollection of the past—and really, what is the internet if not an infinite collection of memories?—I [...]
On this day in 1998, Stanford University Ph.D. students Larry Page and Sergey Brin incorporated Google, currently the world's greatest Internet company and what will eventually be the world's greatest company for whatever Google eventually decides to become. How great is Google? Google could not be greater! And I am not just saying that because they have so much of my personal information that just doing a quick mental inventory of the things they know about me—things I probably don't even know, or want to admit, about myself—provokes an astounding degree of anxiety and regret and recriminations of the "how could you be so stupid, giving up that much [...]
App updates seem to come in waves. One minute you've obsessively completed updates, the next minute, your folder or app store icon on your phone has a big red "22" badge on it. Around half of all updates are minor but useful bug fixes. Sometimes they're incredibly undersold security updates, a little trick Tumblr pulled this week when they realized that they were sending passwords in plain text. (No one really went crazy about this, surprisingly, because we live in password denial: "Some company that you exchange information with is going to reveal your password to someone else.") This week's app updates cluster revealed something more interesting: lots [...]
Here is a pretty epic and accurate description of the hubris of the new Internet-rich. Now that a small group of people has accumulated vast amounts of money, employing desperately few Americans, paying very little in taxes, isolating itself in wealthy bubbles while the rest of America slowly smolders, what will we do when they try to take over the government? Nope, not in some hypothetical far future; pretty much it all starts right now. First one off the Internet wins.
Death approaches, for one and all. But what about our important data stored within free services that Google may or may not shut down before our death? For this, there's Google Afterlife. It's not called Google Afterlife, but that's just what some tech writers have named it, because "Inactive Account Manager" sounds like something Verizon would do to you for $6.99 a month, in or out of the grave.
Here's how it works: You can go to some Google page and click some things. No more worries about death! After your demise, if Google hasn't killed off the service, the particular way you misunderstood "Inactive Account Manager" will function [...]
Apple, Google, Hewlett-Packard, Intel, Google, Chevron, Disney, Wells Fargo, Cisco, Oracle, KB Home, Yahoo, Qualcomm, Hilton, Oracle, eBay, Charles Schwab, Clorox, Adobe, Oracle … it seems like a lot of the world's top companies are based in California, including more than half of the NASDAQ technology index. But Texas Governor Rick Perry is the kind of man who knows things in his heart, and he won't let any fancy coastal-elite numbers and facts get in the way of what God tells Rick Perry in the dead of night.
The human species is rapidly changing! Mostly not for the better, obviously, but some "futurists" believe their particular demographic (overeducated overpaid youngish professionals starting to worry about mortality) has already begun the process of becoming superhuman mutant cyborgs. Are you kind of depressed that you didn't get around to doing grown-up adult-type things until you were already (technically) middle-aged? Maybe it's okay, because you are the first generation of this new technological human-synthetic revolution! Or maybe you will physically and mentally deteriorate the way humans have always declined, unless they were lucky enough to be killed in a war or wiped out by a plague or eaten by saber-toothed tigers.[...]
"Along the lines of self-driving cars and smart glasses, Google's newest venture promises to wow the tech scene. Only, it's not quite tech, at least in the traditional sense. The venture is called California Life Company, or Calico for short, and its goal is to extend human life by 20 to 100 years."
It is no longer appropriate for search to be under the thumb of private industry. It's a critical part of the national infrastructure. So if I were a real pinko, I'd be advocating for the nationalization of Google, à la Chavez—but I'm not a real pinko. Besides, the American people have already bought and paid for an ideal alternative to Google. That's right: we have the means in hand to create a public, ad-free, totally fair and reasonably transparent search engine with a legal mandate to operate in the public interest, and most of the work is already done. We have also a huge staff of engineers to conclude what [...]
Under circumstances shrouded by mystery, two brothers painted this on a wall by the railway tracks at Paddington on Christmas Eve of 1974.
Until the wall was knocked down, ten years later, passengers would cruise past it as their trains slowed in and out of London. It was anonymous, 45 centimeters tall, and not very colorful, but a lot of people remember it. "Far away is close at hand in images of elsewhere."
In his lovely A History of the World in Twelve Maps (the Daily Mail called it "jaunty"), historian Jerry Brotton calls the graffito "perhaps the best metaphorical description" of what happens when a person uses a [...]
I congratulate you, my dear Cornelia, on having acquired the valuable art of writing. How delightful to be enabled by it to converse with an absent friend, as if present! —Thomas Jefferson
She hesitated, and then, impulsively, "I wonder if it would be too much to ask you for your autograph?"
Ralph then attached the Telautograph to his Telephot while the girl did the same. When both instruments were connected he signed his name and he saw his signature appear simultaneously on the machine in Switzerland. —Hugo Gernsback, Ralph 124C 41+ (1911)
On February 27th, Toni Morrison took part in an [...]
Before Flickr, before Tumblr, before Instagram or Chatroulette or sideboob slideshows on corporate media websites, there was TonyPierce.com. From his East Hollywood bachelor pad at the dawn of the century, Tony combined his own L.A. snapshots with pilfered celebrity photographs, found objects, PG-13 pictures submitted by the camgirls, and freeform essays on his favorite subjects: his bus ride to work, Howard Stern, the Chicago Cubs, 19-year-old girls in their underwear, Charles Bukowski, the Los Angeles Times. Tony went pro as editor of LAist.com and then blog editor at the Los Angeles Times, where he created and edited iconic blogs such as L.A. Now and Hero Complex. We talked [...]
Like many people who moved to San Francisco in the early 1990s, I did it because San Francisco was cheap. It didn't have the lowest rents—in the California of three recessions ago, a Silver Lake bungalow or blocks-from-the-beach Santa Monica apartment were even more affordable than the chilly city by the bay—but it was the only West Coast town you could survive in without a car. With a $35 Fast Pass, all the smelly buses and dinky Muni trains and even the cable cars were there for the riding to and from work, whether you were a bartender or a waiter or (like me) a very fast typist irregularly [...]
It's becoming ever-harder to find actual real things on the Internet. How can you learn by way of search about, say, canine diabetes, when you can't predict or tell which result is a spam farm and which is a labor of love? Here's a pretty impressive look at how PR Web is undermining search results and gaming Google News and propagating what is essentially spam throughout the Internet. (In this instance, a company used PR Web for pretty obvious market manipulation—and it didn't even work. LOL.) Two things are gross about that: First, it doesn't even help PR Web's clients get Google-rated inbound links. It's not actually [...]
"Some of Google's Gchat and Hangout users are having their communications rerouted to unintended recipients. The glitch is causing unrest among those who rely on the two Google services (reasonably so), and could potentially be a serious breach of data." Google claims the issue has been resolved, but that probably comes too late for you to mend those friendships that have been irrevocably destroyed, right?
He travels to Asia for work. She looks up pressure cookers online. And God only knows what the 20-year-old boy in the house Googles. That combination, apparently, is how you get a "joint terrorism task force" to show up at your door on Long Island:
"Meanwhile, they were peppering my husband with questions. Where is he from? Where are his parents from? They asked about me, where was I, where do I work, where do my parents live. Do you have any bombs, they asked. Do you own a pressure cooker? My husband said no, but we have a rice cooker. Can you make a bomb with that? [...]
— Veronica De Souza (@HeyVeronica) May 24, 2013
The world's biggest Internet company apparently took 12 hours to remove a missing bridge from its maps—maps that are used by millions to navigate. Tech geek society, of course, is apparently claiming this as a victory for amazingness. Except it's still not: Google maps still routes you over the collapsed bridge. Just remember, you were warned about giving one company all your email, documents, photos and everything else!
— Eric Schmidt (@ericschmidt) April 25, 2013
Google billionaire Eric Schmidt is the chief lobbyist for The Machines, and so he has produced a piece of propaganda to encourage humans to welcome the ever-expanding roles of programs in their lives. Borrowing its name from a lost Joy Division recording, #NewDigitalAge will help retrain what he calls "humans" to give up all their data to the algorithms of The Machines, in exchange for ease and entertainment.
Schmidt's lobbying for The Machines includes teaching humans basic facts about The Machines and [...]
The day was long coming, but it's still okay for bloggers to feel a little bit proud this morning: The "Top Stories" on Google News on this busy Monday morning lead with a blog recap of "The Walking Dead." Stick that in your nuclear missiles, North Korean guy!
If you needed some "hard news," the next top story of the moment is "On Easter Sunday, Google Honors Cesar Chavez, Not Jesus."
Google's Android phones are used by more people, yet Apple's App Store sells 400% more than Google's online store for Android apps. How is this even possible? Consumer tech experts say it's because Apple started early and has stringent quality control and also has a whole lot of iTunes account holders who typed in their credit card information before they even owned a smart phone.
Consumers are more willing to fork over their money for an iOS app, because they know they’ll probably get their money’s worth, says app developer Zak Tanjeloff with DLP Mobile. “The App Store has a higher proportion of quality apps, thanks to the [...]