My avatar across the web: a photo of my feet in grey-white socks and brown sandals.

Ben Babcock

I read, write, code, and knit.

9 Articles Tagged with “Google”

  1. I kind of want a tablet--in 3 years

    I have to say, I'm experiencing some strong technology lust for the new wave of Android 3.0 tablets, beginning with the Motorola XOOM, that are hitting the market. Future Shop's tech blog has posted some video reviews by rgbfilter that show off the XOOM, and there's a part of me that's saying, "Want. Want. Want." It's exciting to see competitors for the iPad running the first version of Android that's "optimized for tablets," and along with the release of the BlackBerry PlayBook, the tablet market is starting to get very interesting.

    I have been somewhat sceptical of the niche tablets fill since the release of the original iPad. In retrospect, I think that was as much a reaction against the hype surrounding the iPad itself than any qualified evaluation of tablets in general. The idea that the iPad is a "game-changer" (whatever that means) was silly to me; yes, it's a significant new product, but tablets are still in their infancy. They haven't even started teething yet.

    I've had my Samsung Galaxy S for about six months now, and I love it. This experience with an Android smartphone, and some good observations regarding the utility of tablets, such as

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  2. Your Internet may be monitored for quality control purposes

    Poster advertising the surveillance of London Metro stations by CCTV

    This is a critical response to David Lyon's "The World Wide Web of Surveillance: The Internet and off-world power-flows," published in the Spring 1998 issue of Information, Communication & Society. Those of you lucky enough to have a university account that has access to such things can find it there; those of you following along at home can read the earlier version presented at a Canadian Association for Information Science meeting in 1997.

    That was the single most difficult aspect when considering my response to this reading: it was written in 1997. True, that's only 13 years ago--but the World Wide Web itself is only 20 years old. That is pre-Google, the entity that has, perhaps more than any other Internet-based company, single-handedly changed the way we use the Web--not to mention introduced a suite of privacy and surveillance concerns that weren't around in 1997. So as a technophile upstart who came to the Web in 2004 and writes in HTML5, I had to keep my reservations regarding the article's age in check. After all, despite the changes since Lyon wrote this, most of the article is still valid. There are parts that read as outdated, and…

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  3. Let me get this straight: time goes forward?

    I intended to post this two days ago, but somehow never got around to it. You know you need to blog more when your grandparents remark on your inactivity. So let's do this!

    The past few weeks have been, for the most part, uneventful (and that's good). I worked a bit more than I would like, but there's not much to be done. I've tried to use all the free time I have as wisely as possible, mostly reading. Now that the snow is gone--even though the frost warnings are not--I like to sit outside the front of the house on the nice days.

    Having finished playing Mass Effect a second time, I tried playing Tomb Raider: Anniversary again. Unfortunately, the controls continued to frustrate me as I fell back into the rythym of "No, Lara, jump that way--oh, and you died." So I tried Tomb Raider: Legend instead. While it's the same engine, the levels are shorter and more varied, so I'm less frustrated with it.

    I'm greatly anticipating Mass Effect 2, and a few days ago I saw the trailer for Assassin's Creed 2. I enjoyed the first Assassin's Creed, although the story was somewhat…

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  4. Newspapers dubbed Internet parasite by Me

    According to Robert Thomson, Google is an "internet parasite". In Thomson's view, Google's aggregation of content promotes a "'mistaken perception' that content should be free" and decreases traditional brand loyalty.

    The nature of content, content creation, and how much this information is worth are at the heart of every major debate regarding the economics of the Internet. These issues are responsible for our DRM woes with regards to software and digital music, and they drive the collapse of so-called "traditional media", such as newspapers, which aren't adapting quickly enough to the new playing field.

    This is the most amusing quotation:

    Google encourages promiscuity -- and shamelessly so -- and therefore a significant proportion of their users don't necessarily associate that content with the creator.

    Oh no! Google's promoting competition among content providers! How dare they?! I mean, it's not as if the so-called "free market" is based on competition. Shame on Google for corrupting those free market values!

    I would go so far as to argue that the whole point of the Internet is aggregation of content. This is why the Internet revolution is so profoundly different from any previous information revolution, including that of the printing press. The…

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  5. Google Chrome, Part 2: All Your Base Are Belong to Google

    Yesterday, I explained why I was excited about Google getting into the browser game. Of course, no new Google venture is complete without some people taking issue with Google's privacy policies. In this case, the controversy was around Google Chrome's EULA, specifically section 11.1. Now, since everything on the Internet happens at the speed of light, Google has already changed the wording of that clause and applied it retroactively, claiming that it was all a mistake by the lawyers behind the curtain. However, this incident reminds us of just how much data Google collects, not to mention privacy issues online as a whole.

    I should begin with the disclaimer that I am not a Google fanboy. I love some of Google's services--I use Gmail, although I prefer to check my mail through Mozilla Thunderbird's interface, and Google Calendar is my favourite calendar application. However, I'm perfectly willing to criticize Google. I try not to be a fanboy of anything, but if I were, I'd be a Joss Whedon fanboy. So I'm going to hijack this post to mention that the Dr. Horrible soundtrack is available for purchase on iTunes. That is all.

    The Internet is transforming…

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  6. Google Chrome, Part 1: Polish that perspective

    Google made a splash on Labour Day when it announced the release of its own browser, Google Chrome.

    It's important to note that this is only a beta release, and Google's made it clear that they are going to make major improvements to it. Check out the comic book that explains Google Chrome for techie details. A comic book--how cool is that?

    Of course, Google has set a high standard for itself in the past. Reaction to this "beta" has been negative from some people (particularly those less tech-savvy who are underwhelmed by the interface), and Google has itself to blame for ruining the "beta" label with stable services like Gmail. However, it's important to look beyond Google Chrome as just a product and examine its significance to users and the Internet as a whole.

    For me, Google Chrome is significant because it is open source. Google has a history of supporting the open source community, but this is the first really big open source Google product. I love Google's other apps, but their proprietary nature has always made me slightly uneasy. By making Google Chrome open source, Google is signalling that it isn't entering the browser business just…

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  7. iGoogle?

    Anyone else noticed this new iGoogle thing that Google has going for it?

    What's with the name? You would think that a company as creative as Google would be able to come up with a better name than something that--well, frankly, that sounds like a bad Apple rip-off. And this isn't just Google's problem. iWhatever has become the new "Whatever X" of our generation. I feel sorry for the poor letter--it's not even uppercase! And it's being attached willy-nilly to products and services just because it sounds cool.

    In fact, if the current trend continues, we'll run out of i's to use in every day conversation! Soon conversaton wll look lke ths, because we wn't have enough eyes to go around. :( T wll be the end of cvlzaton as we know t.

    But I digress. Anyone else tried iGoogle? It looks interesting. I use regular Google as my homepage because it is quick to load, but I think I will try out iGoogle for a week or two to see if I like having all this information at my finger tips better.

  8. Google . . .?

    I was proud of Google for refusing the United States Justice Department's request for that information. Unfortunately, it seems that Google's done a total 180° on me. . . .

    They've agreed to censor their services in China, including censoring words such as "democracy" and "human rights" from their search engine. :( Apparently the decision was "painful" but they think some access for China to Google is better than none.

    I think that regardless of how they rationalise it, the decision was about business plain and simple. Google just didn't want to lose its market, so it compromised. >_<

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  9. Google Talk

    So Google has this new instant messenging client, Google Talk. I downloaded it to try it out. Smartly, Google has used a standard protocol, XMPP, allowing clients such as Trillian Pro and GAIM to connect to it. This means I can supposedly use Google Talk even in Ubuntu.

    How does it stack up to other IM clients? Overall I say it loses, simply because it lacks so many features other clients have. For example, no emoticons. The overall interface is smooth and rough at the same time: it looks good, but handles roughly. However, it is new. I'll give it time to improve and gain features, like Gmail, because it looks good right now and so far Google hasn't let me down.

    Google Talk at least allows a degree of text formatting (using bold and italic) and promises rich text formatting in the future, unlike MSN Messenger. And its call feature (audio conversation over a microphone) is superior to MSN: faster to connect by far, and no 'network issues' whatsoever. Take that, MSN.

    The way it groups conversations into one stacked window reminds me slightly of GAIM but handles better than GAIM. It took a few minutes…

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