Archive for the 'Technology' Category

Hef supports open source projects! (indirectly)

Sunday, September 19th, 2004

Playboy mirrors some pretty cool software projects, including Apache, FreeBSD, and mod_ssl. Cool.

(Via Photo Matt)


Wednesday, September 15th, 2004

Flickr is a neat little web-app that helps you publish and organize photos online. It integrates with iPhoto too. Check out some random photos of mine (refresh the page to see 5 new ones):

An interesting look at Windoze

Thursday, June 17th, 2004

An interesting look in to the politics of Windows development

Gmail and the End of Privacy?

Tuesday, April 6th, 2004

On April 1st, Google announced its forthcoming free email service, dubbed Gmail. The service, set to compete with other free, ad-driven web mail offerings including Microsoft’s Hotmail and Yahoo! Mail. The inventive staff at Google promise an astounding 1000MB of storage space (compared with sub-10MB for most other free email providers), sparking rumors that the offer might be an April Fools prank.

Soon more information about Gmail surfaced; it was obvious that Google’s offer of 1GB was no joke. What was less obvoius was their motivation for offering the glut of storage to the casual email user.


Google draws a major portion of its revenue from its text-based advertising service, AdWords. These user friendly, unobtrusive ads first appeared on the search results pages and are now “syndicated” to many, many other web sites.

These targetted ads are remarkable effective. Google harnesses its indexing muscle to deliver only ads most relavent to the content. So, on Matt Haughey’s (of MetaFilter net-fame) PVR Blog, the ads tend to be for digital video recorders, TVs, Remote Controls–items in which an average “PVR” officianado might well be interested.

Thus the Gmail service is another tool in Google’s ad-selling juggernaut. No problem right? Wrong. In order to deliver the ads, Google is planning to index each and every email a user receives. Their servers will, in effect, be reading every word of every email to determine the ads that are most interesting to that user.

From Google’s Gmail FAQ:

The matching of ads to content is a completely automated process performed by computers using the same technology that powers the Google AdSense program. This technology already places targeted ads on thousands of sites across the web by quickly analyzing the content of pages and determining which ads are most relevant to them. No humans read your email to target the ads, and no email content or other personally identifiable information is ever provided to advertisers.

Privacy groups and A-list bloggers are up in arms regarding the privacy issues of the system. The UK-based Privacy International has filed a complain with the UK Information Commissioner. Simon Davies, director of Privacy International calls it “a vast violation of European law”, according to the BBC News service. To critics, Google’s proposed attention to your email messages represents a big brother scenario, and goes to far. What’s stopping the government from subpoenaing Google’s records?


To assume that in today’s world of data mining and cross marketing and mega-conglomerate corporations that your personal information isn’t already sliced and diced and colated into nice marketable bits is foolhardy. By participating in the information age, one becomes the information. I’d rather have google giving me advertisment that are actually applicable to me than blinking Yahoo! ads for dating services and Windows software.

Cringley Cringes

Friday, October 3rd, 2003

The Pulpit is very interesting this week.