Call it the President’s Day long-weekend version. Speaking of which, a historical reminder: the single most important president in the history of the United States is George Washington. Standing apart from all of his other accomplishments, which were considerable, was his decision to relinquish power after two terms — a decision which created a tradition of orderly transfers of power which has sustained this country for over two hundred years. If you’re lucky, you’ve met one person in your lifetime who had that same combination of vision and selflessness.
(Bonus question: in the history of the United States, who was the single most important person? Answer below.)
- Buzz off: Disabling Google Buzz
Whatever you think of Google these days, it’s abundantly clear that they have fully transitioned from internet icon to corporate bully. Between their ongoing attempt to hijack the copyrights of millions of legally-protected works, to the opt-out, Big Brother, Microsoftesque we-know-what’s-best-for-you rollout of Buzz, Google has decided that it’s time to take the gloves off and go down swinging as just another morally-bankrupt company bent on leveraging its available cash. (Here Google plays the role of Godzilla, while you play a citizen of Tokyo.)
Gone is any previous expression of sensitivity to the fact that Google has been collecting personally identifiable data on you for years, all with the promise that it would be treated with discretion. You’re now just an exploitable data point in a desperate advertising-driven bid to remain relevant in an internet world that is increasingly segregated on social networks. (Just as Microsoft didn’t see the internet coming, Google didn’t see the social-network threat.)
More on turning off Google Buzz here. A slightly confused article about Google’s plans for global Buzz domination here.
Update: Google makes privacy changes to Buzz based on “feedback”.
- Does Foursquare Have A Douchebag Problem?
I know nothing about Foursquare. This article filled in a lot of blanks for me. It’s probably not the kind of introduction Foursquare itself would want to make, but I now feel sufficiently informed to be able to decide whether to seek additional information.
- All That User-Generated Content? 95% is Malware, Spam
You can read this article from three points of view. First, there are the threats arrayed against you every time you go out on the net. Second, there’s the increasing gap between useful information and content spam — often facilitated by gaming Google’s vaunted but actually broken search algorithms. Third, there’s the opportunity amid all this noise.
Like life, the internet is a morass of conflicting information, sales pitches and outright attempts to con you out of your stuff. You know this. You know you have to be on guard, which is why you’ve got that little judge in your head who makes all those on-the-fly calls about which people and which web sites are frauds.
You also know that what you want most in the people around you and the web sites you visit is truth. Maybe not even truth you agree with, but at the very least a truth that isn’t driven by a marketing goal or a political agenda. Individual truth. Character. Voice.
The good news is that this is an attitude only an individual can emulate, and probably only on a small scale. Call it niche marketing, call it being real, call it whatever. There’s so much crap out there, and so much of it is overtly hostile, that your words on your site or in your e-content are a welcome relief. How you handle the transition to front-page celebrity when the $tar$ align is up to you.
- The Intern
As regular readers know, I’m not a fan of anonymous blogging. It’s too easy. You cop an attitude, you tear people to shreds, you tease the suckers with the mystery of your identity, and it all adds up to…nothing. There’s just nothing good about trendy cynicism being used as an excuse to belittle others. It’s the cheerleader gene, and it’s one of the first things we should remove when actually decide to quit hemming and hawing about ethics and engineer perfect people.
I offer this particular anonymous publishing-centric blog simply as a reminder of what the publishing world might actually be, and how it might really feel about you. It’s certainly written by an unreliable narrator, but the problem is that there don’t seem to be many reliable narrators, either. If it’s not the Intern dishing dirt, it’s the establishment publisher or editor blowing smoke in the hope that they can use or convert or divert or pervert your content for their own ends.
Is any of it real? Is any of it worth listening to?
I have no idea. You make the call.
- France Honors Camus, And Fights Over His Grave Site
You’re welcome to read the whole piece, but I simply wanted to point to this:
In 1942, Camus’ novel The Stranger brought him instant international acclaim.
Soon after, during World War II, Camus joined the French Resistance. He risked his life editing its newspaper, Combat.
Now that’s editing….
The single most important person in the history of the United States is Thomas Jefferson.
— Mark Barrett
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