Google Profiling Technology |

May 19th, 2007 § 0

Google’s patents are getting scarier and scarier:

The patent says: “User dialogue (eg from role playing games, simulation games, etc) may be used to characterise the user (eg literate, profane, blunt or polite, quiet etc). Also, user play may be used to characterise the user (eg cautious, risk-taker, aggressive, non-confrontational, stealthy, honest, cooperative, uncooperative, etc).”

Sue Charman of online campaign Open Rights Group said….

“Whenever you have large amounts of information it becomes attractive to people – we’ve already seen the American federal government going to court over data from companies including Google.”

And no I wouldn’t want to be giving my profile out to Google or any other corporation.

I could easily see this information as being open to subpoena, even hidden subpoena.

I try to use Google not logged in these days. It looks like we might have to go back to the days of regular cookie dumping.

Alas, those of us on fixed IP’s (not massive corporate firewall) can be pretty tightly profiled just off of IP.

The total information that Google owns about most of us is scary stuff.

  • what we search for
  • what sites we own/manage (AdWords, Analytics)
  • at least part of our financial records (AdWords/AdSense)
  • our weblogs (for those using blogger)
  • what videos we watch (YouTube)

Add personality profiling to this – and you’ve just entered the Matrix.

Nod to Threadwatch: Google Profiling Technology.

Evening Sun | Hemispheres

May 14th, 2007 § 0

Right now the days are getting longer around Vienna and Bratislava. Returning from a bike ride at seven in the evening, the sun is still high. We are threatened with sun until nine in the evening.

I love this time of year so much. I’m a late afternoon and evening kind of person so it’s so invigorating to have sunshine in one’s favored hours.

Everyone always talks about moving somewhere warm like Caribbean or the Southern Mediterranean. I think that’s a bit of a bore. As you get close to the equator, you are never faced with evening which begins at four in the afternoon as we are in winter in Middle and Northern Europe. But you also never have the ten o’clock evening sun.

The ideal solution is to live half the year in the northern hemisphere and the other half the year in the southern hemisphere.

Africa is not my kind of place and I am not Africa’s kind of guy. Although if South Africa were safe, it would be ideal: same time zone, not too distant. Australia is too far away. South America holds promise though. Some place like Argentina.

Nothing better than the evening sun.

The next two months are the happiest of the year.

Something to work towards. Living in perpetual summer.

Sex and Booze

May 14th, 2007 § 1

What is it about women and booze?

I’ve been on a zero alcohol rule for about five months straight – something I do every now and again to clear my mind. I’m not much of a hard liquor kind of guy, although thanks to my time in Moscow, I can appreciate ice cold vodka straight followed up with a zakuska. What I do enjoy is a glass of good wine, whether it be Spanish or French red, or Austrian white.

In any case, enough stress at work these days (too much work rather than too little), I decided it’s time to sleep a little deeper – and to apply the traditional homeopathic recipe, good wine.

Wine, women and song

Leaving the booze and getting back to the women, for some reason I always find that one has more and hotter women in one’s bed when drinking. A teetotal man diminishes his chances of an exciting night or even acquiring a girlfriend by about factor of about four or more.

Happily enough my current girlfriend isn’t much of a drinker so life without booze hasn’t bad to me this round. But now that I’ve gone back to opening a good bottle of wine in the middle of the evening or over dinner, a little surprise was waiting for me.

Even the most conservative women seem to expand their sexual horizons radically when watered with good wine.

So the deal with booze for women seems to be that it

  • disinhibits them physically
  • lets them drift into the lovemaking with more feeling
  • gives them a psychological get out of jail free card

The psychological get out of jail free card is perhaps the most important one. "I did that?," she asks incredulous. "I must have been drunk."

Or in the case of a casual fling. The friend asks "Did you sleep with him?"

Answer: "Yes, but I was drunk."

Friend: "Ah that makes sense."

Well maybe to women it makes sense. Otherwise I’m not sure. Who on earth wants to sleep with people drunk with whom one wouldn’t want to sleep sober?

Sex and Booze Continues »

IBM Slovakia – Offshoring

May 12th, 2007 § 0

IBM just keeps hiring and hiring in Slovakia. I’ve ended up in bidding wars with them and the other big multinationals for a couple of people.

Due to inexperience, I’ve lost those bidding wars to date but will win the next rounds.

I keep wondering where on earth are all these jobs coming from?

The normally annoying Robert Cringely has the answer.

LEAN is about offshoring and outsourcing at a rate never seen before at IBM. For two years Big Blue has been ramping up its operations in India and China with what I have been told is the ultimate goal of laying off at least one American worker for every overseas hire. The BIG PLAN is to continue until at least half of Global Services, or about 150,000 workers, have been cut from the U.S. division. Last week’s LEAN meetings were quite specifically to find and identify common and repetitive work now being done that could be automated or moved offshore, and to find work Global Services is doing that it should not be doing at all. This latter part is with the idea that once extraneous work is eliminated, it will be easier to move the rest offshore.

All this is supposed to happen by the end of 2007, by the way, at which point IBM will also freeze its U.S. pension plan.

The point of this has nothing to do with the work itself and everything to do with the price of IBM shares. Remove at least 100,000 heads, eliminate the long-term drag of a defined-benefit pension plan, and the price of IBM shares will soar. This is exactly the kind of story Wall Street loves to hear. Palmisano and his lieutenants will retire rich. And not long after that IBM’s business will crash for reasons I explain below.

Last time I posted about IBM pensions a current employee stepped in with some interesting commentary in defense of IBM. I hope KC stops by again to give us his input on the current offshoring project.

Women’s Life in Modern Society: the sad post-feminist reality

May 11th, 2007 § 3

With my girlfriend the other night we had a long talk about a woman’s life in modern society. We ended up concluding that modern women have an even worse deal than their grandmothers.

Pre-feminism, a woman would have to bear and raise the children, take care of the house.

Post-feminism, what has changed?

A woman has to bear and raise the children, take care of the house and go to work and have a career.

What was a tough line has become a damn near impossible challenge (note plummeting motherhood rates among well-educated women).

In my email box from ZDnet came an essay from original feminist Paula Rothenberg entitled “Snatched from the Jaws of Victory: Feminism Then and Now”. Rothenberg notes:

Once upon a time the personal really was political. Today, it is simply personal. Capitalist patriarchy has once again showed its extraordinary ability to take radical movements and demands that challenge the system, and re-package them in ways that actually reinforce that system and preserve the existing distribution of power and privilege in society. How convenient for capitalist patriarchy that young women today think that dressing like every man’s sex fantasy is a sign of their liberation and that the women’s movement was all about getting the right to choose and had nothing to do with making hard decisions about what values and what social vision should be reflected in our choices.

I remember well the sexual revolution of the 1960s. It seemed, briefly, to hold out the hope that women might finally control their bodies, control their own sexuality. But it soon became clear that the new sexual freedom simply meant more opportunity for men, not a new kind of experience for women.

No kidding, ladies.

It used to be that a man had to be somewhat responsible in his relations with women, or he’d be branded a cad and disbarred from polite society. What’s going on now in the world is a simple sexual free for all.

You can go through as many girlfriends as you like. Women fling themselves at you all the time. You accept or you don’t.

My girlfriends are complaining these days about putting two or three of the best years of their lives into a guy before he loses interest or just drifts off. And no one judges a man for it. “Oh it just didn’t work out,” pardons the chorus. Multiply by several boyfriends and bingo, a woman is thirty.

No children, no husband in sight. And nothing but some Club Med vacations and pretty Corisica photos to show for it.

Feminism has been very, very good to men.

I almost qualified men with the adjectives potent and attractive but that is a subject for another essay.