In Google I Trust Not

Because I’m constantly online, or feels at that way, I often find interesting articles. Especially on the humor site cracked.com. Some of their posts are funnier than others (:0), but I wanted to respond to this one, because it reminded me of another article I read and wanted to respond to ages ago (sorry, no link).

5 Reasons You Should Be Scared of Google

First of all, most of this is: “well, duh?”

It’s like the article I read, where a commentator of Google’s collecting everyone’s wireless info while mapping exclaimed that he could no longer trust Google implicitly.

Why would you in the first place? I mean, really. It’s like they say, there’s nothing private on the internet. That’s kind of the point.

And if our government uses Google products? Well, that’s just *headdesk*, because that is seriously ridiculous. For one, there’s no privacy on the internet, thing, and that would seem a little important to me, especially federal agencies.

As for their “Don’t be evil” slogan, the author of the cracked article implies that people accepted that as a business practice instead of the obvious “we’re a corporation devoted to making money, but we hope to not be as evil as most corporations are while doing so.” Seems reasonable to me.

I still like Google. I still use Chrome. (I search using GoodSearch because I can support my local library). I won’t use the ex-Google shopping anymore, because it’s gone the money-driven route, or so it was last I heard.

No, I don’t trust Google. I tolerate them. I use many of their products. Mostly, I tolerate the internet: my access comes from corporations and that’s the way it is.

What, do you want to leave it to the government? There’s a yikes. As long as Google is making money through their “Don’t Be Evil” slogan, they have popular support, which makes them money. With that kind of commitment, they’re still one of the best bets online.

 

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Pardon Me, I Have Opinions

Quote

 

As lethargic as I’ve been lately, at least I’m up on my Goodreads drama.

Sticker advocating dissent: "dissent deve...

Sticker advocating dissent: “dissent develops democracy”, accompanied by a peace symbol. Photo taken in Portland, Oregon. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For anyone who may not know, Goodreads is a social website that’s primarily about books. Now, aside from reading books, there’s nothing I like better than talking about them, so while I’m doing little else, I’m on this site all the time.

There’s been a great deal of upheaval and unhappiness  as GR staff try to balance their responsibilities to their users—primarily readers— and, well, call them the producers—authors, publishers, etc. Unfortunately this trend has been sliding to the conservative side and limiting the social side. For example, some readers really don’t like some books. They write reviews that make it clear how much they dislike those books. Authors and publishers and fans disagree with the idea that someone may not like this book. Review either disappears or is ‘hidden’ from the book page.

So far that extreme is fairly uncommon, but the change in attitude towards these reviewers brings me back to my point:  dissenting opinions are not welcome, and neither is discussion.

Anywhere.

Have you noticed? Putting forth an opinion, anywhere, leaves you open to attack. There are some great reviews —thoughtful, passionate, clever, well-written, negative reviews—on GR. Many are written about bestsellers. Most have comments running into the hundreds because of comments like:

Why did you read the book if you didn’t like it?

Do you think this is a college class? Your reviews are too long. You’re just showing off how many words you know.

Have you written a better book? Then why should I listen to you?

I can’t believe how much effort you’re putting into hate. It’s just a book!

Etcetera, etcetera.

Though I thought about using actually comments, the content posted in this type of content hardly varies, so it didn’t seem fair to name names.  Just be glad I can’t help but use decent grammar and spelling. Though some trolls are fairly articulate, especially on GR, most don’t bother.

Trolls, you ask? If they can write coherently, why are they trolls?

Because they aren’t interested in starting a discussion. Because the only reason for including a comments area on a review is to foster discussion, a format even most online news sources support.

What these commentators have in common is the intent to take offense at someone’s opinion merely because it’s in opposition to their own.

But when I’m writing reviews, I’m writing because, good or bad, no one else shares exactly my opinion. And I want to share what I thought with others who actually know what I’m talking about. Think of it like a discussion group, but in a slow motion IM chat. Sometimes everyone’s talking at once, and sometimes no one says anything.

At any rate, I find myself extremely bothered by someone telling me to shut up and go home, because they’re threatened by opinion.

And that’s the fundamental problem. Dissenting opinions aren’t a chance for discussion; they are threats. Threats to what I don’t know. Frankly I don’t care. I’m not going to listen if someone tells me to stop talking, I’m going to wait for someone capable of holding a conversation.

"Writing on the wood is prohibited."...

“Writing on the wood is prohibited.” DSC07600 (Photo credit: Nicolas Karim)

 

Amazon

It’s been awhile since I last posted here, so I thought I’d better do so before I dropped it completely. It may not be something that is in any way an important part of my life…although perhaps I’m not giving it enough credit, because I care enough to continue…but it is an outlet, and depending on how comfortable I get, eventually, it may be an important outlet.

I thought I might try to sell my old textbooks on Amazon.com. I’ve mentioned the idea to several people, and usually I get the response that it’s okay (“okay” is spelled out, according to me–the etymology isn’t known anyway, so I may as well. So there), but as English majors, it’s a responsibility to keep all those anthologies.  For the poems you know.  But here’s a secret.  I never, ever look at them. Ever.  If I really want to look up a poem, I tend to go online.  I just prefer it.

Also, one of them I got on accident and couldn’t return.  In some cases I will keep the occasional anthology, but not seven or ten of them; I simply don’t need that many.  And I may not go into a proper “English” career anyway, or one where they could even conceivable come in useful, or more useful than Google. I’m a fan of Google, not so much Yahoo!. (Is the exclamation mark included?).  There may be more on that later.  Without these anthologies, I still have enough books to hold down the bookcases, so the only thing the do is gather dust.  The poor things are probably suffering from an existential crisis.  Books should be read, even once, and I don’t think I even read them in the first place.  (An unfortunate fact–many teachers seem to like assigning books that may only have one reading in, and then not assign that reading. Tear.) I have no attachment.  Others seem to, and it works for them.  But I’ll be different!  Right?  Uniqueness is good, most English majors seem inclined to keep there anthologies; I’ll be different and give mine away.

I can’t see where my blinker is. Blinker? The little cursor thing that’s supposed to tell me where I’m writing? It’s not there, and I’m slowly going nuts.  There might be confusion later in this post. Don’t blame me. It’s the blinker.

I posted one my books.  I almost feel bad admitting it was not an anthology after that.  It’s a history textbook, one I actually rather liked. But I seriously doubt it will be looked at either.  There is now another Latin America textbook on sale at Amazon (or there should be) and I’m still not entirely sure what this means for me, other than it must be shipped two days after I get the order. Should there be one. The only problem is that I don’t have any rating there so I don’t know if anyone would buy it should they see it, or want it.  The book is only one edition behind, maybe that’s a good thing.

Editions in textbooks ought to be banned.  Okay, not banned, especially since the textbook about is modern Latin America focused. Extra chapters are necessary.  Sometimes information ought to be changed.  But for literature and math (and likely many other subjects) books, a new edition is not needed every dang year.  It’s absurd, especially when the price goes up from one edition to the next. And don’t show me those silly little graphs that “prove” that all that money goes somewhere important, and really isn’t that overpriced, in fact it’s only just enough to live in–not even that! I don’t believe it.  Everyone knows what Benjamin Disraeli may have said on that subject.*

Back to amazon.  I’m a fan of Amazon, too.  Not so much the seller aspect, ’cause I just posted, and don’t exactly know what’s going on (I read the legal stuff…maybe that’s my problem). But I very much like the Wish List part.  Not so much because I expect anyone to get me anything off there, or even look at it.  I put everything on my wish list. Every time I find something interesting, I click that button.  Not that I would object to anyone getting me something from my wish list, but I wouldn’t want them to take it seriously.  For instance, I have a few $100 textbooks on there.  Just because they sounded interesting (though they probably aren’t). There are a few things that I really would like: a book about Terry Pratchett and a dvd about Sherlock Holmes made in the ’70s–oh and a collection of the Sherlock Holmes series with Jeremy Brett.  The first is over $300, the second is just under $100 (though I think the price has gone down a little, actually) and the last is over $200 (unless it’s at Costco for $149).  Those are actually “wishes,” although the series I may get whenever I may someday afford it.

So who wants to read this much about amazon?  I got ahead of myself again. (The blinker reappeared.) The end.  I don’t want to spend more than half an hour talking about amazon.  I’d hate to be weird. Well–not totally nuts anyway–half an hour is enough to make me weird–but that’s okay, I think it’s like “unique.”

*”There are lies, damned lies and statistics.” It could have been good old Mark Twain/Samuel Clemens, too.  Depends on who you ask, I think. Like statistics.

P.S. The reason these posts get so long is because my mind is very good at association, and all those ‘links’ sound like good ideas.  So I discuss them. …beware