Google Dragonfly

Last week I went back to using an IMAP client. Google had decided to eliminate Inbox after coaxing me into completely reworking how I handle mail. Gmail’s web UI isn’t a reasonable alternative, so I went back to IMAP. Lesson learned, no more new Google products for me. But as I was adjusting to that, it emerged that Google had done something far worse. I’m a pretty cynical person, and when it leaked out earlier this summer that Google was going to launch a censored search engine for China, it didn’t surprise me.

FotFM: The Domain Name System (DNS)

Once upon a time, back in the ancient history of the Internet–before the 1990s–domain names were carefully controlled and regulated. A single organization controlled each top level domain. If you wanted a domain name, you had to meet their requirements. Often the policies enforced were quite picky. If you wanted a .uk domain name, you were required to actually be in the UK, for example. If you wanted a .org domain, you were required to be a non-profit organization.

Donald Norman gets it wrong

Donald Norman is an expert in human computer interaction, user interface design, cybernetics—call it what you will. His book The Design of Everyday Things is a classic, and taught me how to shop for a refrigerator. (Seriously.) However, his recent rant about Google is just plain wrong. His basic point—that it’s easy to make a simple interface to a system that only does one thing—seems sensible enough. But is it true?

BitTorrent Search Engine Dead Pool

Bram Cohen’s official BitTorrent search engine is now open. To celebrate this event, I suggest we have a contest to guess (a) the date of the first cease-and-desist lawsuit from the RIAA or MPAA, and (b) the date when the site gets shut down due to crippling legal costs. I’m predicting June 1st and October 1st, respectively.

Tinfoil hat alert

According to Google Watch, our favorite search engine is dying. Supposedly Google is not indexing anywhere from ten percent to seventy percent of the pages it knows about. Well, those are some pretty huge error bars, which right away scream out “wild speculation”. But if we read on, the guy offers as evidence the fact that his web site,, appears as a bare URL in the Google index, rather than having the conventional snippet of content and careful indexing.

Another web hosting provider disappears

My web hosting provider exploded. The company who supposedly bought their customer lists has failed to get things going after a week or two. So, I need a new web host. Requirements: Linux or UNIX based SSH access and rsync for uploading my site Low monthly fees No price gouging for extra bandwidth Low or zero setup fee One domain, at least 3 subdomains At least 2 POP3/IMAP mailboxes A reasonable amount of space (50 MB or more) SpamAssassin Nice-to-have features:

Verisign hack the DNS

Verisign, possibly the most incompetent name registrar on the Internet (but that’s another story), have decided to leverage their monopoly control over the current de facto standard root DNS servers. They’ve set things up so that any nonexistent domain name now maps to one of their servers. If you type a random bogus domain name like into your web browser, you now get Verisign ads and a pay-for-hits search engine.

Five Admirable CEOs

It has been alleged that I’m unthinkingly rude and negative about the rich, famous and successful. To disprove that assertion, here’s the first of a series of articles. 1. Aaron Feuerstein, CEO of Malden Mills. In 1995, a fire burned the Malden Mills factory to the ground. Everyone thought they were out of work, but no. The company CEO kept all the employees on the payroll until the factory could be rebuilt.

Outrageous Microsoft snooping

It seems that Microsoft Internet Explorer keeps a record of all web sites you ever visit, and all search engine terms you type in to any search engine—even if you tell it to clear the history! It also collects all your cookies from every site you visit, in a separate set of secret folders hidden away from the normal cookie folder—so even if you think you cleared out your cookies, you probably didn’t.