Thursday, June 21, 2007

Hyper-Personal Solstice

This from a BBC article about how Google "anonymises information" after 18 months:
The more a search engine can learn about a user's surfing habits, the better it can predict their intent.

With more web history data, Google could offer users a "hyper-personal" experience, with results based on potentially years' worth of pattern analysis of a user's search history.

Speaking about the long-term aspirations for Google, Eric Schmidt, the firm's chief executive, said one day the search engine could potentially answer questions such as "What shall I do tomorrow?" and "Which college should I go to?".

"Google is not at all done with your information problems. There are many, many examples of where it would be nice if Google had more of an ability to understand time and choices.

"It will be some years before we can at least partially answer those questions. But the eventual outcome is... that Google can answer a more hypothetical question."

He added: "The important principle, and I want to say this over and over again, is that this is opt-in, user choice."

Until it is no longer an opt-in choice. Who shall I vote for? Shall I break this law which needs breaking? How can I replace this regime which transports people to foreign countries for torture and detention? being examples of perfectly valid questions which might compromise one's own security, given a sudden change in Google's policy, post-take over by a mega-corporation, based perhaps in China.

Why look to China, when many nations are less than perfect? Size, culture and politics.

China is a newly resurgent capitalist on the outside, but it has a cold, organ-harvesting heart on the inside, persecuting its people relentlessly, using the old tactic preferred by Goebels - invent an enemy within, and use it to justify repression. Falun Gong are the Al Qaeda of the Chinese media, a hate figure mentioned daily to increase fear.

"The camp is said to hold over 6,000 Falun Gong adherents at any given time, and nobody has yet come out from it alive. According to the source, it contains a crematorium, and an unusually large number of doctors work there reflecting the camps practice of killing prisoners for their organs, which are then sold for profit."

China is essentially a centralised monopoly, accounting for one fifth of the world's population, with a standing army 2.2 million strong, increased "defense" spending, a high-tech "army within an army", home to one million men who, because of China's population policy and female infanticide, will never find wives, on record as economy first, ecology second, and now, in space to play their part in total military domination of the planet. And don't forget that "No Evil" Google fell into line with their censorship policy in order to buy their way into the lucrative market.

I have often written about Google in this blog, and it finally gave me the reason for moving the centre of my creative life away from here. Any monopolistic culture is inherently weak; the philosophy which provides me with this knowledge is Chinese - funnily enough, a lot of this philosophy finds its way into Falun Gong:
Tao Te Ching - Lao Tzu - chapter 36

That which shrinks
Must first expand.
That which fails
Must first be strong.
That which is cast down
Must first be raised.
Before receiving
There must be giving.

This is called perception of the nature of things.
Soft and weak overcome hard and strong.

Fish cannot leave deep waters,
And a country's weapons should not be displayed.

I've learned to use Google, and to be honest, I use it well, I even enjoy using it, placing new words and phrases into the lexicography. I have made one business successful by using it well, and started another business as a result. Someone characterised the entire Web 2.0 phenomenon as "post-Google" and they are right. Many, many web-based businesses are not web-based, they are Google based. Take Google away, and they fall instantly flat.

My friend Ewan recently spouted this chestnut when describing Google - "biggest advertising agency in the world, also do search" - but Google are NOT an ad agency, which relies on the creativity and marketing psychology of the people within it - they are more like a huge, bottom-trawling, factory fishing vessel - like "fishing with a bulldozer" - and the danger is that the more we rely upon Google, anything that is outside / avoided / censored is relegated to nullspace. Do we want this? Do we really want our ocean of learning, language, meaning and human aspiration scraped clean until it is a lifeless, submerged desert?

There are projects which are critiques of Google's massively dominant position - notably Google Will Eat Itself which uses Adsense to buy Google shares - but according to the "Google Ownership Counter" it will currently take 202,345,125 years to buy Google, and so clever though these are, they exist merely to titillate. In the meantime, and very shortly, unchecked capitalism will probably exhaust the earth, human society will fail and fall, taking with it over 90% of all species, and we'll run out of power for our servers and batteries for our laptops. Nature, which has a way of knowing best, will PWN us, and no hack will restore the empty supermarkets.

Still, this dystopic vision doesn't scare me. It does however make me determined to act smart; and so in three more days, I rest my case. Apparently.

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Monday, June 18, 2007

Twenty Three

I finally managed to complete another funk podcast, and published Pod of Funk #23 after a month of being totally snowed under by so-called "real" work.

It's cool that there are more tracks coming into the "podsafe" arena - although I would much prefer to include George Clinton, James Brown, Fred Wesley and Tower of Power in there, I've discovered the wonderfully talented and incredibly funky Betty Davis - that's Miles Davis' wife, not the film actress - whose early 1970s music is being remastered and re-released.

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Sunday, June 17, 2007

badminton commotion atomic

now, when is a splog a splog? when it's spoetry.

random english inserted by spammers can be thoughtful - language itself carries patterns that fire off neurons in the brain, creating meaning despite the lack of deliberation.

here is it, as it arrived. i've painted it green, and added a random image.

assessor ah celery all. bellflower alkaline commentator alibi capacity baseband. argive astute aborigine coral bunk aromatic baldpate cretaceous clue. apparatus average defray apparent definitive cantabrigian aborning.


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Thursday, June 14, 2007

Ten Days To Dénouement

Here we go, here we go, there we went, and only ten more days to run Blog of Funk as a funky blog-like blogging thing in it's current form. Maybe I should just call the new phase "Blog of Funk 3.0" and be done with it. But, not to be called slack in the wanting department, and considerably weighed down by my anticipation of release, I feel the burden of expectation growing in those around me who know my plans, as if my gaolers resent my escape whilst they remain (albeit paid) in their positions, watching over the remaining social media slaves as they work their time in penance for unimaginably awful past crimes.

Do you remember school punishments? I sometimes feel as if some low-rank teacher with no taste for inculcation has condemned me to write lines of my own endless invention. On a good day, it's faintly amusing, on a bad day, it makes my brain hurt. And Love! Peace! Contentment! A wistful dream somewhere on a coconut beach, a million miles from home.

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Thursday, June 07, 2007

Extraordinary Renditions: Prisons Identified

You'll be able to read here the report by Dick Marty, the man in the Council of Europe responsible for prising the lid off this horrible and murky practise of state-sanctioned kidnapping.

We learn that there were two main prisons, in Poland and in Romania; that at least 70 people were kept in detention where they were interrogated, i.e. tortured, without any recourse to lawyers or the Red Cross; and that among the detained was a child of seven years old. CIA agents reported directly to the national executives' office - Nato countries offered blanket exemptions to usual legal process under anti-terror laws.

Channel 4's TV documentary programme "Dispatches" will blow the cover off this hateful affair next Monday.

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Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Talking Paper: The Future For Blogging And Podcasting?

Swedish scientists have made talking paper, it says here.

The paper has embedded electronics, uses conductive inks to respond to hand pressure to trigger the sounds, and works using printed speakers "which are formed from more layers of conductive inks that sit over an empty cavity to form a diaphragm."

This idea is frankly marvellous, if slightly dangerous, but it certainly opens up future possibilities. The idea that you can print speakers delights me. The hugely boring applications that the scientists describe show no imagination - shop displays, tourism, cigarette packaging. How about posters which respond with taunting as someone applies the classic glasses and beard motif to the supermodel? Or perhaps, MacDonalds packaging that says to you once you've saturated your arteries with their insane, anti-ecological food-subsitute, "Now Wash Your Conscience"? Or a newspaper which rewards the reader with verbal reassurances, "Every word in this article is completely and utterly true!"

The problem with blogging has always been that you can't put a blog in your pocket and read it on the train. There are e-books, of course, but e-books require a clunky, expensive reader. I spent last night getting to grips with Audible. How can a "market leader" in the field of audio technology be so old hat? These are not books, they are just insanely-priced, DRM-laden audio downloads, and you have to double-check both the quality and the restrictions on your purchase, as the likelihood is that buying the CD will not only be cheaper and give better fidelity, but will unlike your download, will play anywhere.

There are many talking magazines, of course, particularly online e-zines, the most recent of which is the highly derivative Blogger and Podcaster magazine. I read issue #2 a few days ago. Containing adverts which spoke to me, I quickly became irritated with trying to process two verbal messages at once - one via eyes, the other via ears - and hit the mute button on my laptop about three seconds after working out WTF was happening.

We are already indundated with excess audio in the city, noise pollution by public address, subjected to constant unnecessary reminders on the Tube to "touch in and out" "take care of your personal possessions" and "not resemble a terrorist". I just hope that whoever prints the first audio paper publication also includes an "off" button.

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Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Purple Aki, The Liverpool Muscle Feeler: Update

A new comment to something I wrote October 2006, which completely changes the post. Even when I've stopped adding new articles, this is going to carry on for a while, the funky dog wagging the tail. Excellent - thanks to Spot for the awful truth.

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