Your typical linux experience (mine, at least)

This is from December 31, 2011, hence the red line half-way down…



Clean design?

Designers, architects, and engineers very seldom, if at all, get to clean their amazing creations, and those that end up doing the cleaning often complain in a vacuum, which means that the former never even realize what a pain in the ass it is to clean some things (houses, lamps, bookcases, kitchen, walls, you name it).

I’m aware of this because I sometimes have to clean my house or see the dirt left behind by the lady that does it most of the time. The problem, however, is endemic to the world of industrial design. It’s as if these experts didn’t have the common sense to know that nooks, intricate textures, and horizontal surfaces in general aren’t but dust magnets.

I’ve been a subscriber to a facebook group called “design d’autore” (possibly one of many) and every day she, he, they, I don’t know who’s behind it, posts pictures of designer objects. Houses, lamps, furniture, vehicles, you name it; if it’s pleasing to the eye, it’s there.

These are objects that are beautiful and award-winning, but I have to wonder about them really being as well thought as most people opine. They aren’t.

But then, even if they knew (which they don’t), it’s irrelevant as clearly someone who pays $1000 for a designer chair obviously will never do anything with it but admire it or sit on it.

dumb dumb dumb

Sometimes, paranoid people do get killed

Last year I met a woman whose email server would reject any message any message originating from a gmail address. It isn’t a bug: she does not want any emails sent to her “read” by google and so. She has no control over where her emails end-up, but she can control who she accepts email from, and she wants nothing to do with Google.

Having been an early adopter of gmail – first as something to mess around with and, for the past five years as a way to rid myself of spam for free – I’m no stranger to google’s penchant for gathering information any way they can. I’m not crazy about their software mining my email for keywords in order to present certain ads to me, but I didn’t find it particularly invasive. Maybe the truth is that I wasn’t bothered enough by it.

Like email back in 2007, I got into Google Voice just to play around with it and, before realizing the far-reaching effects of that choice, my gvoice number was stamped on my business cards.

Since it has its fingers in so many web properties, google may very well have a much better idea of who I really am than my closest friends. I just can’t come to terms with this notion, let alone decide whether this is a bad thing or not, but it just rubs me the wrong way: google knows what I look for online (from weird fetishes to patio furniture), they know what videos I watch and, from how many times I’ve watched some of them, which ones I might like, they know who are the closest people to me, who I talk to and how often, and even more importantly, what I talk about (you really thought that their voice-mail transcription technology’s only used for voice-mail?).

Last month, all these thoughts coalesced, as I got copy after copy of their email advising me of changes to their privacy policy. The essence of that message was that they’d start consolidating the information gathered about me from all their web properties (google, gmail, voice, youtube, etc.), which wasn’t really surprising or even odd – hell, I assumed that they had already been doing that for years! What made me pause what how intent they were on letting me know. That’s when paranoia kicked-in: it felt exactly like when banks or credit card companies inform you of “some” changes to their policies (I wouldn’t call them “agreements”) and then send you a 30 page-long document printed in 6pt type. Just the sort of thing I’d do if I wanted to screw someone and, at the same time, come clean as a “decent” person by letting them know.

Yesterday I took the first step towards distancing myself as much as poosible from google and started using as my search engine. I haven’t found a good email alternative, but I will end-up using either or, and am still looking at phone service providers. I will post more about what I find during the next couple of weeks, as I continue cutting the umbilical cord it’s become.

Call me paranoid if you will, but sometimes, paranoid people do get killed.

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