piranha: inui's disgusting red juice dripping out of a glass (penal tea)
why do you want me to hate you? i really don't want to. i don't actually want to uninstall all your software because i am coming to distrust you as much as i distrust microsoft. i've dumped gmail, picasa, chrome, and search when you decided you knew better than i do what my real name is and that you somehow have a greater right to it than i do, but i still love google maps and google earth and google sketchup, and a whole host of lab stuff. you've given me a lot of neat software. but frankly, i'd rather pay for it in $$ than have you extract your price in whatever way you feel justified. because it's not "free".

now it looks like i might need to uninstall those apps as well, because you have decided you know better than i do what connections i allow to breach my firewall, and when.

for the last month every hour a process called ksfetch got stopped by my network monitor littlesnitch (HIGHLY recommended) when trying to connect to tools.google.com over TCP port 443 (https). it doesn't take long to find out that this is a google update process, probably serving apps related to keystone. usually i have always whitelisted google update processes because i've considered them trustworthy enough. though in general i prefer to have an option to tick "automatic updates" rather than have it happen behind my back, which option doesn't exist in google software (black star for that). but worse, ksfetch started to hammer my system, i had to dismiss 4(!) dialogues each time, and in fact i couldn't whitelist it with littlesnitch, which is what i had initially wanted to do. what the fuck?

turns out google does something sneaky for which i haven't discerned the reason -- ksfetch gets created as a new process in /tmp, and therefore littlesnitch can't associate any white (or black) listing parameters with it because it isn't a standard app. why in the world would google do such a thing? this is the sort of thing malware does! i looked in google's product update forum, where there are tons of people inquiring about this, and the only customer service rep who showed her face warned sweetly that disabling this would mean we'd no longer get security updates. no shit, sherlock! whose fault is that, do you think? why doesn't google act like a good software citizen on my machine?

so i archived and removed the /Library/Google/GoogleSoftwareUpdate directory. felt a bit drastic, but i wanted some peace while figuring out a more elegant solution. except it didn't give me peace for long; seems google software recreates that directory and its files when it notices it missing.

the littlesnitch people offered this workaround (in terminal, either use sudo or issue as root):
defaults write com.google.Keystone.Agent checkInterval 604800

which supposedly sets the launch agent to check only once a week (in seconds; can be set to longer or shorter as you wish). that slowed things down on 10.6.8, but it's nowhere near once a week; it still dials home several times a day. i don't want to waste any more time, and i am stopping myself -- barely -- from just wiping all google software from my system. this is my last try; restricting all access to the directories, including for all users (if present).

chmod -R 000 /Users/yourPersonalHomeDir/Library/Google
chmod -R 000 /Library/Google

most people won't ever even notice, so google seems not to care about those of us who're actually active in monitoring our systems.

i wonder whether there is a growth limit to corporations beyond which they simply no longer give a fuck about anything but their bottom line. if i ever allow myself to run a corporation, somebody please knock me over the head when i start to act like i know better than anyone else what's good for people instead of actually listening to them.

ETA 2012-08-22: ok, so denying google all permissions on both directories "works". i am writing a script to undo the permission once a week for a short period of time, so it can phone home and check for updates. the whole thing is kludgy as hell, and i don't really like running my system with kludges like this; automatic updates are supposed to be a winning proposition for everybody. it also means that GoogleUpdateUpdateAgent throws an exception every time it tries to run: "KSStatsCollection requires a storage path." but that's less annoying for me because it just clutters up the log, like so many other apps. as this has been going on since june, it looks like google doesn't give a shit that some techies are complaining; alrighty then, i'll have to treat google software as actively hostile to my system. sucks when companies i used to love turn more and more to crap.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
gmail is out of beta! the logo changed some time today.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
i was too busy to pay attention when google unveiled its latest product/vision, but today i caught up with it. and i am thrilled.

google wave is a new tool, platform, and protocol to facilitate online communication and collaboration.

a wave is a shared document in which communication can happen in the form of text, images, video, sound, games, polls, and whatever else you can imagine. communication is both synchronous (live -- you see it as the other people who're sharing the wave are adding it) and asynchronous (if you get back online after an absence, you can see the current state of the wave, as well as play back what happened while you were gone, and add your own items). any participant can add things in any place in the wave. other people can get included in the wave (or parts of it) later on. aside from shared-by-all communications, private ones can also be inserted which only specific people can see.

i could go on and on, i am so excited about this. it's a major step towards what i've been wanting from my online life forever; it's email and IM and IRC and newsgroups and social networking and blogs and wikis and forums all rolled into one, with astounding concurrency for those who like it live, as well as asynchronous tools to make it easy to pick out important bits and pieces later.

and it's gonna be open source, and there are APIs already, and anyone is welcome to write extensions. hello dreamwidth! what are we gonna do with this? it's right up our alley.

watch the demo. it's an hour and 20 minutes long, but it won't be a waste of your time if you're at all interested in such things.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
google image labeller, to aid googe image search. since i use that a huge amount, i am all for helping with it. you and a partner (picked for you at random) have a certain amount of time to type in labels for an image. you get points for matches.

edit1: *little grump*. i wish the handshaking weren't so buggy. i'm having too many passes not connect.

edit2: *wah*! and now you've taken my individual ranking away! how can i tell whether i am working my way up in the greatest hits list! you people have a lot to learn about incentives.

edit3: ah, i see what they are doing. they're presenting the images again and again, and are putting common terms off limits, thereby refining the labels.

edit4: i am refining my own labels by taking time after each run to see what my partner typed, and by going to sites for images where i drew a blank to check what they actually depict. otherwise i'd already be bored now.

edit5: my individual cumulative ranking is back. 302 with 14400 points. just had my first 10-match with somebody; that felt really good (and it wasn't just simple stuff either). i think this is good "flexing the brain" exercise for me.

edit6: if you cna't splel astronaught, DO NOT PLAY THIS GAME, or i shall have to kill you. 11-match, #234, 17600 points.


piranha: red origami crane (Default)
renaissance poisson

July 2015

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