Welcome to microappleyahoogoogleplex.com

At microappleyahoogoogleplex.com we wish you the very best in corporate-dominated computing and Internet use. We launched this blog to recognize the many interesting ways your life is being altered in exchange for monthly billings, license fees, and proprietary software you'll be stuck with til they pull the mouse from your cold dead hand.

We think the world would be better-served if consumers would trust in wise cyber conglomerates who know better than you do. That's why they're billionaires and you're hoarding quarters for the parking meter.

We intend to highlight sundry facets of the policies and behaviors of the techno-behemoths that make modern computing what it is today.  So check in with us frequently as we update the latest adventures in digital oligarchy.  And don't forget to read our Terms of Service!

While it may inadvertently appear that our name microappleyahoogoogleplex.com imputes a negative twist toward specific companies, we clarify for the record: Actually it is pronounced mic-roap-pley-ahoo-goo-GLEP-lex dot com, from the ancient Sumarian proverb "go open source while you still can."

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Amazon undownloads 1984 and sets Orwell free

Amazon Kindle ReaderThere's something very satisfying about the news that Amazon can delete books people download to their Kindle readers. Books contain ideas and sometimes lies or so-called 'fiction,' and so people can be lead into commiting thoughtcrimes without knowing it, all by books.

So recently when George Orwell's Animal Farm and 1984 were recalled by the Amazon mothership, I felt a little lighter in the head which felt good. These people who downloaded those Orwell books thought they owned them, which is bad enough for electrons. Like how can you own electrons, and anyway if anyone owns Orwell's electrons it's Amazon. Only it turns out not, because Amazon was playing broker for MobileReference which sold the Orwell books to Amazon Kindle customers.  Well, it turns out that MobileReference didn't own the Orwell electrons either!  So Amazon did what it could, which was to undownload the books back up to the cloud. And this cloud won't rain again until 2044 when the copyrights expire. So Kindle people, you can just unbuy these books and you'll be fine until then. In fact you don't need to move a mouse-button muscle because Amazon has already unclicked those purchases.

There were complaints that some Kindle people added annotations to their copies of the Orwell books, and when the books got upscotched back to the Cloud, so did those annotations. Let's set aside the fact that adding notes to books is like adding extra notes to a symphony. Folks, you're messing it up for the rest of us! But OK, you added notes to "your" books on "your" Kindle and now they're gone. Got any proof? Good luck with that one in court!

So let's just say there's a Kindle-sized memory hole that sucks up unauthorized electrons, and let it go. The ideas they're protecting you from might be your own. Or as George Orwell himself would say, "Ignorance is Strength."

Apple protects Palm Pre users from iTunes

Palm PreAs everyone who follows the detailed news about every single portable device in the world well knows, the makers of the Palm Pre had recently inflicted on its users the ability to sync with Apple’s iTunes software. What this means is that this so-called Palm company, which I have to admit has a beautiful-looking website, was literally preventing people from buying more devices.

Me, I have an iPhone, an iPod Classic, an iPod Touch, and of course my vintage 2005 iPod Shuffle with its cute little 512MBs. Do I need all this?  Not really, so chock me up as super-loyal, please!  Credit where due, I’m willing to go all the way and sync the right devices. If I had a Palm Pre, I’d sync that too but not with iTunes! 

Especially not now, because to its credit and stock price protection Apple pulled the Palm Pre plug with a new version of iTunes. That’s one small step for Mac, and one giant leap for maintaining proprietary silos based on highly-engineered software incompatibilities. Palm tried to break down one too many garden walls, so Apple had no choice but to rebuild them with razor wire, or those broken bottles you see at the top of walls like in Mexico or something. Try and sync your Palm Pre now boys, and say Ouch!

This is just good news for us, and right when we need it. By maintaining a system requiring good consumers to buy more stuff than they would have, Apple is stimulating the economy. They’re putting more programmers to work designing software that breaks things, which we then download to our computers. We then buy more stuff, which hackers then use to figure out ways to sync things cleverly (but wrongly!), then the programmers are paid to get busy again.

So let Palm come up with something as good as iTunes anyway. As a loyal consumer, I won’t use it to sync my iPod!

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Google as Curator of Everything

Old newspaperThis just in! Actually this is old news, or more precisely, old news about old news. So really, who cares? On the odd chance someone does, let me explain.

In 2006 Google quietly purchased a collection of old newspaper archives called Paper of Record. This was a great big repository of old newspapers from around the world, with an especially big chunk of dusty stuff from Mexico. I hear you echo my point above, "Who cares?" and I'm like, I know, right? So maybe historians and scholars would use this stuff to know things about history and other crusty, boring topics. They would use the Paper of Record website (paperofrecord.com) to search the entire collection and find out about things that happened in various places and times. So now Google bought it, and took down the Paper of Record website because honestly, Google does websites better than anyone except maybe Apple, but Apple doesn't care about old newspapers because after all, old news, no news, know what I'm saying? So Google took the Paper of Record site and did us all a favor by basically deleting it. So now if you go to http://paperofrecord.com, you get not the Paper of Record archives but Google News Archive Search. And now you have the best of both worlds, because you can search the Google News Archive and not have to look at those crumbly old Paper of Record archives.

So now pointy heads like the American Historical Association and professors and stuff are up in arms, which if you think about the image this conjures in your mind so to speak, is pretty hilarious. Don't get them mad, they'll give you a detention! Also, Inside Higher Ed published a hot firey piece about Digital Archives That Disappear, thereby adding to the liberal media which is big enough already. Here we have to acknowledge: look folks, if people like Google didn't come to the rescue here, where would Paper of Record be? Probably still online boring us all to death!

I know, I'm going over the top in the anti-old news department. Probably there are some important digital objects in those old newspaper archives from around the world, like old comics which might be funny. Old sports scores, which you might use to go back in time and make a fortune with like the guy in that Back to the Future movie. How does that work? We'll never know without those archives! So Google promises to bring them back, and they'll be better than ever because you know Google! I think Google will make those old newspapers new again. Instead of having to read them you'll just type something in that one box and presto. Sports scores, you name it.

If anything, we should be glad to have old stuff like this bought and fully privatized. If it really matters, the market will let it survive and multiply as Darwin proved. That's why I'm hoping all the libraries will let go of their books and just throw them into that search box. Then all that stuff that's just wasting shelf space can serve a real public purpose as only Google knows best: selling ads on search pages.

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Giving yourself to Google

Google BabeGoogle knows I try. Every day I make use of the gifts Google has bestowed upon me with the hope that I might give something back. And I think, well yes, this could be heaven, right now, we’re already there. I feel so connected and so…wired and mobile all at once. Everything comes to me when I want it. I have searched and that which I have found is bookmarked and can never be lost. And even if it did, I could find it again any time. And who needs food, shelter, and warmth when you’re so connected to everyone and everywhere? If you can’t take care of bodily needs amid all that Google has provided, there’s something truly wrong there. But you can! For Google already knows more about you than you know yourself. Release your metadata and let Google index the sitemap of your soul. Your every preference can easily be configured, and your profile will be eternal, your history cached forever. Your life is yours to upload into the cloud any time. As you gaze into the browser, Google gazes back…and loves you just as you are. The bitstream calls, what are you waiting for? Join with us now! There is joy and love, Google’s love, and it’s just one simple step to begin your Search. A step we all will take every day, every hour, every minute, and eventually every second of our lives, until we are fully and completely in the presence of Google. Amen.

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Metadata without Media

Video no longer available on YouTubeAnd here we have a friendly way of explaining that the video you wanted to see is no longer available. We all know that copyright is important, because it protects (in this case) Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., who otherwise would have been injured by people hearing the music that was part of this video. If people hear the music as part of this video, they will no longer go out and purchase that particular music because their need to hear it will have been fulfilled.  People only want to hear this particular piece of music once, so this video is just like removing the product from the shelves. If you were allowed to see this video, you would never buy the music. Now that the video has been removed from YouTube, you won’t even know which music it included, so now you will buy that music. Shop on!

One Infinite Loop

Apple headquarters at 1 Infinite LoopCupertino, California, 2006 - It was a rocky ride in on the plane to San Jose, which included a freefall joyride in the biggest air pocket I’ve ever encountered. The folks at Apple treated us very well, and the rest of the trip was a total blast. 

I am a Mac user but not a fanatic. I really like the Apple reps I know, and they have always been gracious and knowledgeable. That said, there’s something wrong with a digital world in which there seem to be two serpents eating each others’ tails, like a yin/yang dichotomy or the two sides of The Force. But which is the Dark Side? 

Steve Jobs’ office is on the fourth floor just under the left side of the curved roof structure. We didn’t meet him of course, but a day at One Infinite Loop is like a day drinking sunshine.  Or Koolade, you pick.

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