Archive for December, 2005

Track Santa with Google Earth

December 24, 2005

Want to show your kids Santa’s trip? Now you can with Google Earth.

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NBC buys controlling stake in MSNBC

December 23, 2005

NBC and Microsoft have begun parting ways, today they announced that Microsoft has sold part of its 50% stake in MSNBC giving up majority control to NBC. The two have had a troubled relationship since the birth of the news channel. MSNBC has consistently fallen in last place in the cable news wars, but has recently been making gains, even beating Fox News and CNN on several occasions in recent days. Microsoft will retain control of MSNBC.com, the #1 news website on internet. The deal also allows NBC to buyout all of Microsoft’s share in MSNBC in 2007. There is no word yet on if any major changes will be made to the network now that Microsoft is basically out of the picture.

Microsoft and NBC both affirmed that they were committed to the online counterpart of the cable network, MSNBC.com.

I personally love MSNBC and I seem to be one of the few people who actually watch the network. I think they provide the best news coverage available. They do seem to be lacking the primetime powerhouse schedule that CNN and Fox News both have, but they are making progress.

http://nbcumv.com/release_detail.nbc/corporate-20051223000000-nbcuandmicrosoft.html

Google sells its soul for AOL

December 20, 2005

The nightmare of geeks everywhere has come true; the company that was thought to be the world’s saving grace has turned on us. Google is evil. They have joined the ranks of Microsoft as one of the evil corporations that control the world. They have sold the user out in favor of money. They have become evil. Simply put Google is now officially evil.

Now that my evil ranting has gotten out of my system lets get down to the facts. Google has spent $1 Billion ($1,000,000,000= the price Google put on what’s good for its users, sorry I had to throw one more evil rant in) to buy a 5% stake in AOL from Time-Warner. With that they have limited majority control of AOL, ownership of the AOL Search business, and a say in any additional selling of AOL, along with other perks.

What Google also gave up in return for AOL deals with search results from Google. In the past Google has solely relied on PageRank technology for its results, but now they will feature AOL-sponsored search results on the main page. That’s right it sounds like you can now buy your PageRank from Google/AOL. In addition to Search, AOL and Google will also link up their IM networks so GoogleTalk users will now be able to communicate with AIM/AOL users. There are more details to the deal that will come out and I will be sure to keep you updated.

Hopefully I’m getting riled up over nothing. But it seems to me that Google has sold out to try and hurt Microsoft. In doing so they have become what they once hated. It seems making money is the most important thing to Google now. I guess the “do no evil” motto that they once used is no longer valid. I was pulling for Microsoft in the battle for AOL, but sadly it seems I lost.

Update (12/20/05-10:03PM)

  • The AOL, Inc. Press Release, http://www.corp.aol.com/press/release/122005.shtml

  • Some details of the deal:
    -Creating an AOL Marketplace through white labeling of Google’s advertising technology- enabling AOL to sell search advertising directly to advertisers on AOL-owned properties;
    -Expanding display advertising throughout the Google network;
    -Making AOL content more accessible to Google Web crawlers;
    -Collaborating in video search and showcasing AOL’s premium video service within Google Video;
    -Enabling Google Talk and AIM instant messaging users to communicate with each other, provided certain conditions are met; and
    -Providing AOL marketing credits for its Internet properties.
  • Bush Authorized Domestic Spying

    December 17, 2005

    Apparently it got out that the US has been using “domestic spying” to gain intelligence to stop the next terrorist attack and Bush says that now that this is out in the open.

    “This is a highly classified program that is crucial to our national security. Its purpose is to detect and prevent terrorist attacks against the United States, our friends and allies. Yesterday the existence of this secret program was revealed in media reports, after being improperly provided to news organizations. As a result, our enemies have learned information they should not have, and the unauthorized disclosure of this effort damages our national security and puts our citizens at risk. Revealing classified information is illegal, alerts our enemies, and endangers our country.”

    The truth is we are at war, and in times of war things have to be done that normally would not be allowed. Take the camps that were built during WWII for Japanese-Americans, the Supreme Court ruled that they were constitutional even though they were in no way constitutional or right. The benefits of these camps, if any, may not be appreciated like they should be. Yes, they were wrong but does that mean that they didn’t save any American life? We will never know because we had them, but we will also never know what would have happened without them. In this case the wire-taps may not be right but in times of war the right thing to do is not always the right thing to do.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/12/16/AR2005121600021.html

    Missed me?

    December 17, 2005

    Well I’ve not been near a PC, TV, or anyway of contact with the news outside my immediate area for the past few days and that’s why there have been no post. As a result I’m a little out of the loop and have some catching up to do. So I may not be able to comment on some things that I would like.

    Build your own Google homepage with API

    December 14, 2005

    As a bit of an update to the post I did yesterday on Goowy, Google has released an API for its Google IG allowing developers to create widgets for its homepage.

    Google has already made a few widgets of their own including one called “Eyes”, which follows you around as you move in the web page. They also already have a game, integration with Google maps, the ability to change the Google logo, and some others on the way.

    If you want to check out the Google homepage with widgets just head on over here.

    The future of the web is here, Goowy Desktop

    December 13, 2005

    Goowy Desktop is a flash based widget desktop application that can either be downloaded or run within your browser. It has some very neat widgets and in its infancy it seems like it is, and could become, a very powerful tool. It has integration with several elements of Web 2.0 including an RSS reader, search engine, and useful widgets that are very common with the other widget engines like a stock reader.

    It’s very similar to Konfabulator except that it is web based and has included with your account 2GB of email storage (*@goowy.com). The email application is very bare but is still a very featured application that looks similar to what MSN and Yahoo are doing with there email services. The application also supports POP3 so you can use your existing email account with the service.

    What they are doing here is a very exciting service. Everyone from Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, to ,well, Goowy are entering this business and I hope the market does not become too crowded. I’ve used several of the services that are already out there and I have to say this one seems to be ahead of the competition. So simply put, the other guys need to catch up. Good job Goowy, keep up the good work and make this product even better!

    Goowy Desktop

    Study: Abortion leads to mental problems

    December 12, 2005

    According to this study, the abortion of a child can lead to mental illness in the woman who has had the abortion.

    It also has this interesting fact:

    According to the U.S. abortion statistics, a total of 857,475 legal induced abortions or about 250 abortions per 1000 live births were reported to the CDC in 2000 from 49 reporting areas.

    http://www.foodconsumer.org/777/8/Abortion_induces_long_term_mental_distress.shtml

    Bush’s Ratings Rise to Highest Level in Months

    December 11, 2005

    He’s coming back! President Bush’s approval ratings are climbing for the first time in months now. He now has an approval rating of 42%, up from 37% in November. The upswing in his ratings are probably due to lower gas prices, an improving and bustling economy, and the settling of the dust from the scandals that his administration has faced.

    If this continues the second term of the Bush presidency may be able to turn around and fulfill some of the promises he was elected on. I foresee that if this continues that the GOP will gain seats in the upcoming elections.

    Wikipedia, can it be trusted?

    December 11, 2005

    Last week Wikipedia, the encyclopedia anyone can edit, got into a bit of trouble. They had two examples of abusing the system. If you’re not familiar with the system basically it’s an encyclopedia of pure user submitted content that anyone can add, change, or remove.

    I have to say I am a big fan of Wikipedia and I rely on it a lot when I am doing research on almost everything. It is a huge database where nearly everything that could be covered is covered. But with what happened last week I am begging to doubt my trust in an open-source encyclopedia.

    The founder of Wikipedia has announced that beginning tomorrow you will be required to log-in to the site before you can edit. All changes that are made will be tracked, so anonymous changes will no longer be allowed. But this only applies to creating new pages; existing pages can still be edited anonymously. So to me this does not fix the problem, it only puts a band-aid on a deadly wound that could kill the encyclopedia.

    Wikipedia needs to make all changes (whether it be creating new pages or editing an existing one) require you to be registered with the site. They need an extensive system that will prevent users from abusing the open policy of the site. I’m not sure of what this system would entail but I’m thinking about it. I hope Wikipedia can fix the problems in its system before people begin to loose their trust in the idea and effectively kill the product.