Monday, January 30, 2006

TheHug is back

TheHug is back from hiding; changed, transformed. I was re-reading my first post, written innocently a year and half ago. Did I respect the goals I set for my self?

1) "Keep in touch with my friends" well, not really no, because none of them bothers to check my blog; most don’t even have the url. Disappointing; their lack of interest is probably due to my lack of interest-ing writing.

2) "Writing is good for my health", this goal at least has been somewhat achieved. Sometimes at disastrous consequences, but usually it has been a pleasant experience.

"As for the readers" I have definitely not updated once a week, once again my laziness has taken the best of me, no matter how hard I try to fight it.

I definitely can’t "argue ideas better", but glancing all the crap written here I can see that my interest have changed, from political and cultural discussions (spawned from my The Globe and Mail reading mornings) to feeble attempts at semi-disguised fiction writing (spawned from my ceasing of morning read of the Globe and Mail and beginning of nightly Russian fiction reading).

TheHug is back, with a new prefabricated look by Blogger, and more lazy-boring-failed attempts at being smarter than you.

Well, talking about Blogger, finally a topic for an interesting post crosses my mind. Whatever happened to the search engine once known as Google? Don’t get me wrong, I am not one of these playa-hatters that bark at Google just out of jealousy and hate for the success of others. I am not one of those irrational hippies that can not accept the corporate business side of any for-profit enterprise; that’s what Google is, they are out to make a profit, not different from any other business. Well, different a bit, because they have always pretended to be a “no-evil” corporation, and that has helped them tremendously, from day one, to win the consumers hearts.

Now, after a few years of ruling the search engine world, and after a hugely, blown way out of proportion IPO, Google is spreading its tentacles, like any good corporate monster would do, causing lots of barking and biting from all over the place. Yet, I, a self-proclaimed new age hippie (aka a tree lover out to make a profit too), I am not barking at Google; I am saying go, continue, keep on growing, keep on spreading your now fat body over the web, but please keep your “do no evil” moto.

Not being an expert on the Googlefying of the Internet, I know that Google has acquired and/or developed Blogger (hoasting this post), photo organiser software Picasa, earth satellite-photo provider (aka. who needs spies when we have Google) Google Earth, Gmail (the best email tool I have ever used), Google Talk (which could eventually compete with Skype and MSN) and probably a bunch of others that I am not aware of. I use regularly or on occasion all of these products, except Picasa, because once again I am too lazy I guess to really organise my stuff.

On one side, the fact that Google is expanding so quickly is scary. My main concern with Microsoft is that they are everywhere and we need their software for everything every day; simply put they are a monopoly, and monopolies are dangerous because we depend on them while they escape of most social and governmental control (imagine the US Gov pissing off Bill; all he would have to do is type those secrete commands and all the XPs in Washington will be under his command). So, my biggest concern is seeing Google become another monopoly. Yet, we live and die with Microsoft, and everything has been ok until now, and Yahoo, the real Internet giant, has absolutely everything you might ever want or need under their wing, and I see no one complaining or my well-being jeopardised because of that.

Basically, monopolies already exist, and we accept them, so why not another one, especially if the new one supports Mozilla Firefox, allows its employees to work on their own projects, provides me with free long distance calls, fights the US federal government in order to protect our privacy, and tells me whenever there is an important birth-day.

Another facet of Google’s expansion strategy that I greatly respect is that, they do not attempt to create content, but they provide tools for third-parties to provide content online, and use this content as a carrier for their targeted text ads. Their search engine organises everyone’s web sites, Google Scholar provides easy and quick access to scientific literature, Blogger allows million of wanna-be-writers, like me, to publish themselves, Google AdWord allows for kitchen business women and men to advertise effectively for very little, and finally, Google AdSense allows other kitchen business women and men (like me) to monetize their independently generated content.

In fact, I see Google as becoming a giant octopus, with its tentacles spreading through a large web of independent content, supporting it by bringing and showcasing this web to the reader. Google isn’t trying to build content and bring readers to it; Google is using other people’s content and is bringing readers to it. Google is like a giant support group for a bunch of small anarchist, left, right wing, conservative, liberal, hippies, clerics, virgins, fornicators punks showcasing whatever they want on the web.

I much rather support a company that allows me to be a part of the giant waste of time the Internet is, than support a company that only allows me to be a passive consumer of this waste of time.

True, Google makes money from advertisement, feeding the marketing and consumerism machine that runs our world. But this advertisement is un-obtrusive, not-flashy, and somewhat well-target text ads. We are far away from flashy and hypnotising half-page covering animated ads. And true, Google has sometimes caved away from its moto, as for example, when it recently accepted the Chinese government demands to block some of its searches.

Yet, as I said before, a company that produces quality products, at low or no cost, that supports technical innovation, that allows the user to become the producer and that provides quick access to fundamental information, will have my support; this until they too get spoiled by the greed for riches.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Ridding the metro. I am riding the metro, but this time, for the first time I am writing on a computer while riding the blue metro. Life has funny ways to surprise us, I would’ve never guessed I would one day do this, write in the metro. I’ve been using the blue beast for years, probably16. It has come to symbolise entire periods of my life. I am used to it, comfortable on one side of it, the west one, and I am itchy and weary on the east side. The people there are different, and the stations are different. I don’t know them, I don’t know where the exits are, which streets they lead to, which buses are waiting outside the stations. I don’t know how the houses and the street lamps look around these stations, and I usually avoid them, as if I was in another city. And the people, they are different on the other sides of the same lines. There is definitely a weird dynamic in the people that ride the metro. From one side they usually ride only up to a certain point, everyone’s common destination, usually downtown. And from downtown the other, different set of people, the ones I don’t know, get in and ride to their destinations on the east sides of the metro. And at one point of their day these same people rode from their stations to downtown, but I don’t know that, cause I never do it.

The metro, I often think of it as a blue worm, crawling in the depths of the belly of our city, sheltering us from the cold, the snow, the rain and the heat and allowing us to go where we want to, but that’s only a limited sub-set of the city, and it’s the one I know the most actually.

Often, I also think of what a person from past times would think, beamed into the future somehow, and dropped in the metro. Would the loud sounds frighten them, would the speed and the dark concrete tunnels scare them? I think they would, cause they scare me, yet I am used to the metro. The metro is the monster that modern urban environment has created; it’s a train underground. Think about it, how ugly is the idea; a train running underground. There is so much above ground that we can’t even put a train in the open anymore. We need to dig, hide under the surface, and feel good and safe down there. In futuristic sc-fi movies humans are often depicted living underground. That’s not the future my friend, it’s already here, it has already started, and we accept it without paying any attention to it. Yes, the metro is underground, and that’s it, that’s how it has always been and how it always will be.

Today was a messed up day. Starting last night actually, 24 hours ago, it’s been a messed up day. It was has hard on me and I probably bleached a couple more hairs, yet today I feel like writing, I had this urge to write about the metro. Again, I am sad and tired, very sad and very tired. Like Led Zep said, I miss my winter, I never thought I’d see it go. I think I am used to my winter. Or am I? No that’s bull shit, I hate my winter and I am not happy during my winter. But I write during my winter, maybe cause it helps. I hope I don’t write too often anymore.

And there it is, a bird flying free in this fuckin ugly concrete monstrously large hole in the ground. Nature once again laughs at us, there is noting it can’t conquer, nothing we can take that it can’t reclaim. One day this hole will be filled and saved by nature, and there is nothing we can do to stop that. It’s as certain as death, it’s inevitable.
These birds always flabbergast me, like that bird inside the airport in Cincinnati. There is something so powerful about being able to fly freely inside something humans have build, with the sole purpose of shielding ourselves from the outside. Well the outside wants in, and it got in, in our face.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Running, as fast as I can, as far as I can, and it’s never fast or far enough. There is no point, catching up seems like an impossible catch. There is always one last step that can't be taken, one step that seems way too long.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?