Jonathan: Perhaps instead of civil engineer / crofter I should have joined the ranks of International Rescue. Two damsels in distress have been saved from outrage or calamity, all whilst sat at my desk and sipping a mid-morning coffee. In Wales, Becky was wrestling with unknown powers lurking in the dark corners of her computer, whilst here in Scotland (well admittedly just across the office – but, really, I could have been anywhere in the world) Denise was saved from a mistaken over-write (which in my experience is by far the most common means that data is lost, not simply the deletion of a file) which was made at some time in the past, unknown. So world saved by 1045hrs ; so can I take the rest of the day off?
Jonathan: Google has become too big, too powerful, and is increasingly abusing its position of implied trust and near monopoly. Its products seem uniquely attractive and useful, but they hide a calculated exploitation of every one of us that uses its services, especially those who are persuaded to part with their money. Those clever algorithms are coded under direction of Google’s management to achieve specific outcomes: I don’t mean the search results – they’re just bait, I mean the hidden outcomes that serve Google’s interests, not ours. My own experience over the past two-three years – espcially since my relationship with Google first became monetized – seems to have something in common with the recent legal complaints of multinational corporations. I’ve become increasingly wary of using Google’s products, and now spread my internet-based activity and presence over other providers, making my own own infinitisimally small contribution to encouraging a broader competitive marketplace that will save us from being suffocated in the intoxicating goodness and greatness of the Google-everything universe. I am lobbying political representatives to press for Google’s methods and motives to be challenged. I think government needs to dig deeper and wider than just corporate tax avoidance. If you have similar concerns, act on them. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, compare search results for a wide variety of subjects, using Google, Yahoo, DuckDuckgo, AskJeeves etc : ask yourself why the results are so very different, particularly where the subject of the search could potentially lead to you being persuaded to buy something.
Just back from site visit to Harris. Lucky to get home at all today, as all inter-island ferries cancelled from mid-day on: just Loch Portain to return to her home port in Berneray – thank heavens! Driving home through Uist buffeted about by violent squalls of wind and rain. Everywhere poor lambs sheltering behind their mums or anything higher than them – even a clump of rushes. For heaven’s sake it’s the 1st of June today!!! However the storm though violent has been short and cyclonic, veering round over 6hrs or so from NW round by NE and SE to SW, bring and end – for now, at least – to the constant bitter wind from the north we’ve endured for all but a day or two of May.