No more Google AdSense (those ads) on free Tabulas accounts. This whole project is contingent on me managing costs/benefits... and the cost of ads (making every template look like crap, and making the whole site seem very unprofessional) just wasn't worth the benefits (every month the # of impressions per month as well as the value of my check has dropped significantly).

I have major issues with the lack of transparency from Google ads. I don't care if Google takes 80% of each click revenue... just tell me. I just do not like being TOLD that "this is what you made today." I've been highly skeptical of the way Google is tracking my impressions as well... I ran a short statistics analyzer on the whole of Tabulas (only for a few days since it was so intensive), and the numbers didn't even remotely match up. This doesn't mean that Google is necessarily wrong ... I just wish AdSense was a bit more clear on what they were taking. I just hate taking their "word" for it.

Speaking of which, a little anti-Google piece at the NYTimes.

Google also released Google Talk today (which I'm not linking as a statement of protest). Technically, very cool. Supports open standards? Great. But I'm not sure I want a secretive company logging my searches, my emails, and my conversations all at once without telling me exactly what they're doing. Especially not a company whose motto is something vague like "Do no evil." Since we all know censoring crap in Europe and China is definitely not evil. <takes off tinfoil hat>

I have a huge issue with people who try to use morality as a shield. This includes people and companies ... fundamentalist religious nuts (including those wonderful right-wing Christians bent on backtracking the progression of our society) included.

Plus I just find it completely laughable that Google, in its attempt to usurp Microsoft's dominance, is releasing Windows-only programs (Desktop 2, although Mac already has Widgets, Google Earth, Google Talk). You really think you can win this war in the long run against Microsoft? Why not give Macheads (who are incredibly loyal to cool brands) something to rejoice about? Way to build a customer base there.

I keep hearing of Google hiring the "best engineers." They are notoriously marred to the hierarchy of graduate schools (which is OK, I guess) ... but what's really amusing to me is this ... you see Google, hiring Ph.Ds, and you think "hmm, ok they'll change the world."

And what do they produce? Gmail. Google News. Google Talk (which arstechnica reviews as "the Stone Age of Instant Messaging!") Gmaps (actually this is pretty cool). But really ... have they done anything GROUNDBREAKING yet that nobody else hasn't done? Come on. Please tell me 4 more years of specialized formalized training is worth more than cool websites.

Microsoft produces a whole damn operating system. Google makes ... websites. Tell me which one wins.

I was also pleased to see a /. article on more ways to defeating captchas. I have never been a fan of captchas... ever. I think they could be the most retarded invention ever, second only to that short-lived email spam filter that forced people who reply to "click a link to verify they are real."

Part of my hate against captchas stems from the fact that I keep failing captcha tests. Some of those fuckers are real obscure... to the point that I can't tell whether taht blot is support to make a t from that l. And everytime i fail, I have to put in my password again. Jesus christ.

Plus it's so much fucking work to figure out the ink blot captcha tests ... I just want to post a friggin comment man. All I want to say is "LOL." Do I really have to sit there and take a test?

P.S. If you wish to comment in this entry, please provide the letters provided in this captcha image, or I will delete your comment since you are obviously a computer, spamming:

Posted by roy on August 24, 2005 at 01:56 PM in Ramblings | 16 Comments

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Comment posted on August 24th, 2005 at 07:42 PM
Personally, I think Gtalk is a joke and a half. It really doesn't do any good, and most of us prefer to talk on the phone anyways, not throught the "computer." That is just retarded.

Unless you're talking to a person in a foreign country, which still doesn't happen often, it's of no use.

I still love gmail though. The conversation mode is so awesome.
Comment posted on August 24th, 2005 at 07:12 PM

ghost_tree (guest)

Comment posted on August 24th, 2005 at 05:35 PM
Paul is dead.

So I guess the absence of ads will make everyone super happy. But what now? Did they really help that much in running tabulas?
Comment posted on August 24th, 2005 at 11:20 PM
You win!

They helped in fraying roughly 1/2 of the server costs per month.
Comment posted on August 24th, 2005 at 04:46 PM
I recently applied for a Hotmail account. That's the most brutal text of it all; it looks like Cyrilic, the characters are all warped to hell, and you can't tell what they are. Took me six or so tries to get it right.

Google Maps are amazing. Fastest damn map service on the 'net; I don't know how they do it.
Comment posted on August 24th, 2005 at 04:32 PM
Not being very computer savvy, I've never understood why those letters/figures have to be so distored and hard to make out? I fail over 1/2 the time. Why can't they just be clear and easy to read??
Comment posted on August 24th, 2005 at 11:28 PM
Computers are simply getting too "intelligent." There are programs that can take a "look" at a page and identify the characters. By somehow shading the letters, the human brain is able to distinguish them ... but it's only a temporary solution as computing power WILL catch up. And in the meantime, things get SO vague that even the human mind gets confused... :(
Comment posted on August 24th, 2005 at 02:44 PM
either google will take over or they're going ot have one hell of a flame out. Not sure which is going to happen or what I even prefer, but it'll be a fun next 4-6 years to watch.
Comment posted on August 24th, 2005 at 02:16 PM
Those look like Greek characters to me. :-\

I saw a great replacement not so long ago which simply involved asking a random question which would be easy for a human to answer. For example: 'What is the third word in this sentence?'.

'Captchas' are usability destroyers; considering the aforementioned solution, disabled folks might have a chance in court over discrimination.


Funny seeing you being critical of Google — I always thought you were a fan. I've been dubious of their information gathering for some time now…
Comment posted on August 24th, 2005 at 02:28 PM
People should not have to take any type of test to do any action.


I'm the furthest thing from a Google fanboy. Obviously you missed the first <a href="">post</a> regarding Google-hate ;)
Comment posted on August 24th, 2005 at 05:31 PM
So what is your remedy to spamming robots? I'm talking realistically here, not idealistically.
Comment posted on August 24th, 2005 at 11:19 PM
There's going to be a loss of privacy, but some sort of federated centralized identification service (Passport-esque). The system can even allow for 'anonymous' postings to services, but the federated service would make sure that even the anonymous postings are verified users, which would still give the flexibility of anonymity.

Oh, and to get onto the federated system , you'd need to provide some sort of unique identification; ideally something along the lines SSN or tax ID stateside...
Comment posted on August 24th, 2005 at 11:40 PM
This is a good idea, forgetting privacy issues and that getting international unique identification is virtually impossible.

Unfortunately impractical at the present time.
Comment posted on August 24th, 2005 at 11:45 PM
Don't you realize you're already doing this? You register for a gmail account with Google. You have one username/password for all google access. I'm guessing you may also have a Yahoo! id for Yahoo! mail and whatever other services they sell. You have a Tabulas account that you use for Tabulas.

And don't talk about privacy on the internet. There is no such thing. At all.

All the federated system does is use any type of government identification (each nation has at least ONE form of government-issued ID) for an additional layer of verification. It would be valuable because it would tell other users "this is a legitimate user," and since only one identity could be issued to each user.

You're already doing this on a level; it would just be a matter of finding an organization that could be entrusted running the whole project while providing open APIs so third party sites can verify identities.
Comment posted on August 25th, 2005 at 12:47 AM
1. I don't have a Google or GMail account, even though I know you were being hypothetical.

2. Moot point because what is stopping me from signing up with another account at the moment?

Nothing I am signed up to — bar perhaps Passport — is anything with a global use. A generic user account on Tabulas is irrelevant to the concept of unique authentication.

I doubt every government has a complete person identification system. Getting governments to work together with such information would be unfeasible.
Comment posted on August 25th, 2005 at 12:54 AM
1.) You've registered for Tabulas and forums before, which makes the point stand.

2.) That's the point of the government-issued ID. The government-issued ID prevents one person from registering more than one account on the federated system. How they use this one account on the federated system (to create ten Tabulas accounts) is still up for the individual sites (like Tabulas) to monitor.

We don't need a complete identification system. We just need something that is unique enough that each nation can implement that ID as it's "national standard" for the federated system that will simply limit one citizen per country to one federated identity card.

The point isn't to completely authenticate the identity of the user - that's the point you're missing. It's not to track everything we do or to store all our CC info and everything we do into one place. Simply a location where we can point back to it and say: "this is me, and here is the credentials backed by this authority to say that i am a legitimate person" (although the federated system itself would never reveal personal information publicly).

it's a lot like openid, which i've linked in my newest post. give it a read.