Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Sunday, January 29, 2021

relevant actions
Google’s seemingly conflicting moves this past week, vis a vis the U.S. government’s requests for user tracking data (denied by the company) and China’s insistence on censored search results (acquiesced by the company), probably confused some observers.

But for me, it was predictable behavior for a company whose success was built, in large part, on image. Debra J. Saunders, on examining the dichotomy of the two situations, nails it succinctly:

I understand that Google wants to make a profit. I just don’t know how company execs garner the image of little guys standing up to big, bad government.

Google can say no to the Bushies and know that it won’t lose any business, its executives won’t go to jail and their children will not get run over by tanks. In the country where those things could happen, Google is a collaborator.

At root, the refusal to Washington was a low-risk marketing move, designed to foster the image of Google as the un-company (accentuated by the compliance to similiar requests by Yahoo!, MSN and other competitors). The cooperation with China was a high-risk business strategum — the prospect of being shut out of the surging Chinese Web market was too valuable a prize to lose for Google to adhere to principle.

It’s not like other Western companies don’t do the same thing, so in that sense it’s not fair to single out Google. But this is just another example of how much the search provider is morphing into just another corporate entity, without any special ethical code.

- Costa Tsiokos, Sun 01/29/2006 05:50:46 PM
Category: Internet, Political, Business | Permalink | Feedback (3)

I have no intention of catching the newly-remade Pink Panther. Truthfully, I don’t even much care for the classic films, aside from the running joke of having Cato ambush Clouseau every time he walks into the apartment.

However, from seeing the previews, I have to point out: The mustachioed Kevin Kline, who plays Chief Inspector Dreyfus, look a hell of a lot more like Peter Sellers than does Steve Martin. Therefore, shouldn’t Kline have gotten the starring role? It’s not like Kline hasn’t played a goofy Frenchman before; he’d be perfect in this.

In fact, I’m thinking the Kline-Sellers resemblance is going to be so distracting — given the movie’s subject — that it’ll destroy any chance of this flick being well-received. (Not that there was much chance of that anyway.)

- Costa Tsiokos, Sun 01/29/2006 05:34:04 PM
Category: Movies | Permalink | Feedback (4)

The deed is done. I arrived at my mother’s house this morning, in upstate-ish New York (Orange County Choppers territory, if that serves as a frame of reference for anyone). I’ll be hanging out here for a few days, and making my way down to Manhattan as needed. I have a few contacts to make, but nothing imminent.

I made the drive from Pinellas County to here in a record (for me) 19 hours! That’s pretty remarkable. It’s been ages since I did the drive, but it’s always been a solid 24-hour straight-through trip. Because the route unavoidably cuts through Northeastern metro areas (Washington, Baltimore, New Jersey/New York), there’s usually a certain amount of logjam. But this time, for some reason, it was an unprecedented breeze. Getting through Florida, from Gulf Coast to Atlantic, took relatively little time, and interstate from Georgia to DC was tremendously hassle-free. But the kicker: Even the winding through Washington, Baltimore and New Jersey was unfettered. I think the key was going through those areas in the dead of night, around 3AM to 6AM. Really remarkable; I was slicing through veritable ghosttowns.

Obviously, I drove the whole night through, without stopping for sleep. It wasn’t necessarily by design; I figured I would just pull into a motel whenever I felt tired enough. But strangely, that never happened. If anything, I felt more tired when I first set off on Saturday afternoon. By the time night fell, I suddenly felt re-energized. And as I was making great time, I decided I might as well press the advantage and get the whole thing over with. I really didn’t feel any fatigue until I finally arrived and unloaded some stuff (admittedly, a Coke and a Red Bull along the way helped keep the energy level up).

I think I would have arrived here even earlier had I not gotten sidetracked through the wilds of New Jersey. I got off the New Jersey Turnpike early, and would up meandering for about 45 minutes (thanks, Google Maps). I finally found the right interstate, and once I crossed the state line into New York, I was set.

Some advice for anyone traversing the Garden State Parkway: The highway cops are super-quick to pounce. I spotted literally a dozen pull-overs in the 15 minutes I spent on that road. It definitely kept me stuck on the speed limit.

Anyway, I’ve landed. I’m taking the next couple of days to recharge and get oriented. I’m going to pick up a cable modem tomorrow for Mom and get truly Web-enabled here (right now I’m, ahem, “borrowing” a neighborhood wi-fi signal, and a weak one at that). After that, time to get things into gear.

- Costa Tsiokos, Sun 01/29/2006 04:53:06 PM
Category: New Yorkin' | Permalink | Feedback (2)