Sunday, April 24, 2005

A Passover Surprise

Disclaimer: I usually don't blog personal stuff. All my posts (try very hard and probably often fail to) make a point with potential value to strangers who share my interests. This one is different. I couldn't resist.


Not Elijah, but still...

We're about to sit for the Seder at a friend's house in Menlo Park, California. Martin, our host, is the ex-CEO of Alza - a fascinating and ultra charismatic mench. The last guests arrive, a family of four. I immediately recognize the father: Nissan! my classmate at high school in Israel. He was one of my best friends and my partner for all school projects. After high school, our ways parted; we hadn't met in 21 years!

He hadn't known I was invited, I didn't even know he was living in the USA, our host hadn't figured we might know each other.

Turns out he now works at Google in Mountain View, a short distance from my own office.

So weird.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Safire Kisses Our Privacy Goodbye

If you care about privacy, security, or computers -- go and read this article.

If you care about privacy, security, and computers -- run and read this article.

Here's a short excerpt:

These intimately profiled people are untroubled by the device placed in the car they rent that records their speed and location, the keystroke logger that reads the characters they type, the plastic hotel key that transmits the frequency and time of entries and exits or the hidden camera that takes their picture at a Super Bowl or tourist attraction. They fill out cards revealing personal data to get a warranty, unaware that the warranties are already provided by law. ''Even as people fret about corporate intrusiveness,'' O'Harrow writes about a searching survey of subscribers taken by Conde Nast Publications, ''they often willingly, even eagerly, part with intimate details about their lives.''
Click here to read the whole piece.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Does Google Feel TOO Lucky"?

Sting opened his USA tour in San Jose yesterday. We bought tickets months ago.

The SJSU Event Center is at: 209 South 7th Street, San Jose.

Type that in Google Maps and you get: 209 NORTH(!!!) 7th Street, San Jose.

I hadn't noticed the subtle change. I drove according to the directions (even entered the address off the printout into my vehicle's navigation system). No event center at 209 North... only slums :-(

Now type another street (e.g. 209 South 17th) or another number (e.g. 309 South 7th) and you get an OK address. My guess is that Google Maps believes there's no 209 S 7th and tries to be helpful by attempting to guess what I really meant. The alternative address should have been suggested ("Do you mean... ?") rather than automatically plugged in.

PS: Yahoo! Maps finds the place just right. MSN Maps and Street&Trips don't believe a 209 South 7th exist so they show the street (not at a specific number on the street).

Sometimes it's better not to feel too lucky.

There's a happy end: with a friend's help we eventually found the place in time!

Update (May '05):
Nissan is right (see comments below). Google did solve the bug, they now use a "did you mean..." approach.