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Julian Dockhorn
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So now google calendar assumes I want everyone's birthday on my calendar?  And it tells everyone when my birthday is, no privacy options?  #BadGOOGLE

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I'm interested in doing some mobile development in my spare time.  Any suggestions?

I currently run Kubuntu on my personal machine, and I'm open to learning unfamiliar programming languages.  I've heard that Unity is a good development environment, particularly for developing games for multiple platforms with a single codebase, and write-once-run-several places appeals to me.  I've looked into running Unity on top of Wine, and it looks like it would take some finagling.  Please advise me, friendly internet!

Signing away my Constitutionally-given right to sue without a single click!  Oh the wonders of modern technology...

So, I'm one of those rare eccentrics who tries to read and understand agreements before agreeing to them. (though it is often too late; website Terms of Service tend to be written so they're in force as soon as you load anything on their site, before a reasonable opportunity to understand and agree to them, but I digress...)

I was reading the user agreement on one popular website, and it seems I have already irrevocably agreed that I cannot ask a court to stop them from doing anything.  So, if someone had told me that this site is using my content without my permission, and I browsed to the site to confirm that fact, I've already given up my right to sue.

I've heard that contract law developed in an era when people would enter into perhaps one or two contracts in their lives, and would have the chance to negotiate with the party they're agreeing with.  The laws and precedents from those times are what would apply to website terms of service.

I've talked with a couple of lawyers about whether website terms are legally binding even if you never read them or explicitly agreed to them, and the answers I've gotten tended to be along the lines of "if you had the opportunity to read the agreement, that is enough notice to you for it to be legally binding." As in, if they post a link to the agreement in the website's footer, that's enough for it to be enforceable.

I find it outrageous and offensive that people (and/or corporations) would try to take away people's right to sue for legal relief.  It's possible that a court would invalidate that part of the contract, but that doesn't undo that it's not okay to do in the first place.

And now I must say thank you, dear reader, you are the one person who read to the end of my post.  I feel better now.

Back to reading the remaining 17 pages of the license agreement...

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Google, you should know better...
(Shareable version.)

This happened to me -- I said "NO" every time Google tried to connect my G+ name/profile (thankfully, I don't use my VERY identifiable and unusual legal name), and then I "liked" a comment on a video and responded to it, and it flashed through a quick screen (I did not click on anything) that said something like "Connecting to G+ profile" (without any type of "You cannot leave a comment without connecting" or even "By leaving a comment, you are agreeing to connect" opt-out), and the "like"/comment was suddenly connected to my photo and G+ username.

Google, there is a REASON that I didn't want to connect my G+ profile, or any identifiable profile, to my fucking YouTube account -- THE COMMENTERS ON YOUTUBE.  I don't want them following me to other social media platforms, trolling, harassing, and abusing me.  I don't want to have to be blocking sexist, racist, homophobic, sophomoric, monosyllabic jerks every time I log in.

And I did NOT WANT TO CONNECT MY PICTURE to freaking YouTube -- the name is bad enough, but unless I want to change my G+ icon to something other than this photo of me (which I happen to be quite fond of), I'm now going to have to deal with crude sexual passes whenever I want to leave a comment on YT (which, btw, I'm quite disinclined to do at this point.)

Why do they not understand that shit like this makes (especially female) users feel UNSAFE??!?  If your name is "Bob Smith," you're a face in the crowd.  If your name is "Eleanora Rashid-Feldman" (to pull a random name out of a hat), you've just been identified as female, as someone who may be a member of one or more minority groups, as someone who may be interracial or in an interracial marriage, and YOU'RE SUDDENLY REALLY, REALLY EASY TO FIND.

If your name only has one or two shared namesakes in the world (or, as in my daughter's case, none -- I apparently have one, but he's a man in Eastern Europe), someone can very easily find out where you live, your phone number if it's listed, your address with a little effort.

If your name is "Jennifer Smith," you're less vulnerable, because your name is more common -- but, frankly, is Google's point that it's okay to treat people with less-common names differently, by sharing their legal-name data whether they like it or not, since they don't have the ability to get lost in a sea of people with similar/identical names?

Whatever the case, if you're a battered spouse or a trans woman or an ex-Mormon or an out queer teen who hasn't had The Talk with all of their family members yet, or ANY NUMBER OF OTHER REASONS WHY YOU MIGHT NOT WANT TO BE TRACKED DOWN BY SOMEONE, having your name linked in this fashion, without asking permission or giving the ability to rescind permission, creates an unsafe and frankly appalling environment of privacy infringement.

My daughter already has to worry about potential employers being able to Google her with ease due to her unusual name (Google didn't exist when she was born), so she has asked me not to be my usual outspoken self under my legal name, because it's too easy to connect us.  And she's very careful to never use her legal name online, other than in activities directly connected to her university, because she doesn't want to deal with political, sexual, or religious discrimination from someone who might otherwise hire her.

So, thanks, Google -- I guess "Don't be evil" went out the window a while ago.  Your "real names" policy, and particularly the way you went about linking YouTube with G+ profiles even for users who had specifically declined to link them, multiple times, is evil.

The worst part is that I can't even delete my damn YouTube profile now, even if I wanted to, without deleting my entire G+ account and profile (and probably the Gmail account associated it, which I've used for about a decade.

Uncool, Google.  Uncool.

My theory: the combined shutdown and debt ceiling crises will create political will to challenge constitutionality of the debt ceiling.  My hope: the debt ceiling gets abolished.

Whether by plan or by accident, the shutdown is within a few weeks of hitting the debt ceiling.  Democrats will do their best to maintain that Republicans are being obstructionist and unreasonable, and vice versa.  Whichever side carries public opinion on that will get a more sympathetic ear in arguments about whether the debt ceiling is constitutional.

I expect that if the debt ceiling does not get raised in time, whether or not the shutdown continues that long, the President will solemnly declare that they're required to pay the nation's debts and disregard the debt ceiling, bringing the conflict from Congress to the Judiciary.  I am nescient about the actual constitutionality of the debt ceiling, and about what a relevant court would do.

Big picture: Humans continue pushing Earth to ecological crisis, while the USA remains fixated on budgeting.

Bigger picture: Loving each-other is good, everyone will die in time.

I finally figured out how to make Google+ show things in one column, instead of in the bizarre multi-column shuffle.  I went to settings, found the Accessibility section, and checked the box to "make it more compatible with screen readers."  I'm disappointed that they made interface settings that obscure, but at least there's a way to change it back. (for the moment)

Also, thanks again to +Annalee Flower Horne for walking me through how to get my general stream working that way.  Maybe I'll use this thing more often as I get it configured in a way that works for me...

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This is where we are.  We can do better.

Fuck Google and its stupid desire to be more like bookface and other busy websites.  I just want a simple, quiet interface.  I do not want four columns of crap.  I do not want icons with boxes around them all over my email interface.  Stop making things complicated.  Fuck.

This message brought to you by not enough sleep, I think my teeth might be sore, and fucking Google changing my email interface.

In other news, I'm doing great.

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"Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius—and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction." -E. F. Schumacher

(commonly misattributed to Albert Einstein; my info is from
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