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Rachel Schwartz
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I am pleased to see that Google has decided to stop being evil on this subject. And yes, I do consider the way it executed its policies to be evil. What this post fails to mention is the people whose accounts were removed for using their real names, but who had real names that didn't pass Google muster. Or the fact that "real name" is not a clear concept. I do not even know what my real name is. It really depends on the context of the question. But they have fixed the policy - and that is good.
When we launched Google+ over three years ago, we had a lot of restrictions on what name you could use on your profile. This helped create a community made up of real people, but it also excluded a number of people who wanted to be part of it without using their real names. 

Over the years, as Google+ grew and its community became established, we steadily opened up this policy, from allowing +Page owners to use any name of their choosing to letting YouTube users bring their usernames into Google+. Today, we are taking the last step: there are no more restrictions on what name you can use. 

We know you've been calling for this change for a while. We know that our names policy has been unclear, and this has led to some unnecessarily difficult experiences for some of our users. For this we apologize, and we hope that today's change is a step toward making Google+ the welcoming and inclusive place that we want it to be. Thank you for expressing your opinions so passionately, and thanks for continuing to make Google+ the thoughtful community that it is.

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A photo of the sky and landscape in the evening.

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I'm not sure there's much to say about this photo. I've been taking photos almost entirely based on how I react to things, which is good, but I feel like it's time to learn a bit more about how others view my photos and what works and doesn't work for them. I think I'd probably get ideas that would make me take better photos by my own standards and also by other people's.

Hi, I don't actually defend evolution much, because I am not as well-educated as I'd want to be on the subject to do so, and I find that bad responses to things I agree with are worse than people attacking it, and I don't want to add to that. But I do know some basics, and some attacks are very easy to defend against. Sometimes just asking people what they think evolution is helps to make some progress. But biology is actually one of the sciences I feel least drawn to, always was until my math got inadequate for more physics progress. Nothing against bio though - it's an important field of science.

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As an actual voting Californian, I would like to ask Romney to stop pretending he knows what the "will of the people" here is. And I'd like to ask his church to stop meddling in our affairs. Neither him nor his Church have any right to speak for the people of my state. Nor do I like it when he insults our judges and our governmental process.

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This has not stopped being a thing that is a serious ethical problem with Google. Nor has it stopped being the case that I do not know of any online social networking sites I can use that do not have serious problems with them. It's just such a shame that I no longer trust Google as well.
There we go again.

The changes in the identity policy are not exactly changing anything in practice. +Techno gran is receiving today the exact same canned email as several months ago, having her name rejected, despite being a well known internet identity, and not exactly as aesthetically unpleasing to a WASP crowd as "captaincrunch42" either. (not that the latter would be a problem to me).
Lets get something straight here.
People invest time and work in building their identity, it is essential to them, to build a reputation under a name, and this is important to them. Assuming the role of "I know best who you can be, depends on your number of followers and my assessment of WASPy sensibilities to your kinda ugly-looking name" is not only doomed to fail, but unfortunately for you, Google, it is *insulting* to people, the same people who you earn the trust of, or they take it back from you.
Or I should rather say. I hope they do take it back. Yes, you read that right.

Google. This is how it works to people. I'll quote again the simple and brilliant note +Angyl Bender made a few days ago.
If I know who you are, your handle doesn't matter.
If I don't know who you are, your handle doesn't matter.

#nymwars #nyms #googleplus #privacy #privacypolicy

+Gretchen S. +Yonatan Zunger +Liz Fong-Jones +Lauren Weinstein +Shava Nerad +John Hardy +Kai Dracon +Mike Elgan +Violet Blue +Eric Raymond
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Signal boosting, since I am not about to adopt a cat. Oh, and I should add, this is the Bay Area, so little reason to read it all if you're not nearby.
This is Hoover. She's a sweet, friendly 3-4 year old tabby who wandered into our yard just before Thanksgiving. She's looking for a new forever family.

We nicknamed her "Hoover" because she vacuum-ed up an entire bowl of cat food in less than five minutes on the day we found her. (It's a working title - her new family can feel free to choose a new name that suits her and them!)

Our best guess is that her people moved away from the apartment complex next door and left her behind. She has an affinity for small spaces - she's been staying in our guest bedroom and loves perching in the window there. When I let her out to explore the rest of the house, she wanders around for an hour, than takes herself back to "her" room and "her" window. She often hangs out under the bed, but comes right out to socialize when someone opens the door.

She's very people-oriented and talkative. She has an adorable quacky-chirrupy meow that kind of sounds like a duck. It goes along nicely with her funny marching walk - she's usually kneading her paws and purring when we're around, and so it looks like she's making "jazz hands" (jazz paws?). Her lovely brown and black striped fur is very thick, she has golden eyes, and a short thick tail with a tiny kink at the end.

Hoover has been spayed and she tested negative for FeLV. She did test positive for FIV, although she is currently healthy and asymptomatic. FIV is a form of aids in cats - it cannot be transmitted to humans or dogs and it is difficult for it to transmit to other cats unless through a bite wound. She will need to be an indoor cat, though.

She would make a great companion for someone living in an apartment or small home. She's interested in what her people are doing, but doesn't have a high play drive. She's content to watch the birds out the window, or to curl up next to you while you read a book. She readily approaches people for affection, including curling up on your lap for a nap, but she's not so sure about being picked up. We've been working with her on that and have discovered that she likes to be put over a shoulder rather than cradled in your arms.

Hoover is indifferent to our resident cats - she's not hostile or aggressive towards them, but she's not interested in playing with them either (although they really want to play with her!). We think she would do well as an only cat, and would also be fine in a household with other well-adjusted cats. We haven't been able to expose her to dogs or children, so we're not sure how she would do with them.

Could Hoover be your forever kitty? Come and meet her at our home in Fremont and see what you think. If the two of you hit it off, we'll send her home with you for a trial run. If she doesn't work out with your family, we'll take her back.

We are serious in our dedication to finding a great home for this lovely girl. We'll even cover the cost of her current vaccinations at our local lost-cost clinic. Her adoption fee is $25, largely to ensure that you're as serious about adopting as we are about finding her a good home.

If you're not able to adopt Hoover, would you consider sharing this post? Her new forever family is out there somewhere... perhaps your signal boost will be the one that connects her with them. Thanks!
January 3, 2012 (4 photos)
4 Photos - View album

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This is a promising sign. I'm not going to celebrate until I see the actual results, but it's a step in the right direction. It still shows a fundamental lack of understanding of what names are (the idea that autonyms are somehow not real names, for example), but if Google will fix its policies, then I don't really mind that much if they remain a bit clueless as to the underlying issues.
Like I've been saying all along, give Google+ time to evolve.

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This is useful info I didn't know, so I figure some of you may find it useful too. Especially as I find this interface to be unintuitive.
Google+ Tip: How to Delete Unwanted Comments I've noticed many users asking how they can address unwanted or spammy comments on their posts. Every Google+ user has the power to delete comments on their own posts. Here's how:

1 Click on the down arrow to the right of your post. A list of options will appear
2. Select "Report or remove comments." A delete button and a flag button will appear next to each comment.
3. Scroll to the offending comment and delete or flag it.

We all appreciate the high-quality conversations on Google+. Using these features you can moderate the conversations you've initiated with your posts. Enjoy.

Misfeatures of the day... poking around with systems is what I do. I figured some people might want to know more about how G+ works and fails to work.

I keep finding things about Google Plus that are disturbing. Today I found the most disturbing issue so far. Google Plus actively lies to me. I went to my profile to use the feature to see what people see when they view my profile as... I'd noticed issues with this feature yesterday. Today I kept it simple - what does Anyone on the web see, what is public. It showed me 0 posts. Then I logged out of G+ and Gmail and checked my profile as a not logged in person and I see my public posts. This is what I was expecting to see, of course, but it lied to me about what Anyone on the web would see.

My best guess is that there is an issue related to my public posts being old. Yesterday when testing what different people can see, I noticed posts being randomly absent when viewing it as if I am them. I can see the posts in my own profile. I have no way of knowing whether or not other people can actually see my older posts. This, unfortunately, is part of a growing trend I am noticing of G+ making it extremely unclear how things display such that this is the only site I've regularly used where I strongly feel that I ought to have a second account just for the purpose of knowing how various aspects of my primary account display. Because I care about details.

That is the only truly blatant misfeature. Although I find it obnoxious that when I view my profile as somebody else, it does not display my security information the way they see it, but displays it the way that I see it. If I click on a limited post from my profile displayed as somebody else then I see all of the names listed even if there are more than twenty, while I highly suspect the person in question cannot see this. That's misleading, but not horribly broken.

Investigating sparks showed me that some of the things listed in the sparks have +1 or +2 or +3 after them. Presumably people I've circled have plussed them. That is my assumption. I cannot check, because unlike everywhere else on the site where I have seen +# when I click on the +# I do not get a list of who has plussed it - nothing at all happens. I find this to be irritating, but it is not horribly broken the way I view the inaccuracy of my profile display to be. It just seems to be the stupidest compromise in privacy yet. If whether or not somebody has plussed it is private information, then I feel like I should not see it at all. If it is information that should be available to me, then I feel I should be able to see who has plussed it. I am fairly sure if I were interested enough, I could figure it out simply by temporarily removing people from my circles one by one until the count changed and then re-adding them (although I haven't actually tried that). I just don't actually care about who plussed what. But I dislike this partial info and this violation of my expectations of the interface working consistently. It isn't actually keeping the information private, so why make it difficult to obtain? And by doing so, they may set up an expectation of privacy for information that clearly is not actually private.

This is not a misfeature exactly, but a lack of feature. Apparently you are not notified in any way when someone completely removes you from all circles. This may or may not be a good thing. I think it's probably less than ideal. You should probably have the choice of being notified. But what makes this especially annoying is that while you can easily filter your list of who has circled you to people you haven't circled and your list of people who have circled you has a symbol on each person you have circled, your list of people you have circled has no marker or indication of whether or not somebody has circled you. This means if you want to clean up your list of people you've circled to consider removing people who aren't that interested in staying close as they have indicating by removing you, it is tedious to determine which people these are. I expect this to become much more of an annoyance if people continue to use the site for long periods of time, because that is when list clean-ups become really useful.

G+ continues to randomly mark one of my friends as intermittently sharing via email only for no apparent reason. He flips back and forth between his account being accessible to me and inaccessible. When it is inaccessible to me, it is also inaccessible to a mutual friend. At this point I know that he does not not know why this happens, and he is able to access his account, even when it looks to me like his profile has vanished.

G+ continues to toggle between two different name displays for various different people I've circled on the circles page, while their profile names remain unchanged. I do not know where these alternate names that it sometimes displays for them have come from. I continue to wonder whether it ever changes my name, since I have no way to see how my own name looks in the page of people someone has circled or been circled by. It worries me for potential privacy issues, because they had to have gotten these alternate names from somewhere, but I do not know where. But as I don't know, I don't know if it is actually a privacy issue. It is one of the reasons that I feel like I need a second account just to know what my primary account is displaying. However, I am refraining from getting a second account and simply going with the strategy of not getting too attached to G+ instead and being careful what info I put on the site.

Oh, and filtering to who has recently updated continues to be utterly hilarious. I am fairly sure this feature is simply broken. But if it isn't, then they have some incredibly bizarre definitions, since I've had people without G+ accounts in-between people who have made G+ posts. I think there may be some data to this filter, but it's mixed in with a lot of weird noise.
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