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Things Are Good: Ecosia: A Search Engine That Plants Trees

Ecosia is a search engine that is trying to make the world better. Every time you search the net on their site a good percentage of ad revenue is used to pay for planting trees in Brazil. Their goal is one million new trees in Brazil’s Atlantic Forest by August 2014 (as of posting they are at 219,695 trees planted).

It’s another Google competitor with a good focus. There is also Duck Duck Go which prides itself on its privacy policies as a reaction to Google’s pervasive reach.

Hopefully Ecosia and Duck Duck Go will encourage other Google competitors or (Read more…)

Progressive Proselytizing: Tech on the Side: Microsoft corrects past mistakes

In a world where tech companies are forced to make difficult decisions between mutually exclusive business models, it can be hard to know whether they decided correctly. For instance, did Google make the correct choice to release Android on a less-than-free model (which has been obviously successful), or did they make one of the biggest blunders in tech by not selling Android for a fee (which could have been worth far more)? When a company tries one option and then reverses course after it proves a failure, however, we get a rare glimpse to be able to compare the options (Read more…)

Progressive Proselytizing: Tech on the Side: Business Models vs Capabilities

One of the most fascinating aspect of following technology is not just the speed at which the technologies themselves change. It is that the shifts are so large and so fast that business models need to get changed on the fly. Many of the biggest battles in tech are not battles between products, as it might seem to the consumer, but existential battles between competing business models, business models who are made possible or obsolete by the changing capabilities of various companies. And many of the biggest failures in recent years (such as Nokia and Blackberry) ultimately stem from a (Read more…)

Things Are Good: Google Launches Deforestation Watch

Global Forest Watch is a new project from Google to highlight the deforestation that has been happening around the planet since the year 2000. Google is working with a lot of organizations to bring this information to light (including the World Resources Institute).

Global Forest Watch’s most valuable feature, developers say, is that it can be updated with new information every month, detecting “changes in forest cover in near-real-time.”

“Now that we have the ability to peer into forests, a number of telling stories are beginning to emerge,” Google said in a blog post.

The tool could change the (Read more…)

Politics and its Discontents: It Always Seems Like A Good Idea At The Time

…but who can forget the Borg and the Cylons?

Will Google eventually forget its motto, “Don’t be evil”?

Recommend this Post

Canadian Political Viewpoints: On the Road Again, For the First Time.

Source:  Huffington Post: Self Driving Cars are Coming to Canada

Despite previously alluding to some of the topics we might talk about this week, I decided to go to a different route talk about something a little more abstract.

There was news today that Canadian roads can expect to see driverless vehicles within the next four years. People who have been following tech giants, such as Google, are not surprised by the fact that driverless cars being developed; though some people might be surprised that they’re closer to launch than anticipated.

Paul Godsmark, a retired highway designer, has said however (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: PM Harper has set up a sophisticated program to read our email and monitor our online activities.

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger

Good morning folks. I was looking to do some tidying up and editing posts on the left side under News & Opinion from Home and Abroad.

These are items from across the internet that I include because of their interest and relevance.

This story regarding surveillance caught my eye again and I took another look at it and decided that I should promote as a main post.

Originally published online by Rabble.ca contributor, Vancouver’s Adam Goldsmith, it shines a light on the reality that Canadians are being spied on through the Conservative Stephen Harper government’s Communications Security Establishment Canada. (CSEC).

It appears (Read more…)

Wise Law Blog: Goodbye Google Reader: Survival Tips for July 1 and Beyond

Today at SlawTips, I look at the world after Google Reader, which is to be closed down on July 1st, and offer a few promising alternatives for legal power-users who just can’t do without their daily RSS reader fixes:

So where shall we go on July 1 to find our vital law blog updates, breaking legal news, Law Society dispatches, musings in the legal press and NHL off-season developments? 

Worry not, good citizens.  SlawTips to the rescue!

See the entire post:  Survival Tips for Google Reader’s July 1 Demise.

– Garry J. Wise, Toronto Visit (Read more…) . . . → Read More: Wise Law Blog: Goodbye Google Reader: Survival Tips for July 1 and Beyond

The Canadian Progressive: Shareholders and users ask Google to disclose political spending, leave U.S. Chamber of Commerce

By: Public Citizen | Press Release

WASHINGTON, June 5 – What: Press conference on Thursday, the day of Google Inc.’s annual shareholder meeting, led by consumer groups and shareholders, who will call on Google to institute a policy to disclose its political spending and end its membership in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Groups of Google investors sent a letter on Monday that echoes the message. Another set of Google investors representing more than $125 billion in assets under management is planning to send a separate letter today with the same requests.

The press conference comes after several public interest groups (Read more…)

drive-by planet: Google upgrades to ‘Palestine’: on another note – Schmidty sings Israel’s praises oh and Jerusalem Israel’s ‘capital’ according to GoogleMaps

Google has changed the tagline on its homepage in the occupied territories from “Palestinian Territories” to “Palestine.” A Google spokesperson informed BBC that the company had consulted sources and authorities and was “…following the lead of the UN, Icann [Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers], ISO [International Organisation for Standardisation] and other international organisations.”

It’s hard to get overly enthused about a word above a Google search bar so long as actual Palestinians are under occupation, apartheid and treated like pariahs in their own land. Given the recent UN vote in favor of Palestine non-member observer (Read more…)

drive-by planet: Eric Schmidt’s privacy concerns about drones more than a little ironic

Executive chairman of Google, Eric Schmidt,  recently went public with his concerns about ‘everyman’ drones getting into the wrong hands. Thinks they should be banned… might be a privacy threat. Guess Schmidt should know being a top exec of a company that some regard as one of the biggest privacy threats on the planet.

Google has a cosy relationship with Barack Obama who knows all about drones, so we should probably pay attention. Schmidt thinks we need to be aware of the potential of drones to “democratize the ability to fight war”…  and warns of drones being used (Read more…)

Writings of J. Todd Ring: The New Blackberry 10 – Time to ditch Apple and Google both

The Blackberry 10 has just been unveiled, and the question returns: Blackberry, iPhone or Google-based Android smart phone? Here are some thoughts, techno-weenie talk aside. We’re talking pure functionality and ethics here, not who has the best gizmo-gadgetry whiz-bang for the buck. Google is a partner in evil, willingly collaborating with the super-creepy NSA’s deeply [...]

cartoon life: Aaaargh. Is this another commercial?

I’m trying a Google+ Page for samu press, at: https://plus.google.com/u/0/b/112300258731317304941/112300258731317304941/posts

Aside from the samu press blog, http://samupress.blogspot.ca at which I repost items from the Zazzle store: http://www.zazzle.ca/samupress and the Facebook samu press page, ( which really is a pain) and this cartoon life blog and my own Facebook page…and an array of others… sheeeesh. What a shmozzle. It feels like too many lines in the water and it seems hard to differentiate them. As much as I want to NOT to be a pain in the eyes, and as much as I want to

Trashy's World: Most super awesome…

Google doodle today! But maybe I’m just being a nerd. (7) Trashy, Ottawa, Ontario

Canadian Progressive World: This year, Ramadan has a serious Google twist

Today, over a billion Muslims around the world begin to observe the holy month of Ramadan, fasting from dawn to sunset. This year, Google is in on the action. In a serious way. The search engine behemoth will stream Islamic prayers live from Mecca via a dedicated YouTube channel. That means millions around the world will be able to experience “over 50 premium Ramadan shows.” Shows like the one depicted in the clip below, starring famed Syrian actor Jamal Suliman. Find out more on Google+ Arabia.

Things Are Good: Google to Catalog Languages

The Endangered Languages Project is a new initiative run by Google to catalog languages that are threatened because of globalization. As nice as it is that the people on the planet are finding more languages in common, we still need to encourage people to embrace languages that aren’t as popular.

“We have so many languages which are in danger of dying, and though there has been work done by linguists to document these languages, there are nowhere near enough linguists to do that,” said Anthony Aristar, professor of linguistics and co-director of the Institute for Language Information and Technology at

. . . → Read More: Things Are Good: Google to Catalog Languages

CANADIAN PROGRESSIVE WORLD: Google Exposes Harper Government’s Growing Internet Censorship Appetites

In a report released late Sunday, Google tells us Canada has joined the ranks of countries aggressively stepping up efforts to censor online political dissent through “censorship requests” to the giant search engine. Passport Canada authorities asked Google to block public access to “a YouTube video of a Canadian citizen urinating on his passport and flushing it down the toilet”. The case is one of the highlights in Google’s semi-annual Transparency Report for the period July – December, 2011.

Now the question is: would you have wanted to watch the video and understand the protester’s motivations? I would have. When

. . . → Read More: CANADIAN PROGRESSIVE WORLD: Google Exposes Harper Government’s Growing Internet Censorship Appetites

Wise Law Blog: "CourtBerry Syndrome" and Why Some Jurors Can’t Resist Tweeting

Trial judges routinely warn jurors to avoid  using social media and the internet to research or comment on matters before the court during trials.  Nonetheless, news reports of jurors who disregard these instructions seem to be increasingly frequent.

Such juror misconduct has potentially disastrous consequences for the administration of justice.  A December 2011 Arkansas appeal provides a ready illustration – see Death row inmate gets second trial due to Twitter-obsessed juror:

In a tweet referencing the trial, Franco wrote ”Choices to be made. Hearts to be broken…We each define the great line.” He also posted updates when each day

. . . → Read More: Wise Law Blog: "CourtBerry Syndrome" and Why Some Jurors Can’t Resist Tweeting

Red Tory v.3.0.3: Has YouTube Killed “Related Videos”?

Google moves in mysterious ways… Whatever happened to “related videos” on YouTube that were at least in someway tangentially similar to the previous video watched?

Suddenly, it seems that there are only four options presented – none of which are remotely connected to the preceding video. Like the ubiquitous promo for the “Invisible Mercedes” or some “Epic Pee Prank” they do however have many millions of hits.

It also seems that the “suggestions” (in the past, always pathetically inept guesses for the most part) are now just the same as those appearing where “related videos” used to!

Quite odd…

. . . → Read More: Red Tory v.3.0.3: Has YouTube Killed “Related Videos”?

From Orangutan: Dear Google Humans,

Thank you for inventing an Android application that in the future will help you and other humans better understand me and other non-humans. I am thrilled that Translate for Animals (non-human ones) recognizes and transcribes words and phrases that are common to non-human species. This might just be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

THE FIFTH COLUMN: Facebook is NOT The Internet – The Internet IS The (Social) Network

In the beginning there were BBSs (Bulletin Board Systems). In a foreshadowing of things to come, almost immediately following the invention of the Personal Computer (PC) they became communications devices as BBS systems were set up for hobbyists to use to share information and home-written programs. At this time PC users were primarily computer hobbyists and the BBSs were mainly confined to

Trashy's World: Google freaks me out sometimes…

Check it – I receive ONE email in French and with the word “retraite” in the subject line (retirement, en anglais)… and look at the ad… Trashy, Ottawa, Ontario

eaves.ca: More on Google Transit and how it is Reshaping a Public Service

Some of you know I’ve written a fair bit on Google transit and how it is reshaping public transit – this blog post in particular comes to mind. For more reading I encourage you to check out the Xconomy article Google Transit: How (and Why) the Search Giant is Remapping Public Transportation as it provides a lot of good details as to what is going on in this space.

Two things about this article:

First, it really is a story about how the secret sauce for success is combining open data with a common standard across jurisdictions. The fact that

. . . → Read More: eaves.ca: More on Google Transit and how it is Reshaping a Public Service

Slap Upside The Head: Google Doodle’s Gay Shout-Out

Google has posted a Valentine’s Day video on their home page, and it includes an adorable gay couple near the end. Aw, how sweet! That couple, though, is displayed in a visual collage alongside other “non-traditional” pairings such as a dog and a cat, a cookie embracing some milk, and an astronaut holding hands with an alien. Uh… thanks?

Things Are Good: Why We Went Down Yesterday

Yesterday you probably noticed that most of your favourite websites were down yesterday or had a notice up warning you about two bills in front of the American government. Those bills are SOPA and PIPA and essentially if these bills pass the internet would be all but dead to American citizens and beyond!

Here’s a video by the Kahn Academy explaining the bills:

So why is this on a website dedicated to good news? Here’s why:

Yesterdays coordinated action shows that disparate companies can join together to oppose harmful legislation. Thanks to Google 4.5 million people signed a petition . . . → Read More: Things Are Good: Why We Went Down Yesterday