Google China’s Image Search for “Tiananmen”

What the rest of the world sees:


Update: Apparently this is currently pretty easy to defeat. As of this writing they’ve already fixed the “Tiananmen” spelling, but a few random mixed capitalization tests proved that they still have a lot more variations to cover. And misspellings too.

Censorship is so very ugly.

The Search Engine of No

No booze or jokes for Googlers in China | CNET

Google’s new China search engine not only censors many Web sites that question the Chinese government, but it goes further than similar services from Microsoft and Yahoo by targeting teen pregnancy, homosexuality, dating, beer and jokes.

Woah, woah, woah! Hold up a second here. You guys are censoring the word beer? As in ?? is blockedyour deep, dark, black ray of Irish sunshine. What about Quingdao≥∂? That’s made in China.

All kidding aside, it is a sad day when corporations cave in to pressure to protect the citizens of this world from the pressures of corrupt governments. That goes as much for search and blog censorship in China as it does here in the USA with the same corporations handing over search engine server logs. What a weird time we live in.

Our national anthem asks this question:

O say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

And the answer is: Not today. Our freedoms that our ancestors fought for all those years are disappearing faster than you can say nine-eleven, and bravery is something that doesn’t strike me as a good description for the current trend of capitulation and supine acquiescence to tyranny.

Two Steps Back

I’m deeply concerned for Apple’s lip service to web standards support in their latest suite of products.

First of all, the iPhoto 6 RSS generation is invalid, proprietary, Safari/Apple-only code. Let me get out my yea flag and give it a wave. I’ll use that feature approximately never. What is the point of sharing your photos if almost everyone you know does not use Safari? I love Safari – I love it’s support for standards and it’s ease of use. But let’s be realistic here with iPhoto and photoblogging. Do we want to be able to use and enjoy photoblogging and share it with everyone? Or do we want to create a proprietary, useless piece of technology that only a very few people will be able to experience? The last thing I want to explain to people is “Oh, I created this with a Mac and that’s why you can’t see it.” Does not sound like happy, positive word-of-mouth marketing to me…

Next up is the travesty that is the .Mac blog. Bask in the aqua glow of those horizontal scroll bars. View source and see the horror of dozens of inline CSS styles applied liberally to empty div tags. This is worse than the HTML 3 font tag madness and completely misses the point and exposes a deep misunderstanding of what web standards were meant for. What is most frightening is that the document almost validates against XHTML 1.0 Transitional. It’s as if they inserted all this crap-generating tools and kept running it against the validator, just to say “hey, it validates!”, without understanding that the XHTML is supposed to be simple and meaningful.

Extra credit goes to the .Mac blog’s title props: “Blog”. Well done. Does anyone care that this is a public-facing website for a prominent and trend-setting company?

Most disturbing is the core of this issue, which is the .Mac blog’s creator. Let me direct the audiences attention to line six of the source code:

<meta name=”Generator” content=”iWeb 1.0.0″>

Which means that there is this software thing that is made to be openly placed into the hands of idiots, that is going to create highly-bollocksed-up code that makes FrontPage look like the W3 brain trust.

Lord help us all.

If there is such a thing as Web 2.0, I am sure that this is not part of it.

Audio Avitars

I found the iTunes Signature Maker at the blog of Ryan Shaw this evening. Extremely cool little idea to take your iTunes playlist and make a short little audio avitar of your musical tastes. Here is mine.

The creation of the file requires you to trust a Java applet to scan your iTunes collection and make hashes out of some of your favorite music. The applet is signed by Thawte, which checks out, but the usual cautions should still apply here. You can set some parameters such as the number of tracks to pick from and how long each segment should be. Here’s what it came up with for me, which I found particularly interesting:

Title Artist Album Starting At Ending At
Trauermusik San Francisco Symphony Mathis der Maler, Trauermusik, Symphonic Metamorphosis 0:35.2 0:38.4
The Battle of Evermore Led Zeppelin IV 5:30.6 5:35.0
Summertime Miles Davis   2:24.2 2:29.0
Postcards Yellowjackets Four Corners 0:12.0 0:16.0
The Firebird Suite Igor Stravinsky   1:55.4 1:57.8
Panama Van Halen   2:37.1 2:42.7
47. Erbarme Dich, Mein Gott Johann Sebastian Bach Bach: St. Matthew Passion – CD 2 6:30.8 6:36.0
01 – Requiem Aeternum Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Requiem K626 3:27.5 3:30.3
String Quintet, Op.77 – 1. Allegro con fuoco The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center Dvorak Serenade 4:05.2 4:08.8
05 E Alex Wilson Studios / Telltale Weekly Digital Pitch Pipes 0:00.0 0:06.0

I like how it finishes with a reference pitch that I use to tune to every time I practice. It makes a nice blend that tapers off into the solo E a nice touch. It was my first run of the applet, but I’m going to go with it.