Google’s new privacy policy?

I got an e-mail saying that Google would be updating it’s privacy policy as of March 1st this year.  Normally such e-mails would probably go straight into the bin, but I recall seeing something about this newly updated privacy policy in the news, so I decided to take a look.

First of all, the e-mail doesn’t actually contain the new privacy policy.  You have to click through to a website, and then from there, follow another a link, in order to find the actual privacy policy wording.

I have a feeling that companies intentionally make privacy policies as reader un-friendly as possible in order to perhaps mask their true nature?  The new Google privacy policy comes in at 2,258 words, which is long even by my verbose standards.  While it seems like they have done their best to keep it simple, I can’t really make sense of what the actual changes are or how they use my information.  Google says “We’ll better understand which version of Pink or Jaguar you’re searching for and get you those results faster”.  Yes, I appreciate it that when I type in “New World” into Google I get the locations and phone numbers for the nearest supermarkets, not Mallick’s “The New World”, or stuff about monkeys with prehensile tails.  Google knowing who I am and my browsing history makes life easier for me in some ways.  However, it also means some information may be more difficult for me to access or find, simply because it’s not part of my normal internet usage routine.

I also have a feeling that Google tends to get away with stuff, because unlike Facebook (at least for me), we trust Google.  We think of Google as the benevolent information overlord, who wants to help us find what we want, give us efficient e-mail and other services.

I am not one of those people who is exceptionally private (hence, this blog), nor am I exceptionally paranoid that people are stealing my personal information and using it to do terrible things behind my back, however, I do fear a world where that kind of thing happens and no one can do anything about it.

So, can I wean myself off Google products?  What alternatives are there?  And, should I be concerned about Google’s ethics on my privacy and personal information? I have no idea.  But thinking about these kinds of questions can’t hurt.

I’ve just realised lately I have been writing a lot about technology and how it’s impact on society.  It’s certainly not a topic I am particularly an expert in, but it does interest me.  I am sure there are other people with a great deal more actual knowledge on the topic than me, but what is this blog if not a place where I can talk a bunch of shit without any real facts to back it up?

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twenty twelve

The year started off with some bad luck (demagnetised debit card, banks closed, no money, a bent rear bicycle wheel and 133 km wind for days), but things seem to be looking brighter.

In particular, I am looking forward to the following events:

Films by Starlight

Wednesday 18 January – Exit Through The Gift Shop

Thursday 19 January – Bill Cunningham New York

Wednesday 25 January – Kaikohe Demolition

Thursday 26 January- Labyrinth

All happening in the Dell at the Botanic Gardens around dusk.

Loads of international acts coming to town!

Sun Araw on 3 February

Not my favourite band ever, but something to do.

Dan Deacon on 4 Febraury

I saw Dan Deacon several years ago in Montreal, and I have to say it was hands down one the funnest shows I have ever been to.  He was basically just playing music off his iPod, and got the entire audience (at Sala Rosa) to have a dance-off.  The full story is that I was almost forced to go and dance in front of the entire audience but thankfully the song ended just as eye contact was made and I narrowly escaped complete embarrassment. I’m certain good times will be had, and only $15!  What a value!

Real Estate 16 March

Pitchfork’s and All Song Considered’s darlings should put on a good show.

Wooden Shjips on 2 April

I like their music.

Camp a Low Hum in February not far from Wellington…

Camping!  Music!

I’m still undecided about Laneway (30 January in Auckland)… I asked my mum to buy me a ticket for Christmas.  We’ll see if she comes through.

Some cool things happening at Fred’s in the upcoming weeks…

The next few weeks look promising.  I’m going to all the above mentioned shows alone, except for CALH, but the loneliness of a girl at a show by herself doesn’t deter me.

Last weekend I went to see Bond Street Bridge and the Broken Heartbreakers at Meow.  The music was amazing, the venue awful.  The acoustics are terrible and the audience wouldn’t shut up!  Bond Street Bridge in particular was so lovely.  I had a chance to have a word with Sam after the show and guess what…. he’s a librarian!  Hence the ode to Sir Francis Drake and other obscure naval history references in his music.  I also asked Rachel from the Broken Heartbreakers to explain the etymology of the band’s name. Is it that they re-break previously broken hearts, or are they heartbreakers who are broken?  It turns out to be the latter.

I also went to see Beirut last week at the Opera House.  It was amazing, though I wish we had been closer!  Also the ushers at the Opera House take their jobs way, way too seriously.

After the show we went to Hawthorn Lounge, a lovely place I highly recommend, especially if you enjoy obscure cocktails in swanky surroundings and barmen with sleeve garters and bowties.    A nice lady gave us 1/2 a bottle of Prosecco and then I decided to head home.  I had to dash back to the Opera House to grab my bicycle… and guess who I saw loading out in the alley?  Not Zach Condon, but the rest of the band.  I wanted to say something, but being a star-struck super fan meant I could only manage “Hey that show was really great” to which I got a warm thank you and then I ran away feeling like an idiot.

It’s shaping up to be a fun-filled summer.  I hope to do more cycling, picnicking, sitting in the sun drinking bloody marys in the afternoon… oh and maybe getting some work done on my coding and analysis.  Right now Nvivo is giving me a headache so I am ignoring it.

I really like this song:

I hope that in 2012 there are more women rapping about “I guess that cunt getting eatin” whilst wearing cut-offs so short the pockets hang out.

things I did today

This is what I did to really kick off 2012:

  • Went for a 5 km jog
  • Worked for 3 hours at Te Papa
  • Went to my office
  • Gave $2 to a guy playing the accordion on the waterfront
  • Talked on the phone for 1 hour
  • Finished transcribing an interview
  • Spent about a half hour working with Nvivo and doing some preliminary coding
  • Rode my bicycle home
  • Listened to the new Proopcast
  • Fed the neighbours cat
  • Made crepes with yogurt bechamel sauce, gruyere, carrots and cabbage, and with some left over strawberry coulis I made on Sunday for dessert (they were delicious)
  • Successfully re-arranged my stereo and connected the sub-woofer which I got out of the attic
  • Danced around in my living room to my newly more bassy stereo
  • Vacuumed
  • Washed the dishes
  • Mopped the kitchen floor
  • Watched half an episode of Portlandia
  • Spent 1 hour writing e-mails
  • Folded my clean laundry and put it away
  • Drank a glass of wine
  • Updated my blog twice

Ok, I haven’t actually folded my laundry yet, or mopped the kitchen floor, but I’m halfway there with the laundry and will mop the floor before I go to bed.  But first I might watch the rest of that episode of Portlandia.  Is it just me or is Carrie Brownstein amazingly awesome?

busking in Wellington on a public holiday

Sorry, I would love to have accompanying photos of the buskers, but my camera is too bulky to carry around with me.

Anyway, today is a public holiday here in new Zealand and Wellington is kinda shut down.  However, I did see quite a few buskers which I thought I would write about as they were all quite distinct and interesting.

  1. Maori  guy playing guitar in Newtown with amplifier (usually at Saturday makret or outside Newtown New World)
  2. “If you think I’m sexy” trumpet player with bird puppet on waterfront (never before seen)
  3. Old man with bowtie and button accordion (I gave him $2)
  4. White dude playing Sublime covers in railway station underpass