Skinning the frog
My site for talking about the customization of Windows.
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Oct 6, 2017 2:51 PM by Discussion: Forum Issues

What features do you think the forums need to make them more compelling for you and for others to use?

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With the increasing evidence that Google operates with an open political agenda, it is not surprising that its employees feel comfortable using their privileged position at Google to smite those guilty of wrong-think.

Take the case of Google employee Tab Atkins Jr.  After a Twitter spat with Zoe Quinn, Atkins decided that social justice needed to be served and wrote a libelous smear of me on his blog with the title "Brad Wardell is a douchebag"...three years ago.

As a semi-public figure I'm pretty used to someone, somewhere writing something unpleasant about me. What I was not prepared for, however, was someone who knew Google's search algorithms well enough to keep their little blog post up at the top of Google (but no other search engine's) search results for three years.

Compare the difference:

 

BING:

image 

No where to be found.

 

DuckDuckGo:

image

No where to be found.

 

GOOGLE:

image

Right at the top just behind my Twitter and Wikipedia pages.

 

Now mind you, I've been featured in a lot of newspapers, magazines and websites over the years from Time Magazine to the WSJ to USA Today and of course frequently in the technology news sector.  None of those articles come up.  LinkedIn.com doesn't even come up. Even the infamous false allegation of "sexual harassment" that certain gaming journalists latched onto (and later apologized for) can't beat it. 

Either the SEO managers at LinkedIn, FaceBook, Kotaku, USAToday.com, Time.com, etc. need to recruit this guy...or, more likely, this guy knows how to manipulate Google search results.  I don't know if Google gives preferential treatment to results from its employees or not. What is known is that the results are unique to Google and have managed to survive 3 years at the top despite his blog not being notable.

However, the issue I have isn't just about Tab bt rather, what it says about Google's culture. I don't think anyone I have ever worked with would feel comfortable doing this to someone.  I'm the publisher of Neowin and it's never occurred to me to use my power to try to ruin an individual.  What is the mindset of someone who writes something like that and then uses what appears to be insider SEO knowledge to ensure it nears the top?  What it says to me is that there's something gross about Google's culture and that they have a pretty high confidence that they can mete our social justice at those they feel deserve it.

Now, imagine if I weren't already a successful CEO that will never have to find a new job but instead was just "some guy".  What Tab did would be catastrophic. It sends a chilling message to those who participate in social media: Piss off an SJW at Google and they will use their privileged position to harm you.

Now, you might ask "Have I reached out to Tab?" and the answer is, yes:

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That was two years ago.  In which he responded "he'd think about it". 

Perhaps Google has some other explanation as to how their employee's 3 year-old blog gets to the top only on Google and no other site.  I have my own opinions.

In the meantime, consider this: Imagine if an employee at Google had written such an article about say Zoe Quinn or some other SJW darlying?  What do you think would happen to them?

Up until the revelation that Google is willing to fire people just for having "wrong" opinions I was willing to think that Tab was just an isolated "bad apple".  But now, I feel very uncomfortable at that thought that anyone out there with the "wrong opinion" is only a few keystrokes away from being smeared or made invisible by Google employees in the online search results.

Your opinions are welcome.

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Aug 30, 2017 9:59 PM by Discussion: Life, the Universe and Everything

IMG_0429I don't know how common this is with dogs but my dog, an Entlebucher mountaint dog, has a fairly complex moral system when it comes to food.  Namely, she seems to have an internal rule set on what it is okay for her to take food.

Here's an example of my dog's morality in action.  If my wife brings me a plate of cheese and crackers, she can set it right in front of me and the dog.  I could get up, leave the room and come back without fear that she would take it.  However, if I begin eating it and then leave the room, there is a point where if I were to leave the room that the plate would be picked clean when I returned.

Similarly, we have a walk in pantry filled with food (including her dog food).  Bread, crackers, cookies, etc. are all within easy reach of her.  We keep the loafs of bread on a shelf that is eye level.  We never keep the pantry door closed and she won't take any food from there. However, if I take the same bread, open it up and eat a slice and then put it on the table, the dog will eat the entire loaf right off the table if I walk away.  However, put the same loaf back in the pantry and it is safe.

Over the years, I've tried to experiment to learn how her seeming morality system works.  She won't ever steal food in front of someone unless it falls to the floor. Then it's fair game. If I'm lying around on the couch with a bowl of chips on the floor in front of her, I'm safe. If I get up and leave to go to the bathroom the bowl is safe also.  But if I have eaten a sufficient amount of it and leave, the bowl gets chowed down if I leave for just a few moments.

Those of you with dogs, have you encountered this sort of thing?

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I'm not sure how I missed but looking at it now it's kind of interesting to read how the interviewer, Jeremey Peel reacted to my interview responses. 

Broadly speaking, my belief is that people are people and should be treated well without qualification.  This does not, however, mean that you should feel obligated to absorb abuse.

For example, on our software, we will go to great lengths to help a customer.  But the moment they start making personal attacks on our employees, that's the end of that.

The same is true for employees who demand to be given special treatment.  I just have no patience for that.  There has to be one rule for all employees or you end up with chaos.

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Apr 10, 2017 5:19 PM by Discussion: Stardockians

Stardock Magazine April edition is about to go out.

Use this thread to discuss.

You can also visit the Windows Desktop Discord channel here: https://discord.gg/EZe8uxG (games ones are being set up too).

 

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Apr 10, 2017 5:19 PM by Discussion: Stardockians

Stardock Magazine April edition is about to go out.

Use this thread to discuss.

You can also visit the Windows Desktop Discord channel here: https://discord.gg/EZe8uxG (games ones are being set up too).

 

7 Replies Reply 55 Referrals

Mar 6, 2017 11:05 PM by Discussion: Stardockians

Leave your feedback here.  Will be sending this out soon. :)

 

32 Replies Reply 85 Referrals

Mar 6, 2017 11:05 PM by Discussion: Stardockians

Leave your feedback here.  Will be sending this out soon. :)

 

32 Replies Reply 85 Referrals

Feb 26, 2017 10:41 PM by Discussion: Life, the Universe and Everything

I'm on my way to GDC.  I write this from first class on a 752-200 from Detroit Metro.  25 years ago I lived in poverty. How did I go from having nothing to being one of those 0.1%ers? The usual, hard work, self-discipline, delayed gratification. But there's another element that rarely gets talked about: Being born lucky.

I took a political test and one of the questions struck me, "Some people are born lucky." as a True or False statement.  I remember watching a video of Sargon, a popular political YouTuber, taking this test where he answers no to this question.  Let me assure you, some people are born lucky.  I would know. I was born lucky.

There is a tendency I've seen with "rich" people I know to believe their wealth is solely due to their virtue and wisdom.  But in my experience, being "born lucky" is a pre-requisite to success.  The problem with believing in ones own virtue and wisdom when it comes to success is that it is easy to lose empathy for the less fortunate. 

Besides being born in the United States I had an advantage that even those who were born rich didn't have.  I have almost super-natural good health.  I suspect if you were to study rich people, particularly those, like me, who were at one time living in poverty (by USA standards) you will find that unusually good health is something they have in common.

As tempting as it might be to ascribe my health to decisions I made, I know that not to be true.  I eat horribly. I don't require more than a few hours of sleep per night. I brush my teeth only when my wife complains my breath is killing the plants even as my dentist tells me "whatever you're doing, keep doing it, you have exceptionally good oral health" (I've never had a cavity and tell the dentist that flossing is his job).  I never had to blow my nose until after I had kids.   I didn't have a single sick day from K-12 except for chicken pox. 

My health isn't something I earned. It was something I was born with.  My mom is a mutant as well as I'm not sure I've ever seen her sick. Ever. As in, I'm not sure she's even had a cold.

My unearned health has allowed me to do things that others couldn't do.  So many times in my career a given opportunity was only possible because I could work every day for months at a time to get it done.  So much of my success can be attributed to my unusually good health. I don't get tired. I don't get sick. Year after year. Even now, my entire family at home is sick. I try to sympathize by pointing out I have a hang nail (advice to others: don't do that, I am not immune to my wife's beatings).

So next time you hear someone ascribe some sort of moral failure on the part of the poor, remember, some of our success really is based on being born lucky.

This week, amongst many meetings, I will be reporting what I find over at www.neowin.com. Also, I trimmed that hangnail.

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Haven't sent this out yet...

But feel free to chat with me here.

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