There’s a Buddhist adage that you must look to your impact on the world and how much harm is being caused by what you do for a living. It’s called Mindfulness. And there’s the concept of Green Computing, which is really just the word Computing preceded by the word Green. There’s nothing green about computing. It relies on electricity and plastic which rely on oil which is at the opposite end of the environmental spectrum. And as a programmer I need hardware, i.e. computers of some sort, in order to program.
Today I applied Mindfulness to what I do and it cut me to the bone. I program the iPhone but in order to get an iPhone on my desk, a 16 year old girl died of a heart attack in a Taiwanese factory. A 19 year old and a 21 year old jumped off the roof. One the one hand I hear Steve Jobs bandy around platitudes about customer satisfaction and porn free living, while the young kids who make his hardware commit suicide due to the working conditions. Young kids who not only could never afford the Apple Experience but who actually took their own lives bringing it to us. And what do programmers do with this hardware? They make Fart Apps. (more…)
It’s always good to start the day with some code. So I was overjoyed when I read the latest challenge at The Reinvigorated Programmer to create a Selection Sort in any language you want. The only proviso was you couldn’t test it first. i.e. no TDD, no tests, just thinking about the problem. You right the code, think, write some more, think some more, code, think, code think and so on and when you’re confident you’re finished, you run the program and see if it works. (more…)
So Google are at it again. Not content with publishing your private email details on their attempt at a social network, they’re now harvesting wifi usage from their street cars. Google do seem to worry me these days. They seem to have no quality control whatsoever, well on the face of it anyway. Whatever happened to Wave? That terrible mess of an application that was “released”? Then they Buzzed your googlemail contact details all over the place without telling you and now they’ve been snooping on your wifi usage.
In each case, they seem to want to blame the “engineers” working for them. In this latest blatant abuse of privacy, some guy called Schmidt is pulling out that old cherry that fraudsters use to defend their robbing of large corporations:
“no, harm, no foul … Who was harmed? Name the person”
then there’s this wonderful statement:
“highly unlikely … any of the collected information was … useful … have been no use of that data”
so he’s gathering useless data that they’re not going to use? So why gather it in the first place? Schmidt continues:
“No one has taken it, done anything with it. It has not been given to anyone”
until they hand it over to their “investigators”:
“Google has asked a third party to review the software … and examine the gathered data”
so Schmidt and Page have secretly harvested wifi usage from their street cars and are now giving it all to a mysterious third party.
What other “payloads” are on those street cars, gathering “useless” information that will “never be used”, other than mysterious people who seem will be the recipients of the harvested data?