Google vs. The Man

Boy, things on the privacy versus protection front are getting tricky. We have warrant-less wiretaps that are supposed to be aimed at stopping extremist attacks, and American technology, search engines and ISPs are being used to censor the Internet in the interest of awful, repressive regimes. And now the U.S. government wants to search records of private citizens in an effort to uphold a law that protects children from predators.

Here’s the tough part. It’s hard to argue for religious extremists (wimps call them terrorists, but that gives extremists too much credit. If you’re afraid and want to call them terrorists, let me know at dbarney@redmondmag.com. If you’re not scared, what should we call these jerks? Let me know at dbarney@redmondmag.com). It’s just as hard to argue for child predators or totalitarian governments. But to fight them by giving up huge chunks of our freedom is a whole ‘nuther matter.

Now, Google, the search engine king, is refusing to hand over to the government records for a million users and what they searched for.

Microsoft, meanwhile, has already given in to the feds, but says it didn’t give out any “personal information.”

WinFX Goes Live
When Microsoft has a new OS, it starts talking about it literally a half decade before it’s ever complete. So get ready for at least another year of Vista hype, leaks, FUD, and half-baked marketing. Right now, I’m falling for it all by telling you about a new beta (Microsoft calls it a Community Technology Preview) of Vista’s graphics and communications engine, WinFX.

First, Microsoft confuses us with overly complex names for betas. Now, they’re changing the names of key underlying Vista technologies. WinFX now includes the communications engine that was called Indigo and the graphics engine that used be called Avalon.

Are we supposed to be so obsessed with unreleased operating systems that we’re supposed to memorize ever new code name Redmond marketers care to invent? Let me know at dbarney@redmondmag.com. If you agree, you’ll be really irked by the next item.

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Code Name Insanity
You know the saying, “from the sublime to the ridiculous?” Well, this item qualifies for ridiculous to the more ridiculous!

As you know, Vista is the current code name for a client OS that used be called Longhorn. When Vista finally ships, it’ll be called something entirely different. But before you get all comfortable with your knowledge of these names, Microsoft has revealed a code name for a product I didn’t even know has a code name. The follow-up to Vista will not be referred to as “Blackcomb” but will be henceforth (until Redmond marketers change their minds) be known as “Vienna.”

Well, whoopty-to-flipping-do.

About the Author

Doug Barney is editor in chief of Redmond magazine and the VP, editorial director of Redmond Media Group.

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