Yet another iPhone hacked application has popped up on Google Code, this one an emulator for Nintendo Entertainment System ROM games. I don’t know how the hell you run hacked code on an iPhone, but this is the first damn thing I’d install on an iPhone if I were you. The NES emulator on my Windows Mobile phone has added days of utility to it, though I guess playing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to completion* wasn’t very good for productivity.
There’s also iPhone Doom.
* - Thanks to the wonders of Quick Save, I beat so many NES games that I played 15-20 years ago for the first time. Wonderful thing beating all the Mario games (including Dr. Mario), Turtles, and a bunch of old favorites.
Wow, a story of mine placed third in a contest. Very cool. My “dictionary superheroes” story took third place in Answers.com’s Creative Writing Challenge, giving me no prize, but a link in the Hall of Fame at Answers.com. I’m feeling all warm about the recognition, and from an SEO perspective, I know the link is a very good thing.
Who dared to beat me? First place went to a story at Distracted Consumers, a pretty good story about illegal wildlife trafficking (trust me, it works). Second place was a story about a shepherd.
The words for the second Challenge are out, and I’m far too tempted to try it all over again. I’m especially excited about the fact that the tenth term, Kew Gardens, is practically the name of the neighborhood I live in (Kew Gardens Hills), which I’m taking as some sort of a sign. I’ve got till October first, so I’ll take my time on this one (I wrote the previous entry in under an hour).
If you’re getting involved in the Creative Writing Challenge, let me know. I’d love to chat with other participants.
I used to write fiction when I was younger, gave it up when I didn’t have a real reason to do so. I’m enjoying the opportunity to do something a little different.
Resource Shelf has a post about the top searches in June and July on the CIA’s Freedom of Information Act website. The Freedom of Information Act is a hugely important move to declassify tons of government documents that could be extremely useful to citizens, companies, researchers, anyone. So, naturally, people are just looking for completely ridiculous things.
In June, searches for “UFO” were the second most popular (beaten only by “finland”), and in June, UFO searches were number one, with almost three times as many searches as anything of actual substance. Other people were searching for information on “family jewels”, the JFK assassination (since, you know, the CIA covered it up and then accidentally posted the info on its own website, right), cuba, and LSD.
The image above is pieced together from the #1 result for “UFO” on the website, an issue of the CIA magazine
Google has announced it is closing down the Google Video Store, which sold videos to a very small audience for the last year and a half. Users who paid for the videos will not only not be able to buy new ones, but because of Google’s use of a proprietary DRM format, will have their videos stop working entirely and never, ever play again.
Clearly, this is part of Google’s plan to undermine others’ DRM strategy by making consumers so angry, they’ll never buy DRM music and video from Apple or Microsoft, right? Because no company could be this stupid?
As of Wednesday, DRM video will stop running (Google stopped selling them a month ago. Google is giving previous purchasers a Google Checkout coupon based on how much they purchased to sorta make up for it, but the coupon expires in 60 days. Presumably the coupons are 100% refunds, since anything else would be tantamount to robbery and back up Boing Boing’s call for a class action lawsuit. As Profy says:
Also, it should provide full refunds for the amount users spent in the marketplace, at least for purchased videos. When you buy a DVD from a store, you get to keep it, unless it is defective in which case you are offered a full refund or exchange. A store does not simply say, “Sorry, we will take that movie back and give you a $5 store credit.” Just because the content is digital does not mean that it should not be subject to the same terms that apply to retail purchases.
Ars explains how Google just made a great anti-DRM argument:
Yet now Google Video has given us a gift—a “proof of concept” in the form of yet another argument against DRM—and an argument for more reasonable laws governing copyright controls. How could Google’s failure be our gain? Simple. By picking up its marbles and going home, Google just demonstrated how completely bizarre and anti-consumer DRM technology can be. Most importantly, by pulling the plug on the service, Google proved why consumers have to be allowed to circumvent copy controls.
Poor Charlie Rose. It seemed like he was the only one really using the damn.
I suspect this is the last post in the Google Video Store category. Where do I retire dead categories?
In memory of the Google Video Store:
Google Video Upload Program - April 2005
Google Opens Video Store For VOD - January 7, 2006
Google’s Copy Protection Technology - January 7, 2006
Google Video Updated - January 9, 2006
Google Video Store Updated - January 10, 2006
Unimpressed With The Google Video Store - January 11, 2006
Movie Debuts On Google Video - January 11, 2006
Google Video Home Gets Redesign - January 25, 2006
CBS To Sell TV Shows, Cutting Out Google Video - February 2, 2006
Google Video Store To Open For More Sellers - March 2006
Google Video Loses NBA, Gains Free NHL Videos - November 5, 2006
Such a shame. All those posts in the beginning, and then it fades away. Will we be writing the obituary of Google Video soon? Don’t be surprised.
News Corp announced that MySpace, its social networking site that is one of the most popular websites in the world, turns its first ever profit last year. MySpace had a profit of $10 million on revenue of $550 million, an admittedly small margin, but profitable earlier than most expected and on the way to becoming a successful business in its own right.
Bearing some responsibility for the success of MySpace is Google. Google made an advertising deal with MySpace a year ago last week, guaranteeing Fox Interactive websites $900 million over four years, meaning that if Google only barely made the guarantee, it still brought in just under half of MySpace’s revenue. I wonder how Google classifies these ads under its own earnings report, and, with the numbers so high, if shareholders should be given the numbers on how well these exclusive ad deals are working out.
Google has added another program to its Google Pack software suite, StarOffice, Sun’s office software suite that builds extra features on top of OpenOffice.org. StarOffice normally sells for $70, but the Google Pack is the first place you can get it for free, meaning Google pulled a nice string or two for users. Google didn’t use the already free OpenOffice.org, giving them a bit of an older version of the same codebase, but some value added elements and a supposedly more polished suite.
If you’re just looking to get StarOffice for free, this is a good way to do it, since you can de-select the other components of the Pack. If you were looking for an office suite that integrates with Google Docs (for offline editing), look elsewhere, because Google apparently didn’t think of that one. No Google Gears in this version of StarOffice? That’s a shame.
At WebMasterWorld, yet another story of an AdSense publisher who was banned on suspicion of click fraud. This happens all the time (I get comments from banned publishers on random posts), but what makes this infuriating is that the publisher knew there might be a problem, emailed Google, got permission, and got screwed anyway.
The publisher in question is a guy who runs an internet cafe, as well as a number of websites. The guy came up with a smart idea: Make a default start page for all the computers in his cafe and load the page with links to his websites, AdSense and AdSense for Search. According to him, the AdSense for Search made a decent $10-20 a day, due to his customers using it to search on Google (an obviously popular activity on any computer).
The problem, which he anticipated, was that all the clicks would be coming from the same IP address. Not just the same IP, but all in the same room, at a farm of computers all next to each other. It could just as easily be a click fraud farm as an internet cafe, and the moment Google’s click fraud detection measures saw it, he’d be shut down. So he did the smart thing and emailed Google, explaining what would happen and asking them if he’d be okay. They said yes.
Didn’t matter. The click fraud bot still shut him down. Despite him having express permission from Google (not always an easy thing), his account was still banned and his earnings confiscated. This demonstrates a common problem with these sort of detection systems, be they for AdSense or YouTube; they don’t flag accounts with mitigating circumstances and require an intelligent human being review them before the account is deleted or banned.
I make a living off AdSense, as well as a few other ad programs. Something goes wrong, I won’t be able to pay my rent next month. I’d like to hope that my AdSense rep is protecting me from a dangerous ban that could completely screw me up for several weeks or months, but it looks like the system has no such protections.
I could always try calling Google customer service. I crack me up.