The country is in recession, the unions are getting away with murder and the people in charge desperately need to get a grip… so what does the MP for Hereford do? He tries to divert attention away from his abject failure as an MP by claiming Google Maps is going to put the SAS at risk from a terrorist attack.
It doesn’t help that Paul Keetch is one of the fattest and sleekest of MPs, a real local firebrand who promised change when he was elected in 1997, but who quickly went native and realised that the home of parliament wasn’t called a Palace for nothing, and who has been an outstanding non-entity since.
He’s also a member of the UK’s official luddite party, the Liberal Democrats, who recently intervened in the impasse over the Digital Economy bill and actually managed to make it worse just as it was about to become law!! God help the UK if these ignorant morons hold the balance of power in a hung parliament after the elections in May.
It’s quite clear that it’s election year when a sitting MP has to resort to such tub-thumping, jingoistic stunts like this, claiming that the cameras of American company Google will give potential terrorists assistance and encouragement to attack the base of the UK’s elite military unit.
Sadly Mr Keetch, like most MPs, hasn’t got a clue what he’s talking about, and is so out-of-touch, I’d be surprised if he even knew what Google Maps was.
He’s certainly never used it, if he had he would know that Google Maps only shows the user what can be seen from the public road which runs outside the base; nothing that can’t seen for the cost of a coach ticket to Hereford.
It’s also a sign of Paul Keetch’s blinkered self-obsession (another trait he shares with all his parliamentary colleagues) that he thinks Britain’s foremost military unit, one of the most feared regiments in the world, needs the protection of a fat, spineless buffoon like him.
So I logged into WordPress this morning for a quick look at what’s going on and by chance spotted one of the featured blogs and the intriguing headline: 10 reasons why Google just reinvented online communication.
“Yeah, right”, I thought.
So I read, and I followed the links, and then I watched the video:
Two hours later I sat back and took a deep breath.
Google Wave is a radical step forward, and even better, it’s open source.
First of all I watched this as a computer-user, sick and tired of continually switching between my e-mail, IM, browser and blog, either in windows or in tabs.
Then I watched this as a content producer, a writer and began to ask myself about how the dissemination of information would be changed by a toolkit such as this, not just between friends or colleagues, but between a media organisation and their audience.
The whole video is very interesting, but if you haven’t got a spare 90 minutes, check out some highlights including – blogging (0:20), accountability (0:33), concurrent editing/collaboration (0:35), spell checking and linking (0:45), productivity tools (0:50), twittering (1:00) and translation tools (1:13).
The whole landscape suddenly took on a whole new view – there’s a party coming and everyone online is invited.
Google’s network bosses have probably been feeling the heat after their services were unavailable for over an hour yesterday; the outage, which affected many Google sites was widespread, being reported in the US, the UK, France, Australia and China.
The reaction from users of the interwebs was swift and severe, sometimes way too severe – some of the postings on Twitter (#googlefail) defy any measure of reason and coherence, and the people posting them either need serious psychological help, maybe anger management courses or at the very least a good slap.
The problem is that even though it is only a few years old, we all take the internet for granted, and almost as many of us take Google for granted – it is always there, it is never unavailable, you go to it, it fires up. no questions asked.
Google will, however, take this outage very seriously; they’ve staked their future on the concept of “cloud computing“, and anything which makes users wary about leaving their personal content in the cloud, and therefore potentially unavailable if there is an outage, is going to have serious consequences.
For those who are already sharpening their knives to stab Google in the back (or maybe the front) I would advise caution, and a hearty measure of reality.
A standard service level agreement in the technology business usually defines acceptable downtime as 0.001% per month, which is roughly about one hour.
Given that this is the first such outage for a long time, and it falls roughly within what the industry considers acceptable, I don’t think anyone has the right to complain in the way that some of the twitter-birds did.
It it even more interesting to note that where Twitter is concerned, it would actually be considered an abnormal month if the service hadn’t been subject to an outage of an hour or more.
That won’t stop Google pulling out all the stops to try and ensure it doesn’t happen again – ever.
Fortunately, for those of us not obesessed by hype and fads like Twitter, which falls over so regularly it’s downtime has actually become part of the twitter-bird’s routine, Google outages are still so rare, they make the headlines when they do happen.