Even a few quid will make a difference. If you pay it directly to me, I can get Google to match it (doubling your donation!)
I am not sure if I mentioned it in a previous blog but a colleague introduced me to a public radio show called 'This American Life with Ira Glass'. This is a weekly show where Ira Glass will present a collection of stories about ordinary Americans on a particular theme. The show is very well put together and whilst not totally unbiased does try to present the data without putting too much judgement on it (A refreshing change from the news over here). I often find when I am listening to or reading a lot in a particular theme or style, it will color the way I want to write. And This American Life has had this effect on my internal narrative.
Every week I will catch the 40 bus that runs through campus in order to travel over to Palo Alto for lunch with a local group. There are several curious aspects to this journey including the fact that a large number of my fellow travellers are off duty bus drivers, the bus I take back to campus is the same one I take out (with the same driver), but seemingly the most interesting aspect for my fellow commuters is that it runs through the heart of the Googleplex. The driver is the same gentleman every week and he is friendly and talkative and I will normally step into a running conversation with one or more of the passengers (as I said often other bus drivers he clearly knows). I get on from a stop that is not quite the centre of the Googleplex and so it may not be obvious that I am an employee (after all why would a silicon valley tech worker have to take the bus!). As I am on the eastern edge of campus and Palo Alto is to the west, I ride the bus through most of campus each way and as we wind our way through the conversation inevitably turn to a speculative musing of the mysteries of this company. Sometimes it will take the form of a lecture by our driver on the evils of the bikes (and apparently the meeting bikes in particular). Other times it will be regarding Driverless cars replacing honest hard working bus drivers or abstract speculations on what desserts have to do with mobile phone operating systems. During these conversations I will sit quietly and absorb everything that's going on, the tones, the knowledge, the falsehoods and at times I will want to interject with a point or a correction but so far I have resisted this temptation and am glad I have done so. These conversations really highlight the bubble that I live in. We know there is no rhyme or reason to the naming of Android builds, it is just a way to identify them without resorting to abstract numbers, we understand that all the money Google makes is ad revenue, not some dark pact with the devil (I am willing to be proven wrong on this point!). Sure, not everyone I interact with works at Google but the vast majority including you guys reading this know how the internet works, what drives it and why it is awesome. You probably all know what a server is and what it does (at least in an abstract manner) and the few people I interact with who don't know this stuff would never have a conversation to show this lack of knowledge in front of me because I am a judgmental arsehole and you'd feel foolish... and I'd look even more of a prick than usual.
I feel that there is still a long way to go before the internet can really be 'established' before regulation is consolidated or meaningful, that the moment there is just far too much growth, far too little understanding for us to risk imposing narrow minded restrictions. The only simile I can think to use is inventing the rules for language and enforcing them before we have actually got to the point where can communicate with each other. Organic evolution doesn't work when there are arbitrary restrictions applied... this is multiplied a thousand-fold when those rules are created by people with no understanding of what the rules are being applied to. This is not a robust argument and there are better ways of putting it, this is just some thoughts of mine.
On a different subject, and something that may come as a surprise given my last reference to smoking, I have stopped... I never 'quit' because I always intend to return at some point, but I feel like stopping when I have had enough or start to feel too dependent on the little white sticks of death. My recent bout has been the longest, heaviest period of smoking I have ever undertaken (averaging about 4 fags a day for about 3 months). I stopped about a week ago having run out of rolling tobacco. I still have my pipe and a load of tobacco for it that I can resort to if needed but frankly any form of smoking around this health obsessed area of California makes any kind of smoking uncomfortable as I have to smoke in public while being made to feel like I am doing my damnest to instantly kill everyone around me for daring to exhale carcinogenic fumes... although this same hatred doesn't seem to extend as far as the plethora of vehicles whizzing past... hypocritical cunts. My main remaining qualm at this point is what to do during my walk to and from the office every day or while stood waiting for a bus... I would love to be able to do something with my hands, my mind and without rolling and smoking, what am I to do? Seriously any ideas? And no 'just live with it' is not the kind of idea I am looking for.