My Love Hate relationship with Google


I love Google. It’s simply head and shoulders above other search engines.

Since I’ve got more involved with using their web apps and desktop software, like Google Chrome, I’ve become more and more disenchanted with Google.

I think Google Chrome is brilliant, make no mistake about it and I was a die hard Microsoft Internet Explorer user beforehand.

It all started when I got my Android powered phone and I started using their Gmail, reader, blogger, documents, tasks, etc etc.

First off, the biggest cockup and the most irritating.

I sign into my Google Mail and I’m finally offered a address instead of Excellent, a few less characters to type in, I’ll have some of that.

Hmmmm my HTC Desire suddenly goes tits up and a little search of the internet shows I’m not the only one. Perhaps Google, you could have tested this more thoroughly and made the warning to Android users more prominent!

So I switch back to, but now Google Chrome is stuck on and no matter how many times clear it down, it refuses to stick to, so now I have several dozen duplicates on Chrome Sync that come down all the bloody time, so I’ve turned that off on my three computers (one in work, two at home) and gone back to Portable Bookmarks to manage my URL’s.

And while I’m on the subject of Chrome Bookmark Sync, why can’t I delete them from Google Docs? Surely I should be allowed to have that as my master collection and I should be able to delete, move as I want? And why is there no dupe checking?

And this is the point. Google web apps are good, they are just not brilliant because they are implemented in a half-arsed way, and this is across the board on everything I’ve used. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a computer programmer and web developer so I know these things can happen, but they are usually sorted out before release to the public. Google don’t’ help themselves in their support structure, many issues going back over a year have not been fixed and the moderators are absent more often than not.

For example, if I want to use a address on my phone, I have to factory reset it now. What! Really? No just fucking fix it and then come back with another suggestion.

Google Bookmarks and Google Chrome Bookmarks. Why not merge them? Better still, release an API and let someone else do the software better than you patently can!

Google Reader, brilliant, I can’t fault this at all. I’ve moved 90% of my feeds over to it now instead of using Portable Feed Reader and I can get them on my phone as well so I browse when I’m out and about.

Google Mail. Yeah it’s ok, a bit weird getting used to the “labels” instead of filing them in folders but can’t complain too much, other than the above criticism. A proper Android widget would be nice though, and that applies to Google Tasks as well.

Well that’s my rant over and done with.

Don’t get me wrong, Google and their applications are great. They’re minimalist, they’re portable, they’re fast. My only real complaint is only the poor implementation and the speed with which they’re fixed. It’s appalling and if it happened like that in the I.T department I work in, we’d be out of a job.

Amateur Journalists are shite

How many more times will journalists/bloggers/retard publish the same crappy news about Flash on Android 2.2 not being great?

Why the hell can’t they see the blindingly obvious that the term “beta” in a product means it’s not finished, or “final” as we say in programming circles?

Why did I choose Android?

htcdesireWhy did I choose to buy an Android phone? (remember this is OPINION not FACT!)

Well there are four major reasons for it.

Reason 1

I’m a programmer, and a bloody good one at that. It doesn’t what language you throw at me I’ll program in it and since BASIC and assembler on the Spectrum in 1984 all I’ve been interested in is programming.

Now with this generation of smart phones, I’m dying to get my hands on it and program them.

Reason 2

I know iPhone owners, where I work has given the managers iPhone’s. Now these aren’t irrational people, they’re, for the most part anyway, level headed and intelligent and not geeks or nerds by any stretch of the imagination.

But give them an iPhone and watch them turn into a really annoying prick that shows off pointless apps they’ve discovered the previous night.

I tell you what, show them Google Navigation or Google Sky Map on Android and see how long it takes them to say “Is it on the iPhone?”

I’ve had run in’s with fanbois of various software/hardware for many years now, be it Firefox, Internet Explorer, etc. I thought Linux freaks were the lowest on this planet, but I’m giving that spot to the Steve Jobs fan club. I’ve never seen such a group of kiss ass pillocks in my life, and with 16 years of the internet, that’s a lot of pillocks!

Reason 3


I’m a Windows programmer. Now to write apps for the iPhone I’d have to buy a Mac, and on eBuyer (quick find code 167038) the cheapest laptop is £843. Then throw the $199 dollar Apple developer fee into the mix and we’re talking £1,000 before you even start. But the real kicker is that once you’ve developed your super-duper application, it’s up to some closed committee at Apple to approve it! Yeah I don’t think so somehow. For me, it’s up to the users to decide.

Can you imagine the stink there would be if Microsoft said you can only install the software on your computer that they’ve approved? They’d be dead overnight.

Reason 4

I don’t know about you, but when I invest my money in a new gadget, or gizmo as the wife calls them, I usually go by past experience. Very rarely will I listen to what friends or reviewers say unless it is the first of a kind that I’ve no experience with before.

Such a thing happened in 2002 when I wanted a new personal music player and I read so much about this new thing called an “iPod”, I thought I’d give it a whirl.  Now, how many people out there felt so disappointed with that piece of shite? A fair few I bet. I switched to Creative MP3 players now and they piss over the iPod.

Reputation and personal experience clash, and I am not going to buy an overpriced, over styled, overhyped Apple piece of shite again when something half the price and do the same job, if not better.

So I chose the HTC Desire and I’ve not regretted that decision. I know something is good when the wife keeps telling me to “put that bloody thing down.” I know that if I can’t put something down for a few minutes, I know I love it, and Android is such a thing. I love programming it, and eagerly await HTC updating it sooner rather than later.

Dear Google #1

logo1wDear Google,

I really like the web browser on Android 2.1, but a few suggestions. If I can send an intent to Froyo is it out of the question to have Chrome bookmark syncing as well?  And if you can port V8 to Froyo, what is stopping the full Chrome browser being ported?

Finally, sort out Google Bookmarks and Google Chrome Bookmark syncing. Is there really the need for both of them?

I.T vacancy filled

After a string of failed interviews for the empty I.T vacancy at work, we’ve decided to take on someone from admin, who at least has an interest in I.T.

We get forwarded a constant stream of dunces who couldn’t go to university or people who have done a home learning course.

I blame the TV adverts, giving a false hope that after a couple months of home learning you’ll be able to walk into any I.T job that pays £30,000 a year in I.T.

No. Sorry it doesn’t work that way.

We had a one that didn’t even know the rate of VAT, another that just listed acronyms on their CV like they were going out of fashion and yet didn’t know shit about any of it.

If you’re going to be a programmer you need to have a logical mind, in fact everything that Computeach and the like DOESN’T give you!

Portable USB drive experience

I bought a crappy Dell off eBay to use as a web server, unfortunately my attempts to get Ubuntu, Fedora, etc to work failed. I don’t have the patience these days, so when I got a new 8gb USB key, I thought I could use that instead, so after trying a lot of WAMP servers that are apparently portable, I settled on USB Web Server.

Great! That was fucking painless, what about security?

Well True Crypt is a doddle at doing that, and doesn’t need to be installed on every PC either with traveller mode.

Once I added Portable Start Menu I went a little mad with it all, but travelling around showing web sites, and trouble shooting PC’s has never been easier.

Now I don’t have to sync three web servers (the laptop, the workstation and the live sites) all the fucking time, it’s all one here.

Our I.T is slack compared to this lot

In the I.T department I work in, we rather enjoy annoying the plebs by saying we can read their e-mails, know where they’re going and when on the internet. This normally keeps them in line so we don’t have to worry so much about wasting our precious solitaire work time on silly things like internet blocking.

But from this report on Reuters, it looks like we’re missing out on so much 🙂

One third of I.T professionals, yes I qualify in that section, have owned up to snooping on other people’s information.

Now we have three people in I.T, and so which one of us is lying?

It also highlights a rather cavalier attitude to passwords, especially when staff leave the company. I’m amazed at that revelation. When someone leaves our place, first thing we do is go through their emails, especially recovering the “good” ones and putting them about the company 🙂

Interview with Guzzler, ex Silents

guzzler_3_thumbI have loved the Silents DK megademo since I first saw it all those years ago. I love the music and I still believe they were among the best coders to have been on the scene.

But it was the Dromacore part that really hit me. The tune by Jesper Kyd (called Freaky Humans) is just fantastic, so when I set out to find my heroes from the Amiga days, Guzzler was fairly close to the top of the list.

guzzler_4_thumbPentagram: Hi Guzzler

Guzzler: Hello there…

Pentagram: Can you introduce yourself.

Guzzler: I’m Thomas, also known as Guzzler… or among friends just Guz.

Pentagram: What do you do now?

Guzzler: I am working as a pilot for Scandinavian Airlines. Computers and movement… a great combination!!

Pentagram: What you been up to since you left the scene?

Guzzler: Well quite a lot, actually… I joined the Danish Air force to become a fighter pilot. I did complete the tests but after spending some months there, I found out that the ‘army way’ wasn’t really my cup of tea, so I dropped out as soon as I could. Then I got an invitation from some of the old Crionics guys to come to the USA, to make computer games on the old Sega Megadrive. That lasted around 1 year, and then we split up again. Then I wanted to try something completely different and the next 4 years I worked as a bicycle messenger in Copenhagen, and then I fulfilled my flying dreams by taking a commercial pilots licence. Have been flying for the last 4 years now and I love it!! 🙂

Pentagram: Are you still in touch with the old Silents people now?

Guzzler: Not really. Sometimes I talk with The Crux (Ruvan), but we see each other too little.

Pentagram: What was is like working with Mikael Balle and Jesper Kyd? Must have been a coders dream to have those two in your team.

Guzzler: They were totally pro’s, both of them. I guess I can say that they were among the best artists on the scene at that time and YES, It was totally cool to be working with those two. You could make some lame code and it would look great after they had been working with it.

Pentagram: When the old Silents DK crew died out, The Master seemed to give them a boost. Did you ever think of dusting off the old Amiga and joining in again?

Guzzler: Actually yes, but I didn’t have time for it. I liked assembler coding a lot and the Amiga system were a nice little package that you could handle with that. Today, I wouldn’t bother with assembler code on the PC since the processors are much too complex. And C++ makes me feel like being in a straight jacket so there’s not a lot of code coming out from me anymore. I did think about programming cellular phones but now they are running Java, so I lost my interest there again. I think I will stick to being 10 kilometres above the ground. 😉

Pentagram: What do you like doing in your spare-time when not computing?

Guzzler: Well, spending time with my girlfriend, listening to music, playing computer games, watching movies, seeing friends. Normal stuff I guess…

Pentagram: How did you get into the scene?

guzzler_1_thumbGuzzler: I almost can’t remember. I think The Crux got to know Kyd and Balle and then things took off from there. I was constantly hanging out with Crux at that time, being the quiet thinker, so without him, I probably wouldn’t have gotten the opportunity to work with Kyd and Balle.

Pentagram: Do you follow the retro Amiga “scene” at all?

Guzzler: No, not at all.

Pentagram: Ever felt tempted to release another Amiga production?

Guzzler: Heh, could probably be fun, but no. Haven’t got the time for it…

Pentagram: Are you still in contact with ex-sceners?

Guzzler: Not really. If a had continued to work with computers I probably would have been, but now it’s fellow pilots that I see.

Pentagram: Could you tell us some of your all times favourite demos/coders/musicians/etc?

Guzzler: Hardwired, I still see as a milestone production.The Spy from Crionics is probably one of the greatest programmers I have ever known about. Deftronic, also from Crionics, one of the most hard working. Kyd and Balle, great artists. Blizzard and Kellogs were cool coders. Kefrens, a hardcore group. Moses Team, great party dudes. A lot of the guys I knew back then were great… Hard to remember all their names.

Pentagram: Thanks for the interview, and last message to people?

Guzzler: You’re welcome.Last Message… Hmm, I don’t know. Maybe: Keep working for what you believe in, as long as you don’t tread on people on your way.

Interview with Delta, ex Red Sector Inc

delta_followme_thumb[1]The next victim of my near legendary shit interview technique is a member of the team behind the most famous megademo. He released a couple more demos and the RSI Demomaker before disappearing.

Mark: Hi Delta, Can you introduce yourself

Delta: Hi! There was a time when there where more people knowing me as Delta than as Florian, which is my real name. Today I’m living in Bremen (Germany) and am luckily married with my wife Kristina. I’m 25 years old 😎 and enjoying life (even without doing demos, can you believe it?).

Mark: What do you do now?

Delta: I’m working for a non-profit research institute in the area of medical image processing.

Mark: How did you get into the scene?

Delta: I started with a VIC20 hacking BASIC. Later on, I knew some local people in the C64 scene, we joined a group called EXACT in that days. When some friends and I started programming the Amiga, we did some EXACT demos and then got to know Gandalf (Red Sector). Through him, we got to know IRATA, the master-mind of Red Sector and joined them as TCC Design, which was a group of people in my town.

Mark: What do you like doing in your spare-time when not computing?

Delta: My favourite hobby is juggling, mainly diabolo. I like doing sport, especially roller blading and bicycle. I like cooking all kind of stuff and meeting with friends to chat and play games. Our current project is our 400m2 garden, where we are going to plant vegetables.

delta_megademo_thumb[1]Mark: Ok it’s been 14 years since the RSI Megademo. How does it feel to be associated with some thing that has passed into legend?

Delta: I guess it is a bit like being a star and realizing that it is not important being a star, because it doesn’t help you much in real life
I had a time when I didn’t like to be “Delta”, especially when I realized that many of the scene people where only interested in what you code and not who you are as a person. I think I spent too much time in front of the screen in those days. Today it’s funny to have that background, and I like to show my old demos to friends sometimes (on an Amiga emulator, UAE rules!).
And last but not least, I got to know a lot of nice people all over the globe and that is great!

delta_cebit90_thumb[1]Mark: Ok so the Cebit 90 demo was released, and the next we heard from you was the RSI Demomaker. What happened after that?

Delta: I studied Computer Science and stopped doing demos. I had a short adventure into the Sega MegaDrive, where I wrote a small game.

Mark: When I saw the RSI Megademo I wanted to learn how to do that! So it’s your fault I spent late nights getting annoyed with Devpac and later AsmOne. Do you feel guilty? 🙂

Delta: Yes 8)

Mark: Good man 🙂 Do you follow the retro Amiga Scene at all?

Delta: No, I just visited some websites, like

Mark: Ever felt tempted to release another Amiga production?

Delta: No, never. Today I would go for OpenGL…

Mark: Are there moments when you feel nostalgic thinking back to the past years of the scene?

Delta: Not really. It was a good time, but time moves on.

Mark: Are you still in contact with ex-sceners?

Delta: Yes, I have some good friends in Spreadpoint.

Mark: Could you tell us some of your all times favourite demos/coders/musicians/etc?

Delta: Demos: I can’t remember the names, but the stuff from Slayer was cool. There where many demos which I really liked!
Coders: Promax and Slayer
Musicians: Romeo Knight and BitArts

Mark: Thanks for the interview my friend, and last message to people?

Delta: Peace on earth and enjoy your life!