Google, Amazon, and Apple: Tech behemoths behaving badly

Wi-Fi spies, rogue hackers, ICANN buffoons, unethical journalists, and Apple prudes -- it's been a busy few weeks

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I think ICANN?

A recent post revisits ICANN's scheme to foist dozens and possibly hundreds of new top-level domains onto the world (for a tidy profit, natch), as well as Amazon's desire to control domains like .book and .author. In response, reader N. S. writes:

While I understand the money motivator, not creating .books, .sucks or .anythingelse in the same way as .net, .com and .edu is as dysfunctional as Congress. On the other hand, having .books doesn't mean everyone will associate Amazon with all books. There may be a lot of dense folks out there but they're not as stupid as the bidding wars seem to indicate.

Unless those dense folks have been elected to Congress -- in which case they are just that stupid.

In that item I also referred to current TLDs "like .aero, .music, .coop, and a dozen others nobody ever uses." Eagle-eyed reader J. G. points out that .music is not in fact a current TLD -- it's one of the 1,900 or so that are being considered for approval. (There are eight companies vying to own that one, including Google and Amazon.)

I probably meant to type .museum, which is indeed one of those TLDs almost no one uses. Maybe I'm one of those dense folks, too.

Web journalism DOA

My latest rant about the sorry state of digital journalism -- and how it's merging with advertising -- inspired this note from publisher and editor J. B., who echoes my sentiments:

I've been a publisher of a community newspaper and just retired as managing editor of a horticultural magazine of high regard. One of the reasons I decided to quit this year was the perceived need to provide a digital presence that would at least rival the magazine. I didn't like where I knew we had to go. I like the convenience of the Web myself, but I see how people have become accustomed to immediate information, unfiltered by a profession that has worked to separate fact from imagination. We can make our publications work (financially) in this environment, but I don't think our integrity will survive.

Attorney B. D. B., who runs a site focusing on technology for law offices, says the problem is not new, but the Web's insatiable appetite for information has made it worse:

I've gotten offers to place articles here and there (from a vendor) years ago. If there is more of that today, it is because you guys send out email every day and have to have something to file the virtual pages. Even what I assume is honest journalism is poorly written and doesn't really provide useful information. Then there are the endless "slideshows", for folks who do not know how to read, I guess.

As someone who recently started writing snarky slideshows for InfoWorld, all I can say is "ouch." Hey, there are at least some words in there among all the pretty pictures.

Apple's dark cloud

My posts about Apple unilaterally censoring screenplays and other content flying through its iCloud drew several responses from Cringesters, some of whom were unable to duplicate the effect. Reader P. W. came up with the "duh" solution:

The obvious work-around for the prissy filters is ditch iCloud, iPhone, and other iThings until Apple grows up and plays nice.

With all the cloud options for collaboration, why email scripts anyway?

This thought occurred to J. H., production coordinator for TV's "The Big Bang Theory," whose teleplays also had the kibosh put on them by Apple. His team is planning to distribute scripts using Dropbox instead.

J. H. also managed to isolate what tripped iCloud's censor sensors: It was a two-word phrase describing the manner by which dogs maintain personal hygiene.

Apple iCloud: Keeping the world safe from canine smut since 2011.

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This article, "Google, Amazon, and Apple: Tech behemoths behaving badly," was originally published at Follow the crazy twists and turns of the tech industry with Robert X. Cringely's Notes from the Field blog, and subscribe to Cringely's Notes from the Underground newsletter.

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