[A picture of private offices at Fog Creek Software] Alert! This ancient trifle retrieved from the Joel on Software archive is well-past its expiration date. Proceed with care.

Joel on Software


by Joel Spolsky
Wednesday, May 10, 2000

Despite the fact that raging search, an AltaVista spinoff, is a blatant ripoff of Google in every way, it still produces pathetic search results. (Compare the result of searching for President Clinton on raging and google and you'll see what I mean.)

From Juno's latest "Privacy" statement:
In addition to the data you may provide through the Member Profile and other surveys, we may collect information relating to how you use the Service (including, for example, information relating to your frequency of use, navigational information such as the uniform resource locator (URL) of the Web pages you visit, configuration information such as the type of Web browser you are using, your Internet Protocol (IP) address, processor type and operating system, and information relating to the display of any advertisements transmitted to you).
This steady erosion of privacy dismays me. The Juno database will have your name and address and the web pages you visited, for 3 million Americans who use the service every month.

If I had still been working at Juno, I would have probably been assigned to implement this feature. I would like to think that I would have refused on principle, even if it cost me my job. Maybe my taking a stand would have inspired other people to refuse to go along (not that that would have changed anything -- management would just gather us all in a room and scream at us.)

Then again, it's hard to say "I would have taken a stand," since I wasn't really there, and I didn't really take a stand. Lucky for me, I quit way back in November, and so my integrity never stood the test.

Don't worry, I'm not retired now just because the UI book is done. I've still got a half dozen articles in the pipeline! Then I can retire ;)
Have you been wondering about Distributed Version Control? It has been a huge productivity boon for us, so I wrote Hg Init, a Mercurial tutorial—check it out!

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