Happy to stop using Fitbit

I’ve several fitbit devices – the clip-on, Flex, Charge, Charge 2, Charge 3, Surge and was until very recently looking to buy a Versa 2. I like them, I like the focus and on some days it did motivate me to get to 10k steps. The Charge 3 was easily my favourite – the perfect size, display and functions.

The Versa 2 comes in at over £200, so when I was in the Apple store recently and say the Series 3 watch was £199 I was suddenly interested. I’ve dumped the Samsung S8+ I was using for an iPhone 11, bought an iPad so the Apple watch made sense. It does everything the fitbit did and more and it does it better. It’s a neat device.

Why dump the S8+? Two reasons, in order: (1) the camera placement right next to the fingerprint sensor is a really really stupid design. I’ve been unable to take a ton of pics because the lens would be blurry and (2) Google.

The fitbits. I’ll never use them again. Ever. Partly because the Apple watch does more – and better – and partly because I’ve stopped really caring about 10k steps. But now I’ve an even better reason – Google again. It looks like Alphabet – effectively Google – will be buying it.

Yeah, like Google having even more of my data would be a good idea.

Google Funding Choices


With Funding Choices you can automatically identify ad blocking visitors and ask them to disable their ad blocker especially for your site — or give them an alternative way to fund your content via Contributor.

Yeah right.

I’ll block what the hell I want – it’s my connection, not yours.

I’ll be polite – get lost.

John Peel and censorship

There was a conversation in a work Slack channel about memories we have when significant events happen. Reagan being shot, 9/11, Mandela’s release, Diana. I remembered that I’d posted when John Peel died – this was pre-Twitter – so I thought I’d find the post.

Into Bing I go. No result
I try DDG. No result.
As a last attempt, I try Google
site:romanticrobot.net john peel
and I STILL see no result.


But I do see this:
Some results may have been removed under data protection law in Europe. Learn more

So for some weird reason my post here – http://romanticrobot.net/2004/10/26/rip-john-peel/ – does not appear in search engines.


It’s hardly controversial, is it.

Google has my fingerprint

Indiegala.com uses the new reCAPTCHA from Google.
If I login there using Safari (for the first time on that site) I get the ‘Click to show you are not a robot” and when I do I get logged in straight away.
If I login using Chromium when I tick the box I get shown an image matching task as I posted about here.
If I login using Firefox I don’t even get the chance to click anything and I am shown a very distorted couple of words and everything I enter is always wrong. So then I get shown some code to copy as I posted about here.
I clear cookies and all saved data in each browser when it closes so this behaviour by Google has to come down to 2 options as I see it.

  1. Google are using some sort of super cookie / evercookie.
  2. Google have fingerprinted my browser.

According to Panopticlick

Your browser fingerprint appears to be unique among the 5,186,229 tested so far.

Currently, we estimate that your browser has a fingerprint that conveys at least 22.31 bits of identifying information

Looks like disabling javascript could be the way to go – hello NoScript.
Will also try blocking Google fonts/ajax.
And this is on top of uBlock, Privacy Badger and Ghostery.

Google are part of the problem. They are not part of any solution.

Google. Again.

A long time ago there was a comment spam plugin which showed images. It was something like “Click the kittens to prove you are not a spambot”. It failed.
I think Google missed that bit. The failure bit.

Google says I am a spammer

Reading this article on Google’s new CAPTCHA – and it’s associated privacy concerns and I see that very sadly it is now a required element to register at wordpress.org.
Since it started it has set me as a spammer. How so? I just tried to register a new account at wordpress.org and I entered the captcha text perfectly. It should have said I was not a robot but instead it shows me this:

It’s been the same since last December and I wait to see what happens when BT cycle my IP address. I am 100% sure Google will still say I am a spammer.

Google Hypocrisy

Sony and Google agreed that we could not sit on the sidelines and allow a handful of people to determine the limits of free speech in another country (however silly the content might be).
Google blog

Google’s success in “assassinating” a democratically-elected legal opponent last week raises troubling questions about corporate power and accountability. … A global corporation which is expected to bank $60bn in revenue this year and which is worth $382bn, has silenced an elected prosecutor.
The Register

Google are the problem.

NSA? Why not Google?

I use Adblock, Ghostery and Privacy Badger.
I went to login to my Indie Gala account and they threw one of the new Google Captcha things at me.
It was blocked by the EFF’s Privacy Badger. I had to allow the tracking to be allowed to access products I had bought.
Because the stupid damn captcha was so distorted I kept getting it wrong. In the end it asked me to copy and paste code:
Fucking Google

They are using the new captcha. The one that is friendly to humans. Yeah, right.

Someone reverse engineered their new code, posted it to Github and posted it to Hacker News. Google asked them to take it down. They complied. Screw Google – as I had a Github account I copied it.
This isn’t just a captcha. It tracks. From the HN thread:

Google servers will receive and process, at least, the following information:

Screen resolution
Execution time, timezone
Number of click/keyboard/touch actions in the iframe of the captcha
It tests the behavior of many browser-specific functions and CSS rules
It checks the rendering of canvas elements
Likely cookies server-side (it’s executed on the www.google.com domain)
And likely other stuff…

Fuck Google.
I hate spam. I hate spammers. But I despise Google even more.

So when the NSA or GCHQ comes up in the news, just remember that Google does more and with less oversight.