December 24th, 2006

Google bus!

There's a bit more yet to come about the trip (and i still have hope that i will get around to posting something about Burning Man, believe it or not). But first, i have to tell you about this dream i had a few days ago — it's one of the most detailed memories of a dream i've had in quite a long time.

My recollection of the dream begins with me sitting in a classroom with my advisor drawing a graph on the board. She's explaining the coordinates of the points that the curve passes through so i can reproduce the curve in my notes. The curve starts a little above the origin and gradually converges on a straight line with slope 1. I'm trying to draw the graph on graph paper, but i get it wrong so i tear out the page and start again. On my next try, i label the axes wrong and tear out the page and start over yet again.

After a few tries, i look down and notice that my right foot has the big toe in the second position. This is a bit alarming! Hmm. I wiggle my toes to see whether the nerves for my big toe control the first toe, which looks like a small toe, or the second toe, which looks like a big toe. With some effort i wiggle my toes until i've switched them around and the big toe has moved back to the first position. Phew. Then i notice that the third toe looks like a big toe too. Panic! Now i don't know what to do.

I know. Google will save me! I'm sure there's a remedy on the Internet. So i pull up my browser and Google for "two big toes".

Up comes the Google logo... but instead of my search results, i get two pop-up ad windows! WHAT?!? How can this be? Oh, Google, how you have fallen. In disbelief, i reach for the close boxes on the pop-up windows... and before i can get the mouse pointer to them, they're swept away. Ah — it's a clever ruse: Google is showing off how it can get rid of pop-up windows for me. But that's not all. My browser window is swept away; my applications are swept away, one by one; everything is cleared off to the edges of the screen. Google patiently explains that now all of my applications can be suspended to Google storage. I can go to anyone else's computer and restore any application from where i left off. Nifty.

What about those search results i was looking for? Revealed behind everything that got swept away, i see a view of green hills rolling by. I'm looking out the window. I'm riding a bus. It's cramped inside, the light is dim, and there are four or five other passengers quietly seated. Each one represents one of the Google services: to get the news i have to talk to the guy with the hat, to get a map i have to talk to someone in the back. (YouTube is sitting over to one side; he just got on not long ago.)

At the front of the bus near the driver is a tiny old television. There are televisions near some of the other passengers too, but the one in front is displaying my search results. I try to read them, but it's hard because the image is small and fuzzy and unstable. I marvel at how well they simulated the imperfections of an old TV. But i can't read my results. And then i realize i can't make new windows. I don't have tabs. I don't even have a back button. Aaack! Will i ever have a back button again? I start to worry about how i'm going to get off this bus.

I am frustrated. I want my information. A fuzzy old colour TV is not the best way to present information. I start to compose an e-mail complaint in my head. Convinced that Google's user experience designers have really fouled up this time, i wake up.
  • Current Mood
    silly silly


I just made a couple of small loans to businesses in Azerbaijan and the Ukraine at, a site that takes the microcredit concept to an Internet full of individual lenders like you and me. You pick the people you want to lend money to, they keep you updated on how they're spending their loan, and they pay you back later. I think it's a great idea. You might want to consider it among the charitable things you do this holiday season.