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Google Workspace Outage

Yesterday, on December 14th, all services associated with Google Workspace (AKA GSuite - or for those who aren't familiar with it, what is essentially Google's paid "business" services) went offline for roughly an hour from 7AM to 8AM Eastern time. Users typically first encountered the error when attempting to send email or after receiving an error indicating that their account could "not be found" when attempting to login to Google services.  Other impacted services include Youtube and the Google Nest home security service.  Google's official statement to the press described the cause in extremely general terms: “Services requiring users to log in experienced high error rates during this period,” a Google spokesperson said. “The authentication system issue was resolved at (7:32 a.m. EST). All services are now restored. We apologize to everyone affected, and we will conduct a thorough follow-up review to ensure this problem cannot recur in the future.”

Google Networks Have a Weird Malware Policy, Apparently

Applian is a company that makes some fairly widely circulated media software - FLV players, RTMP stream recorders, stuff like that. They are somehow affiliated with NirSoft. Nirsoft makes forensics tools that are often mis-diagnosed as malicious software; its less clear what Applian could be doing to get the same red-flags. But red-flagged they were, by Google's malware team no less. Google's usual plan of red-flagging what appears like bad programs through their browser and search engine while not blocking downloads is a sensible way to get the word out without being overly intrusive. However, when the content that Google believes is malicious is being hosted on their own ASN, it is less clear how appropriate that is. Most system administrators are more comfortable with removing malicious software from their networks. A strange choice.

Google Maps Javascript API Tutorial is Rubbish

I am working on creating a Google-maps based project. As such, I was using the Google Maps Javascript API Tutorial  to activate an API key and create a 'Hello World' style test script. I continuously received one of the following errors: Google has disabled use of the Maps API for this application. The provided key is not a valid Google API Key, or it is not authorized for the Google Maps Javascript API v3 on this site. If you are the owner of this application, you can learn about obtaining a valid key here: https://developers.google.com/maps/documentation/javascript/tutorial#api_key Google has disabled use of the Maps API for this application. See the Terms of Service for more information: http://www.google.com/intl/en-US_US/help/terms_maps.html. Having not used the API to make a single call, the notion that I had somehow violated the Google TOS was particularly infuriating, as was the notion that I had not enabled the Google Maps API, which I had done, as outlined in

Barack Obama on Sorting Algorithms

Watch a pre-Presidency Obama chat with Eric Schmidt of Google about sorting algorithms. Oh, how you've changed, Barry.

Search Tool Removed

UPDATE (7/27/2015): I created a Google CSE instead of using the miserable and useless utility described below. Unlike the Blogger tool, the CSE works. Hazaa! I actually got around to using Google's little search tool for Blogger. And you know what? It sucks. I searched for articles using the name of the article, nothing found. I searched for articles using keywords that I had used repeatedly as Blogger "Labels" - nothing found. With actual production projects I have been vehement about removing search tools from Google. Sometimes I've lost, and I've worked with companies that have bought those outrageously priced yellow servers running Googles cute, branded version of BSD. A $30,000 back door to your intranet for regulators and competitors. Brilliant. Better to do the responsible thing and buy yourself a Lexus with petty cash. Anyway, this was different, I thought. The site is hosted on Blogspot, so my users have already been sucked into the freakishly-plas

Ads Have Started

Just a brief note, I have started to run a few very low circulation advertisements for the site on Google and Bing. Mostly this is an experiment to test whether having an active, but ultimately unpaid, marketing campaign improves search engine results. I don't expect any big changes to the site, and I am not selling advertisements. As always, any business practices will continue to match those outlined in the Commitment page .

Google's Disavow Links Function

I am still doing a bit of research on this function (and have plans to update this page appropriately), but this should be of considerable interest if you are anything like me and have a website that is somewhat frequently the target of hackers and spammers. The Google Disavow Links tool, part of their Webmaster Tools, will allow you to remove links from Google's algorithm, and hopefully you can successfully strike back at spammers and link farmers who would damage your website's rep.

Bing Webmaster Tools and Blogger Sitemaps - "The Feed is Empty" Error Fixed

Blogging tips aren't really the focus of my website. However, I recently signed up for Bing's Webmaster Tools and encountered some difficulty in submitting the sitemap for my Blogger website, joshwieder.blogspot.com. It took me a bit of head banging before I figured out how to resolve it, thanks in no small part to the amount of guides on this issue that are just wrong on their face. So, for regular blog readers, this isn't as advanced as a lot of the articles here are, but it turned out to be such a nuisance and so ill-documented that I felt something had to be done . This guide will assume that you have already added your site to Bing Webmaster Tools and verified domain ownership, both of which work as advertised. At the time of this writing, Blogger primarily uses Atom 1.0 to publish site feeds - Blogger also relies on Atom for a dynamically generated sitemap. For Google's webmaster tools, I registered the following link, which populates an XML file that contains