Sunday, July 10, 2011

Last Post

I wrote this not knowing if it was a last blog entry I would never post, or the first blog entry in a new chapter of my blog. Today someone, two people actually, sent me Google+ invites. I thought "Eh, what could it hurt? I might as well try this out." I clicked through on one of them and started filling out the form. I never give my actual birthdate to fun services online, because that's part of the verification information for real services like banking. I give a fake birthdate that I can easily remember. For this account I decided to give the memorable date of my first flying lesson.

Immediately Google seized on this information and determined me underage. I haven't been flying for eighteen years, and apparently you have to be eighteen years old to author a blog. The screen said Google would delete my blog in twenty-nine days if I did not send them government-issued ID demonstrating that I am over eighteen. Unfortunately Aviatrix Anon does not have government-issued ID, so I knew that unless I had a friend at Google, that would be the end of my blog.

I knew that I probably did have a friend at Google, or at least a friend of a friend, but my blog contact list is on Gmail, and Google locked not only the blog, but the Gmail account. Of course that means they also locked the back-up Cockpit Conversation Redirection blog, my account through which I could access Google Help, and even my ability to comment identifiably on other blogs. I sent a fax to the Google people explaining the situation, then plea-for-help e-mail to a few bloggers with common traffic, whose e-mails I happened to have on my home account, and then I waited.

This paragraph was going to contain either gratitude to the person or persons who helped me out, or a fond farewell to all the people who have read and commented on the blog, and even met me in person, over the years. If the blog was deleted, I wasn't going to start a new one. It's too much to lose and try to start over.

While waiting for someone at Google to get back to me one way or another, I decided to try the other offered means of age verification, the credit card. I don't have a credit card with the name Aviatrix Anon on it, either, but maybe they wouldn't check. Seeing as you can get a credit card for your cat or dog and buy preloaded credit cards at the grocery store checkout, I thought it was only scammer porn sites that professed to use credit cards for ID verification, but I decided my blog was worth thirty United States cents, and Google probably wasn't running a credit card scam. I gave Google my credit card information and instantly my Blogger account was restored. Thirty cents is a cheaper bribe than I thought I'd need. Most of you probably never noticed the interruption.

So kids, if you want a blog, lie about your age. Grownups, lie about your age if you will, but make sure you don't take too much off. Either way, any credit card will do to fix your error.

I can't really recommend Google Plus, but if you use other Google services with the identity you use to connect to Google Plus, please make sure you tell it you are over eighteen.


Ryan said...

I don't have much pull, but I'm a nodding acquaintance of a Google employee. We'll see if he can help.

Anonymous said...

The integration scares me sometimes. Out in the big blue room, the companies I buy groceries, books, and toys from have no idea what I'm getting outside of their respective domains.

Google says they're trying to not be evil, but having things linked that extensively is creepy. And don't even get me started on random websites I've never visited before showing my facebook name and photo!

I'm almost ready to do all my web surfing in anonymous sandboxed browsers with cookies deleted as soon as I leave the site. Not because I'm doing anything wrong, but because I don't like the stalker vibe the web is giving me. The only problem is, the main browser that makes that easy is ... google chrome.

PS: I haven't commented for a while because google won't let me comment here with my google account unless I sign up for a blog with that account. Hence the anon comment.


nec Timide said...

I'm glad you got it sorted out. I never fill out the date of birth on a web site, for the reasons you state. So far it hasn't been an issue.

James D. Macdonald said...

You aren't the only one caught by this trap. See also: Shame on you, Google, elsewhere.

This is the second time I've entered this comment, BTW (in case you're seeing it twice and holding it in moderaiton--I'm not sure how you're working your comment section). The first time I entered it, I chose "Google account: You will be asked to sign in after submitting your comment." But where that put me was into the sign-up process for Blogger. I have no intention of starting a Blogger blog. But I couldn't progress forward. So I backed out to here, and here I am.

zb said...

I've been wondering about this for a long time: Who owns the content of your blog? A. Anon or Google? And you do have a complete back-up on a CDR, don't you? Because I'm sure that the content is yours (, isn't it?) and you could easily upload it to your own server if you wished to do so (, couldn't you)?

Aviatrix said...

James D.: I only deliberately moderate comments on blog entries older than a week, but sometimes Blogger traps ones it thinks may be spam. If that happens and you don't see it in a day, send me an e-mail. I don't always remember to check the filter.

Chris Muncy said...

Well I was one that sent you a G+ invite. I am GLAD that everything worked out as I really enjoy reading about your escapades.

Cedarglen said...

Sorry to hear about the troubles, but know that you are not alone. Recently BLOGGER.COM has made it nearly impossible for me to post remarks on some blogs, but not others. Yes, I use different screen names on blogs pertaining to different subjects. BLOGGER.COM fusses about that and I've given up having tosign in three times and get pitched about starting a blog just to respond to something. WORLD PRESS is just as bad. I'm old enough that I can knock or add a few years without upsetting their standards and I use an easily remember DOB of someone who does not blog. On a very few important blogs where I am known, using the ANON button and my recognized tag-line is enough, but it is still annoying. I appreciate the prover's need to filter and to avoid bot-generated hits and the captch type things help - a bit. Some still redirect for countless sign-in exchanges. In one case, I have to hit POST *THREE* yuckie times to get the expected response.
In the end, you may have to move your blog to a friendlier system. In fairness, the reader end of your blog had worked rather well. I guess it is just the blog owner that they are screwing with. Maybe? In any case, please keep on writing. Your blog has many advantages over several others:
1. You write well
2. You write interesting articles
3. You post on a very regualr basis - Probably the most important -
4. You have a wonderful sense of humor and it shows - so please keep on keeping on. If you need to move the whole thing to a new support platform, please do it and keep writing. Other bloggers have had to move and their are easy ways to do so and to retain your entire archive. Just in case something screws up, of course you have a complete back up of your archive - right! Tell me that you do! An thanks again for a great blog, for all of the above reasons and so many more. OK, so how many strokes do you need ?

Sarah said...

We readers dodged a bullet there too. I'm glad it worked out!

I second the call to
not give up if you have to move somewhere else. It's just a web address, your readers would follow.

The size and scope of the Googleplex bothers me a little too. No one company should know so much about me, not even the gubmint. Searches, email, blog comment and read, it is enough to consider Tor and anonymous browsing as a routine.

And I lie routinely about my birthday too on web signup forms.

jwenting said...

"Google says they're trying to not be evil,"

Anyone who denies being evil has to be treated with severe mistrust.
It's the same as "people's republics", they never are :)

"But where that put me was into the sign-up process for Blogger. I have no intention of starting a Blogger blog. "

you're not signing up for a blog, they're linking your google account to a blogger account. The page is a leftover from when Blogger wasn't yet owned by Google.

As to them requiring age verification, thank the law for that.
If they didn't and some kid were to end up viewing "adult content" as a result they'd get sued to hell and back. This way they can at least claim the kid was breaking their TOS by giving invalid information during account signup, quite likely clearing them of wrongdoing.

While I don't trust Google an inch to not sell what information they leech about me from the intarwebs, at least with info I give them myself they're bound by privacy laws :)

p.s. funny thing: to use an android phone you need a gmail account, which needs a google store account, which needs a credit card and a google account, which needs a non-gmail email address.

Anonymous said...

Seems like your not the only person having trouble with Google+, even William Shatner is!

click here