Sunday, August 15, 2010

A public response to Gene Quinn on the "Google removed Oracle" forgery

My quick debunking of Google Briefly Punishes Oracle by Removal from Google Search has been retweeted a lot and even linked from Tech Crunch.
I can't reply on all the different web sites where Gene Quinn, the author, is "sticking to his guns" (I learnt a new English expression today) and say that we are all wrong.
So I'll summed up my thoughts here, with a response to one of his typical comments. The comment is nearly identical to one posted by him on his own article (particularly the bits about typing oracle instead of using a link and the screenshot as a proof), so we can assume it's authentic.
It is Tech Crunch, not me, that has been duped. 
Unfortunately, someone at Tech Crunch knows what Unicode is. You probably don't.
You can believe what you want, but I was not provided a link. I watched someone type “oracle” into Google search and this was what was produced. 
This does not imply anything - I can configure a keyboard to produce homograph cyrillyc characters when I press keys like a and o. Everyone who has ever installed a wrong keyboard driver knows that the characters printed on the keyboard are not electronically hardcoded and depend on a software configuration.
I requested a screen shot. So those, whoever they are (including Tech Crunch) that are claiming this is false are incorrect. Those saying I was sent a link with an intentionally malformed search term are likewise wrong.
This does not imply anything, again. Holy crap, Batman, you are an attorney, do you bring screenshots in court? I can easily make one by simply saving the page and modify the HTML source.
Furthermore, the provided screenshot shows exactly links to pages which contain the fabricated query, like Those pages are the only shown just because they were the only ones containing the oracle word spelled with 4/6 as Cyrillic characters. By now, the same query will include all the articles which talk about this story.
This is the freezed version of his article in case he decided to take the image down (basically this is a screenshot made by a trusted third party, And this is the freezed version of his screenshot:
If you try visiting the links, you will be brought to pages containing the fabricated query.
If Tech Crunch has any journalistic standards they would remove this post which offers nothing but speculation passed off as fact. My guess is that if and when Oracle makes this an issue during their litigation Tech Crunch will be printing a retraction. So, you have been warned. I am sticking 100% behind the report because it is true.
This is only FUD. You are expected to publish an amendment to your article, basing on the evidence about your own screenshot linking to a forgered query which explains everything. You may want to know that when you publish links in an image, people can actually following them by typing their URLs in the location bar of browsers.
Next step, you'll treaten me to take down my blog?


Anonymous said...

smack :)

Anonymous said...

You really can't reason with this guy (read his followup comments), although I applaud you for trying. He's not even trying anymore -- challenge him with a substantive rebuttal and he'll call you a pathetic lemming, appeal to his own authority as an expert, and leave it at that.

Ultimately I think his refusal to engage his objectors in civil discussion shows that he is more interested in driving traffic to his website than convincing others of his position.

Giorgio said...

As other commenters pointed out, this kind of publicity isn't going to benefit after the initial surge of visitors. This is not a subjective issue like Joel Spolsky disregarding unit testing and praise duct tape: he's plain wrong. I won't follow up on the case further.

Mister Snitch! said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mister Snitch! said...

Gene's made quite a fool of himself, and he shows no signs of stopping. This suggests he was a fool before all this happened (hence his 'friend' was able to pout one over on him with little trouble) and he will continue to be a fool - well, forever, probably.

You'd be foolish yourself, Giorgio, if you expected this to change in the face of mere facts.

Anonymous said...

quinn is a self-parody by now, an utterly relentless moron prone to instant debunking on most days.