Daniel Eran Dilger
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Google attempts to silence Daniel Eran Dilger

injured hand

Daniel Eran Dilger

After writing a series of articles critical of Google’s Android and skeptical of the hype over its forthcoming Chrome OS, I got roughed up by a company stooge last night and was sent to the hospital in an ambulance to splint my broken left hand and snapped right clavicle, both of which should put a damper on my productivity.


Of course, it it possible the whole thing was just an unfortunate coincidence, and not related to any nefarious corporate plot to use the ad search giant’s spyware tracking to locate my position on Market Street and pair it with a Google employee on a bicycle with a messenger bag as full of Jaegermeister as he ostensibly was, given that he was in the middle of the road on his own red light.

All I can really remember is the disappointment of entering the intersection at Sanchez on my motorcycle and suddenly seeing a bike creep out in front of me as i wished for different circumstances for myself before everything went dark and I woke up to questions about what day it was in the trauma ward of SF General Hospital.

I was informed that the secret agent hitman/fixed gear reveler was not seriously injured (just a bloody nose they said) and that he told the police he was at fault, which was a nice gesture. Usually when somebody knocks me off my motorcycle, they come up with a self-defense story almost instantly, and start into hyperbole about how fast I was traveling.

I used to get hit on my motorcycle every January and break a bone and a PowerBook each time (well, twice, in 2004 and 2005), but with Apple’s transition to Intel, I stopped that tradition and found other reasons for my annual ER visit: getting assaulted by an angry young Italian while on a motocross bike in Thailand in 2006, falling on a glass and cutting my back open during the week of WWDC in 2007, and having my jaw broken in 2008.

With the clock ticking on 2009, I decided to save my MacBook and break two bones instead. Even my iPhone survived without a scratch, although it did end up covered in my internal juices as I tried to document the situation as best I could given my damage and the scant battery I had left.


By snapping the fifth metacarpal on my left hand, I retained nearly full left arm mobility with very little hand capacity; with the right side clavicle break, I have fine use of my main hand as long as everything I want to do with it is within a couple inches of my navel. This makes life far more interesting. Fortunately, I hung all my lights and hauled all my old junk to Goodwill yesterday, so now I’m set to comfortably heal for the winter and ponder how to best position my body to avoid excruciating pain.

I’m still uncertain about whether my uninsured motorist coverage will cover a bicyclist, so I may or may not have any option to replace my bike or cover the $600 or so in towing charges. I haven’t seen it, but judging from the condition go my body and the debris in the intersection this morning, I’ve assumed the worst.

I may be most upset that I happened to be wearing all my favorite clothes last night, from my Daft Punk concert T shirt from the Berkeley Greek Theater to my most flattering jeans and my awesome North Face jacket that is perfect no matter the weather. I was wearing clean underwear, but honestly I’d rather have faced washing them than have to throw out what was a perfectly good pair, and brand new at that. I even managed to tear up my new brand Adidas, although like my birthday suit, I’ll still be able to wear them, they just won’t look as new.

I’d like to thank the people who scooped me off the street, hauled me to the trauma ward, and bandaged me up last night. The fun isn’t over, either; I go in later in the week to see if I need hand surgery to fix my weird pinkie finger, and have an unrelated surgery scheduled this month to fix the hardware issues in my jaw that Kaiser Perminente refused to address after colluding with my former employer to defraud me out of my COBRA benefits (Thanks for filing a mix of false and incompetent paperwork on my behalf, Nimblefish Technologies!)

And as for you Google, I’m deleting all your tracking cookies on my system just to be on the safe side. Tell your guy his bag of booze and papers and credit cards got mixed into my stuff somehow, so I left it at SFGH for him to pick up at his leisure. And Sergey, if you want to pick up the tab for fixing my bike and so on, I’ll attach one of those Maps cameras on it and drive down alleys your regular truck doesn’t catch.

Oh and look, Im dangerously close to having 1000 followers on Twitter! Thanks for reading — I’m proud to have all the smart, friendly, considerate and interesting people who leave comments and point out typos on RoughlyDrafted. I’ll have to dig into my MacSpeech Dictate box to see if I can figure out how to do speech recognition as an alternative to typing given my current predicament. But first, a nap. I feel awful.

  • MipWrangler

    Ouch. Speedy recovery!!

  • Imapolicecar


    As you get squished surely your organs will be manged. Are you sure you didn’t mean ‘donorkebabbike’?

  • edster


    I heard that M$ and Google were in fact working together on the hit. M$ had a guy with a big ass van with some sort of table sized computer that filled the entire thing. Fortunately, before they could get a good fix on his position the computer crashed and it was left to the Google guy on the bike

  • NormM

    Sorry to hear you were hurt! I assume the Google hit man story is offered up as humor (“bicycle attacks motorcycle”), but I’m not sure people get the joke.

  • RauForce

    Aww Dan. Thanks for all the great analysis. Get well soon!!! While youre laid back and bored check out http://money.cnn.com/2009/11/24/smallbusiness/next_little_thing_2010.fsb/index.htm Hmmm I wonder which of these technologies could be incorporated into some of our favorite apple devices? :)

  • http://blog.cytv.com cy_starkman

    Another Oz-trailian saying look after self man.

    Speech to text it in, remember that article you wrote about the film reviewer and mescal insurance not letting him have an iPhone cause it was too cheap.

    Talk to him eh, he’s got a few months up on you finding the best tools.

    As for Google, any company that Needs to say “we do no evil” is nefarious to the bone

  • gus2000

    No way MS was in on it…their bike would have crashed before it got there.

  • http://themacadvocate.com TheMacAdvocate

    Get well soon, Daniel. FWIW, I’ve had very good success with Dictate with compared to ViaVoice and even the previous versions of Dictate. I use it for the majority of my rambling. The only “gripe” I’ve had is with the lack of affordable wireless mic options, but they’ve seemed to remedy that recently with the approval of Plantronic’s Calistro BT headset.

    Personally, I think it’d be a huge PR coup for MacSpeech to set up one of the most prolific Apple beat writers in a time of need. Just sayin’…

  • Zeta2099

    Wow Daniel I knew Google was going to retaliate but didn’t think were going to go this far… :P
    Anyway remember to change the charts of your bed with the poor bastard in front of you so if they change your meds you will be ok. :D
    (I knew couldn’t be MS since they can’t do others things good <.< lol)
    Seriously i hope you recover soon, and if you don't want to use cars a good old armor is always handy. XD

  • http://www.cyclelogicpress.com Neil Anderson

    Quick recovery!

  • jkundert

    One word: DROID.

    Be afraid… be very afraid!

    Seriously though, get well soon!

  • Phormic

    Yet another Aussie.

    Google black ops shall never suppress the truth! Their nefarious plans to permanently remove our white knight of truth will inevitably founder!

    Keep fighting the good fight Dan. I’ll get that order for a Toyota sorted out for you.

  • Kyro

    Hope u get better soon and can keep up your writing.

  • Dafydd Williams

    One day the mountain might get ‘im, but The Law never will.

    Apologies to anyone with fond memories of early 80s American television.

  • Bo

    As the squirm goes, “Been there done that.” Stopped after the broken femur. The Royal Enfield didn’t run after that.

    Seriously suggest a 72 Chevy Blazer. Everything easy to fix like a motorcycle, rock solid, inexpensive & then they have to be afraid of you down in Mountain View.

  • gctwnl


    On bikes, people die easier (think: break neck, head injury) and there is a lot of stuff to recover. To die people in cars require much more force and thus more kebab.

  • http://crankyoldnutcase.blogspot.com/ The Mad Hatter

    I can understand wanting to make a statement – a bike does that (by the way, what was it?) However you can still make a statement, while riding in something a bit safer. I’d recommend this baby, the Canadian Armed Forces use them, and have been quite happy with the performance.

  • http://crankyoldnutcase.blogspot.com/ The Mad Hatter

    FYI – Optus, a phone company in Australia is messing with the Android market. Net Neutrality anyone?

  • Dmitri

    Daniel –
    My prayer is that you get well quickly and easily — and get back to your life and your writing!

  • http://www.lowededwookie.com lowededwookie

    Daniel, when you get out and get better go to your bike shop and get some proper motorcycle clothing.

    I’m so sick of seeing my motorcycle brethren riding without proper protective gear all because it’s bulky or too hot.

    Get yourself some Cordura based clothing, some gloves, and proper motorcycle boots and always wear it even if just going up the road to the shops (statistically most crashes occur within 1Km of your home or office).

    Seriously, for the sake of a grand or so your body will love you for it. You won’t get the open wounds like you’ve got. You’ll still break but a break is quicker healing and less painful than open wounds.

    As for all the donor comments you’ll be interested to know that statistically here in New Zealand you are more likely to get hit as a pedestrian or bicyclist and incur more cost per capita than motorcyclists, in fact motorcyclists have the lowest cost per capita of any vehicle on the road, cars come in second to lowest despite New Zealand having roughly 1 car for every two people, pedestrians are third lowest, and as I said bicyclists are the worst.

    Unfortunately despite these stats coming from ACC, ACC likes to say that motorcyclists are the worst and are trying to discriminate against bikers and make their registration $727 per year with cars being $270. If they push it I’m tempted to sue ACC for discrimination which is illegal in New Zealand.

  • luisd

    I wonder if the macalope was travelling on your bike too. I missed his column this weekend ;-)

    Get well soon!

  • Pingback: Ouch. Get well soon, Daniel. http://www.roughlydrafted.com/2009/11/29/google-attempts-to-silence-daniel-eran-dilger/ | Bally()

  • chris.rauchle

    Another Aussie here (hand up) – Looking good even in a neck brace, Dan. Perhaps it’s the painkillers but this was one funny column and it’s good to see you still have your sense of humour. My partner had a broken arm and found Mac Speech worked very well so am looking forward to that in your column. My advice? Switch the motor for a regular bike and get a courier bag full of Jaegermeister yourself next time. Get well soon, we’re all rooting for you !-)

  • ChuckO

    “Oh, Danny Boy the pipes are calling from glen to glen” or in Dan’s case the tubes are calling from site to site here on the interwebs.

    I just PayPal’d Dan some money to help defray any incidentals incurred by this bad luck and encourage all other regular readers to do the same. Let’s help get him back on his feet, err, laptop and writing!

  • WSharp

    Ditch the bike and find a Mini Cooper-S
    Get Well!

  • JasonBelec

    Just toss the motorbike and get a Hummer, the original version, then let ’em come for ya!!!!

    Oh, don’t eat the food…..

  • gus2000

    I might have suggested a “Segway for DED” fund, except one of those things would NEVER make it up Russian Hill. A Segway just trying to make it *down* one of those S.F. hills would be friggin hilarious (in a “meet me at the hospital” sort of way).

  • BigDan

    Get well soon Daniel. You’re easily the best tech writer out there and we’re all missing the good stuff already. Rest well and come back with a bang.
    Oh, and get a car…

  • HCE

    Very sorry to hear about your accident. Get well soon!!

    – HCE

  • http://crankyoldnutcase.blogspot.com/ The Mad Hatter

    Dan’s new vehicle. I’ve arrange for him to get one used, low mileage. It was used by a combat patrol of Lord Strathcona’s Horse in the Kandahar area, and will need a bit of a clean up before he can drive it. This particular unit has been involved in one incident, when it struck an Improvised Explosive Device. No crew members were hurt in the incident, though repairs were required.

    I know that being an American he’d probably prefer something locally built, but the fuel economy on the American units is terrible.

  • http://crankyoldnutcase.blogspot.com/ The Mad Hatter

    Well, that’s an annoyance, it won’t accept an the HTML IMG code. OK, here’s a link:

    Daniel’s new ride.

  • http://www.E-String.com Julio Barros

    Very sorry to hear about your accident. It sounds and looks painful. Get well soon.

  • JohnWatkins

    Is a Leopard 2 tank equivalent to a Snow Leopard tank?

  • bobbybina

    You columns are great. Get well soon.

  • http://crankyoldnutcase.blogspot.com/ The Mad Hatter


    It’s very similar. It has the same effect on the Taliban that Snow Leopard if having on Microsoft.

  • http://macsmarticles.blogspot.com Derek Currie

    Some happy news Daniel. I picked up your book ‘Snow Leopard Server’ a few days ago at my local Borders and I hereby declare it the very best Mac OS X Server book EVER. (I have several of them). Excellent work bro!

    I can also verify that Google do at least have hit-and-run trolls out on the net who pull the usual S&M jobs on anyone who criticizes anything Google. Remind you of another company?

    Get well soon. In the meantime, enjoy the breaks, I mean rest. ;-)


  • http://ObamaPacman.com ObamaPacman

    Hey Dan,

    Hope you feel better soon! We have to start a bubbled-motorcycle fund for you or something.

  • dpaus

    First and most importantly, I too wish you a full and speedy recovery, but…

    Secondly: OK, damn it, as a long-time rider, I have to say it: what the hell is wrong with you? You were riding in jeans and sneakers?!?! And before the rest of you jump on me for kicking him while he’s down, just TRY and tell me he wouldn’t absolutely SAVAGE anyone who shipped an Internet server without a firewall (i.e., protective technology we all know damn well we’re supposed to use, no matter how inconvenient it is). I’m sorry your favourite t-shirt was ruined, man. How did your HELMET fare? You WERE wearing a helmet, weren’t you? (actually, I’m pretty sure you were, or you wouldn’t be around to write this). Ok, you didn’t quite hit the absolute low of motorcycle riders: sportbike riders wearing shorts, a t-shirt and flip-flops – but you came in a close second.

    Look, I’m Pres & CEO of a tech firm, and I ride my bike to the office every single day I can – which works out to about 2/3rds of the year in Toronto. I wear a shirt-n-tie and dress pants under my chaps and leather jacket, and a pair of perfectly-suitable-for-the-office leather boots. Plus, the bike is my transportation of choice for running errands/shopping in the downtown core. 20 years on two wheels, and more than 200,000 miles. Two accidents of my own, both minor – and I got up and walked away from both because I was wearing full leathers and a helmet. I have been at the scene or first on-scene for four serious motorcycle accidents. The two who weren’t wearing leathers/helmets are incidents I don’t want to even remember, let alone think about. One of them didn’t make it. Of the other two, both not only survived, but did so without permanent scars – including the girlfriend who rammed a moving truck at about 60 mph combined speed. She slid about 200 feet on old concrete. She was wearing full leathers – including heavy, knee-high boots – and a 3/4 helmet. Broken leg, four broken ribs, concussion – and not a single scratch on her skin (except where the bone poked through). She kept the leather pants to show others.

    As soon as you’re better (very soon, I sincerely hope!), go out and get a new bike – one with some lockable saddlebags. Get a new helmet – the best one you can afford. Get a set of ventilated leather over-pants, some good boots, and a top-notch jacket (preferably with armour). And then wear them!!

    And watch out for goddamned bicyclists who think that traffic laws like red lights and one-way streets don’t apply to them :-)

    all the best, man!

  • http://crankyoldnutcase.blogspot.com/ The Mad Hatter


    That’s telling him. Riding without protection is dangerous.