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.

  • neilt

    i was wondering when you were going to hurt yourself again…

  • lmasanti

    The best wishes for your recovery!

    But… if the Google’s theory is correct, I would be truly scared (even living in Argentina).

    To track you to that detail and coordinate a bicycle driver to hit you… even with the help of Street View… is an amazing job.
    They should made a search in your medical records to know that “you are an accident prone subject” –good in any case for the Perfect Crime–.

    If this was premeditated –sorry, I do not buy it– Google should show this evet to the NSA, CIA, etc. Tracking an “oppositor to the company” with so much precision is the perfect ticket to a contract to “control all human beings” in the United States, the ultimate desire of NSA & Co.

    Once again, have a good recovery. But blame the person who hit you –and even you–, not the company to whom he works.

    (OTOH, taking into accout your past events, I sugest you to see a Chaman or Chinese Monk to clean your aura and aline your chakras. Look in Google for someone in your area.)

  • http://scottworldblog.wordpress.com scotty321

    OMG, Daniel!! I am so sorry to hear about this incident!! I hope you heal fully & quickly!!!

  • rizzior

    Best Wishes and a Speedy Recovery my Friend.
    “Our Prayers are with You”

  • bartfat

    hopefully you recover soon.. we’ll miss your excellent articles and insight on whatever crazy fads that the tech world has going on at the time. but in the meantime don’t get carried away fantasizing about how Apple should do this or that ;) of course, when you return we’ll be happy to hear what you have to say :)

  • Ludor

    Oh damnit! Fawking bastards! Those lying scheming googly bastards!

    I hope you get well soon. We’re looking forward to be getting you back, mr. Durden.

  • http://toddsieling.com tsieling

    You know how they did it? Street View. Think about it.
    In seriousness that really sucks, and I hope you’re back to full health soon.

  • gus2000

    “First Richard Pryor had a heart attack; then I had a heart attack. Then Richard set himself on fire, and I said ‘Fuck that, I’m gonna have another heart attack’…” – George Carlin

    How about for next year you get a Time Capsule and let the gods take your Macbook instead of breaking more bones? Sooner or later you’re going to break something that you really really need. (Junk, I’m looking at you.)

    A few years ago I spilled off a horse and broke both the wrist and elbow. I could mouse, but had to swivel my whole torso at the waist to move left/right, and roll the chair back and forth for up/down. My arm looked like a twig after 6 weeks but I got plenty of cardio.

    I totally believe that Google is at fault, since somehow your motorbike was taken out by a lowly bicycle. You got gwned.

  • Stephen

    ouch. Get well soon.

    This is another reason why I love google – using a bicycle for Dan’s assassination shows how green they are.

  • Splashman

    I’m not sure what’s scarier: the possibility that Google targets individual bloggers, or the possibility that Mr. Dilger believes they do.

  • ronhip


    So sorry to hear about your (latest) accident. I hope you heal fully and quickly. I always look forward to your articles. I can be patient – just take your time healing.

    Seriously, why don’t you just carry an old sacrificial PowerBook G4? Or would the gods see through that subterfuge and smite you even worse?

  • iQuack

    Get well soon Daniel! Sorry to hear about this. God Bless!

  • http://www.thewell.au.com IainW

    Time to give up the motorcycle? Down under here in Oz, we call people that ride motorcycles ‘Temporary Australians’….

  • http://jonnytilney.com Jon T

    The medical profession must really love you Dan..!

    I tried MacSpeech, and it didn’t work well for me – perhaps it will do for you? That way we might still get our dose of your sane, and sometimes less sane, but always riveting, and always thought provoking, writing.

    Speedy recovery amico.

  • http://jonnytilney.com Jon T

    And I meant to say of course, you have to see the funny side when the bicyclist in question works for Google! But, it will be interesting to see how much capital ‘others’ make of this by suggesting that DED is serious in his conspiracy theory…

  • http://www.adviespraktijk.info Berend Schotanus

    Gee Daniel,

    That looks bad. And even with your hands broken you’re making quite a story out of that. Google won’t stop you, that’s for sure. I promise I won’t blame you for any typos any more.

    Get well soon!

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  • Per

    Get well soon! You really do have bad luck..

    I’m a student so I’m far from rich but I sent a little money over PayPal. Should get you a decent lunch at least. Again, I wish you a speedy recovery and good health so you can get back to writing articles :-D

  • string

    It could have been worse. M$ and google could have made a joint attempt – no wait M$ would have F******* it up.

  • pedrocandrade

    My best wishes to you and a speedy recovery. But ditch the bike, dude. Nuff bone breaking. : )

  • airmanchairman

    Got me there for a moment, Calamity Dan! OMG…

    How’s about putting this adversity to good use, and testing out Voice Recognition and dictation software?

    No slacking now; yes I know it’s the Season of Goodwill and all, but I reckon I speak for all when I say we need our periodic DED-head fix for our souls…

    Get well soon and keep ’em coming…

  • Stephen

    While they’ve got you under the knife, ask the doctors to graft on a Light Peak port.

  • enzos

    Get well soon, Dan! I’m with the other Aussie: give up that bloody bike, mate, before it kills you! (Does seem injury improves your typing and diction, though.. couldn’t find anything at all to cavil at in this post.)

  • Stephen

    How many Aussies are here? [raises hand]

  • http://www.designsbyjadis.com jarvis

    I hope you get well soon, Dan! I’ve been hit twice while riding my bicycle and I feel your pain. Best wishes during your recovery.

  • hzc

    Hope you have a speedy and complete recovery. But given your track record, you should use your rest time to think about what changes you should make in your life, starting with getting rid of that bike. :-)

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/fotonchop/ zaxzan

    Dude … Ditch the skid-lid and get a tin-top.

    *Goggle the Horizon, is an old biker term that means several things. Keep an eye out … be careful … Keep your head up … don’t let anything get you down.

    Wishing you a speedy and full recovery mate.
    Stuff you don’t want to hear the doctor say during surgery!

    Don’t worry; I think it’s sharp enough.

    “You know, there’s big money in kidneys. Heck, the guy’s got two of them.”

    Better save that. We’ll need it for the autopsy.

    Wait a minute, if this is his spleen, then what’s that?

    Hand me that…uh…that…uh…..thingie.

    Could you stop that thing from beating; it’s throwing my concentration off.

    What do you mean he wasn’t in for a sex change…!

    Damn, there go the lights again…

    This patient has already had some kids, am I correct?

    “Accept this sacrifice, O Great Lord of Darkness!”

    Oops! Hey, has anyone ever survived 500ml of this stuff before?


    *That’s Goggle not Google!

  • yoyo2222

    Time for a Suburban with bullet-proof glass… or at least something with airbags. You are going to die on that bike someday.

    Get well.

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/fotonchop/ zaxzan

    Hände hoch

  • davesmall

    Whoa! Have you considered the possibility that motorcycles might not be the safest mode of transport in the city?

  • JohnWatkins

    Hey Dan I suggest you do a review of this:
    Perhaps the evaluation copy will come in handy as you heal.

  • Josh

    Damn Daniel. You’re a lucky dude; or unlucky, depending upon one’s perspective. I hope you get better soon. I agree with the others about ditching the bike. Bikers often derivisively refer to those of us in cars as “cagers,” but after seeing a number of people killed on bikes — including a husband and wife who had a baby boy — I’m proud to be in a cage. I wouldn’t be anywhere else considering how crazy people are on the road.

  • cxc

    Best wishes for a speedy recovery. I’ve been known to ride my track bike on Market, but I’m in China nowadays, so I guess it couldn’t have been me…

  • http://twitter.com/NateTehGreat nat

    Do us all a favor, Dan and get yourself one of THESE for Christmas.

    Also, there really needs to be an agreed upon sarcasm font.

    Fell better soon.

  • http://twitter.com/NateTehGreat nat

    Looks like my link didn’t work (anyone know the tag for creating text links?). Here’s the plain URL:

  • gus2000

    Obviously, Dan needs to switch to whatever brand of Armored Bicycle that the Google Assassin had. A car is really not an option, since drivers in San Francisco are referred to as “people who spend a long time looking for parking and still walk a long long distance anyway”.

    I’m assuming the lack of typos was due to someone else doing the typing, probably the same person that took the pictures (but don’t tell me it was Prince Mclean or I’ll freak). Using MacSpeech will probably drop Dan’s typo rate to almost zero, except of course for the occasional “egg freckles” which should be good for a laugh.

  • NB

    Wow! Get well soon, Daniel.

  • nini

    Huh, Google’s got goons coming down after you, huh? Well, I’d wager someone might have been close to losing their office DED injury pool, keep an eye out for anyone you know from AI dude.

  • michal_from_poland

    Get well soon!

    And get yourself a car.

  • ShabbaRanks

    So, cheated Death again eh?

    You really need to make time to play that guy at chess or he’s going to be pestering you for your eternal soul every frickin year, like skeleton Santa.

    Get well soon.

  • Orenge

    Get well soon!

    And people should cut Daniel some slack for the conspiracy theories. I agree, it’s such an extreme claim that it needs a LOT more evidence. But he’s in pain, frustrated (wouldn’t you be?) and probably on painkillers. I suspect he’ll see things in a less paranoid light later, OR have really good evidence/reasoning to give to his readers—and the police—about Google hiring thugs to attack bloggers.

  • Imapolicecar

    You should know better than to tangle with Android. They sent the Terminator upgrade out to get you :(

    Get well soon! Call on Jack Daniels to help you with any pain resolution issues you have. :)

  • iLogic

    Get well D.E.D!

  • jabah

    One time I was walking along the sidewalk and decided to cross the street. So, it’s a one way street, right? You only have to look one way, I reasoned, congratulating myself on my efficiency. I stepped out into the street and was run over by a bicyclist coming from the other direction.

  • stefn

    May the best of your past be the worst of your future, Daniel.

  • humann

    people aren’t going to get this joke. it’s very funny to me and black humor is a good way to deal with misfortune but I’m worried that this article will further DED’s detractors abilities to dismiss him. I just wish he’d been more clear that the conspiracy theory was an attempt at humor only.

  • http://www.muir.tumblr.com John Muir

    The local ER staff must be on first name terms by now. Yikes. Between the donorcycle and the occasional freestyle Inspector Clouseau routine, you know how to keep our future content in peril. I’d hate to think of how empty it would be when MSFT eventually close up shop without RoughlyDrafted still around.

  • gctwnl

    In hospitals around the world, the word for ‘motorbike’ is ‘donorbike’.

  • adamski

    Get well soon Dan, and don’t have us worry again so much! Now if you were serious about google sending an agent in suicide attack against you on a bicycle, I worry that you may have hit your head too hard, but I’m sure you’ll recover quickly. Anyhow, please give up your bike, it’s too dangerous! That’s what I did after my last accident with my sport motorbike 750cc. I also have a long history of accidents with motorcycles like you. Fortunately I never broke any bones, but still, the more I think about those past accidents, the more I think it’s miracle to be still alive! After getting married and having had a wonderful baby I realized it wasn’t worth the risk anymore. Now, I’m not sure if you have any children, but if not, just consider that you are the “father” of this great journal, so please, please give up the two-wheels!

  • airmanchairman

    In the corner of the world where I hail from, the translation of the local slang for motorcyclist is “landlord of the Orthopaedic Hospital”