Archive for December, 2005
Wednesday, December 28th, 2005
Well I hope everyone had a great Christmas, I know I did. I totally dig North Carolina. I think I might move up there in the next few years. Homes and property are really inexpensive compared to some areas of the country. Plus the area has a great deal to offer – the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill area has a great deal of culture mixed with a touch of country, a perfect mix in my book. I could have sworn the entrance to a Whole Foods near N.C. State was actually a transporter to the Whole Foods in San Francisco. The same cast of characters was there, hippies, dreds, tattoos, and dyed hair. Neat. The Research Triangle area offers tech for geeks like me, and it’s only a
12 hour trip 9.75 hour trip from my house on the beach in Destin.
On the side, my Z4 performed exceptionally well on the trip up and back. At 85 mph she feels like 45, at 100 she feels like 80, and at 106 mph on I-10 at 2am, she feels, well, just plain fast! I also learned a valuable lesson – that little yellow dot by the gas gauge means your almost out of gas, time to pull over. Ugh. I’d rather not go into the details.
Thursday, December 22nd, 2005
In the race to create the coolest maps in whole wide world, Yahoo!, Microsoft, and Google mapping services all seem to have failed in providing the one thing they were intended for, an easy way to find good maps. I used to be able to get good maps off Yahoo! all the time, but I was never a fan of their interface. I never liked the map centering and shifting from those little “move a little this way” sidebars or the fact that I had to enter my address into two lines, address first, city, states and zip second. What a pain.
So, it’s Christmas time 2005 baby, and I’m headed to my sisters in Raleigh for the holiday. She’s just moved into a new house, so I need a map. Hey, cool, with all the innovative things going on with in mapping services today, I’m sure it’s a shoe in to get all the information I need! Lets get to it.
I accidentally browse to live.local.com. Oops, no thanks, I don’t need any Viagra. Argh. On local.live.com, I punch the address into the left hand text edit and hit return. Turns out this is the “Where” text box, sounds right, but the mapping service finds, nothing! So I punch my address into the right hand text box (why do I need two text boxes exactly?) and hit return. Up comes my map. Awesome. I can drag, I can scroll in and out using the mouse wheel, very cool. Now I’d like to print! Ok, um, ok.. there’s no print! So I close all the little info boxes so I get a clean map without any clutter, and I’m about ready to print, when I realize closing all the little windows has also blown away my address pinpoint on the map. Worse, I can’t seem to get the little boxes back anyway. Joy. Too much time spent, there are better services, I’m sure.
Good old Google, everybody worships the networks you traverse, don’t fail me now. I punch in the address in the form of: “1234 somestreet st., raleigh nc 12345″. Google responds “Your search for 1234 somestreet st., raleigh nc 12345 around this map area did not match any locations.” Ho Hum. I’m currently viewing a map of the Unitied States! How hard can it be, this is a mapping service! I try a few things, spell out the state, check the spelling of the city, yadda yadda. I’m getting frustrated, and I’ve had enough.
And so.. guess what, I’m back to the mapping service I used last year, and the year before, and the year before that. maps.yahoo.com. Yeah I hate the interface, and I have to enter the address in on two lines. But it always finds my address, always offers a print option that works, and it doesn’t take me 30 minutes of thrashing around. Better luck next time guys, you better get to work! You’ve got a long way to go.
Wednesday, December 21st, 2005
Now this is cool. Since Dare works in the MSN group, maybe we’ll see something like this in Search.
!db – denver broncos
!weather – weather forecast in Destin, Florida
!msdn ‘some technical thing” – search msdn
Setting them up is easy, you do it right from any search box apparently. Unfortunately, I don’t use Yahoo! Search, but I think I’ll throw it up there in my links bar and give it a spin. Just goes to show how a really slick little feature will at least get people to try out your stuff.
I know I come down on Google a lot here. But I mean come on, when was the last time they did something simple and innovative in search like this? Google was on a roll for a while, but I really haven’t seen anything neat like this from them lately.
Monday, December 19th, 2005
Catnip, common name for a hardy perennial herb of the mint family. Native to Europe, it has become a common weed in North America. The sharp fragrance of the plant is attractive and exciting to cats, which enjoy eating catnip.
Scientific classification: Catnip belongs to the family Lamiaceae (formerly Labiatae). It is classified as Nepeta cataria.
Those little Search applets up on the top of the results just keep bringing me back for the quick answers. (Except the damn weather forcast! Where is it! Argh!) The links for both engines are almost identical. They both seem to mix a few good pages with a few “selling something” pages. I gotta give this round to Microsoft.
Monday, December 19th, 2005
Monday, December 19th, 2005
Here’s a really cool set of articles on hdbeat describing how to add HDTV support to an XP MCE from Gateway. The comments are also really educational, especially for PC < -> HDTV newbies like myself.
I think I’m going to have to pick up a cheap XP MCE to play around with, then go the distance and buy my uber Vista MCE system next year. Streaming TV, no cables. HDTV. argh. I can’t wait for Vista just because I can’t burn HD DVD’s to XP. I need an MCE now.
Saturday, December 17th, 2005
Back on the 8th, Microsoft release the 2.0 version of their non-commercial AJAX based mapping control. I’ve been working with 2.0 now for about a week and it’s pretty slick. The API is rich and gives you access to everything local.live.com offers. Here’s where you can download the API docs. Hopefully MS will update the viavirtualearth.com site and resource soon too. The control works in embedded desktop applications unlike Google’s. Seems pretty bug free too.
Saturday, December 17th, 2005
How interesting. Im actually, pretty surprised. I would have expected Microsoft to bow to AOL’s requirements. But it looks like Google was willing to bend it’s rules and Microsoft wasn’t. Needless to say, no mention of any IM deals. I guess I won’t be chatting with my friends on AOL through Messenger any time soon.
If a user searches on Google for a topic for which AOL has content – like information about Madonna – there will be a special section on the bottom right corner of the search results page with links to AOL.com. Technically, AOL will pay for those links, which will be identified as advertising, but Google will give AOL credits to pay for them as part of the deal. They will also carry AOL’s logo, the first time Google has agreed to place graphic ads on its search result pages.
Google will also provide technical assistance so AOL can create Web pages that will appear more prominently in the search results list. But this assistance will not change computer formulas that determine the order in which pages are listed in Google’s search results.
Strengthening Ties Google will also make a special effort to incorporate AOL video programming in its expanding video search section and it will feature links to AOL videos on the video search home page. These links will not be marked as advertising.
An executive involved in the talks said Time Warner asked Microsoft to give AOL similar preferred placement in advertising and in its Web index and that Microsoft refused, calling the request unethical.
Under the new deal, AOL’s sales force will also have the ability to sell search advertising that appears only on AOL’s sites, even though those ads will compete for placement with those sold by Google. AOL’s sales force will also have the right to sell some display advertising that will be placed on the vast network of Web sites for which Google sells ads.
Monday, December 12th, 2005
This is really cool. Structured data in RSS that machines (readers & search engines for example), can easily find while still being human readable. If you haven’t checked out microformats yet, you should, it’s gaining a lot of momentum. Microformats are structured data records formatted in XHTML. They could transform RSS from the rather simple “river of news” to a really powerful “content pipe” containing data consumers can parse, process and manage in creative way that won’t require a user’s intervention.
UPDATE Turns out the old structured blogging crew is behind this. Nice to see they’ve adopted microformats!
Saturday, December 10th, 2005
Basically, a weblogger who doesn’t know how the Internet works posted a rant on his website bitching and whining about how his recorded weblog entries (sorry, “podcasts”) were “podjacked”.
One more choice quote before the jump to the main subject -
Thanks, Mitch. As a team, we take a bloglines subscription of our feed, import it into suprglu, and then we all get on meebo and talk about it. Then the flock alpha crashes and we all have to reboot our computers.
Now, could someone please explain to me why some fucking worthless bookmarking web site with a domain nobody can spell and very few users is worth 35 million dollars? Would somebody please smack Yahoo! hard and while they’re grabbing their knees in pain, inform them that NOBODY IN THE REAL WORLD USES THIS SITE!
Jeremy, of course, disagrees. He thinks Delicious is special.
Delicious is a service for saving and sharing bookmarks. It’s popular in the blog world because a lot of bloggers are information hounds that collect hundreds of links to interesting web sites. Delicious makes it easy to put them all in once place. Bloggers also like to publish links for their friends and readers to see, so there are a lot of tools for making that easy too.
Ooook. FYI dude, bloggers are a bunch of blowhards – they link to pointless crap! (Take my blog for example.)
Now I’ll bet Yahoo! is interested in the links, not the content. They probably want to tie all this Web 2.0 Attention Trust into their search engine. Lot’s of luck guys, hell you’ll need it. Most folks don’t even realize you have a search engine. Hmm. Which gives me some ideas on how I can leach more money out of Yahoo’s coffers. If it involves links, and attention(?), and blogging, Wooohoo! An atten.lic.book.us ‘tion site! Bam! I’m an instant millionaire! (The key of course is to choose a web 2.0 domain that nobody will ever remember.)
I really need to get back into the frey of Silicon Valley and find some sucker who’ll pay 35 big ones for a favorites bookmarking site. Let’s party like it’s 1999! Again!