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Being out of work. PHP Consulting. Random geeky stuff. "I Blog Therefore I Am."

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Monday, April 01, 2002

Searching and Weblogs

Now that I've used two different search engines to search weblogs, Google and Atomz, it really seems to me that searching weblogs is different from searching the web as a whole.  When you search a weblog, since the material has a default chronological organization, more current information is generally what you're looking for.  This makes sense when you think about it.  For chronologically organized material, its often better to organize by date since readership is regular and people have a "I saw that but I don't know where" problem and its usually the more recent material that they remember.  Human memory seems to be a FILO cache (i.e. First In Last Out).  Sorting search results chronologically works really well in this circumstance.

I wish that search engine makers would recognize this and give this simple feature to webloggers.  Of course, there needs to be a standard way to recognize the date of an item and that's not so easy.  Not everything is perfectly XML yet.  Of course Radio is...

comment [] 10:21:42 PM    

A picture named lynch.gifInteresting piece on News.Com about Flash MX, quoting Bruce Perens and Dale Dougherty, but no Flash developers or users. Macromedia's direction is interesting because there are creative people at work filling in the blanks and trying out new ideas. The Web that Dougherty is watching out for is frozen, it's fine, Flash is no threat to it. Google can write a driver that indexes Flash content, and Macromedia can define a URL structure for content inside a Flash document. News.Com only presents the case against Flash MX, where's the other side, how about interviewing people who are dreaming of new things you can do with it? I don't mind reading the naysayers, but I also want inspiration.   [Scripting News]

To draw an analogy on this issue, take a look back to the early days of hypertext when all the venders had proprietary, binary file formats.  Even if the file formats had been "open", their binary nature would have kept people from taking advantage of them without very specific tools.  The sheer beauty of HTML is that nothing but a text editor is needed to get started.  In short, its human readable.  I can see the same mistake of the early hypertext vendors with SWF, the flash format.  Even though it may be open, its certainly not that anyone can just use an editor to modify it.  You've got to have some kind of special tool.  If I was really cynical then I might point out that Macromedia, as the leading tool vendor, would benefit hugely from this.  And I won't even point out the issues with lack of searching (addressable) as well as lack of linking and bookmarking (harder).

Isn't it particularly interesting that virtually every widely accepted standard (other than Microsoft Office) is human readable?  Flash is great for animation.  Its not a site level development tool.

comment [] 7:48:07 PM    

A New Feature: Searching UserLand with Google

As a new user learning Radio, I'm spending a lot of time looking for information.  I wasn't happy with the UserLand search engine.  So, here's what I did -- I embedded a Google search box at the top of my weblog.  Want to find out something about Templates?  Just put it in above and select Search.  For an example, Google finds 6600 references to Templates while finds 465.  Not sure who's actually right here but Google has my "search confidence" and the disparity is large...  Here are the urls to try it for yourself:

For searching this weblog, I used Atomz, a free search service provider.  It doesn't index often enough but that's to be expected with a weblog.

comment [] 2:37:41 PM    

Another Use for Instant Messaging

Ever since the sound card on my desktop failed, I've been audio challenged to say the least.  For a while, I used an iMac but the keyboard drives me nuts.  Just plain nuts.  So I moved my laptop back from Linux to Windows 2000 (I still have a Linux server anyway).  This now means that I can have IM with audio alerts.  Its also pointed out to me the benefit of having two IM accounts, not one.  I set up a second Yahoo IM account recently so I had a more anonymous presence when I needed it.  Since IM accounts can only run on one machine at a time, I could now have my desktop and my laptop communicating via IM -- i.e. my public IM and my anonymous IM are now "buddies".  Very cool.  And its useful too.  I can now just IM urls from my laptop to my desktop zippity quick!  And, I don't have to send yet another damn email (YADE).

Considering that there are IM clients for Windows, Mac and Linux platforms, this is a great way to transfer information between platforms that isn't really files.  A lot of information such as urls, text scraps and such is too small for really a whole file.

NOTE: This is definitely a "well duh!" type thing but the little things often are.  It was helpful to me, perhaps for someone else it will be as well.


comment [] 11:58:22 AM    

Google Still Doesn't Take itself Seriously

Check out for an indepth analysis of how their ranking works.

You have to love April Fools on the Internet.

comment [] 10:48:03 AM    

April Fools in PHP Land

April Fools in PHP Land is interesting.  Take a look at what phpinfo() does or click here if you don't want to write code. 

If you don't know what PHP is, its a web server scripting language.  Think of ASP as a comparison with the following differences:

  • Faster
  • Easier
  • More natural -- I don't quite understand why but I've written a lot of ASP and PHP just "feels right"
  • A rabid developer community that helps out with questions
  • Faster to develop in
  • Free
  • Open Source

Check out for more details.  Oh and did I point out that there are over 3,000,000 installations. 

comment [] 10:43:33 AM    

Interesting Feedback on Userland Documentation

After writing two tutorials on Radio, I'm starting to get some interesting feedback on the product documentation.  If anyone has feedback on the docs, let me know and I'll see if the tutorials I write can address it.  I've got a long background in this type of thing so I do (kind of) know what I'm doing here.

Now what does that say about how good a product Radio is when the user's are willing to document it for free.  Pretty cool I think...

comment [] 8:37:28 AM    

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Last update: 4/1/2002; 8:37:30 AM.
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