September 30, 2005

Burbank Fire getting close

Here we go again. I don’t live in an area known to have brush fires. In fact, there is very little brush where we live. There are, however, the verdugo hills further up and there is plenty of brush there.

This picture was taken while standing right outside my front door. The house you see in the foreground is my neighbor’s, across the street (that column is their chimney). The flames sometimes shot up 2-3 stories in the air and seemed to be cyclical as if they’d flare up when going through heavy brush, die down shortly, then flare up again as it edged towards the top of the mountain and headed in our direction. Up until now, it hasn’t quite gotten to our side of the mountain (and there is a valley in between us and the fire) but it’s got to be close considering how much of the flames we’re seeing.

Lots of neighbors were hanging around outside watching, listening to the local channel for evacuation notices (they’ve already set up a place at McCambridge Park)…others went inside to “prepare.” Even Robert sees the fire.

NBC is reporting that “containment is nowhere in sight” and that 700 acres have already been burned and resources are stretched thin due to the topanga fire.

I also don’t see planes or helicopters working on the fire. I assume since visibility is low (due to both darkness and smoke) that they don’t operate at night.

Hmmm….if this site goes down, I’ve already packed my family and left. :-(

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Build Your Own Ipod - for Anarchists

Ipod for Anarchists, from Wired says:

“Must-have” devices seem to instantly lose their charm for me when they’re adopted en masse — even when it comes to the iPod.

So, being a huge music nosher but not wanting to become a black silhouette plugged into the matrix via white wires in my ears, I decided to build my own.

How hard could it be?

Famous last words…

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Yahoo povides their crawling habits information to everyone

Yahoo has opened up Site Explorer and an API for it.

You go to the site, enter a URL, and see all pages indexed from that site, with links to that content, etc. You can then export the information in a tab separated file to import into the spreadsheet of your choice and play with the data.

On the results page, there are also links to “Cached” and “Explore URL” next to each listing. These days, “Cached” is to be expected…but what is the purpose of having an “Explore URL” link for a subpage of what you just searched for (these links go to site explorer with the new path and provide all subpages within that URL). If I had to guess, this would be an indication that there may be plans to add these links elsewhere (i.e. the main search results page)…unless someone can find a better application of it than I can. Many sites won’t find this useful but some sites (such as directories that usually have a “/category/subcategory”-type structure may).

Unlike Google Sitemaps, they are actually showing you what they have crawled. Sitemaps, however, allows you to submit a list of URLs and will provide you with reporting information such as when Google picked up the info and if it was successful. Google doesn’t tell you, however, what was indexed…you also only see sites you submitted to google, privately. Yahoo’s information allows you to browse info about other sites. The closest thing to Google Sitemaps is a comment Yahoo has on their Submit Site page:

You can also provide the location of a text file containing a list of URLs, one URL per line, say urllist.txt. We also recognize compressed versions of the file, say urllist.gz.

You can argue that this information may not be that big of a deal since web owners can view their logs and figure it out themselves. You can even argue that extended search operators can help you identify all the pages indexed by an engine. This is, however, a powerful tool providing everything you need in one place to do an analysis, complete with export functionality to slice/dice your data.

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GCalendar Followup

As a followup to my previous post on it, there is now a cname entry which points to Google the same way Google Talk had one right before launch:

$ dig calendar.google.com

; < <>> DiG 9.2.2 < <>> calendar.google.com
;; global options: printcmd
;; Got answer:
;; ->>HEADER< <- opcode: QUERY, status: NOERROR, id: 38107
;; flags: qr rd ra; QUERY: 1, ANSWER: 5, AUTHORITY: 5, ADDITIONAL: 5

;; QUESTION SECTION:
;calendar.google.com. IN A

;; ANSWER SECTION:
calendar.google.com. 3600 IN CNAME www.google.com.
www.google.com. 573 IN CNAME www.l.google.com.
www.l.google.com. 42 IN A 66.102.7.99
www.l.google.com. 42 IN A 66.102.7.104
www.l.google.com. 42 IN A 66.102.7.147
.
.
.

Could we be a few days away from a launch the same way we were when they did this with talk?

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September 29, 2005

More patents from the search engines

list here.

The list implies the engines are most focused on improving CPC ads (their uality/relevance/etc and, therefore, clickthrough) and on improving personalization. Seems to be demonstrating trends within the product development of the large search engines and their Ad revenue models that go with them.

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SEO factors weighted list

Check out this weighted list of SEO factors.

This article contains a large list of the factors that can influence a web document’s rank at the major search engines (Yahoo!, MSN, Google & AskJeeves) for a particular term or phrase. Although it is impossible to say for certain which of these items affects which search engine or how important the factors are individually, I’ve created an estimated ranking importance scale as indicated by the following symbols (based on my personal opinions)

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Sentensa: a new open source search engine

I came across Sentensa through threadwatch which claims to be “
Industrial strength Open Source Search Engine
.”

I remember a while back researching some open source search engines and coming up with plenty of options such as lucene/plucene/clucene/nutch/other variants of lucene and other engines based on completely different code such as glimpse. They all had various strengths/weaknesses and were all slightly different even though they may have been based on similar source…not to mention DB searches such as MySQL with both geospatial searching and fulltextsearch capabilities.

It will be interesting to see how/if this code forks, etc. Performance might be great, for all I know, but I’d like to see a C variant (it’s based on Java). I’d also like to see geospatial functions (I’m biased…I like the whole “local” aspect of search in case you haven’t noticed. :-)…another thing I’d like to see in some of these engines is the realization that data is’t always unstructured/crawled data…there may be a need for structured search with filters/sort/etc on different fields. I guess the only way I’ll find out about Sentensa’s features and capabilities will be to download and try it as well. It will be interesting to see how it works: does it support a distributed environment? how/where does it store/retrieve data? how does it use filesystem/memory available to it? etc.

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List of Must-have Mac Software

Wikitosh has started a wiki list

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Desktop.com back?

I found this post interesting about Desktop.com via radar.

It’s interesting to consider how Desktop.com would perform under today’s technology and bandwidth…I wasn’t terribly impressed with it back then. Should they resurrect it, it could get good help from the community through mashups as well if they open up their API. It would make for an interesting ASP model.

However, it seems many people have built many great applications (such as Writely) that Desktop.com should have…they should consider acquiring such companies if they want to attempt a comeback and get an instant user base that they can provide other “desktop apps” to.

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Google Calendar = GCalendar?

There have been plenty of rumors the past few days about a new product by Google dubbed GCalendar:

GCalendar (an online Google calendar?) is a domain name that’s currently registered to Data Docket, an Idaho company that often “holds” domains in their name (so nosy researcher types (-: don’t get clued in) to new Google services until the service or search tool is just about ready for launch.

There is also a list of google domains.

Sometimes these mean something and sometimes they don’t…sometimes results are immediate and sometimes they take a long time with them…what has happened with some of these (some of which have domains listed for them in the link above): Google Browser, GBay (Google’s EBay), Google WiFi and VOIP, etc.

I also noticed the following on the list that was recently registered with gcalendar: gdrive…I couldn’t help but wonder if they liked the idea they saw from GoogleFS (the google filesystem based on libgmail and decided it was something they wanted to open to everybody…that would be a step in the direction of the GoogleOS…Not only would that get more people onto the Google Platform…but they could index and make all sorts of file searchable as well…Good luck to some of my friends who left Homepage.com to go to XDrive (recently purchased by AOL.

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