Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Shear Torcher And Name Dropping

I know this dubious woman who posted her profile online to pick up men. She was into watersports, bondage and torcher. She was an idiot and the idea that she couldn’t even spell “torture” cinched it. Before Halloween I found a bunch of sites that were befitting the season, I posted links to one about the history of torture devices. I added a mention of “medieval torcher” as an aside. Since then, most of the links to that posting came from users looking for “medieval torcher”. The first lesson to be learned: misspelling carry benefits.
I am very obsessed with pop-culture. Frequently I will post about this starlet or that TV show. Sometimes I will just liken something in my day-to-day life with something from pop culture. This has the side effect in the search engines of becoming a touchstone. If you say, “the karaoke singer had the bubble gum sap sound of Britney Spears” people looking for Britney Spears information may find your site as a side effect.
Am I saying that you should dump non-sequitors into your blog posts? Should you toss out your spellchecker? Nope. Around 1996 when people “discovered” meta tags, they made hay by jamming every inappropriate term into their meta tag keywords. Search engines quickly shunned those pages. Because of the immediacy of blog posts, a lot of material isn’t vetted. Your off the cuff comparison of Tom Cruise to a two year old will either be scooped up by the search engines before you can say “Oprah’s couch” or it runs the risk of being too stale to be of any good to those to use blog search engines.
If the goal is simply to garner hits and popularity, use some pithiness to slip in pop-culture references and the odd well placed misspellings to great effect. Done carefully, you can do this and not sacrifice the style and quality of your blog.

tags: search terms misspellings SEO

Truism On Code

In more code means more opporunity for error, then the reverse is true.
The goal is one perfect line of code or closest number possible.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Don't Lose Money, Yourself. Leave It To A Professional

This is an interesting piece: http://insight.zdnet.co.uk/software/linuxunix/0,39020472,39236745,00.htm. Most noteworthy is that the South African govenment is funding the translation of OpenOffice into South Africa's 11 leading languages. Microsoft with its elderly version of Office can only offer two languages (sort of) for South Africa. The South African government can either procure a massive number of Office licenses that are only partially useful; or they can get a product for free and sink a large chunk of change into making it ideal. That would seem like a waste of money. It's like buying a burger, taking it to a chef and asking him make it into a stew. But that's the problem with burger joint (Microsoft): they'll refuse to make you a stew no matter how many people are lining up asking for it. Government have the size and the money to afford application refinement. Also, when they throw money down a spout, no one questions it. Governments can also serve as vested patrons who can drive an application towards improvement to the benefit of the whole of the user base.
This is where/how Open Source can win with part of its classic model. That part of the model being that consulting is where places like RedHat and so many others make their money. Developers contribute code, bug notices, fixes and documentation (hey, it could happen); as part of paying their dues. They become experts on a particular product. This poises them to branch the code or enhance it for select clients.
I am working through a long and elaborate modfication of phpBB. When I am done, I will be really well suited to help evolve the code or help others modify it for their purposes. If someone obtains freebie code and tries to use it out of the box, they are unlikely to get a glove fit. Spending on modifications still gives you a chance to win as you don't have to pop for the whole development bill. But then, you probably know that already ;)

Saturday, November 26, 2005

PHP Architect: November Issue

This month's issue of PHP Architect, features an article of mine, "Job Management with PHP & Cron" Certain tasks take a long time to complete--longer than the client and server timeouts will allow. In this piece, author Mike DeWolf discusses how to build an admin page to create and monitor a job queue, and dress it up with nearly real time status updates.

Best Places to Submit RSS

Remember Syndic8.com ? Well, it was an RSS pioneer. It has since been eclipsed by other websites. If you a list of the best place to submit your RSS feeds, check here:

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Amazon's Mechanical Turk

In the 18th century, the mechanical turk was invented. It was a chess playing automaton. How it worked is unknown. Supposedly, you put in a move and it responded. Beneath the chesboard gears drove shafts and the Turk would lurk forward and move the right piece to the best position. Rumor had it that is squared off against Napolean Bonparte and bested him.
Amazon a third millenium spin on the Turk. Humans do way better at fuzzy recognition than machines. What machines need to do is learn. Give them neural net weighting and a capacity to retain that knowledge and they can learn.
Today, humans still significantly outperform the most powerful computers at completing such simple tasks as identifying objects in photographs – something children can do even before they learn to speak. However, when we think of interfaces between human beings and computers, we usually assume that the human being is the one requesting that a task be completed, and the computer is completing the task and providing the results. What if this process were reversed and a computer program could ask a human being to perform a task and return the results? What if it could coordinate many human beings to perform a task?
Amazon Mechanical Turk does this, providing a web services API for computers to integrate Artificial Artificial Intelligence directly into their processing. Learn more about this new web service on their web site:
(of course, if I remember the Matrix, that's how they ended up in their situation)

Saturday, November 19, 2005

What's Old Is New Again

I always liked the Apple ][ because the OS was hardwired onto the board. Boot it up and your ready to go! This article from Tom's Hardware Guide talks about how to put a the whole of WindowsXP onto a flash drive. Most current machines can boot from the Flash drive. So, if you boot off of that, you have a nearly guaranteed boot-up. If nothing else, this is good for fast disaster recovery.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Atari Laptop

One enterprising guy has proven that with a dremel and an obsessive nature, you can turn anything into a laptop. He's turned his Atari 800XE into a portable.
Right now, my Underwood typewriter is sitting in the corner cowering a like it's about to be assimilated.


Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Diet Coke + RSS = Advertising Triumph

When you fuel programmers with Coke, you get code. What happens when you fuel Diet Coke with RSS? You get an advertising success story:

This from iMedia:
Diet Coke's recent online campaign, "On a Lighter Note," sheds light on the future of RSS advertising in an integrated campaign. While much of the advertising world, including [himself], were pondering ad opportunities within RSS feed readers, Reuters was quietly closing a deal with Diet Coke to push RSS into banner ads. Since only a small fraction of the internet audience use feed readers (three percent, according to an August report from JupiterResearch), applying RSS in banners on heavily trafficked websites should extend the technology's reach.