Monthly Archives: June 2005

MyPersonalFlickhooSearchWeb

Yesterday ushered in the latest round of Google vs. Yahoo, this for that, innovations by competition. Google introduced their improved Personalized Search, which basically compiles your search history and then begins to tailor results to what it thinks you need. If you regularly search for and follow music-related results and one day do a search for “bass,” the new Personalized Search is supposed to figure out that you probably don’t want fishing results. The SearchEngineWatch Blog has a more detailed article on how it is all supposed to work. I have yet to use it enough to see how effective it is, but I suppose there’s potential.

And then there was Yahoo My Web 2.0. It looks like Yahoo’s recently acquired Flickr folk have been hard at work. My Web (the “My” moniker in software naming really needs to die, but that’s another rant) is a sort of social-networking meets bookmarking setup, where you create your own collection of bookmarked sites, and can search only within that, or within your friend network of sites. It incorporates tagging as well, to add another way of searching, or browsing sites within a category. As a regular Flickr user, I see this as a natural extension, but with some awkward implementation on the Yahoo end. In order to make the best use of it, you need to dive into Yahoo 360 (their Friendster/MySpace/social-network thing) to get your contacts set up, and you should probably install the Yahoo toolbar as well. It’s either all Yahoo, or a partial experience. I’m sure this is only step one, and these will all be integrated in a much more cohesive way.

Waxy’s write-up on Yahoo’s My Web is good and includes quite a few more links about the offering. The next question is whether Yahoo or Google will be the first to buy Del.icio.us.

Lastly, here’s a great parody of what Google’s Press Center might look like in 2006.

UPDATE – A short while after posting this, I stumbled across a few sites all mentioning A9‘s update to their A9 Maps. The maps pages are more polished now, with better navigation of the block-view images as well. What a busy day in the world of search.

Climbing Skillz

Seen on the corkboard at my regular climbing gym:

Upcoming Clinics
Skills You Hope to Never Use
This week:
Cutting the Belay

Next week:
Self-Amputation

(actual upcoming classes were: Passing a Knot While Belaying and Disengaging the Belay and Setting up a Five-to-One Pulley System)

Sculpture as Design or Design as Sculpture

Noguchi Table A week or so ago, I had the priviledge of going to a work-related seminar that took place at the Seattle Art Museum, and as an added bonus during our lunch break we were able to check out the Isamu Noguchi exhibit that had just opened. I remembered some of his work from art classes in college, and from various public sculpture parks (my parents are pretty big on sculpture). The exhibit was quite good, including some of the stage and dance props he worked on, his stone sculptures (my personal favorites), and his furniture design. I highly recommend it to anyone interested.

Calder Stegosaurus Last weekend I took a walk up through Volunteer Park, where there also happens to be a Noguchi sculpture. In addition, there’s another large sculpture from one of my favorite artists, Alexander Calder. Probably most known for his mobiles, and his half-automaton, half-puppet wire circus (link to video on the page too), he’s also the one who does those giant orange steel pointy things. My first exposure to his stuff was in Hartford, CT where his three-story Stegosaurus (pictured at left) made a big impression on me. I was at the perfect age to be excited by dinosaur-related things and also exciting new climbing challenges; in this case awe-inspiring, pieces of orange steel.

Although both of their styles are quite different, I would say that Noguchi’s and Calder’s work are both quite similar in their ideas and execution, not to mention years ahead their time in terms of design aesthetic. But I think I’ll need to save up a couple million dollars more before I can think about buying.

On the opposite side of the topic of art, I might as well throw in a link to this great McSweeney list: Things Not Overheard at a Conceptual-Art Gallery Opening.

Lightning Bolt: The Movie

What could be better than the classic bit of LARPing (Quicktime) caught on video? How about an entire documentary on a live-action role-playing event! Darkon The Movie (Quicktime). With some modest production values, decent camera work and a pounding faux string-and-brass soundtrack, it doesn’t look too bad (awkward amateur acting aside).

And just to preempt the obvious first comment… “More like DORK-kon!”

Two Things

First is Woot.com which is an interesting approach to selling things online. One electronics item listed per day (usually coming from overstock or close-outs), at a really good price. Not always the most exciting stuff, but it’s different every day and hot items usually sell out fast. If nothing else, the descriptions they write for the items are pretty funny.

Second, is the new Believer Music Issue, with a couple funny paragraphs by Matthew Derby on the origin of music and the nature of cover songs.

Moral Dilemmas 101

Since morality in itself is a big question mark, how can we learn anything about it except by asking more questions? Here are a few moral dilemmas I’ve witnessed recently…

1. The classic example we witnessed at the Summit a couple months ago. A guy and his girl sitting at the bar, both incredibly drunk. The girl is so drunk, in fact, that she can no longer hold her head up on her own and half-collapses, half-rests on her guy’s shoulder and appears quite passed-out. The guy is now left with two half-full beers, hers and his own. Does he stay and finish the beers he paid for, or does he take his drunk, passed-out girlfriend home?

2. Tipping or giving hand-outs? I’ve seen people who tip quite poorly, but freely give spare change, or the odd bill to panhandlers. Personally, I never give change to people on the street, but I almost always tip close to 20%. Sure, the two aren’t mutually exclusive, but are they even comparable on a moral scale? Is either more admirable than the other?

3. Livestrong bracelets or taking care of yourself? I suppose a lot like #2, this is more a case of “choose your battles.” In the past few days I’ve seen a handful of obese (no, not just overweight) people wearing yellow Livestrong bracelets. Yeah, the Tour is approaching, Lance is going for 7, but part of the idea of the bracelet is also to… um… live strong. OK, fine, this is more a case of irony (and me being rude and insensitive) than anything else.

4. Lastly, there’s the question of people who just finished school… Do you buy them drinks during the busy and tiring work week, or do you save your energy for the weekend blow-out?

Gnarled Creatures

Perfectly articulating my previous thoughts on Ron Howard, Andrew Wright writes about Cinderella Man in The Stranger:

If a gnarled creature were grown in a lab, bred and designed by unfeeling scientists to spend its soulless existence craving and consuming only Oscars… well, it would still come up short to Ron Howard’s latest ï¬?lm.

White you’re at it, check out the Stranger’s website redesign. Major props to Anthony and Corianton, because this was truly a monumental task (you should skip the Slog/Stranger blog unless you’re desperate for more gratuitous, masturbatory, unedited hipper-than-thou writing).

Lastly, here’s a great new trailer for Tim Burton’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: The Johnny Depp Show.

Stringing me along

The months keep flying by, so here’s a round-up of the more interesting April and May search strings. As always, my search strings are rather heavy on the sexual and drinking angle, which either says something about the content of my blog, or what people typically search for on the Internet. Or both…

hairy rhinocerous
kittens drinking lots of beer – what a great idea!
sheesh – gosh!
thermometer in bum pictures
beast boy kissing raven – did somebody get new nicknames?
i like my women stout and bitter – no similie necessary?
let’s try this again. women are like coffee – ok, there we go
feigning a temperaturetake my advice, kids
toboggans without people on them photos
what is mean smell my feet
info seattle to portland the bike thing – y’know, the thing