Technical: July 2004 Archives


Pagerank! The term gets passed about like penicillin in a brothel. The cure-all for all afflictions! The bandaid for the unmentionables. Bliss in a bottle!

Unfortunately, penicillin is no longer the universal bandaid and hasn't been for some time. Like everything else, we're in an arms race. The Search versus the Found and we're in extra time with search engines at a distinct disadvantage.

It does'nt sound too terrible but there are billions at stake both in dollars and in time. Just think how much time Google has saved you over the last few years? Could we quantify this? No we can't, it would be like trying to quantify the spoken word. Google is much more than just a handy tool when you get a bit stuck looking for something, its become the biggest research tool in existence and its worth is immeasurable. I can hear people saying that the internet is the biggest research tool, no its not, its only the repository. How can I say this?

Example:
A library ain't worth bugger all unless ther's some way to find things. Put a blindflod on and go to the British library. Find me a copy of the Bible, I don't care what version, its the most common book in existence so it shouldn't be a problem, should it?

The problem is that the internet is an unordered jumble of things and its net worth is only appreciated if we have some way to navigate it.

I want the search engines to win this arms race because it will increase our capacity to move forward on a global scale, reducing research times, aiding communication. What other technology can say they are doing all this.

But at what cost!?

Some of the more popular engines are up to all sorts of tricks to leverage advantage over each other and I think some of them might be losing site of whats putting bread on their table. For instance, its quite common for search engines to accept money from companies to have their adverts shown above and beyond everyone else regardless of the best results for the search. Much to my dismay Yahoo does this, amongst others. Is this really what we need? In an age were information is king should money dictate what we see. It's always been the big fish that have dictated what we see eat and breathe so whats new.

Is it wise for search engines to start dictating what we find or to track what we search for. Would they go that far? Are they already there? Quite a few of the main search engine are and I don't like it!

No adverts is one of the main reasons I use Google. I am pretty confident that the search results are the net result of some mathematical jiggery pokery and money has not been a deciding factor. If this changes then I may move and I would say that a lot of other people might move as well. Nearly everyone switched from Yahoo, Alta-vista and the other engines a few years ago because Google was the best thing since sliced bread.

However, I have found myself using Yahoo on occasion to find what I am looking for when previously I would not even have contemplated using it. Are other users finding this to be the case? If they are then we might start to see a switch from Google to engines previously considered inferior.

Google is by no means mythical but it is a masterpiece.I am however concerned that it might need some refurbishment.

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I like to play with gadgets etc and managed to come across the following website.

Science Toys

It has some very nifty little experimental toys on it.

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