Archive for July, 2007

Searching for Results

Tuesday, July 31st, 2007

Search is a topic that will continue to pop up when talking about the Internet. The biggest and baddest of the big three, Google, will continue to be a target; any company that plans to make any ground in the search market will undoubtedly find themselves competing with the boys from Mountainview. Even Yahoo! and Microsoft/Live Search, the number 2 and 3 search engines, barely make any headway in the search market, which makes it difficult to achieve any real success. However, companies like Facebook, touted as the number 1 social search on the net, and Wikia, which recently acquired Grub from LookSmart and will look to implement an open source, user-contributed search engine, may be able to achieve success because of the specific types of searches they provide. These are definitely not sure-things. Facebook, as powerful a force as it might seem, is still not even the top social network, and Google can easily tap into their own social network, Orkut, which is comparable in size, focus attention on the effort, and voila, suddenly Facebook’s social search is nothing to brag about. The same could be said about Wikia, however, with a user-contributed, open source approach, one may expect a company like Yahoo! to be better positioned to challenge in that specific area. It also brings to light the fact that Yahoo! hasn’t done something like this already. No matter how you look at it, Google is the search engine to beat, and they don’t look like they will relinquish that stranglehold any time soon. The rest of the players in the search market can try and seriously compete, but then again, maybe they can just make a game of it.

Open-Source Oscars

Monday, July 30th, 2007

SourceForge.net LogoSourceForge.net, a company loosely affiliated or partnered with Superb Hosting (where Rob and I are both currently working), has released this year’s Open-Source Oscars, or at least their equivalent of the famed awards ceremony.

SourceForge is the world’s largest Open Source software development web site, hosting more than 100,000 projects and over 1,000,000 registered users with a centralized resource for managing projects, issues, communications, and code. SourceForge.net has the largest repository of Open Source code and applications available on the Internet, and hosts more Open Source development products than any other site or network worldwide. SourceForge.net provides a wide variety of services to projects we host, and to the Open Source community. 

With more and more companies looking at the open-source arena for innovation and opportunity - maybe even Microsoft, but maybe not - a platform like SourceForge is important to foster these types of projects. Categories include Best New Project (eMule), Best Project for Multimedia (Audacity), and Best Project for the Enterprise (Firebird), as well as the Best Project, which went to 7-Zip (also Best Technical Design). Of the nine different winners, I’ve actually used three, Audacity, 7-Zip, and Azureus, all of which suited my needs quite well. For more about the awards, check out this article.

Microsoft Digg-ing Online Ads

Thursday, July 26th, 2007

Microsft/Digg logos splicedSimilar to landing the Facebook advertising contract/rights, Microsoft teaming up with Digg is a huge win for the software giant. Coupled with the announcement that the FTC will be reviewing the Google/DoubleClick deal (and asking for feedback from Microsoft and Yahoo! about the subject), it would seem to be a pretty good week for Microsoft with respect to online advertising. Microsoft and Yahoo! will certainly be careful with their input to the deal, as anything established here with respect to the online ad industry, privacy, and competition will of course affect those companies as well, but I’m sure that it’s seen as a good thing that there is starting to be some scrutiny about Google’s control of online advertising and privacy. The deal with Digg, much like the deal with Facebook, is rumoured to be a guaranteed amount for Digg, meaning there’s a good chance Microsoft might be losing money on the deal, but if nothing else, blocking Google from partnering with the news site is a win in itself.

G-mail not that G-ood

Wednesday, July 25th, 2007

G-mail LogoHaving used all three of the major free E-mail providers - G-mail, Yahoo! mail, and Live mail / Hotmail - I have a pretty good idea of which one I like and why I like it - Yahoo! mail by a mile. It was my first account out of the three, and that might have something to do with it, but I find that it offers everything that I could hope from my E-mail: spam control that filters out what I don’t want and lets in what I do want (suprisingly hard to find and not 100%, but pretty darn good), folders, unlimited storage, quick keys, a great search option, drag and drop, etc. etc. Out of the three, G-mail is the most recent that I started using, and honestly, the service I’ve been least impressed with. The only real positive that I’ve found is the ability to pretend that I am sending mail from my own E-mail service rather than from Google. However, reading this list of Top 10 Gmail Tweaks, there is potential for the service to improve, and I’m sure I won’t completely drop the service - at least not yet. Top of my list would have to be folders, but I’m sure they are all pretty useful.

CreepSpace: Who is really to blame?

Tuesday, July 24th, 2007

Being on the edge of the generation gap between those who have grown up with computers as part of their everyday lives and those who still regard them as an unnecessary evil, I get an interesting perspective from people regarding sites like Facebook and MySpace. The typical response is that the sites are creepy and give people the opportunity to be stalked or preyed upon. I’m not naive; if I suggested that it wasn’t possible, I’d be lying or a fool. There have been cases of a police officer in Langley luring a youth into meeting up via the site Nexopia. These are not unique or new occurences, and as far back as 2001, Ottawa was attempting to address the issue.

Despite what I would consider to be the obvious, there seems to be some suprise that MySpace has up to 30,000 known sex offenders on the site. These sites are difficult to monitor, but I can’t really blame MySpace, at least not entirely. There should be some ability for users to prevent being stalked, but who is in charge of monitoring the activities of these known offenders? If they have Internet access, is it not fairly simple to monitor the way they use it? I support certain rights and freedoms, but a convicted sex offender has forfeited many of the rights that the average individual enjoys, and they should be restricted accordingly.

Unlike the Tyee article that I linked to above, I don’t blame the medium, the Internet, nor do I blame MySpace. The ‘Net and the sites have some responsibility, as do the users of the sites, to ensure that the activities do not increase the potential for something bad to happen. But much like the parent that blames Television and video games for violent youth, those upholding the law, whether in a law enformcement agency or elected or appointed member of government, need to take a great deal of responsibility for monitoring the activities of those that are potential offenders. What seems more realistic - for the agencies responsible for maintaining our safety to keep tabs on those who are known to be of risk, or for the site to prevent 30k users (a number that represents just 0.03% of the total MySpace users) from creating profiles?