Ernie the Attorney is back in New Orleans.
Editorial: A turning point for the web? I haven't said anything as Google moved into indexing printed books, but as their spin campaign took shape, my opinion formed. We must realize that Google is no longer the little company we used to love. They're now a huge company that pushes individuals around like a lot of other huge companies. They need some balance to their power. It's ridiculous to blindly take their side on every issue. Sometimes they're wrong, and I believe this is one of those times.
Ryan Tate on search engine architecture.
Vikas Karmat: "Librarians are typically female, typically are well read, have good English language skills, and typically underpaid. The programmers are typically male, typically have poor writing skills, spell poorly, and are overpaid."
Interesting. Now I know why I like librarians so much. Let's see. Yes, I am male. I think I write fairly well, and I have almost-perfect spelling. Until a few weeks ago I'd have said I was grossly underpaid, but then I had a really nice payday, so I don't get to complain about that anymore.
Today marks the passing of an era, in a way. In late 1999, I wrote an application called subhonker2, that caused some stir in the then-tiny blogging world. I got an email from Wes Felter saying people were freaking because one of my servers was checking their sites every hour or so (or sometimes more often, the code had bugs, of course). That was the very first incarnation of what was to become weblogs.com.
Between then and now there have been dozens of releases of the software, as the network of weblogs grew to thousands and then hundreds of thousands and millions of blogs.
And now today, it's not running on my servers at all!
I imagine this is how parents feel when a kid finally reaches college age and leaves home.
All of a sudden it's a lot quieter around here.
As we say here when things fall into place: Bing!
It's really hard to review a search engine if I can't point to results of queries. Hmmm. Maybe I can.
This morning I did a search on "Wilma" in the last day. It's a breaking story, twenty four hours ago it was a tropical storm, since then it has become the largest storm ever observed. Pretty amazing transition. What did the blogosphere have to say about that? This is the question that Sphere claims to answer, because it is a blog search engine. I saved the search result to a local folder and uploaded it so you can look at it, even if you don't have access to the beta site.
At the same time, the Politics page on Memeorandum gives a view into the Wilma story in blogs, but not just blogs, the top item that glues the category together is a NY Times article.
Anyhow, here's the conclusion. I don't want specialized search engines, I want better search engines. That's the nature of search, I want to go one place, ask a question and have the network do the searching. The more places I have to go the less it's search. Think about it.
Perhaps Google and the other major SEs should have some kind of plug-in architecture that lets us build our own search engine out of components we like. Then I could add Sphere to MSN, or Mememorandum to Yahoo search, and they could do their magic without being bought by one or the other. This is a time when "build to flip" may be a viable strategy, until we get an architecture for searching, assuming it's actually possible to do one. I've heard from developers inside the SEs that such an architecture is impossible. Maybe so, or maybe just for SEs that were built before architecture was a requirement (assuming it is one now).
I know that's a provocative title, but I have an idea, a possible solution to a problem that women of our industry raise often and passionately -- how to get more women in leadership positions, not just a few, but a good balance to the men. Sylvia asks this question in a post on her blog yesterday, which started an interesting thread.
Here's the idea. Let's find industries whose conferences are horribly un-gender-balaced the other way (mostly women, almost no men) and consider merging with them. For example, what's the intersection between Web 2.0 and librarians? (Assuming most librarians are women.)
If we find one that works, that's the begining of a gender-balanced tech industry. Have a conference where we discuss the confluence of technology and librarians (I'm sure there are already such conferences, how many tech industry people go to them?) Are there conferences where they bemoan the lack of men? Interesting question. I can't imagine the men complaining too much about it, actually.
In any case, I suspect most men in the tech industry would be happy to have more women. Believe it or not, many of us like women. There's nothing more dull than a conference with 100 men and 2 women. You need a good mix to keep things interesting.
The Greensboro blogging conference earlier this month was more interesting because there were far more black people there than I've ever seen at a tech industry conference. How did this happen? They chose North Carolina A&T, a state college that's largely black, to host the event. The professors and students were all black, as were many participants of the community. There's a big lesson in that. If you want change, like Dorothy, you have to leave Kansas, you can't expect change to come to you, you have to go there.
BTW, there's a pretty constant flamer in the comments in Sylvia's post, someone who acts like she knows me (she hasn't got a clue), and says some pretty bad things. I'm pointing anyway, lest you think (as my pal Amyloo does) that women behave better than men on the net. My experience is that women can be pretty nasty to men on the net. Maybe we should try to counteract some of that too. As I said some men genuinely like women, and if you're a pro-woman woman, it seems you should support that. Of course I'll probably be attacked for saying that too, but what the heck.
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