When
· Naughties
· · 2004
· · · February
· · · · 23 (3 entries)

Coding Makes You Dumb · I quote from an ar­ti­cle in this week’s Economist (read it here if you’re a sub­scriber) ar­gu­ing that the neg­a­tive im­pact of “Offshoring” is ex­ag­ger­at­ed. The rea­sons we need not wor­ry in­clude ... the bulk of these ex­ports will not be the high-flying jobs of IT con­sul­tants, but the mind-numbing func­tions of code-writing. [Up­date: my first cut of this had a snarky aside, but I de­cid­ed to lose that and let the as­ser­tion above stand or fall with­out com­men­tary.]
 
Search Variables · Scoble thinks he’d like to have ac­cess to all the vari­ables be­hind search en­gine re­sult rank­ings, and Bat­telle agrees. Hm­m... these are smart guys, but I think they’re both wrong on this one. Ex­pe­ri­ence shows that most users won’t even open up an “advanced search” fa­cil­i­ty, they just want to type their 1.3 words in­to the search win­dow and let the search tech do its stuff. And I’m one of them. I bet that most times, I’m go­ing to get good re­sults with less fuss & both­er by care­ful­ly se­lect­ing the search terms I type in than by fid­dling with knobs on the side of the en­gine. Be­cause hu­man lan­guage of­fers a much more sub­tler and more so­phis­ti­cat­ed set of con­trols and vari­ables than any soft­ware I’ve seen.
 
Topix · I got email from Rich Skrenta ask­ing me to take a look at Topix and maybe write a word or two about it. I have im­mense, huge re­spect for Rich, since he was the main man in cook­ing up Dmoz, and it had the po­ten­tial to turn the Web in­side out be­fore AOL bought and pissed in it (Dis­clo­sure: I got fired as a dmoz ed­i­tor for at­ti­tude prob­lem­s). He’s a mem­ber of the small Tribe Who Make Things Hap­pen. As for Topix... I dun­no. I’m pret­ty sure it’s worth the time it would take you to fol­low that link and look at it. It’s got a local-news fea­ture that might be great on­ly it doesn’t work for any­where unAmer­i­can which I am, so I di­aled up my fa­vorite place in the US, name­ly Port­land OR (the best book­store in the world and many mi­cro­brews, what’s not to like?) and that seemed pret­ty neat. As for the top page, it looked like a news­pa­per, a good news­pa­per, in fact a bet­ter news­pa­per than the lo­cal of­fer­ing for most peo­ple liv­ing out­side a huge metropolis. Topix hasn’t yet earned a spot in my visit-every-day list, which is pret­ty damn short since RSS came along... Rich tells me there’s a feed for ev­ery cat­e­go­ry, too. Hey, Skrenta him­self has a blog, and it looks good. Sub­scribed. He’s the on­ly oth­er per­son I’ve seen so far that’s no­ticed the insanely-expensive Google snip­pet ser­vice and drawn the right con­clu­sion­s; been mean­ing to blog about that but now I don’t need to. Skrenta he da man. Topix? Have your own look.
 
author · Dad · software · colophon · rights
Random image, linked to its containing fragment

By .

I am an employee
of Amazon.com, but
the opinions expressed here
are my own, and no other party
necessarily agrees with them.

A full disclosure of my
professional interests is
on the author page.