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.
 
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