Friday, July 24, 2009

Swedish lesbians suck sperm banks dry

The Register covers IT stories from a cynical -- even caustic -- perspective. You can count on them to put down major players in IT as they cover tech news. As you might imagine, Microsoft is never treated gently. Today, though, they found a story they couldn't resist, allowing them to parody lesbians, sperm banks, and the Swedish all in one delicious headline.

Click for full-size screen shot

You can tell they're a UK publication with terms like "duff man juice" and a section entitled "odds and sods".

Kind of hard to see the IT connection, but there you have it.


Saturday, July 18, 2009

Walter Cronkite departs 40 years after Apollo 11

Mark Twain said:

I came in with Halley's Comet in 1835. It is coming again next year (1910), and I expect to go out with it. It will be the greatest disappointment of my life if I don't go out with Halley's Comet. The Almighty has said, no doubt: "Now here are these two unaccountable freaks; they came in together, they must go out together."

John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, at times rivals but in old age friends in correspondence, both died on July 4, 1826, exactly 50 years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

Walter Cronkite died today, in the midst of the 40th anniversary of the first trip to the moon.

Some scientists say that it's common for even gravely ill people to hang onto life just to make it to a birthday, an anniversary, or a holiday. It seems only fitting for Cronkite to pass on the anniversary of a news story that made him most happy. Even the Google News robot places Cronkite and Apollo 11 next to each other In The News.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Cool tool for comparing Bing versus Google

Microsoft haters deride Redmond's much-advertised new search engine, Bing, as Because It's Not Google. One foolish commentator did a simple search, found that Bing provided 1/10 the claimed number of matches, and derided Bing as deficient. Circa 1996 I interviewed the creator of the Lycos search engine, Dr. Michael Mauldin. At the beginning, Lycos offered users the choice between a "small catalog" and a "large catalog." Dr. Mauldin told me that the vast majority of users choice the large one, assuming it was better. In fact, the small catalog was more selective, and for the vast majority of searches, provided more relevant results.

Comparing search engines is sometimes like the parable of the blind men and the elephant. Do you test popular searches, or do you test obscure ones? How carefully do you examine the results pages? How do you compare special results, such as when Google suggests relevant news articles?

But compare we will, and one Web site makes it a little easier. You enter your test search once, and the Bing-vs-Google tool searches both engines, then offers the SERP from each side-by-side (or, if you prefer, above-and-below).

Click for full size screen shot

In this screen shot, I did a search related to a problem I've got with the touchpad on my HP DV3500 laptop. I accidentally misspelled "touchpad" and Google, as always, offers the correct spelling; Bing says they've got nothing on "tourchpad" and I should try to spell things the right way.

It's a helpful shortcut for folks who want to do lots of test searches. See .