Category Archives: Web

Umibozu: Your Newest (Meta) Search Engine

Marc Castejon is the main developer for Umibozu, a meta-search engine. He contacted me today to tell you about his public alpha release and see if you can try it out and spread the word. If you’re not familiar with the concept of a meta-search engine think of it this way – have you ever made the same search query at Google, Yahoo and Live while trying to locate something on the web?

And have you wished you could improve the results?

Welp, you can with Umibozu. Umibozu leverages the public APIs provided by Google, Yahoo and Live to query those engines using your one query. It then returns the top results from each and displays them side by side, allowing you to choose the one that suits you, and if you create an Umibozu account you can vote on the results.

Here’s a snapshot of my search for “Geeknews” on Umibozu –

umibozu

 

Well done Marc!

After Suicide Streamed On ‘Net, Should ‘Duty to Rescue’ Law Be Enforced?

Internet

Several days ago Abraham Biggs, 19 years old, took a cocktail of medications after he had chatted online about killing himself for most of the day during a video conversation with strangers. He died. While some of the folks in the forum pleaded with him to get help, some of them urge him on, laughing at him, calling him “faggot” and “coward.”.

Now the police are looking at the role played by the site, Justin.tv that hosted the video and BodyBuilding.net that hosted the chat bulletin board and whether the moderators and discussion board members acted inappropriately. Apparently one of the moderators at BodyBuilding.net called him an attention whore which certainly could be interpreted as contributing to the delays in trying to get this kid help.

One of the threads Abraham started discussing his suicide was on BodyBuilding.net, on this thread (“I’m gonna have 40 2mg bars of Xanax Tonight!“) he uses the alias CandyJunkie, and starts soliciting people to watch him online.

In my opinion, the streaming provider may not be culpable, but I’d need to see more details on when they learned of the event and the actions taken or not taken. Bodybuilding.net on the other hand appears to be more at risk here to legal action from the family. Also, I suspect any individuals that may have spurred this event along can or should be held accountable under the “duty to rescue” laws (note: i’m no experts in Torts law, there appears to be wiggle room in the interpretation of this).

Confessions of a Naked Sushi Model

 Sushi Model

Vanity Fair has an interesting piece from a woman that dove head first into naked sushi modeling recently. Not familiar with this Japanese practice? Read on:

Utterly exposed before a group of strangers, I do my best to fight off the impending toe cramp and a fierce desire to wince. This is all very new to me. You see, it’s my first time as a naked body sushi model.

In fairness, you might wonder how one becomes a naked body sushi model. More specifically, you might wonder how one with zero experience of undressing in public becomes a naked body sushi model.

Flinging Cards At Friends

So when grabbing a postcard from a corner shop or a gas station is just too hard or painful for you, here comes Postcard.fm to your rescue!  You can’t get any simpler than this website, folks.  A generic interface asks you to submit a picture, choose a song, and enter your recipients email address, and you’re done.  Off goes your cybercard to your intended vict….er, I mean friend.  You can also choose to add a few words of your own before sending it off, just to add that special flavor πŸ˜‰

postcardfm

I sent one to my wife…she thought it was hilarious!  Check it out!

DJ’s Be Free! Audiotool Is Here!

All I can say is WOW.  Aside from the corny generic name, Audiotool by Hobnox is a crazy cool web based app for audio lovers.  This is a Frankenstein of Flash and Java that allows you to utilize a virtual recording studio to produce your own music and then publish it for the Hobnox community to check out.  Everything is controlled via your mouse, which makes producing slow, but manageable.  After playing with it for an hour, I was pleased with my results, but frustrated that I couldn’t export my track as a WAV file.  In all, a nice tool, bringing those without the cash for hardware into the producing game.  Way to go!

audiotool

A Little Link Love

Geek Love

Here’s some link love for sites that have linked to Geeknews recently.

http://geeg.info – GeeG is a new geeky site that covers Aliens to Global Warming to Photoshop.

http://blueonionsoftware.com – Mike created Blue Onion Software as a personal project. So far it’s looking pretty good, especially since one of his goals is to work on expressing himself and experimenting with technology.

http://thebox.blogli.co.il/ – I don’t speak or read Hebrew, but from browsing the site it appears to focus on pointing to sources of information on the net to learn technology, with at least some focus on coding.

http://ufoaliennews.blogspot.com/ – I think the blog url says it all. It’s a private site so you can’t peek unless you have the codeword. πŸ™‚

http://identidadgeek.com – This is like Geeknews but for my neighbors to the South in Mexico.

http://www.murphyzville.com/blog – “because there’s life outside the basement”.

http://fourthcheckraise.blogspot.com/ – I never did figure out what The Fourth Checkraise is about, but i’ve suspected Ilkka is smarter than me and has a plan to take over the world one day. If so, I hope I can be a henchman.

Sumo Paint Stomps Into Beta

I came across this beauty today in my meanderings on the net.  Sumo Paint is a Photoshop clone that works entirely from your web browser.  Now I’ve never been into the Photoshop scene, so I can’t pretend to know about all its complexities, but this web based version seems to have all the bells and whistles.  I uploaded an image and fooled around with a variety of the settings, turning a perfectly good image into something that resembles a plate of dog food.  BUT, I had fun doing it πŸ˜‰

sumopaint

Get it while it’s hot, friends.  Who knows how long a good thing like this will remain free?

Surreal World Of Daxo

Truthfully, I don’t know what the purpose of this website is, other than being a window into the soul of a twisted or severely profound person.  I spent thirty minutes there, and still don’t know what, if anything, that I was doing.

Check it out.  I would suggest turning down the volume a bit, some of the items in this website tend to get a bit noisy.  Have fun!

Magnify Opens Their Crown Jewels to the Public

magnify.net

Magnify.net is a video publishing platform that makes it easy for you to integrate user-generated video, video that you produce, or video that you discover into your website. They provide a platform for you to tell your story through video and according to a recent press release:

…in less than 18 months they’ve become the largest provide of site-specific video aggregation solutions for publishers, brands, and Web-based communities. The results can be seen in the dramatic increase of Magnify-powered channels (now over 42,000), Magnify-hosted page views (approaching 1 million per day) and videos posted by the Magnify platform (now more than 5 million per month).

They’re in the news this week because they’re opening up their API to free the content in their ecosystem of 50M videos and enabling the content created, discovered and published in Magnify to be taken anywhere.

You can see the API in action here:

This is essentially the same API in service today for 15 of the web’s most popular video hosting services included in Magnify’s service such as: YouTube, Metacafe, Dailymotion, Vimeo, Veoh, Hulu, MySpace, Blip.tv, Google Video, Revver, Yahoo Video, AOL Video, ClipSyndicate, MTV, CollegeHumor, Redlasso, and Howcast.

Imagine what’s possible when the community of web developers gets their hands on the API? I can hardly wait!

Recover Your Lost Items With SendMeHome.com

Sendmehome

Sendmehome.com is a new free service just released to Beta today that lets you register your valuables and print labels with a unique ID to attach to your stuff. The reason why this is interesting is that this site is essentially acting as an online Lost and Found service.

If you lose the item, anybody who finds it can go to SendMeHome.com, enter the tag ID, and get it back to you. And according to the site:

You save time, money, and hassle plus you get your stuff back!

Here’s a partial FAQ:

What items can I register?

From baseball gloves to cell phones, pets to laptops, camping gear to hubcaps, anything that you don’t want to lose can be tagged

Who pays for shipping?

That is completely up to you and the finder of your item.

Will my tag ever expire?

No. Your tag will never expire. It will only be removed from Send Me Home if you delete it.

ChattyDM.net: Fluffy and Feminine or Hairy and Revolting?

So there I was, minding my own business, swinging by Musings of the Chatty DM this evening to see what’s happening in the RPG world and hear about his new Twitter feed.

Sidebar: This is not your run of the mill, vanilla flavored Twitter channel, folks. It’s a mini-RPG via tweets. As Chatty says ‘the mind explodes at the possibilities’. This is a great idea!

Back to the story – So I’m at Chattydm.net and low and behold, my eyes about popped when I saw what his GOOG advert banner was displaying under his blog’s title banner. Talk about inappropriate!

This would appear to be the new and improved, touchy feely Chatty, the one that is frilly and delicious like cotton candy? I guess if you peer closely enough it looks like the advert has two women in a hot tub, that’s somewhat redeeming I guess.

Chatty1-2   (clicky)

But my faith in the old man was soon restored as I scrolled down and saw this scaly, disgusting dragon-like creature from the underworld that we probably would all love to have as a pet. Now this is what I’m looking for in an RPG site’s adverts! More like that Chatty! πŸ˜‰

 Chatty2-2 (clicky)

So I could make a claim that GOOG’s excellent analysis of his fine site has determined that the most appropriate adverts would be those that are pretty, fluffy and come from the Rainbow Brite world for little girls. Or is it dynamically updating the advert on a per user basis and is truly a reflection on me and what GOOG thinks of my personality and web searching & purchasing traits?

Hmmm. I’d like to think it’s Chatty, not me. Not that there’s anything wrong with that…

Google News Agg Service Screws United Airlines

 UAL - GOOG

United Airlines lost more than 75% of its value yesterday, erasing $1.2 Billion. This was due to an error in Google’s automated news gathering process that mines the newspapers of the world for breaking news or interesting stories.

It turns out it picked up on a 6 year old story from the Florida Sun-Sentinel about UAL filing for bankruptcy, and in turn GOOG made the story available to Bloomberg financial news and from there the shit hit the fan on Wall Street. All the while no one actually read through the story to validate that it was new and relevant.

Sounds like a bug in the news aggregator and bunch of idiots pushing the ‘I Believe Button’ when they kept picking up on the news and circulating it as new news, trusting in GOOG’s ability. A lot of folks are at fault here and incidents like this are not excusable, especially by a service that is expected to have higher quality standards than this (referring to both Google and Bloomberg). I smell a lawsuit acoming in 3, 2, ….

Read the full story: "United’s share slide: A comedy of errors"

DOJ Hires AntiTrust Lawyer For GOOG Case?

I guess now we know why GOOG’s stock dropped nearly 5.5% today for it’s lowest level since March and nearly 10% in value in just the last five days. Can you say "here come the lawyers"?

From the Wall Street Journal today:

The Justice Department has quietly hired one of the nation’s best-known litigators, former Walt Disney Co. vice chairman Sanford Litvack, for a possible antitrust challenge to Google Inc.’s growing power in advertising.

Mr. Litvack’s hiring is the strongest signal yet that the U.S. is preparing to take court action against Google and its search-advertising deal with Yahoo Inc. The two companies combined would account for more than 80% of U.S. online-search ads.

GOOG Stock

In other GOOG news:

Big-money advertisers opposed to Google-Yahoo deal
Google browser aided by Microsoft antitrust limits
Google at 20: Top Five Predictions
Happy 10 year googly anniversary!

From GOOG Maps to Gold Medal

Kristin Armstrong

I meant to post about this last week, but better late than never…

Kristin Armstrong of the USA won the Women’s Individual Time Trial in Road Cycling at the 2008 Olympics.

She did it in large part by preparing like everyone else, but unlike everyone else she traveled to the site in advance, went through the course one time while using her husband’s GPS. When she returned to her home in Utah, Kristin uploaded the lat/long results from the GPS unit to Google Maps and found a local route that was similar to the one to be used in the Olympics.

So she was able to practice, practice, practice on a road route that mimicked what she’d have to endure for the real thing?

Is it cheating? No!

But I guarantee you that next time either everyone will be doing this or the IOC will not announce the official route until the games are going to begin so that everyone has an opportunity to compete on an equal playing field.

Kudos to Kristin for using her noodle, not just her brawn, to win the race.

Why Rank #1 in Google?

Google search behavior

Think Eyetracking is the specialist eyetracking and market research arm of Bunnyfoot Ltd, the leading usability and user experience consultancy.

They’ve posted some interesting findings related to how people scan the GOOG search results page today compared to how they scanned the page 3 years ago. This is a good article, if you’re have any interest in SEO at all, you should check it out. If you’re not in the field, let me boil it down for you: Google has trained you to expect high quality results in the first 3 results. Beyond that, it’s a waste of your time and you’re likely to not go much further. Let alone click through to a second or third page of results like you used to.

 

[via http://www.grokdotcom.com]