Around The Web Google In The News

Google Rank Lawsuit?

Dean Hunt is being harassed by an alleged business owner because his site has a higher Google Ranking than the alleged business owner. This business owner even threatens to sue. Who knows, this could be a hoax against Dean. I’m hoping it is, and there isn’t really someone out there this clueless.

Just another case of Tuttling in the series of tubes we call the Internet.

Sometimes I think there should be an intelligence requirement to get on the net. It would make the net a much better place for the other 99.99999…% of us.

Like it’s really in Google’s favor to put a commercial results before legitimate information as determined by it’s algorithm. It’s been done by others, who failed miserably (remember in competition with legitimate search engines. Quality before dollars made Google #1. But you already knew that.


Firefox On TV

Even during the NY Times ad I would have never imagined a TV ad campaign running for an open source web browser. Yet somehow it managed to happen. It’s To bad the campaign so far is limited to only Boston/San Francisco. Hopefully New York and other cities in the US (and perhaps even abroad) will eventually be included. Despite that it is still very cool. Congrats to everyone who made that happen.

Hardware In The News

I need more storage so that…

I can fill it up with things like code, your every day ordinary data, and of course pictures of horney manatee action. Sorry, Scoble you must have known the porn references would come flowing in.

If you don’t know, Scoble and friends over at are running a contest for Seagate HD’s. Go check it out.

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In The News Space

Night Launch Of Discovery

I noticed this last night, but apparently I wasn’t the only one as Robert Gale over at A Welsh View and Digg also agree that this is one amazing picture of the shuttle launch. The comments on Digg also point out a few other pictures from this and another launch that are similar, as well as pinpoint (by Google Maps) where the pic was taken.

Of course NASA has more, including some in high resolution. Something about a rocket at night makes for some great pictures.

Apple Security

QuickTime Security Flaw

Interesting turn of events regarding that MySpace security problem. Plugins add an interesting perspective to security on the web. Web site code, browser code, and (often forgotten) plugin code. That’s a lot of hands in the pot. One mistake is all it takes.

Around The Web Funny

Late Night Dot Com Perversion

Conan O’Brien decided in one of his bits to mention a website as an ad lib remark. According to him the NBC lawyers insist on registering any domain they mention on air. As a result (very mild, but may be NSFW [not safe for work]) was born. With some of the most disturbing (yet hysterical) photos. I must admit, there may be a market for manatee on manatee adult material. He may be on to something.

From the same guy who brought us Marge vs. the Monorail.

Internet Mozilla Open Source

Iconified Metadata

Once upon a time there were no icons for feeds. Many sites used orange xml icon which really made no sense to the average user (what’s xml?). Then there was a feed icon feed. It then started to become a standard and webmasters were encouraged to adopt it. This was a great thing for users who want easy to find RSS feeds, and publishers who want users to easily find RSS feeds.

Then the idea of an OPML icon. Now there’s the idea of a “Share This” icon and a Microsummary icon (which I could see being a standard as the feature is cool enough for adoption). Then there are MicroFormat Icons.

Standard icons are a good thing, they are one less thing a user has to learn to distinguish between sites/products. But I do wonder if there’s really a need for what seems to be a bunch of icons. My fear is that it will just become a rainbow of colored icons with simple shapes.

For the share icon you could of course question the sustainability of such “user generated content” or “social networking” sites, or just the need to launch into them. They aren’t standardized, a protocol, format, etc. We don’t have a specific icon for news, weather, blogs, or even somewhat standardized things like email or IM. Email and IM at least have some standards, even though IM isn’t shared across the board. There are trends for some of these that tend to be “universal symbols” such as a newspaper for news, envelope for mail, etc. But no standardized icon.

For microsummaries, and microformats, do we really expect users to directly interact with them? Or use them in a more subconscious fashion similar to the <title/> tag on a webpage.

I question how effective all the icons will really be to end users in the long run. I can see the feed icon persisting, since it’s represents two standards at the moment (RSS/Atom) that both do the same thing. Both the technology and the icons are well adopted to further solidify it’s status as a standard icon.

Is there a need for the rainbow?

I’m not accusing or criticizing, but wondering (out loud) what the likelihood of users recognizing all these square icons really is. Should there really be a “standard icon” for everything we do in Web 2.0 (as they call it)? Or should it be more informal like it is for email and news?

Should we have an icon to link (via anchor) to the part of your page where you show the various icons your site has? An icon-icon? Perhaps that’s worthy of a Photoshop contest.

Mozilla Web Development

Firebug 1.0 Beta Is Out!

Firebug 1.0 Beta is available for download. Only played with it for a few minutes, but it looks great so far. I’ll definitely be digging into it and see what’s really new and better in the next day or two.

Mozilla Open Source Web Development

Browser VM

One of the great things about virtual machines is you can test on a virtual machine, destroy it, and recreate it in pristine condition in a matter of seconds. You can do this with browsers as well. Before I mentioned PortableApps is a great thing to have on your USB drive. Well, you can also just unzip a copy to your desktop each time you want a clean version of Firefox. So keep your good install for yourself, and perhaps create another with extensions you want to test, or if you just want to test your site against an older version of Firefox. I believe it will still use plugins installed on your computer, but extensions, prefs, etc are totally separate. So each install is pristine. I keep a copy around of 1.0.x and 1.5.x as well as 2.0. So each time I want to test on an older version I can just run those. The prefs won’t mess anything up since it’s a fresh copy. You can keep your latest and greatest Firefox install with all your extensions and settings alone. This allows me to ensure everything works good in different versions without having to risk my preferences to older versions, or have to go through install/uninstall.

You can get various versions of Firefox here. Just download and extract to your desktop or some other easy to access place. I keep a copy of all the major versions around. Very handy.

I should note you can only run 1 version at a time, even though they use different preferences. Not sure if this is a fixable bug, something with serious work that just isn’t worth the effort, or something that XULRunner will take care of. Update: apparently you can, see comments below.

Unfortunately I don’t think there is a version of PortableApps for Mac/Linux users. So it may be Windows only for now.

In case you missed it, you can test IE7 via VirtualPC thanks to Microsoft.

Internet Web Development

Yahoo TV Redesign

I noticed this the other day. The Yahoo! TV redesign is aweful (my personal opinion, maybe some like/love it). And yes, we all know I’m a TV addict. Once upon a time I was a user, but switched because it was to slow and cumbersome. Now once again I may be hunting for something better. Here are some of the problems I feel are pushing me away:

  • Need To Sign In To Get Correct Listings – Before I didn’t need to be signed in, it just saved a cookie with my prefs. This keeps my account more secure (separate sign-in) and still lets me quickly glance at my listings. I noticed for the past month or two even that wasn’t working very well. It seemed to forget my settings. Now I need to login or stay logged in (or get generic listings).
  • URL’s Should Be Forever – If they live short of that, use a redirect. The listings used to be it’s now Breaking bookmarks is taboo on the web. Especially big pages like that which are very bookmarkable.
  • Abuse Of AJAX – It feels as if ajax was used only because it looks cool and trendy. It’s unnecessary. They should load the whole grid at once. Each section of the grid seems to be 8 -10 channels long. And one request for each section. The ajax response isn’t slim either, it’s raw html (likely inserted with innerHTML for performance reasons as DOM is typically slower). Now to scroll to channel 63, I need several of these requests. It’s slows things down despite being ajax and technically asynchronous.
  • Hard To Tune Navigation – The time navigation is hard to accurately pinpoint, making the old pulldown list of times in :30 intervals much easier to use. This is driving me nuts. I want 8:30!
  • More Clicking, Less TV Watching – Clicking on a link does this drop down effect. Only then can you get full show info (unless you open in new tab/window). 2 clicks where it used to be only 1.
  • “Info” Page Is Like A Splash Page – That info page is also very slow, unlike the old one which was very lean and fast. Rather than have upcoming episodes of the show listed as well as credits (good for seeing guest stars on The Simpsons), it’s filled with a lot of useless info (show ratings, reviews, link to buy DVD, promo photo’s, news related to the show). To get the good stuff (detailed info on show, credits, upcoming episodes)… yea all separated onto individual pages now. Lots of clicking.

I also hear of browser issues (Safari), but haven’t tested myself so I won’t go into that.

Now this doesn’t make much sense. They presumably went to ajax to make common tasks require less pageloads and increase usability and fluency of the site (click show title for more info), but instead I think it causes users to load more pages to view info they are accustomed to. The side effect on all this is that it’s slower for users who want some info on what’s on. I understand the need to monetize the pages, but at least make it worth clicking on.

Apparently they are working on things, and even addressing feedback and they deserve serious credit for that. It would be wrong to not credit them for this effort.

By the way: I wouldn’t mind turning off the “Record To TiVo” buttons. I don’t own a TiVo. Perhaps ask for the users pref when getting their TV listing info? Maybe that’s just me.

There does seem to be alternatives. and as well as my employer’s site ShowBuzz (see, I do disclose relationships).

Needless to say, as a web developer and a TV addict, this redesign was very interesting from my perspective. I’ll be keeping an eye on it.

Disclaimer: Obviously, this post is my opinion only and does not in any way reflect the opinions of my employer.