Teh Xiggeh


Google Project Hosting

Posted in Search Engines by Xiggeh on July 28, 2006

Well, as speculated, it has finally arrived – Google now provide hosting for open source projects as announced yesterday at OSCON. Philipp Lenssen provides an excellent overview of the system.

Advertisements

Google Gearing Up For Corporate Web Builders?

Posted in Search Engines by Xiggeh on July 27, 2006

ResourceShelf spotted some new domain registrations from Google yesterday, and there’s a couple of interesting ones on the list;

  • Your-company-site.com
  • Your-company-website.com
  • Your-online-site.com

A bit spammy in my opinion, not like Google at all, but it shows a clear intent to market web sites to corporates. This isn’t surprising considering the popularity of Google Page Creator, and the commercial nature of many other Google products.

Supplemental Hell

Posted in Search Engines by Xiggeh on July 25, 2006

On 27 August 2003 GoogleGuy announced a new feature in Google – supplemental results. Although Google had done a great job of removing irrelevant pages from queries that returned a large number of results, they discovered that useful information was not being displayed for more obscure queries. To rectify this Google introduced the ‘supplemental index’ (SI). The supplemental index contained pages not recognised as useful enough to be returned in standard results, but not spammy or irrelevant enough to be shunned entirely.

Nate Tyler (Google Media Contact) explained; “The supplemental is simply a new Google experiment. As you know we’re always trying new and different ways to provide high quality search results.”

In fact this kind of thinking wasn’t new. In June 2000 Inktomi introduced a smaller index of authority sites, and a larger index with ‘the rest’ of the web, similar to Google’s main and supplemental indices.

Few webmasters complained when the SI was introduced in 2000, but trouble started to creep in on 24 January 2006 – a substantial part of Google’s main index began shifting into the supplemental index. It was a serious bug.

Without much recognition from Google, forums exploded with speculation about why this happened. I’ve done a bit of research on the topic and present some facts I’ve discovered, and my (equally unproven) speculation.

What is the supplemental index (SI)?

First let’s get Google’s official view on supplemental results when it was launched in 2003;

“Supplemental sites are part of Google’s auxiliary index. We’re able to place fewer restraints on sites that we crawl for this supplemental index than we do on sites that are crawled for our main index. For example, the number of parameters in a URL might exclude a site from being crawled for inclusion in our main index; however, it could still be crawled and added to our supplemental index. The index in which a site is included is completely automated; there’s no way for you to select or change the index in which your site appears. Please be assured that the index in which a site is included does not affect its PageRank.”

The official line is rather vague. Let’s see what else we knew about the supplemental index before the bug(s) were introduced in 2006;

  • Pages could be moved to SI without being crawled (Google support pages)
  • Pages could be moved to SI after being crawled (personal experience)
  • “Some” of the moving process “happens in the crawl/index cycle” (Matt Cutts)
  • SI does not affect PR (Matt Catts)
  • SI is not affected by PR (personal experience)
  • Under certain cicumstances SI results will be listed above results from the main index
  • The SI is held seperately from the main index
  • The SI has dedicated crawlers, running on different cycles and agendas from the main index crawlers and AdSense crawlers

Some very good observations from the community, and some snippets of wheat amongst the chaff from Google. The dedicated SE community observation and Google spokesbot action took 3 years (just over). So what’s the problem? Big Daddy…

Big Daddy – Supplemental Hell

Between November 2005 and April 2006 Google rolled out Big Daddy – new software on a new architecture – across its worldwide datacentres. Servers were taken offline, upgraded, and brought back up. A datacentre took around 10 days to upgrade.

Matt Cutts originally said “changes on Big Daddy are relatively subtle (less ranking changes and more infrastructure changes)”, but once the rollout had started it became clear the changes were a bit more disruptive than planned.

An interesting live commentary of the rollout can be found at the WMW forums (24 January 2006).

Over a period of weeks a substantial amount of Google’s main index was placed in the supplemental index, and the problems haven’t completely cleared up yet.

In March Google “identified and changed” a “threshold” on Big Daddy which brought many of the supplemental pages back into the main index. At the end of March Google did the same again, telling Big Daddy to crawl more pages.

Getting out of the supplemental index

To quote Matt Cutts on this one:

In general, the best way I know of to move sites from more supplemental to normal is to get high-quality links (don’t bother to get low-quality links just for links’ sake).

From my experience over the last few months this advice works great. A site that went supplemental for 8 weeks shot right to the top for popular search terms using this method.

However it won’t work for everyone. You should do your own research (there’s plenty of advice out there, good and bad) to find your own solution.

References

Google Product For Open Source Developers

Posted in Search Engines by Xiggeh on July 25, 2006

Google’s Greg Stein has announced a forthcoming Google product aimed at the open source community, but has refused to give us any further information. The launch is to tie in with OSCON – the Open Source Convention, and on Monday 24 July 2006 Greg said “we’re putting the final touches on it as I write this blog post”. He promised full details on Thursday at his OSCON talk.

Greg has long been with the open source community – he is Apache Software Foundation‘s chairman and an engineering manager at Google. He’s previously worked on Subversion (SVN) and WebDAV.

Google Borg

Posted in Search Engines by Xiggeh on July 24, 2006

We noticed the “using_borg” string appear in the Google error message last week, and now the phrase has come back again through another Google leak. To quote Garett Rogers at ZDNet:

“When checking out Google’s impressive second quarter on Google Finance today, I stumbled across something that leads me to believe they are testing “version 2″ of Google Finance”

What he actually saw was a link at the top-right of the page (next to “My Account”, etc) titled “v2 (test)”. The really interesting part is the URL contained in the link:

http://0.frontend-live.sfe.scrooge.hs.borg.google.com/finance

The URL isn’t accessable from here, and others have discovered the same. Assuming ‘borg.google.com’ can only be accessed from inside Google’s network, this may shed a bit of light on what “borg” actually means to the engineers.

Oh, and it’s been spotted again by Philipp Lenssen, this time using Google Video. In fact there’s rather a lot in Google.
Could it be an acronym? Here’s some that might fit:

  • BMRT Ordinary Rendering GUI
  • Business and Organisational Leadership

Or could it refer Anita Borg – a woman who “spent her life revolutionizing the way we think about technology”

I believe “borg.google.com” is used for internal testing, and perhaps as a repository for code not intended to leave the building. This would explain the accidental link from Google Finance, and the Google error message if they’re pulling test code for new features.

Any more sightings or possible explanations?

DJ Zinc – Super Sharp Shooter

Posted in Lyrics by Xiggeh on July 21, 2006

I couldn’t find the lyrics for this tune anywhere on the web, so I’ve come up with my own interpretation. Hopefully it’s pretty accurate! Let me know if you have any comments, or find another interpretation somewhere. My ears aren’t what they used to be.

The S, the U, the P the E the R,
The S, the H, the A the R the P,
The S, the H, the O, the O, the T, the E, the R.

The S, the U, the P the E the R,
The S, the H, the A the R the P,
The S, the H, the O, the O, the T, the E, the R.

(Super Sharp!)

The S, the U, the P the E the R,
The S, the H, the A the R the P,
The S, the H, the O, the O, the T, the E, the R.

The S, the U, the P the E the R,
The S, the H, the A the R the P,
The S, the H, the O, the O, the T, the E, the R.

The S, the U, the P the E the R,
The S, the H, the A the R the P,
The S, the H, the O, the O, the SUPER, the SHARP, the SHOTS.

Check it, I’m the fuckin’ man who they mention,
Blazin’ the stuff that they’re .. Blazin’ the stuff that they’re ..
Check it, I’m the fuckin’ man who they mention,
Blazin’ the stuff that they’re lacin’ the base in.

Check it, I’m the fuckin’ man who they mention,
Blazin’ the stuff that they’re .. Blazin’ the stuff that they’re ..
Check it, I’m the fuckin’ man who they mention.

(Super sharp shots!)

The S, the U, the P the E the R,
The S, the H, the A the R the P,
The S, the H, the O, the O, the T, the E, the R.

Super super sharp sharp shots,
Shooting shooting,
Super sharp shooter shooting shots,
Super sharp … shots
Super sharp sharp sharp
Super sharp shooter shooting super super super sharp shots

If you’re going to step up to me then you’d better ‘xpect a slap.

Super sharp shooter shooting ..

The S, the U, the P the E the R,
The S, the H, the A the R the P,
The S, the H, the O, the O, the T, the E, the R.

Super, super, shooters,
Super super shooters shooters,
Super super, shooters,
Super super shots.

Super, super, shooters,
Super super shooters shooters,
Super super, shooters,
Super sharp shooters shooting shots.

Check it, I’m the fuckin’ man who they mention,
If you’re going to step up to me then you’d better ‘xpect a slap back,
Check it, I’m the fuckin’ man who they mention,
If you’re going to step up to me then you’d .. super super sharp shooter.

Check it, I’m the fuckin’ man who they mention,

Check it, I’m the fuckin’ man who they mention,
Blazin’ the stuff that they’re lacin.

The S, the U, the P the E the R,
The super .. sharp .. shooter,
Check it, I’m the fuckin’ man who they mention,
Blazin’ the stuff that they’re .. Check check check it,
Check it, I’m the fuckin’ man who they mention,
Blazin’ the stuff that they’re lacin’ the base in,

Super sharp shooting shooting

Sharp

Check it

Super sharp shooter shooting

Google Supplementals .. Itself

Posted in Search Engines by Xiggeh on July 19, 2006

This afternoon I was looking for a local I.T. support company (they’re a client of mine), and came across the Google Web Directory in the search results. What made me chuckle though – the result came back supplemental.

Google Supplemental

(view full size screenshot)

What goes around comes around, eh?

Every Child Matters

Posted in Privacy & Rights by Xiggeh on July 19, 2006

What a nice, heart-warming sound byte from the UK government. Every child matters. But what exactly does it mean when the government tries to put it into practice? A lot of money, a lot of child surveillance, and not a lot of results.

The UK government keep a whole range of databases with information about children and young people. This information is shared between health, law enforcement, youth justice, social care and education agencies. Information about the children, and about their families, can be shared without the consent of the child or the parents. Information about other children collected from a child can be shared without consent of the child to whom it refers.

Why would the government want to keep such data? To identify children ‘at risk’. In my mind this is a good thing. When I was 16 a friend killed himself while drunk and on drugs. If this could have been avoided by people understanding that this child was at risk then that’s great. I don’t think this is the right way to go, however.

And hold on, the government have redefined the meaning of ‘at risk’ in a green paper ‘Every Child Matters’. Instead of being at risk of significant harm from abuse or neglect, it now means at risk of social exclusion, missing out on services or education, or of committing crime. So because little Jimmy chose not to take his GCSEs, or his mum forgot to apply for 30 pence a week Childrens’ Socks Tax Credits, Jimmy is ‘at risk’. If Jimmy got caught stealing sweets at 12 he’s flagged for life. Now this is starting to sound a little crazy, but it gets worse.

The data held about children is also used for a ‘predictive agenda’, identifying children from an early age whom agencies believe may commit a crime later in life. The criteria used to make this judgement includes poverty, getting bored easily, being a victim of bullying, truanting, having a parent with mental health problems and living in a deprived area. So if Jimmy’s dad worked for Rover, or lives in a lower-income postcode, or Jimmy gets bored a lot at school or gets repeatedly bullied for wearing the wrong jeans to school, he is considered likely to commit crime and is monitored. That, to me, seems crazy. Jimmy most likely gets bored at school because he’s very intelligent and the curriculum doesn’t stimulate his mind. His dad doesn’t have much money because Rover laid him off. Etc, etc.

Who else shares this data? Well Connexions, the support group for children and teenagers, logs everything from the moment a child walks in the door. That data is shared with government agencies and ties into the other databases mentioned at the beginning of this post. With or without the child’s consent. If, without thinking, Jimmy said “I think my dad is an alcoholic” because he drinks beer on Saturdays .. well I’ll let you imagine the rest of that scenario.

And just to top it all off, these databases will also be used to monitor youngsters who are regular smokers, youngsters who consume alcohol, oh and children not consuming 5 portions of fruit & veg a day.

In a day-and-age where children aren’t allowed to play conkers, British Bulldog or paper aeroplanes because they’re too dangerous, teachers aren’t allowed to put suncream on students because they’re probably all child molestors anyway, and children have to wear jumpers in 36degC heat incase their pastey-white skin goes a funny colour, well I think the country’s gone mad.

Can u fix my PC pls?lolz!1

Posted in Funny Stories by Xiggeh on July 17, 2006

To cut a long story short, I drove my sister up to London today. She suddenly realised she couldn’t afford the petrol, and I don’t get paid until tomorrow, so I had to pretend I forgot my wallet at the petrol station. We got to London and, oh while I’m here, could I set up her new computer.

My normal rule is I don’t help with computer questions. If it’s a friend, I charge a small fee. If it’s family, it’s free. A new computer isn’t hard to set up, so I said sure. I should’ve learnt my lesson with clients, but what she actually meant was:

  • Copy all the files off her old 486
  • Copy all the files, e-mails and bookmarks off her old iMac
  • Remove all hardware, cables, etc (1.5 hrs, it was a mess!)
  • Setup a second-hand Dell machine
  • Remove all the adware and keyloggers
  • Install MS Office
  • Install a dial-up modem
  • Rewire the phones in the house
  • Pickup broadband kit from the Post Office
  • Uninstall dial-up modem
  • Install broadband kit
  • Rewire phones in the house
  • Setup a network
  • Install a printer
  • Test the printer
  • Order new cartridges

So the whole thing took 13 hours including driving. I didn’t get a cool drink, I got half a sandwich for lunch, and temperatures are approaching the 40s. I’m thrashed.

But my mate’s just cooked me dinner, I’m about to have a cold shower and several very cold lagers and retire for the day. Looks like I’ll be going back to work tomorrow for a holiday.

At least I don’t have to meet up with the family again until Christmas…

Microsoft vs. Google

Posted in Search Engines by Xiggeh on July 14, 2006

According to an article at El Reg, Google have finally awoken the beast with a threat of encroaching on Microsoft’s territory. Kevin Turner, Microsoft COO is quoted as saying:

“Enterprise search is our business, it’s our house and Google is not going to take that business. Those people are not going to be allowed to take food off our plate, because that is what they are intending to do.”

Not allowed? Thems fighting words partner.

But hold on, Microsoft doesn’t own the enterprise search business. In fact they hardly dent the market, there are clear leaders and Microsoft isn’t one of them. Could it be using Google to become a serious contender? Or is it all bluster?

Next Page »