December 15, 2005

Pandora, Mogwai and Rankin

The scintillatingly brilliant Pandora - where you create personal ‘radio stations’ by putting in the name of a song or a musician you dig, and Pandora chooses an endless stream of music based round your selection from the huge archive built up by the Music Genome Project, plus a lot more as well, seems a very Web 2.0 application, although using Flash rather than AJAX, not that I think the latter is fundamental to the Web 2.0 idea, unlike some.

What I’m especially grateful to Pandora for already is reminding me how ideal the wonderful Mogwai are for writing to while you listen. Until Scottish scribbler Ian Rankin of Rebus fame highlighed this fact somewhere or other, I had not been able to write anything more challenging than an I.O.U. while any music was on, (spoken radio was of course even worse), but like Rankin I find Mogwai just perfect for everything this side of poetry. Thought I’d share this, while putting in the plug for Pandora, with which (or whom) I have nothing to do, beyond the obligations of admiration.

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Posted by Iain Stewart at 8:40 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
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August 24, 2005

Amoxil, Dogs, Thongs and Googletestad

Is the Human Condition, as of the past 48 hours, at long last laid bare in the latest Wordtracker keywords? Its a daunting thought.

Provided the majority of us are fundamentally dishonest1, animal-loving2, teenage3, sex-starved4, internet-challenged5, lovesick6, games-playing7, seriously infected8, SEO-driven9, celebrity-besotted10, hair-conscious Afro-Caribbean11, disturbed12 parents-to-be13 rocking14 to the radio 15 as we drive16 to a beach holiday17, perhaps for One Night in Paris18, then Wordtracker leaves the likes of Kant and Sartre standing.

Speaking personally, almost the only words I knew about for sure were those classified below as ‘internet-challenged’ - those once hilarious, now rather sad searches still made thousands of time a day for google.com or www.yahoo.com.

Also, I suppose I recognised most of the ‘dirty’ searches, far as they are from being anything of the sort. Hopefully, this is an expurgated list, otherwise the renowned porno tendencies of the web come out looking decidedly limp when ‘nudist’, breasts’, ‘skinny dipping’, ‘panties’ and ‘hot chicks’ are the filthiest things anyone can think of lusting after. Rather like the unclean musings of a dodgy Victorian clergyman, they would be sweet if they weren’t so twee.

The most interesting terms were, as always, the weirdest (and provided the initial reason for starting what has turned out to be this massive and personally debilitating exploration of lowest common denominators drizzled liberally with intricate mark-up!)

Possible explanations for the constantly high ranking of Googletestad as a search keyword have turned into a virtual SEO sub-industry of their own. Despite several heroic research projects. no-one has yet unearthed either any meaning for the term, nor cause for its endless popularity. Its like a ghost of the internet, everywhere but nowhere. What it has become, thanks to Wordtracker and its ilk, is the keyword for anyone looking for, or lacking, a keyword of their own. Build a webpage around googletestad, and the SEO punters will come flocking, hungry for ‘improving’ software.

Amoxil is (to me) a complete mystery, well ahead of such hyper-optimised terms as ‘Britney’ or ‘thongs’; is it something to do with (shhhh) sexually-transmitted disease? If not, why is it up there, when Viagra, let alone Osama Bin Laden, George W Bush or Iraq, are absolutely nowhere? (Answers to Sir Ian Blair on a postcard please - he needs them - or comment below for forwarding)

Being a limey (and having lumbered myself with a mass of useless research into some crappy American rock bands and even crappier American actresses as a consequence in taking on this exhausting piece) there were occasional nuggets of knowledge to be unearthed in attempting to quantify this Wordtracker list in terms of its net contribution to universal knowledge, albeit not many. (I should perhaps mention in mitigation that I used the latest Wordtracker email update of the top 300 keyword surges from the last 48 hours, rather than the paltry 30 surges posted on their website).

For instance, I did like ‘child gps’ riding high at # 37, which led to this fascinating scenario on the Larta site:

In the future, we won’t lose anything. Advances in global positioning system technology allow users to easily pinpoint the location of any object on earth. GPS boards have been reduced to the size of a postage stamp. Soon, we could attach GPS locators to everything we own - cell phones, briefcases, wallets - and even our children. GPS products are being developed for child safety and parental supervision, personal protection, Alzheimer and memory loss supervision, law enforcement, animal identification, property tracking, and a host of other applications.

Also, I seriously dug oakley sunglasses at # 191; as a must-have fashion accessory their ‘wearable electronics’ (cool shades with built-in mp3 players or mobile phones) beat over-priced and under-functional products like Burberry iPod cases any 48 hours.

If not unquestionably the answer to where we come from and where we’re going (although it could be), this Wordtracker snapshot of the current zeitgeist is at least ultimately reassuring: there will be no shortage of babies in the foreseeable future, Pamela Anderson endures despite everything, and it certainly looks like the Sedu company has hit a winning niche in the multi-cultural hair processing market.

As for Paris Hilton, what can anyone say? She will, whatever, always provide the best possible excuse for staying at the Crillon.


Footnotes

The numbers (#1, #2 etc) in each footnote are the ranking of their accompanying word/phrase in the Wordertracker top 300 Surge report of 24-8-05:

1 # 1 - games cheat, #2 - playstation game cheats
2 #5 dogs, #103 zoo cams, #142 puppies, #255 dogs for sale, #256 wicked weasel, #276 neopets
3 #2 playstation game cheats , #25 - britney spears,#33 my chemical romance, #36 green day, #42 teen, #45 breasts, #52 gameboy advance cheats, #66 tattoos, #73 myspace, #84 obituaries, #94 college girls
4 #4 paris hilton, #10 pamela anderson, #16 girls, #26 nudist, #31 pam anderson, #35 vagina, #45 breasts, #61 hot, #67 babes, #79 asian, #87 panties, #108 gay (.. and so on, down to… #138 skinny dipping, #169 swingers, #277 ls magazine, #280 taylor rain
5 #6 yahoo, #7 ebay, #8 google, #21 mapquest, #24 yahoo.com, #43 search engines, #50 ebay.com, #55 hotmail.com, #58 hotmail, #83 google.com, #95 amazon.com, #104 a, #130 myspace.com, #146 www.yahoo.com, #192 www.ebay.com, #260 1
6 #11 - poetry, #70 wedding vows, #200 love, #287 wife, #296 love poems
7 #1 (as above), #2 (as above), #23 play games, #29 games, #34 game cheats for ps2, #52 gameboy advance cheats, #276 neopets
8 #14 amoxil
9 #17 googletestad, #57 google dance
10 #4 paris hilton, #9 jessica simpson, #10 pamela anderson, #12 jenna jameson, #15 carmen electra, #19 hilary duff, #25 britney spears, #30 jessica alba, #31 pam anderson, #41 jennifer lopez, #44 angelina jolie,#68 eminem, #71 jude law ….. #253 nikki nova, #268 bart simpson, #271 eva mendes
11 #22 sedu hair styles, #145 sedu flat iron, #161 sedu hair straightener, #222 sedu hair straighteners, #290 sedu beauty products.
12 #285 disturbed, #297 c, #295 x, #286 weird al, #262 wwe, #260 l, #245 best man speech, #220 disney, #214 pussycat dolls, #202 big, #187 bow wow, #170 horses, #153 slipknot, #149 a14a, #104 a
13 #3 top 100 baby names, #18 names and their meanings, #37 child gps, #70 wedding vows, #78 family guy, #116 meaning of names, #244 breast, #266 baby names, #298 recipes
14 #33 my chemical romance, #36 green day, #41 jennifer lopez, #46 music lyrics, #60 system of a down, #68 eminem, #72 christina aguilera, #82 50 cent, #97 beyonce ….. #275 metallica, #289 madonna, #294 ludacris
15 #13 free radio stations, #28 radio stations
16 #39 dodge charger, #53 kelly blue book, #81 maps, #96 cars,#168 traffic cameras, #175 used cars, #177 driving directions
17 #26 nudist, #27 california, #32 thongs, #38 bikini, #40 thong, #61 hot, #100 weather, #138 skinny dipping, #169 swingers,#186 flower tattoos, #189 wet, #190 nudists, #191 oakley sunglasses, #193 beach, #300 hot chicks
18 #4 paris hilton (undisputed queen of the keywords)

Posted by Iain Stewart at 1:32 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
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June 4, 2005

Google Sitemaps and Movable Type

Niall Kennedy shows how amazingly easy it is to make a Google sitemap for your Movable Type blog.

Niall’s sitemap template and his clear instructions demonstrate the massive advantages of having a site run under a content system like Movable Type when it comes to outputting any new XML or HTML formats. To do this in an unmanaged yet content-rich site could prove daunting, putting it mildly. With the potential Google Sitemaps have to tell the Google spider every page you want it to index, and when it should come and re-index new or updated content, you can bet any SEO experts and addicts worth their salt will get their own and clients’ sites sitemapped-up no matter how tedious the process. But the cool 30 second answer provided by Niall must surely further enhance Movable Type’s allure as a site-wide management platform in the commercial web space, way out ‘beyond the blog’. After all, when Push comes to Pull, better shove than get pulled any time, en’t it?

Posted by Iain Stewart at 4:02 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack
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February 24, 2005

The Spyware Alert which has Everything

This ZDNet Security Alert Spyware infiltrates blogs is bad news for just about everyone - Google, Blogger, Microsoft, IE6, iWebTunes and every blogger blogger.

Only one stellar name comes out on top - Firefox - recommended by Richard Stiennon, technology chief of anti-spyware software makers Webroot as the safest browser for reading blogs, now that clicking on the ‘Next Blog’ link on any Blogger Blogspot site will expose anyone still using Internet Excplorer to the new spyware threat, which (surprise surprise) delivers malicious code via popup adverts.

Most sadly of all, this kind of news doesn’t do any favours to the blogosphere in general, poised as it is to go big.

Posted by Iain Stewart at 2:32 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
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December 4, 2004

Blogospherical stats

Mark Frauenfelder has published boingboing’s traffic stats - a quick scan of these suggest his blog is really doing rather well.

In the first three days of December, the boingboing blog had 114,802 unique visitors, 390,896 visits, 1,149,556 page views, 4,503,902 hits, using up a mere 52.78 gigs of bandwidth. Not bad.

The site has gone from a mere 765,159 page views in February 2004 to a rather impressive 13,429,382 page views in November 2004.

He’s serving up around half a million pages a day via over two million plus hits per day, all of which is eating up over 2500 GB of bandwidth over the past 11 months.

Over the same period, he’s had 63 million page views at the request of more than 6 million unique visitors. Some blog.

I guess the downside is that 76.6% of visits lasts only from 0 to 30 seconds, although 5.4 % stay between 30 minutes and an hour on the site, and 6% stay for an hour plus.

Down in the minutae of his stats, its hugely satisfying to see that against the 38.1% of visitors still using the Standards-busting Internet Explorer, an amazing 31.4 % have gone over to the wonderfully compliant Firefox. Alright, blogs - even boingboing - are still geeky enough to be Firefox-prone, but if ever the writing were on the wall for the Evil Empire, its scrawled all over boingboing.net

So these are the kind of stats you’re looking for with your brand new blog if you want to get in PubSub’s Top 20 LinkRanks where boingboing.net hangs out at around rank 17 or 19, just behind Reuters, Apple and The Washington Post, making it by some way the highest ranked of any one-writer blog, as well as several ranks above either Slashdot on the one hand, or the afore mentioned Micro$oft on the other.

Its not until you get way down the bottom of boingboing’s stats that some of the shock-and-awe of reading them is marginally tarnished when the site’s top search keyphrase is listed as ‘anal’, its fourth as ‘porno’ and its sixth search keyword as ‘sex’. Mind you, do a google on ‘anal’ and boingboing.net comes up in the top two results - now that’s tapping into the cybermegamarket where its really happening.

Posted by Iain Stewart at 9:09 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
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December 3, 2004

More crash than flash

Guardian Unlimited: Website crash ruins M&S flash sale - it just doesn’t seem as if M & S can get anything right these days - but perhaps they remain a metaphor for England?

Posted by Iain Stewart at 3:21 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
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