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Yahoo Opens Up Search – Will It Matter Though?

When I first heard about Yahoo opening up access to its search engine to outside devs, I laughed. I mean really, it must be like opening up the doors to the intensive care ward, right? But after I had a chance to ponder the significance a bit more, I was shocked when I read the following line – Google did this about six years ago.

Man, how did I forget that? Regardless of my own memory lapse, let us not forget that it was Netscape that also did this with their browser code back when Microsoft Internet Explorer seemed to be unstoppable. Years later of out of the Mozilla mines, Firefox was born.

What is unfortunate is that Yahoo’s approach is not going to be good enough. APIs are awesome, but only when the API is connected to something that people actually want to use. As badly as Yahoo is doing right now, Yahoo needs to completely rethink its search business. Instead, they are basically opening up their really lousy product for people to integrate into their websites? Seems confusing to me. They are providing people with the ability to use inaccurate search queries on their own websites? Seriously, do I need to spell this out. Listen and learn, after all you have no other choice right now.

Your company is about to eat itself. The last resort is to COMPLETELY open up your search engine, allow for spin offs and then provide services to those spin offs. Either that or abandon search altogether and simply become a content company like Netscape or AOL.

Vista – It Is As Good As It Will Get

As I run Vista myself here in a virtual machine for work, I have come to find myself getting used to this release and find myself less worrisome about the lack of XP for those who prefer it. Despite what others feel was a terrible mistake, myself included at one point, I do not see it getting any better or worse for that matter.

Some people have suggested taking the OS X approach. I think this is a bit overboard as OS X has a very critical advantage over its Windows counterpart – it was designed for Mac hardware – period. Windows, like Linux, runs on just about anything. Yet at the same time, statements like the one seen in in this article by a Microsoft VP prove to me that Microsoft truly has not been able to regain any sort of serious vision for the future outside of keeping stock prices afloat.


“Our approach with Windows 7 is to build off the same core architecture as Windows Vista so the investments you and our partners have made in Windows Vista will continue to pay off with Windows 7. “

On one hand I can understand the logic behind this from a software/hardware compatibility perspective. Unfortunately this also means that you can expect something that is basically another NT based OS using the same nuts and bolts that made Vista such a desired, sought after OS.

If looking at the flip side of the coin, one might surmise that Vista is not really all that bad. I happen to know people that really like it – really, I am not kidding. And while some compare it to Windows Me, it is much more stable and its compatibility honestly is not nearly as bad as we found with Me.

So where do you stand? If Win 7 ends up looking and feeling like Vista, will you be a happy camper or will that be the straw that breaks the camels back? Hit the comments, tell me why you think Windows 7 will be a winner or a loser.

Get Your Girlfriend or Wife What She Wants

My wife hasn’t stopped raving about Endless since one of her friends told her about it. She tells me they have all the big name brands Handbags and Shoes at the lowest prices anywhere and she should know the way she shops!

Endless offers an unprecedented amount of perks such as free overnight shipping, free return shipping, 110% price guarantee, and a 365-day returns window. I don’t know how they do it all.

Next time your girlfriend or wife is dropping hints about a pair of shoes or a handbag do yourself a favor and head over to Endless for a great deal and awesome service.

Hellboy: The Stench Of Evil Now Available For Mobile

Konami Digital Entertainment, Inc. today announced that Hellboy: The Stench of Evil is now available for purchase from your handset at AT&T Mobility, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless. Hellboy: The Stench of Evil features never-before-seen game play and storyline features, created specifically for the mobile platform.

“Hellboy mobile brings fans a unique and action-packed experience that they can take with them wherever they go,” said Joe Morris, Vice President of Konami Mobile. “Hellboy: The Stench of Evil demonstrates our dedication to bringing quality entertainment franchises to the mobile platform.”

Hellboy: The Stench of Evil is the latest iteration in the popular video game franchise, designed exclusively for the mobile platform. Featuring 12 action-packed levels, interactive environments, colorful graphics and animation inspired by the comic-book series, the game is a unique adventure through a mythological underworld where players fight against Indian spirits, shamans and Nazi Mystics.

For more information, please visit the official Web site. Subscribers can also text (HELLBOY) to 566264.


Midway Announces Lineup for E3 2008

Midway Games Inc., a leading interactive entertainment publisher and developer, today announced its product portfolio to be shown at the 2008 E3 Business & Media Summit, July 15-17 in Los Angeles. This year’s lineup showcases exciting new intellectual properties such as Wheelman starring action film star Vin Diesel, proven brands such as Unreal Tournament 3 from world renowned developer Epic Games, highly anticipated installments of established franchises such as Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe, licensed by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, and entertainment for the casual gamer such as the sequel to the million unit selling Game Party.

“Exciting new entertainment experiences such as Wheelman, proven franchises like Mortal Kombat, the next installment in the million plus selling Blitz the League franchise and new games for the casual market make this Midway’s most diverse and powerful line up yet,” said Matthew Booty, interim president and CEO, Midway. “These games truly reflect our product strategy to develop top quality titles in a wide range of genres that appeal to all segments of the market.”

Midway’s 2008 E3 line up with expected ship dates include:

Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe (PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Fall 2008) — For the first time ever Scorpion, Sub-Zero and the Mortal Kombat warriors battle with Batman, Superman and other popular DC Universe super heroes. Choose your side and challenge your opponents with a new fighting system including Freefall Kombat and Klose Kombat along with dynamic multi-tiered environments. Plus, pick your favorite character from MK or DCU and pursue a fighting adventure in the new single player mode with an intertwined storyline and two unique perspectives.

Wheelman (PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC; Fall 2008) — Combining spectacular Hollywood-style stunts with a gripping storyline, Wheelman provides an adrenaline-fueled, cinematic thrill ride guaranteed to leave you breathless. Vin Diesel stars as an undercover agent and highly skilled driver who must infiltrate the Barcelona underworld to gather intelligence surrounding a covert heist. Posing as a driver-for-hire, he ends up caught in a crossfire of corruption and chaos while trying to stay one step ahead of local law enforcement and rival gangs.

TNA iMPACT! (PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii, PlayStation 2; September 2008) — TNA iMPACT! is the exclusive Total Nonstop Action wrestling game based on the top-rated weekly television show, “TNA Impact!” Choose the wrestling style, custom move set and clothing to construct the ultimate champion. TNA drenches the player in moves and match types that allow amazing acrobatic and aerial feats along with the bone-jarring crush of hard-hitting impacts. The game also features top wrestling talent such as Kurt Angle, Jeff Jarrett, Rhino, Samoa Joe, AJ Styles, Sting, Christian Cage, Abyss and more to deliver all of the excitement and action of the television show!

Blitz the League II (PlayStation 3, Xbox 360; Fall 2008) — As the sequel to the more than one million unit selling and award-winning football experience, BLITZ: THE LEAGUE II, continues the franchise legacy as the ultimate alternative to the watered-down, licensed competition. In addition to an all-new story mode penned by Peter Egan (ESPN’s Playmakers), BLITZ: THE LEAGUE II features include: Precision-Aim Tackles, player-controlled touchdown celebrations, an enhanced on-the-field Clash Mode, online multiplayer capabilities, expanded rosters with all-new personalities, and the return of a cornerstone of the Blitz franchise… Late Hits! Football legend Lawrence Taylor returns as the game’s cover-athlete and star linebacker for the New York Nightmare, Quentin Sands, along with a star-studded supporting cast.

This is Vegas (PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, 2009) — When a ruthless businessman begins turning Vegas into a family-friendly tourist trap, you must start your own powerful empire and resurrect the famous adult playground. Party hard at the hottest clubs to make VIP connections. Grow your bankroll by hitting high stakes tables. Race the fastest cars on the underground circuit to raise your reputation. Fight off enemies with fists and firearms to prove your strength. Where you go and what you do is your call. Whether counting cards, seducing dangerous women, cruising the strip or starting bar brawls, there’s lots of excitement on the way to the top.

Unreal Tournament 3 (Xbox 360; July 2008) — Unreal Tournament 3, the world’s premier PC first-person shooter makes its debut on the Xbox 360. Unreal Tournament 3 unleashes the full power of Unreal Engine 3, taking graphics, gameplay, and challenge to a whole new level. Players engage in intense battles with other human players online, or against Unreal artificial intelligence that sets the industry standard. With the most powerful futuristic weapons and vehicles available, this is FPS action at its best!

Game Party 2 (Wii, November 2008) — With 11 games in all, Game Party 2 for the Nintendo Wii includes fun to play games that will provide hours of enjoyment with friends and family. Game Party 2 features new games like Bean Bag Toss, Horseshoes, Lawn Darts, Puck Bowling and more. Each game, including classics like Skill Ball, Darts and Hoop Shoot has exciting new features like four player mode, customizable characters and tournament play, making Game Party 2 the ultimate party game for all ages and skill levels.

Touchmaster 2 (Nintendo DS, September 2008) — TouchMaster 2 returns with a collection of 20 new exciting card, action, strategy and puzzle games with some of your favorite classic games from back in the day. For the gamer and non-gamer alike, TouchMaster 2 offers pick up and play, addictively fun, mini-games that everyone will enjoy. Kill some time by playing a quick round to beat your high-score or find some real competition against other players. TouchMaster 2, the personal arcade that fits snug in the palm of your hands.

Mechanic Master (Nintendo DS, September 2008) — With over 100 levels! Mechanic Master uses the stylus as a weapon to rid the Earth of alien invaders that have scattered across the planet. Become the ultimate Master of Mechanics by creating crazy contraptions to free humans, keep the mechanics in motion and defeat those pesky foes. Test your skills. Creative-thinking is key to clearing the level.

MidwayArcade.com (Online, available now) — Fans of Midway’s classic arcade and Touchmaster casual games will now be able to download their all-time favorites and play them on their PC. More than 25 classic titles, such as Defender, Joust, Spy Hunter, Root Beer Tapper and Mahki, are now available at www.midwayarcade.com, starting for as little as 3 games for US $5. Compete for bragging rights against players from around the world and battle for the high score in each game.

KDE – Kubuntu 8.04 – My Personal Review

I thought today I would share my experiences with KDE 3.5

Now I know most people find the easiest operating system the first one they use, well, not for me. When I first tried Linux, I used Knoppix, and liked the difference from the same old boring Windows XP I was used to, but I did not like KDE 3.5

I just installed Kubuntu 8.04 on my system, dual booting with Ubuntu (no I did not install the packages on my Ubuntu partition, I didn’t want to) and  to be quite honest, only messed around with it for the simple reason that I wanted to run Kontact. As I have a Gmail account, and when trying with evolution, it will not prompt for a password, and I don’t like Thunderbird. (that can be expressed in another post)

So, how long did I spend on the system…15 minutes maximum. Yes, I’m being serious. I couldn’t stand it. I kept finding bugs, and I didn’t like it.

I was first prompted by the hardware drivers program to install the Nvidia driver, so I did, expecting to have to restart my computer, but that didn’t prompt me too. So I unchecked and rechecked the box to install, to find it download the drivers again, and then prompt to restart, so I did.

Then I tried installing Compiz, I installed, no hitch there, I was quite pleased with the install, but then, I clicked custom, which said another window would pop up for me….which never happened. So I installed the Compiz Settings Manager, and that wouldn’t work. Then, I got onto Kontact, while chatting to my friends on the KDE IM client Kopete,  which I really liked, it has allot more features than Pigeon has, like web cam support. But, by this time, I was too busy looking around Kontact, and I really liked it.

But…it was 3am and I gave up on KDE, it was too buggy, and didn’t appeal to me. I know people love and hate KDE, same with Gnome and all the other ones, but for myself, I shall not be moving off Gnome. Even though Amarok doesn’t function right, and this is the same for KDE and gnome, it plays a song with a given name, then as soon as it starts playing, changes the name of it. I gave up.

So, I shall stick with my Ubuntu machine for now, I may go back to Windows XP, maybe even Windows Vista, but I know, I won’t go to KDE for a long time yet.

Seagate To Introduce 1.5 Terabyte Desktop Hard Disk

In August, Seagate will introduce the worlds first 1.5 Terabyte desktop hard disk and also a Half-Terbyte hard disk for the laptop PC.  Seagate also states that these monster drives will be shock resistant and withstand the normal wear and tear of daily use.

Every time a bigger hard disk hits the market, my first thoughts were the days when drives in the MB size were considered big. When paying $1 per MB was the norm. According to the press release from Seagate it states:

The debut of the Barracuda® 7200.11 1.5TB hard drive, the eleventh generation of Seagate’s flagship drive for desktop PCs, marks the single largest capacity hard drive jump in the more than half-century history of hard drives – a half-terabyte increase from the previous highest capacity of 1TB, thanks to the capacity-boosting power of perpendicular magnetic recording (PMR) technology.

The Barracuda 7200.11 hard drive combines proven PMR technology, components and expert manufacturing to provide 1.5TB of reliable storage for mainstream desktop computers, workstations, desktop RAID, gaming and high-end PCs, and USB/FireWire/eSATA external storage.

Seagate’s new 2.5-inch half-terabyte 5400- and 7200-rpm drives – Momentus® 5400.6 and Momentus 7200.4 – deliver the best combination of capacity, mobility and durability for mainstream and high-performance notebook computers, external storage solutions, PCs and industrial applications requiring small form factor.

Highlighting the global growth of digital content, Seagate expects to ship its two billionth hard drive within the next five years. Earlier this year Seagate shipped its one billionth hard drive since the company’s inception nearly 30 years ago.

What can one say. Huge new drives are nothing new. Hard disk technology in the SSD is the next step forward.

Comments welcome.


Comparing World Gas Prices

The Associates for International Research released some data on Wednesday – July 9, 2008. It is a comparison of gasoline prices. Here is a sample of the data on what a gallon of gas costs:

  • Oslo, Norway $9.85
  • London, England $8.96
  • Paris, France $9.43
  • Rome, Italy $9.03
  • Berlin, Germany $8.68
  • Tokyo, Japan $6.30
  • Montreal, Canada $5.57

So the price that you are paying may not seem so bad. That’s until you look at figures like these:

  • Caracas, Venezuela $0.12
  • Tehran, Iran $0.41
  • Riyadh, Saudi Arabia $0.47

As the real estate people say… ‘location, location, location’.

Catherine Forsythe

Google Explains Ranking

Depending on how much you really would like to know, a Google employee explains how Google’s ranking works. Well, not exactly. He actually explains the mechanics on how it works without explaining the secret sauce that goes into the process. But if you would like to read the spec’s from a ranking team member, this article is for you. The article states:

Google ranking is a collection of algorithms used to find the most relevant documents for a user query. We do this for hundreds of millions of queries a day, from a collection of billions and billions of pages. These algorithms are run for every query entered into most of Google’s search services. While our web search is the most used Google search service and the most widely known, the same ranking algorithms are also used – with some modifications – for other Google search services, including Images, News, YouTube, Maps, Product Search, Book Search, and more.

The most common question I get asked about Google’s ranking is “how do you do it?” Of course, there is a lot that goes into building a state-of-the-art ranking system like ours, and I will delve deeper into the technology behind it in a later post. Today, I would like to briefly share the philosophies behind Google ranking:

1) Best locally relevant results served globally.
2) Keep it simple.
3) No manual intervention.

There will be a second installment with a further indepth analysis about ranking and how it is done.

Comments welcome.


Oil Crisis – Have We Missed The Boat?

No matter who you talk to these days, the price of gasoline usually come up in the conversation. What also comes up is why no one is doing anything about the oil crisis. But didn’t we already miss the boat long ago? Let’s face it America. We as a nation have done a piss poor job when it comes to the way we view the price of gasoline. We constantly failed to recognize that $4 a gallon or higher prices were going to bite us in the butt one day. We just went on our merry way thinking that oil would be abundant forever.

One problem is that no one forced our auto companies to produce more fuel efficient vehicles. The big 3 loved selling those 6,000 lb monsters with those huge V-8’s sucking gas like a drunk on a binge. In Europe which demanded more fuel efficient cars, they are currently at 44 m.p.g. on average with 48 m.p.g. due in 2012. We here in the US fumbled with establishing 35 m.p.g. by 2020.

So here is the new thinking for those who own those gas sucking V-8 engines.  I heard this a dozen times last week while I was on vacation. With gas at $4 a gallon, it is not economically feasible yet to dump that V-8 for a more efficient vehicle. Even though people may be paying $200 a month more for gas, a car payment would cost more. With this type of thinking, gas needs to hit $6 a gallon or higher before people will trade in those gas guzzlers. Depending on what you read or hear on the news, we could hit that pricing soon.

With Detroit again seeing profits collapse as sales of big cars plunge, Mr. Domenici says he is worried about the survival of the domestic automakers.

“They talked a good research game,” he says. “But let’s face it, little was being done. They are suffering the consequences and could go broke just like the airlines.”

What Congress didn’t or couldn’t do, the free market is now doing in the form of higher gas prices: forcing Americans into more fuel-efficient cars. Ms. Cischke of Ford says that in the last two months, “We have seen more of a shift in the market than in 20 years of CAFE. People are buying what they need.”

With big truck and SUV sales down by about 50%, it is only a matter of time before we see the big 3 go belly up. What I am looking forward to seeing is when the US government helps bail out the big 3 when their sales of huge vehicles stops completely. After all, we should ALL pay for their dumb ass moves because we were the dummies who bought these monster vehicles. :-)

How long do you think it will takes us to find an alternative fuel?  5, 10, 20 years or more?

For those who own a gas guzzler, when will you buy a more efficient vehicle?  When gas hits $4, $5 , or $6 or more?

Comments welcome.

PS Don’t plan on GM coming out with the Chevy Volt any time soon. There might not be a GM.  :-(