Archive for August 2009

Gmail Search; Readers’ Respond and a Proposal

August 28, 2009

Well. That was an interesting response.

Links: Gmail; Why Can’t Gmail Search?; Hacker News Comments; Stemming; Google Gears

My post on the failings of Gmail search proved quite popular, and garnered a number of interesting responses. Aside from the various name-calling (first time I was ever called an asshat, so circle the day on my calendar!), and the one guy who accused me of being a shill for Yahoo, most of responses here at my blog and on the posting at Hacker News fell into three main areas.

Why Can’t Gmail Search?

August 24, 2009

Hey! There is a followup post here!

Google, the King of Search.

Gmail, the darling of geeks everywhere for mail.

Links: Gmail; Yahoo; Cyrus-IMAP; Squirrel Mail

I am my family’s IT Director for our house (in her day job my wife has been an IT Director, so it is occasionally an ironic situation). Long ago, I used a Cyrus-IMAP server in my server closet to provide email for both of us; it worked really well. I still have pages of notes on how to compile and set it up under Debian; it was a bear, but once set up it worked for years without a problem. Via SSH, we could both get to our mail from work; you could even throw a tunnel to Squirrel Mail for web-mail access. Life was good.

Then came the seductive invite to Gmail; I forget how I got it, but that early invite made my geek palms sweat. Soon I was reveling in threaded conversations, archiving with abandon. That was a while ago; at this point I have been using Gmail/Google Calendar for a long time, having ditched the in-house IMAP server after moving my wife’s email to Gmail. My iPhone is fairly happy with Gmail as well.

But there’s this little problem, why may drive me away from Gmail entirely:

Gmail’s search functionality sucks rocks.


The Cheat of Structural Profits

August 17, 2009

Companies and industries enjoying protected profits stifle innovation and take your money. Can you recognize these parasites all around you?

The NFL is a Pile of Boring.

August 14, 2009

Our long national nightmare is almost over.

The NFL season is almost upon us.

Too bad it is unspeakably boring.

Washington Post vs. Gawker #2: How to Monetize the News Industry

August 11, 2009

Previously, I talked about the value-add that blogs provide when they aggregate original reporting done by the mainstream media, a discussion precipitated by the Washington Post/Gawker kerfuffle.

As reporter Ian Shapira described in his follow-on piece, he did about a day’s work, which culminated in the published article. While the argument over Gawker’s usage of his article is illustrative, it is not the really interesting thing.

Washington Post vs. Gawker #1: The Value-Add of Bloggers

August 10, 2009

Recently, there was some interesting give-and-take between Ian Shapira of the Washington Post and Gawker, regarding Gawker‘s use (and reuse) of one of Shapira’s articles.

Shapira mourns that he put in hard day’s work into a 1500-word article, which was then distilled and interpreted by Gawker in about a half an hour, with a small link at the bottom back to his article. His angst strikes me as reasonable, but Gawker’s attitude is sort of fair as well. You can easily see both sides

It does seem to me that if you are quoting from an online story for an online story, you should link for attribution up front, not way down at the end.

Shapira’s end result was a nice, neat article.

However …

Lest we think is perfect…

August 7, 2009

My last post fairly gushed with love for, justifiably I think. But I don’t want anyone over at MLB Advanced Media thinking they should rest on their laurels. To wit, some nits, for the picking:

Why is MLB so far ahead of everyone else online?

August 6, 2009

Well, that is not really the question. It is more of an assertion: Major League Baseball‘s Advanced Media division is so far ahead of the other major sports it isn’t funny.

I have become, in my 30’s and now early 40’s, very much a baseball guy. Some of that I attribute to MLB’s constant work to make baseball available to me. Now, I’m a Yankee’s fan, and have been since I can remember. I was a Yankees fan for the Reggie Jackson years, the Billy Martin years, the almost-wonderful Mattingly years, then on to the dead zone of the the Danny Tartabull years, then the upswing in the Showalter years and the dynasty of the Jeter/Rivera/Torre years. My Dad was a Yankee’s fan, my wife grew up a Yankee’s fan (Connecticut native), and now my daughters are content to fall asleep watching the Yankees each night.

Watching the Yankees, that is, on our 50inch HDTV, in HD, over the internet, using a media PC.

iPhone Headsets

August 5, 2009

Prior to getting my first iPhone, I used an array of standard, wired, in-ear headsets for talking on the phone. I don’t like driving and talking unless I have a headset on, so $20 Jabra headsets were scattered through the cars, various backpacks, etc.

Separately, my Create Zen MP3 Player was used for music, and its earbuds were kept wrapped around it for easy location (and hours of diversionary cord-unwinding fun). These were typically Skullcandy buds. Good solid earbuds for the very non-audiophile me.

iPhone Whine #4: Stop Blaming AT&T

August 3, 2009

The web is replete with commentary on both the fabulousness and horror of owning an iPhone.

The praise for the iPhone is easy to understand. It is a great piece of technology, a wonderfully capable tool with a huge library of applications, all available at a reasonable price. At least, the price/performance point is reasonable based on the nearest competitors available prior to the launch of the iPhone (Sidekicks, Windows Mobile phones, Blackberrys).

In many, if not all, of the articles which express frustration with the iPhone (including the post cited above) talk at length about the vagaries of AT&T’s network. There was the SXSW fail, probably the most public failure. Most forums are replete with complaints.

Living in the Baltimore-Washington corridor as I do, my AT&T coverage is pretty good. The phone mostly works. I almost always have 4-5 bars (like that means anything).

But I live in a world of dropped calls and bad connections.