The day after

Trying to catch up after the holiday.

Dave Winer is working on eliminating referer spam. I'm not sure how his system works, and undoubtedly it's better than I would have thought of but it seems to me I sometimes see as "referrer" the last page someone visited even if they didn't click on a link. So if I go to after visiting a page with no link to Scripting News will it get blacklisted.

I mention this because I was looking at Scripting News on my new Treo650 this morning. What RSS readers are available for Palm/Treo devices. Most of my blogging could rapidly become mBlogging. The best part is never sitting somewhere and wishing I had something to read. For the podcasting crowd we need a aggregator that can be run in the PalmOS and uses the built in networking to catch podcasts.

The big deal

After weeks of speculation Microsoft released it's new search tool tonight. I haven't seen anything this unimpressive for a long time. If as the old saying goes Windows '95 = Macintosh '84 then apparently Microsoft Search '04 = Google '00. One of the same big problems remains, if you want to get indexed the only option they list is a commercial venture that explains how to get businesses listed. I currently have a portfolio of some very active sites and lots of great content and only about 10% are commercial. I also don't quite get the distinction that allows one to search for a particular type of page (Word, Excel, Power Point, PDF, or HTML) and then the very next option is a search by file type (that oddly includes PDF but only shows .doc as an example). This does nothing to replace MetaCrawler of old (not the current version) as one of the best search sites ever.

Security of Google Desktop Search

What's that you say? Read the manual?

Since I don't have access to my XP box right now I sent Dave Winer a query about how the Google Desktop Search results are included with web results. He suggested it might be a Javascript include. A reasonable possibility but I didn't find mention of a need to run Javascript in the browser to use GDS. There is a page in the manual - who would have thought, actually read the manual - that describes the integration this way: "Wait a minute. How can web search return a page containing both and Google Desktop Search results?

When Google Desktop Search is integrated with Google web search, what you're really doing is sending your query to two different programs and places. One copy of your query goes to, which searches only the web and returns a page with those results to your computer. Another copy of your query goes to the Google Desktop Search application running on your computer, which searches only its cache on your computer for results. Google Desktop Search also intercepts's results page before you can see it, changes it to include the Google Desktop Search results, and then lets your web browser show it to you. Google never knows what your Google Desktop Search results are."

So it appears it's both very cool software and well implemented so as to avoid the insecurity of send

Google desktop search

Dave Winer is very excited with Google Desktop Search. It does seem like something pretty cool and I'll have to check it out. It just might bring Windows XP one step closer to OS X. Dave notes that GDS is not available for the Mac. This seems a bit odd to me, the fact that it is a fractional web server means there are several ways it could quite easily work on the Mac. Perhaps they're waiting for some of the core searching features to be baked in in Tiger. Or perhaps they're looking at the fact that very similar functionality has been available since OS 8.6 for the Mac - longer than Google's been around. Admittedly the idea of a fractional web server is a thousand times cooler than a native app and the expandability should be great for this kind of platform. It is quite disappointing that they don't support the browsers that many community leaders use - Firefox comes to mind.

Which brings me to another idea that's been bugging me lately. When will there be a browser maker for Windows that understands spell checking. Certainly Apple's decision to bake spell checking into the operating system makes it easier, but the feature of Safari as far as I'm concerned is that it can spell check anything I type on the web - critical for web content authors.


The Seti@Home project allows users to use their home computers to search for intelligent life. Today news from Columbus, Ohio says that a state programmer was fired for running the program on a state-owned computer server. Maybe using all those spare taxpayer dollars to run up your personal stats isn't such a good idea.

WIll MP3 players go away?

Russell Beattie comments on Dan Gillmor's statement in the recent Gillmore Gang. Asked if he had an iPod Gillmore responded "Yes, but I don't use it any more because I have a large memory card in my Treo."

Beattie says bingo. I say not a chance. First there is an inherent problem with the Treo platform. It is too small. Yes there is such a thing. When size makes for a crappy user interface it won't succeed. Although Apple doesn't appear to realize it the time has come to re-release the Newton. Of course it needs updating and needs to have the capacity to play audio, video and store more than a desktop computer.

The storage on Treo won't begin to compete with the likes of the iPod for years. I've had a string of palms devices, cell phones, and two-way pagers for years. I've tried at least every few months to try and move my simplest tasks to them - keep track of "to do's", addresses, calendars, and take notes at meetings. Once I find this I can do away with my paper calendar/planner. None come close. The note taking si by far the worst part. Even when using a keyboard (an extra device to port around anyway) then when I get back to the office I have to think about "syncing" to get the notes to where I can use them... and then again to get them to the device to take somewhere else, of course by then the device is full and I have to decide to delete some thing or another.


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