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a happy 2005!

December 31, 2004  

happy new year to everyone! we’re going to spend the night with friends on a roof terrasse in vienna, with fine food and some board games. it’s my first new year’s eve in six years in austria and the first time in vienna.

by the way, i had to de-activate commenting on my weblog due to some #!§$@ spammers. new year’s resolution: migrate this site to decent weblog software to be able to cope with such problems.


December 22, 2004  

visitor ‘armin’ just left a comment an my thailand gallery:

really nice photos! me and my friends are going to visit thailand this summer just because of these pictures.

wow, i feel honoured.

the true colors of jamba

December 13, 2004  

finally someone has taken the time to write down what everybody knows – apart from the kiddies out there who owe jamba their teenage debts: johnny haeusler has published a jamba primer about the dirty tricks of maybe europe’s biggest mobile entertainment company. (automatic translation to english.) shame on you samwer boys and shame on you, verisign, for paying big $$$ for that filthy business. (via martin roell’s newsfeed)

mark fletcher gets it right

December 7, 2004  

thesis #1 of the famous cluetrain manifesto reads:

markets are conversations.”

read how the company, a service providing web-based RSS aggregation, seems to live that principle at its best:

dec. 1st: bloglines is launched in six more languages, among them german. in the announcement they ask to “let us know what you think”.
dec. 2nd, 11am: bloglines is free (so far) and has become the site i use most throughout the day. the german version appears to have been translated by a native-speaker lacking extensive internet experience. too literal translations. i feel this is a chance to say ‘thank you’ and send them one page of feedback, including well grounded wording suggestions, using their standard feedback form.
dec. 2nd, 5pm: kate from bloglines support answers with a short mail thanking for “the feedback in regards of our new german version”. (note the correct relevance on the subject of my feedback.)
dec. 3rd, 10pm: mark fletcher, CEO and founder of bloglines (and of yahoo groups before that), writes me an email asking some clarifying questions and thanking for the “terrific” feedback.
dec. 7th: a new german version of bloglines is pushed out, featuring almost all my suggestions, about 15 changes, among them: “ausschnitte” is now called “ablage” (main navigation), “dies clip-bloggen” has become “ablegen/bloggen”, “dies emailen” now is “per email versenden”, “abonnement” is now called “abo”, “blogrollen” (sic!) is now called “blogrolls”, etc. two important suggestions of mine haven’t yet been implemented (eg. “share” still translates as “teilen”, which is wrong) but i’m confident they will.

note to myself: whenever founding your own company, try to listen to your customers the way mark fletcher does!

update dec. 14th: the tab “share” has been renamed to “blogroll” in german. i had sent mark some options (“veröffentlichen” and “blogroll”) and recommended “blogroll”. all the other suggestions have been implemented, too. cool.

dear reader, i need your opinion: i write this weblog all in lower case, like all emails i write, probably since 1994. however, alp uçkan has good arguments for mixed upper and lower case. please drop a comment if you’d rather prefer mixed case, e.g.:

Dear reader, I need your opinion: I write this weblog all in lower case, like all emails I write, probably since 1994. However, Alp Uçkan has good arguments for mixed upper and lower case. Please drop a comment if you’d rather prefer mixed case.

in an article on zdnet UK on google’s vast IT infrastructure, google’s vice president of engineering is quoted with an interesting sentence which i (in a way;-) understand as answer to a suggestion i have made on back in february. he says:

we have thought of having a button saying ‘give me less commercial results’, but the company has shied away from implementing this yet.

wow! that’s big news – and i still hope they have the guts to implement that.
my original suggestion, for which i was heavily criticized on orkut:

separate commercial from informational queries
recent algorithm changes resulting from google’s fight against spam have made many webmasters furious, as apparently also a lot of innocent sites were dropped in an effort to fight “overoptimized” websites, aka spam.

so google is trying to find the right balance between informational SERPs and commercial ones, to satisfy both types of searchers. but why not let the user themselves decide which way to go? example: with used cars i’d be searching for bargains, with the search operator noncommercial:used cars (or radio butttons in advanced search or whatever) i’d be able to find informational resources about the pros and cons of driving used cars, etc.

we know that google is able to make the destinction. the only real disadvantage i see is that with such a feature, SEO professionals would quickly be able to learn how to bypass google’s distinction algos. but would they do it? would commerces want to be found on explicitly non-commercial queries? probably yes, but i think they wouldn’t persue spamming as forcefully as they do now.

so, google: give us searchers the power to switch off (over-)commerical results! google would partially return to its root as an informational research tool, at least to power users.

see the original thread on orkut, from february 13th (orkut is for registered users only). i cannot entirely rule out that google was listening, as it was in the early days of orkut when google was mainly populated by googlers and few others. of course, i maybe wasn’t the first with this idea, but still cool :-)

don’t miss robin sloan‘s vision of google grid, newsbotster and googlezon: what is EPIC?


Common misspellings: Farnberger, Fahrenberger, Farenberger, Fahnberger, Fahrnleitner, Fahrngruber, Fahrnberg.