Google this site (~ 2000 pages):

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jean véronis, university professor in aix-en-provence, has published proofs on his weblog that google is cheating on the number of pages indexed (it says 8,058,044,651 web pages on their frontpage):

it really looks like google’s real index is only 60% of the size they claim, and that, conversely, the results counts given for each word are inflated by a factor of 66%

their devlopers seem to accidentially have left open a backdoor to the real numbers (at least per keyword):

in all likelihood, the google engineers simply forgot to plug the extrapolation routine at the end of the boolean module! therefore, if you want to know the real index count for any word, simply type it twice:

word count
stuttering 749,000
stuttering stuttering 452,000

the second line is likely to be the real count…


a possible explanation could be the “supplemental results” that some results are marked as. there’s a lot of speculation about this supplemental index, a google official vagely explained them this way when they were introduced two years ago:

it is a different index, so some of the results can be a little older, but some of the supplemental results are pretty up-to-date too.

ed sullivan has a detailed article about this index and expresses some doubts on the index size, too.

seth godin is annoyed by email-newsletters:

i clicked “unsubscribe” at the bottom of an email newsletter i got tired of. this is what the web page it brought me to said:

to ensure the privacy of the subscriber base, you must enter the email address that this email was initially sent to. if the email address you provide does not match that address exactly, it will not be unsubscribed.

i can’t tell you how pleased i am that they’re looking out for my privacy with such vigilance.

seth, why do you still let anybody pollute your inbox with newsletters? when there’s a publication that hasn’t understood yet that it makes sense to offer an RSS version and i still want to read it, i simply create a temporary email-address for it on bloglines.

which has two advantages: i can read the newsletter on bloglines, along with my other feeds, and when i feel like unsubscribing, i simply delete the folder, so further emails will bounce. do i care about the publisher’s database getting filled with useless email-adresses? i don’t. (they don’t care about my inbox either.)

email is meant for twoway-communication, for nothing else.

email-conversation with a collegue:

helge: shouldn’t we invite [x] for that meeting, too?
robert: let’s talk to them seperately, “divide et impera”-strategy.
helge: so you don’t want to invite urbi et orbi? what about serving some pastry in the meeting? “panem et circenses”-strategy.
robert: plenus venter non studet libenter.
helge: amicus, continuare laborare lingua latina usandum possimus.
robert: suum cuique..

i guess that was a “no”.

frank gehry's cloudgate (14k image)

taking photographs of this sculpture located in the new millenium park in chicago, being a public place, is forbidden unless you have the artist’s permission. see new (sub)urbanism: the copyrighting of public space. i’m happy to help violating this regulation by showing an unapproved photo of the so called “cloudgate” (taken by nes jumpman, free to use through a creative commons licence).

(a través de fernando)

virtually minutes after i’ve put my last post on mistakes and how to deal with critisism online, sierra quotes it and sends a subtle message: how do you take critisism, are you able to stand by your errors and learn from them?

background: a workshop we had saturday that probably wasn’t too productive. i hadn’t prepared anything unlike i’d promised to and was tired. the topic wasn’t defined properly, at least that it seemed to me, maybe because i hadn’t done my homework. so sierra sent me a friendly mail today, expressing regret that my input hadn’t been too useful this time. i must say that i really appreciate that, i prefer explicit feedback, even and especially when there’s reason for complaints!

question to the blogosphere: how did you feel when you blogged a failing of your own for the first time? (reminds me on markus breuer’s comments on russ beattie’s blog post “unemployed“.)

strange feeling, however the smile on my face for sierra’s encrypted message (who even changed the language of his blog from german to english for me.. did he foresee i was going to blog this?) reduces the effort this post costs me.

if you’re a regular reader of this blog you know that i like to give critical but constructive feedback to companies who’s products i like or services that i use regularily, no matter if it is the feed-reader i use, my favorite search-engine, the city i live in or the blogs i read.

mostly my feedback is being thanked for, and in some cases – just look at the bloglines-example above – it might even be taken as a literal instruction for improvement. once langenscheidt surprised me with goods worth €80 for sending them a list of keywords their german-spanish dictionary was missing. many big and old-school companies however tend to reply with standard-phrases (if at all) and bury customer-input in digital graveyards of bureaucracy. that’s why they won’t get my feedback.

sometimes however people seem to take feedback personal, as it naturally often addresses mistakes (supposed ones – my feedback is only a single piece of opinion). i just received a cynical and offended reply to a cautiously worded and constructive input i gave on a web-based community that i care about. that’s sad as the guy else is a master at his trade and the community specializes on marketing-related topics and is a #1 resource in its field worldwide. the issue i addressed is nothing major but the way they deal with user-feedback makes me worry.

seth just pointed to an interesting article about that – “defending the mistake“:

defending the mistake might sooth the ego for awhile, but the long term consequences of the action are seldom pleasant.

and here goes thesis #1 of the famous cluetrain manifesto again:

markets are conversations.”

related: “a prescription for turning a culture of complaint into an agenda for change”.

ps. i must admit: some years ago, when i had to put up a customer care department for the international youth community i was responsible for, i didn’t get it perfectly right. many committed users have received standard-replies, few of their suggestions got through to me. but hey, we’re on earth to learn after all ;-)

bloglines sold to ask jeeves

February 6, 2005  

jeeves (1k image)bloglines has been sold to ask jeeves, as reported on russ beattie’s words exactly match my feelings on this:

i use it day and night, at home and at the office, on my Mac and on my PC, on my desktop and on my mobile phone. i refresh like a crack monkey looking for the next hit. i use it for my news, i use it to look for houses, I’ve used it to look for jobs, I use it to hear PodCasts, i use it for my favorites page, and i use it to keep track of what people are saying about my weblog (which it does quickly and efficiently). i use it constantly and incessantly and if it went away or was changed drastically, I would be very unhappy.

in other words, please don’t fuck it up.

amen. (links changed and strike-thoughs by me.)

happy birthday!

February 4, 2005  

happy birthday: 2 years

i’ve written about XMLHttpRequest and recently. matt biddulph brings both together in a concept he has developed for the BBC.

he proposes to live-integrate tags into pages from the BBC radio website, for better categorisation (today with an “s”, as matt is british;-) and navigation. see his description, flash-animation and presentation on the subject. that’s not a feature ready to implement (too many usability questions remain open) but very good food for thought.

matt has more interesting stuff on his site, e.g.:
» a semantic web shoebox – annotating photos with RSS and RDF
» “most popular entries” sidebar
» tag stemmer
» introducing (technical article published on

(found – guess – via

LemonySnicket: jim carrey as count olaf (7k image)jim carrey as thomas klestil (10k image)a movie as if it was directed by tim burton and starring johnny depp. i’m glad my girlfriend dragged me in there, fantasy usually is not up my alley.

forget what you know about jim carrey, he’s at the top of his form, portraying both “count olaf” and the late thomas klestil brilliantly. he’s only topped by .. sunny the baby.

go see this film. (leave your kids at home.)

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