Searchmash, Google’s New Search Testlab (?)

February 2, 2007 at 11:11 am | Posted in Entertainment, Google, Web 2.0, Wikipedia, Youtube | Leave a comment

The McCord Webdesign Newsletter has pointed me to this – btw, it’s no newsletter that you need to subscribe to, but which I keep anyway, just because it is so tacky and oldfashioned; at the same time it is perfectly tailored to the needs of medium-scaled enterprises and their clientele, and a solid, although boring example of email marketing. Oh, and of dull American design.

Google Inc. is currently experimenting with a search engine that comes with a set of widgets to allow you to search images, blogs, videos and Wikipedia in a bar on the right hand side. Unfortunately, the widgets aren’t working properly in my browser of choice, which is Safari, but they run ok in Firefox (Internet Explorer? Who cares…). If they do work, they give you a short preview of the search results.

Searchmash

In a sense, it’s a search interface catering for Web 2.0 content – the results are the same as in Google, is just a matter of the presentation and navigation. You also have the option to hide the details of a result, giving it a nice uncluttered appeal. AdSense isn’t plugged it, so no there are no text ads (yet). No Google branding, either but the imprint is more telling.

It also seems as if Searchmash comes up with suggestions to narrow your search, apparently for entertainment related content only . I’m not quite sure whether this is the true criterion, but see for yourself and enter the terms ‘holiday’ and ‘big brother’.

Searchmash

Wikipedia in Alemannic!

January 23, 2007 at 10:35 am | Posted in Language, Web 2.0, Wikipedia | Leave a comment
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AlemannicHail to the wisdom of smart mobs! I ‘ve just come across the Alemannic Wikipedia – Alemannic being a group of German dialects which are spoken in Switzerland, Liechtenstein, parts of France, Germany and Austria. In Austria, specifically, in Vorarlberg, the province that I live in. For people who speak standard German (or let’s say: standard German with a light regiolect and that includes me), it is one of the least comprehensible varities thinkable. As a matter of fact, it seemed completely outlandish to me when I got here, and one of the reasons for that is that a common greeting here is “Heil” – known to the rest of Germans only as part of the Hitler salute. So I guess that it is understandable that such language might put off the ignorant urban intellectual in a first encounter.

But no unified Alemannic language exists, and the articles in the Alemannic Wikipedia seem to have been written by people from all regions. Read the articles about Vorarlberg and the Vorarlbergian language to get an idea of how the people speak here (and why this can be so alienating).

Here is small teaser:

Ma ka säga, dass im untera Rhytal (ab Götzis abwärts gegat da Bodasee) ender Niederallemannisch gredt würd, witter dom (äppa Götzis ufwärts) würds wiedr meh Hochalemannisch, mit gwüssa Eigaarta. So üsserat si all no dr Untrschied zwüschat am Unterland und am Obrland. Historisch gseha isch des o Gränz zwüschat am alta Bistum Chur und am alta Bistum Konschtanz, dia alt Gränz zwüschat am Vorarlbergr Obr-und Unterland. So weachslat “gehabt” vum Breagazerischa “ghet” zum Dorabirarischa “ghia” zum Obrländr “kha”, eppa bis Fraschtatz (Frastanz) und Nenzig (Nenzing) redt ma aso. So hoaßts z’Breagaz “I hob ghet”, z’Rankl (Rankweil) seet ma “I ha kha” (Ich habe gehabt),id’r Mehrzahl “Mir hond kha”, eppa aso hoaßts o uf dr Schwiizer Sita vum Rhytal und im Liachtaschtoa (Liechtenstein). Im Walgau ischas wiadr a kle andrsch. “Ich weiß” würd denn vu “I woaß” zu “I weiß”. “I ha” würd zu “I hon”.

I’m a Wikipedian now

January 18, 2007 at 6:08 pm | Posted in Internet, Plagiarism, Web 2.0, Wikipedia | 1 Comment

Logo WikipediaWoo yay! Alright, nothing to be proud of really… Today I edited my first article on Wikipedia. I wasn’t particularly bold or prolific, just added a link from the William Blake article to one on one of his paintings, The Great Red Dragon and the Woman Clothed in the Sun, which is crucial to the plot of both the Red Dragon film and novel.

I submitted precisely that information and introduced an additional subcategory, Blake in Film and Literature, to the main article as I wasn’t sure where exactly my contribution would fit in and nothing much on ‘Blake and Posterity’ was to be found there. I hope not all new Wikipedians start by adding new categories at will 😛

It’s fairly easy to come to grips with the Wikipedia mark-up, certainly if you know a bit of HTML. Do I feel any different now that I’ve become part of the smart mob that my students’ papers feed on? I was about to write ‘hardly so’ but then realized in the same breath that the article on smart mobs was just a stub*. And a proper one on ‘smart mob’ itself (singular) dos not even exist (The Smart Mobs page is about a a book by ole’ Howard Rheingold clicky – I didn’t realize he looked like a senior citizen from Florida!). Maybe that’s my first challenge coming there 😉

*: A stub is an article that is too short to provide encyclopedic coverage of the subject, but not so short as to provide no useful information. Wikipedia

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