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$10 To Answer This Question

I’m completely unable to find an answer (though this Russian forum might have something), so I’ll give ten bucks via PayPal (or whatever) to the first person to give me a working answer to this question:

How do I force an ATI X1550 card to output YPrPb signals on VGA under Windows Vista?

Even if it’s a stupid answer, if it works, I’ll pay you. It’s probably a registry key, or maybe there’s software, or maybe the Russians know something. If I have to buy the ATI HDTV dongle, and you can confirm that for me, I’ll give you five bucks.

Thanks for the assistance.

November 30th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | General | 8 comments



Google Reader Recommends Feeds, Adds Drag-n-Drop Organization

Google Reader has added a feature to the sidebar that recommends RSS feeds you might be interested in subscribing to based on your current subscription. They list three feeds, but click a link and you’ll get a page with 20 pretty good recommendation.

Reader recommended for me Dave Naylor, Michael Gray, Ross Mayfield, Dave Sifry, the Google News Blog, the AdWords API blog, the Google Checkout Blog, the Vista Team blog, Microsoft’s JobsBlog, Channel 10, Jeff Sandquist, Tim Sneath, Matt Haughey, Eileen Brown and Dosh Dosh, among others, pretty much good recommendations all around.

By contrast, Bloglines has a similar feature which hasn’t been updated in a while (possibly not since its launch three years ago) that is biased towards more popular blogs you may already read in another form, or don’t subscribe to for a reason. They include Slashdot (already subscribe), CNET (I don’t subscribe to all of CNET, just specific areas), kuro5hin (they’re still around?), MacRumors, Gizmodo (already subscribe), Dilbert, all of Wired, Fast Company, 43 Folders (already subscribe), Kottke, Think Secret and Extremetech. Reader’s ahead already on day one.

Reader also added the ability to re-arrange feeds via drag-and-drop. This was a long one coming, given that Bloglines had it in the previous version since February 2006, and a necessary one. Google still doesn’t provide a means for renaming folders, but at least you can improve things by moving them around.

screenshots above by Barry under CC license

November 30th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Reader, Products | one comment

Hosting sponsored by GoDaddy

Google Experimental Adds Suggest, Search Digging

Google Experimental, where Google runs experimental search interfaces which you can subscribe to and add to your regular search experience, has added two new experiments.

Keyword Suggestions is Google Suggest, the Google service that offers search suggestions as you type, is now available as an Experiment. This is great, being able to add it as part of your personal search experience, since Yahoo and Ask.com already offer it in their main search engines.

A limited number of users are also being offered this experiment, which allows them to delete and re-order search results. It’s been described as almost a Digg-like system, in that the eventual goal would be to improve Google results through the wisdom of crowds by changing the results for everyone based on a mass consensus in the voting up and down (and deleting) of search results. This feature was originally developed on Google’s SearchMash test engine.

The voting experiment is a tasty one, so much that those who haven’t been offered it are clamoring for it, while the Google Suggest experiment has so much potential appeal, it should be an option in Google’s preferences. One limitation of the Experimental program is that you can only “install” one experiment to your search results at a time. Hopefully, Google will find a way to offer Suggest as an option to all users and let them choose a different experiment to play around with.

November 30th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | General | one comment

YouTube User Comment On Republican CNN/YouTube Debates

The YouTube blog has put together this playlist of what YouTube users who attended last night’s CNN/YouTube Republican Presidential Debate had to say after the debate:

46 videos in all, so take your time.

November 30th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | YouTube, Services | one comment

Google Helps You Read Experts Exchange For Free

Experts Exchange is a website that answers questions on computer issues, and it ranks very well in Google search results. Problem is, it costs money to read the answer, $12.95 a month. Luckily, they expose the full answers to search engines (which is why they are able to rank so well), so you can easily read the whole answer without registering and paying for an account.

Any time you see Experts-exchange.com in Google search, just hit the cache link to read the page with the complete answer.

Don’t even bother trying to view it normally, because they expect you to pay for content. Hopefully they left this loophole open on purpose, because we all know paying for content is a loser of a business model. The Wall Street Journal has a back door for Digg users, and this is a type of back door as well. Sites can lock down their communities to paid users, but don’t expect search engine visitors to pay.

After all, why would I pay for a website if I can’t even see the quality of the “Expert” answers?
(via Techblog.BE)

November 29th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Search | 3 comments

Tay Zonday Sings For Dr. Pepper

Tay Zonday’s got a new video out,and it’s not what you expect from the deep voiced YouTube viral video star.

Yeah, this time Tay’s got production values, featured rappers, dancers, and behind it all, corporate sponsorship. Dr. Pepper produced this to advertise their new Diet Cherry Chocolate limited edition flavor introduced a week ago. This is Tay’s first endorsement.

Have you tasted Cherry Chocolate? Let us know if it’s any good.

November 29th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | YouTube, Services | 2 comments



Gadget Allows Rule Control Over iGoogle Themes

Ionut Alex details a new iGoogle Gadget that allows you more control over personalized homepage themes than ever before. With this Gadget, you can set rules for theme switching, using a different theme based on which computer you’re using, the time of day, the weather outside, the day of the week, and choose from 70 user-created themes while doing so. The possibilities for theme combinations are endless, and you can do a different theme per iGoogle tab, giving you more options than you know what to do with.

November 29th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | iGoogle, Products | 2 comments

Google Gadgets Now Run On Mac’s Dashboard

Google Desktop’s Gadgets are now cross-platform compatible with Apple’s Mac OS X Dashboard. That means you can run Gadgets alongside Widgets in the Dasboard, on Google’s Sidebar, and on the iGoogle personalized homepage, making them amazingly versatile, and letting Google’s platform pick up the slack when Dashboard is missing something important. If Google does the same for Windows Vista, and helps Gadgets run on Vista’s Sidebar, that would be amazing.

November 29th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Apple, Products, Desktop | one comment

Google Announces Highly Open Participation Contest

The Google Code blog is talking about their new “Highly Open Participation Contest“, an effort to get pre-university students involved in different aspects of software development, part of the Summer of Code program. There are all sorts of tasks available, from fixing bugs to writing documentation or doing user experience research. Google is continuing to try to increase its appeal in the developer community, and this program is here to pull in those in the community who might not be into writing code.

Any student over 13 years of age and enrolled in a pre-university program can sign up. That includes high schoolers, as well as those in a secondary school or other educational institution. Parental consent is a requirement.

November 29th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | General | one comment

Google Checkout and PayPal Unveil Holiday Offers

Google’s Checkout and eBay’s PayPal unit are showing off their big holiday offers, designed to get you to use their services when making your holiday purchases online.

Google Checkout is giving $5-$50 off purchases at a number of online stores. You can get:

  • $5 off orders over $30 - PCSuperstore, TheNerds.net, Cost Central, DayDeal.com, Eforcity.com, KitchenSource.com, ReStockIt.com, Cufflinks Depot, Precious Accents, UpTempoAir.com
  • $5 off orders over $50 - ToolsForLess, AllBrands.com, Discount Dance Supply, Golfballs.com
  • $10 off orders over $10 for new buyers only - Buy.com
  • $10 off orders over $30 - Comp-U-Plus (Enter coupon code GOOGLE10), Mrs. Fields
  • $10 off orders over $50 - HandHelditems.com (Enter coupon code googleoff10 prior to Checkout)
  • $10 off orders over $60 - AĆ©ropostale, Jockey.com, Your Electronic Warehouse, US-Mattress.com, DVD Empire, Flashlightz.com, Coffee Bean Direct, SelectBlinds.com, Stacks and Stacks Housewares, Discount Golf World
  • $10 off orders over $75 - Beauty.com, drugstore.com
  • $10 off orders over $100 - TigerDirect.com, WeaKnees.com (Enter coupon code holiday10), Comp USA, Software Surplus, Digital Foto Club, Dyscern, Focus Camera, SuppliesNet
  • $15 off orders over $150 - MyJewelryBox.com, BowlingBall.com
  • $20 off orders over $100 - LuggagePros.com, ArtSelect, Oriental Furniture, Designer Athletics, AdiamorEvesAddiction.com (Enter coupon code google20 prior to Checkout)
  • $20 off orders over $200 - AreaRugs.com
  • $50 off orders over $500 - TheFurniture.com, AJ Madison, Gem Stone King
  • eBags.com Enter coupon code PAYGOOGC07 to get 20% off purchases.
  • FoxStore.com Enter coupon code GOOG10 to get 10% off all purchases.
  • Shoebuy.com Enter coupon code GOGOOG to get $5 off all purchases

What’s the best deal? All of them! You’ll have to figure out, based on the size of your purchase, which is the best savings for that particular item. One tip: Seperate items into multiple orders so you can get the discount multiple times.

The highest percentage discount: $10 off $30

The least useful but most exciting: Buy.com’s $10 off $10. If you’re a new customer enjoy it, everyone else just ignore. Here’s Buy.com’s page of items that are free or almost free after the discount is applied.

Potential best deal: 20% off everything at eBags. If only they sold more than bags.

PayPal’s holiday deal, I’m sad to say, tops or matches Google in almost every situation. They’re offering 20% cash back, up to $50, on purchases at 14 stores. At the same levels as Google’s offering:

  • $30 - Google: $5 or $10 / PayPal: $6
  • $50 - Google: $5 or $10 / PayPal: $10
  • $60 - Google: $10 / PayPal: $12
  • $75 - Google: $10 / PayPal: $15
  • $100 - Google: $10 or 20 / PayPal: $20
  • $150 - Google: $15 / PayPal: $30
  • $200 - Google: $20 / PayPal: $40
  • $500 - Google: $50 / PayPal: $50

I miss the good old days last year of $10 off $30 and $20 off $50. No major retailers offering that now.

November 29th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | PayPal, eBay, Checkout, Services | no comments

links for 2007-11-29

November 29th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Bookmarks | no comments



Infinite Nanoseconds!

Google’s calculator has all sorts of stuff we mere mortals can’t understand, and here’s another one:

999 999 999 999 999 999 999 999 999 999 999 999 999 999 999 999 999 999 999 999 999 999 999 999 999 999 999 999 999 999 999 999 999 999 999 999 999 999 999 999 999 999 999 999 999 999 999 999 999 999 999 999 999 999 999 999 999 999 999 999 999 999 999 999 999 999 999 999 999 999 999 999 999 999 999 999 999 999 999 999 999 999 999 999 999 999 999 999 999 999 999 999 999 999 999 999 999 999 999 millenium = inf nanoseconds

Well, I didn’t know that! So, Google is saying that “infinite” is actually 999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,000 years. Good to know that there’s a definite limit on infinite.
(via Digg)

November 29th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Search, Humor | no comments

Stars Of The YouTube Debate

Hopefully you already read my liveblog report of the Republican presidential debate, presented by YouTube and CNN, but whether you have or not, here are the top YouTube user videos used tonight:

The debate led off with this song introducing the eight candidates. It’s funny, and says it all well:

This was the first question, which sparked a huge arguement between Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney. Rudy lost a lot of votes thanks to the term “sanctuary city” tonight, but Romney could be hurt in the long run:

The first cartoon question:

All the candidates knew this guy, who heads up a tax watchdog group:

This is the “throwing gun” question:

This was a hugely difficult question, even making my wife nervous:

Another cartoon question, and Fred Thompson briefly thought the figure in it was supposed to be him:

This gay Brigadier General asked one of the toughest questions of the night, plus he got the chance to respond from the audience:

Retired Brigadier General Keith Kerr did not disclose that he is a member of a Hillary Clinton steering committee. Anderson Cooper said afterwards that if CNN had known that beforehand they seriously would have had to consider his prominent role in the debate.

And the final, more lighthearded Yankees vs. Red Sox question:

November 29th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | YouTube, Services | one comment

CNN/YouTube Republican Debates: LIVEblog

The CNN/YouTube Republican Presidential debates are starting in a moment, and I’ll be posting updates here as they happen.

8:00: And they’re off. 8 candidates, all the questions are from YouTube videos (5,000 in all, 2,000 more than the Democrats, though there was more time due to the delay).

The candidates are not on stage, but instead the Florida governor comes out (after a very flattering introduction) to introduce them. They are:

Duncan Hunter
Ron Paul
John McCain
Fred Thompson
Rudy Guiliani
Mitt Romney
Mike Huckabee
Tom Tancredo

This does not seem to be a Ron Paul-packed crowd, as far as I could tell from the applause. You get that sometimes, the crowd acting like Paul is Jesus.

8:07: They will insist candidates stay on the question, not answer previous questions. Good luck!

8:10: What a great start! A YouTuber singing about each of the candidates.

8:11: First question is to Giuliani accusing him of making a sanctuary for illegal immigrants. Giuliani answers well, that they only allowed illegal children to attend school to avoid having 70,000 people on the street when crime was bad, but gave the names of arrested immigrants to the government.

Romney’s response was devastating, that New York actually filed a lawsuit to protect its illegal status, and that you have to arrest all illegals because they are already committing a crime by being here. I may not agree with that, but it was a great answer.

8:14: Giuliani accuses Romney of hiring illegals to work on his house, Romney says he can’t check the papers of everyone who works for a contractor he hires. They are slugging it out, and my wife is loving the fight.

8:16: They refused to allow the debate to continue, until Anderson Cooper stopped them by playing another clip, also asking if candidates will pledge to veto any bill that grants amnesty to illegals. Thompson answers it well, saying they must enforce the borders and eliminate sanctuary cities, a shot at Giuliani. Then he takes a shot at Romney as a flip-flopper, and accuses Giuliani of fighting to keep New York as a sanctuary city. The words “Sanctuary City” are going to hurt Giuliani coming out of this debate.

8:21: McCain answer the question, saying that we have to work harder to get the American people to trust us after our recent failures. He refused to yield when Cooper said “time” about five times. Tancredo seems very pleased with himself, giving a speech about how everyone wants to be like him.

8:24: About Americans losing their jobs due to illegals, Tancredo answers well that there are no jobs Americans won’t work, just jobs Americans won’t do for the wages illegals will accept.

8:26: Huckabee is asked why he allowed illegals to get in-state tuition prices, but won’t allow military children from other states to get same. He says the question is misinformed, but then explains exactly how the bill would do just that. He also says the way we treat our veterans is disgraceful.

8:29: Romney strikes back, fighting with everyone on stage. He’s annoying my wife with his attack stance, but it sure is entertaining.

8:30: Question for Ron Paul, something about Paul supporters on the internet who say he believes in a conspiracy to form a North American Union of the U.S., Canada and Mexico. He says that our sovereignty is definitely under threat, and there are moves toward such a union, just like there were moves towards a European Union.

8:33: McCain asked if we need to get the government spending under control, and he says the Republicans have lost their way on limiting spending, and he agrees. He says he vetoes every pork barrel bill that crosses his desk with a veto pen he got from Ronald Reagan, and he makes the writers of that pork famous. Romney talks about it without attacking anyone, and says we need to get this under control. Giuliani says we need to have across the board cuts, no filling the jobs of government workers who retire over the coming years.

8:36: Asked about increased government spending, and about 3 government programs that would be cut. Thompson says that he would cut from the OMB’s report on 100 programs that need to be cut, cutting all of them, and reform Social Security and Medicare with individual spending accounts and re-indexing.

8:39: Paul lists 3 programs, he’d cut, and you can see the Paul supporters in the crowd getting loud. Huckabee says he’d get rid of the IRS and revamp Social Security.

8:40: Cartoon Uncle Sam asks a question about eliminating the federal income tax for a national sales tax. McCain says no. He also attacks Paul, saying Paul’s attitude of isolationism caused World War II and allowed Hitler to go to power. Lots of cheers, a few very loud boos. The audience is mostly behind McCain, although McCain broke the rules by addressing a prior issue. Paul says he is not an isolationist and has many military supporters.

8:43: Question about opposing vetoing efforts to raise taxes, and everyone says they would pledge not to raise taxes. Thompson and McCain say they pledge it to the American people, not independent groups. Tancredo (I think) says he would not raise taxes, unless there was an emergency.

8:45: Romney says he supports farm subsidies to protect our food supply and encourage new technologies. Giuliani says we can’t lower subsidies, because they are higher in Europe than here, so if we lower them without them being lowered in Europe, we can’t compete.

8:48: Giuliani asked by Anderson Cooper about something in the news today about records over security expenses when he was mayor. He says he hid nothing, that as far as he knows nothing was hid, and that’s all.

8:50: Tancredo asked about toxic toys from China, Hunter also responds. Hunter says China is cheating with the trade deficit, buying arms, and asks Americans to buy American with the Christmas shopping.

First commercial break, or it would be if a video ran by Fred Thompson didn’t so badly attack the other candidates. Cooper lets the other candidates respond. Romney says, “I was wrong” about being pro-choice many years ago. Huckabee says he barely ever rose taxes, and he cut many other taxes.

8:59: A guy with and tossing a gun asks about gun control, and Hunter (ironic, right?) answers well, and says you can’t toss guns around safely.

9:00: Giuliani asked about gun control and his record. He says they had to be aggressive to protect New York, but that Americans have the right to bear arms, and nationally we can only have loose requirements, but states have the right to be a little more strict based on their local culture. Thompson responds that gun laws in D.C. banning all firearms didn’t work, and Giuliani says he agrees that what works in New York will often not work elsewhere.

9:04: Question about what guns the candidates have. Thompson jokes, I will not tell you what guns I have, or where I keep them. McCain talks about his war experience with guns, but does not own guns. Giuliani has no guns.

9:05: Question about black-on-black crime. Romney says you need to have a mom and a dad to have values and prevent crime, and better prepare kids in inner city schools. Giuliani says Romney has a mixed record on crime, with some categories going up, some down, while his record was all successful in reducing crime, especially in inner city neighborhoods.

9:08: New topic: Abortion. Asking pro-life candidates what crime those who get abortions would be charged with. Paul says he doesn’t think women should be charged with a crime, but that he never, as a ob/gyn, saw a medically necessary abortion, and that the abortionist should be charged with a crime. However, he says it should be up to the states, not the federal government. Thompson says we need to put the right judges on the Supreme Court to change things, but that things should be like they are now.

9:09: Question: If Congress passed a federal ban on abortions, would you sign it? Giuliani says “I would probably not sign it, I would leave it up to the states to decide”. Romney says he’d love to see that kind of consensus, but it’ll never happen, and it will probably be left to the states.

9:13: Huckabee asked about the death penalty. He says he is the only one on stage who had to decide to put someone to death, and that it is a very tough decision, and explains the difference between the death penalty and abortion. The question is what would Jesus do, and Huckabee says Jesus was too smart to run for public office. Tancredo says he’d ask Jesus for advice.

9:16: Guy holds the Bible, and asks if you believe every single word. Giuliani says you can’t take every work literally, but he believes in it and reads it frequently and lets it guide him. Romney says he believes it is the word of god. Huckabee says that it is the word of god, regardless of the meaning of every word, it’s all there for a reason.

Commercial break

9:23: Question for Giuliani about Islamic terrorists. He says a small group is ruining the good name of a great religion. He says “September 11″ twice, for the first time in the debate. He says Democrats bury their head in the sand, and are afraid to even say that the terrorists are Islamic, that saying such only offends the terrorists, not the rest of normal Islamic people.

9:25: McCain says we can’t set a date for withdrawl, but that he was the only one who said Rumsfeld’s strategy was a failure, and that our current strategy is working.

9:27: Question that McCain is an expert on waterboarding, and opposes it, and whether the other oppose it. Romney says he shouldn’t debate specific methods, but opposes torture. McCain comes out fighting, and says “I’m astonished you don’t know what waterboarding is”, Romney says he does, and McCain asks how he could not be against it then. Romney clarifies that he does not want to lay out accepted an unaccepted types. McCain says we’d have to withdraw from the Geneva Convention under Romney, that we can’t be Jack Bauer. Yes, he said Jack Bauer!

9:32: Question about who’d make a long term commitment to the people of Iraq. Thompson says we shouldn’t be there forever, but as long as it takes. Paul says the best commitment is to give the Iraqi people their country back. McCain says Vietnam sent an important message to the enemy, and that Iraq will keep the terrorists from coming to our cities. Paul says our bases in other countries cause them to want to fight us. Tancredo says Paul’s idea of not going overseas is nice, but that’s not the word we live in.

9:37: Question for Giuliani about whether he is trying to use September 11 to get into the White House. He says his record, both in the Justice Department and as mayor, all before September 11, show why he should be President.

9:39: Question from a computer animated Dick Cheney, who asks if the Vice President will be allowed as much power as Cheney did. Thompson jokes he thought the animated character was him, and says that the most important thing is that the Vice President be prepared to be President. McCain says Bush had to rely on Cheney because of his limitations, but that he would not have to. My wife says McCain is very cuddly.

Last commercial break.

9:47: A retired Brigadier General says that he is openly gay, and wants to know why the armed forces cannot be allowed to serve with gays. Hunter says he agrees with Colin Powell that soldiers cannot co-exist as a unit because of the type of person who becomes a soldier and how hard it would be for them to deal with it. Huckabee says we cannot put our soldiers at risk by affecting unit cohesion.

9:49: Romney is quoted as saying that he can’t wait for the day gays can serve openly. He responds that this not the day for that. My wife is screaming at the screen, saying he’s worse than Kerry at sticking by what he says.

9:50: The soldier who asked the question gets up and says he was not given a good answer.

9:51: McCain responds, saying that those who serve right now say that the policy is working.

9:52: Question about whether candidates accept support of log cabin Republicans. Huckabee says he needs all the support he can get, and will accept it, but will not change his positions because of that.

9:53: Question by guy inside a dollar bill graphic showing social security being squandered. Thompson says we need to protect young people from being hurt by his own generation. Romney says we face so many problems, including these entitlements, and we need to take America in a new, stronger direction.

9:55: Question about space exploration and Mars. Huckabee says our lives have been greatly improved by the space program (makes a joke about people being late to the debate because they don’t have GPS), and says that Hillary Clinton should be on the first rocket to Mars. Tancredo says we have been talking about spending all night, and that we can’t afford to go to Mars.

9:58: Question about why black people don’t vote Republican. Giuliani says the party doesn’t communicate well what it has to offer, as well as improving schools for them. He says his efforts on welfare show how he can improve things for the African American community. Huckabee says he does have the support of the black community, and that he got 84% of the vote from them.

10:01: Question about the Confederate flag and what it means. Romney says that with the problems we have we shouldn’t waste our time on that, and that we face extraordinary challenges and shouldn’t be divisive like the Democrats. It’s a great answer. Thompson says that people who fly that flag are not racists, but it has a racist connotation, and we don’t need to go out of our way to bring up things like that.

10:04: Question about investing in infrastructure in this country. Giuliani says he did a good job investing in that as mayor, and that we need to make serious efforts at a sustained program over the next several generations. Paul says we are building bridges overseas and not here, and we need to get out of other countries.

10:06: McCain says he will use veto to oppose all pork barrell spending and takes a shot at Giuliani for fighting against the line item veto. Giuliani demands the chance to respond, and gets it, and says that the line item veto is unconstitutional. He also mentions that he beat Bill Clinton to do it.

10:08: Question for Paul about his chances. Paul mentions how much money he’s made, and rants about his beliefs.

10:09: Last question, for Giuliani about supporting the Red Sox. Giuliani says he always roots for the American League team, and that the Yankees won when he was mayor. Romney retorts that he is a Red Sox fan, and that he was proud when his team beat the Yankees in 2003.

And that the end of the debate. Giuliani was not perfect, but he did a good job holding as the front runner. He was hurt early on but did solidly as the debate went on. Romney attacked too much and looked desperate. Huckabee won the debate, coming off as well-tempered and with well-developed viewpoints. Thompson came off better prepared and sounded better than he has in the past. McCain came off strongly, but not necessarilly enough.

Great debate, very exciting and a great look at the views. CNN is saying that tonight was the first time any candidate made an attack ad, that being the Fred Thompson video showed midway through the debate. All in all, a great two hours of TV, and covered enough bases to give anyone a good view of the field. If you only watched one debate, this one was definitely the right one to watch.

November 28th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | YouTube, Services | one comment

Google Maps Adds Collaborative MyMaps, Mobile Location Tracking

Google Maps added some new stuff: You can now edit maps collaboratively, letting a whole bunch of people combine wiki-style to create custome MyMaps about any subject.

They’ve also junked the “Hybrid” button, which probably made no sense to new users, and replaced it with “Terrain”, which shows colored maps and elevated terrain, a unique* and visually striking view that combines roadmaps with a simulation of land types. The hybrid view isn’t gone, it’s just available as a “Labels” check box when you click the satellite view.

Image by atanas under CC license

You can also now import KML files from the Google Earth community into Google Maps.

Now, when you click on a search result in Google Maps, it will occasionally show a picture of the business. This is not a Street View image, as Barry identifies it, but an image from the Google Local Business Referrals program, where anyone can take a picture of a store, enter the details of the place, and have it added to Google Maps (and get paid $2-10).

Google Maps Mobile has a new feature: My Location. It uses the cell phone towers around your phone to determine your location whenever you press the “0″ (zero) key on your keypad or select it in the menu. It’s available now in beta at google.com/gmm for Windows Mobile, Java, Blackberry and Symbian, but not for Palm (though the webpage will eroneously invite you to download it anyway).

Here’s a video explaining it:

I tried it out on my Windows Mobile phone, and it gave me my location within 1700 meters (1.05 miles - Google, don’t use the Metric system!). It was only off by about six small blocks, but more importantly it was more than close enough for driving directions or finding local businesses, and that’s the real point. Wonderful feature, even works over wifi if you don’t have a data plan, and completely one-ups Microsoft**.


* - I say unique, but they’re not necessarilly the first with this idea. Microsoft’s Live Maps has a similar shaded 3D terrain look in its regular maps, too, and they’ve had it since August.

** - Microsoft doesn’t have anything like this feature, but they do have voice recognition for any location. So, Google has made it dead easy to find out where you are, but Microsoft has made it easy to find any place at all. Both are great features, and whoever has both first will make me a happy boy.

November 28th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Google Maps, Services | one comment

Wait, So I’m Not A Trained Server Technician?

This site has been down for two days, which, you know, is always fun and profitable. The reason? Me and GoDaddy came up with this wonderful sponsorship agreement, which would allow this site to move to a dedicated server and thusly be more stable and not ever go down for two days, as well as allowing me the flexibility to install lots of useful plugins I couldn’t otherwise on a shared host.

Problem is, that didn’t work out so well. Turns out running a server is hard :-)

In the end, I’m glad to say the problem was not my fault, I’m just the one suffering for it. Turns out that GoDaddy’s default server provisioning enables a service called iptables, which manages a lot of NAT and firewall stuff on Linux, but installed it without enabling the ports for HTTP and FTP access (which are kind of important). Also, I have to change a setting in an “A-Record”, whatever the hell that is.

Anyway, I’m going to re-attempts the server move this weekend. Until then, enjoy some speedblogging.

Also, I’m still looking for someone interested in helping me sell some ads for this site. Traffic has been spiking like crazy, and on a 30% commission, it’s a nice way to make some side money. If you’re interested, just hit the contact form or comment on this post.

November 28th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | General | 5 comments

Google Prioritizes Sales Over Content

Google has removed the Video link on its search results pages with one to Google Product Search, relegating the very useful Video link to the “More” menu. The Video link is fourteen items down the More menu, making it a lot of work to reach. Previously, on any Google search, you could hit Video to get results from dozens of popular and unpopular video sites, making it the easiest way to find video on the internet. Now? Not so much.

Google seems to be prioritizing Product Search, with its huge links to Google Checkout, over Video, which is actually a very popular and fast growing segment of the internet. It’s a decision that, unless backed up by traffic number saying no one used the Video link, makes no sense and implies Google ignored the needs of its users over its need to sell stuff. That’s dissapointing.

I’ve been trying to find a video card for my wife’s computer all week, and Google has been no help. Every search on a product name reveals site after site that is selling that product. Why Google can’t do powerful integration with Product Search, and then remove the product results from the web results, I have no idea. I could not find forums discussing my various technical issues, because Google listed site after site with the same useless sales information.

Google needs to do a non-commercial search engine. They’d be able to sell more ads, since the results would contain no stores, and users would finally have a way to get answers to their questions. I posted my questions to my two blogs because Google was a waste of my time. Three years ago, when I started doing this, Google was the place that indexed blogs and forums and ranked them high, now it’s the place that ranks every outdated deal and online store above actual information.

Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information. When it comes to searching for anything anyone is selling, there isn’t any information to be found.

November 23rd, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Search | 7 comments

Being Five On Thanksgiving

Being Five is one of my favorite webcomics that I subscribe to (Least I Could Do is another*), and I was emailing with series creator George Sfarnas this morning, so I thought I’d share the Thanksgiving comic strip:

Hope you are enjoying the day and spending it with your loved ones. I’m off to dinner!

* and they couldn’t be more different

November 22nd, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Humor | no comments