The Longest Now
Saturday October 09th 2004, 1:03 pm
Filed under: %a la mod

Google ads are a horror and a menace. Why can’t they allow people to choose only “educational” or “environmental” or “oil-related” ads? What if you don’t want your competitor’s ads showing up on your site? You should be able to display links that are useful to both readers and site-owners, while showing discretion and attentiveness to the purpose of a given page. Lazy ad-matching is alright for the 90% of people who don’t care, but the 10% have a lot of devoted fans… for a reason. Enough time has passed since this idea broke out of its gates; it should be suitable for polite company by now. …

Video of Wikipedia smackdown?
Saturday October 09th 2004, 12:48 pm
Filed under: %a la mod

Angela Beesley’s lovely new blog, WikiSearch, is on the short list of must-read wikiphile blogs. Especially if you want a centralized search feature. Maybe I’ll make a little list of them in the sidebar soon, but for now you can see her take on the recent german WP content review. (A brief effort: Andrew Lih (et. al.), Jimmy Wales (free knowledge, culture, & software), wordpress (plugin), M.Sch.)

Meanwhile, c’t is planning to release video of their content review — what, do we get to see the experts making jokes in the reading room, being blindfolded while someone reads them the sample text, laughing at poor entries? life-size puppets representing the contenders sparring for the title? — with the regular TV-magazine version of their print mag. Yow! Keep your eyes peeled to that link next week.

Video of Wikipedia smackdown? …

Clush, Clusty, Clustering
Saturday October 09th 2004, 12:31 pm
Filed under: %a la mod

New search engines abound this month. Clusty, from vivisimo, has a ”’Wikipedia”’ tab that only searches the web’s mutant encyclopedia. They also have a wicked 40’s retro pattern going… Meanwhile, Clush, proving that good things come in convergent-evo clusters, also provides some neatly-clustered search results. In particular, the title above links to a great search for ‘sites with content that might be compatible with/contributed to the w’s m. e.

Google of course is responding by taking these efforts very seriously, and working hard not to fall off the magic ball of public respect. Most search engines have disappeared, as a a report on the subject from one of Google’s lead developers notes. Let’s hope these new efforts at least enjoy their fifteen minutes of fame.

Clush, Clusty, Clustering …

Experts report : passion outclasses flashy sex appeal [Wikipedia]
Monday October 04th 2004, 4:15 am
Filed under: %a la mod

c’t, a popular german magazine for computer engineering, just
released a six-page spread detailing a study they conducted of the three major digital encyclopedias in Germany — Brockhaus, Encarta, and (most recently) Wikipedia. They tested the encyclopedias on breadth, depth, and comprehensibility of content, ease of searching, and quality of multimedia content.

The content test was the most elaborate : first they divided content
in three broad fields, Science, Society, and Culture. They further subdivided these into 22 total subject areas, and within each subject selected an easy, a moderate, and a difficult topic. They then searched for the best matching article (and supplementary content) in the encyclopedia.

Finally, they brought in experts in each broad field who rated the
articles from 1 to 5, based on technical correctness and completeness
of the texts, and on their comprehensibility. Once this was finished,
the results were totalled at each level of conceptual difficulty,
within each broad field, and across all 66 topics.

The net result: Wikipedia ran away with the top prize, a comfortable
distance ahead of its predecessors. “Brockhaus Premium
surpassed the competition from Redmond,
” the review reported, “but must concede defeat to Wikipedia“.

Happily, the reporting of the test was detailed — a full breakdown of the experts’ ratings for each topic were published with the article, so that each encyclopedia might benefit from the spot check.

Grab a copy of the original at your local international-publications shop, if you can, or browse the current table of contents online:
Lexica: Wikipedia gegen Brockhaus und Encarta (pg. 132, not online yet)

German review of the article

Experts report : passion outclasses flashy sex appeal [Wikipedia] …

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