Ben Langhinrichs

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January, 2004
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Genii Weblog


Civility in critiquing the ideas of others is no vice. Rudeness in defending your own ideas is no virtue.


Mon 5 Jan 2004, 02:12 PM
There is an interesting article on next generation search engines on the CNN site today.  I tried out Vivisimo.com to see how it compared to Google, and I must say I like the results.  



If I search for "rich text" on Google, I get 6,910,000 results!  Nearly seven million hits, which means that the vast majority is useless to me and essentially inaccessible in ten page increments.  On the first page, I get hits as varied as rich text editors, Microsoft RTF specifications, support technotes from MSDN, and a blog about rich text editing in MovableType.  If the first page has that level of variety in just ten entries, how many pages might I have to search before I found what I wanted?  (It is also the second page before Genii Software is mentioned, which also irks me, <grin>)

If I try the same search on Vivisimo, I get tabulated results that are much more useful.  On the left hand side, I get categories with counts such as Text Editor (44), Rich Text Format (42), Class (5), and even Genii Software (3).  Besides the preferable placement of Genii Software among the obvious categories, it is infinitely easier to wade through the results.  Some of those rich text editor entries were more than fifteen pages away on Google!

Trying another search that is near and dear to my heart (feel free to try your own), if I search for "Notes web coexistence" on Google, the first several entries do reference my blog entries or related entries, but the same page also offers a Byte article from 1996.  Vivisimo shows the categories, and has useful collections such as Microsoft, Exchange (22), Coexistence and Migration (17) and others that seemed intuitive and useful.  Of course, my blog entries were still first, but those looking for conference info would have found Session (6) useful, with links to various conferences where this is discussed.

I will certainly keep this in mind.  Let me know if your mileage varies.

Copyright © 2004 Genii Software Ltd.

Mon 5 Jan 2004, 07:49 AM
In reading this article on CNN, mention is made of Mars time, and even watches the scientists wear which keep Mars time.  Now, with the incessant talk about the importance of "standards" at IBM and in the general IT community, I was curious how a standard Mars time had been developed such that one could develop a watch based on the time.  Of the many things we measure, time is both one of the most standard across the world and one of the few that is decidedly not metric.  This is due to its particular association with some (basically) fixed external rhythms, namely the rotation of the Earth, the rotation of the Moon (capitalized to emphasize that it is our moon, not just any moon) around the Earth, the rotation of the Earth around the Sun (see previous parenthetical comment), etc.

So, if we want to develop a standard for Mars, do use our cycles, or their cycles?  It is pretty obvious what a day should be (on Mars, they refer to it as a sol instead of a day, for clarity's sake), and even a year, but what is the length of a month when you have two moons?


Anyway, here is a relatively accessible discussion of Mars time, and a somewhat accessible discussion of Mars time, and, finally, a almost inaccessible discussion of Mars time for you total astro-geeks.  I particularly like the discussion in the first link on the social determination of standards.

Copyright © 2004 Genii Software Ltd.