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Search Using Lucene

After tinkering with the Lucene search engine a bit, I have setup a search button for this website. It does require some Java coding to get it to index and search. But it is a fun exercise. The layout of the website is getting complicated and will need some rearrangement.

2004.08.27 [] - comments

 

Another Use of the Wayback Machine

Just find out another use of the Wayback Machine. I am thinking about buying from an small time online merchant whom I do not know of. I used the Wayback Machine as a way to check on their creditability. It shows how long this website has been established (or how long since Internet Archive has visited them) and how it looks throughout its history.

In this case I declined to use this online merchant. With one and half year of history it is good enough. However its front page has not been updated since day one. I have a feeling that it is an inactive website.

2004.08.22 [] - comments

 

Where is 'About Me'?

It was said that blogging has become so popular that there are perhaps a million people around the world doing that actively. But among these active bloggers I observed a trend, many of them do not prominently post some "About Me" information, some background about the author, your profession, the organization you are affiliate with, what part of the world are you from, etc. In their blog there may be a hundred outgoing links pointing to anything they deem valuable, but the 'About Me' link either does not exist or is tucked in some inconspicuous place far less visible than links to other bloggers.

To blog is to express yourselves and your opinions publicly! It is odd that the author would avoid revealing some of their background at the same time.

I say that not because I am voyeuristic. But because it is not only what you say that is important but also who you are. It is difficult to judge the authority and creditability of a post without really knowing who the author is.

2004.08.20 [, ] - comments

 

The Wayback Machine

I have looked back to a previous post "Bill Gates' Inbox" and was very disappointed to find the link to the very funny mocked mailbox of Bill Gates' was broken. Did the author took it down after getting some letters from Bill Gates' lawyer? I turned to the wonderful Wayback Machine, which crawls the whole World Wide Web and archives historical content for public reference. Easy enough the picture is still available here. Indeed I can find the historical record of my own website. Thanks to the Internet Archive for bringing this invaluable service!

It turns out the link is broken not because of Bill Gates lacking a sense of humor, but for a simple reason that the author has moved the URI. Alright, I will update the entry with the new link then.

2004.08.19 [, ] - comments

 

Craigslist's revenue

Apparently my characterization of the craigslist as a struggling non-profit in yesterday's post is more a myth than fact. According to Chronicle's report, its annual revenue is estimated to be $7 million. Consider their low operation overhead, they do not have advertising cost, another reason for their non-commercial image, this translates to a very good profit for a 14 person company.

The article also bring up a common root of the two companies. Both were started in 1995 by pocket-protector-type programmers, craigslist by Craig Newmark and eBay by Pierre Omidyar. eBay went on to become the most successful Internet business. craigslist is still a community communication board. Their contrast would make an interesting story in Silicon Valley history.

2004.08.14 [] - comments

 

eBay Acquires Minority Interest in craigslist

EBay bought 25% stake in Craigslist, as founder Craig commented in his blog. This is not your usual "community effort sold out to big corporation" story. It begins when craigslist first established as company, Craig made a gift of some equity to a guy who was working with him at the time. He reasons that the equity really had more symbolic than actual dollar value. Given the success of craigslist, this is probably self-deprecation. Indeed, this person latter left the company and decided to sold his stake to eBay. The irony is this person is going to make all the monetary gain while Craig would likely to shoulder all the criticism.

Being a for-profit company or owned by big corporation is not necessary a bad thing. People need to make a living and an office need money to run. Even slashdot.org a fervently independent outlet is now owned by VA Software. But craigslist has made a name of itself by strongly resist to commercialize. The web design is basic and text only, entirely free from advertisement. All services are free with the exception of job posting as its sole income. Had it decided to brought in venture capital, craigslist has every potential to be a contender to eBay, a 50 billion dollars corporate giant. But it choose to stay this way, running like a struggling non-profit, forgoing the dream of uncountable wealth.

While it might look a mistake now that he gave away equity to a person who later sell to big corporation and profited, I believe he acted in the interest of the organization at that time. He understand the website that bears his name is more than himself. By making some form of employee ownership he could make it a better and more accountable organization.

I can only hope the ownership change will strengthen craigslist's service without straying it from its mission. No matter what it is going to be, craigslist has already made its name as an antidote to the dot-com frenzy.

2004.08.13 [] - comments

 

PDF Hacks

Just find out an upcoming O'Reilly book PDF Hacks. Like it or not PDF is a very common media format. The free acrobat reader is so limited and does not provide any editing functionality. There are so much I want to do to make the PDF publishing more usable. Check out hack 4: Speed Up Acrobat Startup. I follow the instruction and removed unnecessary plugins. Right away the launch speed improved dramatically. I highly anticipated the publishing of this book.

2004.08.11 [, , ] - comments

 

We The Media

Silicon Valley journalist Dan Gilmore's new book We the Media has just published by O'Reilly. As a veteran journalist, he often receives emails or comments from surprisingly knowledgeable readers. The readers know more than he does, he realizes. He see the significance of these kind of feedback that is becoming a new phenomenon in journalism.

Traditionally, mass media's relationship with audiences is one-to-many, producer to consumer. Recent development in technology has altered the landscape. All of a sudden people are speaking via the media of Internet. These former audiences are no more passive recipients. Many are becoming active citizen journalists. Communication patterns can be one-to-one or many-to-many and is much more interactive. The result is the rise of grassroots journalism and the democratization of the media.

Social changes would seldom go without conflict. Corporate media, loosing their grip to channels they have little control, are fighting back. The copyright cartel, as the author called them, are using stringent copyright law and restrictive use term to retain control of distribution. That why it is all more important for us to understand the context and fight for the freedom of speech and the right of fair use, for much innovation would not be possible without openness and sharing.

The author portrayed this phenomenon in this book with much insight. This is a must read for anyone who care about media and journalism.

2004.08.10 [, ] - comments

 

Text Processing in Python Review

I have posted a review of Text Processing in Python in Amazon. I would try to write more to post here or in more public forum.

2004.08.01 [] - comments

 

past articles »

 

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Crime Scene (13 Feb 2012)

 

C.W Newius Column (10 Jan 2012)

 

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