Monday, April 07, 2003

Watched Auf Wiedersehen, Pet for the first time tonight and wished I'd caught the first few episodes. Also watched the third episode of a series on Mark Twain. After a terrible dream last night that left me too scared too move (not common!), a quote from the doco felt relevant:

"I realize that from the cradle up I have been like the rest of the race - never quite sane in the night."

Wow, I searched for the Mark Twain quote using Google and thought I'd reference the page on which I found the quote. I always (well, I hope I do) check the source of the pages I reference - who authored the site or which organisation claims to host a site. Discovered that the page listing the Mark Twain quotes was compiled by someone into corporal punishment. At first I was thinking, yikes, this person wants children to be smacked in a big way at home ... something I'm not too keen on... or at school... something I'm really not keen on. Then I realised that the writer was more interested in spanking adults for pleasure. The FAQ makes me think Owwwww. And I initially ruled out visiting 'Mark Twain and Telepathy' (actually kinda interesting!). The quote (without other Twain quotes specifically about being bad) and more about Twain can be found at Mark Twain's Autobiography Chapter 17b.

Via a blog called Too Beautiful (and perhaps via one of the blogs listed there... I kinda got lost) I read an article about an 'Anti-war slogan coined, repurposed and Googlewashed... in 42 days' at The Register. The article claims that neologisms can be washed of their new meaning and given a different, newer meaning by people whose Web sites rank better at Google.

Visiting The Age Online today I read another article about Google called 'Forget Me Not' that outlines how Google uses cookies to collect information about the search terms entered using individual computers. Lots of sites send cookies - some sites send lots of cookies. I have Opera set to allow me to choose between accepting or refusing a cookie (I thought it might be interesting and now I can't be bothered switching it off). Sometimes it's infuriating how many times I need to click to either refuse or accept cookies from the same site while it loads (not infuriated enough to change my settings, unfortunately!). Cookies can usually be deleted from your computer but I guess the searches in between cookie-clear outs could be stored forevermore. Or until 2038, when the cookies expire - whose computer will last that long? In the short term, maybe you could shift? From here there's a link to GoogleWatch, a site concerned with aspects of how Google uses information, including - as mentioned in the Googlewash article - how pages come to be ranked. From an article on the site, 'Google as Big Brother' :

"If we're not lucky, we will be uploading our websites to Google's servers by then [several years time] , much like the bloggers do at (which was bought by Google in 2003). It would mean the end of the web as we know it."

That changes the way I look at blogging... I thought it was all about me but it seems I'm giving myself to Google. I've started to feel that perhaps I am relying on one search engine too much. I can search Google directly from Opera, which is really, really convenient. Last year I found that Alta Vista Australia was a better bet for local searches but since then Google Australia started. So in the interests of more varied search results, I'll be looking to search more widely.

Not much other news today - weather changed to windy and then rainy, so it's been an indoor kinda Sunday.

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