be cuil, man, just be cuil

July 28, 2008 under Cuil, Google, search engine

How many times have we seen this? Company A becomes awesome. Some of Company A’s employees hate the management or think they can do things better so they leave Company A to launch Company B. Company B winds up being pretty good, but you still like Company A’s stuff better.

Cuil.com (the Gaelic spelling of the word “cool”) is a new search engine created by former Google employees and claims to index 120 billion Web pages. Now, I don’t want to give the impression that once people leave the Googleplex, they suddenly become incapable of creating useful new products (handy-dandy FriendFeed comes to mind). Cuil looks really nice and has some useful features that I’ve only previously seen in specialty search engines like Krugle (think tabs). But if Cuil’s primary feature is to be its search functionality, then I wonder if some tweaking is required.

Lots of new search engines have been trying to steal the crown from Google, many of them even promising “deep Web” results. I test these new engines with a simple narcissistic query…on my name 🙂 Let’s see some queries from Cuil and “the big 3 search engines”:

Looking at each engines’ first page of results, Cuil’s are not at all close to what Google returns. Actually, Google and Yahoo are the only engines that return this very site of mine – you know, the one with the most content about me with my name all over it – as the top result. Cuil, along with Microsoft and Yahoo! seem to verge upon meta search, placing emphasis on my profile pages from social sites like LinkedIn, Facebook and Digg. So while Cuil claims to index 120,000,000,000 pages, Google seems grab everything from my decade-old Usenet posts to my friends’ websites.

That’s not to say there isn’t anything about Cuil that I like – nothing wrong with these snazzy features. So while it’s still early in the game and Cuil is in its infancy, I think its best feature right now is the fact that it’s yet another reason for Google to continue to improve its search product.

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what i'm listening to – july 2008

July 22, 2008 under Music, what i'm listening to

Here’s some albums I’ve been listening to lately:

The Hold SteadyStay Positive
I’ve never been disappointed by the Hold Steady’s previous albums and the trend continues. Stay Positive is chock full of the sordid tales from Craig Finn that we’ve come to know and love.

No AgeNouns
If Jack White was weened on Sonic Youth instead of the blues, the White Stripes would be No Age.

The VerveA Storm in Heaven
In anticipation of their new album, titled Forth, coming out next month, I’ve gone back to the Verve’s beginnings.

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txt msg csh grb

I hate to harp about the telcos in this country in back-to-back posts, but this sucks.

It turns out that Bell and Telus customers will be charged for all incoming text messages beginning next month. For a country that’s supposed to be so technologically progressive, this idea is completely ass-backwards.

The CBC article mentions the following example:

“A 14-year-old kid gets 30 Happy Birthday messages and gets saddled with the bill, for example.”

Let’s not forgot all of the promotional/informational text messages that the telcos send their customers. If customers will be forced to pay for incoming text messages, opting out of the telco’s marketing campaigns better be the default option. And imagine if the telcos actually used their infrastructures for something important, perhaps to mass broadcast amber alerts. Who would sleep comfortably at night knowing they’d charge for that? Not that it’s an issue now since most text messages are of the “omg u rawk” or “k” varieties, but still…

So if you are a mobile customer of Bell or Telus, what are your options? You could switch to another service from Rogers, Fido, or Virgin. Koodo‘s out because they’re owned by Telus. Of course, these guys could just as easily implement a cost on incoming text messages. When in doubt, try an Internet petition. Whether it’ll help or not is up in the air, but at least the NPD are trying to nix the plan to charge Canadians for incoming text messages. So sign the petition and then spread the word.


Stop the text message cash-grab

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iphones from rogers will make you go ibroke

July 1, 2008 under iPhone, Rogers, Uncategorized

“i” jokes aside, Rogers introduced some brutal pricing plans for the Apple iPhone.

Canada is a fairly laid-back country when it comes to almost everything, but if there’s anything that can be determined by the existence of RuinediPhone.com, it’s this: don’t fuck with our mobile data plans! MacLeans‘ latest issue contains a lengthy article comparing Canadians and Americans (aside: compare us to a different country like Denmark or Australia for a change please and thanks…sigh). It turns out that when compared to our US neighbours, we have greater wealth, carry less debt, are healthier, live longer, have more/better sex, enjoy better beer, blah blah blah. We’re still getting screwed on the cost of things other than greeting cards and books. Car and electronics companies have finally begun adjusting their pricing for the strengthening Loonie. Even Apple themselves, who I lambasted last year, have finally come around: base config on a MacBook Pro now only results in $100 difference between the US and Canadian online store – yay!

O2 in the UK and AT&T in the US both offer unlimited data plans. In fact, O2 offers nice ‘n’ short 18-month contracts and will even throw in the iPhone for free if you sign up for either the £45/month or £75/month plans. Rogers, on the other hand, give you fewer daytime minutes and the most data you can transfer in any given month is 2GB with their $115/month plan – no unlimited plans to be found. Go over your monthly data limit and you’re slapped with $0.50/MB for the first 60 MB, $.03/MB thereafter.

Time will tell if Apple will put the pressure on Rogers before the iPhone launches ten days from now.

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comments: 4 » tags: ,