Pipo Nguyen-duy

Pipo Nguyen-duy is one of my table tennis pals, but Pipo is also a great photographer who teaches art at Oberlin in Ohio.   Like many new sites,  Pipo‘s website is not appearing first as it should for the query “Pipo Nguyen-duy”.   Other sites that *reference* Pipo’s art appear before his because Google’s algorithm still faces challenges when it tries to determine the best site for the query, which in this case clearly should be his own website.

Here the SEO problem likely relates to the ranking weakness of a new site vs. an old one,  plus the fact Google cannot easily “know” that the site  pipo nguyen-duy.com is actually the official site for the name Pipo Nguyen-duy.   There’s also a title tag change needed over at the website, but this post should start fixing the problem by providing some authoritative links to Pipo Nguyen-duy ‘s real website using anchor text that matches the query we are targeting and a lot of text rich in the query term.    This technique is known as “white hat SEO” because it’s “helping Google” properly index and get the right site ranked for the query.    Generally Google approves of this type of SEO tactic if they see it as something that makes indexing work better and does not deceive users.

Singularity Talks Online

Several talks from the recent Singularity conference are now online and linked up at the Singularity Institute website.    I just read the transcript of Google’s Peter Norvig who seemed cautious but optimistic. 

Norvig is clearly one of the key insiders working in one of the places where a general AI could possibly crop up even without human intervention, though I got the idea Norvig felt that was not likely anytime soon.    I was disappointed he didn’t elaborate on what Marissa Mayer mentioned to me last month after her keynote at the Search Strategies conference – the idea that search results for some queries are increasingly looking more and more like the product of human-like intelligence.    I should note that Mayer did not seem to think this was a sign of impending general AI from the Googleplex – she just thought it was a very interesting development.

Facebook will rule the world in 33 days! Ummm … not.

Yes, of course Facebook is a great implementation of Social Networking which is undoubtedly the paradigm that will dominate the internet world for at least a few years.  However Facebook is hardly a *new* idea  and it’s hardly immune to other social networking forces that are in the mix now and will be popping up as time moves on.

AllFacebook is reporting that soon Facebook could kill off LinkedIn with new ways to segregate and work with your contact list, and I think he’s got a good point.   Ideally it seems like would be nice to have ONE intersection point that can be adjusted and manipulated according to our network, community, or audience.   But it’s not clear people will want that to be a commercial enterprise – in fact OpenID in some form seems more likely to take on that role. 

Despite all the hype surrounding a 10 billion valuation for Facebook and rumors of their takeover of the world I’m skeptical they’ll be as dominant as many seem to think after a few years of hassling with the real world of real people – potentially very fickle facebookers. 

Facebook is seeking the mantle of the one stop social networking shop, and as of the latest buzz they seem in a good position to take over from Myspace as the world’s top social network.   However Facebook has a very long way to go in terms of subscribers even though it does seem that the earlier enthusiasm folks showed for Myspace is  giving way to Facebook.    But Facebook is not as “fun” as Myspace so I’d guess we’ll see a demographic division as kids and new users gravitate to the more “fun” sites like MySpace or the new Yahoo Mash and more sophisticated users move in the direction of Facebook.   

TechCrunch on Facebook’s changes

Real Estate prices. Highest to lowest cities show more than a 1000% difference.

Wow, Coldwell Banker is reporting these stats on the most expensive vs cheapest USA markets for a comparable  4 BR house.  I’ve been wondering about this for some time and this indicates clearly the truth of the old maxim in real estate “location, location, location”Looks like here in southern Oregon we are near the national average of about 410k for a 4BR house.


Greenwich, Conn. $2,018,750
Santa Monica, Calif. $1,785,000
Newport Beach, Calif. $1,617,500
San Mateo, Calif. $1,498,023
Boston, Mass. $1,381,250

Most affordable markets
City Price
Minot, N.D. $139,033
Canton, Ohio $146,333
Topeka, Kan. $150,075
Tulsa, Okla. $153,750
Wichita, Kansas $156,500

1850 bottle of Scotch sets sales record at almost $60,000

A 157 year old Bowmore Scotch sold for almost $60,000, setting a new world scotch record.  My experiences with single malts have been uninspired – so much so that I’m skeptical about most people who claim to have special tastes for good scotch.

However in this case I’m guessing that even I could tell the difference.    

But at $2000 for a shot of this whiskey I’m confident we’ll never know.   

 Hey Mr. Bartender, can you make mine a 1850 Bowmore whiskey sour with extra ice?

Google + Doubleclick? Microsoft cries “Advertiser Monopolizer!”

Dana Baran over at WebGuild blog has a great short article summarizing Microsoft’s case against a Google takeover of Doubleclick.   The chart (from the MS legal team?) has what appears to be an excellent summary of the total online advertising spend.  I assume this is for 2006 but not sure.   It shows approximately a 20 billion total ad spend with Google scooping up 30% followed by Doubleclick at 22%, Yahoo at 19%, Microsoft at 17%, and all the rest at 12%. 

Microsoft’s point seems to be that Google and Doubleclick should not merge because, as the two leading recipients of online advertising revenue, this would create a player with more than half the market and thus too much power over the marketplace and advertisers. 

Palm Centro. At $99 the Centro has a great price but still a too-small screen!

Palm’s new phone – the “Centro” – offers a price breakthrough for “higher end” smart phones.  With a mid-october launch date.  My prediction is that this is too little too late from Palm, already struggling to regain a market.     The Treo was a significant improvement over earlier phones and PDAs, but Apple’s iPhone effectively blew the Treo design out of the water.   Others will copy the iPhone and other good smart phone features but it seems Palm has just issued a “cheap” version of the Treo.     This was too little too late to compete with the iPhone and coming Google phone

Palm Centro intro from Palm website

This *may* work depending on the expectation of users.   If people who have held off on iPhones decide they can now afford a device that has the enhanced functionality of the Centro AND if the Google phone is delayed past Christmas (unlikely in my view), the Centro may be the boost Palm seems to desparately need.   However, unlike the iPhone the Centro is unlikely to create a huge buzz.   Unlike the iPhone which was a masterpiece of clever innovation and hype, the Centro can only brag about a price breakthrough – it is nothing like a technology breakthrough.    A large screen at this price might have made this the “must have” gadget for high schoolers and soccer moms, but I don’t see this taking off.

The Google phone is likely to come out before Christmas and if it’s in this price range and more like the iPhone it’ll be the device of the year and yet another feather in Google’s oversized cap (and oversized market cap!)

IMHO LARGE screen sizes will be the key to success as phones evolve.

More on Google Phone from Business Week

Charity return on investment is important. Thanks World Vision!

There are a great number of groups doing a lot of good in the world, and I’m concerned that *something* in the way we process information about poverty and health needs in the developing world has made us far too skeptical of how easy it can be to save lives, and far too skeptical of the groups that are doing a good job.

This in part leads to what I’d argue is an immoral state of affairs in the charity world. Most people in the USA give far more to University, Hospital, and Museum endowments than they give to organizations serving the third world that are saving lives for a few bucks rather than simply making our already very comfortable middle class lives a *bit* better. I guess that’s OK but I’ll take the big ROI on my charity investments, thank you.

It feels very good knowing your money is actually saving lives, living because I chose to give to high ROI charities.

The simple story is that it costs very little to save lives in the developing world. Although it’s a little counterintuitive it’s also clear that reduced death rates lead to reduced birth rates and lower population. I’m floored by how poorly this is understood by otherwise intelligent people, and it seems to be the top reason people say they don’t want to give money to extremely poor people. Graft and corruption are major problems in the third world which is why you want to give to “NGOs” or “non-governmental organizations” which tend to be far more effective at making sure the money finds its way to the right people.

So, let’s apply this ROI in real life and give some money in honor of my Mother’s birthday today. I think charities like World Vision do a lot of good but also suffer from the kind of fatigue people show when presented with a lot of “dying children” information. This is unfortunate because World Vision leverages cheap and free expertise to deliver a lot per donated dollar. Here is the campaign mom likes:

Major pharmaceutical companies have recently donated over $174 million in medicines and supplies to World Vision.
But we need your help to distribute them where they’re needed most.

The medicine is Mebendazole and some others that fight worms and intestinal viruses – one of the leading killers in the developing world. World Vision has the meds but needs money to ship them. The “multiplier” in this case is 13x – ie a donation of a mere 7.7 cents delivers – literally – a dollar of medicines.

So, time to stop writing and do some good and give $770 dollars to this campaign for a health impact of just over $10,000!

Donor Name: Joseph Hunkins
Donation Total: $770.00
Donation Date: 27-Sep-2007
Completed Date: 27-Sep-2007
Payment Type: 
Credit Card Type:

Happy Birthday Mom!

World Vision

Yahoo rewriting URLs to improve indexing

Yahoo just rolled out new search results so it’s a good idea to check your rankings after these settle in.    Over the past few years Yahoo has (too quietly) been improving their search results which now, arguably, rival those of Google.     Word on the grey hat SEO street however still contends that Yahoo and MSN are much easier to spam than Google.    I think I’ll run yesterday’s “Las CrucesSERP test at Yahoo and see how those results compare to Google’s, especially given the new Yahoo efforts.

A feature Yahoo announced recently is they new dynamic URL rewriting which should improve indexing – sometimes dramatically – for sites with a lot of dynamic pages or content.

Halo 3 and the statue of the 3 lies

Speaking of Boston MA as I (ummm … sort of) did yesterday, MIT students have pulled a great prank on Harvard by decorating the famous statue in Harvard Yard as a Halo 3 fighter.

The “John Harvard” statue may now get nicknamed “Statue of the FOUR mistakes”. Ironically the statue has three big mistakes as it sits in the hallowed yard of Harvard University, that bastion of intellectual achievement.

Also called sometimes “The statue of the three lies”, the mistakes are:

The statue isn’t really John Harvard. It was commissioned after his death and he had no known portraits so a student sat for the artist.

John Harvard was not the founder of Harvard. It’s named after him, founded by Mass. legislature.

Statue has the wrong date for the founding of Harvard. 1636 is correct, statue shows 1638.