is up! Everybody Yawns. Tagging is so … 2007!

OK, even though I really love the power of tagging things and think *auto tagging* will quickly becoming a cornerstone of how the world will effectively managing the maelstrom of web content effectively, I’m not really feeling the new launch  of Delicious – the site and application that in an important way is the grandfather –  which in web years that means you have at least passed out of drooling infancy – of content tagging.

What?   I have not even reviewed the new site or APIs?   Yes,  I’m blogging before enough thinking again  (sorry, Sarah Lacy!)

Delicious’ basic tagging idea is very good – users tag stuff and share tags with people and the main site then has a body of information that can be used to determine the sites most appropriate for various tags.     The challenge of course is that noboby much wants to spend that extra 10 seconds or so tagging stuff, unless of course you are a search engine optimizing person in which case you are going to be *far too willing* to tag stuff.   This disparity in tagging enthusiasm can easily distort the results, especially for popular commercial terms.   This is why I would argue that the best tagging is automatic or based on simple behavior observations rather than direct user feedback.    Google, MSN, Yahoo alll have this type of massive behavioral data stream and I want to see them process it to improve the search experience.   For example if, after millions of searches,  4 out of five people who do a lot of dental searches click to the site  “” and stay there for several minutes after a query for “dental information”, you can be fairly confident that the site is a good one for that query.    This is a simple equation but data can be processed in far more complex fashion to reveal a lot more about how others are searching and finding things.   Generally this will give us a lot of insights.

So, I’m hoping a lot of folks use Delicious and tag like crazy, but I’m not holding my breath…

More Cuil Search fun. Check out the …ummm… multiple personality finder.

Over at Sarah Lacy‘s place she’s reasonable asking “Is it Cuil or Us” in terms of expecting too much from this new search startup.   Since I’d been poking fun at Cuil’s failure to find itself I thought I better try a new search.     Since Sarah’s is indirectly suggesting that bloggers like *me* might be the problem let’s ask Cuil… about me… Joe Hunkins….

JoeDuck’s World has moved CLICK HERE

Time to move my posting to the superior WordPress environment. Given how simple and easy it was to set up and that it’s free I’m not clear why Yahoo and/or Google have not scarfed them up or copied that format. I think Yahoo *supports* wordpress but why don’t they just buy it and then they’d be better than blogger…

Online Highways Guide to Travel, Leisure and Recreation …

US States: Alabama Alaska Arizona Arkansas California Colorado Connecticut Delaware District of Columbia Florida Georgia Hawaii Idaho Indiana Illinois Iowa Kansas Kentucky Louisiana Maine Maryland Massachusetts Michigan Mississippi Missouri Minnesota Montana Nebraska New Hampshire New Jersey New Mexico New York…

Joe Duck

Joe Duck. Internet Entrepreneur, Online Quack. Home. Ashland. China Travel&Tips. Joe&Duck. Kim&Story. Las&Vegas. Linkage. Rogue River&Map.

Google and privacy

Richard Eid, I’m also a huge fan of using Ctrl-Ctrl in rapid succession with Google Desktop. Joe Hunkins | Joe Duck, I think the “data portability” idea is a good step in that direction. It means that you can take your data in Google and take it somewhere else (not “trapping users’ data”). Good point……

Cow Creek/Umpqua Tribe: Joe Hunkins – SOVA

I’m Joe Hunkins of Southern Oregon Visitors Association, and I’d really like to link your resource page to the Native American section of our regional travel site Our site is a regional focus for travel information, and we have not done a good job of getting travellers information……

Twitter / joeduck

Name Joe Hunkins. Location Oregon. Web Bio Travel and Tech and Internet and Oregon. Stats. Following 603. Followers 341. Favorites 0. Updates 485. Following.

Joe Hunkins: ZoomInfo Business People Information

Joe Hunkins, ABR, CBR, CRS, GRI, of Hunkins Real Estate, Inc. in Greenland, N.H. and treasurer of the New Hampshire Association of Realtors was recently appointed as a trustee of the NH Realtor’s Political Action Committee. As a trustee, Hunkins will be responsible for interviewing political candidates and deciding……

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Happy Birthday!

Joe Hunkins Said, September 7, 2005 @ 1:57 pm. Congratulations Matt … and Google. Really enjoy the “insider” stories. Gerald Said, September 7, 2005 @ 5:51 pm. Happy Birthday from germany. But why did you xxx the names at the bottom of your mail. Makes me curious. Lxxxx makes me thinking that it could have……

Twitter / joeduck

Name Joe Hunkins. Location Oregon. Web http://www.joeduc… Bio Travel and Tech and Internet and Oregon. Stats. Following 884. Followers 550. Favorites 0. Updates 605. Following.

Now, there is one more “Joe Hunkins” that is fairly prominent online – a real estate guy in New Hampshire – but he’s not pictured here. And neither am I. Despite the fact most of the text does relate to things I have written – though much of it long ago – I’m wondering who the dude is in the first picture?  Hey, he’s a pretty good looking guy – maybe I should be him.    Nope, the older guy isn’t me either.   Hey, the young backpacker dude is more my style.   Maybe I should take over his identity?    Whoops – Cuil is obviously not gender biased – I also am listed as the two women pictured.

Hmmm – I had an imposter over at the other day – maybe they fooled Cuil, too?

Model of Olympic Village Apartments in Beijing

Model of Olympic Village Apartments in Beijing
Originally uploaded by JoeDuck

It’s fun to start to see so much Beijing stuff on TV after just being there.   The Travel Channel is playing Samantha Brown china visits and the news increasingly features Beijing Olympics items.   I have yet to see much about the three major big ticket Beijing buildings though.  These are the “Birds Nest” Olympic Stadium, the big blue Aquatic Center, and my favorite feature which is just off the new Olympic Green – Pangu Plaza apartments and the Pangu Plaza‘s brand new seven star hotel.    I’m trying to find my picture of the Olympic Media Center which really had an ominous look from the outside as the rumors swirled about how restrictive the Chinese Government would be with respect to Olympics coverage.

Here’s a New York Times article suggesting the internet will be censored (as it is during normal times in China) for Olympic journalists.

However I think people have the wrong idea about both the extent and the effectiveness of censorship in China. In Beijing we were watching CNN international’s coverage of the Tibet protests around the world and I even brought up the topic with several people who, rather than sympathetic, seemed more nationalistic about Tibet, suggesting it was part of China and the protests were not representative.

Certainly some of this view was helped along by China’s own government news coverage which is very propagandistic, but I didn’t get the idea people in China are too far out of touch with the rest of the world – rather they are proud of their country and defensive about the criticism.

YouTube lawsuits now top YouTube’s total valuation

When Google bought Youtube for 1.6 billion last year they effectively allocated $400 million of the purchase price towards lawsuits they felt were coming down the pike.   Although both the purchase price and that extraordinary “copyright payoff” of 400 million seemed extraordinary at the time, Eric Schmidt and the Google boys may be wishing they’d allocated a few more bucks to stave off the copyright violation bandwagon, which today solidly topped YouTube’s 1.6 billion price by about 179 million dollars.

Viacom is suing Google for a billion already, and today Mediaset joined the fun with a 500 million Euro ($779 million US) lawsuit.     Interestingly, Mediaset is controlled by a company owned by Italian Prime Minister Sylvio Burlusconi, so the case will likely become fairly high profile in Europe.

So, assuming YouTube is worth the $1.6 billion Google ponied up for the big show, they’ve got to be more than a little concerned that the legal onslaught has only just begun but already is approaching 2 billion.   Obviously neither Viacom or Mediaset expects a full payout but you can be sure many, many others will follow for two important reasons:

1)  Google’s got the money. Deep pockets are a *very* attractive stylin’ feature these days and despite some stock price setbacks Google is still sitting pretty pretty in terms of cash and revenue prospects.

2)  Videos don’t got the money. Monetizing video remains one of the most problematic features of the online world, and it’s becoming clear that no “magic bullet” is out there.   I’ve written for some time that video will not monetize well and I think the jury (that would be millions of us out there in online land) is almost in with the verdict that video simpy will not pay distributors nearly as well or serve advertisers nearly as well as pay per click which remains the most lucrative and effective form of online advertising – probably of any paid advertising for that matter.

Who ARE these WordPress Guys? Bravo … again.

WordPress is one of those amazing Web 2.0 companies that always impresses you with innovation and quality.

Here, they have created a way to better index WordPress blog content using Google sitemaps.  WordPres was was already the best CMS system in terms of facilitatating proper search rankings through categories, tagging, and general structure.    Ironically WordPress is better than Google’s own – ie I think it’s fair to say that an identical blog written to the two CMS would rank better in the WordPress version because it is far more robust in terms of crosslinking, creating categories, and with the sitemap feature even pushing out content descriptions to Google.      To Google’s credit they do not appear to elevate blogger content above others – in fact I think the algorithm accurately notes that bloggers blogs have far more spam than WordPress.

Of course one of the best aspects of WordPress is that Matt and his merry band of WordPressers don’t charge a dime for all their great WP work.   They make enough off of spam blocking “Akismet” which is sold to big companies for enterprise network use, and pick up a few bucks from various add-on features such as domain names and CMS styling at WordPress.     This is a perfect example of how innovative entrepreneurship, global scale technology, profit and non-profit can all mix comfortably in systems that work well for every participant.

WordPress dudes, keep up the amazing work!

Goodbye [S][C][R][A][B][U][L][O][U][S]

Hasbro appears to have won a battle with Facebook application “Scrabulous” which has been wiped off of Facebook.   One of the most popular applications on the massive Social Network, many thought Hasbro would buy Scrabulous from the two founders.   That may still happen but Scrabulous’ negotiating position has been severely weakened over the past month as Hasbro first launched an “official” Scrabble on Facebook and now has won the copyright battle and had the competitor removed.

As I’ve noted many times before the prevailing notions of copyright among onliners differ quite a bit from those held by most judges and the legal world at large and this will continue for some time.   Napster, YouTube, and Scrabulous may seem like reasonably clean applications for the online crowd, but in a legal sense they are on very shaky ground.   Will these copyright issue clear up anytime soon?   In one two letter word …  [N][O]

Cuil Search “Ah Ha! NOW I GET IT!”

OK, I have a mild conspiracy hypothesis about Cuil that helps explain what I see as the glaring problems with this new entrant into the search landscape.   I should say that I don’t know any of the founders so it’s presumptuous to suggest their motivations are not purely to create a great search engine.   All I can assert reasonably is that even if great search is their prime goal, they have a wonderful fallback in terms of getting bought out by Google to protect their secrets or another big player who wants to get at Google secrets indirectly.

Here is the evidence for the buyout hypothesis:

1)  Cuil results are formatted in a crappy way.    It’s hard to scan and review results.  Dramatically inferior to other search engines in my view.

2) Results are not very relevant.    Searching for “computers” yields….nothing.    Cuil cannot even find  “Cuil Search Engine”.   Sure, building a huge search index is very difficult, but Cuil had time, expertise, and resources.  So why such a lackluster relevance debut?

3) No revenue model except the ubiquitous and vague suggestion of monetizing through “advertising”.  Given 1 and 2 it’s going to be hard for Cuil to turn a buck in current form, especially because after all the initial buzz dies they’ll be left with …. very little traffic.

Given this and Glenn’s earlier comment about great new technology at Cuil suddenly it hit me.   BAM! Cuil probably has little or no intention of existing in current form for more than a year or so.    Like Powerset, Cuil secretly planned and plotted in stealth mode, suggesting to insiders they were the next big thing.  Then, when  they had something that basically worked (or in the case of Powerset worked on a limited basis), they launched to great fanfare.    They have improvements on Google’s dated hardware framework and probably have included many of the same features in the Cuil algorithm, coded differently enough to elude legal entanglements.

Now it’s time to shop yourself out to the highest bidder, and in this respect  Cuil is looking at some very, very high bids even though they don’t seem to be a very good search engine. Why the big bids?    Cuil’s team was from Google and no doubt has a lot of specialized, inside information about how Google works.    Due to disclosure and other legal issues I’d guess the Cuil team has been very careful to create something that is new and unique yet includes enough Googley technology to be of concern to Google and of great interest to Microsoft or Yahoo or AOL or Fox or …. ?

The stakes in search are extremely high, and these Google insiders saw a super opportunity to do one of two things:   Improve on Google and be the richest people in history OR   build a modest quality search engine with some Google technology, hype it, and become super rich.     Based on early tests and reviews the first option is out, but the second one is looming large for the lucky Cuil winners.     Powerset sold for $100,000,000 and only managed to index Wikipedia (and not very well at that).    With Cuil I’m guessing the bidding’s going to start quite a bit above that.    Hmmmm – let’s see what Cuil turns up on a search for …

$$$ Cha Ching $$$

Cuil Search – what am I missing about all that they are missing?

TechCrunch and others are waxing almost poetically about the new Cuil search engines, designed by ex Googlers to compete with the mother ship.    But after a few scattershot queries I’m just not feeling the power of Cuil.    It still is failing to find itself for what seems like an obvious query of “Cuil Search Engine”, and for the query “computers” I’d expect a bit more than this among Cuil’s claimed inventory of 121 billion web pages:

We didn’t find any results for “computers”

Some reasons might be…

  • a typo. Please check your spelling.
  • your search includes a term that is very rare. Try to find a more common substitute.
  • too many search terms. Please try fewer terms.

Finally, try to think of different words to describe your search.

Obviously Cuil is missing a LOT of stuff, so what am I missing here?

Update:  I’m still waiting to be impressed, but have learned that Cuil’s architecture is such that if some of the servers go down you can get empty results as I did last night.   Now, ‘Computers’ does turn up relevant results.

Cuil search engine fails to find itself

Cuil search (pronounced “Cool” if rumors are right) is out today, boasting the largest search index on the web with 120,000,000,000 pages indexed.  Unfortunately Cuil seems to struggle with the following search, which you’d think they’d…ummm….get right:

Searching   Cuil Search Engine leads to this incomprehensible listing: – Sligo

The Ordnance Survey letters of 1836 state that “cart loads of shells were found underground in many places within the town where houses now stand”. At that time shells were constantly being dug up during the construction of foundations for buildings. This whole area, from the river estuary at Sligo, around the coast to the river at Ballysadare Bay, was…

Google, I think you can relax.

Shanghai Pork Ball Makers

Shanghai Pork Ball Makers 542

Originally uploaded by JoeDuck

In Shanghai near the Bund we had fried pork balls in dough as a tasty treat at a small place on the street that seemed to be very popular with local folks.

The pork was wrapped in dough and then fried on one side and served – if I’m remembering right – with soy sauce and maybe some other choices. At about .75 for 6 they were a tasty bargain as well.