Webometric Thoughts

February 29, 2008

Drudge: An example of what is wrong with some New Media

Filed under: Drudge Report,Prince Harry,blogosphere,new media,old media — admin @ 1:32 pm

The blogosphere always seems to be having a bit of a love affair with itself: They are a great fighter for unbiased freedom of information, whilst the traditional news sources feed us the slops of whoever has the biggest pockets. Whilst that may make the average office-bod feel like a South American freedom fighter, the truth has a lot more to do with lots of little people sounding-off with few restraints. The latest big story that was broken on the web without any restraint was that Prince Harry was fighting in Afghanistan. The story was broken by the Drudge Report whilst the traditional media had agreed to a news blackout until Harry returned.

Whilst others may question whether the media should have had a blackout, without it there would have been no story, and Harry’s deployment to Afghanistan had the potential to bolster much-needed support and coverage of the war at home. The breaking of the story reflects Drudge’s self-interest rather than the public interest. Did the public benefit from the breaking of the news? No. His breaking of the story is on a par with the lowest form of paparazzi journalist that knows the upskirt shot of the latest young starlet will increase a paper’s sales, whatever the consequences to those involved.

February 27, 2008

Qik Streaming Video: Scarily easy!

Filed under: qik — admin @ 8:56 am

I came across a post on a BBC blog yesterday about a site called Qik.com, which provides an application for your mobile phone so that you can stream live video from your mobile phone to the web. Whilst it is in an alpha-release at the moment, I found my request for an invite was relatively quickly met, and at some point during the night my mobile phone received the necessary text with a link to the software.

The amazing thing about Qik is the ease with which you can start streaming video. Literally a couple of clicks on my mobile phone and I am streaming live! Obviously, like most people, my life is not filled with never ending events worthy of filming, so my first video is an extremely mundane recording of the Qik.com web site, which I click through until I enter the never ending world of me filming me filming me filming….

Whilst that isn’t the most exciting video, you can embed a person’s Qik channel rather than just a single video, which will then show the most recent video or a live stream:

At the time of posting these are one and the same, but who knows, I may try some streaming whilst I am out and about just to see what it is like.

February 26, 2008

Hotmail down? It’s definately causing trouble

Filed under: hotmail — admin @ 2:00 pm

Usually I am not too bothered when a web site becomes inaccessible, there are few sites I can’t live without:
-YouTube, FaceBook, MySpace, Digg, Google: couldn’t care less.
-BBC, Newsgator, webometrics.org.uk: slightly annoyed but happy to wait.
-Hotmail: I’m tearing my hair out!
Over the last 24hrs I have found Hotmail increasingly difficult to access, with the last few hours being nearly impossible: connections are continuously timing out.

It’s unlikely that my inbox is filled with ‘can’t wait’ job offers and business opportunities, but it’s the not knowing that is driving me mad.

Second LIfe v. EA-Land

Filed under: EA-Land,Second Life,Sims — admin @ 11:09 am

The Sims Online is being relaunched as EA-Land, and this time its going to be free (via TechCrunch)! Hopefully EA-Land (a name which already seems to be univerally hated) will bring some much neeeded competition to the virtual world sector. Despite all the fun that some sections fo society seem to have in Second Life, I have found it a curiousity rather than a real interest, and rarely visit.

Unfortunatley, despite gaining my initial interest, EA-Land is experiancing problems with new sign-ups at the moment. However, the promise of free land, albeit small land, will probably see me try again. Will this see Second Life offer a small basic plot for free, with more extensive islands costing?

Google Top UK Brand? Not worth reporting.

Filed under: BBC,Brand name — admin @ 10:02 am

I was quite surprised to read on Search Engine Land that Google is the top brand in the UK. However, following up the story you soon realise that the the title isn’t really worth that much. The ranking is actually based on a survey of ‘1,500 professionals‘, rather than the public at large, and rather than being surprised that Google has knocked the BBC from the top spot, we should be surprised that the BBC ever held the top spot in the commercially focused business world.

Whilst the more vocal elements of the online community may worship in the church of Google, I think for the average UK user (myself included) the BBC brand is still a better indicator of quality, reliability, and distinction. The factors that the survey’s ranking was meant to reflect.

February 24, 2008

Wii goes even more retro!

Filed under: games,virtual console,wii — admin @ 10:47 am

According to an Engadget post a couple of days ago (I’ve been busy) the Wii is going to start adding C64 games to their virtual console. A console that already offers a selection of games from the NES, SNES, Nintendo 64, Sega Mega Drive, and two I had never heard of, the Neo Geo, and Turbografx.

The addition of the C64 will allow the younger generation to try real games rather than the pathetic offerings of today. Personally I am hoping for addition of Manic Miner and Chuckie Egg. If you can’t get the whole level on one screen I am just not interested!

nb. My girlfriend is too young to remember the joys of computer games, rather than console games, so if Nintendo come across this: Could you please hurry up with a releasing a version of MicroMachines so she will stop going on about it. Thanks.

February 20, 2008

Researcher ID: A password nightmare!

Filed under: Citation analysis,ResearcherID,Web of Science — admin @ 7:33 pm

Whilst searching on ISI Web of Knowledge I came across ResearcherID. It basically assigns you a unique identifier to which you then add your publications, ‘to aid in solving the common problem of author misidentification’. It’s a good idea, but it has been executed badly. Even the relatively simple process of creating a password was badly worked.

These days it seems as though we all have a million different accounts, and as such we have a choice of either writing all our passwords down (stupid), using the same password everywhere (stupid), or creating our own system for establishing passwords (sensible). Unfortunately when web sites have stringent stipulations about the form of the passwords, our extremely sensible password allocation systems soon fall apart. Researcher ID has the most stupid password stipulations I have yet to come across:letters, numbers, length…and symbols!
Password Guidelines

Must be 8 or more characters (no spaces) and contain:
– at least 1 numeral: 0 – 9
– at least 1 alpha character, case-sensitive
– at least 1 symbol: ! @ # $ % ^ * ( ) ~ `{ } [ ] | \
Example: 1sun%moon


Additional annoyances include: rubbish search fields; and the fact it only adds records directly from ISI Web of Science, not ISI Proceedings. The site should also use the fact that researchers want to have their citations recognised, and rather than only showing the citations identified by WoS they could enable users to match up the results from cited reference searches.

Nonetheless I have created a basic page with some of my outputs. Although I doubt very much whether I will remember the password long enough to update the page.

Bridgend and Bebo

Filed under: Bebo,Brigend,Social Networking Sites — admin @ 12:21 pm

In the last year 17 young people in Bridgend have committed suicide, and such a cluster is, unsurprisingly, getting the interest of the press. Possibly more surprising is the interest that is being given to social networking sites. For the most part it has been mentioned as an aside, i.e., the youngsters were members of the social networking site Bebo, although it seems that certain newspapers are beginning to build up a head of steam…and it’s not surprising that the Daily Express is beginning to look like one of the first to lose the plot.

Today the Daily Express have roped in ‘psychologist and novelist’ (alternatively “writer, psychotherapist, and media commentator”) Lucy Beresford to explain how:
“What could be going on is that adolescents are sharing and describing experiences on the internet…People of this age tend to be very imitative…The experiences they describe are toxic, rather than in my day when you might be influenced by magazines like Smash Hits.”
Yes, in my day the world was full of balloons, chocolate, candy floss, little puppies, and butterflies, and it has all gone to hell since the demise of Smash Hits and the rise of means of communication that allow us to share our ‘toxic’ feelings.

I am expecting a follow-up that proves that:
1) social networking sites killed Princess Diana*
2) social networking sites encourage immigration to the UK by lazy benefit cheats

*nb. Princess Diana dies in 1997, the same year as sixdegrees.com was launched…spooky.

February 19, 2008

Dailymotion offers HD Videos

Filed under: Dailymotion,HD,ISP,iPlayer — admin @ 9:16 am

TechCrunch are reporting that Dailymotion are starting to offer HD videos, streamrate 2 megabits per second. Whilst it is great that these services are starting to be offered, we are a long way from the ISPs being able to deal with any sudden surge in traffic. Currently the UK ISPs struggle to deal with the bandwidth-friendly streaming of the iPlayer!

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