Webometric Thoughts

September 27, 2008

My first e-book: An Unsocial Socialist

Filed under: Mobi Reader,N95,ebooks — admin @ 1:11 pm

It isn’t the first time I have tried to read an ebook, but it is the first time I have read one all the way through. My previous attempt was as an undergraduate at Loughborough University (approx. 2002), and despite the nifty little ebook reader, the book was not particularly to my liking. In comparison Shaw’s ‘An Unsocial Socialist’ fits nicely with my general approach to society at large, and my opinions of Tories in particular (i.e., selfish, idiots, or both); it had me hooked to the end. Whilst I have yet to see an ebook reader that hopes to challenge more than the fringes of the codex market, the prevalence of freely available pdf books (e.g., 20 Free eBooks about Social Marketing) is beginning to persuade me that there is a place for these devices. Whilst I have found myself coveting the reasonably priced Sony Reader (tempting me every time I walk into my local Waterstones), I don’t particular want to carry around an additional electronic device. I therefore decided to try reading a book on my N95 using Mobi Reader.

The advantage of reading a book on a mobile phone is that most people carry their mobile with them always. The disadvantage is, in the same way as a dedicated ebook reader, you are more concerned about damaging or losing the device. One of my favourite times to read is walking down the street, however I found myself acutely aware of the fact that my phone was much more likely to be the target of an opportunistic thief than a 10p novel from a charity shop. Nonetheless, despite fears for my phone, I found the N95/Mobi Reader combo to provide a useful reading device, and if those who create the free pdf versions would also make a free Mobi Reader version of their books I would never look at a Sony Reader again.

Nb. If you do want to create your own ebook for the Mobi Reader then All About Symbian had a useful post the other week.

Update: Using the Mobipocket Reader desktop version makes converting PDFs to the mobile reader AMAZINGLY easy. I can’t believe I haven’t been doing this for years.

September 24, 2008

Google Insights for Search: Term order is all important!

Filed under: Google,Insights for Search,Iran,cybermetrics,webometrics — admin @ 9:40 am

Unfortunately most poor academics don’t have access to the same data as Bill Tancer, instead we generally have to make do with the crumbs from Google and the other search engines. This morning however, I was reminded about how careful we need to be when using the tools the search engines offer us.

Today I was using Google Insights for Search to compare the term cybermetrics and webometrics. Whilst I am part of the Statistical Cybermetrics Research Group, as a group we tend to discuss ‘webometrics’. Google Insights for Search clearly shows that whilst there was once a time when cybermetrics ruled supreme, webometrics is now far more popular.

More importantly, however, I also noticed that Iran wasn’t highlighted on the map for the term ‘webometrics’, despite Iran have a (relatively) strong webometrics community.

Basically, because Iran does not appear in the results for ‘cybermetrics’ (which was my first search term), it is not calculated for ‘webometrics’. If I had added the term ‘webometrics’ first, then the term ‘cybermetrics’ the map would have looked very different:

The solution would seem to be to include a universal search term first, but those that immediately spring to mind are not necessarily the sort that you would want appearing on a corporate slide-show.

"One third of bloggers have received free products"

Filed under: blogosphere,free products — admin @ 8:28 am

I’m beginning to take the general attitude to my blog personally. Whilst I kept calm when I read that the mean income from a blog with advertising is $6,000 p.a., to find that a third of bloggers have received free products through their blogs is a bit hurtful.

According to Technorati the top categories of free products that everyone else seems to be receiving are: DVDs, music, books and video; Computers; Electronics. Do I not read? Listen to music? Watch DVDs? Spend a small fortune on electronics I can’t afford?

Admittedly music and DVDs are slightly out of the remit of this blog, and I don’t currently have the traffic to encourage large companies to send me the latest laptops or mobiles for testing, but I wouldn’t mind receiving the occassional web/library-based book. These things cost me a fortune. It should be noted, however, that I can be quite a harsh reviewer. A highlight from my review in the latest Library Hi Tech (26(3)):

…this book suffers from the substandard quality of some of the research… pieces that pique your interest only to suddenly be cut short, or, more annoyingly, misrepresent personal opinions as objective research

September 23, 2008

Technorati’s State of the Blogosphere 2008

Filed under: Google Adsense,blogosphere,technorati — admin @ 8:28 am

Technorati are releasing their annual state of the blogosphere during the course of this week. Giving a round up of who is blogging, how often they are blogging, and what they are blogging about. It shows that whilst I epitomise the average blogger, that isn’t enough in the scale-free network of the web.

The average blogger is male, 18-34, ‘college’ graduate, and have a household income over $75,000. They have been blogging over two years and half have a second blog.

However, whilst I blog regularly and find myself firmly in the top half of active blogs (1.5 million blogs posted in the last 7 days, Technorati ranks me 601,571), I earn nowhere near the mean annual revenue for those with advertising: $6,000. My current Google AdSense earnings: $16.61. The reason for this discrepancy is the power-law distribution of traffic and earnings; most of the bloggers are hanging around in that long tail. If Technorati has decided to show the mode average of blogs with advertising, it would probably be have been nearer to my measly $16.61 dollars.

September 22, 2008

Read v. Write Web

Filed under: Reddit — admin @ 5:32 pm

It is rather depressing to find that people are more interested in what I read on the web than what I write on the web. Just 25 days ago I started a customizable Reddit to highlight links I find of interest. Today more people are subscribed to my Webometrics Reddit than are subscribed to my blog!

It would be interesting to know whether there is a large cross-over between the groups. Are there people subscribed to the Webometrics Reddit who have never even heard of Webometric Thoughts? And how many of the Webometric Thoughts subscribers ever bother to leave their RSS-feed reader and actually look at the changing Webometrics Reddit in the sidebar?

All that I can be sure of is:
1) Taking the time to highlight links has had no effect on the traffic to my blog.
2) No-one else from the webometrics community has bothered to highlight anything! Shame on them.

September 18, 2008

Google Shares Tumbling!

Filed under: Google,share price — admin @ 8:00 am

Google is the sort of company you either love or hate. It’s therefore not surprising that people keep an eye on it’s share price, cheering on its rise or fall depending one’s inclination. Personally I cheer on its fall, and it’s tumbling again.

In the current volatile market it seems Google is likely to dip to its lowest price for a year. The rallying of the price in April (when Mashable told the naysayers to eat their words) seems to have been a brief reprieve. The next big marker to look out for after today will be the 300 mark.

September 17, 2008

Technorati finds some AMAZING links

Filed under: technorati — admin @ 7:28 pm

Technorati is often getting bad press these days, but whilst I still check it ocassionally I must admit that it isn’t the most accurate blog search engine. According to Technorati some of my links are extremely old:

14,129 days ago equates to Thursday 1st January 1970 (according to timeanddate.com). That is, unsurprisingly, before my blog was created, before I was created, and (presumably) before the SCIT blog was created.


Filed under: Hoff,Social Networking Sites,academia — admin @ 6:20 pm

Academia.edu is a new social network(ing) site for academics (TechCrunch). Should you add this to your busy SNS life? To a limited extent.

The academic community would definately benefit from a dedicated SNS, after all, our needs are very different from the general user and the business user. However, I found Academia.edu to be extremely slow and not particular user-friendly.

In its current state, spending hours on your Academia.edu profile could very easily be wasted. If they improve on the speed and the user-friendliness, however, it could definately be a useful site. Solution: just put up a basic profile for now, and wait to see if it improves and how much interest it generates. If you really are desperate to waste a lot of time on another SNS, then jump into the Hoff’s; taking pointless SNS to their logical extremes.

Why are Nigerian letters so badly written?

Filed under: Nigerian Letter — admin @ 3:41 pm

Whilst half my emails are seemingly going missing, the Nigerian letters still somehow manage to get through:

What I don’t understand is why they are so badly written. A ‘citizen of Wales presently in England’? The nationalists haven’t quite got their way yet. And why would such a ‘citizen’ have an email address with a Hong Kong top-level domain name? Surely there is a need for a site explaining how to create a plausible Nigerian letter.

September 16, 2008

My email nightmare…

Filed under: email,hotmail — admin @ 9:29 am

I have posted before about the troubles that I am having with my email, but it seems to be getting worse. Lots of emails just aren’t making it into my Hotmail inbox these days, they don’t even make it into the spam box, they just disappear. What is particularly strange is that the missing emails are generally from university addresses rather than the throw-away email accounts that are more likely to be filled with spam.

So, the point of this post: if you email me and don’t get a response, I’m sorry but it’s probably because I never received it. Please try again, and CC in Bill Gates so he is aware of my plight.

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