Webometric Thoughts

October 7, 2008

Mini-laptops are not all the same!

Filed under: 701,Acer Aspire One,Eee PC 901,RM minibook — admin @ 9:02 am

It is eleven months since I got my Eee PC, and I have never regretted it for a moment. Admittedly I now find myself coveting my girlfriend’s Eee 901, but my only real complaint with the 701 is the touchpad button is rather worn from over-use.

Unfortunately not everyone has been so lucky with their choice in mini-laptops. Kim has been lamenting his choice of the Acer Aspire One on his blog:

“It wasn’t quite stable on any flat surface.”

“The fan was so loud that I would be embarassed to use my Aspire One in some meetings or conferences.”

Admittedly I was lucky: The Eee PC was the only mini-laptop on offer when I bought mine so I didn’t have to make any tough choices. But as everyone tries to gain a slice of the budget-mini-laptop market some corners will be cut, so you are probably better off buying a brand that has an established reputation in the mini-laptop market rather than one of the newer entrants. If only Kim had listened….

October 5, 2008

Shelfari: Tracking my reading shame

Filed under: Shelfari,books,reading — admin @ 1:01 pm

On adding the latest book I had read to Shelfari I just realised that I have been a member for almost two years! This is a long time in web years, and there are surprisingly few other services that I have used for as long. I have long since replaced great and popular services like del.cio.us and Bloglines with Reddit and Newsgator, but somehow Shelfari has managed to keep my custom.

So what does two years of Shelfari tracking tell me? Basically, I don’t read enough. Whilst it’s the sort of conclusion most people can draw about themselves without having to track every book they read, it’s nonetheless interesting to put a firm number to our lack of reading. Since joining Shelfari, almost 2 years ago, I have read 54 books. Just over one a fortnight. According to some survey results from 2002 it would put me in the top 20% of readers:
- Nearly half of adults had read at least five books or more in the previous 12 months.
- Almost one in five claiming to have read 20 books or more in the previous 12 months.
Whilst some people would be happy with such a record, as I can legitimately spend hours reading books as part of my job it is pretty pathetic.

I would like to read at least as many books as I buy, and possibly start to make a bit of a dent into the piles of unread books I have stacked-up around my flat. I should therefore probably be aiming at reading 100 books a year, about four times as many as I do now. If only there were a couple more hours in the day :-(

October 3, 2008

It’s Porn Friday!!!

Filed under: Click,Hitwise,webometrics — admin @ 9:21 am

It’s not that today has been designated the official porn day of the year, merely that Friday is the day when adult web sites get most of their traffic. That’s just one of the facts scattered throughout Bill Tancer’s Click: What Millions of People are Doing Online and Why It Matters, albeit the most memorable:

Whilst very much a popular book, rather than an academic book, it’s a worthwhile read from a webometric perspective. If nothing else you can curse the limited amount of data we have access to in comparison to our commercial counterparts: Whereas we have to count links, they get to follow click-streams; following the mood and reactions of people around the world.

Whilst there is obviously big money to made with the Hitwise data, as well as with the data of their competitors, maybe they would find the data even easier to sell if it had been shown to stand up to the rigour of the academic community and the peer review process. My door is always open :-)

October 2, 2008

Five searches that were better in 2001

Filed under: Google 2001 — admin @ 11:25 am

Whilst Google is constantly tweaking its search algorithm, it is clear that the 2001 results were better. The top 2001 results for a number of queries:

1. David Cameron – An assistant professor of physiology.
2. Wayne Rooney – A private investigator.
3. James Blunt – A general in the American civil war.
4. Kindle – A provider of banking systems.
5. Sarah Palin – Someone’s dead ancester.

We can only hope that in the future we will find a return to the 2001 results, especially as far as searches 1 and 5 are concerned.

Google 2001 v. Google 2008

Filed under: Google 2001,webometrics — admin @ 9:41 am

In honour of their 10th birthday Google brought back their oldest available index a couple of days ago: Google 2001. This provides a great opportunity for looking at how the web has changed, especially the growth of certain terms in comparison to others.

As a webometrician, the obvious choice is to see how ‘webometrics’ has grown. However with changes in the index size the results are only meaningful in comparison to another result. In this case I have decided on ‘Mike Thelwall’, the hyper-productive author of over 100 papers in the field, who, luckily, also has an unusual name.


Whilst there were a similar number of documents at the start, and both have grown at an extremely fast rate, webometrics has grown at the faster rate. Scientific proof that there is more to webometrics than Mike Thelwall!

It would be nice if Google opened up some other indexes so that more points to the graph could be added.

De-branding my N95 for the BBC iPlayer

Filed under: N95,debrand,iPlayer,s60 — admin @ 8:53 am

I have had my N95 for over a year, but until yesterday I had left it as a crumby T-mobile N95 with the appropriately out-dated branded firmware. I had tried to change it once, but the required software refused to recognise my phone. It was annoying but I put up with it, until yesterday’s announcement on All About Symbian that the BBC iPlayer was available for the S60.

I have been waiting for an S60 version of the iPlayer since it was made available for the over-hyped iPhone back in March. Unfortunately the iPlayer application (which can be downloaded here) takes the form of a Nokia Web Runtime (a Nokia Widget) rather than an S60 application, the difference being that the Nokia Web Runtime framework comes with the Nokia update software that wasn’t yet built into the T-mobile firmware. Whilst I have put up with missing out on lots of exciting developments because of the T-mobile firmware, the BBC iPlayer is not just any old new software, its a new way to access the greatest television on Earth! (I may have mentioned previously that I am possibly the BBC’s biggest fan). This time when I tried to de-brand my phone it all went smoothly.

If you have yet to de-brand, and want access to the iPlayer on your N95, then there is a detailed post on how to de-brand over at Simply Symbian.

As for the S60 iPlayer, my only criticism is the “Sorry, television programmes can only be watched over a wifi connection”. My 3G connection is often faster than my wifi connection, I pay for an ‘unlimited’ data plan and it’s about time there was a program that could make use of it.

Firmware offered for T-mobile phone yesterday: 14.0.001
Firmware offered for de-branded phone yesterday: 30.0.015

October 1, 2008

How to shift the XBox 360: Open up the hard drive!

Filed under: Eee PC 901,Elite,HandyDrive,Ubuntu,XBox 360 — admin @ 4:16 pm

Earlier in the week it fell to me to buy my girlfriend an external hard drive for her Eee PC 901. She needed one for storing all those ‘important’ photographs she had taken over the years, and I wasn’t going to get the chance to put Linux on her old laptop until those world-heritage-photographs were safe.

My first thought, after seeing the price of wireless external hard drives was an XBox 360. The Elite has 120 GB hard drive, plenty of room for a few photos, and with the September price drop it wasn’t too much more. Unfortunately a bit of searching on the web showed that using an XBox was likely to require the physical copying of files onto a flash drive, and wasn’t going to be an easy sell to my girlfriend. It seems to me that Microsoft are missing an angle on this one, yes you could get a lot larger external for your money, but how many people would take the compromise if the XBox just made the hard drive a little bit easier to use?

In the end I bought a 200 GB HandyDrive:

Yes I saved myself about £150, but I was disappointed nonetheless. Especially when the HandyDrive turned out to be faulty. Luckily, as there were no more 200 GB hard drives left, those nice chaps at Wolverhampton’s Maplin’s exchanged it for a 250 GB HandyDrive:

Photos courtesy of my girlfriend…the world can breath a sigh of relief that these, and others like them, are now safe.

nb. It is also worth noting that I was up until 4am this morning trying to get Ubuntu on the old laptop; it is still resolutely a Windows XP.

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