Good Deals. Good Ideas. Good Designs. Good Health.

Anything that is worth reading… and learning from. Just my opinions.

Archive for the ‘News Only’ Category

Technologies behind Google Ranking…

leave a comment »

Technorati Tags:

Following up with a previous article from Google on Google Ranking Explained… we now have the so called part 2 of it which talks about the technologies behind Google Ranking. Not a must read for anyone in the online digital space as understanding the technologies behind does not necessary gives you any advantage to ‘fool’ or ‘trick’ the system… but it’s just amazing to see many of the academia stuff are making head ways into commercialisation. Google being heavily on that, recruiting professors and top scholars out of universities… Microsoft with it’s Research arm… The explosion & speed to market is getting more crucial in this day and age. Not necessary the first mover advantage but how to do the same thing, better. Google was never the first in online search… Alta Vista, Yahoo were some of the earlier pioneers… but Google with a ‘better’ system just came from the back and took over.

In my previous post, I introduced the philosophies behind Google ranking. As part of our effort to discuss search quality, I want to tell you more about the technologies behind our ranking. The core technology in our ranking system comes from the academic field of Information Retrieval (IR). The IR community has studied search for almost 50 years. It uses statistical signals of word salience, like word frequency, to rank pages. (See "Modern Information Retrieval: A Brief Overview" for a quick overview of IR technology.) IR gave us a solid foundation, and we have built a tremendous system on top using links, page structure, and many other such innovations.
Search in the last decade has moved from give me what I said to give me what I want. User expectations from search have rightly increased. We work hard to fulfil the expectations of each and every user, and to do that we need to better understand the pages, the queries, and our users. Over the last decade we have pushed the technologies for understanding these three components (of the search process) to completely new dimensions.
When we talk about queries at Google, we use square brackets [ ] to mark the beginning and end of queries (see "How to write queries" by Matt Cutts), a notation I will use throughout this post. (Pages and search results change frequently, so in time, some examples used here may not behave as explained.)

  • Understanding pages: Over years we have invested heavily in our crawl and indexing system. As a result we have a very large and very fresh index. In addition to size and freshness, we have improved our index in other ways. One of the key technologies we have developed to understand pages is associating important concepts to a page even when they are not obvious on the page. We find the official homepage for Sprovieri Gallery in London for the Italian query [galleria sprovieri londra], even though the official page does not have either London or Londra on it. In the U.S., a user searching for [cool tech pc vancouver, wa] finds the homepage www.cooltechpc.com even though the page does not mention anywhere that they are in Vancouver, WA. Other technologies we have developed include distinctions between important and less important words in the page and the freshness of the information on the page.

I hope my two posts about Google ranking have made it clear that we live and breathe search, and we are more passionate than ever about it. Our fervor for serving all our users worldwide is unprecedented. We pride ourselves in running a very good ranking system, and are working incredibly hard every day to make it even better.

Written by gooddealz

July 23, 2008 at 2:26 pm

Posted in News Only, Opinions

Time to replace your Internet Explorer on Windows Mobile… with Opera Mobile 9.5

leave a comment »

Technorati Tags:

To all Windows Mobile user out there… it’s time enhance your mobile browsing experience, not by replacing your device and get an iPhone but install Opera Mobile 9.5 Beta!!!

Have fun!

Written by gooddealz

July 18, 2008 at 6:21 am

Posted in News Only

Former head of Ren Ci Hospital, Ven Shi Ming Yi, charged in court

leave a comment »

Singapore news…

Former head of Ren Ci Hospital, the Venerable Shi Ming Yi has been charged with alleged forgery, conspiracy and misuse of funds.
Venerable Ming Yi, who was also the former Ren Ci chairman, was slapped with 10 charges on Tuesday morning.
The monk faces four charges under the Penal Code involving two counts of alleged criminal breach of trust. He also faces one count of alleged forgery for the purpose of cheating and one count of abetment for allegedly falsifying accounts.
He also faces six charges under the Charities Act for allegedly providing false information.
Two of his associates, Raymond Yeung and Phua Seow Hua, were also alleged to have gone into conspiracy with the Venerable and were also charged in court on Tuesday.
Separately, a volunteer from Ren Ci was charged with allegedly possessing some 70 copies of obscene film.
Venerable Ming Yi, also known as Goh Kah Heng, is out on a S$200,000 bail. His case will be heard in court on August 4.

The rest of the article can be found on Channel News Asia.

This is the guy that always get most attention on many charities by taking on challenging stunts and has always been very well respected in Singapore community… Now, this!!! This is probably the results of the tightening rules & policies & auditing needed after the NKF incident…

Let more be exposed…

Written by gooddealz

July 15, 2008 at 1:36 pm

Posted in News Only

The biggest news last week & this week… iPhone App Store & iPhone 2.0

leave a comment »

Technorati Tags: ,

Check out Ars in depth review of the iPhone 3G.

Their conclusion:

The $199 (or $299, or $399, or $499) question is: is it worth it? As usual, the answer is "it depends." If you’re using some old, crappy cell phone, you’re looking for something new, and you’re not allergic to AT&T, then go for it. Do it now. Well, maybe wait until the lines subside.

If you’ve got a smartphone for personal use—iPhone or otherwise—then the answer depends on how much you value the new features. Are 3G, the louder speaker, and GPS worth at least $200 plus $10 more per month for two years? Remember that you can get the iPhone 2.0 firmware and the App Store on an older iPhone as well. For us reviewers who are using the iPhone 3G as a personal phone, we feel happy with the decision to purchase it. Sure, it’s not a religious experience, but we’re definitely satisfied. If you want to wait and see what comes out of Apple in another six months to a year, however, there’s no huge reason not to do so.

If you’re a business user, then we feel the answer is no, it’s not worth it. The original iPhone was not made to be an enterprise device, and the new iPhone isn’t either. Although some baby steps have been made, BlackBerry users will find themselves frustrated with the lack of complete Exchange support and may even end up returning their devices, or at least carrying an iPhone alongside a BlackBerry. We already know several who have done this, and it will happen to many more.

Although we have dropped numerical scores from our product reviews, we feel the need to enumerate the iPhone 3G in comparison to our original iPhone score. A year ago, we gave the iPhone an 8 overall (with significant caveats based on personal use). The original iPhone was truly an innovation in the mobile space and it has most certainly shaken things up over the last 12 months. The iPhone 3G is being marketed not only as a faster device, however, but as a business-capable device as well. So, not only is it being compared to the original iPhone, it is being compared more heavily to its competitors in the smartphone space than its predecessors. Because of this, we at Ars have agreed that the new device deserves a 6. It’s great as a consumer device, but with enterprise users’ expectations having been raised this time around, we feel it still has quite a ways to go.

The good:
  • Data speeds are faster (duh)
  • External speaker is louder, better
  • Third-party apps, finally
  • Screen still virtually unscratchable
The bad:
  • For most casual users, battery gets sapped quicker thanks to 3G chip, power-sucking apps
  • Still locked to AT&T and still requires a new two-year contract (US-only. Contracts in other countries vary.)
  • Plastic back means potential for scratch city
The ugly:
  • In-store activation requirements crud up the previously-smooth process, Apple caves to the broken mobile system (at least in the US)
  • Battery life, combined with non-user-replaceable battery, make for an ugly situation for road warriors
  • Not yet fit for serious business users, as Exchange support is pretty weak

Written by gooddealz

July 14, 2008 at 3:15 pm

Posted in News Only

After Picasa, Windows Live Photo Gallery… here comes Pictomio!

with one comment

Technorati Tags:

Check out this new free image organizer, Pictomio! Now you can add cover flow style to your gallery viewing!

Here are the excerpt on the features:

Image Management

Conveniently mange entire photo libraries and archives with several thousand images. When managing photos, browse directories on your hard drives or add photos to a virtual photo album by using drag-and-drop.

Library

Use the library to sort your photos by date, rating or category.

Create albums and sub-albums

The main internal difference between albums and categories in Pictomio is the fact that albums can be nested, that means an album can have sub-albums. Use the "Add Folder" button when an album is selected in the library tree view to add a sub-album or just create new albums.

Smooth Image Browsing

Use the scroll-bar or the mouse-wheel to scroll the thumbnail view (in grid or filmstrip mode) to take advantage of the smooth scrolling function which is much smoother than in most other applications.

Liquid-Zoom

Smooth high-quality zooming, utilizing mip levels to reduce aliasing, allows you to continuously zoom into your photos. You can also disable bilinear filtering to view every pixel of your photos.

3D Image Carousel

Scroll through your photos quickly and easily by flipping through the 3D image carousel. Use your mouse to specify the direction in which you want your photos to move.

Exif-Editor

The integrated Exif editor allows you to view, edit, and save meta data associated with JPEG files.

Browse database by image information (EXIF value)

You can browse for images by their EXIF meta tags in the Library. For example you can easily select all images that where taken with a certain camera model or at a certain shutter speed.

Image Rating

While you are viewing your photos, you can use a dynamic toolbar to access all of the main software functions. The rating system uses stars, which makes rating your photos quick and easy.

Tools

Web designers can utilize the color pipette and the measuring tool to determine the color values of pixels and precisely measure any section of a photo.

Slideshows

Pictomio makes it easy to create slideshows simply by using the drag-and-drop option. Elaborate transitions are now available with Pictomio by utilizing the capabilities of modern 3D graphics cards.

Tagging support

An arbitrary number of tags can be attached to individual pixel positions or to an image as whole.

Search functionality

You can enter search terms in the search box at the top right of the Pictomio main window. The text you enter is searched for in several attributes of the image files, e.g. filename, tags, categories, albums, description etc.

Video & audio-playback

Simple video and audio-files can be played in the zoom-view and in the carrousel view (even with a mirror-effect on the virtual floor).

Image information collapsible window

A collapsible window in the main window shows the most important information about an image and lets you consistently change rating, annotation, categories and global image tags from one central place in the application.

Start external applications to edit an image

You can start your image editing programms that are registered for its file-type. Click with the right mouse button on an image and select "Open with.. “(choose your editing programm) from the context-menu that appears.

Just installed it and it does look sleek… more sleek than Picasa and Windows Live Photo Gallery which by the way is excellent. I would use Picasa for uploading to my online Picasa account while my default photo viewer on my Vista machine is Live Photo Gallery. Now with Pictomio, I will have to try it out… to see if it is useful enough for me to make it my default image viewer. It does seem like there’s a huge community around it and improvements should be very accelerated.

Everything is hardware accelerated!!! Cool!

Written by gooddealz

July 10, 2008 at 4:29 pm

Posted in Great Stuff, News Only

Google Ranking Explained…

with 2 comments

Technorati Tags: ,

There’s many sites I love to read daily and one of them is this one, Google’s own blog! Being the digital industry it is vital to have a good understanding of what’s going on, particular relating to Google. Stuff like page rank, search engine optimisation, page title, meta tag… sitemap, web spider… and it gets very useful when I sit in front of a client and simply explain how simple and yet powerful little things can make a difference to a site.

I found this post on Google’s blog today titled Introduction to Google Ranking and here’s some excerpt of it:

Google ranking is a collection of algorithms used to find the most relevant documents for a user query. We do this for hundreds of millions of queries a day, from a collection of billions and billions of pages. These algorithms are run for every query entered into most of Google’s search services. While our web search is the most used Google search service and the most widely known, the same ranking algorithms are also used – with some modifications – for other Google search services, including Images, News, YouTube, Maps, Product Search, Book Search, and more.

The most common question I get asked about Google’s ranking is "how do you do it?" Of course, there is a lot that goes into building a state-of-the-art ranking system like ours, and I will delve deeper into the technology behind it in a later post. Today, I would like to briefly share the philosophies behind Google ranking:

1) Best locally relevant results served globally.

2) Keep it simple.

3) No manual intervention.

The first one is obvious. Given our passion for search, we absolutely want to make sure that every user query gets the most relevant results. We often call this the "no query left behind" principle. Whenever we return less than ideal results for any query in any language in any country – and we do (search is by no means a solved problem) – we use that as an inspiration for future improvements.

The second principle seems obvious. Isn’t it the desire of all system architects to keep their systems simple? Well, as search systems go, given the wide variety of user queries we have to respond to in multiple languages, it is easy to go down the path where more and more complexity creeps into the system to serve the next incremental fraction of the queries. We work very hard to keep our system simple without compromising on the quality of results. This is an ongoing effort, and a worthy one. We make about ten ranking changes every week and simplicity is a big consideration in launching every change. Our engineers understand exactly why a page was ranked the way it was for a given query. This simple understandable system has allowed us innovate quickly, and it shows. The "keep it simple" philosophy has served us well.

No discussion of Google’s ranking would be complete without asking the common – but misguided! 🙂 – question: "Does Google manually edit its results?" Let me just answer that with our third philosophy: no manual intervention. In our view, the web is built by people. You are the ones creating pages and linking to pages. We are using all this human contribution through our algorithms. The final ordering of the results is decided by our algorithms using the contributions of the greater Internet community, not manually by us. We believe that the subjective judgment of any individual is, well … subjective, and information distilled by our algorithms from the vast amount of human knowledge encoded in the web pages and their links is better than individual subjectivity.

The second reason we have a principle against manually adjusting our results is that often a broken query is just a symptom of a potential improvement to be made to our ranking algorithm. Improving the underlying algorithm not only improves that one query, it improves an entire class of queries, and often for all languages. I should add, however, that there are clear written policies for websites recommended by Google, and we do take action on sites that are in violation of our policies or for a small number of other reasons (e.g. legal requirements, child porn, viruses/malware, etc).

I always emphasis to client, SEO does not need to be expensive… and you don’t necessary have to use pay Google or Yahoo to attain high relevance… What’s need is three simple thing that I have used and tested and found it to work really well:

1) Page title page title page title. Get a proper Content Management System or do some hard coding if you still on simple html page and add relevant keywords to your page title, every single one of them!!! Whatever keywords you placed on that page title should reflect the actual contents on that page to some extent else it will not be effective.

2) Meta tag data! Most modern Content Management System like Drupal or Joomla allows you to specify what meta tag description are to be included whenever you create a new page / content. Make use of that area as well as those description / keywords will come in handy for the web spider.

3) Contents contents contents! The simplest of all and yet the most trying of all… is to regularly post and update your site with new contents. That’s why I would always suggest to clients to have a Latest News / Press Release section on their site. Not only will the new contents help the relevance / opinion leadership of the company but also it allows your visitors to regularly know what is going on with the company… thus establishing a good feeling in your visitors that, the business is still around or at least, there’s a focus on keeping customers informed. Whatever real motive it may be… it helps with your website SEO and that’s worth it.

There are more elements that may help your website relevance and some are tricky like the inbound links (if you paid for some SEO work, most of the time, they would use link farms to help you… be careful as it might be penalised by Google) and keyword density… explore them out and monitor it using tools like Web CEO and you will stand to gain a lot from it.

One of the great plugins I used on Firefox is SeoQuake which adds some very useful information extracted from all over the place, about a website. Important stuff like webarchive age, whois, keyword density… and Google Page Rank!!!

Google will constantly tweak their algorithm again to increase the actual relevance of the search result and until the community discover another way to grow your page rank or whatever it may be called… page title, meta tag, contents, inbound links, age of the site… and other factors will help you with the page rank. 

So install SeoQuake into your Firefox / Internet Explorer and start exploring into the world of SEO… remember though that it can be very addictive.

Written by gooddealz

July 10, 2008 at 3:11 pm

Posted in News Only, Opinions

Starhub blocking BitTorrent…

leave a comment »

Interesting news that I picked up recently, despite it being old news and that is Starhub, my Internet provider is blocking bittorrent sharing across it’s network.

According to this AsiaOne article, Starhub is not denying it and mentioned that other ISP do just the same. I know that in the USA, this is a major debate that is going on right now among the different ISP and people who are legitimately sharing programs, particularly open source program are facing a roadblock… and are looking elsewhere for the connectivity.

Well, I am happy so far with my Starhub broadband speed and overall performance and rarely uses bittorrent so I am not too pissed by this… Anyway I have one more year to go on my contract. Will evaluate the situation then on other ISP if they have instituted the same blocking mechanism.

Written by gooddealz

July 7, 2008 at 12:30 am

Posted in News Only, Opinions