Feedback, March 3
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Thursday March 3, 2005
What's the appeal?
When blogging became popular, I didn't see the appeal - but could appreciate why others might. I assumed the novelty would wear off for journalists, but apparently not - blogging still gets ridiculous amounts of coverage, especially in the Guardian. Last week, Online had a huge feature on the back page. Then just inside, Blogback. A mention or two of blogs in Webwatch, then another article about food blogs. Even Cyber with Rosie was about blogging! If this interest ever wanes, it will certainly be to the tune of hundreds of "The Death of Blogging" articles. Can't wait.
The missing link
Surely most blogs are like my website, unread by most people unless randomly hit. That is unless they are deliberately seeking other readers of a special interest group - but isn't that an extension of chat rooms? What am I missing about blogs?
One for the Brits
It would be nice to highlight British food bloggers (Foodies aim for a slice of the pie, February 24). There are some great ones, mainly expatriates living in the UK. I am an expat, too: an English foodblogger living in San Francisco. You can find links to some of the UK-based foodbloggers on my website (http://becksposhnosh.blogspot.com).
Your World of Warcraft review (Games watch, February 24) neglected to mention that the clever people at Blizzard have put out a version that works on Macs as well as PCs, making it much more easily available than any other Mac game.
Metasearch engines sometimes offer better results than Google or other search engines (Best of the rest, February 24). Using Dogpile as an example for metasearch engines makes me laugh. It may be used a lot, but its results are third rate. My top five are: Fazzle (www.fazzle.com), the best in my test; Metaeureka (www.metaeureka.com); QKsearch (www.qksearch.com); Ez2find (www.ez2find.com); Curryguide (web.curryguide.com). All produced better results than Google (and I didn't manipulate the search).
Many search systems are largely based upon statistical algorithms and keywords. These are great for delivering significant quantities of results but all too often include many that are inappropriate, bizarre and insensitive, which can compromise brand identity. To be truly successful, search needs to take into account the semantic context of web pages. Only by analysing the linguistic content can searches become more accurate and deliver relevant results. A consumer's ability to locate the products they want is key to successful online sales. It is time to put "sense" back into searching, otherwise potential sales will be lost.
John Hawkins (Feedback, February 24) writes: "No one has pointed out that Apple keyboards have a spare USB port which the iPod Shuffle should plug into." It will, but it won't recharge from the keyboard port.
Cheap and cheerful
While it is true that if you have the latest version of Mac OS X you will be able to load your iPod Shuffle with music, the battery won't charge as the port is unpowered. You'll have a Shuffle full of music that won't play because the battery is flat. A cheap USB extension cable is the best solution.