Miscellaneous Monday: March 27, 2006

Okay, I can feel Harith twitching with the desire to ask questions, so let’s start a grab-bag thread. Ask whatever you want. I’ll tackle a few of the questions that are general. Please make sure you read the most recent comment guidelines so you know to avoid “what’s up with my specific site?” or other questions that won’t apply to most people.

Today I’m actually away from work up in San Francisco with my wife, so I may let questions accumulate before I tackle them. I’m going to get cleaned up and prowl Union Square for a copy of Me and My Katamari, and I guess I’ll need a PSP to go with it. I’m sure later this week I’ll be asking how to run homebrew code on a PSP firmware v2.6.

Examples of fine questions include:
- Is Bigdaddy fully deployed?
- What’s the story on the Mozilla Googlebot? Is that what Bigdaddy sends out?
- Any new word on sites that were showing more supplemental results?
- Is the RK parameter turned off, or should we expect to see it again?
- What’s an RK parameter?
- What are you doing in San Francisco on a weekday?

Update: Okay, enough questions for now. I’ll tackle a few of these, and I’ll try to do another grab-bag thread in a week or two. :)

Comments (139)

Review: Bose SoundDock

A while ago, I picked up the Bose Sound Dock and I really like it. When I bought it, the main competitor was the JBL On Stage speaker device, which didn’t have a remote control (JBL now offers the JBL On Stage II, which comes with a remote).

Here’s what’s good about the Bose speaker: you can make it really loud. It also turns out that a remote is extremely handy (I didn’t realize how much I would use it). It uses a line-of-sight/infrared remote rather than RF, but the remote receiver must be behind the speaker grill, because the remote works at almost any angle. The controls on both the speaker and the remote make sense. The SoundDock is perfect for piping out tunes while you wash the dishes, for example.

The only thing I dislike is that the device doesn’t have a line-out capability, so you can’t use it as an easy way to hook your iPod up to a stereo or into your computer. Otherwise, it’s pretty nice.

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Guidelines for comments: March 24 2006

I haven’t talked specifically about the comment policy on my blog for a while. At a recent conference, lots of people said that they really enjoyed reading my blog, but several people complained about off-topic comments that interrupted the flow of the conversation. I plan to keep adjusting things until I find the right balance between free-wheeling discussion vs. comments that don’t add to the discussion. Here’s my current line of thinking:

- I hope to do the occasional “grab bag” post where people can throw out questions or comments about miscellaneous topics. Off-topic comments in other threads may be pruned. If I post about a laser pointer and you ask about a PageRank update, you’re probably outta there. Save it for the grab bag.
- One-line or “me too” comments rarely add much to the conversation, and I often prune them unless they’re frickin’ hilarious.
- I pre-moderate comments, and sometimes I’m traveling/busy. Please don’t double-post, ask when a comment will show up, or accuse me of oppressing you if your comment doesn’t immediately appear.
- For some reason, I hate signature links. Hate them. Your odds of getting a comment approved are much slimmer if you drop a sig in the body of the comment.

I have a limited amount of time to blog, so going forward I won’t be able to answer site-specific questions or requests. If I answer one question about a site, that just encourages more people to post with questions about their site. Those types of posts are rarely of interest to most other readers. That includes “Matt, I think I have a great business and/or patent idea; will you please call me?” posts. Since I started this blog, the comment-to-post ratio is over 50 comments to every one of my posts. I’m grateful for that interest, but there’s no way I can respond to every comment. The best way for me to spend my time is to talk about topics that are of wide interest. I’m sorry that I can’t give feedback on particular sites. Going forward, I won’t moderate questions/comments about individual sites to be visible to everyone; I hope it makes sense why not. Your best bet is to ask questions that generally applicable to a lot of people.

I want to help people, and I also want to enjoy doing this blog. I think these guidelines will increase the signal-to-noise of comments and make the blog more useful and interesting. If these guidelines don’t work out well, we’ll adjust things again. Thanks!

Comments (62)

Brought to you by the letter B

Sometimes the “B” in “Blogger” stands for ballsy. Jeremy pushes for change from within when he can, but is willing to call out issues in public too.

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Bigdaddy status update: almost there

We’re down to just 1-2 data centers left in the switchover to Bigdaddy. It’s possible that the Bigdaddy switchover will be complete in the next week or two. Just as a reminder, Bigdaddy is a software upgrade to Google’s infrastructure that provides the framework for a lot of improvements to core search quality in the coming months (smarter redirect handling, improved canonicalization, etc.). A team of dedicated people has worked very hard on this change; props to them for the code, sweat, and hours they’ve put into it.

Comments (71)

SEO Mistakes: Hosted doorway pages

(This is a quickie note.)

If someone came to you and said “I want to rent out your mail server. I’d like to send out some emails from your server, and I’ll give you $N to do it,” you’d be suspicious and probably say no–unless you wanted your mail server to end up on email blacklists. In the same way, if someone comes to you and says “I’ll give you $N to rent subdomains, subdirectories, or pages from you. Just link to my doorway pages from your content,” I would recommend to say no as well. It can affect the reputation of your domain if you host doorway pages for someone else and then that other person creates spam on the pages on your domain.

Comments (58)

Gone Supplemental

Some site owners over at WebmasterWorld have been discussing an issue where on Bigdaddy data centers, the site wouldn’t be crawled as much in the main index. That would result in Google showing more pages from the supplemental results for that site. GoogleGuy requested feedback with concrete details, and several people responded with enough details that we identified and changed a threshold in Bigdaddy to crawl more pages from those sites.

I checked in that email queue tonight to see how the “gonesupplemental” feedback looked. I looked at an emergency responder site, a truck site, a ticket site, a karate site, a silver site, a T-shirt site, a site about memory, a site selling a type of document, a boating site, and a jewelry site. All were getting more pages crawled, and I expect over time that we’ll crawl more pages from these sites and similar sites that people mentioned. The biggest site that I saw had 711K pages reported, and I saw other sites with 40,400 estimated pages and 52,700 estimated pages for a site: search.

So the upshot is that if you’re one of these people who was paying attention to this issue, I think it has already improved quite a bit, and I would expect to see more pages indexed in the coming week or two. Some sites may see improvements earlier than others because of where a site happens to be in Google’s crawl cycle.

Comments (73)

Vista won’t be ready for Christmas

I guess if Ubuntu can delay their “Dapper Drake” release by several weeks, then Vista can too. That means no Vista installed on holiday computers though. These are operating systems that are going to be supported for years and years, so it makes sense to get them right. Sounds like MSFT is using the time in part to get security tightened on Vista, which can only be a good thing if you have an internet-connected computer.

Comments (27)

I like the search in Google Finance

(Just a quick note. I’ve been trying to get to bed by midnight each night.)

Here’s the thing. I don’t check our stock price that often. When I do, it’s mostly to assure myself that I can still afford plenty of cat food and/or cat toys to keep our cat in the style to which she has become accustomed. I’m not really a stock/finance kinda guy. Remind me to tell you my Cisco story some time.

But Google Finance just launched, and I notice that they nailed one thing that always bothers me. If you do a search for Lexmark, the search will show you an info page for Lexmark (stock symbol: LXK). If you didn’t want a company profile page, over in the top right is a “Find more results for lexmark” link so you can search for Lexmark Canada or whatever. At most finance pages, if you typed “Lexmark” into the search box, you’ll get a message like “That’s not a stock symbol! Click over here to search for a stock symbol.” You end up clicking 3-4 times, when the logical behavior is to give you the best matching stock profile, then give you the option to do a deeper search.

The draggable stock chart is nice, but I’m just happy to have a single search box that takes a pretty good guess about what company I’m interested in.

Comments (39)

Fortune Cookie

Sometimes I forget I’m a geek. Then I get a fortune cookie like

There will always be delightful
mysteries in your life.

Lucky numbers: 10 22 25 19 31 41

and I immediately notice “Hmm. Those numbers could form an IP address of Should I ping it?”

By the way, the best fortune cookie I ever got? It was a stock cookie from the fortune cookie factory, and it said

Kiss the person standing next to you.

How did it know I was standing by a pretty girl at the time? Nice. :)

Comments (64)

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