A place for black hats on SEW?
The term "blackhat" has become dilluted and distorted, as evidenced by the threadlink above. It's not just that the terms seems to have lost it's meaning (or possibly taken on a new meaning) but as Qwerty pointed out a day or so ago, it becomes offensive when a term you find yourself labeled with is equated with characteristics you'd rather not be associated with.
For him, it's the fact that whenever the tired, sad old debate raises it's weary head, inevitably someone in the dark camp brings up "religious zeal" when describing our lighter cousins. I do it quite often.
The reason im prone to that is that some in the light camp do indeed resemble religious fanatics, it's a fact i think Qwerty would find hard to deny - but rightly so, he objects to being bunched in that description.
Likewise for me with the blackhat label. For me, much of what's being discussed in the thread above is not what i would describe as blackhat, and i too dislike being labeled wrongly.
So, what am i going to do about it?
Nothing much, im just going to stop (not that it happens very often) siding myself with the black camp. It's just not a black and white issue so i think i'd prefer not to generalize. To liken Qwerty (sorry mate, your just a good example heh..) to Doug Heil is doing Qwerty an injustice. I have a lot of respect for what he's said in this thread although we oppose and like him, find it somewhat mildly offensive to be lumped together with so called "blackhats" - when some of them clearly dont understand the term and what it means.
So, in 2005 i shall be hat agnostic and try to judge cases on their individual merits or demerits rather than lump folks together. I shouldnt think for a moment that that will stop people putting a label on me, but it'll make me feel a bit better :-)
At I.B.M., That Google Thing Is So Yesterday
An interesting look at IBM's PIQUANT (Practical Intelligent QUestion ANswering Technology) - although this is (i think) aimed at business use it does seem that they are comparing to Google and thinking in terms of the Web also. PIQUANT uses natural language processing to add meaning to text:
One example is question answering. Google-type search engines are fabulous at retrieving random data, but mediocre at handling subtler queries. Using Google or Ask Jeeves, you can eventually find out how many of the world's Web pages are in each of the major languages, but it's slow and frustrating compared with finding out, say, Mozart's birthplace. Jennifer Chu-Carroll of I.B.M. demonstrated a system called Piquant, which analyzed the semantic structure of a passage and therefore exposed "knowledge" that wasn't explicitly there. After scanning a news article about Canadian politics, the system responded correctly to the question, "Who is Canada's prime minister?" even though those exact words didn't appear in the article.
MR. CICCOLO, the search strategist, said that in a way his team was trying to match - and reverse - what Google has achieved. "As Google use became widespread, people began asking why it was so much easier to find material on the external Web than it was on their own computers or in their company's Web sites," he said. "Google sets a very high standard for that Web. We would like to set the next standard, so that people will find it so easy to do things at work that they'll wonder why they can't do them on the Internet."
I saw this piece this morning but missed the fact that it spanned two pages heh.. so thanks to slashdot posting a thread on it also, i went and had another look.
Does anyone have more insight into this? It would be good to get a little clarification on whether this is going to be used on the WWW aswell as company intranets etc...
I don't seem to be able to see this but Cory Kleinschmidt over at the Traffick post threadlinked above (among a whole bunch of others) can.
Here's a snippet from the post:
Unless my normally eagle eyes had been failing me, Google has quietly introduced a way to view all AdWords listings relating to your search by clicking a link titled "More >>" at the bottom of the first-page search results listings. Clicking the link displays a page of nothing but sponsored links, presumably all of the available AdWords advertisers for that keyword phrase.
At first *thought* this seems pretty cool to me, there are searches that just do NOT bring up good results but do bring up great adwords.
Kinda Related: How long as the "search within results" feature been on the bottom of the Google SERPS? Whilst looking for the "more" link i saw that for the first time today and dont remember hearing about it...?
WmW's rogerd has an interesting discussion going in the threadlink above on seo paranoia. Specifically about the need (or not) to remove software footprints and kicks off by listing a few of the easier ones to spot:
Some of the most obvious steps:
1) Remove "powered by" and similar text.
2) Remove on-page "copyright" text or convert to image.
3) Change default installation directory and file names to foil both searches and brute-force attacks.
4) Remove/change other giveaways (ancient SEOs remember the infamous "blueline.gif" that undid many thousands of pages), i.e., anything that a hacker or other problem user could plug into a search engine to easily find sites using particular software.
The way i look at it is this: If you know you are employing high risk tactics, or you think that people using the same software might be, remove everything. In fact, dont stop there - change every conceivable bit about the scripts as you can including templates, urls structures, admin script names - the whole damn lot.
If you're not in that kind of area: Do it anyway.
So, taking it some steps further
How paranoid should one be, or is there no need?
Other than removing footprints from software, what else can one do to fly beneath the algorithmic radar?
Consequences and considerations apart from SE's?
Microsoft are taking the piss with patents again. This time they want to patent object persistence.
This, if it ever got accepted would mean an end to modern programming as we know it - shopping carts, games, search engines - the lot..
So, it'll never happen (one hopes heh..) but sheesh! what are they thinking over there.. Object persistence is a fundamental principle in almost everything of even a slightly advanced level.
Still, look on the bright side, as rayg points out apparently they think HTML is a protocol.. - Muppets.
Herein is described an implementation of an object persister, which serializes an object to preserve the object's data structure and its current data. The serialized object is encoded using XML and inserted within a message. That message is transmitted to an entity over a network. Such a transmission is performed using standard Internet protocols, such as HTML. Upon receiving the serialized object, the receiving entity deserializes the object to use it. Rather than include copies of referenced objects within the serialized object, the object persister includes references to those objects. This avoids redundant inclusion of the same object and potentially infinite inclusion of the object itself that is being serialized.
Back before anyone gave a flip about blogs I favorably reviewed blosxom at wmw. Lately, the buzz (and the installations) all appear to be either wordpress or moveabletype, and I ~frankly~ forgot about blosxom until today. I never see it mentioned and I do read around a fair bit. So, I go check. Still there, though the site does seem kinda quiet. http://www.blosxom.com/
OK, I figure that the community has bailed and therefore pulled the plug on support? Nope.
Man! The blosx-ites are still talking about static generation --a subject near and dear to me.
I tried installing wordpress, the 5-minute install happened to fail (probably because I don't know jack about mysql). But back when I gave blosx a test run, it did install in 5 minutes.
So, what's going on? Anybody seeing blosxom in the news? Or is it just too damn hard to spell?
This cool Quicktime movie threadlinked above comes in via Russell and features a vision of what the future could hold for real world barcode hyperlinks - where everything has a barcode that can be snapped by your mobile to take you directly to it's associated info.
Opera's new beta download, which will become the next major release is voice enabled. Meaning that you can have your web pages read to you and navigate by voice control - how cool is that?
You can Download it here Win only :(
"We were preparing for the 7.60 release, but as work progressed and we kept adding improvements and functionality, it became very evident that we now have a browser that is so powerful, secure, and easy to use that it exceeds the next logical version number and warrants a major release," says Jon S. von Tetzchner, CEO, Opera Software, and adds that all those who have licensed Opera 7 will, of course, receive free upgrades. "The new Opera version has dramatic improvements under the hood, in addition to some very helpful new features to welcome more and more users to take advantage of browsing the Internet in a fast, safe, and customizable way."
Opera is the first browser to prepare for a future of Web sites offering interactive, voice-enabled shopping and booking systems. You can also browse the Web using spoken commands, such as "Opera next link", "Opera back", or "Opera speak". The latter command will make Opera read Web page content and e-mail messages to you aloud, adding usability as either a screen reader or advanced dictionary.
There are a whole bunch of other improvements including improved RSS handling and more. If they manage to get a Linux version out I may well have to give it a whirl, it'd make my life a lot easier if it actually worked...
In this thread, Shawn Collins shares his predictions about affiliate marketing in 2005 from an article he wrote for iMediaConnection. He touches on adware, cookie stuffing, affiliate blogs and the persistent rumor about the coming Google/Affiliat/Adwords changes that may be on the horizon.
"Changes in 2005 will result from cogent business decisions, reaction to litigation and following trends.
As we bid farewell to this year’s model of affiliate marketing and embark upon 2005, I’ve got to wonder what sorts of changes we are in for next year.
2004 was something of a turbulent year for affiliate marketers. The year kicked off with nervous and confused affiliate marketers trying to cope with CAN-SPAM, and throughout the year, a number of issues became industry lightning rods.
There were sagas about everything from search arbitrage, whether adware is badware, cookie stuffing, the use of trademarked terms, and more?"
Read the rest here, then come back to discuss it.
""His forte has never been as the grown-up running the company," he said. "He's the unpredictable mad genius behind Oracle. His life is an adventure, and Oracle is part of the adventure -- but not the whole thing. It's an old joke that they used to call it an Elvis sighting when Larry was actually in Redwood Shores. It's understood he's the company visionary and an itinerant CEO."
MocoNews threadlinked above point out that the W3C's Device Independence Working Group are up in arms about the proposed .mobi TLD. They argue that it goes against the core principles of the Internet: That the web should be device agnostic.
A consortium of mobile players led by Nokia have proposed the addition of .mobi to the top level domain space so that users and application/site owners can specify that something.mobi is for mobile devices, such as cell phones or PDA's. The W3C argue that this is harmful to the web:
This domain will have a drastically detrimental effect on the Web. By partitioning the HTTP information space into parts designed for access from mobile access and parts designed (presumably) not for such access, an essential property of the Web is destroyed.
It is true that to to optimize the use of any device, an awareness on the part of the server allows it to customize the content and the whole layout of a site. However, the domain name is perhaps the worst possible way of communicating information about the device. Devices vary in many ways, including:
Network bandwidth at the time,
Screen size and resolution,
Intermittent or continuous connectivity,
and so on. While with the current technology, the phrase "Mobile" may equate roughly in many minds to "something like a cell phone", it is naive -- and pessimistic -- to imagine that this one style of device will be the combination that will endure for any length of time. Just as concepts such as the "Network PC" and the "Multimedia PC" which defined profiles of device capability were swept away in the onrush of technology, so will an attempt to divide devices, users and content into two groups.
Google working on video search
In a recent interview with Mats Carduner (general manager of Google France) he revealed Google was working on Google Video search
Dodgy translated version:
For the multi-media one, the mission of Google remains to organize information and to make it available. One aims at the Web in all his forms: the text, images and tomorrow the audio-visual one. Googles Labs work besides on this concept of indexing of the video.
Revenue Assurance for Mobile Content
As the market for mobile content grows the potential for revenue leakage does aswell. Threadlinked above is a look at the problems facing mobile content providers outlining the major business aspects and potential pitfalls for revenue leakage in an emerging industry:
he Yankee Group predicts that the U.S. mobile data market alone will represent $15.6 billion by 2008. QPass, for one, has seen tremendous growth in mobile content usage among its customers. The average transaction value for subscribers of QPass customer providers is $2.28. In September, QPass mobile operator customers achieved an average of $7.55 per purchasing subscriber, with an average spend of $36 to $42 per year for mobile content services.
To remain competitive, mobile operators often will roll out these content services before they are able to bill for them. When one U.K. mobile operator decided to roll out MMS, it offered the service free as a customer promotion, according to Megisto Chief Technology Officer Joel Halpern, but the promotion was free simply because the operator didn't know how to charge for it.
By far, mismanaging the relationships between all of the various entities is one of the greatest leakage points for mobile content. The process of revenue sharing and settling with third parties increases the need to accurately track revenue, and it only heightens the impact of potential leakage for both the content provider and mobile operator.
Just determining who is actually suffering the leakage—the mobile operator or the content provider—is a challenge. Often, neither player has the visibility needed to manage the transaction from start to finish.
It's a fairly detailed article but a skim through the key points gives a good overview of the industry itself and some of the problems it currently faces.