26 September 2006

Google In The Courts

My master, Google, were in the courts again over the indexing of multiple Belgium newspapers. The newspapers in question stated that Google was in breach of their copyright. They demanded that Google remove all their content from Google's sites. I find this crazy. Effectively they don't want to be indexed (or at least any content listed if they are indexed) hence reducing traffic to their site. Google News provides a summary of the indexed site, it's not the full article. Therefore when I'm interested in a subject (or even just see a headline that interests me) I'll click on the link to show more providing the site with traffic it otherwise never would have had.

Google makes a good point in the post that:

Of course, if publishers don’t want their websites to appear in search results (most do) the robots.txt standard (something that webmasters understand) enables them to prevent automatically the indexing of their content.

I have to agree that a mechanism is provided to stop people indexing your site and it is up to your web master to control that. Of course they aren't asking for people to stop indexing their site. They still want the traffic but at the same time they don't want any snippet to show up in the results (I've rarely clicked on a result that has no associate text with it; I use that snippet to give me an idea that it is a page I'm interested in). They can easily have their way, they just aren't prepared to take that step. The fact that the court agrees with them is somewhat worrying as it sets president for this sort of action happening again.

20 September 2006

Google Talk and XMPP

I've been using Google Talk for a while. I like it, it has a simple clean interface and seems lightweight enough to do everything I'd like it to do (though I haven't got into trying voice conversations over it yet or anything). They are using the Jabber/XMPP standard which I like since I've long believed that having a common standard (like email) is much easier than having friends on lots of different networks. They recently upgraded to a new version. It has a few new features that I haven't really tried yet but one I was using, that shows your currently playing track, was bugging a friend. The reason it was bugging him was that every time the track changed it showed him the new track in his chat window.

The only reason it was doing that was because Google were using the status message to update this information. Given there is a draft standard to show user tunes in XMPP then it seems a shame they aren't using this. Since their core market are probably Google Talk to Google Talk users both clients would probably understand this. Other clients that did understand this would display the information however they liked (hell if someone was using a client that was some sort of music library it could start playing the same track). Other clients that didn't understand it would merely ignore it with the result of the person's status remaining the same (available, busy or whatever) and without bombarding people with the track information. Seems a real shame they didn't take advantage of this, after all I'd expect most of the work was doing writing the scripting with the music players it supports; it wouldn't have been much work to write this into a different area than the status.

13 September 2006

Digital Content

I've been moving, ever so slowly, more and more to digital content. I'm, I guess like a lot of geeks, a hoarder. So even if I'll never read that book again, if I thought that CD I bought in 1996 was crap or, that that game I bought 6 years ago won't even run on my machines even if I wanted to play it I'll still keep hold of them. I've got my DVD collection on a bookcase and my CD collection of some large racks. It's a bizarre thing for me, therefore, to see this media as worthless and switch to an entirely digital platform. The tangible form of a CD has long been lost to me in favour of the ease of use of a digital library and the ability to quickly make playlists and access all of my library. However I know that, if I need to, I can go back to that original and get another copy of it.

I realised, though, that it was the ability to get a copy from the original format that bothered me it was more a sense of ownership of the item. iTunes, with it's DRM one download file, doesn't give me a sense of ownership. All I have is a stream of data that, if all copies of that are lost, can just as easily be destroyed as can be bought. Steam doesn't bother me in the same way at all (at least now it doesn't); the fact that once bought, the product is mine, free to be downloaded again to a new machine in the event the first is destroyed. I don't need to worry about losing the disc (though, I guess, I do need to worry about the company going under). It's not the data that is mine it is the product and that feels so much more tangible.

All this witter is really about the new iTunes Store Movies (though I doubt that they are available in the UK anyway. As they are much larger than music it is far more likely that I'd want to free up the space they take up and re-download them later. I need ownership of that product, not the series of 1s and 0s that make up a transient copy of it that I have.

Am I alone in my desire for a sense of ownership over a product?

11 September 2006


After reading Endie's post about LibraryThing how could I help but set up an account myself. I've not really had time to add my collection yet and, unlike most other things that I obsessively collect, I tend to give books away. Now I almost feel sorry that I've done that. Think of that cataloging I've missed out on! I already also log my DVD collection in IMDB; I'm still looking for a way to do it for my computer games. 1Up's method just didn't work for me. I'd like to use MobyGames since I consider it the IMDB of the games world but it isn't supported yet.

Anyway since my weekend was pretty much spent dancing and playing computer games then not much else to report here.