Monthly Archives: October 2006

Wikipedia articles on Google earth

Nice idea: grab all wikipedia articles which are enriched with geo-coordinates and make the information accessible within Google Earth. That’s exactly what Stefan Kühn has done!

The KMZ-file can be downloaded from his website and you can easily import that in Google Earth. Now you can fly over your favourite holiday destination and immediatly read the corresponding wikipedia articles.
I like it:

Wikipedia in google earth

IE7 final release, now comes with add-ons

As announced earlier this month, Microsoft was ready to release a final version of Internet Explorer 7. Well, they’ve kept their word. It is available for download since a couple of days ago.

I’ve just installed it, not a real difference with Release Candidate 2 but I just wanted to try it out. First of all, I think Microsoft did a pretty good job. I’ve been using the new browser all day and nothing strange happened. I like the tabbed browsing (that’s why I always use firefox) although I’m not a big fan of the user interface. For instance, why did they put a close button on each tab? Now I have to search for the right button every time I want to close a single tab. Just leave the close button where it belongs, in the top right corner.

Today it became clear that MS really did a good analysis of the success factors of Firefox. Look what they have launched: the IE7 extension site. Microsoft calls it add-ons, but by the first look it is exactly the same as the extensions that made firefox a popular browser. Microsoft seems to have missed one tiny aspect though: the community! Oke, you are able to leave a comment about an add-on but that’s as far as it goes. No open-source character, you even have to pay for quite a lot of add-ons. Missed opportunity. Too bad.

Matt Cutts wrote a short review on Firefox 2.0, sounds like a better option than IE7 to me.

Update: wow, they do have a community! It features newsgroup discussions and popular downloads! I rest my case.

Google’s pagerank: why all the excitement?

It often surprises me how much excitement a pagerank update still causes. The start of an update is always directly followed by an enormous amount of blog and forum posts. Not to speak about the number of people who are immediatly stress-testing the online Pagerank tools. So, I think it is about time to clear some things up. To start with, Google has changed quite a bit in the last couple of years:

  • Previously Google updated the index on a monthly basis. This caused fluctuating results as Google was updating the various servers one by one. The updates where soon called the Google Dance by the webmaster community. Currently Google continuously updates its index while crawling the web. In other words, there is no monthly Google Dance anymore.
  • Every two to three months people start talking about a pagerank update which should be taking place. Well, in fact pagerank is updated continuously as well. Google only exports the pagerank values to the datacenters which are used by the Google toolbar every couple of months. That’s when you see new pagerank values in the toolbar. This will however not influence the ranking, not even a tiny bit.

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Logitech diNovo Edge

diNovo edge

Just found a new gadget which is directly on top of my wishlist! Eventually a keyboard that will look nice in your living room: Logitech’s diNovo Edge.

It uses Bluetooth, which gives you extended range over RF keyboards, so controlling a media center PC from your couch should not be a problem. Logitech also integrated a touchpad so a mouse isn’t necessary anymore. The new keyboard uses recharchable batteries which automatically charge when you put it on the charching stand. Perfect.

I do have one problem: the price. The diNovo Edge will be available next month for approximately 200 dollars. Hopefully Santa is in a good mood this year…

Engadget has a hands-on review online.

Exalead launches enhanced website

ExaleadExalead has just launched a new version of their search engine on
I was one of the lucky who was given the opportunity to test the beta version of this release and I am quite impressed. I think they did a great job on the user interface and untill now I’m pretty satisfied with the quality of the search results as well. So, maybe exalead will offer some serious competition for Google.

The improvements basically come down to:
– entirely redesigned user-interface (I personally like the approach to advanced search)
– bigger index (growing to 8 billion pages)
– ability to personalize the homepage

Another feature of exalead that isn’t completely new but what does distinguish them from other search engines like Google and Yahoo is the possibility to choose between three views for the resultpage:
1. text only
2. text and thumbnails (like ask’s binoculars)
3. text, thumbnails and extra info (directory and RSS information)

People who like to use advanced search options should definitively check out Exalead’s advanced features. Proximity search, phonetic search and logical expressions are just a few. I must admit that most users won’t take advantage of these features but it’s very powerful for those who do.

I think Exalead has the potential to become a bigger player in the international search market. Should Google fear them? Time will tell.

Internet Explorer 7 to be released this month

IE7Microsoft recently announced that IE7 will be released this month. Although I’m a firefox user, I must say that I am very happy to hear this. I like to build webapps in some spare hours and there are times when IE6 really pisses me off annoys me.

I’ve already done some testing with IE7 RC1 and luckily enough the frustating selectbox-bug is solved, eventually. I must say that I’m not totally convinced that we won’t find new issues but untill now it is working fine.

Microsoft really had a close look at firefox and I think they are definitively following the right path now, a quick list of new features in IE7:

– tabbed browsing (where have we seen that before)
– integrated RSS feedreader (ehh, ^^)
– Improved printing, your content will fit on the printed page now (why did that take them 7 versions)
– Support for opensearch, this will make it easy for you to change the default search provider. Good plan (honoustly).

If you’re interested, grab the latest IE7 release here.

Google has officially bought YouTube!

GoogtubeIt’s official now! Google has bought YouTube for $1.65 billion (in stock)!

This is definitively the biggest and probably the most important acquirement in the (young) history of Google. It is now Googles turn to show how they will make YouTube profitable.
See Google’s press releases here or here.

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Fujitsu turntable PC

Fujitsu presented a few prototype PC designs at the Ceatec 2007. One of their ideas, a turntable PC, looks really cool!

Fujitsu turntable PC
The Turn Table PC represents one possibility for a home entertainment PC that can switch between being used as a notebook computer or as a digital turntable, allowing DJs to scratch and spin digital media files. Nice!!

25 euro additional taxes on MP3-players in the Netherlands

The dutch government is about to approve a proposal of a Dutch copyright foundation which wants to add 25 euro of extra taxes on every MP3 player sold here. This should compensate the missed income caused by illegal MP3s. Well well well, what a great idea!

Besides the fact that it is absolutly ridiculous to let people pay royalties before even playing a song, this will also cause serious problems for the dutch electronics industry.
From january 1st 2007, every MP3 player will rise 25 euro in price. Oh no, let me rephrase that: from january 1st 2007, every MP3 player in the Netherlands will rise 25 euri in price.

So, I guess you don’t have to be a genious to understand what will happen…
Exactly: everybody will buy a MP3 player somewhere else. Belgium and Germany are only a short drive away and offcourse we also have the webshops which will be happy to deliver that new iPod to our home address.

In my opinion, there is only one solution for all the copyright problems we are currently facing: lower the price of the music! I just can’t understand why the record labels still don’t get it. Let’s get rid of the DRM and charge reasonable prices for mp3 files! That’s the only way to boost the online music sales and it will prevent a lot of people from downloading ‘illegal mp3s’.

Les Blogs 3 announced

Loic Le Meur just announced Les Blogs 3, december 11 and 12th 2006 in Paris. Last year about 450 people attended the conference, this year there is space for 900!

I can’t find any info about the program or speakers yet, hopefully that will follow soon.