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Preview: Netcoms Dot Com

Netcoms Dot Com

Informed and humourous take on all things new media

Last Build Date: Tue, 06 Mar 2018 04:28:32 +0000


Fri, 01 May 2009 12:11:00 +0000

Chrome review part 2

Having started using Chrome again, there remain a few of irritations.

- The first and perhaps most annoying is that the mouse-pan doesn't work in Chrome.

- A more minor irritaiton for those of us that use multiple browsers is the order of the right-mouse menu bar with 'new tab' and 'new window' swapping positions. More logical in Chrome.

- Finally on an old PC where memory is a constant problem is that processes still run after the browser is closed(image)

Wed, 29 Apr 2009 08:58:00 +0000

Chrome shows promise

After an initial underwhelming test of Google's Chrome browser, memory issues with other browsers have forced me back for a second look. There are now workarounds to adding the likes of Delicious buttons (simple bookmarks do fine), but the main attractions are the load speed of pages and the independent tabs which can crash in isolation.

The result - less 'not responding' errors, a quicker browser and once you get used to the UI a compelling competitor. 

I'm still sticking with Firefox in the main, but will certainly be making more and more use of Chrome.

Mon, 27 Apr 2009 09:14:00 +0000

Searching in colour

Google is adding colour filters to its image search. To use it look for the 'all colors' bar underneath the search box in image search and click on your colour.

The colour palette available is pretty limited, so it's questionable just how useful this is when you could add colour into your search term in the first place. For some, however, it could be a good way to filter your results quickly when trying to find the best colour of an object.

Either way it's a small step towards visual search, such a challenge in search where the search engine will analyse an object for its meaning beyond the metadata available (e.g. photo of red car only tagged as 'car').(image)

Fri, 01 Aug 2008 14:30:00 +0000

Speaking Google's language

There's a good chance you will now with the announcement that the Google homepage now appears in over 100 languages.

Interesting to read in the story of adding Maori to the list of languages that it takes more than 1,600 phrases to translate Google's search interface - 'search'; 'I'm feeling lucky' that's two, how many more do you need! It's been a labour of love to add Maori to the list and there is no doubt considerable pride that it is now added to the list.(image)

Wed, 28 May 2008 09:07:00 +0000

Mini Adventure

Google has released several updates to their enterprise search product, Google Mini. More details are available on a post on their blog, but essentially it involves the ability to search in shared drives, weight documents by date or value and comes with support for six new languages.

Shared drives support is the big one given the number of documents stored in this locations in corporate environments.

More details on the enterprise blog.(image)

Tue, 27 May 2008 15:00:00 +0000

A year on

Embarrassingly it's been a year since my original experiment in blogging was updated. In fairness, I now edit two other sites and this mixture of tests, comment and even analysis has fallen behind in terms of priority.

The site still gets a regular stream of traffic from some of the better pieces in terms of content and SEO practice, so rather than kill it off I'm going to remind Google and co that it still exists.

I may well continue to do the odd update from time to time on topics outside of my current web publishing interests, so keep subscribed to the RSS feed and hopefully good things will come to those that wait.(image)

Tue, 10 Jul 2007 12:27:00 +0000

Where's Germany? Why, it's right here

According to Google, it's right here on this blog. A quick look (UK settings) shows Netcoms Dot Com as the number two result for 'Where's Germany'.

I was surprised to see the amount of traffic coming through for this term after this post started the ball rolling. No doubt a mixture of a recent post, plus the keywords in the title tag. Let's see how long it lasts.(image)

Thu, 28 Jun 2007 15:06:00 +0000

Double Trouble

There's an excellent history of the online advertising industry, as part of Google's explanation of why they bought DoubleClick, essentially adding their ad sales network to DoubleClick's ad serving network.

As well as giving Google a significant foothold in another key area of the online ad industry, it also gives them access to DoubleClick's agency relationships, to capture both the short and the long tail of the ad industry. Smart move.(image)

Fri, 22 Jun 2007 16:57:00 +0000

Google warming

Laudable initiatives from Google at ensuring that they become a carbon neutral company and beyond. Let's hope that this becomes a template for the corporate world.

Will be interesting to see how much their use their existing destinations as a way of campaigning online, as there are some topics where you shouldn't remain neutral...(image)

Wed, 20 Jun 2007 08:31:00 +0000

Where's Germany?

So, YouTube is going international with sites in nine different major markets. However, the one surprising omission is Germany.

While Germany has, this is still a huge digital market and a quick search shows plenty of German content already on YouTube. What will the locals make of the apparent snub? Maybe the German reaction to alleged Flickr censorship and the legal issues at the core played a factor in the delay...(image)

Fri, 15 Jun 2007 14:35:00 +0000

Time to update the blogger templates

This blog has had the same template for a couple of years now, after I decided to take it out of the pre-2000 design phase and bring it up-to-date. As ever, internet design moves fast and it's already looking dated.

So, I decided to check out the available blogger templates having expectations of at least some of the open-source creativity you get with Wordpress. However, the templates were lacking in number and excitement so I'll stick with this for now.

Time to create a few more?(image)

Fri, 15 Jun 2007 14:26:00 +0000

It's harder than you think

Google has responded in the debate about video fingerprinting as a way of controlling the use of copyrighted content on YouTube. Both Microsoft's Soapbox and MySpace video already have video fingerprinting in place, so you can understand many content owner's frustration about the delay.

However, Google does make some interesting points about the difficulties in identifying copyrighted content when sometimes copyrighted content may be legitimately posted independent of Google's content deals. As it says, porn or violence are reasonably clear to all (but still a judgement call) whereas users may not know if a piece of copyrighted content is legal or not.

Whatever the merits of the arguments, Google needs to implement their technology sooner rather than later to appease the concerns of many content owners.(image)

Tue, 12 Jun 2007 08:49:00 +0000

Going public about privacy

As you would expect from their communications policy, Google are using their blog on a corporate level to respond to the privacy storm caused by the controversial report from Privacy International, while Googler Matt Cutts responds on a personal level in his 'official' blog.

Their response and those of many of the blogosphere have successfully generated debate about the report and have put their side of the story across. Whatever the rights and wrongs of the report, it has put privacy at the centre of debate on the internet and that can only be viewed as a positive.(image)

Mon, 11 Jun 2007 16:49:00 +0000

Google raising the skates

Significant number of Google offerings of late as they extend this offering into mashups, desktop and extend the functionality of the mapping tool:

- Google Gears: allowing you to read your Google Reader RSS feeds offline with the technology open to external sites and services
- Purchase of Feedburner: feed distribution and management tools
- Google Mashup Editor: rival to Yahoo Pipes
- Google Mapplets: embed mini applications within Google Maps
- Purchase of Panoramio: geo-located photo sharing

All part of the battle for acquisitions and innovation between the big three of Microsoft, Yahoo and Google.(image)

Mon, 08 Jan 2007 11:38:00 +0000

Blogger custom domains

About time too. now lets you buy your own domain, point it at the Google Blogger servers and they will take care of the hosting. So, for those of us that like to have our own domain for SEO, vanity or other reasons rather than the default 'dot blogspot', we can do so for the price of a domain.

May be a little late to capture those lost to Wordpress and the like, but another important step in making a competitive service again for medium to advanced users.(image)

Fri, 17 Nov 2006 11:53:00 +0000

Just one of those days commuting

London transport take a bow. Keen to get into work early after a week of travel disruptions, I decided to take no chances and take an earlier train. However, London transport was having none of it confounding me at every turn:

1) Train: not only was it late, but because of earlier delays my usual cherished seat was denied me forcing me to endure the sweaty armpits of fellow commuters before the usual tube watershed.

2) Victoria station: I managed to fight my way down to the Victoria line platform, only for a defective train at Warren Street to bring the whole line to a standstill. Not being able to even get near to the stationary tube train, I headed out to find a bus, as they closed the tube on my exit.

3) Bus: with the mass of commuters seeking alternative transport, the only bus I was able to squeeze myself onto was taking the long route up to the central line. After getting stuck in traffic I decided to jump off early and head off on foot from Green Park to Bond Street.

4) On foot: It started to rain. Sigh.

5) Tube: for some insane reason, escalator works meant I couldn't access Bond Street station.

6) On foot: more sightseeing as I powered my way down Oxford Street to Marble Arch.

7) Tube: fighting my way through the mass of people, I pushed my way through as the doors closed. Tucked amid the mass of commuters I failed to spot my central line train was going the wrong way. Doh. An about turn and finally I was on the right track.

9) Work: I finally made it to work 15 minutes late having set off 45 minutes early.

10) In future: Make plans to work from home. Aren't these things supposed to happen on a Monday? Oh, they did.

Rant over!(image)

Wed, 25 Oct 2006 13:49:00 +0000

Computer says no

Maybe because I haven't updated the blog for a couple of months while working on other blogging projects, but it looks like Technorati is starting to write Netcoms dot com out of the blogosphere history.

Despite links from several different blogs, it now states that this blog has no inbound links from other blogs, nor is it recording my blogroll's links to other blogs.

No fair. So, in the interests of experimentation, I'll update the blog with this post and see if Technorati finds it in its heart to reinstate this venerable veteran of several years and over a hundred posts back into the blogosphere fold.

Update: Some of that link love has been restored it seems, thanks to an update and a ping - now it says that 5 blogs link here, but doesn't list them. Make your mind up!(image)

Thu, 17 Aug 2006 18:47:00 +0000

Stormhoek in a teacup?

There I was wandering around Sainsbury's looking for a bottle of white to complement my cod in cabbage and beer (much nicer than it sounds, I assure you) when a blue topped bottle caught my eye.

After all the hype in the blogosphere about those winemakers from Stormhoek and their blog, there was a distinctive bottle of Sauvignon Blanc actually in the real world, complete with a cartoon from Gaping Void. What's more it was reduced to under a fiver, so it could satisfy my wallet and my curiousity.

I opened the bottle and took a sniff inside. Fruity, fresh with aromas of lemon and gooseberry.

A swirl around the mouth. Hmm. Yes, it did have an original taste, but did it pass muster? Not really. To be honest, I prefer my wines with more depth of flavour and this one, while nice enough, was just too youthful, even for Sauvignon Blanc.

So after all the hype, it was a little disappointing. Did exactly what it said on the 'tin', but just not to my taste.

Maybe I'll try some of the other varieties, next time I'm walking the aisles.(image)

Mon, 24 Jul 2006 10:37:00 +0000

Sir Cliff Richard 1 Gordon Ramsey 1

It was amusing to see the boost to traffic that my Sir Cliff Richard does a Ratner piece generated. Clearly the housewives favourite is a serious player on the internet, as he is in the flesh at his concerts with his frighteningly devoted fans.

As the pre-publicity intended, I did actually watch Sir Cliff's appearance on the 'F-Word' and unsurprisingly it failed to live up to the hype. While he might have been trying to make a valid point about how fake celebrity wines are, in the end I found it a rather crude attempt at humiliation as Ramsey tried to coax a swearword out of the singer-cum-viticulturist.

Sir Cliff kept his cool at least while on camera, but the sensible riposte would have been to say 'well, the wine may not be the best, but it's such a perfect match for your food'.(image)

Fri, 16 Jun 2006 11:08:00 +0000

Sir Cliff Richard does a Ratner

Amusing story from the Daily Mail also picked up by wine bloggers Stormhoek about the famously mild-mannered British Knight Sir Cliff Richard losing his cool with foul mouthed chef Gordon Ramsey on the F-Word.

Ever one to humiliate wherever possible, Ramsey invited Sir Cliff to do a blind tasting for the show. What he didn't tell him was that he'd be tasting his own wine Vida Nova. Oh dear. It wasn't exactly a fair fight with Ramsey first giving him a £400 bottle to sample.

Then it was over to Sir Cliff to make a memorable gaffe, according to Ramsey: "That's rubbish. I wouldn't pay for that, it's tainted, it's insipid. It tastes like vinaigrette. I'd never buy that."

Ouch. On revealing his duplicity, Ramsey claims Sir Cliff told him 'Young man, go f*** yourself'. While many would concur with that view, the whole episode is highly embarrassing for Sir Cliff.

Unsurprisingly, Ramsey is now milking the publicity with one of his traditionally understated quotes, tailor-made to fill those column inches: "Sirs can't swear like that. It was extraordinary. That was his wine from Portugal. We are now using it for vinaigrette at Claridge's."

(Yes, I'm not entirely sure what it has to do with internet communications either, but just watch this story amplify over the blogosphere and turn up on YouTube.)(image)

Wed, 03 May 2006 17:23:00 +0000

Rooney fit? Pigs might fly

After enduring the tedious weeks of Beckham 'will he, won't he be fit' before the last World Cup, the office let out a collective groan when the Scouse Pele Rooney succumbed to that most fashionable of injuries - the broken metatarsal(s).

In this week of hysterical Rooney metatarsal coverage, kudos to today's London edition of the metro for bringing some humour to the whole unfortunate saga:

"A piglet who broke his trotter on the same day Wayne Rooney hobbled off the pitch with a broken metatarsal has been named after the England star... Farmer James Wainhouse, 47, said: 'He even looks like Rooney.'"(image)

Wed, 03 May 2006 13:02:00 +0000

Sigh - plays up again

More hassle from after last week it refused for the best part of a day to publish my thoughts on the transient web and valuable advice from, Google, on avoiding RSI. (I'm not aware of any automated editing algorithm as yet...)

Today it is again refusing to play ball, first resulting in an error page when trying to access the site, then taking an eternity to load not only the CMS, but the Netcoms Dot Com blog itself. There is a worrying note at the bottom of the screen 'Could not connect to Saving and publishing may fail'. At least the recover post functionalty works.

Some vague sense of loyalty after 2 years of service is keeping me from switching to WordPress, but,, you have been warned!(image)

Tue, 25 Apr 2006 09:20:00 +0000

Computing injuries and how to avoid them

For those of us over-active in the screen time department, Google is offering advice on how to avoid common conditions caused by excessive computer use.

The advice covers everything from regular breaks (naturally, timed by software), posture, even yoga. I'd add making sure you print out long documents rather than trying to read anything over three pages long on the screen.

It also omits that one important piece of advice that our American cousins seem to neglect - taking regular holidays (and that means more than two weeks a year!).(image)

Mon, 24 Apr 2006 09:55:00 +0000

It's a transient web, but some things stay the same

Thought provoking post from Steve 'Barney' Rubel about 'The Transient Web', providing a potted history of the evolutions and revolutions in how we use the internet taking it all the way from the geek to the high street.

From my side of things I have been using the internet for 11 years now, having been brought up trying to get any enjoyment out of an Acorn Electron. I first went online when asking a friend to 'show me the internet'. We sat down and fired up a computer.

"So, what are you interested in seeing?"

"Well, just show me what's there."

"It doesn't work like that. You have to be searching for a specific topic."

That basic premise has remained through to the present range of Web 2.0 services available. It puts the user at the heart of the experience. This principle is evolving into other media, as part of the 'me, me, media' that I've blogged about before:

"Me, me, me media: when you saw your Luddite friends getting to grips with 3G, Sky Plus, IPod, Tivo, Blackberry's, Desktop Search, RSS, and the rest. What you want, when you want it and on what device you want it."

The internet may be transient, but the basic principles remain.(image)

Thu, 16 Mar 2006 12:53:00 +0000

How NOT to tie your shoelaces

The great 'fun, fashion & science' shoelace experiment has reached a dramatic early conclusion. Within an hour of tieing my left shoe with an 'Ian Knot', against my right shoe's traditional loop, I was surprised to see Ian's Knot give way on my first serious walk down the stairs.

Regular readers will be relieved to hear that I avoided serious injury. My lawyers will not be.(image)