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Archive for April, 2006

Tracking Inbound Links

Iron links

A number of links that reach a given site can be probed (or estimated based on crawlers) using some special syntax in queries. The universally-accepted form for the query has become link:, where the string can be either a domain name or an individual page that resides deeper inside the site.

Altavista seems to report the highest number of inbound links, yet not all of them are visible. In general, the overall number of results, as estimated at the very start, is always misleading. Not all results are reachable from the search engines, so a false illusion is given. In terms of saturation of results (number of links reported), then comes Yahoo and only later comes Google. MSN does not support this query syntax, yet it appears to lose popularity anyway (“MSN’s search market share dropped from 14 percent to 11 percent”).

Technorati is a good tool for finding fresh links to a given site very quickly. Links are tracked almost in real time, owing to feeds and pinging services. In that respect, Technorati is Web 2.0-oriented.

City Without Physical Money

Money on keyboard

MORE nations than ever before are showing interest in a purely electronic system for managing people’s records, funds, and vehicles. Take, for example, this older story on the use of biometrics. Cities and individual shops can already make authentication immediate when payment are being made. More latterly, a city in France began testing the idea of cities where cash is a antiquated notion of the past.

The tourist city of Caen in Normandy is hosting a major European trial of the use of NFC (near field communication) – a mobile technology that can be used for anything from paying for groceries to finding out about your home town.

Detection of Fake Content

Book scanning

THERE is a growing interest in snatching of Web traffic from search engines. A notorious method for achieving this is by large mass of useless and re-used content. This is backed by many inbound links, which are most commonly accumulated by spamming of other Web sites. The overall outcome of this is degradation in the quality of publication on the Web. Likewise in science (sometimes at least!).

There are real technical papers and fake ones as well. SCIGen was at one point utilised to output randomly-generated publications, one of which was actually accepted to be presented at a conference.

Finally, there is a new tool,which claims to be able to discern real technical papers from fake ones.

Authors of bogus technical articles beware. A team of researchers at the Indiana University School of Informatics has designed a tool that distinguishes between real and fake papers.

It’s called the Inauthentic Paper Detector — one of the first of its kind anywhere — and it uses compression to determine whether technical texts are generated by man or machine.

Returning to Top of Things

I finally caught up with work. Having returned from this long Easter vacation overwhelmed by workload, I was rather restless for days. I am still feeling sore due to lack of exercise. This comes at a very bad time as a contest is commencing rather soon and I must be in a better shape.

I can finally take the time to post a photo which I was sent a couple of days ago. The photo shows myself, my cousin Rachelle, and my cousin Michael at their house in Davie, FL.

Roy in Davie

Open Source and Paracites

Season of the playful penguins
Season of the playful penguins from Oyonale

WHILE absent, I did not have the opportunity to comment on Oracle’s desire to buy a Linux distribution. This started a whole chain reaction, which had people think about the exploitation of Linux by giants. This also resulted in the exchange of some insults.

More latterly, Red Hat, who were rumoured to be in Oracle’s acquisition agenda, have been responding. Below are some among the softer words, which have come out from the months of their executives.

Success May Threaten Open Source Ethic

“His conclusion is contrary to virtually everything I’ve seen in my 17 year history of commercial free/open source solutions,” Michael Tiemann, vice president of Red Hat said about Goulde’s report. “I believe that the effect of open source on the proprietary vendors is a force 1,000 times more powerful than the force of proprietary principles on the open source community.”

Nature’s Own Antibiotic

Orange pillsA rare and important story such as this cannot and should not be ignored. An intersting scientific discovery has just come to my attention.

It turns out that nature’s own chemicals are more able to fight bacteria than one of man’s most significant developments: the invention of penicillin. And get this: a compound in wallaby milk is said to be 100 time more effective. Will humans start breeding wallabies? Or is the statement made in the article an exaggeration that will sooner or later be balanced?

Scientists have discovered a bacteria-fighting compound 100 times more effective than penicillin – in wallaby milk.

Researchers found the highly-potent compound, tagged AGG01, was active against a wide variety of fungi and bacteria including antibiotic-resistant superbugs.

Multi-Platform, OEM Wallpapers Collection

Windows XP
Probably the most ubiquitous wallpaper nowadays

EACH platform (including its distribution and/or version) can often be characterised by its default wallpaper (background picture), among other visual signatures such as the login screen and icons set. Here is a nice and fairly complete gallery of default wallpapers . It contains wallpapers many of us have seen in Mac OS, Windows, and Linux.

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Original styles created by Ian Main (all acknowledgements) • PHP scripts and styles later modified by Roy Schestowitz • Help yourself to a GPL'd copy
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