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Books & Articles I wrote.

Saturday, April 29, 2006


Hunterian Museum, BlogLines, Intentions

Today we were up early and out before 9Am. We got back at 4.30 PM with everyone's feet killing them. A craking day meant the wee guy was out and about in the Botanic Gardens and then into Kelvingrove park. He half walked, half cycled.

At about 2 we went into the newly refreshed Hunterian museum in Glasgow University which just opened today. It was very impressive and evern Xavier at just 3 was asking a ton of questions (which of course he expected me to know the answer too). Thankfully they were all labelled, so i still have some smart points :) Get your kinds along - it's a good few hours and the dinosaurs are cool (and make sure you do the treasure hunt).

Here is a picture of one of the scary monsters we manage to caputure - you can also see the skeleton of a dinosaur behind him.

When I got back i could barely move, so i got a Corona and whilst Xavier watched some TV i decided to sort out my longstanding issues with RSS (and listened to Jim Traynor on the radio with the usual phone in nutters). I am useless and have a zillion feeds on my random PC's and lose them when i re-build. Well, i signed up to BlogLines - a service a looked at long ago, but now need. I really want them centralized so i can get at them anywhere and they are backed up. I am now using it, but the signing up, UI and search are a bit of a disaster.

First, i was asked to choose things wanted to subscribe to (i spent a fair amount of time on this). I did, but it then came up with an error. On the panel on the left i was signed up to some of those i had chosen. I then decided to do it again just in case my connection had got screwed half way through. This time however, it said i was already tsubscribed to a blog and stopped. Obviously it found something it had subscribed to in the first place and flamin' stopped! I would rather it just did them all and then told me at the end. Anyway, i then went in and set up my feeds. It's ok, but keeps taking me to some flamin instruction page every time i add a new feed - when you are adding a load this is a pain. The search is also pretty hopeless. I typed in "Google" and "Microsoft" and basically got a Google search list rather than actual blogs about these companies - "Google search results for Microsoft" - which was 99% useless.

However, it IS a nice product to use and hopefully they will clean this stuff up. More importantly however it has solved my problem and that's me hooked. They also have a notifier which will be very useful.

Finally, the Intention Cloud .. "is a web application supported by Perl and AJAX technologies that gathers and displays the queries performed on search engines in an intuitive output using weighted lists, also known as tag clouds."

Yes, the idea is that it can grab the intentions of the zillions of Google queries and so you can get an idea of what people are wanting when they type "i want", "i am", "playing football" and so on - all presented as a cloud of tags.

I tried "visiting glasgow" and is said back to me "visiting glasgow scotland" (in really blue text against a blue backdrop which makes it hard to see) an the link took me to a google search for "visiting glasgow scotland". So i guess it takes a query and works back to find where people have using your query as part of theirs - i.e. their intention of that query.

Whether i will ever use it again is another story.

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