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The Media

Wading Through Weblogs, One Idea at a Time 76

candot writes "Remember the recent slashdot story on NASA cancelling the moon hoax book? Wonder what other weblogs are saying about the subject? Launched today (in beta), the Waypath Project is an attempt to network the weblog community, connecting weblogs that share common themes, ideas, and topics. The Waypath Project's Related Weblog Navigation engine analyzes weblog entries to determine their core conceptual makeups, compares them with one another to find out how related they are, and presents you with its best guess as to what's related to your original input. This is done all automatically. Look for the disclaimers about varying quality you'd expect from an automated classification system, such as at Google News. You're encouraged to embed WP results in your weblog pages. Be the first on your block to try it out, today -- unless it gets slashdotted, then tomorrow. Resources are limited, so pace yourselves."
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Wading Through Weblogs, One Idea at a Time

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  • Beta? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by thing12 ( 45050 )
    Even though it doesn't feel slashdotted yet, searching for "NASA cancelling the moon hoax book" yields this lovely error messge. Way fun...
    An error has occurred. Please notify the system administrator. exception details: java.net.MalformedURLException: no protocol: NASA cancelling the moon hoax book java.net.MalformedURLException: no protocol: NASA cancelling the moon hoax book at java.net.URL.(URL.java:579) at java.net.URL.(URL.java:476) at java.net.URL.(URL.java:425) at com.thinktank23.waypoint.text.TextArtifact.(Unknow n Source) at com.thinktank23.waypoint.text.TextArtifact.(Unknow n Source) at com.thinktank23.waypoint.text.TextArtifact.getTran sientTextArtifact(Unknown Source) at com.thinktank23.waypoint.text.TextArtifact.getTran sientTextArtifact(Unknown Source) at com.thinktank23.waypoint.docsim.DocsimQuery.create Query(Unknown Source) at _rwn__jsp._jspService(_rwn__jsp.java:226) at com.caucho.jsp.JavaPage.service(JavaPage.java:74) at com.caucho.jsp.Page.subservice(Page.java:476) at com.caucho.server.http.FilterChainPage.doFilter(Fi lterChainPage.java:176) at com.caucho.server.http.Invocation.service(Invocati on.java:277) at com.caucho.server.http.CacheInvocation.service(Cac heInvocation.java:129) at com.caucho.server.http.HttpRequest.handleRequest(H ttpRequest.java:216) at com.caucho.server.http.HttpRequest.handleConnectio n(HttpRequest.java:158) at com.caucho.server.TcpConnection.run(TcpConnection. java:140) at java.lang.Thread.run(Thread.java:536)
    • Hmmm, Looks like M$ should write their own version in .NET.

      To hell with standards, we just want the data!
    • Re:Beta? (Score:2, Informative)

      by twstdr00t ( 78288 )
      it would appear that you are supposed to enter a URL there....
      • it would appear that you are supposed to enter a URL there....

        Hah! That's funny... reading the directions would have helped. Still, the lack of input checking and catching exceptions is funny.

    • It spewed out the same error message to me. Except I read it. "MalformedURLException: no protocol" tips you off that all URL's need "http://" in front of them. Odd that the developers didn't think to catch this, but it's trivial none the less.

      Cheers
  • 'blogs' (Score:2, Insightful)

    by EggplantMan ( 549708 )
    It seems to me that blogs are a haven for angsty, mal-adjusted, teenage primadonnas. Is this an article directed at the ever growing teenage portion of the Slashdot audience? Really, who reads these things, they're a waste of time.
    • Re:'blogs' (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      I use mine [livejournal.com] as an online work journal, as do many others. Many engineering jobs require a work journal, so I've kept up the habit by keeping mine online and accessible from anywhere. Here's [treedragon.com] one (a systems programmer) that has links to a lot of other mostly work-related journals.
    • to this day I still have yet to have read a "blog". In fact, I really haven't understood what they were until your post.

      I guess being 23 takes me out of the "teenage" bracket of understanding.
    • I always seem to see stuff like this. People really either hate blogs or like them, there isn't much in between. I keep a blog [livejournal.com] but I usually don't use it to just bitch about life or whatever. I talk about projects I'm working on, stuff that's going on with my life in general. I have a friend that uses his to talk about his home improvements that I find interesting since I'm going to be searching for a house soon and it gives me ideas on what to look for and how hard it will be to fix things that are wrong.

      Sure, there are ones that are just a bitch fest for people, and I've used mine to complain about crappy things at work (usually about the shitty security in the computer system I don't have any control over) but if you don't like them, don't read them..

    • Re:'blogs' (Score:4, Insightful)

      by nomadic ( 141991 ) <nomadicworld@g m a i l . c om> on Saturday November 09, 2002 @10:00AM (#4632007) Homepage
      Not at all. There are plenty of weblogs run by non-teenage angsty, maladjusted primadonnas.

      And does the name "blog" annoy the hell out of anyone else either? The only people I can picture using the term are annoying hipsters down at Starbucks trying to impress each other as they slam back frappucinos.
    • "It seems to me that blogs are a haven for angsty, mal-adjusted, teenage primadonnas."

      The original meaning of the term 'weblog' was a log of (my) web-reading/recommendations. I don't really approve its generalisation to include diaries.

    • actually, the only reason i use blogs is i have one that i use as a developer's journal for my site... they're very useful for this. otherwise i'd never touch them.
    • Generally, I've found a good amount of weblogs just to be a way to report what's going on in people's lives to a wider audience. Some are full of angst, but most are very straightforward, like The Fudge Report [comcast.net].
  • by SexyKellyOsbourne ( 606860 ) on Saturday November 09, 2002 @09:28AM (#4631913) Journal
    It's proprietary, closed-source, dirt slow, written in Java, inaccurate, and prone to nasty debug screens.

    Take a look at slashdot, livejournal, and everything2 -- everything works like clockwork. I think the open source community could, and should, write better code for this.
  • Wondering? (Score:5, Funny)

    by sczimme ( 603413 ) on Saturday November 09, 2002 @09:29AM (#4631918)
    Wonder what other weblogs are saying about the subject?

    Ummm... no. But thanks anyway.
    • You neglected to include "Remember the recent slashdot story on NASA cancelling the moon hoax book?" in your comment. Like most Slashdotters, I'm too lazy to read the brief write-up, so at first your comment made no sense to me.
  • Be the first on your block to try it out, today -- unless it gets slashdotted, then tomorrow. Resources are limited, so pace yourselves.

    Others have said it but here it is again. Slashdot is a great resource but many interesting sites become inaccessable due to their servers not being able to handle the load. Why can't Slashdot set up a cache of the interesting pages like google does?
    • Others have said it but here it is again. Slashdot is a great resource but many interesting sites become inaccessable due to their servers not being able to handle the load. Why can't Slashdot set up a cache of the interesting pages like google does?

      Because that would involve them either manually downloading and saving the cached copy or actually spending time to write code to automatically download and cache a copy of everything that's linked. If you want the feature, submit the patch to slashcode [slashcode.com]. Then it might eventually end up on slashdot.

      But in this case it wouldn't help at all since it's more of an application than a web site. All the pages are dynamic... it's like trying to cache Google.

      • Because that would involve them either manually downloading and saving the cached copy or actually spending time to write code to automatically download and cache a copy of everything that's linked.

        Maybe Slashdot should invest $40 and buy a copy of Black Widow [softbytelabs.com] site mirroring tool? Maybe it is a legal thing but google has a cache of many sites including ones taken down.
      • That reply in the FAQ is 2 years old. Lots has changed since then. Storage is cheaper and Slashcode has been updated. There must be a way around the cache problem even if it was just selective to those who volunteer a link to their own small sites. I wonder if Slashdot has ever been threatened with a lawsuit for causing a denial of service attack?

        And how is this off topic if it was brought up in the subject header? Dang.
    • Why can't Slashdot set up a cache of the interesting pages

      in this case because most of the pages on waypath are dynamically generated - a lot of the sites /. links to are. It couldn't work unless someone grabbed a copy of the code (and data) and setup their own waypath machine in the osdn cage

  • ... for example slashdot is a news and discussion site rather than a genuine^H^H^H^H^H^H^H out an out weblog. It may not have been such when the site started, but a large number of slashdot subscribers look at this site as a source of nerd news, not trivia, and definitely not to peek into other peoples diaries.

    As for the hoax, the less discussion on the subject the better. It cannot be conclusivey proved that it was a hoax, and those who believe it was one will not listen to reason.
  • Combining with E2? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Psychic Burrito ( 611532 ) on Saturday November 09, 2002 @09:33AM (#4631933)
    I always thought that combining the setup of Everything2 [everything2.com] and a massive amout of blogs would create something great. This is a step in this direction. Is there anybody else agreeing that combining E2 with Waypath would make the best reference source ever?
  • by costas ( 38724 ) on Saturday November 09, 2002 @09:40AM (#4631950) Homepage
    [This is a plug]

    Memigo [memigo.com] spots memes and interesting news ahead of weblogs, including Slashdot, instead of relying on trailing metrics like blogs. How? it monitors how users rate individual articles and creates personalised recommendations for each user (yep, kinda like Amazon).

    The sites and articles are also inserted into a web of trust, so when a new article/meme shows up, it inherits the trusts of its author and recommenders. The point is to be a leading indicator of interest and sniff out interesting news first...

    To be fair, memigo parses a few blogs too (that tend to make news, rather than follow them, such as /.); but really it can use anything as a trust metric.

    Try it, you will be pleasantly suprised --yes, you need a login for the personal recommendations, but there is no requirement for any personal info, including any sort of e-mail address...
  • by mattsmigs ( 302544 ) on Saturday November 09, 2002 @09:43AM (#4631961) Homepage

    For those who can't be bothered to go and read it [waypath.com]/for when it gets Slashdotted:

    What is it?

    The Waypath Project is an attempt to network the weblog community, connecting weblogs that share common themes, ideas, and topics.

    How does it work?

    The Waypath Project's Related Weblog Navigation engine analyzes weblog entries to determine their core conceptual makeups, compares them with one another to find out how related they are, and presents you with its best guess as to what's related to your original input. This is done all automatically, using available technology.

    Where does the data come from?

    WP makes use of public weblog update lists, which it crawls several times each day. We use a custom spider to grab changed files from individual weblogs. We make our best effort to grab new weblog entries the same day their posted, depending on resource availability. Learn more about data selection here.

    Why does quality vary?

    What the Waypath Project is doing is not trivial. Sometimes Waypath results are amazingly on target, sometimes you can kind of see the thread that relates weblog entries, sometimes you're left scratching your head. We're constantly working to make results better, as time allows.

    Why isn't WP open source?

    The core of WP is based on a proprietary, commerical technology that Think Tank 23 has generously donated to this project. However, the tools developed by the Waypath Project will be released into the open source community as time allows.

    Who funds WP?

    You do, along with others. Check out the donors page for more info.

    Why is this site so spartan?

    This site is run by two guys in their spare time (a couple of hours each week, if we're lucky). Most of that time is spent massaging and enhancing the spider. Ater that, we spend as much time as we can making the results better. You can help by donating, so we can spend more time on everything, including adding more info to the site, if that's your thing.

  • by melonman ( 608440 ) on Saturday November 09, 2002 @09:46AM (#4631971) Journal

    If an infinite number of bloggers write an infinite number of postings, and a search engine cross-references them all, does this give us anything more than Word Salad? If the site wasn't broken I'm curious enough to try it, but I'm sceptical. Most blogs are (possibly) interesting if you know the people: otherwise, they are about as thrilling as someone else's holiday snaps. And the most used category is going to be me me me...

    Also, newsy weblogs such as /. end up being cross-referenced anyway, because sooner or later someone posts a 'hey have you seen what they are saying on...' message.

  • Only thing is it doesn;t work.. hmm MS Beta release?

  • Just stop now (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 09, 2002 @09:57AM (#4632000)
    the Waypath Project is an attempt to network the weblog community, connecting weblogs that share common themes, ideas, and topics.

    They're called "Web rings". You might remember them.

    Asides from that, who the hell cares what some kid in Tacoma thinks about the NASA book? Or, for that matter, who the hell cares what a kid in Tacoma thinks about anything? No one.

    WBELOGS == TEH GEYEST! Just stop.
  • by Raul654 ( 453029 ) on Saturday November 09, 2002 @10:07AM (#4632027) Homepage
    So sally breaks up with don, whose weblog indicates he's now really hot for janet, could care less about Don but really like Barry, who donkey punched Jane, who is best friend with Sally. Hrm... makes it so much clearer now
  • by Flamesplash ( 469287 ) on Saturday November 09, 2002 @10:39AM (#4632114) Homepage Journal
    So just as a test I plopped the URL http://www.pbs.org/cringely/pulpit/pulpit20021107. html [pbs.org] from the /. story Could Eolas End Microsoft's Browser Dominance? [slashdot.org] into the search field on the Waypath Project [waypath.com] page and well all it ended up giving me was a bunch of Microsoft related hits, nothing to really do with the specifics of the article itself. Maybe the word "Microsoft" is too prevalent and therefor overweighted?
  • by EnlightenmentFan ( 617608 ) on Saturday November 09, 2002 @10:40AM (#4632118) Homepage Journal
    If you want to know what weblogs are saying about the Nasa moon hoax story [mit.edu] then I recommend you get psycholog^H^H^H^H put a bookmark on good old Blogdex. [mit.edu] Fine format, good leads to web stories both nerdy and not. You want links (and related weblogs) for the text of the UN Resolution on Iraq, the hockey dad suing to get his son named MVP, or a simple tool to give you the size and text of any web page? They're on Blogdex today.
  • I suppose (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mao che minh ( 611166 ) on Saturday November 09, 2002 @11:06AM (#4632192) Journal
    that this would generally be a good idea, except for the fact that there are already thriving weblog communities that: A. Are nice to look at (or in the least, have an efficient design and layout), B. Have a working search engine in operation, C. Are not built on dog slow, closed projects.

    Slow news day, huh /. ?

  • Confuse it (Score:2, Funny)

    by gleather ( 596807 )
    Be the first on your block to program your weblog to automatically generate amusing nonsense when polled by a blog hog.
  • Unified weblog (Score:3, Informative)

    by GoRK ( 10018 ) on Saturday November 09, 2002 @11:06AM (#4632195) Homepage Journal
    What, no mention of Blogdex [mit.edu], the Media Diffusion Index? It's several years old, and is pretty good at picking current trends.

    ~GoRK
  • "We're being slashdotted. If things are a little slow, that's why. Hey, at least you made it this far. "

    Someone warned them :P
  • by HealYourChurchWebSit ( 615198 ) on Saturday November 09, 2002 @03:02PM (#4633269) Homepage


    I like sites like this ... but isn't their already an effort to define and tie blogging communities via the The Weblog MetaData Initiative [wmdi.org]?

    I mean, Waypath is at one level convenient, but no more so than well established weblog communities such as
    blo.gs [blo.gs], the Eaton WebPortal [eatonweb.com] and blogs4God [blogs4god.com]. Moreover, when it comes to gleaning headline news via a blog, I would suspect the real weapon of cohice would be our personal aggregators [byte.com] such as Amphetadesk [disobey.com] and HotSheet [johnmunsch.com]?

    Which is where the WMDI comes in. It helps me identify sites via xml-ish mechanisms such as the Dublin Core Initiative [dublincore.org] ... which is why I would think someone who's blogging their brains out for the hottest headlines might not be better served by the WMDI [wmdi.org].

    Then again, your mileage may vary.

  • BlogStreet (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    What about BlogStreet [blogstreet.com]. http://www.blogstreet.com/ They had introduced this concept called Blog Neighborhoods months back and seem to be doing a much better job at finding related weblogs. I also like their weblogs search engine, now that daypop has been down since forever.
  • Tangent (Score:2, Informative)

    I'm a day late, but I was away from computing yesterday. I run another project called Tangnet [tangent.cx], that is sort of a similar idea, but (at this point) makes no attempt to link blog postings by idea, but focuses more on common traits between the authors of blogs. It's new but growing.
  • Why do mathematicians insist on using words that already have another
    meaning? "It is the complex case that is easier to deal with." "If it
    doesn't happen at a corner, but at an edge, it nonetheless happens at a
    corner."

    - this post brought to you by the Automated Last Post Generator...

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