Anne Thwacks writes: Increasingly, I find that a Google search yields nothing at all related to my query. There may be 1,000 or 10,000,000 responses, and some are obviously there because of hackery, but the rest often bear little relevance to the query, if any.
For example, a search for some OpenBSD specific problem produced a first page of things which relate to Windows or Linux. Only half way down the second page does a link even mention OpenBSD.
And it is the same with anything where the subject is not mainstream.
Almost every time, I have to set Verbatim, but just now I did a query, with verbatim selected, and the second hit showed every word in the search apart from words like "and" and "also" were crossed out. And you often get only two pages of results for a subject which you know there are hundreds of documents somewhere. Then again, there are vast numbers of hits for pages which are not found.
What the hell makes Google think that people would actually want results which dont have ANY of their search terms in? Why are they so awful?
Yes, I have tried the competition. They are different, but not better. It seems to me there is an opening for a search engine that does what Google used to do ten years ago: actually search!
Anne Thwacks writes: In a reply to a comment on his own post about a biological research project, blog poster "General Direction" makes the amazing suggestion that the interpretation of DNA is an example of a Turing machine in action, and the telomeres are data that is modified by this execution.
Anne Thwacks writes: A new algorithm permits very rapid parsing of DNA sequences. The time to process DNA is reduced to 1% of what was previously required, down from 20 days to just 5 hours. This is achieved by recognising commonly occurring blocks of DNA.
Anne Thwacks writes: Google have launched their initiative. This is to down-rank sites that are not "mobile friendly".
Amongst other things, it requires the use of "large fonts". W3C say font size 3 is "Normal". Google appear to want font size "6" to meet their "mobile friendly" requirements. This makes most web sites unusable because too little info is present on the screen at one time to make sensible navigation choices. Surely if size 3 is "normal", then boursers Incluiding Google's whould render size 3 in a readable manner?
Or is the problem that Old Codgers like me who are used to reading broadsheat newspapers expect to see multiple items on the screen, and choose the interesting ones http://www.sclog.org/, where as young pipsqueeks, like the Googlebots, are used to old Nokia feature phones, and can only read one word at a time? http://www.bbc.co.uk/news
So, I ask/.... who is right about HTML standards here? W3C or Google? Or was this an April Fool story that went horribly wrong?
Anne Thwacks writes: My logs show large numbers of requests which are clearly attempts to hack a Wordpress site or MySql (my sites do not use Wordpress or MySql). What time wasting files could I serve to requests for phpMyAdmin/scripts/setup.php and the like?
Anne Thwacks writes: The British Government web site for applying for for a licence to be a security guard requires a plugin providing Internet Explorer emulation on Firefox to login and apply for a licence. It wont work with Firefox without the add-on, but it also wont work with Internet Explorer! (I tried Win XP and Win7 Professional). The error message says "you have more than one browser window open on the same internet connection". I didn't. and "to avoid this problem, close your browser and reopen it". I did. No change. I tried three different computers, with three different OSes. Still no change. I contacted their tech support and they said "Yes... a lot of users complain about this. We have known about it since September, and are working on a fix! Meanwhile, we have instructions on how to use the "Fire IE" plugin to get round the problem". Eventually, I got this to work on Win7pro. (The plugin will not work on Linux). The instructions require a very old version of the plugin, and a bit of trial and error is needed to get it to work with the current one.
How can a government department concerned with security not get this sort of thing right?
Besides a massive amount of bribery and corruption, what could explain how the designers of the web site can't fix a chronic useability problem after 6 months?
Anne Thwacks writes: Assistant Chief Constable Wayne Mawson told the [Scottish Police Authority] committee that a total of 20,086 records had been lost because a "computer programmer pressed the wrong button between May and July last year".
He added: "That lost the results data from those records. So they had been properly put on the system by the officers as a result of stopping and searching people, but we lost the outcome of it as a computer programming error.
"We have been working really hard to recover that data. I have personally overseen the sending out of several thousand emails to officers and follow-up audits. We have been working hard with HMICS to oversee everything that we do, to make sure it is done properly and I am pleased to say that the vast majority of that data, those results, are now back on the system."
Will anyone will be jailed for not implementing a backup strategy? Inquiring minds want to know!
Anne Thwacks writes: Today, once again, I failed to pass a captcha. I promise I am really human. However, my eyesight is not what it was 20 years ago. I normally give up after two attempts. And no, MP3's are not the answer. As far as I am concerned, speakers on PCs are NSFW. Does anyone have any data on what percentage of Captcha failures are actually humans? Does anyone ever check how much traffic they lose through humans failing captchas? How would you check anyway?
Anne Thwacks writes: Once you are over 40, the lenses in your eyes become hard. The means your eyes lose the ability to “accommodate” — that is, the ability to adjust their focus from far to near If you are naturally long sighted, you will need to use reading glasses. If you are naturally short sighted, you probably needed glasses anyway – but will now need to wear them more often, and may need varifocals or several pairs of glasses for different distances.
If your glasses are not perfect, and possibly even if they are, the lack of accommodation means your eyes have to strain to focus as the eye muscles pull on the inflexible lenses. I find this straining does often enable me to see things for a while without wearing my glasses, but eventually becomes quite painful. As a consequence of this, I have an increasing tendency not to actually even try to focus, but instead to try and guess, possibly relying on occasional glances.
I am now finding that the pain of focussing to achieve fovic vision is not just leading to me “not looking” but is being associated with paying attention, and I am finding it hard to pay attention, not just for long periods, but at all, because some part of me fears the pain.
Is it possible that one cause of ADHD is poor eyesight?
Anne Thwacks writes: A colleague of mine has developed a web shop for his client. The shop is working, but people visiting it with Norton Security on their computer are advised that the site is risky, which is clearly damaging its business prospects.
A visit to Norton's web site suggests that they will remove this notice if he signs up to their program. While this might be free (or might not), it is not something he wishes to do.
How is this not an illegal extortion racket, and illegal restraint of commerce?
Anne Thwacks writes: I have invented a completely new type of game, which might have very wide appeal. There is no chance of me coding it myself, as my skills are not in the right area. (Ever tried coding a game entirely in SQL?) It needs the kind of skills used to produce team sports games (NBA, FIFA, etc) but is not sport. It is potentially both single and multi-player, with team playing and global networked versions possible. It would appeal to both sexes, with good appeal to older players (limited appeal to aliens* and superheros predicted). It would benefit from a Wiimote type interface.
This is really something that could only be done using computers (ie no board-game or ASCII* version possible), as it requires interaction, visual presentation and live motion.
I dont want to reveal too much in case someone else takes the idea and runs with it.
Who should I approach, and how?
(*Actually, an ASCII version might appeal to aliens, but not to many humans!)