Archive for July, 2009
I was recently asked by my wife why Google search results change. I had noticed it before but didn't spend much time dwelling on it because my first thought was that Google uses many locations and many datacenters to hand out search results. The varying results are differences in the data stored at each location. Depending on which datacenter you are getting results from at any given time, you can see a huge change in results. As an example to this I made a quick video to show how going through a proxy server can change search results. In this video I'm going through a Linux server in Texas at first. Note the total results for the keyword while going through the proxy are 282. By removing the proxy and refreshing the search the number changed dramatically to 635,000 results.
I saw a video explanation of this behavior that stated that Google was a beach, and while I enjoyed the analogy, it isn't entirely correct. There is a lot happening on the internet, but there's no way Google can index it all at once, or even catch it all. That's why they have many data centers, each pulling their own part of the weight. I'd imagine that the synchronization of the data takes time, that is if they actually synchronize the data at all. It may be that Google does this to randomize search results a bit in order to gauge relevancy of each result. At any rate, the keyword results can vary.
Also, after making this video, I captured the packets using wireshark and found that the request from my home internet connection was querying IP 126.96.36.199 and my proxy server is pulling the query from 188.8.131.52. Also neither of the search results were correct. After digging into the other pages of results there is a total of 64 results omitting the repeats. ICHY reports that the keyword has 3,640 competition. So, from what I can see of the data on both sides, ICHY doesn't report very accurate competition numbers according to their own explanation of the relevant results. Other keywords in their list yielded similar results discrepancies.
I bought a new iPhone 3G S yesterday. These things are very nice, and I'm not an Apple fan boy by any stretch. One thing that was bugging me, however, was the slow speed I was getting from the wifi. I was getting faster speeds from the 3G network than my home wireless, and this is while I was sitting right next to the router, so it wasn't a signal problem.
I found the solution to this after reading through many, many forum posts. I saw others were having the same problem as me and were getting responses from people like "reboot the router" or "reset your network settings on the iPhone." This is all well and good and I'm sure those people meant well but there was a big problem with their responses.
First of all, everyone having this trouble said that the wireless worked fine on their computers but not on the iPhone. Secondly, there aren't many settings to "reset" inside the iPhone's network settings. There's just not anything in there that would cause this type of issue.
The solution to the problem ended up being an advanced setting on the router itself. From what I can tell of the issue and it's solution, the iPhone's wifi is just a bit more picky than a standard PC wifi device. Here are the settings I eventually had to change on my Netgear router.
The important items here are the fragmentation threshold and the CTS/RTS threshold. Each of these were set to their max value previously. After changing these two settings, my iPhone started working like a champ.
If you are experiencing the same problems with your iPhone or iPod Touch's wifi, change these settings on your router. Also note, these settings have slightly different names on some routers. Refer to your router's manual for more info.
Edit: I've gone much lower with these number with much success for my less powerful mobile devices. Going too low does seem to cause issues with more powerful computers on the wireless network. Test this out with lower settings and post your success or failures in the comments.
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I love British comedy. Let me get that out of the way. I especially like a certain brand of humor that is reflected in the actual British accent and a "matter-of-fact" attitude. In American terms, I equate it to Bill Murray's character in Ghost Busters. He's very nonchalant about everything. His girlfriend is hovering above her bed in one scene and he's just calm as can be.
Those type of situations tend to gather the most laughs from me, and British humor normally carries a lot of those situations. So that's my explanation as to why I love British Humor. Now, in many cases, when a TV show is popular in the UK, we Americans think we can adapt it. The Office, for example was originally a show from the UK. It was probably brilliant there, but I've never been a big fan of our version of it.
Our version is good, don't get me wrong. It's just that I'm sure their version was much better, and we butchered it. That's why it's no surprise to me that the American version of The IT Crowd never took off.
I LOVE The IT Crowd, by the way. It's one of my all-time favorite TV shows. If not for Youtube.com. I would never have seen it. It's a shame that we can't watch it here in the states, with its original cast. I'm sure it wouldn't be very popular, but the people who like it would LOVE it. Most Americans probably wouldn't like the show, but there are some of us that would give up 50 channels of our cable access just to be able to watch shows like that.
I've been looking for an OS X-like dock bar for Linux for many years. For a while, I used the launcher applet in gdesklets. It works without x-composite and pretty nice, but gdesklets can be a resource hog at times. Most of the gdesklets are written in Python if I'm not mistaking and Python, being an interpreted language, uses much more system resources than a native compiled application.
My next dock was AWN, or Avant Window Navigator. At one point, possibly the present, Google was involved with this project. Again, this is if I recall correctly. AWN is very nice, however, it only works if you are using the composite extension in X, as in Compiz/Beryl/Compiz Fusion. It's very customizable and behaves much like the OS X dock.
There's one part of the OS X dock that I really like that isn't quite the same in these docks however. The fish-eye zoom of icons on the dock is a trademark of OS X. AWN and the launcher in gdesklets both have a zoom function but it's just not the same.
I recently discovered that there is a great dock pretty much hidden away in a program called Gnome-Do. Gnome-Do itself is a cool search app for gnome. It's somewhat like a KDE app I remember that lets you launch programs by hitting a keyboard shortcut and then typing the name of the app. I can't remember the name of that app at the moment though. Gnome-Do does exactly that. One can type super(windows key) and the space bar to bring up Gnome-Do.
Of course, you will have to install it first though. After it is installed, simply run the application and go to the preferences for it. Change the appearance to "Docky". Voila, the best dock you've ever had in Linux will appear. Play with it and you'll soon see that this is very close to the OS X dock experience.