Tuesday, January 31, 2006

More Problems for Wikipedia

According to Slashdot, Congressional staffers are altering Wikipedia articles on various members of Congress to portray those individuals in a more positive (and very biased!) light.

What has Wikipedia done to fix this? Blocked the U.S. Congress IP address range for a week until they can figure out a better solution.

Poor Wikipedia. They just can't get a break. First the "false Wikipedia 'biography'" and now this. Can't people just add content to Wikipedia as Wikipedia intended?

To be fair, it seems that many edits by Congressional staffers have actually been helpful (see the article at TG Daily)- correcting things such as spelling and incorrect information. There are just a few bad eggs out there. The name that seems to be surfacing a lot is U.S. Rep Marty Meehan (see the Lowell Sun Online article), whose staffers have been having some fun with his Wikipedia entry.

Monday, January 23, 2006

That Domain is Registered To....

Ever wanted to find out who registered a particular domain name? Check out the WHOIS Search from Network Solutions.

For example, you can type in "techcrunch.com" and it will tell you that the domain is registered to Michael Arrington of Manhattan Beach, California.

"Google.com" is registered to:

"Google Inc. (DOM-258879)
2400 E. Bayshore Pkwy
Mountain View CA 9404"

A useful tool for evaluating websites.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Never Use IE Again

I know I promote Firefox like no other, but on occasion, I've still been forced to resort to opening a webpage in Internet Explorer because it simply does not function properly in Firefox. Apparently that will no longer be a problem with the IE Tab Firefox extension (also available in the regular list of Firefox add-ons).

According to Download Squad (where I originally found out about this extension) not only does that mean "any IE-specific scripts and plugins will work", but that security flaws will as well. Yay.

Friday, January 13, 2006

The Catalog We All Want

The North Carolina State University Libraries have a brand new online catalog with a lot of neat features. Some of my favorites:
  • It has the option of limiting out government documents in the advanced search. Gov docs are such a problem in my library's catalog, and I would LOVE to have an option like this one!
  • Like Google, it offers spelling suggestions or automatically corrects the misspelled word. Sometimes these corrections are incorrect though. I entered "autims" and it was corrected to "atoms" when I was really going for "autism".
  • It provides LC Call Number ranges for the items in your search results. So, for the books on autism, you can click through and find that a large number are located in the range: "RJ370 - RJ550 Diseases of children and adolescents". Then you can just go browse that section!
  • The results list gives you all the important information - title, author, date of publication, format, call number, location (with the numbers of the floors!), and whether or not the item is available.
  • Clustering - Your results are organized into various subjects (topics, regions, eras), genres, formats, libraries, languages, and authors.
  • Allows you to sort by relevance and by most popular, in addition to other common methods of sorting.
Definitely worth checking out!

I'm just going to sit here and wish my library's catalog did all that.

[Found on ACRLog]

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Excellent Web 2.0 companies

What can I say, I love Michael Arrington's TechCrunch blog, and I highly recommend subscribing to it. I'm a little behind on my reading and am just now going through about 30 posts. It takes a while because I end up checking out a lot of the products he mentions.

Michael has posted a list called "Web 2.0 Companies I Couldn't Live Without" and you should check it out. :) Of the ones he's listed, I definitely could not live without Bloglines. I use Feedburner but started so recently that I do not really know how useful it is for me yet. Plus, my blog isn't nearly as popular as his is and very few people are subscribing to my feed.

As a result of this post, I am now checking out Pandora. I love it so far but I've only listened to three songs. You don't have to register to use it, but I assume if you want it to save your list'o'favorite songs, you have to. It's free but has ads. You can also opt for an ad-free paid version. I've been trying Yahoo! LaunchCast for a bit, but it drives me nuts that it doesn't work in Firefox (please please please stop forcing me to use IE!). Plus, they seem to play the songs in groups. If you like country, alternative, soft rock, whatever, it will play the country, then the alternative, then the soft rock for the most part. But it is a nice customizable streaming radio service that saves your preferences.

A side note: If you are interested in seeing the many feeds I read, check out the link in the righthand column that says Kat's Bloglines Feeds.


I read about a nifty service over on TechCrunch today. It's called YouSendIt, and it allows you to email files of up to 1 GB to people without it actually taking up their inboxes (plus it provides a way to avoid that annoying size limit on attachments that many email services employ). Recipients get a link in their email that allows them to download the file. You can only send one file at a time, but it sounds like this service could potentially be pretty useful.

Then again, I can't think of any really large files to send that would cause me to need to use this service, but I'm sure there is something out there.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Talk to a Human for Once!

The IVR Cheat Sheet by Paul English is an amazing resource that I can't wait to put to use.

Do you get fed up with listening to automated systems when calling companies? Here's a cheat sheet telling you how to get a human being for over 100 different companies (and more are being added all the time)! It even has phone numbers for some of those illusive companies like Amazon.com. You can also rate the companies on their customer service.

I will have to put this to use with Capitol One. Can I just say how annoying it is to go through all their prompts just to activate my card? And they don't even seem to have a specific prompt for activating the card, so I still have not done it (partially due to the fact that they sent me a new card with a new ugly design when the old one does not expire for a few years - who cares that they have updated my account, I like the old design!).

And if you want to read a very funny book that discusses this problem and others, I highly recommend Talk to the Hand: The Utter Bloody Rudeness of the World Today, or Six Good Reasons to Stay Home and Bolt the Door by Lynne Truss. She rants about the automated systems and how they claim to be better for the callers even though they are not. Wouldn't we all just rather ask a human our question instead of going through the menus and then having to repeat them when we still aren't finding what we want?

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Surfing for Charities

GoodSearch donates $.01 to a charity of your choice for each search you conduct through its site. It's probably still making loads of money off all the ads it has, but still, why not contribute to charities while you surf the Internet?

Of course, now I have to choose a worthy charity. I suggest checking out Give.org's list of charities to find one that doesn't spend most of its money on calling you to ask for money and other administrative tasks.

And for all you Firefox fans, GoodSearch has an easy link for adding its search to your Firefox search bar.

Found on the LibrarianInBlack blog.