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by nmw

New Feature: Literacy Quiz Questions

2016-04-17 in Uncategorized

I have a hunch that one of my friends – no: at least one of my friends – believes that I attempt to sucker people into following my ideas. In contrast: I believe pretty much the exact opposite of that, namely that retard media are designed to profit from suckering the illiterate masses into their propaganda schemes. To put it simply and succinctly: The way I see it, illiterate people follow (or „believe in“) retard media; only literate people (who are able to grasp my ideas) are willing and able to follow (or „buy into“) natural language.

For this reason, I am starting a new feature on nooblogs.com: Literacy Quiz Questions. As for almost everything on this site, you need to be a member to use this feature (well, you can read without being a member, but in order to participate and share your questions and ideas, you do have to be a member 😉 ). Luckily, it’s free and easy to become a member! 😀

The way it works is as follows: You can write a question into the activity stream – WOOHOO! 😀 In order for this question to qualify as a literacy quiz question, you must start your post with the string „#Literacy #Quiz #Question:“ – and then follow with the question. You can also add additional information, thinking, etc. but the question should immediately follow the string.

Of course anyone can answer any question, but I will try to be very focused on (at least) providing my answer to any questions any member of this site might have. 🙂

I’ve thought up a question to use as an example (and I already know my own answer to this question 😛 ) – see:

#Literacy #Quiz #Question: What is the single most important factor in #Google’s #rank order of #links on any #search #engine #results #page (#SERP)? #SEO

(I will post my answer to this question … maybe in a week or two 😉 )

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One of the Main Reasons Why You Should Thank Matt Mullenweg (and the WordPress Community) for Efforts to Increase Online / Digital Literacy Rates Worldwide

2016-03-27 in Uncategorized

More than one in four websites on the globe runs on WordPress… — but that statistic doesn’t actually matter (I will get back to this statistical issue in a moment).

Wordpress logo

WordPress logo

99.9999% of all comments on the Internet are completely worthless. This is why Google decided to create and champion the “nofollow” tag — in order to delist all comments from Google’s index. Google perhaps made a very small mistake (in throwing out the 0.0001% baby with the bathwater)… yet ultimately that comes down to 2 issues: 1. Whether you want to have any “comments” indexed at all; 2. How much you value that very small number of comments you might actually want indexed. Google was also very clever to stick the smoking gun of delisting comments into the hands of other people — perhaps there is indeed no need to cry “don’t shoot” when you’re not holding a gun after all.

In any case, the result is: Comments are not indexed. For that matter: I can’t remember if I have ever seen a facebook.com post come up in the top 10 results on any Google search. I do recall seeing twitter.com posts every now and then, but perhaps this is down to Google still being undecided regarding whether to acquire twitter or not (everything has a price). In my humble opinion, no anonymous comment is worth even just that proverbial “penny for your thoughts” — if you are not willing to stand behind your own words, I don’t want to hear them at all. In my less humble opinion, what passes for identity verification / authentication is usually completely ridiculous. Ergo, in my estimation at least 99.9999% of all online comments — perhaps even 99.9999% of all online content in general — is completely worthless crap.

Now back to the batcave — I mean: the statistical issue I raised above. The reason why maybe it is not so important that more than one in four websites run on WordPress is that most of the many millions of websites are actually owned by very few people. I myself manage a portfolio of thousands… — you might call it an investment… sort of: being long on literacy in a for the most part presently still illiterate world… and I am personally myself active on only about several dozen — or perhaps a couple hundred(?) — of these sites (including, e.g., this one). I am sorry to admit that nooblogs has yet to really catch on, enter the wider vocabulary, join the ranks of Google, Facebook, Twitter, et. al. in the list of brand names deemed significant enough to be listed in a dictionary. (yet there is still hope 😉 )

So while anonymous commentators, facebook page creators and twitterati remain oblivious to their own disenfranchisement while they surf in the most sophisticated dreamworlds of virtual reality, the plain and dirty fact of the matter — the truth, if you will — is that if you don’t manage your own website, then you are unfortunately… pretty much… nobody.

If you want to be listed in the top 10 Google results for anything, then it might help to be Google (or Alphabet or whatever — in any case: evil 😈 ) or at the very least give Google a chance to make some money (by putting Google ads on your site — i.e., helping Google to earn tons of money while you can be very proud to be listed in Google at all — at least for something).

For that tiny fraction of one percent of people who are literate enough to publish something that enables the somewhat larger population of somewhat literate users of the web to be able to read what the more literate have written, WordPress has been a Godsend. Matt often speaks about the democratization of publishing — and I feel he is right to do so… yet the vast, vast,… overwhelingly vast majority have still not attained a level of literacy sufficient to publish anything of significance on the web. The success of facebook.com is a glaring document of how widespread illiteracy still is.

Matt and other creators and contributors to WordPress have done a lot to help. You should be thankful. More than that, if you are a little bit educated, you should already be running WordPress. If not, you should presently be installing it now. Otherwise, there is a high chance that you probably paid too much for your education.

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Trust in Individual People vs. Trust in Natural Language

2016-03-10 in Uncategorized

As I walked out of a store the other day (a discount supermarket, also commonly referred to as a „discounter“ – namely Aldi), I met a friend who was also walking out at the same time. After greeting each other, he noted how the recording they often play when opening or closing cashier aisles was very manipulative: When they open an aisle, the recording says „We are opening cashier number 3 for you“; But when they close an aisle, the recording says „Cashier number 4 is closing“.

When we meet someone we trust, we feel good because we quite rationally expect that they will be completely straightforward with us. I say rationally with a tinge of irony, because many of my friends working in the field of psychology often remind me that pretty much everyone lies to some degree – and they also add that „some degree“ probably works out to be several hundred times per day. So our expectation that our friends are being honest with us may indeed be more of a rationalization than anything else.

The example above (which is also from one of my „psychologist“ friends) clearly shows how the recording being used by the store was manipulative. When we ask a friend „how are you?“ – do we really want to know the truth? When they flash a fake smile and say they’re doing „great“, are we secretly happy that they didn’t rattle off a long list of things that might actually be going wrong in their lives right now?

I think such manipulation is actually quite common in interpersonal communication. People want to guard their freedom to do and think as they please, and many social conventions even provide a foundation for such little lies to be told day in and day out with virtually no repercussions at all. Compare this with clear-cut statements written out in plain English. A text written down must stand up over time; it is not as fleeting as the wind which dissipates the things we say out loud into thin air within a split second. The written word is unforgiving.

I have often written before (see e.g. http://remediary.com/2016/02/in-our-brains) that language is not owned by any individual entity, but rather that is a system distributed among a large number of members belonging to the linguistic community. In this way, it is similar to many technologies referred to as “open source technology” (such as “bitcoin”, “blockchain”, etc. — as also many other open source systems used across the web [e.g. “RSS”]). There is usually no single point of failure — i.e., no single / individual shill or con artist can manipulate such a distributed technology. Therefore, placing trust in natural language is a far more reliable information retrieval tactic than placing trust in individual people.

Note, however, that there are various levels or uses of language. A “full text” search engine (such as Google) is expected to match any text — regardless of which significance the text has in a written document. Although many people still expect that Google works this way, more informed specialists have long understood that this is simply not the case. In the early years, Google favored results in which the matching text was part of the title field of a document or in the “link texts” pointing to documents. Most reliable of all, of course, is the domain name itself — as only domain names are actually certified via the domain name registration process (Google also understands this now, which is why the company is becoming ever more heavily invested in domain names).

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What’s App

2015-11-30 in Uncategorized

I typed „Uber“ into „Google“ and the #1 result on the first page of SERPs (SERP = „search engine results page“ 😉 ) — www.uber.com – was TL;DR (too long – don’t read). I couldn’t do very much on the page using the flip-phone (probably about 10 years old) I was using. I tried pressing the „sign up“ link.

I got a page which asked me to enter payment details. Nope – sorry, not doing that.

If Uber were actually about ride-sharing, then it would let me enter my location and hail a taxi right away. Payment could be solved if/when the taxi arrived. But it isn’t an app for hailing taxis – it’s an app for collecting data.

I also have a smartphone, but now that I know that Uber isn’t really very useful to me, I won’t visit their site, download their app or anything like that. I could have simply used Google to type in taxi (plus my location) in order to get a phone number and call a taxi using my phone… in less time!

I could also have tried to „cut to the chase“ by simply entering taxi.com into my rather feeble [0.1] browser… but it seems like some idiot is using that site as a brand name. 😐

Now you may say that I am not Uber’s target „consumer“ (and quite obviously also not taxi.com). OK, I get that. My point is: There are probably potentially billions of users I feel Uber ought to be targeting with a targeted website for very „low“ technology… – probably the vast majority of (potential) users worldwide are using a so-called „feature phone“ with little or no smarts besides a browser with very little memory.

I do have a smart phone – but I rarely use it. I prefer to type on a keyboard. Although my kids laugh at me, when I recently suggested to one of my daughters that she should send me SMS questions that I can simply answer with „yes“ or „no“ (Y/N), she said that would require her to write more. I noted that since she’s such an expert with her smart phone, she could type such questions easily. She chuckled, but I have yet to receive my first question. 😉

If I were to use my smart phone as my kids do, loading it up with dozens if not hundreds of apps, then I guess I would join the millennial consumer community (see „Millennial Media Landscape“ and also „Making + Breaking Connections + Relationships“)… and many companies could collect and share data about me with other companies and/or spy companies (the so-called „big data“ industry is all about industrial espinoage – just in case you didn’t know that already).

Most of these apps give their users the impression that things change on the web at breakneck speed – but that is simply yet another hoax created by people trying to profit from the gullibility of novice users. My hunch is that far more than 99% of the web doesn’t change at all from one day to the next. It is important to realize that the web is no longer something new… and that what novice users consider to be significant may very well actually be rather insignificant.

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Move On from Click Bait to Check Mate: Give Your Readers the Answers They Are Searching for Right in the Blog Post Title

2015-09-07 in Uncategorized

Many titles of blog posts follow a common click bait scheme of tickling the potential reader’s interest. One of the most common examples of this has its own name: The “listicle” (from “article” + “list”). Basically, the title would go something like this: “5 Things You Need to Know to be Happy”.

Usually, this kind of click bait immediately turns into “bait and switch“, as upon reading the rather lame article / list, the reader finds out that he/she would rather not have wasted their time reading such nonsense. The result is: The reader becomes unhappy as a result of having clicked on the link.

I believe it is much better to “tell them what you’re going to tell them” right in the blog post title. If you need the reader to click through in order for you to make money, then you can still give the reader more details and explanation in your blog post text… but at least this way they will not be disappointed. Indeed, they may be even more engaged in anticipation of the reasoning behind the answer you have already provided them freely.

 

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One Size, Fits All

2015-03-14 in Uncategorized

In my previous post, I noted that “we are now so far removed from a “one-size fits-all” world, that the notion that anyone could find one answer to each and every question at one information resource seems absurdly naive.” In another post on one of my “personal” blogs, I wrote about some ideas quite related to this — in the first pace “responsibility”, and also about choice,… and ultimately about the ability to let go (see “Responsibility to Life“). I would like to elaborate on this last point here, because I only sort of tangentially touched on it there.

The reason why this topic is important to blogs and blogging is because we all aim for our blog to be the best it can be, for our writing to be insightful and inspiring, for our information and tips to be helpful, and so on.

In the post I linked to above, I mentioned a TED talk video in which Barry Schwartz covered the topic of choice. In that video, he mentions clothing that he used to enjoy a lot because it was basically “one-size, fits-all”… — such that there was not much difficulty with respect to choice. Online, choice is not so simple.

Many people visit one and the same website every time they choose to use the Internet. They might log in to Facebook or some other “social” website, or they might type all of their questions into the Google homepage search box. A simpleton might say “they have chosen a one-size, fits-all website” — and so they no longer are burdened by choices. The way I see it, they have actually primarily postponed their choice.

When a Google-searcher has a search box before them, they have to choose what to write into it.  They have the impression of choice (according to George Carlin, people in fact have no choice [“You have no choice. You have owners. They own you. They own everything.“]). People might type in “happy” or “sad” — but either way it is highly probable that Google will return a link to wikipedia.org plus a list of sites that Google makes money from through advertising. Compared to the situation described by Barry Schwartz in that video, this is far worse: People actually have little or no choice, and they will feel bad because they have the impression that they could have made a better choice.

Likewise, for people who use so-called “social” media, they feel as though there are many choices: They can press many buttons, they can “tag” things, there are many bells and whistles. When they become bored, then they feel they have made the wrong choices.

I want to suggest to you that when you aim to make your blog the best it can be, you should do that by being yourself. Do not feel as though you need to cater to some one-size fits-all mystery algorithm, because that will probably only get in the way of actually interacting with your audience. What is important is that you and your audience both know what it is that you can offer, and that your audience wants. If you agree on this, then you will have no difficulty interacting with your audience. For example: I enjoy following Drew Lepp’s blog, because so far I have been pleasantly surprised with every post she has made (and because I enjoy reading about webdesign tips, user experience and stuff like that — which are the main topics she writes about). I don’t need Google to find her blog — I just go directly to drewlepp.com.

Just like I learn a lot from Drew, I hope others also learn something from what I write. For example: I would advise anyone who wants others to learn about “X” to name their site “X” — because people would probably never think to type in a more-or-less random string when the are looking for something specific… and indeed: I will soon be launching a website about naming websites, online businesses, web-based projects, etc.

This is precisely the point where “letting go” and trusting intuition is so important. If you intuitively feel that someone is an expert, then trusting their judgement is (usually) a very smart thing to do. Barry Schwartz explained this very well in his TED talk video with his example of why it’s (usually) a good idea when patients trust doctors. The more you engage in such interactions, the better you will become at making the judgement regarding whether someone is trustworthy or not. As far as I know, there is no “one-size fits-all” algorithm for this, but one of the strongest and most reliable indicators I know of is whether the person or company in question is publishing information on their own website or not. Generally, when someone is publishing information on someone else‘s website, I find that information is rather untrustworthy. Perhaps I’ll write more about this in a future blog post. 🙂

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Conversion Technology

2015-01-30 in Uncategorized

How do you convert men with a wimpy, limp dicks into a full hardon hungry-for-some-vagina animals? Mother nature has already been working on that technology for many millions of years, so I need not go into any details here.

Here I want to talk about the Internet, the World-Wide Web, and machine-readable information. But first let me give you a little piece of eye candy:

eye candy

Please go ahead and “mouse-over” that image to see the link to its source (it’s at this website: sunnyskyz.com). A machine cannot tell that this is a picture — or rather: two pictures — of three naked boys and three (pretty much) naked men… — but I presume you (whom I also presume to be human) can. The string “sunnyskyz” also means nothing to a machine — in contrast, for example, to the phrase “bright future”. The promise of the “computationally” meaningless (and “misspelled”) string may — in contrast — be very meaningful to the foolish and gullible human seeking some satisfaction this very moment.

During the 20th Century, a lot of marketing and advertising was about getting and converting the attention of foolish and gullible humans. In the 21st Century, we now also seek to convert another animal: the machine.

Today, many machines exist — and they are used by humans quite often to help make decisions. One very well-known machine goes by the name of “Google”. The Google machine comprises many things, including what is known as “an algorithm” but also the less well-known servers that suck up huge amounts of energy to keep the complete system running like a charm. Most people see Google as an empty box that wants to be filled with words, or brand names, or at least something… but behind that box is a whole bunch of technology, some of it being software, but also a significant amount being hardware.

Information scientists sometimes refer to such machines as if they were humans — for example: ascribing them the ability to read. The stuff such machines are considered to be able to read is called “machine-readable information”. This set of information is not forever fixed in time, but I can confidently say that it will probably remain limited to what is commonly referred to as “text” for the foreseeable future. The way most machines can tell the difference between the meaningless “sunnyskyz” and the meaningful “bright future” is by having humans describe the difference to them (for example: linguists like Noam Chomsky have described “rules” for what humans consider to be meaningful expressions, and these rules are then converted into “machine-readable code” — another type of text that machines can understand).

Different machines will apply different algorithms to “figure out” different answers to the same question. And increasingly, many of the most popular machines will even each individually give different answers to the same question posed by different users (aka humans), or even by the same user at different times or in different locations. Some of these machines even work together in groups — such as “Facebook” and “Instagram” (and a bunch of other related machines, including e.g. “internet.org”).

The crux of the human-computer-interface in the online space (i.e. the parts that are “connected to the internet”) is natural language (which has been “taught” to machines via hardware and software algorithms). Humans talk to machines — they “call them up” — by calling them by their names. They usually ask different machines different questions… — and the questions they tend to ask follows a similar semantic language. They might ask “Cars” about a car, they might ask “Hotels” about a hotel, and so on. At the moment, 9 out of 10 (or even more) humans ask only one machine — or perhaps only a couple machines — almost all of their questions … much in the same way as people in ancient times would ask an oracle, or maybe a religious leader, all of their most pressing questions of the moment.

Yet there are many signs on the horizon that this level of naiveté will not last very much longer. Competition among machines is increasing and will continue to increase, and machines will develop their own specialties — much in the same ways as smiths became know as “Smith”, and millers became “Miller” — and humans will increasingly go to the specialized machine that best suits their needs at any given time, in any given location, and according to the language humans have devised their machines in.

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