Over the last couple of days, the new re-branding (and re-imagining) of Microsoft's Live search, now called Bing has been made public. Well, almost public anyway, right now the service isn't available to the public, but a lot of journalists and techies have gotten access. Here are some of their early thoughts (via Digg).
I actually got a look myself from a friend who has access, and have a couple of thoughts. First of all, it's not going to un-seat Google. Nope, sorry, no chance. While it's search results are fine, so are most of the other search engines out there. Ask, Yahoo, etc all have decent search engines and search results.
Luckily, this isn't what Bing is going for (I hope it's not anyway). Bing is going for what Ask did a while back, taking their half decent search results and skinning and organizing the results to make the results more useful. When Ask did this they did an "OK" job I think, but I have to say the new Bing is impressive.
For certain searches (ie: "yvr to lax" or "pentax k20d" or "vw golf review") the results are filtered and presented in completely different ways. For example, plane flight searches have tips such as "prices dropping $50, wait" or "prices trending up, buy now". Product reviews (especially for tech gadgets) are the bane of Google, with SEO and spam hitting the top pages like mad. Bing will filter by "trust" (ie: the "x out of y found this helpful" notes on Amazon reviews) and various other factors to give a more useful result.
This isn't perfect though. A search for "digital camera" filtered in this method resulted in the top hit being a 3 year old DSLR (and a great camera by the way). Probably not what you were wanting, even if it is the most "trusted" hit. This sort of thing will no doubt become better over time though.
Bing also does what Google does with fancy image searches (including "portraits", "line art", only xxx color) and mapping results related to location right in the search result page. This sort of thing though is what people are used to these days. Not that it's inconsequential of course :)
So what's the downside? First of all, the results are going to be about the same as google, so why move away? I see Bing being a bit of a niche search engine, the sort of thing where if you're looking for plane flights or hotels, you go to bing, for everything else you stay with google. This is a perfectly fine place for Bing to be I think. Hell, right now Live search has as good results as google without any of these nicities! The problem with the fancy filtered airline searches is do you trust Microsoft to give you "honest" results? MS has partnered with certain companies to get the fancy airline data for example, but what if there's another company that gives better prices? By filtering down does MS miss the deals that a googler might get because they are getting the full results instead of the filtered view of what Microsoft thinks are the best results? I think some of this can be negated if Bing makes it obvious that the "yvr to lax" fancy filtered results are indeed connections with their partnered sites.
The interface, if I may digress for a moment or three, could be better too. Some of the UI is neat, but odd. For example to the right of search results is a little bar that gives you an overview of information from the site (such as a paragraph or three of context around your search result instead of just the one line that you get on the main search result). If it's person information it'll pop out contact information if it's available all nicely formatted. Great stuff, but as I said, a bit of odd UI.
My conclusion is we'll have to wait and see. I'm sure that Bing will become the default search engine for some, and will become successful for niche searches and certain types of information gathering. I don't think it'll unseat the 800lb Google-rilla though.
Even I have sort of stopped the sillyness of "Linux on the (Mass Consumer) Desktop", as I write this from my Linux desktop however, I found Information Week's Windows 7 Vs. Linux: OS Face-Off. Definitely an interesting comparison in terms of what each OS has going for itself, and it does bring up a couple of things I hadn't thought about (ie: 32 vs 64bit issues).
So you World of Warcraft players out there.... know how your little guy (or gal) runs all the time? Ever wonder how it would be like to run like that for real? Well I didn't either, but someone did. Could you run as far as your WoW character? complete with video :)
Boy Genius Report has their Palm Pre Review part 1 up.
Watching this Cool Chameleon video I have to wonder if it's fake or if they really do change that quickly and just because someone stuffs some colored sunglasses under them? Is this 'shopped, or are they that awesome?
Basically the ideas is that instead of restoring a system after a crash with a copy of what was installed before, it allows you to create a list of applications and it will download and install them in the background. So instead of having to either a) deal with installing old versions of software again or having to go out and re-install the same apps over and over again (assuming that when you install a new system or re-install a system for restore you're installing the same applications over and over again).
Sadly it looks like the pre-baked lists are pretty out of date, but the app appears to have huge potential...
Any Panasonic LX3 owners will be happy to know there's a new firmware update (1.3) available just around the corner. DPReview has the details and the link that'll work on the first of June. Minor changes it sounds like, white balance and "general performance" improvements.
Basement Lamborghini Hits The Road - update about the story from a couple of days ago. Thanks Aryk.
Google today announced Google Waves, a new social collaboration, email, twitter, something or other. :) The webmonkey article has a decent description of it though.
As the new user is leaving a comment, everyone involved in the wave can see the comments being typed in, in real time, letter by letter. Edits can be made concurrently, so two or more users can see one anothers’ changes flowing in, even as they’re leaving their comments, making edits or uploading images.
It'll be interesting to see how this does or where it competes when it comes out, that's for sure! Hit wave.google.com for a video and signup page.
Lifehacker is highlighting The OS X Alpha Geek Desktop. It's full of hardcore nerdery. Want!
Found an article on the typekit blog today Introducing Typekit. Looks like they are working on a way to solve the "font problem" that web designers have been facing. An excerpt:
Speaking as someone who has been on both sides of this relationship, I find The Vendor Client relationship - in real world situations hilarious. Thanks Darren.
Zero Punctuation's review of Duke Nukem Forever has got to be his most brilliant so far. Lots of little stuff in there (as usual) that the hardcore gamers (especially those of us around from the DN3D and who know who John Romero are) will love :)
So the Zune HD is finally (almost) real. Looks like a fairly sexy little beast, marketed head-to-head against the iPod Touch, complete with a touch screen and multi-touch. Looks a bit like a super-sleek first-gen iPhone.
Nifty features it has are HD Video out, wireless with a browser (more on this in a second) and HD Radio (who really uses this though?). Only issue I have with it is it's built on Windows CE (ugh) and the browser will (I'm guessing) be either IE 6 mobile or if you're really lucky, IE 6.5 mobile (which I believe is coming out with the new Windows Mobile 6.5). First of all, IE? Ugh, second of all, IE < 7.0? Double-Ugh.
That all said, it's good for apple to have some competition, and I'm fairly interested to see just how the UI and performance is. Microsoft always has a habit of one-upping apple with some of the features in their iPod-killers, so we'll see.
Heard about this one on the excellent Camera Dojo podcast. OnOne software has created PhotoTools 2 Lite as a free plugin. The standard edition is $159, and this is obviously a loss leader (or is it lost leader?) to pull you in. Still, it's free stuff, and if you're into photography and photoshop, it's worth a look.
Using Git with Vim is a great new article over at OSNews. It details some plugins for using Vim with GIT and other information. For those who don't know, GIT is the new hotness in source control, and Vim is the old hotness and best text editor ever. :)
Star Wars ABC is a set on Flickr. Who wouldn't want to print these out and make flashcards for your little nerdlings?
Nope, it's true.... saw today on Paul Thurrott's site that As promised, Windows Vista (and Server 2008) SP2 ships in May and lo and behold with only 5 days left, SP2 has arrived. Looks like it's a rolling release though, and may not be available for your Windows Update just yet.
Sadly nothing notable shows up in the release notes :(
Saw on /Film that Disney is going to Remake Flight of the Navigator. Dear Disney, why why why must you destroy all of my fond childhood memories? What was wrong with the movie anyway? A few cheese effects for the spaceship flying, and the puppetry for the aliens was a bit lacking, but really, is casting the Olsen twins and making everything CGI (or whatever they do when they remake it and turn it into an abomination) going to make it better? I think not. Glad I have a .avi copy for my personal archives of "good old movies".
Building a lamborghini for dummies, if you have, you know, a few years to spare :)
LyricWiki is a fairly reliable source of lyrics for songs (without the crap that goes along with other sites). So far it's passed the "Arcterex search" test (Johnny Cash and U2), and the quick glance at the lyrics seemed reasonable.
Remember the awesomeness of CoD4: Modern Warfare? Well, from the looks of the Modern Warfare 2 trailer, part 2 is both a continuation and very awesome. I just hope it's not Console only :(
Slow Loris Update is the cutest video of something eating grubs you'll see all day :)
Just a quick note to anyone who uses UFies.org for their mail. I have messed around more with the SMTP and SMTP auth settings, and (in theory) SMTP auth can now properly be used for sending outgoing mail (again, only if you have a UFies.org account). Just make sure the following settings are in your mail client:
Just discovered the Ubuntu Dust Theme Artwork page, with some nice extras, including a Firefox theme that fixes the annoying "black on black" in the awesomebar if you are just using the main "Dust" theme. Here's a shot of my desktop to show the awesomeness (new window).
Not fake code :)
Hows this for a horrifying gun? The AA-12, World's deadliest shotgun! shows why you do not want to be a bad guy on the other end of this!
Darren passed me over a funny / interesting Duke Nukem Forever Developer Diary. Some questions now might be answered.... :)
Is it just me, or is this Liquid-Cooled Computer Mod, quad core, liquid cooled desk the hottest thing you've ever seen? Man I want one!!!
Robot Chicken's Contribution To The Spore Universe over at IO9.com
So at $42 for a 2G flash drive you're saying that whoever is trying to rip you off with that deal just stepped out of a time machine from 2 or 3 years ago, but when you see the Transforming Ravage Flash Drive, you start to understand (or at least I did) why I would shell out $ for that :)
Very interesting, and some good discussion on the MacBreak Weekly last week about the timing being so close to the new Apple Event in June, and the (theoretical) announcement of the next generation of the iPhone. Palm's danger is now everyone will compare this to the new (theoretical) iPhone, or if they had announced later, it'd be lost in the shuffle.
Personally I'm pretty interested in the Pre, even though it isn't going to be available in Canada as far as I can tell. New and interesting technology is always cool :) I do hope that Palm can pull it off, cause competition is always good :)
Wordpress (the blog system) has launched Videopress, their New Video Sharing Service. Features include automatic sd/dvd/hd quality conversions, automatic video podcast conversions, and other goodness. Very sexy looking little system. The only fail I found so far was hitting the 'hd' button doesn't continue on from the current location in HD (like youtube) but rather restarts the video in HD.
Still, a very minor thing, and a very cool looking service.
Shacknews reports that Quake Live, the free-for-play web based version of Quake 3 will be Getting Six New Maps, First Hits Today.
Hivelogic has their list of Top 10 Programming Fonts. Some good ones in there, looking forward to installing them on my systems.
Adium, the multi-IM client for the Mac, has released 1.4 beta and stable 1.3.4 releases. This is a major update beta wise anyway. The 1.3.4 stable has more polish, but the 1.4 beta release includes Twitter and IRC as protocols, along with a "ridiculously long" list of improvements :)
Shacknews has a new meet the spy video about the new Spy and Sniper updates.
Wolfram Alpha is live and going. Neat to play with, with very cool visual representation of some things (ie: a number has a "visual representation" display, tides show a curvy graph, etc). It's not like google fore searching for information about something, but about pure information. There are exceptions though, such as when you ask it what is the answer to the meaning of life, the universe, and everything for example.
Passed on from Dave B, check out debris, a PC demo which is amazing, not only in content, but in the fact it fits in 200k and has a better framerate and content than most games you see today. Truly spectacular!
Holy crap... this stuff is amazing. This mom let her child ride the subway alone! What's amazing you ask? Well, how about the media sh-t storm that has come up about it, calling her (among other things), "America's Worst Mom". Some of her article is below:
A day later, there across from me was Ann Curry looking outrageously pretty and slightly alarmed, because her next guest (the one right before George Clooney) just might be criminally insane. By way of introduction, she turned to the camera and asked, “Is she an enlightened mom or a really bad one?”
"[...] he was safe! That’s why I let him go, you fear-mongering hypocrite, preaching independence while warning against it!”
Just a note of warning, users of the Twitterfon twitter iPhone client, changes are coming. The author posted a blog post about the upcoming Ad support for TwitterFon 1.5. The change (which just showed up as an update for me this morning) has quick add/remove, rich tweet view, and user lookup among the other changes. Looking at the Twitterfon page it also looks like there's now a "Pro" version of the app.
I'm not sure how I feel about this. I use Twitterfon because it's clean, free, and uncluttered with ads. On the other hand, the app author deserves a bit of a payday to reward him for the great work! Guess the simple answer would be to suck it up and get the pro version for (most likely, as it's not yet actually out it seems) less than the cost of your starbucks double no-whip skim latte :)
However, if you're a cheap bastard like me, maybe hold off on the upgrade to Twitterfon 1.5 until someone else sees how intrusive the ads are.
The Wolfram Alpha search engine, a new concept in fact based searching will be launching tonight. Link has video and more information.
Reach, The Story of a Robot With a Very Short Power Cable is a very sweet little video done by animator Luke Randall. Via Laughing Squid.
Via Boing Boing is a story about a Nine-year-old playing Ozzy on the guitar. Now ignoring the fact he's on the Ellen show, playing guitar is going to get this kid all the chicks he can handle (well, when he gets interested in them of course, I mean, he's only 9).
Lifehacker has a nice list of Windows 7's Best Underhyped Features. Nice to see, not going to make me give up my MacBook Pro, but look forward to having it on my Windows gaming box :)
Free Software Magazine has some of the new changes coming in The X Window system. They call it innovation, but from my read of it, it really sounds like "making the video drivers not suck". Though, on some systems, that would be a miracle and an innovation!
The New York Times Reader released version 2.0 of their app, this time it's an AIR app, and compatible with Linux, Mac and Windows. Nice and sleek, simple, no registration required (it seems anyway). Very nice!
Darren pointed me to Poolga, a free iPhone wallpaper site. Looks good, with some decent quality wallpapers too.
Evernote announced today that they now have Evernote for BlackBerry, for all your "remember anything" needs for all you BB users. As with the iPhone version, it's got images, files attachments, voice memos, and of course, text. Currently the Storm, Curve and 8900 series are supported, with other device support coming soon.
Gizmodo has a story on How the F-35 Demon Helmet Looks Inside. If you're a plane geek of any kind, this'll rock your socks off. The story has some other background information and links for you too.
Dreaming Of Beetles has downloads of intel optimized builds of Firefox for mac. Version 3.5b5pre at the moment. I hear it actually even feels faster then the official betas. We'll see how it goes.
The Geek “Must Do Before You Die” Checklist. Via a share from Len on Google Reader.
This weeks SNL had a Weekend Update related to Star Trek. Not viewable from Canada those bastards :( Use of Tor or Hotspot Shield or similar is recommended for those not living in the US. Great stuff, and a great little surprise towards the end :)
Via IO9: NASA Astronaut Mark Polansky Will Be Posting To Twitter Live From The Space Shuttle. Follow @Astro_127 for the twitter goodness.
The Top 10 features you'll love about Android 1.5 from the user point of view.
Title basically says it all... A Brief, Incomplete, and Mostly Wrong History of Programming Languages. Awesomely accurate :) To quote:
1972 - Dennis Ritchie invents a powerful gun that shoots both forward and backward simultaneously. Not satisfied with the number of deaths and permanent maimings from that invention he invents C and Unix.
Joshua Hoffine has created some terrifying imagery. You may not want to watch if you plan on getting sleep tonight :)
Everything You Ever Really Needed to Know About Personal Finance On Just One Page has a free eBook with simple financial advice. Good read, good advice, download it now :)
The Apple Blog has their Windows 7 RC: Reality Check Edition, which is a fairly fanboy-ish look at Windows 7. They do reference legitimate articles when pointing out things like sluggish performance, edition confusion (even Paul Thurrott things this is stupid) and the XP compatibility issues, but it's a fairly cynical look. Some people I know have run Windows 7 for a while now and find it just fine.
That said, we'll see how it goes when things actually get released late this year.
The Duke Nukem Forever List. Celebrating what's taken less time to come out than Duke Nukem' Forever.
Great question found on Stack Overflow is someone challenging folks to give as many "dark corner" Vim Tricks your mom never told you about. Some really awesome ones in there that even myself, a user of vi since the early 90's, has never heard of.
This intrigued me of course, and I had the compulsion to watch. Currently I'm only about 2 minutes in and I have three words for you.
I kid you not. You must watch this. I only really feel sorry for the guy and anyone in his family. Please watch with caution. I do these things for you, the audience :)
Shacknews reports that Duke Nukem Developer 3D Realms Shuts Down. There are a couple of updates, the last one including this:
Update: Apogee Software and Deep Silver have issued a statement to Shacknews, confirming that the situation at 3D Realms has not affected the development of Frontline Games' upcoming handheld Duke Nukem Trilogy.
This (may) shut down peoples hopes that the 12-years-in-development Duke Nukem Forever will be released. Course, weren't there stories floating around 6 months ago or so with video and teaser screenshots of the maybe-almost-complete DNF? I have faith it'll come out though, some day, maybe using the UT4 or UT5 engines :)
Amidst the comments is this one which (allegedly) describes what what a typical developer day was. Very interesting if it's true... basically navel gazing and wasting time, if they were working for a publisher I'd say they were defrauding them, but (and the poster points out as the cause of this) they were self funded, so there were no milestones to meet.
Prepping for the big Friday release of JJ Abrams' Star Trek, IGN has their Top 10 Star Trek Movie Moments.
The Unofficial Apple Weblog has Six things I learned from losing my iPhone 3G. Speaking as someone who had an iPhone 3G stolen, I can attest to all of these, except the replacement cost... for me it was $930 CND for a new unit (luckily half covered by insurance). Still a blatant ripoff though :(
Ed Bott blogged that Windows 7 RC is now available for download. Lets go MS geeks, make those servers smoke!
Aryk pointed me to Gizmodo's story on some homemade Crazy Dangerous Retractable Wolverine Claws. All I can really say is... WANT.
Sadly doesn't work for me on Firefox 3.5b4 on Jaunty, but meh....
This goes under the "Random Awesomeness" category.... check out Still Alive in Typography.
The official Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen trailer is out on Yahoo's movie site. Holy crap that looks awesome. Recommend watching the HD version of this as well :)
Post-It inventor watching viral internet post-it-tricks video. Also has a link to the post-it ticks videos. I recommend clicking through to the vimeo site and watching it in high def. Very cool.
Since I discovered the iPod a few years ago I've been a fan, and (along with a lot of the world) scoffed at the Microsoft Zune. However when I saw the IO9 story where you could Win a Zune Packed With Battlestar Episodes, and the Zune is laser etched with the Caprica logo... hell yea I'm there.
While the GNOME desktop plods on with more evolutionary than revolutionary changes, the video I just watched: Social Desktop Starts to Arrive shows that KDE isn't standing still either. They have created a social "engine" which gives user space applications (IE: applets) access to all sorts of interesting social website information. Friends, locations, etc. The big win here is that because the information is extracted out of the browser and into it's own standalone engine, suddenly all parts of the desktop will have access to (theoretically anyway) your facebook, twitter, myspace, etc data.
Yes this can be done now, and it's not like there aren't twitter clients for the Linux desktop, but in a very KDE move they have made a single data engine for this so the wheel doesn't have to be re-invented all the time, and applet/app developers can move faster to get cooler programs out to the world. Check out the video anyway, it's a nice demonstration of what those rascally KDE guys are up to!
The Hunt For Gollum, a fan made Lord of the Rings prequel premiers today!
G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra trailer over at traileraddict.
Amidst the Apple Blog's Weekly App Store Picks I noticed that there is now a lite (and free) version of Wolf-3D iPhone game (if you're too cheap to spend the $4.99 on the main game that is).
Very cool stuff found on TUAW: Controlling radio control aircraft with an iPhone. Fairly complex, and not something for the everyman, but very cool to see.
Some testing by CNET and their Xtreme typing challenge had typing in some extreme conditions pitting an iPhone against an EEEEEEEEPC.
Their completely unscientific test came to the same result as I have... while the iPhone isn't tactile, the smarts in the software (auto-correct, guessing what the next letter will be and increasing the hit box for it, etc) makes it far easy to just stab along quickly, and for the most part will figure it all out properly. Course, if you're hacking out an email on the train, the jostling around you're going to get isn't the same as what this guy is experiencing :)