Top 100 Best Products of 2005

PC World Magazine, released (quite early I would say) the 100 Best Products of 2005. We’re talking about IT of course. Actually the top is divided in 10 sections: PCs and Peripherals, Monitors and TVs, Office Software, Digital Photography, Security, Printing and Publishing, Storage and Backup, Mobile Tools, Web and Consumer Electronics.

Is interesting to notice that giants as Yahoo didn’t make it in the top 100. It’s true the most talked new Yahoo product (or upgraded) is supposed to come this autumn, and I’m talking about the new Yahoo!Mail here, and this is one of the reasons I say it’s really early to call it the 2005 top. Also Microsoft has only one presence in the top with its Windows Media Player 10 on the 47th place. Dell is leading, in terms of number of presences, with 6 products among the top 100, followed by Apple with 5 products.

Here is the top 10:

  1. Mozilla Firefox – Web Browser
  2. Google Gmail – Web Mail
  3. Apple Mac OS X Version 10.4 (Tiger) – Operating System
  4. Belkin Wireless Pre-N Router and Notebook Network Card – Wireless Networking
  5. Dell Ultrasharp 2405FPW – 24-Inch Wide-Screen LCD
  6. Alienware Aurora 5500 – Performance PC
  7. Seagate USB 2.0 Pocket Drive – Portable Hard Drive
  8. Skype – VoIP Service
  9. Canon EOS Digital Rebel XT – Digital SLR Camera
  10. PalmOne Treo 650 – PDA Phone

and some extras:

16.  Google – Search Engine
28.  Mozilla Thunderbird – E-Mail Program
33.  The New York Times on the Web – Web Site
51. – Photography Site
60.  Wikipedia – Online Resource
88.  Opera 8 – Web Browser

Read the full review article in the PC Magazine: The 100 Best Products of 2005


Google Seach Tips

Another excellent post on Google Blogoscoped Blog listing up more than 25 tips and tricks on using Google search engine and getting the results to be closer to what you’re searching for and doing it in an easier way:

  • A quote/ phrase search can be written with both quotations [“like this”] as well as a minus in-between words, [like-this]
  • Google has a lesser known “numrange” operator which can be helpful. Using e.g. [2000..2005] (that’s two dots inbetween two numbers) will find 2000, 2001, 2002 and so on until 2005.
  • Google’s define-operator allows you to look up word definitions. For example, [define:css] yields “Short for Cascading Style Sheets” and many more explanations. You can trigger a somewhat “softer” version of the define-operator by entering “what is something”, e.g. [what is css].
  • Google has some exciting back-end AI to allow you to find just the facts upong entering simple questions or phrases like [when was Einstein born?] or [einstein birthday] (the answer to both of these queries is “Albert Einstein – Date of Birth: 14 March 1879”)
  • You can use the wildcard operator in phrases. This is helpful for finding song texts – let’s say you forgot a word or two, but you remember the gist, as in [“love you twice as much * oh love * *”] – and similar tasks

Check all of them reading the full post.

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Traditional Media About Blogs – The Ugly Way

Romanian blogosphere is more and more in the spotlight of the traditional media. And as an example of journalists eyeing the blogosphere, and without minimizing the good intent (supposedly) just noticed an article in the new hybrid journal Gandul, on the blogosphere.

First of all I have to admit I am only talking about the online version of the article. I also have to admit that from the very beginning, the grandious title (The blogosphere sends personal journals to “Trash” and modifies the balance of political elections) and the pathetic black-and-white pie-slice graph surrounded by some percentage data and with a “self-explanatory” legend (1,2,3,…8) caught my attention: “Wow, traditional media is taking care of us”.

I have to mention here that the graph is taken from excellent Timsoft‘s Romanian Blogosphere analysis which if author of the article would have give the least of attention, the article should have looked a little different.

Getting into the content, and passing over the opening definition of the weblog, as “a modern form of former personal journals” and passing over some other general stuff on webloging I have to admit, that the ending of the article is apotheotic. After teaching the readers that if they want a blog they should go to, register, I’m left wondering if this is a PR move of the aforementioned site, or is just the laziness of the journalist.

And to finish good, as good as it started, the last paragraph finally let us know what are blogs used for:

Beyond the fact that they might represent a psychic outburst of their users, the blogs also have an important social and political component. Last year US elections – it’s well known – were decided by bloggers (sic).

Damn! I’m out, setting my brain free!!


Google Turns 7

Google turned 7 years old on September 7th, but somehow they decided to celebrate it today. Apparently the date floats around a lot within Google and they’ve now decided to go with this one. Or maybe they want two slices of cake. Or prefer to be a Libra over a Virgo. Or they weren’t ready with the increased index announcement (even though they made the announcement without any actual figures though :P).

Well despite all these confused facts, I thought a “happy birthday” will be ok along with some interesting facts of Google history would be appropiate. Infos were excerpt of a lecture given by Marissa Mayer (Product Manager for Google):

  • The prime reason the Google home page is so bare is due to the fact that the founders didn’t know HTML and just wanted a quick interface. Infact it was noted that the submit button was a long time coming and hitting the RETURN key was the only way to burst Google into life.
  • Due to the sparseness of the homepage, in early user tests they noted people just sitting looking at the screen. After a minute of nothingness, the tester intervened and asked ‘Whats up?’ to which they replied “We are waiting for the rest of it”. To solve that particular problem the Google Copyright message was inserted to act as a crude end of page marker.
  • The infamous “I feel lucky” is nearly never used. However, in trials it was found that removing it would somehow reduce the Google experience. Users wanted it kept. It was a comfort button.
  • Google has the largest network of translators in the world.
  • The name ‘Google’ was an accident. A spelling mistake made by the original founders who thought they were going for ‘Googol’ (number represented by the numeral 1 followed by 100 zeros).
  • Gmail was used internally for nearly 2years prior to launch to the public.


More on Google history.

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Google Steps in Blog Search

Quite long awaited move, Google steps in the Blog search field with its new Google Blog Search Beta. There is also an “blogger-style interface” of it at The stated goal of the search engine is:

to include every blog that publishes a site feed (either RSS or Atom). It is not restricted to Blogger blogs, or blogs from any other service.

While its still a beta, will comment only on good stuffs that the new blog search engine is bringing to the market, waiting for the bads (like the size of the index) to be fixed.

A first plus: the speed. If you got used with Technorati (to give the worse example of all) then a query with the new Google search engine is like flying vs. walking. Super-fast.

A second super plus: RSS. At the bottom of each page of search results you can find several links, offering the top 10 or 100 results as either Atom or RSS feeds. Just grab the links from here and subscribe to them in the news aggregator of your choice and you will get updates whenever new posts are made that match your query.

Adding advanced search features like 35 different languages and classic Google operators (link:, site:, intitle:) or new ones (inblogtitle:, inposttitle:, inpostauthor:, blogurl:) really make me think that this should be a serious competitor for Blogpulse, Feedster and similar blog search engines that are on market at the moment. Will see.

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Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies – 2005

Hype Cycle. Hmm, that really sounds geeky, so first of it let’s define it:

According to Word Spy, hype cycle is:

a sequence of events experienced by an overly-hyped product or technology, including a peak of unrealistic expectations followed by a valley of disappointment when those expectations aren’t met.

We meet it in a pretty similar way in the marketing’s product lifecycle.

Gartner’s hype cycle goes something like this: new technologies get overhyped in the beginning; then they go out of favor; eventually they’re adopted by the mainstream but by that time they’re no longer news.

A Hype Cycle is a graphic representation of the maturity, adoption and business application of specific technologies. It goes something like this:

life cycle

Basically, hype cycle is only measuring the buzz as well as the adoption rate. It doesn’t necessarily correspond to the long-term utility – or success – of a phenomenon. That is a thing that only time will tell.

So why the buzz about it? That’s because Gartner released couple of days ago its 2005 Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies.

hype cycle 2005Check the graph (or click the thumb for full view, or simply download it as PDF) of the hype cycle plotted with every emerging technology (i.e. from corporate blogging to carbon nanotubes, and from quantum computing to speech recongnition).

Tablet PCs, Internet micro payments, passive RFID and video-conferencing are four technologies that are firmly stuck at the bottom of the “trough of disillusionment” while business process management suites, peer-to-peer VoIP and biometric identity documents find themselves right at the “peak of inflated expectations”.

The research firm has pegged Corporate Blogging and RSS as being two years away from mainstream adoption. For now, both are tumbling into Gartner’s Trough of Disillusionment (along with wikis and desktop search) as a result of too much media buzz. If you believe Gartner, Corporate Blogging is already sooo… last year (2004). The media rumble about Corporate Blogging is almost deafening by now. It’s not a “new” story anymore. Which is not to say that blogging isn’t still a “new” thing to many companies. So watch out bloggers the trough of disillusionment is right ahead. It will be an interesting subject to follow.

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Who’s There? Seth Godin’s New Ebook on Blogging

Seth Godin author of famous bestsellers as All Marketers Are Liars : The Power of Telling Authentic Stories in a Low-Trust World or Permission Marketing : Turning Strangers Into Friends And Friends Into Customers just gave a hand in promoting blogs and blogging among those unfamiliar with specific terms and notions releasing for download the free ebook: Who’s There? (1.6MB, PDF), Seth Godin’s Incomplete Guide to Blogs and the New Web.

This is part of the Incomplete series of ebooks that tries to identify just a few important (and overlooked) ideas and sell you hard on putting them to work for you. I believe that your problem (if you have a problem) isn’t that you don’t have enough data. You have too much data! You don’t need a longer book or more time with a talented consultant. What you need is the certainty of knowing that you ought to do something (one thing); then you need the will to do it.
I’m going to assume that you’ve got one of a few goals. If you don’t want to accomplish any of these things, feel free to ask for a refund (and click here for some entertainment…)
1. Understand how and why the mainstream media is dying.
2. Figure out why your organization needs a fundamentally different approach to the web.
3. Embrace the fact that you can’t just change your tactics… the truth of what you do and who you are has to change as well.
4. Realize that all of this is very inexpensive and very quick. The hardest part is finding the will do it right.

And more than that, if you’re interested on how to make websites that do their job better, then you can download Seth’s Knock Knock ebook released in June (if you haven’t already).

For romanian readers here is the link to Seth’s Permission Marketing… in Romanian.

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Future of Internet Scenarios

Australia’s technology research consortium, Smart Internet Technology CRC, has released some results of an 18-month study examining what the Internet might evolve into by 2010 and the implications for end-users.

The report discuss about specific areas including the Open Source movement, social networks, digital games, voice services, e-health, and mobile devices.

The study points to four types of future, named Schools of Thought – or general scenarios: the Adaptive User Environment, Not The Smart Internet, Rich Media, and Chaos Rules. These scenarios are viewed not as mutually exclusive but as co-existent and to some degree intertwined.

1. Adaptive User Environment
An overriding assumption here in the context of the Internet for 2010 is that those creators, suppliers, and service providers who invest in understanding the complexity of human factors, and who apply their knowledge about the end-user interaction with the Internet, are generally the most likely to succeed. The best new technologies and services will be those that are created, designed, constructed, and marketed in ways that will be highly adaptive to human needs in the Internet environment of 2010.

2. Not The Smart Internet
The proponents of this School of Thought  advocate that a simple, user-friendly, and culturally appropriate Internet is the best option by the year 2010. It may be better in the  future to concentrate on addressing the
shortcomings and problems related to the operation of the present Internet rather than investing in, and building, a new Internet for the elites. We need an Internet that offers basic services for all.

3. Rich Media

is primarily driven by technological innovation in a world where there are a plethora of devices, applications and services feeding off the Internet by 2010. In a rich media environment, more and more people are able, and also can afford, to access the Internet, via a workstation, mobile phone, a PDA, or some other appliance. Therefore, as we approach 2010, more and more people will access a wide array of Internet based services irrespective of their dependence on a particular technology or a certain mode of connectivity.  It’s the ‘any content, any device, any format, anytime’ paradigm for the Internet by 2010.

4. Chaos Rules
Is primarily concerned with an Internet in the future that may be in a
continual state of decay and worsening disorder. Exponents of this School of Thought widely share a sceptical pessimism about the robustness of Internet services that may be ruined by ‘spam’ junk emails, rogue hackers and viruses.  They distrust the utopian visions of a ‘high-tech’ society because an over-reliance on information technology also creates pathologies and vulnerabilities.  Chaos Rules advocates believe Internet futures will be dominated by a negative utopian vision they describe as Digital Dystopia.

Download the full report Smart Internet 2010 (1.25MB, PDF) report or its Executive Summary (816KB, PDF).

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Advertising Clichés

An interesting article published by online edition of BBC News on (annoying) clichés in advertising.

It’s tiresome to see characters in adverts who don’t resemble anyone you know,” says the article.

Here are my favorites ones:

  1. Men are obsessed with sex but will forego sex in order to watch football or drink beer.
  2. Women are locked in a constant battle with their weight/body shape/hairstyle.
  3. Career success is entirely based on your ability to impress your boss.
  4. Mums are often harassed but NEVER depressed/unable to cope.
  5. Any act of male stupidity (e.g. walking across a clean floor in muddy boots, putting the dog in the dishwasher, etc.) will be met with a wry smile, not genuine annoyance/anger.
  6. Married men will flirt with other, younger women but NEVER act upon it.
  7. Scandinavians are, without exception, blonde and beautiful.
  8. Women have jobs they never do in real life, e.g. dockworker (who looks like a model).
  9. Children will not eat fruit or vegetables. Ever.
  10. Both men and women find driving deeply pleasurable, never boring or stressful.
  11. High Street bank staff are (A) friends of the customers, and (B) of slightly above-average attractiveness (only if female).
  12. All women (except stay-at-home housewives) have interesting and enjoyable careers.
  13. Any over-the-counter medical product will work instantly and 100% effectively.
  14. Women never merely hop in and out of the shower, instead preferring to act out some sort of soapy Dance of the Seven Veils.
  15. School is a happy experience for all children.

Via: Adverblog

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