Monday, February 21, 2011

PicLyf #2

New gadget in town: the HTC Sandwich - Ham, Tomato and Cheese! XD

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Content Farms Are Amazing


I've known about such Web sites before, but it's become more pervasive in my line of work after Stack Overflow (also known as SO) boomed.

Stack Overflow's content comes from the hundreds of thousands of programmers from all over the world who post their programming questions and answers in the site.  SO licenses their content under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license.  This means that what the SO content farms are doing is perfectly legal.  Even if they simply mirror the original Q&A page from SO, as long as they link back to it, they're covered.

However, I'd say that what they're doing isn't different from what the ad farms and SEO-mongers do -- they hijack search results traffic from the original source of information, which in this case is SO (that they link back to SO doesn't matter).  It's legal, but it's not something to be proud of.  Personally, I frown on them.

Jeff Atwood, one of the co-founders of SO, has already written about the issue of rip-off sites in his blog post Trouble In the House of Google, although he did focus on faulting Google in their failure to keep the content farms from out-ranking them.

What pushed me to write about it was my surprise in seeing how seemingly instant this hijacking occurs.  I just read about Google's Personal Blocklist Chrome extension, and it reminded me of this issue. I installed the extension and I tried to search for a question I asked in SO several hours ago.

A content farming site topped the search results -- and SO was not even in the top 5!

See how the site complies with the Attribution-ShareAlike license by linking back to SO:

And here's the original content in SO, and notice how fairly recent it was posted:

Don't get me wrong -- I'm not incriminating this particular content farming site.  They might be totally legit and "nice".  It's just that I think it hit me hard enough to feel uneasy about it.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Creepy Kid

Last week, I ate dinner at a hawker center.  I shared a table with an elderly man who was with a boy of around 8 to 10 years old.  The boy rambled:  "I'm going to sell it for a million dollars.  A million, billion dollars. No, a zillion-zillion-zillion-zillion, trillion-trillion-trillion-trillion, billion-billion-billion-billion, million-million-million-million--"  He takes a deep breath-- "thousand-thousand-thousand-thousand, hundred-hundred-hundred-hundred, ten-ten-ten DOLLARS!"

I was impressed that he got his decimal groupings right, so I listened on, curious of what he was talking about.

The boy stood up, went closer to the old man, stretched his arm, reached towards the old man's chest and continued, "I going to take out your heart, and sell it for lots and lots and lots of DOLLARS!"

Then an elderly lady arrived, and they left.