Amazon is not Google, by a long shot. A friend recommended computer book by the somewhat-prolific Mark Manasi. When I got to Amazon, I couldn't remember how to spell the last name. A couple of (wrong) guesses got me nowhere; none of the responses even had the misspelled names in the author lists. So I went to Google and entered the first wrong guess, and Google gave me a bunch of hits, but also at the top asked "Did you mean: mark minasi"? One click later I could determine that yes, as a matter of fact, I did.
Why couldn't Amazon tell me that? Even more important, why did Amazon offer to send me off their site when I got the name wrong? If I'm searching for a name that I can't spell correctly, Amazon should try really hard to help me find the book I wanted, not suggest that I go somewhere else.
Ed Felton reports from yet-another "we gotta do something about the Internet but we don't know what" conference:
When the topic was spam, people liked technologies that identify message senders; but on other topics, identification was considered harmful. I hope to see more discussion about identification at the conference.
...and in the rest of the Internet community. We can't have it both ways, folks. Either you trust both the identities and the identifying parties, or you don't.
It seems to be DVD week. I just saw Phantom of the Paradise again after many years. It is still amazing. Released in 1974, it's early Brian De Palma and early rock opera. It's almost as twisted as Rocky Horror Picture Show, which came out around the same time, but less sexual and more intellectual.
Picture a massive cross between Phantom of the Opera, Faust, The Portrait of Dorian Gray, Sha Na Na, the Beach Boys, Alice Cooper, and David Bowie. It was the film debut for Jessica Harper, and yet another creepy part for Paul Williams. The direction is great, the editing (particularly the lip-synching) are mediocre, and the story is wonderful if you like strange. Well worth a look if you've never heard of it.
Yes, he's preaching to the choir about how bad the right wingers are. Yes, the lip-synching isn't all that great. But, yes, the lyrics are a hoot. If you're with me so far, go grab this video by Eric Schwartz. The credits are pretty good too.
This is way cool. Is there a web site that doesn't have an RSS feed, but should? This guy will create a feed by scraping the HTML from the site. The cost? About $2.50. (It's actually 2 euros, but I don't trust that everyone has a font with that character in it.)