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Tuesday, November 1, 2005
Doesn’t that Vitiate the Whole Concept?
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 2:51 pm

Via CNN: Wikipedia may go to print.

And as occasionally useful as Wikkipedia can be, I don’t fully trust it, and the only real advantage it has is its electronic character. I understand the developing world is largely bereft of internet connections, but I am still not seeing this.

Filed under: Computer Junk | Comments (0) |Send TrackBack
E-mail FYI
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 10:18 am

Something is wrong with my university e-mail account this morning, so anyone trying to get in touch with me via that route will be unsuccessful.

If you are trying to e-mail me use steven -at-

Filed under: Computer Junk | Comments (4) |Send TrackBack | Show Comments here
Saturday, October 8, 2005
Trek and Google
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 11:24 am

I have caught several old episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation (which, in some ways is still the “new” Trek in my mind) and have noted an interesting phenomenon that is clearly an artifact of mid-1980s thinking and writing. (TiVo is a wonderful thing).

On several occasions (the first I noted was in Darmok and then in The Naked Now ) the idea of a computer search for some nugget of information is considered to be some sort of huge deal. In Darmok it seems like at one point the computer had found several hundreds references, and it was considered to be a multi-hour problem not worth pursuing because it would be too arduous to undertake the full search (and that was with Data doing it). I’m thinking a) that isn’t that many hits and b) don’t that have “search within results” in the 24th Century?

In fact, what seems commonplace now, really wasn’t so common place in the 1980s (indeed, didn’t exist), so it is no shock that the writers didn’t think like the Googlefied persons we have all become. (And a quick search of Google indicates that “Googlefied” is not a new word-something that it might have taken Data hours to figure out on TNG).

I will note that Data found what he needed in the Naked Now with far less info to go on than he had in Darmok. Granted, a lot of this is TV Show Script Logic, but still.

Filed under: Computer Junk, SciFi, Trek | Comments (5) |Send TrackBack | Show Comments here

Stop The ACLU linked with Sunday Funnies
Stop The ACLU » Blog Archive » Sunday Funnies linked with [...] G! This one had me rolling….Hardball, the Back To School Addition. Poliblogger is a trekkie TMH’s Bacon Bits are looking forward to a movie. The Nose on Your Face has the top 9 fabulous gi [...]
Thursday, September 29, 2005
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 11:41 am

Vai the AP: Chip Helps Electric Outlet Go Broadband

The implications for cable TV/the merging of cable TV and the internet are mosting intriguing.

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Tuesday, September 13, 2005
BlogAds Woes
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 8:59 pm

I have had some site problems this evening, which may, or may not, be the result of the woes that blogads has been having for the last day or so. As such, I have stripped the code from the site for the moment. I will add them back as soon as is possible.

James Joyners has more info (although his are all now working).

Filed under: Computer Junk, Blogging | Comments (1) |Send TrackBack | Show Comments here
Thursday, September 8, 2005
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 4:54 pm

Speaking especially as a professor at a school with a small library, but also one who likes doing research in his home and office, I must say that JSTOR is more impressive.

Indeed, as a side note, I don’t know how people at small schools did serious research before the ‘net and databases like JSTOR, EBSCO, ProQuest and so forth.

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The Ugly Side of Human Nature
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 8:30 am

While many rush to help, some see the chance for illicit gain (via the NYT): After the Storm, the Swindlers.

The technological angle is interesting, if not maddening.

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Tuesday, September 6, 2005
Typos and Google
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 5:19 pm

Clearly typos can drive search-engine traffic (although not as well as references to women sans clothing).

Still, I have noticed a decent amount of traffic to PoliBlog as the result of two typos.

First, in one of my many posts on the hurricane, I accidentally typed “Kitrina” instead of “Katrina” and earlier in the week a large number of folks were looking for “hurricane Kitrina videos”.

Second, I left the “r” out of “Govenor” in one post, leading to numerous hits from folks looking for “Govenor Blanco.”

So, those if one is looking to generate traffic, but feels the need to eschew the refs to nekkid persons, try some creative typos-something the url squatters figured out a while back.

Just a handy blogging tip from your friends at PoliBlog.

Filed under: Computer Junk, Blogging, Hurricanes | Comments (3) |Send TrackBack | Show Comments here

The Baron » Blog Archive » The Generator linked with [...] The Generator Looking to boost your blog traffic? Dr. Taylor has an interesting suggestion. I wonder how much traffic Andrew Jones has generated from illiterate Atlanta Brave [...]
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 1:12 pm

My switch from Hosting Matters to AlaHosting.Com appears to have gone smoothly.

Many, many thanks to Jeff Vreeland for his help in this matter.

Filed under: Computer Junk, Blogging | Comments (4) |Send TrackBack | Show Comments here
Sunday, September 4, 2005
Mail Troubles
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 4:22 pm

If you have e-mailed me to any e-mail account since Friday, please note that I have not received it, and it may well be lost.

I am able to keep track of comments on the blog itself, but if anyone needs to contact me directly, one can do so at my university account: sltaylor at

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Thursday, August 25, 2005
The Great Emoticon Debate
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 12:39 pm

Paladin, at a Knight’s Blog, states, in regards to emoticons:

I hate ‘em.

He then asks:

Anyway, I’m interested in why people use emoticons and punctuaticons.

Dr. Scott Nokes has an interesting, and English professory (I mean that in a good way) response.

I will assail the topic from the POV of practicality. I have been an “e-mail guy” for, in relative terms, a long time. Setting aside things like Prodigy or Compuserve, I have had a real, Al Gore approved e-mail address since the early 1990s. Indeed, my first address that I had through the University of Texas was one of those that used letters and numbers, not a username (I think it was The only way to access the account was via Pine running on UNIX. I could access it via dial-up on my 2400 baud modem. I was rockin’. (As a side note, I still remember when I was in High School and Steven L. had a 300 baud modem that had switches on it you had to flip to connect-and all of that to connect to a local BBS).

Since then, I learned the invaluable nature of e-mail during my 10 month sojourn living out of the country in Colombia, not to mention that it has been a wonderful tool in the academy (in terms of the ability to communicate with colleagues all over the world, not to mention the ability to procrastinate in distributing conference papers without resorting to FedEx), and later in communicating with friends and family. Add to this the fact that I teach in Distance Learning Program and blog.

All of this trip down memory lane exists to point out my bona fides in commenting on e-mail communication (indeed electronic text communication in general).

The problem is that is often extremely difficult to fully communicate tone via text and I find that a :) or a ;) — or even a :( can be quite useful is making sure that the reader knows that I am being sarcastic, trying to be funny, or am inserting some whimsy into my communications. I find it simply to be a visual cue to help a person understand my state of mind vis-a-vis what I have written. There have been a number of times that I have received a terse e-mail that would have been easier to interpret with an emoticon. Indeed, on numerous occasions I have included an emoticon after reading over a note, as it is the only way to take the statements I have written and make them clear. This may partially be due to the fact that my humor is often dry and/or understated, to the degree to which that people not paying attention may not always know when I am joking when I speak, but that there can be clear ambiguity when I write.

I have been involved (on both sides) too many cases where an e-mail was misinterpreted not to see the value of an emoticon here or there.

And, of course, context matters. It is highly unlikely that in an e-mail to the Provost that I am going to toss in a smiley. On the other hand, in quick missives to friends or family or in a blog comment it is wholly appropriate. Further, I would prefer to risk a little silliness in an e-mail to a student than to have my intent in a certain situation to be misconstrused.

I know some people find smilies silly, girlie or somehow frivolous. However, while it is clear some folks use them to extreme, I find that they are overall an aid to communication. It really isn’t much different that the way in which facial expressions can be a signal as to the meaning of spoken words (along with tone of voice).

In short: it is just an enhancement of communication, IMHO. ;)

Filed under: Computer Junk, Blogging | Comments (12) |Send TrackBack | Show Comments here

Absinthe & Cookies (a bit bitter, a bit sweet) linked with To Smiley or not to Smiley....
Unlocked Wordhoard linked with Emoticons and tone
Tuesday, August 23, 2005
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 1:33 pm

Google software moves in on Microsoft

Filed under: Computer Junk | Comments (0) |Send TrackBack
Wednesday, August 17, 2005
Microsoft Word Gripe
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 1:37 pm

What genius at Microsoft thought it would be a good idea to make it impossible to use the TAB key to insert TABs when typing text within tables?

What, they actually thought that no one would ever want to TAB text inside a table?

Filed under: General, Computer Junk | Comments (3) |Send TrackBack | Show Comments here
Tuesday, August 16, 2005
Yet Another Commercial for Macs/Linux
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 6:47 pm

Via CNN: Worm strikes down Windows 2000 systems

A fast-moving computer worm Tuesday shut down computer systems using Microsoft operating software, hitting computer systems across the United States and reportedly in Germany and Asia.

Among those hit were offices on Capitol Hill and media organizations, including CNN, ABC and The New York Times. The Caterpillar Co. in Peoria, Illinois, reportedly also had problems.

While the worm primarily affects Windows 2000, it also can affect some early versions of Microsoft XP, said Johannes Ullrich, director of the Sans Institute, a network security firm based in Jacksonville, Florida.


I wonder if Steve Jobs is behind it all.

And if Mac wants to send me a “review machine” I’d be happy to do a number of write-ups.

Filed under: Computer Junk | Comments (7) |Send TrackBack | Show Comments here

PoliBlog: Politics is the Master Science » Back in Slate linked with [...] dnesday, August 17, 2005 Back in Slate By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 9:10 pm My post yesterday on the Windows Worm made it into Slate (scroll to the bottom). It just goes to show that yo [...]
Friday, August 12, 2005
Server Problems
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 8:58 am

For anyone who may have noticed, the site was down for about twenty minutes this morning (the third such outage over the last week or so). During the first outage I was told by Hosting Matters that the problem was a spam attack on the server upon which PoliBlog is hosted. I have not inquired after the source of today’s problem.

Have any other Hosting Matters customers out there had similar problems?

Filed under: Computer Junk | Comments (2) |Send TrackBack | Show Comments here
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