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A Talk With David Gerlertnter

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Just off the phone with David Gerlertner. A very interesting chat, he is one of the few academics who have both developed a new vision for computing, then attempted to create software that in fact realizes it. I’ll post an update to this post later, I have to run to meetings all day. Best quotes: “The most underused resource in the universe is human brainpower,” especially when it comes to search; “We’ve been looking forward to RSS coming for many years, we’re thrilled it’s here;” “I don’t want to use Google if I can avoid it…to use it I have to know the right question to ask, and that is often not the case I know that question…”

Bill Joy Moves In

By - March 17, 2004

joyBill Joy is comfortably into his new role of not having a role, to judge from our meeting last Friday morning. We met at the Depot, a Mill Valley cafe which pretty much defines Marin casual. Bill is in the middle of what he termed a “three year move” – moving out of his Sun offices, which contained more than 20 years of research, notes, and assorted papers – moving as well from his Russian Hill home in San Francisco, and into new digs in Mill Valley as well as his ranch in Aspen. In essence, transition has been Joy’s job for the past few years, and he seems content in it.

Our talked ranged over a pretty open space, and touched on his talks with Google (he confirmed them, but they are not ongoing), his sense of where Sun is going (tough road ahead but he wishes them well), his continuing thinking along the lines of his now legendary Wired article (still figuring if he has a book in him on the topic, and if so, when), and his thoughts on better search solutions (we touched on the work of David Gerlernter more than once). In fact, I have an interview scheduled with David Gerlernter this Thursday morning, stay tuned for that.

As to what he might be doing next, he seemed happily indeterminate. A fine place to be, it seems to me.

Yahoo Announces New News Search

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main5So Yahoo has made its News Search feature more robust…but, I wonder, where is the fresh angle that Yahoo brings, unique to Yahoo? Google has the “not touched by human hands” angle. Yahoo could do so much here…and I hope it does. For now, the news is this: the News search feature now sources 7000 sites, adds a “also try” feature (related queries), and some other nifty features. I’d like to see a “make this news search an RSS feed” feature…

PS – Rich Skrenta and others point out, use the beta URL

PPS – Turns out, this news is a couple of months old. Sorry….too busy lately.

Time Warner…Set AOL Free

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I’m tired of the prideful, ignorant, and painfully slow death over at AOL. How can you have the largest ISP/content site in the world, at a time when the entire sector is boooming, and manage to fuck it up so masterfully? The stink is starting to rise not from AOL, but from the folks really calling the shots, the top brass at Time Warner. And that means something must give, and soon. Time Warner is starting to realize, they can’t do any better with AOL than Case and Pittman could back in 2001.

It seems to me like the Time Warner execs, who clearly are still pissed that AOL bought them in the first place, are either killing it through supremely benign neglect, or are trapped in a morass of their own pride. Let me state what seems obvious: the right thing to do is call a spade a spade, and spin AOL out. The folks running Time Warner have other things to do, and they clearly are the wrong people to be driving strategy at AOL. The folks who report to them and run AOL on a day to day basis need independence – otherwise they simply will not be able to compete with Yahoo and Google. Note to the TW Board: swallow your pride and cut AOL loose. Just do it.

PageRank Tool

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Via Google Blogoscoped, I found this tool that tells a URL’s PageRank. This is handy if, like me, you don’t use a PC and can’t download Google’s Toolbar, which tells you the PageRank of the page you’re on. I’ve never known this site’s PageRank, and of course the first thing I did was a vanity PageRanking. is a 7 out of 10. I think that means the site has a decent ranking. Or, it could mean the site ranks a C-. Who knows, really….

Comcast Conspiracy Roundup

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Readers know I distrust Comcast. Salon today runs a roundup of why. It’s sub required, but I think you can also get in by watching an ad….

Google Takes Local Out of The Labs

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This just in…Google takes local search and integrates it into main index…it’s not a tab, following instead Danny’s invisible tabs stategy….Have not had a chance to really play with this, though this link is for “Pizza Kentfield” and shows our local pizza joint first. Gary has done some testing, and he reports it needs more work…..Press release in extended entry below. (Reuters story here)

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