Science Addiction

A dormant blog by Devanshu Mehta

Month: April, 2006

Why Google Ads Do Not Work All the Time

The screenwriter “John August”: has a great little example of why “Google’s Adsense”: is not the solution for all seasons. Anyone referencing his “article on the use of air ducts/vents in films as a poor plot device”: on their blog/site, finds ads that try to sell you air vents or ducts. Which are completely besides the point of the article- nobody reading an article about good screenwriting is going to suddenly say to themselves “Wait a second. Reading about that scene from Die Hard reminds me- I’m supposed to buy Air Vent shafts!”

You can see an example of this in “the article I wrote about August’s post”: Sad. Like the time I saw Yahoo! ads selling cow hide on a Flickr photograph decrying cruelty to cows.

On the other hand, Google Ads to work tremendously well when they are on generic, well targetted and crafted content. They work on my “Star Wars site”: pretty well.

Apple’s Aperture Overhaul

“ThinkSecret”: is reporting, only a week after “my article on Apple’s *mea culpa* on Aperture”:, that a good portion of the Aperture team is being axed. This is a good news/bad news kind of situation, because it probably means that Apple will have to do a lot of soul searching and rebuilding of the product. The good news is that it may actually help v2.0 be the kind of application Apple was hoping for in the first place- one that would help sell Macs.

Yahoo! Introduces Free DVR Software

Yahoo! has quietly introduced Yahoo! Go for TV, a free DVR and media center software for Windows PCs. This software is a re-branded version of Meedio, which Yahoo! bought earlier this month and is tightly coupled with Yahoo’s own services.

This is a great entry in this area and should prove to be a significant challenge to Microsoft’s Media Center, if it is marketed and packaged well. For me, the trouble is that it is Windows-only and so would be an option only if it proved to be significantly better than “MythTV”: or “Front Row”: Fun stuff- it seems like everyone is getting a head start on Vista, including those who were never really in competition.

[Via “GigaOm”: Via “John Battelle”: ]

Ebay Offers Fixed Price Sales

While eBay has offered fixed price sales under its banner for many years, for the first time eBay has announced eBay Express, which allows buyers to buy an item without the auction process. It also features a single shopping cart and check out process for items bought from multiple sellers.

This puts them up in direct competition with similar services from “Amazon”: and to a certain extent, from Google (with “Base”: and “Froogle”: I’ve used Half for years now and actually prefer it over the auction format because some things are not always in demand. Sales that are not time-dependent (unlike auctions, which are) allow you to have something for sale for a long time; so a potential buyer can find you days, months or years later if you still have that item for sale.


Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves.

– William Pitt, House of Commons, 11/18/1783

The NSA wiretapping story is close to becoming forgotten (read: Valerie Plame), or worse, old news (read: Bolton) or worse still, political (read: everything else). I can deal with forgotten- this article should help- but if this story is slipping into either of the other two categories, we are in trouble. Read the rest of this entry »

Ray’s Devonian Blues

In “Ray Troll’s”: own words:

A few months ago I received an email from my friend Dr. Ted Daeschler at the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia telling me about a new lobe finned fish fossil that he and his colleague Dr. Neil Shubin had unearthed in late Devonian rocks way up in Nunavut, Canada. One of the many extraordinary things about this new fish is that it looks almost exactly like an amphibian, except that it has fins instead of legs…. I wrote a song called the ‘Devonian Blues’. I drew pictures of Charles Darwin ( AKA Chuckie ‘D’ ) embracing it.

The “song and video”: are fantastic- and in case your wondering, “Devonian”: _is a geologic period of the Paleozoic era_.

With “lyrics such as”: Your momma was a Lobefinned Fish. My momma was a Lobefinned Fish. and Thinking ’bout my mama and I’m thinking ’bout you. Got those Sarcopterygian Devonian Blues. This is the stuff of viral internet legends!

50 Ways to Use Your Google

Considering the rate at which Google introduces new features to the public and the small amount of publicity they afford each of them, it’s no surprise that most people are unaware of the many different ways to use Google.

To start, “here is a list”:

Here are some of my favorite Google power-user tips:
* *Music* – People are not aware that you can search Google for all kinds of information on artists, albums, songs and more using “Google Music Search”:
* *Movies* – Then try searching “movies” in Google or “let me do it for you”: That gives you showtimes for your area!
* *Strange Stuff* – Try searching “ford escape”: and Google suggests where you can buy one. Or “homes for rent”: or maybe “homes for sale”:
* *Books* – Similar to music and movies, there is “Google Book search”:
* *Phone Book* – Try putting in someone’s (or your) lastname, city and state in Google. “Like this”:
* *Q&A* – And sometimes just gives you the answer to your question. Like “the population of the USA”: and the “birthplace of George Bush”: (which one?).
* *Fedex, Patents, UPS, more* – Seach for information on Fedex tracking, UPS tracking, USPS tracking, patent, VINs, UPCs, FAA codes and a lot more using “Google numbers search”:
* *Finance* – “Google Finance”: is a fantastic tool for casual study of stock quotes though it doesn’t have the depth of “Yahoo! Finance”: yet.
And of course, there is a “lot more stuff you can do with Google here”:

Why are Liberal Blogs More Popular than Conservative Blogs?

The question is, why are liberal blogs more popular than conservative blogs? Granted my sources are not perfect, but according to “technorati”: and “Alexa”: liberal blogs get more traffic and are linked to more than conservative ones. “DailyKos”: and “Common Dreams”: march ahead with “MyDD”: and “The Huffington Post”: not far behind.

One suggested reason is that more liberal blogs have comments and promote individual blogs, participation and more which bring more repeat and continuous traffic. Also, it is possible that progressive/liberal and anti-war blogs are read in countries other than the United States; this may not be as likely for the conservative ones. The other theory is that the party in opposition has more to complain about, strategize about and work on than the party in power. In that case, I will revisit this article if things change in November of 2008 :).

Light, Shadows and India

Light ray K A N P U R

Originally uploaded by dharmesh thakker.

Dharmesh Thakker is one of my favorite photographers on Flickr and this is his best yet. He has an eye for using shadows and light to give the old mills and temples of India a very Noir look.

Take a look at “Dharmesh Thakker’s other photographs”: and leave him a few comments of praise.

Last Month at Apple Matters

In my second month at “Apple Matters”: it has been much tougher coming up with things to write on a weekly basis- but such is life as a part-time freelance writer (I use that phrase when I can- it evokes more mystique than it should).

Here is what I put out in March/April: Read the rest of this entry »