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Slashback: Nigritude, Indignation, Artifacts 181

Posted by timothy
from the tomorrow-is-sushiwhore-time dept.
Slashback brings you updates this evening on a handful of previous and ongoing Slashdot stories: read on below for more on how to manipulate Google rankings, what's wrong with Sun's Java Desktop, Claria's plucky response to L.L. Bean's suit, and a fly in the infinite-twin-primes theory.

How to not make friends and influence rankings. Ben Michel contributes an update to the search-engine optimization (SEO) contest mentioned last month, the object of which was for contestants to create a site ranked highest by google for a nonsense phrase, "nigritude ultramarine."

Michel writes "The first phase of the competition ended last Monday, and the winner was the owner of a forum called nigritude ultramarine--previously known as Merkey.net. According to Brandon Suit, the owner of this forum, the key to his winning strategy was "getting high PR backlinks"--having other websites with high Page Ranks link to him and vice versa.

What impact does this have on SEO, and indeed for the rapidly growing search industry in general? The viability of certain underhanded methods in the pursuit of SEO has been clearly reinforced by many of the results of the contest--both Suit and his closest competitor, Philipp Lenssen, posted links in Wiki Sandboxes in order to better their standing. According to Suit, "If you want to manipulate [Google], you can." While search engines certainly have come a long ways from relevance-based searching, it seems that they still have significant changes to make before they can more accurately order results for any given query. The search engines' creators themselves must make countless revisions in their own, perhaps quixotic, quests to create the perfect tools to retrieve relevant data in the vast, ever-expanding realm of the internet."

However, not everyone is as matter-of-fact about this method of increasing search-engine visibility; May Kasahara is one of the webmasters and wiki users who isn't.

Kasahara writes: "The Search Engine Optimization contest previously mentioned on Slashdot has had a detrimental effect on wiki users and admins (including myself) lately , as the words 'Nigritude Ultramarine' have been showing up in wiki sandboxes across the web. A search on UseModWiki's homepage brought me to this informative entry, which in turn led me to Nigritude Ultramarine and the Wiki Sandbox Effect [note -- mentioned last week on Slashdot] and to these accompanying comments, mostly from very annoyed wiki users."

OK, so maybe "infinite" was a strong word. Prof.Phreak writes "Quoting wikipedia: On May 26, 2004, Richard Arenstorf of Vanderbilt University submitted a 38-page proof that there are, in fact, infinitely many twin primes. On June 3, Michel Balazard of Bordeaux reported that Lemma 8 on page 35 is false.[1] As is typical in mathematical proofs, the defect may be correctable or a substitute method may repair or replace the defect. Arenstorf withdrew his proof on June 8, noting "A serious error has been found in the paper, specifically, Lemma 8 is incorrect"."

What are these dashed lines all over your sacred cow? reifman writes "Slashdot's link to my article in the Seattle Weekly helped generate 175,000 page views and numerous letters and comments. The article seemed to touch a nerve in the Mac and Linux communities. I've posted a follow up responding to people's letters."

Updates from the Academic Affairs Division. zenrandom writes "As Case Western has just recently been reported, we may as well mention the initiative that will be connecting many schools in Ohio. Oarnet, a part of the Ohio Supercomputer Center and The Ohio State University is building a statewide academic and research fiber optic network. Composed of multiple metro-rings and over 1600 miles of fiber."

In unrelated college news, Mirell writes "After the FBI previously investigated an open records request filed for the tunnel blueprints at UT, students decide instead to enter via brute force. Hooligans - 1, War Against Terror - 0."

The problem with opening Pandora's Box. WC writes "The previous review on JDS2 ended with no successful installation so it wasn't very helpful on what to expect from the Sun distro. This new review has got a working installation but with a slew of new problems: more installation woes, unusable networking, buggy Nautilus and Mozilla window resizing artifacts among others. The author concludes that JDS2 is --effectively-- nothing but JDS 1.1 with the added Sun server software on top, but the desktop part has the same (and more) issues like JDS1 had."

Looking innocent is not their strong suit. tbase writes "As reported on News.com.com, Claria, formerly known as Gator, has sued L.L. Bean, charging the retailer with filing a frivolous lawsuit against its advertisers. As covered in a previous Slashdot story, L.L. Bean has filed suit against current and former Claria advertisers for advertising via pop ups over L.L. Bean's site."

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Slashback: Nigritude, Indignation, Artifacts

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  • Annoyance (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 10, 2004 @08:12PM (#9393621)
    I am a member of the merkey.net forums. While it is (probably) a good thing to have a Slashdot article, it was really annoying to have "nigritude ultramarine" posted everywhere on our forums for two months. All that for an iPod and a monitor too...
  • Mwahahah (Score:4, Insightful)

    by The Bungi (221687) <thebungi@gmail.com> on Thursday June 10, 2004 @08:17PM (#9393657) Homepage
    OK, so the "Microsoftie" sacred cow follow up quotes this from a Slashdot comment in the story, theorizing that "he couldn't have put it better":
    "In his lust to dominate the browser market and bring down Netscape, Bill and his cronies decided to give Internet Explorer away for free. They succeeded in undermining Netscape and getting the lion's share of the browser market, but in the process they got an entire generation of users hooked on getting stuff for free. Once users get a taste of free, getting them to pay for stuff becomes difficult or impossible. Why pay for a browser when I can get it for free? Why pay for an operating system when I can get it for free? Why pay for software when I can get it for free? Why pay for music when I can get it for free? Why pay for movies when I can get them for free? In the end, it isn't just Microsoft that's hurt by this."
    Heh. This, coming from the "teh softwarez must be free-as-in-um-actually-i'm-just-cheap" crowd (which unfortunately makes up the majority of the people who use open source) is absolutely hilarious.

    In any case, Microsoft has given software away for ages. Suddenly because they gave away IE, the world is on track to become evil purveyors of stolen... things.

    If that isn't ironic I don't know what is.

  • JDS (Score:3, Insightful)

    by BigGerman (541312) on Thursday June 10, 2004 @08:20PM (#9393676)
    kinda interesting to watch the JDS effort.
    You would think that someone like Sun has nerves,resources,etc. to pull a decent Linux desktop.
    The reasons it is not are probably combination of:

    internal apathy of the development group - Linux, desktop, whatever.. Any AC from Sun can comment?

    cluelessness of the upper management - there is no marketing plan, they just grasping the straws

    wrong marketing (different from cluelessness). Wtf it is called "Java"? To me, JDS would mean a Swing-based desktop shell on top of very thin Linux distro. Now, that would be innovation.

    Overall, the JDS just confirms the point that you do not have to be a multi-billion-dollar co to produce major product and when you ARE a m-b-d co, your product may still suck. The innovation is the field owned by talented individuals and hungry startups.

  • by teamhasnoi (554944) <teamhasnoi&yahoo,com> on Thursday June 10, 2004 @08:33PM (#9393747) Homepage Journal
    "It's a Homeland Security issue," he said. "We've been aware of the security aspects of the tunnels for a long time. We became more conscious of the security needs after 9-11."

    Jesus, does everything have to be a Homeland Security issue and tied to 9-11?

    Whatever happened to harmless breaking and entering? Really, what the hell is the impotent Homeland Security department going to do? Guard the tunnel entrances? Overreact and send the students to Git-mo?

    Terrorism is old and busted, and is nothing but a political tool and soundbite op.

    Those who respond, "tell that to the victims of 9-11", I submit that if all those people were here today they would be pretty fucking pissed at all the unconstitutional bullshit that has been done in their name.

  • by Grrr (16449) * <cgrrr AT grrr DOT net> on Thursday June 10, 2004 @08:38PM (#9393773) Homepage Journal
    ...does everything have to be a Homeland Security issue and tied to 9-11?

    Only so long as it works...

    Remember It's for the children! ?

    <grrr>
  • Re:JDS (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 10, 2004 @08:39PM (#9393776)
    Or more likely an incompetant reviewer. I have had JDS2 running on several machines for over a week now and have not experienced a single one of the problems this reviewer mentioned.
  • Re:JDS (Score:3, Insightful)

    by BigGerman (541312) on Thursday June 10, 2004 @08:45PM (#9393804)
    This is Eugenia that we all know and love ;-)
  • by arlandbayes (770479) on Thursday June 10, 2004 @08:56PM (#9393839) Journal
    Someone learning might want to test ceating outside links. I think the noindex option is better so that sandboxes are invisible to the google bots.
  • Re:Mwahahah (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Minna Kirai (624281) on Thursday June 10, 2004 @09:06PM (#9393880)
    Why pay for music when I can get it for free? Why pay for movies when I can get them for free?

    The concept is basically right, but it's misapplied. The public is addicted to free music and movies because they've been getting them for free on TV and radio for decades. THAT's why P2P is not viewed as wrong by the public- "because TV is free anyhow"

    Suddenly because they gave away IE, the world is on track to become evil purveyors of stolen... things.

    That's not what was meant at all. The Slashdotter's theory was that consumers addicted to free software would look for... wait for it... Free Software.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 10, 2004 @09:08PM (#9393889)
    Whatever happened to harmless breaking and entering?
    You mean like, what it clearly states the students were charged with at the beggining of the article?

    Really, what the hell is the impotent Homeland Security department going to do?
    Nothing, I'd assume, since the article makes no mention of the Homeland Security department, the FBI, the Austin Joint Terrorism Task Force any other government organzation, and that quote was made by the "associate director of utilities and energy management" at the college, not a government official.

    Guard the tunnel entrances?
    Perhaps they're going to do the only thing that they feel they need to do to make secuirty adequate, which is seal up all the tunnel entrances.
  • by twitter (104583) on Thursday June 10, 2004 @09:33PM (#9394028) Homepage Journal
    Why do they not just disable links to outside pages entirely? It is experimental, right? So why have links to other websites at all?

    Links could create a bogus page like:

    you have linked to the URL: http://somesite.wherever.net

    That's not very helpful because it would be difficult to test the link that way. The idea is to encourage legitimate users to actually make and edit pages.

    It is unfortunate that Wiki site administrators have to do anything at all. Phillip admits that he does not get it:

    I still don't understand why something like a newsgroup alt.test could possibly be hurt from anything (spam, backlink-postings, whatever) but I guess I still don't get it.

    Phill, baby, it's rude to use other people and expect them to clean up your mess. As many of the posters stated, Wiki administrators did not set up their service for your purposes and you caused them grief. I can't believe you said this after apologizing.

    He also insults Wiki software itself:

    In any case it seems Wiki software is not up to handle these things.

    Bad attitude, Phill. You bragged about how clever you were, how about comming up with a solution instead? Someone might even give you an ipod or something.

  • by RepeatedEigenvalue (787224) on Thursday June 10, 2004 @09:53PM (#9394137) Homepage
    Some poor grad student isn't gonna be very much liked by his board. They usually have grad students bitch out lemmas like this - but I might be wrong. If I'm right though, some poor schlub is being handed a Master's and shown the door. Piled Higher and Deeper indeed.
  • by AnotherBlackHat (265897) on Thursday June 10, 2004 @10:02PM (#9394180) Homepage
    I think a better option is a meta tag that lets search engines know that there's user contributed content on the page.
    (Or maybe something in robots.txt)

    Google could still index the page, but weigh links on the page lower.

    -- not a .sig
  • Re:JDS (Score:2, Insightful)

    by neomac (97478) on Thursday June 10, 2004 @10:05PM (#9394192) Homepage
    According to Sun, they're capitalizing on the Java® brand recognition...

    ...which is dumb. We, the folks who know what things like "Linux," "desktop," and "Java" mean from a technical point of view, would likely be confused. I know I was before I read into it. My first reaction was, "Why the hell are they building a Linux desktop distro in Java?" (For the record, my second thought was, "How the hell are they building a Linux distro in Java!!?!")

    This is a good example of what happens when Marketing wins. Sun would have been branding enough for us and IMHO, a better sell to the execs..
  • Re:Mwahahah (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Osty (16825) on Thursday June 10, 2004 @10:06PM (#9394200)

    That's not what was meant at all. The Slashdotter's theory was that consumers addicted to free software would look for... wait for it... Free Software.

    But Free Software doesn't have to be free software! (Thank you, RMS, for that genious naming scheme.) Remember, it's free as in speech, not free as in beer.

  • Re:JDS (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cbowland (205263) on Thursday June 10, 2004 @10:23PM (#9394284)
    I have installed JDS on at least 5 machines at work, mostly low end 2 year old pc's, but also 1 v60x (dual booting suse). JDS seems pretty on target for Sun's stated market, i.e. limited functionality/requirements people. Call centers, hospitals, etc.... Basically, people who need word processing, spreadsheets, email, and and a browser. Sun is not targeting Slashdot readers for JDS users, although a some number us will probably end up administrating them. Sun is not trying to create a sexy, leading distribution, but instead is trying to replace (in their eyes) buggy, insecure, virus ridden, expensive windows machines. Of course, all slashdot readers know this, but still insist on judging the distribution on whether it meets their personal needs, including any wingnut hardware combination they may have. Of course its not a perfect distribution, but that's not Sun's pitch. They are going in to companies saying "Look, we have a product that is more secure, less expensive, and provides all the fuctionality your people need. Plus, we will support it, including phone support."

    I think the "Java" in JDS is a hint that the linux base is not important to Sun. My guess is that they are trying to get to a Common Desktop Environment ;-) across all their platforms, sparc, x86, and thin client (sun ray). Using the Java name is just a marketing thing now, but it could be more meaningfull (project looking glass, anyone?) in the future.
  • Re:Mwahahah (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Artifakt (700173) on Thursday June 10, 2004 @10:38PM (#9394387)
    People may point out that most 'free' tv is paid for by watching ads, and that consumers are mistaken in counting that as free. But, what if the consumer is aware of that, and it still gives rise to the current situation? A typical hour long TV program has about 8 minutes of commercials. For a person who makes minimum wage, 8 minutes of time is worth about 75 cents, IF he treats all his time as worth as much as work, and that's itself debatable. If 52 minutes of entertainment has a base value of only about 75 cents, or argueably less, then what's the 'fair' price of a music download? 75 cents for a number of tracks the consumer will listen to for 52 minutes total? A two hour movie watched once? $1.68? For as person making 11 bucks an hour, that "fair" value is more like 3 dollars, by the same reasoning. There's going to be some price points where the 'fair' value of downloads looks about even with the amount a person pays for internet access or a commercial news server, even though none of that money is going to the content producer.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 10, 2004 @11:32PM (#9394672)
    You mean NoFollow, Index, surely?
  • Re:Mwahahah (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mabinogi (74033) on Thursday June 10, 2004 @11:41PM (#9394714) Homepage
    > one that assumes most advertisers are marketing a product that most viewers of a particular program can afford

    Starting to get off topic but anyway -

    I don't think that in a lot of cases they are marketing towards people that can afford the item. At least in the case of things like cars or other non trivial or mundane stuff. If someone was in the market for a new car, and could afford one - they'd buy one. They wouldn't see an ad and suddenly decide to. So what the ads are doing, is trying to put the desire for the product in you - regardless of whether or not you can afford it now. Because one day, you might be able to. And you're far more likely to buy a product after having lusted after it for years, seeing the ads wishing that you could afford one, and now finaly being able to, than if you could already afford it, and you saw the ad for the first time.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 10, 2004 @11:45PM (#9394738)
    It's like the Reichstags fire in the Weimar Republic (Germany). Blamed on "them nasty jews" and used as an excuse to round up undesireables and put them into concentration camps. You'll eventually find out that America is not one iota better, and that you have given up just as many rights as the Germans did in 1933. Sure, sure, you are still allowed to vote; but as long as they count the votes what are you going to do about it?
  • Re:Mwahahah (Score:3, Insightful)

    by phliar (87116) on Friday June 11, 2004 @12:52AM (#9395105) Homepage
    This, coming from the "teh softwarez must be free-as-in-um-actually-i'm-just-cheap" crowd (which unfortunately makes up the majority of the people who use open source) is absolutely hilarious.
    And you know that "the majority of the people who use open source" are cheap bastards, how?

    My experience has been that people who use Unix tend to be technically oriented adults who are more aware of ethics, copyrights and patents than the general population. It is self-evident that the Microsoft-using population is where the demand for "cracked" Photoshop and Windows XP registration keys etc. comes from -- those programs are just not available/applicable on Unix.

  • Terrorism is old and busted, and is nothing but a political tool and soundbite op.

    Those who respond, "tell that to the victims of 9-11", I submit that if all those people were here today they would be pretty fucking pissed at all the unconstitutional bullshit that has been done in their name.
    Agreed. If I died in any manner, and someone used my death to justify fucking up my country, I'd be pretty god damned pissed. (Well, moreso.) What are we doing about it?
  • Shouldn't that be the the other way around? The robots.txt file can use Follow, NoIndex to ask Google to go blind, while .htaccess can be used to block access.
    Correct. Basically, robots.txt is client-side, .htaccess is server-side.

    The latter is also far more powerful. robots.txt was created brain-dead.
  • Re:Google results? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 11, 2004 @04:23AM (#9395894)
    No, I think I'd rather have a successful waffler than a miserable failure who makes himself the laughing-stock of the world with his malapropisms. Give us a president that even the French can respect, and we'll see a lot less anti-Americanism...
  • Re:Mwahahah (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Osty (16825) on Friday June 11, 2004 @05:35AM (#9396118)

    It's not RMS's fault that the English language fails to distinguish between libre and gratis as meanings of the word "free."

    No, it's RMS's fault for mindlessly insisting that "Free" != "free" despite the shortcomings of the English language. Instead of picking a suitable adjective, or even using libre (which most English speakers will understand anyway, and not confuse with the gratis meaning of "free"), he insists on using the ambiguous term "Free", explaining that the capital 'F' makes all the difference (as if you can hear a capital letter).

  • Re:Mwahahah (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Artifakt (700173) on Friday June 11, 2004 @10:34AM (#9397498)
    Like I said, its an obviously false assumption that most viewers of a TV show can afford a particular product. The point was, if you treat it as true just for the sake of arguement, then the "average" consumer has a much higher income, and so the value of their time would be a lot more. (Say they earn 30$ an hour on average, their time is worth 50 cents/minute, so watching eight minutes of commercials to get a program works out to them thinking the program was worth about 4$, and by that rule, 8$ for a two hour movie ticket or 16 dollars for a CD they will listen to twice should be about right, and 16 dollars for a DVD they, and their spouse and two kids will watch three times becomes a real bargain.).
    I didn't mention whether anyone in the RIAA or MPAA is reasoning from this false assumption, but there is a quote I've seen from Jack Valetti, that reads (very approximately, from memory ). "Those little guys, they only make 100,000$ a year. That's not much to live on.", so it sounds like some industry people might be.

    The real reason the assumption is false is, when consumers estimate prices and values, they simply don't think of it like "I can't afford to buy one of those, so I'm freeloading on the system by watching the program this commercial pays for", so they think their income should be irrelevant to the company. Rather they think more in terms of "The company that advertised got its fair reward, whether it came from me or some other viewer" or "The company chose to advertise here - no one was pointing a gun at their head to make them do it. No one is pointing a gun at my head to make me watch." Then they decide that their income may be irrelevant to the advertiser, but it is still very relevant to themselves. Consumers don't haver much respect for an industry that doesn't want to admit that either of those last two quotes are valid, and less if some industry flack starts claiming the first quotes are true instead. If someone tells you that you are stealing just by getting up during the commercials and going to the bathroom, why should you believe them when they say you are stealing by downloading software or MP3s?
    The original point about free software stems from the same clash of viewpoints. The downloaders don't view it as free, because they paid something to an ISP to get on the net, and they are paying in time and effort to find content, sit there twiddleing their thumbs while it downloads, and to burn it to a blank CD they also paid for. Often they have bought video capture cards, memory, or faster systems to get access to broadband. What did anyone expect them to do with a cable modem except download more and faster to get their extra 30$ a month use out of it? That often looks like about the same value as they pay for other entertainment, and the fact that none of it goes to the content producer is "not their fault".

What this country needs is a dime that will buy a good five-cent bagel.

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