The Internet is not only for porn

Some stories hit you with the power of new media. This is one.

Members of the Web community review experiences for each other. It’s a shared hive-mind in which neurons fire messages back and forth.

Who’d stay or even have heard of Gassime’s Hotel Europa in Florence without the Web? Or of the Donna Rosa Ristorante in Montepertuso, also in Italy? Because netsurfers have enjoyed and recommend these venues, Web-savvy travellers make a point to go there.

It’s little things like these recommendations, bringing the obscure niches to a wider audience – which, not coincidentally, was what Netsurfer Digest was all about – that make the Web such a powerful public tool.

Bonus complaint of the day:

Is anybody else as ticked off as I am over Blogger’s new log-in process? Google has associated Blogger accounts with Google accounts, and now I have to log in with my Google address, then log in to Blogger’s new beta service, get rejected as a beta applicant, then go to my Blogger dashboard page. Am I missing something? Is there an easier way?

Interjection of a new era

Changes to the blogroll will have to wait. I’m in Cornwall, with friends, and I’ve hit a dull spot in the day. Fortunately, there’s a wireless network here and I brought my laptop. Just as fortunately, our friends believe using a family member’s first name as a WEP key is secure. Not that they wouldn’t have let me log on regardless, but there’s this additional frisson of delight brought on by my l33t haxx0r skillz.

On to the meat….

Until this year, the promise of Web computing had never really come to fruition as far as mundane desktop tasks go. Database access and file archiving were successes, as was whiteboard collaboration to a lesser degree, but until Google released Google Spreadsheets there had been no clear competitor for Microsoft Office apps. Google Spreadsheets lets you create and collaborate in spreadsheets, and I can’t say how good it is because Excel was and is a superb product, and one I use to the exclusion of all other spreadsheets.

Microsoft Word, however, has its bloat and security flaws, and Google has just produced Writely to compete with it. Will it fly? Who knows? But it’s worth playing with. I bet it doesn’t hide chunks of previous documents and private info like Microsoft Word docs can.

I have more nifty Web stuff to relate, but it’s home on my desktop. I’ll cover that next.

Cheap post

101squadron.com was down for a while today, from 5:00 to 16:48 Eastern Time according to my site visitor stats.

I keep tabs on my stats, and I’m shocked so many people read me. Netsurfer Digest at its peak had more than 110,000 readers, but a wide variety of folks found that little e-zine useful.

In addition to the ego massage, I also keep tabs on how people find me. I’m happy to report that the 101 blog ranks first at Google for “MLB statistics corrections” (take that CBS Sportsline!) and it’s also first for “donkey chasing pooping man”. Yeah! It’s holding tight at #3 for “early senility”, an old favourite. Even more perplexing is how 101 ranks seventh for “house spoilers”, which means spoilers about the series “House” and not a latest fad in ricer home furnishings.

The search for “house spoilers” is the top search of those that lead netsurfers to my little corner of the blogosphere, with an 8% share of all such searches. The next leading search in terms of referrals is “McFatridge 101”, due to a fan in the UK who found 101 with a search for McFatridge on August 15 and has since been reading just about everything I’ve written. Welcome, 88.110.51.242, hooo!

So much for that topic. Next, I will make some long overdue changes to the blogroll and discuss those. Stay tuned.