My favorite travel site doesn’t have a database filled with thousands of hotels or cruises or flights. My favorite travel site doesn’t use words like “amenities,” and it doesn’t change prices on me depending upon the time of day, day of week, week of month, or month of year.
There’s no fancy content management system, live support chat, keyword stuffing of page titles or headings or content, and the word “cheap” doesn’t appear in that title the way that it does in most of the pages that you’ll see if you search for “travel” in one of the major search engines.
The word “sale” doesn’t show up once on my favorite travel site, and I’m not bombarded with information about how much of a percentage I’ll save on my journeys. There’s no inexplicable lawn gnome, or standard stock image of an operator with a headset, or Canadian celebrity, or “top deals” or “packages” on its pages.
If you visit my favorite travel site, you may find yourself imagining that you can smell the salt air wafting through your windows. You may find yourself hearing people enjoying shops and cafes and life, echoing through roads empty of cars, filled with laughter and joy much like they were centuries ago. You may not feel like a tourist at all.
A local environmental group in my area does a wonderful job of showing off information about upcoming events. Their calendar of “events to come” include things like an Annual Land Trust Conference, a local food forum addressing initiatives to get people to buy food locally to benefit the region economically and environmentally, an educational program about sharing the area with bears, and many others.
The announcements provide details about what will be covered at these conferences and gatherings, and for some of the larger events, information on how to become a sponsor, how to register, as well as information about travel and dining and accomodations.
Once the date of an event has come and gone, pages about it disappear from the site completely, as if it never happened.
I’m in a testing mood tonight, and put together a list of tests that you can run your blog or web site through if you feel up to learning more about your pages…
1. See what grade level your blog is at with a Readability Test. (The original link has been replaced with a more informative one. The older one kept on becoming unavailable, and there were some issues involving possible web spam associated with it.)
2. Find out if the Gender Genie can predict the gender of your blog’s author.
3. Gauge how well the HTML or XHTML of your blog validates with the W3C Markup Validation Service.
Websites, like people, have personalities. They can’t help it, they just do. I’ve looked at a lot of websites over the past few years, and sometimes wondered about the personalities of the sites that I’ve seen.
If you take a close look at a website, can you describe its personality?
Does it attempt to evoke emotions in visitors or persuade them with facts?
Is it cold or warm and welcoming?
Does it use humor or fear or anger when communicating with visitors?
Back on July 4th, I wrote about Intel’s Mash Maker, which was featured in a paper presented at SIGMOD’07 in June, and was coming out in a private beta release in July.
Robert Ennal, one of the paper’s authors was kind enough to send me an email letting me know that people can now sign up to try out Mash Maker in a technology Preview Release (Thanks, Robert). I’ve signed up, and if you want to try it out, you can submit your email address on the Intel Mash Maker site.
How does Mash Maker work?
Intel® Mash Maker is an extension to your existing web browser that allows you to easily augment the page that you are currently browsing with information from other websites. As you browse the web, the Mash Maker toolbar suggests Mashups that it can apply to the current page in order to make it more useful for you. For example: plot all items on a map, or display the leg room for all flights.
Imagine being able to quickly and easily be able to take information from sites like Google Maps, eBay, Craig’s List, Digg, and others, and join it together in meaningful ways – such as the many different mashups displayed on Programmable Web.
The difficult with creating many of those mashups is that they require some knowledge and programming skills. What if it were easier?
One of the papers published for presentation at SIGMOD’07 in June, was MashMaker: Mashups for the Masses (pdf). The paper was prepared by Rob Ennals of Intel and Minos Garofalakis of Yahoo Research, and presents a tool that makes it easy to create mashups from many sources.
Mashmaker aims at enabling nonexperts to make widgets that combine data from different sites. The paper shows off the interface of Mashmaker, and describes how it works. According to a vnunet.com article, Intel makes mash-ups for the masses, a demo of the program was shown last month, and a closed beta will be released this month to allow people to test and try out the tool.
Will the future of HTML (HTML 5 or Web Applications 1.0) include a video tag? Maybe. Imagine if you can just surround a link to a video file with a couple of video tags?
A new Google Tech Talk discusses the introduction of a video element (video). Hakon Wium Lee, the CTO of Opera, gives a presentation on how this might work. He is introduced by Ian Hickson, who works in the open source program office at Google.
The presentation provides a little history about the Web, including a look at the buildings and room where the Web was born at CERN, and an announcement that Opera has released an experimental brower that uses this element.
Opera has browsers for desktop computers, for mobile computers, and for devices. One of those devices is the Wii. According to Hakon Wium Lee, the numbers of people usiing Opera on the Wii may eclipse some other uses of Opera. They are noticing that people who use the browser on the Wii often use it to go to YouTube and other video sites.
After posting at Search Engine Land on a new patent application from Google, I decided to keep things simple over here tonight, and go back to basics.
I couldn’t think of anything more basic that to ask why someone might want to have a web site to begin with. Here are ten reasons that I came up with:
1. Because there’s not enough room on a business card.
2. Stands in for you to your customers/clients/friends/associates when you’re asleep/eating dinner/spending time with friends and family/doing other stuff.
3. Can answer the same questions for you over and over and over.