via Million Short – What haven’t you found?

This is a search engine that lets you  dig deeper into the search results.  It lets you exclude the top 100 to 1 million most popular search results, getting you into the deep meat of the web.  The Wikipedia page on Million Short is also of interest.

I really like this!  Note, they seem to be using their own crawler, this could get even more interesting in the future.

Source: by Hope Thanks!

 

This was also posted to
/en/search-engines.

 

I’ve built a lot of different niche web directories over the years.  Frankly there are some that I have forgotten about.  But here are some highlights.

Planet Doom – 2001 – 2005 this was my first directory/portal.  I learned a lot operating it and it had quite a lot of traffic.  At the time, Google was pretty poor at delivering results for niche searches so they would often put niche directory categories in their SERPs.  In effect they would “hand off” the search to the specialists.  As Google got better at it they moved away from featuring niche directories in the results.  Template – custom. Logo – custom both by Lynne Scott.

I went with Scifi/Fantasy/Horror in order to make myself a little different from most of my competition who were doing just Scifi and Fantasy.  Doing all three never was a good fit.

This is the directory that got carpet bombed by Google after my host, Searchking.com, sued Google.

Scifimatter.com – 2003 – 2012  Once it became clear that Google would never send traffic to Planet Doom (above) ever again, I took the backup database from Planet Doom, discarded the Horror listings and created Scifimatter.  The earliest version used a free version of the Gossamer Threads script which had a flat file database.  Later versions (pictured) used WSNLinks, if I remember right.  At various times this directory offered webring hosting and banner exchanges for webmasters.  By about 2008 it became clear that directories had had their day.  I stubbornly hung on to this neglected site until 2012 when I finally pulled the plug.  This was my favorite.  Template – off the shelf.

Shadowdark.org – This was a catchall domain.  From it I ran lots of different perl and php scripts on subdomains to save some hosting fees.  The sites were of all sorts of genres.  Three directories stand out and are listed below.

Planet Doom II –  experimenting, I revived the Planet Doom name as a Horror, Dark Fantasy and Scifi Monster Directory.  I used the free version of Fluid Dynamics Search Engine which worked pretty good for search but was hard to administer. The categories are fake, if you hover over a category you see it triggers a search engine search.  It did okay but was never super popular.  Ironically, today, using a site search engine script, something like this might make a better niche directory than a directory script.  PD II might have been ahead of it’s time.  Template – off the shelf.

The Ring Codex – I rushed this out to take advantage of all the hype about Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings movies which were forthcoming with fevered anticipation.  I used a free version of the Gossamer Threads perl script.  Codex had a lot of people using it.  I should have spent more effort on promotion and building the index.  The script had no captcha protection on the Add URL form so it eventually attracted automated spam submissions.  I think at one point I was manually deleting, one at a time, 200 spam submissions a day, with very few legit submissions.  Rather than spend money on upgrades, I closed it down.  Template – off the shelf.

Spy Fiction Guide – I was getting burned out on SF/F/H,  but espionage fiction had always been a favorite genre of mine.  With the fall of the Berlin Wall and eventual collapse of the USSR the spy genre seemed to be dying out. So this was sort of a labor of love on my part to keep the genre alive.  It was never wildly popular but I had fun.

The index of most of these were built by me using a dial-up internet connection which was a very time consuming process.  Niche directories were at their best when people were still building serious websites on Geocities, Tripod, Angelfire and the other free web hosts.

If you have read this far, I thank you.  This post was an itch I had to get out of my system.

 

This was also posted to
/en/linking.

Like: Leaving Apple & Google: /e/ first beta is here! – Hacker Noon

I just reread the above article for the second time, this time more carefully.  Then I went back and read the older posts about this project that are linked to in the article, and I strongly suggest you read all of them too.

I think this is on the right track.

  1. /e/ is a fork of Android, already well established in mobile.
  2. They are including making their own private cloud services (mail, calendar, storage, maps, notes, etc.)  This is key, because they recognize that it does little good to make a secure OS and hardware if all the services you use are still tracking you.  That is not private.  By providing these services they can make a more seamless, one login, operation that mainstream users are accustomed too.  With cloud services it also makes you data available on your PC and other devices.
  3. They are developing their own app  store/repository (like Play) so that there will be a lot of free apps available.  I have a caution here: I expect Google will quietly maneuver to pressure Android app designers to make their apps exclusive on Google’s Play store and freeze out /e/.  But even so, there will likely be a lot of apps available.
  4. I have learned by my own experience, that for many things you don’t really need a smartphone app: I actually prefer Facebook and Twitter on my phone browser better than the apps.  Less chance to spy on you if you are not using the app.  But this makes the choice of default browser a key decision – it had better be good.
  5. They are making progress at a much faster pace than I anticipated. This is very good news.
  6. They fully intend to find an OEM, manufacture and sell new phones with this /e/ OS fully installed.  This is vital for mainstream adoption.

How does this compare to the efforts of the Linux camp for the Librem 5?

I like the Librem 5 approach to hardware.  I like Linux being adapted to smartphones.  There are two weaknesses that the Librem does not address:

  • Those cloud services we have been talking about.  You can have the most secure phone in the world but if you are still using Gmail, Calendar, Dropbox and Yahoo, than your data can be scanned and your privacy is compromised.
  • Very few apps.  The Librem will ship with bare bones apps (browser, email, messaging, calendar, notes).  You will be dependent on the browser for web apps.  Unless the Linux community jumps in and starts developing Linux phone apps quickly this will hinder mainstream adoption.  This could make or break the Librem.

That said, I want both the Librem 5 and /e/ to succeed.  Linux needs to get off their ass and get into the mobile OS market, plus, it would be great to have 2 choices in privacy smartphones. Friendly competition is good.

Source: Excursions.

This was also posted to
/en/privacy.

I got an email from my auto insurance agent, saying I can get a discount by letting the insurance company put a GPS tracker in my car for 90 days, and based on the results I might qualify for even more discounts.

As someone who strongly objects to all the tracking Facebook, Twitter, Google and every man and his dog do with my phone, I think I will turn her down.  I didn’t even have to think about it.

It just seems to me corporations want to know too much about us.  That needs to change.

Also I need to ditch this Android phone.

Like: NewsNow.co.uk > The UK’s #1 news portal

Don’t let the “UK” in the tag line fool you, while the UK is covered in the most depth the US and the rest of the world are also covered in massive detail along with subject and industry sectors.  Every 5 minutes, 365 days a year, 24/7 the Newsnow.co.uk  news aggregator relentlessly updates thousands of topics for the latest breaking news.  So if you want the latest commentary on Apple news, Android smartphones or crucial, breathless, breaking, Kardashian  butt-lift news you can find it all here.

This is the “Big Fire Hose” of RSS news feeds, but unlike Twitter NewsNow is organized, directory like, by subject so you can get news not only about smartphones but Nokia smartphones at that.  You can also search the index.  This is an awesome demonstration of the power of RSS.

Fair Warning: major rabbit hole here.

via Epic Privacy Browser, a secure chromium-based web browser that protects your privacy and browsing history | a free VPN privacy browser

With Epic you are always in Private Browsing mode.  No history and it blocks tracking cookies.  The big thing that makes it different from other browsers with private browsing is that it has a free VPN so your ISP can’t track your browsing.  I like that.

I wouldn’t make it my daily browser because I like having history and login details, but if I was traveling or on an open wifi network I’d use Epic.

We are down to just two operating systems for mobile phones (tablets too) Android and iOS.

Android is controlled by Google, no OEM phone maker that wants to do business globally will defy Google and try and fork it.  Android and a lot of the most popular apps tells Google everything it can about you and your every move.  In otherwords it leaks your privacy out like a sieve.

iOS is proprietary from Apple.  It’s a walled garden.  You do it Apple’s way or STFU.  It is probably more private than Android.  And it works.

That’s it. No other choices.

Long term the only other chances for a mobile OS come from Linux and here are the ones I’m aware of.

Sailfish – spun off from Nokia’s flirtation with Linux, this one does not seem to be gaining traction.  And it seems like the US is always being left out of release plans.  No OEM has adopted it. You can download it and try and install it on a couple of old model compatible phones.

KDE Plasma Mobile – it’s hard to tell how far along this Linux based OS is.  The screen shots are nice. (See notes for Librem 5 below.)

UBports Ubuntu Touch – This community effort seems to be making big strides.  When Ubuntu gave up on Ubuntu Mobile they turned it over to a volunteer community UBports who have been working away ever since.  It comes with a couple hundred apps and web apps, plus anything that the browser can handle.  If I were a phone OEM, I’d have my eye on this.  You can download this now and install it on several old model phones.  Some have an installation wizard.  (See notes for Librem 5 below.)

Puri.sm Librem 5 – this is actually a real phone hardware not just an OS.  The OS is Linux adapted to mobile.  The last I heard, the plan is that the Librem 5 will come with Purism’s mobile OS installed by default, but it will be fully compatible with UBports Touch and Plasma Mobile.  No word on how easy it will be to install any one of these.  Launch has been delayed from January 2019 to April 2019.  I’m hoping this is the point of the spear and proves very successful so that other OEM’s become interested in Linux phones.

Linux needs to get into mobile where all the growth is.  It can’t just stay on the desktop.  There may be others but these seem to be the furthest along.

Let me define this: Independent means not controlled by corporate or political masters. Unbiased means they don’t take sides with either the Right or the Left but state the facts.

I’m asking YOU. Whoever is reading this: What are the good, independent, unbiased, news sources?  I realized today I’m not sure anymore so I thought I would step outside my own little bubble and ask.  These could be any kind of news: news news, tech news, political news, international news, weird news, etc.  These can be big sites or news blogs. Who should I be paying attention too?

Feel free to use the comments below.