Close calls and unseen influences

Well my first week is coming to a close and I have a few notes:

  1. A few days ago I was searching (via Yahoo) to try to figure out if IBM’s “Big Blue” nickname came from the System/360 era. Wikipedia said there were a few theories for why Big Blue became Big Blue, but I wanted to know more.  One of the search results was on this topic directly; but it was only when I clicked on it that I saw it went to “Google Answers.” AAaaaggghhhh!!!  back! back!  After that I was spooked and stopped looking for an answer (it was mostly irrelevant anyway).
  2. Speaking of Yahoo search, it is amazing to me how different the search results are when I don’t use google.  If you are an academic, you will understand this analogy: Google is just like that guy who always cites all of his own previous pubs, but never cites those of his supposed rivals, even if those papers are directly on point.
  3. I only realized this morning that I have 2 google news searches that return a list of stories on any given topic – one is the name of my favorite Italian soccer team (FORZA JUVE!!!!) and the second is the full name of my friend who won a reality show a couple of years ago and continues to do amazing charity work with his group Grassroot Soccer. So I guess I will need to find other ways to aggregate news.
  4. Otherwise, that’s about it.  It occured to me that I might find some compadres if I looked around a bit, say in the anti-M$ and pro-Linux community.  Those guys tend to be a little on the rabid side, though.
  5. On the language front, I don’t think I’ve used “google” as a verb all week, although I have noticed very keenly when others have (which is less often that I would have suspected – only 3 times by my count).
  6. Again on the indirect front, I haven’t decided if reading blogs hosted by blogger is “against the rules” or not.  To comment one needs to sign in with google ID; but to read, I don’t believe one would.  This gets to a more academic question – how can we discern the limits of influence?  It also gets to an activist question about how we choose the points where we make a stand.  But, as I have said, I am more interested in the academic questions, at least for the time being.

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