Google experiment: shorten your name

While scrolling through Matt’s conference notes, I’ve stopped for a second at his name and contact information slide. Two slides actually. The first one has the name “Matt Mullenweg” and a picture of him a few years back (either that, or a totally strange other boy). The second one has the URL to his website – and a quick tip on how to find it – Google “matt“.

Now it’s that last bit that caught my attention. I saw it before, but never thought about how nice it is. Google for “matt” is much easier to remember than “” or “Matt Mullenweg”. Isn’t it?

Well, it would be nice if it was so simple and effective for everyone. But it’s not.

My blog used to come up within the first ten or so results when Googling for “Leonid”. But nto anymore, and righteously so – there are more important Leonids. Like “Leonid Brezhnev” and “Leonid meteor shower“.

My surname though is pretty unique. If you Google for “mamchenkov”, you get exactly what you should. But the problem is that noone can remember “mamchenkov”. And half of those who can, can’t type it in correctly.

So, I tried to find a shorter way of looking myself up. The experiment with chopping some letters off my surname didn’t work out:

  • mamchenkov – ideal, but nobody can remember this.
  • mamchenko – nobody can remember this, and it doesn’t work anyway.
  • mamchenk – only 3 results, but all of them are related to me. Nothing direct though.
  • mamchen – nothing for me, but a bunch of results overall. One of them is this funny doll.
  • mamche – chance. is a popular classifieds portal in Bulgaria.
  • mamch – nothing for me, loads of international stuff, and a suggestion to search for “match” instead.
  • mamc – these four letters have less to do with my surname than I thought.
  • mam – to say the least, this is a very popular abbreviation.
  • ma – 1,560,000,000 results. My life is too short to page forward to see if I am 1,560,000,000 or 1,559,999,999…
  • m – this is the title of the movie, that has been building up its Google rating since 1931. Obviously, I’m not in it.

Mkay… so much for the surname.

I’ve played some more with Google results, and the shortest string that people can actually remember, seems to be “Leonid Cyprus” (“Leonid in Cyprus” works the same way). This one is OK for now, but I’ll have to work on something better.

What’s the easiest way to find your website?

On the other side of earbuds

The other night I was walking down the Molos promenade, listening to The Raven ‘n’ the Blues podcast. The show mp3 played on my mobile, which was hidden deep down in the pocket, and I was getting the sound via a pair of earbuds.

I was walking, minding my own business, when someone came up to me and asked what was the time. I had to “unplug” myself first, to hear the question again.

Later, when I continued my way, I started thinking about the evolution of the earbuds…

These days, if you see someone with earbuds, you can be almost sure that there is some mp3-enabled device on the other side. It might be a mobile phone, a standalone mp3 player, or some such.

About five-six-seven years ago, mp3 players weren’t as popular as they are now. And CD players were in wider user than they are now (I don’t know this for sure though, I’m just assuming). So, if back then you saw someone with earbuds, you won’t be able to tell if there is an mp3 player in the pocket, or a CD player.

Go further back in time, and there is a cassette player now. Also with earbuds. Is it a cassette player or a CD player? You don’t know.

If you reverse few years more, you won’t have any mobile device with earbuds (or am I too young to remember?). So, if you walke down the street with earbuds plugged in, say, 30 years ago – nobody would know, what’s that hanging out of your ears.

New user interface for Google Reader

Don’t you just love competition?

Today I wrote about a few user interface improvements for Bloglines, and now I have to write this post about Google Reader’s completely new user interface. I went to check it out, and you know what – not only I liked it, but I found it difficult to “disconnect”. I wanted to just try this and that for a few minutes, but I am still there two hours later. And I hate to leave to blog about it…

So, I’ll make it short. Just go and check it out for yourself. Export your subscriptions as OPML from your current feed reader and import them to Google Reader. See if you like it as much as I do.

Sweet Bloglines UI changes

I’ve noticed that there was something different about my Bloglines feeds today. Somehow they looked as good as always, but a little bit better. I rushed towards the Bloglines news feed, and indeed, there was an update to the user interface.

  • We no longer update the entire left pane when the unread or “kept as new” co unts change. Now the counts update in place with a fading yellow indicator. The result is a f aster, more pleasant way to cruise through your feeds, especially for those quick on the hotkeys.
  • We’ve decreased the time between automatic updates to your unread counts so you don’t have to press the “r” hotkey quite so often.

Thank you guys! Now I’m loving yet even more.

Daily bookmarks

Shared bookmarks for user tvset on 2006-09-28