I’m not sure if you noticed, but there were fewer technical posts on this blog lately. The reason for this is that I am now also blogging at Config Fun. That’s a purely technical blog, and it’s even more specialized than that. The blog is for system administrators. It is also maintained by system administrators – there are currently three of us, including my brother.
The good thing, except being very specialized, I think is that all three of us (authors) are specialized in different areas of system administration. We have a Windows guy, a Linux guy, and a guy who can bring Linux and Windows together (we all can, but he’s the best at it). I hope we’ll have a few more authors joining in. Somebody from networks and security could be helpful. Maybe somebody from the Mac world too. And we could have some girls on the teem too.
With technical stuff moving out of my personal blog, I hope it will become once again a place about me, myself, and I. Oh, and all that cool stuff around me, minus the technology. Now, back to the modest mode…
This post is a follow-up to the one published recently, about age and web technology.
Google Blogoscoped has a piece, complete with an interview, about the search engine for kids. I do love the idea of a kids friendly search engine, but I’m not sure either Google or Quintura nailed it out just yet.
I think there are a few issues at hand.
First of all, the term “kids” is way too generic. Kids are well-known for their fast developments. Two kids of the same age can vary a lot in their interests and developments. Kids of different age are further apart from each other. If typing search queries in might be a problem for some, because of too many typing mistakes, it can be a showstopper for other kids, who don’t even know how to type yet. So, the search engine “for kids” is just a tiny bit better than any other generic search engine. Search engine for kids should be, I think, more specialized. Like “search engine for girls of 4 years old, who …”, etc.
Secondly, most search engines require a user to know what he wants. The user is forced to define his wishes and needs via search queries. But my rather limited experience with kids tells me that knowing what to look for is not always the keys. They just react. If my son, for example, is shown a picture of a dog and a picture of a cat, he’ll click on the cat. And he’ll continue clicking through for some time, enjoying and studying pictures. But he is not capable as of now to define his wish to find more pictures of cats. So, I don’t think a search engine is something on a “hot list” for many kids.
Thirdly, I think that the problems of generations that exist in the real life, are easily transferable to the digital world. The thing is that most adults have no idea what kids really want and like. Boys like cars, girls like dolls, blah blah blah. But try spending some time with your kid at the toy store. It’ll take you about five minutes to understand how different your understanding of what your kids wants and likes, from the real life. The same is with search engines for kids – adults design and develop them, and adults are about the worst kind of people to do it properly.
What do you think?
I thought I’d give you something to scroll through until I write my next proper post – The Devil’s Dictionary (2.0). There are quite a few excellent definitions from the world of modern technology. My favourite is the definition of XML:
A magic elixir of legend, claiming to solve all problems while inevitably exacting an ironic cost.
â€œOnce we drink the XML and take care of a few minor things â€” parser, DTD, entification, well-formed-ness, validation, namespaces, I18N, XSL transformations, schemas â€” all will be peaceful in the kingdom!â€
Qatar is a country I know nothing about. And whenever I hear the name of a country that I know nothing about, the first thing I want to know is if they have Internet connectivity over there. It appears, that I should have be more careful with my Internet criteria evaluation – via via TechCrunch:
Qatar has a single ISP, Qtel, with a single IP address shared by the entire country.
So, the fact that there is Internet connectivity today does not necessarily imply that there will be Internet connectivity tomorrow…
If you thought that web is only for young and technically gifted people, then think again. 78 year old Flickr user comments on the photograph posted by another 70 year old user.
Update: In some unrelated news I came across Cranky – a search engine optimized for older (50+) web users. I’m too young to judge it yet.