Recently in Web 2.0 Category

Move over BAFTA, its the Worst Domain Name Awards

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Domain name registrar Names.co.uk has announced a nationwide search. It hopes to uncover the Worst Domain Names registered on the web by businesses and it has already discovered a handful that you'll find below. 

Downtime, back when we were innocent, fell for this trick once at school. We saw no problem when being told by friends to visit a website called "Pen Island". It was only when you see the full URL that you realise what you've just typed...www.penisland.net. Amazingly a company specialising in personalised pens has snapped this domain name up. 

Never one to find bodily functions mildly amusing, being upper class and what not, Downtime didn't find this next one remotely funny. 

Graphic designers Speed of Art have opted for the regrettable www.speedofart.com. Is it just us or does that conjure up images of a middle-aged man in tight swim trunks breaking wind? 

Finally, a host meeting service, which has now been acquired by Salesforce, seemed to have decided that the best way to get noticed in the current climate was buy a web name that accurately describes those real-life cartoon characters Jedward. Even going so far as to use the same descriptive word for each twin with its domain choice of www.dimdim.com. 

Names.co.uk isn't doing this all on its own, you can get involved, discussing, sharing and voting on its Facebook page

All this has left Downtime thinking, we might start our own search. Now we just need to think of something worthwhile looking for. Treasure perhaps. 

They don't make 'em like they used to

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While the digital age may be a forward-looking one, Downtime is glad of the connections to the past captured in the various formats of Web 2.0. For example, this backwards glance - the 50 worst album covers of all time - bears witness to trends of yesteryear which, without record, would beggar belief were they mooted today. 

Downtime is a big fan of music hall burlesque, so it was gratifying to discover, with the very first search, a YouTube recording of Faye Richmonde's eponymous track of the album, "My Pussy Belongs To Daddy". From there it was but a single click to La Richmonde's follow-up masterpiece of single entendre, "Sadie's Still Got The Rag On".

It is comforting to know the mugshots of artistes Ken, Joyce (surely Tootsie?) and Devastatin' Dave (the turntable slave), have been digitally rendered on servers across the globe for posterity. 

Indeed, Downtime intends to trawl YouTube and the like for more of this stuff, so was very grateful for the government's U-turn on plans to spy on internet users' online activity before tapping in searches for the likes of "She Sits Among The Cabbages And Peas"

MC Hammer - It's deep search time

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The former parachute pant-wearing rapper has unveiled WireDoo, his new search engine, which focuses on deep searches and relational topics. 

At the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco, MC Hammer explained that whilst other search engines work using links and keywords, they aren't too hot on connecting keywords to related topics. 

WireDoo, with it's tagline of "Search once and see what's related", is all "about relationships beyond just the keywords," according to Hammer.  

A Google search does take into account keyword relationships, but, following two years of designing, Hammer is certain WireDoo will prove to be more useful as it focuses on relational searches, bringing up related topics and concerns. 

The question is, can it take on Google, or will it just disappear?

And no, we can't touch this. Well at least not at the moment because it's still in beta. See

The value of pure cheek? Priceless. (Well, $192,500, to be precise)

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There are not many proper URLs left to buy these days - hence the number of start-up firms with obscure-sounding names including lots of "Z" and "X". But one enterprising domain name owner has taken cheek - and his sales technique - to a new level.

Having registered www.ebay.net.in, someone in Trinidad and Tobago who goes by the name of "greatpackage23" is offering the eBay URL for sale... on eBay.

According to the eBay sales page, you can buy the URL outright for a bargain $192,500 if you don't want to risk losing out in the auction. The seller claims that price is a steal because, "You can use this domain to create a Million Dollar Business for yourself", pointing out that as an added bonus for prospective owners, "Ebay is also extermely easy to remember. Who could possibly misspell or forget this word as opposed to say...yxkt  or qlwz."

Downtime expects a rush to buy www.yxkt.com and www.qlwz.co.uk any day now.

 

 

 

It's for you, Dad

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BT's former chief scientist JP Rangaswami has three teenage children, he told delegates at the annual Intellect Regent conference last week. So one night he gets home, opens the front door and hears the home phone ringing. It continues to ring.

"Why doesn't someone answer that phone," he grouses.

"We know it's not for us, Dad," comes the reply.

Even though the population is ageing, the landline phone is only an occasionally useful tool rather than something kids would prefer to have genetically engineered onto an ear. If it weren't for iPlayer, Downtime would be shorting BT shares.

Not even the Queen is immune from IT budget cuts

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According to the latest report on Royal spending from the Keeper of the Privy Purse, the Queen's IT budget was slashed by 50% last year, down from £400,000 in 2008 to £200,000 last year.

Apparently one of last year's IT priorities was the implementation of "a system to enable the real time back-up of all data to the Household's Business Continuity site".

Where does one keep one's backup site, Downtime wonders? In the east wing of the Palace? Perhaps the servant's quarters in remote Balmoral?

Other IT details contained in the Royal household's latest annual report reveal the connected nature of today's Royal family.

"Buckingham Palace is linked to other Royal palaces via private wires and fibre optic links and during the year additional links and software upgrades were implemented for resilience and a full disaster recovery test was carried out," says the report.

And not to be left out of the latest trends, QE2 has gone QE2.0:

"The Monarchy website and web presence has been continually developed since the relaunch of www.royal.gov.uk in February 2009 to keep up with new media trends and technological advances," says the report.

"The website attracts up to 300,000 visitors a week at peak times. Social Media is becoming an increasingly important medium for disseminating assets and information about the work of the Royal Family. In June 2009 a British Monarchy Twitter account was launched which now has over 40,000 followers."

And it looks like a busy year ahead for the Queen's IT team, whose priorities in 2010 will include "looking at various business processes within the Household with the aim of automating as much as possible and ensuring that these processes can cope with the increased workloads expected in association with the Diamond Jubilee in 2012."

Downtime is sure that one's IT manager is in for a busy, if budget-restricted, year ahead.

Heard from your Twettle lately?

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Twitter seems to the stalking ground of all sorts these days, including non-humans. Apart from the band of twittering celebrities, this includes a growing number of devices empowered to send tweets.

The latest is a line of kettles devised by two inventors from the UK. Ben Perman and Murat Multu claim manufacturers are queuing up to produce their Twettle, a kettle that sends a tweet when it has boiled.

They say the idea was born out of a quest to find a useful function for Twitter. Downtime is all for that idea, but it remains to be seen whether Twitter user demand for the Twettle will meet expectations.

On second thoughts, Perman and Multu have probably come up with a winning product. Anyone addicted to sending out a constant stream of 140-character messages and living in the UK is bound to want one of these.

Print advertising is the future - Google says so

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Imagine if you can, for a moment, that you are Google.

You have revolutionised the advertising industry. Billions of marketing dollars now flow your way. Traditional outlets for ads, such as newspapers and magazines, are facing disaster and many have already shut down. You are under fire from media titans such as Rupert Murdoch, fearful of their own dead tree empires collapsing. Meanwhile, you are also trying to revolutionise another industry - the Microsoft one - and your latest focus is the shiny new Chrome browser with which you hope to lure internet-savvy punters away from their reliance on Internet Explorer and, ultimately, Windows.

How do you choose to inform the wider web using population about your new product? Pop-up ads on Google's web site? Those carefully selected, oh-so-lucrative text ads alongside search results?

No. You choose... a newspaper advert. For today, Google, the scion of the print-free web future, bought a false front cover, wraparound advert in the free Metro newspaper to tell everyone why they should use the Chrome browser. Well, at least it chose a free paper and not one of Murdoch's.

Downtime is printing off several thousand copies of this blog post at this very moment to send to all our readers.  

If MPs published their expenses on Twitter...

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Hats off to @rogeroldham for his Twitter take on the online publication of MPs' expenses! (And it's the first sight gag I've seen on Twitter...)

Wolfram Alpha calculates the Satan formula

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Wolfram Alpha, the world's latest search engine, uses clever maths to tell you things you don't already know. In the name of research, Downtime asked Wolfram Alpha about Satan. Apparently Satan can be represented by a mathematical formula.

 

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