Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Best Gmail Error Message

You can't get a funnier error message than this:

Dear valued user,
You have reached the error page for the error page...
You win!!

Sometimes even the error pages can't be displayed and you need to come up with a plan B. Gmail's meta-error page is simple, yet effective: Google can't always win.

This reminds me of a similar error message from Google Reader: "Oops! That wasn't supposed to happen".

{ The first screenshot is licensed as Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial by Viofiddler. The second one is licensed as Creative Commons Attribution by Ashley Dryden. }

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Amazon Logo

It was only a matter of time before Amazon would decide to release a Content Delivery Network, and according to the company in an official statement released today, it has done just that.

Designed to complement its S3 storage service and EC2 web services, the CDN will be available later this year and will provide users with a high performance method of distributing content to end users. Amazon claims it will have low latency and high data transfer rates when users access the content and it will be specifically designed (in the beginning at least) for “developers and businesses who need to deliver popular, publicly readable content over HTTP connections.”

Although the CDN space is crowded with similar services from Akamai Technologies and Limelight Networks, Amazon thinks it knows how to be successful in the space. And one of the key components of its plan is to undercut others on price and make it much easier to buy CDN services.

According to Amazon, it will charge customers based on usage instead of the common practice of charging through long-term contracts, but it would not discuss pricing at this time.

Amazon getting into the CDN business seems like the ideal move for a company that’s trying to provide storage and on-demand computing services already. And considering its size makes it easier for it to adapt its business model to satisfy smaller businesses and those that are less likely to want to enter into long-term agreements, Amazon could quite easily push its competitors aside and cement itself as the leader in the market.

And with a video streaming and distribution service already in place, Amazon is quickly becoming a CDN for itself, so it may know a thing or two about providing a robust service to its customers when its CDN becomes available later this year.

Crunch Network: MobileCrunch Mobile Gadgets and Applications, Delivered Daily.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

How to Write Your Own IM Bot in Less Than 5 Minutes

Shared by Jeetu

This is nice! Worth a try. At last I can implement my Cricket-Scores-Bot without having to deal with a XMPP client :) Still need to scrape someone!

Write IM bot This quick tutorial will show you how to develop your own functional IM bot that works with Google Talk, Yahoo! Messenger, Windows Live and all other popular instant messaging clients.

To get started, all you need to know are some very basic programming skills (any language would do) and web space to host your “bot”.

For this example, I have created a dummy bot called “labnol” that listens to your IM messages and return related search phrases based on Google Suggest. To see this live, add to your GTalk buddy list and start chatting.


If you like to write a personal IM bot, just follow these simple steps:

Step 1: Go to and request an invite. You should also give your bot a decent name because you can have just one bot per email address.

Step 2. An email with a secret key should arrive in your Inbox the next minute. Copy that key to the clipboard and go here to redeem that key.

Step 3. Now it’s time to create a bot which is actually a simple script that resides on your public web server. It could be in PHP, Perl, Python or any other language. More here.

This is the source of the PHP script I wrote for the labnol IM bot - pretty self explanatory - it reads your message, gets the relevant data from Google Suggest and echoes it back to the IM window.

// Get all the related keywords from Google Suggest
$u = "";
$u = $u . "&q=" . $_REQUEST['msg'];

// Using the curl library since dreamhost doesn't allow fopen
$ch = curl_init();
curl_setopt($ch, CURLOPT_URL, $u);
curl_setopt($ch, CURLOPT_HEADER, 0);
curl_setopt($ch, CURLOPT_RETURNTRANSFER, 1);

$xml = simplexml_load_string(curl_exec($ch));

// Parse the keywords and echo them out to the IM window
$result = $xml->xpath('//@data');
while (list($key, $value) = each($result)) {
echo $value ."<br>";

Step 4: Once your script is ready, put it somewhere on your web server and copy the full URI to the clipboard.

web-url Now login to your imified account, paste the script URL and add that im bot your friends list. That’s it.

This was a very basic bot but the possibilities are endless.

For instance, you could write a bot that will send an email to all your close friends via a simple IM message. Or you could write one that will does currency conversion. See stuff that is already implemented in this list of most useful Google Talk bots.

How to Write Your Own IM Bot in Less Than 5 Minutes - Digital Inspiration

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Guys without girls

Guys without girls

April 19th, 2008 by Mike Love

In 2007, researchers at Aberdeen University’s Face Research Laboratory showed that women found the face of a man more attractive when the face of a woman was smiling at it. (NewScientist) Biologists have a term, “mate choice copying”, for similar behavior in birds.

I was looking at some photos of couples on FaceStat and wanted to run a quick and dirty version of this experiment, and including the other FaceStat variables. I photoshopped out the girl from guy/girl photos and reuploaded. The results followed the same trend as the Aberdeen study (although the Turkers are mixed gender). The strongest, most consistent difference for the photoshopped photo was in relationship status (more single, obviously) and in attractiveness (25% of people found them less attractive). Some examples:



Some details and other results:

The guy’s face was clearly identified in the couple photo. I know this because 100% of Turkers classified the person in the couple photo as male.

The single guys were also consistently identified as more conservative and heavier.


Saturday, September 6, 2008

Comic for September 6, 2008

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

936 Little Blobs


That last line is directed solely at my own damn self.