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Friday, January 7, 2005

Ladies and Gentlemen of the Category of ’99

Wear sunscreen” by Maria Schmich originally appeared in the Chicago Tribune, then made it around the world in a song by Baz Luhrman – and now, for the first time, has been translated to German and back using Google’s translation service, and is read to you by me [MP3].

Cats and Toasts

You heard of Murphy’s law, and how a tumbling toast will always fall butter side down. Now German “scientists” merged this experiment with another law: cats always fall on their feets. What happens to the powers of the toast once it’s attached to the cat, butter side up? Page one and two should be self-explanatory even if you don’t understand the text. The shattering result? The cat landed straight on its paws, Murphy’s toast completely missing its desired effect.

CSS Flow

Did you know you can make text flow around the curves of an image next to it? This sample page and tutorial uses invisible “sandbag” divs, but it’s somewhat difficult to understand (the second page doesn’t help too much either, and the third is missing).

Here’s a nice example of a page using slices instead to achieve the same effect. Different images show on reload.

MSN Search Thumbnails

Tony Ruscoe in the forum points to this particular MSN search, which returns thumbnail results.

Update: Apparently, this is old news. Tim says, “MSN has had this preview feature for quite a long time, it has just been buried on their site. I found an article on SEW from August 5th 2002 announcing this."

More AdSense Weirdness

Rich Hodge found yet another dubious Google ad (note the middle image is put up by an eBay affiliate, not eBay itself):

[Dead Pets]

Update: You can also search on Dead People to trigger these ads. (I can’t see any of them, so I suppose it works from the US only.)

Art Painter

Here’s an Art Painter tool. (Click on “Click Here” to agree to the ToS.) [Via Highcoder.]

Visual Thesaurus

This Visual Thesaurus looks neat, but only worked in IE for me (it also needs Java). Just enter your query in the upper left box and click the button to open a network of words circled around your entry.

Common Passwords

Is your favorite password in this list of common passwords?

Encyclopedia Finished, Synonyms Started

The Google-based encyclopedia has finished building its full dictionary. In the meantime, I’ve also started to automatically add synonyms from’s Thesaurus.

Microsoft Windows AntiSpyware

Download and run Microsoft’s new Windows AntiSpyware Beta program to get rid of PC infections. (And if you’re using Internet Explorer, switch to Firefox.)

First Website

According to Tim Berners-Lee, this is a copy of the first web page ever. (The original URL,, ceased to exist a long time ago.)

Finding Random Names

“One of my sources for contemporary character names has been – for a long time – Google Groups (Deja news way back when). I’d search the groups with some crazy topic and look for good combinations of names among the people posting messages (always combining different first names and last names).”
– Chris Howard, Character Naming Ideas, January 06, 2005

Also see: the Random Ego-Googler (which you can refresh to get new names, and their result in Google).

Girl Googles Alter Ego

“I am a 10-year-old girl who has been playing after school on a Web site for pet lovers. I like to talk to kids older than me – 14- or- 15-year-olds. A lot of the boys I’ve talked to have asked for my picture, so I went to Google and found a picture of a pretty blond girl around 15 years old. I have been sending this picture to all the people who have asked me for one.

My mom looked into my e-mail and saw what I had done. Now she won’t allow me on that site or to send pictures, either my own or a stranger’s, to anyone.”
– Abigail Van Buren, Girl’s Internet picture prank is no laughing matter, Jan. 07, 2005

Howard Stern on Google

Howard Stern: I was watching 60 Minutes, they did like a infomercial for Google, I mean it was the most incredible –
Robin: I know. I wanna go work for them now.
Howard: It was the most incredible report on Google. Like, Google stock is through the roof, and, you know, I’m watching the thing, and they’re talking about how cool it is to work for Google, like you know it looked pretty cool. They make you these gourmet meals every day, so you won’t leave Google, you know, and you won’t go take a lunch break –
Robin: You don’t have traditional offices –
Howard: – it’s cool –
Robin: – They have a couch, and you don’t have to wear traditional business clothes –
Howard: And nobody busts anyone’s balls. You know, you could be on your computer all day screwing around, cause screwing around leads to good ideas.
Artie: Like our work atmosphere.
Howard: Yeah. So, watching this thing, and they’re talk about how a whole bunch of these people work for Google, and become multi-millionaires, you know, like some of them are worth like 40-50 million bucks; the two guys who run the place, who started it up are each worth six billion dollars cause the stock’s valued so high, and I’m watching this thing but they go, the catch is, all the people at Google like to pretend that they’re still poor.”

Read the full transcript at InsideGoogle.

Katzencontent 2005

Check Google for more Katzencontent (“cat content”), a regular feature in German blogs.

Google Mystery Image 4

No one solved Google Mystery Image 3: it was Forrest Gump sitting on a park bench, as seen on the movie poster.


Now here’s the next one, hopefully somewhat easier (hint: you can find it at home or in the office).

Again, email me your answer (subject “Google Mystery Image 4”), as well as your homepage and name as you want them to appear here if you win. (Deadline’s tomorrow, and I’ll play lottery if I get more than a single correct answer.)

Google AdWords Affiliate Changes

There are some small changes for those buying ad space to display their affiliate links next to Google search results. First of all, they need not display their affiliate status anymore, e.g. an “(aff)” or similar in the text of the AdWords. Also, Google will now display a maximum of only 1 affiliate ad per search. (Parent companies sharing the same URL will also only get 1 ad per page.)


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