It has been an interesting week in the technology world. Some is hot and some is not. What I do find amazing is how little of the news had been covered by the traditional media organizations. So I decided that I should cover it here!
The big event on Tuesday was Skypes announcement. Skype is a small company that was recently gobbled up by the 800lb gorilla known as E-Bay. Skype was one of the first innovators of VOIP (basically telephone over the internet). For the past couple of years people have been able to talk for free using Skype. The downside was that it was only computer to computer. They did offer Skypeout, which was fee based, and permitted computer to 'land line or cell'.
On Tuesday they released a new version (Skype 2.5 beta) that allows free computer to 'land line' anywhere in Canada and the US.
This offer is good till the end of the year. Free long distance! Who could say no. I downloaded it on Tuesday, and yes it works!
I did some digging around in the seamier side of the net and it seems that the Telco's (who for the most part are also ISPs) are a little grumpy. They stand to lose a pile of revenue, because who is gonna pay when you can get it for free.
Several Telco's seem to want to block traffic originating from Skype. Now this is where it gets entertaining. Skype has been designed to be stealthy, it uses known public router ports, and switches originating server ip's like the rest of us change our underwear! It is a moving target, so very hard to stop. I think this is great for the consumer, and it is really hard to have much sympathy with the telco's that for so long have had a monopoly over communications.
This is HOT.
Now, on the not so hot list is Google. Google is a company that I normally think very highly of. They are innovative, they are creative, and they are mostly free! And I like free. Their recent acquisition of Writely is going to mean that very soon they will be offering web based word processing, and web based document storage. I have a writely account, and I really like it. With google behind them, this product will go far. If anyone is interested in trying out the beta (or maybe this is alpha) version, please drop me a line.
Ok, back to the 'not so hot' aspects. I have been following some very interesting threads on Usenet. It seems that Google rolled out a new version of its web crawler in March. The web crawler is the thing that roams the web finding sites to include in the google index.
This version seems to have taken a quantum leap back in technology, web sites that have been indexed for several years are suddenly finding themselves de-listed. For the average Joe, this is just an annoyance, for someone that is using Google as a store front, this is a disaster. I have read thread after thread of e-commerce Webmaster weeping about how their business has gone into the toilet over the past 2 months.
Google is being very tight lipped as to what is going on, but I think it is fair to guess that they are fed up with the way people have been manipulating the page ranking (where you appear in the hit list) and are trying to remove all of the spam sites. Unfortunately their 'new broom' seems to be sweeping up the good with the bad. I have created several sites in the last two months and I have noticed that Yahoo, and MSN are finding and indexing them, but good old Google is not!
So google is NOT hot this week!
That was going to be the end of this post, but yesterday I got hit with another piece of internet dog turd! My wife has a web site, she has hosted it for two years with Topcities.com, using their free web hosting product. For no good reason they removed her site and her account! I thought the poor lady was going to have a coronary. The good news was that I had local copies of the page, so I am now hosting it locally on the BeerBox, with a pointer from Googlepages.
I guess this is the downside of using free web hosting. I have send a nasty-gram to topcities, but I doubt they will reply.
Okay, enuf of this, I need a beer..............