Google Reveals What “How To” Info We Want

Because of Google’s methods popularity and/or importance are finally accurately quantified. It seems so wrong to take emotional concepts like important and popular and make them the output of a series of mathematical equations, but that’s exactly what happens!

In 1999’s Bowfinger Steve Martin knew how importance was defined.

“See that FedEx truck? Every day it delivers important papers to people all over the world. And one day, it is going to stop here, and a man is going to walk up and casually toss a couple of FedExes on my desk. And at that moment, we – and by we, I mean me – will be important. “

The paradigm has shifted. Our new arbiter is Google&#185.

Because of Google’s methods popularity and/or importance are finally accurately quantified. It seems so wrong to take emotional concepts like important and popular and make them the output of a series of mathematical equations, but that’s exactly what happens!

My ‘aha’ moment came earlier this evening. I was trying to learn how to scoop data from an online database and massage it to produce a webpage. Actually what I wanted to do was unimportant because I only got as far as typing in “how to.”

Google was now working ahead of me, anticipating what I might type next. It unfurled a list of the most popular “how to” questions.

• how to tie a tie.
• how to kiss
• how to get pregnant
• how to lose weight fast
• how to cook a turkey
• how to solve a rubix cube
• how to make a website
• how to download youtube videos
• how to write a resume
• how to lose weight

I am surprised tying a tie has reached this level. Look a the competition it’s knocked off. Maybe I’m jaded because I tie one every day (Double Windsor knot), but I didn’t think there was this level of demand.

Considering “how to lose weight” appears in two different forms (normal and panicky) it probably belongs higher on the list.

Cooking a turkey and solving a rubix are both surprising entries, but just barely.

I’m not sure what’s more surprising–that there’s nothing truly weird or that the list is really so pedestrian.

Is this all we really want to know “how to” do? Can’t we get a little more creative?

&#185 – I know Google is the authority because if you enter “Geoff,” I’m the sixth result. On Bing I didn’t show up in the first six pages of results. Yahoo! doesn’t list me through ten pages.

The Storm’s Over — The Numbers Are In

The dry air was the wild card. Radar showed moderate snow over all of Connecticut for hours-and-hours before anything hit the ground.

The snow has come and gone. There’s never a bullseye, but the forecast was reasonably close. If success is judged by number of complaints, or lack thereof, I’m doing fine. Here are the final DOT numbers. I have also added the Boston and New York NWS snow totals, which include Connecticut, for the Dec 20-21, 2009 storm at the end of this entry.

Not everyone was as lucky. A friend who forecasts in Springfield sent a text message saying he’d received nothing! “Bust of the decade,” he said. Ouch. Been there. I know exactly what he’s going through.

I was right about Southeastern Connecticut getting the most snow followed by the shoreline in general. The snow was fluffy and windblown as predicted. Accumulations were generally in line with my numbers. My call for the Northwest Hills and most of the area directly adjacent to the Massachusetts line was a few inches higher than the actual totals.

I wrote about this last night, but it bears repeating the most unusual and interesting part of this storm was the exceptionally dry air. During the summer we sometimes see 30 grams of water content per square meter. Last night it was around 1 gram per cubic meter!

The dry air was the wild card. Radar showed moderate snow over all of Connecticut for hours-and-hours before anything hit the ground. Once the atmospheric column over any location became saturated light snow turned to heavy snow. I’d never seen a situation quite like this before. It cut inches off all the accumulations.

It’s a shame this storm will impact Christmas shopping. Otherwise we’re lucky it came on a Saturday night when travel is usually light.

And now the dig out begins.

Rock And Roll Radio News

Bruce Erik Smallwood (all our newspeople had middle names, whether they did or not!) once said of the local electric company, “Ready Kilowatt says his costs are up, so he’s going to have to (pregnant pause, then with inflection) up yours!

Back when I was in radio at WPEN in Philadelphia, we had a real ‘rock and roll’ news department. Our newsmen (and women) made sure their copy was always snappy with lots of alliteration and plays on words.

Our news presence would never have been characterized as serious.

Bruce Erik Smallwood (all our newspeople had middle names, whether they did or not!) once said of the local electric company, “Ready Kilowatt says his costs are up, so he’s going to have to (pregnant pause, then with inflection) up yours!”

We were good, but we were posers compared to CKLW, a station licensed to Windsor, Ontario, but really serving Detroit. Recently, I was sent a link for a story about CK’s newsroom, which I thought I’d post here.

If you were a radio fan in to 70s, you’ll enjoy this.