I'm off

Ten(ish) days in Barbados, baby. See you when I get back!
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This week in the US Presidential Campaign

This is all Hulu's fault. Daily episodes of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report are entertaining but you, dear readers, are the ones who suffer. Console yourselves with the tales of John McCain's worst week ever. Having goaded Obama into making a global tour in the hopes of his "foreign policy inexperience" leading to a major gaffe, it turns out that everybody in the world loves Obama. Especially the Iraqi prime minister, who endorsed Obama's plans to withdraw from Iraq. And you know who really loves Obama? The disproportionately black US military, that's who. Especially when he tries out their basketball court and sinks a 3-pointer on the first try. Talk about unnecessarily good. McCain, meanwhile, stayed at home and did all the foreign-policy flubbing instead. He referred to Russia's relationship with Czechoslovakia, a country that ceased to exist back in 1992, a mistake he's been making since the 2000 campaign. He also referred to the Iraq/Pakistan border. It may be that he's being incredibly clever...

Google Knol is evil

So last week Google launched Google Knol, which TechCrunch described as a monetizable Wikipedia. That's a pretty good description. Unlike Wikipedia, each page has exactly one author, and multiple authors can create competing Knols on the same topic -- so Knols are based on competition, rather than cooperation, as Wikipedia is. But Knol is really something more profound and a lot more worrying. It became clear quite quickly that Knol has ridiculous levels of PageRank, the Google juice that gets you listed first in searches. Within a few days of launch, a page created on Knol took just hours to out-rank a long-standing page that Google itself declared to be identical, from a highly-ranked, long-existing domain. PageRank isn't supposed to work that way, and it doesn't work that way for anybody else. Jason Calcanis (of Wikipedia/Knol competitor Mahalo) put it excellently today when he said that Google is becoming a content company: I've always seen Google as the modern day operating system, and our job to...

RURL bookmarklet / toolbar button

The problem: I like to Twitter shortened URLs quickly, but I prefer RURL to TinyURL (because it's shorter!). The solution: this bookmarklet! Drag this "RURL" link to your browser's bookmarks bar. Clicking it will take you to the RURL site, giving you the tiny version of your current page.