Tuesday, May 16, 2006


Search engines offer new ways to find results

By Eric AuchardSan Francisco - For information seekers, the days of culling Web search pages, ten machine-generated hyperlinks at a time, may be numbered.On Monday, Yahoo takes the next step to realise its vision of combining human advice with machine automation to offer more relevant ways of searching the Web.It is using the millions of human suggestions from its recently introduced Yahoo Answers to complement the mathematically organised features of its core search system."

It's the right time now to augment Web search results with some human touch," said Tim Mayer, Yahoo's product manager for Web search. "We are making search better by allowing users to tap into the collective knowledge of other people."Meanwhile, Bill Gross, the inventor of paid Web search who sold the system to Yahoo, is set to unveil a new version of his latest project. Snap.com is aimed at broadband users and gives people visual snapshots of Web sites before they click.

These innovations in how to search for information on the Web aim to compete with the dominant search provider, Google, which analysts say still has a big lead in the current generation of Web search technology.Google's dominance is pushing rivals to seek fundamentally new approaches to searching, and Google cannot sit still either, analysts say.For its own part, Google last week began offering Google Co-op, an early effort at human-organised search to boost its algorithmic page-ranking system.To begin with, Co-op is working with a very fixed set of experts, such as the Harvard Medical School or the Mayo Clinic in health and Fodor's and Lonely Planet in travel guides."

Some questions need different formats and answers," said Marissa Mayer, Google's vice president of search products.Snap.com has the classic set of 10 links down the left side of its search results page, but each link a user selects is displayed in a half-size screen-shot of the website's home page.Thus users can scroll down a page of links using visual cues instead of reading text. It is surfing by pictures, like flipping through television channels using a remote control.

The user can skip over bad pages or broken links before they load."Look before you leap," Snap.com Chief Executive Tom McGovern said in an interview. "People who are more visually oriented will gravitate to this."Google runs advertisements alongside search results and only gets paid when consumers click on the ads. Snap.com argues it can take advertising a major step forward by charging only when consumers complete transactions.But Snap.com also breaks potentially controversial ground in how the site blurs the distinction between sponsored search results and results returned by popular demand.

By contrast, major search sites clearly fence-off sponsored results.Yahoo Answers, an online site where people can ask and have other Yahoo users answer questions, has grown to store nearly 11 million answers related to technical matters or everyday life in more than 800 categories, the company said.The service has more than 7.2 million users, Yahoo said, citing data from market research firm comScore Networks.The Sunnyvale, California-based company said it is now weaving Yahoo Answers into its core Yahoo Search system.Yahoo Answers, which the Internet media company introduced in December in trial mode, is designed to allow users to ask questions on the Web in plain language.

Question to you student: Read the comment below:-

"A lot of people find it difficult to formulate how to come up with the right query," Mayer said.

Is this True? Write about your experience (in two paragraphs)
What are your experiences when it comes to using the internet as a tool?
When you where doing your assignments you had to use the internet to search for topics relating to the assignment, How was the experience?
What is it that you would have done differently?
The article above does it offers new ways to find results?

Thursday, May 11, 2006


About Expectations and Experiences

Dear Student

Please write down your expactations about the Disaster Management?
What you have experienced since the first day at CSIR till today?

Insert this in the comments field. Read each others comments and comment on each others comments.



Rand Show Experiance

Dear Students

Can you please write up your reports about your experiances at the Rand Show 2006.
I understand that you have attended Scientific Report Writting the other day so I want all of you to write the Report following what the presenter tought you. He spoke about a format and I will like to see that in your Reports.

Question to all of you about the Rand Show.

They had six themes at the Science and Technology for the Rand Show 2006. What are the Six themes and do you think from what you have seen they were all covered at the Rand Show?

Dead line: 12/05/2006 time 10:00 am not later than!

Wednesday, May 10, 2006


Why do we blog?

The is a powerpoint presentation that has all the details about

So download the Powerpoint presentation about blog that was prepared by Dr Richard Knight from University of the Western Cape, he is the Ecological Informatics lecturer.


Thursday, May 04, 2006


NISL Disaster Management and Early Warning

The South African Department of Science and Technology (DST) is providing grant funding over a period of three years to train 16 students in disaster management through a Masters Programme at the University of the Free State (UFS). The Early Warning Systems and Disaster Management programme, initiated in September 2005, is a joint initiative between the DST, the CSIR, the UFS and the Department of Provincial and Local Government (DPLG).This programme aims to:Highlight good practice in early warning systemsAssist in developing contingency plans in order to mitigate the impact of disasters and to enable a more proactive approachDevelop capacity in municipalities towards the implementation of the Disaster Management Act 57 of 2002.The Masters programme includes an experiential learning component wherein students will be placed at the DPLG, other government departments and the CSIR. This will enhance the experience and employability of participating students.The purpose of this project is to build critical capacity in information analysis through experiential training for unemployed graduates in particular. It forms part of government’s priority towards bridging the digital divide and ensuring that South Africa becomes part of the global information society by enhancing the country’s technology-based skills. The project is also in line with the aims of the Accelerated and Shared Growth Initiative of South Africa towards the reduction of unemployment levels, as outlined by President Mbeki in his 2006 State of the Nation Address.Photos of some of the students selected for the UFS Masters Programme in Early Warning Systems and Disaster Management are soon to follow!

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