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Pomme d'Api website hacked

I've been maintaining and old Joomla 1.5-based website for my daughter's preschool, Pomme d'Api. It got hacked, I'm not sure how, via FTP or PHP but they basically managed to get 2 .php files on the server that were causing search engine crawlers to get a different version of the site that contained all sorts of links to various pages. It also changed the meta-information such as keywords and description. I've now removed the hack and instructed Google to re-index the site via Google's Webmaster tools, but frustratingly, Google's crawler still hasn't re-indexed the site! It's been over a week since Google last visited it... hopefully providing this link to the website will cause Google to re-index it.

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Cuil Sucks Big Time

I got all excited to try this new Cuil search engine today but was extremely disapointed. The only thing Cuil does well is sucking. The first thing I did was to search for my name to see where on the front page it would show up (on Google I am the first hit). I was a bit surprised when I did not see my home page on the first page, second page, or third page. Maybe my site is not indexed at all. So I decided to search for one of my most popular posts, my Latex Resume Template post. Not only did it not come up but this great resource on LaTeX resume templates was also missing.

Let's look a little deeper and see how shitty Cuil really is. Try searching for "latex resume template" (obviously, remove quotes). The same search for latex resume template on google is orders of magnitude better. It doesn't take very long at all to notice the differences...

Let's look at the hits that Cuil gave us:

Now let's compare with Google's first 10 hits:

There you have it. The funny thing is that Cuil returned slightly more hits than Google (67,900 results for Cuil vs. 63,000 for Google) but it doesn't make a difference when the top 10 are garbage in one and exactly-what-you-are-looking-for in the other. Google must be laughing their asses off right now. Apparently Dvorak thinks Cuil sucks too and he's pretty blunt about it.

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Cucumis - Free Online Language Translation by Humans

I heard about this translation site called "Cucumis" a long time ago. I recently received an email from someone in Cuba. Although I could understand it I felt there were a couple subtleties I was missing, but couldn't remember what that damn site was. I googled and googled and couldn't find it.

Google Translate butchered it by the way: "Hello friends I hope esten either, here all or, that so cold the cuentanos something, we had a client to vancouver by many days, good we wished much luck and successes him..."

The other ones weren't very good either. The email was far too casual and slangy. Even I did I better job than Google Translate with my limited Spanish training.

Eventually I found Cucumis' website by searching Techcrunch for anything translation-related. I found it, so techcrunch must have been where I saw it originally. The way cucumis works is this: you earn points for translating things for other people, and in exchange you can spend those points by asking others to translate things for you. Within an hour someone had translated the Spanish into perfect English: "I hope you are okay, everybody here is okay, how is the cold weather? Tell us the news. We had a client from Vancouver for many days. Well we wish you good luck and success..." Notice how the meaning of the last sentence is totally different, which is one of the things I wasn't sure about in my own translation.

In an effort to return the favour and earn back the points that were deducted from my profile for having my friend's email translated, I searched for any translation requests from French->English but didn't find any. Cucumis is a France-based site so that might explain why. Among the languages they support? Klingon. No High Elvish though.

Peru - Here we Come (and thanks kayak.com)

We just booked a flight to Peru on Monday. According to Google Earth's "ruler" feature, it will officially be the furthest I have ever flown, just a bit further from Vancouver to Lima that it is to London, England (as the crow flies). But if we go to Puno, Peru to see Lake Titicaca that will be the furthest I have ever been from home (prior to that, the furthest ever was Munich, Germany).

I really want to thank kayak.com for helping me find the flight that worked best for us. Kayak.com recently added a "my dates are flexible" feature. This was something I really wanted for a long time. Especially with long haul flights some flights are only on certain days of the week to certain destinations. For example you can't get from Lima to Vancouver on a Sunday or Monday with Air Canada. We ended up going with a United flight and saved about $450. I probably would have never found those flights because I never use the sites that they were being sold on (Orbitz and cheaptickets.com). I sometimes check expedia.ca but they didn't have the United flights. Anyways, Kayak.com is SO awesome, you should try them out and tell all your friends. I have no affiliation with them, I just want them to stay in business.

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ScrapeTorrent rocks

With ScrapeTorrent the days of search at mininova.org, sorting the results by number of seeds, then trying thepiratebay.com, sorting the results by seeds are over. ScrapeTorrent does something that should have been been done a long time ago: it aggregates searches on the 2 sites above plus torrentspy and isohunt as well as sorting by seeds and filtering of 0-seeders. This makes searching for torrents a hell of a lot easier, which in the past, was a bit of a pain.

Recipe Matcher - Find Recipes Based on Ingredients You Have

Recipematcher.com is a recipe website where you enter in all the ingredients you have and you can then search for recipes that use those ingredients (the results are sorted by which recipes require you to buy the least numbers of ingredients). It's a great idea. Too bad that updating the list of ingredients you have on hand is a major pain in the ass. I filled it out quickly and for some things I checked off the box even though I didn't have it because it's something that I have no problem buying or having extra around. Like onions, tomato sauce, or chicken breasts. I don't any of those around right now but I have no problem buying them because they will easily get used up.

The one great thing this website could be useful for is finding recipes that use ingredients I want to get rid of. It is always satisfying to get rid of an ingredient that I've had in the cupboard for months. There's no way I'm going to update this website's list of ingredients I have on hand though. I may just tweak it by adding some ingredient that I want to get rid of and then using their search option that finds recipes that MUST contain a specific ingredient. I am not so sure how useful this is as Google can pretty much too the same thing and probably has access to more recipes than this website does. I have used this Cookin' With Google form in the past. There's also Google Base Recipes, which currently contains 1.12 million recipes.

What's On My Bookshelf Book-Swapping Service

Stumbled upon a great website called What's On My Bookshelf. I think I found it through Digg.com. It's an amazing concept and very similar to the kind of thing that goes on in RoIO (Recording of Illegitimate Origins) groups. You offer up books that you have and want to get rid of and others do the same. You pay when you ship a book, not when you receive, but you have to ship books in order to receive more books. The more you ship (or the more expensive the books you ship) the more you can receive. Everyone starts off with 1 point. I already added three books to my bookshelf (all of which were duplicates after I got married and my wife and I merged out book collections). Each book counted for 1 point so I had 4 points. I then requested 3 books from other people and I am waiting patiently to receive them. No one has requested my books yet although I am sure someone will eventually and I will have to ship them.

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