Pilgrim’s Picks for August 28 – Book Contest Winners Announced

Thanks to everyone that entered to win a copy of "Always Be Testing." Our three winners are listed below today’s Picks.

Here are the contest winners:

If your name is listed above, please contact me for details on collecting your prize. Thanks to everyone that entered. Look for another book prize package soon!

Microsoft Throwing Ice Cream Cones at Google?

There’s a classic comedy skit from Eddie Izzard about England getting taken by surprise by the Germans in World War II. He suggests that Germany had a head start on building weapons, and England? Well, I’ll let him explain:

"Get the tanks out! Get the…we haven’t got any tanks? Then get that ice cream van out there! Get it out there! Kill! All right, f*** it. ( mimes making ice cones and throwing them ) F*** off! Everything! Just throw everything at them! Just…that’s not…harder! Orange fruities! And Zooms! Throw the Zooms! F*** off, you b***ards! Pots and pans! Get pots…just throw the pots and pans at them!"

It’s a very niche style of humor.

Breaking: Google Listens to Apps Customers, Improvements on the Way!

As a paying Google Apps customer, the lack of communication during recent outages left a bad taste in my mouth.

I’m pleased to report that I just received an email from Google with details of many improvements coming our way. These are much needed and welcomed.

We’re committed to making Google Apps Premier Edition a service on which your organization can depend. During the first half of August, we didn’t do this as well as we should have. We had three outages – on August 6, August 11, and August 15. The August 11 outage was experienced by nearly all Google Apps Premier users while the August 6 and 15 outages were minor and affected a very small number of Google Apps Premier users. As is typical of things associated with Google, these outages were the subject of much public commentary.

Blogging the Democratic Convention from the Big Tent

Today I wish I were a political blogger. I supposedly had a ticket to the Democratic Convention, which fell through. Then I had the misfortune (in this situation) to live in a state that didn’t get a lot of tickets. Some lucky bloggers – one from each state – were also part of the State Blog Pool or Corps (here’s a list of the bloggers by state).

I have a feeling, that while it would be fun to attend the parties and see the speeches, I would want to hang out in the Big Tent. That’s where the bloggers are. It’s not air-conditioned, and you’re not as wined and dined, but from the looks of it, you’re in good company. Google and Digg set it up and sponsored it. If you’re Republican they’re sponsoring a tent at the Republican convention too.

Pilgrim’s Picks for August 27 – Magnetic Cows Edition

Today’s Picks are just too good, so let’s jump right in.

  • Researchers used Google Earth to study the alignment of 8510 cows around the world and discovered they tend to align themselves with Earth’s north-south magnetic fields. Sounds udderly ridiculous to me! ;-)
  • Maybe a better use of Google Earth from Olympic gold medallist Kristin Armstrong. She used Google Earth to help her train for the varying elevations in China.
  • Mozilla has announced Ubiquity–a new browser interface that brings useful information to your fingertips.
  • Two internet security researchers demonstrate just how easy it is for hackers to intercept your web activity.
  • Who spent the most money on internet display ads in June? That would be Microsoft. The top display ad publisher for the same period? Fox Interactive Media.

The UK’s Advertising Standards Authority Needs a Chill Pill

Don’t mess with the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority! Pedantic is its middle name and it’s well versed in the ancient art of filament-slicing.

According to the Guardian, it took just two complaints about an Apple iPhone TV advertisement (watch it here) for the watchdog to take action and ban the ad.

The Advertising Standards Authority received two complaints that the claim was misleading because the iPhone did not support Flash or Java, which are both integral to many web pages.

Apple said the aim of the ad was to highlight how the iPhone can offer access to all websites…and that the line “all parts of the internet” meant website availability, “not every aspect of functionality”.

Google’s Experiments to Mess With Your Mind

Yesterday, we talked about the importance of A/B and multivariate testing. Google offers Website Optimizer (for free) and now we learn just how much the search engine eats its own dog food.

Here’s an A/B experiment that Google has conducted. See if you can spot the difference.

Page 1:

Page 2:

Yeah, I didn’t spot it either, but apparently there is slightly more white space around the first listing, in page 1.

Should you be that granular with your A/B testing? Maybe not, but Google explains just how subtly it’s messing with your mind testing your preferences each day.