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July 20, 2006

Quick Hits

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Some things you should know:

MSN Died Last Night. Yes, Again
Various users are reporting that MSN Search was down for extended periods of time last night. Instead of seeing mediocre search results, users were greeted with a message telling them the service was “unavailable” and that the MSN team was “working to restore service as quickly as possible.” Awesome. Just like in April.

Google Cares
Matt Bailey announced Google has released a new product called Accessible Search, especially designed to help the visually challenged and those who rely on the aid of screen readers to view the Web. Accessible Search is a stripped-down version of Google that ranks accessible results higher, making them easier to find. The new search is said to favor pages with few visual distractions and that render well with the images turned off.

Matt says: “The service is designed to filter out sites that may have extraneous content on them and may not be ideal for screen readers to handle. Too much information can prevent users from finding what they need.”

Based on that, it might be a good idea to keep the W3C’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines in mind when you’re designing your site

…But Not About Chris Pirillo
Just like they did with TechMeme, Google has sandboxed Chris Pirillo’s new TagJag site, which was 301 redirected several weeks ago from its original Gada.be domain. When is Google going to get this 301 redirect thing figured out? Yahoo! and MSN (yes, even MSN) are both showing the site.

Ask Blogs and Adds RSS Smart Answer
A blog update from the Ask.com gang? Be still my heart. Gary Price and Ryan Massie let us know that starting today when you do a Web search for your favorite blog (other than the BC blog, we’re not cool enough yet), Ask will offer you the last three posts from that site’s feed as Smart Answers. Pretty cool, I say. I like when people do cool things with/ for blogs.

Microsoft Adopts a Much Needed 12-Step Program
Microsoft has incorporated twelve new principles that it hopes will help appease the EC and maybe even make it some friends. New principles include allowing computer manufacturers and users to set defaults to programs or applications not Microsoft-related (and promising not to retaliate) and giving outside software developers the same access to technical information that its own developers have. A smart move for Microsoft.

And don’t worry – Microsoft says the new, friendlier way of life won’t affect Vista’s January 2007 release. We can only hope.

Google Helps Users Share “Hilarious Monkey Moments”
I took that line directly out of Google’s Press Release, I swear. I’m not that clever. Google now allows users to email links to specific points inside a video. I think this is great. There’s nothing worse than making someone sit through a four minute video just for eight seconds of comedic genius stuck in the middle (i.e. someone falling down a flight of stairs, getting bit, or hit square in the face. I think I have a problem…). To link to a specific part of a video, just add the time of the hilarity at the end of a video’s URL.

Kinda like this: Update: Sorry, Google has removed this video.

(Note: This was Google’s example. I am in no way vouching for this clip. If it’s not funny and/ or interesting and you feel like you wasted your time, take it up with Google. Don’t come crying to me, people.)





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