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Archive for the ‘The Web’ Category

Hey, who doesn’t like free?  Also a PDF converter is very useful for lots of stuff that I do, so I went ahead and gave this a try.  The lifheacker link also has instructions on how to do it without paying for software.

Still, free until February 5th, 2011.

 

PDFs are an extremely popular document format, but come with the annoying caveat that you can’t edit them without an expensive program like Adobe Acrobat. If you find that this is a major hindrance, you can convert them to other editable formats with PDFZilla: it can batch convert any number of PDF files into Word documents, RTF, TXT, Images, HTML, and more in just a few clicks. It’s a heck of a lot easier than buying Adobe Acrobat, and pretty convenient if all you need to do is jump in a document and do some tweaks.

PDFZilla is normally $29.95, but you can grab it for free right now until February 5th, 2011. PDFZilla is for Windows only.

via PDFZilla Batch Converts PDFs to Editable Formats, Is Free Until February.

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The policy is not reassuring at all.  I know that I’m removing what little personal information existed on Facebook.

If you you aren’t already paranoid enough to remove your address and cell phone number from Facebook, today might be the day. Facebook has decided to give its third-party app developers API access to users’ address and phone numbers as they collectively get more involved in the mobile space, but privacy experts are already warning that such a move could put Facebook users at risk.

via New privacy concerns for Facebook over phone numbers, addresses.

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For those of you who miss using quick command-line shortcuts to accomplish tasks, this post by Lifehacker might be for you.  I have to admit that sometimes it is more trouble that it is worth, but I also like the ability to quickly add something to my google calendar without going through 5 clickes to even get to the page.

 

It works like this: when you enter text on a web application, the result is often the web page sending that text along to a server as part of a URL. A Google search for lifehacker android results in a URL of http://www.google.com/search?q=lifehacker+android. By finding the right URLs—for Google Calendar events, Google Maps directions, Twitter statuses, and more—we can use keywords in the address bar to submit text to any of those web sites.

via How To Perform Nearly Any Task From Your Browser’s Address Bar.

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Can someone just tell me that my next glass came from a $200 bottle?

When you take a sip of Cabernet, what are you tasting? The grape? The tannins? The oak barrel? Or the price?

Believe it or not, the most dominant flavor may be the dollars. Thanks to the work of some intrepid and wine-obsessed economists (yes, there is an American Association of Wine Economists), we are starting to gain a new understanding of the relationship between wine, critics and consumers.

via Freakonomics Radio: Do More Expensive Wines Taste Better? – NYTimes.com.

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Internet credibility is a major problem, and while veterans of the internet understand that not everything on the web is credible, that is something that is not always clear to those who are relatively new to the World Wide Web.  Ars Technica reviews a study reviewing the internet behaviors of college freshman, and relates some troubling findings:

The researchers observed 102 college freshmen performing searches on a computer for specific information—usually with Google, but also making use of Yahoo, SparkNotes, MapQuest, Microsoft we assume this means Bing, Wikipedia, AOL, and Facebook. Most students clicked on the first search result no matter what it was, and more than a quarter of respondents said explicitly that they chose it because it was the first result. “In some cases, the respondent regarded the search engine as the relevant entity for which to evaluate trustworthiness, rather than the Web site that contained the information,” wrote researchers Eszter Hargittai, Lindsay Fullerton, Ericka Menchen-Trevino, and Kristin Yates Thomas.

Only 10 percent of the participants mentioned the author or authors credentials when performing their research, and according to screen captures of those students, “none actually followed through by verifying either the identification or the qualifications of the authors.” The researchers said this was the case even when the student stated directly that he or she should check to see who the authors were and what their qualifications were.

via Students trust high Google search rankings too much.

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I found this article interesting, particularly from the eye of a statistician.  Particularly since some of the same problems that results for “meta-analysis” studies are actually reflected in this articles, which deals with the aggregation of Video Game reviews.  In many ways, we see that the problems are similar to the weakness in a meta-analysis study.  Namely, different studies (or in this case, reviewers) have different purposes and designs to how they evaluate something, and trying to put them all together in a nice simple number is just, well, too simplifying.

Linked below for reference.

The world of game reviews is often difficult to navigate. Everyone uses different scores, and a large emphasis is placed on the single score given to games by Metacritic, a review-aggregation site. Metacritic uses a scale of 1 to 100 for reviews, a figure calculated by averaging multiple scores. What comes out after that averaging is seen as something akin to a gold standard for judging the quality of a game. Weve been asked numerous times why were not included in the game rankings given by Metacritic: our reviews arent linked from the site, and were not included in the final uber-score. Thats by design.

via Game reviews on Metacritic: why we avoid inclusion.

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A fascinating article about user “fingerprinting.”  Basically it looks at the way you have your computer and browser setup in order to “profile” your activity on the web.  It has nothing to do with cookies, and the more you customize your settings (presumably to prevent identification) the more unique you become (at least until everyone does it).

Anyway, a great read.

You’re concerned about your online privacy, and you do all the right things to keep from being tracked around the Web: purge your cookies regularly, clean out Flash “supercookies,” even switch to browsers like Browzar, which lets you “search and surf the web without leaving traces on your computer.” Doesn’t matter—your browser is giving you away.

via How your Web browser rats you out online.

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