It’s been over 25 years since I wrote the Official Netscape Guide to Internet Research (and 24 years since I started my blog ResearchBuzz), but search engines and the problem of finding things on the Internet remain just as fascinating to me. Over this summer I began trying to actually solve search challenges instead of just thinking about them — and working out techniques to minimize them.
They’re all freely available at researchbuzz.github.io. Some of them require API keys, but the keys are free as well.
I love all my little Gizmos and could never pick an absolute favorite, but I think these would be most useful to journalists.
A few weeks ago I announced that I was launching a new MA in Data Journalism, and promised that I would write more about the thinking behind it. Here, then, are some of the key ideas underpinning the new course — from coding and storytelling to security and relationships with industry — and how they have informed its development. Continue reading →
When should you stop buying football stickers? I don’t mean how old should you be – but rather, at what point does the law of diminishing returns mean that it no longer makes sense to buy yet another packet of five stickers?
Si vous envisagez de vous mettre à la programmation, il y a de fortes chances que vous butiez sur une série de termes techniques, un jargon qui peut être particulièrement rébarbatif, notamment dans les tutoriels, dont les auteurs ont tendance à oublier que vous êtes inexpérimentés en programmation.
Les sections qui suivent décrivent et indiquent dix concepts que vous êtes susceptible de – non, que vous allez – rencontrer.Continue reading →
If you’re looking to get into coding chances are you’ll stumble across a raft of jargon which can be off-putting, especially in tutorials which are oblivious to your lack of previous programming experience. Here, then, are 10 concepts you’re likely to come across – and what they mean.
Variables are like boxes which can hold different things at different times. Image by Wolfgang Lonien.
A variable is one of the most basic elements of programming. It is, in a nutshell, a way of referring to something so that you can use it in a line of code. To give some examples:
You might create a variable to store a person’s age and call it ‘age’
You might create a variable to store the user’s name and call it ‘username’
You might create a variable to count how many times something has happened and call it ‘counter’
You might create a variable to store something’s position and call it ‘index’
Variables can be changed, which is their real power. A user’s name will likely be different every time one piece of code runs. An age can be added to at a particular time of year. A counter can increase by one every time something happens. A list of items can have other items added to it, or removed. Continue reading →
After publishing the app in German one month ago (and 20 days later the English version), the feedback was overhelming. We didn’t think that so many people would be so interested in it. But Twitter and Facebook in Germany went wild with it for some days – along with coverage in many major tech websites.
Probably this is why data journalism works: Making an abstract notion everybody knows about visible: that every position of you, and every connection of your mobile phone does is – or could be – logged. Every call, text message and data connection.
Elsevier, the Dutch scientific publisher, has announced details of their grandly titled Article of the Future project. Their prototypes, published at http://beta.cell.com, are the result of what Emilie Marcus, Editor in Chief, Cell Press called,
“…a challenge to redesign from scratch how to most effectively structure and present the content of a traditional scientific article in an online environment.”
Several things strike me about the prototypes — and let’s bear in mind that these are prototypes, and so are likely to change based on feedback from users in the scientific community and elsewhere; but also that they are published prototypes, and so by definition are completely open for comment — the most obvious being their remarkable lack of futuristic qualities. Instead, the prototypes resemble an enthusiastic bash at a multimedia-infused online encyclopaedia circa 1997, when multimedia was still a buzzword, or such as you might have found on a CD-ROM magazine cover mounted giveaway around the same time. Continue reading →
One problem: as one commenter pointed out, the blog as a whole was set to ‘noindex-nofollow’ “which equals a no trespasing sign for search engines for ALL of the site’s links. It’s Google suicide.” Continue reading →