Category Archives: News

Fun With Searches: Internet Movie Databases

It’s funny how we all focus on different things. You see a movie and you might focus on the settings or the plot. Someone else might focus on the technology used. I might focus on how the dialogue makes my ears bleed. We all take our own context out of everything we review.

Because of that I’m not surprised that there are so many subsets of the famous Internet Movie Database. Sure, it’s a great site, but why stop there? There are many, many more ways that movies can be delineated.

I did a little poking around, therefore, and present for your amusement a list of Internet Movie databases. Please note: these are all real. I am not The Onion.

Internet Movie Firearms Database — Over 15,000 articles on guns, movies, television, video games, actors, and anime. From A-91 to Ċ½eljko Ivanek. Some of the articles are suprisingly in-depth with plenty of screen captures. How many other sites have written so much about Highlander II? (But I kid Highlander II.)

Internet Movie Knives Database — This is a Wikia production and very small, with only 40 pages. Looks like this one has only been around for a couple of years.

Internet Movie Motorcycles Database — Another small one, with 63 pages. Hasn’t been updated in a couple of years? 28 movies are listed here and there are some good pictures. Someone needs to bring this poor database back to life.

Internet Movie Planes Database — Snakes on a plane, planes in a movie, database on the Internet. It all fits. This site has information on over 3,000 movies and over 950 kinds of aircraft. Video games are covered too. Yes, someone on the Internet has gone to the trouble of identifying Marcie’s helicopter in Snoopy Vs. the Red Baron. Apparently the jury is still out on what Pig Pen and Lucy were flying.

Internet Movie Cars Database — I’ve mentioned this one before. Covering movies, television, and even music vehicles, this site has information on over 3600 makes of vehicle. Even things like The Babysitter’s Club! Even things like a 1993 Toyota Corolla!

Internet Movie Scripts Database — Movie scripts. LOTS of movie scripts. In HTML so you can read them on screen. Some TV scripts are available as well (including Futurama and Seinfeld.) Some of the reviews/comments provide a lot of insights into the scripts.

The Internet Movie Poster Database — We’re getting a little meta. Don’t let the domain name fool you – the site copyright notice gives this site name as “The Internet Movie Poster Database”. Not only is there information on movie posters, but artists and design companies as well.

The Internet Movie Pool Table Database — I’ll be honest. This is less a database and more a blog post. But I was very impressed that this guy managed to come up with so many movies containing pool tables and broke them out into “Tables with Starring Roles,” “Featured Artists,” and “Walk-Ons and Extras.”

The Internet Music Video Database — Well, they’re sort of movies. Very small movies. Generally less than 5 minutes long. And there are over 31,000 of them covered on ths site! Don’t miss the social statistics for each video – Facebook likes and shares, Twitter, Delicious, StumbleUpon, etc. There’s a data API you can mess around with, too.

The Internet Movie Tactical Gear Database — It’s supposed to be tactical gear in movies and video games, but alas, it’s dead as vaudeville and has only one page.

How to Turn Your Facebook “Likes” Into RSS Feeds

As you probably know doing ResearchBuzz is not my real job; I love it but “love” and “pays the electric bill” are sometimes quite a ways apart.

However I have been consciously working to become more efficient in my information gathering and writing (you may have noticed that the daily ‘Buzz has been a lot more consistent since last December) and I have been trying to set aside more time to write.

That came to fruition this month when I wrote my first article in a long time. It was for IT World and it’s called
How to make a Facebook Page RSS list in 6 easy steps. You can read it here (it’s free):

http://www.itworld.com/it-management/410122/how-make-facebook-page-rss-list-6-easy-steps

If you use Facebook for resource gathering, Facebook’s throttling of how many Page posts reach fans can be very frustrating. In the article I outline a way to turn your “Liked” Facebook pages into a set of RSS feeds that you can easily monitor without worrying about what Facebook is going to decide to put in your newsfeed.

I hope you like it. And I hope I get the opportunity to write more articles like this.

New Blog Announcement: Me Tries to Work

As I have mentioned in the past, I work in a warehouse. I have all kinds of jobs which range from requiring lots of creative thought to being somewhat repetitive.

Unfortunately my brain isn’t very patient and when it doesn’t have enough to think about, it gets bored. And when it gets bored it wants to chat. So while I’m trying to create a new spreadsheet or figure out an inventory system or document a process, I get random questions about anything from sea monsters to obscure television commercials from 1977. And because both my brain and I are pretty weird, the conversations tend to go off in odd directions.

I’ve been sharing some of these on Facebook, and a few of my friends thought I should do a blog. So I did. It’s called Me Tries to Work and it’s available at http://MeTriesToWork.com . The title comes from where all these conversations start — when I’m trying to work. (Fear not, despite all these conversations I manage to get plenty done at my job.)

There’s very little in here about research. If you find ResearchBuzz funny you will probably find this funny too, though it may just cement your opinion that I’m a couple burritos short of a combination plate. There’s a little bit of swearing. It won’t take the place of ResearchBuzz but hopefully will give me another outlet to destress a bit.

Anyway, I hope you like it. If you do, please share. My brain thanks you.

Ancestry.com Offering Free Access to Immigration Records Through September 2

Ancestry.com is celebrating the American Labor Day holiday with some free records access! Through September 2 (or specifically September 2 at 11:59pm EST), you can access Ancestry.com’s immigration records for free. This includes collections like passenger lists for ship, passport applications, naturalization petitions, and a lot more.

The link above also points to some instructional resources on how to make the most of your search for your immigrant ancestors.

Enjoy!

Excel, Twitter, Google Translate, More – Short Friday Morning Buzz, August 30, 2013

I’m still figuring out macros. Meanwhile other folks are making ninja turtles in Excel.

Here’s a roundup of the best ways to store your photos in the cloud.

Twitter now allows reporting of tweets directly from Twitter.

Now available: a guide to getting started on Wikimedia Commons. (Hat tip to Library Stuff!)

Google Translate is adding African languages.

Hey! Happy Birthday, National Library of Ireland! It’s 123.

Facebook is proposing a bunch of changes to its policies.

PC World has a roundup of free Dropbox tools. Good morning, Internet, and have a great weekend.

I love your comments, I love your site suggestions, and I love you. Feel free to comment on the blog, or @ResearchBuzz on Twitter. Thanks!

Quit Trying to Be the Next Google Dammit, Pt. 2: The Goal Should Be An Internet That Makes Us Better Humans

We have a houseguest, my husband and I. She is staying with us while she receives medical treatment, and will be here for a while.

I am on all my manners. I have almost stopped singing out loud to myself, and talking twee to the cat, and blurting out observations which make sense to me but no one else. I am cooking dinner and keeping the kitchen clean and checking twice a day to make sure there are plenty of clean towels in the linen closet. I do not feel much faith in my powers as a hostess — I am too big and rumpled and introverted and strange and I’m always convinced something will go wrong. I cooked pierogies and the house smelled like fried onions even hours later, and I went in the bathroom and cried because everything the house would smell like fried onions forever and I was the worst person in the world.

Through all this I go back to the Internet over and over again to try to be better. To find good recipes to cook. To do medical research. To figure out how to make our ancient bathroom sparkle. To get rid of the fried onion smell, dammit. To be a more productive person and a more effective hostess for this family member with her blue cane who is so, so patient with me and makes me feel ridiculous for crying over food.

I don’t say to myself that I am using Google because it indexes so many Web pages so quickly and thus and such. I don’t say to myself that I’m searching PubMed because it has so much information organized in such a way. I say to myself that I want to use THIS resource or THAT resource because it’s helping me in doing a job at which I feel completely rubbish. It’s making me better.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if instead of headline touting “the next Google” (a phrase which has 2,660,000 matches on Google itself, by the way), stories and Web pages encouraged aspiring companymakers to build the things that make us more capable and stronger? To encourage people to, instead of merely reflecting an existing quo, build tools that will expand horizons and give us new ways of being and lead us to becoming better humans?

… I suppose that now that I have admitted in front of God and everybody to crying over fried onion stink that I should also tell you my secret dream. My secret dream is to have a place to send every bit of information I look at. I read literally hundreds of RSS feeds. I am subscribed to dozens of Google Alerts. And my perfect day would be able to match every bit of information to someone who would be delighted to have it.

That’s my particular itch. To direct information to people who could use it. That’s why I spend so much time reading those feeds and alert services — because there are so many great resources out there, and more coming every day, and y’all don’t know them, and that drives me nuts.

If I were building an Internet company, that would be what I would build. A delivery system to tell you about all the beautiful stuff I find. A system that’s so simple and easy to use that I could spend 99% of my time finding and reporting the beautiful stuff and only 1% of the time doing bullshit, which is anything that’s not finding and reporting beautiful stuff.

Well meaning people would ask me, “Is it going to be like Google? Or Facebook?” And I would say “No no, if either of those worked for me I would be using them now.” And I would make something that worked perfectly for me, no matter how it ended up looking like. And then I would invite other people to play. And if they liked it, away we go! And if they didn’t — well, at least I had solved one of my own problems, yes?

Technology is for the purpose of us. We are not for the purpose of technology. When we aspire to merely imitate an existing structure we are doing ourselves a disservice. Even a better Google is still a Google. But to focus on solving a problem and letting people do better those things that make us so uniquely us — when that is your goal, you have moved outside history and technology becomes merely an element of construction and not a force that bends you.

Quit Trying to Be the Next Google, Dammit!

Earlier this month I read an interesting article in ScienceNOW. It was about how people can recognize how they have changed in the past, but are less good at recognizing how they will change in the future. “Gilbert and colleagues call this effect ‘the end of history illusion,’ because it suggests that people believe, consciously or not, that the present marks the point at which they’ve finally stopped changing.”

I thought this was interesting because it’s a huge blind spot in one’s development as a person and may explain why it’s so hard for people to enact radical change on themselves (and it may also give some hints on how it could become easier to do so.) I also think it may explain how people see current companies and technology.

I thought of this study yesterday when I read an article on Mashable called Free Database of the Entire Web May Spawn the Next Google. It was an overview of a new non-profit that’s making a huge bucket of Web data that people can splash around in. This is great, but not new (ODP data was being used for the same purpose by sites like Oingo, and that was over a dozen years ago) and I found the idea that this might bring about “the next Google” to be as galling as it ever is. Only this time I’m going to write about it because I can’t stand it any longer.

Seventeen years ago this spring I wrote my first book on Internet and search engines. I have been reading and writing about search engines and finding things online ever since. And I would like to bring all this experience to bear and disclose something to you:

One day Google is going to suck.

This is not disrespect. It’s history. The more successful Google gets, the bigger it gets. The bigger it gets, the slower it moves. The slower it moves, the more difficulty it has in responding to rapid changes of technology. The more difficulty.. you get the idea. The very fact of a company’s existence and the requirements heaped on it from all sides — from the government, shareholders, customers, employees — eventually coats it in layers of bullshit that have nothing to do with mission and innovation and everything to do with placating someone or other. The more success, the more of that there is. Bureaucratic barnacles.

Because we are always in the present, we can’t imagine the Internet without our right-now-essential tools. But eventually they will not be essential. Eventually the Internet will change enough that they will take a more minor role, specialize to the point that they appeal to a much smaller audience, or deprecate entirely.

HotBot? AltaVista? The Open Directory Project? All once hailed as great innovations, hugely useful, where-would-we-be-without-them, tools of the Internet. And now they all pretty much suck. (Though some people involved, like Rich Skrenta (ODP) and his search engine blekko, have moved on to greater things.)

I’m not saying that tomorrow Google is going to start sucking, and I’m not saying it sucks now. It doesn’t. I’m saying that it can’t be what it is indefinitely no matter how unstoppable and monolithic it looks now. And I’m saying that if you start off trying to “be the next Google,” you are setting yourself up for failure.

There are so many problems of discovery and usage on the Internet that have nothing to do with what Google does right, right now. Searching for podcasts is a pointless nightmare. It’s still hard to find and use “deep Web” resources like those which are found within library catalogs and online exhibits. Natural language searching has gone from being difficult and odd (but somewhat useful) to, in my experience, misunderstanding what I actually want. Special character searching is still a niche for engines like SymbolHound. Translation tools, while better, are still pretty bad. The only Twitter viewing/monitoring tool I can find that doesn’t make me want to punch a wall in frustration is Undrip.

Here’s my point: now matter how pervasive Google is, no matter how unshakable it looks, there are still issues with the way the Internet and the Web work. There are still structures to be invented and innovations to be made. And that will be true forever.

For your success, scratch what makes you itch. Look at the Web/Internet/whatever, see what pisses you off, and address that. Take Common Crawl’s excellent offerings and makes your job easier. (Now I’m wondering what Wikia is doing with Grub.) What you do may overlap Google’s endeavors or it may not. But it seems to me you will be much more successful with that approach than by trying to replicate the success of what came before.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 3,884 other followers