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Wednesday, August 20, 2003

Weblogging China with Google

Checking things out over with John Pasden at Sinosplice there are a number of interesting snippets. Firstly, Google has more uses than meet the eye at first glance. Among these is the Google dictionary. Many of you will have noted my horrendous spelling problem by now, but believe me, if it weren't for Google, matters would be a lot worse. When I realise I can't remember how to spell something I simply run the word through Google (the big problem is the growing number of cases were I don't even realise). John too has discovered this, only it seems the problem in Chinese is more interesting:

What I find Google especially useful for is checking up on Chinese words [sorry, you'll need Chinese input capability for this]. There are a lot of Chinese words that are in common practice but have not made it into dictionaries. Proper nouns are not usually in dictionaries anyway. So what do you do in a case like that? Google them. Take a guess at the characters. If you're wrong, you'll know by the search results.

I'll give an example. You want to search for information on Jay Chou in Chinese. You know his Chinese name is Zhou Jielun, but you're not sure which "lun" the last character is. Google all your guesses. Chances are, the one which turns up the greatest number of results is the right one. In the case of Zhou Jielun, it clearly is.

I'll give away another little bloggers secret while I'm at it: Google can make you look more erudite than you really are. I mean if there is some name or some phrase that you remember is vaguely connected with something, you just run it through Google and voila. now talking about bloggers secrets, there are a bunch of people over at Berkley who are crazy enough to think you can teach all this:

Creating the Berkeley China Internet Weblog

CCN# 48162, Journalism 298, section 13
10-11:30 WF, 209 Greenhouse
3 units
Instructors: Xiao Qiang, Paul Grabowicz, John Battelle

China is currently undergoing a digital revolution. In this class, students will create a collaborative news Weblog, the Berkeley China Internet Weblog, which will cover the development of the media and technology in this complex, rapidly changing society. Students will also develop an understanding of Weblogs, a new form of online publishing that has quickly become a popular way to get news and information on particular topics. In the United States, Europe and around the world, Weblogs are redefining the boundaries and practice of journalism, and transforming the landscape of both traditional and new media. The Berkeley China Internet Weblog aims to act as a comprehensive resource center and a forum for public discussion on the social, political, economic and cultural impact of China's Internet development.

Mein Gott, this means that some bright young things over in California are going to be studying..........China Economy Watch. I'd better get to work now.

Mind you, the whole idea seems crackpot to me. "develop an understanding of Weblogs" What the hell does this mean? I thought courses on using an internet browser were pretty weird, but going to class to learn to blog, that just about beats everything. Don't they understand, everything that is happening right now - music, photos, video clips, writing, blogging - is about the de-professionalisation of things. It could even be that blogging as a research strategy will one day - god forbid - lead to the de-professionalisation of science.

Finally John has an interesting post on a topic which has often puzzled me. Google search terms leading to your site. I simply don't understand how certain kinds of terms arrive. I mean, looking through todays batch I have Japans Geographical Landmarks (which I can half understand, although at No2?), but 'diswashing machine air gap problems' (No 81) now where the hell did that come from? John has been asking the same question, and has had at least one rather extraordinary hit. This may not ne too surprising since John, through Sinosplice provides a wonderful service hosting blogs into China, so they can sneak in under the radar as it were. Thanks John.

Looking for what?

I think it's high time I did the "weird search terms people entered to stumble upon my site." I've never done it before. Now that I'm hosting a bunch of other blogs as well, it's hard to say who exactly is responsible for these. What's more, putting these terms in Google frequently does not get a Sinosplice result, so I'm not sure what search engines these weirdos are using. Without further ado, some of the results:

bleached hair pics (26)
With is one that I actually understand. I do have a pic of this. What's surprising is that it got me 26 hits!

shu qi nude (12)
Ah yes, that was a good post. Adolescent boys everywhere (well, maybe 12 of them, anyway) are thanking me for that link, I bet.

?‚?l entrance exam (10)
This is because of Prince Roy. I think it's kind of odd, though, that so many people seem to be looking for information in English but can nevertheless enter gao kao (the name of the Chinese college entrance exam) in Chinese.

dalian girls (10)
Undoubtedly Derrick's doing. That guy wouldn't shut up about the dazzling beauty of Dalian girls the whole month he was here. It was jealousy of Hangzhou and Shanghai's abundance, no doubt.

depressing monologues (3)
Hehe... ssshhhh! Don't tell Hank!

how can i improve my students spoken english (2)
Well, that one was because of me. I don't think many people are reading it, but if you're a brand new teacher in China (or anywhere in Asia, really), you might find my guide useful.

underaged girl gets covered in cum (2), older men with big dicks (1)
OK, these I really cannot explain. I thought maybe someone in the network was writing about something I didn't know about, but I did a search in Google, and Sinosplice was not among the pages and pages of other wholesome family entertainment that turned up. Weird. You can't find mention of this stuff on Sinosplice! Well, er... until now, that is....

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