My Search History

I decided to do some quick data gathering with a Google account. For a couple of weeks, I did all my searches on Google (I ususally switch between several engines), then transcribed the results. These are posted here, but with the names of a couple of personal acquaintances redacted. They don’t need even the tiny bit of fame or spam they’d get from this blog.

With a (small) set of personal queries, it should be possible to think about approaches for search result personalization. But looking at these, I don’t see any way to improve search with one person’s query stream. I can figure out the context, but there just isn’t enough data for an algorithm to get its teeth into. Also, there are so many different information needs here that any personalization would always be about four steps behind. Several of these are “gold star queries” — one query, get the info.

Want to guess some of the information needs? For extra credit, can you spot the query tactics used?

  • enterprise search
  • ultraseek
  • enterprise search blogs
  • macintosh cad house
  • coveo, sharepoint
  • sketchup
  • google terms of use
  • google terms and conditions
  • how long does cologne last
  • perfume storage
  • parfum storage
  • jean shepherd
  • proper name of friend from Rice
  • 3.15mm
  • 3.15mm lead
  • tarptent
  • yosemite webcap
  • yosemite webcam
  • yosemite conditiona
  • yosemite conditions
  • yahoo term extraction service
  • proper name of friend from HP
  • proper name of friend from HP (alternate spelling)
  • hp narrative history
  • bike helmet cover ladybug
  • Louis Menand, Tetlock
  • verio signature backroom
  • palo alto aspca
  • palo alto spca
  • pets in need
  • typekey
  • lake huntington weather
  • art in the age of mechanical reproduction
  • buck sharpening guide
  • buck honemaster
  • david rains wallace
  • adam gopnik
  • frank westheimer
  • eagle required
  • english entropy, shannon
  • glass cockpit
  • ohlone wilderness map

Copying Minor White

Karen Schneider writes about her experiences imitating the style of four different writers.

This reminds me of my photography class at Rice. I took a photo of pile of dirty sand under a freeway, and when I printed it, it looked a lot like a Minor White. My prof, Peter Brown, saw the same thing in the print. He explained to the class that we should copy as much as we wanted while in school, because that didn’t work after you graduated.

My faux Minor White was an unconscious copy, but working in someone elses personal style sounds like a really valuable exercise. Maybe I should try Minor White’s style on purpose. He’s not my favorite, but I bet it isn’t as easy as it looks.

I won’t try to copy Peter Brown, because my style already leans in that direction. The closest I can find to a web page for Peter is the announcement that Peter Brown and Kent Haruf won the 2005 Lange-Taylor prize. Check out the photos there, then go get one of his books, maybe On the Plains.