Yahoo search tricks

Yahoo search tricks: Gary Price at ResourceShelf says Yahoo Search is “going wild” with short-cuts. Here’s a complete list Yahoo search features to compare with a similar list of Google search features.

I note all this because today Gary mentions a new Yahoo short-cut, one that made me think of my father. Until the day he passed away at age 89, he rarely failed to include in every conversation we shared a question about how much gas cost in whatever city I happened to be talking to him from. From as early as I can recall, he always kept a piece of paper in his car on which he recorded a running tally of the cost per gallon of each fill-up and calculations related to his average mile-per-gallon performance. Even when his cars began to have such features displayed on the dashboard, he continued to keep his paper calculations “to be sure.”

Perhaps because of our subconcious reaction to his obsession, my brothers and I have rarely been aware of the price of gas. It would never fail to frustrate my father when I would answer his question about the price of a gallon of gas with the flip, “I have no idea.” As he got older and his memory deteriorated, this gas per gallon discussion became so important a part of his concerns whenver we visited or talked on the phone that, despite my lack of awareness, I would always make up an answer for gas milage and price per gallon quizes.

Oh, how I wished he’d lived during a time when he could have enjoyed this handy little tool:

How much does gas cost where you are (change the zipcode)?

Crunching the New Yorker

Crunching the New Yorker: Could someone run the numbers on why this story was assigned by the book editor of the NY Times? Out of the thousands of seniors graduating from Ivy League schools this month, Katherine L. Milkman’s senior thesis at Princeton University gained feature-coverage from the Times. Why? Because she crunched lots of numbers about fiction appearing in The New Yorker.

The 116-page thesis makes such conclusions as:

“…male editors generally publish male authors who write about male characters who are supported by female characters.

A student in the Department of Operations Research and Financial Engineering, Katherine told the Times, “Many people thought it was completely idiotic,” she said. “But when they found out I would actually be reading the stories, they were more understanding.”

Next fall, Katherine (who the reporter adds a paragraph or two so the reader can learn she is a fun-loving, partying girl and not the complete geek the rest of the story convinces us she is) will attend Harvard Business School, seeking a doctorate in information technology and management. Party on.

Maxim Kiddie P*rn

Maxim Kiddie P*rn: Please, tell me this is a joke. Crain’s New York Business is reporting that Dennis Publishing is planning an August test issue of a Maxim magazine for kids called “K-Maxx.” While the rexblog typically merely reports this type of vaporzine news, this weblog has decided to enter the fray on this one:

Does the world really need more p*rn with training wheels? And what is that statement, “There’s a gaping hole for something aimed at 10- to 13-year-old boys,” made by Andy Clerkson, editorial director at Dennis? Besides being a blatantly ridiculous observation (this weblog lives with a 10- to 13-year-old boy), what does the quote mean? “There’s a gaping hole, so we think it should be filled by extending into the category a brand defined by soft-core p*rn and cheap hair-dye.”

If you have someone in your sphere of influence who those weasles at Maxim want to target with their puerile p*rn, I suggest you purchase them instead a subscription to Popular Science or Car & Driver. (They’ll find the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition on their own.)

Believe me, a stroll by the nearest newsstand will convince you there is no gaping hole in a 10-13 year old’s current access to the type of crap Dennis already shovels out to them. While I’m all for Dennis publishing anything they care to, I want to go on record as hoping this misguided concept is shamed out of existence before it is launched. Unfortunately, it will probably be a huge success.

I used to make snide comments about another concept in “this pre-teen boy category,” but the more that I think about it, I’m now really hoping these guys are successful.

Big magazine news

Big magazine news: For $7.35 (U.S.) you can purchase a copy of the 2×3-feet Montreal-based magazine, Manoeuvres (the ability to read french required), which is returning after a 13-year absence. (A Radar magazine precedent?) According to the NY Times (registration required), publishers of the magazine are trying to get Guiness Book of World Records to declare the size of the magazine a record. This weblog would like to scoop Guiness by declaring Manoeuvres “The biggest publicity gimmick using a big-format magazine ever heard of by the rexblog.”

This weblog does not know whether or not to call the magazine a “custom published” magazine as it seems to be a bit like Benetton’s Colors: “The three Manoeuvres executives acknowledge that the impetus behind the original magazine was largely self-promotional. “One way of getting the media to notice our work,” Mr. Blais said, “was simply to create our own magazine.” As noted previously, despite such a strong similarity in purpose, Benetton’s Colors is not a custom published magazine.