Week 6

Date: 5th August 2007
Topic: Searching by Internet

The latest class session has provided me new things to learn. Up to now, I have always used Google or online library to search for information. I did know of other search tools on the Internet and theirs use, but I have never thought about using them. Now I have changed my mind thanks to the lecture. Google may be the most popular, but not always the best at searching everything. My experience from years using Google tells me that Google is the quickest and most reliable way to search something but if I have patience and time and a specific searching purpose in my mind, shifting to other tools may be a considerable option. Google's strength lies at its ability of covering most of the websites in the world, but it's coverage is so broad that when the results are returned, the half of them may be what the users need but the other half may be irrelevant or for advertising purpose. If relevance is what most people use to judge a search tool, I wholeheartedly agree but I would like to recommend one more attribute that people should consider when they choose the search tools, a clear ranking system. Most everybody think that the first page of the results contain the best results, I would like to point out that it's not always right. Since searching depends mostly on keywords, the results are the same. A website that contains the exact keyword doesn't have to be a reliable website. I have been through several situations in which the contents of many website has nothing to do with the keyword even though in the result they have them. It must be an abuse of meta tags in order to get their websites in the result list by putting as many popular keywords as possible in the meta tags of their websites. Some search tools have a ranking system in its engines but they do not show it clearly for users to see and those spamming websites are mostly put at the bottom of the list. That's when a clear ranking system come into handy, a website that uses meta tags for spamming will get the lowest rank and that save many people' time going through those ones (e.g. using stars from 1-5 to rank a site is considered a clear way).

Week 7

Date: 5th August 2007
Topic: A Web That Thinks Like You

After reading this article, there were several things that I thought about Semantic Web. A smarter search engine was a challenge that is sough after by many big companies. Much attention had been paid to Semantic Web due to this reason. Structuring the information collected from many sources in the Internet is really a tough job for web masters. The weakness of search engines nowadays still lied at the point that either the information was disconnected or irrelevant to what the users truly wanted. Changing this is like a revolution to search engines. I look forward to the day it becomes truth.

Week 9

Date: 24th August 2007
Topic: Virtual Classroom

In previous class session, I had the change to use virtual classroom to have an online conservation wih my team members and I had learned a lot from this experience. First of all, it's not like the forum in wiki in which virtual classroom requires immediate response of participants at that time when forum doesn't require such. This both has advantages and disadvantages. It benefits users in which they can exchange information continuously and receive the response right after the questions. Moreover, I can also record the session for reviewing later what was discussed. However, not all the team members can be online at the same time, so missing information or lack of information is possible. That's when forum comes into handy since it allows users time to response and keep track of threads. Hence, utilizing both of them may be the best solution for team collaboration since they complement each other.

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