Sunday, July 26, 2009

a note to the Mad Googler:
stop typing ""!!

An idée fixe is a thought that gets so stuck in your head that, even if you know you shouldn't be thinking it and/or acting on it, you keep coming back to it, anyway. It's a fixed idea.

Someone who visits this blog is suffering from an idée fixe: he or she keeps typing "" into the Google search window (I can see this activity on my SiteMeter), and they really need to wake up and realize that the domain name isn't "" but "" Why is this important? Because that person might decide to send the wrong URL to a friend who wants to visit this blog, and when they do, they'll discover that "" doesn't exist.

If this mad Googler is indeed under the thrall of an idée fixe, as I suspect s/he is, I doubt that this very public reminder will help shake them of the problem. Having labored under many fixed ideas myself, I know how easy it is to make the same mistake repeatedly, all while knowing that I should have learned from the previous twenty mistakes.

The mad Googler's repeated Googling of my site leads me to believe that they don't know how to "bookmark" a link on their Web browser, which further indicates that they may not be all that familiar with how to surf online. Dear Mad Googler: your homework is to ask your kids, or your grandkids, or your students, or some random youngster how to bookmark websites that you repeatedly visit. Instead of having to search for the website through Google every single time, clicking the bookmark is a much, much easier way of returning to the site.

Of course, if you're visiting the site this often, mightn't it be even better to try memorizing the URL? After all, how hard can that be, if you're motivated to come here often? And once the URL has been properly typed, most modern browsers will remember the visit as part of one's browsing history, which means you'll only have to type part of the URL the next time you want to visit. (Or, as mentioned, you can just click your bookmark.)

"Kevin's Walk at BlogSpot dot com." See? Not hard. For navigation purposes, "Kevin's Walk" is written without capitals, spaces, or punctuation: kevinswalk. "BlogSpot" should be easy to remember, too: it's the spot where the blogs are.

Hey, I'm just tryin' to help.

At a guess, the Mad Googler is an older person. I know this person uses Cox as their ISP, and is based in Virginia. Their operating system is Microsoft WinNT, and their browser is Internet Explorer 7.* They might even be someone I personally know. Hello, you.

I'd love to write a long essay about the American psyche and its uncomfortable relationship with new technology (quite different from South Korea, where 90-year-old grandmothers can be seen frantically texting people on their cell phones), but I'll save that rant for another day.

*Yes, all these data are public. And yes, the word "data" is plural; the singular is "datum." The same goes for "media," whose singular form is "medium." Some might counterargue that "common usage" indicates that "data" and "media" can be used in the singular. That's a good, respectable argument-- one I've made in the past about other turns of phrase-- but I think the usage of these words in the singular needs to be even more common before I finally give in to the language barbarians.


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