Sunday, October 15, 2006

IEEE Oddments

A while back, Ramesh Jain posted about an interesting development, IEEE's foray into video, Here's a blurb from the IEEE site announcement:

" is intended to make broadcasting a vibrant and valuable component of the IEEE member's experience," says Pedro Ray, vice president of IEEE Regional Activities, the area that oversees the station. "And it will advance the IEEE's commitment to educating the public on important technology and engineering issues."

Overall, I think IEEE is doing a good job of embracing the Web. My chief complaint is how they segment their papers online. Papers in the IEEE library come up in many of the professional Google searches I make. Since you need an IEEE subscription to get to them, I question the ranking offered by Google.

I think there's a general problem with Google searches here--it seems what I'd call "teaser content" seems to be rapidly evolving and rising to the top. It looks like what you want, it smells like you want, but after you click through you feel like little Ralphie in Christmas Story after he decoded Little Orphan Annie's message about drinking his Ovaltine.

This trend is degrading the quality of search results, and that means there's opportunity for anyone willing to buck the trend and come up with a search algorithm that offers more results and fewer teasers.

As far as IEEE and search goes, the greater frustration, though, is that I often can't get to many IEEE papers even though I have member access. A good proportion the time, the account access available to me won't get me to the paper I need because it's only covered if you have this or that subscription. Why oh why can't we have one stop shopping for members? Tip: If this happens to you, try searching Google for the title with "filetype:pdf" appended to your search. More often than not, you'll strike gold. >:->

A Duh! moment the other day reminded me that Jim Blinn's Corner might be available in the IEEE library. Until now, I never thought to look. Lo and behold, it's there and I even have access to it. Yey! If you've never read Blinn and you have any interest in graphics or you are the sort of person who can find pure joy in beautiful and insightful expositions of mathematics, Blinn is highly recommended. He has published three books derived from his columns. Good stuff, Maynard.


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