Archive for December, 2012

December 29, 2012

Google Zeitgeist Snapshot

This is an especially short post, as it is a high-level summary of an even higher level summary. Of course, we all know how meaningful THAT is :~

Google Zeitgeist 2008

Nostalgia

Zeitgeist is a borrowed word, from an English language point of view. It means “signs of the times”. Yes, I realize that zeitgeist is singular, but somehow we seem to have made it plural in the process of adoption from German. Or maybe not, as it is sometimes capitalized, as a proper noun, the Zeitgeist. Perhaps it is one of those mysterious, uncountable words?

Quartz News looked a little more deeply into the annual Google Zeitgeist survey, with thankfully human, not machine, translation and analysis.

Methodology

Quartz took the top results for the 34 countries for which there was data for the Zeitgeist “How to…?” category. He then rank ordered by frequency, chose the most common result for each country, and asked around, to assure that everything was translated correctly.

Do the results accurately capture each country’s national character?

Chrome screenshot

In most instances, I think the answer is, “Yes”.

The number one “How to….?” query for The Netherlands was “How to survive”.

 

December 16, 2012

Google translation enigma

My Tumblr friend, Mr. Sheeper, shared a page from a Japanese language website,  アンティーク アナスタシア  I am always happy to hear from him, as he has remained in Japan since the earthquake and nuclear aftermath. In English, the website name is Antiques Anastasia. The focal point is a lovely 18 kt gold slide pendant, in a style evocative of 19th century France.

Translation icon

The original webpage metadata is リュフォニー作 天の元后 レジナ・チェリ 金無垢ペンダント フランス製アンティーク or Pendant of antique gold: Celi Regina, which means “Queen of Heaven”.

This is religious jewelry. The page includes narrative as well as photographs for context. So far, so good.

Original text, prior to Google Translate, side-by-side Latin and Japanese:

Regina Caeli, laetare, Alleluia,
Quia quem Meruisti Partare, Alleluia,
Resurrexit, sicut dixit, Alleluia.
Ora pro nobis Deum, Alleluia.
天の元后よ、喜び給へ。ハレルヤ。
御身産むを許され給へる御子の、ハレルヤ、
自ら言ひ給へるごとくに蘇へり給へばなり。ハレルヤ。
我らがために神に祈り給へ。ハレルヤ。

After Google Translate, Japanese to English, side-by-side Latin and English: 

December 1, 2012

Gmail and mobile service related news

There has been an accumulation of minor activity about Gmail recently.

Email art

Gmail Outage

On 11 December 2012, many Google accounts experienced Gmail unavailability. I did not have experience any problems in Arizona. Gmail was definitely offline for at least 45 minutes, when I checked the official Google Apps Status page.

According to GigaOm, continuous deployment was the problem, and Gmail went down during a routine load balancing update. The GigaOm article is good. It includes a two-page PDF document later released by Google, with a detailed explanation of the incident.

For future reference, I suggest bookmarking the Google Apps Status Dashboard. Despite the “Google Apps” page name, the information is relevant to consumers as well as Google Apps business customers. It lists time and cause for disruptions in Gmail and many other Google services.

Verdict of the Herd

There is an unofficial Is Gmail down? service which culls data from multiple sources. It reminds me of an informal version of Herdict, the “verdict of the herd”. Herdict collects and publicly reports on global incidents of filtering, denial of service attacks, availability, and overall internet infrastructure reliability. Input data is crowd-sourced.

Herdict reports on website inaccessibility regardless of cause. After aggregation and trend analysis, it can be useful for gauging regional blockages of websites known for activism and possibly subject to politically motivated internet censorship. “Is Gmail down” is not intended for anything beyond the convenience of the public, though that is always appreciated! It is not crowd-sourced, nor does it give a comprehensive real-­time map of global Internet health. In contrast, Herdict does exactly that. The collected information can even be broken down on a more granular level.

Herdict access service I like the Herdict badge. You can put it on your website to support Herdict activities. Just click on the sheep-shaped image to get one. The Herdict real time interactive map is fun to watch, and its RSS feed is available for free to anyone who wants to use the data. Herdict is run by the Berkman Center for Internet & Society of Harvard University. 

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