Nov 28 2008

On a less serious note… Let’s talk about health and kratom

So we’ve got a few days off here in America for Thanksgiving. I thought I’d write some on the old Blog that I’ve been neglecting. I think I’m going to keep another non-serious thread going here to lighten up the load on the work-related items. Sometimes there’s just things I want to talk about that don’t fit anywhere, like for example I just discovered kratom.

Maybe discovered is not the right way to put it. Basically, I was introduced to kratom by a friend, who takes it regularly. He told me of it’s benefits and after a few follow up questions I went to and ordered some from myself. I made the decision on kratom just about on the spot; it sounded awesome so I figured I’d try it.

I was pleasantly surprised. Soon I saw the benefits of taking kratom regularly myself. I’ve found myself recommending it to others as well. That’s just the beginning though.

You know, there’s a site I really enjoy checking out almost everyday when I log on. This is from a british photographer by the name of Ross Halfin and seeing as how he’s got some good writing on his site, I think I’ll start out talking about him.

Ross has a ‘Diary‘ section on his site which is really amusing and informative at the same time. His travel photography I really enjoy as a beak from all of the great rock and roll photography. He’s photographed nearly every great musical artist there is! You name it, The Who, David Gilmour of Pink Floyd, Pearl Jam and of course my favorite, Led Zeppelin… he’s photographed them all! Here’s an example of Jimmy Page at the recent Olympic Games in Beijing of 2008.

Jimmy Page in Beijing | copyright Ross Halfin

One of my favorite series of photographs from Ross contains this image here below of Jimmy at Shepperton Studios in 1993.

Jimmy Page at Shepperton Studios | copyright Ross Halfin

I really enjoy reading Ross’ writing in his Diary on his site. He writes about all kinds of things. Mostly commenting about others on his travels across the globe. His comments hold nothing back and he is oftentimes very critical of others, but that can be quite refreshing to hear what a person is really thinking rather than sugar-coating everything. Oftentimes, his comments are related to his travels.

A sample below:

My flight is full, absolutely rammed, only got a middle seat (okay, I’ll admit I’m flying business) but sitting inbetween an old man and a Chinese man who keeps knocking my arm trying to get more elbow room or whatever you call it. I wonder how long I’ll last without a row with him, – he’s now done it four times.

And yet another sample when he was currently in Kansas City when shooting a Metallica show:

Kansas. Yes, somewhere over the rainbow. The airport is about a hundred miles from downtown. Okay I’m exaggerating, but it was a long way. Around the arena are lots of Irish bars and places to eat meat, lots of meat. Most of the people walking around are the size of cows, it’s like herds of human cattle. Kazuyo says ‘It’s so boring here all they do is eat.’

I got out of a taxi at the venue. A large heifer comes over, ‘Hey are you Lars?’. Firstly, could you see Lars getting out of a cab in the street and saying at the stage door ‘Hello my good man. Is this The Kansas Sprint Arena and can I come in?’ I say no and he then looks at me as if he’s just seen the awakening of Christ and says ‘You really look like Lars are you sure?’ I’m sure and just to clear up any misconceptions, Lars looks like me – except I’m far more handsome…

Ross has some great photographs of some of the most famous and influential musicians ever, so check out his site and see how he allows us access into his perspective on a quite intriguing career as a photographer. Well worth return trips to the site to see what he’s up to, where he’s travelling to, and who he’s photographing or bumping into at hotels in Hollywood.

Chris J. Politzki
Studio 119 Degrees

Nov 25 2008

Google SearchWiki Described

Some of you may have noticed some new buttons / features to your Google search results pages last week. It seems the development team over at Google have decided to allow their users the ability to customize their search pages. This feature is only available when you are logged into Google. Google is calling this their ‘SeachWiki’ feature.

This newly released feature also has the SEO (Search Engine Optimization) world waiting on pins and needles to see where things are headed with the way Google will use this data to craft it’s algorithm to de-emphasize ranking within search result pages when searching with Google. Some are saying that ‘Ranking is Dead’! Follow this previous link to view an interesting interview and article with Bruce Clay and his take on the future of ranking within Google and the importance of traffic. SEOs will now have to rely heavily upon looking at analytics, bounce rate, and traffic.

But I wanted to show everyone the new feature so that everyone can start using this to better cater their search results to themselves. It really does help find that site that used to be on the second or third results page and throwing it to the first page at the top! You can even delete certain listings that you don’t want to see. Obviously, creating a more customized search.

So at first, we’ll do a search for ‘Yellow Pages’ (as I work for one of the local internet yellow page web sites… ;-) ).


At first glance, you’ll notice the ‘Up Arrow’ & ‘X’ to the right of the listing. Under that there’s also a ‘Comment Balloon’ icon.


Allow me to go briefly over each item here:


Above, you will see how the ‘Promote’ button appears once you mouse-over it.


Once you click on this ‘Promote’ button it will not only move the listing to the top of the page, but it will also add another field below the listing where data is revealed as to how many people promoted or removed the listing and their Google Account names.



The ‘Remove’ button functions pretty much in the same way, except that when you click on it the listing disappears from your search results.



Not only can you promote or remove a listing, but you can also add a comment to remind yourself what you enjoyed about this site, etc. Or you can also allow other Google members to view your comments, which I will describe below.



What’s really interesting is what appears at the very bottom of the page:

SearchWiki Bottom of Page Line



There’s a line appearing with ‘Add a result’, ‘See all my SearchWiki notes’, ‘See all notes for this SearchWiki’ & ‘Learn more’ links.

When clicking on the ‘Add a result’ this appears:

SearchWiki Add a result

This allows you to customize your search results page even more by adding a site or page that you feel should be included within these results.


Clicking on ‘See all my SearchWiki notes’ reveals:

SearchWiki Comment Line

Clicking on ‘See all notes for this SearchWiki’ also shows your comment, if you left one, or all the comments left by Google users for the ‘Yellow Pages’ search.


And finally, clicking on ‘Learn more’ goes to Google’s description of this new feature.


At YouTube, there is a SearchWiki video which better illustrates the new features in action.


As I mentioned the SEO world is anxiously awaiting to see how this new feature will affect rankings within the search results. Until then, we can enjoy customizing our search result pages.


Chris J. Politzki
Studio 119 Degrees