Skip to content

Googlocalisation - Google, globalisation and localisation

You've all heard of 'globalisation' and 'localisation', and you've probably also heard of 'glocalisation'. It seems to have become something of a buzzword over the last couple of years, and used with abandon by politicians wishing to sound as if they are part of the paradigm shift that goes forward by synergising the global knowledge economy and the local cultural knowledge base in a win-win situation. It's an open door proactive repositioning of the e-, i- and bs-economy in a performance-based total quality management that vectors a short and long-term reward-oriented mindset.

OK, enough of the BS ;-) Actually, the first time I heard of 'glocalisation' was in a very good book by Miller & Slater - The Ethnography of the Internet - back in 2000. They were one of the first to argue convincingly against the 'virtual' vs. 'real' world ideas that were all the rage at the time - they refused to "treat the Internet independently of its embeddedness" (2000:8), and demonstrated how people in Trinidad used the internet in ways that related directly to their Trini culture. It's a good book, but I did think that sometimes they over-emphasised the local thing without acknowledging the international influences that were carried by the internet too.

So what the #@*! is Googlocalisation? Well, I just made that up for the title, but it's because I noticed that I get different results in Google in the two browsers I use - one has the cookies for Google enabled, and the other one doesn't; this means that on one I get the results from, and the other returns results from

I've done some screenshots, but I don't think you'll be able to read them properly. Out of the first ten results (searching 'tropical gardening', for my new blog, only three are the same:

• First on the 'international' (American?) Google site, third on the Malaysian site: Tropical Plants - GardenWeb
• Fourth on the 'international' Google site, ninth on the Malaysian site: Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden
• Eighth on the 'international' Google site, tenth on the Malaysian site: Tropical Punch - Gardening with Tropical Plants
Continue reading "Googlocalisation - Google, globalisation and localisation"

Creating a blog just by sending an email

This email, in theory, should start a blog with this email as the first post on it. It must be the easiest way to start a blog, but I wonder how popular it will get - perhaps that also depends on other things such as being able to include photos, and stuff like that.

For example, if I paste a photo in this email, will it also come up in the blog?

And I suppose it will include links, anyway – such as one to my blog

And will you be able to Digg it?
[<]script src="" type="text/javascript">

It should create a blog using the part before the @ as the username – so it should be

(I learnt about this from )

Let’s see if it works, and how long it takes (it’s 17.45 now). Sending…

Skype: julhop

Well it worked! It was pretty much instantaneous, and you can see the results here.

I didn't get as some other Julian got it already, so it's julian_lzhga instead, but that can be changed.

The Digg script didn't work - I suppose it doesn't take html script, or java, or something.

Conclusion: not bad, for a rapid and easy blog. I can't see myself switching, but it might appeal to some people...

New search engine – is Cuil cool?

There’s a new search site that claims to be better than Google because

The technology it uses to index the web can understand the context surrounding each page and the concepts driving search requests (BBC)

It’s founded by some ex-Google engineers, so I thought I’d check it out. They say
Cuil searches more pages on the Web than anyone else—three times as many as Google and ten times as many as Microsoft.

Rather than rely on superficial popularity metrics, Cuil searches for and ranks pages based on their content and relevance. When we find a page with your keywords, we stay on that page and analyze the rest of its content, its concepts, their inter-relationships and the page’s coherency. (Cuil)

One thing not ‘cuil’ (it’s pronounced ‘cool’ apparently) about it, is that my name doesn’t come up first! I’m quite sure how, but I am first on Google, which is rather nice.

OK, but that’s a rather biased test, I have to agree that I’m not the most important ‘Julian Hopkins’ around… on the other hand, why does this result, where there are unconnected ‘Julian’ and ‘Hopkins’ in it come up before me?

I came across this though, someone referring to something I wrote in an email list in 2000! Another reminder that ‘the internet does not forget!’ Don’t put anything online that you wouldn’t want your parents, (future) employers, or even your children to read!

On page 8, some links to the Air-l list which I have contributed to.… At page 10 I stopped looking, the last one did not even have ‘julian’ in it …

It seems a bit slower than Google (not good). Although the pages don’t seem to have as much info on them, they do – returning 10 results per page which is the same as Google. Cuil has little pictures which are not necessary, if you ask me. Here's a screen shot for a search for "Malaysia Today". It comes up with RPK as you'd expect with Google, but a problem here is that 6 out 10 results are from the same website - not very useful...
Continue reading "New search engine – is Cuil cool?"

When Google fails…

Sometimes the wonders of the internet hit me again. Reading an article on BBC about Google I noticed a picture of the Android with a Pacman game on it…

I suddenly had a desire to play PacMan: so, I typed ‘play pacman’ into Google, and the top hit was just what I needed on online, free, Pacman! :-)

As a kid, I remember cycling across town to put a few saved coins in a Space Invaders machine. PacMan came a bit later, so I had a bit more money, so we would spend hours in a local ‘milk bar’. Now, I just type in a few words, and I’m sorted… I couldn’t have dreamed of that when I was a kid.

But what about when Google fails us? Yesterday, I searched for something and this came up:

at first I thought it was the terms I used, so I tried different ones to no result. Then I tried a different computer, same result. Browser? Also the same. So I guessed it had to be the network.

I had to turn to something else, so I tried Yahoo! which was OK but the Google interface is nicer. It reminded me of pre-Google days when I used to use a meta-crawler, or try different search sites to see the different results; I had settled on Copernic which was the best thing before Google came along. Maybe it’s still better, to be honest, but I didn’t try it ever since someone suggested Google to me in 2000.

l33t sp34k

Leet is a coded form of writing developed in the 80’s and used (initially at least) by hackers and the ‘elite’ of the networked world.

1t (4n g3t pr3tt¥ (0mp£1(4t3Ð, but for the uninitiated (like me), you can you go here

It’s a leet translator that does leet at various degrees of ‘leetness’

1t’s 4 l33t tr4nsl4t0r th4t d03s l33t 4t v4r10us d3gr33s 0f ‘l33tn3ss’

1t’$ 4 £33t tr4n$£4t0r th4t Ð03$ £33t 4t v4r10µ$ Ð3gr33$ 0f ‘£33tn3$$’

17’$ 4 £337 7r4n$£470r 7h47 Ð03$ £337 47 v4r10µ$ Ð39r33$ 0ƒ ‘£337n3$$’

17’$ 4 £337 7r4||$£470r 7|-|47 Ð03$ £337 47 \/4r10µ$ Ð39r33$ 0ƒ ‘£337||3$$’

17’$ 4 £337 7®4||$£470® 7|-|47 Ð03$ £337 47 \/4®10µ$ Ð39®33$ 0ƒ ‘£337||3$$’

Found out about it thanks to 3POINT8.

There’s also another one here, which translates both ways.

Internet as actant

“The internet” doesn’t have any information. The internet (‘INTernational NETwork’) is the collection of hard and software that enables the storing and transmission of data. Basically, a massive version of the network in your office. You access the information, which is created and stored by individuals.

In practice, apart from people actively involved in its governance (The Internet Society), and network engineers of various types, ‘the internet’ – as an empirical material reality – has no practical prosaic reality for people (unless of course it stopped working…). However, simultaneously, millions of people around the world (as in the comic strip above) interact with ‘the internet’ – objectively, that is what they say is giving them information; so empirically we cannot ignore this. Just as if a person was to say aliens made her assassinate the president – we can’t locate those aliens, but ‘they’ did make her shoot the gun.

I think this is what Latour means by an ‘actant’: it is assigned agency by actors, and is ‘enrolled’ – brought to bear as part of their active engagement with others. Miller & Slater also use that approach in their classic - The Internet - An Ethnographic Approach.