I’ve been using Twitter account names a lot recently in retweeting — They’re good, attention-grabbing handles. It’s easy to find out if a company has an account, by simply adding the obvious name to the twitter.com/xxxx URL. That usually works, as shown below. But not for Apple.

Almost all of the tech giants do have an active Twitter account, under their obvious names. Here are a few (from my tweet) – ericrumsey: Thanks for being on Twitter: @Twitter @Facebook @Microsoft @IE @FireFox @Google @Amazon @Dell @eBay

And here are the names that Apple has chosen not to claim and use, again, from my tweet – ericrumsey: Why doesn’t Apple do Twitter? – @Apple @iTunes @iPad @Mac @Appleinc @Apple_inc

There have been speculations about Apple’s not using Twitter — Last year Dave Greenbaum in GigaOm speculated (wrongly so far) that Apple would be Twittering  soon, and there’s even a Quora article Why doesn’t Apple have a Twitter account? In March, Dutch blogger Kees Henniphof wrote that Apple doesn’t do social, pointing out that Apple’s non-social media choice extends beyond Twitter to other media like Facebook and LinkedIn, and says that by their non-participation, Apple is making “a statement.” I’d say they’re missing an opportunity.

Eric Rumsey is at: eric-rumsey AttSign uiowa dott edu and on Twitter @ericrumsey

Being an Iowa baseball boy at heart, I naturally thought about Field of Dreams when I read the words below by SEO guru Bill Hartzer in The Status Of Search Engine Optimization: April 2011 — It’s still the same as it’s always been, he says — Build a good website and it’ll get found. The idea is certainly not new, but Hartzer states it nicely:

So, what should you focus on right now, today, in April 2011? What has changed? Really, nothing has changed in a major way. It’s still business as usual. Build a quality web site, with lots of good informational content about your subject, publicize the content (properly) on other web sites, get links from other web sites to ALL of your content, and you will be just fine. Create a site that is good for your users and something that they like, and the search engines will reward you for it.

In other words, quit chasing the Google algorithm and worrying about all of the “minor” SEO tweaks that you could be doing and worry more about the fact that you’re not creating great content on your web site. That said, there are “best practices” that you still need to adhere to:

- Search engine friendly web design
- Unique content
- Make sure your on-page factors are in check (i.e., proper title tags, meta tags, heading tags, alt tags, etc.)
- Add good content to your site on a regular basis
- Do proper publicity for your content (use social sites, link building, and press releases when appropriate).

Eric Rumsey is at: eric-rumsey AttSign uiowa dott edu and on Twitter @ericrumsey

I wrote in a previous post about the punning name of “Mac OS X” — which apparently came from the mind of Steve Jobs. I observed that it’s surprising that there has been little commentary on this cute little pun. I guess maybe this sensitized me to see little-noticed puns by other famous geeks …

I came across another “famous geek pun” recently, by newly-named Google CEO and founder Larry Page — PageRank, the algorithm that made Google famous, is named for Larry Page! Like most people, I assumed that it was called that because of its page-ranking purpose. Although this pun is certainly more widely-acknowledged than the Steve Jobs pun — it’s even mentioned in the first sentence of the Wikipedia article on PageRank — it’s still questioned by some.

Is there a pattern here? Do geeks get too little credit for having a wry sense of humor? It certainly seems like these two little examples merit more attention.

Eric Rumsey is at: eric-rumsey AttSign uiowa dott edu and on Twitter @ericrumsey

Yesterday’s Reuters headline below, with projected tablet sales through 2015, makes a good compliment to a graphic in an article I wrote last year, which also targets 2015 — Saying that’s about when mobile devices (including tablets) will overtake desktops. So I’m mostly just juxtaposing these two graphics below, followed by mention of a library connection. First, the Reuters headline:

… And the graphic from my earlier article on libraries and mobile:

The Library Connection

From my Twitter watching, there seems to be relatively little discussion of the iPad in library circles, compared to other fields. With the exploding use of them, we in libraries need to pick up the ball!

Text from Reuters article:

Tablet market seen surging to $49 billion by 2015 – The global tablet computer market, born last year with Apple’s iPad, will grow to a $49-billion business by 2015, research firm Strategy Analytics said.

Eric Rumsey is at: eric-rumsey AttSign uiowa dott edu and on Twitter @ericrumsey

I got several good tips in a recent Web Searching class* I attended — One of the tools I learned about is BlindSearch, which does a comparison search in Google, Bing, and Yahoo. I tried it out in the class, searching for the title words google librarians from a blog article I had just published a few days before (Google & Librarians as Cousins), not  really thinking it was likely that any of the search engines would find it. But much to my surprise, one of them did find it in the first screen — Bing! The article was published on March 29. At the class three days later on April 1, it was number one in Bing. When I’ve checked since then, it’s been number three, as highlighted in the screenshot below.


(Click screenshot for LARGE)

Great job, Bing! This little example, I think, indicates that Bing may be the search engine of choice for time-sensitive subjects that are likely to have recent updates. It makes me wonder if Bing is giving higher precedence to pertinent blog articles than Google and Yahoo. Confirming my experience, I recently noticed a good Google-Bing comparison article showing that for some searches Bing is, indeed, better than Google.

*Super Searcher class, taught by Max Anderson, from the GMR/NNLM office, at a meeting of the Iowa Library Association Health Sciences Subdivision

Eric Rumsey is at: eric-rumsey AttSign uiowa dott edu and on Twitter @ericrumsey

I wrote recently on the kinship of Google and libraries. I got the idea for that especially from a long portrait of Google co-founder and new CEO Larry Page, which brings out several qualities of Google and Page that I think show commonality with libraries and librarians. In that portrait, Farhad Manjoo contrasts the Google/Page style with the Apple/Steve-Jobs style, and says it’s unlikely that Google will “tap its inner Apple” under Page’s leadership. …

That term “Tap its inner Apple” kept bouncing around in my mind — Larry Page may not help Google find its Inner Apple, I think, but how about adding another twist? — Combining the idea of Google-Librarian temperamental connections, from my previous article, with Google Books, which resonates strongly with librarianship, and was actually conceived by Page — How about Larry Page as Google’s Inner Librarian? …

At first this idea of Larry Page as Google’s “inner librarian” seemed almost too playful to suggest. It was only when I was able to substantiate Page’s central role in creating Google Books and his conception of it in library terms that the idea seemed more credible. The general idea of his involvement in the early years of the project is commonly mentioned, but Google co-founder Sergey Brin is the one who’s gotten more attention talking about it. So it took some digging to find details of Page’s role in the creation of Google Books, which did turn up some bits of solid evidence, discussed below.

The first is the story of Page telling Google CEO Eric Schmidt about his idea for Google Books. This is from Ken Auletta’s book on Google, ironically enough, right from Google Books — Surprisingly, as interesting as the story is, especially from a library point-of-view, googling the quote turns up only a handful of fairly obscure places where it’s cited. The telling here is notable for Page’s strong emphasis of the project’s library-librarian connections:

[boldface added] Schmidt remembers the day in 2002 he walked into Page’s office and Page surprised him by showing off a book scanner he had built. It had been inspired by the great library of Alexandria … “‘We’re going to scan all the books in the world,” Page said. For search to be truly comprehensive, he explained, it must include every book ever published. He wanted Google to “understand everything in the world and give it back to you.” Sort of “a super librarian,’” he said.

The second telling of the story is also little-cited, probably because it’s buried in the middle of a recent multi-paged Wired article. Written by master tech storyteller Steven Levy, it’s notable for the clear statement that the project was Page’s idea:

[boldface added] It was Page who dreamed of digitizing the world’s books. Many assumed the task was impossible, but Page refused to accept that. It might be expensive, but of course it was possible. To figure out just how much time it would take, Page and Marissa Mayer jury-rigged a book scanner in his office, coordinating Mayer’s page-turning to a metronome. Then he filled up spreadsheets with calculations … Eventually, he became convinced that the costs and timing were reasonable. What astounded him was that even his spreadsheets didn’t dissolve the skepticism of those with whom he shared his scheme. “I’d run through the numbers with people and they wouldn’t believe them,’” he later said. “So eventually I just did it.” Page was disappointed when critics … launched a series of legal challenges … “Do you really want the whole world not to have access to human knowledge as contained in books?” Page asks. “You’ve just got to think about that from a societal point of view.”

It’s ironic that Page is taking over as Google CEO just after the rejection of the Google Books Settlement. But I suspect the Google Books project will be seen by librarians of the future as a necessary first step in the evolution of a universal digital library — An idea that might still seem impossible if it hadn’t been for Google. In fact, this process of looking back on Google Books as “history” has already started — Harvard Library director (and historian) Robert Darnton, writing in a NY Times op-ed soon after the Settlement rejection, proposes the creation of A Digital Library better than Google’s. He concludes his piece by giving credit to Google for getting the idea started:

Through technological wizardry and sheer audacity, Google has shown how we can transform the intellectual riches of our libraries, books lying inert and underused on shelves. But only a digital public library will provide readers with what they require to face the challenges of the 21st century.

And it might not have happened if Larry Page hadn’t had the audacious dream of digitizing the world’s books and scanned the first one in his office with Marissa Mayer.

Eric Rumsey is at: eric-rumsey AttSign uiowa dott edu and on Twitter @ericrumsey