USOpenCup.com — Powered by Demosphere

USOpenCup.com — Powered by Demosphere

Latest results from the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup. As for local flavor, looks like the Western Mass Pioneers will be going up against the Raging Rhinos of Rochester from USL. A USL 2nd division vs. USL 1st division should be interesting. Frankly, the smart money would go down on Rochester, but who knows. I’ve seen them play. I’ll be rooting for Western Mass.

Independent publisher of Vermont writers

Some of you may know that I hold a degree in Literature, and have long harbored a desire to seek out and make available the best of the best of poets, essayists, and story writers in and around the state of Vermont. To that end, I’ve started up Onegecko Publishing here and made available our first book by Vermont Poet Victor Densmore. His first title, Out of the Hermit’s Meadow and Wood is already almost sold out, with only a dozen copies of the first printing remaining. We will be moving to a print-on-demand platform soon, though.

Densmore’s poetry is set in the real, but with spots of magic that bring truth to the most ubiquitous of things. If you like poetry, I encourage you to take a look at some poems of his and pick up one of the last copies from the first printing.

Watch Onegecko Publishing for more info on Densmore’s and other writers’ work in the future.

Now accepting submissions

We are now accepting submissions for a digital dada publication. Send us your art, poetry, stories, manifestos, rude sayings, and bicycle pumps to sabin at one gecko dot com for inclusion.

The title of the publication will be determined by the first ten words of the first five submissions received.

I will be double posting this announcement everywhere I can think of, so have at it!

Support for Vermont secession

Second Vermont Republic

You may have read about this on Monday via the AP, or you may have seen it in The Onion. Whichever source you heard the news from, I urge you to support — even if not a Vermont resident — this movement. While only 13% of the population of Vermont are behind a secession movement, it is a vocal and viable minority. As a natural born citizen of Vermont, and a former resident, I am lending my ethical support to these folks.

I’m not a revolutionary. I’m not a radical. I’m not an anarchist. I have read very carefully the movement’s points of order, and reasons for secession. What I found were some very salient points. Points that I was initially inclined to believe were overly utopian, but I caught myself on that point.

Why shouldn’t residents of a region feel entitled to safety, peace, economic security, in addition to the other rights granted US Citizens by the Bill of Rights? The movement towards creating the Second Vermont Republic is emphasizing those points in a peaceful separation from the United States. They hold up Switzerland as a political and economic model, and I don’t believe they are far off. However, there are questions the movement will have to answer if it is to succeed.

How will residents of the Second Vermont Republic make their living? The service and manufacturing industries — according to my data — are the largest in the state. Will there be enough support for both of them for individual families to sustain or improve their ways of life?

Will federal grants to public universities continue to be funded, or will there need to be a new method of supplying research grants to the University of Vermont and the like?

Will there be tariffs on trade? Will there be a need for a Vermont passport? What about Vermont’s relationship with Quebec?

I will look for answers to these questions as time passes, and perhaps they are even addressed within their manifesto. I will continue to follow the progression of this movement, and let them know that a native son of Vermont, who was born on town meeting day, is rooting for their success.

Ask.com search results redesign

The new ask.com

I thought I’d spend a few paragraphs on the ask.com redesign (linked above). While the search result is just about the same as the previous ask.com, with the Narrower, Broader, and Related terms being returned along with the set, the interface is significantly different.

First off, they’ve created a column on the left entirely related to your search. In there, they’ve dropped the semantic terms, the link to advanced search, and the search box. This is a great idea, since search results take up more vertical space than horizontal, so there’s still plenty of room for results in the bride of the page.

Secondly, they’ve added immediate returns on the Image, Encyclopedia, and Video results in the far right column. Something new for ask.com. This gives the page a look more of an atlas than a set of search results. Third, they’ve organized the center column so that a Best Bets result appears above the sponsored results and the result set proper.

Within the results, they bold your search term and provide a sneak peek of what the result’s web page looks like. Though I’m not entirely convinced a set of binoculars makes any sense, the functionality is welcome.

More drastically, however, is that they’ve done the entire thing using a fairly robust pageless concept. The advanced search widget appears as a layer above a ghosted background, the my stuff and options menus behave as if they were OS menu systems, and each result can be moused over and added to the “Your Stuff” section of ask.com using a little “+” icon.

There’s no evidence I can find that they’ve improved their results, however. That said, ask.com has always been — in my mind — a search engine for librarian-types: research-oriented rather than democracy-driven. A different take, but not one that is necessarily awful.

The result? Well, all of the elements of a solid result set are there: semantic (broader, narrower, related, variant) suggestions, spell-checking, best bets, and exploratory items that a user may not have thought of using (images and video). It’s a well-rounded search engine that deserves more attention than it gets.

On the flip side, while ask.com does the right thing in providing the semantically-related terms, their meta data can sometimes be off. Follow the link above, and see if you can spot the “Related Names” that aren’t necessarily something you’d expect.