Sunday, May 30, 2004

OK - first of all..what the heck is with Blogger? My blog keeps on coming up in the old orange template?? So confuzzled..hope no one else is!

SO..yesterday, after my bad luck began to turn to good luck (With discovery of free internet) I took a wander into Sainsbury's..which is a slightly overpriced grocery store..but the closest to home and if you get there at precisely the right time you can catch the stockboy marking down yummy foods (like Smarties cookies) and swipe them out from under his nose. Anywho..so there I was in Sainsbury's debating for the umpteenth time whether I should just take a leap of faith and buy the smooth PB...smooth PB with little speckles of dark brown in it. You see..over here..instead of adding loads of things to the P..like icing sugar, they only add a bit of brown sugar cane and oils. Anyway, so dilemna was upon me...because tiny jar of PB cost 1.38 pounds...if I didn't like the PB would be huge waste of money..money that could have been spent on Nutella or chocolate (just kidding..am being quite good most of the time) or Diet Vanilla Coke. Ah..but I just had to try it..would always wonder otherwise. Was going to go for the reg. smooth PB, but then noticed the 'Light' version and, checking ingredient list, was ecstatic to see listed near the beginning 'glucose syrup'. Woohoo!! GOod 'ol 'lower in fat' tricks..they always have to add in sugar to replace fat..so PB ended up tasting quite like N.American style PB..a bit grainy, but tasty enough. So..PB emergency is over and I most certainly will not be blending up my own PB..I only tried that once in my life..with my sister's friend,Cathy, and it was so bad even the dog wouldn't go near it.

But, for my lovely sister, Sahra, who is visiting in October, no worries..I am certain I will find plenty of things for her to lug across to this side of the world :) I'll start a list soon enough, don't you worry :)

Tonite, Keri, Jen & I are going to quiz night..now I'm sure it just won't be the same without Stats and Casey's venue, but we'll try our best..Jen has come up with v. appropriate team name 'Clueless Canadians'..and right so we are. Sorry, I'm just not up on my football and Coronation Street news. We need a few good Scots to join us..not to worry, I'm sure we can scope some out in upcoming weeks..

OK...off to prep for quiz night (prep includes eating, drinking and primping..no sense thrying to pretned we are smart or will have any of the answers...wish us luck anyway!)



49 comments:

JIm said...

Hi Shannon, sounds like things are going ok...have you checked your gmail account lately?

Jim

TheHaggispress said...

Hey Shannon,

The other day i was shopping at sainsbury, low and behole skippy PB. I remembered your previous post about wanting Skippy PB so next time i'm down to Edinburgh that Skippy PB has your name on it. i actually have found a great kind it has 87% peanuts as appose to the 95% that is used here. Shannon you need to get yourself to Asda or a Tesco. It's the generic brand and sells for 43p. I've gone though 3 jars.

Anonymous said...

Hi there Shannon. Uncle Mike here. I enjoy reading of your adventures. Sounds like a blast. Do you really want someone to mail you peanut butter? I can send you some if you'd like. What is your address?

Love

Mike

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Ask.com, Answers.com outperform more popular Web engines

Even as they become more savvy, the Internet's leading search engines still sometimes bog down in befuddlement when a specific kernel of knowledge is sought.

Hoping to fill the gap, Answers.com (from GuruNet Corp.) and Ask.com (from Ask Jeeves Inc.) have pledged to provide more adept responses to vexing but straightforward questions about history, science, geography, pop culture and sports.


Both search engines aim to provide a correct answer explicitly at the top of a search's first results page -- or with a highly placed link to a Web page that contains the information.

Their mission raises a question: Just how knowledgeable are these search engines?

To find out, I staged a very unscientific test consisting of questions culled from a recent edition of Trivial Pursuit.

My mock game pitted the avowed prowess of Answers.com and Ask.com against the Internet's most widely used search engines -- Google, Yahoo and Microsoft Corp.'s MSN.

The findings: Answers.com and Ask.com appear to be a small step ahead of Google and noticeably smarter than Yahoo and MSN when dealing with such esoteric questions as "What glass beads are created when a meteorite strikes the Earth's surface?"

Both Answers.com and Ask.com guided me to the correct answer (tektites) with the first link on the results page -- an aptitude that both sites displayed with 10 of the 20 questions posed in the theoretical game. When they didn't get the answer with the very first link in response to some questions, both search engines generally came through within the next two links.

Although they performed similarly in our game,-Answers.com and Ask.com rely on different formulas.

Answers.com relies on a combination of Google's search engine and human editors who have stoked its database with answers to frequently asked questions that they've obtained by poring through reference materials.

Ask.com, part of a Web family about to be acquired by e-commerce conglomerate InterActiveCorp for $2 billion, has devised a fully automated approach that fishes through the Internet's sea of information.

Although they are superior to the other search engines at this task, Answers.com and Ask.com rarely realized their ultimate goal -- making things as clear-cut as possible by summarizing the correct response at the very top of the results page so it wouldn't be necessary to click on a link and peruse another Web site.

Ask.com spit out a concise "Web answer" in just two of the 20 questions, while the only time that Answers.com delivered was when I sought the definition of "googol." (It's the number one followed by 100 zeros.)

Google, which drew its name from that mathematical term, fared reasonably well in the competition. The Internet's most popular search engine came up with the correct answer on the first link in eight of the 20 questions (including the one about tektites). That's something Yahoo did just five times and MSN only twice.

None of the sites was omniscient. Answers.com, Ask.com and Google each drew blanks on three questions (I considered it a miss if a link to the correct answer didn't appear within the first three pages of results). Yahoo and MSN each whiffed on six questions.

There was only one question that baffled all the search engines, "Who was the first Cuban defector to play in Major League Baseball?" Although they all contained references to him in their indexes, none of the search engines could figure out it was Rene Arocha, a pitcher who first signed with the St. Louis Cardinals in the early 1990s.


Though it lagged behind the other search engines in this competition, MSN looked brilliant on one question that stumped all the other search engines: What company was acquired in the biggest leveraged buy-out deal of all time? The first link on MSN's results page took me to a site that correctly listed RJR Nabisco.

The test also revealed the disadvantage of depending on search engines -- they sometimes point to sites with conflicting answers.

This occurred most frequently when I asked how many viewers watched the series finale of the TV show M*A*S*H. The search engines pointed to Web sites that variously listed the audience at anywhere from 105.9 million to nearly 125 million. Trivial Pursuit lists the answer as 121.6 million.

To paraphrase M*A*S*H's theme song, searching for online answers still isn't painless.


About the Author: Michael Liedtke


Copyright © - 2005 Entireweb

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