Thursday, December 27, 2012

Decades of Failure by Those Responsible for USA Health Care System Needs to be Addressed

The reasons for the failures of the USA health care system are complex. Given decades of failure those with leadership positions (hospitals, doctors, politicians, insurers) all have failed. Drug companies I would put below those 4 (they mainly just take advantage of lots of weak politicians to buy bad policy, for the country, that favors drug companies). Exactly what percentage of the failure to put at each groups footstep is hard to judge, but the collective failure is obvious. It is something we couldn't afford in 1980 and the damage to us grows every year. The USA health care system costs twice as much as other rich countries and the results are mediocre. Big business has some responsibility but mainly they just have ignored the problem and not done anything to help (versus actually intentionally sustaining the broken system). Voters have a huge responsibility for decades of re-electing those that maintain the broken system. Related: International Health Care System Performance - Overview of 5 Nations Health Care Systems - USA Health Care System Remains Broken, Neglected

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Reasonable Accommodations Becoming Unreasonable

Reasonable Accommodation: A Cautionary Tale
The slippery slope is a familiar one for any HR pro. Company values talented employee, stretches to make accommodation, then things go south. Attendance is usually the issue front and center, and due to the knowledge of the disability in question, the accommodation that was made, etc, things fester. Decisions aren't made. The employee states that yes, they didn't show up as expected, but that's part of the condition in question.

Of course, not coming to work was never part of the reasonable accommodation. But the accommodation provides an official awareness of the condition/disability in question, so dealing with the situation is now a legal mess that takes time.

That's called a slippery slope where I come from. Or "holding the bag".

Which means the next time around, willingness to make a reasonable accommodation from the hiring manager or HR pro is much more limited. There's a business to run.

Note that I am aware of many, many talented individuals with disabilities who are among the best employees at their company. But the slippery slope outlined above happens more than anyone wants to admit, which is why you see so much resistance on the accommodation front.
Good thoughts. The biggest problem is that of going to extremes which are often encouraged by the way the legal system works. The larger the consequences of extreme measures the more likely people will want to avoid them.

I think most people would like to see reasonable accommodations. Often bureaucracies get tied to their normal procedures and could use more flexibility.

It is a reality that if those who are part of a interest group you care about expand the demands to far then people will just choose to remove dealing with that group at all. It might not be fair but as you say people learn from their experiences. I think those who advocate a certain interest and don't speak out against abuses of that interest make a mistake. Without limiting the unreasonable measure people just learn to realize if they start down the slippery slope they will be stuck with unreasonable demands. So they will just seek to avoid it - even if that means denying those who wouldn't be unreasonable opportunities.

Another example of this type of slippery slope is when unions stop supporting what is in the interests of all workers and instead defend workers that are abusing all the other workers by not doing their job. I know my experiences have made me much less sympathetic to unions after I saw their behavior was to reward unreasonable behavior and punish the workers (most of them) that were trying to do a good job by making them carry along workers that were just abusing the system. Unions still have a place if they would just focus on providing value to workers but they seem to often think they need to defend anyone (no matter how unreasonable) if that person is against what to many unions see as their enemy - management. Unions should see that they need to protect workers not just from abuses by management but from abuses by other workers that are being unreasonable.

Related: Action Is More Important Than Sympathy - Society is being shaped for us while we are busy making other plans - Acting Consiterately

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Page Rank Updates for November 2012

The pagerank google displays is mainly a fun measure, rather than a measure of much importance. But I still find it fun to look at the pagerank values - except when they go down for my sites :-(  Now I also track the similar MozRank and can take some solace if the MozRank goes up :-)

Pagerank is a value given to the links coming into a web page on a logarithmic scale. So a PR of 2 is 10 times greater than PR 1 and 100 less than PR 4. MozRank is a similar measure, developed by a separate company that is updated much more frequently. See more details on this topic in my previous post: Google PageRank and MozRank of some of my pages (Oct 2011).

Google updates the visible PageRank occasionally (often about every 3 months). The real pagerank Google updates much more frequently (it is only the pagerank shared with the rest of us that is only updated occasionally.

Check the current pagerank on your sites using our related site: Multiple Site PageRank checker.

SiteNov 2012
[MozRank]
Oct 2011April 2011Dec 2010Dec 2008July 2008
PageRank 5 and MozRank > 5
Curious Cat Management Blog5 [5.6]
Curious Cat Engineering and Science Blog5 [5.6]6 [5.3]6455
John Hunter5 [5.5]4 [5.4]4444
CSS 4 Free5 [5.5]4 [5.4]4445
Management Dictionary*5 [5.2]5 [5.4]5433
Public Sector Continuous Improvement Site*5 [4.8]5 [5.0]54
PageRank 4 and MozRank > 5
Curiouscat.com4 [5.6]4 [5.6]5433
Curious Cat Management Improvement Connections*4 [5.4]5 [5.5]5433
Curious Cat Investing and Economics Blog4 [5.4]4 [5.3]4344
Investment Dictionary*4 [5.3]4 [5.2]4
externs.com - internship directory4 [5.2]4 [5.2]4444
Management and Leadership Quotes4 [5.1]2 [5.2]22
Alumni Connections*4 [5.1]4 [5.0]4445
Curious Cat Travel Photo Blog4 [5.0]3 [4.9]3-
Credit Card Tips*4 [5.0]4 [4.6]3
Lean Management Resources*4 [5.0]4 [5.0]44
Curious Cat Code (programming)4 [5.0]4 [4.2]00
Curious Cat Gadgets4 [5.0]--
PageRank > 4 and MozRank < 5
Six Sigma Management Resources*4 [4.9]4 [5.0]4
Economic Strength Through Technology Leadership*4 [4.9]4 [4.7]544
Living in Malaysia4 [4.9]3 [4.1]-
Statistics for Experimenters4 [4.8]3 [4.5]3434
The Future is Engineering*4 [4.8]4 [4.7]
Living in Singapore4 [4.8]3 [4.0]-
55
PDSA Improvement Cycle*4 [4.7]4 [4.9]4
Curious Cat Web Directory4 [4.7]4 [4.7]**334
Architecture and home design inspiration4 [4.7]--
Life and Legacy of William Hunter (my father)4 [4.6]4 [4.5]444
Management Matter (my book)*4 [4.6]-----
Multi Site PageRank Checker4 [4.6]3 [4.7]2213
Mortgage Rate Article*4 [4.5]4 [3.8]4
Management Articles*4 [4.4]
PageRank 3 and MozRank > 3
The Engineer That Made Your Cat a Photographer*3 [4.9]4 [4.7]543
Hexawise Software Testing Blog3 [4.9]----
Curious Cat Travel Destinations3 [4.8]-----
Rocky Mountain National Park photos*3 [4.8]4 [4.8]4 3-2
Deming's Management Method*3 [4.6]4 [4.5]44
Best Research University Rankings*3 [4.4]3 [3.8]334
Curious Cat Management Comments3 [4.1]
Curious Cat Comments (this blog)3 [4.1]- [3.8]-33
Management Improvement Resources3 [4.0]3 [3.8]333
The W. Edwards Deming Institute Blog3 [3.8]-----
Good Process Improvement Practices*3 [3.8]3 [4.1]
PageRank 2 and MozRank > 2 (or no MozRank for new pages)
Johor Bahru Real Estate2 [4.7]--
Curious Cat Travel Destinations: Marina Bay Sands (Singapore)2 [4.5]-----
Justin Hunter (my brother)2 [4.0]2 [2.9]222
Parfrey's Glen, Wisconsin Photos2 [3.7]2 [3.8]22-
CuriousCat Wordpress2 [3.1]-----
No PageRank
My Kiva pageu [4.0]- [4.0]-3
Hexawise.tv------
Curious Cat Travel Destinations: Australiau [3.6]-----
Curious Cat Travel Destinations: Franceu [3.6]-----


* internal pages
** new url, old url forwarded
- didn't exist yet
u unranked
[blank] I don't know what the pagerank was, sometimes the site didn't exist yet.

Related: PageRank Updates for August 2012 - Web Page Authority - Google's Search Results - Should Factors Other Than User Value be Used

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Capitalist Markets v. Markets Investors Want for Their Companies

A Failure of Markets and Other Observations from Asia by Kevin Meyer
Observing how capitalism is thriving in supposedly communist countries is interesting. China is an easy example, and many argue that capitalism is now more vibrant in China than in the U.S.. I thought Laos would be different, but it’s not. Markets thrive (even when shopkeepers are asleep) and entrepreneurial folks are setting up new shops and services to get tourists to part with their dough.

Even in the boonies there are stories. Such as the tiny Hmong village downriver from Luang Prabang. A collection of thatched one-room huts with dirt floors… each with a TV. TV? Power? The government didn’t bring power to the outlying villages. An entrepreneur came up with a way to pay for the infrastructure, deliver power to people with no money but with rice to barter, and make a profit. The “people’s” government frowns but tolerates it.

As an economics major one of the things that annoys me is that the biggest difference between capitalism and what we have has nothing to do with what the politicians talk about (too many regulations or whatever).  The theory of capitalism fundamentally relies on "perfect competition" which essentially means no-one has "market power."  If anyone tries to charge more than the market rate people will just buy from the next place.  The markets are a extremely good example of this.

In the west I would say a vast majority of transactions are done with businesses that have huge market power (often sustained by government action and government failure to restrict businesses from creating market power) - (Verizon, Comcast, GM, Google, Apple, Sony, Toyota, Exxon, United, Fed Ex, Bank of America, NBC, Visa, American Express...).

As a businessman perfect competition is horrible.  You can't get huge profit margins with perfect competition.

There is a difference between market power based on monopolistic tendencies (which is most of the problem currently) and price differentiation based on better offerings.  Looking at say why Four Seasons can charge a great deal to those that can afford it.

Businesses want to grab market power in every possible way.  Adam Smith understood the danger in businesses using this to sap the societal benefit of free markets.  The current politicians don't even understand that.  But even if they did it wouldn't matter.  They are not interested in capitalism they are interested in whoever can give them the biggest stacks of cash.  And those with market power (almost always aided by past acts and refusals to act by the government) have the most cash to give the politicians).

The beautiful nature of capitalism to provide the economic benefits to society is most easily enhanced by reducing market power and increasing competition.  Sadly it is almost diametrically opposed by our political nature to allow those with the gold to make the rules.

As an investor looking for companies that have market power (which has great overlap with Buffett's "moat") is wise.

I love some of the solutions to get electricity to those in need: Solar Power Market Solutions For Hundreds of Millions Without Electricity - We Need to be More Capitalist and Less Cronyist - Anti-Market Policies from Our Talking Head and Political Class.

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Follow Wise Advice

Comments on: Leading By Example and Some Mistaken Beliefs I agree that you should follow your own advice. I tend to like to look at things a bit different than others. The advice you give is not uncommon - be honest, be consistent, don't be a hypocrite. Good advice. One of the things I find funny is that everyone accepts that people are excused from following your advice if you don't. I think that is stupid. If your parents tell you not to smoke but they smoke. There advice is equally good. They are less good than a person that is wise enough to follow that advice. But the advice itself isn't any more or less good based on whether the person giving it follows it, or not. I find it much more sensible to evaluate advice based on whether it is wise than based on whether the person providing it is wise (or foolish) enough to follow the advice. Related: Do What You Say You Will - Arguing For Different Policies Doesn't Mean You Have to Change Behavior Before the Policies Are Adopted - Performance without Appraisal

Monday, October 01, 2012

The Wonder and Curiosity of Children

The Birth of the Scientific Method
She examined the box empty, and examined it again with all the jacks inside it. She picked up one jack on the palm of her hand, and held it out to me, saying, “Dat?” (Which is her request for information about a thing). I said, “That’s a jack.” “Jahk,” she said. And she said it again, touching various jacks: “Jahk, jahk.” 
As I sat watching her, I realized in a way I hadn’t since my own kids were small that play at this age is entirely purposeful. She was learning everything she could about those objects and how they worked. She was creating and testing hypotheses as fast as her little fingers could try them out.
I love experiencing the curiosity of kids. It is so pure and wonderful. They see the world and want to understand it. You are absolutely right about how deeply this curiosity is within us. Sadly we can still have it stomped out by our lives. It doesn't have to be, but it often is. And I think we miss that wonder, even if we don't know that is what we are missing.

I have written about this topic on my science blog: Growing Curious Children - Naturally Curious Children - Sarah, aged 3, Learns About Soap - Playing Dice and Children’s Numeracy

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Fruitful melding of advanced theory and technology

I like this sentence, and think it is conveys meaning.  From  Google Spanner's Most Surprising Revelation: NoSQL Is Out And NewSQL Is In

Only Google solved the problems in a typically Googlish way, through the fruitful melding of advanced theory and technology.
That statement does a good job of capturing Google's strength and weakness.  I think Google is not very good at solutions that are not the combination of those two items (with a bit of an engineering mindset focused on maximum economic benefit thrown in).  It seems to me Google wants an "unbiased" measure of performance and uses profit in that way (this is my view as an outsider).

Google has continued to struggle greatly with customer focus, as I see it.  It might be we need to get much better academic research on the value of customer care before Google will be able to adopt strategies consistent with valuing customer service - more than the throw away way they general do now.

Research fits Google's theory and technology focus.  Once it can be arguably be measured in the marketplace I think Google gets uncomfortable.  They plug away, but it seems like they are out of their natural element in this situation - until it is easy to find market measures of value.  Some things immediately go from research to production.  Some things have to be developed quite a bit - I think Google gets uncomfortable in this space, they want to hurry up and let the market tell them: and not have to rely on judgement of people doing the work.

Google's appreciation for theory is shared by leading thinkers at the most innovative organization of the last 100 years (Bell Labs etc.) but in most organizations MBA's hold sway and MBA's (in general) don't have a clue about the value of theory.  

I think the MBA's failure to understand the value of theory is largely is due to the failure of basic scientific literacy in our society.  Which then leads to people confusing theory in a scientific context and theory in a I have this odd ball idea I thought up in the shower last night that I call a "theory."  Disrespecting the 2nd kind of theory is fine.  When you can't understand the difference between a well supported theory and ignorant pontification that is a big problem.


Related: Richard Feynman Explains the PDSA Cycle - The Illusion of Knowledge - Bogus Theories, Bad for Business

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Reducing Corruption


Corruption is a significant problem.  It directly reduces the lifestyle people deserve and it greatly impacts economic progress.  Poor countries often are hampered by a large amount of petty corruption and large political corruption.

It seems to me corruption normally reduce as more wealth is created in the society.  As more people have power it is harder to enforce petty corruption against them.  And the effort taken to extract corrupt gains can be productively deployed more effectively to get higher gains doing less corrupt things.  So if you are competent you go earn money by providing value.  Leaving bozos and super lazy people to be corrupt who are not very good at anything they try so they are lame at being corrupt too.

Obviously this doesn't work perfectly but it seems to me that the correlation between wealth (especially with good wealth distribution) and reduced corruption is high.  It is true this is a dynamic process and what leads to what is not as clear - as one gets better normally the other does.

I do believe one good strategy is just to pursue economic growth and good things will happen.  It can be pretty ugly at first - it might not seem to be working.  One thing that happens is there is so much more wealth that at first corruption can seem to be growing because the corrupt are richer than ever.  But I think, even then, the level of corruption is really going down.  It is a lower proportion of the economy even though it grows in absolute terms at first.  Over time 10-20 (or more) years significant declines are made as those with power are not willing to tolerate systems burdened by huge levels of corruption.

A free press is a huge help.  Strong support for entrepreneurs is a huge help (versus big established businesses that can actually use corruption to suppress competition - this happens still in the USA all the time, using the congress to create and allow monopolistic markets for your industry).

Petty corruption is the type that is most easily reduced by wealth. The corruption that is more easily hidden with back-room deals are tougher to reduce. In my view this type of systemic corruption has increased in the USA in the last 30 years. There is more and more very economically damaging practices that are only possible with the cooperation of "leaders" and the situation doesn't even seem to be a serious consideration for most people.

Petty corruption (paying cash to a police officer to get out of a ticket [or to get out of a false ticket], demanding cash to process your passport, demanding cash to approve your building permit) is not very high in the USA I don't think (or Northern Europe, Singapore, Japan...). But corrupt practices at the core of how our financial system is run, how legislation is written... are extremely damaging. So we have largely eliminated corruption from most people, but leaders seem have taken to corrupt practices with a new zeal lately - unfortunately. In the USA we can stop this whenever we want. Just vote out the corruption. But it is so institutionalized in the political parties it doesn't seem likely anytime soon.

The leaders have figured out the way to make corrupt practices palatable is to impose the burden of the corruption on society and pay the benefits to a small group that then pays the politicians for the benefit they were provided at the expense of society. For those interested in corruption in a wealthy society this is the smart model to use. So at least our leaders are smart at figuring out the best way to be corrupt given the system they are operating in. This likely means they would react sensibly if we were to vote against those politicians providing benefits to those giving them cash, at the expense of society. But until then they seem to be interested in how to maximize their gain, not in ethics or helping society.

My comment on Reddit discussion on reduction of corruption throughout history.

Related: Taking What You Don’t Deserve, CEO Style - Why Congress Won’t Investigate Wall Street - Systems Design Can Create Perverse Incentives - Society is being shaped for us while we are busy making other plans

Thursday, September 13, 2012

I Don't See How the Ponzi Scheme Economy Doesn't End Badly


I am very worried about the ponzi scheme like action of the governments of the rich western countries the last 10 years.  I don't see how this is not going to end badly.

I also can't really figure out how it will end badly.  The first or second or third order effects shouldn't be too hard.  Eventually those getting the ious stop believing the ponzi creator and won't accept their promises anymore.  So then interest rates on debt sky and currencies collapse.  "Real assets" (I prefer real estate to gold) should do well.

But is the massive ponzi scheme so huge the economy breaks so completely that normal economic collapse history is useless.  Does it turn more into what happens with normally poor, corrupt, broken states?  How does that play out with the massive wealth the rich countries accumulated prior to the ponzi scheme "solutions?"  I really am not sure.

Does the failing cripple countries like Singapore, Malaysia, Brazil, Ghana, Indonesia, Korea?  The old model is the rich countries have so much wealth when they mess up they suffer a bit and others suffer a ton.  Does that happen again?  I am not so sure.

I can understand desire to avoid consequences.  That is what blew up the special favors to those giving lots of money to politicians into the ponzi scheme style in the first place.  But I don't understand how people believe this can work - just throw out more ponzi promises and avoid the consequences.

Sure something similar works fine if you can afford to just give away a bunch of money you saved for a rainy day to get through the tough times.  But we didn't.  Heck, even if you just hadn't gone hugely into debt in the boom times to give even more to those giving large amounts of cash to politicians and instead of saving for a rainy day just didn't go hugely into debt even during your boom times.  But we did go hugely into debt during the bubble times.

The USA is still extremely rich.  As is much of Europe and Japan.   But it sure seems to me that we are hugely rich but have been spending much more than we have been making by pretending these ponzi promises have actual value.  When the markets stop accepting that it sure seems like things could be VERY SCARY.  So scary and unpredictable I can't even figure out what the SAFE investment plays are.

By far the best hope is that I am just wrong about how rich we are compared to what seem like ponzi scheme promises to me.  If we are lucky the ponzi part is but a blip on top of a rich foundation.  I am very worried that the ponzi part is not a blip at all.  It is huge.

Diversity in investments helps when you are clueless (and also other times but specifically when you are clueless is important to me here).  I really can't see any way long term bonds are good now.  So that doesn't help in my opinion - of course if I am wrong about that the portfolio will suffer.

I don't like gold.  I don't like assets that are not capable of providing earnings.  For some amount of store of value if currencies lose most value fine.  But unless you are very wealthy I can't see putting much here.  Speculating in it, fine, but it seems to high to speculate to me (but I could be wrong).

Real estate I like though I am worried about what happens in a much much worse economy than we have had since the great depression.  Still putting some there is sensible to me.

A fair amount of cash just trying to not lose too much makes sense given this super risky ponzi atmosphere.  Savings account at a credit union seems the best place .  I trust the government will cover any real loses but my guess is the value of the $ will plummet if things get bad (at first it will rise as people think that is what you do in a economic crisis - buy $).  I can't see $ being the sensible thing if the ponzi scheme is no longer accepted but we will see.

Trying to figure out what companies should actually stay profitable is another sensible place.  Even if they earn less some companies will stay profitable.  While others may well go under.  Companies that have fairly low fixed costs to carry in bad times seem appealing.  I really think if companies like Google, Apple and Costco are not making actual profits things are so bad only the super lucky are doing well.  The tricky part is figuring out which companies are those that will remain profitable - I may have the theory right and still pick the wrong companies.  I would definitely be diversified globally (and Apple and Google do that for you, among other things).

Obviously, in order to work as an investment to be valuable in a ponzi collapse the company has to be profitable in very hard times.  I think another key is they can't need outside cash - I think likely currencies would collapse and interest rates would sky.  Solid cash flow, even in hard times is key.  Small, nimble companies can do well.  That is much harder for huge companies.  But small companies can also go under quickly.  After the fact seeing the nimble smarts is often easy.  Predicting the winners in advance is hard.

I am very worried about China too.  India still refuses to get serious about reducing corruption and taking sensible steps to build infrastructure, improve education so I am not very positive there either.  It has potential but big problems.  I am most optimistic about countries growing into mid income (Malaysia, Thailand, Brazil, Ghana [early], Indonesia...) of high income (Singapore…along with Canada, Korea and Australia, maybe).

If you have good ideas for investments based on much more significant economic problems than we have seen let me know.


Related: The USA Doesn’t Understand that the 1950s and 1960s are Not a Reasonable Basis for Setting Expectations - Economic Consequences Flow from Failing to Follow Real Capitalist Model and Living Beyond Our Means - We Need to be More Capitalist and Less Cronyist - The USA Economy Needs to Reduce Personal and Government Debt

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Google and Links

I have read over the years Matt Cutts (Google Guy) say that as long as you don't get paid cash other things that would have the exact same indication whether a link should be trusted are not penalized.  So if you bought the entire site and then added links to link to you (as large companies can do) that is fine (so if some large company buys a small company and then links to the corporate parent).  But paying a fee and getting links is not.

Similarly if you pay a speaker to speak at your conference and they add a link to your site I think Google says is fine.  Or if you win a scholarship and you link to the sponsor or the school from your site that is fine.  And in my opinion all 3 of those obviously should be fine.  They provide valuable insight I would want to include if I were deciding what are relevant links.

Google is trying to collect useful data from the web to make judgements for search rankings.  They decided that to make their jobs easier it would be better to stop some forms of influence in adding links.  But there are no clear sensible places to draw the lines.  So Google uses what people used to call FUD by Microsoft (casting fear, uncertainty and doubt) to aid Google's interests.

Google has a tricky task to try and decide what links to give value to.  Their decisions on how to treat certain kinds of influence seems wrong to me.  But it seems to be something they can chose to do.  Google also claims (I believe) that they don't bother to value links that would obviously provide value if those links are made nofollow by the websites (so say the links on Twitter that would obviously be useful to gage pagerank as it was discussed years ago).

Google seems to still claim that they are better off not using links that could be used by an algorithm to provide valuable insight because to do so would downplay their anti-spam efforts.  It is a hard spot they are in.   Until another search engine takes away a significant portion of their traffic I think they will stay on their current model.  If wonderfulnewsearch.com grew to 8% of the market by December I bet Google would use nofollow links to judge merits of links next to immediately.  It is a rich source of information that is being ignored.  They decide the search result quality can sustain that dilution in order to put pressure on those that try to manipulate the results by playing to the algorithms.

It is a dynamic, evolving contest where Google tries to gain insight and others try to figure out how to take advantage of how Google gains insight to gain favor for themselves.

Google can't say how people should run their businesses.  All Google says is if you link to sites in a way that we don't like we will then punish your site in our search results.  Of course that clearly means that Google is willing to provide worse results to users in the case when the best results for you as a search user are from a site that did something that Google didn't like.  As long as search users accept degrade search results Google can do this.  If degraded search results caused users to flee Google they would stop this method of trying to influence sites.

But they have a tricky balance of trying to degrade the search results just enough to force sites into being fearful of having their traffic harmed but not so much that users of the search engine get tired of the degraded results and go elsewhere.  The punishment portion is solely about the trading of worse search results to users today in order to get sites to follow the behavior Google wants to see.

The question of Google improving search results by devaluing links that are not valuable is a different, though related, question.  That doesn't result in degraded search results.  But that also has nothing to do with a site following Google's decision on where to draw the line of what is an influence that means you should mark your web links to tell Google that you don't value the page you are linking to.  Deciding how much to value links is a tricky business.  Google has a lot of money invested in doing that well.  The decided to have guidelins and punishment in search results for how links are done.  That seems to be Google's business.  If you want them to be happy with you, you follow their guidelines.  So for example if you want to get links you can do so in many ways, including many ways that are very similar to directly purchasing them but you can't do the one that is exactly directly purchasing them and not tell google that they shouldn't follow the link.

I am obviously critical of some of what Google is doing FUD :-) but I understand the difficult task they have.  I can understand the way they are trying to tilt the terms of the "game" to help them provide search results that are useful.  I am sure Google understands the points I make.  They just look at the situation and make a few calls that are slightly different than I would make.

Comment posted on: Why did our PageRank go down?

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Remove Popup Ad Sites From Search Results

My feedback to DuckDuckGo:


I would like to be able to have popup ad sites flagged/removed. 
Maybe let me set no popups (then on the far right column (or something) show the sites you skipped because they are flagged as popup ads so I can click them if I don't like any of the non-user-hostile sites. 
Obviously this means getting a list of popup sites and maintaining it.  Would be a challenge but would great improve search results.  Lots of the big sites now are using popup ads (just ones that get around the users opting out of popup ads on their browser).
I would love it if the other sites (Google, Yahoo, Bing) would do this too, but Google is not likely to unless they are copying one of the others.  I understand sties want to make money by using popup ads even if they know users said don't do it (using browser settings).  This is why all the major sites now use popup ads that circumvent the browser settings).  I don't mind the sites choosing to how readable or customer unfriendly they want to be.  I just wish search engines wouldn't give me results as if popup ads are no a negative that should reduce the suggestion of using a site.

Related:  6 years Later Goolge Acts To Let Me Block Sites I don't want to see from 2011, does anyone else have this missing most of the time now? - Improvement ideas for Google (2006) - Web Search Improvements (2005)

Friday, August 10, 2012

PageRank Updates for August 2012

The pagerank google displays is mainly a fun measure, rather than a measure of much importance. But I still find it fun to look at the pagerank values - except when they go down for my sites :-(  Now I also track the similar MozRank and can take some solace if the MozRank goes up :-)

Pagerank is a value given to the links coming into a web page on a logarithmic scale. So a PR of 2 is 10 times greater than PR 1 and 100 less than PR 4. MozRank is a similar measure, developed by a separate company that is updated much more frequently. See more details on this topic in my previous post: Google PageRank and MozRank of some of my pages (Oct 2011).

Google updates the visible PageRank occasionally (often about every 3 months). The real pagerank Google updates much more frequently (it is only the pagerank shared with the rest of us that is only updated occasionally.

Check the current pagerank on your sites using our related site: Multiple Site PageRank checker.

SiteAug 2012
[MozRank]
Oct 2011April 2011Dec 2010Dec 2008July 2008
PageRank 5 and MozRank > 5
Curious Cat Management Blog5 [5.6]
John Hunter5 [5.6]4 [5.4]4444
Curiouscat.com5 [5.6]4 [5.6]5433
Curious Cat Engineering and Science Blog5 [5.5]6 [5.3]6455
CSS 4 Free5 [5.5]4 [5.4]4445
Management Dictionary*5 [5.3]5 [5.4]5433
Public Sector Continuous Improvement Site*5 [4.9]5 [4.97]54
PageRank 4 and MozRank > 5
Curious Cat Management Improvement Connections*4 [5.5]5 [5.5]5433
Curious Cat Investing and Economics Blog4 [5.5]4 [5.3]4344
Investment Dictionary*4 [5.4]4 [5.2]4
externs.com - internship directory4 [5.2]4 [5.2]4444
Curious Cat Travel Photo Blog4 [5.2]3 [4.9]3-
Statistics for Experimenters4 [5.1]3 [4.5]3434
The Future is Engineering*4 [5.2]4 [4.7]55
Alumni Connections*4 [5.2]4 [5.0]4445
Credit Card Tips*4 [5.1]4 [4.6]3
Management and Leadership Quotes4 [5.1]2 [5.2]22
Lean Management Resources*4 [5.0]4 [5.0]44
Six Sigma Management Resources*4 [5.0]4 [5.0]4
PageRank 4 and MozRank > 4
PDSA Improvement Cycle*4 [4.8]4 [4.9]4
Curious Cat Code (programming)4 [4.8]4 [4.2]00
Life and Legacy of William Hunter (my father)4 [4.8]4 [4.5]444
Curious Cat Gadgets4 [4.8]--
Living in Singapore4 [4.7]3 [4.0]-
Multi Site PageRank Checker4 [4.5]3 [4.7]2213
Mortgage Rate Article*4 [4.5]4 [3.8]4
Curious Cat Web Directory4 [4.5]4 [4.7]**334
PageRank 3 and MozRank > 3
The Engineer That Made Your Cat a Photographer*3 [5.2]4 [4.7]543
Curious Cat Travel Destinations3 [4.8]-----
Hexawise Software Testing Blog3 [4.9]----
Living in Malaysia3 [4.8]3 [4.1]-
Rocky Mountain National Park photos*3 [4.8]4 [4.8]4 3-2
Deming's Management Method*3 [4.7]4 [4.5]44
Architecture and home design inspiration3 [4.6]--
Good Process Improvement Practices*3 [4.3]3 [3.8]
Curious Cat Management Comments3 [4.2]
Management Improvement Resources3 [4.2]3 [3.8]333
Curious Cat Comments (this blog)3 [4.1]- [3.8]-33
Best Research University Rankings*3 [4.1]3 [3.8]334
PageRank 2 and MozRank > 2 (or no MozRank for new pages)
Johor Bahru Real Estate2 [4.6]--
Curious Cat Travel Destinations: Marina Bay Sands (Singapore)2 [4.6]-----
Curious Cat Travel Destinations: France2 [4.1]-----
Parfrey's Glen, Wisconsin Photos2 [3.7]2 [3.8]22-
CuriousCat Wordpress2 [3.3]-----
Justin Hunter (my brother)2 [4.1]2 [2.9]222
No PageRank
Economic Strength Through Technology Leadership*u [5.2]4 [4.7]544
My Kiva pageu [4.1]- [4.0]-3
Reddit management*u [4.0]4 [u]740
Curious Cat Travel Destinations: Australiau [3.9] ***
-


* internal pages
** new url, old url forwarded
*** (May 2012) 2 [-]
- didn't exist yet
u unranked
[blank] I don't know what the pagerank was, sometimes the site didn't exist yet.

Related: PageRank Updates for May 2012 - Web Page Authority - Google's Search Results - Should Factors Other Than User Value be Used

Friday, August 03, 2012

Systems Design Can Create Perverse Incentives

My comments on comment on my comment on The Two Root Causes of Everything?
“...the system is encouraging the bad behavior...” Such as the current Olympic games, with the badminton players throwing matches to get a better paths toward the medal round. It’s poor sportsmanship and poor ethics, but I can understand the players being tempted to do that.
I must admit I didn't see the badminton matches and my first response is that seems lame.  Did they break any rules or do anything really dishonest, it didn't seem like it.  For example,  those bike races where they roll around the sloped track - the competitors don't try to go fast, they try to setup the right conditions to help themselves (they practically stop sometimes).

Then I read a bit more and maybe it was justified (I guess refs even interrupted the play to say - quit that… the fans were booing...).  But yeah setting up the rules the way they did was crazy.  It shouldn't be you create an incentive to do worse in one game in order to do better overall.

Setting up the rules to make someone looking at the best system outcome  will come from sub-optimizing how I play in this game isn't great.

To a much much less degree other competitors have to sub-optimize current games to see the big picture (swimmers and track athletes have to swim fast enough to make the next round but not tire themselves out).  Granted those swimmers don't benefit from losing.  But they benefit from not trying their hardest at all times.

That situation with the gymnast also could be risky.  Only 2 on a team are allowed to compete for the overall individual competition.  The best USA person (I guess) was beat out they came in 4th overall but 3rd on the USA in qualifying.  It would be hard for an individual to give up, but I can imagine it would happen if #3 of the team did great but knew they didn't have a shot really (in the finals) and the country superstar hero was going to be shut out by them doing well in the last event…  Hard for the USA to image, I think, but for perspective in the USA, say if Michael Jordan would be denied a chance, the pressure on #3 to let Michael go through would be significant.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Penn State Scandal is Horrendous and Points to the Very Deep Corruption of Our Leaders

The truth is if you stand up for principles against the power structure you will most often be made to pay for trying to get in their way.  And most often you won't succeed.

In Penn State the few who tried to stand up against injustice are now seen in a positive light.  But the full Penn State power structure was able to undermine decency, even when that extended all the way to what is the most indecent act possible.  Only that most intolerable abuse finally brought enough weight (thought it took more than a decade) for the immoral actions of those in power to stop being accepted.

All the lessor abuses by those in power were not enough.  They were not remotely close to enough.  Those protesting those abuses are seen as pariahs.  Winning football (or basketball) games is much more important to those in leadership positions than behaving honorably.  Even today the Board of Penn State sees retaining the statue of Joe Paterno as the right thing to do (my guess is they will realize the big mistake this is soon and reverse course - but I figured the abuses of the TSA couldn't stand for long and I was completely wrong about that).  They are more fearful of powerful alumni that might still object then they are concerned about doing the incredibly too little too late of at least stopping honoring a man that disgraced their University.

Even once the scope of wrongdoing was obviously far far worse than should ever be tolerated and the board fired Joe Patero, there were riots protesting this action.  How shameful that behavior was.  How completely had the leaders of those that engaged in that behavior failed to create honorable people.

The complete failure of leadership evidenced by decades of utter failure at Penn State is the example.  But the system that allowed it is pervasive at nearly all our Universities.  They are lead by people that subvert integrity to pleasing the powerful.

I think they need to have these "leaders" sit in the undergraduate seminars where ethics and morality are discussed and talk about the real issues.  University leaders seem to think that morality and ethics are meant for the ancient greeks only, not them.  They obviously believe (as shown in their actions) that might makes right is the primary moral measuring stick.  I think that it would help to take that message into the educational system so we can address the real issues to where the boundaries are for that style of leadership.  Because pretending that what is taught about right and wrong in their schools relates to the real world when in practice political expediency takes such a huge precedence over what is right for the "leaders" in our society is not helping.

That we finally have people saying what the facts show, is a good sign: Joe Paterno was a coward. Rick Reilly admits that he was fooled by Joe Paterno
What a stooge I was.
I talked about Paterno's "true legacy" in all of this. Here's his true legacy: Paterno let a child molester go when he could've stopped him. He let him go and then lied to cover his sinister tracks. He let a rapist go to save his own recruiting successes and fundraising pitches and big-fish-small-pond hide.
Here's a legacy for you. Paterno's cowardice and ego and fears allowed Sandusky to molest at least eight more boys in the years after that 1998 incident
Penn State leaders can't hide their guilt after damning Freeh Report
"Our most saddening and sobering finding is the total disregard for the safety and welfare of Sandusky's child victims by the most senior leaders at Penn State," Freeh wrote in his summary of his report. "The most powerful men at Penn State failed to take any steps for 14 years to protect the children who Sandusky victimized. Messrs. Spanier, Schultz, Paterno and Curley never demonstrated, through actions or words, any concern for the safety and well-being of Sandusky's victims until after Sandusky's arrest."

My guess on what impact this will have on other University leaders acting ethically and morally instead of caving into power: very minimal. They will continue to cave into power to make their lives as easy as possible. Decades of behavior just doesn't change overnight. As long as the "leaders" are put in those positions mainly because they make things easy for those with power that is the main thing that will drive their actions.

If we want that to change we have to change the character of those placed in leadership positions. And we need to change what influences carry the most weight. As long as it is the football coach, boosters, large donors... then we will have the situation we have had. The worst abuses at Penn State with covering up child abuse would not have been tolerated at many other places. But the system that results in such cover ups being possible is firmly in place at most and is used to continue much more mundane abuse of power.

Penn State should be congratulated for hiring Louis Freeh. They finally stopped trying to protect those doing the abuse and those covering up for those doing so. Good for them.

I am sure Joe Paterno did plenty of good things. As a leader, critical failures that persist for over a decade can, and should, overshadow the good when it comes to our opinion of their character. They can still have done plenty of good things. But leaders failing to protect the innocent and powerless and allowing them to be abused deserve to have their reputations destroyed.

Related: The Moral Consequences of Your Actions - Don't Excuse Immoral Looters - Action Is More Important Than Sympathy - They Will Know We are Christians By Our Love

Friday, July 13, 2012

If You Create a System That Includes The Perfect Conditions for Scandals, Expect Scandals to Happen

Massively overpay people for taking huge gambles with other people's money and they will do so (ethical people won't, but you only need a few unethical people and their is an oversupply - county on running out of unethical people is an extremely foolish "strategy").   Make it even worse by creating a culture where everyone sees lots of people getting massively overpaid for the times when the roulette wheel lands in the right spot and you create a culture ripe for claiming good results (no matter what the truth is).  Add in a very smart strategy (for those seeking to siphon off billions from the productive economy) of creating massively complicated schemes that allow for all sorts of false claims and you have what the leaders of our country (and a few other countries leaders) have created.

Other leaders abolished child labor, created universal education, sent us to the moon.  Ours are busy justifying massively unjust payments to a few at the cost of the well being of the country and the citizens of the world.

The too big to fail welfare banks have been practicing this behavior for a couple of decades.  And, like clockwork, huge scandals occur.  It seems like we have a huge spike in scandals in the last couple of years.  The scandals are entirely predictable given the systems created to try and justify paying unjustifiable payments to executives and gamblers.

The reason for the spike in scandals being discovered now is probably 2 fold.  First the unjustified pay has increased massively and thus increased the irresponsible behavior and rewards for being irresponsible.  Also, fraud often remains hidden in boom times and becomes uncovered when the ability to hide that the roulette wheel hasn't actually been providing the returns used to claim the unjustifiable payments taken by the executives and gamblers.

The quote of the latest massively overpaid CEO overseeing yet another scandal is just the same as all the other mindless "explanations": 

'But he stressed that it was an “isolated” incident and that JPMorgan had already cleaned house'

They then pay those we elect enough to have those we elect continue to grant them massive favors and continue to allow the undermining of our economy by the continued scandalous practices.  The process will continue, as it has for decades, until we refuse to elect those that sell out the country to pay back those giving the politicians lots of cash (or for the politicians that can't understand what is happening).

Eventually the delaying game of those operating these phony systems to extract big payoffs for themselves will no longer be tolerated.  But so far we seem happy to continue to support leaders doing all they can to support this system.

It doesn't appear, even now, we are going to demand change.  And it is completely obvious the too big to fail welfare banks are just increasing the scandalous behavior and the politicians are just increasing their support for these institutions.  Oh the politicians will say silly things to claim they don't like the bad things being done to the country and then run right back and do the bidding of those at the too big to fail welfare banks that give them cash.  Those giving cash know it doesn't matter what politicians say only what they do.  And the too big too fail banks couldn't ask for any better lackeys.

It will change when we throw out the politicians that are (and have been for decades) making this possible.  Until we do it won't change.  The executives and politicians have shown no amount of suffering is enough for them to behaving honorably.  As long as they get their cash they don't care what it does to the country or the economy of the world.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Action Is More Important Than Sympathy

A Long Walk Home is a story about the Montgomery, Alabama bus boycott in the USA.  The discrimination and immoral actions in the USA at that time was horrible.  The tide was turned by many many small actions by many people (along with some great actions by a few).  It is very easy for society to allow a few misguided people to mislead us.

I think it is important to remember that it looks easy to see horrendous immorality in others.  It is very easy to miss the chances for you to act to make the world a better place, a more just place, a more moral place, a place you can not just accept but be proud of.  The actions you take matter much more than your ability to sit back and judge others you can't influence.

I find it helpful to watch movies like this and think about what I can do today to make a difference.  The battles are not the same.  The winners haven't been named, and often those we will look back with disgust on later had the power to make their immoral actions seem to be acceptable.

Paperclips is another inspirational movie. It is a documentary about a consciousness-raising project at a rural Tennessee school. The principal of Whitwell Middle School sought a program that would teach diversity to a predominantly white, Protestant student body, the notion of focusing on the Holocaust.

People that have helped us overthrow those leaders promoting racial discrimination, House Committee on Un-American Activities (McCarthyism witch-hunts), war crimes... took difficult stands (and substantial personal risks) to make society better.  We have opportunities to make a difference and we don't have to risk nearly as much.  We should do so.

Waiting until leadership has amassed the power of something like the House Committee on Un-American Activities is very dangerous.  Once that happens much more spectacular heroic action is required to save us than is required in stopping the dramatic, Orwellian (just look at the name of that committee, and the name of some of the recent acts of Congress), anti-liberty actions of government.

Sometimes inaction doesn't make future action harder.  But inaction can still be enormously costly.  The extreme poverty we have in the world (even after 70 years of fantastic wealth in the USA and elsewhere) means millions of people die every year for want of a few dollars (for food, safe water or basic medicine).  We can make a difference if we want.  It is as easy as writing a check, or with other, more direct action to help.  Or by writing (filming, sharing...) a story about the actions of those that were willing to make an effort to create a better world have done for us already.

Related:  The Moral Consequences of Your Decisions - Society is being shaped for us while we are busy getting through another day - Giving More Than Money to Charity - You Can Help Reduce Extreme Poverty - Bad Behavior

Saturday, June 02, 2012

Curious Cat List of Super Useful Websites

Here is a list of some super great web sites
  1. Google - Google search is great, even if they are making it worse with all their fancy gimmicks.
  2. Gmail - excellent email, great spam filter, wonderful search.
  3. YouTube - Google does many things very well and YouTube in another example. It is idiotic how Google messes up YouTube results based on your geographic location, though. Access YouTube from the wrong place and Google provides lousy recommendations. Come on Google this is really lame. Some interesting channels: Crash Course, Google Tech Talks, @Google Talks, Maru the Cat.
  4. Reddit - find other great stuff on this social site
  5. Netflix - great online video content. It would be a great deal at twice the price (something I rarely believe) and in sharp contract to cable which is a rip off at half the current price). Geographic limitations are the biggest problem.
  6. Trip Advisor - a travel site with great advice on attractions, food, hotels for tourists (or locals - food mainly).
  7. Hipmunk - absolutely great site for making plane reservations, very good for hotels too.
  8. Google Reader - a very nice way to manage RSS feeds
  9. Amazon.com - great site for shopping, and buying and sending gifts.
  10. Duck Duck Go - Google is really good. Search is extremely important, Duck Duck Go is my second choice now. I would really like to see more good options for search. Google is not doing as well as I would hope at helping me, but there are not great options.
  11. Yahoo Finance - my only real use for Yahoo, frankly.
  12. Hacker News - another good source of content around the web from a technical and savvy crowd.
  13. BBC News - edited news site (old school). NPR is also very good.
  14. The Daily What - a good way to take a break. Boing Bong, Neatorama and Mental Floss are a few more good options.
  15. xkcd, Abstruse Goose - fun comics
  16. Kiva, Global Giving - worthwhile charities using the web well.
  17. TED - lots of great talks by people on interesting and important topics
  18. Stack Overflow - great site for answers to specific technical questions.
  19. This American Life, Radio Lab and Science Friday provide enjoyable audio content.
  20. I should add good sources for university lecture content.
Great Tools
  1. Firefox browser - Chrome is very good too.
  2. Dropbox - share files, sync files..
  3. Ubuntu - wonderful, free, operating system based on Linux (debian), great server software.
  4. Wordpress - blog software
  5. Mac Air - wonderfully small laptop
  6. Ruby on Rails - for creating web application
  7. Some VPN should be used if you travel or use wifi. There are tons to chose from.
  8. a password manager is another must have for security.
Three popular sites that don't make the cut for me: Twitter and Wikipedia (I use) and Facebook (I don't).

Friday, June 01, 2012

Provide Web Users Notice of Obnoxious Behavior by Owners of Website

I would like to see someone create an plugin that would give a warning if you went to a site that had used obnoxious legal bullying to harras small sites. I realize policing who gets shown on such a list would be a big job. I would love to have someone reliable do this and then I could chose to just not deal with such sites (or decided well yeah I don't like using lawyers to bullying but I am willing to sell out my principle because this site is so cool I can't live without it).

The way to counter the strategy of paying lawyers lots of money to bully your small competitors is to setup a method that forces those companies to suffer the consequences for their decision. I would be happy to help that process, but I can't keep track of who is doing the bullying.

This type of providing better information so I (and others) can make informed decisions not to use sites with practices I find obnoxious is something I would really love to see. Both for this type of obnoxious behavior but really a platform could support all sorts of notices on whatever people object to (probably using lists from whatever they care about World Wildlife Fund, NRA, EFF or whoever).

I don't think the legal system is going to be reasonable. We need a solution that allows the market to enforce an acceptable code of conduct with consequences for being obnoxious (even if the legal system thinks it is fine).

I believe the marketplace would be greatly improved if we improved transparency to let us factor in bad behavior by companies to our decisions. I am sure tons of people don't care. But if enough people do care, it will mean companies have to pay for their decisions to engage in obnoxious behavior.

Comment on Hacker News related to: A VC-funded startup called WhosHere is trying to steal my social network - help!

Related: How About Only Enforcing Copyright in Your Country if the Owner Allows Your Citizens To Buy Access - Good Behavior - AT&T's Attempt to Take Away Consumer's Rights Denied

Thursday, May 24, 2012

When You HIre People That Principle Strength is Fleecing Others, Don't be Surprised When They Fleece You

Response to: JPM is Just a Symptom of Wider Corporate Governance Issue – Why Do Shareholders Matter Less and Less?

I have been outraged for quite some time by actions of corporate leaders taking from the corporation what they don't deserve. Sadly there are very few investment options to avoid insiders dipping buckets into the treasury and using it for their personal desires. Most of the time this is done within the bounds of the law (sometimes it isn't).

But when you want to invest in stocks sadly it is a matter of only excluding the most abusive executives from consideration (which includes any large financial institution I looked at so I never invested in them in the last 15 years). If you tried to exclude all companies that were being ripped off by the executives you can't find enough decent options. So you have to accept a certain percentage of the profits will be lost due to executive shrinkage.

They act like cleptocrate dictators - taking from what is owed to others because they can get away with it - not because it is somehow deserved. I have written about this over the years 2005: Excessive executive pay 2006: Obscene CEO Pay 2007: No Excessive Senior Executive Pay at Toyota or Honda, where Honda has Never had Layoffs and has been Profitable Every Year 2008: CEOs Plundering Corporate Coffers 2009: Another Year of CEOs Taking Hugely Excessive Pay - CEO’s Castles and Company Performance 2011: Taking What You Don’t Deserve, CEO Style 2012: Massively Unjust Executive Compensation Damages Companies and Investments

The issue of shareholders finally getting tired of being ripped off by the executives of their companies reminds me of the statement by Martin Niemoeller "First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out - because I was not a communist... Then they came for me — and there was no one left to speak out for me." The executives taking what they don't deserve isn't as important as societies not speaking up as liberty is taken away by police states but the process is similar.

Most of the people running our companies have no business doing so. They don't have the moral fiber to do so properly. They have systemically denied reasonable pay to employees, denied reasonable customer service to customers, denied to pay taxes owed (fleecing foolish tax authorities)... All in the name of taking more for themselves. It is not wonder, when their main focus seems to be how to fleece those they should be providing value to, that they turn on the owners and fleece them as they run out of others to fleece.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Using Twitter Data to Improve Search Results


Doesn't it seem pretty obvious that it would be possible to use Twitter mentions to improve search results?

I understand you would have to deal with people trying to "game the system."  Google seems pretty good at doing this.

The nofollow attribute was suggested by Google as a way of marking untrusted links.  I don't believe the application of that is great, but that was Google's plan.  One weakness is the nofollow name is not the same message as untrusted link.  This might not have mattered to Google originally but when you add confusion unnecessarily you open the door to problems.

Google then added to the problems by declaring paid for links should also be nofollow.  Again Google confusing the issue - if they want paid links noted as paid it is fine for them to say that is what they would like.  And if they want to treat paid links the same as untrusted links that is their option.  I think it is a mistake but it is their option.  Telling people they are suppose to mark links as nofollow when they are paid seems confused and lame to me.

Lately I have heard sources quote Google as saying we can't follow Twitter links because they told us not to.  And those are saying that using the untrusted link text Google asked them to was how Twitter told Google not to follow the links.

So anyway here we are today and there are many ways for a search engine to decide some Twitter accounts are trustworthy and that links from those accounts are an indication of the merit of the site linked to.  Why would you not use this information?  Even if Twitter told you the links were untrustworthy (because they were worried about sanctions Google might impose if they linked to sites Google didn't like without making those links nofollow) that doesn't mean you couldn't use the data from Twitter links to improve results.

Maybe in the decision to use the term nofollow and then set standards for what Google would do around this link Google has put themselves in a position where they can't follow nofollow links and do what they said they would do.  I am not sure about this.  But if they can't take advantage of useful data to make search results better due to their previous mistake of calling a untrusted link nofollow they should correct that failure.

If sites want to tell Google not to follow links that is fine (to preserve server bandwidth or just because they don't like Google or whatever).  But, I believe, most nofollow links are now used to

   1) avoid sanctions by Google
   2) keep "link juice" for the monetary benefit of the site that makes the link nofollow (ironically, that makes the non-nofollow links "follow" links essentially for monetary gain, which somewhat subverts Google's desire to remove monetary incentive from placing links)

It seems foolish to me to not use information that could make search results better.  It seems to me valuable information to make search results better is now clouded by nofollow links.  I certainly would be using that information if it were up to me.  And my guess is you can use a large part of it even if the past decisions mean you can't follow the links (this likely would make the silly use of link shorteners more of an issue - but at least the urls that are actually shown could be used to improve search results).

I am pretty sure Google ignores useful measures hidden in nofollow data.  I woudl guess the other search sites are ignoring it too, but I am not sure.

Related: Viewing Unpersonalized Google Search Results - Google Rank Patent for Delegation Authority Factors

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

PageRank Updates for May 2012

Pagerank is a value given to the links coming into a web page on a logarithmic scale. So a PR of 2 is 10 times greater than PR 1 and 100 less than PR 4. MozRank is a similar measure, developed by a separate company that is updated much more frequently. See more details on this topic in my previous post: Google PageRank and MozRank of some of my pages (Oct 2011)

Google updates the visible PageRank occasionally (often about every 3 months). The real pagerank Google updates much more frequently (it is only the pagerank shared with the rest of us that is only updated occasionally.

Check the current pagerank on your sites using our related site: Multiple Site PageRank checker.

SiteMay 2012
[MozRank]
Oct 2011April 2011Dec 2010Dec 2008July 2008
PageRank 5 and MozRank > 5
Curious Cat Engineering and Science Blog5 [5.6]
Curious Cat Management Improvement Connections*5 [5.5]5 [5.5]5433
John Hunter5 [5.5]4 [5.4]4444
Curious Cat Engineering and Science Blog5 [5.4]6 [5.3]6455
CSS 4 Free5 [5.4]4 [5.4]4445
Management Dictionary*5 [5.3]5 [5.4]5433
Public Sector Continuous Improvement Site*5 [5.1]5 [4.97]54
PageRank 4 and MozRank > 5
Curiouscat.com4 [5.6]4 [5.6]5433
Curious Cat Investing and Economics Blog4 [5.5]4 [5.3]4344
externs.com - internship directory4 [5.3]4 [5.2]4444
Investment Dictionary*4 [5.3]4 [5.2]4
Management and Leadership Quotes4 [5.2]2 [5.2]22
Curious Cat Travel Photo Blog4 [5.1]3 [4.9]3-
Lean Management Resources*4 [5.1]4 [5.0]44
Six Sigma Management Resources*4 [5.0]4 [5.0]4
Alumni Connections*4 [5.2]4 [5.0]4445
Statistics for Experimenters4 [5.0]3 [4.5]3434
The Future is Engineering*4 [5.0]4 [4.7]55
Credit Card Tips4 [5.0]4 [4.6]3
Economic Strength Through Technology Leadership*? [5.0]4 [4.7]544
PageRank 4 and MozRank > 4
PDSA Improvement Cycle*4 [4.9]4 [4.9]4
Life and Legacy of William Hunter (my father)4 [4.8]4 [4.5]444
Rocky Mountain National Park photos*4 [4.7]4 [4.8]43-2
Multi Site PageRank Checker4 [4.7]3 [4.7]2213
Curious Cat Code (programming)4 [4.6] **new url4 [4.2]00
Living in Singapore4 [4.5]3 [4.0]-
Curious Cat Gadgets4 [4.5]--
Mortgage Rate Article*4 [4.4]4 [3.8]4
Curious Cat Web Directory4 [4.3]4 [4.7]**334
Hexawise Software Testing Blog3 [4.3]----
Curious Cat Management Comments4 [4.1]
PageRank 3 and MozRank > 3
The Engineer That Made Your Cat a Photographer*3 [5.0]4 [4.7]543
Deming's Management Method*3 [4.6]4 [4.5]44
Living in Malaysia3 [4.6]3 [4.1]-
Architecture and home design inspiration3 [4.4]--
Good Process Improvement Practices*3 [4.1]3 [3.8]
Management Improvement Resources3 [4.1]3 [3.8]333
Justin Hunter (my brother)3 [4.0]2 [2.9]222
Curious Cat Comments (this blog)3 [4.0]- [3.8]-33
Best Research University Rankings*3 [3.97]3 [3.8]334
PageRank 2 and MozRank > 3
Johor Bahru Real Estate2 [4.2]--
Parfrey's Glen, Wisconsin Photos2 [3.6]2 [3.8]22-
Curious Cat Travel Destinations 2 [3.2]-----
CuriousCat Wordpress2 [3.1]-----
PageRank 2 and MozRank > 2 (or non MozRank - new pages)
Curious Cat Travel Destinations: France2 [2.4]-----
Curious Cat Travel Destinations: Australia2 [-]--
Curious Cat Travel Destinations: Marina Bay Sands (Singapore)2 [-]-----
No PageRank
My Kiva pageu [4.0]- [4.0]-3
Reddit management*u [4.0]4 [u]740


* internal pages
** new url, old url forwarded
- didn't exist yet
u unranked
[blank] I don't know what the pagerank was, sometimes the site didn't exist yet.
*** Google doesn't say they use a scale of 10 for the logarithmic PageRank. It seems as good a guess and any and is easier to picture so I use that until we have some new evidence.

I have noticed a continued trend over the last 6-12 months for more instances of internal pages having Google Page Rank of 3 and above. For several years this seemed to be greatly reduced, in my experience.

The displayed pagerank is mainly a fun measure, rather than a measure of much importance. But I still find it fun to look at the pagerank values - except when they go down for my sites :-( Now I can take some solace if the MozRank goes up :-)

Related: Web Page Authority - PageRank Distribution - Google's Search Results - Should Factors Other Than User Value be Used