Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Wolfram And a Lack of Heart

Wolfram And a Lack of Heart

No, this isn't an update about Angel. Even though it was a good show, regardless on if you just liked the puppet episode. It made Wesley a total badass and I hated him on Buffy. No no, this isn't that Wolfram corporation, this is some silly search engine created by Stephen Wolfram. Who is actually more insane than Wolfram & Hart.

It seems that there's all this hype about a new search engine. One that is said to be a Google killer. A slawyer of google, UR FUCK'N DEAD GOOGLE! sort of level. Why? Well who the fuck knows. Ok, I would be a terrible writer if I didn't explain in detail.

Wolfram Alpha is different than Google in the sense that you ask it a question and it attempts to answer you in a very detailed answer. The only problem is that it generally just gives you a lot of graphs. Hell, Wolfram doesn't know what love is.

So how does it work exactly? Well, let's let this little tour give you the sumation of it. Though, I guess it's not so much as a search engine. This isn't a search engine. It answers/solves queries of interrelated statistics using trusted data sets or something. I don't have a name for that. Maybe I should ask what it is. Then we'll know.

It's very useful if you have asperger's syndrome and an interest in either geography or statistics. Perhaps those into sports may find a use for it with all the statistics and such. But otherwise it's a pretty stupid tool for stupid tools. Let me know when China blocks it. That'll mean that it might have potentially useful information on it.

What exactly are the sources of the data and how reliable are they? Maybe I just missed that part of the video but it doesn't seem like I can quote this blindly on a term paper. At least it'll take some time before Professors look to this to see if you got your term paper from this.

Also, what's up with the name? I already mentioned the buffy reference because I'm a nerd. But the name will never catch on. I don't think you'll be seeing anyone on TV going, "How'd you findthat out?" "I Wolfram Alpha'd it".

"What was the significance of the Spanish-American War?"
"Learn to Wolfram Alpha!"

Nope. Won't catch on at all. Let it stay in the Whedoneverse, Stephen. Besides. How much of an ego and how batshit insane do you have to be to name a search engine after yourself.

So what are the other problems to all this. Well, you have the major issue that someone has to go through and set the categories up. This will probably render a lot of research assistants useless though. Yay for capitalism! Not like we need a higher unemployement statistic. Hey, maybe we can look it up on Wolfman Alpha!

So what other cool things can you find here? You can look up the details of a McDonalds Burger. I warn you, you have to phrase everything like you're playing Space Quest II. Oh my, maybe I just outted myself as a nerd. Oh wait, I already did that a long ass time ago.

This can do some neat things. I'll give it that, but it shouldn't be mentioned in the same sentence as google as they aren't comparable tools. So don't shut down all the schools just yet. The need for education isn't over. Atleast not till it responds to not only queries but also threats as well.

It's dumb hyping it as somehow related/competing with google or general purpose search engines in any way, other than that google happens to have some very basic calculation/data analysis features of its own.

Oh, I just answered a question I asked above about the sources. The sources are from verified sources. They say they have to manually put in the information, but it should also automatically get data from verified sources and not by hand. For example, census information is in a specific format, so it would idiotic to input the information by hand. It does not scan the Internet for information. So this is going to take forever for them to input that shit themselves. Google works based on the search on the net. So the answers may not be all correct, but at least they have answers. Sort of a slap to the face of all those who just turned in their term papers, final projects and finals.

I guess I could give them a little credit. Look up the following How Many Roads Must A Man Walk Down?

Hee, Clever girl... As for more proof that this is a nerd search engine.. Ask it the Meaning of Life A Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy fan, I see.

But in the end, do you want to know the real reason this will fail? I typed in porn and it just gave me a textbook definition. Not a boob to be seen. Besides, didn't Ask Jeeves do this like 10 years ago? Only with a lot less graphs. The thing needs data, stat. It doesn't know a goddamn thing about Shakespearean literature.

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