calacanis wants to outsource ‘repetative’ (sic) tasks to ireland

Jason Calacanis showing his ignorance with a twitter last night on how he wants to outsource mindless drone work to irish or indians. I’ve often used cheap labour myself for stuff like captcha solving but I wouldn’t be sourcing anywhere local. Indian GDP per capita is $3,800. Irish GDP per capita is $44,500. A little world economy lesson for ya there Jason.

Calacanis has a web 2.0 startup called Mahalo which has a ridiculous business model. He wants to generate human edited search results for the most common queries. A few issues I have with the idea:

1) I don’t think anything human edited can keep up with the current pace of the web. A breaking blog post on a topic can be indexed and highly ranked in Google in a matter of hours these days as long as it has authority links. The authority sites are doing the human editing for Google. Real human editing could not possibly keep up.

2) OK, the Mahalo editors might be doing a good service with these result pages but it’s like something the wikimedia foundation would bring out and release completely free. Thousands of editors are writing pages for Wikipedia for free (I don’t know why, but they do) but Jason is paying editors to make pages for Mahalo. It is not a good business model.

3) If a super search engine came out tomorrow with a much vaster index than G and better relevancy, it would still take a long while for people to switch. Google’s results are ‘good enough’ to prevent people to actively look for other engines.

Do people think of something they want to read about or (more importantly) buy and load up the Mahalo homepage to start a search? I seriously doubt it. I assume the majority of Mahalo’s traffic comes from Google. It’s a crap idea, it will be forgotten in a years time when Bubble 2.0 has burst and swept away all the shite

getting your mobile site to work on all phones

I have a fairly popular WAP site which is running Adsense Mobile ads and getting 300,000 impressions a day according to that so it’s pretty big. Problem is it was coded in WML 1.3 years ago when that was the only format that mobiles used. But smartphone browsers like my Nokia E61 use xhmtl-mp and don’t recognise WML at all. So I’m getting loads of emails from pissed off teenagers who can’t access the mobile site. Then there’s phones in Asia that use cHTML, a completely different format,, but I don’t think I have many users from Asia. So how do you cater for all these phones, create a different site for each format?

I was looking into this until I found the WURFL project which is a big database of all known phones and their capabilites and preferred languages. Luca Passani created WALL, the Wireless Abstraction Library for Java and Kaspars Foigts ported it for PHP. To use this you code all your pages using standard tags like and and WALL gets the phone user agent, queries the WURFL xml file and returns the appropriate code. This obviously doesn’t scale well so Tera WURFL grabs the WURFL xml file once and stores it in a local MySQL table for querying. I agree with others that the mobile web is finally coming of age about 6 years after the disastrous rollout of black and white WAP in shitty small mobile screens.

saudi rape victim punished with 200 lashes

A court in the ultra-conservative kingdom of Saudi Arabia is punishing a female victim of gang rape with 200 lashes and six months in jail, a newspaper reported on Thursday.

The 19-year-old woman — whose six armed attackers have been sentenced to jail terms — was initially ordered to undergo 90 lashes for “being in the car of an unrelated male at the time of the rape,” the Arab News reported.

But in a new verdict issued after Saudi Arabia’s Higher Judicial Council ordered a retrial, the court in the eastern town of Al-Qatif more than doubled the number of lashes to 200.


wtf. If these countries didn’t have the majority of the world’s oil supply we could be done with them. How could any modern civilisation think this is OK?