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The decline and fall of the net

2008-10-04 05:21:30.431927+00 by Dan Lyke 11 comments

Scoble mentioned the Google 2001 index. This evening, Charlene and I have been searching for information on electric skillets, we don't want something huge, we won't allow any more "non-stick" pans in our kitchen (too much hassle), and we want a temperature range that goes down to 180°F.

Searching on all the variations we're coming up with on electric skillets largely comes up with the spammers. Shopping.com, NextTag, all of those sites that make their money by sucking off traffic from places you'd really want to visit. And there are pages and pages of this crap. In fact, searching on places to buy cookware near us buries the actual vendors down under pages and pages of "yellow pages" knock-offs with the same spammerisms.

In fact, many of those spammers are just using Google ads.

There's a lot missing from the Google 2001 index, but searching there actually gives the sorts of results I might be interested in, personal experiences and such. Of course it's woefully out of date, but it does reaffirm my feeling that the net peaked sometime in the mid '90s and has been sliding downhill since.

And, yes, so far as I can tell Google is still the state of the art in searching. At least this evening. Yahoo is bizarrely useless, and Cuil is just hilariously bad.

[ related topics: Consumerism and advertising Net Culture ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2008-10-04 11:51:39.579459+00 by: m

Why do you rule out non-stick pans as too much hassle? They are certainly an issue with high temperature cooking. But for some sauces, long simmers and reductions they seem to provide a less wettable surface, which minimizes crusting above the liquid -- at least for a gas stove.

#Comment Re: made: 2008-10-04 14:39:25.359499+00 by: meuon [edit history]

Any commercial kitchen suppliers? Buy the pan you like..(stainless?) with a good heating element, and then it's time for a real temperature controller, maybe with variable (pulse width?) predictive temperature control. Sure it'll look like Dr. Frankensteins lab, but think: an accurate (+/- 1 degree) stable electric skillet that might hold 142 degrees.. Say something like: this $855 beauty but this temperature controller is more practical. Properly wired, you might be able to use one controller for many devices.

Oh. And Modbus (especially over ethernet) is very useful.. In case you want to store and graph your temperature curves.

#Comment Re: made: 2008-10-04 15:38:38.563484+00 by: petronius

Since everybody is now a middleman, maybe time is ripe for somebody who will run a script to drill down through Google to the manufacturers. I guess our problem is that we know have too much information to handle.

#Comment Re: made: 2008-10-04 16:15:33.066264+00 by: m

meuon, I haven't been buying lab equipment lately, but I suspect that you are in the dollar range of existing hotplates with external probes, and more importantly single or dual magnetic stirring bars. Hot damn! Low temperature vacuum reducing apparatus comes next. Perhaps followed by a lypholizer.

#Comment Re: made: 2008-10-04 17:28:12.902375+00 by: Larry Burton

Here's a controller for your hotplate.

#Comment Re: made: 2008-10-04 17:31:35.807188+00 by: meuon

Larry wins. Good pick.

#Comment Re: made: 2008-10-04 17:58:20.160533+00 by: m [edit history]

I have to try this again, but perhaps I place too much emphasis on a built in stirrer, but the built in RS232 interface for control and data is a real plus.


Programmable Digital Stirring Hot Plate, 115V Up to 10 programs

Hot plate heats up to 450°C in approximately 2 minutes Platinum RTD temperature measurement for ±1% accuracy

Repeat any program up to 98 times automatically. Multiple temperatures, temperature ramp rates, stirring speeds and timed events can be stored. Includes timer to 99 hours, 59 minutes with auto-off option. Unit can be programmable or non-prorammable in operation. Stirrer is manufactured in a durable aluminum body with a flat 8" x 8" white ceramic top plate. Offers RS232 interface for control or recording data via a computer. 6-foot cord with plug is included.


Speed range rpm 100-1500

Temp accuracy +- 1

Temp range 0-450°C

Max stirring volume 4L

Top plate dimensions inches 8" x 8"

Top plate material Ceramic

Dimensions 9-1/8"w x 4-3/4"H x 15-3/4"D

Power 120V

Timer 99 minutes

Plug type US 3-prong

#Comment Re: made: 2008-10-04 18:23:21.939008+00 by: Dan Lyke [edit history]

m, Charlene's got her own concerns about non-stick coatings, I'm just not a fan of having to baby them all the time. Modern ones are pretty solid, but I like metal cooking utensils.

[Edit:] Holy crap, that automatic stirrer one is awesome, I'm going to see if I can talk Charlene into wanting this!

Larry, for ninety bucks that looks like it'd be handy to have around just because (although I think I'd need an RS485 card 'cause it looks like that's the way to program the ramp/soak profile, but can you help me out with a thermometer probe for that? That'd be worthwhile for chocolate tempering and all sorts of other stuff.

Petronius, I'm not sure how it's going to happen, but I think there's room for a Google replacement. If I were Google I'd start by giving users tools to manage domains/sites which should never appear in their results, which would let me purge PriceGrabber, BizRate, NexTag and all of those scam artists from my net, but then we'd have all the other spammers registering sites to keep ahead of me. Some mechanism for raising the profile of blogs and personal sites, especially if those were tied to some sort of social network, would be worth pursuing.

#Comment Re: made: 2008-10-05 13:12:29.83184+00 by: meuon

I think Google and others have tries such techniques and been thwarted by a cottage industry of humans paid to manipulate the system.

#Comment Re: made: 2008-10-06 05:51:16.83903+00 by: Larry Burton

Get the KHSS-116G-RSC-12 thermocouple probe from Omega if you are wanting a sensor to place in and take out of the pot. Get with me by email or phone if you want a sensor for permanent mounting. You need an RS485 card anyway. No one playing around with the stuff you play around with should be without one.

#Comment Re: made: 2008-10-06 16:53:36.650523+00 by: ebradway

Wow! That stirrer would be awesome for candy.