Archive for February, 2009

PostHeaderIcon The 10 Most Moving Search Engines

Over the weekend, under the gaze of a painting of the Dalai Lama at Tibetan Kitchen, I savored my dessert of bhaktsa marku while thinking of all the search engines that helped get me to that place. And by “that place” I don’t mean the Tibetan restaurant, but rather my new Manhattan neighborhood where my wife and I dined out for the first time as residents. Below are ten search engines that helped with the moving process.

1)  LinkedIn: This is the first search engine we used; it’s how my wife found our real estate broker. What’s funny is that my wife, a lawyer working for New York City Department of Health, thought to use LinkedIn when it hadn’t occurred to me.

2) StreetEasy: There are a lot of real estate sites out there, but for New York City, StreetEasy seemed to have the most comprehensive information about apartment listings presented in the most navigable format. The blog Curbed also came in handy when digging up dirt on buildings, especially a few new construction units we considered.

3) Google Maps: It’s even better now for New Yorkers with subway directions. Before it launched, I’d often turn to HopStop to figure out how to get to the various listings.

4) Delicious: What was the name of that moving company I used a couple years ago? Where did I buy boxes? I often think of Delicious as my second brain, the more organized one with fewer memory leaks. I posted some real estate-related sites in my public bookmarks, while I hid other links, such as for specific apartment listings.

5) Citimove: I’ve used this reverse auction site for several consecutive moves. You list what you have to move and get bids for your job, only disclosing your contact information when you’re ready. There are some checks for verified reviews to add to its trustworthiness.

6) Amazon: I’ve been doing a lot of product research for the move, from home office supplies to electronics upgrades. All searches included Amazon, as did a number of the purchases. Their reliability remains strong for delivering what they’re supposed to in a reasonable amount of time. They didn’t win all my business, though; I completed a couple of the larger transactions elsewhere.

7) CNET Reviews: Every time I searched for an electronics product, I wound up on CNET. It wasn’t always intentional; sometimes I’d use a search engine to find product reviews and CNET would rank prominently in the natural results. CNET helped me rethink which flat-screen TV to buy, and it recommended other products like speakers that I had no plans on buying.

8) Google Product Search: Google managed to be Amazon’s biggest competitor for my new-home shopping. The thousands of reviews of merchants added enough of a degree of trustworthiness so that it was more feasible to explore alternatives to the Amazon default. I also gravitated toward merchants that accepted Google Checkout, which I used more in the past two months than I ever have just so I didn’t have to register with a seller for a one-time small-ticket purchase.

9) Crate and Barrel: The on-site search engine here got enough use that it helped turn our apartment into a satellite showroom.

10) MenuPages: The most important question a New Yorker faces when moving is figuring out where to eat (what’s the point of living here if you’re more than a few blocks from a good bagel, pizza, or sushi source?). Where I moved, an area affectionately dubbed Curry Hill for its abundance of Indian restaurants, is one of those neighborhoods that suffers from too many options rather than too few, so MenuPages helps narrow the field.

All of these engines competed with one other major source: word of mouth. It was word of mouth that led us to our real estate lawyer and mortgage broker. Word of mouth also won out for specialized purchases such as a folding bicycle. Search engines still won the day overall, though, beating out word-of-mouth recommendations for a real estate broker, moving company, and television.

But everything was interconnected. We found the real estate broker on LinkedIn who introduced us to the lawyer, and the lawyer referred us to the mortgage broker. None of it happened in a vacuum. Right, vacuum… one more thing I need to buy, which I’ll have to search for — unless you have any good recommendations.

David Berkowitz is director of emerging media and client strategy at 360i. You can reach him at, and you can read his blog at

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The 10 Most Moving Search Engines

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PostHeaderIcon K3 Reloaded WordPress Theme Released!

K3 Reloaded WordPress theme snapshot preview

It’s been my ambition for a long time now, I wish to create my own theme for my sites that used the WordPress blogging platform. And now my dream has come true! I’ve just finished creating my first and only theme. And now I’m releasing it to the world. Enjoy!

Just now, I’ve finished uploading the ZIP file to theme directory. And now I’m waiting for the email confirmations. They said that they will email me their confirmations after my theme has been reviewed. I hope that they will accept it. :angel:

I’ll put the link to the theme directory at after my theme has been accepted. In the meantime, if you’re eager to give it a go, you can get it here at my download page.

For more information about the theme, you can visit my official theme page here. You can see a snapshot preview of the theme and there’s a link to the DEMO site in there.

If you have any questions about the theme usage, please leave your comment at the theme page. :wink:

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PostHeaderIcon Title race

Killzone 2 screenshotKillzone 2 is arguably the most important release in the short history of the PlayStation 3.

Announced at the unveiling of PlayStation 3 (PS3) in 2005, it was used as a battering ram to convince gamers of the power of the as yet unreleased console.

But the trailer shown at the E3 games conference in 2005 became mired in controversy when it was revealed the footage was a “target trailer” and a render running on unfinished hardware, rather than on a PS3 itself.

Despite the controversy, and the four years that have elapsed between that announcement and the imminent release of Killzone 2, the game remains a crucial release for Sony, which will be hoping it can drive sales of the PlayStation 3.

Sony needs a title to help define its console in the minds of core gamers. The PS3 lags in sales behind its rival Xbox 360, and the price difference between the two machines means Sony’s exclusive titles have to work harder in order to justify the higher price tag of the PS3.

Just as the Halo franchise came to define the Xbox and, more importantly, make people go out and buy the console, Sony needs Killzone 2 to push hardware out of the doors of retailers.

Killzone 2 screenshot

Hermen Hulst, managing director of Killzone 2 developer Guerrilla Games, says the game has always been an advert for the console.

“Our mission for the title was to build a showcase for the PlayStation 3 hardware. I think we have pushed the machine, so I am hopeful that we can help Sony push hardware units.

“It’s a great title for gamers to show off what they can do with their HD set. I am quite hopeful it will make an impact.”

Reviews of Killzone 2 have been very positive, with putting the average score at 92%.

Set in the future, the game pits the human race against the Helghast in a classic science fiction battle of good versus evil, with plenty of references to the march of the Nazis in the 1930s and 1940s.

The game has been praised for its graphical fidelity and solid design, while criticisms have mainly centred on a lack of overall innovation and a rather stolid narrative.

"We’ve delivered in most areas on the vision we set out.We have pushed the machine hard"
Hermen Hulst, Guerrilla Games

When it finally hits shops at the end of February, every pixel of its 720 by 1280 resolution will be pored over by gamers looking to see if the finished article matches the original vision.

Mr Hulst insists that the game has surpassed that vision in some places.

“We’ve delivered in most areas on the vision we set out. We have pushed the machine hard. The vision was about the graphical fidelity we were creating, and the other thing was the intensity and chaos around the player – there’s plenty of that in that game.”

The game certainly stands shoulder to shoulder with some of the most graphically rich titles released on any gaming platform. It also boasts 7.1 surround sound, making the most of its atmospheric audio design.

He adds: “If you analyse down to the nitty gritty, there are some areas to improve.

“But in some areas we have pushed it further; the weapons look better in game than they do in the target trailer, for example.”

Guerrilla has had the PlayStation 3 hardware longer than most and claims, contrary to popular belief, that the machine is not harder or more difficult to develop on than other consoles.

Killzone 2 screenshot

“I’m surprised by how much room our technology producers have squeezed out of it. We were reviewing some levels and thought that 40 or maybe 50 dynamic lighting elements were possible in one particular level at a time.

“But there were many dozens more. There were well over 100 active dynamically at the same time.

“Our tech team have been optimising right up to the last minute and rather than shaving things off we were able to let a lighting artist and texture artist know there was room for more polish,” he says.

The launch of the title has missed the crucial Christmas window but Mr Hulst says it was a conscious decision.

“We wanted to take extra time to put in the polish. The window we are coming out in now is good for us. People have played their Christmas titles and are ready to get their hands on something new and fresh.”

Mr Hulst says he is loathe to compare his own game to other First Person Shooters on the market but he adds: “It’s perhaps got a little more polish and is realistic and smoother. But now it’s up to the consumers to give us the final verdict.”

Sony will be hoping the final verdict is reflected in a lift in console sales

This article is from the BBC News website. © British Broadcasting Corporation

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