Why I am switching from Google to Bing

I’m switching to Bing today.

Both Google and Bing are fast (the differences in performance are unnoticeable to me). And they both produce near-identical results for me, at least for the searches that I perform. Bing certainly has pretty pictures, but that’s not my reason either.

My reason is actually a little more esoteric: I copy and paste URLs a lot. Most often I am posting URLs to Connect items or blog posts I’ve written, since they answer a question better than I could if I had to re-write it from scratch. The difference in behavior is minor but makes Google my new loser in the search engine race.

Let’s take a pretty simple search. Recently I’ve addressed several issues where folks were searching for metadata about objects. The obligatory response is to use INFORMATION_SCHEMA views. However, I’ve written a pretty comprehensive blog post about why you should avoid these views. (I won’t get into that here, but you can go there directly if that’s the search that got you here.)

To get to my blog post through a search engine, I’ll enter “case against INFORMATION_SCHEMA” as the search phrase. Here are the results in Google:

And in Bing:

In both cases they were the top result. The visual differences are obvious but minor (Google seems to value a lot of white space, and telling me how fast the search returned, which I don’t really care about unless I’m still waiting). The big difference for me is when I right-click and copy the link. Now, before you try it, take this grain of salt: when I’m doing this kind of thing, I am using Firefox on a Mac. So the behavior may differ in your case. But here is what I see.

When I right-click the link in Bing and choose “Copy Link Location” I get the link I expect:

When I right-click the link in Google and choose “Copy Link Location” I get this nonsense:

Now I understand why they’re doing this – if you copy the URL and share it (or even if you just click through) they want to capture that click operation. And while it causes an extra server redirect, it’s not noticeable enough to be my problem. The issue I have with this is that, when I want to go copy and paste that link into a comment on some other site (probably representing at least 50% of my usage pattern), it is an absolute mess. In order to avoid it, I have to go through an additional step and actually click through the link and copy it from the address bar there. This may seem petty or trivial, and really only represents a few seconds of extra work, but the tediousness adds up.

So, for now, Bing is my choice.

Desperately seeking a decent battery caddy

I want a battery caddy. I know initially it seems like a bizarre thing to want, or maybe it is difficult to even determine what the h-e-double-hockey-sticks I’m talking about.

I have several items in my office that take AA or AAA batteries (for example, my Wireless Keyboard, Magic Trackpad and QC15s).

When one of the devices gets a low battery, I run scrambling for fresh batteries. Sometimes I end up with batteries that were charged long ago, and they either don’t work out of the gate or they last for a very short period of time. So I start charging them again while I grab more. On multiple occasions it’s taken me several tries before I have success, and then the noise of chargers running around me is unsettling.

Yes this is partly due to my own inability to organize “stuff” – and in fact I do have a Tupperware container where I keep freshly charged batteries. But this system has a weakness: there is no inherent organization; it is just a pile. Every time I grab batteries out of there, I may be grabbing the newest batteries I’ve charged, and the ones that have been waiting the longest to be re-used get to stay idle once again. I am sure I am burning out one set of batteries and completely wasting several other sets. While I am careful to only pair identical batteries together (I use both Rayovac Hybrids and Energizers of various mAh ratings, depending on when/where purchased), I do not keep track of which batteries were charged more recently than others.

Here is where a battery caddy would come in handy (well, two, but I’ll start with just one for AAs). It would function like a paper towel dispenser – you fill it up from the top, and the towels you put in first come out first, while the “newest” towels come out last. See, I knew I’d have some opportunity to use the concept of First-In First-Out FIFO)!

So now imagine a container with similar functionality but the width of a battery. Ideally it would hold about 20-24 batteries (I’d produce a diagram but my Photoshop-fu is weak today). When I charge my first set of batteries, I slide them into the top and they drop to the bottom, ready to be used. I charge another set, and they go to the top, but won’t be used next. No more round-robin battery selection; three cheers for FIFO!

I’ve searched around but I can’t find anything like this. If you know of anything, please let me know! It’s not a huge deal, but it is a minor annoyance for which I have to think there should be a better solution. If you don’t know of anything, but would find such a thing useful, you can let me know that too. If I find something (or just create it myself), I’ll let you know!