A Django site.
November 8, 2010
» Easy .cym easy .go?

As reported by the BBC the .cym domain has come into being. Unfortunately for those people interested in establishing a Welsh linguistic and cultural space on the internet, the Cayman Islands have got there first (do they really need two?).

While this is not a total disaster, it is certainly a bit of a blow. The two questions which spring to my mind are – how did this happen and what will they call it now.

I wonder to what extent the slowness of the ICANN processes has played a part here, or whether they favour straightforward national claims? I also wonder if stronger (or just different) support from the WAG might have made any difference?

Still, in a spilt milk frame of mind, what could the domain be instead of .cym (assuming we can’t buy .cym back?). Well .cwl is quite cute and funny; .cyw might appeal to a younger Welsh internet user; how about .bro or .cwm? Hmm… none of these really strikes me as being as good as .cym. However, maybe the use of a domain name that appears to have a less direct connection to the language might actually be a benefit in terms of attracting registrants. I guess only time will tell, maybe we will have a better idea after the dotCYM AGM this weekend.

July 24, 2008
» Te Wiki o te Reo Maori

Well it appears to be an interesting time for te reo Māori and the internet with the launch of Google Aotearoa as reported in BizReport and excitement around the possibility of reo Māori internet domain names according to a press release from the New Zealand Māori Internet Society reported in Scoop.

However as I seem to habitually see the glass as (less than) half full…

...I suspect that Google Aotearoa is just a skin and this concerns me. Now I know there are many people (and people’s whose opinions I respect greatly) who maintain that anything is better than nothing as far as minority language provision goes. With some reservations about quality, I generally agree with this position.

BUT, I can’t help feeling that search engines are different, and that a minority language skin over an English language search engine is fundamentally misleading minority language speaking users. To my mind (and perhaps I am wrong) if a naive user finds a Google skin in their language, it is natural for them to assume that Google will be searching in that language – making plurals, stemming, mutating and so on. OK the more sophisticated user may realise that Google only searches in some languages, but I suspect that the average user won’t. Given that Google may also be a naive users main (or only) way of searching for information on the internet, the fact that the results returned may only be a subset of the results that would have been returned if the search algorithm had been tailored to their language, may be significant. They may miss important relevant results, they may perceive the presence of their language on the internet as being smaller and perhaps less useful than it really is. This may actually reduce the status and use of the language, rather than enhance it.

If google.co.uk was actually using French language search algorithms, I would want to know about it. Perhaps users of Google’s language skins would also like to know.

January 17, 2008
» The new Welsh Country Code?

Am I alone in noticing a sudden upsurge in blog spamming? Yesterday just one of my previous posts received 31 spam comments. Surely the chances of someone reading my blog, deciding to read a really old post, deciding to read the comments, deciding to read the spam comment and deciding that they really do want to click through to whatever it is advertising must be as close to zero as makes no difference?

Among the spam was one comment which I dithered about, spam or not spam? It was a brief message and link to a site called Welsh Country Code Domains which, to be fair was relevant to the post and looked to have been written by a person rather than being automated. After a quick look at the site I decided that even though it is advertising a commercial service, it was kind of interesting, so I let it be published.

I am slightly curious about the domains it offers. The domains are of the form www.mydomain.wel.cc and they describe “Dot wel.cc” as “the new Welsh Country Code”. A quick google reveals that the .CC domain name is the ccTLD for the Cocos (Keeling Islands), which is apparently a territory of Australia (though nothing to do with New South Wales as far as I can tell).

My next point of curiosity was, why .wel and not .wal – presumably because Western Analytic Laboratories got their first. And not .cym presumably because Valleys Woodcraft got there first.

I have also struggled to locate any sites using the .wel.cc domain other than the Welsh Country Code Domains. Does anyone know of any? Does anyone use this domain? Do they really provide spam-free email (it might be worth it for this alone!)?