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URL Shorteners Causing a Stir

The Internet is in an uproar this morning. This uproar will probably be done in the next couple of hours for all but a few select people like the programmers at Twitter and Delicious. The debate? Are URL shorteners good or evil?

URLURI shorteners take a long URL like which search engines love for the embedded keywords and reduce them to as few characters as possible like which search engines may or may not like. Joshua Schachter has posted about the evils of URL shorteners with a plethora of comment from people on both sides of the fence. Dave Winer, who pioneered RSS, says that URL shortners are risky. Basically the concern is that we are creating a situation where broken links may abound on the Internet. Since two URIs go to the same place, content is being duplicated in search engines and bookmarking services and since some of these services use 301 redirects while others use 302 redirect we have no good way of crediting the link to the source. (301 means the uri has been permanently moved to a new uri, ie. the original long uri, and 302 means that the uri has been temporarily moved meaning the search engine or bookmarking service should record the short uri as the permanent resource). Other concerns revolve around archiving and longevity of these shortening services. If Twurl goes out of business, most of my shortened uris will break. As an example of this, is no longer but is now Tweetburner. After reading this analysis of uri shortening services, I don’t think I will be using Twurl/Tweetburner anymore anyway; I love their stats but a 302 redirect is deplorable.

To shorten or not to shorten, that is the question. A proposed solution is that publishers should automatically offer their own shortened URLs which could hurt your searchengine-fu. Personally I am going to keep my long URIs but I think I’ll switch to or while they are using 301 redirects (that is until the day they decide not to use 301 redirects…letting other people control your data is confusing isn’t it?!).

Aside: A URL is a subset of a URI. There is some debate about whether URL has be deprecated or not. See Yuri not Earl.

Update: 5 Reasons Why URL Shorteners Are Useful

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Link dump and closing browser windows

I have two styles of posting on Reality Me. One style is to write about my personal experiences and creative writing that comes from with me. The second style is based on external stimulus, generally other stuff I see on the Internet. Frequently when I am writing about my personal experiences (style 1) I will seek out related or supporting information from the Internet. The second style is typically items in the news, politics, or technology and in writing about them I may connect it to a personal experience. As such, the two styles often overlap.

Since life and work do not always permit time for blogging, I sometimes use the non-time sensitive items as scheduled posts that I can write about in my leisure but have them scheduled to appear in a busy time of the day. I used to set aside some Sunday evening time specifically to schedule some interesting content throughout the week. I’m an information junkie and a collector of links. When an interesting link is emailed to me, instant messaged, or Twittered (other ways to contact me), I open it in a new browser window or tab and skim it. Time permitting I may post about it right away, save it to delicious, or just leave it open in the tab. Eventually I get too many tabs and windows open, my computer slows to a crawl, and I either discard everything, or bookmark them for later. Today I’m going to dump them all to this post without lengthy commentary or research. Click "more" to see the link dump. Continue reading Link dump and closing browser windows