Sunday, December 02, 2012

Searching Calvin and Hobbes

This is from S. Anand's post from 2010:

There were a few Calvin and Hobbes search engines around. None quite did what I wanted them to – which was to search the text, and show me the strip, with a nice scrollable interface.

So I set out to build one. I can’t remember when, exactly, but it was before Sep 11, 2002.

It took me many years. I’d spend several train rides and evenings typing this stuff out. My friends, employers and family were a bit puzzled, but just added it to my list of eccentricities and carried on. I was halfway there in 2005, pushed further in 2006, and with some help, I managed to finally complete it.

I was able to do a lot of cool stuff with this, like statistically improbable phrases and some amusing posts as well.

When his efforts were picked up by Reddit and Metafilter, he received a take-down notice, and all his stuff went offline.

How things change in just two years!

A search engine by Michael Yingling (who credits the script, "likely from S. Anand" posted online) has also been in operation at least since the time Anand got the take-down notice, but survived long enough to get a better treatment. When news about this site went viral recently, it received official sanction, praise, and reward.


  1. pramod said...

    Perhaps I'm missing something but what has Yingling done that deserves credit here? Didn't he just scrape Anand's database and build a new interface on top of it?

    Anand says he was done in 2006 and his site was _taken down_ in May 2010. Yingling's site went up Feb 2010. It's not at all clear to me what Yingling added to the project besides stealing a neat idea from Anand.

    I don't have strong views on copyright but if we're celebrating Yingling and people are rewarding his "innovation and time", I'd like to know what his innovation actually was.