Firstly, congratulations to my new Spanish friends and their countrymen counterparts on their 3-0 victory over Russia last night in a very rainy Vienna.
We finished our meetings at the IBM Albatros location on the outskirts of Madrid just in time to return to the hotel for kickoff (at 8:45 PM Spanish time), then spent the next hour missing the first half as we looked for a non-existent restaurant.
Fortunately, we found our way to one of the main arteries, a cab via which was able to whisk us away to the Playa Colon in record time.
Once there, we found a few thousand Spaniards gathered watching the game on a big screen (but not big enough).
The score was apparently nil to nil until Spain scored the first of three goals in the second half.
We knew that they scored because the cheers echoed across the city in a cascade!
It was an amazing and joyous sound.
After Spain finished smothering Russia (my condolences), the 24 year semi-finals dry spell came to an end, and Spain will now be playing the Germans on Sunday for the championship.
In the meantime, the Spanish moved into through streets in the thousands with great exuberance.
Horns honking everywhere, Spanish flags flying out of cars cruising down the Paseo de la Castellana, people selling single beers along the sidewalks. The only people not celebrating were the Spanish riot police who watched bemusedly at the celebraciones.
For some historical perspective, Spain hadn't beaten Italy since like the early 1920s (in a non-exhibition, competitive match) to even get to the semis.
Then, they hadn't made it to the semifinals since the early 1980s.
Think Boston Red Sox not winning a World Series for 80 some odd years, and you get the picture.
Except we're talking not just about a city but an entire country.
It was a sight to behold.
As we wound our way back to the hotel along Paseo Castellana, my Crackberry erupted with the news that Microsoft is expected to be making a play for semantic search engine, Powerset, in an attempt to buy its way out of its search gap with Google for a mere $100M U.S.
Powerset attempts to understand not only the actual queries one places in its engine, but also the meaning behind those queries, then providing results based on the understanding of that meaning.
You know, kind of like HAL in "2001: A Space Odyssey" -- only Powerset can't disable your life support systems.
I jumped on over to Powerset to give it another look see, typing in the keyword "Madrid" -- lo and behold, not only did I get some really good search links, but I also got a whole shebang of Google AdSense ads in the right hand margin.
It seems that if the rumor is true and Microsoft does buy Powerset, at least their search capability will finally have an actual revenue stream.Read More]