aku-aku: v.. To move a tall, flat bottomed object (such as a bookshelf) by swiveling it alternatively on its corners in a "walking" fashion. [After the book by Thor Heyerdahl theorising the statues of Easter Island were moved in this fashion.] source: LangMaker.com. Aku Aku also has another meaning to the islanders: a spiritual guide.
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metamark URL shortening service
Posted by dav at 2003 January 15 10:38 AM
File under: Geek

There's a new service on the web that can take long URLS and rename them to something quite short: Metamark

For example, say you have a URL of a map to my favorite vietnamese dive diner like http://www.mapquest.com/maps/map.adp?country=US&addtohistory=&address
=8+6th+street&city=san+francisco&state=ca&zipcode=&homesubmit
=Get+Map
and you want to make it shorter, submit it to metamark and you'll get something very managable like http://xrl.us/zt4.

A new URL equivalent for my home page is now http://xrl.us/zt2.

It appears that they are just incrementing sequentially through the available characters. In the three urls I submitted in the last few minutes I received: http://xrl.us/ztz, http://xrl.us/zt2, and http://xrl.us/zt4 ...so the pattern is pretty obvious (keep in mind this is a live system and other people are probably hitting it right now too). But this means that their URLs will keep growing in length over time, eventually making the system useless. It doesn't help that morons like me are submitting URLs just to test it and eating up short URLs. If I were them I'd put a minimum length requirement on the submission form.

Update: so it occurred to me to check to see what the first shortened URL was. If things worked like I theorized above, the first URL passed out would have been http://xrl.us/a but that in fact is not an assigned URL at metamark (actually 0 is the first legal character in ASCII value, but sinze z came before 2 and 4 above I assume they're using a-z0-9 as their sequence). In fact http://xrl.us/zt1 is unassigned. So I tried http://xrl.us/ztw (two before z) and that worked. Now my curiousity is definitely piqued, but I've really got to quit goofing around and get back to work so I'll have to explore more later.

Comments:

I started at "ba" or something like that to preserve the one letter "namespace" if I ever need more pages on the xrl.us domain. Somewhere in the process of crunching through the two letter namespace I decided to save it for later. I want to add an expiration thing so you can tell the system that a URL doesn't have to stick around for several years. It'll be more than a million urls before we are out of three letter urls. If I add upper case urls too we'll have, er... many!

It's not using 0 and 1 because they look too much like o and l on many systems.


- ask

Posted by: Ask Bjoern Hansen on January 15, 2003 08:41 PM

btw, you didn't make a link to metamark.net in the post. =^)

Posted by: Ask Bjoern Hansen on January 15, 2003 08:43 PM

I wish everytime I was curious about something I could just post it here and the person most qualified to answer, out of the ~6 billion naked apes roaming around the planet, just stops by and clears things up.

Thanks much, Ask. And I fixed the link, thanks again :)

Posted by: Dav on January 16, 2003 12:26 AM

Implementation may differ, but http://www.makeashorterlink.com has been around for a couple of years at least

Posted by: Steve Portigal on January 17, 2003 09:56 AM

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