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Monday, June 30, 2003

Greg Schwartz from Open Stacks saw my plea for comments on the new Hotbot Toolbar, and he kinda likes it! You can read his review on his own site, but to put it briefly he says "Look out people, I think we have a winner." I've simply got to go and have a look at it now! Thanks Greg!
The HotBot Quick Search Deskbar looks like it's in immediate and direct competition with the Google toolbar. It seems to have more functionality, allows you to search over 200 search sites from one searchbox, and can access a number of useful tools from the same input. I'll get around to trying it out asap, but if anyone gets there before me, please let me know!

Friday, June 27, 2003

Phil Bradley: Google Toolbar - new beta version 2.0 Further to my posting on the toolbar, I thought I'd try it out. I've now written a fairly short introductory article to it that you can access either from the link here or from my home page.
People are often surprised when I say that I prefer Allthweb over Google (toolbar notwithstanding!). I'm glad to see that I'm not the only person who thinks that Allthweb is a better all round performer than Google.
You've got less than a minute to impress people to stay at your site, surfers will only visit the top three sites returned in a search and they'll give up after three attempts. Sobering reading from a BBC news article for all those businesses out there trying to market themselves via the web.
The Google toolbar is a killer application as far as I'm concerned. The reason that I use Google to search so much is just because of that. There's now a beta version available and I'll try it out and let you know how I get on.
Creating Google Adwords. This little utility is actually quite interesting - pop in a URL and it will tell you what sort of adwords Google suggests for the page. Very useful not just for those interested in actually getting Adwords, but it's valuable to see how Google views your page. Most of the adverts that were suggested for my site were to do with searching and consultancy services, which makes sense to me. Take a look though - it's fast and effective.

Wednesday, June 25, 2003

Erica Olsen's Library Avenger site seems to have gone for good. I was asked about it today and went looking, and it would appear that the domain has been bought by a search company working out of Hong Kong, and they're doing very nicely on the number of links to the site, thank you very much. I've not been able to find out what happened, but don't expect to see it around anywhere soon. Any news on it that I find however, I'll pass your way. :(
As I've mentioned before, people are starting to realise that Google may not be the angel of the web in quite the way they've been seen in the past. An interesting article from the Salon goes into rather more depth.
If you're interested in the idea of using weblogs in schools, there's a very nifty little site that gives you lots of good ideas and examples.

Wednesday, June 18, 2003

A few nifty little browser shortcuts, thanks to the people from Webmaster World. Ctrl and enter will add the http:// and .com to an URL in the address bar - put philb into the address bar and then hit both keys - you'll see what I mean.
Ctrl + N does a new window
Ctrl + F performs a find on a page
Ctrl + P Prints
Ctrl + E Search (I've altered my registry to make Google my IE Search)
Ctrl + I Favourite's
Ctrl + H History
Ctrl + B Bookmark
alt+d - jump to address bar

There are plenty of others though!
14 useful tips to make your website easier for people with visual impairments to use your site. Recommended reading.
Rumours are currently flying around that Microsoft is creating its own search engine. Although they own one of the largest search sites in the world at MSN, they don't, oddly enough have their own search engine - MSN is powered by Inktomi, Looksmart and Overture. If you'd like more information, you can check out their FAQ for the MSNBOT at Also of interest is the fact that Microsoft is hiring for a couple of people to work in this area - if you want to be one of them, toddle along to their Hiring page and apply. Otherwise, await developments with interest!

Tuesday, June 17, 2003

Today I needed to find out an odd piece of information to do with women bricklayers (It's family history stuff), so I contacted the Women's Library. All the staff were busy, so I had to leave an answerphone message, and being the cynic that I am I thought that would be that. However, inside 30 minutes a delightful person called Natalie rang me back, clarified what I needed to know, and said they'd get back to me. This afternoon her colleague Beverley Kemp rang me - unfortunately they couldn't find the exact information that I wanted, but they did find somewhere else that I can continue my investigations. Really helpful, polite, fast and efficient. Terrific service, and I'm delighted to recognise it!
The Google Dance - the name given to the updating of the Google index to incorporate new pages, deletions of old ones, changes in ranking and so on. Of hardly any interest to most people, but of vital importance to some. Go take a look if you want/need to know more.
The philosophy of webrings. I was running a course recently and the subject of webrings came up, and a lot of people on the course had never heard of webrings before, so I explained a little about them and the ways in which they could be used. I've just discovered a nice little page explaining a little bit more about them, so if you're wondering what a webring is, this page will have you up to date instead 5 minutes.

Monday, June 16, 2003

The BT and Yahoo are combining to offer a broadband service according to a Sky news item. This will replace the Openworld brand, and should be available from September.
I've heard rumours that Google is re-directing non US users to the appropriate local version of the search engine. Not the most intelligent idea that they've ever had, but still. Though to be fair, this change was supposed to have been implimented on the 14th, and I've seen no sign of it myself. There is a link to the US version from any local version you might end up at, but if you still want to bookmark the original, the URL you need is: At least, so I'm told!

Friday, June 13, 2003

A new search engine, Babieca Taken a quick look. Free text with directory. Not very impressive - it takes results from a variety of places, and doesn't de-duplicate them. Rather messy and second rate. However, if you want to have a look, who am I to stop you!

Tuesday, June 10, 2003

Read mail order catalogues at Google. Why would you want to? Why spend time scanning them in? It's not April 1st is it? This is a strange one, and I can't quite see the point. However, if you want to scan mail order catalogues, Google in their kindness and infinate wisdom has ensured that you can.

Friday, June 06, 2003

Does email signal the end of history? Short, but worryingly interesting article talking about the fact that, if you want to get hold of memos and other written material about (say) the Gulf War, not too much of it exists. Not for any devious reasons, but simply because so much discussion took place using email, or Powerpoint presentations which have now been deleted. If you're interested in archival information, this is both interesting and worrying.

Tuesday, June 03, 2003

A new search engine to challenge Google, Turbo10 which claims to search the deep web has been so popular it's stopped working. It's only in beta test, and I've not had a chance to try it out myself, but be aware of it and try it out yourself if you get 5 minutes. And it's up, of course!

Monday, June 02, 2003

A new .Pro domain is being launched. The .pro domain, launching July 1, is initially available only to licensed professionals including doctors (, lawyers ( and CPAs (
Nice overview of Google, looking at how it was founded, what the company ethos is, how it's developing, and where it's going. Short but very interesting, with the main trivia point being that it now gets through 200 million queries per day.
Microsoft licences AOL to use IE6 royalty free for 7 years. Does this mean anything to you? You might not think so, but it actually does. AOL snapped up Netscape a while back, so what are they going to do with it? They could simply dump it, in which case what happens to its development? (Probably not a lot). AOL users are then going to be stuck with the same browser for the next 7 years. Everyone else can upgrade when Microsoft brings out the next version of its OS (called Longhorn), or stick with what they've currently got. Which then leaves developers where exactly? Do we spend the next few years writing pages for a browser that is going to become increasingly out of date? The mind boggles.