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Monday, February 28, 2005

Broadband Stars: Video Search Engines Compared Comparisons of Alltheweb, AltavSista, AOL, Ask, Blinkx, Excite, Google, MSN, Singingfish, Speechbot and Yahoo.

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Nice tip from Sheila Webber pointing out that a search on the Yahoo news feature allows you to create an RSS feed for adding to something like Bloglines.
Neil Gaiman is a writer for whom I have tremendous respect, and he's written a nice little piece on Michael Gorman's Blog People rant.

Friday, February 25, 2005

Michael Gorman, who is president-elect of the American Library Association has written a piece for Library Journal entitled Revenge of the Blog People! All in all, it's a rather sad little piece, full of his own preconceptions and prejudices from his opening (very poor, bitter and inaccurate) definition of a blog through to his last confused paragraph.

Mr Gorman has some interesting points to make about blogs and the role they play, but they are difficult to pick out from the rest of the diatribe. He also has much to say about Google, and aims a lot of criticisms at it - mainly along the lines that the information it returns is 'random bits of information'. I'd be very interested to see the kind of searches that he's done that lead him to this conclusion, and I'm willing to bet that they're pretty poor. A well constructed search, with an intelligent use of syntax will almost always give good results, as any good information professional can attest. Clearly however this ability is beyond him.

Astonishingly, the ALA is going to make him President! I can only assume that it's because he has hidden depths, since the only ability I can see from his sad little diatribe is the ability not to see what is right under his nose.
I'm not usually much into online music; I've never gotten into the whole mp3 thing, but I've recently discovered Last.FM and I have to say I think it's very nifty indeed. You can sign up for free, tell it what your favourite music is and create your own personal radio station. I've been listening for the last 4 hours and liked every song! It's very clever and worth trying out if you're into the whole online music thing.
Hmmm, must be the day for top 10s. The Guardian has listed their favourites. In their order:
Google, Yahoo!, MSN, Ask Jeeves, Teoma, AltaVista, Lycos, Hotbot, Dogpile, MetaCrawler, Clusty, Mooter, Kartoo, Daypop, Technorati, UKWizz, UK Google, Newsnow, Exalead, Blinkx, Icerocket, Singing Fish, Websbiggest, Looksmart, A9.
Top 20 UK search engines based on referrals listed here. Top five are:
MyWay Job Search is a new search engine that launched today that combines over 40,000 new jobs daily from a wide range of employment web sites across the USA.
The Baby Name Wizard's NameVoyager is not actually what we're interested in here. It's the way in which is this data is displayed that is truely amazing.
In the year 2014, The New York Times has gone offline. The Fourth Estate's fortunes have waned. What happened to the news? And what is EPIC?

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Can you tell a real email from a fake? Try the MailFrontier Phishing IQ Test to see if you're savvy enough not to fall for a scam. I got 8/10 right, mainly because I'm probably slightly too cynical.
IT security awareness for everyone is a UK government service that has just been launched to provide home users and small businesses with straightforward advice to protect computers and mobile phones from malicious attacks.
Google now allows users to search for movies in more detail. Type movie: and then something such as a quote and see what it brings up for you.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

I have a Poll page on my website, and once a year or so run a new poll. I've just finished the last one and if you're interested you can see all the results from the link, or you can get the synopsis here.

Do you use weblogs?
The majority (33%) knew of them, but didn't use them. Almost 47% of respondents either had one, read them daily or read them sometimes.

Which search engine do you mostly use?
No surprise here... over 85% mostly use Google, and that's up from 64% when I asked the same question a couple of years ago.

Is searching the internet getting easier?
Over 80% thought it was getting either a great deal or a little bit easier.

Has the internet changed the way you do your job?

I thought this was the most interesting result, since an astonishing 50.6% said that it had totally changed their job and how they do it. No-one thought it had made their jobs any more difficult either.

In your opinion, do you think people trust the information they find on the internet?
Almost three quarters of people though that users trusted information rather more than they should.

So there you have it. Is it scientific? Not in the slightest. But I think it's interesting. I'll be putting up another poll shortly.
I've just finished updating my Country search engines and Regional Search Engines pages. There are now 2,609 search engines covering 216 countries, territories or regions. If you know of others that I've not included, drop me a line. It's the most well used section of my site and gets about 10,000 hits a month in total, so if you're interested in sponsoring it to help me keep it current, let me know, and we can have a discussion.
101 things you can do in Mozilla that you can't do in IE. If you're still sticking with Internet Explorer, this list will give you 101 reasons why you should change, or 100 reasons if you like IE's blue e symbol.
Gary, over at SearchEngineWatch points out that Yahoo has increased the size of their image database, up to 1.5 billion. Google can be expected to release details shortly that their image database is going to be increased in size, I'm sure. In related news, Picsearch has teamed up with MSN to provide an improved image search functionality.
There's a really well argued post at TheTwoWayWeb site that argues against the idea of the new AutoLink feature in Google's latest version of the toolbar. 7 coherent and powerful reasons why it just shouldn't be done.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

The Government Says is a website that scrapes content (ie created by a third party from existing data) from various UK Government websites. Very helpful if you need to keep current with what our beloved leaders are getting up to.

Friday, February 18, 2005

The Devilfinder Search Engine - Finding Stuff Since 1979. Fun name, and no, it's not been finding stuff since 1979. Clear display of results, and I liked the image search function. Nice enough search engine, but nothing there is going to make me go hysterical with joy.
TurboScout is basically a meta search engine that displays sets of results from a variety of different search engines when you click on the link. Currently they have 23 search engines listed.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Slow day today on the search engine front, since most of the stories are about the Google Toolbar which has been released in another incarnation (v3). New additions allow for spelling, translation and add weblinks, meaning less cutting and pasting. Unfortunately it's not yet out for Firefox. C'mon Google - if Yahoo can produce a version of their toolbar for Firefox, why can't you?

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Bubbler is a new blogging tool which looks nice and easy to use if you've not tried one before. The one thing I didn't notice in the quick tour was an ability to add a quick blog icon in the way that Blogger has done. However, if you're not bothered by this, it's worth trying out.
Over on the Microsoft Internet Explorer Weblog there's an entry about IE7. Apparently betas will be available this summer. It's an unintentionally very funny entry... Microsoft is appearing to be very upfront and says that they're listing to their customers and they are committing. I guess the fact that Firefox has proved to be a huge runaway success has nothing to do with it? Quite frankly, I'm not holding my breath on this one, and I'm fully expecting to be using Firefox by the end of the year. My bet is that a new version of IE is only going to attempt to tie the user even more closely into the raft of Microsoft products and quite frankly, that's not where I want to be going.
Press release from Mozilla annoucing 25 million Firegox downloads! This is, by the way, in less than 100 days. If you've not got a copy yet, why not?

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

An interesting training approach from Steven Cohen called: Staying Ahead of Your Patrons With Weblogs and RSS. Basically he's teaching users about weblogs by putting his presentation into a weblog format.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Route "A" has been brought to my attention: It's basically an inhouse blog used as a staff current awareness tool for (initially) Route A and graduate trainees, but it has a wider circulation for general professional staff development. Worth a read!

Interesting article from Search Engine Marketing Debra O'Neil-Mastaler Interview on Link Building. Some useful thoughts and ideas on how to promote your site by link building.
Interesting (if poorly created) site called UK Children Go online and it has an interesting report on internet literacy among children and young people. If you're in the education field, it's worth reading.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

I've recently upgraded my system at home; I have two Dell desktops and a Dell laptop. (I like Dell, what can I say?) I wanted to make proper use of my wi-fi laptop and my existing router wasn't up to the job. Consequently I got a BT Voyager Wireless Router. I plugged it in, plugged my two desktops in, everything worked fine - no tricky installation or anything like that at all. However, I couldn't get the laptop to work at all. In the end I gave up and sent BT an email requesting help. Within minutes I had a confirmation email and within about 12 hours (and this is on a saturday!) I had a response with several helpful suggestions, one of which worked first time, and I'm now fully up and running - thanks Vanessa!

Compare and contrast with the WS_FTP people; I'm happy to say, if you're thinking of buying a wireless router, get one from BT!

Saturday, February 12, 2005

I wanted to get myself a new FTP package, and since I'd previously used the Ipswitch WS_FTP Pro package, I thought I'd upgrade, so I downloaded the new version for their trial period before buying it. I installed it into a different directory (actually on a different drive as well), because I wanted to keep the previous version. Now, you'd think the new version would either ignore the old one, or ask if it could copy across all the details from the existing version. That would be logical, but no. This package deletes *all* the information in the existing version, leaving me to scrabble around and find all my details and passwords again. I tried emailing their help desk, and got no response. A few days later I got an email from one of their representatives asking me how I was getting on with it. I emailed her and explained, and got no response. Then towards the end of the trial I got another email, reminding me that the trial was almost up, and was I going to subscribe. Again I replied, explaining why not. And again, you've guessed it, no answer.

It's an ok piece of software, don't get me wrong, (although there are plenty of other packages that are similar out there), but not only am I annoyed at the glitch in the installation, I'm more annoyed at their lack of interest in their potential customers. After all, if they're not interested in helping someone who may be about to give them money, how much less likely are they to care about customers once they've got it? A classic example of how NOT to win friends and influence people.
Interesting article over at Searchenginewatch called Revisiting Google's Counts & Drops When Searching The Same Word Twice which points out a number of interesting things about the size of the Google index; for most people the important point is probably that it's not 8 billion, but still about 5 billion.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Can You Name the Top Ten Search Engines? Interesting set of results here. According to Nielsen/NetRatings for Dec 2004 they are:
Yahoo Search
MSN Search
AOL Search
Ask Jeeves
Netscape Search
InfoSpace Web Search
Microsoft Search.

Monday, February 07, 2005

Nifty website called CafePress where you can create, Buy and Sell Custom T-Shirts, Mugs, Stickers, Jerseys & Caps for FREE!. No real professional interest here, but it's a nice site.
A short but very informative article entitled 10 URL Traps which is worth reading.
Yahoo are introducing Y!Q BETA (and no, don't ask me how you pronounce it). It's a contextual search technology that allows you to highlight something that you're reading on a page and run a search for it. Yahoo will look at the page you're on and return results that are assocated with the information you're currently looking at.

Saturday, February 05, 2005

MrSapo One-Stop Searching has to be one of the busiest multisearch engines around. Search using over 20 search engines, with a bunch of categories such as finance, tv, kids, health etc.
Delving Into Encarta Answers MSN has added Encarta into the mix of its search engine in a big way. The link takes you to their weblog on some of the types of questions you can ask. Users can also get a 2 hour 'free pass' to the entire encyclopedia, which can be reset each time you ask a question. There are over 1.5 million facts and definitions available. I think this gives it a real advantage over Google, and shows that MSN is really playing to its strengths.
connotea is an expermental bookmarking service for scientists.

Friday, February 04, 2005

Ask Jeeves now has their own Blog to bring them into line with everyone else. Is it worth reading? At this point no... there are two entries, both very cutesy. Hopefully it'll improve over time.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Internet resources Newsletter: Issue 125 is now available.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

It's now being reported in Msnsearch's WebLog that MSN Search has now been launched. In addition, they have made more than 40,000 Encarta articles available for free, which translates into more than 1.5 million Instant Answers. (An instant answer is where you type in a question such as 'What is the capital of Turkey?' and you get the answer). They've improved their newsbot, have added the ability to add RSS feeds to some search results and increased their music selection.