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Thursday, June 30, 2005

There is an excellent little link checker available for Firefox called LinkChecker. (You'll need to scroll down the link page to find it). It will check the links of any given page to see if they still work, and uses colours to indicate those that do/don't. Only slight irritation is that if you try and follow a link to check it yourself, when you return to the page you were checking you have to start all over again. That aside, it's a super little utility and worth having if you need to check that your links work correctly.

FreePint Newsletter 185 is now available, and covers Google Answers and Promoting information and search skills.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

According to TechWeb the relentless Google march continues. Their 52% referral rate is double that of Yahoo and 4 times that of MSN. In the UK the situation is worse (or better, depending on your point of view) in that it has 75% share, while in Germany it is 91%

According to the American GAO in a study of file sharing programs Microsoft came out best of them, Google and Yahoo! in blocking adult content. The link goes to a 1 page overview File Sharing Programs - The use of peer to peer networks to access pornography.

Google Earth - Home is a 3D interface to the planet. It combines satellite imagery, maps, Google search and so on. It allows you to 'fly from space to your neighbourhood', view cities in 3D and a whole bunch of other stuff. You do need to download an application to make it work, and it does require a reasonable configuration, but it's worth a go.

The first time that Google launched a personalised search service it was by way of ticking subject categories that interested you, running searches and then moving a slider bar to emphasis those areas that were of particular interest to you. Now however they've gone a stage further. Search Engine Watch has an indepth article on it which is worth reading. Basically Google can now monitor the searches that you do and the pages that you visit to tailor results more closely to your own requirements. The feature can of course be turned off, and you do need to login to Google in order to use it in the first place.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005 - People Finder now has access to the 2005 electoral roll, though this is a commercial service.

Internet resources Newsletter: Issue 130 is now available. Full of informational goodness to enrich your very soul. Well, ok - maybe not quite, but still worth taking a peek at.

A found a nice page rank checker for MSN, Google, Yahoo & AltaVista. Type in your keyword or phrase, then your website URL and see your position. Very fast, clear and effective.

Google Videos Not Playing in Germany or, as mentioned in the entry below, the UK. It's nice to know that it's not just me. According to Philipp Lenssen (the blog author) it's not a bug, it's a feature. According to Google 'the playback component of Google Video is currently not available in the area where you live. However, we hope to make the product available as widely as possible in the near future'. Philipp suggests some proxy servers that allow you to get around the problem.

This from the Google Blog. Google has got around to adding a video viewer that works directly from the web page when you want to view videos that you've found. I've installed it and it's quick and easy - don't even notice it. It works very well with video search - if you can find a video to play! I've done a lot of searching and found what I would imagine are very interesting videos, except that they're not available. Seems kinda pointless, and not a little irritating to me, but there you are. Google video now with video but without uh.. video.

Deepy is another meta search engine, with an interesting twist to it. When you run your search you get a series of results (irritatingly broken down into groups of 5), but you can then click on a result and see the page in the lower half of the search results window, in a stripped down form, highlighting the keywords that you've searched on. You can also zoom in/out on the page as well.

It also has a search history function (based on cookies) and is based on the Gigablast engine. Nice, simple and quick.

:: 2loQ :: Fast Meta Search is included simply for the sake of completeness. I played around with it and was vastly underwhelmed. I couldn't see any particular reason for the positioning of results, it didn't tell me what search engines it used, has no help screens or any reasonable 'about us' information, and has a 'sign up' feature - for what purpose I have no idea. One to avoid I think.

There's an unofficial Wiki for the Internet Librarian International conference

If you want to liven up your site a little, why not try a cartoon? ANDERTOONS is the site of Mark Anderson, a cartoonist, and he'll send you a small piece of HTML coding to add to your site and every day you'll have a new cartoon from him on your site - all for nothing!

MSN Search's WebLog : New Operators Explained particularly Filetype, link, linkdomain (link to see who links to one page, linkdomain to see who links to any page, which is nice), contains, InURL, InAnchor, InTitle, InBody. Useful listing and explanation if you're into using MSN Search. is a very useful little guide to er... what's on, and when. It has international coverage, highlights, a search/browse facility, themes, video clips and a whole bunch of other good stuff. There were about 400 events listed for the UK, mainly tourist and musical, with some festivals thrown in, so don't expect academic conferences. However, if you're looking for something to do at the weekend, this is a good starting point. Thanks to Shirl Kennedy at ResourceShelf for this one.

Friday, June 24, 2005

The National Archives have produced a database of all those who served at the Battle (Well, not the French for obvious reasons), together with service histories and any biographical details.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Thanks to Gary Price for pointing out that MSN has new search functionality. There are some useful ones, and others that are just catchup with the other major engines, but some of them are FileType, Contains, LinkDomain, IP, Link, Location, Prefer, Site and URL. Link goes to ResourceShelf with more information.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Interesting article fromGuardian Unlimited - apparently more than one fifth of people who read newspapers on the internet have all but abandoned purchashing print editions. This based on a Nielsen/NetRatings survey.

I'm going to be at Internet Librarian International 2005 again this year - I'm running a pre-conference workshop on Power Searching and a conference session called 'Phil's picks' where I'll be looking at some key tools and utilities that you really can't be doing without. It looks as though it will be an excellent conference - try not to miss it!

Google UK Maps are swiftly catching up with the American version and have satellite imagery as well. (There's a link in the top right hand corner called Satellite if you're having problems finding it). For the most part it's not terribly clear, though there are some close ups. This one however looks as though it's upside down, which is a bit disconcerting!

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

This from the Dept. of No Surprise: Microsoft Online Launches Local Search Feature. Delivers results tuned to users' locations blah blah blah. We've seen this already with Google and Yahoo, and as per usual Microsoft is tagging along behind like that annoying little cousin your parents dumped on you to look after. What really amuses me is that Christopher Payne (corporate vice president for MSN Search) says "... we are poised to take local search to the next level". Well, after Google and Yahoo have already got there of course.

Johnston Press Plc has RSSified their entire collection of newspapers, mainly UK local newspapers, and there are a lot of them.

Monday, June 20, 2005

For those of you who like desktop search there's a good overview entitled Copernic Desktop Search v1.6 - What's New?. Link says it all, really.

Lowide is a new search engine that does something it calls broadmining, which is just a fancy term for added categories to a search. I ran a search on 'country search engines' and it worked very well, suggesting a category 'search engines' with subcategories of comparing search engines, global search engines and so on. It also suggested an Internet category and a Related category.

The interface itself is very sparse, but there are no adverts or sponsored links etc, and it seems to do a very good job.

Interesting article from that implies that Google are going to be taking on PayPal. The details are sketchy at the moment, but it's another logical step towards world domination. Currently Google makes 99% of its $3.2 billion revenue from advertising, but as other companies move into this field it can do nothing but drop that figure, so it's clearly going to need to diversify its revenue income. An added benefit for Google is that it should also be able to eat into eBay's revenue - eBay owns PayPal, which generates 23% of eBay's revenue.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Nice article from PC magazine called Mozilla Firefox: Top Tips and Tricks. There's some useful stuff there, and worth reading. However, what really annoys me is that you get about 1 paragraph at a time, and continually have to click next to move to the next one. There's only one reason that they're doing this for as far as I'm concerned and that's to try and ram even more advertising down our throats. I'm hardly in a position to complain about advertising, since I've got some on my own site, but they're really pushing it to a limit here. Of course, they're not the only ones doing this - it's a common trend, but I don't think that I'm the only one who finds it particularly irritating.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Here's another comparison tool; they do seem to be all the rage at the moment. The one provided by shows a comparison of news articles.

The article: How to Make Your Blog Accessible to Blind Readers - American Foundation for the Blind is full of really good practical information. If you run a blog yourself it's worth looking at.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Really good article from SearchEngineWatch on how the search engines are doing, and who is winning the war.

Probably no entries from me for tomorrow; I'm speaking at the School Library Association: Weekend course on 'Search faster, search better'.

FreePint Newsletter 184 is now available, with articles on the SLA Conference in Toronto and setting up as an independent consultant.

According to PCWorld Firefox currently has 8% market share and is increasing this by between .5% and 1% per month.

There are a number of resources that emphasis British Blogging:

British Blogs Directory

Updated UK weblogs

Blogging Brits Webring

All these, and much more besides from Loic Le Meur.

Ever thought about how to create a site where you didn't have to click to go to a different page? shows you how it can be done. Really interesting!

Infobel World - Telephone Directories have links to telephone directory websites from around the world. Nice collection.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

FlexFinder Medical MetaSearch Engine is mainly a news search engine that works in the medical field (though it also has tabs for news, government, blogs, web and research/education). It acknowledges research well, and also which institute was responsible for it. Does seem to have something of an American bias though, which is not surprising.

Word Associations at Peoplegraphic provides words and associations for those words. 'Difficult' for example comes up with hard, easy, life, maths, task, awkward and so on. It's an interesting concept, and it's being promoted as a way of finding word suggestions for your business or product. You can search for words yourself, but in order to see them, you have to earn points by quickly doing some word associations yourself.

Human Edited Directory or Hedir is a new human edited directory. It's still very small though, but if you're looking to get your website listed on another search engine pop along to this one.

Blog Software Breakdown is a useful and very informative chart on, surprise surprise, blogging software.

If you're after having a weblog for your intranet this pdf file gives lots of useful material. The title of the piece is Establishing a blog

There's a nice review of Bubbler by PC Magazine. Bubbler is a cross between a blogging tool and a website creation software package.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Interesting snippet of news from the Independent Stephen Gough, the guy who walked naked from Land's End to John O'Groats. Apparently he's doing the walk again this year and will be accompanied by 'a naked middle aged librarian who wishes to remain anonymous'. The news item doesn't say if it's a male or female librarian, so check to see if any of your colleagues are taking a few weeks off starting on thursday!

Friday, June 10, 2005

Acronyma has a database of over 450,000 acronyms and abbreviations. Available in English, Spanish, French, German, Dutch, Italian and Portugese.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

There are lots of page watching utilities available but WatchThatPage looks like a very good one and best of all, it's free.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

If you're a Firefox user the Firefox™ Tutor - Firefox Help and Tips site is excellent. It has tips and hints on bookmarks, extensions, options, search and tabbed browsing. Worth a visit.

GrabAll is another comparison search engine that's been recommended to me. It provides you with a search box, and on the results page you have two panals, and can compare the results from Google, Yahoo, Ask Jeeves, MSN, DMOZ, Altavista, Gigablast and LookSmart. This has just gone straight to #1 in my list of comparison search engines.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Top Ten Mistakes in Web Design (Jakob Nielsen's Alertbox) is a must read for any web designers out there.

News from Search Engine News that Espotting and American Findwhat have merged with the new name Miva.

Chris Sherman over at SearchEngineWatchl has discovered ConQuery which is a neat little plug in to allow you to search for terms you find on a web page using any of the search engines that you've added to the search engines you've got installed as default search engines in FireFox. I've not tried it, just downloaded it, but if it's as good as Chris says, it's worth playing with.

Twingine is the new name for Yagoohoogle. Seems to be the same, other than the name change. Yahoo results on the left, Google results on the right.

I found the Online Encyclopedia - LoveToKnow which is apparently based on the 11th edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica. Much as I hate to say it, I'm not impressed. I did a search for Robert E Lee, and found his entry, with part of a completely different one tacked onto the end. The entry for his father was full of spelling errors and poor formatting. It really has serious problems (which to be fair it might fix, but why put up something that poor in the first place?) and is one to avoid I think.

I'm probably a bit late on this one, but MSN is doing Maps & Directions for a fair number of countries, UK included. Finds addresses and does directions - the usual stuff. I don't like the maps very much though, I prefer the Google ones which I find a little clearer. The zoom out is a bit silly as well... zooming out as far as Western Europe which is a bit excessive.

My hard drive died on me recently. I then had to consider the question - what have I backed up recently? I've written a short article with some ideas and tips called Recovering from a hard drive crash that may help - before it happens to you! At the very least, having read this brief entry think - what do I need to back up *right now* - then go and do it!

Sunday, June 05, 2005

YOTOPHOTO: The Free Stock Photo Search Engine Some pictures are public domain and others are Creative Commons licensing. Contains over 70,000 images, so there's a fair chance you'll find something appropriate!

Saturday, June 04, 2005

They're clearly coming out of the woodwork now. After my mention of Dogpile's missing pieces yesterday I've been informed (and many thanks for it) of DoubleTrust which compares results between Google and Yahoo. It shows 3 things - sites both find, and sites either engine finds that the other doesn't.

52 Law library blogs and blogs by law librarians or law library associations.

Friday, June 03, 2005

I've updated my Finding what you need with the best search engines to reflect the fact that Jux2 is no more, and have replaced it with Dogpile's Missing Pieces.

Searching beyond Google and Yahoo: nine online search engines compared - Internet. To save you time, the ratings are:
Google 8 points
Yahoo 7.7
A9 6.7
AOL 6.3
Ask Jeeves 6.3
MSN Search 6
AltaVista 5.7
Lycos 5.3
LookSmart 5

Puzzlepieces is a nice short page on how to focus searches rather better with Yahoo.

Spider Map (Links Page) Creator For Search Engine Spider Indexing This is one for the web designers. This allows you to easily and quickly create a site map. I'd want to play around with a little more once it had created the site map, but it's an easy way to make a first stab at a site map if you don't have one - but you do already, don't you?

Google Research Publications provides links to various researchers who are doing interesting things at Google. If you want to keep up with where Google may be going, this is a good first stop.

BritCaster tells you who in the UK is providing podcast feeds (audio blogging). There's apparently 35 at the moment.

Conversate is an interesting idea. It allows you to create your own online discussion space for any topic you like, with anyone you want to invite. Great for organising projects and events. You create an account, start a conversation, invite people to it and chat.

Some interesting figures from Nielsen/NetRatings mentioned at MarketingVOX. 11% growth in searching across Europe, increasing from 79 million to 88 million. France is top of the list with 81% of internet users searching regularly, UK is second with 80%. Google is top engine (surprise surprise!), used by 69% of users, MSN has 8.4% share, Ask Jeeves and Yahoo at 8%.

Jux2 was an excellent little utility to see what pages various search engines missed and was great to see what one engine indexed that another didn't. There are two other utilities that you can use however; Dogpile missing pieces compares Google, Yahoo and Ask Jeeves, while Thumbshots ranking lets you compare between Google, Yahoo, AlltheWeb, Altavista, MSN, Teoma and Wisenut (and is my preferred choice).

Another new initiative from Google - Google Sitemaps. It's an easy way for you to help improve your coverage in the Google index, as it is a collaborative crawling system. You need do quite a lot of work on your site to make it work, but if you have problems with Google finding all your pages it might be worth exploring.

The Online Etymology Dictionary is very nice. Not only does it tell you about the word that you're interested in, it also gives you explanations of other words linked to the one you looked for. I could spend hours there!