Tales from the Terminal Room
February 2004, Issue No. 50
Please Note: This is an archive copy of the newsletter. The information and links that it contains are not updated.
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Tales from the Terminal Room ISSN 1467-338X
February 2004 Issue No. 50
Editor: Karen Blakeman
Published by: RBA Information Services
Tales from the Terminal Room (TFTTR) is a monthly newsletter, with the exception of July and August, which are published as a single issue. TFTTR includes reviews and comparisons of information sources and search tools; updates to the RBA Web site Business Sources and other useful resources; dealing with technical and access problems on the Net; and news of RBA's training courses and publications.
In this issue:
Date: Tuesday, 8th June 2004, 9.30 - 16.30
Tense, nervous headache?
Have you ever experienced that stressful situation where, during yet another late night at the office, you suddenly remember you have an important meeting the next morning, and you have to print out a forest of attachments and key documents to read on the way home?
Have you ever tried to locate a key Word document only to find that there are four different versions littering your PC, and goodness knows which one is the definitive version? Even worse, you can’t find it because you can’t remember if it’s sitting in your attachments folder or if you filed it somewhere else?
Is email, apparently a tool for efficiency and effective communication, becoming the bane of your life?
If any of these scenarios seem familiar, then this UKOLUG meeting is for you.
The day will focus on three key areas: email management, personal e-document management, and strategies for effective web information management and monitoring.
Email: practical tips and techniques for getting the most out of email, and taming that inbox.
E-document management: managing email attachments; tracking changes in documents, effective personal content management.
Web: useful tips for bookmark organisation, intelligent use of intelligent agents, Internet monitoring services.
There will also be a Q&A forum to launch a debate on the issues facing the profession in this area.
Full details and a booking form are now on the UKOLUG Web site at http://www.ukolug.org.uk/
At the end of each of our Business Information on the Internet workshops we ask the delegates to compile a "Top 10 Business Sites" list. This is the list from the most recent course (9th February 2004). Previous Top 10's can be found at http://www.rba.co.uk/sources/top10/2001.htm
Copernic have launched a web page tracking application called Copernic Tracker. http://www.copernic.com/en/products/tracker/
Once installed on your PC, Copernic Tracker enables you to track any number of web pages on external web sites and on intranets. You can track changed words, new links or images in documents.
There is a useful advanced query form for tracking specific words within pages, Boolean and other search operators (AND, OR, NEAR).
Copies of page revisions are stored locally so that you can compare changes that occurred in the past and add your own notes for tracked pages and each of their revisions.
There is an option for importing favorites from Internet Explorer so that you do not have to key in lists of sites, but no facility for directly importing Mozilla/Netscape bookmarks or Opera Hot lists.
There are four preset tracking schedules: Multiple Times per Day, On a Daily Basis, On a Weekly Basis and On a Monthly Basis. Alerts can be a tray icon, desktop alert or notification message, SMS notification, email report with the tracked page contents and changes highlighted.
Copernic Tracker costs USD 49.95
Dot UK Directory http://www.dotukdirectory.co.uk/
There is a nice "Get local" category with which you can narrow your search to county or even town level.
The default keyword search is "multiweb", the other separate options being Directory, Web, Ringtones and Logos, Books, and Auctions.
Research and Markets Newsletter http://www.researchandmarkets.com/
The weekly emailed report includes details of the "Featured report of the week" and brief descriptions of other new market research reports on your chosen sector. This is a good way of keeping up to date with what is happening in your sectors of interest.
Keeping up to date
Contents include new UK and International developments, research and innovation, Internet resources, new publications, conferences and seminars. It is available free of charge on the Web as Word and PDF documents and you can also receive the newsletter by email.
As well as being able to use the standard plus and minus signs, and double quote marks to make terms mandatory, exclude pages and force a phrase match, Zapmeta has an Advanced screen where you can limit your search by continent, domain or host. It also claims to support Boolean operators.
The results include a thumbnail or snapshot of the Web site, a link to older versions of the site on the Wayback machine (a feature copied from Gigablast), and a Quick View link (copied from Killerinfo) that displays the top part of the web page within the results list.
You can also sort your results by relevance (the default), popularity, title, source or domain. Search tools currently covered include AOL, Teoma, Wisenut, Yahoo, MSN, AlltheWeb, Hotbot and Gigablast.
Yahoo launches new search engine http://www.yahoo.com/
Yahoo is not revealing how big its database is but various search gurus have estimated that it is around 2 billion. As for content, the database holds the full text of web pages, up to 500K per page (Google's limit is 101K) and file types include PDF and Microsoft Office.
Macmillan English Dictionary - New Words http://www.macmillandictionary.com/resourcenew.htm
"New words will sometimes be frivolous, ephemeral and quickly forgotten. Others will be so important or useful that they remain in the language indefinitely."
At the end of February, they covered google-whacking.
I was alerted to this site by Ralph Adam who commented "Personally, I think google-whackers are poor searchers: otherwise they'd be able to refine their searches to get single hits anyway!"
Researching company directors
I have been asked by my boss to check up on a UK company, Bodget and Floggit Ltd, with whom we may be doing a considerable amount of business. I have looked at their accounts for the last 4 years and they seem legitimate, but I can't help feeling that there is something dodgy about them. We've tried various credit report services but the wording on some of them is rather "wishy-washy". Are there any other avenues of research I can try?
As well as researching the company itself, you really should be thoroughly investigating the directors as well. But first, I did a quick search on the company name in the free company search at Companies House (http://www.companieshouse.gov.uk/). I found several companies with similar names including Bodget and Floggit Holdings and Bodget, Floggit and Squander. All are registered at the same address. This is not suspicious in itself but I would suggest that you take a look at these other companies as well.
The easiest way to research UK directors is to via services such as ICC Plum (http://www.icc.co.uk/) or Bureau van Dijk's Fame (http://www.bvdep.com/). These repackage Companies House data and sometimes add extra information. You can quickly pull up a list of companies of which a person is a director and investigate the status of those companies. They are both subscription services and it may not be worth setting up an account with them if you do not carry out this type of research on a regular basis.
The ICC data is available on a pay as you go basis through other sites such as Accounting Web (http://www.accountingweb.co.uk/) or the LawZone (http://www.lawzone.co.uk/). It is straightforward enough to print off lists of companies of which Messrs Bodget, Floggit and Squander are directors. The lists make interesting reading.
Every so often our gang of three set up a group of companies. There is nothing suspicious in the accounts or obviously wrong in the way they are run. After about 3-4 years they dissolve the companies, usually when they are starting to make a loss, and set up a similar but new group of companies. They appear to have done this 6 times over the last 25 years.
Even more interesting are the numerous companies that were in totally unrelated industries and of which at least one of them was a director. There is a very obvious pattern of our friends resigning their directorships of these companies about 10-16 months before the companies were dissolved or go into liquidation.
Although the official documents do not reveal anything illegal, the unusual pattern of company formations and dissolutions associated with these directors would make me wary of doing business with them.
Email disclaimers - the antidote
Annoyed by one line email messages that have 50 line disclaimers? Fed up of having to wade through disclaimers at the start of a message? Wendy Grossman certainly is and has come up with this brilliant corporate anti-disclaimer:
Workshop: Assessing the Quality of Information
Workshop: Current Legal Issues in Information Work: Key Areas
And What You Need to Know
Workshop: How to assess, select and manage electronic resources.
TFTTR Contact Information
Karen Blakeman, RBA Information Services
TFTTR archives: http://www.rba.co.uk/tfttr/archives/index.shtml
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