The latest issue of Tales from the Terminal Room is now available. If you are a Google Desktop Search fan, you might be interested in the article “That darn Google Desktop cache“
Update 20 April 2011: This service has now moved to http://ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs/vies/vieshome.do
If you are VAT registered and trading with companies based in the EU, this site enables you to verify the validity of a company’s VAT number. Select the Member State from the drop-down menu and enter the number to be validated.
Yahoo has updated its Desktop Search and now supports Thunderbird email. Although previous versions of YDS did index and search Thunderbird files you had to search them under the “All files” category. Now you can chose just “Email”. The number of file types supported in the main program has been considerably reduced, though. If you want the full range of 300+ file types you have to install the expansion pack.
For me, Yahoo Desktop is still by far the best with Copernic’s offering coming second.
Google has at last launched a version of its toolbar for Firefox. It seems to have all the features of the IE version but appears to be missing several of the “special” searches that are incorporated into the separately developed Googlebar, such as Scholar, Print, Video, Dictionary and Glossary Search. Googlebar is also experimenting with adding Google Labs “Google Suggests” into the toolbar, although the version I tried froze on occasion.
I shall stay with Googlebar for the time being.
Gigablast has added a blog search to its home page covering nearly 16.5 million pages. I have not had time to test it thoroughly and compare results with tools such as Feedster and Technorati, but it seems worth adding to my blog search toolkit. There are the same advanced search features as in the web search and the usual Giga Bits that suggest related terms and searches to add to your strategy. For example, I typed in ‘climate change peak oil’ and it came up with quite a lengthy list including ‘oil production peak’, ‘oil depletion’, ‘action on climate change’. You click on a suggestion and it adds it to your existing search string. I find this a very quick and easy way of coming up with different pages of results on a topic.
I’ve given up trying to restrict it to just one page. There are so many search engine features that are worth mentioning that it now fills two pages.
This is a really neat site from UK based SPG Media. RSS news feeds, compiled from news sources world-wide, are organised by sector for example energy, telecoms, transportation. The emphasis is on technologies and the companies that supply them. Feeds are available as both ATOM and RSS.
In addition to the news feeds, there are 28 sector specific technology web sites. Each site provides information on industry projects in production or under development, an A-Z company index of contractors and suppliers, a catalogue of companies by product or service, a diary of relevant exhibitions and conferences, and a list of industry organisations.
It is similar to RSSMix but there does not seem to be any limit to the number of headlines in your merged feed – with RSSMix it is 20 – and no limit to the number of feeds that you can combine. Any more than 4 or 5, though, and I think the resulting mega-feed would become rather unwieldy to scan.
Google launched its new Video Search just over a week ago. Its collection includes videos from news channels and web sites. Searching is relatively straightforward but it is quite difficult to find a video that is freely available for playing. Those that are, have a triangle icon next to their entry in the results list. Google suggests a number of terms you could use, including greenpeace, AdWords and breakdancing to find free videos. One searcher also managed to find William Shatner’s version of Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.
In order to play the videos, you have to first download and install Google’s Video Viewer. It is supposed to be compatible with IE and Firefox but there have been problems reported with both. I cannot get it to do anything at all in IE. In Firefox (version 1.0.4) it is very temperamental. One minute it plays and in the next goes into a sulk, even with the same video. I have yet to see and hear Captain Kirk’s rendition of the Beatles classic, but perhaps that is just as well!