The February 2005 issue of Tales from the Terminal Room is now available.
I groaned when I saw that Brainboost “uses Machine Learning and Natural Language Processing techniques” to answer questions written in plain English. But I found this “answer engine” to be very good. It successfully answered “which US presidents were assassinated”, “which UK prime ministers were assassinated”, and “who directed the Duck Hunt cartoon”.
It was not so clever on “who is Karen Blakeman”. Brainboost came up with some 3 year old information on a course I was running at the time in London, and ” Karen Blakeman is chairing the Concessions Committee, and will be needing LOTS of help here”. You bet I will! I know nothing about the Concesssions Committee – obviously another Karen Blakeman. The regular search results taken from a range of search tools fared better on the last one.
Worth a look and an interesting alternative answer/reference tool to answers.com.
I was alerted to this by fellow Internet Consultant Phil Bradley via his blog.
Unsafe search works by performing two Google queries, a normal query and a query with SafeSearch enabled. The set of ‘safe’ results is then subtracted from the set of normal results to yield only ‘unsafe’ entries. The idea behind Google’s SafeSearch is to eliminate p**n and other “undesirable” sites.
What is interesting about Unsafe Search is discovering what Google considers to be “unsafe”. The first test search I ran was on air quality. It yielded only one unsafe result in the top 30: the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality! A search on chocolate consumption came up with 3 unsafe results (one on chocolate is good for pregnant women, one on the potential health risks and a link to a Nestle forum). A search on gin vodka came up with no unsafe results in the top 30. Great! Now where did I put that cocktail recipe book?
Google Desktop Search is out of beta and has been officially launched. It is much improved and now searches PDF files. Support for Netscape, Firefox, Mozilla and Thunderbird has also been added. For Open Office and Star Office users there is a plugin at http://desktop.google.com/plugins.html
As well as switching off cacheing and indexing of secure web pages, such as your online bank statement, you can also switch off indexing of password protected pages. All documents still remain in the cache after you have deleted the original unless you follow the remove instructions at http://desktop.google.com/features.html#remove
It is a rather tedious process and isn’t straightforward. There is a danger that you could miss files, especially individual emails.
Personally, I’ll stick with Yahoo Desktop for the time being.
One of the many services that repackages the Land Registry’s data but this one offers users 20 free searches a week. You get to see the address of the property, the date it was sold and how much it was sold for. It does not give the name of the owner or the name of the lender. For that, you have to use the Land Registry’s priced service. At present, the data goes back to 2000 and covers England and Wales only. “Our Property” plans to add Scottish data in the near future.
The quick search on the home page enables you to search by post code but you can refine your search or use the Advanced Search to limit your results by street, town or locality, freehold/leasehold, house type (detached, terraced, flat etc.) and date.
If you use up your 20 searches you can top them up by either recommending a friend for 5 free searches or by signing up to a weekly newsletter which contains a voucher for 20 free searches.
A really neat site.
Tales from the Terminal Room, January 2005 – Issue No. 59
The January issue of Tales from the Terminal Room is now available. There are reviews of Firefox, the new search engine Exalead and an article on RSS.
This month’s Gizmo of the Month is HiJack This.
Copernic have launched version 1.5 of their Desktop Search tool. Significant additions include support for Thunderbird and Eudora email and attachments, and search in Thunderbird contacts. CDS already supports the Firefox browser. For me, all it needs now is support for Open Office and Star Office files and it will be a worthy competitor for Yahoo Desktop.
A new search engine concentrating on UK web sites. The advanced search offers searches for all the words, exact phrase, exclude words, any words as well as domain, web site and linked pages. The Liveseek link shows you what people are currently searching on. Worth a look if you want to focus on the UK.
An interesting site that pulls together news releases from various UK government departments. Produced and maintained by Democracy.org.uk – “a loose collective of like-minded individuals who believe that there is little wrong with UK society that a healthy mixture of transparency and public engagement won’t fix.”
RSS feed available.
A great starting point for country specific searchengines. Highly recommended.