Saturday, February 26, 2005

I still haven't found what I'm looking for

Before I start this post proper, I hope you spotted that the title of this post is the title of a U2 song. I wanted to list U2 as one of my favourite bands, but for some reason Blogger wouldn't let me! Apparently band names have to be at least three characters long. The "workaround" is to add a dot at the end of their name which is why I love "U2." on Blogger but "U2" everywhere else!

What's the best way to find things on the Internet? I often tease my students by promising to tell them the answer to this question but when I tell them, they get annoyed at me. However to digress briefly before I tell you the best way to find things on the things on the Internet, have you come across the term "Web Rage"? A study suggests that after only 12 minutes of fruitless searching, most people give up in frustration. (7% give up after less than 3 munutes!) Another survey suggests that 70% of people have sworn at their computer and about a third admitted to hitting their computer out of sheer frustration! Clearly the chap in this video has had a bad 3 minutes with MSN Search.
Smiley face
So how do you avoid Web Rage? You need to know the best way to find things on the Internet. Now, I will tell you what the best way is... but you'll have to work a bit to see the answer. If you haven't changed my default colours, you should see what appears to be a gap in the text below. It is in fact the answer to the best way to find things on the things on the Internet but the text colour is the same as the background colour. To see the answer - highlight the gap and all will be revealed! The best way is... for somebody to tell you where it is! Disappointed? You shouldn't be, because it makes sense when you think about it.

The Internet is so vast, and changes so rapidly, that there is no way even the best search engine can keep up with what’s going on out there. What's the solution? Improved search technology is one possibility. An interesting possibility is search engines that make recommendations based on previous behaviour. Amazon does this to an extent with its "Other people who bought this…" recommendations. The search engine Teoma is also interesting with its Resources links. I also like which tailors the music it plays according to music you’ve already listened to as well as what people with similar tastes listen to. At the moment though, one possibility I am playing with is shared bookmark pages such as and furl. When these tools are paired with RSS feeds, they create interesting possibilities...

I've gone on too long again, so I'll say more about RSS another time, but I want to finish with a couple of questions to encourage feedback.

What is the best search tip you’ve ever been given?

Do you subscribe to an RSS feed that gives you great information about education and computing? If so, what is and why do you like it?

No comments: