Weblog on the Internet and public policy, journalism, virtual community, and more from David Brake, a Canadian academic, consultant and journalist

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13 March 2005

“Eszter Hargittai”:http://www.esztersblog.com/ just suggested I look at Stever Robbins’ column – Tips for Mastering E-mail Overload – which was written in a Harvard Business School alumni publication. It is a very useful compilation of hints and tips. So useful in fact that for a minute I was sure it was cribbed from my own book “Dealing with E-mail”:http://www.well.com/user/derb/dealingwithemail/ or my weblog or something. But on going through it again it seems to be a case of great minds thinking alike. In any case it is well worth taking a look at if you are deluged by email.

18 February 2005

Aaron Swartz pointed out that the “isnoop.net gmail invite spooler”:http://isnoop.net/gmail/ has over 1.5 million invitations to distribute. Just visit it and get your own. It’s really useful!

13 November 2004
Filed under:Email discoveries,Personal at12:59 pm

Remember I thought I had “lost 10 years of email?”:https://blog.org/archives/cat_personal_old.html#001218 Thanks to the intervention of a friend and ex-colleague at “Personal Computer World”:http://www.pcw.co.uk/, Frank Leonhardt*, I have my data back at last. All I have lost is the roughly 400 emails I have sent via web-based email which I assume there is no easy way to import into my outbox (well I haven’t exactly lost them – they are still on the web – but they are not indexed like the others.

*He runs a London-based general-purpose IT consultancy including data recovery – do give his service a try!

26 October 2004

Thanks to the publicity provided by Google’s move, lots of applications are coming out of the woodwork. Here’s the latest news in brief. I just learned about three more products:
* “ISYS”:http://www.isys-search.com/products/desktop/index.html (free to try but they don’t tell the price up front)
* “Filehand”:http://www.filehand.com/ (now free – has the embarassing motto, ‘It’s like Google for your computer’)
* “x-friend”:http://www.x-friend.de/en/start/introduction/ (written in Java and runs on ‘any operating system’ – produced in Germany)
I also just learned about two reviews:
* “PC World just reviewed ten desktop search applications”:http://www.pcworld.com/reviews/article/0,aid,117809,pg,4,00.asp not including Google Desktop Search and
* “CNet”:http://reviews.cnet.com/4520-3684_7-5536376.html has just reviewed six desktop search apps (rather briefly) including Google Desktop, though they concluded “Copernic is best”:http://reviews.cnet.com/Copernic_Desktop_Search/4505-3684_7-31087427-2.html?tag=tab.

For more on this stuff see “earlier”:https://blog.org/?cat=29&submit=view (and scroll down that page to see more search related stuff).

15 October 2004

“Google Desktop”:http://www.desktop.google.com/index.html has arrived and two more desktop searching products are on their way. AOL is reportedly developing AOL Desktop Search and a new search engine, “Exalead”:http://beta.exalead.com/search also plans a “desktop search product”:http://beta.exalead.com/search/C=0MlQAMAA%3d/2p=5.

BBC World’s Click Online just did a “short report”:http://www.bbcworld.com/content/template_clickonline.asp?pageid=666&co_pageid=2 about hard disk indexing programs which covers some of the same ground as I have done earlier (for example “here”:https://blog.org/archives/cat_search_engines.html#001238).

2 September 2004

I’ve been hoarding lots of search engine related postings waiting to put them up but my list of un-posted and rapidly ageing postings is getting out of hand. Here then without (much) comment are some links:

*Google gives free ads to non-profits* – See “Google Grants”:http://www.google.com/grants/. Charities must be based in the United States (at the moment). Thanks to Aaron Swartz’s Google Blog for the link

*A search engine for discussion forums* – Pandia alerted me to this new “Lycos search feature”:http://discussion.lycos.com/default.asp. It’s good to see some search innovation coming from outside the ‘big two’. Seems to me that other search engine companies may be able to carve out a role delivering specialised searches that the big boys don’t do (or don’t do as well).

*A new search engine specialising in business information* – “find.com”:http://find.com/matchpoint.aspx
Thanks to Tales from the Terminal Room

Directory of Open Access Journals (free, full text, quality controlled scientific and scholarly journals) now has a search facility for 319 of the 1219 supported journals. Thanks for the heads-up Pandia

*Interesting source of Google-related info* – Google Metrics Watch – it ‘daily queries Google for a set of terms. The number of pages returned is stored in a database. The idea behind this is that an increase or decrease in the number of web pages refering to a subject COULD INDICATE (or will probably be associated to) the popularity of this subject.’

*How to find pages linking to your own site* – Link search with Yahoo! and Google

*Google Groups (finally) supports mailing list creation* – Check out the new “Google Groups”:http://groups-beta.google.com/ Thanks to Google Weblog for the link

*Yahoo search to access “deep web”* (for a price – selected partners only) – Yahoo crawls deep into the Web – News – ZDNet

1 September 2004

Copernic has just made a free “desktop search tool for Windows”:http://www.copernic.com/en/products/desktop-search/index.html available that searches your files, email and the web. It has already been “reviewed favourably”:http://www.searchenginewatch.com/searchday/article.php/3401711. From the looks of it this is the best desktop search tool yet for many – especially at the price! If I ever get my email store back (see “this heartbreaking tale”:https://blog.org/archives/cat_personal.html#001218) I will be sticking with “X1”:http://www.x1.com because unlike Copernic’s product it indexes Eudora email (which I prefer).

Thanks to John Battelle for the link

See “earlier”:https://blog.org/archives/cat_search_engines.html#001202 for more coverage of hard disk indexing programs.

26 August 2004

Remember my hard disk crashed? Well, I’ve been kicking myself ever since for a stupid thing I did early on in the recovery process. I managed to boot from my backup disk and found I could access the original. ‘Great!’ I said to myself, ‘I’d better copy across all my most valuable files quickly in case the disk stops being accessable again!’ Did I copy them into new directories? Nooo… I copied them over the earlier backup files. Well the files looked fine and I did check some of them before copying. But it turned out several of the email folders I hadn’t checked were in fact corrupted. And even when the mailboxes looked fine (the ‘overview’ showed the right names and subject lines) the contents were corrupted as well. Ten years of email gone!

So remember if you get files back from a disk that has been giving you trouble, make sure to preserve your old backup files just in case!

P.S. In the wake of this catastrophe I was thinking of moving my emailing to my gmail account but gmail still doesn’t support basic things like email groups so I guess I’ll have to hope that the hard disk doctors I gave my disk to can get the files off.
P.P.S. And yes, it is a little embarrassing that I wrote a book about good email practice but managed nonetheless to mess up!

12 August 2004

I recently read (on CNet perhaps?) that anonymous people within Yahoo are promising one stop searching of web, email, hard disk and Yahoo services – sometime. I won’t get too excited about that until it gets close to launch.

Meanwhile, “X1”:http://www.x1.com/ (which admittedly costs $75) has been improving rapidly – it now supports boolean and proximity searching of your hard disk, contacts, email (including Eudora and other email apps as well as – and alongside – Outlook I am delighted to say) and email attachments. With those improvements I am going to start trying to use it again regularly. Download their trial version and/or “enter their sweepstakes”:http://www.x1.com/sweepstakes/index.html to win up to 50 copies.

For more on what Microsoft is up on this see “this post”:https://blog.org/archives/cat_search_engines.html#001134 and for Google’s plan’s “see here”:https://blog.org/archives/cat_search_engines.html#001119.

Update: Jeremy Wagstaff who shares my obsession with hard disk search has just posted a “discussion”:http://loosewire.typepad.com/blog/2004/08/the_new_search_.html of the race to provide good local search and a (probably comprehensive) “list of available programs”:http://loosewire.typepad.com/blog/2004/08/a_directory_of__2.html including three I have not yet tried – all free of charge – “Tukaroo”:http://www.tukaroo.com/, “Wilbur”:http://wilbur.redtree.com/index.htm (which is also open source) and “Blinkx”:http://www.blinkx.com/

9 July 2004

A plugin for Movable Type weblogs that allows you to send out notifications to subscribed users when a new comment is posted to an entry to which they have subscribed. This works well with message boards that employ it. I hope “WordPress”:http://www.wordpress.org/ implements the same thing as I am planning to migrate to it shortly (I like the nested categories and the ability to post password-protected posts).

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