By Steven Delgado, WC&P Senior Editor
There’s a saying used in the two-person beach volleyball circuit: “The setter makes the hitter.” It relates to the relationship between the “setter,” the person on the team who makes second contact with the ball, who “sets” his teammate up for the final hit over the net by “floating” the ball just in front of the net. The hitter then, preferably, drills the volleyball at a speed designed to put a dent in the opponent’s optimism as well as their ability to return the ball.
Without a key “set,” the player cannot effectively “spike” the ball to the other side of the net with much authority; even a mediocre hitter can “spike” an unreturnable volleyball into the opponent’s side with the right set up. What does this have to do with the Internet, you may ask? Not much, except for this one small fact—the search engine makes the researcher.
Gone are the days of midnight library runs and their malfunctioning copy machines. Remember the “Dewey Decimal” System? Remember when the entire student body of a major university would have one library computer to conduct research, with each student waiting up to half the night to use it? I say good riddance to those days-of-old with my personal homage to the Internet search engine, the virtual “setters” to a volley of brain-denting information.
The “King of All Engines,” in my estimation—there is none higher. Direct Hit’s award-winning technology provides highly relevant results for any Internet search by analyzing the activity of millions of previous Internet searchers, it usually presents the most relevant sites for your search request.
This popularity-based engine keeps the relevance in front and the razzamatazz to a minimum. Its rating system is easy to read and I’ve never looked at a set of results from this engine and thought it was too biased. An added bonus is its automatic link of your search to Ask.com, the parent company to Direct Hit and a very effective hub of its own accord.
The concept of asking a “Jeeves” anything escaped my working class brain until I began using this site, titled Ask Jeeves. A search doesn’t necessarily have to be in question format in order to be executed here, but sometimes it does help. This Internet “hub” draws hits it makes from your search off several other search engines including a couple of research websites.
This is more a consumer-based website than an academic research site. But it offers a diversifed base of searches that make for good formatting to do your own customized searches on topics. All this, and I still don’t know what a “Jeeves” is. When I asked Jeeves what a “Jeeves” was, he wanted to give me corporate information. I guess I should just quit asking questions and just buy it.
The Tools bar on the right side of this search engine has nifty people search program, map programs, yellow pages and even a program that gives driving directions when you enter a set of addresses or destinations. It was real close when I entered how to get from work to my residence—close enough that I won’t talk any trash about Disney culture control here, that’s for sure.
Search results for drinking water quality information produced a mixed bag of Consumer Confidence Reports, American Water Works Association information and other websites that I couldn’t link to any kind of conspiracy, much to my chagrin.
Don’t you just hate it when non-trendy, plain looking players step on a volleyball court and commence to kicking your Nike Swoosh-covered self all over the place? That’s what Google.com does to its fancier competition. In fact, this search engine has been so plain for so long I thought for sure it would get swallowed up, bannerized and sterilized long ago. But it never has and still continues to serve the free web world.
Google does have its own web directory, but only by request at the homepage. Also directly from the homepage is a language option that will translate the search into most popular languages. One interesting note was that when I searched “drinking water” in Italian it gave me Italy’s version of the USEPA, the Funzione Centrale Studi Via Anguillarese in Rome. When I switched back to English, the American version reappeared. Cool!
Go to “About Google” for the good search categories including academia and corporate information.
As a Website of the Month bonus, you’re about to get my secret for unscrambling the alphabet soup these water engineers sometimes like to dole out to us lowly information organizers.
Do you know an OEM looking to be ISO certified before its IPO to fund an M&A strategy in the RO and UV markets? The site can unscramble those pesky terms designed to keep ignorant laypersons as far away from the engineering fraternity as possible. But thanks to the Internet, you can decipher those technical abstracts in a fraction of the time it would take to earn an MBA, an MIS or a CWS, for that matter. Believe me, I would know.
Consider that the source for your news and information is more important on the World Wide Web than any other medium. One needs only an Internet access account to be “published,” with not much in the way of accountability for a website’s content.
Using search engines appropriate to your needs saves time and frustration within the seemingly endless matrix of databases that have become cyberspace. Just as you should know your Spandex-wrapped opponents on the sand in order to win at volleyball, so who’s offering you your information. Another thing to keep in mind—the best way to get to your favorite information source isn’t necessarily the way established web guides would like you to take.
Websites: Head Out on the highway
Son of Ask Jeeves and probably the most effective search engine on the Internet. If not, it’s at least the most balanced.
What’s a Jeeves? Jeeves doesn’t know either, but Ask Jeeves does know several platforms for finding the information you need.
The plain looking beau you should have married; Google gives it up without the high-end maintenance.
How to unscramble engineer-based alphabet soup without using any of that precious left brain of yours.