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How to search the web, and actually find things

on Tue 5 Dec - 19:58
Hi, all,

Sleepingrain asked me to write a little article about how I tracked down some of the people that Keith had asked about in his "Where Are They Now" blog post. So here goes.

First, let me point you to an excellent article on how to use a search engine effectively. Search for the article from TechRepublic titled "10 tips for smarter, more efficient Internet searching." (Sorry, the board won't let me post the actual link to the article for four more days.)

I'll illustrate with an example. Now, suppose you were, like me, trying to find out the real story about Brian and Tabitha. You need to specify a set of search terms that are going to get you what you want, and not a whole lot of results that you don't want. You might initially try:

brian tabitha

And you'd get Kevin's blog post, plus a whole lot of other people named Brian and Tabitha. You might get some useful info on page 15 of the search -- but you might not. So you need to narrow it down a little, by adding an additional keyword.

brian tabitha thirdkeyword

Now, with the right choice for thirdkeyword, this gets some fairly specific results, including the cut YouTube video -- and links to one or two sites that contain the uncut version, in the first page. (Exercise/challenge for the student: Come up with a third keyword that does this -- PM me if you want a hint.)

To summarize the Tech Republic article, which is really worth a read:

  1. Use unique, specific terms
  2. Use the minus operator (-) to narrow the search
  3. Use quotation marks for exact phrases
  4. Don't use common words and punctuation
  5. Realize that search engines will throw away your capitalization
  6. Drop the suffixes -- the search engine will search for all possible suffixes anyway
  7. Get the most from AutoComplete in the search box
  8. Use special operators to make your search more specific
  9. Use browser history (if you're looking for something you've already found)
  10. Set a time limit — then change tactics


Additional comments welcome.
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Re: How to search the web, and actually find things

on Wed 6 Dec - 12:47
P.S. Sleepingrain asked me to try to track down the original poster of an Imgur post titled, "In support of consanguine couples" that both FME and TheFinalManifesto couldn't track. So far, I'm coming up empty on that one too. It beats me why anyone would post such a message and leave no way to contact them, or why whoever copied it to Imgur wouldn't leave their contact info either.

I did find out that the caption on the JPEG is Finnish, reads "talvellä sydämessäni, olen löytänyt elämän kevät," and translates to "In the winter in my heart, I have found a spring of life."
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Re: How to search the web, and actually find things

on Wed 6 Dec - 18:13
Message reputation : 100% (1 vote)
thank you for looking so far; I reached imgur before hitting a wall too. Combing the website he volunteered for might turn something up, maybe someone who knew him, but just as likely wouldn't.
And thank you for posting a guide ( his link https://www.techrepublic.com/blog/10-things/10-tips-for-smarter-more-efficient-internet-searching/ ), hopefully should be helpful!
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Re: How to search the web, and actually find things

on Thu 7 Dec - 4:23
Thanks for posting tips

There's a guy out there who pops up under a few different names and his accounts often get shut down. He claims to be in a relationship with his mother and sister and posts pictures and explicit videos. He apparently also prentends to be them as well. Well, one set of names he uses are real. I tracked down his father's obituary, and was able to track down his mother. I contacted her via a work email account and asked to communicate through a personal account. She quickly replied and asked if it was about her mentally ill son. We corresponded for a few days and she gave me a very detailed story about all of the trouble she's been through, and why it's so hard to stop him from doing what he's doing. She gave me statements I can post in response to his online postings.

Now, there's a chance he's telling the truth about the past, highly unlikely he's telling the truth about the present. But it is more likely she is telling the truth and she never abused him and neither she nor his sister have had sex with him, and that he's mentally ill and often not getting the care he should. Either way, something terrible is going on. I'm glad I was able to make contact with the real mother and to have confidence it was really her.
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Re: How to search the web, and actually find things

on Thu 7 Dec - 15:39
That doesn't sound good... well but at least you made contact with his mum, like you say. It's better than nothing, right?
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Re: How to search the web, and actually find things

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