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I'm a UK based Internet Consultant and librarian.
Interests: american civil war, search engines, internet search, english history, rick wakeman, iain banks, photography, weblogs, librarianship
Recent Activity
Just a brief entry to mark the closure of Polyfetch. The URL just redirects to Google now. It was a nice little search engine which allowed you to open several panes at once to compare different websites. Shame that it's disappeared. Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at Phil Bradley's weblog
In common with several others I got an email last Friday morning telling me that TFPL will no longer be offering public scheduled courses from today (Friday, February 11th) onwards, and all currently scheduled courses will be cancelled. Apparently an earlier email had gone out from Chris Jones the Managing Director which said "Following a strategic business review, it has been decided that TFPL will no longer offer publicly scheduled training courses and will transfer our suite of Business Skills courses to ILX Group, another training business within Progility PLC." However, this didn't come to me, or to a lot... Continue reading
Posted Feb 13, 2017 at Phil Bradley's weblog
I was really quite excited to see that a new resource has been made available for us to search for CC licensed images. CC Search was launched a couple of days ago. The engine that they've created is a meta search engine, pulling results from the databases found at Flickr, 500px, Rijksmuseum, the New York Public Library and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. That's a total of about 9.5 million images that we can use. Filters allow searchers to limit results to images that can be used commercially, Modify, adapt, or build upon or both. You can limit your search... Continue reading
Posted Feb 10, 2017 at Phil Bradley's weblog
This was first announced back in autumn 2016, but I've only just seen it starting to happen in the UK on the desktop version of the site. Basically if you want thoughts, ideas, opinions and recommendations, Facebook can create a status update for you which does exactly that. As you can see Facebook is offering to turn recommendations on for this post. Clicking on that gives me the screen you can see above, and when I click to turn on recommendations, I get the following screen: Once I confirm the location the status appears like this: I can then click... Continue reading
Posted Jan 30, 2017 at Phil Bradley's weblog
To the Chair of a professional library interest group, I’m angry, depressed, sad and disappointed that I need to write this open letter to you. You sent a member of your group onto two courses that I ran, and the total cost was £198. I try and keep my costs as cheap as I can because I think making sure we have well trained and informed professionals is important. My fee has been tightly worked out, and as an independent trainer it’s important that I get it right. I have to pay for my own National Insurance, I get no... Continue reading
Posted Jan 26, 2017 at Phil Bradley's weblog
Google has killed off yet another search function, this time the link: option. What this was supposed to do (and I'm never sure that it worked very well anyway) was to tell you which sites linked to the site in question. It was quite useful because it gave you an indication as to what type of page you might be looking at. For example, if you checked to see who linked to my site you'd have seen that it was mainly universities and search engine optimisation sites. Links to a racist Martin Luther King site told you that it was... Continue reading
Posted Jan 14, 2017 at Phil Bradley's weblog
This is something that comes up quite a lot, as people are always looking for images that they can use without fear of payment or copyright restrictions. There's a nice new collection of such engines over at the Hootsuite blog, and I've picked a few of my favourites. Picjumbo It's a nice resource but only has a small number of images (600 or so), but they are of excellent quality. Unsplash is excellent - my search for 'books' returned a lot of results (277) and they were really interesting pictures. Stockvault was another good site, and again I got a... Continue reading
Posted Jan 12, 2017 at Phil Bradley's weblog
There are plenty of search engines that already offer you private searching, such as DuckDuckGo, the UK's Oscobo, and StartPage, so Peekier is another entrant into that busy field. However, while is does all that the other engines do to protect your privacy by not storing searches, IP addresses and the like, it has an interestingly different way of providing you with results. Rather than the usual text links it's more of a visual results engine which gives you tiled results for your queries. I've chosen the smallest tile set, but you can get larger if you prefer. You can... Continue reading
Posted Jan 11, 2017 at Phil Bradley's weblog
Not content with driving users nuts with large font sized updates, Facebook is keen to frazzle our eyeballs with coloured background updates. They look a bit like this: You can have flat colours or gradiated. Thankfully it's on Android users who can irritate the sh!t out of us at the moment, but it's going to be rolled out more generally in the coming weeks and months. Facebook is desperate to get us to update our status entries more often since we've been reducing this of late, and they can't have that, can they? Of course, it would help if people... Continue reading
Posted Jan 6, 2017 at Phil Bradley's weblog
The Need2Find search engine is powered by Google. Consequently you're not getting anything particularly exciting, since it really is a cut down version, just giving you web pages, images, and video. It says that it offers news but I couldn't get a peep out of that tab at all, so I'm discounting it. It seems to be associated with the MyAllSearch engine since all of the 'about us' links go back to their pages. I ran a few searches and it does give different sets of results so if you want to search Google, but get some different results to... Continue reading
Posted Jan 6, 2017 at Phil Bradley's weblog
Thanks to my correspondent Sam, who alerted me to the fact that it seems another social media search engine, Smashfuse, has died. I wrote about this one back in May 2014 and it was a neat little search engine, providing access to a wide variety of social networks with results delivered in a tile based format. Not one that I used a great deal myself, but it's always sad to see more engines disappearing. Continue reading
Posted Dec 19, 2016 at Phil Bradley's weblog
The death of human moderated search engines continues as one of the longest surviving - perhaps THE longest surviving version has now closed its doors. A human moderated search engine is one where you can ask your question, and it will be passed onto a real live person to give you an answer. In total ChaCha answered about 2.25 billion questions, had 100,000 guides and employed about 440 people. At its peak it had about 370 million page views in August 2012, and this had dropped to 6 million in November 2016. It really does seem that this type of... Continue reading
Posted Dec 16, 2016 at Phil Bradley's weblog
It looks as thought Social Mention - real time search engine may well have died. I've been trying it every day for the last week, and I have been unable to reach it. I've tried a few of the services to see if the site is up or down, and they've all come back and said that it's unavailable. This will be a real blow to social media searchers, as it's always been an excellent engine, and it will be sorely missed if it has closed. There have been a few queries on their Facebook page, but no response from... Continue reading
Posted Dec 15, 2016 at Phil Bradley's weblog
There are times when I almost (but not quite) feel sorry for Google, because whatever it does, it's going to be wrong. Let's quickly go over the basics again before we start. Google is not a search engine, it's an advertising company using search to make money. Google doesn't care about the results that it provides because it's using its algorithms to work out why one result is better than other. It relies on the world to tell it what's good or bad, and it acts merely as a mirror or a reflection of society. Google is not there to... Continue reading
Posted Dec 14, 2016 at Phil Bradley's weblog
There's an Amazon global store at which allows you to buy products directly from the US. Books, clothes, DVDs, luggage, shoes and bags. Delivery can be as little as 2 days, and prices include all import duties and taxes. You can also return items and use UK customer service. I haven't tried it yet myself, but it might be worth a quick look! Continue reading
Posted Dec 1, 2016 at Phil Bradley's weblog
Want to see what swines have refused your friends requests on Facebook? It's really easy to do it. 4 steps, 5 seconds ... Step One Click on the Friends Icon on your Facebook page, upper right hand corner. Step Two Click on 'See All' at the bottom of the list. Step Three In the top left hand corner of the dialogue box that pops up you'll see an option 'No New Friends Requests' unless you currently have some pending. Below that, you'll see another option called 'View Sent Requests' Step Four Click on that, and you'll see a listing of... Continue reading
Posted Nov 16, 2016 at Phil Bradley's weblog
If you're looking for reasons to try out DuckDuckGo and haven't quite got around to it, perhaps this blog post might give you the push you need. Here are a few things that you can do on DDG that you can't do on Google - or if you can, it's more difficult. Using the ! search option I can search different resources while I'm on DDG, which obviously I can' t do in Google, Simply using the ! or 'bang' command, I can tell DDG to run a search on a different search engine or site. So for example a... Continue reading
Posted Nov 16, 2016 at Phil Bradley's weblog
'Don't trust Google' is something I say a LOT. Here's another example. If you go to the search engine and do a search for 'final election results' this is what you'll see. Well, maybe you'll see it, maybe you won't, depending on where you live, what you search, if you had eggs for breakfast and the colour of your eyes: Clearly shows that the results are 61,039,676 to Clinton and 60,371.193 to Trump. Now, figures are still not entirely finalised I understand, so the result obviously isn't going to change (and that's decided by the electoral college anyway, not the... Continue reading
Posted Nov 15, 2016 at Phil Bradley's weblog
You may have noticed recently that some Facebook status updates are in a larger font size than you may be expecting. Facebook has - without really announcing it - added this as a new feature. If your update is less than 35 characters in length, it is presented in large font, like this: It's a bit on the irritating side, especially if you're not aware that it's going to happen. There's a few things that you can do to ensure that this doesn't happen. First of all, add in more characters to get you over the 35 character limit. Second,... Continue reading
Posted Nov 11, 2016 at Phil Bradley's weblog
We have access to more information, quicker, easier, more effectively and at the touch of a button than we have ever had, so why am I not talking about a golden age of information? I'm writing this on the morning that we discovered that Donald Trump has been elected to the White House, and only a few months after Britain committed its own act of national insanity by voting for Brexit. There are many more intelligent people than I am who will be talking about this, but I wanted to look at just one small aspect of both events, and... Continue reading
Posted Nov 9, 2016 at Phil Bradley's weblog
I'm sure you're aware of the fact that Google removes results once they have considered the request, but do you know how many this actually is? There's a really great page at Google that tells you. For the UK the details are: Total URLs that individuals with relationships to this country have requested Google remove: 232,920 URLs Total requests Google has received from this country: 98,275 requests Here's a pretty little diagram to show you: Some of the top ten sites that people have asked for links to be removed from are Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and So when... Continue reading
Posted Nov 7, 2016 at Phil Bradley's weblog
You've probably seen friends and colleagues sharing small animated images on Twitter and Facebook. via GIPHY A bit like this one in fact. They can be a great way to make your point, or just have a bit of fun. It's now really easy to find these, by using Giphy which is a search engine for searching animated gifs. In early October Giphy passed 100 million daily users who send 1 billion gifs per day and viewers watch more than 2 million hours of gifs per day. To be honest, the search engine isn't that great - you're pretty much... Continue reading
Posted Nov 3, 2016 at Phil Bradley's weblog
I've just taken possession of an Amazon Echo device (commonly called Alexa) and having Siri on my iPhone and access to Google voice search I thought I'd try an experiment and ask them all exactly the same thing, to see if one or other came out on top. So here are the questions, together with the answers that I got. Q: Who are Everton's players? Alexa - gave me a response that was years out of date. Google - reasonable response, with a list of current players Siri - defaulted to Bing search which was incorrect. Winner: Google Q: How... Continue reading
Posted Oct 26, 2016 at Phil Bradley's weblog
Looking to watch, rent or buy a film or view a television show, and you're not sure where the best place to go might be? This is where Justwatch comes into play. Simply pop in the name of the item that you're interested in, and it will see who has it available, and at what price. It search across resources such as Amazon, iPlayer, Google Play, Microsoft, Netflix and so on. They say of themselves "We are glad you're here! On JustWatch you can easily find out where to watch your favourite movies & TV series in the UK. JustWatch... Continue reading
Posted Oct 21, 2016 at Phil Bradley's weblog
It's been a while since I last mentioned 'Let me Google that for you' or LMGTFY for short. We all see those really stupid questions that people post to Facebook, ask on Twitter or just otherwise mumble in your direction. You're torn between being exceptionally sarcastic and wanting to help. Well, LMGTFY is the tool that you need. You visit the website and type in the search that your enquirer should run. LMGTFY then creates the link, and you send that to your enquirer. The tool then explains the whole process to them before actually running the search and giving... Continue reading
Posted Oct 21, 2016 at Phil Bradley's weblog