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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
It's very tempting to search for your symptoms and other related medical information on Google, but you need to warned; Google isn't exactly accurate with the stuff that it brings back. A search for 'cure for cancer' brings us back lots of interesting stuff, but the top result is from a site called Cancer Tutor, which I'm not going to link to, because it's full of crap. I'll copy a little of what it says however: Many people have cured their newly diagnosed cancer by using a very healthy diet and drinking a quart of carrot juice (with a little... Continue reading
Posted Aug 7, 2017 at Phil Bradley's weblog
For those with long memories, Delicious was one of the sites to use; it allowed people to bookmark their favourite websites for ease of access. At the time of founding, in 2003 Delicious was a real innovation, as the idea of being able to quickly and easily put stuff onto a third party website and then share that with your friends and colleagues was a really new idea. However, Delicious was unable to keep up with the times as other sites such as Diigo came along to give it real competition. It was sold several times - Yahoo paid between... Continue reading
Posted Jun 2, 2017 at Phil Bradley's weblog
I'm pleased to say that this book is now with the publishers, Facet Publishing and should be available in about 3 months. This is (as the title of the blog post says) the 5th edition of the title which started life in 1999 as The Advanced Internet Searcher's Handbook. That very first edition didn't even mention Google, which seems almost impossible to imagine. This edition references over 300 different search engines and associated tools. As usual I've started from scratch with it, and while keeping to the same format have added and removed content in almost equal measure. The book... Continue reading
Posted May 26, 2017 at Phil Bradley's weblog
I had an interesting experience today. I got an email sent to my address telling me that a direct debit to a specific bank account at a specific bank had been set up. My initial response is to complete ignore this as a phishing attempt. However, there were no links to grab my details and the email address from which the email was sent seemed accurate. A few minutes later I got another email addressed to the same account telling me that my account with a 'Groupon' type account had been set up. I decided to explore, so went... Continue reading
Posted May 12, 2017 at Phil Bradley's weblog
I'd hoped that the nonsense about the 'Blue whale' suicide game had been a flash in the pan, but it's continuing to be spread. The Daily Mail ran another story on it on May 10th and it's about the 'mastermind' behind it; Philipp Budeikin, who I mentioned in my previous blog post; Blue Whale suicide game or hoax? I don't think there's any doubt that this guy is one very sick individual, and it does look as though he created at least 8 social media groups on the Russian version of Facebook, VKontackte with the express purpose of preying on... Continue reading
Posted May 12, 2017 at Phil Bradley's weblog
Facial recognition software really is a thing, and we'll see a lot more of it in the next couple of years. It has absolutely huge implications that I can't even work through myself at the moment, but let's see what we've got already. The first of two tools that I'm going to look at is the 'Celebrity model' site. The idea behind this is... well, let them tell it. I quote: "The 'Celebrity' model analyzes images and returns probability scores on the likelihood that the media contains the face(s) of over 10,000 recognized celebrities. This model is great for anyone... Continue reading
Posted May 8, 2017 at Phil Bradley's weblog
I was first made aware of the 'Blue Whale game' when a concerned parent posted on Facebook a letter that she'd seen from a local school, warning parents about the 'Blue Whale game', which was apparently the cause of hundreds of suicides of young people in Russia, which was on its way to the UK. A second school in my area, then a third sent out the same kind of warning, and another in Basildon also sent letters to parents, based on a discussion with Essex police. The BBC have posted their own article about it, and it's been mentioned... Continue reading
Posted Apr 27, 2017 at Phil Bradley's weblog
If you haven't taken a look at Ask Jelly yet, you've really missed your chance. I'm betting you probably haven't, which may well be one of the reasons that it's closing. Basically it was a Question and Answer service; people would register, indicate their area of expertise and when people asked questions, they would be pushed through to the appropriate person to answer them - for free. The answer would be posted, people would say thanks, everyone was happy. This type of resource,with the obvious exception of Quora simply doesn't work. We've seen it tried and fail with ChaCha and... Continue reading
Posted Mar 21, 2017 at Phil Bradley's weblog
I noticed a tweet today: Librarian game time: Go onto @cilipinfo site ( and, without using Search, try and find the acronym "CILIP" defined. — Phil Gorman (@philbgorman) February 28, 2017 He's quite right. It's very difficult to find, and I was only able to see 'Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals' in the title of the site and in some images. In fact, if you look a bit further, it seems to have changed its name. And the logo. And the colour of the logo. And the font... It appears that the 'Chartered Institute of Library and Information... Continue reading
Posted Feb 28, 2017 at Phil Bradley's weblog
Sad to report that Icerocket, which has been around for years, is finally closing its doors. There's a note on the home page which says " will be shutdown permanently on March 8th, 2017. Please switch over to other search engines. Thank you for all the years together!" No reason has been given for the closure. On the other hand, Socialmention* has reappeared. I feared that it had died, but it's suddenly come back online, though what the story behind its comings and goings is I don't know! Continue reading
Posted Feb 27, 2017 at Phil Bradley's weblog
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 Feb 20, 2017 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