I’ve known Leo Notenboom for almost 20 years, and he’s one of the smartest people I know.
He’s also one of the nicest.
He runs a site for Windows users (he used to work at Microsoft himself) called Ask Leo! and he recently wrote an article that I had to share with you.
In it, he gives you the two biggest mistakes people make when they search for things online, and two really simple habits to use to make searching really, really effective.
And there’s a bonus mistake I’ll leave you to discover in the article itself.
Link to Leo’s article:
Hope this helps!
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Watching my daughters find information online has made me believe that it can be done and motivated me to try. I love the accuracy of their “aim” as Leo puts it. (I like his metaphor of aiming a gun to find the right search.) I can’t say exactly how I’ve learned to make my aim better, but I’ve copied what they do, and it works. However they’re both still better than I am at finding answers. Sigh.
David, thank you so much for your kind words! Ya have me blushing! :-) I’m honored that you find what I publish of value and worth sharing.
Thanks for the introduction to Leo. I’m a Windows person and look forward to his weekly newsletters. Years ago I learned a few tips about searching for terms including putting quotation marks around the phrase that you were looking for. I still do it sometimes but am not sure if that still works. The same person showed me some way of noting (with a minus I think) the words you wanted to eliminate from your search. I’d love to learn any current tips to improve searches as well..
Quotations and minus signs used to work. Nowadays, as close as I can figure, there are lots of sites that are paying money to Google to be included so they are going to be included no matter what you do. Good luck finding your friend from high school if there happens to be a celebrity with that name – a football player or an actor or a singer. You will find a thousand hits for the celebrity, even if you do put in -(her last film name) or -singer or anything else. Do you remember when you could do Boolean combinatiions? Those days are long past (aren’t they?). And one search in ten thousand will tell you how to do multiple choices (comma, space, colon, impossible) or how a space is treated. Searches really such nowadays.
Here’s what I miss: Google used to have an option to “search within results.” I loved being able to to do that. I could keep narrowing down my search until I found what I was looking for.
Currently, my search challenge has been to find information about a clock. I’m doing an image search, I have varied my search terms tremendously, and after two weeks, I still have not found the clock or anything that looks close to that clock. Which makes me wonder — Am I sitting on a goldmine? Is this one-of-a-kind? Is that yard sale purchase going to make my son (he bought it) rich?