Again, just taking some time to go over some basics with you. You got your computer, signed up for an ISP and got your software installed and you're ready to surf! Back to this whole Internet thing, there are seven majors sub-networks on the Internet - E-mail, World Wide Web, Usenet, Gopher, FTP, Telenet, IRC and there are a several minor networks like WAIS, Archie, Ping and those AOL folks. Since this column is aimed at the average person, we will basically only talk about the World Wide Web and a little about e-mail and chats. If you wanted to find a certain page on the Internet, it would be similar to having someone take one piece of paper and hide it inside one book in the U. S. Library of Congress for you to find. You need to use what is called a browser to help you navigate on the Internet. If you haven't made the connection yet, in all those www.com addresses the "www" stands for World Wide Web. Everything on the web is written in hypertext markup language (html) and has to be "translated" by a browser for you to see it in a way that makes sense. Almost all browsers are free and they are growing in numbers each day. Again, some probably came loaded on your computer. Netscape is a very popular browser while most experts say that Explorer is a virus waiting to happen. So, open up your favorite browser and let's begin our searching.
There are specialized search engines such as Golfsearch.com just for golfers. More and more "META" search engines are showing up which search several other search engines. Google is my personal favorite search engine- it's fast and good. Google is so confident, they have one button to just show results and another that says "I feel lucky". No, it's nothing to do with betting but odds are that pushing that button will take you directly to the page you want. There is the Iwon.com where you can win money for searching and the newer ask.com where "Jeeves" will help you find what you want. I liked the way snap.com returned my results in boldface and it's seems to be the same since they were acquired by NBCi.com. Searching can be a fine art, just remember what the engine does and the difference between a search ENGINE and a search DIRECTORY. Yahoo (still the #1) is a directory with people catagoizing things. A real search engine uses something called a "spider" which actually searches through the web for what you are looking to find. Different engines work differently, some searching entire pages, others just a few sentences. Google and Lycos are great for finding pictures, Webcrawler gets very detailed. Some organize results better, some use what they call "frames" which is where the page you click on appears inside the search engine page, a bit of a pain sometimes. Web designers like frames but the general public does not! So, start your searching by searching for search engines and investigate which ones of the thousands available you like to use and how they find things. By the way, the most popular words to search are all "R" rated (SHAME) after which comes the search for FREE. There is an interesting site where you can watch what others are searching for:
(site is NOT censored - Beware!)
Also a good place for some tips
Note: Boolean search commands have been used by professionals for searching through traditional databases for years. Despite this, they are overkill for the average web user. Using boolean you could type in real estate AND Princeton AND Illinois but you would most likely get the same results if you typed in real estate princeton illinois.