A searching look

I wrote in my June 10 column that I'm developing a specialised search engine. It will enable you to find Windows tips at reliable websites, as opposed to 'helpful hints' on the internet that can actually harm your PC.

I wrote in my June 10 column that I'm developing a specialised search engine. It will enable you to find Windows tips at reliable websites, as opposed to "helpful hints" on the internet that can actually harm your PC. (See Now search this.)

At present, my search tool at www.brianlivingston.com just indexes a few hundred articles I've written in various places over the last seven years. That's not nothing, but I have much bigger plans.

Meanwhile, I promised you that I'd reveal which search terms were the most popular. The findings will influence which topics I'll write about next.

My readers have performed 8580 searches as of this writing. Searches for "XP" were off the charts, with seven times the hits of the next most popular word, "Windows." This is a bit skewed because I had asked people to search on "no XP for me" to find a recent column. (Note: You must enclose the phrase in quotes for that column to be first in the list.)

With the "Windows" hits set to an index of 100, the 12 most common non-XP search words were:

Windows: 100

2000: 43

registry: 27

98: 19

file (or files): 18

tips: 17

secrets: 15

Explorer: 14

Outlook: 11

network: 10

shutdown: 8

NT: 8

As a result of your input, I'll certainly write more about XP in the months to come. But the figures show that it's also important to keep revealing secrets of Windows 2000, 98, and NT. Readers want help, too, with the Windows Registry, Internet Explorer, and Microsoft Outlook. And, interestingly, they continue to have networking and shutdown issues -- perennial joys of Windows.

I'd like to thank the hundreds of readers who sent comments. Doing a little public development project like this helps me stay humble. For example, I learned my site was crashing Netscape 4.7. In Internet time, that's ages old. My logs show that only 2.8% of visitors still use Netscape 4.7 or older. My staff and I fixed things anyway, though. Changing my site's "position:relative" tags eliminated the crashes.

But I strongly urge all browser users to upgrade to newer, standards-compliant versions, like the ones that rate well here.

As far as the Windows tip sites that'll be added to my index, I'm still evaluating them. But I have a message for fans of Woody's Watch: With 897 nominations, I believe it's made the cut.

Send tips to Livingston. He regrets that he cannot answer individual questions.

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