For a long time, I've felt the same way about searching the web for tips. Poring through 10,000 links, when you only wanted one or two, can burn you out.
That's why I'm developing a specialised search tool. It finds anything in my columns going back seven years. (Not included are my Windows Secrets books, which are searchable on their own CDs.)
To conduct a search, go to www.brianlivingston.com. Type one or more words into the search box, then click Go. The results are sorted by relevance.
Readers who were frustrated when I decided not to write a book called Windows XP Secrets can now find all the latest tricks I've printed by searching on "XP". (Or, to see the reasons behind my decision, search on "no XP for me".)
At the site, click Help to see how capitalisation refines your search, how a hyphen in front of a word excludes it and how wild cards work. Click Advanced to limit your search to a range of dates, turn on Soundex matching and do other tricks.
The utility is powered by Atomz.com, a service that indexes up to 500 web pages free of charge. My implementation is one of the first projects by my newest research director, Vickie Stevens.
By itself, there's nothing novel about my little search tool. You could find many of the same columns (and much more) by using the search box at InfoWorld.com. But I have bigger plans, and I'll let you in on the plot so you can conspire with me.
First, I intend to use the most popular search phrases to influence my future columns. Go to the search box right now and type in a two-or three-word query on whatever topic you'd like me to delve into. Without even sending me an email, your choice will be anonymously entered into my very unscientific (but decisive) survey. I'll reveal the top search phrases in an upcoming column.
Second, and more important, I hope to advance the art of searching for Windows tips. At present you can easily use any search engine to look for bleeding-edge topics such as "hack the Registry". But I'm often shocked at the useless or downright dangerous misinformation about Windows that I find on the internet in this way.
Therefore, I hope to expand the index with an eye to Windows tip sites that have reliable, quality information. Your input will be crucial. If you know of such a site that you like (or you run such a site), send me a message to nominate it. Use "tip site" as the subject line of your email.
Ideally, with an index comprising the best sites, you can be confident that the tips you get have been tested and work safely.
Well, as safely as us old Registry tweakers can expect, anyway.
Send tips to Livingston. He regrets that he cannot answer individual questions.