Search and save


This search engine has hit the popularity scene in some of the circles I swim in online. If your interests include doing something about climate change, this is something that you might want to check out.

The website is ekoru and there are a couple of interesting claims.

  1. All of your searches are private. We don’t log any data on our servers.
  2. Every search helps raise money for Big Blue Ocean Cleanup!

The site does incorporate cookies and if you open the information menu in the top right, it shows you what it’s setting. That was interesting to be that open right up front. I’ve often been curious about what has been set on my computer and that typically means going under the hood.

ekoru didn’t like me the first time that I visited. Regular reader know that I use advertising blocking on my browsers. At ekoru, this gives you a sad Panda graphic and a request to unblock.

I visited again in a private window and did the same search. The first part of results are advertising which are labelled as such but you do have to go looking for the little “ad” notation. The ads come from the Microsoft advertising network and there’s a link there to take you to their privacy policy.

For people that don’t use an ad blocker, I suspect that they know the routine and deal with it regularly.

So, if you’re looking for a search engine that claims to do social good, check it out.

Search them all


A long time ago, I had written a script that kind of did was Soovle does. It’s just that Soovle does it so much better.

It was based on the premise that if searching on one search engine was good then searching on more than one can be better.

So, let’s say you’re interested in finding out more about “Winnipeg”, you can give it a shot here.

The blank screen when you land looks like this.

But, start doing a search and watch them all come to life. So, it’s off to Winnipeg we go…

Results from all of the search engines are populated as you type. It’s kind of neat to play with your arrow keys to rotate the results and check them out.

There are more tips in the secret link in the top right. If you don’t like the default choices of search engines or layout, the engines link let you customize things.

When you find a search of interest, clicking on it will take you to the result in the search engine selected.

But wait, there’s more. Before Lisa and Aviva jump in with suggestions on media literacy … it’s an interesting comparison between search engines to see what they return. I’ve mentioned before that it’s frustrating when a student finds what they’re looking for in the first page of results from a Google Search. This is a powerful visual reminder that that is but one way to search.

If you live in Winnipeg right now, I would imagine that knowing when and where the Grey Cup Parade happens would be a significant thing. What search engine has the same priority? Why isn’t that the first result from them all? Can you make them all return information about the parade?

The more you know, the better a researcher you’ll be.

Ranking everyone


It was a great musical weekend here – the 2018 and 2019 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame shows were broadcast on HBO – and we were fixated.

So many great names, so many great songs, so many great memories.

We enjoyed both shows and found the 2018 induction show particularly relevant with Sister Rosetta Tharpe, The Moody Blues, Dire Straits, Nina Simone, and Bon Jovi among others standing out as they were inducted.

Don’t know these performers. Shame on you! <grin> They’ll live on in YouTube videos though.

Now, I’m an impatient person. While watching one induction, I wanted to know who else was being inducted! We can thank search engines for that ability.

As I’m constantly doing, I fell victim to a click bait story.

All 221 Artists in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Ranked From Best to Worst

The top five are tough to challenge…

  • Chuck Berry
  • The Beatles
  • Bob Dylan
  • Elvis Presley
  • James Brown

Although you might want to challenge the order. The lengthy list was so worth the time to scroll through to see where Springsteen was, wondering why Crosby, Stills, and Nash didn’t have a Young, seeing Ronnie Wood’s name appear more than once (Rod Stewart too) and noting the influence of various forms of music in the big picture.

Of course, the author of the article got the order wrong. 😊 But, then again, who could order 221 artists and get it right? The comments at the bottom are testament to that. It’s an opinion piece, folks. Don’t sweat it. Thankfully, some of the commenters provided some of the missing artists so that they might be considered for future years.

What was impressive to the show was that, because it was shown on HBO, there were no commercials. What a refreshing way to watch an award show as opposed to commercial television. It was a complete game changer and I don’t use that expression often.

And still, I went to bed wondering about the list. How could anyone rank numbers 220 and 221 that low?

Search anew


Never say you know everything in your online world because things change.  New things happen.  What you thought you knew is history…

I’ve been poking around with the Brave browser.  I’d suggest that it’s worth a click on your part to go and take a look at the claims made with respect to your privacy online.  I’ve long been interested in removing the advertising from my browsing experience (not that I necessarily have anything against people making money but with a slow internet connection, I don’t want to waste bandwidth downloading stuff that I’m not interested in.) and I’ve never really noticed any advertising that would inspire me to do something about it.

Recently, I read about this…

Brave browser dumps Google search in France, Germany

So, I just had to read about it.  Every browser has a default search engine and search engines do pay for that privilege.  That’s part of what supports browser development.

Upon reading the above story, I see that Google was “dumped” in favour of Qwant.

Huh?

I’d never heard of it.  I often take a look at the list of recommended search engines that come in the settings of the browsers that I use regularly.  Qwant had never appeared anywhere before (or at least I’d heard of).  Or Qwant Junior for the younger browser.

Both were intriguing as I did a few searches to get the feel of each.  Interestingly, and a nod towards wider computer screens, there are options that can be done with any search.  They appear vertically on the page and provided added value and enrichment to any search.

Qwant Qwant Junior
Screenshot 2018-09-14 at 12.01.48 Screenshot 2018-09-14 at 12.01.31

It’s interesting to poke around and see what all is offered.  It challenges the notion of what a search engine is and what it could be.

Of real interest are the claims in the Privacy section.  Not only does it answer questions about what it does, it should raise questions about what other search engines do.

It’s a Saturday and you have a few moments.  Why not poke around and see what web browsers in France and Germany are doing.  Will you follow?

When URLs go bad


I remember talking with a guy in IT once.

I asked him what he did.  His response – “I ping routers”.  It was a simple answer but it was a particularly important job.  In a network with many routers to get the data to its ultimate destination, it’s important that you know when a router goes bad so that it can be rebooted or fixed.  Of course, he had a tool…

On this past weekend, we were away and dropped into a conservation area and considering going for a swim.  Now, as I’m sure that we all know, not all water and swimming areas are equal.  There are times when the water has problems – in particular with E.coli.

As we got to the beach, we were particularly pleased to see a sign that had a phone number where you could call and get the details.  We made the call only to find out that the phone was answered Monday to Friday, 8:30-4:30.  Well, that didn’t work out.

But there was something even better on the sign.  There was a website where you could check the water conditions.  Great.  A Plan B for potential swimmers.  Make a phone call and, if that doesn’t work, check out the website.  But, alas, the URL returned a 404 error.

Screenshot 2018-06-17 at 19.39.46

I think we all have experienced this.  Web page not found.  So, I backed off the URL to go to the root of the website and it turned out to be broken as well.  We’re impatient – can we go swimming or not?  Next step?

You got it.  Search for it.

And, it worked.  We found the new URL for the community and worked our way through a maze of webpages and found the report.  The beach was safe.  Boy, that was some hot searching!

I think that many of us keep collections of URLs.  There are utilities like this one that will check out your URLs and let you know which ones are broken.

But, in a big community organization, just like my friend the URL checker, there should be someone making sure that posted URLs are good and, if need be, signs are updated.  I think it’s particularly important when you’re trying to do a public service like letting you know if it’s safe to swim here.  A simple new URL printed on some tape placed over the old one would suffice until a new sign could be printed.