“Seek (Well), And You Shall Find …”

Getting information from the World Wide Web can be likened to the proverbial “searching for needles in a haystack”.

However, when you fail to find the information you need on the internet, it is usually one of two things:

  • either the search engine or search parameters used are defective.
  • the much unlikely instance that the information you seek is not known to mankind.

This why getting a good grip of how to use search engines like Clusty, Bing, Google, DevilFinder, e.t.c, used to be so important.

But, beyond learning to type in cryptic command to properly drill down and get to what you seek, there are services and applications designed specifically to make searching for information as easy as just typing the text of what you desire.

I am a mobile app Junkie. Reading eBooks is my onion. You can then easily guess that I would make use of search engines a lot.

How many times have you had to type arcane commands like these into Google?:

“File Expert” filetype:apk

This searches for all webpages containing the Android app (with extension “.apk”) named “file Expert”

..or..

“sidney sheldon” filetype:epub

which lists downloadable “epub” documents of the renowned writer, Sidney Sheldon

The problem with this approach is that there are many ebook formats (e.g .txt, .pdf, .epub, .djvu and so on). If you were looking for a specific ebook, there may be the need to repeatedly search for different file formats.

In the Android App example above, the particular app may not exist in the ‘apk’ format. Perhaps it has been compressed into a “.rar” or “.zip” format, in which case your search will not yield any results.

Getting to your information faster

A good method is to use any of the many apps or services that allow the specification of a search item, and then crawls the web, looking for different instances of your search parameter. These services or apps, however, differ markedly in terms of the comprehensiveness and variety of the hosted documents.

There is, of course, the popular Youtube which gives you access to numerous videos for direct viewing and downloading.

Two other well known services that I use are:

4shared

Millions of people share files (audios, videos, apps, ebooks, e.t.c) on 4Shared daily. You could download the 4shared app unto your mobile device (this exists for all the major Operating Systems – Android, iOS and BlackBerry), or visit the website itself.

I prefer to use the 4shared app rather than visit the the website because the app way is faster, and goes directly to the download task.

Download EveryThing

This is a free Android and iOS application. It searches, downloads and allows you listen to all the indexed 4Shared apps and documents, as well as those on MegaUpLoad. That is a big collection of information.

Focused Wandering

Of course, there are many situations when you have some free time and would rather do some leisurely browsing without any particular thing in mind. All of us have topics that interest us. Some of mine are Automobiles, Medicine, Philosophy and Personal Finance.

How about a service or app that allows you stumble upon websites, based on your specific interests?

Well, StumbleUpon.com affords you that service. There is also a mobile app equivalent for major mobile platforms. StumbleUpon also exists as a “plugin” for some Desktop Browsers like FireFox.

To use the StumbleUpon service, you have to sign up, specify the subjects that interest you (say, Religion,Jokes, e.t.c). Each time you click the “stumble” button, you are presented with webpages that match your specified interest in a randomized way.

These webpages are “crowd_sourced” from other StumbleUpon Users who rate and “recommend” webpages that they love. The higher the rating of a particular webpage, the more likely it is that it would be presented to viewers.

You are assured of “Stumbling Upon” interesting sites (and people!) that you would normally probably never come across.

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