AARG! AARG! Internet useless for research!

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rfrazier

Well-known member
Sep 30, 2020
320
100
Hi all. I need to do some proverbial crying on shoulders. So, of course, I came here. No, I'm not practicing to be a pirate based on the subject line.

I've been slowly going insane for months because my Windows 7 laptop will just suddenly BSOD (blue screen of death) for no apparent reason, which trashes any unsaved work I've been doing and wrecks my train of thought. I may post another thread about it if I can think of anything intelligent to say. My text file log of troubleshooting steps literally has hundreds of lines.

But, that's NOT why I'm writing this message. Like any good techie with decades of experience, I turn to the internet to do research. I'm pretty good at research, or at least I used to be. I turn to youtube, which used to be a good resource. I turn to google, which used to be a good resource. Well, no more. Or at least no more very successfully.

I have noticed a severe and disgusting trend and have observed that the internet is becoming almost useless for research.

I know for a fact that youtube, google, and others are censoring millions of pages on conservative, religious, patriotic, and health topics. A topic for a rant for another day. BUT, you'd think I could find some basic technical data.

I type in VERY specific queries and get hundreds of results of NON RELEVANT rubbish. Furthermore, where I used to be able to scroll through 30 pages of results to see what might be relevant, I now get a couple of pages. Not only that, in some cases, if I try to sort youtube videos by most recent rather than relevance, ALL the videos disappear. Sorting by date should have NO EFFECT on the number of entries returned.

Here are some of my search terms:

samsung 860 evo bsod
samsung 860 evo driver
microsoft security essentials bsod
firefox excessive ssd hdd writes

Probably 95% of whatever shows up is completely not relevant.

I've noticed similar results on Amazon's search engine, which I totally hate. The other day, I typed in EMF so I could find products related to EMF shielding or measurement, etc. That acronym has a very specific meaning. So, I would expect to see things that have EMF in the title or the ad, or things that mention electromagnetic fields somehow.

I literally looked through 5000 listings. Oh and, if you sort by price, the number of listings may dramatically change. What's up with that?

I got results like, men's briefs, face masks, cell phone cases, TRACTOR and EXCAVATOR gears and pulleys, etc. Literally about 80% - 90% of the listings I got were worthless, and I wasted about 3 of 4 hours looking for them. I filed a complaint for all the good it will do.

I think all the database search engineers got drunk and turned their jobs over to AI's that don't know their digital heads from a hole in the ground.

Like I said, I may post other messages about my actual technical problems. And, I don't necessarily expect solutions to the worlds problems here. Just felt the need to rant. But, I would like to know your thoughts on these issues.

Catch you later.

Sincerely, Sadly,

🤪

Ron
 

Dave

Dave Jenkins, N1MXV
Sep 16, 2020
102
58
Gardner, MA (USA)

Untitled.gif
 

rfrazier

Well-known member
Sep 30, 2020
320
100
@Dave Cool article and picture. I see what you're saying and they really do want to force it on everyone. But I really, Really, REALLY don't want to upgrade at this time. It takes me 2 months to get a new computer acclimated to me and me to it and reinstall all my apps and data. My normal pc setup checklist has about 200 items on it to ensure reliability, security, and longevity. With Win 10, I'll have to add another 100 items to the checklist to get rid of MS spyware and handle privacy concerns. If I can find the pattern in these BSOD's I can maybe keep my existing machine going. Other than the crashes, it's doing exactly what I want.

Sincerely,

Ron
 

doopy

Member
Jun 7, 2021
24
6
I type in VERY specific queries and get hundreds of results of NON RELEVANT rubbish. Furthermore, where I used to be able to scroll through 30 pages of results to see what might be relevant, I now get a couple of pages. Not only that, in some cases, if I try to sort youtube videos by most recent rather than relevance, ALL the videos disappear. Sorting by date should have NO EFFECT on the number of entries returned.

Here are some of my search terms:

samsung 860 evo bsod
samsung 860 evo driver
microsoft security essentials bsod
firefox excessive ssd hdd writes

Probably 95% of whatever shows up is completely not relevant.

I've noticed similar results on Amazon's search engine, which I totally hate. The other day, I typed in EMF so I could find products related to EMF shielding or measurement, etc. That acronym has a very specific meaning. So, I would expect to see things that have EMF in the title or the ad, or things that mention electromagnetic fields somehow.

I literally looked through 5000 listings. Oh and, if you sort by price, the number of listings may dramatically change. What's up with that?

I got results like, men's briefs, face masks, cell phone cases, TRACTOR and EXCAVATOR gears and pulleys, etc. Literally about 80% - 90% of the listings I got were worthless, and I wasted about 3 of 4 hours looking for them. I filed a complaint for all the good it will do.
Not sure what sort of timespan you mean (the last year? the last 20 years?), but part of it may have to do with the massive orders of magnitude more content and diversity there is on the internet than there ever was before. There was a time when most internet users were technical people, and most of the content about EMF was about the same kind of EMF you're thinking of. Nowadays most people are internet users, most internet users are regular people, and technical people are a minority. That might be one aspect of it.

For what it's worth, I've been using Amazon for ages, and personally I've never found their search to be very accurate. As for the number of results changing based on sorting, my guess would be items that have no price (e.g. currently unavailable) are eliminated from the results when you sort by price. As for sorting by date on youtube, yeah that makes no sense to me.

I think all the database search engineers got drunk and turned their jobs over to AI's that don't know their digital heads from a hole in the ground.

That or they put the marketing department in charge of the engineering department and they're more concerned with getting paid to show you affiliate/sponsored/promoted crap than what's actually relevant.



If I were you I'd check out some of the alternative search engines that are out there. DDG, Yandex, Ecosia, Qwant, Mojeek, MetaGer, Searx, and many more. Some are true independent search engines with their own crawlers and algorithms, and some are meta search engines that source their results from one or more mainstream search engines. For example Searx is *very* customizable and draws results from *many* different sources. Some of them have images, videos, shopping, maps, etc. search functionality too. For example I've found that DuckDuckGo Shopping searches Amazon better than Amazon searches Amazon.
 

Darcon

Member
Oct 8, 2020
12
3
Stop using Google, install UBlock Origin ad blocker in Firefox. Don't use Chrome, IE or Edge. If you are starting up Firefox, don't let it copy data from other browsers automatically. Use the manual bookmark export and import them into Firefox. You can make Firefox strict on preventing tracking as well, but some sites don't work well with this.

Start getting relevant searches by eliminating the garbage tracking done by the popular browsers, and the ads on various sites.
Duck Duck Go should be the default search engine, not Google or Bing. Don't even consider Yahoo.

Duck Duck Go does not cache your previous searches so every search is new and not influenced by other activities.

You don't even need to accept cookies or acknowledge that a site uses cookies, ad block the prompt works on most sites.

If you see results you don't want, then add a -<bad result term> where the <> is replaced with a term you don't want to see example:
firefox excessive ssd hdd writes -swap
Assuming you don't care about the articles on moving your swap space off of an SSD.

Usually results are pretty good with alternative search engines and blocking ads and tracking.
 

danlock

Well-known member
Sep 30, 2020
169
55
USA
I'd say something about Captain Obvious here, but I don't want to belabor the point.

I thought of something to add, however:

learn the syntax of the search engine you use to make your searches as specific as you want them to be.

This might be unrelated to the types of searches you've indicated, but often, nonspecific articles will mention the titles of scientific papers I want to read specific things from. I've found that searching for the title of a paper on scholar.google.com will give me links to at least a few free-to-access versions of the paper in various formats while reducing or eliminating the unrelated crap (i.e. unrelated results will at least be relevant or contain a reference to the paper for which I searched, which can often increase my knowledge about the topic).

If using the primary search box on the page is insufficient, you can click the menu button (three horizontal lines / hamburger button) and select Advanced Search to increase specificity (If you can't remember the shortcut terms for the main box; I can't). If cookies are disabled, any search settings you save will not be remembered the next time you use that site. You can also include case law (federal and the state it detects your IP in) and patents in your "scholarly" searches to see patents and their current validity in many places around the world.
 
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