FTP Search

FTP is a system used to download and upload files on the Internet. (The name FTP stands for "File Transfer Protocol".) There are a massive number of files available on the Net for free downloading via FTP, but you have to know where they are. Sometimes you know the file you want (or you can guess at its name), but you aren't sure where it is. For example, you might want a particular program or picture file or music file. When that happens, here are resources to help you track down your elusive target. These tools are also good ones to use for treasure hunting. For example, I searched for files named "harley" and I found some interesting stuff. Try your own name and see what you find.



How to Use Search Engines

A search engine is a program that allows you to search a database quickly. All of the well-known Internet search tools (Google, Yahoo, Altavista, and so on) are search engines. Here is information about the various search engines, along with a wealth of advice on how to use them effectively. If you find yourself spending too much time floundering around, take a few moments and read these articles.



Image Search Engines

Get the picture? You will. There are a large number of pictures, illustrations, graphics and photographs available on the Net, and you can get them for free.



Mailing List Search Engines

The Net has tens of thousands of different mailing lists, with more being added all the time. A mailing list is a forum for the discussion of a particular topic. Mailing lists differ from Usenet in that all the messages are distributed to participants by electronic mail. (With Usenet, messages are posted to various groups, which you can access with your Web browser or a special-purpose newsreader program.) To participate in a mailing list, you must subscribe (which is free). Once you subscribe, all the messages that are posted to the list will be sent to your mailbox. If you get tired of being on the list, you can unsubscribe at any time. Although the first mailing lists were administered by people, most modern lists (and all the ones listed in this book) are managed by computer programs. The three most popular such programs are Listserv, Majordomo and Listproc. I have included a great many mailing lists as resources in this book. However, there are times when you may want to perform a search of your own. To help you, here are my favorite mailing list search engines.



Music and File Sharing

In general, music on the Net is stored in MP3 files, and there are a huge number of people who are willing to share. The first extremely popular Internet file sharing program was Napster. Unfortunately, Napster was shut down (in the spring of 2000) for copyright infringement. However, in spite of big companies that are doing their best to turn off the music, sharing is alive and well on the Net. You just need to use more sophisticated software and techniques. Many of these systems work without a central server. They use a decentralized peer-to-peer technology, in which the individual computers join into a large, connected system. These facilities can be used to share any type of file, not only music, but video, text, games, programs, and so on. Moreover, because they do not use a central server, such systems cannot be shut down -- ever.



New Stuff Talk and General Discussion

These two Usenet groups are good places to look for new and interesting Net resources. The net-happenings group is moderated and well-organized. This group is as close to an official place to announce a new resource as exists on the Net. There is always something interesting here. The www.announce group is not moderated, and is used by the general population to post notices about new Web sites.


Google Newsreader comp.infosystems.www.announce
Google Newsreader comp.internet.net-happenings

Search Bots

What would you think if you could have your own personal Internet slave: a sophisticated computer program that knows how to search the Net on your behalf. Such programs are called search bots, and there are many different kinds. If you know what you want, but you don't know how to get it, let a bot do the work for you.



Search Engine Access Sites

These sites are not search engines. Rather, they are Web pages that contain a list of links to search engines. Although some people find such services useful, my experience is that -- if you do much searching -- it is probably easier to find one or two favorite engines and learn how to use them well. However, if you are an occasional searcher, you may like the one-size-fits-all setup. At the very least, I'm sure you will appreciate how some of these services select advertisements to show you based on the keywords in your search. How thoughtful.



Search Engines

A search engine is a facility that helps you find information on the Internet. The search engines I have listed here all allow you to search the Web. They work by maintaining a large database of information about Web sites. The search engine companies maintain their databases by using programs that continually search the Web. Some companies also accept submissions from people who want their sites listed. The basic way to use a search engine is to specify one or more keywords. A program then searches the database looking for resources that contain those words. The various search engines are organized in different ways. Some try to index every Web page on the Net. Others organize information into categories. In addition, most search engines offer other facilities, such as searching Usenet archives. My advice is to try the various search engines, pick one or two you like best, and learn how to use them well.



Search Engines Around the World

There are many special-purpose search engines on the Net that can save you a lot of time if you know where to find them. Well, here's something I want you to know about: a large list of search engines devoted to specific countries. When you are looking for international information, this is the place to start.



Top Ten Links

We all love top ten lists because they condense modern life to its essence: give me the best, give it to me fast, and give it to me now. Well, now you have it: a huge number of lists, each containing the top ten Web sites in a specific area. The rankings are based on people's votes, so this is real Internet-style power-to-the-people democracy in action. It's also real Internet-style find-me-what-I-want-fast life in the virtual fast lane.



Web Catalogs

Have you ever thought about what it would be like to search the Web looking for the best sites in many different categories? Well, I do it in order to write this book, but I'm not the only one. Around the Net, a number of companies have Web sites that catalog the best, most interesting, or most useful Web sites. These Web catalogs are a good place to look when you know the type of resource you need, but you don't want to wade through a huge amount of items from a search engine.



Web Channel Guides

A channel is a Web site that can send information to your computer automatically according to a predetermined schedule. (You will sometimes see this type of system referred to as "push" technology.) There are many channels available on the Net, and you can access them for free using your browser. Here are some guides to show you what is available. (Just make sure you don't spend so much time with Web channels that you forget to watch enough television.)



Web Sites by Name

When you look at an Internet address, the rightmost two parts are called the domain name. For example, microsoft.com, whitehouse.gov, pacbell.net or activism.org. The domain name will often give you information about the owners or purpose of the service using that name. Have you ever tried to find particular types of domain names? You can, using these awesome search engines, great tools for searching for Web sites set up for a specific purpose or by a specific organization. If a Web site exists for that name, these search engines will help you find it. For example, if you like humor, you might search for all the domain names that begin with "joke" or "humor".




Webring is cool. Very cool. It consists of hundreds of virtual "rings", each of which is devoted to a particular topic and contains a number of Web sites -- for example: "Comic Book Ring", "The Official Ring of Games", "Female Empowerment Ring", "Adoption Ring", and so on. Here is how it works. You start by checking the index of rings for a topic that interests you. You then connect to the first site on whichever ring you want. At the bottom of the page, there is an icon you can select to move to the next site on the ring. Eventually, if you visit all the sites, you end up where you started. However, in the process, you will have jumped all over the Net. If you would like your site to be part of Webring, you can register it. Your site will then be placed in a particular ring. Next, you must put the Webring icons at the bottom of your Web page. These icons actually point back to the main Webring computer, where a special program figures out which is the next site in the ring. The Webring program handles all the details automatically, adding and deleting Web sites from rings as the need arises.



What's New on the Web

Every day, countless new sites appear on the Web. Here are some resources to help you make sense of it all. Look for what is new and important, and what is new and interesting. These are good places to look when you hear about some hot new Web thingy in the news and want to find it for yourself.