Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Quality search engines OTHER than Google

Amongst the many people I talk to, Google seems to be ubiquitous. However, many people do not know of alternate search engines. In fact, some time it may be more useful to have an alternate search engine. I currently use Google for most of my searching. When I feel like I need a change of pace or I feel like I am not getting what I need from Google, I make use of these search engines:
  • Yahoo!: You've heard of Yahoo, haven't you? At one time or another you must have come across Yahoo's name in an article or some type of search. Despite the tough times that yahoo is going through (in regards to trying to stay with the ad market), it does provide pretty good search results. Yahoo may have less 'useful' listings but at the same time it has less 'junk' than Google.
  • Ask: Ask is pretty unique compared to other search engines. Ask has a proprietary algorithm for it's searches that allows you to ask questions rather than searching for articles using relevant key words. If I was looking for a specific answer to a simple question, I could enter the question in lieu of finding an article and sifting through the data. For example, if I wanted to learn how old George Washington was when he became president, I could type "how old was george washington when he became president" into ask. On other search engines, I would have to look up a general page on George Washington and try to find that piece of information.
  • Dogpile: Dogpile is a unique search engine. Instead of crawling the web to get it's own results, it uses results from Google, Ask, Yahoo and Live Search to display the most relevant content. Dogpile is best used when you are looking up a very specific item/article.
  • Picsearch: Unlike most search engines, Picsearch is just an image search. If you are looking for an image, this should be the first place you look. Sometimes Google images just doesn't cut it.
  • ChaCha: ChaCha's search feature is just as good as any other search engine. Because search engines are not always enough, ChaCha has a 'guide' option for you to use. If you are having trouble finding what you are looking for, you can ask a ChaCha guide for help. These guides are people paid by ChaCha that sift through search results and use their own intelligence to find what you need. In addition to being used on the internet, you can also text or call ChaCha to recieve answers from these guides.
  • Alexa: Alexa sorts it's search results by relevance AND popularity. Due to this simple fact, you will find more high quality results at the beginning of Alexa's results, as opposed to search engines that index by pagerank and relevance.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Free computer games

In these tough economic times, it is not good to spend lots of money entertaining yourself. However, it is still important to keep yourself entertained. Videogames are one of the cheapest ways to keep you occupied, especially when they are free. These next few games are completely free and also very entertaining.
  • Combat Arms: Combat arms is a multiplayer only first person shooter. It focusses on modern warfare and weaponry. Players play online against other players to earn points. These points can be used to rent out weapons to improve their game. Although Combat Arms is a good game, it does have it's drawbacks. There are a considerable amount of cheaters on combat arms and Nexon (the company that owns Combat Arms) seems to be doing nothing about it. Also, be prepared to play alot to earn cash to rent out all of the weapons you need to actually be competitive.
  • Quake Live: Quake III was an extremely great game. For those of you who miss it, you should check out Quake Live. Quake live is based on the quake III engine and is almost the same game. However, there have been slight improvements to the engine. Also, this game is played from your web browser, so you will need to download a browser plugin rather than a game client.
  • Instant Action: Instant Action is a collection of 9 games (at this time) which can be played through your web browser after downloading a plug-in. There is really alot of variety on this site. Games range from simple 2d puzzle games to 3d puzzle games to 3rd person shooters. There is something for everyone. (For you mech assault fans, there are two mech assault like games on the site. Check it out!)
  • Last Chaos: If you are looking to kill some time, nothing is better than an mmorpg. Last Chaos is a well built fantasy mmorpg that is free to play. It's fighting and leveling system seems different than most. It speaks for itself.
  • Phun: Phun, unlike most games described here, is not multiplayer. In fact, many may not consider it a game at all. It is a 2d physics sandbox that is extremely 'phun' to play with. It is an extemely unique game.
  • Urban Terror: Urban terror is a first person shooter with a theme similar to counterstrike, Terrorists vs Good guys. Urban terror is based on the quake 3 engine. You can install this as a mod for quake 3 arena or as a standalone game. This game is definately worth checking out.
If you have any additions you would like to make to this list, place a comment here with some basic information about the game, and you will be thanked.